And I'm off! To see the movie that is. But before I do I thought I would leave you with the introduction. A prelude, if you will. I'm so excited to share this story with anyone who cares to read it. If you are here, reading, bless you.

If you're new to my stories (Hi!) please know that this is the sequel to my first Loki-centric fic, Shiver. I have also written several dozen little companion fics featuring Loki and Steve Rogers and my OC. all collected in 50 Little Lies.


Heroes & Thieves

Prelude

{Words We Couldn't Say}


In the deepest of sleeps, Steve Rogers could hear only the ghostly whisper of icy winter winds. They raged inside his head, wild with energy; filling the silent voids of his memory. 70 years' worth of lost time.

Steve…

Chilling though they were, they did not haunt him. They only brought an air peace to comfort his tired mind.

"Steve…"

Someone was calling to him. A warm voice, slipping past the shrill winds sound. Steve was slow to wake, but the voice was passively persistent.

"Steve."

Finally, his eyes fluttered open. From years of military service and training, his senses were quick to assess his location. His vision blurred, shying against the warm summer light. He lay on his back looking up at the cherry wood ceiling, high above him. It was still here, no rushing winds clouding his mind. He could feel clean flannel sheets against his skin and a familiar warmth. Another body was pressed to his side, an arm draped over his chest. The faint smell of lavender.

He turned his gaze to his right and into the eyes of the woman he shared a life with.

Ellie. Her face free of make-up, freckled and face. Her dark eyes were foggy like his, bogged down with dark circles and still wrestling with sleep's tempting hold. Her red hair, which she had strung into a loose braid the previous night, was muted and messy from being slept on.

He glanced over his shoulder to the ticking clock that sat at attention on his nightstand. Afternoon was beginning to creep in. The faint sound of spring practice games fizzled from the radio. The announcer's voice was muted, describing the state of a team Steve couldn't recognize by name.

Turning back to Ellie, he leaned down and pressed his lips to her forehead. Fixing his arm around her shoulders, he teased the end of her braid with his fingers.

"Morning. Again." She whispered, her breath laced with quiet laughter. Her alarm had begun its shrill cries at dawn as it always had. After shutting it off, the pair had spent the morning listening to the games and drifting in and out of consciousness. This was his favorite time of the week, he realized. Another lazy Saturday, spent sleeping the morning away.

"Almost afternoon." Steve said.

"Is it really?" She groaned. Mumbling something to herself, she slipped from his arms.

Flinging her legs over the side of the bed, she stretched her arms high above her.

"Well, we should get going then." She said, sliding from the bed and rounding the end, heading into the bathroom.

"Going?" Steve asked, already feeling and uncomfortable coolness creep into the spot Ellie had just left. He rolled onto his side, to watch her.

"Yes, today's the big day." Ellie said, glancing at her reflection in the mirror. "Remember?"

"Oh, yeah." Steve said, sitting up. "Your sister's wedding."

Ellie could hear the reluctance in his voice. She knew he didn't care for her sister. It didn't bother her though, not many people cared for her sister. It didn't help that Catherine didn't care for Steve.

Ellie finished freeing her tangled locks from their braid. She shuffled back over to the bed, hopping onto it. She smiled serenely, brushing a stray hair out of his eyes.

"Come on, Steve." She said. "You're not going to let me go without my date are you?"

He shook his head almost bashfully. She grinned and kissed him. She was far too quick for him and before he could pull her to him, she was gone. His eyes flickered open just in time to see the bathroom door close. It was followed by the pattering sound of the steady flow of the shower.

How about that? He thought, grinning. I have another date.

Dragging himself out of bed, he walked one of the narrow windows that lined either side of the wall. Leaning against it, he looked out into the neighborhood he had grown up in. It was a like skeleton to him. The bones had stayed strong and sturdy, but the skin he knew had been peeled away.

He never dreamed he would be alive in such a time. This was the future Howard Stark was always going on about. Sleek, speedy cars that could run on electricity. Sky scrapers towering higher than the ones he had grown up ogling. Technology that made his head spin. It was all so fascinating. And overwhelming.

But the future, or the present, wasn't the utopia that was always promised. When Ellie prepared herself for work in the early morning hours she would listen to the news. Steve would listen to, but he always wished he couldn't hear it. The world was panic ridden. Disease, poverty, hatred. Wars, small and secretive, were being fought all over the world.

He had been buried deep in the ice for close to century and when we awoke he was met with a century's worth of changes.

Had any of it been for the better? Steve Rogers wasn't so sure.

Running his hand through is hair, a subtle sign of distress, Steve turned away from the window and the world he didn't understand.

Do I even want to understand?

His thoughts were broken by the turning of the door knob. Ellie poked her head out, sheets of steam swirling through the crack.

"Do you want to shower?" She asked, a towel hung over her head, damp dark curls still dripping.

Steve just nodded.

"Okay, I'll be-" She stopped. "Are you alright?"

Steve balked. "Whatdya mean?"

Ellie frowned, stepping into the bedroom and pulling the towel from her head.

"You have that…far away look in your eyes." She said softly.

Steve forced a sweet smile neither of them believed. "I'll be fine."

Ellie nodded, knowing that pressing him would only push him father away. She slipped past him, pausing to place a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Be quick!" She said, her voice jumping to a peppier tone. "The car will be here in an hour."

Steve watched her disappear into the closet.

I should count myself lucky. He thought, a truer happiness blossoming in his chest. That I have her.


There was nothing particularly glamorous about a New York City Summer. The heat hung heavy in the air, trapping breath and sweat. The iconic skyline did it's very best to shade its loyal residents from the suffocating weather, but the heat overtook all.

Not that it mattered all that much. Nothing could hinder a determined New Yorker. So even the blistering heat, life persisted. Baseballs games were well on their way, people flocked to the parks, and happy celebrations continued. In this case, the wedding of Catherine Crane and Simon Hicox.

A wedding, as atypical as you would expect a New York wedding to be.

"That was…interesting." Steve Rogers, a man of the past, found himself utterly dumbfounded by the state of the wedding he had just played partial witness to. Ellie allowed herself one small smile, before taking Steve's hand in hers.

She had always known Steve would be startled by her sister's take on the day every girl allegedly dreamed about.

The wedding had been quite predictably pushed back. Again and again. The elder Crane sister, Catherine, was devoted to her work. When scheduling issues arose, the wedding would fall every time. First it was the conference in Venice. Then there were the difficult dealings with securing a grant from the technological giant, Stark Industries. Then the acquisition of a small German-born financial firm. They were all considered horrendously important in the eyes of the bride-to-be, Catherine. Much more so than choosing invitations, shopping for a dress, or marrying the man she wished to spend the rest of her days with.

Simon, Catherine's soft spoken fiancé, cared little for his bride's apathy to the day-in-question. He too came from a family that placed little value in romanticized sentimentality. Even knowing all of this, Steve had been entirely taken aback by the ceremony. If you could even call it that.

The ceremony itself was a purposefully quiet affair. Neither the Crane nor the Hicox parents bothered to attend. The bride and her groom gathered together at the courthouse with only their siblings by their sides.

Ellie brought Steve along, only because she didn't know what she would do with herself otherwise.

Catherine wore a simple ivory shift dress, Simon a beige suit. Only a few short words were exchange, a small kiss, and then it was made official. Catherine, of course kept her name, and the deed was done.


The reception was set on the roof of Catherine's assistants building. It was a rather stunted old complex, by New York Standards. Squeezed between two high rises, the roof was adorned with a garden. Small trees and flowers were scattered throughout the space and twinkling lights had been hung high up above.

Elise, Catherine's bubbly assistant, had planned the whole affair. A white baby grand piano had been brought up from the street and a small chorus of singers surrounded it. Drinks were served and a small gathering of Catherine's associates and friends were all in attendance.

Ellie had chosen to bypass mingling. The bridal party had arrived well after the other guests and, even though she had yet to spot them, Ellie knew her parents were hidden somewhere amongst the crowds.

She had gone so long without having to speak with them, even see them, she knew she wouldn't be able to take there condescension and disapproving looks now.

Steve and Ellie had escaped past the crowds and over to the buildings end. A small stone bench had been placed under a large, potted tree and some flowery vines. It was the perfect spot to hide away.

"Would like champagne?" Steve asked.

Ellie, who had been lost in thought, blinked. "Oh! I'll go with you…"

"Nah," Steve said, itching to do something. While Ellie had slipped onto the bench, Steve sat leaned against the brick wall, watching her. "I'll be right back."

"O-" she said, watching him go. "-kay."

She peeked her head over the vines, watching him slip through the crowds. All the worries her parents presence and brought down on her vaporized as she watched Steve. He looked very dapper that night, with his pressed shirt, smart tie and good ol' leather jacket.

He was always so polite and sweet. Looking out for her, anxious to do things for her…

And he's so handsome. She thought, swooning like a schoolgirl. And sweet and kind hearted and…

As he walked back towards her a terrible thought flickered in the back of her mind.

Oh my god…She thought, her heart hammering angrily in her chest. I think I love him.

Where had that come from? Suddenly it was so clear, clearer than the day, clearer than the purest of seas. I only just occurred to her, but the thought felt old, as if she had known it all along.

I love Steve. She thought, shaking her head. No. She had promised herself she wouldn't do this. Go through this again. However, it was something she couldn't deny. No matter how hard she tried.

I love him.

"Here you are." Steve said, trying to seem brighter than he felt.

"What! I mean, thanks." She accepted the glass and slipped back down onto the stone bench this time, leaving room for him to join her.

He did, sinking down next to her. Resting his elbows on his knees, he clutched his own drink. He was angry with himself. He had been so contented that morning, but then he allowed himself to plunge deep down into the darker crevices of his thoughts. Even with Ellie, even at a wedding, he couldn't shake the depression that had settled deep into his belly after his awakening.

The same thought that taunted him day in and day out: You don't belong here. This isn't your world.

Ellie finished off her drink in a matter of sips, still trying to come to terms with her not-so-little revelation. She glanced at Steve, who looked positively ghastly.

Her heart sunk, as it always did when she saw him in this way. She wished he could muster up the courage to talk about whatever it was the caused him such distress. But she knew what it meant to keep secrets and she didn't want to force him.

Scooting closer to him, she slipped her arm under his and threaded her finger with his. He jumped a bit, but relaxed. She rested her head against his shoulder.

"Thank you for coming with me." She said quietly.

Steve looked down at her and couldn't help but smile, his darker thoughts beginning to recede.

"Of course," He said, a bit bashful. "I couldn't leave my girl all alone."

My girl. Ellie thought, blushing fiercely.

Steve straightened and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.

"You look beautiful." He said. It was true. Ellie had left her hair down that night, it frame her face quite nicely. She wore a short plum colored dress with capped sleeves, the neck scooped just low enough and her waist was cinched with a velvet black bow. Steve was quite unaccustomed to the shorter attire women wore, but he certainly wasn't against it. Her legs were sheathed in black tights and she wore black heels.

So do you. Ellie thought, knowing it was a silly thing to say to a man.

"Thank you."

She almost said it. Right there. I. Love. You. She had to work hard to restrain her restless tongue. Instead, she hopped up to her feet, feeling the need to flee.

"Umm…" She stumbled, searching for reasoning. Steve looked up at her, his face tinged with confusion. "Do you, uh, want to dance?"

Ellie, you idiot. Dance? What is this the 1940's? Of course he doesn't want to dance.

She blamed the quiet tinkering of the piano and the jazzy singers serenading the small party. But try as she might to squirm her way out of her own little mess, the words just didn't come.

Steve almost dropped his glass. Did he want to dance? A flurry of memories bombarded him, talking him back to a simpler time, a time that was no more.

"I don't-no." He said too quickly. Remembering the last person who had asked him that was far too painful.

Ellie sighed, relieved. "Thank goodness. I'm awful. I don't think I've ever even tried."

Steve smiled, his mood lightening at her unintentional charm. "Me neither."

Ellie smiled, realizing suddenly that she would always be able to count on him. She leaned down, her hand on his shoulder and kissed his forehead.

And he almost said it. He had been aching to. I. Love. You. He had realized almost a month ago. Since then he had been trying to say it, in a way that wasn't sudden for pathetic.

And wasn't this the perfect moment? Standing on a sparkling, flower-flooded rooftop?

He stood up, too. His head felt dizzy.

Come on, Steve. He thought. You've faced HYRDA agents wielding flamethrowers. Just…say it.

"So, let's dance." He said, the words spilling out of his mouth.

Ellie choked. "What? But you just said-"

"No one will see us." Steve said, "Besides, it's just an excuse to hold your hand."

Ellie looked down at his hand. She was embarrassed. She had never dance before. But it was Steve. She realized that she didn't care if Steve saw her falter. She knew he wouldn't run away screaming.

Maybe he loves you back. Her heart whispered, quite giddy at the thought.

Even if he doesn't. Her heart replied. It was a thought that didn't need finishing.

So Ellie accepted his hand. Steve slowly pulled her to him, his hand resting on the small of her back. Ellie placed her hand on his shoulder but, feeling a chill slid it down to his chest and leaned against him.

To an outsider viewer, the scene looked almost painfully awkward. Neither knew what to do or how to lead, so they simply swayed back and forth. Ellie leaned her head against his chest and Steve's chin fell on top of her head.

With their eyes shut tightly, they rocked backwards and forwards. The sound of the piano and whispery chatters of the crowds lulling them into peace.

It felt so right. Ellie forgot about her family. Steve forgot about his place in the world.

And they danced.

Soon. They both thought. One day soon. I'll say it.


Disclaimer: Of course, I only own my OC. And I'm quite fond of her.

This song was heavily inspired by The Avett Brothers' I & Love & You. It really is the perfect song for Steve.

Thank you for reading! Hopefully, I will have the first official chapter posted sometime tomorrow or the next day. I would love to hear your thoughts.

BB