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The Pain in Serendipity – 16

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).

Rating: E

Word Count:  2111

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?

Chapter 16

The thought of being with someone and meeting their ex had always been an awkward concept.  It wasn’t that you automatically assumed you’d hate them.  Though you assumed while there would be at least some tension in that situation, there could be all manner of different scenarios that could play out.  Ones where you were bitter enemies.  Ones where you were the best of friends.  Ones where they ended up dating your ex and the two of you swapped notes.  The one you hadn’t expected was the one where you felt deeply sorry for them.

Yet, as you led Steve, Bucky, and Sam to the dining room where the strange collection of adults and children were sharing a meal, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for Bucky Barnes.  It was a strange feeling to have on top of the messy cocktail of emotions you were already experiencing.  To have the joy of having your daughter returned, the fear of losing your other children.  The stress of trying to find the parents of two children who rematerialized in your home.  The worry about Steve being hurt.  The relief of meeting Ryan’s biological parents and them appreciating what you’d done for their son that you raised.  And now, here you were faced with the man that your husband had once been in love with and maybe still was – and you felt bad for him.  This man who had died more than once – who had lost his love more than once.  For him to be in the middle of a battle at his love’s side and then wake up a moment later and have that love gone and the world to have completely moved on.  To not only find out that the man he had been in love with was not only married now but to meet his wife and children the same day – that was all too much for you to get your head around and while you did feel threatened by Bucky, you mostly just felt sorry for him, because that would be a lot to process.

They followed you into the dining room and after Isabella, Jacob, and Ryan all rushed over to hug Steve you made your introductions with everyone.  The two youngest children who had been so scared and quiet were suddenly very excited about the appearance of Falcon and Captain America.  You felt relieved really – tonight was going to be long.  You had a house full of people with nowhere else to go and most didn’t know each other.

The remainder of the dinner mostly consisted of Ryan’s parents questioning Steve about what happened, not just about the battle at the compound but everything that had happened in the past five years.  It was exhausting hearing about it and when the meal was done all you could think was how badly you needed to sleep.  You went to clean up as Steve took control of finding places for everyone to sleep.  In the end, Ryan agreed to share his room with his parents (whose house had been sold out from under them and now had nowhere to live), Isabella, Jacob, Alice, Kai, and Lara all slept in Isabella’s room, Callie took Jacob’s room, and Bucky and Sam agreed to take the fold-out in the living room.

Beds were constructed out of all kinds of random things, from spare mattresses that had been stored away in the attic, to camping gear, to piles of blankets and cushions.  It was so late by the time it was all set up and you knew all the little kids were comfortable and asleep that you were exhausted to the bone.  The only time you ever remember being as tired as you were now, was back when everyone had turned to dust in the first place.

You reached the bedroom expecting to find Steve taking a shower, but instead, he was standing just inside the room, his shirt off and holding Bucky as the other man clung to him in what appeared to be an exhausted and desperate hug.

“I don’t wanna lose you,” Bucky murmured against Steve’s skin, barely loud enough to hear.  “You said we’d get married.”

“I know,” Steve soothed.  “I know.  You’re not going to.  But I have a wife and kids now, and -”

“I kissed you today,” Bucky implored.

It made your heart stop.  You couldn’t blame Steve if it happened.  This was his first love and they’d just gone through something massive, but nothing had been discussed regarding what would be happening between the three of you now Bucky was back again, and you’d hoped that Steve would at least speak to you before he acted.

“That was five years ago, Buck,” Steve said.

You felt something in you relaxed even as Bucky argued that it hadn’t been for him.  Only now you felt like an interloper – that you were overhearing things that weren’t for you.  You were too exhausted to go back up the stairs and come back in again so instead you walked down the hall and came back, making extra effort to make noise.  When you reached the door, Bucky was pulling away from Steve and wiping his face with the back of his hand.

“Hey, sorry to interrupt,” you said as you awkwardly passed them.  “I gotta get to bed.”

“That’s fine, sweetheart,” Steve said. “We were just talking.  Are the kids all asleep?”

“Yeah,” you said.  “Today was a big day.”

“Can’t believe I have to share a bed with Sam,” Bucky grumbled.

“I’m sure you both can get along for one night,” Steve said. “You’re welcome to sleep on the floor if you like.”

Bucky forced a smile and shoved his hands in his pockets.  “Maybe I will.”  He looked at you as he passed and paused for a moment.  “Thanks for letting us stay.”

You wanted to say something to him.  Something that told him exactly how guilty you felt and how sorry you were.  “Of course,” you said.  “You’re always welcome here.”

He frowned and nodded, heading out of the room.  Steve turned to you as you closed the door behind Bucky.  “How much did you hear?”

“Not much,” you said, stripping off your clothes.  “He said you kissed him today, and he didn’t want to lose you.”

“I didn’t kiss him today,” Steve assured you.  “He was talking about five years ago.  We kissed before the fight.”

“I get it,” you said.  “It’s okay.”  You paused as you pulled your pajamas out of your drawer.  “I don’t know if I have the energy to worry about what things mean with you, me, and Bucky now.  I’m too worried about losing Bella and J.J. but -” you hugged your body as if you were shielding yourself from being hit in the stomach “- how do you feel about it?”

Steve sat down heavily on the end of the bed.  “I love you.  I know that.  I still love him, but five years is a long time and I’ve changed in that time.”

“Sixty years was longer than five,” you said.

Steve nodded.  “Yeah, and in that time I was the one that was not experiencing time passing.  But you’re right.  We both changed in that time – especially him – and he’s so different from the boy I fell in love with, but we were working on it because there was no one else.  Maybe if I’d met you back then I wouldn’t have tried to work things out with him.  We’d just try for friends.  I can’t really say I suppose, but what I can say is that we were taking it slow, we didn’t even live together.  I saw him once every few months.  He had a little hut and he farmed goats and I was on the run gathering up alien weapons from criminal groups.  We wanted things to be what they were but we knew that was impossible so we were really just only learning if we could have something new.  But I did love him, and I do love him.  And I feel guilty about it.”

You moved over to him, wrapping your arms around him from behind.  “You don’t need to feel guilty about loving people.”

He looked up at you with his eyes shimmer and he cradled your jaw.  “How did I get so lucky,” he said and pulled you down into a hard kiss.

You melted into him, crawling into his lap and letting him hold you, but holding him right back.  Things were a mess but at least there was this.  The love you had for each other wasn’t going anywhere.  Not now.

When he pulled back he set you down into the bed and tucked you in.  “You’re right though,” he said.  “There’s too much to think about right now. I have to take the stones back and fix the timeline.  I’ve lost Tony and Natasha.  Our kids – our kids, honey…” He made a choked noise that sounded like he was fighting back tears.  He ran his palm over his brow.  “There’s so much, and we might need to take it as it comes, but please know – how I feel about Bucky doesn’t change how I feel about you.”

“I know,” you assured him. “I know.”

He smiled and brushed a loose lock of hair off your face.  “Alice is a complete sweetheart.”

You smiled up at him and nuzzled at his palm.  “I’m so happy she’s back.  It’s weird feeling that joy and the fear of losing Bella and J.J. all at once.”

“Yeah, it’s a very weird thing, I’ve brought about,” he said.  “It’s going to take some adjustment.  But I maintain I did the right thing.”

You sighed and pulled the blankets up around you.  “I hope so. Things are going to be very busy for both of us for a while.  Not even counting the thing with the stones – when everyone turned to dust more than half the population went.  There were a lot of incidental deaths.  Plane and car crashes.  Power plant meltdowns.  House fires.  We’ve all adjusted to that.  There are fewer houses. There’s less food being produced.  It’s going to be a mess and you guys are going to be putting out a lot of metaphorical fires.  While I’ll be sorting out this mess with kids who now have two families.  So we’re not going to get a lot of time to grieve together or work out your feelings with Bucky.  I hope you guys did the right thing.  But whatever the case, I love you, and I’m grateful Alice is home.”

Steve pushed off his pants and stretched.  He still looked so beaten up and grubby. He definitely needed to hop into the shower.  “We’ll take it as it comes,” he said, sitting back down and lying to face you.  “Do you think Callie will try and take J.J. from us?  Sophie and Nick seemed so grateful…”

“Ryan’s nineteen.  He doesn’t live with us.  His days of being raised are over and he’s out making his own way in the world.  He can make his own decisions about who he sees and when, and he’s going to choose to spend time with both families.  J.J. is five and Callie isn’t going to want to not be his parent anymore, even if she did miss those five years.  I wouldn’t want to take him from her anyway.  The best we can hope for is that she’s willing to share custody.  I wonder if that’s what the courts will decide anyway with all these kids.  That’s what I would do.  I am going to suggest it if they ask me.”  You paused and sighed, shaking your head.  “We used to live next door to each other and help each other take care of the kids.  Maybe we can figure out a way to do that?  We have that weird block out the back.  We could build a suite out there for them?  I don’t know.  It’s so much to think about.”

He nodded sadly and pressed his lips to the top of your head.  “Today has been a really long day for both of us,” he said.  “We’ll think better on a good night’s sleep.  I really – really – need a shower though, so get some sleep.  I’ll be back soon.”

You considered joining him for a moment, you even thought maybe you’d stay awake until he got back so you could hold onto him while you both fell asleep.  The day had taken too much out of you and by the time he was climbing into bed beside you, you were deep asleep.


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