Actions

Work Header

Author Commentary: Frost Bite

Chapter Text

It was mid-afternoon by the time Steve Rogers drove into Beacon Hills, legs stiff from hours on the road and shirt sticking to his skin. He took it slow on the highway into town to admire the beautiful forest surrounding the county, but eventually the midsummer heat became too much for him. He pulled into a small business-looking district, driving through the outer edges of the town until he’d at least given a cursory-glance at all the motels the town had to offer. He wanted to know where to go later tonight.

Believe it or not, I originally had planned to start this story with Steve just pulling up to the Stilinskis’ house, but it seemed a bit too out of the blue and I ended up throwing all this extra stuff in, namely to set the scene and give both Steve and the reader a better idea of what they were walking into.

For now, he found a dive bar to hole up in through the midafternoon heat.

He parked his bike in the barebones shade of a wilting tree, breathing in a sigh of relief as he adjusted the shoulder straps of his backpack for the first time in over a hundred miles.

Is 100 miles really such a long distance for non-Americans? Apparently, it’s really weird for some non-American readers that Steve would drive a hundred miles in one go, but I’ve done twice that multiple times in my life (quadruple that multiple times in my life if you don’t count 5-10 min bathroom breaks). And slight 5B spoiler, but it’s absolutely feasible that Scott and Stiles could’ve driven from California to New Mexico overnight, especially since they can switch off on driving and were going to stop as little as possible.

The bar wasn’t completely empty, but it was empty enough that Steve had no problem ordering a dark beer and some garlic fries as he curled in on himself at a table in a shadowy corner of the bar, keeping the bill of his hat low enough to obscure his face without making it too obvious he was trying to hide.

Have you seen that “Team Ballcap” thing? Like, Steve wearing a cap, Bucky wearing a cap, Sam wearing a cap…yeah, I absolutely believe this is the reason. You’d be amazed at how much you can hide yourself and your face with just a bit of clever angling, and no one even realizing it.

Half the other patrons were also on their own, most reading something on a smart phone, though there were a few pairs of friends quietly chatting as well. It was the slow hour after lunch but before people got off of work, and Steve made a mental note to leave once rush hour started.

He waited until the beer and fries arrived before pulling out his tablet. A password, a number code, and a finger print scan, and he was in, yet again perusing the files on Beacon Hills.

This was originally several paragraphs of what SHIELD thought of Beacon Hills historically, and a lot of Steve repeatedly running into redacted files and eventually giving up. But that conflicted too much with what I planned later so I cut it out and made it this vague little paragraph below.

For a small town where nothing happened, a lot sure seemed to happen. It had a long history of unusual crimes and bizarre animal attacks, enough that SHIELD had the town on its radar – even after the deaths of a family full of people who SHIELD suspected of being not quite human.

But not TOO vague. If you pay attention to Chapter 4 (and Chapter 5, once it comes out), no one ever says Derek’s last name when talking about him to Steve. Or any of the Hales’ last names at all. And they’re not going to, not until [REDACTED], at which point Steve will [REDACTED]. >:)

Steve read through the speculation that perhaps certain myths in human history came from a grain of truth. That maybe humans weren’t the only intelligent or humanoid species on Earth. That maybe various terrorist groups through modern history – dating all the way back to HYDRA – were on to something when they investigated mythology to see where it ran right into history.

So, popular history states that the Nazis were obsessed with the occult. This both was and was not true. The Ahnenerbe was originally founded to study “Aryan history” and basically prove white people once ruled the world and basically justify the Nazi regime. It just so happens that Heinrich Himmler, the guy who founded and ran it, was really into occultism, so he turned it into his own personal occult and pseudo-science research society. The Ahnenerbe was what HYDRA was based off of, except instead of just occult, they found and used alien technology. However, the Nazis as a whole were not necessarily all that preoccupied with the occult as popular culture would have you believe.

One would think humanity would have learned its lesson after the Tesseract.

Steve has way too much faith in humanity.

Still, Steve wasn’t here to investigate. SHIELD didn’t even know he was here, and if they did, Tony and Fury were running interference at his request. Nothing short of a life or death emergency would call Steve back to work.

He was kind of regretting that, right now.

You know you’re emotionally constipated when you’d rather fight off an alien invasion again than go over to someone’s house and say ‘hi’.

With a frown, he flicked his way through various files and folders, meticulously organized the way he liked it after weeks of work, until he came to civilian background checks.

It had been the only way to learn what had come of his friends – his friends, and the closest thing to family he’d ever had after his own parents died.

Since Bucky had been Steve’s next of kin, both their survivor’s benefits had gone to the Barnes family. The Barnes ladies, really, since Bucky’s own father had died in an accident on an army base years before the war even started. Mrs. Barnes had lived long enough to see all of Bucky’s sisters to adulthood, a nurse and a teacher and a secretary. Unfortunately, Anna died in a car crash, and the shock of losing her only son and youngest daughter seemed to have led to Mrs. Barnes dying of grief. Sarah and Rebecca both married, only for Sarah’s son to die in Vietnam.

In the movie, they state that Bucky was the oldest of four children. For the purposes of this story, I made the rest girls, and only one have a surviving descendent to this day (I thought briefly about giving Stiles a distant cousin or something, before remembering/realizing he was already pretty distant from Bucky). In the comics, Bucky had a single sister named Rebecca, so as the character with actual canon, I used her as Stiles’ grandmother. Sarah and Anna were entirely my own creations (and using basically the really common names of the time period, which is why I used Sarah even though that’s already Steve’s mom’s name – I actually have some ‘shared name’ jokes lined up and I’m currently trying to find a way to work them into the story at some point.)

War seemed to kill all the Barnes boys.

Oh, Steve, by the time I’m done with everyone, you’re going to WISH that war killed the Barnes boys.

It was just as well that Rebecca only had one daughter, Claudia, who escaped any kind of violent ending, only to die of some kind of dementia not too long ago.

How DID she die? We know that she attacked Stiles at some point and had delusions about him. Is Stiles believing he killed her (if the hallucinations from Season 2 are anything to go by) just misplaced guilt, or did he actually have a role in her death? SO MANY QUESTIONS. Stilinski fam, y u so mysterious? (…no, but seriously, how can we get so much screen time with them and know so little about them – like their first names?!)

Steve had missed Bucky’s niece by just a few years.

Hopefully her young boy – the one whose name Steve could not for the life of him pronounce – would escape the life of war and suffering that seemed to hang over the family like some kind of curse.

>:)

Bucky’s only family left – Steve’s only family left – was a teenage boy in Beacon Hills, Bucky’s grand-nephew. There wasn’t much about him. Diagnosed with some kind of attention disorder as a child, but he seemed to get good grades all the same. He had a ‘Facebook’, which didn’t tell Steve much other than the fact no one else could pronounce his name, either, if the nickname was anything to go by.

Still not sure what do for Stiles’ name. Do I go with the fandom keysmash, or do I take into account the initial we saw on his ID card in Season 5? ID cards, school ID cards, REALLY don’t work like that, so I’m just so damn tempted to ignore it. But there’s been so much interesting meta about what Stiles’ name could be…

He was about to start the tenth grade, his sophomore year. Steve barely remembered being fifteen, himself – it felt like so long ago. The kid’s Facebook was full of pictures and posts about him and a friend planning to spend the fall training up so they could make the school’s lacrosse team come winter try-outs. Seeing the picture of two teenagers slurping at smoothies while making faces at a camera – or, in all likelihood, camera-phone, because that was a thing in the twenty-first century…

It just made him miss Bucky, and made him realize how much he couldn’t back down from this, now.

Full disclosure, this story was originally going to be Sciles. Not very shippy, granted, because this fic isn’t very shippy in general – it’s team/pack fic and family feels, so friendship and family were always going to be the focus of the series, not romance, romantic relationships, or permanent peer partners of any kind. On top of that, I’m just not a romantic/shippy writer in general. Since there was so little romance at the time, I made it gen, except no one reads genfic. I started to get way too many hilarious ideas Steve seeing Stiles flail around Derek and Stiles’ having a ~thing~ for nice arms, leading to the Thor jokes, and that’s how this story became a Sterek fic.

THEN around the time I was debating going back to making this a gen fic, I ran into a lot of meta about how even if HYDRA never raped the Winter Soldier/had actual Trash Parties, what they DID do (as seen or directly implied in canon, or implied via comics canon) most closely mimics sexual abuse anyway, and suddenly I got another subplot in which Derek and Bucky bond over their share violation/abuse histories when they [REDACTED]. Whoops.

It’s still probably going to be Scott & Stiles centric (since Bucky and Steve are such a central relationship to the series, too), and the Sterek is probably going to be very QPR-ish, in that there probably won’t be much “romance” because romance bores the hell out of me. I like romance best when it’s like the best friendship ever with some sex and kissing thrown in at the end. So when I do romance, I do so via slow build. And as anyone who’s followed my Virtues, Chicken, and Destiny series in Merlin fandom knows, when I say slow build, I mean slow. (That thing’s been running for half a decade, now). But Derek is kind of like Natasha to Stiles’ Bucky (in the comics), if you want a better gist of how the relationship dynamics will pan out.

There was nothing in these files to help Steve, nor anything online. Nothing that could tell Steve how he should go up to the last hanging thread of Bucky’s family and introduce himself and…what? There was nothing Steve could give them, nothing to be gained, and would probably just open up some scarred-old wounds to boot.

But Steve couldn’t just forget about him, either.

With a frustrated grunt, Steve shut everything down and off, stuffing the tablet away as he quickly finished the last dregs of his drink and the few fries left. He paid in cash, telling the waitress to keep the change as a tip, and quickly left just as the first of the after-work crowd started pulling into the parking lot.

It took a while to get around town. Steve tried to tell himself he was just enjoying the view, but he knew he was lying to himself.

He was a damn coward.

Eventually, though, he made himself pull up to modest house in a nice part of town, parking his bike carefully and sitting on it for a moment as he glanced at the old but cared-for SUV sitting in the driveway.

I never understand why people seem to think the Sheriff just uses a department SUV for his own, personal travels. Those are WORK vehicles, he can’t use them when he’s off-duty. Not to mention that even after the Sheriff was fired, we see that he still has the SUV.

“C’mon, punk,” he muttered to himself. Finally, he unhooked the helmet – originally bought for state law compliance and surprisingly useful in hiding in plain sight. He locked it to the bike, shouldered his bag, and pushed himself up the little walkway to the front door, slowing as he heard the sounds of a movie playing inside.

This, believe it or not, marks one of the biggest differences between the Stucky and Sciles friendships. Both are equally loving, but Sciles is a lot less name-calling and affectionately insulting each other, and a lot more mutually uplifting support. I mean, there is still teasing among the younger boys and no end of support among Steve and Bucky, but they ultimately still have very different personalities. For all the parallels I’m drawing, Scott and Steve are very different from each other, as are Bucky and Stiles. Stiles is the sarcastic one, while Scott is very much NOT, so Stiles would feel bad if he did that too much. With Steve and Bucky, neither of them are nearly as sarcastic as Stiles, but at the same time they’re both a little snarkier than Scott.

Some part of him still had trouble getting over the fact most people in America had televisions, now, that movies weren’t just something you went out to see, but also entertainment to enjoy at home.

Televisions did exist and weren’t even all that uncommon during Steve’s day, but up until WWII, they were a little crude and mostly considered experimental technology, something the rich had as an expensive toy. They didn’t start becoming common in households until after WWII – as did household appliances and electronics in general.

Steve took a deep breath and rang the doorbell.

“Stiles!” he heard a man shouting from inside.

“Got it!” a young boy’s voice answered.

The sounds of the movie suddenly stopped, and a moment later the door opened, revealing a lanky teenage boy in long shorts and a tee-shirt, with short brown hair and Rebecca’s eyes.

For a while, I debated ‘changing’ either Bucky or Stiles’ canon eye-color to give them the same color eyes. In the end, I opted for realism, as well as avoiding too many similarities. Parallels are good and all, but only so far as the supplement a story, not overtake it. Sometimes, characters have connections to other or unexpected sources, and no parallel is perfect – otherwise, they would be the same exact thing, and that’s hella boring.

“Yes?” the boy asked.

“Um…are you…” Steve swallowed. “Are you, uh, Stiles Stilinski?”

The boy’s eyes immediately narrowed, and even if he had Rebecca’s eyes, that was Bucky’s scrutiny staring Steve back in the face.

But there still needs to be SOME similarity. A healthy suspicion of the world at large is a Barnes family trait, which is probably why Claudia and the Sheriff got along so well. :P

God, barely a minute in and Steve felt like he was drowning in memory.

“Who wants to know?” the boy asked.

“Stiles?” the man’s voice from earlier called out. “Who is it?”

A moment later, a man in jeans and a loose shirt appeared behind the boy, expression equally wary. “Can we help you?” the man asked – the boy’s father, and Beacon Hills’ town Sheriff.

Steve swallowed, every single line and plan going out the window.

He’d been spending over a month mentally planning for and dreading this moment, and now that he was finally here, it was like he was shriveled and socially awkward all over again.

He never felt so tiny since he’d become so large.

I’m on the fence about a subplot. It doesn’t really add anything to the story, but I wanted to give Steve a sort of light body dysmorphia, him and Scott. While the details are different, they would both have issues of sort of missing their old/“real” body, even though their ‘new’ ones are so much better. It feel like it would clutter up the story, though.

Before he could try to come up with something, the boy’s eyes widened, and his mouth fell open in shock as recognition filled his eyes. His entire stance grew straighter, and he pointed dumbly at Steve’s face as he said, “You’re- no, no way, why-”

“My name is Steve Rogers,” Steve said finally. “I don’t know if you’ve heard about-”

“You’re Captain America!” the boy shouted in disbelief.

Stiles was absolutely a Captain America fanboy even before he met Steve.

Steve smiled and nodded sheepishly. He glanced at the sheriff, whose eyebrows were also going up as he looked Steve over, and then looked back at the boy.

It’s the Sheriff’s fault. :P

“Yeah, I…I am. The original one,” Steve added, focusing on the boy. “Your grand-uncle…Bucky Barnes was my best friend growing up, and his family practically adopted me when my own died. I…I always planned to come back to his family, even after he died. When I…woke up, a few months ago, I looked for his family. And that’s…well, you.”

Stiles’ mouth opened and closed as he gaped in shock.

The silence was so awkward, Steve was one step away from apologizing for taking their time and leaving, before Mr. Stilinski sighed and said, “Come on in, then.”

Mr. Stilinski had to nudge the boy’s shoulder to get him to step back, but after a moment he shook his head and moved, still gaping at Steve as he stepped into the household and, seeing a rack on the floor, toed off his shoes.

“I apologize for dropping in like this,” Steve said, trying to loosen his grip on his bag. “But I didn’t really know how else to do this.”

“Where’s your shield?” the boy blurted out.

Tony and SHIELD are scanning it and generally studying it when Steve isn’t using it, since now that Tony can make vibranium, they might be able to make more shields. Of course, it turns out largely to be pointless – very few people can even use Steve’s shield, since it requires a certain level of superhuman strength, and vibranium can be so much more useful in so many other forms, anyway, and it’s difficult to manufacture in the kind of bulk needed to make the shield, and if it’s really that vibration absorbent, it’s very difficult to forge or work with. Howard most likely made it as a kind of challenge to himself, not out of any expectation for it to be useful.

Mr. Stilinski’s expression abruptly shifted from wary to exasperated as scolded, “Stiles!”

Steve smiled softly at the sheepish look on Stiles’ face. The innocent curiosity of excited kids was a lot less grating than the probing of adults.

“Kind of hard to carry without drawing attention, so it’s at Stark Tower while I’m traveling.”

Stiles led Steve into the living room, gesturing towards the couch. On the table, there was a half-empty bottle of beer and a glass of what looked like lemonade, and a bowl of chips and a pillow on the floor. Stiles darted over the television to switch it off. Steve caught a glimpse of a rugged man in a fedora before the screen went black. It was a bit flat – though not as flat as a lot of TVs were that Steve had been seeing, so likely a little older – and it sat like a silent, black hole on top of a little cabinet in the corner.

I really wish this came up more in Captain America fanfics. Seriously, people underestimate just how weird having screens everywhere must be, especially flat screens, to someone like Steve. He would’ve mostly or only ever watched movies projected onto white/“silver” screens, could probably count on one hand how many times they’ve seen an actual TV or screen-like viewing mechanism in his life prior to the war. Well, depending on what class you assume Steve to be, and what kind of stores he walked past a lot for most of his life – especially during the Great Depression.

The boy stood up, then glanced awkwardly around himself and at Steve. He glanced over Steve’s shoulder at – presumably – the sheriff, and that seemed to help him a little.

“Um, do you want a drink or something?” he asked. “We have water – but, uh, everyone has water, I guess – and we have orange juice and pomegranate juice and some lemonade and Coke and I think we might have a Sprite or two but I would have to double check, and we can probably make, like, coffee and stuff-“

“The man can’t tell you what he wants if you don’t let him,” Mr. Stilinski chided.

“I’m fine,” Steve said, not bothering to hide his small smile. At least he wasn’t the only awkward one here. Stiles reminded Steve of Bucky, before he really got a grasp of the family’s signature charm. “I don’t want to cause too much trouble or anything.”

“Um, dude, pouring out drink isn’t exactly trouble,” Stiles said, looking at Steve like he was slightly dim.

Stiles you lil shit-

Rebecca used to do that all the time.

“Stiles…” Mr. Stilinski said warningly.

Steve chuckled. “True, but I try to be polite.” He swallowed. “Seems a little late for coffee or soda, I don’t know if you just have lemonade or orange juice or if you would have to pour it out of something, and I’ve never even had pomegranate juice, so…water is always the safest bet.”

Stiles smiled. “Pomegranate juice it is, since you’ve never tried it.”

-but he’ll be Steve’s lil shit. And Bucky and Steve were the ultimate little shits, anyway. :P

“Stiles!” Mr. Stilinski said, sounding so long-suffering Steve couldn’t help but laugh.

“It’s fine, sir,” Steve said, turning to look over his shoulder at Mr. Stilinski. “I can’t knock something until I’ve tried it.”

“I’ll bring some water in case you don’t like it,” Stiles said, slipping around the couch and disappearing into the kitchen.

Then it was just the two adult men in the living room, the only sound coming from Stiles rummaging around in the kitchen.

After a moment, the boy’s father sighed and came around the couch, dropping into a sofa and picking up the beer.

The Pack Papa Stilinski vibes here were absolutely intentional. I’m basically using this moment to imply that the family tradition of adopting stray angsty young’uns in need of a hug is still going strong. The Barnes family took Steve in once before, and they’re doing so again – and in both cases, the ‘parent’ doing the bulk of the adopting is someone who married into the family, not the one born into it. :P

“I suppose you’ve probably heard this before,” he said. “But thank you. For New York.”

“No thanks needed, sir,” Steve said, trying not to wince as he slipped into his pre-prepared response. “Anyone else in my position would’ve done the same, and all of us there did our part.”

Dealing with press and publicity is probably one of the few elements of his job still familiar to him. At least when he knows he’s on record, anyway – the hardest part, methinks, is remembering and getting used to the idea that he might always be on record, thanks to smartphones and social media.

Mr. Stilinski smirked. “That the party line?”

Steve almost went into press mode again, but then remembered this man was…well, he wasn’t the press, that was for sure.

“Sort of,” Steve said. “I got one hell of a briefing on how modern media works, and…prepared lines seemed like the best option.” He shrugged. “I’m used to it. Did it for the Army, too.”

“I’ll bet,” he said, taking a sip of his beer. “Given how hard they come down on us for talking outside party lines today, I imagine it would’ve been even worse during the war.”

Most people don’t realize this, but there are actually a LOT of rules about how much serving military personnel can be politically active, especially in topic areas concerning security and foreign policy. The military exists to carry out the Commander in Chief’s will. Now, soldiers can absolutely say they voted for the other guy than whoever is currently in the Oval Office and such – but their job is support whoever is in office, because whoever is in the Oval Office now was put there by The People, who both the military and the President ultimately serve. They cannot advocate against military policy, their commander in chief, or otherwise undermine anything the military is doing (and generally speaking, political involvement even in non-military/foreign policy issues is frowned upon).

Steve blinked in surprise. “You served?”

I actually have SO MANY QUESTIONS about Sheriff Stilinski’s background in canon. Did he ever go to college? Or even community college? You don’t need a degree to be a cop, but it can help and a lot of them do, especially if they ever hoped to work as a detective of some kind. Was the Sheriff ever a detective before he became a beat cop/deputy? Was he also an officer in the Army, or enlisted? An NCO? How long was he in the army before he left for civilian law enforcement? Was he an MP (Military Police) in the Army, or was Beacon Hills his first law enforcement experience?

He nodded. “Not long – just a few years after college. Couldn’t find a job at the time, and Stiles’ mother still had to finish school, so I enlisted to tide me over.” He snorted. “And while a lot of people slip through the cracks, the Army is just as big on presenting a united front during peace time as they were during war. Luckily, they support a policy of soldiers not talking to the press at all if they can help it.”

I kind of headcanon that the Sheriff was actually still in the army when he married Claudia and they had Stiles, but Stiles was still so young when the Sheriff left the army for civilian life that he doesn’t really remember or think of his father as being in the army.

“Wish I had that,” Steve said softly. “Would’ve saved me a lot of trouble.”

Stiles came back in carrying two cups, one of a pinkish-red drink and the other of clear water with ice in it. He handed Steve the juice while setting down the water on the coffee table.

Steve took a sip of the pomegranate juice as Stiles dropped onto the other end of the couch, and hummed in appreciation. “Not bad,” he said, taking another sip to prove his point. And it wasn’t. Steve wasn’t sure if he actively liked it, yet, but he didn’t dislike it, either. More importantly, though, it was nothing he’d ever had to drink before the war and didn’t bring up memories of what it wasn’t or how it was supposed to taste.

Steve’s biggest problem with food wouldn’t be stuff that’s new and completely unrelated to food he grew up with – he’d approach new food in this day the same way he’d approach new food in his own time. No, his biggest problem would probably be food that’s similar to what he grew up with, since that would keep bringing up reminders or taste different from what he knows.

That was a pretty big point in its favor.

No, but seriously, you’d be surprised what foods this entails. Case in point: bananas. The kind of banana Americans eat today is called a Cavendish banana, but we only started importing those after the kind of bananas Steve would’ve grown up with, Gros michel bananas, were wiped out by Panama disease. At least in the Americas – they’re still around in Asia. BANANA ANGST. BANANA ANGST IS A THING IN THIS FANDOM. On a completely unrelated note, Sebastian Stan – the actor for Bucky Barnes – is actually Romanian in origin. His family had to move out of Romania when he was 8 years old, and apparently seeing bananas for the first time at that age was a bit of ‘an event’ for him.

This is actually something I’m familiar with – I grew up with at least half my high school being made up of first-generation or second-generation Americans, and a lot of kids mention similar things. (A friend of mine mentioned that he’d literally never seen a non-white person in his life until he was in an airport after his family had to flee Russia – he’d glimpsed them on TV and such, but never in person or seen one with his own eyes).

Stiles grinned. “It’s healthy, too!”

“Thank you,” Steve said, and took another sip because there wasn’t much else to do, now.

He wasn’t even sure what he came here for, let alone what he could or would ask of them.

Thankfully, though, Stiles was willing to fill the silence, saying, “So what do you do when you’re not fighting aliens?”

Mr. Stilinski looked up at the ceiling like he was praying for strength.

This is a very common look for him.

“Not much,” Steve said, trying not to laugh at the expression on Mr. Stilinski’s face. “They…they found me in the ice less than half a year ago. I spent the first few months recovering, trying to catch up on all the history I’ve missed and…training, honestly. Wasn’t sure what else to do. Then the Battle of New York happened, and since then I’ve just been traveling around the country…seeing things.”

I was actually really conflicted about the first line in this paragraph, because someone did a breakdown and found out that on-screen, Steve’s only smiled once since waking up in the 21st century – when he’s telling Tony they won after closing Loki’s portal. That’s the one time he smiles in the Avengers, and he never smiles at all in Captain America 2. But, since even people who actually have depression can still laugh and smile, I figured it’s not like Steve can’t feel some happiness, too. An unfortunate reality of depression is that sometimes “happy thoughts” or “happy moments” are not really enough to mitigate it, and that even if you don’t have depression, grief can easily still dominate your life even with love and happiness in your life. Steve is much closer to the rest of the Avengers in this series than in the movies, and has a lot more smiling and laughter in his life. But he still lost just about everyone he knew, and his own life – he has a lot to grieve, something that he may not even let himself have time for.

“Anything cool?” Stiles asked, leaning forward excitedly.

“Well, I got to see the Grand Canyon-”

“I did a report on it once!” the boy said eagerly. “For geography in fifth grade.”

“Don’t interrupt him, Stiles,” Mr. Stilinski said. He sounded like he didn’t expect the admonishment to stick at all.

The Sheriff thinks Stiles is a lost cause, but he still has try. Pay attention to canon, though, and Stiles is actually not nearly as much of a motor mouth as fandom makes him out to be. This is a carefully constructed misdirection on Stiles’ part, in fact. Stiles snarks back at people a lot, but he doesn’t initiate conversation nearly as much as people seem to think. He won’t start a conversation, but he’ll absolutely keep it going until he gets what he needs.

The boy pouted anyway, contrite. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay, I don’t mind,” Steve said. “It reminds me of your grandmother.”

“Really?”

“Really,” Steve said with a fond nod. “She always had something to say and was excited to say it. Bucky was always trying to get her to calm down…it never worked, though.”

I’m imagining that Stiles’ grandmother had ADHD. I might have Bucky show tinges of it, too, if I can work it in, between all the other crap he’s going to have to deal with. But, I’m actually not sure if Stiles has ADHD, and I headcanon that he doesn’t. We know at one point he takes Adderall, but we never find out if it’s his own prescription or just Adderall he bought from someone at school, and he doesn’t really show signs of ADHD. He may just be one of those kids that buys Adderall to help concentrate on important tests and projects, but Stiles’ priority just isn’t school so he uses it for other things, too.

Stiles grinned again, sheepish and shy but a little smug, too. “Cool.”

“Grand Canyon?” Mr. Stilinski offered, a bemused smile on his face as he apparently tried to help Steve.

Steve hesitantly launched into the story of how he and Bucky had always planned to go see the Grand Canyon when they were kids, and how Steve had gone now in his memory. He’d camped and hiked there a bit, sketched a fair amount and even started to get back into colored pencils while there.

When this fic was still in its earliest Sciles stages, I planned for it to end with Sciles and Stucky going on a hike in the Grand Canyon together (reminiscent of Steve’s Grand Canyon hike in the comics). I still might do that, actually. Even if Scott and Stiles aren’t romantically together, I still have a tendency to write them kind of QPR-ish/Heterosexual Life Partners (for a given value of heterosexual, anyway). I’m actually not even sure if I’ll make Stucky truly romantic/sexual Stucky, or full-blown QPR (which, let’s be real, is basically what they are in canon). Can you tell I’m aromantic? :P

That somehow devolved into talking about Steve’s drawing skills in general, his brief career in comics he’d just been starting before the war hit, how he’d done posters and pamphlets before Project Rebirth. It careened into a lot of talk about comic books in general, Stiles even running upstairs to grab some of his own to show Steve what they were like today, explaining digital art and how it was sometimes mixed with traditional art via scans and mixed-media.

I took 616 canon and made Steve a comic-book illustrator before the war. I originally had a subplot (which I might write anyway as a deleted scene) in which Steve is still drawing comics about his experiences, and Stiles puts them online, claiming to the Internet that he’s putting them there for his grand-uncle, a WWII veteran, and just never mentioning that it’s Steve. It…gets leaked, anyway, which caused too much chaos in the story so I ended up cutting it out, but then Stiles just posting Steve’s artwork online was largely pointless as a subplot, so the whole damn thing got cut out.

Before Steve knew it, it was dark out. Mr. Stilinski stood, twisting to crack his back slightly and disappearing into the kitchen with his empty bottle. He came back out a few moments later holding up a stack of worn-and weathered pamphlets and flyers.

“It’s almost dinner,” Mr. Stilinski said. “And you are absolutely welcome to join us, I mean it – but I also warn you that we’re going to have to order in. Been kind of a busy week, so we’re a little behind on the grocery shopping.”

Steve smiled a little wanly. “Sounds good to me, Mr. Stilinski.”

“Please, call me John. Or Sheriff, everyone does.”

Okay, while I’m here – if you look through the tags on that post I linked above, one of the number one responses is people saying they thought his name was John. It’s not, not in canon. Thus far, canon has not given us the Sheriff’s first name, or Stiles’ legal first name. ‘John’ most likely started as an actor shout-out to Linden Ashby’s other prominent role, Johnny Cage. (If you have not seen Mortal Kombat, I highly recommend you do and cackle about cheesy!BAMF!Sheriff all the way. I’m working on a Mortal Kombat/Teen Wolf crossover, actually, but that’ll be a long while in coming.) Anyway, that was probably how it started, and then it kept perpetuating because John is like the most normal, down-to-earth name a guy can have, which contrasts with not only Stiles’ name, but Teen Wolf in general. However, it is still technically fanon, just a widely-accepted one.

“Right, uh, then it sounds good to me, Sheriff,” Steve said. The man smiled approvingly as he dropped the pamphlets on the coffee table, spreading them out. Steve shook his head as he read the names and taglines of the various restaurants. “I still can’t believe this.”

“Believe what?”

He kept his eyes on the rather daunting pile of pamphlets and fliers. God, how did people manage to hold onto so many, so easily?

What if they wanted him to choose?

“When I was a kid, half this stuff was exotic and the other half was unimaginable,” Steve said. “You would’ve had to go to Chinatown for Chinese food, or a really expensive restaurant. And things like Thai or Vietnamese…I never even knew they existed. And now they’re ordinary stuff.”

Thank you, immigration! Because imagine how boring contemporary American diets would be without it. No, seriously. *shudders*

Stiles looked hesitantly at his father, and Steve winced. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to unload-”

“It’s cool,” Stiles said immediately. “Do you want…” He bit his lip. “Do you want something you’re used to, or something new?”

Thoughtful baby is thoughtful.

Steve blinked at him in surprise.

“…Captain?” Stiles asked.

“Call me Steve,” he responded. “And…you know, you’re the first person to actually ask me that?”

Both Stilinskis’ eyebrows rose in united incredulity. “Really?” the Sheriff asked.

Steve nodded. “Some people just assume I should be trying new things all the time, no matter what. Most just assume I want to stick to stuff I know.”

“Do you usually want something new or something old?” Stiles asked curiously, forgetting the menus spread out in front of him.

“Depends on my mood, I guess, but…it hasn’t really mattered in a while.” He looked down at all the menus. “I’m…somewhat familiar with Chinese food, but not very. I’m honestly not very sure where to start.”

Chinese people have been in America a long longer than most people realize. That said, most of the Asian-Americans Steve would’ve known in Roaring and Great Depression New York probably would’ve been Filipino.

Stiles dug right through all the menus, brandishing three of them and then discarding one. When Steve was still unsure, he handed them both to his father, who glanced at them and handed just one back, muttering about that ginger chicken thing.

Probably Sesame Ginger Chicken, since a stir-fry would not meet Stiles’ exacting health standards.

Steve fought down the strong urge to sigh in relief as Stiles handed him the lone menu pamphlet. At least he wouldn’t have to choose a restaurant to order from, and Stiles even started talking about the various options this particular place had, advising Steve to stay away from anything with the beef and that the seafood was usually hit or miss and that most of their noodles were delicious. Steve eventually settled on some chicken and noodle dish. It would probably be nothing like any chicken noodles Steve would’ve ever had, but it was close enough to familiarity that he could breathe easy as he dived into the unknown.

Mr. Stilinski went into the kitchen to call them place the order, and Stiles started stacking up the menus again, shuffling and moving them into some system comprehensible only to himself.

He organizes them by how long it takes for the food to get to his home from the moment he hangs up the phone after the order. Part length of time to make the food, part distances from the restaurant. In situations where they are approximately similar, Stiles then organizes by how healthy the food tends to be, in the hopes that his dad will get lazy and pick the first menu he runs into when Stiles isn’t there. It doesn’t work, because if Stiles isn’t home, the Sheriff just orders greasy pizza/fast food, anyway.

“So,” Stiles said, jerking his head towards the TV as he finished gathering up all the papers. “Wanna watch a movie?”

Because it’s so difficult to get Scott to watch Star Wars, Stiles compensates by getting everyone else to watch it, instead.