Bucky can read lips. He’s incredibly good at it. Training, probably. A necessary skill he had to learn because his Handler’s weren’t always kind and pretty sure most of them didn’t know sign language. Some did, of course, and they’re the ones who taught him both skills. They’d also be the ones to give him the actual orders, to lay them out for him in writing so he could read it, and signing it so he was sure to understand.
He knows Russian, German, French, English, and some Spanish sign language. But they usually use Russian.
It was surprising to learn, actually, that Bucky was deaf. Clint was the one who noticed it first. See, Bucky had this instinct, and Tony was sure it had to do with a sensor in the arm. But he could tell when someone was close, and would just…naturally turn to them. If you walked in a room, he turned to you (‘it has to be a sensor in the arm,’ Tony concludes. ‘There’s no way he’s just that good.’ Steve thinks he’s just that good). But Clint, being Clint, began to notice the signs no one else could pick up on. Delayed responses. If he didn’t turn to you, and you began speaking, he didn’t respond.
Most played it off to being hyper-focused, a Winter Soldier trait. Clint knew differently. His experiment consisted of this: over dinner, he signed to Bucky Do you want me to pass the salt? Bucky signed back without thinking That’d be great in Russian.
After that, everyone did their best to figure out how to work more in tune with Bucky. Steve never quite figured out why Bucky never told anyone about the hearing loss, whether it was something he just didn’t think about, or whether he thought it’d make him look weak, or what. But it kind of hurt a little. Still, now that they knew (and thank goodness they learned this before a mission requiring a headset), they could accommodate. And accommodate they did.
Tony created a wrist device for him. It would connect to their headsets on a mission and scroll what was being said, along with who said it. Like real-life subtitles (it helped, since he was still their best sniper). Steve tried to speak a little slower for about three hours until Bucky just about punched his lights out and rather firmly told him that he could “read your lips, dumbass. Doesn’t matter how fast you’re talking.” He got frustrated if anyone went way out of their way to make life easier for him, which was just as much Bucky as it was the Winter Soldier being uncomfortable with actually being given gifts. So essentially life went on, just with tweaks and changes that both Bucky and Clint, to some extent, helped nudge people in the general direction of.
That and everyone doubled their efforts to learn ASL. Steve was picking it up quickly, and everyone had already been taking classes after they found out what happened to Clint. But, it wasn’t easy. That, and they were only learning ASL.
Now, Natasha. She already knew ASL. And Russian, and German. And Clint? He’d learned Russian from Natasha. This lead to a lot of conversations. Like today.
Steve and Sam were talking quietly in the kitchen about the grocery list. Apparently no one else in this tower cared about the food stock, which left he and Sam to make sure everyone actually ate things. Bruce did mention tea a lot, but that wasn’t much help. They were going over the extensive list of requested Poptart flavours when they heard raucous laughter from the living room.
"They’re looking at you again," Sam offered, glancing up only for a moment before looking back down at the list. "What are they talking about?"
"I don’t know. They’ve been at it for better part of an hour." Steve turned to look into the living room with an exasperated expression. Bucky looked guilty, hands up in a sign Steve didn’t understand — mid-word. Natasha had both her hands over her mouth like a child and Clint had his face in his hands, shoulders shaking. Bucky blinked twice before signing quickly I love you. “Okay, now I know you’re in trouble,” Steve narrowed his eyes. “What are you talking about?” He signed the words he knew (not many), but mostly tried to exaggerate the shape with his mouth. They weren’t close, so it’d be harder to see.
“Nothing,” Bucky called back. Natasha started to laugh.
"Go back to groceries," Bucky turned back to his friends and made a rapid serious of hand motions that had all three of them rolling. Steve huffed through his nose and turned back to the list.
"Whatever, how many are we up to?"
"Pumpkin spice, Apple, Strawberry for Jane, and Wild Berry."
"Who needs this many poptarts?"
"Asgardians and tiny, scary scientists."
It was the cutest thing. He was terrified of babies, but they kept handing them to him like he was the president. Every picture he’s got with them looks like he’s about to cry.
Why? Nat lifted a brow. Clint was wheezing, doing his best not to laugh. What’s so scary?
Hell if I know. But he would make these faces — like the baby was going to come flying out of it’s pram and attack him. Mortal fear of infants. His one true weakness. Bucky grins and they’re all laughing. Of all the things for Steve “Jumping Out Of Exploding Stuff” Rogers to be afraid of, child had never been on their list. Nat looks up and Bucky follows her attention. Steve’s looking at him. Abort. I love you?
"Okay, now I know you’re in trouble,” Steve narrowed his eyes, hands moving in a clumsy attempt at ASL. It was touching, in a way. And funny in another, because he really wasn’t that good at it. It’s nice, too, that he slows down a little when they’re this far apart - easier to read. “What are you talking about?”
"Nothing," Bucky calls back. He knows the shape of the word in his mouth, the vibration in his soft palate for volume. He remembers what it sounds like to speak, what it feels like, he just can’t hear himself anymore.
"Go back to groceries," Bucky can’t help but grin. Steve rolls his eyes and turns back to Sam as Bucky’s hands began moving again; Shut up, Clint, you’re going to get me into trouble.
Barnes, you’re dating Captain America. How much more trouble can you be in? They dissolve into laughter again. Steve throws a dish towel at them.
It’s a good day.
I really hope this is accurate, or something that you wanted. If not please plEASE PLEASE let me know! I’ll change it or completely rewrite it or ANYTHING. Thank you so much for this prompt!