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Steve's head felt like it had been split open and someone had filled it with ants.

“Open your eyes, come on man!”

The ants were crawling around, digging their way through his brain.

“How is he?”

Things were being taken from him and he couldn't stop it.

“He's non-responsive.”

"I'm on my way."

The worst part was he didn't know what had been taken once it was gone.

“Guys, Doom is getting away!”

He had to stop it, he couldn't …. ….. …..



Steve felt like his head had been split open. Had the experiment failed? He didn't feel stronger, in fact he couldn't remember feeling this awful since that time he and Bucky had spent his birthday drinking.


Steve opened his eyes at the yell, but all he saw was a blur as someone threw themselves over him. His first instinct was to shove the person off, then the explosion hit. It was deafening. Dirt and shrapnel flew everywhere, but Steve was mostly protected by the body on top of him. Still, it was terrifying. The many drills they had had to prepare them for combat hadn't been able to come close to the real thing. Steve's heart pounded in his chest. The smell of gunpowder heavy in the air. The grit of dirt and debris filled his mouth. What was going on? Was this some sort of test? 

When things settled the person who had flung themselves over him rolled off and Steve could finally get a look. It was a negro man wearing an odd looking pair of goggles and a large pack strapped to his back. Steve didn't recognize him as one of his fellow trainees. 

The man looked at Steve and grinned. “Welcome back Cap, enjoy your nap?” 

The man was obviously talking to him, but Steve had no idea what he was trying to communicate. And his accent was odd. Was he foreign?

"Who-" More explosions sounded nearby and Steve instinctively ducked his head. The negro man seemed unfazed. He just stood up, a gun in each hand, and he started shooting at something.

"Could use some back-up guys!" The man yelled at seemingly no one. At least Steve couldn't see anyone else nearby.

Then someone, to Steve's utter astonishment, answered. "Soldier's almost to you."  Steve jumped at the woman's voice in his ear. He lifted a hand to feel if there was something there and came in contact with a hard surface. It was a helmet, but not like the over-sized one he'd been wearing for basic training the last few weeks, this one fit him snug and comfortable, almost molding to his head. "How's Cap?"  The woman's voice spoke again. 

The negro man looked down at Steve. "He seems kinda dazed."

Wait, was this man hearing the voice too? Was it a radio signal of some kind? Steve had never heard a radio come through that clearly, like the person was standing right next to him. But he had heard that they had been making a lot of new breakthroughs with the war.

The negro man kept shooting and Steve finally felt well enough to sit up and look around. He nearly fell back again when he saw what the man was shooting at. They were mechanical men, it was the only way to describe them. And they were shooting back at the man with some kind of light beam that was blasting huge holes anywhere it landed.

"What?!" Was he dreaming? Was this just a side effect of the serum? He'd heard of some strange tales coming from soldiers who returned state side, but nothing like this.

"Cap, behind you!"  A male voice called in his ear.

Movement caught his eye, another mechanical man had approached from Steve's rear and was aiming right at him. Steve scrambled to move out of the way but his head was still spinning and his arms and legs didn't seem to want to obey him. He could tell he wouldn't make it. Then the thing suddenly exploded into about a hundred pieces.

When the smoke cleared Steve saw someone coming towards him at a run. Whoever they were they were wearing all black and were almost completely covered. Steve worried it was another mechanical man until he saw a glimpse of forehead over the goggles and face mask. Plus none of the mechanical things had had hair and this guy's was hard to miss with how long it was. Steve might have mistaken him for a woman if not for the obvious muscular build.

The man reached him and Steve again tried to get away, not knowing if this was a friendly or not. The man just crouched down and lifted up the huge gun he was holding and fired at something over Steve's right shoulder. Steve turned to see another mechanical man explode. He looked back at the masked man, who was sweeping the area with his gun, taking out any of the mechanical men in range. So a friendly then.

"What happened?" The masked man asked and Steve startled. He knew that voice.


The masked man looked down at him or at least Steve thought he did, it was hard to tell when he couldn't see his eyes.

The negro man called over to them. "Doom hit him with some kinda spell. He was screaming in pain then blacked out. Haven't had a chance to look him over yet."

The masked man grabbed Steve's head with his gloved hands. "Talk to me Steve?" It was definitely Bucky, Steve would recognize that concerned tone anywhere. "What happened? You okay?"

"I don't, I don't know. I don't know how I got here or how you got here." Steve said trying to tamp down the feeling of panic rising in his chest. He had to be having a nightmare or something.

Bucky undid the strap of Steve's helmet and pulled it off. "What's the last thing you remember?" Bucky pulled one of his black gloves off and started running a hand over Steve's head.

"I, um, I had volunteered for this, um, experiment." He felt Bucky's whole body freeze, there was a reason Steve hadn't told Bucky about the experiment. He knew his friend would be mad. "I, ah, I was going in for it. I remember them starting it, but nothing after that." Bucky was absolutely still. Steve wished he could see his eyes so he would know what he was thinking. "Buck?"

"That's the last thing you remember?" Something in Bucky's voice sounded off.


"Nothing after that? Nothing at all?"

"Bucky what's going on? Did the experiment work? Is that why I'm in the war?" Steve grabbed onto Bucky's left arm, trying to get what comfort he could amidst his panic. He noticed Bucky's arm felt odd, like there was some kind of hard shell underneath the fabric of Bucky's jacket.

Bucky didn't answer him, instead he grabbed Steve by the arm and hauled him up. Steve had a moment of disorientation as he realized he was slightly taller than Bucky. He looked down to see what he was standing on that was making him so tall. Only to be surprised to see they were on even ground, Bucky's black boots right next to the red ones Steve was wearing. Then Steve caught sight of the rest of what he was wearing. It was similar in design to Bucky's but instead of black, Steve's outfit was mostly blue with a few red and white stripes on his torso and a white star on his chest. It kinda reminded him of one of those Uncle Sam posters they had up everywhere. The outfit was so distracting that it took Steve's brain a second or two to really pull together what he was seeing. Steve was tall, taller than Bucky. And his once skinny and fragile frame had been replaced by sturdy legs and a broad torso.

The serum had worked. It didn't explain what was going on. But just knowing it had work sent a thrill of joy through Steve. Dr. Erskine must be so proud.

Bucky pulled one of Steve's arms over his shoulder. "I'm taking Cap back to the jet," Bucky said as he wrapped his right arm around Steve's back. "Falcon, cover us."

"On it." The negro man called back. Steve nearly jumped out of his skin when wings sprouted from the pack the negro man was wearing and the man took flight.

"Anyone got eyes on Frosty?" Bucky started pulling Steve along with him, ignoring Steve's stuttered protests and questions. The negro man was flying through the sky and, it seemed, the mechanical men could fly too. 

"I see him, what do you need him for?"  This was a male voice, the same one that had called out a warning earlier.

"Just tell him to meet me at the jet, asap." 

"Will do, but you know him."

"Tell Thor to light his ass on fire if he doesn't get moving quick enough."

"I think I might just lead with that."

"Where are we going, Buck?" Steve was surprised at how well he was keeping up with Bucky's brisk pace. "And what's going on? Who are these other people who keep talking and why can I hear them?" He had identified two separate male voices along with the female's.

"Were going to get you to safety so we can figure out what happened." Bucky replied, not sounding even a little winded despite the fact that he was supporting most of Steve's weight as they practically ran across the rocky ground. "And those voices are coming through a small communication device in your ear. It's the rest of our teammates."

"Teammates? So we are in the war?" Something settled inside Steve. He'd made it. He was helping the allies.

Bucky's face was still covered with the mask (was it a gas mask?) and goggles, but Steve got the feeling Bucky was casting little sideways glances at Steve. "Look, lets just get you to safety. Someone's coming who can hopefully put things right and then I won't have to explain anything, okay?"

Steve wanted to insist, but that odd undercurrent to Bucky's voice made him stop. There was something Bucky was worried about and he wanted to hide it from Steve. Steve would let it go for now, let this medic check him over, then he would get Bucky to spill the beans.

Steve took in the landscape as they hurried along. It was mostly barren, just a few pine trees here and there. They came over a small rise and below them was the strangest looking plane Steve had ever seen. It had to be a plane with it's wings and cockpit, but other than that it looked just as out of place as those mechanical men. It turned out to be where they were heading.

The back of the plane opened up as they approached but Steve couldn't see anyone inside or around it operating any controls. "What is this?" He asked Bucky.

"It's our ride." Was Bucky's unhelpful answer.

They went up the ramp and inside the plane. If Steve had thought the outside was strange it was nothing compared to the inside. Everything was shiny metals and bright lights. Several small movie screens were on one of the walls and they were showing movies. In color. There were more of those mechanical men and there were people fighting them. One screen showed a woman with red hair, she was dressed rather indecently in skin tight clothing and Steve quickly looked away. Another screen showed a man firing a bow and arrow at the machines. Steve had never used a bow and arrow outside of the toy one he'd had growing up, but he was pretty sure arrows didn't usually make things explode.

"What is that?!" Steve gasped, pointing at another screen. Bucky looked up from where he had been pulling things out of a compartment in the wall. There was, Steve could only describe it as a monster, on the screen, tearing the mechanical men apart like they were made of tissue.

"Oh, yeah, don't worry, he's on our side. Mostly." Bucky reached over and pushed a button and the films turned off. "Drink this." Bucky handed Steve a bottle filled with something bright blue.

"What is it?" Steve was surprised to feel how light the bottle was. The bottle was see through and smooth like glass, but it didn't feel like glass.

"A special drink, it helps your body recover from exertion." Bucky watched Steve as he inspected the drink. "Twist the top." He said after Steve had looked at him questioningly.

He twisted the top part and the blue thing on top, which must be the lid, came loose in his hand. A sweet scent hit him and Steve took a small sip of the liquid. It was almost cloyingly sweet and seemed like something Steve shouldn't like, but his taste buds seemed to disagree and before he realized it, he had drained the whole bottle. Bucky handed him another bottle along with a foil wrapped rectangle that had the word PowerBar written across it.

"You eat it," Bucky explained. Then Bucky reached up to Steve's ear and pulled something away. It was a small black thing, no bigger than a nickel. As soon as Bucky pulled it out, the voices that had still been talking had stopped. "This is the communication device I was telling you about." Bucky took the minuscule thing over to the far wall. He pushed a button and a small shelf slid out as if from nowhere. A purplish-blue light was shining out from the hole the shelf had come from. Bucky placed the little piece on the shelf then pushed the button again, making the shelf disappear back into the wall.

"I'm having some kind of elaborate dream aren't I?"

Bucky chuckled, "If you are then I'd like to know why you dragged me into it?"

"That's why I know it's a dream," Steve said. "Last I knew you were off at war, now suddenly you're here? And I've always dreamed of being strong and healthy, now I am?" Steve shook his head, absently noticing the pain was almost gone. "The only thing that makes sense is I'm having a dream or maybe the experiment caused me to have a mass hallucination."

Bucky pulled his goggles off, there was black paint around his eyes. Steve was glad to be able to see Bucky's eyes, he had been half worried that he was going to see a robot looking back at him, but it was just Bucky. "You're not dreaming Steve." Bucky pulled his face mask off and Steve gasped. Bucky looked much older than he had when Steve had seen him only a few months ago. Maybe only a few years older, but it was still very noticeable. Something about his eyes made him look less carefree than he had. "The experiment you were part of, Project Rebirth, it worked. You got turned into a Super Soldier." Bucky ran a hand through his long hair. "A lot of things have happened since then but you seem to have forgotten everything since being injected with the serum. Something happened in the battle today, it's what's affecting your memory."

Steve tried to process what Buck was saying. It seemed impossible but there was too much evidence to discount it. For starters Steve was definitely not the same as he had been before the experiment was started. He was taller than Bucky and there was no denying the muscle in his arms and legs. Also Bucky knew the name of Project Rebirth and that it was to make super soldiers. And he wasn't upset, which meant this either wasn't Bucky, or he had known for long enough to not be mad anymore that Steve had kept it a secret from him.

Suddenly a voice was projected around the inside of the plane. "Winter Soldier, are you and Rogers at the jet?"  It was a loud booming male voice that Steve had not heard yet. The man had some sort of accent, not British, but it did sound kind of European.

"We're here Thor," Bucky called back. "You got him?"

"Aye. We will be there momentarily."

"Okay. Um," Bucky glanced at Steve. "Could you maybe just drop him nearby? We have a situation and I think it would be best if you stayed out of sight for now."

There was a slight pause before the voice answered. "Very well, if you feel it is best."

"Thanks. Oh, tell Frosty to lose the horns too."

"Who's Thor?" Steve asked. "And Frosty? You called that negro man Falcon. Are these code names?"

"Yeah, well not Thor, that's actually the guys name. But Frosty and Falcon are." Bucky's mouth quirked up in a smile. "Also, please try not to refer to Falcon as a negro."

"Why?" That's what he was, it was hard to miss his dark skin.

Bucky looked like he was searching for a way to phrase his answer. "It's just not how we, um, do things on the team. Call him black or African-American or just Sam, since that's his name."

Steve was saved from puzzling out what Bucky was saying by soft foot falls on the plane's metal ramp. He looked over to see a tall, pale man walking towards them. He had long hair like Bucky, except his was carefully combed back and curled up at the ends. Bucky's hair looked like he didn't own a comb. The man was dressed very oddly in mostly black leather. He wore a long ornate coat that was green with gold accents. And he walked like he owned the whole world. Steve immediately bristled. He knew the swagger of a bully.

The man was smiling, "You need to tell Thor to keep out of sight more often." He said, addressing Bucky. "He was practically pouting." The man had an accent similar to Thor's, but it was smoother, more cultured sounding.

"Glad I could brighten your day." Bucky replied dryly.

"Oh my dear James, you always brighten my day." The tall man said coyly. 

Steve did not like the way this man was talking to Bucky. "And you are?" He demanded.

The man turned to Steve and gave him a puzzled look. "What?"

Bucky stepped between them. "Doom hit Steve with some spell and now he doesn't remember anything from before he became- from before becoming a Super Soldier."

The man's eyebrows raised in surprise at Bucky's explanation. "Interesting." The man moved past Bucky and stopped in front of Steve. "Well, allow me to introduce myself then. I am Loki of Asgard, I am your God and you worship me with all your heart."

Behind Loki, Bucky was rolling his eyes. Steve leveled a glare at Loki, "That's not going to happen."

Loki smirked then shrugged a shoulder, "It was worth a try."

"Would you stop being a dick and just figure out what's wrong with him." Bucky said, sounding exasperated.

Loki looked at Bucky and some of the swagger left him. For half a heart beat Steve could have sworn the man almost looked concerned about Bucky. "Alright, but perhaps I should explain a few things first, least I scare the good Captain with my light show."

Bucky grimaced. "Shoot, I was hoping you could fix him and I wouldn't have to go into detail about, well, everything."

"What are you talking about?" Steve demanded. He knew Bucky was keeping things from him, and he was willing to trust Bucky. But now this other guy seemed to know everything too and it was starting to irritate Steve.

Loki looked down at Steve again, "The long and the short of it is that a great many strange and wonderful things have happened to you since you can last remember. I believe James is concerned that having to tell you everything at once may not go over well. His hope was that I could restore your memory and thus avoid the whole problem. Unfortunately, in order to even examine you I am going to have to show you one of those wonderful things he was hoping to avoid explaining."

Steve was surprised that he understood everything Loki had said, despite having almost no context. Words just slipped off this guy's tongue like they were made of silk. "Okay, just tell me what I need to know for now so you can examine me." Steve glanced at Bucky, Bucky looked unhappy, but nodded anyway.

Loki smiled, he seemed to like doing that a lot. "Well, as I said, I am of Asgard. A place not in any of your countries, it is another world completely."

"Wait," Steve held up a hand. "Are you trying to tell me you are from outer space?"

"I wouldn't call it outer, after all we are all connected by the branches of-"

"Loki." Bucky growled. "Try to keep it simple."

Loki sighed. "Fine. Yes, I'm from outer space." he grumbled.

"But, you look human."

For some reason this made Bucky snort and Loki shot him a nasty look. "The human race doesn't hold a monopoly on this form," Loki said, continuing to scowl at Bucky. "However, that is not what you will find the most surprising." Loki turned back to Steve, "I can do magic. This is why I was called to examine you. The one who attacked you, a man calling himself Doom, he used magic on you. I am going to try to counteract his magic with my own."

"Magic?" Steve said, letting doubt color the word.

Loki lifted his right hand with the palm facing up. Golden light began swirling in the center of Loki's hand, "Yes, magic." Steve watched in wonder as the light formed a golden butterfly that took off from Loki's palm and began to fly around the inside of the plane. Soon dozens of butterflies were flitting around, several had landed on Bucky's hair and his friend was scowling at Loki because of it.

"It's beautiful," Steve said. He hadn't meant to, this guy didn't need his ego inflated anymore, Steve could tell. But the golden butterflies were the most beautiful thing Steve had ever seen.

Loki gave Steve a strange look, then he swished a hand through the air and all the butterflies disappeared. "So now you know that magic is real," he said, he sounded like he was trying to force a casual air. Like he hadn't just done something marvelous. "I am going to examine you now. It would be best if you could keep still, I have to dig around in your brain a bit, it will feel a little like small insects are crawling around. I assure you it will not harm you."

"And your assurance means something?" Steve asked skeptically.

"It does when it is backed up by the fact that if I do harm you, then Sargent Barnes will punch a hole through my chest." Loki grinned again.

Steve took one look at Bucky's face and knew that Loki wasn't exaggerating. Well, he was about the part with Bucky punching a hole through him, but it was pretty plain to see that Bucky felt confident he could take this guy out if needed. Magic not withstanding.

Steve gave a firm nod of his head. Loki stepped up to him and raised his hands so that they were just hovering near either side of Steve's temples. Loki narrowed his eyes as if he was inspecting something. Steve tried to stay still as golden light swirled from Loki's hands to around his head. He wanted to shut his eyes against it but he didn't want to look weak in front of Loki. As Loki had said, it felt like tiny little bugs were crawling around in his head, it didn't hurt, just felt really strange. He tried to focus on Bucky while Loki worked his magic. Bucky was watching everything but would occasionally get a far away look in his eyes, then he would touch his ear and turn away to murmur something. Steve realized Bucky must still have his communicator in his ear and was probably keeping tabs on the battle that had still been going on when they had left.

Steve caught a few words when Bucky raised his voice.

"No Stark. … No, we got things covered here." Bucky sounded annoyed at whoever he was talking to you. "Would you just concentrate on doing your job. .. I'm taking care of Steve. … You come back here before clean up is finished and I will shoot you out of the sky!"

Loki's golden magic faded and Steve looked up at him. Loki was frowning.

"What? Can you fix it?"

Bucky noticed Loki was finished too. "What is it?" he asked.

Loki kept frowning. "A large chunk of his memories have been taken. The odd part is it was done with great precision and care."

"What does that mean?" Bucky demanded.

They were interrupted by a loud sound from outside the jet. Steve looked up in time to see another mechanical man landing on the ramp. "Look out!" He looked around for a weapon he could use. Bucky had put the large gun down that he had been using earlier. Steve grabbed it and aimed it at the robot.

"Stop!" Bucky yelled and lunged for Steve. At the same time a blast of Loki's golden magic knocked the weapon from Steve's hands. Bucky got to Steve and grabbed him, "Stand down! He's one of ours." Bucky yelled.

Steve watched the mechanical man as it stopped halfway up the ramp. It was different from the ones he had seen earlier, those had been a dull gray. This one was shiny and had a red and gold paint job. Then, what Steve had thought was it's face flipped up to reveal an actual human face behind it. It was a man, he had a strange looking beard and was staring at Steve with a mixture of horror and grief.

Chapter Text

Steve felt the slight vibration of the plane- no, it was called a jet, the jet's engines as they raced through the air. It had been explained to him that the jet was traveling much faster than any plane from his time ever had.

His time.

He had to let his head drop down to his hands. After Bucky and Loki had stopped Steve from firing on the robot, who turned out to be a man in a flying suit of armor, Steve had insisted Bucky tell him everything, pointing out that he was just going to be a danger to others if he didn't know what was going on.

So Bucky had sat him down and tried his best to explain what had happened. Bucky told him he had left some stuff out. Said it would be easier for Steve to just see some of it. But Bucky hit the high points.

Project Rebirth had worked. Steve was a Super Soldier. The only Super Soldier. He had eventually become known as Captain America (it explained the color scheme of his suit). He had fought in the war and died in it. But not really, he was just frozen. For seventy-five years.

Then he had been found. Aliens had attacked and the Avengers had been assembled to fight them. And ever since the team had been coming together to fight the big stuff that the little guys couldn't handle.

It was a lot to take in.

Then Steve had been introduced to everyone. The man in the suit was Tony Stark, a billionaire who had designed the suit, the plane, sorry, jet, and basically most everything else.

Thor was allowed to be seen and Steve immediately understood why Bucky had asked him to stay away at first. The giant of a man falling from the sky and landing in front of them was a sight to behold. If Steve had thought Loki dressed ostentatiously, it was nothing compared to Thor in his long red cape and the huge hammer he carried. Bucky explained that Thor was also from Asgard and was Loki's brother. When Steve had asked if Thor could also do magic Loki had laughed.

Steve was relieved to find that these were the most unusual team members. Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff were just normal people who were highly skilled. Sam Wilson, who he was not to reffer to as a negro, didn't have wings growing from his back. It was just a suit that Stark had designed that gave him the power of flight. The monster Steve had seen earlier was now just a man with brown curly hair who was huddled in a corner listening to Beethoven.

Bucky had explained to the team what had happened and Steve had had to endure a lot of curious looks. But nobody seemed too concerned by it. Clint Barton had commented that it wasn't even the strangest thing that had happened to them recently. Well, almost nobody seemed phased, Tony Stark had been staring at Steve the entire time Bucky was explaining things to Steve and to the team. It wasn't menacing, in fact Stark looked like he was purposefully trying to keep his face blank. But every once and a while Steve would catch him looking sad. Steve supposed that if a friend of his suddenly couldn't remember him it would make him sad too.

Stark was now up in the pilot's seat, flying the jet. Loki was lounging next to him in the co-pilot seat. Steve got the feeling that Loki and Thor were not close because Loki seemed to be trying his best to pretend Thor didn't exist.

"So is it possible to reverse the memory loss?" Miss Romanoff asked.

"Certainly," Loki answered absently while he fiddled with knobs and switches in the cockpit. "We just have to find Doom and get him to hand them over."

"Hand them over?" Bucky was seated right next to Steve, something Steve was very grateful for. "You make it sound like he has them with him."

"He probably does." Loki flipped a switch and the entire glass of the cockpit went dark and glowing words and lines popped up. Stark smacked Loki's hand and flipped the switch back. The glass went clear and they could see nothing more interesting than the sky outside.

"Explain what you mean, Loki." Thor rumbled.

Loki scowled, definitely some animosity between the two, but he explained anyway. "Doom didn't erase the memories, nor did he suppress them, it is far worse than that. He has completely removed them from Rogers' mind."

"So they're just gone?" Clint Barton asked.

"Gone from Rogers' mind, yes. Completely gone, I doubt that was Doom's plan. There are easier ways to erase memories than what he did. I suspect he removed them and took them for himself."

"Whoa, back up." Stark turned to Loki. "Are you saying he removed them like a SD card from a phone?"

Loki nodded, "Exactly. Or," Loki turned to Steve, "Like ripping the pages from a book. The pages still exist, can be read, but are no longer part of the book."

Steve frowned. "Are you saying this Doom person took my memories to read them?"



Loki shrugged, "That I do not know."

Thor was looking thoughtful. "So the clues that led us to believe an Infinity Stone was here were probably laid down by Doom to lure us out?"

"Think he was aiming for Steve the whole time?" Miss Romanoff asked. Romanoff and Barton were seated next to each other with Romanoff leaning against the archer in a very casual manner. "Probably," Barton said. "He came in contact with almost everyone else before getting to Steve, and he only did his mojo when he finally got to him."

"So the question is why Steve? What does Doom need that only Steve's memories could give him?" This came from Sam Wilson who was seated on the other side of Steve. Sam had made a point of stick close to Steve after Bucky had explained things, asking if Steve was okay? Did he need something to eat? Was his head feeling better? Steve had the definite impression they were close friends.

"Simple," Loki leaned back in his chair. "He is seeking knowledge and he believes the good Captain has it."

Wilson snorted. "Great, all we have to do is make a list of every important thing Steve has ever known and figure out what Doom wants?"

"You said that Doom had removed the memories with great precision and care?" Bucky said to Loki. "But he just seems to have taken everything."

Loki smiled, he looked as though he thought he was very clever and everyone else was an idiot. "Ah, but it's where he stopped taking the memories that tells us the most."

"Would you stop being a cryptic little shit and just tell us what you know." Bucky growled.

"Language," Steve said, frowning at Bucky. Everyone immediately started laughing. Even Bucky was trying to suppress a smile. "What? Swearing is okay in the future?" This was followed by more peals of laughter.

"Was this really what he was like before?" Barton asked Bucky.

Bucky hunched down, shoulders shaking from trying to keep his laughter in. He just nodded his head in answer.

Wilson clapped Steve on the shoulder. "Don't worry about it man, you can get after us for our potty mouths all you want. Loki, I think what Barnes was trying to say is you need to just spit out everything you know before one of us decides to toss you from the jet. And by one of us, I mean Barnes."

Loki looked unworried by the threat. "What I know is that taking memories is not easy, so you find ways to make it easier. Starting with the newest memories and working your way back is far easier than trying to find the exact group of memories you want and plucking them out of the brain, because the brain doesn't store them in order. However you are going to want a stopping point usually, the spell takes energy so you don't want to use more than you have to. Traumatic or life changing memories make the best stopping points because they have a different pattern than regular memories, thus easier to spot amidst everything else you are pulling out. Therefore if Doom chose as a stopping point Rogers becoming Captain America, it is because he needed something that happened to him during the war. Otherwise he could have stopped at when Rogers was pulled from the ice, or when he discovered Barnes was alive. Or even-"

"Hold on, what do you mean by me discovering Bucky was alive?" Steve turned to Bucky, who had gone completely still. "What is he talking about?"

"It's not important." Bucky mumbled.

"How is my thinking you were dead at some point not important?"

"I, can we talk about this later?" Bucky asked. Steve noticed Bucky was clenching and unclenching his left fist. He had kept the glove on that hand and Steve was starting to become suspicious that there was something Bucky didn't want him to see.

"Hey we heading back to the Upstate facility or back to the Tower?" Miss Romanoff called up to Stark, taking the focus off of Bucky.

"I was thinking the Tower." Stark called back. "You know, give Steve a little time to acclimate before we introduce him to the rest of the team."

"By taking him to the most technologically advanced building in the world?" Miss Romanoff sounded like she didn't think this was a good idea.

"Well where would you suggest? Barton's place? Maybe a cabin in the woods?"

"Laura wouldn't mind if we stopped by," Barton cut in. "She needs more firewood chopped."

Steve ignored the conversation, he wasn't following anything they were saying anyway. "Bucky, what are you not telling me?"

Bucky stuffed his left arm into the deep pocket of his jacket. "Please Steve, not now. I promise, later, okay?"

Steve studied Bucky's face, whatever this was it was something bothering him deeply. "Okay Buck, later." Some of the tension left Bucky's shoulders. Steve happened to glance over at Loki and noticed he looked a little chagrin. It was nice to know the guy could feel something other than just being smug.



The final vote, as near as Steve could tell, was to go to whatever this tower was. Bucky had explained it was called Avenger's Tower and it had been the Avenger's first base of operations. Now they had a second one in Upstate New York. That one had been out voted. Steve had not understood anything that was being said while the team had debated to pros and cons of each site.

"The Tower has FRIDAY talking out of the ceiling," Miss Romanoff had pointed out.

"Upstate has Pietro," Barton countered.

"We could just put him in his room at the Tower," Wilson had said. "Most everything in there is old school and Steve friendly.

"Pietro," Barton said again.

"The facility has a more comprehensive medical facility," Banner said after finally taking the things off his ears that were allowing him to hear music no one else could hear.

"Medical science cannot fix this, as I have already explained this was done by magic."


"We got it Clint, thank you."

"Okay, how 'bout Vision's disregard for doors?" At Barton's statement everyone had stopped talking and turned and looked at Steve.

"Tower it is then," Stark said.

Avenger's Tower turned out to be a huge monstrosity in the middle of what Steve was assured was New York City. Steve wouldn't have believed it if it hadn't been for Bucky pointing out the Empire State Building and the Hudson.

Steve watched in wonder as they landed on the large lip of the tower and the wings folded up so the jet could be pulled inside. "This is incredible," Steve whispered.

Bucky heard him and smirked, "Don't let Stark hear you say that, his ego doesn't need anymore stroking."

They exited the jet and Steve was overwhelmed by the alien feel of everything around him. The whole place was bright with whites, pale grays and glass walls everywhere. Huge windows showed the New York City skyline, so unfamiliar, considering it was where he grew up. Steel surfaces were covered with odd, unrecognizable objects. And lights glinted randomly from flat surfaces on the few walls that were opaque. Steve was relieved to see what was most definitely a chair and he sank down into it.

"Maybe we should just blindfold him and take him directly to his room," Barton said, leaning over Steve. "He's looking a little pale."

"I'm fine," Steve said. "Just a lot to take in. Everything looks so .. cold." Steve noticed Stark's frown and belatedly remembered Bucky saying this was Tony Stark's building. He had probably meant for it to look like this.

Miss Romanoff sat down into a chair next to him, "That's what billionaires do now a days. They show how much money they have by not having anything pretty."

"I've got you," Stark quipped.

“Thought you said that's what Steve's for.”

Steve glanced over at Miss Romanoff, certain he had misunderstood her meaning. But she was looking at him like she'd realized she'd made a mistake. “Oops, forgot you're not in on our witty banter at the moment.”

Steve ducked his head to hide his blush, then snuck a peek at Stark, thinking perhaps he should apologize on Miss Romanoff’s behalf. But Stark wasn't looking at them, he had his back turned and was busy with one of the many items Steve couldn't identify.

Wilson came over. “Maybe taking Steve to his room isn't such a bad idea.” He handed Bucky the large metal disk he'd carried off the jet earlier. “We'll order some burgers and you can get him up to date on some stuff.” Wilson gave a meaningful look at Bucky’s left arm that was still completely cover by the jacket and glove. Bucky took the disk and gave a shaky nod.

Steve followed Bucky over to what he was told was the elevator. Shiny metal doors opened without any sound and there was no one inside to operate it. Steve watched as Bucky pressed on of the many numbered buttons. The button lit up and a few seconds later the doors slid silently shut. Steve thought he felt slight movement but he wasn't sure. “What are we doing in here?” He asked.

Bucky looked at him, a little confused. “What? Oh,” Bucky gestured around the inside of the car. “Elevators are much nicer now, we're actually moving, you just can hardly feel it.”

As if to prove his point the doors slide back open and Steve could see that they were on a different floor. A long hallway stretched out before them, giving the impression it went in a large circle as it disappeared around a bend. Steve followed Bucky out of the elevator car. There was the occasional door leading off the hallway and Bucky came to a stop in front of the third one. There was a flat, white rectangle next to the door that Bucky pressed his thumb to. The door slide as quietly open as the elevator’s had.

Steve tried to look and see how the door worked but Bucky just pulled him inside the room. As soon as Steve stepped inside he knew this had to be his room. The place was filled with warm browns and tans, making Steve feel comfortable for the first time since he had woken up in this strange world. There was the added bonus that he recognized most everything in the room. There was a record player with over a dozen albums stacked neatly next to it. An art stand was in the corner, it looked more like some of the other modern stuff he had seen around the tower, but the pencils and charcoals were familiar. There were a few pieces of art on it and Steve recognized his own style.

There was a bookshelf up against one wall. The books ranged from really old looking to very new. Steve recognized a few of the titles but not many.

The apartment's kitchen was stocked with basic foods that Steve liked, although the fridge did contain something called Muscle Milk. Steve wasn't sure he wanted to know what that was. The copper pots and pans shined like they were brand new, instead of the dingy beaten up ones Steve had left behind at his apartment in Brooklyn. The thought made Steve realize that his old apartment was probably long gone, along with anything that had been in it.

Bucky came up behind Steve, his presence was a comfort. Until Steve noticed the still covered left arm. "Are you gonna tell me?"

Bucky seemed to deflate, but he nodded. They went over to the couch and sat down. Bucky grabbed something off a nearby table, it looked like a flat black rectangle. Bucky started to tap on its surface and Steve leaned over to see what he was doing. The part Bucky was tapping had lit up and there were words and pictures on it. "It's called a tablet," Bucky explained. "It's like having a million books, movies, radio stations, all in one place. I'm pulling up a database on all the Avengers, plus a basic what you need to know for this century."

"How does it work?" Steve asked. He couldn't see a power source anywhere and he couldn't fathom how something so small could have so much in it.

"That's part of the basic need to know stuff. I mean we could get Stark to explain it all to you but then we wouldn't be able to get him to shut up." Bucky tapped at the rectangle a few more times then handed it to Steve.

The lit up part was a slightly smaller rectangle set in the main one. Then within that there was a picture of a smaller rectangle with rounded edges, in the center was a circle with a triangle in it. Steve had no idea what he was supposed to be looking at.

"Touch the triangle," Bucky instructed.

Steve did and was surprised and delighted when a move started playing on the tablet. The movie turned out to be about him. He watched as the movie talked about him being a sick and skinny kid then about him joining Project Rebirth. Steve was a little embarrassed by the footage of him on stage as Captain America. "I thought you said I fought in the war?"

"Just keep watching," Bucky said.

Steve was relieved when the story of him rescuing the 107th explained how he became the real Captain America. The movie showed newsreels from the war and it was strange to see himself commanding troops and laughing with men that were strangers to him now. And Bucky was there. Then, "Sargent Barnes was the only Howling Commando to give his life in the service of his country."

Steve glanced over at Bucky. Bucky was looking down at the couch, avoiding Steve's eyes. This must have been what Loki meant when he'd said Steve had discovered Bucky was alive.

The movie went on to talk about Steve going down in the Atlantic. It showed interviews with people who had know him and how he had affected their lives. The most interesting was seeing Miss Carter talking about him, especially since the movie had made it sound like they'd been sweethearts.

The movie finished with Steve being found alive and his public reappearance during what was called The Battle of New York. Steve recognized the Iron Man and Hulk fighting around him. Along with Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye. "Wait, it said Loki lead the invasion?" Steve asked when the movie ended.

Bucky nodded. "He did. Guys got a god complex, not helped by the fact that he is kinda a god. But it turns out that Loki was actually being controlled at the time. This guy named Thanos had captured him and tortured him until Loki agreed to do what he said. Loki hates being told what to do so he purposely did a half-assed, sorry, sorry, a halfway job and botched the whole thing. Thor took him back to Asgard and he was imprisoned. He later faked his death and was pretending to be his Dad, he can change the way he looks, it's annoying." Bucky said, rolling his eyes, like someone who could change the way they looked with magic was no big deal. "He got found out and fled Asgard, only to be caught be Thanos again. Loki escaped and on his way out he stole these things called the Infinity Stones, nasty powerful stones that Thanos had been collecting in order to rule the galaxy. Or destroy it, we're not to clear about that yet. Anyway, Loki crashed landed on Earth which caused the Infinity Stones to scatter over the whole face of the earth. Now Loki is our ally, for better or worse, and we have to find these stones before Thanos comes looking for them."

Steve absorbed this information. "That's what you, I mean, we, were looking for today, right?"

Bucky nodded, "Yeah, looks like it was just a ploy to get to you." Bucky frowned, "We should have had the whole team with us, but we were already out doing some recon when we got the reading suggesting there was an Infinity Stone." Bucky crossed his arms across his chest, Steve recognized that he was annoyed with something. "You told Stark we needed to wait for the others, but as usual he wouldn't listen. Didn't help that Thor and Loki were backing him up. You gave in and naturally it all went to hell. Sorry!"

Steve shook his head and smiled. "I'm starting to get the feeling that using polite language is old fashioned." Steve looked back down at the tablet. "You weren't there for the Battle of New York?" Bucky didn't answer, he just took the tablet from Steve and tapped on it again, then handed it back.

The lit up part now was white with black words on it. It read Winter Soldier- Case 158962 Classified -Alpha Level Clearance Only "What is this?" Steve asked. He suddenly remembered something. "Thor called you the Winter Soldier, didn't he?"

"Yeah," Bucky said, voice sounding hoarse. "This is everything about me. You, um, do a quick swipe with your finger to turn the page." Bucky demonstrated and the words disappeared off to the side and new ones appeared. Steve began reading. The first part consisted of reports of assassinations by an unknown person, code-named The Winter Soldier. The reports spanned decades and the description of the assailant was always the same, tall, caucasian male, long hair, dressed all in black, metal arm.

Steve glanced over at Bucky, he had his head down, the long hair covering his face. His left arm was pulled close to his body, the right one wrapped around it. Steve continued reading.

The second part of the document began with a report Steve had evidently written himself. It detailed his encounter with an assassin who had attacked someone named Nicholas Fury at Steve's apartment. The next report was dated weeks later and was much longer. There were references to events that Steve didn't understand, and movies from something called Traffic Cameras and Security Feeds. But he understood the gist of it. The Winter Soldier was his friend Bucky who he had thought died during the war.

The final part of the document was the complete transcript of Bucky's debriefing after he had turned himself in to the Avengers. Bucky telling everything that had happened to him, that he could remember. It included a list of all of Bucky's confirmed kills.

By the time Steve was done reading he had a hand up over his mouth, as if he could prevent the horrors and sorrows he was being faced with. He took a few moments to collect himself before addressing Bucky. "Can I see it?"

Bucky didn't say anything, he just pulled off the glove and took off his jacket. The arm was as silver and shiny as it had been in the movies and photographs. Steve tentatively reached out, when Bucky didn't move, Steve let his fingertips touch the metal. "It's warm."

"Yeah, um, Stark, Tony, he made a few modifications to it. I can feel more sensation now, if I want to, and he installed these wires that run through the whole thing and keep it at body temperature." Bucky shrugged, "It didn't really matter to me, I think he just did it for everyone else's benefit. Makes me seem like less of a monster, I guess."

Steve gaped at his friend, "You're not a monster."

Bucky finally lifted his head to look at Steve. "I've killed people Steve." Bucky swallowed and his voice dropped, "I tried to kill you."

Steve grabbed Bucky's metal arm and pulled his friend into a hug. It was strange being able to wrap his arms completely around Bucky but Steve was so glad for it. He had no words to comfort his friend, all he could do was show him how he felt. Bucky reacted to the hug almost immediately, wrapping his arms fiercely around Steve. "I'm so sorry, Steve. I'm so sorry." Bucky sobbed. Steve just hugged him tighter until he calmed down.

Bucky eventually pulled away and Steve let him.

"Here," Bucky said taking the tablet from Steve's lap. "Let me set up a few other things for you. I'll put the entire team roster on here so you can get to know the basics about everyone." Bucky tapped away at the screen. He was back to the Bucky Steve had seen all day, not the same care free guy he had known, but not crippled by sorrow either. Bucky handed the tablet back to Steve. "There you go, it's set up the same as before, just swipe to go to the next page. I'm going to see if I can get ahold of the same packet they used for you when they pulled you out of the ice." Bucky reached in to his pants pocket and pulled out a smaller, thinner rectangle and began tapping on that.

Steve watched him with interest. "Is that also a tablet?"

"No, this is actually a phone." Bucky smirked at Steve's look of disbelief. "It works like a radio except there isn't any delay. And this is a Smartphone, it does the same stuff as a tablet, just the screen is smaller." Bucky finished tapping a few more times then put the telephone back in his pocket. He reached over and undid one of the pouches on the belt Steve was wearing with his uniform. Bucky reached in and pulled out a similar looking rectangle. "This is your phone." He handed it to Steve.

Steve took it and was surprised by how light it felt. The front had a smaller, black rectangle but the rest was a beep blue, very similar to the blue of his uniform. There was a small circle set right under the black rectangle and Steve put his thumb on it. The rectangle in the center lit up and he nearly dropped the telephone when a female voice spoke out of it. "Good evening, Cap. You have 4 new text messages, 1 voicemail, and 20 unread emails."

"Crap!" Bucky grabbed the telephone from Steve. "FRIDAY I thought Stark told you to keep quiet around Steve?"

"I'm sorry Sarge." Steve didn't react quite as badly from the same voice suddenly coming from his ceiling. "Cap's phone is programmed to alert him of all new messages every time he turns it on. And he has explicit instructions to not allow Tony to change anything on it."

"Figures," Bucky mumbled. "Well nothing for it now. Steve, I'd like to introduce you to FRIDAY. She's an Artificial Intelligence that runs the Tower and anything to do with Stark. She's like a disembodied Butler with sass."

"Um, it's a pleasure to meet you ma'am." Steve said to the ceiling.

"Like wise Cap. Sarge, Coulson has received your request and has sent all the pertinent information to me. Would you like me to load it on to Steve's Stark Pad?"

"Yeah, go ahead."

The tablet in Steve's hand made a small noise, kinda like the ding of a bell.

"All set Sarge. Wilson wants to know if you want to come up for dinner or if he should bring some burgers down to you?"

Bucky glanced at Steve, "Maybe down here would be best. Just him though, I don't want this to become a party." It was odd to hear Bucky carrying on a regular conversation with the thing in the ceiling.

"He's on his way. Romanoff wants to come by in the morning to start Cap's training."

Bucky smirked, "She doesn't trust me to do it?"

"She thinks you'll be too soft on him, Sarge."

"Whatever. Tell her we'll meet her in the gym at 6am."

"I'll pass it along. Good night Sarge, Cap."

"Night FRIDAY."

"Um, Good night."

"You'll get used to her." Bucky told him.

"I'll get used to a voice in my ceiling?"

There was a knock at the door and Bucky yelled for the person to come in. It was Sam Wilson and he was carrying two white paper bags. "I come bearing food." He set the bags down on the table in front of the couch, then went to the ice box in the kitchen.

Bucky grabbed one of the bags and opened it. Steve smelled the food inside and suddenly realized how hungry he really was. Bucky handed him something wrapped in foil. Steve opened it carefully and was delighted by what he found inside. "It's a hamburger!"

Bucky smiled, "Sorry, I didn't even realize we were using slang."

Steve tore into it, grateful that it tasted like a hamburger should and not like some weird futuristic food. Wilson came back over and handed Steve a bottle of beer which he accepted gratefully. "Do they call them burgers in the future because of the anti-German sentiment?" Steve asked.

Wilson handed Bucky a beer, then sat down with his own drink. "What now?"

Bucky laughed, "Oh man, I completely forgot about liberty steaks."

Wilson was looking more confused, "You two old timers wanna explain what you're talking about?"

"It was a thing some people were doing during World War II." Bucky explained. "Anything German was frowned on, so people were calling hamburgers, liberty steaks, instead."

Wilson nodded in understanding, "Kinda like freedom fries."

Now Steve was confused again, fortunately Wilson went on to explain. "Couple years back America went to war with a country in the Middle East. We had the support of most of our allies, except for France. They spoke out real strong against it. A lot of Americans didn't like the things France was saying and as a way to show they were upset, and to support the war, they started calling french fries, freedom fries."

"Americans like to rename their food based on who they like," Bucky said as he took a huge bit of his hamburger.

"So how's it going?" Wilson asked Steve after they had eaten some of their burgers. "You haven't tried to break out of the building, so that's an improvement."


"Nothin'." Wilson grabbed french fries out of the other bag. "So, you told him?" Wilson asked Bucky. Bucky nodded. "Good." Wilson said.

They ate while Steve started reading the documents Bucky had put on the tablet. He would occasionally stop and ask a question and Wilson or Bucky, or both would answer it. Steve started with the team roster and then began working his way through the very large file about the future. It was overwhelming to say the least. Steve kept wanting to stop reading, put the strange device down (which he now knew was a type of small computer, he also knew what a computer was too), close his eyes, and pray he would wake up back in his own bed. Instead he kept reading.

It was late when Wilson announced he was going to his room. They bid him good night, then Steve went back to reading. An hour later Bucky gently pulled the tablet from Steve's hands. "Time to call it quits for now, buddy. You should get some rest so you're nice and fresh for Natasha's training in the morning."

"I'm not really that tired," Steve protested. And it was true, he didn't feel tired at all, despite the long day.

"I know, it's part of being a Super Soldier. But you still need rest so no more studying tonight." Bucky pulled the tablet out of Steve's reach when he went for it. "No way, this is staying with me. I know you, you'll stay up all night reading if I let you."

Steve huffed, but knew Bucky wasn't going to relent.

Bucky showed Steve which of the doors lead to his bedroom. The other door was a second smaller bedroom that Bucky explained he used when he was staying at the Tower. "I don't spend enough time here to have my own place, I'm usually at the facility in Upstate. So I just crash with you the few times I'm down here. You don't seem to mind, usually."

Steve frowned, "What do you mean, usually?"

Bucky shrugged, "Oh nothing, just that last night I came down and you just seemed like you weren't too happy to see me."

"Why would I not be happy to see you?" Steve asked. Was the future him a jerk to Bucky, had he let the Winter Soldier thing ruin their friendship?

"Okay, not unhappy." Bucky amended. "It was more like I had interrupted some plans you had but you wouldn't tell me what they were." Bucky grinned, "Though you did turn a lovely shade of bright red when I asked if you were expecting company."

"Why would I be embarrassed because I was having company- Oh." Steve felt his face warming up.

Bucky grinned even wider. "Yup, that was the look."


"Punk." Bucky gave Steve an affectionate shove, then went to his room.

Five minutes later Steve was knocking on his door. When Bucky answered he was only wearing his black pants, no shirt, the scarring where his metal shoulder was attached was very prominent. Steve did his best not to stare. "Um, I can't figure out how to get out of the uniform."

Bucky smacked a hand to his forehead, "Geez, I didn't even think of that. Come here."

Bucky showed Steve how to get off the outer part of the uniform. He was glad he'd decided to ask for help, the thing had over a dozen clasps and zippers. When Steve was down to just a thin undershirt and the pants, Bucky stepped back. "You gonna be able to handle the rest? Or should I show you how the underwear works too?"

"Why? Is it special under-" Steve noticed Bucky's face. "You're hilarious." Steve said, rolling his eyes.

"No really," Bucky said, trying to keep a straight face. "I know things can be hard here in the future."

"Good night, Buck."

Steve left his friend, laughing behind him, and shut the door to his room. Only then did he let himself smile. Buck was trying to lighten the mood, make the sheer weight of Steve's current situation seem a little less dire. Steve appreciated it. He was also glad to know that despite everything, things hadn't changed too much between him and Bucky.

Steve finished getting undressed and decided to take a shower. His bedroom had it's own bathroom, complete with a very nice shower that emitted a strong spray of hot water that never seemed to run out. Steve ended up taking over thirty minutes, just enjoying the new sensation.

When he finally got out he wrapped the softest towel he had ever felt around his waist. Then he caught sight of himself in the mirror. He knew he had gotten taller and that the serum had added muscle, but he hadn't appreciated just how much had changed until now. His whole body was twice its original size and the muscles looked like they belonged on a boxer. Bucky had explained that Steve's vision and his hearing had been amplified, as well as his memory and coordination. Steve had known going in that this was the hoped for outcome with the serum, but it was a whole other thing to see it come to fruition.

He pulled his gaze away from the mirror, embarrassed at his own narcissism. He found toothpaste and a toothbrush in the medicine cabinet next to the sink. Then he went in search of pajamas. He found some in the bottom drawer of the dresser in his bedroom. After getting dressed he climbed into the bed and nearly moaned in pleasure. The mattress was the softest thing he'd ever laid on and the blankets were thick and warm.

Right before drifting off to sleep, Steve noticed something on his bedside table. He picked it up and discovered it was a tie. The material felt expensive. It struck Steve as odd that it would be there. Everything else in the room had been neatly put away and there were very few decorations. So why would he have a tie folded up on his nightstand?

Chapter Text

"Tony you need to get some sleep."

Tony looked up at Bruce, "I'm fine. Why don't you go get some shut eye and I'll call you if I need you." He went back to reading the report Richards had sent over about all of Doom's favorite hangouts.

Bruce came around and stood directly in front of Tony. "I did go to sleep," Bruce told him. "Around two this morning."

"Uh huh."

"It's now seven."

"Great. Can you pull up a satellite image of this place in eastern Germany, see if there's any activity there?"

Bruce sighed but did as Tony asked. Sometime later Clint and Natasha came wandering into the Avenger's command center.

Natasha leaned against the table Tony was working at. "We've tried several of our Latverian contacts, Doom's not in Latveria and no one seems to know where he went." Tony grimaced, he was hoping the two super spies would be able to find something out. "You get a hold of Reed?" Nat asked.

"Yeah, he doesn't know where Doom is either and can't tell us why Doom would want Steve's memories, other than that it must be something bad." Tony rolled his eyes, remembering that particular part of his conversation with the leader of the Fantastic Four last night.

"Has he slept at all?" Clint asked Bruce.

"I tried to get him to. You're welcome to give it a shot," Bruce paused, "No pun intended."

"Maybe we should just drug him," Natasha said, smirking at Tony.

Tony snatched his coffee off the table where it had been sitting dangerously close to the scheming woman. "Aren't you supposed to be working with Steve? Getting him back to tip top fighting style so no one knows we broke him."

"That's what I've been doing all morning Stark. I thought I'd take a break for lunch."

Tony looked up at Natasha, she was giving him an amused look. "It's lunch time? Bruce just said it was seven."

"I said that five hours ago."


"Take a break, Tony." Natasha said as she flicked her hand at the HUD, making all of the stuff he was working on closeout. "We'll find Doom, but you working until you collapse won't make it happen any faster."

"Says you," Tony countered. He opened back up everything and tried to pick up where he left off. A balled piece of paper came flying through an old SHIELD report and hit Tony on the forehead. He glared at Clint.

"Come on, Tony. I know you feel bad about this whole thing." Clint said, balling up another piece of paper. "But the rest of us wanted to go after the lead too." Clint sent the ball flying over Bruce's head. Bruce just looked at him over his glasses.

"Steve didn't want to." Tony said, trying to concentrate on the information in front of him. He did not want to talk about this. He knew he was going manic on the search for Doom and he didn't want to have to explain the real reason why. "Neither did Bucky."

"Bucky always sides with Rogers," Clint said.

"Come eat lunch with us." Natasha said. "It'll help you relax a little." She smiled. "Thor is making sandwiches. Always a spectacle."

Tony just waved her away. "You guys go on, make sure Thor doesn't trash the kitchen. I'll be up in a while."

Natasha sighed, but she, Clint, and Bruce headed out of the Command Center without him. Tony kept working. There had to be some way to figure out where Doom had gone. He'd been trying to figure it out since last night and he was no closer. He had to find Doom. He had to get Steve his memories back. Otherwise .. He just had too.

Tony wasn't surprised when FRIDAY told him that Rhodey had just landed at the Tower. And he wasn't surprised when his friend came to see him shortly after and he was carrying a plate with a huge sandwich on it.

"I've got a Thor special for you." Rhodey said, plunking the monstrosity down on the table next to Tony.

"The man does know I'm not Asgardian, right? I don't even need to eat that much in a whole week."

"From what I heard you haven't eaten since breakfast yesterday." Rhodey placed a huge bottle of sport drink next to the sandwich. "So you're gonna eat the whole sandwich or I will shove it down your throat."

Tony glared at Rhodey, but he knew the guy was being serious. He grabbed the sandwich and the sport drink and plopped down in a nearby chair, intent on doing as he was told with the least amount of good grace.

Rhodey sat down next to him. "So, you wanna talk about it?"

"Talk about what?" Tony knew exactly what Rhodey meant, he just didn't want to talk about it.

Rhodey wasn't going to be dissuaded that easily, of course. "You know what."

"Really don't."

"You really don't know what I'm talking about or you really don't want to talk about it?"

"Yes. How many different types of meat are in this sandwich? There is no way I can fit this thing in my mouth. Did you bring a fork by chance?"

Rhodey handed him a fork. "Old fashioned Steve is funny," Rhodey said. "He called Natasha, Miss Romanoff. Nearly choked on my drink I was laughing so hard."


"Bucky seems happier than I've ever seen him. I think he likes having the non-world-weary Steve back."


"Watching them together I'm starting to wonder if there is anything to those old rumor that the two of them were more than just friends."

"They were never together, okay. That was just some dumb rumor that got started back in the Nineties when everyone was looking for historical figures to be gay." Tony waved his fork around to emphasize his point. "Steve told me he and Bucky were only friends and nothing more." He punctuated this with an air stab with his fork.

Rhodey was grinning at him now, "I'm glad to hear it. Did your research on that, did you?"

Tony shrugged, "It just, you know, came up."

"Uh huh, and it had nothing to do with you feeling insecure because of Barnes."

Tony stalwartly ignored Rhodey and went back to picking apart his sandwich to find the parts that weren't smothered in mayonnaise.

Rhodey let him eat in peace for exactly two minutes before he started pestering Tony again. "Does Barnes know?"

"That he and Steve were never an item? I'm pretty sure he does."

"Tony. Come on, you can't pretend like this isn't eating you up inside.”

“I'm fine, my insides are fine.” Tony stabbed a particularly thick piece of meat with his fork. “Cause this isn't a problem, okay? It's just a temporary memory hijacking. Once I hunt down Doom, we'll get Steve's memories back and all will be as it should.”

“And in the meantime?” Rhodes asked.




“You're just going to pretend nothing happened between you two?” Rhodes was making his ‘bullshit’ face.

“How would you suggest I proceed? Huh?” Tony leaned forward. “How do you tell a guy from the Forties that you're in a relationship with him?”

Rhodey put his hands up, "Okay, fine. But Tony I know you, and this is a bigger deal than you're willing to admit."

Tony slumped back down in his chair. "We've only been dating a week."

"No, you've only been sleeping together for a week. You two have been dancing around each other way longer than that." Rhodey said.


"Don't deny it. Plus you're the one who called me at three am 'cause you were so excited that you'd finally gotten together with the guy."

Tony scoffed. "I call you about conquests all the time."

Rhodey rolled his eyes. "You spent thirty minutes telling me how you'd asked him out for sushi, but he doesn't like sushi, so you came back and asked him out for pizza cause you knew he liked it." Tony could feel his face warming as Rhodey spoke. "Then you told me all about how you took him to his favorite pizza place and how you guys spent four hours there just talking."

"We drank a lot of wine." Tony muttered down at his plate. "It was just a drunk call."

Rhodey crossed his arms over his chest. "I didn't even know you had slept with him until I asked you why you were whispering, and you told me it was because you didn't want to wake up Steve."

Tony poked at his sandwich a little more. Had Thor put a whole steak in this thing? Rhodey had probably thought it was funny, making Tony eat one of Thor's creations. Steve would have known not to. Steve would have made Tony a sandwich and brought it to him. "I can't tell him." Tony finally said, mostly to remind himself that that's what he had decided.

"Then at least tell Bucky." Rhodey suggested.

"He was going to tell him." Tony looked up at Rhodey. "Steve was going to tell Bucky about us, today actually. He wanted to tell Bucky before we made it public knowledge."

"So Steve is okay with Bucky knowing, just tell him. He'll know what to do."

Tony got up and tossed the mayonnaise soaked sandwich in the trash. "No. Like I said, we just have to get Steve's memories back. No point complicating things."

Rhodey sighed, but he must have finally decided to let the subject go. "Speaking of complicating things, I told the rest of the team what happened and they are staying at the Upstate facility for now."

Tony ran a hand through his hair. "That's good, Steve's getting overwhelmed with all the new and crazy stuff."

"Well the problem is, Loki thinks he can locate Doom but he needs Wanda's help to do it."

Tony sighed, "And we can't send Loki to the Upstate facility because there are too many possible security leaks." The fact that Loki was working with them to find the Infinity Stones was a very well guarded secret. That was why they only called him by his code name, Frosty, when they were talking over comms or phones. As far as they knew, Thanos didn't know Loki had survived the crash, Fury and Hill had 'leaked' photos that showed a very dead looking Loki in the wreckage. Not that it had been hard to make him look dead since he was ninety percent there at the time. "We need to bring Wanda here."

"And if Wanda comes.."

"Pietro comes." Tony groaned. "Might as well tell Vision to come along as well. You already talk to the others?"

Rhodey nodded, "Yeah, just wanted to bring you in on it before I make the call."

Tony looked back over at all the research he had been working on all night. It wasn't getting him any closer to finding Doom. And if Loki said he could find him then Tony believed him. Doom had insulted Loki by tricking them into believing there was an Infinity Stone in Iceland. And Loki wasn't one to let a slight like that go. "Make the call. We'll just make sure Steve is fully briefed on all of them."

"He already is," Rhodey assured him. "Barnes gave him a full write up on everyone and Steve has already memorized it." Rhodey pulled out his phone and started typing, probably sending a text to Wanda.

"Did you fill Fury and Hill in?" Tony asked.

"Yeah, they agree that we should keep Steve's condition to ourselves. We don’t want every arch-enemy coming out of the woodwork all at once because they think Captain America is vulnerable." Rhodey's phone pinged, "They're on their way, Wanda promises Pietro will be on his best behavior, for what that's worth."

"He just better not eat all of Thor's pop-tarts again or Thor is going to follow through on his threat to pin him to the floor with his hammer."

Rhodey stood up and tucked his phone away. "Come on, let's go watch Natasha train Steve. I'm sure it's a sight to behold." Rhodey slung and arm around Tony's neck and began steering him out of the command center. Tony put up a token resistance, but the truth was he really did want to see Steve. Just to make sure he was okay. Not because he missed him so much that it felt like the Arc Reactor was back in his chest.

Steve let the shield fly. It went straight through Loki's illusion, hit the wall, ricocheted off, and went through another illusion. He caught the shield in time to turn and block Thor's attack from his flank. Thor wasn't using his hammer because, as Natasha had put it, they didn't want to bring down the building. Instead Thor had a large battle ax that looked as though it could cleave Steve in half.

Steve spun and brought the edge of the shield down on Thor's arm. Thor grimaced but didn't lose his grip on the ax.

"Put all of your strength behind the attack," Thor chided him. “You cannot hurt me.”

“Ooh, that was a challenge if I ever heard one,” Bucky called from where he was standing on the sidelines with Natasha, Clint, and Sam.

Thor grinned and raised his ax to attack again. Steve rolled away, stood up, and raised his shield to block an attack from Loki, only to be thrown off balance because it was just another illusion. Thor took the opportunity to bring the butt of his ax down between Steve's shoulders.

“Stop reacting to every Loki you see,” Natasha called. “Focus on figuring out where the real one is.”

“Then break his nose,” Barton called.

Out of the corner of his eye Steve saw one of the Loki’s give a slight eye roll. Gotcha. Steve rolled under Thor’s swing, stood and slammed his shield as hard as he could into the back of Thor’s head. He was rewarded with a grunt and Thor stumbling. Steve pressed the advantage with a foot in Thor’s lower back, sending the Thunder God down. Loki came at Steve with a dagger. Steve threw his shield again and again it sailed straight through the illusion. The shield ricocheted off two different walls before slamming the real Loki in the chest. Loki went down much easier than Thor.

Steve caught the shield and spun to hit Thor, who had gotten to his feet again. Thor dodged the attack and swung with his ax. The sharp edge hit against Steve's shield, Steve tilted the shield so that the curved surface caused Thor's ax to slip off of it and throw Thor off balance. Steve swiped Thor's legs out from under him. Thor went down for the second time. Steve blocked a blast of magic from Loki and sent the shield spinning towards the Trickster, it smashed Loki in his face and Barton gave a whoop of glee.

Steve turned back to Thor, who was still down. He intended to try and disarm Thor, but when he went down on one knee to grab Thor's arm and kick him in the chest, Steve's hands and foot went straight through the illusion of Thor. Steve knew he was in trouble a split second before Thor was on him. Thor easily pinned Steve to the ground and rested the edge of the ax against the star on Steve's chest.

"Do you yield?" Thor asked, grinning.

"Fine," Steve said, also smiling. "But only cause you two cheat."

Thor got off of him, grabbed Steve's hand, and easily yanked him to his feet. Loki came sauntering up, his nose had already stopped bleeding from being hit by the shield. "It's only cheating if there are rules against it." Loki drawled. "Otherwise, it is called playing to your strengths." 

"Don't feel too bad," Natasha said, coming over to them. "These two have been fighting alongside each other for centuries. They even have all these little signals they use to communicate during a fight. You did good," she told Steve. "You let your reflexes take over and didn't worry so much about whether you were doing things right."

Natasha and Bucky had been working with Steve all day, explaining and demonstrating the fighting style he used, making him practice aiming his throws of the shield, having him get used to his new strength and size. It hadn't been as hard as Steve had thought it would be. Apparently the serum had enhanced his fighting skills. Plus muscle memory, or reflexes, were stored differently than regular memories. So once he learned to just let go and let his body move like it wanted to, he'd gotten much better.

After lunch Natasha had announced that she wanted Steve to take turns fighting with and against the other Avengers. He had started off fighting her and Barton, the goal being to learn to block and avoid. He'd done that fight by himself. Then he had gone up against Sam in his Falcon gear, the goal there to learn how to fight an airborne enemy. Barton had fought with him, his arrows a definite advantage. Then Steve and Sam teamed up to take on Bucky, to teach Steve to fight against someone who's strength and agility was equal to his own. Fighting Thor and Loki taught him how to go against opponents who were more powerful than him. He had asked to do that fight alone mostly because he wanted to really see just how much he was capable of.

Steve heard the gymnasium door open and turned to see Dr. Banner and Mr. Stark come in along with Colonel Rhodes. Steve was glad to see Mr. Stark, he was the only Avenger, that was currently at the Tower that Steve had not been able to spend time with yet. He'd even spoken to Colonel Rhodes more than he had spoken to Mr. Stark. "Are these my next opponents?" he asked, hoping the answer was yes.

Dr. Banner held up his hands, "Oh no, I don't think letting the Hulk loose in the Tower is a good idea."

Mr. Stark gave Dr. Banner's shoulder an affectionate squeeze. "Come on Bruce, you know I reinforced everything in here so you could let the Big Guy out to play. Let's show Cap what you got."

Dr. Banner was trying to hunch down to make himself look smaller. Steve recognized it as a defense mechanism. "No thanks." Dr. Banner told Mr. Stark. "I just don't think it would be a good idea."

Mr. Stark looked like he was going to pester Dr. Banner more but Natasha spoke up. "I was going to save the Hulk for tomorrow. We have to go out and practice with Thor's hammer anyway. We're gonna find a nice wide open place that we can destroy, perfect environment for Hulk training."

Dr. Banner gave Natasha a small smile, "I think that would work."

"Iron Man and War Machine on the other hand," Natasha said, smiling at Mr. Stark and Colonel Rhodes. "I think we could squeeze you two into the lineup."

"Sounds like fun," Colonel Rhodes said, turning to leave. "Let me go suit up."

"How about you, Stark?" Natasha asked.

Mr. Stark grinned, "I never pass up the opportunity to show Steve my moves."

Steve saw Sam and Bucky both shaking their heads and rolling their eyes.

"I thought we were keeping the witty banter to a minimum?" Sam asked.

Mr. Stark gave a little shrug. "Sorry it just slipped out. You wanna join us Barnes? Seems a little unfair making Steve go this alone."

Bucky shrugged, "He did fine against Thor and Loki."

"He lost."

Loki walked up next to Bucky, causally placing a hand on Bucky's shoulder. "Stark just wants a reason to save face when he loses to Rogers." Loki said, smirking.

Mr. Stark smirked right back. "Speaking of saving face, I love the new look. I think I can see the indent of the star."

Loki's face was actually looking much better already. Steve had read about the Asgardian's rapid healing but it was something else to actually see it. Loki had cleaned the blood off and the swelling had gone down. The bruising had already gone from purple to yellow and was fading fast. And where the shield had split his lip was almost completely healed over.

Loki smirked at Mr. Stark. "Perhaps I should be the one to aid the good Captain, then. I'm sure an injured opponent wouldn't be too much for you."

"Okay," Steve said. Everyone turned to stare incredulously at him, including Loki. "What? I haven't had a chance to fight next to Loki yet." Everyone just kept staring. Steve looked to Bucky to try to figure out what he'd done wrong.

But Bucky just backed him up. "Okay, Rhodes and Stark against Steve and Loki." Natasha gave Bucky a disbelieving look, but Bucky didn't back down. "Like he said, he hasn't fought with Loki yet. I think it will be a good learning experience. For everyone." Bucky emphasized the last part.

Natasha backed off, along with everyone else. Loki was still staring at Steve though.

"Should we strategize before the fight?" Steve asked him. Loki seemed to come back to himself. He nodded and walked to the far end of the gymnasium. Steve followed. When they were a ways away from everyone else Steve stopped and turned to Loki, speaking in a low voice. “Can you do that illusion thing with my shield?” Steve asked.

Loki cocked his head to the side, “I can. However it will not work against Stark and Rhodes.”

“Why not?”

“Within their suits they have sensors that act like eyes for them.” Loki explained. “My illusions cannot fool these sensors.”

“Dang.” Steve thought for a moment while Loki just stood there. The Asgardian looked slightly bored. “What do you think we should do?” Steve asked.

Loki looked at him, startled. “You want to know what I think we should do?” He asked, sounding disbelieving.

“Well,” Steve said. “You have fought against them before. And you know a lot more about all the modern technology. And from what I've been told and seen your thing is coming up with a way to win through trickery. And I'm thinking the only way we're going to win against these two is with a few good tricks. So yes, I want to know what you think.” Steve finished, looking at Loki earnestly.

Loki regarded Steve for a moment. Then he broke out into a down right mischievous grin.



After ironing out a few details, Steve and Loki went back over to where everyone was waiting. Colonel Rhodes had returned in the War Machine armor, but Mr. Stark was still dressed in just jeans and a shirt.

“Aren't you going to put your suit on?” Steve asked.

“Absolutely,” Mr. Stark answered. “I was just waiting for the two of you to finish planning the storming of Normandy.” Before Steve could ask what he meant, Mr. Stark stuck his arms out to the side.

Steve took a step back, unsure if this was a prelude to an attack. But Loki didn't look concerned, in fact, he looked amused.

Then something red flew into the gymnasium and attached itself to Mr. Stark’s right arm. Steve leapt back and raised his shield. Mr. Stark was just grinning at him. More red things flew in and attached themselves. Suddenly Steve could see what it was. He lowered his shield and watched in wonder as the Iron Man armor assembled itself around Mr. Stark’s body. The last thing was the helmet and face plate, once it had snapped into place Mr. Stark put his arms down. “There, now I'm ready.” And he took off.

Colonel Rhodes shook his head and muttered under his breath, “Like watching a peacock strut.” Then the Colonel snapped his face plate down and took off as well.

Steve and Loki moved to the center of the gymnasium. Loki turned to Steve, "Good luck Captain." Then he disappeared.

"Hey!" Steve yelled, turning in a full circle to try and spot the Trickster. "What about the plan?"

"I have my own plan," Loki called from where he had reappeared at the other end of the gymnasium.

War Machine swooped down towards Loki, but Loki just disappeared and reappeared somewhere else. In the meantime Iron Man came at Steve, swooping low, obviously with the intent to just bowl Steve over. Steve raised his shield, Iron Man ran into it with a loud clang. Steve rolled and ducked to avoid the second pass.

"That all you got, Iron Man?" Steve asked grinning.

"Oh Cap, you're gonna wish you hadn't asked that." Mr. Stark said. It was strange to hear the words being projected out of the metal suit. Iron Man raised his arms, palms pointing at Steve. Steve saw the lights of the Iron Man repulsors lighting up. He brought his shield up, not bother to look and see if Loki was in place. Iron Man fired at Steve, the blast hit his shield and Steve angled the disk to reflect the blast to the far left corner of the gym, where seconds before Loki had materialized then disappeared. War Machine was passing straight through the spot in his effort to catch Loki. The reflected repulsor beam hit War Machine and sent him crashing into the wall.

"Hey! No friendly fire!" Colonel Rhodes yelled. Loki reappeared next to War Machine, grabbed him by an arm and flung him directly at Iron Man.

Iron Man dodged the attack, and moved himself directly into the path of Steve's shield. The shield hit Iron Man from behind. Steve heard Mr. Stark's 'Oof' of surprise. Iron Man turned to Steve, ready to fire his repulsors again now that Steve was unarmed.

Loki appeared behind Iron Man, he caught Steve's shield and threw it, hitting Iron Man's legs. Iron Man's thrusters shorted out just long enough for him to drop down so that Steve could grab him by a leg and toss him to the ground. Steve straddled the armor, and pulled out the long dagger Loki had given him. He braced one arm on the shoulder of the armor and touched the tip of the dagger to the throat. "Loki assured me that this dagger could pierce your armor." Steve glanced over to where War Machine was down, Loki had Colonel Rhodes pinned in a similar manner. "I'd say we won," Steve said, cocking his head to the side and smiling. "Wouldn't you?"

The Iron Man faceplate flipped up. Mr. Stark eyes were wide and pupils dilated, as he looked up at Steve. He was also breathing a little heavy, which seemed odd to Steve, he didn't think flying the armor required much physical effort. He saw Stark's Adam's apple move as he swallowed before speaking. "Yeah," his voice sounded gruff. "Yeah, you got me. Um, can I get up?"

Steve got off the armor and watched as Mr. Stark got to his feet. Steve was feeling uncertain, something about the way Stark was acting seemed off. Was he not used to losing to Steve? Loki appeared next to Steve and held out his hand. "My dagger?" Steve handed the dagger over. The others came over, offering their congratulations.

Thor stood between Steve and Loki, clapping an large hand on each of their shoulders. "Well played." Thor beamed. "Your subterfuge was most effective."

"No kidding," Sam said. "We really thought Loki had left you high and dry."

"Actually, it was Loki's idea to make you guys think that," Steve explained. "That way he could get Colonel Rhodes into the right position without him suspecting it was a setup." Steve extended a hand to Loki, "It was a great plan."

Loki looked down at Steve's hand, like he didn't know what to make of it. Then he slowly accepted the handshake. "It was an invigorating exercise." Loki said, pulling his hand back quickly. Loki suddenly got a far away look. "Excuse me, my appointment has arrived." And then he was gone.

"Loki's not big on the group hugging," Sam explained when Steve frowned in confusion. "Actually, I think this is the first time he willingly worked with someone who wasn't Thor or Barnes."

"Yeah, you two make a great team." Mr. Stark said, still looking like there was something wrong.

Steve held his hand out to him, "No hard feelings?"

Mr. Stark blinked. "No, of course not." He insisted, taking Steve's hand. "You're really getting the hang of the shield. When you're done here you should come down to the lab, I'll show you how some of our gizmos work."

Steve smiled, he must have been mistaken, thinking something was wrong. "Thanks, I would appreciate that Mr. Stark." There was a brief moment where it looked like Mr. Stark had been slapped, then his face closed down. But Steve had seen it. Next to Colonel Rhodes, Bucky made a slight movement to get Steve's attention, then he mouthed 'Tony'. "Tony." Steve amended quickly. "I would really appreciate that Tony."

Mr- Tony, sounded like he was trying to force a casual air. "Sure, no problem. I got a few things going on so just let FRIDAY know before you head up." With that the Iron Man face plate snapped back down and Steve watched with consternation as Tony took off through a small port in the ceiling. 

Tony made it to his penthouse before he lost it. He let the armor fall away as he pressed the heel of his hands to his eyes and took several deep breaths.

Mr. Stark.

It had been so formal, like he and Steve didn't even know each other. It was that moment that it hit Tony, as far as Steve was concerned, they didn't know each other. To Steve, Tony was just another member of the team that he needed to learn to work with.

Tony let out one sob before he clenched his jaw and squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block out the hollow ache that was threatening to tear through his chest.

Chapter Text

Steve pulled Bucky aside after Natasha called an end to training. “Is there a problem between Mr, um, Tony and I.”

Bucky looked thoughtful, “No, I don't think so. Unless he's done something stupid again like build a maniacal robot or decide he knows better than everyone. But as far as I know he hasn't done anything like that in the past week. Why'd you ask?”

Steve shook his head. “It's probably nothing, he just seemed upset after the fight.”

“Don't worry about it, he was probably just upset about you working with Loki.”

“About that, I could tell everyone was surprised I wanted to partner with him,” Steve said, remembering the looks he had gotten when he’d agreed to pair with Loki. “Even Loki looked shocked.”

Bucky gave a small chuckle. “That's because the rest of the team doesn't like Loki, they only accept him as a necessary evil while we’re hunting the Infinity Stones. Even Thor tries to keep from putting too much trust in him.”

Steve thought about this as they made their way back to Steve’s room. “That must be hard for him,” Steve commented.

Bucky shrugged, “It is, but I think Thor has just resigned himself to it.”

“No,” Steve corrected. “I meant it must be hard for Loki. Having to spend all of his time fighting next to and helping people who don't trust him.”

Bucky stopped in the middle of the hallway. “It is.” He said, regarding Steve with a puzzled expression.

“What?” Steve asked.

Bucky started walking again. “Nothing, just that we were having this exact conversation last week. Except it was me trying to make you understand that you needed to cut Loki some slack. Because you're right, this is really hard for Loki, the more you guys ostracize him, the more likely he is to turn on us. That's what happened back on Asgard with Thor and his buddies, they treated Loki like he wasn't their peer. It drove him insane. Literally.”

Steve followed behind Bucky, frowning. “None of that was in the report about him.”

Bucky snorted, “That's cause no one bothered to find out. I only figured it out after about a dozen conversation with him. He may think he's a tricky bastard, sorry! What I mean is that Nat’s not the only one with the ability to trick Loki into revealing more than he meant to.”

They reached the door to Steve's room and Bucky waited for Steve to open the door. Bucky was trying to make Steve do everything so that Steve would learn how to use all the new technology. Steve carefully pressed the pad of his thumb to the rectangle next to his door and was rewarded by the door sliding open. As they went in Steve turned to Bucky, "You know, it's okay that you swear around me. You don't have to keep apologizing either."

Bucky threw his hands up, "Oh thank fuck!"


"You said it was okay," Bucky called over his shoulder as he went to his room to get cleaned up.

Steve just shook his head fondly and went to take his own shower.

When Steve came out of the shower Bucky was lying face up on Steve's bed. His hair was slightly damp and he had changed into new clothes. His shirt was short sleeved and the metal arm gleamed in the sunlight coming through the window.

"That was a really long shower Rogers," Bucky said. "I was starting to worry you had drowned."

"So worried you just laid there and did nothing," Steve asked as he searched carefully through the clothes in his room, trying to decide what he should wear.

"Well I did think about coming to your rescue, but then I thought maybe there was a different reason you were taking so long." Bucky snickered.

Steve ignored Bucky's suggestive tone as he pulled out a pair of slacks and a nice button down shirt from the closet. "I just, the water pressure is really nice and I kinda lost track of time." Steve confessed.

"Sure, the water pressure." Bucky winked knowingly.

"Is everything an innuendo now a days," Steve asked in exasperation.

Bucky started laughing, "Only if you try hard enough." He sat up and watched as Steve pulled on the slacks. "You're not wearing that."

Steve paused, one leg still out of the slacks. "What do you mean?"

"We're just going to the common area to hang out with everyone. You don't need to dress up." Bucky explained as he got up from the bed and went over to Steve's dresser.

"But, I thought we were meeting the Maximoff twins and Vision?"

"We are," Bucky said, pulling out clothes. "But you don't need to dress like you're entertaining formal company. Here," Bucky handed Steve a pair of blue jeans and a t-shirt.

Steve took the clothes slowly. Bucky didn't seem like he was trying to pull one over on Steve, and Bucky was dressed in a similar fashion.

Bucky must have sensed Steve's hesitation. "Trust me," he said. "Everyone else will be dressed casual."

Steve got dressed then combed his hair, only to have Bucky grab his comb and change how Steve had done it.

"There," Bucky announced, stepping back to look Steve over. "Now you're acceptably modernized. Let's go."

They made their way out to the elevator and up to the common area. Steve had gone over all the Avenger's files and he had been mentally reviewing the files on Vision and the Maximoff twins, but it still didn't prepare him for the scene that met him when the elevator doors opened.

Wanda and Loki were seated on one of the couches, red magic floated between them, levitating several objects. There was a blur of gray streaking through the large room, kicking up a wind behind it. Barton seemed to be yelling at the streak to knock it off.

Floating above everyone was a magenta colored man with a golden cape flowing gracefully behind him. His eyes were closed when Steve first noticed him, then they suddenly flew open and the man reached out and snatched the blur from the air. The blur immediately became recognizable as Pietro Maximoff.

Without meaning to, Steve took a staggering step back. Bucky grabbed his arm to steady him, then he turned and yelled at the room in large. "Hey! I thought everyone was going to be on their best behavior for this!"

Everyone turned and looked guiltily at Steve and Bucky. Well, everyone except Loki. Loki just plucked a book from where it was floating, opened it and began to read.

Vision floated down from the ceiling with Pietro in tow. "Our apologies James," Vision said, bowing his head slightly. "Pietro got bored and started acting out." Vision spook with a refined English accent that reminded Steve of Miss Carter's.

"I just needed to work off some energy," Pietro replied, trying to pull his arm out of Vision's grip, to no avail.

"You were trying to find all of Stark's food stashes," Barton cried from across the room. "In under thirty seconds."

Pietro shrugged, "I just wanted to see if I could break my old score." He had an interesting accent that reminded Steve of some of the Russian immigrants he knew. Had known.

"It's okay," Steve said, pulling himself together and stepping off the elevator. "I need to get used to all this anyway." He held a hand out to Vision. "It's nice to meet you Vision."

Vision let go of Pietro and accepted Steve's handshake. "A pleasure as always Captain. If you need any reference information please don't hesitate to ask. I can access any information on the internet and already have quite an extensive database of knowledge."

"Thank you," Steve said, even though he hadn't entirely understood what Vision meant. "I appreciate that." Steve turned to Pietro.

Pietro hadn't moved from where Vision had left him. He was regarding Steve with a curious look. "Can you really not remember anything?"

"Nothing since becoming Captain America. Or, so I've been told."

"Well in that case," Pietro said, grinning. "I'm your favorite."

Steve heard Wanda's scoff and he turned to look at her.

"Don't believe anything he says Steve," she said, getting up from the couch and coming over to him.

Steve smiled. "I kinda got the feeling that I shouldn't."

She got an odd look as she studied him, "They really are gone." she said, in a far away voice.

"Excuse me?"

"Your memories," Wanda explained. "And with them, all of your pain."

"My pain?" Steve remembered reading that Wanda Maximoff was able to look inside a person's mind. He didn't quite believed it.

"Yes, loss, hurt, despair. All of it is gone."

Steve gave a slight smile, "Maybe that's a good thing."

Wanda shook her head. "No, our pains and tortures make us who we are, along with the good."

"That seems very wise." Steve said.

Wanda gave a slight smile. "It should, you said it."

Steve felt a little uncomfortable talking with Wanda, she was, odd. He cleared his throat and tried to change the subject. "Was that your magic making those items float?" He asked her.

Wanda nodded, "Loki is teaching me how to have greater control over my magic."

"I'd love a demonstration," Steve said. "I've seen Loki's magic at work a few times, I should get use to yours as well."

"Of course." Wanda turned back to where Loki was still sitting, there was a table in front of the couch, on it rested the objects Wanda had been levitating earlier. Wanda reached out a hand to the table, a streak of red magic left her hand and surrounded on of the objects, a large colorful glass ball. The ball rose up into the air. Wanda flicked her hand and the glass ball went zooming around the room. It weaved around some of the glass walls, and around a few people. No one flinched though, so they must have been used to it. Wanda sent the ball up to the ceiling, where it rolled along until it came to a wall, then it rolled halfway down before taking off across the room. Steve watched, smiling, as Wanda did more tricks with the glass ball. Finally the ball zoomed right up to Steve and slowly drifted down until it landed in his outstretched hands.

"Wow," Steve said, turning the ball over in his hands. "That was really nifty." Everyone started laughing, except Loki and Vision, and Steve looked around confused. "What did I do this time?"

Bucky clapped him on the shoulder, "Don't worry about it, they're just making fun of your old fashion language, buddy. It's because they're really just a bunch of immature children."

"Oh come on Barnes," Clint said. "We missed out last time on his transition from the Forties to the new Millennium. Let us enjoy it while it lasts."

"He's not a side show."

Steve watched Bucky banter back and forth with Clint. It somehow devolved into a wrestling match that, to no ones surprise, Clint lost. Bucky only let Clint up when Natasha told him to.

After that it became a kind of demonstration by the new team members. They stayed up in the common area, instead of going back down to the gymnasium, which meant most of the demonstrations were kept pretty tame. Vision showed his ability to change his density, he went from being able to pass through walls, to so dense that Steve and Bucky's combined strength couldn't budge him. Wanda proved her mind reading abilities by cheating at poker. And Pietro kept moving from one place to another so fast that Steve didn't even know he had moved until Pietro was across the room.

Clint started throwing fruit for Wanda to hit with blasts of her magic. It became clear after the third or fourth throw that Clint was aiming for Loki with the fruit. Loki noticed too. So when an orange got too close to him, because Clint had thrown seven fruit at once, the orange glowed, flew back at Clint, and exploded in his face. All without Loki ever looking up from the book he was reading.

It was at this point that FRIDAY interrupted them. "Tony wants to remind you all that last time this happened the cleaning staff threatened to charge double."

Clint wiped orange pulp off his face. "Stark can afford it." He said with a shrug.

"Hey FRIDAY," Bucky called. He was sitting on the couch next to Loki, Loki had actually moved over to make room for him. "Where is Stark?"

"The boss is in his workshop."

Bucky turned to Steve, "Now would be a good time to go take him up on his offer to show you some of the tech we use."

Steve tossed the fruit pieces he'd been cleaning up into the trash. "Sounds great." He'd been looking forward to doing that since Mr.- Tony had offered.

"FRIDAY will show you the way to the workshop."

Steve paused, "Wait, you're not coming?"

Bucky clapped him on the shoulder, "You'll be fine. I figure maybe the reason Stark is acting weird is because I keep glaring at him everytime I see him. Or at least, that's what Natasha thinks." Bucky gave him a push towards a door that led out to a hall. "You and Stark are good friends, you need to get used to being around him, all by yourself."

Steve reluctantly walked towards the door. His reluctance must have showed on his face because Bucky laughed at him.

"You look like you're going to the gallows."

Steve sighed, then shook his head. He went through the door and followed the directions FRIDAY gave him. As he walked he tried to get his emotions in check. If Bucky was right, then the odd behavior Tony had been showing was not due to Steve. And it made sense. Tony had seemed fine sparing with Steve, it wasn't until after the fight, when everyone was coming over to them, that his demeanor changed.

By the time Steve got to the workshop, he was feeling much better. Then he caught site of Tony.

The workshop, just like everything else in the building, was made up of glass walls. So Steve could see right in as soon as he rounded the corner of the hallway. Tony was inside, he wore a sleeveless shirt and had welding goggles on. The Iron Man suit was in front of him and he seemed to be working on it. The sparks from the welding flew up around him, reflecting off the polished metal off the suit. The scene made Tony seem powerful in a way Steve hadn't noticed before. Tony's arms were well muscled and had a slight sheen of sweat and Steve couldn't help admiring the sight.

He realized what he was doing and clamped down on the feeling of attraction. It wasn't hard to do, he was used to it. He gave a quick check around to make sure no one had seen his moment of weakness, before entering the workshop.

"Boss, Cap is here to see you." FRIDAY announced as soon as Steve stepped through the door. Tony looked up, he turned of the welding torch and took off the goggles.

"Hey Steve, where's Barnes?" Tony's hair was slightly messed up from the goggles. Steve did his best not to notice how good it made Tony look.

"He's in the common room," Steve said, "they're cleaning up the mess."

Tony scoffed, "You mean Nat is glaring at Barton and he's reluctantly cleaning?"

Steve smiled, that was a pretty accurate description of things. "Um, you said you would be willing to show me some of the tech the Avengers use."

Tony's face brightened. "Yeah, most of it's in the Command Center. Let me finish up real quick then we can go over there." Tony put the goggles back on and went back to his welding. Steve wandered around the workshop, looking at the various things lying around. Steve didn't understand any of it. He came to a HUD that showed a blueprint. Steve studied it for a minute before he realized it was of Bucky's arm. The display showed intricate wiring and gears. Steve reached out and touched the display, just like he'd seen Bucky and the others do. The display of the arm broke apart into tinier pieces, numbers and words Steve didn't understand next to each piece.

Steve heard Tony come up behind him. "This is incredible," Steve said.

Tony touched something on the display and the pieces all fit back together again. "Yeah, well, got to give those Hydra guys credit, they did a pretty good job. Of course I've tweaked and improved it."

"Like making it warm?" Steve said, remembering what Bucky had told him.

"Yup." Tony touched the display and it showed thin lines running throughout the arm. "That was relatively easy. Works on the same principle as a rear defroster." At Steve's confused look Tony explained further. "On the rear window of a car, there are these black lines running parallel to each other. Each line has a wire in it. When you push a button to activate them, the wires heat up and melt the frost on the window." Tony pointed to the lines in Bucky's arm. "Same thing, except they are hooked up to a tiny temperature gauge that keeps the arm the same temperature as the rest of Bucky's body."

Steve remembered something else Bucky had said. "It makes it seem less artificial."

Tony shrugged, "I guess. But it was really to help with the nightmares."

Steve frowned. "Nightmares?"

"Yeah. You told me about them, actually. You said that during some of Barnes nightmares he would be shivering, like he was cold, even though the room was warm. You noticed that if you moved the metal arm away from his body, the shivering stopped and the nightmare calmed down. So I installed these babies and the nightmares got better. Well, the shivering nightmares got better." Tony amended. "I can't do much for all the other ones."

"Thanks." Steve said. "I appreciate you doing that." He made a note to tell Bucky about this.

Tony looked away from Steve and fiddled with the display. "Well, Barnes' recovery hasn't been easy. It was the least I could do to make things just a little easier for you."

Steve was surprised by the last statement. Tony was saying he hadn't really done it for Bucky, it had more been something he had done for Steve. They must really be good friends, then. It set Steve's mind at ease even more concerning Tony's odd behavior from earlier.

Tony gave Steve's arm a small tug. "Come on, Command Center. Cool new tech. Overwhelming you with the modern age. It'll be fun."

Steve followed Tony to the Command Center. It was the same place they had come to after exiting the jet yesterday. Steve was happy to be able to identify more things than just a chair this time. And by the time Tony was done with him, Steve could tell he would be able to identify and use most everything.

Tony loved to explain technology. He gladly showed Steve how to properly use the HUD and how to read them. He explained how the communicators worked. He showed Steve some of the weaponry. He talked animatedly about how he had needed to come up with a solution to Thor constantly shorting out his communicator. He explained how Black Widow's suit worked. He even tried to explain the Iron Man suit to Steve.

Steve was an attentive learner but there was a lot to take in. And Tony was being very distracting. Because Tony Stark was a very hands on person. Which meant he kept putting his hands on Steve.

It had started as just casual, quick touches. Putting an arm around Steve to pull him in a new direction. Moving Steve's hands so that he was putting them in the right spot to make the virtual keyboard appear. It had made Steve slightly uncomfortable at first, then he remembered the way he had noticed Loki casually touching Bucky throughout the day. It was probably just something that was a social norm now a days. But the longer they were in the Command Center, the more intimate the touches became. Steve soon realized that Tony wasn't even aware he was doing it. It was like the more he got into explaining things to Steve, the more relaxed he became.

Tony would come up next to Steve to show him something and his shoulder would press lightly against Steve's. If they stayed in that position too long, Tony's hip would eventually press against Steve as well. Then Tony would lean over to point something out and he would balance himself with a hand on Steve's back.

It was driving Steve to distraction. Steve didn't often find himself attracted to a guy and he had gotten good about squashing the attraction as soon as he recognized it. But it was not easy to squash the attraction he felt to Tony when Tony was standing so close and touching him in intimate ways.

Steve found he was memorizing the way Tony's face lit up when he started talking about something he was particularly proud of. And when Tony was close, Steve would turn his head, ever so slightly, to breathe in the scent of Tony. A mixture of musk, metal, and machine oil.

Finally, when Tony leaned across the table they were hunched over, he placed a hand on the small of Steve's back. Steve felt an electric current of desire shoot up his spine. He quickly stepped away from Tony. A little too quickly, if Tony's confused and hurt expression was anything to go by.

"Sorry," Steve said, trying to cover for his mistake. "I just realized how hungry I am. I'm not used to needing to eat so much.

Tony's face cleared and he smiled. "Yeah, you can sure pack away the calories. I'll order some food for dinner. Any requests?"

Steve shook his head as he slowly backed away. "No, whatever you want is fine. I, um, I do want to get some more of the reading Bucky gave me in before dinner."

"Okay. Come to the common area in about thirty minutes, food should be here by then."

"Great, thanks." Steve paused when he reached the door. "Thanks again for showing me all this, I really appreciate it."

Tony shrugged, but looked pleased. "No problem. Sorry if I bored you with my techno-babble."

Steve shook his head. "You weren't boring at all." In more ways than one. "And you were a great teacher."

Tony smiled at Steve and Steve had to repress the desire to walk back over to Tony and spend more time with him. But that would be a bad idea. So instead Steve turned down the hall and walked towards the nearest elevator.

Chapter Text

Steve was relieved to find that Bucky wasn't anywhere around when he got to his room. But just to be sure he wouldn't be disturbed he went to his bedroom and shut the door. Steve stood in the center of the room for a few minutes, trying to get his emotions under control. And he most definitely tried not to think about how nice Tony's hands had felt.

After a while he felt more in control of himself. He wasn't used to not being able to control his feelings. It was just that everything in this era was new and he was trying to keep up. He'd let his defenses down and now he needed to build them back up and be extra on guard.

Steve heard the small chime that meant someone had opened the main door to the apartment. "Steve?" He heard Bucky call.

Steve took one more steadying breath before answering. "I'm in here."

Bucky came into the room. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Why?"

Bucky regarded Steve. "Stark said he told you to come for dinner in half an hour."

"Yeah, I was just going to head up." Bucky kept watching Steve like he knew there was something wrong. "What is it Buck?" Steve finally asked.

"It's been forty minutes." Bucky said, nodding towards the clock.

Steve looked and sure enough, forty minutes had passed since he'd come back to his room. "Shoot. I, ah, guess I lost track of time." Bucky was not going to buy it, Steve already knew.

Sure enough Bucky's mild concern had turned into outright disbelief. "You're never late for anything, ever. Unless you're dead. Which is why I was worried." Steve opened his mouth to try and come up with another excuse, but Bucky cut him off. "Did something happen with Stark? Is that why you didn't come down? It is isn't it, I can see it on your face. I told Nat is was a bad idea to let you be alone with him. I knew he would end up doing something to make you mad."

Steve held up a hand, "Whoa, hold on, this isn't Tony's fault. It's mine."

Bucky frowned. "What do you mean it's yours?"

Steve hesitated. Bucky knew about Steve's .. problem. He still remembered Bucky's reaction the first time Steve had been caught looking at another man. Steve was sixteen and they had been working in the fish market that summer. Steve had been thirsty and tired from being in the hot sun all day and was not thinking clearly. One of the other workers had taken off his shirt and Steve hadn't even realized he was admiring the man's well muscled back until Bucky grabbed him and pulled him into an alley. Bucky had proceeded to ream Steve out and tell him he had to be more careful, because while Bucky could save Steve from bullies at school, a bunch of grown men was something else entirely. So Steve had learned to control his desires towards men.

Then he'd gotten his first crush on a girl, naturally she hadn't liked him back, but it had still been something of a relief. Steve wasn't as abnormal as he'd thought. That was when Bucky had started setting him up on dates, probably figured if he could find someone Steve wanted to marry then Bucky wouldn't have to worry about him anymore. But Steve still occasionally found himself attracted to a man. A man like Tony Stark.

Bucky was still staring at him and Steve knew he was going to have to explain. "It's just that, um, Tony, he was .." Steve had no idea how to actually explain this to Bucky. "Tony was, I don't think he even realized he was doing it-"

Bucky grabbed Steve by the shoulders and gave him a small shake. "Steve, just spit it out."

"Tony was, um, touching me, a lot. Just casual touches, mostly." Steve had to look away, he could feel his face heating up.

"Yeah," Bucky said. "I didn't think to warn you. He's very handsy." Bucky let go of Steve's shoulders. "You should see him when he's working on my arm. I always feel like I need a smoke after."

Steve stared down at the carpet, trying to will the blush he could feel to go away.

"Oh!" Steve looked up at Bucky, he had a look of realization. "You're attracted to him." It wasn't a question. Bucky sounded like he was remembering something. "Shit, I didn't even think about that."

Now Steve was the one confused. "Think about what?"

Bucky sat down on Steve's bed. "You've always been attracted to Stark, well, at least that's what Nat told me. I noticed as soon as I saw you two in the same room for more than five minutes."

Steve could feel his whole face burning now. "Natasha knows?"

"Nat knows everything about the people on this team." Bucky paused, frowning. "Did you get to the section on sexuality in the reading I gave you?"

Steve shook his head. "I don't think I've gotten to that part yet."

Bucky got up from the bed and went into the other room. Steve followed him and found Bucky with the tablet Steve had left on the coffee table this morning. Bucky tapped the screen a few times then handed the tablet over to Steve. "There, read that, then we can talk more."

Steve sat down on the couch with the tablet and began reading the section Bucky had brought up. It was entitled Alternative Lifestyle Choices. Steve became so absorbed with reading that he barely noticed Bucky answering the door and talking quietly to someone. Nor did he notice when Bucky put a plate of pizza down in front of him.

Steve read through the whole document, then read it a second time. Then reread the part that explained what a bisexual was. Finally he put down the tablet, seeing the plate of pizza he grabbed it and started eating. He'd forgotten how hungry he was. "Who brought the food?" He asked, trying to stall. He wanted to process the information he'd just read before talking out loud about it.

"Sam did," Bucky answered. He had his own plate of food and it was already half gone. "I told him you needed some alone time. He understood."

"He seems like a really great guy."

"He is," Bucky said. "I'm glad you found someone who could be there for you when I couldn't."

They ate in silence for awhile. Steve knew Bucky was waiting for him to be ready to talk. It was a comfort to know that as much as everything had changed, Bucky was still there for him, no matter what.

When all the food was gone, Steve picked back up the tablet and stared at the screen. Finally Bucky spoke up.

"Whatcha thinking?"

Steve shrugged, "I'm not sure." Steve scrolled through the section on the tablet, again stopping at the part about bisexuality.

Bisexuals are people who can and do form emotional, romantic and/or sexual relationships with (1) people of same gender as themselves AND with (2) people of the opposite gender as themselves

Bucky leaned over to see what Steve was reading. "Yup, that sounds like you." Bucky said.

"There are, I mean, other people feel this way too? Attracted to both men and women?" Steve asked, still not looking up from the screen.

Bucky scooted a little closer. "Yes, a lot of people. A couple of them live in this building."

Steve jerked his head up to look at Bucky in surprise. "What? Who?"

"Well, Loki and Thor for starters."

Steve shook his head, "No, Thor is with that scientists, Jane Foster."

Bucky chuckled, "You're not really understanding what bisexual means, are you? Asgardians don't actually have a set of terms for sexuality, you're either attracted to someone or you're not. And while Thor has mostly been attracted to smart, headstrong females throughout his life. I have it on very, very good authority that he has been with a man a time or two.

"And Loki just wants someone who he feels can keep up with him intellectually, or who he thinks will be really good in bed. Plus he can change his gender if he wants to, so he's actually the epitome of bisexual."

Steve thought about how Loki acts around Bucky and something occurred to him. "Loki has been flirting with you."

Bucky groaned. "Yes."

Steve couldn't help smiling. "And?"

"And I'm not interested in guys. I've told him this."

"But you just said he could change gender." Steve pointed out, trying not to laugh at Bucky's annoyance that an attractive demi god had a thing for him.

"Yes, but he'd still be Loki. And while I have made some very questionable choices in the past, even I'm not that dumb." Bucky hunched down into the couch, scowling, with his arms crossed. "Weren't we talking about you?"

Steve gave in and laughed out loud.

Bucky's scowl deepened. Then he glanced over at Steve a smirked. "Stark is too."

"Is what?" Steve said.


Steve felt his face go warm again. He looked back down at the tablet. "He is?" He said, trying not to sound too interested.

"Not officially, mind you." Bucky said. "I think he's too used to keeping it a secret. It's only been in the last decade or so that it's okay for public figures to come out as gay or bi. Plus Stark's old man once caught him with another guy, he threatened to cut Tony out of his will if he ever did it again."

Steve frowned, "How do you know about it if Tony has tried to keep it a secret?"

Now it was Bucky's turn to look away. "Back when I was still under Hydra's control, they decided that Stark was becoming a threat, so they were going to send me after him. I was given everything they could dig up on him and, um, well I was going to use his attraction to males as a way to get close to him." Bucky plucked at a loose thread on the sofa. "Cause the only time he dismissed his bodyguard was when he was going to spend the night with someone. And, um, Hydra didn't want to attract any attention, so I was supposed to give him a poison that would induce a heart attack."

Steve tried not to react to the information. It couldn't be easy for Bucky to talk about his time as a prisoner, and Steve didn't want him to feel like Steve was judging him.

"They ended up calling off the hit," Bucky continued. "They found out that his business partner was planning on having him killed. So it was decided they'd just wait and see what happened." Bucky gave a humorless laugh. "Course he ended up becoming Iron Man and they were furious with themselves for not have taken him out when they could.

"My memories were wiped, but, being around Stark, I keep remembering all that stuff I had to learn about him. Actually," Bucky cocked his head to the side, like he was remembering something. "We've had this conversation about him before. Huh." Bucky shrugged. "Weird."

Steve sighed, it probably was weird, for everyone. They were having to retell him things they had already told him. Except, Steve realized, his current friends here at the Tower hadn't been around when Steve was first woken up from the ice. According to what Steve had read, he'd been recovered by SHIELD. And they had been the ones in charge of bringing him up to speed on the modern age.

Steve looked down at the tablet. All this information was exactly what SHIELD had given him that first time. What must it have been like to read about bisexuals for the first time but not have anyone he could confide in to talk to about it.

Here and now, talking to Bucky about this, it felt like a knot had been untangled deep inside his chest. He'd always been so conflicted about the way he felt towards some men. It hadn't made any sense to him, because he knew he was attracted to women too. He'd thought for sure he was just confused, and he wasn't feeling a real attraction, that maybe it was because he was an artist and could just appreciate beauty no matter which sex it presented itself as.

"You okay?" Bucky asked.

Steve realized he'd been quiet for a while. "I was just thinking. I wonder what it was like back when they first gave me this information. I doubt I would have felt comfortable talking to a random SHIELD agent about this."

"You didn't," Bucky said. "You didn't feel comfortable talking to anyone about it for a long time. It wasn't until after you knew Sam for over a year that you finally opened up to him about it. You told me he was really supportive and helped you come to grips with it finally."

"I'm glad you're here this time." Steve said earnestly.

Bucky smiled, "I am too." Then Bucky laughed. "Oh man, I remember, when I was first living with you, after I got free from Hydra. I didn't remember everything, all at once. I would just get pieces here and there at first, it was damn confusing. Then one day I see you checking out Stark as he walked by and it suddenly hit me that you were attracted to guys. My first instinct was to panic, just like I did in the old days. Then my brain paired the memory up with the modern setting, and suddenly I felt so relieved that you could just be yourself now. I was grinning like an idiot. You thought I'd gone crazy." Bucky laughed again at the memory and Steve couldn't help grinning.

After that they grabbed a few beers from the fridge and Bucky found some snacks in Steve's kitchen. Steve kept reading from the tablet, occasionally asking Bucky questions. Finally Steve got up the courage to ask him one more question. "So, um, you said that I've always been attracted to Tony." Steve swallowed nervously. "Has he, I mean, does he?" Steve took a deep breath. "Do you think? Um .."

"Do I think Stark has the hots for you? Have I ever caught him staring at your ass? Has the entire team noticed that he just happens to need to come by the gym when your training? Or was there ever a time he came barging in here to talk to you, and you'd just gotten out of the shower, so you were standing there in just a towel and it took him exactly thirty three seconds to remember why he was even here in the first place?" Bucky shrugged and took a sip of his beer. "Nope, never noticed anything that would suggest he wants to fuck you. Repeatedly."

"Buck!" Steve's whole face had to be bright red.

Bucky just grinned evilly. Then he turned to Steve, a stern look on his face. "But you are not allowed to have sex with Stark. Not under any circumstances. You hear me?"

"Why not?" Hadn't they just been talking about how the way Steve felt was okay?

"Because then I would have to pay Nat a hundred bucks, and you know how much I hate to lose a bet."

Steve frowned at Bucky. "You placed a bet on my love life?"

"Not your love life, I would never do that." Bucky said, trying to look affronted. "Your sex life on the other hand .."

Steve flicked the cap from his beer at Bucky. "Jerk."

Bucky caught the cap and flicked it back at Steve. "Punk." 

Tony watched as Thor ate his third pizza, not piece of pizza, but a whole pizza. FRIDAY knew to order at least five just for Thor alone. She had also ordered Steve's favorite, sausage and pepperoni, except Steve was not around to eat it. Bucky had gone to find Steve, then about ten minutes later Sam got a text from Bucky asking to bring some pizza up to Steve's room. When Sam returned a short while later, his only explanation was that Steve was dealing with something and Barnes was helping him.

Tony tried not to read too much into it. It was probably just a coincidence that Steve didn't want to come down to dinner after spending all afternoon with Tony. Tony was so busy convincing himself of this that he didn't notice Bruce was trying to talk him until he was right up in Tony's personal space.

"I agree one hundred percent," Tony said in response to whatever question Bruce had just asked. It was a safe statement, he did usually agree with Bruce.

Bruce sighed in exasperation. "I was trying to tell you what I learned from your Dad's notes."

"Okay. Wait, why were you looking through my Dad's notes again?" Tony vaguely recalled Bruce asking to have access, but Tony couldn't remember the exact reason.

Bruce sighed again. "Are you okay? You've seemed even more preoccupied lately."

"I'm fine." He replied quickly. "Now are you going to tell me what you learned? Or can I go back to listening to Barton's riveting story about his son's volcano science project?" A piece of pineapple came flying across the room and landed dead center on the piece of pizza Tony was trying to eat. Tony glared at Clint and flicked the offending piece of fruit off his slice.

"I was trying to tell you that I think I know what Doom is looking for in Steve's memories." Bruce said, sounding a little exasperated.

Everyone in the room stopped eating and looked at Bruce. Bruce immediately ducked his head, just like he always tended to when all the attention was on him. Tony stepped closer to him, he picked up his slice of pizza and took a big bite, then spoke with the food still in his mouth, "Tell me whatcha got big guy." Tony leaned up against the counter Bruce was seated at, he positioned his hips and shoulders to angle his body in such a way that his jacket fell open and the flat plane of his stomach would be visible beneath the t-shirt he was wearing. He was posing, and it was working. The focus of the room switched from Bruce, to Tony listening to Bruce. Bruce felt the shift in the room and immediately relaxed.

"So I was going over everything from when Steve first became a Super Soldier, to the time he went down in the ice," Bruce began explaining, talking directly to Tony. Tony kept eating his pizza, making sure that he remained the focal point of the room. It hadn't been that long that Bruce had come back to Avengers Tower, and he was still some what skittish about being around everyone again. Having Loki as part of the group wasn't helping much either, so Tony had started keeping an eye on Bruce's moods and intervene when he felt it was necessary. Between him and Natasha, they were able to mostly keep Bruce from hiding away in his lab.

"That's a lot of data to go over," Tony remarked, taking another bite of pizza.

"Actually it wasn't really." Bruce was warming up to his subject and Tony was pleased to see him relaxing further. "The question is what does Steve know that Doom would want? But most of Steve's missions from World War II are now public knowledge, some because they were declassified, the rest happened after all of SHIELD's files were dumped on the internet."

Natasha was seated next to Bruce, she cocked her head to the side as she spoke up. "So anything that Doom could easily access is off the table, because why go to all the trouble of stealing Steve's memories if he could just get the information off the internet."

Bruce nodded, "Exactly. So I was specifically looking for something that wasn't in the SHIELD files. And the only thing I could find was a reference to some blueprints Steve supposedly saw when he was rescuing Bucky and the 107th. The report gave the details of the map Steve saw and memorized, the one that showed several Hydra bases. But then, almost as a footnote, the report mentioned that Steve had drawn up a few detailed blueprints he had seen in Zola's lab and they had been given to the science division."

Tony saw where this was going, "Dad's division."

"Yes. However, there is no record of any such blueprints. That's why I wanted your Dad's personal notes." Bruce pulled a folder out of his bag, Tony immediately recognized it as his Dad's notes, the ones Fury had given him a few years back. Bruce flipped through them until he came to the page he wanted. "Your Dad briefly mentions that he had destroyed some blueprints given to him by Steve. His reasoning is that whatever the blueprints were for, he felt it was something so dangerous he didn't even trust himself with it. So he destroyed all record of it and swore Steve to secrecy."

"Okay, but how does Doom know about it then?" Tony asked.

Bruce pulled out his tablet and opened up a document. "Because Zola mentioned it in his notes." He pushed the tablet over to Tony, Tony picked it up and scanned over the part Bruce had highlighted. "He was lamenting having lost the blueprints and his frustration at not being able to recreate them."

"Blueprints for what?" Rhodey asked, looking over Tony's shoulder.

Tony noticed that Thor and Loki were exchanging a look, which was never good since those two tried to avoid eye contact unless absolutely necessary.

Bruce was oblivious and just went on with his explanation. "Zola thought that the Tesseract could be used to manipulate reality. Which we know it can, we saw that when it tore a wormhole open to allow the Chitari through. Zola was trying to build a similar machine."

"So why use Steve's memories?" Clint asked, frowning. He was stretched out on one of the couches, tossing a ball up in the air. "If Doom wants to build a machine like the one used in the Battle of New York why not just kidnap Selvig?"

That was a pretty good point.

"Maybe because Selvig is usually locked up in his lab at the Upstate facility." Rhodey pointed out. "Be kinda hard to get to him there."

"Unless Doom got himself a guy who could shrink to the size of an ant," Barton quipped. "Then it would be pretty easy for him to overpower someone and get in."

Wilson pointed threateningly at Barton. "We swore never to speak of that again."

"Zola's machine wasn't to make a wormhole," Bruce interrupted. "It was to warp reality to the vision of the user."

Everyone was quiet for a moment. Tony was sure they were all thinking the same thing, a device that could change reality to be exactly what Doom wanted it to be.

"Is that really possible?" Natasha asked Thor.

Loki was the one who answered. "Yes, to an extent. The Tesseract houses the Space Stone and has the ability to open portals to other realms and dimensions." Loki's face was pinched tight, just like it always was when he had to talk about the Infinity Stones. His breathing was also slightly elevated and his voice shook oh so slightly. As far as Tony had seen, this was the only thing that could cause Loki's cool façade to crack. "It is possible to use the Stone to find an alternate dimension that is more to your liking, then pull that dimension into our own, thus fusing the two."

Vision spoke up from where he stood in the corner of the room. "Wouldn't that cause cataclysmic events?"

Thor was watching Loki, a scowl on his face. "Aye, combining two dimensions would cause a devastating ripple effect throughout this galaxy and the galaxy of the alternate dimension. In theory it could bring about the end of all realities."

Loki scowled right back at Thor. "Which is why I would never have attempted such a thing, no matter how desperate my circumstances were. Not even .." Loki swallowed nervously, but pressed on, "Not even Thanos would be so foolish."

"Doom on the other hand," Tony said, "is all sorts of foolish. Even if he knew the risks, he'd think he could overcome them."

"Which goes back to our original problem," Natasha said, "how do we find Doom?"

Wanda spoke up. "We can find him." She said, nodding in Loki's direction.


Wanda looked expectantly at Loki. Loki raised an eyebrow in a 'what?' gesture. Wanda inclined her head to indicate everyone was waiting to hear their plan. Loki shrugged and went back to eating his salad. Wanda crossed her arms, scowled at Loki, and the salad bowl went flying out of his hands and sailed across the room. Loki glared at Wanda. Wanda glared right back. Loki finally threw his hands up in defeat. "Fine. Doom is going to have to use magic to read Rogers' memories. An exceptionally large amount of magic," Loki explained. "Using Miss Maximoff to aid me, I can search for his magical signature and pin point where he is."

"What's the catch?" Clint asked, eyeing Loki suspiciously.

"We will need to leave the Tower," Wanda said.

There were mixed reactions to this announcement. As a general rule Loki was not allowed to leave the Tower unless it had to do with finding an Infinity Stone. This was for his own safety just as much as everyone elses. Wanda explained that they had to actually fly around so that they could do their big magic search. Fortunately they didn't need to be too close before they could detect the magic. Since Doom was going to need to use such a huge amount of mojo, its effects could be felt from hundreds of miles away. And once they got a whiff they could then home in on the exact location.

And they needed to get moving ASAP, because if Doom was looking to build a machine to use the Tesseract, then he probably already had it. The Tesseract had been among the Stones Loki had stolen from Thanos, who had stolen it from Asgard. So it was very probably that Doom did indeed have it.

It was finally agreed that Thor, Wanda, and Bucky would accompany Loki. There was more arguing from Pietro that he should be allowed to go as well, but he was overruled. There was still the concern that some bad guy would decide to try and pull off some insane scheme, and if that happened they were going to need as much backup as possible, since Steve was still not at peak fighting form.

Of course, an hour later after they had left, it was discovered Pietro had snuck on board any way.

"Are you even surprised?" Rhodey asked. He and Tony were sitting in the command center, everyone else had gone off to get some rest, or burn off excess energy while waiting for Loki and Wanda to report back with Doom's position.

"Nope. He gave in waaay too easily to have not been planning this." Tony had all the Avengers' mail spread out in front of him. It had already been presorted by the guys in the mail room for anything dangerous. Tony liked to rescan it all using FRIDAY, she was able to actually read the contents of letters without opening them, but she was very discreet and only flagged something for review if it seemed threatening. She also tossed all the smut Steve ineviatbly got from fans. FRIDAY had just finished Natasha's pile and Tony was scooping it all back up into a box so Nat could come get it. They all got a lot of mail, mostly from fans, so everyone had their own box.

Tony pulled up the box that was marked for Steve, he immediately noticed the package sitting on top. The handwritten label was easily recognizable. Tony grabbed the package. "Ooh, it's here."

Rhodey looked up from his pile of Barton's letters. "Is that the ..?"

"Oh yeah." Tony brought the package up to his nose and breathed in deeply. The pie inside had been freshly baked the day before and overnighted to Steve.

Rhodey made to grab for the package. "Open it."

Tony pulled the package out of reach of Rhodey's greedy hands. "No way, it's Steve's pie."

"Come on man, he doesn't even remember he's getting it." Rhodey whined.

"Nope, sorry." Tony got up and headed for the elevator.

"Where are you going?" Rhodey asked, following behind.

"I'm bringing Steve his pie. Where else would I be going?" The elevator doors slide open and Tony was about to get inside when he realized Rhodey was still right next to him. "Where are you going?" Tony asked, moving the package as far away from Rhodey as he could.

"I'm going to help you bring Steve his pie." Rhodey said, attempting to look as innocent as possible. Which was not very innocent since Tony knew what kind of hijinks this guy could get up too.

"No." Tony pressed a hand against Rhodey's chest and pushed him back to prevent him from entering the elevator with him. "You just want to get invited to eat pie."

Rhodey crossed his arms over his chest and smirked at Tony, "Oh, and you don't have any ulterior motives for wanting to go see Steve right now when you know that he's all alone in his room."

"I don't know what you're talking about." He pressed the button for the living area and mentally willed the doors to close faster.

"Uh huh. Enjoy your pie." Rhodey called, winking, right before the doors shut. Tony entertained opening up the doors again just so he could flip Rhodey off. Instead he just let the elevator take him up to the living quarters.

After exiting the elevator, Tony headed down the hall to Steve's apartment. He tried to look as casual as possible in case he met up with another member of the team. Fortunately the hall was empty.

When he got to Steve's door, Tony hesitated. He'd double checked with FRIDAY and sure enough, Steve was still alone.

Maybe it was a bad idea to visit him now, maybe he should go back and get Rhodey so that there would be someone to act as a buffer between him and Steve. It had been hard to be alone with Steve in the Command Center earlier, but Tony had known that anyone could walk in at any time. Now Tony was going to be truly alone with Steve for the first time since Steve had forgotten him.

Maybe Tony should just leave the package by the door for Steve to find in the morning. Except then someone might see it and they would know what it was. Unattended food disappeared quickly around here.

Maybe he could just ring the doorbell, then run away like the big chicken he was.

Tony was saved from his indecision by the apartment door opening up. Steve was standing there, dressed in sweats and a t shirt, a very tight t shirt. "Hi," Steve smiled. "Colonel Rhodes told me you were coming to up to give me something." Steve said, glancing down at the package in Tony's hands.

Tony had no doubt that this was revenge on Rhodey's part for not being invited to eat pie. "Um, yeah." Tony held the box out to Steve. "It's your pie."

Steve took the package, looking at it curiously. "My pie?"

"Yeah, see back when you were living in DC, one of your neighbors was this sweet eighty year old lady. She found out that you love apple pie, so she would make you a pie every week. When you moved back here she kept making you pies." Tony explained. "She was paying to overnight them at first, but Stark Industries has a courier that runs back and forth between here and DC a couple time a week. So I gave her the guys number and she just gives him a call whenever she has a pie for you."

Steve was now smiling down at the package. "Wow, that's really sweet of her." Steve looked up at Tony, "And you. I mean, nice, nice of you to let her use your courier service." Steve ducked his head, Tony could see the tips of his ears turning red. Huh.

"No big deal," Tony shrugged. "The courier guy doesn't mind, he gets his own pie from Millie each time. Millie is your old neighbors name." Tony added.

Steve looked back up, his blue eyes looking earnestly at Tony. "Still, I appreciate it."

Tony had to stop himself from stepping in close and kissing Steve. He wanted to so badly, it was almost a physical need. Instead he took a step back. "I, I should go and leave you alone, with your pie." Tony tried to make his feet move, he really did. "So, yeah. Um, enjoy yourself. With the pie I mean, cause it's really good."

"Would you like some?" Steve blurted out just as Tony was getting his body to cooperate.

"Some?" Tony asked, stupidly.

"Pie." Steve held up the package, then he smiled that sweet, charming smile of his. "I can't eat this all myself."

"Actually you can." Tony needed to leave, it had been such a bad idea coming up here alone.

Steve rolled his eyes. "Maybe I just want the company then." And that was it, all of Tony's resolve evaporated and he walked into the apartment behind Steve. "Plus I need someone to tell me where everything is in my kitchen." Steve said, placing the package down on the counter.

Tony grabbed two plates, two glasses, and two forks. He then got the vanilla ice cream out of the freezer and a block of cheddar from the fridge. Steve, in the meantime, had opened up the package and was now admiring the pie. Tony leaned over the counter to get a look. Millie loved to go all out with Steve's pies and had decorated this one with different sized star cutouts.

"This looks delicious," Steve said.

"It tastes even better, the woman is a master." Tony held up the ice cream and cheese, "Ala mode or cheddarized?"

Steve started at him like Tony had spoken in a foreign language. "Ala- what?" Oh, he had spoken in a foreign language.

"I mean do you want ice cream or cheese on top of your pie?" He clarified.

Steve's face lit up. "There's ice cream?"

Tony smacked himself in the forehead with the block of cheese. "Ah, I forgot. You guys didn't have a whole lot of ice cream way back when. Well let's celebrate the end of rationing of dairy products by over indulging." Tony put the cheese away and grabbed the ice cream scoop and a knife. He served up two large pieces of pie with a big scoop of ice cream on both. He handed Steve his piece and waited for him to take the first bite.

Steve first took a small bite of just pie. He gave an appreciative 'Mmm", then he took a bite with both ice cream and pie. This time Steve gave an obscene groan of bliss. Well, Tony thought it was obscene. "Oh, wow, this is so good." Steve said, taking another huge bite. Tony was glad he was standing on the opposite side of the counter from Steve, it allowed him to discretely adjust his pants.

"So," Tony cleared his throat. "How are you adjusting, you know, since yesterday?"

"I'm doing alright, there sure is a lot to take in."

Tony gave a small laugh, "Yeah, I can imagine. I hope I didn't make it worse today."

Steve froze, fork poised to get more pie. "Um, what do you mean?"

"I just meant with all the gizmos today, I guess I kinda got carried away." Tony thought he saw Steve relax slightly.

"Oh, that, no, no. I wanted to learn all those things." Steve took another bite of pie. "And I meant what I said, you are a good teacher."

"Oh, good. I mean, thanks. I guess I was worried I had overwhelmed you and that's why you didn't come down for dinner." Tony was trying to go for casual interest, instead of desperate and needy.

Steve looked away from Tony, "No, it wasn't that. I just, um, it was something in the reading Bucky had given me." The tablet was sitting nearby and Steve reached out and moved it a little closer. The screen was dark so Tony couldn't see what Steve had been reading. "It was just something that I needed some time to process." Steve kept looking down at the tablet, not meeting Tony's eyes.

This wasn't actually making Tony feel any better. Steve was acting like he was embarrassed about something. "Are you sure it wasn't something I did?" Tony asked. He was trying to get Steve to look at him, he needed to know that he hadn't done something to total screw things up with Steve. Cause leave it to him to mess up a relationship with someone who didn't even know they were in a relationship with him.

Steve took a deep breath and looked up at Tony. "You didn't do anything wrong, really."

Tony wanted to believe Steve, and Steve did look sincere, but ..

"Have I changed a lot since you first knew me?"

Tony blinked at the abrupt subject change. "What?"

"I was just wondering." Steve said, going back to eating his pie. "Other than Bucky, it sounds like you have known me the longest. So I was wondering what changes you've seen in me?"

Tony couldn't help laughing as the memory of his and Steve's first meeting popped up in his mind. "Well you're certainly less uptight." Tony tried to stop laughing when Steve looked affronted. "Sorry, what I mean is, when you were first pulled out of the ice and you found out you were a national hero. I think you thought you had to keep presenting that perfect hero persona. But once you got to know the rest of us, you realized you could relax and just be yourself. And we like you that way much better."

Steve grinned and blushed.

Tony couldn't help laughing again. "Man I forgot how much you used to blush." Which made Steve blush even more. It was adorable. "Have you asked Natasha this question?" Tony asked. "She has known you just as long as me."

Steve looked thoughtful. "Oh, I just didn't think it was an appropriate question. I didn't know how close our relationship is."

Tony just gave up on not laughing at this point. Old fashioned Steve really was a hoot. "Was this how you were when you came out of the ice? Or had Peggy Carter stomped out this type of thinking during the war?"

"What do you mean? Is it wrong to respect woman now?" Steve said, sounding affronted.

Tony held up his hands, trying as hard as he could to stop laughing, "No, no, not what I meant. I'm sorry babe. You should totally respect woman. In fact, you have schooled more than one neanderthal on being respectful to woman. I'm talking about the whole, act like the perfect gentleman at all times and assume that you can't have a casual conversation with a woman unless you're going steady. And you certainly can't be alone with them." Tony's sides were starting to hurt from holding in the laughter. Steve was regarding him with an odd look.

"Okay, example, and it will also show how you've changed some." Tony pulled in a breath and got himself under a little bit of control. "So, when I first met you, you were all with the ma'am and miss. And anytime you saw some scantily clad woman you would blush and look away. And I'm just talking about girls in short shorts and tank tops. Now you can walk by the Victoria's Secret store in the mall without batting an eye."

Steve looked lost. "I don't think I understood half of what you just said."

Tony let loose another chuckle "Sorry. Um, okay, so about a month ago we were hunting down this AIM scientist and turned out he had a small harem going. You do know what a harem is, right?"

Steve rolled his eyes. "I'm not ignorant."

"Just checking. So we burst into the place and the scientist guy is in the middle of an orgy, um," Steve did not know that word apparently. "He was having sex with several of the girls and the rest were, well, he was watching them have, ah, fun together." Steve was turning beet red. It was hilarious. 

"Anyway, so the you as you are now would have been super embarrassed, right? But the Steve of the modern age just looked these women in the eye and asked them to kindly put some clothes on and if they didn't have any that there were several blankets around they could wrap up in. Then you punched the guy in the face for being so disrespectful to women." Tony grinned at the memory. "It was awesome. I have a recording of it if you want to take a look?"

It seemed like it wasn't possible for Steve to turn any redder, but he did. "No thanks, I'll just take your word for it." Steve ate some more pie and his face slowly turned back to normal. "Thanks for being willing to talk to me. I've had lots of this modern stuff explained to me, but not much of modern me explained. I guess I was worried I'd changed into someone I wouldn't like."

Tony leaned in closer to Steve, feeling a surge of affection for this man. A man so good that he was worried he might have done something wrong somehow. "Have you gone digging through your stuff yet?"

Steve cocked his head to the side slightly. "What do you mean?"

"If it was me, and I wanted to learn about myself I would see what I had in my personal space. After all, you can tell a lot about a guy by what he keeps in his junk drawer." Tony reached around to the drawer Steve was standing in front of. Steve moved back as Tony's hand brushed against Steve's sweats. Tony pulled the drawer open, inside was a pad of paper, a pencil, a small container of thumb tacks, post it notes, and a rubber band ball. Tony smirked at Steve. "And this tells me that you are annoyingly organized at all times."

Steve rolled his eyes, but was smiling warmly at Tony. He had a few crumbs of pie crust on his lower lip and, without thinking, Tony reached out, cupped Steve's jaw with his hand and wiped the crumbs away with the pad of his thumb. Tony felt the warmth of Steve's skin and the slight stubble of his beard. The smell of Steve and apple pie filled his senses. Tony began to lean in, lips parting, then he heard Steve's sharp intake of breath. Tony pulled back, eyes wide, as he realized what he'd done.

Steve practically lept away from Tony. He was looking at Tony with utter shock as Tony stammered an apology.

"I'm, I'm sorry. I wasn't- Oh shit. I-" There wasn't anything to say. Steve was looking at him in horror and the only thing that Tony could do was turn and leave. He got through the door and down the hall to the elevator in record time. "FRIDAY. Elevator. Now." As soon as the doors were opened enough, Tony squeezed into the elevator. "Close doors, and don't open them again until I'm at the pent house."

"Yes, boss."

The doors shut and the car began gliding upwards. Tony rested his forehead against the cool metal of the wall. "I've fucked everything up."

"Maybe not, boss. Cap will understand when he gets his memories back."

Tony shook his head, "Nope, it's all fucked up. I fuck up every relationship I've ever been in. Just ask all my exes."

FRIDAY didn't have any words of comfort for this. After all, she was programmed to think like a woman, and any woman would know that Tony was right.

Tony didn't even bother with the lights when he got to the pent house. He just stripped down to his undershirt and boxers, then crawled right into bed.

He lay there, trying not to think of Steve. Trying not to think about how much he missed Steve. About how his pillow and sheets didn't smell like Steve anymore. If he had known this was going to happen, he would have kicked the maids out instead of letting them change the sheets as usual yesterday. Now there was nothing left of Steve in Tony's space. Nothing but his own memories.

And the memories just hurt.

He wanted Steve laying beside him. Wanted to feel that strong body next to him. Feel Steve's heat and smell the scent of him. Steve had this amazing natural musk to him. The guy didn't own any cologne because even the most expensive scent was a dim comparison to the way Steve smelled. It had been one of the first things Tony had noticed about Steve, how amazing he smelled. That and those piercing blue eyes.

That had been Tony's downfall tonight. He'd been close enough to breathe in Steve. Close enough to see just how beautiful the man was. And Steve had been watching him with those blue eyes. And Tony had forgotten everything else. He'd forgotten Steve's memory loss and that Steve had no idea they were sleeping together. All Tony could think about while in Steve's kitchen earlier, was how good it felt to kiss Steve. His soft lips, the heat of his mouth, strong arms wrapping around Tony, pulling him in.

Tony moaned as he pulled down his boxers. He began slowly stroking his cock, thinking about the last time he and Steve had been together. How Steve had knelt between Tony's legs, the feel of Steve's mouth sucking the head of his cock. The way Steve had slipped a slicked up finger into Tony's ass while he deep-throated Tony's cock.

Tony reached over to his bedside table and found the bottle of lube. He squirted a copious amount into his hand, then he hitched up his shirt and kicked off his boxers. He imagined it was Steve's hand wrapped around his cock, pumping up and down. Tony tightened his grip, trying to mimic Steve's strength. Steve would squeeze Tony's cock as he pumped, driving Tony to the edge but not letting him climax yet.

Tony thought about how good and safe it felt to have Steve's strong arms wrapped around him. The way Steve would flip Tony over, wrap his arms around Tony's waist and pull him up to him until Tony felt Steve's huge cock pushing against his hole. The feeling of Steve sliding inside and the moan that Steve let out when he was fully sheathed inside Tony.

Tony moaned and pumped his fist up and down faster. His hand was covered in slick lube and he could feel his shaft getting harder and thicker. "Mmm, Steve."

Steve would then brace himself with his other arm and press his chest to Tony's back. Tony speed up his strokes as he thought about Steve thrusting into him. "Nnggh." Steve's hard thrusts, hitting his prostate. "Yes!" Steve whispering in Tony's ear about how beautiful Tony was, how good Tony felt.

Tony braced a hand behind his head and planted his feet flat on the bed. His back arched, muscles straining, as he pumped furiously, desperate for release. Desperate for Steve. "I need you! Please! I need .. Ah! Ah!" The pleasure was building up in his groin, he felt his balls pulling in so tight it almost hurt. He needed Steve here. Needed Steve to be the one bringing him closer and closer to release. "Steve!"

Steve would know that Tony was close, he would wrap his hand around Tony's hot, dripping cock. "Oh please!" He would pump Tony's cock in time with his own thrusts, all the while gasping against Tony's neck, so close to his own release. He would .. Steve .. "Ah! Steve! Now! Please, Now!" Tony slammed his head back into the mattress, his hips thrusting up again and again as he came. "Aaahh! Aah! Steve! STEVE!"

Tony gasped for breath as he came down from the high. His hand and legs were covered in his own cum and he needed to get up and get cleaned off. But his gasps turned into sobs as his emotional walls broke down. He turned on his side and hugged a pillow against his chest, buried his head into the soft down and just let the racking sobs come.

Chapter Text

Steve stood in his kitchen just staring at the closed door in a daze. He could still feel Tony's hand on his face, the brush of his thumb against his lips. He thought about the way Tony had leaned in, he was most definitely planning to kiss Steve. Even though Steve knew things were a lot different now, he was pretty sure a kiss still meant the same thing. And Steve had panicked. And Tony had left, well, it had been more like running away. He probably thought Steve was upset or disgusted.

"Shoot!" Steve ran to the door and out into the hall. Tony was nowhere to be seen. He ran to the elevator, arriving just in time to see the doors slide shut. He hit the button several times, hoping to reopen the doors, but nothing happened. After a few more button pushes, Steve admitted defeat and went back to his apartment.

He cleaned up the dishes from the pie, put the ice cream back into the ice box, and covered the pie with the plastic wrap Bucky had showed him how to use. Then he started going through the stuff in his apartment.

Since he was in the kitchen he decided to start there. He opened draws and cupboards, examining their contents. He didn't find much, turns out cooking hadn't changed that much in the last few decades. He did find a few things he didn't recognize but for the most part it looked like he prepared himself meals here in his apartment. He did find a cupboard labeled 'Bucky's Stuff Do Not Eat Steve!', there was a similar sign on one of the shelves in the ice box.

Steve went out to the main living area next. There wasn't much as far as the sofa and coffee table went so he turned his attention to the bookshelves that lined one whole wall. Some of the books Steve recognized as a collection of his favorite novels growing up. There were a lot more he didn't recognize though. A few looked like history books, including ones on The Second World War. Steve flipped through one of them but put it back after he saw there was a whole chapter just on him.

There was a book on Norse mythology and several written in French, which Steve was surprised to find out he could read. He found a book called, Electronics for Dummies. There was a small yellow square of paper stuck to the inside cover.

Maybe this will be more at your level. -T

Then there were two whole shelves of fiction books that Steve discovered had been gifts from his fellow teammates.The first one he picked up was actually three books inside of a box, the outside of the box said, The Complete Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. The inside cover of the first book had a note written on it.

Be sure to read these before watching the movie. And don't let Clint convince you otherwise. -Natasha

The next group of books were also a series and each title started with the name of the title character, Harry Potter. The first book also had a handwritten message. Actually it had several handwritten messages and Steve was laughing out loud by the time he was done reading them all.

Read these before reading the books Nat gave you. Actually you don't need to read Nat's books at all, just watch the movies. Or skip the movies. Trust me, Orlando Bloom is overrated. -Clint

Don't listen to Clint, LOTR is what all other fantasy books are based of off. Including Harry Potter. And Clint is just upset that Stark keeps calling him Legolas. -Nat

I am not upset, I just don't see what the big deal about the elf is. -C

Have you SEEN the elf??? -N

The next one of you who breaks into my apartment just to write in my book is going to have kitchen duty for the next week. And I'm going to let Thor cook every night. -Steve

The books didn't tell him much more about his modern self than he already knew. He looked around the apartment some more, looking for inspiration. There were several pictures hanging on his walls that ranged from old paintings, to modern art. He recognized some of it as his own style, which gave him the idea to look through his art things.

The art table was quite nice as far as he could tell. It was sleek and modern looking, much like the rest of the tower, but seemed out of place amongst the homey feel of Steve's apartment. He wondered if he just hadn't been able to find one that was closer to what he was used to or if he really preferred this modern design. The art supplies were in small cylinders that were attached to the side of the table and an easel was propped up against the wall nearby, several paintings were leaning next to it.

Steve lifted up the first painting. It was definitely his own style, and closer inspection showed his signature on the bottom. It was a cityscape painting. Steve almost didn't realized which city it was supposed to be until he noticed the Empire State building. The view didn't show Avengers Tower, so Steve surmised the view was from the tower itself. The next two paintings were autumn landscapes, they reminded him of trips he had taken to the Upstate area and over to Vermont when he was younger.

Behind the paintings was a large, leather portfolio case. Steve brought it over to the sofa and spread out the contents on the coffee table. It was a complete set of portraits he had done of each member of the Avengers. The first was a charcoal drawing of Natasha, head thrown back, laughing out loud. It was so different from her usual guarded demeanor that Steve could understand why he had wanted to draw it. The next one was done in pastels, showing Clint and a woman Steve didn't know, but it was obvious by the loving look Clint was giving her that it must be his wife.

An oil painting showed Thor, strong and confident, streaks of lightning in the background. Steve liked the way he had captured a softness around Thor's eyes that countered his awe inspiring powers and physique. The one after that was a watercolor of Loki, he was painted looking down, face filled with a sadness Steve had not seen from the Asgardian during their few brief interactions over the past two days. Steve had used mostly dark blues and grays in the background, the overall effect gave the feeling of loss and regret.

There was a pastel of Sam, smiling and looking at peace amongst pale blues and soft yellows, like he was soaring in the clouds. The Maximoff twins were drawn together. Wanda looking in wonder at a flower, as if she was marveling at a beauty only she could see. Pietro stood next to her, looking outward and alert, the guardian of his sister.

Vision's portrait was done with watercolors and went from bold colors and faded to a more translucent look. Colonel Rhodes was standing tall and proud in his dress blues. Steve had drawn him with his hands in his pockets, to give him a more relaxed air. And he was smiling like he'd just heard a good joke.

The last two portraits were Bucky and Tony. Bucky's was heartbreaking. In the forefront of the picture was Bucky as he was now, long hair, metal arm, dressed in his battle gear. His face was serious and he held a large gun in both hands. In the background was a sketch of Bucky as Steve knew him from his time. He was young and smiling like there wasn't a care in the world. But the picture of the Winter Soldier was what drew the eye and overshadowed the carefree young man. Steve quickly pushed the picture to the bottom of the pile, not wanting to have to accept what the portrait was telling him.

The painting of Tony was done in oils and showed him in a similar fashion as Steve had seen him earlier that day. He was in his workshop, welding gloves on, torch in hand. The Iron Man suit was behind him, but it was done to not outshine the man who had made it. Tony looked like he had just been interrupted by someone and he had turned to look up at them. Whoever it was must be someone pretty special because Tony's whole face had light up and there was a look of fondness in his eyes. It made him look beautiful. Steve felt envious of whoever could elicit this reaction from Tony.

Having finished looking through the main living area, Steve went to his bedroom next. He had already looked through most of his clothes and the toiletries in the bathroom, so he moved directly to the closet.

The high shelves were lined with boxes and various items. Steve pulled down the box closest to the door and started going through it. It was filled with old letters. Well, old for this time. They were dated from the war and were from various friends, admirers, a few from Bucky after he first shipped out, and soldiers who had written to him for support during difficult times. There were also an embarrassingly large number of marriage proposals from women all across the world.

The next box was also filled with memorabilia from the war. It was strange to be looking through things he had collected to remember good times, but be unable to remember what they were supposed to remind him of.

The further back in the closet he went, the more recent the items were. There was a box marked, Battle of New York. Inside he found a set of Captain America collectors card that had something that looked like dried blood on them, and a chunk of broken marble that had 'Grand Central Station' written on it in marker. There was also a picture of Steve posing, out of uniform, with some very tired, but happy looking firefighters. The back of the photo read-

Thanks for all your help Captain Rogers

Another photo showed him in a small restaurant eating something that looked kinda like a sandwich. Thor, Natasha, Clint, Bruce, and Tony were also in the picture. None of them were looking at the camera and he, Natasha, and Clint looked exhausted. Tony looked tired too, but not nearly as much. Thor and Bruce just looked hungry, Thor had been taking a huge bite when the picture was taken.

Steve lost track of time as he sorted through everything, stopping to read letters and notes, as he tried to piece together what the life he had forgotten had been like. It was very late, or very early, when he pulled down the last box and a sketchpad, that had been sitting on top of it, fell down and hit him on the head. Steve put down the box and picked up the sketchpad. It was odd that it was in his closet instead of with the rest of his art things. He flipped it opened, there was a sketch of Tony on the first page and on the second, and the third. Steve flipped through the pages, every single one was a sketch of Tony.

Some of the pictures were just of Tony's face, a few were of the Iron Man armor in flight. A couple of pages with sketches of just Tony's hands. There were sketches of Tony in jeans and a t shirt, a light in the center of his chest, shining through the shirt. Those must have been from when he still had the arc reactor in his chest.

Steve flipped to another page that showed a detailed sketch of Tony, standing next to some kind of machinery, without a shirt on. The arc reactor was shining in the center of his chest, scar tissue created knots and ropes around the circular device. But Steve had drawn Tony in such a way that the light from the reactor was highlighting the features of his face, making Tony look beautiful, despite the obvious trauma.

Steve studied each drawing, noting how even though they were just done in pencil, he had obviously put a lot of care and thought into them. Bucky had said that Steve had been attracted to Tony for some time. Had he used drawing as an outlet for that attraction? It made sense. It would probably be a bad idea to act on it, especially if what Bucky said was true and Tony was also keeping his bisexuality secret.

The last picture in the sketchpad nearly made Steve choke. It was Tony, laid out on a bed, completely nude. His chest didn't have the arc reactor and was free from any scarring. Legs tangled in the sheet, hair tousled and a small smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth. One hand was fisted in the sheets right over his groin, like maybe he was about to pull them back and completely expose himself. Or maybe it was to cover his arousal. Or maybe ..

Steve slapped the pad shut. He tried to adjust his pants without causing any friction against his rapidly swelling member as he took a few deep breaths. He couldn't believe he had drawn something like that. And had it just been a fantasy or .. no. Steve had of course done nudes in art school, but he couldn't imagine he would actually use someone he knew well, and was attracted to, as a model.

He shoved the pad back on the shelf and put everything back where he'd found it. He'd been at it too long, he needed to get some sleep. Things would be clearer in the morning.


After a few hours of sleep, a morning jog around the gymnasium track, and a hot breakfast, Steve still couldn't get the picture of Tony naked out of his mind. The picture was provocative, certainly, but it wasn't just that that was keeping it in Steve's thoughts. It was also what it might imply.

There were several things, when view separately, didn't add up to much. But when put together, they started to show a possible picture. There was the way Tony had been so comfortable with his touching yesterday. Bucky had had a reasonable explanation, but it still seemed a little too familiar, like Tony was used to behaving that way around Steve. Then there was the almost kiss. Tony hadn't hesitated at all. And Steve had almost let him, it had only been at the last second he'd realized what he was doing and became startled. It had just felt natural to let Tony stand that close, touch his face. And Steve had wanted Tony to kiss him, he realized that now. If Tony had just been slightly faster and not given Steve time to think then Steve would have let it happen. And what would that have been like? What would Tony taste like? Like the apple pie they had been eating? And how good would he have smelled being that up close. As it was Steve could swear he could catch a whiff of Tony's cologne this morning as he was getting dressed. Or maybe it was just wishful thinking on his part.

Steve had a sudden thought. He went to the bedroom and scooped up the tie that was still sitting neatly folded next to his bed. He held the cool silk up to his face and breathed in deep. The tie smelled like Tony, expensive cologne and metal. Steve stared at the tie, trying to add it to the other puzzle pieces. He came to two conclusions. Either he had become so obsessed with Tony that he had filled an entire drawing pad with sketches of him and had stolen one of his ties. Or, .. or ..

The doorbell ringing startled Steve. He was half expecting to see Tony when he opened the door, instead he found Sam Wilson standing there. "Hey, man. Thought I'd come by and check on you." Sam glanced down at the tie Steve was still holding. "You going out?"

Steve hurriedly stuffed the tie into his pants pocket. "No, I was just trying to figure out who I am by going through my stuff."

Sam leaned against the door frame. "Learn anything interesting?"

Steve fingered the tie in his pocket. "I'm mostly the same person, but I think I've changed in ways I never thought I would."

Sam chuckled. "Well that was very vague and uninsightful."

"Sorry," Steve shrugged. "I guess I'm not sure who exactly I'm supposed to be. Or at least, who everyone expects me to be."

"Hey man, don't worry about what everyone is expecting of you. Truth be told, we're all kind of enjoying seeing you like this." Sam said, smiling.

"You mean without my memories?" Steve asked, confused as to why this would be a good thing.

"Well, that part's not so hot. But the part where you're not walking around with the weight of the world on your shoulders, that part is nice. I think we're all a little jealous too. I know there are some things about my life I'd like to forget for a while." Sam said, with a rueful smile.

Steve gave a humorless laugh. "Yeah, some of the stuff I'm supposed to have done, part of me doesn't ever want to have those memories back."

"I hear ya. Come on," Sam slapped Steve's shoulder. "Let's get you out of here, go have some lunch and see some of the city."

"I'm supposed to train with the Hulk and Thor today, well," Steve realized, "just the Hulk now."

"Nope, you're playing hooky instead." Sam said, grabbing Steve's jacket off the coat rack. "You need to get out of here way more than you need training. You can't stay cooped up in here."

Steve protested some more, but Sam was insistent. They left the Tower through a service tunnel to avoid being spotted. Sam explained there were always fans and something called paparazzi waiting outside to catch a glimpse of any Avengers. Sam had also made Steve wear a ball cap and sunglasses to hide his identity. It was odd to think that random strangers would recognize him, but after walking past a newsstand and seeing a picture of himself on the front of a newspaper, he understood the need for the disguise.

It was a mild fall day and the streets were packed. The hustle and bustle of the city was familiar to Steve, even if the clothes the people wore and the sounds of the city had changed.

Sam seemed to enjoy himself, playing tour guide. Steve thought they would visit some historical sites that hadn't been around in the Forties, but Sam said that was too depressing. Instead they walked around Little Italy and Chinatown. Sam kept making Steve stop and try different foods, including octopus. Which he gamely did, and then vowed to never eat it again.

After that they went to 30 Rockefeller Center, Sam told him people called it 30 Rock. Steve discovered the disguise was only for out in public, once in the building Sam had Steve take off the hat and glasses. Sam then went up to one of the pages who did the tours and announced that Captain America would like a private tour of the NBC studios.

It was fascinating to learn about modern broadcasting and hearing the history of the television station. Several famous television people, Sam had to whisper their names in Steve's ear, wanted photos with them. Steve and Sam were asked to autograph things for people's kids, then given a bunch of free merchandise in return. Steve couldn't stop grinning the entire time.

They went to several of the many museums and art galleries. Steve had to try really hard not to choke when he saw the prices for what looked like pieces of trash glued together. Steve was known at some of the galleries and he and Sam were treated to champagne and fancy snacks Sam called hors d'oeuvres. Steve had never tasted champagne, not that he remembered, and it was so unusual to have such high class people treating him like he was someone special.

In Harlem they stopped to listen to several street performers and it was there that Steve caught someone taking his picture. He pointed out the person to Sam.

"Looks like we've been caught," Sam said with a shrug. "I was hoping we wouldn't be, but there are people who make a living hunting down celebrities trying to stay hidden."

The flash of the camera went off a few more times. People began looking around, trying to figure out who was being photographed.

"Look Mom! It's Captain America!"

Steve looked down at the young girl pointing up at him, a very excited look on her face. People started to pull out their phones and turn the backs of them to Steve. It took him a few seconds to remember that you could take pictures with them.

Sam grabbed Steve's arm and began steering him away. "Yup, definitely caught. Time to make our escape."

As they left, the little girl waved and Steve waved back.

"Man, you are such a sucker for the kids." Sam laughed.

They started heading back in the direction of the Tower as the sun began to set. Steve overheard a couple talking and it reminded him of something. "What does it mean when you call someone 'babe'?"

"Oh, it's a term of endearment, like saying honey or sweetheart. Did you say honey and sweetheart back in your day?"

Steve rolled his eyes. "Did you guys do this to me even before I lost my memory? Cause I'm kinda getting the feeling you did."

Sam laughed. "I'm sorry, it's just the thing we give you a hard time about. That and you're lack of offensive language. Don't feel too bad, you still give me a hard time about being beaten by a guy the size of an ant."


Sam was a great story teller and Steve couldn't stop laughing as Sam told him about a man who had a suit that could shrink him to the size of an ant with the relative strength.

Dinner was at Sam's favorite diner and Steve was happy to be able to recognize most of the items on the menu. They had just gotten their food when Clint and Natasha sit down at their table.

“You guys are trending on Twitter.” Natasha said as she grabbed some french fries off Sam’s plate.

“Yes!” Sam slapped his hand down on the table, then pointed at Clint, “That's five for me.”

“Come on, it's cheating cause you've got Cap with you.” Clint whined. “The only one who trends more than him, is Stark.”

Sam turned to Natasha, “What's the hashtag?”

“Cap and Falcon’s day out.” She said, swiping more fries.

“Ha!” Sam slapped the table again. “Named in the hashtag, it absolutely counts.”

Clint glowered at Sam from behind his sunglasses, then he grabbed a handful of fries and stuffed them in his mouth.

Sam hunched over his plate trying to protect his dinner. “Get your own damn fries, man.”

“What does 'trending on Twitter' mean?” Steve asked. Natasha pulled out her phone and began showing Steve what Twitter was, while Clint hailed the waitress and ordered a huge plate of chili cheese fries for him and Natasha to split.

Steve was fascinated by Twitter, how people could communicate anything they wanted instantaneously with practically everyone in the world. Natasha showed him the pictures that had been posted by different people who had seen them that day. It had started after they had been spotted in Harlem, but now included pictures from the other places they had been earlier.

“Trending is tracked using a hashtag, that little symbol there.” Natasha pointed to the symbol for number. “Any word written after that gets recognized by the software that tracks this stuff, that's why the words are all squished together without a space. Trending means that particular hashtag is showing up so much that it's in the top five percent of all the hashtags currently being used worldwide.”

“And why are Sam and Clint debating about whether or not this one counts?”

“They have a competition going on to see who can trend the most before the end of the month.” Natasha said, sounding unamused.

“So who's winning?” Steve asked.

“I am,” Clint grinned.

“Yeah but none of mine were because I blew up a building.” Sam countered.

“That wasn't my fault.” Clint protested. “I don't have x-Ray vision, there was no way I could have known there were propane tanks behind that wall.”

“That sounds like an interesting story,” Steve said.

“I don't wanna talk about it,” Clint mumbled as he stuffed more fries into his mouth.

With Natasha encouragement Steve decided to send a Tweet. She showed him how to take a picture with his phone and he had Natasha and Clint move in closer to Sam so he could get all of them. He took a few picture and decided the best one was of Clint grabbing more of Sam's fries. Then Natasha showed him how to post the picture to Twitter along with a short message.

Joined by some fellow Avengers for dinner. Be warned, they're food thieves. #CapandFalconsdayout

To Steve's amazement people immediately started leaving comments and liking the tweet.

"Don't even bother trying to answer all the comments," Natasha warned. "You're going to have well over a thousand in no time."

Steve tried to read them anyway, but Natasha had been right about the overwhelming number of people who were writing comments. Suddenly his phone made a pinging noise and a black rectangle dropped down from the top of the screen. It had a picture of a little green square with a tail and the name Tony, and a short message.

Glad to see you guys are enjoying yourselves. Bring me back som...

"What's this?" Steve pointed to the rectangle. When he touched the screen it immediately switched from Twitter to something else. Green and gray rectangles with tails, now Steve could see they represented speech bubbles, had writing in them and the message he'd just gotten was in the last green bubble on the screen.

Glad to see you guys are enjoying yourselves. Bring me back some chili fries.

Natasha leaned over to see the screen, "Text from Stark. He must have seen your Tweet and figures it's okay to communicate via tech again."

"He's the reason we came to find you guys," Clint said around a mouthful of fries. "He was freaking out about you being gone for so long. Was threatening to fly out in the armor and pick you up."

Sam rolled his eyes. "What has been up with him lately?"

Natasha glanced at Steve before answering, "He's just taking our latest twist a little harder than the rest of us."

Steve tuned out what they were saying. The phone had all of the texts he and Tony had sent back and forth to each other, all he had to do was scroll up to read them. One particular conversation caught his eye. It had happened the night before Steve lost his memories.

Tony- I'll be landing in 20.

Bucky just showed up here, I didn't know he was coming. -Steve

Tony- And??

I haven't told him about us yet and I don't want him finding out on his own. I don't think he will react well. Actually, I was hoping to tell him when you aren't around at all so I have a chance to calm him down before he sees you. -Steve

Tony- Ok, tell him now. I'll circle the city a couple of times and give you guys a chance to talk.

He's already passed out on the couch, didn't even make it to his room. I'm really sorry. -Steve

Tony- Don't worry about it. Not seeing you for one night is better than being strangled by a metal armed assassin who thinks I've impugned his best friends honor because I let said best friend fuck me senseless.

Great, now I have to figure out how to delete that last text. -Steve

Tony- You can't, sorry. It's out there now, no taking it back. Now everyone will know how incredible you are in bed.

Please stop. -Steve

Tony- Well, anyone who can hack into your phone. Or if you're dumb enough not to hide your screen from Nat and or Bucky, the next time you text me.

Or I can just keep texting you until the texts have disappeared off the screen. -Steve

Tony- Unless I keep texting you about us having sex so it's never gone from the screen.

But you won't. -Steve

Tony- And why is that?

Because we won't be having any more sex until you stop. -Steve

Tony- So we've been having some really nice weather lately don't you think?

Yes I do. -Steve

Tony- Unseasonable warm.

Nice for taking walks around Central Park. -Steve

Tony- Very true. Or running at ungodly hours of the morning with your other crazy running buddies.

Not all of us can keep in shape by carrying around heavy armor in their workshop. -Steve

Tony- That's not the ONLY way I keep in shape. ;)

Goodnight Tony. -Steve

Tony- Night babe.

Steve reread the conversation a few times. It just said the same thing each time. And there was no misunderstanding what they had been talking about. Every puzzle piece Steve had been trying to fit together fell into place all at once.

He was in a relationship with Tony Stark.

"Hey?" Sam's voice broke through the fog that was enveloping his brain at the realization. "You okay?"

Steve had no idea what to say, he was still trying to just process it all. Then a movement near the door caught his attention. A man dressed in black with a large crossbones on his chest was walking through the front door of the restaurant. The severe scarring on his face couldn't hide the look of pure hatred he was aiming in Steve's direction.

"Get down!" Steve instinctively knew something bad was about to happen, even before he saw the gun. Sam, Natasha, and Clint all ducked down and away from the table at his yell. Steve flipped the table up as the man fired his weapon. The metal of the table only slowed the bullets down and Steve felt a white hot pain go through his left bicep. People began screaming. He shoved the table in the direction the man had been, but the man had already moved. Steve didn't see the chair coming and it hit him in the back, knocking him to the floor.

He rolled to his back and saw the man coming towards him. He sneered at Steve. "Hey there Rogers. As I understand things, you won't remember me. But that won't make killing you any less satisfying."

Chapter Text

The scarred man leveled his gun at Steve. A fork came flying from the left and stabbed the man's hand, causing him to drop the gun. Clint was a few feet away, holding several pieces of flatware. He flung a steak knife that the man deflected. The man pulled out another gun and started shooting at Clint. All around the restaurant people started screaming and running for the exits. Clint dove behind several tables and out of sight.

While the man was distracted, Steve leapt to his feet and punched the guy across the face. The man staggered and Steve pressed his advantage with several follow up hits. He had the guy on the ropes until the man pulled out a black baton. Steve heard an ominous clicking sound right before the man jammed the end of the baton in to Steve's midsection. A shock of electricity surged through his whole body. He gritted his teeth against the pain but his muscles were completely locked up.

Sam tackled the man from the side and Steve was released from the charge of electricity. The man tossed Sam off him and charged at Steve again, dropping low he grabbed Steve around the waist. Steve was carried backwards until his back collided with a wall. He heard the wall crack and plaster rained down around them. A very strong hand was wrapped around his neck, choking him.

“Shouldn't of come out in public in your condition,” the man growled into Steve's face. Steve saw the glint of steel and just managed to stop the knife the man aimed at his side. He grunted at the effort of holding it off at the odd angle while being strangled.

A chair was slammed into the man's back by Clint. The man grunted and Steve pushed at the knife, changing its trajectory so that it was slammed harmlessly into the wall next to him. Clint wrapped one arm around the man's neck and the other around his forehead, forcing the man's head back and causing him to lose his grip on Steve's neck and stumble back.

Steve dropped to the ground and sucked in a huge breath of air. Surprisingly, that one gasp of air was enough to dispel the dizziness and get his bearings back. Clint turned the man towards Steve and Steve recognized the move from one Clint and Natasha had done. With the man's front fully exposed Steve landed several solid punches. Clint released the man's head and ducked down. Steve clocked the guy in the jaw, while Clint went for several punches aimed at cracking some ribs.

Steve caught sight of his shield flying towards him. He caught it easily, spun, and slammed the shield against the man's head. The man finally went down and Clint pulled out his side arm and aimed it at the man's head. “Stay down, Rumlow!” Clint yelled. Sam came up, and covered the man with his own gun.

Natasha ran into the restaurant, leaping over tables and chairs that had been knocked over. Steve hadn't seen when she had left, but since she had been the one to throw him his shield, he figured they had brought it with them and she must have gone to retrieve it. She was also holding Clint's bow and quiver, she tossed them to the archer and he easily caught them without taking his gun off Rumlow.

“You happen to bring my wings?” Sam asked.

“Didn't you call them?” Natasha asked as she secured her Widow sting gauntlets around her wrists. Steve remembered Sam telling him that he had some kind of tiny machines he called implants, that allowed the Falcon wings to find him when he activated them.

“Yeah, but I was hoping you might have them with you.” Sam glanced out the smashed window of the restaurant, trying to see the sky. “It's gonna be a few minutes if they have to come from the Tower.”

Steve decided to just ask the question he'd wanted answered for the last few minutes. “Who is this guy?”

“Brock Rumlow, old friend.” Natasha replied.

“Friend?” He asked, incredulously.

“Turned out he was working for Hydra, tried to kill you. It was good times.” Natasha said, lightly.

“You really have lost your memory,” Rumlow grinned from his prone position. Clint kicked him in the ribs to shut him up.

Natasha crouched down next to Rumlow. “Here's the deal, you know what I'm capable of, I know what you're capable of. So let's just skip to the inevitable conclusion. How did you know about Steve's memory loss?”

Rumlow chuckled, “Oh there's a lovely rumor about it circulating through all the usual channels. In fact I'm surprised I found you first considering how much chatter there is about it.”

That sounded alarming. The look Clint and Sam exchanged confirmed it. Natasha shot Rumlow with a jolt of electricity from her gauntlets, causing him to blackout. Then she stood up “We have to go. Now.”

An explosion rocked the building.

Sam grabbed Steve's jacket and pulled him along. “Move! Out the back!”

Steve followed Sam, Barton and Romanoff covered them as they escaped out the back of the restaurant. They spilled out into the alley, looking towards the main street, Steve gasped in surprise. There was a large, bright yellow machine. It looked like it was designed to be somewhat humanoid. It stood on two legs, and the head, maybe?, swiveled and seemed to look at them. It's arms were basically just guns and when the thing aimed the guns at them Steve was grateful for the Doombots he'd already been exposed to. He shook off his surprise and launched his shield, he'd let his instincts take over and was pleased to see the shield hit both arms in quick succession before hitting the things head and rebounding back to him. Seconds later an arrow hit the things head and exploded.

Sam grabbed onto Steve's jacket again and pulled him down the opposite direction of the robot. Only to pull up short when another yellow robot appeared at the other end of the alley. This one was accompanied by people dressed in what looked like bright yellow bee keeper suits.

Something swooshed down into the alley and went straight for Sam.

“Oh yeah, baby!” Sam whooped as the Falcon pack attached itself to his back. “Now we're talking.” He grabbed Steve under his arms and they took off, straight up. Sam landed them onto the roof of the restaurant.

"What about Clint and Natasha?” Steve yelled. They shouldn't have left them down there with those, whatevers.

Sam seemed unconcerned, “They're coming.”

Steve ran to the edge of the building, determined to go back and help his teammates. But Sam was right, they were coming. In fact, they were almost to the top of the fire escape. Steve watched in amazement as Natasha scaled the fire escape with ease as Clint laid down cover fire. Then they would switch, Clint climbed while Natasha fired her guns. Next thing Steve knew, the pair was bounding onto the roof.

“Stark and Vision are inbound,” Natasha said. “Looks like A.I.M. has the whole block locked down and I think I caught sight of some Hydra agents trying to fight their way in.”

Steve wasn't sure who all these bad guys were, he hadn't gotten all the reading done yet, but he understood that they were all after him. “I'll head east, try to draw them off of you guys.”

“NO!” All three yelled in unison.

Steve was taken aback by the angry looks being directed at him. “Ah..”

“You're not going off to do one of your self sacrifice stunts,” Sam said pointedly. “We stick together and wait for backup.” Steve opened his mouth to argue only to have Sam cut him off. “No, you're gonna do what we say cause none of us want to deal with Barnes if something happens to you.”

“Or Stark.” Barton put in, turning to Natasha. “You realize we're going to have to admit he was right.”

Natasha cocked an eyebrow at Clint. “Never.”

The whine of an engine alerted them to the arrival of several yellow platforms that were hovering in the air. Each carried a person in a yellow beekeeper suit, rising up from the street below.

“Incoming!” Clint yelled as he notched an arrow, drew back and released in one smooth motion. The closest hovering platform exploded and they used the explosion to cover their retreat. They sprinted across the roof and leapt across to the next building. The remaining hovercraft followed behind, shooting the beams of light that Steve now knew where called lasers.

Sam took off and angled back towards the craft. Steve heard another explosion and a whoop of triumph from Falcon.

Clint jumped up onto the ledge of the building they were on, he turned, aimed an arrow and let it fly, then was off running again before the arrow exploded its target.

Steve kept following Natasha who seemed to have a destination in mind. Sam caught back up with them just in time to help Clint and Natasha over a particularly large gap between buildings. Steve had already made the leap effortlessly and turned to watch as Clint and Natasha each raised an arm to the sky, while still running all out towards the edge. Sam swooped down, grabbed them each by a wrist. Clint and Natasha jumped and Sam’s momentum help carry them across the gap. Sam let go right before they reached the other side and the duo tucked and rolled safely onto the rooftop on either side of Steve. They jumped up and kept moving without missing a beat.

“We heading towards Hell’s Kitchen?” Clint called when Natasha changed direction.

“Hoping we can attract some help,” Natasha called back. Another flying platform appeared in front of them and Steve flung his shield at it, knocking its rider off.

“Daredevil usually isn't out this early.”Clint called as he shot three arrows at once.

“Worth a shot. Plus Jones and Cage are out at all times. And maybe we'll get lucky and Spidey will swing by.”

Steve had no idea what Clint and Natasha were talking about. And he didn't have a chance to ask because suddenly there were a dozen or so soldiers dressed in green and wearing masks climbing up onto the roof they had just jumped onto.

“Hydra!” Sam yelled.

Steve raised his shield as one of the attackers aimed a stream of fire at them. He felt the heat from the flames roaring around him as he tried to make himself as small as possible behind the shield while still keep Natasha covered as well. The flames stopped, when Steve lowered the shield he could see the attacker had been hit with an arrow.

Suddenly they were surrounded by the men in green on one side and the men in yellow on the other.

"Remember, don't overthink it." Natasha told him without ever taking her eyes off their enemies. "You know how to do this, just let your body move how it wants to." If she had any other words of wisdom she wasn't able to share them as their enemies surged forward.

Steve punched, kicked, slammed the shield into faces and arms, twisted turned and tried to survive the press of bodies trying to overwhelm them. Overthinking was not a problem simply because there was not time to think, he just had to react or be swallowed by the mob. Overhead Sam was contending with the flying platforms and several other aircraft that had joined the fray.

Steve had just dispatched two green soldiers when he heard a deafening roar split the air. Instinctively he ducked down and looked for the newest threat. All around him, the attackers were doing the same thing, only Clint and Natasha seemed unfazed.

"Backup has arrived!" Clint whooped.

Something with sharp teeth attached itself to Steve's shoulder and whipped him backward. He heard Natasha's cry of alarm and then he was halfway across the roof being overwhelmed by the men in the beekeeper suits. He pulled the thing, which turned out to be a grappling hook, off his shoulder. He tried to fight off the beekeepers, but there were just too many. Their plan of attack seemed to be dog piling on him until he was literally being smothered. He tried to heave them off but couldn't get enough leverage to make any progress. Suddenly he caught sight of the edge of the roof just within reach. He pulled against the swarm of bodies until he was able to get a hand free. He gripped the edge of the roof and pulled with all he was worth. He jerked free and was flying over the edge. At the last second an hand grabbed his foot and even though it wasn't able to stop him it did change his trajectory enough that he was no longer heading towards the fire escape on the next building over, but was instead plummeting face first towards the alley below.

Before he could right himself, he was caught midair by a red streak that swung him up and on to the fire escape.

Steve turned, expecting to see the familiar red Iron Man suit. Instead there was a short slender man dressed in a red and blue unitard with a picture of a spider in the center, standing next to him on the fire escape.

"Hey Cap." Steve balked at how young the person sounded behind his mask. "Is there a really good reason you guys are fighting all of Hydra and AIM at 6 o'clock in the evening? Cause I gotta say, rush hour is bad enough without the Hulk being thrown into the mix."

"Who are you?" Steve demanded. He didn't have time for niceties right now.

"Uh, are you okay?" The boy in the spider costume asked, cocking his head to the side in concern. "Did you hit your head or something?"

Steve decided that this kid didn't seem very threatening, and he had saved Steve from a nasty fall so he might as well trust him a little. "I've lost my memory, that's why Hydra and AIM are after me."

The kid actually jerked back in surprise. "What? How? Is that even possible with the serum?"

Steve held up a hand to cut the boy off. Steve had just met this kid and he was already learning he liked to talk. A lot. "I don't have time to explain. Now, who are you and are you with us or against us?"

"Oh, um, well I'm Spiderman." The kid said. "And I'm totally with you guys. Well usually, I mean there was that one time, but-"

"I need to get back up there," Steve said pointing back up to the roof.

"Sure, no problem." Spiderman grabbed Steve's forearm and gripped him hard. Steve was surprised by the strength, but gripped back just as hard. Spiderman reached his other arm up and a string of something white came out of a small device on his wrist. The white stuff arched upwards and attached to a light post on the roof.

Spiderman turned to Steve. "Web shooters," he said proudly. "I designed them myself. Hold on tight." Spiderman pulled hard against the string of white stuff then jumped into the air, easily hauling Steve along with him. The string was elastic and it was snapping back on itself as they flew towards the opposite wall. Spiderman landed neatly on the wall, actually ran a few steps up it, then flung Steve up and over the lip of the roof. Steve landed neatly on the roof and a second later Spiderman dropped gracefully down next to him.

Steve couldn't help smiling. "That was amazing."

"Really?" Spiderman asked, obviously pleased with the compliment. "I mean, yeah, no biggie." He tried to play it cool. "It's what I do."

Steve tried not to laugh at the boy, instead he turned his attention to the enemy soldiers still on the roof. He was relieved to see that Clint and Natasha had been joined by Vision and they were quickly thinning the numbers. Up above, Iron Man and War Machine had joined Sam's fight and the skies were being cleared. Steve and Spiderman started dispatching the soldiers closest to them causing the soldiers trying to take down Clint, Natasha and Vision, to fight on two fronts. Spiderman was a big help. The white strings he shot out were actually webbing, web shooters made sense now, and soon large numbers of the enemy were tangled up in the sticky substance.

The enemy finally decided that fighting five combatants was too much and the ground troops were being called back by whoever was in charge. Steve and Spiderman had joined up with Clint, Natasha, and Vision and they all watched as the enemy scrambled off the roof and down to the street below as fast as they could.

"Should we pursue?" Steve asked. It seemed like a waste to just let them all get away. But Natasha was shaking her head.

"Too many civilians. We don't want to back them into a corner and they get desperate and do something stupid."

It made sense. There were already fires and wreckage everywhere.

"I see you met Spiderman." Natasha said, inclining her head towards the young hero.

"I saved him when he fell off the roof," Spiderman said, trying, and failing, not to sound proud of himself. It was actually kind of endearing.

"Aw man, you had to be saved by Spiderman?" Clint said. "How embarrassing."

"Hey!" Spiderman squawked.

Sam landed on the roof along with Iron man and War Machine. The Iron man faceplate flipped up almost immediately. "Everyone okay?" Tony asked, but he was mostly looking at Steve.

All too clearly Steve remembered what he had learned right before they had been attacked. He couldn't process it, not with Tony standing right here looking at him with that worried expression. So Steve just nodded and looked away. He walked over to the edge of the building and looked down onto the street below them to investigate what the crashing and yelling sounds he was hearing were. He nearly fell off when he caught sight of the huge green man causing havoc below. He had seen the Hulk on the television screens back on the jet when he'd first lost his memories, but it was nothing compared to seeing him in real life.

The Hulk had to be eight feet tall at least, and every inch of him was covered in massive muscles. His green skin made him seem even more unreal than just his height and build did. Several of the yellow robots were trying to engage him. The machines were just as big as Hulk but that wasn't helping them. Steve watched in awe as the Hulk picked up one of the robots with one giant fist, lifted it up over his head, and slammed it down into two other robots. They were the last of the robots and now the Hulk was looking around frantically and Steve worried about what would happen if he couldn't find any other hostiles to fight.

"Time for a lullaby," Tony said from right next to him. Steve nearly jumped. He had been so engrossed in watching the Hulk he hadn't heard the clunky footsteps of the Iron Man armor.

“A lullaby?” Was this some sort of euphemism?

"I got it covered," Clint said. He grabbed Spiderman by the arm and dragged him over to the edge of the roof. "Hey Hulk!" Clint called down. "Look who's here! Spiderman!"

Hulk turned and looked up at them, his expression went from fierce to delighted in under a second. "Spidey!" He yelled.

"Oh no." Spiderman said, trying to back away.

In a single leap Hulk went from street level to the roof. He immediately grabbed Spiderman and crushed him to his chest. Steve cried out in shock, sure that the giant man was going to squish the poor kid. But Hulk was actually just hugging him. "Spidey." Hulk hummed happily.

Spiderman was awkwardly patting one giant green arm. "Nice to see you too, big guy. Remember what we talked about? I need to be able to breath."

"Relax," Tony said, putting an armored hand on Steve's shoulder. "Hulk loves Spiderman. He actually helped Hulk out a couple of times when the army was trying to catch him. He's the only one besides Natasha who can talk the Hulk down when he's too far gone."

Steve glanced at Tony out of the corner of his eye. Tony was still watching the Hulk hug Spiderman, behind him the sun was just starting to sink lower and the light caught Tony's features. Steve felt a sudden swelling in his chest and he had to look away. He shouldn't be feeling anything towards Tony, after all, he couldn't remember having known him for more than a few days. It was just the adrenaline from the battle wearing off, he told himself.

Steve watched his fellow teammates as they milled around after the battle. There didn't seem to be any organization now that the fighting was over.

“Is there something we should be doing?” He asked Tony. It just seemed wrong to be standing around doing nothing while police and rescue workers were busy on the street below.

Tony glanced down at the street, then shrugged. “Nah, they got it covered. Plus we'd just get in the way. We only help with clean up when it's a really big mess.”

“This isn't a big mess?” Steve asked incredulously. The entire front of the restaurant had been blown out, there were multiple potholes from the giant robots and the Hulk fighting, plus the smoking remains of the robots.

Tony chuckled, “Trust me, this is tiny compared to some of the other messes we've made. Like bringing down three helicarriers on a major metropolis, now that was a mess."

Steve opened his mouth to ask what a helicarrier was, but was interrupted by Clint. "Oh please, at least Cap never blew up an entire country before."

Tony rolled his eyes. "It wasn't the entire country, just the capital. And some of the surrounding countryside." He added when Clint cocked an eyebrow at him. "At least we evacuated everyone first."

"We're not talking loss of life, this is pure property damage." Clint said.

Natasha wandered over to join the conversation. "If we're comparing property damage, I think Hulk might have us all beat."

"I dunno, Thor can cause just as much damage." Clint shot back.

"Thor and Hulk together."

"Oooh, yes."

Steve watched as the rest of the team joined them in their discussion and it soon turned into a contest of who had done the most damage. Even Spiderman tried to one up everyone, Hulk just told everyone that "Hulk smashes most" and left it at that.

There was a particularly heated debate about whether or not damaged done before joining the Avengers counted, when Tony suddenly went very still. Colonel Rhodes had also stopped talking and was frowning slightly.

"What's wrong?" Steve asked.

"We are receiving a distress call from Sergeant Barnes." Vision explained, his head cocked slightly to the side, as if he was listening to something. Steve remembered the communication units and understood what was happening.

"You guys weren't suppose to engage Doom." Tony said, frowning. Steve assumed he was talking to Bucky. "What do you mean 'frozen'? Like in ice? Wouldn't he-" Tony paused. "So more like a stasis field. Okay, we're on our way. Shouldn't take us too long, we're already suited up and Hulked out." Another pause. "No everything is fine." Tony glanced over at Steve. "He's fine, everyone is fine. Geez Barnes, you sound like someone's Jewish mother. Stop worrying."

Colonel Rhodes snorted in laughter. "Sorry. Okay, looks like Thor and Barnes ran into some trouble. They had a fix on Doom's location and were going to call it in when they were ambushed by Doom bots. They're all physically fine, but Doom managed to trap Loki in some kind of stasis field before escaping. Thor took off after Doom and Barnes is in pursuit of both of them. Wanda and Pietro are guarding Loki."

"So what's the plan," Steve asked.

Tony finished talking to Bucky, then turned to the rest of them. "The Avenjet is on the way. We'll head towards where Wanda and Pietro are. Once we get close we can head after Barnes and Thor if they need help." Tony turned and looked at Steve, "Sound good?"

Steve was slightly taken aback, then he remembered that he normally lead this team. He thought over Tony's words, then gave a firm nod. "Sounds good." The whine of jet engines could be heard right before the Avenjet appeared over head, blasting them all with warm air. Steve watched the aircraft hovering over head, it's back hatch opening up. "Amazing." He couldn't help saying, still feeling in awe of all the brand new technology.

"She certainly is a sexy beast," Tony grinned, but he wasn't looking at the jet. Steve had to look away to hid the blush creeping up his neck.

Colonel Rhodes closed the War Machine face plate, then grabbed Clint by his jacket. Clint grabbed War Machine's arm and rested one foot on a metal boot. War Machine easily flew them both up to the waiting jet, Sam streaking in right behind them. Natasha wrapped her arms around Vision's neck and Vision gripped her waist as they floated upward. Hulk patted Spiderman on the head, causing the poor kids knees to buckle, then jumped up to the jet. Steve was sure the jet was not going to be able to handle the Hulk's weight, but the jet only rocked slightly when Hulk landed.

Tony flipped down the Iron Man face plate. "Wanna come along Spiderman?"

The kid immediately perked up. "What? Really? Man that would be so awesome." He said, voice full of barely contained glee. "And any other day I would totally be there for you guys. Except for today, cause it's my girlfriends birthday, and if I miss another one of her birthdays, heads will roll. And by heads, I mean mine."

Behind the Iron Man mask, Steve could hear Tony laughing. "Okay, I get it. I've had a scary girlfriend before too. Hey, why don't you go by my florist and pick something out for your lady. My treat."

"Really? Wow!" If Spiderman had been excited about joining the Avengers on a mission, he was really excited about getting some nice flowers for his girlfriend. It made Steve smile, this kid had his priorities straight.

"We superheroes have to stick together. Especially against scary girlfriends." Iron Man said. "Or boyfriends."

Steve couldn't keep himself from gawking at Iron Man. Tony was just casually talking about boyfriends, out in public.

Spiderman just shrugged, not at all concerned about such a taboo subject. He just said, "I wouldn't know about that."

Tony gave the name of his florist and assured Spiderman he'd call ahead so the man would know to expect a costumed superhero. Spiderman wished them good luck then used his webbing to swing off towards uptown.

Steve nearly jumped out of his skin when Tony put an arm around him.

Tony immediately backed off, hands raised in a placating manner. "Sorry. Sorry. Should have warned you. I was just going to give you a lift up to the jet."

Steve forced himself to relax. "Okay. Um, how, or what should I do?"

Tony stepped forward again. "Just put your hand up on the back of my neck, there's an easy hand hold." Tentatively Steve moved his hand up to where the armor went across Tony's shoulders, he found the hand hold in the space between the main armor and the more flexible neck area. "Okay, now I'm just going to grab you around the waist." Tony moved his arm slowly around Steve, then pulled him in close. The hard shell of the armor pressed against Steve and he could feel that it was actually quite warm. Remembering what Hawkeye had done, Steve rested on foot on top of Tony's.

The face plate came up and Tony was looking at him, smiling slightly. "Okay?" Steve nodded. "Up we go, then." The face plate went back down and Steve felt the thrill of being shot straight up in the air.

The ride to the jet was much too quick, Steve didn't even realize how much he was enjoying it until it was over. They landed flawlessly inside the jet, the doors closing behind them and the jet taking off across the city. And Steve couldn't stop grinning. Tony flipped the face plate back up and was returning Steve's grin.

"Fun, huh?"

Steve watched the Iron Man armor unfolded from around Tony, Tony step out, and the armor connect itself back together, then walk itself over to an alcove that looked like it had been made for it. "That was incredible." Not sure if he was talking about the flight or the way the armor could move itself. Maybe both.

Tony look pleased either way. He slung an arm around Steve and steered him over to an area where there were several lockers. "Got a spare suit for you to change into."

"Nat's changing right now," Clint called from where he was piloting the jet.

"Right after Nat's done changing." Tony continued, as if he hadn't been interrupted. "We're going to Alaska, which is a state now, by the way. Forty-ninth state. Hawaii was the fiftieth. There are fifty states now, did you know that, has someone told you?"

"Tony," Steve interrupted. "Was there a point?"

"Yes, point. We're going to Alaska, should be there in just under an hour."

"An hour?" Steve knew his geography, Alaska was at the northernmost tip of western Canada.

Tony grinned, "This jet can go really, really fast."

A small door opened next to them and Natasha came out dressed in her uniform. Steve had to suppress the slight blush at the skin tight bodysuit. He was just glad he had seen her in it all day yesterday and had gotten a little used to it.

"All yours, Cap," she said, slipping by them.

Steve ducked through the doorway into what turned out to be a very small bathroom. He locked the door behind him, then proceeded to strip out of his civilian clothes and undergarments. The uniform had it's own under suit that fit snug against Steve's skin. Steve was grateful for the privacy, he had changed in front of the other guys in the barracks all the time, but that was with other men. He just didn't think he could do it with Natasha nearby. Or with Tony.

That thought brought back the other problem. He was ninety percent sure that he and Tony had been dating, up until Steve had lost his memories. It would certainly explain why Tony had been taking his memory loss so hard. The question was, what should Steve do about it now that he knew?

He thought about it as he slowly got dressed. He could have gone quicker, but he wanted a little privacy to think carefully. He finally decided that the best thing to do for the moment was to just not say anything to Tony and to do his best not to make the situation worse. After all, Bucky could right now be retrieving Steve's lost memories. The whole thing could be fixed by tonight. So there was no point making Tony uncomfortable by informing him Steve knew about their relationship.

Steve buckled on the harness that held his shield. Then stopped for a moment to review his decision one more time. Satisfied that he was making the right choice, he unlocked the bathroom door and stepped back out. Tony was still standing there, waiting for him. He gave Steve's uniform a once over and declared everything good. Then he went and relieved Clint so that he could change.

Steve decided to take a seat next to Sam and across from where the Hulk was sitting cross legged on the floor, Vision seated nearby. Clint opted not to use the bathroom, and instead stripped right in plain view of Natasha. Steve balked at the lack of respect for a lady and was about to say something when Sam rested a hand on his shoulder.

"Barton and Romanoff have seen each other naked so often I don't think they even notice anymore." Colonel Rhodes said. "They were partners long before becoming Avengers."

"I once had to dig a bullet out of his ass," Natasha said, smirking up at Clint. "He was laid up for almost two weeks afterward. You'd think he was dying with how pathetic he was acting. Even his wife got sick of his whining."

Clint scowled, "You promised never to mention that again."

"I do not recall making any such promise, you must have imagined it." Natasha said, primly as she handed Clint his shirt.

Steve wondered what Clint's wife thought about him and Natasha being so close. It would have been scandalous in the forties, maybe in the future no one cared.

Steve glanced over at the Hulk and found the giant looking right back.

Hulk titled his head to the side, like he was examining Steve. "Cap no remember Hulk?"

Steve shook his head, "No, sorry. Seems I've forgotten a lot of people."

Hulk grunted in agreement. Steve was surprised at how quietly he was sitting. Less than half an hour ago he had been tearing robots apart with his bare hands. Now he was just sitting calmly, enormous hands resting on his knees.

"Bucky forget Cap." Hulk said, almost knowingly.

Steve frowned, "He hasn't forgotten me. He's just on another mission."

Vision, who had been following the conversation, interrupted. "I believe Hulk is referring to when you first discovered Sargent Barnes was alive, he did not remember you because he had had his memories erased."

Hulk nodded. "Hard to be forgotten."

Steve hadn't even made the connection. He'd read that Bucky had his memories erased and that he couldn't even remember Steve, but for some reason Steve had just glossed over it. Maybe because it was just too awful to dwell on. How would that have felt, being forgotten by his best friend? To see him again after thinking he was dead and Bucky just looking right through him.

"Who the hell is Bucky?"

Steve turned to look at Sam.

"That was the first thing he said to you," Sam explained. "You looked so horrified and hurt. Just standing there, frozen. He almost shot you, would have if I hadn't saved your sorry ass. You were really out of it after that. Natasha had been shot and she was more with it than you." Sam shook his head. "I've seen you take some blows since then, never as bad."

An image popped into Steve's mind. An image of seeing Tony for the first time after losing his memories. He'd thought Tony was a Doom bot and he'd tried to shot him. Only Bucky and Loki's intervention had prevented him from making a horrible mistake. And the look on Tony's face, he had looked so hurt. Now the extreme reaction made sense. From Tony's perspective, he had almost been fired on by his boyfriend. And after it had been explained that Steve had lost his memories, Tony tried to remain blanked face, hiding his hurt. Except it kept creeping out.

How much had Tony been suffering the last few days?

And did any of the other team members know?

Steve was pretty sure that no one knew he and Tony were an item. The text messages had said Steve wanted to tell Bucky about it. Surely they wouldn't have told anyone else for fear they would tell Bucky.

Steve snuck a quick peek at Tony. Clint had taken back over the controls so Tony was now pacing back and forth. He seemed on edge, hands constantly fidgeting with items he picked up, then immediately put back down. Colonel Rhodes was trying to quietly get him to sit down and Natasha was eyeing him warily.

Steve didn't know why he stood up and walked over to Tony. One second he was sitting next to Sam, the next he had crossed the space in a few strides and was placing his hand on Tony's arm.

"Everything okay?"

Tony glanced up at him, clearly startled. "Steve. Yeah, everything's fine." Tony shrugged one shoulder, not the one attached to the arm Steve was holding. "We'll be there soon, so, ya know."

"I don't."


Steve smiled, "I don't know. You said, ya know, and I'm telling you I don't."

Tony rolled his eyes. "Don't take things so literally." Tony said, sounding exasperated and amused at the same time.

He seemed a little calmer already, his hands had stopped fidgeting and he was standing still. Steve realized his hand was still on Tony's arm, but felt reluctant to move it. He got the impression that it was helping some how.

They were turned so Steve's back was to the rest of the group. Only Colonel Rhodes could see them from where he was sitting. And he had suddenly become very interested in his fingernails.

Tony took a small step closer and Steve felt him hook his thumb in the bend of Steve's elbow. "Barnes mentioned that they confirmed Doom has the Tesseract and, ah, and your memories. So," Tony waved his free hand through the air. "Ya know."

Steve smiled again. "So I could have my memories back soon?" No wonder Tony was on edge. In less than an hour, Steve could be remembering him. "That will be nice."

Tony waved his hand again, in a gesture that meant something like a lack of caring. "Whatever, I mean, if you even want them back. I dunno, maybe we all scared you off from remembering your crazy life."

Steve hoped Tony wasn't referring to himself. Steve was pretty sure he wouldn't get into a relationship with anyone if he wasn't committed to it. Did Tony honestly think Steve wouldn't want to remember him? He almost said something right then. Instead he said, "I'm actually looking forward to it. Apparently I need to remember the time Clint got stuck in a dumpster."

Tony threw his head back and laughed out loud. Steve couldn't stop himself from smiling. And he couldn't stop the warmth spreading through his chest at the sight of Tony animatedly telling him the story of Clint being late for a meeting because he was locked inside a dumpster.

Steve got Tony to sit down next to him. He then spent the rest of the flight listening to stories of times Avengers found themselves in awkward situations (most of them seemed to involve Clint). As Steve listened he thought how he was actually really looking forward to getting his memories back. And he wondered how much of that was because of the man sitting next to him.

Chapter Text

Tony found himself cursing his awesomely fast jet.

He was sitting with Steve, enjoying having some time with him after the last few crazy days. And he was not ready for Barton to announce that they were five minutes out.

Of course it was possible that the craziness, well this craziness, was about to come to an end. They hadn't heard back from Barnes or Thor yet. Maybe, just for once, no news would actually be good news.

Please let it be good news.

They landed right outside a small building that Doom had been using as a hidey hole. No sooner had they stepped out of the jet than Pietro was standing right in front of them.

"Took you long enough." The brat said.

Barton cuffed him upside the head as he passed. "What happened to not engaging?" 

"We didn't mean to," Pietro explained as he led them to the building. "Wanda and Loki had gotten a few good hits, but each turned out to just be a decoy or something. So when they found this place we decided to investigate when Barnes didn't read any life signs. Turns out Doom was really here, he was just hiding deep."

The inside of the building seemed like an abandoned hunting cabin, but Pietro pulled on a hidden lever and a hole opened up in the floor with a staircase going down. Turned out there was a much larger structure underneath the cabin. Filled with scientific equipment, computers and all Doom's weird magic and alchemy stuff.

In the middle of the room, was a large clear box, Wanda standing guard nearby. Inside Loki was frozen mid step, one hand slightly extended, fingers just starting to uncurl. Tony recognized it as the gesture Loki made when he was about to throw a nasty blast of magic. Tony could even see the first tendrils of gold forming in Loki's palm.

"Has he been like this the whole time?" Tony asked Wanda. FRIDAY was scanning the box, but it wasn't giving off any energy signatures or heat signatures, or anything at all. Almost like the box wasn't even there and neither was Loki.

"He's been in that exact pose since Doom froze him." Wanda reported. "I've been watching the magic," she gestured at Loki's palm, "it hasn't expanded at all."

That shot down the theory that Doom had just put Loki in a stasis field. Even a really good stasis field just slowed the person down. I mean they were slowed down so much that it looked like they weren't moving from the outside. But Tony knew that when Loki produced magic, it seemed to appear almost instantaneously. He had gotten several good videos of it by now and had slowed them down until he was able to calculate that Loki manifested the magic in under .02 seconds. So even if Loki was in a stasis field, there would have been some measurable change in the size and shape of the little tendrils of gold.

Just to be safe, he had FRIDAY take a quick snapshot of Loki's right hand so they could do a comparison in about an hour.

"Where was Doom when he activated this thing?" Tony asked Wanda.

"Over here." She lead him to a nearby console.

The rest of the team had come down, except Hulk. He probably couldn't fit through the hole. "Hey, I'm gonna need Bruce down here." He called over to Natasha. She nodded and headed back up the stairs. "FRIDAY I'm gonna need to get into all of Doom's files. He's a scientist, he takes detailed notes."

"On it, Boss."

Tony began working at the console, trying to figure out where the controls for the box were. Wanda went back to guarding the box, Pietro leaning up against a wall nearby to keep watch on Wanda.

"Well I know how every bad guy in the world knew Steve had lost his memory." Tony announced to the room in general.

"How?" Barton asked.

Tony tapped the screen he was in front of. "Doom sent out a general transmission right after he noticed he had company. Probably hoping to create some interference while he got away. One more reason he's due for an ass whopping."

A few minutes later, Bruce came down the stairs. He made his way over to Tony, looking rather with it for having just changed. They'd found that the change was easier on Bruce if the Hulk had calmed down some first.

"What's up?" Bruce asked, looking over Tony's shoulder.

"Trying to figure out what that thing is." Tony hooked a thumb back in the direction of the boxed Loki. "Doom activated it from here, but looks like he then immediately disabled any remote access."

"There must be some sort of power source or something."

They both hunched over the console, trying to figure out how to unbox Loki. Soon FRIDAY piped in. "I found the schematics of the cube."  The blueprints and specs of the box popped up on one of the screens.

Tony and Bruce studied it eagerly. Tony was sure he wasn't really seeing what he was seeing. "Is that?"

"It's not possible," Bruce squinted at the screen. "It's way beyond anything science can do."

"That bastard invented a time machine." Tony scowled at the screen. "He invented a time machine before me, now I'm mad."

"Of all the other things Doom's done over the years, this is what makes you mad?" Bruce asked, eyebrow raised, lips quirked up at the corners.

"Hell yeah. And he didn't even make it interesting looking. A clear box, come on. There are so many better designs."

Bruce was smiling now. "Like maybe something more H. G. Wells?"

"Exactly." Tony said. "Or maybe Back to the Future."

"How bout the TARDIS?"

Tony clapped his hands together in excitement. "Yes! A TARDIS! We're totally remaking this as a TARDIS." Bruce gave him a look that meant he thought Tony was planning something stupid. "Or, not, cause time is in the 'Not to be Meddled With' category."

Pacified, Bruce went back to studying the blueprints. "So how do we turn it off?"

"Not sure yet. Doom activated it from here, but if I'm reading this right, he then immediately disconnected it from the console. I think all of it's controls are inside the machine somewhere." They both looked back at the clear box. There were no noticeable panels or buttons or anything that looked like they could be used to turn the damn thing off.

"Maybe only the person inside the machine can see them?" Bruce theorized.

"Not a big help."

Turned out the time machine was so complex that Bruce and Tony were actually having to learn new math as they decoded the blueprints.

Tony was aware of the rest of the team milling around. Vision had floated up through the ceiling earlier, saying he was going to keep watch. Barton, Romanoff, and Wilson were searching for any surveillance equipment Doom might have put up. Pietro wasn't leaving Wanda's side and Wanda wouldn't leave Loki.

And, as always, Tony was extra aware of Steve. Steve was very interested in Doom and he kept asking questions as Barton and Romanoff gave him The History of Doom 101. After a while Steve made his way over to Wanda and Tony could hear him asking her if she was okay. Tony found himself smiling a little at that. It was nice to know that Steve had always been the concerned leader they had all grown to love.

Except Steve hadn't been doing much leading lately and Tony had been stepping into the role. It wasn't like he hadn't done it before, but it was usually when Steve wasn't around. It felt wrong to be giving Steve orders. Well, outside the bedroom, anyway.

Barnes called in to let them know he and Thor were heading back. He told them that they had lost Doom, but was otherwise annoyingly vague about anything else. Saying that he and Thor would update the whole team when they got back.

Bruce finally figured out exactly what the machine was doing. "It's paused time and space. That's why Loki's not even moving a little. Everything within the machine has literally stopped, even down to the subatomic level."

Tony swore. "He doesn't even realize he's trapped." They'd both voiced the hope that Loki had realized what had happened and was hatching a clever way to get out.

Loki had been imprisoned a few other times, and each time he had escaped. Thor had even warned against trying to keep Loki in a prison at the Tower in between missions. Saying that Loki would just figure out how to get out eventually and then be mad he had been locked up. It was easier to keep him under control by giving him some freedom. And his fear of being found by Thanos convinced him to stay with the Avengers if for no other reason than for added protection.

Thor was also convinced that if he hadn't freed Loki from his prison on Asgard, that Loki would have broken out on his own shortly there after to get revenge on the guy who killed his mom.

But this trap of Doom's was perfect. How do you escape from a prison when you don't even know you've been imprisoned? There could be no tricks or clever plans.

"Can you see a power source?" Tony asked.

"I think it's self sustaining at this point." Bruce replied. "It took a huge amount of energy to activate it, you can see the spike here in the power grid. But now it looks like it's just pulling small amounts of energy from the environment."

This made sense. "An object in motion wants to stay in motion. It would take a lot of energy to bring everything to a standstill. But now it just has to keep everything stopped, that's easy to do."

They went back to studying the machine, throwing out ideas to each other on how they could restart time if they couldn't get to the machines controls.

When Thor and Barnes came back, Tony immediately stopped his space time theory to look and see if Barnes had Steve's memories. He wasn't even sure what he was looking for. Maybe a ball of swirling mist or something.

Thor went over to the clear box that had Loki trapped, checking on his brother. He was holding one of the containment units Tony had designed for the Infinity Stones. The locks were engaged so Tony had to assume they'd gotten the Tesseract back.

Barnes ignored everyone else, went straight over to Steve, whispered something to him, then turned and went back up the stairs. Steve following close behind.

Tony watched them go, noting the sober look Barnes had. Tony turned to Thor, who also looked way too sober. "What's going on?"

Thor glanced up the stairs, then address the rest of the team. "After Doom trapped Loki, he fled. I pursued him and was able to bring down his aircraft several miles from here. The Tesseract was thrown free in the crash and I retrieved it. At this point Barnes caught up to us. We both pursued Doom and had him cornered." Thor tightened his jaw. "He had Rogers' memories with him. He offered us a trade, the Tesseract and his freedom for Steven's memories."

Tony didn't want to listen to this, cause he already knew how it ended. He could picture the scene in his mind. Doom tauntingly holding out Steve's memories, Barnes desperate to get them back. But Thor knew exactly what was at stake.

"We could not give up the Tesseract." Thor went on, heavily. "The amount of damage someone such as Doom could do with it." Thor shook his head.

"So Doom got away with Steve's memories," Sam asked.

Thor swallowed and looked away for a moment. Oh it was so much worse if Thor was having to take a second to get a grip on himself. "Doom destroyed them."

Something in Tony's chest broke. He swore he could hear the crack and then there was just pain.

And Thor was still talking.

"When he realized we would not make the trade he threw down the crystal container he was storing the memories in. Barnes dove for it, tried to catch it, but we were too far away. Without the protective runes, the memories drifted apart and were lost."

Whatever had broken in Tony's chest was making it hard for him to breathe. There was a hand gripping his shoulder.

"Tony." Rhodey was next to him, quietly saying his name. "You okay?"

"The containment field." Tony stood up straight. When had he bent over? Never mind. He turned to Bruce, who was looking at him like he was worried about Tony. "If we can break the containment field then the outside time, which is moving, will be able to seep inside the machine."

The concerned look went away and Bruce's face lit up in understanding. "The machine isn't drawing enough power to keep time at a standstill if we introduce moving time."

"Should be easy enough to break the field." Tony was walking away from Thor, pulling out of Rhodey's grasp. If he could just stay focused on the problem of freeing Loki then he could forget that he'd just lost any hope of getting Steve back. 

Steve tried to process what Bucky was telling him.

All of his memories were gone. Not just missing, but completely gone. He was never going to remember the people he had fought with during the war. He was never going to remember becoming Captain America. He wouldn't remember how he met a group of extraordinary people (and one crazy god) and saved the planet.

He won't ever remember ..

"Oh no."

Bucky had been standing there, watching Steve warily. "What?"

"Does the rest of the team know?" Does Tony know?

"I assume they know by now," Bucky said, carefully. "Thor was gonna tell them. Hey, where are you going?"

Steve didn't answer, he just avoided Bucky's grasp and practically slid down the stairs in his haste. Bucky following closely behind.

He glanced frantically around, trying to spot Tony. Sam came up to him, looking just as concerned as Bucky.

"Hey man, you okay?"

Steve stopped his searching to focus on Sam. "I'm fine."

Sam gave him a dubious look. "Really? Cause you don't look it."

"I'm fine." Steve repeated. Sam glanced over Steve's shoulder and raised an eyebrow at Bucky. Bucky just shrugged and shook his head. Steve ignored both of them. "Thor told you guys what happened?"

Sam nodded. "Yeah, that sucks."

Clint and Natasha came over next to check to make sure Steve was okay. He tried to assure them all that he was fine, but no one seemed to believe him. He wanted to yell at them all. Tell them that it wasn't him they should be worried about.

He caught sight of Thor, standing near the box Loki was trapped in. He wasn't looking at the box though, instead he was looking past it. His mouth was turned down in a frown and he looked slightly concerned. Steve noticed Colonel Rhodes was standing nearby, looking in the same direction. Where as Thor had just looked concerned and maybe a little confused, Colonel Rhodes looked down right worried.

Steve pushed past Clint and Natasha and went across the room, stopping just behind Thor. He could now see that Thor and Colonel Rhodes were looking into a smaller room that was filled with complicated looking pieces of machinery. Bruce was standing just inside the doorway, also looking a little worried.

Inside was Tony.

He was grabbing different things off of shelves, inspecting them, then either putting them back or tossing them to Bruce. He was also talking very quickly, almost frantically.

"We just need to create a directional chronal field, that will set up interference in the wave modulation of the- Is this a hand held particle accelerator? Why would Doom even need one of these? Anyway, if we can just cobble together a few of these gizmos, I'm sure that- Ooo, googles, gonna need these. Did I already give you a Tesla coil? Never mind, this one is better."

Steve just stood and watched, unsure what to do. "What's going on?"

Bruce turned and looked up at Steve, "Tony has figured out a way to get Loki out of the time machine."

Steve was sure he hadn't heard Bruce correctly. "What kind of machine?"

"A time machine." Bruce said casually, like it wasn't something straight out of science fiction. Then again, most of the things Steve had encountered over the past few days were straight out of science fiction.

"Those are real?" Steve asked.

"Only if you're Doom." Bruce juggled a few of the items he was holding so that he could push his glasses up. "Tony's upset that Doom invented it before he did."

Steve watched Tony dashing from one shelf to another, rummaging through Doom's things. He didn't think that a time machine was really what Tony was upset about.

Bruce ended up having to hand a few things off to Steve and Thor, though Steve noticed he was only giving Thor sturdy looking items.

When Tony came out of the room, he had them lay all the items out on a large table. He then began assembling .. something. Steve could hardly follow Tony's incessant chatter, let alone make out what he was supposed to be making. And when Tony held up the finished device, looking very pleased with himself, Steve was relieved not to be the only one staring at him blankly.

The machine was no bigger than a folded newspaper. It had a two flat panels connected by a pipe. And, what really looked like, the throttle on a motorcycle's handlebars.

"Is it finished?" Thor asked, looking at it dubiously.

"Yup. See it's going to fire off a directional pulse that will," Tony paused, noticing Thor's frown. Tony sighed. "The machine will go 'ping' then the box will go 'vroomp'. Everyone get clear, Loki doesn't know any time has passed. He still thinks he's in the middle of a battle. No Thor, don't try to tackle him into submission. Wanda, come here, you're in charge of talking him down. Everyone ready?" Tony adjusted the googles to cover his eyes. "Let's do this bitch, then."

Tony triggered the throttle, the machine made an actual ping sound. Steve was expecting to see a laser come out of it and hit the box. But there was nothing. For half a second, Steve thought it hadn't worked. Then the box suddenly light up like a search light and went vvrroooommp.

Loki's hand shot forward and a blast of his golden magic exploded against the far wall. Wanda immediately moved next to him and put a calming hand on his arm. "It's alright. Doom has gone."

Loki relaxed visibly. He looked around, face showing mild surprise when he saw the whole team standing in the room with him. "What happened?"

"Doom trapped you inside of a machine," Wanda explained. "It froze time and space."

"I got you out," Tony said, smugly, lifting his small machine up to show it off. "You're welcome."

Loki rolled his eyes. "I'm forever in your debt." He said, voice dripping with sarcasm. He turned to Bucky, completely ignoring a concerned Thor. "Were you able to retrieve the Tesseract and Rogers' memories?"

"We got the Tesseract back," Bucky said. "But Doom destroyed the container Steve's memories were in." Loki's eyes went wide in understanding. "Is there any way to retrieve them?" Bucky implored.

Steve saw Tony tense up and direct all his attention to Loki.

Please say yes. Steve thought.

Loki's brow furrowed in thought. He opened his mouth, as if he wanted to say something. But he quickly closed it, looked away from Bucky, and shook his head. "I'm sorry." He murmured. Steve wasn't sure who exactly Loki was apologizing too.

Steve felt the last bit of hope leave him. He hadn't even realized he was holding onto it. But in the back of his mind he was thinking that perhaps Loki had some magical way to fix everything.

He jumped when Tony clapped his hands together. "Alright. You guys can take the Avenjet back, I'm gonna stay here and catalog all this stuff." He waved a hand around to indicate all of the technology. "Wanna join me Bruce?"

Bruce had been looking at Tony in concern. He gave his head a little shake, like he was trying to clear out a thought. "Yeah, sure." Bruce caught Colonel Rhodes eye. "Maybe you should stay as well. So we can have someone to keep watch."

A look passed between them and Colonel Rhodes nodded.

Steve remembered that these were Tony's two closest friends. Of course they had realized that something was very wrong with Tony's behavior and were concerned. And they could help him. Steve wanted to stay too, but what could he do? He would probably just make things worse.

So with a very heavy heart he followed the others back to the jet.

It was a sober flight back. Bucky sat on one side of Steve with Sam on the other. Natasha sat up front with Clint. Steve could hear an occasional word drifting back from the cockpit as they talk. Once or twice he even caught his name and Tony's being mentioned together. Vision looked troubled. And Wanda kept casting furtive glances at Steve, while Pietro kept rubbing her back in a soothing manner. Steve hoped she wasn't feeling guilty. Actually he hoped no one was feeling guilty. It hadn't been anyone's fault except for Doom.

Steve really wanted to hunt the guy down and just punch him in the face until he felt better.

They arrived back at the Tower well after midnight. Everyone went directly to their own apartments. Steve was about to enter his own, when Bucky grabbed him and pulled him further down the hall to a different door.

"Where are we going?" Steve asked, letting Bucky pull him along.

"We're going to get drunk," Bucky said, matter-of-factly.

"Wait, you said we couldn't get drunk." He had commented yesterday, after several beers, that he didn't feel anything from them. Bucky had explained how the increased metabolism made it impossible for them to get drunk.

Bucky stopped in front of the door that was three down from Steve's apartment. "We can't get drunk on pansy ass mortal alcohol." Bucky rang the doorbell. "Fortunately, we have gods as friends."

Thor opened the door of his apartment. "Friends." He greeted. "What can I do for you?"

"We need to get drunk." Bucky informed him.

Thor smiled, stepped out of the way, and gestured for them to come in.

Thor's apartment was similar in layout to Steve's. That was where any similarity ended. The décor reminded Steve of the illustrations in the Viking mythology book in his apartment. In addition to several bronze art pieces, there was a stand near the front door that held Mjolnir. And a large tapestry that covered an entire wall. It depicted a woman with golden hair, dressed in Asgardian armor, floating among the stars.

Bucky glanced around the apartment. "Where's Loki?"

"He has already retired to his room." Thor said.

Bucky went over to the door of the second bedroom and started pounding on it. "We're getting drunk and ordering Dim Sum. Get your ass out here." The door remained closed. "I will come in there." Bucky threatened.

The door opened. Loki was dressed in loose pants and a linen shirt. He smiled at Bucky, licking his lips when he did. "You are always welcomed into my bed. You know this."

Bucky just grabbed the collar of Loki's shirt and hauled him out into the main room.

Sam arrived a few minutes later with a bottle of whiskey. Steve inspected the bottle, it looked very expensive. "It's from Tony's stash." Sam told him. "And it's for me." Sam cracked the bottle open and poured himself a few fingers. "I tried Thor's stuff one time, worst hangover of my life."

Thor's stuff was from Asgard and was so strong that Steve's eyes watered just by taking a whiff of the stuff. It burned like nothing else and Steve's stomach felt like it was on fire. But a few minutes later he felt a pleasant warmth seeping through him.

The food arrived and Bucky and Sam spent five minutes explaining what each item was to Steve. Dim Sum was actually just a term used for a variety of different Asian foods. Steve enjoyed sampling the different kinds, discovering what he liked. Sam and Bucky both refused to tell him what his favorites were, but Steve quickly learned to watch their faces. Each time he reached for something that he wasn't going to like or was really spicy, Bucky and Sam would watch him intently, then cackle with laughter.

Loki loved something called pot stickers, a type of Asian dumpling filled with pork. Bucky had made sure to get several orders just for him and Loki refused to share any of them.

Even though the alcohol was strong, Steve discovered his body filtered out the toxin extremely quickly. So Bucky suggested a drinking game in an effort to keep them drunk.

The rules of 'Never have I ever' were explained to him. Steve pointed out that he couldn't remember if he had ever done a lot of stuff.

"That's the beauty of it." A slightly tipsy Bucky explained. "We get to teach you stuff about yourself at the same time." Bucky didn't recover from the effects of the alcohol as fast as Steve.

It did turn out to be pretty informative. Steve found out he had in fact been to every country in the world at least once, could make a bomb 'Magyver style' (Sam had to explain what that meant to him, Loki, and Thor), been attacked in a small space by overwhelming odds and won, fought aliens multiple times, and had survived a fight with the Hulk.

Some of the things that were put out there turned out to be a way to needle each other. Bucky said he'd never been beaten up by a man the size of an ant, which earned him a scowl from Sam, and guffaws from everyone else.

And when Sam said, "Never have I ever worn women's makeup." Loki and Thor took shots. But Steve and Bucky left theirs alone. "Drink up Barnes." Sam said.

Bucky scoffed. "I've never worn women's makeup."

"What about that eyeliner you always wear." Sam said, grinning.

"It's black camouflage war paint!"

The game eventually turned into trying to find things Thor and Loki had never done. Being several thousand years old, the two of them seemed to have done everything. Sam, Steve, and Bucky started just thinking of wild un-probable things, like riding a dragon, walking on water (apparently Loki could do this), fighting a sea serpent, and dressing up like a woman.

The last one led to the hilarious retelling of Thor dressing up like a bride in order to get Mjolnir back from someone who had stolen it.

Sam was the first to pass out. The couch had a reclining feature so they just set him up there and cover him with a sheepskin blanket. Loki somehow convinced Bucky to let Loki braid his hair in an Asgardian fashion. Bucky settled down on the floor, in between Loki's legs. Steve watched as Loki carefully ran his fingers through Bucky's hair, straightening out any tangles. Then he began a complicated braiding that involved weaving different beads and charms into Bucky's hair. Bucky's eyes began to droop. His head lolled to the side so Loki carefully positioned him so his head was leaning against Loki's inner thigh. Soon Bucky's breathing deepened.

Thor reclined the large seat he was in, stretched out and closed his eyes.

Loki finished Bucky's hair, then undid the whole thing and just stroked his fingers through it while Bucky slept on.

"He said he would never do anything as crazy as sleep with you." Steve said, feeling like he was floating away from his body.

Loki smirked. "Good for him." He separated a piece of Bucky's hair and began braiding it. "Besides, I only started making such overt advances on him because of how much it annoyed you." Loki had a mischievous glint in his eye. "It's not as much fun now that you don't remember why you hated it so much."

"You're an ass," Bucky mumbled. Loki smiled and stroked his hair until Bucky drifted back to sleep.

"My memories are really gone forever?" Steve had to ask, just one more time.

Loki sighed, "Yes."

Steve nodded. He'd figured as much. He looked at his half finished drink, but he didn't feel like finishing it.

"I envy you, in a way."

Steve looked questioningly at Loki.

He had a far away, haunted look in his eyes. "There are things I wish I could permanently forget."

"I'm sure there are somethings I once said I wish I could forget." Steve mused. "But now that I really have forgotten them, I think I was wrong to wish that." Steve regarded Bucky, asleep at Loki's feet. "And I've forgotten the people who are closest to me. Even with Bucky, our relationship has changed, I can tell. Not in a bad way necessarily, just time and experiences have changed us both. But I have no memory of how or why, so how do I adjust?"

Loki shrugged. "Again, it's not entirely bad. I have noticed over the last few days that a strain that was between you and Barnes has disappeared. I don't think either of you knew it was there. It was only noticeable in its absence."

Steve frowned. "A strain? Why would our relationship be strained?"

"It could have something to do with Barnes trying to kill you the first time he saw you in this century." Loki said, dryly.

Steve protested, "I would never hold that against him."

Loki made a dismissive gesture with the hand not stroking Bucky's hair. "That does not change the fact that James still feels guilty. Now he suddenly has a second chance. You have gone back to that carefree boy who doesn't truly know what has happened to his friend. To you, you both are still the young men you were before war and tragedy rose up to claim your innocence." Loki sighed quietly, glancing at Thor just briefly. "As I said, I envy you."

Steve digested Loki's words. He had of course noticed that Bucky had changed. Not only was he older and more care worn, but he also moved differently. More like a jungle cat, sleek and silently. He had completely lost his Brooklyn accent and his voice was gruffer too. Steve was sure that as time went on he would notice more differences. Loki was correct though, when he said that Steve still saw him as the same old Bucky.

"I prefer you this way as well," Loki continued. "Far less self righteous. I dare say you've become almost tolerable."

"Bucky's right," Steve said. "You are an ass."

Loki leaned back against the couch, stretching his long limbs and laughing out loud. "He prefers me that way."

They lapsed into silence and Loki's hand eventually stilled it's stroking through Bucky's hair. His eyes drifted shut and Steve was left the only one awake.

He finished off his drink then stretched out on the couch he was occupying, too tired to go back to his own apartment. He thought of Tony and hoped he was doing okay, that Bruce and Colonel Rhodes had been able to help him.

It was so frustrating because Steve knew that before Doom had come along, he would have known exactly what to do to help Tony. But that knowledge was gone, along with everything else.

It made Steve's heart hurt just thinking about how much pain Tony must be in.

Tony could hear Bruce and Rhodey talking. Probably about him. Tony didn't care, as long as they left him alone so he could concentrate on all the cool stuff he'd found.

Rhodey and Bruce had both tried to get Tony to take a break. But he knew that if he stopped moving, even for a second, reality was going to clamp it's ugly jaws down on him and not let go.

He was currently trying to pry off an access panel on the back of one of Doom's machines so he could get to the circuitry. He had taken off the Iron Man suit earlier, and even though he knew putting it back on would make this task easier, the physicality of it was helping.

Well it was until the crowbar slipped and Tony bashed his face against the back of said machine.


"Everything okay Tony?" Rhodey called.

"No, it's not okay." Tony growled back. "How could it be okay? I can't get this panel off the back of this thing, so I can't figure out what it does and if it's dangerous." Pressure was building in Tony's chest. "And it probably is since Doom is a neurotic psychopath. Who thinks he can just screw up everyone's lives like he has the right!" Tony sent the crowbar flying across the room. "And now everything is ruined!" Tony grabbed a nearby toolbox and sent it in the same direction as the crowbar. Each throw and subsequent crash released some of the pressure. "It's RUINED! And I can't FIX IT!" He was screaming himself horse, trying to let out all the rage. He started grabbing random things, flinging them across the room. Not caring what broke. Screaming every expletive he could think of.

Strong arms embraced him from behind. He knew it was Rhodey.

"Let go of me!"

"No Tony, I got you." Rhodey said, pulling Tony close and keeping him from grabbing anything else to throw.


"No. I got you. I'm with you."

"Let go!" Tony was sobbing now, the pain in his chest bursting. "Let me go."

Rhodey just kept holding him. "I'm with you. You're not alone in this Tony. I got you."

Tony's legs gave out on him and Rhodey gently brought them both down to the floor. Tony bent forward, trying to curl up in a ball, only Rhodey holding him prevented it. He covered his face in his hands, trying to hide the tears, even as his body shook with racking sobs.

After a minute, Tony felt a warm solid presence to his right, and knew it was Bruce.

"I lost him." Tony sobbed out. "I lost Steve." He was trying to explain to Bruce why he was crying. Bruce probably already knew, though. "I only had him for a few days, now he's gone."

"He's still here, Tony." Bruce said softly.

Tony shook his head. "He doesn't remember me. He can't ever remember me. I've lost him." A fresh wave of sobs erupted from his chest. "I should have told him. I thought it was too soon, but I've wanted to tell him for years."

"Tell him what?"

"I love him." Tony choked out. "I love that big, blonde idiot. I was afraid if I told him he'd realize what he was doing and leave. But now, now he just won't ever know." He gave a shuddering breath. "I've lost him."

Bruce shifted so that he was pressed up closer to Tony's side, like he was trying to keep him from falling over. "I'm so sorry," he whispered.

They sat there, Rhodey behind him, Bruce next to him. Eventually the tears dried up and the pressure Tony had been feeling in his chest was gone. Replaced by an emptiness and exhaustion.

Rhodey and Bruce convinced him to get up and they lead him to the Quinjet. There was a small cot that they kept in the back. Rhodey set it up and gently pushed Tony down into it. His whole body felt drained and his eyelids were heavy. Rhodey and Bruce settled down nearby. Tony was going to protest and tell one of them to take the cot. Instead he let his eyes close, just for a minute.

When he opened them again, it was morning.

He was momentarily disoriented. He sat up, realized he was in the Quinjet and sitting on a cot. The previous night came rushing back to him.

The Hulk came up the Quinjet ramp, carrying one of the pieces of equipment from Doom's lab. The guy was being remarkable stealth for someone who wore size 30 shoes. He caught sight of Tony, reached over and patted his head in a rather comforting way. Hulk deposited the piece of equipment next to several other then left the Quinjet, probably to get some more.

A few seconds later, Rhodey came flying in, also bringing some stuff from Doom's hideout. "Hey, you're awake." He said, through the War Machine faceplate.

"Yeah." Tony stretched, then winched. "I'm gonna have to schedule an appointment with my chiropractor when we get back."

Rhodey put down the stuff he was carrying, then clomped over to Tony, hunched down in front of him, and lifted the faceplate. "So about last night."

Tony turned his face away. "I don't want to talk about it."

"Of course you don't," Rhodey huffed. "But you're gonna listen to what I have to say whether you like it or not."

Tony glared at Rhodey, but he knew his friend's stubborn voice. So he stayed put and listened.

"I know you think that Steve losing his memory means that you've missed out on the chance to be with him." Rhodey said. "But if there is one thing I've learned about you two stubborn idiots over the years, there's nothing in heaven or earth that can keep you apart. The number of time you two have argued, snapped at each other, and generally made everyone around you think you must hate each other. But you still have remained friends through it all. I mean that thing with Barnes a few years ago. You two were literally at each others throats."

Tony had to close his eyes. He still didn't like to think about that. Steve had finally found Bucky again and Tony had tried to back up the government in their attempt to apprehend Barnes. Fighting Steve had been awful. Tony had felt so confident that he was in the right and that that made what he was doing worth it.

Tony still had nightmares about how it all had ended.

It hadn't been worth it. Not at all.

Rhodey continued, "Somehow, you two still made up after everything." Rhodey shook his head. "I don't know how, but you did."

"This is different." Tony's voice cracked. He didn't know if it was from the emotion or from screaming himself horse last night.

"I'm not so sure it is," Rhodey said, earnestly. "Yesterday, right after Steve found out his memories had been destroyed, the first thing he did was make a beeline over to you. Like he was worried about you. It was so familiar that it took me a second to figure out why it seemed out of place." Rhodey stood back up. "So even when he can't remember why, you're still the most important person to him."

Tony looked up at Rhodey. "You sound very confident in that statement."

Rhodey looked like he'd shrugged, it was hard to tell through the armor. "Yeah, well he had that expression on his face."

Tony frowned. "What expression?"

"The one he only gets when he's worried about you." Rhodey grinned, snapped the face plate back down, then took off out the back of the Quinjet.

Tony watched him go, still frowning. Did Steve have an 'I'm worried about Tony face'? He did have a 'Tony is doing something I think is ill advised' face. And even if he had been worried about Tony yesterday, it didn't mean anything, cause Steve didn't remember him. Tony mulled it all over as Hulk and Rhodey finished loading stuff on the Quinjet. He kept mulling it over as they flew back to the Upstate New York facility.

Shortly before they landed, Bruce came and sat down next to him.

"I've been thinking about a paper I read a few years ago." Bruce said.

"Bruce, honey, we need to get you some novels or something to read on these long flights." Tony teased.

"Ha, ha. Anyway, it was written by a neurologist who was studying memory loss. In it he talked about how different types of memories are stored in different parts of the brain. That's why a person who has experienced amnesia can still sign their name and do other things that require muscle memory."

"Uh huh, that's why Steve can still fight."

Bruce nodded, "Exactly. This doctor also talked about a theory he had that emotional attachments we make may also be stored separate from long-term memory. He sighted several cases of patience who had lost their memory but they still had emotional attachments to those who they had been close to before the memory loss."

"That's just because those were the people who were around them in the hospital." Tony countered. "You've suffered a major accident, now there are these people being so loving to you. It's just imprinting."

"Perhaps." Bruce conceded. "However, he did sight one case concerning mistaken identity. Two young women, college students, who had similar facial features, hair color, and build, were in a major vehicle accident. They were out on a school trip or something, along with a bunch of their peers. The two vans that the students were traveling were hit by a semi. One of the girls was killed and the other wasn't. The girl who survived was found with a purse nearby, which actually belong to the other girl. But because they looked so similar, the paramedics mistook it as hers. The family was called, told their daughter had survived, but was in a coma. The other family was told their daughter had died. Except it was really the reverse."

"This is a horrible story Bruce. You suck at cheering people up."

Bruce held up a hand. "Just let me finish. So the girl started waking up, and of course she is surrounded by people who think she is their family. She has memory loss, as is usual with a major trauma, and is unable to speak. The family is calling her by the wrong name, trying to get her to remember people she's never met. And at first it seemed that she was responding in a normal way. And she's connecting to these people who are showing her love, but not really like she should be. Not like someone with amnesia usually does. The family talks to the doctors, who assure them that it's just taking her longer and to be patient. The girl eventually is able to remember her name and the mistake is realized. As soon as her real family comes to the hospital, they begin to see her making the connections that have been expected since she woke up."

Tony swallowed, processing the story. "So what you're saying is, on some level, Steve still remembers our connection."

"Could be. The theory has never been proven." Bruce said. "However, according to Nat, Steve has seemed more concerned about you than anyone else. And you've spent the least amount of time with him since he lost his memory. And after what happened yesterday ... What Rhodey told you about Steve going right to you, like he was checking on you. I noticed it too." Bruce shrugged. "So maybe, don't give up all hope yet."

Tony eyed Bruce. "You two have been conspiring, haven't you?"

Bruce ducked his head, like he did when he new he had been caught. "We're just trying to help." 

Tony clapped Bruce on the shoulder. "Thanks big guy."

They landed at the new Avengers facility and Tony supervised the unloading of the stuff they had purloined. He directed it to be moved to the main lab so he and the other science geeks could have a look at it. As he followed the equipment down the hall he realized that he was actually feeling a tad better.


Chapter Text

Steve woke up to the most delicious smell. It reminded him of the sweet bread his mom would make sometimes.

Bucky was seated in the big chair, holding a plate of food. A glass of milk sitting on the coffee table.

"Thor made waffles," Bucky said. He speared a small square of bread with his fork and stuck it in his mouth. "He makes killer waffles."

Steve sat up and tried to get a look at what Bucky was eating. "Waffles?"

"Hold on," Bucky's eyes darted around, like he was thinking. "Did you not have waffles before the war?"

"I don't think so."

Bucky broke out in a huge grin. "Oh man, you have not lived till you've had waffles." Bucky put his plate down and scrambled out of his seat. "Come on." He grabbed Steve's arm and yanked him up off the sofa and pulled him towards the kitchen. "Thor, Steve doesn't know what waffles are."

Thor was standing in the kitchen wearing an apron and smiling widely. The kitchen was a disaster area. Flour was spilled everywhere, egg shells littered the counter along with several dirty bowls and utensils. Ingredients were here and there, measuring spoons and cups tossed nearby. There was a large bowl of batter, drips running down the side.

"Good Morning, Steve!" Thor boomed. "I shall prepare you some waffles." Thor grabbed the bowl of batter and opened up a small contraption the looked like two circles connected by a hinge. The inside of the circles was a dark, shiny color and had raised squares. Thor poured some of the batter into the circle and Steve could hear it sizzling so the circle contraption had to be hot. The batter ran into the groves around the squares and Thor closed it so the two circles fit together. Steam started to escape through the seam between the circles and then some of the batter seeped out. Steve could tell this had happened a lot already because there were pools of batter around the contraption. Thor had two more contraptions, one of them being rectangular in shape but had the same pattern and coloring on the inside. He poured batter into each one, dripping batter all over the counter as he went.

After a few minutes Thor opened the first contraption to reveal a golden round cake. The squares had created indentations and the crevices were now a raised grid. Thor put the waffle on a plate along with a second one.

"Eat in good health." Thor declared.

Bucky took the plate and carefully spread butter on the waffles. "You have to get butter in each square." He explained.

"Why?" Steve asked, trying no to laugh at how serious Bucky seemed about this.

Bucky glared at him. "Cause otherwise it's wrong." Bucky got the butter how he wanted then poured a ridiculous amount of syrup of the whole thing and handed it over to Steve.

It looked delicious, despite the amount of syrup. Steve cut one of the squares and put it in his mouth. It tasted delicious too. The outside was crisp while the inside was soft and eggy. It was sweet and buttery and the best thing Steve had ever had for breakfast. "These are wonderful." He told Thor.

Thor beamed. "It is the recipe of one Alton Brown. He is a culinary master in your world. I can give you the recipe." Thor suddenly became very serious. "Though you must swear to never use it to make pancakes for Alton Brown forbids this."

"Ookaay." Steve looked to Bucky for an explanation.

Bucky just smiled and shook his head. "I'll explain later."

Steve ended up eating five waffles, a fistful of bacon, and a fruit salad that Loki had made. It was hilarious to watch Loki and Thor in the kitchen. Thor made a mess wherever he went, while Loki was very neat and precise. Loki had a small area he was working in and any time Thor came near it, Loki would watch him through narrowed eyes. Ready to defend his area if need be. And whenever Thor's back was turned, Loki would swipe a finger through the uncooked batter and suck it off his finger. Thor kept trying to catch him doing it, but was unsuccessful.

Sam was roused from the couch and made to drink some water and eat a dry waffle. "I hate drinking with you guys," he mumbled.

The rest of the Towers occupants joined them for breakfast, too. Clint was offended they hadn't included him in drinking the night before.

"Sorry, bachelors only," Bucky teased.

"Steve's married," Clint deadpanned. Steve choked on his milk and was about to demand who he was married too when Clint finished, "To America."

Natasha covered Clint's face with her open palm and gave him a playful shove. "You're no fun drunk anyway. You just get all broody."

"I do not." Clint groused.

After breakfast everyone helped clean up. Except Loki, who refused to help clean up Thor's mess. He did, however, give Sam a potion to cure his hangover.

As they cleaned, Natasha explained the plans for going forward now that Steve's memories were irrecoverable. "I contacted Phil Coulson, he's the head of SHIELD now. He's going to put together a more comprehensive file for you to go over. It will include pretty much everything you need to know about our allies, enemies, and everyone in between.

"Marie Hill, who runs the Upstate facility, wants you to come up today so she can start your orientation. You've always been the Avenger in charge up there, so we're going to need to get you up to speed as soon as possible. Stark, Banner, and Rhodes are up there too. They brought back a bunch of stuff from Doom's place and are going over it in the labs. Go get dressed and you and Barnes can head up there."

"You're not coming?" Steve asked.

Natasha shook her head. "Loki has to stay here, so someone has to stay with him. And we feel bad always making Thor do it. So Clint and I will stay behind." Clint muttered something undecernable under his breath. Natasha threw a wet dishtowel at his head.

Steve chuckled as Clint cursed and tried to free himself from the towel. "What about everyone else?" He asked Natasha.

"Vision is going to hang out with us too. Wanda and Pietro want to go shopping today, well Wanda wants to go shopping. Jane Foster is at the Upstate facility, that's Thor's girlfriend, so Thor will fly up as soon as we're done here. Sam can go back to bed if he wants." Natasha smirked in Sam's direction.

He was laying across the couch, an ice pack on his forehead, nursing a glass of whatever the stuff was Loki had given him. "I'm actually feeling a lot better. This stuff really works." He said to Loki. "Do I want to know what it is?"

"Probably not," Loki said from where he was lounging on the other couch.

"Fair enough."

They finally got the kitchen cleaned up. As soon as they were done, Thor grabbed Mjolnir and went over to one of the floor to ceiling windows. There was a rectangle next to it, just like the ones to open the doors of the rooms. Thor placed his hand on it, the rectangle lit up and the entire window slid open. The early morning breeze filled the room, ruffling Steve's hair. Thor raised Mjolnir in the air and was suddenly shooting off into the sky. Steve watched him go, his red cape billowing behind him, as the window slid shut.

"Alright, enough gawking." Bucky slung his arm around Steve's shoulder. "Let's go get cleaned up and we can go. I'm borrowing one of Stark's cars," Bucky called over his shoulder as he steered Steve towards the door.

"Your funeral," Clint called back.

Steve took a shower and put on a clean uniform, he had several in his closet.

Bucky was waiting for him by the door, dressed in his full tactical gear. Including a large gun strapped to his back.

Steve raised an eyebrow at that. "Expecting trouble?"

Bucky leveled a glare at him. "Last time you went out, you were attacked by all of Hydra and AIM."

"Good point."

They picked up Sam, who was also dressed for battle and his Falcon wings strapped to his back. "Taking a Quinjet would be safer," Sam pointed out as they took the elevator down to the garage.

"Yeah," Bucky conceded. "But not nearly as much fun."

The elevator doors opened and they stepped out into a brightly lit garage. There were several large vehicles that looked like they had tactical uses. There was also a very nice motorcycle. "That's yours," Bucky said, pointing at it. Steve started heading towards it, but Bucky pulled him away. "No way. No joy rides for you until things have calmed down." Bucky headed towards the back of the garage where there were over a dozen brightly painted cars. Bucky walked up to a yellow one. He dug a piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it to Steve. "Here, read this."

Steve took the piece of paper and read it quietly to himself. "What is this!?"

"You have to read it so we can get the car." Bucky explained. Steve looked at him dubiously. "Please?" Bucky pleaded.

Steve sighed. He was pretty sure Bucky was playing a prank on him, but decided to humor him. He held the piece of paper up and read it out loud. "Captain Steven Rogers override protocol," he paused, glancing at Bucky. Bucky just nodded excitedly for him to go on. Steve sighed again, then read the last of the words. "Access code: I'm too sexy for my shirt."

Bucky hooted with laughter. Sam just smiled and shook his head.

The car made an odd electronic beep sound, then the doors on both sides swung open.

"Yes!" Bucky crowed as he hopped into the driver's seat. Sam slid into the back seat and Steve got in next to Bucky.

"What was that about?" Steve asked, crumpling up the piece of paper.

Bucky laughed. "Stark has given you access to everything in the Tower. However, some of the stuff he's made the access codes something that you'd rather not say unless you have too."

Steve looked at his smiling friend. "But I don't remember any of that, so you thought you'd take advantage of my ignorance."

Bucky laughed again, started up the car, then winked at Steve. "Trust me, this will be worth it." Bucky took off, speeding through the garage. The car had some impressive horsepower behind it. And its sleek design was like nothing Steve had seen. Low to the ground, with curves that seemed like they were supposed to be sensual. The motor purred as Bucky went up a ramp and into the sunlight. Bucky pushed a button and the top of the car peeled back in a similar manner to how the Iron Man suit peeled off of Tony.

New York traffic had only gotten worse over the years, Steve had noticed. Somehow Bucky was able to weave the sleek car into every small gap he could find, and even down a few back allies. They got recognized whenever they stopped at a light. Or at least, Steve got recognized. He soon got used to hearing, "Captain America!" being yelled at him.

When they left the city, Bucky started to really push the car and Steve had a feeling that the drive that should have taken them over an hour, was going to be a lot shorter. He was suppose to be using the drive as time to read up on the file Maria Hill had sent to his tablet, but he just couldn't stop himself from watching the scenery go by.

Things had changed a lot since he last remembered, but the early autumn foliage was just as beautiful as ever. Every year Steve and Bucky would take the train out of the city and into the country so they could see the leaves change. The bold oranges, reds, golds and browns never ceased to inspire Steve. Just last year Steve and Bucky had gone up, wondering if it would be there last trip together since Bucky was old enough to enlist before the next fall came around. They had made it an extra long trip so that-

Steve stopped himself. It hadn't been last year that he was remembering. It was decades ago. Did he and Bucky even still go up to see the foliage or was everything Avengers related now? Steve was once again reminder how much had changed and he was in the dark about all of it. He was about to ask Bucky about it when Bucky swore and slammed on the breaks. Steve looked to see what had startled him.

Iron Man was standing in the middle of the road, arms folded across his chest, and somehow looking like he was scowling.

Bucky slowed down and neatly pulled right up next to him. "Hey Stark, need a lift?"

The face-plate came up and a very annoyed Tony was staring down at Bucky. "Out of the car Barnes."

"Is there a problem?" Bucky asked, with as much false sweetness as he could muster.

Tony didn't look impressed. "You know damn well what's wrong. Now, get out of my car."

"I don't see what the big deal is," Bucky said, shrugging, "we needed a ride up here. And it's such a lovely day to go topless."

Steve heard Sam snicker from the back seat.

Tony narrowed his eyes. "Okay, you know what?" Bucky's seat belt suddenly undid itself, then the steering wheel moved up while Bucky's chair slid back. Tony reached in and grabbed Bucky by the back of his jacket.

"Hey!" Bucky squawked, Steve could see him smiling, though.

Stark lifted him out of the car and unceremoniously dropped him on the pavement. Steve leaned over to see Bucky laying face up on the pavement, grinning at nothing in particular. "You too, Wilson." Tony barked. Sam scrambled out of the car and went over to Bucky, extending a hand to help him off the pavement. Steve started to get out too, when Tony stopped him. "You can stay." He said, stepping out of his armor.

"Why does Steve get to stay?" Bucky asked, brushing himself off.

Tony yanked the car door open and got in. "Cause I know that he's innocent in all of this, plus he actually has permission to use my cars."

"Okay, but see, Steve was going to drive, but he actually never learned before the army." Steve rolled his eyes at Bucky's horrible lie. "So I had to drive." Bucky was stone faced but Sam was slowly losing it and had to turn around to hide his smile.

Tony wasn't buying it. "You're full of shit Barnes. Have fun walking the rest of the way, maybe you'll get lucky and you can hitch a ride. Just flash that metal arm, no one can resist that."

Bucky made a rude gesture at Tony as they speed off. Steve saw the Iron Man armor returning the gesture before taking off.

"You're really going to leave them there?" Steve asked.

Tony made a dismissive gesture. "They'll be fine, we're only a few miles away. Wilson's got his wings and Barnes once hiked over the Alps after crashing a plane there."

They speed along the winding country road. Tony, clearly, was more familiar with the car and took every turn with precision and finesse.

"This is a really nice car," Steve said. "They certainly didn't have anything like this in the Forties." Tony grinned. He was wearing sunglasses and the wind was whipping through his hair. He looked very handsome and Steve had to resist the urge to run his fingers through Tony's hair. Instead he focused on listening to Tony talk about his car as they drove.

"It's the Audi R8. Audi is a German car company. Turns out that during the war Germans were coming up with all sorts of improvements to automobiles. Came in handy when they were trying to rebuild their economy afterward. Anyway, she's got a 5.2-liter-V10 engine, which, to put it in terms you'll understand, means she's more powerful than the engines on the planes they used during the war. And feel how well she takes the curves? That's because of the quattro permanent all wheel drive. Basically, it replaces the need for a traditional transfer box, which can be pretty bulky. So the Audi’s system makes use of a center differential. A differential is a thing which allows the engine’s torque to be divided between the wheels even if they are rotating at different speeds. Most cars have one mounted on each axle, but quattro is genius because it just uses one to separate torque between front and rear wheels too. It's mounted right in the gearbox, so it can connect the two axles right when any slip is detected, allowing an infinitely variable split of torque depending on road conditions."

Steve didn't know much about cars, especially not modern cars, but he was enjoying listening to Tony talk. And he noticed how relaxed Tony became the more he talked. Eventually relaxing so much that he didn't even seem to have noticed he'd slung his right arm over the back of Steve's seat.

"This baby is a little different because her engine is actually located behind the driver, rather than in front of, like most cars, so the whole system is essentially flipped backwards. The engine sits at the back with a gearbox ahead of it, sending torque through the Torsen differential towards each of the four wheels. That means there is a much greater percentage of torque is diverted to the rear wheels: it’s approximately a 15:85 split." Tony glanced over at Steve. "I've completely lost you? Haven't I?"

Steve smiled. "Well yes," he told him, "but to be honest I was just enjoying hearing you talk about something you're so passionate about." And, he didn't add, seeing Tony so relaxed.

Tony tried to play it off like it was no big deal. "It's just a rich man's hobby, collecting cars. You know, just like my Dad did. Aw, shit, you don't know, I'm sorry."

Steve reached out a hand to grip Tony's shoulder. "It's okay," he started, but immediately felt Tony tense up under his touch. Steve pulled his hand back and faced forward to watch the road. Tony pulled his arm off the back off Steve's seat and concentrated on the road. Steve felt very frustrated. Tony could go from being completely at ease with him, to stressed and nervous. Steve wasn't sure what he was doing wrong.

They turned onto a dirt road and Steve saw the large Avengers' facility up ahead. It was a cement building and reminded Steve of pictures of bunkers he had seen. Except this looked far more technologically advanced. He sighed to himself. No doubt he was going to have to learn even more new technology. At least at the Tower he'd had Tony explaining it to him.

Suddenly, like a window opening up to let in the sun, Steve saw a way to get Tony to be near him without it turning into a stressful situation. Over the past few days the only times Tony had been completely at ease with him was when he was in his element talking about technology. All Steve had to do is make sure most of their conversations were about technology until Tony got comfortable around him again. Then maybe Steve would be able to talk to him about their relationship.

And maybe even see if some part of it could be salvaged. Or even, maybe, if Tony wanted, maybe they could continue the relationship. Steve was most definitely attracted to Tony, and maybe even had some feelings for him. He didn't know where the feelings were coming from, but they were there and even seemed to be getting stronger.

They pulled into an underground parking garage and Tony pulled into a parking space that had a sign that read:

Parking for Tony Stark Only

All other cars will be turned into Transformers

They got out and Steve followed Tony to the elevator. Deciding to try out his theory, Steve searched for a tech thing to talk about. He was given one when FRIDAY spoke up.

"Director Coulson and Maria are waiting in conference room A for you and Cap."

"Thanks, FRIDAY."

"FRIDAY follows you?" Steve asked. He'd thought the AI was restricted to the Tower.

"No, I mean yes, she's always with me cause I can access her through the suit and my phone and tablet. Also my Starkwatch." Tony held up his wrist to show a small black screen about the size of a matchbox strapped to his wrist. "But I actually have her installed her as well as at the Tower. She runs both buildings, except here she takes more of a background roll. Doesn't interact with everyone as much." The elevator doors dinged open and Steve and Tony stepped out into a corridor that was brightly lit by the huge windows.

Tony led Steve down the hall, talking the whole way. "At the Tower, FRIDAY anticipates a lot of things and is programmed to jump in anytime she feels it's necessary or warranted."

Steve puzzled this over. "I guess I haven't really noticed it. She's only talked to me when I talked to her or Bucky talked to her."

"I have been trying to keep a lower profile for you Cap," FRIDAY piped up. "I figured you needed the time to adjust to this century and my usual involvement wasn't going to help."

Tony laughed at the startled look on Steve's face. "See, she's good at knowing what we need." Tony turned the corner and pushed open a door, holding it opened for Steve to walk through. "You're an angel FRIDAY." He told her.

"Thanks Boss."

The room they walked into was large and open. A huge table was in the center with chairs around it. Only four of the chairs were occupied at the moment. Dr. Banner was in one of them but Steve didn't recognize the other three, two women and a man. The man looked to be in his forties or fifties, balding, dressed in a suit, and appearing calm and relaxed. Though he reminded Steve of a cat, seemingly harmless and uninterested, until it pounced on you. The first woman was tall, straight backed, and seemed like the type of person who missed nothing. The second woman was much younger looking and was tapping away at a tablet. She was wearing gauntlets for some reason and had a casual air about her, yet still looked like she wasn't worried about being surrounded by dangerous people.

Bruce looked up at them as they walked in. "Did you really leave Bucky to walk back?" He asked Tony, sounding amused.

"Yup." Tony grabbed a chair and flopped down into it. "He deserved it."

As soon as the people at the table saw Steve and Tony, the balding man stood up and hurried over to them and offered his hand for Steve to shake. "Captain Rogers, I'm Phil Coulson."

Steve took the offered hand, "It's nice to meet you." Steve said.

The man smiled, "It's odd to hear you say that, since you and I work together so much. And when I say work together, I mean as equals." The man explained, seeming a little nervous. "In that I run SHIELD and you run the Avengers, so we have common goals."

Steve noticed the woman with the gauntlets was holding up her phone and aiming it at Steve and Coulson. Coulson followed Steve's gaze and frowned.

The woman, realizing she had been caught, waved. "Sorry, I was just told that if Coulson started fan boying I had to get it on video." She gestured for Coulson to continue, "Go back to your babbling."

Coulson sighed, "This is a fellow SHIELD agent, Daisy Johnson." Miss Johnson waved again. Coulson indicated the other woman, "And this is Maria Hill. A former SHIELD agent, now the director of this facility."

Steve shook Maria's hand. "I'm looking forward to being brought up to speed. Again." Steve tried to smile, but it turned into more of a grimace.

Coulson indicated Steve should sit. "We realize that catching you up on almost a century of events is going to be rather overwhelming." Coulson said, sounding genuinely sympathetic. "We've been going over how to make it as easy as possible. Daisy." Coulson sat down as Miss Johnson sat up and started talking.

"Okay, so I created a program for you and uploaded it onto your tablet." Miss Johnson said, tapped her tablet.

Steve pulled out his tablet, trying to find the program Miss Johnson was talking about. The tablet was plucked from his hand, and Tony quickly opened an app called 'Tabula Rasa', then handed the tablet back to Steve.

Miss Johnson continued her presentation. "We've broken things down into five categories." An image appeared on the wall behind her. It showed the same thing that was currently on Steve's tablet. Five small rectangles, each labeled with a number. "Category five are things deemed the most important, like who our enemies are." Miss Johnson tapped her tablet and a new image popped up, it was several dozen rectangles, just like before, each one had writing in it. Miss Johnson tapped her tablet again and the rectangle labeled 'Enemies' looked like it had been pushed and several new rectangles popped up, also labeled. Steve recognized the names of Hydra and AIM. Tony reached over and tapped the rectangle on Steve's tablet that had a five on it. Steve's screen suddenly matched the image on the wall and he quickly realized that Miss Johnson was taking him through the program. He gave Tony a small smile of thanks and received a grin in return.

Miss Johnson kept going. "Also who are allies are." New rectangles popped up. These just had locations written on them, like, Manhattan, West Coast Avengers, Europe, and, oddly, Space.

"As the categories go down it's things that are less important." Miss Johnson continued. "Category four are current events that you should know about but aren't anything to fight. You know, like gay marriage, legalized marijuana, stuff like that. Category three is socially acceptable behaviors. Not too worried about this, you're always so darn polite. Just don't call women 'dames', blacks can use the same bathroom as everyone else, stuff like that."

"I've already learned a lot about blacks, being around Sam." Steve put in. "And Bucky already told me not to refer to them as negros or colored."

Miss Johnson looked taken aback, "I didn't even think about what blacks used to be called."

"That's because you're young." Tony said.

"Anyways, category two is things that you have found interesting in the past that you'll want to look into. I'm still waiting for suggestions from the other Avengers to fill this category. and Category one is stuff that isn't really important but someone might bring up, like the Spice Girls and Titanic."

"I know about the Titanic." Steve said, frowning. It may have happened before he was born, but it was one of those things that people still talked about long after it had happened.

"No I mean the movie, you know what, it's not important." Miss Johnson waved a hand dismissively. "Back to what is actually important. Certain people," Miss Johnson glared at Director Coulson and Ms. Hill, "have been arguing about what we should start with first, teaching you how to use all the tech at the facility or get you started on this information."

"We need to get Steve familiar with running this facility again," Ms. Hill folded her arms and scowled at Coulson.

"How can he be an effective leader if he doesn't know who he's leading or what he's leading them against." Coulson shot back.

"They've been doing this all morning," Miss Johnson whispered conspiratorially to Steve.

Steve cleared his throat and everyone turned to look at him. He was slowly starting to get used to the respect he commanded from everyone. "Actually, I was thinking that the technology aspect is the most important thing right now. As I understand it, I have perfect recall now, so I only need to be told something once. And, as yesterday proved, I catch on to who's the bad guy pretty quick. But I'm lost when it comes to all this new technology."

Miss Johnson smiled, "That was actually my suggestion. In fact, I have a program I wrote-"

Steve plowed on before anyone could undermine his plan. "I was thinking Tony would be the best one to help me with this."

Tony had been leaning back in his chair, playing with his sunglasses. At his name he sat up and looked slightly uncomfortable. "What? Oh, I've got all those toys we took from Doom to go over."

"I can handle it," Bruce interjected, a little too eagerly. Or so Steve thought.

"I don't mind doing it," Miss Johnson said. Bruce cleared his throat and Miss Johnson looked at him questioningly. He shook his head minutely. "Except," she suddenly amended, looking slightly confused. "I have a bunch of .. things .. I have to do."

"And Doctor Foster has offered to help me with the stuff from Doom," Bruce added. "And I was going to call up Scott too."

"And Stark is used to explaining things to Steve," Ms. Hill said, amicably. "So it would probably go faster."

Director Coulson cocked an eyebrow questioningly at Ms. Hill. She just raised an eyebrow back at him. Steve assumed they were communicating and bet that he would have known what was going on, before he'd lost his memories. Whatever Ms. Hill was trying to convey was working out in Steve's favore, because Director Coulson suddenly turned to Tony and Steve. "Excellent point. So Stark will go ahead and get started on Steve's tech orientation."

Tony had been glaring at Bruce, suspicion written on his features. At Director Coulson's words he looked back at everyone else a little startled. "Wait, what?"

"So that's settled," Director Coulson stood up and everyone else began gathering their stuff. Tony was still looking confused. "We'll give you all day today for the tech stuff. Starting tomorrow we will begin going over the category five things. Feel free to read through it and come with any questions."

Everyone quickly left the conference room, leaving behind only Steve and Tony. Tony, glaring daggers at Bruce's back.

Steve turned to Tony and smiled. His plan had actually gone a lot better than he'd planned. He'd figured he would have to argue his point more to everyone else. It was fortunate that they all seemed to heartly agree. "So," he said to Tony, "where should we start?"

A few hours later Steve was very pleased with the progress he and Tony were making.

Not progress with learning technology. Though, that was going well too.

It was the progress with Tony that he was the most concerned with.

There didn't seem to be a rhyme nor reason to the order Tony choose to teach Steve with. It was more like whatever caught Tony's eye, he would start talking about. And the more Tony talked about tech the more relaxed he got and soon he was invading Steve's personal space again. Putting his hand on Steve's arm to get his attention, then leave it there while they spoke. Brushing against Steve as he moved around a console, happily explaining things. Even placing his hands on Steve's hips at one point so he could position Steve in just the right spot so a facial recognition scan could work. That particular touch had sent tingles up Steve's spine.

The lessons also turned into an opportunity to get to know Tony.

Tony would be teaching Steve about some piece of tech and would suddenly launch into a random story. Steve learned about how Tony first came up with the idea for the Iron Man armor. About many of the pranks he and Rhodey had played on each over the years. That Tony spoke several foreign languages but always used a translator so that people would underestimate him. He listened intently as Tony recounted the first time he and Tony had worked together, and how Tony had asked Steve to tell him about a complicated piece of machinery, and Steve had replied that it ran 'on some form of electricity'.

Steve kept receiving pictures from Sam and Bucky throughout the morning. The two had not made it back to the facility, and judging by their pictures, they weren't even trying. The first picture was of Bucky hanging upside down from a tree branch. The text that came with it claimed that Sam had dropped him while flying and Bucky desperately needed Steve to come get him. In Tony's car, naturally.

The next few pictures showed different poses of Sam and Bucky looking as pathetic as possible. After that there was a lull, until Steve got a photo of Bucky buying a jar of pickles from a farm stand. Steve, didn't remember seeing a farm stand on the way to the facility, so he showed the picture to Tony who snorted in disgust.

"They're actually getting farther away from here." Tony grabbed Steve's phone and texted Sam back.

Still not coming back for you

The next few pictures showed that Sam and Bucky had made their way to a small town that was nearby. And they had apparently decided to just stay there and mess around. Steve kept getting photos of them posing with different people in the town, often while doing, what Tony referred to as, superhero poses.

Tony decided it was a good time to teach Steve how to take a selfie. So Steve sent Bucky a superhero pose selfie. This somehow spiraled into a back and forth picture war.

Sam and Bucky would send a picture of themselves doing something fun so Tony would come up with something for them to take a picture of, that made it look like they were also having fun. They went down to the lab and Steve got a picture of Tony making one of his robots pick up Mjolnir, an exasperated Thor in the background.

Bucky and Sam replied with a picture of them splashing in a fountain.

Tony showed Steve the training room and all of the neat gadgets there were. Then he took a picture of Steve mid battle with several training drones.

Bucky and Sam sent a picture of them lounging in a restaurant, eating pizza.

Tony dragged Steve down to the atrium. There were several small cafes where people could get something to eat. Tony explained that it was actually one big restaurant, but the different storefronts represented different types of cuisine. Tony brought them over to the American Bistro and told the nice girl behind the counter that Steve would like his usual. His usual turned out to be a bacon sandwich with tomatoes and lettuce. Tony took a picture of Steve taking a huge bite out of it.

The next picture Sam sent was of Bucky standing by the side of the road, still wearing his tactical gear and the gun strapped to his back. His metal arm was stretched out, hand in a fist with his thumb stuck out. He was holding a piece of cardboard that read: Will Avenge for a ride

As soon as Tony saw the picture, his face lit up and Steve could tell that he had an idea. Tony led Steve outside to an area of grass that had an odd pattern burned into it. It was cordoned off with a small chain attached to several short posts, and a small sign nearby that said: Thor's landing site

Tony made Steve stand in the middle then handed him his tablet. Tony had somehow made the screen read: Anywhere but here

They sent the picture off and Steve immediately received a text back from Buck.

You better not, I ain't going to Jounehiem to drag your ass back

"What's Jounehiem?" Steve asked.

Tony leaned over Steve's shoulder. "It's the realm where the frost giants live. Actually, that's not how you spell it, I'm pretty sure there is supposed to be a 't' in there somewhere. Though, to be fair, I think Thor and Loki are the only ones who can spell it with out consulting ye old Norse dictionary."

Steve and Tony were just coming back into the main building when they were stopped by a very stern looking Director Coulson.

"I thought you were supposed to be teaching him technology," he said, frowning.

"I am," Tony said, completely unconcerned about being caught. "He is very adept at taking selfies now."

Director Coulson's frown deepened and Steve was reminded of a school teacher he had had. "I was hoping you would teach him something a little more useful."

Tony rolled his eyes. "Fine, if you must know, I was just about to take him down to the Server Room and teach him how to reset the system and all the security codes."

"That would be very helpful, considering he's one of only four people with those codes."

"Exactly." Tony grabbed Steve's hand. "Come along darling." He pulled Steve along as he headed down the hall, then called back to Director Coulson, "Don't wait up, Dad."

Steve turned back and gave an apologetic smile.

"Is he doing his frowny face still?" Tony asked.


Tony chuckled gleefully and kept a hold of Steve's hand until they were out of sight of Director Coulson. When he let go Steve felt a pang of disappointment in his chest.

The server room was hot, despite all the cold air being pumped in. Tony explained that the computers generated a lot of heat. "If we shut off all the computers this room would turn into an icebox in under two minutes." Tony walked him through the worst case scenarios concerning the computers. It made Steve rather worried that they were so dependent on the computers and he voiced his concern to Tony.

Tony just smirked. "Don't worry, not only do I have multiple firewalls and redundancies. We also have several contingency plans in place should the network actually go down."

Steve still wasn't entirely convinced. "You would actually know what to do if you were suddenly without all your tech?"

They were standing near the main vent and the cool air felt nice against the back of Steve's neck. Tony had already shed the jacket he'd been wearing, leaving him in just a t-shirt.

"Probably not," Tony admitted with a shrug. "However you," Tony poked him right in the middle of the star of his chest, "have come up with several great plans."

Steve huffed a small laugh. "Good to know there's someone who can be trusted with that." He sat down on one of the tables to put himself more at Tony's level, it was hard to keep looking down at him when they were so close.

Tony grinned, then cocked his head to the side when Steve tugged on the collar of his uniform. "You should take that off, just the outer armor I mean. We're going to be in here a little while longer."

Steve tried to play off the concern. "I'm fine. I don't seem to overheat very easily now."

Tony looked at him like he wasn't buying it. "That maybe true, but it doesn't mean you don't get uncomfortable." He reached behind Steve and undid the clasp at the top of the uniform. Steve reached up to help with the buckles and zippers, the uniform had quite a lot of them. Tony just brushed Steve's hands away. Steve stayed stock still as Tony easily unzipped the uniform and peeled it off of Steve, leaving him in the blue undershirt that clung to his body with sweat. "Better?" Tony asked, smiling down at Steve.

Steve let out a sigh and closed his eyes. "Yes." The cool air was hitting his back, quickly chilling the sweat there. Steve opened his eyes back up, startled to see Tony so much closer to him. In his relief he'd tipped his head back slightly and Tony was leaning down towards him, eyes sliding shut as his lips parted.

Steve forced himself to be still and not overreact this time.

One of Tony's hands slid up Steve's arms, coming to rest on his bicep. Then Tony was kissing him. His lips were soft and warm, while the slight scratch of his beard was a new experience for Steve. Steve let himself relax into the kiss, pressing his lips back against Tony's. He heard himself make a small noise that could have been a sigh.

Tony suddenly froze, then pulled back, the same look of horror on his face from the apple pie incident. "Oh shit."

Steve reached out for him. "Tony."

Tony stumbled backwards. "Oh shit. Oh shit. I'm sorry. I didn't, I wasn't thinking. Oh shit." He kept moving away from Steve. Backing towards the door and still looking horrified with himself.

Steve jumped forward and grabbed Tony by his shoulders to keep him from leaving.

Tony opened his mouth, another sorry forming. Steve didn't give him the chance. He pulling Tony close and crushed their mouths together. He wasn't going to let Tony get away, not again. Tony stiffened in his grip and Steve loosened his hold to allow Tony to pull back if he wanted. But in the next instant, Tony was grabbing Steve's shoulders and pressing against his body. Steve didn't have much experience kissing and it was obvious Tony did, so Steve just tried to keep up as Tony took control and kissed Steve back.

Tony pulled back a moment later, looking up at Steve. "Um, did I fall and hit my head or collapse from heat stroke?" 


"Okay." Tony ran a hand down Steve's back. "So I'm not having some sort of awesomely vivid hallucination? Or have the last few days been the hallucination? I'm just wondering, cause this right here, is kinda hard to believe."

Steve smiled shyly. "Neither. Though I'm having a hard time believing this too."

Tony cocked his head at Steve. "Interesting. And I certainly have more questions, but just in case they cause this to end-" Tony leaned forward again and captured Steve's mouth in another kiss. This time Tony let his lips part and Steve followed suit, trying to mimic the way Tony was caressing his mouth with his own.

They continued kissing for several moments, Steve finally relaxing enough to let his hands wander up and down Tony's back. It felt amazing and like it was the most natural thing to be pressed up close to Tony.

The ping of a received text message interrupted them. Steve pulled away from Tony, having momentarily forgotten where he was and was confused by the sound. The sight of the computers all around them quickly reminded him, but it had been nice to forget for a minute.

"What do you want to bet that it's Barnes and Wilson again," Tony said, quirking an eyebrow.

Steve chuckled, "It's a pretty good bet." He looked down at Tony, ignoring the next few pings from his phone. "I think if we sent him a picture right now it would be a bad idea."

"Yeah," Tony sighed, sounding regretful. "Hilarious, but bad." He ran his hands through Steve's hair and pulled him back in for another kiss. When they pulled apart again, Tony heaved another sigh. "I'm trying to talk myself out of doing this, but I really need to know. Why are you kissing me?"

"Because I want to," Steve replied.

Tony relaxed considerably. "Oh good. Except I still need to know why someone who thought it was the Forties up until a few days ago is suddenly wanting to kiss me."

Steve paused before answering. He knew that Tony was right, and talking about it could cause problems, and he wanted to make sure he was clear about everything. "I found out about our relationship yesterday." Tony tensed up and Steve plowed on, "But it only helped to clear up some thoughts in my head. Ever since I saw you for the first time, or the first time that I remember, I've felt drawn to you. At first I just thought it was because you seemed the most upset of everyone. Or that maybe there was a problem between us. Then the other night, after the apple pie, when you tried to kiss me," Tony winced slightly, "I realized that I wanted to kiss you back and not just because I found you attractive, but because it felt right."

"So what you're saying," Tony grinned, "is that you find me attractive?"

Steve huffed. "Are you going to let me finish?"


"After you left I started going through my stuff," Steve continued. "Just like you had suggested. I thought I was doing it to figure out who I was, but really, looking back, I was trying to figure out what was between us. And I found a couple of things, like I have one of your ties on my bedside table."

"That's where it went."

"And I found a sketchpad that I had filled with sketches of you." Steve felt himself blushing as he thought of the last drawing in the book. "I still wasn't sure though, not until you texted me yesterday and I noticed I could read past messages between us."

A look of understanding came over Tony. "The weather texts."

Steve smiled, "Yeah, the weather texts. So that's when I figured it all out. But it wasn't until I saw how upset you were after finding out that my memories were destroyed that I realized I had feelings for you. I couldn't remember anything about our relationship or what it had meant to me. But seeing you that upset, all I wanted to do was comfort you and I couldn't, I didn't know how." Steve had to swallow around the emotions as he remembered how helpless it had felt to watch Tony suffering. "I wanted to be the one to make things better for you because you were the most important person in the room to me."

Tony was looking at him, wide-eyed, like he couldn't believe the words coming out of Steve's mouth.

Steve looked away. Maybe this had been a mistake. "I don't know how serious we were and maybe this was just a casual thing for you." Steve was interrupted by Tony grabbing Steve's face with both his hands and kissing him fiercely.

"Steve," Tony breathed between kisses. "Only you."

Steve wasn't sure what only he would do or even what it meant, and he was a little busy trying to keep up with Tony to really care.

Tony walked into Hill's office later that evening, humming some random tune.

Wilson and Barnes had finally decided to make their way back. Barnes had actually managed to hitch a ride on the back of some old ladies Vespa and Wilson had taken several pictures.

He plunked down in one of the comfier chairs across from Hill's desk. Coulson was already there and had claimed the best chair.

Hill looked up from what she was doing. "You seem to be in a good mood. Did everything go well, showing Steve the equipment?"

Tony smiled pleasantly. "Yup, gave him a basic rundown of the most important stuff." Tony put his feet up on another chair. He'd been annoyed at Bruce earlier when he'd pushed to have Tony show Steve how to work all the different tech in the place. Now he was so very pleased with the way the whole day had gone. He was going to have to thank Bruce somehow. Maybe buy him that new centrifuge he wanted.

"I'm surprised you only did the basics," Coulson said, not even looking up from his paperwork. "I figured you were usually more thorough than that."

Tony shrugged, "Didn't want to overwhelm him with too much."

Hill nodded in agreement, "Good idea. Don't want to overdo it."

"Always good to ease into it at first," Coulson said, knowingly.

Tony had been playing with his phone, checking emails Pepper had sent him. Something in the way Hill and Coulson were talking made him look up. The two were acting waaay too casual.

"Especially when Steve's not familiar with the equipment. Or at least, not anymore." Hill said, sounding very solemn.

"Good point." Coulson said.

Tony glanced back and forth between the two. "What's going on?" he asked, suspiciously.

Hill looked up at him, feigning innocence. "Nothing. Hey, while I have you here, I need to go over a few things."

Tony glanced between them again, but they still weren't giving anything away. "Okay," he slipped his phone back into his pocket. "Hit me."

Maria made a show of pulling out her tablet and tapping away at it. "Nothing too urgent, just a few systems that need debugging." Maria swiped across the screen, "The permits for construction of the new wing have been approved. Aaand," Maria tapped a few more times, "ah, here it is. Coulson and I were just wondering if you could tell us if Steve's a good kisser."

Tony froze, sure he hadn't heard that right. Maria flipped the tablet around so that Tony could see the screen. A video of the surveillance footage from the Server Room was playing on it. Specifically the footage of Tony, hands fisted in Steve's hair, bodies pressed as close as they could possibly get, making out like teenagers.

He looked back at Hill and Coulson who were staring back at him like they were politely waiting for his answer. Tony stood up, causally buttoned his jacket. "None of your business," he told them, then turned and strolled from the room as casually as he could.

Chapter Text

Tony was sitting in his room at the Upstate facility, going through lines of code to try and figure out why the ventilation system was turning off at random intervals. He was also trying to figure out some way to get Barnes and Wilson to leave Steve alone for more than a minute so he could be the one alone with Steve.

Ever since the two idiots had come back that afternoon, they'd been monopolizing Steve's time.

Tony was just planning out an elaborate situation that would need only Sam and Bucky to solve, when FRIDAY spoke up. "Natasha is on the line for you."

"Put her through." Maybe something was wrong back at the Tower, something that needed Falcon and The Winter Soldier to fix.

The HUD activated and Natasha's face appeared. "Hey shellhead."

"What's up?"

Natasha shrugged, very casual like. "Not much, just wanted to check in with you. See if anything interesting happened today."

Tony sighed, "You talked to Hill, didn't you."

Clint appeared on the screen, over Natasha's shoulder, grinning like a maniac. "Yes! I can't believe you were making out with Steve in the Server Room."

Tony groaned. "Okay, before you all go jumping to horrible conclusions, Barton." He said pointedly, glaring at the archer. "I wasn't taking advantage of Steve's lack of memory or anything."

"We know." Nat cut in.

Tony stopped his well crafted 'I'm not a sleeze bag' speech. "You know? Know what?"

"That you and Steve had been dating for about a week before he lost his memory." Nat said, a small smile playing at her lips.

Tony was only mildly surprised. "How long have you known?"

Wanda's face popped up next to Nat's. "I just told them. I found out the morning after you two had sex for the first time."

He cocked an eyebrow at her. "I thought we'd agreed no reading your teammates minds?"

Wanda blushed slightly. "I wasn't trying to, it was hard to miss though. He was practically projecting his thoughts."

Tony groaned.

"Don't worry," Clint said. "She won't tell us any details."

Pietro's face appeared behind Clint and Nat. "She won't even tell me."

Tony groaned again. "Is everyone there?" The camera zoomed out and Tony could see they were all sitting in the common room. Vision was also there, sitting on the couch but not participating in the "Grill Tony" conversation. "So everyone except Loki. At least he's not being a nosy bastard."

Nat smiled. "Actually, we invited him but he just said he didn't care who you were sleeping with."

"What? I'm offended. Who I'm sleeping with is extremely interesting. Just ask every gossip rag."

"So," Nat said, eyeing Tony. "Are you planning on telling the rest of the team. Or should I have Maria send out a memo."

Tony felt a slight chill at her words. "Crap. She hasn't told anyone else yet? Right? Wait. Coulson knows too. Has he told anyone?"

"Coulson knows?" Nat shook her head. "How did you manage to keep your relationship a secret for a whole week when Steve had his memories? And now that he's lost them it only took you one makeout session to let the word spread." Natasha gave him a mock look of disappointment. "Really Stark, haven't I taught you better?"

Tony wasn't really listening. "Guys, I need you to keep this under wraps, okay? The reason we didn't tell anyone before is because Steve wanted to be the one to tell Bucky."

Nat held up a hand to stop him. "Bucky doesn't know?"

"No, not yet."

"Does Rhodey know?"

"Yeah, I told him."

Nat pinched the bridge of her nose. "Are you telling me that you told your best friend, but Steve hasn't told his?"

"Steve is worried that Barnes will react badly." Tony tried to explain. "Cause, you know, he and I don't have the best history."

Everyone was staring at Tony through the screen. Even Vision was looking slightly taken back. Then Clint burst out laughing. "Barnes is going to strangle you when he finds out."

Suddenly Loki appeared in the room. "Now I'm interested." He stated and sat down in the love seat.

"Okay, that's enough," Tony declared. "You guys have fun gossiping like mean girls. I'm going to get back to what I was doing."

"You mean Steve's there?" Barton said, guffawing at his own joke.

Nat punched him in the arm. "Seriously Stark, you need to tell Bucky. No I take that back," she amended. "Steve needs to tell Bucky. You shouldn't be anywhere in the building at the time."

"Unless you want to be strangled." Clint said. "In which case I'm sure Steve-"

Tony cut off the call before Barton could go any further. He then called Maria. She answered immediately and Tony could see she was still in her office.

"How many people have you told?" He asked, without preamble.

She immediately knew what he was talking about. "Only Natasha. Who probably told Clint."

"She did." He confirmed. "So no one else?"

"No. Well, I talked to Rhodey about it."

"That's okay, he already knew." Tony nodded. Maybe things weren't so bad.

"Bruce knows too." Maria said.

"Yeah, I know."

Coulson slid into view as he rolled his chair next to Maria's. "Jane Foster knows."

Shit! "How does she know?" Tony demanded.

"Apparently Bruce and Rhodey were talking about it in the lab," Coulson told him. "They didn't realize Jane could hear them."

Tony felt like banging his head against something. "Which means Thor knows. So the only two Avengers that don't know are Wilson and Barnes."

Maria and Phil's eyes went round simultaneously. "Barnes doesn't know? Are you insane?" Coulson demanded in a way that showed he clearly thought Tony, was indeed, insane.

"Look, there's a reason. Just, for now, don't tell anyone else." Tony practically pleaded. He needed to get Steve to tell Bucky as soon as possible.

"Darcy knows."

Tony froze up. Desperately hoping he had miss heard Maria. "What?"

"There's no way Jane didn't tell Darcy," Maria said. Coulson, next to her, nodded in agreement. "And once Darcy knows something it spreads like wildfire unless it's been classified top secret."

Tony dropped his head down to his hands. "I'm a dead man."

"Should I arrange a security detail?" Maria asked, humor bleeding into her words.

"Agent May is here," Coulson said. "She could at least distract Barnes while you get your suit."

Tony looked up and scowled at the pair. "You two are enjoying this way too much."

"Maybe you should just get your suit and leave it on for the next week or so," Maria said, trying, and failing, to keep a serious face. "Just until Barnes calms down and has decided not to murder you in your sleep."

"You're both fired."

"I don't work for you," Coulson reminded him.

Maria's phone pinged and she glanced down at it.

Tony scowled, "No texting while you're talking to me. I demanded your full attention during this crisis."

Maria looked unimpressed by him. "It's from Natasha. She has decided to take pity on you and interfere."

"Interfere how?"

"She has a plan to get Steve to tell Bucky you two are dating. Hopefully without Bucky deciding to kill you." Maria had picked up her phone and was replying to the text.

"Tell Nat I don't need her help." Tony grumped. Everyone thought it was so damn funny, they could all just shut their annoying faces.

Coulson was leaning over Maria's shoulder so he could see the phone screen. "Too bad, it's a really good plan."

He was not going to ask what the plan was.

"We just need to keep Barnes in Steve's room while removing Wilson." Maria said.

Coulson nodded. "Without raising suspicion."

Nope, wasn't going to ask. No matter how curious he was.

"What are the specials for dinner tonight?" Coulson asked, still looking at the phone.

Maria tapped her tablet before reading off the answer. "Lamb chops with garlic mashed potatoes, shrimp gumbo with cornbread, and superhero nachos."

"Superhero nachos, that would work."

Tony couldn't take it anymore. "Alright fine, what is the plan?"

Coulson and Maria looked up at him, like they'd completely forgotten he was there. "Oh, I thought you didn't want any help?" Maria said.

"Yes," Coulson put in, "you have this under control, obviously."

Tony wondered if he could somehow convince the World Security Council to give him control over SHIELD so he could fire Coulson.

Steve was sitting in his quarters, going through the information Ms. Johnson had given him. The program was very easy to use, which Steve appreciated. There was, however, a lot of information.

Bucky and Sam were hanging out with him, playing a video game on Steve's TV. They had tried to explain it to him but he just decided that he had too many other important things to learn. And, despite what Bucky said, a game about racing cars was not a category five item.

They had gotten very into the game and kept yelling at each other, mostly about how the other person was cheating. Steve asked them the occasional question about his reading material and they would answer him without ever taking their eyes off the game.

His studying was interrupted by a white box popping up on the screen that read, 1 New Message. He tapped the box and a new screen appeared with a message from Natasha.

Don't react to this message. Keep acting like you're still reading.

The news about you and Tony is spreading and you need to tell Bucky about you two before he finds out another way.

It was hard for Steve not to react. He'd been thinking all afternoon about how to tell Bucky. He knew that he had been worried about Bucky's reaction back when he could remember everything. Had there been a specific reason? Or was he just worried in general that Bucky would get over protective?

Another message popped up.

Someone is about to knock on your door. Let them take Sam with them.

Steve wanted to ask who was going to knock and where would they take Sam, when the someone knocked on the door. Steve got up and answered it. Standing in the hallway were Thor and Jane.

"Hey Steve," Jane said, smiling up at him. "How's the studying going?" He'd been introduced to Jane earlier that day and his memory loss had been explained to her.

"It's going well. Though I'm not sure how people spend all day staring at that little screen." Steve said, ruefully.

"We actually were thinking you needed a break," Jane said. "Thor and I were going to watch a movie in the common room, you guys want to join us?"

"We shall also feast on superhero nachos." Thor declared happily.

"Superhero nachos? What are those?" Steve asked.

Bucky answered him, very excitedly. "Superhero nachos are the best. The chef who's in charge of all the food here came up with them. They have smoked pulled pork, this green salsa that's to die for. Oh, and she does this thing where she slices fresh jalapenos super thin then soaks them in lime juice." Closed his eyes, as if savoring the food he was describing. "I never knew you should soak jalapenos in lime juice until I had superhero nachos."

Steve didn't know what a jalapeno was, or salsa, but he was game. "Sounds great. Should we head down to the atrium?"

"No need," Thor said. "The kitchen staff has agreed to make a special cart for us so we may eat in the common room whilst watching our movie."

"We were just on our way down to get it." Jane added.

Sam had been looking down at his phone, a slight puzzled frown on his face. He shrugged, pocketed his phone, and got up from the floor. "Let me come and help you guys." He offered to Thor and Jane. "I'll be in charge of getting us some drinks."

"I want Dr. Pepper." Bucky called from where he was still sprawled on the floor.

"Meet us in the common room in about twenty minutes," Jane said as the three of them left the room.

As Steve closed the door he heard Sam whispering to Jane. "What's going on? I just got a text from Nat saying I had to go with you guys."

"We'll explain on the way." Jane whispered back. Then they turned a corner and were gone.

The tablet Steve was still holding, vibrated in his hand. Another message from Natasha had appeared.

Tell him NOW!

Steve's brain stutter to a halt. What was he supposed to do, just blurt out that he had been kissing Tony earlier today? And not only that but he'd had intimate relations with him for about a week without ever telling Bucky.

"Whatever your reading must be really interesting." Bucky said.

"Huh?" Steve looked up, only then realizing he had been staring at the tablet. "Sorry, I was lost in thought."

"Whatcha thinkin' bout?"

"Just, um, just about how I have so much stuff I have to relearn." It was true, he had been thinking about that. A lot. "And not just this stuff," he indicated the tablet, "but stuff that isn't recorded anywhere. Like why is a bacon sandwich my usual? Did I try everything else first and decide I really like it? Or was it just something familiar in this strange world? And why do I have mango scented shampoo? And what is a mango?" This wasn't going the way it should. It felt like flood gates had been opened and all the thoughts that had been swimming around in his head were gushing out. "And I know you said it's okay to be attracted to men, but is it really? Cause it seems like I'm really worried that you will react badly."

Bucky was up off the floor and grabbing Steve's shoulders. "Whoa, hold on. Let's just calm down."

Steve took a steadying breath, he hadn't realized he was getting so agitated.

"You really love B.L.T.'s," Bucky said, "bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. Cause first, you really love bacon and second, you really love tomatoes. Plus you tend to get called away when you're eating, so a sandwich is handy cause you can just take it with you." Bucky gave Steve's shoulders a gently squeeze. "A mango is a tropical fruit that you like and I hate. You have mango scented shampoo cause you're a jerk and knew I wouldn't use it. Apparently you don't like that I use up all your shampoo when I'm over."

Steve laughed, it sounded exactly like something he would do.

"As for you being attracted to men, I'm not sure why you think I would react badly." Bucky frowned, looking slightly confused. "We've already talked about how I'm happy you can just be yourself."

Steve took another steadying breath. "You told me not to sleep with Tony."

Bucky laughed. "That's just cause I don't want to lose to Nat." Bucky shrugged, "Plus he's a playboy, why would you even want to have sex with, that." Steve felt his cheeks heating up and willed it to stop. Bucky went on, "I mean really, the only person who would be worse for you would be Loki. And I actually like Loki."

Steve looked off to the side, no longer able to look Bucky in the eye.

"Steve?" Bucky asked, concerned. "What's wrong? Is there something else bothering you?"

Steve gathered his courage. "Tony and I kissed today."

A slew of expressions crossed Bucky's face. Everything from surprise, disbelief, disgust, and finally rage.

"He did WHAT?!!" Bucky let go of Steve. Steve tried to grab for Bucky but Bucky was already across the room, ripping the door open and stomping out. Steve immediately ran after him.

"Where are you going?" Steve demanded.

"To kill Stark." Bucky growled back.

Steve had to repress an eye roll. "Why Bucky? Cause we kissed?"


"You said you were okay with me being attracted to men." Steve reminded him.

"That's not it." Bucky said, yanking open another door. Steve hear the hinges squeak in protest. "I'm pissed cause Stark thought he could use this situation to his advantage."

"What situation?" Steve knew he and Bucky were similarly matched now, but he'd rather try calming Buck down first and leave a physical solution to if they actually came across Tony.

"Your memory loss." Bucky snapped back. "He thought he could take advantage of your innocence-"


"To get a thrill."

"As I understand it, I'm not as innocent as you seem to think." Steve pointed out.

Bucky clenched his jaw, "Yes you are. You as you are now, you've never even been in a serious relationship that you can remember. Stark saw an opportunity to take advantage of that."

Now Steve really did roll his eyes. "So you think I couldn't make an informed decision and he somehow tricked me into kissing him?"


"Don't be an idiot, Buck."

Bucky spun on his heel and Steve had to pull up short to keep from running into him. Bucky's face had gone from rage to murderous. "You think you understand what's going on here? You think you know Stark like I do? You have no idea what he's capable of or what he's done. I never understood how you could even stand to look at him, let alone be his teammate after the things he's done to you. I figured you knew him better than me, but now, now you don't know anything about him. So yeah, I don't think you can make an informed decision. And I'm not gonna let that ass hurt you like this!"

"Is there a problem gentlemen?"

They both looked up to see Ms. Hill and Director Coulson standing in the hallway.

Bucky took a step back from Steve. "Where's Stark?" He spat.

Ms. Hill stood her ground, seemingly unconcerned with Bucky's current mood. "I'm not sure I should tell you. Cause it looks like you just want to go kill him."

Bucky ground his teeth so hard you could actually hear it.

"What's going on?" Director Coulson asked.

"Nothing," Bucky said. "Just tell me where Stark is."

Steve felt a vibrating against his leg. He looked down to see what it was. There was nothing there, and when it happened again he put his hand down on the spot and felt his phone in his pocket. He pulled it out, not sure if that was what was vibrating, and saw he had a text from Natasha.

Tell Hill and Coulson why Bucky is upset

How did she know what was going on? She was back in the city as far as he knew.

"Captain Rogers." Steve looked up at Director Coulson. "Is there something the matter between you two and Stark?"

Steve glanced back down at his phone.

Trust me

"Bucky is upset because he found out the Tony and I kissed earlier today."

Bucky looked a little stunned that Steve had said that out loud. Steve was a little stunned himself.

Ms. Hill frowned. "He kissed you? Without your permission?"

Steve shook his head, he didn't want people to think that of Tony. "No, I let him. Because," Steve cleared his throat, "I wanted him to."

Ms. Hill's frown lessened. "Still, it's not really the best timing. What with your memory loss and all."

"That's my point," Bucky said through clenched teeth.

"That depends on why Steve wanted to kiss him," Director Coulson said, sounding much calmer than anyone else.

"What does that have to do-" Bucky started.

"We were together before I lost my memory." Steve blurted out.

Bucky looked at him incredulously. "What?"

Steve was a bit uncomfortable discussing this in the middle of a hallway with two other people. But he did have Bucky's attention now, and he did need to get him to calm down. "I found out yesterday while at lunch with Sam. Sam didn't know," He added quickly when he saw Bucky's expression tighten. "Nobody knew, except me and Tony. We had only been together for maybe a week when I lost my memory."

"And you knew this before any kissing happened?" Ms. Hill clarified.

"Yes, ma'am."

The corner of her mouth twitched upward, "Steve, just call me Maria."

"And you can just call me Phil," Direct- Phil said. "Or Coulson. Whichever you're comfortable with, I'm okay with." The sound of Phil's cell phone pinging several times came from his jacket. "Anyway, it sounds like Steve had more than enough information to make an informed decision about kissing Stark."

Maria gave a nod in the affirmative. "I agree. If you still want to kill him then he's in lab three. Just be warned, Banner is in there as well. I'd rather not have the Hulk destroy all the tech we got from Doom."

Phil and Maria bid them good evening and walked off. Steve and Bucky just stood there for a second, Bucky still scowling. "Why didn't you tell me about you and Stark?" Bucky finally said, sounding only slightly less upset.

"You mean when I had my memories or after?" Steve asked.

"Either. Both. I don't, I just don't get why you would keep that from me."

Steve winced at the sound of hurt in Bucky's voice. "I can't tell you exactly why I didn't before. I do know that I was worried about your reaction. That doesn't seem to be unwarranted." It was Bucky's turn to wince. "And something Loki said to me last night, that there had been a strain to our friendship. Maybe that made me hesitate, I don't know. As for why I didn't tell you yesterday, or today. I wasn't sure what to do with the information. I just needed to process it."

Bucky huffed, then turned and continued on down the hallway towards the labs. Steve sighed and jogged after him. "You're still mad." He observed.

"Hell yeah."

"Why exactly? Because I didn't tell you?"

Steve heard the sound of Bucky's arm re-calibrating, that what Bucky called it, like Bucky was getting ready to hit something. Fortunately for the walls, he refrained. "That's not it."

Steve didn't quite buy that. "Is it just because you don't like Tony?" He asked.

"I like Stark just fine." Bucky ground out.

Steve scoffed. "That was real convincing."

Bucky whirled into Steve's path again. "So you were in a relationship with Stark before losing your memories. Fine, can you tell me how it started? Why you wanted to be with him? Were you guys taking things slow? Can you tell me any of that?"

Steve glared at Bucky. "Of course I can't."

Bucky shoved a finger up in Steve face. "Exactly, you have no idea. Maybe you had started having second thought about it. Or hell, maybe you two were as cute as bunnies when together. The point is, you don't know."

Steve could feel his own anger rising. "So I'm just supposed to ignore everything that happened before? Cause it seems like, with everything else, that is the exact opposite of what everyone wants me to do."

"It not the same," Bucky huffed as he turned and went through the doors to the lab.

Steve hurried in after him, afraid he was going to have to wrestle Bucky into submission to keep him from attacking Tony. He nearly ran into Bucky, again, because Bucky had stopped. Again.

"Hey guys." Darcy Lewis was standing there at one of the tables near the door. "What are you doing here? I thought we were doing superhero nachos in the common room."

Steve watched as Bucky visibly calmed. It was good to know that Bucky wasn't so far gone in his anger that he would risk losing control around a civilian.

Miss Lewis was looking between the two of them, a small concerned frown tugging at her mouth. "You guys okay? You look upset. Or like aliens are attacking again." Here eyes went wide behind her glasses. "Aliens aren't attacking again, are they?"

"Everything is fine Darcy." Bucky assured her. Steve was glad to hear his voice sounded much calmer as well. "Do you know where Stark is?"

Miss Lewis shrugged. "I lost track of him. I think he's around here somewhere. Maybe Bruce knows. Hey Bruce!" Miss Lewis called over her shoulder.

Dr. Banner suddenly appeared from behind one of the large machines they had taken from Doom. "Yes? Oh, hi Steve, Bucky. I thought everyone was supposed to go meet in the common room in twenty minutes?" Bruce looked down at his watch. "Did I lose track of time again?"

"Nah, we got a few before we have to go," Miss Lewis said. "Barnes just wants to know where Stark is. Though, don't know if we should tell him, he kinda looks like he wants to pound his brains in."

Bruce face tightened up. "Why do you want to hurt Tony?" His voice sounded tight too.

Bucky held up a calming hand. "I don't, I just want to talk to him."

Steve made a sound of disbelief and Bucky pointedly ignored it.

"Is this about Stark and Rogers getting caught making out in the Server Room earlier today?" Miss Lewis asked, casually leaning an elbow on the table.

"Making out?" Bucky choked out.

Steve felt his whole face heat up instantly. "How .. how do you know about that?" He asked her.

She rolled her eyes and smirk. "There are security cameras everywhere in here. I can understand you not realizing, but Stark totally should have thought about it."

Bucky made a strangled noise, and Steve tensed, sure Bucky was about to explode with anger. To his dismay, he realized Buck was really just trying not to laugh out loud. Steve slapped a hand over his eyes, overcome with embarrassment.

Miss Lewis reached over and patted him reassuringly on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Maria classified them Top Secret."

"You and Tony are together again?" Bruce asked, coming over to them. "That's a relief."

Bucky looked at Bruce like he'd grown another head. "How can you say that? Tony is clearly trying to take advantage of Steve's memory loss."

Bruce adjusted his glasses. "I really don't think so. You didn't see how upset Tony was after you all left yesterday. And Rhodey told me that Tony was refusing to tell Steve they had been in a relationship. He planned on just waiting until your memories were back." Bruce said. "Then when we found out we couldn't get them back, he kind of lost it." Bruce glanced over at a piece of machinery sitting on one of the tables. It looked like it had been broken, maybe from being dropped. Or thrown. Steve's heart ached, thinking again of how much pain Tony must have been in after finding out Steve's memories had been lost.

Bucky was looking at the broken thing thoughtfully.

"So," Miss Lewis leaned forward eagerly. "How'd it happen? How'd you two end up kissing?"

Steve blushed again. He was about to tell Miss Lewis that it was private, when his phone vibrated again. He didn't even have to look at it to know it was Natasha again, and what she wanted him to do. "It was, we, um .." He didn't think he could do this.

"Did he kiss you or you kiss him?" Miss Lewis asked.

"Um, well," Bucky was looking at him, arms folded tight across his chest. Steve could imagine what he was thinking, that Tony had somehow tricked Steve into kissing him. "It started as Tony trying to kiss me. I think he kinda forgot that I didn't remember him, or our relationship. Cause it was the second time he'd tried to kiss me. The first time I was startled and he backed off and apologized."

Miss Lewis pouted. "Poor baby. So why was it different this time?"

Steve took a steadying breath. Bruce had decided to become interested in a piece of equipment, so at least it was only Bucky and Miss Lewis watching him as he spoke. "I, um, after that I decided I needed to find out more about my life now. And I, ah, found some .. stuff that lead me to believe I was really interested in Tony." No way was he going to tell them about the drawings. No matter how much Natasha texted him. "Then I found out I could read texts people had previously sent me and I found a conversation Tony and I had had the night before I lost my memories. It spelled out pretty clearly that we were in a relationship."

Miss Lewis was eating up every word Steve said. "So that's why you kissed him?"

"Yes. Well, not entirely. He, he kissed me in the Server Room. I let him," he told Bucky, pointedly. "then it was like he came to his senses again and backed off. He was apologizing and going to leave. And I just didn't want him to, so I grabbed him and pulled him back. And .." His face had to be beet red by now and he had to drop his gaze to the floor just to continue. "I kissed him because I suddenly realized how deeply I cared for him. When Doom took my memories he didn't take that. I just didn't recognize it for what it was until then."

Steve looked up at Bucky. Bucky was still scowling, but he now looked more thoughtful than angry.

Miss Lewis suddenly let out a high pitched squeal and wrapped Steve up in a hug. "You two are so friggin adorable. You're my favorite OTP of all time."

"You're favorite what?"

Bucky threw his hands up in the air. "Fine!"

Steve looked at him questioningly. "Fine?"

"Yes, fine." Bucky groused. "Date Stark. Make out with him in supply closets. If that's what you want then fine."

Steve smiled at him as Miss Lewis finally let him go. "Thanks Buck. And I'm sorry I didn't tell you before. Both times."

"Yes," Bucky sniffed. "You should have."

"Though I'm pretty sure you would have been tempted to not tell me after the memory loss."

Bucky shrugged. "You're probably right." Bucky clapped him on the shoulder. "Come on, if we don't get back, Thor will eat all the nachos.

Steve followed Bucky out, turning to wave by to Miss Lewis who gave him two thumbs up.

Tony waited for the all-clear from Bruce before coming out of the back testing room of the lab. Natasha had made him go in there, along with Rhodey in the War Machine armor, as part of her plan.

"Operation: Superhero Nachos was a success," Darcy cheered, pumping her fist in the air.

"Yeah, we're still not calling it that." Tony told her.

Natasha's face popped up on a nearby screen. "She can call it that if she wants." Natasha smirked at him. "And it was a success."

"Is that your, 'I told you so'?"

"I never have to say I told you so, it's just always implied."

Tony flopped down into a chair. "I suppose it was necessary after all."

"Are you kidding me?" Darcy exclaimed. "He seriously looked like he wanted to maul you when he came storming in here."

"You should of seen him before he met up with Coulson and Hill." Natasha said. "We had to clear the halls so he wouldn't run into some poor agent who would look at him wrong."

Natasha had tapped into the security feeds so she could monitor the whole thing. Tony had been forbidden to watch, which didn't seem fair.

"What did Coulson and Maria say to him to calm him down?" Bruce asked.

"They were mostly there as speed bumps," Natasha explained. "I knew Bucky would respect their authority enough to stop when they questioned him. It gave Steve an opening to explain a few things to Bucky and start calming him down."

"That was my job too," Darcy said proudly. "Get Steve to talk about his feelings."

"And, what, I was here in case things went bad?" Bruce asked. Tony could hear the resentment in Bruce's tone. Bruce hated being thought of as the muscle.

Natasha, naturally, knew just what to say to him. "Actually, it was you and Darcy together that did the trick. Barnes wouldn't really think twice about unleashing the Hulk, unless there was someone nearby that he would never want to see get hurt."

"Aww," Tony said to Darcy. "I think she's implying that Barnes has a thing for you."

"Too bad," Darcy shot back, "I'm with that IT guy."

"You could do so much better."

"Plus," Natasha interrupted. "Bucky trusts Bruce to tell him the truth. So Bruce needed to be the one to tell Bucky about all of Tony's feelings the last few days. Since Tony certainly wasn't going to."

"I don't have feelings," Tony remarked.

Rhodey flipped up the War Machine face-plate, "Great, can I get out of the armor now? All this talk of nachos is making me hungry."

"You're good." Natasha said. "You were just back up in case Bucky was determined to beat Stark into oblivion. And all the talk about nachos was important to the plan. Had to keep reminding Bucky he was missing out on his favorite food."

"I've calmed a bunch of guys down over the years by using food," Darcy said knowingly.

Rhodey released the armor from around him. "Well, now that that crisis is over, let's go eat. You coming?" He asked Tony.

"Yeah in a minute, just gonna finish up cataloging a few things." Tony told him.

"Alright, but don't be too long. Thor really will eat all the nachos himself." Rhodey held out his arm for Darcy. "My lady, may I escort you to the nachos?"

Darcy grinned and slipped her arm around the crook of Rhodey's elbow. "You may. Come on Brucie," she hooked her other arm through Bruce's, "I need two strong men to help me fight my way through to the cheesy goodness."

Tony watched them go, then realized Natasha was still on the screen, looking expectantly at him. "Is there something else you need? Or you just not done gloating?"

"You should have told us about you and Steve." She admonished.

"Steve wanted to tell Bucky first, then we were going to tell the rest of you guys."

Natasha gave him her no nonsense glare. "I mean, after Steve lost his memory. We all saw that you were hurting and if we'd known the real reason we could have helped sooner."

Tony just shrugged. "There were more important things to worry about."

Something softened around Natasha's eyes. "Oh shellhead. The worst part, is you actually believe that."

Then she was gone and Tony was left to puzzle out what she meant.

Chapter Text

Tony came across a very distressed looking Steve in the Atrium. He had his head down on a table and his arms folded over his head. It was late at night and all the restaurants were closed, so no one else was around to see Captain America giving into stress. Which was probably why Steve was hiding out here.

Tony approached him, careful not to startle him. "Hey babe, you doing okay there?"

Steve didn't lift his head, just made a sound to indicate he wasn't okay.

Tony lightly touched Steve on his shoulders. When Steve didn't move or protest, he started kneading the tense muscles of his shoulders. Steve let out an appreciative moan and immediately relaxed.

"Wanna talk about it?" Tony asked. He was pretty sure he knew what the problem was anyway, but Steve was horrible about telling anyone when he was overwhelmed. Not that Tony was any better.

"There's too much to learn." Steve said, sounding as miserable as he looked.

That's what Tony had figured. Steve had been at the Upstate facility for over a week now. Every day had been spent trying to catch him up on everything he'd forgotten. Steve had been stoicly plowing through it all, refusing to admit defeat in the face of a mountain range of information. Now it had caught up with him.

Tony massaged Steve's shoulders until he felt him begin to relax. Then he slowly pried Steve's arms off of his head. Steve let him, but still kept his face down on the table. Tony sat down next to him and rested his head on the table as well so he was looking at Steve.

Steve turned his head to face Tony, smiling a little.

"I've got an idea," Tony said. "Let's get out of here for a little while."

"It's the middle of the night Tony."

"So no one will miss us then."

Tony saw the moment Steve gave in. He stood up, pulling Steve with him. "Come on. We need to hit up the kitchen for supplies." Tony went over to the door that lead to the main kitchen. His access code getting him in easily.

"Are we supposed to be in here?" Steve asked as Tony headed straight for the back of the kitchen.

"It's my building," Tony said. He stopped at the door of the wine cooler and punched in his code again. "Plus they're used to us breaking in to get food. You don't always get back from missions during kitchen hours." He found the corner where the good wine was kept and grabbed a bottle of Merlot, Steve's favorite red.

With the bottle of wine safely tucked under one arm, Tony set about finding the necessary ingredients for a moonlight picnic. He found a tote one of the kitchen staff had left behind, a nice table cloth, and some wine glasses. He had Steve wrap the glasses up in the table cloth while he got some meats, cheeses, and fruit that paired well with the wine. Then he packed everything up in the tote. Finally he wrote a quick note listing what they had taken and left it in the chef's office.

Steve watched him with a fond smile that made Tony's heart soar to see. He hadn't realized how much he'd missed it over the last few days. He stepped up to Steve and gave him a quick kiss, then grabbed his hand. "Come on."

They went outside and Tony gave Steve the tote and the bottle of wine. "Stay right here," he told Steve, while taking a few steps back as he called the armor to him. 

"What are we waiting for?" Steve asked.

"Our ride." Tony heard the armor coming and he held his arms out, maybe a little more dramatically than necessary. But it was so nice to see the look of wonder on Steve's face as the armor wrapped itself around Tony's body. He left the face plate up so he could pull Steve close and kiss him again. Steve gasped as he was pressed up against the Iron Man armor. Tony smiled to himself, glad to know Steve still had that kink about kissing while Tony was in the suit. He leaned his head back so he could look at Steve again. "You ready for a ride?" He asked, grinning.

Steve answered by wrapping his arms around Tony's neck and kissing him again. Tony idly wondered if he could fly while making out with Steve. He probably could.

Steve pulled back though so Tony didn't get to try. "Ready."

He flipped down the face plate and took off. They weren't going very far, but Tony did a long loop around the facility to stretch the ride out. He then climbed higher until he could see the small hill he was aiming for. It was near the facility and still on the property, so no one would bother them there. He landed neatly at a clearing near the top. You could see the east side of the facility from there, as well as the nearby lake.

Tony let go of Steve, then stepped out of the armor. He put it on sentry mode and also had FRIDAY send out a command to the surveillance drones to avoid the hill for now.

They set up the little picnic and soon Tony was lounging against Steve chest while explaining which foods Steve did and did not like.

"That's pate, you hate it."

Steve took a little bite anyway and immediately made a face. "Ugh, that's awful. What is it?"

"Fancy liver." Tony took the cracker with the pate on it from Steve and popped it in his own mouth. He then handed Steve something else to try. "Here, prosciutto wrapped fig, you like these."

Steve bit into the fruit and made a noise of appreciation. "What's the creamy stuff in it?"

"Blue cheese."

"It doesn't seem like something I'd like." Steve commented as he ate the rest of it.

"I admit, I've had to try and instill some culture in you over the years. Expand your palette from just a meat and potatoes guy."

"There's nothing wrong with meat and potatoes." Steve said.

"There is when it's corned beef and boiled potatoes."

They sat under the stars, sipping wine, and talking about anything that didn't involve work or the craziness of the past week.

Steve told Tony about coming Upstate by train with Bucky so they could check out the foliage. He talked about working for the newspaper as an illustrator and how it had been a relief to be able to have a job he could do even with his poor health. He told Tony about his mother, who, as Steve told it, was the greatest woman to ever live.

Tony told Steve about taking trips with his mom over to Vermont because she loved getting freshly made cider. He talked about meeting Rhodey for the first time, and how he instantly took a liking to him because Rhodey wasn't going to take any of Tony's shit. He told Steve about Jarvis, his dad's Butler, who practically raised Tony.

They finished off the bottle of wine, Steve completely unaffected by it, and Tony feeling slightly tipsy. When Steve looked down at Tony and smiled, Tony couldn't help himself. He reached up and pulled Steve down so he could kiss him. Tony felt a small thrill. They had had a few rare moments alone over the last few days and Tony had taken advantage of them. But he was still reeling from what he'd almost lost and each kiss from Steve felt like a small miracle.

Tony flicked Steve's bottom lip with his tongue and was rewarded with a small gasp and Steve parting his lips. Tony took advantage and deepened the kiss. Steve grabbed him around the waist and pulled Tony with him as he stretched himself out on the tablecloth they were using as a blanket. Tony gladly followed him down, feeling the shift of Steve's muscles underneath him. Steve slipped his hands under Tony's jacket and ran them up and down Tony's back.

Tony was in heaven, easily losing himself in kissing Steve. Steve was letting him run the show, which was always nice, and Tony was trying to keep it PG-13. That was, until Steve ran a hand down past the waistband of Tony's jeans and lightly skimmed over his ass.

Tony gasped, and felt himself get incredibly hard, impossibly fast. He rocked his hips against Steve's leg and was rewarded with another gasp from Steve. He gripped Steve by the back of his neck and ravaged his mouth, stealing Steve's breath from him. Steve brought his hand back down to rub Tony's ass again. It felt so good that Tony was able to ignore the hesitancy of Steve's movements. He slid a leg up to rub against Steve's crotch. Steve cried out in surprise and pleasure, hips jerking up and nearly throwing Tony off him. Tony smiled, loving how responsive Steve was. Then he felt the way Steve was trembling under him. He pulled back and studied Steve's face. He could see how turned on Steve was, but he could also see how nervous he was. That made Tony back off.

He sat up, trying to discreetly adjust his pants as he did so. "We should probably head back, it's getting late." He looked away so he wouldn't have to see the look of confusion Steve was giving him. He berated himself for momentarily forgetting that Steve had lost his memories and wasn't as experienced as Tony was used to.

They cleaned up the picnic and Tony flew them back.

He walked Steve back to his room and leaned in for a goodnight kiss that turned into Steve pressing Tony against the wall. Tony felt himself getting way too excited again. He gently pushed Steve away, said a quick goodnight and hurried away. He wanted to stay, oh how he wanted to stay, but that nagging voice in the back of his mind was telling him not to push Steve. The guy had just come to terms with being in a gay relationship, he probably wasn't ready to consummate it yet.

Also, Thor and Loki's speech patterns were definitely wearing off on Tony.

Steve opened the door to his quarters, saw Sam and Bucky sitting on his couch, still playing video games, and he let out a loud sigh. Sam and Bucky looked up at him. "Where you been?" Bucky asked.

Steve sat down in the loveseat and sighed again. He'd gone down to the Atrium earlier that night to get away from everyone, only to run into Tony. Going up to the hill for a picnic had been great. Steve had felt all his stress melting away as he and Tony sat there, just talking. However, when he'd tried to get intimate with Tony, he'd pulled away and ended the evening.

Had Steve done something wrong or misunderstood his and Tony's relationship?


Steve looked up. The video game had been paused and Sam and Bucky were looking at him like they were worried. "What?"

Bucky frowned. "Is everything okay? You seemed kinda tense when you left earlier. And now you look like someone kicked your puppy."

"I'm fine." Steve mumbled. The subject of him and Tony was still pretty tense with Bucky.

"You are not fine," Sam said. "Maybe you should take the day off tomorrow. You've been pushing yourself pretty hard lately, trying to learn all the stuff Coulson and Hill are throwing at you. You need some time to depressurize."

"I went out with Tony tonight," Steve blurted out. "We went up to this hill, had a small picnic."

"Yeah?" Sam brightened up. "That sounds great. A nice relaxing date."

Steve frowned and slumped back into the chair.

"Did something happen?" Bucky asked, immediately suspicious. He was probably thinking Tony had done something horrible to Steve.

"Nothing happened Buck!" Steve snapped. "Absolutely nothing!"

Bucky looked slightly taken aback by Steve's outburst. Sam, however, looked like he understood. "Oh. Nothing, huh?"

"Yeah." Steve sighed. "I tried to, um, let him know that I was interested, but, he just pulled away." Steve looked up at Sam, feeling absolutely miserable. "I must have done something wrong."

"I doubt that," Sam said. "I think it has more to do with Tony thinking he's got to handle you with kid gloves cause of the whole memory loss thing." Sam shot Bucky a look, "There seems to be a lot of that going around."

Bucky glared right back at Sam.

"Look man," Sam said, turning back to Steve, "you just need to be blunt. Tell Tony exactly what you want."

"I don't know how to do that." Steve tried not to squirm as he admitted it. This was the kind of thing he usually talked to Bucky about. Sam was great, and he knew they had a strong friendship. It was just, he wanted to talk to Bucky. He tried to catch Bucky's eye, but Bucky was scowling at the far wall.

Steve pulled himself up out of the chair. "I'm going to turn in. You two can stay and play video games as long as you want."

Steve went to his room and got dressed for bed. He heard Sam and Bucky having a rather fierce sounding argument. Steve couldn't make out what they were saying cause they were keeping their voices low. Though at one point he did hear Sam telling Bucky to 'pull his head out of his ass'.

Sam eventually left. And after a few minutes of silence, Steve heard Bucky leave too.

The next morning Steve went out for his usual run with Bucky and Sam. There was a path around the facility that everyone used. Sam did one loop around while Bucky and Steve tried to see how many times they could pass Sam before they finished. At least, that's what Bucky had told him was the goal. It seemed to Steve, that the goal was actually for Bucky to come up with as many taunts as he could, to yell at Sam as they went by.

"You're doing great, Wilson. The kitchen staff isn't even passing you this time." Bucky called out as they came up behind Sam.

Sam just called back, "Hey Barnes, Clint called, he wants to know when you're going to start trying to beat his marksmanship score."

Bucky laughed as they passed Sam for the second time. Sam actually did pretty well, he passed most of the other runners, including guys much younger than him. Steve and Bucky were the only enhanced people who ran in the mornings. Steve had invited Thor to join them, but Thor had just laughed and said that he didn't need to run for no reason.

"So about last night," Bucky said, startling Steve.

They had both been avoiding talking much. Bucky had seemed withdrawn and Steve just didn't feel like bringing it up.

"What about it?" Steve asked, hesitantly.

Bucky was quiet for about a minute before he finally answered. "If you really want to sleep with Stark, Tony, then just go for it. Don't let him back off. Do what you did when you wanted to kiss him. Grab him and don't let him leave."

Steve had to just stare at Buck for a second, unsure if he'd heard correctly.

"Don't look so shocked," Bucky grumbled. "You want to be with him, for some reason. So I'm going to be, you know," Bucky waved a hand, "supportive."

Steve huffed a laugh. "Is it painful? Cause you look like you're in pain."

Bucky punched his shoulder, "Shut up. Anyway, smart ass, just go for it, is what I'm saying."

Steve smiled. "Thanks, Buck."

They ran in silence for a while until Steve got up the courage to say out loud what he was thinking. "I'm nervous."

Bucky snorted. "Of course you're nervous. Everyone is nervous their first time. And this is technically you're first time since you don't remember any of the other times."

"Were you nervous you're first time?" It was hard to imagine Bucky being nervous. He'd always been so confident when it came to dames, er, women.

Bucky didn't answer right away and, when Steve looked over, he had a pensive look on his face. "I don't remember my first time." Bucky finally said.

"I thought you had gotten all your memories back?" Steve asked.

Bucky shrugged. "Most of them came back, but there are still some that are just a blur. I know I had sex with some girl, right before I shipped off to war. But the rest is just some vague feelings."

"Was it the girl you brought to the Stark Expo?" Steve wondered.


"The brunette you brought to the Stark Expo. You tried to set me up with her friend, a blonde."

Bucky stopped running and Steve stopped too. Bucky looked like he was puzzling something out. "The Stark Expo. That's right. After you ditched us her friend hooked up with another group, so it was just me and, and, Connie, her name was Connie." Bucky let out a small laugh. "Holy shit. I remember." Bucky was grinning now. "She said she couldn't let me go off to war without becoming a man."

Steve smiled back, happy Bucky had remembered something from his past, but feeling a little jealous too. Maybe Bucky noticed, because he shook his head and went back to talking about Steve's problem. "Anyway, we just got to get you and Tony alone and then don't let him leave." They started jogging again. "I know, invite him to your place tonight for some pie." Another apple pie had arrived yesterday from D.C., the three of them had each had a piece last night, but there was still plenty left. "He'll definitely come over for pie. Then you just lay the Rogers charm on him."

Steve cocked an eyebrow at Bucky. "The Rogers charm?"

"Yeah. Where you stand there, looking like you were carved out of marble, but yet you're oh so sweet and innocent. Then all the girls are like," Bucky switched to a high pitched voice, "Oh Captain America, you're the most wonderful man in the world. Please let me love you."

"Does Natasha know you think women think things like that?"

"Nat actually does a better impression than me of your fan club." Bucky said with a smirk.

They rounded a corner and saw the back of Sam up ahead of them.

"Wilson!" Bucky yelled as he picked up speed and ran at him. "Let me help you!"

Sam immediately started ducking and weaving to get away from Bucky. "Don't you dare, Barnes!"

Bucky easily caught up to Sam, grabbed him around the waist, and swung him up onto his shoulder. "I'll make sure you finish. We leave no man behind!" Bucky took off in a sprint towards the doors that lead to the side entrance they had come out of earlier, Sam yelling at him the whole way to put him down.

Steve couldn't help laughing at the sight as he jogged behind the two.

Tony was working in the lab with Bruce and Jane that afternoon. They were trying to figure out Doom's time machine again. Tony had double promised not to try to make it travel through time, but he had made the excellent point that they may need to use it as a prison one day. So they were attempting to reverse engineer it.

At least they were until Barnes came in.

Everyone immediately stiffened and Tony saw Bruce take his glasses off and put them in the crush proof case Tony had made for him.

Barnes held his hands up in a calming gesture. "Relax, I'm not here to kill you Stark."

"Uh huh," Tony contemplated calling the suit to him. "Forgive me if I'm not brimming with trust."

Barnes scowled. Then he drew in a deep breath, like he was trying to calm down. "I wanted to talk to you." Barnes glanced at Bruce and Jane. "Alone."

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," Bruce said.

Barnes sighed. "It's about Steve."

"Really not a good idea," Bruce insisted.

Tony studied Barnes. He was looking very un-murderous, and like he'd rather be anywhere but here. "Alright," Tony decided. "Let's go talk."


"It's fine Bruce." Tony assured him as he lead Barnes to a back office. "We're just going to talk. Right Terminator?"

Barnes nodded curtly.

Once in the office Tony turned and faced Barnes. "Look, if you're here to tell me to stay away from Steve or you'll crush me into a sardine inside my tin can, then just save it. I love Steve and I'm not going to lose him just cause it makes your little assassin heart grumpy."

Barnes stared at him for a few seconds. Then, "You love him?"


Barnes looked like he was trying not to smile. "You said you love him."

Tony quickly thought back over what he'd just said. "Crap. That part wasn't supposed to come out."

Barnes really was smiling, it was actually making Tony more nervous than when he was scowling. "You know," Barnes said with a slow drawl. "The guy is actually from the 1940's. This whole modern thing about not saying I love you too soon, doesn't exist for him."

Tony folded his arms and tried to look casual by leaning against the wall. "I know."

"So have you told him?" Barnes asked.

"Is this what you came here to talk to me about?" Tony asked, trying to derail the current topic.

"Actually, it kind of is."

So much for that plan.

"You need to stop worrying about breaking Steve if you move too fast with him."

And this was so much worse.

"Aren't you supposed to be telling me the opposite?" Tony asked. "I figured you'd be happy that I wasn't trying to steal his innocence."

Barnes shrugged. "I would be happy about it, if Steve wasn't unhappy about it." Barnes ran a hand through his hair and sighed. "I really don't want to be having this conversation with you. But we both need to stop thinking of Steve as someone to be protected. He can take care of himself and we just have to trust that. With everything."

Tony opened his mouth to protest that he wasn't protecting Steve. Only to realize that Barnes was right. He'd tried protecting Steve by not telling him about their relationship. He hadn't trusted Steve to be able to make an adult choice about it. And he'd been so upset when Wilson had taken Steve out of the Tower to tour the city, even though it was obvious now that Steve had needed the break.

And now he was doing it again, trying to protect Steve by ignoring the signs that Steve wanted to have sex with him. Thinking he couldn't make that decision for himself.


Barnes gave a rueful smile. "Yeah. I think it's kinda easy to forget this is the guy who went across enemy lines armed with a prop shield and a pistol."

"And went up against a Norse god armed only with his shield."

"Crashed three Helicarriers into the Potomac."

"Jumps out of airplanes without a parachute."

"He's such an idiot," Barnes said in his 'Steve is exasperating' tone of voice. "But he's a big boy, so we need to stop trying to protect him. Just remember, if you hurt him I will crush you into a sardine inside your tin can."


Steve stood outside the door to Tony's quarters later that night, trying to decide exactly what he was going to say. He hadn't felt this nervous since the time he'd gotten up the courage to ask Millie Hartford to the New Years Eve dance. Of course she'd said no, so maybe that's why he was feeling a little hesitant now. Tony probably wouldn't say no, they were a couple after all. And Tony really liked the apple pie Steve got, so-

The door suddenly opened and Tony was standing there. "What are you doing out here? FRIDAY said you've been out here for almost five minutes."

"Oh, um," Steve tried to compose himself. "I was just wondering, um, I was going to ask if you wanted to come have some pie. In my quarters. Some pie in my quarters, cause I have pie." He sounded like an idiot.

Tony's eyes lit up. "I'd love some pie." He looked down at himself, his shirt had oil stains on it and he was barefoot. Steve thought he looked great. "Hold on a sec." Tony went back in and peeled off his stained shirt as he went into his bedroom. A minute later he came out wearing a clean shirt and a jacket, he'd also put shoes on. He went over to his liquor cabinet and pulled out a bottle. "Okay, all set."

They went back to Steve's quarters, where the pie and two plates and forks were already sitting out.

Bucky had come back with Steve after dinner to help him get ready. He'd given Steve a 'crash course on gay sex', as he had put it. Steve's face had burned the whole way through, but he'd been grateful for it. Then Bucky had sent Steve off to shower and when he'd gotten out he'd found Bucky gone and the pie, minus a slice, sitting out with the plates and forks.

Tony had brought a bottle of bourbon and he poured them each a glass while Steve served the pie. They sat down on the couch, talked and ate pie. Steve was nervous, he didn't know how to initiate sex. Bucky had told him to just relax and let Tony know how he felt and the rest would take care of itself.

He didn't realize he'd finished his pie and was fiddling with the fork, until Tony gently pulled the plate out of his hands and set it on the table. Then Tony scooted closer and pulled Steve in for a kiss.

Steve had been raised to be a perfect gentleman, which included only giving modest, closed mouth kisses. But as Tony's tongue slipped into Steve's mouth, Steve suddenly forgot all of that and heard a very inappropriate sound leave his mouth. Encouraged, Tony deepened the kiss and wrapped an arm around Steve's waist.

Steve broke the kiss and leaned back so he could look at Tony. He tried to memorize every aspect of Tony's features, feeling the familiar feeling of loss at not knowing all the things he was missing from his memories.

"Something on your mind Rogers?" Tony asked with a grin.

"I want to remember you," Steve said, as he ran his hands up Tony's back.

Tony's smile faded, replaced by something else. "Yeah, well, there's no way to recover your memories."

Steve shook his head. "That's not what I meant. I mean I want new memories, new things to remember. I've already gotten a few over the last week. Like how you look in the Iron Man armor. How you sound when you're lecturing someone about how they don't understand things." Tony rolled his eyes. "I know your scent now." Steve leaned in and brushed his lips against Tony's. "I can remember how it feels to kiss you." He ran his hand up to cup the back of Tony's neck. "I want," he swallowed, the nervous feeling coming back in force. "I want even more memories of you. I want to remember what it's like to be with you."

Tony sucked in a small breath and Steve watched as his pupils dilated. Then he surged forward and pulled Steve into a passionate kiss. Steve pushed Tony's jacket off his shoulders and lifted up the back of his shirt so he could get to the bare skin of Tony's back.

Tony separated from him long enough to pull his shirt off over his head, then he pushed Steve back against the couch and straddled his lap. Tony quickly undid the buttons of Steve's shirt and almost ripped it in his haste to get it off. Steve grabbed Tony's hips and pulled him close, their naked chests pressed close as they kissed.

Tony slowly worked his way from Steve's mouth to kiss along his jawline. Then Tony nipped the area of Steve's neck right below his ear. A flash of heat coursed through Steve's body and he felt his penis, which had slowly been hardening, suddenly fill and press against his jeans. Tony nipped at the spot again and Steve gave a small cry as his hips thrust up of their own accord.

Tony whispered in his ear, "I'm going to show you every spot on your body that makes you cry out in ecstasy." As if to demonstrate, Tony ran his fingernails down Steve's ribs. Steve gasped at the sensation then cried out again when Tony latched on to the hollow of his throat. "I love how vocal you are." Tony murmured into his collarbone as Steve gasped for breath. "I want you to make as much noise as you want babe. No one can hear us."

Tony continued to nip and suck at his neck. Steve wrapped his arms around Tony as pleasure overwhelmed him, needing the feel of Tony's body to ground him, feeling the lean muscle up and down Tony's back. After several minutes of that, Steve wanted more. He slid one arm down to cup Tony's buttocks with his hand. Tony moaned as Steve gently kneaded the muscle, feeling the way Tony rocked his hips forward into his own.

Tony pulled his head back to look at Steve. Steve was overcome by how beautiful Tony looked, hair messed up, cheeks flush, eyes wide. "Do you want to take this to the bedroom?" Tony asked.

Steve nodded vigorously. "Yes. Please."

Tony smiled, then got up, pulling Steve along with him. He lead Steve to the bedroom and shut the door behind them. Steve felt the nerves coming back now that this was really happening.

Tony pulled Steve up next to the bed, then stopped. He kissed Steve slowly and carefully, and Steve slowly relaxed again.

"Okay?" Tony asked.

Steve just nodded afraid to speak least his voice give away how nervous he was.

Tony took a few steps back and, as Steve watched, he slowly undid his belt and stripped out of his pants and underwear. Steve took in the sight of Tony standing there naked. He memorized the lines of his body, how his dick was swollen red, curving up towards his stomach.

Without really thinking, Steve dropped to his knees, grabbing Tony's hips and licked up from the base of Tony's cock to the tip. He heard Tony let out a long, guttural moan. Encouraged he did it again, this time really paying attention to how Tony felt. The way his skin was stretched tight as his cock swelled even more, the bitter, salty tang of precum that Steve licked from the tip.

Tony panted and groaned as Steve continued to explore with his tongue. He quickly learned that Tony was very sensitive right under the ridge of the head. Steve must have spent a full minute just slowly tracing the area with his tongue, enjoying the way Tony moaned and begged Steve for more. Finally Steve worked up some courage and took the head of Tony's cock into his mouth. He'd just wanted to see how it felt, see if he wanted to take the rest of it too. Once the head was in, once he felt the heat and weight of it, he knew he needed more. So before he could over think it, he pushed forward, letting the full length slide along his tongue until the head was butting against the back of his throat.

"Ah! Teeth!" Tony yelped.

Steve pulled off quickly, "Sorry."

"Don't be sorry." Tony gasped. "Don't you dare be sorry. You're amazing." Tony was looking down at Steve, his eyes wide, chest heaving. It was a beautiful sight.

Carefully, Steve swallowed Tony's cock back down, mindful of keeping his teeth out of the way. He rubbed his tongue up and down Tony's length, unsure what he was actually supposed to do. He remembered some of the guys in the barracks talking about having girls suck them, so he gave an experimental suck.

Tony's reaction was immediate. He cried out in pleasure and Steve felt his hips try to thrust forward, the only thing stopping them was Steve's grip. Steve sucked again.

"Ah, Steve! Yes, yes, yes, yes!"

Steve took a deep breath, and sucked hard, his mouth molding around Tony's cock. Tony fisted his hands in Steve's hair as Steve began alternating between licking and sucking, paying attention to Tony's reaction and feeling the shaft in his mouth slowly growing larger.

"Steve, stop!" Tony pushed against Steve's head. "You gotta, Ah! You gotta stop. I can't .. Stop!"

Steve pulled off, confused by what he'd done wrong this time. Tony wrapped his finger and thumb around the base of his cock. "I don't, I don't want this over too soon." He gasped out.

Steve sat back on his haunches. Tony looked down at him. "Holy fuck! You are so hot." Tony pulled him to his feet, and kissed him as he guided him back towards the bed. Steve's legs hit the bed and Tony pushed him down. Steve obeyed and laid himself out on the bed. Tony climbed up after him, stopping to hover over Steve's chest before lowering his mouth down to Steve's left pectoral. Steve watched in fascination as Tony licked his nipple and gasped in surprise at the sensation. Then Tony did it again and again until Steve was writhing in pleasure. "Tony! Tony please!"

Tony sat up. "Please what?" He asked, a mischievous grin on his face.

"I need, I need, I need," He didn't know how to say it. He just knew his cock was pushing against his jeans in such a way that he wanted to just rip them off. And he couldn't stop the way his hips were thrusting upwards over and over again.

Fortunately, Tony knew what he needed, even if Steve didn't. He reached down and began to slowly undo Steve's belt buckle. "Every time I do this," Tony said, slowly undoing the button and painstakingly pulling the zipper down, "it's like unwrapping the best Christmas present ever." He hooked his fingers in the waistband and pulled Steve's jeans down and off of him.

Steve reached for the waistband of his boxers, but Tony batted them away. Steve whined in protest.

Tony leaned down and kissed the inside of Steve's thigh before slowly pulling off his boxers. Steve gasped in relief as his penis sprang free of the confines of the cloth. When he looked down again he was startled by just how big he was. He'd been getting used to this body, and he was aware that his penis was larger than it had been before. He just hadn't realized how much bigger until seeing it filled and hard.

"I know," Tony said, smiling down at him. "Just like Christmas." He situated himself between Steve's legs and lowered his face down to Steve's crotch. "Now I'm going to suck your cock." Tony said, his breath ghosting across Steve's cock. "The only rules are, you have to keep your hands to yourself. You tend to lose control at the end and forget how strong you are. Also, I want to hear you. Be noisy, tell me how it feels, tell me what you want. Got it?"

Steve nodded. He watched as Tony licked his lips then opened his mouth slowly as he took Steve's cock. Steve threw his head back and cried out as Tony wrapped his lips around the shaft. His hips started pumping again, pushing his cock in and out of Tony's mouth. Steve was lost to the feeling of wet heat and the way Tony's tongue rubbed against the underside of the head.

Steve didn't have to try to be noisy like Tony wanted, it probably would have been impossible to be quiet. "Oh, Tony! Yes. That feels amazing. Oh gosh. Ah!" Steve thrust his hips faster and faster, feeling the pressure of his climax growing. Tony sucked harder and Steve cried out in pleasure, fisting his hands into the pillows to keep himself from grabbing Tony and pressing his head down as hard as he could. "Ah! AH!" He thrust up one last time as his climax hit. Pleasure exploding from his groin and pulsing through his whole body. He was vaguely aware of the feeling of Tony swallowing around him as he came down.

He lay there for a few more seconds, trying to catch his breath and process everything he'd just experienced. Tony crawled up the bed and leaned down to kiss him. Steve tasted himself and was surprised by how much that excited him.

"Don't get too relaxed," Tony said, pulling away. "We're not done yet." Tony rolled over so he could get to the night stand next to Steve's bed. He open the little drawer and pulled out the tube of lubricant. Bucky had showed Steve the lubricant and explained what it was for. Instead of feeling nervous, like he thought he would, he instead felt excitement and desire as he watched Tony pour lubricant out onto his fingers. Tony kneeled in front of Steve as he reached between his legs. Steve watched as Tony inserted a finger into himself, then a second.

Tony was letting out breathy moans and Steve could feel himself getting hard again. He moved forward to kiss Tony, swallowing down every little noise he made. He grabbed the lubricant from where Tony had left it on the bed and poured some into his hand. He rubbed it between his fingers then carefully reached down to where Tony's hand was.

"Just one at a time," Tony cautioned, sounding breathless. 

Steve nodded, then carefully slid one finger in right next to Tony's. Tony moaned and Steve froze.

"No," Tony gasped, "keep going."

Steve took a breath and slid his finger in further, feeling Tony's heat closing around it.

"Move here," Tony said and Steve felt him wriggle one of the fingers he had inside himself. Steve moved his finger to where Tony had indicated. Suddenly Tony cried out and threw his head back. "Yes, right there Steve."

Steve moved his finger a little bit and felt something that, each time he brushed against it, caused Tony to let out another cry.

"More. I need more." Tony gasped. Steve carefully inserted another finger and Tony lurched against him. "Oh fuck! Yes!"

Steve rubbed Tony's prostate and kissed him fiercely. Tony, for his part, was coming more and more undone, gasping and moaning. "One more, Steve," he begged.

Steve slid one more finger in. Tony started moving his hand in and out and Steve copied him, keeping in rhythm. "Steve." Tony whined, throwing his head back and exposing his throat as Steve lavished his neck with kisses.

Tony pulled his fingers out of himself and guided Steve's hand out as well. "Lay back."

Steve did as he was instructed and watched as Tony straddled Steve's hips and slowly lowered himself down. He felt the tip of his cock push against Tony then he was overcome by the pressure and heat as Tony pushed down. "Try to stay still," Tony gasped out. Steve hadn't realized he was moving his hips up until Tony said something. He focused all his effort on staying still as Tony slowly pulsed up and down, taking a little more of his cock each time. "You're so big, Steve." Tony gasped, his eyes screwed shut as he concentrated. "So good."

When Tony had taken all of Steve's cock, he began to move fast and soon Steve was thrusting his hips up to meet each of Tony's downward movements. Steve never knew he could feel this good. His cock was wrapped tight in the heat of Tony's body and each thrust built up the pressure of his impending orgasm. He ran his hands up and down Tony's thighs, desperate to feel him. Having Tony above him, head thrown back and seeing the pleasure on his face, was the best part.

"You're beautiful," Steve whispered. Tony moaned and grabbed his hands. Steve braced Tony with his arms and Tony leaned forward to adjust the angle of his thrusts. It must have been what he'd wanted because he started to cry out with each thrust. "There. Right there."

Steve could feel himself getting close again. "Tony. Please."

"Touch me. Steve, touch my dick. Now. Fuck. Now!"

Steve let go of Tony and wrapped one hand around his shaft and the other he used to grip Tony's hip to steady him. He pumped his fist up and down Tony's cock in time with the thrust of his hips.

"Steve. Yes! I'm gonna come." Tony gasped, then cried out, his whole body curling in on itself as his climax hit. Steve felt the hot cum shooting out of Tony's cock, coating his hand and stomach. He felt the way Tony's body clenched around him, and it was too much and just right. He let go of Tony's cock and grabbed onto his other hip. He used his strength to lift Tony's hips and slam them down as he thrust up as hard as he could. Two. Three times. Then his back arched off the bed and he threw his head back in a silent scream as his balls tightened up and he climaxed with such force the world whited out for a second.

As things came back into focus he realized Tony was laying across him, head tucked into the crock of Steve's neck as he tried to catch his breath. Steve was a little out of breath too, something that was a lot harder to accomplish now that he was a Super Soldier.

He tried to find words to describe what had just happened. All he could come up with was, "Wow."

Tony chuckled and lifted his head up, smiling at Steve. "Definitely, wow." He kissed Steve, then dropped his head back down in exhaustion. "I've missed you so much." He whispered against Steve's throat.

Steve wrapped his arms around Tony and kissed the top of his head. A stab of sorrow pierced his heart as he wished he could say he'd missed Tony too.

Chapter Text

Steve stood in the middle of the gym at Avengers Tower, watching his teammates try and take down the Hulk and Thor.

Natasha had decided Steve was ready to start learning how to be the team leader again. The last couple of fights they'd been in, either Natasha or Tony had been calling the shots. But now Steve was going to step back into the role.

"Hawkeye, I need you to drive Thor back towards me."

"On it." Clint called over the comms, he was high up in the rafters and calling out would give away his position.

An explosive arrow hit the floor right next to where Thor was standing. Thor saw it, of course, and moved away from it right before it exploded. Several more arrows hit the ground in quick succession, herding Thor in the direction Clint wanted him to go. Thor was catching on quickly and even while he was dodging the arrows, he was scanning the rafters, looking for Clint's perch.

"Falcon, cover Hawkeye." Steve called.

Sam came swooping down and blocked Thor from getting a good look at Hawkeye's position. Steve positioned himself so he could get Thor into the taped off area nearby. The goal was to get him to step inside, then he would be officially 'caught' and the exercise would be over.

Thor didn't have his hammer, and Steve was without his shield. The two together were a bad combination for indoors, unless they actually wanted to bring the building down on top of them.

Vision and Loki had also been sidelined after the two had ended the first exercise in under two minutes. Vision had just grabbed the Hulk and drug him over to the timeout area, as they were calling it. And Loki had distorted reality and Thor had walked right into it without realizing what he was doing.

It had certainly been impressive, but not very fun for the rest of them.

Steve spared a quick glance at where Iron man and War Machine were trying to get Hulk to take just a few more steps back.

Steve had learned that once Tony was in the suit and in the air he and Rhodey became their own unit. And Steve knew enough about how well they worked together to know that he just had to give some general direction and Tony and Rhodey would take care of the rest.

Tony had called Black Widow over to help them earlier, and now she was taunting Hulk into following her. Hulk knew it was just an exercise and he was grinning from ear to ear as he tried to catch Natasha as she flipped past him.

Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch were helping with Thor because, game or not, Hulk got skittish around Wanda's magic.

Steve turned back to Thor. Hawkeye had almost gotten him into position and Quicksilver was now helping Falcon to throw Thor off.

"Scarlett Witch," Steve called.

Wanda nodded and raised her arms, ready to throw her magic.

Steve spared a glance at Bucky and saw he was ready and waiting.


Wanda threw her magic at the same moment Bucky and Steve pounced on Thor. Wanda's magic increased the probability that their attack would be successful, and sure enough, as Steve wrapped his arms around Thor's waist, Thor stumbled and tripped on his cape. They went down and as Thor tried to fight back, Bucky got the Norse god in a choke hold while Steve pinned his arms behind his back.

In a blur of motion, Quicksilver grabbed Thor's cape and tossed all three of them in to the timeout area. The landed in a pile of limbs and Steve could hear Bucky laughing as he tried to untangle himself from Thor's cape.

Steve pulled himself up and helped Bucky. Bucky emerged from the red fabric grinning. "We gotcha." He said to Thor.

Thor looked down at the blue masking tape they had used to make the box, grinning despite his defeat. "Indeed, well played."

The three of them rested for a moment as they watched the other group trying to get Hulk to go where they wanted him to. Hawkeye was now helping out with a few putty arrows that weren't really slowing Hulk down, but Hulk didn't like the feel of the putty for some reason, so Hawkeye was using it as a kind of barrier to keep Hulk from moving further back from the timeout box.

"Falcon," Widow called, "I need a boost." Sam came swooping down, grabbed Nat's outstretched hand and flew her up so she could land neatly on the Hulk's right should. She sat down, patted Hulk's arm and pointed in the direction of the timeout box. "Come on Big Guy, that way."

Hulk stopped trying to bat arrows away from him and turned to give Natasha a disbelieving look. "Really?" He rumbled.

Natasha smirked. "What? It was worth a shot."

Hulk smirked back and reached up to remove Natasha off his shoulder. Right then Iron Man and War Machine used the distraction to fly down and catch Hulk across the middle with a steel cable they were holding between them. Natasha flipped off of Hulk's shoulder as the two flyers used their momentum to launch Hulk backwards. Hulk bellowed his disapproval as he was tossed back and slid across the line of the timeout box.

"Touchdown!" Iron Man called, throwing both of his hands up in the air.

Hulk sat up, scowling. "You cheated."

"Nu-uh." Tony said, landing and flipping open his faceplate. "Using Black Widow as a distraction is well within the rules. Besides, you shouldn't be upset, Thor got caught before you, after all."

This made Hulk perk up. "Hehe, Goldilocks tripped on his cape."

Steve suppressed a sigh as Thor and Hulk started going on about who did a better job evading their opponents. He'd learned not to get in the middle of it and instead he pulled his helmet off and headed back to his room for a shower. "Please make sure they don't get physical," he asked Vision as he passed him.

"I shall do my best," Vision said. "But I can make no promises where these two are concerned."

"I say we let them have it out," Loki said, lounging next to Vision. "It's always so entertaining."

Bucky had been following Steve out, now he doubled back and grabbed Loki's arm to drag him off the bench. "Come on Frosty, I think you need a timeout."

Loki frowned, "I've done nothing wrong." He still allowed Bucky to lead him out of the gym and towards the elevator.

"I know," Bucky said, not letting go of his arm. "But I know you, and soon you'll be goading the two of them and then they'll be a giant hole in the side of the tower that takes over a month to fix." The doors to the elevator slid open and Bucky pulled Loki inside with him, Steve following right behind.

"Perhaps you'd be willing to keep me distracted then," Loki asked, leaning into Bucky.

Bucky just raised an eyebrow at him. "I thought you were just doing the flirting stuff to annoy Steve?" Bucky pointed out.

Loki shrugged, "I was, but now I find myself wondering how long before you just give in."

"Hell. Freezing over." Bucky answered.

Loki smiled. "I actually know of an item that could do just that."

Steve looked down to try and hide his smile. He shouldn't encourage Loki's flirting with Bucky, but Bucky never seemed to discourage Loki, despite claiming he'd never have sex with him. Even now, Bucky was still holding Loki's arm. And when Loki reached up and brushed several sweaty pieces of hair out of Bucky's face, Bucky didn't even flinch.

The elevator arrived at the floor of their apartments. They got out and headed down the hall. They reached Loki and Thor's apartment first. He opened the door and shoved Loki in. "Sit down and watch some TV or something," Bucky said, "I'm gonna go shower." Bucky had been trying to give Steve more privacy lately due to Steve's relationship with Tony, so he'd been alternating between staying with Sam and crashing on Thor and Loki's couch.

Steve didn't go in to the apartment, but he heard Loki ask, "Would you like some help washing your hair."

"Just sit your ass down and watch TV." Bucky called back before pointedly shutting the door to the bathroom.

The apartment door slid shut and Steve was free to let out the laugh he'd been holding in. He went down to his own apartment and was just starting to strip off all his gear when someone rang the bell. He opened the door to find Tony standing there.

"Hey." Tony said.

Steve smiled, "Come on in. I was just going to take a shower."

Tony stepped inside and let the door slide shut behind him. "Perfect timing on my part." He slid his arms around Steve's waist and pulled him in for a kiss.

Between the two of them they managed to get Steve out of his uniform and into the shower. Tony easily shucked the light clothes he'd been wearing under the Iron Man armor and stepped into the shower with Steve. They kissed under the downpour of water that came out of the very nice shower head. Steve marveled at the feel of their naked chests pressed together, the heat of their bodies increased by the warm shower.

It had been over a month since Doom had stolen Steve's memories. There were still so many things to get used to and so many things he had to rediscover. But this, this thing with Tony, Steve was happy to rediscover everything.

He slid his hands down Tony's sides, feeling the lean muscle and appreciating the gasp of pleasure he got. Tony cupped the back of Steve's head, pulling him in closer. Steve went happily, lining up there cocks and slowly beginning to thrust his hips against Tony. The water kept things just slick enough to not burn but there was still slight friction.

Tony ran his hands down Steve's back and began kneading the muscles of his buttocks. Steve groaned, a sudden heat coursing through his groin. He grabbed Tony's hands, not in a hurry to speed things up, and pushed them behind Tony's back.

The reaction was instantaneous. Tony gasped and jerked. "Red, red! Stop!"

Steve immediately stepped back, confused by what was going on.

Tony twisted his hands out of Steve's light grip and flung himself out of the shower and collapsed onto the tile floor, water dripping everywhere. Steve followed right after, grabbing for Tony's shoulders in concern. "What's wrong?"

Tony cried out and tried to get away, slipping on the wet floor as he did. His knee slammed down on the tile with a crack that made Steve wince. He tried to reach out again to Tony, but Tony cringed away from him again so Steve pulled back.

"Tony?" He asked hesitantly. Tony was huddled up on the floor, shaking and breathing raggedly. "Tony, what's wrong?" He reached out again, pained to see Tony so distressed.

Tony flinched at the movement. "Please. Please stop. Please Stop. Please."

FRIDAY suddenly spoke up from overhead. "Do you need assistance Cap?"

Steve had never been so relieved by the A.I.'s presence. "Something's wrong with Tony."

"He is experiencing a flashback," FRIDAY said, "Most likely brought on by the water and your attempt to restrain him."

"What?" Steve felt himself go cold all over. He'd had flashbacks and PTSD explained to him, and how everyone on the team had some form of it. Even him. He'd find certain noises or sights made him flinch. However, without the corresponding memory, it usually passed without incident.

"Boss, you need to do your breathing. Inhale for seven seconds, hold for seven seconds, and exhale for seven seconds."  As FRIDAY spoke, Tony took a long shaky breath, held it, then slowly let it out. "Cap, cover him with a towel to keep him warm. I have already increased the temperature of the room."

Steve grabbed one of the large, fluffy towels off the rack and carefully approached Tony. Tony was still huddled on the floor, but his breathing was slowing down. Steve leaned over, and careful not to touch Tony, draped the towel over him. He then stepped back, covered himself with one of the other towels, and shut off the water that had been left running in the shower. Unsure what else to do, he just stood there and watched as Tony worked to calm himself down.

"Do your breathing one more time, Boss." FRIDAY said. Tony repeated the breathing and after letting out the breath he inhaled again and let out a shaky sigh. After a few minutes, and some more breathing exercises, FRIDAY announced, "Pulse rate is dropping back down to normal levels. Cap, keep him warm and when he has recovered more, make sure he drinks some water. He won't want to, but he needs to."

"I can hear you," Tony croaked from the floor.

Steve let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "Tony?"

"Yeah. I'm fine now. Sorry 'bout that." Steve didn't really believe the part about him being fine, not with how shaky he still sounded.

Steve carefully crouched down near Tony. "No, I'm the one who's sorry. It was my fault."

Tony sat up, holding the towel around himself like a blanket. He looked at Steve and Steve could see how exhausted he looked. Like the flashback had taken everything out of him. Tony gave a small shake of his head. "You didn't know."

"I used to. Didn't I?" Steve could tell by the look in Tony's eyes, that this was the case. Steve swallowed down the cry of frustration that wanted to escape. Instead he said, "Let's get you off the bathroom floor." He reached a hand out for Tony, making sure to telegraph his moves and not reach all the way, letting Tony decide if he wanted to accept his help. Tony not only took his hand, but when Steve pulled him up, he leaned heavily into Steve's chest.

Steve got him out of the bathroom and to the bed. He then went and found a shirt and sweatpants for Tony. He placed the clothes next to Tony, then grabbed some clothes for himself and went back into the bathroom to change.

When he came back out, carrying a glass of water, Tony was under the covers of Steve's bed, only a few pieces of damp curly hair showing on the pillow. "Do you want me to take you back to your room?" Steve asked. The covers moved and Steve was pretty sure Tony was shaking his head 'no'. Steve managed to coax Tony into drinking some of the water before letting him wrap himself back up in the blankets. Then Steve went to the linen closet and pulled out a spare blanket and pillow. He was heading out to the living room when he heard Tony call out in panic.

"Where are you going?!"

Steve turned back. Tony was sitting up in the bed, a wild-eyed panicked look on his face. "I, I was going to sleep on the couch. Or if you would prefer, I can stay in Sam's apartment." Tony started hyperventilating again. Steve hoped to hear FRIDAY speaking up again, but no such luck. Steve dropped the pillow and blanket and hurried back into the room. "Tony, you have to calm down. Do your breathing."

As soon as Steve got close enough, Tony reached out and grabbed Steve by the arm. "Stay." His voice cracked. He tugged on Steve's arm. "Please."

Steve looked down at him. "Are you sure?"

Tony pulled on Steve's arm again, trying to pull him into the bed. "Please."

Steve finally relented and climbed into the bed. He tried to give Tony space, but Tony was having none of that. He plastered himself up against Steve and grabbed onto the sleeve of Steve's shirt like he was afraid Steve might suddenly disappear. After a few minutes Steve worked up the courage to place a hand tentatively on Tony's waist. Tony sighed and snuggled in closer to Steve. Steve wrapped his arms around Tony and pulled him in close. He listened to Tony's breathing even out as he tried to wrestle with the horrible guilt he felt.


The next morning, Steve was down in the gym, beating the stuffing out of punching bags.


He was on his third bag when Bucky came in.

"So, I don't know if anyone has told you this," he said, sauntering over to Steve. "But FRIDAY is programmed to alert certain people about other people's destructive behavior. For example, I get a text if you go through more than two bags during a single session."

"I'm fine," Steve said, slamming his fists into the bag, over and over again.

Bucky looked down at the first two bags, contents still spilled across the floor. "Yeah, I'm calling bullshit. You wanna talk about it?"


Bucky cocked his head to one side. "You wanna spar?"

Steve looked up from the bag, which looked like it was about to go anyway. "Yes."

They moved to the center of the gym where some sparring mats were already laid out. Bucky launched himself at Steve without any warning and they were off.

Steve liked to spar with Bucky. He had never been able to participate in boxing with the other boys when they had done practice on the playground. Bucky had been the only one willing to teach Steve to fight, and that had been done in the lot behind their apartment building. Away from anyone who would mock Steve's weak attempts to knock out Bucky. This would result in Steve challenging the cat caller. Though Steve felt he learned more from that than Bucky letting him win.

Steve loved the way his new body moved. How the muscles held power behind them that could catch Bucky's metal arm and hold it long enough to redirect. And how he could lift a grown man up over his head one handed and slam them down. He loved the feel of his body's grace as he slipped past Bucky's defenses to land a right cross or how he could flip into the air to avoid Bucky's return attack.

It was also nice to not have people looking at his fighting skills as something to be mocked. Now, whenever someone called something out during a sparring match it was usually some form of encouragement or good natured banter. And Steve only received impressed looks instead of sneers.

As he and Bucky sparred, Steve felt the tension draining out of his body. Bucky was not pulling his punches and that was allowing Steve to go all out as well, burning off the horrible energy that had been singing in his bones since last night after the incident in the shower.

Steve heard the quiet whir that meant Bucky's metal arm was re-calibrating. Steve instinctively moved out of range at the last second and Bucky had to swing around to keep his balance. Steve used the opening to grab Bucky from behind, pulling his arms back at the elbows to pin them.

Suddenly Steve, was reminded of what had happened when he had restrained Tony. He instantly let go of Bucky and stepped back. Bucky must have been about to try and break the hold, because the sudden loss of contact made him stumble forward. He turned and looked at Steve.

They were both breathing heavily, but Steve felt like he couldn't catch his breath and the tight feeling of guilt was back.

"You wanna talk about it now?" Bucky asked.

Steve scrubbed a hand over his face and nodded. It took him a minute to compose himself enough to talk. Bucky just waited patiently. "Last night, Tony had a flashback." He looked down at the floor. "And it was my fault."

"Do you know that for sure?" Bucky asked, not sounding accusatory. Just like he wanted to get all the facts first.

Steve nodded. "FRIDAY was the one who explained that something I had done, combined with another factor, is what set him off." Steve squeezed his eyes shut, trying desperately not to see the image of Tony huddled on the floor of his bathroom.

He felt Bucky place a hand on his shoulder. "Hey, don't go beating yourself up about it. We all have triggers that set us off. You didn't know-"

"Exactly!" Steve yelled, pushing Bucky's hand off of him. "I didn't know! I don't know anything! Not anymore! There are so many things I should know but don't." Every frustration he'd had over the past month was coming to the surface, and Bucky was the only one around to be yelled at. "And everyone thinks it's just going to be okay because I used to be able to be a good leader, a good friend, a good-" Steve swallowed, the word boyfriend getting caught in his throat. "But I'm never gonna be that guy again. And everyone just needs to accept that."

Bucky actually scoffed at Steve. Steve was sorely tempted to punch him.

"Congratulations," Bucky said, smirking. "You now understand how I felt when I came to live with you after being with Hydra and you expected me to be the same old Bucky."

Steve felt like he'd been slapped. Bucky had mentioned something about that, but Steve hadn't really understood what he'd meant. Until now.

"And while we're on the subject," Bucky went on, sounding more than a little annoyed, "that's one of the reasons the team knows that we can get through this. Cause we've been through worse. Hell, this is actually a walk in the park compared to some of the shit we've had to deal with." Definitely upset. "Now, as far as what happened with Stark, it's not the first time one of us has caused another to have a flashback, and it won't be the last. So don't go thinking this is only cause of your memory loss."

"If I'd had my memories, then I would of known not to do it." Steve protested.

Bucky shrugged, "Maybe. Or maybe not. Did it happen during sex?" Bucky took Steve's blush as an answer. "You guys had only been together for a week when you lost your memories. Could be the problem had never even come up. And if it had, Stark should of made sure you knew. All my sex and sparring partners know to never grab me around the throat, unless they really want to die a quick death."

This was true. The first time Bucky and Steve had sparred, Bucky had spent about five minutes explaining what things could set him off. And placing your hand around Bucky's throat was at the very top of the list.

Steve wasn't entirely convinced, though. "Still, I could have known. Or at least been able to figure it out."

Bucky sighed. "Look, you told me how Stark told you about why he made my arm warm, right?"

Steve nodded. He'd told Bucky that Tony had figured out how to make Bucky's metal arm the same body temperature as the rest of him after Steve had told Tony it was causing Bucky nightmares.

Bucky went on, "According to what Stark said, you had told him you'd just randomly figured it out on your own. But that isn't entirely true. It actually happened because you accidentally triggered one of my nightmares."

"I did?" Great, something else to feel guilty about.

"Yeah, it was kinda my fault too." Bucky shrugged. "I had figured out that the metal arm pressing against my body triggered nightmares of being frozen, so I would always make sure I had something between it and the rest of me. One day I was crashing on your couch, I was too tired to go find a blanket, so I grabbed your favorite jacket and tucked it between my arm and body. You came home and found me. You were annoyed I was using your jacket so you took it back while I was still sleeping. I ended up having a nightmare within five minutes that was so violent I broke your coffee table and two lamps."

Steve winched. He'd seen one really bad nightmare from Bucky so far, but not one that bad.

"You finally got me awake and then I had to explain what had triggered the nightmare. You felt awful, but, as I pointed out then, you couldn't have known it was going to happen. So see, even when you had your memories, shit like that still happened."

Steve thought about what Bucky was trying to say. He could see truth to it. It still didn't change the fact that Steve didn't know important details and that it was going to keep causing problems. All he could hope for was that it wouldn't ever be something that put the team in jeopardy.

"You need to go talk to Stark," Bucky said.

Steve sighed, wishing he could. "He had to go to meetings at Stark Industries all day. Miss Potts, I mean, Pepper needed him there."

"He'll be back sooner than later. He's got a knack for getting out of meetings." Bucky slung an arm around Steve. "In the meantime, let's get out for a while." Steve let Bucky steer him towards the gym exit. "I'm hungry, let's go get Navajo tacos."

"What's the difference between Navajo tacos and regular tacos."

"Navajo tacos are made with this awesome fried flat bread."

"Everytime I go out into the city, I inevitably get attacked." Steve sighed.

Bucky just shrugged. "It has to stop eventually. Besides, fighting bad guys is a great stress reliever. And it will kill some time until Stark comes home. Then you two can talk it out and have some make-up sex."


"Have you had make-up sex yet? It's incredible. Right up there with angry sex and 'I thought we were going to die' sex. We get a lot of 'I thought we were going to die' sex in our line of work. Hell, I'd even do Loki for some 'I thought we were going to die' sex. Don't tell him that."



A Hydra agent came at Steve with a flame thrower. He shielded himself from the blast of heat, then used his shield to knock the weapon out of the woman's hands then knocked her out. Next to him, Bucky was continuing their conversation from earlier as if they hadn't been ambushed by a dozen Hydra goons. Steve was just glad they'd been able to finish eating this time.

“I just think if you gave them a chance you'd be pleasantly surprised.” Bucky said as he grabbed the nozzle of a second flame thrower with his right hand and snapped it in half with a downward swipe of his left arm.

“I just don't know Buck,” Steve hedged as he launched his shield at another attacker. “I'm not sure I'm ready to move on yet.”

“You'll never know if you're ready or not unless you put yourself out there.”

“I guess.”

“Let's get a neutral opinion,” Bucky suggested. He grabbed a nearby Hydra agent by the back of his neck and lifted him off the ground. “Hey buddy, tell me honestly, who's the better team, Yankees or Mets?”

The poor Hydra agent looked completely dumbfounded. “Um, what?”

“I'm trying to convince my friend here that he should be rooting for the Yankees. Right?”

The agent looked between Steve and Bucky. “Well actually, I'm kind of a Red Sox fan myself.”

Steve froze in place, even when one of the last standing goons tried to jump him from behind. Steve just swung his shield back, catching the man in the face and never once looking away from the Hydra agent Bucky was holding, who had dared utter something so blasphemous. With the Brooklyn Dodgers gone, Steve was left to find a new baseball team to root for. Before he'd lost his memories he'd been a fan of The Mets, same as Tony. Bucky saw this as a great opportunity to recruit him to the 'light side', as Bucky had put it. Tony was not happy, to say the least. However, there was one thing all New Yorkers could agree on. The Red Sox were the enemy.

“What did you say?” Bucky growled in the man's face, looking far more murderous than he had when the man had actually been trying to kill him.

The Hydra agent quickly realized his mistake. “Ha, ha, no, I was just kidding. Go Mets! Or Yankees. Which one did you want me to root for again?”

“Un-hand Bob!”

Steve and Bucky turned towards the newcomer who had called out. At first Steve thought it was Spiderman, except the color scheme of the costume was off, it was red and black instead of red and blue. Then Bucky groaned. “Wade, what are you doing here?”

The costumed man landed neatly in front of Bucky and Steve. Steve immediately moved his shield into a defensive position. The man had more guns strapped to his back and sides than a small platoon. Not to mention the two swords going across his shoulders.

“No, no, no,” the man said to Bucky. “Don't call me Wade, it's Deadpool. Let's try this again. And if you could maybe yell something like, ‘It's Deadpool! The manliest son of a bitch I know!’”

Bucky looked skyward like he was hoping to find some patience there. “Wade-”

“Okay, ready?” Deadpool struck a pose, arm out, finger pointed at Bucky. “Un-hand Bob!”

Bucky glared at Deadpool. “What do you want Wade?”

Deadpool sighed, “You're not working with me here Barnes.”

“Wade,” Bucky ground out, “What. Do. You. Want?”

“Okay, here's the thing. I was heading over to my afternoon job.” Deadpool turned to Steve, "I'm doing a team up with Spidey. Not sure if it's for my comic or his.” Deadpool turned back to Bucky, “I heard chatter that Hydra was attacking you guys and that it was because Captain America has lost all his memories. And I thought to myself, ‘This is my chance.’”

“You're chance to make him think you're not crazy?” Bucky asked with a raised eyebrow. “Cause you're failing.”

“No silly, to reintroduce myself to him. That first time was a disaster. You know, in Deadpool volume 2, issues 27 and 28. That was so embarrassing. I mean first I thought Captain America was recruiting me for his team, but it turned out to be a clone.” Deadpool turned to Steve, “Which I totally should have to caught onto, what with the weak punches.” Deadpool turned back to Bucky, who was clenching his fists. “Then I meet the real Cap, with manly, iconic American punches, but I think he's the clone guy. It just went downhill from there, with slashes across chests and buildings collapsing. Then tying iconic American heroes up.” Deadpool shook his head sadly. Then immediately perked up. “But now, I can take this second chance to make a first impression. That is, if someone would cooperate.”

Steve watch the exchange, unsure what he should do. Bucky didn't seem overly worried so Steve slowly lowered his shield.

Deadpool continued to try and convince Bucky to go along with whatever he was trying to get him to do. Steve wasn't clear on that either.

"I mean I think I deserve a little more respect, don't you?" He asked a glaring Bucky. "After all, I'm in the feature film club now, which is more than I can say for certain half cyborgs."

Bucky sighed, “Will you go away after?”

Deadpool nodded. “Absolutely. Like I said, I've got a thing with Spidey. Not that kinda thing, just a work thing. This isn't a Spideypool fic after all.”

“Can we get this over with?”

“Right. Okay, from the top.” Deadpool struck the same pose as before, pointing dramatically at Bucky. “Un-hand Bob!”

The unfortunate Hydra soldier had been hanging in the air from Buck's fist the entire time. Bucky let go and the man crumpled to the ground. Deadpool immediately swept him up and held him out at arms length.

"Bob! You should be ashamed of yourself, attacking Captain America and the Mad Hatter from Once Upon A Time."

"This really isn't a good time, Wade." Bob, the Hydra agent stammered out.

Deadpool ignored Bob. "I cannot allow you to hurt Captain America," he declared boldly. "In the name of truth, justice, and the American way! No wait, that's another guy who wears red and blue."

Several people had tried to explain Deadpool to Steve without much luck. Now that the man in question was before him he was beginning to understand why Daisy Johnson had described him as 'chaotic neutral'.

Bucky turned to Steve and whispered, "Just say hi and shake his hand or something. It'll make him happy then he'll go away."

Steve placed his shield on the holder strapped to his back and stuck out his hand. "It's nice to meet you, Deadpool. Hopefully we'll get to work together sometime soon." Bucky made a strangled sound at that.

Deadpool looked at Steve and froze. Steve stood there for a few seconds feeling a bit awkward. Finally Deadpool gave a nervous laugh. "H-huh-huh … Heh … You're so Awesome."

"Okay then." Bucky grabbed Steve around the shoulders and started steering him away from Deadpool. "So glad we ran into you Wade. We'll be sure to tell everyone how great it was." Bucky whispered in Steve's ear, "Just keep walking, don't look back. He'll get distracted by something else and forget about us."

Steve matched Bucky's brisk pace and they soon turned a corner and were out of sight of Deadpool.

"Well that was interesting," Steve said when they were in the clear.

Bucky scoffed, "It's always interesting with Deadpool."

"I couldn't understand most of what he was saying." Steve admitted.

"Don't worry about it," Bucky said. "Nobody can understand most of what he says."

They had been walking around Chinatown when they were attacked. The crowds had dispersed pretty quickly, but now that the danger had passed the streets were filling up again. "Are people used to attacks in the middle of the day?" Steve wondered, looking at the unconcerned pedestrians.

Bucky shrugged, "They're New Yorkers, they're used to it."

Steve shook his head. "I dunno if I'll ever get used to it. Being attacked every time I step outside."

"It's just been bad lately cause-"

"Cause of what?" Steve looked over at Bucky.

Bucky was standing stock still, eyes blank.


Bucky's eyes rolled up and Steve had to scramble to catch him before he collapsed on the ground.


The crowd parted around them as Steve struggled to keep Bucky's limp form upright. Steve fumbled for the phone in his pocket, but it was on the side he was holding Bucky up with. "Come on Buck, wake up."

"Let me through, I'm a nurse!" A petite woman pushed her way through the crowd of onlookers. She was dressed in the hosptial scrubs that nurses wore nowadays. She had bright red hair and large sunglasses that covered half her face. "What happened?"

"I don't know, he just collapsed." Steve lowered Bucky to the ground as the nurse pulled out a pen light and began shining it in Bucky's eyes.

"Does he have any medical conditions?"

"Not that I know-" A sharp prick of pain was all the warning Steve got as a needle was shoved into his neck by someone behind him. The cool sensation of something being injected into his bloodstream followed. Steve grabbed the arm of his assailant and flipped the person over Bucky and the nurse. Steve then ripped the needle from his neck, but it was already too late. He could feel himself starting to get dizzy.

He looked at his assailant and recognized Brock Rumlow, the man who had attacked him in the restaurant when he'd been out with Sam a few weeks ago.

Steve staggered forward and instinctively tried to get between Rumlow and the nurse who was still kneeling over Bucky. When he tried to sweep her out of the way, he felt another sharp prick on his bicep. He looked down to see the pen light the nurse had been using sticking out of his arm. He pulled it free to see that it had held a needle in disguise. The nurse was standing now, smirking down at Steve.

"Too easy." She said as Rumlow came and stood beside her.

Steve tried to stand, but whatever they had injected him with was making everything spin and his vision go blurry. The nurse pulled off her sunglasses and it only took Steve a second to place her face as one of the many enemies he'd had to relearn.

He tried to bring his shield up, but it just slipped out of his fingers.

He noticed that the crowd around them was dispersing as the people recognized the danger. Several people were holding up their phones and Steve suddenly remembered his, still in his pocket. He tried to get it so he could send out a panic signal, just like Tony had taught him.

Rumlow swung his fist and cracked Steve right across the jaw. Steve went down like he was still the ninety pound weakling he had been most of his life. He tried to get back up but the drug was making it impossible. There was a ringing in his ears and his vision was getting dark around the edges. Still he tried to push through it. He had to get his phone out of his pocket.

Sharp pain exploded along his side as Rumlow kicked him repeatedly. Steve couldn't even cry out as he felt his ribs crack.

He saw several Hydra agents grabbing Bucky by his arms and dragging him towards a white van. This gave Steve the strength to push himself up and lunge for his friend. Rumlow's boot hit Steve in the face and the entire world blacked out.

Chapter Text

Tony was sitting in a very boring conference meeting that Pepper had insisted he attend. She was in London and couldn't get back for it so Tony had to step in. It was with some investors who'd come all the way to New York from Japan so they could tour Stark Industries and talk about boring stuff.

Tony just wanted to ask these guys to go get some pizza, take a tour of the Statue of Liberty, and he'd talk to them later. Cause no matter how much he'd promised Pep he would be a good host, all he could think about was how despondent Steve had looked that morning.

He'd tried to tell Steve that it wasn't his fault, that, if anything, it was Tony's fault. It had been so long since Tony had flashed back to anything concerning Afghanistan that he hadn't thought it would be an issue. And sure, old Steve with all of his memories, knew about never pining Tony's arms, but new Steve didn't. Tony should have realized that. It was just a dumb mistake and Steve shouldn't worry about it.

Tony had been trying to convince Steve of this when Pepper had called to remind Tony of his meeting. Steve had slipped out of his apartment while Tony had been in the shower. When he'd gotten out FRIDAY informed him Steve was in the gym and she would monitor him. Tony had been sending Steve texts every chance he could, with no response.

He'd been ready to ditch the meeting, promise or no promise, when Steve had finally texted back saying he was going to lunch with Bucky and that they would talk when Tony got home.

That was the only reason Tony was still sitting in the meeting. The long, boring meeting.

He was just wondering if he should fake a horrible illness when there was the sound of a scuffle outside the conference room. Through the glass wall, Tony saw one of the security guards go flying through the air.

Tony was immediately on his feet, activating the gauntlet hidden in his watch. He raced out of the room, shouting in Japanese that everyone should stay where they were. He got out into the hall and immediately saw the problem. "Oh hell."

"Stark! I found you!"

Deadpool was standing a few feet away. Several security guards littering the floor around him.

Tony sighed. "Wade, what are you doing here?"

Deadpool carefully stepped over the unconscious men and women. "Well, my little cameo was so popular in the last chapter that the author decided to give me another scene."

"Wade!" Tony was used to dealing with the crazed mercenary. "What are you doing here?" Tony indicated the hallway they were standing in.

"Right. I came to let you know that Cap and the guy from The Martian were kidnapped by Hydra. And I don't mean Matt Damon, that would just be ridiculous. What would Hydra want with him?"

There was an odd buzzing in Tony's ears and he felt like his chest was being compressed by the Hulk. "What did you say?"

"Why would Hydra want Matt Damon?" Deadpool babbled on. "Unless they are making a new recruiting video and want some star power for it."

"What did you say about Cap?" Tony ground out.

"Oh, he's been kidnapped by Hydra. I found out from my friend Bob. I tried to stop them, attacked the van they had him and Barnes in. Unfortunately there was this low bridge and I got a bad owwie on my face."

Tony turned away from Deadpool. He ignored the investors in the conference room, who were cowering behind chairs and under the table. He just hurried down the hall towards his office. He was halfway there when he realized Deadpool was following him. He was in too much of a panic to stop and take the time to get rid of him. Besides, he should try to get some more information out of Deadpool. Despite how much of a headache that always was.

In his office he went to the panel that housed one of his suits. He slammed his palm against the security panel and managed to keep still long enough for the facial scan. As soon as the panel slid open, Tony was stepping into the Iron Man suit. "Wade," he called to Deadpool, who was sitting in Tony's chair behind his desk. "Do you know who was in charge of the kidnapping?" Hydra had so many different masters they answered to that it was hard to keep them all straight.

"Yes," Deadpool was spinning himself in the chair. "It was," spin "Crossbones," spin "and," spin "Sin." spin


"It gets worse than that." Deadpool stopped spinning the chair in favor of attacking Tony's candy dish. "They've teamed up with Doom. Not sure why." Deadpool shrugged and emptied the candy dish into one of the pouches on his uniform. "That's all Bob knew, didn't even know where they're taking them. Just knows it's to one of Doom's safe houses. I tell you, Hydra is getting smarter. They've figured out that all their lackeys are cowards and will spill the beans if you threaten them even a tiny bit. Do you have anymore M&M's?"

"No. Anything else?"

"Can I have a SI mug?" Deadpool asked, glancing around Tony's office. "I've decided to start a collection of memorabilia from all the places I've forced my way into."

Tony took a deep steadying breath. "I mean, do you have any more information about Steve and Bucky?"

"Nope," Deadpool said cheerfully. "Except the white van they were taken in is not so nondescript anymore. Blood splatter will do that."

Tony activated the escape window so he could fly directly out of the office. Before leaving he turned back to Wade. "Thanks. And if you ask one of the secretaries, nicely, they'll give you a mug."

"Whoohoo!" Deadpool leapt over Tony's desk and raced out of the room.

"Then get the hell out of my building!" Tony called after him, before launching himself out the window and heading for Avengers Tower.

It took him only two minutes to get to the Tower from SI. It still felt like an eternity. He sent an alert ahead to the team so they were all waiting for him in the Command Center. Tony considered it fortunate that they were all together for once. They had gotten a call a few days ago to take care of some weird tentacled sea monster so the whole group had assembled.

“What's wrong?” Rhodey asked as soon as Tony touched down.

“Steve and Barnes have been taken by Hydra,” Tony answered, working to keep his voice even.

“When?” Nat demanded.

“Within the last half hour, probably. Depending on how long it took Deadpool to get to my office.”

Clint frowned at that. “What does Deadpool have to do with this?”

“He was there, tried to stop it, didn't work out.” Tony gave a brief overview of his encounter with Deadpool. And included the last known location of Steve and Bucky. His flight over had involved getting FRIDAY to try and reach Steve's phone. The GPS had been disabled but the phone had been broadcasting its location back to the Tower up until then. “The police are on the scene right now, taking witness statements.”

“Got it,” Pietro said, disappearing right after. The only indication of the direction he'd gone were Thor and Vision’s capes fluttering and the door of the stairwell left opened.

“FRIDAY, bring up the cameras that you've found for that area,” Tony said, moving over to the displays. Images popped up and it was easy to spot Steve and Bucky amongst the other pedestrians.

“Cap and Sarge were attacked by Hydra agents shortly after they exited the Navajo Taco stand on 49th.”  The footage showed Steve and Bucky easily fighting off their attackers. They looked like they were chatting while they fought the incompetent agents.

Natasha pointed at something. “Look. It's Rumlow.”

Indeed it was. While bystanders were trying to get out of the way, Rumlow was making his way towards the fight. In the video Rumlow suddenly looked up, did a double take, and swerved to melt back into the crowd. Not a second later, Steve and Bucky swung their heads up to look in the same direction that Rumlow had. Deadpool dropped down into the frame right after that.

“The attack was a distraction,” Natasha murmured. “Kept Steve and Bucky from seeing Rumlow.”

“Deadpool spooked him, though.” Clint said, leaning over Natasha.

“Not well enough apparently,” Nat said back. “FRIDAY, skip forward to after Deadpool left.” The camera angle changed and it showed Steve and Bucky walking quickly away from Deadpool, who was slapping himself on the forehead for some reason. They were talking again, unaware Rumlow was coming up behind them. Suddenly Bucky stopped, eyes glazing over.

“What happened?” Rhodey asked. “I didn't see Rumlow do anything.”

“Give us some different angles on Rumlow,” Natasha said to FRIDAY. Several more screens popped up showing Rumlow from different angles. “There,” Nat pointed at one of the screens, “his lips are moving. He said something.”

“Trigger phrase?” Clint guessed.

“Judging by Bucky's reaction, I'd say, yes. Show us what happened next.” At Natasha’s command, the footage went back to Steve and Bucky. Steve said something and turned to Bucky, immediately becoming concerned at Barnes’ state. He scrambled to catch Bucky as he collapsed. A woman appeared, wearing nurse scrubs and sunglasses.

Clint swore under his breath. “Is that?”

“Sin.” Natasha confirmed.

Sinthea Schmidt, the deranged daughter of The Red Skull. “Steve's looking right at her,” Tony said, disbelieving. “How does he not recognize her? Her entire disguise is sunglasses and nurse scrubs!”

“Steve's only seen her photos, that's not enough to recognize her in a stressful situation.” Natasha replied calmly.

They watched as Rumlow stepped up behind Steve and stabbed him in the neck with a hypodermic needle. Steve fought back, but he still didn't recognize Sin and was actually trying to protect her from Rumlow. Tony watched in horror as Sin grinned like a Cheshire Cat before stabbing Steve in the arm with another needle.

There was a soft beep indicating someone toggling the comms. "What have you got Quicksilver?" Natasha said.

"I talked with the police."  Quicksilver's voice came over the comms. "They don't know anything."

Natasha touched the ear bud she was wearing, "See anything useful?"

"Nope, just some skid marks and a bunch of bystanders with their phones out filming me."

Natasha glanced up at Tony. He shook his head. "FRIDAY is already going through all cellular uploads looking for something that could help." He pulled up a screen to show Natasha everything FRIDAY was doing. There was a lot of data and most of it useless so far. It wasn't helping that Steve and Bucky had been walking around Downtown before being taken and FRIDAY had to sort out all of that stuff too.

"You said Deadpool tried to stop them right?" Natasha asked, cocking her head to the side, looking thoughtful.

Tony just nodded.

"FRIDAY, narrow down your search to anything related to Deadpool in the last half hour." Natasha said.

"I found 300 results."

Clint blanched, "Seriously?"

"Wade always attracts an unusual amount of attention." Natasha commented as dozens of videos popped up. "Just show me the ones that have to do with a van FRIDAY." About half of the videos disappeared. The rest were snippets from people's cell phones mostly. By patching them together you could see what had happened. Deadpool had ran after the van and jumped onto it. The Hydra soldiers inside immediately fired at Deadpool and tried to get him off the van. Sin leaned out of the passenger window and emptied her entire clip into Wade's side. Wade just looked affronted.

Rumlow must have been driving because none of the footage showed him. It did show the van sharply swerving back and forth. Deadpool had to stick one of his katanas into the roof at one point to keep from flying off as they took a corner at high speed.

Then Deadpool stood up on the roof of the van, yelled something, and sliced into the metal of the roof. The roof sliced open cleanly. Unfortunately, before Deadpool could do anything else, he smacked into a bridge the van was going under. Deadpool fell from the bridge, was hit by a car, and thrown about twenty feet.

Natasha noted where the bridge was and sent Quicksilver over to inspect the site. "Where did the van go from there FRIDAY?"

"Approximately twenty seconds after Deadpool lost the van, the entire area within a two block radius, was hit with some sort of jammer. All electronics stopped working for exactly three minutes. That includes traffic and security cameras."

Clint swore. "They probably used that time to switch vehicles. We need Pietro to search the area, look for the van. Should be easy to spot with bullet holes and huge slices out of it." Natasha was already relaying instructions to Pietro as Clint went on. "In the meantime, everyone take a video, study it for any clues, even if they don't seem important."

The rest of the team dragged videos over to themselves and started watching them intently. Tony stayed next to Natasha and Clint. "I'm having FRIDAY look for any large vehicles that left the blackout area." Tony told them. "Track them to their final destination. Hopefully one of them had Steve and Bucky in it."

Tony felt Natasha's slim hand rest on his and he looked down at her.

"We'll find them," she said, a steely confidence in her eyes.

"Don't we always." Tony tried to smirk, but his muscles just wouldn't cooperate.

Vision floated over to hover next to Tony. "I'm searching the area for any places that are suddenly using more energy than normal. I am also tasking a satellite with thermal imaging to look for unusual hotspots. If Doom is with them then he will most likely have his Doombots as well and their heat signature will be easy to spot."

"Thanks buddy." Tony said. Vision stayed next to him, watching Clint and Natasha work. Tony thought about what he'd said to Natasha. It was true that they always got missing team members back and they were all used to being kidnapped at one point or another. They even had a tally board to keep track of who got kidnapped the most (Clint and Natasha) and the least (Thor and Hulk). And there were several plans in place for what to do if you've been kidnapped that everyone had memorized. It was all old hat for them.

Except for Steve.

For Steve this would be his first time ever being kidnapped. He wouldn't know all the procedures they were supposed to do, or even that his teammates wouldn't rest until he was found.

Hopefully Barnes would snap out of whatever trance he'd been put in and be able to tell that to Steve. Or maybe, how much Doom and the others would be watching their backs and taking every precaution to not get found, would clue Steve into just how much those idiots had bitten off.

Cause if there was one things villains and heroes alike all knew, it was that the Avengers would move heaven and hell to find one of their own.

Steve faded in and out of consciousness. Anytime he thought he was going to be able to wake up enough to do anything, he was jabbed with another needle and the world went dark again. The closest he came was when the van they were in was attacked. Steve wasn't sure who the assailant was. He could just hear yelling and cursing from the Hydra agents as they fought off the person and he caught a glimpse of a red arm at one point.

He had crawled over to Bucky and tried to get him to wake up. But whatever had been done to him was very effective and Bucky didn't even twitch.

A Hydra agent noticed Steve and came at him with another needle. Steve tried to fight him off, but was too weak still. The last thing he thought he heard as he drifted off again, was someone yelling "Maximum Effort!" followed by a loud screeching sound, like metal against metal, and more swearing.

The next time Steve woke up enough to get his bearings, he wasn't in the van anymore. His back was against a cold, concrete wall and someone was talking near him. He tried to lift himself up off the dirty floor, but his arms and legs weren't working. He managed to roll himself to his side and get an arm under himself. He was just getting the energy to push himself up, when a sharp pain cracked across the back of his head and he blacked out.

They had narrowed down the search for Steve and Bucky to four vehicles that had left the blackout area shortly after the jamming had ceased. Friday was using traffic cams and satellites to track each vehicle.

Tony was trying to pinpoint the tracker he had placed in Barnes arm when he was interrupted.

"Boss, I'm receiving a coded message for you from Doom." FRIDAY said.

Tony was expecting this. There always had to be demands and gloating. "Play it on the big screen."

Doom's face appeared in the air in front of them.

"Avengers, Doom has need of something you have. As such, Doom has procured something you value very dearly."

Doom stepped to the side to reveal Steve, slouched on the floor behind him. He was moving, sluggishly, and trying to get to his feet.

Tony felt Rhodey grip his shoulder and only then did Tony realize he was holding his breath. He exhaled slowly, trying to keep it together. This wasn't his first rodeo.

Doom went on. "Bring Doom the Tesseract and I shall return your Captain to you."

Tony was hardly listening, all he could do was watch as Steve struggled to get himself up off the floor. Just when it looked like maybe he'd be able to, Rumlow marched on screen and kicked Steve across the back of his head. Steve buckled to the ground and lay unmoving.

"Bring the Tesseract to the location being sent to you. Or your Captain and The Winter Soldier shall pay the price."

The holoscreen disappeared and Tony was left staring at the wall behind it. Around him everyone started talking. Thor boomed out about how they couldn't let the Tesseract fall into Doom's hands. Bruce was asking if Tony thought Doom had been able to make Zola's machine.

Sam was concerned about why Doom hadn't shown Bucky in the video and what had they given Steve to make him so out of it. And Rhodey kept giving Tony little shakes and tried to ask him if he was okay.

"We've got the location," Clint called out. "It's a place down in Jersey, looks pretty remote too."

"We cannot allow Doom to use the Tesseract!" Thor boomed out again.

"It's probably a trap," Bruce pointed out.

Tony ran out of the room without caring if anyone noticed, even though he knew they would. He ignored their shouts to wait as he ran to the lab and found the thing he'd been looking for.

"What are you doing Tony?" Rhodey asked, coming in first.

The case looked just like the one they'd used to contain the Tesseract the first time they'd had to deal with it. Tony flipped it opened and started to fiddle with the settings.

"I shall not allow this!"

"Tony, stop and think for a second," Bruce tried to reason calmly.

"Guys, relax," Tony said as he calibrated the case. "First of all, the Tesseract isn't even here, it's still at the Upstate facility. Second, this isn't for transporting Infinity Stones." Tony entered one last command and a perfect holographic representation of the Tesseract appeared in the center of the case. Everyone immediately quieted down.

"It's a decoy," Natasha said, actually looking a tiny bit impressed.

"I knew it was only a matter of time before someone came after one of the stones, so I created this baby." Tony said. "It even gives off false readings that will fool any kind of scanner, like the ones in Doom's armor, into thinking this is the genuine article."

Thor leaned over the case and inspected the false Tesseract. "A clever ruse indeed."

"Aren't you supposed to be telling other people when you make some clever new gadget?" Clint asked, arms folded across his chest.

It was an actual protocol that had been put in place after Tony had made one too many things that caused problems. "I did," Tony protested, FRIDAY always hounded him until he did it. "I told Steve. He thought it was a great idea."

"Does he remember you telling him?" Clint asked, in the tone of voice Tony had heard him using with his kids sometimes.

"Huh, I see your point. FRIDAY, update Protocol Oversight to include Steve and at least one other Avenger, make a rotating schedule or something."

"On it Boss."

"Get Quicksilver back here," Tony told Nat. "Thor, were's Loki?"

"In our chambers."

"Great, FRIDAY, put Loki on house arrest until we get back. Stream him all the episodes of Vikings to keep him occupied. The rest of you suit up, we're going to Jersey."

Steve woke up. Once again he had been moved to somewhere new. His head felt clearer and his limbs seemed to be working again. It was hard to tell though, because he was cuffed to a sturdy metal chair. He tried to strain against his bindings, but the cuffs were wide and thick, encasing most of his forearms, his calves, and his thighs.

He searched around the room to try and figure out where he was. The room was wide with a low ceiling, the walls made of cinder block and the floor was dirty concrete. Steve had a feeling he would be cold if it wasn't for his new body. There was an entire wall made up of computers and screens. All the screens were dark at the moment. Off to his right side was a metal table. Laid out on top of it, eyes still closed and body still, was Bucky.

Steve tried to call out to him only to belatedly realize that there was something over his mouth. He looked down to try and see what it was, but he only saw a bit of black. He tried to stretch his mouth wide and maybe dislodge whatever it was, but it was firmly in place. Whatever it was, was actually very comfortable, which was why he hadn't noticed it at first, and he could breath easily through it.

"Well look who's awake." A sneering voice said.

Steve looked over and saw the red head leaning against the far wall, near the computers. Steve recalled her name now, Sinthea Schmidt. He felt frustrated that he hadn't recognized her earlier and had been fooled so easily. She was very recognizable now, wearing black and red leather, that was very revealing, a skull on her front and a gun clipped to her side.

Next to her was Rumlow, looking very satisfied. "It's almost a shame how easy it was to take you and Barnes. It almost felt unsporting, ya know?"

Being bound and gagged, Steve was unable to do anything but glared at them both.

"Don't look so down," Sin said, walking casually over to him. She leaned down so Steve could easily see the cleavage her top was barely covering. He just looked directly into her eyes defiantly. "It's going to be a whole new world soon, thanks to you."

Steve wasn't sure what she was talking about. However, he'd gotten so used to not understanding what people were talking about that he didn't even flinch. Sin must have been disappointed at that because she frowned crossly. She stood up and glared down at Steve. Steve just glared back.

Then, without warning, she punched Steve across the jaw. The muzzle they had on him bit into his lip and he felt the skin split. Still he refused to do anything but glare steadily at her.

"Sin, stop assaulting Doom's guest." A man swept into the room, dark green cloak billowing behind him. Despite all the trouble Doom had caused Steve over the last month, this was actually the first time Steve was getting to see the man. "Good afternoon Captain Rogers." Doom said, sounding very formal.

Steve was surprised by how mechanical Doom's voice sounded. He'd thought it would be similar to how Tony's sounded through the Iron Man armor. However, Doom's was far more artificial sounding and Steve wondered for a moment if perhaps Doom was really just a robot.

“This is a rather surreal moment, of course." Doom said. "We have fought on many occasions, yet, it is our first meeting for you. Which is exactly why we are meeting. The loss of knowledge of your most intimate enemies has made you vulnerable.” Doom pressed a few buttons on the console and lists of information popped up on the screens.

Steve looked it over, trying to figure out what it all was. Words scrolled past quickly and Steve caught glimpses of seemingly random information. There were what looked like security codes, then another list of places in New York. Another screen had names and dates. Only when Steve saw the birthday of each Avenger did he begin to suspect what all the information was.

Doom held a hand out with a flourish, indicating the screens. "Behold, the entire life of Captain America. Every thought, every bit of information that has been stored in your head since becoming a Super Soldier."

Steve had to admit, it was rather impressive. The sheer amount of information that was scrolling across the screens was staggering.

"It was nothing to destroy your actual memories," Doom said. "Doom had already transformed them into lines of computer code. Not even Stark could accomplish such a feat."

Steve's stomach sank at Doom's words. The one thing they had all been counting on was that there were too many memories for Doom to be able sort through them all. That hope was dashed as Steve watched the screens. He caught a glimpse of information about Bucky and a list of Steve's favorite foods.

"Been real handy, being able to read through your memories Cap," Rumlow said. "Found out all sorts of useful stuff. Like that Barnes still had a trigger phrase implanted in that swiss cheesed brain of his."

Steve knew exactly what Rumlow was talking about. Bucky had told Steve that he had been worried someone could try to brainwash him again. So he'd had Steve come up with a trigger phrase to completely shut him down. It was something only Bucky, Steve, and the psychologist who had helped them, knew about.

Steve glanced over at Bucky, laid out on the table, completely unresponsive. And he would stay that way until someone said the phrase that would wake him up. A phrase that Steve knew.

Not that it would do him any good.

Sin tapped the muzzle, "That's why we have the gag, can't risk you waking sleeping beauty up."

"The greatest advantage of your memories, Captain," Doom said. "Is knowing everything there ever was to know about the Avengers. Including, what they plan to do if an Avenger is taken."

Steve hadn't thought that he could feel worse about the whole situation. He was wrong.

"Doom has sent a message to Tony Stark, demanding an exchange. The Tesseract for you and Sargent Barnes. They will got to the coordinates Doom sent them, all of them. They will plan to set a trap, use a decoy most likely. However, Doom shall not be there to meet them."

Doom tapped something out on the keyboard. Blueprints of the Upstate Avengers facility showed up on the screen. "The Tesseract was taken to your facility in Upstate New York and is there still. Doom knows this. While the Avengers wait to retrieve their Captain, Doom shall attack the facility and take the Tesseract. And the attack will succeed. After all, it was planned by Captain America."

Steve hadn't felt this nauseous since before the serum. While staying at the facility, Steve had constantly found himself going over the security and thinking up ways to get around it. He'd mentioned it to Tony, who had told him that it was just Steve's tactical mind keeping itself busy. He had also assured Steve that it was something he'd done in the past and that they had already fixed most of the gaps Steve had found in the security.

Unfortunately there were some that just couldn't be fixed. No place was completely impenetrable. Besides, Tony had joked, Steve was probably the only person who would ever come up with those plans.

Turned out, he was right. They had just never planned on someone digging into Steve's brain.

"Watch him carefully," Doom instructed Rumlow and Sin. "I shall return shortly with the Tesseract. Then Doom shall used Dr. Zola's machine to change reality to Doom's wishes."

"And our wishes," Sin pointed out with a frown. "You better not be thinking about a double cross."

"Doom will honor his agreement." Doom said, sounding offended.

"Of course you will," Rumlow said. He pulled out a bag that had been stuffed underneath the table Buck was on. "Cause we'll be right here, waiting with your little machine." Rumlow pulled an odd looking machine out of the bag. It was about the size of a toaster with a hollow center that was big enough to fit a cube into, and handles on either side.

Doom looked at the machine. "You did not have permission to go into Doom's vault."

"Na, I didn't," Rumlow said with a shrug, "but I did anyways. Figured this would be good insurance to make sure you come back with the Tesseract."

Doom's mask made his face unreadable, but Steve could see the stiff set of his shoulders betraying his anger. After a moment Doom spoke, his voice tight. "Very well, keep the device. It is no matter to Doom." And with that, Doom swept back out of the room leaving Steve with Rumlow, Sin, and a comatose Bucky.

Chapter Text

Tony hated dealing with Doom.

The guy took egomaniac to a whole new, previously undiscovered, level. And that was saying something, coming from Tony, who had never been accused of being humble.

"Seriously, where is he?" Tony asked into the comms, for what felt like the umpteenth time.

"Relax Shellhead."  Widow replied, for what was probably the umpteenth time.

"I mean, he's always fashionably late, but this is ridiculous." Tony said.

"Just breathe Stark," Falcon said from behind him.

Iron Man, War Machine, and Falcon were standing on the beach. Widow and Hawkeye were perched somewhere nearby along with Hulk. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were waiting about a mile down the beach for the signal to come rushing over. Vision and Thor were patrolling, watching for the first signs of Doom.

"Anything yet V?" Tony asked Vision.

"Not since you asked thirty six seconds ago."  Came the dry reply.

Tony ignored him. Instead he said, "Something's wrong."

"What are you thinking?" Rhodey asked.

"I'm thinking Doom wants the Tesseract more than anything," Tony said. "And I think having us all show up on a beach in Jersey to do an exchange and then not showing up for said exchange is making all the alarms go off in my head. I also think, continuing to stand here and stare out at the ocean like the cast of Baywatch is a waste of time."

"First of all, we are way hotter than the cast of Baywatch," Hawkeye snarked. "Secondly, we've got the Tower and the Upstate facility on lock down. Coulson and his team are heading back to help guard the Tesseract. And we've covered every angle that Doom could play with this exchange, so all we can do is wait."

Tony turned to Rhodey, "Did he just use his dad voice on me? It sounded like his dad voice."

"Pip down or no dessert."

Tony rolled his eyes but otherwise stayed quiet.

At least for another two minutes. "That's it, I'm calling it, Doom's not coming. He's up to something and he's got us distracted while he does it."

Thor landed in a puff of sand, "I agree with Stark. Doom has played us for fools."

"That's two votes, anyone else starting to agree with me?"

"I've sworn off agreeing with you," Widow said. "So I'll just agree with Thor."

"Ha ha" Tony deadpanned. He turned to Thor, "Contact Frosty, make sure everything is okay back at the Tower. I'm calling Hill, make sure nothings going on there." They had debated moving the Tesseract from the Upstate facility, but quickly decided it would just make it easier for Doom to steal it while in transit. Instead Coulson's team were contacted to up security. Unfortunately they had been in Africa so they weren't back yet. "FRIDAY, what's the hold up," she should have made the call as soon as Tony said he was going to call, "get Hill on the line."

"I can't Boss. Agent Hill is not responding, I have tried her phone repeatedly."

Tony felt a jolt of alarm. "What's the status at the facility? Are they under attack?"

"The systems at the facility are not responding. A signal was sent out five minutes ago stating the system was going offline because of a potential virus."

The jolt of fear turned into a full on shock. The system was designed to shut itself off from the internet and FRIDAY if any viruses were detected. It was a precaution to prevent all of the Avengers' systems from becoming infected.

"What's wrong?" Falcon asked. Tony must have been making a face.

"The system at the Upstate facility has gone offline because of a virus. And I can't get Hill on the line." Tony snapped the faceplate down and took off into the air. The HUD showed Rhodey following just behind him. "Everyone back to the jet and follow me and Rhodey. Except Thor and Vision, you guys get back to the Tower and make sure Doom's not there." Or Loki had made off with the rest of the Infinity Stones. Loki had been reliable so far, but Tony wasn't taking any chances.

As if reading his mind, Thor's voice came over the comms. "I have just spoken to Frosty, all is well at the Tower. I warned him to be alert."

"You said the system at the Upstate facility shut down because of a virus?"  Sam asked, sounding more than just a little concerned. "Isn't that one of the scenarios Steve has had us train for in the past?"

The fear was replaced by it's funest cousin, dread. "Shit!" Steve and his ever thinking strategic mind had found every possible way to break into Avengers' Tower and the Upstate facility. Uploading a virus and causing the systems to shut down had been one of them.

"There's no way that's a coincidence."  Rhodey said.

"FRIDAY, patch me through to Frosty."

Loki's voice immediately came across the comms. "Stark! What is going on?!"  Loki sounded pissed. The guy hated being kept out of the loop.

Tony ignored the irate tone. "How possible is it that Doom was able to read through all of Steve's memories in the short time he's had?"

"Why? What has happened?!"

"Just answer the damn question!"

There was silence from the other end and Tony could just picture Loki making his 'I want to smite you' face. "It is possible,"  he finally answered. "It would take a great deal of energy but he could have done it."

"We may have a problem." Tony said to the team at large.

"Stark, tell me wh-"

"Hang up FRIDAY. Guys, if Doom has access to all of Steve's memories then we have to assume worst case scenario."

"I thought Loki said it would take him months to sort through all the information to even find the one thing he wanted?"  Hawkeye asked.

"Doom could have been planning this for a while now,"  Widow pointed out. "He isn't patient once he has what he wants. He would have wanted to get at the memories as quickly as possible. And with his ability to combine technology and magic who knows what he could have done."

Something Tony had thought of when this whole mess with the memories started now popped back in his head. "He could have developed an algorithm to read them."

"Is that possible,"  Rhodey asked.

"Well I personally have never tried it," Tony pointed out, "but the human brain is really just the most advanced supercomputer in existence. If you could translate the brain's patterns you could hypothetically turn memories into computer code. Allowing them to be searched and read easily."

"It would explain how Rumlow and Sin were able to disable Bucky and Steve so quickly."  Widow said. "Steve's the only one who knows the trigger phrase that brings Bucky down."

Fortunately, Tony thought, Steve wasn't the only one who knew the trigger phrase to get Barnes to wake back up.

"We're all in the jet and taking off now."  Hawkeye reported. "I sent Quicksilver ahead to the Facility. He'll be able to report back to us if we still can't raise Hill. I talked to Coulson, they're still an hour out."

Tony blasted over New York City. He did a quick scan of the tower and found nothing amiss. Once he'd cleared the city he rerouted more power to the thrusters. Rhodey was keeping up with him in the War Machine armor and the Avenjet was only twenty minutes behind them.

Thor and Vision made it to the Tower and reported in that nothing seemed wrong except for a very irate Loki.

Then Quicksilver reported in. "Doombots are everywhere!"  There were sounds of fighting in the background. "I'm going to try to find Hill."

"Negative Quicksilver, go for the Tesseract,"  Widow ordered. "Keep it from Doom."

Tony literally held his breath for the five seconds it took Quicksilver to reply. "Guys, the Tesseract is gone."

"FRIDAY, put all we've got into the rear thrusters." Tony was aware that Natasha was grilling Pietro for more information, but all he could think about was that he had to get to the facility before Doom got away with the Tesseract. He got there five minutes later and immediately knew it was too late.

The only Doombots left where the ones lying on the ground broken and smoking. People were scurrying to help the wounded and some had their guns up, but it seemed like more of a precaution in case there was another attack. Tony scanned for Quicksilver and found him deep in the facility with Hill.

"What happened?" Tony demanded as soon as he saw Hill. She spared him a glance but finished barking out orders before answering him.

"Quicksilver, help with rescue efforts," Hill said before finally turning to Tony as Pietro speed out of the room. "Our systems went into security mode when we detected a possible virus. We had everything on lockdown anyway so we figured it was Doom trying to shut down our systems."

"Let me guess, you followed the procedures Steve had put in place for the situation."

Hill furrowed her brow in confusion. "Yes, why wouldn't we? We had all of Steve's codes changed after the memory loss."

"We think Doom found a way to easily read through all of Steve's memories."

Hill's jaw tightened at the news. "That would explain why Doom seemed to know what our next move was. And why our attempts to track the Tesseract are not working. Steve knows how we found the Tesseract the first time, plus the means we've been using to find the other Infinity Stones."

"Yeah, we're just gonna have to assume that anything Steve knows or knew, Doom knows."

"Tony," Vision's voice came across the com. "We have a situation."

"What now?"

"I'm afraid Frosty was listening in on the comms and he heard Quicksilver say that Doom got away with the Tesseract. Thor and I attempted to restrain him but he was able to evade us. There is currently no trace of him in the Tower."

Tony ground his teeth in frustration. "Come on, I do not need this righ-urk!" Tony was surprised to find himself pushed up against the nearest wall. He was less surprised to find out who was effortlessly holding him up, armor and all, a foot off the ground. "I found him." Tony choked out.

"What have you done Stark?" Loki's eyes had a manic gleam to them and Tony could hear the armor straining under Loki's grip.

"You know what Frosty, I don't have time for your shit today." Tony hit Loki square in the chest with a repulsor beam. Loki went flying across the room and dented the wall with a very satisfying crunch. "Now be a good little lap dog and go back to the Tower."

Loki stood up, his normally perfect hair messed up with plaster dust. "You lost the Tesseract." He ground out.

"Whoa, hold on there Queen Elsa, I didn't lose anything." Tony pointed out indignantly. "Doom used Steve's memories to get around all of our security features. You wanna go nuclear on someone, aim it at the actual responsible party."

Loki smiled, "What an excellent idea." Loki raised a hand, golden light appearing.

Tony brought both hands up, repulsors lighting up. But before Loki could do anything, an arrow came out of nowhere, wrapping Loki in metal cords. White hot electricity arced through Loki, his whole body seizing up before collapsing to the ground, barely conscious.

Tony turned to see Hawkeye walking into the room, Widow right behind him. "That was immensely satisfying." Clint said, "I'm gonna do it again." And Clint pulled another arrow out and shot Loki at point blank range. Electricity arched through Loki again and this time he was well and truly out for the count. "Oh yeah," Clint said, "that was better than two years of therapy."

"We're all glad you could finally work through your issues Barton." Hill deadpanned. "Unfortunately we still have the issue of Doom having the Tesseract."

Tony did a quick check of the armor to make sure Loki hadn't done to much damage. Finding nothing horrible he turned his attention to Clint and Natasha. "Where's the rest of the team?"

"Falcon and Hulk are helping with rescue efforts. The Doombots brought down a section of roof." Nat explained. She turned to Hill, "We also have the issue of Doom seeming to have unfettered access to Steve's memories."

"If Doom has found an easy way to read all of Steve's memories, then we have to assume he's gotten the blueprints for Zola's device and has already built it." Tony pointed out. He had already been running through all the worst case scenarios on the way over. "Which means we have practically no time to find Doom and stop him."

"Any ideas?" Widow asked. "Cause even I don't know what to do if Doom now knows everything Steve knows."

"Not everything," Hill said. "He only knows what Steve knew up to the point of his memories a month ago."

"Unless he decided that he should just pull all of Steve's memories out of his head again." Nat said.

And that was a very scary thought. Not only would it mean Doom had more stuff to draw from, it would also mean Steve had no idea what was going on and that rescue was coming. It would also mean, a dark part of Tony's mind pointed out, that Steve had forgotten him. Again.

"That could definitely be the case," Hill conceded. "But if he hasn't taken Steve's memories then we still have a few aces up our sleeves. Since we got the Tesseract from Doom, Dr Foster has been studying it and she thought she found a different way to track the Infinity Stones. She's in Canada for a conference, I've put a call through to pull her out of her lecture so she should be in contact with us soon."

Tony ran a gauntlet-ed hand through his hair. "Great, so we can find Doom. So we just go in guns a blazing and hope we can stop him before he does irreparable damage to the cosmos? Sounds risky. I'm all for it."

"We need some way to distract him long enough for us to get the upper hand," Natasha said. "Chances are they still have Bucky knocked out. All we have to do is wake him up and get Steve free."

"Do you have the trigger phrase that will wake him up?" Hill asked.

"I do," Tony said. "Steve told it to me. It's Crayon, Bowl, Tapioca, Styrofoam, Santa."

A nearby screen beeped at them. Hill went over to it and Jane Foster's face popped up. Jane took in Hill's appearance and the ruined room behind her and asked, "What happened?"

"Doom happened, he took the Tesseract. We were hoping you could help us find it again."

Jane was nodding and had her tablet in her hands before Hill was done talking. “Selvig and I wrote a program to search for a particular isotope that the stones all seem to give off. Looks like it's still running.”

“Hold up,” Tony held up a hand, “are you saying you can find all of the Infinity Stones now?”

“Eventually, yes. We're going to need to repurpose some satellites. It's going to take some time unfortunately.”

“We don't have time,” Tony pointed out.

“Relax, I was using the Tesseract to calibrate the program. It was still locked onto it when Doom took it. I’m sending you the coordinates now.”

I new window popped up. Tony took one look at the map and snorted, “Great, we have to go back to Jersey.”

Hill rolled her eyes at Tony, then turned her attention back to Jane. “How much of this did you tell Captain Rogers?”

Jane frowned in thought, “I don't think I said anything to him about it.”

Jane’s face was obscured by Darcy leaning into view. “He was in the lab one day while they were working on it and he asked me about it. I gave him a basic explanation, I think he got the gist of it. But I wouldn't expect a dissertation on it from him. Why?”

“Doom has Rogers. He and Barnes were taken earlier today.”

Hill answered the question but Darcy was looking at Tony in shock. “Dude, you're supposed to keep better track of your boyfriend.”

Jane used a hand on the top of Darcy’s head to push her out of the way. “Steve wouldn’t give any information to Doom.”

"It seems that Doom can easily read the memories he stole from Steve," Hill said. "So we have to assume nothing is safe."

Tony heard Darcy say something from off camera that sounded a lot like 'Fucking Doom'. Jane looked off to the side, in the direction she had pushed Darcy, and gave a knowing nod. Jane and Darcy had had a run in with Doom in the past, practically anyone who was associated with the Avengers got to meet Doom at some point or another.

Jane looked back into the camera, "I thought Lok- sorry, Frosty, said that it took a lot of power to steal memories. Would Doom really be able to just keep taking stuff from Steve's mind?"

Tony thought about this for a beat. "Good question, let's ask the expert." Tony stomped over to Loki, who was already starting to wake up. "Up and at 'em Sparky." Tony grabbed Loki by the front of his coat and pulled him into a sitting position. Loki hissed in pain but otherwise didn't do much to protest the rough handling. "Would Doom be able to just keep grabbing memories from Steve's head? Or was it just a one time thing?"

Loki ignored the questions, instead opting to glower at Clint. Clint just gave him a shit-eating grin in return.

Tony snapped his fingers in front of Loki's face to get his attention. He did manage to get the god to look at him, but that probably had more to do with the fact that his hand was still covered in a gauntlet and snapping didn't work very well with metal fingers. It sounded more like two spoons clacking together. Loki raised an amused eyebrow. Tony had to resist the urge to blast him in the face. "Answer the question." He barked at Loki instead.

"Are you going to get me out of these?" Loki asked, indicating the metal ropes still binding him, instead of answering Tony.

"Or I could use them to give you a few more jolts until you feel like answering my question." Tony said, smirking. He knew Loki was purposely being stubborn. And, quite frankly, it was pissing him off.


Tony looked over his shoulder to see that Darcy had taken over the screen again and was scowling at them.

"This is not just about Rogers, they have Bucky too."

Tony was about to say that he knew that and he was certainly not trying to mount a rescue just because of Steve, when he realized that Darcy wasn't looking at him. She was looking past Tony, to Loki.

"So answer the question about Doom and help us get him back."

Loki must have figured out he was being addressed as well, because he had turned his glower in Darcy's direction. Darcy wasn't the least bit phased. She raised an eyebrow expectantly. Loki deepened his frown. Darcy cocked her head to the side in a manner that said 'come on'. Loki huffed in annoyance. Darcy smiled at him.

Tony had seen Darcy do this silent coercion before, except it had been with Barnes. She liked to hang out with Barnes and, Tony hadn't really thought about it before, but that meant that she must have been spending time with Loki as well.

Darcy wiggled her eyebrows up and down. Loki huffed a defeated sigh. "It would be very unlikely that Doom would want to weaken himself by exerting the amount of energy it takes to remove someone's memories. It will take him a lot of mental and physical energy to control the Tesseract."

On screen, Darcy was smiling at Loki. Loki was pointedly not looking at her.

Everyone else had been watching the exchange and Natasha had a mildly amused look on her face as she spoke up. "So chances are, Doom doesn't know that we have a new way to track the Tesseract. Which is good. Not so good, is that he has probably used Steve's memories to figure out how we would respond and is ready for us. That would explain the distraction earlier, having us go to the beach for an exchange."

Tony threw his hands up in defeat. "So we just have to think up something that Steve wouldn't think of. Or Steve wouldn't think we would think of. Which, oh yeah, he's got perfect recall and spends all of his time analyzing everything and everyone around him. So there isn't actually anything he wouldn't have thought of that we would do. Great."

"What about something he thinks we would never do?" Everyone turned and looked at Clint. Even Loki looked a little curious. "We don't have to come up with something Steve never thought of, we just have to come up with something that Steve would never think any of us would do. Or at least the old Steve, the one before his memory loss."

Tony puzzled this over in his head. He supposed Clint was right, there were a lot of things that could fix the problem that the Avengers would never do. Like dropping a bomb on the warehouse Doom was holed up in. Tony was ninety percent sure that that wasn't what Barton was suggesting.

Natasha was studying Clint. "Please tell me you're not thinking of using him."

Tony looked between the two assassins. "Him? Him, who?"

Clint turned to Tony, a look on his face that he only got when he was going to jump off of something high and he was just hoping someone caught him. "Brace yourself," Clint said, "I've got an idea."

Steve desperately wanted to get out of the chair he was strapped to. Not just so he could escape, even though it was the main reason, but also so he could punch Brock Rumlow in the mouth to get him to shut up.

Rumlow had pulled up a metal chair and faced Steve. He had a tablet and was using it to access the files Doom had on Steve's memories.

"Here's a good one," Rumlow said, looking down at the screen. "Seems Cappy here isn't the good little Boy Scout everyone thinks he is." Rumlow looked up at Steve, "Where you really checking me out in the shower sometimes?" Rumlow made a tsking sound, "All you had to do was say something, I would've gladly helped you releive some tension."

Steve clenched his fists and pictured slamming Rumlows face into a wall. Sin was lounging in another chair, joining in on the mocking and keeping a firm grip on the device they had taken from Doom.

"Listen to this," Rumlow said. "So the reason Rogers favorite food is apple pie is cause it reminds him of his mom." Rumlow gave Steve a sad, fake, frown. "Aww, do you miss your mommy?"

A snarl ripped out of Steve's throat and his muscles bulged as he strained against the cuffs holding him to the chair. Metal began to groan in protest. Rumlow just lifted up a small black box and pushed a button on it. Electricity jolted through Steve. His muscles spasming and he shook in his restraints.

Rumlow pushed another button and the electricity stopped.

Steve went limp, gasping for breath through the mask he wore.

"I still say we should just kill him," Rumlow said to Sin.

Sin scowled at Rumlow, "No, I want him to see it when we succeed." She snarled. "I want him to know just how badly he's lost. I want him to see the whole world kneel down to Hydra." Sin stood up and came over to lean over Steve. "I want to see the look in his eyes when we turn his best buddy back into Hydra's top assassin."

"It's not like he's going to really appreciate it all," Rumlow said, tapping away on the tablet. "He doesn't even remember who we are."

Sin tilted her head to the side, smirking at Steve. "Well maybe we should give him his memories back while we're remaking the world. Just so it all hurts that much more."

Steve glared right back at Sin. She and Rumlow had enjoyed laying out their whole plan to Steve. Telling him how they were going to change history so that the Allies lost the war, but the Nazi wouldn't be the victors, instead it would be the Red Skull and Hydra.

Rumlow told him details of Bucky's work as the Winter Soldier and how in their new world he would do much worse things. It made Steve's vision go red as Rumlow described all the things he was going to make Bucky do, including killing each and every Avenger.

In all of their postering, Steve had noticed something that they left unspoken. How Doom fit into their new world. From that Steve had surmised that the two of them intended to betray Doom and use the Tesseract for themselves.

This was knowledge that Steve could use to distract them, maybe even get them to start fighting each other. Except, he still had the gag on and any attempt to dislodge it was met by a zap from the little remote Rumlow had.

A noise from the hallway, cause Rumlow and Sin to both turn away from Steve. He used the distraction to pull against the restraints again, hoping he had damaged them enough to get free.

Unfortunately, the noise was Doom.

The armored dictator strode into the room, the Tesseract's containment unit held out like a trophy.

Steve's heart sunk at the sight. He had been holding out hope that Doom would be unsuccessful. That, maybe, the Avengers wouldn't fall for Doom's subterfuge. Or that Maria Hill would notice that Doom was using Steve's tactics against them and adjust accordingly.

"Is that it?" Sin asked, eyeing the Tesseract greedily.

"Indeed it is," Doom said. "Now give Doom the device and we shall remake the world."

Rumlow scoffed, "Yeah, we're not just handing over the device so you can use it by yourself."

Doom stiffened. "Doom gave you his word that you would receive the world you wanted. Do you now question him?"

Sin rolled her eyes, "Ugh, the first thing I'm gonna remake is how you talk about yourself in the third person."

Doom bristled, "You dare!"

Rumlow held his hands out in a placating gesture, "All right, let's just settle down. I'm sure there is a way for us all to get what we want here."

"You have a suggestion?" Doom asked, in a tone that let everyone know he wouldn't think much of any suggestion Rumlow made.

While the three of them argued, Steve began alternating between pulling at his restraints and trying to dislodge the gag.

"We should all use it at once," Sin said, crossing her arms over her chest. "Then there won't be a chance to double cross anyone."

Doom scoffed, "There must not be any weakness while using the Tesseract. If each person thinks something different, the Tesseract will use that to twist and corrupt the desires of those attempting to use its power."

Rumlow shrugged, "So we agree on what we're gonna think about before hand."

"You both lack the mental fortitude to use the Tesseract correctly," Doom said dismissively.

"The mental fortitude?!" Sin snarled. "Is that your fancy ass way of saying we're simple minded."

A voice spoke from right next to Steve. "I don't think there was ever any question of that."

Everyone, including Steve, whipped around to see who had spoken.

Loki was standing there, looking amused. "I have to say, I was expecting some discord amongst you mortals. But this is just sad."

"Loki." Rumlow gasped in disbelief.

Sin frowned at Rumlow, "You mean that crazy alien who attacked New York?"

Loki smiled, "Always nice to be recognized."

"Loki works with the Avengers," Doom said. His posture had become even more defensive with the appearance of Loki.

Steve felt relief upon seeing the Asgardian. If Loki was here then the rest of the team couldn't be too far behind.

Loki stepped forward to stand between Steve and the others. "I wouldn't say working, more like, tolerating them while it served my purposes."

"And now?" Doom asked, suspiciously.

"Now. Well now someone has stolen an Infinity Stone from them." Loki sneered. "It shows me that they are too weak to be able to offer me the protection I need."

Rumlow gave a humorless laugh. "You need protection? The big, bad god who was gonna conquer the whole earth? From what exactly?"

Loki looked murderously at Rumlow, then turned to address Doom. "There is one called the Mad Titan, he is older than time itself and he seeks the Infinity Stones. Only those who wield the Stones can hope to defeat him."

"So you wish the Stone for yourself," Doom said.

Loki visibly shivered. "No!" Loki stopped, took a quick breath, and continued on, much calmer this time. "I tried to wield one of the Stones, and I could not resist its corrupting force. I can't," Loki swallowed, "I don't want to risk becoming sway to the will of the Mad Titan again."

This was the most Steve had ever heard about Loki's reasons for opposing Thanos. From what Steve had been told by the rest of the team, Loki had only told them enough to explain who Thanos was and what he could do with the Infinity Stones. The rest, what Loki had to do with Thanos or why he was so scared of him, was something Loki refused to talk about. Other than to confirm that it had been Thanos who had ordered the attack on Earth all those years ago and Loki had merely been his lieutenant.

"What do you want from Doom then?" Doom demanded.

"You plan to remake the world, yes?"


Loki spread his hands, "I merely want a place in it where I can be safe from the Titan."

Steve would have yelled at Loki, to demand what he was talking about, if he was able. Instead he had struggled in the chair, trying to get Loki's attention.

Doom regarded Loki for a moment. "And what of the Avengers? You owe them no loyalty?"

Loki huffed a laugh. "Loyalty? To a bunch of mortals and my oaf of a brother. I think not. In fact, to show you how unloyal I am, I shall tell you they are on their way here now."

What was Loki doing? Steve struggled even more. He was starting to think that Loki wasn't here to help at all.

"They actually sent me on ahead, I'm supposed to distract you until they get here, keep you from using the Tesseract." Loki laughed again and gave Doom a knowing look. "Your cohearts are not the only simple minded ones."

This comment got Rumlow and Sin's attention. "Seems to me you are distracting us," Rumlow said, scowling deeply at Loki.

Loki gave Rumlow a pitying look. "Yes, my telling you that your adversaries are on their way is exactly how I plan to distract you. I'm sure it won't cause you to hurry up with your plans instead." Loki turned back to Doom, effectivly dissmissing Rumlow as unimportant. "Do we have a deal?"

"All you wish is for Doom to protect you from this Mad Titan?" Doom asked, not sounding a hundred percent convinced yet.

"That is correct. I really don't care what you do to this world otherwise."

"You do not wish a throne? A land of your own to rule over?"

Loki shrugged, "If I wish a throne then I will get one myself."

Doom considered the god for another moment. "And what of the Avengers? These two," Doom gestured to Rumlow and Sin, "wish to see them dead. You are not opposed to this?"

Loki shrugged again, "I care not, do as you will."

Steve yelled against the gag, thrashing in the chair, wanting to get free. Wanting to scream every horrible curse he had ever heard at Loki. How could he do this? How could he betray those who he had fought next to? How could he betray Bucky?

Loki finally turned and looked at Steve for the first time since appearing in the room. Steve glared at him with as much force as he could. Loki regarded him with an air of amusement before walking over. "Oh dear Captain, is there something you wish to say to me?" Loki reached out and ran a finger along the edge of the gag Steve wore. Steve felt the cool touch of Loki's finger and the slight scrap of his nail at he traced it down to the straps that held the gag in place. Then Loki pulled his hand back and slapped Steve. Hard.

Steve's whole upper body snapped to the side, the force of the blow causing the restraints to groan in protest. His vision blurred and his face stung where Loki had struck him.

Steve heard Sin laugh and Rumlow say "Damn", in a low, impressed tone.

Loki leaned in close. Steve tried to clear his vision as the god hissed in his ear. "I'm not the one your words have any power over." Then Loki turned and strode back across the room. "Do we have a deal or not?" Loki asked Doom, as he walked past him. "Time is of the essence."

Steve shook his head, trying to clear it, then froze when he felt the gag come loose. Loki's slap must have broken the strap. Steve glanced over at Doom and the others, sure they had noticed what had happened. However, everyone's attention was on Loki.

Steve shook his head again and the gag dropped free from his face. He sucked in a breath and yelled as loud as he could at Bucky. "Crayon, Bowl, Tapioca, Styrofoam, Santa!"

Bucky jerked awake at the same moment Rumlow yelled out and hit the button that caused the chair to zap Steve.

Loki reached out and grabbed the hand Rumlow was holding the remote in and squeezed, crushing the remote and the bones in Rumlow's hand all at once. Rumlow cried out in pain, dropping to the floor as Loki continued to crush his hand. Doom raised a hand to fire at Loki, but Loki was faster, hitting Doom in the chest with a bolt of magic.

Doom stumbled back but didn't go down. He fired at Loki again, this time managing to hit Loki's side. Loki hissed in pain and only just managed to dodge the next attack from Doom.

Sin pulled out her side arm but was unable to even get it halfway up before Bucky was on her. Sin crashed to the floor, Bucky on top of her. She immediately let go of Zola's device so she could use both hands to fight off Bucky.

Doombots came pouring into the room. Loki blasted the first few with bolts of magic as he tried to get to Doom.

Steve was still stuck in the chair, except now he could pull against the restraints without worry of being electrocuted. Unfortunately he wasn't going to get free in time. He watched helplessly as Doom snatched up the device from where it lay.

"Bucky!" Steve cried out, knowing Loki was too far away to get to Doom in time. "Stop Doom!"

Bucky looked up at Steve's yell. Sin tried to use the distraction to stab Bucky in the side. Bucky caught her hand with his metal arm. He then slammed his flesh fist into Sin's face until she passed out. Bucky immediately scrambled to his feet and went for Doom. He was almost there when he hit against an invisible force and bounced backwards with a curse. Doom had shielded himself using his magic.

Doom ignored everything going on around him as he opened the containment unit, pulled out the Tesseract and slide it into the square hole in the device. Immediately the device lit up and the Tesseract began to pulse with energy.

Several blasts of magic cleared a path for Loki to get to Doom. He ran into the force field as well, except for instead of bouncing off of it, like Bucky had, Loki spread his hands out and pushed against it. Gold and red sparks flew around him as he tried to push through Doom's shield. Several Doombots went for Loki, as if on command, hitting him with their repulsor beams. Loki had to stop his attack on the shield to face the robots.

"Get Rogers free!" Loki yelled at Bucky.

Bucky slammed his metal fist through the head of a Doombot before rushing over to Steve. "What the fuck is going on?!" He yelled as he dug his metal fingers into the cuff holding Steve's right arm in place.

"Doom has the Tesseract and Zola's device. I'm pretty sure Loki is with us, and that the rest of the Avengers are on their way." Steve answered as Bucky tore off the bindings.

"Well shit," was Bucky's eloquent reply.

Finally free, Steve wasted no time in wrenching one of the arms off the chair to use as a weapon. He managed to knock the head clean off a Doombot and stab another through it's chest before a familiar flying object took out the Doombot that was attacking him. Steve reflexively caught his shield on the rebound, nodding a thanks to Loki. "Okay, now I'm mostly sure Loki is with us," he told Bucky.

Steve and Bucky moved to get between Loki and the bots that were still coming in through the door. "Loki, get Doom's shield down." Steve called, "We'll protect your flank."

Loki just nodded and in a blink was back to attacking Doom's force field. Steve spared a glance at Doom and was alarmed to see that the Tesseract was pulsing faster and the device was glowing brighter.

"Fools," Doom intoned, "You cannot stop Doom." But Steve noticed that Doom wasn't doing anything with the device yet. Instead his focus was on Loki. He had a hand out, directly in front of where Loki was attacking his force field. So whatever Loki was doing, it was causing Doom to have to focus on him instead of using the Tesseract.

"I need Wanda in here," Loki called.

"Yeah, we don’t have Wanda," Bucky called back as he ripped the arm off a bot and used it to bash another one in the face. "It's just us and a dozen Doombots."

"Barnes and Rogers are free." Loki said.

It took Steve a second to realize Loki wasn't talking to them. "Is the rest of the team here?" Steve called back to him.

"Yes," Loki's voice sounded strained as he continued to push against Doom's force field. "There is a force field around the warehouse and they are being attacked by Doombots," Loki gasped out. "I'm afraid we are on our own."

Steve blocked a blast with his shield then used it to decapitate another bot. He noticed that the number of bots was no longer growing, probably because they were being diverted to fight the Avengers outside. Still, there were too many bots and Steve was worried what would happen when Doom was able to use the Tesseract. "We need options!" Steve called out.

"Stark is trying to find a way to bring down the energy field outside," Loki ground out. His whole body was straining with the effort of fighting against Doom's personal shield. The tendons in his neck stood out, energy crackled from his hands as his fingers dug against the invisible barrier. Doom would occasionally yell something at Loki, usually along the lines of how Loki could never hope to beat Doom.

A Doombot flew towards Steve, he flung his shield, hitting it right in its chest where its power source was. The shield ricocheted off, hit a wall and came back to Steve. Next to him Bucky was slamming a bot into the ground repeatedly.

"Why is the Tesseract glowing like that?" Bucky yelled at Loki.

Loki spared Bucky a glance. "It's charging up, soon it will be ready to use."

"So, we probably shouldn't let that happen."

"That would be ideal, yes." Loki grunted out.

"Okay," Bucky said. He left off beating the bot, turned, and slammed his metal fist into the force field. The field wavered for a second and almost looked like it was going to come down. Steve even heard Doom give grunt of effort as he struggled to keep it up.

"Do that again," Loki commanded.

Bucky slammed his fist against the shield again before he had to turn and stop a bot from taking out Loki. Steve was able to get a few hits in with his shield and even deflected a few of the bots blasts so that they hit the force field.

It became a sort of wild dance as Steve and Bucky alternated between fighting off Doombots and attacking the energy shield. There were a few close calls, as Doombots began swarming in again, but it was apparent that their efforts were weakening the shield. Doom had to drop the Tesseract device so he could use both hands to keep his shield up.

Bucky threw a Doombot at the force field and just narrowly missed Loki.

"Hit the barrier, not me!" Loki snarled at him.

Bucky just winked at Loki. "Sorry Buttercup."

Steve threw his shield again, he aimed at two bots so it would hit the heads, bounce off the wall and hit the force field before coming back to Steve. Just as his shield hit the force field, Bucky slammed his fist against the barrier. There was a crackling of energy, and a 'whoopf' sound, then Loki was through the barrier and launching himself at Doom.

Steve caught the shield and was able to take out two more bots before turning back.

Doom was on the ground, Loki straddling him. Loki's hands still burned with magic and he was shoving them against Doom's chest. Loki's battle cry mixed with Doom's screams of pain.

"Loki!" Bucky called.

Loki pulled back and Doom went limp under him, smoke rising from the armor.

Steve took out the last Doombot, they had stopped coming the second Doom went down, and hurried over to Loki. "Is he dead?" It was hard to tell since Doom was covered head to toe with armor.

Loki looked up at Steve. He looked exhausted and was breathing heavily, but somehow he managed to give Steve an exasperated look. "No, he's not. Why? Would you like me to finish him off?"

Bucky came up next to them. "Why is that thing still all glowy?"

Steve looked down at the Tesseract. Sure enough, it was now steadily pulsing and the glow was actually increasing instead of dissipating.

Steve heard Loki breath out a word that was not in any language Steve recognized, but was most definitely a swear. "It has finished charging," he said.

"How do we shut it off?" Steve asked.

Loki frowned, "We don't."

"We don't?"

"No, the energy needs to be used," Loki said.

"What happens if it's not used?" Bucky asked.

Loki shrugged, "It has to be. Either one of us uses the device or the energy takes out several miles in a very impressive explosion."

"Whoa, wait, one of us use it?" Bucky asked incredulously. "Haven't we all been told multiple times, NOT to use any of the Infinity Stones. How they'll just burn us up."

"That's what the device is for, to act as a buffer between the user and the Stone." Loki explained.

Bucky crossed his arms, "So I suppose you are going to volunteer to use it. Maybe make yourself king of the world?"

Loki snorted, "Don't be ridiculous. Even I'm not crazy enough to try and manipulate reality."

"Well neither am I," Bucky exclaimed. "Is the rest of the team coming now that Doom is out for the count?"

Loki shook his head. "The force field they have encountered is energy based, not magical. Stark is still unable to get it down. And they are all yelling at me about how we can't use the device. However, unless they want to destroy part of the city we are in, there is really no other choice. We only have maybe another five minutes before the energy reaches critical levels."

"Maybe we could blast it into space or something."

Loki leveled a glare at Bucky. "I'm afraid I'm fresh out of rockets."

"We could use it to restore my memories."

Loki and Bucky both turned to regard Steve at the same time.

Steve took a steadying breath. "If we need to use it, would using it to restore my memories be a good way to do that?" The idea had been in Steve's head ever since Sin had said something about it earlier. Steve glanced over at her now, still unconscious on the floor. He noted that Rumlow seemed to have gotten away at some point, but that was going to have to be a problem for another day.

Loki cocked his head to the side and actually looked mildly impressed. "That is a surprisingly good idea."

"Wait!" Bucky whirled on Loki. "No it's not. It's a horrible idea."

Loki sighed at Bucky's protests. "Rogers using the Tesseract to restore his memories is the best option we have." As soon as Loki finished speaking he winched. Steve thought maybe he was reconsidering what he'd said. Then Loki pulled the small ear bud out, looked at it in disgust, and crushed it between his fingers. "Stark thinks it’s a marvelous idea," Loki said, casually dusting off his fingers.

It was Bucky's turn to snort. "The hell he does."

Steve ignored Bucky, addressing Loki instead. "Is it possible to restore my memories with the Tesseract?"

"Yes," Loki said without hesitation.

"It's still not a good idea. We're still messing with reality," Bucky pointed out.

"Not necessarily," Loki said. "When Doom destroyed the container holding Captain Rogers' memories, he didn't actually destroy the memories themselves. They still exist, it would just take a tremendous amount of energy to pull them all back together and put them back where they belong."

Bucky jabbed a finger at Loki, "You said it was impossible! I specifically asked you if magic could restore his memories, and you told me it was impossible."

"Nothing is impossible for the Infinity Stones."

"Then why didn't you say something sooner?!"

Steve had never seen Loki get mad at Bucky, but he was seeing it now. "Because using the Infinity Stones borders on suicide."

"Which is exactly why we can't let Steve do this."

"Using Zola's device and accounting for Captain Rogers' mental, physical, and spiritual fortitude, this has a high chance of working."

"We're still not doing it! We just spent the last month trying to keep Doom from using this thing!"

"This is different, we are not trying to warp things as they should not be. We are merely restoring something to its original state!"

The two of them were practically nose to nose as they shouted at each other. And Steve had had enough. He marched past them and scooped up Zola's device, the Tesseract almost blinding with how bright it glowed.

"Steve. No!" Bucky yelled.

"We don't have time to argue anymore," Steve said, as he placed both hands on the device.

Power swelled up from the Tesseract and pushed through the device and into Steve. He had never felt anything like it. The universe opened up to him. He saw every star and could name all of them. He could have anything he wanted, all he had to do was think it. He suddenly realized that if he wanted he could change the world. Undo all the horrible things that had been done. He could make everyone happy, all he had to do was think it.

As if from a long way away, Steve heard Loki's voice call out to him. "Focus on what you desire most desperately!"

Steve knew what he wanted. He wanted it so bad it hurt. Knowing that a huge portion of his life was missing. Not just missing, but forcibly taken.

He wanted to remember. Even the bad, and he knew there had to be a lot of bad. But he didn't care. He wanted it all back. Because being without it left an ache in his chest that he didn't know how to fill.

It hurt so bad he thought it would crush him. And it not only hurt Steve, but those around him. The way he had to struggle to connect with the rest of the team, when they were so used to it being easy.

And Tony.

Tony had been afraid to tell Steve about their relationship. Afraid of how Steve might react. And even now that they were together, Steve could tell it wasn't the same. He knew he loved Tony. And he desperately wanted to remember how it had happened. All of it.

Memories came rushing at Steve all at once. Disjointed thoughts and emotions. Sounds, smells, words, faces. Moments of his life that meant the world to him. And moments that were just ordinary. They came at him, pouring back into his mind. And in so much detail that Steve was overwhelmed by it.

The way his bones had felt as he gained height and width in Dr. Erskine's machine.

What color the Hulk's skin was.

The scratch of the pencil as he sketched Peggy after he'd not seen her for over two months.

Clint's moan as he staggered upright after taking a bad hit.

The smell of the stage makeup the chorus girls wore.

The sound of bombs falling in the early autumn air.

Horrible, suffocating loneliness.

Bucky clapping Steve's shoulder with a flesh and bone hand.

Ice cold water, pouring in around him.

Hearing Natasha call his name across the common room.

Bones crunching in his face as Bucky hit him with his metal fist.

"Focus!" Loki yelled. A million miles away.

Loki trying to get Steve to submit in Stuttgart.

"Find a memory and focus on it!"

Fighting Loki. Feeling his strength and knowing he couldn't beat him without backup.

"Let the rest wash over you!"

Hearing the most horrible noise and realizing it was music. A blast of light and Loki was knocked away. A man landing next to him in a bright, flashy suit of armor. "Mr Stark." "Captain."


Tony glibly telling Steve about pilates.

Tony showing up after D.C., holding Steve's shield and asking what it was with him and crashing stuff into the water.

The tingle of Tony's hand as he pulled Steve into his workshop to show him the magnet he'd made for Steve's shield.

The smell of Tony's cologne as they sat next to each other on the couch watching episodes of I Love Lucy.

The warm glow in his chest when Tony looked up from his work and smiled at Steve.

Tony kissing him.

Chapter Text

Just over a month ago-


“Stop fidgeting .”

“Sorry. I'm trying but it's uncomfortable.”

“It would be less uncomfortable if you'd just stay still and let me do my thing.”

Steve suppressed a sigh and tried to stay still. Tony leaned in close and squinted. “I think I see the problem.” Tony reached up and pushed two fingers under the strap of Steve's helmet. “Yup, feels like something is bent, or smooshed. Maybe a bit of both.”

“Can you fix it?” Steve asked.

Tony twisted his upper half upside down trying to see the damaged buckle. “Maybe. How did this happen again?”

“I think it was when Juggernaut plowed me through that brick wall.”

“You do have a pretty impressive bruise here,” Tony said, gently rubbing the pad of his thumb against Steve's jaw.

Steve had to force himself not to lean into the touch. The fight earlier had taken a lot out of him and he was tired and hungry. Unfortunately, when he'd gone to change he'd realized the buckle on his helmet was stuck and he couldn't get it off. He'd come down to Tony's workshop, still dressed in his uniform to get help. “There was a cut there initially,” he told Tony. “The blood got washed off when the hydrant broke.” Steve thought back to that moment. He actually hadn't been in the path of the gush of water when Juggernaut broke the hydrant, but he had noticed Tony was. Steve knew that the water had a potential to trigger one of Tony's panic attacks, so he'd launched himself at the hydrant and took the brunt of the blast. Tony probably would have been fine, since he'd been in the Iron Man armor, but Steve hadn't wanted to risk it.

Tony made a 'humph' noise in the back of his throat and Steve felt him brush against Steve's bruise again, like he could soothe it away.

“You're supposed to avoid getting hit by Juggernaut, it one of the rules." Tony admonished. "Only Hulk and Thor are allowed to get in close.”

“I wasn't even going after him,” Steve protested. “I was after Bullseye, but he kept using Juggernaut as a shield. By the way, you may want to avoid Clint for the next few hours unless you want to hear every reason that Bullseye is an inferior archer.”

Tony was still leaning in close so he chuckled right in Steve’s ear. Steve managed not to shiver as a tingle went up his spine, but it was a close thing. He must be even more exhausted than he thought if he was having such a hard time keeping his emotions in check.

“I can try to straighten it out,” Tony was saying, “or just cut through the strap.”

Steve shook his head, forgetting he was supposed to stay still. “This is the last helmet I have, the rest are getting fixed at the Upstate facility.”

“What is it with you and breaking helmets?” Tony asked as he stood up and began rummaging through his tools. “I swear we need to order a whole crate of them just to keep up with you.” Tony came back with a small pair of needle nose pliers. "Let's see if we can't get you out of this." Tony straddled one of Steve's legs and pushed in close so he could get to the offending buckle.

As Tony worked, Steve let himself relax and his mind wander. It was actually quiet in Tony's workshop, for once, so there wasn't much to distract Steve. Even Tony's chatter was mostly to himself or directed at the buckle he was trying to get straightened out. Steve closed his eyes, he was tired and hungry. He had noticed a half finished smoothie sitting on a nearby desk. He was so hungry he actually was considering asking Tony for one of his green concoctions.

Maybe he could stay down here with Tony for a bit while he drank it. They had been so busy lately, between Loki and the search for the Infinity Stones, that Steve hadn't really had time to just sit and chat with Tony. And Steve realized he missed it, just hanging out with Tony during down time.

Even now, having Tony here next to him, practically sitting in Steve's lap, it was nice. Sure, this was technically work related, but that didn't mean Steve couldn't enjoy it. He breathed in, catching the way Tony smelled and feeling the heat of Tony's leg pressed against Steve's inner thigh. It would be nice if he could just pull Tony in close, maybe just rest his head on Tony's shoulder. And maybe Tony would wrap his arms around Steve and hold him and they could just kiss slowly, no rush, just nice and easy.

"Got it!" Tony called as he pulled the helmet off Steve's head.

Steve gasped and sat up straight, blinking rapidly as he tried to bring himself back to the present.

Tony gaped at him, then laughed, "Did you fall asleep?"

Steve rubbed his eyes, "Yeah, sorry. My energy is pretty low, I haven't eaten yet."

Tony grabbed the smoothie off the desk and pushed it into Steve's hands. "Here, it's got protein in it. Should hold you over till you can get something more substantial. Why didn't you at least grab a PowerBar before coming down? You and Barnes have them stashed everywhere."

Steve drank the smoothie, grateful for something to fill his stomach and to distract him from the dream/fantasy he'd just been having about Tony. "I'm out of them in my apartment. Buck offered to grab me some from the kitchen but I just wanted to get this taken care of," Steve said, indicating the helmet Tony was still holding.

Tony tossed the helmet aside. "Next time eat something first. I take it as an insult when people fall asleep on me." Tony said, smirking.

Steve rolled his eyes.

Tony was studying the side of Steve's face again. "And maybe have Bruce look at this, make sure your brain didn't get knocked around." Tony ran his fingertips along Steve's jaw and up into his hairline. He was still standing close, legs straddling Steve's knee. Steve wasn't unused to Tony invading his personal space, it was just that Steve really needed a little room to pull himself together after that slip he had made earlier with the fantasizing.

Steve gulped down some more bad tasting smoothie to hide how his breathing was a little unsteady. There wasn't much left so Steve was left with an empty glass and nothing to hide his feelings. He frowned down at it, but realized it made for a good excuse to leave. He looked up at Tony, ready to give his excuse and stand up, only to stop short when he realized Tony was looking at his mouth.

Then Tony was swiping his thumb across Steve's mouth, wiping away a bit of smoothie. Normally Steve would have been able to handle it, maybe even crack a joke about Tony acting like a mother hen. Instead Steve let out a small whimper of arousal.

Tony froze, hand still on Steve's jaw, eyes wide in surprise.

Steve opened his mouth to say something, make some excuse about how tired he was. But nothing came out, he just sat there, staring back at Tony.

Tony didn't say anything either, but the look of surprise was gone, replaced by something that looked thoughtful and maybe a little longing.

Steve knew that all he had to do was stand up, use his bulk to push Tony back, and he could leave. He knew Tony wouldn't try to stop him and would probably let whatever had happened go.

Or Steve could stay still.

Staying still could be one of the hardest things in the world, especially when you were used to acting. But Steve stayed still as Tony alternated between looking Steve in the eye and glancing longingly at his mouth. And he somehow managed to stay still when Tony, a determined look on his face, leaned down and lightly pressed their lips together. When Steve parted his lips Tony took the invitation and deepened the kiss. Steve tilted his head up to get a better angle and return the kiss.

Tony was anything but hesitant now. He wrapped both arms around Steve, one hand cupping the back of Steve's neck, the other pulling their chests together. When Steve felt Tony's hot tongue brush his own, he let out a moan.

"Steve," Tony gasped against his mouth.

Steve managed to find a flat surface to shove the empty glass he was holding onto. Having both hands free, he grabbed Tony around the waist and pulled him up into his lap. He could feel Tony's dick pressing against his stomach as the kissing was becoming more and more frantic, and Steve suddenly couldn't remember if Tony had a couch in his workshop or not. It seemed like the most important thing in the world right now. Was there or was there not a couch in here?

Then FRIDAY spoke up. "Boss, Sargent Barnes has just exited the elevator and is on his way here."

Tony pulled back from Steve, gasping for breath. His mouth was red and swollen and his hair and shirt were in an obvious state of disarray. Steve was sure he didn’t look much better. At least his uniform had already been in a bit of disarray before he'd gotten there.

"Huh." Was all Tony got out before Bucky walked in. Then Tony was at a table, back to Steve and Bucky as he fiddled with something.

"Hey, you got your helmet off," Bucky said. He'd thought it was hilarious that Steve couldn't get it off and had been lying on Steve's couch, laughing his head off, while Steve had struggled with it.

"Yeah, no thanks to you," Steve said, surprised at how even his voice sounded. He still must have looked flushed because Bucky was looking a little concerned.

"You okay?" Bucky asked. He glanced over Steve's shoulder at Tony. He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Everything okay in here?"

Steve was about to say how everything was fine, fortunately Tony spoke up first.

"You need to get him to eat something, he was practically passing out earlier." Tony said, casually, not turning around. "Also, I need a new protein drink, the berry flavored kind not the vanilla."

Bucky snorted. "Yeah, I'll get right on that." Bucky slung an arm over Steve's shoulder. "Come on, Sam ordered us Indian food, it should be here soon."

Steve followed Bucky, glancing back once to see that Tony still hadn't turned around.

Steve tried to pay attention through dinner so as not to arouse suspicion. Sam and Bucky were bantering back and forth about the earlier battle. Bucky was teasing Sam about his inability to tell Bullseye and Hawkeye apart ever since Bullseye had taken to wearing a costume very similar to Clint’s.

When the Avengers had had their falling out during the Sakovia Accords fiasco, a group of villains, led by Norman Osborn of all people, had assumed the Avenger's identities and become the new "heroes", known as the Dark Avengers. Naturally it hadn't ended well. Osborn was in jail, but some of the villains were still pretending to be Avengers and causing trouble.

“There's two guys running around in purple outfits with bows and arrows!” Sam protested. “It's hard to keep track of who's who.”

"He's got a point Buck," Steve said, grinning. There had been a few times Steve had looked up in the battle and had to take a second to figure out which archer he was looking at. "Clint wants to bring the paint arrows he uses during training next time so he can tag Bullseye in bright orange."

Sam and Bucky both snorted in laughter.

"Speaking of next time," Bucky said, glancing at Steve. "You know who would have been helpful today?"

Steve groaned. "Buck, not now, okay?"

Bucky was persistent, "Look, all I'm saying is it would have been nice to have another guy who could have taken on Juggernaut. Then maybe you wouldn't have gotten thrown through a wall."

Steve suddenly lost interest in his Korma curry. He was getting tired of having this argument again and again with Bucky. "This has already been decided, Loki is only going out on missions that concern Infinity Stones. It's for his own protection."

Bucky rolled his eyes. "Don't give me that bullshit. The only reason Loki has been benched is because the Good ol' Boys of the Avengers don't like him."

"You wouldn't like him either if you'd had to stop him from taking over the planet." Steve pointed out.

Bucky shoved his half eaten meal away. "I told you, he was being controlled by Thanos. He wasn't actually trying to take over anything."

"He wasn't trying?" Steve stared at Bucky in disbelief. "Was he not trying when he took over Clint's mind? Was he not trying when he killed Shield agents? Was he not trying when he purposely set the Hulk loose and nearly got Natasha killed? Was he not trying when his alien army killed hundreds of innocent civilians? How is any of that excusable?"

Bucky scoffed, "Well then nothing I've done is excusable either."

Steve felt his temper snap. "Your situation was Not the same as Loki's!"

"Why? Cause I'm Captain America's friend?" Steve couldn't miss the way Bucky put a snarl into the word friend. "I get a free pass?"

"You were being controlled by Hydra. You didn't have a choice."

"Loki didn't have a choice either!"

"He still had his free will." Steve said, trying to regain control of himself and the situation. "You had been brainwashed by Hydra, your free will was gone. Loki on the other hand was still able to make his own decisions." Steve ignored Bucky's snort, "He could have told us what was going on instead of attacking everyone."

"He couldn't without alerting Thanos!"

It was Steve's turn to scoff, "Really? Loki the Trickster god couldn't have figured out a way around that?"

Bucky scowled at Steve. "So that's it, you've made up your mind and you're just never going to give him a second chance."

"Having him be part of the team would mean I have to be able to trust him with my life and the life of the team. And that is never going to happen!"

Steve stared Bucky down for a few seconds. He could tell Bucky was hurt but he was hurt himself. Bucky was supposed to be siding with Steve, that's how it had always gone. That was, until Loki showed up and Bucky had decided to befriend him.

Bucky suddenly stood up from the table. And before Steve could stop him, he'd stormed out. Steve called after him several times but it didn't do any good. Steve pushed his own food away with a weary sigh.

Through the whole argument Sam had been quiet. Now he put down his fork and clasped Steve on the shoulder. “Just let him cool off some, then go talk to him.”

“I don't understand this obsession with making Loki part of the team.” Steve said in frustration.

“Really? You don't see it?” Sam asked.

Steve gave a puzzled frown. “See what?”

"Bucky feels he and Loki have had a similar lot in life."

Steve was floored by this statement. "What? Are you serious? Bucky and Loki are nothing alike!"

Sam shrugged, "Bucky thinks so."

Steve shook his head, like that would help him understand what Sam was saying. "Why?"

"Well, they were both captured and then forced to do things they didn't want to." Sam said, talking calmly despite Steve's lack of calm. Or maybe because of it.

"It's not the same," Steve instead. How could Bucky ever think that what he did under Hydra's control was anything akin to Loki attacking Earth. "If he needs someone to compare himself to then why not Natasha? Their situations are much more similar."

"Nat's wounds aren't as fresh," Sam said, "They're old and scarred over. Plus, Nat never did anything to directly hurt anyone on the team when she was one of the bad guys." Sam gave Steve a rueful smile. "You know Bucky still hasn't forgiven himself for nearly killing you." Steve started to protest again when Sam stopped him with a raised hand. "I know, you don't blame him. Doesn't mean he's stopped blaming himself. And he and Stark only tolerate each other, which also means Rhodey barely tolerates him. I think he likes having someone around who gets more dirty looks than him."

Steve frowned down at his plate. "He get's dirty looks? Why didn't he tell me?"

Sam shrugged again, "Maybe you should ask him yourself," he suggested.

Steve sat at the table for a while, thinking things over. Thinking about what Sam said, what Bucky had said, and about Tony. He wanted to go find Tony, maybe talk to him about the kiss earlier. But he also needed to talk to Bucky, clear the air a bit. Finally he decided he would go talk to Bucky first and then Tony.

He stood up decisively and started clearing away dinner, only to have Sam stop him. "Leave it, I'll take care of it. You go make up with your best friend."

Steve paused, looking down at Sam. "You know you're an important friend to me too, right?"

Sam laughed, "We're not in high school, I am aware you can have more than one close friend." Then he stood up and pulled the plate out of Steve's hands. "Go on, I got this."

Steve smiled gratefully at Sam, then he left to go find Bucky.

He was relatively easy to find since he had only gone down to Thor's apartment. Thor wasn't there, he had a date with Jane tonight, so it was just Bucky and Loki sitting on the couch watching TV. Loki looked up when Steve came in, but Bucky pointedly ignored him.

Steve eyed the TV, "Is that a cooking show?" he asked, hesitantly.

Loki was the one to answer him. "The rest of your entertainment is either boring drivel or filled with romanticized notions. Instructional shows are the only thing I can stomach."

Steve watched the show for a minute. He recognized the star as Bobby Flay, having met him at a charity function once. He was showing how to make a grilled chicken dish. "Are you learning a lot about cooking then?" Steve asked.

Loki did a small motion with his head, that Steve had come to understand was his version of shrugging his shoulders. "I have, mostly because it is just simple alchemy so I find it easy to follow the instructions. Unfortunately," Loki said, scowling slightly, "Thor has taken to watching them with me."

"And that's a problem because ..?" Steve expected Loki to answer with something about Thor being an oaf and how he's sick of Thor's attempts to renew their bond as brothers. Instead, the answer was nothing close to that.

"He's started cooking for us." Loki said, with a long suffering sigh. "And he makes a terrible mess everytime."

Steve couldn't help but laugh. He knew that Thor did indeed make a huge mess whenever he was in the kitchen. However, Steve had never seen him make anything more complicated than sandwiches or a boxed dinner. "Is he any good at it?"

"Yes. Also, unfortunate." Loki huffed. "If he were bad at it then he would become discouraged and stop."

It suddenly occurred to Steve that this was the longest conversation he'd had with Loki about something that wasn't related to the Infinity Stones or Thanos. He cleared his throat, feeling a bit odd about it. "I came by to talk to Bucky, in private."

Bucky just scowled at the TV.

Then Loki surprised Steve again when he stood up and made to leave. "I have an appointment with Wanda so I shall take my leave." Bucky made a noise of protest and started to get up too, only to be stopped by Loki placing a hand on his head and pushing him back down onto the couch. "Be a dear and tell me what Chef Flay uses to brine the chicken." Then Loki swept out of the room, leaving Steve and Bucky alone.

Bucky was still refusing to look at Steve so Steve just sat down on one of the recliners next to him. "Can we talk?" Steve asked. "Without the yelling and incriminations?"

Bucky scowled at the TV. "I don't know Rogers, can we?"

Steve winced at Bucky calling him Rogers. Buck only did that when he was really upset. He pressed on anyway. "Look, I just wanted to apologize. I should have tried to see things from your perspective."

Bucky eyed him. "Is that you talking or Sam?"

Steve threw his hands up. "I'm trying here Buck, cut me some slack."

"Right, cause everyone else gets cut some slack."

Steve frowned, unsure about what Bucky was trying to imply. "What do you mean?"

Bucky turned to Steve, still scowling. "I mean everyone else on the team gets forgiven for their mess ups, but not Loki."

"Loki isn't part of the team," Steve pointed out.

"Neither were Wanda and Pietro," Bucky said, jabbing a finger in the general direction of the twins apartment. "But you let them come along to help you fight Ultron without worrying that they would betray you."

Steve ran his hand through his hair, trying to figure out how to explain that to Bucky. He hadn't been there. He hadn't seen the look of guilt on Wanda's face when she had realized who they were working with. "That was- they were just kids. They didn't really understand what they were doing. Plus, they never tried to kill any of us, Loki did."

Bucky looked back at the TV where Bobby Flay was explaining about grill heat, but Bucky wasn't actually paying attention. "I tried to kill you," he said, his voice hard. "You forgave me."

Steve leaned forward and grabbed Bucky's shoulder. "None of that was your fault, you know this Buck." Steve looked at him earnestly, willing Bucky to finally forgive himself for what he did as the Winter Soldier.

Bucky just shrugged Steve's hand off. "So knowing exactly what you were doing and trying to kill an Avenger is grounds for not being trusted, is that it?"

"I, yes, it's just-"

"So what about Stark?"

Steve's stuttered attempt to explain things ground to a halt. He should have seen this coming.

"Stark tried to kill you and me in Siberia," Bucky said, his jaw clenched, eyes steely. "But the first chance you got, you went running back to him, everything forgiven just like that."

"It wasn't 'just like that', Buck." Which was true. Steve remembered the circumstances that brought the Avengers together again to fight. How hard it had been to fight along side each other again when there were so many hurt feelings. And most of it had centered around Tony.

The Avengers who had stayed with Tony felt like the others had betrayed him. And the Avengers with Steve had felt like Tony was responsible for their fugitive status. Steve had known that he needed to unite everyone and the best way to do it was for everyone to see their leaders getting along. So Steve had swallowed his pride and his hurt and extended the olive branch.

"It was necessary." Steve said. It had never sat well with Bucky, how easily Steve and Tony had patched things up. And this was not the first time they had had this argument.

Bucky scoffed, "Sure, necessary. And you pining for him the whole time we were in Wakanda had nothing to do with it."

Steve opened his mouth to give his usual come back about not pining, until he suddenly thought of how he'd kissed Tony earlier. He had one crazy moment where he almost came out and told Bucky about it. He quickly came to his senses, now was not the time.

Steve tried to get his brain in gear again, especially since Bucky was giving him an odd look. "I- I wasn't- What does this have to do with Loki?"

"You can't just change the rules-"

The alarm that let them know when the Avenger's were needed went off right then.

"What's going on FRIDAY?" Steve asked, standing up.

"The Dark Avengers have escaped from the prison transport and are heading back to New York."

Steve sighed, "Of course they are." Steve pulled his phone out of his pocket and activated the app Tony had installed on it to connect him to the intercom system in the Tower. "Avengers Assemble!" He called into the phone. He turned to Bucky, who was also standing. "Can we stop fighting each other long enough to go fight the bad guys?"

Bucky didn't answer, just stormed out of Thor's apartment. Steve sighed again before following him out to go get suited up.



It took most of the evening to recapture the Dark Avengers. At one point Tony tried to talk to Steve, but he only got as far as, "So about earlier-" When he was cut off by Venom, arriving on the scene and they were back to fighting for their lives.

Spiderman showed up halfway through and was instrumental in catching Venom.

Somehow, Deadpool ended up in the middle of the fight between Hulk and Juggernaut. When Steve asked Hawkeye for an update, Hawkeye had answered in a stunned and confused voice, "Well, the fight's over."

Concerned by how off Hawkeye sounded, Steve started heading in the direction he'd last seen Hulk, demanding more information from Hawkeye. "Who won?"

"Um, Deadpool did?" Hawkeye replied, like he was unsure.

"What? How?"

"I honestly have no idea. And I was watching the whole thing too."

Steve turned a corner and stopped dead at the sight that greeted him. Hulk and Juggernaut were both down and Deadpool was standing on top of Juggernauts unconscious form.

As soon as Wade saw Steve, he ran over and was asking Steve to sign his limited edition Captain America lunch box.

When they finally rounded up all the Dark Avengers, Steve made the call that this time they should be the ones to escort the prisoners to the Raft. Which took the rest of the night. They got back to the Tower around four in the morning and everyone just collapsed in exhaustion. After a few hours of sleep, Steve was up and was determined to talk to Bucky and Tony. Not together, of course.

He managed to track down Bucky in the gym and tried again to apologize. It went a little better than the night before and Steve agreed to cut Loki some more slack and keep Clint from harassing him as much as he could.

Steve met up with Tony for a morning conference call they had scheduled with Maria. Steve got there just as Maria's face came up on a screen so he had to wait until after the call to talk to Tony.

Steve tried really hard to concentrate on what Maria was briefing them on, but Tony seemed determined to distract him. Normally with these calls, Tony had his tablet with him and was working on several different things while only half paying attention to Maria. Today, however, he'd placed his tablet down on the table top and hadn't touched it since the meeting started. Instead, his focus had been on Steve.

Steve was used to Tony leaning into his space, touching him, and making innuendos. It was always sort of just a casual thing Tony did, now it was very much intentional.

Steve pulled up a memo that Maria sent him and Tony leaned over, slinging one arm around Steve's shoulders and placing his hand on Steve's thigh. Steve ignored him at first, like he usually did, until Tony started rubbing circles on Steve's thigh with his thumb. Steve stuttered over what he was saying to Maria and he saw Tony's small smirk out of the corner of his eye.

When Steve closed out the memo, Tony leaned back and took his hand off Steve's thigh. Which had Steve equal parts relieved and disappointed. Tony moved the arm on Steve's shoulder down his back to rest on the back of Steve's chair. After a minute, Steve forgot about it, once again focused on talking with Maria about several global threats they were keeping an eye on. Then Tony started to trace a figure eight pattern on Steve's back with the tips of his fingers. It was slow and lazy and very distracting.

Then when it was Tony's turn to talk to Maria about the tech upgrades he'd made, he leaned back, but not before running his hand down the back of the chair so he could do a quick grab at Steve's ass. Steve nearly made a strangled noise at that point and Maria got the long suffering look she adopted whenever Tony was misbehaving.

By the time the conference call was over, Steve was ready to grab Tony, shove him to the floor, and do every dirty thing he could think of. So naturally, they got a distress call from a battleship in the Atlantic that was being attacked by a sea monster.

Steve accidentally snapped the stylist he was holding in half.

By the time they got back from dealing with the monster it was late evening. Steve had eaten three Powerbars on the way back so he decided to shower before finding more to eat. Bucky and Sam had decided to go the Upstate facility to meet with a delegation of Wakanda scientists, so Steve was alone in his apartment when there came a knock at the door.

It was odd. Usually people rang the little chime or just asked FRIDAY to let Steve know they wanted to come in. No one ever knocked.

Curious, Steve answered the door.

Standing in the hall was Tony, dressed in nice slacks and jacket.

"You knocked," Steve said, a little dumbfounded.

"Yes I did," Tony said, actually sounding a little nervous. "I thought you might appreciate a little old timeyness. Any way," Tony rushed forward before Steve could say anything, "I was wondering if you wanted to get some dinner? There's this new sushi place that opened up around the corner, nearly impossible to get a reservation. Not for me of course. So I called Pepper to get us one, only to have her remind me that she's not my assistant anymore-"

"I don't really like sushi," Steve interjected, knowing Tony could go on forever if allowed.

Tony paused, momentarily looking chagrin. "Right, yes, I knew that. You know what, just forget this whole thing here. I'm just gonna," Tony stepped out of the doorway and swiped his hand over the sensor to shut the door.

Steve stood there in front of the closed door for a few seconds trying to puzzle out Tony's odd behavior. The engineer had seemed nervous, flustered even. And why was he asking Steve to go out for sushi when- Steve slapped a hand to his forehead. Tony had been trying to ask him out on a date. And Steve had effectively said 'no'.

Steve slammed his hand against the pad to reopen the door, intent on running after Tony.

Only to be caught short by Tony standing on the other side of the door, hand raised to knock. "Oh." Tony lowered his hand and stepped back. "I was going to knock, again. So hey, I was wondering if you wanted to go get pizza?"

"Yes!" Steve said, as quick as he could.

"Not fancy pizza," Tony clarified, seemingly not hearing Steve. "Normal New York style with normal toppings."

"Tony," Steve tried again, trying not to smile too much, "I'd love to go get pizza with you."

Tony's face lit up, "Yeah? Okay, great! Um, I need just two minutes, so just, I don't know, go make yourself pretty. Well, prettier. Okay. Two minutes." Tony closed the door again.

Steve rushed to his closet and pulled out one of the nice button up shirts Nat had helped him pick out the last time they'd gone shopping. She'd said the blue complimented his eyes. He also grabbed a pair of slacks and his nice shoes. He hurriedly got dressed then fixed his hair in the mirror. He was just finishing up when he heard knocking. He rushed to answer the door for Tony.

He was greeted by Tony raking his eyes over him, "Yup, definitely prettier. Shall we go?"

Steve walked to the elevator with Tony. They rode it down to the sub basement and Steve was expecting Tony to head toward his cars so he was surprised when Tony steered them to the exit. "It's a nice night, and we're not going far," Tony explained, "thought we could walk."

Steve couldn't help smiling, "Sounds great." He grabbed a pair of sunglasses and a hat off the shelf where all the Avenger's stashed similar items for when they didn't want to be recognized while walking around town. Tony always had a pair of sunglasses on him so he pulled them out and put them on.

It was a nice night, Steve thought, as they walked towards their destination. He wasn't sure where Tony was taking him, but he really didn't care. He was just happy to be out with Tony.

It suddenly hit him that he was really out on a date with Tony. He suddenly felt a little nervous at the idea.

They turned down an alley and ended up at the backdoor of one of Steve's favorite pizza places. Tony rang the buzzer under the little sign that read 'Deliveries'. Louie, the owner, immediately opened the door and ushered them in. He must have been expecting them because he immediately led them to a staircase and up to the roof.

The roof had a canopy on it that was woven with lights so it lit up like a Christmas tree. There was a small table in the center that was covered with a checkered cloth and set for two. A few tea lights glowing in the center, and nearby was a bottle of wine chilling in a bucket of ice.

Louie sat them at the table, asked if Steve wanted his usual, then disappeared back inside.

Steve looked around in wonder. "I had no idea this was up here?" He eyed Tony suspiciously. "Or is this what you were arranging during those two minutes?"

Tony chuckled, "No. Well, sort of. Louie has had this set up for awhile. You can reserve it for special occasions, though most of those special occasions tend to be for when he wants a quiet evening with his wife. I knew about it, but never had the chance to use it before now. So I called Louie up to see if it was free." Tony shrugged, "Seemed like something you'd enjoy."

Steve nodded, "It is. Thanks."

Louie reappeared, and he must have started making Steve's usual order as soon as Tony had called. There was no other explanation for how he'd gotten an extra large meat combo pizza, a plate of spaghetti and meat balls, and two orders of garlic knots ready so quickly. Steve watched as Louie and one of the servers set up the meal, realizing there was nothing for Tony. "What are you going to have?" Steve asked.

Tony eyed the food in front of them, then raised an eyebrow at Steve. "I'm sure I'll manage something." Steve ducked his head a little self consciously. He did always order a lot when ever the team went out. But then again, he usually had teammates stealing from his plates, so he'd learned to get a little extra.

Louie poured them each a glass of wine, Steve noticed it was an expensive brand that Louie didn't normally carry, and asked them if they wanted any music. Apparently his brother was an accomplished musician and could play the accordion or violin for them.

Tony immediately scoffed. "This is not going to turn into Lady and The Tramp."

Louie laughed out loud, before leaving them to their dinner.

"Lady and The Tramp?" Steve asked as he dished out pasta for him and Tony.

"You know, the Disney film. The one with the two dogs, and they have a date outside an Italian place. They do the noodle bit."

It clicked in Steve's head. He remembered it now. He also remembered Sam explaining to him that that scene was very iconic. "I liked that part," Steve said. "It was sweet."

Tony shrugged, "Sure, the first time you see it. But now it's so over done that it's become cliché. The whole having your first date at a romantic Italian place. Sharing pasta." Tony looked down at the plate of spaghetti Steve had placed in front of him, then he glanced around, as if realizing for the first time where he was. "You know what, this, this was a bad idea. I can do better than this. Let me do better." Tony was pulling his phone out of his jacket and turning it on when Steve stopped him by grabbing his hand, phone and all.

They were seated close together at the small table, so Steve could easily lean close to look Tony in the eyes. "Tony, this is perfect," he said. "Really. You couldn't do any better if you tried."

Tony was looking down at his hand, Steve's larger hand covering it almost completely. He cleared his throat, "Okay. Well if you insist." Tony made no move to pull his hand away.

"I do, I love it." Steve gave Tony's hand a gentle squeeze before releasing it. Tony let his hand stay in place for a second longer, before reluctantly pulling it away.

They started eating in silence, which was odd, cause Tony was never silent. Steve could feel that nervous feeling creeping back up on him when Tony suddenly spoke up again.

"Engagement rings in champagne, also cliché."

Steve nearly choked on his wine. "What?"

"And in dessert. Very cliché."

Steve laughed, "Anything else?"

"Moonlight rides in a horse drawn carriage."

"I thought that looked like fun."

Tony rolled his eyes, "Please, those are just for tourists."

They started talking about all the things Tony insisted were cliché, then the conversation turned to what tourists did when Steve was a kid. That turned into a animated debate about whether or not food tasted better now or if it was better back in the Forties. Surprisingly it was Tony who was arguing that food was better when it had been organic and without pesticides. Steve's argument was that when he was a kid they were too poor to buy things like tomatoes and oranges were only available at Christmas time, so it didn't matter what they tasted like. Which naturally lead to a discussion on Steve's need to buy a case of oranges, shipped from Florida, for Christmas.

The night wore on and Steve and Tony ate pizza and pasta while they talked and talked. Any nervous feeling Steve had had long since faded. Louie checked on them a few times, brought more pizza and garlic knots, but for the most part they were alone. When the food and wine was finally all gone and Steve realized how late it had gotten, he said something about leaving.

Tony immediately protested. "But, we haven't had dessert yet."

As if he had been waiting for this signal, Louie reappeared with a tray of cannolis and two cappuccinos.

"What were you doing?" Steve asked suspiciously after Louie had left. "Texting Louie without me noticing?"

"No, of course not." Tony said, looking shocked that Steve would suggest such a thing. "My focus is wholly on you." After a slight pause, Tony added, "FRIDAY was doing the texting."

Tony looked so mischievous and smug that Steve couldn't help himself, he leaned over and kissed Tony gently on the lips. He pulled back after just a moment, smiling at Tony. "It was very thoughtful of her."

Tony looked a little stunned, like he hadn't expected Steve to initiate a kiss. "Oh, yeah, no problem."

Steve couldn't help a small smirk, that he tried to hide by sipping his cappuccino. Tony saw it anyway, which was probably why he did what he did next.

Tony picked up his own drink and took a sip, then, very casually, leaned into Steve's space so he could grab a cannoli. He slid a hand onto Steve's thigh, under the guise of steadying himself, but when he pulled back he left his hand there.

Steve turned his body so he was angled towards Tony just a bit more. They ate cannolis and drank their coffee, all the while initiating little touches.

Steve brushed his hand down Tony's arm, letting it linger before pulling away.

Steve swiped a finger through the filling of his cannoli and licked it clean while Tony watched a little breathless. Steve told Tony the story of the first time he had a cannoli during a mission in Italy during the war. He and the other Howling Commandos had taken shelter in a small barn in the countryside. They had thought it abandoned, but an elderly couple still lived in the farmhouse. Instead of reporting them, the couple invited them in, fed them, and the woman made them a fresh batch of cannolis with the last of the cream from their only cow.

"Hmm, so that's why you like them so much," Tony noted.

Tony commented on how Steve's hair, somehow, never got flattened by his helmet. He punctuated his comment by lightly dragging his fingers through Steve's hair. When Tony dropped his hand down, Steve caught it and twined their fingers together.

They kept moving closer and closer, until their knees were touching. Then their shoulders.

It was late, Steve realized. The flames on the tealights had long since flickered out and the noises of New York had diminished around them, as much as they could in the city that never sleeps. The coffee cups were empty and only a half eaten cannoli remained on Tony's plate.

Steve had turned himself almost completely to face Tony, and they were only separated by about a foot. He really wanted to kiss Tony again, was actually expecting Tony to initiate something. Then he wondered why he was waiting. He reached out and cupped the back of Tony's head with one hand. He heard the small hitch of Tony's breath as he leaned in. Steve started out gentle again, just barely pressing his lips to Tony's, feeling the soft warmth of the other man's mouth. Then he pressed in a little harder, parting his lips to capture Tony's mouth with his own.

Tony responded in kind, letting Steve take charge and dictate the pace. When Steve slipped his tongue into Tony's mouth he tasted of coffee. Steve pulled Tony closer as he deepened the kiss. Tony slid his hands down Steve's back and grabbed his ass.

Steve suddenly remembered that they were technically in a public place. He pulled back reluctantly. "We should probably not do this here," he said, looking around. "Never know when someone with a camera is watching." Most paparazzi had learned not to get in Steve's face after several had had their cameras crushed. But Steve knew there was always at least a dozen or so prowling the area around Avengers Tower, hoping to get a picture, even if it was from a safe distance.

Tony hummed, bending his head to nuzzle against Steve's neck. "Don't worry, I made a thing that ionizes the air around us in such a way that videos and such don't work." Tony nipped at Steve's neck and started moving lower, talking the whole time. "Invisible to the naked eye, but any photos will have so much lens flare that it'll look like a Tinkerbell party." Tony nudged the collar of Steve's shirt out of the way with his nose so he could lick at Steve's collar bone. "I actually got the idea when I was trying to figure out how Loki's illusions worked. See, he actually does something similar-"

"Tony," Steve groaned, trying to keep some semblance of restraint as Tony drove him crazy with his mouth.

"Hmm?" The vibration of Tony's mouth against Steve's neck made Steve gasp.

"We should, um, let's go. Now."

Tony sucked on Steve's neck for a brief moment, and Steve nearly lost it, before moving up to whisper in Steve's ear. "Where do you want to go, Steve?"

The tickle of Tony's breath on Steve's ear made him shudder in pleasure. "Your place." Steve whispered back. Tony was immediately standing up and pulling Steve along with him.

They said goodnight to Louie and thanked him for staying open late. Steve felt a little guilty that they had stayed so long when he saw that it was well after One in the morning. Louie didn't seem to care though, he waved off Steve's apologies and wished them a pleasant night.

The walk back to Avenger's Tower seemed longer than it should have been. Maybe it was because Steve had an arm wrapped around Tony and Tony kept finding little subtle ways to distract Steve as they walked. They had donned their disguises again and no one was paying them any attention. Either because of their public displays of affection or because Tony kept grabbing Steve's ass and it was making Steve stumble like he was drunk.

They finally made it back to the Tower, and no sooner were they in the elevator, than Steve was shoving Tony against the wall and kissing him for all he was worth. Tony let out a sinful groan as Steve pushed open his jacket and pulled his shirt up so he could touch the skin along Tony's lower back.

"You have been driving me crazy all day," Steve growled. "On purpose."

Tony smiled, "That was the plan."

"It was a horrible plan." Steve pressed their hips together and ran his hands up Tony's back.

"I'd say it, Ah!, worked out perfectly."

The doors of the elevator slid opened at Tony's penthouse. They managed to get out without separating and Tony started guiding them to the nearest couch.

Steve gripped Tony's hips to stop him. "No. Bedroom."

Tony looked at him, eyes going wide with surprise and desire. For once, Steve had been able to make Tony speechless. He just nodded and began pulling Steve towards the bedroom while simultaneously trying to devour Steve's mouth. They nearly ran into a wall, but fortunately Steve had been paying enough attention to steer them clear.

Somewhere along the way Tony managed to get Steve's shirt unbuttoned and Steve had pushed Tony's jacket off and pulled off the shirt that had been under it. When their naked chests pressed together Steve moaned into Tony's mouth. Tony, in turn, was gasping Steve's name over and over again. Steve grabbed Tony's ass and pulled him up so that their groins could grind together. "Steve! Fuck!"

They made it to the bedroom and Steve pushed Tony down onto the bed, careful not to crush him under his own weight as he followed him down. Tony began pushing Steve's up, trying to get it off. Steve sat back to pull it off and Tony used the opportunity to attack Steve's belt.

Steve was hard and quickly becoming desperate. He pushed back down on Tony, trying to kiss him everywhere while at the same time trying to get Tony's pants undone. But he was becoming uncoordinated and he didn't have nearly as much experience as Tony, so it was no surprise Tony easily got Steve's pants undone.

Steve whimpered in relief when Tony pulled his slacks down just enough that his cock could pop free. Then Steve was throwing his head back and crying out when Tony wrapped his hand around Steve's cock.

Tony's eyes went wide and he was suddenly pushing Steve off of him. Confused, Steve rolled to the side so Tony could get free. He was worried he'd done something wrong, but Tony rolled with him then sat back, staring wide eyed down at Steve.


Steve felt himself blushing. Tony was staring at Steve's cock.

Tony licked his lips. "I mean, I suspected, but I had no idea." Tony said, eyes lighting up like a kid at Christmas. "This is a thing of beauty." Tentatively, Tony reached out a hand and gently caressed Steve's cock with one finger.

"Ah!" Steve cried out, back arching as pleasure shot through him.

Tony smiled. "Wow, are you always this sensitive? Or am I just that good?"

"Tony," Steve pleaded. He could feel his balls pulling in tight. He needed some kind of relief.

Tony, however, was not going to be rushed. He ran his finger back down Steve's cock eliciting another cry from Steve. "Is it a serum thing?"

Steve threw an arm over his eyes and groaned in frustration. He knew Tony was not going to let up until he got some answers. "Yes," he ground out. "And it's been a-awhile."

"I see," Tony said, as if he had just come across a particularly interesting piece of news. But there was a wicked glint in his eye that was making Steve's cock throb even harder.

Tony grabbed Steve's jeans and pulled them off slowly. Then he settled himself between Steve's legs. "Maybe we should take the edge off before going any further."

Steve couldn't help the whimper in his throat as he watched Tony lower his mouth down to Steve's groin. When Tony brushed his lips against the head Steve's mouth fell open and strained needy noises escaped. Then Tony pressed a soft kiss to the underside of Steve's shaft. It was feather light but the sensation on Steve's over sensitive cock was almost too much. "Please." He whispered.

Tony tilted his head to the side and kissed against the side of Steve's cock, still soft and gentle. Steve watched as Tony pressed little kisses all over his cock. It felt like Tony was worshiping Steve with his soft ministrations. Then Tony brought his mouth up to the tip, hovered there for a second, glanced at Steve, then swallowed half of Steve's cock down in one go.

Steve threw his head back and howled. He completely forgot himself as he grabbed Tony's head and pushed him down at the same time as he thrust his hips up. He heard and felt Tony choke but Steve's body was already locking up as he came.

As soon as he got control of himself, he let go of Tony's head. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I just lost it."

Tony sat up, wiping his mouth and staring at Steve. "That, was the hottest thing I've ever seen." He grinned, "We should absolutely do it again."

Steve managed not to roll his eyes. Instead he grabbed Tony and rolled him back down to the bed. "How about we do something else instead."

Tony moaned, "Yes, yes!"

Steve kissed Tony, the taste of coffee replaced with Steve's own flavor. He finally managed to get Tony's pants undone and he pulled back long enough for Tony to kick them off. Steve ran his hands reverently down Tony's body, feeling the muscles and the way Tony breath hitched when Steve let his thumbs dip close to his groin. "You're gorgeous," Steve whispered as he moved back up Tony's body.

Tony got an odd look, like he wasn't sure if he should believe Steve or not. Steve brushed his lips against Tony's collar bone. "I mean it Tony," Steve said, kissing him.

Tony rolled his eyes, "That's just cause I don't have this thing anymore." Tony tapped his chest where the arc reactor had been. His chest was completely free of scars, having been remade by Doctor Cho's cradle.

Steve moved down to kiss the area Tony had tapped, "You were beautiful even then," he said. "The first time I noticed it was after the battle of New York. You were talking to Bruce after he'd changed back to himself. He was pretty shaken up and you were taking your time to joke with him so he'd calm down. You were a complete mess, armor scuffed and bent, hair plastered with sweat." Steve stopped, remembering that day. "I was actually watching you cause I was worried you were going to collapse any minute."

"This is a compliment?"

Steve pressed on, "Despite how awful you looked on the outside, I was able to see you for the first time. And you're gorgeous."

Tony surged up, locked his arms around Steve's neck and kissed him with so much passion that Steve felt himself getting hard again. Tony used tongue and teeth in a way Steve had never experienced or even seen before, and he used to tour the country with chorus girls.

Steve pushed Tony back, lifted his hips up, and pressed his cock against Tony's ass. Tony let out a muffled cry, then wrenched his mouth away from Steve long enough to point desperately in the direction of the bedside table and gasp, "There, over there, in the thing."

Steve got the idea and reached over Tony to open the small drawer to search for the lube. He hadn't realized the move would put his chest over Tony's mouth until Tony started licking and biting at Steve's nipple. Steve forgot what he was supposed to be doing as he got lost in the sensation of Tony's mouth.


"What?" Steve gasped.

"Get the lube."

"I'm- you're being very distracting."

Tony chuckled, "No, you're the one who's distracting, with all this muscle and these delicious pecs." Tony swirled his tongue around Steve's nipple in such a way that sent a shiver of pleasure through Steve's body.

Steve made a valiant effort to ignore Tony and grabbed the bottle of lube. He then let himself enjoy Tony's ministrations for a bit longer before sitting up so he could coat his fingers in lube. He nipped and kissed at the center of Tony's chest while slowly inserting one finger. Tony let out a low groan as Steve carefully opened him up.

He gave Tony's nipples some attention as he inserted a second finger.

"Steve." Tony gasped. "You're killing me. Go faster." Steve just smiled and moved down to kiss Tony's stomach.

When Steve was at three fingers and Tony was a gasping, moaning mess, Steve couldn't wait anymore. He pulled his fingers out and sat back so he was kneeling on the bed. Tony watched as Steve slicked his cock up, then Steve pulled Tony into a sitting position and maneuvered him over his lap. Steve carefully settled Tony right over his cock before he gave a small thrust up.

Tony threw his head back, "Ah! Yes!"

Steve grabbed Tony's hips and supported his weight so he could slowly lower Tony down onto his shaft.

Tony wrapped his arms around Steve's shoulders to steady himself. His eyes were shut tight and his hair was becoming damp with sweat. Steve thought it was the most wonderful thing he'd ever seen.

Tony pushed his hips down, "Come on Rogers, put it all the way in."

Steve huffed a chuckle. He tightened his grip on Tony's hips so he couldn't move. Tony opened his eyes and glared at Steve. He opened his mouth to say something, but before he could get it out, Steve thrust up and buried himself as deep as he could in Tony.

"Fuck! Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Steve, you're amazing."

Steve shifted his legs out to the side a bit to get better leverage, and then he began rocking up into Tony in a slow gentle rhythm. Tony moved a hand to the back of Steve's head and kissed him, moaning and grunting into Steve's mouth as they made love. It felt so good, the tight heat around his cock, Tony above him kissing him with heat and passion. Steve was glad he'd already come once, otherwise he'd never be able to hold on.

Tony broke off the kiss and moved his mouth down Steve's throat then back up to nibble at his ear. "Come on, Steve," Tony whispered in his ear, sending a shiver down Steve's spine. "Fuck me harder. Your cock is huge, I want to feel it pounding me."

Steve let out a groan, Tony's words igniting a fire in him. He tightened his grip around Tony's hips and sped up his thrusts.

"Oh yes, just like that. Fuck me hard babe, hard as you want."

Steve pulled Tony down onto him as he thrust up.

Tony jerked back and it moved him into just the right position because the next time Steve thrust in Tony let out a cry of pleasure. "Ah! There. Steve, right there!" Steve adjusted his grip to keep Tony in the same position so he could hit his prostate with each thrust.

Tony was slick with sweat as Steve brought him closer and closer to the edge. Steve felt his own orgasm building but pushed it down, he wanted to see Tony come first. "Tony, look at me." Steve ordered. Tony looked down at Steve, eyes wide, hair plastered to his forehead. Steve would get a particularly good hit on his prostate and Tony's eyes would squeeze shut against the pleasure, but he'd snap them back open so he could keep looking at Steve.

Steve used one arm to hold pull Tony down firmly on his lap while he reached between them with his other hand. He gripped Tony's cock and pumped it in time with his thrusts. Tony let out a broken sound, his face contorting with pleasure as he came. Steve felt warmth on his hand and stomach. And Tony never once looked away. His eyes got a far away look as he lost himself to the orgasm, but he kept them open and Steve watched in wonder as Tony came completely undone.

When Tony sucked in a breath of air and collapsed against Steve, Steve knew he couldn't last any longer. He flipped them so Tony was lying face up on the bed, then he grabbed Tony's hips again and thrust in hard and fast. He was still mindful of his strength and careful not to get too carried away, but he used Tony's body to chase his own climax. "Ton-" Steve choked out just before the wave of pleasure crashed over him. He came so hard it actually hurt and he had to let go of Tony to avoid leaving bruises.

He tried to hold himself up so he wouldn't collapse on top of Tony, but his arms gave out on him. He immediately rolled off. "Sorry," he gasped.

Tony looked at him incredulously, "Sorry? Sorry!?"

"Um, not sorry?"

"Damn right not sorry. Where in the Hell did you learn that?"

Steve wrapped an arm around Tony and nuzzled up close. "A gentleman never tells."

Tony tried to look at him, but Steve just held him closer. "A gentleman my ass."

Steve sighed dreamily. "Mmmm, your ass."

Tony nearly choked and Steve had to bury his face in the crook of Tony's neck to muffle his laughter.

They lay next to each other, still trying to catch their breath. It felt a little surreal, laying there in Tony's bed, with Tony naked next to him. He never wanted the moment to end. So he pulled Tony even closer and let himself drift off.



Steve woke with a start. He was disoriented and something had woken him, that usually meant trouble. He was half way out of the bed when he realized he was naked. His date with Tony came back to him and he remembered he was in Tony's bedroom.

And they had had sex.

A goofy grin stretched across Steve's face.

Then he realized he could hear someone whispering in the other room. That must have been what woke him up. He grabbed his boxers and moved towards the door that led to the main living area. He was about to go out and see what was wrong when he recognized Tony's voice. He didn't sound upset. In fact, he sounded happy.

Steve peaked around the door frame and saw Tony sitting on the couch having a whispered conversation on the phone.

"So then we had cappuccinos and cannolis for dessert. Did you know that the first time Steve had a cannoli was during a mission in Italy? There was this old farmhouse and- what? Oh, I don't want to wake up Steve, he's sleeping. So anyway- What? I'm in the penthouse. Where else would I be? … He's sleeping in my room. What did you think I was going to do? Kick him out after? … Yeah. Didn't I tell you that earlier? I could have sworn I did. So after dessert, wait, did I finish the story about the farmhouse?"

Steve left the doorway and padded over to the bathroom to shower. He asked FRIDAY who Tony was talking to and found out it was Rhodey, which was who Steve had suspected it was. He was just finishing up his shower when Tony came into the bathroom.

"Mind if I join you?" Tony asked, standing outside the shower completely naked.

Steve moved aside, "Sure, it's your shower. How's Rhodey?"

Tony shrugged as he stepped in to the shower, "Cranky."

Steve laughed. "Well it is almost four in the morning."

Tony just waved his hand as if the time didn't matter. "He's used to me calling him anytime, day or night. He's just upset cause I was supposed to finish the software upgrade for War Machine tonight." Tony leaned in close and ran his hands up Steve's abs. "But I had something far more important to attend to."

Showering turned into kissing and soon Steve was pressing Tony up against the shower stall. Tony wrapped his legs around Steve's waist and Steve slid easily into him. Steve was careful to block most of the water cascading down with his own body so it wouldn't hit Tony.

As they were lying in bed later, Steve had a sudden thought. "Hey, Tony?"

Tony hummed sleepily.

"Do you mind if we hold off on telling the other Avengers about us?" Tony's eyes were suddenly wide open and he looked slightly alarmed. Steve hurried on before Tony's thought process could convince him that Steve was ashamed of being with Tony. "I just want to tell Bucky first, cause I don't think he's going to take the news very well."

The look of alarm was replaced by a thoughtful expression, followed immediately by understanding. "Yeah, you're probably right. I'll tell Rhodey to keep a lid on things for now." And before Steve could tell him to leave Rhodey alone, Tony had grabbed his phone and sent off a text. A minute later he got a reply.

Steve was snuggled up to Tony so he could see his phone's screen. "He sent you the poopy emoji." He noted with a raised eyebrow.

Tony tossed the phone on to the night stand. "It's his way of saying he loves and cares for me."

Steve felt an overwhelming surge of affection and realized he was completely in love with Tony. He wanted to tell him, but knew Tony wouldn't take it well. Instead he wrapped his arms around Tony and held him while they slept.



Steve really did mean to tell Bucky about him and Tony. It was just hard to do when you were having your busiest week in over a month. The Dark Avengers kept escaping from prison and coming back to New York. It was finally decided that they must want something in the city, so they spent a whole day figuring out what it was. Turns out it was an Infinity Stone that Osborn had found and hidden in a vault that was immune to any of Tony's scans. It took them almost a whole nother day to find the vault, break into it, fight off the Dark Avengers and retrieve the Stone.

They brought Loki along with them and Steve had to admit Bucky was right, Loki was very useful against Juggernaut. Loki led the human wrecking ball on a merry chase as Juggernaut blindly ran at each and everyone of Loki's illusions.

After the fight Bucky went with the group that was escorting the Dark Avengers back to prison while Steve went with Tony to take the Infinity Stone to the Tower.

With all the chaos the past few days, Steve had found it hard to have any time alone with Tony. At most he was able to sneak up to the Penthouse at night. They had decided that once they had the Stone taken care of, they would spend a night in. Steve was looking forward to it, until Bucky showed up at his door.

"What are you doing here?" Steve blurted out when Bucky walked through the door.

Bucky shot a puzzled look at Steve, "Hello to you too."

Steve immediately tried to recover, "I just mean, you were supposed to go out to the Raft with the Dark Avengers."

Bucky shrugged off his tactical gear and dumped it next to the couch. "Turns out the Raft can only handle so many prison breaks in one week. They need some time to repair it so Coulson had us drop them off at that facility that's used to put Inhumans in stasis. The Dark Avengers are having a nice little nap while the Raft is fixed." Bucky sat down on the couch and pulled his boots off. "I'm so fucking tired." He looked up at Steve, noticing the clothes he was wearing. "What are you all dressed up for? Got a hot date?"

Steve tried not to blush, but Bucky's laugh let him know he was unsuccessful.

Bucky laid himself out on the couch. "Don't let me keep you. I'm just gonna pass out right here."

Steve stood there for a moment, indecisive. He really wanted to go spend time with Tony, but he also really needed to tell Bucky that he was dating Tony. He decided that if he told Bucky now, then it would be out of the way. And then they could tell the rest of the team which would mean he and Tony wouldn't have to hide their relationship anymore.

Steeling himself for the argument that was sure to follow, Steve walked over to the couch. Only to realize Bucky had already fallen asleep. Steve sighed, then pulled out his phone to text only to see Tony had already sent him a text letting him know he was almost back to the Tower. Steve went to his room and started getting undressed from his date clothes while texting Tony. He blushed a little when Tony sent a particularly dirty text about Steve fucking Tony senseless. 

Steve went to bed early, tired from the days battle and not feeling like staying up and dwelling on the fact that Tony was just a few floors up.

Steve was woken up about an hour later by a warm body pressing next to him in the bed. "Tony!" he gasped in surprise. "I thought we agreed I'd see you tomorrow." He could see the Iron Man armor standing in the corner and guessed Tony had used it to fly into Steve's bedroom.

"I know," Tony said, puling his tie off and tossing it aside, "Then I thought, if I was super quiet, flew in through the window, and then convinced you to get naked, we could still at least have some sex."

As Tony spoke he stripped down and Steve found himself reaching out to touch him, even as he protested. "Bucky is in the next room. He could hear us."

Tony leaned down to kiss Steve. "Then it'll make it extra exciting."

And it was. The constant danger of waking Bucky lent a thrill that had Steve's nerves singing. He pushed Tony down into the mattress and thrust into him hard and fast while Tony used a pillow to muffle his cries. Steve whispered into Tony's ear about how beautiful he was, how good he felt, and how he was making Steve get closer and closer, knowing that his words were driving Tony crazy and making it harder for him to stay quiet. When Steve came he had to bite down on his own arm to keep himself from shouting.  



Steve woke up early the next morning. Tony had already made his escape, the only evidence he'd been there was his tie left discarded on the floor. Steve picked it up, folded it neatly and placed it on his bedside table so he'd remember to give it back to Tony later.

He did a quick run then got Bucky's favorite breakfast of bagels and a mocha from the coffee house near the Tower. He hoped to put Bucky in a good mood before telling him about Tony. He was almost to the door of his apartment when the call to assemble sounded.

Steve almost cursed he was so frustrated.

Bucky came stumbling out of his apartment, already half dressed. "Stevie! There you are." He tossed Steve's tactical suit at him. "Let's suit up. Is that coffee for me? Ooo and bagels." Bucky grabbed the cup with his name on it and stuffed a bagel in his mouth. He said something that sounded like, "Let's go." Then took off down the hall carrying his rifle and Steve's shield.



They thought they had found an Infinity Stone, but instead they found themselves in the middle of an ambush of Doombots.

Steve got rushed by five bots at once and was separated from the rest of the team. Falcon got himself free from the bot he was fighting and let Steve know he was coming to back him up. Steve bashed away at Doombots with his shield, trying to break free. He turned to deflect the blast of a bot, only to have another bot tackle him and knock his shield away. He activated the magnet on his arm to bring the shield back to him, except it was being held firmly by the bot to his left.

Then all the Doombots backed away from Steve. They still had him cut off, but they weren't attacking. A feeling of dread settled over Steve. Then Doom appeared in front of Steve.

"Guys," Steve called over the comms. "I've got Doom here."

Doom raised his hands and Steve recognized the pose as the one Doom took when he was going to do magic. Steve tried to dive out of the way, but was hit by the spell before he could even move.


He heard Sam's cry, not over the comms, but from nearby. Then his head felt like it was being split open.

Chapter Text

Steve! STEVE! Wake up dammnit!" 

Someone was leaning over him and shaking him. 

"The Tesseract has powered down. Are you getting any sort of response from Rogers?" 

"I think he might be coming around." 

He was shaken again and the movement jolted him to full consciousness because of the blinding pain that slashed through his head. 

"Ah! Buck, stop it." Steve pushed against Bucky's chest with one hand while he clutched his head with the other.  

"Steve, you okay?" Bucky asked, relief evident in his voice.  

Steve cracked an eye open to see Bucky's face only inches away. An onslaught of memories hit him, all centered around Bucky. He saw in clear detail an eleven year old Bucky smiling at him while they walked to school, heard the sound of Bucky's quiet breathing next to him in a foxhole, tasted hotdogs and popcorn from Coney Island, felt the pressure of a metal fist crushing his throat. All at once. They swirled and crashed together like a storm at sea, overwhelming Steve. He scrunched his eyes shut and grabbed his head again, as if he could hold together the thoughts threatening to break him. 

 "What's wrong?" Bucky demanded, grabbing Steve by the shoulders. 

"The memories," Steve managed to grind out, "too much." 

"It worked? You have your memories back?" 

Steve nodded jerkily. 

"Why is that a problem?" Bucky asked. 

"The memories must all seem new and fresh to Rogers." It was Loki talking. At the sound of his voice a thousand more memories assaulted Steve. He could smell ozone and hear Chituari snarling, feel the strength of the god's fists as they fought, hear Loki speaking softly to Wanda, see a bruised and broken body lying in the middle of a crashed spaceship.  

Bucky swore in Russian, it echoed through Steve's head, bringing up a thousand and one phrases in Russian. "Steve experiences his memories in full IMax 3D." 

"We need Miss Maximoff." Loki said. 

Steve felt Bucky take one of his hands away. "Get your comm, see where they're at getting the shield down." Bucky's hand came back and pulled Steve closer to him, "Hang on Stevie, we're gonna get some help." 

Steve tried covering his ears to keep the sounds from triggering memories, but he could still hear the deep rumble of Bucky's voice and smell the leather of his jacket, feel Bucky's long hair brushing against his cheek.  He remembered fighting Bucky on the streets of D.C., the way the Winter Soldier's hair had hung around his face as he turned to look at Steve for the first time without the mask on. A sharp stab of pain pierced Steve as he remembered exactly how it had felt at that moment to realize Bucky was alive. Steve could feel the sting of frigid air as the train whipped across the canyon, leaving his best friend behind. He could smell fried circuitry and hear Bucky's labored breathing as they stumbled out of the old Russian base in Siberia. He felt his bones breaking as a metal fist that belonged to his best friend slammed into his face over and over and over. 

Bucky wrapped his arms around Steve's shaking body, "Hang on buddy, Stark is walking Loki through shutting down the shields." 

Steve felt despair at learning Loki had killed Phil Coulson. Despair that he had most likely lost Tony's friendship forever. Despair over losing Bucky. Over losing his mother. Heartbroken over seeing Peggy old and not entirely in her right mind. The crushing loneliness of waking up in a world where everyone he knew and loved was gone. The hopelessness of waking up in Wakanda every morning knowing Bucky was still frozen, Tony was still lost to him, he and his team were fugitives, and nothing could fix it. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing 

Steve didn't realize he was crying until he felt Bucky wipe away his tears with the pad of his thumb. "I gotcha Stevie, I gotcha. They're only memories, okay?" 

"The shield is down," Loki called from across the room. 

Steve smelled leather and foreign spice. Saw Loki's long fingers sliding through Bucky's hair late at night. Heard Thor's booming voice calling for Loki to stand down. 

"How long until Wanda-" A rush of air and the smell of burnt rubber interrupted Bucky and brought a new wave of memories to drown in. A streak of color and a rush of air slamming into Steve, knocking him down into the snow. Wanda and Pietro decorating a Christmas tree at Tony's mansion. The weight of Pietro's body as Steve carefully carried it off of the Helicarrier, Wanda following behind with a lost look in her eyes. 

"What happened?" Wanda asked. Steve saw swirls of red magic. Heard her laughter. Gripped a metal shock collar in his hands and tore it in half to free her.  

"He used the Tesseract to get his memories back," Bucky explained. Bucky bleeding on the ground, the ruin of his metal arm still smoking. Bucky looking at Steve like he'd never seen him before. "He said the memories were too much. Are you okay?" 

 "I'm fine." Wanda's voice sounded strained. Heartbroken, joyful, despondent. "His memories are all at the forefront of his mind, like they are brand new." 

"Can you help him?" Bucky clapping Steve on the shoulder, shooting him in the side, reaching for his hand. 

"I can try." Wanda smiling, warning Steve not to trust Stark, explaining etiquette to Vision. 

Steve felt the brush of Wanda's magic, penetration his mind. It invoked a hundred painful memories, Ultron, dancing with Peggy, loss, Rumlow trying to kill him.  

A single, vivid memory flooded his mind, pulling him to a place of calm. 

He was sitting on the kitchen floor of his childhood home. It was after dinner and he was carving a block of wood while his mother was busy making the next days bread. The boozy scent of yeast filled the air and his mother was singing along to a song on the radio. The block of wood had come from a construction site around the corner. Steve and Bucky had spent the afternoon sweeping up sawdust and picking up dropped nails to earn a dollar each. The foreman had been pleased with their work and had given each boy a piece of scrap. Steve was carving his into a toy gun so he and Buck could play cowboys and Indians with the other boys on the street. 

The memory brought with it a feeling of contentment. Steve was more than happy to wrap himself up in it and ignore the chaos raging else where in his mind. 

Unfortunately, the memory began to fade and the storm started encroaching again. Steve tried to grab onto Bucky's jacket, only to realize he was no longer being held by Bucky. Instead his hands pressed against the Iron Man armor. Images of fighting beside Tony filled Steve's head. Then the heartbreaking memory of fighting Tony. 

"No," Steve gasped. He tried as hard as he could to never think of that day. Now he was being forced to relive it as though it had just happened. "No. Please, no." 

"I don't think thinking happy thoughts is working anymore," Tony said, a gauntlet smoothing down Steve's hair as he shuddered against Tony. 

"It is working." Wanda said from over Steve's right shoulder. "I just have to keep finding strong, calming memories. It is not easy with how loud his mind is." 

"Calming?" Tony sounded the opposite of calm. "If Steve needs to calm down and get his thoughts in order he draws, or paints. Not exactly something we can-" 

"There!" Wanda cried triumphantly.  

Once again, a single memory came to the front of his mind. He was sitting under a large oak tree in Central park, sketch pad and charcoal in his hands. He was sketching a picture of a boy and his dog playing fetch nearby. Steve had discovered his talent for drawing early in life. His mother had given him a pencil and some paper to keep himself busy while sick in bed. Now his talent was finally worth something. A local magazine had bought several of Steve's drawings for their publication. The editor had then asked Steve to do a series of sketches about life in the city for next months edition. Steve had felt so much pride at being able to help his mother pay for the rent this month. And maybe his mother could work less hours now that Steve would be bringing home more pay. 

The memory faded and Steve became aware of his surroundings. He was now in the Avenjet, still wrapped in Tony's arms.  

Steve heard Tony warn, "He's coming around again." 

Then he heard Bucky speaking, "Stevie, remember the time Frenchie found us that stash of wine? The guys got so drunk that Dum Dum began singing sea shanties and you laughed so hard you couldn't breath." 

"How is that a calming memory?" Tony demanded. 

Steve did remember that day, of course, but the part of the memory that came alive for him was after the drinking. The feeling of calm he had as they all sat around the fire, in good spirits for the first time in weeks. 

Steve began to understand what Wanda was doing. She was making Steve experience calm, happy memories in full so as to block out the noise in his head. Each time one of the good memories began to fade, someone would say something to Steve to make him think of another good memory. Usually it was Bucky, Tony or Sam. Though occasionally, Nat had one to offer.  

Steve lost track of time. He did begin to notice that the in between times were getting easier and easier.  The storm of memories was calming down until Steve could finally let his exhausted mind rest. 


Tony looked down at his sleeping boyfriend, his head resting on Tony's lap while the rest of him was stretched out on the couch in the penthouse.  

The past twelve hours had been difficult beyond measure. From what Loki had surmised, the Tesseract had restored Steve's memories but didn't put them back into the filing system Steve's mind had had in place for storing everything. So the memories were all shuffling for a spot at the forefront of Steve's mind and Steve was getting to experience them as if they had only happened moments ago.  

Tony could still remember finally breaking through Doom's forcefield and reaching Steve's side only to find him a huddled mess. Tears had streaked his face and he was hanging on to Barnes like his life depended on it. And if that wasn't bad enough, Wanda was kneeling next to him looking pale and horrified, the red tendrils of her magic connecting her to Steve as she tried to help him.  

There had been a lot of shouting and Hulk had nearly pounded Loki into the ground, the only thing stopping him was Thor bodily placing himself between his brother and the big guy. Tony had been convinced it was all Loki's fault too. And really wanted to repulsore him in the face.  

Then Wanda had yelled at him to "Get over here", in that tone of voice she only used when there was something only she knew and everyone had better just do as she said right now because she didn't have time to explain. 

Tony had gone and followed her instructions to start telling Steve a happy memory. Tony had just gone with the first one that had popped into his head, the memory of his first date with Steve. After that every few seconds Wanda would snap at either Tony or Bucky to share a good memory. And each time Wanda would wiggle her fingers and force Steve's brain to concentrate on just that memory.  

They had to keep doing it for over an hour before Steve was able to go at least a few minutes without breaking down over another bad memory. Wanda was finally able to explain what exactly was going on in Steve's head and have a few brief conferences with Loki. 

At some point the rest of the team had gotten Doom chained up and escorted him to the Avenjet. Vision, Rhodey, and Hulk stood guard while they waited for SHIELD to send a quinjet to pick up Doom since none of the Avengers wanted to leave while Steve was still in such bad shape. 

Loki was sticking close to Wanda, he had some way to lend her his energy to help her to keep going. Pietro zipped around the room trying to look like he was bored but Tony knew he was keeping a close eye on Wanda. 

Thor was still worried someone was going to attack Loki so he was hanging around. He was, however, banned from offering any suggestions on good memories since his idea of a great time was a bloody battle. 

The first time Steve went for nearly five minutes without panicking, they moved him as quickly as possible to the Avenjet and took off for home.  

Bruce was coaxed out from his alter ego, who was loathe to calm down due to still thinking Loki was to blame for everything, so he could check Steve over and make sure the stress wasn't over taxing his system. 

It then turned into a waiting game as Steve slowly went longer and longer without Wanda having to intervene.  

They had gotten Steve coherent enough to stumble up to the penthouse and had only made it to the main living area when something triggered a bad memory. Which was why Steve was stretched out on the couch.  

It had been almost two hours since then. Wanda was sleeping on the other couch, Vision keeping a protective eye on her. Loki was sprawled out in a love seat, looking a whole lot paler than normal. Bucky was sitting on the floor, back to the loveseat Loki was in. He'd been there since Thor had been banished from the penthouse. Thor had been trying to look after Loki, much to Loki’s shagrin. It had nearly resulted in the two coming to blows which had almost resulted in Bruce Hulking out again.  

Wanda had used her do as I say voice and banished Thor. Even with that, the only thing that had gotten Thor to leave willingly was Bucky promising to keep an eye on Loki. Loki had rolled his eyes and insisted he didn't need looking after. His protests probably would have been more believable if he hadn't stumbled a few minutes before and had to be steadied by Vision.  

Steve shifted in his sleep and Tony immediately stiffened, but Steve just huffed out a small laugh. Tony smiled down at him and smoothed back a few strands of hair that were out of place. 

A cup of coffee appeared in Tony's field of vision. Tony looked up to see Bruce holding the cup out. "How's he doing?" Bruce asked as Tony gratefully accepted the mug. 

"Nothing horrible in the last few hours," Tony said before sipping the coffee. "He's dreaming a lot according to Wanda, very vividly I might add." 

Bruce sipped his own coffee. "Vividly?" 

"Yeah. Wanda now knows exactly what it feels like to be punched in the face by a metal hand." Tony saw Bucky cringe and felt a bit of satisfaction at that. Until he noticed Bruce was looking at him reproachfully. Okay, maybe that had been a low blow. "She also knows what asthma cigarettes taste like and has been randomly humming "The Star Spangled Man With a Plan". It's been very entertaining."  

Bruce chuckled into his coffee cup. He sank down into the chair closest to Tony. "And how are you holding up?" Tony almost shrugged, but remembered just in time not to disturb Steve. "I'm fine. Just hanging out on my comfy couch with a handsome man drooling in my lap. Life is ideal." 

Bruce looked like he saw right through this load of bull shit. "When was the last time you ate?" 

Tony closed his eyes, trying to remember when had been the last time he'd eaten something. Food wasn't too high on his priorities list right now. He vaguely remembered Natasha threatening him with physical harm if he didn't ingest something. "Hmm, had a smoothie a few hours ago. Barton has gone out to get something for everyone, think he's got Thor helping him." 

"Nat went with them too," A sleepy voice said from the floor behind the couch. Huh, that's where Sam had gotten too. Tony made a mental note to increase the amount of sleepable furniture in his penthouse. 

The caffeine was not helping as much as it should be. He should ask Bruce to get him more. And what was taking Barton so long with the food? Had he decided to go all the way to China for Chinese. Not that Tony hadn't done that before. He let his head fall back against the back of the couch, eyes heavy with sleep.  

His thoughts slipped into his dreams and he was in China with the rest of the Avengers, laughing as Hulk tried to sip sake out of a tiny cup. 

Tony was jolted awake by a yell. His eyes flew open and he realized his lap was empty.  

Steve was sitting up on the couch, eyes wild and hands shaking. His yell had alerted everyone else in the room and they were all on their feet. No one approached except Barnes. If Steve was still lost inside his memory then he could be dangerous if he decided to start swinging. 

"Steve?" Tony said quietly. "Steve, babe, it's okay. You're safe. It's just another memory." 

Steve looked at Tony as if he couldn't believe he was there. "You're alive." Steve whispered, voice cracking in relief. 

Tony threw caution to the wind and reached out for Steve, consequences be damned. "Yes, I'm alive, everything is okay." Bucky shifted closer, looking ready to grab Steve if things went bad.   

Steve was looking at Tony but still had a far away look in his eyes. As if he was seeing Tony, but in another time and place. "The portal was closing." Steve said and Tony immediately knew what memory had woken Steve up. It was the same one that woke Tony up night after night for over a year after it happened. 

Tony cupped Steve's face in his hands. "Yes, the portal was closing, then what happened?" Wanda was at the ready to help Steve, but Tony wanted to try talking him through it first. It had worked a few other times, and they couldn't keep relying on magic. "Look at me Steve, tell me what happened next." 

Steve slowly began to focus on Tony, the blind panic starting to subside. "You came through at the last minute." 

Tony stroked Steve's cheek with the pad of his thumb. "Yup, and then what?" 

"Hulk caught you." Steve shuddered, then his whole body relaxed. "He also got your heart beating again." 

Tony glanced over at Bruce and winked. "Only time in history someone has been scared to life." Bruce ducked his head to try and hid his smile. 

Steve leaned forward and wrapped his arms around Tony in a fierce hug. Tony let him cling on to him as he gentle rubbed Steve's back and whispered happy memories in Steve's ear.  

Barnes was still hovering nearby, looking like he wanted to do something to help but wasn't sure if he could. Tony raised an eyebrow at him then gestured to the part of the couch that was now empty due to Steve being curled around Tony.  

"Sit down Barnes, you're giving me a complex, hovering over me like that."  

Barnes eyed the cushion next to Steve doubtfully. Tony huffed out a breath and was about to tell Bucky to stop being an idiot and sit down, when Steve's arm reach back and unerringly found Bucky's metal wrist. Steve yanked hard and Bucky was pulled unceremoniously down to the couch. His squeak of indignation and surprise was going to be Tony's new text alert tone. 

Steve wrapped his arm around Bucky and pulled him close so the his metal shoulder was pressing up against Tony's side. Steve was practically sitting on both of their laps and was resting his head on both of their shoulders simultaneously.  

"I hate this." Steve whispered, so faintly that Tony almost didn't hear it. It spoke volumes, however to how vulnerable Steve was right now that he had even said it out loud at all.  

Bucky used his free arm to grip Steve's bicep. "I know buddy. But it's getting better fast. Bruce says your brain has to make new connections and pathways for the memories so they can get back into a nice easy filling system like before. And cause of the serum your brain can get that done a lot faster than others." 

Bruce was nodding, as if Steve could see him with his face pressed into the couch. "Your brain is like a super computer trying to install a new program. It can get it done faster than a laptop could." 

Tony snorted, "Speak for yourself, my laptops are super computers." He was rewarded with Steve's quietly huffed laugh. 

Bucky's metal arm was pushed up against Tony's side and Tony was able to appreciate how nice it was that the appendage was kept at body temperature. Though it was still like having a metal pole stuck in between them. His mind started to wander, imagining ways to make the arm feel like real flesh and bone. Not that Barnes would let him do it. Tony had tried to talk him into a silicon composite over the arm. Bucky had just raised an eyebrow and asked him if he wanted to cover his grenade launcher in feathers while he was at it. 

The look Steve had gotten at being reminded Barnes saw himself as a weapon, had nearly broken Tony's heart. He never again brought up making the arm look more natural.  

Steve's breathing evened out and his body relaxed. "Hey, Barnes," Tony nudged Bucky's arm. "Take him for a bit will you? I've got to piss so bad I'm about to embarrass myself."  

Bucky slipped his metal arm up and pulled Steve closer to him so Tony could wriggle out. Steve made a noise of protest, but forgot about Tony once he was safely pulled against Bucky.  

Tony stood unsteadily, his legs and back protesting having to support body weight after so much sitting. Tony went around the couch and nudged Sam with his shoe. "Keep my spot warm." He told him. Sam gave him a grateful look and practically crawled up to the couch. He pulled Steve's feet across his lap and settled himself against the cushions. 

"FRIDAY, make sure Barton hasn't gotten in a fight with the Russian mob again." Tony instructed as he made a beeline for the nearest bathroom. Tony hadn't been lying about his need to use the little engineers room. 

Tony was washing his hands when Clint's voice came over the comms. "It was one time Stark. One time!"  

Barton did manage to make it back eventually, and it hadn't even been his fault they had taken so long. Turned out that Natasha, of all people, had been the reason.  

She'd decided to get all of Steve's favorite foods. This had involved using Barton's skybike and Thor's flying to hit up all of Steve's favorite joints for his favorite dishes. They returned with enough food to feed a small occupying force. 

Getting Steve to wake up long enough to get him to eat anything was it's own type of battle. They would get him to wake up enough to accept one bite of food. The food would trigger a memory, usually a good one, then Steve would pass out before a second bite could be forced past his lips. 

"It's taking a lot out of him to reorganize the memories," Bruce tried to explain after the third failed attempt. "His body is designed to shut it's self down and heal when over taxed. If it wasn't for the memories  waking him up again and again, he'd probably be almost comatose." 

Bruce tried to hook Steve up to an IV, but the second Bruce pricked Steve's arm with the needle, Steve took a swing at him. Steve's fist was caught in Hulk's huge hand and the penthouse erupted into chaos. Tony instructively called his armor to him as he went to grabbed Steve and pull him away from an enraged Hulk. 

Nat also put herself between Steve and Hulk, holding her hands up an trying to talk Hulk down. Barton had a tranq arrow pointed at Hulk's back as Thor burst into the room, hammer at the ready. Barnes practically threw Loki out of the room and, in the same movement, moved towards Steve to help protect him. 

Steve ended being the one to diffuse the situation by, of all things, starting to laugh. 

The sound of Steve's laughter made Hulk pause in confusion. Tony had been concerned the strain had finally cracked Steve's mind. Turned out the site of Hulk hadn't trigger any of the horrible memories associated with the big guy. Instead, he'd remembered Hulk giving Spiderman a nuggy. Apparently Steve had always found it funny, but hid his amusement for Spiderman's sake. 

Steve trying to explain around his laughter had gotten Hulk to start laughing too at the memory. Hulk then noticed the pile of food nearby and went to help himself. 

After that they didn't try to put an IV in Steve again. 

It was early into the evening of the next day that Wanda and Loki, after much deliberation, decided Steve was stable enough that Wanda was no longer needed to intervene. He only needed someone there to talk him back into the present and make him realize that he was just experiencing a memory.  

No sooner had they all agreed to the decision, Bucky scooped Steve up from the couch and carried him to the elevator. 

Without needing to ask, Tony followed him into the elevator and instructed FRIDAY to take them to Steve's floor.  

They got Steve to his room and Bucky laid him out, carefully, on his bed. Then Bucky hesitated, looking between Tony and Steve. "Um, do you?" He gestured down at Steve. 

Tony's sleep deprived brain somehow managed to decode the gesture. Tony waved Bucky down to the bed. "No, you take first shift." Tony had been with Steve for most of the afternoon and into the evening. He desperately needed at least four hours of uninterrupted sleep. 

Bucky nodded, then climbed into bed next to Steve. Tony left them and went out to collapse on Steve's couch.  


Tony was woken up in the early hours of the morning by Barnes shaking him. Tony shot up as soon as his brain reminded him of the only reason Barnes would be waking him. 

"What's wrong? What happened? Where's Steve?"  

"He's still in his room." Bucky replied. "He's fine, but," Bucky smirked, "he needs you." 

Tony didn't bother to ask why Steve needed him, he just went without question.  

He found Steve sitting up in his bed, chest heaving, hands gripping his hair, eyes squeezed shut like he was trying to block something out. 

Tony was across the room in a moment, leaning down and gently putting his hands on Steve's shoulders. "Steve, baby, what's wrong? What are you remembering?" 

Steve's eyes flew open and Tony just had a second to realize that the pupils were blown wide, when Steve grabbed him and flipped Tony onto the bed. Tony let out a gasp, then Steve was on top of him, kissing him fiercely and rutting his pelvis fast and hard against Tony.  

Tony heard the bedroom door click shut. 

"Oh, you needed me." Tony gasped when Steve let him up for air.  

Steve didn't respond, instead he yanked down his sweatpants, (when had he been changed into sweatpants?), grabbed Tony's jeans and ripped them open. 

"Hey!" Tony's protest died quickly when Steve grabbed Tony's semi hard cock along with his own straining cock. Steve's fist squeezed hard as he began pumping furiously. "Steve," Tony managed to get out, his voice strangled. "Slow down. Fuck! It's- fuck, it's too much." 

Steve's dick was slick with precome, but Tony's was dry and the friction from Steve's hand was on the wrong side of painful. Steve, however, seemed completely unaware of Tony's discomfort. In all actuality, Tony realized, Steve may still be lost inside whatever memory had triggered his sudden need. Fortunately, Steve was leaking precome like a fountain so it was only a few more pumps before the liquid had been spread on Steve's hand to make things a bit more comfortable. Then Steve's eyes went wide and his body was locking up, head thrown back, and Steve was screaming. 

Tony watched in wonder as Steve came. The underside of Steve's cock was pressed right up against Tony's. He could feel every pulse as Steve ejaculated with enough force that Tony was sure it must hurt. Tony stroked Steve's arms as Steve's body strained through the force of the climax. "You're so beautiful," Tony whispered. 

Steve came down hard. His body shaking and breaths coming fast and pained. Tony kept rubbing his arms soothingly and whispering about how beautiful Steve was. Steve collapsed to his side, but his breathing was still fast and he was making small pained noises. Tony reached down and felt Steve's cock, just as hard and leaking as before. Steve whined at the contact and thrust his hips up into the touch. 

Tony lined his hips up with Steve's and wrapped his hand around their cocks. Steve moaned and began thrusting into Tony's fist. He buried his head against Tony's neck, wrapped his arms tight around Tony and held on while he moaned Tony's name over and over.  

"That must have been some memory to get you this excited," Tony smirked. "Was it at least about me?" 

Steve nodded frantically, his body trembling with need.  

"Was it about our first time maybe? Thinking about how good it felt when you came down my throat?" Tony smiled wickedly as Steve's thrusts became stronger. "Maybe you were dreaming about shoving me against the wall after our training session? That was amazing, how desperate you were for it after an hour of pinning me to the mat over and over again. We barely made it back to your room." Tony felt himself getting closer and he sped up the movements of his hand. Steve's breathy moans and his own dirty talk were definitely doing it for him. "Or maybe it was the time I sucked you off in the eleva-" 

Steve came with a shout. His arms clamping down around Tony so hard that Tony almost couldn't breath. Which naturally sent him over the edge right along with Steve. 

Steve came down a lot easier this time. The tremors slowly subsiding and his breathing slowing. He relaxed his grip on Tony but still kept Tony pulled up against him. "I love you." 

Tony blinked and looked down at Steve. His eye were shut and his head had tipped back to rest against the pillow. "What?" Tony whispered, almost afraid to ask in case Steve decided to take it back. 

Steve didn't answer. His breathing had evened out and he was asleep. 

Tony pried himself out of Steve's arms and managed to stumble his way to the shower. He cranked the hot water up and stepped under the spray while still striping out of his clothes. The past few days had felt like weeks and Tony was starting to feel like an extra from The Walking Dead. Once he felt clean and somewhat human again he grabbed a small hand towel and got it wet. He left the shower, still dripping wet, and padded back to the bed to clean Steve up as best as he could. Once he had Steve clean(ish) and his pants pulled up, Tony dragged a spare blanket over Steve and kissed him lightly on the forehead. 

Tony nearly left the bedroom naked, only remembering at the last second that Barnes might still be hanging around. He snagged a t-shirt and a pair of flannel pajama pants from Steve's drawer, both of which were way to big on him. Tony couldn't bring himself to care. He still hadn't dried himself so the baggy clothes were easier to get on anyway. 

He found Bucky sitting on the couch, playing video games and eating a sandwich. He'd obviously taken a shower too, except he'd taken the time to actually use a towel since his hair was only damp, instead of dripping everywhere. 

"Have fun?" The deadly assassin asked around a mouth full of tuna on rye. 

"Oh yeah," Tony shot back, "Out of control, sexually frustrated boyfriend is my second favorite fantasy." Tony opened up the fridge, found a sports drink, and chugged down half of it in one go. 

"What's you're first favorite fantasy?" 

"Wouldn't you like to know." Tony capped the sports drink and tucked it under his arm while he searched for food. A plate of sandwiches was sitting on the middle shelf of the fridge and Tony grabbed one half of what looked like roast beef on wheat. He stuffed it in his mouth then grabbed the plate, another sports drink, and headed back to the bedroom. 

"I'm just asking for a friend," Bucky said as Tony passed him. 

Tony was about to say something very witty and stinging back, but was distracted. "Are you playing Disney Infinity?" Tony asked, disbelieving. 


"As the girl from Frozen?" 

"Uh huh." 

Tony watched for a minute as Bucky maneuvered his character through a forest filled with tiny Disney characters. "Steve is a bad influence on you." 


Tony made sure to shut the door to the bedroom so he didn't have to hear the annoyingly upbeat music playing.

Chapter Text

Bombs were falling all around them, the air heavy with smoke and debris. It was such a distinct smell, Steve now realized. The scent of war and destruction. He was lost in the memory, but a part of him knew it was just a memory. He scanned the turmoil around him, seeing everything as it had been. His men were paired off so no one would get lost in the chaos. Dum Dum grabbed Frenchie by the collar and yanked him out of the way of a foxhole. Morita and Jones were bringing up the rear and signaled that everyone was clear. 

Steve turned to look at Bucky. When the battle had actually happened, Steve had turned to Bucky and told him to take point. Bucky had nodded and moved forward. Now, as Steve remembered every minute detail as if it had just happened, he caught the expression on Bucky's face. Bucky had been looking out across the battlefield, looking stricken. Steve recognized the expression. He saw it all too often nowadays when Bucky was remembering some horror from his past. Now, Steve saw, Bucky had been reliving nightmares for a long time. 

"Steve. Come on, it's just a memory." 

Steve turned away from Bucky to see Sam standing next to him. 

"Why don't you come on back now," Sam said, the smoke and disorder not affecting him at all. 

"Bucky." Steve said by way of explanation. He wasn't sure how to explain to Sam that he needed to help Bucky. 

Sam seemed to understand. "You can't help anyone in the past, man. You want to help Bucky, he's sitting on your couch right now eating all of your Pop Tarts. Why don't you wake up and you can go talk to him. Tell him whatever you need to say." 

Steve sat up with a start. The yells of battle still ringing in his ears but his vision cleared and he saw he was just in his bedroom. Sam was sitting in a chair nearby. It immediately reminded Steve of when he'd woken up in the hospital after fighting with Bucky on the Helicarrier. His mind tried to bring the memory to life, but Steve clamped down on it and stayed focused on the present day Sam. 

"You good?" Sam asked. He was dressed in a faded t-shirt and had a book opened in his lap. Steve recognized the book as one Sam had been reading about a former Navy Seal. 

Steve nodded. He realized his heart was still racing from the remembered battle, so he took a moment to calm himself. "I'm okay." He finally said.  

Sam cocked an eyebrow at him. "Sure you are," Sam said. He closed the book he was reading and stood up to come over and sit down next to Steve on the bed. "Where were you?" 

"Austria," Steve replied. "During the war. We'd gone in to scout out a Hydra base and found a battle instead. Our intel about where the frontline was turned out to be faulty, or the battle had just moved faster than anticipated. Or both." 

Sam chuckled darkly. "I hear you." 

They sat on the bed in a comfortable silence as Steve fought to keep his mind clear. Finally Sam tugged him to his feet. "Let's get you something to eat and maybe a shower if you're feeling up to it." 

Steve frowned. "Bucky had me take a shower this morning." 

Sam just kept pulling Steve along. "That was yesterday morning. It's now Thursday evening." 

Steve cringed. If it was really Thursday that meant it was three days since he'd had his memories returned. They went out into the main living area of Steve's apartment. Bucky, who was indeed sitting on the couch eating Pop Tarts, looked up as they came in. 

"How's it going?" He asked, looking Steve over with concern. 

"Didn't take too long to pull him out of the memory this time," Sam answered. He went to the fridge and began pulling out take-out containers. "Where's Tony?" Sam asked, as he lined all of the food up on the counter. Steve sank down onto a barstool, grabbed the nearest container, discovered it was tacos from his favorite place, and began inhaling the food not caring if it was cold. Sam cracked open a sports drink and set it down in front of Steve. "Did you finally convince him to get some real sleep?" 

Bucky came over to the counter. He pulled out a fork and handed it to Steve. Steve took it and immediately attacked a container of spaghetti and meatballs.  

"Idiot refused to go any further than the couch," Bucky said. "So I waited until he passed out, then dumped him in my room." Bucky hooked a thumb in the direction of the spare bedroom he always used.  

Steve turned towards the room, and was halfway off the stool when Bucky grabbed his shirt.  

"Oh no you don't." Bucky said, pushing Steve back onto the stool. "You need to eat and he needs to sleep. You guys can screw each other later. Preferably when I'm not around to have to hear it." Bucky said, smirking. 

Steve eyed Bucky as he tried to piece together what Buck was hinting at. Then he remembered a string of memories that had left him so turned on that he'd been out of his mind with need. He'd woken up to Bucky shoving him off the bed and telling him to keep it in his pants for a minute. Then next thing Steve clearly remembers is looking up to see Tony and essentially attacking him. "You heard- wait, you were listening?" Steve asked, mortified. 

Bucky leaned against the counter. "First, most of lower Manhattan probably could hear you. Second, you were so out of it that I was seriously concerned that I was gonna have to go in and rescue Stark if things got out of control. Third, I've heard you doing worse." 

Steve glanced over at Sam. Sam just shook his head, "Don't look at me. I'm just glad it didn't happen on my shift." He then handed Steve another sports drink. Steve hadn't even realized he'd finished the first, but sure enough, the bottle was empty and Steve was still thirsty. He cracked open the second bottle and began chugging it down. 

"I dunno," Bucky said, his trademark smirk coming out in full force. "From the sound of it, Steve knows how to show a guy a good time." 

Sam held up a warning hand in Bucky's direction. "I do not need this information. Ever. For any reason." 

Bucky leaned against the counter, facing Sam with a mischievous grin on his face. "What if a group of his fans kidnap you? And the only way they will release you is if you tell them if Captain America is a good lay or not."  

Steve hunched down over his food in a vain attempt to ignore Bucky. 

Sam shrugged. "I suppose I'd just have to tell them to go kidnap you, since you seem to know all this information." 

The door to his apartment opened up and all three of them looked over to see Wanda and Natasha coming in. 

"Hello boys," Nat said. "We came to check on the patient. I see he's finally upright." 

Steve knew it was coming the second the words came out of Nat's mouth. 

Bucky got a big grin on his face. "Funny, we were just talking about- ack!" Steve hooked a foot around Bucky's leg and tugged. Bucky had to catch himself on Sam to keep from falling. He righted himself quickly and then gave Steve an annoyed look. "Just for that, Sam is now my best friend." He slung on arm around Sam's shoulders and used the other hand to grip Sam's shirt as if he was taking possession of Sam and was never going to let go. 

Sam tried to shrug Bucky off, "Oh no I ain't." 

Wanda laughed at their antics as Bucky clung on to Sam and Sam tried his best to get rid of Bucky without loosing his t-shirt in the process.   

Nat cleared her throat. "Speaking of BFF's, Loki has been moping around. I think he's missing someone." She looked pointedly at Bucky. 

Bucky stopped wrestling with Sam and straightened up. Steve almost missed the quick, guilty look he shot in Steve's direction.  

Steve couldn't help the grimaced as the memories of his last fight with Bucky came to the front of his mind. The fight had been about Steve's lack of acceptance over Bucky's friendship with Loki. Which didn't make a whole lot of sense, since Steve considered Loki a friend. Just look at all Loki had done for Steve since he'd lost his memories.  


That was wrong. Steve didn't trust Loki and he certainly didn't like him. 

Except he did. 

The memories and feelings from before Steve had lost his memory to the time after he lost it were warring with each other. Two thoughts about one thing, one person specifically, that were radically different but somehow had to coexist in Steve's head. 

Steve felt the now familiar brush of Wanda's magic invading his mind. The jumble of thoughts were pushed to the back as just one memory took center stage. It was of the night after Steve learned his memories had been destroyed by Doom and he could, at least they thought at the time, never get them back. So he'd gotten drunk. Then, when everyone else had fallen asleep, Steve had talked to Loki as he would any friend he trusted. In his mind he could see Loki running his fingers through Bucky's hair as he talked about how he wished there were memories he could forget. 

Steve opened his eyes and looked up at Wanda. "That was a little unfair, don't you think?" He asked as lightly as he could with his head pounding. He was surprised to find himself on the floor being propped up from behind by Bucky. 

Wanda had the decency to look a least a little sheepish. "The memory was there and seemed pretty calm, so.."  

Steve just raised an eyebrow. Wanda blushed, "Maybe I did have a slight ulterior motive for using that particular memory." 

"What are you two talking about," Bucky asked. He was looking worriedly down at Steve. "I thought he was doing better?" He shot a questioning look at Wanda. "Why is he suddenly collapsing again?" 

Wanda looked thoughtful, the corners of her mouth turned down. "There is a disconnect between things he believed before he lost his memories, and things he came to believe while he was without the memories." Wanda explained. "It probably wouldn't be that big of a deal, except his brain is still trying to process all the restored memories." 

"I'm fine." Steve said, looking hard at anywhere but Bucky. He didn't want to see the look he was sure Bucky had on his face right now. It was obvious what had triggered the discord in his mind. Who had triggered it. "I just need a minute to sort through everything." That was a lie. It was going to take more than a minute to figure out the swirl of contradicting emotions that Loki's name brought up. 

"I can help," Wanda said, bringing her hands up towards Steve's head. 

Steve jerked away from her. "No!" Wanda flinched and Steve immediately felt guilty. "I mean, I have to do this myself. Without any influencing." He added, giving Wanda a knowing look. 

Wanda smiled and nodded. "You're right. I'm sorry." 

"It's okay," Stave said. He tried to get up without making eye contact with Bucky but that turned out to be easier said than done since Bucky had been the one supporting him. Bucky helped haul Steve up to his feet and Steve caught a glimpse of Bucky's face. Just as he had suspected Bucky's mouth was set in a thin line and Steve was sure if Bucky would just look at him he'd see the anger that usually came when his friendship with Loki was brought up. 

Steve looked away, not wanting to accidentally start an argument by doing or saying something wrong. "I just, I need a minute," He repeated. 

"We'll go restock your fridge." Nat said, standing up and pulling Sam along with her. "You've managed to consume enough calories to make Hulk jealous." 

Steve tried to smile at her joke, but he could tell it came across half hearted. Nat didn't seem to care though. She reached out and grabbed Bucky's hand. 

"You too Barnes." Nat said, tugging insistently on Bucky's metal arm. Not that it was succeeding in getting him to move. "You've been stuck in this room for the past two days. Time for fresh air." 

Bucky frowned down at her and opened his mouth, probably to protest. However, Natasha just raised an eyebrow at him. Bucky snapped his mouth closed and tried to contain his sigh. "Fine." He groused. 

Steve didn't wait around to see if they left. He just went straight for his room and shut and locked the door. He looked at his bed, but he was sick of sleeping. So instead he sank down to the floor, back against the bed, knees folded up so he could rest his arms on them and then let his head rest on his arms.  

At first, he tried to let all the different memories wash over him. Trying to match up the things he'd known about Loki before the memory loss with the things he'd learned about him during the past few weeks. It wasn't easy and soon Steve was overwhelmed by the constantly shifting memories. Loki smiling cruelly, demanding everyone kneel before him. Loki glaring at Thor as they made breakfast. Loki creating butterflies to show Steve his magic. Loki flying above New York City while the Chitauri invaded. Thor looking sad as he told them that Loki had died saving Thor and Jane. Thor angrily telling them that Loki had faked his death then disposed of their father so he could become king. Loki braiding Bucky's hair. 

With great difficulty he pulled himself back to the present, gasping for breath like he'd been drowning. He squeezed his eyes shut, frustrated. 

He sat there for a while, trying not to think about much. Of course his mind kept wandering back to the problem of Loki. He almost wished he could go back to not knowing the bad stuff and only knowing Loki as he was now. 

That's when everything clicked into place for Steve. 

It had always bothered him that Bucky got along so well with Loki. But Bucky had never been there for all the awful stuff Loki had done, he'd only heard about it. So it must have been easy for him to see the wounded and almost powerless Loki as someone he could relate too. Because, Steve finally realized, the two of them really did have a lot in common. And, Steve also realized, Loki really did like Bucky as a friend, not as someone to manipulate. A hundred little memories flowed through Steve. Loki leaning against Bucky while the Avengers decided Loki's fate. Bucky letting Loki heal a deep cut on Bucky's arm after a battle, despite Bucky refusing to let anyone else look at it. Loki handing Bucky the last egg roll simply because he knew Bucky loved them. Loki and Bucky working together in battle as if they had fought together side by side for ages. Bucky allowing himself to fall asleep next to Loki, trusting him completely.  

And each memory brought another memory with it, the awful feeling of jealousy Steve had felt every time he saw Loki and Bucky behaving so casually around each other. He hadn't realized until now that it had been jealousy, but that's exactly what it was.  

Because that used to be how Steve and Bucky were together.  

Steve thought about how when he'd finally found Bucky again, he'd fallen back into old habits of just reaching out and touching Bucky like he used to. But Bucky had always pulled away until Steve learned not to push. Now he wondered if there had come a point where Bucky had wanted those casual touches again and Steve had become so used to keeping his distance that he never noticed. 

The more Steve thought about it the more he realized that most of the reason he'd been angry about Loki and Bucky's friendship was because he missed being that close to Bucky. Steve suddenly remembered Loki telling Steve that there had been a strain on Bucky and Steve's friendship that had disappeared when Steve lost his memories. Which made sense. Steve had been treating Bucky like he'd always done, before the war and the Winter Soldier came between them. Steve wondered if they could keep that now that his memories were back. 

The doorknob of Steve's bedroom rattled. He looked up, having forgotten he'd locked the door. 

"Steve?" Tony called quietly. "You awake?" 

"Yeah. Come in." 

The door automatically unlocked and Tony pooked his head in. He looked like he'd just woken up, hair messed up and eyes still heavy from sleep. Steve felt a surge of affection. 

Tony looked down at Steve and frowned. "You doing okay?" 

 Steve nodded tiredly. "Yeah. Just working through some stuff." 

Tony came into the room and settled himself down next to Steve. "More memories? Isn't someone supposed to be staying with you? Where did Barnes go?" Tony was scowling now. "He said he'd make sure to keep an eye on you. I remember this very distinctly because he threatened to strap me down to the bed at the same time." Tony was pulling out his phone, most likely to text Bucky to get after him.  

Steve grabbed Tony's hand and threaded their fingers together. "I asked him to leave." 

Tony put his phone down and looked at Steve in concern. "Why?" 

It seemed odd to Steve that Tony wasn't more confused by Steve asking Bucky to leave, after all Bucky was Steve's best friend, he'd never ask him- No wait- That was before, or was it always?

Steve winced as his headache ramped up. It was so easy to see now that his friendship with Bucky had suffered over the years. And to see that the reason he'd been so unwilling to listen to Bucky when he'd talked about what Loki had been through was simply because Steve had been jealous of their friendship. 

Steve dropped his head down to rest on his knees. He was so tired. 

"Steve? Baby what's wrong?"  

"I'm an idiot." 

"That's usually my line." Tony joked. Steve could feel Tony looking at him, studying him. "Wanna tell me what happened?" 

Steve sighed, then straightened up to lean his head against the bed. "We were talking about Loki and the memories from before and the memories from this last month were ... conflicting." Steve tried to explain. "Before I always saw Loki as the enemy, as someone we were tolerating because we needed him. But after Doom took my memories, I saw him as a team member. Maybe that's because I was going off of how Bucky treated him." Steve shook his head, as if that might help settle everything into place. 

"Yeah, it was really weird seeing you get along with Frosty." Tony said. "We even had a Founding Avengers meeting to discuss it." 

Steve groaned at the thought of Tony, Nat, Clint, Thor, and Bruce discussing Steve's odd behavior. "You didn't intercede so I assume you decided it wasn't a problem." 

He felt Tony shrug. "We came to the same conclusion as you. You were just going off the way Barnes treated him so we didn't think it was something to worry about. Plus, Barton pointed out that Loki seemed the most thrown by you being nice to him, so he probably wasn't trying to mind rape you while you were vulnerable." 

"You know," Steve said thoughtfully, "Loki isn't half bad. As long as you don't know what he's done in the past." 

Tony barked out a laugh. "We should put that on a t-shirt for him to wear, 'Easier to take when you don't know what I've done'." 

Steve laughed too. He looked away from the ceiling and over at Tony. Tony smiled. Then a shadow crossed his eyes and he looked away. 

Tony?" Steve asked, concerned by the sudden shift. 

Tony hesitated a moment, then blurted out- "Was I easier to take when you didn't know what I had done?" 

Steve knew exactly what Tony was talking about, especially since it caused a wave of memories to surface. Steve struggled to push them down. "Tony, you know I forgave you for that."  

That memory surfaced and Steve let it. He and Tony had been in the Command Center going over strategy when Tony suddenly got really quiet. Steve had asked him what was wrong. "I'm sorry I tried to kill Barnes."  Had come the quiet response. They had been back as a team for almost two months at that point and he and Tony had, up until that point, never mentioned what happened in Siberia. Steve had apologized, in a letter and later in person, for not telling Tony the truth about his parents death. But neither one of them had apologized for what happened after Zemo had shown them the video. "I'm sorry too." Steve had said, "For hurting you so badly, I was just-"  Tony had held up a hand silencing Steve. "Don't, I, just tell me you forgive me."  Tony had said, looking almost desperate. "Please. Just tell me that."  Steve had wanted to reach out to him at that moment, but hadn't been sure if he should. "I forgive you."  He'd said and watched as Tony's shoulders slumped like a weight had been lifted off of them.  

Steve reached out to Tony now and pulled him close. He pressed a kiss against his forehead. "I wouldn't be with you if I hadn't forgiven you."  

Tony still wouldn't meet Steve's eyes."I know you forgave me, but that doesn't mean you still don't think about it all the time."  


"Why else would you want to keep our relationship from Barnes?" Tony blurted out. 

Steve was taken aback by this declaration. Why would Tony think that that was why he didn't want to tell Bucky about them? But as Steve took in Tony's look of misery, he realized that that had been exactly how it must have seemed to Tony. 

"I'm sorry," Steve whispered. "I shouldn't have- I didn't realized you would have thought that." He scrubbed a hand over his face. "It wasn't that I was ashamed or that I had reservations because of- because of Siberia and the Sakovia Accords." Steve thought for a second. "Well, maybe that was part of it." Steve conceded. 

Tony winced. 

"Not because of how I felt about it." Steve continued quickly. "It was because of how I knew Bucky felt about it. I knew he thought I forgave you too easily, and- well, there was actually a lot he was upset about but now I see he was mostly upset at me and I was being a coward." Steve sighed, trying to loosen the knot in his chest as he thought about how much he and Buck had been disagreeing before the memory loss.  

He felt Tony relaxing a little in his arms, he used the opportunity to lift Tony's chin up so that they were finally face to face. "I'm sorry I didn't just tell everyone, Bucky included, about us in the first place. I'm especially sorry since it was causing you heartache, not just then, but after I lost my memories." The memories of how much Tony was affected by Steve forgetting him swirled in his mind and he had to momentarily close his eyes against them.  

Tony reached up and cupped Steve's cheek with his palm, rubbing a thumb over his lips. "You're here with me." He said, trying to ground Steve. "Just be here with me." 

Steve turned his head and kissed Tony's palm. "I love you." He breathed. He looked at Tony, face earnest. "Even when I couldn't remember you, I loved you. I kept worrying about you and being drawn to you, because even though my head had forgotten you my heart couldn't. That was something Doom couldn't take away." 

Tony started at Steve, eyes wide. "That … was incredibly sappy." 

Steve huffed and rolled his eyes. "Can't you ever just take the compliment?" He asked. The next second Tony was in his lap and kissing him passionately. Steve was immediately on board, wrapping a hand around the back of Tony's head as he opened his mouth to allow Tony to slid his tongue in. 

Tony pushed back and Steve reluctantly let him go. But Tony, breath already getting heavy, didn't go far. He rested his forehead against Steve's. "I love you too." He said, mouth still so close that Steve could feel the tickle of his beard against his cheek. 

Warmth flooded Steve's chest and he felt himself grinning at Tony. "Yeah?" He asked, happier than he'd felt in a long time. 

Tony nodded. "Oh, yeah." 

Still grinning like an idiot, Steve kissed Tony, feeling Tony's own smile. He wrapped his arms under Tony's hips and in one swift motioned moved them both up to the bed. He had Tony underneath him and had his hands frantically trying to get Tony's pants off along with his own, when his bedroom door swung open. 

"We have returned with a feast of pizza and buffalo wings!" Thor declared from the doorway. 

Steve nearly fell off the bed in his haste to get off Tony. Tony just stayed where he was, an arm flung over his face. "Thanks Thor," Tony said, voice somehow sounding exasperated and wrecked at the same time. "Really great timing, by the way." 

Thor didn't seem to care that he had interrupted something, a cultural thing that most of the Avengers found amusing when it wasn't happening to them. He might have continued talking to them if Bucky hadn't suddenly appeared and tugged Thor away with his metal arm.  

"Come on, leave the newlyweds alone. We can set up everything in the Common Room." Bucky said while rolling his eyes at Steve and shutting the door behind them. 

Steve collapsed down on the bed, heart still racing. 

"That's it," Tony said. "I'm getting Thor a bell. FRIDAY, make a note, get bell to tie around Thor's neck. I'm sure Loki will help me put it on." 


Thor hadn't been kidding when he said they had brought back a feast. Steve counted at least four dozen pizza boxes and several large containers piled high with spicy buffalo wings.  

Tony just grabbed a whole box of pepperoni pizza and plopped down on the couch next to Rhodey. Rhodey peek inside the pizza box Tony had, decided he liked what he saw, and snagged a couple of slices for himself.  Steve decided to take a whole box as well. He was going to sit by Tony, until he saw Bucky sitting up on one of the balconies. Steve grabbed some wings and a six pack of beer. He caught Tony's eye and indicated the balcony. Tony glanced up, saw Bucky, then nodded to Steve to show he understood. 

Steve made his way up to the balcony and sat down on the floor next to Bucky. "Are you up here because you need to be able to see the whole room?" Steve asked as he cracked open a beer and handed it to Bucky. 

Bucky shrugged one very non-committal shoulder. "Just thought you might want some space." 

Steve opened his own beer. "I thought that might be the reason. It's a stupid reason," Steve added, "and completely wrong."  

Bucky scowled down at his beer, but didn't reply.  

Steve decided to take his silence to mean he was listening. Which was good, since Steve had a lot he wanted to say to Bucky and wasn't sure where to even begin. "I don't want us to go back to how it was before I lost my memory." Steve blurted out. Bucky actually looked up in surprise. "I don't want us snapping at each other over stupid stuff. I don't want to have to feel like I need to keep my distance and not touch you like we use to." 

"What do you mean?" Bucky asked. "We touch all the time." 

"Sparring and you tackling me to the ground to avoid getting hit by a missile don't count." Steve said, pointedly. "After I found you again, I tried to fall back into our old comradery." Steve explained. "You know, just our casual joking, slaps on the back, that kind of thing. But you always seemed to get sad whenever I did stuff like that. So I stopped." 

Bucky was looking guilty. "I, I didn't even realize. I'm sorry, it was all still so raw back then." 

Steve sighed. He didn't want to make Bucky feel bad. "I understood, I really did. I was just trying to make sure you didn't feel pressured that I wanted you to immediately be the same old Bucky. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but then it became a habit to keep my hands to myself and my emotions in check." 

Bucky was quiet, but he nodded his head slightly.  

"And then Loki came along." Steve saw Bucky immediately tense up at Loki's name and pulled away, just slightly, from Steve. Steve had noticed that Loki was no where to be seen in the common room. "I didn't realize it, but I was jealous of him." Steve admitted quietly. 

Bucky looked Steve in the eyes for the first time since Steve had sat down with his pizza and beers. "Why would you be jealous of him?" 

A month ago Steve would not have been able to answer that question, or even realize that he was jealous. Now, however, with his memories so fresh in his mind, he could see exactly what the problem had been. "You let him touch you. You hardly knew him and you just let him touch you all the time, like it was no big deal." 

A completely unexpected memory surfaced in Steve's mind.  

It was from one of the first days Loki was their prisoner after he'd crashed to earth, fresh from escaping from Thanos. 

They'd offered Loki food but he had refused to even look at the bowl of soup they had placed just inside his door. Which had made no sense to Steve. Sure, Loki was their prisoner, but he had been cooperating. Telling them all about Thanos and the Infinity Stones. So why act like he was trying to hold out and be strong by refusing the food offered to him. 

Thor had expressed concern that maybe Loki hadn't healed enough to feel like eating. However, the trend continued for several days, despite all efforts to convince Loki to eat. It became so bad that Clint even tried to help. He'd muttered something about not letting "the dumbass starve himself", as he went into Loki's cell and ate some of the soup in front of Loki to prove it hadn't been poisoned. Still Loki didn't eat.  

Bucky had been off on a mission and had returned home on the fifth day of Loki's imprisonment. Steve filled Bucky in on everything, including Loki's refusal to eat.  Bucky's eyes had gone wide, like he was realizing something. Next thing Steve knew, Bucky had marched into the kitchen, grabbed a loaf of French bread off the counter, then marched down to Loki's cell. Steve had protested as Bucky punched in the security code then wrenched the door opened and stalked inside.  

Loki had looked up in surprise as Bucky sat down on the floor next to him. Bucky held up the bread, as if he was making sure Loki really saw it, then he'd torn the loaf in half and shoved one of the halves into Loki's hands. Bucky had then taken a large and deliberate bite out of his half of the bread and began chewing.  

Loki had looked at Bucky, looked down at the bread in his hands, glanced at the bread Bucky was eating, looked up at Steve who was unable to hid his own baffled expression, then looked back down at his bread. 

There were another few minutes of this, as if Loki was trying to figure something out. Bucky never said anything the whole time, just kept taking big bites out of his bread like he was trying to make a point. At the time, Steve hadn't understood what the point was. 

Finally, Loki had slowly raised the bread to his mouth and took a tentative bite. Bucky hadn't said a word, just took another bite of his bread then glanced at Steve in such a way as to let Steve know he should leave. They had a little staring contest that Steve eventually lost and he left the room with an annoyed exhale of breath. He hadn't gone far though, there was an observation room right next door. He'd stood there watching as Bucky continued to eat his bread and Loki quickly began inhaling his.  

When Loki had finished his bread, Bucky still had several mouthfuls left of his own. Steve had expected Bucky to hand Loki the remainder of his bread and was surprised when Bucky just continued to eat it without even glancing at Loki. When he was finished he brushed his hands off on his pants then stood up and left the room without saying anything.  

Steve had demanded to know what Bucky was up to. 

Bucky had looked at Steve for several long seconds before answering. "When you're a prisoner, food has a lot of power."  Then he'd walked away without another explanation. 

The next mealtime, which Bucky decided was about two hours later, Bucky went into Loki's cell, sat down on the floor again, and carefully tore the hoagie he'd brought into two equal halves. He'd handed Loki half, then started eating his own half. This time Loki only hesitated for a minute before devouring his half of the sandwich. 

Steve had watched from the observation room, along with a very relieve looking Thor. 

And so it went, every time Bucky brought Loki food it was always something he could split in half in front of Loki, whether it be sandwiches, pizza, or even a stack of plain waffles.  

Steve hadn't really understood what Bucky was doing at the time. And honestly he'd been more worried about their sudden Infinity Stone problem to really take the time to puzzle it out. Now he was able to really see what Bucky's purpose was. He had shown Loki that food was not going to be used as a powerplay. By sitting down and sharing his food equally, Bucky had demonstrated that to Loki in a way that words never would have been able to. 

Even still, Loki usually sat next to Bucky at mealtimes and Bucky would split something from his plate in half and share it with Loki.  

The memory came full circle as Steve saw in his mind's eye the fourth time Bucky had brought Loki food. Loki's hair was still a mess from his crash landing and Bucky had reached out with his flesh hand and poked at one of the tangles and said, "Dude, you need a comb." 

Loki had eyed Bucky's own disheveled appearance. Loki reached out a hand and ran it through Bucky's hair, catching on a small snag. "And where would you find one of those?"  

Bucky had snorted in laughter. But as Loki continued to run his fingers through Bucky's hair, Steve noticed Bucky beginning to unconsciously lean towards the trickster. That had been the first time Steve had felt the nasty twisting feeling inside that he came to associate with Bucky and Loki's relationship. The next day, Loki had a comb and his hair was neat once again.  

Steve was so lost in the memory that he didn't notice Bucky was leaning over him, hands gripping Steve's shoulders. "Come on back Stevie, it's just a memory." 

Steve shook his head, trying to pull himself back to the present. "I'm okay." Bucky gave him a look that clearly said he didn't believe. Steve tried a weak smile, "Really, I just still get caught off guard some times." 

Bucky let his hands drop away from Steve's shoulders. Steve immediately missed the contact and had a momentary struggle between his pre-memory loss self, and his post- memory loss self about whether he should reinitiate contact with Bucky. He took a calming breath and leaned against Bucky's left arm. He saw Bucky try to suppress a smile and felt him relax into the contact.  

A swell of joy filled Steve's chest. 

They ate their food, talking about nothing in particular. Sam joined them eventually, bringing a bag of chips to share. Steve casually reached across Bucky to grab a handful of chips, ignoring the thought that he needed to respect Bucky's personal space. Instead he focused on the way things had been so easy between him and Bucky the last few weeks. Purposely pulling all those memories to the front of his mind. 

As they ate pizza and drank beer, Steve asked Bucky, "Where's Loki?"

Bucky tensed up again. "Oh, well since you'd, um, you know, gotten triggered when Nat mentioned him earlier..." 

Steve shoved a hand into Bucky's pant pocket and fished out his phone. 

"Hey! What the hell?!" Bucky cried, trying unsuccessfully to get his phone back. 

"I'm texting Loki to tell him to join us." Steve said before tossing the phone back at Bucky. 

Bucky caught it and looked down at the screen, probably unable to believe that Steve really had texted Loki. "Huh." 

"Aww isn't this nice." Sam said, grinning cheekily. "You two are like an after school special. You've learned you can be friends with other people. I'm so proud." 

Bucky moved so fast that Steve nearly toppled over since he was still leaning against him. Steve caught himself quickly. Sam, on the other hand, didn't react fast enough to be able to get away before Bucky had swept him up in a fireman's carry. 

"Let's work on our trust falls now." Bucky said as he bounded over to the bannister. "Hey, Thor! Catch!" 

"Don't you dare!" Sam's protest was ignored as Bucky flung him over the banister into Thor's waiting arms.  

"Shall I throw him back up?" Thor asked jovially. He'd caught Sam in a bridal carry and looked like he had every intention of tossing him back up. 


"NO! Thor, put me down. Barnes I'm gonna murder you." 

Bucky laughed, "Good luck with that." Next thing Steve knew Bucky was standing on top of the banister. "Wanda, catch." Bucky leapt into the air, no doubt aiming for Sam as his landing point. So it was a good thing he was surrounded by red energy halfway down and his free fall turned into slowly floating down to the main floor of the Common Room.  

"Me next!" Clint yelled as he bounded up the stairs. 

"This is better practice than fruit." Loki's low voice said from right next to Steve. Loki was seated next to him, Sam's bag of chips in his hands. "Why do Midgardians insist on flavoring one thing to taste like something else?" He asked, eyeing the bag that proudly said the chips were flavored to taste like a BLT. "If you want something that tastes like bacon, why don't you just eat bacon?" 

"No idea," Steve answered, grabbing a handful of chips. 

"Thank you for the invite." Loki said as he plucked a single chip from the bag and placed it in his mouth. 

"How'd you know it was from me?" 

Loki chewed his chip thoughtfully. "It does actually taste like a BLT. How odd." He selected another chip. "If Barnes had sent the text he would have eloquently told me to get my ass in here." 

Steve snorted out a laugh. 

They watched Clint and Bucky take turns jumping off the balcony, being caught by either Wanda or Thor. Nat wandered up and sat next to Steve to watch the shenanigans. Meanwhile, Sam stayed down on the main floor and tried to stay as far away from the action as possible. Which turned out to be a good idea when Bucky decided Sam should go again.  

They dodged and weaved around the Common Room, Bucky trying to catch Sam and Sam yelling at Bucky to "get the hell away from him". Sam finally called his Falcon wings to him with a triumphant "Ha!". 

Steve started to feel himself getting tired again. He was so sick of sleeping though, so he tried to hold out a little longer. His body betrayed him eventually when he nodded off right onto Nat's shoulder. He startled awake, but it was too late, he was caught. 

"Stark, I think it's time for you to take your boyfriend back to bed." Nat called down to Tony. "And I don't mean in the fun way." 

"Thanks Nat," Steve pouted. 

Nat gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "Glad you're back to your old self, Cap." She then got up and tugged him along with her so she could lead him down the stairs to where Tony was waiting for them.  

"I'm not that tired," Steve protested. 

Tony took his hand and started walking towards the elevator. "Sure you're not, honey. Tell you what, we'll just go back to your room for awhile. You could just sit on your couch if you don't want to lay down with your custom made pillow and your Egyptian cotton sheets." 

"You fight dirty." 

Tony pulled him into the elevator. "How do you think I've been keeping up with Super Soldiers and Norse gods all these years? Tell you what, we don't have to go to your room, we can go to mine. Give you a change of pace." 

Steve leaned into Tony, smiling. "Sounds good." He kissed Tony softly and slowly as the elevator rose to the penthouse. When the doors opened they stumbled out, still wrapped around each other. 

"We're not supposed to be doing fun stuff," Tony reminded him breathlessly. "You're still recovering." 

Steve kissed down Tony's neck as he walked him backwards towards the bedroom."I'm recovered enough. Besides, you love me." 

Tony smiled brilliantly, "Yes, I do. And you love me." 

They found the bed and Tony gave Steve a slight push and he went down easily, sinking into the softness of Tony's bed. He let out an indecent groan that had nothing to do with what he was hoping to do with Tony and everything to do with how nice and comfortable his body was telling him the bed felt. "Don't want to sleep, I want you." Steve wasn't sure if he was protesting to Tony or to himself.  

Tony climbed onto the bed, shushing Steve. "I know babe, but you need your beauty rest. You're still recovering from the Tesseract reloading your memories." Tony began to stroke slowly up and down Steve's back and Steve felt himself relaxing and drifting. He still managed to wrap his arms around Tony and pull him close. 

"I love you." He said, kissing Tony sleepily. 

He felt Tony's smile. "I love you, too." Tony rested his head against Steve's chest, his hands still slowly lulling Steve to sleep. 

Steve curled around Tony, so Tony was tucked close to his body. "Make me a promise," Steve whispered in Tony's ear. 

"Okay."  Tony whispered back. 

"Don't let me forget you again." 

Tony kissed Steve's throat. "I promise." 

And Steve let sleep claim him, wrapped around the man that he'd found despite decades, betrayal, and, most recently, memory loss, to love and be loved in return.