Bucky likes driving fast.

It's not really something she's surprised by, but it is something that Toni can appreciate.

They're in the Audi (her new one), tearing up a strip of road just shy of going over the legal limit. She's already had JARVIS acquire a 'Grandfather's Rights' driving license for Buckareeno and now they're out enjoying the open air, just existing. All the while, the knowledge that the only element capable of keeping her alive is also killing her continues to eat away at Toni's brain. She doesn't focus on that though (she's still researching, there'll be something out there that she can substitute in, has the be).

Instead, she turns her full attention on Bucky, the profile of his face, winter-chip eyes hidden behind a pair of dark sunglasses. She snaps a photo with her phone, wiggling her brows in in answer to Bucky's questioning look.

The image goes straight to twitter, captioned with 'exercising his grandfather rights'.

It has a thousand retweets in the first minute. Not that she's surprised. What with the whole 'I am Ironman' and 'Commando lives to Howl again' thing, she's become the most followed person on Twitter. She's played with the idea of setting Handsome his own account up, but he doesn't seem to be in much of a rush for that.

The picture of the last remaining Howlies sitting down for Christmas dinner is still making the rounds now, three weeks later.

"Am I going to see my face on the news again?" Bucky asks, slowing now that they've hit the residential section, rolling to a stop by the traffic lights. The car that pulls up next to them houses a middle aged couple who take a look, then perform a ridiculous double take. Toni offers a jaunty wave as Bucky leans back in his chair, one arm resting on the door as the other's fingers tap against the steering wheel.

"Please, that seems to be the only thing they report on now, if I feed them new material or not. Bucky-mania has hit all fifty states and I can't blame them in the slightest." Toni fires off a wink, hair whipping behind her as Bucky hammers the gas again, the light having only just turned green. Middle-aged couple hadn't even taken off the hand-break before they were steaming away.

"Take a photo of us both next time, Doll. Give me something to look at on screen." And this! This has come out more and more. Especially since those old farts that got to call themselves Commandos came around for dinner. Toni had taken great pleasure in needling them for embarrassing stories of the Buckster (of which there were only a few) and basking in their teasing aura as they railed Handsome for his current status in life, aka, tag along to a rich, hot billionaire. Apparently she was the dream of every WWII soldier. Toni always knew she'd have made a fine pin-up girl, it's good to get that certified by genuine soldiers.

That Rear of the Year award will be hers.

Heh, maybe Bucky can try for the male one. It's certainly tight enough; she could bounce a bolt off it. Well, maybe. Knowing her favourite soldier, he'd probably catch the incoming projectile before it lands. She'll greatly enjoy trying though.

"Take a left here, Fast and Furious. It's about time I introduced you to the two men who'd ruled my life before you turn up." At the uptick of an eyebrow, Toni offers a teasing wink, already digging through her purse for that sleek black card. "You'll love them; Ben and Jerry have been helping me through hard times for years."


For the first time in her life, Toni has to actually fight to pay for something. The trio of high school girls manning the counter almost go into a literal meltdown upon sighing Bucky, insisting he doesn't pay, that they could never dream of charging an All American Hero. That it's only right veterans get free ice-cream from the made-in-the-USA freezers that would have probably never been made if they'd given up the good fight. Toni's not so hot on their logic there (in fact, it's severely flawed, with so many holes she could fall in one and never be seen again) but- Buck's a charmer. He leans one arm on the counter, smiles nice and wide for them, and then easily talks them into accepting Toni's card. It's cute.

(If he'd broke out the sexy bedroom eyes on them before he did her, then Toni would have had a very different opinion indeed. Her and Handsome would have been having words. Words.)

"You know, Doll, I seem to recall having to talk shopkeepers down from whatever high stakes price they had going on, not having to corral them into letting me pay," he drawls, taking one of the bar stills near the front and fucking owning that tall chair with his excessively long legs. Now, Toni may be somewhat vertically challenged, but she has her ways of combatting that. AKA, skyscraper heels. Well, skyscraper sandal heels, cute wedge things that add near six inches to her height. Now, she's at least taller than Bucky-Bear's shoulder.

"Future sure is a weird place. You have to fight to pay, you get a driver's licence, no questions asked, and women are practically throwing themselves at you." Toni peels back the napkin around Bucky's ice cream, uncovering the phone number that's been hastily scribbled on there, along with three hearts beneath it. He laughs, a soft, low thing he keeps hidden under his breath. It's a sound for her alone and Toni relishes in it, languishes until all the desire to leave this exact moment has seeped right out of every pour.

"You're dripping, Toni."

"You gotta put a bit more effort to get me wet," Toni grumbles, allowing the Buckster to clean the melted ice cream spillage from her fingers anyway. He laughs again, that warm, tingly feeling racing through her body at the echo of it. Fuck. Yeah, she needs to figure out this element thing soon.

Toni wants to spend decades with that sound as the backtrack to her life.

February sees them visiting the little pet project. Only, it's not so pleasant as to be called a pet. No, pets are cute little creatures that you allow into your homes and care for, little beings that offer you only their love and affection and the occasional small-scale destruction of soft furnishings when they're teething. No, the little project their working on is far from friendly. But she refuses to call it a 'The Big Project', capitalised as necessary, even if it certainly is. It's fucking important, perhaps one of the most important things she's ever done for her country but… she doesn't want to make it seem like it's such a burden, such a trying task because Bucky-bear is tied to this one.

HYDRA Hunting.

She's gonna smoke all those bastards out, she's gonna rip 'em out of whatever holes they're hiding in, expose those rotten roots to the fresh air and then she's gonna torch them, burn 'em 'till there's nothing left and they'll never get a chance to drag her Handsome down into the earth again.

Okay, so she's a little protective, but Toni doesn't think anyone will blame her.

Their first issue had been information; everything in Operation Paperclip hadn't exactly been exposed to the public. Sure, people knew a little about it, knew a few of the faces, but they can't have exposed everyone. There'd have been riots in the streets if that'd have happened (Toni hopes there'd have been riots in the streets; she can't live with the idea that the American public would slip and fall so far back, that they would endorse what those fuckers did).

Luckily enough, Howard had been involved with Paperclip, specifically, he'd been in charge of securing all the data. Which means that, when the age of digital technology began taking over, he'd been the one to upload the digital files. Say what you want about her old man (and hell, did Toni have a lot to say), but he was efficient at his job. Which means all the information will be there, behind digital tricks and traps that Toni's been bossing since she hit double digits. Getting into the files isn't the problem. What is the problem… is one of the scientists.


As in, the fucker who'd been involved in the kidnapping and experimental torture of American soldiers. She's relatively certain he'd been involved with Bucky pre-Captain America rescue. And, if there's ever a figure in all the people brought into the States who's more likely to get HYDRA going in the belly of the USA's government, it's that fucker. The problem is…

She doesn't know how to tell Bucky.

So, she's not going to. Tell him, that is. Not yet. Not until JARVIS has tracked down every movement that fucker made while on America soil, not until she has all the information to take and lay before Handsome's feet.

It's a relief that fucker is dead. Toni's not too sure what she'd have done if that weren't the case.


She makes for the gym, dressed in her sweats because she's ready to sweat, ready to work off some of this access aggression. And yeah, it has a bit to do with the fact exercise is supposed to be good for the body and the thing in her chest is most certainly not good for her body but there isn't anything she can do about it at the moment, not right now. And… she's terrified of admitting that. Of telling Bucky that yeah, she's got a countdown hanging over her head and if she can't crack the code before time's up, it's all over for her. She needs to tell Bucky though; it's not fair to spring this on him when there's no time life and there's poison in her veins and intoxicating her heart.

If it were the other way around, she'd damn well want to know from the get go, want to know even if there's nothing she can do about it because she'd treasure all the time, she has left with Handsome just that little bit more. It's not fair and she will tell him. She will.

Toni Stark is many things; genius, billionaire, philanthropist, Ironman, and all other sorts of titles, good and bad. But… she's also changed. Changed from where she was before, changed as a person. She's Bucky Barnes' friend, or so she likes to think.

And friends share important secrets. Like if one is dying with no known way to save themselves.


Pushing open the doors to the gym, Toni leans against the doorframe and just watches Handsome at work. The swing of his arms, the flex of shoulders and back and ass as he delivers each punch to the reinforced punching bags. The sweats that hand low on his hipbones, the tight top that clings like a second skin to his torso. He must have been at it for a few hours because there's sweat stains and before, Toni'd have scrunched up her nose and grimaced because, ew, sweat smells. After captivity though, her idea of nasty smells has a whole new rating scale and human sweat from Fine Vintage doesn't really blip on it now. No, now Toni can fully appreciate the way it makes the Buckster's skin shimmer under the sharp lighting of the room.

"Can I help you?" Bucky finishes up with a punch that knocks the bag right off the hook, sends it sailing away as he glances over his shoulder with a lock of hair slick against his forehead and oh, oh yeah.

"I can think of many, many ways you can help me out," Toni declares, stepping fully into the room and tugging the hem of her crop top down the curve of her ribcage. Is she purposefully drawing attention to her tight little waist and perky tits with that move? Hell yeah she is. Her company certainly appreciates it; his eyes linger and Toni will swear on her death bed that she saw a hint of tongue swiping across those lips. Gods, does he even know he's doing that? It's driving her wild. She's been fasting for so long and now she's a glutton before the buffet, held back only by her own willpower and it. Is. Crumbling.

"Shall we make a list?"

"Oh, I'd love to make a list of things we can get up to," Toni purrs, stopping before Bucky and looking up and up and up into his cowboy blues. "A lot of it doesn't involve actually standing up, though being pinned up against a wall works for me." And oh god, that sharp, short breath is enthralling. "But right now, I need to work up a sweat the less fun way, if you get by drift."

Yeah, she needs to tell him.

But tomorrow.

One more day of peace until then.

At first, it doesn't compute. The words register, he recognises every single one that Toni uses. It's the context that escapes him. Because the very idea of the woman before him dying isn't- it doesn't fit into his view of the world. Toni is larger than life, vast as space and brighter than the sun. She's a bundle of stars rolled up into one tiny package. That she is dying is… he can't accept it. Won't accept it.

"How do we fix it." Because there has to be some way of fixing this. He understands the fact that the arc reactor that is keeping her alive in the short-term will kill her in the long-run. It means they need an alternative. Yet, according to Toni, there isn't one.


He retreats to the gym from there and the punching bags do not stand a chance. There's always the promise of blissful unknowingness lingering at the edge of his consciousness, this if he just gives it up and falls back into the old mindset, he won't have to get lost in his emotions like this. It always takes a moment to pull himself back from those thoughts, to acknowledge that he's fought his way up and out of that pit, that he's worked and laboured to get away from the soldier mindset. It's still difficult to look in the mirror and put a name to the face there but at least he can acknowledge he is a person now. He's Handsome, the title. Though Toni insists he's also handsome as in the adjective and he's not about to dispute that fact.

He… he was James Buchanan Barnes. Bucky Barnes. He was the Asset, the Winter Soldier. He's James Alloy and James Barnes now; the public know him as Bucky and Sergeant Barnes. They refer to him as the latter two whenever he ventures out in public with Toni. He hasn't done that in a few days; maybe he should. To ground himself, to come to terms with the fact he's here now, in the twenty-first century against his will, scarred and broken but held together by the metaphorical duck-tape Toni has provided until he can heal. Until a personality can well up to fill in the cracks (if it ever does), he needs her.

His fist hammers into the punching bag again and it flies off, hitting the far wall in a show of temper he's not slipped into for many months. It's probably time to call it quits before he wrecks the entirety of Toni's gym. Again.

True, she'd gotten it fixed up quick enough, even installed a boxing ring for them when he's training with her but that doesn't mean he should just go hell for leather simply because he can.

Whipping the towel off from where it's been resting around his neck, Bucky pats the light sheen of sweat from his forehead, dragging it across both eyes then down his cheeks.

"Sergeant Barnes?"


"Miss Stark plans to leave in order to oversee the construction of the Stark Expo. Will you be joining her?" Bucky grunts his confirmation, not quite up to the point of being able to put it into words. It's been several hours since Toni dropped that bomb on him; he knows it's hardly her fault, but… it hurts. It hurts and he's fucking panicking about it all. It's not a state of being he's used to being in and he does not like it. Yet, what more can he do, other than to carry on and do his best to support her, just as she has done with him?

A quick shower later and Bucky is standing in his room, wearing a pair of jeans that're nothing like what he can hazily recall them being like in the before and nothing else. He's got one jumper in each hand; a charcoal grey with a wide-neckline and a duck-egg blue with a higher collar. Either one would match, both would look great on him. Yet… he still can't decide.

"Definitely the grey; I'm all for subtle match-making hints."

Cocking his head towards the door, Bucky lifts a brow at Toni, eyes drinking in the sight of her. She's in a deep red sweater herself, though the grey accents do come remarkably close to the shade of the jumper he's holding in his right hand. The cigarette smoke of a dancing hall punches at him, a muzzy memory in which couples stepped out dancing in matching colours to show they were officially an item.

"Is that what this is, Doll? We going steady?" He's got vague memories of that as well; a few dames he'd swept off their feet, who'd invited him back to their apartments a few times for a tangle in bedsheets rougher than what he's got here. They'd never looked like Toni though. Toni whose hair is now just brushing at her collarbones, lazy curls of dark brown that match the warm tan of her skin that not even winter's managed to shift.

"Pretty sure you've got to take me out on the town before I can agree to that." The way her eyes slink down his form, pour over him like molten chocolate and she's hungry for a bite sends a bolt down his spine in the good way. It's both new and old, known and unfamiliar but he knows that he wants. He wants Toni in a way he can't really recall wanting something before and Bucky's not exactly known for his failures. He has a very big list of accomplishments, both under his own name and that of the names that've been given to him throughout his life.

He has every intention of chasing this thing, broken or not. Because Toni's not entirely whole herself but she still looks at him like she could fit all her broken parts against him and not find anything wanting.

There has to be a way to save her; Bucky refused to believe there's a world where Toni Stark's bright light can be snuffed out. There has to be a way.

Dearest Dad's old Stark Expo model is stretched out before her, the tiny little figurines on the board all gathered around the main stage. Toni gives it a quick glance over before she turns her attention on the multitude of designs sprawled out around the model that detail the next Expo. Oh, it'll be like the old Stark Expos just, a little more her.

Eyes flicking over the designs, the placements of each showcase, the food stands, the bathrooms (because dear lord, heaven forbid they not have enough bathrooms to meet demand), Toni scratches lazily at the curve of her cheek. It all seems to be progressing as planned, there's no massive upsets that have occurred during construction; it all seems to be full steam ahead, all aboard the Stark Express.

"Where's the flying car?" With a train carriage full of Ol' Vintage.

Leaning back in her chair, Toni cocks her head back to assess Mr 'I was at the first Expo'. He's reviewing the plans right alongside her, though she doesn't doubt his eyes see more security holes than her own, if only because he's been trained to exploit them. Oh, she's read about the Winter Soldier, slowly but surely lifted the files from all sorts of agencies around the world courtesy of JARVIS's sticky, digital fingers. She knows he disappears without a trace and to exit like smoke, one only has to find that tiny little hole to slip through.

"We're beyond flying cars now, aeon; at my Expo, you'll actually get some ideas that are worth an honest buck." Okay, so she totally had that idiom hand-picked in advance. From the minute smirk to his lips, Hot Stuff knows it too, though he's quick to bury his head back in his own map of the place. Curious, Toni pushes back on her chair, letting it wheel the distance towards Bucky until it comes to a stop, one of the legs crashing up against one of his. Ah, even the objects they touch want to be in close proximity, want to kiss up and probably go for a cheeky little rub off- aaand reeling that right back in. Happy's by the door and she's got a bit more class than to climb buck-a-bear like a tree with him in the room… okay, she's got a little more class about her now. That's what happens when your tortured by terrorists for a few months.

Toni takes a look over Bucky's shoulder (the one she didn't design, the one she doesn't have a claim to- yet) and lets out a long, low whistle. "That many holes?" Across his paper, there're at least two dozen things circled in red pen, precise and distinct, with little notes in his mashed-up language penned along the side. Because Bucky Barnes is a good little solider who makes tidy little notes, even if it takes Toni a fair bit of mental gymnastics to understand them. Because yeah, Romanian, Russian and English? That's some encoding right there.

"Then ones your regular old assassin could exploit, yeah," Sergeant Barnes mutters, teeth scraping back and forth across his lower lip and Toni is entranced. What would it be like to have those teeth (to have that tongue) working its way across her mouth instead? He probably tastes like energy drinks given how many he's been slurping on these past few days and though it's not normally Toni's usual flavour, she sure as hell can make an exception for that. For this guy right here. Don't listen to what the media says, she can totally play nice with others. Unless they don't want nice- she can be naughty and nice; multitasking, no matter how much of a headache it may give Santa. Hey, she's not too worried about presents this year, the only thing she wants to unwrap is right in front of her.

"Have you drunk your sludge, Doll?"

"Urgh, remind me why I told you about that?" Toni gripes, leaning her face into Bucky's shoulder for just a moment, just long enough for a quick inhale of that glorious scent he carries and it's now mixed with some gorgeous cologne. Only after she's got her fill does she begrudgingly accept the bottle Hot Vintage hands over. The green mixture within is almost paste-like in consistency and it's as appetising as it looks; that is to say, not at all. There's a lot of different things she'd prefer Bucky be giving her to put down her throat (man, she needs to get laid, her brain just keeps bouncing back to it and he's not helping things by dressing in the pec hugging shirts) but this drink isn't something she'd ever choose to chug.

Yet, chug it she does. If she makes a big show and dance of it because she knows buckaroo is watching her throat bob, then what of it? They're dancing around each other even if Toni's more than made her interest clear. How much more obvious can a girl be? What does she need to do, get it tattooed to her forehead? A total fashion disaster in the making but there are removal lasers now and if it gets Bucky's attention- If it weren't for the arc reactor in her chest (nightlight 2.0, birthed alongside three others just like it and each one is placed in different locations around the house barring one, which is always in the possession of her sexy bodyguard) then she might have tried the ol' striptease routine. But there's no way she can perform that and feel sexy doing it at the same time.

Clearly some practice with a mirror and low lighting is needed. God, it's like being a teenager again. How embarrassing.

"'Cause you know not being able to help in any aspect is a stressor for me," Bucky states, something dead crawling back into his tone and oh no, that is not allowed. It's cold enough outside without the Winter Soldier creeping into their conversation. No, package sealed and returned, she'll take the warm affection, cheeky banter and oral fixation, thank you very much. No room for the century's greatest assassin today.

"I need to start tweeting about the Expo and build up some public interest. I mean, anything I post is instantly going to be public interest but you know what really sells? Your face. Which, I can totally understand. Teenage fantasies were built on google searches of your face before you pulled this desert loser out of the sand dunes; there's no way anything graced with your gorgeous mug will disappear into the bowls of some forty-year old's internet history. Look alive, buckshot, I need that sexy smile with the ol' Expo board in the background." Wiggling her phone free of her jeans (skin tight; the floaty top demands jeans so tight they look sprayed on in order to look its very best and Toni is only too happy to oblige; if it means photos of her rear in the press and later substituted to a judging panel for her award, so be it), she angles it at the finest vintage she's ever had the pleasure of holding (maybe someday drinking) and waits.

There's a fond roll of ice-chips and then Bucky has pushed his chair back slightly, set aside his analysed map and is smiling at her. Perfect teeth, sexy bedroom gaze, one dimple in the left cheek; he's Adonis in the flesh. You know, if that flesh was as strong as marble and had that same faint glow about it. Only, no museum will ever be allowed him. Nope, this is staying in Toni's private collection and she's tweeting a picture to rub that in, so every other person in the whole world knows she has this masterpiece and she isn't taking any offers.

"Thanks, babe. I've had enough of staring at Dad's model; I'll scan it with J and we'll work from home." Toni's not in the habit of lying to herself anymore; her decision is definitely influenced by the fact ol' vintage is much more relaxed under her roof. "Let's go, Happy!"

Public interest in the Stark Expo doesn't quite reach Beatlemania standards, but it's not far off. If she wanted to cover that last little bit in order to hit those heights, she'd beg Handsome to sing 'em a song or two. But, Toni's a selfish bitch (honest too), so she just lets it simmer at a continual fever-pitch as she works towards the grand goal of an awesome Expo. The best in the history of Stark Expos. Gotta upstage the old man, after all.

She does, however, stoop low enough to snapping a quick pic of Bucky hunched over the new hologram of the ol' Expo board Howard made, his face a mask of concentration and one little cowlick falling across his brow from where the goop he's been styling it with has worn right off. Had she tagged it with 'he won't leave me alone about that damn flying car'? Maybe so. She's gotten back dozens of messages, all of them along the lines of 'give the man his flying car' or something else to that extent.

But hey, that's not what she's focusing on today. No, the name of today's game is shed as much of the unwanted responsibilities as she can. Now, life as Ironman (yes, she's caved and accepted the press' spelling of the word; the only one who bothered was Bucky-bear and she'll feel bad if anyone dares make fun of him for agreeing with her that (Fe)man is the best spelling but fuck them); going out and saving people, taking down the bad guys and righting the wrongs? Yeah, she loves that. There's little better in her life (other than Peps and Buckster and Happy and Rhodey) than her time as the red and gold superhero. That she's been hailed as the Capitan America of her century but better? Heh, if only Howard could see her now. Yeah, ain't no way she's letting that title go.

She loves being the mechanic to Ol' Vintage too, constantly fixing up his arm and improving it; it's the same thing as designing new STARK tech but it's more personal. Yeah, Head of R&D is where it's at.

Which is why she's totally gonna drop the whole CEO thing. Yes, she looks hella hot in her power-suits, pants-suits and showy business dresses. But she can glam up whenever she wants to. Hell, if she wanted to take the bins out (if you had regular old bins that you needed to move manually, urgh, who could ever dream of it) dressed to the nines, then no one could stop her. So, she's shedding that title. She doesn't need it anymore and, let's face it, Pepper's been pretty running the company herself as it is. Giving her the title of CEO would just be making it official.

The Sludge Smoothie thumps down on the desk before her, contained in a plastic bottle that's been painted in Ironman colours in a failing attempt to make it more appealing. A half second later, Bucky Barnes is stretching out on the couch she's now got by her workbench, all six-foot something of him (183cm of sex to be precise). Toni takes a moment to run her eyes over him from head to toe and then back again. Doing that whilst necking the sludge makes it almost palatable. Almost. Because Bucky may be her teenaged wet-dream but even he's not that much of a miracle worker. And it would take a miracle to make this drink taste good. A shame adding some sugar (or coffee, fuck her it could use a caffeine boost) would destabilise its whole make-up and result in the drink being worthless in prolonging her good health.

"Guess who now officially has the Rear of the Year," Toni declares, waggling her brows at the slow smile that works its way across Handsome's face. He sits himself up ever so slowly, the abs beneath that just a little too tight top flexing in a way Toni is most definitely noticing and most definitely appreciating. Yum. The only thing that could possibly make that shirt better was if it were on the floor instead. Preferably her bedroom floor at that.

"I've known that for a while, Dollface." And oh- yes. There's a smug little grin to those sinful lips. Toni sits herself up straighter and if she shuffles about in her chair a bit, gives a little good ol' shimmy of the shoulders, well there's no one but the intended target here to notice. "You sayin' they've only just made it official?"

"Mmmm. It'd have been four consecutive years if not for last year but given I got you outta that cluster fuck, I count that as a greater win. I mean, winning a little golden ass if great an' all, but getting to bring you home is so much better. Pretty sure if you wore those tight jeans I got you then you'd be able to replace my trophy. Not that I'd want that; your ass looks so much better moving about. I hate to see you go, but love to watch you leave an' all that."

Handsome chuckles, no longer recline across her couch like some all-conquering Roman emperor but sitting with one arm held out before him, palm up and fingers spread wide. Toni places her hand in his own and allows Bucky to reel her in, right up until she's sitting on his lap. Oh yeah, this is so much better. These thighs are comfortable as fuck and his hips are narrow enough that there's little pressure on her knees to spread too far (not that she isn't flexible but with her shins half tucked under her it isn't the most comfortable of positions).

"Offering me a ride, Cowboy?" And oh, that expression is precious, she wants to grab a photo and save it forever but Toni'll settle for memorising it. "JARVIS, remind Handsome here to look that one up later."

Her long-suffering greatest creation sighs. "Yes Miss."

"How's the search going," Bucky cuts in with all the grace of a knife attack in broad daylight, none of his greatest assassin of the century finesse to his words. He taps one uncovered metal finger against the thin fabric hiding the reactor, leaving no doubts as to what he's talking about. It's like a suckerpunch because, in truth, she's made fuck all progress on that front. Every other element she's done theoretical trial runs with has failed. She's still scrambling for another idea, for a way out, for a way to fix it.

"It's going," she says instead, one hand on Handsome's shoulder, the other resting half over a collarbone, half over a pec (on the side away from the metal arm, away from the scar tissue because she hasn't quite figured out a way to awaken the nerve endings in that lump of cicatrices. She's not sure if she dares.

And holy fuck, does sexy soldier boy here know he's rubbing circles into her hips with those thumbs? It is conscious, unconscious? That lip toying is certainly unconscious but it's all she can focus on right now.

She blurts out the first thing that comes to mind. "I'm making Pepper my CEO. And getting an assistant for us to share. Me and Pepper that is, and an assistant of the female variety. Not that I haven't been there and tried that but I think I'm ruined for other men at the moment, maybe forever, so even if it were of the male variety you'd- well-"

"Do I have nothing to worry about, doll?" Bucky asks and his breath fucking kisses as his lips- when did they get so close? Why hadn't her brain registered that because she sure as hell needs to know these things so she knows what the hell to do with her everything. Their noses are practically brushing against one another and it's too difficult to focus on those baby-blues when they're so close. Toni lets her eyes close, lets herself luxuriate in the very physical, very close contact she currently has with a man that has dampened her panties with his every look these past few months.

"Nothing to worry about," Toni repeats in a breath tone, repeats like it's a fucking pray and she's the filthiest sinner alive and she's got to be for all that she's imagining right now. Fuck, what was it that she was going to be doing soon? Because if it's not edging herself that little bit closer until they're flushed chest to chest, mouth to mouth and fucking dick to pussy, she honestly couldn't care less.

"Miss Stark. Miss Potts has arrived for your meeting." Yeah. Fuck. There's that.

Toni remains sitting on Handsome's thighs, her breathing just a little too hard and heavy when they have done literally fuck all other than ramp up the tension between them but hey, at least she's not the only one effected. Bucky hisses out a breath that loots all the moisture form her lips and Toni strangles the whimper before it can get out. She's better than that after all; they haven't even kissed and she's not an inexperienced nobody. She won't pant after anyone, even fine vintage here.

"I should probably go meet Pepper," Toni admits, pulling her head back just enough that she can actually focus on icy blues and Handsome snorts. His pupils are fucking huge, blow wide and utterly focused on her.

"You probably should," he agrees, lifting the flesh hand and running a forefinger across her lower lip. It's only through sheer force of will that she doesn't try sucking it into her mouth. Pepper's caught her in some more than compromising instances, but defiling a national hero will probably take the biscuit.

She does lick her lips after though; sue her.

"Don't think I'm forgetting this," Toni warns, forcibly extracting herself from Handsome's lap and it takes a biblical effort to do so, "my memory is the shit, I don't forget anything unless I want to and this? Yeah, this I don't wanna forget in the slightest. I want a follow up, repeat performance, the extended edition, got it?"

"Got it, doll."

Yo, this story is not dead in our year of 2021. Hope you're all doing okay,