"Where's Capsicle?" asked Tony as he walked into the main living room in Stark Tower- soon to be Avengers' Tower after the blueprints were done. The rest of the Avengers were sitting around watching television, taking some well earned down time from their most recent world saving adventure.
"I think he went to take a shower." said Banner without looking up from his newspaper.
Tony sat down heavily on the couch, looking idly around the room when an object on the coffee table caught his attention. He leaned forward and grabbed it before returning to his former position with a loud, "Oh, look what we have here!"
The rest of the team looked over at Tony warily, never sure what to suspect when Tony had that mischievous tone in his voice.
"Looks like Captain Crayola left his sketchbook out!" the billionaire announced to the room before quickly flipping to the first page.
Tony wasn't the only one who was curious. They had all observed Steve drawing before, but had yet to see his actual artwork. They leaned in a bit, inquisitive as to whether their captain was any good.
Tony studied the first page for a moment before saying with a hint of surprise, "Wow, Cap's not bad." he let his gaze linger on the drawing for a moment longer before flipping the book around to show the rest of the group.
On the page was a pencil drawing of a beautiful women. It had obviously been drawn with great care and attention to detail because it practically looked like a photograph. She was dressed in a military uniform and was clearly someone from Steve's past.
Clint whistled and reached out for the notebook, wanting to take a closer look. "Damn, who knew the Cap was so good?" he said in amazement. Natasha leaned over his shoulder, running his fingers gently along the detailed pencil lines.
"Who is she?" she asked.
"I'd guess Peggy Carter." Tony supplied. When he received questioning looks, he elaborated. "Our dear Romeo's Juliet."
The sketchbook was passed off to Bruce as Thor exclaimed, "I was unaware that Steve Rogers had a maiden!"
Tony snickered at Thor's language before saying, "Yep, according to my dad's old stories, he had quite the hots for Miss Carter."
"Uh, Tony," Bruce cut in hesitantly. "The next picture in here is of you." Everyone's eyebrows shot up in surprise as Bruce flipped around the book to show off a wonderfully drawn picture of Tony in his lab, his white tank top and face covered in grease and grime as he worked absorbedly on his Iron Man mask.
All they could do was stare at the artwork for a moment before Clint cut in, "What, you modeling for the captain now, Stark?" Tony cast Clint a glare before reaching out and taking the sketchbook. It really was a good drawing, not that he would ever admit it out loud. He then turned the page and smirked.
"Not so fast, Cupid," Tony said as he eyed Clint smugly. "you're in here too."
Tony then spun the book around to reveal a picture of Clint and Natasha in the Tower's training room. The archer was standing behind Natasha, his hands on top of hers as he helped her aim the bow.
"Wha…?" Clint sputtered as he grabbed the sketchbook from Tony. "How did he even see this?" Natasha just stared at the picture, a little embarrassed to have been caught in such an unguarded moment, but not as bothered by it as Clint was. It was brilliantly drawn, after all.
"Ah, so he admits it!" Tony exclaimed. "It did really happen!"
"Well, ya," Clint admits, shaking his head. "I could have sworn we were alone in that gym though." He mumbles the last bit as he turns the page and sees the next drawing. "Wow."
"Who is it this time?" asks Tony curiously.
"It's Bruce." At the sound of his name, Banner perks up, the slight feelings of guilt from looking at Steve's sketches without the man's permission being consumed by curiosity. He is slightly apprehensive, however, thinking that it will be a terrifying picture of the Other Guy smashing buildings or taking down bad guys. Things he doesn't particularly feel proud of.
To the doctor's surprise- the surprise of the whole group for that matter- it was not a picture of Hulk, but Bruce Banner. Doctor Bruce Banner to be more specific.
Banner lets a small smile grace his lips as the book is passed to him so he can have a better look. He actually remembers the moment depicted in the picture. It was in the aftermath of the battle with Loki. After transforming back from the Hulk and putting on a fresh shirt, he had been picking his way through the rubble when he saw a small girl, no older than six, with what he assumed were her parents. They all looked relatively unharmed except for a cut on the girl's leg. It hadn't been that bad, but Banner's doctoral instincts had kicked in at the sight of the injured child and he couldn't resist offering his assistance.
The picture was of Bruce, knelt down next to the girl as he gently wrapped the cut with a bit of his shirt that he had ripped off. The look on his face was a far cry from the Hulk's expression only hours before. There was a kind and tender look in his deep brown eyes that was both calming and reassuring. His face was peaceful as he concentrated on his work and although his hands weren't moving in the drawing, one could tell that he was bandaging the cut with the utmost care.
What really got Bruce close to tears was the look on the little girl's face. He had not seen it during the actual event because he had been concentrating wrapping her small leg. The child was looking at Bruce with an expression of wonderment spread across her young face. She was smiling slightly and it was easy to tell she was comfortable around the doctor. Everything about her reflected how she saw Bruce Banner in that moment. She saw a hero.
"This is…" Bruce couldn't describe how he felt right then. For the first time in his life, he felt like maybe he wasn't just a monster waiting to be let loose. Maybe there was a good side to him.
"Jesus, Cap." said Tony softly as he got a good look at the picture. There were so many emotions in that one picture that it was almost overwhelming.
Bruce stared at the drawing for a few more moments, relishing this new and wonderfully warm feeling of happiness before he turned the page.
"It's you." he said as he passed the sketchbook over to Thor.
Thor studied the drawing before loudly exclaiming, "Steve Rogers is truly a master at this craft! I was not even aware of his presence at this moment!" Thor turned the book around to show the rest of the Avengers the picture.
It was Thor sitting with his hands clasped under his chin in a thoughtful manner. He was perched on the edge of the roof of Stark Tower, looking reflectively out over the nighttime New York skyline. The wind was blowing through his hair as the whole thing gave the air of a guardian looking out over his charge.
"When was this?" asked Clint as he took in the drawing.
"I often go up to the top of the building to look over the city and study the stars. It helps me to clear my mind." he looked once again at the picture. "Captain Rogers seems to have captured all of us in our most tranquil moments. We must thank him for these wondrous reflections!"
The others smiled and nodded in agreement to Thor's passionate declaration. That's when it all began to go downhill.
"I think mine was the best." said Tony as he reached out and took the book from Thor. Clint, however, did not agree.
"No, man, mine was definitely the best!" he said, gabbing the end of the sketchbook that Tony wasn't holding and attempting to pull it away from the billionaire. Tony, on his part, only pulled back, refusing to let go. The two men were now in a tug of war with Steve's sketchbook.
"Guys, be careful," said Bruce worriedly, his eyes on the strained book.
"Just let go, Tony! I want to see it again!" said Clint as he gave the book another rough tug.
"No," Tony tugged back. "I had it first!"
"Just give it here, To-" Clint was cut off as a loud 'RRRRRRRRRIIIIP!' filled the air. Tony and Clint jerked back as the sketchbook ripped apart, the top half in Clint's hands and the bottom in Tony's.
The whole room grew quiet as the team stared in horror at the broken book. They were still in their silent state of shock when unfortunately, Steve chose that moment to walk in.
"Hey, what was all that yelling ab…" he trailed off as his eyes landed on his sketchbook. His sketchbook that was now in two pieces.
The team almost flinched at the broken look of shock and grief in the captain's eyes. Steve couldn't look away from his sketchbook, his one escape from this advanced world that he still felt he didn't belong in. All the pictures that he had spent hours upon hours on, capturing every little emotion and detail that he had observed, his memories of his past and present, now broken.
"Steve," Tony began quietly, but the captain didn't stick around to hear the rest. Without a word, he turned around and walked quickly out of the room.
The rest of the team could only stare after him, great feelings of guild building up in Tony and Clint's chests as they tore their gazes away from the door and back to the ripped sketchbook.
"I never meant to…" Clint started, but found he couldn't finish as he flipped with extreme gentleness through his half of the book, the top half of the beautiful pencil drawings staring back up at him.
Natasha put a hand on his shoulder. "We know, it was an accident." she sighed heavily.
"There must be something we can do to rectify the situation!" Thor said desperately. He did not like seeing any of his teammates unhappy, let alone seeing them with the dejected look on their face their captain had.
Bruce sighed and held out his hands for the two halves. Tony and Clint handed them over with hung heads, still feeling bad for what they had done.
The doctor studied the torn edges. It wasn't too bad, but taping them back together would look strange, as the rough edges would make the middle of each sketch messy and awkward.
Seeing Bruce's struggle to find a solution, Natasha turned to Tony.
"Well, come on, genius. You have to know some way to fix it." The team looked to Tony expectantly as Bruce passed the two halves to the man in question.
Tony stared at the torn edges for a moment, brain whirring quickly for an answer. Then it came to him and he jumped up.
"JARVIS can scan them and produce a new copy!" the answer was so simple that they all wondered why they hadn't thought of it before. Nonetheless, they were ecstatic to have a solution and Tony quickly set off for his lab, the rest of the team in pursuit.
Down in the lab, Tony had quickly laid out the pictures side by side, matching up the corresponding tops and bottoms.
"Alright, JARVIS, scan the drawings and put them back in one piece. Then, print them out over here. I want every last detail down to the lashes on the eyes clear as day." Tony said as he quickly strode over to the printer and restocked the paper.
"Understood, sir. Scanning." JARVIS replied as a beam of light shot down from the ceiling and ran over each page. Everyone looked eagerly towards the printer as it suddenly sprang to life and pages began to make their way out.
Soon, everyone let out a collective sigh of relief as all six drawings were produced, looking as good as new.
"Alright, now JARVIS, I want you to find and order a new sketchbook. One that looks just like the old one. Make sure it gets here by tomorrow morning." Tony smiled at the pictures as he stacked them, careful to not bend any edges or wrinkle the paper.
"Yes, sir." replied JARVIS as the team made their way out of the lab, feeling a world better than when they had arrived.
The next morning, Clint held the new sketchbook and Tony held the reproduced pictures as the team waited in the kitchen for the captain to arrive. They all fidgeted nervously, hoping this would be enough to make up for what they had done.
Steve entered the kitchen, then, still looking gloomy, but attempting to hide it for his teammates' sake.
"Morning," said the captain awkwardly as he noticed all eyes were on him.
Clint and Tony seemed frozen, so Natasha just sighed in frustration and pushed the two men forward.
"Um," Tony cleared his throat. "we fixed them." he then thrust pictures into the confused captain's hands.
Steve looked down at his drawings in amazement.
"Well, technically I fixed them with my genius." Tony added. Natasha glared at him.
"You broke them in the first place." she said sardonically. Tony glanced at her before motioning to Clint.
"Hey, our feathered friend here deserves at least fifty percent of the blame."
Steve, however, heard none of the argument going on around him as he stared at the drawings he thought he had lost forever.
"But, but how?" he asked disbelievingly, interrupting the argument. Steve looked up at the rest of his team, a spark of hope in his eyes that made them smile with a combination of relief and happiness.
"JARVIS scanned the ripped ones and produced these." Tony said simply. "Not that hard, really."
"Oh, we got you this too." said Clint as he handed the stunned captain the new sketchbook. "We're, ah, we're really sorry." the archer said sincerely. The rest of the team nodded in agreement.
Steve could only stare at the people standing in the room, a big smile growing across his face.
"It was an accident," he said, not being able to hold this against his team after all they did to make it up to him. "I forgive you."
The tension that had been hanging over the room like blanket all morning evaporated with those three words and the previously guilty Avengers all heaved a sigh of relief.
"Brother Rogers," Thor said loudly. "why did you not inform us that you possessed such a talent?" Steve blushed slightly at the praise. "Never before have I seen such detailed drawings!" the others nodded in agreement and Steve rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably, not used to his sketches receiving such compliments.
"Well, it's just a hobby…" Steve trailed off, not sure how to respond to the praise.
"It's a gift." Natasha said firmly, not leaving any room for argument on Steve's part.
The blushing captain inclined his head in thanks before having an idea.
"Here," he said, passing each person their drawings. "You can keep these if you like." Everyone accepted their sketches with great thanks, none being able to express how much the drawings meant to them.
"I want to see that sketchbook filled to the brim with more of these stunning drawings." said Tony with fake sternness as he held up his own sketch. "And no hiding them this time, Captain Doodles. We all want to see these works of art!" he added gesturing to the rest of the people in the room.
Steve smiled. "I'll get right on that." he said with a salute. The team smiled back, content that their captain was happy again.
That night, after the Avengers had hung their pictures up in their rooms where they could admire them, they found themselves wondering into the living room.
There on the couch was Steve, fast asleep with his new sketchbook open on his chest and pencils loosely clutched in his hand. The team exchanged glances before Tony moved forward and gently took the sketchbook off of the sleeping captain.
Gathering around the billionaire, the Avengers all leaned in close to see Steve's latest drawing.
This time, it was all of them sketched onto the paper. It was a simple moment they had all shared when they had fallen asleep watching a movie one night. They all seemed to be leaning against or being in contact with at least two other members of the team. Peaceful, content expressions were on all of their faces as they looked completely comfortable and relaxed around one another.
Again, it was a simple moment, but as the Avengers had come to know, the simplest moments are sometimes the best. They're the moments when they can all let their guard down and just be themselves. They can all be a family.
A/N: Man, that was long! Well, I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for reading! As always, reviews are greatly appreciated!