One Time they were each Worthy
Chapter One – Steve
The first time someone other than Thor was able to lift the hammer it was in a circumstance that none of them had expected. The God of Thunder was no-where in sight, having been buried under a crumbling building after dropping Mjolnir to push Captain America out of the danger zone. All that could be seen was the corner of the magnificent red cape, now dusty, torn and looking too much like the colour of dried blood, peeking out from under a particularly large, intact piece of stone.
Having cascaded to the ground hard, it took a few moments for the ringing in Steve's head to subside, and his vision to tone down the brightness of every colour around him. As the past few moment's events replayed in his mind and arranged themselves into chronological order, the soldier scrambled to his feet, realising that the Thunder God had just saved his life. He may be a super solider, but he doubted his body would have survived the tonne of concrete that had just formed the impressive mountain before him.
An Asgardian God could though.
Sprinting towards the debris, he felt his heart contract painfully at the meagre sight of the red cape. Hope and denial overtook this sensation though as he reached the destruction and realised it was mostly one large slab that was covering the area where Thor should be.
Mjolnir lay metres from the cape was visible, on the site where it has been dropped as Thor propelled Steve towards safety. As the Captain reached the spot he subconsciously bent and grasped the handle without even slowing his sprint.
He didn't even notice that he was able to lift it. He didn't even notice the hum as it adjusted to his grip, or the slight change in the air pressure around him. He just kept on running until he reached the stone that Thor should be beneath.
With one circular swing, that the Asgardian would have been proud of, the hammer connected with the stone and sent it flying ten metres into the air, shattering it as it did so.
Cushioned between a few other rocks in the remaining crater lay Thor. Steve sprang forward, still not letting go of the hammer, still not having truly noticed that he'd lifted it, and lifted his teammate gentle with his left hand.
"Thor?" He asked, mostly managing to cradle the Asgardian's broad shoulders in his free arm. The blonde God, although covered in a few notable bruises and bloodstains, seemed to be miraculously unharmed for the most part. But he remained still.
"Thor? Can you hear me?" He gave the God a gentle shake, before putting an ear to his chest and listening. The lightning-wielder had once mentioned that Asgardian physiology was very similar to that of humans, so the soldier expected to hear a heartbeat.
Steve had seen first-hand what Thor was capable of, and knew he only ever sustained minimal injuries. Although he had never seen the Asgardian unconscious like this, his almost blinding faith pushed aside any worry.
That faith was rewarded when he felt a small cough brush the hair on his neck, and sat up to see vivid blue eyes staring into his own.
"What happened Steve Rogers?" Thor asked moving into a sitting position.
"Take it easy," the Captain replied, "you did just take a building for me. Literally." His hand remained on the red caped-back for moral support as much as physical, and perhaps a little for his own sake, so he could feel that the God's life was fully intact.
It was in this position, Thor sitting and Steve kneeling, that the other Avengers found them. Although there was a whole building's worth of rubble around them, the other team members zoned in immediately on their comrades, and Tony was the first to point out, in a quietly stunned voice without any sarcasm, that Steve was holding the hammer.
It was a full minute before any of them said anything else. Steve broke the silence with "Oh. I didn't really…realise."
Thor patted him on the back kindly; a warm smile lighting up his face. "For saving my life you were deemed worthy my friend."
Steve paused before extending his hand holding Mjolnir out to Thor. "I'm not sure I'll ever be worthy enough for that kind of power."
As the Asgardian took the hammer and it hummed in recognition of his touch, Steve was still unable to take his eyes off it.
They both stood up and were immediately bombarded with questions from the other four, but as Steve was still stunned into silence, which Tony cheekily commented he would miss later, and Thor had been unconscious for the most part, answers had to wait until later.
Once they arrived back at Stark Tower after a de-briefing and de-suiting, Tony suggested Steve try lifting it again. Steve replied that it was Thor's weapon and sacred to Asgardians, therefore not his place to. Thor smiled and said Steve may try again if he wished.
There was an almost hushed intake of breath as the soldier gripped the handle…which the deflated as he found himself unable to lift it. Although he had told Thor he wouldn't merit that kind of power, Steve felt the slightest disappointment that he was no longer worthy enough to hold it again.
This was instantly erased when Thor clapped him on the back and said a few kind words about how he owed Steve Rogers his life, and he would therefore always be worthy in the Asgardian's eyes. The mood of the six then seemed to lift, and even Natasha cracked a smile when a few hours later, after a couple of drinks, Tony tried lifting the hammer.