1965-10-09 - A Night At Lux
Summary: Tony and Bucky go out for a drink.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
bucky tony 

It's time to drink, and for once Tony decides to try out going to have a drink with the guys. Or the guy, since Bucky's the one he can get in touch with. Of course he has to find a bar to his tastes, and Lux definitely has ambience in its favor. He's in a suit, polished to the nines. "I hope this place is all right," he says as he steps through the doorway with Bucky.

Buck's expression is …..amused. "Tony," he says, mildly. "I work here. It's a great place. Especially when the boss performs. But even without it….classiest place in New YOrk." It's more than a little weird to be here when he's on the wrong side of the bar….but he takes it in stride. And indeed, the tall, beautiful woman behind the bar seems to recognize him….and not be happy to see him, by the flat look she grants him. "That's Maz," he says, sotto voce. "The boss's right hand lady. Not real friendly. Let's take a booth." And he leads the way to one of the smaller ones.

"You work?" Tony says. He considers Bucky, then says, "I guess you do. I mean why wouldn't you? I don't know, I just picture you and Cap more or less existing at the manor." He lets Bucky lead the way after giving Maz a glance. "Lucky for her I'm not here for her hand in marriage, I just want a drink." He settles in the booth and takes a placid look around the place. "They do drinks, I assume."

"All kinds," Buck says, nodding fervently. "Crazy stuff you never heard of. Believe me, I stock the supply rooms, sometimes. I tend bar, I move stock, I bounce, I'm kinna a jack of all trades." He settles into the booth with a sigh of leather. "I do. Boss here gave me a job when I was basically straight off the streets. I mean….existing at the Manor's a good description." There's that rueful curl. "I sleep where Scarlett does, basically. Manor's got enough room for me and the kids, and it's safe, so…"

"Why don't you order us something?" Tony says. "Show me these crazy drinks." Dressed as he is, given the way he carries himself, he fits right in among the wealthy and entitled clientele. He relaxes back against the booth. It's his kind of place. "And your boss, he's okay with you occasionally disappeaering for missions?"

There's that funny, crooked grin on his face. The reality of Lucifer….even more than a year later, i's hard to grasp. "He kind of took me on as a charity project. I came in here wearing a decent suit with combat boots 'cause I didn't have any other shoes….and he offered me a job. He's….he's very understanding." A waitress comes by, and there's cheerful banter - she knows Buck, but Tony she knows from the papers. The kind of practiced flirting one expects. Corpse revivers are what they'll be getting, or so Buck orders.

Tony responds with a charming smile and a wink. He knows the type of flirtation. He's fluent in it. Once the order is put in, he says, "Corpse reviver? That's optimistic. It's good your boss is understanding. Since we don't routinely go around explaining why we need to suddenly disappear for weeks at a time, that's rare. Of course if it doesn't work out and you ever need work, I can find something for you to do."

Groping for words, by his expression. "The boss here, Lucian…..he sees people for what they are. For what they *really* are." It's like he can't bring himself to say directly what Lucian really is. Protecting the boss's privacy. "But….he's helped me a lot. More than just giving me a real job. He knows what I used to do and what I used to be, and he's protected me from some of the consesquences. Even helped with some off the stuff up here." The metal fingertip, still concealed by the cover, taps his temple.

Tony nods once. "Fair enough." He takes a silver cigarette case from his inside pocket and offers over one of the hand-rolled cigarettes within to Bucky. "I'm just trying to offer you the added security of knowing that, even if the situation here changes, you're not going to starve."

Tony's treated to one of those sunny little smiles, one that erases all the lines of wear and stress, and returns him, for a moment, to the boy he used to be. He takes the cigarette with a little nod of gratitude. "I'm grateful for the offer, and it's good to have in my back pocket. The idea that I'm helping provide for the kids….yeah. New York is still New York, no matter what, you know?"

Tony flips open a lighter with a smooth motion and lights Bucky's cigarette, then his own. "Don't worry about the kids. We'll keep them fed just to spite Russia if for no other reason. They'll be provided for. I gotta tell you, Barnes, if I found out overnight I had eight children, I don't think I'd be this sanguine about it."

Bucky gets it drawing with a few drags, politely blowing smoke away from Tony. "I've had time to get used to the idea. It's….the original shock." He's pale just at the memory. "It was my nightmare, when I found out. The idea that even though I'd got free and mostly sane, the same torment was going on back there, to more guys like me. Only….without ever having been Bucky Barnes to go back to."

"Yeah, that's an added layer of horrible," Tony says. He takes a draw off the cigarette. It's smooth and rich, and it sure as hell costs more than the average Lucky Strike. He exhales a smoke ring or two, then adds, "They've got the rest of their lives ahead of them. If they've got an ounce of your will, they'll forge ahead and be fine."

He looks around for the ashtray - crystal, of course- and snags it closer with a fingertip. "These are really good," he says, with a little laugh. "They will be. They're made to be better, smarter, tougher, and they are. I can't take credit for it, but I'm glad to see it. Someof 'em are even more stubborn than Steve."

"So that's how the Reds are going to destroy us," Tony says. "They've created people who can surpass even Cap in stubbornness." He flicks ash in the tray. "I can see the plan unfolding. We were meant to find these kids, turn them to our way of life, and then argue with them incessantly. The Ruskies will catch us while we're distracted."

Bucky rolls his eyes. "F that were the plan, they'd've made a million Caps. Godalmighty, he was stubborn even when he was a rickety little kid. The reason I'm as stubborn as I am is from years of arguing with him. Iron sharpens iron. Thogh when I was a kid," And he pauses to blow a smoke ring, "I could just sit on him. I was like….twice his size."

"Ah, for the days when he was more manageable." Tony shakes his head. "You know, all my dad talked about was how great he was? It was Captain Rogers did this and Captain Rogers accomplished that. Nothing prepared me for that bullish streak. Nothing. I think that's the biggest disservice my father ever did. He could have warned a man."

"Really?" Buck's pausing, blinking at Tony, "Yeah. Steve is….what he is. And he's amazing, but he's not flawless. HE's courageous as hell, we all know that, but sometimes watching him do his thing is like…" His gaze roams as he searches for words. "Watching a bulldog smash his face into a plateglass window, sure he can get through it because he can see beyond it."

Tony laughs quietly and ashes his cigarette again. "Yeah, something like that. The old man was blinded by the greatness of what he created. I suppose we all risk that happening." He sucks in a breath through his teeth, adding, "Never was my Achilles heel, though. I can always see the flaw, that niggling little something that needs fixed. It's aggravating, like an eternal hangnail."

"Every engineer I ever met was never satisfied with his work," Buck says, offering the waitress a smile as she brings their drinks. Dark, herbal, and strange. "Steve….he has that effect. If I'd only met him as an adult, I'd be as blind as everyone else. To me, though, he's still the scrappy little jackass."

Tony flashes the waitress a smile. He takes up his drink, raises the glass to Bucky, and take a swallow. He gives it a considering look, then nods to himself. Stark approves. "I think we've ironed out most of our differences," he says. "When it comes to how to run the Avengers, we actually rarely disagree. I'm happy to write a check most of the time to whatever he wants."

His expression softens - gazing warmly at Tony. "I'm glad. I don't got so many friends that I'm easy when there's strife between 'em. HE's good at leading, but he needs good people behind him." He takes an unthinking sip from his drink, glances down at it. How long has it been since he had anything here stronger than a Roy Rogers?

"I'm more than happy to have him lead," Tony says. "Even when I want to throttle him, I'd walk into Hell on his orders." He takes another drink. Its herbal murkiness appeals to him. "So that must have been a surprise, seeing him again after the serum. How did that unfold?"

The blue eyes go wide….there's an incredulous grin, followed by a scowl. "Oh, jeez. So. When I shipped off for Africa, Steve was still a scrawny little punk. We were both orphans, we were both basically each other's family, so we wrote alla time. Then I survived North Africa, got home on leave. Steve would not accept that he was 4F, physically unqualified, and kept trying and trying to get admitted to the Army. Then I left for England…..and the letters stopped. Nothin'. I thought he was *dead*," Buck leans a little over the table, in his fervor. "No one knew where he'd gone. What he'd gotten was chosen by Erskine…..but of course, all that was secret, and no one in the know thought to tell Sergeant James Barnes." A big mouthful of his drink, and he continues. "I'm fighting my way up Italy with the 107th, and I get taken prisoner near Azzano. At first we're all working, doing slave labor, but thhen I get pneumonia. They thought I was gonna die, so they gave me to Zola to experiment on." He's matter of fact about it, as if it isn't the root of all his nightmares.

"Right," Tony says, "you thought he was dead because a stiff wind could've blown him over. Just hearing Dad describe him, everyone was a little surprised he survived." He takes a drink, nodding as he listens. "I'm sure a head's up would've been nice." He wrinkles his nose a bit when Zola is mentioned. Rat bastard.

He downs nearly all of the rest of the drink. Apparently facing this story needs booze. "They already were working on supersoldiers of their own. Anyhow, Steve gets wind of my being captured, and decides, all on his lonesome, to go rescue me….and all the rest of the POWs. HE finds me on a table in Zola's lab, half out of my mind - that's the first time I ever saw him, after the transformation. I thought I was hallucinating."

"That sounds like him," Tony says. "To just show up. So you're on a slab and suddenly your dead friend from Brooklyn shows up looking like God's own specimen." He takes another drink. "I know how that story ends, of course. Everyone knows about Captain America's heroic rescue of the 107th. At the time, it must've blown your mind, though."

Bucky bobs his head enthusiastically. "You got no idea. I thought I was dying and dead Steve was coming to lead me to Valhalla, or something," he says, eyes wide again. "And then, no….he more or less carries me out of there. Then…that was the first time I saw the Red Skull. Holy Christ, I still have nightmares."

Tony just shakes his head. "I can't imagine," he says. "I don't even believe in Heaven or Hell, and I would've thought I was in Hell. Nah, Dad made sure I was protected during the War. There were things at home that needed doing. Which, I won't lie, I wouldn't have wanted to fight. I'm not soldier material. I'll happily play support to the boys in green." He gestures with his glass. "So you eventually got out of there. I imagine there was a conversation."

"Oh, you'd'a been wasted as a soldier, Tony," he says, earnestly. "That's the most essential war work there was, the technology we needed. I'm glad you weren't champing at the bit. YEah…" He looks down into his empty glass. "When the docs checked me out and we finally had some time, we talked. He wasn't getting the letters I'd written. They were afraid he'd let the cat out of the bag….and he was sure trying. So I never got his."

"So they cut off his lifelong means of support, drop him in the area, and say 'oh he's been taken prisoner and is probably dead.'" Tony nods slowly. "I don't know what they were expecting him to do, but having met the man…" He raises his glass to Bucky. "Here's to Cap's bloody-mindedness. Without it, you might not have made it out to tell the tale."

Bucky clinks the nearly empty glass against Tony's, swigs the last drops, then looks around for the waitress. "They….he was on a USO tour. They didn't even tell him. He found out when he and the group got there. They had the most consummate soldier of the war selling bonds and hanging out with chorus girls. It's a wonder Hitler didn't win."

"That's politics for you," Tony says. "It's like watching sausage get made, you're better off never knowing." He takes another draw off his cigarette and sighs quietly as he exhales. "Making the tech is only part of the struggle. Getting them to use it, in the way it was intended, that's a war unto itself." He smiles crookedly, adding, "You gotta admit, though, the people did love him in his little outfit."

He rolls his eyes. "I don't know, for the life of me, how a guy built like that, one of the few healthy, eligible men left in the US managed to spend months in the company of a whole troupe of gorgeous chorus girls, all of whom though the worldof him…..and made it to Europe still a virgin."

Tony laughs. It's a startled laugh, and rich as it unurls into one of pure mirth. "Now that, they don't put on the trading cards," he says. "I guess you know how he is, focused when there's a job to be done." His shoulders shake with a quiet aftershock of laughter. "I gotta admit, I wonder sometimes about that man."

"Oh, he loves girls. I just….he's never known how to deal with 'em," Buck says, with a shrug. "Hell, I can't say that you or I do, considering." His smile is wistful. "I'm a lucky man."

"I do all right," Tony says. "Girls aren't all that difficult. They like to have fun, just like anyone else. Take them out, show them a good time, make them feel like a million bucks. When you've got the money and the name, the hard work's already done. Now attracting a nice girl, that I have no idea."

Buck's grin is conspiratorial. "See, you're right," he tells Tony. "Hard to believe now, but when I was a young man, I had 'em wrapped around my finger." He raises a forefinger, twirls it to illustrate. "And then…..well, now I got Scarlett. And she's a million times better'n I ever deserved."

"The good ones always are," Tony says with a wistful sigh. He takes a drink, finishing off his glass. "Making those ones stay, that I cannot do. Still, it's nice to know if I ever need to blow off steam, I won't have too much trouble." Even now, his eye strays toward a young woman at the bar giving him a knowing smile. He winks at her and flashes her his pearly whites.

Bucky laughs at him. "You're a pro, Tony," he tells him. "And….I dunno what to tell you. I wish I had better advice. Secrets to tell ya. But it's beyond my paygrade."

Tony stabs out his cigarette and says, "Eh, even we can't have everything," he says. "I've got enough to keep me busy keeping you guys outfitted and trying to save the next generation of soldiers from an early death and/or mutilation. When would I have time for finding the future Mrs. Stark?"

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