1965-10-03 - The Day's Worries
Summary: Steve and Kai have a talk in the kitchen.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
steve-rogers kai 

Kai has been a busy bee, making sandwiches for Bucky's boys and leaving them in a basket at the top of the stairs. Now he's in the kitchen cleaning up. The basket has been swiped in near silence. It's like feeding ferals. He doesn't expect a personal reward. He does it so they won't starve. He stands at the sink of soapy water, washing utensils. There's fresh coffee in the pot, though he's forgotten to get himself a cup.

As he works, the Elf sings. He's got a delightful voice, as Ljosalfar might be expected to have. "He'd never seen such a sight before," he croons to himself, "the string on her finger was all she wore…"

The approach of shoes announces Steve even before he shows. His pace, brisk and business, slows even as he finally enters the kitchen, blowing a long sigh. Apparently, it was a desk-day at work for him, wearing the dress-shirt and slacks as he is beneath his coat.

Still, someone's singing and, of course, it's the Elf. He wasn't sure at first if he recognized the voice, but he pauses, smiling. If noticed and the songster is interrupted, he's quick to add, "Don't stop on my account." He's got an armful of file folders and a small briefcase in the other, both of which he sets on the kitchen table.

Kai glances over, and he smiles brightly at Steve. One never need wonder how Kai feels about anyone with that smile. Steve is one of his favorite people, and interrupted songs can get revisited any time. "Uh oh, did they chain you to a desk again?" he says. He rinishes the knife he's washing and puts it in the drainer. "There's pie in the fridge." He's not lying, either. Should Steve look, there's a slice of apple pie on a plate.

Kai grabs a dishtowel and starts drying dishes. He's in jeans and a colorful pullover with the sleeves pushed up. "I've fed the boys, so if they grumble, they're telling you stories."

Apple pie. Can't get much more American than that. Gratefully, Steve steps around Kai to retrieve this wonderful piece of dessert and goes hunting in a nearby drawer for a fork.

"I believe you. They haven't grumbled to me lately. I think they might be content in the attic. I don't think it's the best place for them, but if they want to act the part of raccoons, I say let them. Better than having them run about the city." He goes back to the kitchen table and sits down with another sigh. "Desk duty. Yes and no. The influx of the weapons into the city is concerning." He glances up at Kai. "You know anything about these things?"

"I know there's more smuggler activity," Kai says. "A few more interesting deals going down, but I haven't tried to get into any of them. I don't now where they're getting the stuff, but I know it's ending up in places like Hell's Kitchen and Harlem." His two beats. "I was thinking I might rattle a few cages in the coming weeks, see what I can find out."

He starts putting dishes away neatly. "Whoever's selling them, they're not picky who gets what. I'm seeing people on all sides bringing out bigger guns. Makes a lot of headaches for guys like us."

Steve nods even as he cuts into his first bite of the pie. "Yeah, it's been a juresdictional nightmare. If we could find out who it is, we could put a stop to it quickly — cut off the flow by turning the spigot. If you shake anything out with your cage-rattling, let me or anyone with appropriate clearance know immediately. The sooner we stop this, the better." He chews his bite of pie and swallows, looking slightly sickened. "Don't need weapons getting into the hands of the innocent and unknowing. No kids."

"So far, it's the criminal element fighting over the good stuff," Kai says. "It's just a matter of time til it trickles down, though." He wrinkles his nose in distaste. "These tough guys, they have to have the newest and best, like it matters. One bullet will kill them as easily as another. My friend Reno and I, we've got friends up in Harlem and we try to keep the neighborhood clean."

He finishes putting away dishes, and now it's time to wipe the counters down. Any parallels to stories of house-cleaner elves is lost on him. He just likes to keep his hands busy. "So they're even worried about this stuff up top? It must be worse than I thought."

Steve's eyes linger on the crust of the pie. He's even leaned back in his chair now, as if the discussion might have turned him off the food — impossible though that may sound. He taps at the crust with his fork, multiple hollow and light thumps being the result.

"It's more what the weapons can do. They aren't of any make known to SHIELD recent records. That someone has access to that technology and we aren't aware of it? A risk. We can't be out-gunned or people get hurt. You and Reno keep doing what you're doing. You're bound to come across one of the weapons at one point. Take it if you can, keep it, and bring it back to SHIELD. We can analyze it from there." It's not exactly a command, but a request couched to be just shy of one.

"Sure thing, Steve," Kai says. He has such faith in the soldier, that even something bordering on a command is taken with good grace, all traces of a rebellious nature aside. "I'm pretty sure we can capture one of those weapons, between the two of us. We've got other friends who can help us, too."

He regards the reticence over the pie, and a concerned frown furrows his features. Gently, he says, "We'll get to the bottom of it. That's what we do. In the meantime, we'll keep people safe, because that's also what we do. New York is in good hands."

"It is in good hands," he agrees, and there goes Steve at the pie, though he's still got a hesitance about him. He shakes his head, as if to shake off his own worries, and digs in again. There's a period of thoughtful silence as he mows through the slice and sooner than later, he's scraping up the jellied innards from the plate.

"No more talk about work. What did you accomplish today besides feeding the needy and keeping the place pristine?"

Kai smiles when Steve goes back to eating. Steve needs to eat. He's got a lot of weight on his shoulders and pie is there to be therapeutic. "I walked Kevin today, and he chased a squirrel. That poor dog couldn't catch a cold, but he tries. Then I waited tables at Saganaki. I brought over some wine. Good Greek wine, not the satyr stuff that would paralyze a mortal."

He pours a cup of coffee and brings it to Steve, then pours a mug for himself. Then I did some shopping and came over here to feed the boys. It was a good day. I hardly ever just stay home all day getting high."

The tale of Kevin's antics is always enough to bring a smile to Steve's face, even if it's a small one. He pushes aside the empty plate and accepts the cup of coffee gratefully, going so far as to salute with it as well. To you, Elvish Avenger, and the blackest blend you brew.

"Normal days are a rarity and a thing to treasure around here. We could always go spar, if you're finished with your work for the day? After we finish coffee," he adds, already making to slurp it down. Can't keep a bored Steve down.

"Sure," Kai says. "I'm always up for training." He sits down at the table and wraps his hands around his coffee mug. It's not hard to get him to spar. Even on days Steve whomps on him, he takes it with good nature. "I imagine you'd be happy to go a few rounds after being at a desk today," he says. "I'd go nuts."

The Elf's eye strays toward the stairs occasionally, just in case there's a sighting. It would be handy if the boys would at least put the basket back, but one can't expect too much.

"I barely had time to jog ten miles this morning," the soldier admits almost woefully. "And there's something about pushing papers that gets under my skin fast. A few rounds would do me some good." He follows Kai's gaze towards the attic and its occupants and smiles faintly. "Have they spoken to you today?"

Kai shakes his head. "I barely heard them get the basket. I think the creak of the floorboard was intentional, because I know they can move silently if they want. It's all right. They're shy, and the important thing is they know we're going to take care of them, no matter what. When I put the basket down, I call up to them, "There's sandwiches." Or whatever it is I make. Just so they know they're not forgotten."

The blond soldier contemplates the shadowy stairwell a little longer before he pulls his lips to one side. "I'll be sure to stop in today and say hello. I think they're at least beginning to realize that I'm not about to cuff them and toss them behind bars. Buck's been helping to remind them of that, at least." He tosses back the rest of his coffee, heedless of temperature, and then gives Kai a small smile. "Boxing again?"

Kai grins. "Yeah," he says. "Boxing. That's a fun one." The shorter Elf has some disadvantage there, but he makes up for it in his fiestiness and a willing to go for the kidneys. He drinks his coffee in quick sips, but he doesn't toss it back just yet. "I think I'm getting better at hand to hand combat. Which is just as well. I'm not very good at a distance."

"There's an art to it," Steve agrees in terms of the close-quarters combat. "How do you get in and get out once you're sure the other guy is down. If you haven't sparred with Buck yet, take the chance. I'm no push-over, but he comes at me from time to time with moves that I've never seen in my life. Whatever hell he went through, he came out stronger for it and HYDRA should be afraid." A tight jaw is accompanied by a terse nod.

"Oh, I've fought with him before," Kai says. "When he was Winter. Nearly put an end to me, too. I'll gladly fight him again, but I've got no illusions just how hard he'll be to take down." Quickly, he adds, "I know they're not the same people. I know my friend from that… that other guy. But he's got the same skills." He sighs softly. "I would love to take HYDRA down a peg. Maybe we'll get a chance."

Rising to his feet, Steve wanders over to the sink with his empty plate and mug. Rather than leaving them to sit, he soaps up the sponge and works the food remnents from them. It seems to be cathartic in a small way for how his frown lessens a touch by the time he's finished.

"We'll take them out entirely one day. I guarantee it. I might be the last thing I do, but I'll go down swinging to make it happen." He dries his hands on a dish cloth before giving Kai a half-smirk. "Let's go spar. It'll take our minds off things for a bit. Meet you in the workout room? Gotta change out of this after all."

Kai finishes off his coffee, then hops to his feet and ambles over to the sink, sneaking his mug in amidst Steve's washing to see if the soldier will do it for him. It's just the pleasure of feeling like he's getting away with something that prompts him.

He rolls his shoulders and says, "I'll just nip upstairs and change into something to spar in." He keeps sweats and t-shirts here, a change of good clothes just in case.

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