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Fic: Perfect Note Epilogue

Steve had finally gotten to the point where SHIELD let him out into the world without an obvious chaperone. He had little doubt that they had eyes on him, of course, but he’d sadly become accustomed to that aspect of his new life and had learned how to ignore it, for the most part. Instead he focused his attention and energy on relearning New York.

Some parts of the city were unbelievably altered from the way he remembered, especially Times Square, but the deeper he went into certain places the more familiar his surroundings became. There was a diner in Brooklyn, for example, that Steve would swear was exactly the same as long as you ignored the prices. It quickly became one of his havens when everything else started to get overwhelming. Sometimes one of his teammates would even go with him, Natasha or Clint or Tony and once they even managed to drag Bruce along, and instead of being a babysitter they acted more like a friend.

It didn’t take him long to learn the regulars. There were a handful of men from his generation, all of them depressingly old and bent and worn, who were there for coffee pretty much every day. They always made Steve a little self-conscious, but he forced it aside and talked with them for a few minutes whenever he came in. SHIELD hadn’t publicized his face with his return and the newsreels back in the day hadn’t shown him without the helmet, so he was never recognized. Steve considered that a mixed blessing.

Two women in their forties met there at least three times a week for dinner and a complaining session that centered around their teenage children. He never approached them beyond a simple nod of acknowledgement because they tended to look at him as if he was a steak and they were very, very hungry. It was very disconcerting to him, in fact, and he never sought out eye contact or tried to encourage them in any way. Women in general were far more forward than they used to be.

Every Sunday during breakfast a young couple came in and spent hours in a corner booth. They were easier to remember than most because the young man had his head shaved clean, and also because the two of them were so obviously in love. That was a little harder to look at than the old men with their coffee and their tales about the war, if only because Steve had never really had a chance to have that with Peggy Carter. The same couple came in every once in a while with a teenage girl in tow, apparently the young man’s sister, usually in the evenings.

After six months he had learned the names of the waitresses (Julia and Jenny), the old men (Bob, Bill, John and Jim), and the couple (Rachel and Noah, with little sister Hannah). That last one was the hardest to accomplish, in some ways, because the two of them acted like they were the only people in the room sometimes. It had taken Steve forever to strike up a conversation with either one of them when they often didn’t notice that their food had arrived. He enjoyed his small oasis from the world of being Captain America. Here he was simply Steve, the guy who came in and ordered the breakfast special and coffee no matter what time of day or day of the week it happened to be. He could strike up a conversation with anyone, about any subject that came to mind, and receive a multitude of opinions. It was everything he’d ever loved about New York City.

Of course, along with everything he loved that didn’t seem all that different, there were a few things that had become markedly different. He’d never regarded the city as particularly safe, but he had a hard time imagining a couple of twitchy-looking guys with guns holding up a corner diner on a Sunday morning.

Julia had let out a little shriek when she caught sight of the guns and immediately dropped to the floor behind the counter, which was the most sensible reaction he could think of even if it wasn’t exactly brave. Of the four old men, two had gone to early morning mass and only Bob and Bill remained. The two of them stayed very still, considering everything that was happening and likely deciding that as long as the men with guns only wanted money it wasn’t worth the potential risk to challenge them. There was a trio of tourists in the booth closest to the door and they’d all emitted similar expressions of dismay, shrinking back and raising their hands, eyes wide with fear. They clearly weren’t going to offer any sort of quarrel with the bad guys.

That just left Rachel and Noah in the corner booth, and while Noah would probably offer up a good brawl, Rachel didn’t look like a fighter and the young man wasn’t about to do anything that would put his girl at risk. That meant it was up to Steve, sitting at the counter, to stop those guys without letting them hurt anyone. It would have been really nice to have his shield on hand right about now.

He glanced over the diner once more as the taller of the gunmen called for them to hand over their wallets and purses. His partner went behind the counter to clean out the till and Julia made a startled squeak, more of surprise than pain, before the guy started in on the drawer and then hurried to rejoin his friend. Noah had his hands resting on the table, oddly calm for a guy that was usually incredibly protective towards the girl with him, and he was looking at Rachel.

The expression made Steve pause in his planning, because it wasn’t exactly what he would have expected. There was a calmness in the young man’s face, as if he knew that nothing bad was going to happen here. Rachel nodded once, the movement slight and subtle enough that he wouldn’t have seen it if he hadn’t been looking directly at the two of them, and then she turned slightly in her seat, moving by centimeters until she was looking at the gunmen. Her gaze flickered to the ground underneath them and her mouth parted as if she was going to speak.

Steve felt an odd vibration in his chest, like the way it felt when the Hulk roared or when Thor’s hammer hit something especially hard, but the feeling came and went too quickly for him to analyze it. Then the floor underneath the gunmen’s feet crumbled and the two of them dropped unceremoniously into the basement below.

Noah snatched up Rachel’s hand and rushed toward the door, followed by pretty much everyone else in the diner. Steve sighed, jumped down into the basement to knock the two out and pitch them back upstairs, and called in.

The debriefing was mercifully short and he left it still confused about what exactly had happened. He didn’t believe in coincidence and that floor opening up had been a little too convenient for his tastes.

Tony was in his lab, working on something shiny and a little more complicated than made him comfortable. “We can’t let you go anywhere, can we?”

“I’m pretty sure that it’s not my fault that someone decided to rob the diner,” Steve protested. “Anyway, all I did was take care of the clean-up.”

“Spider-man get there before you could do anything?” Tony asked, his voice a little sympathetic. “That guy’s quick, I’ll give you that.”

“It wasn’t Spider-man. I’m still not sure what really happened.”

“Okay, you have my attention. Tell me what you saw.” Tony was looking at him with an expression that usually meant someone was about to get a new toy, or that he was going to blow the power to half the city. Either way it usually meant trouble, but the agents at the debriefing had been frustratingly vague and Tony would probably give him answers. He explained everything that he’d noticed, trying not to highlight any one thing. Tony liked to receive the raw data with as little color as possible.

When he was finished, his friend was still looking at him and hadn’t immediately gone to the screens around him. “What have they told you about the x-gene?”

That was an easy one. “Absolutely nothing.”

Tony nodded. “That’s what I figured. All right, then. About the time you crashed that plane, certain individuals started to show up who were born with special abilities, rather than having them develop because of some accident or an experiment or something. It started pretty slowly and started to really build in the sixties. Scientists, one or two in particular, pinned these things as stable mutations of the human genome, usually showing up in what they call the x-gene. Right now there’s an estimate floating around that around four percent of the population has the x-gene. My money would be on the lovebirds.”

“Why wouldn’t they tell me about this?”

“You read about the Civil Rights Movement yet?”

“Yes. I’m mostly caught up on history by now.”

“Most people are divided on the idea of mutants. There’s a fair chunk of the population that doesn’t believe that they exist, a few supporters, and a lot of people who are running around scared because they think they’re about to go extinct. It’s kind of ridiculous, really, because microevolution within a species is constantly ongoing and mutants aren’t a new species. Every once in a while some politician with his head up his ass will decide to try some new law to either restrict mutants or guarantee them a freedom and the whole pot will get stirred up. And when you’re talking about people that can manipulate magnetic fields or walk through walls, that pretty much always gets messy.”

“So why haven’t I heard about it before now?”

“It’s actually not something that really comes up all that often. The mutants mostly police their own when they can and hand criminals over to the authorities when they can’t. The real problem is that mutants are human, just like all of the people on all of the sides of the Civil Rights Movement, so some of them have decided that extinction of non-mutants sounds pretty good to them. You got lucky and you made friends with a couple of them that fell on the other side of the fence.”

Steve was quiet for a moment, absorbing the information. “Think they’ll be there next week?”

“Maybe. Mutants who’ve been ID’d have been lynched in the past, so if someone that they don’t trust finds out, a lot of them will cut and run. It sounds like they don’t know what you saw, though, so there’s a chance they’ll keep to their routine. Either way, I think you just got handed an awesome opportunity. Don’t tell Natasha or Clint and you might get an in into the mutant community.” Tony smiled and turned back to his project. “It’s always good to make new friends.”

End bannerperfectnote


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 20th, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC)
Really enjoyed this cross, and I can't wait to read more :) the intergration of the two was seemless!!
Jun. 20th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.

Sequel will come after big bang season.
Jun. 20th, 2012 11:51 pm (UTC)
Lovely! I still enjoy this story, and I love the extra little touches like them arriving at the school and Prof. X welcoming Puck & Hannah.

Oooh! Sequel!
Jun. 21st, 2012 09:23 am (UTC)
Yep, once big bang season has died down.
Jun. 21st, 2012 08:21 am (UTC)
I was a little taken aback by the change in perspective, but once I figured it out, it was lovely to see them together from an outsider's pov. I would love to have seen more of their settling into Xavier's and the interaction with the various people there; great fodder for some classic Puck moments, I suspect. But I understand the lure of actually finishing a story for the BB - I better go and write mine now :D
Jun. 21st, 2012 09:22 am (UTC)
This was all the setup for the sequel, and that's where all of the stuff at Xavier's will be fitting in. Glad you liked it!
Jun. 22nd, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. Puck and rachel are the 2 characters that I really enjoy on the show (when I watched), so this was nice. Great job.
Jun. 28th, 2012 02:03 pm (UTC)
Great story. Liked how you crossed Glee with X-Men and then the end how you incorporated Tony and Steve. Looking forward to more.
Really liked your characterizations of Puck and Rachel.
Jul. 1st, 2012 04:05 am (UTC)
That's all very awesome. Thank you.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


vi, no words

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