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The First Time They Met....

It wasn't that Steve liked getting beaten up in alleys, it wasn't a hobby of his or anything, it just sort of kept happening to him. There were three of them this time, big hulking brutes who had thought it was well within their rights to hassle two kids they'd thought were speaking German. Steve had tried to reason with them, explaining it was Yiddish, not German, and the kids were just kids who probably wanted nothing more than to go home, so why not let them be?

Which... went over about as well as he'd expected it to. As in, not at all.

Luckily they were drunk and he wasn't and it wasn't until after he'd just ducked his third roundhouse that one managed to get a decent hit in, a doozey to the solar plexus. Of course, that one shot was enough to send him to his knees, gasping for air and unable to dodge the next several blows and when one of the bullies picked up a brick from the mouth of the alley, Steve was pretty sure that this was going to be one of those days that ended very, very badly.

Except it didn't.

"Hey, now, three against one, that's hardly fair!" Steve heard someone shout from the street and then Bucky was there yelling,

"How 'bout we even the odds a little?"

And then there was a few thuds and a loud "ooof" and then the fists were gone and Bucky was pulling him to his feet. "Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve. What am I going to do with you, huh?"

"I almost had 'em this time." Steve wiped some blood off the corner of his mouth, wincing when he brushed against the broken skin there.

"That's going to leave a mark," the stranger who had helped run off the bullies said, leaning in to take a good look at Steve's face.

Bucky leaned in for his own examination. "Oh, right. Introductions. This is -"

"Steve Rogers. Any friend of Bucky's is a friend of mine." Steve pulled himself to his full height, ignoring the aches and pains as he did so.

The man offered his hand. "Jack Harkness, pleased to meet you."


The Second Time....

"An' I thought I could drink anyone under... under... under the whatsit." Morita was attempting to be highly offended, but was far too drunk for it. "Well, 'cept the Captain," he said, gesturing to Steve with his beer and spilling a good quantity of it on the floor.

"The Captain is certainly the exception to most rules." Falsworth pulled out a chair for Morita as he spoke, "For now I suggest you sit down before you fall down."

Morita hiccupped twice and belched loudly in Dugan's face before agreeing by staggering into the offered seat and collapsing into it and falling dead asleep in one continuous move. Bucky, meanwhile, silenced Dugan's complaint and almost immediate attempted retaliation before it could begin by bringing a new round over. "He okay?"

"He challenged me to a drinking contest," an RAF officer explained as he approached the table. "And lost. Badly. Glad to see he has some friends to take care of him; most likely he's going to be suffering quite a bit in the morning."

Bucky spun around when he recognized the voice. "Jack?"

"Bucky Barnes, as I live and breathe, it's nice to see a familiar face over here." Jack grabbed Bucky and pulled him in for a bone-crushing hug. "You're a sergeant now, I see."

"And you're RAF?" Bucky returned the hug and then turned to the men. "Jack Harkness, this is my team; you've already met Morita, and here's Dugan, Jones, Dernier, Falsworth and of course, you remember our Captain, Steve Rogers. Everyone, this is Jack Harkness."

"Captain Jack Harkness," he corrected as he shook hands with everyone other than Morita, who had begun to snore, "pleased to meet you." Jack lingered over Steve for a moment, not releasing his hand as he tilted his head and looked long and hard. "Steve Rogers. Your friend from Brooklyn, Steve Rogers?"

Steve nodded. "Guilty as charged."

"My oh my, I knew a uniform changed a man, but I had no idea how much. Nice to see you again, Steve."

"Likewise," Steve replied with a grin.


The Third Time....

The approach had been planned down to the minutest detail, but shortly after they had received the "go" order the weather changed and long before they'd reached their objective it was snowing so hard they could barely see their hands in front of their faces.

"This is ridiculous," Bucky muttered, sidling up to Steve as they laboriously made their way through the undergrowth. "I've nearly fallen flat on my face at least ten times in the last five minutes alone. The intel we had on this base was spotty at best and it doesn't match up with the coordinates from that map you saw."

"He's right, Captain," Jones said, shifting closer as he lifted his arm up to block some of the snow from blowing directly into his eyes. "We can't even be sure it's Hydra."

"We suspect it's a weapons factory though," Steve replied, gravely. "Do you suggest we just leave and let them continue making weapons just because we don't think they're Hydra?"

"They're not," announced a voice to their left.

The three of them spun around, weapons drawn, to find Jack Harkness, still wearing his familiar RAF greatcoat, standing there, smiling at them. "Jack!" Bucky hissed. "I could have shot you!"

"You? Never. Your reflexes are too good for you to fire on someone you recognized and I don't think even I have done enough to warrant you shooting me out of spite." When Steve and the Commandos just continued to stand and stare at him Jack added, "What, I don't get a hug?"

"Now's not the time, Captain Harkness-" Steve began, only to have Jack interrupt him,

"No need for formalities out here, I'm Jack, remember?"

"Jack," Steve corrected himself. "Of course. But, we have a mission to complete right now so if you don't mind going back to where ever you... Actually, why are you here?"

Jack pulled papers out his pocket and handed them to Steve. "Trying to save you lot from doing something you'll regret. You'll see my orders trump yours."

The Commandos gathered around while Steve examined the paperwork. "Cap?" Morita finally asked.

"Looks like this one is a wash, boys," Steve said, handing Jack back the paperwork, who took it and then grasped his hand and shook it.

"Until next time, Captain Rogers?" Jack asked with a grin.

"Until next time, Captain Harkness."


The Fourth Time....

"Drinking by yourself in a bombed out bar? And here I thought you were well adjusted."

Steve looked up to see Jack lounging in the ruined doorway, looking for all the world like he belonged there. "I wanted to be alone."

"Is that why you sent the lovely Agent Carter away?" Jack walked over and raised an eyebrow as he tilted his head towards the seat Peggy had just vacated. When Steve gestured at it with his empty glass Jack pulled it out, turned it around, and straddled it.

"She was trying to convince me it wasn't my fault."

"Did she succeed?"

Steve responded with a half-hearted shrug.

Jack studied Steve for a moment. "I've been a captain, the Captain a long time. I've lost plenty of men, plenty of friends. And it's always rough. Always. If it isn't, if you don't think that way, then you're not the officer Bucky or any of your men deserved to have, you're not a man that has the right to ask anyone to follow."

Twirling the liquor around in his glass, Steve pondered Jack's words. "Bucky once said he wouldn't follow Captain America, but he'd follow," he tried to capture Bucky's accent and tone, "that little guy from Brooklyn that was too dumb not to run away from a fight."

"Bucky knew you, Steve. He knew what was here," Jack said, leaning forward and touching Steve's temple, "and, more importantly, here." He tapped Steve on the chest, resting his hand over his heart. "And he loved you for it."

"I loved him too," Steve said softly, closing his eyes and resting his hand over Jack's.

Without moving his hand Jack slipped off his chair and moved next to Steve, pulling him close. "Then honor his memory by accepting what he did for you and living your life." He placed a kiss in Steve's hair. "You deserve it."

"Jack." Steve let his free arm trail over Jack's back for a moment before pulling away. "Not now. Not yet. I have to take them out. I have to."

Jack grasped Steve's hand and held it tightly. "Until then."


And The Fifth....

One thing that amazed Steve about this new world he found himself living in was how vast it was. He could get on his bike and just ride. It was a freedom he'd never had as a kid; he'd never owned a vehicle before. But he had one now, a motorcycle not too different than the one he used in the War, well, without the holsters for weapons of course. He hadn't used it too much originally, everything was just too bright and too busy and too too, but after the team's success, after actually having a team again and feeling like the Captain again, if only for a little while he decided to take it out again.

He remembered the discussions about the construction of the Southern State, about how ridiculous it was to suggest a four lane parkway might be inadequate, and how two lanes in either direction were all that anyone would ever need. Driving down the Parkway today, expanded to double that size in places, Steve marveled at how far America's need for roads had come. How far America had come.

He rode aimlessly for awhile before deciding on a destination. Jones Beach. Similar to Coney Island, but without the boardwalk and not-quite-right, almost-the-same-but-different ghosts it held. It was late by the time he arrived and fairly empty, which was just perfect. He parked his bike as far from the lifeguarded section as possible and began wandering the beach until he was far enough away that it was just him and the ocean and sat on the sand.

He'd been lost in his own head for quite some time before a familiar voice broke through his thoughts. "Hello, Steve." And there, standing before him in all his glory, was Jack Harkness, looking for all the world like he hadn't aged a day. "I saw your team on the news, but," Jack shook his head. "I wasn't sure it was you, that it could be you. You still look amazing, you haven't changed a bit."

"Seventy years in the ice will do that." He jumped to his feet. "I thought everyone I knew was dead, but you're. You haven't..."

"I'm a special case," Jack said, clapping Steve on the arm and pulling close. "Now," he whispered in his ear, "I believe someone owes me a date."