New York, 2015 – Some time after the events of Age of Ultron
The sound of hasty footsteps echoed through the street. You could feel the shocks that went through your body each time your feet hit the pavement and the fatigue that slowly nested into your muscles. Your own ragged breathing filled your ears, but you weren’t thinking about quitting. Not even close.
“Stop!” you yelled at the gangster running in front of you. Your team had been following him for several weeks now, but it wasn’t until several hours ago that he had made a move.
The young man turned his head for a short moment, looking at you as he crossed the street, manoeuvring through the honking cars in the traffic of a late Friday afternoon in New York. Panic frowned his brow and you knew it wouldn’t be long before he’d make a mistake and you’d be able to take him down.
“I’m in pursuit,” you spoke into your earpiece. “He’s running east on 57th Street,” you panted, evading several civilians and jumping over the garbage cans the man had thrown before your feet. “He should be coming up to Eight Avenue right now.”
“Got it,” it sounded in your head as you reached the end of the street. “I’ll pin him down at Ninth. Be careful, [Last Name]. We still don’t know if he’s carrying a gun.”
“If he had, he would have already used it,” you said, running through the now moving pack of cars, showing your FBI badge to each and every driver that honked at you to get out of the way.
The man rushed across the street, only barely making it to the other side when an angry taxi driver nearly drove his socks off. You approached the taxi with full speed and slid across the hood, feeling the metal dent underneath your weight. You quickly landed beside the car and continued your pursuit.
You advanced on him for the next couple of hundred feet, but as soon as the man reached Ninth Avenue, your partner – Nick – appeared from the shadows of an alley and knocked the man to the ground with a tackle. They rolled on the pavement together, until Nick was able to push the man’s hands behind his back and pull him up, cuffing him so he couldn’t move.
“I’m not saying shit,” the man spat. “You’ll get nothin’ out of me.”
“I’d tell you, you have the right to remain silent, but we both know you’re gonna tell us everything in exchange for a deal,” Nick told the gangster, forcefully pushing him out in front of him as big, black SUV’s pulled up beside you, their sirens humming along with the other sounds of chaos that filled your ears. “Boys, he’s all yours,” he told your colleagues when they stepped out of their cars. “We’ve got a talker.”
“No I ain’t!” the man objected. “I ain’t no snitch,” he said, looking frantically around him, not even directing his words to you, but rather to his friends he thought might hear him.
You watched as the men in suits took the gangster away from you, congratulating you – but mostly Nick – on the catch. They told you they’d take him to headquarters on the other side of the city.
“You do realize I did most of the work, right?” you said once the other agents were gone, leaving you and Nick alone to go back to your car that Nick had parked at the other side of Ninth Avenue. You raised an eyebrow at your partner as you walked through the busy streets together. “I chased him down half 57th.”
“I know. I’m sorry. You did great a job, like always. I’ll make sure to mention that in the report. Right after the description of how I tackled the guy.”
You laughed, shaking your head. “Show off.”
Nick put his arm around you and pulled you against him lovingly. “You love me.”
“What are you doing?” you frowned, quickly shrugging off his embrace, hoping no one – especially not your colleagues – had seen it.
“What? Can’t I touch my girlfriend? You did great, babe. Honestly.”
“You know how they feel about this at the office. If they find out we’re screwed.”
“Ah, relax,” Nick sighed, walking beside you all the way back to your car. “They probably still think you hate my ass.”
“I’m really starting to wonder why I don’t,” you said, raising your eyebrow at him playfully. You waited for him to open up the car and quickly jumped in, knowing that even though Nick drove you crazy sometimes, you made a great team together.
It took you nearly half an hour to get back to the FBI HQ in New York. The traffic was still crazy, but being born and raised in the Big Apple you knew exactly how to avoid the busiest points. When you arrived at your desk – Nick giving you a meaningful sideway glance – it was remarkably quiet, but if you thought being back at the office would be easier than running down the streets trying to stop a dangerous criminal…
You were wrong.
“[Last Name], Davis, my office, now,” it sounded from the back of the room. Your boss was standing in the door opening of his office, nodding at Nick and you to come to his desk.
You could hear the seriousness in his voice and you exchanged a quick look with Nick, swallowing hard as you pulled off your jacket and put your service gun into your desk. “You don’t think he knows, do you?” you asked your partner as you walked towards your boss’ office together.
“Nah,” Nick shrugged it off, a boyish grin curling his lips – like always when he was about to make a joke, “besides if it would really come to that I’m sure you’ll enjoy your transfer to Boston.”
You laughed softly, shaking your head before hitting him on the shoulder. “Dream on.”
“Have a seat,” your boss cut in right as Nick softly hit you back. “First off, congratulations on bringing in Morris,” he continued, gesturing the both of to sit down. “I heard you chased him down half New York. Good job. You know I’d let you handle the interrogation, but something’s come up.”
“What?” Nick exclaimed. “We’ve been on this guy’s tail for weeks!”
“Calm down,” you said seriously, laying your hand on Nicky’s arm, feeling the tension in his muscles as the anger flowed through his veins. His temper was always a problem, but fortunately for you, you could always calm him down. At least until now. “Sir?”
“Something important has come up. Have a look,” your boss said, pulling a file from his desk. A large A was stamped on the front. The same A that was used as the logo for the Avengers.
“What is this?” you asked, letting your eyes go over the words that were inside.
“It’s a mission. Yours in fact.”
You laughed, handing the file to Nick, who was impatiently waiting for you to finish reading. “This is not a mission. This is a TV show script, sir. A reality TV show with Captain America. Mr. Right?” you frowned, thinking the script resembled The Bachelor show you had watched when you were younger. “Can it get any more cheesy?” you said, thinking your boss was joking.
“This is serious, [Last Name]. The Avengers are opening up their headquarters for cameras to improve their reputation.”
“And they’re using the Captain’s love life to do so?” Nick asked, a confused, nonunderstanding frown covering his brow. “Even if this wasn’t the stupidest idea ever – I can’t believe Rogers would actually agree with this – what does this have to do with us?”
“We intercepted a message from Hydra. They plan to infiltrate the show – must likely as one of the girls to get close to Captain Rogers – and kill him. I need the two of you to stop that.”
“Alright,” you nodded. “So we’ll be placed as one of the crewmembers. Keep an eye on the Captain and the girls,” you said, looking back at Nick for a second, knowing he thought the whole show was as dumb and shallow as you did. Mr. Right sounded like a bad – really bad – movie from the eighties.
“Not exactly. The application for one of the fifteen girls ended weeks ago, but we were able to convince the directors of the danger and were able to get you a place as one of them.”
“Me?” you asked surprised, feeling a soft, nervous laugh escape your throat. “I don’t really think I’m the right person for the job, sir,” you swallowed hard, suddenly feeling awfully aware of how unladylike you always looked – which wasn’t necessarily a style choice, but simply the way you were. You were a tomboy. You liked to climb trees when you were younger, got yourself into fights and had never – ever – wore a dress. It was why you were such a good agent.
“I’ll admit, you weren’t our first pick, but agent Garcia is away on her honeymoon and agent Sanders unfortunately is still recovering from a gunshot wound. We want to keep it within the team. The less people knowing about this, the better.”
“What exactly would [Name] be doing?” Nick asked, finally putting down the file, leaving the picture of the Captain open on the desk, looking up at you with his clear blue eyes.
“What all the other girls would be doing. Try to win the Captain’s heart.”
“It’s an undercover mission, [Last Name]. We don’t expect you to share a bed with him. Only to fit in with the other girls and keep him interested long enough to expose the Hydra agent. If you do a good job this might even mean a promotion. For the both of you.”
“Do I even get some time to think about it?”
“The show begins tonight, so you have… five minutes before the makeover team gets here,” your boss said, looking on his watch, before pushing himself from his seat and gesturing you to do the same and get out of his office.
“Come on,” Nick whispered, getting up from the chair and waiting on you before he left the room, walking all the way back towards your own desk before he started talking again. “I know how you must feel about this – I know you better than anyone here – but I think you should do this.”
“What? No. I can’t do this, Nick,” you sighed. “You know what kind of girls will be there. I can’t fit in. I’d be the black sheep. He’ll never pick me. Besides… What about us?”
“Don’t worry, babe,” Nick smiled sadly. “I’ll be honest, I’m not really looking forward to seeing you together with Captain America – God’s righteous man – but this could be big for us. That promotion could mean more action like today. That’s what you want right?”
“It’ll be fine. I’ll be right there to kick his ass if he makes a wrong move.”
You smiled shortly, seeing two men in deep blue designer suits coming into the room, carrying bright pink suitcases. You took in a deep breath and nodded. “Okay, let’s do this.”
You spent the next several hours in hair and makeup, getting peels, masks and trims. The two professional hairdressers and makeup artists were busy talking to themselves and once in a while commented on how bad your current hair looked on you or how on earth you could have gone through the day without makeup or nail polish.
It was quite amusing at first, until slowly but surely you saw yourself change in front of the mirror in the girls bathroom – where they had locked you in until you were ready to be ‘shown to the world’. They plucked your eyebrows, straightened your hair, waxed your legs and made you a completely different person from head to toe. When they were done and you looked at yourself in the mirror – wearing high heels and a fitted cocktail dress – it was almost as if you were watching someone else. The only thing that was still the same were the [eye colour] eyes staring back at you; judging you for the person you had always told yourself you’d never become.
One of them.
“Perfect,” one of men said, nearly clapping his hands in excitement. “You look absolutely ravishing.”
“Thanks… I guess,” you mumbled, letting your eyes glide over your face, not sure whether that was such a good thing. All the things that had made you, you had been wiped away, covered with a thick layer of makeup. You took in a deep breath and let a smile curl the unfamiliar, coloured lips.
“Do try to be happy dear,” the other said, wiping the carefully styled hair from your face. “You look beautiful and it’s not every day a girl gets a chance to date Captain America himself.”
You nodded, a sigh escaping your lips. “I just don’t like lying. Especially not to people who don’t deserve it.”
“Don’t worry. He’ll understand. And who knows, you might even start to like him.”
“Right,” you said, your brow shortly furrowing upward, thinking it was probably best if Nick didn’t hear that.
“You’re good to go,” the other man cut in, stuffing all kinds of beauty products and makeup boxes into a pink bag. “There will be makeup artists on the show who’ll do your hair and makeup for when the camera is rolling, but in case you also want to look the part off camera we’ve selected some products that are easy to use.”
“Don’t mention it, love. Now go. You still have a bag to pack and I doubt they’ll let you keep your own clothes.”
“What’s wrong with my clothes?” you frowned, getting the pink bag from them before you walked out of the restroom.
The two friends looked at each other and laughed shortly, shaking their heads. “The Captain will have his hands full with that one…”
“There you are,” it sounded for behind you. You quickly turned around, feeling your styled hair move with you as you moved. “Wow…” Nick swallowed hard, looking you up and down, stopping at your waist that was finally visible and the curves even he had never seen. “You look–”
“Don’t say it,” you cut him short, pushing the bag full of female products into his hands. You walked past him, trying to remain balanced on the high heels you had been given. Two suitcases stood beside your desk and you sighed, knowing someone else had done the packing for you. You doubted they had thought about your comfort for any of it. “Let’s just go.”
“It’ll be fine, [Name],” Nick said, getting your suitcases and rushing after you as you made your way towards the elevator. “I’ll be there as one of the crewmembers. I’ll make sure he keeps his distance.”
You nodded, though barely hearing what he said. All you could focus on was the woman staring back at you through the mirroring surface of the elevator. You looked all grown up. Sophisticated. As you looked closer you realized the makeup wasn’t that bad. Pretty even. The dress suited your body and showed off every aspect of you, you had tried to hide for so long.
“You look amazing, babe,” Nick dared to say, watching you observe yourself with a doubtful expression on your face.
“So they keep telling me.”
“You do. If he won’t pick you, he’s an idiot…”
You spent the rest of the way down in silence. A limousine was waiting for you in front of the building and you had to oppress the urge to sigh again, knowing A) it wasn’t very lady like and B) you couldn’t keep sighing every time something cheesy happened. You wouldn’t have any air left in your lungs if you did.
A young girl was sitting in the large, tainted glass limo, waving and smiling joyfully at you as you opened the door. You were ready to turn around and run away, realizing there was no way you could pull this off, but Nick gently pushed you inside the car, telling you in a whisper that you’d do great. You weren’t so sure about that yourself, but as you seated yourself opposite of the young girl, you smiled, hoping she didn’t see your nerves.
On the way to the Avengers Headquarters she introduced herself and explained she was one of the crewmembers that would make sure you could do your job without any obstruction. She gave you all the things you needed; a layout of the HQ, filming schedules, closed off and restricted areas, a detailed description of all the girls and a key to all of their rooms. She gave you more information on the show and its activities, which didn’t only resemble the Bachelor, but was exactly like it – only this time it wasn’t a rich idiot thinking a show like that could give him an honest and sincere girlfriend, but Captain America himself.
You let your eyes shift over the pieces of paper in your hand. It was all a bit overwhelming, but you were a fast learner, so a couple of hours alone to study everything she had told you and had given you would be enough for you to see the total picture.
“If there is anything you need, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. We ask the girls to turn in their mobile phones – just to make sure they have no contact with the outside world, or with the Captain – but I arranged for you to have a disposable phone. It will be in the nightstand in your room,” the girl – Claire – said. “Any questions?”
“Good. We’re here.”
You frowned, turning around to look outside the window. You hadn’t even realized the limo had started moving. You saw the Avengers Headquarters a couple of hundred feet behind you. The bright lights shining through the windows reached out towards the sky and illuminated the red carpet that had been laid out for you.
“Now listen carefully,” Claire said, making you look at her again. “All your stuff will be brought to your room, including any… gear you might need,” she smiled, though her eyes were blanc, knowing fully well that if a HYDRA agent was amongst the girls, your gear – your guns and bulletproof vest – would be needed. “I urge you not to take it out of the room. As long as the cameras are on we expect you to behave just like all of the other girls. We’ll try to keep you in the show as long as we can, but the Captain has been very clear about his intentions and he’s the one making all the choices.”
You nodded. “I understand. Don’t worry, I’ll be as discreet as possible.”
“Good. Your colleague will be posing as part of the camera crew. So he’ll be able to keep a close eye on the girls even when you can’t. It’s probably for the best if you talk as little as possible.”
“Now, as soon as you get out of this car cameras will follow you until you go to bed tonight. It might be a bit awkward at first, but you’ll get used to it.”
“What if he doesn’t like me?”
Claire smiled, slightly tilting her head as if talking to a young puppy. “Don’t be silly. You’re young, beautiful,” she said, waving your concern away. “What’s not to like? Now go, or you’ll mess up the schedule.”
You took in a deep breath, wiping the hair from your face before getting out of the car. As soon as you had one foot out of the door you could feel the hot lights of the cameras. You let a smile curl your lips, glancing towards the group of girls that was standing just before the entrance, all waiting for the last one – you – to come out of her limo. You could feel their gazes on your back as you turned towards the cameras, answering each and every question that was thrown at your head.
Claire had given you an alter ego. You were still [Name] [Last Name], but instead of an FBI agent you were a journalist. Which wasn’t really that bad, considering all the research you did on a day to day basis and all the reports you had to write. You could easily talk your way out of a conversation about that job.
After a few minutes the interview was over and you were asked to walk towards the other girls. You did so nervously, putting one foot before the other, hoping – praying – you wouldn’t fall flat on your face for all of them – all of America – to see. You could see them stare you up and down; weighing how big of a – if at all – threat you’d be. A smile curled your lips as you approached them, but none of them said a word and instead turned their attention towards the door that was still closed.
“Hi,” it suddenly sounded beside you. “I’m Heather,” the girl standing next to you spoke again, looking at you from the corner of her eyes. “You seem nervous. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” you whispered back, kindly nodding at her words. “Thank you.”
“Exciting, right?” she sighed, relieved you had said something back. “I couldn’t sleep all night.”
You smiled, wanting to tell her it would all be fine – like everyone had been telling you – but before you could, you could hear the doors squeak open.
All cameras were immediately pointed at the door and you swallowed hard, fidgeting with your fingers as a handsome, blonde man stepped out. You recognized him right away and even though you hadn’t thought you’d be very impressed by him, you couldn’t help but feel that there was something special about him.
“Ladies,” the tall super soldier said, stepping out of the safety of the building, looking awfully nervous – just like you had felt all evening. He let his eyes shift passed all the girls, stopping at you. He took in a deep breath and smiled. “I’m Steve. Steve Rogers… Welcome.”
TO BE CONTINUED...
|Fluff! My latest story that bring the Bachelor, Miss congeniality and the Selection together|
A cold wind cut through your suit as you moved through the warren of streets called Brooklyn, hiding in the shadows of night. There had been a time you were afraid of the dark, but those days had long since passed. Now, as an agent of Hydra, you had made the darkness your home.
“I had a really nice time today, Captain,” a woman’s voice echoed against the buildings; the sound filling your ears. The woman fumbled with her keys, looking up at the tall man before her.
“Yes,” he said, nodding at her words. “I did too.”
“Thank you for bringing me home. You didn’t have to do that.”
“I wanted to.”
She smiled, her cheeks blushing a soft red. “Do you want to come up? I–I could make us coffee?”
The Captain smiled back, though shaking his head. “I’d better not. I have a busy day tomorrow.”
“Okay, I understand. Call me?”
You quickly ran closer, hiding in the dark as the two said their goodbyes and the super soldier walked away, leaving his date to go upstairs alone. When you were sure he had disappeared, you started your mission. You had followed them the entire date, trying to determine how close they were. They clearly had already gone out a couple of times before and it was obvious he cared about her (though you didn’t think it was awfully romantic). Cared enough, hopefully, to go after her if Hydra kidnapped her.
When Hydra kidnapped her.
You made your way to the back of the building and looked around one final time before running up the side of the building. You jumped against the wall, pushing yourself into the air to reach the fire escape several feet above the ground. Though it seemed impossible for any normal man, let alone woman, you had been trained well. From a young age you had been part of Hydra, training night and day to become the asset you were today. You were no Winter Soldier. But you were the next best thing.
With ease you pulled yourself up to the metal stairs, for a moment staring at the glooming moon above you, which almost seemed to guide your way up. You silently continued your ascend and carefully counted the floors, making sure you had reached the right window when you forced your way into the apartment of the super soldier’s girlfriend.
The window wasn’t barred and with a few strong pulls it opened, giving you access to what seemed like a bedroom; a double bed and large closet standing on the other side of the room. You climbed through the small window and lowered yourself quietly onto the wooden floor. A voice sounded from behind the door and you quickly ran to the closet, hiding against the wall in the shadows.
When no one walked in, you took in a deep breath, knowing everything was still going according to plan. You continued your way through the apartment and waited for the right moment to strike and sedate the young woman that was roaming through her living room.
You watched as she walked into the kitchen and turned her back to you, giving you the opportunity to sneak up on her from behind. You reached for the stun gun on your belt and pressed the charge button on the back, pointing it on the woman as you silently moved forward. Your finger was already on the trigger, when the doorbell rang and the woman turned around.
For a moment you stood eye to eye with her, both not moving or even making a sound. You were the first to be back to your senses, but when you wanted to walk back and turn around to make a sprint towards the window in the bedroom, you tripped on something large behind you. The stun gun fired, hitting the still shocked woman a feet away from you against the head.
You both dropped to the floor, a loud thud echoing through the small apartment. You groaned softly, rubbing your sore arm and scowling at the fat cat that rubbed his head against your leg, meowing as it seated itself on your lap.
“Really?” you mumbled, pulling yourself from the floor, not paying any attention to the disapproving sounds the animal gave you as you pushed it aside.
You made your way into the kitchen, seeing the Captain’s girlfriend lying unconscious beside the stove. She had hit her head against the counter, a large bruise forming on her forehead, but she was breathing. Which meant Hydra could still use her against the Captain.
When you were busy dragging the body towards the bedroom window, the bell rang again, followed by a soft knock.
“Is everything okay?” it sounded from behind the door. You quickly turned your head and swallowed hard when you recognized the voice. It was the Captain. “Are you alright?”
You needed to think fast. If you didn’t come up with a plan in the next few seconds he would force the door and enter the apartment – the worried super soldier that he was. If he saw you, you would have failed your mission and Hydra would never get this close to him again. No. You couldn’t let that happen.
“Yes!” you cried out, pulling the woman back into the kitchen, hiding her behind the counter. You quickly searched your own pockets, looking for the little device your boss had given you for disguises. “Just a moment,” you continued, activating the small, circular metal plate. It scanned every inch of the super soldier’s girlfriend and gave a soft, agreeing beep when it was done.
You had never used it before and when you placed it on the side of your head you didn’t feel any difference. It wasn’t until you looked at yourself in the mirror that you realized different eyes were staring back at you.
The small device had altered your looks, making your features similar to the unconscious woman laying behind the counter. It was truly magnificent. Even as you touched your own face there were no glitches. You tested a smile on the unfamiliar lips and nodded at yourself, hoping the voice deformer worked as well as the face deformer did.
In a rush you rolled the skin tight Hydra suit from your body and pulled out one of the dresses the woman, apparently named Sarah, had in her closet. You quickly made your way back, straightening the fabric – feeling uncomfortable in the feminine outfit – and opened the door.
“Hey,” you smiled, hearing yourself speak in a different voice. “I didn’t expect you back so soon. I thought you had a busy day tomorrow.”
“I do,” the super soldier smiled back, “but I have time for one drink…” he said meaningfully.
For a moment the silence lingered between you and the Captain and you frowned slightly, wondering if he was hinting at something you should have known.
“Anyway,” he continued nervously. “I was wondering if your offer to make me coffee still stands?”
“Oh!” you exclaimed, remembering what Sarah had offered him earlier. “Yes, but I–” you paused, knowing the real Sarah was still laying behind the counter with a large egg-shaped bruise on her forehead. Think fast, you told yourself. “You know what,” you continued, walking out onto the hallway and slowly closing the door behind you. “How about we get a cup of coffee? I totally forgot to go to the supermarket this morning.”
“There’s a small café just around the corner,” you remembered. “I’m sure they serve coffee as well.”
He gestured you should lead the way and you nodded, walking down the stairs with the Captain following you all the way down. Once you were outside you hesitated for a short moment, trying to remember which way the café was.
“Something wrong?” the super soldier asked, walking beside you once you continued your way.
“Oh, no. I was just thinking what a beautiful night it is,” you quickly made up, pointing at the moon. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this close.”
“You should have seen it when there were less buildings here.”
“There are also good things now, right?”
“Sure,” he nodded.
“The coffee must be a lot better.”
He laughed softly. “Among others, yes.”
“Oh, and the internet,” you said, pointing at the café on the other side of the road. You crossed the street together and entered the small building. “That must have been helpful for you.”
“Very helpful, yes,” he replied as you walked further inside, seeing several men and women sitting behind the bar and around some of the tables that were scattered around the café. “I’ll get us something to drink. Why don’t you find us somewhere to sit. Coffee?”
“Oh no,” you shook your head. “I don’t drink coffee.”
The Captain frowned. “I thought you said it was your favourite drink.”
Shit… “I did? I–I mean I did. I just try not to drink it before going to bed.”
He laughed softly. “We could also just have a beer.”
“Yes,” you exclaimed, nodding at his words. Gods knew you could use a drink. “Make it a double.”
“Coming right up.” He walked towards the bar and ordered you both a large glass of beer, while you walked passed what seemed like regular guests and seated yourself at the back of the room.
You let your eyes shift from the bar to all the tables and observed everyone shortly, before the Captain returned with your drinks. Especially the man closest to you, drinking whiskey all by himself, spiked your attention. His green eyes had locked on you and you could see them take you in from head to toe, an amused and lustful smile curling his lips. You shook your head in an annoyed sigh, hoping he wouldn’t cause any trouble.
“There you go,” the super soldier said, placing your beer in front of you. “I didn’t know what you liked, but the bartender said this is the best he’s got.”
“Thank you, Captain” you smiled. “I’m sure it’s fine.”
He laughed. “I thought we had agreed you’d call me Steve.”
“Oh,” you swallowed hard, quickly taking a sip from your drink, knowing it would take a lot more alcohol for you to be any good at things like this. “Yes, of course. I–I’m sorry, Steve.”
“It’s okay. I’m used to it. How’s the beer.”
“Good. I think the bartender was right.”
Steve smiled, taking a sip from his own glass as well. He nodded in approval and asked you if you had any plans for the week. You had to come up with something fast, but if he even noticed your hesitation, he didn’t say anything about it. You tried to answer as evasive as possible, knowing any wrong answer could lead to your exposure. Though as the night progressed you started to realize the Captain didn’t know as much about the real Sarah as you had thought at first. After a while you even thought they had never seen each other before until today.
You talked for quite some time, in which you started to feel more and more comfortable as Sarah. You even started to share things about yourself; things you hadn’t shared with anyone before. It made it easier for you to keep the conversation going and in turn you learned a lot more about the man that was Captain America; your biggest enemy. Things Hydra didn’t even know about him.
“Up for another beer?” he asked when you had both finished your first glass.
You nodded at his words and watched him as he pushed himself from his seat. He was ready to get you another beer, when the man who had observed you quietly from his lonely place behind the table next to you finally spoke up.
“That’s a nice piece of ass you’ve got there, Captain” the man said drunkenly, pointing his glass at Steve and then to you.
“Excuse me?” you and Steve both said.
“I said: That’s a nice piece of ass you’ve got there,” the man smiled, licking his lips, eying you again with a vulgar glare.
You bit down your teeth hard, feeling the anger surge through your veins. Clenching your hands into fists you took in a deep breath and let a smile curl your lips.
“Don’t pay any attention to him,” you told Steve. “He’s clearly drunk.”
“That doesn’t mean he should be so disrespectful.”
You laughed softly, thinking it was cute he actually thought people like the drunk man had any respect for anyone. “He doesn’t ‘know any better,” you said, scowling at the man when Steve looked the other way. “You were getting us another drink, remember?”
Steve nodded slowly, grabbing the glasses from the table, but keeping his eyes on the drunk man as he made his way towards the bar. As soon as the Captain had moved away from you and had reached the bar, the man stood up from his table and stumbled towards you. He seated himself beside you and leaned awfully close to you. You could smell the alcohol on his breath as he leaned even closer and sniffed your hair. The Captain watched everything with a tensed jaw, but you slowly shook your head at him, telling him you were fine.
“Listen, asshole,” you told the man in a whisper, when Steve had turned around towards the bar to order you some drinks. “I’m only going to say this once,” you continued, getting the man’s hand and flipping it around underneath the table, pulling it down in one swift motion. A soft scream welled from his throat as you flexed his muscles further than they were intended for. “If you call me a nice piece of ass one more time, I’ll break every single bone in your scrawny, little body.”
“Ah,” The man laughed, “you’re a girl who knows how to handle a man… I like it.”
You snorted, shaking your head. “Look, we both know how this is going to end if you don’t back off, so why don’t you just make it easier for both of us and leave me the hell alone.”
“What if I don’t want to? You think I can’t handle Mister America over there? You clearly need a real man, not some guy in tights.”
“Well, be my guest,” you said, letting go of the man’s hand and nodding at Steve, who was walking towards you with two glasses of beer in his hand. “Entertain me.”
Confusion frowned the man’s brow for a moment, but it disappeared quickly when Steve re-joined you at the table and politely asked the man to leave. The man stood up from his place beside you and seemed ready to indeed leave you be. As you had expected though, he didn’t.
When Steve was about to seat himself down, the man took a swing at the unexpecting super soldier and hit him hard against the jaw, nearly knocking him to the ground. You were surprised at the amount of force his punch had and you let out a soft scream, trying to sound surprised – like you thought the real Sarah would have done.
“No fighting in my bar!” someone yelled through the room, slamming an empty pitcher on the bar. “John, go home. You’ve had enough for today. I’d hate to call the cops on you again.”
The man stood in front of you for several more seconds, watching you worriedly take care of Steve. He soon realized he was playing a game he couldn’t win and made his way towards the bar, where he paid for the drinks he’d had and left without saying another word.
“Are you okay?” you asked the Captain, softly caressing the red spot on his jaw, where the man had hit him a lot harder than you had expected (and wanted).
“I’m fine,” he nodded, letting his eyes shift over your face. “Are you? He didn’t hurt you or anything, did he?”
“No. He got to you first. You know, this is the first time anyone has ever been punched over me….”
“Well, glad to be the first then.”
You laughed, shaking your head. “You were very heroic, but let’s not get you beaten up again.”
“What on earth did you say to him anyway?”
“That’s best not repeated.”
He laughed softly, nodding at your words and grimacing as a shot of pain went through his jaw. “You’ll have to tell me someday.”
The rest of the night went by with less excitement. You talked some more and finished your beer. When it was nearing midnight the Captain offered to walk you all the way up to your door, but knowing the real Sarah was probably still lying unconscious behind her kitchen counter, you shrugged away his kind offer. Not to mention: you didn’t have a key. You told him you could easily make it home yourself.
“Goodnight, Steve,” you smiled when you opened the door towards the staircase of Sarah’s apartment building
“Goodnight, Sarah,” he repeated your words. “I–I had a great time tonight,” he continued, sounding somewhat surprised.
“And you didn’t earlier?” you frowned, wondering if you might have been right when you thought there hadn’t been anything romantic between Steve and Sarah.
“That’s not what I––I mean…” he sighed. “You’re different. Different than I thought you were. I’m glad Natasha convinced me to go back.”
“That came out wrong,” he said nervously, evading his eyes from you and sighing softly.
“It’s okay,” you replied, laying your hand on his arms, looking into his deep blue eyes. “You’re different than I thought too.”
He smiled, slowly nodding at your words “I’ll call you.”
“Don’t get beaten up without me.”
“Can’t make any promises,” he laughed, watching you as you made your way up the stairs, towards Sarah’s apartment.
“Didn’t think so…” you mumbled to yourself when you were high enough and out of ear shot from the Captain. You quickly made your way towards the window on the end of the hall and peered outside, seeing him carelessly cross the street, his hands tucked into his pockets. He clearly was a happy man.
When he had disappeared from view, you leaned back against the wall and took in a deep breath, going over the events of today. Things hadn’t gone according to plan, but you weren’t sure yet if that was such a bad thing. Even though Steve might not have had any feelings for the real Sarah, it was clear he did have them for you. Your boss would not be happy you had nearly killed Sarah, but when he would find out you might even have something better, he’d be very pleased.
After all, if things kept going like this, you’d be handing him the Captain on a silver platter…
To be continued...
|A Steve x Reader series, which is one of my latest stories It's a bit darker than my normal work, but I hope you will still like it!|
At the old Avengers headquarters in New York
On your way to the captain’s old home, you had all introduced yourself properly. You still felt the lingering pressure of Wanda’s body against yours from where she had hugged you fiercely. The others hadn’t made you tell anything more than your name and where you were from, but with Wanda acting like she found something precious she had lost despite the situation, you assumed they had already formed an opinion about who you might be.
Wanda, of course, did want to know everything that had happened. Instead of confronting you in front of everyone, however, she had simply laid her hand on your shoulder and she had closed her eyes. You had felt her energy slipping into your mind even before her voice in your head told you to calm down and show her everything.
And so you had. From the day you had escaped the facility in Sokovia, to the day Hydra had found you again, and any other day in between and after that had earned you the scars that now adorned your body like little pieces of art.
Wanda hadn't said a word since only nodding once and mumbling something that sounded like ‘I'm sorry you had to go through that’. You, in turn, bit your tongue, knowing she hadn’t had it much easier. Especially not after losing Pietro. The image she had shown you of his broken body amongst the rubble of the destroyed city of Sokovia made you walk through the Avengers headquarters with a heavy heart.
You followed Steve and his team through the building, the glass panel walls guiding your way forward as they strode through the halls. All with an equal determinate gaze set on their faces. Eventually, the twisting halls led you toward a room that seemed to be a lab, or some other kind of workspace. Two men were arguing about something you didn’t quite understand, but as soon as the captain stepped into the room, they turned toward him.
“Mister Secretary,” Steve said with a clenched jaw, his eyes locked on the hologram of a grey-haired man that could be no one other than Thaddeus Ross. The same man that had deemed the captain and his team criminals for not agreeing with the Sokovia Accords. Despite all the hardship you had gone through, you were glad you hadn’t been around when everything had gone to shit for the Avengers. You had heard it hadn’t been very pretty.
It probably still wasn’t, judging from the tension in the room that was almost tangible.
You curled your fingers in the fabric of your jacket, watching the faded blue image of the secretary walking up to Steve. There was no energy radiating from the man’s skin, which told you he was definitely not here. He couldn’t do anything to harm them. Or you for that matter.
Traces of surprise lined Thaddeus’ eyes, but he quickly hid all of his emotions behind a trained mask of neutrality. You could only imagine him ball his hands into fists behind his back as he addressed the former head of the Avengers and his loyal friends.
“You’ve got some nerve,” he eventually said, glancing at each and every one of them, stopping at you for just a moment before resting his eyes on the captain, “I’ll give you that.”
“You could use some of that right now,” Natasha retorted instead, staring him down.
The secretary only barely narrowed his eyes at her, but you still caught it, swallowing hard underneath his scrutiny that wasn’t even directed at you. He walked a few steps closer to Steve and tilted his head just a little higher. Not that it really mattered. You didn’t think much of him to begin with. None of them did.
“The world is on fire and you think all is forgiven?” he asked, which to you didn’t really sound like a question he wanted answered. Steve of course, still did.
“I’m not looking for forgiveness and I’m way passed asking for permission.” His lips were pressed into a thin line and you could see the tension in his whole body, feeling it roll off of him like a crashing wave. “Earth just lost its best defender… so we’re here to fight. If you wanna stand in our way, we’ll fight you too.” Steve took a step toward Ross, meeting his gaze with equal resolve, not backing down for even a second.
“Arrest them,” the secretary said, turning to the dark-skinned man behind him.
Heavy braces were wrapped around the man’s legs and an unreadable expression covered his face. You hadn’t heard that much about what had went down here two years ago, but you did know who he was. You had seen Colonel James Rhodes on pictures only, but you had always been good with faces.
“All over it.” Rhodes nodded, though instead of listening to his superior, he swiped at the image of the secretary, making the hologram disappear. It was silent for a moment as the words that had been spoken still lingered between the walls. “That's a court-martial.” He eventually continued, a small smile curling your lips. “It's great to see you, Cap.”
“You too, Rhodey.”
The tension in the room disappeared as Steve and Natasha walked up to him, clasping his hand like old friends would. The others smiled as well and you let out a breath you didn’t know you had been holding.
You watched them in silence, observing their banter as they got reacquainted. Rhodes joked about how they looked like crap and must have had a rough couple of years. Sam, in turn, commented that the hotels they had been staying at weren’t exactly five star. You swallowed hard, knowing exactly how it felt to be on the run––having to look over your shoulder all the time. You glanced at Steve, realizing he was looking back at you.
There was a look on his face you couldn’t quite put your finger on. Something between interest and suspicion. Your heart started beating fast in your chest, but before the captain could decide on how he felt about you, someone walked into the room, making everyone turn their heads.
The man that entered the lab looked vaguely familiar. His hair was slightly graying at the roots, dark eyes examining the group of people around you with hope rather than hesitation. It took you a moment to register his features and work out who he was. But eventually, you did. He was no one other than Bruce Branner, the Hulk himself.
By then Natasha had already spoken his name, doing nothing to defuse the awkward tension that hung in the air like a heavy blanket, almost suffocating you. Whatever had happened between them, it was probably for the best if you stayed out of it. Of course, when Bruce started to explain why he was back and the captain and his team saw the connection between what had happened to Bruce and what had transpired a few hours ago in Waverly Station, eyes eventually turned to you.
Luckily for you though, they were too focused on coming up with a plan to defeat whoever Thanos was to grill you for more than the three sentences of explanation you gave Bruce and Rhodes about your presence. Steve’s eyes were on you the entire time though, his eyes scanning your face for some more clues about the past you were withholding from them. Your cheeks flushed red and you quickly evaded your eyes from him, focusing on the conversation around you.
“We gotta assume they're coming back, right?” Rhodes said after hearing the entire story from both Bruce and Wanda. He had listened to everything without asking much questions, but you could see the confusion burning behind his eyes.
It was exactly how you felt. The attack on New York was one thing, but this Thanos guy was something else. What did he even hope to gain? No one was going to thank him for killing half the Universe. So it wasn't praise he was looking for. Mabe it was retribution? Salvation?
You could only guess...
“And they can clearly find us,” Wanda said, waking you about your thoughts of impending doom and the end of the world. Her brow too was knitted together in thought. Everyone in the room seemed to try to wrap their heads around what was going on but were remarkably calm about it all. Which meant you had to be too.
“We need all hands on deck. Where's Clint?” Bruce asked, looking around the room as if to find the missing link in their team somewhere behind a chair.
“After the whole Accords situation, he and Scott took a deal. It's too tough on their families so they are under house arrest,” Natasha said.
“Ant-Man,” Steve answered, making you feel as left out as Bruce did as he worded your unspoken question.
“There's an Ant-Man and a Spider-Man?” No one answered and you listened in silence as Bruce continued. “Okay, look... Thanos has the biggest army in the Universe. And he is not gonna stop until he... He gets...” he mumbled, hesitantly looking toward the other side of the room. “Vision's stone.”
“Well then, we have to protect it,” Natasha said determinately.
“No, we have to destroy it.” Everyone whipped their heads toward Vision and you swallowed hard at his words, spoken so matter-of-factly that you thought he was talking about swatting a fly that was annoying him. “I've been giving a good deal of thought to this entity in my head, about its nature,” he said, pointing at the yellow stone on his forehead, burning as brightly now as your hands had several hours ago. He still had his fingers clenched around the wound on his side, looking equally miserable as determined. “But also, its composition. I think if it were exposed to a sufficiently powerful energy source, something, very similar to its own signature, perhaps...” He slowly walked over to Wanda, letting his eyes shift over her face, knowing exactly what he was asking her to do. You could feel it in the shift of energy coming from him, a sadness filling your heart with it. “Its molecular integrity could fail.”
“And you, with it.” Wanda shook her head, staring up at her partner as he took her head into his hands. “We're not having this conversation.”
“Eliminating the stone is the only way to be certain that Thanos can't get it.”
“That's too high a price.”
Vision shook his head, clearly trying to get her to see his reasoning. “Only you, have the power to pay it. Thanos threatens half the Universe. One life cannot stand in the way of defeating him.”
You evaded your eyes from them in that moment, knowing fully well that Wanda wasn’t the only one with powers derived from Vision’s stone. With his reasoning, that meant you might be able to destroy the stone as well. You could only hope they wouldn’t turn to you if––when––Wanda refused to kill the man she loved. You didn’t think you could do it either.
“But it should,” the captain spoke, taking in a deep breath. You breathed with him, knowing the prospect of losing a friend after everything he had been through was hard to swallow. “We don't trade lives, Vision.” He looked around the room, saying those words to everyone else as much as to Vision. His eyes rested on you for a moment, until Vision caught his attention again.
“Captain, 70 years ago, you laid down your life to save millions of people. Tell me, why is this any different?”
It was silent for a while and you could feel the energy in the room shift. Steve clearly didn’t know what to say to that and the others followed his example, sharing his silence. You couldn’t help but think about the stone on Vision’s forehead and the soft glow that filled your peripheral vision. The powerful force reached out to you with slithering tendrils, caressing your skin tentatively like it knew your powers originated from it.
That wasn’t all you felt, though. There was something else radiating from the red-skinned man. Something that was intertwined with the stone, but still very much there and completely his own. It wasn’t until then that you realized you had been reading all of their energy without thinking about it. It was becoming natural now. Which meant you were unconsciously using your powers.
You didn’t really know whether that was a good or a bad thing.
“Steve didn’t have much of a choice,” you mumbled eventually, biting your lip in thought.
“What was that?”
You quickly turned your head at Bruce’s voice, realizing you had spoken out loud. Every set of eyes in the room was on you now and you could feel your heart race underneath their narrowing gazes. “W–well, maybe Vision’s situation is different. He might have a choice...”
“What do you mean?” Wanda asked, her interest clearly spiked. You couldn’t really blame her. If this was about the man you loved, you couldn’t only imagine what you would do to avoid his death.
“What if the stone could be removed?” You asked, feeling a little more confident as you talked. “The stone is only a small part of Vision. If you separate the stone from him, it can be easily destroyed without harming him…” you said, gesturing wildly with your hands. When you noticed their eyes were still on you, you quickly stuffed them in your pockets and swallowed hard. “But that’s just speculation. It’s probably not even–”
“No, you’re right.” Bruce interrupted you, rubbing his chin in thought. “Vision’s mind is made up of a complex construct of overlays. Jarvis, Ultron, Tony, me, the stone. All of them mixed together. All of them learning from one another.”
“You're saying Vision isn't just a stone?” Wanda asked, her voice infused with hope that was surging through her body. She looked from you to Bruce and back.
“I'm saying––I mean we’re saying––that... If we take out the stone, there's still a whole lot of Vision left. Perhaps the best parts.”
“Can we do that?” Natasha asked, looking from one friend to another. Even though she didn’t once look at you, you could feel the hope radiating from her body. Despite the tough mask she had put in place, she clearly cared a lot about the people in this room.
Bruce shook his head. “Not me. Not here.”
“Well, you better find someone and somewhere fast,” Rhodey sighed, rubbing his eyes in tired thought. “Ross isn't just gonna let you guys have your old rooms back.”
The hope that had swelled inside of them quickly deflated. Even you felt a little disappointed despite not knowing any of them except Wanda before today. It was nice being part of something again even though you had no idea if they even wanted you to come along on their mission. Until now you had only been here because they hadn’t known what to do with you yet.
“I know somewhere.” Steve suddenly cut in. “I’ll have to make some calls, but I think I know someone that might be able to help.”
Everyone nodded and it was Natasha who replied first. “We'll prepare everything while you make the call.”
People started to disperse and that’s when you realized they knew exactly what to do and you had no clue what you could do to help them. Now, or later for that matter. You had powers, yes, but you had no idea what you were doing with them half the time, let alone be useful in the war they were throwing themselves into. Perhaps it was better if you just let them do their thing and make yourself scarce when they went off to fight.
You tried to keep your thoughts to yourself, but you felt your lips moving before you could think about what exactly you wanted to say. “What–uhm–what about me?” Seven sets of eyes turned to you and you couldn’t help but feel small all of a sudden. Smaller even than before. “Y–you dragged me all the way out here. What am I supposed to do?”
They were all quiet until Steve cleared his throat and turned his attention to you. “If Bruce is right about Thanos’ army, we could really use your help,” he said, his clear blue orbs taking you in, assessing your worth as they shifted over your face, “but we won’t force you to come… We’ll leave in fifteen minutes after I’ve made the arrangements. I hope that’s enough time for you to decide whether you want to come with us.”
With that said he walked away, taking his phone from his back pocket. As if on cue, the others continued their tasks, collecting whatever was on their lists to get before going back on that jet and go wherever Steve told them to. The only one that seemed as out of place as you, was Bruce. He rubbed his hands together nervously, looking around him as everyone else made themselves useful. Eventually, even he found something to do, although looking at Vision’s wounds again probably wasn’t any more productive than it had been half an hour ago.
You took the peace and quiet to think about what Steve had said. If the army Thanos was bringing to earth was really as big as Bruce made it out to be, they were going to need all the help they could get. But you already knew that. The question was: did you want to risk your life for a world that was probably doomed with or without our help?
Taking a deep breath you paced through the room. You bit on your nails, trying to get your thoughts straight. If the world was going to shit either way, why not try to stop it? You couldn’t keep running away from your problems. Enough was enough. Maybe it was time you showed Hydra what their experiments had done to you––what kind of weapon you had become.
“Where's cap?” Sam asked, startling you. “Has he made the call yet? We're almost ready to leave.”
You quickly turned on your heels, looking at the former soldier in the doorway. The others were also walking back into the lab, placing everything of use they had found on the table in the middle of the room.
“I–I don’t know. Do you want me to find him while you prepare everything?” You offered, knowing you couldn’t stand another moment of twiddling your thumbs while they ran through the facility to collect every weapon they could carry.
Natasha checked her watch and let out a tired sigh before nodding at you. “He's probably in his old room. Follow that hallway all the way to the end and then turn right. His room is the second one on the left.”
You nodded, already moving before she had finished giving you instructions. It was only a short walk through the unfamiliar halls and within a few minutes, you had found the right door, giving access to the captain’s room.
The man himself was standing in front of a mirror. His shirt was tucked all the way up to his shoulders as he tried to reach the entire bruise that had formed along his side and parts of his back. Courtesy of the blue-haired alien he had fought earlier to protect you. It looked quite bad and you could only imagine the pain it must cause him. Even though you knew you should clear your throat or knock on the door, you couldn’t help but admire the way his muscles flexed as he moved. You swallowed hard, watching him unsuccessfully try to patch himself up.
When he noticed you in the doorway he quickly pulled his shirt back down, taking his well-defined form and bruises from view. “Is something wrong?”
“N–No… T–The others are ready to go and you were gone, so I–uhm–I volunteered to look for you… A–Are you okay?” you asked as he tucked his shirt back into the pants, grimacing at the movement. “That bruise looked pretty bad.”
“I'm fine. I've had worse injuries.”
“Maybe, but you should really dress it to stop from swelling. If you leave it like this you'll only make it worse. Let me help you.” You pushed yourself from the doorway and told him to pull his shirt back off. His emergency kit was plain in sight on the small desk beside him and you moved with trained precision as you laid everything out on the wooden surface with care.
He laughed shortly, the sound rich and pleasant, before nodding his head, allowing you to touch him. A hiss of pain left his lips as soon as your fingers caressed his soft skin. “You're a doctor too?”
“Not really,” you admitted, working on covering the bruises as best as you could. “When you've been in as many fights as I have, you learn a thing or two about patching yourself up." You said the words carelessly. It even took you a second to realize your mistake. You slowly looked up to Steve, seeing the curiosity flicker in the clear blue of his eyes.
Steve noticed your discomfort though and gave you a reassuring smile. “You don’t have to tell me anything if you don’t want to. We all have a past we’d like to forget…”
You took in a deep breath, looking into his eyes a moment longer before turning your attention back to his side. Your hands moved across his body with care, trying to keep your mouth shut, but just like with your last words, you were already talking before you realized what you were telling him. “No, if I'm going on this mission with you, you should know who I am––what I’m capable of.”
“So you’re coming with us?” There was warmth in his voice that you could only describe as hope and you slowly nodded your head, forcing yourself to look at him again as you continued your work on his side.
“I don’t know how much good I’ll be, but yes.” You managed to smile with those last few syllables. “Even if I can only help a little in the fight, I think it would worth it to try, right?” A warmth spread through your shoulder and you had to try really hard not to shiver from the captain's sudden touch. His hand was almost scorching hot, even through the layer of clothes that separated your skin from his. You still weren’t completely used to being near people again, let alone any physical contact.
“I think you're much stronger than you give yourself credit for. I saw what you did back at the station. If you even have half of Wanda’s powers, that would make you more powerful than any of us. And those fighting techniques…” He smiled, probably remembering how you had fought in tandem like you had been partners all of your life. Even you had to admit that working with Steve had almost felt like second nature. “Where did you learn those?”
You let out a hot breath at his words, at the question you had dreaded hearing again. “Well,” you clenched your teeth, very aware of your hands that were still on his body and the intense, curious look he gave you, “you’re probably not going to like it.”
“We just fought two aliens that report to a man that wants to destroy half the Universe… I think I can handle it.”
“I was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent,” you blurted out, feeling your heart thunder inside your chest. “Before everything happened in Washington and people learned Hydra was still active. I even trained under Nick Fury himself…” you snorted, shaking your head at the irony of it all. You had been his star pupil, but all of his praise hadn’t done you any good. It had only made you cocky and despite all of your strength and wit and skill, Hydra had still captured you and broken you down until nothing was left of the woman you had once been.
If Nick would see you now, he would probably be ashamed.
“That… explains a lot, actually,” Steve said, not a trace of the judgment you had expected to find on his face. “What happened?”
“Right after the attack on New York, Nick sent me on an espionage mission. I had it all under control at first, but then I found some files I wasn’t supposed to. I sent them to Nick and things spiraled out of control after that. A man started to follow me around and I knew it was really bad when Nick pulled me off the mission and told me to lay low for a while. I don’t think even he could have predicted what happened once I reached the safe house.”
“Bucky…” Steve whispered, letting out a soft breath as he removed his hand from your shoulder. “He took you to Strucker, didn’t he?”
You nodded once. “That’s why I know Wanda.”
“They experimented on you… [Name], I–I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t be. It wasn’t your fault. There was nothing you could have done to save me. I knew the moment I sent those files to Nick that they’d be after me. I didn’t expect to be a prisoner for the next year, but… at least with my warning Nick knew something was going on within S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“Still,” the captain said, letting his eyes shifting over your face as you finished up your medical work. He pulled his shirt down, thanking you for helping him. “You shouldn’t have had to go through that.”
“I felt sorry for myself for a long time, Steve, I don’t need you to feel sorry for me too. It’s in the past and perhaps it was meant to be.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, if it wasn’t for everything that happened with Hydra, Vision wouldn’t exist, Wanda and I wouldn’t have had our powers and nothing would stand in Thanos’ way to destroy the Universe… I–I lost a lot of confidence the past few years, but today, fighting by your side, I felt like the old me again.” You laughed a little, putting the medical supplies back into the box in front of you. “Just being here with you makes me feel stronger, more confident... I don’t know if we’ll be able to stop Thanos, but fighting him together will definitely slow him down.”
“You seem more confident now than in that lab.” It wasn’t meant to be mean, just a statement and when you looked into Steve’s eyes, there was nothing but kindness there. The skin around his eyes wrinkled just a little as he smiled at you. “You really lifted the team’s spirit by coming up with the idea to split the stone from Vision.”
“Bruce would have figured it out on his own.”
“Probably, but you figured it out first. You’re still smart and you still have your strength, both mentally and physically. Hydra didn’t take that away from you. I think they only made you stronger.”
“Thanks, I think so too…” you mumbled, following him out of the room as he strode through the doorway with his long legs. “Just out of curiosity, where exactly are we going?”
Steve threw you a look over his shoulder, grinning slightly before answering your question as he walked back into the lab where the others were already waiting. “We’re going to Wakanda.”
TO BE CONTINUED...
Authors note: This story takes place within the Infinity War storyline so spoilers up ahead! I mean it, not just simple mentions of the plot, but serious spoilers about EVERYTHING. So if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know anything yet, don’t read this yet Or do… I don’t care, haha!
2018, Edinburgh (Scotland)
The moon stood high in the night sky, spreading a silvery glow across the blackened horizon. You could feel the vibrations of your own hasty footsteps in your tired legs as you hurried across the street. The familiar tunes of your favorite music echoed in your ears, blurring out all other sounds except that of your own heart beating fast in your chest.
It was only a few more blocks to your apartment and you couldn’t wait to be back in that small, filthy place you had come to call home. You had only been here a few months, but it was longer than you had spent anywhere the past three years. Traveling the world had always sound appealing to you when you were younger. Being on the run, however, had made you long for home.
Or something to call home anyway.
It had been a long time since you had seen any of the Hydra soldiers that were hunting you after you had escaped their hellhole of a facility in Sokovia. You could never be too careful, though. They had found you once and you knew they could easily do it again if you didn’t watch your step. You had barely been able to get away from them both times and your skin still bore the marks of those fights. That was why you kept your head down, your face hidden inside the shadows of your hood––your body blending into the darkness of night.
Memories of the time you had been held captive by Wolfgang von Strucker flooded your mind. Your hands trembled from the excruciating pain his experiments had put you through even now, the blood in your veins burning every time you remembered that smug smile on his face. His voice still echoed in your mind, telling you he would make you the greatest weapon Hydra had ever seen. A cold shiver made your skin crawl.
Walking into Waverley Station you made sure to bury those feelings under a thick, trained layer of determination and anger. The wind blew through the cracks in the old stones of the building, spreading the musty smell of history through the large, open space. It was quiet this time of night, nothing but the sound of the air bellowing around you filling the empty subway station.
You took in a deep breath, stuffing your hands into the pocket of your jeans as you kicked at small stones before you. In this life, even though it kept you safe, there wasn’t much time or space for making connections. With each passing day that made the knot inside your stomach grow tighter, filling your heart with more loneliness you thought it was capable of.
As a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent you had always kept a part of yourself hidden from the people you cared about, but at least then you had colleagues, friends even, to keep you company. Now, you only had yourself and the comforting tunes of music to keep you sane.
For a part at least.
A train roared past you, waking you from your thoughts, your heart jumping in your chest again. With a hand on the gun tucked in the back of your jeans you turned around, your eyes scanning the space behind you. Nothing. You frowned, knowing for sure you had felt something. Something other than the subway that tugged at the loose strands of hair sticking from your hood.
The ground beneath your feet rocked, making you clench your teeth in anticipation. That didn’t bode well. A second later the sound of shattering glass filled your ears. You watched in silent horror as a flash of red and gold shot past you, crashing to the ground a few feet away from you and coming to halt against the fence surrounding one of the platforms.
“What the–” you wondered out loud, your head tipping slightly to the side as you took in the people pushing themselves from the ground with a grunt. “How did they–” Your eyes shot up to the glass ceiling, spotting the missing panels easily. The lights from the station almost seemed to get sucked into the darkness. The contrast of bright light stark against the dark night sky.
You returned your attention to the strange looking man and his partner quickly. The feeling of familiarity nested into your stomach and you took a few tentative steps forward, wondering who they were.
“Come on,” the woman said, her hands pulling at the man beside her. “Come on, you need to get up. We need to get out of here. Come on…” Her voice trailed off as the man reached out to her, his fingers brushing her cheek.
Your eyes flashed between the red-haired woman and the man, his skin a color you had never seen before. His body seemed to phase between solid and translucent. When you looked at the woman again, tracing her features with your eyes, recognition clawed at the back of your mind.
“Wanda?” You breathed softly, your voice almost nothing but a whisper. She still whipped her head around, narrowing her clear orbs at you, her hand reaching out to protect herself. A red glow spread across her fingers, her brow knitted in anger.
Just as her expression softened with the same confusion you felt, the sound of more shattering glass echoed through the station. The force dropping to the ground knocked you back. You lay there on the dirty floor, unable to keep your mouth closed as you stared at the two figures that had dropped from the ceiling––creating yet another hole of black against the bright lights.
Their form was human, but their faces were not. The figure on the left seemed female. Long blue hair framed sharp features that would have been beautiful were it not for the dark mark covering her entire forehead and the horns adorning the top of her head, sprouting from her temples. Her eyes glowed brightly against her grey skin.
You couldn’t tear your gaze from her until the man beside her twirled his sharp fighting staff in his hands, slowly sleeking forward. If the woman’s features hadn’t scared you, his certainly did. He was as pale as death itself, his face twisted into a mean snarl. A hood hid most of his head, but his long face with scrunched up nose and crow like eyes burning like embers made you swallow hard, leaning back just a little.
What the hell were these creatures?
You didn’t have time to think about it for long. With barely a moment to breathe, they advanced on Wanda. She, in turn, pushed herself from the floor, positioning herself between them and the man she had been crouched beside. Her hands glowed with a strange red energy again and you knew whatever Hydra had tried to achieve in that facility in Sokovia over three years ago, they had succeeded.
They had created living weapons.
Wanda glanced at you for a short moment. The determination burned bright and hot in her eyes, making you feel a little more confident than you had before. You knew her. You had been friends with her––you had bonded over a shared pain. You had no idea what she was doing here, but at least you knew she wasn’t here for you.
None of them were.
They were here for the dark-red man with the bright, yellow gem on his forehead. For some reason, the energy radiating from that glowing stone felt familiar to you. Safe even. Whatever it was, you could feel it possessed great power.
The foreign, alien looking creatures seemed ready to attack until a subway train thundered past behind you. They both seemed distracted by something on the other side of the track, which gave you time to compose yourself, scrambling to your feet awkwardly. You followed their gaze to the end of the station, the silhouette of a man only barely visible in the shadows shrouding the platform.
“Look out!” you yelled without thinking as the alien woman switched her stance and threw her spear, emitting a vibrant blue light from the six-pointed tips, toward the man.
Whether it was because of your warning or because of some insane reflex, he was able to dodge the heavy weapon. He even caught it with his right hand, making the blue haired alien narrow her eyes in surprise. If she worried about it, she didn’t show it, instead turning her attention to you.
Oh, fudge cake… you thought, reaching for the gun on the back of your pants. You shot at her. Once. Twice. Until the haunting click of the empty ammo pack sounded off the walls and you were left with an even angrier alien cocking her head at you in displeasure.
“Crap,” you cursed, slowly moving back toward Wanda and her friend. You dared to look over your shoulder to the man on the other side of the station, wondering if he was here to help or simply observe.
When he stepped into the light, you couldn’t help a little gasp from escaping your lips. His features were familiar–– handsome even if you allowed yourself to think like that––and apart from the beard adorning his chin, he still looked exactly the same as several years ago. Maybe a little worse for wear, but he clearly was no one other than Captain America himself.
The moments after that almost seemed like a blur. Without any warning a man swooped in from the shadows, flying over your head. Using his momentum he knocked the female alien back, sending her sprawling through a glass window and into an empty café. From the corner of your eyes, you could see a light-haired woman sprint through Waverley Station, heading straight for the male alien that was still advancing on Wanda.
The swish of small missiles being fired filled your ears before you registered what happened. The man wearing military issued falcon wings fired at the ember-eyed alien while his partner engaged him with two, short fighting sticks. Your eyes followed their movements, knowing they could be none other than Natasha Romanoff and Sam Wilson––the captain’s team members.
Steve himself threw the six-pointed spear their way to strike at the ugly, elf-like figure. Whatever he had intented, however, didn’t work out as he had planned. The alien simply dodged while fighting Natasha and Sam, seeming almost pleased with the challenge they posed. The spear hit the wall instead, leaving it completely open to be picked up by the female figure walking from the café.
She didn’t seem hurt at all, only incredibly angry, looking at you and the captain that had reached your side with murder in her eyes. Wanda behind you still protected the red-skinned man from the fight that took place a few feet away.
Steve stood protectively before you, keeping his eyes on the female alien as much as you did. His hand rested on your arm, a sense of urgency in his touch as he slowly pushed you back.
“Run on my mark,” he whispered, his lips set in a thin line, jaw clenched tight.
“What?” You had barely time to register what he said when he yelled at you to move and he himself ran toward the strange woman with his hands balled into fists.
In a blink of an eye, he was on the other side of the station, throwing punches left and right each chance he got. Despite his strength, he couldn’t get a clear hit and when his opponent tried to jab him with the pointy side of her spear, all he could do was wrap his hands around the steel, trying to keep her from driving it into his side.
“What are you still doing here?” He exclaimed, turning his attention to you for a moment. The confusion was set in his eyes, brow dipped in concentration. It was obvious he thought you were a simple bystander––a useless civilian. “Go!”
The shift of focus proved to be a mistake. The female creature slammed her spear into his ribs with great force, making hij gasp in pain. Knocking him back with a simple kick, she smiled, glancing your way with an ember of victory burning in her light orbs.
“Steve, no!” Wanda cried out, using her powers to shoot blasts of red energy the alien's way.
None of them reached target, but did give the captain time to crawl further back, closer to you. His hand was wrapped around his side, a hiss of pain leaving his lips. He didn’t seem to be bleeding, but judging by his expression at least a few ribs were broken. You were still frozen in place, not used to this kind of situations anymore, while he was down on the station floor.
A shake breath filled your lungs and you could feel an all crippling fear nest inside your chest. With it you shivered, your fingers twitching for you to act––for you to join the fight and unleash what you had been holding back ever since you had started running.
A cry echoed through the building, the female alien charging at Steve once again as he unsuccessfully tried to get back on his feet. Before she could reach him, you could feel yourself move from your place. The fear in your veins replaced with something different, something stronger.
You couldn’t let her kill him.
“Stay back!” the captain yelled at you, breathing heavily as he propped himself up on one knee and fist, clutching his side. His eyes locked with yours, quickly following your gaze toward the horned woman that grinned at him smugly, raising her weapon to strike him down.
With clenched teeth you moved forward, dropping to the ground and sliding before him like your S.H.I.E.L.D. training told you to. Even after all these years, you still knew what to do. You raised your hand up as the alien slammed the sharp, six-pointed staff down with all her strength.
“No!” Steve’s voice rang in your ear, his arms reaching out to pull you into his strong, protective hold. He tried to keep you from harm, the muscles in his arms tensing against your waist. The moment you could feel his breath on your neck a bright, yellow light erupted from your hand and a shockwave shook the ground underneath you.
You felt the power surge through your body, setting every single nerve on fire. The woman attacking you was knocked back against the wall with incredible force. Cracks appeared on the old bricks, dust raining down on the groaning woman. Your chest heaved as you struggled to control your breathing, your hands shaking from the sudden outburst of power.
The captain’s touch kept you from collapsing right there. The warmth of his body seeped into yours, steadying you. Slowly the trembling stopped.
“That…” he mumbled, his fingers still curled into the fabric of your jacket, his heart beating fast against your back. “I didn’t expect that.”
“N–Neither did I…” You stared at your still tingling hand. Hairlines of bright yellow light slowly faded back to smooth skin and you swallowed hard. You had never used your powers in a fight like this. Not with this much effect anyway. You had never dared to.
“How did you-" The captain started his question, but before he could finish it, the bright-eyed alien charged for you again, her lips curled to the side in a snarl.
You were still lying on the ground in Steve's arms when she closed the space between you in a few quick strides. Her spear came down for both of your heads, but instead of scared you were simply angry. Reaching out both hands now, you met her mean stare with equal determination, pushing yourself up from the floor fast.
Your movements seemed to surprise her and Steve both. The moment her spear slammed into you, your fingers curled around it, your entire forearm and hands glowing with that same brightness you had only seen a few times before. You put as much strength in your hold as you could, matching hers even though it was very clear she was much, much stronger than a normal human.
But you weren’t normal.
Not in the slightest.
A grown escaped your lips as she pushed against you, her head now only inches away from you. Her eyes burned with an unearthly power. But you didn’t flinch, you didn’t shiver. You just gritted your teeth, watching Natasha and Sam best the other alien together, stabbing him with his own fighting staff.
The female alien noticed the tremor in your arms even before you did. Before your knees caved, however, a familiar warmth surrounded you and strong, callused hands closed around yours, helping you gain the upper hand.
You moved in tandem with Steve, ducking beneath his arms even before he told you to and using your powers to send another shockwave toward the alien. Her grip on the weapon loosened and the captain pried it from her, attacking her with it before she could recover. You, in turn, willed the build-up energy into your arms and legs and made sure that any openings in Steve’s defense were cover with hard and incredibly fast blows or kicks.
You weren’t even winded when you finally managed to knock her back. The captain tossed you the spear and you pointed it at her face, daring her to make another move. She quickly scrambled to her feet, crouching beside her partner that was still down.
“Get up!” She told him, keeping her eyes on all of you. It was clear she knew better than to continue the fight. They were severely outnumbered.
“We don't want to kill you,” Natasha said, nothing kind in her eyes, “but we will.”
“You’ll never get the chance again.” The horned woman narrowed her eyes at all of you, resting her gaze on you, something like curiosity flickering through her bright orbs. You could only guess what that might mean.
Before any of you could retort, a blue light emerged from the ceiling, creating what you assumed could only be a tractor beam. They were lifted up from the ground and transported into the darkness of night, taking them from view. It looked kind of like something out of a science fiction movie, but then again, you shouldn’t be surprised by anything anymore after everything you had been through––everything you could do.
You felt a tug on your arm and without any warning, the spear you still had clutched in your hand was pulled from your hold. Everyone stared at it until the light disappeared and you were left with nothing but the silence amongst you and the hammering of your heart in your ears.
You stood there for another moment until Steve and his two partners turned around toward Wanda. There was nothing left for you but follow them in silence.
“Can you stand?” Sam asked Wanda’s friend, who grunted as he was pulled to his feet.
“Thank you, captain,” the man nodded, now leaning heavily against Sam, his arm draped over the soldier’s shoulders.
A small smile curled Steve’s lips, only shortly acknowledging the gratitude before finally speaking. “Let’s get you on the jet.” They all moved toward the exit of the station, already taking several steps away from you, leaving you in an awkward position.
You didn’t even know how exactly you had gotten involved in all of this. You had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I guess that’s my cue to go…” you mumbled, stuffing your hands into your pockets, trying to stop yourself from fidgeting with your fingers.
The captain turned around, his arm clutching his side again where the blue haired alien had really done a number on him. A frown dipped his brow, his eyes scanning your face as if he was trying to find something in the tension in your body. It was Wanda, however, who spoke first.
“What do you mean? Aren’t you coming with us?”
You laughed at that, glancing at all of them until you saw the genuine worry on her face. “Oh, you’re serious?”
“Of course. Right?” She looked at Steve for approval.
Clear blue eyes bore into your own, reading the fear on your face you tried to hide. A sigh left his lips soon after and he nodded once, jerking his head to the side for you to follow them as they continued their way out of the station. “It’s too dangerous to stay out here alone. We’ll figure out what to do with her once we’re somewhere safe.”
“Right, and we totally couldn’t use her powers on the team…” Sam added. “Just saying.”
Natasha seemed the only one truly suspicious of you, looking you down as you all walked toward the jet. “Where’d you learn how to fight like that?” she eventually asked when you and Wanda passed her to step into the small plane.
You swallowed hard, looking at the blanc expression on her face. If she had already made up her mind about you, you couldn’t read it from her features. You were just about to answer, trying to remember one of your cover stories, when Wanda came to your rescue. Sort of, anyway.
“That’s not important,” she said, turning to face you. “What happened to you, [Name]? Strucker told me you were dead.”
Great, now they all knew about the one part of your life you had tried to forget for the past few years. You could feel the captain observing you from the other side of the jet, listening to your answer as much as your old friend was. Weighing your next words carefully, knowing any wrong move amongst them could as easily get you killed as one amongst the Hydra agents, you finally spoke again.
“It’s… a long story.”
TO BE CONTINUED...
When you woke up again from the sound of your alarm, you could feel the relief shoot through your body immediately. Your heart was thundering inside your chest and as you took in a shaky breath, you could feel the tears wet your cheeks.
You had never felt so hopeless in your life. Seeing Steve there on the ground of the Hydra base, slowly bleeding out, something inside you had clicked back in place. The girl you had been for the past year had faded from your mind and you had vowed to yourself that whatever were to happen today, you would be yourself again. And if you were to die tonight, you’d at least take that damned Hydra agent with you.
You pushed yourself from the comfort of your bed, knowing exactly what you needed to do today. You had been so self-absorbed the last few months, that you hadn’t even realized how much you had distanced yourself from everyone. Natasha and Wanda had been your friends before the Sokovia Accords but now you barely talked to them outside of missions.
That, along with your attitude towards Steve, was going to change today.
You took the time to arrange a few things before freshening up and changing into your workout gear. You checked your watch, knowing the captain was probably already out on the track, wondering where you were. You smiled, and despite knowing you would probably never be the woman that would make him happy, you could always just be his friend.
Without doing your daily warm-up routine, you started running, seeing Steve moving fast ahead of you along the tree line that created a natural border around the compound. You had done a lot of thinking after leaving him alone in New York the day before. You had thought about everything you had said to him and the others the past year and you realized how stupid you had really been. You had tried so hard not to get hurt yourself, that you had hurt everyone around you without realizing or caring about it. But that was going to stop.
It had to.
You had only been running for a few minutes when the captain showed up by your side.
“Morning,” he nodded, his eyes shifting over your face––a glint of hope in his blue orbs.
“Hey.” You smiled shortly, squinting against the sun as it slowly rose towards the sky.
Steve’s whole face lit up seeing you smile at him and he slowed his pace even further to match yours. “H–how are you?”
“I'm good. Tired, but I'll live.” Hopefully. “What about you?”
“Yeah, I’m good too, I guess.” A sigh escaped his lips and it wasn’t until then that you noticed he looked as fatigued as you felt. “It’s nice talking to you again.”
You nodded. “I know, and I’m sorry for ignoring you for so long. I never meant–” You stopped, taking in a deep breath. “I know you probably won’t believe me but I wish I had made different choices the past few months. I–”
“It’s okay,” he said, interrupting you. “I understand. If I knew my decisions would have cost me our friendship, I would have done things differently too.” He evaded his eyes from you, looking up at the orange colored sky. For a moment the silence lingered between you until you could see the sorrow and pain in his eyes and you realized he was probably thinking about Peggy as well.
“Are you okay?” you asked, eying Steve worriedly. “I know today must be hard for you.”
He swallowed hard, nodding at your words. “It’s been a year since Peggy died, but it almost feels like it was yesterday that I held her hand in the nursing home.”
“I know. I'm sorry.” You laid your hand against his arm as comfort, making you both slow your pace and continue your round along the track in a walk. “I remember meeting her for the first time. I still can't believe she thought I was your girlfriend.” The memory made you snort and you could see Steve smile even though he was staring at the ground as he walked. “I don’t think she really liked me, to be honest.”
“She loved you,” the captain objected, casting his eyes back at you. “She always said you reminded her of Howard. I think she liked you even more than Sam, and he always brought her flowers.”
You both laughed at that and for a moment it felt exactly like it had before Sokovia. That faded quickly though as Steve took in a deep breath, looking up at the sky again and keeping his thoughts to himself.
“Her funeral was beautiful.”
“It was…” He nodded, shaking off whatever was going through his head. “I never got to thank you for being there. It meant a lot to me that you were despite everything.”
“Of course. I know how much she means to you.”
“You know, I didn’t think I would still feel so…” He stopped, searching for the right words.
“That will fade...eventually.” Now it was your turn to you evade your eyes, thinking back to how you had felt when you had lost the most important person in your life. You had been a mess for months when your mother had died. She had been your everything. Especially since Tony didn’t come into your life until you were in high school. You were grateful that you at least still had him, but he could never fill the empty, broken space in your heart that would never truly be whole again.
“How did you get over it?”
“I didn’t,” you admitted. “I just learned to live with it. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my mom. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” you said, looking up at him. “She will always be a part of me, just like Peggy will always be a part of you.”
He smiled at that, nodding shortly. “Why do you always know the right thing to say?”
You snorted again, thinking back on the past few versions of this day. How bad you had been at saying anything at all, let alone the right thing. “I had some time to think. About everything…”
Steve’s eyes searched your face, seemingly thinking about something. “I really missed this, [Name]. I missed you. I'm sorry for putting you in this position. I never meant to hurt you.”
“I put myself in this position, Steve.” You sighed, fidgeting with the seam of your shirt. “I’m the one that should be sorry. Like I said, if I could go back in time and fix all the mistakes I’ve made the past few months, I would.” You laughed a little at those words, knowing it was quite ironic.
“You and me both.”
“No.” You shook your head, stopping completely, making him frown at you. “You were just doing what was right and I’ve been a shitty friend the past year. I’m really sorry.” You could feel tears rimming your eyes, your voice breaking at the end.
Steve sighed, smiling sadly. “I won’t lie, it’s nice to hear you say that… But if I hadn’t left like I did, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. We’ve both made mistakes and I’d really like for us to start over.”
You swallowed hard, nodding at his words. Wiping the tears from your cheeks, you took in a shaky breath. “I’d like that too.”
He took a step toward you, his fingers caressing the wet trails on your face, sending shivers down your spine. “I can’t promise things will be the same, but I’d very much like to have my friend back. Why don’t you come to Central Park with me?” he asked, his eyes shifting over your face. “I’m meeting some of Peggy’s old colleagues for lunch and I’m sure they’ll be excited to meet you. We can walk through the park before that and talk about everything.”
“Are you sure? I don’t want to impose.”
“You’d be doing me a favor,” he laughed, dropping his hand back to his side. “Peggy’s colleagues are mostly as old as she was and they can talk for hours. They’d be happy to see a new face. Besides, I’d really like to talk things through.”
You smiled, still feeling his soft touch on your cheek even though he had removed his hand. “Alright, so I’ll meet you here in a few hours?”
“Well, I actually wanted to make a stop first, if that’s alright. Would an hour be okay for you?”
“Oh, of course,” you said, already knowing where he wanted to go. It was probably better if he didn’t know that. “I’ll go freshen up.”
An hour later you were walking through the streets of Brooklyn. The sun had already risen to the sky, warming your cheeks as you stared at the tall buildings around you. Steve was leading you toward the frozen yogurt shop, telling you about the different flavors of the cold dairy he had seen Peggy eat during her time in the nursing home. It made you smile a little. He clearly still loved her.
You could only hope someone would love you just as much someday.
The line in the yogurt shop seemed even longer this time than it had the previous few times. You didn’t mind however. Things were going to go how time wanted them to and it was best not to fight it. You let your eyes scan the room until you had found Marcie at the familiar table. She just looked up from eating her strawberry flavored frozen yogurt and smiled, seeing you. She waved at you as the people in line moved toward the counter. You gestured you’d be right with her.
After getting your yogurt, which you insisted to pay for this time, you walked toward your best friend, taking a seat beside her.
“Hey, [Name], Steve,” she said, turning her hazel eyes up to the captain. “It’s so nice to see you again. What brings you to this part of town?”
You too looked at Steve, letting him tell her why you were here and where you were headed. He smiled at you when he finished, explaining to Marcie that you had agreed to join him for his lunch with Peggy’s colleagues.
“That sounds like fun. I think it's nice that some of her old colleagues are coming together to celebrate her life. She was such a beautiful person.”
“She was,” you agreed, feeling Steve’s hand on the table close to yours, your fingers almost touching. You could feel him looking at you for a moment until Marcie continued talking.
“So where are you meeting them? I know some pretty nice places near Central Park. I’d be happy to show you if you want.”
You could feel your jaw tense but managed to keep your mouth shut, letting your anger out without saying anything. It was Steve who eventually spoke up.
“That’s kind of you, Marcie, but I was actually hoping to have some time alone with [Name].”
“Oh, of course…”
You were as speechless as Marcie was. She made some more casual conversation with both you and Steve until half an hour had already passed and the captain checked his watch. He turned to you, telling you it was time to go. Nodding absentmindedly, you pushed yourself from the table, waved goodbye to Marcie and followed Steve out of the building. He led you across the street and toward Central Park that was a few blocks away.
“I hope you don’t mind that I didn’t invite Marcie to come with us,” he said after the first couple of minutes of silence.
“Not at all. I was kinda hoping you would when she offered.”
You nodded. “It’s been a long time since we've done anything like this and with Marcie there it would be different.” You let out a hot breath. “I still can’t quite believe I'm walking here with you.”
“Me neither.” Steve licked his lips, turning his gaze toward the street before you. “There was a time I thought you might never speak to me at all.”
“I was an idiot.”
“Maybe,” he snorted, “but then so was I. I thought you would understand why I left, but I should have explained what was going on.”
“I understand why you left, Steve. Bucky needed you. I would’ve done the same for you. I just don’t understand why you left me behind. Why you didn’t trust me.”
His brow dipped at those words and he searched your face for a moment before taking in a deep breath. “It’s not that I didn’t trust you, [Name]. Not at all. If anyone would have had my back, I knew it would be you… But I also knew where my decisions were going to lead me and I didn’t want you to have to choose between me and Tony. Not after losing your mother.”
You swallowed hard. “So you made the choice for me…”
“Yes, and I’m sorry. I thought you'd be safer with Tony. I realize now that I should have let you make your decision.” He looked at you, regret filling his blue orbs. “I-I just wanted to protect you.”
You turned your gaze to the ground, letting his words sink in. He had left you behind, not because he didn’t trust you or didn’t care about you, but because he wanted to protect you––because he didn’t want you to get hurt. “Steve, you-"
“Before you say anything… I really want you to know that you mean a lot to me, and back then I thought I was doing what was right for you… But I was really only doing what was right for me. I didn’t want you to throw away your life for me. I understand if you're still mad at me. I just want you to know that I do care about you.”
You smiled at his words. “You realize you're making it impossible for me to still be mad at you, right? It wasn’t your decision to make, but I can understand why you did anyway. I would have followed you anywhere and if I had been there that day with Zemo I would have had to have made a choice that would have changed everything. It’s probably for the best that I wasn’t.”
“So, we’re good?” he asked hopefully.
You nodded. “More than good.”
Several hours later you were standing outside on the track, looking at the moon that gave the sky a silvery glow. You thought back on everything that had happened today and couldn’t help a smile from curling your lips. Talking to Steve about the past year made a weight fall off your shoulder and you knew the same was true for him.
Peggy’s colleagues had been incredibly nice and the rest of the day you had spent together with them and Steve, reminiscing times long since passed. They had even made you dance together. You could still feel his hands around your waist, leading you through the moves with ease even though he had never danced before. In those few minutes nothing but you and him had existed and for a fleeting moment, you had thought everything was right again.
You closed your eyes, letting the cold night air fill your lungs. No matter how nice the day had been, you still needed to get through the night. The most important part of the today was yet to come. Tears were rimming your eyes as you thought about what you had to do and how that, after today, was going to affect Steve.
Your heart ached thinking about it.
“Hey,” it suddenly sounded behind you in a familiar voice.
You quickly wiped the tears from your cheeks before turning around to the captain, letting a smile curl your lips. “Hey,” you whispered.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” You nodded. “Just thinking about some things.”
“Nothing to do with me I hope?”
You laughed at that, shaking your head slowly. “No… I really had a good time today. It was nice to spend some time together again. I missed you…”
“I missed you too.” He took in a deep breath, “[Name], I–”
“Can I ask you something?” You interrupted him, feeling the weight of the nearing end of the day on your shoulders.
“Yes, of course.”
“If you knew you were going to die tonight, what would you do?”
His brow knitted together, his eyes searching your face as another tear rolled down your cheek. He took a step forward, wiping it off with a soft, gentle swipe. “What is going on, [Name]? Is that why you’re crying, because you think you’re going to die tonight?”
“No, I–I’m just thinking about the life we have and everything we’ve been through. One wrong choice and it could all be over.”
“Don’t think like that,” Steve said, his thumb caressing the skin of your cheek. “You’re not going to die. You know I won’t let you.”
A smile curled your lips, leaning into his touch. “You’re just saying that to cheer me up. The truth is we don’t know what will happen tonight.”
“Maybe, but I’ll be right by your side. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
“I know… Thank you.”
“For always having my back and giving me a second chance. I have a lot on my mind lately and I’m sorry for bothering you with it. You probably don’t want to be thinking about death anymore today.”
“You really want to know what I’d do if I knew I was going to die tonight?” His eyes searched yours for a moment, shooting to your lips.
You swallowed hard, looking in his deep blue orbs, feeling his breath on your skin. “I–”
Before you could say anything, his other hand found a way against your face and he pressed his lips against yours. You could feel your heart thundering in your chest, your breath catching in your throat. You rested your hands on his chest, feeling his rapid heartbeat drumming against your fingers. You melted into his gentle touch until all too quickly he pulled away.
“I–I’m sorry,” he whispered, letting go of you. “I didn’t mean to–” He stopped, shaking his head. You, in turn, took in a shaky breath, letting your eyes shift over his face. Your heart was beating violently inside your chest, confusion, happiness, and desire shooting through your mind.
What the hell had just happened?
“You know what, no, I’m not sorry,” he continued, returning to his place against you, his hand cupping your face again. “If I was really going to die tonight, I’d want you to know how I feel––how I’ve felt for a really long time…”
You couldn’t stop yourself from smiling. “And how is that?”
“I love you, [Name].” He let out a long breath as if he had been holding those words in for a long, long time. “There, I said it. I love you…” He evaded his eyes from you, swallowing hard. “I know you probably don’t feel the same.”
“But I don’t want any more unspoken words between us. And I-"
“Steve!” You exclaimed. “Will you just shut up and kiss me again!”
He didn’t let you tell him twice and took you in his arms completely, his hands resting on the small of your back. You leaned into his touch, feeling his skin against your own.
“I love you too,” you whispered against his lips before he kissed you again, his mouth curling into a smile.
“Today didn’t go as I planned…”
You stared at his lips for a second before looking up at his blue orbs. “Well, I certainly didn’t expect this,” you said, padding your fingers against his chest, feeling his chest rumble with laughter. “But I’m glad it happened,” you whispered, leaning in for another kiss. His lips were soft, his touch gentle as his hands pushed against your back, pressing you tightly against the warmth of his body.
“Me too. I was a fool for not telling you how I felt sooner.”
“So was I, but we’re here now.”
Steve nodded, his lips finding yours again, and again and again until it was time to start your mission. You reluctantly let go of each other, not yet ready to give up this new found love. He wrapped his hand around yours and together you walked back into the building where Tony was already waiting for you with the small copying device you'd rather throw out the window and never see again.
An hour later you were running through one of Hydra's headquarters for the sixth and hopefully last time. You had given Tony and Steve as much info on the layout of the facility as possible without raising suspicions about your knowledge. You had come up with a plan of attack which required you and Steve to stick together as much as possible until the way to the control room was clear.
You had been able to convince them that one of you needed to get inside it to get you both out without any bloodshed on your part. Steve had agreed to let you do it since he lacked the right skills to hack into the room. Tony offered to help from a distance––as you suspected he had done last time––but you had a good argument when you said you were going to be faster. Since time was of the essence, they had both agreed.
So now you were carefully making your way toward that damned room. Steve was right behind you, holding back the Hydra agents that were tasked with stalling you, and protecting you from their gunfire.
“Go!” he yelled when you had found the right hallway. “I'll cover you.”
You looked over your shoulder, seeing him position himself between the agents and the clear way toward the control room. You knew it was a trap, but the information was still there and this time you had come prepared.
You nodded at Steve once before quickening your pace and sprinting to the end of the hall as fast as you could. You didn’t even need to think while hacking into the small panel that gave access to the room beside it. You had done so so many times now that you still remembered the right code.
Once you were inside you took down the female agent quickly. Knowing her every move came quite in handy when trying to move fast and efficient. You reached into your pocket and got two copying devices from your suit. One that Tony had programmed and that needed to be brought back to him to finish your mission, and one you had programmed yourself and that could connect to a secure network and send Tony everything on Hydra's servers without you ever having to leave their base.
You plugged in the small device, typed a few commands into the large control panel before you and started up the copying program, hearing Tony's confusion in your ear.
“[Name], I'm receiving all kinds of data streams from your location. What’s going on?”
“I figured out how to stop the time loop.” You could feel tears rimming your eyes as you started to realize what all of this had really been about. You needed to finish this day the right way and there was only one way to do so.
“What are you talking about?”
You could hear soft footsteps behind you and your hand shot to your gun, ready to pull the trigger. “I love you, dad.” With that said you turned around, your gun pointed at the dark-eyed agent that had tried to sneak up on you.
“Hmm,” he mused, holding his gun in line with your head. “You're better than they give you credit for.”
“You have no idea.”
“But you still fell for out trap and you're not walking out of here with that information.”
“I don’t have to.” You smiled, keeping your eyes on him.
He frowned at you, looking at the flickering device that was plugged into the computer, sending a signal all the way toward the Avengers Headquarters. “No…”
“You lose this time, asshole.” You bit down your teeth, getting the safety from your gun. He quickly turned his attention back to you, staring at the barrow of it in horror. When you pulled the trigger, however, it gave a haunting click and the smile faltered.
“Shit,” you breathed softly, your eyes shooting toward the door opening. You could see Steve turn from his defense position. Your heart thundered inside your chest and when you heard the ringing sound of a firing gun it took you a split second to see the pain in his eyes and hear his cry.
You collapsed onto the floor, hearing Tony in your ear asking what the hell was going on. Your head hit the floor with a thud and the last thing you saw before everything disappeared were Steve's clear blue eyes that were begging you to hold on. But after everything that had happened you knew that wasn’t what time or fate wanted. You had done everything the way it should have been in the first place and that, for the first time in a long, long time, made you happy.
So you let go, hoping that one day you’d see Steve again.
You slowly opened your eyes, hearing the beeping from an alarm in your ears. Your room was one big blur, lights fading in and out as you looked around you. A headache was pounding against the inside of your skull and you could feel your heart sink. You were back in your room again. You had done everything you had wanted to and you had even finished the mission. You had made things right.
So why in the seven hells were you still here?
You slowly pushed yourself up, feeling a shot of pain go through your body. The beeping turned louder and you frowned. That didn’t sound like your alarm.
“She's awake,” it sounded beside you and slowly but surely the outlines of the room became visible.
Natasha and Wanda were sitting on two chairs beside the hospital bed, while Tony pushed himself from his place against the wall. Beside you a heart rate monitor beeped softly, the sound echoing in your ears. Your whole body felt sore and it took you a moment to realize where you were.
“What happened?” you asked, letting your eyes shift through the room, scanning the faces of your friends.
“You were shot during the mission.” Tony swallowed hard, taking a seat on the other side of you, wrapping his hand around your fingers. “We thought we lost you.”
“Where’s Steve?” Your throat felt extremely dry and the beeping intensified as you started to panic.
“Don’t worry. He’s fine. After you downloaded all the information from the Hydra base onto our server, I was able to access everything pretty quickly and open all the doors. Steve took out the remaining agents and carried you out.”
“Where is he?”
“He’s resting in the other room. It was quite the interesting day for him too,” Tony said, raising his eyebrows at you meaningfully. “But I’m sure he’ll be happy to see you.”
You nodded, taking in a deep breath before letting yourself drop back into the bed. Natasha and Wanda padded your shoulder when they stood up from their place beside you, telling you, you should never scare them like that again. You promised you wouldn’t as Tony also took his leave, promising he’d sent Steve straight to your room.
A few minutes later, the captain walked through the door, a relieved look on his face. “You’re okay.” His words were barely a whisper, but you still nodded. “Thank God…”
“I did it,” you muttered, watching him take a seat behind you, taking your hand in his. “I actually did it…” You spoke those words more to yourself than to him, realizing you had escaped the time loop and would be able to continue your life.
“Tony told me about the second copying device. Are you going to tell me what you were thinking?”
“It’s a long story… Right now I just want to enjoy my time with you.” You smiled at him, squeezing his hand.
He, in turn, leaned closer, pressing a soft kiss on your lips. “I’ll let it slide… for now.”
You couldn’t help but laugh, letting your head sink into the soft pillow. Your eyes were growing heavy and you could feel the pull of slumber taking you down into a long overdue sleep. “I’ll hold you to that,” you muttered, feeling Steve move into the bed with you, taking you into his arms. You snuggled against his chest, feeling content. The captain pressed a kiss on your forehead, pulling the sheets back over your shoulders.
“Sweet dreams, [Name]. I love you.”
“I love you too…”
You fell asleep in his arms within seconds, feeling safe with him by your side. You slept together in the hospital bed for several hours until the sun had already risen toward the sky and had taken you toward a new day.
Toward a new tomorrow.
My name is Savannah and I am 25 years old. I've been on DA for quite a while, but only really started posting a few years ago. I absolutely love writing, so you'll find lots of literature on my page.
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