A Humility-Flavored Dorito with Legs

Summary:
July 17, 2014: After one of Sam's support group sessions, he meets a couple of really veteran veterans.

Harlem Veteran Affairs office


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:


Proof that Zinda Blake does not spend ALL of her free time drinking, punching things, or otherwise doing impulsive, brassy and regrettable things. Right now, she's entirely sober, dressed in jeans, a tank top, and aviator sunglasses, and keeping quietly to herself at the back of a veteren's support group meeting that an old friend of hers mentioned during a phone call, one that's currently winding down in that awkward way that support groups always do. Mumbled goodbyes and tossed out coffee cups and napkins worn to shreds being tossed out with them. Smokers hurrying out to light up because grumblegrumble damn laws about government buildings, grumble grumble…

Okay, she can see why this sort of thing might be a good idea. She's maybe not… going to volunteer any of her own stories any time soon. Probably because most of hers would be seen as delusional, but…. She slides the glasses up off her face, and starts looking for the familiar one. "Well. You talked me into coming, at least." Maybe he can talk her into drinking less, too! (One step at a time, Steve)

Steve Rogers is just finishing a conversation with a Vietnam War veteran as Zinda walks up off to his side. He turns and smiles widely at her, "Wasn't sure you'd show up, Zinda." He seems pleased that she did. "You eat anything yet?" he asks.

Sam Wilson offers a few quiet goodbyes and supportive shoulder clasps to group members as they filter out of the room, then starts packing away the circle of chairs. It's a diverse group, although it skews heavily toward young Iraq-Afghanistan vets many with noticeable war wounds. Once he has finished packing everything up, he smiles and approaches the two blond veterans at the back of the room, although he keeps a respectful distance in case they're standoffish. "Hey there," he tells Zinda. "You're a new face."

"Yeah, well, you know, you tell me there's a room full'a soldiers somewhere, chances are I'm showin' up with bells an' Chanel no 5 on," Zinda replies with a bit of a forced laugh. She learned to make those jokes at her own expense a long time ago, if only because she knew they were already being made, and it got to be a habit.

When Sam approaches, the smile becomes a little warmer, more genuine. "Yeah, heard the coffee was great," she says, and holds out her hand. "Zinda. Old friend of Steve's here." She says with a nod to the Captain. "Pilot." She smiles a little more, being able to say that. People don't look at her funny /now/ when she says that. Okay, she actually kind of grins, there. Some things about the future aren't getting old.

Steve chuckles at Zinda's joke and turns to give Sam a nod. "Hi there," he says as he walks up. He pushes his hands in his pockets and turns to the side a bit to let the third in. "It was a good meeting tonight," he says offhandedly.

Sam takes the offered hand in a firm grip. "Yeah, um, thanks… I don't, ah. Hm." Sam's usual ease with people seems to fail him as he glances between the two. Finally he just points to each in turn, like Tarzan at a dinner party. "Zinda. Steve." He turns his head to the side and gives them both a sidelong look. "Y'all wouldn't happen to be, like, really *veteran* veterans, would you? It's just…" He trails off, and resorts to pointing again. "Steve. Zinda."

Zinda blushes a deep scarlet, and looks at Steve, really apologetically. "Oh god, I'm sorry, I should'a used a fake name," she says, groaning. "You're Air Force, ain't'cha? I forget how often you boys actually know who I am… most folks kinda… well… I tend to fly under the radar… usually," she admits. "Unless I throw on the uniform and visit the old fellas who actually remember me." Which she does do, quite a lot. She kind of shrinks into herself and looks at her shoes. She looks to Sam. "Think you can keep it… um…" she searches for the right phrase. "Hush-hush for now? Loose lips an' all that?"

"I don't really keep it a secret," Steve says with a shrug. "Yeah, we're pretty veteran. For me…Germany." He's surprised the press hasn't bothered him about it, but he hasn't really worried about keeping a secret identity. Most heroes do that to keep their loved ones safe. Almost all of his loved ones are dead. "You're Sam, right?"

"Yeah, Sam Wilson. And absolutely, right, what we talk about in this room stays in this room," Sam agrees, crossing his arms and nodding quickly. "Still — this is…" He trails off and then breaks into a broad, infectious grin. "I can't believe both of you are here! Je-sus!" He ducks his head sharply, triumphantly, and turns away for a moment to revel in the bizarre turn his life has just taken. When he turns back, his personable attitude has returned. "Yeah, I'm Air Force. You should hear the way the flyboys still talk about you — and, uh, I can't imagine you've forgotten how *everybody* talks about you, Cap. Er… Steve."

Zinda really can't keep her identity a secret. She was considered dead for so long (there was even a funeral, even if there wasn't a body), and she was in history books, and her return to the present and the living was public knowledge (and a bit of a publicity thing for Blackhawk, Inc). She nods as well. "European front, little bit of time on the Pacific front. Bit of time after the war in South America, hunting war criminals through the early '50s. There was a bit of a… rough time for me during those years. And then the… time… travel… thing." She winces a little. "Figure just… listening for now might be best for me, here. When I can make it."

Steve winces but smiles and shakes his head, "The thing is, Sam, most of those stories are either made up completely or twisted so much they're barely close to the truth anymore. Now Zinda here," he says with a chuckle. "She was really somethin."

"God. You're like a humility-flavored dorito with legs, you know that, right?" Sam says, shaking his head and grinning at Steve. "That part seems to live up to the reputation, at least." He brushes one hand back over his head and blinks heavily, refocusing on his role here. "Wow. Okay. Absolutely, Zinda — you're under no pressure to say anything, ever. A lot of people just want to listen for a while. Know that they aren't the only ones dealing with what they're dealing with. Even if what they're dealing with is time travel." He raises his eyebrows and again waggles a finger back and forth between the two. "Case in point."

Zinda actually giggles. "He's always been like that," she shares. She actually has tried Doritos. She wasn't impressed, but she tried them! "Well, my big… trauma thing was brainwashing and kinda being the right hand woman to a Nazi pirate war criminal for about three or four months during the early fifties," she admits. "It sounds… ridiculous, but," she wrinkles her nose a little. "Most of it I don't remember, actually. Which I'm thankful for. By the sounds of it, other-me was head-over-heals for the arschlock," she mutters, and crosses her arms over her chest. "You were kinda lucky to miss that," she tells Steve. "It was a mess. You remember the Shark guy? It was the shark guy." Another face.

A confused look crosses Steve's face as he look in between Sam and Zinda. "A dorito?" He's lost, clearly. "The shark guy, huh?" Steve says, getting a kick out of Zinda's demeanor. Hasn't changed.

"Shark guy? Okay, you got me beat there," Sam admits with a warm laugh. "I thought I had done some weird stuff in experimental avionics, but no shark guys." Steve gets a long stare. "Doritos? No? Come on, man, you've been in the future how long, now? Hang on." He pats his back pocket, wearing an expression of determination. "There's a vending machine by the bathroom. I'll be right back."

The words "experimental aviation" make Zinda just perk right up, but before she has a chance to answer, he's running out to the vending machine. "Did he just say what I think he said?" she asks Steve, looking… waaaaay too excited, watching him leave. She has That Look. That Let Me See The Fancy New Planes look. "Do you think there's any chance he could…" Oh, dear.

Steve chuckles as Sam completely speaks Zinda's language on at least one thing. When he makes his exit, Steve seems even more confused. "A vending machine?" Then back to Zinda, "Think there's any chance that he could what?"

Sam returns at a jog, grinning and holding out a gaudy red foil bag to Steve. "Here you go. Don't hate me forever — I'm just catching you up. It can't all be iPads and supersonic flight." He can't help but notice how excited Zinda looks on his return, and raises his eyebrows. "Did I miss something?"

"I've had Doritos," she says, "tell me more about this experiemental aviation," she says, with the kind of excited grin that just says "you said 'experimental aviation' in front of a fighter pilot and didn't elaborate and now she's hooking her arm with yours and batting her eyelashes." "I mean… if you can. Tell me… anything, that is… Maybe just a tiny… smidge? Blackhawk's got a bit of an R&D department, but nothin' like Stark or Wayne's got goin' on… I don't really get to see much of the really neat stuff…" You know, unless her Skipper "procures" certain upgrades for the Aerie One, but… that's not really for public discussion.

As Zinda goes off about the aviation, Steve takes the bag with a bit of a chuckle and understanding now of what Sam was getting at. He shrugs his shoulders, opens the bag and tries one. "They're not bad," he confesses. "A bit messy."

"Yeah, they are. That powdery stuff?" Sam smirks and rubs his fingers together, pantomiming the instinctive interaction with dorito flavoring. "You're the chip, and that powdery stuff is humility. Shake your hand, and three hours from now I'll still be dusting off the humility."

He turns to Zinda and bites his lower lip. "Aw, man, I probably shouldn't…" Sam answers, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand and wearing a grin that screams 'I am definitely going to.' "It was pretty out there stuff. I was involved specifically because I was not just a certified pilot but a para-rescue specialist," he hints.

"That is pretty fantastic, and you're now my new best friend," Zinda says, putting an arm around Sam's shoulder momentarily. "I used to drop Steve outta planes all the time. Half the time without a chute, 'cause he's crazy like that," she says with a grin.

"We'll have to go flyin' sometime. Now that I've got my license back and everything. You know how complicated it is to get a pilot's license when your birthdate is 1920? God, that was a headache. Nevermind getting a beer. I have a set of fake IDs I use in bars now, just to stop being accused of usin' fakes," she admits, then she looks to Steve. "You ever get to use your AARP discount? I /never/ get to use my AARP discount. Just once, I want that damn discount.

Steve makes a face as he looks at the bag and then at his fingers. He shrugs his shoulders and then catches up with the conversation when Zinda regards him, "No, I sort of never use that kind of stuff. Doesn't seem right to me."

"Humility. What'd I tell you?" Sam laughs, returning the side-by-side hug as it's given. "Hey, I'll fly with you any time. And jump out, too. I won't be able to keep up without the wing suit, though." His eyebrows rise conspiratorially. "Although neither of you heard that from me."

"I can't tell which one of us he was trying to impress with that," Zinda says, "but it worked on me," she admits, and shrugs a little. She hands him her card. "Gimme a call sometime, Sam. To fly, or not. Maybe grab dinner? Maybe a little dancing?" She grins again. Because this is /another/ thing she loves about the future. She can totally do /this/ and not be called any nasty names. She even tosses Steve a big ole grin. "You were right, it was worth checkin' this out." Beam.

Steve nods knowingly towards Sam, "She's an excellent dancer." He tries to think for a moment before asking, "What was the name of that dance you tried to teach me when we went out last time?"

Sam pockets the card and gives both of them a broad, anticipatory grin. "Twerking. Please tell me you tried to teach Captain America to twerk." He shuts his eyes, tilting his head back and continuing in a blissed-out voice, "You know what? Never mind. You don't even need to tell me. I've already got a mental image of his face when someone explains it to him. This is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me."

Returning to Earth and some semblance of seriousness, he answers, "Oh, I believe that she's excellent. I'll be making that call."

"The foxtrot. You weren't that bad, actally, you mostly got it by the end," she tells him, encouragingly. "Another night of lessons and you would'a had it," she even adds. "'Fraid I haven't had too much experience with modern dance styles yet. Pretty sure I could pick it up without too much trouble. You'll have to introduce me, if you let me take you to the swing nights I usually go to."

"Twerking sounds painful," Steve says. "That's right. The Foxtrot. Afraid I wasn't ever quite the greatest dancer." There's a mental image that flickers in him, a flashback that the conversation brings back that he thinks about for a moment in an exhale.

"Swing, huh? I can probably swing," Sam answers. He's got the look of somebody who assumes every challenge is one he'll eventually conquer. "And I'll be happy to show you what the kids get up to today — although truth be told, I'm more at home a few decades back, myself."

Steve's momentary flashback isn't a blatant thing, but the whole basis of Sam's volunteer work is his attentiveness to that sort of detail. He doesn't miss it, and a sympathetic look crosses his face. "And hey, you're welcome to come out, too, Steve. Hell, we should make it a regular thing." He glances over at a clock on the wall. "That said, we should probably head out — they'll be needing this room soon."

"It's a date, then," says Zinda, moving towards the exit, tossing out her own empty coffee cup and twisted-up napkin. "The dancin', and comin' back here, both of 'em. And you can get me on a dance floor of your choice, too. I'm sure I can do that without embarassin' myself too much," she says, heading out the door. "Just give me a ring when you've got the time, and I'll be back here when I've got the time on my calendar," she agrees. "And for the flyin'… we'll figure somethin' out."

"Yeah, I'd like that," Steve says with a nod. "I have someone I'd like to bring." Steve reaches out to offer his hand that he hopes is dorito free at this point. "Great meeting you Sam."

"You too, Steve," Sam answers with a grin, returning the handshake, powder or not. "And that sounds great — the more the merrier."


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