Soft crinkles make Steve loosen his grasp on the paper in his hands. He’s been alternating between reading the letter in shock and hiding it wrapped inside a shirt, at the bottom of the one drawer he’s been assigned.
“I don’t want to go. Can’t I have a free summer? I only have one more year.”
“Dad! Come on, I’m going to be a senior, which means a heavy class load, and I already have those early credit classes with MIT planned too. I want to hang out with my friends, can’t I just have this one summer?”
“Anthony Edward Stark. You are going to this program. You can waste your life when I’m dead.”
“Would you hurry it up then?”
“There’s a letter here for you!”
“What is it?”
Bucky runs down the stairs and slides to a stop in front of his parents. His ma is positively beaming and his dad is grinning widely.
He takes the letter and looks at the addressee. He sucks in a breath.
“Open it!” His dad urges.
He slides his finger under the flap and pulls out the single sheet of paper.
“Dear James Barnes, It is with great pleasure that we inform you of your acceptance to-“
He gets cut off as two pairs of arms surround him and start squeezing so hard he loses air.
“You did it James! You did it!” His ma cries. They smile and laugh and then Bucky holds up a hand. “Can we afford this?”
His dad's smile softens. “We've been saving for this since you were a little boy and told us you wanted to be an engineer. We’ve got plenty.”
Bucky’s smile returns and he runs to go tell his little sister, Rebecca.
Bruce Banner sighs as he looks at the incoming class lists. The head professor had put him in charge of assigning what classes and what activities each student will do. But the most frustrating thing was how to separate them into teams for lunch and certain activities. Kids from New York didn’t take well to being pushed into situations they didn’t like. He had to choose their teams carefully. He looked down at his forgotten sandwich sitting next to him and an idea took root.
Natasha takes her worn out pointe shoes and ties the ribbons carefully around each other, knotting them in a bow on top and placing them in her bag, the acceptance letter never out of eye sight. Yelling outside her door has her clutching the letter and slipping it into her jacket pocket.
Clint Barton stands with his back leaning against the brick wall. The cigarette dangles from his fingers and he hides it behind his back as old Miss Dawes shuffles past.
“You’re only 16, Clint. Too young to pick up such a nasty habit.” The old lady says with affection in her voice.
“What habit, Miss Dawes?”
“Don’t play dumb, Barton, it doesn’t suit you.”
“Yes, Miss Dawes.”
“Heard you got into some fancy summer program.”
“Eh, it’s nothing.”
“Don’t go wasting opportunities for a good future, young man.”
“I won’t, Miss Dawes.”
“Good, now give me a hand with these groceries.”