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Captain America wants you to vote

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Tony entered the kitchen of Avengers Tower, yawning from a hard night’s work tinkering with his Iron Man suit in his workshop. Just as he was reaching for some sweet sweet life-saving coffee, a newspaper was shoved into his face, filling his nostrils with the sharp tang of the ink.

“Tony, have you seen this?”

With a hand, he knocked the newspaper out of his face and looked at the highly distressed Captain America standing next to him.

“What is it, Cap?” he asked patiently. Ever since the Stark tower became base for the Avengers, the task of educating Steve about the modern world had fallen to his team mates and a day hardly went by when he didn’t come up to someone with a new question about his laptop or why that musician has Barbies stuck in her wig or why the world would need so many coffee shops.

“They say that there is a decreasing rate of voter turnout in the US. The last presidential election only had a turnout of 57%, the number is even lower for people under the age of 30 and you don’t even want to know…”

Tony’s mind started to drift off leaving him to stare blankly at how the other man’s lips flapped up and down at quite an alarming rate, when all of a sudden they stopped and settled into a thin line. Tony’s eyes flicked up his face and were met with a cool glare.

Tony blinked and turned back to the coffee machine “Well Cap, I guess it’s just voter apathy and all that. No one really gives a crap about which muppet gets to be in charge.”

He took the coffee pot out of the machine and popped the top off.

“Well they should give a crap.” Steve answered sternly. “Not only is it every citizen’s right to vote but it’s also their civic duty. I can understand not wanting to do jury duty, but having the ability to choose our own leader is part of what makes America such a great country!”

Tony grimaced and reached around Steve’s bulk to reach the sugar container on the counter top. “What did I say about being this patriotic first thing in the morning?”

“It’s 1 in the afternoon.”

“Really?” He turned his head to look out the window and the bright daylight streaming in. “Huh.” He then dumped the entire contents of the sugar container into the coffee pot and settled down into a bar stool to drink from it while Steve continued.

“What if no one cared had cared to vote when they voted in President Lincoln? Or Theodore Roosevelt? Or Woodrow Wilson? Or Thomas Jefferson? Or John Kennedy? Or…”

“I get it, I get it. Captain America knows his presidents.”

“The outcome of elections can change the course of history…”

“It also decides who gets to be on Mt Rushmore…”

“…how can nearly half of the country just not care about that?”

Tony swallowed the coffee in his mouth and looked Steve in the eyes “Look, I can appreciate Captain America being mad because you fought to defend our rights and America fuck yeah! and all that jazz, but trust me, you could go around telling everyone that the fate of all the world’s puppies were at stake if they didn’t vote and people would still not care enough to go out and stand in line, freezing their balls off with smelly strangers just to tick some guy who they don’t care about’s name.”

Steve’s face fell into the little pout he got when Tony started to shoot down his ideas.

“Plus what can you do, Cap? Go around and point a gun at people’s heads until they vote? You can’t do that Steve. I would be obligated to kick your ass and then send you off to ‘Nick Fury’s prison for super-villains and assorted people who asked how he lost his eye’.”

There was a pregnant pause as Steve stared out of the window with his jaw clenched tight. “Well, I’m gonna do something.”

Then he marched out of the room leaving Tony alone with his giant cup of coffee.

~~~~~

Maria Hill stood at the head of the long black table, reading aloud from the portfolio in her hands. “...and furthermore, to employ these changes to protocol when dealing with the ‘Doughboys’, would mean a cleaner and more efficient clean-up of the gelatinous blobs.”

She flipped her portfolio closed and looked around the table to see most of the Avengers were looking off into space, looking bored as hell. Her eyes narrowed when she got to Hawkeye, fast asleep with his head tilted back and his mouth hanging open. Bruce, sitting next to him, noticed Maria’s glare and nudged Clint with his elbow who woke with a start.

He blinked blearily at everyone before turning and saying “What I miss, Freckles?”

Bruce smiled softly at the nickname. “Don’t shoot the doughboys with your arrows. They just go right through them and shatter 15th century Ming vases.”

“It was one time. What are the odds…” he muttered under his breath. “Wait, so I can shoot them just as long as there are no expensive vases around, right?”

A groan from Nick Fury was heard from the other end of the table. He was rubbing his forehead with two fingers. “Hill, please tell me that is the last thing on the agenda.”

“Uh, there’s also that issue you wanted to bring up sir.”

“Oh yeah!” and with a flourish of his leather jacket, Fury was on his feet at the head of the table rapidly typing into the holograph keyboard projected onto the table. After a few moments, individual screens flickered to life on the table in front of the Avengers and the first notes of ‘Star-spangled Man’ filtered through.

The screen was white until Steve, in his full Captain America costume appeared, sitting on a stool.
“Hello, I’m Captain America and I don’t have to tell you how great this country is. America has always been full of people who are willing to stand their ground and fight for what they believe in; Truth, Justice and the American way. But just like a platoon of soldiers, America needs a good leader. And that’s why it is important that every American goes out and makes their voices heard by voting.”

As he was speaking, the video flicked from him speaking straight to the camera to moments of Steve ‘being himself’. Shots of him laughing to someone off-screen and adjusting his shield on his arm.
“From education to healthcare, immigration and the economy, you have a choice on how this country is run. If you don’t know where your nearest polling place is, just go to the website on the screen now. So go out there and make your country proud. Vote on November 6th.”

As soon as the screen faded to black, Tony and Clint stood up and started applauding a blushing Steve sitting across the way from them. Tony sniffed and wiped away fake tears. “Our little patriot.”

“Sit down!” Fury snapped.

Natasha spoke up with a smirk on her face. “I didn’t know you were back into propaganda business, Steve.”

“It’s not propaganda,” he protested “it’s…education and encouragement.”

“I don’t care what you say it is; to me it’s just a blatant disregard of the rules. You know that all press involving the Avengers must first be approved by our PR department. We have to answer for all the shit that ‘Captain America’ does and you can’t just go off and flaunt him around without permission.”

“I didn’t think that you would object to this, Director. I’m sure that we can all agree that encouraging people to vote is a good thing.” Steve began. “Especially since the voting rates among military personnel averages around 20%. Although I’m sure everyone here sees the importance of voting right?”

He looked to his right at Maria who seemed to be avoiding his gaze at all costs. But before he could say anything, Thor slapped a massive hand onto his left shoulder.

“Aye Captain! I had the fortune of viewing this video on the television device and when I inquired about this to the voice in the roof of our residence, he informed me on the Midgardian ways of electing the leaders of your realm and I am very excited to participate. Although I am not used to this way, rest assured that I am aware of the significance and will act responsibly in my choice.”

Tony piped up “Sorry to have to tell you this buddy, but you aren’t an American citizen so they won’t let you vote.”

Thor’s face fell into a frown. “I abandoned my place at my father’s side just so I could become a warrior for Midgard to protect her and all her inhabitants from evil. Surely this proves that I’m just as concerned that an appropriate leader is chosen?”

Bruce grimaced and told him “Not to the US government, it doesn’t.”

Thor had been holding Mjolnir, but now let it fall with a ‘clank’ that shook the ground. His arms crossed over his chest and his face screwed up into a pout. “This is an outrage!”

Steve sighed “Natasha, you’re gonna vote right?”

She smiled at him and said “Sorry Cap, I’m not an American citizen either. But you would love Russia; we have a 120% voter turnout.”

“Uh huh. Bruce?”

“Sure thing Steve, I always vote. Well, except for last election. I was out of the country for that one…” he trailed off and Steve moved along.

“Clint?”

“I’ve never actually voted before but if you say all the cool superheroes are doing it, why not?”

“Aw, I think my little Clint is growing up.” Natasha teased.

“Shut up.” He complained and threw a pen from off the table at her. She caught it before it hit her face and grinned even harder at him.

Steve turned to look at Tony, who had a smile on his face that was waiting for him to say something.

“Tony,…” he started but was interrupted.

“The thing is Cap, I just don’t care. The billionaire in me wants to vote for the republican; the philanthropist says to vote for the democrat but the truth is, when you boil down to it, I just really don’t care. So let the 50% who give a damn decide. I’ve got better things to do anyway.”

Steve silently sat there, his teeth grinding, as he considered his next words.
“It’s important to me, Tony.”

“It’s important to you?”

“Yes. It’s important to me because it upsets me that I’m living in a world where the average person is more concerned with voting for some amateur singer on a stupid reality show than who’s the president of the United States.”

Tony didn’t know what to say to that so he just glared stubbornly back at Steve.

Natasha leaned over and whispered to Thor. “You are allowed to vote on that.”

“Really?” he asked, hope shining in his eyes.

Tony broke off the eye contact and took out his phone muttering, “Fine. Whatever.”

Steve sighed and turned to Fury. “Sir, I understand that I broke the rules and I am willing to undertake any disciplinary action, but I must insist that the commercials are left alone. I don’t see how they…”

“Fine,” he interrupted the speech Steve was sure to give. “You get away with it just this once. But only because you weren’t stupid enough to endorse one of those idiots. And you are right; the fact that everybody in this country has a chance to elect their leader is a privilege and should not be cast away so carelessly.”

“Thank you, Director.”

Fury went on, “But if the country elects that motherfucker who wants to fire Big Bird, then the next time the Doughboys attack the white house, I’m only sending in Barton.”

“Sweet!” Clint replied.

~~~~~

November 6th rolled along and with it came an enormous crowd in front of the Avengers tower. The first level lobby was a capacity of people, while a long line stood outside that stretched to several blocks away. All to meet and greet their favourite Avenger at the party, with champagne and gourmet food – exclusively free to everybody who could show their ‘I voted’ sticker.

“I can’t believe you did this, Tony.” Steve and Tony were standing off to the side, taking a break from the hordes of fangirls in attendance.

“Well I have to admit, it wasn’t all for you.” His Iron Man suit making mechanical sounds as he reached for a new glass of champagne. “The thought of a party where everyone is guaranteed to be at least 18 was just too good to pass up. You have no idea how much this was a load off Pepper’s mind, not to mention my lawyers.”

“Oh, Captain!”

Both men turned their heads to a group of women standing nearby. The one that had called out to them was wearing a short black ruffled dress and was pointing to her chest, where she had placed two stickers on her dress where her nipples would be. “Look Captain, I voted!”

Steve’s mind went offline, leaving him to just stare with wide eyes at the woman. “Uh…uh…uh…”

Tony slapped him on the shoulder, stopping his stuttering. “It’s okay Cap; I’ll take this one.” He then sauntered off and threw his arms over two of the women. “Hello ladies…”

Steve tried to shake head clear and turned to walk in the opposite direction. He was passing a table of food when an arrow zipped by, barely missing his nose. His eyes followed the arrow as it went through and collected an apple perched high on a bowl of fruit, changed its trajectory 180°, and flew back up where he could see Clint and Natasha sitting on the rafters overhead.

Natasha caught the arrow and Steve smiled. They were supposed to be banned from this party. With such grim histories, SHIELD’s PR department encouraged them to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible.

His attention was diverted then as a man tapped him on the shoulder asking if he would autograph a stuffed toy plush of Captain America for his son.

Up in the rafters, Natasha slid off the apple off the arrow in her hand. “Well done Hawkeye, you finally found a use for those ridiculous boomerang arrows of yours.”

“What? They are not ridiculous. They are awesome. Because… they’re boomerangs.”

She merely raised an eyebrow and bit into her apple.

“Fine, see if I ever…Hey look at that guy.” She followed his gaze down to one of the party guests. “He’s wearing a bowler hat. I need that hat.” He paused. “I’m gonna get that hat. Excuse me.”

Clint went off and started scoping out the perfect angle in which to steal said hat, so Natasha turned back to watching some poor reporters trying to interview Thor and The Hulk.

Christine Everhart stood in front of a small group of people who were all talking but her voice rose above the others. “But as I understand it Mr Odinson, you have no concept of democracy where you come from.”

“Aye,” he replied, “My fellow warriors having been educating me on the Midgardian ways of electing people into positions of power and I am looking forward to participating in deciding the one in America who possesses the ‘X factor’. If all goes well, I wish to implement a similar system back home to find an ‘Asgardian Idol’.”

At a sudden loss of words, most of the reporters stared blankly back at him.

The Hulk, sitting on the floor next to where Thor stood with his arms crossed was asked by a male reporter “Mr uh…Hulk, I see that you are wearing an ‘I voted’ sticker.”

He sighed heavily as an affirmative.

“Is the election of this outcome important to you?”

The Hulk looked over their heads and scanned over the rest of the room, trying his best to ignore the annoying people in front of him.

“Metal man say Hulk can smash annoying man if he wins.” He mumbled.

The reporters exploded and started to all talk at once.

“Which man is that?”
“Are you registered, Hulk?”
“Do you hate democracy Mr Hulk?”
“Does Mr Stark condone your violent actions?”

Darcy, now a member of the Avengers public relations team, rushed over to do damage control. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on. No, there will be no smashing of any of the presidential candidates. All of the Avengers recognise the right of the people to elect a leader without the use of violence. The Hulk here was just joking around, weren’t you buddy? You’re not really gonna hurt…”

“Darcy, Hulk bored!” he growled.

“Aw, okay,” she said, running a hand soothingly over his forearm. “That’s it for the Hulk today people; I think it’s the big guy’s naptime anyway.”

The reporters started to grumble as both men left. Thor went to talk to some young men dressed up as the Avengers – obviously left over from Halloween, while the Hulk got up and followed Darcy out of the room, ducking under the set of double doors.

~~~~~

“But why?” Tony whined. The party had wound up and now the residents of the tower were cleaning up the lobby. “I’m having a cleaning crew to come in tomorrow; there is literally no reason to do this Steve.”

“I don’t like leaving things in a mess. Don’t worry we’re polishing the floors or anything; just tidying up a bit. So start making yourself useful and collect up the champagne glasses and put them on that tray.”

Tony huffed a bit in protest but picked up the tray and started following him around the room, picking up glasses while Steve picked up rubbish and put it into a black bag.

His eyes looked over the room and he couldn’t help but smile.

Natasha and a newly appeared Jane were trying to wrap up some leftovers in cellophane but were hindered by Thor unwrapping them to eat ‘just one more’.

Meanwhile, Clint, wearing a bowler hat with an arrow through it, and Darcy were having a race to see who could sweep up the most trash with their brooms while a de-hulked Bruce chased after them, waving a dustpan around.

Tony turned back when Steve spoke, “I want to thank you again Tony. It was a very nice thing to do.”

“Uh huh,” he said, brushing it off, “You do realise that we probably made absolutely no difference, don’t you?”

Steve looked over “Yeah, I know. It’s not like everybody voted back in the 40’s anyway. I just thought…I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“Hey I get it. You, well…we all risk our lives for this place. You just want the people you save to want to give a damn about it too. It’s like detailing a Porsche; you don’t want to see some drunken jackass drive off in it and total it into a power pole.”

“You were the drunken jackass, weren’t you Tony?”

“It was the first time Happy ever yelled at me.”

Steve smiled. “Thanks Tony. For understanding.”

“Well, as you said; this was important to you.” He replied.

They carried on working in silence for a while when Bruce wandered over to them, emptying his dust pan into Steve’s trash bag.

“So Steve, how was it to vote for the first time in nearly 70 years?” Bruce said.

Steve’s head flew up, his eyes wide, “Son of a bitch, I forgot to vote!”