Avengers Headcanon: Steve reads everything he can. Everything. He's never without a book. He brings them everyehere, even if he ends up never opening it. He reads every night before bed and whenever he has free time. Every kind of book. Popular, fiction, non-fiction, biographies, self help, everything. It's something he can do to understand the world, understand where it's come from, how it's grown since he was last above ice. He likes historical books that fill in the gaps, and science fiction that connect all the movies he's been watching. Fairytales that bring him back to the stories his mother told him, and true crime because that will always be a guilty pleasure. Stepping into a world he didn't understand or recognize, he could always rely on books to be the same. He felt really lost, and really out of place. One of the things that never changed, and make him feel like himself, are books.

Steve Rogers x reader | In the middle of the night I can feel you again

this turned out a lot heavier than i first intended but i’m a sucker for happy endings after painful conversations so there you go also a testament to my obsession with steve’s hair

fandom: Marvel Universe pairing: Steve Rogers x reader summary: Where you sided with Tony because you believed in the Accords, so Steve and you haven’t seen each other for years before facing Thanos together. Now, a few days after some of your closest friends turned to dust before your helpless eyes, you finally turn to the one person you can’t keep going without.   word count: 2.7k

It was into the soft light inside one of the Avengers compound’s living rooms that Steve walked, only the sound of his footsteps progressing upon the floor troubling the restful silence that had set over the building ever since Natasha had retrieved to her room, no longer able to fight back the long-deserved nap that she had been putting off. It had been like this for a long while now. Long forgotten were the bickering and teasing that used to arise in common rooms, the bursts of laughter that used to echo between the walls, the familiar and even somewhat appeasing far-off drumming of tools against iron, the festive gatherings and slightly extravagant parties held in the building. It was as if the compound itself stood frozen in time, haunted only by the colourless memories of those who had once roamed these halls and inhabited these rooms — its foundations gave in the day that Tony Stark ripped his heart off his chest and smacked it down Steve’s hand, but it had stopped being a home long before that. Rather, it was a shelter for brokenness and last pieces of hope painfully put together that Steve and Natasha discovered upon their return. Home. Steve still called it that. 

However, the Captain did not find himself alone for all that. There, unwinding in a corner of the couch, was you. In spite of the pages fluttering under your fingertips and despite your eyes being fixed upon the book you were reading, you couldn’t not have heard Steve approach, his arrival making words lose all meaning as all you were able to focus on became him. After all these years, but especially now, Steve was surprisingly the only one who made sense in the picture. It had only been a few days since your return from battling against Thanos and Carol bringing Tony and Nebula back alive, but everybody except Natasha, Steve and you had already deserted the building. Where else could you go, when everything reminded you of what you had lost?

You had barely exchanged a few complete sentences ever since your reunion, but the way Steve and you looked at each other spoke enough. Those hurting, gentle, both moved and forlorn looks reflected all too well the years spent apart, the suffering of taking opposite sides and the unhealed scars left by the crestfallen feelings both of you still harboured. You had chosen the Accords because remorse didn’t let you sleep at night, but seeing how it turned out, the weight of your wrongs never left you anymore, like a numb tumor that neither your body nor your mind could alleviate. First you had lost Steve, then your old friends. And now, there he was, standing in front of you, but almost everyone else was gone. 

You ventured to glance at Steve, the latter slowly taking a few steps forward — usually, Natasha was there to make things easier to handle. Although the Captain now resembled the way you had always known him, contrary to the ripped dark uniform and beard gnawing his cheeks that you discovered when he, Natasha, Sam and Wanda unexpectedly returned as Rhodey and you were dealing with Ross, everything that happened had taken such an irreversible toll on the two of you that you were not the same anymore. The cost of getting out of facing Thanos alive loomed over all survivors. 

“Isn’t Natasha here?” Steve broke the silence first, his voice somewhat gentle, as if he weren’t sure that he could address you just like this. 

“She’s in her room. She needed a nap. What’s the matter?” You weren’t sure either, but you tried anyway — the relief of seeing him alive, being able to talk to him when so many others had vanished without a trace, gave you courage. You owed it to everyone who couldn’t be there.  

“Nothing, it’s stupid,” Steve shook his head, his eyebrows furrowing slightly in an expression that you knew so well, it made your heart ache. He couldn’t be a stranger to you, even after all this time. Not when you could still recognise his habits, read his features, understand the tone of his voice. So you gave him a tentative look, willing to keep showing Steve that you weren’t mad at him for what had gone down between the two of you, and closed your book as a sign of your attention. Rather, it’s yourself that you couldn’t forgive. “Nothing, really, it’s...” The Captain sighed, shaking his head sheepishly. “It’s just that when we were on the run, Natasha would sometimes cut my hair, and I wanted to ask her if she wouldn’t mind doing it again.” 

The reason for his coming happened to be so unexpected, the heavy atmosphere hanging over the two of you seemed to lighten a little bit, making you realise that perhaps Steve, too, didn’t resent you, although you found it hard to believe. You had not exactly parted on good terms — actually, you had not parted on any terms at all. You hadn’t shown up to fight alongside Tony, but you had signed the Accords, leaving Steve behind in a desperate attempt to redeem yourself after witnessing innocent people lose their lives because of the Avengers. You had to do what you thought was right, even if that meant sacrificing your own happiness. But that choice turned out to be the wrong one, which Rhodey and you unfortunately came to understand after numerous litigious confrontations with Ross. 

“Maybe...” You didn’t know whether that was something you were allowed to say, but you did anyway. You wouldn’t be able to stand this situation much longer. “I could help you with that,” you suggested quietly, your eyes meeting Steve’s. “I think it’s about time we talked. If that’s okay with you.” 

A brief pause ensued, Steve taking your words in as his gaze hadn’t left your face, as if he were trying to read your features, to do his best to make the right decision to not hurt you again. “Yes, I think so too,” he nodded at last, his eyebrows arching in that familiar moved expression he sometimes watched you with. “Are you sure about this?”

“It’s you who should be asking that,” setting your book aside, a faint smile crossed your lips, momentarily dissipating the sadness that both of you had never managed to shake off. “You’re the one who may get a bad haircut. I mean, I’ll try my best, but I’m not an expert.”

“Neither was Natasha, and it didn’t turn out so bad, did it?” Steve hesitantly smiled back, following your lead. “I’ll be right back.”

Turning around, the Captain exited the room, making it clear that he would be right back, while you waited, clutching your own fingers in nervousness as a trembling sigh flew off your chest. You were about to talk to him anew, touch him — after years of trying to wrench Steve away from your wilted heart, after all your desperate attempts to erase the memory of him, to quell the regrets of never saying goodbye... There he was again. But what if — what if this time, he was to stay? What if there could be a second chance, a desperate shout into the darkness to grasp at least scraps of something resembling comfort after everything that you just went through? With the sorrow of losing your friends came the realisation, stronger than ever, of how precious were the people who had been lucky enough to be spared. You couldn’t lose Steve once more.

A few minutes later, Steve returned, carrying a towel and a box that you guessed contained hairstyling tools; thanks to Tony, the Avengers compound was supplied with a lot of practical equipment, most of which was probably even yet to be discovered. Taking a discreet breath in to soothe your racing heart, you watched Steve deposit the items upon the table in front of the sofa before dragging it aside, replacing it with a chair. Standing still behind it, he gave you an inquisitive look, as though asking you if you were still sure about this, to which you replied by coming closer. 

Steve took a sit upon the chair, his taut spine pressed against the backrest, as you spread the white piece of cloth he had brought over his shoulders, covering the upper part of his t-shirt. You could briefly feel the solidness of his body under your palm, confirming that he really was here, in the flesh, that the man you thought you may never approach again had not pushed you away. It was as though you were getting to know him all over again, uncovering all the details about him that you had repressed to allay your pain. 

“Alright, shall I?” you asked softly, reaching for a pair of silver scissors. 

“Yes.” Steve closed his eyes, slightly tilting his head down so you could have a better access to the back of his head. “Thank you, Y/n.” 

Just like his beard had before he shaved it off, Steve’s hair had grown longer since you had last seen him, his blond and chestnut brown strands slicked back and reminding you that you had both changed since then, even physically as well as mentally. 

“How short do you want it?” you asked softly, catching a strand between your fingers without pulling at it too hard — it was still wet from the shower he must’ve taken a few minutes ago. 

“Like it used to be.” 

“Okay, I’ll do my best.” You carefully brought the blades of the scissors together before your fingers, cutting off the end of the strand sticking out, then repeated the manoeuvre several times, the silence of the room only shattered by the peaceful sound of snips. 

As you kept going, you felt Steve progressively relax into your hands, his muscles loosening as he let his usual guard down while you were trying to come up with the right words to say. Now that you had found a moment together, you needed to speak.

“Steve,” you began, your breath almost catching in your throat as you said his name out loud in front of him for the first time. “I’m sorry I didn’t say anything until now.” The fact that you couldn’t directly take a glance at his face was making it easier for you to let your heart out, so you persevered. “I didn’t know if it was the right time, or even if I could. You... You were right about the Accords.” There, you said it. Oh how many days you had been dying to do so. “We did everything we could, but what for...” your voice trailed off bitterly, the memories of exhausting argumentation and trying to come up with solutions flooding back in your conscience — Rhodey, Tony and you had tried so hard. “I’m sorry,” your heartfelt apology resonated inside the room, so close to Steve. “I never said goodbye. I barely knew what I was doing, all I could think about was those innocent civilians dying... Dying by my hand. I’m sorry.” 

“Did you get the letters?” was the Captain’s reply, his unreadable tone cutting right through you.

“No,” you told him the truth, not daring touch him again before his reaction to your apology became clear enough. “If I did, I wouldn’t have found the strength to keep going,” you struggled to prevent your voice from shaking, looking up to the ceiling while your eyes were welling up with tears. "I kept them in a drawer. I was convinced that what I was doing what was right, and I couldn’t let it all crumble down, because I knew that if I read those letters...” You took a silent breath in, tears spilling down your cheeks behind your shut eyelids. “If I had read them, I would’ve been confronted to the fact that I had let go of the one person who meant the world to me. And yet, there was another world out there that I needed to help. I wanted to make amends for our mistakes. I’m sorry, Steve.”

You felt him shift in front of you, convinced that he was about to get up and walk out the living room door, leaving you in the grip of suffocating regrets since he now fully knew the plain truth, but instead, a warm hand set upon yours, the latter having been resting upon the backrest of the chair. 

When you opened your eyes, it was Steve’s gaze that you met first, shining with emotion as he looked at you intensely. You noticed the small slit on his forehead, between his eyebrows, the sparks of green in the greyish blue of his iris, the way his face reflected his state of mind. Trying to hold yourself together, it took all your willpower to not break down into a sob, blinking to chase away the new tears flooding your sight. 

“I understand,” Steve said, his tone low and empathetic even though his own voice betrayed the torn feelings that he couldn’t conceal anymore. He retrieved his hand, now having caught your eye. “Y/n, I left,” he shook his head sadly, eyebrows furrowing. “I tried to find a way to talk to you, but it was your right not to forgive me.”

“I didn’t make things easy. I never turned up when we actually had the opportunity to see each other. I was so obsessed with redemption, I shut myself away from everything else. I just didn’t think I deserved happiness, you know,” you simply confessed, looking down; you were not in need of pity — this was the bare truth. “I figured I had to sacrifice something to pay for my mistakes. I had to do something, I had to...” You echoed in a murmur, still able to visualize the waltzing shadows from that time to this day, closing in on you on particularly trying nights. 

“And you did.” 

You lifted your head back up, hit by Steve’s short but nonetheless impactful assertion.

“You did,” he repeated, the gravity of his face imprisoning you in his gaze. “Everything you and Rhodey did here was important, Y/n. You were there when people needed you, you did what was right.”

“But I wasn’t there for you,” you retorted softly, not backing away this time. “I should have.”  

“Hey, it doesn’t matter,” Steve shook his head, his expression softening. “I wasn’t there either... We made different choices, but we’re here now,” he added, not breaking eye-contact. “When we walked in and I saw you with Rhodey and Bruce, I couldn’t even explain the joy I felt from seeing you. But if you don’t want to have this... Whatever we had anymore, that’s okay. I will walk out of this room and never bother you again. But before it’s too late again, before anything happens, I want to tell you the truth. I’ve missed you so much, Y/n.”

“Steve...” None of what you had gone through since Thanos, no, since 2016, made any sense — nothing but this. Nothing but being together in this moment, which gave both of you the deep, inexplicable certainty that you could always rely on each other, no matter the history and no matter all the things left unsaid. Together, you would get through this. And maybe, somewhere beyond all this crushing darkness, indeed shone a beacon of light. “If you walk out this door, I’ll be walking by your side.” You gave the Captain a smile of profound gratitude, still feeble from all the wreckage you had gone through for the past minutes, but the tears of relief forming at the corner of your eyes replaced the harrowing regrets that had at last flown off your chest through the apology. “And I’m not done yet,” you alluded to the scissors you had kept on clutching, having almost forgotten about them. 

“Oh, right,” Steve chuckled, breathing out as the tension from your difficult conversation progressively loosened its grip on him. He run a hand through his hair, trying to assess the way your endeavour had been going so far. “Thank you. At least it got us to talk...” 

“Yes. I think we had to, at some point,” you nodded, a newfound sense of appeasement now making it a lot easier to process everything that just happened. It seemed like, after all these years, rancour and suffering could finally be abandoned to the past — you wouldn’t yield to their ugly screeches anymore. Not when Steve was right in front of you, looking at you like this, and making you believe in something that you had imagined would be denied to you forevermore. “Thank you, Steve. I’ve missed you so much too.”