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No one ever tells you the struggles of life, how hard it can truly be when you're out in the world for the first time trying to get by. They want everything to seem as if it's all sunshine and rainbows while sweeping all the bad shit under the rug. Until you get that big break you've been waiting for and hope that it doesn't go to shit within the first year. I had watched so many people get their hopes up only to have them crushed within a matter of seconds.

I couldn't look at my guitar without feeling complete and utter disgust with myself. This wasn't who I was anymore, I was merely a puppet. The parties were amazing, the women nearly throwing themselves at my feet just to spend the night in my bed. I couldn't look at them anymore though, not after the incident. The doctors had done everything they could, and it still wasn't going to be enough. My music was my life, and to have it ripped out of my hands was gut wrenching.

 

My friends assured me that I could get back onto my feet again, tons of people lost limbs and still managed to live each day as if they were the same as before. Except I wasn't, I was a freak now. The metal of my arm was enough proof of that. The strings of my guitar sounded foreign each time my fingers slid down the fret board, it didn't feel right.

 

So I did the next best thing, I started producing albums for other people instead of my own. It gave me a sense of purpose that had felt so lost before. If I couldn't put my own music back into the world, well I was going to find a way to help put music back into the world.

***

“There's a party this weekend, didn't know if you wanted to go” Steve was one of my best friends, he had been touring with one of the bands he managed.
“I don't know Steve, the last one I went to didn't end too well” He didn't know the entire truth, and at this point I was too afraid to tell him.

“That was just a bad time for you, this will be different I promise” Steve was never one to back down from a party, it's where he met the most clients.
“Aren't you leaving next week though?” His grimace gave me all the answers I needed, his wife hated that he had to leave constantly.
“Don't remind me, I'm already getting my ass chewed out at home for not telling her until a couple days ago” My jaw dropped open, how could he keep a secret like that from her?

 

I was weighing my options on whether or not this party would be worth it, on one hand I'd have Steve by my side most of the night, on the other hand it could end just as badly for me. The thought of free alcohol for an entire night was quite pleasant though.

“I guess I'll go to the party with you” I chuckled and rolled my eyes as Steve clapped excitedly.
“Thank you, it'll be worth it, I promise” Yeah, yeah. You're always making promises for me Rogers.

 

The party wasn't all bad, the drinks were flowing, and the music wasn't obnoxiously loud. People glanced over at us the moment we stepped inside, hushed whispers being passed around. They didn't know the truth, to why I had to do what I did. Though the metal was hidden, everyone knew about the accident that caused the demise of my music career.

“James! It's so good to see you” Peggy ran over, her arms wrapping around me in a comforting hug. I wanted to pretend to be happy around her, after everything that happened.
“You too Peg, where's your fiance?” I looked around the room slowly, surely he would join her to something like this.
“He's busy mingling right now, you know that parties are more of his thing than mine” Peggy had an old soul, while she did like to enjoy herself, she much preferred her nights in.
“I haven't forgotten, I tried to convince Steve to let me stay home, but he refused” It was no secret that Peggy and Steve used to be an item, but after one too many arguments they were no longer together.
“That's because you're always in your studio, need to see your friends once in a while” Peggy smiled softly, excusing herself to go and find her fiance.

Steve watched her walk away, his eyes gave away his true feelings. While he loved his wife dearly, she would never compare to the way he felt towards her. I always wondered if she already knew of his feelings, how did that affect their marriage?

“Do you love her? Or did you put a ring on her finger because she didn't make you feel so lonely” Steve stiffened beside me, shoulders rigid as his gaze trailed up the wall slowly.
“It's complicated” Lie. He knew his true feelings but he wasn't going to admit it.
“I've seen the way she looks at you Steve, it's the same way you look at Peggy, stop lying to her before she starts to notice you don't love her the same way” I couldn't wait around for Steve to figure life out, he was an adult.

I headed over to the bar to get myself a drink, something simple where I could just relax and enjoy the party until it was acceptable enough where I could leave. Most of the guests were on the main floor, talking with one another.

“Scotch on the rocks please” I plopped down into one of the chairs with a sigh.
“A little early for something so rich, don't you think?” The voice next to me was almost sultry, why had I never heard it before?
“Takes the edge off, mostly when I'm somewhere I don't want to be” I glanced over at the woman beside me, she was breathtaking.

 

Her dress hugged close to her curves, the deep maroon complimented her skin beautifully. Her hair was laying gently across her shoulders, nails painted a deep blood red.

“I'm Y/N, you must be the famous James Barnes” My jaw dropped open, I wasn't that famous.
“Nice to meet you Y/N, did you get dragged here like I did?” A woman this beautiful definitely had someone, there was no doubt in my mind.
“I came with Peggy actually, but she's with her fiance right now, so best to leave them alone” I knew what she meant, Peggy was very attached to her fiance. It wasn't in an unhealthy manner, she was just very much in love with the man.
“Good point” I took the glass the moment the bartender set it down, downing more than half the drink in one gulp.

The party was growing slowly, people filing in every few minutes. Steve was trying to keep himself busy, afraid to talk to Peggy or myself. The drinks were placed in front of me before I could blink, Y/N was still sipping the glass of wine she had ordered. Which number was I on now?

“Time to go” Steve grabbed onto my arm, hoisting me up and out of the chair. Y/N slipped a small piece of paper into my pocket.
“When'd you get here Stevie?” I was too drunk to stand on my own, no more drinking at parties without supervision from now on.

The drive to his house was slow, neither of us speaking as the street lights passed us by. Or were we passing them? They couldn't move from the spots they were in already. Jesus I was really freaking drunk, Steve's gonna hate me even more in the morning now.

Normally my alarm clock would've been going off, making the hangover I was experiencing even worse, but I heard nothing. Well except for two voices screaming at one another. Oh shit, not this again.

“You and I both know it's my job! If I didn't have to leave so often I wouldn't” Steve was standing over her, hands clenched into fists by his side.
“That's not even why I'm upset Steve! You waited to tell me you were leaving until yesterday! Was I not supposed to find out until you left?” Her cheeks were tear streaked, arms crossed gently over her chest.
“I've been fucking busy, what part of that don't you understand? Bucky was right last night” Steve turned away from her, bracing his hands against the countertop.
“Right about what Steve?” Her voice was softer now, lip quivering gently.
“We shouldn't of ever tried to get together, it's so obvious that we're wrong for one another. I don't love you” Pain, that was the only emotion on her face, in her eyes.
“I'll move my things out when you leave, you won't have to come home to me” She glanced down to the small stick in her hand, placing it down onto the counter before heading into the bedroom.

Steve straightened his back, head hung low in shame. He hadn't noticed the ticking time bomb that was right next to him, and I wasn't sure how he was going to react. If he didn't love the woman he willingly married, would he be able to love the child she was carrying.

“Steve” I reached over to grab the test, but Steve was faster. His face paled.
“I can't fix this, can I?” He looked over to me, lower lip held between his teeth.
“No, you need to let her go” His wife was a good person, but right now she was going through something she shouldn't be.

Steve glanced over to the shut bedroom door, weighing his options on talking to her and trying to work things out, or letting her walk out of his life. The door opened slowly, her eyes were puffy from the tears she had shed behind the closed door.

“My mom's on her way to come get me, if you want to pack the rest of my things away I'll come by in a few days and get them” This was really happening, they weren't going to work it out this time.
“Krista, I-” She held up a hand, signaling she wasn't done talking.
“You were right Steve, I shouldn't of let myself be so blind and think we could've worked. I hope you can find someone better than me” Even though the words were directed at me, it felt as if a knife had been wedged into my heart.

She smiled softly at him before leaving the house. The echo of the door was a daunting reminder of the words Steve had said to her, how he made her feel so worthless. There was no fixing this.

6 Months Later

I still wasn't sure how I had convinced Y/N to go on a date with me, or even agree to the second date after the disastrous night we had together. I just couldn't picture my life without her now, she was everything I wanted and more. She never took my shit either, there were nights where we'd be screaming at one another until she managed to make a joke about something. That wasn't to say the makeup sex wasn't bomb though, it just helped us deescalate from such bad situations. She had met the rest of my friends, they had welcomed her with open arms. Maybe she was the woman for me, I needed a little more time to figure that out.

“God this baby is gonna kill me” Krista plopped down onto the couch, groaning as she rubbed the side of her belly. Steve hadn't been home to officially sign the divorce papers just yet, nor had he seen the babies progress.
“What do you have? A week left?” She nodded slowly, wincing as the baby pushed up against her hand.
“Yeah, I haven't called him to let him know where I'm giving birth yet” She wanted Steve to be there for the birth at least, to hold his son before he gave away his rights.
“Have you spoken to him at all?” She simply shook her head, letting me know where Steve stood in this whole situation.

 

It broke my heart for her, he had always talked about wanting a family, and now that he had it within reach he was all to willing to throw it away. And for what? For a woman who was happily married with her own little boy on the way?

Y/N had offered her a place to stay while she looked for an apartment for her and the baby, but with being so heavily pregnant, it was hard for her to do much. I didn't treat her any differently than before, promising that I'd only help when she needed it. Even if that was more often than not now.

“Bucky” Though her voice was calm, I could hear the horror laced in her words.
“What's wro-” I looked over to where she had plopped down, the bottom of her dress was soaked. It's time.

Y/N helped take her out to the car while I grabbed the hospital bag she had packed along with a couple bottles of water. I knew they weren't going to let her eat, something about that being passed around during the birthing classes she dragged me to. The other women always assumed I was the father, seeing that Steve wasn't going to be around.

The hours ticked by slowly, the doctors had warned us it might be a while before she would be ready to push. Y/N was trying her best to keep Krista calm, to remind her what she was here for, to finally be able to hold her little boy.

“If I can do this without any pain medication, I want you to get out on the stage again” My heart leapt into my throat, was she serious?
“I can't do that” I blushed and wrung my hands together nervously.
“Yes you can, you're a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for” Maybe she was right, it had been long enough.

 

There was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but after almost an hour of pushing little Aiden was here. He was smaller than I was expecting, weighing only seven pounds, but he was definitely a long baby for sure.

“Hey little man, I'm your uncle James” I rocked the baby gently to let Krista rest for a little while. He was burrowed into the blanket like a little burrito.

“Maybe we can have something like that for ourselves one day” Y/N smiled and sat down on the couch, chin resting against her palm.
“Maybe” I'd have to get some practice in before I could become a dad myself.

 

There was muffled yelling outside of the room suddenly, was a patient getting rowdy with the other nurses?

“My wife is in there, last name is Rogers” Shit, how the hell did he manage to find where she had gone?
“Sir I'm going to have to ask you to calm down or I will call the authorities” Thank god for Edna, she wasn't going to listen to Steve act like an asshole.

I handed Aiden to Y/N and stepped out of the room, facing the man I wasn't hoping to see for a few more days. For once in his life he looked unhealthy, as if he hadn't been sleeping for the last week.

“Buck” Steve straightened up, eyes locking onto my own.
“You can let him in Edna, if he tries to start any shit I'll throw him out myself” I knew she wasn't happy with me right now, but Steve deserved to see his son at least once.

Krista was still sound asleep in the bed, arms placed gently on her belly. Y/N was shielding Aiden from Steve, assuring that he couldn't see him.

“She didn't want you here, and I don't blame her” Steve frowned, sliding his hands deep into his pockets.
“I can admit I fucked up, but” I cut him off, the nerve.
“But what? You didn't want to stick around and watch the pain of your ex wife having to raise a child on her own because you're so stuck on Peggy to see what's good for you? That woman's stronger than anyone I know, I've held her hand for every ultrasound, the first time she heard the heartbeat? I was there with her, this baby isn't even mine and yet I feel more like a father to him than you will” God it felt really good to get that out, to tell him how everyone was feeling.

Y/N stood up slowly, walking over to Steve so he could see Aiden. There was no doubt in my mind that little boy was his, from his nose down to the way his bottom lip quivered when he cried. He needed his father, but he didn't need who Steve was right now.

“I think it'd be best if you left, save her the pain of waking up and seeing you here” Aiden opened his eyes slowly, yawning as if his nap wasn't long enough.
“Too late, I'm already awake” Just my luck.
“Krista, I'm so-”
“Don't say you're sorry Steve, I just wish you had been honest with me from the start. Maybe then you could've found someone you loved like I love you” She opened up her arms to take Aiden, quieting the fussy baby.

Steve watched the way she handled the baby, eyes welling up with tears at how gentle and caring she was. She was his perfect person, and he was too afraid to realize it.

“You remember the deal Barnes, I pushed this baby out without any help, you have to play another show” I felt my cheeks turn deep red, why did I let her dictate my life again?

***

I had put the word out there after practicing for hours a day, familiarizing myself with the guitar I had long since given up. The word spread like wildfire, tickets to the show selling out within minutes. A band I had been helping had offered to help me make the show a reality. The production wasn't going to be anything over the top, it was more about the music.

“Big show's tonight, how're you feeling” Y/N was helping me figure out what to wear. I wanted to be comfortable, but I also wanted to show that I was coming back.
“Nervous, afraid something's gonna go wrong and it'll all crash and burn before my eyes” I smirked as she rolled her eyes at me.
“You're going to be amazing, I can see it now” She tossed a shirt at me, it was one I used to wear during shows constantly.

 

The venue was almost filled by the time we arrived, fans were standing outside waiting to get down to their seats. Everyone I needed to see were all waiting in a room, ready to get the show on and have fun.

“This is it baby” Y/N took my hand and lead us inside through the side door. Steve and Krista were talking softly, the baby resting against her chest gently.
“I'm glad you guys could make it” I hugged Steve first, squeezing a little harder than normal to make a point.
“We wouldn't miss this for the world, though little Aiden seems to have other ideas” Her smile was bright again as I hugged her gently, being careful of the baby.

 

We were going on in five minutes, my nerves from before had skyrocketed. What if something happened while someone was on stage? What if the speakers didn't work?

 

Matt's arm wrapped around my shoulders as he walked us to the stairs that lead up onto the stage, this was it.

Brian, Johnny, and Brooks followed us up onto the stage, taking their places as we turned to face the crowd. They were screaming, cheering our names. Matt took the mic with a smirk, waiting for me to step up to my own. The strings no longer felt foreign beneath my fingers, it all felt right.

“This is a song that Matt and I wrote together, and we're gonna play it for you tonight” I signaled for Brooks to start, showtime.

***

“Baby, I can't believe it” I was staring down at the letter, I was nominated for an award at the Grammy's, what the hell.
“I knew you could do it, now get dressed or we're gonna be late meeting my parents” Y/N kissed my cheek and headed down to the bedroom.

Life worked in mysterious ways sometimes, whether it be that life takes away a limb and forces you to rebuild, or you get nominated for an award for best album. Here's to life.