A Shaking Struggle
Pairing: Doctor Strange X Reader (gender neutral)
Description: It’s lunch date time and you pick to go to a Japanese restaurant for sushi. But there is one problem: because of his hands, Stephen can’t use chopsticks.
Warnings: light swearing
Word Count: 1.6K
A/N: THE IDEA FOR THIS HIT ME LIKE A TRUCK AND I NEEDED TO WRITE IT ASAP! IM ACTUALLY SOBBING AT HOW ADORABLLY EMBARESSED HE WOULD BE! Enjoy lol. Also special thanks to my friend Hailey for being my beta reader for this one <3
Masterlist | Fic Reading Recs | Ao3 | Quotev | Coffee
Walking through Greenwich Village always gave you excitement, knowing that the New York sanctum was in the area. It was also just a generally nice place to be in the city, so walking on your own to go see Stephen was always relatively peaceful. As you walked, the afternoon sun added warmth to your enthusiasm. Pretty soon you could see the sanctum in the distance, the recognizable window on the roof standing out among the other buildings. After a few minutes, you found yourself on its doorstep ready for your lunch date with its protector.
You woke up to a text from him that morning which said: I’m off in the afternoon, lunch?
No “good morning” or no “how are you this morning?”. Blunt and straight to the point, but still with his charm. You had laughed at it and replied with a simple Okay! and made sure your afternoon was cleared. Most of the time the doctor was occupied with his mystical work, but when free time came up for him he would let you know right away and ask you to hang out.
Before you could knock, you were suddenly already inside with a rush of wind. The split second of confusion passed once you realized you were in Stephen’s office, finding him at his desk behind a book and a cup of tea wearing casual clothes. You regained your balance and held back a laugh.
“Hi!” He said with that cheeky smile, looking like he did not just teleport you from the front door into his office.
“I thought I told you not to do that,” You said, the laugh in your voice coming through. “It’s dizzying.”
“Well, it’s funny.” He gave you an innocent look, one that you could not resist smiling at.
“So, you ready for lunch?”
“Yeah, I just finished up some reading.” He closed the book and put it on a tall stack on the edge of his desk. “Where do you want to go?” He asked before taking a sip of his tea.
“Oh! There’s a sushi restaurant just down the street that I haven’t been to. I heard it’s really good!”
Stephen sputtered into his teacup. A sudden jerk to his hand added to the event, his shaking hand giving out and forcing him to put down the cup. You watched a little tea splash out onto the desk. He cleared his throat and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
Stephen looked back up at you, “Yeah, I’m good. Sure, sushi. Let’s go!”
You smiled at him and held back a little noise of excitement. He got up from his desk and came to join you, casually offering you a hand and saying “Lead the way,” before you pulled him off to exit his office and back out into the busy street.
A bowl of miso soup sat in front of Stephen. He had abandoned the spoon and resorted to drinking it right out of the bowl, which he saw you doing as well which brought a feeling of comfort. Staring down at it, he saw his own reflection on the surface thanks to the lighting of the restaurant. It was like staring down into a bowl of his own shame and insecurity.
When you had suggested sushi, Stephen tried not to choke on his drink. Sushi, Japanese restaurant, Asian food. Insecurity had overcome him in a wave. He liked Asian food, loved it, but he did not want to eat it in front of someone else. But he didn’t want to say no to you. The look of excitement in your eyes was something he never wanted to say no to. You looked like you really wanted sushi. So he decided that he had to suck it up.
He tried to distract himself. Talking with you was the best thing he could do for himself, hearing you talk eased him slightly. But he found himself zoning out, forgetting what he had asked you mere seconds ago and some of your words not making sense to him.
Stephen had always been a tad insecure about his shaking hands, often forgetting about it thanks to his mystical work. But he had never been so overcome with the feeling until now. When he was in front of the person that he was so smitten with, one that he wanted to impress and charm.
But the little paper package that was sitting on the table to his right was not going to let him impress you today.
The focus that it requires to steady his hands with magic was difficult to do when he was as nervous as he felt now. Just the presence of you was throwing things off as well, so your existence was not helping at all.
He was a master of the mystic arts and he could not steady his hands because he was too nervous. Goddammit, he thought.
“I’ve been feeling so tired, work hasn’t been kind to me.”
Stephen looked up at you and pretended like he heard everything you said. He nodded while taking another sip of his soup. He tried so hard to naturally steady his hand around the little bowl, but somehow, his hands shook harder. He desperately tried not to spill the soup.
Stephen was caught off guard, “Hmm?”
“You seem tired, too.”
“Oh, yeah. I am. Been busy. Uh, things have been crazy.”
Stephen began to talk about a few things that had come up for him recently. Seeing you genuinely interested in what he was saying, resting your chin on your palm while looking up at him with sweet eyes, was enough to ease his nerves just a little. And the talking helped as well, he made sure to exaggerate just a tiny bit to stroke his own ego.
But then a waiter came over with your orders of food. A litter verity of maki rolls, some nigiri pieces, and tempera pieces in a little basket. The way your eyes lit up made Stephen smile, but there was a hint of hesitation on his face.
Any trace of comfort was gone from him and you were already opening your packet of chopsticks.
Shit, he thought.
He went to pick up his own.
You were so hungry and so excited that you already had your chopsticks ready. Everything looked so good you did not know where to start. You looked between everything, “Okay, what one do we try first?”
You heard the clatter of wood on the table. Looking across the table, Stephen had dropped his chopsticks. There was this look of dread on his face. He then quickly picked them back up again, tore the two sticks apart with a frustrated jerk, and tried to place them in the correct position between his fingers.
He was struggling to even hold them.
Then you realized that for all the time you have known this man, from dating for a couple of months to the time of being friends before that, you have never seen this man with a pair of chopsticks. The reason was obvious once you remembered the state of his hands.
“Do you... do you need some help there?” You asked, words laced with a laugh that threatened to burst out.
“No no, I’m fine.”
You could tell that it was not fine.
He had managed to place each of the sticks in a correct and comfortable position, but it looked like it took some effort to even keep them in place. You seriously doubted he could pick something up with those.
“You sure?” You asked, trying oh so hard not to laugh.
Stephen let out a heavy sigh and put the chopsticks down. “Okay, I promise you I know how to use chopsticks. I just avoid them cause it’s not fun watching me struggle,”
“You could have just told me,” You replied, still desperately holding in a laugh. But the smirk and growing smile on your face was betraying you.
“Cause it’s embarrassing,” He said in a low tone, rubbing his forehead in the self-annoyance.
This poor man had this look in his blue eyes resembling that of a helpless puppy.
“Stephen, it’s okay. You can use your hands. It’s actually considered alright.” You giggled. You put your chopsticks down and picked up a roll with your fingers, just to make him feel more comfortable.
He sighed relief and a weight was visibly lifted from his shoulders. You had not noticed the tightness to him until it was gone, you assumed it was from him being tired from work. He picked up a roll with his fingers himself and you both tried it together. After mutual agreement of how good the food was, you both continued to chat in-between bites.
“When I was first studying in Kathmandu, I was mostly fine because most food is just eaten with your hands. But when it came to chopsticks, I gave up and resorted to spoons and forks.”
“So you were the white guy eating with a fork?” You snickered.
“Hey, I told you. I know how to use them! I’m just physically challenged, okay.”
You finally let that laugh out and he ended up laughing along with you.
“Wait, aren’t you able to steady your hands a little though? Use a bit of magic?”
“Too nervous. Can’t hold it properly.”
You raised your eyebrow, “Doctor Stephen Strange, nervous? Wow, that’s new.”
“It’s your fault.”
“I make you nervous?”
He shrugged shyly.
You found that fact very amusing. That the person he was dating, you, could make him so nervous and make him fear embarrassing himself in front of could break down his huge ego. He’s the cutest, you thought.
42 notes · View notes