April 17th 2012
S.H.I.E.L.D. facility New York Citty
Alexis stood in front of Steve's recovery room waiting for him to answer the door.
Their luggage was in the quinjet that would take them to Canada. It would be a three hour long flight (half the time it would take a commercial flight, thank you super quinjet speed) in which she would be able to talk to him about… well she wasn't exactly lacking in possible topics. But she was still a bit nervous about it. Certain things may prove too painful for Steve to discuss. The next week may prove to be the most challenging task she'd ever given herself.
She didn't have much time to worry though because she could hear Steve opening the door and that was her cue. She wiped the worry from her face and replaced it with excitement.
"Hello, so how was Fury?" she asked as she walked Steve to the elevator. Their route was cleared out so they wouldn't run into any prying eyes. Alexis was certain that Coulson wasn't one hundred percent happy with this, but she also knew that he'd understand. She fondly remembered the older gentlemen's excitement when they were overseeing the thawing process. When the presumed corpse started breathing the man nearly fainted. To be fair this had been true for most people present at that time. She definitely had to be there when these two would finally meet.
"Not the worst superior I've had to deal with ma'am… Miss Robbins," he corrected with a slight smile as he noticed Alexis' dismay. She nodded, content with this.
If he felt better calling her by her surname then that was fine with her. But she wasn't a ma'am.
"I suppose he could be worse," she admitted as the ding announced their arrival at the flight deck.
"So this is our ride," she said as the elevator door opened and revealed the quinjet. She saw the captain's surprise and even a bit of awe at the streamlined aircraft.
"Boys and their toys," she chuckled causing him to smile apologetic as he caught himself.
"Don't worry, I've got my toys too. Though they're significantly smaller." She pointed at the delicate charm bracelet which was the only piece of jewelry she was wearing at the time.
He noticed a lot of charms among which, a green teardrop, a black spider, a bird of some kind –it was hard to see which-, a triangle trapped in a circle a lightning bolt and to his amusement a miniature version of his shield amongst other things.
"Robbins! We're ready for take-off!" the pilot yelled at them before he himself boarded the jet.
The pilots didn't know who they were transporting. As far as they were concerned Steve was just an enhanced SHIELD asset that needed to get used to his newfound abilities in privacy.
Of course they might still piece it together if they gave him a good look or overheard some conversation. They weren't stupid. But Furry had insisted that everything was on a strict need to know basis. Not even everyone who'd helped bring Steve back had full confirmation about who he was. And Alexis actually agreed with this. If at all possible it should be Steve who decided when he'd be officially reintroduced to the world. Less people in the know meant less possible accidental leaks. Heck she was fully committed to making this Steve's choice and even she hadn't been able to keep herself from telling a few unauthorized individuals. Granted they had the right to know. But that's besides the point.
"Come on, we've got plenty of time to chat while in the air," she said as she started walking to the quinjet. Not much later they had taken to the sky and Alexis was making small talk with the pilots, asking about their families and stuff like that. Allowing Steve some time to proses the past couple of hours. As state of the art as the quinjet was, on the inside it felt familiar. It wasn't that different from the planes he and his commandos had used on missions. But he wasn't with a group of friends now.
He was with miss Robbins. A young woman who had grown up with stories about him and who, if things had gone differently would've grown up as a part of his extended family.
Despite his best efforts to control his expression some of his pain about losing the life he'd always dreamed of with Peggy and his friends must've been spotted by miss Robbins.
She stopped her conversation with the pilots, took a seat in front of him and leaned forward, calling his attention to her.
"So, we'll be spending a lot of time together this week. And if you aren't completely sick of me by then we'll get to see plenty of each other after that too. I guess you have a ton of questions, I know I do. Let me start with a huge shocker: we won the war…" she said with a theatrical gesture that made Steve smile despite everything. This made her face light up. "But I guess Furry told you as much already," she continued as her expression became more serious.
"At least, in the sense that Nazi Germany was defeated by the allied forces.
If you ask me no one really wins a war. You only lose a little less than the other guy.
I'll get around to telling you just how horrid Hitler was in his beliefs if you want but not now.
It honestly sickens me and I'm sure you'll be shocked as well. The whole world was shocked to learn just how extreme his measures for his 'third reich' were. But it should be good to know that after the war Germany was so ashamed of it all that they made it a rule that any German soldier could refuse to follow orders if they feel like they go against human decency. Not that such rules would hold if a new Hitler ever came to power. But I hope that won't happen." Steven allowed himself a smile as Alexis ranted. She was acting so relaxed. As though they were old friends and were merely having a conversation instead of attempting to educate a man who'd been comatose for seventy year on what he'd missed. It made him feel slightly less out of place.
Her grandmother- it was weird to think of the vibrant and strong headed Hannah as a married woman let alone a grandmother- had helped him learn as many languages, codes and battle skills as she could during his months with the USO.
Now miss Robbins had taken over the job and she seemed to be determined not to make him feel like a lost child.
"I mean I wish I could say I don't get how someone could be that way and get away with it but I once saw this documentary on the history channel-" Steve perked up not sure what she meant by that. Was that a new radio station? Alexis didn't miss a beat thought and was quick to explain.
"It's really weird if you stop to think about it, so bear with me. Nowadays every household has its own television. Which is basically like a radio except it also shows visual images. So it's like you have a movie theater in your home, but you can chose the type of programs you watch. And like with the radio there is news and funny shows, but also music and more story driven programs. You have talk shows and quizzes, and documentaries and so much more. It would be easier to show than to explain honestly." Steven nodded in understanding. A television. It sounded like a good way to spread information and provide entertainment. He remembered enjoying movies in the theater before he left for the war- or well first for the USO tour then for the war. He even remembered similar devices on the expo's Bucky loved so much. He stopped his train of thought before he could wander too deep into his regret and grief. Alexis did a good job of pretending she didn't notice her conversation partner had been absent for a few seconds there and continued.
"You'd be surprised at the kind of things people have invented over the last few decades."
She waited a moment, giving Steve the chance to tell her he'd rather not hear about any more advancements right now. When he didn't she started talking.
"I mean half the time I'm surprised and trough my work at SHIELD I at least think I'm being kept somewhat up to date. And I still can't really keep up with what's science and what is science fiction and honestly it doesn't help that I face scientific anomalies on a daily basis," Alexis giggled with a slight blush as she admitted this, causing Steve to let out a short chuckle as well. In that instance she looked exactly like Hannah.
"Anyway, I'm not a historian, but I have a friend in London who is.* She specializes in the more recent history. I've been chatting with her about how life was for soldiers and engaged in debates about some 'what if' scenarios about how different things are nowadays and from those conversations –I wasn't allowed to just tell her what was going on after all- I have a decent idea of what to do and not to do this week. Don't worry I'm not going to give you an advanced history class. I don't see what the point is in that. If you're curious about something you can always look it up yourself right?" Steve nodded in appreciation.
"Okay. I've been getting of track. I was going to tell you about some more awesome inventions."
She proceeded to tell him animatedly about a few of the biggest advancements in technology.
She told him about computers, about how everyone could find any kind of information in an instant through the internet and how they could reach anyone anywhere trough cellphones .
She talked about the advancements with wonder and excitement as if she herself had only just discovered that all these things were possible. It made him curious to find out more, even if it felt slightly overwhelming.
"Is it alright if I share one last invention with you? I promise it isn't as insane as the previous ones. Or, well it depends on how you look at it I suppose?" Steve felt he could handle just one more invention. So he gestured for her to continue, after which she reached in her pocket and pulled out a flat, black, shiny rectangle and a more bulky one with buttons. She pointed to the bulky rectangle.
"This is your ordinary cellphone. And like I said with it you can call pretty much anyone anytime.
Or you can send short messages. Then there is this fella," she said as she picked up the flat rectangle. "This is also a cell phone but slightly more high tech." She couldn't help a smile at the understatement. "We call it a smart phone. Jeez I just realize I sound like a sales woman."
Steve chuckled and nodded in agreement.
"You can tell me if I sound ridiculous you know," she joked. Steve simply shrugged and gestured for her to continue.
"Anyway, so what you do is turn it on and you move your finger like this," she said as she swiftly moved her finger from one side of the phone to another.
"That's called swiping, and voila the phone is operational. The smartphone has a touch screen, as the name implies it's operated by the touch. Now this is basically a combination of a computer as it is connected to the internet and a cellphone," she concluded as she put away both phone's.
"Just thought it might be handy to know since you might see me use it quite a few times," she said clearly apologetic.
"Alright any questions you want to ask me?" she asked curiosity gleaming in her eyes.
If he was honest he had a few million questions. But he wasn't sure if he wanted the answers just yet. Once again Alexis seemed to sense what he thought and redirected the subject.
"Actually if you don't mind there are a few things I'm curious about," Steve smiled and nodded for her to go ahead.
"Well first a question about before the war even started. You were following art classes right?"
Steve was slightly surprised by the direction the conversation had taken. He hadn't expected anyone in this time to really care for Steve Rogers, but then again, this was Hannah's granddaughter.
And even if he forgot about that, which he really should, miss Robbins had already shown that she was a very caring person. So he could've expected her genuine interest in getting to know him.
"I did," he answered realizing only now that this was the first verbal response she'd gotten out of him since they'd gotten in that elevator. No wonder she'd been so eager to get him to talk about something. For all the poor child knew he'd lost the use of his voice.
"You were quite good too, so here's my question. Where does a talented artist such as yourself hope to earn a living during the great depression?" Steve smiled and leaned back remembering a time when he had thanked the lord for his artistic talents for it was the only way he could ever hope to earn any sort of decent income at all.
"Well I could earn decent wages working for the paper, camera's weren't allowed in a courthouse at the time-" "still aren't" miss Robbins stated.
"Oh, well then you may have seen, on television I suppose and perhaps in the papers that when reporting on court cases key moments are drawn by a sketch artist. So I could've done that. Or I could've worked for the police as a profile artist. But what I really wanted to do, was draw stories. Illustrate books or something." Alexis eyes glimmered with childlike curiosity.
"Ever thought of becoming an animator?" Steve's eyes widened.
"As a matter of fact I did. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that you knew about the Disney brothers. Have you ever seen Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?" For some reason Alexis giggled as she nodded. Steve supposed he'd hear what was so funny later.
"Well, I was awed by the beautiful artwork and the idea of seeing something you drew quite literary coming to life when it was more than just a silly cartoon animal… It seemed like every artists dream. Of course I had to finish my education, but then the war started and I… well you know what happened." Alexis nodded in solemn understanding.
Steve sighed, he didn't think the excited almost childlike man would still be alive today. He'd already been in his forties when Steve met him during his USO days.
"I'm curious, are animated movies popular these days?" Alexis couldn't help another giggle.
"Oh, I don't know. Would you call several generations being raised on Disney movies popular?" Steve was pleased to find that something from his time had survived the past seventy years.
"If you want, I've packed a few movies from the past decades, one of them Disney. We could watch it together." It had been a pain to find a movie that wouldn't trigger the man. She wanted to work past whatever scars the war had left on Steve sure, but she hoped she could help him relax for this week at least. That is why she had let all her contacts know that she would go dark for a week.
"That sounds nice," Steve smiled.
"One more question, then it's your turn or we can just relax, I've got a few books you might like."
Steve shrugged honestly not sure if he wanted answers today, or later, or never.
"Alright… You've been to a lot of places, but where would you like to visit as Steve Rogers? Paris, Los Angeles…?" Steve thought for a moment. "I would like to see Europe again. Just Europe. On the USO tour I got to see the sights in between shows a little. But while in the field I didn't really get the chance to take in everything.
I would like to visit the places we fought and see them at peace. If that makes sense?"
Alexis smiled. "It makes a lot of sense." Steve waited for a bit, but as promised no new question came. This meant she was indeed waiting for him to ask his question.
He almost asked about his comrades, about Peggy but he chickened out. If he asked then it would be official. Then those who were gone would be really gone and there would be nothing he could do about it. So he postponed the serious questions and picked one of no real consequence.
"Where are we going exactly?" He really wanted to know. It felt like they'd been flying forever.
"Canada. There's a secluded cabin there where we should be at peace for a bit. Closest airport is about three hours away, luckily these babies only need a clearing to land," she said as she patted the framework of the jet. Steve nodded absentmindedly. Alexis understood that the captain's thoughts had ventured off and decided to leave him to them.
She picked up The Fault In Our Stars. She'd heard a lot of good stuff about it so it was time to see if it was worth the hype. Chances were that despite her skepticism she'd have to hold back her tears.
Time passed and before long the pilot announced they were getting ready to land.
Alexis marked her place. God damn it, it was good. She looked over to Steve and saw that he had barely moved the past two hours or so. She gently cleared her throat. "Captain Rogers, we are here." Steve looked up startled, checked his surroundings and then nodded. She wished she'd had a better idea of Steve's normal habits. It would make this so much easier. Then again she always started with virtually no prior knowledge of her protégés and it usually worked out.
The hatch opened and they gathered their things. Yes, she thought as their home for the week came into view, she would make this work.
*The historian mentioned is the OC from "A historians work is never done" by Grace Song