Steve Rogers liked his routine very much, thank you. He woke up at six, every morning, rain or shine, weekend or week day, and headed to the gym four blocks from his warehouse apartment. He worked out an hour, keeping up the figure he'd gotten from intense training when he was still a military tool, not a civilian, then returned home to shower, eat breakfast and enjoy a cup of coffee while browsing the newspaper. So Steve was a bit old fashioned, but technology didn't really like him, and besides he liked the smell of coffee mixing with the newspaper.
Then at nine or so, he'd gather up his bag - an old green canvas backpack that read Captain S. Rogers in fading black paint - and unlock his motorcycle from the cage he kept it in at night. There was a certain thrill he got, zipping in between New York rush hour traffic, on his old bike, a remnant of his younger years. From then on his morning was simple. At ten thirty he'd be in his small class room, setting up easels for his first class. At eleven his first class of the day would file in, some bleary eyed and wearing pajamas, other's bright eyed and greeting him with smiles, "Morning, Professor"; no one called him Mr. Rogers - it reminded Steve of children's television show he had watched once years and years ago. No one seemed to realise that the reason the old man wore sweaters all the time was because of his tattoos, mementos of his military career. Some of the cheekier 'young adults' called Steve Cap, or Captain, and if he didn't correct them... well, no one as at fault.
His lunch break was always taken at half past one, in the teacher lounge across campus. There he ate with another art teacher, Logan Hewitt, who too had once been in the military, Specials Ops and so refused to talk about it (though rumor had it, that when he disappeared for a couple of weeks, it was because he was still an operating agent); then there was Jane Foster, an astrophysicist, who is nice enough, even if she gets a little heated about her subject, completely baffling Steve with her theories, and her TA Darcy Lewis, who is studying political science but somehow ended up Jane's assistant; occasionally Scott Summers and Jean Gray would eat with them (Scott was some science teacher, physics or something, and Jean one of the premed professors) which would always cause an uproar in the lounge - Logan and Scott would fight, and Jean would try to calm them down, which only ended up making the situation worse because the two men would fight about her (Steve usually left around this point, their arguments bring up too many painful memories for him). Despite his lunch break never being quiet, he still enjoyed it and the company. Of course there were other professors employed at the university, and some Steve was friends with (Bruce Banner for one, but the man had a strange anger problem, and so he tended to stay shut up in his lab), but Logan, Jane, Darcy, Jean and Scott were some of his closest friends (though sometimes he questioned why).
In the afternoon he'd finish up his classes, always feeling a headache form by the end of his last class, for it was an absolute nightmare, full of giggling women and men who had yet to learn how to use their heads, rather then their... other parts. It was of course, his only nude figure drawing class, so it was expected that no one could take it seriously. By six, when he'd wrapped up for the day, finished grading the artwork, and packing away the student sketch books into his backpack to take home, he was usually tired. On Tuesdays he'd meet Bruce at a small restaurant not far from the university and have a quiet meal. Wednesday, he had dinner at Jane's house, always arriving to the sound of the smoke alarm going off because her husband, Thor, would have attempted to help cook. Thursday he was on his own, just like Monday, unless there was a staff meeting and then the Dean, Charles Xavier would supply them food. Friday, he found himself at a bar with Logan, and would regret it each time the next morning when he woke up feeling sore and as if he'd eaten sawdust. He and Logan (for the Canadian would always crash on his couch) would nurse their hangovers with water, coffee (despite the urban myth, coffee did nothing for hangovers), and football, which Logan and Steve heartily disagreed on. Saturday and Sunday depended - sometimes he had it all to himself, which he'd use the spare time to work on his own artwork, thus leaving grading for Sunday evening, other days he had an art show on Saturday evening, and he'd have to dig out his tuxedo, always feeling suffocated in it, and yet some days Steve found his flat hosting everyone, and while it all made his head spin, the smile just wouldn't leave his face because he loved being with his friends.
It was all very nice. Steve loved his routine.
Wednesday was not starting off the way it was suppose to. For some, unexplainable reason, Steve's alarm had refused to go off. He had a late night with Bruce - the usually quiet scientist had found out that Steve had never, ever, ever, watched Back to the Future and so Steve had found himself sinking in Bruce's old fuchsia colored couch ("Its Clint's. He refuses to part with it." Which was enough of an explanation for Steve, because Bruce's boyfriend was odd, but in a good way.) working his way through all of the movies. Clint had arrived some time through the second movie, had groaned when he had seen on the screen and promptly left saying he was spending the night at Natasha's and he wasn't coming home until Bruce stopped quoting horrible Back to the Future themed pick up lines.
So Steve had to skip his morning exercise, skip his wonderful coffee and news, wolf down a bagel as he ran toward his motorcycle, only to run back inside because he'd forgot his keys. And then he had to make the trip again because he had left his backpack inside too. He arrived at the university with five minutes to spare and couldn't remember his lesson plans at all. He didn't have time to calm his brain though, because the bell was ringing, and his student's were filing in.
Steve managed, because he had been an Eagle Scout and a Captain, and by the time the class ended, he was feeling less frazzled. One of his students had even offered to get him coffee, and while it wasn't as good as his French pressed coffee, it was better than nothing. He was ready to face the day.
Steve pushed open the lounge door, dragging a hand over his face. Logan, smoking a cigar (Steve was pretty sure that it was illegal, but whatever) raised an eyebrow as Steve dropped into a chair across the table.
"What the fuck happened to you?" he growled, flicking ash into the already full ash tray in front of him.
Steve gave him a rather tired glare, but didn't try to correct the man's language. "Woke up late."
"Holy shit, is that even possible?" Scott dropped into the chair next to Steve, his plastic tray full of cafeteria food slapping onto the table. "I mean, can you even sleep in? I thought you were programmed to wake up at the crack-of-fucking-dawn."
Steve gave another tired glare at Scott, snatching an apple from said man's tray. Scott tried to protest, but then stopped, shrugging because he knew he wasn't going to eat it anyways.
"My alarm's broke, I guess." Steve bit into the apple, wincing at the tartness. He wasn't a fan of green apples for a reason.
"Huh," Logan grunted, taking a deep drag of his cigar. Scott scowled at the man, but before he could say anything Jane breezed in, flicking Scott on the end of his nose before he could start.
She caught sight of Steve and stopped dead. "What happened to you?" Her question caused Logan and Scott to laugh and Steve to scowl. In between laughing, Scott told Jane, who tried to hide her amused look.
"Thor has those mornings too. But then again, he's broken so many of the alarm clocks we no longer use them." Everyone blanched, not wanting to think of how Jane wakes up her husband.
With ten minutes left of their break, the door opens and the Dean comes in, his electric wheel chair humming slightly. Logan shoves his cigar into his front shirt pocket, then yanks it out a second later, hissing as it burns him. Scott jumps to his feet, and almost, almost, throws a salute. Jane and Steve just smile.
"Logan, you know what I've said about smoking," the man says, his British accent clipping his words to be all posh sounding, though his eyes are twinkling with laughter. The art professor grins sheepishly and snuffs out his cigar properly. "Anyways, Steve, could I borrow you for a bit?"
Steve blinks, but stands and follows Charles Xavier out of the lounge. He flicks a quick look back at his friends, Scott mouths "We'll give you a nice burial", which does not make Steve feel any better. Its not like he's terrified of Charles - as employers go, Charles is ranking at the top of Best Ever. He's kind, really cares about everyone, students and professors alike, and is always there ready to listen. But Steve has also seen what happens when some gets on his bad side. It was like... it was like Charles was Satan, and Steve never wanted to see that again.
"There is someone who needs to talk to you." Charles says, as he leads the way out of the building into the courtyard.
"See me...?" Steve is very confused.
Charles gives him a small smile. He stops next to a man dressed in a nondescript black suit, who is smiling in this tiny weird way, and for some reason he just screams GOVERMENT. "I will leave you too to discuss business then. Mr. Coulson, should you need me I will be in my office. Good day, gentlemen."
Steve feels a bit like a child as he watches Charles wheel away. He's left standing in the courtyard with the smaller man who is looking at Steve expectantly.
"May we go somewhere else to talk? Private?" the man asks, his eyes flicking to the students who are milling around.
"Um... my office is... uh..."
"That will do." Steve nodds, swallows, and then leads the way back to the art building, up two floors, past his classroom and to his office. He holds the door open for the man who nods his thanks.
"You might want to sit down," he says, once Steve closes the door after them. Steve frowns; after the army he found he just didn't like being ordered around. But he sits anyways and stares at the man.
"Captain Steve Rogers," the man starts, sitting down across from Steve. "My name is Phil Coulson. I work for the Child Protection Services."
Steve can feel his face shutting down, feel himself drawing inside, into that dark well - "Is this about..." he tries again, swallowing around the lump in his throat. "If Peggy is... if she had a child... I'll pay whatever, just..." he closes his eyes, breathing hard, calm, calm, calm.
"No this isn't about Miss Carter. I'm here to talk about Howard and Maria Stark."
Steve's eyes snap open. "Howard?" He hadn't seen the Stark's in years - not since Maria funded a charity that featured his work. It had been just after the army, and his pieces weren't much, just sketches he'd done during his tour and then decided to transfer onto canvas. But Maria had though they were something, and obviously so did others, because all of his pieces sold for much more then Steve could have dreamed of and suddenly he had a name.
He had met Howard Stark when he was still a kid, running wild in Bronx. Despite the age difference of a couple years, they became friends. He remembered when Howard met Maria, remembered when sixteen year old Howard, came seeking out eleven year old Steve, wild eyed, and informed him that Maria was pregnant. They decided to keep the kid, even got married (kid Steve was the best man) and went against all the rules in order to make Steve the godfather. Hell they were all kids, they didn't know what they were doing.
Somehow Howard and Maria managed to stay together, probably because of Anthony. But then Steve decided to join the army and Howard decided to turn his considerable talents over to the government and make weapons and technology in order to keep the boys over seas safe. Steve remembered the fight, he was barely eighteen and he could hear their yelling coming from the garage. Anthony, their son, was only seven and he didn't understand, so Steve covered the younger boy's ears and told him outrageous stories so that he couldn't hear what his parents were yelling.
Steve wasn't sure why Maria let him crash at the Stark place during his breaks. But she did, probably because Anthony's face would light up and demand to be swung around, and Howard would come home and kiss Maria, making both Steve and Anthony make gagging sounds. During those days, everything seemed to be alright - Steve could forget about the sound of gunfire, could forget that hours ago, he'd held a dying man's hand and promised to tell his mama that he loved her.
Steve snapped to the present, turning his head to hide the fact that there were tears in his eyes. "Steve is fine."
"I prefer formality," the man in the suit replied. There was a hesitant pause. "I'm very sorry, but this can't wait."
Steve nodded. "Right, sorry. Just... caught up thinking. Um... so Child Protection Services? If this isn't about Peggy..." and suddenly things were making sense. Steve felt the colour drain from his face. "Oh god... They...?"
Phil Coulson's smile suddenly grew very tired, and the man looked like he had seen things Steve had seen. "I hate to be the one to tell you this... but Howard and Maria Stark passed away on Monday morning. As you were listed as Anthony Stark's godfather, you are his only relative..."