1965-07-17 - Spilled Milk
Summary: An attempt to share ice cream goes horribly wrong. Or maybe just wrong.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
steve-rogers rogue 


The angry gaggle of Bucky-lookalikes hasn't taken much to the mansion of late. Their roaming carries them far out into the city, by the looks of it, and no matter the number of 'Have you seen me? Not An Assassin Today!' posters placed on every vacant telephone pole or billboard, the absence of the most unstable of the children is profound. Orel is gone. Lazar never came back. Evgeniy speaks in monosyllables if at all, and the ancient SHIELD reports from last August that provided Department O's official psychoanalysis would imply they've all retrograded into their original states. Not a good thing, since Nikita is the other one who barely says a word. Unlike Volya, for the longest time the assigned psychotherapists — Dianne, currently AWOL from SHIELD and much presumed dead or missing — wondered in her notes if Nikita could talk.

He can. That's been demonstrated amply in the past. But the man who never quite left behind the trauma inflicted on him by Zola's making and the training programmes that originated the Winter Soldier in the first place enforce a code of wary, watchful silence. With Matvei near non-functional, and currently out of operation, that leaves them back to square one.

Nikita sits. He sits with the patience of someone who doesn't actually intend to move. It doesn't make much sense he's on the roof and damn near invisible from the street. Angles and potted plants give cover. Roofs are a favourite spot, especially for someone who seems able to scale vertical walls with ease owed to spiders when he wants to. Mostly.

The heat of summer makes for relative discomfort in the city's populace. Air conditioners of the time can only do so much, swamp coolers profoundly less, and the subterranean gloom of the cool basement is somehow not soothing to the First Avenger. Punching sandbags until their integrity gave did not unravel the knot in his stomach. Bucky's not missing, but…then again, he is — a facet of him. How not to worry? The knowledge that the missing Bucklings are a danger to themelves as well as te public weighs heavily on him.

Even as Steve ascends through the levels of the manor, choosing the steps over the whirring speed of the elevator, he unwraps his knuckles. Beneath, skin only reddened, not broken, even after a dozen bags split at the seams. Guess they'll need to order more. Finally, he reaches the roof. The brightness of opening the door is glaring, but his eyes adjust and out he steps into the stark sunlight. In a t-shirt and sweatpants, he's no spangled hero of the century. Simply a man meandering out and over to the edge of the roof with his hands in the pockets of his pants. A glance to one side turns into a double-take and he thins his lips for a split second before trying a smile.

"We'll find them." He speaks his solemn reassurance no more loudly than necessary in the direction of the seated Bucky-lookalike.

Bucky's occasional departures from New York are probably just cause for concern, or at least chagrin. The indulgences known in a certain foreign court might burn off Steve's ears and leave him blushing red for the next several months. The weather, however, seems fit to try to burn anyone to a crisp in the unforgiving humidity that drips down the back and licks every poor bastard outside in a sauna-like rasp. No escaping the worst of it.

Nikita rests on his heels, rarely the balls of his feet. Balancing in a position that would soon set abdominal muscles to scorching misery doesn't much stop him. His arms cross in front of him, concealing nothing worse than a ball. Something he occasionally squeezes in long fingers, the ball probably originated from somewhere innocuous. A drawer in the gym downstairs, bouncing across a road with a small child in pursuit of it. He doesn't much move other than pinching the ball tight, releasing, pressing his fingers tight again and holding. Simply a man meandering through the currents of time and space, waiting. Eternally waiting. The question probably has to be for what. Answers not everyone wants the truthful response to, really. Nikita has the dead expression of a statue, inanimate, about as warm as the visage as a barbarian Gaul frog marched at spear-point into Macy's for a fresh pair of jeans.

Steve gets the regard through a gimlet look. A flat stare. Unlike Volya's, those eyes are the true ice blue of Bucky's, the hair a shade lighter, and so much of the warm tone of his complexion reliant on some kind of animation. Steve is a bull in the china shop who earns an exhale. Or it could be the second out of six he has to breathe.

"I don't like it any more than you do," Steve continues quietly, standing in place on the rooftop but for the subtle roll forwards and back on his sneaker-shorn feet. From heel to toe and back, heel to toe and back. "But Buck's out there. He'll be looking too. I'm listening where I can." He looks up from tucking his chin and considers Nikita and his empty slit-eyed expression.

The sun warms and then heats his shoulders and along his limbs where it falls. A sunburn might happen at some point, but it wouldn't linger overlong. The serum refuses any form of damage, after all. "How are you doing?" Simple enough question from the Captain — complicated answer, potentially, where even a grunt can imply myriad things. He travels no closer for now, letting the Buckling become acclimated to his presence.

Hateful daystar biting down on them leaves no victors, only strange victims. Nikita endures decently well. It helps to have the shade of the plants and the supportive wall, though approaching too close is enough to warrant a sharp shift in his attention. Not much indicates his readiness to bolt, merely some kind of fluid alteration shifting the weight of his body into a more central alignment. Flexibility counts for something when preparing to dash away or defend himself. Tick, tick, tick. No burns here, either, for the same infusion that rendered Steve the Beach Boy of 1943 gives Nikita a fair shot at winning Long Island's Best Non-Tan 1965.

Those cold eyes flicker with something deeper than sin, the awful weight of knowing. He shrugs.

Steve nods, little motions of commiseration no more quick than need be. He purses lips before squinting off into the jungle of the city; steel trees and glass leaves tower above the crawl of city traffic in ant-lines below. His posture shifts again so he can cross his arms, a shielding stance against the world and its breadth of trouble offered up.

"The waiting is the worst. Sitting and knowing that you could be doing something but have a good reason to hold." His brows are deeply knitted. He watches an ice cream bike below ride along the sidewalk, its bell ringing at a distance and children pulling at the arms and sleeves of their parents for something creamy and cold. "You can…sense them, right?" Again, a glance over at Nikita. "They're alive, right?"

Contrite clouds bubble along the horizon, piled up miles high closer to the Jersey line. With no relief truly in sight, do as one must to survive the melting, agonizing weather thrown down on the city, caught in the heat bubble suspended over a tangle of concrete and steel and glass. Nikita cares for none of it more than God cares for the ants, their everlasting presence far beneath his care. Truly not much shows in that expression of his, flinty as it is. His mouth forms a harsh line gravid with displeasure in the most faded line. There simply isn't much.

He glares when it comes to the term hold. "No." That much is simmering barbarity and disdain, a slash of the hand, comparatively, for someone who hasn't opted to move much. Perhaps even worse than that, he cocks his head and looks straight through a hero pretending to be a man, a man pretending to be something other than what he is. "Dead silent."

As feared. This time, a subtle shake of his head and Steve rolls his shoulders even as he turns and paces away down the edge of the rooftop. He reaches the far corner and lingers there, appreciating what desperately frail hints of a breeze rustle past him. Blond hair lifts and falls back into relative place. At least the evaporation of sweat is helpful to an extent.

Turning, he walks back and then slows his steps, keeping a comfortable distance from the Buckling. "You want anything? I was going to have some ice cream…if there's any left in the freezer. It'd be vanilla." He tilts his head towards the street below them. "I saw the ice cream bike and was reminded that we had some."

Fear whatever one will. Nikita pulses his fist around the ball. The roundness crushed into the hard mount of his palm refuses to yield. Its middle may be unable to bulge given the thick, round sphere's nature. He hasn't crushed a billiard ball into cement or anything of the sort. Nikita lingers back, stretching his foot out, shifting his body oh so slowly in rotation like someone practicing t'ai chi. He swivels upon the ball of his foot and lifts himself, straightening a little.

A blank, empty blink responds to that offering of ice cream. He doesn't respond like a truculent young man or a grumpy dog about to bite someone's face off, sulking about the loss of his pack. "'Ba-nil-ya?'"

"Yep, vanilla." Steve repeats the word slowly in English before repeating it in Russian. "Vanil'. Sweet but not too sweet. Ice cream, 'morozhenoye'. Share some with me," he adds in the other language. Again, he tilts his head, but this time towards the metal door leading to the stairway shaft. Again, he ignores the idea of the elevator. His shadow crosses the heated rooftop as he walks over to the portal and opens it, leaving it open for Nikita to follow as he so chooses.

The sounds of his clattering descent can be heard and then followed by his entrance onto the main floor. The kitchen is deserted and cooler than outside, two things he can count himself thankful for today. A third blessing comes of digging out the carton of vanilla ice cream from the very back of the freezer, where he hid it away from prying eyes. Selfish Steve Rogers? Maybe a little. Regardless, he gets out two cereal bowls and a hefty metal spoon and begins dishing up. The portions are much for the standard human, but not for these two. They'll burn up these calories like flame to steel wool.

|ROLL| Rogue +rolls 1d20 for: 1

Vanilla sounds a bit different from vanil; and there's too much going on in the English language for Nikita to always capture the nuances and finer points. The accents he knows are nothing like the broad New York dialects common around. He narrows his eyes slightly. Russian at least means something, but it means something in the same way that 'banana' has relevance to a native Inuk. They might grasp the concept if not the thing, in the absence of the thing. Nikita is left to try to wrestle with the concept of cold milk or some other strange concoction. He tosses the ball into the air and snatches it out. The movement is abrupt, swift as they come, very different from everything else. The snap and catch gives Steve time to traipse down and raid the freezer.

It's daylight. The pups don't come out in the daylight, not at the mansion, not for anything short of entering the eternal mansions of rest. They move only by night, reliant on stalking through the hallways and avoiding contact. That's a fact buried deep in the psyche, especially now. Finding them in the hour where the sun rises out of their preferred places —- whatever that is, good luck guessing — is rare. Beyond rare.

The ice cream in the bowls has a long, long way to go before it turns into a puddle. Steve has two bowls for himself. How long does it take before he realizes Nikita isn't coming, and the shadow up on the rooftop slips away, ball taken with him.

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