1965-06-14 - Dodgers Fans in the Break Room
Summary: Teddy and Steve chitchat over coffee and Korean food.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
teddy-altman steve-rogers 

It's midday at SHIELD and, as usual, there's a bustle of activity among the rooms and halls of the spy agency's headquarters. Agents and support personnel buzz around exchanging information and file folders, some debating matters of importance, others arguing to what might as well be the wall. For Teddy Altman, still an agent-in-training, it's lunchtime and the most important thing for him is making it to the breakroom unmolested.

"'Scuse me," he says, shouldering past two senior agents discussing something in the hall. Held in one hand is a bag of leftovers he brought with him, and as his hand falls on the break room door, he let's out a sigh of relief and pushes his way inside.

Seated at a table is one Steve Rogers. Today, he's in civilian garb — brown bomber jacket overtop a plaid button-down shirt and jeans — rather than the striking and spangly garb he usually wears when off on official duty beyond the walls of SHIELD. The newspaper before his face rattles as he drops it to peer overtop its edge and he lowers it more upon seeing a familiar, young face.

"Agent Altman," he says by way of greeting, a friendly smile on his face. Not 'Mister Altman', as it was in Times Square — gotta keep the undercover 'undercover' and all. "Escaping the hub-bub for lunch?"

Teddy shuts the door behind him and suddenly all the activity from outside becomes just a muted noise beyond the walls. He glances over to Steve and smiles, using, "Captain," as today's greeting. This comes with a polite nod before the younger blond crosses to a neighboring table and has a seat. He wouldn't dare take up a spot at Steve Rogers' lunch table without an invite.

"Escaping that hub-bub to think about my own," Teddy says, opening his bag and reaching inside to pull out a container full of cold noodles. This he sets in front of him along with some wooden chopsticks. "Anything good today?" He asks this with a nod to the newspaper.

Steve watches the young agent take his seat at least ten feet away and his smile deepens, proving that he dimples when truly amused. The newspaper snaps as he folds it carefully and precisely along its previous fold lines and then he sets it aside to reveal a small paper cup full of coffee. The carafe is still mostly full, still steaming; he must have made a fresh pot.

"Nothing of immediate interest. C'mere. Sit at the table." He pats the surface with moderate force, making it resound through the metal legs with a faint ring. "I don't bite. Tell me about what they have you working on." He folds his arms and leans back into his chair, easy-going and affable.

Teddy snaps the two sticks apart as Steve invites him over to the table. He hestitates, but only for a moment before lifting his things, standing, and shuffling over to the table. Taking the seat across from Steve, he sits back down and peels open the lid to his container. Inside are some grayish noodles, vegetables of a few different colors, and sliced meat. The smell of sesame wafts out of it.

"Thanks," he says, holding his chopsticks in one hand, but not yet digging in with them. "Oh, they have me looking into some things from an assignment in Italy some weeks back. Honestly, though, I'm mulling over what to say to the director when I see her." After he admits this, he dips his sticks into the noodles and starts to stir them around.

Wheat-gold eyebrows lift in silent interest at the admission. He watches Teddy fiddle with his food before reaching out to grab up his cup of coffee. Black, very little sugar, Steve sips at it before speaking again.

"Director Carter has always been good at listening, Agent. She's also seen some things in her time. I'm not about to go prying at what you need to tell her, but you probably won't startle her." He pauses before half-grinning. "Much."

Teddy snags some threads of buckwheat noodles and lifts them from the bowl. He does this a few times in order to bunch some of them up in a way that will limit slurping when he eventually eats. This is only somewhat successful, due to how noodles behave. When he chews and swallows everything down, he sits back and looks across the table.

"Oh, sure. I've always liked talking to Director Carter. It's not about anything classified, I just want to know where she thinks I'm heading here. When conversations get personal, I get flustered, so I'm just giving it some thought." He shrugs and tries twice to snag a bit of green vegetable, which he lifts to his mouth to eat.

Another gulp brings the paper cup down to only a third-full and Steve eyes it before glancing over at the pot. It beckons, with its brewed contents treacle-dark behind glass, marked by graduations as it is. With a scoot of his chair, he's up and walking over to reach for the pot's handle.

"You'll get better at speaking about your work with time," he reassures Teddy. A wrinkle of nose at the flimsy cup brings him to set it aside and begin to rifle through one of the pale-wood cabinets for a mug. "You're welcome to use me as a sounding board. I've got no interest in gossip. Waste of time and communication," he adds from behind the open door. Things shift about as he hunts.

Teddy watches Steve get up and rifle through things to find a mug, considering the man for a moment, a man with whom he's worked for close to a year now, but doesn't really know at all. "Thanks," he says. When he turns back to his food and picks out some more to eat, it's almost as if he's ready to let the topic rest, but after a thoughtful mouthful of the cold Korean he lifts his chopsticks and tilts his head over to the man. "Have you ever, um, learned something that makes you look at yourself in a completely new way? And after it's like you have to learn how to walk again?" He winces, hoping this kind of talk doesn't end up with him in Psych evaluation.

In the interim of silence between Teddy's thoughts, Steve manages to dig out a coffee mug. He blows a puft of air into it to remove any dust and squinting at it, decides that it needs a hand-wash first. Over to the sink he goes and he glances up at the question. A pause himself, if only really to let the tap water begin to run hot, and he gets to wiping at the inside curve with fingers.

"I think the one instance that we'd both be familiar with would be waking up after the ice." He gives the young agent a faint smile to help him feel more at ease. "Several decades, a generation skipped… I knew everyone was speaking English, but when the slang changes along with everything else…" He grabs a rectangle of paper towel set off to one side and dries out the cup as well as his hands before walking back to the coffee maker. "Times changed without me. I'm still reevaluating some days." The quiet pouring of coffee fills in his silence afterwards.

Teddy continues to watch Steve go through the motions with the coffee mug. It feels nice having something mundane to watch, considering all the weird and sometimes scary stuff going on outside the break room. "Well, sure. I can't imagine how hard that must be, but I guess you're still…" He shrugs and seems unsure of how to say what's on his mind. "I don't know. Sorry. I've been stuck in my head too long. Maybe Director Carter will have something meaty for me to get my mind off things." He grins and eats a slice of meat. "What's on your plate these days?"

"Paperwork, believe it or not," Steve replies with a faint smile. He glances away from the stream of dark brew pouring into his mug briefly. "Even I'm not free of the shackles of the paper-pushers." Clicking the carafe back into place beneath the coffee maker's spigot, he walks to the table and sits down at his place once more. "Surprising how much work goes into keeping affairs in order around here sometimes. I lose a form and they all go running about like startled pigeons in a popcorn storm."

Teddy gets a bunch of his cold noodles together and fills his mouth with them. He chews and watches Steve as he the older man talks and gets his coffee. In fact, he might even be staring. Hero worship doesn't come readily to Teddy, but this is Steve Rogers and they're sort of having lunch together. The bit about the pigeons elicits a snort that reminds Teddy to swallow, which he then does. "Yeah, I lost a form once," he admits. I'm not scared of pigeons but I was then. "If there's one thing I've learned here it's how to be more organized."

The Captain nods, a small smile on his face. "They whip you into shape pretty fast if you don't submit your hours on time, much less attend the HR meetings. They might be more lenient with the senior staff members," — and himself, by weird proxy of title and the prestige that comes with the toils. "Not too different from the Army, in a way."

He takes a huge mouthful of his coffee and considers Teddy's meal. "Is that from one of the local places around here? Would you recommend it? I'm always looking for good places to eat." The serum burns so very many calories as is, even with him sitting there in conversational attentiveness.

Teddy just smiles at the talk about HR meetings and submitting hours. These are some of his least favorite things. When the conversation turns to food, though, he perks up and says, "Yeah, it's a little Korean place not too far from here. I always, always forget the name, but it's really good. Especially in the summer." Tilting his head to one side, he says, "I could get you some next time I order? You know, if you want to have lunch again. For work reasons. To talk about work, I mean. Missions." He shrugs and sighs, snatching some more noodles from his dish and slurping them up this time.

"I'll take you up on that, Agent Altman. Can't say no to such an offer, not a kind one like that." Steve gives the young man a friendly smile again even as he sets his mug down on the table, keeping a hand about it. "Just talk about missions though? Work at work? How about this," and he shifts in his chair to get more comfortable. "Tell me about yourself. Whatever you want to share." His expression is open and guileless.

Teddy nods and seems pleased by this answer. His eating alone might be an indication that he gotten close enough with colleagues yet to have many lunch friends. "Well, sure, missions. Whatever, really." He eyes Steve for a moment and then lets his chopsticks rest in the mass of noodles. "Honestly, I just want to do good work here. This place has a structure and a mission that I just get." He shrugs and leans back, knowing that isn't exactly what Steve was asking him. "Also I like the color blue, and spicy food, and baseball."

"There we go," replies Steve at first, giving an approving nod of his head. "My favorite color is teal, favorite food is…eh, that's a harder one. I'll have to get back to you on that one. Not rations," he amends with a quick grin. "Had too much of that on the front lines. Baseball's a favorite too, what can I say. Dodgers. Well…back when. These days, I'm not sure who to root for."

He pauses to sip his coffee. "Mmm," and sets it down again. "Oven-cooked chicken. There is nothing on this green earth like plucking the oysters off the bottom of an oven-cooked chicken. Herbs, butter under the skin so it crackles…yes. That'll be it."

"Oh, yeah. Roast me a bird any day of the week and you'll make a new friend," Teddy says very seriously, seeming to forget the noodles in front of him. "But as for baseball," he continues, "This year is crazy. The Yankees are tanking and everyone's asking the same thing you are, except given the past five years they're probably crying over it. Luckily, I'm a Dodgers fan. Brooklyn born and raised." He pokes his chest with a thumb and looks proud to say so.

"I knew I saw something in you." The little smile softens whatever sense of mild judgment might be implied. "Same. Brooklyn born and raised. I'd say the best of the best come out of that borough, but I have some bias." The Captain readily admits this. "Who knows? Maybe we'll cross paths at a game some day. I thought I heard someone tossing around the idea of handing out tickets to anyone interested in SHIELD, but don't quote me on it. We're not your standard office." Understatement of the century, that.

"That would be groovy," Teddy says. Though handing tickets out may only be an idea, it's one the teen looks very interested in. "Hopefully that's not just a rumor." He smiles and reaches for his chosticks again, lifting them out of the tangle of buckwheat. "Anyway, I should probably inhale the rest of this and go look for the Director." He takes a deep breath and then nods. "It's been good talking to you."

"Same to you, Agent Altman. It's nice to meet someone with a good moral compass and the grit to stick to his guns. Remember: Director Carter doesn't bite, even if she does look like she might from time to time. Her bark is generally worse than her bite," and Steve smiles. "Generally," he then emphasizes. A last tip of his coffee mug and then the Captain rises to his feet. "If I find anything out about the baseball tickets, you'll be the first to know. Gotta help out a fellow Dodgers fan." The mug is deposited in the sink after being filled with warm water and off goes the Man with the Plan to do paperwork…or whatever is required of him today, shield or no shield.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License