Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. Here is the return of Kay, Captain America's biggest hero. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday evening!
It was Thanksgiving Day.
Steve had been commissioned to give a speech to some recent army trainees. A galaxy-wide war was about to begin, with the Civil War-broken Avengers in the middle of it.
They needed all the support from the military forces they could get.
Steve's heart had sank so low by the time he entered the presentation hall that he wasn't sure even his Hitler-blasting stage grin could rally these troops to victory. It wasn't every day he had much to be thankful for. This time around, it was even harder to count his blessings.
"Sir?" a woman's voice piqued up beside him. He turned around, to see a very short young woman with a long, black ponytail dressed in standard-issue uniform.
Her face, however, seemed familiar. "Kay?" he asked, disbelieving.
She broke into a huge grin. "You remember me!"
"How could I forget?" he shook her hand, smiling. "You saved my life."
"I bet a lot of people do that," she shook her head.
"They do. But yours in particular stands out to me. How is a fourteen-year-old that brave and quick thinking?"
She shrugged. "It mattered. So I did what I had to. I'll be honest, I don't think I really knew what I was doing. I just knew I couldn't sit there and moan about all the stuff I wasn't sure about, you know?"
He nodded. "Yeah. What about this war? Are you ready for that?"
"Ha!" she balked. "Are you?"
"I'm trying to be," he admitted.
"I'm the same way. This is scary. I've got family at home eating tamales and pudding right now."
"It won't be easy to protect them from something we know so little about," Steve agreed. They began walking together in the direction of the presentation hall.
"Still," Kay shrugged, "we've got a lot of heart left in this country."
"Do we?" Steve smiled a little wistfully.
Kay gave him a concerned smile in return. "So what are you thankful for, Captain Rogers?"
Steve turned away and focused more on walking, and trying to think of something he HAD to be thankful for.
Watching Buck take a blow that severed his spine and paralyzed him below the waist certainly didn't count.
Steve had tried to convince his buddy to try extra therapy, experiment with new technology designed for veterans with spinal cord injuries.
The old Bucky wouldn't have given it a second thought. He would have tried everything to fix his condition and get his mobility back to where it had been. The new Bucky, however, clammed up and insisted on doing everything himself.
He didn't want help. He'd run off shortly after the injury, just to prove he could still take care of himself. Steve checked on him every now and then, but for now it was just him and Sam, eating their cereal with orange juice poured over it instead of milk and running in circles every other morning.
Watching the Avengers split and turn against each other at Steve's own command certainly didn't count.
And then there was Sharon. Her death had left a bitter, angry taste in his mouth he didn't even want to venture to think about. He hated Tony for Sharon, wanted to wrench his head off and leave him lifeless on the side of a road for Sharon. Even counselor-trained and empathetic Sam, bless his soul, didn't want to address him on the subject yet, afraid Steve would literally snap him in two by accident if he did.
And now there was this insane war Thor had accidentally brought down on them. Well, he couldn't really blame Thor for it, really, but it was still frustrating.
Sure, he had a lot to be thankful for.
"Not that I have a lot myself," Kay snorted, interrupting his dark train of thought. "I could count the things I have to be thankful for on one hand." She held up her right and started counting off, starting with her thumb. "One, there's STILL a god that's bigger than Thor. Two, he saved me from my sin and washed me with his blood. Three, I've got a family that's thinking of me right now. Four, I've still got a country to fight for, and five, I just met Captain America again!" she smiled up at him.
Steve grinned back in spite of himself. Her list about summed up his own, or at least close.
"Still don't have a family of your own?"
He shook his head. "Nope."
Together, they reached the doorway to the presentation hall.
"Where are you going to celebrate after this?" Kay asked him, as they prepared to part ways.
Steve shrugged. "Oh, I don't know. Sam's my friend; he's off with his grandparents. Invited me to join them, but seeing as they're ardently pacifist it seemed like it might be more awkward than necessary."
"You should come have dinner with us," she offered, without skipping a beat. "Me and the tactical team have our own table."
He laughed, rubbing his neck. "I don't know about—"
"It's okay," she laughed with him. "If they try to make you sign their foreheads I'll slap them. It'll be fantastic. We're all soldiers here, right? Familia."
Steve tried for a second more to say no to her teasing, enthusiastic smile. He couldn't manage it.
"Did I ever tell you that you're my hero?" he blurted out, before he could stop himself.
Kay looked up in surprise, the teasing look gone from her face. "Wha—?"
"You are," Steve told her, shrugging. He took a huge gulp. "You, Ma'am, are my hero, and I would do anything to be like you." He gave her a casual, frank salute, walking backwards to where his entry to the stage was located.
Kay stared after him, not sure what she had just heard.
Steve gave her one last smile. He was maybe going to join her team for Thanksgiving dinner after his speech. Maybe not. He hadn't decided yet. But no matter how the speech itself went, he at least had something to base it on.
An example of true heroics in the face of hard times.
That was his friend Kay.