I didn’t mean for this to happen. But I put them in a cab together and Natasha got in in the middle.

James bent and kissed her temple. “I know about the trackers,” he said. “I wear those boots on purpose, Nat.”

“I thought you probably knew,” she said.

Steve was watching them, and she glanced over at him. “Don’t judge me,” she said. “You’d put a tracking device on him too if you had a chance.”

Steve smiled sadly. “I haven’t had a chance,” he said. “I count on you for that sort of thing.” He considered her a moment, then leaned down and kissed her other temple.

“I demonstrate my affection through inappropriately intrusive surveillance,” she said, a little glumly.

“You do better than that,” James said. “You’re why I even bother pretending to be a person, ever.”

“I gotta admit,” Steve said into the moment of silence that followed that, “the same goes for me, Nat.”

“I barely even hang out with you,” Natasha said. “I haven’t done shit for you, Steve.”

Steve put his hand on hers, where it was on his thigh. “You definitely have,” he said.

“You makin’ a move on my girl?” James asked, mouth curling with– it was trouble, that was the best Natasha could do at parsing it.

Steve looked over at him, head tilted at an angle Natasha hadn’t seen much of. “Only if you want me to,” he said.

“Oh, ho ho,” James said, and leaned in. His body was warm all along her side, and he murmured, right in her ear. “Has Steve ever told you about the time we shared a girl?”

“Noooo,” Natasha said slowly, turning her head a little to look at Steve. “Maybe you should tell me that story.”

Steve leaned in a little. “Bucky tells it better,” he said, his voice a low rumble of a murmur, vibrating in his chest along her arm.

“I doubt that,” James said, his lips brushing against her neck as he spoke, barely a hint of voice in his breathing. “I never told anybody that story, Stevie. That was never a braggin’ story.”

Natasha couldn’t help it, she tipped her head up to give him better access to her neck. “I love the way you tell stories, James,” she said, “but you know, there don’t have to be words in this story.”

Steve let out a low rumble of a chuckle. “That’s one way of putting it,” he said.

James kissed her neck, slow and teasing, mostly lips, a nip of teeth and a soothing touch of tongue, working his way slowly up from her shoulder to her throat. She caught her breath and tightened her fingers on Steve’s leg. “I like this story,” she whispered.

“You oughta hear Steve’s side of it,” James murmured.

“Oh?” She blinked dreamily, and slid her gaze over to where Steve was watching James’s mouth from under his eyelashes. “I bet I’d like that,” she said.

Steve’s eyelashes were just unreal, how long they were, and his mouth was shiny and plush and red and she wanted him. “Would you?” he asked, letting his eyes move slowly up from James’s mouth, to her mouth, to her eyes.
*bangs fists on table* HIJINKS! HIJINKS!

I wrote hijinks. It might be FOG-verse and might make it in there, it might not. Because I was so pleased by how it happened in Facepunch and it’s got to happen in this ‘verse too. 

Here be hijinks:

This time Clint spotted him, and he knew it was because Buc– Barnes wanted him to. (You couldn’t call a grown man Bucky without his express permission, and that had pretty expressly not been granted.)

He made his way over to the other sniper’s position as the action shifted to more the kind of thing the pencil pushers handled. Barnes was packed up and ready to vanish, but obviously waited for him. “Barton,” he said, sitting on his rifle case.

“Nice shootin’,” Clint said.

“Not too shabby, yourself,” Barnes said.

“Comin’ from you that means somethin’,” Clint said.

Barnes looked confused a moment, then laughed. “From the Winter Soldier?”

“Naw,” Clint said, “from Bucky Barnes! You don’t figure a freakshow of a kid like me, in the Army the day I was plausibly legal straight off a literal circus sideshow sharpshooting act, didn’t fuckin’ idolize the US Army’s first Special Forces sniper?”

Barnes made a funny face, and rocked from one foot to the other, shoulders curled in a little. “I ain’t that famous,” he said.

“To nerds, you are,” Clint said, “and I was a fuckin’ nerd.” He looked over his shoulder. “You know I never told anybody this but my prize possession for a big chunk of later in my childhood than I like to admit was a Bucky Bear doll.”

Barnes frowned. “A what?”

It dawned slowly on Clint that Barnes’s cultural knowledge came largely from recent in-depth perusal of the Internet, and Bucky Bears were very much a phenomenon of a certain era, and may not have been well-represented in Barnes’s research. “Oh holy shit,” he said, “have you not– do you not know about Bucky Bear?”

“No,” Barnes said slowly, and went for a– Clint’s reflexes had him reacting before he realized that duh, the guy was going for his fucking phone. Of course he had a smartphone, literally everyone in the world besides Clint did. They blinked at one another, and Barnes cracked a rueful half-smile. “You been in a long time,” he said, and pulled his phone the rest of the way out.

Clint swallowed, throat dry. He usually had that shit a little more under control. Maybe he wasn’t quite as sanguine about this guy as he’d thought. “Not as long as you,” he said.

“Fair point,” Barnes said. He unlocked the phone’s screen. “Bucky… bear like the animal, or was this some kind of freaky–”

“Bare,” Clint said. “Ew! No! Bear like the animal. I was a kid, Jesus.”

Barnes shrugged, and typed it in. “Bucky… Bear. What the fuck is that?”

“They were, I dunno, everybody had ‘em,” Clint said.

Barnes poked at the screen, then turned the phone sideways, and screwed up his face. “Bucky– they’re not named– why are they called that?”

“Hit the Webipedia link,” Clint said, “I bet it explains.”

Barnes did so. “Why the fuck,” he said. “Why would they name a toy after me? Wait who the fuck– what is that thing?”

“Ohhhh,” Clint said. “You didn’t– weren’t the comic books out when you were, y’know, alive?”

“Comic books?” Barnes raised his head and fixed Clint with a look. “About– who the fuck is the twink in tights? Who the fuck wears tights and a mask to a warzone?” His voice had risen to an unexpectedly high pitch. “What the fuck!”

“Natasha didn’t tell ya, huh,” Clint said, utterly delighted.

“Nobody told me!” Bucky scrolled furiously. “How the fuck did I– how did I not know this?”

“It’s a marvel,” Clint said. “I thought you had friends.”

“Hang on,” Bucky said, “this– I mean, it’s fucking awful, but it’s too late for me to be mad. Hang on, you’re going to record a reaction video with me.”

“A what?” Clint had done tons of selfies, he was good at them, so he recognized the posture as Bucky opened the camera app and held out his arm.

“So this guy,” Bucky said. “This guy. He says to me, you know, I used to be a big Bucky Barnes fan, I had a Bucky Bear doll when I was a kid. Right? This seems reasonable to all of you, right?”

“Well,” Clint said, utterly unselfconscious on camera because why the fuck not, the Winter Soldier was recording a video with him. “Right. What kid didn’t have a Bucky Bear doll?”

“Right?” Barnes said. “Only I don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.”

“So I say to him,” Clint said, catching on and talking to the camera, “I say you know, a Bucky Bear. Like… didn’t anybody tell you about Bucky Bears?”

“No!” Barnes said. “Nobody fucking told me about Bucky Bears! So I’m like what the fuck. So I looked it up, just now, and– how did nobody fucking tell me about this? How did I not know that they– so I fucking died, right, in a fucking war, and they decided to use my name and slap it on some kind of gay porn wet-dream twink, which– I mean, I’m flattered, but– tights! They put him in tights!”

“All the best people went through a tights phase,” Clint said sincerely.

Barnes paused his diatribe and glanced over at him. “I think I gotta look you up in more depth,” he said. “I ain’t seen no tights.”

“Oh,” Clint said, “it’s– it was brief.”

“Circus sideshow act, you said?” Barnes looked sort of sly.

“Well,” Clint said. “I mean, yes.”

“There were definitely tights in that,” Barnes said. “I gotta find pictures.” He looked straight into the camera. “I can say this with reasonable confidence– okay, as reasonable as anyone with as many lobotomy scars as I got can say– I never ever had to wear tights. None of my uniforms– and not even for fun. Steve, now, Steve wore tights. But I never fuckin’ did, okay. I never wore tights. Maybe I’ll go find some now, because now I’m curious, but I promise you, I definitely did not wear tights to a fuckin’ war. Okay? So what the fuck, guys?”

“They’re easier to draw,” Clint said, a little meditatively.


“They’re– for the comic books, it’s easier to draw just– nude models, basically, and then you put some lines on, and whammo you got a guy in tights, instead of having to put in reasonably convincing folds and stuff for bulkier clothing.” Clint shrugged.

“We got ourselves a comic books scholar here,” Bucky said. “I’m glad, because otherwise I woulda just thought everyone lost their minds. But a bear! Why a bear!”

“Oh,” Clint said, “that was from the TV show.”

There was a moment’s dead silence, and then Barnes turned his head slightly. “TV show,” he said.

“Saturday morning cartoons,” Clint tried. There was no response. “Fuck! Really? You don’t know about that?”

“I don’t know about that,” Barnes said.

“Aw fuck,” Clint said. “They made the comics into a TV show and you were a bear!”

“I was a bear,” Barnes repeated to the camera. “I was a fuckin’ bear. Why?”

“I don’t know why!” Clint said. “I just– I watched it, okay? I had a real shitty childhood and I was basically raised by the TV and the Justice Friends were the only actual example I ever had of rightness and good in my tiny world, okay? And I loved Bucky Bear. Christ, this is worse than the time my ex-wife made me try therapy.”

“Was anybody else an animal?” Barnes asked, grimacing.

“No,” Clint said, a little sullen, though he was putting it on and knew that showed. “Just you. You were… everyone else was a kid, and you were Steve’s toy bear.”

“I could talk, though,” Barnes said.

“Hm? Oh, no,” Clint said, “you didn’t talk, you were a toy. You– mostly Steve just carried you around, and lost you and had to go find you and stuff. You were kind of, I think in his imagination you were real but as far as the actual reality of the show, you were just a stuffed animal.”

Barnes stared at him, then turned back to the camera. “That’s fucked-up,” he said. “That’s fucked-up.”

Inspired by this post, over a year later I’m finally publishing this story. Do Your Nefarious Worst, featuring Bucky protective-instincting the hell out of Clint, and Natasha turning this to her advantage. 

Natasha’s phone buzzed again. Steve, following up with, “Sometimes though when Bucky’s being a pain in the ass it’s so adorable I just want to fuck him silly,” and she bit her lip because well, it was kind of true.

She wrote back, “Both of them,” and looked up at them. Clint was watching her, doing the thing he did where he looked like he was a big stupid mutt but was actually analyzing probably fifteen things at once, none of which he’d be able to explain clearly how he knew. Bucky had settled into a patient glower that promised he could do this all night and never one time ease off his commitment to whatever course of action he’d initially decided on.

Well, he’d survived Steve Rogers somehow, and HYDRA after that, so he probably could do this all night.
“Ambitious,” Steve wrote back. “Go for it.”

“Is that a dare?” she texted him, nonchalantly tossing her hair back and climbing to her feet, stalking slowly down the steps. 

Her phone buzzed again in her hand. “Good conversation, huh?” Bucky asked. She quirked an eyebrow at him, and read the text. It was Sam.

“Yes that’s a dare,” Sam wrote, and followed it immediately with “PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN.”

“I demand a forfeit in return,” she wrote back to Sam. “If I can do this I should be granted a boon.” But then she put her phone away and smiled savagely at Bucky.

“Yeah,” she said, “it kind of is, but not as good as this conversation could be.” 

And oh I meant to thank everybody who read and commented on the preview Gdocs version of this, especially this-is-furious, who helped suggest a title!



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