X. The Dance Studio

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I make my way over to his car and start the engine up. I remember the times I would drive in New York when I was younger, when I was in my own time. It is vastly different now. The drivers here are insane, and not to mention there are so many of them. It is currently three in the morning and one would think it's nine with how many people are out.

I find the dance studio easily enough; with a little help from a poster advertising the studio on the side of a trash can. I park the car on the curb next to the studio, tightening my hood around my head as I make my way to the door.

It's unlocked, so I easily slip in. As I make my way inside I find that it's completely empty. The cars, the people, the chaos of New York becomes background noise as the sound of music fills my ears.

The lights are off, the chairs and front desk empty, and each door is closed tightly. All but one. The third door to the right is cracked slightly, with light and music streaming out of it. I take my hood off, running a hand through my hair as I silently walk towards the door.

The music is loud enough I don't think my footsteps can be heard, or the creaking of the door as I slip inside. The room looks like a regular dance studio; mirrors lining the east and west wall. The wall across from me has pictures of different dancers throughout different decades, no doubt former students of this studio. Against this wall is a little cart, with a radio sitting on top of it. The music that's playing from it is some modern artist I don't recognize. But the music is the last thing I'm thinking about right now.

Lena is wearing a pair of leggings and a cropped sweater, along with a pair of ballet slippers. She is clearly borrowing them from here, but they fit her so perfectly I can't help but wonder if she keeps items here for her convenience.

I slump down against the wall next to the door, bringing my knees up to my chest, silently watching her dance. She doesn't look over to me, but I know she is aware of my presence. She probably picked up on my scent from a mile away.

I realize now that I have never seen her dance before. We danced at the club in Greece together, but that was different. It wasn't her. Even though she isn't doing tap dancing, she is doing a combination between ballet and a more contemporary dance. There is a sophistication and grace she has as she dances, a level of focus I've never seen her have. It's exactly what I would have pictured with her.

She looks in her element, like she's entered into a different world and she's allowing me to catch a glimpse of it. As she dances to the song that's playing, it's like she embodies the music. She becomes the beats, the pulses, and the lyrics the woman is singing. It's entrancing to watch, almost intoxicating.

I had hoped one day I would be able to watch her dance. She's better than I could have ever imagined. She could have become professional if things had been different. She told me she dreamt of becoming a famous dancer; dancing across every stage in the world. She could have done it if not for HYDRA.

I feel a smile growing on my face as the song begins to die down. She finishes off with a couple moves before letting out a deep breath, putting her hands on her hips. She walks over towards the radio, turning the volume knob down, saying to me without turning around; "Couldn't sleep either?"

"No. I saw your note and I finally wanted to see how good of a dancer you really are."

When Lena turns around towards me there's a smirk on her face. "And what's the verdict?"

I cross my arms, giving my completely honest opinion. "You are breathtaking."

I see her cheeks redden. She walks over towards me, sitting down on the floor a couple feet in front of me. She begins pulling her sweaty hair back into a pony tail, brushing her bangs out of her eyes as she asks; "What was your nightmare about this time?"

"You and I were both chained to opposite walls. We couldn't escape and a wolf was about to attack you. It's clear we had been captured for a long time, because you were beaten and tortured...and all the fight and hope was completely absent. I had to watch as the wolf killed you. What was your nightmare about?"

She lets out a sigh, stretching her legs out on the floor. "Thanos came back. As a form of revenge, he brought his sword out and stabbed you through the chest, forcing me to watch. But he used the time stone and put us in a loop, so I had to repeatedly watch you die."

Her voice is strained as she says this. I can see her begin focusing really hard on stretching as a distraction.

"Is this something you started doing during the blip? You picked dancing back up again?"

She nods, a small smile coming onto her face. "I helped find the senator's daughter during the blip, so he kept this place open for me when the owners died. But I talked with the couple who owns the studio and they're more than happy to let me come here to dance. It...it really allows me to escape. In these moments, it's like I exit my body and I become the music. It's hard to explain. Nothing else has ever given me that feeling before. I could dance all day and night."

I smile at her, stretching my legs out. My feet barely brush against hers, and it's then I notice the ballet shoes she's wearing have her name stitched into them. That answers my question from earlier.

"I promise you," I tell her. "That one day I'll get a house for us and turn one of the rooms into a dance studio. That way you can dance whenever you want."

She looks touched and rather shocked. "You want to buy a house with me?"

I shrug. "Well I don't know when exactly, but eventually, yes. I mean...as long as you want to. We can stay in Wakanda if that—"

"I want nothing more than to have a house with you," She cuts me off enthusiastically. "I would make sure the whole place is decorated with vintage items and pictures. Oh I could get a record player! I wish my aunt had kept the one Mama and Papa had. And I know of a place here in the city that sells records."

I chuckle lightly, shaking my head. "I'm relieved at your enthusiasm."

She rolls her eyes. "Like I would have said no."

"The house can be apart our retirement plan."

Her enthusiasm increases. She gets herself onto her knees, closing the distance between us and sitting on my lap, with her legs straddling mine. "What else is a part of this retirement plan?"

I brush her hair back from her face, touching her cheek gently. "Anything you want."

She leans down and brings her lips to mine. As she kisses me she holds onto either side of my face, molding her lips with mine. I grip at her hips, feeling the warm skin underneath her top send goosebumps up my arm as I pull her closer to me. I feel her begin to run her fingers through my hair just as I hear a loud noise come from next to us.

I break from the kiss, finding Alex standing there, starring down at us. His face just went from serious to amused, then back to serious in the span of a few seconds. Lena pushes herself off my lap, extending her hand out to help me onto my feet.

Alex shakes his head, placing his hands on his hips. "Well I guess I could have found you both in a more compromising position. It could have been worse."

Lena rolls her eyes. "How'd you find us? What are you doing here?"

"Well I couldn't sleep. I found you both we're gone so so asked Khari. He mentioned you danced at a studio in the city," He explains, a dire look in his eyes. "I turned the TV on because I couldn't fall back asleep...and I think there's something you need to go see."

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