Work Header

What he doesn't know

Chapter Text

'On your left, Iron Man,' Steve calls as he drops and rolls under some fallen masonry.

'Yes, Captain Cautious,' Tony ignores the bullets that ping against his armour and continues to stare the data he's lifting from the AIM servers. 'Hulk, be a dear?'

'Hulk SMASH!' Hulk agrees.

Steve rather wishes Hulk was that ready to follow his orders.

He hurls his shield at another man trying to flank Tony from the side away from Hulk and catches it on the rebound as he spins to check behind them.

'Clear for now,' he calls.

'That's lovely,' Tony says distractedly. 'Give it to Cap.'

Hulk huffs and drops a mangled thug at Steve's feet.

'Err,' Steve swallows back the instinctual terror everyone but Tony seems to have. 'Good job.'

Hulk huffs again and lumbers away.

'Blackwidow, status,' Steve orders.

'Clear,' Natasha reports in over the comm.

'Coming to you,' Clint adds.

'Roger,' Steve lets himself relax a little.

'How's the hacking?' Clint asks.

'Iron Man is connected to the computer and is making progress,' Steve tells him.

'You have no idea,' Natasha calls him on it.

'I have no idea,' Steve agrees. 'But nothing's been blown up so...' he shrugs even though they can't see it.

'AIM are into some weird ass shit,' Tony informs them.

'Good to know,' Steve replies, knowing that Tony isn't really listening to them.

'Meeting resistance,' Natasha tells him and he can hear gun fire down the corridor.

'Where did they all come from?' Clint complains. 'Between us and you, Cap. Think you can come take them from the rear?'

'On my way,' Steve agrees readily. 'Iron Man, keep working on that,' as if Tony would do anything else, 'Hulk stay and guard...'

'Big Green,' Tony interrupts, 'go with Spangles.'

Hulk is moving off towards the gunfire before Steve can argue.

Steve runs after him down the corridor and into what looks like a large laboratory. Equipment has been toppled over and piled into the middle of the room to make a circular barricade; the remaining AIM operatives start shooting from behind it.

Steve ducks his head behind his shield as Hulk roars and charges them.

'Nice, Cap,' Clint appears on the other side of the lab.

'He's starting to listen to you,' Natasha says, approvingly.

'Iron Man told him to come,' Steve admits as he watches Hulk wander around the large room as if he's patrolling.

'It isn't that he doesn't like you, Cap,' Clint insists.

'He just likes Iron Man more?' Steve ducks into the ruined barricade to check for survivors.

'Iron Man just tells him to do things he was already inclined to do,' Natasha disagrees as she starts piling bodies.


'No, they have some sort of understanding...'


'It helps that he isn't scared of him,' Natasha adds with a smirk.

'Everyone is!'

'Hey!' Clint snaps before softening his voice. 'I think there's a kid back here.'

There's several long seconds of silence and then all eyes are on Steve.

'What?' he stares back.

'You're Captain America,' Clint tells him. 'Saving children is definitely your job.'

'This may surprise you, but I didn't actually run into many kids in need of saving in the middle of Hydra bases,' Steve hisses at him.

'Just be you,' Natasha tells him. 'Kids like you.'

'Kids like Hawkeye,' Steve objects.

'Kids like to laugh at me when I juggle knives or shoot things like a badass,' Clint grins at him. 'They think you'll keep them safe.'

Steve does not feel trained for this.

He pushes back his cowl and runs his fingers through his hair in an attempt to look a little more normal.

'Hey,' he calls softly as he ducks down to look behind some machinery. Sure enough there's a small boy, maybe three or four years old, curled up in the tiny gap. 'Hey, it's alright now. You're safe.'

'Tell him you're Captain America here to rescue him!' Clint instructs over the comm. with a grin.

'Be quiet, Hawkeye,' Natasha scolds.

'You can trust me,' Steve tries a smile and hopes he's not all over with blood; he didn't think to check. 'It's ok. Do you want to come out here? I'm sure I can find you some juice if you're thirsty?'

The little boy just stares at him with big brown eyes.

'Offer him milk and cookies!' Clint can't help himself.

'You want to stay in there?' Steve nods. 'Yeah, I understand. It was very scary out here a moment ago but all those bad people have gone now. It's just me and my friends now.'

'And a green rage monster,' Clint adds and then yelps as Natasha clearly loses her patience.

'Did they hurt you?' Steve tries to get a better view of the boy but he flinches and scoots further behind the machine. 'I'm sorry,' Steve leans back again, 'I won't hurt you. I promise you're safe now.'

'Those fucking bastards!' Tony suddenly seethes over the comm.

'Iron Man?' Natasha questions in Steve's stead.

'I hope they suffered!' Tony snaps and Steve blinks in surprise at the venom in him voice.

The comm. is silent for a few moments, a sure sign Tony's speaking with Jarvis, and then they can hear the armour approaching.

'He'll scare the kid,' Clint warns.

'Iron Man, wait...!' Steve calls out too late as Tony walks into the room and scowls through his open faceplate.

Three surprising things happen very quickly.

Firstly the armour retracts, which doesn't normally happen unless they have confirmed a location safe, and Tony moves to stand behind Steve.

Secondly the little boy, who has been half cringing from Steve this entire time, lights up at the sight of Tony and scrambles out from behind the machinery.

And finally Tony drops to one knee, opens his arms and the little boy, with only a moment’s hesitation, runs straight to him and flings his arms around his neck.

'What. The. Fuck.' Clint is as eloquent as ever.