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!|
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.
A loud alarm echoed in your ears. Your eyes shot open, your heart beating fast in your chest. You looked at your phone beside the bed, seeing the time flicker before your eyes again.
Six o'clock. Time to get up.
Taking a deep breath you pushed yourself from your bed, thinking back on what had happened just before everything had gone dark. Time had stopped. It had literally stopped and rewound. Which meant keeping yourself out of the fight clearly wasn’t the solution.
But maybe Steve was.
You quickly changed into your workout gear, loosely tying your hair behind your ears. It only took you five minutes to get from your bed to the track that ran around the compound. You stretched your stiff muscles, feeling the strain the time loop was taking on your body. The headache was ever present, but over the last few days, you had learned to ignore it.
When your muscles were somewhat warm, you started running, feeling the cool morning air caress your skin as you moved across the gravel road, following it around the building. The sun was slowly rising towards the sky, the first rays of light casting long shadows across the track. It didn’t take long for footsteps to sound behind you and you had to bite your lip not to turn around right away and throw yourself in Steve’s arms. Some subtlety was required here.
The captain matched your pace with ease. You could see his chest rising slowly each time he inhaled from the corner of your eyes.
“Morning,” he said, looking at you from his place by your side.
“Morning,” you echoed his words, making a flicker of hope ignite in his eyes.
“H–how are you?”
“I’m good. Can we talk?”
His blue orbs shifted over your face for a moment, his brow creasing in thought. Eventually, he nodded, slowing his pace and leading you to one of the benches on the edge of the tree line. “I was actually going to ask you the same thing. I–”
“You don’t have to say anything.” You interrupted, folding your hands into your lap. You had thought about what you were going to tell him and had opted for the direct approach. You had heard most of what he wanted to say anyway. There was no need to let it drag on longer than it had to. The sooner you were back to how it was before, the sooner this time loop was going to end. “We’ve both made mistakes. I wish things had gone differently, but I don’t think we should keep dwelling in the past. I've been thinking a lot lately and I've come to realize that I've been a really shitty friend. I know you never meant to hurt me and were only trying to help Bucky,” you said. “So I say we start over. What about you?”
“Well, I–I don’t really know what to say. I’ve tried to have a conversation with you so many times that I’m still a bit lost right now, to be honest.” He laughed softly, but none of it reached his eyes. “I'm glad to be on speaking terms again, but we still haven’t talked about what happened. Don’t you think we should at least discuss Germany?”
“Why don’t I come with you to Central Park?” You smiled at him, trying to reassure him you had good intentions. “It’s been a year since Peggy died, hasn’t it? I’m sure you’d rather not be alone today.”
“How did you know I was–”
“I’ll tell you what. Meet me back here in half an hour and we can do whatever you want. If you want to talk, we’ll talk.”
He narrowed his eyes at you for a moment, though quickly nodded. He sounded a little relieved when he spoke again. “I’d like that.”
An hour later, you were stepping out of the cab that had brought you to the city. The familiar streets of Brooklyn surrounded you, the tall buildings casting shadows across the pavement. You took in a deep breath, letting the sunlight heat up your cheeks. Steve took his place beside you and looked left and right, taking in the streets he had grown up in. They looked totally different now, but you knew they still felt like home to him. He had told you that many times before.
“So, where do you want to go?” you asked him, letting your hands sink into the pockets of your jeans.
“There’s a frozen yogurt shop five minutes from here. Peggy always loved the flavor, so I wanted to get one to try it.”
“Oh,” you said, remembering everything that had happened inside that shop the last few days. The same shop Marcie was going to check out. You couldn’t help a jealous thought from shooting through your mind. Before you could stop yourself, you were already speaking up. “You sure you want to get frozen yogurt? I hear it’s not very good.”
“Maybe not, but I can at least try, right?”
“Right…” You sighed, following him as he started walking. It was still a bit uneasy between you, but that was to be expected. You hadn’t spoken much more than two words at a time to him the past year. There was a lot of catching up to do and neither of you seemed to know where to start. So you remained silent until you were in the yogurt shop.
Just like all the days before there was a line to order. From the corner of your eyes, you could see Marcie sitting at one of the tables, enjoying her cup of frozen dairy. You quickly turned your back to her, not really wanting to have a repeat of her flirting with Steve––worried that he might actually like her more than he liked you. It was selfish, but she hadn’t cared about your feelings when she had kissed him so why should you care about hers?
“Can’t you work your Captain America charm to get us to the front of the line?” You asked impatiently, crossing your arms.
Steve laughed softly, turning his gaze toward you. “You really are Tony's daughter, aren’t you?”
“I'll take that as a compliment,” you smiled, knowing that it probably wasn’t. Maybe you had been spending too much time with your father while Steve was gone.
It took a few minutes to reach the front of the line and you let the captain order himself one of the many flavors of frozen yogurt while you declined his offer to buy you one too.
“Hey, isn’t that your friend Marcie?” Steve asked when he had gotten his filled cup and you were trying to get him out of the building as quickly as you could––trying to avoid your best friend. “She’s waving us over. Should we say hi?”
A sigh escaped your lips, knowing it would have been too much to ask to have her not notice you. You weren’t really in the mood to deal with her. You had to focus on Steve and you so that you could finally finish the damned mission Ross would send you on tonight and get out of it alive. The captain was already walking over to her, however, and you could do nothing but follow him. If you stayed at Steve’s side nothing could really happen.
“Hey, [Name],” Marcie beamed. God, you hated how beautiful she looked today. You, on the other hand, looked like you had been hit by a truck. “Steve, it’s so nice to see you again. What brings you to this part of town.”
“We have an appointment,” you said before Steve could. You could feel him looking at you, but ignored him, trying to control the situation. “We should probably get going again." You turned to Steve. “It’s a long walk.”
“We have a few minutes. How have you been, Marcie?”
“Good, thank you for asking. And you? What are you two up to?”
You grunted softly, rolling your eyes unnoticeably. Why did she have to be so damned nice? If your mind wasn’t screaming at you to break them apart before it was too late, you would probably think they were perfect for each other.
As long as you were there though, Marcie would keep the conversation casual. She did have that much decency. Especially since this time you hadn’t lied to her about your feelings for Steve.
You were about to cut off their conversation when a kid ran past you with his cup of melted yogurt in his hands. Just before he passed you, he tripped, spilling the contains of his cup onto your lap.
“Shit,” you cursed, feeling the cold fluid seep through your shirt and jeans, sticking to your skin. You wanted to scowl at the young boy, but he had run off quickly, leaving you with a wet stain on your clothes.
“You should wash that out,” Marcie said, watching you wipe off the yogurt with a napkin. “You’ll never get it out when it hardens.”
You looked up at her, trying to keep your face as neutral as possible. Of course she wanted you to wash it off. That would give her some time alone with Steve. You shook your head, pulling the light fabric of your shirt from your stomach, grimacing at the sticky feeling. “It’ll be fine.”
“Marcie is right. You should probably wash it off,” the captain said, handing you another napkin to wipe off the yogurt from your jeans. “I’ll wait here.”
You suppressed the urge to groan and pushed yourself from your seat. Looking over your shoulder, you made your way toward the bathroom, narrowing your eyes at Marcie. Once you were gone, she immediately leaned closer to Steve, twirling her perfect golden blonde hair around her fingers.
The bathroom was completely empty as you entered, which gave you the privacy to pull your shirt over your head and wash it under the faucet. You stood there for a minute, rubbing your shirt with soap and wiping your jeans with a wet cloth. It took you longer than you wanted to clean yourself up and when you returned to the table inside the frozen yogurt shop, you could see Marcie’s hand on Steve’s arm. She bit her lip playfully and spoke to him in a soft voice.
You stood frozen for a moment, seeing the glint in his eyes as he looked at her. Your heart sank. Maybe getting them together wasn’t going to break you free from the time loop, but it might actually be what fate wanted. As you started walking again, though, you realized you weren’t ready to give up yet. Marcie had her chance. Now it was your turn.
When you approached them, Steve quickly pulled his arm from Marcie, leaving her hand on the table. She immediately turned her gaze to you and for a second guilt flashed through her eyes. It was gone before you could put your finger on it, however, and she smiled at you.
“That looks a lot better. Steve was telling me about his lunch for the anniversary of Peggy’s death. I think it’s so nice that some of her old colleagues are coming together to celebrate her life. She was such a beautiful person.”
“It is,” you nodded, looking at the watch on your wrist. “We should probably get going if we want to make it on time.”
“With the subway it’s only a few stops. I know the place where you’re meeting them. I’d be happy to show you if you want,” she said, looking at Steve.
“We’ll be fine,” you answered instead, raising your eyebrows at the captain to get moving. “Steve likes to walk, right?”
“Right…” he said, letting his eyes shift between you. A slight frown covered his brow, but he didn’t say anything. Instead, he stood up and wished Marcie a good day before following you out of the building. You walked in silence for a moment, until you had crossed several streets and Steve caught your arm, pulling you to a stop. “Are you going to tell me what that was all about?”
“What do you mean?”
“One moment you’re the [Name] I knew before Sokovia and the next you’re back to whoever you are now…”
You swallowed hard, seeing the disappointment in his eyes. You knew he was talking about your behavior toward Marcie and him before that. Somehow, somewhere in the past year, you had become bitter about everything that had happened. You sighed loudly, rubbing your eyes.
“I don’t know,” you said. “I haven’t really been myself lately.”
His expression softened. “Are you alright? You look like you haven’t slept in almost a week.”
You snorted, nodding at the words. “You have no idea…” You clenched your teeth, looking up at him. “Can I ask you something?”
“Do you ever have the feeling that you’re living inside a dream you can’t seem to escape? A dream where everything is going wrong and even though you’re right there, you can’t seem to stop it…”
The captain’s eyes scanned your face, tracing the dark circles around your eye sockets and the paleness of your cheeks. “I do,” he admitted. “I felt exactly like that when I woke up after crashing the Hydra plane into the Arctic Ocean. For weeks it felt like I was living a dream, or a nightmare actually. Each night I went to bed I hoped I would wake up in my cot in the SSR base in England… But I never did. It took me a while to realize it wasn’t a dream.”
“I’m sorry. That must have been hard.”
“Well, it got better after a while. You know, I felt the same when I returned to the Avengers and you wouldn’t speak to me. I kept hoping every day that I’d wake up and everything would be like the way it was before Sokovia…” He sighed, smiling sadly. “But I’ve realized that maybe that’s too much to ask after everything that has happened. It’s funny, I always thought that we would–” He stopped, shaking his head.
You could see the mixed emotions on his face and the sorrow glinting in his eyes. When he looked at you again, taking you in completely with those deep, blue orbs of his, you couldn’t take it anymore. You closed the space between you and pressed your lips against his. You could feel his muscles tense underneath your sudden touch. The heat rose to your cheeks, your stomach contracting with each passing minute. When he didn’t put his arms around you, you quickly pulled away.
“I–I'm sorry,” you mumbled, running your fingers through your hair, seeing the confused look on his face. “I thought… I’m such an idiot!” you exclaimed, turning away from him, pacing back and forward.
“[Name], I–” he started, taking a step closer to you and laying his hand on your shoulder.
You shook off his hand, trying to get your thoughts straight. “I have to go.”
“Wait, you can’t just walk away after kissing me like that,” Steve called after you as you walked away from him, toward the closest subway station. “[Name], please, wait.”
“Why?” You almost yelled at him, turning back around. He was right behind you, his face now inches away from yours again. “This clearly isn’t going to work.” You pointed at the both of you. “I–I made a mistake. I thought this was all about you, but you’ve made me realize that it’s about me. You’re right. A lot has changed since Sokovia and I… I’ve changed too. That’s what the time loop is about. It’s showing me how wrong I am all the time. I shouldn’t have kissed you. I’m sorry.”
“What are you talking about? [Name], that kiss–”
“It’s okay,” you smiled sadly. “You don’t need to explain. I’ve just been in love with you for so many years, telling myself you were just my friend, that I didn’t even think about how you feel,” you said, admitting this all to yourself as much as to him. “I’ve been doing that a lot lately,” you continued. “Not thinking about anyone else but myself... I’m never going to break this time loop if I keep putting myself first.”
Steve’s brow knitted together, slowly shaking his head. “What time loop? What’s going on? Talk to me…”
“I’ve been living this day for almost a week now, over and over, and every time I go on our mission tonight, I die and wake up in my bed in the morning.”
“That’s impossible. How does that even work?”
“It’s a long story… I don’t even really know. You probably don’t believe me, but that’s okay.”
“No, I–I believe you… And we’ll figure it out together. I’ll cancel my lunch and we’ll call Tony to find a solution.
“My father is not going to help,” you snorted. “I tried that last time, but a time loop is something personal. Even if you could help, it wouldn’t matter. I need to do this myself and I think I finally know how. I’ll do better next time. I promise,” you said, feeling tears rimming your eyes. Steve took a step forward, wanting to comfort you. Before he could reach you, you turned around and ran away from him. As much as you wanted to spend the rest of the day together, being rejected by him hurt more than you wanted to admit to yourself.
Being around him wasn’t something you could handle right now.
Steve yelled your name, but you kept your eyes ahead of you, ducking into the subway station and getting the first train you could find. You didn’t like leaving behind like that, but you’d see him again on the mission tonight. You still needed to find a way to escape your death and the more you knew about that Hydra base, the more chance you had on the next try.
Several hours later you were inside that forsaken Hydra base again. You had studied every inch of it, trying to find some other way out of it. There had to be something you could do to get the information you needed and still live at the end of the mission. You had slowly started to realize that maybe that wasn’t the point.
Every time you had gone to this mission you had made your own plan and had acted without Steve. Maybe you should change that tactic and work together until the end instead. It wasn’t the best plan of attack, but with your knowledge of the layout of the base and Steve’s strength, you might actually have a chance to at least make it out of there alive. You didn’t even know if Hydra hid their plans in the warehouse and if you remembered Steve’s words correctly from the first time, it might very well be a trap.
You had planned everything together with Tony, but for some reason you still found yourself wandering through the long white hall leading to the control room by yourself. You had lost sight of the captain during your fight and now all of your plans to work together seemed useless.
“Steve, what’s your position?” You asked, hearing nothing but static in your ear on the other side of your shared frequency. “Damn it, Cap, where are you?”
You were just about to ask your father if he had heard anything from the captain when a single gunshot echoed through the hallway. It startled you and a hollow sensation spread through your chest. You looked down at your suit, but it was still intact, and so were you.
You were only a few feet away from the control room and suddenly dread filled your heart. The door to the small room swung open and you could see Steve sitting on the floor, clasping his stomach as blood seeped through his fingers.
His eyes found yours and he smiled weakly. “I–I tried to stop it…” He breathed heavily. “I’m sorry. I failed.”
You swallowed hard, feeling tears blurring your vision as his eyes slowly closed, the rapid loss of blood making him lose consciousness. He had tried to stop the time loop for you by going into the control room alone and he had possibly paid for it with his life. You took in a sharp breath, clenching your teeth, realizing the dark-eyed Hydra agent was still in the room.
The man smiled, a laugh escaping his lips. “This must be my lucky day,” he said, pointing his gun at your head when you reached for yours. “Two of the Avengers walking right into our trap.”
“You’re going to regret this,” you spoke with a tensed jaw. “Because next time, I’m going to kill you.”
“Oh, there won’t be a next time.” With that said the man pulled the trigger of his gun, making the world around you fade into the darkness.
And for the first time in the last five days, you were happy to be sent back in time.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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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