Hate That I Love You (Steve Rogers x Reader) Part 3/3
This is the last part of the series! This was a request by anonymous so thank them and I hope you like it!
Weeks had passed since your mission gone wrong, and still the tension between both you and Steve was weighing heavily on the two of you. Everyone had been feeling the tension between the two of you for months now, but this-this was much different. You continuously caught Steve staring at you, those dark blue eyes of his riddled with a sort of despair. You’d always turn away, fearful that he might see your internal struggle.
You had never stopped loving Steve, despite your hatred for the man and his actions, you had never stopped loving him. And the fact that he still loved you as well? It was ripping you apart. Where did you go from here? What would everyone say? Were you better off without each other? After all, things would never be the same.
“Your wound’s healing nicely,” Bruce spoke quietly, gently lowering your shirt as he straightened. Your gaze remained unfocused though, Y/E/C eyes fixated on the wall opposite you. You remained atop the lab table a few moments longer before Bruce’s quiet sigh as he sank back down into the chair had you snapping out of your trance.
“So are you going to talk to Steve or what?”
“Pardon?” You spoke slowly, distractedly. You’d been like this for weeks now. The tension in the tower was becoming too much to handle, and everyone that surrounded you had been tiptoeing around both you and Steve. No one wanted to be the one to address the situation and no one wanted to be the one to ignore it either.
Bruce sighed, slowly removing his glasses from his nose before gently rubbing them against his lab coat in an effort to clean them. His salt and pepper hair was rather messy today and the bags under his eyes seemed darker than usual.
“Have you been sleeping enough lately?” You asked softly, gently nudging his knee with your foot. Bruce just chuckled though, slowly shaking his head as he set his glasses atop his nose once more.
“Don’t try to change the subject Y/N, we’re talking about you and Steve right now.” He squinted up at you as he leaned forward to rest his elbows on his thighs.
You sighed quietly, casting your gaze down to your lap. “There’s nothing to talk about Bruce.”
He was silent for a few moments before he straightened himself in his chair, frowning at you while he crossed his arms. “I don’t understand. You two were the best team we have, not to mention a wonderful couple. You talked about getting married.”
You winced at his words, your eyes pricking with tears. You kept your gaze on your lap, thankful that he couldn’t see your watering eyes.
“I understand why you were angry with him,” Bruce spoke slowly, tentatively so as not to further upset you with this touchy topic. “But he did it because he loves you…And he apologized multiple times for it. But you…you kept pushing him away. Was there another reason for your hatred?”
You struggled to avoid Bruce’s question, allowing your eyes to drift across his dimly lit lab. It was a small room, his own personal space. The walls were a deep blue grey, the metallic steel of his equipment contrasting starkly against it all. It would have been calming if you weren’t so confused.
“He let a child die Bruce,” You whispered, twisting your fingers painfully as you struggled to speak. “He wouldn’t have been five, and I told him to leave me but he-he chose me instead and now…”
You trailed off, the image of the small boy throbbing painfully within your skull. The urge to leap from the table and run, escape from Bruce’s gentle, prying voice was almost unbearable, but you forced yourself to remain with the quiet man.
He was quiet for a while before he hummed, allowing a calloused hand to rest on your jean clad knee. “Steve regrets his decision-” He pursed his lips as he tilted his head, searching for the right words. “In ways. He’s happy he didn’t let you die, but he wishes he’d saved the boy.”
“I wish he had too,” You murmured, chest feeling as if it were about to cave inwards. Your sorrows were beginning to consume you.
“Steve made a split decision in the moment Y/N,” Bruce murmured, dropping his hand from your leg. “He allowed his emotions to control him in a time of chaos, and his love for you drove him to make a decision.” He stood then, tilting his head to look at you. “Don’t punish a man who chose love over reason, when he punishes himself for the mistakes he’s made. The two of you are miserable without each other, and your guilt over all that’s happened and all you’ve done to each other will consume the two of you. Let your pride go.”
Bruce left then, gingerly closing the door behind him as he left you to mull over all that he’d said. Was pride what was really keeping you from running back to Steve? Was it anger and hurt over the loss of that child?
The guilt at having been chosen over the boy had been eating at you since the incident had taken place, and you’d been punishing Steve for it for months. The guilt that must have been weighing on that man would have been crushing him, after all; you may be the reason the decision was made, but he was the one who made it.
“I don’t know what to do,” You wailed, groaning as you ran your hand down your face.
He still loves me, you thought tiredly, angry with how confused you felt. But what if I don’t love him anymore? We’ve both changed so much…and I’ve been punishing him for his decision for so long…He may very well hate me even though he thinks he still loves me.
“I should talk to him,” You whispered to yourself, worriedly chewing on your bottom lip as you turned your gaze towards the door. “I should at least speak to him.”
Sighing, you slowly lowered yourself onto the floor from your seat on Bruce’s lab table and stood for a few moments, scenarios of you and Steve running through your head. Maybe the two of you would forgive each other and become friends again.
But the idea of that had your chest feeling as if it were being squeezed. You wanted more than that with Steve…You missed being held by him, and waking up next to him-
“Stop it!” You hissed to yourself, shaking your head as if it would rid your mind of the painful memories of your relationship with the man. You needed to go into this with the best intentions, but without any expectations. It would leave you without any pain if nothing did happen.
The walk to Steve’s living area seemed incredibly long-far longer than it should have been-and with every step your anxiety grew. What if he didn’t want to see you at all? What if he wanted nothing to do with you? What if he slammed the door in your face?
Different scenarios kept playing through your mind, some good some bad, despite the fact that you kept desperately wishing them away. You were beginning to panic, your chest tightening at the idea of what was about to happen. Your legs were aching, begging you to turn around and disappear back into your room, to allow Steve to continue to be the villain.
Steve’s door was in sight when you turned the corner, the carpeted hallway leading to it was suddenly pulling at your feet, as if it too were begging you to turn around. Why were you so nervous anyway? Steve was the one who was in the wrong, right?
But now you weren’t so sure. Had you both been in the wrong for all of these months? Had you been punishing him for no reason?
“Oh God this is going to be a shit show,” You groaned quietly, hurriedly smoothing your hair as Steve’s door continued to grow closer. Ribs feeling as if they were struggling to cave inwards, you stopped a foot or so in front of the rather large, wooden door.
What if he wasn’t even here? What if he slammed the door in your face when he realized it was you? No, no he wouldn’t do that he’d only told you a few weeks ago that he still loved you.
You felt your stomach drop. But you hadn’t said anything back…In fact, you hadn’t spoken to him since. What if he’d decided he really didn’t love you and you weren’t worth his time? Oh God, this was going to be one hell of a shit show.
You raised a shaking hand, pausing for a few moments before you swallowed thickly and forced yourself to knock. You winced when your knuckles rapped loudly against the door, straining to hear if there was any movement on the other side.
“Come in!” You heard him shout, his voice sounding deep and content.
You froze, panic rising like bile in your throat. He was going to be so angry when you walked in instead of someone else. Oh God, maybe you should tell him to come to the door instead?
Steeling yourself against your anxiety, you wrapped a hand around the knob of the door and gently pushed it open, sucking in a deep breath through your teeth as you stepped into Steve’s small apartment space in the Tony’s tower. You caught sight of him, legs outstretched as he perched on his window seat, his book resting on his lap. His lips parted slightly when his gaze landed on you, though his face remained emotionless.
“Oh, it’s you.”
Your heart thumped heavily in your chest, as if it were struggling to break forth from the confines of your ribs. A shaky sigh escaped you as you wiped you palms on the back of your jeans. “Listen…I-can we talk?”
Steve’s eyes roved your face for a few moments before he gingerly set his book down on the cushions in front of him. “Alright.” He dropped his feet onto the floor and slowly stood, shoulders squaring before starting to move towards his kitchen. All of the lights had been turned off, the only source of lighting drifting in from the window where he had just been reading. The grey skies cast the room in a dark sort of somber glow. It would have been perfect for a nap, but your nerves were very nearly vibrating under your skin.
“Tea?” He asked, glancing at you over his shoulder from his spot at the counter, an eyebrow raising as he did so.
“I’m fine thank you,” You responded softly, noticing how stiff his shoulders seemed to be. You carefully peered around his apartment, noticing how very different it was since you had moved your things out all that time ago. There was no art on the walls, the photographs of the two of you were gone, the blankets that used to lay on the back of couch had been moved and the entire apartment looked so…plain.
“You can sit down you know,” Steve said dryly, his back turned to you as he poured the boiled water into his mug that rested on the counter. A part of you expected it to be the red coffee mug he’d always used after you’d bought it for him for his birthday, but a pale grey one greeted you instead. You shouldn’t have been surprised, you’d removed all memories of him from your place as well, but your heart sank a little at the sight.
Feeling tense and centered out, you sank into one of his chairs with a drawn out breath, desperately wishing that this awkward endeavor would end sometime soon.
Steve took a few more minutes to fix himself a cup of tea, the drawn out silence allowing the tension in the room to thicken, before he took a seat across from you at his small kitchen table.
He wrapped his hands around his mug of tea before allowing his gaze to drift up to yours, cerulean eyes looking cool and unfazed. “What did you need me for?”
You gulped before you spoke, your hands splayed across the table before you began wringing them again. “It’s about the mission…both of them really.”
You caught him stiffening out of the corner of your eye, his knuckles growing white as his grip on the mug tightened. “I see.”
You struggled with your words for a while, incredibly aware of the thickening atmosphere of the room and how incredibly tense the two of you were getting. “Steve…” You started, a shaking hand moving up to tuck a stray hair behind your ear. “I don’t hate you…I-I understand why you did what you did all those months ago…”
Steve didn’t bother to look up to meet your gaze, opting instead to keep it focused on the contents of his mug, the muscle in his jaw twitching before his lips tightened into a thin line.
You studied him for a moment before continuing. “And I wanted to thank you…for saving me last time.” You could practically hear the blood rushing in your veins, you heart beat thumping wildly in your throat. Steve wasn’t even looking at you, and the room seemed to be shrinking around you.
When he finally did look up though, he looked defeated: his eyes were red around the edges and slightly puffy.
“Is that all?”
It was a dry question, laced with a hint of annoyance and exhaustion. You were a bit taken aback to be honest.
“Yes,” Was all you answered though, before pushing yourself away from the table and standing. You stared at him a moment longer, your hands resting on the table while you studied the way his thin hoodie stretched across his shoulders, the way the muscles in his arms curved and dipped, how incredibly defined his jaw was, before you turned and left.
Your back was rigid as you walked away from him and towards the door, your legs stiff, begging you to turn around and fully explain yourself to him, to have a real conversation with the man, but you forced yourself to keep moving.
The hallway was empty when you stepped into it, and your lip trembled as you closed the door to his living space, wincing when it clicked into place. So that was it. You and Steve were officially over…for good. So why did you feel so unsatisfied? Why did your chest ache?
Whatever the reason, you chose to ignore it. Your feet felt heavy, as if they were filled with lead, as you continued down the hallway. You forced yourself to keep your gaze ahead of you, though you desperately wanted to turn and allow Steve’s place one last look.
Steve, you begged, please just come and get me. Chase me like you used to.
Your ears were straining to hear any movement whatsoever, anything at all, and your heart and mind were begging and hoping that if there was any, it would be Steve.
You froze, eyes widening as you caught your breath. Slowly turning, you were shocked to find yourself staring at Steve. You’d made it nearly halfway down the hallway but even from this distance you could see how his large frame nearly took up the entire doorway to the entrance of his home. The two of you stared at each other for a moment before he stepped aside, motioning you back into his apartment.
You gulped, frowning in confusion at him before starting to move towards him. What in the hell was he doing? Why was he bringing you back? He’d seemed so fed up with you when you’d spoken to him just a few minutes ago. Had he had a change of heart? Or was there something he needed to tell you?
Something cruel, you assumed. Your heart sank into your stomach.
When you finally reached him, you cast him a fleeting glance before slipping past him and back into the dark expanse of his small apartment. Steve towered over you before you before he turned to gently close the door behind the two of you.
You stood still, holding your breath, unsure of what to do next. Steve silently slid past you and back towards his kitchen, though his face remained emotionless. You were starting to get worried. Why did Steve bring you back in here? What was the point? You’d literally just left, and although the conversation had been dry and virtually meaningless, it had still happened not five minutes ago.
Steve beckoned for you to take a seat at his table for the second time that day, and for the second time you gingerly sat down, painfully aware of the awkward situation the two of you had placed yourselves in.
Unable to look at him, you kept your gaze focused on his table, allowing your eyes to follow the pattern of the wood knots while he slid into the chair opposite yours once more.
“I didn’t tell you what I needed to when we last spoke.”
You tugged on your lip with your teeth, desperately struggling to keep your hands from shaking and your feet from tapping on the floor. Although you were certain Steve knew you were anxious, you were still rather embarrassed about it all.
“I’m sorry I chose you over the boy.”
You finally looked up at him, though now his blue eyes were trained on the table. Without a second thought, you reached across the table and gently set your hand across Steve’s much larger one. His eyes snapped up to meet yours, lips parting in confusion.
“I-” Your mouth was suddenly dry and you quickly cleared you throat, struggling to dismiss the thickening atmosphere of the room. “I’m sorry I put you through all that I did for so long…I should have known that it would have put you through a lot of stress and guilt and I-” You coughed quietly. “I’m sorry Steve.”
You heard him swallow thickly, your eyes searching his face for anything, any emotion at all. It was silent for a very long time, the only thing to be heard was the ticking of the clock above Steve’s stove.
Suddenly Steve was wrapping his fingers around your smaller hand, and a soft sigh escaped him. “Are we…are we okay then?”
You nodded, releasing a breath you hadn’t realized you’d been holding. “I think so…”
Steve’s thumb gently smoothed over the knuckles of your hand before he spoke again. “So we’re…friends?”
You mulled over the idea for a few moments, images of the two of you having lunch and making polite talk swarming your mind before you nodded vigorously. “Yes, absolutely.”
A deep sigh of relief escaped the man sitting before you before he was sinking back into his chair, his hand slipping out of yours as he did so. “Oh thank God. It was starting to get really awkward around here.”
You laughed then, a heavy weight suddenly lifting from your shoulders as you gazed at Steve, who was now grinning from ear to ear. “That’s very true.”
Your laughs slowly faded then, and you looked him over a few moments longer before you stood. “I should get going. Tony had some stuff he wanted to show me and he isn’t too happy when I’m late so-” You cast a pensive wave as Steve stood from his chair, wiping the palms of his hands on his jeans before moving towards you.
“So, I guess we just take things slow from here, right?” He asked, eyebrows raising as he extended his hand towards you. God, what a geek.
You nodded though, allowing your hand to slip into his as you shook it, struggling to keep your quiet laugh hidden. “Ah yes, definitely.” You turned your face upwards to smile at him, though stopped when you saw how he was smiling at you. His grin was somewhat lopsided, those deep blue eyes of his were crinkled in happiness and his blond hair was tousled and messy. You felt your lips part into an ‘oh’ and suddenly Steve’s grin fell, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed.
It was only after a few moments that the two of you realized you were still shaking hands and you gasped quietly, hurriedly stepping away from him. Cheeks heating, you apologized to one another before you were slowly backing away from him and towards the door.
“Ah-yes well-” You babbled, your cheeks darkening as you avoided Steve’s lingering gaze. “I’ll see you around-friend.”
Images of Steve rolling his hips into yours, and the way he’d groan kept running through your head and you couldn’t keep your eyes from running over his chest. All of the nights you’d spend together after particularly gruesome missions, the warm comforting showers turned sexy as you helped wash one another off, careful to avoid new bruises and scrapes.
Steve’s cheeks had turned a soft pink, his brows furrowed as he caught your gaze, though you didn’t miss the way his landed on your chest. He coughed quietly before straightening himself, running a calloused hand through his hair in an effort to tidy it.
“I’ll see you around Y/N,” He said, struggling to sound stern as he furrowed his brows. The two of you remained though, standing a few feet away from one another, your mouths parted slightly as images of one another ran through your heads. You could feel your muscles coiling, tightening, and just as you were about to breathe his name, Steve let loose a low growl.
“Damn taking things slow.”
Your eyes widened as he moved towards you, gasping when his hands slid around your ribs and pulled your body up and into his. Your legs swung around his waist as he did so and you gasped when he pushed you against the wall, a low groan escaping you when his mouth landed on your neck.
“St-Steve!” You exclaimed, whining when he pressed his hips into yours.
“God I missed you-” It was a growl, low and breathy and your eyes widened when they met his. He looked so-so-
“God I missed you too,” You moaned out, eyes snapping shut as his hand slid up and over your ribs, his finger tips lightly skimming the tops of your cleavage. “P-please don’t tease me,” You begged, out of breath.
“S-so no taking things slow?” Steve demanded, suppressing a groan when you rolled your hips into his, your hands tangling into his hair. He tightened his grip on you.
“No, no taking things slow,” You whispered, shivering when he sank his teeth into your shoulder.
“Bedroom?” He breathed, pulling his face away from the crook of your neck so that he could meet your gaze. His pupils were blown wide, the deep blue nearly disappeared.
“Bedroom,” You agreed, nodding vigorously.