"Their Second Chance"
It was Natasha's fault. Steve would never have even considered going to Phil's office if it wasn't for her. Literally. She marched him up to the door at gun-point. He could've taken the bullet and just healed quickly; but he didn't want her to get into trouble for shooting 'a national icon', so he just went along with it. It's not like she was going to stay out there all day.
He knocked, and Phil called, "Come in!"
"Go on," Natasha said, poking him in the back. "I'll give you your privacy. Don't let me down, Rogers; I'm putting my faith in you."
Steve's head swivelled around. "Really?"
"…Okay," he said. Her trust was a big thing to have. No matter what happened, or how much he was risking, he was going to tell Phil how he felt. For Natasha's sake.
"Well?" Phil asked. Steve took a deep breath, and then opened the door.
Phil looked up. His gaze flicked to Natasha. "Can I help you both with something?"
"I'm leaving," she said, and she tried to push Steve forward. She huffed; it wasn't his fault that he was immovable. "I told you, go on."
"I'm going," he said, and he stepped into the room. She slammed the door closed, and he jumped forward a step, missing the edge of the door by inches. Phil raised an eyebrow, and went back to his work.
"How can I help you, Captain Rogers?"
"I, uh, I need to s-say something."
"You sound unsure," Phil said, and he glanced up. "Is it important?"
Steve exhaled slowly, maintaining eye contact with him. "Very."
"Very well." He put down his pen, then linked his fingers and rested his arms on the desk. "Would you care to sit down?"
"I probably should," Steve admitted. (In case his legs began to shake.) He lowered himself onto the seat, and shifted to give the impression that he was trying to get comfortable. But there was no way he was going to feel comfortable in this situation, not until it was over and done with.
"What's on your mind, captain?"
"You," Steve blurted. He'd have to go the whole way now. "I shouldn't have let you go. I know you weren't mine to begin with, and, well, I should've changed that. But I didn't know I wanted that until too late, and Natasha told me to tell you this but I'm not sure it's making me feel any better and please say something, Phil." He took a quick breath in, and then chewed his lower lip while he watched the agent trying to scrape his jaw off the carpet.
Phil was just about to reply when there was a knock, and Pepper walked in.
"Oh! Hi, Steve," she said, and she squeezed his shoulder. "Phil, is it true you broke up with Evan?"
"Why the hell would you do that?"
"He didn't know he was pining after someone else until I pointed it out. I wasn't going to hold onto him when I realised that. Much longer, and I would've been beyond the point of no return." Phil was playing with the pen. "It was better to part now."
"I thought things were pretty serious," she said.
Steve was sure his face was about to burst into flames. Pepper was leaning against his chair, and it didn't seem like she was ready to move anytime soon. If only his tongue would work. If only his legs would work. Then he could've made his excuses and escaped.
"What're you doing tonight?" she asked.
"Meeting up with Annabel."
"Is the orchestra coming to New York sometime? Tony would hire them for a private performance."
"Not yet. Still in Portland."
Portland? This 'Annabel' must be the cellist. Steve's heart sank. So much for waiting a decent amount of time. Phil was already moving on. Surely this was too fast, even by today's standards?
"Send her my love," Pepper said. "See you later, Steve."
"Yeah," he said softly. "See you later, Miss Potts."
The door hadn't even closed when Steve was on his feet.
"I'm so sorry," he said. "I shouldn't have come here. I didn't know… I thought you had broken up with her for good, b-before I approached you. Then there was Evan, and now you're going back to your cellist, and I… I never had a chance, did I? Even if I did, I ruined it at the start, and I can't apologise enough, so I'll just go—"
He was touching the door handle when Phil's voice rang out like a gunshot.
"Don't you dare open that door, soldier! Now come sit back down, or I will ensure that you're written up for disobeying orders. Do you want to face disciplinary action?" Steve looked at him, wide-eyed, and shook his head. "Back here, Captain Rogers."
Steve returned to his seat, apprehensive. He couldn't meet Phil's eyes, and instead stared at his hands, which were curled up in his lap. He could, however, tell that Phil was moving around the desk towards him, and waited for the inevitable rejection.
It didn't come. Instead, there was a hand on his upper back, and the other cupped his left cheek and turned his head. Steve gazed up at the agent, more ashamed than he'd ever been.
"Annabel is my half-sister," Phil said softly. "We only found each other a few years ago. My father got her mother pregnant while my parents were separated. They divorced, and I didn't want to know this girl who'd taken away my dad. I was only nine when this all started. But when he died, she and I met at the funeral, and decided it was stupid not to be friends. It wasn't our fault that he was a philanderer. And she's the best sister a guy could ask for, so I don't mind. I love her." He shrugged. "I don't know what she'll say about us, though. You're not one of her favourite people."
Phil hesitated, then bent so that he was looking Steve straight in the eye, only a breath away. "Steve, you can leave now if you want. I'm not going to hold you to any declarations of regret, or read too much into them."
"I love you," Steve whispered.
"…Think about this first," Phil said, even though he blinked rapidly. "Go away, think through everything a relationship would entail, whether you really mean those words, any potential backlash which may drive you away and just b-break my heart all over again." He visibly swallowed. "Just think about it."
"You don't want this? If you don't, just say so—"
"Of course I want this," Phil said, and he rested his forehead against Steve's, eyes sliding shut. "I shouldn't, not after all that happened, but I do. However, it's not entirely my decision."
"I told you my feelings," Steve said. He didn't want to move and break this moment. "It is up to you, Phil."
"Don't you understand?" Phil asked, his eyes snapping back open. "I'm giving you an out here. If you don't think you can handle this kind of relationship then for God's sake don't allow it to start, because I couldn't take it if you broke up with me."
Steve stood then. "Don't you get that I'm strong enough for this? I'm not the kid from Brooklyn whose medical files would've needed a trolley to transport them, if we could've afforded better health care. And even if I was still that kid, and not Captain America, I'd still be strong enough to hold onto you for the rest of our lives! Because… because I want to, Phil. I want you. Forever."
Phil continued to study him; but now that he knew his feelings were reciprocated, Steve wasn't moving. He didn't move until he saw Phil relax, and reach for him. Then Steve tilted his head down, and their lips met.
Steve insisted on having a date first, to set Phil apart from everyone else. Not that he wasn't already special; he was Steve's first, he was the one that Steve loved. But with love involved, it couldn't all just be sex, and he wanted to prove it. He had to prove it. And Phil wasn't going to argue with that.
With the limited amount of time they had off, and with a few missions that Phil had to supervise, it was nearly three weeks before they could make it to bed. Steve would've held out longer, since they'd just been cleared from medical, but Phil basically shut them in Steve's room and talked the clothes off them both.
"We should be waiting," Steve said, slightly dazed. "I haven't done enough to make up for—"
"Lie down, soldier."
"Uh…" Steve lay back on the bed. "Phil, I don't understand. You agreed to taking this slow."
"It was a relatively easy mission today," Phil said, straddling Steve's thighs. "Next time it might not be. Next time, one of us might not make it back. I'm still learning how to entrust my heart to you after everything and everyone that happened; I want to be able to take my time, not rush things. But you've earned my forgiveness, and I know the rest will happen one day." He leaned down, holding Steve's arms and resting their foreheads together. "Steve, I would hate to say yes, we'll do this tonight, only for one of us to be killed… and never get the chance to be together again. And when you think about it, you'll never age. Assuming we both lived another fifty years, you'd still be young, I… I wouldn't be—"
"That doesn't matter to me, Phil."
"And it shouldn't to me. But we're both more likely to die in battle. A battle that could happen any day. And if we missed our chance…" He was gazing so intensely into Steve's eyes that the soldier's heart stuttered. "Could either of us live with that?"
"I don't want to miss any more chances," Steve said.
"I know. Neither do I."
"It'll be different this time. I promise."
They kissed for awhile, neither in a hurry to move any faster now that they had the rest of the night off. Steve pushed Phil onto his back and peppered his face with light kisses. Phil stroked the back of his neck, eventually pulling him in to meet his lips again, this time with more gusto. Several minutes passed before Phil flipped them over.
"So handsome," he whispered, continuing to kiss his way down Steve's chest. "So beautifully made. God, your parents did a good job."
"That's the serum," Steve said, watching Phil with intense interest.
"You're forgetting." Phil bit the patch of skin just below Steve's navel. "The first pictures I ever saw of you were from before the serum." He kissed the bite mark, and Steve groaned. "I thought you were beautiful then."
"God, I love you, Phil."
Phil smiled up at him, then lunged forward for another hungry kiss. He retreated, and continued to touch and caress Steve's body. That warm feeling began to flare inside Steve, echoes of the tenderness from their first night, every brush of skin against skin…
"You're the only one who's ever made love to me," he said. When Phil raised his head, Steve cupped his cheek. "Can I make it up to you? Can I make love to you?"
Phil nodded speechlessly, and lay back down beside Steve, who promptly took his position over the agent once more. This time, he nuzzled Phil's left ear first, and placed a tiny kiss on the lobe. He absent-mindedly pulled Phil's knees up either side, allowing the agent to cage him in, and rubbed their erections together as he rocked forward. Phil whimpered – actually whimpered – and one of his legs wrapped around Steve's lower back and pulled him closer. Steve nipped and sucked little bruises onto Phil's collarbone in the shape of a star. He'd have to take a picture later so that Phil could see it for himself.
"Are you going to take me?" Steve nodded, and continued to taste the skin before him, licking up perspiration and sucking each nipple. "Condoms? Lube?"
"Drawer," he muttered. When Phil began to move, Steve pushed him back down, and grabbed the required items. He kept getting distracted by Phil thrusting two lubricated fingers into himself, nearly tearing the condom as he pulled it on. He rubbed some of the oil onto himself, and threw the bottle aside. Phil used his bent leg to pull Steve towards him, and groaned as he was filled slowly. Steve trembled as he pushed inside, enchanted by Phil's expression of ecstasy.
"That's it," Phil said hoarsely. He opened his eyes, eyes which had darkened considerably. "God, Steve. Move."
Their gazes never broke, not until Steve kissed Phil again, consuming him as their movements quickened. As they reached their peak together, Phil pulled Steve all the way in and held him there, not letting him go. Breaths mingled, gasps became more frequent, and they remained connected for as long as possible. When Steve finally slipped out, he rolled to the side and tugged Phil close.
"I'm not leaving," he said. "Not unless you kick me out."
"I won't," Phil said, and he sighed, the warm puff tickling Steve's chest. "I've waited a long time. I was ready to forgive you long before I did. Probably because I wanted this so much. And." He sighed. "We had this one night. If we never have another, we've had this one."
He fell asleep before Steve could reassure him that they would have plenty of nights – and days – together. But there was always tomorrow, and tomorrow, and to—
And Steve fell asleep as well.
Oops. Slightly morbid note, but never fear! Let your imaginations take you… wherever.
It was pointed out to me by one of my readers (you know who you are) that it would be unrealistic for Phil to take Steve back too soon, but what can I say? I can be a bit impatient. Also, I don't think they really have time to stuff around when working for SHIELD, as so many fix-it fics have pointed out. I think Phil will need to sit down with Steve and go over basic rules when it comes to relationships, so that Steve will be less confused about what the norm may be.
For the time being, however, another fic finished.
Did you notice that the bit from the beginning of the first chapter was in this? Yeah. That was the intention all along. Aren't I clever? Bringing it all full circle.