It's short as hell, but I finally had the mental spoons to sit down and write some of this out- AND ya'll get your answers about Teddy. AND we're working towards some REALLY cute moments ya'll I'm excited as hell. Thank you for your patience, hope you enjoy. LINEBREAK
Maybe Holly should have expected the upheaval of finding a lost packmate, and the mental state of Steve to be a trigger to Buck. Not that Steve meant to be, or that she was blaming him or Buck or anything like that, but-
The last real memory Buck had of Steve was falling off the train.
Buck being alive both helped, and triggered Steve too.
And Holly struggled a little to help ground them both. Not that she couldn't, but it was...a lot. Steeljaw was a blessing, with his certified mind healers, and healing rooms. He was a bit of a lifeline, as Holly struggled to find a balance for the two men in her life, trying to help them both.
She'd sat down with the goblin healer more than once, trying to figure out what might help them from her, besides acting as a grounding guide for them both. Something she could do, to help them along. The Healer had put his foot down more than once for her mental wellbeing in the process.
And Holly would never admit it, but she did her best work with someone there to ground her, to pull her back when she was giving too much of herself. She'd always invested too much of her being into others.
Her "Saving People" thing, as Hermione would say.
The no-nonsense attitude of her goblin healer kept Holly on the straight and narrow in the upheaval.
She rather thought it may be a good time to take the two alphas to the Weasleys. To Teddy.
She'd been writing letters to the twins- who were watching her godson for her at the moment, Teddy's constant movements setting him with the Weasleys at the moment, and communicating via the repaired mirror Sirius had given her with Teddy during the whole mess, wherever he was at the time. At first it had been in private, while she hunted Death Eaters, and helped Buck. It wasn't that she thought Buck would hurt Teddy, but in the beginning she hadn't quite trusted him. And then later, he was in such a middleground healing...she hadn't wanted to have them interacting until Buck had a good mental hold on himself, and any triggers were handled.
Buck would never forgive himself if he did something to harm Teddy, even against his will, and Holly wouldn't want to fight him if something happened either. And she would both to protect Teddy, and because she knew it would destroy him to harm her family.
Once Buck had a good handle on his mental state, she'd actually introduced him via the mirror. She'd already spoken of him in letters, had since the start of helping him, but the first time she'd introduced him through the mirror to her family, she'd thought he was going to vibrate out of his seat.
It was actually kind of adorable.
Teddy was looking forward to meeting him in person, and they'd been planning to visit after his trip to New York- if he was ready to face the upheaval of his old home, she thought it would be good to bring him into the warmth and comfort of her family afterwards, give him the bright spot that would be meeting Teddy after the strain.
She wasn't quite sure about Steve being in her home, with her family, but...while he'd been frozen for a while, he didn't need to be deprogrammed either. He just had some trauma to work though- and Teddy knew how to handle that.
Not from his own, but from being raised by a group of war survivors. She also knew her entire family could handle themselves, even against Super Soldiers. She was in a good place to finally introduce them, and she wanted to do so.
She also wanted to see Teddy in person again. She missed the little one, and what better time to introduce them to Teddy then when she would have multiple hands to keep an eye on Steve?
Holly woke up, finding herself curled into Buck's side, with her leg completely dead thanks to Steve's head on her thigh. He had his face turned into her stomach, an arm around her waist, and his legs tossed over the arm of the couch they'd all fallen asleep on watching tv..
Buck had his arm tossed over her shoulder on her opposite side, the other on the arm of the couch, his head dropped back onto the cushions in a way she knew was going to be sore for a bit, super soldier or no. His mouth was open and his breathing steady, soft. Holly couldn't help but smile a little, her face going soft and amused, as she watched him in his sleep, affection swelling in her breast.
He was adorable.
Steve's subtle joy had her eyes dropping, and she noticed that he'd turned, his face looking up at her now, eyes lidded with sleep, but alert enough. She prodded him lightly with her curiosity, and his lips twitched further into a smile.
"I'm just happy to see him so relaxed with you. Happy to see him finding his feet."
Holly smiled a bit at that, absently running her hand through Steve's hair, lightly digging her nails into his scalp the way she'd noticed the night before that he liked. He leaned into it, and she continued the motion "You're finding your feet too, Steve. It makes him happy."
His eyes dropped from hers, a swell of embarrassment rising through her surface bond with the other Guide, as well as invading his scent. "It's taking a while though" Unspoken, but not unheard, was the "too long" Steve thought should be there.
Holly dug her fingers through his hair, a subtle purr escaping as she shared, softly "Steve. Things like this take time. It took Buck and I months of work to make any kind of progress. Don't rush this. Your mental wellbeing is important, and it's worth the work put into it. Buck and I will help you."
She felt his embarrassment rise a bit, alongside joy and amusement, the scents twining together in her nose, as he teased softly "Did you say that to Buck too?"
Holly laughed softly, ruefully answering "More than once."
She'd been debating when to bring Steve and Buck to The Burrow since the thought had crossed her mind, but she'd put it off. It had been about two weeks since the thought crossed her mind, and a few months since she'd been working with the goblins and Buck to look after Steve.
They'd been bonding, even while dealing with the emotional upheaval, and Holly enjoyed Steve's company. She rather thought she wouldn't mind being proper pack with him, one day. Not yet but- one day.
Before that though, she didn't mind being friends. Didn't mind getting to know someone so important to Buck. She made a note to talk to Buck about seeing her family, and possibly bringing Steve.
She was rather tempted to have Steve stay for an in depth session with Steeljaw and his healers for an extended session while she introduced Buck. She'd been planning this for months now, without spoiling the surprise, and while she would rather Teddy be with the Weasleys when she introduced someone new to him, she would also rather Buck get this from her on his own, at least the first time.
Steve prodded at her stomach with one hand, lifting a brow at her, when she looked back down at him. "What's got you thinkin so hard?"
Holly tilted her head, debating. She turned her attention inward, towards that thick braided bond between her and her Alpha Sentinel. He was deeply asleep.
"Steve?" her voice was soft, and she gently knocked on his mental barrier. They were both still connected on the surface, but she wanted him to know she meant what she was about to say, and that meant a smidge more give on the barriers.
He startled for a moment, before willingly opening his side a bit more, and she did the same. She kept half an eye on Buck's bond, making sure he was still asleep- she didn't want to ruin the surprise for him either way.
"Would you be willing to stay with Steeljaw for a few days? It's not anything against you, nor is it that I wouldn't bring you with us- but I've been planning a surprise for Buck, that's...really important to me, and I'd like his first time meeting my family to be...just us. But I'd also like you to be getting the support and help you deserve while we're with my family."
She could feel how Steve startled, but the deeper connection meant he knew she meant what she'd said as she had said it. And she felt him stop, and really considered her question. And she felt the moment he agreed with her, before he'd actually spoken the words out loud.
"I can do that. Bucky deserves to meet his dame's family first, without anyone else there." he paused before continuing in a slightly amused tone "Steeljaw will probably be thrilled to get an uninterrupted go at me anyway. And he promised me a live pensive memory of a concert of my choice if I did well with everything."
Holly smiled to herself, recognizing the reward system Steeljaw liked to use- Pensive memories- for his patients when they did particularly well.
"Ask him to show you the Beatles in 1964. I think you'd like them."
Steve grinned, reaching into his pocket and pulling a small notebook out. "I'll add it to The List."
And Holly couldn't help but laugh, smoothing her hand through Steve's hair, as he wrote "The Beetles" across his notebook. She corrected the spelling absently, skimming what she could see of his list for a moment before he put it away.
Steeljaw had gotten Steve to start the List, a collection of things he wanted to learn about, or look at, things that he'd missed in the ice, as a collection of short term goals he could follow through on and fulfil while learning. Holly and Buck had given him suggestions since he'd gotten it, letting him choose what he'd like out of them, or directing him towards things that matched his interests.
But as Steve added the band to his List, Holly couldn't help the swell of affection and relief his answer had produced in her.
She may have thought about bringing Steve with them, may have been willing to do so, but- She hadn't really wanted to share this first visit between Buck and her family with anyone else. Not even Steve. That he'd been willing to go to the Mindhealers instead, and let her have that...Holly appreciated it.
She showed it with a louder purr, bending down as she lifted her thighs, hands cradling Steve's head for a moment, as she brought him close enough to gently scent him, rubbing her jaw against the crown of his head, before settling back on the couch properly.
He startled, but by the time her jaw met his head, he purred back and gently rubbed his head into her jaw in turn.
She'd have to do something nice for him when they got back from the Weasleys.
She wondered how he felt about flying?