MCU || PG - post-Civil War || Carol, Steve || ~480 words
For captainsmarvelandamerica, who wanted a take on the background convo between Carol and Steve on his miraculous return:
Jessica Drew throws herself at him in a cloud of oh my god and pheromones, adding a giddy rush to the emotions already rampaging through the whole room. Jessica Jones hands off the baby to Luke so she can do her best to crush the poor man’s ribs, then takes Danny back so Luke can do the same. And so it goes, like a round robin but with fewer words and more tears, until Carol’s the only one left, wondering if anyone else can see the invisible line between her and everyone else.
“Carol,” Steve says quietly, and she thinks, option one: tears. Tears fucking everywhere. Option two: a fist to the face because how dare he die on them, that was not supposed to happen, that asshole. Option three: deflect. Deflect fucking everywhere.
“You Army boys can’t do anything right,” she deflects, except she kind of sucks at it because her voice does that cracking thing that hasn’t happened since she stopped waking up with the taste of whiskey in the back of her throat.
Steve quirks the kind of smile that can make people like Tony do even stupider shit than usual, and when you get right down to it, when Steve Rogers has got a chance to stop and look around, he kind of sucks at seeing those invisible lines between people. “You Air Force people just aren’t seeing under the horizon,” he says, moving forward until she has to tilt her head back a bit to look him in the eye like he deserves.
“Steve,” Carol starts, but can’t keep going past the knot of anger and black guilt and wrenching regret and so much relief it’s like they’ve just managed to save the world at a minute to midnight. Option one is suddenly sneaking up, apparently not giving a shit that she’s surrounded by people she’s loved and hurt, and is turning Steve into a wash of black and blonde. He’s holding out a hand like he’s going to squeeze her shoulder companionably, but you know what, this is the kind of moment that comes with your personal hero saying, Not bad, Kitten, and Jess does have her moments of utter brilliance, so Carol thinks fuck it and throws her arms around him.
So, really, option three failed as quickly as a jet at over 85,000 feet, and option one is making her face hot and probably leaving snot all over Steve’s dark jacket, and people are probably judging her both fairly and unfairly. There are painfully bruised subjects that need to be discussed and misunderstandings to be explained. But she can hug Steve with the kind of force that could crush the helicarrier, and he hugs back almost as tightly when it wasn’t too long ago that he couldn’t, so she figures option two can wait while he holds her, while she cries into his shoulder without shame.