The nightly news had another story about The Captain. To be honest, it wasn’t much of a story, just a rumor that someone may have seen The Captain at an event where a couple members of the Squadron Supreme had been. Maybe. The alleyway had been dark, and no one had actually seen the man, just a shadow that moved quickly in the glimmer of streetlights. The Captain was more myth and legend than a real flesh-and-blood supervillain.
But Tony had seen him. Twice, in fact.
The first time Tony saw The Captain it wasn’t really a sighting, just a glimpse outside his limo on his way to that week’s Rich Evil Capitalist gala event. Tony had the chauffeur circle the block a few times in case he could spot him again. But he saw nothing and for the longest time thought he’d imagined it.
The next time, Tony was out on his weekly sabotage spree, busy destroying all the Squadron Supreme drones he could lay his repulsors on. As he turned to nail a couple of drones, he caught sight of The Captain studying Tony from around a corner. He zapped the drones and flew to where he’d seen the mystery man. But he was gone.
Tony spent a few days searching every known database, legal and illegal, even hacking into the Squadron’s supposedly secure servers. He had seen the costume, and could guess the height (tall) and weight (spectacularly well-built), and then there was that distinctive circular dark red-and-black shield. But his search came up empty, with nothing definitive. The Captain was no more than a few reports of a shadowy and deadly figure who targeted anything related to the Squadron.
So he listened carefully to the news, had JARVIS scour the internet, sent out feelers to his extensive informant network, and squeezed other criminals for any tidbit he could get about The Captain. At last he pulled together enough information to design an algorithm to determine where and when The Captain would show up.
It failed. The algorithm never quite managed to predict The Captain.
Tony knew he should give it up. But he found the legend to be fascinating. And he had learned enough about the man to know The Captain targeted only the Squadron, wreaking havoc on their attempts to oppress the city and track every movement of the populace. It was admirable. And Tony had to admit he found the mysterious Captain figure pretty damn hot.
Then nothing at all for a couple of months. It was like The Captain had vanished into thin air or been vaporized by the Squadron somehow.
Late one afternoon Tony found himself in a strange situation fighting Justin Hammer’s latest set of badly designed robots at a Squadron base. Tony restrained the urge to call them Hammeroids. No one was around to admire his puns.
Then he saw him – The Captain – rushing into the battle, throwing his shield with a precision Tony had never seen before. The shield decapitated several robots in a single swoop. The Captain punched another set of robots while the shield boomeranged back to him. Tony thought he might be in love.
The Captain winked at Tony. Tony smiled back, only to realize that The Captain couldn’t see through the faceplate. “You’re a hard man to find,” he called as he mowed down a half-dozen robots with a repulsor.
“I try to be.” The Captain slung a robot into an oncoming group, knocking them over like nine-pins. “I hear you’ve been looking for me.”
“Well, it’s not like I can put an ad on Craigslist seeking ‘hot supervillain in red, white and black last seen taking down Squadron Supreme sentries’ to see if you would be interested in a date.”
The Captain wiped out the last of the Hammeroids, and turned to Tony with a broad smile. “I could also have taken out an ad – ‘Secret admirer watching from a distance thinks you’re the tops at blowing up Squadron bases. Call me – I’m the one with the shield.’”
“Really? You’ve been watching me?” Tony flipped up the mask to get a better look at his supervillain suitor.
“For a while now. You beat me to taking out that Squadron parade stand. And you did a great job hacking the Bugle’s servers to publish the list of the Squadron’s evil deeds …”
“All in a day’s work for today’s supervillain,” Tony replied. He might have been distracted by The Captain’s dazzling blue eyes.
“You’re brilliant at it,” said The Captain. He pulled off his black cowl, revealing a sheaf of bright, gold hair and the handsomest face Tony had seen in years.
“You’re not too bad yourself. It’s a shame no one connected you to the sinking of those Squadron patrol ships two weeks ago. No one could have done that but you.”
The Captain flushed a deep red. Tony stepped closer. The Captain smiled shyly at Tony and ducked his head. “You’re adorable,” Tony said. “No one would guess that the All-American Boy Next Door was The Captain.” Seizing the opportunity, since he didn’t know if he’d get another chance, he pressed his lips to The Captain’s.
The larger man melted against Tony, kissing back with enthusiasm, deepening the kiss and opening to Tony’s tongue. Tony cupped the back of his neck with gauntleted fingers to pull him close, wishing he had thought to take the whole helmet and the gauntlets off before starting. But The Captain didn’t seem to mind, as his arm slid around Tony’s armored waist. Their lips slid and caught against each other. Tony could taste peppermint and coffee as he returned The Captain’s kiss.
“What do I call you?” he asked, breathless from the contact.
“Steve.” For some reason Tony thought The Captain would have a more dramatic name. But to be honest, it would be easier to carve ‘I love Steve’ into the Squadron Tower. Alarms were blaring all around them, signaling the imminent arrival of the Squadron Supreme. They had to go.
Tony squeezed Steve’s hand. “When can I see you again?”
“Hmm, I think that the Squadron is dedicating a new Patrol Office next week.”
“It’s a date. I’ll bring the bombs.”
Steve pressed another kiss to Tony’s lips. “I’ll just bring the shield. See you next week.”
Tony watched The Captain disappear into the deepening afternoon shadows. He’d have JARVIS put a good shine on the suit before next week and maybe slap on a coat of fresh paint. It wasn’t often that he wanted to impress his date, but Steve was certainly worth it. Tony couldn’t wait until they could blow up that office together. Maybe he’d invite the Bugle’s staff photographer.
It would be a picture-perfect supervillain date.
Badge art by Inoshi.