Notes: Sorry about how long this took me to finish and post; real life just got in the way a whole lot and I wasn't able to write as much as I would've liked to. I'm not really 100% happy with this chapter, but I just had to push through and finish it so that I could get to what I really want to write for this...
Title: Something of Tomorrow
Parts: 6 / ?
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe / Avengers
Pairing: Steve/Tony ; Clint/Coulson/Natasha ; Thor/Bruce
Words: 6367 words
Prompt: In a world where your soulmate's name appears on your wrist as soon as they are born, Steve's wrist has been blank his whole life.
Something of Tomorrow, Part 6
the time we've lost and the future ahead
we grabbed the boundary
i only want to see you smile
– View Finder, english lyrics by Hikarin
"So, Rhodey and I are being honoured in Washington, you wanna come?" Tony said. He'd just gotten out of the shower, towel slung low on his hips with his still wet hair sticking to the back of his neck.
It took Steve some effort not to focus on any of that and focus on what Tony was saying instead. "You want me to come? What's it for?"
Tony was grinning, "Oh you know, just saving a whole bunch of people and putting a stop to a murderous rampage at the expo – you know, the usual. And yes, I want you to be there. If you want to. I'm not going to force you if you don't want to although I don't think I could force you even if you did say no. I'd probably need the armour to even stand half a chance against you."
"I'd love to come," Steve smiled.
"Great, I'll call Pepper because she'll have to find something for you to wear because I don't think they'd let you in dressed like that," Tony said, gesturing to what Steve was wearing. "Not that you don't look good, but she'd be on my case if I let you out in public like that – something about it being bad PR or something else. Ask her next time you see her."
Tony strolled over and kissed Steve's cheek, then walked back to the bedroom as though nothing had happened to get dressed. He left the door open too. Steve was positive that his ears were bright red at that moment, he could certainly feel the way his cheeks were flushing.
Two days later, Pepper showed up with two plastic garment bags slung over her arm. The first one she handed off to Tony.
"And may I remind you that I'm not your personal assistant anymore; I've got a company that needs my attention. I can't always be running around taking care of every little thing," Pepper said. "Although, I don't know what you'd do without me."
Tony gave her something that might have been a dirty look if there wasn't a spark of fondness to it. He took the bag a little grudgingly but didn't say anything.
Pepper handed the other one to Steve, "Someone at SHIELD sent this to me. They said that it was yours and that you might want it back."
"Thanks." Steve took the bag and turned it over for a closer look. He was confused, but when he turned it over he sucked in a sharp breath of recognition.
It was his old dress uniform.
Steve smiled, "I didn't think it would still be around."
Tony was peeking over his shoulder, "What is it? Oh, your old uniform?"
"Yeah." Steve pulled off the plastic, keeping hold of the hanger as he did so. He held it out for inspection, pleasantly surprised to note that it was entirely spotless and in the exact condition that he'd left it in. There were no mothballs and a couple little tears he remembered being there before had been fixed. It didn't have that musty smell of old clothing either, for which he was glad.
"This came as well," Pepper said, holding out a small box with a knowing smile on her face. "I'll have to have a talk with Phil about–"
"Who's Phil?" Tony interrupted.
That earned him a sharp look from Pepper, "Phil is Coulson's first name."
Steve recognized the name, but Tony clearly knew him.
"Phil? His first name is agent."
Pepper simply rolled her eyes, "Yes, Tony, he does have a first name. Now, I have a few things that I want to talk to you about in regards to the company and your place in it before you leave."
Tony pouted but shrugged, "Alright, fine, let's get that over with. You okay, Steve?"
"I'll be fine." Steve accepted the box from Pepper, laying his uniform over his arm. He retreated to the bedroom to let Tony and Pepper have their conversation in privacy and to pack up his uniform carefully.
He laid out his uniform on the bed and cracked open the box. For several long moments, Steve just stared at the medals lying innocently in the box. Each of them looked meticulously cared for and maintained. He stared at them for a few more moments before he closed the box with a sigh and set it aside.
Packing up his uniform didn't take long, but Steve hesitated before he set the medals on top and closed the case.
Tony came in a couple of minutes later, absently throwing the suit that Pepper had given him on the bed before he flopped down on it. He let out a sigh but didn't say anything for several moments.
Then, "What was in the box Pepper gave you? Was it from a secret admirer? Tell it wasn't from some creepy secret admirer at SHIELD."
"No, it was just my uniform and, uh, medals."
Tony rolled over, crawling over to Steve with wide eyes, "Can I see?"
Several minutes later and Steve was standing at the foot of the bed in uniform, medals pinned to his breast, feeling more than just a little self-conscious under Tony's scrutiny. He felt a little bit like he was facing a judge, waiting for the verdict to be read; he wasn't sure why, but it mattered so much more to have Tony's approval than anyone else's.
A feeling of relief stole through him when Tony grinned, crooking his finger and gesturing for Steve to come closer.
"Never thought I'd have a thing for a man in uniform," Tony's voice sent shivers down Steve's spine and made his cheeks flush just a little. He reached out and hooked his fingers into Steve's belt loops, pulling him closer as Tony rose onto his knees. "But I do prefer blonds."
Tony's grin turned into a smirk and he pressed his lips against Steve's, nipping at his bottom lip and slipping his tongue past Steve's slightly parted lips.
With more confidence than he'd ever thought he'd have when he'd first woken up, Steve returned the kiss. He slid his hands up, cupping Tony's face as his thumbs fanned out over Tony's cheekbones; he'd never get tired of this.
Time seemed to slip by slowly until they pulled apart, Tony breathing much harder than Steve, who smiled. The pout that Tony was sporting – and he would deny that it was a pout if Steve said anything – was adorable.
"Okay, that's totally not fair."
Steve was still smiling as he replied, "Super-soldier."
Tony hit him with a pillow for that.
They had a few more minutes to themselves before Happy turned up at the door to the room to hurry them along if they wanted to make it to the ceremony on time. With a little bit of effort and with Steve carrying everything, they managed to leave the building and make it into the car without being hassled by the many reporters and photographers that had swarmed around it.
Once they were in the car, Tony managed to curl up and take up most of the backseat, leaning against Steve. His lips were tugged down in a frown.
"I wanted to drive. This is Pepper's doing, isn't it?"
Steve smoothed a hand through Tony's hair, "It doesn't really matter, does it? We'll get there anyway."
Despite the fact that he didn't seem too happy about it, Tony settled down after that. He didn't say anything, but Steve knew that while he might seem grumpy, Tony wouldn't hold it against Pepper or Happy. They were too important to him. He wasn't so sure about himself; Steve still felt like he was walking across a minefield sometimes when it came to Tony.
Tony drifted off to sleep shortly into their trip, leaving Steve alone to his thoughts. There was the soft sound of music in the background and the familiar sounds of Tony's breathing and the almost inaudible whir of the arc reactor that Steve had come to know so well.
Leaning his head against the cool glass of the window, Steve let his eyes drift closed.
He knew all too well that just because things were going well now that they wouldn't always go so smoothly. His parents had been a sterling example of how a relationship could fail regardless of the connection that they had shared. Was this relationship just as doomed as their had been? Steve didn't know.
Just then, Tony shifted in his sleep, arm coming around Steve's waist as he mumbled something that not even Steve's hearing could quite make out.
Warmth blossomed deep in Steve's chest, swelling outwards in waves until it felt as though his chest would burst. He gently ran his fingers through Tony's hair, lips tugging up in a smile as Tony snuggled closer.
There had been rough patches so far, but they'd worked through them and Steve believed that they were stronger for them. Maybe... maybe it wouldn't be perfect like it was in fiction, but it would always be more than enough for him. He'd never thought he would ever have something like this. No matter what happened, he wanted this to work; he wanted Tony to be happy.
That would be enough.
The scenery outside was rushing by in a blur as Steve continued to gently run his fingers through Tony's hair and, eventually, he drifted off. Steve wasn't a heavy sleeper so he didn't really fall asleep since the bumps of the road kept him in a state of not-quite wakefulness. At his side, Tony was a warm, comfortable weight.
When they arrived in Washington, Steve was already awake again, but Tony was still sleeping curled up against Steve's side. Steve woke him with a smile and a quick kiss, smoothing down the ruffled hair.
After that, the two of them enjoyed the awkward situation of having to change in the back of the car. Steve didn't have too many problems with it since he was used to cramped quarters, but Tony was still a little bit slow from sleep. Eventually, Steve batted his hands away gently to fix his tie.
"You look great," Tony was rambling again. "Did I tell you that already? Because really, you look great and I don't think you really understand just how good you look. I'm probably going to have to beat people off with a stick."
Steve could feel his ears flushing, but he grinned, "You don't look so bad yourself."
To hide the fact that his eyes were a little bloodshot from the lack of sleep. He'd been spending a lot of time down in the workshop repairing the suit after what had happened at the Expo; Steve was doing his best to try and get Tony to sleep just a little more, but there was only so much that he could do.
Happy opened the car door once they were presentable and Steve stepped out, unconsciously holding out his hand to help Tony out. He smiled a little sheepishly at Tony when he got a sharp look in return but then Tony took it and let Steve help him out of the car.
Everyone was already there and the ceremony was set to start in a few minutes, so they broke apart. Tony strode up, confident and just a little bit cocky, and took his place beside Rhodey. Steve found a place in the back beside several well-dressed ladies and reporters with Happy. He couldn't help the smile on his face as pride surged up inside of him.
The ceremony hadn't changed much from the ones that Steve remembered, although he'd only been in attendance at a single one during his entire military career. But he stood back and watched, ignoring the handful of curious looks that he got. This wasn't about him, this was about Tony and recognizing that he was the hero that Steve believed him to be.
Rhodey was the ever-professional soldier, only cracking a smile at the end for the photos. Tony was himself. That is, grabbing the attention of everyone present with a charismatic smile.
There was a rush of reporters afterwards, each of them shouting questions and shoving to get the best picture. Steve watched them with a small smile; some things never really changed. He carefully kept his distance, though, not really wanting to get mixed up in all of it.
– – –
Steve hadn't thought that his life would ever take this turn. He'd thought, for so long, that he wouldn't have a soul-mate and that he'd have long since grown old by the time that he reached his nineties. Instead, he spent nearly seventy years frozen in the Arctic and when he woke up everything had changed.
He had a soul-mate. He hardly recognized the world that he found himself in. Everyone he knew was gone.
Tony was cuddled up next to Steve one night, several weeks after they'd first met, as they watched the news. He was flicking through something on a tablet that he wouldn't tell Steve about; he'd been working on something for quite a while now that he was rather secretive about.
Both of them were comfortable and Steve didn't really want to move.
"You know, you've taken all of this in pretty well," Tony said. He hadn't looked away from the tablet. "I keep thinking that you're going to have some sort of freak-out or meltdown and Fury keeps sending me messages about whether or not you're alright and saying that I better not do anything stupid. Or corrupt you – he was pretty adamant about the not corrupting you part."
Steve shrugged, "I figure... I might as well look forward. There isn't anything I can do to change what's already happened."
He didn't want to talk about the nightmares that sometimes crept up or that sometimes he felt out of place and questioned whether or not it was a good thing that he'd woken up now. The nightmares were the worst, but Tony only had to smile at him or look at him and Steve felt those doubts of his melt away.
"Hm, you're smarter than you look."
"Okay, that came out wrong because that wasn't what I meant to say," Tony said, rambling. "And I should probably shut up now."
Steve kissed him, smiling, "I know what you meant. You're the master of the back-handed compliment."
"If you say so." But Tony was smiling as he turned back to his tablet, fingers flying across it and Steve could just make out the lines of some kind of technical drawing.
When he leaned towards Tony to get a better view, Tony shot him a glare and turned the screen off.
"No peeking, it's a surprise."
Tony had a glint in his eyes that Steve wasn't quite sure what to make of, but he didn't say anything and turned back to the news, letting Tony get back to work. Whatever the surprise was, he was certain that it would be good.
– – –
Fury himself stopped by one day when Tony was busy in the lab working on some upgrades to the armour and a handful of other things that he said needed to get done.
"Captain, Director Fury of SHIELD is here to see you. Shall I let him in? He says that it's important."
Steve was fiddling around with the tablet that Tony had showed him how to use. He set it aside and turned his head towards the ceiling, "Alright, let him in, JARVIS."
Tony always made fun of him for always looking at the ceiling whenever he spoke with JARVIS, but it was all in good fun. For the most part anyway. Steve was still adjusting and Tony seemed to understand that, especially since this world of his was so much different than any that Steve could have ever dreamed of. It was sort of like stepping into one of those old science-fiction novels he'd read as a child.
The elevator dinged a few minutes later and the director of SHIELD stepped out. He looked just as intimidating and in control as Steve remembered him being. Briefcase in hand, Fury strode into the penthouse and towards Steve, looking him over with a singular focus.
"Looks like Stark wasn't lying, good to see you again, captain," Fury said.
Steve had stood up when Fury entered and tried not to snap to attention. He managed something of a smile, "No, Tony's been great. I'm starting to feel a little more like I belong."
Fury nodded, "Good to hear although that's not the reason I'm here."
"Something like that, yes," Fury replied. He strode over to the kitchen counter, setting his briefcase on it and gesturing for Steve to sit down. "I have a few things I want to talk to you about, captain. And that includes possibly getting you back out into the world."
For a few seconds, Steve just stared at Fury before he walked over. "I don't know how much help I could possibly be."
He thought about the Iron Man suit and Rhodey's, which Tony said had the codename War Machine. He couldn't possibly see how a soldier like him could possibly be useful in a world where such things existed.
"We'll see about that, captain. You've got some skills that are rather unique," Fury set the briefcase down on the counter and popped it open. He pulled open several rather full files, each stamped with the SHIELD emblem and marked with the words 'Avengers Initiative.' These he handed over to Steve, who took them with a slightly puzzled expression.
There was a spark of something that Steve would have called amusement in Fury's eyes as he explained, "We're putting together a team. And we'd like you to lead it, captain. That is, if you're interested."
Steve took the files from Fury and turned them towards himself; he could see that they were personnel reviews and evaluations along with combat reports. It was a lot of information to go through and Steve caught his name on one of them.
"You think I'd be good fit for that?"
Fury's eyebrow quirked up just a little, "You've already proven yourself a capable military commander and led a diverse force during the Second World War – one that was highly effective and almost single-handedly took out Hydra. That's quite an accomplishment. We believe you would be a good fit for team leader."
Each of the folders had a different name attached to them and Steve recognized his name and Tony's on two of the folders. The last two folders barely had anything in them, but Steve saw Clint's name on one of them. He hadn't thought that Clint was being considered.
Curiosity getting the better of him, and a yearning to get back out in the world and prove that he could be useful, Steve spread the folders out on the counter and looked at them. They each looked identical, with the only difference being that the name on each was different: Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Clint Barton, Natasha Romanoff, Thor.
Steve stared at the last name for a very long time. He'd seen the name somewhere before and it was the only one that didn't belong.
Fury crossed his arms, mouth tugged down into a frown, "That was the second matter that I wanted to talk to you about, captain. As of one month ago, we learned that we're not alone."
"I'm sorry I don't understand."
It was official. His life was officially turning into a science-fiction novel.
Steve stared at Fury for several long moments, not quite sure if Fury was simply pulling his leg or was completely serious. But eventually it sank in that yes, the director of SHIELD was quite serious with that pronouncement of his.
Reaching over, Fury tapped his fingers against the file with the name Thor on it. "Our sources tell us that Thor is not a hostile and that, if the need arises, he will fight with us. For now, though, he's out of the picture for the time being, but there might come a time where we'll have to initiate diplomatic ties with his people. And that's where you come in, captain."
"You want me to be some kind of ambassador?" Steve asked. "Aren't there other people who would probably be more qualified than me?"
"Right now, Thor has been our only real contact," Fury said. "Since he's being included on the Initiative, we think that you – as team leader – would be the best to meet with him. Alongside the agent he met previously."
It was certainly a lot to take in. And Steve had no idea whether or not he was up for the task. It was one thing to fight in a war, with clear objectives and knowing who the enemy was. Back then, he'd been fighting to stop Hydra and put an end to Schmidt's insane plans for world domination. That was it. He'd simply been at the right place at the right time.
Now, things were different. He already had a fair idea of what the Iron Man suit could do, what the War Machine armour could do, and as he flipped open the other files to have a look, he realized just how out of place he really was. Here he was, a veteran and soldier of a war that had ended over sixty years before. And what was he going to do? March right back into the thick of it.
Well, it could have been worse, Steve thought. Maybe... maybe it was different and he wasn't the same, but at least in this time, in this place, he'd be able to have Tony at his back. They could protect each other. That was more than he could have ever asked for.
He already knew what his answer was going to be, but this was really something he should think over... right?
Fury seemed to already know what his answer would be, because there was just the tiniest bit of a smirk on his face as he spoke, "I know it's a lot to take in at once and it's also a lot to ask of you. I'll give you some time to think it all over; you can get back to me once you've made your decision."
Before he turned to leave, Fury gave Steve a mock salute before he began walking towards the elevator. He interrupted Steve before he could say anything, "Don't worry about me, captain. I can see myself out."
Steve watched as Fury left, staring after him for several long minutes before he turned his attention back to the folders that he'd been left with. Well, he had a lot of reading to do; he'd might as well get it over with. He pulled the first folder towards himself and opened it.
Reading through the files, Steve noticed a couple of things. For the most part, both Clint and Natasha's files had very little contained in them. Most of their personal details were marked as classified and there was only a rudimentary assessment of their skills and an evaluation of how suited they were to the Initiative. Clint had points as being an experienced and deadly marksman and assassin who had served in the military; beyond that there wasn't anything.
Natasha, on the other hand, was a stealth operative. If she was indeed the Natasha that Clint had mentioned, then Steve knew she had to be good. Her picture was of an attractive redhead with a calm expression on her face; her evaluation stated that she was 'incredibly dedicated to the Avengers Initiative.'
Setting aside his own file – Steve wasn't quite sure he was ready to face what might be in there – he turned his attention to Tony's instead. It felt a little bit... wrong to be looking at it without Tony there, but Tony had been rather adamant about not being disturbed unless it was an emergency. Or Steve had food. Those were the only two exceptions to him being disturbed.
There was quite a bit of information on the Iron Man armour and its capabilities. Much of that, Steve glossed over since a lot of it was technological babble that he didn't really understand and Tony would have to explain to him if he really wanted to know. A couple of news articles and SHIELD reports were included – several of which regarded an incident in Afghanistan and having to do with someone named Obediah Stane.
However, the most recent addition to the file was an assessment for Tony's candidacy in regards to the Avengers.
Skimming that, Steve noticed that Tony himself was rejected for the Initiative. Steve had to read that over. Twice.
He frowned and glanced down a little further, noting that Iron Man had been given the go ahead for the Avengers which... didn't make a lot of sense. Tony and Iron Man were the same – Iron Man was nothing without Tony Stark, so why? It didn't make any sense and Steve made a mental note to talk to Fury about that when he saw him next.
Once he was done, Steve set Tony's file aside alongside Clint and Natasha's. He turned his attention to the last two files; Thor's had relatively little in it aside from a brief evaluation on his combat abilities and some observations. Steve guessed that quite a bit of it was actually classified, never to see the light of day. It didn't really surprise him.
The last one, belonging to Bruce Banner, was of interest to Steve. When he flipped it open, what jumped out to him were the words super-soldier serum, followed closely by gamma radiation. He didn't understand much of the scientific details, but what he did understand was that Banner had been involved in an attempt to recreate the serum used on him.
As he looked over the damage reports and records, it didn't look like it had gone so well for him.
These were the people that SHIELD was considering for the Avengers Initiative – including him. And they wanted him to lead them. He was just a soldier – not a god, not a genius. Could he do it?
He didn't know for sure, but he was going to damn well try.
– – –
Three months since he and Tony had first met, Steve got a call from SHIELD. Well, it was more that Tony got a call from SHIELD that was meant for Steve.
"Steve! Get your star-spangled ass down here!"
Steve stopped to dry his hands on a dish towel before making his way towards the spiral staircase that led down towards Tony's lab, "What is it?"
The lab was full of all sorts of equipment that had arrived over several weeks and looked far more lived in and used than it had before. The armour was sitting in one corner, hooked up to a spider's web of wires and computers; Tony had said he was working on some upgrades for it and ironing out a few bugs he'd noticed.
"Some suit's on the phone for you, says it's urgent," Tony said. He was hunched over a computer beside the armour, several transparent screens hovering around him with several diagrams and numbers on them that Steve couldn't make heads or tails of. "I told them that I gave you a phone and the number, but they insist on calling me to harass me – I think they're worried they'll get a phone sex line."
Steve felt his ears go red, but he smiled, "I'm sure you wouldn't do something like that."
"Don't tempt me, I'm seriously considering it," Tony replied, turning back to his work, although Steve was quite sure that he was going to be listening closely to the conversation.
Steve picked up the phone, "Hello?"
"Captain," Fury's voice greeted him. "You're up."
"Agent Coulson is on his way over; he'll explain further when he arrives."
The phone clicked off as Fury hung up, leaving Steve to stare at it for a few seconds before he hung up as well. He hadn't expected that. He had his suspicions about what it was about, but he couldn't be completely sure.
"What was that about?" Tony asked, setting aside the computer he had on his lap and pushing the hovering screens of light away from him. He was looking at Steve with a confused, if not a bit wary, expression on his face.
"I don't know," Steve replied. "We'll have to wait until Agent Coulson arrives to–"
"Wait, why is he coming here? I thought he was done being my nanny."
"He's here for me, Tony. I've got a mission."
There was a crease in Tony's brow and he was frowning and agitated, more so than usual anyway. "Fury's got you working on something, doesn't he?"
It was a split-second decision, one he might regret later, but Steve didn't like that sliver of hurt he could see in Tony's eyes and that he could hear in his voice. "Yes, he does. Do you want to come with me?"
An awkward silence fell following that declaration. Neither of them said anything until JARVIS interrupted it.
"Sir, Agent Coulson is here to see Captain Rogers. He's waiting upstairs, shall I tell him to wait for you?"
"Uh, yes, tell me I'll be up soon," Steve replied with a glance up at the ceiling.
Tony was still staring at him with an expression of shock and what might have been just a little bit of suspicion. It made Steve's heart fall just a little. He thought they'd been working through all of this.
With a soft snort, Tony turned back to whatever it was he was working on. "I don't have clearance for that; Fury benched me cause I'm not much of a 'team player'. And in any case, I didn't qualify for his Avengers Initiative."
"I know, I saw that," Steve replied. He stepped up, placing his hands on the table and looked at Tony as though he could will him to look at him. And Tony did look up at him, with a rather dirty look on his face. "It was in the reports that Director Fury brought me; I got them on all of the other candidates – he wants me as team leader."
"Good for you," Tony replied, turning back to his work.
"Director Fury has agreed to put you on a probationary period," Steve said, keeping his voice even. "I looked over your file; I disagreed with the evaluation. So, Director Fury agreed to put you on a probationary period for a reevaluation of your place on the Initiative."
That was enough to get Tony's attention. He was staring at Steve with a look of wide-eyed shock on his face and that was something that didn't happen very often. Steve locked it away since he was certain he wouldn't get to see it very often.
"You're fucking kidding me."
Steve blinked, "I'm not."
A small glaring contest ensued, just to see who would look away first. Eventually, Tony broke the silence and when he did, his voice sounded a little choked with emotion, "I'm going to wisely assume that you have something to do with this."
Steve grinned, but didn't say anything. Instead, he asked again, "Do you want to come with me?"
"We'll see," Tony replied. But he stepped away from his work and came around the table, rocking up onto the balls of his feet to brush a quick kiss against Steve's cheek. "I wanna see what it is that they've got lined up for you."
Steve smiled, leading the way back upstairs, "I'm sure that it's not nearly as interesting as what you're working on."
Agent Coulson was a man in his mid-thirties, Steve guessed, and dressed in an impeccable suit with a tablet tucked under his arm. He was leaning just a little against the couch, but he jumped up when Steve and Tony entered the room. He looked at Tony and gave him a nod of greeting before turning his attention to Steve; his hands were shaking just a little and he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
"Agent Coulson?" Steve asked, offering his hand.
"Captain Rogers, it's a pleasure to meet you. Really." His words came out a little fast. Steve smiled, though, and his hand was firm if a bit sweaty as he took Steve's hand and shook it. "Er, yes, I'm Coulson – Phil Coulson."
The name was familiar, but it took Steve a few seconds to realize just where he'd heard it before, "Oh, Clint mentioned you."
Tony was looking at the two of them like they'd lost their minds. Though he was giving Coulson what amounted to a dirty if not slightly fond look. There was probably a history there that Steve didn't know about; he'd ask Tony about it later.
Coulson seemed a little surprised about this, but he covered it up quickly, "He did, did he... well, Clint's downstairs but that's not why I'm here today."
Bouncing on his feet, Tony was clearly tired of being ignored and jumped into the conversation, "This has got to do with the Avengers Initiative doesn't it? Cause I know Fury's got you in on that cause of your frightening efficiency I bet."
"It does have to do with the Initiative," Coulson acknowledged. He looked at Steve, who nodded, and continued, "We have something of a situation involving an energy surge in New Mexico. Director Fury would like you to act as our... ambassador, Captain."
He handed the tablet over to Steve, who took it with a frown and keyed into the screen. There were a number of reports on the nature of the energy surge that he ignored – he didn't understand much of the technical jargon anyway – and found the briefing that Fury had sent. He read through it, frown deepening as he did. Well, it had taken only three months, but it seemed that Thor had found a way back to Earth.
"He wants me to... represent Earth?" Steve ignored the fact that Tony was leaning over his arm to read the briefing and then outright took the tablet out of Steve's hands and flicked through it for himself. He'd understand the technical reports much better than Steve would.
"Essentially yes, that's what we're asking you to do, captain," Coulson replied. "I've previously encountered Thor before so I'll be accompanying you on this particular mission. We're not sure exactly why Thor has returned or what he's here to accomplish, but intelligence and previous encounters tell us that he's not a threat."
"There's a potential threat evaluation here," Tony remarked, absorbed in the tablet. "Do you file all of those on potential allies? That's rather scary."
Coulson ignored the barb, "Standard procedure, Stark. You're not supposed to be looking at any of that."
Despite saying that, Coulson made no move to take the tablet away from Stark. Instead, he stood at relative ease, though he kept nervously glancing at Steve. Tony, for his part, was more interested in what was on the tablet than anything else.
"Well, I hope I'm the right man for the job," Steve said. He felt more than a little uncomfortable with, more or less, being mankind's representative to an advanced alien race. And that was still so hard to believe, though he had definitely seen his fair share of strange in his time.
"Oh, you are," Coulson replied without delay.
That was when Tony glanced up, a knowing glint in his eyes and a smirk playing about his lips, "Why, Steve, I do think that he's got something of a crush on you."
Coulson looked utterly mortified and said, not entirely convincingly, "That's... entirely not true, Stark."
"Oh no, I'm certain you've got some large collection of Captain America memorabilia tucked away somewhere," Tony said, smirking and with mirth in his eyes. He was clearly enjoying himself a little too much. "Which is funny, because I didn't really peg you as a Captain fanboy."
"Tony," Steve said in that tone that meant that Tony was being exasperating again. He sighed, "I'm sorry. And, um, I really don't know what to say to any of that. I mean..."
"You don't have to say anything, captain," Coulson said. There was a small smile on his lips as he gathered himself, though he seemed a little more comfortable than he'd been before. "In any case, we should be leaving if you're interested."
"Right." Steve looked to Tony, "Do you–"
"You're not going anywhere dressed like that," Tony said. He shoved the tablet into Steve's hands, "Hold onto that for me; I'll be right back."
Tony disappeared into the lab, coming up a few minutes later with a smooth black case in one hand and another silver-red case in the other. He quickly passed the black case to Steve and took back the tablet. He was grinning, "I thought you'd appreciate it."
Cracking open the case, Steve was speechless for a few minutes. Then, "You made this?"
"I've been working on it for the past few weeks, on and off mostly because I've been making some upgrades to the armour, but I thought you'd appreciate it since you seemed so attached to it."
Steve smiled, wide and bright and sincere."Thank you."
He wasn't imagining the blush that lightly dusted Tony's cheeks or the fact that he looked truly pleased with himself.
Coulson's eyebrows were in his hairline, but he said, "Well, it's appropriate. If you want to change, captain, we can wait."
"If that's alright, I'll be quick," Steve said.
Changing only took a few minutes for Steve and he emerged from the bedroom in full Captain America uniform, holding the helm in his hands. He was a little surprised that it was considerably lighter than the one he remembered – not to mention much more flexible. But he was certain that Tony had not skimped on the flexibility, mobility, and protection of the suit.
When he walked out, he was well aware that both Tony and Coulson were staring at him. He smiled at Tony, "Thanks again for this."
Really, he'd have to thank Tony for this later. He already had an idea of how he was going to do that – he'd been planning it for months.
Tony, for his part, was obviously looking Steve over from head to toe. His grin made no secret of just how much he was appreciating the view and it made Steve blush just a little, but he kept silent. Tony just said, "You look good. I had to guess a little at your measurements, but most of them were in your file and have I told you that you look really good in blue?"
"You've said so before," Steve replied. He turned to Coulson, who looked more than a little starstruck. "Well, shall we go? I don't think Norse gods are all that used to waiting."