In The Land Of Idiot Boys
Summary: The Howlies get a new member.
Warnings: Tooth-rotting fluff
This chapter is not explicit, but given that the rest of the series is VERY EXPLICIT, my standard 18+ warning will still apply.
18+ ONLY PLEASE! MINORS DNI. If you hit Keep Reading you agree that you're 18 or older.
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It’s a rainy afternoon in the middle of a rainy week. The Howlies had played a few shows in Indiana, and found it peaceful enough, so they decided to take a few days to breathe before moving along. Bucky needed to stretch his legs, so he went for a walk while there was a break in the rain. Scott got burgers from a local cafe for everyone, and is playing one of the Hellraiser movies on his laptop while you eat.
Suddenly, the door to the RV crashes open, and Bucky stomps up the steps.
“Hey! Easy on the fucking door man!” Scott shouts.
Bucky doesn’t even react. Muttering to himself, he just toes off his sneakers and dives into your bunk, leather jacket, wet clothes, and all.
“Okay, that was weird,” Nat says, then looks at Steve, “Wasn’t that weird?”
“Very weird,” Steve nods. He pokes you. “Go ask him what’s wrong.”
“Why me?” you squeak. “What did I do to you?”
“Come on,” Clint laughs, “you’re the cutest one here, so he can’t possibly get mad at you. And if he is mad, you’re the newest one here, so our period of mourning will be much shorter.” You punch him in the arm, and he snickers.
“You fuckers,” you grumble, “you owe me.”
If he was mad, he probably wouldn’t yell at you. Right?
You poke your head into the bunk, “Hi Buck! Is everything okay?”
He’s sitting back against the wall with a square of plastic wrap in his lap, with what used to be a sandwich on it. It’s been disassembled, bread and fixings off to one side, and the meat in a separate pile. His fingers are busy tearing the meat into tiny pieces. So far, it’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen him do. And he still hasn’t looked up at you.
“What’s going on?” you ask again.
Then, it gets one hundred percent weirder, because Bucky takes a pinch of the sandwich meat and stuffs it into the inner pocket of his leather jacket. Huh.
You turn around and shoot Steve a look. He eyes you curiously. You climb into the bunk, and he follows.
“Buck,” Steve sits next to you, “what’s going on, man?”
“Why are you… feeding... your coat...?”
“He did what now?” Steve does a double take.
Again, Bucky takes a pinch of lunchmeat and stuffs it inside the jacket pocket.
“Um, Bucky, can you look at me please?” you ask. Surprisingly, he does. “Hi. Welcome home. What’cha got in there, Buck?”
He clears his throat. “I don’t wanna say.”
You lean forward and scowl at him, “So you’re just going to keep… whatever that is, in your jacket pocket indefinitely?”
“Maybe?” he says slowly, deflecting.
“Come on. Show me,” you make a grabby hands motion at him.
He grumbles. “Fine. But I had to take her. She’s so little. Someone just left her there in a box. It’s fucking raining. She could have drowned!” His agitation grows until he’s nearly shouting.
“Okay, well, let me see it—her,” you ask gently.
He huffs, but he opens his jacket, and scoops a tiny ball of snow out of his pocket. No, not snow… a kitten. She makes a chirruping noise and Bucky smiles at her, holding her against his chest. He gives her another pinch of lunchmeat, which she devours greedily.
You and Steve are both in vapor lock. Of all the things you expected him to pull out of his jacket, a kitten wouldn’t have even made the list.
He sets her down and she immediately starts sniffing around. She doesn’t go far, frequently returning to Bucky to headbutt his elbow, and eat some meat, pinched delicately between Bucky’s vibranium fingers. He’s cooing nonsensical baby talk to her, and she answers him with her trill little meows.
It’s the softest thing you’ve ever witnessed.
Eventually she notices you and Steve, and she clumsily dashes over to playfully swat at your fingers when you try to skritch her head.
“She’s wet,” Steve points out, slipping out of the bunk, and returning with a hand towel. He plops her onto his lap and starts rubbing her with the towel while she loudly complains about the affront to her dignity.
“Someone left her in a box,” he says again, his voice hovering somewhere between sad-enough-to-cry and mad-enough-to gut-someone. “It was too tall for her to climb out. It was filling up with rain.” He looks at the ball of floof in Steve’s lap, worry creasing his brow. “She could have died,” he finishes softly.
“Oh, babe. It’s okay,” you soothe, taking the little kitty—now dry—from Steve. You rub her forehead and she starts to purr, licking your fingers with her rough little tongue. She’s so tiny she fits into your cupped hand perfectly. “You saved her. She didn’t die. She’s perfectly fine. And we’ll take care of her.”
Steve snickers, “Scott’s going to be delighted to know we got a cat.”
“She won’t be any trouble,” Bucky starts, “I’ll take care of her, clean up after her, and feed her. He won’t even know she’s here.”
“You don’t have to sell her to me, babe,” Steve chuckles, “I’m just as smitten as you are.”
She’s holding your finger to her face with both paws while you rub her cheeks. Steve boops her nose and her bright blue eyes cross trying to track his finger.
“Does she have a name?” you ask.
“I don’t know. I was thinking she looked like snow. But Snowball is kind of a lazy name for a white cat. So, how about Alpine?”
“Bucky,” you gasp,”I think Alpine is perfect.” You set her down, and she trots over to him and climbs up his legs. He gives her more lunchmeat, she eats it, heatbutts his stomach, makes a sweet little murrup noise, and falls asleep in a little pile on his lap.
Bucky looks down at her, and up to you, and his face is so fragile. You can tell losing this kitten will break his heart. So you decide you'll be the one to talk to Scott. You hold up one finger and climb over Steve and out of the bunk.
“Scott,” you bark, motioning him over to the kitchen, away from Clint and Nat. “So look,” you say in a rush, “we got a cat. And if you have a problem with that, I’m prepared to club you over the head and leave your unconscious body by the side of the road.”
“A cat?” he repeats. You nod. You’re surprised when he says, “Cool! I love cats!”
“Just like that? In your precious RV? Are you high, Scott?”
“Well, obviously,” he rolls his eyes, “but really—I love cats.”
“Bucky swears he’ll take care of her. She won’t be any trouble.”
“Pft,” Scott dismisses you with a wave of his hand. “Can I see her?”
“She’s sleeping right now. We’ll need to get her some supplies. He’s feeding her lunchmeat because it’s all we have.”
“No worries, I’ll figure out where the closest pet store is, and then we’ll head out.”
You hug him. “Thanks Scott. He’ll be relieved to know it’s not an issue.”
“Don’t tell him I caved immediately,” he giggles. “Tell him I was furious, but you convinced me with your feminine wiles.”
You roll your eyes at him.
“So,” you say, climbing back into the bunk, “it would appear… we officially have a cat.”
The smile on Bucky’s face is absolutely radiant.
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