Okay. Start of a new month. I am officially going to get better now. I can put my past behind me. Now I can concentrate on getting my life back on track.
I think . . . I don't feel as depressed anymore. Caterina constantly surrounds me with happy people, organizes outings with my friends, and makes sure I'm eating right - all under Tony's orders, of course. I wonder if she's getting paid.
Exercise! I'm starting to fall back in love with exercise, and trying to stay healthy that way. It boosts my mood, too, which can't be a bad thing.
I'm going to the gym every day now. It's not a very nice gym, admittedly, but it works. And I've hired a personal trainer - I want to do kickboxing. Get back into shape. Although I'm not returning to be an Avenger, since I no longer have powers, I should probably be concentrating on my hand-to-hand combat. Y'know, just in case.
I've quit smoking. I always knew it was bad; just never actually got around to stopping it. I can't even remember how it started, but I regret it almost more than I regret ever meeting Daken. Although I didn't smoke for long, it's making it difficult to get back into shape right away, and it's adding to my depression. Plus, it freaking stinks.
I remember when I first moved here, and I found the smoke of Caterina's cigarettes to be revolting. God, it's just so bad for you.
Anyway, I'm on one of those retarded "plans" to stop. I've seen a doctor and everything, too. If I can't get rid of my depression - or my memories - at least I'll get rid of my smoking habit.
School is going amazingly well, thank God. My marks have gone way up again, and I'm enjoying it once more. I'm enjoying everything once more. My energy has finally come back.
I think it helps that in Rome, no one cares who you are. They don't care what you look like - I don't feel pressured to dress up for every day. Besides, I hardly know anyone, so who gives a damn what I say or think or act like?
I'm trying to be nicer now, though. Trying to act like Old Sam. That punch to Tony's face - and Daken's comment that he'd made me more violent - really were wake-up calls. I've taken to using my words, but still trying to be less nasty. Besides, another pro of the kickboxing is that if I ever feel the need to punch something . . . I can hit the punching bag.
Caterina got me a cat! A little tiny furry kitten, with grey, black and white stripes. It's the cutest little thing I've ever seen, although it makes me miss my cat back at home - Trooper. The one that Thor adopted.
I named my little kitten Batman. Don't judge, okay? She just looks like a Batman (even though it's a she and all). It probably has something to do with the fact that two nights ago, I had a Batman movie marathon - I watched Christopher Nolan's entire trilogy with two of my English-speaking friends. Right after watching it, I called Tony and told him I wanted a Batmobile. He said no.
Batman's a fictional superhero. After all the hype that real superheroes have caused, obviously Hollywood jumped on the boat and decided to make fake superhero movies. But I love Batman; he's the greatest. He's actually the one that inspired me to go to the gym - to get fit again. His struggles are so difficult, his movies so dark; it's a nice escape for me, while still reminding me who I used to be.
So, anyway. The kitten. Caterina calls her Pipistrello, which is Italian for "bat", and I'm not going to stop her. It's cute; sounds better than Batman, at least. Caterina doesn't really like cats, but she's putting up with it - says she bought it for me because she read somewhere online that taking care of pets makes you feel better when you have depression. And let me tell you, playing with this tiny kitten and having her sleep on my bed certainly does make me feel better. Just hearing her purr lifts my heart a bit, each time.
I babysat some kids last night - the children of a co-worker of mine at the tourism office. Yes, I'm still doing that. It pays pretty well; forces me to go outside and surround myself with people.
Anyway - the kids. They were Italian, and there were three of them. The oldest was 9, a boy by the name of Orlando; his brother 7, named Nicoli. They had a younger sister, too, Alessia - she's 6.
After their mother and father gave me all the basic babysitting instructions - what they could and couldn't eat, when bedtime was, how much TV they were allowed to watch, etc., I said goodbye to them. The parents were going on a dinner date and then to a show, so they expected to be out late.
I headed down the staircase to the basement, where I could hear the kids playing and yelling at each other.
"BAM! I just killed you with my light beams!" Nicoli shouted - I had met these kids a long time ago, back when I babysat them before Daken came around.
"Impossible!" Orlando roared in a fake deep voice. "I am Thor, god of thunder! You are no match for my hammer!"
I got downstairs just in time to see Orlando throw a hammer at Nicoli. I gasped, leaping forwards as it missed the little boy and fell to the floor. Scooping it up, I turned to Orlando and gave him a stern look.
"You do not throw hammers at your brother!" I scolded. "This is not a toy! You could seriously hurt him." Behind me, Nicoli stuck his tongue out Orlando.
"Aww," the older boy pouted. "Fine. In that case, I'll be the Hulk. HULK SMASH!" he ran across the room, grabbing a box of pencils from a table and throwing it to the floor.
It was then that my brain registered what he had said. "I am Thor, god of thunder!", and "Hulk smash!"
"What are you guys playing?" I asked in shock as Orlando continued running around the room, knocking things off tables. Nicoli ignored me, and I noticed in surprise that he was wearing a plastic Iron Man helmet as he went around shooting "light rays" out of his hands at his brother.
"The Avengers!" a little female voice chirped, and I turned to find Alessia hiding behind the couch, a huge smile plastered on her face. "It's our new favorite game of pretend!"
I stared at the kids in shock as they ran around me, screaming at each other. I mean, I knew the Avengers had been popular over in the states, but I hadn't thought they were so influential that kids were playing Avengers make-believe games - especially in Italy!
"AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!" Nicoli shouted, standing on the couch with his Iron Man mask still on. Orlando threw the television remote across the room, still bellowing. His role in the game was the Hulk and, before I took away his hammer, Thor.
Little Alessia ran around on her short little legs, trying to readjust a crappy green dollar-store masquerade mask. I'm still surprised that I, measly little Samantha Silverman, had had so much of an impact on the world that a random little girl in Italy was dressing up as Masquerade - even though the super-heroine hadn't been sighted since Loki's attack. She seemed to enjoy pretending to be me - and that touched my heart.
I watched them play for about half an hour, but then stepped in. "Wait, wait, wait," I held up my hands just as Nicoli shot more "light beams" at Orlando. "You guys are doing it all wrong."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Orlando scrunched up his nose, looking at me in disgust.
"The Avengers don't fight each other," I stressed. Well, okay, so that was a lie - Tony and Steve had lots of verbal battles - but they never tried to kill and blow each other up like the kids seemed to think.
"You need a supervillain," I smiled at them, getting down on my knees so that I could be at their eye level. "Ever heard of Loki?"
All three kids nodded their heads solemnly. Who knew a six-year-old could look solemn?
"Why don't I pretend to be Loki," I said, not actually believeing that I was doing this, "and you all team up as the Avengers and defeat me?"
They looked at each other dubiously, but then smiles split across their faces. "Yeah!" they cried, jumping around. I handed Orlando his hammer back (the Avengers couldn't fight Loki without his brother Thor present!), after making him promise not to hit anyone or throw it.
We then spent the next two hours playing The Avengers Try To Take Down Loki And His Fortress Of Couch Pillows, While Loki Plans How Best To Get The Avengers To Do Their Schoolwork. It was odd for me, to watch the "Avengers" fight over such trivial things, while in reality I know all the real heroes and I had actually fought for something as grave as the fate of the world, with my life on the line.
I hadn't had this much fun in a long time.
And somehow, I felt closer to my fellow Avengers than I ever had since moving to Rome.
Painted on my wall again, for the first time in a while. It actually made me feel really good - I think I'll start doing it more often.
Had to take Batman for shots today. She wasn't too happy about that, and she pissed on Caterina's pillow to show me how distressed she was.
Yeah, Caterina's incredibly annoyed and probably regretting her decision to buy me Batman.
Talked to Thor today. It was a . . . weird conversation. I mean, it started out normal enough - I told him about Batman, and he told me (for the third or fourth time) about Jane and Lady Darcy. Thor also let me know that my old cat Trooper was doing quite well, and I'm glad to hear that.
Then Thor ate a bar of soap, although when he was actually eating it, I didn't realize what it was - I was too busy asking him if I could talk to Steve. I knew what the answer was - no, just like always - but it didn't hurt to ask. Besides, even if he did say yes . . . I wouldn't know what to say.
Thor inquired to Tony as to what he was eating, and he asked Steve if he would speak to me . . . but then some kind of kerfuffle, or a fight of some sort, ensued. And thus, Thor hung up on me, or forgot I was on the phone, or something. Potentially something happened - maybe someone attacked them, or there was an emergency, but I doubted it. No matter what it was, our conversation ended.
Today, it was Tony who called. He says he's coming for a visit - God, I'm excited. Now that I'm not a mess and I'm not so out-of-it that I'll punch him in the face, maybe we can go back to that weird father-daughter relationship we had. I miss him more than I would ever admit, and now that I'm fully feeling better, I can't wait to see him.
Yeah, did I mention? I'm feeling 100 per cent again. Thank God - it took long enough.
Now I'm off to play with Batman, then study for school. I'm thinking that tomorrow, before Tony gets here, I'll go out and buy a bunch of new paint and I'll completely re-do my wall.
I'll leave the sketch of the Captain America shield, of course - the one that was the first thing I ever did on the wall. Through all this insanity . . . it's been the only constant thing in my life.
Ironic, isn't it? Since the actual Captain America . . . Well. He's never talking to me again.
Author's Note: And voilà! The conclusion. Thank you so much to everyone who has read this, and I certainly hope you enjoyed it :) I had fun writing it! In a few days, I'll post the next chapter of Silver Smoke (Cap and Sam's reunion!) and get that story back on track :D I hope you're all as excited as I am!
One last thank you to the wonderful reviewers: the feedback on the last chapter was amazing. Thank you all so, so much :) brandibuckeye, Selvet, Comiccrazygothgirl, erica . phoenix 16, Laurafxox, Raspberry Heaven, GoForTehGig, scott6130, telekinetic in the usa, and clarinetgirl628!
Thanks again to everyone for reading! :D please leave one last review, telling me your overall thoughts of this story. Thanks again, hope you enjoyed - and READERS ASSEMBLE!