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Falcon Fails

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Sam Wilson appreciates being an Avenger. He loves it — most days. Then are the times when it all becomes too much. 

Aliens. Gods. Alien Gods. Synthezoids. A former Russian spy. Semi-stable hundred-year-olds. A billionaire’s mouth that ran longer than his bank statements. 

These are the people Sam surrounds himself on a regular basis. And once in a while, Sam needs a break from the extraordinary. A dose of normal to balance out the extra strength crazy that is his everyday life.

That's why when a card comes in the mail to ask if he wants to RSVP to his high school reunion, Sam presses his pen too hard when checking off the ' yes ' box and pokes through the card, ruining it. Later when he uses his StarkPad to confirm his attendance online, Sam makes sure not to cause similar damage with his over-eagerness.

Sam thinks it'll be great to be around normal people who don't know how to shoot multiple targets from a mile away without missing a beat. It’s weird that describes most of his teammates. Even his military career doesn't compare to that kind of talent.

But as much as Sam needs a break from his team, he also loves them for wanting to make his night perfect. Natasha offers to dig up dirt on any classmates he might want to stick it to. And the two super soldiers arm wrestle to be his plus one.

arm wrestling

He declines all of their offers, thus putting an end to the world’s longest going arm-wrestling match. All except for Tony's offer, who puts in a call to his personal tailor. The man did wonders with Sam’s improved wings and new drone, Sam has to believe Tony can do the same to a suit.

And he does not disappoint.

Sam looks great in his new Stark tailored suit. Dammit he looks phenomenal! Tony had even wiped a tear of pride at how well, how extraordinary , Sam wears the suit. Sam thanks Tony, who’s too busy making Friday remind him to look into the logistics of branding a line of Stark suits to hear Sam’s thanks. 

Other than Tony’s approval, his wine red suit receives a standing ovation courtesy of Steve and Bucky. Though both men might’ve done the same if Sam had worn his dad’s old powder blue tux from his wedding. Those two are kind of hopeless when it comes to Sam.

The real passing grade that made Sam secure that he was a certified K.O., was in making a certain god of thunder walk face-first into a wall. That hadn’t been Sam’s intention when he checked how well the suit complemented his ass in the mirror while Thor happened to walk by, but Sam takes it as a win regardless.

The suit wouldn’t have half the impact it did if Sam wasn’t working out to get just that much more into shape. After all, he did hang around Doritos chested hunks and an Asgardian god. People will expect him to look a certain way. And Sam just wants to give the people what they want.

---

Sam was fully ready to roll out after being repeatedly rolled with lint brushes, smoothed out any possible wrinkle, and inspected for the tiniest speck of anything out of place for twenty minutes, which was Bucky and Steve's oh so subtle way of feeling Sam up because Tony's suit was impervious to everything from dust and lint to bullets and fires. Sam isn’t sure what Tony had in his head when he customized the suit. 

Another reason to get away from the Avengers for a bit. Bullet and fireproof shouldn’t be on anyone’s list for making a suit with exclusive intent for a high school reunion.

Before Sam leaves for the reunion he knows his old classmates will think ‘Whatta Sam, whatta Sam, whatta mighty fine Sam’ .

solo

Sam is not wrong.

“Wow! Sam Wilson! I didn’t think you would slum it with us tonight. You being a big-time Avenger now!” Sam is immediately greeted as he walks up to the welcome table with swagger to spare and a cheeky smirk from the lingering stares.

“I may be an Avenger but I’ll always be a Muskrat,” he engages with an old friend, Ronnie, in his old team’s exclusive handshake.

“You still got it!”

‘Yes, Sam does,’ he thinks. ‘This is going to be a great night.’

“Looking at you, I'd say living that Avengers life is doing well for you. You look like you can give those super soldier studs a run for their money.” Ronnie winks with what Sam suspects is a knowing look. But that couldn’t be… right?

“That's an understatement.” Another old friend, Teresa, greets him, pecking him on the cheek. She always refused to do the team handshake and tonight was no different. “Sam… you're making me regret taking Leila instead of you to my hotel room at prom.”

“Don't make me tell your wife. You brought her along?”

“I didn’t.”

Sam is a bit disappointed not being able to see Leila again but he understands. “Yeah. I declined my plus one too. Can't waste a minute of this night catching people up to speed on our wild days.”

“Wild? You were toeing the line of nerd, Sam. Honestly. Without your rhythm, you would be a pair of glasses and suspenders away from being Urkel.”

Sam did use to hit the books pretty hard. He had to or his mom, God bless her, would’ve hit him with those same books. And since sports were a no go for Sam after his older brother’s football career ending injury, the only thing left for team activities was joining the step club. Of which Sam was the team’s MVP -- but that didn’t mean anything close among the school halls like being a quarterback like his brother. So maybe Teresa is right about Sam being a nerd back then.

A thought pops into Sam's mind. Maybe his career choices in military and Avenging were a result of his mama bear of a mother and him needing a real rush of adrenaline. He could've chosen any profession to help people but he ran into the action. Not following in the footsteps of his father like his brother did as a preacher. Not becoming a physical therapist. Or a doctor -- God, his mom would've loved to have a doctor for a son. But instead, he rose in ranks to become a paratrooper then an official member of the Avengers.

“So who was the plus one you left home. Someone special?” 

“No one special.” Which wasn’t a lie, he had two special someones. “I’m still single like the last Pringle.” Okay now that was a lie.

“And still corny as hell.”

“You haven't met Steve Rogers.” Sam smiles at the thought of him.

Theresa hums unconvinced. “Are you sticking with your single status?” After all this time, they still know Sam well enough to know when something’s up.

He doesn’t want to lie but as lovey dovey as his boyfriends are, they prefer to keep things under wraps. And Sam can’t fault them for that. They had only been in this century for a short while and are still getting used to everyone being out and proud of themselves.

It’s a better world. But it’s far from perfect. 

Sam scratches the back of his head. “It's… uh… complicated.” 

Especially when you add Bucky into the mix. People tend to question more about Sam and Steve because they were seen in public more often over the past couple years. Bucky’s reappearance is still new to the public and he’s quite good at staying unseen. Sam, Steve, and Bucky are not exactly a traditional relationship that Sam could compare to anyone else in the public eye. So they had decided to avoid the scrutiny of the public eye for the foreseeable future.

“You know our school’s team is not the Muskrats anymore, right?” Ronnie deflects, still the one to keep things light.

“They changed the name? No, man!”

Teresa shakes her head. “We were named after a smelly, dirty rodent. And you think they would want to keep that name?”

“C’mon, it fit us. We were the underdogs. No one thought this school would come home champs. What is it called now?”

“Nothing, they just use the school name,” Ronnie answers.

“Lame,” Sam decrees.

Teresa sighs dramatically. “You two ready to go in now? Or are you planning to bitch and moan about a crap ass team name for the whole night out here?”

“I fully plan on some more bitching and moaning but might as well do it inside near an open bar.”

That small moment reminiscing with old friends should have been an indicator that Sam’s night will be as great as he planned on. But if being an airman taught him anything it’s that unseen winds can shift a smooth flight into an arduous struggle without warning.

Sam sits at a cloth draped table surrounded by old friends and classmates alike in his former auditorium. But instead of reveling in their company and sharing memories of days long since passed, Sam has his head propped up by his hand and a sullen, tired expression on his face waiting for the laughter to die down - barely able to hear the 90s playlist playing through the night, currently on SWV’s Right Here. 

The source of the erupting laughter squared at his expense.

At least his true friends aren’t joining in the laughs.

And it all stems from some white dude Sam doesn’t even remember. The guy’s bougie mannerisms and particularly Shakespearean style of speech should be a dead giveaway. 

The guy even uses the word ‘verily’ sounding a lot like Thor when they first met and last Sam checked, no one ever transferred to his school from Asgard. 

Despite how much the man stands out from the crowd, Sam can’t recall anyone that fits the bill and neither did his friends. But then again his graduating class totaled in the hundreds so who knows if they ever crossed paths. But whoever he is, he must remember Sam because he seems to have it in for the Avenger. The bastard came with a StarkPad prepped with a lengthy compilation video titled ‘Falcon Fails’. 

His friends did their best to distract Sam from uproarious laughter. But once the video is projected to where the high school memories slideshow had been featured on the projection screen, Sam’s night is officially roasted.

Of all the things to float around the internet, they had to find Sam's worst moments as the Falcon.

There was a clip of the Winter Soldier ripping off his wing and kicking him off a helicarrier, ending with a deep voice saying 'fatality’ as Sam fell spiraling in the air. 

And another with Sam jumping out of his car and rolling across the freeway in a loop joined by an audio snip of ‘they see me rollin’. Any inkling of animosity towards Bucky had left long ago, other than his constant need to leave empty milk cartons in the fridge, but at this very moment Sam could kill him. Or at the very least shave his head while he sleeps -- it should be easy since Bucky is a surprisingly heavy sleeper. Sam could always shove his head off his shoulder in the dead of night to leave the bed without Bucky stirring.

Steve is also on deck for a revenge prank. Sam was considering shrinking his clothes even more than the small sized tees he loved to squeeze in to get Sam’s attention and watch him try jogging in something that looked made for a toddler. 

Steve’s stupid way of being a cute little shit by repeatedly lapping Sam was also on the hell spawned highlight reel. Along with Sam struggling to keep up and catch a breath. Sam’s heaving chest had been dubbed with Keenan Thompson’s part from Good Burger gasping out for water. Damn. Why couldn’t Steve have had just talked to Sam like a normal person to get his attention?

There was footage of Sam getting kicked from a floor high fall to the ground by a five-foot eight-inch, red and blue onesie wearing fool. At least no one knew Spider-Kid was barely old enough for a learner’s permit. 

Then there was the cat catching the canary clip aka Black Panther latching onto Falcon’s leg mid-flight as Sam tried to kick him off accompanied by sounds of a distressed bird and a hissing feline.

This whole experience is making Sam wonder why he doesn't have a phone full of recordings at the ready of his aerial accomplishments. His many, many aerial accomplishments!

He has kicked a chopper in the air! Rotating blades be damned. Hell, he even did his swooping kick against the Winter Soldier. And the Spider-Kid! Sam Wilson is a high flying, somersaulting while mid-air badass who dropkicks fools on the regular with the grace of an Olympic champ. And don't get him started on his dodging skills during the Triskelion incident against cannon fire. Sam even jumped from a crumbling building forty-one floors high into a helicopter!

If Sam wasn’t on his fifth drink and on his last nerve he would ask how the hell this random dude found all of that footage. Because Sam’s battle with Ant-Man that left him eating dirt from his crash landing and a face full of crotch was at the Avengers compound where there couldn’t have been any civilian bypassers recording. Not to mention the rest wasn’t exactly anywhere footage could be taken. 

But Sam is just done and couldn’t care less anymore. He can’t wait to get back home.

Even before the Falcon Fails compilation, Sam’s night was going in the crapper. 

His earlier meet and greet when he had first walked through the doors with Ronnie and Teresa left Sam needing liquid numbness to make it through the slew of questions about his life as an Avenger. And technically it wasn’t questions about his life.

Sam hadn't realized it before but he kind of lives his life in a bubble. Sam had been so excited to reminisce about the old days that he almost forgot how people would react to his crazy life. He was so used to being around people who found his lifestyle the norm. Even talking to his family about work, Avengers work, didn't yield much of a reaction anymore. His mom really changed from the overprotective parent from his youth. Having a son enlist will do that.

And outside of the VA, the Avengers compound, and the people closest to him -- he was rarely recognized. Free to go about his life. Of course, that had to do with moving into the compound and only going out to his part-time work at the VA. 

His job, much like being an Avenger, kept him surrounded by people who knew about being in the line of fire. Maybe not against aliens or mass murdering helicarriers but none of those soldiers would be there if they hadn't seen their share of action. And the vets there treated him as a fellow soldier rather than a superhero. Even when Steve came to visit, no one crooned like loud sea lions over the living legend. Other than some polite thanks for his service, and Steve returning his thanks to them, they treated Steve as a fellow soldier. As a guy from Brooklyn with the same baggage they were dealing with. No one bragged about their experiences, they spoke only about how they were coping with returning back to their lives.

Yep. His life was in a bubble these days.

At most Sam figured there'd be a few mentions to his Falcon moniker like Ronnie and Theresa’s initial reaction. But he hadn't expected to be bombarded in a room full of average Joe's and Jane's who are accountants, stay-at-home parents, managers, doctors, and the one struggling actor still waiting for their big break who asked Sam to put in a good word for him to play as Thor if they ever do a movie about him.

Yeah, because a scrawny five-foot four-inch ginger should play Thor. Special effects were good these days but nowhere near that good.

Of course, that led Sam to wonder who would play him if he ever had a movie made about him. And also how much of his life would be depicted on screen, namely his relationship with Steve and Bucky. Depending on the audience there might need to be some gaps or editing in storytelling. No one needs to know exactly how Steve knew where to find Sam when he was on the run from SHIELD for the story to work, right?  

Or what happened exactly during their globe-trotting search for Bucky. Or not long after finding him, how Sam bought a California king mattress with enough room for three grown men.

All irrelevant because no one here bothered to ask details about Sam’s life. So he doubted anyone would bother making a movie about him. Instead, he got questions like… 

“What type of conditioner does Thor use?”

“Does everything grow on the Hulk? You know… like everything?”

“Why do his pants stay on and everything else rips to shreds?”

“Can Captain America or Iron Man come to my kid's birthday party? I could really stick it to my ex with a visit from one of them.”

“Is Black Widow single? Does she wear her black outfit out on dates?” 

“Will Bucky ever cut his hair? I prefer his old cut.” That wish might be fulfilled the next time Sam sees him.

“What was it like being held by Bucky when he saved you from Spider-Man?” Sam could've handled that fall on his own! “Was his chest soft to land on?” Sam was definitely not answering that.

He thought being asked a laundry list of questions about his team was bad. But then someone had the nerve to ask for their actual laundry.

After that and the closest thing to him being featured on the big screen, Sam called quits on his big night. Disappointed but understanding, Theresa and Ronnie gave their goodbyes and made Sam promise not to wait until over a decade to get back in touch with them.

Sam returns back to the Avengers compound that same night, much earlier than intended, with a mild headache from drinking and a throbbing vein on his temple from holding back on going off. He is a public figure now, for better or worse. Leaning heavily on worse at the moment. 

Sam hopes he can fly by, pun intended, with a vague account about his night to his friends. 

“It was nice seeing everyone in good health…”

“The music was great…” 

“The food, not so much… “

“And of course everyone wanted to talk to the one and only Samuel Thomas Wilson.”  

It seems to satisfy everyone. Everyone except Rhodey who hides his knowing smirk behind his hand. But, bless that handsome merciful bastard, he doesn't say a word. 

It’s always funny to see the team lounging about the compound without being called in by threats that require a special Avengers touch. Looking at all of them out of their uniforms in the lounge room you wouldn’t think of the group as the world’s greatest defenders.

Sam joins everyone as they continue their conversation before Sam arrived. He plops himself and his worn-out nerves between his boyfriends who had made space as soon as Sam’s presence was noticed.

Still in his suit, Sam takes the bag of popcorn from Bucky and settles it on his lap then shovels a handful in his mouth. At least he didn’t have to worry about getting stains on his everything-proof suit. The only thing that won’t be ruined tonight. 

And the snack should be enough to soak up some of the alcohol from earlier. He feels no shame in stealing Bucky’s food because as expected the metal armed assassin has another bag within reach to eat. Sam has been with those two long enough to know their enhanced eating habits.

He also grabs a bag of Cheetos from the coffee table. Sam was going to eat whatever the hell he wanted and get his little love handles back. Plus, it saved him from having to talk with his face stuffed, playing wallflower as the team chats away. Between soaking in the radiating heat of his boyfriends pressed close to his sides and the chill vibes of the room, Sam almost forgets the horrendous turn his night took.

Almost. That is until the topic of high school reunions is revived thanks to Bruce’s well intentions. 

“I’m glad your reunion went well, Sam. Not a single soul knew who I was when I went to mine years ago. Until after I was known around the world as the green guy. Then suddenly everyone wanted to friend me on Facebook. Usually pretending to have a fond memory with me,” Bruce recalls.

Sam twists his head when Steve is the next to speak. “I had people crawling out of the woodwork claiming to be related to people from my old neighborhood that knew me. I wasn’t exactly popular back then so I knew most of those requests to meet up were invites for--”

“Fondue.”

“You’re never going to let that go, are you?” Steve directs at Bucky.

“Not anytime soon.”

Steve lets out a long exhausted sigh. “Anyway, I shut down my page soon after I started getting photos.”

“What’s wrong with that? Thankful fans are the best fans. Even before the metal shell it was hard to resist an invite for… fondue.”

Natasha ignores Tony and asks, “So Sam, who in here did you fondue with?” She produces Sam’s senior yearbook because of course she does. That is not much of a surprise. The real mind twister is how she has his exact copy. And with it comes all the written messages from his classmates. And where it veers into creepy, Sam-forgets-sometimes-she’s-a-superspy territory is when she has Sam's messages from his classmates' yearbooks. 

Did they really have no life outside of Avenging? Sam already knows the answer to that question.

“I wanted to see what a normal high school yearbook looks like,” Natasha uses as an excuse. And dammit it’s kind of a good one. How was Sam going to get mad at her super invasiveness after remembering she never had a chance at a normal childhood? And knowing Natasha, she was well aware Sam would feel that which is probably why she said it. That doesn’t stop him from feeling bad for her.

Thinking about it, most of the Avengers there didn’t have a normal childhood to relate to.

Well, Sam did want to be reminded of a time when he wasn't an Avenger. Be careful what you wish for, right?

Once again, Sam finds a group hovering around him. Only this time it was to indulge in his high school days with everyone crowding around his yearbook on the couch.

Bucky recites some excerpts by memory. Makes sense he already saw the yearbook, he probably tagged along with Natasha to get it. Sam is definitely going through with his plan to have Bucky waking up surrounded by his chopped off hair. “Who was Teresa and why did she think you were the bomb doggetty ?” So maybe Bucky doesn’t have perfect recall.

“That’s bomb diggity , you dope.” On second thought, Sam knows Bucky is messing with him. “Other than stating the obvious, we dated back in senior year when she needed a cover to visit her girlfriend in Jersey City.”

“Guess some things never change.” Steve hummed in agreement, flipping through the pages. Bucky recounted the times he and Steve escorted women under the guise of double dates. Not wanting to draw any attention to two single ladies having a gay old time on their own.

Steve is more fixated on the fashion of that era than the notes left behind. “Y’know, I think I'm really glad I missed out that decade.”

“Yeah, because I would've been jailbait at the time.” Sam playfully slaps Steve on the leg. Steve doesn't disagree. Sam drapes over his shoulder to see what page Steve was looking at. The book is currently nestled on Clint’s lap, beside Steve. The old sap got distracted with Sam so close and gazes at him in a daze. 

“I can only imagine how you'd look in overalls.” If he's honest, Steve would make it work like a jacked farm boy who lifts tractors for weights.

“Oh my God, no. Sam, you didn’t. Parachute pants? Really?” Clint remarks, and Steve’s attention is finally diverted off Sam.

“It was a look!”

“But to prom? I grew up surrounded by circus performers and even I had better fashion sense than that!”

Sam can only shrug because honestly, what was he thinking back then. At least he could say he wasn’t in small company of tragic outfits as they flip through the book, wincing at denim suits, acid wash jean jackets and vests and so much denim, tiny backpacks, cross colors, crush velvet, puffy scrunchies, and tent sized jackets. And… 

He gasped as he saw another relic from the past. His old flip sunglasses he wore because he really loved A Different World.

“Hey, can you imagine what Fury looked like as a teenager?” Tony says.

“You’re assuming he was ever a teenager. I am 99% sure he plopped out with an eye patch, a goatee, and 10,000 leagues deep of trust issues.” Rhodey returns in time to comment with a drink in hand.

Natasha tries to pull up his files because now she’s interested too. “No go. One of the very few things I didn’t manage to leak after SHIELD’s collapse.” 

Tony swipes and prods at his holographic program to reveal an impression of what Fury might have looked like at that age. The projection of Fury’s face sits in front of the group.

“Are you going to do anything?” Bucky is the first to say after Fury’s face stayed the same minus the eye patch.

“I did.”

“He doesn't look any different!” Clint exclaims.

“See, I told you,” Rhodey says. And the team laughs at that. The good natured ribbing is just what Sam wanted for his night. 

“Thanks, I needed a good laugh after tonight,” Sam lets slip.

Bucky nudges Sam’s midsection with an elbow. “I thought you said you had a great time, sweetheart.”

Whatever Sam was about to say dies in his throat as he looks around him, Sam can tell now that everyone knows about what happened tonight in some way or another. He blows out a breath. “My night sucked.” Sam goes on to tell them the details of his night. 

“This is why you should’ve invited one of us. And by one of us, I mean me.”

Steve reaches behind Sam to smack Bucky upside the head. “Really, Buck? Way to kick a man while he’s down.”

“Fine. Why don’t the three of us make a video of our own and have it ‘leak’ ? I hear it happens a lot nowadays. What? I’m being helpful!”

“Give the word and I can send out audits, have cars towed, expire some licenses, spam the hell out of their mailboxes, infect their computers, troll their social media accounts-- Trust me, all of them will be sorry about ruining your night when I’m done.”

“Easy, Nat. Please, can we all ever get together without needing to unleash hell on someone?”

The room is silent.

“I dunno; can we?” Clint says. “I mean, we are the Avengers.”

“I think I have something. Something that won’t destroy any lives,” Steve looks pointedly at Natasha. “And won’t tarnish our names or scar Sam’s mom for life.”

Bucky winces. “Damn, I almost forgot about Mrs Wilson. I don’t think you and me would ever be invited back to Thanksgiving or another backyard BBQ if we did my plan.” 

Sam chuckles at the pained look on Bucky’s face imagining never being invited for his mom’s food.

Natasha hops over the couch to settle where Steve vacated, taking Bucky with him. Sam knows they are up to nothing good. But he’s way too tired to care.

“Well, I’m not satisfied. I need a name.” 

Sam is saved from Natasha by Thor’s booming voice as the Asgardian enters the room.

“Evening, friends. I am here to cheer Sam of his abysmal night!” Thor’s trademark smile, bright as his lightning bolts, falters upon seeing Sam already there on the couch. “Oh uh…” 

“Yeah. Kinda late there, Mr Sparkles. But it’s okay, he already knows. I’ll catch you up. Fury never ages. Sam wore ridiculous 90s clothing. There may be a sex tape in Sam, Bucky, and Steve’s future.” 

“There won’t be!” Sam interrupts Tony.

“Oh, and Sam was just about to give up the name of the guy who ruined his night. And action!”

“All right, all right! But we are not doing anything. I just want to know who this guy is. Recon only.”

Everyone promises and Natasha eventually hops on board then again asks for a name.

“I dunno. I think it was Lucky -- no, um… Laufeyson? Sounded made up.” 

“Did you say Laufeyson?” Thor asks Sam.

“Yeah. Dude put a real hamper on my night. Actually he sounded a bit like you.”

“Aren’t you around a thousand years old? That’s like around 24 of our Midgard years. So, you're barely out of college. No worrying about reunions anytime soon for you. Am I right…” A thunderous clap outside startles Bruce silent and the group. They all turn to Thor to see his eyes whited out, small jolts emitting from them. 

“I apologize greatly for your ruined evening, Sam. Excuse me, friends, but there is a family matter I must address.”

"But you just got here!" Bruce says to Thor's already retreating back.

Sam checks his phone since everyone was busy scouring their resources to find this Laufeyson person. He sees a notification about being tagged in a post featuring the video that ruined his night.

Sam supposes it was too much to ask that the video remain contained to his former auditorium.

Only up for a short while, the view count numbers already look as big as the collateral damage bill Tony usually has to foot after an Avengers mission.

So that’s how they all knew something was wrong. The video began trending about a few drinks into Sam's night.

It’s not an easy thing for her to do, because she never has to. But Natasha had to accept defeat because it should not take more than 30 seconds let alone 10 mins to find an old classmate with her skill set.

"First, Fury. And now, this video? You’re starting to lose your touch, Nat."

"Come down to the sparring room with me and let’s see how much of my touch I lost."

Clint throws his hands up in defeat.

“Maybe he’s Hydra,” Rhodey throws out. “Never hurts to check.”

“And their master plan is to what? Ruin Sam’s reunion?” Bruce questions.

“Sounds downright evil to me.”

"Or to ruin the debut of my stunning suit."

"How do I not have a sign in every room that says ‘ It's not always about you Tony’ ?"

In addition to not finding Sam's mystery man, they have not come across his name in the yearbook. They start wondering if maybe Sam’s mystery guy is really Hydra with the way no one could find him. The only person to ever dodge them that masterfully was Bucky.

“I’m kinda hoping it is so I could legally dropkick him.”

 

“Maybe we kill ‘em with these?” Sam is afraid to look behind him when he hears Bucky. The man can still be a wild card, even more than Natasha. But he is pleasantly surprised when he does.

Sam and the others turn to see Bucky and Steve in suits that look as great as Sam’s. Almost as great. Let’s not forget it’s the man that makes the suit after all.

“We had Tony whip up suits for us when we thought one of us would be your plus one,” Bucky says. There’s a note of bitterness in his voice that Sam can tell is a joke. 

Sam questions how his boyfriends in admittedly great looking suits can save his night and they go on to explain how Steve thought Bucky’s idea wasn’t half bad -- it just needed a more family friendly version. They can beat one trending topic with another. A picture of the three of them together looking devastatingly gorgeous.

"Let’s do it. I never got to finish high school, so this can be like the prom picture I never got to have." Hearing that from Steve makes Sam feels kind of crummy for not inviting him. Sam thinks Steve has been around Natasha too long to use a tactic like that.

Sam is still not completely sold on the idea that one picture is going to eclipse his video. That until Bucky says with sincerity, “You should know by now that the three of us together are a force to be reckoned with.” And then Sam goes ahead with the plan.

It’s crazy how fast the picture is being circulated, taking no time at all to surpass Sam’s video.

Three men are posed in a picture with Sam in the middle. Steve and Bucky give Sam loving looks that are more intimate than three good friends would give each other. Not confirming the relationship but giving plenty to fan the flames swirling the rumors surrounding Sam, Steve, and Bucky’s ‘close’ relationship. Despite the divisive opinions about their relationship among social media, the one thing people can all agree on is how absolutely good they all look.

group

The first to rejoice is Tony. “My night is saved! I mean, Sam's night is saved.” Tony can’t help but ask if they can add a hashtag Stark Tailored Suits .

“Hello again, friends.” Thor reappears at the compound. This time with a man in tow, handcuffed and collared and dressed in the same black suit. “I believe my brother here is your culprit.”

Thor’s brother? As in Loki? He was the one at Sam’s reunion? Sam blinks owlishly. Sam had never seen Loki without the horns crowned atop his head and scepter in hand and hopes of world domination in his eyes from his first appearance in New York. It was last known that the Asgardian died helping Thor, turning over a new leaf. Now, it seemed he is here on Earth messing with Sam, of all people.

“Why? Why did he mess with me?” Sam has never encountered Loki. They never crossed paths.

“I’m the god of mischief.” He might as well have added ‘duh’ with how snide he makes his answer sound. And he really doesn’t look like the same guy who brought an alien invasion to New York.

Thor yanks at the chain connected to the collar around Loki’s throat. “Sam, I think Loki has something to say before he’s shipped off to the gates to Hel.”

Loki rolls his eyes and forces out half-hearted apology until he sees Bruce start to turn green and then he falls on his knees, bowing his head, with a more desperate attempt to apologize.  

Sam considers himself Avenged.

“So… I guess was right? Minus the Hydra part, but right about the evil part,” Rhodey says.

“He’s not evil. He is just… the worst.”

“You know what It’s fine. Tonight… it was actually a nice night after all. I got what I wanted after all. A nice night with friends reminiscing about the past.” Also, it was weirdly flattering that a powerful god would waste his time trying to ruin his night. 

 

As happy as Sam is to have his viral video on the back burner for now, one more picture of the night surprises him. One unseen by the entirety of the world. 

A text with an attached picture makes its way to Sam’s phone. It’s Teresa’s kid dressed like the Falcon from Halloween last year. Very cute. Sam plans on making a special appearance for someone’s birthday.

Then a second picture appears with a picture attached shows Sam, Ronnie, and her laughing the night away before it eventually fell apart. My kid now thinks I’m the best mom ever. Leila hates you now btw. She was always a sore loser. Wait until I show our winning routine.

Sam laughs at the memory of how those two met. The Muskrats’ first tri-state win, Leila’s team losing and Teresa smoothly, or so she believed, treating her for a great performance. Leila had accepted the invite even though she was pouting the whole time. Teresa had to work hard to put a smile on her future wife’s face, and she hasn’t stopped making her smiling since.

Sam still has the video of that win… 

“Hey guys! Wanna see a video of me that I’m actually proud of?”

“Do you really have to ask? Play it.” Rhodey answers.

“Nat. Go on and play it, I know you already have a copy.”

And Sam is in no way surprised when she does. And should not be surprised when everyone has their own favorite video of him that they want to show next. And he really shouldn’t have been surprised either when Bucky asks halfway through the video if he still has the team uniform. Sam rolls his eyes and pushes Bucky away, silently accepting this is his life now. His crazy ass life.