Aunt May liked to describe Peter as “nosey” but he preferred the term “bearer of a curious soul that thirsts for knowledge”. This part of the teenager’s personality became increasingly obvious to the inhabitants of Avengers Tower the longer they got to know him.
Tony had already adjusted to this part of Peter and took it in stride. The never-ending questions were much better than the awkward silence that the workshop was encased in during the first couple of times Pete visited the tower to help him with repairs to the “Avengers’ toys” as Tony liked to call them.
The day Peter asked him a million different questions, Tony was annoyed at first until he realized that this development meant that the kid was more comfortable around him. Since then, Tony has never attempted to scold him for asking questions.
Peter officially met the rest of the Avengers a month after he became comfortable with Tony. He had now known them for almost a week and was nowhere near the comfort level he had with Tony.
Where his conversations with Tony were full of banter and light-hearted teasing, Peter’s conversations with the other members of the team were brief and awkward.
Tony introduced him to Steve first.
“Oh, uh, hi, Mr. America,” he awkwardly accepted the hand that the older man stuck out for him to shake.
Steve chuckled goodnaturedly, “Just call me Steve, kid,”
Peter nodded excitedly, “Okay, Mr. Steve! I’m Peter-Man,” Realizing his mistake, Peter’s cheeks heat up in embarrassment as he tried to backtrack, “I-I mean I’m Spider Parker. Oh god,”
Tony had to jump in and explain to Steve that: A) His name is Peter Parker, B) He is Spider-Man, and C) He is only awkward like this until he gets to know you.
Peter met the other Avengers in similar ways.
During one of his lab days with Tony, the older man pointed out something that Peter hoped would go unaddressed.
He’s known the rest of the team for almost a week and yet, he hasn’t met Mr. Barnes.
“Are you...afraid of him? Or something?” Tony tried to inquiry with a nonchalant tone but his pausing of the repairs the two were doing revealed his true interest in the topic.
Peter shrugged and couldn’t help the blush that rose to his cheeks, “No! I mean...He’s kind of scary but I’m not like…scared of him,” The embarrassment in his voice reached an all-time high and Tony latched onto that.
“So you’re not gonna pee your pants if you spoke to the guy?”
“What? I just had to make sure,” Tony turned back to what he was tinkering with, “So if you’re not scared of him, why are you avoiding Soul Surfer like the plague?”
Peter shrugged, unwilling to answer reveal the answer to that question. Tony hummed, feigning disinterest and the two silently continued with their gadgets.
What Peter didn’t know was that later that day, Tony reassured Steve that the boy wasn’t afraid of Bucky.
Steve had approached Tony shortly after he and the other tower’s inhabitants had met Peter after noticing that the fifteen-year-old seemed to avoid Bucky.
Apparently, he and Bucky were returning from a run and ran into Peter in the kitchen. The boy perked up and was about to greet Steve before he saw Bucky alongside the blonde and promptly fled the room.
Tony, thinking that the super-soldier had exaggerated the encounter, asked FRIDAY to show him the security footage of this incident. Steve was telling the truth, Peter damn near jumped out of his skin the second he saw Bucky. He even abandoned his bowl of Captain Crunch. Peter loves Captain Crunch.
Since this event, the newly dubbed ‘White Wolf’ had been concerned that his presence scared the teenager. In an attempt to not make Peter feel uncomfortable, Bucky would ask FRIDAY before he entered a room if Peter was already in it. If he was, Bucky would avoid the room until he was given the okay.
Now that he was given confirmation that Peter was, in fact, not afraid of Bucky, Tony tried to get the two to talk. Both Peter and Bucky were able to escape his attempts and the engineer began to think they would never meet.
That changed the following Saturday. When Peter’s curiosity got the better of him.
Bucky was enjoying a bowl of oatmeal that Steve prepared for him before he went on his run with Sam. He hadn’t gotten used to the taste of all the sugar in twenty-first-century food yet so he tried to stick with what he feels comfortable with. In this case, it was Steve’s oatmeal recipe that he used to make the two of them for breakfast.
Bucky nearly dropped his spoon when he felt the presence of another person in the room. His training kicked in as he fought to act casual and not alert the other person that he was aware of their presence. Quickly glancing around the room without moving his head, Bucky was able to confirm that there was no one standing near him. He was sitting at the bar connecting to the kitchen counter. His position allowed Bucky to see all corners of the room. He was unable to see anyone near him. So then why did he feel like there was someone breathing down his neck?
His silent question was answered by a footstep. A footstep coming from above him. Lowering his spoon from his mouth, Bucky slowly looked up to the ceiling. It took all of his restraint not to react when he made eye contact with brown doe eyes that comically widened as they realized they were caught.
“You’re crawling on the ceiling,”
“Well get down, it’s weird as hell,”
Peter quickly jumped down and landed on the other side of the bar, “Sorry,” he sheepishly apologized.
Bucky shrugged but began to get up, thinking that the boy was still afraid of him. A shy voice stopped him.
“Wait! You don’t have to leave, Mr. Barnes,” Bucky glanced back to the doe-eyed teenager, “Seriously, stay here. I mean- if you want to! It’s not like I can stop you,” Peter began to ramble as his nerves caught up to him. He just told James Buchanan Barnes, War Hero turned brainwashed HYDRA assassin to “stay here”. Tony was going to laugh his ass off when he heard about that part.
Bucky looked the boy up and down, trying to get a read on him, before slowly sitting back down with his bowl of oatmeal, “I thought you were scared of me,” he admitted.
Peter shook his head, “Everyone thinks that for some reason but I swear I’m not scared of you, Mr. Barnes,” he insisted.
“Bucky. Call me, Bucky,”
“You got it, Mr. Bucky!”
The older man couldn’t help but snort at the kid’s insistence on etiquette, “What do I call you, kid?”
“You can just call me, Peter or Pete if you want,”
“Sounds like a plan, Pete,” He smiled softly at the brown-haired boy who beamed right back at him. Oh yeah, he was wrapped around this kid’s finger already. “Do you, uh, want some oatmeal? I think Stevie made some extra,” Bucky offered.
Peter smiled in thanks, “Thanks for the offer but I think I’ll just stick to my usual,” he jumped over the bar and prepared a bowl of Captain Crunch. Noticing the inquisitive look on Bucky’s face, Peter held the box out to the man, “It’s Captain Crunch. Do you want any?” he asked.
Bucky’s face screwed up, “No thanks, Pete. I’m not too used to the amount of sugar people put in food now,” he explained.
Peter looked at the man in astonishment, “So you’ve never had Captain Crunch?”
“What about Chips Ahoy?”
“I’m not even sure what that is,”
“Please tell me you’ve had a Capri Sun,”
“You have so much to learn,”
Bucky nodded in agreement. It’s true- Steve had taught him some basic stuff about how society has changed but the two rarely found the time to sit down and talk about the changes to the world, “I don’t really know where to start with all this stuff,”
Peter grinned, “Fear not, Padawan, I shall take you under my wing,”
“I understood that reference,”
“Oh thank god- I was worried you were too far gone,”
The two continued to discuss pop culture, specifically, what Bucky has caught up on and what he hasn’t. The conversation soon lulled into a comfortable silence.
“So, if you don’t mind me asking, why did you run from me if you aren’t afraid of me?” Bucky asked Peter who was currently choking down his cereal.
The boy’s face turned bright red and for a second, Bucky was worried he couldn’t breathe through all the cereal he had stuffed down his throat.
Peter quickly swallowed the soggy cereal, “It’s not a big reason- heh- it’s actually kind of embarrassing,” he began to wring his hands as a wave of nervousness washed over him.
Bucky addressed Peter with a relaxed smile and easy-going demeanor, “Pete, I promise you that I won’t rib ya for it,” he swore.
Peter gulped before shyly gesturing to Bucky’s vibranium arm, “I’m kinda just amazed by your prosthetic if I’m being honest,” he admitted.
Bucky couldn’t help the shocked expression that took over his face. He expected the kid to be afraid of it - most people were.
In the past, his prosthetic arm was a symbol of fear and death. It was the arm that choked the life out of the Starks. It was the arm that made Steve bleed on the Helicarrier. It was the arm that brought him shame and flashbacks.
However, thanks to Shuri and the Wakandan Labs, he had a new arm that remained unaffiliated with death and destruction. A sleek black and gold design that was specifically built for day to day tasks. He had an identical one built for combat, he preferred the comfortability of the everyday prosthetic.
The fact that this child wasn’t scared of his arm nearly brought Bucky to tears. He’d spent so long hiding it in fear of seeing that look in peoples’ eyes when they saw it. The eyes of someone who is scared for their life.
As Bucky looked into Peter’s eyes, he saw nothing but adoration and wonder.
Realizing that the boy was waiting for him to say something, Bucky cleared his throat, “You...don’t see it as a weapon?”
Peter looked alarmed by that insinuation, “What? Of course not! I actually think it’s a biological engineering masterpiece! The fact that it still functions like an average arm is really astounding and I would love to meet Princess Shuri - she created it, right? Okay, I just wanted to make sure - and ask her some questions about it. You can feel things with it too, right? That’s so cool! That means she was somehow able to form her own nervous system within the arm that actually communicates with your brain signals! That’s wicked cool because-”
The curly-haired boy continued to ramble on about science-y stuff that Bucky knew he would never be able to understand and the super-soldier couldn’t help but gain a fond look in his eyes.
Peter was like a blend of Tony and Steve in all the right ways, minus the self-sacrificing-idiot aspect (oh yeah, he stays up-to-date on all of Spider-Man’s escapades and if the wall-crawler’s actions don’t have ‘Steve’ written all over them, Bucky will eat his own shoe).
Realizing that Peter would soon run out of air if he kept talking at the pace he was going, Bucky interrupted his rambling, “Why don’t you show me those Capri Suns you were telling me about?”
The kid stopped talking and flashed him the brightest and purest smile Bucky had ever seen.
“So this is your ‘secret stash’?”
“But doesn’t FRIDAY know about it?”
“FRIDAY isn’t a snitch, Mr. Bucky,”
“It’s true, Sergeant Barnes, I would never reveal the whereabouts of The Young One’s secret Capri Sun stash,”
“Huh,” a small part of Bucky’s brain warned him about computers taking over the world when FRIDAY confirmed her trustworthiness, “Well, how are you going to get them down from there?” He asked, gesturing to the clock that Peter told him his stash was hidden behind.
The spiderling looked at him with a raised eyebrow, “Did you forget how we met in the kitchen?” Peter inquired rhetorically before putting his hands and feet on the wall.
Bucky watched as Peter climbed up the sixteen-foot tall wall with interest. Yeah, he thought, I’m never getting used to that.
Peter slid the clock to the side to reveal a small hole in the wall. Reaching in, he quickly grabbed four pouches of the best drink ever invented before realizing his predicament. Not thinking much of it, Peter turned towards Bucky and slid the clock back to its proper position, “Hey, Mr. Bucky!” Getting the man’s attention was actually unnecessary because Bucky never took his eyes off the kid as he climbed the wall, “Can you catch one hundred and eighty-five pounds of spider from this height?” That question also seemed to be rhetorical because Peter didn’t wait for his answer before jumping down.
Watching the kid fall, Bucky panicked for a second before nimbly reaching his arms up to grab the squirrely boy by his underarms.
The brunette beamed at him, “Thanks for catching me!”
“Try not to make a habit of it,” Bucky replied as he placed Peter on the ground. The fifteen-year-old immediately handed him two brightly-colored pouches. He followed Pete’s instructions and inserted the straw into one of the pouches. Taking a sip of the drink, Bucky quickly came to the conclusion that these drinks were no exception to the sugar increase in America’s food.
However, Pete was watching him with round, excited eyes. They gleamed with curiosity and that purity that Bucky hoped would never fade. There was no way Bucky was going to insult the kid’s favorite drink that he’d decided to share with him, “It’s really good,”
The smile on Pete’s youthful face made up for the fuzzy feeling his teeth now had due to the sweetness of the liquid.
It was at this moment that Bucky realized he would do anything to keep that smile on Peter’s face.
“So what other abilities do you have?”
As Tony watched the security footage of Peter and Bucky’s day together, he couldn’t help but drop his jaw in shock. Peter had never become so comfortable with someone so quickly before. He trusted Bucky with catching him AND with his Capri Sun stash that really wasn’t much of a secret (FRIDAY hadn’t snitched; the Peter-sized footprint on the wall leading up to the boy’s ‘favorite clock’ was kind of a giveaway). That boy continued to surprise him every day.
Allowing a fond smile to cross his features, Tony saved a copy of the footage to Peter’s personal file, another copy to his folder for Bucky (he kept important moments of the man in question interacting with others just in case they had some memory mishaps again), and sent another to Steve.
“FRIDAY, save all future recordings of Barnes and the Spiderling to my personal file,”