Buffy's POV - Two Years Together
"What are you thinking about?"
Buffy turned around to see Steve join her on the roof. They'd moved from New York a little more than a month ago and had just finished moving themselves into their new apartments provided by S.H.I.E.L.D. the day before. They were being sent on their first official mission in the morning and Buffy had come up to the roof to check out her new city.
"Actually, not much." Buffy said as Steve joined her on the roof's ledge. "Just going over the last month."
"It's been…." Steve had to search for the right word. "Crazy?"
"To say the least. I can't believe I actually have a job where I actually get paid for being the Slayer." She chuckled. "It's not a thankless job anymore."
"Well, I haven't been around much the last few years, but on behalf on the world, thank you for saving it as many times as you have. How many times is it, exactly?"
Buffy shrugged. "I lost count. I'm fairly certain it's more times than I have fingers and toes, though." She looked over at Steve. "How are you doing?"
Steve shrugged. "It's a new and strange world that I woke up in. My friends are dead, the woman I love has grandchildren, and I have no idea where I fit in."
"I felt like that once. Just after I came back from the dead. It had only been three months, but everything was so different."
"You mentioned that you went through a really dark time…."
"Yeah. That was after I came back." Buffy sighed and curled in on herself, balancing her weight so if she fell, she'd fall back onto the roof. "There was this guy…. Spike…. He was a vampire and the only reason he was me helping out was because he had this government issued chip that stopped him from hurting humans. I was desperate to feel something…. Anything…. Because coming back from heaven to this crappy world was traumatic. He showed up one night and was able to hit me and something in me snapped. He wasn't supposed to be able to hit me with that chip in and it just solidified the thought that I'd come back wrong." Buffy looked over at Steve and saw that he was listening intently. "The first time we had sex, we destroyed an entire house around us it was so violent. And after that…. I let him hurt me. I thought it was what I deserved. I used him and he used me. It was very dysfunctional and abusive and Riley…. My friend in S.H.I.E.L.D…. He saved me from it. He reminded me that I did deserve better. I broke it all off with Spike and he tried to rape me."
"Buffy…." Steve reached out and placed his hand over her knee. She could tell he wanted to protect her.
"I stopped him and he left. I managed to find my way back to myself eventually." Buffy looked over at Steve. "So, I think you're doing better than me with the adjusting thing."
"I'm so sorry."
"It's ok. Really. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?"
"My mother used to say that."
"Mine did too."
Steve smiled at her. "I'm really glad I met you, Buffy."
Buffy smiled back at Steve. "I'm really glad I met you, too, Steve."
Buffy led the way into the training room at S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters called the Trisklion. It had been two months since they'd moved to DC and she had been studying Steve's fighting style. It was obvious he wasn't trained in serious hand to hand. He used his shield a lot, and that was fine, but sometimes he couldn't always get to the shield. So, they'd come back from the latest mission and Buffy had booked them some time in the training room.
"I feel strange taking fighting lessons from you." Steve said.
"Why?" Buffy shook her head at him. "I'm better than you when it comes to fighting."
"I know that you're stronger than you look and can more than hold your own against me, but…. You're so…. Little."
Buffy didn't take it too personally. She was used to it. But she wasn't going to let Steve's old-fashioned-ness stand in the way of learning how to protect himself better. She pulled the hairband off her wrist and threw her hair up into a ponytail. Her jacket came off and she tossed it to the side, stretching out her arms and neck.
Steve was still standing just inside the room holding a gym bag with their changes of clothing in it. "Take your jacket off."
"Don't worry, old timer, I'll go easy on you."
That got a small smile from Steve. He set down the bag and peeled his jacket off. "Ok, ok, ok. Just let me know if I hurt you."
"Something tells me I should be saying that to you."
"I just know what I'm capable of."
Steve sighed and stretched his arms out as he stepped onto the mat. Two hours later Buffy was standing over a sweating and panting Steve laying on his back yet again. She was sweaty, too, and only slightly out of breath. Glancing up, she noticed that the training room was still moderately intact.
"Point taken." Steve said, finally catching his breath.
Buffy reached down and offered him a hand up. "You did good."
"You did better."
"You learned a lot, though. This last time I had a hell of a time getting you down."
"Where did you learn to fight like that?"
"I've had a few teachers. My ex was a major influence."
"She means Angel." Riley said, walking into the training room. "And don't feel bad, Captain, she always wiped the floor with me, too."
"Good to know." Steve said, rubbing the back of his neck.
Buffy smiled and gave Riley a hug. "What are you doing down here?"
"They told me you and the Captain were down here. I had some news to share with you." Riley pulled a small, black and white, grainy picture out of his pocket and held it out to her with a big grin.
It took Buffy a minute to realize it was an ultrasound. "Oh my god, Riley! Congratulations!" She reached up and hugged him again.
He winced at her strength, but didn't say anything. "Sam's only about five weeks in, but she knew right away."
"I guess with two other kids, she'd know what to look for." Buffy handed Riley back the ultrasound. "Are Kailey and Chris excited?"
"Kailey is, but Chris isn't too sure about being a big brother." Riley looked over at Steve. "He's almost three."
"Yeah, Buffy mentioned you had kids." Steve moved closer to Buffy and she was grateful to have him there at her side.
Riley looked back at Buffy. "Well, you know Sam, she likes to have a plan in place and we were wondering if you would be the godmother?"
Buffy pointed to herself. "Me?"
"Know any other small blondes with superpowers that Sam and I call a friend?"
"Not really." She laughed, a little uncertain what it meant to be a godmother. She'd never been a godmother before. "Yeah, I'll be the godmother. What do I have to do?"
Riley laughed. "Nothing, really. Just make sure we're doing our jobs as parents."
"Oh, well then I won't have to do a thing. You guys are already good at that from what I've seen."
"Well, now that you've said yes, Sam would also like me to ask you if you'd help plan the baby shower?"
Buffy blinked up at Riley. "Oh…. I've never planned a baby shower before."
"It's ok, Buffy. Sam will do most of the work. She likes planning parties and she's good at it. She just wants to know if she needs any help…."
"Oh, yeah. I'll help where I can. Of course." She smiled up at Riley again, hoping he didn't notice the hint of sadness she was feeling.
"Great! I'll tell her when I get home. I guess I'll let you guys get back to it now. Thanks, Buffy."
"Yeah." Riley hugged her again before walking out.
She watched him go, letting the sadness take over for a moment. Steve's hand came to rest on her shoulder, offering her a little comfort. He knew what it was like to not be normal. To be denied a normal life. "I'm happy for them."
"I know." Steve said.
Buffy turned and looked up at Steve's understanding gaze. "Talk about getting sucker punched in the emotions, huh?"
"Anything I can do?"
"Buy me lots of Chinese takeout and lock me away in my apartment?"
Steve laughed slightly. "Mind if I join you?"
"Not at all. My pity party is open to all superheroes who can't have a normal human life."
"I fit that description." He picked up their bag. "Let's get showered and changed and get out of here."
Buffy stood in her office with the big window overlooking the backyard of Slayer HQ. There was a big group of Slayers learning new fighting maneuvers with quarterstaffs from Giles that she was keeping an eye on. Xander had volunteered to take Steve on the "grand tour" of the place while Buffy caught up with some things.
It had been nearly five months since the battle in New York. One of the reasons Giles wanted Buffy to come visit Slayer HQ was because some of the girls had heard that Buffy had been killed. Others were worried about another alien invasion. Buffy had wanted to come to discuss with Giles about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s reasoning behind bringing her in on the Avengers Initiative.
A knock on the door made her turn from the window. "Come in." Buffy called.
Willow poked her head into the office. "Hey."
"Hey, Will!" Buffy smiled brightly at her best friend and walked around the desk to greet her.
"Sorry I wasn't here when you arrived." Willow said, still gripping Buffy tightly in a hug. Eventually they released each other. "Three more girls showed up about twenty minutes before you got here and I had to make sure they were actually Slayers and then set up places for them to stay."
"I still can't believe we get girls pretending to be Slayers."
"Pretty trippy. So where's Captain America?"
"Steve is getting the grand tour from Xander."
"Oh god…. Poor guy. Xander has been freaking out about meeting him."
"I could tell by the laugh that came out of him when Steve said, 'nice to meet you, Xander.'" Buffy chuckled. "He was prepubescent suddenly."
"I can imagine." Willow sat down in one of the chairs in front of Buffy's desk and curled one leg under her. "So, what's he like?"
"Steve?" Buffy asked, going to sit in her chair to face Willow.
"No, the Easter Bunny. Yes, Steve!"
"He's…. Steve." Buffy noticed Willow's face. "What?"
"You're totally crushing on him."
"Why does everyone keep saying that? Ok, yes, he's good looking…. I'm not blind…. But we've actually got a lot in common and I know what he's going through. It's not exactly easy to come back from the dead."
"What do you guys do together?"
"We work a lot. I started training with him recently. His fighting style was so rough. It was all bang, smash with no finesse whatsoever, you know? He was a little hesitant at first, but now he looks forward to our lessons." She paused for a moment. "I think. I do tend to beat him a lot."
"Maybe he's letting you win."
"He better not be."
"Ok, so tell me about living in DC. Do you like it?"
"So far, yeah. I enjoy going to all of the museums and checking out what they've got. Steve has a dedication ceremony soon for his exhibit at the Smithsonian."
"Yeah, I heard that they were putting one together about him. How does he feel about it?"
"He doesn't talk about it much. I don't think he particularly enjoys it. I wouldn't enjoy being reminded that all of my friends are dead and the life that I knew was just a memory or a story to people now."
Willow shook her head. "No, I don't think I would like that either."
"There's a lot of other things to do. Great places for shopping and eating. You should come for a visit."
"I'll try to get down there."
"Oh, do you know who lives in DC? Clem!"
"Really!? I wondered where he went when he left Sunnydale."
"Yeah. He met some Dorsterc demon through a dating website and they've been seeing each other for a few months now. He's really happy."
"How did you find out he lived in DC?"
"Well, apparently it was big news in the demon community that I had moved to the city and he managed to look me up. We had coffee a few nights ago. He says hey to everyone."
"Wait, Clem is gay?"
"Yeah. How did you figure that out?"
"Dorsterc demons are all male."
"Really? How do they make baby Dorsterc demons?"
"Don't ask that question. You really don't want to know the answer."
"Gotcha." Buffy shuddered. Her imagination was starting to run wild.
Luckily, Xander and Steve walked into Buffy's office. "And here's the Buffster's office. Being the head Slayer, she's got the nicest of them all."
"You say that like you're jealous." Buffy shot at Xander.
"Not really. When you're not here, I take this office over. That is until Willow or Giles finds out and then they kick me out."
Buffy just shook her head and rolled her eyes at Xander. She turned to her partner and gestured at Willow "Steve, this is my best friend Willow Rosenberg. Willow, that is Steve Rogers."
"It's nice to meet you." Steve said, shaking Willow's hand. "Buffy talks a lot about you."
"Does she?" Willow asked, shooting Buffy a look.
"All good things, I assure you."
"Good to know. It's nice to meet you, too, Steve." Willow glanced at Buffy quickly and then looked at Xander. "You. I need your help with some paperwork."
"What paperwork?" Xander asked.
"I brought in some new girls today." Willow grabbed his arm as she led him out.
Buffy shook her head at her friends and looked at Steve. "Do you want to go meet some of the girls?"
"We can." Steve said. "If you have work to do, I can figure out something else to do."
"No. I'm pretty much done for right now. I need to talk to Giles later, but I've got time."
"Then I'll let you lead the way."
"So, what do you think of the place?" Buffy asked Steve as they walked down the hallway.
"It's great, Buffy. You've really made sure these girls have a safe place to come to and that they're prepared for whatever lies ahead of them."
"They also have a choice. That's something most Slayers are denied. If they don't want to be a Slayer, then they can choose not to be. They can walk away and be normal teenage girls. It was important to me that that be a choice for them. The Watcher's Council…. Well, they sucked." They came outside where the girls were practicing with their quarterstaffs. It was clear none of them was enjoying this particular weapon.
One of the girls spotted Buffy and grinned at her. "Guys, Buffy's here!" All the girls turned and swarmed towards Buffy. Most of them were excited to see her, but a few of them took the opportunity to complain about learning the quarterstaff.
"I hated this training too." She said to them. "I told Giles I wasn't going to be fighting Friar Tuck, but trust me…. It comes in handy. Sometimes you won't always have a great weapon like a sword or a crossbow to play with."
"Or a scythe!" One of the girls called.
Buffy chuckled. "Or that. But I have used my quarterstaff training when all I had was a metal pole I found in a pile of scrap metal and a number of times with a pool cue. So suck up all the knowledge you can, guys. It's not a waste like algebra."
"Is that Captain America?" One of the girls asked.
"That's Steve Rogers. Just like us, he's only Captain America when he's fighting bad guys. Other than that he's just your average guy who likes beer and motorcycles."
"Come on, girls! Get back in line!" Giles called, clapping his hands loudly.
The girls groaned and moved back to continue their lessons. Steve put his hand on her arm and said sincerely, "Thank you for that."
Buffy shrugged. "I'm not always the Slayer just like you're not always Captain America. We've got lives outside of our jobs. Besides," She looked up at Steve with a smile. "It would just be weird if we walked around in our supersuits."
Steve laughed. "I don't know. I think the world would be fine with you walking around in yours all the time. I know I don't mind when you wear it."
Buffy laughed, but she could've sworn that Steve had just flirted with her. That was the first time he'd ever been that bold with her. And she also found that she really didn't mind it.
Buffy followed Clem through the sewers as he led her to his and Roy's hidden "apartment". It had been ten months since the battle in New York. Buffy found her thoughts drifting to Steve more and more these days, but she wasn't sure how he felt about her. And anyways, she had to wait for him to make the first move. She didn't think the women he was used to would ever be so forward as to ask a guy out. She could be wrong, but what if she did ask him on a date and he didn't like her like that. Then they'd just end up awkward around each other. That would definitely affect their work and possibly get them hurt in the field.
"Ok, Buffy." Clem said. "This is where we keep the hide-a-key." He knelt down and wiggled a brick loose.
"How can you tell which one it is?" Buffy asked, looking around at the bricks around the hide-a-key. "They all look the same."
"Oh, that's easy. It's one, two, three, four, five bricks away from the turn in the tunnel. See?"
Buffy counted again and sure enough, five bricks in was the hide-a-key. "I really appreciate this, Clem."
"Anything for you, Buffy. You've been a good friend. Besides, I'd rather leave this to you than Roy's cousin. We told him the place had already sold. He has a thing for eating children once a month and you know I just can't abide that."
"Oh. You probably shouldn't have told me that."
"I'm telling you because I don't agree with his eating habits and just because he's Roy's cousin doesn't mean that I'm not hoping you'll get rid of him."
"Just don't let Roy know that I told you that."
"I'll send one of the girls to do the job. That way he'll never know. It'll just seem like Roy's cousin finally ran across the wrong person."
"Oh, you're a good girl, Buffy. Here we are." Clem ducked down and stuck the key inside the third slat from the bottom in a large grate. "You'll just have to feel for the lock. It's not hard to find." The false grate opened and Clem pulled on it. "It's heavy, but that shouldn't be a problem for you."
"Where is Roy?"
"He's getting our car filled up before we leave. You know, I would've invited you to the wedding, but it was just a tiny little thing. We didn't have any family there at all."
"It's ok. I was working, anyway."
"Well, here it is." Clem held out his hands to present the surprisingly well-sized space. "We're leaving the furniture, so it's all yours. Why do you want this place anyway?"
"It's off the grid."
"You've never been worried about that before."
"I know, but one can never be too careful these days. I am the Head Slayer of an army of Slayers. Doesn't exactly make me a lot of friends."
"That's very true."
"I really appreciate you giving this to me, Clem."
"Hey, anything for a friend. If you're ever in Boca…."
"I'll look you up."
Clem handed her the key. "I'll let you have this and I've got to go. You take care of yourself, Buffy. Don't get into any bad situations."
Buffy smiled and nodded, giving Clem a quick hug. She wasn't sure if she was already in a bad situation or not. The whole reason she was taking Clem's sewer hideaway was because she wanted somewhere S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't know about. The organization had so many secrets and she and Steve weren't privy to most of them. So, to protect herself and Steve, she had a plan B in the works. Over the next few months, she was going to start stealing clothes whenever she and Steve did their laundry together. She was going to make sure when she went grocery shopping to pick up extra canned foods and first aid supplies. And she was going to start putting some money away, hiding it here in this hideaway somewhere. If anything happened with the agency she worked for, she and Steve would be prepared to go into hiding.
"I swear, Tony, Steve and I are just friends." Buffy said over her pasta bowl, hoping that she came off sincere.
Tony Stark sat across from her enjoying a calzone. They were sitting in the living room of his hotel suite enjoying the Italian fare they'd had delivered. He had come out to visit his friend and see how she was even though he'd just seen her at Dawn's graduation. It had been a little more than year since they'd met under S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Avengers Initiative. Tony really did consider Buffy a friend and he came to visit her often and they talked on the phone a lot as well.
"You two have had a crush on each other since you met. Just admit that!" Tony said.
"I won't admit it because it's not true."
"The lady doth protest too much!"
"The lady is going to kick you off the balcony if you don't drop it."
"Then kick me off the balcony. I've got my suit ready to go." Buffy rolled her eyes at him. "If you're just friends, then why aren't you dating anyone? Why did you take Steve with you to your sister's graduation?"
"I took him because he wouldn't have anything else to do and he's my friend that cares about my friends and family. And the answer to your first question is that I don't have time to go out and find a boyfriend."
"It's all that time you're spending with Rogers."
"It's all that time I don't want to spend having to explain to a civilian what I do and how I'm able to do it. Guys don't take well to women being more powerful than they are."
"That's not true. Pepper has all the power in this relationship and I'm fine with it."
"That's because you're still a super smart billionaire with a really cool metal suit that happens to give you superpowers of your very own. Speaking of, how is Pepper doing?"
"She's doing good. She's stabilized and there's no threat of her burning herself up or anyone else around her. Which is good for me."
"And how are you doing without your chest thing?"
"It's nice not to have a hole in my chest. But enough about me. I know someone you should go out with. He's here in DC."
"If you say Steve…."
"It's not Steve. This guy works at the Italian Embassy. His name is Macon."
"Did you miss the part where I don't have time?"
"You don't have time to be in a serious relationship? So what? Don't have a serious relationship. You have time to have some fun, don't you?" Buffy sighed. "Go out and date. You're young, Summers! You can do whatever you want."
"And what happens if I get one of these dates killed?"
"That's happened? What kind of dates do you take these guys on?"
"Normal guys don't do well in relationships with me. I once went out with a guy and he was nearly killed on the first date. And to make it worse, he liked it and wanted more."
"Then what was the problem?"
"He could've been killed."
"That would've been his problem."
"It could've gotten me killed trying to keep an eye on him and save the world at the same time."
Tony set down his calzone and leaned forward. "Buffy, you don't have to be the Slayer all the time anymore. You've got an army of Slayers to take over when you want a day off. You're part of a team of superheroes that can pick up any slack you want to drop so you can go on a date. You're allowed to have a life, kid."
Buffy sighed. "I know that."
"Then prove it. Let me set you up on a date with Macon."
She eyed Tony for a long moment before saying, "He's not going to turn out to be a demon or an alien or anything, is he?"
"As far as I know, he's a run of the mill human male with a love for medieval weaponry. You can start your conversation off on how you both collect swords and stuff."
"Why are you pushing this?"
"Why are you fighting this?" Buffy just glared at him until Tony finally said, "Fine. Because I want to prove you wrong."
"That you have feelings for Rogers."
"And how do you think setting me up on a blind date is going to prove that?"
"Because you'll go out with other guys and see that Steve Rogers is the right guy for you."
"Are you sure you're not the one with feelings for Steve?"
"One hundred percent positive." Tony shuddered dramatically. "Ew. He's too patriotic for my tastes." She rolled her eyes at him. "Is it so wrong that I want to see my friend happy?"
Buffy sighed. "Of course it's not wrong, Tony, but Steve and I are just friends. We spend so much time together because he doesn't exactly have a ton of friends and my friends live elsewhere, so I'm all alone here in DC, too." That wasn't exactly a lie, she told herself.
"Your protests are falling on deaf ears, sweetheart. I maintain that you and Rogers are a match made in superhero heaven, but until you can recognize that, too, I'm just going to set you up on some blind dates to bide your time."
"Fine. Whatever. Set me up on the dates. Maybe one of them will be The One and I'll prove you wrong." She would never tell Tony this, but she really wanted him to be right. That she wanted her and Steve to be that great match he was talking about. She just wasn't sure how Steve felt about the whole thing.