Uncle Bucky: A Bucky Barnes & Tony Stark Fanfic
Buy me a ☕
Character Pairing: Gen Fic
Word Count: 1075
Warnings: Fluff & Angst
Synopsis: In an alternate universe where Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes had come home from the War, Bucky finds five-year-old Tony Stark crying over a broken toy.
The sound of a child’s crying caught Bucky’s attention as he went to use the bathroom in Howard’s mansion. It was a sound Bucky was no stranger to. He had kids. They were all grown up now and making their own way in the world, but he’d spent plenty of years where he’d had to patch grazed knees, soothe fevers, and comfort broken hearts. The sound always triggered that nurturing protective part of him, like a wolf caring for its pups. Even now, as he crept up on 60 and his oldest daughter Rebecca was expecting her own baby it brought on instant dad mode.
Bucky knocked gently on Tony’s bedroom door.
It wasn’t a surprise that Howard Stark had settled down so much later than Steve or Bucky. If anything, given how into his work and playing the field Howard had been, it was a surprise he’d settled down at all.
Steve and Peggy were ready to settle down as soon as he’d brought the Valkyrie for a safe landing. Neither gave up work – they were still running the Scientific Reserve together – but they’d been married right away and their first baby arrived nine months later. With all their children and grandchildren, they were now responsible for a decent percentage of the population of Brooklyn.
Bucky had taken a little longer. For starters, he’d had to find someone to marry, and that was mostly luck at the best of times. Add to that, it hadn’t exactly been easy adjusting to life after the war, he’d needed time to find himself out before he’d gone looking for the family part.
Compared to Howard though, Bucky was practically a child dad. Howard hadn’t married Maria until he was fifty. He was fifty-three when Tony was born.
There was no response from inside the room, so Bucky opened it up a crack. Inside was the evidence of a major breakdown. Toys and torn-up picture books had been strewn around the room, and Tony sat hunched over on his bed with tears streaming down his face. He was making that hiccoughing sound kids make when they can’t quite get their crying under control, and in his lap was a broken remote-controlled car.
“Tony?” Bucky spoke gently as he approached the bed and taken a seat. “What’s happened, pal?”
“Dad – br – bro – broke my car,” Tony wailed and flopped back dramatically, curling himself into a ball.
Bucky furrowed his brow and put his hand on Tony’s side, rubbing it in soothing circles. He picked up the toy and studied it in confusion. The casing over the electronics had broken off, and one of the wheels had popped off a broken axel. Looking at it Bucky could tell, this wasn’t some mass-produced remote-controlled toy. The soldering was crude and blobby and the casing had been cut and painted with an unsteady hand. Tony had made this. Five-year-old child prodigy Tony Stark had decided that he wanted a remote-controlled car and rather than ask his millionaire father who could have easily bought him a hundred remote-controlled toys, the boy had gone down to Howard’s lab and made one for himself.
Bucky was stunned. The engineering itself was well above the technical skills a five-year-old should have. It wasn’t just the skill required. It was creative and thoughtful and had been crafted with the kind of love that only a small child could muster. The idea that Howard had broken it and then left Tony to cry in his room was perplexing.
Howard had never really taken easily to parenthood. He’d been excited to find out Maria was expecting, but Bucky had always felt that it was in that way a man might feel once he was finally completing the last task on a to-do list. Excited to have someone to take on his legacy. Excited to tick off the box of marked father on the list of tasks that men were expected to complete. Not as excited about the practical nature of fatherhood. He’d never really been the cool attentive uncle to either Steve or Bucky’s kids the way Steve and Bucky had been to each other’s. But to be unnecessarily cruel to his own son? Bucky couldn’t quite wrap his head around it.
“What happened, Tony?” Bucky asked. He expected the answer to be that it had been an accident. The actual answer shocked him.
“He said it – it – it was for kids!” Tony wailed. “He said I – I – I need to grow up.”
Bucky scowled and took a deep breath. A series of thoughts flashed through his head. First going to yell at Howard about being so cruel to a child. He then realized that was just a way to stop being invited around and Tony would be in no better situation than he was now. He wondered if there was a way to gently bring it up. How do you tell your friend to lay off their own kid?
He finally settled on telling Steve. Steve and Peggy were always able to get through to Howard in ways that no one else including Maria had ever been able to. For now, Bucky would take care of the sobbing boy next to him.
“Hey, hey,” Bucky said. “It’s okay. I think it’s really cool, and I bet we can fix it. You might have to show me how to do it though. You’re much smarter than me.”
“It’s for kids,” Tony cried, kicking it away. “It’s just baby junk.”
Bucky frowned. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I would love to use a remote control car. Can you make it for me?”
“You’ll take it home?” Tony sniffed, looking out at Bucky with red-rimmed eyes.
“If you’ll let me. And I’ll play with it all the time,” he said.
He hoped it would get Tony excited in making it again, and he hoped it would help him see that he wasn’t too old for kid’s things.
“Okay,” Tony said, sitting up. “I’ll show you.”
Bucky took Tony’s hand and the little boy looked up at him. “Thank you, Uncle Bucky,” he said.
Bucky smiled as he let Tony lead him down to Howard’s lab with the broken car. He hoped after speaking to Steve, Howard might go a little easier on the boy. Either way, he was determined to be the uncle that Tony needed. He’d be the guy Tony could go to when he didn’t have anyone else.