(2014-06-02) Paragons by Candlelight
Paragons by Candlelight
Summary: Two dear friends conspire together to set up Captain America and Power Woman on a date. Hilarity and embarrassment ensue.
Date: 2014-06-02
Related: NA
Scene Runner: Moon Maiden
Social/Plot: Social

Karen received a call from Moon Maiden requesting her help. Asking that she meet Laurel atop the roof of a certain building in Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, Steve receives a notice from Wonder Woman asking for a consultation on a matter of diplomatic importance. Again, atop a certain building in Brooklyn.

Of course, when Karen and Steve arrive they find neither Laurel nor Diana. Instead, they find a picnic dinner set up complete with candlelight, fondu pot (cooking nice and hot) and an assortment of meats and cheeses. Plus, some very beautiful Themyscirian wine.

Of course, Power Woman responds as promptly as she is able, flying to New York and landing on the rooftop of the building in Brooklyn. Of course, she arrives to find the picnic arrangement, and no Laurel. Kara lands, because she intends to investigate, and because she cannot quite figure out what's going on. If this was Laurel trying to ask her out on a date, Laurel should be here. Since she's not … the Kryptonian blonde is confused. So she lands, and examines the area, looking for clues. She could radio in to catch Laurel, but she looks for clues first. What if Laurel was here, and she was kidnapped, after all?

Because Diana said it was a diplomatic consulation and not an emergency, Steve didn't hurry. On the other hand he dawdle either, and he lives in Brooklyn to boot. So Captain America isn't that far behind Power Woman, but not having her speed he isn't first. Cap emerges from a stairwell door, the Shield of Freedom on his back rather than an arm. Seeing Power Woman standing over of all things a picnic, he stops short, blinking, before he closes the door behind him.

"Evening, Power Woman, Have I got the wrong roof?" he asks.

The building isn't lead-lined, so she spotted Steve when she heard him enter the building. As such, she's facing the door when he emerges on the roof. Her expression is wry, somewhat amused, and a little embarrassed. Isn't that a wonderful combination?

"Hi, Cap. I'm afraid that no … I don't think you have the wrong roof. This is exactly the rooftop where Moon Maiden asked me to meet her. But there's no sign of Laurel here. Her DNA is on a few items, so she helped set this up. But there's no sign of a struggle at all, and no emergency messages on the communicator system." Kara pauses a bit, and then shrugs. The embarrassment heightens the color in her cheeks. "I think we may havve been set up."

A corner of Captain America's mouth turns up before his face break into a smile. The expression is equally wry, but maybe since Kara is covering embarassed he'll go with amused.

"I think you're right," he replies. "I got a message from Wonder Woman asking me to meet her here. So it seems our fellow Justice Leaguers are in cahoots."

Extending a red-gloved hand toward the tableau indicating the heroine from Karon should sit. "No sense in letting it go to waste. Unless you'd rather go?"

Kara eyes Captain America a bit more, and then sweeps her gaze over the picnic again. "Honestly? I am a little hungry. But I didn't want to put you in an awkward position." Because, let's face it, both are very considerate people. It's probably part of what inspired their friends to set them up like this.

"If you don't mind sharing this with me … I guess we can stay. At least until another call comes in." the Kryptonian bombshell offers, as she sweeps up her cape and then sits down on the laid out blanket beside the picnic basket. Of course, she knows everything that's inside, since she can see right through it.

"So. Diana and Laurel … trying to set us up." Kara offers, ponderinly. Is she mad? No. But she is curious as to why.

Taking the shield off his back, Cap sits on the adjacent side of the corner his teammate picked. He sets the famous disc of miracle metal on the roof to the side.

"No I don't mind," he says, "I was not just being polite and giving you an out." Because he knows the she knows that he knows , yes, they are both considerate to a fault.

"What's in the basket?" Cap asks, knowing she already peeked as he picks up the bottle and looks at it. "I don't speak Greek past what you learn as as a consequrnce of public school math, science and history, much less read it. But even if I did, I bet this is Themyscrian. Diana's mother once mentioned her sisters bottling vintges taught them by Dionysus. Who knows how old this is."

Looking back up at Power Woman, he grins. "It can't be the first time, in the mask and cape community people have played matchmaker. After all people with 'regular' jobs date coworkers all the time." He turns two glasses mouth up and starts to peel the foil leaf from around the cork.

"It is Themysciran. And pretty good. I had some of the same the other night when I visited the Embassy." Kara admits, smiling shyly. "That date, though … if it's based the way I think it is, that wine is actually older than you are." Older than Kara wouldn't be nearly so impressive.

"Most of what's here is the fondu set, it seems. Let's see. The largest pot appears to be … lobster and cheese, I believe." White wine in that one, as well. "The next smaller one is a meat fondu, beef based. The next one is a sugary syrup, for the fruit slices. And the last one is a chocolate fondu." Do you fondu? Obviously. "We have the cubes of toasted bread for the cheese and the slices for the meat. Fruit slices. And I am pretty sure that last container is cocoa-dusted chocolate gram crackers." Pretty delicious meal, and potentially romantic. Complete with an array of those extra-long two-tine forks. Kara shrugs. "I've never done a complete fondu dinner before."

"Niether have I, but it all sounds good." Cap replies. "Don't wait on me, open it all up and let's have at it." He pours a glass and sets it front of Kara. "There's an interesting question, and one among many I bet our friends didn't think of," he continues as he pours the second glass. "How old do you think I am?"

The fondu pots are all out and warming, and it isn't hard for Kara to remove the wraps over the trays and bowls of bits for dipping. She makes sure to give Steve his fork set as well, so that he can comfortably participate in feeding himself. If this were a really romantic date, they might try to feed each other. She knows that. But she's not betting on that happening tonight. But at least this meal will encourage them to talk together. The conspirators could have made worse choices.

"Well, you were Nineteen in 1941." She barely stops herself from saying 'Sir'. Only barely, and Steve likely can hear the almost in Kara's diction. "So, chronologically that would make you ninety-two. Biologically, you were in your earliest mid twenties when you were lost. I would suppose that you're probably less than thirty, by life experience."

Fair is fair, though. So Kara twirls one of the cubes of toasted bread in the cheese pot, and then lifts and twists it deftly, settling it on her plate. Then she slices it into quarters, and nibbles each in turn. "Let me return the favor, though. How old do you think /I/ am?"

Alternating between the bread and cheese, and the meat fondu, Cap nods. "That's as good a guess as any. During the Depression , records were not as meticulous as they are now. My parents told me more than one story about the year of my birth, and," Cap gives a sheepish expression , "I tried to enlist more than once and wasnt exactly truthful all the time on the forms. I could have been anywhere from seventeen to twenty in 1941. I feel like I was twenty, but I could have easuily been nineteen." He nods, "and yes I feel thirty at the absolute most these days."

As Kara turns the question on him he laughs. "It's not polite to comment on a woman's age, but if I have to I would say twenty-one. Twenty-five at the most. So if our friends think I'm also in my late twenties - and I could very well be - they weren't completely crazy on that front."

One thing that does change with Kara, is that she pulls off her gloves before she starts eating. Steve might notice that the gloves seem to have some kind of tech in them around the wrists. They're cleverly disguised StarrTel smart watches, part of the interface she uses for her tech.

"Wow." Kara offers, making a bit of a face. "That's a really good guess. A lot closer than most folks. Most have always figured I was at least twenty or so when I debuted in 2010." She makes a bit of a face. "And honestly, it's usually men who are the most convinced that I have to be older." She's pleasantly surprised that Steve could guess it right. "And you're right. They weren't completely crazy." Just viciously embarrassing!

Kara continues eating, trading off with Steve, as they chat about this and that. "I confess, I'm a little surprised that they would set you up. Me, I get. Both of them have commented to me about how I shouldn't be so lonely." But she never viewed Steve as someone who needed help finding a date.

Furrowing his brow as he sips some wine, Cap swallows and says, "I don't see why you would be, or should be lonely, unless it is the same occupational hazard I have seen other heroes , including me, get wrapped uip in: we use up all our free time fighting our enemies and neglect our 'real identities'. I bet some of us subconsciously keep other people from getting involved with us, lest they get hurt." As he says it, Cap's voice briefly takes that 'I have seen a lot' tone that makes people think _he_ is older than actually he is.

At the least, Captain America has squeezed a lot of experience into his few years, and Kara respects that. "That's part of it, of course." she can admit to Steve, easily enough. "I mean, I'm Power Woman. Even before the League, I was on-call pretty much all the time. I keep my real life going, but not by a lot. And even when I'm out of costume, I'm incredibly busy." She's not going to explain the life she lives, or name herself. But Steve knows for sure that Kara would never lie, so it must be a doozy.

"Of course, the other problem for me is … biology." Kara makes a face at the topic. But as they continue eating, and drinking, she decides to explain it. Then at least Steve will know. What he says or does about it, ever, will be up to him. But he'll never be able to say he didn't know. "I'm Kryptonian, through and through. Biologically, being … with someone … would be a challenge." Not necessarily impossible, but perhaps nearly so. Of course, Kara is as careful about wording things as if she too was born in the 1930s. So that's as explicit as she's going to get.

"I honestly can't remember the last time I was out on a date." Kara admits. And she's only twenty-odd years old. That doesn't bode well.

Captain America nods again, "A challenge. Laurel and Diana missed that one." That's all he says, because anything else would be crude. Leave the vulgarity to the internet with that awful 'fanfic', or those silly text-based storytelling games.

"The last time I was on an actual date was in '45. And technically it was a raincheck. So maybe that explains why we're here."

Cap pauses and then adds, "Shall we address the elephant in the room? Are we both trying to tell each other we don't think anything is going to happen but to polite to be the first to say it?"

Kara blushes a bit as Steve lays it all out. "I … I don't know." she admits, fighting not to stammer. "I would be lying if I said I didn't find you attractive. You are handsome. Noble. Kind. Open-hearted. Smart, which is important. It means we work well together, and have plenty to talk about." A handsome dimwit is of less than no use to Kara, no matter what is other qualities. "But I don't know if we could date. Or should, for that matter. 'Good order and discipline', after all."

With a wave of his hand Cap, dismisses the notion that the two of them getting involved would ruin their ability to be teammates. "There were plenty of people in the war making whoopie who had to be professional with each other the next day. We could." Yeah, he said making whoopie. You can take the boy out the forties, but not the forties out of the boy.

Now it's his turn to blush. "Yes, you have the same qualities - although I have hunch you are smarter than I am even though I'm not a jarhead - and on the face of it we'd likely be a good match. I find you attractive as well. But I'm old-fashioned. I don't do the 'go out and see what happens' thing. I need to feel the fireworks, the lightning bolt, from the get-go. I'm not saying there couldn't be if it had had a chance to happen on it' own, but ironically by trying to force it, our friends have made it that much weirder.

Cap grins sheepishly again, and tries to bury the embrassing part of the subject with logistics. "And besides, I'm being rude and not even taking my mask off or telling you my real name. That's no way to start."

Kara blushes quite prettily as Cap brings up 'making whoopie'. "I … I don't think the idea was for us to be … quite doing all that." she admits, flustered. "But you're right. We could probably stay professional when we needed to." She trusts Steve, and believes he could do that. And she'd find a way.

"I think the plan, here, if I know both ladies well enough to guess, was to try to at least wake us both up to the possibilities. I don't think they were trying to make anything significant happen." Kara could be wrong, but that's her interpretation. But she nods slowly, acceptingly, as Cap lays out that there really isn't a lightning bolt here. She's disappointed, a bit, but she doesn't argue. Doesn't push. It's not as if the man is somehow not entitled to his opinions and feelings.

"To be fair, you would never have to take your mask off, for me. I can see you plainly enough." Same way she saw inside the picnic hamper. "And to be equally honest, Jor-El knew your name. And I have read his journals at least a hundred times." She smiles. "My birth name is Kara Zor-El, by the way." She introduced herself before, at the first Justice League meeting. But this time, it's more personal.

Smacking the heel of his hand against his forehead Steve says "Jor-El would have written everything down, wouldn't he? Ah well, at least it's not easily read by everyone." Pulling back the cowl with both hands, uncovers his face and beams. "Hi Kara, you know my name is Steven Rogers, but friends call me Steve and that includes you. For the record, if Jor-El wrote down 'Grant' as my middle name, I don't even know if that is really on my birth certificate."

Following Kara's lead and taking off his gloves Steve moves on to the dessert fondu. "Obviously we are both professional enough to use working nanmes when n3ecessary but for fun , let's play 'who else knows'. On my side, Diana knows because her mother told her, much like you read Jor-El's notes. The Black Widow knows due to her line of work. There are some people high up in the military and espionage circles who know."

Steve frowns. "I actually hate not being able to tell all my professional friends. I hated in with the Invaders and the All-Stars and the JSA too."

"Hi, Steve." Kara offers, a twinkle in her blue eyes as she extends her bare hand to her dinner companion, smiling. "A pleasure to meet you." It is the sort of thing they would do, isn't it?

"Mmm. Well, 'who else knows.' My adoptive parents know. My cousin, Supergirl, knows. Laurel knows. And a very curious … woman … named Indigo knows." Kara's list is much, much shorter than Steve's.

"I don't hate not telling people, though part of me wishes I could trust some of my other friends." Kara doesn't lament it with tears, but her emotion is genuine nonetheless.

"I hate misleading and lying to friends. I lied to Supergirl for most of our lives, because she was human, and though she was family, she was a cousin, not a sister. No one knows - not even Supergirl - what happened to her. But she has become a Kryptonian hybrid. Her DNA is a combination of who she was, me, and Jor-El. Her markers would put her in the House of El." Which, difficult as it is to tell by hearing, is not the same as the House of L. "She knows, now, and the lying created a lot of tension between us. Tension that still hasn't been repaired." It is a burden she has to carry, that the only blood family she has doesn't trust her.

Steve shakes hands with the other blonde and listens as she goes on. "I understand completely about the friends part." He shrugs as Kara describes the situation with Supergirl. "Time will heal that rift. She will come to realize that having family when you things mark you as diferent is more important than any disagreement that was no one's fault. Having to maintain hr on secret, as well as yours, and carry on the legacy of Jor-El the way you already do will hasten the process."

Tilting his head and giving a quizzical look , Steve adds, "You don't sound pleased that this woman Indigo knows. I can relate to this too - the Red Skull knew. But you didn't use the past tense. What's going on?"

Kara smirks wryly. "I'm not entirely sure how to explain. But I'll do my best." It's the least she can do. "I actually helped Indigo decide on her name. She … appeared. In my room. Somehow, she seems to be something mystical. Not exactly my speciality. She says she is … Metropolis. The City, incarnate. An avatar of the spirit of the City. And she has merged with the Brainiac technology that has upgraded the City. She melted out of the wall, constructing her avatar from the available Metropolis Tech." A lot to take in, naturally. "She knows my secret identity. She apparently has seen everything going on in the City. But she has promised not to reveal my secret. Still, she is the first to ever learn it that I could not stop, or mislead. But I'm not sure how well I can trust her." What if she tells Luthor? Indigo said Luthor was the other 'focal point' of the city.

With a sigh Steve nods, "Not being in control despite our abilities is not a pleasant feeling." He shrugs, "Still, even if what's done is done, you don't have to sit back and wait on pins and needles for her either prove what she said is true, or spring a trap. You can investigate _her_, and of course count on any of the League for help."

Kara shrugs her shoulders. "To be honest, I wouldn't know where to begin to investigate her. I cannot track her; she leaves the tech of her body behind when she leaves, so her consciousness flows from that vessel to somewhere else, in ways I cannot trace or follow. Then she creates a new body at the other end." And there's the fact that to really investigate, it would require her to take into her confidence anyone who was helping her; they would have to know who she is, when she's not in costume. And she's not ready for that. Not ready to give up Karen Starr for Kara Zor-L full time.

Shrugging again, Steve says "There must be ways. If she is mystic in nature, we'd emlist our own magicians. Perhaps Tony could come up with a way on the technology side. If you decide it's warranted, tell us. That's what teammates do."

'Our own mystics' is hard, since the team has none right now. They have a few contacts. Even Kara has one. But no one on the team. It'd be nice, though. "I appreciate it. If I decide it's warranted, you can be sure you'll be one of the first I tell." If only because he'll already know half the story. Kara continues eating, slowly, making her way towards the desert fondus. "So. We've talked about who else knows. Here's a question, then. Things we enjoy doing that have nothing to do with our heroism."

Kara continues the game, by giving her answer to the question posed. "It's probably not hard to guess. I like reading. Mathematics. Engineering and science. I also really enjoy flying, but that's obviously a hobby tied to my heroics. But I really enjoy helping people. Not just heroics. But actually asking them about what is going on in their lives, and figuring out ways to make it better. That's my biggest thing."

Steve gives Kara the full on Robert-Redford-but-better smile. "And that last , more than your Kryptonian powers, is what makes you a hero."

"As for me, I like to draw. I actually try to keep my hand in professionally but as you said before my private life is sometimes just seems for show. And I like motorcycles - riding them, doing the mechanical work myself. Being able to fly, and get to places in the world most people can't must be nice. Trevelling without it being to deflate a crisis or avert a disaster would be good. Even if it was a just a long road trip on the bike."

"You know, I've never ridden on a motorcycle. Someday, I should find out what that's like." Kara admits, smiling. "I do enjoy traveling, seeing the world. Meeting new people and seeing how they live. Being a part of their lives, if only for a brief time. It really expands my view, my understanding of the world around me. It makes me feel more human, more connected to humanity." Some would say that is her true heroic heart, that urge to grasp and understand the human condition, in as many ways as possible. And to become a part of it all

The two heroes spend quite a time together, enjoying the food and drink arranged by their friends, and each other's company. In the end, they grow much closer than they were, connecting not just as fellow heroes on the team, but as people sharing the world as it revolves around the sun, as lives unfold and connect. It's not quite the romantic entanglement the conspirators intended. But it is something of great value, and who knows where it might lead?

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