If Raegan was blessed with anything, it was the ability to decipher when it was an appropriate time to bring things up and when it wasn’t. For instance, as she stood in the middle of the Byers dining room surveying the endless rows of drawings covering every square inch of the house while watching Jonathan talk to his incapacitated little brother she knew it was probably not an appropriate time to ask what it all meant. She’d figure it out, just like she had been for the last couple of days, in due time.
It didn’t make her any less curious though, as she meandered around the house looking at each individual picture and how it seamlessly matched to the ones connecting to it. It was like a map, a weird tunnel-vision map that seemed almost familiar. It wasn’t until she began to count the hurdles of blue paper – seemingly meaning water – that realization dawned on her.
“Steve, I think—” She closed her mouth instantly upon seeing Nancy place a comforting hand on Jonathan’s shoulder. Steve, naturally, caught the same swift action that she had and for one fleeting moment, as he bowed his head sheepishly to the ground and sniffed back a few stray tears, she saw King Steve fall from grace.
Steve and Sam make their couples' debut at a Wilson family cookout.
Steve looked up nervously for the fourth time in 10 minutes. He could have sworn he’d smelled something burning…? But no, the smoke alarm wasn’t going off, and the kitchen smelled of baking bread.
Couldn’t blame him for being nervous, really; he could recite Darlene Wilson’s text invitation by heart by now, what with the number of times he’d read and re-read it.
Steve, I know my son doesn’t check his texts. You two are coming to family dinner this Saturday, no excuses! Sam will tell you the rules.
“Ahh hell,” Sam had muttered. “Okay, there’s really only one rule: you gotta cook a dish to bring with you.”
Steve had brightened. “I can do that!”
So here he was now, fretting over dinner rolls while Sam took a long shower upstairs. Steve had been excited about the challenge of baking bread from scratch… at least until the first batch had come out burnt to a crisp, and the second batch had come out like soggy hockey pucks. Sam’s perfectly-cooked pork chops sat in a foil-wrapped container, ready to go. Mocking Steve. Taunting him. He was gonna get these rolls right if it took him all day.
“Steve, we gotta leave in 30!”
Okay, he was gonna get these rolls right if it took him the next 30 minutes.
The timer went off just as Sam entered the kitchen, and both he and Steve waited with bated breath while Steve took the rolls out of the oven. They were perfect.
“Third time’s really the charm,” Steve grinned, more than a little proud. Sam hummed his agreement before looking amused by something.
“Did you know your hair’s full of flour?”
Darlene took a bite of the warm dinner roll while her 3 year old grandson tried his best to wriggle out of her lap. Sam was talking animatedly with his big brother about the latest ‘damn fool’ thing their cousin had done, but Steve was watching Darlene. It wasn’t that he needed her approval, was the thing. It just would be nice.
“Well, Captain Rogers–”
“Please, ma’am, Steve.”
“All right, Steve. These rolls are… hm…” she paused thoughtfully, and Steve’s stomach dropped. He’d wanted to show that he could take care of Sam despite their dangerous lifestyle, and yeah, rolls weren’t the biggest gesture, but– “These here rolls are damn good,” she finished, grinning with a smile so like Sam’s. Sam’s head whipped around.
“Ma! You never swear, what the hell!”
“Samuel, watch your mouth.”
Steve slipped his hand into Sam’s as his partner sputtered, feeling strangely accomplished. When Darlene asked for the recipe, Steve kept the table in teary-eyed laughter as he dramatically re-told the failed efforts of the dinner rolls. Sam snuck the last roll home on his to-go plate, and they shared bites (it was damn good) between buttery kisses later that night. When he finally felt sleep tugging at him, the man he loved already snuffling with his face mashed into his pillow, Steve felt like he was going to burst from happiness.
At least until they saw the state they’d left the kitchen the day before.
I Didn’t Understand That Reference (Rogers/Wilson x reader)
Request: This is based on a true
story of how I tainted my most innocent of friends. But Steve’s reactions to
urban dictionary requests like you are hanging with a friend and for fun you
were skimming it so he asks about it and he is mortified
“I swear, that’s the last time that I fly commercial,” you
hissed, storming through the door and throwing your suitcase into the center of
the Avenger’s Compound living room, leaving your belongings to break free and litter
the area, “what good is it to know Tony goddamn Stark if you can’t borrow a jet
once in a while?”
according to the prompt/idea by bluandorange. Excuse the shitty ‘lyrics’ that I made up on the spot as opposed to just searching for some real ones.
“Yes! C’mon Steve, you haven’t gone
out in like, six months.”
Steve frowns at his friend, “That
is a gross exaggeration.” (It’s not, actually. But Steve is stubborn and can’t
help but stick his feet in the sand and resist).
Bucky just raises an unimpressed
brow, “Is it really? Stevie, name the last time you went out for the night.”
It takes him longer than it
probably should to think of something, “Just the other week! We went and saw that
movie you wanted to see- y’know, the one about Amy Winehouse.”
“That was a month and a half ago.”
He blinks, “Oh.”
How time flies.
“Yeah, Oh. So c’mon- the concert’s
in two hours, and I know for a fact
that you don’t have anything due until the week after next! You can spare a
lousy Wednesday night.”
Steve stares down at his too-thin
arms; the way his fingers clench. Bone and skin stretched thin. He should
probably eat something, he thinks absently as the familiar sensation of anger
and despair churns in his gut.
‘C’mon Stevie. You gotta get off
this campus every once in a while. An art degree doesn’t merit you turning
yourself into a hermit.”
Steve gets off the couch without answering.
Grabs a bowl and a pack of instant noodles to make for himself. Bucky shakes
his head when he offers; he’s almost as stubborn as Steve (but considerably
better fed), and he’s determined to get his way.
Bucky’s right of course. He has
no real reason not to go out tonight. Classes are only in the late afternoon
tomorrow, and Steve would have just stayed up til midnight watching Netflix elsewise.
He’s just… not had the energy to go further than the college grounds in the
last few months, save for the occasional trips to the convenience store down
the road for essentials. Winters are always bad for Steve, but this one feels
especially awful. Whatever doesn’t hurt feels like it’s about to, and what art
he does produce is definitely feeling the pinch of it. Bucky tries to help-
tries to get him out and about- but Steve’s bailed on him so many times he can
hardly count them all (or find the energy to do so in the first place). Honestly
it’s a surprise Bucky’s even bothered to stick around.
“You’ll love it,” Bucky promises
as Steve pours boiling water over his meal, “This guy’s voice, man… it’s better
Steve snorts, “Not had the best
of sex lives, have you Buck?”
He easily dodges the book thrown
his way and laughs as it hits the mini-fridge with a dull thunk.
“Laugh it up, punk. When’s the
last time you even got laid?”
Steve grimaces. A long, long time is the answer to that, and he
can’t for the life of him think of a remark glib enough to deflect from that
Bucky huffs- he already knows the
answer too- and flops onto his back on Steve’s bed, “You’ll enjoy it Steve. It’s
a Wednesday- not even like there’s gonna be that many people around. You don’t even
have to mingle in the crowd! You know what Shield’s like; there’s plenty of
tables and booths to hide yourself in, if you really want.”
Steve scowls at him, “I am not that bad.”
“Mm, but you’re close.” He turns onto
his side. He’s got his Serious Face on, “You know you can talk to me, right? Whatever’s
been eating at you, you don’t gotta keep it under wraps all the time. I’m here
for you… I love you, man.”
Steve drains the water on his
noodles. He says nothing about the letters he writes- to himself, to Bucky, to
his mother or the world at large. Says nothing about the countless artworks
hidden under his bed, angrier and darker and uglier than anything his friends are used to.
“I know,” he says instead. He
stirs the shitty seasonings into his noodles. Bucky sighs heavily.
“Please come,” he says finally, “it’ll
just be a nice, sedate night with Nat and Barton. You can just chill and listen
to the music.”
Steve makes a show of thinking
about it, but he already knows he’s going to say yes. Shitty winter or not,
Bucky deserves a better friend that Steve’s been for a while now, and he wasn’t
going to get anything done by just moping around in his dorm room.
“Fine,” he murmurs eventually,
sitting down beside the mini-fridge, “but you’re buying the first drinks.”
Bucky’s smile is bright enough
that it’s worth leaving the campus just for that.
Natasha, when she meets them
outside the jazz bar, is as stunning as ever. She smiles at them warmly and
pulls Steve into a hug with more fondness in her strong, sure touch than he
“It’s good to see you,” she
murmurs in his ear, “I’m glad Bucky convinced you to come out tonight.” She
pulls away to address the both of them, “Clint’s already inside. He saved us a
Bucky grins. “Aces.”
Natasha offers Steve the crook of
her arm, an artful brow raised in challenge. Steve rolls his eyes, but takes it
anyway (never let it be said that Natasha never got her way). They follow
behind Bucky, who’s all but vibrating with energy. Wilson must be good- it’s
been a while since Steve’s seen him this excited for anyone.
The interior of the bar is
exactly like Steve remembers- dimly lit, with dark furnishings and red leather
stools, the exposed brick walls minimally decorated with black and white
photographs and the odd framed poster. A permanent haze sits over the place, as
though shrouded in cigarette smoke- though Steve knows smoking has been banned
here for years. It’s more crowded than Steve was promised. Most tables and high
seated stools are filled. This Wilson guy must be really good.
Natasha drags him over to one of the
table’s right up the front that Clint has by some miracle obtained. Bucky
disappears with mentions of getting them some drinks, and Clint bumps him after
he gets settled on one of the spare stools, “Good to see you man! How’s
Steve gives him a smile that he
hopes is more genuine that it feels, “College is good. Last semester’s been pretty
hectic- who knew a gallery opening would be so much work, right?”
Steve’s the last one at college
now. He’d taken a semester off to work and take care of his mom just over a
year ago. Then he’d gotten sick not long after she’d passed and that was another
semester down the drain. Now he’s stuck in classes with people he doesn’t know,
feeling old and out of place despite it not being the case at all.
Clint hums and gives him a
crooked smile, “When’s the opening?”
“Next month,” Steve catches sight
of Bucky, leaning against the bar and chatting with the bartender as though he
owned the place, “I can get a hold of some tickets for the open night if you’d
“Yes please,” Natasha purrs.
Bucky returns, three beers and a coke gathered carefully between his hands.
Some kind of stow-toned guitar music plays through the speakers- dark and
sedate. It drags and reverberates through the air like some kind of sinister
prowling predator, and Steve lets himself focus on the music and the steady
chatter between his friends while he waits for the actual music to start.
A man hops up onto the stage at some
point- several others trail in as he fiddles with the microphone over the
piano. Bucky elbows him in the side and motions at the guy with his head, “That’s
him!” and bless him, but he sounds so excited. Bucky adores Jazz.
Natasha smirks, “I know him, by
Bucky’s grin grows wider, “Yeah?”
“We work at the shelter together
on Sundays. He’s a counsellor at the youth center.”
Steve nods absently as Natasha
espouses his various qualities to Bucky. His eyes are drawn to Wilson working
through his sound check; under the yellow lights is skin is like honey and
chocolate. Steve likes the upturned corners of his mouth, like he’s constantly battling
with a smile. His voice over the mics is
warm and lively and there’s a confidence and energy to his movements that Steve
can’t help but admire; he wants to paint him in the scene, relaxed and at ease
under the lights of the stage.
The club grows quieter and
quieter, people waiting with anticipation for the band to start. The conversation
between Bucky and Natasha peters off when the man finally settles at the grand
piano. His cufflinks glint as his shakes himself out.
“Evening everyone,” he says, the
hints of a smile at his lips turning into a friendly smirk easily enough, “hope
Wednesday’s been treating you well enough. We’re Redwing Etcetera- it’s nice to
be here again.” The other men in his group wave, and settle down with their own
instruments, “We’re gonna start with a lively one to get the ball rolling, and
then we’ll see where that takes us.”
Polite clapping fills the club
and the music starts- a bright jazzy number that Steve vaguely recognises from
And then Wilson opens his mouth
Yeah okay. Steve can see why
Bucky likes him so much.
Rich and mellow, his voice
rumbles through Steve’s empty chest, striking at something in his bones and he
forgets about his woes, forgets about the anger and the depression and his stupid, useless body. His range is
glorious and Steve never wants the song to end.
But like all good things, it does,
and just as quickly as it came Steve loses that little piece of something to the applause. Bucky
whistles loudly and Wilson grins over at them and winks.
Steve’s heart almost exits
straight through his ribcage.
When the applause dies down
again, the singer bends back into the microphone, “Glad you all like that-
woulda been real awkward had you not.”
On the other side of their Table,
Natasha rolls her eyes and shakes her head.
“This next one’s one of my own
creations,” his voice turns somber, “I wrote this for a close friend of mine in
a time of great need.”
The music starts; some slow piece
with trumpet and piano and the faintest whiff of a snare drum and bass guitar.
And Steve waits. Waits with bated breath even as the music pulls the emotions
from him- all the feelings he’s been bottling away in himself, in his art and
the letters he writes to his mother- out of reach now. When the words finally
come, it’s almost like a surprise, and they catch him off guard.
“You turned your back from us. My wingman, my friend I watched your
colours fade to grey.
“But I know you tried. You hid so well…”
But this song is breaking him. The dragged out vocals, the
sincerity and the sorrow, tinted with a subtle anger- why did you not say- Steve’s
sure he’s crying, but when he touches his cheeks they’re dry. He swallows back
his emotions and wishes this would just. End. His face feels hot and tight-
feverish. It’s as though this song was written about Steve. As though this Sam
Wilson had read the letters he’d written and burnt- brother you smile, my skin don’t feel like mine- seen the art he’d
hidden from Bucky and now he’s brought it out- strung it out for all these
people in the club to laugh and stare at.
He brings his glass of coke to
his mouth and silently wishes for it to just. Stop.
“You turned the lock on more than just that door.”