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Speechless

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CH:1

 

  Steve saw him every day, his pale porcelain skin making his cheekbones seem to glow even in this dim New York weather. Or maybe it just seemed that way due to the sable lockes framing his face, the contrast making his skin seem lighter. But if he was honest, it was his bright green eyes that had first caught Roger’s attention. He seemed transfixed by them the first time he saw them. Bright green like photos of Ireland's green rolling hills right after a rain. Steve had always wanted to visit Ireland. But that seemed silly and far too dream like, maybe Emerald was more a correct comparison he thought absently though he'd only seen the jewel in pictures, the very idea of it seemed so exotic and held just a hint of excitement to it. Like one of those Indiana Jones movies that Clint insisted he watch. And that's exactly how he imagined the other man to be. Exotic with just a hint of excitement.

  And here he came again, same time just like every day, same bus every day, Steve had ridden several others in the area just to be certain, and they shared same smile and nod as the man walked by to an empty seat, then nothing more. Just like every day.

  He couldn't pinpoint one reason as to why he was drawn to this young man, outside his handsome features of course, but he just felt compelled to know him better. It was likely due to the fact that he was the only other person riding this bus that didn't have his nose buried in his smart phone. To the contrary and much to Steve's delight, it was often buried in a book. That and despite meeting his eyes on more than one occasion, he didn't get that instant star struck look that most got, and my how that was refreshing.

  Today would be different, today was the day Steve would get over his initial doubts and fears, and just a silly bit of anxiety, and actually talk to the guy. He was Captain friggin' America for goodness sakes, so what was he worried about?

  “Oh, uh, hello,” Steve beamed brightly at him as the young man approached.

  But instead of returning the greeting, the man seemed oblivious that Rogers has even spoken. Sitting in the seat directly across from him and turning to look out the window.
Maybe he hadn't heard him? “Nice weather lately, wouldn't you say?”

  Nothing. Not a nod, not a look in his direction, just the same stare towards the window, back half turned coldly in Steve's direction. He felt instantly deflated. What was he worrying about? Well that for starters.

  He sighed and turned forlornly to watch the city go by through his own dingy window. Great, the one guy he was actually interested in getting to know and he wouldn't even give him the time of day. Just his luck.

  The bus stopped several miles down and tall, slim and handsome got up to get off, just as he always did here. Steve didn't know why, just his own stubbornness and grit guiding him now, but he felt he just had to follow.

  Maybe the guy hadn't heard him, silly since he was right there beside him. However he just couldn't give up straight away. Not after basically stalking this guy from bus stop to bus stop for the past two weeks.

  The man headed into a coffee shop and Steve followed a few paces behind. Waiting on coffee, good plan, that would give them something to chat about other than the weather. However, when Mr handsome approached the counter, Steve felt as though the rug had been pulled straight out from beneath him.

  The girl working check out smiled at him and held up one finger as she went to retrieve another co-worker. Once they arrived, there was a flurry of hand gestures between the handsome young man and the barista. Hand gestures that Steve instantly recognized as sign language. No wonder the young man didn't reply to him. He was deaf.

  Feeling inspired Steve turned on his heels to leave. This wasn't the end, just a minor detour.

******

  “I need you to teach me sign language,” Steve said leaning forward in his seat urgently as though such knowledge could just be handed over on a platter.

  “What?!” Clint asked glancing away from the video game he had been playing for just a brief moment to make certain the Captain wasn't playing with him. “What for?”

  “Well, I met somebody, but they're deaf,” Steve began, pausing to back track a bit. Because that wasn't exactly true. “Well, I haven't met them, met them yet. But I want to talk to them, or rather be able to talk to them.”

  “Was this American sign language? European sign language? Australian sign language?”

  “I don't know,” Steve responded looking at Clint a bit perplexed and unsure if Clint was just messing with him. “American… Maybe. “

  “Because you're in America?” Clint teased with a chuckle, leaning hard to the right as he rapidly mashed the buttons on the controller, as if that would help his character's current plight.

  “Yes?” Rogers responded hopefully. “Look, I honestly didn't know there were different forms for other countries. but the barista could communicate and he's definitely American.”

  Clint had paused his game and was now looking at Steve closely. “Most deaf people can read lips you know. And if you haven't met them, met them, how do you know she's deaf?”

“Because He,” Rogers stated putting emphasis on the correct gender “ordered a coffee today using sign language. And I figure since you're..”

  “Hearing impaired,” Clint filled in flatly.

  “Exactly, who better to ask?” Steve said looking at his friend hopefully. He’d never before broached his sexual preferences around them and technically wasn't open about anything just yet. Still he hoped it wouldn't be an issue. Clint seemed a modern thinking man, and also a discreet one. Which made him doubly suited to be the one to ask for help. “So what do you say, can you help me learn sign language? Please?”

  A slow smile spread up Clint's lips as he watched Rogers fidget. He felt quite honored that he was the one his friend trusted with such information. “Of course man,” Barton said finally, clapping him on the arm and going back to his game.

  Steve sighed in relief and waited eagerly for Clint to finish. And waited, and waited. Finally he could see by the roguish grin that his friend was sporting that Clint was clearly just giving him a hard time. With a huff, he grabbed Barton by the arm and hauled him away from his game.

  “Oh, you mean now,” Clint said as he was dragged away.