Login with:








Your info will not be visible on the site. After logging in for the first time you'll be able to choose your display name.

No Second Guesses, No Regrets

Any Excuse for a Party

Taryn felt like she was under water drowning. She fought for consciousness and it seemed like she couldn't breathe. As she lay there, foggy images floated across her eyelids. Shouts and explosions still rang in her ears. She slowly felt herself surfacing and the muddled feeling was dissipating. She started to hear beeps and hushed voices and her eyes fluttered open. Looking around, she finally realized she was in a hospital bed. She sat up a bit more, feeling nauseous and sore. Gradually her memory of the events returned. It was the final clash with Markus Thornfeld.

Rogers had been very wary of the idea of her doing this. He had expressed his concern not only as an advisor to the Avengers, but as a man having feelings for a woman. She had been adamant in doing this mission, determined to prove herself to the group, to Steve, that she could do this. Seems like all she proved was that she was weak.

Taryn heard a soft snoring sound to her right. She looked over and saw Steve sleeping in the chair next to the window. Had he been there all night? She smiled softly and noticed he had a bouquet of flowers in his hand. He was so sweet… and she felt terrible that she must have worried him so. The TV was on and the news was talking about an out of control fire in the warehouse district. And that Markus Thornfeld had been arrested for crimes against humanity just outside one of the outlying warehouses. She watched the storerooms burn, thankful the serum went up with them. It couldn't have happened to a better fellow, she thought grimly.

One of the explosions on the news woke Rogers and he blinked himself awake. Taryn turned off the TV and he sat upright, and looked over at her. "You're awake!" He jumped up and nearly dropped the flowers. "Oh, ah, these are for you…"

She smiled softly, accepting them and putting them to her nose. "They're lovely. Thank you."
She set them on the side table. "Were you here all night?"

He nodded running fingers through his hair. "I needed to make sure you were going to be okay. I carried you out before we went in to get Thornfeld…"

She patted the side of the bed, gesturing for him to sit. "Thank you. I'm just sorry I didn't take him out before he injected that shit into me. I can't hear anyone's thoughts any more… I can't…" she felt a tear escape down her cheek and he reached out and wiped it away.
"SHIELD's doctors are doing tests. They think it's possible that it won't be a permanent situation. That you'll recovery fully in time-"

She felt the tears flow more freely, "But what happens if I don't? It's who I am, what I am, Steve… I've been this most of my life. I …. I don't know what to be if I'm … normal…" Taryn said the word 'normal' like a curse. All these years her relationship with her abilities were love-hate. Now that they were gone, she was lost.

As if Steve could now read her thoughts, he took her hands in his. "You are not alone. We're all here and not going anywhere. I will help you through this…. If you let me."

She was so grateful for him, for everything he had been to her lately. "I know you will…" She squeezed his hands. "Thank you."

"Well if it isn't the lovely couple," said Tony Stark from the doorway. "Nice to see you alive, Taryn."

She couldn't help but chuckle as he walked in with Natasha and Wanda followed him in. "Nice to be alive, Stark. I'm just glad that the mission was completed. Everyone else get out alright?"

Tony strode into the room. "Everyone got out except the bad guys."

"Good. Anybody hear when I can get out of this bed?"

Rogers spoke up. "The doctor had come in while you were sleeping and they're thinking in two days."

She rolled her eyes. "Ugh..."

They related to her all of what else went down. How Steve found Thornfeld and how the Feds went in to make more arrests in the company, and effectively shut them down. Of course, the serum was conveniently destroyed in a fire at the warehouse.

"I'm sorry I didn't take him out. I should have known he would use his tech," she said angrily.

"You couldn't have known, as it seems as if he had it on the entire time," said Steve laying a gentle hand on hers.

The others said their well-wishes and departed leaving her along again with Steve. "Would you like me to stay a while?"

She nodded sorrowfully. "I would… I just need a friendly face right now."

Steve smiled at her and hugged her gently. "I'll stay for as long as you want me to." For forever if you'd like, he thought.

They talked for a little while, then the nurse came in to check her vitals. It was getting late, so she sent him back to his quarters for some much needed sleep. She knew she would get little, but she closed her eyes and let the tears come.

Taryn was finally released from the hospital wing a few days later and made her way back down to her quarters. She was a bit surprised that no one had met her, but knew they were all busy working on projects or training or … whatever.

Still in mourning over the loss of her abilities, she supposed she wanted to be alone anyway. Taryn was shocked to find Romanoff waiting for her in her living room. "Natasha?"

"Hey. I wanted to apologize for the way I've been treating you. Steve is like a brother to me and I just didn't want to see him get hurt. He's a fish out of water when it comes to women, and well, not really knowing how you would treat him…"

Taryn smiled. "I understand, and actually I'm grateful Steve has someone to look out for him like you. He deserves to have friends like you and the others."

"And he deserves someone like you." The silence following was a bit awkward so Tasha spoke up again. "C'mon, we have to get you ready."

Taryn looked confused. "Ready for what?"

"Oh just another party Tony is throwing down at his place. He likes parties you know."

"Yeah, I know, but I'm not sure I feel up to it…"

"Nonsense. Let's find you something to wear," and Romanoff disappeared into Taryn's bedroom to try and find something appropriate. "You have a lot of leggings and work out gear…" she called from the closet.

Taryn chuckled, knowing she wasn't going to get out of this. She made her way into her room and saw all manner of clothing pulled out on her bed. "Okay, okay, don't drag everything out… I do have one thing in the other closet." She walked over to a smaller door and pulled out a garment bag. Hanging it on the back of the door she unzipped it to reveal a navy blue taffeta dress with a fitted bodice, full skirt and sweetheart neckline. A line of white satin ribbon trimmed near the hem of the dress, and the neckline was trimmed in the satin as well. Halter straps, a little white bow and a white belt finished the dress. She pulled out a pair of navy heels and turned to show Natasha. "I haven't had an occasion to wear it yet. I'm not even sure why I bought it… what do you think?"

Romanoff smiled. "Wear some red lipstick and you're in Steve's colors. He'll love it."

Taryn felt herself blush and excused herself to change. Moments later she came out in the outfit and Natasha seemed satisfied. Now to do something with her hair…

Maria Hill had taken on the responsibility of decorating Tony's place for the party as she thought it ought to be classy, not tacky.

Tony busied himself catching up with Pepper Potts who had been off in Seattle for a conference. Sam, Wanda and Rhodey sat talking at the bar while Maria finished up the decorating with Steve's help.

"Do you think she'll like it?" Steve asked, looking around at the room.

Maria smiled. "I think it's a great idea and I'm sure she'll love it."

Steve straightened his collar. "Do I look ok? Is this shirt alright?" He wore a blue long sleeved collared shirt that matched the color of his eyes, and black dress pants.
Maria laughed. "You look fine… you're worse than a woman for goodness sake."

Moments later, the elevator opened and Natasha walked in. She wore a green satin dress that fell to her knee and hugged her curves. She strode in on her black pumps, and eventually, Taryn followed her out.

Taryn felt a bit self-conscious as she hadn't worn a party dress like this in years and felt a bit foolish, but Natasha had told Taryn not to worry because 'Steve will love you'. She wondered… and secretly hoped that he did.

Taryn's brunette hair was swept up on the left side, and fell in soft waves past her bare shoulders save the halter straps. Luckily she hadn't broken anything, or she'd be hobbling about on crutches instead of heels.

The room was full of party goers. It must be a victory celebration? She figured that Tony did stuff like this all the time – he was infamous for his big, outlandish parties. As soon as she neared the center of the room, everyone shouted "Happy Birthday, Taryn!"

She stood there, shocked. She had forgotten what today was. She really hadn't celebrated it in years. She felt tears come to her eyes and wiped them away quickly, not wanting to ruin her makeup.

Steve had turned as he heard the elevator open and saw Natasha walk out alone. Visibly disappointed, he thought that maybe Taryn really hadn't been up for going out. But then he saw her hesitantly step out of the elevator. Her soft brown hair flowed around her face and her figure was stunning in the navy blue and white dress. She looked beautiful. Everyone around them shouted 'happy birthday' to her and he took a deep breath and took two champagne glasses from the bar. He strode over to her with a smile on his face and handed her a glass. "Happy birthday, Taryn. I'm glad you came."

McKenna felt herself blush as she did almost every time he smiled at her. She took the champagne from him and looked around. "This is amazing. I haven't thought about my birthday in such a long time, I…" She looked up into his eyes. "I suspect you had something to do with this?" and she took a sip of her drink.

"Well I may have mentioned to the others that it was your birthday today… Tony's always up for a party so…"

"Thank you Steve. I really appreciate this…" She was then interrupted by a ton of well wishes. She was whisked away and given gifts and passed from conversation to conversation.

"Lose your girlfriend?" asked Stark approaching Steve.

Rogers rolled his eyes. "I didn't lose her, she's not my girlfriend, I – we-" Pepper cuffed Tony
on the arm. "Tony, stop picking on him. "

Tony threw his hands up defensively. "Who's picking? I call 'em as I see 'em."

Steve looked around the room and noticed Taryn finally alone. "Will you excuse me?"

Steve made his way over to Taryn before anyone else could and touched her arm gently. "Hey, are you alright?"

She smiled up at him. "I'm fine, just a little tired is all. It's been a long week."

"Would you like to get some air?"

She nodded, happy to be away from the crowd and a chance to be alone with him.

They walked out onto the large balcony overlooking the city. The air was cool, but it was a lovely night. The stars were shining and the moon was nearly full. "It's beautiful out tonight, isn't it?" she said, strolling to the railing.

You sure are, he thought, flushed. He walked up to her and stood to her side, placing an arm around her waist. "It is a nice night. Are you cold? We could go in-"

"No, I'm not cold." She nestled in close to him, leaning against his solid frame. "It's just perfect out here."

They stood in silence for a while, enjoying the view and the company, then Steve shifted.

"Oh, I have something for you." He took a small giftwrapped box from his pocket and handed it to her. "Happy Birthday."

She smiled and accepted the package. "Aw, you didn't need to get me anything…"

"Need to? No, I wanted to. Please, open it?"

She nodded and delicately removed the ribbon and the wrapping paper. He took that from her, and she opened the box to find a silver pendant in the shape of a star with a small diamond heart tucked into one point. "Oh, Steve, it's beautiful! You… you shouldn't have." She started to feel tears well in her eyes again.

"Again with the 'shouldn't have'? You're going to give me a complex. Would you like me to put it on you?"

She nodded and handed the box to him and turned around. Lifting up her hair, he draped the necklace on her and clasped it. His hands remained on her shoulders and he bent to whisper in her ear. "Did I tell you how beautiful you look in that dress?"

She turned to face him, smiling from ear to ear. "No, do tell…" she joked.

"Why don't I show you," and he wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her close, like heroes did in the movies. He kissed her then, firmly and without hesitation. She brought her left hand up to the side of his face and wrapped her right arm around his and held on. When Steve pulled away gently, he continued to look into her eyes and smiled affectionately.
It took her a moment to catch her breath. "Wow, Captain. That was quite something. Can we, um, try that again?"

He grinned a lopsided grin and was about to move in on her again when people started filtering out on to the deck. Losing their privacy, he held her close in a hug and they both laughed.

"I don't know about you, but think I'm ready for bed," Taryn said as they made their way back into the party.

Steve stopped short at what she said, and all of a sudden she laughed realizing how he took the statement. "Ha! All I meant was I'm ready to sleep because I'm tired. I'm not seducing you yet, Rogers."

He was at a loss for words and stunned into silence. He wasn't sure if he was stunned because of the bed statement, or the seduction statement.

Pepper approached them and let Taryn know that they had a room all set for her so she didn't have to fly back to the compound tonight. She was glad to hear it, gave Steve a kiss on the cheek and followed Pepper through the tower.

Tony, Sam and Rhodey approached Steve prodding him with questions and begging answers on how tonight went.

All Steve had to say was that it went swell as he smiled watching her leave the room.



Very nicely written! I enjoyed the chapters so far.

GlowingCrimson GlowingCrimson