Steve wakes up later than usual, much later; his head is filled with throbbing pain, his joints painfully stiff. It doesn’t surprise him however seeing as the day before was more brutal than the usual day of battle. He had got knocked around pretty good as well as the rest of the team but he received most of the beating. His side bruised from impact of being thrown against a parked car, broken fingers as he accidently bashed his fist through a cement wall missing his target as it dodged him and a few more other injuries he feels will take a few days to fully heal. However, with the sleep still in his eyes and the pain surrounding his body, he felt like something was missing. His room felt almost empty. He didn’t have many things in his room other than the usual; a bed that was larger than he could possibly be comfortable with, a chair that sat in a corner with his jacket draped over the back of it, a dresser with a few pictures that was salvaged from old boxes in storage of a military base of old friends and a small table where he sat his is shield when he’d come through the door after long days. He groans as he rolled over onto his back and painfully pushes himself up; eyes still shut and his hand shielding the crack of light coming through his drapes. He licks his dry lips and slowly opens his eyes, blinking a few times to remove the sleep. He quickly stiffens at the site before him and his eyes widen.
He panics looking across the room and finding the table empty. He felt his heart sink into his stomach, his heart began to race. Where is my shield? He thought to himself. His shield stayed with him at all times when he was in uniform even when he resides in the tower. The only times he did not take his shield with him were times he wore civilian clothing or he went out for a walk and to spend time with the team, which was rare in itself. At those times he kept his shield in his closet in a large box behind a few extra blankets that came with his room. He pulled his sheets back quickly and made his way across the room confirming his shield was in fact gone from its original place. His hands starting to shake he checked the closet making sure of himself that he did not place it there in his heavy state of fatigue when he returned home. It was also empty. He swallowed hard as he felt a lump in his throat. He doesn’t even need to think for more than a second to know who has taken it. Why it surprises him he doesn’t know, why the man he knows has taken it took it in the first place is even more of a mystery to him, but he doesn’t waste any time getting into some decent clothes before he is out the door and halfway down the hall.
When he passes the kitchen Clint spots him, mouth full with cereal when he calls out for Steve. He waves him off as he continues to walk but that doesn’t stop Clint from swallowing down his food and running after him. “Steve, buddy wait up!” He yells for him as he runs up beside him trying to keep his pace. “Not now Clint.” The archer could tell he was certainly upset which was odd for him to see the always collective soldier in such a state. He decides to grab on to his shoulder to slow him down so he could ask what was wrong but Steve shoves his hand away. “I said not now, Clint!” Steve raises his voice snapping his neck to glare at the man. Clint backs off slowing down and watching him turn a corner. “Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Grouch.” He blinks a few times when the Captain was out of sight and stands there stunned for a moment before he shakes his head and walks back to the kitchen to finish his food. Steve wasn’t surprised that Thor tried to stop him as well. He could feel his energy from two rooms away and was wondering how long it would take him to try and share his good mood as he walked through the gym. “Captain! Tis good to see you looking so rested!” His voice booms in Steve’s chest and he tries to let him down gently has he passes by him. “I’m sorry Thor I’m kind of busy right now. We can talk later, okay?” Thor’s smile fades away a bit feeling disapointed but does not last long when another smile appears on his lips. “I look forward to our chat friend.” He nods to Steve as he leaves him once again alone in the gym.
Steve finally reaches Tony’s lab slightly out of breath and heart racing. He stops at the door for a moment, closing his eyes; allowing his breathing to return to normal, inhaling slowly letting his lungs expand and exhaling through his nose. He narrowed his eyes as he leaned closer to the door as he couldn’t help but notice the man through the glass. He looked closer seeing that he had his goggles on; not unusual perhaps, but strange seeing all his suits were put away and no stray parts were laid into a muddled chaos, which that in itself was unusual. Steve shook his head remembering what his task was and immediately and hastily walked into the room. “Tony. I need to talk to you have you seen my-“ Not only was there a hitch in his voice, he also gasped. That caught Tony off guard. A man his size with his history was not allowed to gasp unless extremely temped to do so. Tony needed to explain and do so quickly.
“Steve, now just a minute.” He was not allowed that minuet nor was he going to get any time to explain as he was hoisted out of his chair and into the air. “What the hell are you doing with my shield, Tony?” The soldier’s words spat out, the curse echoing in Tony’s ear. Steve was just waiting for a reason to throw the smaller man through any of the cement walls; all it took was one good throw. But his hopes were too high he thought as Tony grabbed at Steve’s arm feeling himself being dangled in the air by his shirt; his heart beating faster than he could think his chest piece could handle. “C’mon big guy, you can talk to me while my feet are touching the ground. I can explain, just lower me.” Tony sped out his words hoping Steve would comply; he did but not without hesitation. He slowly let the man down allowing the tip of his toes to hit the ground before dropping him completely. Tony stumbled but caught himself on his work table. “Talk.” Steve demanded watching Tony straighten out his shirt, but it was no use, it was stretched out to the point of where he would just have to throw it out. “Remember the other day when we ran into those scumbags downtown?” Steve shook his head, a stupid question he thought, thinking his whole week is spent dealing with scumbags. There was no way he would be able to remember without a little jog to his memory.
“They scratched up your precious pretty bad.” He received a dirty look along with a look confirming Steve still didn’t’ understand. “Your shield, they scratched up your shield. And you were pretty upset afterwards when you weren’t able to get rid of them. Remember?” Tony shrugged hoping he would, hoping he wouldn’t have defend himself; he raised his fists just in case. “Yes, I remember. But that does not explain why you have it and why you took it without asking.” Poison in his voice again Tony quickly scrambled for more words to explain. “Well since you couldn’t get the scratches out yourself I thought I would try. It would have been a surprise but- Never mind, see for yourself.” Tony picks up the shield from his desk allowing Steve to snatch it from his hands to examine it himself. He glared at Tony before letting his eyes scan over his shield. Tony was telling the truth, so far as he could tell. The scratches were gone, which was impressive. He sat for hours trying to remove them, tried every way he knew. He even got up the courage to use Google on the laptop he has only opened once since it was given to him. But no matter what he tried it failed to remove the large scratches that stained his precious shield. “They are gone, I suppose.” “I even made sure that there would be no discoloration or, and here’s the good part, in the future there will be no chance of that thing getting a scratch on it. Guaranteed and Stark approved.”
Steve listened to Tony’s words but continued to look over his only weapon and smiled. He did over react he admitted to himself, but he thought he lost the only thing he had from his past. The only thing that gave him the only connection he ever felt of being in his own era. He and that shield have been through quite a bit and Steve couldn’t imagine having to accept the loss of something he cherished so much. He had already lost so much; he couldn’t go through anymore loss. “It looks good, Tony. You did a good job. Thank you.” The words came from his mouth slow sounding genuinely sincere, but they were strange on his lips. He extended his hand to the man, giving it as an apology. He wasn’t good with apologizes, it was usually the other way around, him being on the receiving end. “No problem, Rogers. I didn’t mean to scare you like that, assuming that I did.” He tugged at his shirt, letting hit hang lower than it’s supposed to before smacking Steve’s hand down to his side. “Sorry about that. I over reacted and you had it under your..thing, it just looked like you were scrapping it.”
Tony let out a low amused chuckle and clasped his hand around Steve’s shoulder. “Scrap it? Look solider boy, I know we don’t get along very well and don’t agree on much but scrapping your shield would be complete suicide if you found out. I like living and I like my face so don’t expect anything like that from me.” Tony raised his brows making sure Steve understood where he was getting at. It was true; they didn’t get a long at all. They fought every time they were in hearing distance of each other and never agreed upon anything. But in the long run Tony respected Steve and after the incident with Loki, Steve respected Tony more than he would like to admit. So when it came down to it, Tony would never do anything to upset Steve. “No, I understand. I shouldn’t have-“ Tony stopped him with a hand to the mouth and a roll of his eyes. “Geez, Steve, enough with the apologizing. I get it you’re sorry you don’t need to continue to remind me.” He removed his hand and turned back around to his chair to plop himself back into it. Tony didn’t want to hear any more of his ‘sorrys’ or ‘I should haves’. Although, he did want him to stay which he found odd of him to want from the man. But he needed to get back to work. That side project ejected him far behind from his assigned project that was due for review hours ago.
As if Steve read his mind he stepped forward trying to offer his hand again. “Whether you like it or not, thank you again and it strongly means a lot to me.” He nods nudging Tony’s arm with his hand encouraging him to take a hold of it, if only for a few seconds. Tony sighs and reaches for Steve’s hand and gives it a quick squeeze and a shake. “Happy?” He asks releasing his hand and sliding it back onto the work table. “I have to finish some things here, maybe later if you’re up for it we can go for dinner. What do you say? “Tony pushes aside a few pieces of scrap metal on his desk as he reaches for a blueprint with a CLASSIFIED stamp on it. “Sure. That would be nice.” Tony smiles before turning around back facing Steve and immediately begins to scribble on the blueprint. “See you then.” Steve walks away shield in hand walks back through the lab doors and smiles. “Can’t wait.”