Remember, soldat Part 1
Bucky woke up late that morning, it didn't surprise him; a nightmare made him open his eyes in the middle of the night, he tried to go back to sleep, but the memories that came with the unpleasant dream didn't let him sleep till 4 am in the morning. He couldn't wake up in time to go out with Steve that day. He was very tired. He suspected his friend had gone without him (he'd never wake him up), but wasn't sure till he saw Sam sitting on the couch watching TV.
"Where's Steve?" He asked, just to be sure.
"He went for a run, half an hour ago."
"Why didn't you go?"
"I wasn't in the mood, guess I'm tired," Sam told him.
"I think I can catch up," Bucky said, grinning, because he knew what would be Sam's reaction.
"You sure?" He asked, but immediately shook his head and rolled his eyes. "What am I talking about? Of course you can! I forgot you are just like him, super serum and everything… It's not fair to mortals like me, you know?"
Bucky's smile just grew wide.
"You're just jealous, birdman," he giggled and run away, but could hear Sam's laughter from the hallway.
Clint and Nat sat close to him; Bucky had gone to find Steve about an hour ago, and they knew there was no one to make breakfast for them. So they decided to make a bet; Clint said Bucky wouldn't find Steve on time, while Nat and Sam, who knew their captain more than anyone else, were perfectly sure that those two would return together. If the archer won, they would have to make the breakfast, but they both were pretty confident about it.
Maybe that was why the universe decided to punish them both, well that or Clint's unexpected luck; the soldier, Bucky Barnes, entered the room minutes later.
"What are you doing here?" Sam was the first to ask, even though the other two had the same question in their heads. "Where's Steve?"
"I had to come back," Bucky said, before they noticed he was not alone; T'Challa arrived seconds later, with a painful expression on his face; his nose was bleeding.
For a second, they all forgot about the bet and approached them.
"What happened?" Natasha asked. "You were attacked?"
Bucky bit his lip and shook his head; he was looking at T'Challa. He guided him to the couch and helped him sit.
"It was my fault," he finally said, making Clint stare at him with curiosity.
The king didn't seem pleased with the response, he tried to protest.
"I punched him," Bucky admitted, blushing hard while saying it.
"You… attacked him?" Sam asked.
"No," the king cut in, finally. "Actually, it was my fault. I got close to him and touched his shoulder and I think I scared him… He turned around so fast that his hand hit my face, but it was an accident."
Nat nodded, listening carefully. Sam, on the other hand, had so many questions in his head.
"I'm so sorry," the soldier said and judging by T'Challa's expression, it wasn't the first time Bucky apologized.
"You don't need to apologize, James," the king said and managed to smile at him.
"I'm impressed, Bucky," Clint commented, looking really amused. "Not only you managed to punch Black Panther, but to the King of Wakanda himself without ending in the hospital or being executed."
"What?" Bucky's face went pale. "You are a king?"
T'Challa glared at the archer before looking back at Bucky again.
"I am, but that doesn't mean I won't take responsibility for what I did or that you should feel ashamed. I told you, it was my fault." He began. "And please do call me T'Challa; I don't want my friends to address me like that."
Sam arched his eyebrows in surprised; apparently the only thing you have to do to make friends with royalty was to punch them in the face.
"I'm fine, James, don't worry," he insisted when he looked at Bucky's face.
"Call me Bucky. If we're friends now, you must call me Bucky."
"Alright, Bucky" T'Challa grinned.
"I'll go get something for your nose," the soldier said, before getting out the room.
"I've seen you fight," Nat commented then. "And it's not possible that someone like you hadn't seen a punch like that coming, you could block it."
T'Challa avoided Romanoff's glare for a second.
"Even the best warrior can fail if they're… distracted."
Clint's eyes shone with amusement.
"So you were distracted…"
"But what distracted you?" Sam asked.
"I saw Bucky on the street and… I noticed his arm. I just wanted to get closer; I wanted to take a look." He smiled. "I guess I shouldn't have done it the way I did. I should've let him to see me first."
Bucky returned then and moved everyone out of his way to sit next to T'Challa and clean his wound. Sam resisted tried not to laugh when he saw the soldier asking the king to stay still… no, actually it was more like an order.
"Are you hungry?" Bucky asked. "I was going to make breakfast for me, but I can cook you something for you too."
T'Challa nodded and Bucky went directly to the kitchen, followed closely by Natasha, who winked at Sam, before she looked back at the soldier again.
"If you're making breakfast for two, I bet you can also make for three more."
Bucky frowned, but Nat's smile only grew wider.
"Please, Bucky." Clint said. "We're starving."
Sam saw him huff, but he agreed.
They heard him complain about people who couldn't make themselves their own food a bit more until Steve returned. Their captain had arrived to the building, but before he entered the living room, he went to his room to take a shower. Sam watched Bucky rolling his eyes when he got a text from Steve.
Nat was enjoying herself, sitting on the couch, watching them; she even grinned when she saw Steve entering the room, without noticed anyone but Bucky, to whom he walked towards to and hugged from behind while the soldier was frying the bacon.
"All of this, just for the two of us?" Steve asked and Sam had to fight the urge to face palm himself, because his captain didn't know how to be subtle and was looking at Bucky like he was the thing Steve wanted to eat.
Sam wondered how Bucky could not notice. He saw Clint rolling his eyes and didn't blame him; Steve always acted like that when his friend was around. It seemed so natural for Steve to think of them both like they were one rather than two different persons.
"No, actually, we have company." Bucky told him.
And of course then and only then Steve looked around and noticed the rest of them. He even moved an inch, but kept his hand on Bucky's waist.
"What happened?" He asked when he saw the king's face.
T'Challa told him everything, because Bucky went pale and looked like he wanted to hide from everyone. But of course Steve wouldn't blame Bucky; sometimes he seemed like the most important thing for him was to protect Bucky at all costs.
"You shouldn't have done that," the captain said, looking a little bit annoyed, of course he was talking to T'Challa. "Bucky fought during the war by my side. You must know about us, about soldiers, when most of us return home, if we're lucky enough, we return as different people. We return broken. And Bucky… he had suffered even more."
"Steve, please…" Bucky tried to say, but was quickly interrupted.
"You're right, captain." T'Challa conceded, ignoring Bucky's worried expression. "I'm sorry, Bucky. I really am."
Steve relaxed after hearing those words.
"It wasn't his fault, Steve!" Bucky protested, frowning.
"Yes, it was," the king insisted.
The soldier rolled his eyes, but decided to remind everyone the breakfast was done instead of keep arguing. Sam thought it was the right thing to do in order to keep the peace and not just because he was really starving or because Bucky was an excellent cook… well, it was also because of that.