Author's Note: Hello everyone, and welcome! This is Melting Silver, the companion novella to Silver Smoke. Basically, if you haven't read Silver Smoke, this won't make any sense. You can find it on my profile :3

To those of you who HAVE read Silver Smoke, then welcome back! This is Sam's diary of the time she spent in Rome. It's just a short story - only ten short chapters - but it's crucial to the Silver Smoke storyline. A lot of what happens here will become motives for things that the characters do in the future; it's a mandatory read.

As promised, Wolverine's son Daken will make an appearance (and Wolverine himself will have a cameo!). I like to include other Marvel characters, rather than just the Avengers.

Two notes: 1, I am fully aware than Roman universities probably don't follow the same timeline as American schools: they probably don't start in September. But I kept it this way in the story, to make things easier for me and less complicated for the readers. And 2, you might find Sam's language course a bit unbelievable - but there's a six-week Spanish course in my town where they teach you the full language, so I decided, why wouldn't they have an Italian one in Italy? They probably get a lot of foreign students. And if we can have a super soldier and a man who turns into an angry green rage monster - why can't we have this language course?!

So, without further delay, this is Sam's diary: Melting Silver! Please leave a review to either tell me what you think, or just to let me know you're reading this :)

READERS ASSEMBLE!


AUGUST

August 1st

Dear Diary,

OH MY GOD THAT SOUNDS SO DORKY. I AM NEVER WRITING "DEAR DIARY" AGAIN. SCREW THAT, I'M NEVER WRITING IN THIS DIARY AGAIN.

August 13th

Okay so, damn it all to hell. I'll write in this diary.

I feel as if I should introduce myself. Do people introduce themselves to diaries? Do I have to keep calling this a diary? It makes me sound like a five-year-old. Anyway, uh, introduction. What am I even supposed to write? My name? Facts about me? A funny joke? This is stupid. Goodbye.

August 17th

I'm back again. This time, I'm going to stop over-thinking things and instead, I'm going to take the plunge and introduce myself like a total geek.

My name is Samantha Marie Silverman, but people call me Sam. I'm nineteen years old, currently living in Rome, Italy. I like cats, history, hot chocolate, when people braid my hair, and I have a secret obsession with heels. I'm a movie buff, a fan of classic rock music, and a huge Disney fan. Is that good enough?

August 18th

Let me explain.

I moved to Rome late July, last month, to study archaeology at a university. I'm staying on-campus, and I've got a roommate named Caterina.

She's a nice enough girl. Her English isn't very good. I don't think we'll be very good friends, but we'll be able to stand each other. Caterina is short and kind of chubby, and she wears clothing that is about two sizes too small. She's got a roman nose and dyed-black hair, and she smokes. That's what bugs me the most, I think — the fact that she smokes in our dorm room. I've tried to tell her to stop, but she pretends not to understand me. Eventually, I'll be able to tell her in Italian — I'm taking a one-month course that the university is offering, and basically I'll end up learning the entire language. It's crazy-intense and I've had no time for anything but studying.

Caterina was the one who suggested I write this damn diary. She writes in her own every night, and she's got a bookshelf full of her diaries. She's kept one for every year of her life since she was ten. It's not a half-bad idea, I guess. Since I just started my new life in Rome, it's the perfect time to start.

I still can't believe I've actually done it. I've actually left behind everything in the States — my mom and brother, my cat Trooper . . . my status as an Avenger.

Yeah, that's another important thing about me. I was an Avenger. Not a superhero; not really. Just an Avenger. I first reared my costumed face in the battle a few months ago, against Loki and the Chitauri. I was Masquerade (she was the heroine with the black bodysuit, purple boots and Venetian masquerade mask). I was also around when the Mandarin, some new villain who we only just encountered, kidnapped and executed a bunch of civilians.

I got quite beat-up in that battle. Broke two ribs and a leg; lost a tooth. Also badly damaged my head – I just took the bandage off a week ago, and there's a huge, puckered scar on my forehead, where my hairline starts. I still have the cast on from my broken leg, and my tooth's been replaced. The ribs are healing. But that battle left some emotional scars, and I think it's what pushed me over the edge and convinced me to leave my old life and move to Rome.

Tony Stark is the guy who financed my entire trip. You know: Iron Man.

I have a variety of relationships with my fellow Avengers. Tony — he's basically my father. Ever since my real dad screwed up my cells and gave me control over the four elements of earth, wind, fire and air, Tony's taken over the role of dad. He kinda sucks at it, but it's the thought that counts.

Clint Barton, codename Hawkeye, he's one of my best friends. We used to both get up at four in the morning to have tea and a chat together, and then we'd go back to bed. He was like my personal Dr. Phil, and I miss him. I didn't really get to know Bruce (the Hulk), or one of the two new additions to the team, Hank Pym (who was Ant-Man) very well. His wife — Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp — had liked me, I guess. I wasn't such a big fan of her. She was too optimistic and talkative for my tastes. But we at least had a better relationship than the one I had with the Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff. We didn't get along very well at all, actually. Thor and I were buddies, in that he's-secretly-a-snuggle-bear-that-everyone-can't-help-loving sort of way.

And then there was Steve. Good ol' Captain America. We weren't just best friends — we had been going out. Boyfriend and girlfriend, if you will. I really, really liked Steve. I think I still do, actually. But I had to break up with him right before I moved to Rome.

So, yeah. That sucked.

I'm going to go try and call him now. I miss his voice.

I miss all of them.

August 20th

Steve's not picking up any of my calls.

Do you know how many bloody times I've tried to contact him? More than I care to count! And every time, he never picks up his phone. Or if I call Tony and tell him to put Steve on the line, Steve refuses to talk or listen to me. It's infuriating, and I don't understand why the hell he's doing it.

I've talked to everyone except Steve, which sucks, because Steve was the one person I wanted to talk to. I've fallen in like with him (yes, fallen in "like"), and he won't talk to me. I feel like he's stomping all over my heart.

It's really freaking hot here in Rome. I think I'm going to die of the heat any day now. Caterina, who's actually from Florence, Italy, and I have explored all the major tourist attractions. My favorite was the Roman Forum, probably.

It's so weird, to have ruins that are thousands of years old right outside my door. Italians walk past them like it's no big deal, but to me, it's . . . well, it's phenomenal. Everything is so old and so full of history, it blows me away. And the beauty of it! The Romans made such wonderful things, all those years ago.

I still can't believe I'm actually going to get to study all these ruins — I'll get to learn their history in-depth. I'm taking an archaeology course, an architecture course and a Middle-Ages art history course, along with Latin. I'm so excited, I actually have trouble sleeping at night.

Or maybe that's just the heat and the smell of Caterina's cigarettes.

Anyway, my Italian language course is almost over. I can already have full conversations with Caterina, but Italians talk so fast that it'll take a while before I can understand them as easily as I can now speak the language. Caterina says I'm lucky that I can speak fluent English, though — apparently the popular job for students is to be a tour guide. I can lead tourists around and teach them about the city — and it'll help me with my classes, since I'll be reviewing the information I'm learning. It'll be everything from the Roman coliseum and Emperor Nero to Michelangelo.

Caterina also says that we might get to go on an archaeological dig if the class does well. They just discovered Nero's palace! God, I can't wait for the semester to start.

August 22nd

I met some more of my future classmates today; a few of them were Caterina's friends. They're all Italian except for one British girl, and a Canadian boy. They're both quite intimidating, because they've already been living in Rome for a full year. I think I'll fit in with the group, though. We're going to explore a nearby park today. So far, I've spent my entire month calling my family and Stark Tower, to check in with the people back home. I've also spent a lot of time unpacking, settling in, getting to know the campus, and hitting up all the big sights like the coliseum. Basically what I'm trying to say is, I haven't had much time to explore Rome itself, as a city.

It's time to stop calling the USA every day, I think. I need to slowly become less and less reliant on everyone back home. Obviously I'll keep in touch — by my new life is here.

Steve still won't talk to me or return my calls.

August 24th

Had my Italian language final exam today. God, it was hard. But I'll find out whether or not I passed by the end of the weekend.

And even if I didn't pass . . . I still learned a hell of a lot of Italian! I can have full conversations with not only Caterina, but basically any Roman I run into on the street. I'm really starting to get the hang of things.

August 25th

GUESS WHO DROPPED BY TODAY? Clint! Agent Barton, Hawkeye, Cupid on Steroids, whatever! He just showed up on my doorstep this morning. Said something about S.H.I.E.L.D sending him across the world for a mission — and that he decided to drop by.

We sat down for tea, and a long chat. God, it's so nice to talk to Clint. He's like a gay best friend, just . . . not gay. I just love the guy.

He told me that back at Stark Tower, the Winter Soldier was constantly trying to assassinate every Avenger he could set his eyes on. Tony had everyone on lockdown because of it. Of course this news worried me greatly, but Clint calmed me down. He said that I'm fine, too; I don't have to worry about the Soldier coming after me. Not only is my identity still a secret, but I'm on the other side of the world.

Besides, I quit my job as Masquerade. And when I asked Clint about Steve, he didn't say anything.

Clint's staying the night, and tomorrow I'm taking him sightseeing, before he has to leave in the evening. I think we'll hit up the Vatican City, actually, and the Sistine Chapel, along with Saint Peter's Basilica. I haven't visited those places before, and I'm sure Clint will visit again sometime soon — I can show him the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain then.

August 26th

Passed my language course! Thank God. It was more work than I care to admit.

August 27th

Yesterday with Clint was a lot of fun. I got to use my new Italian skills to impress the poor guy, who was confused as hell the entire day. But we saw the Pope! That was pretty damn cool. The Vatican was huge — I could visit there every day for years, and never be able to see everything. I'm going back with Caterina today, to explore more. And I think I might even visit tomorrow. I'm going to enjoy my freedom before classes start.

Ugh, school. It'll suck. But at least I'm studying what I want to, in a city that I love.

August 29th

I'm going with Caterina and a group of her friends for an overnight trip to Mount Vesuvius tomorrow. We'll leave early in the morning on the thirtieth, and return late on the thirty-first. I can't believe I've spent an entire month in Rome already. It feels as if I've been here forever, and at the same time, that it's only been a few days! And classes haven't even started yet!

Mount Vesuvius was the volcano that destroyed the city of Pompeii thousands of years ago. It's going to be mind-blowing. It's strange enough that I can take weekend trips like these to world-famous places. One day, I'll be visiting Florence, Verona, and even Venice! Italy has so many opportunities. In the States, you couldn't visit things like Vesuvius whenever you felt like it. It's a world-class volcano with rich, old history. America may be great, but . . . it doesn't compare.

August 31st

The trip was amazing. But I don't have the heart to write about it. Something else has been occupying my mind.

Steve still won't talk to me.

It's been a month . . . .