1965-09-18 - Swimming Contest
Summary: Our heroes, still camping, head down to the lake.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
tony steve-rogers bucky 

It's afternoon, and the air is starting to get crisp this time of year. Tony has been a reasonably good sport about being drawn out to the wilderness. He invented a grill basket to make cooking surely more interesting and, it has to be said, flavorful. Something about being cooked over an open flame just makes food more delicious. So does wrapping it in bacon.

At the moment, Mr. Stark is in jeans and a pullover, with expensive hiking boots on, and he's at the picnic table outside between cabins. There are two bottles of wine 'breathing' as he cuts up and arranges sausages, cheeses, different types of confit, and various sauces and garnish on a sizeable plank. Beside it, there is a basket of crostini covered with linen against bugs. "Finally, a little civility," he comments to no one in particular. It's quite a spread, too. He means to feed people, damn it.

No doubt the pups will devour it like a pack of locusts, when they appear. But at the moment, it's only the original wandering out of the autumn woods. He's dressed in a worn shooting sweater, fatigue pants, and boots, hair tied back into a low tail. It's getting very long indeed, past his shoulders. The kids and Scarlett are off in the woods, it seems. "Looks good," he says, pleased.

Steve's traveling back up from the lake after spending all morning there. He's got some pink to his nose and cheeks and his forearms, but on the stringer, he's got two fairly large rainbows, each anywhere between 13 and 18" long. In his other hand, the pole and tacklebox, each properly stowed as to not spill or snag. The fish are muscular and like as not perfect to set to cooking over that invention of Tony's boredom and spare time.

"I wondered when this would show up," he comments as he wanders over to the table. Setting aside the tacklebox and fishing rod, he then snags up two sausages, a bit of cheese, and puts everything in his mouth. A thoughtful sound and once he's swallowed, he looks to Tony. "Not half bad. Buck." A grin for his oldest friend. "How are the boys? Scarlett?" Have no fear, Captain Worrywart is here!

"Thank you," Tony says as he glances to Bucky. "It's finger food, totally roughing it." He uncovers the crostini in an unspoken invitation to dig in. He then pours wine into the tin camping cups he's taken from his cabin's kitchen. "A perfect appetizer to those bad boys." He nods toward Steve and his fish. "I brought rosemary and a couple lemons," he says.

Once the spread is set out and wine is distributed, Tony starts to pick at this and that. There are dozens of little tasty things to be found and endless flavor combinations. God knows how much it must have cost to import some of this stuff. Is that caviar? "Yeah, how are the kids and the missus?"

"Off in the woods," Buck says, on a cheerful sigh. "Scarlett's up above, keeping an eye on them. They're enjoying running around, probably chasing squirrels, to be honest." He eyes the caviar. "….is that sturgeon, or beluga?" ….how the hell would Buck know that? Steve's fish earn him a grin of approval. "Look at you. We'll make a real boy scout of you yet."

The Captain can't help but laugh at the idea of the aloof Bucklings running madly after the small and quick grey and red squirrels that populate these woods.

"I can even clean these up so we can have them later," he says, lifting up the stringer to showcase the large trout. "There's a badge for that, I'm sure. Lemme go at least get them in water in the sink so they're not sitting out." He snags another few sausages and gives the caviar a dubious glance before he departs for the cabin he's been bunking within.

"Sturgeon," Tony says. He gives Steve an amused look at his dubiousness. "I thought it might offset the prosciutoo nicely." He helps himself to a little taste of the caviar, now that it's got his attention. "Those are some handsome fish. I look forward to eating them tonight. Getting nice and well-acquainted."

As Steve goes off to store the fish, Tony glances to Bucky. "How are you doing?" he says. "Running through the woods like a madman? Howling at the moon? I should point out that the indoors portion of this trip has been fantastic."

His smile is crooked, a little tired. "Yeah, I'll say," he says, in an undertone. Mr. and Mrs. Barnes love each other very much, apparently. Voice pitched low to spare Steve's blushes. "But yeah. Running in the woods. I'm sure the kids are gonna bring down at least one deer. They've already caught a rabbit, or two." Like the kids are a pack of Dobermann puppies. He wanders over to snag some of the food, picks up crostini, and crunches one down in a few neat bites.

The Paladin-out-of-time returns from the cabin not but a minute later after doing some quick sink-filling and adding some ice. Because surely, somehow, Tony has managed to make ice available. Sure, on some level, Steve feels it might be cheating, but it'll also keep the fish from spoiling and that's of more importance to him. He clomps back over in his boots and jeans, having rolled up the sleeves of his blue plaid button-down, and steals yet another handful of the sausages. A piece of Colby-Jack cheese this time, and of course a crostini to layer them all on.

"I'll clean them in a bit. This'll be a light lunch in the meantime. Did you bring any beer, Tony, or just the wine? …you know you bring beer on camping trips, right?" he adds, looking to Bucky in sly amusement.

"We may need to modify our fish grill," he says. "Maybe make a proper spit. I wanted to make one that one could turn with one's foot, but Rogers said not to take apart the cars to get a pedal." He shakes his head. Steve never lets the inventor have any fun.

Of course there's ice. Is he supposed to take his scotch neat like some kind of animal? Which, okay, he does some of the time. "There's beer," he says with a nod toward a cooler at the end of the table. "But the wine is paired perfectly."

"I brought a little beer," Buck says, grinning. "And hell, I'll turn a spit for you, if you want. I can grill fish. No, no taking the cars apart." The van in which they transported eight Winter Soldiers. Probably, pound for pound, one of the deadliest assemblagesin this hemisphere. He snorts, and spoons a little caviar onto another crostini. "Good stuff," he says, around the food.

Steve smiles to himself. "I'm sure the wines are paired up, but I think I'll take a beer for now." Wandering over to the cooler in question, he pops it open and rifles through the ice to find a can from the very bottom, chilled thoroughly. A crack-hiss and he stops after a gulp or two to consider it. "…not bad," is the eventual judgement on matters. He meanders back over and sighs. "Okay, now what?" He looks between the two men almost brightly. Uh oh. Steve without something to do is Steve hunting out trouble.

"Try some caviar," Tony tells Steve. "You'll like it. Look, Bucky's had some." He takes a drink of his wine, holding the tin cup with as much dignity as he can. "Hey, should we try going out on a boat while we're here? I've never a driven a motor boat. It can't be any harder than a jet."

As for what to do in the immediate moment, he sits at the picnic table's bench. "Relax, Cap. That's what we're doing here. Relaxing. Think of it as a friendly competition. I'm positive I can relax more than you can."

"I think there are some canoes. I dunno about a motor boat," Buck says , looking alarmed at the prospect. "I think all the kids can swim. You guys can both swim, right?" He knows Steve can, but Tony…."Tony's right. Relax, guys. Sit and look at the lake. Drink beer, think about nothing. It's still warm enough to swim for the hell of it…"

Tony is given a disbelieving little curl of lips. "Right. You, relax more than I can. I was whittling wood while you were talking about breaking apart the cars to create a spit that would turn on its own." He laughs a little in good humor before basically shotgunning the rest of the beer. Just like that.

"I dunno about a motor boat either, but swimming. That's an idea. I did want to try swimming across the lake. It'll be a good workout." Crunch, there goes the can into a silver crinkled spindle in his grip. He sets it down over by the cooler as he walks that way and then turns about, hands uplifted. "Coming with me? Buck. Come'on. I'll smoke you in the breast-stroke." His grin is all challenge. Someone, make this man sit down!

"But the food," Tony says. Then he shrugs and says, "It'll keep." He takes the board inside, though, along with the wine. It's not safe out in a world full of bugs, squirrels and corvids. He then rejoins the pair, and he says, "What's this about the breast stroke? I thought I was the one known for that."

He claps Steve on the shoulder and says, "I was only talking about doing all that, and in the end, I merely engineered a small time-saving device that didn't require disassembling anything."

"Pfft, you and your ropy little arms can't beat me, and you've probably never stroked a breast in your life," Buck says, after hastily crunching down his lasst mouthful. He rolls his eyes. "You two are both terrible at vacation."

Steve realizes he walked into that particular vein of thought not seconds after Tony returns and makes his first comment. The mild dismay is followed by a rueful laugh and dropped chin after Bucky's stance on things.

"…I meant the swim stroke," he mutters, hands on his hips. "We can come back for the food — and you knew I'd be terrible at sitting still," he adds, pointing an accusatory finger towards the other soldier. "I'm going to leave your punk ass floundering now." Even as he says this, he turns, already working at the buttons of his shirt. Turns out he wore a swimsuit under the jeans, so…maybe there was already a plan involving swimming at some point or another.

Tony claps Bucky on the shoulder as he gets his dig in on Steve, too. Heh heh heh. "I'm going to watch you guys from the shore," he says, "because, while I can swim reasonably well, it's not one of my top skills, and I know you two, it'll be freezing by the time you guys give up trying to beat each other."

He steps away from the two of them and finds a place on the shore to sit and, believe it or not, relax. Then again, he might have a notepad in his back pocket, and he might start inventing stuff on the sly.

There's that playful scowl from Buck at that. "I know," he says, patting Steve on the shoulder. "C'mon. I'll show you how it's done, Steve-O. Remember, they had me swimming rivers in Siberia. I'm gonna school you hard, buddy." He's already stripping as he goes, too. …..he probably does not have swim trunks on underneath what he's wearing.

"Yeah, you show me how it's done, Barnes." Apparently, Steve's now in deadly earnest about beating Bucky not only to the water, but across the lake. He's not quite dancing out of his jeans, but there's a trail of clothing behind him and it's only a short matter of time before he gets the other foot out. He even throws the pants at Bucky in an attempt to blind him before outright bolting down towards the water. His swimsuit is simple, black and loose and sleek.

A leaping arc that carries him at least twenty feet through the air first and then he's gone under the water, leaving a stream of bubbles behind him. He surfaces a good number of yards out and immediately gets to steaming forwards towards the distant shore.

Somewhere in the City, there is an Elf approving of the blinding-with-pants maneuver.

Meanwhile, at the lakeshore, Tony watches the magnificent display of athleticism. "You kids have fun now," he says. "We'll check the seal on that arm when you get back," he adds to Bucky.

Bucky nearly taken down by Steve's pants. As opposed to taking down Steve's pants…..but then, this Bucky has his girlfriend, so none of that fanfic here. But ashe's running after Steve, he's also shedding clothing, and no, no, he does not have trunks on as boxers. He'll be doing this one in his birthday suit, it seems. There's the flesh-colored cover over the arm, at least…..and then he's in the water, and thrashing after Steve.

Steve looks back in time to see the first inklings of Bucky surfacing in the lake. The flash of silver arm is goad enough to kick it into next gear for him. He works with relentless efficiency, arms like pistons, and leaves a small wake behind himself in the process. He's apparently going off the premise that he merely needs to beat his old friend to the far side of the lake, but not to beat him back to the beach where their clothing lies strewn about and unattended. Poor Scarlett. Missing the show.

Tony watches those two go! Then he calmly gathers up their clothing, depositing it neatly further up the shore where he sits, and he covers it with his sweater, which he arranges to look like he merely discarded it there to take in the afternoon sun in the t-shirt he's got on beneath.

He watches the race, but soon out comes the notepad, and while they're competing, he jots down design ideas for an aquatic version of his suit.

Buck's fast….fast enough to catch up. But probably not in time to beat Steve tothe other side. It's not a huge lake, after all. More of a freestyle than the breaststroke….he's lost his hair tie, and it streams loose behind him. Entirely unconscious of Tony's theft of their clothes.

Well-played indeed, genius-inventor. No doubt the gents will be confused as to the vanished clothing upon their return. For now, Steve keeps swimming away. He risks a glance back to find his oldest friend far closer than he expected and laughs loud enough for it to be heard across the lake.

"You make my grandma look fast, Barnes!" Tony can probably hear that jeer. Indeed, he'll be the first to make it to the far side of the shore, but he merely wades in to his waist before turning about and then throwing himself back in. Must beat Bucky on the way back too!

Tony shakes his head and laughs a little. Jet propulsion underwater could keep a suit moving despite its submerged weight. Making it buoyant, now there's the trick. He makes a few sketches and jots down some more notes. "Army boys," he murmurs under his breath. He does glance up now and again from his notes to see their progress across the lake and back. It's hard to see from a distance who's in the lead, but he has his guesses.

Buck cheats. In that instead of just mimicking Steve and contenting himself with wading at the far shore, he's trying to intercept the returning Cap….and subdue him by tickling him furiously. You can't win if you're laughing too hard.

Terrible friend, that Barnes. Steve's got his head ducked underneath the water as part of an upcoming stroke and blunders blindly into the reach of those arms. Immedaitely, he lets out a blurp of bubbled sound before back-kicking madly, surfacing and flailing water everywhere like he were drowning.

"BARNES! BARNES, N — " A palm shoved into Bucky's face allows him a moment, but he has to duck under the water and try to swim around the assassin to continue his half of the race. "THAT IS CHEATING!" No doubt Tony hears that bellow across the lake, followed by the raucous laughter and increased white of splashing.

Ah ha! Steve was winning. Key word: was. Tony laughs and calls out, "No mercy!" Which may or may not carry. He keeps a closer eye on what's going on, just in case someone drowns. Not that he's worried. No, Steve is the worrier. Tony is just… watchful. Scarlett and the pups would go ballistic if something happened to Bucky, and that arm is heavy. So he watches the tussle from a distance.

More thrashing and splashing, 'cause Buck doesn't intend to let him go. No, indeed. He's wrestling Steve back towards the shore. He won't cheat by taking a shorter route….but he will cheat by bodily keeping Steve behind him and making sure he doesn't get back first.

"YOU BAS — " Glub-burble-glub as Steve gets shoved sideways and underwater. He surfaces again with a whoop and goes for the ankle next, intending to drag Buck off to the left and then take off like a mad-man. "Your mother would be ASHAMED!" Yoink, there goes his attempt at derailing his oldest friend and then he really puts on the steam, hoping that his brisk movements will keep him out of grapple-reach.

Tony laughs. Okay, so maybe relaxing on the shore watching their antics has been nice. He'll never admit it to their faces. "Come on, fellas," he calls. "It's going to be dark by the time you two quit screwing around!" Someone has to keep them on their toes.

No, Buck's pouncing on him again, knocking him sideways in the water…and then grappling him. Apparently he intends to wear Steve down out of sheer persistence.

A lungful of air is all Steve gets before he goes under. No one's going to drown, but it's certainly a ruckus now. A crocodile taking down a zebra probably has the same amount of furious splash and froth — no blood to be found here, however. He shoves hard at Bucky in turn, trying to walk up his body in order to plant feet and kick him away.

"PUNK!" He manages on his next surfacing, still laughing through his hard breathing. It's hard work keeping afloat when the Winter Soldier is intent on beating you ashore.

"I'm going to head back to camp," Tony threatens. Ooh, that would be a fun trick. Take the clothes back with him? Except now he kind of wants to see how this is going to end. He sits up, watching the splashing. He even forgets about his notes for the moment, entertained as he is.

Buck, AKA Cheater Cheater Pumpkineater there, does win. Only to endup sprawled on the shore, blowing like a beached whale, naked as a jaybird, and setting a terrible example of lack of fair play for his brood of cyborg werewolves. "I win," he says, faintly.

And there's Steve crawling up out of the water like some half-dead seal. He ends up on his stomach on the sand and coughs once or twice before replying tiredly, "You terrible son of a bitch." A good-natured insult, but an insult nonetheless. A groan and he looks up at Tony after wiping wet hair out of his field of vision. "'m glad you didn't join us. You'd've probably drowned."

"Yeah, you two weren't taking any prisoners out there," Tony says. "I just can't get over the idea that fish pee in there. Hell, fish do everything in there." He'll stick to his Olymic sized swimming pools. "But you both made it. Congrats." His gaze drifts to Bucky, then Steve. He says not a word about the clothes. Clothes? What clothes?

Bucky gets up, slowly. No shame at all. The cover conceals most of the arm save for that silvery seam at the shoulder, so he looks almost perfectly like a real boy. Hair wet and streaming down over his shoulders, dripping as he looks this way and that - tracing his back trail in bare feet. No clothes at all. He can't steal Steve's, even. "….what…?"

"I just…don't think about things like that, Tony," mumbles Steve as he gets to his feet, brushing wet sand off himself as best he can. His swim trunks stream water as he walks up a few feet and pauses, attending to Bucky's query. "What do you mean, what?" He comes up from behind to stand beside the Soldier and peers…and then stares…and then side-glances to Bucky. "…well, if it's not you…"

And that's the Captain slowly looking over his own shoulder back at Tony with a suspicious and intenful glint in his blue eyes.

"Thinking is what I do, Cap," Tony says. "I can't just not think." He shrugs a shoulder. It's his curse, man. He didn't choose the genius life, it chose him.

He gets to his feet, flipping his little notebook closed. Into his back pocket it goes, and he dusts shore debris off his jeans. "Right, let's think about fixing that fish," he says. What what, now? He has no idea.

"Tony Stark, where are my pants?" asks Bucky, slowly. "I'd not've been surprised if the kids took our clothes, but I don't see 'em. What'dyou do?"

Steve just stands there beside his oldest friend, arms crossed and expression patiently disapproving. Hey man, it's a little chilly with the breeze and wet skin.

"…I think we should throw him in the lake," he volunteers nonchalantly, pitching his voice loud enough for Tony to hear. "He might want to see just how much fish pee is in that water."

"They could haave moved in fast," Tony posits. "You were awfully distracted." But then Steve suggests pitching him in the lake, and that's a little too rich for Tony's blood. "However," he says as he gathers up his sweater, "I decided to keep them safe for you, so you're welcome." There are their clothes, neatly folded. And here he is getting a bad rap!

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