The Pain in Serendipity – A Captain America Fanfic
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Character Pairing: Steve Rogers x F!Reader, Bucky Barnes x Steve Rogers (possible polyamory in future).
Word Count: 2234
Warnings: angst, blip stuff
Synopsis: When Thanos snaps his fingers it takes your daughter and Steve Rogers’ first love with it. Together you pick up the pieces, falling in love and building a family together. Finding serendipity in your shared trauma. When opportunity comes to bring back those who are lost comes with the risk of more loss for you both. Is it worth taking the risk?
“Mister Sampson!” you called, as you dropped to your knees beside the unconscious body of your old neighbor and friend. She had been dead for the past five years and had just reappeared thanks to your husband and his friends undoing the snap made by a Mad Titan. Callie had had a panic attack due to the stress of her sudden arrival in a world that had moved on from her. Your kids – including Jacob, her biological son – all looked on from the doorway terrified. You felt torn in two directions. You needed to comfort them and tell them everything was okay, but you also needed to get Callie up off the floor of your old apartment building. “Mister Sampson, I need help!”
You turned your attention back to the dark-haired woman lying on the ground. “Callie,” you said, tapping her cheek. “Callie, honey, I can’t carry you. I need you to wake up.”
Her eyes fluttered open as Sampson came to the door. “It’s my Lisa,” he said, tears streaming down his cheeks, and the phone still pressed to his ear. “She still had her phone on her.” He stopped when he saw you on the floor with Callie. “What happened?”
“She fainted,” you said, and looked back at the kids who were cowering together. “Hey, sweethearts, it’s okay. She just felt dizzy.”
“Who is she, mommy?” Jacob asked. He was shaking a little and you knew this wasn’t sinking in properly. For him, you were his mommy and Callie was just the story of a ghost who loved him once.
“She’s your mommy, J.J.,” you said, helping Callie to sit up.
“Let’s get her down to my apartment,” Sampson said. “I can make coffee.”
You got Callie to her feet and she blinked around in confusion. “Please tell me this is a dream,” she said in a small and terrified voice.”
“I can’t, honey,” you said, as you helped her down the hall. Sampson followed behind, rounding up the kids in front of him.
Your phone buzzed in your purse and you fished it out to see Ryan’s picture on the screen. “Mom,” he said before you even had a chance to say hello. “Mom, what’s happening? People started reappearing. I can’t get through to dad and now news reports are saying that there’s an alien invasion and the Avengers might be fighting them.”
You stopped dead in your tracks and both Alice and Jacob walked into your legs, bounced back, and looked up at you startled. “I’m sorry… what?” you asked.
“The people came back, the ones who turned to dust,” Ryan said.
“No, I know that… I’m here with Alice,” you said, it felt like your heart was hammering. Things were going even worse than you thought if what Ryan said was true. “What do you mean there’s an alien invasion?”
“It’s on the news,” Ryan said. “Mom… does that mean my mom and dad are back?”
You let out a breath. “It should do, honey. They – they were at work that day. Right? You were home sick? I found you in your pajamas and you came and helped me find more kids.”
You could hear him start to sob on the other end of the line. “Mom…”
“I know, honey. I’ll always be your mom now. And Steve’s always going to be your dad. But – but if they were at work you should be able to call them. Can you remember where they worked?”
“Yeah, I think so,” he said. “I’ll try and call them. Mom, can you be with me if they want to meet up?”
“Of course, honey. I’m just… J.J.’s mom is here with me. She’s – she’s – it’s a lot to take in,” you said as you started moving with Callie again.
“Okay. I mean – yeah – I get it. I’ll call them and see what they say,” he said.
“Maybe we can all meet up at home or the tower later. We can order in some food if anyone is still delivering,” you suggested.
“Okay,” Ryan said. There was a pause that felt heavy – like Ryan had something more to say. You waited, letting him come to it as you began guiding Callie down the stairs. Behind you, Sampson continued to wrangle the little ones as he spoke with his daughter on the phone. “Mom…” he said softly, his voice shaking a little. “Will dad be okay?”
“I’m sure he will,” you said quickly, though how certain of that you actually were, you couldn’t say. Like Ryan, you were used to losing people. “He’s Captain America.”
“Okay,” Ryan said, sounding a little uncertain. “I’ll call my parents work. And I’ll call you again when I’m done.”
“Good luck, honey. I’m sure they’ll be relieved to hear your voice,” you said.
You hung up and focused on getting Callie downstairs. She was walking more by herself when you got her inside Sampson’s apartment but was still in a bit of a daze. You guided her inside the small dark space, sitting her down on the couch before going to turn on the tv. It was one of those old tube kinds with a set-top box and it took you a little while to figure out how to get it working properly. When you finally did get it working the first thing you saw was shaky footage of what looked like an Alien invasion movie, set on the banks of the Hudson River. Everything was on fire and huge spaceships filled the air. The Daily Bugle Logo was superimposed over the bottom left corner of the screen. “… appeared not long after people began reappearing around the world. A battle has since broken out. We’ve seen Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. No sign of the other Avengers as yet.”
Sampson moved up behind you, no longer on his phone. “Oh, god. What now?” he said.
You shook your head. You didn’t even know how to answer him. That looked like some end of the world shit and if Steve and his friends had brought everyone back just to end up destroying the planet, then it was all for nothing.
“I’ll make coffee,” Sampson said.
Your phone rang again and this time the caller ID said; home. It was the name of your landline. A number that was seldom used, and you only kept on in case the kids ended up home alone for some reason. It had 4 numbers programmed into it. 911, yours, Steve’s, and Natasha’s cell phones.
Someone was at the house.
You picked up quickly, feeling frazzled, and pulled in all directions. Your husband was out there fighting for both his life and the life of everyone on the planet. Ryan was likely talking to his parents and feeling completely at a loss to tell them how much time they’d missed and how he had started calling a whole other set of people mom and dad in that time. Callie looked like she was in shock. And worst of all, the rest of your kids were right here with you, looking so scared and confused and you hadn’t even had a chance to explain what was going on.
“Hello?” you said, expecting to hear an adult voice on the other end. Instead, you were greeted by the voice of a small child. Possibly Isabella’s age, maybe younger.
“Hello,” what sounded like a little boy replied. “Can you help me, please? I don’t know… I was playing with my sister and now my mom is gone and all our stuff has changed. You wrote a letter but … but…”
Your heart felt like it was breaking – something you didn’t even think was possible anymore. The owners of your old house must have sold it because they’d lost their kids and now they were at your place alone. You moved into the corner, turning away from the others so you could focus.
“Oh sweetie,” you said quickly. “Is it just you?”
“No,” he said. “My sister is here. She’s only two and she’s crying. I don’t know what to do. Where’s my mommy?”
“Honey, your mommy will be looking for you. Things happened. It was like magic. I’ll tell you what… I’ll be over as soon as I can. I’m not too far away but there are people here who are scared too. If you look in my freezer you can find some popsicles and ice cream. You and your sister try to make a nice picnic until I get there. Okay? If your mom comes you tell her to wait for me so I don’t worry.”
“Okay,” he said in a small voice.
“I promise, we won’t be long,” you said and hung up the phone.
Someone said your name and for a second you thought one of the kids had already reverted to calling you by your first name again. You turned to see Callie holding a mug and looked up at you with an expression of sheer terror. “What’s going on?”
You moved to the couch and crouched down in front of your old friend, gesturing for the kids to come over too so you could explain it all at once. They hurried into your arms, all three of them clinging to you.
“Five years ago, there was this man. He was from another planet. He had this idea that the universe was overpopulated and if he halved all life, he’d fix that. So he used this power and did just that,” you explained. “He clicked his fingers and – half of all life turned to dust. You were one of them. So was Alice.”
“What?” Callie asked. “It can’t…”
“I know it’s a lot to take in,” you said. “But why would I lie about that?” You pointed to the screen which seemed to show some kind of rocket tearing through the spacecraft. “Whatever is happening out at the Avengers Facility now is related to it. The Avengers worked out a way to bring everyone back, but I’m guessing the guy who did it isn’t happy about it. You’re back, and so is Alice. But you’ve missed so much, Callie.” You rubbed Jacob’s head and he hid deeper in your neck. “This is J.J. I know you remember him being a baby, but he’s been here for the past five years without you. I’ve been raising him for you.”
“J.J.?” she said in a tiny voice.
Jacob shook his head and tried to climb you. “J.J., sweety. It’s your mom. Don’t you want to say hello?”
“You’re my mommy,” he said, starting to cry. “You’re my mommy.”
“I know, honey,” you said, tears pricking your eyes. “I know. I am your mommy, but now you have two. Isn’t that great?”
“He… He calls you mommy?” Callie asked.
You looked up at her, and she had tears silently running down her cheeks. You didn’t know if you had it in you to do all this again. How were you going to have to go through this with Isabella too? And surely Callie and Isabella’s biological parents would want to take them back? How could you stand to lose them? “You were dead, Callie.”
She started to sob and you moved up onto the couch and hugged her, sharing the same grief she had but on the flipped side of the coin. Yet, even with the fact you already felt so overwhelmed you had no idea how you could go on, you knew you needed to because there were two very scared little kids at your house who were completely unsupervised.
You pulled back and pushed Callie’s dark curls off her face and tucked them behind her ears. “I know this is impossible to deal with right now. I do. But … some kids just appeared in my house and I need to go to them because they don’t know where their mom and dad are.”
Sampson looked over at you both. “Callie and the kids are welcome to stay here if you want.”
You dreaded the idea of leaving the children behind. Not after all they had gone through and were going through, but maybe it was the better option.
The decision was taken away from you when the kids’ arms all tightened around you. “No, no, no,” Isabella cried. “Don’t leave us too.”
“Okay. Okay,” you said and looked over at Callie. “I think… I think I better take them with me. You can come of course. You’re welcome to. You too if you want Mister Sampson.”
“Oh no, honey,” he said. “I think I’m better staying right here. Maybe I can help some of the other tenants if they need me. I might double-check all the rooms in case anyone else showed up unexpectedly all alone.”
“Okay,” you agreed and grabbed a pen and notebook from your bag. You scribbled down your phone number. “I’m guessing I’m gonna be in charge of reuniting families given I have all the paperwork for this. You call me if you need anything.”
“You go take care of your own first,” he replied. “You’ve given up more of yourself than is fair already.”
You let out a breath and nodded, getting up. Callie pulled herself shakily to her feet and you picked up Jacob and Alice while Isabella clung to your pocket. “Okay,” you said. “There’s still more to be done.”