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{Fic} Cat Hat (1/1) | MCU | Gen

Realized I hadn't posted this here on LJ. Since I've got a rough draft for the sequel, decided I needed to post here.

Cat Hat (On AO3)
a.k.a. "Isn't it supposed to be cat IN the hat?"
Characters: James "Bucky" Barnes, Tony Stark, DUM-E, and The Cat
Gen || Faint traces of Barnes/Stark, potentially pre-slash
Words: ~1200
Summary: "What is that thing on your head?"

James raised an eyebrow in the expression of "are you dense?" as he attempted (unsuccessfully) to move the cat's tail from in front of his face.

Notes: The idea of Bucky and a cat came during my ongoing conversations with Rina while trying to work on two big bang projects I signed up for. I've done snapshots of the relevant parts of messaging here on tumblr. The story below started as a fill for a comment_fic prompt, but was restricted to six sentences, so this is what happened as I extended it. IDEK! This is my first attempt at writing Bucky.


"What is that thing on your head?"

James raised an eyebrow in the expression of "are you dense?" as he attempted (unsuccessfully) to move the cat's tail from in front of his face.

"Yeah, okay, got it - but why the hell is a feline on your head and in my workshop?"

"She sleeps in my hair, and," James sighed, "she hates everybody." Tony looked skeptical as he poked at one striped paw only to have his finger pulled into a little paw hug. In response to the silent question, James said, "She has a weakness for genius billionaires."

Tony moved his hand to rub his finger under the cat's chin. She purred in response, eyes slitting closed as she tilted into it. "I think she just knows who's likely to foot the bills for the best food and toys."

"Y'know, I can handle her fine. She's probably gonna be sticking to my apartment anyway."

"And yet you brought her down here." Tony rolled his eyes as he leaned away. James' new feline companion growled in displeasure, tail flicking insistently over his nose. Tony's eyes widened with delight but his lips stayed pinched together as he smothered a grin.

"We need to work on hat etiquette," James muttered as he tried to nudge the cat into a different position.

Coughing a laugh into his fist, Tony said, "I'm pretty sure cats don't take directions."

James grimaced as needle-like claws dug into his hair and scraped along his scalp as he tried to lift the cat away. He gave up as she started to yowl.

"You know we need to vote on adding new members to the Avengers," Tony commented, expression a study of innocence.

"She is not going out on calls to assemble." James crossed his arms and tried to ignore the cat re-settling on his head. Her tail and one of her back legs dangled in his face.

Tony's expression broke as he started chortling, eyes squeezed shut, eyelashes wet, bent over and grasping his stomach. It sounded like he was trying to say something, but no words were clear from the gasping laughter. Despite the fact that the over-the-top laughter was at his expense, James found himself grinning. The cat's tail flicked across his nose and he could feel her shifting again. He had to close his eyes as a paw scrabbled over his face. Tony's laughter increased in volume at whatever picture they made.

DUM-E rolled around a workbench, camera cocked to the side inquisitively. His eye shifted back and forth between Tony's hunched form and James a few times before he seemed to notice the cat. With a trill, DUM-E lifted his arm higher and focused his camera on the cat. His movement and sound apparently attracted the cat's attention. James had a moment's warning of the furry body on his head tensing. Then, with a little wriggle, the cat launched from his head with a battle cry and landed on DUM-E's base.

The attack led to frantic beeping and DUM-E speeding off. The cat tumbled off the bot, but quickly regained her feet and gave chase.

James stared in stunned silence.

Tony's laughter had died down enough that his breathing no longer came in short gasps. Still, he had to wipe at his wet eyes as he stumbled forward. He half-fell against James' shoulder. "Oh my god," he snickered. "Where the hell did she come from?"

Finally breaking free of his shock, James groaned, followed by a little, desperate chuckle. "I don't even know," he admitted. Without thinking about the potential consequences, he placed his hand against Tony's still shaking shoulder. "I was jogging back after my run and suddenly I had this creature on my head."

"S-stop," Tony managed to gasp around renewed laughter. He seemed to collapse against James, bracing himself with a hand on the other man's hip. "Oh my god th-that's the best thing I've—" he broke off into giggles.

James rolled his eyes, though he felt his lips curving in a broad grin. "Are you giggling? You're embarrassing yourself."

"Says the man with a cat hat!" Tony took several deep breaths before he straightened and looked up at James. There were tear tracks on his face and his eyes were still overly bright. His teeth flashed in a brilliant grin as his gaze focused on James' hair. "Guess you're updating your hairstyle from greasy hobo to cat-tousled."

James scowled. "Not greasy," he grumbled.

"Not anymore, sure." Tony's nose wrinkled and he looked a little less amused. "Wait, you're gross and sweaty."

James gestured towards the area where DUM-E continued running from the cat. "This is literally the first time she got off my head!"

Tony's face screwed up like he was trying to hold back another round of laughter. James sighed and dropped his arm. He startled when Tony brushed back tangled strands of hair from his face. James stared, certain he looked a little like a deer in headlights. Tony's expression softened, smile crooked as he met James' gaze.

"Your hair's a mess," he said. He grimaced as his fingers caught in a tangle. "Sorry. Just let me..." Tony lifted his other hand and his attention shifted to focus on James' hair rather than his face.

After a few moments of tugged hair and watching Tony raise up on his toes, James suggested, "I could sit down."

Tony froze, blinking rapidly as he turned his gaze to meet James'. "Uh... If you want to. I mean, you probably don't need me to—" he removed his hands and gestured vaguely. "And you kinda smell, so you probably want to take a shower. But I also really don't want your cat freaking out even more if you left without her. She's— Do you know how to stop her from harassing my dumb 'bot?" Tony turned abruptly and shouted, "DUM-E, you're bigger than her! Stop running and face the damn thing!"

DUM-E whined in response, sounding frantic as he circled a workbench with the cat in hot pursuit.

"Let's hope they wear themselves out," James suggested. "And, uh, if you can tolerate the smell, maybe you could... help me with my hair?"

Tony bit his lip, a seemingly unconscious gesture, as he glanced sidelong at Bucky. "We might need a scissors..."

"No cutting my hair!" James protested.

Tony grinned. "Then I suppose I better help you. If you go to Steve, he's going to take advantage and give you a haircut."

"I trust Stevie with a lot of things, my hair isn't one of them." James didn't think about the implications of that until Tony had turned to face him with a startled expression. James looked away first, ignoring a brief burst of nervousness.

Eventually, Tony reached out and with a gentle brush of his fingers on James' arm, indicated a stool nearby. "Let me get started on this mess, and we'll see if your cat chills out before DUM-E wears himself down."

Tony started working on the first tangle - it felt like a massive knot. He said, "You going to give her a name?"

James snorted. "Barton called her Hellspawn."

"I'm bad at names, but even I know that's a shitty thing to use."

"I'll think about it."


Check out the tag "series: cat hat" for additional stories.