Steve isn't really sure if the best way to catch up to what people are doing is really reading these strange, glossy magazines. Some of them he remembers from back when he was around the first time, but things have still changed an awful lot. People are still pretty obsessed over what's going on in the lives of celebrities, though, even if celebrities have kind of changed (Steve honestly thought Tony was joking when he mentioned reality TV) and are prone to making really, really bad life choices. It's pretty ridiculous, and kind of horrifying, but Steve's got to admit that that doesn't stop him from reading People magazine and just marveling at all the strange, often pretty awful or stupid or sad or all of that things that modern day famous people are doing. It's uncomfortable and exploitative, but damn if it's not mesmerizing. He doesn't even know who most of the stars he's reading about are, especially considering the magazine seems to assume he does and refers to everyone by their first name, but he still reads on, so here he is, Captain America, thinking that this 'Katie' bird really does look better than 'Jennifer' in that long strapless blue number, even though the 'online poll', whatever that is, disagrees with him.
Steve's interrupted from his reading by a tentative tap on the shoulder, and he looks up from where he's sitting on Tony's ridiculously luxurious couch to meet Bruce's eyes. They hold eye contact for a second before Bruce breaks it, because he always does, and Bruce grins, a genuine smile that Steve can't help but smile back at, and shoves a drink into Steve's hands. Steve has to juggle the cold glass for a couple of seconds before he gets a firm grip on it, and then looks incredulously at the lurid red liquid in the glass, with a pineapple stuck onto the rim. "Um..." he says, confused.
"Tony and I were experimenting with alcoholic beverages," Bruce explains a little sheepishly. "And we needed to test our newest creation on somebody. I don't drink, and Tony will drink anything without even tasting it, and as this is a taste test, we determined that you'd be the best test subject."
Steve isn't really sure this is how science even works, but he guesses that Tony and Bruce are perfectly aware of that and don't actually care. Tony, at least, does ridiculous things all the time under the guise of it being "for science", and sure, his experiments are technically experiments, but Steve's not stupid and he knows that things that are only done one time, involve no collection of data, and involve that many water balloons don't count as actual experiments.
But Steve goes along with this, because he's discovered that scientists are very curious people, and if he says no Bruce will probably just go back to Tony at the mini-bar, Tony himself will never let it go. Really, Steve's not sure why Tony himself didn't just come over to wheedle him into trying this weird drink, before he remembers that Tony's been trying to get Bruce to actually socialize more lately, to bring him out of his shell. It's one of those things Steve's come to appreciate about Tony over the months he's lived in the Avengers mansion--Tony does care, he just has a subtle, aggravating way of showing it.
So Steve takes the drink and sips it thoughtfully for a second before spluttering and choking it down as opposed to spitting it out all over his shirt, because the drink is disgusting.
"Tony!" Bruce calls over to the mini-bar. "Experimental drink number one was a failure. Right?"
He directs the question to Steve, who coughs a little and nods, thinking ruefully about how he's never going to get the rubbing alcohol fish pineapple taste out of his mouth.
"What?" Tony whines from where he's popped up from behind the counter of the mini-bar. "The Iron Man was a dud?"
"Yes," Bruce answers, mildly amused, and at Steve's eyeroll he smiles ruefully and explains, "Tony's decided to name all the drinks after himself."
"Why am I not surprised?" Steve mumbles almost fondly as Bruce makes his way back to Tony, even as he frowns because Tony's pouring himself some scotch and he doesn't like how much Tony drinks.
Bruce seems to be having the same idea, because he deftly plucks the glass from Tony and, unceremoniously, pours the contents onto the counter of the mini-bar, staring at the mess briefly before smirking a little at the outraged look on Tony's face. "Sorry," Bruce says as unapologetically as he, who is generally just an apologetic person, can sound.
Somebody laughs from behind him and Steve jumps, twisting around and more just one second forgetting that it's not the forties anymore, that the war's been and gone, that Clint's laughter is not the beginning a surprise attack. "When did you even get here?" Steve asks, sounding a little more shaken than he wants to. He hates it when people sneak up on him.
Clint rolls his eyes and laughs again, and it's a reassuring sound, considering the amount of time Clint's spent brooding and moping since Steve has met him. "I've been here for like an hour, Steve."
Tony says, "You know, I'd hoped the leader of my team would have at least rudimentary skills at observing what's going on around him, but, well, you take what you can get, I guess." Tony then downs the rest of the Iron Man drink, and makes a face after he's done. "Steve's right, Bruce," he says, in a fake resigned kind of way. "Experiment number one tastes like shit."
"I'm excellent at observing my surroundings!" Steve says defensively. "I was just at ease. And distracted." He knows the excuses aren't the best, but at least they're the truth. Steve prides himself on telling the truth, makes even more of an attempt to be honest than he used to, lately, mostly because he feels like he has to make up for all the lies everyone else tells.
Tony chuckles. "Right, you were busy reading up on the latest plastic surgeries in Hollywood."
"I'm catching up on the times!"
"Right," Natasha says wryly from the huge leather armchair where she's been sitting for the past few hours.
Steve turns toward her to defend himself yet again even though she's completely right to be sceptical, but stops short as he catches sight of what Natasha's doing. "Are you knitting?" he asks incredulously, because Natasha is many things, but Steve never pegged her as a knitter.
Natasha appears to be knitting a dark blue scarf, though, so there's another lesson on not judging a book by its cover.
She raises an eyebrow at him. "Yes. It's relaxing and it helps with dexterity and agility of the hands."
"You too?" Bruce asks Clint, and Steve looks back at the man perched on the back of the sofa. Sure enough, he's knitting...some kind of lumpy yellow thing.
"What the hell is that, Clint, the bastard child of a poncho and a sweater?" Tony asks.
Clint frowns. "It's a scarf. Natasha's been teaching me."
"Oh, yeah, I see it now," Steve says, because he actually does, if he tilts his head a little.
Natasha snorts, rolling her eyes at the exchange just as footsteps come pounding down the hall to the rec room.
At least Thor's never snuck up on him, Steve thinks as the aforementioned man bursts into the room.
"Friends," he says, actually remembering to use the inside voice Bruce taught him about. "I have been attempting to work your mortal equipment, but I believe I may have damaged it."
Steve's eyes widen as Thor produces a mangled scrap of metal that was once one of those i-thingies, and at the same time he's comforted by the fact that there's someone who's as bad with modern technology as he is.
"You definitely damaged that," Tony says, mildly horrified as he crosses over to take the device from Thor's hands. "Scratch that, try 'mangled beyond all repair'. How did you even do this?"
Thor shrugs in the kind of way that Steve recognizes, the kind Steve uses when he did something incredibly stupid with modern technology that seemed like a perfectly sound idea at the time, and he's too embarrassed to say what it was.
"Don't worry, buddy," Tony says, patting Thor on his huge shoulder. "Eventually I'll make a tablet that can withstand Norse gods, and you can play the games all you want without destroying it."
Thor beams. So that's what happened. Steve can't say he's surprised, but he's a little amused. Ever since coming out of the ice, he's been feeling cold at the strangest moments, like he's still yet to thaw.
That doesn't happen right now. Right now he doesn't even feel any sort of bad feeling, doesn't feel hunted or lost. Right now he feels like he belongs.
A weeks later, he finds Clint's knitted yellow thing on his pillow. It's hideous, but Steve wears it anyway and isn't even jealous at the fact that Bruce's blue scarf is much nicer looking, because Clint smiles when he sees him wearing it, and it's comfortable and keeps the ice out better than any other clothes Steve has.