Are you going to C2E2 this weekend? Wanna find some cool new queer comics?
Visit me at the pop-up library in Booth 853, right in front of The Block at 2pm on Saturday! I’ll be talking up some of my favorite LGBTQ comics and giving personalized recommendations to help you find the bestest, coolest, and queerest choices for you! Think of me like your personal comics concierge. See you there!
Extracts from the Seattle Police Department Reports (end of 1975, beginning of 1976). I left out some parts. It’s basically Ted trolling the detectives following him. If you want to read the whole thing, it’s all in The Bundy Secrets. :
Surveillance of Homicide Suspect by Roger Dunn
This is to be a 24 hr. surveillance of a possible homicide suspect. He is to be watched as closely as possible. He is not to be arrested or confronted in any way unless he commits some overt act warranting immediate arrest (felony or other dangerous act.) Maintain running log of activity.
The subject of this surveillance is Theodore Bundy, WM 29 5-10 160 med. Bld. Brown, hair short, (mod) curly.
11 - 27 - 75
Mackie related that Bundy showed up at Horatio’s Restaurant where Liz Kloepfer was having dinner with some friends. He wanted Liz to leave with him but she refused but did meet him at her place later that night.
12 - 2 - 75
1400 Hrs. He had lunch with Ann Rule at the Pittsbourg, etc. in Pioneer Square. He did not say anything incriminating, was totally relaxed but did ask a lot of questions about what was going on here and stated he wanted to talk to the police.
12 - 5 - 75
1630 hours Subject and small W-F left the house in ABQ 894, drove to U of W Hospital. There he picked up W-F. went south-bound on I-5 into Pioneer Square. Tried to lose us and was successful. Officer Augerson found car parked in the 100 blk S. Washington a short time later unoccupied.
1809 hours Subject and both females returned to the car walking south-bound from Yesler on Occidental Ave S. drove uptown on third Ave, tried to lose us around 6th and 7th Pike and Olive - unsuccessful. Subject pull to the curb and turn out his lights, then pull away again. Subject got on the freeway northbound and drove to Northgate arriving there at 1830 hours. They parked in the lot south of 103rd and entered the complex - did not follow.
1930 hours Subject, girlfriend and the little girl came out of Northgate complex and entered their vehicle. They drove back to I-5 and went northbound to 145th, where they exited and went over to Aurore Stopped at JB’s hamburger restaurant.
12 - 8 - 75
1600 hrs. Subject came out of door of loc #2, emptied the garbage and waved at Sutlovich, then walked to the surveillance vehicle and asked if Sutlovich was a police officer, at the same time stating that the vehicle that Sutlovich was in was the same one that followed him last Saturday night. He got no reply and then continued passing the time of the day with small talk, then went back to the residence. He was wearing a long sleeved turtleneck sweater and jeans.
1607 hrs. Subject came back out of Loc #2 wearing also a blue jacket and glasses. He walked over again to Sutlovich and stated that he was going to pick up his laundry, Sutlovich followed him to a cleaners at approx 42 NE and University Way, then back to Location #2. Arrived back at 1700 hrs.
1700 hrs. Subject contacted Sutlovich again and asked if the surveillance was for his protection. Sutlovich informed him that he could consider that. He then stated that’s good, that he doesn’t have anything against the police, that he was wondering why the surveillance just started since he came back to town a week ago. Sutlovich then asked him if he would be going anywhere soon. He asked “You mean back in Utah”. Sutlovich said no, tonight. He stated that he mey be going over to Vortmans in Magnolia, then walked back to Location #2 and entered.
12 - 9 - 75
0815hrs. Susp. left house with Liz Kloepfer daughter and got into his veh. Dropped daughter off at school. Susp. went E/B on NE 52 and lost us in traffic after crossing 15 NE. Search made for veh. Proved negative.
1 - 12 - 76
Bundy in the area of 47th and 16th N.E. He just disappeared.
2135 hrs. Bundy went out the front of the house. He approached Det. Gillis, who was parked on the southwest corner of the intersection of 18th and 52nd. He took Gillis’ picture. He then walked down towards the alley where I’m parked and come up to the front of the car and bent down to where he could see my license plate, and he wrote my license number down. He then walked south back through the alley up to 52nd. I got out on foot and followed him. He stopped at the corner and started talking to Det. Gillis, who by this time was out on foot. At this time I then approached Bundy, and we all three talked for a little bit. He wanted to know why we were following him, what took us so long - he’s been in town a week. He said he tried to get a hold of Capt. Leich and Capt. Mackie to find out why, and he said he didn’t have any beef with the guys out on the street, and he said he might have to go back to court on the 20th of this month - he doesn’t know yet, but he says definitely, for sure, on the 9th of February. We talked for approximately 10 minutes, and about 2145 hrs he went back in to the residence. Ted was wearing a blue nylon down jacket, light tan corduroy pants, brown shoes, no hat, and he had about a month’s growth of beard.
1 - 13 - 76
0825 hrs. Bundy came out of the front door and began walking south on 18 N.E. He had on dark rimmed glasses, blue down ski parka, tan flared trousers, dark shoes and was carrying a green satchel under his left arm. I got out of my car and followed him on foot after advising Keppel.
Bundy walked at a normal pace up to 17. N.E. and south into the campus and was aware that I was behind him. He walked in near the Burke Museum and then back out onto 45th. He turned south on University Way N.E. very aware that I was behind him.
0840 hrs. He went into the Coffee Corral at N.E. 42 and U Way and came out a moment later smoking a cigarette.
0850 hrs. He walked up through Red Square and into the undergraduate library. As we got into a crowd, he went downstairs and through the cafeteria in an effort to lose me.
0855 hrs. Bundy went into a phone booth in Suzallo Library. The portion of the conversation I could hear was “There’s a detective following me, where’s the car?”
0858 hrs. Bundy came out of the phone booth and went into the men’s room in Suzallo Library.
0901 hrs. I went into the restroom and discovered that there was a backdoor that opened into an employee’s locker room. (…) I checked for Bundy in the immediate area but he was gone.
(At that point, they lost track of Bundy until 1230 hrs.)
1230 hrs. I drove to Marlin Vortman’s apartment in an effort to relocate Bundy. As I approached the apartment I spotted Bundy walking along the sidewalk dressed in a grey hooded sweatshirt, faded green sweatpants, blue turtleneck and white tennis shoes. When he saw me he smiled. I waved and continued pas him to the corner of 36 W. and W. Gov’t Way. As I turned south I looked in my rearview mirror and saw Bundy sprinting into the woods in Discovery Park.
1328 hrs. Bundy walked up the street to the vehicle. It apparently didn’t start so he had to push it and then went to Gov’t Way.
I followed Bundy down into Ballard’s business district and it soon became evident that the only reason he was driving at all was to play tag with the cops. He would drive legally but try his best to lose me. Some typical maneuvers would be : park the car in hopes that I would have to drive by in traffic and or get out of the car (in sweats) and walk down the block, get one car between us at a stoplight and then make a free right turn and then a few more turns in an effort to get free of a tail. It became very easy to predict what Bundy would try to do but my car was not conductive to quick albeit legal maneuvers. Bundy was taking great delight in the ‘game’ and smiled when he would execute a clever evasive tactic.
1407 hrs. Bundy drove to the Ballard Locks, parked his car and jogged (in heavy rain) back along the railroad tracks and out of sight around the end of the government property.
I parked my car next to his and waited. 1416 hrs. Bundy came walking back to the car from the same direction. I got two impressions as to why Bundy uses a tactic of parking the car and walking away :
- He hoped that I would immobilize the operation of the car so he could scream “harassment’’.
- Hoped that I would get out and follow him on foot so he could double back to the car so he could drive off without a tail.
My impressions of Bundy during the day while I was following him is that he does not act like a normal, mature 29 year old law student. He seems to thrive on attention just like a spoiled child and that is the only reason he altered his behavior, which is to say the more ‘attention’ he gets, the more he eats it up. It would not be difficult to predict his actions in a situation like this, but trying to maintain a covert surveillance in hopes that he may go to a ‘stash’ or any other place that might tend to incriminate him would be fruitless and impractical.
The only search results concerning the Winter Soldier turn up to be little more than rumor. More concerning at the illegible reacted files SHIELD has, what few of them there are. Even the physical records are blacked out to the point of offering nothing but suspicion.
Steve is not surprised while he’s digging through the archives someone comes looking for him. He’s given up trying to find anything about the Winter Soldier and moved on to Tony Stark.
There is far more about Tony Stark leading up to the point of his graduation from MIT. Steve works his way through articles that start when Tony is a toddler. Once the car accident comes up, however, news of even Tony seems to have ceased. The crash had only listed Mariah and Howard as casualties of the accident. Tony’s alive but goes missing, press going wild with speculation. Rumors ranging from disfigurement to a cover up concerning the only Stark heir dying in the crash along with his parents.
“If you were trying to be subtle I don’t think you managed it Captain.”
Steve regards Fury with little interest. He’d expected someone else to turn up.
“Wasn’t trying to hide. Why would I need to?”
Fury gives a huff that Steve’s come to recognize is his version of a surprised laugh. “What were you doing Rogers?”
“Little reading. A lot to catch up on.”
Fury nods and edges closer. “Seventy years of culture to catch up on. Maybe you should consider a book club. I hear some people still do that.”
When the thumb drive is left on top of his reading material Steve just lays a hand over it. Watching Fury’s retreating back. It’s not what he expected but it might lead him to some answers.
On the drive is old security footage from one of the research labs. Steve watches it in a library booth on one of the computers available for the public to use. A baseball cap pulled down to shadow his face and pulled down over his ears.
In the lab is the familiar glow of the cube on the table. Various instruments spread out to one side.
Howard Stark is older than he ever saw him, face more serious and hair starting to go pale. He’s in most of a three-piece suit while directing the few lab technicians to do as he orders. Plenty of hand gestures between.
There is also the newer, familiar face of Tony Stark who looks just the same in the footage as he did two days ago. He hasn’t aged a day as best Steve can tell. Starks may age gracefully but it’s a bit much when the time stamp declares the occasion took place in the late eighties. Over twenty years ago and Tony’s face hasn’t changed much at all.
Steve doesn’t have the time to ponder on the wrongness of it before the events Tony has takes around take place.
One moment Tony is beside his father trying to reason with him, grabbing at his arm, and the next Tony is shoving Howard down toward the floor. The flash of light from the cube is blinding after that. The lens of the camera cracks and the footage skips slightly.
The room has darkened noticeably and one of the walls is covered in a series of cracks that mean it’s virtually useless for support purposes. Steve might not be an architect but even he can say it’s only a few shades shy of crashing down.
More of the lights blink out and the only light the camera can pick up comes from one source - Tony.
Tony who is standing at the center of the lab, chest a beacon of light that spreads across the room with growing intensity as the walls of the room start to fall in on themselves. Tony’s once dark eyes lighten and glow light the concentration of light in his chest.
On the floor Howard Stark lays still. Scattered nearby are the lab techs. One of whom is mysteriously not being crushed by the portion of ceiling that drops from above. The walls have begun to all tilt in toward Tony. Tony who glows and sways, image wavering like the air on a too hot summer day. His expression is pained and there is another burst of light before the footage goes entirely dark.
Steve is practically pressing his nose against the screen as he watches it all. Trying to absorb every detail.
The report that comes after is more concerning. No casualties despite the list of property damages. Minor injuries for Howard and one of the techs, a name Steve isn’t familiar with. Tony is listed as wounded but it’s only further in there are any details. A medical diagram of a man’s chest with a cube imbedded into it from a front, top down, and bisected view. It should be fatal - Steve knows Tony’s lungs would need the space to expand it takes up - but Tony is alive. Steve has seen him with his own eyes.
Steve thinks of the footage of Tony’s pained face, holding in position until the camera cuts out. Sees only the brief look at Tony’s anguished scream before that second flash of light.
Tony is by Steve’s jogging route when he sees him again. He is bunched up into a hoodie, drawn into himself making him look even smaller than he is. He meets Steve eyes immediately.
The first thing Steve notes is how exhausted he looks.
“Hey Tony.” Steve doesn’t look around, it would only look suspicious if he did.
For a second there is a hint of a smile. Tony fiddles with one of the ends of the pull string on his hoodie. “Made up your mind?”
He hardly has all the facts but Steve doesn’t distrust Tony. Steve doesn’t have the sudden doubt in Tony like he does SHIELD. Working for spies means deception and subterfuge but Steve had hoped not from people he should be able to trust. People he should be able to call his allies.
“Depends on if you’re going to tell me the truth anymore than the rest of them.”
“Ask away, Captain.”
“The cube is buried in your chest, isn’t it?”
Tony smiles wanly at him, no friendly humor to it this time. Instead he looks down and presses against the center of his chest. “If I only had a heart.”
“Look a little soft to be much of a Tin Man.”
The next morning on his jog Steve slows to a stop when one of the other joggers he sees often enough calls after him. He’s a nice guy, even if he mutters under his breath when Steve laps him.
“Cowardly Lion, huh? Seems like a weird thing to be calling Captain America.”
Steve shrugs. “Any reason you’re calling me that? Heard worse outta your mouth.”
“Heard that huh?” The man pulls out a folded piece of paper. “Kid stopped me and asked me to give it to you. Since I kind of recognized him thought I shouldn’t say no to Tony Stark.”
He’s already taken the note and unfolds it, but turns his eyes back to the man. “You knew Tony Stark?”
“Yeah we met. Awhile ago.” Holding out a hand he doesn’t mention Steve’s more focused look. “Sam Wilson.”
“Thanks, for the help. But I don’t know Tony Stark.”
Sam doesn’t seem to buy it. “For a guy who doesn’t know him you sure seem interested when he comes up.”
“Knew his old man. Awhile ago.”
“Tell you what. You stop saying ‘on your left’ and I’ll pass over any note you might want to give back.”
Steve finally shakes his hand. “Nice to meet you, Sam.”
Natasha finds him when Steve slips in for work, bag slung over his shoulder to change presumably. She just falls into step with him as they weave their way through the morning foot traffic in the lobby.
“Pierce wants to see you.”
That’s a little out of the usual. “I’ll get the uniform on first then go up to see him. Or did he say it was urgent?”
“Just that he wanted to talk.”
Steve doesn’t mind when Nat just follows him into the locker room for the male half of the strike-team. He goes to his own locker and hangs his jacket up in there. The Commandos and basic got him accustomed to having no privacy. Still there is a world of difference between having Natasha Romanov staring at you and Dum Dum.
“Heard you’ve been trying to catch up on some of what you missed.” It’s casual enough that Steve admittedly almost buys it.
“Yeah someone recommended a book club. Not a bad idea actually. I didn’t read many classics back in the day turns out. Ever picked up Little Women?” Steve continues on as he stripes out of the loose fitting tee shirt and rolls up his belt to lie it in his locker.
“At least you didn’t make a Dostoevsky joke.”
Steve sits on the bench when he pulls loose the knots of his shoe laces. “Who?”
“..don’t worry about it.”
Pierce doesn’t make him wait long, waving him in with a smile shortly after he arrives.
“Captain Rogers. Perfect timing I just finished my morning meeting. Take as seat.” He gestures to the open seats in front of his desk. Strangely as soon as Steve sits he rises to his feet, putting him above Steve.
Steve doesn’t comment, just tracks his movement. “You want to talk to me, sir?”
Pierce nods and rubs at his chin before speaking. “Yes. You’ve been looking into Tony Stark.”
Fury wasn’t the only one who had caught the trail Steve had left then. Fury had been the only one to approach him directly on the subject, for all the run-around he’d played. Steve still had the thumb drive hidden away in the oatmeal container that he used often enough it wouldn’t have seemed strange if he moved it.
“Were you looking to help in the search?”
“Not exactly. I was familiar with Howard before…”
Pierce nods. “Of course.” He sounds understanding and sympathetic.
“I was curious how things came to be like that are. How Howard’s kid ends up being wanted by SHIELD. …wasn’t what I expected to happen.”
“The Starks had quite the history. Howard wasn’t the easiest man to get along with I’m sure you knew. Tony had limited exposure to SHIELD and a falling out with his father shortly before the accident.”
Steve wondered if Pierce meant the car accident that had taken Howard’s life or the lab accident that had forcibly transformed Tony.
“Tony was sadly one of the people that believed the rumors that a simple car accident couldn’t have brought a man like Howard Stark down. Accepting the mortality of your parents is never easy and he was in a bad position to lose them both so suddenly…” Pierce said and heaved a sigh. “He never really accepted SHIELD’s reassurances years ago.”
“So you think there’s some hard feelings?”
“Not the strangest thing I’ve heard of happening. SHIELD isn’t in the business of making friends.”
But that still hardly addressed the fact Tony still looked like a twenty-year old when he should have been in his forties. His file claimed he was born in the early seventies. Steve didn’t bring up that detail.
“So Captain, were you going to help in the search?”
“I don’t think so, sir.”
“Fair enough. I didn’t want to have you left out when we could use a valuable agent like yourself.”
Steve rose to his feet, ignoring the slight itch of the tactical suit’s collar. “Was that all, sir?”
Pierce gave him another nod. “That was all.”
On his way to the door Steve hesitated, fingers curved around the held before he had to ask. “Sir what did you say to Tony that day we tried to apprehend him.”
“I tried to reason with him. Tell him that he needed to do what was best for everyone and surrender himself so we could help him.” Pierce shook his head and gave Steve a sad smile. “You can’t help those who won’t accept your help.”
Sam is sitting on the bench waiting on him. He’s drinking from his water bottle when Steve wanders over at a walk.
“You want to go a few more laps before you sit yourself down?” Sam asks resting the uncapped water bottle on his knee when he speaks. He’s gotten to enjoy taunting and prodding Steve by now. Those whispered jabs are at easy hearing volume now.
Steve shakes his head and settles in the spot beside him instead. “Not today. I don’t want you to hurt yourself trying to keep up.”
“Smart ass.” Sam offers Steve a folded pieces of paper. “You know I haven’t had to pass this many notes since I was in grade school?”
“Popular huh?” Steve asks even as he unfolds the sheet of paper. The same one he can see his own hand writing on asking Tony what Pierce had said in his office the day he quote Paine.
“With this face you know it.”
When Steve doesn’t come back with anything Sam doesn’t interrupt. His focus on the paper obvious.
The paper crumples under his fist and Steve stands in a hurry. His skin feels too tight and his stomach turns.
“You okay man?” Sam asks clearly concerned.
Clenching the paper further in his hand Steve nods. “Thanks for the help Sam.”
“Nothing you want to write back this time?”
“No…think that’ll be the last one.” Steve says already starting to walk away with his mind a jumbled mess.
“Kid dump you?” Sam tries to joke after him but even that doesn’t make Steve hesitate the rest of the way back to here his bike sits waiting.
Steve doesn’t have any doubts about what the brief message means. It’s not the response he expected but it fits the response he saw. Drawing up old grudges, bad blood revitalized. Same problems because the world really hasn’t changed as much as anyone claims it has.
“What did Nick tell you?”
Steve is reeling still between Fury’s death to the assassin on the rooftop. Tony’s curious lack of appearance since his last ominous note. Fury’s final words sound like the soundest advice he could ask for.
“He told me not to trust anyone.”
Pierce doesn’t seem shocked at the statement. “I wonder if that included him.”
“Before we get started, does any one want to get out?”
No one does take him up on it of course.
As Steve is driving down the stretch to leave the Triskelion behind Tony Stark ambles into the lobby, face fully exposed. The pandemonium has really started so he has to carefully pick his way through some of the untrained civilians on the premisses.
A portion of the special forces are pouring out of the elevators and stairs and Tony is here just for them. Letting out a slow exhale through his teeth, eyes closing to forcibly jam the locks to hold the majority of the forces behind closed doors. It’s not difficult but so many locks at once takes concentration if he wants to keep them intact to serve their purpose.
“Stark, hands up.”
Tony opens his eyes and regards the held circle of agents around him. Looks at the weapons pointed at him.
That roar of Steve’s bike is all the prompting Tony needs to forego playing along to buy time. So he can skip to the main event as it were.
Above their heads the rest of the glass ceiling shatters raining down. Tony doesn’t hesitate to start moving while the agents all duck and cover their heads. A round of shouts of and the first few gunshots starting. Tony leaves them all behind even as the doors and start to wrap and twist into place, making them useless.
Tony is touching down outside by the gate to stop any of the vans from pursuing immediately after Steve. The wreckage that Steve himself left behind narrows the approach of the vehicles can take. With only a little force Tony watches the pavement crumble, jagged edges sticking up as the displacement he causes distorts the surface. Driving over it will take only rugged vehicles, and not as able to carry heavy loads.
The sharp, distinct sound of helicopters start to pass overhead. Tony raises his eyes and starts running, launching himself upwards in bursts. Disappearing to reappear higher until he’s on the right level to scare the pilots to veer wildly in the air. Tony can’t fly or hover but he can teleport. It’s no easy party trick. But Tony has had two decades of practice to test she he can do, to push the limits of what the cube can let him do.
Despite what he could do, Tony only puts the choppers on the ground. Destroys the engines by relocating a few necessary pieces somewhere into the Atlantic. The vans on the ground are having some issues with vanishing spark plugs and disappearing tires.
A little littering could be forgiven for saving a few million lives.
Steve startles when Tony appears from no where in the crowd and leans over to look at what Natasha is up to.
“You went to an Apple store for this?” Tony asks.
“Public setting makes it easier to keep from being spotted. Now stop distracting me I’m concentrating.”
Tony looks a little manic, he rocks on his feet in place and grin suddenly when he gets a look at what Steve is wearing. “Those are not your shoes.”
“These aren’t my shoes.” Steve admits.
“Shame that kind of suit you.”
One of the employees is coming their way and just as Steve starts trying to dig up some kind of excuse for their presence that won’t leave them stuck running out in the middle of something to draw more attention Tony gets into his personal space. It leaves Steve to blink owlishly at him when Tony winks at him. The hand on his chest is odd and Steve takes it in with almost a sense of detachment, but he does see the poor underpaid employee turn to find someone else to help in a hurry.
Tony grins at him and wink. “PDA’s freak people out.”
“Personal displays of affection.”
Steve can’t help a snort. “Good to know.”
“Nice pecs, by the way.”
“They work.” Steve wonders if he sounds as lame to Tony as it does himself when that comes out of his mouth.
“Okay you two time’s up. We need to go. Now.” Natasha shoves them bodily to get moving. “If I get caught because you two feel the need to flirt that badly with each other I’m turning you over.”
Steve just slips out of the Apple store with Tony at his heels. Natasha lulling back just slightly to keep an eye on them from behind. It’s smart their pursuers are looking for a man and a woman, not two men and a single woman.
“You said PDAs make people uncomfortable right?” Steve asks out of the blue as he grabs ahold of Tony’s hand.
“Usually. Did you just want to hold my hand?”
Steve leads them to the escalators and pulls Tony closer than he does anyone who isn’t about to be taking into SHIELD custody these days. The kid is tense for a beat before he relaxes and Steve feels and arm wind around his waist under his jacket. Tony’s small enough to tuck himself against him and he does, leaving Steve to duck his head down so the lip of his cap covers his face.
It’s enough to encourage him to lift his head.
Steve doesn’t know what prompts him to do it, he doesn’t have an excuse other than it seemed like a good idea in the heat of the moment. It might have had something to do with Tony’s display in the store.
The kiss is awkward and brief. Still Steve can feel the back of his neck going warm and Tony makes a surprised sound, that is sort of worth it. Tony’s been the one sneaking up on him all this time it’s good to give a little of it back to him. Overall it’s nothing to write home about, but maybe not as awful as it should be given the situation.
Tony swats at his chest when they both step off the escalator together, stomping off head of him. Steve can see the tips of his ears look pink.
“That your first kiss since you got defrosted, Cap?” Natasha asks as she positively smirks at him when she catches up.
Steve just rubs at his chest where Tony smacked him. It doesn’t hurt but well its better to do than answer Natasha’s question.
Shoving against the weight of the concrete Steve is startled in the dark and dust when someone lays a hand on his shoulder. Natasha is in his free arm and the shield is braced against the concrete so he can’t fight like this.
“Steve?” Tony asks with worry in his voice.
“I’m okay. Natasha wasn’t so lucky.” Steve gets out, coughing after. Smoke and dust thick in the air around them.
“I’ve got you.” Tony says before Steve feels himself just float away.
They pop back into existence somewhere in the field nearby. Steve is too busy breathing fresh air to worry too much exactly where they are just this second. Natasha is starting to drift back to the realm of consciousness.
“We need to get somewhere safe.” Steve finds himself saying.
Tony just nods and Steve feels him hang onto his shoulder again as that drifting feeling returns. It’s odd the gentle pull of it then the displaced feeling when they return. Steve isn’t sure he could describe it to anyone who asked but it reminds him of a threaded needle popping through fabric. On one side then to the other with a trail connecting back to where you came from.
But the grip on his shoulder going lax catches his attention. Tony is sagging in place, eyes drifting closed.
Without much thought Steve grabs for him.
When he looks around Steve finds they’re in D.C. again. Steve knows exactly where they are and it’s quite a ways from New Jersey. Tony’s abilities are vague to him but this is the first real display of them he’s seen first hand. It’s a bit stunning and worrying with the way Tony’s gone slack on him. It must be draining.
On the bright side Natasha is straightening up and looking lucid once more. “How…did we get back to D.C.?”
“Tony did it.”
“Of course he did.” Natasha is backing away from Steve leaving him to lift up the dead weight of Tony with both arms. “Were are we going?”
Steve considers it before lifting Tony up and balancing him in his hold. He doesn’t so much as make a noise through the process. How deeply he has lost consciousness worries Steve.
“I know a place.”
Sam Wilson had only just taken a sip out of the carton when someone was at his door. Setting it on the counter he went to answer and found something he never expected to find.
A redhead he’d seen pick Steve up before was looking over her shoulder at the street anxiously. Steve was standing there with what looked like an unconscious Tony Stark in his arms. All of them were dirt smudged and smelled just slightly of something stale and gunpowder.
“We need your help.” Steve found himself blurting out. “We don’t have anywhere else to do and there are people after us.”
“Bet you do. Come on in.” Sam stepped aside to let the small party in, lingering to watch the street after they disappeared inside to be sure they hadn’t been followed.
This compilation of gardening guides from the Booth Museum library is dedicated to King Charles II, and advises your groundsman how to propagate trees, arrange your hedge mazes, and what flowers to plant when!
A/N: So I watched a short film, and got really inspired to write this. Its cute and fluffy and I hope you guys like it. If you do, I may end up turning it into a multi-chap. Just let me know :)
Rating: K+ - for language
Summary: While doing research for a project, Natsu spots a beautiful blonde-haired girl in the library booth next to him. After working up the courage to talk to her, he discovers that she is different—she moves her hands in a way Natsu doesn’t recognize…but that doesn’t stop him from learning how to communicate with her. Fluffy NaLu. Modern AU.
Natsu hated school, and why he decided to attend university for a degree in chemistry, he had no idea.
Chemistry itself was easy—he loved everything about the classes that came with it—but the extracurriculars were killing him.
Creative writing in particular.
They were supposed to analyze the structure of, and then write their own sonnet, and for the life of him, Natsu couldn’t figure it out. The library hadn’t been much of a help either with research, talking about some sort of iambic pentameter or something. He kinda understood what they were trying to say to him…
But mostly it was gibberish.
Frustrated with the assignment in front of him, the pinkette dropped his pencil and let his forehead fall on the table in front of him. Letting out a large gush of air, he turned his head to one side.
And his gaze landed on her.
She had a pencil in her mouth and her eyes were downcast at a book in front of her. The muscles in her jaw rippled as they sunk into the small wooden stick, and her brow furrowed as she studied the page in front of her. Long blonde tresses cascaded down her shoulders and back, and shorter thicker strands framed her heart-shaped face.
Her lips were unmistakably red—must be a lipstick colour, though he didn’t notice any on her eraser—and full. He watched as they moved subtly around the end.
Her leg was bouncing.
Curious as to what had her in a bind, Natsu swallowed heavily and pushed his seat out from under the table. Standing up, his stomach began to churn as he shuffled over to the booth she was sitting in.
The closer he got, the more beautiful she became, and the worse the feeling in his stomach got. Who the hell was he to just walk up to her and strike up a conversation. What if she had a boyfriend, or was waiting for someone?
Natsu shook his head. He was already halfway there, might as well make a fool of himself, right?
He situated himself just behind her to the left. Not too close, but close enough for her to hear him.
“Watchya got there?” he asked, glancing down at the paper beneath the hand on the table. It was lined paper with scribbles on it, and a few books with super complicated words surrounding them, open.
She didn’t answer.
Feeling foolish, Natsu turned to go but found himself shoved back by a shoulder. Losing his balance, the pinkette tumbled backward over the dividers and onto the bench beside the blonde woman. His impact sent papers flying and he found his face on the floor with his neck bent at an angle he was pretty sure wasn’t good for him.
With limbs sticking every which way—and him shuffling to try and rearrange himself—he only caught a glimpse of black tufty hair and an evil grin before crawling out from under the table.
Fucking Gajeel. Seriously?
He was going to kill him.
He was ready to tear out from underneath where he was sitting, but was stopped by a pair of curious eyes.
“Oh jeeze…” he muttered, pulling himself up beside her, “I’m so sorry…I really didn’t mean to mess up your stuff, my friend just knocked me over and—” he watched as her brow furrowed and mouth contorted slightly.
“I mean I was just about to leave because I didn’t want to disturb you after trying to get your attention before and he just came out of nowhere. Man am I ever gunna kill him once I get my hands on him—”
Her eyes were fixated on his lips as he rambled until he saw her get so fed up she waved her hands in front of his face to get him to stop.
Her mouth broke out into a soft smile as she covered his with her hands. He blinked as his gaze became transfixed on her face.
What the hell was going on with him today? He didn’t even know this girl and she already left him breathless.
Keeping one hand over his mouth, she brought the other to her lips and raised her eyebrows in silent question. Understanding she wanted him to stay quiet, he nodded briefly and she removed her other hand.
Grabbing a marker and loose piece of lined paper, he watched as she scribbled something down before handing it to him.
A warmth spread in his chest as she offered him the Sharpie.
He cocked his head to one side. He was confused.
A small tap on his knee redirected his attention from the paper back up to the beautiful girl in front of him.
The finger that poked him was now resting against her chest. Palm flat, he watched as she moved her hand in slow circles, mouthing what looked like a soft ‘sorry.’
Raising her palm from her chest, her fingertips now rested against her sternum as she gestured to herself, and then brought up a solitary finger to touch her cheek by her mouth. He watched as she mouthed ‘ef’ while moving her finger up just below her ear.
She was deaf?
Natsu tapped his earlobe, shook his head, and raised his eyebrows in silent question. He watched as she nodded and a slight flush adorned her cheeks.
Well…that made more sense. So she wasn’t hearing him before because she couldn’t. Not because he was bothering her.
Resting the note beside him on wood of the divider, Natsu scrawled a message back.
I’m Natsu. I was knocked over the side of this thing by…eh. He doesn’t matter. I’m sorry I ruined all your stuff.
Handing the note back to her, he watched as her face lit up. Natsu blinked as he noticed the earbuds in her ears.
Tapping her knee, once she was looking back up at him he gestured to the headphones.
He waited as she wrote a longer message on the paper and handed it back to him.
It’s okay, don’t worry. I wasn’t getting anywhere with what I needed to get done anyway. I was about to pack up and head out.
With earbuds, people tend to leave you alone and not try and talk to you. Its just easier than having to tell everyone you can’t hear.
Natsu nodded before scrawling back.
Well…I originally was coming over to see what you were doing since you looked so confused. What’re you working on?
Lucy held up the massive textbook she’d been looking at before.
Lucy’s brow furrowed and her head tilted to one side. Natsu took back the paper and marker and scrawled on it once again.
That’s my major.
Natsu swore she lit up like Times Square after a blackout.
Screw Christmas Trees. This girl made a Christmas Tree look like a brown dwarf star.
She snatched the paper back and started scribbling down on it again when her phone began flashing.
Natsu watched as she noticed the light, set down the marker, snapped out a stand on the back of her phone case and slid her thumb along the bottom of the iPhone screen. She glanced over to him, holding up one finger before looking back to the screen.
He watched her.
He watched her face as her eyes would squint and brow furrow, or widen and eyebrows rise up. Her fingers twisted and contorted at unimaginable speeds as she would bring them together, brush her palms against each other, and other various gestures he didn’t recognize.
She smiled a breathtaking smile before waving at the small blue-haired girl on her FaceTime and ending the call. Excitedly, she handed the note back to him that she’d been writing before.
Would you help me out? I have a huge test next week that I’m not ready for at all and I could use a hand…
Natsu smiled before writing another message.
Looks to me like you’ve got enough talented hands of your own ;)
I’d be happy to help you out though. Wanna meet back here tomorrow around noon?
He watched as she blushed slightly at what he’d assumed was the first part of his message before she nodded vigorously.
He smiled goofily at her as she gathered her things and waved. It was only after he watched her leave that his stomach sank.
He was so excited to talk to her, he didn’t even think about how he was going to teach her if she couldn’t hear a word he was saying.
Slamming his forehead once again on the desk, Natsu sighed.
Well…he’d figure something out.
He may be bad at arranging words or whatever the hell it was that he was supposed to be doing in that class. But he wasn’t bad when it came to problem solving, especially when he was motivated.
And that smile of hers was more than enough motivation.