Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etcetera, are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Summary: Peter, chubby-cheeked, shiny-eyed Peter Parker, continued grinning. And Bucky felt his heart melt.
Warnings: Captain America: Civil War!AU. Possible spoilers for Spiderman: Homecoming. Slash: WinterSpider, (Bucky/Peter.) Underage, (Peter is sixteen at the beginning of the story.)
Notes: A lot of Peter's backstory is a mix of information from Spiderman: Homecoming, and some film history of the Amazing Spiderman. I was originally going to make Peter twenty since Tom Holland turned twenty this year; however, more information about Homecoming came out and stated Peter was a sophomore in high school, so his age was changed.
Peter Parker is sixteen years of age. That number is printed in bold on the files SHIELD has on Spiderman. That number is a symbol of just how young Parker is, and how horrifying, but how refreshing, it is to see a teenager being so responsible.
Peter Parker is sixteen years of age when he approached Bucky Barnes in a briefing room, with a big grin on his face and a hand extended out politely. "Hi, Mr. Barnes! It's good to meet you without a fight going on around us."
"Peter!" Tony admonished. The older man looked over to Bucky, wariness still evident in his eyes.
Bucky smiled softly, and shook Peter's hand with his warmer, flesh hand. "It's good to see you, too, Parker."
Peter, chubby-cheeked, shiny-eyed Peter Parker, continued grinning. And Bucky felt his heart melt.
Peter is still sixteen when SHIELD gives him a place in the Avengers, although they haven't given him any missions. And due to his age, Peter spends most of his time on schoolwork. Oddly enough, Natasha spends time with Peter, and Bucky has no idea how to feel about that. He was already feeling different when he learned Peter was Tony's protege.
"Your French is improving," Natasha murmurs, a proud little smile on her face. "Quickly, actually. Are you finally focusing on all of your classes, or is there another reason you're learning French so fast?"
"Ah, um," Peter's cheeks and neck are flushed, and Bucky can't help but think: This kid is so fucking cute.
"Well," Peter picked at his fingernails. "I've someone helping me out. Her...her name is Liz Allen."
"Ah," Natasha nodded, her smile widening. "You've a crush on her, don't you, Spiderling?"
"No!" Peter shouted, too loudly. He hid his face behind his hands while the others turned their heads to look at him, those listening in having small smiles on their faces. "Well,...maybe. I don't know. I like a lot of people right now."
Bucky shouldn't hope. Bucky shouldn't hope. Bucky is fucking twenty-six years old and might stay that way unless the serum is reversed, and he shouldn't fucking hope.
But, he does. He hopes he is one of the people Peter likes.
Peter Parker is a genius. Tony Stark is a genius. It only makes sense for them to create something fantastic. And it makes sense for Bucky and Steve to be in awe of their intellectual genius.
The plans for an upgrade of Rhodey's robotic leg enhancers are floating in a smooth hologram, and Peter is tweaking the view just enough to show where there might be vulnerabilities. "All I'm saying is, if we minimize the magnetic joint, and put in cushioned joint support instead, it would allow Colonel Rhodes better flexibility and less pain."
"But the magnetic joint is needed to keep the leg together," Tony answered. "How about, instead, we pick apart the system, make it thinner. Sort of like we're building bones."
"It'd be too fragile, and we can't use vibranium, Mr. Stark, you still have those contract issues with both SHIELD and the Wakandan Embassy and no, it'd be a very bad idea to ask King T'Challa for a favor."
"Damn, kid. I see someone is acing their Sociology class."
Bucky can't help but be in awe of Peter. Of the way the boy can look and even improve Stark's plans in ways not even Stark himself can think of. Of the way Peter was already an established hero in Queens, and had even teamed up with other local heroes in Hell's Kitchen and Manhattan, long before Tony got his gold alloy hands on the boy.
"You know," Steve whispers to Bucky while the two watch Tony and Peter bicker like father and son. "There isn't anything wrong with crushing on Parker, but you can't do anything with him for another two years."
"Damn it, Steve. Mind your own business."
Bucky's birthday arrived quicker than he imagined, but was just as quiet as he remembered. A card from Natasha with a portrait of the two of them from the nineties. A book entitled Oddities and Fluctuation in Space is given to him from Thor and signed by the author herself, Jane Foster. A replica of his dog tags from World War II is handed to him by Steve, while Tony gives him quiet plans on how to improve his cybernetic arm in the mid-morning.
Peter gives him a Polaroid camera, one of the newer versions that are bulky and loud. One piece of film is already used, with Peter taking a selfie of himself smiling.
Bucky meets up with Peter by lunch and, holding up the camera, he asks: "You wanna take a picture with me, Pete?"
Peter nods, "Sure, Bucky."
The first picture is just the two of them, smiling at the camera. By the second picture, with the flash blinding him a little, Bucky swears he feels warm, soft lips on his right cheek.
Peter's seventeenth birthday was one week ago, and it was one week after said birthday that one of Peter's friends approached him.
Mary Jane Watson is tall, slim, and dark-skinned. And had a presence around her that made Bucky wary of the girl. She looked at Bucky, who was just three inches taller than her, with a knowing gleam in her eye.
"If it weren't for the fact that my dear best friend is dumb as Hell when it comes to people, he would've figured out you liked him, Sargent Barnes."
"I beg your pardon?" Bucky felt his own face warm up.
Mary Jane sighed, and poked Bucky in the chest with a well-manicured fingernail. "Everybody knows you're crushing hard on Peter. The only reason Peter doesn't know is because he's got so much shit in his head, he probably doesn't even remember what day of the week it is."
"Why are you telling me this?"
Mary Jane shook her head, her messy, dark hair moving around. "Can't tell you that, tiger. But, I'll give you a hint: he's definitely trying to impress you."
Peter Parker is seventeen, one year has passed since Bucky met him, and he is crying.
Bucky finds him crying in one of the hallways of Avengers Tower, holding onto a slip of paper, and whispering to himself. Tony stops him from ever approaching the sobbing boy.
"His girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, died this day two years ago," Tony answers Bucky's unasked question. "Sometimes, I catch him crying when he thinks no one is looking."
"Don't you want to help him out?" Bucky says, his heart aching for the young man who inspired him.
"We've all lost someone special to us at some point, Barnes," Tony says, turning his back. "There's only so much consoling a person can do. Sometimes, we just have to grieve. It's the only way we move on."
"He doesn't have to do it alone."
Bucky approaches Peter only an hour later. Peter, who is red-eyed and flushed, looks down. Bucky, wanting so much to hug the young man, merely places both of his hands carefully on Peter's shoulders. "It's okay to cry, Pete."
Peter, whose eyes fill with tears again, sniffs and show him the slip of paper. A photo. The girl in the photo couldn't be any older than sixteen. She was pretty, blond and blue-eyed, and something about her just reminds Bucky of Steve.
"Her...her name was Gwen Stacy. I was fighting a...a man called the Green Goblin, and she...I couldn't save her, I couldn't. She was caught in the middle of the fight and tried to run, and she fell, and we were so high, and I thought I had her in my web but I didn't, I didn't. The web grabbed her, only for...only for gravity itself to break her."
Peter cried, heavy, unending tears falling from his eyes. "Gwen, Gwen, I'm so sorry. I'm so fucking sorry."
Bucky wrapped his arms around Peter, pulling him close, feeling the boy's body shake with sobs. He looked at the picture of the girl, who looked happy, smiling with the entirety of her face. Bucky turned the photo around and saw writing on the back of the film.
To Peter: My friendly neighborhood Spidey. I love you. Gwen.
Peter is still crying, and Bucky holds him for as long as the boy likes.
Peter Parker is eighteen when he kills the Goblin, Harry Osborn, the successor to his father, the Green Goblin. Parker is eighteen, his Spiderman suit torn and frayed, and covered in his blood and the blood of his childhood friend.
Parker is eighteen when his eyes turn blank, and Bucky hates it. Bucky hates the Goblin, the Osborns, OSCORP, and everyone else who made Peter like this. Bucky even hates Tony, sometimes, for bringing Peter to the Avengers.
Parker is eighteen, in the infirmary of SHIELD headquarters, when he asks: "Can you stay here, Bucky?"
"Of course, Peter."
Bucky holds Peter's hand, which is cold and clammy, with both hands.
"I really do like you."
"...I like you, too, Peter."
Peter Parker is two months shy of his nineteenth birthday when Bucky and him hang out in his bedroom in Queens.
Aunt May is visiting Uncle Ben's grave at the cemetery, as she usually did on Sundays.
"She visits him every Sunday because they used to go to church together on Sundays," Peter said. "They used to take me when I was younger, but after I turned twelve, I started staying at home and studying more. Sundays at church just kind of became their date. So now, she goes every Sunday to his grave."
"How did he die?"
"He was shot by a robber running from the cops. That was when I knew I had to use my spider powers for a reason."
"Did you ever find the guy that killed him?"
"Yeah. He's in jail now. I...I wanted to kill him, when I saw him, but I knew Uncle Ben wouldn't want me to hurt the guy. I have these powers, and I should do something about all the bad things that happen. Uncle Ben had this really weird saying – with great power, comes great responsibility. He used to say it to my dad a lot, because my dad was in charge of all the genetic testing at OSCORP. And...ironically, Uncle Ben told me that the day I started showing my spider powers."
Peter smiled, all soft edges and quiet sadness. "A lot of things I do now is so I can honor him, and myself."
Bucky swallowed, his heart beating strongly for this kind, loving young man. Bucky is technically twenty-nine, in his head, at least. A decade older than Peter Parker. Far too old to ever have anything with the boy. But, he wants...
"I'm gonna do something I hope neither of us regrets."
Bucky leans in and presses his lips on Peter, who gasps softly. The boy's lips are soft, and warm. His face is bright pink when Bucky pulls away from the kiss.
Peter throws himself at Bucky, lips fully locked, eyes closed tightly. And the guilt of liking someone so younger ebbs away, and Bucky is floating, his hands holding onto Peter, who kisses him with soft, sipping kisses.
Peter is nineteen. Bucky is twenty-nine, and he is in love.