bridges break (v)
summary: steve shuts himself away. you pull him along on a trip of a lifetime in an attempt to reconnect. great plan! except there’s one big secret he’s keeping from you that could change the course of your entire relationship, and there’s no greasy stack of diner pancakes in the country big enough to hide behind.
(road trip!au, best friends to lovers)
Warnings: angst, mental health issues and disorientation, ptsd, swearing, mentions of death. lemme know if i missed anything and I’ll tag it.
A/N: hello everyone !! i have been going through a bit of a depresh which is why i haven't responded or updated but i shall forge through. this godforsaken series demands to be seen. thank you for your kindness on this fic. i want to throw up u are all so nice
Previous Part || Series Masterlist
Tip #77: Stay away from landscape fabric!
Steve lets his eyes scour over the words, and then again.
He glances down at the picture and stares at it for a little over ten seconds before his eyes go back up to re-read the words.
He reads them again, and then again.
Leaves shake gently, like they're chastising him. He'd already spent ten minutes on Tip #43 of Gardening: 4427 Brilliant Tips & Ideas thinking of nothing, and now Tip #77 about the state of the world and his noticeable absence in it.
There's a tension in the air, a lingering awkwardness.
Your fingers nimbly card through another page of your book. A breeze blows and a soft exhale escapes past your lips.
Tip #77: Stay away from landscape fabric!
Steve tries his hand at it again and once it finally registers, the picture makes sense.
It'll stick around in his head for as long as he can remember, with the other 76 tips and a million other details he'd never cross again. It helps most times. HYDRA bases were easier to track down after a single glance at a map, but he also spent 5 excruciating minutes remembering what it felt like for the Arctic ice to crystallise his blood when Bucky stuck his cold metal arm down his shirt for fun.
A curse to remember.
Steve clenches his eyes shut tightly.
He shouldn't feel that way about his abilities. Shouldn't be ungrateful for what he was given. He forces himself to remember that he’s long moved on, spent so long quelling the simmering anger in him. But it nags at the back of his head that it's purely sinful to do so many things he does, think all the things he does. He does it anyway. Whose God would spare another second to damn him when there was already a place for him in hell?
Grass pokes out from under the blanket you've spread. It's soft and prickly and the moisture seeps through the fabric. The tree you're under overlooks a lovely part of the park, nothing in the distance for as far as he can see other than more trees over the valley.
His skin on his ankles itches from the burn of the sun, and so he readjusts.
Sitting on the ramp of the quinjet, looking onto rolling hills with Sam was, in spirit, similar. The platform was cold and hard and ridged, and Sam's laugh is still luminous as ever. The moon curtained by clouds is captured so neatly in their eyes; spending the night here in the jet they managed to finally break doesn't seem so bad.
Tomorrow was another day, another border to cross and other bodies to chase but for now, Sam's talking about the cartwheel that landed him and Sarah in the emergency room, and Nat's joining them the next day, unfortunately missing the story of a lifetime.
He wondered what colour her hair would be then. It changes like the wind.
He likes it.
Steve's back tenses on instinct, even though there is nothing to protect himself from. The tree is good support and there's a throw pillow separating him from the ground. Still, his muscles have a faint ache in them, the same as the morning after the sun rose over the hills and through the entrance of the quinjet left opened a crack.
A curse to remember.
"What’s wrong?" you ask quietly.
He snaps out of it, shaking his head and straightening up. “Nothing. Just zoned out for a second.”
Steve pauses. "No. Didn’t get much sleep."
You’ve turned away, and so he misses the scrunch between your eyebrows.
Tip #78: Herbs? Don't Mint If I Do!
Tip #78: Herbs? Don't Mint If I Do!
Tip #78: Herbs? Don't Mint If I Do!
He looks down at the picture. Looks back up at the words. Mint.
Your eyes flit towards him and quite possibly the umpteenth apology he had given in the last twenty-four hours.
"I know," you reply slowly.
"How do I make it up to you?" he asks again.
You don't reply.
Steve wonders when the last time was when he read a book that had pictures and still registered nothing.
You turn another page, but this time the novel lowers. You close it, using your finger as a makeshift bookmark to hold your place.
Steve hopes for a hum or a song, but none follows as you stare out blankly into the open.
He's about to ask if you're okay, if something's wrong even though he has a feeling that something definitely is when you shift forward.
Away from him.
Away from him.
Steve doesn't dare to look from the corner of his page, careful not to give too much away, but his stomach drops heavily.
Until he feels a certain pressure and your head shifts to lie on his lap. Not facing him, but still there. Not away from him.
His hand twitches, hovers even, for a few seconds before his fingers stroke over your head.
You let out a small sigh. Steve continues, waiting for any inclination on your end for him to stop. It never comes.
And while he sees you open your novel again, he can hear you thumbing the pendant that hangs from your neck. He thought you would have taken it off by now, thrown it, incinerated it. But he can hear the minuscule clink of metal against the chain and it's a sign that maybe, things aren't as hopeless as he thinks.
There is silence and the sky breezes by. The moisture seeps through the blanket. Your head rests on his lap.
He picks up his magazine again.
Tip #79: Fallen leaves: Mulch Ado About Nothing!
The wind whips around the car. His elbow leans out, other hand on the steering wheel.
The radio jockey talks, laughs obnoxiously at a corny pun his co-host cracks. Steve had met them before; they hosted the celebrations at Arlington several years ago for Memorial Day.
They were half decent, if a little talkative, but he didn't mind.
It served well to distract him. After all, Arlington was where Steve was buried.
A corny reference to a Don McLean line about him, and a proposal to have him pick the songs to kick the next morning's show off, and Steve almost stops looking in the direction where he was informed Bucky's empty casket was lowered into the ground way back then.
That day, Steve was in a bombed-out bar in London. The skies that bled as he tried to drink himself to oblivion, were now bright blue overhead. It was a rush to get rid of the bile that rose to his throat as his oldest friend's tombstone flashed through his mind.
The stone was long gone, of course. After Steve's rebirth and Bucky's return, empty coffins were removed. Not to make way, but just out of respect.
Freshly dug up earth, though. Freshly dug up earth had a scent of its own.
Unfortunately, he'd buried the ghosts of friends who never made it back after a battle far too many times. And after the last time it happened, he isn't quite sure he'd be able to go to a cemetery again.
Not when he knows her body is somewhere on a planet he couldn't reach. Not when he knows that unlike Bucky or him, she isn't getting a second chance.
“Your side of it,” she responds. "I could read about the battle anywhere. What I’m interested in is your side, how you’re dealing with it.”
Steve wants to smile, bitterly almost, at the fact that she only knows what they wanted everyone to know. But he couldn’t tell her that either.
"I deal with it just fine, I think," he says distantly.
"What do you mean by just fine?"
If this was what one on one therapy was like, it's a wonder why he doesn't care for it much.
"Well--" he blinks-- "I'm here, aren't I?"
She stares at him a little while longer. Steve glances at the clock.
"Are you happy?"
It takes him a second to realise the hosts aren't speaking because you've changed the channel to something far less grating. How far he's gotten since he spaced out, he has no idea. He's only glad it's a straight road for the next few miles.
"How much longer till the motel?" he asks, keeping his eyes trained ahead.
"A fair bit," you answer, looking at the navigation you had open on the phone. "You want to stop for a while?"
"No, just checking," Steve says. "I'm good."
You nod silently, lending your attention to the world outside the window again.
"I hope it doesn't rain."
If anything, it makes his eyebrows raise slightly when you continue to talk. He finds himself not caring if it’s about the weather, the stupid advertisement running on the radio right now, or even the fucking space titan. As long as you were talking to him, you could speak about any damn thing in the world.
"Don't think it will." He cranes his neck to get a better look at the sky.
It wasn't the bright blue it had been that morning, but it wasn't entirely overcast.
"Better not. We got a landmark coming up that I've been dyin' to get to," you mumble.
"What is it?"
"Is it a world's largest something?" Steve asks, dry tease optimistic in his tone but still cautious. "World's largest mothball? Stroller?"
"Patience is a virtue, Cap'n." You tsk to yourself. "You'll see it when we get there."
Steve catches a bit of your sight, turning just as a faded smile grows on your face.
"But if you're tired, we can just crash for the rest of the day."
"Can't bail on me now, you got me all excited for your mystery landmark."
There's a small scoff that leaves you, half a laugh. "Whatever you want, Rogers."
He keeps driving. Even as the noon slips into the humidity-gifted heat of a late afternoon and he wipes a bead of sweat from his forehead. The radio plays indie rock and summer feels like it stretches on for eternity.
“You know-" you squint- “I don’t think Jesus was nineteen feet tall."
Steve is inclined to agree.
"Or that he held a hotdog like a child.”
That even more so.
"Woulda made church a lot more interesting," he says wryly.
The Paul Bunyon statue--deliberately misspelt to avoid a legal charge-- stands proudly and, dare he admit it, rather dauntingly. Michelangelo’s David could only dream of achieving the level of artistry this enterprise possessed.
It was a cultural landmark, a must-see on this trip according to several websites. Though Steve initially couldn’t see why… he kind of could.
He has his hands on his waist as he looks up. “Well, we can cross it off the list.”
A bird caws from overhead, and a car drives down the street. Unlike the both of you, it only slows to capture a picture before carrying on its way.
“Guess we can.” You bring your palm shielding your eyes from the rays of the sun.
The longer he looks at it, the more it begins to morph into something beautiful. Ugly, but beautiful, in its own amusing, absurd way.
“You want a picture?” Steve finds it hard to stop staring at the stupid smile smirk the strong-jawed man had like he was proud of his wiener infant.
Steve glances at you through the rearview mirror. He only catches a glimpse of your forehead, the rest of you hunched over your phone.
It drags through his chest again; the same, scraping rawness that had him opening his mouth before he could stop himself.
"If you're gonna apologise again, Steve, I swear--"
He shuts his mouth, lips pressing into a thin line before he compounds another topic.
A bead of sweat rolls down your skin, and he turns up the AC.
The beat of silence rests nicely between you both before he asks,
"So these weird things-- giant shoes, and whales and whatnot-- they're the whole niche for this trip?"
You look up from trying to connect your phone to the car Bluetooth, an attempt that had been fruitless the last few times you'd tried.
"Yeah. People've made whole careers out of it." You fumble with a dial. "It's got a real dedicated fanbase."
Small talk was good. Just surface conversations but he was thrilled by every second.
"Have you ever road tripped before?"
Steve keeps his attention on the road. He's come to see that some of them tended to run off into gravel, dead ends or simply dirt tracks. The signs weren't always right, and the maps you vehemently defended were also outdated on several occasions.
"Does running from law enforcement count?" he asks in return.
You narrow your eyes at him. "Were you listening to good music while it was happening?"
"Sometimes," he says. "Other times it was Sam’s rendition of Inner City Blues for 3 hours."
"Then it's a road trip," you decide. "Bless Sam, he knew exactly what he was doing."
"Yeah, singing into the comms in the middle of a stake out."
"It's called having fun."
Steve doesn't disagree, but he doesn't agree either.
"You've been on a road trip before?"
"One or two," you say. "Whenever my parents had time off work and my mom managed to convince my dad."
“Were they fun?”
There’s a slow down in your movement that he barely catches.
“As much as they could be, I guess. It was fun when they’d remember we were on vacation together. Otherwise, they’d spend a lot of time just talking to each other about their own world so it was easy to forget I was there,” you reply thoughtfully. “I didn’t really have anyone to talk to, so it was kinda quiet most times.”
His grip against the steering wheel tightens, the skin on his knuckles pulsating against the pressure.
“You haven't gone since then?”
"No, my friends-- I think a few of my friends planned one a couple of years ago? We were supposed to, at least, a few of us."
"Did you ever go?" He glances at you.
"Nah," you say, short. "I wasn’t in the best place in college and by the time I got okay again, people moved on. We didn't get the chance. But I know it would have been fun, they were great."
Steve watches another dilapidated sign whiz by.
You get back to whatever buttons you were clicking, wholly ignoring the instruction manual that came with the vehicle.
"After the Battle of New York, I got a bike," Steve pipes up. "Told myself I was gonna go check out the country and everything that had changed."
You pause, finger hovering over the power button on the radio. "Did you?"
"Not really," he confesses. "Got to check out Brooklyn, but after that Fury recruited me and I was back in training for SHIELD."
"I've seen some parts of the country when I was on the run," he offers. "Most of our time we spent abroad 'cause it was harder for the government to track, and there were more HYDRA bases in other parts of the world."
"Didn't you also go after the Snap?" You poke at something on the display.
He opens his mouth to reply, only for you to cut him off with a jump when the car is flooded with loud, ear-splitting conversation. The hair on his skin goes upright in an instant, breath shortening and world shifting into slow motion.
You swiftly turn down the dial to restore the peace, murmuring in quiet annoyance to yourself the entire time.
"Fuck me," you curse lightly, "I'm sorry, you were saying?"
"That was also, uh-" he forces himself to recentre "-mission-related."
"Oh, right, yeah." You facepalm lightly. "Forgot you were back only for the last two years."
He doesn't blame you. Steve had spent the first three years in and out of the state, the country-- almost the planet at times. He could count on his hand the number of times he'd snuck away to see you in between his erratic schedule.
It'd gotten easier once he finally chose to stay back in New York, but by then it wasn't his circumstances that forced him to keep away from others, but his quiet choice to stay inside a lot more.
"So I guess I'd say this is my first real road trip," Steve says.
"No pressure at all," you mutter. "Just a whole lot of empty land and tiny windmill restaurants."
He looks at you. "I think they're nice."
"You'd say that even if you didn't think so." The corner of your lips upturn.
He thinks that he probably would, but most likely not if it were anyone else.
"Fuc- finally." You sigh loudly, dropping your hand and settling back into your seat and grabbing your phone. "Any suggestions?"
Steve shakes his head. "Your choice."
You shrug, scrolling through your phone before an idea hits you and you quickly type in the title.
Leaning back, you look out the window as the car slowly fills with the familiar tune of Inner City Blues.
Steve's sketchbook is nearly twenty pages into his journal-sketch book hybrid. At this rate he'd be forced to get a new one before two weeks were done.
A corner of the page has a piece of Arlington on it, a singular tombstone with indecipherable writing. Somewhere else is his best attempt at recreating the mastery that was the Bunyon statue.
Most of the page was just filled with what you saw today, what he did and what he ate. He didn't make much of an effort at journaling, as substantiated by his pathetic attempts earlier that left behind half-finished sentences and open-ended thoughts. When he did try, it was simply a skeleton of the day. Nothing interesting.
Steve runs his eyes over the filled sheet. He notices it does nothing to him. He feels nothing about the scribbles and pencil scratches.
Until there’s confusion.
In the corner, there’s a recreation of a familiar scene. The stores at the back and the road bear a scary resemblance to the original. The man sits at the front with his smoke, white shirt and hunched over.
Edward Hopper’s Sunday looks back at him in black and white, and Steve doesn’t even remember when he put it there.
But his eyes were wrong.
Steve erases it lightly, careful not to rip the page. Makes sure there are no smudges or strays.
The tilt of his brow is perfect, the scorn on his lips is harsh. Yet, when Steve looks at him, he doesn’t feel like his soul is being ripped out of his chest. Doesn't feel the drop in his stomach.
He can’t get the look in his eye right.
Steve pulls the book away from him slightly, letting himself really look at the image. There is no change. He feels nothing.
He turns his stare back to the wall.
Across the drywall, he knows you're there in a mirrored room. Your pacing stopped a while ago but your keyboard clicking still came in sporadic bursts.
There's a sudden sense of urgency in him. It makes his muscle twitch and his nausea set in his ribs.
Something-- he needs to do something now.
He clenches and unclenches his fist, even taking a step off the bed to shake off the sudden angst. But the feeling perists and so he exhales deeply, and it comes out shaky.
Checking the clock to make sure it was not too late, he picks up his phone instead for a quick search.
Steve knocks on the door, thrice, before letting his hand drop. It finds its way back to his pockets in nervousness, not before consciously being dragged away from where his belt buckle would be if he wasn't wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt.
The entrances to the double-story building all overlooked the car park. Some of the brown imitation wood paint had peeled away from the banisters and one of the lights overhead didn't turn on. But all in all, it was a pretty good place; clean with working facilities--
He hears the chain unlink from the door before you tug it open.
"Hey," Steve says.
"Hi." You'd changed out of the clothes you were wearing during the day into something more comfortable and were looking at him in mild concern.
"I know you said we'd do takeaway, but there's this diner down the road with an arcade," Steve tests, letting it sit for a second before asking, "Maybe we could get dinner? Check out the games, if you're up for it?"
Your eyes flicker behind his figure to the moon in thought, before back at him.
"You gonna wear that?" you ask.
Steve glances down at his outfit. "Yeah?"
"Cool," you say, leaving the door open as you go to grab your stuff. "The likelihood of me saying yes depended on that."
"I could just throw on a tuxedo," Steve calls out.
"Close the door on your way out," you holler back.
He holds back a grin when you shut the door behind you and lock it, tucking the key into your pocket.
You mention towards the staircase that was too small to host the both of you at once with a nod of your head.
"Lead the way, Rogers."
You don't say much on the walk over, nor when he buys an obscene amount of credits for the two of you to share.
Even the first game or two is spent in huffs in the form of laughter and quiet questions as to where to go next.
It takes nearly half an hour and him beginning to think it isn't a very good idea at all, before a grin makes its way onto your face at your first big win of the night.
"I don't care how close we are," you start, "I will wreck you at pinball. I will."
Steve's eyebrows lift as he glances at you. "We'll have to see about that."
"Careful now,” you warn and he can tell you're putting an effort in. "You're talking to the all-time arcade champ here."
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but you just lost embarrassingly at racing a fake car.”
You scoff, “It’s called a pity loss. Felt real bad for you. It’d be like beating my grandfather at a running race.”
Steve neatly tosses a ball into the basket. The score overhead had been updated to show his new record.
“Jealousy,” he states simply. “How sad.”
You stifle a laugh, picking up the next shot and obtusely missing the basket. It breaks his perfect streak.
He gives you a sidelong glance in amusement. “I still win.”
The machine corroborates his statement.
“Whatever,” you dismiss playfully. “PacMan’s the real test of skill.”
He wordlessly gestures for you to go ahead. If nothing else, the bleeps and bells chiming from different slot machines seemed to lift your spirits considerably.
Steve presses the coins into the back and steps away as you crack your knuckles. “Gonna make this game my bitch.”
He’s never played before, so he’s got nothing to refute you on. You, on the other hand, do seem like you’re gonna make good on your promise.
"Have at it."
Or maybe you were losing. He couldn’t really tell what the point was. He just stands watching for several minutes.
“So,” you bring up, eyes reflecting the light from the screen. “What'd you actually wanna talk about?"
Steve peers at you in mild surprise.
“You brought me here because it’s easier for me to talk when I have something to do with my hands,” you continue casually.
“That’s not the only reason.”
“I know,” you concede. “But you did, didn’t you? Want to talk about something?”
"Yeah," Steve replies carefully. “Wanted to apologise. Maybe a do-over from that breakfast, if that was alright.”
"Figured as much." Your lip twitches as your character narrowly avoids running into a ghost.
His smile comes back dry. "How?"
"You barrelling towards my door sorta gave it away. I could tell."
"You still said yes," he points out.
"As opposed to what, saying no and turning down free dinner?" You crack a small smile, immediately dropping when you see one of the ghosts round the corner to where you were. “We’ve been friends for too damn long, Steve. I don't want to let it go to shit over us not having a decent conversation. You mean too much to me.”
His heart jumps to his mouth. He swears that you could hear the audible exhale he just let out over the almost irksome beeping.
But now came the difficult part. What the hell does he actually tell you about? Time heist? Therapy? The stupid dream? List?
"I'm sorry," he says stupidly again. "I-"
Almost like you can hear his brain combusting, you ask,
“You want me to start?”
“Yeah, please,” he replies softly.
"Okay.” Your nose scrunches up when you lose a life. "When you said it was different-- what'd you mean by that?"
He sees you get right back into the game, and thinks it’s probably good that you’re not watching him directly. It doesn’t feel like he’s under observation.
"It feels like I just got out of the ice again," Steve says. "Doesn't feel like this place is for me. First time around, I was forced to accept it, y’know? Find something, or make something for myself. I don't know if I ever did, but I didn't have any other choice. This time, going and coming back, it’s like I-"
"Have another option.”
"Yeah." Steve watches your character pick up another bigger dot. "Watch out."
"Got it," you confirm lowly, taking another turn to narrowly miss one. "And you're going back how? The time travelling thing?"
"Yeah," he says. "I know there are more Pym Particles now that the doctor's back."
"And the machine?"
"Still functional. Pepper's got it with the rest of the old stuff."
You watch the little circle get killed again when the old joystick doesn't respond to your command, but there is no reaction on your face.
"You'd be safe?" your voice comes through instead.
Steve looks at your reflection in the screen. "I would."
You dive back in for the last round after your acknowledgement. You get killed in a much shorter time than the first two rounds.
"Boo," you say.
He silently hands you another quarter.
You take it from him, inserting it into the machine. "Don't you want to have a go?"
Steve observes at the starting screen of the game. "It'd just be embarrassing for the both of us," he decides on.
"One more game and then we hit Street Fighter 2."
He doesn't know what that is either, but it sounds more up his alley.
"D'you sleep at all these days?" you begin again, taking your time just as you had. "You've been looking a lot more tired recently."
"I do." He got three hours of sleep last night, a whopping two more than his usual. "You?"
"So and so." You shrug. "It'll get better."
He hears you at night sometimes, walking up and down across in the adjacent room.
You’re left in long, painful silence. It doesn’t take too much to realise how much he really fucking hates this. Not the silence, he’d sit in it comfortably with you for hours, but the awkwardness. The distance between you both when you were right there in front of him.
"What are you thinking about?"
You peer at him quickly and he holds it before you break the stare to go back to the screen when your little guy dies again.
"A bunch of stuff," you reply, restarting the round. "I just don't think I have all the questions right now. There's a lot I wanna ask, but there's only a few I can think of right now, and I don't want it to be something that I regret later."
"Anything it is, I'll answer. Whenever." You could throw even mumbled, garbage words out there and he'd piece it together like he had in the past. "But know that you don't have to sugar coat it. You can tell it to me straight."
Your jaw tightens until you force it to relax. The machine beeps get faster and fast with each passing moment, but he's all but entirely turning it out.
"It fuckin’ sucked that you didn’t tell me, Steve," you say steadily. "It’s a huge decision and I wish you had told me earlier. Like– even a text would have worked.”
“I’m sorry," he breathes. "I can't take it back, I know. I'm really fucking sorry, I should have told you earlier. Just tell me what to do-- I'll do it. I'll try to make up for it. I'm sorry. I really am."
You look him in the eye, not breaking contact for a second with your eyebrows knitted together.
“Steve, the biggest issue isn't that you didn't tell me. I know I'll get over that. Like yeah, it was-- is-- absolute shit for a while, but I’d get over it eventually.” You let go off the stupid joystick to spin towards him.
“But you’re leaving. You’re going away. I spent two years talking to you through voicemails and those stupid, secret notes and the fact that we might not even have that anymore?”
You look at him helplessly. He swallows back his guilt, fresh and heavy in his throat.
“How do I just do that?” you finish, lips pursing inwards.
Nine years of knowing you and this was the first time he’d seen you look at him the way you were. Even when he was on the run, you were sure he'd be back. There was no lapse of faith, no questioning. But now-- he doesn't know what to say because he had nothing.
“I’ll find a way to stay in touch,” Steve trails off. He isn’t sure how he’d do it. He doesn’t know. “I will. There has to be some way."
You look like you don’t believe him. He knows you don’t have reason to.
"We've always found a way," There's a pained smile on his face that is replaced with something more determined.
"You wanted to make it up to me?" you bring up again and his ears perk up. "I have a few things."
"No more keeping stuff from me. Not like this." You breathe out.
He holds up a hand to his chest and prays his heart doesn't burst into flames that very second.
"And no more voicemails," you continue. "I've had enough of them. Find another way."
"No more voicemails," he swears. "I promise you.”
That he could do. He could make good on his promises. That's what he was still trying to do.
“Better not.” Still, a sadness pulls at the corner of your lips, turning it upwards. “Or else you’re gonna have a bigger problem when I travel back in time to kick your ass.”
A laugh escapes him against the tense atmosphere. "I bet I will."
"You'll have to visit." You hold a finger up in a vague threat. "Don't care how you do it. You have to be there for my birthday, and the holidays and-- and St Patrick's Day, I don't know."
"I'll visit," he holds his hand up in an oath. "You'll be beggin' me to go back, you'll be so tired of me."
It makes you feel a little better, he can tell by the slight relief on your face. Fuck, he'd visit six months out of the year, if he had to. He'd figure out time travel on his own with a cord phone and a typewriter.
"And you need to invest in all the right places and save up a bunch of money and get it to me. Somehow. So I can retire early"
"Apple, right? What about the horse thing-- the Derby?"
"Yeah." You give him the first real smile he's seen all evening. "Apple and the Derby."
"Done," he announces. "You got it."
The game cries behind you when your last life is taken. You turn to it, sighing at the loss of your quarter.
"Want another one?"
"No, we've got other games to play. This shit's rigged against me anyway," you reply, looking around. "Before that-- one last thing."
"I gotta be there," you say. "The day you leave. I wanna be there. No disappearing without a trace."
"Of course," he says softly. "I wouldn't do that to you."
"Good." You nod, a little more determined. "Okay, then. Dance Dance Revolution next."
Steve watches you turn on your heel and make your way towards the machine, completely discounting the fact that it was not the game you had initially named.
This was hardly the end of this conversation, he knows for a fact. And hopefully, he'd have answers for when you did ask.
“You good?” you call from a few feet away, hand on the railing of some new contraption with bright, flashing lights.
Steve nods, shoving his hands into his pocket. “I’m driving tomorrow.”
"You drove today," you remind.
Steve shrugs as he makes his way towards you and the supposed dance machine. "I know."
“Okay, Rogers.” You give him a small smile, shaking your head lightly. "Whatever you want.”