This is dedicated to the amazing artist on Tumblr who made drew me such fabulous fan art for Sniff! Thank you, fakesheep-luna!
Wolf's Head, Man's Heart
Clint Barton froze halfway through biting into his apple, staring in wonder at the scene on the couch. He squeezed his eyes shut tightly before blinking them back open, just to make sure he wasn't hallucinating. Tony and Bucky had been doing their...thing for nearly seven months now but he'd never seen anything like this. Both men were sprawled across the floor of the living room, Tony's hands buried in the werewolf's hair and scratching away at his scalp. Bucky's leg was twitching as he leaned further into the touch.
"Clint! What's up?"
Tony grinned up at him, even as Bucky squirmed. A blush painted the werewolf's cheeks but he didn't quite seem able to pull away from Tony's fingers. Something akin to a whine escaped him.
"I, uh-What's happening right now?"
Tony glanced at Bucky and grinned evilly.
"You think this is somethin', you should see his reaction to bellyrubs."
Clint nearly choked on his own tongue.
"Nope! No! Don't want to hear it! Can't hear you! Lalalala!"
Covering his ears as best he could while still holding his apple, Clint beat a hasty retreat. Tony's cackling laughter followed him as he made his escape, nearly bowling Bruce over on his way. He grabbed the Shade's arm as he passed and dragged him in the opposite direction.
"Wha-I was going to make tea," Bruce protested.
Clint shook his head adamantly and just kept dragging.
"Trust me. You don't want to go in there right now. You wanna go out for tea? Let's go out for tea. Leaving the tower sounds like a great idea."
Steve couldn't imagine two people who deserved happiness more than Tony and Bucky. They'd been through so much and remained so strong even as they thought the worst of themselves. It was incredible that they could shoulder that kind of weight. It almost seemed like every time they got their feet under them, something came along to knock them back down. With each other, though, they just seemed so much...lighter. There was no other word for it.
He'd been worried at first, admittedly. Bucky had still been struggling with what HYDRA had put him through back when he and Tony had first gotten together and Tony just seemed to jump in without giving a thought to his decision at all. As Bucky had described it when he'd finally told Steve about the conversation, Tony had gone for of a 'sure, why not?' approach to the entire thing. Steve never thought that Tony would hurt Bucky on purpose, but he had a playboy reputation for a reason. It'd been their reactions over those first few days of separation that really convinced Steve that all was well and good. It was the reason why he'd dragged Bucky out of his self-imposed isolation and carted him off to Tony's lab.
Of course, there'd also been the fear of losing one or both of them. He'd seen it happen before, back before the war. A fella would meet some doll and fall head over heels in love. She'd be his whole world and he'd all but forget anyone else existed. Bucky and Tony were his best friends. He didn't want to lose them. But that hadn't happened. If anything, the relationship had given him pieces of Bucky back he'd thought well and truly gone and Tony spent less time holed up in his lab and more time just hanging out with the team.
Steve smiled as he ghosted down the hallway of Tony's floor that lead to his room. Bucky hadn't shown up for their morning run and since the two of them had barely slept apart since the start of their relationship Steve didn't even bother checking Bucky's room werewolf had more of tendency to sleep in these days so this wouldn't be the first time Steve had made the trek to wake him up. As long as Tony wasn't woken up in the process, Bucky actually seemed to appreciate the gesture.
"Buck?" Steve called softly as he inched the bedroom door open. "You awake yet?"
A huffing sort of noise was all that greeted Steve and his eyes were instantly drawn to the two figures in the bed. Tony was still dead asleep, silky sheets pooled around his waist to leave his bare torso exposed. Steve hoped to God they didn't shift any lower since he wasn't actually convinced Tony was wearing anything at all. The man's back was propped up against Bucky's furry side, sinking into the thick fur. Bucky's head was up, though, staring at Steve with icy blue eyes and ears cocked forward. Steve couldn't help the way his smile grew just a little bit bigger at the sight of them.
"Oh, rough night?"
The Wolf huffed again and lowered his head to lay his chin on Tony's shoulder. It wasn't anywhere near the full moon, which meant that this was a change Bucky had chosen to go through. He did it from time to time when Tony tossed in his sleep or woke with nightmares. Something about the warmth and feeling of the Wolf curled around him seemed to calm him, though. It was one of the factors that contributed to just how much Bucky had come to accept the Wolf as part of himself. Now, there was hardly any distinction between the two.
Steve gave the pair one last smile before backing out and easing the door closed. There was no way Bucky would be coming on the morning run and Sam was waiting for Steve in the lobby. The vampire would just have to lap Sam all on his own today.
If she were anyone else, Natasha probably would have missed it. As it was she barely caught the flash of pink before Bucky's tongue disappeared back into his mouth. The werewolf was greeting Tony enthusiastically upon his return from a week-long business trip and somewhere in all their hugging and kissing Bucky had licked Tony's face. Well, okay, it was technically more of his jaw but still. It still wasn't something she had expected to take place between her two teammates.
Bucky all but pranced around Tony, rubbing against him in a clear display of scent-marking as he vibrated with excitement and energy. The team had been dealing with Bucky's anticipation of Tony's arrival all day and it was honestly all Natasha wanted to tie him to a chair so he'd stop his damn fidgeting. On the other hand, not even she could deny the blossoming of warmth in her chest at the sight of their happy reunion.
For his part Tony was no less excited to see Bucky again. He'd dropped his bag off his shoulder the second he was out of the elevator and wrapped his arms around the werewolf. Bucky had swept him off his feet for a quick spin before setting him down again. Even now Tony hadn't spared a glance at anyone else. Bucky nuzzled in closer, pressing his nose in behind Tony's ear and inhaling deeply.
"It's good to see you," Bucky breathed.
"Yeah." Tony sounded a touch breathless himself. "You, too. I missed you. Glad to know the feeling was mutual."
"Gotta admit, I never imagined missing sleeping next to somebody so much."
Bucky gave a bark of laughter.
"What am I? Your body pillow?"
"More like my personal heater."
"You know," Natasha cut in, enjoying far more than she probably should how Tony jumped in surprise at the sound of her voice, "there's a very simple solution to this problem."
"Jesus, Nat!" Tony cursed. "Do the words 'heart condition' mean anything to you?"
Natasha ignored him.
"Next time, you can just take Bucky with you."
She turned and walked away so she didn't have to witness the cavity-inducing sweetness that revelation was no doubt going to cause.
"Hail, son of Wil! I hope this day finds you well," Thor boomed enthusiastically in greeting.
He grinned as his fellow Avenger. Though Sam Wilson was one of the latest to join their band of shield brothers, Thor had quickly taken a liking to him. Unlike many of their group, Sam understood what it was to lead the life of an ordinary human. Up until the military had grafted those expansive wings to his back that was exactly what he had been after all. He held a wealth of knowledge and always seemed willing to take the time to explain the strangeness of this place for the eladrin.
"It's just Sam, Thor," the man chuckled, his wings shifting a bit behind him. "And I'm doing quite well. Thanks for asking. How are you?"
Thor beamed at him, pleased to be getting the greeting ritual correct this time around.
"Admittedly, I find myself once more confused by some of the customs of your plane. I was hoping you had a few minutes?"
He'd been told it was rude to just assume that he could take up someone else's attention at a moment's notice.
"Sure, no problem," Sam replied with ease. "What seems to be the problem? You been on YouTube again?"
"Nay, my friend! I was merely curious as to the purpose of sniffing another person's crotch."
"I have witnessed the interaction several times now, though I cannot discern its significance. It seems an odd custom. But then many of your ways still seem off to me."
Sam's mouth opened and shut several times before he finally managed to ask, "And where, exactly, did you see this happen?"
"Our Man of Iron and his lupine lover have enacted the ritual on multiple occasions. Is this not a custom of your plane?"
Sam groaned and held a hand up to cover his eyes in what Thor had been told was called a 'face palm.'
"No, Thor...No, it is not."
Thor was confused.
"Then why does friend James appear so fixated on the scent of Man of Iron's genitals?"
"Because my life is apparently just that insane now and I am experiencing a serious lack of brain bleach."
Thor didn't feel like that really answered his question.
"Should I come back later?"
Bruce hovered in the entrance to the kitchen, watching as Tony picked up another piece of barely-cooked meat and held it out for the Wolf to take. They were right in the middle of the full moon so it wasn't exactly odd for Bucky to be in his four-legged form but the hand feeding was certainly something Bruce hadn't seen before.
"Bucky was hungry," Tony shrugged.
Bruce watched with no small amount of trepidation as Bucky's teeth flashed with each bite. A bite from those jaw, even just a nip, would be enough to turn Tony yet he was carefree and nonchalant about the entire situation. It was like he was feeding squirrels in the park as opposed to a supernatural creature that could end his life in more ways that one. Bruce couldn't hold in his ever so slightly hysterical giggle at the sight.
"You astound me, Tony. You know that, right?"
Tony just looked confused.
Bruce just shook his head as he opened the fridge and grabbed a water bottle.
"Nothing, Tony. Just thinking aloud."
He left before he could accidently spill how much he admired Tony for his bravery and courage, even if Tony didn't see it as that. Tony had made friends with the Hulk, though, the malicious spirit that had taken up residence in Bruce's body and was only bound by the enchantments tattooed into his skin. The Hulk was enough to make Natasha skittish but Tony had completely disregarded every bit of common sense and treated the Other Guy just like any other member of the team. To see him take a similar attitude with the danger that Bucky presented was just...Bruce wasn't even sure he could describe it.
It gave him hope, for one thing. They'd all seen the transformation Bucky had undergone during his relationship with Tony. He actually had something that resembled a normal life now, or at least as close to one as someone could get while living in a tower full of superheroes. Watching them, seeing their interactions, it almost made Bruce consider picking up a phone and calling a certain Dr. Ross. If Tony could find that kind of courage, maybe Bruce could, too.
Not today, though...Maybe tomorrow.