Information is Power
Steve wasn't sure what they expected his reaction to be, but based on the furtive glances and aborted whispers in the hallways, he was fairly sure he wasn’t quite meeting their expectations.
Upon being returned to SHIELD Headquarters, Director Fury sat him down at a table in an empty room - interrogation rooms clearly hadn’t changed much in the last 70 years - and filled him in on the circumstances of his return. Steve listened, nodded and asked for literature to get himself up to date. He also asked for information on the people he’d known - Peggy, Howard, Colonel Phillips... and Director Fury pulled a face.
“I’m not sure-”
“I don’t need kid-gloves,” Steve said calmly, “I need information.”
Director Fury grudgingly agreed.
Once the news had sunk in - it was the year two thousand and twelve - the fact that all the people he’d known back in World War II were dead wasn’t much of a surprise. It hurt, yes, to know he wouldn’t see any of them ever again, but Steve wasn’t surprised by it. He’d lost a lot of good people - good friends - during the War, he knew how to deal with loss. He gave himself two days to grieve.
The books they gave him to catch him up on historical events, though, weren’t very helpful. They were too new and too vague. He went to Agent Romanov and asked her for something more suitable. Maybe if they took him to a library, he’d be able to find something himself. She shook her head. Fury didn’t want him roaming outside. Steve politely refrained from rolling his eyes at her. He wasn’t stupid, just out of date.
It was one of the other agents, a tall, burly man named Thomas Ringers, that presented him with a solution: Google.
Steve learned to love the Internet.
“Wait a moment,” Tony raised a hand. “You know about Wikipedia?”
Steve shrugged. “It’s the quickest way to get basic information on a wide range of topics. And the hyperlinks are really helpful to look up related stuff. If that isn’t enough, there’s always the source sites and outside links at the bottom of the page-”
“I know that,” Tony interrupted, “Question is, how do you know? I mean, it’s the Internet, it wasn’t even invented in the forties.”
Steve rolled his eyes. “Agent Ringers showed me how to access Google. The rest was easy. I don’t need to know how the Internet works to be able to use it.”
“Huh.” Tony narrowed his eyes at him, then gave him a toothy smile. “Seems Fury underestimated you.”
“It wouldn’t be the first time.”
Not a New Invention
“Uhm, Steve, hey... We’re just...,” Clint stared at him wild-eyed. Thor gave him a grin and a hand-wave from where he was spread out on the sofa underneath Clint. Their shirts where in a heap on the floor and Steve had a very nice view of Clint’s ass.
“Relax,” Steve said, “I have seen naked men before.”
Clint blushed. “Yes, I... just. We’re...
“And homosexuality isn’t a new invention either. While the term ‘homosexuality’ was coined in the late 19th century by the German psychologist Karoly Maria Benkert, the acts and discussions of sexuality have been around for as long as humanity. The old Greeks for example-,” Steve stopped when Clint seemed to choke on his tongue.
“But I guess that can wait.” Mission accomplished, Steve winked at them and left.
Thor’s “Thank you kindly, my friend,” following him out.
“I heard you scared the shit out of Clint the other day,” Tony said and settled himself at the breakfast table, coffee cup clutched firmly between his hands.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Steve answered sweetly.
“You know, everyone was expecting a homophobic freak-out when you finally found out about that sort of thing,” Tony waved a hand meaningfully.
Steve shrugged, “People expect a lot of things. Doesn’t mean I have to live up to all their expectations.”
Tony laughed. “Steve Rogers, you’re something else.”
This time, Steve really didn’t know what he was talking about. His confusion must have shown on his face, because Tony elaborated, “Everyone thinks you’re so innocent and nice and... wholesome, but the truth is, you’re just as twisted as the rest of us.”
“I’m not twisted-,” Steve argued, but Tony waved a hand to stop him.
“I mean that in the best of ways. You’re hiding it well behind that pretty face and the muscles, but underneath all that... you are shrewd, my friend. I like you.”
Steve smiled his best fake-wholesome smile. “I’m just a kid from Brooklyn.”
Tony pointed a finger at him. “Exactly!”
Science Fiction Isn’t New Either
“If he’s going to live at your place, you’re going to have to turn that AI of yours off,” Fury said.
Tony answered, “JARVIS? Why?”
“It’s going to confuse him. He’s from the forties, Stark,” Natasha chimed in.
“We don’t want him to think there’s a ghost or something like that in the house.”
“You’re aware that he’s already better at using a computer than most of your agents, right? He’ll be fine.”
“Did you-” Fury sounded suspicious.
“I didn’t do anything. For fuck’s sake, Fury, the man led missions during the war, he’s not an imbecile. He’s either the leader of the Avengers or he’s an idiot, but you can’t have it both ways. Make up your mind.”
With that Tony stormed out of the office and right into Steve, who had been standing around the corner, listening to the conversation. He wasn’t eavesdropping on purpose, he’d just been on his way to talk to Director Fury. It wasn’t his fault the door had been open.
“Hey Steve,” Tony’s smile was forced, “Please feel free to assure our esteemed Director that having a disembodied, computer-generated voice talk to you won’t drive you round the bend and into LaLa-land.”
Steve obediently stuck his head into Fury’s office. “I am perfectly capable of understanding the difference between an artificial intelligence and a ghost, Director. Besides, I like JARVIS.”
When Steve glanced at Tony, his smile was genuine, and a little smug. Fury’s face was an impassive mask, which meant he was actually rather furious. Steve found that he didn’t much care. He’d faced Red Skull, Fury wasn’t half as scary. Besides, his aim was to keep Steve alive.
“If that was your only concern about the Avengers moving into Stark Mansion, I hope we have solved it?” Steve continued politely.
“Fine,” Fury snarled. “But any damages caused by Thor or the Hulk will be on your bill, Stark.”
Tony was practically bouncing. “Never expected anything else, Sir.”
“JARVIS,” Steve said and dropped his towel on the work-out bench. “Put some music on, please.”
“Do you have any preferences, Captain Rogers?” JARVIS asked.
Steve considered it. “Lady Gaga would be nice.”
“As you wish, sir.”
Ten minutes later, Tony sauntered into the gym. “You’re choice in music is appalling, Steve.”
Steve stopped hitting the punching bag. “It beats your choices. Rage Against The Machine, really, Tony?”
“Born This Way, really, Steve?”
Steve held his hands up in surrender. “Maybe I just like the irony.”
Tony laughed. “Steve Rogers, always exceeding my expectations.”
Steve reached out, pulled Tony close and planted a kiss on his nose. “I aim to please.”
“Uhm,” Bruce said, “Did you just lie to Director Fury?”
Steve looked at him innocently. “I merely made a tactical decision to not divulge our present location. I would hardly call that lying.”
Tony cleared his throat. “I hope you’re aware that Coulson here is going to report us any minute now, when Fury calls him and asks where we are.”
Steve smiled at the man in question, then answered, “Agent Coulson is here as part of the Avengers team. I am sure-”
“He’s Fury’s spy,” Clint butted in.
“He’s not a spy,” Natasha argued.
“Agent Coulson,” Agent Coulson stopped them all, “is enjoying the game and would like to continue to do so.” He demonstratively turned off his cell phone.
Steve smiled at all of them. “See? We’re already bonding.”
Their answers were drowned in the uproar of the crowd around them, when the Dodgers scored for the first time this game.
Steve watched his team around him. Thor was waving a foam hand enthusiastically, Natasha was openly laughing at something Clint had just said, Bruce was munching on his third hot dog and indicating to Coulson that he should call the vendor over again. When his gaze fell on Tony, the other man lifted his plastic beer cup in salute. Steve tipped his head in answer, then turned his attention back to the game.
He’d known baseball would be a good choice.
“You may argue that a lie by omission isn’t really a lie, but that right now, Captain America, that was a full blown lie.”
Steve smiled. “That was another tactical decision. If I were to tell you that it’s been great, your ego would swell so much it would burst and bring down the house around us.”
Tony’s smile was all teeth. “So you do think I’m great!”
“I didn’t say that.”
“No, you said it was ‘nice’.” Tony made air-quotes with his fingers. “Which is so blatantly untrue, Steve, it broke my heart. I may never get it up again.”
“Your heart or your penis?” Steve raised an eyebrow. “Because if you were talking about your penis, I will have to call you out on a lie. I can see from all the way over here that you’re ready for another round.”
“Well, what are you waiting for, then, Captain Rogers?” Tony leered, “Come over here and I’ll show you some things not even you can describe as ‘nice’.”
“I expect to be blown away,” Steve said, then pounced.
Tony, Those Are My Fries