Author's Note: I had originally meant this to be a one-shot but after a review by dewwy dewart (thank you very much by the way, along with everyone else who faved/ reviewed this story) I decided that it warranted a proper ending. I hope you like it.
"How is he?" Cap asked SHIELD agent Maria Hill.
"He seems stable" she replied. "We provided him with several bags of cattle blood and he drank them down like they were coffee." Professional as always her tone showed none of the disgust she felt. "After that he calmed down."
She tapped a few keys on a nearby monitor and an image of Blade in his cell appeared. He was kneeling on the floor with his eyes closed. He looked to be meditating.
"I want to talk to him" said Cap firmly.
"Director Fury thought you would. He's already cleared it."
Blade opened his eyes and stood up as his keen hearing detected approaching footsteps. He watched impassively as Captain America walked up to his cell and stopped several metres away.
For a moment neither of them spoke. Then Blade gruffly said one word.
"For bringing me in. In here I can't kill anyone else."
"I've read reports from the FBI. They think that you're delusional, but you're not. You need blood to survive" said Cap.
"Doesn't matter" Blade replied. "All that matters is that the monster is in a cage where it belongs."
"You are not a monster" said Cap firmly. "A monster wouldn't thank me for bringing it in. A monster wouldn't be glad to be locked away. I've known true evil and I know that you are not it."
Blade was surprised to hear that. It took him a moment to answer.
"Why are you here?"
"I want to hear your side of what happened."
So Blade told him. He told him of his early life when the thirst began to appear, how Whistler had found and trained him, his life as a Daywalker and vampire hunter, and finally how the thirst had overwhelmed him.
The Daywalker was surprised at himself for saying so much. He had never been one to speak openly, especially about something so personal. But there was something about Captain America that reassured him and made him feel at ease. Cap's quiet but firm charisma and his strength of personality could move even a soul as jaded as Blade's.
When he had finished Cap said, "I can talk to Fury. Maybe we can find a way to help you."
"You want to help me? Keep me locked up and throw away the key."
Before Cap could reply the door opened and Maria Hill entered. With her was a woman Cap didn't recognise. Blade however clearly did.
"Hello Blade" she said softly. "Captain Rogers, Agent Hill can you give us a minute?"
When they were alone in the room Blade said quietly "you know why I'm here?"
"I know" Dr. Karen Jenson said. Her voice was even and without judgement.
"Then you know I have to stay here. I'm a danger to everyone around me. Even the serum doesn't work anymore."
"Blade, when I took this job at SHIELD part of the reason was so I could have the resources to better help you. With their equipment I've been able to produce a new formula that should be far more effective."
"It's not just that" he replied. "I spent most of my life fighting vampires but I never imaged living in a world without them, just dying while helping make that world. Now I'm here living in that world and I have no where to go. I don't know what I can be but a vampire hunter."
"A hero" she said.
"I'm serious. You can join the Avengers. There you could really make a difference."
"I'm not a team player"
"Blade you have a choice. You can either stay locked away forever or you be something that will give you purpose again."
"I'll think about it."
Knowing that was the best she could expect Karen nodded. "Alright. Will you at least try the new serum?"
The improved serum worked exactly as Karen had hoped. After taking it Blade was astonished at how effectively it quenched the thirst without any of the painful side effects he had grown used to over the years.
He spoke further with Cap and Karen. It turned out that Cap had also considered the possibility of a place within the Avengers for Blade and had consulted Nick Fury about it. Fury agreed that Blade would be a useful addition to the team.
After much consideration Blade made the decision to join the Avengers. He was still wary of working with a team but at least these people were professionals who didn't treat everything like a bad joke (with the exception of Tony Stark). Eventually Blade settled into the group. Between the improved serum and his newfound purpose he was once again able control the thirst.
While his "brooding loner" persona largely remained in place he was able to lighten up slightly over time. He contacted Abigail Whistler and they parted on good terms, her assuring Blade that what had happened to Hannibal wasn't his fault and she had forgiven him. He even started a relationship with Karen although both of them were careful to take it slowly.
One night at Stark Towers, months after Blade had joined them, the Avengers were celebrating victory over taking down a string of HYDRA bases. Blade however was on the rooftop gazing out over the city.
"Getting some fresh air Blade?" Cap asked.
The Daywalker wasn't surprised, having picked up the other man's scent the second he stepped onto the rooftop. He removed his shades and turned around.
"Parties aren't my thing. No point in just standing in a corner and ruining the atmosphere."
"I respect that" Cap replied. He understood all too well about needing time to oneself. "If you change your mind you're welcome."
As Cap was about to leave Blade said "wait."
Cap turned. "Go on."
"I was thinking of how we met. That fight was the start of a new beginning for me. I owe you for that."
"You don't owe me anything."
A small grin appeared on Blade's face. "You know you just got lucky in that fight?"
"Oh really?" Cap laughed.
"Really. Any other time I'd have wiped the alley with you."
"How about we go a few rounds in the training room? Then we'll see if it was just luck."
"Sounds like a plan."
As they exited the rooftop Blade thought about how much things had changed. He had gone from his lowest point to the highest he'd ever known within only a few months. Thanks to the man walking in front of him.
Despite what Cap had said Blade still knew he owed him everything. Even if he could never repay his debt he vowed to spend the rest of his life trying.