Right and Wrong

November 29, 2014: Kate comes to Steve with some concerns and a request.

The Triskelion

The Headquarters, Armory and Fortress of the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics division is, for the most part, an unassailable tower in the midst of the diplomatic sprawl that is Midtown East. The primary intelligence clearing houses and most of SHIELD's senior leadership are all housed here, along with a veritable army of agents and staff to keep the place running, the world spinning and the weirdness at bay.



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For someone who doesn't actually work for SHIELD - yet, at least - Kate certainly gets around the Triskelion. Whether it's a smile here, some sweet talk there, or a little extra name-dropping, she manages to get most places that aren't set top secret, and a few that she probably shouldn't. This time, though, she did her name-dropping at the front desk, banking on the fact that Steve Rogers is the kind of guy who remembers the names of people who go along on missions with him.

Steve's office is extremely scarce. He rarely uses it and for the most part it acts as a storage room for paperwork that he needs to fill out occasionally. But for one reason or another he's there today and when security buzzes him he recognizes the name and tells them to let her straight through. When Kate arrives, he's sitting behind a desk flipping through a tablet computer and sporting a furrowed brow.

"Aww, c'mon. Don't tell me they make Captain America do paperwork," Kate says as she comes in, a crooked smile in place. "That's majorly not a selling point." There's a pause as she comes a little closer, considering. "Does it count as paperwork if it's all electronic? Sorry," she shakes her head quickly. "Not my point. Um. Hi, Captain Rogers. Am I interrupting anything that's actually interesting, or do you maybe have a minute?"

"It's Sergeant Rogers, actually," Steve answers with a faint smile, looking up from the tablet. "The Captain part only goes as far as the uniform. It doesn't really belong to me personally. Sorry, that's a … TMI? Right?"

He pushes the tablet to one side, shaking his head: "I don't have to do it. They offered me someone else but the idea of letting some poor schnook fill out forms for me didn't sit right. I have to embrace every part of the job, even the parts that are mind numbing. I've got several minutes, though. How can I help you? Is everything okay?"

"I'll admit something to you first thing, so you know precisely where I'm coming from."

Steve folds his hands in front of him on the desk, making eye contact as he speaks. All honesty and integrity: "I'm … not certain that I'll be taking a place in the team. I like what SHIELD does and I trust the people in charge to a degree, but I can't get comfortable with the idea of a broader organization telling a team of folks trying to fight the good fight exactly where and when it ought to be fought."

He sighs, looking almost apologetic. The last thing he wants to do is poison her against the noble ideals the team was founded on: "But it needs good people who can stand up and plant their flag when bad decisions come down the wire. You are one of those good people. Clint is a heck of an archer and I see in you the same thing I see in him – the capacity to reach that summit one day soon. If you're worried that you're not good enough? Don't be. Instead, think to yourself: will I be strong enough when it matters?"

"Don't ever do something unless you're sure it's the right thing for you to do. That includes becoming an Avenger."

"It's not about doing the right thing for me," Kate shakes her head, some of the smart-ass veneer fading in favor of the steel beneath. "It's about doing the right thing. Period." She clasps her hands in her lap, one thumb rubbing at the other. "And that's the thing. I'm not…sold on the whole SHIELD angle. It sounds like an agenda. But at the same time? There's nowhere else for people like…Well. I guess like us isn't really the same thing. You and me, we have a choice. We can live normal lives if we want. Or," her smile flickers, "We can be awesome. But there are a lot of people out there who don't have a choice, and right now, they're in the wind. And to me, this whole league, or avengers, or whatever they want to call it, it looks like it could be a beacon to those people."

"It's wrong for me to tell you that you can't be that great person outside of this team," Steve answers, shaking his head. "The Avengers are new. When I got started, it was the Invaders. These teams come and go. If you believe in what this team stands for, then I think you owe it to yourself and to everyone else to become a part of it. If you're worried that it might get twisted into something wrong, then you put yourself between those wrong-doers and the team and you refuse to move."

"I understand completely what you're saying. That you want to do what is right, not just what is right for you. But in the end the only thing I can tell you is to trust your gut. Mine tells me that the team isn't for me. Your's tells you that it is. That doesn't mean one of us is right and one of us is wrong. It means that you belong there. And listening to the way you talk? I think they could use you to make sure they never lose sight of why they exist."

"Someone's got to," Kate smiles crookedly, reaching up to rub a hand at the back of her neck. "But whether you're there or not, I still worry a little bit that I might not be able to keep up. I want to do it. I want to make a difference. But I am so not a sidekick, and no way do I want the rest of the team having to pull my ass out of the fire. Clint's going to want to up the training, of course. And that's cool. But would you- I mean, if you're not, you know, busy saving the world. Would you mind going a few rounds?"

"I'd consider it a privilege," Steve answers with a warm smile, tilting his head to one side. "What were you looking to learn, exactly? Or were you thinking just a little bit of everything? Either way, I'd be honored to teach you anything you might want to know."

"I know jiu jitsu," Kate grins. "Really well. Same with fencing, same with archery, of course. I'm also pretty good at boxing, but it doesn't measure up to other things. I'm okay with a gun, but they're not really my thing. But the biggest thing I don't know is…Well, procedure stuff, honestly. I've been working on my own, or with Clint. But Clint and I are practically the same person, so it's not really like a team. I don't want to end up getting people hurt because I was going it on my own, you know?"

"I know what you mean," Steve gives another nod of his head. "I think I know just what to do, too. How about you clear out some time on your calendar and I'll do the same? I'll give you my cell … " He takes a business card that was handed to him and left to languish on the desk and scrawls his number onto it. "You tell me when you've got a day free and we'll get practicing."

Kate grins, leaning forward to take the card and trading it out for one of her own - though this one is a simple one. It just says HAWKEYE, and a number. "Awesome. Thank you," she adds, looking back up as she tucks the card away. "Don't tell Clint, okay? I kind of want to surprise him. And maybe sort of prove I can do it."

"My lips are sealed," Steve promises with a faint smile. "I look forward to working with you, Kate." He'll keep it a secret, of course, from everyone except Sara. He doesn't want to think what might happen if she thought he was stepping out with someone else.

"Thanks," Kate says as she stands, looking rather pleased with herself. "I'll call you." She starts to leave, then pauses at the door, grin flashing. "If you don't stick around, though, no promises I won't take over," she adds, winking before she disappears into the hall.

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