Fandom: MCU | Characters: Steve Rogers | Written: May 2016
Part 1 | Part 2
"Why did you do it?" Steve asked. His voice was perfectly calm, but I could still hear the edge in it, see the tension in his body.
"It was the right thing to do," I replied, shrugging, trying to act like what I had done didn't affect me.
"No, it wasn't." His jaw muscles were working.
"It was the only thing to do!" I took a few steps forward, hoping – and failing – to intimidate the man.
"No, it wasn't," Steve repeated.
"You weren't there," I mumbled, turning around and began shuffling the printout of the mission report. The report Steve had read, causing him to come barging into my office, slamming the papers down onto my desk and yell in my face. I don't know why I did it, the report was to be shredded anyway, but I wasn't thinking straight.
"And why wasn't I there? Because you didn't wait for me and took lead of the mission yourself! And now an agent is dead!" With every word, Steve's volume increased, the last word shouted right behind me. I felt the spit on my cheek and the rush of wind in my ear.
I dropped the papers onto the desk and spun around to push him away. "You were b-" I began, but he grabbed my hands and held tightly.
"An agent is dead! Do you understand?!"
"YES! I fucking understand! Alright, Steve? I fucking get it!" I wrenched my hands out of his grasp, and pushed as hard as I could before he could lay another hand on me. "But there was nothing else I could do! Yes! An agent is dead, but –" He advanced on me, but I held up my hand and glared with all the venom I could muster. "But! But fourteen innocent lives were saved and the terrorist cell is down!"
"We do not sacrifice our agents to take down our enemy! He was a good agent! There is always a way to save lives!"
"What the hell, Steve!" I gaped at him. "Get your head out of the fucking clouds – and don't you dare with the language comment! We can't save everyone! You were in the war – you know how it goes!"
"If we are to sacrifice anyone, we sacrifice ourselves!"
"You weren't there! He did offer himself! I did look for another way out! There was no other way!"
"Then you should have sacrificed yourself!"
There was a ringing silence. The resentment in his eyes, the anger on his face, the rigidity of his body.
It cut through me like a knife, and for the first time since I took the decision that cost the life of one of our agents, I felt tears sting in my eyes.
"Good to know where you stand, Rogers," I said calmly, biting down on the sobs that threatened to break through. Then I walked towards the door, bumping my shoulder forcibly into him on the way. Reaching for the door handle, I stopped and spoke with my back to him, my eyes clenched shut. "You think I don't feel sick thinking about it? You don't think I see his lifeless face every time I close my eyes? You don't think I relive it every time I sleep? Next time, let the hunt for Bucky wait and lead the mission yourself. And then I'll make sure I make the right decision." I turned to look at him over my shoulder. "Then you watch me sacrifice myself so I can make you proud."
I wrenched open the door so hard it swung into the glass wall with a sharp clang.
All the agents in the cubicles were watching me as I strode away, holding my head high and locking my jaw so tightly I wasn't sure it would ever unclench, not wanting to show weakness in front of them. I knew they had all heard the shouting. As an Avenger it had been highly unprofessional. But it had been even more unprofessional of Steve to take this fight in my office instead of at home.
The moment the elevator doors locked behind me, I spoke. "FRIDAY, take away Captain Rogers access to his apartment. I'm sleeping alone tonight."