Chapter 31 - Photos

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Bruce had to pretty much play father with Steve to ensure he didn't do anything reckless. And by reckless, he meant starting an unnecessary war for one girl. He knew Chris was okay. Even if she was currently on the run with one of S.H.I.E.L.D's most wanted. Not that there was much S.H.I.E.L.D left.

Currently they were in the canteen at the Avengers Tower, Steve looking as glum as possible as they ate their dinner in silence.
"Look, Steve, we know that she's safe, so why are you worrying?" Bruce said after a while. Steve just sighed, staring at the fork on his plate.
"She's with Bucky." Steve answered monotonously. "And no one can tell me why."
Bruce was conflicted in telling him what really happened, to reassure him that she was safe. But then he thought of what that would do to the team. He couldn't risk the team from falling apart.
"I'm sure you'll be able to find out when you find her, but for now, stop worrying." Bruce leaned in on the table. "That girl could take down a group of shadows on her own as a newly born baby, then I'm sure she can survive with Bucky for a few days."
"What if he's still.. You know, the Winter Soldier, and we haven't exactly explained to Chris what he's capable of-?"
"He's not. I saw the way he looked at her."
Steve's eyes flickered up to Bruce's face, confusion and perhaps jealousy present in his ocean blue orbs. "And what way was that?"
"He cared." Bruce said simply, somehow not seeing the effect all this information was having on Steve. Of course he couldn't. Steve was good masking his emotions, especially the ones that showed weakness. Like pain. Be it emotional or physical, he could mask pain the way girls conceal their scars. To absolute perfection.

"We should get back to the others." He said, standing up before Bruce could give a response. With a sigh, Bruce followed suit, reminding himself to get into contact with Chris later. He didn't like seeing Steve go back into the state he was in when they lost Bucky.

"Any updates?" Steve asked as they reunited with the team in one of the control rooms. Nat turned to him with a folder in her hands, and a look that gave off the vibe of impending doom. "What is it?" Steve said, refraining from sighing. Stay strong, he told himself. Keep yourself together.
"Can I speak to you alone?" She asked, subliminally telling Bruce to leave the two of them alone. Bruce gave her warning look, keeping that whatever she was going to tell him would most likely benefit her. He was confused by her sudden change of character. Natasha Alianova Romanova would never behave the way she did in the hospital. She wouldn't hide a simple explanation from Steve. With a single smile at Steve, Bruce walked away, leaving the two alone.

Nat lead Steve into a briefing room, and shut the door. She motioned to one of the seats, Steve following her silent order and sitting down opposite from where she stood. With a sigh, she placed the folder in front of him.

"You're not going to like what you see." She said apologetically. Steve kept his face expressionless as he took her words into consideration, and opening the file. At first, he couldn't help but smile. There was a selection of photographs in the folder, the very first being Christina. The reason he smiled was because of how beautiful she looked, a bright smile on her face in a glittering red gown. If only he were with her to tell her how amazing she looked. If only he were with her, he'd have someone to explain his current worries. If only, if only.

He slid through the photos, his smiling quickly fading as he saw her linking arms with his old friend. Then they were dancing, his hold on her far too personal for Steve's liking. What made his heart sink was that Christina looked like she was enjoying her time with him. She had on her amazing smile as she laughed, biting her lip in some photos because she was giggling. Steve had made her laugh too many times to know how that looked.

He couldn't help but wonder if she had very quickly moved on. She did explain to him that she had never really spent that long with a guy, Tom being an exception. He mentally shook his head, unable to accept. She wouldn't do that to him without an explanation, least of all with Bucky. He then began to wonder if she though of him. If it crossed her mind to come and see him. The last time that he was sure they had been together was when he was bleeding out in her arms. The rest, he was unsure of.

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