"Easy, Stark. You knocked your head pretty hard when you fell," a deep voice greets Tony as he gains consciousness. Pain throbs from his forehead to the back of his back, pounding against his temples as he opens his eyes. Bucky is looming over him, his long hair dirty and messed up and hiding Tony from the rest of the world.
"Yeah, feels like I'm hungover."
It must mean something that he doesn't even complain about the careful prodding of Bucky's fingers along his scalp. "More nauseous. It's not my first commotion."
"It's serious, Stark. If the brain swells up too much, it can be permanently damaged." Bucky presses at the nape of his neck to check him for injuries and another wave of pain makes Tony involuntary jerks away. His head is on his lap, he notes, and he might've enjoyed the feel of those muscular thighs in a different scenario.
"What happened?" He groans out and slowly starts to sit up with Bucky's careful help. His human hand remains steady on his back. They're both covered in dust from the battle, but they're nowhere near the battle site. In fact, Tony has no clue where they are.
"You remember you got hit by an EMP?" At Tony's nod, he continues, "well you were falling from the sky and I was the closest to your position, so I caught you, but I think you lost consciousness for a second and I had to use the emergency extraction lever."
Tony makes an assessment nod, because there's no way he'll tell him he was in fact in the middle of a frenzied anxiety attack, the free fall bringing back too many bad memories. "The EMP got to my reactor, but my backup protocol took over."
Bucky's hand tightens on his shirt for a second, but he's turned away so Tony can't see his expression. His body is tense, but not from pain, or at least Tony hasn't noticed any wound on him.
"Anyway, I got you out, and then M.O.D.O.K. managed to shoot us with his latest experiment, and I think we teleported?" Bucky pushes back his hair with his metal hand in frustration, biting his lip as he looks around, but this is an old dusty basement that doesn't give much away.
"Help me up," Tony prompts him, seeing the premises of panic on his face.
"I don't think that's the best idea for you right now," Bucky starts protesting, but Tony bats off his worry.
"We need to evaluate where we are and try to communicate with the others ASAP, we don't have time for bed rest. I'm guessing you don't have your earpiece anymore?"
"I lost it in the battle, but Clint had a visual on me, so he knows what happened."
"Now he'll joking I'm a damsel in distress for the next month, great." Tony stands up, with Bucky mostly lifting him up because he's disoriented and hurt and stubborn as hell. Light streams from a narrow window on beaten dirt ground and brick walls. He sees an old furnace and upon closer inspection, they find it's running on coal. On the side, potatoes in a crate have long germinated and on their way to create a new civilisation.
"I've seen similar in Europe, in rural areas." Because if Bucky knows anything, it's damp basements he's used as hideouts, Tony can't help but think. How long has the man been on the run, before Steve's finally convinced him that asking for help wasn't being weak. Him being an Avengers is still a new occurrence, and a sensitive one at that, as not everyone is approving the idea of Hydra's ex-assassin now tagging along the Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Unknown to Bucky and especially Steve, it's Tony who's been pestering Fury until he abdiqued to let him on the team, with the condition Tony writes an extra report with every mission. It's been worth the improvement in self-esteem Tony has seen blooming in Bucky. It hasn't been for no other reasons, he's told himself enough times he might believe it on his best days.
"Have you tried the door?"
"It's unlocked. This isn't a kidnapping attempt. I still have my weapons." He's still wearing his full tactical gear, while Tony is only in his undersuit. He's made it resistant to most elements, but he could've make with his armour right now, in such unknown territory. He still has a small repair kit velcroed to his thigh among other tools he always keeps on for cases just like this one.
He wishes he'd thought of ibuprofen when he built his first aid kit.
"Let's mosey, then."
Bucky scoffs at the expression, rolling his eyes despite the situation. "I go first, I have the pointy knives."
"Whatever, Robocop." The house is quiet and old. Everything is old-fashioned, sturdy wooden furniture covered in dust. He picks up a photo in the hall, of a smiling woman with a man in uniform. British military, but from the previous century, Tony estimates. He's starting to get an idea of not where they might be, but when.
The street noises assault them when they step outside, Bucky particularly with his enhanced hearing. There are vendors, young men selling their newspapers, gossipers, horses with carts trotting down the paved road. People closest to the duo throw them curious looks, and Tony immediately knows why, given that the men are dressed up in three-piece suits and women in a diverse range of long dresses with petticoats, some twice as large as them.
"Um." Bucky hides his daggers somewhere on him that Tony is too scared to ask.
"Maybe this is just a Victorian convention," Tony weakly says, his headache only intensifying. Bucky picks up a discarded Daily Mail. "Maybe a Victorian city convention?"
"I doubt it." The date on top is 1888. "We space and time traveled to London in full Victorian bloom." Bucky stares at the front page, shoves it back at Tony. "Middle of Jack The Ripper era, on top of that."
Tony can read the title just well, another sex worker found dead, Catherine Eddowes. He tucks the papers under his arm to later gather information from and tugs Bucky along with him down the street. "Let's figure out one thing at a time. We're both standing out like sore thumbs, we need an outfit."
Bucky looks around them, then up. "I have an idea for that."
They're in one of the poorer neighbourhoods, easy to see with how dirty it is, the sick complexion of some of the citizens they come across. That must be why the house they woke up into is empty, maybe it's owners died unexpectedly.
It's now Bucky tugging him into a narrow, secluded space between buildings with only a few feet separating the walls, and Tony has a smart remark about two people in small alleys when Bucky starts climbing with his arms and knees, since it's too narrow for him to stretch all the way. Tony watches with a mix of admiration and puzzlement, because does Bucky expect him to be able to do that? He's toned, sure, but he's not trained to parkour.
"Come here, climb on me," Bucky instructs him and okay, that's not what he's ever expected him to say to him, but he'll take it however he can. Shut up, dirty mind.
"Are you sure? I might be too heavy for you, especially when you're in that position."
"There's no time to argue, Stark. If I say it, that's because I can carry you." Bucky throws him a look over his shoulder, not even breathing hard from exert, and Tony shouldn't be finding it so hot. Bucky leans back when Tony puts his arms around his neck and legs around his trim waist, then he starts climbing again.
"Your dirty talk skills could certainly be improved," Tony mumbles, feeling all those nice muscles in action. Bucky has the audacity to laugh.
They reach the roof, where there's been a half-attempt at cleaning to put a clothesline and some plants. There's nobody around, fortunately. Bucky squeezes Tony's thighs before he helps him down, smirking at him. "You haven't heard my dirty talk yet," he says, warming Tony's blood. There it is, that sexual tension that's been between them since they've met a few months ago.
Tony has wanted to hate him for what he's done to his parents, but as he stared at that remorseful face, he couldn't. That's a man who hasn't been free for most of his life, his mind reminded him, and so Tony has been doing the only thing he knows to do when he wants to help, he's been throwing money at his every needs and made sure he's content living with Steve in the Avengers Tower and talking to Fury without telling anyone. No one but a few selected has to know he has a heart, after all.
"Is that a promise?" He asks, old habits hard to die. He's not often being flirted with by a gorgeous, smart man after all, and it soothes his nerves, to have this bit of familiarity so far away from home.
Bucky throws him a heated look. "Let's carry this conversation when we're both back in the 21st century, shall we?"
They steal clothes from the clothesline. Tony puts them over his undersuit, but Bucky can't keep his tactic vest and pants. They remain back to back while they change, and Tony is being good and doesn't peak behind him while he puts on a button-down shirt that probably was white at some point but is too dirty on some spots. He's got a vest to put on top, but the only jacket goes to Bucky to cover his arm over a shirt in that same sad colour. The trousers are in a better state, if a bit tight over his ass, and he needs to roll the bottoms a few times inwards to not trip over them.
"We only need shoes now," he idly comments. Bucky is done changing and is regarding said ass with interest.
"I doubt shoeless peasants are a rare sight around here, if you ask me."
"Yeah, but I don't want to have glass or something else stuck in my feet. PSA that I'm not superserumed and thus not immune to infections."
"Ah. Well then, maybe I can get you something. Stay here." He investigates the window the tenants of the building must use to access the rooftop. He quickly disappears inside. Tony waits in silence, trying to work out a plan in the meantime. He doesn't know what M.O.D.O.K. hit them with to try and provoke the same processus. Bucky's gear rests beside him, and he idly strokes the leather as he turns their situation around in his head.
There's too little he can run with, he doesn't have his tech either to try and work something out. He misses JARVIS. Their best chance is the rest of the team working on their end to find them and bring them back into the modern day. Tony isn't an expert about the 19th century history of England, but he remembers enough, and he doesn't want to stick around.
The matter of the fact is he's barely slept in the last four days. Every time he closes his eyes, his mind continues to dizzy him with a constant stream of thoughts, nagging and reproachful. When he can fall asleep, nightmares haunt him and follow him in the darkness of his penthouse until he goes down to his workshop and bury himself in calculations and materials and complex puzzle solvings. His solution isn't one, he's well aware of it, but he doesn't know anything else, and so far it's working, so why change it?
"Here, I found these two pairs. I wasn't sure of your size, but one of these should fit." Bucky startles him out of his brooding. He hasn't even heard him come back. He takes the shoes, comparing them. A pair fits him pretty well, actually, but he's never going to complain again about his designer shoes being uncomfortable.
"Thanks. Hopefully the plague isn't still running around, because I didn't get that vaccine."
"I think it's happening in Asia, not here. England was last century."
Tony raises an eyebrow. "Okay, history nerd. You've got the looks and the brains, no need to be bragging now."
And Tony, poor sot that he is, snorts out a laugh. "You got me. Hey, does that mean you think I'm hot?"
"We need a plan now, Stark. We can't camp on a rooftop. We should head back to the house we woke up in, set a base there if we can." Bucky puts his gear in a sack he's brought back with the shoes and shoulders it. He heads back to the edge, gestures at Tony. The latter notes he hasn't replied to his question, which is an answer in itself. He joins the other man, is surprised that Bucky takes his arms and pulls them around his own neck, his eyes impossible to read. Tony embraces him, hiding his face against his shoulder.
They climb down the same way they've climbed up, but it feels much more intimate with Tony holding to his front. Bucky's breath brushes against his ear and his hair against his neck, and his body graceful. He doesn't want to read too much into this, they're both stuck here and only have each other, but there's something in the way Bucky gently helps his legs down, his hands lingering right underneath his ass. There's nobody in that alley, how easy it would be for Tony to roll his hips forward and push him into the wall, kiss him senseless. Maybe Bucky would let him suck him here, or maybe he'd push him away and things would be awkward until they go back and pretend none of this ever happened.
"You alright?" Bucky notices his weird mood, of course he does. People aren't paying attention to them anymore, so at least there's that. Bucky keeps his metal hand in his pocket, and only when they bump shoulders does Tony feel the arm.
"Yeah, why wouldn't I be? I love being stuck in the past." Tony doesn't think about the double meaning of his sentence, because the both of them have an eventful past neither is proud of. Bucky is doing so much better than him, or at least he seems to.
"You know that's not what I meant." He purposely bumps into him again, giving him a curious look. Tony shrugs, doesn't want to read into his worry.
"I'm tired," he simply says.
"Let's see at the house if we can arrange you a bed then."
It's still vacant when they return. Tony locks the door behind them, just in case. It's a two-floor house with a basement, quite cozy for the time. Bucky goes upstairs while Tony explores the ground floor, noting the photos and decorations. The soldier in the photos was killed in action, and where his wife has gone to, he can't find enough clues to find out. Other than a small dining room, there's a bigger kitchen and a living room. There's pickled veggies in the pantry, flour and other dry food. There's molded bread in the bread box, and he quickly closes the lid again with a grimace.
"There's a bedroom upstairs and a workshop of some sort, I think one of them was a woodworker. Did you find anything to eat, I'm famished."
"Well… Do you like pickled beets?"
Bucky does. He plops them out with his bare fingers and swallows half the jar in a matter of minutes, then offers the rest to Tony. It's sour and makes him thirsty, so he tries the sink which runs fine. The water is still unsafe to drink for them, with all the bacteria, or at least he assumes it is as a safer bet. There's still firewood by the stove so he fuels it and lights it up to set some to boil in a kettle. He checks around for tea and finds some small black dried leaves in a sealed jar.
"Do you think it's tea?"
Bucky smells it, then takes a pinch and eats it. "It's earl grey," he concludes, chuckling at the look Tony gives him. "It's pretty good actually, you should taste it."
"No thanks, I'm fine drinking it." He finds a filter and adds it to the kettle once the water is boiling. They drink it from chipped mugs. Tony ignores the rumbles of his stomach, hoping the caffeine will soothe his hunger. "We'll need money to get more stuff, that's for sure."
"I used to pickpocket, that shouldn't be a problem."
"We're not doing it in this neighbourhood. No need to steal from the poor."
"Then we'll head downtown tomorrow."
They head for the bedroom on a mutual accord. Tony will figure out the heating tomorrow as well, because he's too beat up to even think about it right now. The generator might be rusted and only needs some cleaning, hopefully.
They find sheets in the cupboards lined with mothballs, spreads them on the mattress. Bucky starts undressing, not looking like he's finding this situation awkward, and Tony follows suit a beat later, discarding the stolen clothes and then starting to peel off his undersuit.
"Let's take inventory of our gear as well, maybe I can, I don't know," he sighs loudly, groans as he sits on the bed in only his boxers. He's getting goosebumps already. "I can maybe figure out something to at least communicate with the team."
"How? With a watch and my metal arm to get reception?" Bucky settles against the headboard, linking his fingers on his stomach over the covers.
"Continue like that and I might."
"Yeah, yeah. Come here now, I'm getting cold."
They arrange themselves back to back. Tony shivers with pleasure at the feel of his warm skin pressed against his. "You're a real furnace," he comments, exhaling slowly. Bucky grunts and then falls silent. Tony waits a beat, but he's pretty sure he's already asleep. More tired than he lets him on. Time travel probably constitute more than a handful of timezones.
Tony falls asleep soon after, wakes up with the sun on his face, drool on his pillow and a metal arm around his middle. The gears whir quietly. Bucky's forehead is resting between his shoulder blades.
"Why am I the little spoon?" Tony mumbles, wiping the sleep from his eyes. It's cozy, warm.
"Because you're small," Bucky croaks out, clears his throat. "Nice to cuddle."
Tony smiles and pats his arm before getting up. He scratches his back as he gathers his clothes. He's not getting any younger and he's feeling sore all over, but at least his headache is much better.
"Much to do today. Best to get up, Buttercup."
"Mm." When he turns, Bucky is hugging a pillow and watching him from under a mass of brown hair. In that position his arms are defined and his butt is molded by the sheets just right. The sight of him is just... too much. Tony rushes out to the bathroom with his clothes in hand, dresses up in there.
When he emerges, Bucky is up and dressed up as well. He's going through the vanity, checking out the products and makeup. He smells something and makes a face, shows it to Tony.
"I don't know if it's expired or if it's just how it smells." Tony coughs after he has a sniff.
"Definitely expired. Fuck. How long has it been sitting here do you think?"
"A few years for sure. Look at all the dust."
"Oh, macassar oil," Bucky reads on another bottle. "My pa used this. Got all the chairs greasy with it." He takes a brush with stiff coarse hairs and begins working it in his hair, carefully untangling the knots.
"Well, while you're prettying yourself up, I'll go downstairs and see to breakfast."
He attempts at finding something edible, but the root vegetables are completely rotten and most of the jars' content is questionable. He makes more tea. Tony stares at it sadly, his stomach rumbling. Bucky must be famished.
"This doesn't replace a proper shower, but it still feels nice," Bucky says as he enters the kitchen. His hair is shiny smooth waves, he must've oiled his beard as well. He looks dashing.
"You certainly look nice," he comments, warming himself with his mug. He hasn't stared at himself too much in the mirror, but he probably looks as bad as he feels. "I want coffee."
Bucky chuckles and comes close to tuck out his collar and adjust his jacket. "Let's go out right away then."
"But your tea..." Tony stops talking when Bucky takes his own mug and chugs it down, unbothered by its temperature.
They take the tram from Whitechapel to go north by hopping in it from the exit. Tony has never thought he'd be sitting in a bus driven by horses but that's his life now.
The ride is actually nice, and it's easy to see the areas getting wealthier. Better clothing, the buildings aren't in that much disarray. There's even more trees and flowers blooming, and no one is standing on street corners.
The smell, well, that doesn't change.
"What if we were to find out who Jack the Ripper is?" Tony whispers to Bucky. They're both seated at the end of the tram, and they're blending pretty well with the others. Tony wants one of those hats too.
"And how would we do that?"
"Well, we know he's going to kill someone else, we could wait for him."
"Do you remember the name of the victim?" Bucky cuts him before he can continue. Tony blinks at him, turns sheepish.
"That's fair. I wish JARVIS could be here to tell us."
"I'm sure he misses you just as much as you miss him. He must be working hard right now to find us."
Tony leans against him, smiling up at him. "I see what you're doing, trying to both distract us. Is this bittersweet for you, being back in the past?"
Bucky lets out a long sigh. "Victorian London is definitely not the same as Depression Brooklyn, but yeah. It reminds me of when I was a teenager. We've only been here for less than 24 hours and it's just..." He makes a circular motion, "the atmosphere."
There's a lot he leaves unsaid, but Tony understands. He asserts him with a new eye after that, notes the downturned sides of his plump mouth. He's never really had a home for most of his life; being in the army, then used and abused for so many decades by Hydra before he's had to run to keep them at bay. It's only been a few months since he's come to install himself in the tower with Steve after they've personally asked Tony for permission. There's definitely no way he could've resisted those sad, steel blue eyes.
They descend on a street with chic shops featuring the lastest fashion. They start walking in a random direction, the wind cold and cutting through Tony's jacket. He pays attention to the citizens they come across, listens to their accent. He picks up there's a food market nearby, his stomach all too happy to regularly remind him how empty it is.
"Let's start there and we'll buy-- Are you serious?"
Bucky is already counting pounds and shillings before shoving it in his pocket. "I was on the run for a year, I picked up a few tricks during that time."
Tony shakes his head, feeling a bit useless because there's no way he can attempt the same and not get caught. "Alright, keep at it I suppose."
Bucky steals enough to buy them a small feast at the market. If Tony wouldn't know it, he would never have noticed the casual way Bucky either comes across or walks beside someone to reach into their pocket or opened purse and pluck out their wallet. It's a "blink and you'll miss it" thing, his face betraying nothing. He guesses it's not the worst Bucky has done to survive, but it still gives Tony the urge to hold him and never let go.
Tony never explored an outdoor market before, but he has lots of fun watching Bucky be so at ease here. They move from stall to stall, Bucky excited and asking all sorts of questions in a perfect British accent about the best way to use the products. They also buy soap, coffee -- more than both of them hope to need -- spices and coal.
They also visit a Hunstman to buy proper, warmer outfits. The vendor gives them an odd look until Tony starts babbling in a language they both understand and he becomes helpful and amicable.
Bucky stays on the side and tries on the outfits he's being suggested. Tony can't say he's not enjoying watching a beautiful man in different suits showing off his broad shoulders and long legs. Bucky keeps on new gloves, and honestly, Tony would've followed him back inside the changing room if he'd given him any sign he's truly interested and being gay wouldn't be still a crime for at least 80 years.
Their money manages them two outfits each, night clothes and underclothing. They're wearing one as they return to Whitechapel, both of their baskets full.
"You look much like yourself in this, I've got to say," Bucky comments to him as they're walking down the street.
"I've been wearing suits since I was three years old, it's like a second skin at this point."
"It shows. You seem at ease here, which doesn't really surprise me."
Tony is taken aback by that. "Do I? Why aren't you surprised? I was actually thinking you're better at this than I am."
"I was trained to be good at infiltration, but I suppose you were too, in some way. Able to charm everyone. I mean..." Bucky smiles down at him, looking him up and down. "You fill that suit pretty well." They've reached the safe and Tony almost walks into the door before he fumbles and opens it.
"Is this a thing we're doing?" He asks him, standing in the doorway.
Bucky squeezes his hip and grins. "What thing?"
"Ugh. You're not being fair, with that face of yours." Tony doesn't want to make a show for everyone to see, so he gives in and walks to the kitchen. They spread their purchases on the table and sort them out in the cupboards, Tony feeling guilty to throw away the owner's expired food.
"What do you think happened to the woman who lived here, after her husband died?" He asks Bucky.
"I bet she probably returned to her family home to remarry and couldn't manage to sell this house. Maybe there's a diary stashed somewhere..."
"Well you'll have plenty of time to look around while I fix the heating."
"That's what's the coal's for?"
"Yup." Tony scratches his beard, reminding himself he needs to shave. "I might make activated charcoal for the water filtration too, so I don't die from a two-hundred years old disease. Maybe a steam generator if we need one, there's enough stuff around I could probably build one."
Bucky shakes his head in disbelief. "Give the man empty boxes and he'll build you a castle. I'll gather you some charcoal while you work on the radiators after we eat. I'm famished."
He starts the fire in the stove and makes them a simple meal that they both devour. Tony nurses his coffee afterwards, sated, and eyes Bucky.
"You're a really good cook."
"I'm alright, I guess."
"Still much better than me. My ability lies in making coffee from a machine that I only need to press a button on, so not much skill is required."
"That's because you haven't tried. I'm sure you'd pick up cooking pretty quickly like you do everything else."
"If you don't stop complimenting me, I might start to believe you." It's meant as a joke, but there's an undertone in his voice that Bucky doesn't miss. His face softens up and he leans over the table to gently squeeze his hand.
"Good." He stands up and starts picking up their dishes. "How about you help me tonight to make dinner?"
Tony has a smile, standing up as well. "This whole time travel thing is turning out awfully domestic. Not that I'm complaining."
He works in the basement for most of the day after he sacks the workshop on the first floor for tools.
"Tell me where it hurts, baby," he hushes at the furnace, setting down what he could find. It occupies him for most of the afternoon, takes his mind out of their current predicament. He stops to remove his vest and shirt to remain in his undershirt, rolling the sleeves so he's more at ease. He finds the problem and the tools aren't the most useful, but he makes do with what he has.
He smiles with satisfaction when the furnace roars to life. He pats it before walking upstairs to clean himself, he's got coal and oil all over his arms and probably on his face as well. He sees Bucky reading in the living room on his way and waves at him.
"It should start warming up soon," he tells him.
"That's great to hear. Why don't you go have a bath and I'll start on dinner."
Tony does just that, for once not arguing. He feels more relaxed than he's been in a while, he realises once he's surrounded by hot water.
When he emerges in the kitchen, Bucky is cutting vegetables much faster than Tony would ever dare to try. He notices peas submerged in hot water sitting in a bowl on the windowsill closest to the radiator, nudges it with his finger.
"What's that for?"
"The froth makes yeast, to bake bread tomorrow. Chickpeas are also high in protein, so although we don't have meat, we won't die. Oatmeal has also plenty of protein and iron."
Tony grimaces. "I don't like oatmeal. It's all mushy."
"Premade is, not the homemade kind."
"Were you undercover as a cook or something?"
"No, I just want to know what I put in my body," Bucky gives him a wink, clearly knowing the double meaning of his sentence. "Now wash those for me."
"Sir, yes, sir." Tony washes the potatoes and cuts them in dices while Bucky adds spices to the stew cooking on the stove.
"Why are there scraps boiling in this one? Are we eating that as well?" Tony makes a face, not sure about eating onion skin and carrot peels.
Bucky laughs hard enough that he needs to lean on him. He wipes his eyes with his wrist. Tony doesn't see what he's said that's so funny, but if it makes Bucky react that way, he doesn't mind being at the bad end of a joke more often.
"It's to make broth. Do you really think I'd make you eat that?"
"I wouldn't ask if I knew, smarty pants."
Bucky tugs him into his side and kisses his temple. He looks like he's the first one surprised by his own act, but he doesn't back off. He smiles sweetly at him before letting him go, his fingers trailing down his arm, and Tony turns his palm up to lightly grabs at them.
"Good thing you're here to teach me."
It already smells delicious, and by the time they sit down to eat, Tony is hungry. The stew is delicious, and he tells Bucky so who looks pleased.
"That's teamwork," he says.
"Nu-uh, I barely did anything. Why have I never seen you cook in the tower?"
Bucky chews slowly, a wrinkle appearing between his brows. "I guess I didn't want to bother you. I wake up at odd hours and like to cook to ease my mind, I don't think people would want to hear me banging pots at 5 AM. Steve sleeps like a log most of the time so I don't disturb him."
"Wait. Are you telling me only Steve got to eat your delicious food? Blasphemy!"
Bucky laughs and almost chokes on his bite. "You're too much, Stark. You're eating my food right now."
"That's true, but we had to get thrown back in time for that to happen. I'll buy you any ingredients you want if you share your meals with me."
"You're already paying for them."
Tony squints at him, points at him with his spoon. "I'll stop if you don't share, then."
Bucky shakes his head, an easy smile on his gorgeous face. "Whatever you say."
He greatly enjoys that banter with Bucky, and he thinks it's mutual. It's easy with him, to be himself. There's a chemistry there that's surprised him at first, but he doesn't want to read too much into it. Words are simple, after all.
They clean the dishes afterwards in amicable silence, then head to the living room. Tony inspects the photos again, this time spending more time trying to make the connections between the people in them. He swipes the dust off an elegant frame, noting that the couple probably lived more comfortably than most in the neighbourhood.
"Anything useful in that diary?"
Bucky hums from the couch he's spread on. "It's pretty interesting actually. The woman is depicting her daily life, she was a smart woman. Still is, hopefully."
"Why don't you just go directly to the end?"
"And ruin all the fun? It's like reading a novel and reading the last page right away. Only sad people do that."
Tony shrugs, not about to admit he does that because he's just an impatient brat. "Did you take inventory of your gear yet?"
"Oh. No, I forgot. I'll go do that." He starts to raise, but Tony pushes him back on the couch. He deserves a bit of rest after cooking most of the meal.
"Stay here, I'll bring our stuff."
Bucky has cleaned the coffee table when he returns, puffing a bit under Bucky's tactical vest, heavy pants and combat boots. He must have at least fifty pounds worth of daggers, it's unbelievable. In comparison his undersuit is almost weightless. He drops his load on the table with a grunt.
"How can you walk around with all of this?" He complains, rubbing his left arm. It's always been weaker from too many injuries.
"And how do you walk around with that ?" Tony isn't facing Bucky, but when he does, he sees him pointing at his ass. Tony fights back a blush, he's too old to blush goddamnit, and instead laughs it off.
"That was a good one. I do have a great ass."
They begin distributing what they have on the table. Bucky has a least a dozen daggers along with flash grenades. The vest and pants are a mix of kevlar and military composite Tony himself has worked on, the materials might be useful. Bucky finds a crushed energy bar, a note from Steve about going to a museum after a mission and a tamagotchi who's long dead. A gift from Clint who's explained to Bucky he needs to learn to take care of someone else in order to improve. Tony empties out his hidden pickets and spreads his small repair kit, an emergency aid kit, some gum, and lip balm.
Bucky grabs the latter and slatters some on. "It's so dry here, my lips are killing me."
Tony doesn't think about suggesting him some ideas to moisturise his lips, he. does. not. He clears his throat instead and grabs the tamagotchi to have something to do with his hands that isn't Bucky.
"Do you think M.O.D.O.K. sent us here for a reason?" He says on a whim. "I mean, why would he set those laser beams on 1888 exactly? Maybe he's got something to do with this whole Jack the Ripper thing."
"There's too many reasons why a villain does what they do, but usually it's either boredom or world conquest, sometimes both. M.O.D.O.K is litterally an acronym for Designed Only for Killing." Bucky taps his fingernails on his metal arm, absently playing a tune. "He could've stashed something in this era, to make sure no one could hack into it. Maybe he transferred his teleportation ability and somehow fucked up. I have no clue to be honest, didn't really think about it."
"That's what I'm thinking too. I have no fucking clue why we're here. What if it's to separate the Avengers, and M.O.D.O.K sent all our teammates to different eras? Now I can't unsee Steve fighting dinosaurs."
"He'd win," Bucky replies without missing a beat, and Tony grins at that.
"Don't I know it. Well, I'll go start on working on making charcoal. Let me know if you get to the good stuff in the diary."
"Do you need any help, actually?"
"Um, no, but thank you. It's actually fairly simple." He goes to the kitchen and grabs the charcoal Bucky has gathered for him. It's nice and black, exactly what he needs.
He only needs to wash it and let it dry, and tomorrow they should have filtered water. He tells Bucky with a yawn as he walks in the bedroom.
"Good. I'm a bit tired of drinking tea." Bucky is already in the bed, reading. Again, Tony is striked by the intimacy of their situation and how easily they've found a dynamic. They're both comfortable around each other, at least if Tony forgets his stupid crush, and he's thankful Bucky is here with him.
He changes into his nightshirt that reaches past his knees. It's quite cozy and warm, so he's not complaining. He gets under the covers and presses his cold feet against Bucky's thigh.
"Fuck, your toes are like small ice cubes," Bucky complains and wraps his warm human hand around a foot, then the other. "It's not even cold here anymore."
"I've always had cold feet."
"Hmm. Come here." Bucky sits the diary on the side table and reaches out to pull Tony against him, almost on him. He entangles their legs together and wraps his arms around him so they're pressed together from chest to toes. "Better?"
Bucky is wearing an union suit instead of a long shirt, and it's molded to him. Tony wonders if he wears underwear with it, because he's not wearing anything under his shirt. "Better. I went from the little spoon to a human sized teddy bear."
Bucky chuckles, his fingers brushing along his ear to card through his hair. "Shut up, you love it."
"I do," Tony whispers against a muscular pectoral, hoping Bucky wouldn't hear it. But of course he does.
"What was that?"
"I said woohoo."
Bucky flips them in the bed, startling Tony who voices his displeasure. He stops when Bucky braces his forearms on each side of his head, his heavy body resting between Tony's opened legs. "I've noticed you talk a lot, Stark, but can you walk the talk?" Bucky shifts closer, pressing their groins together, and Tony lets out a whine at how good it feels.
"Alright, alright." He pulls Bucky closer with a hand against his neck and kisses him, tasting his own lip balm on his full lips. That little devil must've reapplied some. He wraps his legs around his trim waist as he licks into his mouth, over and over. Bucky braces himself on his knees instead so he can palms Tony's thighs, pushing his shirt higher and higher until he's bare from the waist down.
"Fuck," Bucky drawls out with wide eyes. "You're so fucking handsome."
Bucky hums under his breath, still eyeing him, and he leans down to kiss and nibble his inner thighs, so close to his hard cock that Tony bucks into him shamelessly. He wants those big hands on him, those fat fingers in him. They would stretch him so good and full, a hot pang of desire spreads through him at the mere thought.
Bucky’s hair brushes against his dick as he sucks a hickey into his hip, and Tony swears he's never been harder, not with the way Bucky keeps throwing him smoldering looks through his lashes. He finally, finally, takes pity on him and wraps his big hand around him, strokes him from base to tip slowly, twisting his wrist at the base.
“So good, darling.”
Bucky sucks his balls into his mouth, humming around his mouthful when Tony moans and grabs his hair. He doesn't push him, he simply brushes back the strands hiding his view, because that's quite a sight. Bucky continues pumping his cock in his big hand, using his precum to slide better back and forth.
Tony wouldn’t mind coming like this, having that gorgeous man tending to his cock with such attention, but then he slides his spit slick lips down the base of his cock to kiss it, then licks it all the way to the tip, popping it into his mouth like the world's best lollipop. Tony groans, involuntary lifting his hips up to get more of that added pleasure, but Bucky pushes him back down with a metal hand and fuck, wouldn’t that be hot in another situation, to be held down by him and be at his mercy...
Bucky sucks on the head and drags his tongue all around, slurping messily with spit sliding down his shaft, his free hand alternating between massaging his balls and pressing on his perineum. By the time Bucky takes him in his mouth, cheeks sinfully hollowed, Tony's ready to cum. He can feel the built up pressure in his groin and he vainly tries to warm Bucky, but the latter won't budge, instead focusing back on it as he strokes him sloppily.
“You’re so good for me, baby, so good,” Tony groans out, body going taunt. His orgasm is long and blissful, his whole body tingling with the intensity. He falls back into the bed, heart thumping loudly and his shirt uncomfortably soaked with sweat.
"Fuck," he drawls out, swipes his forehead with his sleeve. Bucky is still busy pressing open-mouthed kisses up his stomach and chest, paying a special attention to the new skin there. He's humping the sheets too, the fabric of his union suit stretched taunt over his sculpted ass. Tony sees it flex and swallows hard. He can't get hard in such short time anymore, but his dick certainly is trying.
"Come here, darling," he says, sliding his hands down his muscled arms and back. Bucky helps him out of the shirt before he installs himself between his spread legs again, chest on chest. His lips are swollen, beautifully flushed, and Tony bites into the curve of his bottom lip, apologising with his tongue. Bucky gasps loudly and thrusts into him, the feel of his thick cock stirring Tony's.
"What do you want me to do?" Tony asks him between fevered kisses. "Want me to suck you off like you so perfectly did for me? You could fuck me, use me so good I won't be able to sit tomorrow? Or I could eat your ass and fuck you with my fingers until you cum without even a hand on that big cock of yours?"
"Fuck, Tony." Bucky is frantic as he straightens up to remove his nightwear, ripping buttons in his hurry. Tony teases his nipples as he watches those beautiful muscles stretch out in front of him. Bucky is broad with thick muscles, coarse dark hair running from his pectorals to his stomach when it tapers down to his bouncing cock. He kicks his pants off, almost trembling in anticipation, and Tony takes pity on him. He leans over to kiss his stomach, feeling his abs bounce under his tongue, and lightly bites a jutting hip, gripping his ass with both hands as he does so.
"You still haven't replied. A, B, C, or do you have something else in mind? I'm open to almost anything."
"C. Definitely C."
"Then C it is." Tony eyes almost mournfully his cock before he manoeuvers Bucky on his stomach, unable to stop touching him as he places a pillow under his hips to angle him more easily for Tony. It's his turn to sit between his spread legs, his ass on display for him and him only.
He takes the time to lightly bite those lovely ass cheeks, his hands following back and forth the curve of his spine. The marks won't last for long, but in the meantime he can enjoy himself. Bucky's skin easily turns red, the man bucking into the pillow with a groan at every new bite Tony leaves on him. He soothes the marks with a delicate brush of his fingers over the sensitive areas, smiles with delight that he can feel the hairs on Bucky’s strong thighs raise with goosebumps.
"You like that?" Tony softly blows on them too, just to make him suffer a bit longer. Bucky hums in agreement, spreads his knees wider, turning his head so he can watch him. There’s a wide look in his heated eyes, and Tony has barely done anything. He's offering himself to Tony's gaze, and what a glorious vision he makes.
Tony spreads his ass cheeks and licks his puckered hole with the flat of his tongue, then again until he's drooling all over it, saliva sliding down to his balls. He slurps and kisses it, continues to lap at it. It flutters under his mouth, so responsive.
"Your beard is tickling." Bucky groans. He sways a little back into him, tries to rub himself against his face, but Tony pushes him back down into the pillow and he buckles into the pillow instead.
"Let me do the work, darling. Let me make you feel good." He presses the tip of his tongue against his hole and gently prods until it gives way and lets him in. He continues doing it, fucking him with his tongue and going further in as the muscles start to relax.
"Don't stop, please. This feels so fucking good." Bucky is gripping the sheets so tight Tony is sure they're going to rip before he's through with him. That's so hot. Tony rubs his knuckles against his stirring cock, humming. His jaw is starting to get tired so he starts massaging his rim with the flat of his tongue to insert a finger. Their only lube is saliva, so he's gotta be careful not to hurt him.
By the sounds he’s making, Bucky is extremely enjoying the attention, his face now pressed into the mattress. His back is arched and when he pauses to breathe, Tony can see the strain in his shoulders and arms to keep from moving, hair a complete mess.
He slides his finger in and out slowly, biting his lip at the velvet texture. He's loosened him up pretty well, so he adds another finger, eager to make Bucky moan louder. He builds up a rhythm, kisses and marks his cheeks again, the previous ones already disappearing.
Bucky is rubbing himself on the pillow, his cock trapped underneath his belly, deep whines escaping from him every now and then. Tony twists his fingers upwards to find his prostate, feels the bundle just as Bucky rips the sheets with a loud moan. Tony focuses on that spot, rubbing it as best as he can, and mouths at his balls.
"Tony," Bucky screams. "I can't hold much longer."
"Then don't, darling, cum for me." Tony is relentless, keeping up a fast pace until he feels him tense, his hole spasming under his fingers. "Such a good boy," he murmurs, watching him come undone before him. It's almost a full minute before he slumps into his own mess, breathing hard. Only then does Tony gently removes his fingers.
He's at half-mast himself, but he softens during the time he goes in the bathroom to wet a cloth and come back to clean them both with. Bucky sighs in bliss when Tony alternates between wiping him with the cloth and kissing his flushed skin. Tony guides him on his back and throws on the floor the soiled pillow and ripped sheets, paddles naked to the cedar armoire to retrieve a heavy patchwork quilt he throws on them both once he’s settled in.
"Come here," Bucky softly says, his barely opened eyes following him. He's so handsome like this, totally uncovered and pliant, hair askew around his head. Tony comes to him and Bucky rolls and snuggles into his side, throwing a solid arm around his middle and his leg between Tony's, his thick thigh a comfortable weight on him. Tony smiles at the intimate embrace and brushes back Bucky's hair from his face, his thumb following his eyebrow down to his cheekbone.
"Enjoyed yourself?" He asks, trailing his fingers over his broad shoulder and down his back, wherever he can reach.
"I think it's pretty obvious. I can't wait for you to fuck me."
"Ooh, that we can arrange. I've got so many ideas..."
Bucky traces the scar where the arc reactor used to be and presses a lingering kiss there, his body relaxed. Tony tries to do the same and forces his mind to go to sleep, but his thoughts are racing now, and there's no much he can do when it happens. Downside of people being too smart for their own good.
"I can hear you thinking," Bucky says at some point, his voice deep with sleep.
"I was just wondering if you'll want to continue this thing between us when we return home." There. He's said it. Go him for sharing his feelings.
"The only reason I didn't seek you out before is because I thought you didn't like me."
"Why would I dislike you? The only problem I ever had was finding your hair basically everywhere including my own underwear for some reason."
"Oh my God Tony, because I killed your parents."
"No you didn't. Hydra did. No matter how guilty you think you are, you're not. You're saying you barely were resisting my charms from the start?"
Bucky chuckles despite himself and pushes himself up on an elbow. "Your charms and ass and wit. You're always two steps ahead of everyone else, but you don't like showing it off." He kisses his jaw and settles back down. "Let's talk more in the morning, you tired me out."
Tony falls asleep quickly after that, sated and warm and safe. He has a dreamless night and wakes up with Bucky still asleep, his face in the crook of his neck. His arm is completely numb under the bigger man, and yet he doesn't do anything to move. Bucky's steady breath is comforting close to his ear, the light filtering through the window basking the room in warm colours, and Tony just doesn't want to move away from this moment. He tightens his hold on Bucky's hip and enjoys the it while it lasts, for once without dozens of tasks at his agenda. This unplanned time travel trip is more positive than he’s anticipated.
Bucky doesn't move at all, his arm making quiet sounds that Tony's used to by now. It's not that much later when he stirs awake, his lips brushing against Tony's neck.
"Hey," he croaks out, shifting his arm higher so he can blindly stroke Tony's hair.
"Good morning, darling," Tony says, thinking fuck it to his inner conflict. "Slept well?"
"Very good, with my makeshift teddy bear." Bucky kisses him softly, morning breath be damned. Tony barely notices his arm getting back some sensation, too focused on the feel of Bucky's stubble and lips and tongue in his mouth.
"As much as I wouldn't mind continuing this, I really need to pee," Bucky says after a while, almost apologetically. Tony watches him go in his glorious nakedness, then he gets up himself, scratching his beard. He's noticed a shaver in the bathroom, he's definitely using it today. His facial hair is his joy and pride, after all.
They switch and Tony does his business. When he comes down to the kitchen, Bucky is back in his union suit and kneading some dough. His hair is put into a high bun, he's even pinned the stray strands at the nape of his neck. Tony just wants to reach over and kiss the exposed skin, but he relents.
"You know, the foot bathtub is pretty big... Wanna take a bath together later?"
Bucky turns to him with a smile, but Tony's gaze has slid down his exposed chest, now remembering how they ripped the buttons the night before. Bucky is going to walk around looking like a real snack and Tony is supposed to not say anything?
"Eyes up here, Stark." Oh, he knows very well what he's doing.
"You're staying in pyjamas today?"
"Why wouldn't I, we're not going out."
"Well, we can't stay in the same room then because I won't be able to focus on my work."
Bucky blushes. "Goddamnit Stark, you can't just say things like that. Get the coffee started, will ya?"
The stove is already lit, so Tony only needs to fill the coffee pot with water and beans and set it on the warming top. The thing is like tar when it comes out, but Tony doesn't mind it as long as it's caffeine. It doesn't do much for Bucky but he says it reminds him of back in the day, when cream and sugar were things for rich people.
They eat in comfortable silence, bumping their feet together and giving each other sly looks. Afterwards Tony turns the charcoal into a fine powder he puts near the windowsill to completely dry. They spend a few hours looking through the workshop together. The woman was an artist, a woodworker. Her works are decorating the house in colourful designs. A half-finished bird looks up at them from the working table, its head and peak merging out of the block of wood.
"Why couldn't she finish it?" Tony ponders aloud, dragging his finger down the small head.
"I think she's internalised," Bucky replies with a heavy sigh. "I've finished her diary yesterday and had some time to assimilate and ponder about it. Her husband died in the war and she only could retrieve some of his belongings. She couldn't even give him a proper burial, and that's what drove her to the edge. She kept saying she wasn't hysterical, but that's what the doctor would tell her. I think she might've been taken by force to the institution by her brother."
"So instead of helping her through her mourning, he thought she would be better in an asylum?" Tony grabs the small carving tools and starts on a new block, needing to do something with his hand.
"Maybe he didn't know how else to help her?"
"He could've invited her to his home for a while, so she wouldn't have to spend her time alone surrounded by his memories. If it hadn't been for Jarvis, I would've also turned mad after my parents died."
"At least she isn't dead. She ought to return here."
"Hopefully. Well I fixed her furnace, so I don't feel as guilty staying in her home."
Bucky leans into him, resting his chin on his shoulder to see what he's up to. "Well it's not like we chose to."
The rest of the day is quiet. They don't have much to do and don't want to venture outside in fear the portal appears here, but Tony doesn’t know how he can withstand being inside before cabin fever takes him over. He occupies himself by fixing everything more or less broken or in need of maintenance, including door handles and the vanity in the bedroom.
He catches Bucky in the kitchen again and leans against the doorframe to watch him work and admire the view. He's still in that thin night outfit that's slightly too small for him, not that Tony would tell him that. He's humming under his breath as he chops potatoes and transfers them into a bowl filled with water. He moves on the other side of the counter and changes his knife for one of his own daggers to continue carving something in the wood, obviously enjoying himself. Tony admires the expert way he handles the weapon and his sure movements before he approaches.
"Want me to help-- Okay, I saw what you were doing, no need to hide it. Also, how did you not notice me?"
"I was engrossed in my masterwork," Bucky grins and shows him what he has hidden behind his back. "A wooden phallus."
"Very mature of you."
"Eh, I needed an easy shape to start with. It's not like I have anything better to do."
"Well you could do me if you asked nicely."
Bucky lets go of the wooden dick and pulls Tony by his shirt. He's still smiling when he kisses him, all giddy and happy feelings, and Tony is bewildered he's causing such reaction.
"You know it's a joke right? You can kiss me whenever you want."
"Not sure I'd be able to restrain myself," Bucky admits, fingers already working on divesting Tony of his clothes. He licks into his mouth and backs him against the table, where Tony sits completely naked. There's something powerful about having that wonderful strong man between his knees, so invested in ravishing him. He drags his hands down his neck and shoulders, pulling the suit down and exposing his broad shoulders and the scars where skin meets metal. On a whim, Tony kisses the jagged skin there, feels the shiver running through Bucky at the gesture.
"How about we do it on the bed? I'm not sure I-- Fuck." Bucky has grabbed him in his arms without a strain at his words, as if he's been waiting for him to say that. Tony wraps his legs around his waist, reminding him of a similar situation just two days ago. Has it only been two days?
“How about the food?”
“It’s a stew, it needs to cook first. I don’t think I could wait either way.”
Bucky brings them to the bedroom and falls on the bed with Tony on him, kissing his breath away.
"You said you'd fuck me last night, remember?"
"How couldn't I?" Tony reaches to help Bucky out of his stupid suit, impatient and now very turned on. He looks good in it, but damn if the view's even better when he's out of it. He's all hard muscles and smooth skin marred with silver scars. He drags his palms down his chest down to his hard dick resting against his thigh, strokes it a few times to see him squirm underneath him.
"You think one of those oils would be any good for lube?"
Tony has used a variety of liquids as substitute for lube over the years, some of them good and most of them a very bad idea. He turns to the vanity and retrieves the massaca oil vial.
"How about this? It's pretty slick."
Bucky leans on his elbows to see better and starts laughing. "I don't know how I feel about using that, but I'm more interested in your dick in me right now."
Tony grins and uncorks it. "Perfect. How do you want to do this? Should I prepare you or you do it and I watch nicely?"
"You... You do it."
Tony smoothes his hand down his quivering thigh. "Alright. How about you turn on your side then, so we can both set the pace?"
Bucky shifts position and looks back at him, pupils blown wide. He brings back one of his legs, showing off the curve of his ass and his hole to Tony. He prefers to sit on his heels behind him so he could observe and use both hands.
"Oh yeah, that's perfect. You're perfect."
Bucky makes a surprised face, his cheeks turning bright red. Interesting... He's noticed him having a similar reaction the night before. That ought to be explored, and Tony loves dirty talk. He drips some oil on his fingers and rubs them along his ass crack. Mm, the sudden idea of putting it all over him is very appealing, and Tony files it for another time.
He presses a finger against the smooth rim, watches it disappear in him. "You're still so tight baby, I wonder how long I'd need to fuck you for your hole to remain loose for a few hours afterwards. You like that idea, huh? Maybe you could have a buttplug to keep you open for me, you'd be so pretty with one."
Bucky lets out a low whine and palms his cock, for once at a loss for words. That reaction is good, so Tony continues, emboldened. He pumps his finger in and out and adds another one, stretching him slowly. "I'd love to have that big cock of yours in me too, filling me so full. I bet you could fuck me for hours, we could test out how many successive times you can cum. Would you like that?"
"Yes, anything." Bucky is panting, sweat gathering on his brow. His eyes are closed, but they open when he feels Tony looking at him.
"You don't know how dirty my mind can be, you shouldn't tell me that."
"I know you'll always take care of me, you have been since we met," Bucky says earnestly, his gaze never letting go of his. Then he grabs his wrist and fastens the pace, groaning softly as he fucks himself with Tony's fingers. Tony watches, entranced, then slips them out to his disappointment.
"I want to see you cum on my cock, darling."
"Pretty sure I could do both." Bucky is panting, his thigh quivering, and Tony knows it's not from the effort to remain steady. He's so close he’s shaking with it.
"Oh yeah?" Tony puts three fingers in him this time, curving them to hit his prostate. He reaches over and entwines his fingers with Bucky around his cock, oil slicking him so prettily. "Mmm, look at you enjoying yourself. You’re so beautiful like this. You take pleasure so well." He swipes his thumb at the tip, twists his wrist and Bucky's jerks with a gasp, thrusting in Tony's fist and fucking himself back on his fingers. "You're so good for me."
Tony turns relentless, his arm muscles burning with the strain, but he doesn't stop until Bucky's expression shifts as his body spasms, hot seed covering his and Tony's fingers. His hole flutters around his fingers and tries to suck them in. Tony shivers at the hot wave of desire in his groin. "So good, so good," he whispers and kisses his hip. He removes his hands and slathers his cock in oil. He strokes himself a few times, biting his lip as their gazes meet. Bucky looks so good like this, flushed and sweaty, his bun barely holding up.
"That position still good with you?" He asks him and receives a nod in return. He widens his stance and presses the head of his dick against his hole, then grabs his hip to keep a hold on him as he sinks in him. He's so tight and warm, perfect for him, and he tells him so. He sees Bucky's cock buckle in response, still hard and red at the tip.
"Come on, Tones," Bucky whines, putting his hand on top of Tony's. The light hits his front beautifully, highlights his cheekbone and his sharp jaw.
Tony steps back almost all the way out before slamming back into him, knowing he can handle it. He sets a fast pace, his own orgasm holding up by a thread, and he wants to make Bucky cum again before he does too. Bucky meets his hips, grinding his ass against his groin and giving him a wicked smile as he does.
"You're going to make me cum if you continue."
"That's the goal, sweetheart."
Tony feels his cheeks warm up at the pet name, unused to them. Not many people get this familiar with him. He grabs Bucky's thick cock and pump him, the position making him regret not doing more squats at the gym. He withdraws suddenly, ignoring Bucky’s protest and lays on his side behind him, quick to return in him with a groan. That way he can embrace Bucky with an arm, it feels much more intimate. Bucky twists his waist and they share each other’s air, too pent up to kiss.
“You’re almost there, Tones, come on. Cum in me,” he says, working himself on Tony’s cock.
Their hips meet and Tony quickly loses rhythm. He seeks his orgasm, his vision turning blank as he empties himself as deep as he can in Bucky. He leans into him for a moment, gasping for air, and feels Bucky cum a moment later with a gasp against his mouth, his body going taunt.
He lets his soft cock out of Bucky, his thighs still trembling from his previous exercise. "Fuck, that was hot."
Bucky stretches with a content smile and pulls him closer, unbothered by their sweaty sticky state. "I feel like it's great time to get in that bath together."
"In a minute," Tony mumbles, curling around Bucky like an octopus. He dozes a bit like that, cooling off. It's nice, with Bucky's metal thumb tracing the shell of his ear. He whines a bit when he's left alone, but he squints his eyes open to Bucky making his way naked to the bathroom. He hears the plumping working and water starting to pool in the bathtub. He gets up with a wince, patting his thighs. Bucky is putting some essential oil drops in the bath when he emerges, towels already out. Tony's heart aches at the domesticity of his gesture, and he unconsciously rubs his chest at the ache there.
"Hey," he approaches. "You didn't have to do that."
"I know. I wanted to."
Tony kisses his metal shoulder. "Thank you."
Bucky gives him a soft look. He installs himself first in the bathtub, and Tony settles against his chest, letting out a breath at the warm water and strong, solid body behind him.
"That's nice," he says, trailing his fingers on the water's surface. He can see their entangled legs. They linger in here, talking about little things they want to do around the house if they're to remain here. It makes Tony nervous, but he tries to take it in stride, and it hasn't been too bad so far, he tells himself as he takes Bucky's metal hand and links their fingers together. It's so shiny, and Tony always had an affinity for shiny things.
"You're one of the only persons not scared by it, you know,” Bucky confesses. “Even Steve took a while before he could even pat it."
"Really? It's your arm, and I trust you, so I don't see the issue."
Bucky takes a slow breath and presses a kiss on his shoulder. "Thank you." He clears his throat, his body shifting underneath him, and he tugs Tony better against him.
"It's not just a sex thing for me," Bucky blurts out, as if he's been thinking over it for a while.
"Oh. Are we doing this talk now? I've never been really good at it."
"Talking? I've never seen you having an issue with that before."
"Rambling and talking about serious matter are two distinct things." Tony turns sideways, bringing closer his legs so he can see Bucky's lovely face. He really wants to wash his hair, on an impulse. Would that be too intimate?
"I know. You haven't replied yet."
"It's not just sex for me either. I, uh, I want... Shit, I'm bad at this. Everytime I confess my feelings something bad happens, you know. I don't want things to go bad with you."
Bucky smiles, his eyes shining. "Well that's a start. I'd like to try out being in a relationship with you. My last one was in '42 so I might be rusty at it, but the spirit's there."
"I can say you're definitely not rusty at it, darling, if the last days are anything to judge you by." He flattens his palm against Bucky's heart, swipes his thumb through the hairs on his sternum. "I'm no better at it. The only meaningful relationship I've had was with Pepper and we were better off as friends than lovers. I'm not--" He presses his lips together, suddenly unsure. "There's many things I'm confident in, but my interpersonal skills are not part of that list."
Bucky cradles his face, presses a sounding kiss to his lips. "Let's figure this out together then, sweetheart. I’m famished now, let’s go eat."
The next days are more relaxed than Tony would've anticipated, thrown as they are into the past. They roam around the city a few times, discovering old joys that don't exist anymore in the 21st century. There's talks about Jack the Ripper everywhere they go, nothing surprising with the intensity of the crimes. The city is implementing streetlamps in the neighbourhood as a security measure, and Tony remembers the killer has made at least London a more secure city for sex workers.
He's still sad he doesn't remember the names of the victims, but he doesn't know what would happen if they were to discover not only who it is but also manage to take him down. The legend wouldn't live on in the same way, and who knows what kind of repercussions it would cause. Tony knows the butterfly effect and wants nothing to do with it. Their presence here might already provoke a change in the future, or perhaps it's already changed and the Avengers don't exist and they'll be stuck here forever... Yeah, best for Tony not to think too much about it.
Living with Bucky is easy, which is surprising because Tony's normally the difficult one and tends to drive away everyone. Bucky takes everything in stride, suggesting activities when he sees Tony is about to rip the wallpaper out of boredom. They cook a lot together, something he takes a liking in, but he wonders if it's the cooking itself he enjoys or the company. More the latter than the former, he reckons.
It's not fair he's falling in love with the gorgeous man with no way to truly process it. He's always done things without making sure they're safe though, love is no different.
So when something wakes them up in the middle of the night, Tony is half relieved, half disappointed. He can't believe he's sad to have to return to his life and technology and hot showers, but here he is. He's pitiful.
Of course he doesn't share any of that with Bucky who's hurrying downstairs. They've put their gear there for that specific reason, so they only need to grab their bags and jump through the portal in the middle of the basement. They arrive in the middle of the labs in the Avengers tower, surrounded by the whole team.
Tony feels himself breathe better, his shoulders relaxing. He drops his undersuit on the floor.
"JARVIS?" He calls out.
"Welcome home, sir. Today is November 27th 2015."
"What the hell are you both wearing?" Clint says, and everyone goes in motion around Bucky and Tony, coming closer to hug them and make sure they're in one piece. Tony is brought to medical despite his numerous protests, and he glances at Bucky for remfort, but the man is talking with Steve, turned away.
He has to undergo a plethora of tests to determine whether or not he's caught anything, and then they give him too many shots just in case. That gives him a light fever, so he takes a nap in his too big bed, only to wake up to a text from Steve telling him debriefing IS in half an hour. He takes a hot shower and puts on his comfiest clothes, sparring a look at the night shirt still bundled up on the floor of his room. He ponders for a moment but puts it in the bin to get washed instead of throwing it away like he probably should.
He gets there a few minutes before it starts, a small miracle, with the biggest mug of coffee he found in the common kitchen. Steve and Bucky are already there, Bucky seated while Steve is leaning beside him, and they stop talking when they see him. He’s just talked with Pepper and Rhodey and nothing will diminish his good mood.
"Don't let me interrupt you. Especially if you were talking about me. You know I love listening to people talking about me." He walks to where they are and plops himself beside Bucky who visibly brightens up at that, his unsure smile turning into a real one. Tony slurps some coffee, still not knowing how to react to his open affection.
"Tony, it's great to have you back," Steve pats his shoulder, genuine, and Tony is taken aback.
"Wait, what? No how dare you corrupted my best pal ?"
Bucky starts laughing, a deep belly laugh that forces him to lean against the table. Beside the two of them, Steve has visibly coloured and looks sheepish.
"Listen, I don't need more corruption than I already do, and Steve is no one to talk either. Beside, I hadn't told him yet."
"No. He was actually pestering me if I acted on my huge crush on you while I had the chance. I was waiting to talk to you before we told people."
"Oh." Tony takes his hand, realising he might've fucked up. "I'm sorry I didn't even think of that. I was sure you'd want to tell Steve right away."
Bucky smiles, tightens his hold on him. "That's fine. I don't mind at all."
"Also, a crush? Now that's interesting. You didn't tell me you had a crush on me. Is brooding your version of pining, because you're doing a wonderful job of that if it is."
"No, it's funny because I also kinda had a flirt on you from the start? I was sure you knew the effect of that lopsided smile..."
Steve is long gone from his spot when the others start arriving, instead watching them with a small smile. Natasha sees the duo and instantly knows.
"Finally," she tells Steve. "Now I wonder when you're going to get yourself together and confess to Clint."
Clint, who’s eating a pizza directly from the box, lifts up his head at that.