Buzzed and Busted

Summary:
July 31, 2014: Falcon finally comes in for a landing after his first day of overeager flying, drawing attention both positive and negative.

New York: Financial District

A neighborhood on the southeastern side of Manhattan which comprises the offices and headquarters of many of the city's major financial institutions, including the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music:


Sam Wilson has had a long, full day of flying. Acrobatics over Harlem, soaring over Central Park, speed trials over the Upper East Side. Now, as the sun goes down, he's buzzing the skyscrapers in the Financial District, giving the movers and shakers (or, more likely, their hardworking underlings who have stayed past the end of the work day) a bit of a show. The Exo-7 wing suit is designed to be vewwy vewwy quiet on radar, but he hasn't bothered with subtlety and he has been flying for hours. It's really only a matter of time until his airborne antics attract attention.

-

Pepper Potts has noticed the antics of an unusual flyer today, how could she miss it? After all, he buzzed the Tower at least twice. Now, as she's on her way home (sometimes she chooses to walk at least partway there just to stretch her legs and clear her head), she sees a shadow flit across a building in front of her and startles, stopping in the middle of the busy sidewalk and looking up to see what caused it.

-

Steve Rogers is heading home to Brooklyn from a day at the Triskelion. The more time he spends at that place, the more he wishes he were back in the ice. Secrets upon secrets. Out in front of his bike he can see the shadow of something flying, not the most shocking thing to see in New York these days, but he looks up into the sun, luckily with his aviator shades, as he tries to pick out who or what is up there.

-

Sara heard reports of someone flying around. Having recently had some flying issues herself, she decided she might as well go out and see just what was going on with it. She has a few contacts most other people don't, so it doesn't take long before she's found a good, clear spot to see the antics. "Not too bad," she muses, watching closely. Much more intently than most sight-seers, at least.

-

Honestly, Falcon couldn't help himself, Pepper: Stark Tower is a really cool-looking edifice and a New York landmark. Every time he zipped past the executive lounge, he was imagining the dramatic figure he would cut for any chance snapshots, blurred with speed against the building's distinctive form.

He's a sucker for that sort of thing, which explains what he's doing now: zooming low over a broad avenue, wings spread to their full span. He casts the biggest possible shadow and creates quite a dramatic silhouette against the orange sky. He hopes he does see some snapshots, really: he could adapt it into a logo. Or a signal! The Falcon signal. Man, that would be cool.

Still, he has been flapping and soaring for an absurdly long time, and his arms are killing him. With the sun going down, maybe it's a good time to take a break. He banks and flaps upward to a 10th-floor sky deck on a building just above Steve and Pepper, landing in an improbable perch on the railing in pretty clear view of anyone at street level. It's only then that he notices Sara, not 30 feet away on the very same deck.

"Uh…hi," he greets her, his voice a lot less heroic-sounding than he might have hoped.

-

Pepper Potts catches sight of the man flying about with a winged set-up of some sort, her eyebrows going up even as some other pedestrian brushes past her too closely and jostles her. This is why she holds her bag so close to her side. She's already had it knocked out of her grasp once lately — just ask Jericho. When the flyer lands on a railing overhead she steps out of the main flow of foot traffic and closer to the street proper to try and get a better look. Mostly because if this is
something that came out of Stark R&D, she'll need to be aware of it.

-

"Is that Sam?" the Captain asks himself as he pulls over to the side of the road and sets out the kick stand. The glasses come off and are hung at the center of his white shirt, pulling it down just a hair. He pulls his jeaned legs over the side and crosses the street, figuring that the access up there was probably open. A bit worried as he reaches the doorman, but the man recognizes Steve and is a fan.

In a few minutes he's coming through the door, out onto the pad. "Sam?" And then there's Sara. That's awkward. Steve's face says so.

-

Sara smirks at the greeting, lifting her hand to wave as though it's entirely normal. Given her usual day, it's probably closer to normal than most. "Hi yourself," she nods politely, crossing her arms loosely over her chest. "License and registration?" She's probably kidding, right? As Steve comes up, she flashes a grin, head tilting curiously. "Should've guessed you'd know the guy who was flying up and down Manhattan."

-

"Steve?" Sam blurts out incredulously. He retracts his wings fully and hops down from where he was balancing on the railing, suddenly feeling ridiculous about the action pose he was so pleased with a moment before. A second later, he has tugged his goggles down to dangle around his neck. There's a noticeable film of grime on the skin they weren't covering, creating lighter circles around his eyes. "Um. You two know each other?" That gives him enough confidence to take the classic police line as a joke. He waves an arm in a circular motion at Sara. "You don't need to see my license and registration. These aren't the droids you're looking for."

-

Pepper Potts watches the man park his motorcycle and enter the building, then looks up again and can't really see much more once the flyer hops down from the railing. She stands where she is for a moment or five longer, trying to remember if she'd seen anything similar in the R&D budget proposals. Because SOMETHING about it is catching her memory but she's not sure yet exactly what.

-

"Didn't know you would know the guy flying up and down Manhattan," Steve says absently before his eyes go over towards Sam. "Yeah, Sam, I think you could say we know each other. What's with the getup?" He motions towards the wingsuit that looks as though it came out of a science fiction movie.

-

"Damn, and here I was thinking maybe I'd found someone who knew a thing or two about flying without a plane," Sara snaps at Sam's line, smile deepening at Steve's answer. "Guess I'll have to curtail some of my crazier antics. Sam, is it?" she asks, looking between the pair. "Work buddies, or did you guys happen to meet somewhere else?"

-

For a second, Sam glances over his shoulder at one of the wing suit's engine intakes as though he's never seen it before. But then his easy humor reasserts itself and he gives Steve a lopsided grin. "What, this old thing?" he replies. "Little experimental military project I helped test for the Air Force. Picked up the surplus model at a yard sale." He steps toward the pair and extends his right hand toward Sara. "Sam Wilson. We met at the VA." He's so accustomed to not specifying the nature of his interactions with the people in his support group that it doesn't even register as an omission anymore. "And if you're still looking for an expert on flying without a plane, you must be blind, because I'm right here."

-

Pepper Potts looks up at the balcony again, remembering now what seemed familiar. Jimenez had used a computer generated simulation to present a new flight system software package that ultimately ended up going on the back burner because it was considered too difficulct to master by the testing panel. Which means that man was flying about with stolen intellectual property.

Looking both ways before also crossing the street, Pepper heads toward the building that has become an impromptu meeting place and … gets stopped by the doorman. Even if he did recognize her, she doesn't have any real reason to enter the building.

-

Steve talks to Sara, but his eyes say on Sam. "You remember those meetings I was trying to get you to go to?" Finally his eyes come over to her, "He's the guy who runs them. Looks like he does a bit of flying in his spare time, too." His eyebrows come together in confusion, though he grins at Sara, "What in the world are you doing up here?"

-

"Sara Pezzini," Sara introduces herself, stepping forward to take Sam's hand in a firm grip. "NYPD. And a friend of Steve's," she adds with a flash of a smile over her shoulder at the captain. "If you're serious about being an expert with those things, I might have to talk to you some time. Been working on picking up a few new tricks lately, and there are some things people just don't advertise lessons for in the yellow pages."

-

"NYPD, huh?" Sam replies, a bit of instinctive caution surfacing in his tone of voice. But if she's a friend of Steve's, and close enough that he is open with her about the meetings, he should probably trust that she's a decent sort. He returns her handshake, wearing a smile of his own. "Lessons, huh? I would have advertised if I knew there were any students around."

Steve's confusion about their location causes Sam to have an idea. "We don't have to stick around," he suggests eagerly. "The folding wings let me do this number…"

He reaches behind him, to the small of his back, and unzips a pouch on the harness tucked behind the main housing of the Exo-7. The contents, unrolled, are a tidy little facsimile of a nondescript backpack that can be pulled over the entire thing. Okay, yes, he's showing off a little: his wingy jetty flying gizmo has a built-in civilian disguise, too. He grins at Steve and Sara, one after the other. "Cool, right?"

Of course, this does nothing about his sooty face, or his goggles and gauntlets, or the fact that his unimpressive little Jansport is attached to him with an eight-point flight harness. But let him have this one!

-

Pepper Potts starts to try and politely argue her way past the doorman. Sadly, this man is alert and smart. He knows she's not here to follow the owner of the motorcycle inside, and he's diligent enough to have not left his post to watch the man flying about a bit ago. And, since he IS doing his job, she relents quickly enough and turns to leave. And sees the motorcycle parked across the way. Hmmm…

-

"That it is," Steve says with a nod. But something doesn't add up to him. "What do you use it for?" he wonders, not knowing that Sam is anything other than the kind man with the good sense of humor that helps run the meetings. "Flying lessons," Steve asks Sara.

-

"I could keep jumping out and hoping it works?" Sara counters Steve with a far too innocent smile, head tilting as she watches Sam do his disguise number. At his question to Sam, she quirks a brow, amused. "You've been here long enough to know what traffic's like, Steve," she teases. "Clearly the man just doesn't trust the subway to run on time."

-

Sam laughs loudly at Sara's theory. "I like that! You mind if I use it?" For his own response to Steve's query, Sam offers an apologetic shrug and the following: "I don't do much of anything with it, yet. Just got it last night, and I spent most of today enjoying getting to fly again. I wasn't kidding earlier, though — okay, I was kidding about the yard sale — but the testing part was true. After I did pararescue in Iraq, I tested experimental recon equipment. This wing suit was the big one; I was the best pilot they could find for it." He leads the group into an elevator and punches in the ground floor. "I thought by now I was the only pilot still using it." He shoots Sara a curious look. "Then again, maybe I was wrong. They issuing wings to the NYPD now?"

-

Pepper Potts crosses the street again and stops next to the motorcycle before looking up to see if anyone is still visible on the balcony. She can't tell from here. Frowning slightly to herself she pulls her phone out of her bag and dials a quick number. "JARVIS, I need you to pull any and all files you have on experimental flight control systems, and the logs of when they were last accessed."

-

"Fair enough, Pezzini. Fair enough."

Steve is about to add something when his cell phone begins ringing abruptly. He takes it out and winces at it. Dammit, he's got to head back into SHIELD. "Work," he mutters to Sara. "Gotta go back. You available for dinner?" he asks before leaning in to give her a kiss on the cheek should she accept it. "It was good to see you, Sam."

-

"Not exactly," Sara chuckles to Sam's question, shaking her head. "But, you know. You could call it a backup piece. Sure, give me a call when you get out," she nods to Steve, tipping her cheek up to the kiss. "No stranger to 2am dinners here." There's a rueful smile as she sees the bike, admiring. "Nice ride. Didn't figure you for the bike type."

-

Blissfully oblivious to the heat Pepper is bringing to bear on him, Sam steps out into the lobby. "You too, Steve," he calls after his departing friend, eyebrows rising as the nature of the man's relationship with Sara becomes so obvious that he can't miss it.

"So you're the mystery guest on that double date he's been threatening," he says, turning to the police officer with a friendly smile. "Hell of a backup plan — but I guess I shouldn't be surprised that he gets involved with some pretty exceptional women. Yeah, I'd be happy to give you a tutorial."

He glances after Cap, then back at Sara. "He's not gonna get annoyed if I give you my number for that, will he?" The question is half-teasing, judging by his grin, but he does seem to sincerely want to avoid offending the man.

-

Pepper Potts is waiting for the motorcycle's owner to return when JARVIS tells her the results of his search. She mutters something probably best not repeated and turns to walk back toward Stark Tower at all speed.

-

"No idea," Sara laughs, shaking her head. "Doesn't strike me as the type, though." She arches a brow at the talk of double dates, looking after the roar of the bike. "Double dates, huh?" she echoes, thoughtful. "Huh. Well, I hope I'm the one he was talking about, at least," she adds with a small smile.

-

Cupping his chin with one hand, Sam laughs too hard to speak for a second. "Man, I hope so, too!" he finally replies. "That would be all kinds of awkward otherwise. I'll know soon enough — he probably overheard with his super soldier ears, and if I got him in trouble he's coming back as we speak to beat the crap out of me."

He shakes his head and fishes in his pocket for a cell phone. (More Stark tech, as it happens.) "Anyway, here's my number — any time you're kitted out in your gear and want to take a crack at flying, give me a call. I live up in Harlem, so I'm pretty central, as the Falcon flies."

He pauses for a second. "That's what I think I might call myself: 'the Falcon.' You don't think it sounds dumb, do you?"

-

"I'm pretty sure he doesn't go for the enforcement beat-downs," Sara shakes her head, smile crooked. "Besides, it's not like we're married." She pulls out her own phone, punching in the number before looking back up. "I'll call you, definitely. Seems like a pretty specialized area. I figure that means you can decide what you want to call yourself." Her smile quirks, amused. "I don't much go in for names and the like. Isn't the military tradition to let someone else give you your nickname, though?"

-

"Well, while we're imagining Captain America the two-timer, I figured we might as well imagine Captain America the friend-puncher. Maybe next we can try to picture him kicking a puppy, or stealing an old lady's purse." Sam looks upwards and squints, holding the pose for effect, then slowly drawls, "Naaaaaaaaaaah. Can't do it."

He points at Sara with a teasing smile and continues, "That was a pretty neat way of not answering the question. Don't think I didn't notice." He flashes a grin before going on, "Air Force call signs are given to you, yeah. But they're a matter of record, so they're not very secret, and between you and me, a lot of them are really dumb. 'Hollywood' or 'Goose' or 'Cheeseburger' — not exactly intimidating."

-

"The Cheeseburger," Sara says dramatically. "Well, you've got a point. The Falcon beats the Cheeseburger for sure." She turns a sidelong glance on Sam, smile curving. "That's what they called you, isn't it? Cheeseburger. It's okay, Sam. This is a safe space." Yes, that's the sound of someone who's been forced to sit through therapy and refused to actually participate in any of it. "What're you planning on doing? Snatching purse-snatchers? Providing the best, up-to-date traffic reports?"

-

"No way!" Sam answers with a laugh. "First of all, I was pararescue, not a fighter pilot, so we didn't really use individual call signs. Second, our generic call sign is 'pee jay.' Like pajamas. I swear to God it's pretty impressive in the right circles, but … yeah, not so much to the general public. Third, if I were called Cheeseburger, you can bet your ass I wouldn't be ashamed of it. Those guys wear their call signs with some serious pride."

At the question of his plans for his hoped-for superheroic career, Sam has to reflect for a second. "I…hadn't actually thought about it a lot. There's just…I've seen people getting shot and car chases in the street and…it's just a mess. Sometimes it's almost like a battlefield." His attitude has become a bit more somber. "I figure, back on the real battlefield I was dropping out of the sky and setting things right. Why not in my hometown?"

-

"I should give you my partner's number," Sara snorts at that. "He's ex-military. He could probably tell you a thing or two about why not in your hometown. Although, to be fair, he left Gotham to come here, and the way I hear it, Gotham might as well be a war zone, so." She shrugs, starting to scroll through her phone when it rings. She holds up a finger, apologetic, then sighs at the conversation. "Yeah, I know the drill. Nope, not making any promises," she tells whoever's on the other line. "You could save everyone some time and tell them to just read the transcripts, but I don't see that happening. Yeah, I'll be there." Hanging up, she grimaces toward Sam. "Psych eval before I can get back to work. Also speaking of my partner. I need to go get that set up. I'll call you about the wings thing though, yeah?"

-

"Obviously, I would modify the tactics a little bit for the home field," Sam answers dryly. "Might even meet your partner's approval. But yeah, drop me a line. Nice to finally meet you, Sara." He waves, smiling. "Enjoy your eval."


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