1965-03-31 - Into the Lioness's Den
Summary: Steve learns more about the outcome of his apartment during his time as a Capsicle and Jen Walters offers what aid she can as well as a nudge in the right direction.
Related: Heirloom Lost
Theme Song: None
steve-rogers jennifer-walters 


Jen Walters has the largest office of any of the non-partners at her firm. It's a point of professional pride for the leggy giantess— a young lawyer, personally headhunted from her home city of Los Angeles, and a swiftly rising star in the field of metahuman defense and law.

And she's got the biggest office.

But first, Steve has to get through her secretary. Margaret Gunther— never 'Maggie', certainly not *Mardge*, looks askance when the Star-Spangled Man walks into the office suites and stops in front of her desk.

Forty-eight years old, half-moon glasses, and her fading hair worn back in a severe bun without a hair out of place, she gives Steve a look that could probably stop, well… a Hulk.

"Name?" she inquires, before Steve can speak. Her calendar is already in front of her, and Steve's name (in impeccable writing) is clearly the only name in the timeblock.


"Steve Rogers," replies the man with a plan — mostly to speak with his lawyer about a missing family heirloom. He expected a secretary, yes, but not one so formidable. She's not quite got that piercing look Peggy Carter used to throw that would draw him up shorter than a dressage horse, but he can already feel his spine straightening and the old manners slipping into place with ease. "M'am," he adds, smiling with closed lips.

Under his arm, a manila folder with the papers that Ms. Walters required of him last they spoke. He remains standing in a civilian take on parade-ease, awaiting further instruction.


Margaret doesn't even blink. "And do you have an appointment, Mr. Rogers?" she inquires, with the sort of tone that someone would reserve for encountering a door to door solicitor during dinner. Or roadkill.

There's a laugh and Jen leans out from her half-open door. "Okay, thanks Margaret. I'm pretty sure that's either the Star-Spangled Man or a really cute imposter."

She winks at Steve and beckons him along. Margaret gives him a gimlet look, exhaling through her nose in a masterful display of self-control. "Miss Walters will see you now," Margaret says, in precisely the same tone of voice, and the second Steve moves, she focuses on her stenography like he has completely passed from existance.

Jen's office is appointed nicely, but there isn't a lot of decor. A few photos of a mousey-faced girl sandwhiched among taller friends, a gawky brunette with teenager's proportions standing among people who are clearly family. A familiar looking scientist wearing a scholar's stole and graduation robes stands next to a blushing, ungainly brunette wearing a judicial stole and her graduation cap in hand. Various law letters and certification adorn the mostly empty wall opposite the great view of the city below.

"Don't take it personally. Margaret's job is to give everyone the third degree. I saw her make a magistrate judge cry." She grins and offers Steve a handshake. Dressed in a pin-stripe skirt and jacket, her sole concession to informality is to have kicked off the high heels neatly set aside by her desk. Who tells a seven foot tall lawyer how to dress, right?

"C'mon in, get comfy. Is that the paperwork you were able to wrangle?" she inquires, flicking a fingernail at the sheaf in Steve's hands.


Jen absolutely saves her client. The Spangled Man definitely has no plan to deal with someone who seems to want to vet him with the same intensity as a visitor to Fort Knox. Steve pauses in mid-inhale, his reply to the formidable secretary dying on his lips.

"Thank you…m'am," is all he can manage briefly as he walks past the bastion of desk-dom, precise handwriting and all. Once within the confines of Jen's office, he returns her handshake with a confident smile.

"Her stauch nature is a thing of wonder." He means Madam Margaret. "Oh, yes, this is what we discussed over the phone," and he hands off the manila folder to her.


Jen takes the papers from Steve. "Have a seat, I won't be but a tic," she says, absently waving him at the leather-backed chairs in front of her desk. She takes her own seat and starts flicking through them fairly quickly, green eyes scanning. She reads quickly, clearly discerning something from the complex documents that doesn't require total comprehension.

"Okay. Yeah, this looks good," she mumbles, comparing it to some handwritten notes in front of her.

She gets her things squared away with a layout that baffles even Steve's orderly mindset— some kind of lawyer trick for compositing notes— and interlaces her fingers smartly in front of her, elbows on the (somewhat oversized) desk, and smiles at Steve. "So, this is a good news/bad news deal," she remarks. "The bad news is that the landlord closed out the lease on the apartment ages ago. With your mother deceased and you missing, you defaulted on the rent, so they liquidated the apartment's contents. Upshot there: since you were actually MIA, the lease is still in effect, and you can pretty likely get it back at the original contracted rate that was set in … 1925," she says, glancing over her notes again. "Which, hey! That's a good deal."

"So, this is where things get a little murky. It looks like a bunch of guys from VFW Post 5195 got together and bought out the estate in total. A few of them were, apparently, service friends of yours in the war. Wanted to make sure it went to the right hands."

"The downside is that the storage records are… missing. The VFW had a fire and no one knows where it's all *stored* anymore. And privacy laws make it tough to just look through every storage unit from here to Jersey."

She puts a finger on the next line item, and pauses, looking at Steve. "With me so far? I'm almost to the best part."


Seating himself in one of the leather chair, Steve takes a moment to appreciate their condition. The leather is nearly butter-soft, dark and refined, and he rubs at it with his fingertips until Jen's voice pulls his attention back up. Nothing like that to be found at his place, despite his modest income. He meets her verdant eyes and listens to what has come of her interpretation of legal documents.

As she explains, especially of the actions of the VFW post, his is a conflicted expression. He frowns, concerned of his belongings, but still, it seems that it has all turned out to be a good-natured attempt fallen apart at the seams due to an unforeseen catastrophe.

"I'm following," he replies with a nod. "I can't imagine what this best part might be."


Jen flashes a brilliant (slightly smug) grin at Steve. "The VFW lost all their member records. *BUT*. They're required to update their membership with national headquarters, annually. I made some phone calls and put some people on the case." She pulls a sheet from a legal pad, filled out with surprisingly neat, tidy handwriting in pen, and hands it to Steve. "Cross-referenced the membership between 1944 and 1950 with all members who served in the European theater. I then indexed those names against service records from anyone assigned to the 107th Infantry Regiment. Turns out there were ten names there." She sets the list down and taps a french-tipped nail against it once. "I figured you'd want to make some phone calls before I loosed my PI hounds on the case. These gentlemen should be able to get your nose going in the right direction. They might even have some paperwork."


Blond brows nearly disappear into his hairline as he leans forwards in his chair, hands folded between his knees. He observes this list of names, ten in total, and a wry smile showcases a flash of teeth.

"I recognize a few of those surnames. Thank you, Miss Walters — Jen," Steve corrects, his grin growing deeper in a passing moment of self-deprication and mental minding. "They'll appreciate a phone call, I think." He pauses, that pondering frown returning. "Were you able to figure out which company did the liquidation?"


"Grisom Auction Services. They shuttered ten years ago," Jen apologizes, mouth twisting in a wry moue. "I'm sorry. The owner's dead and his son has no idea where the records are or where it was stored afterwards. At this point, I'm afraid you're going to have to do a little legwork. I can recommend a couple of really excellent private eyes, though," she offers, reaching for her metal-lined personnel index. "One actually lives in your neck of the woods, she's a little, uh… salty, but she does good work for a reasonable rate. I won't even sub-contract the job," she offers, with a wink. "At my hourly, that's doing you a favor."


The Captain leans back into the chair again, his quirked brows having deepened. He sighs and knocks the knuckles of his fists in simultaneous light motion on the arms of his chair.

Still, he has manners. "I appreciate the favor. Who's this gumshoe in my neck of the woods then?" He tilts his head the slightest, wondering if he's even seen this woman about his very neighborhood and had no idea in the least of her calling.


"She keeps to herself. Don't worry, I've already got her name and number down. If she gives you a hard time, call back later and tell her Jen Walters sent you." Jen smiles and stands, offering another handshake to Steve. "Best I can do is aim you in the right direction. If you get any grief from the storage companies, though, you give me a call. Most of them won't be too hard pressed to help. I'd ask them for any storage leases more than ten years old as a starting place. Hopefully one of your war buddies can help you narrow it down to a borough, at least— there's nothing you can't solve with a little legwork," she promises him.


"A wisdom hard-earned," replies Steve, in terms of the concept of legwork. He rises from his chair and returns her handshake yet again, this time a little more firmly; he has the suspicion that he's not going to make any knuckles squeak and grind against one another with Miss Walters. "If you don't have an issue with it, I'll likely call you again after I've spoken with the men on this list, if only for further legal advice on how to proceed. I have faith that the laws will aid in my search once more information is found."


"Don't let Margaret scare you off, she hasn't eaten anyone in weeks," Jen promises Steve, winking again. Her handshake is more a gentle squeeze of fingers than a business handclasp— she's certainly not out to prove she can win any grip contests. "Do please call me and let me know how it shakes out, anyway? I'd love to hear all about it."


"Of course," and he grins in that boyish way of his, earnest and cheerful as the rainclouds of his worries have been shuffled off to one side for now. "If she hasn't eaten anyone lately, what does she eat? I could stop by the bakery nearby and pick something up? Something you could eat as well, as part of my thanks for your help thus far," Steve adds, lifting brows at Jen.


"Whisky," Jen says. Dead seriously, too. "Blended scotch or bourbon, and frankly the cheaper the better. She doesn't particularly like people, she dislikes strapping men in general, and she *hates* waking up before noon. But she's the best damn private eye in the tri-city area," she reassures Steve. "Just don't try to be friendly. Lead with whisky, follow it up with cash, and you won't have a problem with her. Hopefully."


For a moment, Steve is confused, but then he realizes that Jen is speaking of the private eye. The very thought of Margaret, the iron mistress at her war-desk, imbibing whiskey is enough to make him laugh and attempt to cover it with a cough.

"I'll keep that in mind with her, yes. I should have been clearer — I meant your secretary and yourself." He gestures towards the green-skinned lawyer with a hand before placing it back in the pocket of his bomber jacket, same as she saw him those few days back in the SHIELD arium.


"Oh. Oh!" Jen laughs. "I'm pretty sure Margaret subsists on the souls of naughty schoolchildren," she says, a little loudly.

"I heard that," comes a dry whipcrack of a retort that needs no insult. Jen winces, and chuckles. "Uh, and I'm fine, really, but thank you," she tells Steve. "But I appreciate the down-home style courtesy. You just keep in touch with things, okay? I hate to see you go, but I do have to get ready for my three o'clock appointment," she says. "Call me with an update, okay?"


Steve nods to himself at the revelation of Margaret's supposed diet. He attempts to keep down a laugh and succeeds only partially, looking politely amused rather than coy.

"I'll call you, yes. Thank you, Miss — Jen." It's an apologetic little grin in her direction, but then he's on his way out of the office and braving the wrath of the enviably-composed secretary. "Thank you too," he says to the woman in her glinting glasses as he walks past, his nod a thing of refined and archaic manners.


Margaret watches Steve leave. It'd be too kind a thing to say she watches him like a hawk— a hawk at least has interest in prey. She merely seems to be observing an interloper leaving her tidy, frigid little domain, and doesn't deign to respond to his polite civility or courtesy.

She just stares, cold and intent, until he's gone, and the last thing Steve would see is Jen giving him a relatively small, apologetic shrug from her door— and a wry smirk of amusal before the elevator doors *ding* shut.


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