Disclaimer: How can I afford these things? I can't. That's why they belong to their creators at Marvel and assorted copyright holders.
Spoilers: MCU, with no Civil War, and probably no Thor 2. Essentially, everybody's cool and no one thinks Loki is dead. Although anything past TWS is a spoiler for Steve in this scenario.
Pairing: Established Romanogers, not that Steve remembers it.
Summary: Ah, amnesia. The mainstay of soap operas the world over. So cliché, yet so applicable in a universe that also features vaguely defined magic. Steve wakes up with eight years of memory loss. Turns out it was a pretty important eight years. I feel like a lot of trouble could be avoided if we arranged a Netflix subscription for Asgard.
Steve awoke feeling warm and satisfied. Also, really confused. It wasn't that he disliked the idea of spooning a naked woman, just that he found it surprising, especially given that he had no memory of how he had gotten here. He blinked several times, trying to clear the cobwebs. The last thing he remembered was standing in the cemetery by Fury's fake grave with Sam, looking over the file on Bucky that Natasha had given him. As he didn't seem to be in any immediate danger, he just needed to stay calm and figure out what was going on.
As the light from the windows at his back started to illuminate the room, he glimpsed the glossy red hair splayed across the pillow beside him. It was Natasha's color, but longer. He inhaled deeply and caught her subtle but familiar scent. Tracing his fingers along her hipbone, he felt a raised patch of skin – the scar she had shown him a few days ago. Okay, so he was definitely naked in bed with Natasha. He'd certainly pictured this moment, dreamed of it, but his fantasies had always included telling her that he wanted a romantic relationship with her, potentially followed by dating and kissing and then…not an unremembered night, that was for sure. It was suddenly a lot harder to stay calm.
While he was contemplating his escape, she shifted in his arms. "Mmm, morning."
"Natasha?" When she didn't react with surprise to his voice, he asked, "What happened last night?"
"What didn't happen last night?" She gave a low chuckle and turned in his arms to nuzzle his neck. "I think we can skip our workouts today."
"Um…if that's true, why can't I remember?"
"If you're angling for a repeat, the answer is no. I have stuff to do today." She pulled away from him and sat on the edge of the bed, covers falling away as she stretched her arms over her head. He averted his gaze from her naked body as she stood and walked across the room. "I'm gonna jump in the shower. Can you make coffee and see if James is up?"
She had closed a door behind her before hearing him ask, "James?"
He cautiously stood from the bed, wrapping the sheet around his waist. After poking through a dresser of women's clothing and unmentionables, he found a dresser full of clothes that seemed to be his size. He pulled on a pair of jogging pants and a t-shirt, forgoing the unidentified owner's boxers. Why would Natasha have an entire bureau filled with some guy's clothes in her bedroom? Was that the James she had mentioned? And why would she be so calm about this James being here when she had clearly spent the night with him, Steve?
What the hell had he gotten himself into?
He rubbed his forehead as he tried to think things through. He had been out of the hospital for over a week with no problems, so it was unlikely to be a lingering injury from the helicarrier battle. Maybe this was some kind of test. Natasha had said she was going to disappear to work up some new aliases, so maybe she'd drugged him somehow and included him to see if he could hack working deep cover. She was a master of making people believe what she needed them to believe; he was a little hurt that she hadn't just asked him to participate in this little exercise, but they could work on that. Heck, maybe he'd been drugged by an enemy and she had set something up and told him everything before he'd passed out, not realizing amnesia was a side-effect of whatever he'd been given.
Feeling slightly better about the whole situation, he left the bedroom and found himself in the upstairs hallway of a house rather than the apartment he had expected. He realized he should have looked out of one of the bedroom windows. Seeing another, he walked to the end of the hall near the stairs and pulled back the curtain.
Well, this was definitely not DC. There was a wide, manicured lawn stretching to a thick hedge. He couldn't see any other houses from this view, though he could see a long gravel driveway leading to a road in the distance. The driveway was lined by white rail fences that enclosed more rolling lawns and…horses? He watched as a fluffy shepherd dog chased several of the graceful animals around the nearest paddock before trotting back toward the house.
It squeezed through a doggy-door to meet him as he came down the stairs. He scratched behind its floppy ears. "Oh, hey. Good dog." It seemed satisfied and bounded past him up the stairs. He looked for something familiar and discovered the kitchen could be his temporary haven. He started a pot of coffee and gathered ingredients for pancakes from the well-stocked pantry and refrigerator. Turning off his racing thoughts, he focused on making breakfast.
He was halfway through flipping the first batch of pancakes on the griddle while bacon sizzled in a pan when he heard running footsteps behind him. He turned just before the dog and a small boy collided with him at knee level.
"Morning, Daddy!" He found himself unable to respond to the child now wrapped around his legs, looking up at him with big green eyes and a grin on his shockingly familiar face – a younger version of the one Steve saw every time he looked in a mirror. "Can I watch TV while you make breakfast?"
"Yay!" He began singing about a pineapple under the sea as he bolted from the room, the dog on his heels.
This was just too much. It was one thing if Natasha wanted to train him to operate successfully under an assumed identity, but to involve a child? Where had she even found a kid who looked like he could…? He swallowed a lump in his throat as the idea of starting a family with Natasha filled his head for a moment. Reminding himself again that this was no time for fantasies, he took a deep breath and turned his attention back to the food.
He had built a sizable stack of pancakes on a plate beside the griddle when he glanced over his shoulder to see that Natasha appeared in the kitchen in a robe, hair wrapped in a towel on top of her head. She wrapped her arms around his waist and kissed his back through his t-shirt. "Smells good enough for me to pretend you're not letting James watch Spongebob."
"I…" He fought the sensation that everything was perfectly normal. Grabbing her arm before she could walk over to the coffee machine, he spoke in low, angry tones, "You've got thirty seconds to explain what's going on here, Romanoff."
She raised an eyebrow and looked at him skeptically as she slipped from his grasp. "We talked about this. In fact, you were the one who thought we should pay more attention to the cartoons he watches so he wouldn't pick up on anything that…"
"Look, whatever game you're playing here is…it's bad enough to involve me, but a kid? Really, Natasha?"
"Steve, you're starting to worry me."
"You? You're worried?" Her commitment to the part was really starting to piss him off. "I wake up with you in a strange house, with a kid I've never met calling me 'Daddy,' no explanation, and you're worried?"
"Keep your voice down!" She dragged him further from the entrance to the room where the sounds of the TV and occasional laughter were audible. Her eyes flashed with anger. "Tell me, slowly and calmly, exactly why you suddenly have a problem waking up at home with your family."
"My family? My family?!"
"Shhh! Yes. Me and James. And Toby."
He made circles on his temples with his fingertips, closing his eyes tightly. He seized on the easiest detail in reach. "Toby?"
The dog suddenly appeared, thinking it had been called, and looked expectantly at him. Natasha took a piece of bacon from the plate where it was cooling on the counter. "Here you go, boy."
James had trailed the dog into the kitchen. "Hi, Mommy. Is breakfast ready?"
"In another couple of minutes, baby. Can you go back to the living room? Daddy and I are in the middle of a talk."
His green eyes passed over them both with a skeptical look that had to have been inherited from his mother, not that they were his parents, but… Steve continued to rub his head and James eventually nodded. "'kay. C'mon, Toby."
"Okay, I know you're not above messing with me, but you would never pull something like this on your son."
"I don't have…"
"Stop. Something is obviously wrong and we need to figure out what." Natasha looked purposeful when she took his face gently between her hands. "I want you to tell me the last thing you remember before you woke up this morning."
It was getting more difficult to believe that he was involved in some kind of training scenario, but he tried. "Did someone drug me yesterday or something?"
"Focus, Steve. Deep breaths. What's the last thing you absolutely remember?"
He spoke slowly and deliberately, looking directly into her eyes, "The last thing I remember is being in the cemetery, talking to Sam about the file you got from your sources in Kiev."
"My sources in…" She blinked, confusion flickering over her features for a moment. "What's the date?"
"I don't know, April 10th, 11th? What does it matter?"
"The year. What year is it, Steve?"
"2014." The look she gave him put an immediate dent in the confidence he'd felt in answering.
"I need to make a few calls." She whipped the towel off her head, allowing her hair to fall in wet tendrils around her face. Given the situation, he knew he shouldn't have found it as alluring as he did. She picked up her coffee cup and started to walk out of the room. "Save me some breakfast."
"You're not going to explain what's happening here?"
"You've lost almost eight years of memory," she said after a moment's consideration. She took a step back toward him. "We need to find out why and how, meaning we need some help. Just…stay calm and eat breakfast. Oh, and don't breathe a word to James! He's not even four yet. He won't understand why his Daddy doesn't know him."
"I still don't…"
"Hey," she cut him off with a soft kiss. "I love you and we're going to figure this out."
He felt guilty that he was unable to respond in kind (out loud, anyway), but began, "I, um…"
"Relax, Rogers. Just trust that you're madly in love with me, too. James! Breakfast!" She mussed the little boy's hair as he ran past her. "Don't go crazy with the syrup."
Even though he couldn't remember anything about him, Steve had to admit it was nice to act like a dad having breakfast with his son.