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One Tiny Change

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The first time that Skye met Steve, they just happened to run into each other. Literally.

All Skye wanted to do was grab a slice of pie. The diner was only ten yards from her van, was an uneventful pie trip too much to ask? Apparently so.

Skye tilted her head up to look at the well-muscled man who she walked into just inside the door. He was wearing a hoodie and a baseball cap that she could see under from her 5’6” viewpoint. The man had an oddly familiar face. Skye frowned. Where did she know him from?

“My apologies, ma’am.” He looked contrite. The Brooklyn accent combined with the face and forties manners clicked several things into place for Skye as the man gave her a hand up from her place on the floor. Everyone knew, of course, that Steve Rogers had been found and defrosted. Skye knew better than most though. Even SHIELD, an expert at keeping secrets, couldn’t keep quiet that America’s Golden Boy had returned.

Although boy was most definitely not the right word for Steve Rogers. He was 100% man.

Steve apparently saw the dawning recognition on her face, because he pressed a finger to his lips in a casual gesture that would’ve gone unnoticed by the average observer. Then, he pulled her by the arm into the nearest booth.

Part of her mind that hadn’t been frozen into silence noted that this happened to be the booth where she normally sat when she came in here, which was quite often. Another part of her was occupied by other things. Like, of course the day that she meets Captain freaking America is the day that she looks like a complete hobo. Sweatpants, an old band shirt, hair in a messy bun; the works.

None of that matters as Steve seats himself across from her. Skye raises a single eyebrow at him, here, in a random diner, in LA of all places. Steve appropriately reads her expression and answers her unasked questions.

“So, I guess that reaction means that you know who I am. I really shouldn’t be surprised. Ever since I woke up, I’ve come to realize that a person’s life isn’t really their own unless they live completely off-grid. Certainly not an option for me, especially since everyone knows that I’m alive.”

Skye can feel her face twisting into a guilty pout when she hears Steve’s distaste for being in the public eye. “That might be my fault.”

“What might be your fault?”

“The fact that everyone knows you’re alive.”

“What do you mean?”

Skye takes a deep breath and responds, “I’m gonna go out on a limb and trust you. It won’t really matter if you tell anyone about me though; I can always make myself disappear again. Oh, by the way, I’m Skye.” She holds her hand put and Steve shakes it warily.

“Anyways, do you have any idea how your status of…you know, life... was leaked?”

“I do not, Miss Skye, but I feel like I will soon.”

Skye stares guiltily at her curled fist resting on the table. “Yeah, you will. And just call me Skye. You’re not gonna want to call me ‘Miss’ after this anyways. So, quick question. How up are you on modern technology? I know it’s only been a few months since you thawed out.”

“I’m ok with technology. It’ll take a while.”

“Ok. You understand hacking, right?”

“Not the details, but hacking is just getting into a database or computer that you shouldn’t, right?”

“Yeah, that’s the basic idea. There are people who hack into different agencies and corporations, not for money, but for freedom of information. That’s what I’ve done for the past nine years. I’ve done what I thought was right. Letting people know the truth. With my past, the truth holds a huge value to me.”

Skye takes a deep breath and gets ready to spill her guts. “It was me. I hacked SHIELD and leaked that you were alive. I thought that people had a right to know. I wanted to give people hope. Hope was something that I never had enough of as a kid, so I wanted to let everyone know that the person who they thought they lost had been found.”

Skye feels the guilt deep in her chest like ice around her heart. “I didn’t think about you as a person, but as a symbol to people everywhere. But what I didn’t really think about was that you’re Steve Rogers, not Captain America. I stuck a label on you, but I hate when people label me. I didn’t realize how hypocritical that was until now.”

Skye stops talking as Steve goes pale, trying to absorb all the information that she’s dumped on him. She facepalms at her extreme overshare.

***

When Steve walked into the diner for some apple pie, he’d had no idea that he would run into the person who exposed his secrets to the world.

Steve tried to get angry. He wanted to be angry. This girl had ruined any anonymity that he might have had a chance at keeping. But something stays the words, keeps them from flowing out of his mouth. What is it that he sees in her?

Oh, he knows. It’s the soft, vulnerable look in her eyes. The same one that he sees every time he looks in the mirror. In her eyes lurks the uncertainty that has plagued him since he woke up in a completely different century.

If Steve is honest, it intrigues him. How is this girl so unsure of her place in the world that she grew up in? He thinks that he wants to find out.

“Skye, it’s… I don’t want to say it’s ok, because it’s not, but I think if nothing else… I understand. But I’m gonna need something from you.”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?”

“Your number.”

***

Well, that was not what Skye had been expecting. At all. It hadn’t even crossed her mind.

Was Steven Rogers, Captain freaking America, actually flirting with her? No, no way. Why would Steven Rogers, all-around good guy, want anything to do with a ragged little street rat like her?

Apparently Steve registered what he had blurted. “I…um…that’s not how I…oh goodness. I hope that we can work together, Skye. You would be a very useful contact. If you can hack SHIELD, I want you on my side. Anything more than that would-”

“I get it, Steve. Anything more than that and we’re just asking for trouble.” But Skye doesn’t miss the way that his eyes linger on her lips after her tongue darts over them.

Right now, they were allies. Maybe soon, they could be friends. After that... well, who knows?