Summary: After waking up in the present day, Steve Rogers has to come to terms with the loved ones he has lost and left behind. Meanwhile, HYDRA locates a new target for the Winter Soldier and unfreezes an old asset, STEEL.
Pairing: Steve Rogers x Reader x Bucky Barnes. Polyamorous.
Warnings: Angst ? Bisexual polyamourous relationship. Idk man, but if you don't wanna cry lots of tears then maybe don't read this.
Word Count: 2370.
Concept: Steve wakes up in present-day USA at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, alone and confused after having crashed into the Arctic Ocean in the 1940s. Having already lost Bucky on the train, he now has to deal with having also lost the Reader to time. Meanwhile, after the Battle of New York, HYDRA defrosts the asset known as STEEL, an inhuman with the ability of mental/astral projection. HYDRA also continues the use of the Winter Soldier, an assassin who is a master of stealth. When the Winter Soldier comes to take out Nick Fury, HYDRA begins to reveal itself from underneath SHIELD's defenses, and Steve has to come to terms with his past coming back to haunt him in new ways and decide what's more important to him: being Captain America or saving the people he loves.
Quick Author's Note: This is my first reader insert series, so bear with me as this is not my usual writing style—although, I hope it doesn't read that way. I'm currently uploading it on my Tumblr (ashtynwrites) as well, so if you want to check it out over there, feel free to! There'll be aesthetic edits and extra content on there to go along with the story. Also, some might notice the Reader will bear some characteristics similar (as well as the same abilities) as one of my MCU OCs, and that's simply because I'm very familiar with said character and have fleshed out her powers to the extent that she's easily insertable into this storyline—On a different note, I'm swamped with school work this semester, so updates will be slow, but I'll try to get out at least one chapter a week. I've got the first 13 of these planned out already, however.
Cold. It's the first thing that pushes its way to the front of Steve's mind, fighting through the haze and white noise that seem to wrap around him in foggy blanket. Cold. The thought repeats itself, and he lets it, allows the thought to circle around and around and around his head until it sinks deep into his bones, until he has finally registered the thought and understood why it kept popping up. Cold. He should be cold.
But he's not.
As the realization takes ahold of the man, some of the fog around him seems to dissipate, and the white noise morphs into indistinct chatter, becoming clearer as the seconds passed by, but it manages to hold its static sound, muffling what Steve was beginning to realize was a man's voice.
"—a curve ball, high and outside, for ball one," breaks through the haze as Steve blinks softly, letting his eyes slowly adjust to the warm light of the room. He's lying on a bed, the mattress beneath him softer than the ones he's accustomed to. There's a white ceiling above him, connected to which are three rectangular blades of a fan, spinning at a monotonous speed. He watches it for a second before his ears pick up the man's voice again. The radio. "—this fellow's capable of making it a brand-new game again. Just absolutely gorgeous day here at Ebbets Field."
He squints, blue eyes narrowing, and he glances further around the room. The upper half of the walls are painted a starchy white; while the lower half mimics a lighter shade of army green. Next to the bed, a small white wooden nightstand stood with a dim lamp and a pitcher of water resting on its surface.
"But the Dodgers have three men on," the sports caster continues over the radio as Steve slowly begins to sit up, pressing his hands into the soft mattress, noticing how they sank into the sheets. First one leg, then two over the side of the bed. Inhaling deeply, he blinks again, trying to clear his mind of the last of the fog. "—return the favor? Pete leans in. Here's the pitch. Swung on. A line to the right, and it gets past Rizzo—"
Cars honking outside interrupt the sports caster, and Steve's quick to turn his head to the window behind him. He's in the city then…How'd he get into the city? And which city is he in? An American city, it is to be assumed, based on the Dodgers baseball game playing over the radio, but Steve Rogers isn't one to assume anything.
Especially not when his last memory was crashing a plane into the Arctic Ocean.
"Come in, this is Captain Rogers. Do you read me?" Steve called through the radio, hoping, praying someone would pick up.
"Captain Rogers," Morita's voice rang loud and clear through the speakers of the Valkyrie. "what is your—" But it was a moment later that the private was interrupted by a familiar female voice.
"Steve, is that you? Are you alright?" you asked, worry lacing every word that came out of your mouth. He could picture it: your face scrunched up in concern, pearly white teeth digging into the corner of your bottom lip. You had probably even shoved Morita out of the way to get closer to the radio. You were always worried about something. Not that he could fault you on the matter. He sure gave you plenty to worry about, and now wasn't going to be any better.
Instinctively, he called out your name before announcing the lighter news as he continued to fiddle with the buttons. None of them seemed to be doing anything of significance, and his resolution sank further into his gut. "Schmidt's dead."
"What about the plane?"
A pause. He flicked a controller back and forth. Nothing. "—That's a little bit tougher to explain."
There was another pause, this time on your end, which he deduced was you glancing back for advice from Morita, Peggy, and Colonel Phillips, the latter two he could only assume, given they had been the last people he had seen you with before he had jumped aboard the Valkyrie. "Give us your coordinates, we'll find you a safe landing site."
He glanced down at the plane's dashboard, watching as the still very armed bombs blinked on the screen. He sighed, tone turning apologetic. "There's not going to be a safe landing, doll. But I can try and force it down."
You were resolute, it seemed, however. "I'll—I'll get Howard on the line. He'll know what to do."
"There's not enough time. This thing's moving too fast, and it's heading for New York." He shook his head. No matter how much he wished those words weren't true, he knew that this was the reality. He didn't have time to wait for Stark or anyone to come stop the plane from crashing. He had to do it himself. It felt like forever before he spoke again, but his words were determined. "I gotta put her in the water."
"Please, don't do this." Steve could hear the panic in your voice, could almost feel it in his bones. "You don't get to leave me. Not after—" A shaky sigh came through the speakers, and he knew it was you holding back a sob. "We—we have time. We can work it out."
"Right now, I'm in the middle of nowhere. If I wait any longer a lot of people are gonna die." He stared at the bright sky in front of him, mulling over his next words, possibly his last words to you. "Doll, this is my choice."
Silence. The comms filled with the softest static as Steve closed his eyes. One hand dug through his pocket before pulling out a locket. It had been a gift to him from your mother, given to the soldier the day of Sarah Roger's funeral: a gift to remind him of the people who loved him that were still with him. Your mothers had been close friends, living next to each other almost all of their lives. That was how you and Steve had met, through them.
He opened the heart, a soft but sad smile crossing his features as a picture of you appeared on the left. His thumb traced over your face before his blue eyes glanced at the picture of the man on the right, and he exhaled softly.
Til the end of the line.
Closing the locket, he pulled it over his neck. He gripped the handles of the Valkyrie and pushed them as far forward as they could go, and the plane began plunging downwards towards the ocean. He could feel the plane shake underneath him as it protested, but it continued down. A moment later, he called out your name, quiet but inquisitive, seeking comfort in your voice.
"I'm here," you responded immediately. "I'm always gonna be here."
"I'm gonna need a rain check on that dance."
Another shaky sigh, this one quieter than before. Acceptance had began to sink in, and he could picture you wiping away the tears forming in your eyes. He wished he was there to wipe away the tears for you, or better, him with you so there was no reason for your tears to begin with. "Alright…a week, next Saturday, at the Stork Club."
"You got it," he promised. You both knew he wouldn't be able to keep it, but he hoped the words gave you some reassurance, a happy dream to fill the silence that was soon to come.
"Eight o'clock on the dot. Don't you dare be late. Understood?"
"You know, I still don't know how to dance. You and—We never got around to teaching me." The plane rattled, shaking harder and louder as it edged closer and closer to the Arctic bank.
You let out a sad laugh, finally allowing a sob to break through. "I'll show you how. Just be there."
"We'll have the band play somethin' slow," he replied, watching as ice came into full view. Any moment now. "I'd hate to step on your—" The line went to static, and everything went black.
"Three runs will score." Steve turned his attention back to the radio, a frown solidifying on his face. "Reiser heads to third. Durocher's going to wave him in. Here comes the relay, but they won't get him—" The clicking of a door handle can be heard, and the soldier's head turns sharply to the entrance, where a young woman roughly his age walks in, wearing what appears to be a typical professional outfit for a woman in the 40s.
"Good morning." She glances at her watch. "Or should I say, afternoon?"
He continues to frown, blue eyes scrunching in thought as he eyes her up, the smallest of details clicking into place but falling out of others. The skirt's the right length, and the knot keeping the tie together is proper, but her hair's not pinned up for the work environment, and the tie's much too wide—reminds him of his own ties, his father's ties that his mother had given him. Not to mention the shape of the woman's bra. Even if the world thought him to be inexperienced, he remembers what the shape of a woman's bra, your bra looked like through a plain white work-shirt.
"Where am I?" he asks, fighting the accusatory tone clinging to his words.
The woman tilts her head. "You're in a recovery room in New York City."
Her words make him want to relax. That's the answer he wants, but he knows in his gut it's not true. He wants it to be, though, wants so badly for him to be home and for you to be somewhere behind the door just waiting for him to wake up.
The sports announcer continues over the radio: "The Dodgers take the lead, 8-4. Oh, Dodgers! Everyone is on their feet. What a game we have here today, folks. What a game indeed."
His eyes narrow even further. If the inconsistencies in the woman's clothing aren't evidence enough, the game alone surely is. "Where am I really?"
She lets out a nervous laugh. "I'm afraid I don't understand."
"The game," he explains as the radio remains on in the background, "it's from May, 1941. I know, 'cause I was there." He watches as her smile fades and a look of panic takes home in her eyes. He stands up, striding forward with determination. Liars. He always hated liars.
"Now I'm going to ask you again: where am I?"
"Captain Rogers—" she responds in a futile attempt to subdue him with her words.
"Who are you?" His voice rises, but before the woman can answer, two men, both dressed in an all-black uniform, walk through the door. Instinctively, the soldier steps back and takes a split-second to glance between the two and go through his options. Only one sticks out.
The two men fly through the wall, and Steve hurdles his way through the new opening, pausing briefly once out of the room to orient himself. He's in a warehouse of sorts, he concludes, but as the woman shouts his name, yelling for him to wait, he begins to run, barreling out the door and into a wide and populated hallway. Men and women alike, all dressed in business suits turn to stare at him as the woman's voice from before plays over a PA-system. A couple of the business men—agents?—attempt to stop him, but Steve just pushes through, knocking each one that gets in his way to the ground.
Finally, he finds his way outside, running headfirst into the street. He doesn't stop running though. Feet pounding against the asphalt, he runs alongside traffic, weaving between cars until he once again find himself surround by people, civilians this time. He stops in the middle, but none of them pay him any attention as he spins around in confusion…in a bit of awe. His breathing's heavy, but the sound of the cars and people around him are louder. The electronic billboards flash picture after picture, moving like a movie, all in living, breathing color.
Is this…could this really be Times Square?
"At ease, Soldier," a deep man's voice rings out over the noise, and Steve turns to find himself being surround by black SUVs. A man with an eyepatch walks towards him as the other agents try to disperse and hold back the crowd of now curious civilians. Stopping in front of Steve, he shrugs. "Look, I'm sorry about that little show back there, but…we thought it best to break it to you slowly."
"Break what?" He breathes heavily, dreading the man's response.
"You've been asleep, Cap." A short pause, and somewhere, deep down inside him, he knows it's been for too long. He doesn't know how, but he knows. "For almost seventy years."
He looks around, letting the words sink in, trying not to drown in the shock, in the sadness. Seventy years. He's been asleep for seventy years.
"You gonna be okay?" the man asks, and somehow, Steve manages a nod, fingers moving to grasp the locket around his neck.
"Yeah…Yeah, I just…I had a date."
You shiver as you pull your jacket closer to you, staring out through the window at the icy ocean outside. One of the engineers calls out, and you feel more than see Howard turn next to you to look back at the man. He walks away, but you stay put, eyes focused on the frozen wasteland. Somewhere, somewhere out there is Steve.
"Take us to the next grid point," Howard orders, and you finally turn around and join them at the screen. You watch as the submarine on the screen grabs at the glowing cube. The Tesseract.
The engineer protests. "But there's not a trace of wreckage, and the energy signature stops here."
Howard glances back at you, and you manage to nod in response. "Just keep looking," he speaks again before pulling you back to the window. He lowers his voice, allowing for at least the semblance of privacy on the small ship. "We'll make sure he shows up for that date, sweetheart."