[Palace Security Footage 08162016]
Loc: Palace of King T’Challa, Wakanda
Nat: You’re still a terrible liar, Steve.
Steve: <sighs> What do you want me to say, Natasha? That I’m lost? That every time I feel like I’ve found something- a home, a family, a purpose, it all comes crashing down?
Nat: I know it seems like that right now, but once the dust settles,
Steve: <interrupts> when the dust settles, the Accords will still be there, Bucky will still be on ice, I’ll still be a fugitive, and Tony will still be angry and hurt.
Nat: Things change. The Accords can be re-written, amended. King T’Challa’s already saying that perhaps it was put into action too soon. If that happens, recent events will be re-evaluated. You’ll most likely be exonerated for your part in uncovering the rest of Hydra’s Winter Soldiers and bringing Zemo to justice. Plus, some of the best neurologists and psychologists are studying how to help Bucky. He won’t be on ice forever.
Steve: And Tony?
Nat: <sighs> That’s gonna take more time. He was almost ready to come to his senses and put away his ego when he realized you were right about Bucky being framed. After seeing that video, though…..
Steve: <shaking his head, angry with himself> I should have told him when Zola showed me the files.
Nat: Showed US the files. I was there too. I knew as well as you did, telling him wouldn’t do anything to change what had happened, it would only hurt him. We had no idea it was Bucky they sent after Howard.
Steve: I SHOULD have known. Who else would they have sent? I’m surprised they didn’t send him after Peggy too.
Nat: <laughs> She’d have scowled and ordered him to ‘Stop this bloody nonsense and stand down, Soldier.’
Steve: <laughing sadly> Yeah, that’d be my Pegs. Even with the programming, Bucky probably would have listened.
Nat: <softly> He’ll be ok, Steve. The question is, will you?
Steve: I don’t know. I’ve spent the last few years trying to adjust to the times. Trying to find a place I fit in. Sometimes I think I never will.
Nat: <sadly> Well, at least you’re honest. Just because you feel like a misfit toy, doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for you.
Steve: <smiles nostalgically> That first Christmas with everyone, when you guys made me watch all those cartoons. You and Tony drunkenly singing that song about the misfit toys.
Nat: <singing softly> What’s the matter with misfits? That’s where we fit in.
Steve: What about the rest of our misfit fugitives?
Nat: We managed to sneak Scott and Clint back into the States, they’re hiding out at the Farm. You’d be amazed how handy it is to have Wanda do her little Jedi mind trick at customs.
Steve: <snickers> Jedi mind trick. You’re such a geek deep down, Romanoff.
Nat: And if you tell anyone, I will kick your ass, Rogers!
Steve: <still snickering> Language. <pauses> What about the rest of you?
Nat: Fury’s got us covered. He offered Sam, Wanda, Sharon and I an off-the-books recon project. He’s got this idea that Hydra’s gonna pop up again in some new form and wants us gathering intel. Plus he says he has a line on high tech weapons hitting the market lately. We’re off the radar, and we’re together, so we’ve got that going for us. Always room for one more.
Steve: Spycraft is your game, Nat. I don’t think I’m ready to get back out into the world. At least not until I know what for.
Nat: Take some time, figure things out. I’ve got a few things of my own to take care of in Russia first anyway. The offer is always open. When you’re ready, we’ll be here.
Later That Night
[Palace Security Footage 08162016]
Loc: Gymnasium, Palace of King T’Challa, Wakanda
<Steve, alone with his thoughts, pummeling a punching bag>
Fury: Jesus, Cap, every time I come looking for you, you’re at that punching bag. Here I thought Banner was the one with anger issues.
Steve: I’m not a Captain anymore, and I’m not into all that new age meditation and stuff. I’m more old school. <continues to hit the bag>
Fury: But recent events, have left you with no one to fight but yourself.
Steve: Sometimes I wish you’d have just left me in the ice. I thought I could just throw myself back into the world, but every time I think I’ve found my place, it all comes crashing down.
Fury: Nothing lasts forever, and sometimes, things can be rebuilt. Better, stronger. Look at SHIELD. If you hadn’t been there to expose the corruption, billions would have died, and HYDRA would have complete control of the world. Now we’re getting back on our feet and doing the job the way Peggy meant us to.
Steve: <Stops punching, looks at Fury> Do you think she knew?
Fury: I honestly couldn’t tell you. She always played her cards close to the vest. I do know she had backups, plots and plans for all sorts of outcomes. She taught me a lot about being prepared ahead of the game. Hell, there are still some of her black book protocols hidden away in my toolbox. Never know when something off the wall may come in handy.
Steve:<smirks> She wasn’t afraid to use any weapon of opportunity, but she always liked to make sure she had a backup plan.
Fury: <laughs> She used to tell me a story about taking a guy out with a stapler. Didn’t believe her until I saw the old SSR report.
Steve: <looks in disbelief> a stapler? <smiles sadly> That’s my girl.
Fury: You know, until the day she retired, she kept a picture of you on her desk. That one of you in training camp, before the serum.
Steve: <growing even sadder> We missed so much time. Some of my best memories are out in the field with Peg, Bucky and the Commandos. Now, they really are all gone. I thought I’d found that same kind of home with the Avengers, but I lost that too.
Fury: As I said, sometimes things CAN be rebuilt. Give it time, you and Stark can work things out. At some point, Cap, you’re gonna NEED to.
Steve: Stop calling me that! I’m not Captain America anymore! I’m just a kid from Brooklyn who can’t even go home! <Punches through the bag, sending it flying>
Fury: The world will always need Captain America, you just gotta remember how to be him. Find your direction, and you’ll find your way home.
<Fury turns and walks away. Steve hangs another punching bag and continues to beat on it with every ounce of his anger, pain, and loss.>
[Palace Security Footage 02212017]
Loc: Palace of King T’Challa, Wakanda
T’Challa: I see that you have been away on another one of your missions. Success?
Steve: <shrugs, frustrated and tired> We got the weapons, but the dealer armed one of the bombs. Had to let her escape while we defused it. Third time this month that we’ve been alerted to one of these superweapon deals. We get the tech off the market, but we can’t seem to find the source.
T’Challa: More of these alien based devices? <Steve nods> It is most concerning to hear of someone using this technology to create such devastating weapons.
Steve: I want to know who they’re getting the tech from in the first place. DoDC is supposed to collect and catalog all salvage from alien encounters like in New York and London. Somebody had their hand in the cookie jar. My intel says they’ve been cut off from their source, but they already had a pretty good stockpile of old Chitauri and Dark Elf salvage to modify. Nat’s been off chasing down leads on someone called the Tinkerer for a couple weeks now with no luck.
T’Challa: A mystery indeed. I’m sure my sister would be interested in disassembling some of these weapons and examining them. That is of course if you were to bring one of them back instead of sending them to be disposed of. If someone has been stealing this technology, is it truly wise or safe to return it to the same hands?
Steve: I trust my contact. He’ll keep an eye on them. I agree that those weapons shouldn’t be in anyone’s hands. However if anyone could design a way to counter them, it would be Shuri. How is she? Is she still working on deprogramming Bucky? When can I see him?
T’Challa: My sister is well. She has been extremely intrigued by the depth of his programming. Your friend is rehabilitating with the help of my sister and our most skilled healer, White Owl. He still needs time, not only to recover from seventy years HYDRA brainwashing, but to come to terms with the things he was compelled to do during that time. His condition is improving, albeit slowly. <concerned> Though it seems yours, Captain, is deteriorating. When was the last time you slept well?
Steve: <looking worn> I’m not a Captain anymore, Your Majesty.
T’Challa: <Smirking> So you say. However, you did not answer the question. When not on secret missions for Director Fury, your time here has been spent watching over your friend, online reading about the troubles in your home, or in my gym, destroying heavy bags by the dozen.
Steve: <sighing heavily> I’m sorry about the bags, I’ll try not to be so rough. Buck’s the closest thing I’ve got to family, the only one left from my past. As for the news…..
T’Challa: I have been following it as well, my friend. I am afraid the troubles this man will cause will not be limited to the borders of your home. Soon I will be attending a meeting with the National Security Council and the United Nations. I will once again urge them to put the Accords on hold, until such a time as they can be re-written with more input from those they would affect.
Steve: <shrugs> That’s good. About the Accords I mean. But home? I’m not sure I even recognize that place anymore. That’s not the America I remember, the America I fought for.
T’Challa: There are people fighting for it though, struggling to take it back, make it better. You may not be able to go home quite yet, but I understand there may still be ways you can help. While you were gone, Natasha contacted me. She asked me to give you a message. <hands Steve a note> Another mission, perhaps?
<Rabbit’s gone to ground, will keep digging around the garden. In the meantime, go do some bird-watching online. You’ll find more species than just the orange faced screecher. I Hope you still have my copy of Rogue One. Stay out of trouble. Better yet, make some. N. >
Steve: <laughs to himself> Leave it to Nat. <T’Challa tilts his head in silent query> ‘Rebellions are built on Hope’ One of the most dangerous women I’ve known, and deep down, she’s a closet nerd.
T’Challa: It is good to see you laugh again, Captain. I hope that the information she sent helps to bring you back to yourself. <Claps a hand on Steve’s shoulder> But I must go. Please, get some rest, and try not to destroy too many punching bags while I am gone.
[Palace Security Footage 02212017]
Loc: Guest Quarters, Palace of King T’Challa, Wakanda
<Steve turns on the television, catching the latest WHiH news promo>
Christine Everhart:<on tv> “Authorities are now saying, that the incident in Portland, injuring six, was merely a PR stunt gone awry.”
Steve: <shakes his head, mumbling> Well, at least she’s not attacking superheroes or pushing the White House agenda for once. <he mutes the tv, and logs into his computer, remembering Nat’s message, he pulls out the note> Birdwatching, huh? I don’t know what you expect me to find, Nat, but let’s see what’s going on. <he finds the website he’s looking for, and begins to make himself an account> Name? Well, I can’t use my own. Ah, I’ll just put a filler name for the moment. <begins to type> SGR1918, that will have to do for now until I decide if I really want to stick around here. Age? <does the math, winces> I’d better leave that blank, location too. Bio? Well, I guess I should put why I’m here.
‘Looking for ways to help protect America, and resist the corruption in the White House. I don’t like bullies, I don’t care where they’re from.’
<he stares at the screen, almost immediately, a private message from an unknown user appears in his inbox>
Looking for #TheResistance?
<Steve jumps, surprised at such a quick response, typing rapidly>
Um, yeah. I’m new around here.
<the response bubble floats for what feels like an eternity>
Go find MissUnionJack