A/N: A "Back Porch" story based on a line from "Captain America: Civil War"


Just Like We Practiced

Wanda practiced with her powers using basketballs until she could sink a basket from clear across the practice yard, even from around the corner. Using her powers alone, she snatched the ball out of Sam's hands, spun it in the air on a finger of scarlet mist, then set it at Steve's feet, holding it in place so it didn't budge even when Steve tried to kick it. The combined force of her powers and his Super Soldier strength made the poor ball burst like a balloon.

"That was mine," Sam sighed sadly.

"I'll buy you another," Steve promised.

"Two," Wanda offered, feeling bad that they'd ruined the ball.

"What's the next step?" she asked Steve. She looked doubtful when he told her, but she trusted Cap.

She practiced lifting her new target — it was considerably heavier than a basketball and a more awkward shape. Then finally, she tried throwing it.


"I'm sorry. I'm sorry," Wanda repeated repeatedly, literally wringing her hands as she followed her teammates into the building.

If Natasha hadn't been, well, Natasha, she would have gaped at the sight of Steve sitting on the linked arms of Sam and Rhodey as they carried their leader.

"What happened?" Nat said sharply. "Are you all right?" she demanded of Steve.

He wasn't bleeding that she could see, but he held himself stiffly with gritted teeth that ground together whenever his bearers made a misstep. And he was covered in dirt.

"I'm fine," Steve insisted, though his grimace belied his words.

"Liar," Natasha said.

"I'll be fine," Steve amended.

Pacing the group as they continued toward the infirmary, Natasha looked at Sam, who said, "I think he's cracked a couple of vertebrae."

"Traitor," Steve muttered.

"Why isn't he on a backboard — on a stretcher?" Natasha asked severely.

"He was going to walk back," Rhodey said. "This was a compromise."

"Natasha, nothing seems to be out of place. We've seen him in worse condition," Sam continued, trying to pacify her.

"He needs to lie down and get X-rayed," Rhodey contributed over Steve's grumbles.

"What happened?" Natasha asked.

"I fell," Steve answered.

Wanda winced at the words. "It was my fault," she said meekly.

"No, It was my idea," Steve insisted. "We just need more practice."

"No!" Wanda, Sam and Rhodey chorused.

"Yes," Steve said firmly in his "I am the captain" voice. "But not now," he accepted.

"I still haven't heard what happened," Natasha said in a low, dangerous voice that indicated someone better answer her instantly.

Sam sighed. "You know how Wanda's been practicing throwing basketballs through windows?"

"Yes. Wait, you mean ..."

"I asked her to throw me," Steve said, taking responsibility.

"But the weight was different," Wanda said miserably. "And Steve's not, you know, round like a ball."

"The human shape is an awkward one," Natasha said, a flicker of humor showing at her lips.

"She overcompensated for my weight and threw me harder than I expected," Steve said. "And when I tried to turn to take the impact on my shield, I disturbed her balance or concentration or something."

"He hit the wall with his back and fell two stories to the ground," Rhodey finished.

"So when you say Wanda threw Steve through the window, what you're really saying is ..."

Wanda sighed. "I missed," she confessed.

"Better luck next time," Natasha consoled her. "Maybe next time she can knock some sense into your thick skull," she told Steve.

"Never happen," Sam said.

"Probably not," Steve agreed unrepentant. "My head's the only thing that doesn't hurt."