Tony stood on the landing pad, slid his thumbs through the belt loops of his jeans, and surveyed the damage. All in all, it could be worse: the rooftop of Stark Tower, where the Tesseract and its array had been set up to open the portal, was relatively clear. There was some debris, several pieces of broken Chitauri air chariots, and – Gonna need to get a new satellite dish, he grumbled internally – but it wasn't nearly as bad as the chaos at street level. Construction and waste removal crews would be spending the next several days working around the clock to clear the streets of downtown Manhattan for traffic, to say nothing of the repairs most of the nearby buildings would require. Many of them would need to be demolished and rebuilt. Not my problem, Tony thought with perverse cheer, and stepped down from the landing platform.
No work crews would be putting in an appearance up here, though; there had been more than enough intruders in Tony's private sanctum lately (beginning with the elevator full of sweaty workmen) that he would rather shift every piece of debris himself than bring more strangers through his penthouse. He bent down to heft a chunk of steel support beam that had come loose – and nearly pulled a groin muscle. "I really need to finish the repairs on the suits," he growled, easing back into an upright position. He started calculating how long it would take before JARVIS finished machining his replacement parts.
"Can I help you with that?" The question cut through Tony's mental math, and he turned to find Captain America standing in the doorway leading from the penthouse. Or rather, to find Steve Rogers standing there, because the larger man was dressed in his preferred civilian attire of a button-down shirt and slacks, rather than the spangly costume. Tony's expression must have registered surprise, because Rogers jerked a thumb behind him and explained, "Miss – erm, Ms. Potts told me I could find you up here."
Tony made a mental note to discuss the new visitor policy with Pepper – Namely, "warn me first." He shrugged. "I was just doing some tidying up out here. Wouldn't mind a hand, if you're offering."
Rogers crossed the intervening space, crouched to grab the support beam, and lifted it onto one shoulder. "Where do you want it?"
"Remind me to invite you over the next time I want to rearrange the furniture," Tony remarked. It took him a moment to realize that Rogers was waiting for his direction in order to put the huge metal beam down. "Oh, let's start a pile over here, out of the way."
"Sure thing," Rogers agreed, moving toward the corner of the roof that Tony indicated. "Thanks for lunch, by the way."
Tony waved off the thanks with a gesture. "Don't worry about it, Cap – can I call you Cap?"
"Or Steve," Rogers offered, setting the beam down gently against the raised strip of concrete that rimmed the rooftop.
"Didn't seem like you much cared for the shawarma, though."
Rogers shrugged. "It was just... very new. Like everything here." He turned to face Tony. "Stark, I know we didn't really get off on the right foot, before. I was wrong about–"
"I'm gonna stop you there, Cap, because I can see the direction this is going to go," Tony told him. "We both admit how much we misjudged one another, you apologize to me, I apologize to you, we share our feelings, we hug – and I don't know about you, but it's too early in the day for me to be drunk enough to have that conversation."
"That's not really an issue for me, since I can't get drunk," Rogers replied.
Tony recognized each of those words individually, but when he tried to string them together in his mind, they just turned to static. "Can't get drunk? Is that some kind of squeaky-clean 1940s honor-and-virtue thing?"
The look that Rogers shot him was familiar; Tony wondered if Pepper had taught it to him. "Hardly. Ever since the serum... my metabolism just burns off the alcohol before it can do anything." There was something in his voice that made Tony imagine what it must have been like for him, coping with waking up seventy years in the future without the benefit of a good stiff drink or five.
Tony shook his head. "And to think I ever regretted not having super powers. Anyway," he plowed on, "I don't see any reason we can't just forget the whole thing ever happened."
A small smile tugged at Rogers's mouth. "Sounds good to me." Then he paused, cocking his head to one side. "Do you hear that?"
At first, Tony didn't. But gradually, an unusual sound insinuated itself into his awareness. He was at a loss to identify it; the sound drifted somewhere between an almost musical hum and the groaning of friction, like someone had left the parking brake on... something. He turned to track the source of the noise, and found himself staring.
"Why is there suddenly a phone booth on my roof?" he demanded of no one in particular, pointing a finger at the offending object.
"I think it's a police call-box," Rogers corrected him. "P– someone told me about them during the war. They have them in London, for police to contact the station, or..." At Tony's raised eyebrow, he trailed off. "That should be 'had', shouldn't it?"
"As fascinating as that little tidbit of British history is, it doesn't explain what the damn thing is doing on my roof."
As if in response to Tony's remark, the door of the booth opened, and out stepped a man in a bow tie and a jacket that must have looked outdated even to Rogers's eyes. He took two steps away from the box and stopped short, looking around in puzzlement. He turned all the way around, looked up at the sky, and then looked down over the edge of the roof. Only then did he turn his attention to the two men staring at him with wary alarm. "You know, I am rapidly beginning to suspect that this isn't Cardiff at all."