Chapter 12

Danielle took Natasha's advice, and found a pair of suede dark blue heels and a shade of red lipstick she was quite fond of. Natasha, to her surprise, actually helped her put her hair into an intricate chignon.

"You're enjoying this?" she whispered as Natasha carefully pinned another section of hair.

"I don't mind it." Natasha said, smiling slightly. "Makes me feel normal."

"Well, I appreciate it." she said. "I am terrible at hair stuff. How did you know?"

"Us SHIELD operatives are very skilled at investigation." she said sarcastically.

Danielle stood, looking at herself in the mirror.

"I don't really look like me."

"You do." Nastasha said. "You just don't know it yet."

Natasha peered out of Danielle's window and down at the street.

"He just pulled up, come on." she said, climbing off of Danielle's bed. Danielle was having a hard time getting used to this cover, where Natasha was acting as a normal young adult who probably couldn't kill whoever looked at her wrong. Even the outfit she'd been wearing for the past few hours was hard for Danielle to grasp - sweats and a baggy work out tank didn't look like the uniform a trained SHIELD agent should be wearing.

Danielle followed Natasha downstairs. She felt her cheeks pinken as she stepped outside, and felt suddenly slightly ridiculous in her heels and dress.

Steve didn't say anything as she approached the car, he just stared.

"Hi." she managed to say.

"You look amazing." he finally said. She beamed up at him.

"Are you taking me somewhere wonderful?" she asked, arching a brow.

"I am." he smiled, and then looked over at Natasha. "Have fun chaperoning?"

She glared. "I am not afraid to shoot you, Cap."

"That's alright, my date could just fix that up for me."

In the car, Danielle couldn't shake the feeling of constant chills. Up and down her skin goosebumps popped up, and she felt like she was cold, even though inside she was heating up. She was nervous, and couldn't not notice the lingering smell of cologne.

"I've never seen her dressed like that." Steve said as he climbed in the drivers side door. "She looked so..."

"Not like she might kill you at any moment?" Danielle offered.

"Yeah, that's it."

She looked out the window at the passing pedestrians and buildings, absentmindedly rubbing her hands on her thighs.

"Have you talked to your parents about all...this?" he asked out of curiosity.

"Not yet." she tucked a curl behind her ear. "They can hardly grasp a black man is president, I don't know how they'll react to their only daughter exhibiting supernatural abilities."

"Old fashioned?"

"Not in a good way." she sighed, leaning back. "Not like you. But that doesn't matter. What about your parents, did they ever get to see you like this?"

"No. I'm sure they'd be relieved though. My mother was always so worried I'd get sick and die someday."

"Maybe you still will." she said, joking.

"Not with you around." he said, and then leaned over the steering wheel, looking around at times square as they idled at a stop light. "It's something, isn't it?" he asked quietly. She looked over at him, at this intimidatingly huge and powerful man, looking up at the city lights with a childish wonderment. She felt a pang of desire.

"It is." she said quickly as he looked over at her, catching her staring.

He took her to the fanciest restaurant she'd ever stepped foot in. The decor looked like something out of the Vatican, and even the plates and dishware were too beautiful to touch. The sign out front said it had been in business since 1906. The windows were draped in heavy velvet, the floor was marble, there were fountains and a huge piano in the corner.

"Figured an old restaurant was fitting for your date with an old man." he said as they sat down.

"You're not old." she said. "A man out of time. I, personally, find you to be much more appealing than most other men. So you have an advantage."

"I guess I do." he raised his brows.

She looked down at the menu, and then peeked over the edge at him. "Steve." she whispered. "Did you tell them to give me a menu without prices?"

He cleared his throat, looking down at his own menu. "Don't know what you're talking about, ma'am."

"What's good here?" she asked, and he shrugged. She laughed. "I have a feeling that we might both be out of our element."

"No kidding." he said. "Well, it's been here longer than I have, so, I mean, it's got to be good."

"So...get whatever?"

He looked at her, confused. "Yes. Whatever."

"Roger that." she tapped her eyebrow with her hand in a mock salute.

After 2 glasses of champagne and plates scraped clean, Danielle was leaning forward, her chin on her hand, listening avidly as she watched Steve talk about the war. His eyes were somewhere else as he talked, and she watched his lips form the words and felt herself getting sucked in. He'd seen so much, and she'd been nowhere. The piano in the corner played quiet music, and she found her affection growing for him with every note.

He'd stopped talking, and was smiling at her.

"Where did I lose you?" he asked.

"You didn't." she said softly.

"Alright. What now, then?"

She felt a chill run up her spine.

"I could use some fresh air." she said as the heat within her began to build.

The streets of the Theatre District were lit brightly and packed with people. She pulled Steve up the street and towards the center of Times Square.

"You know," she said, shouting over the noise of hundreds of people talking and laughing. "actual New Yorkers sort of hate Times Square."

"So I've heard."

She pulled him across the street, running slightly, dodging a yellow cab that honked aggressively at them. She laughed, tugging him onto the center cement divider. Again, she saw him marveling at everything, the lights reflecting in his clear blue eyes. She squeezed his hand, feeling light as air.

He pulled her towards him suddenly, wrapping an arm around her waist.

"I always thought it had a bit of charm to it." she said quietly.

He bent down, taking her face in his hands and kissing her. She felt the heat rise again, stronger now, but like coal embers, burning hot and deep. She melted into him as the world rushed past.

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