A Time for Heroes – Chapter 19 – Deployment

589949The next day was torture. Steve spent endless hours with his team, going over intel and strategies, supervising the loading of the jet, and just dealing with the minutiae required for a mission like this. All he really wanted to do was to find Ginny, take her to a quiet spot and make love to her. Was it a mistake to have waited? Was he waiting too long again?

His cock had certainly thought so the night before. He had had to masturbate before he could concentrate on anything.

Well, if he had waited too long, it was too late to fix that now. At least he was consistent, he thought, wryly. He shook his head to clear his thoughts and turned to look at another report on the drop zone.

Ginny’s day was not going much better. It felt like Jas was creating make-work projects for her just to keep her busy. But she wasn’t the only one on edge. Everyone was jumpy, and just before lunch, a tray of instruments got dropped and Jas called the team together.

“There’s way too much nervous energy in this room. Mistakes are going to be made.” she said. “We can’t afford that…but we can afford an hour in the arena. Come on. One-on-one tag teams. Let’s go.”

For the next hour, the twelve of them fought, no one allowed to get too tired before they were tagged out by someone else. As they waited, Peter and Glory asked Ginny to show them some of the moves she had used the day before.

At the end of the hour, everyone was relaxed and in much better spirits, even Ginny. She spent the rest of the day with her physio patients in the gym.

Jas came and got her for dinner. She hadn’t heard a thing from Steve all day, so while she was in the canteen, she sent him a quick text.

Having fun being commander-y?

He took a few minutes to respond.

Not really

She sent him a heart:

And she got a smiley face in return:

🙂

“No dinner with your gorgeous man tonight?” Glory asked.

“No. He’s busy being commander-y.” Ginny answered, which made Glory giggle.

After dinner, Ginny went back to her quarters and called Sylvie. Time she told her about Steve.

“Steve Rogers.” Sylvie said. “Why does that ring a bell?”

“Try Captain Steve Rogers.” Ginny prompted.

“Get out of town!” Sylvie yelled. “Suzette Canuck is going out with Captain America?!”

“I believe that Suzette Canuck is you.” Ginny said, derisively. “What are you, 12th generation? Aren’t you related to Champlain?”

Sylvie laughed. “That’s what my folks tell me.” she said. “So, if you have this handsome new boyfriend, why do you sound so down?”

“Handsome new boyfriend is going Avenging tomorrow and I’m really worried for him.” Ginny said.

“Aw,” Sylvie said, sagely, “and feeling a little lonely and sorry for yourself?”

“That, too.” Ginny admitted. “So distract me with wedding talk.”

The evening slipped pleasantly away as Sylvie filled Ginny in on all of the gossip and arrangements for her wedding.

It was after 10 pm when Ginny finally hung up and went to get ready for bed.

When she got out of the bathroom, there was a message from Steve.

Still closeted with the team. I’ll find you in the morning.

Sleep well, love.

Ginny looked at the message for a long time before responding. Gotta lighten it up, she thought, he’s got enough on his mind without worrying about me.

All those boys in a closet together, people are going to start talking! 🙂

Good thing you’ve got Nat to balance things out.

If you get some sleep tonight, I’ll be waiting for you in your dreams.

I’ll be in the gym…save you looking.

Love you! ❤

His response was pretty quick:

Haha! Dreams are a long way off, but I’ll see you there and in the gym in the morning.

Love you, too!

Ginny smiled sadly and crawled into bed. B.J. Birdie would be tear-stained by morning.

 

Ginny was getting a little tired of giving herself whiplash every time someone came in the door the next morning! She had just finished with her physio appointment and Glory was coming in in half an hour for a massage, so Ginny had time on her hands, which she didn’t like right now. Where was Steve?

So she sat down and tried to do some work. The Stark Foundation had been in touch and they wanted some clarification before presenting her with final numbers. But even though she was deep in thought when the door opened, her head still snapped up.

Steve was suited up and ready to go. He didn’t have his shield or helmet, but everything else was in place.

She got up and walked towards him, smiling at how good he looked in that uniform.

When they met in the middle of the room, Steve didn’t say anything; he just kissed her with all of the love and desire he’d been holding onto for the last 2 days. It’s like seeing her had set him on fire!

He pulled back a little looking intently into her eyes.

“Rude things. When I get back.” His voice was husky.

She smiled up at him, coquettishly. “I’ll wear something skimpy.” she said.

He chuckled deep in his throat and said, “Whatever you wear, you probably won’t be wearing it for long.”

Ginny pulled him close for another long, lingering kiss. His lips were soft and cool and he tasted faintly of coffee. Things she’d hold onto while he was away.

He wrapped his arms around her and just held her for what felt like hours as much as it felt like seconds. He didn’t want to let go.

He whispered into the top of her head. “I have to go.”

Ginny pulled back enough to look at her face. Steve reached up and wiped a tear away from her cheek with his thumb.

Anything that was left to say they could read in each other’s eyes.

“I love you so much.” Steve said, finally.

Ginny smiled and quietly said, “I love you, too, babe. Go and kick some butt, Rogers. I’ll be here when you get back.” Then she kissed him quickly and let him go.

He stood for a minute more holding her hand. Then he brought it to his lips and kissed her knuckles softly before turning to go.

At the door, he stopped but didn’t turn around. Ginny just barely heard him say, “Be safe.”

“You, too.” she whispered back, and he pushed the door open and walked through.

 

Glory found Ginny in that same spot staring at the door when she came in 10 minutes later.

“He’s gone?”she asked.

“Yes.” was all Ginny could say. Glory came over and wrapped her arms around Ginny from behind.

“He’ll be back before you know it.” Glory said.

Ginny dashed the back of her hand across her face to stop the tears dripping down.

“I know…and he’s got a great team and he’s a super soldier, and they’ve got lots of good intel on what they’re walking into.” She rhymed off all of the reasons she shouldn’t have been worried. “But my gut doesn’t listen to reason.”

“Come on.” Glory said. “Give me the massage and tell me all about this man of yours. Was it love at first sight?”

The next hour passed very pleasantly. Ginny hadn’t talked very much about their relationship to anyone, especially not the minutiae, and that’s what Glory was loving: the long eyelashes, the first time she saw him with his shirt off, the way he half shrugs when he’s not sure of himself. It was wonderful to talk about him so openly.

“I sure hope I’m not going to end up reading all of this in the tabloids next week.” Ginny said, as she finished Glory’s massage.

“Nah…but don’t piss me off ‘cause this is juicy blackmail material.” Glory said, with a smile that put a lie to her words. “Now you.”

“What?” Ginny said.

“Come on. I give a mean rub down and you could use some pampering right now.”

So Ginny sat down in the massage chair. It had been years since she’d gotten a massage. She depended on yoga to keep her muscles loose.

Now it was her turn to grill Glory. She seemed to have a very active sex life and a handsome guy back home waiting for her.

They talked and laughed easily together. Glory was flabbergasted when she found out that Ginny and Steve hadn’t slept together yet.

“What the hell are you waiting for?” Glory asked. “You can’t tell me you’re waiting for a ring!”

“You’ve got to understand, we shouldn’t have even fallen in love; patient-caregiver, right? And then the mission came up and the issue was commander-subordinate. Plus, he’s from the 40s, so he’s working from a different moral code.”

“So, in other words, if it was up to you…” Glory let he sentence trail off.

“I’d have peeled him out of that uniform long since.” Ginny smiled at the thought, then sighed.

“Once this mission is over, though, he’s all mine.” Ginny said with a wink at Glory.

Ginny didn’t have another patient until later in the afternoon, so she decided to go to the bridge and see if they were away safely and maybe take a look at Steve’s monitor.

 

Nick greeted Ginny when she arrived and introduced her to the tech monitoring Steve’s vitals and communications.

“This is Geneviève, Captain Roger’s particular friend. Treat her accordingly.” Fury said loud enough for everyone to hear.

Ron was the tech’s name. “Come on up whenever you want, Geneviève.” he said. “Kristen is on nights and I’ll let her know, too.” Ginny heard how he struggled saying Geneviève and invited him to call her Ginny.

“Everything is good so far,” Ron said, “but they’re still in the air, so that’s expected.”

Ginny watched for a few more minutes and then thanked Ron and left to grab some lunch before meeting her next patient.

The afternoon passed peacefully enough. She had another staff member come in for massage so she had a full afternoon.

Before dinner, she popped back up to the bridge to chat with Ron. There was nothing new.

Ginny watched Steve’s breathing; it was slowing down.

“Are they about to land?” Ginny asked.

Nick came over to answer her. “Any minute now.” he said. “How do you know?”

“Yoga breathing.” she said. “He does it to focus before combat. I’ve watched him do it in the arena.”

“Hmmm.” Nick said, and moved away.

Ginny stayed to listen to the landing, but something was wrong. They were expected and were attacked immediately. She listened to the coms as they fought off the attack. It was drones, but between the weapons on the jet and Iron Man, they were able to land and secure their position.

Steve was really angry! He was questioning how they managed to fly into an ambush. He was angry but he was calm; a deadly combination. Ginny almost felt sorry for his team. She smiled to hear him being so commander-y.

But she was hungry and once things settled down a little bit, she told Ron she’d see him later.

There was a table full of med staff, so Ginny joined them.

Glory asked about the ground mission.

“They were expected and got attacked by drones as they tried to land, but they shook it off.” Ginny answered.

Ginny let the talk flow around her. She was just savouring the sound of Steve’s voice.

After dinner, Ginny worked for a couple of hours on her child amp program for the Stark Foundation.

Then she went back to the bridge to listen some more. There wasn’t much going on. Everyone was settling down for the night. Steve and Clint were chatting about their strategies for the next day. They were on first watch.

Ginny introduced herself to Kristen.

“You can talk to him if you want.” Kristen said. “Say goodnight.”

Ginny thought about it for a second before saying, “No. He needs to stay focused. He doesn’t need me to distract him.”

Kristen smiled at her. She thought that was very sweet. She didn’t know Steve well, but this woman seemed a good match for him.

They sat and chatted for a bit, then Ginny wandered around to see the other Avengers’ monitors. Everyone was sleeping except Steve and Clint.

After two hours, Tony and Nat were taking over the watch.

There was some chatter as they switched. As Steve and Clint settled in to sleep, there was silence for a while. Then Clint said, “She’s probably listening.”

There was a pause, then Steve said, “Ginny?”

Kristen beckoned her over and showed her the button to press to respond.

“Je suis ici.” she said

“It’s late.” Steve said. “You should be asleep.”

“You’re not my dad, you know.” she said.

He chuckled, softly. “I just wanted to say goodnight.”

“Sleep well, sweetie.” Ginny said.

“Rogers, out.” Steve said and all was quiet.

After that, Tony and Nat talked occasionally, but it was mostly quiet. It was after midnight and Steve was right; she should be asleep.

Ginny peeked over Kristen’s shoulder and saw that Steve’s heart rate and respiration were slow and steady. Asleep already. She said goodnight to Kristen and went to find her own slumber.

 

The next morning, Ginny slept in. It was almost 9 am when she checked in with Jas. There was nothing much to do in the infirmary, so Ginny headed for the gym. It’s where people were starting to look for her for massages and she could work out in the meantime.

She had a couple of agents in for massages through the morning then she popped up to the bridge. Ron was there and busy. The team was out and on the offensive, trying to disable the drones that continued to plague them and block every attempt they made on their objective.

Ginny sat and listened for almost an hour. Steve was in the heat of the fight and directing their attack strategies.

After that, it got to be too much; like watching him fight in the arena. Ginny went down to the canteen to grab a late lunch. She was surprised to see Jas and Peter there.

“What kept you guys?” Ginny asked.

“Accident on the loading dock.” Jas said. “A couple of people came in with fairly major injuries. Soft tissue, though. If we’re out long enough, I may send them to you to start physio.”

“Few other minors, too.” Peter put in. “How’s the mission?”

“Busy but not making much headway.” Ginny said.

“No injuries?” Jas asked.

“Nothing major that I heard while I was there.” Ginny answered. “There’s just so much fighting I can take.”

“Especially when someone’s shooting at your man.” Glory’s voice came from behind her. “Jas, your patient’s awake and in pain. Thought you’d like to know.”

Jas quickly excused herself to go and check on her patient.

Ginny excused herself shortly after and headed for the gym. If she had no one come in for a massage, she could spend an hour on the elliptical. She’d been hit and miss with her own work outs since her dad had gotten sick and she was feeling it.

And hour later, she was feeling energized and when someone came in for a massage, she had good energy for them.

By the time she’d finish two massages, it was 5 pm. She wasn’t hungry yet, so decided to check on the mission.

Things were as busy on the bridge as when she left. She listened for a while and watched Steve’s monitor.

They weren’t any closer than they had been. The drones seemed to anticipate their every move. Even Vision wasn’t able to move through them.

Steve called everyone in.

“We have to get through,” he said, “and we’re not going to get through this way.”

“The drones seem to be avoiding the rhododendron thicket over there. Can we get through that somehow?” Steve asked.

Clint’s voice came through the com. “There’s a reason they’re known as a ‘hell’, Steve.” he said. “You can’t see where you’re going and you could wander for weeks in circles…you can’t see sky and with one this big, you could die without ever coming near an edge.”

Ginny could almost hear Steve thinking.

“If Vision can drop me near the leading edge of the ‘hell’,” Steve said, “I can see if there’s a way to break through to the base and get rid of these damn drones. But you guys will have to keep them busy.”

NO, Ginny screamed in her head. Not you…she thought. Anybody else, but not you! But outwardly, she just nibbled on a rough nail to calm her nerves.

After a little bit of discussion, it was agreed that Steve would enter the hell; everyone else would draw the drones’ fire while Vision flew him in.

All was quiet for a few minutes, then Steve said, “Ready?” There were affirmatives all around.

Ginny was watching Steve’s monitor; his heart rate was slightly elevated but everything else was normal.

Suddenly, the sound of gunfire broke through the coms. There was a grunt of pain, then Steve’s voice saying, “Damn it!”. Then Steve’s monitor went dead.

Ginny stood staring and not believing what she saw for what felt like an hour before Ron said, “I’ve lost Captain Rogers’ feed!”

Nick Fury came running over. “Do we have eyes on Rogers?”

Vision’s voice came over the com. “He was shot as he fell into the thicket. There seems to be a force field. I can’t get any readings through it.”

The whole room fell silent. No one looked at Ginny and she only had eyes for the monitor in front of her.

“We’ll get him out.” Tony said. “I don’t know how, but we’re not coming back without him.”

Thanks, Tony, she thought. She knew she was in shock, but she also knew that Steve was still alive. She had felt her mother die. It had been like something had been physically ripped from her body. She had been staying with her aunt and uncle while her parents went out and they had to take her to the hospital, she was in so much distress, and it started at the exact time of the accident.

She was scared, but Steve was still there…he hadn’t been ripped from her…yet.

Glory was beside her saying that she should try and get some sleep; had she eaten yet? Nick would let her know if there was any news. But she just stood where she was watching the monitor.

Finally, Nick said, “Leave her.” He pulled a chair up beside Ron’s and pushed her down into it. “She has a right to be here.” and he walked away.

Glory brought her a wrap, which she ate, but didn’t taste.

At about 3 am, Ginny couldn’t keep her eyes open anymore.  Ron had been replaced by Kristen hours before. She put her head down and dozed for a couple of hours.

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