Everyone saw it coming when Thor and Jane got married. After all, it was obvious that they cared for each other. A year later, when they told everyone they were expecting a baby, everyone in Stark Tower was obviously concerned. Would the baby be more human, like Jane, or more Asgardian, like Thor? No one knew for sure. Bruce and Dr. Cho monitored the baby's development and Jane's condition every day; though it seemed pointless. Jane's pregnancy couldn't have gone more perfect. She didn't have a trace of morning sickness, high blood pressure, blood clots, or anything of the sort. So, when it came time for the baby to arrive, everyone thought they would settle into domestic bliss and all would be well.
It was, at first.
Baby Molly Frigga was 6 lbs, 2 oz, and she looked like Jane, except for her blonde hair. All of the Avengers flocked to the hospital to see the new family, Thor, Jane, and Molly Odinson. The baby was named after both of her grandmothers, who had passed away without getting to meet her.
Tony and Pepper brought a new stroller, several baby outfits, and balloons. Clint, Laura, and the kids brought a teddy bear and some flowers. Steve and Natasha brought baby outfits and diapers for the new parents. Sam, Darcy, and Dr. Selvig almost stayed round the clock, trying to help the new parents. Bruce gave the new parents baby literature. Even Loki arrived, beaming about his new niece, the half-Migardian little baby stealing his heart, helping to mend the rift between brothers.
It seemed everyone had been by. Everyone except Bucky.
Bucky was nervous about going to see the new baby. He wasn't sure how he'd react. He wasn't sure he should be holding such a fragile, tiny human being. Maggie assured him that he would be fine, showing him pictures on her phone of her and baby Molly, but he was still anxious. The last thing he wanted was to crush Thor's new baby, particularly when Thor had been so kind and accepting of him.
Naturally, Jane, Thor, and Molly moved into Stark Tower, into the high rise given to them by Tony. He insisted everyone live in the tower, for "safety." It seemed to work out, the first week being relatively quiet, with Molly settling in to her new routine with her parents. Bucky enjoyed watching the family from afar, knowing he could not hurt them, knowing that as long as he was on the sidelines, baby Molly could grow up and not be accidentally injured.
That was, until the colic started.
Jane had been working on research, spending lots of time in the lab during the day. Thor had been busy as well, trying to be an Avenger. The two new parents, both sleep deprived, were at first terrified that Molly was dangerously ill. She only seemed to cry at night, when Thor and Jane longed for sleep. At first, everyone in the tower ignored it; Tony just turning up the music, Steve and Natasha putting in ear plugs, Bruce moving into the lab temporarily. Bucky, too, seemed to ignore it.
However, the crying worsened, Thor and Jane were at their wits end, and it had been going on for three weeks, non-stop.
Molly was a month old when the crying reached its peak. Thor and Jane had tried everything; riding her around in the car, bouncing her, rocking her, everything. She didn't need to be fed, they'd changed more diapers than they cared to admit, yet it all seemed for naught.
While the new parents tried another unsuccessful attempt to calm their daughter, everyone else sat in the communal area, trying to turn the volume on the TV up loud enough so it would block out the cries.
"Oh dear God, they need to do something with that kid." Tony mumbled, obviously frustrated.
"They can't help it. I don't think I've ever seen Jane look so helpless. It didn't help that she's got like, zero experience with kids. I thought she'd never have kids." Darcy said, leaning her head on Sam's shoulder.
"Well, obviously they're freaking out. I don't think I've ever seen Thor so worked up." Sam mumbled, his expression tightening at the shrill scream of the newborn down the hall.
"Good Lord, that kid is making my ears bleed." Tony said.
"Yeah, it is rough. But I'm sure they don't feel any better about it." Maggie chided, trying to be sympathetic.
The group tried to ignore it; play Mario Kart and Just Dance and drown out the cries. Thor came out occasionally for a glass of water; Jane came out to throw her spit-up covered clothes into the laundry. It seemed that it would never end. Everyone was losing their minds and their patience, including Bucky, who Steve, Natasha, and Maggie were particularly worried about.
Finally, about three hours of non-stop wailing, Bucky stood up, walking down the hall. Steve blanched in surprise, watching his friend stomp to Thor and Jane's apartment, and bang on the door.
Thor answered, and his expression looked worn and frustrated.
"Oh, yes, James. I would love to speak with you, but now is not opportune..."
"I know. Give the the baby." Bucky ordered. Thor stepped back, surprised.
"Come again?" Thor asked.
"Give. Me. The. Baby. Now." Bucky commanded. Jane, hearing Bucky's voice, came to the door, bouncing a crying, red-faced Molly up and down.
"Hey, Bucky. Now isn't the best time..." Jane began.
"Give her to me." Bucky again ordered, this time, Jane looking surprised.
"Huh?" Jane asked.
"Hand her to me, please. Just trust me." Bucky said. With a little less reluctance than she'd like to admit, Jane handed Molly over to Bucky, who took the new baby carefully in his arms.
"Hey there, sweetheart," Bucky cooed, "What's got you so upset?"
"We don't know. We're horrible parents!" Jane cried, "We've tried everything!"
"You two get some sleep. I'll take her for a while." Bucky said gently, walking the screaming baby into the communal area.
"Hey, there, shh. You're alright, doll. I know, I know, you're just so upset." Bucky whispered. He walked past everyone, their mouths agape, walking over toward Tony and cradling the small baby.
"You got a compress?" Bucky asked. Tony tried not to look surprise, but it just didn't work.
"Uh, yeah. Check that bathroom over there." Tony said, in utter disbelief. Bucky rummaged through the medicine cabinet and found a warm compress, filling it with warm water and placing it on the baby's stomach. He rubbed her back, finding some of the Mylicon that Tony and Pepper had for baby Ben. He bounced her around the kitchen, amid the surprised looks of everyone in the tower. He paced with her in front of one of the large windows, singing softly as everyone noticed her cries start to stifle.
"Summertime, and the livin' is easy, fish are jumpin', and the cotton is high. Oh, your daddy's rich, and your ma is good lookin', so hush little baby, don't you cry." Bucky sang.
"Oh. My. God. Cap, since when did Tin Man become a baby whisperer?!" Tony asked.
Steve laughed, propping his feet up, "Bucky was the second oldest of five. He was the best big brother," Steve chuckled, "Plus, he had two nieces. And he was always taking care of me."
"I just don't understand." Bruce said, "He's avoided that baby like the plague since she got here."
"Maybe he remembered?" Maggie suggested, "He didn't say anything to me, he just got up and took the baby."
"Well, either way, do you hear that? Totally quiet. Whatever he did, it's working." Natasha said, a smile of relief on her face. By midnight, everyone decided it was time for bed. Maggie walked over to Bucky, placing a kiss on his lips before going to bed herself.
"Sure you don't want me to stay with you?" Maggie asked.
"Nah, we're good. We're just gonna watch TV until she nods off." Bucky replied. Maggie shrugged, walking back to her and Bucky's apartment and going to bed.
Thor and Jane woke up at seven-thirty, frantically scrambling to the nursery to feed Molly. Then, panic set in when they realized she wasn't there. Jane ran out, heart racing, as she realized something: she and Thor had slept the entire night, no interruptions. She quickly spotted Bucky in the communal area, asleep, with Molly asleep on his chest.
"Bucky? Bucky? It's morning." Jane said, tapping his foot. Bucky awoke, handing Molly to Jane.
"She had colic. She fell asleep around one." Bucky explained. Jane looked almost ready to cry, and Bucky was afraid he'd angered or upset Jane.
"I haven't slept this well in a month," Jane cried, "Is it bad that I think she might be the antichrist? I think she might be. I can't get her to stop crying!"
"It's colic, Jane. You didn't know. She doesn't know how to speak yet; crying is the only way she can express herself." Bucky explained.
"How did you know? I feel so bad. I have a PhD in astrophysics and I have no earthly idea how to take care of her." Jane sniffled.
"I had a younger brother and two younger sisters. And two nieces. For some reason, Molly crying last night made me remember them." Bucky said.
"Well, thank you. Thank you so much." Jane said, wiping her eyes and walking Molly back to their apartment.
"No problem." Bucky said, grinning slightly.
Over the next three weeks, Bucky taught Jane and Thor how to treat colic, how to soothe the crying baby, and how to effectively get her into a sleeping routine. No one in the tower would have expected it, but all were grateful nonetheless. Molly soon became an easy and agreeable baby, laughing and giggling and smiling at everyone, especially Bucky. Of all people, Bucky seemed like the last person to comfort crying babies. However, they soon discovered he was a pro at it.
Only two months after Molly's colic fiasco, Tony showed up in front of Bucky and Maggie's Stark Tower apartment, holding a crying, red-faced, one-year-old Ben in his arms.
"Uh, Tony? What are you doing here?" Maggie asked, letting him in.
"Pepper is on business in Tokyo. Ben is crying. Make it stop." Tony said, his eyes bloodshot. Bucky took the screaming boy, and began looking him over.
"Tony, Ben's running a fever." Bucky declared. Tony looked at him, his eyes growing wide.
"What?" Tony asked.
"Yeah. Do you have a thermometer? Ben's burning up." Bucky replied. Maggie went to their bathroom, bringing a thermometer they had in the medicine cabinet. Sure enough, Ben's fever was 100.1. He was sick.
"What do we do? What do I do? Pepper usually deals with this. He's never been sick before. Not like this." Tony said, his voice filled with panic.
"Call Bruce, or a pediatrician. I think he's got an ear infection, judging by how he's tugging on his ears." Bucky explained. Tony called in a pediatrician, who confirmed Bucky's diagnosis. With some antibiotics, Motrin, and ear drops, little Ben settled down, and a relieved Tony took him back to his own penthouse.
Soon, Bucky was hardly seen without a baby in tow. He didn't mind; Molly, Ben, and Clint's youngest, two-year-old Nathaniel, loved Bucky and Maggie. He became "Uncle Bucky", and the babies always seemed calm with him.
After Natasha went through an experimental sterilization reversal procedure with Dr. Cho and she and Steve announced that she was having a baby, Bucky was over the moon. He was getting a new niece or nephew. Natasha, however, scared out of her mind, secretly began going to Bucky for parenting advice. She didn't have experience with babies, so Bucky taught her the basics: how to change diapers, how to bottle feed, how to burp, and how to swaddle. He gave her several parenting books that she read through, and when Jack was born, it was no surprise that Bucky took the lead, helping Steve and Natasha every step of the way. Jack was instantly wrapped around his finger, and Maggie—being Maggie—couldn't help but get weepy eyed and smile widely as Bucky sang, played with, and held Steve's son.
"You're the best I've ever seen with children." Maggie said, sitting down on their bed while Bucky held Jack and watched The Walking Dead.
"Yeah? You're not so bad yourself." Bucky replied, turning around to kiss his wife.
"Not as good as you. Like Tony said, you're the baby whisperer." Maggie teased.
"What can I say? I guess the babies find me as charming as you do." Bucky joked. Maggie rolled her eyes, laughing. Bucky had come so far in the past three years, and she almost couldn't believe that he was joking and laughing like he was.
"Well, it's a good thing you're getting the practice." Maggie said, her face softening.
"What do you mean?" Bucky asked.
Maggie didn't say anything, she just placed an object in Bucky's hands, her eyes filled with tears. Bucky opened his hand, his eyes widening.
"What's this?" Bucky asked.
"A pregnancy test. The third once I took." Maggie said, "You're gonna be a dad."
Bucky felt his eyes watering. Three years ago, he never thought he would feel happy again. Now, he felt like his heart was so full that it would burst.
"You're serious? You're pregnant?" Bucky said in disbelief.
Maggie nodded. The two embraced, smiling in joy, little Jack in between them smiling at their faces.
"I think I'm around nine weeks." Maggie said, "When do you wanna tell everyone?"
"Let's wait a few weeks," Bucky suggested, smiling, "I want to keep it between us for just a while."
Bucky and Maggie kept their secret to themselves for three weeks. Maggie knew that when the time came, Bucky would be a fantastic dad. After all, he was, as Tony said, he was the "baby whisperer."