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Shining in His Eyes

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Steve's reflection kept startling him, even six weeks later. He'd spent his life being a few inches taller than his peers, but the bulk kept throwing him.

He'd pass a window, and have to force himself not to glance to the other way, to see who that hulking fellow was, and if he was a danger.

The costume helped. Wearing it, he was Captain America—as much of an amazing and ludicrous concept as that was—not Steve Rogers, brawny or thin. He could catch his reflection and grin at it, because wasn't life something?

But Steve was something else.

 

Tony had gone through a period where he'd stopped looking in mirrors. Between what he'd done, and the metal wrapped around his chest, he found even looking long enough for personal grooming a challenge. He'd see himself and freeze in horror.

When he realised what was happening, he made himself look. Tony Stark was many things, but he wasn't a coward, and he would face what he was head on the first thing he did every morning, last thing at night.

Girls laughed and called him vain, making fun of his time in the bathroom, but Tony needed to remember.

 

After he woke, Steve found it easier to be Captain America than Steve Rogers. Cap was easy: he had a persona, a mission, a team. Thinking about what Steve was going to do when he should be watching his grandchildren have children stymied him.

Stark called him "Steve," and Iron Man "Wing-head," but mostly he was "Cap," in uniform or out.

Only, sometimes, he'd be talking to Iron Man, trying to imagine what lay under the armour, and he'd catch a fragment of his reflection in the faceplate—see himself as Shell-head saw him—and he'd feel like Steve again.

 

In one sweep, Molecule Man took Tony's suit, his secret identity, and maybe his team. Now everyone would look at him, no matter if he got his armour back, and see not Iron Man, but Tony Stark.

Cap immediately tried to bench him, saying that he and the Silver Surfer were better equipped to handle a fight.

"You think Iron Man is just a suit of armour?" Tony demanded, heart breaking, then said he and Don were coming no matter what.

"I should have known better," Steve said, and in that moment, Tony saw Iron Man reflected in his eyes.