1965-11-06 - Accounting over Breakfast
Summary: Tigra and Steve chat about the challenges of becoming more than simply human over eggs and coffee. The linecook burns the bacon - tsk!
Related: None
Theme Song: None
tigra steve-rogers 

A quiet New York morning is deserving of coffee and bagels. After all, the chill lies low on the dewy grass - the first frost is in the air if not on the greenery. Admittedly, Steve's going to need some coffee. Sometimes, the First Avenger doesn't sleep well and this morning, he's got a hint of noticeable weariness about his eyes. Good luck indeed that he managed to come across one tigress in his travels to this family-owned nook of a cafe and now they're in line. The only ones present in line currently, considering the rush regularly misses this place (for which Steve is grateful), he looks away from the chalkboard and to Tigra.

"What'll you have? I always get a cup of black coffee. There're pastries too, or bacon if you'd rather have something heartier." He gives her a small, polite smile. Not exactly inconspicuous this morning, but apparently the Captain blends in well enough in his shearling-lined bomber jacket and a baseball cap. Ah, the anonymity of a baseball cap.

Would take more than a baseball cap to give Tigra anonymity at the moment. Even one for Detroit's baseball team. The lack of a crowd helps keep things calm, and she has a small smile as she looks over the chalkboard. "Coffee, with milk and ugar, please, plenty of both," she begins, tail sweeping back and forth lazily. "Bacon would be good, some eggs if they have them," she decides.

"The American Dream on a plate," Steve replies to Tigra, his smile growing a touch. He looks to the baristra behind the till. She takes a second to return her attention to him from the tigress, clearly having never encountered the being up close; she blushes a little at being caught out at staring. "The same for me, minus the milk and sugar." It's no hefty tally and the Captain exchanges a few bills for change that he promptly puts in the small silver can by the register along with a few more bills. "Gotta support the little guys too," he says by way of reply to the barista's thanks.

They end up in a table by the window where the slant of the rising sun won't shine into either face and bring them into better view from the outside. Steve sighs as he leans back in his chair. "So. We've made some progress on the mysterious guns, but not enough." He speaks softly, certain that Tigra can hear him with her acute senses. "They're more advanced than we've seen in some time. Our connections with the Asgardians and other governments beyond this world have yet to turn up clear answers as to whether or not they know or recognize them." He removes his baseball cap and scratches at the back of his head, still holding the hat; it flops briefly in his hand for the action. "Things were much simpler back when it didn't matter what calibre you chose, all it shot was bullets."

Tigra gives the barista a friendly smile, noticing the hesitation, and the blush, but pretending not to notice. She's encountered far worse reactions, and can hardly blame anyone for reacting like that. She takes food and coffee towards the cable in Steve's wake, footsteps silent as onl a cat's can be. A quick sip of the coffee before setting the tings down on the table and then sliding gracefully into a seat.

"I'd like to know what's behind it all. Are they just trying to sell guns for a profit, or are they trying to sow chaos? Or are they trying to demonstrate what they can do for possible buyers? Maybe we should loko at people who would have the means and motive to acquire stuff like that, if made more deadly." She offers him a slightly sad smile. "Would you go back? If you could have found some way other than having to be frozen?"

With his baseball cap back on his head, Steve gives the tigress a tight little smile at her question. He appears to think, eyes averted to his own plate of food as he salts and peppers his eggs. It takes a large sip of steaming coffee to apparently wash away his hesitance to respond.

"SHIELD has a dossier of folks we will be in contact with," he says firstly, in terms of the guns and possible leads. A small frown appears, but doesn't deepen as he pokes at his eggs with a fork. "I think about it from time to time. Late at night. Things were harder back then — hard to afford something like this," and a gesture towards their plates of simple breakfast. "Shining shoes was a gold mine of opportunity if you could beat the rest of the kids to it. Things were also more simple. Everyone had a job and it needed to get done. Everyone fit into a niche. You worked together for the greater good." He grimaces. "Times change."

For her part, Tigra starts with the bacon, munching quietly as she gives him some time to think. She nods to the talk of the dossier but doesn't speak yet, sensing he has more to say. At the times change comment, she tilts her head in query, absently dusting bacon crumbles from her fingers. "You don't think people do that today? Work together for a greater good?" A mischevious look about her, now. "Isn't saying something like that a little…pink?" she says.

Her comment is enough to entice a quiet little exhale of a laugh from Steve. "I learned long ago that not everyone's going to agree with my thoughts. Maybe it's frustration talking." He scoots his eggs around more, frowning down at it. "Spy craft used to be more black and white. Intercept the radio, break the code, beat the enemy to their own rendezvous point and teach 'em what for. Mmmph." A shake of his head. "Sorry, Miss Tigra, need more coffee." A lift of his mug in wry salute at her before he sips. "Enough of my griping."

He looks at her thoughtfully now. "I don't mean to pry — and you don't have to answer this at all, but…your file isn't clear about how you became…like that." A wry look aside. Good job, Rogers, blunt as usual. "Sorry, like — " He does a circular motion with his hand as if to summon up better wording. "Like you are now."

She listens to him, coffee held in her hands a bit below and in front of her face, where she can enjoy the smell of it casually. "When it's spycraft against someone like the Nazis, I can definitely see how it would be straight forward." She tsks lightly at the 'Miss.' "I thought we agreed you wouldn't use that," she teases.

The thoughtful look, the awkward phrasing, the wryness, the vague gesturing. It's like dangling a string in front of a cat. She can't resist the urge to play with it. Not that she -tries- to resist the urge. "Like I am now? Well, we were at the mansion and you asked if I'd like to go get some breakfast, and I said I would. I don't see what's so mysterious about it, but if you're having memory problems, we should probably get you examined," she says with mock concern and seriousness.

How to resist it indeed. Steve can't remain serious, not in the face of his own momentary social awkwardness turned into a gentle joke. He chuckles and drops his chin, shaking his head behind the shielding of the brim of his hat.

"'m not that old," he replies even as he finally forks a proper amount of egg instead of turning it into some edible art project on his plate. "You know what I meant. No beating around the bush." Mmm, egg. It's delicious. He speaks again once his mouth is clear because manners, of course. "There was something about magic?" Because this guy has a hard time wrapping his brain around said concept, even after past events showcasing it with as much vivid clarity as a slap to the face. Denial is not only a river.

Mona Lisa only wishes she could smile in the same way that a catwoman can. The smile spreads and widens as he gives in to the joke. "You mean how I became Tigra, rather than Greer. How I got this hairy chest," she teases. More seriously she nods and continues. "Magic was involved, but also science. I can't explain either of them, they were both beyond me. It's, well, I want to say it's complicated, but whose life -isn't- complicated?" she asks philosophically. She considers how to begin. "Did you know I'm a widow?"

The Captain has no comment in regards to hairy chests; instead, the faintest blush even as he arches a sardonic brow and momentarily considers his eggs yet again. No staring. He crunches through one of the strips of bacon as his tablemate expands on her thoughts and when asked after her marital status, Steve nods.

"I did. My condolences," he replies quietly, ever polite. He then takes up his coffee and appears to relax in his chair to listen further.

There's not many with the willpower and the sense of chivalry to manage not to stare. She nods when he answers. "Thank you," she says to his condolences. "That's when it started, really. Bill was gunned down, and I became a crime-fighter, calling myself The Cat. I didn't have a very big impact, but I did what I could, working with the woman who empowered me, literally." A sip of her coffee now, letting her thoughts coalesce again. "She helped to guide me, and helped me adjust. I was still human then, well, superhuman, if only by a little bit. Not as strong as you are, maybe more agile, maybe a little faster. Able to think more clearly than before, feel people's emotions."

"I bet you were still a force in your own right," he comments quietly. He glances aside towards the window briefly as a small gaggle of morning tourists follow after their leader. The man pauses to explain a little something about the neighborhood and faces can be seen to crack tired smiles even as the group begins to move on again. Steve sigh as if relieved to not have their privacy interrupted by eleven people crammed into a small space and looks back to Tigra. "That must have been useful, being able to suss out feelings. Or maybe not," he amends with a small twist of lips. "Maybe too much information. But you said you were still human." A lift of those wheat-gold brows as if to encourage further explaination.

"I did what I could," Tigra repeats with a modest shrug. Maybe she could have done more, or maybe not. Bridges under the water now. She glances at the tourists, listening through the window, bracing briefly, then relaxing as they continue on their way. "Still human," she repeats. "Only it turns out the woman I was working wasn't human. Believe it or not, and by telling you this I'm entrusting you with a secret I wouldn't trust anyone else, she was actually a cat person. Literal cat person. There's a race of them dating back to the middle ages, and their descendants have excelled in magic and science both. I don't know how it happened, but HYDRA found out about them, and thought my friends had a weapon they could use and came for it. I helped fight them off, but I got shot. Not by a gun with a caliber, actually but by something wouldn't be out of place with what we're hunting now," she notes.

Oh dear, secret. Still, Steve nods to Tigra in silent reassurance that he's not about to go spilling the beans about the secretive race of cat people she trained with. Once inside his mind, it's all but locked away for the duration of his impossibly-long life-time. He listens and then the small frown deepens.

"If you think there are connections between those weapons and the ones we're dealing with now, be sure to speak up at the next meeting. You seem spry for having been shot," he offers with a faint smile now, trying hard to keep the conversation as light as can be managed.

"Aside from being a fancy ray gun, I don't know that there is any connection. It just amused me to realize the similiarities. I don't know anything more about what they shot me with, 'cause it did nearly kill me, and it should have," she says, returning his faint smile with a small smirk. "Again, complicated, but the cat people had a way of turning a human into someone like them, but more powerful than either. They gave me the choice to let them try it on me, and considering the other option was dying, I figured I didn't have anything to lose. Obviously, it worked," she says, lacing her fingers together and reaching up and then back in a lazy, indulgent stretch that only a cat can achieve.

The most gentlemanly of the Avengers takes a moment to appreciate how fluffy his scrambled eggs are in the face of that stretch. Behind the counter, the barista can't help but stare again, paused in the middle of refilling the milk caraft. It takes the over-slosh of liquid to bring her back to present. A soft sound of cursing from behind the grill is the linecook realizing that the bacon's burning because he too was staring.

"You're definitely no worse for the wear," Steve offers as evenly as can be managed as he looks up, face composed again. "Must have been difficult to get used to. All the attention because you looked different even if you never changed internally." A note of empathy to be found in his thoughts.

Always polite…well, sometimes polite…well, considerate at least, Tigra pretends to be -completely- unaware of the reactions she gets. Okay, not completely. Her body language is a tiny bit more smug now. She sits a little more naturally though as she listens to the captain. "I had…adjustment issues," she admits. "And I did change internally. Quite a bit for a while. I'm…I'm a lot stronger person now, then I was then," she says quietly, introspectively.

The soft sound of Steve working at his food is an undercurrent to the tigress's thoughts. He sets the fork aside after clearing the last of the eggs. The final piece of bacon will be eaten in much smaller bites, apparently, savored for its signature pleasing taste.

"Time and perseverance earns us strength," he muses thoughtfully. "I had adjustment issues too. Think we all do at some point, though I'd rather not go through colt-legs again." A small, self-deprecating smile at Tigra. "Stark - Tony - has a saying about running before you can walk, that you gotta do it sometimes. I accidentally ran through a store window when I was first changed. Destroyed it. Embarrassing, but I found a way to pay back the owners eventually, get a better pane in it. Must have been cat-like, what you had to adjust to?"

"Nietzsche said, 'That which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger,' or something along those lines. Same sentiment, at least." Tigra grins broadly at the thought of Captain America smashing through a store window. "Wish I could've seen that," she murmurs, and then it's her turn again. "Very cat-like." She drums her fingers on the table, looking for the right way to phrase it. "I mean there was the strength, of course, and the stronger senses. And dealing with having this lovely fur. But I also had new instincts and they kept trying to take control. See, I basically had two souls then. That's how they changed me, bound the soul of a legendary warrior of theirs into me. Thing is, we're just not supposed to be like that, two souls in one body. It ain't natural," she understates.

"Two souls…" By the quirk of his brows, it's a novel concept to the Captain. Those mobile brows lift beneath the shadow of the baseball cap and he nods slowly. Something to muse over in the quiet hours of his evening. "Doesn't sound natural at all. Sounds a bit like…spiritual split personality or something. Uncomfortable, like you said." Steve gives her another sympathetic twist of lips before sipping at his coffee. "You must have found someone to help, a wizard?"

She nods, looking wry at the quirk of his brows. She's aware that it certainly would sound…unnatural. To say the least. "That's pretty much what it was like. I was at war with myself. Have you ever noticed how mercurial a cat's mood can be? One minute they'll be happy and lazily cuddly, and then in an instant turn into a ball of razor sharp deathclaws? Imagine living like that, but worse." She finishes off her own bacon before continuing. "I found some help," she confirms with a nod. "I was able to contact another group of cat people, and, well, things didn't exactly go smoothly, but at the end of it all, I was fully integrated, finally at home with myself." An impish grin, now. "Got this fancy tail then, also."

The Captain flashes a quick grin and a nod in agreement as to the mood flips of cats. Oh yes - he remembers the old alley-cay who lived outside of his mother's apartment, happy to be petted one minute and then darting off the next with a hiss. He then briefly contemplates his empty plate and compares it to the state of his stomach. Hmm…maybe more food yet.

He kills his cup of coffee before opining, "Respectfully, I can't imagine having a tail, M — Tigra." Caught himself, give the man a cookie! "Fancy though it might be. Seems like it'd be in the way of things. D'you want a top-off?" he asks of the tigress, scooting back his chair with empty mug in hand to head towards the counter. "I'm also going to get more bacon. Can't resist." Another small yet true grin.

An eyebrow goes up as he starts to say the M word, and settles down when he catches himself. She tilts her chair back, handing him her cup. More of both," she agrees. "And for a while it was pretty awkward. I only caught it in a door -once- though," she says with a small wince.

"Sounds a bit like jamming your toe on a couch leg," Steve comments with a mirror-like expression on his face at hearing about door meeting tail. "Gimme a minute or two," he adds, turning to walk away to the counter. Another short period of small talk with the barista and then the man returns with refilled cups. He sets both down and murmurs, "Bacon's hot off the grill, apparently. Our luck." Another quick journey over to the till to exchange bills for bacon and back he is with a plate containing six strips. If the tigress isn't going to finish half of the serving, you know the super-soldier will.

Sitting down again, he carefully takes up a slice and hisses at the grease. It hits the plate and he shakes off his fingers with a wry laugh. "That'll teach me to be impatient." Apparently, coffee's going to balm over that moment for how he takes a deep swig of his, black as can be with no cream or sugar. "Well…hearing your story hasn't changed my mind. You came out of it the stronger, insofar as I can tell, like you quoted. Good to have you around to help keep the people safe." An earnest little nod and composed smile, quintessential Captain to the end.

She keeps her chair tilted back, balancing there effortlessly as she waits for the captain to return. She laughs softly at the accident with the grease. "I'm better now then I think I've ever been," she says with a small nod. This isn't the path I would've chosen, and I'll always wonder about what kind of life we might've had if Bill hadn't been killed, but at least I know there's tragedies that I've prevented in this life."

This bacon will be eaten. It will require a fork, but Steve won't be stopped. Stubborn man, but at least he's not burning his fingertip. His mouth instead, though he blows on the piece of bacon he's forked up from the plate as if that might mitigate things.

"It's a hell of a thing sometimes, isn't it? The could-have-beens. Can eat a man alive if he doesn't keep track of where his mind wanders," he says drolly. By his expression, he's enormously jaded to the idea. A careful bite of bacon and a small wince, but a burnt tongue is worth it. Mmm. No Barnes to call him an impatient fool and put the damn bacon down so it'll cool, ya mook. Once his mouth is clear, he adds, "You're not wrong. We might as well use what abilities we have to better the lives of those around us. Seems like a waste otherwise."

"That's why Bill became a cop," Tigra agrees. "He wanted to help people. Obviously that's not the only reason," she adds, "but it's what drove him to it. He wanted to try to help people, and that's what I try to do now." She picks up a piece of bacon with her clawtips, blows on it briefly and then munches. "Working with you helps a lot," she adds. "When I was on my own, as the Cat, or first being Tigra in California, I didn't know what I was doing. Now, I get to learn from you."

"From me?" Steve smiles a little. "I hope you're not taking notes from me alone. There're all sorts of folks in this city who can better demonstrate how to handle themselves." Humble as always, this man. "Nothing like learning on the job, however, and 'm not gonna stop you from following unless it's a real risk to your person." Another bite of bacon — ooh, it's cooled down — and one can almost see the anticipation him. All the bacon.

"Steve, I just told you, I almost died once," Tigra says seriously. "I know about risk in this business, and I accept it. And by learning from you, and others," she adds, "that I can mitigate that risk. You've seen so much, and know how to deal with so many different things, where I'm just going on instinct and guts most of the time."

A dry little smirk crosses Steve's face that doesn't manage to completely hide beneath the brim of his cap. "That's an awfully kind way of calling me old, Tigra," he says, trying hard to keep the rest of the grin at bay even as he polishes off that piece of bacon. The next will be picked up by hand because apparently, it's now only somewhat hot rather than sizzling. "I didn't say you couldn't handle yourself," he adds. "I've seen that you can. Just making sure you know that I've got your back if you need it."

"Not old. Experienced," Tigra counters. She briefly considers a joke about how old he actually is, but decides to take pity on him. This time. "And that's all I need to know," she says with a nod. "I would like to spar some more, if you're up for it, and have the time. Like I said, I go on instincts and guts, nothing very formal. It'd be nice if I could actually -train- some, you know?"

Steve nods. "I've always got time to help a friend. Call to the mansion to make sure I'm in and then stop by. It's been enough time away from the training mats for me." Read: 48 hours, how dare he. "We'll work on hand to hand combat and maybe some firearms, if you're interested. World's your oyster as far as I'm concerned. Bacon's better than oysters, however," he adds lightly, potential fodder for more friendly banter between the two of them. It's been a nice and quiet breakfast. What more could two superheroes ask for?

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