Sanctuary


The café was a little island of calm in the busy hub of New York. It had become one of his favourite places to sit and catch his breath when the city with all its loudness and strange, new technology started to overwhelm him.

Sometimes he took out his sketchpad and drew the people or the buildings he could see from where he was sitting. He became an observer, an outsider that seemed to be part of the crowd at first glance, but in reality there was a certain distance between him and them.

That was certainly how he felt most of the time.

Steve finished his sketch of a street vendor and his clientele and put down his writing utensils, exchanging them for his drink. The coffee was pleasant warmth in his hands.

Ever since his 'awakening' in this time – sometimes, most of the time, it felt more like an awakening in a different world altogether – he found he enjoyed the warm brew a lot more. The drink warmed him inside out and even though physically warm or cold temperatures didn't bother him as much as it did other people, Steve found that he really didn't like the cold anymore. At all.

But, while he enjoyed the coffee, he felt a lot more awkward with the drink in his hands instead of his pencil. The comfortable distance between him and the rest of the world was gone, making him feel as vulnerable as he might feel without his shield in the heat of battle.

He sighed, scanning the crowds. Unconsciously he was searching for anything familiar but instead his eyes fell on a tall red-haired man.

What caught his attention was that the man seemed slightly… out of place. His clothing was not the only thing that seemed just a little bit odd – because, to him most of the clothing around seemed odd so he really wasn't the best person to judge –, no, it was mostly the guy's behaviour. The man was staring and gesturing at the large television screens on the buildings, the bright lights spelling out words and brand names and things like the parking meters and the like. All things that had been startling to Steve as well, after his 70-year icy coma.

The redhead was addressing his questions and exclamations to the brunette woman by his side and she seemed to be trying to shush him. She failed miserably in her attempt, though, and the two erupted into a loud argument.

Steve blinked when the odd couple halted their argument abruptly when the bossy brunette sighed, shook her head and led the redhead to his café.

They took a table further in and Steve, who was usually far more respectful of people's privacy, surprised himself by turning his chair to keep them in his sight.

It was the woman who bought them their drinks – something that still seemed rude, wrong, to him even though he had learned it was considered somewhat normal now – and after she returned with them their argument continued.

He could only just hear what they were saying and learned that he was right in his suspicion that the man was as out of place has he himself was. The redhead asked what seemed to be his girlfriend about what the boxes on the street were for and somewhat accusingly brought up the strange large television screens 'I thought you said that muggles didn't have moving pictures and living portraits?'

The odd questions only confused Steve more and he had hoped the woman's explanation would help him understand the two, but the brunette only promised to explain it to him later and that 'honestly, Ron, if you'd just read the handouts I gave you before we left you'd already know these things…'

"Oh, come on, 'Mione, you knew I wouldn't read it. And I don't need to know all that stuff anyway. I have you, don't I?"

This started another small argument between the two, but their words were tinged more with fond exasperation than with any real anger.

Finally the woman gave up, shook her head with one more 'honestly Ron, I don't know why I even bother…' and took out a large book from her deceptively small bag.

The man, Ron, he gathered from their conversation, also took something from his bag. To Steve's surprise it wasn't a magazine or one of those small telephones that everyone seemed to be carrying around nowadays, but a travel chess set.

A harmonious silence descended between the two as one of them became absorbed in her book and the other in the strategies he was playing out on the chess board in front of him. Still, the couple remained aware of each other on some unconscious level. The woman somehow noticed even the slightest movement of the redhead and knew by the aborted movement of the man reaching for his drink that it was empty. Gracefully she rose to get them both a refill. And when the woman moved to place her book on the table, the man automatically moved his chessboard aside to give her space.

Sitting there, together at a small table in the café, both in their own worlds and yet also together in a world of their own, the two suddenly didn't seem like such a strange couple anymore.

The bossy exasperated woman had been replaced by a serene, slightly mothering lady and the loud, out of place and seemingly simple redhead was now a confident strategist.

Steve hadn't even realised that his hands had automatically reached for his sketchbook and pencil. It was almost like he couldn't help but drawing the scene before him. With sure strokes of his hands the dichotomy of the earlier argument and the current serenity were both relayed to his paper.

He didn't realise that in doing this, he had been transformed as well. As surely as taking up his mask and shield, the return of his pencil to his hand erased any feelings of displacement.

And in place of an old soul ill at ease with the world around him, there was now just a young man confidently moving his strong hands lightly over paper, completely comfortable where he was.


A.N: I wrote this on the train home from a book fair. I had gotten a bunch of free books and one of them was about 'how to draw' which somehow led to this…

I'm not even sure if this drabble makes sense to anyone but since I wrote it, I figured I might as well upload it, right?