A/N: Another five things fic...I seriously have issues. But this one had to be written because I think that Steve Rogers is literally like the adorablest (notaword) thing ever. Like, seriously. He's like a giant puppy...a chiseled, gorgeous, muscled puppy. And at the same time, he's one of saddest characters to me that has so much potential for expansion. He's like a child in this huge world that he's trying to make sense of, and hopefully through this piece, he'll find a way to find himself as he finds others that he loves.
No slash! And no Steve/Natasha pairing, the barest hints of Clint/Natasha if anything.
Enjoy the ride!
He ends up drawing her first.
It happens on a day that begins with nightmares. After Steve wakes up, gasping and sweating and chest heaving for air, he leaves his room to sit on the couch in the living room, hoping that his ghosts wouldn't be able to find him there. But they follow, and he wastes away the hours of early morning trying to still his trembling mind.
By the time the sky has turned a watery gray, he hears light footsteps padding towards him, growing louder and louder in volume. He already knows by the weight of the sound that the footsteps belong to Natasha, but he still turns his head and gives her a polite nod when she enters the room before returning to his thoughts. He traces a stain on the coffee table absentmindedly.
A soft touch startles him out of his musings and he looks up, surprised, to see Natasha looking at him probingly.
"Are you all right?" Her voice is brusque, but the hand on his shoulder is gentle, and he blinks for a long moment, reveling in the simple joy of human touch.
He's the captain of this team though, and he doesn't want her to worry, so he clears his throat to answer her. "Fine," he replies cordially. "Just couldn't sleep."
It's more than that (nightmares and Bucky and war and death) and Steve can tell from her sharp gaze that his lie isn't fooling her at all, but he doesn't elaborate further and she lifts her hand and walks away.
He finds himself craving her touch after she leaves, the air around him feeling cold and stale in her absence. He's not in love with her or anything, god no, she's Clint's girl and he's in love with a woman that died two years ago, but it's just that he feels more human when anchored to this earth by another hand connected to another heart.
But he understands why she leaves him alone. Natasha is the Black Widow. She was probably forged from iron and winter and steel at birth. It's up to him to save himself from his demons.
With that thought, the ghosts come whispering back into his mind, and he closes his eyes, searching for respite amidst the colors on his eyelids that pool like oil on water. He sucks in a deep breath and has just managed to calm himself when he hears a soft clink and feels a figure brush past him.
Steve opens his eyes. There is a steaming mug of some dark liquid on the coffee table in front of him. Natasha is curled up on the window seat, looking towards the skyline, sipping from a glass of her own.
He reaches forwards and curls his fingers around her act of kindness. After taking a sip, he feels warmth leaking into his bloodstream, rousing him back to life. The ache in his bones seem to fade, and the nightmares begin to clear from his mind. He begins to notice the world around him: the quiet city outside the windows, the way the sky has turned a luminous white in preparation for the day.
Hazy morning sunlight filters in from the gaps in the city skyline, turning to gold everything that it touches. As the sun rises, shadows flit across the floor, the darkness on the horizon flares to life, and the infinite sky turns from bone to cream to rose to flame. Light blazes into the world and the city seems to be shattering from its brilliance, but Steve finds that Natasha is glowing brighter than any sun.
He studies her with artist's eyes. The lines of her clothing are loose and shapeless, echoing the sweeping curves of her lips and cheeks, softer than he's even seen them before. As she gazes out the huge bay windows, sunlight melts onto her face, glowing brighter as the morning ages.
She is radiating light.
He keeps this image in his mind as he paints her later, in the safety of his room. With watercolors and a slim brush, he trickles his memory back onto the paper.
He draws her saturated with color, creamy golds, blushing pinks, as if she is reflecting the dawn behind her. The woman in the painting seems to dissolve into the sky with her own rose-colored locks and a dusty peach-colored shirt. She bears an expression that reminds him of the horizon – infinite, everlasting, and eternal.
He doesn't allow a hint of black or grey to stain the paper, because the woman in his painting is not the Black Widow. She is Natasha.
She is beautiful.
He draws her filled with light.
A/N: Please don't favorite/alert with reviewing, I'm sure that Cap would be quite ashamed of you if you did :)