Buffy's New Job - In Between

Cap's POV - Two Years Together

Steve set the couch down for the fifth time and waited for Buffy's approval. They were moving furniture into her apartment in DC about one month after the battle in New York. They'd spent the morning furnishing his apartment across the hall and now it was her turn. He watched her as she moved around the room, eying the couch for a long moment, before turning and plopping down on it.

"Perfect." Buffy said with a smile.

Steve smiled back. "Finally!" He sat down on the opposite side of the couch and looked over at her.

"I'm sorry. I'm just picky."

"It's fine. Really. This is more fun than talking to those people at the Smithsonian about the exhibit they want to do about me. I'm kind of sad that we're almost done moving in."

"You know, the furniture is the easy part, right? I've still got to figure out where all the little things are going to go."

"I'll help you if you need help."

"It's mostly just pictures and little knick knacks. I don't actually own that much." Steve looked around at the furniture piled around the room before shooting Buffy a dubious look. "Ok, my own personal stuff. Most of it got swallowed when my town turned into a giant crater."

"I'm sorry."

Buffy shrugged. "It was just stuff. The most important things made it out." She reached over and grabbed a picture frame from the nearest box. He looked over at it to see a picture of her with her sister standing on a bridge with Big Ben behind them. "I'm working on making new memories."

"Well, that's something we have in common."

She set the picture back in the box. "What happened to all of your stuff? The Army didn't throw it out, did they?"

"I didn't have much to begin with and what little I did have wasn't much of anything. Just some pictures of my parents and of me and Bucky."

"What happened to those pictures?"

"They're in a box in my apartment. S.H.I.E.L.D. saved them." Steve stood up. "Ok, we've got an oversized recliner to figure out a position for." He held out his hand to her to help her to her feet.

Buffy took his hand and stood up. "Ok."

Steve opened his front door to find Buffy standing there. "Buffy." He smiled down at her. "Everything ok?"

"Peachy." She smiled brightly up at him.

"Come on in." He stepped out of the way so she could come in. Buffy slid past him and he shut the door behind her. "Can I get you anything? I think I've got some water in the refrigerator."

"Sure." Buffy walked over to the sofa and sat down.

Steve headed into the kitchen and opened the fridge. It had been three months since they'd moved into the apartment building. He and Buffy spent most of their time together. When they weren't working for S.H.I.E.L.D., they were in the gym training. Buffy had agreed to train with him so he could improve his "rough" fighting style, as she called it. Recently, they'd started spending time just "hanging out" together and watching movies. Steve didn't have any friends. He only had Buffy. And so far, she was an amazing friend to him. They understood each other and that was a huge comfort for when he was feeling lonely. Which, he had to admit to himself, was a lot of the time.

"So, I wanted to know…." Buffy said as he walked in and handed her a bottle of water. "Well, I've got to go make an appearance at Slayer HQ. Giles has been asking me to come check in with the girls so they don't think I've abandoned them. It'll only be for a week or two."

"Oh. Well that sounds like a good idea. You'll enjoy seeing your friends."

"No. Well, yeah, but I wanted to know if you wanted to come with me. You could meet everyone and spare yourself some boredom."

"That's nice of you, but…."

"But I've already got your plane ticket and cleared it with Fury. You're coming with me, pal. No more hanging around here and watching old movies of yourself on the computer."

"I don't…."

"Oh, come on, Steve! You're only right across the hall and I have super-hearing."

Steve looked down at his feet, embarrassed that he'd been caught. "I miss my friends."

Her hand covered his and gripped it tightly. When she spoke, her voice was softer and understanding. "I know. But sitting around being sad won't bring them back. And I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want you just sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. You've gotta get out there and meet people. Make new friends. Make new memories."

Steve looked over at her. He'd learned quickly that Buffy didn't take no for an answer easily. And in this instance, she was definitely not going to accept a no. Besides, the offer sounded nice. She talked about her friends a lot and they seemed like good people. "Ok. When do we leave?"

"Right now!"

"Seriously?"

"No." Buffy laughed. "We leave in four days on Saturday night."

Steve chuckled. "I'm looking forward to it."

Her face got serious. "Are you really? Or are you just saying that because you think it's what I want to hear?"

"I am. Really."

"Good. Cause they're excited to meet you." Buffy smiled brightly at him and he found it infectious. He smiled back at her and leaned back.

Steve stood with Xander in the kitchen of Buffy's London flat. They were having a little get together before Buffy and Steve had to leave for DC the next day. They'd spent the last two weeks with Buffy's friends and Slayers. He and Xander had hit it off after Xander had gotten over being star-struck. Xander had once been turned into a soldier a long time ago and had retained a lot of it, so that gave them some common ground. Willow was incredibly sweet and very smart. She had made Steve promise numerous times that he wouldn't let anything happen to Buffy and then she had threatened to turn him into all sorts of random animals and bugs if something did happen to her best friend.

Giles had been a little harder to crack. He was very much the father figure in Buffy's life and he took the role very seriously. He didn't trust S.H.I.E.L.D. and therefore, he didn't actually trust Steve. So, to put Giles at ease, Steve had invited the man out for lunch and had answered any and all questions that Giles had had for him. It had been late by the time they'd gotten back, but Giles was a little more trusting of Steve after that.

"It's good that she's got you for a partner." Xander was saying. "She needs someone trustworthy who's got her back."

Steve smiled. "She's a great person. I feel lucky to have her as a partner."

"Hey, before you go…. And I'm sorry for this, but I've been holding it back for two weeks…. But do you think I could get a picture with the shield?"

"Xander, seriously?" Buffy asked, walking up to them and shaking her head at her friend.

"What!? I've been really good for two weeks!"

"No. You were obnoxious the first five days, then a little less obnoxious, and just when I finally think that you're normal…."

"But it's the shield! It's Captain America's shield!"

Buffy rolled her eyes. "You're hopeless."

"Hopeless? Nay. I'm full of hope that Steve here will be a good guy and…."

Steve laughed. "Yeah. You can get a picture with the shield."

"Oh man, you're the best!" Xander said, jumping a little with excitement. "Will, did you hear that? I'm getting a picture with the shield."

"You're hopeless." Willow retorted. She was talking to Giles about something they needed to get done when they got back to Slayer HQ.

"I may be hopeless, but none of you will have held the shield."

Buffy laughed. "I've held the shield. And thrown it. It flies pretty good."

Xander deflated a bit. "Show off."

"So besides Xander's big ol' dorkiness, what have you two men been talking about over here?"

Xander perked up again. "Actually, you can help with what we've been talking about. I've started a list for Steve."

"A list for what?"

"Things that I've missed in the last 70 years." Steve said.

"Things that are vital to existing in this world." Xander said.

Buffy looked at Xander doubtfully. "I think we might have a difference in opinions on this one. What's on the list?" Steve reached into his pocket and pulled out a small notebook. He handed it to Buffy for her inspection. "Disco? Ew! Xander!"

"What? It was the 70s!"

"I lived through the 70s." Giles said, coming over and joining the conversation. "I can personally attest to it being horrendous."

"Come on! It's John Travolta in the white suit! It's the BeeGees!"

"That wasn't the 70s, Xander. That's the idea of what Hollywood made the 70s."

"I'll leave it on the list." Steve said. "Just to see what it sounds like."

"You know, curiosity kills cats. I'm pretty sure it could kill you, too." Buffy said to Steve.

Steve laughed and shook his head. "I've got to start somewhere."

"Then listen to the band Queen. Amazing music."

"You like Queen?" Xander asked incredulously.

"Um, yeah. You didn't know that?"

"Not a clue. Since when?"

"Since birth. My mom loved Queen. Every time Bohemian Rhapsody or Princes of the Universe came on, she'd turn the radio up and sing at the top of her lungs."

"I knew that." Giles said.

Buffy shot him a glare. "You don't get to say that."

Giles blushed and looked away with a slight smile. "Sorry." Xander and Willow started laughing quietly, but Buffy's glare at them made them laugh even harder.

"What am I missing?" Steve asked.

"Giles and my mom got high on magically spiked chocolate and…. Did things. Things I had to find out from horrible visuals in my mom's mind when she was trying not to think about it in front of me." Buffy smacked Willow and Xander on the arms. "Seriously, you two, stop laughing! It was gross!"

Steve let out a chuckle and then looked at Buffy seriously. "You can read minds?"

"Not anymore. I got infected with telepathy from this demon's blood that ended up in my system. It almost drove me crazy before they managed to cure me."

"Still not the weirdest thing that's happened to you." Xander said. He looked at Steve. "Has she ever told you about getting poisoned by this demon and believing that this world wasn't real and that she was actually a patient in a mental institution in Los Angeles?"

Steve's eyes widened. "No. No she hasn't."

"That's a story for another day." Buffy said. "And still not the weirdest thing."

"What is?"

After a moment, Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles said in unison, "The cheese man." That caused the four of them to start laughing. Steve just shook his head, not understanding.

Steve stood next to Buffy in her small utility room folding clothes from the dryer. It had now been a full year since they'd met. And, he had to admit at least to himself, the best year he'd ever had. Granted his friends were all dead, he'd missed out on 70 years of history, and the woman he'd been in love with was very old and married with kids, but meeting Buffy had changed his attitude about his life.

He felt like a normal human being when he was around her. And he was around her a lot. Since coming back from meeting her friends, there were only a small handful of nights that they hadn't spent together. She had gotten him hooked on Queen's music and he had gotten her hooked on Billie Holiday. They had stepped up their training and were both beginning to learn new styles now.

Buffy Summers was amazing and Steve had to admit that he was beginning to fall for her. Seeing her interact with her friends and with her army of Slayers had somehow changed the way he'd seen her. She was so compassionate and smart and truly wanted the best for those she cared about.

A lot of the money she got from working for S.H.I.E.L.D. went to help Slayer HQ. And recently, she'd gotten Fury to help Slayer HQ as well. She'd managed to get him to send some new technologies over to help her friends and the new Watchers track certain demons that posed a threat to the world. The Cleveland Hellmouth had almost been opened, but thanks to the Slayers and S.H.I.E.L.D. working together under Buffy's directive, they'd managed to stop it from happening.

The moment that he'd realized he was falling for the petite blonde was two days ago. Her friend Riley's wife Samantha had given birth to the couple's third child. It was a little girl that they'd decided to name Elizabeth Anne. Steve had gone with Buffy to the hospital to meet the baby with gifts and flowers. While Buffy held the baby girl and tenderly cooed at her, Steve had had the random thought that he wouldn't mind having a family with Buffy. It had made him think over his feelings and he'd slowly realized that his feelings for Buffy were a little deeper than he'd grasped. He no longer saw her as just a friend, but she was someone he could imagine having a romantic relationship with. But until he knew for sure if she felt something back for him, he would keep this revelation to himself. He didn't want to ruin anything between them if she saw him as just a friend.

"Hey, Steve?" Buffy asked, breaking him out of his reverie.

"Yeah?" Steve asked, looking down at her.

"Dawn's graduation is in a couple of weeks."

"I remember. Are you excited?"

"Oh, yeah. Over the moon. And super proud of her for getting her residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. I think Tony pulled some strings, but I can't be mad at him for it because Dawnie is so excited about it. Anyway, I'm babbling. I was just wondering if you wanted to go with me? To the graduation ceremony, I mean."

"Really?"

"Yeah. Tony offered us his newly rebuilt penthouse to stay in, so we don't have to worry about a hotel or anything. And I thought you might like to go back to your old stomping grounds. We haven't been back to New York since all that stuff with Loki and the aliens. Dawn's been kinda pissed that I haven't come for a visit. She's also annoyed that I'm, air quote, 'hanging out with superheroes on a regular basis and not sharing.'"

Steve laughed. "I'm in. Let's go to your sister's graduation."

"You sure?"

"Yeah. If you're not here, Fury's not going to send me out on any missions. According to him we get more things done together than apart."

Buffy laughed and looked at the piles of folded laundry. "Isn't that the truth?"

"We'd eat nothing but take-out food if it was left to our individual cooking skills."

"True. Also true? There's only so many times in a row you can eat General Tso chicken and crab wantons before they start making you sick on sight. So, we soldier on and try our best in the kitchen to remind ourselves how good General Tso chicken and crab wantons are."

Steve laughed and opened the washer to get the wet clothes moved to the dryer. "Do you want to drive to New York or fly?"

"I thought we could drive. I mean, I've got my new Mustang…."

Steve smiled. She had been ecstatic to be able to afford a car for herself and had chosen a brand new 2013, silver, GT Mustang. "Are you going to let me drive it?"

"Maybe. We'll see. She has some power and needs to be let loose."

"What does that have to do with me driving it?"

"Well, you sometimes drive like a grandpa. My car? Not a grandpa car."

"I drive a Harley."

"Like a grandpa. You signal properly and abide by the speed limit and sometimes I've caught you going under the speed limit." She smiled up at him and nudged him with her shoulder. "But you're old, so I've come to expect that of you." Steve gave her a playful eye roll. Before he could respond, Buffy said, "At least we're getting your wardrobe updated and I've got you wearing jeans. Those grandpa pants were starting to freak me out on you."

"They're comfortable. And just what I was used to wearing."

"I know. I just love picking on you."

Steve laughed and nudged her shoulder with his. "I could just love picking you up and tossing you across the room, short stuff."

"Hey, not all of us had the opportunity to get injected with a serum that makes you sprout lots of vertical inches in a matter of seconds."

"I wouldn't recommend it. It hurt pretty bad."

Buffy shrugged. "I jumped into a portal that opened up to every dimension there is and was electrocuted to death by thousands of bolts of lightning. Beat that, serum boy."

Steve shook his head with a chuckle. "I'm afraid I can't." He smiled slightly at her. "But I can say that I'm glad it didn't stick. I'd be very bored without you around."

"Tell me about it. You'd still be just sitting around watching the old home movies of yourself back in the day and wondering where you go from here."

"You've got to let that go. I don't do it anymore."

"I'll give you that."

"Thanks." Steve realized that he was missing a pair of jeans from the folded clothing in his arms. "Hey, have you seen a pair of my jeans lying around?"

Buffy looked around. "Nope. Maybe you left them in your apartment."

"I guess. I could've sworn that I brought everything."

"Well, you're old." She laughed and bumped him with her hip as she moved past him to put her clothes away.

Steve sat in his apartment and tried not to wait to hear Buffy's footsteps in the hallway. She'd gone on another blind date with someone Tony Stark had set her up with. Four months ago he'd realized that he had romantic feelings for Buffy. They'd gone to her sister's graduation together and he'd planned to work up the courage to ask her on a proper date, but Stark had surprised them at the penthouse. He had stayed the entire time and ruined any plans Steve had wanted to make with Buffy.

As soon as they'd gotten back, they'd been sent on three back to back missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. and he hadn't had time to think about asking her on a date. And of course, the minute they'd gotten a break, Tony had come swooping in and set Buffy up on a blind date. The fact that Buffy had taken it didn't bode well for Steve's hopes for a romantic relationship. It was even more discouraging when she continued to accept Stark's blind dates. She was out on her fifth blind date tonight.

"I should punch you in the throat." Buffy's voice came from out in the hallway. "Well, you thought wrong. He was a jerk. Call me old fashioned, but I don't think you should spend the entirety of a date talking on your phone and then walking away to take yet another call when the check appears. Yes, I had to pay! You're damn right you'll reimburse me. I'm done with the blind dates, Tony! No more. They suck. Every one of them has been awful. And you can't tell me that Pepper picked this guy out for me. She has better taste!"

Steve heard her open her apartment door and headed for the hallway. He opened the door just as she ended her phone call with Stark and angrily tossed the phone on the couch. He leaned against the doorframe as casually as he could manage and crossed his arms. "Have a nice time?"

"Oh please! I was loud enough to wake the dead." Buffy snapped.

Steve stood up straight. "Yeah. I heard. I'm sorry it didn't go well…. Again."

Buffy turned and headed into her apartment as she said, "I just don't get it." Steve shut his door and followed her into her apartment, shutting the door behind him. "How could a guy that was so sweet and charming at coffee yesterday be such a bold-faced jerk tonight?"

"Well, he's friends with Stark. That should've been your first clue."

Buffy sighed. "Tony's really not that bad. He just…. I don't know…. Has really bad taste in men?" She plopped down on her couch and laid her head back against the back of the sofa. Steve stepped in behind her and began massaging her shoulders. "I'm done. No more dating. From now on, I'm just going to stay home."

"Well, would you mind if I came over and kept you company? I'm not dating either."

She opened her eyes and looked up at him. "Of course I wouldn't mind that." Her smile lit up her face and Steve smiled back. What he wouldn't give to be able to lean down and press his lips to hers…. Steve removed his hands from her shoulders. "How about I pop some popcorn and you pick out a movie?"

"Let me get out of this dress first." Buffy stood up and looked down at herself. The dress she was wearing was made of red lace with a nude colored under-dress. The style was something he would've seen in the 40s and he figured Buffy's tastes were running towards the vintage end thanks to him. "What a waste. I really liked this dress."

"It is pretty…. And I'm sure you'll find another reason to wear it."

"Maybe." She shrugged sadly. "I'll be right back."

Steve watched her walk down the hallway to her bedroom and shut the door. If only she were interested in him, he would give her a reason to wear the dress again. With a sigh, he went into the kitchen and started pulling out the microwaveable popcorn and a big bowl to pour it in. While it was popping, he caught a glimpse down the hall and saw that Buffy had left her bedroom door slightly ajar. Her back was to the door, but she was naked from the waist up. He turned around and kept his eyes on the popcorn bag expanding in the microwave. The sight of her bare back was almost too much. The lean muscles that moved under her slightly tanned skin were like liquid and her long, blonde hair looked so touchable….

"Get it together, Rogers." He muttered to himself. As he was pouring the melted butter on the popcorn, he heard rustling behind him. Buffy was going through the movies she owned in the bookcase trying to pick one out. "Popcorn's ready." He announced walking in. She had changed into a pair of black shorts and a grey, oversized sweatshirt that fell off one shoulder. Luckily he had just been sitting around his apartment wearing his running pants and a black Under Armor shirt, so he didn't feel over dressed.

"Smells great."

"Find anything promising?"

"I keep going back to one we've already watched."

"Which one?"

"Casablanca." She pulled out the DVD and looked at the cover. "Just have a craving for old movies lately."

"I'm rubbing off on you. Put it in. I don't mind seeing it again."

Steve sat down on the couch and put the popcorn bowl to his side so it would be between them. Buffy joined him a moment later as the DVD menu came up on the screen. As the movie progressed and the popcorn was eaten, he noticed that Buffy's eyes were starting to get heavy. Eventually, he moved the now empty popcorn bowl to the coffee table and she scooted closer to him, laying her head on his shoulder.

Steve reached behind him and grabbed the white, furry blanket off the back of the couch and settled it over Buffy as she fell asleep against him, her arms wrapped around his arm. He didn't dare move so as not to wake her, but that didn't bother him. She felt so warm against him and her hair smelled so good. Eventually he felt himself nodding off with the thought that this was how it was supposed to be.

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