When Steve Rogers entered the room he shared with Beth, he half expected her to be fast asleep in the bed. Instead he found her uniform hanging up in the closet and no sign of Beth. On a hunch he walked towards the back of the carrier, towards the gym.
He heard the familiar sounds of the punching bag as he rounded the corner. Beth was in full sweat as she pounded the bag. It reminded Rogers of a time not too long ago when he was up late at night doing the same thing. Punching something really helped you think.
Rogers leaned against the bar that separated the gym from the hallway and watched Beth. After a few moments he sensed someone standing next to him.
“Think she’s going to be ok?” Barton asked Steve as he joined him watching Beth.
Rogers was a bit taken aback by Barton’s curiosity but replied, “Eventually, she holds a lot inside her that one”. Barton nodded and continued to watch Beth. “Why are you so interested in Beth?” Rogers asked.
“I’m not Natasha, I don’t hate the girl.” Barton replied, “She’s just so young. I remember how Natasha acted around that age and I hope Beth doesn’t lose control like she did”
Rogers sighed, “I’m worried about her” He admitted, “If she doesn’t know the extent to her powers how am I supposed to help her?”
Barton looked at Steve seriously, “The team will look out for her, even Natasha. She’s our family now Rogers, we will all back her up. You’re not alone in this.” Steve watched Beth for a few more moments then retired to bed; he knew Barton would make sure Beth was ok. An hour later he heard Beth come to bed; small as she was the slightest difference in pressure woke him up. Wordlessly he drew her closer to him and she nestled her head under his chin and breathed a sigh of content.
Around 2:00 AM Beth got out of bed shaking. She had tried to get to sleep but the image of Emily kept coming back to her. She silently left the room and made her way to the lounge, floating about an inch off the floor so no one would hear her. She touched down lightly on the couch that faced the TV in the lounge and turned on the news. A story about the victims of yesterday’s attack was playing. A picture of Emily appeared on the screen and Beth put a hand to her mouth to stifle her sobs.
She felt a pair of strong arms pull tighten around her and caress her hair. When Beth controlled her emotions she looked up at Steve’s face. It was tightened with worry and helplessness.
“Do you want to talk about the woman?” Steve asked carefully.
Beth nodded, “I did know her. Her name is Emily, Emily Darling and she was my best friend.” She sighed but continued, “My grandmother raised me after my parents died. I never knew them. They worked at a nuclear reactor plant and there was a leak that killed most of the workers including them. I was there that day. My grandmother was babysitting and brought me to see my parents on their lunch break…they never got the break. When they died, the insurance for their deaths was passed to my grandma who invested it until I was of age. Emily grew up in the house beside mine and we became close friends. We were planning on moving to the US after school but then my grandma got sick and Emily moved away. My grandma died of cancer, we’re thinking from the exposure to the leak at the plant. Before she died she gave me the rest of her money and told me to travel and see the world before it was too late.”
Beth blinked back the tears of the memory and continued, “I guess the chemicals that made my grandmother sick are probably the ones that gave me my powers. They didn’t kill me because I grew up with them and then they reached their full potential a few years ago.” She looked at Steve, “I don’t want anyone to know who I am and where I came from. My house is still there, I want it to be there when I go back, in memory of my grandma.”
Steve pressed his forehead to Beth’s, “Thank you for telling me” She smiled and kissed him on the lips lightly.
“Yes thank you Beth” Fury’s voice said from behind them. Beth jumped away from Steve, embarrassed, “All you had to do was ask Director” She replied getting up from the couch, “In my experience people are pretty honest when they receive courtesy and respect.”
Fury bowed his head in acknowledgment and left the room humbly.