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: 2027
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?
There was only so much stress a person could take and you were starting to think you might have reached your limit. You didn’t know how you could keep doing this. Losing your children, having the ex-boyfriend of your husband – a man he was still in love with – kiss you, having to help take children from the families they’d been living with for the past five years, the death of Natasha – it was too much and you didn’t think you had it in you to keep going. Something had to give or you were going to go into complete shutdown.
After Bucky had kissed you, you’d stormed out of your office. Callie was watching TV with Jacob and Alice and they all looked up at you. You couldn’t deal with them asking if you were okay. You didn’t want them to know that you weren’t. You forced a smile and hurried past them and into the bathrooms, going straight into a stall and locking the door.
You didn’t even know how you could have more tears to cry. It felt like you’d been crying on and off for weeks now. Every day you ended up breaking down at least once, but nothing had felt like this. With all the shit you’d been through, you had never felt as completely shattered as you did right now.
You leaned against the wall and sobbed, completely unable to process anything that was going on. If someone had asked what you were upset about, you weren’t even sure you’d be able to articulate it. It was just everything – all at once.
The sound of your sobs drowned out the sound of the bathroom door opening, so when there was a soft tap on the bathroom stall, it made you jump.
Alice’s little voice shook you out of your moment of complete and utter shutdown and you quickly grabbed some toilet paper from the roll and wiped your face. “Hang on, baby,” you said. “Just give me a minute.”
When you felt like you were as together as you could get, you opened the door to find her and Jacob standing side-by-side, while Callie hovered in the door. The two children looked up at you with wide eyes, Alice was holding a Teddy Bear in one hand.
You crouched down and they both moved in to hug you. “Are you okay, mommy?” Jacob asked.
“I’m just sad, baby. But I’ll be okay.”
You didn’t believe a word you said. You were more than just sad, and you weren’t sure if you’d ever really be okay again, but you had to be strong for them. It was the only thing keeping you going.
“You want Teddy?” Alice asked, holding it up to your chest.
The small smile that crossed your lips wasn’t forced at all. You buried your face in your daughter’s curls and breathed her in, your mind grabbing at the fact she was here with you now. Yes, bringing everyone back had caused a huge cascade of horrible shit, but Alice was here with you. She was the light in the storm that kept you sane. “Thank you, Ally,” you said, taking the toy and kissing her cheek.
“Hey, little ones,” Callie said. “Let’s let mommy wash her face and we can go make dinner. I think it’s a mac & cheese and chocolate cake kind of day, what do you think?”
“Yeah!” they both cheered, letting you go and running off after Callie.
You mouthed the word ‘thank you,’ at her as she left, and she gave you a small smile and mouthed ‘take your time,’ back.
You took a moment to wash your face and calm yourself down, before going to find Callie and the kids. There was no sign of Bucky when you came out, but you only really had the emotional energy to note he was gone.
You joined Callie in the kitchen with the kids and the four of you made a large feast of all your favorite comfort foods. You were all at the table eating by the time Steve returned with Sam and Bucky. Bucky wouldn’t look at you as he took a seat, but it wasn’t Bucky that grabbed your attention. It was Steve.
Steve looked defeated. His shoulders were slumped and his eyes looked dark and sunken. You’d never seen him look so completely powerless before. You stood and he nodded back to your office as Sam patted him on the shoulder.
Steve followed you into the office and closed the door behind you both.
“You couldn’t convince them, could you?” you asked.
He shook his head and started to cry. You moved to him quickly, wrapping your arms around his waist and breaking down against him. The two of you held each other, supporting each other in your shared grief.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” Steve said. “This is all my fault.”
You shook your head. “You thought you were doing the right thing. And I got Alice back. Your friends got their family. You got Bucky and Sam. This is terrible but good things have come from it.”
Steve laughed weakly and pulled back, cradling your cheeks. “Oh my sweetheart,” he said softly. “Trying to reassure me even when you’re in so much pain.”
You took a ragged breath in and stray tears escaped and rolled down your cheeks. He wiped them off with his thumbs and pressed a kiss to your forehead. “I wish you’d just be angry with me,” he said.
You wrapped your arms around him again and buried your face in his chest. “I don’t know how much more I can take of this. I can’t go help the government take kids from their homes while Bella’s being taken from us.”
“Then don’t,” Steve said. “Let someone else do it. I’ll take these stupid stones back and then you and I can take Alice on a vacation. Maybe we can convince Callie to come with Jacob. We can even invite Ryan.”
You shook your head. “It’ll just make it more obvious that Bella’s not there,” you said. “Besides, if I don’t help with the hand over of those kids – if I can’t do all I can to try and convince people that it’s in everyone’s best interests to let them see their adoptive parents still, and make sure that those kids and all the parents involved know they aren’t alone – it’ll haunt me forever.”
He hugged you tight and pressed a kiss to the top of your head. “I love you so much, you know?”
A pang of guilt twisted in your stomach and you pulled back from him. You knew what happened with Bucky wasn’t your fault. You knew that you’d pushed him off right away. You knew that you had done nothing to indicate you even wanted him to kiss you. Yet the fact you hadn’t mentioned it yet, made you worry that Steve would think you were trying to hide it from him.
“Bucky kissed me,” you said.
“I know,” Steve sighed.
“I didn’t kiss him back. I pushed him away,” you added, speaking quickly and hoping Steve would believe you.
Steve rubbed your shoulders and nodded. “I know, honey. He told me everything. He feels terrible. I don’t know if I have the space to even process that yet. But he said he thought if he could fall in love with you too, maybe we could all be together. I’m so caught up with you, and the kids, and Tony and Nat, and the stones, I just – I want Bucky to be happy. I love him, but I can’t even process where that came from.”
You nodded and let out a breath. “I know how you feel. I just got told that I’d never get to see Bella again, and then your ex is kissing me. I just – I can’t…”
He hugged you again, holding you close to his chest. “Honey, don’t think we’ll never see her again. We’ll keep talking to the Riccis. Try and convince them we aren’t a threat, but we’ll also make sure Bella knows we love her and what’s happening isn’t because we don’t want to see her. She’s ten, she’ll be able to make her own decisions about who she can and can’t see eventually.”
“I don’t want to turn her against them. They aren’t being kind to us, but they do love her. They are her parents,” you said.
“I know. I do,” Steve agreed. “But you have to admit that her thinking we abandoned her would be worse for her than her thinking her parents were being unreasonable about letting her see us.”
You sighed and nodded slowly. “I guess that’s true. I don’t want her ever thinking we’re sending her away.”
“We’ll make sure she knows,” Steve said, his arms tightening around you. “I’m so sorry, honey. I didn’t expect this would happen. I knew it was likely that we might not get custody, but I didn’t imagine anyone would keep us from them completely.”
“I know,” you said and took a deep breath. “I know.”
“Are you okay to go back out there?” Steve asked, nuzzling into your hair.
“Yeah… yeah, we can go back,” you agreed.
Steve leaned down and kissed you again. The salt from his tears still clung to his lips and you could only imagine what you must taste like to him. When he pulled back you caught his hand and looked up at him. “Steve?” you asked in a small voice.
“Do you want to be with both me and Bucky?” you asked. “I mean – the three of us. Is that – should Bucky and I …?”
Steve closed his eyes for a moment and let out a breath. “Honey,” he said gently. “In an ideal world, where I could get everything I ever wanted, you, Bucky, and I would live together, raising all our kids, and we’d all be happy and no one would ever question us or what we had. But – that’s not the world we live in and I don’t have the energy to even consider how to make that work right now. I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to push him away. Right now, what I want is to try and work out how we can convince the Ricci’s to let us see Bella, to form a bond with Alice, and to take these stones back so I don’t make anything else worse. When we’re back in our house and settled, we know how things will work with Callie and J.J. – then we can think about Bucky and us. I don’t think you and Bucky should do anything except get to know each other. Anything else is too much pressure, especially right now.”
You let out a breath and nodded. “Steve, can I tell you one of my worries that might not be based on anything, but it’s still there?”
He nodded. “Of course,” he said. “We need to be honest now more than ever.”
“I’m scared that you’re going to start associating this pain with me, and that if Bucky and I don’t end up getting along, you’ll leave me for him because he isn’t associated with the kids you lost. Losing kids kills relationships.”
Steve pulled you back into a hug. “I promise you that won’t happen. I know – I know I shouldn’t promise things like that. No one knows the future, I know that better than anyone, but I love you. I don’t associate losing kids with you. I blame myself for that. You’re the one that brought them to me in the first place. I hope you and Bucky can be friends at least, but I’m not leaving you.”
You nodded again and squeezed him. “Okay,” you said. “Okay, let’s go back to dinner.”
Steve kissed you again and you followed him back out to where the others were all eating. You wouldn’t say you exactly felt good right now, but being with Steve at least made you feel reassured. Things might feel like they were falling apart, but at least you weren’t alone.