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Honey, you're heading down a one way street

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When they were filming The Winter Soldier, Mackie had to step out to take a call from his girlfriend on their first night out, he goes with a dopey smile and accepts all the good natured teasing when he comes back.
“She’s amazing, I just know I’m going to marry her, you know that feeling?”
Chris doesn’t know that feeling, or rather- he'd thought he knew that feeling way too many times just to have it proven wrong, so he'd rather think he didn't know that feeling at all. But he smiles and nods anyway.
“You got a girl?” Mackie asked.
Chris shrugs, it’s complicated, it always is with him. He’s always in love, always swept off his feet by some amazing girl into a whirlwind romance that never lasts.

“Yea?” Mackie doesn’t press, no one does if they want to stay friends with everyone, and in this industry you have to stay friends with everyone.

“‘Bout you Sebastian? You gotta be killin’ the ladies with a face like that right?”

Sebastian smiles into his drink, cocking his eyebrow- a silent answer which makes Mackie groans, “Man, you’re both no fun!” like he’s a middle schooler fishing for gossip at a slumber party.

Sebastian laughs at that, and clinks his bottle onto Chris’ wordlessly, throwing his head back and downing the rest of the bottle.
Chris has heard rumours about him, but Sebastian never talks about his personal life with them more than he does on interviews. They joke around, have drinks and talk about the industry, that’s just what they do.

-----

They’re in a bar somewhere.
Chris is already red in the face from either laughing or drinking too much- or maybe both, Sebastian is chuckling lightly into his beer bottle while Anthony’s seated at the head of the table, rattling on in good humour.
Out of the corner of his eye, Chris sees Sebastian reach into his pockets, patting his jacket on a few places before finally finding what he needed in one of the inline breast pockets.
He looks up, raising an eyebrow when he catches Chris looking.
Chris flicks his head towards the glass doors that separate their VIP booth from the balcony and Sebastian smiles slowly.

“Nice to have you join us tonight.” Chris says as they stand there, silently letting the smoke curl around them. “Finally decided you’re not too old to have fun?”
Sebastian scoffs, flicking the ash from his cigarette into his direction, but the cool breeze picks it up and diminishes it to dust particles in the air before it even gets close, “You’ve been hanging around Mackie too much.” he takes a drag, his cheeks hollowing out as he inhales deeply, then he exhales like he’s sighing, eyes narrowing in the process.
Chris shrugs, then they’re standing in silence again, nothing but the car horns in the distance and the quiet chattering of their table inside filling the emptiness.
A cool breeze picks up a strand of Sebastian’s chin length hair and blows it into his face, he flinches almost as if he’s not used to it, then tucks the offending strand back behind his ear with a scowl, Chris laughs, amused, and that earns him an eyeroll.

Sebastian finishes his cigarette while Chris’ is only burnt halfway, he stubs it out in the glass ashtray resting on a stool in between them, then
he’s lighting one again immediately, hand closing over to form a cup around the small flick of flame so the wind doesn’t eat it.

“It gets hard sometimes.” he says after the first drag, “Like, I’m out here, drinking and having fun with everyone, then in three hours time I should be wanting to kill everyone.”
Chris nods silently, being too involved with your character is almost what every actor will go through, every good actor anyway. He’s had his days, his roles where he can’t seem to pull away from, that ends up staying with him one way or another. Though, years and uncountable amount of disappointing projects later, he only wishes for a role that he can be this invested in.
Captain America is him, that's’ the way the public sees it, and although Chris has grown to love the role and the films and the ever-growing franchise, he will never see himself as Steve Rogers.

“For all that it’s worth.” Chris says, stubbing out his own cigarette, “I think you’re doing great.”
Sebastian smiles at him- a curl of his lips that break across his face to reveal perfect white teeth. The creases on his forehead relax- almost as if the five simple words alone were enough to relieve him of pressure.
“Thanks.”
Chris claps him on the shoulder.

---

The day that they finish shooting all of Bucky’s footage for Winter Soldier, Sebastian hugs everyone with a smile. They smoke in front of Sebastian’s trailer which won’t be here tomorrow.

“Geez I can’t wait to be done as well.” Chris huffs, smoke coming out of his mouth, Sebastian smiles at him through the fog and shrugs. “Not far to go.”
Chris nods, “Then only two more movies to go after this, and I’m officially graduating from Marvel, what a ride huh?”
Sebastian doesn’t answer, only stares at him, the smoke he exhales clouding him until Chris can hardly meet his eyes. After his last one, he says goodbye and Chris claps him on the shoulder before watching him leave.

“Stay in touch.” He tells Sebastian before he goes.
“Sure.” He answers.

They don’t talk until the next movie, where they slip right back into a comfortable pace around each other.
When Chris notices Sebastian’s gaze lingering a fraction too long, he doesn’t comment on it.
-----

Chris meets her when the leaves are turning brown and curling in on themselves. He’s doing a movie- a real movie, with real characters and real storyline and no superheroes.
She’s funny and beautiful. On the first day he met her, he already knows that they’ll be lifelong friends.
One week later, he thinks he’s in love with her, how can he not be? She’s funny, she’s beautiful, and she’s taken.
She’s got to be, a girl like that.

One of those nights, he sends Sebastian Stan (Marvel) a message.

How you been? I miss hanging out with you lot

He gets a reply in the morning.

 

Sebastian Stan (Marvel) 

>I miss you too.

 

Chris and the amazing girl stays friends after the movie ends, though sometimes when they hug, or when she laughs and leans into him, and he catches himself thinking that maybe. Just maybe.
But ethics and morality makes him push those thoughts away and lets he himself stay a good friend. Just a good friend.

-----

She’s getting a divorce.

He gets her call and she tells him the news while they’re just starting the press tour for his third Captain America film, it’s big and hectic and almost every Marvel actor and every single news outlet is there.
She wants to tell him before it hits the press, he passes on his sympathies and they hang up with blessings and promises to catch up when he’s back.

He catches Sebastian smoking while they’re on a break and joins him wordlessly.
“You nervous or something?” Sebastian frowns at him when he doesn’t manage to light up his cigarette on his third attempt.
“No.” He says too quickly, Sebastian raises an eyebrow at him, takes the cheap plastic lighter that Chris borrowed from an assistant and flicks it for him. The fire licks the end of his cigarette. “Okay?”
Chris inhales, letting the smog slowly fill his mouth and his lungs, it calms him down almost instantly. Sometimes, Chris wonders why his heart only longs for things that kill him.

“Well, yes, nervous. You can say that, but not because of this.” He waves his hand around, gesturing to the bombardment of people running around them and Sebastian nods. “Right.”
“Do you ever feel like…” the words catches on Chris’ throat but Sebastian doesn’t comment, only waits patiently while he’s taking a long drag from his cigarette, “like, something good might happen. Like, you know- finally! After an eternity of waiting, but suddenly it’s kinda too overwhelming, and suddenly you don’t know if you should go for it or not?”
Sebastian is silent for a moment, as if waiting for Chris to say more, but when no more words come he nods. “Yea, I guess. I mean the whole Marvel gig for starters.”
“But what if the something’s like...a person?”
Sebastian looks at him for a long, long moment, the cigarette in between his fingers burning out.
“Then no.” He stubs out his cigarette, “If I feel like I have a chance with someone, I’ll just go for it.”
“Big words.” Chris mumbles, suddenly feeling a little small.
Sebastian smiles at him with a small, playful shrug, “I’m a guy with a big heart.”
Chris suddenly has an urge to reach out with his hand and feel for the heartbeat coming from it.

----

Chris, you’re- you’re an amazing guy and I’m… I just don’t think we should rush things.”

He was good today, the press was better than most days, journalists weren't too rude, even had a couple of in depth interviews he'd want to go back and read himself.
He had a couple of drinks with Scarlett and Robert and all the other original Avengers, he had a good night, he was on a high.
So he called up that amazing girl who’s going to be single soon and asked her to go on a date with him when he’s back from the press tour. Because she’s an amazing girl, and he needed to do it before anyone else does, and that was the answer.

He's the old enough to know that means no.

Chris doesn’t know how to feel, he’s halfway in between breaking down and sobbing like a school girl over a unrequited crush or just shrugging it off because it’s cool, we’re all sensible, functional adults here.

He goes up to the hotel terrace to have a smoke instead.

Sebastian is there, leaning on the railing as his long fingers curl around a cigarette, greeting him with a small ‘hey’ when he catches Chris coming.
“Wow, you’re going to die of lung cancer one day.” Chris jokes. His voice comes out a little tight- if Sebastian notices, he doesn’t comment, chuckling and offering him a light automatically.

Maybe it’s the way the Sebastian smiles at him and says nothing, or the way he looks at him, his eyes reflecting the city lights, or maybe it’s the way the fog of the smoke curls around him, or the way he holds his gaze a moment too long when he tells Chris he’s going to head back to his room.
When he turns to leave, Chris catches his wrist.
Sebastian stares at him, something unreadable in his eyes.
Chris doesn’t let go until they’re ten floors down and he’s pushing Sebastian back into his hotel room.
He lets Sebastian make him feel wanted, feels Sebastian's body melts into his touch, breath hitching, body writhing and receptive when Chris runs his mouth along the span on skin on his naked back.

When Sebastian comes, he breathes out Chris’ name as if it’s a sacred prayer, Chris presses his ear on that big heart and hears it beating, strong and fast,
It makes Chris feels in control for once in his life.

When he wakes up in the morning, Chris is alone.
He feels like an asshole for being relieved, but he’s prepared a thousand excuses that he doesn’t need to use.
Later on, amongst a chaotic crowd of journalists, fans, publicists and celebrities, Sebastian greets him a good morning with the usual smile- it doesn’t even falter when Chris gets trips over his words just to say good morning back.
Chris lets himself be shooed away by PR managers, then lets himself be relieved.

-----

The girl’s divorce papers go through by the time he’s done with the press tour.
They go on a real date, she’s just as amazing as he remembers. Within a month’s time their names are in bold font printed in the cover of every entertainment magazine- Hollywood’s New Power Couple.

He doesn’t know if Sebastian reads the gossip column, but he sends a text to Sebastian (Marvel) :

 
Hey, how’s it going? Don’t know if you heard about me and Jenny, hope no paps bother you cuz of me

 

Sebastian (Marvel)

>Why would they?

 

I dunno, you know how it gets

 

Sebastian (Marvel)

>Sure.

-----

This movie is even bigger, it’ll be his last two movies, but it’s his last time filming one.
It’s a little unreal, to think that it’s almost been ten years, how much he’d once hated this role and the baggage that it brings, how he’d grown to love it as part of himself, how it was all going to end soon.

They don’t get table reads this time, because it’s supposed to be a secret and everything is all hush hush. So they’re all just hanging around and waiting for their names to be called and scripts to be given to them, sometimes not even scripts, just people giving instructions.
Jump here, then land here.
Or
Look into the camera, no, more intense, yes! Good.
Or
We’re going to try something else as well, just hold on a bit.

Some days into filming, he sees Sebastian somewhere amongst the crowd cracking a joke with Mackie- waving his metal arm about, it’s probably about his KY jelly.

“Hey.” He approaches carefully as soon as Mackie is called away by someone.
They haven’t had a conversation alone since the text.

“Hey.” Sebastian nods back, he's already got a cigarette between his lips, a scowl on his face while he searches around for a lighter.

“Uh.” Chris runs his hand through his beard, it’s rough and fuzzy against his fingers, he’s made a habit out of doing that lately. “We should all catch up tonight, you free?”

“Oh, uh..” Sebastian’s hand flies to reach into his pocket, mouthing a silent curse when he finds nothing in the pant pockets of his highly impractical Bucky costume. “No.”

“No?”

Sebastian shakes his head, trying to go through every pocket down his pant leg with no success, he gives up with a sigh and then he shrugs.
“Busy.”

Chris swallows, his throat feels dry even though he’s just downed a 500ml bottle.
“Yea? Some other time then?”

Sebastian shrugs, running his tongue along his bottom lip, and Chris can’t help but notice how pink his mouth is. “Sure.”
He turns away from Chris and disappears into the line of trailers.

Chris wants to punch a wall.

 

----

He and Jenny break up over a phone call.
She’s busy, he’s busy, they agree to stay friends.

He sends a text message to Sebastian

We broke up.

He blinks at his phone until the screen goes dark.
He gets no reply.

-----

Mackie informs him that they’re going to go out tonight. It wasn’t a question up for discussion, but Sebastian laughs, shaking his head.

“Nah, I’m good.”

“Aw, c’mon old man!” Mackie is all but stomping his foot like a child, “You’re no fun anymore.” and when Sebastian only laughs at that but doesn’t relent, he just sighs. “Fine, you won’t be missed because I’m definitely planning to get Chris drunk again and you’ll miss out on all the embarrassing moments!”

Sebastian’s laugh dies into a smile at that, and Chris feels his stomach drop.

“Uh, actually I’ll pass tonight as well.”

“Whaaaat?” Mackie raises his eyebrows at him, “Am I hearin’ you right Evans? You’re usually buzzing to go out.”

He shrugs, and feigns a yawn “Yea well, it’s been a long day, I’ll stay back and keep Seb company, we’ll talk about adult stuff, maybe even knit something.”

That earns a laugh out of Mackie and the crew around them, Sebastian turns to look at him, his smile turns genuine and it makes Chris want to punch a wall again, but it’s a good kind of punching the wall.

They spend the whole night talking- complaining about their diets and workouts and the whole sitting around waiting for shooting to happen thing. They eat gross, green salads on the bed, washes it down with whiskey and shares a cigarette while talking about everything and nothing at all. Sebastian falls asleep on his shoulder and he’s still there in the morning, looking as beautiful as ever, his face half buried into Chris’ shoulder, the light spilling to cover half his face.
“Good morning.” He whispers when Sebastian stirs awake with a small groan, it makes Chris want to kiss him. So he does, but half way there, something in his head screams for him to panic and his lips land on the top of Sebastian’s head instead.
Sebastian smiles, it’s small and tired, but he doesn’t say anything.

-----

They’re playing a game of tug-o-war.
Dancing around each other like kittens, daring the other to come closer.
Sometimes, Sebastian brushes against him, or he leans in too close until the cigarette in between his lips is almost burning a hole into Chris’ skin, or he looks at Chris and holds his gaze, raising his eyebrows in a silent challenge.
Sometimes, Chris sends Seb text messages, wishing him good night, good morning, asking him to come over.

Sometimes at night, when they’re alone, tangled together between the fresh hotel linen, he’ll press a kiss to Sebastian’s neck, feeling his quick pulse under his lips.

Scarlett calls him an idiot.

He thinks she’s right.

----

“Jenny is coming.” He tells Sebastian one night, Chris is sprawled out onto the bed, naked and staring at the ceiling. Sebastian is sitting by the window smoking, a robe wrapped around his body as a soft acoustic tune is playing out of his phone.

Sebastian pauses mid puff, his eyes snap to the window as the cigarette leaves his lips briefly.
“Oh.”
Then
“Okay. Sure.”

Chris panics.
“I mean, just as a friend, we stayed friends you know- she’s pretty amazing, funny, you’ll like her, you should meet her, but- uh, she doesn’t know that we- ah shit, I don’t mean-” Chris cuts off his tangent abruptly to see Sebastian looking at him.

“Seb? I don’t mean, I mean- she doesn’t know you, but I’m sure she’ll love to meet you.” He bites the inside of his cheek, “We’re just friends.” He adds, feeling dumb.

Sebastian nods slowly, “We’re just friends.” He repeats, or says, Chris can’t tell which “we” he’s talking about anymore.

“Seb? I mean- if you don’t want to- I’m sorry-” He cuts himself off again before he starts sounding more stupid. “I just thought you might want to get to know her too.”

So you’ll believe me when I say we’re just friends.

Sebastian shakes his head with a little laugh, dropping himself onto the bed next to him,
“I do know her, she doesn’t know me.”

Chris lets his words sink in, and it makes him want to hide underneath his sheets so he doesn’t have to look at Sebastian looking at him. Because whenever Sebastian looks at him, it feels like he’s stripped bare, as if Sebastian can see straight into his soul with those stormy blue eyes.
It makes him feel like an asshole, and he doesn't want to, not with Sebastian.
“She’ll be around for a few days-uh, it’s for work, you can meet her when you’re free.”

Sebastian smiles, and leans forward, shushes Chris' screaming mind with a kiss. They melt into the bed together.

 

The next morning when he wakes up, it’s still dark outside and Sebastian’s already getting dressed.

“So, should we make a date to get dinner with her?” Chris asks while flicking through his phone, there are a dozen new messages, three of them are important, one is from Jenny.

Sebastian gives him an unreadable look through the mirror and shrugs, “I’m busy, you go ahead.”

Chris frowns, What’re you busy with? He wants to ask, you don’t have scenes in the next few days.

“We can plan, when’s your next free night?” He says instead, but Sebastian looks at him like he’s heard every single word, even the unspoken ones.

Sebastian pulls on his jacket and pulls out a packet of cigarettes from the pocket.

He smiles, “Gonna be busy for a while, don’t call.”

Then he’s gone.