2019-09-27 - Lavendar And The Fields Of France


Perhaps working alone in her lab with Steve isn't Jemma's smartest moves. Or maybe it's just using lavendar bodywash

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Sep 27 05:08:48 2019
Location: Triskelion

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It seems impolite, somehow, to the Captain, to venture aloud that Jemma is incredibly brave to entertain him in her lab once again so soon after he went ballistically furry and long of tooth. With the premise being a physical post-shift back into his human self, Steve now lingers at the far end of the countertop where he sat initally for his blood-draw last night.

In a plain black t-shirt and the black SWAT pants, barefooted, he eyes Jemma with an air of chagrin hanging about him as thickly as fog. He truly is embarrassed; so much for the claim of steely self-control.

"So…it's a virus binding to my cells 'nd it's accelerating. I feel a h…heckuva lot better'n half an hour ago, but…it'd probably make me a carrier…doesn't it?" Indeed, breakfast in a hastily slurped coffee and three breakfast burritos has put a pep in his step for all he appears hang-dog. "'m sincerely hoping it's only when 'm covered in fur."

Because, y'know, husband expects a kiss when Steve gets home and all.

Jemma is sort of amazed that the others allowed her to be here alone with Steve. Though Koa had said he would be along presently, so there's that. That wonder is soon addressed though when two of the security team, bigger guys, take up position just outside the door.

Steve would have smelt them arriving, well before Jemma heard them.

"I'm not surprised you are, Steve." Jemma murmurs, a little distracted as she peers at the rotating holographic model above her workbench. "The changes are definitely binding to your cells, which have already been mutated by the serum. The recovery rate I'm seeing is astounding. I bet you're hungry again."

Gathering some materials, the biochem starts working. "First things first, electrolytes and a protein mix to keep you from starving." There's a pause at his question, her nodding slowly. "A carrier is likely. Possibly through saliva. That's easy test at least."

Reaching for a plastic wrapped kit, she hands it over. "Why don't you swab for me and we'll check that now?"

The two gentlemen, armed and armored in tactical gear, aren't missed at all by the sharpened senses of the blond Captain. He side-eyes their half-hidden presence with rueful dissatisfaction; no doubt their weaponry isn't lethal and contains more of the dendrotoxin that knocked Steve clean to the floor last evening.

Still, he watches Jemma manipulate the holographic display with the usual amount of interest untamped by his sore feelings on matters. How did she know he was already wondering about more food again?

Probably the growl of his stomach, almost on cue at her comment. His ears pink.

"Sure, not the worst thing anybody's asked me to do in a lab," he says quietly. The plastic crinkles and he pulls out the cylinder as well as swab. A quick swipe-swipe, both insides of his cheeks, and then he slips the swab into the holding vial. Click — sealed with a press of his thumb, and he hands it back to Jemma. "'m already dealing with needing about 3,000 calories a day. What's your best guess on what I should be working towards now?" Steve reaches up to scratch at his nape. "Barnes guessed around 5,000, which seems…insane," he breathes.

Jemma watches Steve as she hands him that packet, eyes moving to the door for an instant. The look that flashes across her face is rueful, Steve can scent the embarrassment that accompanies it.

Still, she doesn't say anything to justify it. Simply presses on with their conversation. "Let me finish these supplements and then take a look at that. "

"Barnes might be right. It's hard to tell, the changes are speeding everything up. We'll use that as a baseline but I hate to say it Steve, we're going to need to monitor and measure you regularly."

It might make him feel similar to the serum tests in the early days. Jemma wonders if it makes Steve feel like a lab rat.

"Electrolytes to replace body salts. With the increase in water you'll be drinking plus heightened physical activity, you'll need these. I added a blackcurrant flavour to make it more palatable." a beaker with a purpleish coloured liquid is handed over. "The protein supplement is brewing."

"Let's look at that swab…" the existing 3D model is moved to a smaller window as the sawb is placed under the microscope. "The virus is there, see here and here…" spots highlight as Jemma gestures. "Can you pass me that Angel puppet? It should have a sample from when you were changed."

Yes. She collected that when she left containment.

Half the beaker's violet-hued contents disappear without Steve seeming to consider its taste. Still, while he pauses to breathe and smack his lips — blackcurrant, fascinating — he glances over at the ragged remains of the doll.

"Pretty sure there's no saliva on it…given I was muzzled." On the sobering note, he picks up the doll and walks over to Jemma to hand it off. The rest of the beaker's electrolytic liquid vanishes before he sets it aside. His nose wrinkles. "'s'sweet," he coughs. But what is that note? He can catch it standing close to Jemma now. It's…

The low-lying feral and foreign knowledge assigns it to her sweat, a particular note which has the fine hairs on his neck rising — and his ears re-pinking in echo.

His true-blue eyes flicker to the highlighted points on the display. Lips thin. On a sigh, he adds quietly, "'s'fine if you need to check on me regularly. Old news, needing to linger around a lab, nothing 'm unfamiliar with. Just lemme know if you need it scheduled or if you want me to show up in a number of days."

"True… "Jemma considers and turns the puppet in her hands, not considering the super soldiers proximity or his heightened senses. "Maybe the muzzle then…" beat "Sorry. I don't want to keep reminding you of last night…"

The note is indeed her sweat - she's been here all night after all - there's faintest trace of a light floral scent, lavendar. Probably from her soap or body wash. Or shampoo.

A few moments later a swab from the muzzle is under the scope, bought up next to Steve's current sample. "Fascinating. Do you see it…"

Indeed, there is a /marked// difference in the activity of the virus in the transformed saliva. But what does it mean?

"Would you mind dropping in every other day? Put my mind at rest that you're not fading away, at the very least."

Lavender — such a light dusty wisp overtop the human salinity that immediately, and briefly, takes him back to the fields of France after Operation Dragoon. Blinking, Steve comes back to the present and nods, her request catching up to his distracted mind.

"Every other day's not a problem. Figure while 'm not dealing with the shifting bunk, I'll be working nine to five as I always do." By which he means more like seven to ten unless Barnes yanks him out of the office by the back of his shirt collar. His eyes flick from the puppet and to the display again. He sighs slowly again, nodding to communicate that he's seen the changes present. The virus does appear to be mutating in his cells, almost…becoming specialized. It chills him.

As if he'd distract himself from the goosebumps dancing over him and making him antsy — want to run — want to go…howl at something? — he adds idly, "Lavender's a nice smell."

Good job, Steve.

"The virus is more active in the werewolf saliva. I imagine, and I'll need to test this, it's more potent. A bite probably has a quicker or maybe more resilient effect. If you bite someone now, it might be slower but still effective."

Jemma ponders the results, not looking at Steve or realising how close he's drawn to her. It's perfectly normal really - Steve's been in the lab a few times and they've talked like this.

"I wonder if the moon has an effect on this…" She ponders aloud, to turn and look at the super soldier when he mentions lavendar.

"It… is…" oh he's flushed and "You.. can smell that?" She stills. Not unlike a rabbit in headlights.

A perfect prey response.

|ROLL| Steve Rogers +rolls 1d10 for: 2

|ROLL| Steve Rogers +rolls 1d10 for: 4

"I would think the moon would affect the virus, given it's still…"

Steve turns to look over his shoulder, again unerringly at a downwards angle towards the floor. When he glances back at Jemma, curiously now at her question, he flushes all the more deeply at his cheeks.


And his skin prickles yet again. Fingers flex and curl unthinkingly into claws alongside his hips. The stare he levels at her is hyper-focused and there's a noticeable melting of human personality within those true-blue eyes.

"…can smell a lot about you right now, Jemma." His voice has suddenly dropped an octave and roughened out. A hard swallow follows. Steve rolls his lips, as if he'd hide the way he feels his canines begin to tingle at their roots in his jaw. The Captain's infamous self-discipline barely wins out over the sudden need to see if she'll run — it's always so delightful when the prey runs —

A sliiiiiding step away down the lab station is accompanied by Steve turning his back on the scientist-doctor. A palm lands on the countertop and curls into a fist as he blows a hard sigh.

"Sorry, gimme a second," he growls. Literally growls. He's dead-set on beating out the pulse of ferality dancing in his blood and ringing in his ears.

"Captain Rogers." To her credit, perhaps, Jemma doesn't run. Kelly gets a good dose of fear through that link though. Steve gets a good whiff of that too.

The instinct to take a step back is strong but she holds." Captain Rogers… " a reminder of *who* he is delivered with a quaver. That won't help the self control but she's not running.


Security starts to step inside but Jemma shakes her head. That will probably make things worse. "I… Alright. I'll just be *right* here."

|ROLL| Steve Rogers +rolls 1d10 for: 3

|ROLL| Steve Rogers +rolls 1d10 for: 9

And isn't the astringent note of fear enough to dance a fingertip up Steve's spine. It straightens even as he keeps his chin tucked and he lets out another low, carrying growl.

"'m still here, Jemma, but maybe…maybe it'd be best if you went out into the hall for a sec," he manages to grit out, lisping at consonants as if he were fighting with his teeth and tongue mismatching. "'s'not just lavender anymore." A hard swallow. Blunt nails having gained a sharpened edge drag at the countertop as his fists opens and closes convulsively; light divots are left in his wake.


Still on his feet, he keeps his face averted and hard grip on his shirt as he concentrates on forcing down his heart in his throat. So much of him wants to whip around and set poor Jemma to running, if only to see how far she'll get before he lands square between her shoulderblades after his leap.

"That … means I have to get past you, Captain Rogers." The biochem stays, her spine stiff as she looks at him. Moving very carefully, the biochem gets various ingredients together, mixing them in the beaker that Steve just left on the bench.

"This won't taste good, but drink it anyway." She's remembered the mix that Koa suggested she make for the ICERS. "It will help."

Outside the door, the guards keep their distance but have the door wide open. Steve has to know they are there.

"Steve…" dropping the reminder of *who* he is, Jemma reverts to using the mans name. He's still in there, right? "… drink." The beaker is pushed up the workbench as far as Jemma dares moves herself. She's scared, but she's managing to mostly control it.

Please, please don't bark at her.

|ROLL| Steve Rogers +rolls 1d10 for: 6

The smooth slide of the beaker across the countertop towards him brings Steve's head to lift. His face turns to a point, the rest of the motion in his slitted eyes. They're still blue, those eyes, lined in golden lashes, but there's not a lot of humanity in them. He blinks hard and a moderate amount of his presence returns. A harsh, shuddering sigh and another white-knuckled clench of his fist precedes him reaching out to take it.

"'s'okay, won't hurt you."

Is a promise in a canid growl still a promise? Regardless, he takes the beaker and brings it over to himself. Turning in place to face the counter, the Captain attempts to 'fake it until he makes it'. Holding a beaker is human. Bringing it to his lips is human. Wrinkling his nose is human. It's funny tasting. It's missing what he wants.

It's missing warm iron.

And his canines click funny on the glass.

It's missing warm iron but that's not something that Jemma could include easily. What does include is puree of aconitum and silver nitrate mixed with water. It tastes horrible, but should help Steve control the beast within.

"I know you won't hurt me." Not now, anyway. She swallows, the sharp scent of fear still clinging to her and yet she stands her ground and doesn't submit.

"It's accelerating, more quickly than I even anticipated. I know you need protein, that's coming. Am we going to be alright, or do you need to go … elsewhere."

No wonder the admixture tastes funny.

Steve glurks after the second hasty swallow and coughs most of this mouthful up onto the countertop already abraided by his nails. It feels as if he'd suddenly swallowed a mouthful of hydrogen peroxide mixed with an acid. Gagging, he falls to one knee and clings at the lab table. The beaker tips and spills its contents across the surface.

Already, painfully, the effects of the brief slip of lycanthropic influence can be seen to be abating. Steve coughs more and clutches at his shirt above his stomach. "Be fine — 'll b'fine," the soldier wheezes. Sweat stands glistening on his brow as he pants, eyes screwed shut. "Dunno if I'll be able to keep down protein now…" The laugh is weak, bitter.

"Sorry, I figured it wouldn't taste nice, but it's the best I could do on short notice." Seeing that seems to work is a relief to her mind. It breaks her heart but she currently won't go near him. She's not sure it will things better if she does.

"Alright. We'll let your stomach settle and then try again in a moment." She frowns as she looks at the results on the model. "I can work on this, Steve but … I think perhaps we should get Bucky in here and have you … hunting for the cause of all this."

"Sounds…good to me." An atonal gluck is followed by a hard gulp. Thank god for the blue recycling paper bin nearby. Steve makes a stumbling lunge for it and vomits up the majority of the mixture. How humbling, the super-soldier on his knees, hugging the bin, a perfect mimicry of a college student after too many rounds of Edward Forty-Hands.

A hard sigh and he spits before emerging again. The silvery nitrate lingers on his lips, seen as the Captain glances over at Jemma. "'m game for hunting…the damn thing…no more'a this…no more," he breathes, swallowing hard yet again. Far too woozy now to pay any attention to the clamoring of the moon-swung influence in his blood, he's entirely back to normal.

"I'll give Bucky a couple of autoinjectors, Steve. I think you'll find this will get worse." There's such compassion in her eye as she looks on the man.

Picking up a wash cloth, Jemma crouches beside the man and washes his face. "I'll get more electrolytes to take with you." She'll send a message to Bucky but for now, they've got work to do. She's got to see if she can work this out.

And no offense, Steve - Jemma would rather have the super soldier elsewhere. It's nice he noticed the lavendar but …

Even if he doesn't mean to, the Captain leans into the passing of the washcloth over his face. It brings back memories of cold sweats in the dead of summer while struggling to breathe in his rickity bed in Brooklyn, equally rickity and gasping. Another slow smack of his lips and he clears his throat. With such tattered dignity does he manage to meet Jemma's eyes.

"'ppreciate that, Miss Jemma. I'll take 'em with me. Gonna go back to th'containment cell, I think, sleep for a bit." The admixture able to beat the lycanthropy into submission was more than enough to steal the wind from the man's sails. "Lemme…lemme get out of your hair." Stiffly, he gets to his bare feet. Apparently, the recycle bin's coming with him. He swipes his mouth on his sleeve and coughs again. "'m sorry, Miss Jemma." The mumble comes alongside a kicked-puppy expression as he then begins to walk out of the lab.

"You have nothing to be sorry for, Steve." Jemma says quietly, letting the man rise and rising quickly enough herself. No submission. No fear. It's taking everything she's got to do this.

She means it though, she doesn't think he needs to be sorry. "I'd forgive you, anything, though."

The guards are waiting for Steve as he walks out the lab. Jemma gives them an imperceptible nod. She's alright.

"I'll be down again after my conference call, Steve. I'll have more formulations for you and an update on what I've found."

When she's sure it's safe, the biochem shuts her lab door, presses her back to the counter and sinks to the ground, sobbing.

Even with the door shut and the clunking louder steps of the guards escorting Steve, by personal request, back to the containment cell, he can hear the quiet crying. The Captain glares at nothing before himself; the ghostly impress of the shackles and the strap of the muzzle filters into his consciousness and he itches madly at his neck for a second, spitting terrible things to himself in Gaelic at the entire situation.

Once within, the guards shut the door. The recycle bin is placed in the opposite, farthest corner from him, and Steve relegates to himself to a collection of pillows. One is held to his chest where he sits, back propped against the wall, and he lets his face fall to rest on it. A deep sigh is released.

What a day.

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