11059/A Chat Between /Friends/

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A Chat Between /Friends/
Date of Scene: 07 May 2022
Location: Avengers Mansion - Training Facility
Synopsis: Cael and Cap talk about recent events in Cael's life after a sparring session - and Cap finally gets it through Cael's head that, yes. //They're friends.//
Cast of Characters: Cael Becker, Steve Rogers

Cael Becker has posed:
    With the amulet set aside, Cael was left relying on her skills and training while sparring with Steve - skills and training that had improved significantly, with all the information temporarily possessing the amulet had dumped into her mind. The result is that she's gotten dramatically better at tossing Steve to the mat - and he enjoys the startled look on his features every time it happens immensely.
    As the session comes to its end, though, Cael retreats to the edge of the room where her water bottle sits - pouring some of it over her head, before starting to drink the contents greedily.

Steve Rogers has posed:
    One of the main reasons Steve spars with Cael--aside from the fact that she treats him just like everyone else, which is refreshing for a guy as well-known as Cap--is that it gives him a chance to practice and figure out just how far he can push a 'normal' human without injuring them. Cael's improved abilities have only helped that; without the amulet she's no stronger or faster than most people, but her technique has improved quite a bit. The startled look is slowly fading into a kind of grudging acceptance, over time.

    "I think I've been relying too much on my big muscles and not enough on good technique," he grumbles as he goes to snag his own water bottle. "The strength and speed is great and all, but not if you're being clumsy about it." Cap's hardly being /clumsy/, but he holds himself to high standards.

Cael Becker has posed:
    "Do I need to start teaching you a thing or two?" Cael asks - sounding amused by this notion. But - well, she does apparently have ages of experience now in combat. It was something she found... a little ridiculous. Certainly useful, though.
    "You're not clumsy, though. That lout," she nods her head towards where Bear is resting, his vest off, gaze locked onto the pair, "is clumsy." The pup had been asked to 'stay' and has been obeying the command unfailingly. "You should have seen him in the deep snow. He just about disappeared entirely." White dog. White snow. If not for his vest...
    She takes another deep draught from her water bottle, letting out a contented sigh. Honestly, she enjoyed a good workout - and as much as she'd loved her vacation, there was something so satisfying about really pushing herself against Steve's strength, with no need to hold anything back.

Steve Rogers has posed:
    "Clumsy for me," Steven replies with a shrug. "Used to me you couldn't even get the drop on me and now you're doing it multiple times a session. I'm not /that/ old; I should still have room for improvement."

    He takes a long drink of water and adds, "I'll get better just by practicing, although I'd appreciate it if you could slow-walk me through that last move. Not now, maybe next time? Right now... you took pictures of your vacation, right? How was Austria? Last time I was in the area for any significant length of time there were bombs dropping."

Cael Becker has posed:
    "I'll show you how it works," Cael agrees readily - still a little bit bemused by the idea that 'training with Cap' has somehow progressed to 'training Cap.' Fuck it. That's fine.
    "Plenty of pics, yeah. And some videos. We made a snowman - because I'd never done one before. I only crashed into //one// snow bank. Jon made sure he filmed it, and laughed about it, before he came to my aid." She smirks with amusement, though, not seeming at all affronted by that particular turn of events. Pulling up her phone, she let's Steve thumb through one of her albums - which shows everything from her skiing, to the snow man, to Bear - with only his tail sticking out of a deep snow bank, to an image someone must have snapped for them of Cael, Jon, Martin and Agnes together - sitting on a hotel veranda, with green meadows and snow capped moutains in the background - and a plate of pastries sitting stop a creamy white sauce, and topped with powdered sugar. "Those were- uhh... buchlen? No- that's not right. Uh- Fuck. I've forgotten," she admits. "Damned good, though."

Steve Rogers has posed:
    "Buchteln! Oh, I've had those, they're tasty," Steve agrees. He looks at the pictures with grins and smiles, managing not to laugh /too/ hard at the idea of the video of Cael hitting a snow bank. He's mostly adjusted to the idea of looking at pictures on a phone instead of in a photobook, although 'pictures' at all are still kind of a new idea.

    "So you had a good time? That's good. I was kind of surprised you went off so quickly, but I guess you were looking for the right chance." He steps away to grab a towel and start wiping himself down. Even super soldiers sweat.

Cael Becker has posed:
    "I, uhh... I needed it," Cael confides quietly, her lips pressing together. Perhaps for the first time, the fact that there's something //sad// about Cael becomes almost inescapable.
    "I got shot. And as a result - I mean, I told you about Alis. How she... died. And how I discovered, some months back, that her spirit's been following me around all this time? Well. ...she's gone now." From his spot near the door, Bear lets out a little whine, crawling several inches towards Cael to see if she'll release him from his 'stay' - but she doesn't yet.

Steve Rogers has posed:
    The towel stills, and Steve brings it down from his head slowly, frowning at Cael. "You got shot?" There's a mixture of concern and insistent questioning in his tone. He's met plenty of people who hold that kind of sadness about them, he knows the feeling. But 'shot' is, well, a serious thing.

    He looks her over for a long moment. "You look fine to me. Were you wearing the amulet? Or uhh...?" Well, he doesn't know; maybe she got shot somewhere he can't see? Maybe it wasn't that bad?

Cael Becker has posed:
    "Yeah. It was stupid," Cael explains quietly. "My WitSec identity's blown. I mean, my face got plastered all over the news, standing right next to 'The Archivist,' fighting against the angels. So... my past came to bite me in the ass." She lifts her hand to touch her neck, near where her necklace chain rests. "Not even a scar. Jon and Sara helped heal me and- well. Witchblade doesn't leave scars. Still part of me that hates that. Maybe I get another tattoo, huh?"

Steve Rogers has posed:
    "So you... what, you almost died and they just... /healed/ that?" Steve smirks. "And you were getting on T'Challa for hiding away the healing technology." Maybe it hasn't occurred to him that Jon and Sara are, after all, merely individual people.

    The smirk is gone as fast as it came, though. "So... you got shot by someone from your past, and lost your sister's... ghost. That..." He blows out a long breath. "I'm sorry to hear that." He's considering how he'd feel if Bucky was just... gone. Sure, his old friend's been distant lately, but at least he's alive and around.

    A brief frown. "Where'd it happen? Police looking into things?"

Cael Becker has posed:
    "I did die," Cael comments quietly. "Or at least, my heart stopped." And she started a journey into the afterlife. That's... pretty dead, really.
    "I was- what. Four blocks from the apartment?" Cael stoops to pick up her towel, wrapping it around her shoulders and her neck, an excuse to keep her eyes away from Steve as she considers her next words. How much do you tell Captain America when your boyfriend has judged and killed a man at the behest of an ancient God? "The police haven't located him. And Sara's been looking into things... in Phoenix. Trying to figure out the best way of making sure there's no, uhhh, repeat attempts."

Steve Rogers has posed:
    Steve folds his arms across his chest, frowning, turning all of that over. What's said out loud and what's implied, both. He knows Cael well enough to tell she's holding things back, but that's up to her. She's pretty much always held things back. Most people do.

    "Four blocks from the apartment? Geez. I ought to do a sweep of the neighborhood, make sure the locals know I live there." Both to bolster them and to scare off would-be shooters.

    A pause, and then, "Do you need help making sure there's no repeats?" Just that, but there's an implicit offer: he's /Captain America/. If she needs him to come down to Phoenix and scare some gangbangers straight, he will.

Cael Becker has posed:
    "...maybe," Cael answers. "I dunno. I'm, uh- I've mostly been leaving that in Sara and Jon's hands. I-" She frowns in thought, trying to think of how to explain things.
    "I honestly- that stuff is so far behind me... I'm not Shelley Mason anymore. That shit hardly feels like it's... me. And going back there- I dunno."
    She lifts her head to smile at him a bit tightly as she adds, "Anyways, like I said- maybe. I imagine it'd have an impact, though, and- well. I really appreciate that, Cap. Seriously."

Steve Rogers has posed:
    "I mean, when somebody I'm friends with gets shot in my neighborhood I take it kind of personal, you know?" Steve smiles. "I'll get in contact with Sara, maybe, see what she thinks. Sometimes a big name is too much for something like this. Sometimes it's just right."

    He considers for a moment, then says, "I... can't say I understand the 'leaving the past behind' in that way. I mean, mine's farther behind me than almost anyone's, but I still moved back to my old neighborhood, my best friend's still stomping around, even Peggy's..." He frowns. "Well, Peggy's going to be back, and soon. But maybe I understand from the other side. I'm still the same guy I've always been... but it took some effort to hold onto that."

Cael Becker has posed:
    "Well. I'm not the same person, and I don't want to be that person again," Cael replies - finally releasing Bear from his 'stay' with a whistle. The pup bounds towards her - and she stoops to greet the dog with some scratches at his shoulder. "That person stole and hurt people, and made some //really// dangerous an irresponsible decisions. ...and felt that drive-by shootings in retribution was perfectly acceptable behavior. I'm not her anymore. And... the only person I really wanted to hold onto from back then is gone."
    She looks up towards Steve adding, "And things are better the way they are now. I mean - whoever would have thought I'd be able to call Steve Rogers my... friend." Truth be told, it's the first time she's done that. And it feels a bit strange in her mouth.
    How many people consider themselves her friend? Wasn't this just the sort of point Jon and Sara have been trying to make?

Steve Rogers has posed:
    Steve grins. "See, that's not so bad!" He unfolds his arms and reaches down to clap Cael on the shoulder. "You've got plenty of friends, Becker."

    Then he nods. "It's good that you've changed. I think I can see why you'd rather just... leave everything in the past. You've got no beef left with them because Shelley's the one that would have cared, and you're not her anymore. Makes sense."

    He frowns. "You're safe, though? I mean, if they know where you live, you were in Witness Protection... or is Pezzini handling that, too?"

Cael Becker has posed:
    Plenty of friends. ...does she? "If I'm being honest - I'm not used to having many friends. I kept people from getting close to me... for a long time." After scratching Bear's shoulders a few times, she climbs back to her feet, turn returns her attention to Steve. "I'm staying away from the apartment - since they obviously know where it's at, and mostly keeping to the Triskelion for now. And I'm not going into the city all that much - not alone, anyways. I'd rather be safe than- well. Dead. It cost too much to bring me back to just throw that all away, you know?"

Steve Rogers has posed:
    Steve nods in return, brow furrowed slightly. "Right. Well, as long as you're alright. Wouldn't want to be surprised by finding out this is actually some shadowy conspiracy or something."

    He slings the towel over his shoulder and says, "How's everything else? You seem in a pretty good mood for somebody who died and lost her sister and needs to hide from her shady past." A grin.

Cael Becker has posed:
    "Yeah, well, it helps being certain - and I can barely believe I'm saying this - that... my sister's at peace. She's in a good place, and as long as I don't fuck shit up, I'll see her again. Plus, she left me a really cool car," Cael adds, keeping her voice light, even if it is a bit forced.
    "But everything else is honestly... going pretty well. Probably the only reason I'm in a decent mood. That and - I don't think it's some 'shadowy conspiracy.' Just a bunchof gangbangers with a very serious grudge."

Steve Rogers has posed:
    Steve chuckles. "Didn't think it was a shadowy conspiracy... though I wouldn't be surprised, mostly because they come out of the woodwork at random. Honestly, the idea that it really /is/ just a bunch of gangbangers is almost hard to believe." That's their lives, weirdly enough.

    His expression brightens. "Cool car, huh? What kind of car?"

Cael Becker has posed:
    "68 Camero," Cael offers simply. "Alis built her from a rusted out hulk - completely finished except for paint job, and could hold her own in a street race, while still being street legal." There's a brief pause. "Not that I do street races anymore." She really wants to, though.
    "I'm going to take her out to a track so I can really open her up and see what she can do. It's- well. It's the last thing I expected but... it's a pleasant surprise, and very Alis."

Steve Rogers has posed:
    "'68 Camero...?" After Steve's time, but he pulls out his phone, and for once manages to look his age (well, of life he's directly experienced) instead of decades older as he looks up the make and model. "Oh, nice car," he comments.

    "We'll have to do a race, your car against my bike," he says with a grin. "It's a nice parting gift, that's for sure."

Cael Becker has posed:
    "Only if you want your ass kicked, Cap." A smirk crosses Cael's lips as she adds, "Again." Right. Like Steve wouldn't have absolutely wiped the walls with her if he'd wanted. All it would take is one slip-up on her part - one good hit - and she'd have been //done.//
    "I'm starved," she adds, having gotten back her appetite during the trip. Hard to spend that many hours on the slopes, in the cold, and not come back //starving.// "I was thinking of ordering in some noodles." Because of course she is. "You want in?"