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All Together Now

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When they see the rings in person, they’re absolutely perfect.

After a long time going back and forth, with Clint’s headmates deliberating more speedily than any of the rest of them, they decided on the following design: The smallest stones for the youngest headmates in one curling line, with the stones for the adult headmates forming a second line that protected the first.

Bucky had felt the most invested in the process–as usual wanting to get nothing wrong. And he had gone back and forth with the best of them and finally decided that, yes, a single stone would be placed for his own headmate, who was still quiet or even silent, but had been there all the same and had been the key into Clint’s world in a way.

They called the ring design their identity map, and they had each member of the group, both inside and outside, who responded at all, weigh in on the design. So approval was gained in waves, and Bucky and Steve refused to go any faster than that.

Everyone was accounted for by the end, even the darkest elements of the polycule who Bucky might have wished weren’t even shown.

But in polyamory, or any relationship, honesty was always the best policy. There was still a place inside of Bucky, louder now than in years past, who remembered being five, meeting Steve on the playground, and starting from there with him. So that’s where the policy would originate from, even now.

Bucky thought of all the long lonely years Steve had without him, even if Clint and the others in his system were by Steve’s side, and even after he had found help and kinship among the Avengers. And he thought how lucky Bucky was to return to this simple, honest, playground rule.

It was Bucky who knelt and put the rings onto his loves’ fingers. So that each of them matched, and if Clint had provided the funds from the Tracksuit Mafia gains he and Mike had made it didn’t seem to hurt their system to do it.

When Bucky puts the ring on Clint’s system’s finger, he leans in and first offers a kiss to Ro, and then Clint. The remaining system members relish a long hug or a squeeze of the fingers or hand.

They know Bucky is one of the ones who keeps them safe. That they enjoy more time out and as themselves than they ever have with both Bucky and Steve here.

Steve understands a lot, but Bucky has experienced this from the inside and it means so much to each of them in different ways.

Clint lets out a long sigh and allows, “The rings, they’re so good. You really thought of everything.”

“I really owe you both everything. And Ro. Really, each of you. So I had to.”

“And it’s brave,” Clint said.

“All of you are too,” Bucky said.

“I’m so proud of all of you. The way you bring each other back. And all the way to me. I am the luckiest man in the world,” Steve said.

“Spoken like a true Boy Scout,” Bucky said affectionately, and Clint grinned.

“I wouldn’t change a thing about any of you,” Clint said.

“Me either,” Ro added quietly. “How else would we have gotten here? All together?”

Bucky offered her another gentle kiss and then she faded back enough that he couldn’t see her visually, but he knew she was near the surface.

All was as it should be.