Steve's hands fumbled as he attempted to untie his tie. It was like he was mentally back in his tiny body when he was newly serum enhanced Steve. His hands were just too darned big and clumsy to make heads or tails of the tie. It was ridiculous; he had done it many times before, so why the heck couldn't he tie it now?
"Steve, calm down," Harry took over, pushing Steve's hands gently down to his side before finishing up with the tie in record time, "If you keep shaking the jackals will smell the fear."
"How could you do it Harry?" Steve asked morosely, "How could you put up with their stares and questions so repetitive yet so slightly different your head spins trying to formulate answers."
Harry smiled and joked, "At least you're not going to be live and will be able to have thinking time" before losing his smile, "I couldn't, that's why I left."
Steve breathed in. Harry had been harassed since he was 11, and it turned drastically worse at 14. He was a child when it all happened, Steve was a grown man. He breathed out; he could do this.
Walking onto the stage with Harry was surreal, like his days on the stage. He could hear the hum of the audience of reporters but it was muffled by the ringing in his ears. The sweat of his palms felt so abundant he would not be surprised if it looked like he held water in his hands and was spilling onto the stage.
The interview passed by in a blur, he was asked questions that had already been answered in the interview, asked about the black lives matter movement and his opinion. His answering question of, "Well, don't they?" seemed to piss off some reporters and thrill others. He was asked about the LGBT+ community in the media and people seemed enraged when he said he was making his way through movies currently and his "No, I haven't seen Carol or A Single Man yet, I'll add them to my list" seemed to have the same effect to the same reporters who reacted to his black lives matter response. He was asked of his thought on trans people and his response of "Their body is theirs, isn't it? As long as they're happy and healthy what does it matter?" led to grumbles and pressing for better answer from both sides.
Eventually the trail of questioning led to abortion, which made Steve falter a bit. That subject was not one that was told to him before the conference. Tony had pulled out his phone and frantically started texting "I can't exactly answer that, now can I? I've never been a parent or expected to be one. I don't understand the struggle behind it and although I don't want any babies killed I don't know what the parent's are going through but I guess I'd leave it up to the parents and their doctors to talk it out." That response then caused a ripple effect. Many of those present weren't pleased with the response, some shouting he was dodging the question. That lead to more people asking how he could call a sack of cells a baby. Someone yelled out he was a misogynist product of his time. The yelling got louder over his answers and eventually someone even yelled out asking how he could give rapists rights to decision making which made Steve physically recoil in horror at how quickly his words were being twisted and misconstrued.
Harry pulled Steve off the stage and away from the shouting as Pepper rushed past them to assit Tony ripping into the reporters from Fox, ABC, NBC, CNN and so many others that Steve lost track. His blood was rushing and he could hear his own heart beat.
He didn't understand it… He couldn't understand it. How could he understand it? He had been awake less than two years and a good third of that time was spent on missions and work. How was he supposed to be able to catch up on human rights in that short a time while having a life? He was missing so many years, so many changes, so many things it was mindboggling that people wanted his opinion about. Why did his opinion matter? Why? Wouldn't someone who actually grew up hearing the debates answer the questions better?
Steve knew with certainty if he had been in his old body he would have passed out by now with how harsh his breathing was, and it wasn't hash from that run.
Harry led him to his bedroom and slowly soothed him. He reminded him that the reporters had been asking questions that were not on Pepper's approved list and had thusly voided their contract Pepper had them sign before entering. After Jarvis pointed out which reporters violated their agreement their equipment would be confiscated and wiped. Those who had not violated the agreement would be able to keep the full footage they had and have the power to show it.
That made Steve feel a bit more relaxed in his skin, he'd be able to talk about what he knew at tomorrow's press conference before he froze. That's why the contract existed in the first place: he was ignorant. He couldn't be like Tony and have live interviews and press conferences. He couldn't talk about anything but their battles because that was all that Steve knew.
A/N: Damn this chapter was a hell of a lot darker than I expected it to be. I had a whole list of specifics I was going to go through but 30 minutes after sitting down to write I had this instead. Maybe since it's the first anniversary of my grandfather's death that I can't visit the old house he used to live in and not being able to be there for my dad? I don't know. I'm really sorry guys, this went darker than expected. I was just going to make it a little dark with lots of fluff and love but that definitely didn't happen and now I don't want to rewrite this since Steve seems so raw emotionally here I feel like I should leave it in.