A Time for Heroes – Chapter 32 – Planning

The next morning dawned beautiful and sunny. She had not been taking the time she should for her own fitness, so she decided to take advantage of the beautiful day to go for a run. She hadn’t run in her neighbourhood since she’d met Steve, but she preferred it to running indoors, even on Stark’s sky-high track.

She stopped on her way home to pick up a few groceries. She’s at least be able to have dinner at home tonight!

At home, she had breakfast, showered and suited up for a day in the corporate world.

She checked her schedule and saw her meeting with Margaret and the foundation in the morning and several interviews in the afternoon.

She’d been disappointed so far with candidates she had seen, but maybe she needed to change her interview style. She made a few notes for herself for the afternoon and a couple others to talk to Jess about this morning.

 

The day passed quickly with Margaret bringing feedback from the other hospital administrators and suggesting candidates. That was helpful, because the interviews in the afternoon didn’t go any better. Ginny gave Jess the names of the candidates from the other hospitals and asked her to set up interviews with them at their hospitals for later in the week. If she could get a few in, she’d like to invite them on Thursday to her child amp group.

Ginny got home at 5:30 and whipped up some dinner before sitting down to her piano. She hadn’t been playing and she missed it.

She played for long enough and difficult enough pieces that her hands had started to ache.

Steve’s call put a welcome end to her playing.

“Hey.” she answered her phone casually.

“Hey, yourself.” Steve said with a smile in his voice. “How’d things go with Margaret this morning?”

Ginny told him all about the day, the meeting, the new ideas, the bad interviews, even cooking dinner. He shared what he could about his meeting with Fury and the next steps they were taking to investigate this threat. He was working with Tony on new weaponry for the Quinjet.

Finally, Steve said, “Let’s talk about the ceremony you sent me.”

Ginny was a little apprehensive. She hoped his didn’t hate it.

“Did Ellen send this to you or did you write it?” he asked.

“Little bit of each. She sent me a couple to look at and then gave me a couple of websites to check out and I reworked one of those.” she said. “Why? Do you hate it?”

“No, not at all!” Steve said, quickly. “It just seemed really personal to be written by someone who didn’t know us.”

Ginny smiled. “No, all of that was me and I think I know you pretty well.”

“Yes, you do.” he said, sounding distracted. “Can I make changes to this and send it back? Just a couple of things I’d like to add.”

“Of course, darling. Change whatever you want.” She smiled to herself. She loved that he was working on this with her!

He was quiet for a long moment, then said, “Okay, I’ll look at it later. I got a call from the jeweler today. The rings are ready…and they got in a wedding band that they thought would complement your ring. I figure I can send you a picture when I pick them up.”

“Yeah, not a real rush on that. But it would be nice to have it bought and out of the way. Maybe when we get back from Sylvie’s wedding, we can go in and I can try it on.” she said. “How would you feel about flying to Toronto? I don’t think I can leave here for more than 3 or 4 days and it’s almost 8 hours each way to drive.”

“I’m okay with flying. I can even see if we can fly up Avengers style just in case I have to come back in a hurry.” he said.

“Do you think that’s likely?” she asked, concerned.

“Don’t know.” he said, sounding distracted again. “I really hope Nick can figure out what’s going on before it all blows up, because it looks big.”

“ISIL?” she asked.

“Could be. But I don’t think they’re working alone if so.” Steve said. “How’s Dot? Anymore symptoms?”

“Dot is still a dot and no…no more projectile vomiting to report. I am avoiding chicken like it was poison, though.” she answered.

Ginny heard Steve chuckle on the other end of the line. Then he was quiet for a minute.

“I still can’t believe this is real.” he said, quietly.

“I am pretty overwhelmed by it myself.” Ginny said back, placing her hand on her belly protectively.

“I love you.” he said in a hoarse whisper.

“I love you, too, Steve.” she whispered in response. “I think Dot and I are going to curl up with a good book in bed now; something not too racy.”

Steve chuckled again. “I wish I could curl up with you. I still have work to do tonight.” he said. “Just needed to hear your voice.”

“I’ll call you tomorrow night?” she asked.

“You’d better!” he said, firmly.

“Goodnight, babe.” she whispered.

“Love you.” he said back and hung up the phone.

It worried Ginny that he was so distracted, but he did have a lot to think about.

 

The rest of the week went by quickly. Steve picked up the rings on Tuesday and the band they suggested looked perfect. They had a conference call with Ellen on Wednesday night to talk about the ceremony. That’s also when Steve told them that Tony had gotten wind of it and offered his garden. It would mean it wouldn’t be as private as they had planned, but that would still work.

Thursday morning with the kids was a blast! Bucky and Nat both showed up and it ended in a free-for-all, boys vs. girls brawl! Everyone was laughing so hard, it was difficult to get them all out to their rides. Ginny had two of the other hospital candidates along with Sunny who she hoped would work, with her at this hospital. They didn’t stay for the whole session, but Ginny was able to give them an idea of the advantages of yoga and dance for these kids as well as mentors like Bucky and Nat.

And then it was Friday. Ginny was so distracted that she ended up doing a great deal of staring off into space. Steve would be down that night and Ellen was coming in the next day. They would do the hand-fasting on Sunday at noon at Casa Stark with their friends in attendance. The ceremony had had to be rewritten a little bit to take some of the more intimate bits out and any reference to Dot…those they would commit to privately…

The day dragged on forever. Finally, at 4 pm Ginny made an excuse and left. She was available if she was needed, but Jess knew better than to bug her unless it was a dire emergency.

Ginny got home and started on dinner. She had found a recipe similar to the pork medallions they had had the weekend before. Steve would be there by 6, so she had time to get the wine that she picked up on the way home chilled and all the prep work done.

By the time Steve knocked on the door, dinner was just about ready. She opened the door to see him standing there with flowers.

She put her arms around his neck and kissed him before taking the flowers to find a vase.

Steve came in to find the whole place ablaze with candles and Ginny in the kitchen arranging the flowers and crying.

He came up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders. “Romance and tears don’t go well together.” he said, quietly.

She put the last piece of greenery in the vase and turned around. He put his arms around her to comfort her.

“I know.” she said. “Tears have been close to the surface all week. Don’t know if it’s hormones or the hand-fasting.”

She pulled back to look at him. “Sorry,” she said, with a shrug, “probably not the welcome you expected.”

He leaned down and kissed her. “You’re beautiful. Whatever you’re cooking smells wonderful and there’s got to be a hundred candles burning! Best welcome home ever!” He kissed her again.

Ginny put the flowers on the table out of their way. Steve helped her serve up dinner and wine and they sat to eat.

“This is wonderful!” Steve said, after the first bite.

“I’m so glad you like it! I was looking for a recipe similar to the meal we had on the mission, the night you asked me to stay.” she said, looking up to catch his eye. “I think this is better.”

“You know,” he said, taking a sip of wine, “I hadn’t planned to ask you to stay. I fully intended to wait until we got home. But after those nights alone in the thicket, having you so close and not with me seemed unbearable.”

“You did surprise me.” she said with a smile at the memory.

He chuckled, softly. “Surprised me, too. I didn’t realize I was going to say it until it was out of my mouth. But I knew I didn’t want you to go.”

They lingered over dinner and wine until Ginny’s phone buzzed on the counter. She picked it up and read the message and laughed!

“One of my cousins trash talking.” she said. “I forgot; Toronto and Montreal are playing tomorrow night.”

Steve looked a little confused. “Hockey?” he asked, tentatively.

“Of course!” she said. “Big rivalry, especially in my family. We’ll have to watch the game tomorrow night, if I can find it.”

“No problem.” he said. “I like hockey.”

She smiled at him and started clearing up. Steve helped her and they were quickly done and retreated to the living room.

Steve sat on the couch and Ginny curled up in his lap. He put his hand protectively over her belly.

“Pork doesn’t seem to bother you…or wine.” he said.

“Nothing else yet. But I caught the smell of chicken cooking from the cafeteria one day this week and I felt queasy the rest of the day.” Ginny said.

“I guess we’ll have to warn everyone:  no chicken in your vicinity.” he said with a smile.

“Really hard to do when we can’t tell them why.” she said.

“And that seems to be getting harder. It feels like it’s all I think about, so when someone talks to me, I have a hard time focusing on what they’re saying.” Steve said. “It’s only here with you, when I can speak freely, that I feel alive.”

She tightened her arms  around him and they sat together in their candlelit cave enjoying the feel of each other’s bodies.

Something had been nagging at Ginny all week and her cousins text had brought it to mind again.

“Steve, there’s something I need to talk to you about.” she said against his chest.

“You know you can talk to  me about anything.” he said, feeling a little uneasy. The last ‘talk’ they had had almost ended in disaster.

She sighed and sat back to look at him. “I don’t know if there’s anything we can do about this, but you need to know how I feel.”

Steve didn’t say anything, just settled her back against the arm of the couch so he could see her face. At least she wasn’t pacing, he thought.

She took a long time to find the words to start. “You know I’m Canadian.”

“Yes, half French, half Canadian.” he said.

“I may only be first generation on my dad’s side but my mother’s family were among the first to come to New France in the 1600s. I am thirteenth generation Canadian.”

She rushed on before he could say anything. “My ancestor was one of those granted a seigneurie, a land grant, along the St. Lawrence River and one of my ancestresses was a filles de roi; one of the young women sent to the new world as a wives for the hunters and trappers. This is the stuff we learned in history class and I can put names to these people.”

She paused to collect her thoughts. “I never wanted to live in the States. The only reason I came down with papa is to get away from memories of Troy. And before I met you, I was making plans to move back. I was homesick and I wanted to help Sylvie with her wedding. Memories of Troy had faded to the point where I could be in Toronto again.”

Steve smiled, sadly. “And then you met me.”

She smiled back and ran a finger down his cheek. “Yeah, then I met you and you ruined all of my plans!” Steve chuckled at this.

She got serious again. “I love you so much. You are my home, but I will always be Canadian and when I think about raising a child, it hurts me to think that he or she won’t know what it is to be Canadian.” She reached over to the coffee table for a tissue.

Steve pulled her close. He was at a loss. He’d had no idea she felt this way and no idea what to do about it.

After a moment, Ginny said, “I don’t know if we can even do anything about this now or in the future, but I needed you to know what was in my heart.”

He held her fiercely, afraid to lose her.

“We can talk about it and see what we come up with.” he said. “You’re right, I need to know this. I had no idea. But wherever you are is my home, so I won’t rule anything out.”

They sat for a long time in silence.

Finally, Steve asked, “Is it that different here?”

“It is, but it’s subtle. It’s more in prevailing attitudes that anything concrete.” she answered. She wasn’t sure if she even understood the difference to explain it, she just knew it was there. Then she remembered something one of her high school history teachers had said.

She sat up so she could see his face. “You know how the US gained its independence from England, right?”

“Of course. The war of Independence – 1776 – Paul Revere and all that.” Steve said, with a small smile of pride on his face.

“Do you know how Canada gained its independence from England?” she asked.

“Did they? Gain independence, I mean. They’re still part of the Commonwealth.”

“All of the Commonwealth nations are independent nations but for some, their constitution is still held in Britain and the British parliament still needs to give permission for changes.”

“And Canada?” Steve asked.

“We gained our independence in 1974 when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau went to England and asked nicely.” she said.

Steve smiled. “Really? That’s it?”

She shrugged and said, “Yeah. England didn’t really want this power over us, had not refused any changes that we’d asked for in over a hundred years, so all we had to do was ask. The queen came over, there was a nice photo op while the papers were signed and we were independent.” she said.

Steve thought about what she said. “So how does that translate into day-to-day life, though?”

“I think that we’re generally more cooperative. We make sure that our poor have basic necessities, like health care. We use our armed forces for peacekeeping missions. We bring in refugees and have a strong immigration policy. We take care of each other. It’s not perfect and sometimes it doesn’t work, but I think, overall it’s just a more cooperative, kinder culture.”

Suddenly, it was too much and her tears started to flow again. She missed her country so much and had struggled to understand these foreigners for so long. Now even the love of her life didn’t get it.

Steve pulled her close to him and tried to comfort her until she finally took a gulping breath and said, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to lose it like this.”

“Hey, hey! Don’t worry about it! I think I understand. You must feel like I did when I woke up, trying to fit in with people who have no idea of how I lived and what it was like, except a few people over 90.” He held her close. “I get it. I really do. If Canada is full of people as caring and empathetic as you are, I think I could live there.”

Ginny sat up to look at him.

“We’ll figure it out. Maybe not tonight, but we’ll figure it out.” He brushed a tear off of her cheek. “No more tears now. This is supposed to be a happy weekend.”

He held her close to his chest again, letting her catch her breath.

After a few moments, he said, “I have rings.”

“Oh, I forgot!” she said, looking up at him. “Can I see?” Her face was bright with anticipation.

“They’re in the side of my bag.” he said, and let her jump up and retrieve the three little boxes.

The first one she opened was Steve’s gold ring. She slipped it on his finger and it fit snuggly, but not too snuggly. He looked at his hand for a moment.

“I like it.” he said. “It’s thin and shouldn’t get in the way, even once the other half is attached.”

He reached for the box he knew contained her ring. He pulled it out and slid it on her finger. It slid on easily and the petite setting looked perfect.

She smiled shyly at her hand, then she held it up beside his face, comparing the colour of his eyes. She leaned in and kissed him.

She had meant it to be a quick kiss, but he had deepened it and held her close to him until their breath started to come in ragged gasps.

When they paused, Steve said, “Enough talk for tonight.” He kissed her again stroking the fabric of her shirt over her nipple until he felt it harden and press against his fingers.

“I want you.” he whispered against her lips and shifting forward, he carried her off to bed.

Once in bed, the tears and the fears were forgotten as they explored each other with hands and mouths. They came together hard and fast at first, banishing the deep need their abstinence had created. But then they took the time to worship each other’s bodies as they slowly brought each other to climax again.

They lay breathless and shaking on the bed afterwards, each touching a part of the other to hold the connection.

Ginny caught her breath first and rolled towards Steve, ducking under his arm and putting hers over his chest. She reached for blankets to cover them when she saw his chest was a mass of goosebumps.

Steve was shattered. The week had brought nothing but frustration and disturbing news. When he had arrived at Ginny’s apartment, his only thought had been of burying himself in her and letting it wash away all of the worries of the week. Ginny’s revelations had just added to his unease. So when they had finally made love, he pushed himself and her so that he would be able to forget and just fill himself with her.

And it worked…for a moment. He settled the blankets more closely around her neck and held onto her like a life preserver. He closed his eyes and quickly fell asleep.

Ginny was surprised when Steve’s rhythmic breathing told her that he was asleep. He so rarely fell asleep before her.

She was a little apprehensive about what could have been keeping him awake nights to make him this tired tonight.

She closed her eyes. The fatigue of early pregnancy had been plaguing her all week and she fell easily to sleep, too.

 

When Ginny opened her eyes, it was still dark out, but the light coming through the window was enough to see that Steve was lying next to her awake.

She touched his arm and he covered her hand absently with his. He looked over and smiled at her.

“I didn’t mean to wake you, love.” he whispered.

She moved over next to him so he could put his arm around her and pull her in close.

“You didn’t.” she whispered back and snuggled in to the warmth of his body. “But I can almost  hear you thinking. Is everything okay?”

“No.” he said simply. “I’m really afraid that it’s not, but information is like mist; we can’t seem to figure out what the threat is and where it will come from. It’s frustrating.”

“I wish I could help.” she said, squeezing him.

“You just did.” he said, pressing his lips to the top of her head. “This is the first good night’s sleep I’ve gotten all week.”

Ginny lifted her head to see the clock. 6:15 am.

“It’s early. Go back to sleep. Maybe I’ll be able to follow.” Steve said.

She looked at the set of his jaw and knew there was only one way he’d get back to sleep.

She slid her hand suggestively down his belly.

He chuckled. “You want more?” he asked, surprised.

“No,” she said, “but you do.” Her hand had found him and he was more than ready.

“I’m okay.” he said, huskily, but his eyes were closed and he was enjoying the sensation.

Ginny slid down his body, still holding him in her hand.

“No.” he said more firmly. “It’s okay. I don’t need…” He broke off as he felt her warm breath against his thighs.

“You need more sleep.” she said firmly and proceeded to lick and suck until Steve finally arched his back and came deep in her throat, the groan of pleasure sounding like it was ripped from him chest.

Ginny slid back in beside him and pulled the blankets up around them. She couldn’t hear Steve thinking anymore; just his ragged breathing.

After a few minutes, she heard a whispered, “Thank you.” before his breathing fell into the rhythm of sleep.

She smiled at how effective that had been, before closing her own eyes and matching her breathing to his.

A Time For Heroes – Chapter 31 – Dance Party

They started their day early. Ginny was not getting morning sickness, but she did seem to need to feel Steve’s hands on her. She wasn’t sure if that was hormones or that she just loved making love to him, but she ran with it.

So after a slow and sensual hour of lovemaking in bed, they moved it to the bath.

Once they had finished and sat in a second tub of hot, bubbling water, (the first one had gotten too cold!), Steve whispered in Ginny’s ear, “Why can’t I seem to get enough of you?”

Ginny just laughed, huskily, and twisted in his arms to kiss him.

“The feeling’s mutual, big guy. Since the first day I met you.” she said, quietly.

Steve was quiet for a moment before saying, “Then why won’t you marry me?” He sounded more than a little hurt.

Ginny stiffened for a second. Steve, don’t ruin this, she thought.

She sighed deeply and said, “I will, Steve. I just don’t want to rush down the aisle in a maternity wedding dress.”

“How about if we become hand-fast?” she suggested.

“You mentioned hand-fasting before, but I don’t know what that is.” he admitted.

“In the pagan tradition, a couple do a hand-fasting ceremony committing to a year and a day together as a married couple. They move in together and start sharing their lives together. After the year is up, they can either get married and make it permanent, or walk away with no further obligation to each other.” Ginny explained. “It’s kind of like an engagement, but more formal.”

“I’m not going to walk away.” Steve said, firmly. “But I’d be willing to do a hand-fasting.”

Ginny smiled and hugged his arms more tightly. “I love you.” His response was to press his lips to her hair and hold her more tightly.

“I guess the only thing to decide would be how publicly to do it. We could bring in a priestess and friends and family, or we could just exchange vows privately.” she said. “I’ll do some research and see if I can find a ceremony that suits us.”

“I didn’t realize it could be private. I thought it would be public.” he said. “I think I like the idea of private. The wedding can be public.”

“Speaking of weddings, Sylvie’s is in 2 weeks and we haven’t made any plans yet. I think she needs to know this weekend for the hotel.”

“Book it and we’ll have to talk some more about the trip.” he said. “Everything seems quiet right now.”

They both fell silent then, enjoying the soothing heat of the water.

 

It was still early when they left Steve’s quarters to find a light breakfast before hitting the road. They decided to take Steve’s bike, since it was a perfect fall day, clear and bright.

They parked on the main street of the little town and spent hours popping in and out of stores. They didn’t buy much, but talked to most of the store keepers and gallery owners. Some of them recognized Steve, and Ginny ended up taking keepsake pictures for a few people.

Steve stopped at a jewelry store window and pointed out a couple of rings that he thought would be perfect for Ginny petite hands and long, slender fingers.

“I like the blue one. Reminds me of your eyes.” Ginny said, tiptoeing to kiss him.

“Do you want to go in?” he asked.

“Sure.” she said, and he held the door for her.

Once the salesgirl realized that they were shopping for engagement rings, she started showing them rings from the pricier side of the store.

“What about the blue diamond in the window?” Ginny asked.

“That’s not really an engagement ring.” the girl said, haughtily. “The guideline is to spend three months wages on the engagement ring.”

So Ginny looked dutifully at the wedding sets and saw nothing that suited her. Lots of big diamonds or big settings with lots of smaller diamonds.

Finally, Ginny said, “I really like the blue diamond in the window.” Her liking turned to love as soon as she had it on her hand. The setting was the perfect size for her fingers and the diamond reflected all different shades of blue, just like Steve’s eyes. He knew they’d found the ring when Ginny looked up at him with one of her glorious smiles.

It was a little big, so they left it to be sized down. Then, Ginny asked about a ring for Steve.

“Would you wear a ring,” she asked, “or should I look for another token?”

“I’ve never worn a ring, but let’s look.” was his response.

They found a simple two tone ring that suited him perfectly. The two sections came apart with the gold meant for engagement and the platinum added at the marriage ceremony.

Ginny didn’t see anything that caught her eye as a wedding band, so she left it. There were other jewelers and a year before it would be needed.

So they paid for the rings and left Steve’s cell number so he could pick them up the following week.

It was past noon by the time they were done, so they found a little diner up the street and went in for lunch. The burgers looked good so that’s what they ordered.

Ginny’s phone buzzed while they were waiting for their burgers.

“Oh, goodie!” she said. Steve raised his eyebrows in enquiry.

“I sent a message to my friend, Ellen, in Toronto; she’s been a minister for a number of years, and I asked her about hand-fasting rituals. She’s in New York next weekend and would love to help us put something together.” Ginny sounded very excited.

“I am going to have to leave this to you.” Steve said. “Just nothing too weird.” He made a disgusted face.

Ginny laughed. “Very down to earth.” she said. “Neither Ellen or I are fluffy bunny pagans.”

Steve laughed, “I don’t think you could be fluffy bunny anything.”

“Oh, you would be surprised! I was pretty flaky when I first got into paganism. But I found what worked for me and I’ve left the rest behind.” she said.

Steve’s look became serious. “Thanks for letting me buy you the ring.” he said. “It means a lot to me.”

She smiled at him. “I know it does.” she said softly. “We’re kinda doing things backwards, aren’t we?”

Steve sat back and looked at her for a moment. “It’s not really the way I pictured things, no.” he said.

She smiled back at him and said, “I told you I was unconventional.”

He laughed and leaned forward and took her hand. “Are you saying I should have run while I had the chance?”

“I’m glad you didn’t…but you were warned.” She squeezed his hand with both of hers. “I did notice the disapproving look that day at breakfast when I said I was unconventional.”

Steve shook his head smiling and said, “Geez, I don’t get away with anything in this relationship. Yes, I wasn’t impressed when you said you were unconventional. Up until that moment, I didn’t do unconventional. But you’ve managed to change that.”

Ginny’s face softened as she looked deep into his eyes. “Do you regret any of it?” she asked.

“Not a minute.” he answered, bringing her hand to his lips to kiss. “It’s been an adventure.”

She smiled and let one hand drop down to her belly. “And a new adventure around the corner.”

“I haven’t really had time to come to terms with that yet.” he said. “Still feels very unreal.”

“Listen, I was wondering…if we’re not married when the baby is born, whose name do we give him?” Steve asked.

Ginny shrugged and said, “Yours.”

Steve was surprised. “Just like that? No discussion?”

“French common-law is different than English.” Ginny said. “The children take the father’s name, but a woman doesn’t take her husband’s name. That’s what I grew up with.” She paused for  moment. “But I’m thinking it’ll be easier to create a family if we all share the same last name.”

“So you’ll change your name to ‘Rogers’?” he asked, surprised.

“Yes.” Ginny looked up at him and smiled. “I thought you’d like that.”

Steve looked down at their hands with a smile on his face. “I do. Thanks for that. It’s a little conventional, though, isn’t it?” He looked up at her.

“I can do conventional,” she said with a smile, “it’s just not usually as much fun.”

Steve laughed at this. Ginny was quiet for a moment.

“You know, up to now, I’ve felt pretty confident. I’ve been in relationships before so everything was…not exactly familiar…but I had a frame of reference for it.” Ginny said. “Now all of this, I’m in unfamiliar waters. It’s a little scary.” She was still holding his hand but not looking at him.

His eyes were on their hands as he slowly stroked hers with his thumb. “Welcome to my world.” he said, quietly. “I’ve been out of my depth since the beginning.” He lifted his head and smiled at her.

She smiled back at him. “And we really don’t have anyone to guide us through this. All of our moms are gone.” she said, softly.

“True.” Steve said, then paused for a moment. “Guess we’ll have to figure it out on our own.”

That was when the food arrived and they fell silent while they ate. The burgers were homemade on crusty buns and delicious enough that Ginny didn’t mind that hers was really messy. The fries were fresh cut and perfectly crispy.

But she wasn’t as hungry as she had thought, so she passed off part of her burger and fries to Steve.

Steve was surprised and asked, “Are you okay?”

She nodded and said, “Just a lot of food.”

He leaned forward and whispered, “You’re eating for two now.”

“No,” she said, firmly, “I’m eating for one and a microscopic dot.”

Steve laughed and finished off her plate. “I thought Jas said she could feel something.” he said.

“Wrap the microscopic dot in a placenta and embed it into the wall of the uterus and, yes, you can feel it. But it’s still a microscopic dot.” Ginny said and smiled. “There used to be a character in a cartoon show I liked called Dot.”

Steve smiled and asked her about the show as well as other childhood memories. Her childhood was very different from his. He’d never even seen a TV before he woke up in the twenty-first century and computers were something he’d heard about at the World Exposition. Ginny had had both in her house as long as she was alive.

Finally, he shook his head and said, “It is all so different than when I was a kid.”

Ginny smiled. “Some of the best times I remember are of riding my bike with my friends, playing a neighbourhood game of tag or road hockey, or swinging at the park. It wasn’t all gadgets.” she said.

Steve smiled. “Now that all sounds familiar! But do kids even play outside anymore?”

“Sure they do. Kids are still kids.” she said. “That’s the best stories I get from the amps, the ones where they just get to play. Look at how much fun the kids have when you guys show up. Nothing’s more fun for a kid than having a grown-up who’ll play with them.”

“So I’m not going to be some hopelessly outdated dad making my kids go outside and play?” he asked, earnestly.

“Oh, probably.” she said, teasing him. He pulled a face at her and she laughed. “But you’re marrying an old-fashioned girl who also knows the value of playtime, so we should be good.”

The bill came and they settled up before heading out to wander through the rest of the downtown area. Then they headed off the main street into a residential area and just walked along holding hands and talking.

“Did you ever notice,” Ginny said at a lull in the conversation, “how comfortable we are with each other?”

“I just thought that was because you’re so easy to talk to.” Steve said.

“But it’s not just you. Right from the beginning, I found myself confiding in you and telling you things I’d never told anyone else. It just feels like I don’t have to put on any masks with you.” she said.

“But isn’t this normal once you’ve been with someone for a while, once you’re intimate?” Steve asked.

“I’ve never felt like this with anyone else, so, no, not normal.” she answered.

“Even when I was struggling to find a way to tell you about the baby, I knew that I could just tell you; no games, no subterfuge; and I knew we could deal with it.”

He laughed a little bitterly and said, “I know I didn’t handle that very well. It’s certainly not what I was expecting to deal with this weekend.”

They walked quietly for a few minutes.

“How easy it would have been for us never to have met.” Ginny said. “If just one of the dozens of decisions that led me to New York had gone the other way…”

“I know. I’ve thought about that many times since I’ve known you.” Steve said.

They put their arms around each other and kept walking until they came to a little park with a bench. They sat down to watch a sleepy Saturday in a small town go by.

“Do you really want to live in a small town like this?” Ginny asked.

“I’m more of a city boy, but isn’t this better for kids?” Steve asked.

“I don’t know. I think there’s pros and cons on both sides.” Ginny said. “I’m a city girl, too, so I’m not sure if I could adjust to a small town like this. Everybody knowing everybody’s business.”

“Nice to visit,” she said, “but I’m not sure about living here.”

Steve smiled. “Good.” he said. “This is definitely a little too quiet for my taste.”

They made their slow and meandering way back to the main street and Steve’s bike by around 3, so they decided to head back.

Ginny put both arms around Steve’s waist and clung to him tightly as he drove them back to HQ. She could feel every move he made as he drove and she moved with him as he turned. It was very intimate and she loved the feeling of being on the back of his bike.

 

Back at the Avenger’s headquarters, Steve took Ginny to see the dancehall/arena. Tony had rigged a mirror ball and lights hanging from the ceiling; he had hired a DJ and there were tables and chairs around the dance floor.

“This looks amazing!” Ginny said. “But the disco ball reminds me that I haven’t taught you any disco yet.”

Steve pulled a face. He wasn’t a fan of that particular genre of music.

“Come on.” she said, taking his hand. “I can probably teach you the ‘More than a woman’ dance sequence before dinner.”

Ginny set up the video on her tablet and they watched it through.

When it was done, Steve said, “I can’t do that. I don’t have a white suit.”

Ginny laughed. “Come on. Give it a try. It’s really a fun kind of dancing.”

Steve had to admit that it was fun. The moves weren’t complicated but it flowed well.

“And you can just use most of the same moves for any disco song.” Ginny said. She put on ABBA’s ‘Take a Chance’, and they danced through it with just a few changes.

When they were done, Ginny said, “I love that you move so well. It’s so nice to have a good dance partner.”

“Never thought anyone would call me that back in the day.” Steve said, and went to answer the knock at his door.

Dinner was there a little earlier than usual so they’d still have time to linger over it. It was a delicious smelling chicken dish…Ginny thought maybe Chicken Kiev.

Ginny wasn’t very hungry, but she ate the salad and started on the vegetables. Then she took a bite of the chicken and had to race to the washroom to be sick!

The nausea didn’t go away once her stomach was empty, though, and she spent a few minutes heaving and bringing up nothing.

She hadn’t seen Steve follow her in, but he was sitting on the side of the tub beside her, ready to help.

Steve reached over and flushed the toilet and handed her a tissue to wipe her mouth.

Her voice was a little hoarse when she said, “I guess chicken’s off the menu.”

“Was it the chicken?” Steve asked, helping her up off the floor.

“Yeah, it put me off just to look at it, but once I ate it, the nausea was immediate.” She rinsed her mouth out with water a couple times then with mouthwash to get rid of the foul taste.

“Are you okay now?” He had put his hands on her shoulders and was searching her face with concern.

“I think so. I don’t think I can eat anymore, though.” she answered.

“I might have some crackers or pretzels.” Steve said, and they went back out into the dining room.

He did have a box of crackers and Ginny nibbled on a few of those while Steve finished his dinner. There had been wine, but that sat untouched.

“Is this part of the pregnancy?” Steve asked. “I’ve heard of morning sickness.”

“Jas warned me about this. Sometimes, certain foods will cause nausea. Obviously, one of mine is chicken.” Ginny said, with a withering look at her plate, which she’d pushed to the middle of the table.

“I think I’m going to go and lie down for half an hour.” Ginny said, and touching his shoulder as she passed, went into the bedroom.

Steve tidied up the table a little bit, then went to join her. She was curled into a fetal position around one of the pillows. When he laid down behind her, she smiled and rolled over to put her arm over his chest. He pulled her close and put his arm over hers.

Ginny felt shy and embarrassed. She didn’t feel in control anymore and she didn’t like it.

They lay together for a long time, each with their own thoughts, gently stroking and caressing each other for comfort.

Steve looked over at the clock. “Do you think you can still go dancing?” he asked.

She sighed deeply. “In a few more minutes.” she said, and seemed to burrow more deeply into his arms.

When she sat up a few minutes later, her head was clear and her stomach was fine. So she got up and changed into her flaming dancing skirt and did a twirl for Steve, who was lying in bed watching her.

“You still look a little pale,” he said as he sat up, “but I guess if you can twirl like that, you’re okay.”

“It’s the weirdest thing.” she said, putting her hand over her stomach. “Now that it’s passed, it feels like it never happened.”

Steve had stripped off his jeans in favour of dress pants and shook his head. “Maybe we should pay a visit to Barton at the farm. Laura might be helpful.” he said.

“Might be a plan.” she said. “Kinda tough right now since we’re trying to keep it between us, though…at least for the next couple of weeks.”

Steve was rolling up the sleeves on his dress shirt. “True.” he said. “There’s always the internet.”

“Too much information! But maybe we’ll look tomorrow. Right now I gotta dance!” She twirled into some of the Saturday Night Fever moves she had just taught him and he realized how much he was looking forward to this, too.

 

The arena was already rocking when they got there. Tony has hired a bartender and Ginny and Steve stopped there first. Ginny opted for ginger ale and Steve got a beer. Ginny thought a beer might be good later, but didn’t want to push it.
They wandered around, greeting people and stopping to chat. The music was quiet as people were still wandering in, but there were some people on the dancefloor and Ginny spotted Sam and Amanda.

“Didn’t know about that…” Ginny said to Steve.

“Sam asked me to enquire this week and Amanda seemed thrilled. I guess Diego’s at his grandparents’ tonight.” Steve said, leaning in to be heard over the music.

Amanda saw Ginny and broke from the dance, grabbing Sam’s hand and coming over to them.

She gave both Steve and Ginny hugs before saying, “I hear you teach dance. I’ve always wanted to learn how to waltz.”

“Sure, the waltz is easy.” She went to the DJ to get her to set up three waltz-beat tunes for them to dance to.

Ginny started them off with the classical ‘Blue Danube Waltz’. She thought the easiest way to do it was to switch partners. So Steve squared off with Amanda, and Ginny with Sam.

After the first song was over, she had a more modern song and they started to show Sam and Amanda simple spins.

By the time the third song started, Steve reclaimed Ginny and Sam and Amanda waltzed off on their own.

There were several other people on the dance floor by that time, including Tony and Pepper, and Thor and Jane.

“Boy, you don’t do anything by halves, do you, Tony?” Ginny yelled over the music.

“Why?” he answered. “I can afford it.” He smiled and winked at her.

Ginny spotted Bucky and Jess just coming in. Jess saw her and rushed over.

“Margaret set a meeting with the foundation for Monday morning. I didn’t know if you’d seen your schedule yet, so I thought I’d warn you.” Jess said, breathlessly.

“Thanks, Jess. Maybe we can talk more tomorrow. I might get Tony to give her a call and sound her out.” Ginny said.

Just then, the DJ decided to crank it up with ‘More than a Woman’.

“Come on, Discoman. Let’s show ‘em what you’ve got.” Ginny said in Steve’s ear.

He sighed and let her pull him onto the dancefloor.

When they misjudged a spin and ended up running into each other, Ginny just laughed it off and carried on. Her skirt floated up around her as she moved like a flame and Steve didn’t miss the significance of trying to hold this particular flame in his arms.

Ginny laughed and then kissed him when the song was done.

“You’re no John Travolta, love, but I think I’ll keep you.” she said, her eyes shining.

The disco beat continued so they danced through a couple more songs before sitting to catch their breath. They were just sitting and holding hands while they watched the other dancers; it was too loud to try to talk.

Steve squeezed Ginny’s hand and she looked up to see him smiling as he watched her. She leaned over and gave him a quick kiss.

The dancefloor had started to empty as people went to quench their thirst.

The DJ spoke over the end of the song to say, “This song is especially for Steve and Geneviève.” A single spotlight lit the centre of the dancefloor.

Steve shrugged his shoulders and grabbed her hand, took her to stand in the light.

It could only be ‘New York State of Mind’. Steve leaned down and kissed her as he heard the first sweet piano notes, then took her in his arms and they shared this special dance again. There were lots of couples around them, but they only had eyes for each other.

The music faded into, ‘Falling Down Blue’, and then ‘Nights in White Satin’. To Ginny, it felt like a high school dance. But the last song was for Steve: ‘As Time Goes By’ had always been one of his favourites.

The DJ moved on then to some more modern music, starting with ‘Wrecking Ball’, and Steve and Ginny wandered off the floor to join Tony and Pepper at a table.

“Was that your doing, Tony?” Ginny asked.

Tony smiled. “This is all for you Geneviève. You started the dancing.”

Tony leaned close to Ginny and said, “A little bird told me your two were shopping rings today.”

Ginny looked at Tony in disbelief, then turned to Steve and said, “See what I mean about a small town?” Steve just smiled and shook his head.

Ginny held up her bare left hand and said, “We’re not engaged yet. And keep it under your hat, will you? I haven’t talked to my dad yet.”

 

After that, the evening passed in a blur. Both Ginny and Steve danced with lots of people. Some wanted Ginny to teach them some moves, but most just wanted to dance.

But as often as they could, they found each other, sometimes for just a moment before being claimed by another dance partner.

It was getting late when Steve finally decided it was his turn. A couple of guys tried to cut in and he just said that this was his dance. Ginny followed suit with the ladies.

They were dancing to another slow, sweet song when Ginny said, “I’m done. Long day; no food. I’m just dead on my feet.”

“We can go whenever you want.” he said. “Do you need something to eat before we go to bed?”

“Maybe.” She could feel her stomach growling and she was glad she had decided not to drink after all.

Steve was about to lead her off the dance floor when Ginny stopped him.

“One more.” she said, as a rough voice started to sing: ‘Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight…’, the first line of ‘Lost Together’ by Blue Rodeo. She had always  hoped to meet someone to be lost together with and now she knew that she had.

They stood together at the end of the song as another one started and Steve said, “Great song.”

“Gotta love Blue Rodeo.” she said with a smile.

Steve led her off the dancefloor and they said their goodbyes to those they met before finally finding themselves in the quiet hallway.

Steve led the way to the canteen to see what was available. They weren’t the only ones seeking late night snacks and they sat down with Bucky and Jess, who offered to share their nachos.

Bucky went and ordered another plate of nachos and they sat and talked and ate together.

Jess and Bucky were still making eyes at each other, which Ginny thought was cute. Then she caught Steve’s look and realized that they were still doing it, too!

“Tony said you were ring shopping today.” Bucky said. “Is that true?”

“Tony’s got a big mouth.” Ginny said.

“Nah. I overheard him telling Pepper.” Bucky said.

Steve looked at his best friend and then at Ginny. “Let’s move this back to my quarters.” he said. They grabbed what was left of the nachos. “I have some beer.” Steve said and they headed out the door.

They settled in the living room, each with a beer and Bucky said, “What’s up buddy?”

Steve hesitated and looked at Ginny. She nodded. Bucky was more like a brother than a friend and should know what was going on.

“We just don’t want everyone to know yet.” Steve said.

Bucky looked at Jess and back and Steve and said, “Spill it, Rogers.”

“We were ring shopping today and they should be ready later this week.” Steve said, holding Ginny’s hand and smiling the biggest grin she had ever seen.

“Congratulations!” Jess said, coming over to hug Ginny, while Bucky held out his hand to Steve.

“So, when’s the big day?” Bucky asked.

Steve looked at Ginny. They really should talk about this before he told Bucky the rest, but he couldn’t keep this from his best friend.

“Not for a while.” Steve said, still looking at Ginny. Ginny nodded. She knew what he needed to do.

Steve looked at Bucky with a shy smile and said, “Not until after the baby is born.”

Bucky’s jaw dropped. It took him a second to recover and then he pulled his friend up for a long hug.

He sat back down and just looked at Steve with a stunned look on his face.

Finally, he wiped his nose quickly with the back of his hand and said, “Haven’t you heard of condoms, you big lug.”

Steve laughed. “Didn’t think they were necessary.” he said. “Ginny had the birth control shot and they told me I couldn’t have kids.”

“It’s still really early,” Ginny said, “but everything looks good so far.”

“So who else knows. Stark? Fury?” Bucky asked.

“Nope, just you…and we’d like to keep it that way.” Steve said. “At least for a couple of weeks until we get the official medical confirmation. Then we can tell Claude and take it from there.”

“So are you officially engaged?” Jess asked.

Ginny took a deep breath and let it out. “No, we’re going to be hand-fast hopefully next weekend with a priestess friend of mine. It’s a pagan tradition similar to engagement.”

“I know what that is.” Jess said. “So you’ll be getting married in a year?”

“That’s the plan,” Ginny said, looking up at Steve and smiling, “but our lives don’t seem to like to follow a plan, so we’ll see.”

After that, they talked for a while until it was clear that Ginny needed to sleep.

Bucky looked at Jess and said, “We should go.” His look was full of love and longing and Ginny wondered if they’d be spending the night together.

She and Steve saw their friends to the door and said goodnight with quick hugs and more congratulations. Then Steve sent Ginny on ahead into the bedroom while he tidied away the leftover nachos and beer bottles.

Ginny was already in bed by the time Steve was finished. He quickly brushed his teeth, got undressed, and joined her under the warm covers.

She snuggled in next to him and he could feel how exhausted she was.

“Anything planned for tomorrow?” she asked drowsily.

“Not a thing.” he answered. “We can just stay in bed all day, if you want.”

“Mmmm…that sounds nice.” she said, moving her hand a little lower. He covered it with his and smiled. Yes, staying in bed all day did present a tempting array of possibilities.

He brought her hand up to his lips and kissed her palm before setting it on his chest. “Tomorrow.” he said, softly. “You need sleep.”

She stretched out a little bit and said, “Yes, I do. Dancing was fun.” Steve felt her relax against him and settle in to sleep.

Feeling her slow rhythmic breathing made him realize how tired he was, too. Within minutes of closing his eyes, he was asleep, too.

 

The next day, they woke late and lazed in bed, exploring each other for a long time. After showers, they ate the breakfast Steve had ordered up. Then they watched some baseball on TV before going back to bed with Ginny in her baby blue teddy.

It was almost 3 o’clock when Steve’s phone buzzed. Steve looked to see who it was.

“Damn.” he said. “Fury’s here and I’ve been trying to get together with him all week.” They were curled up together on the couch watching the end of the baseball game.

“I could wait for you, or I could take off now and get back to the city earlier.” she offered. “How long do you think you’ll be?”

“I have no idea.” he said. “We’re hearing chatter that something big is in the works in Europe. Since Nick’s been in Europe, I was hoping he might have some light to shed on it.”

There was a long pause before Steve said, “I don’t want you to go, but it might be best.”

“Right now? Or can he give you half an hour?” Ginny asked, not moving.

Steve sent a text back and his phone buzzed a minute later with the response.

“I told him an hour.” Steve said.

Ginny smiled and curled back up in his lap.

“So next weekend,” Steve started. “do you want to let me know what’s going on? I can come to you. I still owe you a home-cooked dinner and breakfast.” He smiled at the thought of cooking for her. He loved to cook. He really should have them put kitchen facilities in his quarters.

“I’ll talk to Ellen this week and see what she can suggest for us as far as a ceremony goes.” Ginny said. “I can’t wait to see your apartment. All this time and I’ve never even been inside.”

“To be fair, I’ve only been there twice in the time I’ve known you.” Steve said. “It’s not like I was living there and never invited you in.” He kissed her sweetly on the lips and forehead.

“True.” she nodded. “So you’re in charge of rings and I’ll take care of everything else.”

“Am I going to get to see the ceremony or am I going in blind?” Steve asked.

“No, no…I’ll be sending stuff to you as Ellen and I fine tune things.” Ginny said, quickly. “Should we try for outdoors if it’s nice?”

“If we can find a private enough spot.” Steve said. “If not, your place or mine would work.”

“Ellen’s coming to work with a priestess here named Mama Donna. Maybe she’ll have some good suggestions.” Steve could see that Ginny’s mind was already turning over possibilities.

“Will you be able to come up Friday night?” Ginny asked.

“That’s my plan.” he answered. “I won’t be able to come down for the kids on Thursday, but Bucky said he’d like to come down. I think he really wants to see Jess.” Steve said with a smile.

“Nat said she’d come one week, too, so you may see both of them.” he said.

“Oh, the girls would love that.” Ginny said, smiling. “I’m okay, but I’m not an Avenger.”

Steve laughed, quietly. “I think you could be. I’d trust you with my life.” he said.

“In more ways than one.” she said. Steve smiled and wrapped her more tightly in his arms.

He sighed deeply. “I thought we’d have more time today.” he said. “I’m not ready to say goodbye.”

Ginny held him tighter. “I’m never ready to let you go, but it’s what we’re dealing with now. Soon, we’ll have to find a way to be together through the week.” she said. “Soon.” She put her head up and kissed him.

When they finally pulled apart, he whispered, “Not soon enough. I don’t like to think of you alone in the city, especially now.” He placed his hand over her belly. “You’re dad’s not even there.” he said, with true concern on his face. “What if something happens?”

“Nothing is going to happen.” she said, firmly, covering his hand with hers. “Besides, Tony and Pepper are there and Jess, and I do have a few friends in the city. I was fine before I met you, Steve. I am capable of taking care of myself, you know.”

He still looked concerned, so she added, “And you’re only an hour away, probably less if you can fly down.”

He smiled and said, “I guess I could take a jet or chopper down in an emergency.”

“There will not be an emergency!” she said. “I will see you on Friday night.” She was looking sternly into his eyes. The last thing she needed was him worrying about her all week.

“Plus I talk to you every night and we can text through the day, if you need to reassure yourself that I’m okay.” She rushed to get that all out, then touched his cheek.

Steve laughed and said, “I know I’m being silly and overprotective.”

“Yes, you are. Dot and I will be fine…we’ll miss you like crazy, but we’ll be fine.”

“Dot?” He spread his fingers out over her belly. “I like that.” he said in a throaty whisper before pulling her in for a long and passionate kiss.

Ginny ran a finger down Steve’s cheek. “Come on. Help me pack and then we can cuddle until you have to go.” she said, and kissed him quickly again before getting up.

There wasn’t much to pack and most of it laundry anyway. While she was packing, she got a message from Amanda. Joseph had gone up today to bring Diego his new leg, the one he’d built from a spare. The message included a video of Diego bouncing around on his new leg with his shield.

Ginny laughed and showed it to Steve. He watched it with a look of wonder on his face.

Ginny smiled at him. “That’s the same look you had last weekend when you held him in your lap.” she said, softly.

He looked up from the phone, then looked back to catch the end of the video before handing it back.

“Last weekend, the best I could ever hope to do was to hold someone else’s kid for a while.” he said. He stepped over to her and took her into his arms.

“I love you so much.” Steve said, huskily, pressing his lips against her hair.

Ginny looked up at him and pulled him down for a kiss. “I love you, too, babe.” she said.

They stood for a few minutes holding each other, then Steve walked her down to the parking lot, where they lingered long over goodbye.

Finally, Ginny was driving away with Steve watching her until she disappeared around a curve.

 

His meeting with Nick didn’t shed much light on the situation in Europe except to confirm that there was a lot of chatter, but nothing concrete. There seemed to be a little bit of focus in Belgium, but it wasn’t a strong enough concentration to even warrant further investigation.

But Steve was a careful man and asked Fury to see if there was anything going on there and report back.

The meeting left Steve uneasy. He ate dinner with his team and they all asked about Ginny. He wished she hadn’t left early.

 

Back in New York, Ginny spent her evening prepping for her meeting with Margaret in the morning. Ellen sent a couple of samples of hand-fastings for her to look at and she read through them without much enthusiasm. They were both quite flowery and deeply sacred…and she didn’t think either would work for them. But she saw things in both that she might be able to use. She messaged Ellen to see if she had any others and Ellen sent her to a couple of websites, where she found tons of inspiration. By the end of the evening she had a draft. She sent it to Ellen to see what she thought. And she sent it to Steve.

Steve texted back quickly:

 

I want to take time with this. Can we talk about it tomorrow night?

 

She responded:

 

Of course. Miss you like crazy. Talk soon.

 

His response was simple:

 

Dream about me.

 

She texted back:

 

Always.

A Time for Heroes – Chapter 30 – Deep Conversations

Monday afternoon was going to see Ginny and Margaret along with a couple of members of the foundation showing the three other hospital administrators the facility Ginny had at her gym. If they were going to set up these hospital centres, the facilities should be similarly equipped.

Tuesday, Ginny and Jess visited 10 different orthopedists to see if they could get them to start referring kids to them. Most of them worked in concert with the hospitals, so they were more than willing to work with her on this initiative.

Wednesday, they started interviewing staff. They needed three senior physiotherapists who were open minded enough to be willing to train in dance and yoga and acupressure to be able to offer some consistency of service. None of the ones they saw that day saw the value of these services. Ginny made a note to talk to HR about changing up their recruiting to get more suitable candidates.

Wednesday night, Ginny finally had some down time. She re-dyed her hair to a lovely shocking pink, called Steve and caught him up, then sat down to some mindless TV.

While she was watching, she let the little nagging thought that she’d been ignoring all week show itself. Her period hadn’t started yet. It had actually been due the Thursday or Friday before, so it was almost a week late.

She went and checked her calendar again. She had gotten her three-month birth control shot while Steve was still in cryo, the Thursday before she met him. She had started her last period the day after she and Steve had fallen asleep together in the Great Room, almost five weeks before. Nope, she was right. Her period was now officially late.

What worried her was that she couldn’t possibly be pregnant. With Steve infertile and her on birth control, the only way would have been another Immaculate Conception!

But, if she wasn’t pregnant, what was wrong with her? She had the kind of periods that you could set your clock by, even without the shots. She had never even had a scare!

She paced for a bit, then resolved to pick up a pregnancy test the next day and to call Jas on Friday, whatever the results.

But her resolutions didn’t help her sleep. She was restless, and she tossed and turned all night, waking the next morning bleary-eyed and foggy.

 

Steve and Tony were already at the gym when Ginny arrived, travel mug of coffee in hand. She’d be living on caffeine that day!

Steve looked up when she came in and frowned. Then he came over and gave her a quick kiss.

“You look tired.” he said, his concern showing clearly on his face.

“Rough night.” was all she offered in explanation before going to grab a croissant and a banana.

Ginny joined the men and Tony told her he was going to suit up for the new kid and stay and play for a little while and then he had a meeting with Margaret.

“She’s your new best friend, I hear.” Tony said with a smile.

“We seem to be getting on very well.” Ginny said. “If you’d have told me a month ago that I’d be able to spend a day with her chatting pleasantly, I’d have signed you up for more sessions with Jim.” Ginny paused and looked at Steve. “Speaking of Jim, are you still seeing him? You haven’t mentioned anything in a while.”

“We talked on the phone yesterday and we’re going to try to get together next week.” Steve said. His brow was still creased with concern at how tired Ginny looked.

But then the kids started filtering in and there was no more time for talk. Ginny stood off to the side while the kids all clamoured around Steve and Tony.

They had brought shields for everyone and Steve was going to show them a few moves with them. Tony went over to his suit, followed by Chris and Sean…they wanted to see him get into it.

Steve showed them a shoulder roll and another roll using the shields while Tony took shots at everyone, looking for weaknesses. Even his rubber projectiles stung when they hit, so the kids had incentive to not get hit.

After a few minutes, Steve came over to Ginny and stood beside her watching the fun.

“Do you want to tell me what’s wrong?” Steve asked, not looking at her.

Damn, Ginny thought. He knows me way too well.

After a long minute, she answered. “Just tired, babe. It’s been a busy week. We can talk about it all tomorrow when there’s more time. Don’t plan a big dinner or anything. Just us, okay?”

He fixed his searching blue gaze on her for a few seconds and then looked back up at the kids. “Just us, then.” he said. “I’ll order dinner up and we can talk.”

Sean had just gotten hit in the same place three times and Steve went to help him avoid those shots.

After that, Tony had to go for his meeting with Margaret. Ginny set everyone up to dance. With Hallowe’en so close, they had to start with ‘Thriller’. Chris had given it a good try the week before, but Ginny worked with him a little bit on the more difficult moves  before they started. They danced through a couple of times before moving on to something else.

Ginny played another dance sequence for them from ‘The Replacements’ to the song ‘I will survive’. It was a simple line dance and they soon all had it down, even Steve, who said he really liked that one.

Then on to the machines. Sean and Chris stuck close to Steve, so she gave them their ‘manly’ work outs and went to work with the girls.

“I wish Black Widow would come again.” Maya said. “I want to learn to fight like her, not Steve.”

“You don’t need Natasha for that.” Ginny said. “I can teach you how to fight like a girl. Nat and I have sparred a few times…I’ve even sat her back on her butt.” Ginny added, proudly. It only happened once and she still wasn’t sure if Nat had been going easy  on her, but it had definitely boosted her confidence.

“You? You can fight?” Sarah asked, incredulous.

“Yes.” Ginny said, starting to feel defensive. “Do you think the Avengers would have taken someone along on a mission who couldn’t defend herself?”

Ginny must have raised her voice because Steve looked up from across the room and said, “I won’t fight her.” He smiled at Ginny, hoping he had helped.

“You’ve never sparred with him, then.” Maya cocked her head in Steve’s direction.

“Steve only spars with Thor and Bucky and the Vision. It’s not much of a challenge for him to have to pull his punches against us mere morals.” Ginny said. “But I have been up against Falcon, Tony Stark and the Avengers’ trainer, JP, as well as several agents who were on the mission. I’m an MMA Master, so I’ve been up against some pretty tough opponents at tournaments, too.”

“Wow!” Annalisa said, her eyes wide.

“So, do you want to learn or what.” Ginny said, standing up.

Sarah’s face lit up. “Yes!” she answered, with Maya and Annalisa right behind her.

So Ginny started them on drills and very shortly the boys joined them.

Sarah baulked at this, but Ginny just told her that they’d have to learn to fight bigger opponents.

They spent the rest of the morning drilling and sparring, but when Tony came in half an hour before they were done, she asked if he’d spar with her. She wanted to show the kids, especially the girls, what was possible.

So Tony stripped off his suit jacket and tie and dress shoes and squared off.

Tony was much stronger than she was, so Ginny knew that part of her strategy was to avoid his lethal punches. She was faster than he was and that was her big advantage.

But neither one of them could put the other on the back foot that day and it gave the kids a good idea of the techniques they’d be learning.

Both Ginny and Tony were sweating freely by the time the kids rides started to show up. Steve handed them each a towel as Ginny cautioned the kids not to use any of this in the schoolyard.

“If I hear you have, I won’t teach you.” was her threat.

Once they were all gone, Tony clapped Steve on the back and said, “I’ll meet you at the helipad, Rogers. Don’t be too long.”

He turned to Ginny and said, “We’ll see you on the weekend, Geneviève. Pepper says she’ll come up for dancing, so let us know.” Then he put his suit of armour back on and left.

Steve turned to Ginny and took both of her hands. “You sure you’re okay?” he asked again.

“Just need some sleep and some love.” she answered, quietly. “Don’t know if I’ll get much more sleep tonight, but hopefully tomorrow night.” She looked up at him with a tired smile.

“I guarantee it.” Steve said, bringing her hand to his lips to kiss. “Do you want to do some dancing? It feels like it’s been a while.”

“That does sound like fun. Maybe Saturday? I can even see if Jess wants to come up to give Bucky a partner.” Ginny said.

“There might be a crowd. It’s not like at Stark Tower.” Steve said. “And even if Jess doesn’t come up, Bucky never seems to want for dance partners.”

Ginny gave a little laugh at that. “Well, he’s a nice looking, sweet guy…I’m surprised no one’s put a ring on him yet.”

“He’s been pretty isolated at HQ, but he gets around. I don’t think he’s really the marrying type, especially now.” Steve said. “This whole Winter Soldier episode had left him pretty shaken.”

“I can understand that.” Ginny said. Steve pulled her into his arms and then pulled back for a slow, sweet kiss.

“I hope you get some sleep tonight so I can keep you up tomorrow night.” he said in a husky voice.

“That would be nice.” she whispered back and kissed him again. “You’d better go before Tony leaves without you.” she said, against his lips.

“What time tomorrow?” Steve said and put his lips over hers again.

“Fourish.” she answered, once she could. She pulled back a little bit to look at him. “Shall we dance after dinner?” she asked. “On Saturday, I mean.”

“Sounds perfect.” Steve said, and gave her a quick kiss on the lips and then the tip of her nose. “I love you. Drive safe tomorrow.”

“I will.” she whispered back. “I love you, too.”

Steve stopped at the door and looked back, still concerned. “Get some sleep tonight, okay?” and left.

Ginny smiled after him. Maybe the pregnancy test would be negative and her period was just late. She really didn’t want what they had to change.

 

On the way to the foundation offices, she stopped at a pharmacy. After discussing the pros and cons of several different pregnancy tests with the pharmacist, she picked the two that were supposed to give the earliest results. The pharmacist cautioned her that she still should see a doctor for confirmation.

“I know.” she said. “I’ve got that lined up for Saturday. I just need to know now.”

The pharmacist gave her a knowing smile and cashed her out.

By mid-afternoon, she had a caffeine headache and she was still struggling to stay awake, so she took a look at her schedule with Jess and had her move her afternoon meeting to the next morning and gathered the paperwork she needed to finish for that meeting to take home.

“Have you been in touch with Bucky this week?” Ginny asked Jess.

Jess’ shy smile told Ginny everything she needed to know. “Yeah, he’s called me a couple of times. Why?”

“Because we’re going to have a bit of a dance party on Saturday night and I didn’t know if you wanted to come up and join us.” Ginny said.

“Wow, that sounds like fun.” Jess said. “I’ll text Bucky and see if he wants me to come up.”

“Okay, let me know tomorrow.” Ginny said. “I’m going to go home and try for a couple of hours sleep before I tackle this paperwork for tomorrow’s meeting.

“Let me know if you need any help with anything. I’ve got nothing else going on tonight.” Jess offered.

“Will do.” Ginny said as she pushed through the door.

 

But as soon as she got home, she peeled open one of the pregnancy tests. She’d never used one before, but the instructions were fairly straightforward.

So she peed on the stick and waited for her cellphone timer to go off before checking the results…positive.

She stared at the stick for a long time, praying she was mistaken, but it wasn’t even an ambiguous result. It was definitely positive.

So she peeled the second test out of its wrappings, followed the directions to the letter, and got another positive result.

For the next half hour, she wandered aimlessly around her apartment with a chaotic jumble of thoughts bumping around in her head. Every time she tried to hold onto one, another would bump it out of her grasp. Finally, one thought stopped long enough for her to examine it. Jas. She had to call Jas so she could see her on Saturday.

She dialed Jas’ cell number and waited. After three rings, Jas answered.

“Hi, Ginny, this is a welcome surprise. What’s up?” she said.

“Jas, are you alone? Can we talk?” Ginny managed to blurt out. What if Steve was there?

“I’m alone in my office, Ginny. What’s wrong?” Jas’ voice had turned serious.

Ginny was still having a hard time forming words, but she managed to finally blurt out, “I think I’m pregnant.”

There was a long pause on the other end of the phone.

When Jas did speak, her voice was tightly controlled. “You know it can’t be Steve’s.” she said, simply.

“I know.” Ginny said. “He told me. But it can’t be anyone else’s either.” She let that statement hang between them.

“How late is your period?” Jas asked.

“Just a week.” Ginny said, still having trouble talking, but Jas’ professional demeanor was helping.

“That’s not very late. It could just be delayed.” Jas said.

“I’m on the birth control shots and I could always set a clock by my periods. I’ve never been a week late.” she said, still fighting panic. “And I did two different pregnancy tests and they were both positive.”

“I never trust drug store pregnancy tests, although these newest ones seem to be more accurate. Are you coming up this weekend?” Jas asked.

“Yes. I was hoping I could come see you on Saturday.” Ginny asked, hopefully.

“I’ll be in the infirmary from about 10 am. Just text me when you want to come down.” Jas said. “Are you going to tell Steve?”

“I’m going to have to.” Ginny answered. “He already knows something’s wrong. And if it is a baby, he’ll wonder why I didn’t confide in him.”

“Tomorrow night?” Jas asked.

“Yeah, unless I chicken out.” Ginny said, with a half-smile. “Thanks so much, Jas. I’ll see you on Saturday.” and she hung up the phone.

Ginny looked at her bed, then at the briefcase full of paperwork and opted for the paperwork. She had so much adrenaline coursing through her, she’d never sleep. But if she could focus, she could get herself ready for her meeting the next day before the adrenaline crashed.

She plowed through and got enough done to deal with the meeting before she started to crash. She was tempted to eat something, but knew she’d better sleep while she could. It was 7 o’clock when  she laid down and she slept right through until 6 the next morning when her alarm went off.

When Steve called at 8 and got her answering machine, he sincerely hoped it was because she was sleeping.

 

The next morning, Ginny still felt groggy, even though she had slept for almost 12 hours straight. A shower helped a little bit and so did coffee, but she could tell today was going to be another slog.

She saw that she had missed a call from Steve the night before and then a text.

 

Hope you had sweet dreams.

Love you.

 

She smiled when she saw that and then frowned. How on earth was she going to tell him what she had to tell him?

That was a concern for later, so she pushed it away. She packed up what she’d need for the weekend, ate a big bowl of oatmeal, and headed for her office. Dress on Friday was casual and her meetings were all internal, so she was wearing jeans. That meant she wouldn’t have to change for her drive upstate.

Jess caught her on her way in and told her that she’d be coming up Saturday night to dance.

“Bucky’s thrilled.” Jess said. “He really wants to take me dancing.” She was glowing.

Ginny smiled. “You two are really cute together. What time am I getting out of here?”

“If your afternoon meeting doesn’t run long, you should be able to hit the road by 3.” Jess said, consulting her tablet.

 

Even though she was exhausted, the day went quickly and she got a lot accomplished. She almost succeeded in forgetting the conversation she was going to have to have with Steve.

But she had more than enough time to think about it and rethink it and rehearse it in her head on the drive up to HQ. Too much time. She finally cranked up ABBA to drown out her thoughts…and it kinda worked.

Ginny pulled up to the Avenger’s HQ and could see Steve waiting for her inside.

“Hey.” she said, as he came out to the car to grab her duffle bag. “How did you know when I’d be here?”

“I called Jess and she told me you left at 3.” Steve said and kissed her. “She also said she’d be coming up tomorrow night to dance.”

“Tomorrow night should be fun.” Ginny said, distractedly, letting Steve put his arm around her as she put her arm around his waist.

Steve looked down at her as they walked and then looked ahead again. Obviously, they still had something to talk about. So he steered her directly to his quarters.

He put her duffle in his bedroom and came back to find her still standing in the middle of the room, wringing her hands.

He came up and put his hand on the small of her back and said, “Dinner won’t be here for a couple of hours. Come and sit down and we can talk.”

She looked up at him with a combination of terror and sadness, and started to pace.

He stood there for a moment, his hand still in the air where her back had been. Whatever she wanted to talk about was going to be news to him, and not good news.

He grabbed a dining room chair, and turning it backwards, sat down with his arms across the back of the chair and his chin resting on his arms and waited.

But Ginny just paced, still wringing her hands. She’d stop occasionally and Steve would think she was going to say something, but then she’d continue her pacing.

Finally, Steve said, quietly, “Talk to me,  Ginny. You’re starting to scare me.”

Ginny was across the room from him and she turned to face him. She gave him a sad smile and shook her head.

She forced her hands apart and dropped them down by her sides.

She held his serious gaze for a moment before saying, “I…I think I might be pregnant.”

Steve raised his head and held her gaze for a moment. There was a look of shock on his face.

He stood up and turned his back to her. When he turned back around, the pain in his eyes was palpable.

He walked up to her and said, “What kind of a cruel game are you playing?” His voice was full of anger and pain.

That look almost broke her. But she knew she couldn’t break down now. He needed her to be strong.

So even though tears prickled at the corners of her eyes, her hands clenched into fists by her sides and she let her anger take over. She met his steely blue gaze with equal intensity.

“If you think,” Ginny said through clenched teeth, “that I would bring this to you if there was anyone else involved, you don’t know me very well.”

She held his eyes and saw the pain start to turn to uncertainty.

Ginny dropped her eyes first.

“If I am pregnant, Steve, the baby is yours.” she said, quietly.

Steve stood looking down at her for a minute longer. Then he turned away from her. He sniffed loudly as he wiped his nose with the back of his hand.

Ginny grabbed a tissue to blow her nose. “I still have to see Jas, but I’m a week late with my period and I did two drug store pregnancy tests, both of which were positive.” she said to his rigid back.

Steve was shaking his head. “It can’t be mine. you know that.” he said with quiet menace in his voice.

“I know.” she said, quietly. “There are other things that can cause a false positive. None of them are…good.”

“Stop! Stop this!” he yelled. “God. I can’t listen to this anymore.” He ran his hand through his hair trying to get a grip on himself.

“I have to go.” he said and headed for the door.

Ginny stood watching the closed door for a long time with tears running down her face. When her knees gave way, she lay on the floor and let the despair she was feeling wash over her. She sobbed for what felt like hours curled in a fetal position.

 

Steve stormed up the corridor to the gym. He needed to hit something really badly and if someone had stopped him, they might have been what he hit.

He pulled open the cupboard in the gym to find tape for his hands and ripped it off of its hinges. He threw the door aside and managed to get his hands wrapped before starting on the heavy bag.

His mind was just a jumble of chaotic thoughts as he started to warm up. At first he didn’t even try to focus, but once he did, it only got worse. His negative thoughts fed on each other.

How could she do this to him, he thought, as he sunk a lethal punch into the bag. He thought that they had something special together, but now he wasn’t so sure.

Who could the other guy be, he wondered, sinking a three-punch combination before bouncing away. It could only be one of the other Avengers or agents. That’s where she was when he was lost in the hell.

So he was lost and his only thought was to get back to her and she was off with some other guy; the bag danced dangerously close to coming off its hook with his next punch.

All of the other Avengers were with him, so who could it have been? Peter in the infirmary? Maybe Alex? Who else had been on the mission? He grunted with each punch, imagining the faces of the men he thought might have done this taking the beating he was giving the heavy bag.

No, wait. Tony had taken everyone back when Bucky was hurt, so it could have been Tony. Was Bucky just his excuse to come back to Ginny? To comfort her while he was missing?

Shit, he thought, as he continued to batter the bag with his fists. What about Barton? Christ, he had a wife and kids! Or Thor; yes, it could have been Thor. He always seemed to have a bit of a different moral code than the mere mortals on earth.

Steve let his mind tell over all of the men on the mission as well as at HQ and then he started to look beyond them, to the other men in Ginny’s life. When he started to blame 15-year-old Sean from Ginny’s child amp group he stopped and shook his head.

“Shit.” he said out loud. “What are you doing, Rogers?”

He leaned his head against the bag to try to bring some order to his chaotic thoughts. One sentence came back to him from his conversation with Ginny:

“If I’m pregnant, Steve, the baby is yours.”

If? So she wasn’t sure. Although she wouldn’t have said anything to him at all if she didn’t have a pretty good idea that that’s what was going on. What else had she said? That there were other things that could cause a false positive but that none of them were good.

“Shit.” he said again, and started to unwrap his hands.

“The baby is yours.” she had said. If she was sure of that, there mustn’t have been anyone else.

But how? Now he needed answers and there was only one place to get them; in the infirmary.

 

When Ginny finally had cried herself out and gotten up off the floor, she stood for a minute in the middle of Steve’s quarters without the faintest idea what to do.

She sighed. “Well, that could have gone better.” she said out loud. She knew where Steve probably was and she also knew that she couldn’t go to him there.

But as she looked around, she realized that she couldn’t stay there, either. If Steve needed space to come to grips with this, her best bet was to head back to the city.

But before she headed back, she should see Jas to see if she could get some confirmation either way. She took out the Visine she now carried in her purse since her dad’s heart attack, squirted a drop into each eye, and headed for the infirmary.

 

Jas took her right into one of the examining rooms. She did an internal exam, letting Ginny know that she did feel a small mass, which was about the right size for a two- to-three week fetus. Then she and Ginny talked about the other things that could cause a false positive. The genetic disorders Ginny was concerned about had other symptoms, none of which Ginny was exhibiting. But along with blood for an early pregnancy test, Jas also took samples to be tested for cancer markers. With her aunt’s death so fresh in her mind, Ginny couldn’t help but be concerned about that.

As Jas turned back to untie the cuff on Ginny’s arm, she said, “I take it from your eyes, things didn’t go well with Steve.”

“Well, so much for Visine.” Ginny said with a sad smile. “No, they didn’t. He didn’t want to listen and he left, which is what I think I need to do now.”

“He’ll come around, Ginny. Just give him time.” Jas said, quietly.

“I know he will, Jas, but if he needs space to come to terms with this, I think I need to give him that space.” Ginny said. “I don’t want him to feel pressured into accepting something that he’s not ready to accept and me staying might just do that.”

Jas looked at Ginny with admiration. This is one strong lady, she thought.

Jas told her that in three weeks, she should be able to do a conventional pregnancy test and that she should have all of the other test results back in by then as well, and they could go over them together.

Ginny gave Jas a hug at the door and headed back to Steve’s quarters to grab her duffle bag for the trip home. She wasn’t sure if she was hoping he would be there or not.

But he wasn’t there and hadn’t been there, from the look of things. She searched for paper to leave him a note, but when she found some, she wasn’t sure what to say. In the end, she just wrote: ‘I’ve gone home. Call me when you want to talk. G’

Since she had just arrived, she hadn’t unpacked at all, so she grabbed her bag and purse and headed for her car.

 

Steve burst into the infirmary looking for Peter. It had been Peter who had given him the news of his infertility and hopefully Peter who could clarify those test results for him.

“Steve! What’s up? You seem out of breath.” Peter said in greeting. He had just arrived back from dinner and hadn’t realized that Ginny had just been there and left.

“Peter, I need to talk to you about the fertility test results.” Steve said, quickly.

“What about them?” Peter asked, starting to catch Steve’s anxiety over this.

Steve took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to calm himself. “Ginny may be pregnant and I need to know if there is any chance that the baby could be mine.” he said.

Peter looked at him closely. “Yes, Steve, there is.” he said. “A low sperm count and low motility rating, like you have, make it very unlikely, but not impossible. After all, it only takes one.”

Steve stared at Peter for a long moment trying to comprehend what he was saying.

Then Jas came over. “What are you doing, Rogers?” she said, angrily. “Ginny was just in here and you’re about to lose the best thing that ever happened to you.”

“What do you mean?” Steve asked, turning towards her.

“She’s going home. If you hurry, you might just catch her.” Jas said, pointing towards the front entrance of the building.

 

Ginny put her duffle bag in the backseat of the car and had just opened the driver’s door when she heard Steve walk up behind her. She took a deep breath and waited, not turning around.

It was a moment before he said anything…she could almost hear him struggling to find the right words to say.

“Ginny, please don’t go.” he said finally.

“Steve, we both need some time to come to grips with this…on our own.” she said, still facing away from him.

She heard him sigh. “I’m so sorry I doubted you. I am a fool. Can you ever forgive me?” he said in a rush.

Her next breath came out in a sob. Steve came up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders. “Please don’t leave me.” he said, softly.

“You left me.” she said, before breaking down completely. He turned her towards him so he could put his arms around her.

“I told you, I’m a fool.” he said as he held her, sobbing, in his arms.

When her sobs had faded to snuffling breaths, she said, “You can’t do that! This was important and you ran! You can’t do that to me! I wouldn’t do it to you!” She was looking up at him accusingly through puffy, bloodshot eyes.

“I know.” he said, quietly, wiping a tear off of her cheek. “I’m so sorry. I’m a fool and a coward. I couldn’t face what you might say.”

“And now?” she asked.

“Now, we need to deal with this together, whether it’s a pregnancy or something else. I won’t leave you again.” he said, firmly. She let him pull her back into his arms and they stood beside her car with the sun setting behind them for a few minutes.

“Come on. Let’s go inside. Dinner will be up soon and we can talk about all of this.” Steve said, reaching into the backseat to grab her duffle bag.

 

Dinner was just being laid out when they arrived back at Steve’s quarters, so they sat and started to eat in silence, neither of them quite sure what to say.

“What did Jas have to say?” Steve said, finally.

Ginny had been focused on her plate and now she looked up to meet his inquisitive look.

“She…um…did an internal exam and said she could feel…something; a small mass. She said it’s about the size she’d expect for a two-to-three week old fetus.” Ginny was still very emotional, so her delivery was really clinical.

“So this would have happened almost as soon as we started having sex?” Steve asked, taking a forkful of potatoes.

“So it would seem.” she said, continuing to eat.

“You said, ‘if this is a pregnancy’…what else could it be?” Steve asked.

She looked up at him and said, “There’s a few genetic disorders and several types of cancer that can cause a false positive on a pregnancy test. Jas has pretty much ruled out the genetic disorders, but she took blood to check for cancer markers.”

Steve looked up from his plate and caught her eye. For the first time, he realized what she’d been living with for the last couple of days. He reached across the table and took her hand.

“This week must have been hell for you. Why didn’t you tell me?” Steve asked, softly.

Ginny laughed out loud. “No. This wasn’t a conversation to have over the phone. I saw the look on your face.”

Steve shook his head. “I’m so sorry. I was a real jerk today.” he said.

Ginny looked up at him and smiled. “I love you anyway.” she said, squeezing his hand.

He smiled back at her. “I thought I’d lost you when Jas told me you were leaving.” he said, softly.

“I thought I’d lost you when you stormed out of here.” she said, as her tears started to flow again. They hadn’t eaten much dinner but neither of them seemed to have an appetite, so Steve got up and led Ginny over to the couch, where they could hold onto each other.

 

Ginny laid her head against Steve’s chest, just over his heart and he held her fiercely, almost too tightly, but she didn’t complain.

“When did you start to suspect?” Steve asked.

Ginny was quiet for a moment. “It was at the back of my mind all week, but it was Wednesday night when I really took the time to look at the calendar and yesterday afternoon when I did the pregnancy tests.”

“So Thursday morning…” Steve said, letting his voice trail off. “I knew something was wrong.”

“Yeah, I didn’t get much sleep on Wednesday night, or last night for that matter.” she said.

Steve was quiet for a minute, still trying to take this all in.

Ginny looked down at her flat belly and placed her hand there. Then she pulled away to look up at Steve. He placed his hand over hers. Her smile of wonder was matched by the one on his face.

“Papa.” she whispered, and pressed her lips softly against his.

“Mommy.” he whispered back and kissed her again. Then he gathered her into his arms and held her tightly, tears streaming down his face.

When he finally released her and reached for the box of tissues, he said, “This just doesn’t seem real, yet.”

She smiled at him. “For me, either. Other than the missed period, I haven’t had any other symptoms…no morning sickness, no food aversions, no fatigue. Hopefully, I’ll be one of the lucky ones and not have any of those to deal with.”

“But I understand,” Ginny said in a seductive tone of voice, “that some women become insatiable during pregnancy.” She kissed him deeply and came away sucking on his lower lip, something that always turned him on!

“Now that’s a symptom I can live with.” Steve said, kissing her deeply again. “But can we…I mean, we won’t hurt the baby?”

“The baby is just a microscopic dot right now, so, no, we can’t hurt it.” she said.

Ginny had started to undo the buttons on his shirt. “Are you sure?” Steve said, breathlessly as he kissed her again.

“I’m positive.” she whispered against his lips.

That was enough for him. The day and the week had been long and he wanted her badly. He moved forward on the couch to get his legs under him and carried her into the bedroom.

He lay her on the bed and laid on his side beside her. He slowly unbuttoned her blouse and her jeans and helped her out of them before resting his hand on her belly. She pulled him down to claim his lips in a kiss again.

Then she took his hand from her belly and moved it to her breast. She reached behind her to release her bra, which joined her top, jeans and panties on the floor.

Steve lowered his head to take one nipple into his mouth. Ginny cradled his head, urging him to take it deeper as she moaned her pleasure.

He moved to the other one until they were equally hard, then he stopped to look at Ginny’s breasts, still fondling one with his free hand.

“Have they changed?” he asked.

Ginny reached up to cup her breast, weighing it in her hand. “I guess they’ve gotten a little bigger and a little firmer, but not too much.” Steve dipped his head and flicked her nipple with his tongue.

Ginny jumped, “And a little more sensitive!” she said, giving him a playful shove on the shoulder.

He laughed and said, “Noted.”

Ginny pushed him over onto his back and started to pull at his belt. She could see his erection straining against the zipper of his jeans and took every opportunity to brush against it as she worked on getting his jeans off. When she got down to his prosthetic leg, she looked up at him questioningly.

“We’re not getting up again, are we?” he asked, pulling his t-shirt over his head. She shook her head and took the leg off, too.

As she slid back up his body, she ran her tongue up the length of his erection and he grasped the blankets with both hands, flexed his hips and moaned his pleasure. Then she straddled his hips just below his cock.

He had his hands on her hips. “No.” he said. “Not like this. Not without my leg. I can’t thrust properly.” He closed his eyes and bit his lower lip as she gently stroked the head of his cock with her thumb.

“Oh, that’s why you flipped me over last weekend.” Ginny said. “I wondered. I thought you liked this position.”

He flipped her over again and pinned her to the bed, claiming her lips in a series of playful, little kisses.

“I do, when I have two legs to work with. This position is better when I’m naked.” His voice faded to a whisper on the last word.

He slid down her body a little bit so he could suck her nipples again. He loved it when she was really wet.

As he slid back up to kiss her, she guided him into her and he thrust himself deep inside. She arched her back and moaned, then thrust her hips against him, urging him on.

He thrust deep and hard and felt her start to tighten around him as her body arched and writhed beneath him. He felt his balls draw up close to his body as he came deep inside her.

Ginny wrapped her legs around his hips to hold him still and ran her hands rhythmically down his back.

Steve raised himself on one elbow to look down at her. “One of my first thoughts when you told me was – how was I going to handle nine months without sex.” Steve said, pushing a hair out of her eyes.

Ginny raised an eyebrow at him and said, “That was not your first thought. Not even close.”

Steve bowed his head and then shook it. “You’re right.” he said. “My first thought was when did you have time to be with someone else, who was he and what was I going to do to him.”

“That’s my jealous man!” she said and kissed him.

“Then the no sex for nine months thing.” he said with a smile.

Ginny giggled up at him. “I love you, Steve Rogers.”

“I love you, Geneviève St. Pierre.” He kissed her deeply, flexing his hips as he felt himself slipping out of her, but to no avail.

So he rolled off of her and grabbed some tissues to wipe up before they snuggled back together under the covers.

“So what’s the plan for tomorrow.” Ginny asked. “Unless you want to just stay in bed all day.” she suggested running her hand slowly down his belly.

He caught her hand before she went too low and said, “As tempting as that sounds, I thought we’d check out the town near here. I’ve heard that it’s very quaint and picturesque and might be a good place to live and raise a family.” He was gently stroking her hand.

“That sounds wonderful!” she said. “I love exploring little towns! They always have such cute shops and little mom and pop diners.”

“Excellent.” Steve said. “If we get out of here in the morning, we can have lunch there and be back here for dinner and dancing. Tony’s set up one of the bigger arenas as a dancehall. I think 7 is when he’s got everyone coming.”

“I’m really looking forward to that. There aren’t a lot of places to just go dancing anymore.” She wrapped her arm more tightly around his chest.

“Are you tired?” he asked her.

“Actually, I am.” she said with a yawn. “You?”

“Yeah, I could sleep.” he said. “Tonight was really draining!”

“That’s an understatement.” Ginny said, with a little laugh.

After a few minutes, they drew apart so they could lay facing each other holding hands between them. They talked quietly for a little while about the baby and new possibilities until Ginny’s eyes started to close.

Steve leaned forward and kissed her forehead. “Sleep, love.” he said.

She smiled drowsily at him and let her eyes close on the longest day of her life.

Steve watched her sleep for a long time. He was emotionally exhausted, but his body wasn’t ready to sleep, yet. But that was okay. He had lots to think about and process.

When sleep finally took him and hour or so later, his mind was settled and he slept peacefully until morning.

A Time for Heroes – Chapter 29 – Weekend at HQ

avengersHer morning was spent fine-tuning the training program and discussing recruiting strategies. By noon she was ready to get outside and hit the road. Jess was waiting for her in her office.

“Ready to ride, boss?” she asked, playfully.

Ginny smiled and said, “Just gotta pack up my office.”

She grabbed the real estate packages and her tablet along with the budget package Angela had given her the night before and packed them into her briefcase. She made sure she had her purse and her phone and she was good to go.

As they rode the elevator down to the parking garage. Jess filled her in on their afternoon.

“I’ve got the properties set into my GPS.” she said. “If we keep our phone lines open, we can chat while we drive.

“Food?” Ginny asked.

“First stop.” Jess said with a smile.

“Nice.” Ginny said as she unlocked her Civic a few cars down.

Once inside, Ginny set her phone on hands free and got Jess on the line. She let Jess lead out and she followed.

The burgers and fries were almost too greasy! But they were so delicious, Ginny didn’t mind how messy they were.

The first property was a bust. It wasn’t big enough to accommodate her gym because the space was divided.

The second one was promising. It was bright and clean and in a good location. They’d have to do some research on the town to make sure this would be a welcome program, though. The town seemed to be a bit of a hick town from the attitudes that they saw at the gas station they stopped at.

The third spot was in one of the bigger cities, which Ginny preferred, and was clean and spacious and on a bus route! Ginny was sold almost right away. And it was the closest one to Steve.

Jess took lots of notes on all three properties and would follow up on questions the next week.

“What do you say?” Ginny asked. “It’s 3:30 – let’s go meet some Avengers.”

Jess could hardly contain herself. Ginny felt the same, although for a different reason.

They pulled into the parking right at 4 and headed up the front steps. They had left their luggage behind; that could be picked up later. Neither one of them wanted to drag it around as they toured the facility.

But instead of Steve waiting for them, Maria Hill greeted them as they walked up the stairs. Steve had run late in the arena so he had asked Maria to meet them and bring them in.

“Who’s he sparring with?” Ginny asked.

“Thor showed up unexpectedly and JP wanted them to square off.” Maria answered, leading the way to the arena.

Ginny turned to Jess. “Looks like you get to meet Thor after all.” she said.

Jess just gave her a nervous, excited smile and fell in beside her. Continue reading “A Time for Heroes – Chapter 29 – Weekend at HQ”