Hello again! Sorry it took me so long. This chapter did not want to be nice to me. I think my Bucky muse went off on a mission or something.

Italics: flashbacks

Disclaimer: I don't own the Avengers. Or Snow White. But that would be cool. Just saying.

Tiny footsteps jolted Bucky awake the next morning. He shot up, reaching for a knife that wasn't there. Who was in his apartment? And why was he on the couch? What was… Oh right. Steve. Tiny, kid Steve. Who was asleep in his bedroom. Right. He relaxed back into the couch cushions, looking up at the clock. 6:30 AM. 'Of course, even as a kid he's an early riser. I should have seen that coming,' Bucky groaned.

Moments later, Steve entered the room. His clothes were rumpled and his hair stuck up in all directions. It was frankly adorable. Steve stumbled over, not fully awake yet, and plopped down beside him on the couch.

"Mornin' kiddo," Bucky greeted, reaching out to ruffle Steve's hair. "Sleep well?"

"G'morning," Steve answered, trying unsuccessfully to swat his hand away.


At Steve's nod, he scooped him up and headed to the kitchen. Bucky set him down at the table and went to search his cabinets. "Let's see... Oatmeal, cereal, or pancakes?"

"Pancakes, please!" came the enthusiastic answer.

"Okay then," Bucky said as he began pulling out the ingredients.

In no time at all, they were munching on pancakes together. An awkward silence filled the room at first, but with some prompting, Bucky managed to get Steve to talk. Most of his stories were about his home: his mom, the neighbors pets, his favorite places, and so on. Some things Bucky remembered, others he didn't. It was nice to have something to jog his memory, even if Steve didn't know he was doing it.

Afterwards, they migrated to the living room. Bucky flipped the tv on, searching through the channels until he found a kids channel playing Snow White. He laughed softly to himself. That was one of the memories that had come back: him and Steve sneaking into the theater to watch it the day it came out. They ended up getting kicked out over three quarters of the way through the movie, but it was fun while it lasted.

Little Steve was enraptured with it. Whether it was the movie or the tv Bucky couldn't tell, but the kid took in everything with wide eyes.

"She's pretty," Steve commented, staring at the princess onscreen.

"Yeah pal, she sure is," Bucky agreed.

When the evil queen appeared, creating the poisonous apple, Steve began to squirm. Without really thinking, Bucky opened an arm to him. Steve didn't hesitate before tucking himself against his side. Bucky curled his arm back around him and tugged him closer. "It's ok, Bud."

Steve just turned to press his face into Bucky's side. "...scary," he mumbled, Bucky's advanced hearing just barely able to catch it. He had to bite down a laugh; the kid was just too cute.

He waited a few beats. "Ok, it's over," he said, jostling him lightly. Steve peeked at the tv, and once satisfied that the scary part was indeed over, he twisted around to be able to see better. However, he didn't move away from his spot at Bucky's side.

Steve began to get restless after the movie ended. On a whim, Bucky grabbed a sheet of blank paper and a pencil and gave it to him. If he remembered right, older Steve loved to sketch. Maybe this would work.

Sure enough, Steve gave him a blinding grin when he handed the stuff over. He wasted no time in placing it on the coffee table and starting to doodle.

Once he was sure Steve was engrossed in his drawing, Bucky moved into his bedroom to start his daily exercises: an impressive number of sit-ups and push-ups. He had just finished his last push-up when he heard Steve enter the room.

"Done already?" he asked, sitting up.

Steve walked up to him, looking down at his feet. "It's for you," he replied timidly.

Bucky took the paper handed to him. It was about what you'd expect from a three-year old, crude but undeniably adorable. There were three people-shaped stick figures: one definitely female, probably his mother, and one shorter than the others, Steve himself. The last stick figure had longish hair and one arm looked a little different than the other, that was him. Each one was smiling brightly. Bucky felt his own lips turn up in a smile.

"That's me, and that's Ma, and that's you," Steve pointed to each person in turn.

"I see. This is great Stevie! Thank you. Look at ya, already an artist."

Steve smiled happily at the praise, and threw his arms around Bucky's neck in a hug. "That's what Ma says too." Bucky was surprised at first, but he quickly recovered and returned the hug.

"Yeah? She must be a smart lady." He gave the kid a gentle squeeze before pulling back to stand up. "Now c'mon, let's go do something about lunch."

By the time evening rolled around, Bucky had three more pictures to hang up. He was going to have to buy more paper soon. The little guy went through it like wildfire.

Speaking of Steve, he and Bucky were currently lying on the living room floor after an intense game of tag (for Steve at least). Steve had taken a nap after lunch, and when he awoke an hour later, he was ready for action. His puppy-dog eyes had already conned Bucky into playing four games of hide-and-seek (Steve was a terrible hider) and six rounds of tic-tac-toe.

He had also insisted on playing tag, no matter how hard Bucky tried to talk him out of it. And sure enough, they had to call it quits when Steve's asthma threatened to start up. Thankfully, it didn't escalate further than just wheezing. Bucky was very unprepared for a full-blown asthma attack, since it'd been quite a while since he'd had to deal with one. Over half a century, actually.

After that, it didn't take much to convince Steve to take it easy, which was how they both ended up on the floor, staring at the ceiling with their hands under their heads.

"Bucky," Steve began, turning his head to look at him.


"You never told me nothing 'bout you."

"Anything. It's 'never told me anything', short stuff," Bucky stalled, not liking where this conversation was going. Simple questions he could answer, but anything more than that was definitely not something that he could explain to a child.

"Where are you from?" Ah, that he could answer.

"Here in Brooklyn."

"Like me!" Steve commented excitedly. What would he have done if he told him he was from New Jersey, Bucky wondered. The thought brought a smirk to his lips. That would be something to see.

"How old are you?" was his next question.

If only it was that simple. "28" Bucky replied*. It wasn't a lie after all, he just omitted the many decades of absolute nothing. How could you explain to a kid that you were technically 99 but looked 28? He was going to avoid that at all costs.

"What's your favorite color?"

Bucky thought for a moment. "Red."

"Okay, umm…" Steve hesitated a moment, which was not a good sign. "How'd you get your metal arm?"

And that was exactly what Bucky had been dreading. He was silent for a long moment, so long that Steve started to fidget nervously. "I'm sorry," he said.

Bucky sighed. "I… fell off a train."

Steve's eyes widened, and he looked seconds away from crying. Seeing that, Bucky was quick to roll onto his side and assert, "I'm okay now, kiddo. I promise." 'Well, getting there,' he thought.

No tears were forthcoming, but Steve did crawl over to give him a hug, one that Bucky gladly returned.

It surprised Bucky just how comfortable Steve was around him. Seriously, the kid didn't know him from Adam- he and Steve didn't meet until Steve was five years old- yet he acted like they were old friends. Sure he was a bit wary in the alley the other day, Bucky couldn't blame him, but other than that the little guy took right up with him. Steve thought nothing of cuddling up to him, giving him a hug, or even throwing a friendly punch. If only he knew… Not to mention, the metal arm didn't even phase him. He treated it just like a regular, flesh-and-blood arm. Yeap, Steve was still as reckless as he remembered. Some things never change.

After a dinner of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches- Bucky really needed to get some more food, he was running low- he had managed to get Steve to take a bath. It was a battle of wills; the stubborn kid wasn't going easy.

"But I don't wanna!" Steve stomped his foot, emphasizing his point. Bucky just shook his head and sighed. "You need to. You smell."

"No I don't." But the protest fell on deaf ears. Bucky simply bent down and hauled him over his shoulder. Little fists beat his back the whole way to the bathroom, but judging from the way Steve was giggling, he wasn't mad at him.

Bucky got the bath ready and stepped back out, Steve insisting that he could 'do it himself'. Not that Bucky believed that. He would at least have to mop the water off of the floor; kids didn't have a good track record with baths, that he knew. That's why the bathroom door was left open, so he could hear if anything was amiss.

That was another thing. How did he know so much about kids? The Winter Soldier hadn't had too many interactions with them, definitely nothing meaningful, so how did he know how to act around them? He wracked his brain, trying find out.

Thick, brown curls bouncing in the air. Short legs kicking, faded pink dress swishing. "Higher, Bucky! Push me higher!"

Well that explained it. He had a younger sister. What was her name? It was on the tip of his tongue. Beth? No, that wasn't right. Becky? Wait, Becca. That was it. Bucky and Becca Barnes.

A look at the clock brought him out of his thoughts. It was probably time to check on Steve, he'd been in there for about twenty minutes.

Sure enough, the little guy was almost asleep in the tub. Bucky smiled and shook his head as he kneeled down to let the water out. He lifted Steve out, got him dried off, and slipped him into his clothes. All the while Steve stayed quiet, yawning widely. 'He must have really tired himself out,' Bucky mused, hefting Steve into his arms.

He made his way into the bedroom, setting Steve down on the bed before arranging the blankets and pillows so he couldn't fall off the side. Steve gave him a sleepy smile as he tucked him in, pulling the covers up to his chin.

Smiling, he reached out and ruffled the blond strands. "Goodnight kiddo," Bucky said, reaching to turn on the lamp on the bedside table. He made his way towards the doorway, pausing to turn off the light.

"Goodnight Bucky," Steve called softly.

*I just took a guess at Bucky's age.

Wow, that was quite a bit longer than expected. I promise, there will be more action in the next chapter. This was supposed to be a filler chapter, but, well, it turned out to be much bigger than I was expecting.

Oh, and many thanks to DestinyJ for pointing out a mistake I made in the last chapter. Thank you!

Remember, reviews make me smile :)