*Captain America meets Black Canary from Arrow. Takes place after the events of Age of Ultron.*
1: Fight or Flight
Steve lived for these midnight runs. While the whole city slumbered, he was feet to gravel; his legs pumping powerfully, heart beating rhythmically… It was just him and the shadows. He could usually run twenty to thirty miles in one outing and he was sure Sam would have been jealous if he knew that. Not that Steve had any intention of telling anyone about his nightly ritual. It was his private thinking time and it felt sacred somehow. He thought a lot about Bucky on these runs; thought about how the so-called ruthless Winter Solider had pulled him from the water that fateful day. Bucky was out there somewhere and Steve wasn't giving up until he found him.
Steve's tennis shoes smacked against the pavement as he gulped down a bottle of water - more out of habit than true necessity. He was just rounding a corner when he heard the shouting. A man screamed, "Just hand it over, bitch, and I won't hurt you!" He heard a woman's voice snap out a warning, "Touch me and you'll be sorry." The man let out a string of hateful curses. There was the unmistakable sound of a fist meeting flesh. Steve flew up the block, adrenaline pushing him forward. His blood thrummed in his ears so loudly that it almost drowned out the sounds of the screaming.
He moved for the mouth of an alley that loomed up ahead in the moonlight. He had the worst feeling he was going to find a crumpled, broken body on the ground. Instead, he found the woman giving as good as she got. The man shot out a hand to club her in the face. She jumped back, seeming to anticipate the move. And then she somersaulted in the air, rearing up to kick the man in the stomach. He doubled over, grabbing his large midsection. He was calling her every hideous name in the book. He took one last weak swing at her and she blocked it with the back of her arm. She shoved him backwards and he hit the wall behind him hard. He was knocked out cold.
Steve paused in his tracks to survey the scene, not exactly sure what had gone down. The woman turned to look at him then, looking half-ready to charge him too if necessary. He held up his hands. "It's okay. I don't want to hurt you. I heard the scuffle and came to help." Not that she needed the help, apparently. She seemed to be a tremendous fighter, possessing brute physical skills that even his good friend Natasha might be impressed by.
She studied him critically and then uncurled her fists. She sighed as she dabbed at a cut on her lip that dripped crimson. "I handled it, but thank you... Captain America."
"How did you-"
"I watch the news," she said. "Everyone knows who you are. Plus my uncle has told me a lot about you."
"Your uncle?" Steve said.
She nodded as she bent over to reach for her fallen purse. She opened it and extracted a packet of tissues, pressing one to her mouth. "Yes. You may have heard of him… Bruce Banner?"
"You're Banner's niece?" He eyes went wide. He definitely did not see the resemblance. She was tall, impossibly toned, blonde and svelte. She also carried herself with an aura of confidence and purpose.
"Yes, he's my dad's half-brother. Anyway -" she looked at the perp on the ground - "I need to go call the police to come round this guy up."
Steve nodded. "I'll stay… at least until they get here. I can give an eye-witness account."
"What all did you see?" She asked.
"Honestly, I saw him try to hit you and you fight him off. That was -" He wanted to say impressive but didn't want to sound condescending. "Brave," he concluded.
She shrugged. "I guess my fight or flight response kicked in... I had no choice but to protect myself and the confidential court records that he was trying to 'lift' off of me." She pulled her out cell phone and placed it to her ear. "Detective Quentin Lance please… Yes, this is his daughter Laurel. It's really important."
Steve watched her for a moment, noting the look of concentration setting her full lips. The would-be thief was coming around to consciousness then. He jabbed an accusatory finger at the woman who called herself Laurel. "She's crazy. She's a crazy bitch!"
Steve marched over to him. "You're offending my ears, sir. And no one should call a lady such hateful names."
"Hey, pal, I was just minding my own business when that 'lady' attacked me."
"Okay, sure, let's go with that," Steve said, not believing him for a second. Steve had a sixth sense about people and this guy had "bad news" written all over him.
"It's true. That cunt is crazy."
Steve had never wanted to punch anyone more than he did this guy as he hurled insult after insult at Laurel. For her part, she took it in stride, as if she had heard it all before. She seemed strong - not just physically, but in every other way a person could be. Again, he was impressed by her poise, but of course he didn't say so. Right then, words failed him.