The Dove and The Strongman, By: XRebelRevenantX
Dum Dum Dugan was content to drink that tab under the table... That is until he meets Lyla Rogers, the blind sister of Captain America and they begin a tentative friendship writing letters back and forth. What will the Strongman do when he's faced with a possible future at an impossible time...
Chapter 2: First Steps
Dugan struggled for a few days after that, he still couldn't get Lyla out of his mind. She was beautiful, and such a spitfire.
He quickly shoved her from his mind, turning instead to focus on cleaning the shotgun barrel in his hand.
'Why would a dove like that want someone like me anyway? She's so...and I'm-'
He threw the gun parts down and took a deep breath of his cigar.
He definitely could use a beer right now.
"Having trouble, my friend?"
Dugan turned and glared at Falsworth.
"Go away, British. I haven't got a thing to say to you."
Falsworth grinned. "Oh, thinking of Ms. Rogers again, are you?"
Dum Dum groaned and placed his head in his hands.
"Aha! So you are thinking of her?"
"If this gun was still in one piece, Monty..."
The other man raised his hands in surrender.
"Alright, alright...it wouldn't hurt for you to at least try to talk to her, you know. Especially if you're this worked up over her and you only met her two days ago."
"Yeah and make an utter fool of myself."
"Well, you could always start out small...like sending her small gifts or letters."
Dugan looked at Falsworth completely baffled. "Why are you helping me?"
"Because in a time of uncertainty like this, its nice to have happy moments to cling to..."
Falsworth stated as he turned and walked from the bunkroom.
He paused at the doorway.
"Plus you could always send the gifts and letters anonymously of course." Dugan grinned and shook his head.
He jumped up and made his way to the desk in the building and grabbed paper and a pen.He sat down and paused over the paper, realizing he had forgotten to wash his hands first. There was gun grease dotted all over the page.
Dugan shook his head and was reaching for another sheet when he stilled. He looked down at the smudges on the paper for a bit and then shrugged.
'Here goes nothing.'
/ ~ / ~ / ~ /
'Now for the gift. What should I get?'
Dugan was getting odd looks standing in the gift shop.
"Sir, do you need help with anything?"
A older woman with grey hair asked.
He looked down at her and swallowed.
"I...uh...I need a gift for someone."
She smiled at him.
He rubbed the back of his neck.
"Well, I just met her..."
The woman gave him a knowing look.
"Is there anything she likes to do?"
Dugan paused before he remembered something.
'...Oh and if I could have a nice open area to paint, that would be lovely.'
"Do you have paint brushes? And paints?"
The woman smiled, "Of course we do. This way."
Dugan smiled and tipped his hat.
'This is easier than I thought it would be.'
/ ~ / ~ / ~ /
"Ah! Dugan! I was wondering when you were going to call."
"This is about Lyla, isn't it?"
Dugan gaped at the phone in his hand before sighing.
"Yeah. I was wondering if you could help me with something."
"What do you need?"
"I want to write to her, but I-"
Howard laughed on the other line.
"You've got it bad, Dugan. You want to write a blind woman?"
"It can be read to her, right? And it's what guys usually do for the dames they like, right?"
"You've got a point there. So you need my help getting the letters to her right?"
"I'll give you the address."
"I don't want to put a return address on the packages. And nobody but you, me, and Falsworth knows, alright?"
"Ohh...so the 'secret admirer' route? Nice touch. Alright, I'll help you. I can pull some strings to have them sent directly to the mansion."
"One more thing, Stark..."
"Where's the best place to get flowers?"
/ ~ / ~ / ~ /
Lyla's head shot up at the voice."I'm terribly sorry, miss, but you received this letter and..."
"Thank you Jarvis."
"I'm afraid its not braille miss."
'Steve's letter is actually on time...'
"I could read it to you, if you'd like?"
Jarvis made his way to the young woman and sat down across from her.
"Oh, and miss there was something else too."
"Yes, a gift too. Here."
A thin square package and a slightly weighty rectangle one was placed gently into her hands and instantly her curiosity was peaked.
So she made quick work of the paper surrounding them, first running her hands over the slim box and then the larger box in her hands."What are they?"
"Miss, I believe you are holding new paintbrushes and paints."
Lyla smiled brightly."My brother probably wanted to make sure I had enough supplies to keep me occupied."
Jarvis cleared his throat."There is no return address on the packages or the letter, Miss. I believe you might have an secret admirer."
Lyla shook her head.
"Me...a secret admirer...no, that's not possible. Its probably Bucky pulling a trick."
"Miss, we should probably look at that letter before we make assumptions."
She nodded, "You have a point."
She listened as Jarvis cut the envelope open and the rustling of paper as he unfolded the letter.
The scent of gun oil and cigar smoke gently hung in the air.
'Okay, so its not my brother and not Bucky...but who?'
She waited for him to start speaking but nothing happened.
"Oh dear. I...um...will be right back in a jiff."
There was a bustle of noise and another muttered, 'oh dear' as he left the room.
Lyla was confused. 'What is going on?'
After a few minutes, the door opens again and a woman's voice speaks to her.
"So you've got an admirer?"
"Nonsense, a pretty young woman like you is bound to have a few admirers from time to time."
Lyla shook her head."Can you read the letter, please? I'm so terribly confused right now."
"Oh, Edwin didn't read it?"
She shook her head again.
"That man. Sometimes he can be so silly. Well lets get settled and get a glass of tea in us while we read."
There was a clattering of cups and metal spoons and then a small cup was pressed into her hands.
Lyla smiled warmly at the other woman.
"Thank you, Mrs. Jarvis."
"Oh, I don't mind at all. Its lovely to be able to have some girl time away from men."
The rustling of papers perked her ears up and she sat straighter in her seat.
"Now lets see what this mystery man's got to say, huh?"
"To Ms. Lyla Rogers,
'Couldn't he at least put 'dear'?'
"Oh, back to reading, sorry."
"I write this letter hoping it finds you well. And I hope you like the gifts too. I thought new paints and brushes would make you smile. And I'd buy you all the paints and brushes I could just to get you to smile like you did when I first saw you. You lit up the whole room. If you would allow it, I would like to keep sending letters to you. I wrote the address down below just in case you do agree."
"Oh the man's nervous...how sweet. You definitely have to write him back."
"I have been thinking a lot lately about this war and how at any time my life could end. Soldiers shut themselves off from the outside world, only focusing on their mission. I was a definite believer in keeping your head down and doing your job and moving forward. But when I first saw you, saw you smile, and heard you laugh...I realized what was keeping most other men going. They all found someone worth fighting for, someone to return to and you just might be my reason, dove. I hope you give me a chance.
Hopefully, Your guy,
Lyla was blushing at the little nickname and the sweet words the mystery man wrote that she was startled when a knock sounded at the door.
"What is it now?" The door creaked open and Mrs. Jarvis laughed.
"Oh, that's it, Lyla, you're writing the man back."
Lyla shook her head, confused yet again.
"What is it?"
"He sent flowers. Lilies...Lilies!"
The younger woman flushed.
"What's the address?"
"Oh!" There was rustling as Mrs. Jarvis opened the letter again. "Oh, well, its a military address. The 107th...hmmm, isn't that the same company as your brother and Mr. Barnes?"
She only blushed harder. 'Someone from my brother's company?'
"Oh come on, what could it hurt?"
Lyla smiled and nodded.
The older woman laughed and scrambled to get paper and a pen.
"Well, let's get writing then."
Lyla took a calming breath, and the scent of lilies, gun oil, and cigar smoke made her smile.
'Here goes nothing.'
"Dear Mr. T.A...."