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Latest revision as of 20:23, 23 June 2019

Dramatis Personae

Fury, Steve


"Not a whole lot of moral high ground in my line of work, Cap."


<NYC> AirBnB - Red Hook

This is a one-room apartment crammed into the back of a labyrinthine red brick building, but its owner has furnished it with care, making the most of the limited light and space. The decorations and the books suggest an adventurous young professional with a fondness for history, art, and fashion, but there are surprisingly few specifically personal items on their shelves. The living room/kitchen is one continuous space, almost a third of which is consumed by an old but comfortable sectional sofa bracketing a coffee table and a flatscreen tv. The kitchen is tiny but well-organized, and bordered with a generous counter lined with stools that serves in place of a dining table. The bedroom is done up in soft earth tones, most up by the bed and a drafting table beneath the single window.

The sun is setting red and glorious across the New York Bay outside the window, just visible through a gap between some buildings farther west. The turntable is playing Queen and Bowie's "Under Pressure", and the apartment smells of cheap processed cheese. Steve is sitting far to one end of the couch, nearest to the floor lamp by which he's reading Jared Diamond's /Guns, Germs, and Steel/. He wears a white ribbed A-shirt and blue jeans, eating perhaps five servings worth of instant mac and cheese out of a metal mixing bowl tucked into the crook of his knee.

The man striding up to Steve's door is solidly built if not particularly tall, dark-skinned and completely bald, with a neatly trimmed Van Dyke beard. He wears an eyepatch over his left eye, three jagged lines of scars extending above and below it. He wears a long black coat despite the mild weather, with a black button-up shirt and black slacks beneath it. He raises his hand and knocks three times, firmly, on the door.

Steve rises, setting aside book and bowl, and snags a short-sleeve blue-gray-white check shirt on his way to the door, buttoning it as he goes. Looks through the peephole, pulls the door open. "Colonel," he says. He does not salute, and he only steps aside to invite the man in at a slight delay. "Please, come in. Can I get you something to drink? I've got lemonade, coffee, milk, beer, and whisky."

"Captain." Fury steps inside when invited. "I appreciate your hospitality, especially since I didn't call ahead. I'll take scotch, if you have any -- neat." He strides into the living room, turning a full circle on his heel. His eye lingers on Guns, Germs, and Steel. "Nice place."

"Thanks. It isn't mine. How many snipers you got watching this little tête-à-tête?" Steve reaches into a cabinet and pulls out two heavy tumblers, and from another comes a bottle of Laphroaig. Pours a couple of fingers into each glass and brings them into the living room, offering one to Fury. "Please, have a seat. I take it Agent Coulson gave you my message?"

"Thank you." Fury salutes Steve with the glass and takes a small sip before sitting down on the couch. "And just the one, assuming he isn't just playing Xenowerk on his phone. Coulson reported to me the moment I was free." He studies Steve with an expression so profoundly neutral it could be interpreted as bored. "Though not before he went over my head to pull the plug on an operation that wasn't under his command, at /your/ behest."

"Good." Steve sits, as well. Takes a more generous swig of his scotch before setting it down on one of the 18th century map-themed coasters. "You should have told me you knew where it was. I could have tried talking to them -- or to someone who knew them. Heck, you could have tried that."

"I'd ordered covert recon -- no one was ever supposed to come anywhere near those kids, much less pull a gun on them." Fury takes another sip and sets his glass down, as well. "That was a shitshow, and I'm not trying to pass the buck, but I assure you, none of the mutants were injured." He leans back, steepling his fingers in front of him. "As for you: way I see it, wasn't really your business. The shield belongs to my organization."

Steve's jaw tightens. "That's your moral high ground, Fury? They were only supposed to spy on children, not kill them?" He gives a short, quick shake of his head. "The shield belonged to Howard. It was an abandoned prototype, collecting dust until I picked it up. If you want to get technical, the thing should probably be returned to Tony Stark, but as a symbol, it is mine."

"Not a whole lot of moral high ground in my line of work, Cap," Fury admits. "That's one of the reasons I want you to join S.H.I.E.L.D. You're not wrong about the symbolism of that shield, but since you don't seem interested in being Captain America anymore..." He lifts his drink and squints at the setting sun through the liquor. "...it seems like we ought to find someone else to take up that mantle."

"You want me to give up my principles?" Steve sounds remarkably blasé about this. "Nothing new under the sun. I admit I wasn't sure about the Captain America thing when I first woke up. It's been -- a bit of an adjustment." He takes a long gulp of his scotch. "But I think he's still needed, and I'm still going to wear that mantle -- shield or no shield. Either way." He holds Fury's eye, leaning forward to brace his elbows on his knees. "I will handle getting the shield back. If you want to argue about who it belongs to afterwards, we can do that til we're both blue in the face -- as long as you keep your agents and their guns away from those kids."

"Deal," Fury says easily, raising his glass to Steve. "I wouldn't dream of asking you to give up your principles. Even if I wanted you to do that, I'm not fool enough to waste my time. But I happen to admire them, even if they're a pain in my ass right now. To Captain America," he says, draining the rest of his whisky. "Whoever he may be." He sets down the empty glass and rises. "Thank you for the drink, and the talk. Let me know when you get the shield back. In the meantime..." He gives Steve a long, steady look over his shoulder as he turns to go. "Be safe, Cap."

Steve raises one of his eyebrows slightly. "If you admire them so much, maybe you should reconsider how you and your organization operate." He does not echo Fury's toast. Doesn't contradict it either. Just finishes his drink, gazing at the other man steadily all the while. "I'll be in touch, but as for being safe..." He shrugs as he follows Fury to the door. "I can't make any promises."