Steve stood in front of the mirror and rubbed his hand over the smooth unblemished skin of his abdomen. Yesterday his stomach had been a burned and bloody mess, but today it was nearly flawless. If it weren’t for the pink shine of new skin and the remembered pain, he would think that it had all been a dream.
“Are you okay?” Thor asked, sitting up in bed to look at Steve. “Is your wound in need of attention?”
Steve turned around slowly and moved his hand so that Thor could see the unmarked expanse of his stomach.
“I suppose not,” Thor said, lying back against the pillow. “Do you always heal so fast?”
“If I get enough rest,” Steve replied.
“That’s very convenient,” Thor said. “In Asgard, a wound like yours would have required a trip to the healing chambers.”
Steve shook his head. “Thor, bullets don’t slow you down. When have you ever had a wound like this?”
“It is true that Asgardians are tougher than those of Midgard.” Thor pulled the sheet down to show a jagged scar on his hip. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t be hurt.”
Steve crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t have any scars.”
“None?” Thor asked, surprised. “I know of no warriors without at least a few to speak of their triumphs…or failures.”
Steve sat down on the bed, his back to Thor. “I used to have scars. Before. There was one on my lip from a punch that I couldn’t block and one on my arm from when I broke it, but now nothing.”
“This was a side effect of your procedure?”
“Yeah,” Steve replied. He rubbed absently at his elbow remembering the puffy scar that used to mark the place where his bone had broken his skin. “After it was over they were all gone.”
Thor laid a warm hand on Steve’s shoulder. “It must have been disorienting to change that much over night.”
“Over a matter of minutes,” Steve corrected. He turned his head to look at Thor. “And yeah, it was a bit hard to get used to.” He nodded at Thor’s still exposed hip. “How did you get that one? It looks bad.”
Thor dropped his hand from Steve’s shoulder and caressed the edges of the scar with his fingers. “Many years ago my friends and I ventured into Muspelheim. We were unprepared for what we faced there.”
“It is a realm of demons.”
“That doesn’t sound very fun.” Steve shifted around on the bed until he was facing Thor.
“On the contrary,” Thor said, his eyes sparkling. “It was great fun. The battle was fierce and my blood sang. But then, many hours into the fight, one of the demons got in a lucky blow.”
“What happened then?” Steve asked.
Thor’s eyes went dull and his face darkened. “My brother staunched the bleeding with a spell and half carried me back to Asgard. It was many, many years ago.”
It was clear that, despite the scar, Thor’s wound wasn’t fully healed. Steve’s experience with Loki was very different than Thor’s and instead of offering hollow platitudes he stood up and grabbed his pants. “I’m going to make breakfast. I make a mean pancake, but there’s a box of Pop-Tarts if you’d rather…”
“I would try your ‘mean’ pancakes,” Thor said. He also stood up and began dressing. “I’ll make eggs.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Steve said. He smiled at Thor and received a small grin in return.
“And maybe we can have the Pop-Tarts after,” Thor mused.
Steve laughed and shook his head. “It’s a good thing Tony’s rich, the way you eat. Back in my day, we were lucky to have bread for breakfast some days.”
“No wonder you were so small,” Thor said. “Wait until you meet Volstaag. An entire boar is his idea of a light breakfast.”
Steve rubbed his chest. “I have heartburn just thinking about it.”
“You Midgardians are delicate beings.”
Steve placed his hand on his recently healed wound. “We get by.”