2010 12 15 The Center Isn't Holding

Log Title:
The Center isn't Holding

Captain America and Black Widow

IC Date:
December 15, 2010

Battery Park, NY

Brief log summary::
Discussing the recent and not-so-recent past


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Captain America drops what's left of the drug dealer that's hanging from his fist to the ground where he thud with a limp flop and a soft moan. Cap eyes the other four and shakes his head before turning to walk further into the park. He's already called the cops, they should be there momentarily and he doesn't feel like hanging around to chat with You Know Who who's likely tagged every phone line from here to the Shi'ar Empire with automated voice trackers looking for him.

Black Widow doesn't really need technology to find Steve. She has ten years on and off of working with the man and another sixty of tracking people and things down for a living. She watches from a distance as the dealer is dealt with easily, and then once he heads more into the park she leaps to the ground to follow him. She's not hiding her presence at all. It's not like she wants to ambush him. That would end badly.

Captain America sighs after he's made it into the slightly thicker foliage near the center of the park, away from the windmill and the gaudy toys that surround it, "What do you want Natasha?" he asks over his shoulder.

Black Widow continues to follow him, her pace geared towards eventually catching up even if he doesn't slow down. "To talk, of course." she replies to him. "What else would I want?"

Captain America ducks his head beneath a branch, "Don't know, seems like I don't know anyone as well as I thought I did. I think it's best I no longer make assumptions." he doesn't try to run from her or anything, but he doesn't slow down either.

She's not in a rush, so she doesn't hasten her step further. As Natasha nears him, she says "Fair enough. I can't even imagine how disappointed you are." she adds then, always aware of what's around them but really not expecting any trouble here. There aren't a lot of people who are that stupid.

Captain America doesn't respond. He doesn't think that statement requires a response really, so he merely keeps walking until they end up out of the woods and onto a small walking path. He seems to be moving towards the edge of the park.

Natasha is also quiet for a while. At least until she's walking alongside him. Finally, she asks "Is there anything at all that I can do?" Her tone says she's pretty sure there isn't.

Captain America turns to glance at her, "Like what? Somehow explain to me how killing a prisoner is okay? Or maybe somehow convincing the others that we don't execute anyone, no matter how evil, because that's not our way?" the anger on his face flickers and he looks back to the path when the betrayal and hurt sets into his eyes. "They murdered someone, as a group. The worst part isn't that they did it, it's that they wouldn't have done that here on earth. How many times have we faced Doom or the Mandarin or a dozen other semi-genocidal psychopaths and sent them to prison? But when we're in space, because we're not on Earth, we're what? Less humane? No longer bound by those laws or that code of conduct? No." and the anger comes back.

Black Widow listens to him patiently, studying his face and body language. she considers, then says "I won't try to explain any of that, because you're right. They know you're right. I think they know they screwed up. Dane does. It's eating him up, and you know what? I'm okay with that. We should feel horrible about our mistakes."

Captain America stops and turns back to eye her, "You still don't get it, do you?" he says softly. "Telling your girlfriend those jeans give her wide hips, or forgetting your mother's birthday, those are mistakes. They committed murder Natasha. I'm not out here trying to collect my head," he tosses an arm at the park behind himself, "I'm out here trying to think of a charge I can bring Dane up on so he can be arrested and tried like he should be." it would be better if that statement were said in anger, with vehemence behind it, but it's not. It's matter of fact, calm, and it hurts him to say it. He looks away, "And trying to talk myself out of it."

Black Widow frowns slightly. "I don't get it?" she replies to him. "What do you think I was doing for all those years before I joined the team, Steve? I was killing people, and not usually in self defense. When I defected, I made a conscious decision to change, and when I started working with the Avengers, I made another decision not to kill." And she does try hard to abide by it. Things happen sometimes. "Dane did the same. He killed for a long time before the Avengers. It's not an excuse. It was wrong."

Captain America eyes her, "Because my hands are clean?" he was the greatest soldier of the largest war the world has ever seen. Those that write stories about how he only punched Nazi's and faught robots are fools. A shield in one hand and a grenade or a Thompson in the other while charging enemy lines… Steve's first years as a 'hero' were steeped in oceans of blood. He wishes it was more robots and sneaking about, but he spent more time in trenches and on the front lines then any other soldier can claim. "Being an Avenger means more. It should mean more. We're held to a higher standard. Higher then soldiers, higher then police officers. He killed a helpless prisoner after it was defeated. Good cops make that mistake, it's prison for them. So I should what? Ignore what happened?"

"Of course your hands aren't clean." Natasha replies. "And yes. We're held to a higher standard. By ourselves more than anyone else. We have expectations, and it's painful when they aren't met. Especially when we fall so far from meeting them." She considers, then asks "What did the law of that place say about his crime? Did they not want to prosecute him?"

Captain America eyes her, "They were in no place to make that decision. Dane slew the only leader the Kree have ever known and his sins weren't known to them. Honestly? I'm simply hoping they do not declare war on the Earth over the death of the leader. They would have torn him apart on the spot."

Black Widow mms slowly and quietly. She's silent for a bit, then asks "Do you think you'll ever be able to work with him again?"

With that they reach the edge of the park, and the city itself. He stops, his hand against a tree as he stares out at the city that spawned him, "I don't know." he admits willingly. "I hope so. He's a good man, but I'm not sure he's a trustworthy one anymore." he turns to eye Widow, "I'm not sure any one is. I'm a soldier Natasha, it's all I've known since I was seventeen years old. Trust, implicit and uncompromising, on the field of battle is more then necessary. And while I know I can trust all of you to watch out for one another in a fight, I'm not sure I can trust you once the battle is over." he looks back out to the city sadly, "If you need me you know how to reach me, but for now I don't think I'll be going back to the Mansion. You guys need to figure some things out without me and I need to find out if there's a place for a relic like me in a modern world.

Natasha comes to a stop with him, and also looks over the city. Her hands very naturally come to rest on her hips. "He is a good man, Steve." she echoes. "But I understand not knowing if that's enough." She considers, then nods though she obviously isn't pleased that he won't be back. "We're light on people at the moment. There's been a lot of them taking a little time off after what happened. I won't say we don't need you. And I'm not just saying that because I really hate paperwork." She flickers a glance to him, it obviously being said as a small attempt at humor. "We're diminished without you, Steve." she says then, serious again. "You're the heart of the Avengers. You will always be the heart of the Avengers. The one the rest of us can never measure up to, but still try every day."

Captain America almost smiles at her little joke, "I met Winston Churchill once and he said something to me that was meant to be a compliment. It was after the Blitz when I led some of the evacuation process out of the West End. We had just finished and Churchill pulls me to his bunker and offers me a drink, a medal, and this little bit of wisdom. 'Accomplishment reflects leadership.'. He said that because of the lives I saved that day, and it meant a lot to me. But it stuck in my head and it's stayed there ever since. Like most truths that statement is a double edged sword. If I accept that my leadership is a large part of our victories then I must accept that it is the root cause of our failures as well. Somewhere along the way, somehow, I failed you, I failed Dane. Until I see how and where and then how to fix it?" he shakes his head. "Take care Natasha and this conversation aside, don't hesitate to call if you need Captain America." he notedly didn't say Steve Rogers. Then he steps out into the city and heads for the bike he left parked here, waiting for him.

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