A Time for Heroes – Chapter 26 – Road Trip Revelations

It was Monday and there wasn’t much to do. They took their dirty clothes to her uncle’s to do laundry and hung out for a while there, talking about everything and nothing with Jean-Guy and Claude.

Then Ginny and Steve went for a walk to explore the area, but mostly just to be alone together.

Since it was their last night in Montreal, Ginny’s three sister-cousins were coming in for a farewell dinner.

Someone had brought Jean-Guy a roast beef, already cooked, with all of the sides. Ginny stopped at the local market and picked up some fresh greens for a salad on their walk. There were desserts left from the luncheon on Saturday and Jean-Guy brought some wine up from his cellar for a magnificent feast!

Once everyone had had their fill, Jean-Guy brought out an excellent port to go with the desserts.

Juliette asked Ginny about their trip and their plans.

“We’re renting a car to drive down to New York.” Ginny answered. “Then Steve has to be in upstate New York at the Avenger’s Headquarters for a couple of months.” Ginny stopped and looked around, remembering Vivienne’s reaction to finding out who Steve was.

“They had already guessed,” Vivienne said in disgust. “and they didn’t bother to tell me.”

“I always Google your boyfriends.” said Juliette, simply.

“Marc recognized him and told me.” Giselle put in.

Pierre had even known. “But I couldn’t seem to find the right way to tell you, honey. ‘By the way, your cousin’s boyfriend is a superhero.’”

“I told Jean-Guy and Thérèse when we first started working with the Avengers. I’m surprised they didn’t tell you then, Vivienne.” Claude said.

“They did!” Vivienne said. “I just didn’t put that and Steve together. Too much on my mind, I guess.”

Ginny walked around and hugged Vivienne from behind. Vivienne was the eldest and had been much more involved with Thérèse’s illness and death than the other two. It was understandable how she hadn’t made the connection.

“No harm, no foul, Vivienne.” Steve said. “Glad I passed muster without the superhero persona.”

“It’s obvious you’re head over heels for Geneviève. Hopefully, the next time we see you will be under better circumstances.”

“Yes, I hope so, too.” Steve said.

That led to talk about Jean-Guy’s trip to New York and Christmas.

Ginny held her hand up when pressed about Christmas and said, “We can’t commit to anything until we get home and see how things stand.”

In the end, Claude said he’d stay for a month. He couldn’t return to work yet anyway, so he might as well spend the time in Montreal. Then Jean-Guy could come to New York for a month. That would see him home right before Christmas with Claude and hopefully Ginny and Steve.

Juliette talked about coming down for a visit and asked if there were any single Avengers.

“A couple actually, Juliette. There’s Bucky, my friend from the 40s, and Sam, Falcon.” said Steve.

Ginny smiled at this. Juliette would be a match for either of them.

Shortly afterwards, Steve and Ginny took their leave. They wanted to be on the road first thing in the morning and they had to finish packing. Steve had his duffle bag full of clean clothes and he swung that over his shoulder. Ginny had returned Vivienne’s dresses with thanks and they left amid hugs and tears.

Ginny and Steve were both subdued on the walk back to the hotel. Leave-taking was never easy, but even harder after a death.

When they got into the hotel room, Ginny turned to Steve for a hug and he took her into his arms and they stood like that for a long time.

“You okay?” Steve asked, finally.

“I’m good.” Ginny said, dashing a tear away with her hand. “I’m good.” she repeated and pulled away to look up at him.

He smiled down at her and kissed the tip of her nose, which made her giggle.

Packing didn’t take very long and they decided to spend the rest of the evening in bed, talking and making love. Ginny had had a little too much wine, so sleep came easily.

The alcohol didn’t effect Steve, so he lay awake for a while just enjoying how Ginny felt in his arms and wondering how he was going to sleep alone again. Had it really only been just over a week since he’d asked her to stay? How could he have gotten so used to having her in his bed in that short a time?

Next morning, they wanted to be on the road as early as possible. Six hours could easily turn into eight or ten hours with traffic.

Steve offered to drive first so Ginny could navigate through all of the French language signs.

It took almost an hour for them to get to the border and the line-up to get across took another half an hour.

They pulled up to the customs booth and presented their passports. The customs agent asked all of the usual questions. Ginny also had to present her work visa.

The agent seemed especially interested in Steve’s passport.

“Are you Captain Steve Rogers?” she finally asked. “Captain America?”

“Yes.” Steve answered, unsure of where the question was coming from.

“I heard you lost your leg in an attack a while ago.” she said, watching him closely.

“Yes, I did.” he answered, politely.

She looked back over the line-up waiting for her, then back at Steve.

“I…” she stared uncertainly. “Are you in a hurry? I have a favour to ask…for my son. He’s an amputee, too.”

Steve looked at Ginny, then turned back and said, “I never say no to kids.” he said, simply.

She pointed them over to the side. A few minutes later, they saw another agent come out to relieve her and she joined them and escorted them inside

“I’m sorry. I’m being rude. I’m Amanda Perez.” She pulled out her phone and turned it to show Steve and Ginny a picture of a little boy in the hospital.

“This is Diego, my son. He was hit by a car last year. They tried to save his leg, but he developed gangrene and they had to remove it below the knee.” Ginny sensed that she was speaking in a flat voice to keep her emotions in check.

“How old is he?” Steve asked, still looking at the picture.

“He’s 4 now…just had his birthday.” Amanda said.

“What I wanted to ask is if you would sign a poster for him.” she said. “He’s a big fan of yours and I had a coworker who went to the city for New York ComiCon on the weekend and he brought Diego a limited edition poster.”

“Of course.” Steve said.

“Does he have a prosthetic yet?” Ginny asked.

Amanda nodded and said, “He’s already outgrown his first prosthetic leg.” She seemed torn between pride and tears.

Ginny put her hand on Amanda’s shoulder. “Who’s his orthopedist?” she asked and this led to a conversation that Amanda had never been able to have with anyone else.

Steve was still trying to think of what to write while he listened to Ginny and Amanda talk. They finally hugged and promised to keep in touch so Ginny could help with Diego’s progress.

Steve finally figured out what to write:

 

Diego, come and visit me at the Avengers HQ and we can put your new leg to the test.”

Steve Rogers – Captain America

 

“There.” he said. “How’s that?” he asked Amanda.

“Are you serious?” Amanda said, with a face-splitting smile. “Thank you so much! He’ll be thrilled!” She impulsively gave Steve a hug, which he returned.

“It’s going to be tough for him.” Steve said. “We’ll help where we can.” He still had his hand on Amanda’s shoulder. He turned to look at Ginny.

Amanda turned to Ginny again and said, “What were the chances of you two stopping at my booth today?” She shook her head in disbelief. “Diego will be so thrilled!”

Ginny hugged Amanda and said, “Anything you need or need to know, call me.”

“I will.” Amanda whispered, with tears in her eyes.

Steve and Ginny continued on their journey both lost in their own thoughts.

Finally, Steve said, “Penny for your thoughts.”

Ginny sighed deeply. “I’m going to have to expand the program faster than I thought if I’m not going to leave a lot of Diego’s behind.”

Steve smiled as he drove. “I was hoping you’d say that.”

“You were, were you?” Ginny smiled at him. “It’s going to be a lot of work and what I was trying to avoid…full-time management. But I don’t see how I can avoid it. Pepper was right. I have to take this and run.”

They drove in silence for a few minutes. “Talk to me, St. Pierre.” Steve said.

“I’ve seen things like this grow too fast without proper management, and fail. I can’t afford to fail.” Ginny said. “There are a lot of kids who need this.”

“Tony said he’d get you the best management team.” Steve reminded her.

Ginny sat deep in thought for a long time. Finally, she looked at Steve and smiled.

“I can do this.” she said, softly. Steve reached over and squeezed her leg and she covered his hand with hers.

“Good girl.” he said. “I’m proud of you.”

She glowed under his praise and smiled up at him.

“Even if it means more time apart?” she asked.

Steve frowned at that. “We’ll find a way.” he said and squeezed her leg again.

Ginny sighed and said, “I’m afraid.” in a small voice.

“Of what?” Steve asked.

“Of losing you. Of losing who I am in this project and becoming someone you can’t love.”

“That’s not going to happen.” he said.

“Steve, we’ve barely known each other for 2 months. What if our relationship just works during crises? It’s all we’ve had.” Ginny said, carefully not looking at him.

“Geese, what happened to my optimist?” Steve asked. “What if we’ve just been holding it together through the crises and we’ll fly once things settle down? I understand that a lot of relationships fall apart under crisis.”

Ginny thought about this for a moment. Then she smiled. “True enough.” she said. “We’ll go with your scenario.”

Steve continued to drive, but Ginny could see that he was thinking and not coming up with happy conclusions.

“Do you really think what we have is that fragile?” he asked, finally.

“Remember what I said about there being no point going into a relationship unless you believe it’ll last?” Ginny said.

“Mmm hmm.” Steve said.

“Well, the opposite is true as well. What looks like it’s built of bricks could just as easily turn out to be a house of cards that blows away in the breeze. The only way to know which is true is to take the journey.” she finished.

He sighed. “So let’s take the journey, then, and stop being afraid of shadows.” he said, firmly.

Ginny smiled, but didn’t say anything.

Steve looked over and saw the smile and was relieved.

 

They stopped for lunch at a truck stop where a couple of people recognized Steve and came over to get autographs and pictures.

Lunch was a buffet and salad bar, which got them back on the road quickly.

It was Ginny’s turn to drive and once they got back on the road, she had a question she’d been dying to ask.

“Tell me about Peggy Carter.” she said.

“We’re after ancient history today, are we?” Steve said, sardonically.

“I’ve told you about my ex’s.” she said, defensively.

“Yes, you have.” he said, looking out the window.

“Well, what do you want to know? We didn’t have much of a relationship.” he said, after a few minutes.

“Did you love her?” Ginny asked, cutting right to the chase.

Steve continued to stare out the window.

“Yes.” he said, finally, in a soft voice. “She loved me before the enhancement. She was the first woman who ever actually talked to me and not down at me. And she was pretty and had a British accent. I was doomed from the start.” He smiled at the memories.

Ginny glanced over at Steve and smiled, too.

“What else would you like to know?” he asked, after a pause.

“Nothing…that’s it.” Ginny answered. “No…wait. Do you still love her?”

Steve looked at Ginny for a long moment trying to figure out what she really wanted to know.

“Yes, I guess I do. Doesn’t lessen how I feel about you, if that’s what’s worrying you.” Steve said, looking at her again.

“Peggy doesn’t worry me. Although it is hard to compete with a ghost.” Ginny said, glancing at Steve and smiling.

“You’re not in competition with her. She’s my past and you’re my future.” He reached for the hand she had resting on the gear shift and brought it to his lips to kiss.

“Do you still feel like you’re in competition with Troy?” Ginny asked.

“His name does seem to keep coming up.” he answered, a little bitter. “Do you still love him?” He threw the question back at her.

She thought about that for a moment. “What I feel for you is very different than what I felt for him. With him it was heart-pounding and exciting and sometimes downright terrifying.” She paused for a moment. “No, I stopped loving him romantically when he had his last accident. What I lost when he died was a friend and no more.”

They were both quiet for a long time. Steve turned on the satellite radio and found a station that played old jazz and blues…his kind of music.

It made Steve smiled to hear Ginny sing along to the songs she knew.

After about half an hour, Steve reached up and turned the volume down.

“Did you ever think about or talk about marriage with any of the others?” he asked.

Ginny raised her eyebrows in surprise and turned to glance at him. She was met with an even blue gaze.

“Talked about, no.” she said, firmly. “Thought about…of course. Although, I’m not even sure now what place formal marriage has in our society.”

“What do you mean?” Steve asked, surprised. For him, it was still the end game, the goal.

“A formal marriage is a public statement of commitment between two people in love, before their friends and family and before their god, right?” Ginny asked.

“A little cold, but okay.” Steve agreed after a moment.

“But the ceremony is not the ‘marriage’.” she said, making air quotation marks with her free hand. “The marriage occurs long before the public ceremony in the hearts of the two people involved. They make their commitment to each other and then plan a party. And any god worth his salt will bless the union long before they come before a priest.”

“So about the only reason to have a wedding ceremony is to throw a great party and get gifts…which seems a little cold to me.” Ginny said.

“Well…then did you ever consider yourself married with any of the others?” Steve asked, changing tack slightly.

“No.” she answered, simply.

“What’s your take on marriage, then?” Ginny asked after a moment. “Still believe it to be a sacrament?”

“That is what I was raised with, but I can’t really speak to that now. It’s been a long time since I considered myself Catholic.” Steve said. “But I do think there’s more value in it than a party and gifts.”

Steve seemed upset. Are we fighting, Ginny thought?

Ginny took a more conciliatory tone. “I guess I’ve just seen a lot of big, white weddings end in tears, and enough quietly committed couples living happily ever after to not put much weight in the piece of paper.”

“I think there are a lot of unhappy people who stay together because of that piece of paper.” she finished.

“People in this time seem to chase happiness in all the wrong places and never find it.” Steve said. “Maybe it’s that that’s causing their unhappiness and not necessarily being married.”

Ginny thought about that for a few minutes while navigating through some heavy traffic.

Once Steve could see that the road was clear again, he asked, “Tell me, what’s the happiest moment of your life so far?”

Ginny thought about that for a long moment. She had had trauma in her life, but overall, it was a happy life. But there was one stand-out moment.

“Tu me manque, ma chere.” Ginny repeated the words Steve had said over the com to her from the Quinjet when he had been rescued.

Steve smiled and looked shyly at her. “That’s the happiest moment of your life?” he asked.

“So far,” she said, swiping a tear that was running down her face, “and you?”

“Holding you in my arms in the hospital after your aunt died.” He was looking down at his hands. He smiled and shook his head slightly.

They rode in silence for a few minutes. Ginny was the first to break the silence.

“Steve, I love you, and I promise that when we’re ready to talk about marriage; about home and family; I won’t dismiss it.”

Steve put his hand over hers on the gear shift. “But that’s not yet.” he said, quietly.

After a few minutes, Steve asked, “Can I ask you something?”

“Anything! You know that.” she replied.

“Did you live with any of the others?

Ginny swore under her breath. She knew Steve was never happy to hear Troy’s name.

“Just one,” she said, “for a short time after one of his accidents.” Steve didn’t say anything.

“But then he had another accident and I was moved out before he came home from the hospital.” she finished.

“But speaking of living arrangements…” Ginny said to change the subject away from Troy, letting the sentence hang unfinished between them.

“Do you want us to live together?” Steve asked, surprised.

“No, not necessarily. I was just wondering if you’re going to keep your place in the city. It sounds like you’ll be spending your time upstate.” she said.

“Yeah, I think I will,” he said, “at least for now. I know I’ll probably be spending my time in New York with you, but you never know when I might need someplace to run to.” he finished, teasingly.

She smiled. “Just wanted to make sure we were on the same page.”

“While we’re dealing with deep subject, let’s tackle one more.” Ginny said. “Kids?”

Steve was silent and when traffic come to a standstill a few minutes later and Ginny was able to look over, she saw him sitting rigidly, staring out the passenger side window.

“Too deep?” she asked, quietly.

“No,” he said, trying to sound light, “it’s fine.” He looked at her with a half-smile that put a lie to his words.

“You can’t.” She said it as a statement, not a question.

“I can’t.” he said, flatly.

“When did you find this out?” Ginny asked, quietly.

He sighed. “I always suspected.” he said. “The enhancement changed so much, I couldn’t imagine it wouldn’t affect that, too.”

“But after the mission, I wanted to talk to Peter about bringing up the topic of birth control with you. He just said there was no need. I had him test me again…no change.”

“How do you feel about that?” Ginny asked.

“I think that it’s probably a good thing with what I do. I wouldn’t have time to be a very good dad.” he said, still looking out the window.

Ginny watched the stopped traffic for a minute before saying, “Liar.” very quietly.

Steve looked at her and smiled.

“You’re not going to give me a break, are you?” he said.

“Have I ever?” she said and paused for a moment. “I wonder why you didn’t ask about birth control. Thought maybe you were leaving it to me.”

“So, what about you?” he asked, ignoring her comment.

Ginny didn’t answer for a very long time. She just looked out the front window at the stopped cars in front her.

She finally took a deep breath and said, “It’s not a deal breaker.”

“I always thought I’d have kids someday, but it was always way in the future. I’d probably have ended up being one of those women who finally decides to try when it’s too late.”

“Besides, I have my kids. They’re going to take over my life now.” she finished.

“Now who’s lying?” Steve asked.

Ginny laughed and looked at him for a long minute.

“Okay, so it bugs both of us that we won’t be able to have kids. What are we going to do about it?” Ginny asked.

“If we stay together.” Steve said, sadly

“You think I’d leave you because of this?” Ginny was hurt that he thought that.

“’This’ isn’t me watching too much football.” he said. “’This’ is what most girls dream about.”

“Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m not ‘most girls’” she said, angrily.

“I had noticed.” he said, with equal heat.

Traffic started to move, so Ginny used that as an excuse to let the conversation drop. Steve turned the radio up again and they drove in silence for a while.

“When I was in my teens and twenties,” Ginny said, quietly, “I did think about someday having kids…but it was definitely later.” Steve reached over and turned the radio down so he could hear her better.

“By the time I was starting to think that someday might be soon, I was dating…well, you know who I was dating…”

Steve interrupted her. “You know, you can say his name.”

“You don’t like it.” she said, firmly, and continued.

“Anyway, there’s no way in hell I was having kids with him!”

She paused for a moment before going on.

“Then I hit 30 and I was alone with no prospects. I know lots of women have kids into their 40s, but I’m selfish enough to not want to be entering my golden years still tied down with kids.” she said. “I always thought of 35 as the finish line. So even if I met someone this year, it would be 3 to 5 years before we would be thinking about kids, so I had given up on the idea.”

“Then you met me?” Steve asked.

“I hadn’t really started to think beyond just you and me, Steve.” she said. “That’s enough to deal with. I only brought it up today because we seemed to be putting cards on the table, not because it had been weighing on my mind.”

Steve was quiet for a moment.

“I just don’t want you to end up resenting me for this.” he said.

Ginny smiled. “When I did think about having kids with you, I worried about having superbabies who’d probably be able to take me down by the time they were 3 or 4.” she said.

Steve laughed at that. “No, that wouldn’t be good.” He reached over and covered her hand with his on the gear shift.

Ginny saw a sign for a rest stop and they pulled off the road. One thing they couldn’t do on the road was kiss, so they shared a long, soulful kiss before getting out of the car.

When they got back to the car, Steve took the driver’s seat. It was 2 o’clock and they wouldn’t get to New York until at least suppertime. That traffic jam had added a lot of time to their trip. But it was time spent together, so neither of them minded.

Once they were on the road again, Ginny said, “Okay, what hot-button topic should we deal with next…Sex? Religion? Politics?”

“We once said that we’d have to deal with spirituality at some point.” Steve offered.

“Religion it is, then!” Ginny said with a flourish, but she didn’t seem to know where to start.

“Can I assume that you started life as a Catholic?” Steve asked.

“Good assumption,” Ginny said, “given the family funeral we just attended. Catholic school and all. Funny how I’ve learned more about the Catholic religion as a non-Catholic that I ever knew when I was inside.”

“When I was in high school, I started to doubt, to see cracks and inconsistencies that I couldn’t ignore.” Ginny said. “But I’m a spiritual person. A part of me longs for a connection to the divine. I heard about a Wicca group that held public rituals and I started to attend, then to study.”

“What is ‘Wicca’?” Steve asked.

“It’s the main pagan religion. They follow an earth-based spirituality honouring all gods and holding Mother Earth up as the big kahuna.” Ginny explained, briefly.

“Ah, so not even Christian anymore.” Steve said, quietly.

“No, it was the basic premise that runs through all Christian religions that put me off the most. The idea of the need for salvation, that we were somehow not worthy to be connected to the divine except through the following of this particular doctrine. I look at that as one of the main reasons our society is so very disconnected from each other and from the earth. That striving and never finding happiness is part of that.” Ginny said.

“So are you Wicca, then?” Steve asked. The word sounded odd to him.

Ginny shook her head. “No.” she said, and paused. “I studied with them for a long time, long enough to become a priestess, But, in the end, it was still a religion and there was lots of politics and personalities to deal with so I went my own way. I just consider myself pagan now. Wiccans mainly stick to the Greek pantheon of gods…Zeus, Artemis, Hekate…which I found really restricting. When I went to Italy, I studied the ancient Roman religion, and I found much to like there. I’ve also looked at Norse mythology, Hinduism, and native Canadian beliefs. It’s all just about feeling a personal connection to the divine, whatever face you put on it.” she finished, simply.

Steve drove on quietly, digesting this information.

“And what face do you put on the divine?” he asked, finally.

“It depends. I feel a strong affinity to the Hindu goddess, Kali, right now. She dances destruction and transformation in the world, which she’s been doing a lot of lately in my life. When I needed the face of a warrior to keep you safe, Julius Caesar was that face.” she answered.

“Julius Caesar is a god?” Steve asked, with a little laugh.

“The Romans did stuff like that…not to all of their leaders, just the ones that mattered, and he did. When he was murdered, he was elevated to god status and called Divus Julius. It made sense…he always maintained that his family was directly descended from the goddess Venus. He is still venerated in Rome with a parade and wreaths laid at his bronze statue in March and flowers left on his funeral pyre.” she said. “The ultimate warrior of history to keep my warrior safe.” She smiled.

Steve glanced at her and smiled back.

“So what about you? Another lapsed Catholic? What do you believe?” Ginny asked.

“I still think of myself as Catholic,” he said, “but once I woke up here, everything was different, even the Catholic Church. I tried going back to mass…I used to find peace there…but I didn’t find it peaceful anymore, so I stopped going. Then the child molestation thing was in the news and it really made me think about how much trust we used to put in priests in my day and how that trust was broken, not only by the priests, but by the church.”

“But I still pray to God and Jesus and I still hold a special place in my heart for Mary and the saints. It feels right for me so I never really looked anywhere else.” he finished, simply.

They were both quiet for a while. Ginny turned the radio back up to fill the silence.

“Will this work, then?” Steve asked, after a few minutes. “Me being Christian and you pagan?”

Ginny shrugged and turned the radio back down. “I don’t see why not. As long as we respect each other’s choices, it should work fine.” she said.

“We’ll just be those people who celebrate Hallowe’en as well as Christmas; Easter and Summer Solstice; the Harvesttide and Thanksgiving. We’ll have the best of both worlds.” she finished with a smile.

“Okay, so what do you do for Hallowe’en? That’s coming up, so prepare me.” Steve was smiling, but he looked a little apprehensive.

“We honour our ancestors at this time of year.” Ginny answered. “When I get home, I’ll start setting up my shrine, putting up pictures of my ancestors and beloved dead and things that remind me of them. Then we celebrate an ancestor dinner, bringing in as many foods that they loved as we can fit! It’s usually quite a varied feast. And we remember. It’s actually one of my favourite holidays.”

“That sounds really nice.” Steve said, quietly.

“It is. It’ll just be you and me this year, though, so let me know some stuff about your family, like what they liked to eat, and we’ll include it.” Ginny said.

“I might not be around on Hallowe’en, either.” Steve said, sadly.

“I’ll plan it when you are around.” Ginny said. “It’s not so much a day as a time of year.”

She smiled. “Paganism is a rather disorganized and flexible religion.” she said.

Steve drove on in silence for a few minutes.

“Not sure how I feel about you not believing in the same God I do. It’s really foreign to me.” he said.

“But I do believe in God/Yahweh/Jehovah, just maybe not the way he’d like me to. I don’t believe in him exclusively, but he is a god and worthy of my veneration. That’s why I took a blessing at ma tante Thérèse’s funeral. I never turn down a blessing, regardless of the god.” Ginny said to clarify.

“That blessing thing was new to me, too.” Steve said. “I usually just sit out communion and feel like I’m in the way as everyone has to crawl over me. This is better.”

“Okay, so are you good with this?” Ginny asked, her brow creased in concern. “You always knew I was different.”

Steve smiled at her worried look. “Yes, I did. How much does paganism play into your attitudes towards marriage and children?”

“Hmmm.” Ginny sat thinking about that for a moment. “I don’t think very much. Pagans marry and have kids just like everyone else. I know some with the attitude that they’re not bringing kids into this horrible world, but I never felt that way. And marriage is very open in the pagan community. There are hand-fastings and marriage ceremonies, but they’re not really necessary because as long as the commitment is made, the marriage is valued.”

“Open, as in gay marriage?” Steve asked.

“No, gay marriage is the law of the land, even in the US now. I mean, threesomes or larger groups committing to each other. It’s called polyamory and I wouldn’t say it’s prevalent, but it does happen. I knew a clump in Toronto; four people committed to each other. It was sweet.” Ginny smiled, thinking of her friends.

Steve glanced at Ginny, apprehensively; a look that she caught.

“Don’t worry, babe. I’m a one man woman. No polyamory for me.” She laughed at his look of relief.

“So what about gay marriage?” Steve asked. “How do you feel about that?”

“Gay marriage or homosexuality in general?” she asked.

Steve shrugged. “Both.”

“I read something in grade 9 in the National Geographic about harp seals and how populations are naturally controlled by some young males turning to each other for sex in overpopulated situations. So it’s not unnatural, as many fundamentalist Christians would have you believe. And I can’t imagine that it’s a choice. We still live in a society where homosexuality is tolerated at the best of times and openly discriminated against at the worst of times…why would anyone choose that?”

“So, if it’s natural and not a choice,” Ginny said, “why would we deny gay people the legal rights and protections that marriage offers?”

Steve thought about that for a moment before saying “I’ve never thought about it like that. I always just assumed it was wrong because the bible says so.”

“I think a lot of Christian religions are putting that bit of the bible aside along with many other bits that just don’t make sense…like how much you should get when you sell your daughter into slavery.” Steve looked over at her in surprise. “Why do you think Catholics aren’t encouraged to read the bible?” she asked. “It’s a pretty brutal read.”

Steve was smiling and shaking his head. “This has been a very eye-opening ride.”

“Taking your breath away again?” Ginny asked, a little apprehensive herself.

“A little bit.” he answered, still smiling.

“Haven’t scared you away yet?” Ginny asked. She had been a little bit more forthcoming than she had meant to be on this trip. “Not going to drop me at the curb and run?”

“No chance.” Steve said. “Getting to know you is more of an adventure every day.”

Ginny smiled one of her light-up-the-room smiles that Steve almost missed.

“I hadn’t meant to hit you with all of this today. It’s just so easy to talk as we drive.” Ginny admitted.

“I noticed.” Steve said.

They fell quiet again.

“There’s something else on your mind.” Steve said after a few minutes.

“Yeah.” she said, but didn’t elaborate.

After a few minutes, Steve glanced over to see her chewing on the inside of her lip, thinking.

“Well, don’t keep me in suspense.” he said. “You’re starting to get me worried.”

She looked at him for a long moment.

“I…um. I mean, it’s just that…well.” She sighed and fell silent, nibbling on her thumbnail.

Steve couldn’t decide if he was amused or terrified. Ginny usually showed more self-confidence than this. But after the revelations of the day, maybe it was something he needed to worry about.

He reached over and squeezed her leg.

“Whatever it is, you can tell me.” he said, simply.

She sighed again. “I just don’t…I mean, I wanted to make sure that…”

Steve sighed. “Out with it, St. Pierre.” he said, exasperated.

“I just don’t want to come off as a know-it-all in the bedroom.” A deep red blush was creeping up her face and her head was lowered.

Steve reached over and squeezed her leg again. “You don’t.” he said with a smile. “You’re perfect…you make me feel like I’m in charge.”

“Good.” Ginny said, covering his hand with hers. “Good.”

Ginny looked up at Steve to see a big smile on his face.

“Thinking about something pleasant, Rogers?” Ginny asked.

Steve glanced at her. “Very. Let’s change the subject. Jeans don’t stretch.” he said.

She laughed. “No, they don’t.”

“When I come to the training centre, will I be able to bunk in with you, or will I have to have my own quarters for propriety’s sake?” Ginny asked.

“Hmmm…I don’t know. My quarters are big enough for the two of us. I’ll have to ask when I get there, I guess.” Steve said, frowning. “I think propriety went out the window on this mission. I’m hoping it won’t be an issue on the ground.”

“Hey! I’m a necessary part of your team. I help to keep you relaxed.” Ginny said with a suggestive smile.

“I said, let’s talk about something else.” he growled, adjusting himself in his seat.

“Sorry.” she said contritely.

“Is there any chance we could arrange a field trip up to Avenger’s HQ for my kids? Maybe see if we can get Diego down, too?” she asked.

“Anything is possible. It all depends on what’s going on. Let me see what’s what this week and we can talk about it on the weekend.” Steve said. “Do you think you’ll be able to come up Friday night?”

“Depends on how early I can break away. I’d rather not try to find this place in the dark the first time.” she answered.

“Good point.” Steve said.

“But I’ll push to get away early. I can always work once I’m there, if I need to.” Ginny said, thinking out loud.

Traffic was starting to get heavier as they got closer to the city, so they both fell silent. As the city drew closer, so did all of the demands on their time, things that would separate them. Exciting events awaited both of them, and they were torn between that excitement and sadness at leaving each other.

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