"So where are we going?" Steve asked, following after Dayne. She was tugging him in some direction down the streets of London, grinning widely. She had brought them to England with a Portkey, refusing to tell him why. He hated Portkeys, and she knew this, so she had promised the trip would be well worth it.
He admired the woman in front of him, a smile on his lips and his blue eyes soft. She was dressed in a long, purple and gold dress that hugged her form in the most tantalizing way. It wasn't fair, he just wanted to pull her close and never let go. She had even put on the boots that Natasha had gotten her for Christmas, the ones that laced up to her knee and gave her at least an extra three inches of height. Over her dress was a black coat to keep out the chilliness of the London spring.
"I can't tell you!" She exclaimed with a laugh, pulling him down a more secluded street that looked almost a little seedy. "You'll see when we get there, and I promise you'll like it!" She smiled back at him widely, her full lips naturally red and her dark eyes sparkling.
She has to know what she does to me, he thought to himself, slightly frustrated and filled with need.
"After that horrid Portkey trip it better be," he teased, squeezing her hand. He walked faster to keep up with her, twining their fingers together tighter.
"Don't worry," she looked up at him through her thick lashes, "It will be worth it."
Steve looked around in confusion, the street they were on was dark, most of the streetlights broken, and the few people they encountered seemed... questionable to him. "Right..."
She giggled and pulled him towards a door that he could swear had not been there before. Above it a sign said The Leaky Cauldron and it swung with soft creaks in the wind. Dayne pushed open the old wooden door and he followed her into the pub. He blinked in surprise, his eyes taking in people of all shapes and sizes and... was that a Centaur?
"Hello, Tom," Dayne called, making her way through the pub and up to the bar.
"Lady Black," the barkeep said formally, smiling softly. "It's nice to see you."
"It's wonderful to see you, dear Tom," she teased, "Is the wife keeping you busy these days?"
"Terribly," the man grumbled out in a deep voice. "Wanting this and that all the time."
"Poor thing," Dayne shook her head mournfully, her free hand against her forehead. "A bothersome woman who doesn't know her place, what has the world come to?"
"Terrible things," the barkeep grinned and then glanced at Steve. Steve stood taller under the close scrutiny, looking back at the other man. "Who's this?"
"This," Dayne said with a grin, "Is my fiancee, Steve Rogers."
"The Lady Black is getting married?" Tom raised a brow at her before offering his hand to Steve. "I wish you luck, she is a Hungarian Horntail guarding her nest."
"Oh, I know," Steve chuckled, not entirely understanding the reference, "I know that too well."
Dayne sniffed with fake distain, holding herself tall and proud. "I am no such thing, how dare you fill his head with such untruthful accusations! My heart is torn to pieces, you vile man!"
"Ah, Lady Black, your heart is made of iron like the rest of your family. I cannot tear into such a thing, I only have my plain fingers."
Dayne laughed and shook her head, "What a lovely reply, dear Tom. Steve and I really must go now, I have his first trip to Diagon Alley planned out."
"Ah, a first trip," Tom nodded and handed Dayne a small piece of paper. "Give this to Florean Fortescue's and you will get a free sundae."
"Thank you," Dayne took the slip of paper with a small curtsy. "Have a wonderful day, give the wife my love."
Tom waved her off and ambled off to greet another customer. Steve followed Dayne to the back of the pub and outside to a... brick wall. A very plain, very high brick wall. A dead-end. He watched as Dayne took out her wand and tapped a sequence of stones and his eyes grew wide when the stones started to move away, revealing the longest, busiest, and most magical place he had ever seen.
"This is Diagon Alley!" Dayne said with a smile, waving to the Alley. Steve stepped forward onto the cobblestone street, looking around with amazement.
"This is... wow."
The cobbled street was filled to the brim with bright, oddly dressed witches and wizards busy shopping away. And the shops, those were fantastic! Just glancing at each of them wasn't enough, but he felt strange just standing there and staring.
"It's neat, isn't it?" Dayne grinned up at him, looking like she was barely containing her excitement at his response. "A whole world hidden away beneath the one that you know so well."
"It sure is swell," he said, kissing her softly. She chuckled and pulled back, grinning again. "Real swell."
"Well wait until you actually walk into the shops. First, though, we have to go to Gringotts." She started to lead him down the long alley, being mindful of other people and the way Steve kept getting distracted. He really appreciated her gentle guiding hand.
"What is Gringotts?"
"The bank that magical folk use. It is run by Goblins."
"Goblins?" Steve looked down at his fiancee skeptically. "Like the ones from Fairy Tales?"
"Different," she replied simply, leading him up to a very large and grand building at the end of the Alley. It was by far the grandest building of the whole area they were in with it's marble floors and columns and the large, bronze doors. It was also the tallest, which made it seem larger than life.
They entered into the large building, which was by far grander on the inside, and Steve tried not to stare at the creatures sitting at the tall desks and walking around. Goblins. They're almost like something out of a nightmare.
Dayne led him up to a desk with no one in front of it and coolly stared up at the Goblin sneering down at them.
"Name?" the creature growled out.
"Dayne Aquilla Black."
Dayne handed the Goblin a small, golden key that she pulled out of the pouch belted to her side. The Goblin inspected it before nodding. "You shall be taken down to your vaults, Miss Black. Is there anything else you wish to discuss?"
"No, that is all," Dayne murmured, nodding her head politely. The Goblin sneered back and resumed looking over his paperwork. "Come on, Steve."
He followed her towards a set of large doors at the end of the hall, frowning slightly. "Are they always so grumpy?"
Dayne laughed, becoming relaxed once again. "Unless you have lots of gold to give them, yes. It is just the way Goblins are."
The journey down to Dayne's vault was one of the most harrowing in Steve's life. He would rather go back in time and destroy a Hydra Base then go on the roller-coaster ride down to the lowest levels of Gringotts. It was worse then the time Tony convinced the Team to go to Six Flags Amusement Park and ride all the 'biggest and best rides'. There weren't even seat belts on the train cart the Goblins used to travel to the vaults!
"LeStrange Family Vault," the Goblin in control of their cart said snidely, stepping out to stand by the door of said vault. He touched his hand to the vault as Dayne and Steve got out of the cart, causing the door to open.
"Thank you," Dayne said, walking into a large and open room. It looked like some sort of large animal had lived in it for a time, which confused Steve.
Dayne grinned at him, walking through the room to another set of doors. "This room used to house a dragon."
"My family is full of insane people." Dayne didn't even try to defend her family, he noted with amusement. "They thought a Dragon was needed to protect their fortunes."
She pushed open the large doors on the other side of the Dragon Room and he gaped at the treasures that were inside.
"It's a terrible amount of wealth, isn't it?" Dayne mumbled, looking embarrassed. "I think my family is the the Stark Family of the Wizarding World. Or I am, since I am the only one in control of these riches. Even my aunt doesn't have a say."
"This is... I have no words." Steve walked around the room slowly, looking at the jewelry and gold and riches sitting on tables and shelves and even the ground.
"Don't touch anything unless I say you can, alright?" Dayne called from across the room, filling her pouch with gold. "I am part of a very long line of Dark Wizards. Items in this room have a very likely chance of being spelled with nasty things."
"I will keep that in mind," Steve replied, walking back to the dark haired woman. She smiled up at him and offered him a small pouch. "What's this?"
Steve opened up the pouch and tipped it upside down into his palm. Out of the bag fell a gold ring and he picked it up, turning it over to look at it. There was a large emerald set into the ring surrounded by small black gems. There was an emblem on the emerald, and he looked at it closely. "What does this mean?"
"It's the Black Family shield. Old-fashioned, I know."
"I like it," he pressed a soft kiss to the corner of her mouth. "Thank you."
"It should resize to fit whatever finger you want to wear it on," Dayne said, almost shy. "You gave me a ring, I wanted to give you one, too. You're not a wizard, but you are now part of my family. A Black, scary as that is."
He laughed, picking her up gently and hugging her. "Steve Black. What a terrible name."
"Dayne Aquilla Rogers sounds better," she teased, wrapping her arms around his neck. "So much better. Come on, I want to get out of here. As Tony would say, let's blow this popsicle stand."
Steve chuckled and set her back down, grabbing her hand. "Maybe you spend too much time with Tony."
"He's making me a new costume after I... burned the other one. I haven't got a choice right now." Dayne shrugged, leading him back out to the impatiently waiting Goblin. "He keeps coming up with more and more ridiculous ideas though."
"Ridiculous ideas and Tony go in the same sentence very easily."
Dayne laughed, getting into the cart gracefully. Steve joined her, albeit reluctantly. He didn't want to go on another Gringotts roller coaster ride, it would be just as bad as the first time, he knew.
And it was.
Steve was never so glad to see steady ground again after the trip back up from the vaults, which seemed to be even quicker then the ride down. The bright sun out of Gringotts and the hustle and bustle of the Alley was extremely welcoming after the vaults and caverns.
"So I think that you would find the book store, Flourish and Blotts, neat," Dayne said, smiling up at him. "It's my favorite store. Does that make me sound like a bookworm?"
"Maybe a little," he teased, letting her lead him down the cobbled street. They walked side-by-side, her thin, graceful hand in his large, strong one. He twined their fingers together, squeezing her hand gently. She squeezed back before opening the door to a large book store.
"I need to get some new potions books. I'm bored with the ones I have."
"Didn't Tony, and Natasha, say that you are not allowed to brew in the Tower anymore?"
Dayne snorted, rolling her eyes. "So I blew up one, just one, potion. Big deal, Tony blows his experiments up all the time."
"His experiments don't leave neon purple goop behind that takes two weeks to clean up," Steve reminded, following her down the aisles of books. He looked around curiously, spotting a few interesting titles. Lucky Potions for Losers. Jinxes That Warm the Soul. Tricks of the Trolls.
"Details, details," she mumbled, picking up a thick (and dusty) tome. Obscure and Potent Potions of Distant Past. "I got the mess cleaned up, didn't I? I'll remember not to mix fairy wings and lavender stems before adding rose petals from now on. Mistakes happen."
"What does adding rose petals have to do with it?" He asked, confused. She passed him the large book and he took it dutifully.
"If you add them after fairy wings it counteracts some of the effects the wings have. I should have remembered that, but I wasn't really thinking that day." She picked up another book and snorted before putting it back. Love Potions for the Desperate.
"That sounds like something Severus would have yelled at you for." A couple more books on potions were handed his way before they made their way to another aisle.
"It is," she admitted, picking up a fur-covered book. "Such a simple, and idiotic, mistake like that would have gotten a week filled with tongue-lashing and detentions. Look at this."
She held the book up so he could look at it. "Magical Creatures and Where to Find Them?"
"As if wizards and witches care enough to find them," she grumbled, "But that's not why I picked it up. It has some really good pictures in it and some creatures you might like to draw."
He smiled and kissed her cheek, taking the book. "Thank you. I will start drawing you unicorns and fairies to fill our room."
"Unicorns are wonderful," she said, smiling. "Absolutely wonderful. Fairies can be little arses, though."
"Oh yeah," she laughed, walking with him around the store aimlessly. She placed any books she found interesting in his arms and he took their weight easily, smiling. "Pixies are worse. I hate those things. Did I ever tell you about my Defense Against the Dark Arts class and professor when I was in my second year at school?"
"You did not."
She stopped and looked at him, shaking her head. "I didn't? How could I have never mentioned Gilderoy Lockhart? He was such a ponce! He brought pixies into our class one day and the idiot decided to let them loose on us! On second years!"
He grinned, watching her get excited and frustrated with her story. Her hands waved around slightly, a frown on her lips. She was adorable and he couldn't help but be amused. "What horror," he said for her benefit.
"It was!" She exclaimed. "I was scared of things flying near my head for weeks."
He laughed and kissed the top of her head, grinning. "I'm sorry, dear one. At least you got over that fear, or else Clint would never leave you alone."
"Or Tony or Natasha. Thor would probably join in on the fun," she grumbled, walking to the counter with him. She paid for the books and shrunk them down, putting them in her pouch.
"Fun at your expense, poor you."
"My life was terrible," she lamented dramatically, making him laugh again. They exited the shop and she took him into the shop next door, the Apothecary. The moment they stepped in Steve wrinkled his nose at the harsh smells that assaulted his sensitive nose. He looked around at the grotesque vials and jaws full of everything from innocent looking plants to what looked like animal parts.
"This shop is... lovely," he lied, using a lot of his effort to do so.
She smirked and picked up a jar that said Goat's Liver. "Don't try to lie, love, it doesn't become you."
"I didn't want to be insulting," he defended softly, watching her pick up a small wooden basket and shop around the aisles full of jars of things he would rather not think about. Crushed Beetles. Hog's Feet. Pixie Saliva. Robin Egg Shells.
"You make potions out of all of this?" He questioned, aghast.
"Why do you think they taste so terrible? Not all do, but most of them have horrible tastes and consistencies." She made her way up to the counter and handed the man behind it a list of ingredients. "I need these items."
The man nodded and disappeared through an open doorway.
"What is he doing?" Steve asked, resting a hand on her hip and kissing the top of her head. She leaned back against him, smiling softly.
"He's getting me the more expensive and dangerous ingredients that I wrote down. Like Dragon's Blood."
"I'm now convinced, your society is horrible," he teased, watching he man come back out with a shrunken down crate. Dayne paid, smiling crookedly the whole time.
"It can be, I won't disagree with you. You still haven't seen any shrunken heads, those are the worst. They talk still and everything."
Steve shook his head and shuddered, following his fiancee out of the Apothecary and back into the busy Alley. He breathed a deep sigh of relief which also doubled to clear his nose of the awful, strong scents of the Apothecary.
"I'm sorry," Dayne said, smiling crookedly. "That shop can be a little much. Want to get ice cream now? Or do you want to go to the Magical Menagerie?" Dayne suddenly blushed and looked up at him shyly. "We could maybe get a pet together?"
"You want to get a pet?" Steve grinned, bringing her hand to his lips. "Our first kid and we're not even married yet?"
"Well I think Nick is getting a little desperate waiting for a grandchild. We should appease him for a while, right?" She teased, leading him to a very crowded shop across from the bookstore. They stepped into the loud shop and Steve looked around in awe.
"How do they manage to get so much in here? It didn't look this big from the front."
"Probably extension charms to make the shop bigger on the inside."
"Is that a purple rat?"
Dayne looked over at the cage in question and shrugged. "Yeah. He might have been born that way or a charm went astray."
Steve wandered around the shop with Dayne, confused and sometimes shocked by the creatures he saw in cages, on perches, in aquariums, scurrying along the floor. More then once he almost stepped on a wayward cat that decided to lay out in the middle of the floor. "There's so much in here, I don't think I could ever choose."
"That's understandable," Dayne said comfortingly, "There really is a lot of animals in here. We don't need to get a pet today, we can shop around. Maybe we can adopt from a Muggle shelter."
"That would be good. At least the animals there can't breath fire." Steve was looking at a particularly mean looking lizard that seemed to be burping fire.
Dayne laughed and led him back outside the shop, going up the street to Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour. The two took a seat and a short witch with bubblegum pink hair came up with menus, smiling brightly. "Wave me down when you want to order!"
"Okay, so Fortescue got a little creative a couple years ago and added a backside to his menu. The flavors on the back are sort of like Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. They're weird and sometimes nasty flavors, so I wouldn't choose from there. The front has regular ice cream flavors, and some that are really good and unique because Fortescue made up a few of them himself," Dayne informed him, smiling at her menu. "He's a brilliant man. Best ice cream I have ever had, except for Clint's vanilla ice cream."
"He can make surprisingly good deserts," Steve agreed, smiling. He looked at his own menu, his eyes wide. "How many flavors does he serve?"
"Too many, sometimes. And all of them are good so it's hard to choose."
Steve nodded, in perfect agreement with her. He was so overwhelmed with the list that he just shook his head, grinning. "Which do you prefer?"
"Coffee is fantastic," Dayne said, and he could tell that she was about to get on a roll. "Lemon is tart and sweet, it's amazing. The vanilla doesn't beat Clint's, so don't bother, but the chocolate is really rich and creamy. I like the tiramisu, it really tastes like the real thing. Uhm, the blood orange is great... and cherry has real cherries in it, but they're grown by Centaurs so they're special. Centaurs grow the best fruits."
Steve grinned, "Any other kind you want to tell me about?"
Dayne blushed, shaking her head. "I'll stop now."
"How about I get cherry then? I want to try Centaur grown cherries."
"Then I'm going to get tiramisu. You can try it then."
"It's a deal," he teased, getting the waitress's attention. She came on over and he placed their order, polite as always.
"That woman wants in your pants," Dayne teased suddenly, whispering playfully.
"Stop hanging around Tony," he replied automatically, smiling crookedly. "He's turning you into his minion."
Dayne started laughing, bringing a big smile to Steve's face. She shook her head, grabbing his large hand and kissing the back of it. He squeezed her hand gently, feeling relaxed and happy.
"I love you," he said, taking her other hand. "I love you so much."
She smiled, shy. "I love you, too.
Here is my lovely one-shot that I promised for my wonderful 100 reviews! Just a sweet, sappy thing for you all. It might not really fall into line with how I want my story to go, but you'll see about that later! Please leave your thoughts after you read.