Who: Maria Hill/Steve Rogers
Where: His apartment in Avengers' Tower
When: Post-movie, after Hill gets herself into a drunken bar brawl
Word Count: 1998
Trigger Warning: Mentions of prior abuse/assault, but no overly-graphic details.
Summary: Rogers sees Hill at her worst.
"Excuse me, Captain?" Deputy Director Maria Hill was about seven different kinds of pissed, not to mention drunk, and Rogers wasn't helping matters. "Are you disobeying a direct order?"
"Yes, ma'am." Keys jangled in his hand as he unlocked the door to his Avengers' Tower apartment. Sure, he could've given JARVIS a voice command, but he prefered the simpler things in life. "You're in no shape to go back to the Helicarrier."
"I'm perfectly -- capable of -- taking care -- of myself, Rogers." Hill was slurring her words and she knew it. She gave a slight wince as her lower lip started bleeding again. "Dammit."
The bar brawl hadn't been completely her fault. Some asshole had been hitting on her all night, and she'd finally had enough. Next thing she knew, fists were flying everywhere, the cops had been called, and Stark (of all people) had posted her bail. But it had been Rogers who'd actually gotten her out of lockup.
"You know I -- outrank you, Captain." The door behind her gave way, and she almost lost her balance only to have a strong arm wrap around her and haul her against an equally strong chest.
"I'm aware of that, Commander," Rogers replied with a frown. "How much have you had to drink?"
"Enough," she answered tartly and pushed him away. "I don't need you -- or anyone else -- rescuing me."
"C'mon, Maria, take it easy. I was just trying to help."
Steve reached out and wrapped his hands around her wrists, but apparently that was exactly the wrong thing to do. Before he knew what happened, she'd broken his light grip and busted him right in the chops. And, as if that didn't make a lick of sense, she started pummeling the rest of him like a woman possessed. Even getting in a knee to his family jewels. But rather than strike back, he just wrapped his arms around her and held her so her arms were pinned to his chest. Hopefully, she'd be less lethal that way. What surprised the heck out of him was when she completely busted into tears. Commander Maria Hill, Deputy Director of SHIELD, one of the strongest women he'd met, and she was bawling her eyes out. Maybe Peggy was right; he still had a heckuva lot to learn about women.
"Shhhh," he whispered into Maria's dark hair as she sobbed into his shoulder. "I've got you. I've got you."
Whether she liked it or not, Steve scooped her up into his arms and carried her towards the sofa where he sat down with her sitting sideways across his lap. He grunted softly when his ribs twinged from where she'd landed a damn good right jab. The woman was tough; he'd give her that.
Minutes crawled by as her crying jag went on. Steve was pretty much helpless to do much of anything besides hold her. It was something he'd been dying to do ever since the first time he'd seen her on the bridge of the Helicarrier. But this wasn't exactly how he'd imagined it.
Slowly, her sobs turned into sniffles and he gently brushed her hair away from her face. The gesture made her stiffen in his arms and her head snapped up to look at him. Her turquoise eyes were bloodshot and her eyelashes were damp with tears. There was a bruise on her cheekbone just above the shrapnel scar. But Steve still thought she was one hot dame.
Hill hadn't meant to go nuclear, but the combination of anger, booze and a godawful reminder of her past had triggered her overly-sensitive fight response. It had been the feel of her wrists being restrained that had suddenly brought back a flood of memories she'd thought dead and buried. Memories that damn well should've stayed dead and buried.
"Maria...?" His tone was soft and uncertain, and she blinked.
"Oh, shit," she swore softly when she saw the eggplant-colored bruise forming under his right eye. "God, Rogers. I'm sorry. I didn't mean --"
"I know." He gave her a reassuring smile. "And I'll be fine. Just give me forty-eight hours, and I'll be good as new."
Hill groaned and rubbed at her face with both hands. "God, I am so sorry. I swore I'd never be that kind of person."
"What do you mean?" Roger's eyebrows knitted together in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
There was still more than enough alcohol in Hill's system for her to actually answer that question. "My dad was a mean-assed drunk."
Her reply stunned Steve speechless. That kind of thing was never really talked about in his neighborhood growing up, but everyone always knew when someone's husband had hit the sauce and then his wife.
"What about your mom?" he asked gently.
"She died right after I was born." Again, Hill's answer was surprisingly candid. "That's why Dad hated my guts. He never let me forget it, either."
"Was that what tonight was about...?"
She closed her eyes and exhaled a sigh. "No, that had to do with something that happened to me in the Marines."
"You were in the Corps?" His tone was somewhere between amazed and respectfully awed.
"Ooh rah, Army Boy," Hill replied almost wryly.
"So, what happened...?"
Swallowing thickly, she just shook her head. "I don't guess I have to tell you what happens to a female when she's around a bunch of assholes who are hopped up on rank and testosterone."
Steve's expression went from confused to appalled to furious in two seconds flat. A muscle twitched in his cheek as he clenched and unclenched his jaw. He knew exactly what she meant. He'd heard more than a few GI's brag about their so-called conquests, and it disgusted him just as much now as it had then. Probably even more now since he could see what kind of lasting damage it did.
When he'd gone to get Maria from the police station, the uniformed officer had told him what'd happened at the bar. How some guy hadn't taken "get lost" for an answer, and she'd been the one who'd ended up getting charged with assault-and-battery, inciting a riot, and a couple other things. Now that he knew her background, Steve couldn't help but feel that it wasn't fair. Thanks to SHIELD, those charges would be dropped.
"I should probably go," she said softly and stood up on wobbly legs.
Steve followed suit, mostly out of deference to a woman, especially one who constantly reminded him she outranked him. But it was also to keep her from doing a header into the coffee table. "I don't think that's a good idea."
"I can just call base and have them send one of the quinjets," Hill replied. "They can pick me up from the roof."
"Why don't you have a cup of coffee first?" he offered.
Again, she surprised him. This time by chuckling softly. "I give you a black eye and you're offering me coffee? Wow, submissive much?"
Steve frowned, unsure of what she meant. "No, I just thought it'd help keep you awake long enough for you to get back to your quarters on the Helicarrier."
"Oh, so now you're kicking me out?" she huffed.
"You just said--!" He stopped himself in mid-sentence and shook his head. Dames. "I'm gonna make coffee. You're welcome to stay and have a cup."
Rogers didn't wait for an answer which was just as well since Hill didn't give him one. Instead, she just sank back onto the sofa. It was a nice, comfy sofa, and she gave in to her urge to curl up on it with a throw pillow tucked under her neck. Hill had to admit, her earlier assessment of Rogers had been way off target.
Originally, she'd thought he was just some brainless, World War II propaganda poster child. He'd been America's Golden Boy complete with blonde hair and blue eyes. It had taken an invasion force from Alpha Centauri or wherever for her to realize Rogers was damn good at tactics and strategies. He knew the Avengers' strengths and where they would do the most good. Even Stark, who wasn't normally a team player, had found himself following Cap's orders. Mostly. Okay, so maybe Rogers wasn't a complete sub. Especially with the way he'd stood up to her. Now that was hot, and Hill couldn't help wondering what else that super soldier serum had enhanced.
The noises coming from the kitchen sure sounded like he was making coffee, but in reality, he was just hoping that Maria would fall asleep waiting. She looked dead on her feet, considering all the alcohol she'd consumed, being in a fight, and then having a long crying jag. Not to mention giving him a good pounding. But he wasn't angry about that. How could he be after what she'd been through? Sighing to himself, he went back into the living room to check on her. Sure enough, she was sound asleep on the sofa. Maria looked so peaceful that he hated having to move her, but he didn't think it was very gentlemanly to just throw a blanket over her before sleeping in his own bed.
"C'mon, sweetheart," he murmured softly, the term of endearment coming almost naturally to him. "Time for bed."
Kneeling down, he slid one arm under her shoulders and the other under her legs. He carried her weight almost effortlessly back to his room and laid her down on the bed. A wry smile crossed his lips. This was the first time he'd ever had a dame in his bed, and she was passed out. Just his luck.
Looking at her, Steve couldn't possibly imagine she'd be comfortable sleeping in her clothes, or at least her shoes and jeans. He knew from experience that Marines could probably sleep in, and damn near through, anything. Part of him wanted to be a good host and make sure his guest was comfortable, but he also didn't want to overstep his bounds and ruin the already razor-thin chance he had with her. If it was there at all. But faint hearts never won fair maidens. He'd incurred, and survived, her wrath once. He could damn well do it again.
He slowly pulled off one shoe and sock followed by the other, and put both pairs neatly by the foot of the double bed. Next came the jeans, and Rogers suddenly felt like he was about to disarm a landmine without blowing himself to kingdom come. His fingers trembled a bit as he eased the button back through its corresponding hole. Next came the zipper, and he prayed like crazy that she'd stay asleep. He already felt like a creep, and Maria waking up would make things that much worse. Thankfully, his prayers were answered and he was able to gingerly pull the denim down over her hips and backside, revealing a pair of plain, white, cotton bikini briefs.
It wasn't easy, but Steve managed to slide the jeans the rest of the way down her legs. He'd tried like hell not to stare, but he'd been a leg man ever since he and Bucky had snuck into a show at Radio Center Music Hall. He'd been absolutely mesmerized by the Rockettes and their still-famous kick line. And Maria had legs that could give the whole troupe a run for their money. He quickly folded her jeans over the back of a chair in order to pull himself together. Then, he tasked himself with tucking her under the covers.
"There you go, sweetheart." Again, Steve surprised himself with how easily he called her that. "I'll see you in the morning."
To which Maria simply made a noncommittal "mmmhmmm" and rolled over onto her side, burrowing further under the covers. He just shook his head, smiled softly and wandered back into the living room, closing the door behind him.