“So, I guess we’ll go?” Louis asks later, when Harry has calmed down and eaten his weight in Chinese food. He plays with this chopsticks, spearing another piece of chicken and pops it in his mouth. “I mean, I wouldn’t mind. We could make it an adventure.”
Harry observes him, watches him seated across from him on their old living room carpet, with a container of food on his lap. He’s fidgeting, avoiding meeting Harry’s gaze–he probably knows that Harry’s mad at him for ruining the one chance they had to get out of this situation. And he’s not wrong, Harry is definitely very mad. Harry wants to strangle him and castrate him and smack him upside the head.
But he’s also Harry’s best friend, and despite everything, despite all the fuck-ups and the plot twists and everything just not playing out the way it should, he’d still rather be stuck in this situation with Louis than any of the other boys. He’s got Harry’s back, and in a weird, abstract way, he knows they’ll be able to get out of this situation, together.
Harry sighs. “We’re going,” he says resignedly, his shoulders slumping.
Oh well. There are definitely worse ways to spend the weekend than pretending to be engaged to his best friend.
“Did you clean the table?” Harry asks Louis once Rose is done speaking, now occupied with trying to see if she can reach over and touch Harry’s hair from where she’s sat. At Louis’ nod, Harry frowns. “You didn’t have to do that. You’re my guests here, I could’ve dealt with it later.”
Louis just smiles easily, though, adjusting Rose on his lap so that she’s facing Harry better. She manages to tug on a loose wave of hair, and she makes a noise of triumph that both Louis and Harry smile at.
“I don’t mind,” Louis murmurs to Harry, even though he’s looking at Rose. “This one here seemed very excited to talk to you.”
And, okay. Harry can’t help but think of how domestic this feels, all of a sudden.
[harry is a photographer who’s trying to find his place. louis is a single father with a smile that feels like home.]
I was watching Frequency (the TV show, not the movie, but same premise) and thinking that if there’s not already a Steve/Bucky Frequency AU, there really, really should be.
Something along the lines of:
Tony gives Steve the radio when he passes back through New York, because Pepper’s been advocating “thoughtful gifting,” (by which she means “gifts you don’t memo me to choose, buy and wrap, Tony, I’m not your PA,”) and because Bruce found it when they were clearing out the lab after a particularly virulent acid infestation. (Combining acids and single-celled - more like single-minded - organisms may not have been their best idea.)
Anyway, Tony lugs the radio out for Steve, dusts it off and checks that it still works, then hands it over. “Dad always said he built this for the war,” Tony tells Steve, patting the enormous box fondly on its side, rubbing the crayon formula for creating a more efficient receiver he’d doodled on the radio when he was five. “Maybe you can use it to communicate with other Great War veterans trapped in the past, reliving their golden years.”
(It’s possible, given Steve’s blank face and the tic in his jaw, that Bruce was right and Tony should have stuck with a duller, more impersonal speech, such as “Here, I thought you might like this. You’re welcome.”)
Steve takes the radio to DC. He sets it up in the spare room, remembers Howard tinkering with a mass of wires and tubes in the London bunker surrounded by the smell of singed hair and musty concrete damp. Remembers Dum Dum complaining about carrying the damn thing out of airplanes and up mountains, Gabe bent over it and radioing in their position from a mountaintop in the Alps. Remembers sliding down an icy cable; remembers the train.
He turns the radio on at two am, because it’s either that or sleep, and at least the radio won’t leave him hoarse and shivering, knuckles bruised where he’s flung his hand out over the side of the bed and slammed into the hardwood floor.
The radio hisses and hums, buzzes disconcertingly for a minute before giving way to a burst of static and a man’s urgent voice.
“Howie? Howie, you asshole, if you hung up on me to make time with Laura again, I will crush your balls in a goddamn vise. Howie?”
“Sorry,” Steve says, gripping the table, because maybe Tony’s right, that voice does sound trapped in time, the cadence of it nothing like the world’s voice in 2012. “I think you’re on the wrong channel. This is Steve.”
“Steve?” the voice responds, after a moment, sounding far more irritated than Steve figures is fair, since he’s not the one castigating an absent Howie. “Steve, you punk, you’re supposed to be debriefing Carter, not fucking around on the radio! Howie’s never going to be able to meet the train tomorrow if you don’t let me tell him our coordinates.”
Steve shoves the radio away, pushes his chair backwards and nearly tumbles onto the floor. One of Tony’s pranks, he thinks, frantically checking for wires or cameras or anything that might be plastered with Tony Stark’s patented smirk, but there’s nothing there, and pretending to be Steve’s dead best friend isn’t really Tony’s style.
“… Bucky?” he finally whispers, creeping back toward the radio, hovering over it, afraid if he touches it all this will somehow disappear. Afraid to hit the switch and wake up to the buzz of his alarm.
“Were you expecting the Pope?” Bucky snaps, and Steve needs to sit down, tries to drop into the chair he’d shoved across the room and winds up collapsing onto the varnished, bruising wood of the floor.
(”Don’t go,” Steve begs, once they’ve exchanged skepticism for disbelief for shock. “Don’t go on that train - tell me no, tomorrow. Tell me you can’t.” But there’s always a price to pay in the future, when you change the past.)