There wasn’t a lot that really surprised Steve Rogers anymore, he’d seen more than his fair share since he came out of the ice. Now that wasn’t to say that he wasn’t surprised by some things at times. Scratch that, he wasn’t really surprised when women were throwing themselves at his feet. He’d been on dates here and there, but none of them ever really clicked. He’d move on, find something else to keep him occupied until either Sam, or Nat were trying to set him up with someone. It got very old, very fast.
“Guys, i seriously don’t want to be set up with someone else, you’ve said the last dozen girls were good for me, and look where we are right now.” Steve sat back in his seat, arms crossed over his chest.
“Trust me, she’s nothing like those other girls, we actually approached her on having dinner with you.” That caught his attention, someone that wasn’t actively seeking him out? It seemed too good to be true.
“Fine, but if this doesn’t work out I’m swearing off dating for the rest of my life.” Steve let out a sigh, how bad could this date really be?
3 Years Later
Okay, so maybe Nat and Sam weren’t wrong for setting me up on that date, but they could’ve at least given me a little more background before i was being ushered out the door. She was downright stunning, makeup perfect, not a single hair out of place, hell her dress looked like it cost thousands. So why the hell was she on a date with me? Well, she was an actress, Y/N Y/L/N, her name had been burned into my mind from that very night.
I’d been to some of the sets she worked on, the crew and other actors and actresses were always friendly. Some of her co-stars weren’t as fond of me in the beginning, claimed that she needed to be able to focus on the task at hand and not me. She was a professional and the guys would reduce her to nothing more than a piece of meat. I was never allowed to step in though, she had her own ways of getting revenge. Which came in the form of sort of shit talking them when she had to do press coverage for whatever film she was promoting.
Of course word spread that we had gotten together almost immediately.
America’s Golden Boy and America’s Sweetheart?
Can she melt his icy heart?
That one stung a little more, the anonymous tips were more often than not, sent in by the many girls dates that didn’t go well with me. They’d all assumed i needed someone that was in the public eye. It was all a lie, i’d of preferred if she wasn’t front of and center every time we left the compound, or her Brooklyn apartment. Constant pap photos of us just trying to eat lunch together. And don’t get me started on vacations. We’d had to find the most secluded places just to be able to relax in private.
The only times they hadn’t been able to really interrupt us were when we’d be in bed together, her moans echoing off the walls, nails digging harshly into the skin of my shoulders. I’d saved those memories for when we didn’t have time to see one another, whether it was a mission i was needed for, or a movie set that no one was allowed on.
“I don’t even want to get out of this bed.” Y/N groaned beside me, hand running lazily against my chest.
“I know doll, but the last time i made you late they gave me shit for a week, rather not go through that again.” I pressed a soft kiss to her hair, sitting up to search for my pants I’d worn into the hotel room.
They were halfway across the room, along with Y/N’s leggings and sweater. Last night was a blur, still can hardly remember most of it. I stood up and walked over, pulling on the material to hide a little bit of my dignity. Y/N was sitting up in the bed, hair disheveled, and a gorgeous smile on her face.
“C’mon babe, let’s go.” I picked up her clothes, bringing them over to her.
“Five more minutes, please?” She gave me her best puppy eyes, and while they normally worked, I had to get her to the set within the next hour.
“Next time doll, but for now we gotta go.” Y/N pouted as she got dressed, fixing her hair as best she could.
The traffic was light, thankfully, as i drove to the location she’d put into the GPS. According to the voice, we only had about twenty minutes before we would arrive. Enough time for me to dote on Y/N and show her i loved her.
“Baby, you know how much i love you right?” I kept one hand on the steering wheel, the other holding hers between the two seats.
“Of course, i love you too Steve.” She smiled softly, squeezing my hand.
“And I’d do everything i could to always make sure you’re safe, no matter what.” My nerves were beginning to get the better of me, that my decision was an idiotic one.
“Yes, Steve? What’s wrong?” Y/N had turned partially to face me, her eyes scanning over my face slowly.
I took a slow deep breath, counting to ten in my head before the words could slip out.
“I’m retiring, from the Avengers i mean.” Silence.
Nothing but silence, and the voice from the GPS filled the car. I couldn’t back out now, the paperwork had already been filled out. Tony had cleared me from any and all duties.
You’d managed to do it Rogers, you royally fucked up this time, and there’s no going back to fix it. It looked as if Y/N hadn’t even bothered to take in air, her mouth hanging open as the car drove down the long street.
“I didn’t think the day would come, I’m surprised you did it when you were so, young.” A smirk pulled up her lips, oh so now she was teasing?
“Very funny, keep talking like that and I’ll have to make a surprise visit next time you’re home.” I smiled over at her, pulling into the lot where she was filming for the next few days.
“You act like that’s a threat babe.” She winked, stepping out of the car the moment we parked.
There were a few people mingling around, talking amongst themselves as if they were waiting for someone important to arrive. It couldn’t be Y/N, she wasn’t filming for at least another hour. Getting her there nice and early was all that mattered to me. I slipped out of the truck, stepping around to her side.
“Oh, looks like Sebastian’s already here.” I couldn’t help the sudden jealousy i felt towards the other man.
He’d flirted with Y/N from day one on set, even if she introduced us he made it his mission to flirt with her no matter what. She still came home to me at the end of the day, that’s what i had to try and remind myself.
“Bout time you got here, was starting to think we’d have to shoot some scenes without you.” Sebastian reached for her hand, placing a gentle kiss to her knuckles.
God i wanted nothing more than to punch his teeth in, to show him that she wasn’t some pawn in his sick little game. Only Y/N seemed to enjoy his flirting, smiling, giggling whenever he’d do little things for her. It unnerved me to no end, it was almost as if i wasn’t even there in that moment.
“I’m probably gonna be busy all day, why don’t you and Sam have a boy’s day together?” Y/N looked up at me, free hand resting against my chest.
“Sounds good, text me when you get a free moment.” I pressed a kiss to her cheek, heading back to the truck.
Sebastian wrapped an arm around her waist, leading her into the set, a sickening grin pulling up his face. What kind of person was he when i wasn’t around? Was he flirting even more? Convincing her that i wasn’t worth the time? I wouldn’t doubt it. Y/N never gave me any reason to doubt her though, it was only ever him. The way he’d touch her when i was around, to the way he’d whisper too low in her ear.
Her giggles didn’t sound right, they sounded breathy almost, as if he’d offered to take her back to his apartment. What if he’d tried to when they were out in California? No, she wouldn’t do that to me.
“Goddamnit!” I slammed my hands against the steering wheel, being careful not to use my full strength, nothing worse than having to call up Tony to explain to him why the truck had to go into the shop, again.
A few extras were mingling outside, talking to one another as they stared over at where i was sitting inside the truck. Get out of here before there’s another article written and the PR team have to save your ass Rogers.
“Friday? Call Sam for me please.” I turned the truck on, pulling out of the space before anyone could really get a good look at me.
“Of course Captain.” The phone started to ring inside the truck as i pulled back onto the same street as before.
My heart was slamming against my ribs, i couldn’t let Y/N think i was trying to run her life though, she was an adult.
“Hey, Y/N said you were gonna call, what’s up?” Sam’s voice floated through the cabin, calming my overactive nerves instantly.
“Just dropped her off on set actually, she said i should keep myself busy and call to see if you wanted to have a guy’s day together.” Despite my earlier panic my voice held no worries, i sounded almost relaxed.
“Sounds pretty cool, we can check out that diner i keep telling you about.” Sam laughed, i couldn’t help but roll my eyes.
The drive down to Sam’s apartment was slower, almost leisure as i watched the buildings and cars pass by in a blur. He lived in the nicer part of the town, somewhere that i had originally looked until i found the perfect house on the outskirts of town. If i was going to officially retire, well i was going to do it on my own terms. So, the house was already paid for, the only thing i had to do was sign the papers, and I’d be a free man.
I couldn’t believe what they were asking of us, to have people assume we were together to help promote the film. Sure, Sebastian and I had fantastic on screen chemistry, but that was as far as it went. There was nothing between him and i, at least nothing romantically.
“You do realize I’m dating someone right? Someone whose in the public eye almost as much as i am?” I was terrified of how Steve would react if he heard what they were asking of me.
“Yes, we know, but Sebastian’s on board with this, and it could guarantee positive feedback for both of you.” I wanted to scream, to make them see why this was a horrible idea.
How would i even be able to stop any of this though? No one was willing to listen to me, and at this point i wasn’t able to say no anymore. We were sent out to get lunch together, to make it look like a date. And to anyone that didn’t know any better we looked like a couple, laughing at the others jokes, gentle touches, feeding one another bites of our food. Everything couples did when they were out together.
“Your acting skills are impeccable today.” Seb laughed, sipping from the glass of water he’d ordered.
“I’m trying not to have my agent on my ass because i managed to fuck up a fake date, sue me Stan.” I picked up the last piece of my cheesecake, holding out the fork for him to eat off of.
He raised a brow, leaning over to finish the dessert. While i wasn’t opposed to spending time with Seb, i couldn’t help but worry about Steve. He’d dropped a lot of news on me, and i hadn’t even gotten a chance to talk to him about it. What would he do with all his free time?
“Oh shit, we gotta go.” Seb reached into his pocket for his wallet, fishing out a few bills to cover the check.
“What’s wrong?” I glanced around at the other people enjoying their food, until i locked eyes with the very man I’d said goodbye to only a few hours prior.
I couldn’t begin to describe the look of utter betrayal on his face, blue eyes swimming with emotion. He wouldn’t believe me if i told him this was out of my control, that i was cozying up to my co-star because i was asked to. He’d told me news that most people wouldn’t hear for months to come, and now i had managed to derail all of that. What was Steve going to do? Would he do something reckless? Enough to get himself killed?
“Shit, where’d he go?” Seb stopped in his tracks, looking around for the same man i was.
“Oh no, i have to go Sebastian I’m sorry.” He grabbed onto my arm, stopping me from running out to where we’d last seen him.
“If you go running after him he’ll assume all the wrong things, have Amy call him and explain the situation from someone that isn’t us.” I wanted to argue that this was idiotic, that he wouldn’t listen to anyone that wasn’t me.
But he’d just seen me on a date with another man, so maybe he wouldn’t listen to me anyway. I sent a quick text to her, begging her to call Steve and tell him the truth. Now, it was a waiting game.
2 Months Later
I couldn’t hang up the shield, not when there were lives that needed to be protected everyday. Threats were coming from every angle, some even closer than anyone of us could anticipate. Some…were harder than others to deal with.
“Steve, you have to call her eventually, she’s been worried sick.” Sam sat across from me, suit on, ready for the next battle.
“I can’t call her Sam, you didn’t see what i did that day.” I felt so stupid for letting myself bare my soul to anyone else, stupid and reckless.
“So what? You’re just gonna continue doing this until you physically can’t anymore? Is that what it’s come down to?” Sam knew the risks we dealt with daily, how much of a toll this took.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.” I stood up slowly, picking up my shield and heading to the back of the quinjet.
The mission was supposed to be easy, get in, get the intel while wiping out the necessary targets, and get the fuck out. Only life for us was never easy, and neither would this mission be. It’s what we’re used to. Sam was going to survey the perimeter, while Natasha and i scoured the inside for everything else. Easy.
“There’s about fifty hostiles, so be careful when you do get inside.” Sam glanced over to me, jumping out of the quinjet.
“”Let’s do this Rogers.” Natasha nodded at me, it was time to save the world again.
That is, until you’re being overrun with people and can hardly take a second to even breathe. Natasha was handling herself just fine, using her skills to take out men faster than they could run at her. Me on the other hand, i was struggling to keep them from coming at all sides, especially when I had to use the shield to protect her from bullets. As the last guy was finally taken down we each took a breath. Looking around at the scattered bodies.
“You go get the intel and head out to the quinjet, I’m gonna make sure there isn’t anyone hiding.” Nat nodded, heading down to where we’d seen a room full of what looked like tech earlier.
The coms were quiet as i paced down the long halls, looking for anything that might be out of the ordinary, well out of the ordinary for a Hydra base at least. Except there wasn’t, everything looked almost deserted as i reached the end of the west wing hall. Were all the agents we took down the only ones that were here? Or were they hiding deep within the building, somewhere we couldn’t find them?
“Steve!” Natasha’s voice rang through the com, right as the building exploded around me.
Nothing left except for dust, and darkness.
3 Weeks Later
“He hasn’t so much as been able to breathe on his own, maybe he should’ve stayed in retirement, this wouldn’t of happened.” Sam dragged a hand down his face, groaning as exhaustion began to creep up on him once more.
Every bone had been broken in Steve’s body, nothing was left untouched as the weight of the fallen Hydra building was collapsed onto him. Sam had searched the rubble for two days before they found him, barely holding onto life. It was a sight no one would ever be able to unsee, a fallen hero struggling to keep alive.
“It was normal routine, he was checking the halls by the time i realized what was going on. It’s my fault.” Natasha wiped at her eyes, sniffling softly.
She hated showing weakness, but to see the damage that had already been done, when she could’ve helped prevent it. Well it was a harsh reminder of the life they all lived.
“She tried calling again last night, asked to come see how he was doing.” Sam glanced over at his near lifeless friend. His body so mangled it didn’t resemble anything human.
“I know, Bruce let me know right after he got off the phone with her, said she’s been a wreck ever since it all happened.” He was beginning to doubt himself, maybe they should let Y/N in, someone that hadn’t been able to see Steve in so long.
“He believed that she was cheating on him though, why would he be happy to see her around?” Natasha’s tone was sharp, acidic almost.
“Because he loved her, whether he caught her during a fake date between her and a co-star or not. He loved that woman more than life itself.” Sam was making too much sense, and it bothered Natasha to no end.
“I guess, but she has to be prepared for what she’s going to see. He’s not Steve anymore.” Natasha spared one last glance at her friend, heading down in search for Bruce.
I couldn’t believe when Natasha called, saying that she wanted me to head down to the compound so i could meet with her and Sam. That i needed to prepare myself for what i might possibly see. That Steve wasn’t the same man as before. God, i can’t help but blame myself for all of this.
“I’m gonna head down and see how he’s doing.” I stepped over to Sebastian, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“Just make sure they don’t say anything to hurt you, that’s not what you’re there for.” I smiled softly, heading out to see what awaited me.
Seb and i had gotten closer after Steve’s abrupt disappearance, though there was never anything between him and I. Strictly platonic. And now, with the thought of seeing Steve after nearly three months, i was terrified. Would he throw me out of the room? Demand i stay away and never visit him again? No, he hadn’t been the one to call.
The compound was always something that slight intimidated me, mostly due to the sheer size of the outside as we pulled up. The driver waited until Sam stepped out, letting him know that he was all set. My nerves were on edge, if Sam was greeting me, then where was Steve?
“I need you to do one thing for me, and one thing only, please.” Sam was pleading, hands cupped together between us.
“Sam, what happened?” I glanced between him and the building, faintly able to make out Bruce who was standing in the medical bay.
“Steve was in an accident, he hasn’t been the same sense, and i need you to understand that before i take you inside.” Oh my god, Steve was hurt? And no one had told me?
“I want to see him, please.” I wanted my voice to sound stoic and strong, it came out breathy and weak.
Sam lead the way inside, heading down the long hallways that seemed as if they were never going to end. It was almost unnerving, watching the faces of people I’d caught mere glimpses of look at me with the utmost sadness in their eyes. What was i not being told? What horrors had gone on while i was too blind to see anything?
“There was an accident, Steve caught the worst of it all.” Oh my god, had he been killed? Is that why no one had called me for so long?
“Is..Is he?” I could barely utter the words, afraid I’d get the answer i didn’t want.
“He’s alive, barely.” Sam stepped inside an office, the spacious room seemed almost too clean.
Bruce stood on the other side, drawing what looked to be math symbols on a large whiteboard. It must be a coping mechanism, a way to keep himself grounded so he didn’t lose his mind from time to time.
“She’s here.” Bruce spun around quickly, locking eyes with my own.
“Oh, didn’t think she’d get here this fast, come with me please.” Bruce pushed passed Sam and I, heading down to the med bay.
The air was filled with the smell of hand sanitizer, and latex. A room sat on the far end, covered in darkness, save for a light that illuminated part of it. A bed sat in the middle of the room, machines surrounding it. A faint beeping echoed the closer we got, reminding me that Steve was at least alive.
“We were on a mission at an old Hydra base, the typical kind, only he was at the opposite end from Nat and I. By the time we’d realized what had happened it was too late. I had to search for almost two days to find him.” Sam wiped his cheeks roughly, almost angry.
Bruce pushed him away gently, assuring him it was alright to keep some of the details to himself. He’d pulled on his coat and glasses, ready to show me what’d been hidden from me for so long, to see the damage I’d caused.
I stepped over slowly, taking slow measured breaths as the glass door came closer, and closer. Bruce stayed by my side the entire time, keeping a gentle hand on my shoulder. He pushed the door open when we were close enough, stepping in first.
“I need you to keep your voice calm, for his health.” Bruce took hold of one of the floor length curtains, pulling back so i could get a good look at the man I’d lost.
The man lying in the bed didn’t resemble even an ounce of Steve, it looked as if they’d torn him apart, and stitched him back together haphazardly. His hair laid flat against his head, cheeks sporting a thick beard. His lower half was covered in a cast, arms pinned down to the bed beside him. His once bright skin was now a dull gray, this wasn’t a man anymore, this was someone on the brink of death.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry Steve.” I stepped over to his bed, tears slowly slipping down my cheeks.
Bruce held me back, leaving me unable to properly feel his skin beneath my fingertips. Would it break if the pressure of my fingers was just hard enough? Or would that break more of his bones?
“He’s been in a medically induced coma since we got him, over fifteen surgeries just to realign his bones so they don’t form and create anymore problems for him.” There were machines helping him breathe, eat, possibly even sleep. And yet, i was more worried about what the world would think if word got out that Seb and I were on that date together.
I could only nod, settling down into the chair that sat beside his bed. Would he have scars after all of this was over? Or would his body heal those as well?
“I wish I’d never taken the offer from my agent, it only caused trouble for all of us, especially you.” I hated myself, for doing this to Steve, for being the cause of his demise.
“She said it would help the movie, that we’d get more publicity, and look what happened with that.” I wanted to cry, to scream and let out all the built up emotions inside.
Except i couldn’t. None of this would do Steve any good, and if i wanted him to get better, i needed to do everything in my power.
“He needs to go into retirement to properly heal, there’s no way his body will be able to handle any kind of stress if he pushes himself too far.” Of course, he’d have to let his body heal itself before he could go back into the world.
“Makes sense, his body was put through more than anyone should be able to handle.” I dabbed lightly at my eyes, being careful not to smudge the mascara i had on.
Sam stepped into the room after a few moments, arms crossed over his chest. Natasha stood only a few feet behind him, her eyes narrowed as she glared daggers at me.
“What were you doing, the day he came to me and said he was revoking his retirement?” I couldn’t help but wince, being reminded of what Steve had witnessed that afternoon.
“Sebastian and i were getting lunch together, a fake date as our agents called it, to help promote the movie we were working on, and it backfired on us. Sebastian noticed him before i did, said we needed to get away and by the time i caught his gaze, it was too late,” I took a deep breath.
“I’d never seen Steve look so heartbroken before, i had my agent call him and explain what was going on, but he never answered, he ended up getting a new number so i couldn’t reach him anymore. And here we are.” The tears were flowing freely, i couldn’t care less if there was makeup streaked down my cheeks anymore, to tell his friends that i was the cause of his near death, it hurt.
Sam didn’t say anything, arms tightening ever so slightly. Natasha’s stance didn’t waver in the slightest, eyes still narrowed.
“There’s no guarantee he’s even going to wake up Sam, he needs the least amount of people in this room when he finally does.” I knew who Bruce was referring to, Steve wouldn’t want anything to do with me when he got up.
“He always talked about how Sebastian reminded him of his best friend, back in the war.” Bruce’s eyes widened, as if I’d cracked some sort of code he’d missed.
He ran from the room, muttering to himself as he ran back down to where his office was, leaving Sam, Natasha, and I all confused. He ran back in a few moments later, clutching a manilla folder in his right hand.
“What in the world are you doing with that?” Nat stepped over to Bruce, to try and figure out what was going on in his head.
“This is the person that Y/N’s talking about, his name was James Barnes, he was part of the 107th.” Bruce set down the folder, pulling out different files and old photos.
Nat raised a brow for a moment. This wasn’t new information to me at all, Steve had talked about it whenever he felt the need to. It was adorable.
“Yeah, but Sebastian’s hair isn’t long enough to look like Barnes.” Nat picked up one of the photos, looking at a young James, and even younger Steve.
“Wait, Sebastian grew his hair out after the role, he looks almost identical to James right now.” The hair, the scruff, it was all identical. Only Sebastian and James were two different people.
How would Steve react if he saw him and thought that he was dead? Or that he was seeing his best friend even though he died back in World War II?
“All we can do is try.” I nodded to Bruce, pulling out my phone to call Sebastian.
He offered to come down right away, picking up some food for him and i to eat since we’d agreed to get lunch, before the news came along. The less i had to be around the very people who wanted me dead in that moment, the better.
“There’s a Sebastian Stan here sir.” Friday’s voice echoed throughout the room, signaling that it was time for me to leave.
“That’s our doppelganger, I’ll be right back.” I waved quickly, running down to where Seb was waiting for me.
He looked more confused than I was hoping for, holding a bag of takeout in one hand, and his phone in the other.
“I’m sorry, but did the goddamn walls just announce my arrival to you?” Sebastian handed the bag over, raising a brow when i effectively ignored him.
“Yes it did, there’s too much to explain, so please just follow me so i can introduce you to Bruce.” I didn’t let him argue, grabbing onto his arm and pulling him to the elevator that would help lead us back to where everyone was.
Bruce was looking over Steve’s chart, marking down any improvements, or declines in his health from the last time he’d checked. It didn’t look as if much had changed, from what i could gather. Maybe that was a good thing.
“Sebastian, these are some of Steve’s close friends, Bruce, Sam, Natasha, this is Sebastian.” He looked stunned into silence, shaking each of their hands respectively before stepping back to stand beside me.
Natasha gave him a once over before deciding her opinion on him, Sam took a few more seconds, his shoulders tense and rigid. Bruce held up a photograph, comparing the differences between James and Sebastian. It was uncanny how similar they looked, even with the difference in time.
“I need a favor, could you just sit down in that chair beside his bed, please?” Bruce walked him over to the chair, sitting him down slowly.
The room was tense, from Natasha’s rigid shoulders, to Sam’s almost battle stance as we watched and waited with bated breath. What exactly did Bruce have planned anyway? Hadn’t he just said that he wasn’t even sure if Steve would wake up?
He stepped around to his bedside, tapping away at a screen until he was happy with whatever result he was looking for. No one dared move, watching as the heart rate monitor began to beep a little abnormally. He was trying to wake up Steve, and with Sebastian by his side, who knew how he was going to react.
“Just stand back guys, he may be unable to even lift his fingers without excruciating pain, but this is Steve Rogers we’re talking about.” Bruce held the clipboard to his chest, stepping over to Sam.
It was almost silent in the room, until Steve’s eyes fluttered open, a soft groan slipping through his lips. The pain slowly encompassing his entire being. Tears slipped down his cheeks, jaw clenched as if it would help alleviate the pain.
“Steve?” Sebastian leant forward slowly, afraid to move too fast and startle the man.
He glanced over to the brunette, brows furrowing for a moment until realization settled in. He believed that Sebastian was really James. He tried to reach out with his hand, wincing as the pain shot through his arm.
“Don’t try to move too much Steve, your bodies been through a lot.” Bruce pushed him back against the soft mattress, making sure to keep most of the pressure off his body.
“What happened?” His voice was scratchy, as if he gargled with gravel and salt.
“You were nearly crushed to death in a Hydra building, Sam found you and brought you back, i put you into a medically induced coma to help alleviate some of the pain you’d of felt.” Steve winced, clenching his hand into a tight fist.
The skin broke open, a drop of blood trickling down his hand slowly. Sebastian hadn’t moved, elbows resting against his knees as he looked at Steve.
“I want everyone out, now.” Natasha didn’t waste a second, grabbing onto both Sam, and Sebastian and dragging them out of the room.
I knew Bruce couldn’t leave him entirely alone, in case he tried to act brave and stand up from his bed. He needed to be alone, and that meant everyone had to leave.
“No, you’re gonna stay.” Steve’s voice had an edge to it, one I’d never heard before.
“Why’d you send everyone else out but not me?” I stepped over to his bed slowly, keeping enough distance between us.
“I wanted to talk to you before i get sent somewhere else, sit.” He gestured weakly with his left hand, gasping softly as the small gesture caused shooting pain to radiate through his entire arm.
“Don’t exert yourself, you’re already in enough pain.” I sat down in the chair Sebastian had been sitting in only moments ago, our lunch all but forgotten.
Bruce checked his bandages, changing ones that were soaked with fresh blood, and old blood. His cast looked as if it was already to come off, and to the wrong person they would remove it.
“I was never cheating on you Steve, it was for that stupid movie we were filming, they wanted us to pretend for the paps.” I couldn’t keep looking at him, averting my gaze down to my lap to hide the shame that was threatening to take over.
Steve didn’t say anything, eyes staring at up at the ceiling as if it could give him the answers he so desired. All that stared back was a plain white ceiling.
“I’m gonna guess that was Sebastian that was beside my bed when i woke up and that i hadn’t gotten my wish and had successfully died?” Steve turned his head slowly, gaze landing on my hands.
I couldn’t control the tears then, letting them fall freely. This was my fault, and i had to suffer the consequences of my actions.
“I’m so sorry, i should’ve just said no when they wanted me and Sebastian to fake date. None of this would’ve happened, you’d of been happy.” My throat felt tight, what if he was happier after he caught us on the fake date? No longer feeling the need to hide when he was in public.
The room felt too stuffy, as if the walls were beginning to close in. I pushed up from the chair, running out of the room, out of the compound entirely. Voices were faintly calling my name, they sounded so far away. I’d ruined everything in my life, and now i had to deal with what happened.
“Y/N! Wait!” Sebastian grabbed onto my waist, pulling me flush to his chest, hands rubbing up and down my back slowly.
“It’s all my fault Seb, it’s all my fucking fault.” I struggled to pull in a breath of air, clutching onto the leather of his jacket.
“Shh, c’mon and take a breath for me, please?” Seb took one of my hands, pressing it against his chest, palm against his heart.
It was the exact same thing Steve would do whenever i had a panic attack, and it always worked to help calm me down. Except it wasn’t Steve standing before me, it was my friend Sebastian, a man I’d worked on almost four films with. Not the man i had given my heart too almost three years ago, the same man who wanted nothing to do with me.
“Can we go back to my apartment please? I’d rather not be reminded of my mistakes anymore.” I glanced up to Seb for a moment, sniffling back the tears that threatened to spill.
“Yeah, I’ll get the car.” Seb patted my cheek gently, leaving me standing before the compound.
I knew without a doubt that Sam and Nat were watching from the windows, glaring down at me with utter disgust.
“Y/N! I need to speak with you, please.” Bruce walked out quickly, clutching the same clipboard as before.
“Yes Dr. Banner?” I had never been so formal with him, but these weren’t my friends, not anymore.
“I know this is more than i should even be asking you right now, but there’s no way i can have Steve here at the compound while he heals, and i know that your apartment is all one level.” He wasn’t being serious, this sounded like an absolute joke right now.
“Bruce, you can’t be serious, that man absolutely loathes me right now.” Anyone with two working eyes could see how downright pissed he was that i had been in the same room as him
He stared over at me, debating his next words very carefully. Or maybe that was just me.
“Please, this is the only time I’d ever ask you for a favor.” Bruce was ready to get down onto his knees and beg.
“Fine, but the moment he’s alright to be on his own, he’s leaving.” I was going to stand my ground as best i could, even if it meant my ex living with me while i tended to him.
Why did i agree to this in the first place?
2 Weeks Later
I hated everything about this, from having to wake up and remember where i was daily, to being catered to by everyone else. Bruce said i needed to stay off my feet as much as possible, at least until i felt like my legs wouldn’t break underneath my weight. And it was fine at first, until i had my first fall getting out of the shower. Didn’t realized I’d cracked my head open until Sam came over to help me with physical therapy for the day.
He’d screamed at Y/N for almost twenty minutes, saying that she shouldn’t of left me alone when i was still so weak, that i could’ve bled to death on the bathroom floor due to her negligence. She didn’t so much as look at me after Sam left, excusing herself down to her bedroom for the rest of the night. Dinner was quiet, chinese takeout that was easy enough to order so i didn’t have to stand on my legs for too long. Bruce thought it might be a good idea to have me use a cane, seeing that my arms were healing much better.
And the cane was great, sturdy enough to hold my weight if i needed a small break while walking around the apartment, or when i ventured outside. Y/N wasn’t home too often anymore, giving me the space i needed.
“No, i think she’s meeting with her agent today, something about a new movie or something.” I set the phone down, wincing slightly.
“I’m just saying, you should’ve stayed at the compound, we’re more than capable of taking care of you.” Sam hadn’t wanted me to leave at all, but Bruce was the doctor, he knew what was best.
“Doctors orders Sam, plus you guys have missions to worry about and I can’t be that liability on you.” I sighed, grabbing onto my cane and pushing myself up slowly.
You can make it to the kitchen, just gotta put one foot in front of the other, that’s all there is too it Rogers. Just get to the kitchen and get something to eat, nothing super difficult about that. Unless you managed to break every bone in your body and have to resort to using a cane to walk.
“Steve! Go sit down.” Y/N rushed inside, grabbing onto my arms.
“I’m fine, just need to get something to eat is all.” Had the counter always been this far? Or was it getting farther now that i was trying to walk towards it?
“I’ll make you something to eat, your legs about to snap if you don’t sit down.” Y/N was using her motherly tone, one i knew not to fuck with.
I sighed, reaching over for the arm of the couch and plopping down. She huffed, heading over to the kitchen to make me something so i wouldn’t exert myself for the day. I could faintly hear her humming, almost as if she didn’t want me to hear her.
“Wait, are you humming Ella Fitzgerald right now?” I pushed myself up, noticing how her cheeks darkened.
“I didn’t think you could hear me, the songs been stuck in my head all day.” She cleared her throat, reaching over for a knife to cut the sandwich in half.
“I recognized the song is all, something they used to play before.” I shrugged, didn’t mean to make her uncomfortable.
Y/N picked up the plate without another word, bringing it over to where i had perched myself, though that was more due to her demanding i sit down. Her hands were shaking as she set the plate down, leaving before i could even thank her. This was all a bad idea, i shouldn’t be in her apartment right now, i should be at the compound.
“Bruce, please. I can’t do this anymore.” My head jerked up at that, Y/N was in her room, crying.
“You don’t understand! I’m failing at this, he fell getting out of the shower and i wasn’t here to make sure he was alright. Please.” She trailed off, Bruce was probably telling her why he couldn’t take me back.
“I’m not stupid Bruce, i know that man hates me with every fiber of his being, I’m only doing this because you asked me.” I couldn’t help but frown, maybe i was being a little too harsh.
The room was silent for a few minutes, nothing except for the sound of her labored breathing, and shuffling of sheets.
“Bruce, i can’t keep the man i love in this apartment anymore, it’s hard enough watching him be happy with Sam and Natasha, to just glare at me whenever i come home.”
“I’m sorry, i’ll do my best. Yes, I’ll call if anything happens, have a nice day.” She hung up, setting the phone down with a long sigh.
I wasn’t entirely sure when tears of my own had started, how long had she been feeling this way? And why hadn’t she bothered to say anything before?
“Hey, i’m gonna head down and get some groceries, call if you need anything.” Y/N was out of the apartment before i could stop her, tell her the truth.
I looked down at the plate that held the sandwich she had made me earlier, i wasn’t even in the mood to eat, but Bruce had already given me shit, Y/N included. He’d yelled at her whenever i hadn’t been able to eat that day, whether it was due to her being gone, or me just simply having no appetite. That set us ten steps back, she’d still make sure i ate, but she refused to even be in the same room as me now.
“Hey, sorry to barge in but Y/N accidentally left her coat at my house a couple days ago, just dropping it off.” I felt my jaw clench, teeth grinding together as Sebastian stepped into the apartment.
“It’s fine.” Keep your calm, don’t let him know about what happened earlier.
His footsteps were almost silent as he walked to the kitchen before walking towards the living room where i was. Her jacket hung loosely from his fingers, eyes trailing almost slowly around the living room. How often was he here?
“Her agent keeps asking why she can’t do any new shows or films. I’ve done all i can to keep up the lie along with her, she was ready to lie and fake a pregnancy just to get them off her back, but Y/N isn’t that person. She’s worried about what people would think if they knew you two were living together again, of course these are different circumstances.” Seb laid the jacket down on the table nearby, his other hand shoved deep into his pocket.
“I told her to just be honest, tell everyone why she had to withdraw so suddenly from her life, they’ll understand. Why do you think she’s gone so often? She’s meeting with her agent to discuss taking the next year off to be here for you. Well, i better get going, meeting up with my girlfriend for lunch, see you around Steve.” Sebastian left without another word, the door shutting almost silently.
She was worried about me, putting myself before her, and yet i was letting everyone tear her apart slowly. And for what? My own personal gain? Because i refused to listen to her side of the story for so long?
The apartment was too quiet while she was gone, Sebastian’s words swimming through my head as i waited for her to come back. What was i even going to say though? That i was wrong all those months ago? She’d listen and head down to her room like she always did, god it broke my heart watching how utterly broken she was.
I reached over for my phone dialing Sam’s number, let’s hope he wasn’t too busy and could help me with my problem.
“I’m surprised you’re calling so early, what’s up?” I couldn’t help but roll my eyes, such a smartass.
“It’s about Y/N.” He took in a sharp breath.
“What’d she do this time? I swear to god i will send Nat after her faster than she can even blink.” No wonder she wanted to send me back to the compound.
“It’s not that Sam, it’s just Sebastian was here earlier and told me something and I need to find a way to apologize to her.” I had to pull the phone away from my ear as Sam started yelling unintelligibly.
Sure he wasn’t too fond of what’d happened between her and i, but after getting that news, well i had to at least try. She deserved that much from me, especially since neither of us really had a say while i was staying at her apartment.
“Sam, i know her and i haven’t been on the best terms, but she’s willing to give everything up so she can help me.” I ran a hand down my face, sighing softly.
“I can’t even give her the credit she deserves because all we’ve been seeing are her faults. How much she’s failed to make sure that I’m safe, Sam, i need you to trust me with this.” I could hear his sigh, how much he was going to regret his decision.
It was settled, of course it didn’t mean things between Y/N and i were going to be alright, it meant that we could move passed all of this. I watched the minutes tick by, slowly morphing into two hours before the door pushed open, Y/N carrying more bags than she should.
“Sorry! The lines were absolutely ridiculous today, could barely even get a loaf of bread without someone nearly choking me.” She blew a strand of hair from her face, stepping over to the counter to place the bags down.
Her clothes looked looser almost, as if she’d lost weight in the last few months. Was that part of my doing? By cutting off that contact?
“Can we talk?” I grabbed my cane, pushing up from the couch slowly.
“Oh, umm sure, what’s up?” She busied herself with putting the food away, talking softly to herself about where everything went.
“It’s about what happened between us.” Her shoulders stiffened as i made my way over to the island that separated us.
Y/N didn’t turn to face me until she no longer had anything to keep her hands busy, eyes cast down as if she was afraid I’d strike her.
“Sebastian came by earlier, told me why you were spending so much time out of the apartment, and i want to apologize, I’m sorry for treating you like shit.” Her head was still down, hands playing with a loose thread on her sweater.
This wasn’t like her, she wasn’t someone who just willingly took a punishment when it wasn’t deserved, and yet here she sat. This wasn’t the woman i had fallen in love with all those years ago, this was a shell of that very woman.
“Sam’s on his way to take you back to the compound, they said you would be in better hands there.” Oh, no wonder she wasn’t saying much.
“He called while i was still out getting groceries, said that Bruce needed to prepare you for the next surgery, and that you’d probably be able to stay there again. I’ll let you pack in peace.” She hung her head in defeat, walking down to her bedroom almost lethargically.
I wanted to stop her, to tell her that i didn’t want to go back and stay at the compound, that this was where i was meant to be. Only i was cut off by Sam stepping inside the apartment. Why did she never lock the door anymore? Or had he demanded a spare key while i was staying here?
“Time to go bud, Bruce wants to make sure he can reset the bone before it heals and gets disfigured.” I stared over at Y/N’s bedroom door, hoping she would come out to at least say goodbye.
This was finally going to be it, there was no going back from this for us.
“Let’s go Sam.” I pushed up and away from the island, slowly making my way down to the bedroom I’d been staying in.
The faint sound of music started to play as i sat down on the bed, packing away the clothes I’d taken with me. Most of my things were still at the compound, and I’d originally been counting the days of when i could go back, only now i didn’t want to.
Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”
Birds singing in the sycamore trees
Dream a little dream of me
Say nighty-night and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you’ll miss me
While I’m alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me
My chest felt tight suddenly, the words were hitting too close to home to just be a coincidence. She was singing to herself for a reason, and damnit it was all my fault she felt so utterly terrible right now. I couldn’t stay though, she didn’t want me to be in the apartment anymore.
“I’m sorry, maybe we weren’t meant to be.” I grabbed the duffel bag and my cane, making my way back out to Sam who was mingling inside the living room.
He nodded when he saw the bag, helping me down to the car that was waiting, taking me back to a place I’d once called home, leaving behind my heart.
4 Weeks Later
“Surgery went well, should be able to get up and walk around within a day or two.” Bruce was looking down at his notepad, glasses perched on his nose.
“Yeah, the last time you said that i ended up back in this bed because i ended up pushing myself too hard.” I scoffed, pushing away the blanket that was covering my legs.
They were scarred, for now at least. The serum would help heal them within time, until there was nothing left behind. My mind constantly raced back to Y/N, how was she doing? And was she eating like normal again?
“Steve, you need to let go.” I glared over at Sam who had walked into the room, he knew just how much i had missed her.
“We were making progress, and it was ripped away like none of it ever mattered.” Sam knew how close we had been before, he’d been there for the breakup as well.
Those were dark times, ones that lead me to this very hospital bed i was currently residing myself in. And if i wanted to get better so i could go and talk to Y/N myself, well i was gonna have to let my legs heal.
“Steve, i want you to understand something, you guys are better off not being together.” Nat was perched against the doorframe, arms crossed over her chest.
“I love her, i was a dumbass for refusing to listen to her side of the story for so long, and look where that landed me. If I’d of just listened none of this would’ve happened.” Sam and Nat shared a small glance.
Bruce had even set down his notepad, a frown pulling down his face. I’d grown used to this, the pity that everyone threw my way. I hated it, so much. They had so little faith in me now, all because of the accident. Nothing was going to change the way i felt about her now, how I’d been too stupid to realize it before all of this mess.
“Steve, you need to understand what you’re saying right now.” Sam stepped over to the side of my bed.
“I know exactly what I’m saying, i can barely get around in the compound as it is, why would i want to be somewhere where i can’t get help if everyone’s on a mission?” Natasha stepped into the room, arms crossed tightly over her chest.
There was a silent question in her eyes, there was something no one had bothered to tell me, and i was done being left out. Why did i let Bruce convince me that another surgery was worth it? I could’ve dealt with the pain a little while longer, if it meant being close to Y/N still.
“She’s down in the common room.” My head whipped around to face the door, as if i could summon her.
“Can i see her?” Sam shared a look with Bruce, before his eyes landed back on me.
The scars were shining almost brightly, glaring back at me.
“She’s been here for the last week Steve, we weren’t sure if you were ready to talk to her.” Not ready to talk? She was the only person I’d been able to talk about!
“Bring her in, and all three of you leave.” My tone left no room for discussion.
This wasn’t something we needed an audience for, no one needed to hear what i had to say to Y/N, and that was final. Bruce nodded, calling Y/N into the room while ushering the other two out.
She looked better, in a sense at least. Despite the fact that she looked downright terrified to be in the same room as me. Was it my fault that she no longer wanted to be in the same room as me?
“They told me your heart stopped beating during surgery, Bruce nearly lost you.” Oh, she’d heard about that.
“I’m so sorry, i should’ve said something when i was at your apartment.” Her lips pulled into a harsh frown.
“Said something? Steve, there’s nothing between us anymore. You need to move on.” My jaw dropped open, this had to be a nightmare.
“Don’t you dare say that to me, don’t you fucking dare.” I pushed myself off the bed, wincing as pain surged through my body like a torrent.
It felt as if my legs would snap under the weight of the rest of my body, i needed to push through and show her i still loved her. That i wasn’t going to give up so easily.
“Tell me right now, that you don’t love me.” I stared down at her, knees shaking.
“I-I…” She stopped herself, eyes welling up with tears.
“Say it, tell me you don’t love me.” The air was tense between us, nearly palpable.
“I don’t love you Steve.” Her eyes caught mine, emotion swirling in the depths.
Her voice was like ice, a dagger slicing into my heart as the words begun to sink in slowly, and then all at once. There was no mistaking the way she’d spoken them, with so much certainty. She didn’t love me anymore, and i was holding onto a false hope.
“Thank you.” I stepped away from the bed, struggling to reach for the cane i would need for the next year at this rate.
My knees gave out as my fingers grazed against the polished wood, legs crashing onto the harsh tiled floor. I couldn’t bring myself to get up, to move in that moment. The weight of the world falling onto my body once again.
“Oh my god, Steve!” Y/N ran over to my side, a gentle hand pressed against my shoulder.
I held my hand up, letting her know that i was alright, a silent plea that i needed to be left alone. Why couldn’t the ground open up and swallow me whole? At least then no one would have to worry about me.
“I’m fine, just lost my footing is all.” My voice didn’t sound right, scratchy almost.
“Do you want me to get Bruce? Or Sam?” I shook my head, i didn’t need anyone that didn’t want to be around me in that moment.
“I’ll be alright, you don’t have to stay any longer.” It wasn’t an answer i wanted to give her, to lie in that moment.
I needed her like i needed air, but she didn’t want me anymore. She wanted someone who was stable, no matter the situation. I couldn’t be that person for her, maybe if Sebastian and his girlfriend didn’t work out they’d try dating.
“Just, promise me one thing please.” I looked over at her slowly, taking her features in to memorize them.
“Of course, anything.” Her hands were still pressed against my shoulder, the same one Bruce would need to reconstruct for the next surgery.
“Don’t settle for anyone, you deserve all the happiness in the world, I’m sorry i couldn’t be that for you.” I couldn’t stop the tears that slipped down my cheeks, looking back to where my cane was sitting.
Y/N didn’t say anything for a few moments, her shoes squeaking almost silently as she pushed herself upright. Her hand stayed pressed against my shoulder, fingers squeezing gently. There was an air between us. A silent goodbye.
3 Years Later
I watched her walk down the aisle, to the man she was marrying, it hurt the very bottom of my soul to watch how utterly happy she was. I wasn’t surprised to receive the wedding invitation, staring down at the cream colored paper as if it would give me answers i so desperately needed. Was she at least happy? Had she promised to marry someone who saw her worth?
Watching her now, i knew without a doubt that they were meant to be, from the way she practically glowed, to the way she smiled at him. She’d never smiled at me the way she does for him, he could give her everything she wanted, and more.
“We didn’t have to come, y’know.” I glanced over to Sam, a small fake smile plastered on my face.
“I wanted to be here, for both of them.” I grabbed my cane as they kissed, standing up to cheer as they walked back down the aisle together.
“You gonna tell her you need that permanently? Or tell her you needed another surgery so she doesn’t ask questions?” Sam had a point, i didn’t have the heart to tell Y/N the truth after she’d left, my body was still broken, even after all this time.
“If she asks me to dance, I’ll tell her the truth.” Sam nodded, heading outside to where we’d parked.
The sun was shining high in the sky, warming my skin. It felt good to be out of the compound, to be away from the hecticness that was always lingering.
The wedding party were off taking photos, the groomsmen were teasing the newly appointed husband, laughing when he shook his head. Y/N was standing with her maid of honor, a woman I’d met a handful of times when we were together. I wanted to say hello, to let her know I’d come on my own accord, but this wasn’t a day for us. It was solely for her and her husband.
“C’mon, let’s get you somewhere to sit before your leg gives out again.” I glanced over to Sam, nodding as he headed over to the truck.
I could practically feel Y/N’s gaze as i struggled to make my way down the steps, i wasn’t some helpless person, i just needed a little extra time to do things. Sam brought the truck over, waiting until i was by the passengers side to unlock the door.
“Jesus, why the fuck did i agree to this again?” I was already out of breath, my legs aching all over when i finally settled into the cab.
“Because you love her, and didn’t want to upset her by not coming.” Sam gave me a ‘you know damn well I’m right, don’t fight me on this’ type of look.
I nodded slowly, holding my cane gently as he drove to where the reception was being held, i could only hope that there was a place for me sit for the rest of the night.
The hall was beautiful, an ambience of calm and sensual settled over the entire room as people began to file inside. The tables were arranged beautifully, our names staring back at us as we stepped closer. Of course we’d be right where Y/N could keep an eye on me, as if i could get drunk and ruin her wedding.
“Thank god.” I pulled the chair out, plopping down with a grateful sigh.
Sam chuckled, sitting down in his own seat beside my own. Almost everyone else had arrived, saving for the wedding party who were going to come in after everyone.
“I can’t stay the entire night.” It wasn’t that i didn’t want to, it was that i physically couldn’t.
“Alright.” Sam didn’t glance at me, his eyes locked on the doors that the wedding party were about to walk through.
We’d stayed for the first dance, dinner, and the speeches. They were loving and sweet to both bride and groom, but with the pain shooting down my legs i knew i wouldn’t be of much fun. Sam didn’t mind leaving early, knowing he had a mission coming in a couple of days he had to prepare for.
“At least say goodbye to her, who knows when you’ll get to see her again.” Sam was grinning, smile wicked on his face.
“I can barely walk out to the truck, let alone stand there and congratulate her and her new husband Sam.” I didn’t want to be rude, this wasn’t a night about me, it was about them.
“Steve!” Shit, guess i wasn’t going to be able to make my escape after all.
I turned to face her, smiling as her arms wrapped tightly around my waist, husband trailing over slowly. There was no mistaking the grin on his face, he was ecstatic from the days events, and who could blame him? He’d married the love of his life.
“Are you leaving?” She stepped back, Sebastian’s arm wrapping around her waist.
“Yeah, gotta fill out some reports before Sam heads out of town for a few weeks.” I laughed as Sam rolled his eyes, he wasn’t looking forward to this mission.
“I didn’t even get to say hi, so let me say it now before you leave.” She reached for my hand, eyebrow raising as she caught sight of the cane.
Sam coughed lightly, patting my shoulder as he headed out to the truck, leaving me completely alone. Goddamn that man.
“Congrats you two.” I smiled softly, tucking the cane closer to my side.
“Thank you Steve, but i gotta ask, what happened?” She gestured to the cane that was sticking out like a sore thumb.
“I need it to walk, permanently.” Her jaw dropped open, shock crossing over her features.
“How long ago did you find out?” I could see her eyes looking for any indication of a scar, something to give her answers.
“Probably six months ago, Bruce still has to correct more, but tonight isn’t about me and my fucked up body.” There were more important things on the agenda, things that were staring me in the face.
I could see people were looking for them, needing to talk to them about more pressing matters. Time to make your exit Rogers.
“Once again, Congrats you two, but I’m pretty sure someone else needs your attention.” I gestured to the woman that was carrying a small baby. No older than three months old.
“Oh shit, thank you again for coming Steve.” Y/N stepped over, pressing a chaste kiss to my cheek before running over to her mother.
Sebastian didn’t move for a moment, eyes watching as Y/N took the little girl, shushing her gently.
“Just keep her happy, that’s all i can really ask.” I looked over at him.
“You don’t have to worry about that, her and Becca are the only two people i ever think about anymore.” My chest tightened, I’d known a Rebecca at one time in my life.
“Thank you.” I patted his shoulder, heading out to where Sam had pulled up.
The moon was shining high up in the sky, giving an ambient glow as i made my way down. Leaving behind the woman who would hold my heart for the rest of my days, sometimes it’s better to not get close.