Logs:Double Down

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Double Down
Dramatis Personae

Ryan, Steve


"If we want to make frisbee throwing an art, who's to say it isn't?"


<NYC> 304 {Ryan} - Village Lofts - East Village

Similar in layout to many apartments in this building, the front door opens into a narrow entryway with a small coat closet. The living room beyond is wide and receives plenty of light from its high windows; floored in dark hardwood, it is separated from the adjoining kitchen by a half-wall counter, stools perched on the living room side and the sink and counterspace on the kitchen side. On the other side from the kitchen stands doors branching off to a pair of bedrooms and one bathroom; to the left of the entryway, a short hall wraps around past the kitchen to the second pair of bedrooms, a second bathroom at the far end of the hall. The apartment here stands often in a state of disarray, musical equipment or books or scattered notes spread among the pair of couches or coffeetable. The kitchen, at least, is usually kept neatly organized in contrast to the living room's clutter. At odd intervals from the walls, sturdy wooden poles branch out, somewhat akin to very large bird perches.

There's cheerful music piping through the apartment this evening. Lizzo's "Juice" playing bright and chipper. There is an enormous pot of vegan jambalaya on the stove, filling the apartment with fragrant spice. On one of the perches on the living room wall, a very large birdlike figure is scooting side to side more or less in time with the music, head bopping along with the song. Ryan is just going to get a pair of bowls from the cabinet, slow as he rifles through a drawer for serving ladle to scoop some carefully out. He wears a vertically striped black and white button down, unbuttoned over a tight black sleeveless shirt, his tailored jeans cuffed wide at their hems. "Shit." He frowns down at the bowl in his hand, just after spilling some of the rice to scatter over the stove range. "I should have gotten you a bigger bowl."

Sitting on the couch and bopping his head to the music, Steve seems to be trying hard not to stare at the dancing bird. He's dressed in a tight sky blue t-shirt is with a grayscale print of a fierce winged wolf crushing a thick length of chain in its snarling jaws, one of its paws pinning down the broken chain, perfectly fitted blue jeans, and white athletic socks with heather gray toe- and heel-caps. "Oh! No, no, it's fine. I can get seconds -- and thirds, and fourths, if need be. It smells delicious, though." Then, with a small smile, adds, "My hat's off to anyone with the courage to offer to feed me knowing what they're getting into."

"S'cool, I'm from Louisiana, I only know how to cook enough for an army. Good thing, too." Ryan fills a second bowl, not nearly as full as the first. He shoves spoons into each, starts toward the living room -- sets his bowl back down on the counter, though, so that he can use both hands to carry Steve's out before returning for his own. He heads to the other end of the couch, perching on the arm and resting his bowl on his knees. "Like, among my friends you do not even have the hardest diet needs to cater to."

"Sounds like I missed out when I was in New Orleans last." Steve sits up straighter and takes the bowl with a quick twitch of a smile, jerking his eyes up from Ryan's hands to his eyes. "Thank you." He sets the bowl down in his lap and bows his head, mouth moving silently for a moment. Even with this religious delay, he has already made a visible dent in his food by the time Ryan returns. Blushes ever so faintly. "That's...well, I was about to say that's hard for me to imagine, but honestly my imagination's been getting a bit of a workout, these last few months, and it's getting easier." Still faintly embarrassed, though in an oddly comfortable way. "I'm willing to bet some of it's a lot more mundane than I think, though." He tilts his head sidelong at Ryan as he sits down, studying the other man. "How've you been?" Softer, less flippant.

The song ends; over on his perch, Horus gives a very indignant creak of a noise. Ryan's lips quirk. Reflexively he hits a button on a small remote control, starts the same song playing again. Bop, bop, bop. Horus bobs happily along with the music once more.

"If you didn't just eat nonstop while you were there? Hell yeah, you missed out." Ryan takes his food much more leisurely. "And I'm pretty sure Luci will drop dead if he enters a house that's ever fraternized with sesame so by comparison cooking for you is -- pssh. Besides, you should see the whiny hissy fits lots of Americans throw if they invite you for dinner and then you say you're vegan. like, oh my god how do you possibly expect to get through one single meal without sticking animals in your food that sounds like commie bullshit." The question just prompts a wide smile from him. "I don't know," he leans forward, earnest, "is the jambalaya alright? Because if I fucked that up I'm about to be a lot worse when my mawmaw's spirit comes back to haunt me."

While Ryan speaks, another good quarter of Steve's jambalaya has disappeared. "Well, I was being shepherded by my USO handlers at the time, so I probably missed out on a lot more than just the food." He shakes his head, sighs. "He's managed to survive visiting my apartment, but I know better than to try to feed him. They drilled that allergy thing into my head pretty firmly. Once I get my own place with my own cookware and such, I might give it a try." He blinks at Ryan. "Really? We were lucky if we could afford meat for Sunday dinner, growing up. But I'm sure that even if I were used to more meat, I wouldn't be missing it right now, because this is amazing."

"Whew." Ryan's look of relief is extremely exaggerated; he wipes the back of his hand across his forehead as he sits back again. "Guess her soul will rest easy, then. And I'm taking you to N'Orleans, by the way. No work, just pure decadence. Good music, good food -- do you dance?" His expression lights, a sudden flutter of excitement charging the space between them with this question. "You miss out on a lot if you only go places to be Cap... oh shit." His eye scrunches shut, fingers snapping. "Flicker said -- I was supposed to ask you about your shield."

Steve smiles, and resumes shoveling food into his mouth. "Oh gosh, I would love that. But ah, I can't dance, no." He says this lightly, but there's a ripple of pain beneath it, raw and deep. "I guess really I've only /ever/ travelled as Captain America. Then /and/ now." He looks up from his food and raises his brows at Ryan. "My shield -- /Flicker/? I thought..." Though his expression stays steady, there's both worry and perplexity beneath his words as he looks down at his food. "How's he been? I know he must be busy..."

"Well, we can change that, then." Ryan studies Steve curiously a moment, shaking his head as he takes another slow bite. "Flicker?" His brows dip. Over on the perch, Horus interrupts his bobbing to twitter something soft and low. Ryan glances up, then looks back down at his bowl. "He's in doctor school, I'm pretty sure that's basically stolen away all his time. He wanted me to ask about your shield, though. Said some of our friends had caught some trouble from the feds over it. I think they want to get it back to you but --" His shrug is only vaguely apologetic. "Only if it means they stop getting heckled over having it to begin with."

"Right -- of course, I just..." Steve shakes his head. "Yeah, I'd meant to ask Dusk or Ion about getting me in touch with the folks who had the shield. I really need to get it through my head to just. Text people, instead of waiting to run into them." This isn't as light as he tries to make it out to be, but he goes on quickly. "I've talked to the people who had been going after them over that shield. The director of the agency promises me they'll cease and desist and let me negotiate for the shield, but I don't trust the man and I haven't got any actual authority over him." His fist grips the spoon tighter. "I threatened to go to war with the whole agency if he goes back on his word, but that won't help those kids if someone gets hurt. They might just know enough about me to take that threat seriously, though."

"That strategy sometimes works. If you hang out in the right places." Ryan leans forward, this time preemptively restarting the song just as Horus's feathers are starting to pooooooof up as it gets to its last bars. "What agency is it? Why do they care so much about a shield?"

Steve glances at the puffed up bird. Quirks one eyebrow ever so slightly at Ryan replaying the song. "I'm honestly not sure why they want it so badly /anymore./ But the agency is called --" He scrubs the heel of one hand over his face. Takes a deep breath. "-- Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate." He rattles off this mouthful smoothly, and then, with a barely detectable sigh, adds, "The acronym is /S.H.I.E.L.D./ They supposedly answer to the U.N. Security Council, but the more I learn about that the less it seems to mean. Any kind of oversight is largely theoretical when you're talking about a covert intelligence agency."

Ryan's eyebrows go up. And up. He snorts when Steve gets to the end of the title. "I mean, with a name like that they basically gotta double down on getting the thing back, right? They broke their backs reaching to name themselves after your damn shield and now it's gone they look like clowns. Secret murderous spy clowns, but still. Clowns." He takes another mouthful of his rice, licking at his lips after. "I'll tell them and I'm sure they'll give it back to you but. Uh. These Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Lying Doofuses, they know they're still gonna look like clowns if they have a shield and don't have you, right? What the hell is the shield without Captain America?"

Steve pokes at his food thoughtfully, but the lapse in his appetite doesn't last long. After a few more bites, most of the bowl empty now, he says, "Thank you." There is a seemingly incongruous depth and complexity of feeling -- grief, determination, worry, confusion -- in this simple expression of gratitude. "Oh, they still want me to work for them. But, if they can't have that, I think they intend to replace me -- with a more biddable Captain America, I guess?" He masks his indignation with a nonchalant shrug. "Anyway, please those kids I'm still game to give a lesson on how to throw the shield, if they're still interested." His smile is quick, self-conscious, but warm. "Preferably somewhere relatively cop-free?" The rest of his jambalaya vanishes in two big bites.

"What are they gonna do, hold auditions? Do you have to be blond? Cut like --" Ryan gestures toward Steve. "Maybe we should do it democratic style. Let people take turns. {I'll be Capitán América.} Think they'll go for it?" He slides down off the arm of the chair, whumping onto the sofa cushions properly. "I'd say do it at Chimaera, but if it got out that you were giving shield-throwing lessons at the warehouse we'd be swamped for a month."

"I really don't know what they have in mind, but I'm not done being Captain America, yet." Steve manages a smile at Ryan as the couch shifts with the other man's impact. "We could keep it on the QT -- it's not as if it's be an actual Chimaera event, anyway. I'm not even a member yet, and I really don't think discus throwing counts as an art, no matter how shiny the disc."

"What kind of attitude is that?" Ryan's eyes widen, shocked. "You're the artist. You get to define what art is. Or am I backwards? Is it us as the viewers who -- I'm sure Jax would know." He waves a hand dismissively in the air, his grin bright. "Whatever, we're all anarchists there. Comrade America. If we want to make frisbee throwing an art, who's to say it isn't?"

"Oh, right!" Steve snaps his fingers. "Frisbee! Is what you call the new sport that's...actually a lot like how I throw that shield, come to think of it." He shakes his head. "Well, I don't know if I want it to be an art or not, but with enough beer --" He breaks off. Chuckles self-consciously. "Well, I guess I'd better find other ways of making myself entertaining in late-night philosophical conversations. 'Quaintly old-fashioned' only gets me so far." He smile slants briefly into a grin as he rises. "But right now, my art is eating more of this delicious jambalaya."