Author Topic: Talking About It  (Read 202 times)

Steve Rogers

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Talking About It
« on: March 28, 2020, 04:38:53 PM »
Finding time to talk with a house full of children and animals was no small feat. The conversation looming over Steve and Lucy had to wait until late at night, when the rest of their house was asleep, the children bedded down and peaceful. Lucy put the kettle on, taking her time to brew the tea before bringing the cups to where Steve was waiting. She handed him one, easing down into a seat close by.

"So ... where do we start?"

Steve had been quiet all day, but not so quiet that the children noticed any difference in their father. He'd been just as attentive, just as caring and loving as always. It was likely only Lucy had noticed the difference in him, the quiet thoughtfulness as if he had something important on his mind. Despite his exceptional endurance, he was starting to show signs of weariness, though it was hard to say if that was due to a physical or emotional toll.

"Hmm?" he murmured absently, as Lucy's voice drew him out of his thoughts. "Oh, thanks," he said, gratefully taking a sip from the cup of tea she'd just handed him.

She watched him for a moment, her own expression grave. "We need to talk about this, Steve," she said quietly. "I just ... don't know where to begin."

"Neither do I," Steve said, with an uncertain frown on his face. "Bottom line, Lara needs her mother, and Nat is the closest thing she has to that." That was a very simplistic synopsis of what had happened, but it was also the truth.

"I think you made the right decision," Lucy told him gently. "But I also know that it cost an awful lot to make it. You don't have to put on a brave face for me, Steve."

"I'm fine, Luce," Steve assured her, and he was, for the most part anyway. "I'm more worried about Lara and how she'll adjust more than anything else." That much was true, too, but it was a little more complicated than that.

"And a little resentful that Colin will be the one she calls father?" she suggested as gently as she could. "I have no doubt that she will settle in and be loved, be a part of our family as a whole without problems. It's you I'm worried about, Steve. Talk to me."

"But I'm not her father, Luce. Not really. I mean ... Nat and I ... We're not, you know. How is it any different from Martin and Lianne? They're not our kids biologically, but they're still part of our family. The same could be said for Lara. She's not really my daughter. She's the daughter of some other Steve and some other Nat. I'll always be part of her life, but Colin is her father now, and that's okay," Steve said, but was he trying to convince Lucy or himself?

"It's not different from Martin and Lianne on paper, not at all," she said. "But it is different to us. Because ... because she is your daughter, biologically. And she's Nat's daughter, too. And that is ... uncomfortable, for me."

Steve's frown deepened. This was exactly what he'd been worried about. What was he supposed to say or do to make her feel better about the situation? It was what it was. "Do you think we made the wrong choice in bringing her here?" he asked, though he'd already discussed this with her before that decision had been made, albeit over the phone.

She shook her head, her smile obviously regretting having said anything in the first place. "No, I don't," she assured him. "And I will get over it, Steve. What matters is Lara; her safety, and her happiness, and I think you've done exactly what was needed. But don't keep it all locked up inside, please. I need to know how you feel about it all."

Steve furrowed his brows, as if he was trying to read between the lines of what she was telling him. It seemed she was more upset by all this than she'd let on, too.

"The same goes for you, Luce. I need to know how you feel about it, too. I mean, as far as everyone else is concerned, no one needs to know the truth. You, me, Nat, Colin, Tony, Alyona, and Sam. That's it. Those are the only people who have to know. I don't know what Nat wants to tell people, but Lara looks just like her. She's only three years old, Luce. She's too young to understand what's happened. She hasn't just lost her parents, but her whole world. We're all she has left."

"I would have taken her on in a heartbeat," Lucy said quietly. "But you're right. She looks like Nat, she needs Nat. We'll still be close. This isn't going to change the way our family works, Steve." She hesitated, but continued on anyway. "I've always been a little jealous of your friendship with Nat. You understand each other so well. It's galling to know that if we had never met, you would probably have married her."

Steve's brows shot upwards, surprised to hear his admit her jealousy for a woman he thought of as a sister. "Married Nat?" he echoed, looking stunned at such a suggestion. "Lucy, Nat is like a sister to me. Sleeping with her would be like you sleeping with ..." He trailed off, the rest of that thought unsaid. She had slept with Johnny, after all. "Like you sleeping with Tony," he said, correcting himself.

"I know what you were going to say," she said. "And you're right. I have no right to think that, or to feel this way. Knowing that doesn't stop me from feeling it. But I am an adult, and a rational one at that. I know there's nothing in it. Steve, we're supposed to be talking about you, how you feel about all this. Don't make me drag it out of you piecemeal."

Steve studied her face while she spoke - her lovely face - and the dark eyes that never lied. He hadn't fallen in love with her the first moment he'd met her. It had taken a little time, but in all truth, it was the fact that he'd loved Peggy first that had made all the difference. She didn't look like Peggy exactly, but she was strong and smart and beautiful and caring, just like her great-aunt had been, and he'd fallen in love with her without even knowing they were related. He set his cup of tea aside to free his hands, one hand reaching to brush his fingers against her cheek.

"You know how much I love you," he said, as if to assure her further that she had nothing and no one to be jealous of. "I only ever felt that way about one other woman and she loved you, too." That didn't really answer her question, but he was getting to it.

He drew a slow breath before continuing. "The truth is I'm not sure how I feel. It's a bit of a shock, even to me. I thought I'd seen it all, but I guess not. All I know is that she's just a little girl, and she's innocent in all this. She's lost her parents, and we're all she has left. Do I wish we could raise her?" He shrugged. "Maybe, but we have six kids of our own already, and Nat is lucky to have had one. She belongs with her mother, and that's that. Alyona fixed it so that ..." He trailed off a moment as another thought came to mind, but one that was so absurd he almost immediately dismissed it.

"That's the problem, isn't it?" Lucy guessed softly. "Knowing you share blood with her, and that she will never know that, for her own sake. You haven't abandoned your child, Steve. You've given her what she needs."

Steve Rogers

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Re: Talking About It
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2020, 04:39:43 PM »
"No, I'd never abandon her, but we have children of our own," Steve said. "She's better off with Nat. Alyona altered her memories so that she believes Colin is her father and I'm her uncle. I am the closest thing Nat has to a brother, after all," he explained with another shrug. "The real question is what do we tell everyone else?"

"I know, Steve." Lucy reached out, linking her fingers with his. "And I don't know what we tell everyone else. It isn't up to me. It's up to you, and Nat, and Colin, to make that decision. You're the only ones who can."

"It's not really up to me. It's up to Nat and Colin, I think," Steve said. He'd given up all rights to making any decisions for Lara when he'd told Nat to raise her. "You want to hear something crazy?" he said, a half-smile on his face, more sad than amused.

"Tell me." She raised their linked hands, pressing a soft kiss to his knuckles. No matter what they went through, they would face it together. That, at least, she was certain of.

"Alyona," he said, giving her a hint of what he'd been thinking. "She could alter everyone's memories, so that we believe Lara's been Nat and Colin's daughter all along." It was a crazy idea, and one he wasn't sure he was willing to subject himself to. It was almost too easy.

Lucy frowned thoughtfully. "Steve, we ... we can't all give consent to that," she said carefully. "I'm the one people come to in our family for medical concerns; I couldn't agree to having my memories altered, in case I treated her for something in the wrong way. And the children can't give consent - they wouldn't understand why. Yes, it would make things easier, but life isn't easy."

"Like I said, crazy idea," he said, with a half-smile. He'd dismissed the idea almost as soon as it had come to mind, but he couldn't help but suggest it to Lucy, just in case it wasn't as crazy as it seemed.

"Not a crazy idea," she assured him. "A good idea, in other circumstances." She kissed his cheek affectionately. "Thank you for talking to me. I've been worrying over how you're coping with this since we talked yesterday."

"I'm okay, Luce," he assured her again, smiling at the easy show of affection. "We're gonna be okay. So long as I have you and the kids, everything is gonna be okay." He leaned in to kiss her properly, a warm press of his lips to hers. "I worry about you, too, you know."

"I know," she murmured, but she was smiling as she answered his kiss with her own. "We're well matched in that regard." She let out a soft sigh, easing closer to rest her head on his shoulder. "We'll get the story straight with Nat and Colin tomorrow, and we can tell the kids afterward. I think they need tonight just to settle things between them."

"They're excited to meet her," Steve said of their children and Lara. His smile widened at the thought of their children meeting their newest "cousin". Despite everything, he knew he was a lucky man; maybe the luckiest man in the multiverse. He'd always hoped to be married with kids someday, and now that he was, he couldn't be happier.

She snorted with laughter. "Ridiculously so," she agreed. "I think Lianne might have emptied her art box making pictures for Lara and Alia so they have something for their bedroom."

Steve chuckled, his eyes warm with pride whenever he talked about their children. "We have some pretty great kids," he said, though she knew that already. He made no distinction between their adopted children and those who shared their bloodline. He loved them all the same.

"We did good," she said, laughing softly. "Jamie still wants a dragon, by the way. He might be planning on leveraging Lara's arrival to get an agreement out of you."

Steve chuckled, rolling his eyes at that idea. "I'm not sure Humphrey will allow another dragon to live at Maple Grove. Lir is getting too big as it is. What if we got him a lizard instead?" he suggested, though it wasn't quite the same thing.

"There are little dragons we could get," she mused. "I'm not sure how we train a little dragon not to set fire to everything around itself, though."

"It's not something we have to decide today," he said, drawing her into his arms and brushing his nose against the side of her neck. "What do you say we take this somewhere more comfortable?" he asked, now that she seemed satisfied with his state of mind.

"Mmm, that sounds like a lovely idea," she murmured, smiling as she nestled into his embrace. "Think we can make it there without anyone trying to stop us?"

"We can if they're sleeping," he said, though it was hard to tell from here if that was the case. Steve tipped his head upwards, not hearing any movement above them, but small children had a way of being quiet and sneaky sometimes. "Want to chance it?"

"I'm game if you are." Lucy giggled, pushing herself to stand up and set the cups in the sink. "They're supposed to be sleeping, anyway. Maybe we'll get lucky and there won't be any wandering tonight."

"Maybe I need to do a better job of wearing them out," Steve remarked with a grin. He moved to his feet, stretching his back as he did. "I'll let the dogs out and meet you upstairs," he told her, volunteering to let Thor and Kiki out for their last romp in the yard.

"I'll be waiting." Lucy blew him a kiss, chuckling as she rinsed out the cups ready for the dishwasher load in the morning. She felt lighter now they had talked about this. It would still take time to get used to the situation, but Lara came first. They would all make it work.

"I won't be long," Steve promised as he started toward the back door, calling the pair of dogs - one old and one young - to follow. True to his word, he was only gone a few minutes before he was climbing the stairs to their bedroom, as quietly as he could.

The house was, thankfully, quiet, punctuated with the sound of soft breathing and the skitter of paws making their way into their favored bedrooms for the night. Lucy was waiting, as promised, brushing the tangles out of her short hair to pass the time before Steve joined her.

"All's quiet," he whispered as he stepped into their room, closing the door quietly behind him. As far as he could tell, the children were sleeping - or at least, not making any noise.

"Mmm, lucky us." She grinned, moving to slide her hands up his chest and over his shoulders, drawing him down into a slow kiss. Their sex life was just as healthy as it had always been, even with six children and two dogs.

Steve smiled into her kiss, strong arms winding around her waist to pull her into his embrace. He had no complaints regarding their sex life, as evidenced by the four children Lucy had birthed. It had been a couple of stressful days, and though he hadn't slept yet, he had plenty of energy left for his wife.

And yet it wasn't about the sex, though that was always a welcome distraction from anything else in their lives. It was about the reconnection, the assurance to one another that nothing had changed. That they were still in this together, no matter what.

They'd been through stranger things than this - things that might have broken other couples - but they weren't just any other couple. They were Steve and Lucy Rogers, and there was nothing they couldn't face, so long as they faced it together.