Cap was tiny.
Tony really should’ve been focusing on other things. Like, maybe, listening to Fury talking about the bad guy that was causing all this madness. Or worrying about who it was that had destroyed his suit. If there was a super-strong psycho running around that had taken the time to ensure none of the Avengers had their powers, then the world was quite possibly in trouble. That kind of world-ending madness usually required Tony’s full attention.
But Cap was seriously tiny.
He kept staring at him and accidentally ignoring Fury, but he was sure it was understandable. Hardly anyone else seemed to be paying attention. Thor had his arms over his chest, pouting while staring down at the table, while both Clint and Natasha were bound in casts, having had far too many bones broken respectively. Tony’s suit was missing, and Bruce could no longer hulk up no matter how many times Tony called him a dick. All of that was bad enough, but Cap was tiny.
He made it through Fury’s briefing without making a single snarky comment, but that was mostly because he’d failed to say a word. While severe S.H.I.E.L.D agents streamed out of the room afterwards, the Avengers themselves lingered in unhappy silence.
“We find ourselves in a dire quandary, my fellows,” Thor announced. He sounded as if he’d just been told his birthday was cancelled.
“Yeah,” Tony agreed. He had intended on giving a great contribution to the conversation, but instead what came out was, “And can we talk about how little Steve is? Because, seriously, you’re smaller than Bieber.”
Steve stared at him with blank confusion. Somehow, that look was even more devastating when it was coming from a pre-serum Steve than it had been when he was bulked up. “I already told you I was a little guy,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I can’t help.”
“We’re all laid up now,” Clint complained. “You heard Fury. We’re benched.”
“Doesn’t mean we’re sitting this one out,” Steve insisted, shaking his head.
“What should I do? Fire with my teeth?” Clint asked, raising his casts.
Tony had been there to help when the team had finally got him and Natasha out of the building they’d been lured into. The mess had been horrific. There had been long hours when they hadn’t been sure whether Natasha and Clint were going to come through it alive.
Cap steeled his shoulders, raising his head - and despite his size Tony could see the old him in his body language. The enemy might have taken away his muscles, but their captain was still in there.
Maybe they were going to stand a chance against this thing after all.
“We all need to be together on this,” Steve said. He looked towards Tony, confidence and determination portrayed in his slim shoulders despite the plea in his eyes. “Tony?”
“I’ve got your back,” Tony promised. “Even if it is an unnaturally small back.”
“I too will follow you,” Thor declared.
When one went, the others followed. Powers or not, they were still the Avengers – and against the thing that tried to put them out of the fight, there was a whole lot of avenging to do.