Imagine: The List
Fic posted by members of Vo's Imaginings YahooGroup
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Author's Chapter Notes:
Thank you to my beta Evelyna! You're amazing.

Bucky stares anxiously at Steve, who is pacing while speaking on his cell phone.

“Uh-huh,” Steve says in response to the woman on the other end of the line, “Yeah… No, no everything is ready… Yes, oh my god, yes!... No, we don’t care, whatever is best for… No, no we don’t care about that… But, is there anything to be aware of ahead of time? Anything to watch out for…. Uh-huh… Uh-huh…. Yes, no I understand… How long? Really?”

Bucky sucks in a deep breath and scoots closer to Steve. Steve glances at him and Bucky immediately starts to make soft pleading noises combined with his best puppy-dog eyes as he reaches for the phone.

Steve swats his hands away playfully, “Yes, I’ll make sure to tell my husband.... No, he’s standing next to me making puppy-dog eyes since I haven't told him the answer yet.”

Bucky can hear the woman’s laughter clearly as Steve smirks at him. Bucky scowls back and puts his fists on his hips. After a moment he realizes he’s standing exactly like his mother used to when his father had said or done something foolish and puts his hands to his sides, trying not to attract attention from his schmuck of a husband as he hangs up the phone.

It doesn’t work. Steve is laughing uproariously and is literally pointing one finger at him while the other arm is wrapped around his chest. His phone has dropped unheeded to the floor.

Bucky sighs and decides to take the low road, turning as if to stomp off and muttering. He knows Steve will call out for him- he always has.

“Bucky,” Steve calls right on cue, still giggling, “Hey Buck!”

Bucky heaves a sigh. And then rolls his eyes, “Jesus, I really am turnin’ into my mother.”

Steve is beaming at him when he looks over, “That’s okay Buck, because as I was gonna tell you before you turned into your Ma, we’re gonna be parents.”

“Really?” Bucky breathes out in awe, eyes wide, “We, we… there’s gonna be a baby?”

“Yeah,” Steve’s grin is radiant, “We’re gonna have a baby! That was Loretta; she says there’s a girl lookin’ to give her baby up. She ain’t an addict or nothin’, just young and caught in a bad spot. She’s three months along.”

“Holy shit,” Bucky breathes out, smile spreading across his face, “Holy shit we’re gonna be dads.” He looks at Steve eagerly, “When do we meet her? The mom I mean? Is she… will we get to-”

But Steve is already shaking his head, “She doesn’t want to meet us. It’s gonna be a closed adoption- she’ll have the baby and hand it over, and then it’s ours. She doesn’t want to have anything else to do with it. We’ll never see her, she’ll never see us.”

Bucky’s stomach rolls over, “Oh.” He isn’t expecting that. He’s not quite sure what he was expecting, maybe something like in that movie with the teenage girl who gets pregnant and hangs out with the adoptive parents, except without the cheating husband crushing on a kid. Or something like on TV pregnancies- where the dad goes in to the doctor’s too and they can all hear the baby’s heartbeat together and see the baby’s picture even before it’s born.

He hadn’t believed that seeing the baby inside its mother was even possible at first, thought it was just a pretend-on-TV-thing until one of the men in his VA group brought in his baby’s ultrasounds.

“Yeah,” Steve says sadly, “Loretta said nothin’ is final until the baby is born either, some mothers have been known to back out at the last minute, but-”

“What, no!” Bucky cries, he hasn’t even known about the baby for five minutes and he’s already attached, “That can’t, no. No. It’s ours,” he says fiercely, mind already plotting “We can hack into the adoption agen-feeth recarth.”

He stops speaking to glare at Steve who has his hand over Bucky’s mouth. “No Buck,” Steve says gently. Bucky hates it when Steve says things in that gentle voice he used to use when Bucky had first come back to him. “If the ma changes her mind we’ll just try again. BUT,” he says loudly since Bucky has started to mumble into his hand, “Loretta said she’s got a good feel for who’ll back out and who won’t by now, and she said this one won’t be changin’ her mind.”

Bucky narrows his eyes and nods, “Vime.” He rolls his eyes and pulls Steve’s hand off of his mouth with his metal arm, “Fine,” he repeats.

“Fine,” Steve confirms. Then he smirks and uses the hand not trapped by Bucky to trail his fingers across Bucky’s jaw and cup his cheek. Bucky shudders and his eyes become hooded of their own accord as desire shoots through him. “What do ya say,” Steve runs his thumb over Bucky’s bottom lip and Bucky opens his mouth slightly, “What do ya say we go celebrate?” Steve’s voice is husky and deep.

Bucky smiles sultrily and his voice is hoarse as he answers, “A celebration sounds lovely,” and allows his tongue to dart out and brush Steve’s thumb as he speaks.

Steve shudders and begins herding Bucky to their bedroom immediately, but Bucky has decided to be distinctly unhelpful and is sucking on the side of Steve’s neck instead of moving with him to their bed. Steve ends up simply picking Bucky up and carrying him, his one hand attempting to pop the button on Bucky’s jeans while the other holds him in the air. Bucky wraps his legs around Steve’s waist.

Suddenly Bucky stops his ministrations as realization strikes, “Steve,” Steve keeps moving his hand around delightfully but, “No, hey Stevie, stop. Stop. Hey yellow!”

Steve pulls back, eyes glazed, “What’s up?”

“Stevie, what the hell are we namin’ our kid?” Bucky asks, his entire mind consumed by the thought, any thoughts of a fun celebration gone.

Steve drops his head onto Bucky’s shoulder and groans.

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They’re in the common area of Avenger’s Tower for Movie Night making spaghetti and meatballs two days later when the conversation comes up again. Bucky looks up from where he is turning ten pounds of ground beef, lamb, pork and spices into meatballs, “Hey, Steve, what about Hubert?”

Steve looks over and grins at him from where he’s rolling out the dough for noodles, “Oh yeah, that’s a good one,” he pulls out the small notebook he keeps in his pocket and flips to a page titled ‘Boys’.

“Hubert is a good what?” Natasha asks, grabbing the notebook from Steve’s hands after he writes ‘Hubert’ near the top of the page.

Steve makes a protesting noise in the back of his throat for a moment, but gives up quickly.

“’S a good name,” Bucky tells her, winking at Steve when he’s sure Natasha isn’t looking.

“Why are we talking about names?” Bruce wanders in, heading for the cabinet his tea is kept in and setting the kettle to boil.

“Better question,” Natasha says with glee as the other Avengers walk in, “Why does Steve have a list of boy’s names and girl’s names in his notebook?"

Tony peers over her shoulder, “What the heck Romanoff? The question you should be asking is what is up with these names?”

“We’ve been matched,” Steve is near rapture as he tells the others, “In six months we’re going to be Dads.”

The name issue is immediately put on hold as the team crowds around to congratulate them. Thor’s voice is booming with joy and Sam keeps patting them on the shoulders. Natasha gets vodka from her good stash and pours them all a toast shouting “To the fathers-to-be!” in Russian. Tony is on the phone with Pepper, who is currently in Switzerland, talking about babyproofing the Tower. Bruce is smiling so wide his cheeks look like they’re about to fall off and (after Bucky washes his hands) he shakes their hands and offers his sincere congratulations.

It’s Clint who brings up the names again after offering his own congratulations, “You know,” he says with a grin as he hops on top of the fridge, “Clint’s a great name. Good for a boy or a girl.”

Bucky and Steve share a look, “Short for Clinton?” Steve asks, and Clint nods.

“Sure,” Bucky gives Steve a shit-eating grin, “Put it on the list Stevie.”

Steve shrugs and writes ‘Clinton’ beneath ‘Hubert’. Immediately all of the others’ start shouting theirs and their partners’ names as suggestions.

Bucky nearly loses it when JARVIS dryly comments, “I have been assured by Sir that Jarvis is an appropriate and becoming name for a young man.”

Steve dutifully adds it to the list.

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“Ooh,” Steve’s voice causes Bucky’s head to shoot up from where he’s staring at his hand of cards, “Buck, what do you think about Mildred?” With five months left until the baby arrives they’re trying to make all sorts of big decisions.

Sam, who is sitting to Bucky’s right, leans over to peek at his cards because Sam Wilson is a dirty cheating cheater who cheats. “Um, Mildred?” Sam asks hesitantly as Bucky slaps his cards face down on the table.

“It’s a girl’s name,” Steve says absentmindedly already pulling out his notebook, “I know it’s not too popular anymore but we knew several girls named Mildred growin’ up.”

Bucky leers, “Like Mildred Campbell. God, she had tits out to here.” He gestures expansively.

Tony looks up in interest, “Yeah?”

Steve glances at Bucky, “That’s not very nice, Bucky. Mildred was a sweetie.”

Bucky snorts, “No, Mildred was easy.”

Steve snickers, “She really was.” Then his expression becomes fondly reminiscent as he repeats, “She really was.” Bucky hides a smirk.

The others are staring at them.

“What?” Bucky snaps, leveraging them with his best Winter Soldier glare.

Clint holds up his hand in surrender and Tony scoots his chair back. Sam just snorts, “Rogers you are a dirty old man.”

Steve blushes and Bucky waggles his eyebrows, “Nah, Millie was three years older than Stevie, not that it stopped her from-”

Steve’s hand slaps across his mouth so Bucky licks a broad stripe up his palm. Steve gives him an unimpressed look, “Bucky do you honestly think licking my hand is gonna freak me out when I’ve had your tongue in my-”

“OH MY GOD, NO! Stop, do not pass go, do not under any circumstances collect 200 dollars!” Tony wails.

“My tongue is worth more than 200 dollars,” Bucky leers at Steve.

Steve blushes but ducks his head and looks up at Bucky through his lashes coyly, sighing breathily, “Yeah it is.”

Bucky smirks at his husband; Steve’s such a little shit sometimes. God does he love him.

Clint offers Bucky a high-five, snickering. Sam rolls his eyes and mutters about “Too much information, damn it,” under his breath.

Tony lets out a shriek and covers his ears, “La, la, la, la, la, I’m not lis-ten-ing!”

They all ignore Tony with long practice and return to their game.

“If we’re putting Mildred on the list,” Bucky says as he considers his cards, “We should add Millicent too. Oh, and Milburn or Milford for a boy. Also, do you have any twos?”

Steve nods, “You’re right, we ought to.” He glances at his cards and says smugly, “Go fish.”

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“Eustace,” Bucky calls out as he punches a Doombot™ through its head. They only have four months left before their new baby arrives, and Bucky would much rather be at home arguing about whether or not the mobile over the crib should have a weapons theme or something less awesome.

Bucky has found the most amazing mobile ever on etsy- with various handguns and dulled knives painted in the colors of their choosing. Steve keeps arguing that “It isn’t appropriate Bucky, birds would be better” and “Babies shouldn’t be around weapons Buck let’s stick to somethin’ safer like dragonflies” and “The baby could kill itself Bucky, what about lions, lions are pretty ferocious” and “Goddamn it NO Bucky, the baby is not havin’ a mobile made out of guns with a fuckin’ Kalashnikov as the centerpiece!”

He’s such a damn stick in the mud.

“Nice,” Steve grunts as he flings his shield at an enormous- well Bucky isn’t too sure what it is, just that some random mad scientist (from Hoboken of all places- which has reinforced Bucky’s already firm belief that the state of New Jersey was the source of all evil), had decided to make some… creatures the size of rhinos with four legs, two arms, heads way too small for their bodies and hedgehog like spines.

And then he turned them loose in the Bronx. The creatures are also a color people in the 21st century call ‘neon pink’, but Bucky and Steve call a fucking eyesore. Well Bucky does at least.

Also Bruce is off in some third-world country to find himself (again), Tony has been dragged to an important meeting in Japan (again) and Clint is on vacation in Bali (there’s a first time for everything). So they only have Natasha, Sam and Thor battling with them. And two different street gangs who occasionally stop shooting the robots and genetic experiments with their shitty Saturday night specials in order to take potshots at each other.

“Eugene!” Steve shouts over the loud crack of thunder that followed Thor ‘lighting up’ three of the beasts. He flings his shield through a Doombot™ this time, grunting as he catches it on the rebound.

Bucky double taps one of the beasts with his HK121, and upon discovering that the mad scientist/ New Jersey native (same damn thing) forgot to enhance the strength in their skull proceeds to shoot the rest of the beasts in the head, shouting at the nearest gang leader (who introduced himself as ‘El Jabalí’ but is probably actually named something like Juan, Carlos or Filipe and not ‘the Wild Boar’) to “Hey, Piggy, shoot the fucking experiments from hell in the head!”

The other gang picks up on it too and soon the beasts are dying around them as a bunch of gangbangers shout at them with such gems of wisdom as, “Yo, you freak these be our streets, you better step the fuck off man! Step off ‘fore I kill you, motherfucker!” and “What you think you a big man, pendejo? I the big man here! You ain’t gonna be messin’ with El Mariposa no more!”

A statement which causes Sam to stare at that particular gang-member with dismay, “What the fuck, man? Why are you callin’ yourself ‘The Butterfly’?”

“I’m like that boxer,” El Mariposa replies as he shoots wildly in the general direction of a beast, “You know, ‘float like the butterfly, bite like the snake’ bro.”

Sam looks like he’s in pain as he replies, “It’s ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ and ‘that boxer’ is Goddamned Muhammed Ali.”

“Whatever,” El Mariposa mumbles as he gets off a lucky shot and clips a Doombot™ in the arm.

Sam sighs and takes off again, grabbing a ‘bot by the head and then dropping it when he’s three or four stories up. It breaks into pieces. Von Doom really didn’t pay for quality this time.

“Eunice,” Bucky suggests after a screech of crushed metal as a Doombot’s™ head is crushed in his left hand. Thor lets out a war cry as he smashes his hammer into the head of one of the beasts.

“Beulah and Ernestine,” Steve is grinning as he swings his shield into the head of beast twice before it crumples to the ground. It’s the last of the experiments and Natasha had taken out the scientist at the start of the fight. “For twins.”

Sam and Natasha exchange horrified looks. El Jabalí pauses in his fight (ostensibly with a Doombot™ but really with the rival gang leader who is creatively named ‘Killah’) to stare at Steve. Killah stops too.

“Man are those s’posed to be names?” Killah asks in disbelief, “And I thought my baby-mama namin’ my girl Trixibelle was bad.”

“White people are fuckin’ loco,” El Jabalí declares.

“Amen brother,” Sam says fervently as he kicks a Doombot™ in the head.

“Oh my God, Steven,” Bucky ignores the side conversation and tries not to laugh as he swings one Doombot™ into another one. Beulah and Ernestine had been twins in his year at school. And giant prudes the both of them. “You’d better hope it’s not twins. I can’t handle twins.”

Steve laughs because he’s an asshole, “That’s not what you said after that night with the DeLuca twins.”

Bucky doesn’t answer because he’s being converged upon by three Doombots™, not because he can’t think of a good comeback. No matter what Steve claims later.

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Bucky opens the front door of their apartment with his right hand while his left hand holds a week’s worth of groceries. Or, more likely, three days. They eat a lot.

Since Bucky’s return to being a (mostly) normal guy instead of a brainwashed amnesiac assassin he’s taken to cooking as often as he can. Well at least when he can focus long enough to do the cooking without burning the building down.

One of the unfortunate lasting effects of his years with HYDRA is that he has a difficult time concentrating. His therapists are still debating whether that’s due to the PTSD or the permanent brain-damage from being wiped and frozen. Steve insists he always had the attention span of a gnat, that’s why he went out with so many different girls. (Bucky’s pretty sure that was because he was pining for Steve and trying not to let on he was queer. Not that that plan worked. Thank God.)

Due to his lack of concentration, and after the third time he set the kitchen on fire, Steve and he (really just Steve) decided it would be for the best if Bucky only cooked when others were nearby in case his concentration slipped. ‘Others’ did not include the robots, a random cat on the balcony or Clint Barton or Thor or Jane Foster, Erik Selvig, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner or any other scientist.

JARVIS was Steve-approved though.

Still when he comes in the door with the groceries this time, he freezes as music can heard coming from the living room through to the front hall. With a smirk Bucky discreetly enters the kitchen and leaves the groceries on the table before heading into the living room. Leaning in the doorway he watches his husband dance across the room, occasionally sweeping the duster in his hand across some piece of furniture or other.

There is so much more music available in the 21st century, in so many more styles than Bucky could have ever imagined when he was young. He and Steve have made a careful study of the music they missed as well as the music of today and both of them have developed firm favorites.

These days Bucky tends towards hip-hop and rap for the most part, with some pop for good measure. Also heavy metal with a lot of screaming. Basically anything with a heavy bass line and a good beat.

Steve, on the other hand, primarily listens to indie and folk rock, ‘60s folk, and old soul and Motown music. Because Sam has corrupted him and the asshole laughs about it too. (Bucky has taken to hiding The Times They Are a-Changin’ and Highway 61 Revisited from Steve because he can only take so much fucking Bob Dylan.) Steve also has a disturbing fondness for the most annoying pop songs to emerge in the last twenty-five years.

Admittedly the chorus of Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping is essentially the soundtrack for Steve’s entire life.

Bucky grins broadly as Steve sings along with the music, “A few times I've been around that track. So it's not just gonna happen like that. 'Cause I ain't no hollaback girl. I ain't no hollaback girl.”

Steve sings into his feather duster, “Oh, this my shit, this my shit. Oh, this my shit, this my shit.”

Steve takes a moment to do some pelvic thrusts and Bucky has to stick his fist in his mouth to keep silent, “Let me hear you say this shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S! This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Again.”

Steve jumps, drops the duster and screams like a little girl when Bucky sings along, “This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S! This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!”

Steve has his hands at his throat and stares, wide-eyed, at Bucky as the song plays out. Bucky is laughing so hard he’s snorting. Steve looks exactly like his mother had that time they’d brought home a snake when they were eight. As the track ends Bucky wanders over to where Steve’s StarkPlayer is plugged in to their surround sound system (Bucky really loves the future sometimes), glances at the next song in the queue and hits pause, still laughing.

“Bucky,” Steve squeaks, clears his throat and then says in a more normal tone, “Bucky, I didn’t realize you were home.” His face is a furious red.

Bucky pulls himself together and smirks, “I could tell.” His husband is still standing there staring at him, and while normally Bucky would continue to tease him, today he decides to take pity on him.

Without looking Bucky hits play on Steve’s StarkPlayer, and the familiar violin intro begins. Bucky bops his head up and down to the instruments and when the lyrics start he sings along, pantomiming the words.

“I threw a wish in the well. Don't ask me I'll never tell. I looked at you as it fell. And now you're in my way,” Bucky sings, miming tossing a coin into an imaginary well and then shimmies himself closer to Steve, knocking one shoulder into his on the last line of the verse.

“I trade my soul for a wish. Pennies and dimes for a kiss. I wasn't looking for this. But now you're in my way,” he clutches dramatically at his heart before turning out his pockets. On the last line he again knocks his shoulder into Steve’s again. Steve cracks a grin.

Bucky sings the next verse, gesturing grandly and tugging on Steve’s belt loop and when the chorus starts he belts it out as loud as he can, “Hey I just met you! And this is crazy! But here's my number! So call me maybe! It's hard to look right, at you baby! But here's my number! So call me maybe!”

He holds his left hand to his ear like a phone and grabs Steve’s hand with his right, tugging him into the center of the living room to dance. As the repetition of the chorus starts Steve joins him in singing, his strong and even tone making up for Bucky’s slightly warbly voice.

They sing the next verses, clutching at each other while trying to act out the words and failing miserably because they’re smiling so wide they can barely sing and refuse to let go of each other. Bucky does manage to hop onto the couch and fall dramatically backwards like a fainting lady at the line, “I took no time with the fall.”

Steve hauls Bucky up over his shoulder at the words, “Where you think you’re going baby?” and proceeds to spin in a circle for the rest of the chorus while Bucky laughs before Steve collapses purposefully onto the floor so they land in a pile at the first, “Before you came into my life. I missed you so bad.” He’s staring into Bucky’s eyes while he sings the words. Bucky tries to resist rolling his eyes. He fails.

He is determined to keep things happy, despite Steve’s tendency to be an over-dramatic sap. Bucky hauls both of them to their feet, where he drags Steve into a modified Lindy Hop for the rest of the song, singing as loud as he can. Steve laughs and joins in easily.

“Before you came into my life. I missed you so bad. And you should know that. So call me, maybe!” They shout the last line and fall into one another laughing.

Dragging each other and roughhousing their way to the couch they collapse onto it happily, leaning into one another. Bucky smiles at Steve, who smiles back, and wishes he could stay in this moment forever.

Unfortunately Steve’s growling stomach interrupts and Bucky suddenly remembers he’s left the groceries on the counter. “Shit!” He moans, “I forgot to put away the groceries.” He stands up before pulling Steve up as well, and heads to the kitchen.

Steve follows and helps unpack the groceries, frowning in confusion at some of the items. Bucky had found something called dragon-fruit at the store, no way was he missing out on that.

“Hey Buck?” Steve asks as he puts away the rice.

“Yeah?” Bucky glances over from where he’s shoving the vegetables into the crisper.

“I was thinkin’ about names earlier, and found one we should consider addin’ to the list.” Steve puts three ten-pound bags of potatoes in the pantry. His normally subdued Brooklyn accent thick in the privacy of their home.

“What name?” Bucky asks, pausing in his attempt to shove a head of lettuce into a mostly full crisper, “We’ve only got three months left before the baby gets here, we need to start lookin’ over the list instead of addin’ more.”

Steve nods reluctantly, “Yeah, you’re right. Last one unless it’s really somethin’ special?”

“Sure,” Bucky shrugs.

“Great.” Steve smirks, “I think we oughta consider Dilbert for a boy.”

Bucky grins widely, holding carrots in his left hand and a bottle of milk in his right, and tries not to cackle in glee, “I love it!”

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Bucky discretely covers his yawn as he listens to the wife of some muckity-muck businessman yammer on about her grandfather’s service in the War. Because he cares so much about what her grandfather had done… somewhere as a… something to do with the Air Corps? Marine Corps? Whatever.

Why is it that people these days feel the need to tell him and Steve whatever their whoever did in the War? They’d fucking been there, they didn’t need to hear about it from someone who wasn’t.

“Misty!” An ear-splittingly screechy voice cut through the crowd at the charity gala.

The woman talking at Bucky turns plastering the fakest grin he’s ever seen on her face as she calls back, “Krystal! I didn’t know you’d be here!”

Bucky uses the distraction to attempt to sneak away but before he can get more than a foot annoying trophy wife number one grabs his arm. Bucky twitches as the instinct to fling her across the room surfaces to the front, and not entirely because of shell shock.

“Krystal, you’ll never believe who I ran into,” Misty squeals.

Bucky gives the woman his best Winter Soldier glare and growls lightly. She doesn’t even flinch.

“No,” Krystal gasps dramatically, “Is that Bucky Barnes? Captain America’s sidekick?” She squeals.

Bucky’s eye starts twitching.

“I’m such a huge fan!” Krystal screeches. “I had the biggest crush on you in middle school,” she babbles, “I used to keep your picture in my locker and everything!”

“No!” Misty gasps, “You slut! Captain America’s sidekick? Really?” She has a death grip on his arm.

The eye-twitch gets worse.

“For reals,” Krystal assures Misty, “Like he was my total sexual awakening in seventh grade history.”

Bucky contemplates stabbing both women and claiming it was a flashback and he’d thought they were HYDRA coming to take him away.

“No way!” Misty gasps again, “I cannot believe you were a Bucky-girl!”

Is that a thing? God in heaven tell him that isn’t a thing.

“You were a total Cap-girl weren’t you,” Krystal accuses with a gasp.

Apparently it’s a thing. Bucky prays to Thor for a lightning bolt to strike him down where he stands.

“I so was!” Misty squeals.

“I knew it you whore!” Krystal gives Misty a fake smile. Misty’s death grip tightens and her fake nails dig into his arm.

Bucky realizes his eye-twitch is actually Morse code for S-O-S.

“Oh please,” Misty scoffs with a plastic smile of her own, “Everyone was a Cap-girl, Krystal. But you’re just the type to be different and go for Cap’s sidekick.”

Bucky gives up on the lightning bolt. Jeeze, what good is it knowing a god if he doesn’t help you out when you’re in a tight spot. He’s not sure either woman actually remembers he’s standing right there anymore. Maybe he’s become invisible?

“Bucky’s more than just Cap’s sidekick! And he’s gorgeous!” Krystal protests, “Have you seen his eyes?” She actually gestures at him. Apparently he’s not invisible, just an object. “Have you ever seen anything so gorgeous? And his mouth is absolutely fuckable.”

Alright, that’s it. “That’s what my husband says,” Bucky deadpans.

Both women turn to gape at him, and right on cue Steve walks up with two glasses of wine. Sam, Darcy, Thor and Jane are with him.

“Buck,” Steve grins, “I’ve been looking everywhere for you! Where’d you get off to?”

“Here, Stevie.” Bucky mutters, “Unfortunately.” He jerks his arm hard, ripping it away from Misty. He’s certain he hurt her hand a bit and honestly couldn’t care less, especially since he’s sure he has impressions of her claws on his arm.

Immediately going to Steve he presses himself up against him and kisses his cheek. If they were in private or just around their friends he’d normally greet Steve with a kiss on the mouth, but in public neither of them feel comfortable with showing affection. Old habits long ingrained from fear meant they kept their hands to themselves. His kiss on Steve’s cheek is one of the more explicit things they’ve done in public.

Hence why Steve shoots him a discretely startled look. But when Bucky leans up against his side in a full body press Steve obligingly wraps an arm around his shoulders.

“Making friends Bucky?” Steve asks, smiling at the two women who are gaping at them.

Bucky ignores the question, “Steve I just found out the most interesting thing from Krystal here, apparently middle school girls divide themselves up depending on which one of us brings about their ‘sexual awakening’ in seventh grade history class.” If he’s got to suffer living with that knowledge than dammit so does Steve.

Steve, who had been sipping his wine, chokes violently. Bucky shifts slightly away, he doesn’t want red wine on his tuxedo. If it gets stained he might have to deal with fittings for a new one, and no one but Steve gets their hands that close to his dick.

Darcy offers a vicious grin from where she’s standing beside Sam, “Oh you didn’t know about Cap-girls and Bucky-girls?”

Bucky suppresses a wince, “No I did not.” He chugs his wine and grabs another two glasses from a passing waiter and chugs both of them too. Steve, who has his hand outstretched, reaching for Bucky to give him a glass, shoots him a betrayed look.

“Oh yeah,” Darcy is a cruel, cruel woman, “It was this huge thing everyone would pick one or the other of you to moon over. Your pictures would be in lockers, glued to folders, slipped in the front of binder, and wallpapered across bedrooms. There were literal cat-fights, well kitten-fights technically, between Bucky-girls and Cap-girls. It’s like Team Edward vs. Team Jacob on steroids.”

Bucky doesn’t quite grasp that last reference (something to do with vampires and werewolves and really trashy teen romance novels, he thinks) but he still whimpers in pain as Misty, Krystal and Jane all nod along.

Jane has a shit-eating grin on her face. Bucky shoots her a betrayed look, “Et tu, Brute?” He likes Jane, she’s always willing to talk science with him and teach him stuff and let him help out in the lab.

Misty squeals, “I got into the biggest cat-fight with my former best friend Tiffany over how much hotter Cap was than his sidekick.” The sheer amount of disdain she puts into the word makes Bucky scowl, he’s not a fucking sidekick. Steve flinches and lowers his brows angrily. “I never spoke to that bitch again,” Misty continues obliviously, “I mean, how could she have possibly thought Bucky was hotter than Cap- just ugh.”

“Hey,” Steve, Jane, Darcy and Sam all protest at once. Steve goes stiff and drops his arm from Bucky’s shoulders as his hands ball angrily into fists at his side.

Thor slaps Bucky on the back, “Friend Bucky is a comely man, both fair of face and form.”

“Thanks Thor,” Bucky says dryly. Thor nods regally in response.

Misty ignores them and looks at Steve coquettishly, “I just, you were always my favorite, I admire what you did for our country sooo much,” she sidles closer to where Bucky and Steve are standing beside each other and rubs one hand up and down Steve’s arm. Steve stiffens immediately and attempts to lean away from her, but Misty takes another step closer, “Maybe I could show you how much I appreciate your service, Captain, with a little service of my own.”

Okay, now Bucky is actually pissed off.

“Oh my God!” Krystal screeches loudly enough to draw eyes from people nearby, “Misty you complete whore! Like, what is your issue? Captain America is married, and his husband is right there.” She points emphatically to Bucky, who is willing to admit she is the last person he expected to defend them.

He’s almost willing to admit he may have misjudged Krystal, but then she says, “Besides even if they’re both, like, totally gay I’d take Bucky over Cap any day and you’re insaner than I thought if you think differently.”

“Captain America can’t be gay, Krystal!” Misty argues, “If a good woman just showed him how awesome vajayjay is he’d totally turn straight. And you’re wrong, Krystal,” Misty sneers, “Cap all the way!”

Steve groans and puts his head on Bucky’s shoulder, “I’m bi,” he mutters. “Tell me this isn’t really happening Buck?” He begs over Krystal and Misty’s increasingly loud shouting. Bucky pats him consolingly (and condescendingly) on the shoulder.

“I feel like I’m in middle school again,” Darcy says wistfully, “Quick, someone argue that Ashton Kutcher beats both Steve and Bucky.”

Jane snorts loudly in amusement as Misty slaps at Krystal. Krystal slaps back, and seriously they are not paying Bucky enough for this shit. Oh, wait, he’s not being paid for this at all.

Sam snickers, “Man I cannot believe you two didn’t know about Cap-girls and Bucky-girls. It’s seriously been happening since, like, the fifties.”

“A most gracious compliment!” Thor booms.

“Um,” Jane says, “Someone should probably separate them.” She waves a hand at Misty and Krystal who are now pulling each other’s hair with one hand each and slapping ineffectively at each other with the other.

Tony appears at their elbow, “Sweet, chick fight!” Bucky looks for Tony’s keeper but Pepper is off glad-handing an older couple.

“Captain America forever!” Misty screams as Krystal gives a particularly hard pull on her hair.

“How is that supposed to do any damage?” Bucky complains as he watches the women, “Seriously they’re both horrible at brawling.”

“Um, so not the point Buckaroo Banzai,” Tony says giving Bucky a look. “The point is there are two hot chicks fighting, and it is beautiful.”

Bucky disagrees as Krystal yowls like a dying cat when Misty manages to rip her dress, “This is Versace you whore!”

“It’s totally a knock-off bitch!” Misty screeches back.

“This ain’t beautiful Stark,” Bucky says, “It’s a pitiful display of combat which shows neither woman has any training or technique.”

“It’s demeaning to women everywhere to fetishize fights like these,” Steve says seriously.

“Wow,” Tony says flatly, “You guys sound so gay right now it isn’t even funny.”

“They’re both bi,” Natasha appears right behind Tony, causing him to yelp and shoot up into the air. “They’d have been killed quickly in the Red Room,” she comments, looking at the cat-fight.

“Don’t,” Tony gasps, hand over his heart, “Don’t do that! Jesus woman, I’m getting you a bell.” Clint snickers at Tony from behind Natasha, who is giving Tony a flat look that makes him squirm.

“Bucky Barnes rules!” Krystal yowls as Misty rakes her clawed hand down Krystal’s face.

At that Bucky turns his attention back to the fighting women (if you could call that fighting) with a frown. There’s something real familiar about this.

Suddenly the memory hits, “The Carmichael and Donnelly girls!” Bucky beams, he always feels a small sense of accomplishment when a new memory returns, especially a good one. These days he remembers most everything so the return of old memories is few and far between but there are still some gaps, here and there, in his memory.

Steve groans, “I was hoping you’d forgotten that forever.”

Bucky smacks his arm, “Bite your tongue.”

“Bite it for me,” Steve replies instantly and Bucky snorts. It had been their standard exchange as children before they’d realized how it could be misinterpreted. Well, before one of the older neighborhood boys had taken them aside and explained why it was a bad idea to say really.

The others give them odd looks, except for Clint and Darcy who laugh at them. And Krystal and Misty who are now clawing at each other’s eyes while alternately screeching “Bucky!” and “Cap!”

“So when is security coming over?” Jane asks, peering around curiously.

“Never I hope,” Tony is staring avidly at the women. Bucky feels sleazy just standing near him.

“Oh there they are,” Jane comments peering towards where two burly security guards are attempting to push through the crowd watching the two women fight.

“Steve,” Bucky’s entire face lights up. “Stevie, the Carmichael girl!”

Steve groans again, “Yes Bucky they were fighting over who got to ask you to that Sadie Hawkins thing the Knights of Columbus were putting on even though you were out of high school already.”

“Seriously?” Clint raises one eyebrow, scandalized, “You forgot a girl-fight over who’d get to ask you to a dance?” Natasha sighs and rolls her eyes.

“Yeah,” Bucky tells him simply, before turning to Steve with a wicked grin, “But Stevie, you remember the Carmichael girl’s name? Real unique it was.”

The security guards finally arrive to pull Misty and Krystal apart.

Steve frowns for a second before realization strikes, “Yeah!” He enthuses, “I always admired how creative her parents must have been to come up with a name like that.” His face is the picture of perfect innocence as he says, “Buck, I know we said we were done adding names since we only have two months left but could we consider adding Murgatroyd? I can’t believe I ever forgot about it!”

“Murgatroyd!” Sam hisses in horror to Darcy who is staring at them open-mouthed.

“Stevie,” Bucky nods seriously, eyes twinkling, “I think it should be on the top of the list!”

Tony makes a sound like a cat being strangled. Or, rather, like a trophy wife in a cat-fight.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bucky’s flipping through the latest celebrity gossip magazine on the couch in the Avengers’ Tower common area waiting for everyone else so they can play some new game Tony had found. Steve is lying sideways with his head in Bucky’s lap and is reading Ayn Rand’s "Anthem" as Bucky absentmindedly runs a hand through his hair.

Ever since the gala last month all of the tabloids have been buzzing with rumors that he and Steve are ‘expecting’. Rumors which they have neither confirmed nor denied despite there being only three weeks until the baby’s due. He barks out a laugh as he reads the latest article.

“Hmm?” Steve hums his question, looking up at him.

“They’re speculatin’ what we’d name the baby,” Bucky smirks.

“What names are they guessing?” Sam flops down into a nearby armchair.

“Steve’s or my parents’ names or somethin’ that was popular when we were born. They listed the top ten baby names for both boys and girls in the 1920s,” Bucky rolls his eyes.

“They’re well researched,” Steve snorts sarcastically.

“Umm, what do you mean?” Sam frowns.

“I was born in 1918,” Steve tells him, “Bucky in 1917.”

Sam nods, “Gotcha. But out of curiosity what were the top baby names in the ‘20s?”

“Um,” Bucky looks down at the list, “In order from one to ten, the boys’ names are: Robert, John, James, William, Charles, George, Joseph, Richard, Edward and Donald.”

“James?” Sam asks with a grin, “Really?”

“Why do you think he went by Bucky? There were, what, six or seven James in your class?” Steve looks at Bucky.

“Nine,” Bucky tells him. He looks at Sam, “Hell, there were three Jameses just in the Howling Commandos- Me, Morita who went by Jim, and Falsworth who we all called Monty.”

Sam is obviously surprised, “Well you learn something new every day.”

“What about the girls Buck?” Steve asks.

“Lessee, girls’ top ten are: Mary, Dorothy, Helen, Betty, Margaret, Ruth, Virginia, Doris, Mildred and Frances.” Bucky reads. Then he frowns, “Stevie I think we oughta cross Doris off the list, I don’t wanna be reminded of Doris Day every time I call for my girl.”

Steve nods, “Yeah Buck, you’re right.” He pulls out his notebook just as everyone else arrives.

Most of them sit down and stare at Bucky and Steve, who slowly sits up as the others stare at them.

“Um,” Steve says and Bucky can tell he’s furiously racking his brain for something they’ve done wrong, as well as how to get out of being in trouble. It’s the same damn face Steve used to use whenever his mother had called him out on something.

Natasha plucks Steve’s notebook from his lax fingers, “Steven, James, we need to talk.” Steve and Bucky exchange a dismayed look.

“This is an intervention,” Tony calls out from where he’s pouring everyone tumblers of top-shelf whiskey at the wet bar. The glasses are filled to the brim. “We’re not doing it because we love you though. We’re doing it because we don’t want your kid to be the laughingstock of the playground- it’d look really bad on us if the only baby-venger is picked on.”

Pepper barks, “Tony!”

“We are here in support of you, our brethren, and your unborn babe!” Thor declares, “We bid you name said child wisely with a strong name, a warrior’s name to bid it a future full of victories most glorious. A name such as Njörðr or Arnbjörg is most fitting for a child of such valiant warriors!”

Jane sighs, “Sweetie, that’s very kind but it’s not helping.” She pats Thor's arm consolingly. Darcy just laughs.

“I’m confused,” Bucky admits, “What the hell is going on? And what’s an intervention?”

“It’s where if someone’s a drug addict or an alcoholic their friends tell them they need to stop and they love them and then the addict goes to rehab and stops wanting dope,” Steve tells him.

“Um, no,” Sam says.

“That’s the basics,” Clint argues.

“It’s really not,” Sam disagrees.

“Off topic,” Natasha’s tone of voice is even and her face placid but both Clint and Sam snap their mouths shut immediately. “We are concerned with what name you are choosing for your child,” she tells Bucky and Steve, “Many of the names we have heard you discuss are outdated and will lead to ridicule from the child’s peers.”

Bucky exchanges a quick glance with Steve and says, “I don’t understand all of the names we’ve talked about are perfectly normal.” He tilts his head, “Except Murgatroyd, but we decided against that one- there ain’t any cute nicknames for a kid outta it.”

“I still say we could use Trudie,” Steve mumbles.

Bucky rolls his eyes and waves a hand at Steve as if to say ‘can you believe this guy?’

“Yeah, that’s what we’re talkin’ about,” Sam tells them earnestly.

“What do you mean?” Steve asks innocently.

“Boys,” Natasha reads from Steve’s notebook, “Clarence, Norman, Hubert, Clinton, Anthony, Thor, Bruce, Samuel, Jarvis, Chester, Clifford, Homer, Leslie, Ernest,” she flips a couple of pages and keeps reading, “Buford, Delbert, Dilbert, Millard, Norbert, Seymour, Hyman.”

“Hymen?” Clint laughs, “Oh my God is that an actual name? Tell me that isn’t a real name!” Tony is laughing so hard he’s crying.

Bucky frowns, “We knew several Hymans growing up- there was Hyman Zimmerman and Hyman Rosenblatt and my cousin, Hyman Neumann. Most of ‘em went by Hymie. What’s wrong with that name?”

“We’ll discuss female anatomy and modern racial slurs later,” Pepper holds up a hand at Tony’s loud guffaw.

“I know plenty about female anatomy,” Bucky mutters under his breath. Steve pats his shoulder comfortingly.

“When was the last time you slept with a woman Barnes?” Tony asks skeptically, “1942?”

Bucky chooses not to dignify that with an answer.

“After that illustrious example of poor name choices,” Natasha says sarcastically, “Let’s look at your selections for girls’ names.” She flips a few pages and starts to read again, “Edna, Phyllis, Thelma, Dorcas, Gertrude, Natasha, Jane, Darcy, Wanda, Laura, Virginia, Pepper, Ethel, Bernice, Agnes, Beatrice, Mildred, Millicent, Alva, Alma, Geraldine, Maude, Fannie.” She stops as Tony, Clint and Darcy all start snickering and looks up at Steve and Bucky, “Fannie? Really boys?”

“It was my aunt’s name,” Steve says earnestly and Bucky discretely sends him an amused glance. Steve never had an aunt.

“Right,” Bruce sighs, “Here’s the thing everyone is beating about the bush with. The names you’re discussing? All of those names,” he points at the notebook, “They all are so outdated that it isn’t funny.” At Steve and Bucky’s confused faces he sighs and asks, “What was a name a lot of old people had when you were kids but none of your classmates had?”

Bucky suggests with a grimace, “Hiram?”

“Josiah,” Steve contributes with a frown.

“Okay, so all the names on your list,” Bruce points at the notebook in Natasha’s hands again, “They sound to modern ears like Hiram and Josiah do to you.”

“Oh,” Bucky looks at Steve. Steve looks at Bucky. They both try not to grin.

Bruce gives them a small smile, “Why don’t you google names that are ‘in’ these days? Maybe that will help you decide?”

“What’s a ‘google’?” Steve frowns.

Bucky puts on his best ‘confused’ look, “Is that an apple on those computer-things Tony keeps giving us?”

Steve snaps his fingers as if in realization, “No Buck, I just remembered, a ‘google’ is a flock of geese.” He blinks innocently at Bruce, “Gee, Bruce, I’m not sure geese will help us find a swell name for the baby.”

Tony makes a noise that sounds vaguely like a cat being skinned combined with a spoon caught in garbage disposal. They’ve been playing him for years now, claiming not to understand modern technology. Steve claims that when he first started he thought Tony would figure him out in a couple of months. They’d both thought that Bucky joining in would surely give the game away within a month or two.

They’d both been wildly conservative in their estimates.

“Google is a search engine. And that ‘computer-thing’ is a StarkTab,” Tony moans to himself, “One I designed especially for seniors!”

“Why would we need a computer to search an engine? I’ve got eyes and, well, two almost-hands.” Bucky looks over at Steve, making his eyes go wide, “These modern folks sure are nutty.” Steve nods mock-solemnly.

Tony groans as if in pain.

Bruce sighs, he had figured Steve’s technology prank out in about six months, and Bucky’s in less than one, “We’ll get you the top fifty names of the last ten years, okay? You can get a feel for what’s in fashion now.”

Bucky blinks at the assembled Avengers, et al. and says innocently, “I’m guessing Seaman ain’t a popular name anymore either?”

Based on the synchronized stare of horror, it isn’t.

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The day that Bucky and Steve get the call that they are officially fathers they drop what they’re doing and take off for the hospital. Since they are in the middle of a battle against mutant millipedes in Paramus, New Jersey (Bucky had, admittedly, spent the first thirty or so minutes of the fight asking Steve if he recognized this building or that park much the consternation of their teammates) it probably isn’t the best time to be high-tailing it out of their with a belated call over the comms. to their teammates.

However as soon as Steve shouts, “The baby’s here!” and slams his shield through one last row of legs with a spray of lime green ichor the others let out a ragged cheer and tell Bucky and Steve they’ll meet them at the hospital after the battle. Which is why they are now standing, in full uniform (and covered in ichor), outside of the maternity ward of Mount Sinai Hospital with the other waiting families giving them a wide berth.

Bucky thinks it’s the smell. Ichor is disgusting.

Their social worker at the adoption agency, Loretta, is beaming as she bustles out of the area in which Steve and Bucky can hear the distant screams of women giving birth. (Super-hearing is a curse sometimes.)

She takes one look at them and her delighted grin falls immediately, “What on Earth?” She scowls, “No, absolutely not, I don’t care if you just saved the world from cannibalistic unicorns, you are not meeting your baby like that!”

This is how Bucky and Steve end up shoved into a too-small hospital shower and then dressed in a couple pairs of some of the larger nurses’ scrubs. Bucky’s are too tight in the ass and Steve’s shoulders are about to rip apart the seams but neither of them care as Loretta finally, finally takes them back into the ward, leading them to a large window.

Bucky turns to look through the window and sucks in a sharp breath. Rows and rows of babies lie in cots, waiting to go home. His eyes scan frantically trying to figure out which child is theirs.

“Which, which one is, which is,” Steve stutters, Brooklyn accent thick as can be, his own eyes flicking frantically over the tiny faces. Loretta is beaming as she points to a little bundle wrapped in a white blanket with pink and blue stripes a nurse is picking up with a smile.

Bucky’s heart stops. His whole world slides out from under him in a heartbeat and before his heart even has a chance to beat again everything he ever thought of as important is rearranged. There are only two things in the universe he cares about at that moment- his child and his husband. Everything else can burn. All he can see is a small tuft of dark hair sticking up over the edge and he already knows he would move heaven and earth to keep that little bundle happy.

Steve is taking deep, gasping breaths next to him like its 1930-something and he’s having an asthma attack. Bucky reaches his right hand out blindly to grab onto Steve who grasps him back so tightly it’s painful. That’s okay, Bucky’s certain he’s gripping back just as hard.

The nurse pulls open the door to the ward and Bucky steps forwards eagerly, Steve only a half a step behind him. The nurse smiles down at the baby before stepping up to them, a bright smile on his face, “It’s a girl.”

The nurse holds out the baby, their daughter and Bucky is suddenly nervous. What if he hurts her? She’s so tiny, even all wrapped up that she could fit in his hands. What if his metal arm grips her too tightly? Babies are soft, delicate. His arm is a weapon made for destruction, not nurturing.

Fear and horror nearly overwhelm him and just as he’s about to have Steve go and get her, Steve nudges Bucky forwards instead. Bucky sucks in a shaky breath as the nurse places her in his arms and it’s as if every horrible thing he’s seen, every horrible thing he’s done melts away.

He stares down in awe at the tiny little girl in his arms, tucking her up against his chest out of muscle memory, even though it’s been years since he’s held a child. Steve presses up against his back, chin resting on Bucky’s shoulder and one arm around his waist, as his other hand reaches out to stroke gently over her fuzzy almost-black hair.

“She’s beautiful,” Steve whispers in awe.

Bucky can only nod helplessly in agreement. She has golden skin and dark hair, her eyes are shut- from either sleep or the light- and she is the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. He is surprised to feel a tear roll down his cheek, “She’s perfect.” His own accent is as thick as Steve’s.

“Perfect,” Steve repeats, his hand strokes her cheek.

“She’s, she’s healthy?” Bucky stutters, already unwrapping the blanket to count her fingers and toes.

“Perfectly healthy,” the nurse tells him as Bucky picks up her right hand to make sure it’s formed correctly. Steve has hold of her left hand. “She’s weighs six pounds, fifteen ounces and she’s nineteen inches long.”

“Her lungs,” Steve asks as Bucky bends her right leg gently, making sure it moves right. “Her lungs are good? An’ her heart?”

Bucky pauses and looks up, studying the nurse’s face as he smiles gently at them, “Her lungs are very strong, she let out a nice long wail after the birth, and her heart is great, nice and steady. The doctor declared her 100% healthy.”

Bucky both hears and feels the relieved sigh Steve lets out, and looks up to smile at his husband. He is surprised to find that Steve is crying too. Steve smiles down at him, “She’s healthy Buck,” he whispers, resting his forehead against the side of Bucky’s head as he looks down at their daughter.

Bucky looks down at her too, “She’s perfect,” he repeats, because she is. He breathes out awed, “Our beautiful, healthy daughter.” He knows Steve had been terrified she’d have bad lungs or a bad heart like he’d had.

“Our daughter,” Steve repeats, awed. Bucky turns around to smile at him and (reluctantly) hands the baby over to Steve. Steve freezes for a moment before pulling her in tightly to his chest. Bucky wraps his arm around both of them, and he and Steve’s foreheads rest against one another as they stare down at her.

“Hi baby,” Steve says in wonder, “I’m your Da.”

“I’m your Tatti,” Bucky says thickly, reaching out his hand to stroke her cheek with the back of one finger.

They stand there for several long minutes, Steve gently cradling their daughter and Bucky hugging both of them. There are tear tracks on both their cheeks, and Bucky could swear that it’s the baby that’s supposed to cry a lot and not them. But since when have he and Steve ever done things normally?

Loretta clears her throat softly, but both Bucky and Steve turn to look at her. “Sorry to interrupt,” she says, “But have you chosen a name for your daughter?”

Bucky and Steve smile at each other, and then at Loretta. “Yeah,” Steve smiles at her, “Yeah we have.”

Bucky’s about to open his mouth to tell her their daughter’s name. But of course this is when all of the Avengers and Pepper, Darcy and Jane all shove their way into the ward. Natasha even has her phone opened up and someone is obviously on speaker because Bucky can hear the tinny voice rapidly speaking. After a moment he identifies the voice as Laura, Clint’s wife and Natasha’s, um, something. He’s relieved they all have obviously taken the time to go and get cleaned up after the fight.

“Is the baby here?” Tony asks, looking around as if the kid may have wandered off. Pepper sighs but doesn’t say anything to him, obviously wondering the same thing.

Steve has turned, instinctively shielding their daughter, and Bucky has stepped in front of them both without thinking about it. Bucky clears his throat and steps aside and the room goes quiet.

“Everyone, this is our daughter,” Steve says proudly, “Sweetheart meet your Aunties and Uncles.”

“Oh,” Natasha breathes out softly, staring at the little girl. Clint wraps and arm around her. “Oh Laura she’s beautiful,” she says towards the phone, never removing her eyes from the baby. The others all take this as their cue to crowd around Bucky and Steve and stare at the baby.

“Hi Princess,” Sam coos down at her, “You’re gonna be the most spoiled girl in history.”

“She’s so tiny,” Tony says eyes wide, “Is she supposed to be that tiny?”

“She’s perfect,” Bucky tells him, tells all of them, relief audible. He glances down at her sleeping in Steve’s arms, “She’s very healthy.”

“She will be a warrior most valiant!” Thor booms out.

“Or a scientist most brilliant,” Jane interjects with a grin.

Their baby whimpers and flails a hand, and Bucky and Steve glare at Thor in unison, “Shh.”

“She’s sleeping numbskull,” Bucky scolds.

“You don’t wake a sleeping baby,” Steve adds.

After a moment Bruce beams at them as he says quietly, “She’s gorgeous guys, congratulations.”

“I cannot wait until she’s old enough to dress up in cute dresses,” Darcy squeals softly, “I was looking online the other day and I found the most adorable little dress. I already bought it, it has butterflies on it!”

“What would you have done if she was a boy?” Clint asks.

“Waited ‘til someone had a girl,” Darcy says, “Duh.”

Pepper clears her throat, “I hope it isn’t too presumptuous of me but I was unsure if it was tradition to get a ‘coming home outfit’ just to bring the baby home from the hospital in when you were growing up, so I purchased one for the baby.”

Steve and Bucky exchange a glance, “I, no Pepper, thanks,” Steve says, “We didn’t know that was a thing.”

“I was born at home,” Bucky says, “My parents couldn’t afford ta have a doctor there, so my Tatti found a midwife from the old country ta help. Most kids were born at home.”

“I was born in the hospital,” Steve grimaces, “But that’s ‘cause my Ma had caught the Spanish Flu and I was born almost two months early. Everyone figured I’d be stillborn or die in infancy because I was so early.”

“Two months early in 1918? Holy shit,” Bruce swears, “It’s a miracle you made it.”

Steve shrugs but Bucky nods fervently, “His Ma used ta call him her miracle,” he informs the others. “And this is our miracle,” Bucky looks down at their girl and smiles widely, “Hey there bubbeleh. Stevie look, her eyes are open.”

Steve stares down at the baby in awe, “They’re amazin’. You’re beautiful a thaisce.” He presses a kiss to her forehead and Bucky can’t help but copy the motion.

“What’s her name?” Sam asks the question everyone’s been wondering about (and worrying about) for the last six months.

Bucky and Steve share a look and then Bucky tells the Avengers, “We decided ta go with our first choice, despite your talk last month, so her name is Veneria Fanny Barnes-Rogers.”

The entire crowd attempts to keep from looking horrified. Bucky keeps a straight face while Steve smiles at them innocently.

“Um, what a name?” Sam offers eventually. No one else manages to say anything.

It’s Steve who loses it first, laughing hysterically at them. “You… You guys!”

Bucky quickly breaks and laughs as well, “Your faces, oh God!”

“So that isn’t really her name?” Clint looks extremely relieved as both Bucky and Steve shake their heads, still laughing.

“Wait a minute,” Tony points back and forth between them, “All those horrible names you were talking about! That was a joke?”

This time Bucky and Steve both nod, having calmed enough to merely be smirking widely instead of laughing hysterically.

“You assholes! Did you seriously just troll us for the last six months?” Tony asks incredulously.

“Yup,” Bucky smirks proudly, picking up their girl from Steve’s arms, it’s his turn to hold her.

“And don’t curse in front of the baby, Tony,” Steve levels him with his best ‘I’m very disappointed in you son’ look that makes Tony swallow heavily and hang his head. Pepper smacking him reproachfully on his arm may have helped with that.

“If she was a boy,” Bucky grins, and then flashes Steve a look, “Or if Stevie hadn’t said she was a girl,” Steve shrugs apologetically, “We’d have said her name was Richard Gaylord, Dick for short.”

Clint chokes he’s laughing so hard and the others all look at them in shock.

“You are devious,” Tony declares.

“Good job guys,” Bruce compliments them with a smile.

The nurse clears his throat, “So her name isn’t Veneria Fanny then?” He has a pen over the birth certificate, “Because unless I hear another name soon that’s what I’m writing.”

“No,” Bucky says firmly, glaring at the nurse who shrinks back a bit. Bucky preens, even when holding his newborn daughter he’s still got it.

“Her name’s Georgeta Sarah,” Steve smiles down at their girl, “For Bucky’s Tatti an’ my Ma.”

“It’s beautiful,” Natasha says with a soft smile as she reaches out her hand to rub over the baby’s hair.

“It’s practically normal,” Tony sighs in relief. Then yelps when Pepper elbows him.

“Hi Georgeta,” Bucky smiles down at her, “Your Uncle Tony’s pretty silly, bubbeleh, but you’ll get used ta it.”

“We love you, Georgeta,” Steve smiles as she reaches out one hand to wrap it around his finger.

Loretta clears her throat, “How about I take a family photo?” She holds up her phone, “I’ll send it to you later.”

“Great!” Steve exclaims, wrapping one arm around Bucky and arranging the three of them for the photo. Suddenly he frowns, looking over his shoulder, “Wait, where are you all going?”

Bucky turns to see the others have all stepped back, out of the frame and he scowls, “Get over here, I want the picture done so we can take her home.”

With broad smiles the others all make their way back over, and once everyone is in place Loretta counts down and snaps a few photos. “Thanks Loretta,” Steve says, giving the woman a hug, “For everythin’. And tell her mother thank you for us.” Bucky nods his agreement.

She hugs Steve back and then blinks in surprise when Bucky steps forward to hug her with one arm, “Thank you,” he tells her sincerely, “For… for thinkin’ I’d be good with a kid, even after… well, after.” He smiles at the baby in his arm.

She smiles at him and pats his cheek gently, reminding him suddenly and fiercely of Steve’s Ma, “You just promise to come to me when you decide to give this little one a brother or sister.”

Bucky smiles, “I promise.”

“We both do,” Steve says sincerely. He looks down at the baby, “Alright Georgeta, are you ready ta go home? Let’s go get you changed into that pretty outfit your Auntie Pepper bought.”

Of course five minutes after they’ve gotten in the limo Tony insisted on Georgeta messes her diaper so badly that it gets on the dress and they spend the rest of the ride home with a screaming infant and a whining Tony.
Chapter End Notes:
The title is from a riddle found in Janis Ian's short story "Eli and the Dybbuk" which can be found in the anthology "Young Warriors". In order to save his neighbor, Leah, from being possessed for all eternity by an evil spirit known as a dybbuk Eli must trick the dybbuk. So he asks her "What is it that everything has?" The dybbuk answers wrong, and thus Eli saves Leah.

The correct answer is, of course, "A Name."



1. For readers who have one of the many, many vetoed names in this story I selected those names not out of personal dislike but because, statistically, those are the most outdated names in the US. I'm sure you all have wonderful names.

2. For those who aren't as familiar with English language slang, or at least the slightly more obscure terms, a "fanny" is either a persons buttocks (in the US) or a woman's privates (in the UK, Australia, NZ, etc.). Also "Veneria" sounds like "venereal", hence why it was chosen. I'm pretty sure most everyone will understand why the name "Dick Gaylord" is a BAD IDEA.
2.5. For those not familiar with Spanish slang the term "El Mariposa" is slang for homosexual.

3. The songs being sung by Steve and Bucky are Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" and Carly Rae Jepson's "Call Me Maybe". They, and anything else recognizable, aren't mine.

4. The chorus for Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping" is "I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down. I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down."

5. Bucky is Jewish and uses some Yiddish in this fic. Specifically the terms "schmuck", "bubbeleh", and "Tatti". Schmuck is a term used about a person that means 'dick' or 'asshole'. Bubbeleh is a common endearment for children (particularly girls) and it means 'little doll.' Tatti is the Yiddish version of Daddy.
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