Written for Erisa ken!
Just sit back and enjoy, and I hope I managed to live up to your expectations!
Disclaimer: I claim no rights to the characters of Harry Potter and Captain America. They belong to their respective owners. Story starts at the end of the Winter Soldier, but I'll tone it down with spoilers as much as possible. The songs featuring in this chapter are 'The Shadow of Your Smile' performed by Ella Fitzgerald, and 'Dream a Little Dream of Me' sung by Louis Armstrong, in that order . I claim no rights to the songs.
Warnings: slash, explicit content, romance, bit of drama, bit of angst
Steve woke up slowly, feeling as though someone hung weights on his body. Everything hurt, and his brain was too fuzzy for him to make a connection to anything. Judging by the scent tickling his nose, he was in the hospital, but the lights were dimmed so they didn't hurt his eyes.
A soothing voice was coming from somewhere to his right, and Steve slowly turned his head to the side.
"… I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say. They are not brave, the days when we are twenty-one. They are full of little cowardices, little fears without foundation, and one is so easily bruised, so swiftly wounded, one falls to the first barbed word. To-day, wrapped in the complacent armour of approaching middle age, the infinitesimal pricks of day by day brush one but lightly and are soon forgotten…" (1)
As Steve's sight slowly focused, he finally saw whom that soothing, velvety voice belonged to. It was a young man, hardly older than some 25 years with playful raven-black tresses which danced around a handsome face. Eyes were shadowed by messy bangs, so Steve couldn't see their color, but as the young man read from the book Steve's eyes fell on rosy lips, soft and succulent.
"-how a careless word would linger, becoming a fiery stigma, and how a look, a glance over a shoulder, branded themselves as…" (2)
Steve must have made some sort of a sound because the young man stopped reading and raised his head. Steve could swear that he has never in his life seen such vivid eyes. That shade of almost shimmering green could not be seen anywhere in the world. It looked as though the very essence of everything that was beautiful and pure was trapped within those endless depths, and Steve forgot for a moment where he was.
"You are awake?" The young man stood up as he closed the book and placed it on the seat he occupied a moment ago, quickly flittering around Steve, checking up on the wounded soldier.
He's a doctor? Steve thought, but to his horror, he found himself unable to move let alone talk.
"Hey!" The young man appeared right beside Steve again, leaning over him with a calming smile and warm eyes. "Take it easy. You're safe."
Steve found it strange how the young doctor had no qualms about brushing his hand through Steve's bangs in a calming gesture, and the soldier couldn't help but calm down as wave upon wave of warmth washed over him.
He almost didn't want to go back to sleep, but the soothing murmurs of the young doctor lulled Steve's weary mind and brought peace to his hurting heart.
And for the first time since he woke up from his icy prison, Steve fell asleep without any problems.
"…But escape can be delusion, and what he is running from is not the enclosing world and its inhabitants, but his own inadequate self that fears to meet the demands which life makes upon…" (3)
The same young doctor Steve remember hazily stopped reading before Steve even managed to speak up, although he doubted he even wanted to. He came to a realization that he could listen to the young man's velvety voice for an eternity and never get bored of it. The soft, heavily accented words rolled off of those lips in a steady flow, painting vivid images in Steve's mind.
"You're awake." The young man smiled and Steve as he closed the book not even bothering to mark the page.
Steve wanted to say something, but he had no idea where to start. His first thought was to ask who the young man was, but another part of him wanted to know which day it was and how long it has been since he was hospitalized.
The young man must have seen something in Steve's eyes because those lips tilted up into a comforting smile while elegant, long-fingered hands came to rest in his lap, and the beautiful man shifted a bit in his chair. "It's been a week since you were brought to this hospital, and you were in a coma for two days. Your injures have been taken care of and are healing nicely and without complications. Several of who I suppose are your friends came to visit, but they had to leave since the visiting hours are over. It's 11:35 PM."
It was obvious that the young man did this at least a few times before since he delivered the raw facts right off, and Steve couldn't help but smile. "And you are?" he was surprised by how weak and hoarse his voice was, but the young man seemed not to care as he chuckled and answered Steve's question.
"I am doctor Hadrian Parker, and you've been in my care since you were brought here."
"Do you do this for all your patients?" Steve asked, seeing no point in introducing himself, and Hadrian's eyes glimmered mysteriously as he winked at Steve.
"Let's just keep this between ourselves, alright, Captain Rogers?"
The soldier couldn't help but chuckle only to wince when sharp pain flared up his body from several wounds. When he opened his eyes again Hadrian was standing right beside him, checking Steve's wounds with nimble, gentle fingers and an expression of fierce concentration.
Behind the scent of disinfectants Steve caught a whiff of the sharp fragrance of pine-needles and another musky scent he couldn't quite define, and yet he found it strangely appealing.
"Don't strain yourself. It will take a while for all your wounds to heal, despite your strength," Hadrian spoke in a comforting tone and Steve breathed out, pushing the pain to the back of his mind as he looked in Hadrian's eyes.
"Whatever the good doctor says."
Hadrian chuckled and nodded. "Sleep now, Captain. You've earned your rest."
Feeling as though comforting warmth enveloped him, Steve's eyes slipped closed, and the last thing he remembered was Hadrian starting to read again.
"On your left," he murmured and smirked when Sam jumped in his seat and turned to look at him. Steve's newest friend and colleague laughed at him as he shifted in his seat, resting his elbows on his thighs and clasping his hands between his knees.
"You gave us quite a fright there, Cap," Sam said and Steve snorted, slowly shifting to his right a bit, frowning when pain surged from his wounds.
"Yeah, I just needed a vacation," Steve pressed out and Sam snorted.
"You know - normal people just ask for leave. They don't get themselves almost blown up," he drawled and Steve rolled his eyes.
"Well, I don't think I fit into the 'normal' category," he answered making Sam laugh dryly.
When Steve saw the look in Sam's eyes, his memory cleared a bit, and Sam could see the moment Steve's mood plummeted. "Any news?"
"As much as I know Natasha is handling the press and Fury's making himself dead. I tried to look for that friend of yours, but…"
"Let me guess. He disappeared without a trace," Steve finished for Sam with a sigh.
Steve raised his left hand and rubbed his face tiredly. "I should have known," he muttered.
"Look here, Cap," Sam spoke as he leaned closer to Steve who frowned at him, "I have no idea what happened with you and that guy in that Helicarrier, but judging by the trails we found when we located you, you didn't just swim out. Someone dragged your sorry ass out of the river, and there's only one guy we know who could have survived the crash and brought you out. He's alive and kickin', and he's bound to show up eventually. My suggestion is that you sit tight and wait. We have no idea what those freaks did to him. In his place, I'd probably need some time to put everything back together again."
"I know," Steve sighed. "It doesn't make this any easier though. He was my best friend."
"I know," Sam answered and carefully clapped Steve's left shoulder. "Just - Just give it time."
Steve nodded and Sam smirked at him.
"Mr. Wilson?" Both looked at the nurse looking at them with a forced smile. "The visiting hours will be over in 10 minutes," she said, but before she could leave Steve called out to her.
"Is Dr. Parker already here?" he asked and she raised eyebrows at him dully.
"Dr. Parker is working the nightshift. He should be here in a few hours," she drawled and left.
"Dr. Parker?" Sam raised eyebrows at Steve with a smirk. "You're asking about a doctor?"
"Did you meet him?" Steve asked.
"Him? Oooo-ho-ho, now this is interesting," Sam clapped his hands as he laughed, and Steve rolled his eyes with a chuckle. "What's so special about good doctor Parker? Does he have a nice ass or somethin'?"
"Or something," Steve drawled and Sam grinned at him.
"I have a feeling Natasha was looking for your date in a completely wrong crowd," Sam teased and Steve couldn't help but blush.
"It's not like that," he bit out and Sam's eyebrows touched the line of his hair.
"Are my eyes deceiving me or is Captain America blushing?" Steve rolled his eyes while Sam chuckled. "I'll just have to sneak into the hospital later to see this Doctor Parker."
"His name is Hadrian."
"Oh! So you're on a first name basis already!"
"No, we're - we've just talked two times, and I was too out of it to really talk to him the first time when I woke up while he was here but - but he has a really nice voice, and…" Steve stopped spluttering when Sam laughed at him, "and you're enjoying this way too much, aren't you?"
"Steve, my man, you're an idiot."
"Where did that come from?!" Steve snapped incredulously.
"Why don't you just ask him out?!"
"Oh, I can just see the romance in me asking him out while he's changing my catheter," Steve drawled and Sam burst out into loud laughter.
"That would be the nurse's job, but I see your point,," Sam chuckled and Steve rolled his eyes. "But I still stick to it. You should ask him out after you're discharged from this place."
Steve sighed and rested his head back on the pillow. "I don't know. We still have no idea whom we can trust. S.H.I.E.L.D. is gone and we never know what might happen, and I don't want to put anyone in danger, especially not…"
"Doctor Sexy?" Sam cut in teasingly and moved out of Steve's reach when the injured man tried to hit him, only to hiss and still when the wounds complained against the quick movement.
"Bastard!" Steve gasped out while Sam laughed.
"Just relax, man. I just told you to ask him out. You don't even know if he'll say yes yet. Worry about other things as they come along."
"You're right," Steve agreed although begrudgingly.
"Mr. Wilson!" They looked at the doorway and found that same nurse standing there.
"I'm going! I'm going!" Sam turned to wink at Steve before he walked out of the room with a wave, and Steve smiled at the nurse charmingly only to have her snort at him and walk out of the room.
Steve settled in his bed with a sigh and looked at the clock hanging above the doorway. The nurse said Dr. Parker wouldn't be there for a few more hours, so Steve might as well go back to sleep.
A small smile tugged on his lips as he remembered a pair of amazing emerald eyes gazing down at him. He really, honestly wished that his wounds healed as soon as possible, and that Hadrian would agree to go on a date with him.
While Steve never had any problems admitting that he liked both men and women, he didn't have time to investigate how the world viewed same-sex relationships in the 21st century.
He didn't even know if Hadrian liked men, but fortune favors the brave…
Or something like that.
With a content sigh, Steve closed his eyes, imagining the warm tones of Hadrian's velvety voice lulling him to sleep.
"Well, this is a surprise!"
Steve looked away from the TV and found Dr. Parker standing in the doorway with that same warm smile on his face.
"Good evening, Dr. Parker," he greeted as he turned the TV off and raised himself up a bit trying to hide a wince, and Dr. Parker tsked as he approached Steve and placed a book on the bedside table beside a tall vase full of yellow roses and white calla-lilies.
"I didn't expect to see you awake, Captain Rogers," Hadrian said as he slowly moved the bandages that were covering Steve's wounds up to check how they were healing.
"I woke up earlier and couldn't go back to sleep again."
"I suppose that is understandable, although you shouldn't force yourself. The more rest you get the faster you will be out of this place."
"Are you trying to get rid of me? But I've been such a good patient!" Steve's words made Hadrian laugh, and the soldier smiled as he listened to the lighthearted sound. Hadrian's head was slightly thrown back and his eyes were closed as he laughed, and he looked even younger than he usually did.
"You have been an excellent patient, Captain Rogers, better than many I've had in my career," Hadrian said as he checked the last of Steve's wounds.
"It's Steve," he corrected and Hadrian looked at him from under messy bangs.
"Alright then, Steve," he answered and the soldier smiled.
"Pardon me asking, Dr. Parker, but how old are you, actually? I can't seem to determine your age, but you seem awfully young to be a doctor."
Hadrian chuckled as he scribbled something down on Steve's chart. "I'm 34 years old. I'll be 35 in July."
"31st," Hadrian answered and Steve nodded.
"So I'm only - what 60 years older than you?"
Hadrian laughed taking a seat in the chair beside Steve's bed after he took his book. "Well, you most certainly look good for a 95 year old," Hadrian teased and Steve snorted.
"So, what are we reading today?" Steve asked as Hadrian opened his book while Steve settled comfortably again.
"We are reading 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte," Hadrian answered as he leaned back in his chair and crossed long, lean legs before he cleared his throat, and Steve observed Hadrian's his shoulders relax and eyes focus on the lines written on the first page.
"There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question…"
Steve sighed as he zipped up his jacket. After spending three weeks in the hospital, he really couldn't say that he didn't want to get out of there, but he would also be lying if he said that he was glad he was leaving in the middle of the day. To his great dismay, he hadn't seen Dr. Parker in four days since the doctor obviously only worked night shifts, and Steve would be sleeping by the time the doctor would arrive. During the day he would be with either Sam or Natasha, and despite his superior strength and endurance Steve needed rest just as much as anyone, so he would sleep through the night no matter how much he really wanted to see Hadrian.
"Ready to go?"
He looked up and found Sam and Natasha waiting for him in the doorway. "Yeah, yeah. Ready," he murmured as he grabbed his duffel-bag and threw it over his right shoulder. He looked around the room and took a deep breath.
"You don't look ready, man," Sam teased and Steve glared at him while Natasha frowned in confusion until realization dawned in her eyes.
"Does this have anything to do with one Dr. Parker?" she asked and Steve groaned while Sam laughed.
"Don't tell me you didn't ask him out!" Sam drawled and Steve could weep.
"You've kept me awake during the day so I slept through the night shift! He only works night shifts!"
"Aw, come on. We'll help you track down the good doctor," Natasha teased and Steve rolled his eyes.
"By tracking down you mean finding his address, looking through his background and spying on him, don't you?" Steve stated dully making Natasha and Sam exchange glances.
"If it will make you stop moping around?" they spoke at the same time.
"You will not spy on Hadrian!" Steve snapped at them and they grinned.
"Come on, oh love-sick one! You need something sweet to cheer you up," Sam said as he walked over to Steve and wrapped his left arm around Steve's shoulders as all three of them made their way out of the hospital.
"Steve, why didn't you tell me you liked men? I've been looking for a woman for you for months," Natasha asked and Steve groaned.
"Well, excuse me for having other things to worry about," he growled. "Next time I want to tell you something entirely personal, I won't hesitate to inform you of that even if we're in the middle of saving the world."
Steve took a deep breath as he looked up from the sketch of the White House he was drawing and sipped on his already lukewarm coffee while the warm summer wind caressed his face.
Things have calmed down a bit in the past week since Fury contacted him, Sam and Natasha, telling them that he's going to Europe to take care of some stuff the other three wanted nothing to do with.
Both Steve and Natasha were relishing in this newfound freedom, and while Natasha was doing her best to find herself a place in the world now that all of her secrets were out, Steve took the time to continue his pursuit of knowledge, familiarizing himself with the 21st century.
To his misfortune, Steve went back to having problems sleeping - his dreams full of memories of the war and Bucky, so most of his nights were spent wandering around Washington D.C.
Several times he found himself in front of the hospital Hadrian worked in, but he would turn around and walk away, not having the courage to get in and talk to the good doctor.
Sam couldn't stop laughing at him, telling him that if Steve didn't do something soon, he would. In Sam's words - Steve was pathetic.
His new apartment was on the outskirts of Washington, two blocks away from Sam, so the two spent a lot of time together with Natasha joining them every other day. According to her, the other Avengers were told to lay low.
That made Steve laugh. Clint and Bruce would most certainly lay low. It was something they were good at. But Stark? The news were full of the flamboyant billionaire, and Steve couldn't help but wonder how that man was still alive.
But back to the point at hand.
Steve couldn't stop thinking about Hadrian. In an impulsive act, Steve had wrecked his brain to remember the little snippets he had heard Hadrian read, and after doing some extensive research, he bought examples of the books to read them through.
His private library now consisted of two new books written by Daphne du Maurier and one written by Charlotte Bronte. They brought him little comfort, but since he was being too big of a coward to actually go and find Hadrian, Steve had to settle for them.
It was easy to imagine Hadrian reading the books to Steve as he got swallowed in Rebecca, or followed the life of Jane Eyre. He could almost hear that velvety tenor, the soft, soothing tones of that voice bringing ephemeral repose to Steve's tired mind.
Steve huffed as he finished sketching and closed his sketchbook, finishing his coffee and looking up at the bright blue sky. There was not a single cloud floating carelessly above the city, and Steve could easily forget that just a few short weeks ago, everything he came to know about his purpose in this world came crashing down upon him.
He was broken out of his thoughts by a familiar voice and jumped in his seat turning around quickly only to gape when he found Dr. Parker a few feet away from Steve, getting ready to take a seat on the same terrace.
"Dr. Parker!" Steve stood up quickly and walked over to the smiling doctor, noting for the first time that the raven-haired man was a good head shorter than Steve and of a much leaner build although Steve could see that the man was in no way weak. "I didn't think I'd meet you here," he said as they shook hands, and Dr. Parker smiled.
"Please, call me Hadrian. I don't like to be called Dr. Parker outside of the hospital." Steve smiled brightly and pushed his hands inside the pockets of his jacket. "I see you have fully recovered," Hadrian commented with eyes roaming over Steve's strong body.
"Fully operational, as you can see," Steve chuckled and Hadrian shot him an amused smirk from under messy bangs. Chin-long playful hair danced in the light breeze, and Steve caught another whiff of Hadrian's unique scent. "How silly of me! Would you - Would you like to get some coffee? I need to thank you somehow for taking such good care of me." Steve showed at his table and Hadrian chuckled as he nodded at him.
"I don't see why not."
Steve grinned as Hadrian walked beside him, and he reflexively placed his hand on the small of Hadrian's back, leading him to the table and helping him with his chair. Steve almost tripped in his hurry to get to his own seat, and blushed as Hadrian chuckled at his clumsiness.
"What can I get you, sir?" The young waitress, Maria, came over and Steve smiled up at her with Hadrian doing the same.
"I'll have a double espresso; no sugar," Hadrian said and Steve raised an eyebrow at him.
"The same but with sugar."
"Will be right back!" Maria smiled at them brightly before she hopped away to bring them their order.
"She is a lively young woman," Hadrian commented and Steve chuckled.
"I come here almost every day and she never fails to make me feel better with how happy she seems with her life. She's studying to become a veterinarian, but her parents don't have money to pay her schooling so she has to work a full time job to get along, and yet she never lets her spirits fall," he said and Hadrian hummed.
"It's nice to see that some young people haven't given up on their dreams yet."
Steve tilted his head to the side at the slightly sad undertone of Hadrian's voice.
"Here you go!" Maria came over and placed their drinks on the table, and Steve immediately reached for his wallet.
"Let me," he said as Hadrian reached into the inside pocket of his light summer jacket. "It's fine," Steve smiled at Maria and she grinned at him.
"Thank you!" she sang as she ran off to the next table. Hadrian chuckled as Steve faced him again, and the soldier swore that - if it were physically possible - he would melt right in that spot like a candle. Hadrian's emerald eyes were glowing with warmth and the light tilt of his lips made him look even younger.
"So, Steve, what have you been doing since you left the hospital?" Hadrian asked as he sipped on his coffee, and Steve almost blushed when the doctor moaned at the bitter aroma of his drink.
"This and that. I'm sure you know what's going on with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secrets out in the open," Steve answered and Hadrian sighed.
"Yes, I am aware of everything that is going on. I guess people are still as fickle as always; one minute they are praising you and in the next you are public enemy number one."
Even though Hadrian was smiling, Steve could hear the bitter undertone of his voice.
Has he experienced something similar in his past?
"Well, at least everything's quiet right now. Everyone who was with S.H.I.E.L.D. is laying low, so I guess the press has nothing to write about. Soon enough they'll forget all about it."
Hadrian smiled as Steve shrugged almost carelessly.
"Everyone's laying low except you, you mean," Hadrian drawled and Steve shot him a confused frown. "Please, Steve; do you really think a pair of glasses and a hoody can hide the fact that you're Captain America? I'm sorry to say, but you're not really that hard to miss."
"I think I've been doing pretty well so far," Steve said as he fixed his glasses higher up on his nose while Hadrian snickered at him.
"I suppose," he took a sip of his coffee while Steve copied his actions, and comfortable silence settled between them for a few moments.
"Hadrian, I've been meaning to ask…" Steve hesitated while Hadrian raised an eyebrow at him. Steve opened and closed his mouth several times trying to push the words he wanted to say past the pile of nervosas in his throat. "You never told me if you read to all your patients," he said and slammed his head against a proverbial wall. That was NOT what I wanted to say!
To Steve's surprise Hadrian hummed and tilted his head to the right a bit.
"In all honesty, you're the first patient I did that for. Usually, when I'm done with visits to patients, I return to my office to read or handle whatever emergency I have, but…" there was a strange glimmer in Hadrian's eyes as he observed Steve, tilting his head further to the right, "when I came to see you the first night you were brought back from the operation room, you seemed so sad. Even in a coma, you seemed really sad. Everyone knows your story, Steve Rogers, and I thought - I thought that you wouldn't want to wake up alone…" he shrugged and Steve's eyes widened when Hadrian's cheeks turned rosy as he looked away. "In your place, I wouldn't want to wake up alone."
Steve stared at Hadrian with slightly parted lips and wonder coloring his features. There was something painful in Hadrian's eyes; as though he was on the receiving end of actions opposite of what Hadrian did for Steve, and the soldier suddenly felt the need to know everything there was to know about the good doctor.
He appeared to be a man with a difficult past; a man who suffered a lot and came out on top.
What is that saying, Steve thought as he tried to define the expression on Hadrian's face.
The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do. (4)
Steve could see it. He could see that Hadrian was lonely. He could see that Hadrian was sad.
And he could feel it.
For some reason unknown to him, Steve could feel that Hadrian was in some way damaged.
And yet in his eyes it made the emerald-eyed man all the more beautiful.
"Would you like to go on a date with me?" he blurted out before he thought it through and Hadrian looked at him with wide eyes and a blush covering his cheeks.
"Excuse me?" he yelped in shock.
Steve took a deep breath and looked straight in Hadrian's eyes. "Hadrian, I would like to ask you to go on a date with me." His mouth was suddenly dry and his throat was constricted, and Steve honestly wondered how he managed to press those words past the lump in his throat.
"I - I would love to," the doctor stuttered out and Steve grinned brightly.
"Really?" his exuberant surprise made Hadrian laugh with fondness shining out of every line on his handsome face.
"Yes, Steve, really."
"W - Well, that's great!"
Hadrian chuckled when it seemed as though the grin was permanently stuck to Steve's face.
"I'm free on Saturday," he said and Steve nodded enthusiastically.
"Saturday's great. Should I pick you up around 6?"
"6 sounds good."
"Great!" Steve stood up and almost turned over both the table and the chair, flailing to steady them. "I - I need to go now, so - Saturday at 6?"
Hadrian did his best to suppress laughter as he stood up as well and nodded at Steve. "Saturday at 6. I live on #8 Kenyon Street."
"#8 Kenyon Street; got it. See you on Saturday!" Steve waved at Hadrian only to have to apologize to a lady he almost ran over in his excitement. He waved again as he finally got off the terrace and made his way to his bike.
I have a date with Hadrian, he thought in disbelief.
I HAVE A DATE WITH HADRIAN!
"I am going on a date with Hadrian!"
Sam had to step to the side quickly when he opened the door of his apartment and Steve all but ran beside him.
"Hey, Natasha!" the soldier greeted the woman sitting in an armchair in Sam's living room just as the owner of the apartment walked in.
"I didn't catch that, Steve. You're going where?"
Said man stopped in his pacing and looked at Natasha and Sam with a grin that put the brightness of the sun at shame.
"I'm going on a date with Hadrian! I ran into him in town and we had coffee and then I just blurted it out, and he said YES, and now I'm going on a date with him, and I…"
"Wow, Cap, breathe!" Natasha laughed and Steve took a deep breath and held it for a moment.
"It's not working," he blurted out as he went back to pacing while Natasha and Sam exchanged amused glances. "What am I going to do? Where should I take him? Do people still go to the movies on dates? I don't want to do anything too formal, like taking him out to some fancy restaurant. Or maybe I should do it? Do you think I should take him out to dinner? Or should we really go to the movies? But what movie should we watch, I mean I missed everything since 1945, I have no idea what's good! Oh my God," Steve halted, looking terrified, and Natasha and Sam looked like they were on the verge of rolling on the floor with laughter. "I'm going to mess this up! I'll make a fool out of myself and he'll never want to speak to me again!"
"You're not going to live long enough to go on the date if you don't stop rambling and breathe!" Sam laughed while Natasha hiccupped with suppressed laughter.
"Just be yourself! Do something you would have done back in the forties!" she told him with obvious amusement.
"But don't take him to the movies. Kids today go to the movies if they want to snog their dates. You don't want to leave a bad impression," Sam warned.
"So no movies. Got it," Steve nodded as he took deep calming breaths, still pacing in front of Natasha and Sam.
"Maybe you should take him to dinner," Natasha suggested. "I know this nice little restaurant with live music. He might like it. The place isn't too fancy, but it still has style, and the food is really good."
"You're gonna have to tell me where that restaurant is," Steve said and all but collapsed in the closest armchair, staring at a spot on the wall behind Sam and Natasha in amazement. "I'm going on a date," he murmured in complete shock. "I'm actually going on a date."
"Trust me; we're just as amazed as you are," Natasha chuckled and Steve frowned at her.
"What's that supposed to mean?!" and while the two laughed at him again, it finally reached Steve's excited brain.
He's going on a date with Hadrian.
And he would make sure it would be a night to remember.
Steve took a deep breath as he parked his brand new Toyota Avensis in front of Hadrian's house. He got out of the car and quickly straightened the wrinkles on his black dress pants and fixed his white button-up shirt before he brushed his hair back. Natasha said he looked good, but before he could get out of his apartment she took his tie, unbuttoned the collar before she ruffled his hair and told him to ditch the suit-jacket.
"Remember," she said, "just be yourself."
That was easier said than done, Steve thought as he made his way up the stairs leading to the front door. With a long exhale he raised his hand and rang the doorbell, feeling as though lead was filling his lungs, making it hard for him to breathe.
When the door opened, Steve felt as though someone punched the air out of his lungs.
"Wow," was all he managed to press out as he took a first good look at Hadrian, "you look - amazing." And indeed, Hadrian looked gorgeous. It appeared that he opted for a more casually formal wear just like Steve, but the black trousers which clung to his thighs and the dark green turtleneck which followed the perfect lines of his torso made Steve seriously question why he even thought of dating women before.
"You don't look too shabby yourself," Hadrian spoke lightly even though there was a slight blush on his cheeks.
I mean who wouldn't blush if Steve Rogers came to pick them up dressed in clothes that accented everything, from his broad shoulders and trim waist to his long, muscled legs.
"Shall we?" Steve managed not to stutter as he offered his right forearm to Hadrian. The doctor chuckled as he stepped out of his house and quickly locked the door before he placed his left hand under Steve's forearm and allowed him to lead him to his car.
Steve opened the door for Hadrian and closed them once he was in before he hurried to the other side to take a seat.
"So! If I may ask - where are we going?" Hadrian asked as Steve started the engine.
"I've made reservations in the Hamilton."
"Oh! I heard a lot of good things about that restaurant. Sadly I never had a chance to pay it a visit."
Steve had to fight hard against the urge to puff up his chest with pride, so he just smiled.
"A friend recommended it to me. She said that they have a live band playing every Saturday night and that the food is delicious," he said as he slowly drove down the streets of Washington DC. The town was beautiful at night, and there were many people on the streets both young and old, some moving in pairs of two, obviously couples, and some in groups going for a night out in town.
As the radio played classic tunes of the late eighties, comfortable silence settled between them with Steve occasionally glancing at Hadrian who was staring out the window with a small smile on his face.
"I take it you don't go out often since you only work the night shift," Steve said and Hadrian chuckled.
"I don't only work the night shift, Steve. It just so happened that I had to work that shift because a colleague of mine couldn't. Her husband is away on a business trip and she has a 6 year old daughter at home."
"Oh! Well that explains it."
Harry chuckled and Steve smiled, and the rest of the ride was spent in comfortable silence.
When they reached the restaurant, finding a parking place surprisingly quickly, Steve hurried to open the door for Hadrian, and they walked into the restaurant hand in hand.
Once they were seated at a table in the back of the great hall and ordered their appetizers, Steve watched as Hadrian looked around in amazement. The atmosphere was cozy and the band played old jazz and blues, and there were already several couples on the small dance podium. They sat right under a lamp and the dimmed light made Hadrian look even more beautiful, if it was at all possible. It made his skin shine like liquid gold and his hair looked like velvet surrounding his oval face and bringing out the startling brightness of his eyes.
"I take it that you like it here?" Steve asked just as a waiter brought them their drinks and appetizers, bowing at them before he hurried off to serve others.
"It's wonderful, Steve. Thank you for bringing me here," Hadrian smiled at Steve as they started on their food.
"So what do you do in your spare time besides read?" the soldier asked and Hadrian hummed.
"Well, I suppose my life outside of the hospital isn't very interesting. Most of the time I like to take walks or go into a park to read. I don't do much since I almost always need to have my pager on in case of an emergency. I lead a pretty dull life, when I think about it!" he concluded with a smile and Steve chuckled.
"I don't believe it's dull. I'd sooner say - stabilized."
"I guess that compared to your life mine seems like that," Hadrian said and Steve snorted, swallowing before he answered.
"Any kind of life seems more stable than my life," he drawled and Hadrian chuckled.
"Have you ever thought about quitting?" he asked and Steve sighed.
"I did, but-…"
"But?" the doctor pushed and Steve hummed as he took a sip of his wine.
"I guess I don't know what else to do with my life. Before I was frozen, I knew nothing else but the war. I wanted to fight for what was right and now that I'm back and in a completely different time I don't really know what I'd be able to do besides fighting. Now that S.H.I.E.L.D.'s all over the place trying to fix everything, I thought I'd take the time to sort out my life."
"I admire that, really," Hadrian said drawing a small smile to Steve's lips. "You are a soldier through and through, Steve, but you also have a very loving, kind side to yourself. In all honesty, there are a lot of things you could do, and I know you would be great at all of them," Steve bowed his head a little to hide his blush, and as they finished their appetizers the waiter came to bring them the specialty of the day; Cauliflower Stake with Grilled Asparagus on the side, served with a light, fruity rosé.
"Enough about me," Steve said as they started on the entrée. "Judging by your accent you're from England, somewhere around London, if I'm not mistaken. Tell me, what brought you to America?"
Hadrian took a deep breath before he swallowed the bite he took, and Steve thought he saw a whisper of a shadow cross his eyes, but it disappeared too quickly for Steve to discern what it was.
"I guess I needed a change," Hadrian finally spoke up, his eyes focused on his plate. "I don't know how much you know about the terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom from almost 17 years ago."
"I read about them when I was catching up to modern history," Steve said and Hadrian nodded.
"Well, due to a series of unfortunate events, I was right in the middle of the conflicts, and yes - before you comment on it, I was just a child at that time, but as you know yourself, wars don't choose their victims." Steve nodded with a frown as Hadrian took a sip of his wine before he continued with his story. "We managed to defeat the enemy, but to my misfortune it didn't stop there. I was involved in several incidents during the government reform which resulted in me losing a lot of people I held very dear. I was 21 when I left and I haven't returned ever since. I have no friends there to keep contact with so I dedicated myself to becoming a doctor and building a life for myself here in the States. I think I did quite well," he finished with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.
Steve knew Hadrian left out a lot from his story, but he knew not to pry. He knew how it was to have a difficult life, and Hadrian seemed to be trying very hard to leave his past behind. Besides, past didn't matter. Hadrian was a successful doctor who obviously cared a lot about his patients, and he was a good man who faced many challenges to get where he was today.
"Your achievements are admirable," he said and Hadrian chuckled.
"Just like yours are," he countered and Steve smiled as he raised his glass.
"Then let's hope that both of us continue achieving our dreams."
Hadrian clicked the edge of his glass against Steve's and they both sipped on their drinks.
Just as they finished the main dish, a young woman joined the band and started to sing.
"Would you like to dance?" Steve asked as several other couples moved towards the podium, a few of them even same-sex couples, and the soldier felt encouraged to try and get Hadrian to dance with him.
"Why not?" the doctor smiled and they stood up at the same time.
Hadrian took a hold of Steve's left elbow with his right hand and Steve led them to the podium just as the song changed. Steve turned Hadrian towards himself and placed his left hand on Hadrian's slim waist as he took his left hand in his right and placed them on his chest as Hadrian rested his right hand on Steve's left shoulder and they started to sway lightly to the music.
The shadow of your smile when you are gone
Will color all my dreams and light the dawn.
Steve closed his eyes as Hadrian rested his forehead on his left shoulder, and Steve leaned his chin on Hadrian's head.
Look into my eyes my love and see
All the lovely things you are to me.
The feeling of holding Hadrian in his arms felt better than anything ever did. The way his body fit against Steve's made the soldier feel as though he finally found that one thing in his life that was missing all along. Compared to him, Hadrian seemed small and delicate, but Steve could see the strength he was hiding. He could see the shadows of his past still haunting him even though Hadrian tried hard to hide it.
Steve could see it in the way he moved, in the way his eyes darted around the room without him consciously doing it. He could see it in the tension in Hadrian's shoulders and the shadows hidden deep inside his beautiful eyes.
Just like Steve, Harry was a soldier.
He knew what it meant to fight for your life and the lives of people you want to protect. He knew what it meant to survive on the price of another's life. He knew what it meant to take a life.
But he also knew what it meant to save a life.
And right then, at that moment, as they swayed to the light rhythm of the song, Steve felt Hadrian relax against him as though he finally found a pillar he could lean on; someone who could take control without making him fear that they wouldn't be able to handle it.
And Steve made an oath.
On that night, as they danced holding each other, Steve promised to himself never to leave Hadrian. He found what he was looking for, and he wouldn't let it go no matter what.
Now when I remember spring,
All the joy that love can bring;
I will be remembering
The Shadow of your Smile.
"Thank you, Steve. I had a wonderful time tonight," Hadrian said as Steve escorted him to his front door.
"Does that mean I can hope for another date?" he asked with a lopsided grin and Hadrian chuckled lightly.
"Yes, you can hope for another date," he answered and Steve let go of a breath he was unconsciously holding.
"Great! That's - that's great," he breathed out and Hadrian snickered. Silence settled between them as Hadrian looked up at Steve, and the soldier felt his mouth go dry. "So, I guess I should be - I should be going."
"I have the morning shift tomorrow, so - I guess," Hadrian murmured with a small smile as both of them took a small step towards one another.
Steve bowed his head as he raised his right hand to cup Hadrian's left cheek, and his left settled on Hadrian's waist. Just as their eyes slipped closed and Hadrian placed his hands on Steve's broad chest, their lips met in a light, tender kiss. It was just a pressing of lips against each other's, and yet it shook something deep within them, sending a shiver down Hadrian's body and making Steve let go of a wavering breath.
"I'll see you soon," Hadrian murmured as they parted, his eyes glowing like precious jewels in firelight.
"I'll see you soon," Steve answered just as quietly and Hadrian entered his house with a peaceful smile on his face.
Steve walked down the stairs suppressing the joy bubbling in his chest.
"YES!" he shouted the moment he was in his car and hit the wheel with his fists as every nerve in his body burned with joy.
All in all, it went better than he hoped it would.
"…And there you see the distinction between our feelings: had he been in my place and I in his, though I hated him with a hatred that turned my life to gall, I never would have raised a hand against him. You may look incredulous, if you please! I never would have banished him from her society as long as she desired his. The moment her regard ceased, I could have torn his heart out, and drunk his blood! But, till then - if you don't believe me, you don't know me…" (5)
Steve sighed as Hadrian read to him, unconsciously brushing his fingers through Steve's hair.
They were sitting in the shade of a beautiful magnolia tree in full bloom, its gentle fragrance filling their senses. After they had lunch they came to the Bartholdi Park and spread out a plaid blanket in a quiet corner, far from the other people enjoying the beautiful summer afternoon. Hadrian was leaning back against the tree with his legs crossed in front of him, and Steve was lying beside him with his head in his lap, staring up at Hadrian's beautiful face as the man's soothing, velvety tenor created lively images in Steve's mind.
This was officially their third date, and Steve could freely say that he was in love with Hadrian. The doctor was intelligent, kind, beautiful both inside and out, and Steve found himself thanking God every day for granting him the chance to meet him.
Being with Hadrian erased all worries from Steve's mind. Talking with him helped him find peace. He told Hadrian everything that happened with Bucky, and the loving emerald-eyed man just told him not to give up; that his friend would return to him when he found his place in the world.
"Why do I have a feeling you are not listening."
Steve woke up from his musings to find Hadrian gazing down at him with his lips pulled into an amused smile and his eyes glimmering mischievously. The sun breaking through the branches of the magnolia tree made it seem as though there was a halo around Hadrian's head and Steve's heart beat that much faster.
"Do you find one of the greatest classics in the history of literature boring?"
"I must have drifted away," Steve said, mischievousness awakening in his own heart.
"Oh, really? Is my voice putting you to sleep?" Hadrian was obviously trying to suppress laughter.
"What if it is?" Steve teased.
"Listen, old man…"
"Old man?! I'll show you old man!"
Hadrian yelped as Steve grabbed him, and for a few seconds they rolled around on the blanket with Steve tickling Hadrian's sides. It was a true discovery when Steve found out that Hadrian was ticklish; something he had no qualms to use against Hadrian at any given opportunity. The sound of the raven-haired man's laughter was music to Steve's ears.
He stopped and braced himself on his elbows on either side of Hadrian's head, and looked down at him with a grin while the smaller man gasped for breath, his lips still stretched in a smile and tears of laughter clinging to his long, black eyelashes.
"You are evil," Hadrian breathed out and Steve chuckled.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I promise I will restrain myself next time," Steve drawled and Hadrian rolled his eyes.
He sighed as he looked up at Steve, and the soldier didn't hesitate to bow down and seal his lips over Hadrian's in a loving, tender kiss.
Steve breathed out when he felt Hadrian entwine his fingers in short blonde as he deepened the kiss, and Steve hummed as they parted and he rested his forehead on Hadrian's, nuzzling his nose against his as their breaths mixed between them, sweet from the chocolate dipped strawberries they shared earlier.
Hadrian's hands slipped to Steve's neck and the tips of his fingers teased the small hairs they found there, sending a shiver down Steve's spine.
"We should get going. I still have to get ready for my shift," Hadrian muttered regrettably and Steve groaned.
"Tell your colleague that she should find herself a nanny," he grumbled as he sat up and Hadrian followed with a chuckle.
"She's a bit cheep," he said with a wink and Steve huffed. They gathered the book and the blanket, and made their way back to Steve's car walking hand in hand with Steve carrying their things.
"Are we still on for Friday?" Steve asked and Hadrian nodded.
"I'm working the morning shift and then I'm free on Saturday, so yeah; we're still on."
"Good," Steve grinned and Hadrian chuckled.
Steve took Hadrian home and, after a lingering kiss goodbye, he made his way over to Sam's place.
The moment he walked in he found Natasha there again, and the two rolled their eyes at the silly grin which decorated Steve's face.
"He's clearly smitten," Sam drawled as he walked into the living room from the kitchen and threw a beer to Steve who all but threw himself in what was deemed as his armchair.
"You'd be too if you had someone like Hadrian," Steve said as he opened the bottle and took a swing.
"Coming from a man who a few months ago said that it's difficult to find someone who 'shared the same life experiences'," Natasha drawled in amusement and Steve chuckled.
"That's just it, Tash," Steve said and tilted his head back, missing the worried frown which crossed Natasha's face. She glanced at Sam who was looking at Steve with a raised eyebrow, same worry shadowing his eyes. "Andy understands. Even if we didn't pass through exactly the same things, he understands," Steve sighed happily and smiled at them. "I guess I was just lucky to meet him."
And while Steve was happy in his little bubble of love, Natasha and Sam exchanged a glance.
It seemed as though they would have to do some research.
"No, but really, that movie would have been so much better if that happened!" Hadrian chattered happily as he and Steve made their way to Steve's apartment, laughing along the way.
"Well it was hardly realistic with everything that was going on either way!" the soldier laughed as they reached his apartment.
Hadrian sighed as he leaned on the wall beside the door while Steve dug his keys out of his pocket to unlock his apartment. The lock clicked as Steve looked at Hadrian.
Without thinking, Steve swooped in to kiss him and Hadrian moaned into Steve's mouth, his hands entangling in Steve's hair, pulling him close. As the kiss deepened and grew stronger in intensity, Steve opened the door of his apartment and pulled Hadrian along, slamming the door closed behind them.
He was about to push Hadrian against a wall when something caught his attention as a shiver that had nothing to do with arousal pooling in his stomach, passed down his back.
The lights were on.
He didn't leave the lights on.
They parted and Hadrian looked up at Steve with a worried frown only to tense up when he followed Steve's gaze and found Natasha and Sam standing in the living room with their arms crossed over their chests and dark expressions on their faces.
"Tasha? Sam? What are you doing here?" Steve asked as he and Hadrian walked closer to the two with Hadrian walking slightly behind Steve.
"We have to talk," Natasha threw a thick file on the tea-table between them.
Steve glanced down when papers spread haphazardly from the file, and frowned when he saw a black-and-white photo of a younger Hadrian on one of the papers.
"Natasha, what is the meaning of this?" Steve murmured in a dangerous tone and looked up at his friends from under his eyebrows.
"Something you said the other day didn't sit right with us, so we did a little digging," Sam said, shooting a glare in Hadrian's direction. "You said you were lucky to meet him. It wasn't luck Steve," Sam shook his head. "When we dug deep enough we found quite a lot, wouldn't you say, Hadrian?"
Steve looked back at the doctor and found him staring at the papers in trepidation.
"Hadrian, what are they talking about?"
The smaller man looked up at Steve with a choked up gasp. "Steve, I would have told you, I swear…"
"Told me what?" Steve looked at Natasha and Sam. "What is this?!"
"Hadrian Parker doesn't exist, Steve," Natasha said, glaring dangerously at Hadrian. "At least he didn't exist until 13 years ago."
"Why don't you tell him, Hadrian? Or should I say Harry Potter, hm?" Sam took a threatening step forward.
"He's a Wizard, Steve!" Sam interrupted Hadrian and looked at Steve whose eyes widened.
"Fury told you about them when you joined S.H.I.E.L.D., Steve," Natasha took over. "He told you about the war they fought 18 years ago."
"Why don't you tell him what you did, Harry?" Sam snapped at Hadrian as Steve and Natasha looked at him, and the doctor took a small step back. "Why don't you tell him that you were a traitor to you own people? Why don't you tell him how you led a group of renegade Wizards in a crusade against Magical Creatures?"
"I didn't… I didn't!"
"Why don't you tell Steve how many you killed in cold blood, because you and a group of people had some sort of personal grudge against Creatures of different origin than Humans!"
"It wasn't like that!" Hadrian cried out.
"Andy, what are they talking about?" Steve breathed out in shock and Hadrian looked at him with tears in his eyes.
"It wasn't like that, Steve. I swear on my life, it wasn't like that!"
"The files are clear," Natasha spoke up. "You were the leader of the rebellion. Hundreds died in you crusade against the Creatures, and when you were defeated, you packed your bags and ran away."
"It wasn't like that!" Hadrian cried out. "We had to do it! Hundreds were suffering, we had to do it!"
"And hundreds more died!" Sam roared and Hadrian almost doubled over when a choked up gasp escaped his lips.
"It wasn't like that," he breathed out as he shook his head with tears streaming down his face and desperation written all over his shivering frame. "It wasn't… It wasn't like that!"
"Hadrian!" Steve called out when Hadrian turned on his heel and ran out of his apartment. Steve turned around to face his friends with a burning glare. "I'll deal with you later."
"Steve!" Natasha and Sam cried out as Steve ran after Hadrian, and they exchanged a glance before they ran after them.
Steve ran out on the street and saw Hadrian running towards the bus station. His heart was pounding in his ears.
It's not true, it's not true, it's not true rolled around his mind constantly.
"Hadrian, wait!" he shouted as he ran after the younger man, only for Hadrian to run out on the road.
And then happened something Steve knew would forever feature in the center of his nightmares.
Even though he was almost 20 meters away, he could swear he heard the sound of bones breaking. The resonating 'thud' of Hadrian's body hitting the ground as tires screeched against the asphalt was like a direct hit in Steve's guts.
"HADRIAN!" he cried out as his body finally moved, and he ran over to the still body, falling to his knees beside Hadrian. Steve was vaguely aware of people gathering around them as he kneeled beside Hadrian's twitching form, hands hovering above the broken body too afraid to touch it.
"Somebody call 911!" someone shouted as tears filled Steve's eyes and his lungs struggled to breathe over the rising panic. Hadrian was choking up on air, his eyes staring unseeing and filled with pain.
"Andy? Hadrian, don't do this - don't die on me, please," Steve whispered brokenly as he brushed Hadrian's hair away from his face, whimpering when he saw blood gathering on the ground from the open wound on Hadrian's head.
"An ambulance is on the way!"
Steve heard someone shout as he caressed Hadrian's quickly paling cheek with shivering fingers, not daring to touch any other part of Hadrian in fear of hurting him. "Please, please don't die," he whimpered.
The soldier gasped through tears as a broken whisper flowed off of Hadrian's blood stained lips.
"I'm here. I'm right here, Andy. The ambulance is on the way. You'll be fine. You'll see. You'll be just f…"
"I'm sorry," Hadrian whispered as his eyes started to slip closed and Steve's world froze.
And as a wavering breath left blood-stained lips, pain exploded in Steve's heart.
The slow beating of the heart monitor could be heard through the thick glass. Steve stood in front of it, not allowed to go in, with arms crossed over his chest, face pale and eyes shadowed.
"You had no right to do that," he bit out through clenched teeth as he stared at Hadrian's still form. He was attached to so many machines that Steve hardly knew which one did what. A mask was helping him breathe and he was wrapped in so many bandages there was hardly any skin to be seen.
A heavy concussion, three cracked ribs, four broken ones and a pierced lung, a fractured hip bone and a broken thigh bone, were just some of his injuries.
The worst thing was that he was in a coma.
And no one knew if he would wake up.
"Steve, we were just worried…"
"Hadrian is not a heartless killer!" Steve roared as he turned on Natasha and Sam who flinched back from their enraged friend. "Whatever you found in that file, even if half of it was true, you had no right to dig that up! Hadrian came to America to start a new life! He became a doctor, he saved hundreds of lives! Sam, how many did you kill while you were on the front?!" Sam flinched back and bowed his head in shame. "And you, Natasha?! Don't you think this was a bit hypocritical?!"
"Steve, we only wanted to make sure that he wasn't a threat!" Natasha tried to justify them, but Steve would hear none of it.
"You had no right," he bit out. "And if he dies, I will blame the both of you," With that Steve turned his back on them and crossed his arms over his chest again as he went back to observing Hadrian's still form.
Natasha and Sam exchanged shameful glances.
They messed up.
They messed up horribly.
And in all honestly, they had no idea if there even was a way to make things right.
Steve sighed as he rubbed his hurting eyes and closed the book he was reading before he looked up at Hadrian's still form.
Two months of hoping and praying for Hadrian to wake up.
His injuries healed a while ago, and Steve had him removed from the hospital and into his apartment, wanting to watch over him. A doctor and a nurse would come over every day, but every day they would tell Steve the same thing.
He hadn't had any real contact with Natasha and Sam, refusing to see them. He couldn't look them in the eyes. While he did understand their reasoning, a part of him blamed them for Hadrian's condition. It could have been handled differently and maybe - maybe Hadrian wouldn't be in this condition.
Steve licked his dry lips as he slowly took a seat beside Hadrian on the soft bed. The heart-monitor beeped in a steady rhythm, and the IV dripped periodically.
Steve brushed Hadrian's hair away from his face and caressed his pale, indrawn cheek with the back of his right hand.
He slowly lied down beside him. Careful of the IV and gently as not to jostle Hadrian, Steve wrapped his right arm around the sleeping man and buried his nose in Hadrian's hair.
Please, wake up, he thought as tears filled his eyes. Please. Please, don't leave me alone. Not you too.
But there was no answer.
Steve woke up with a groan and a dull pain in his lower back. Served him right for falling asleep kneeling beside Hadrian's bed, using his arms as pillows.
But it wasn't the dull ache that woke him up.
No. It was a pair of trembling fingers combing through Steve's hair.
Steve froze completely, his breath hitching in his throat. He slowly raised his head as he gulped, so nervous that he was suddenly aware of everything. The honks of cars, the screeches of tires, the chirping of a pair of sparrows on the window and the beeping of the heart-monitor which last time he was awake beeped much, much slower.
His eyes met a pair of shadowy, teary orbs of pure emerald, and everything disappeared and dulled in comparison. It was as though all color disappeared sans that perfect green.
"Hey," a voice raspy with lack of use caressed Steve's ears, and lips chapped from lack of fluids tilted into a small smile, and Steve's heart beat harder as his brain finally caught on to what was going on.
"You're awake?" he breathed out as tears gathered in his eyes, and warmth gathered in his stomach as a tongue peeked out to wet dry lips.
"Yeah. I'm awake."
Without thinking, without caring about anything else at the moment, Steve launched forward and sealed his lips over Hadrian's in a desperate kiss. The doctor grunted as he weakly kissed him back, his hands shivering as they fisted on Steve's shoulders and Steve tasted tears.
He didn't know whose tears they were, and he honestly didn't care.
Hadrian was awake.
And nothing else mattered.
"We weren't terrorists."
Steve halted in gathering the dirty dishes from the light lunch he prepared for Hadrian and looked at him.
It's been two days since Hadrian woke up, and his voice while still raspy was slowly gaining strength.
The doctor was staring out the window beside the bed, and the expression on his face was that of sorrow and melancholy.
"Hadrian, you don't need to…"
"No, I… I have to." Hadrian stopped Steve as he licked dry lips and took a deep wavering breath.
Steve left the tray with the dishes on the nightstand. He took a seat beside Hadrian on the bed and gently took his right hand between his bigger, stronger ones. Hadrian swallowed difficultly and sighed.
"After the war the - the government started a crusade against creatures; Goblins, Werewolves, Vampires, Veela, they hunted all of them. It was like World War II, only without Hitler, and with hundreds of people screaming to gather all the creature's up, mark them and lock them away. My friends and I - we who actually fought in the war - we couldn't stand for that. First we tried to talk to them. For two years we were discussing things with the government trying to stop them any way we could. It was them that made the first move. They started rounding up first and second generation Werewolves to lock them up in what they called 'Labor Camps'. I think you know what that stands for without me needing to explain."
Steve's mouth went dry and his heart beat loudly in his ears.
"We couldn't allow that. So we fought. For a whole year we organized guerilla attacks, and we liberated hundreds helping them escape England, doing our best to keep victims at a minimum. A friend of mine started a campaign, and we were finally getting somewhere. The people of the Wizarding World started to see what our Government was doing, and they were angry. So our Government had a change of heart. All of sudden we were the bad guys, and they have been fighting for the rights of the Creatures all along. By that time most of the creatures already escaped Britain, and the Government made it seem as though we were the ones who hunted them and all but slaughtered them. You won't find the truth written in any file, government or any other."
Tears filled Hadrian's eyes and he gasped for breath, trying to continue the story, and Steve wanted him to stop talking, but he couldn't find the words to say.
"We - We were betrayed by a few people who fought with us before and - and I was among the first ones who were caught. My friends managed to get me out, but not before my powers were bound. They placed me on a plain and sent me off to America. Last I - Last I heard about them was - was that they were either killed or captured. The Government concealed everything making martyrs out of all of us. I hadn't returned since. Without my magic and with nowhere to go, I signed up for college. I changed my name and built a life for myself here, but I…"
"Hey!" Steve finally managed to produce a sound, and he quickly gathered Hadrian into his arms, hugging him close as he entwined his fingers in Hadrian's hair while the doctor wrapped his arms around Steve's shoulders and buried his face in his neck. "I'm right here, Andy. I'm right here," he whispered as he rocked them lightly from side to side, his heart aching for the beautiful man in his arms.
Both of them suffered.
Both of them lost everything they knew.
But now they had each other.
And that was bound to be enough.
"I'll be right back," Steve said and Hadrian gave him a small smile before Steve left his bedroom to see who was at the front door. It's been a week since Hadrian woke up, and Steve had yet to leave his side. A doctor came to check Hadrian yesterday, and according to him all Hadrian had to do now was regain his strength. He was completely healed.
They weren't expecting anyone, so Steve made sure to check if his shield was in the place where he always kept it, and he carefully approached the door. He peaked through the peak-hole and his whole body froze. He licked his lips and swallowed, taking a deep breath, and then he unlocked the door and opened them slowly.
"Hello," Sam and Natasha greeted him, looking worse for wear, and a part of Steve that still cared about both of them ached.
"Hey," he answered, but didn't invite them in.
"Steve, I - We - We heard Hadrian's awake," Natasha spoke up and Steve snorted.
"You mean you hacked into his medical files and waited for changes," he drawled and a small, weak smile tugged on Natasha's lips.
"Steve, you know we're sorry," Sam said and Steve looked at him. Sam glanced at Natasha as he took a deep breath. "We need to talk with you. We need to talk with him."
"About what?" Steve asked carefully, having half a mind to just close the door and walk away.
"After what happened, Sam and I read the files again," Natasha answered his question. "At a closer look, we found out that a lot of things didn't match up."
"So we went to Britain to dig deeper," Sam added and Steve frowned.
"Digging deeper than you were supposed to brought us into this situation," he pressed out though his teeth, already closing the door.
"But we had to make things right!" Natasha jumped forward and placed her right hand on the door, even though she knew that she was nowhere near strong enough to stop them if Steve decided to close his door to them. "Please, Steve, we - we know the truth. We know Hadrian's innocent. We - We just came to apologize to him - to you."
"You know the truth?" Steve frowned and Natasha and Sam nodded. "The whole truth?"
"We know that they were the ones protecting the rights of the creatures and that, when they figured out that they were wrong, the Government shifted everything around. They erased all evidence except - except him," Sam said and Steve frowned.
A part of Steve hoped that maybe some of Hadrian's friends survived, but apparently they didn't.
"Steve, please. We made a horrible mistake, but we're your friends. We were only watching out for you," Sam pleaded and Steve looked into his eyes.
"It will take a while until I can trust you again; especially around Hadrian," he spoke lowly.
"We can deal with that," Natasha said and Steve nodded.
"Alright," he murmured as he opened the door and took a step to the side. The two shuffled in, and Steve closed the door behind them. "Hadrian is still weak so he's in my bedroom. Don't mind the mess," he said as he walked past them and led the way.
"Steve?" the raven-haired man was weakly pushing himself up only to halt and widen his eyes when he saw Natasha and Sam walk in behind Steve.
"Hey, take it easy!" Steve rushed to Hadrian's side and took a seat beside him while Hadrian glanced from Steve to Natasha and Sam with confusion written over the pale, indrawn face.
"Dr. Parker, we came to apologize to you," Natasha said as she took a small step forward and found herself the sole target of those emerald orbs. She suddenly knew what had Steve so certain right from the start that Hadrian was a good man. Nothing was hidden in those out-worldly depths. They showed pain and suffering behind honesty and kindness, and incredible warmth. "What we did was wrong, and Sam and I - we just want to make things right again."
"Steve is our friend," Sam added. "And we were just looking out for him, but instead of doing proper research we came to the wrong conclusion, not taking everything into account. We're sorry for what you've been though. We're sorry for making you remember all of that, and for the injuries you've suffered. We made a mistake, and we're sorry,"
Hadrian looked at Steve as he licked his lips, and even though Steve gave Hadrian what was supposed to be a careless shrug, Hadrian could see in Steve's eyes that he had missed his friends and that he wanted to forgive them.
Hadrian's shoulders relaxed a bit and he gifted Steve with a small smile. "In all honesty," he spoke in a voice that was still slightly strained and raspy, "if I was in your place I would have done the same." Sam and Natasha let go of the breaths they were holding, and Steve smiled a small smile. "I would have made sure that my friend was safe. And I'm not so sure I would have taken a different approach."
"Does that mean we're forgiven?" Natasha asked with a hesitant smile and Hadrian chuckled.
"But you have a lot to make up for," Steve added making his friends nod hurriedly.
"Whatever you say, man," Sam grinned and Steve chuckled at him.
"Do you want to stay for a bit? I have a few beers in the fridge," he said as a peace offering.
"If you two don't mind. We'd like to get to know Hadrian a bit better," Natasha answered and Steve nodded.
"Do you want me to make tea for you?" Steve asked Hadrian as he propped him up on several pillows.
"If you don't mind," he said and Steve nodded as he bowed down to kiss Hadrian's forehead tenderly.
"I'll be right back." Steve made his way out of the room, shooting a warning glance at Natasha and Sam, and once he was out, the two looked around, searching for a place to sit down.
"You don't have to be nervous. Steve loves you both. He was just hurt that you didn't trust his judgment," Hadrian spoke up and the two let go of the breaths they were unconsciously holding. Sam took a seat in the chair beside Hadrian's bed while Natasha looked at him asking for permission before she took a seat at the foot of the bed.
"We were wrong," she said. "And we're just trying to make things right again."
"I don't think it'll take long, at least not from my side. Like I said; I would have done the same. And Steve really cares about the both of you. He'll forgive you soon enough if he already hasn't."
"How are you?" Sam asked and Hadrian shrugged as he clasped his hands in his lap.
"I'm coming along nicely. My body is weak and I lost quite a bit of weight so it'll take a while for me to get back on my feet, but Steve's taking really good care of me, so I don't think it'll take too long. But what about you two? What have you been up to except roaming around good ol' England?" Steve came back just as Hadrian asked the question and handed out drinks before he took a seat beside Hadrian and wrapped his left arm around the smaller man's shoulders, placing their drinks on the nightstand.
"I've been contacted by Fury," Natasha said. "He's rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. from scratch. He's gathering agents all around the world, making sure that we do it right this time. I mean, there's no way to be a 100% sure, but the world needs S.H.I.E.L.D. We need S.H.I.E.L.D."
"He called me too," Sam grinned. "I've been recruited."
"He hasn't contacted me yet," Steve exchanged a glance with Hadrian.
"Well, you know Nick," Natasha smiled. "He does everything in his own pace." Steve and Natasha shared a knowing smirk while Sam and Hadrian chuckled.
"So!" Sam clapped his hands and grinned. "Are there any church bells ringing or are you two still dancing around the fact that you're perfect for each other?"
"Easy. Easy," Steve murmured as he slowly helped Hadrian into the tub.
The raven-haired man was slowly regaining his strength, so he asked Steve for a real bath. Steve joked that Hadrian just didn't want him giving him sponge-baths anymore, and that he was finding Steve's bedside manners lacking, but he understood the need to get out of bed even for a little while.
Two months of only having the IV giving him the necessary nutrients left Hadrian weak. He lost a lot of weight which could be seen on his thin body. Steve could almost count all of his ribs, and if he looked carefully enough, he could see exactly where his ribs were broken. Two weeks after he woke up, Hadrian was able to eat normal food if he ate slowly, and Steve was sure that with the right nutrients, Hadrian would return to full strength soon enough.
Steve quickly took his sweatpants off and slipped into the tub behind Hadrian, pulling him to his chest and smiling when the doctor sighed in content as he leaned his head back on Steve's left shoulder and entwined his fingers with Steve's on his stomach.
Steve placed a loving kiss on Hadrian's neck before he rested his head against his. The radio was playing quietly in the background as the warm water soaked their bodies and comfortable silence reigned between them.
"A few of your colleagues called," Steve murmured against Hadrian's ear. "They're sending you their best wishes."
"I'll have to call them to thank them," Hadrian answered in an equally quiet voice. "Even though I love the fact that we're spending this much time together, I can't wait to return to work."
Steve chuckled and kissed Hadrian's brow. "The moment you're strong enough I'm sure you'll be back and making people's lives better."
Hadrian chuckled and his eyes slipped closed.
Stars shining bright above you.
Night breezes seem to whisper 'I love you'.
Birds singing in the sycamore trees;
dream a little dream of me.
Hadrian sighed as Steve littered loving, open mouthed kisses over his right shoulder. A shiver traveled over his body, warmth pooling in his stomach, and he could feel Steve's own arousal against the small of his back.
They had never gone past several kisses before Hadrian's accident. That night they had every intention to finally sleep together, but any physical activities were delayed.
Now that Hadrian was completely healed and on the way to recovery, they could continue where they left off, and both of them were looking forward to this new step in their relationship.
Sure, Steve was determined to go slow. Hadrian was still weak, and he tired easily, but he could no longer hold back from caressing the warm, beautiful body in his arms.
Hadrian turned his head towards Steve and their eyes met, and the soldier teased Hadrian's lips into a light kiss with nips and licks.
Stars fading, but I linger on, dear,
Still craving your kiss.
I'm craving to linger till dawn, dear,
Just saying this…
Hadrian gasped and threw his head back as Steve lightly teased his right nipple with his right thumb in slow, tender, circling caresses as he traced the soft skin of Hadrian's stomach with the tips of his fingers on his way south.
He bit lightly into the soft skin just under Hadrian's ear, and the emerald-eyed man gasped as he arched up just as Steve took a gentle hold of his cock and circled the head with his thumb. He groaned and buried his face in Hadrian's shoulder when he moved back against him, putting pressure on his own erection, and Steve slowly started to pump Hadrian's hard length, biting into his bottom lip as his lover's movements brought him closer and closer to the edge.
Sweet dreams 'til sunbeams find you.
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you.
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me.
Hadrian came with a choked up cry, and Steve followed close behind with a strained grunt. As Hadrian sagged against him with his head resting on Steve's left shoulder, and dilated, glimmering eyes gazing at the ceiling, Steve raised his head to look at him. He cupped Hadrian's cheek with his right hand and tilted his head towards him, placing his lips over Hadrian's in a slow, languid kiss, conveying all the passion, love and desire he held in his heart for his beautiful lover.
Hadrian moaned as he nuzzled his forehead against Steve's left cheek and the soldier chuckled as he wrapped his arms around Hadrian protectively.
"Love you," Hadrian murmured and Steve's heart skipped a beat.
"Love you too."
"You know, this is the first time you're cooking for me," Steve commented as he leaned back against the kitchen table while Hadrian danced around the kitchen. A month after he woke up he was already much better. He managed to put on a few pounds with Steve making sure he ate as much as he could handle, and with easy exercises he was slowly gaining back his strength.
"Well I think it was time," Hadrian chuckled and Steve smiled when he opened the oven and placed the already delicious looking dinner in it. He closed the oven door and straightened to look at Steve.
Captain America smirked when Hadrian looked at him from under messy bangs, hair now neck long gathered in a low messy ponytail.
"Now," he spoke in a sultry voice as he slowly prowled over to Steve, "we have about - an hour and a half to waste." He settled between Steve's parted legs, placing his dexterous hands on Steve's strong thighs as Steve hummed and took a firm hold of Hadrian's ass, pulling him close and making the smaller man's breath hitch in his throat as the movement made his awakening erection rub against Steve's.
"What can we do to spend the time?" Steve murmured against Hadrian's lips as the doctor moaned while Steve groped his firm little ass.
"I need to do some more exercise today," Hadrian drawled and Steve grinned.
Hadrian yelped when Steve picked him up swiftly and wrapped his arms around Steve's strong shoulders while the soldier carried him to their bedroom.
A few days ago Hadrian and Steve went to gather Hadrian's stuff from his house, and the doctor officially moved in with Steve. Even though they lived together for a while now what with Steve taking care of Hadrian during his coma and recovery, the fact that now all of Hadrian's things were also there made it feel somehow more real.
Hadrian laughed when Steve threw him on their bed and he bounced on the soft mattress while Steve took his shirt and sweatpants off quickly. He kneeled on the bed and crawled over Hadrian. The doctor grabbed Steve's head between his hands, digging his fingers in the tender skin behind Steve's ears and pulled him into a scorching kiss while Steve arched into him, slowly sliding his body up Hadrian's and grinding his hips down against his.
Hadrian moaned into the kiss as Steve slid his right hand under Hadrian's t-shirt, caressing the soft skin and grinning against Hadrian's lips when he traced his ribcage, noting that his ribs weren't protruding as much as they did a few weeks ago. He moved back, kneeling between Hadrian's parted legs as he tugged the smaller man up and pulled his shirt over his head, Hadrian raising his arms to assist him.
The shirt didn't even touch the ground before Steve swooped in to kiss Hadrian pushing him back on the bed while the raven-haired man wrapped his arms around Steve's shoulders, holding him close.
His trousers were already uncomfortably tight as Steve kissed down Hadrian's neck, bracing his weight on his knees as he slid his hands up Hadrian's sides and to his armpits, teasing his nipples to hardness with his thumbs as his bit into his right collar-bone, drawing a startled yet but pleasure-fill hiss from his lover.
Hadrian's nails dug into Steve's back, leaving angry red marks in their wake as he dragged his hands up to Steve's shoulders making the soldier groan as he kissed his way to Hadrian's right nipple, taking it into his mouth and biting lightly into it before he soothed it with his tongue.
The smaller man arched up as Steve slid his right hand down his stomach and pushed it into his trousers and boxers, teasing the tip of his already rock hard cock with the tips of his fingers as he tugged on the waistband, pressing his palm down on Hadrian's straining length.
He was already coming short of breath when Steve all but ripped his trousers open and tugged them down together with his boxers as he bit into Hadrian's side strong enough to leave a mark. His eyes rolled back and he groaned as Steve littered kisses and light nips along his hip-bones pulling his clothes down agonizingly slow.
Hadrian fisted his left hand in Steve's hair and nudged him lower making him chuckle as he breathed hot air over the revealed head of his cock making Hadrian gasp and arch up, his whole body trembling with exertion.
Steve moved back and took the rest of his clothes off quickly, leaving him gloriously revealed to his hungry eyes. He licked his lips as he bowed down again, and his heart clenched tightly when Hadrian let go of a long guttural groan when Steve slowly licked the underside of his cock.
"Steve!" the doctor cried out as Steve took him into his mouth, inch by agonizing inch, almost making him come right then and there. Steve groaned around his length as he gently palmed his sack before he teased his entrance with the tip of his middle finger, moaning when he found him still loose and wet from their earlier exercise.
He pushed his finger in making Hadrian arch off of the bed with a wavering cry, and without any problems found that little pile of nerves which made his lover lose all sense of himself.
He found it amazing how with a few aimed touches and caresses he could tear away the tight control Hadrian kept over himself. It amazed him how he could turn Hadrian into a writhing, gasping mess with just a few kisses. It burned his body with possessiveness and pride, because he knew he was the only one who could tear away the younger man's calm and collected act, allowing him to see the passionate, lively creature which hid behind warm smiles and soft spoken words. He shivered with every gasping moan and hiccupping cry which he tore out of Hadrian's lips as he brought him closer and closer to completion.
He allowed Hadrian's cock to slip from his mouth as he rose up to look down at him, and his throat tightened when he saw his blushing face and parted lips. Long black lashes rested on flushed cheeks as tears of pleasure gathered on them. His hair fell out of his ponytail surrounding his head like a black halo as the sun broke through the window beside the bed, enveloping him in its warm glow.
Steve pulled his finger out of Hadrian, and faster than he maybe should have moved despite his visible recovery, Hadrian sat up and pulled Steve into a scorching kiss.
Steve groaned into his mouth as Hadrian slipped his hands down his front taking a firm hold of his weeping cock as he kissed down his chin and nibbled on his Adam's apple, slipping lower and lower until he reached Steve's thick, hard member. Steve fisted his left hand in Hadrian's hair as the smaller man slowly took him into his mouth and traced the curve of his spine with his right hand, slipping his fingers between his ass-cheeks and fingering his loosened entrance making Hadrian moan around his length sending a wave of pleasure up Steve's spine causing him to let go of a choked up grunt.
Unable to handle it for long, Steve grabbed Hadrian's arms and pulled him up, making the smaller man yelp as he wrapped his left arm around Hadrian's thin waist and hefted him up. Hadrian wrapped his arms around Steve's shoulders and his legs around Steve's waist while Steve reached under him and led the head of his cock to Hadrian's entrance. Taking a firm hold of Hadrian's left thigh with his right hand, Steve slowly lowered him on his weeping member, both of them holding their breaths as the feeling of completion and content washed over them making goose-bumps appear on their skin.
Hadrian breathed out as he rested his forehead on Steve's, their breaths mixing between them. Steve's arms were around him as though they would never let him go. His scent was filling his senses telling him that he belonged right there - in the arms of his soldier. His strength was his shield and his love was his comfort, and he needed nothing else in the world but him.
Steve pecked his lips lightly, nuzzling his nose against Hadrian's, drawing a breathless chuckle from him only for it to turn into a gasp when Steve rolled his hips up.
They moved slowly. Even time seemed to linger as they lost themselves in one another. Steve held Hadrian close to his chest, his cock trapped between their stomachs as Steve moved inside him in deep thrusts, constantly rubbing against Hadrian's prostate making the smaller man whimper and gasp as his hold on Steve's shoulders tightened and his nails dug into firm muscles.
"Steve I - I can't…"
"I know," Steve soothed in a whisper as he raised his right hand and cupped the back of Hadrian's head, pressing it into his shoulder as he buried his face in Hadrian's neck. The pace quickened, becoming erratic and fierce, and Hadrian came with a muffled cry, spilling his cum between them. Steve grunted and bit into his bottom lip as the clenching of the tight heat around him brought him over the edge and he emptied his load inside Hadrian, his whole body shivering with the force of his orgasm.
They sat like that for a few moments before Steve slowly laid them both down, pulling out of Hadrian with a hiss before he settled down beside him and pulled him into his arms.
Hadrian sighed as Steve wrapped his arms around him and tucked his head under his chin. The still of the lazy afternoon washed over them as Steve gently rubbed Hadrian's back with soothing caresses.
When he first met Hadrian he didn't even dream they would come to this, and yet there they were living together, loving each other.
It was more than he hoped for; much, much more.
Hadrian raised his head to smile up at Steve, and their lips met in a slow kiss.
"I love you, you know that, right?" Hadrian murmured and Steve chuckled before he kissed his forehead.
"I know. And I love you too."
Hadrian tightened his hold on him with a smile.
In the next moment something caught Steve's attention and he tensed up.
"Hadrian, do you smell something burning?" Hadrian tensed up for a second.
"Shit! Dinner!" He jumped out of bed and ran out and into the kitchen, groaning when he opened the oven and black smoke surged out. "Aw, damn it," he cursed and turned around to look at Steve when the man chuckled at him, and found him leaning against the doorframe with his arms crossed over his chest in all of his nude glory.
"So! I guess we're ordering take out again."
Hadrian and Steve stumbled into their apartment after Steve struggled with the lock, snickering and exchanging kisses as Steve slammed the door closed only to halt when someone cleared their throat.
"That's it! I'm changing the locks and putting bars on the windows," Steve muttered as he and Hadrian parted to look at the guests occupying their living room.
Natasha was smirking at them, Sam was grinning and beside them stood two men Hadrian had yet to meet, but knew from a few photos Steve and Natasha showed him that they were Nick Fury and Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye.
"Clint Barton at your service." The archer wiggled his fingers at Hadrian and the doctor chuckled before he and Steve looked at Fury.
"To what do we owe the - ah, pleasure of your visit," Steve drawled and Fury snorted.
"S.H.I.E.L.D. has been reinstated, and I am here recruiting," he said and Steve raised his left eyebrow at him.
"And you couldn't have called?" he bit out only to have Fury smirk at him.
"I know we already have you, Captain Rogers. I'm here recruiting."
Steve's eyes widened in realization and Hadrian's eyebrows touched the line of his hair when everyone looked at him.
"Yes, you Dr. Parker. We could sure use someone of your caliber and with you skills on the team."
"But I can't use magic anymore," Hadrian said with a frown and Nick chuckled.
"Let's just say that we have a way to fix that," he drawled and Hadrian looked at Steve.
The soldier shrugged as though saying 'it's up to you', and Hadrian shifted his gaze to the others.
Nick's smirk grew when Hadrian pursed his lips, biting into the inside of his cheeks as he thought about the offer.
They all knew he was in when his handsome face shifted into a smirk and his eyes glimmered.
"When do we start?"
(1) Daphne du Maurier, 'Rebecca'
(2) Daphne du Maurier, 'Rebecca'
(3) Daphne du Maurier, 'The Loving Spirit'
(4) unknown author
(5) Emily Bronte, 'Wuthering Heights'
(6) 'Shadow of Your Smile' was written by P. F Webster and J. Mandel, owned by EMI MILLER CATALOG INC.
(7) 'Dream a Little Dream of Me' was written by G. Kahn, F. Andre and W. Schwandt, owned by Lyrics © Warner/Chappel Music, Inc. Universal Music Publishing Group
Things are getting along nicely if I might say! I have just finished the first part of my education for a financial advisor!
I guess I'll soon start working for real!
I do hope you've liked this and that you'll stay tuned for the second part!
All my love,