Welcome to my sequel to Into the New World! If you haven't read it, you probably ought to. You probably can understand this, but it'll definitely be easier by reading the previous story. I changed Sharon Carter's name to Amanda, but that's something I cover in the other story. Anyway, go forth and read and tell me what's up. Thanks!
Disclaimer: I don't own Cap or anything you recognize in this story. I wish I could make a living writing, but not yet.
A Super-Soldier for the Modern World
"Captain America, wherever you are, thank you," the young blond woman said right into the camera.
Doctor and Agent Amanda Carter stared at the TV screen and rolled her eyes. Recognizing the look in the blond woman's eyes, she sighed. Lots of women were going to want Captain America. She was just going to have to get used to it.
She was also going to have to come to terms with the fact that she'd missed the whole thing; every single battle with Loki and the Chitauri. She'd missed the Hulk busting up the helicarrier and she'd missed Hawkeye being possessed. Apparently, she'd even missed a trip to the best schwarma in the city. All of these things she'd been told via text from Natasha. The red head was heading on a vacation with the now-unpossessed Hawkeye.
But that was the price you paid when you went out on assignment. You missed things. Amanda had been sent deep undercover. Truthfully, any longer and she was apt to forget that she was only on assignment; she was beginning to lose herself in the woman she was pretending to be.
The Avengers were on every news site and every TV channel. Amanda didn't like the feeling of being left out, but what she had just finished doing had to be done. And in reality, she was pleased that Director Fury had chosen her to do this and not someone else.
Looking out the window of the private jet, Amanda smiled. It was only going to be a little bit longer before she touched back down in New York. And only a little longer after that before she was face to face with her Captain.
It had been hard to leave Steve; harder than she ever thought it would be. She couldn't bring herself to tell him where she was going or what she was doing. Fury had given her express permission to tell Steve what she was doing, but she declined. She didn't want him to know; she knew what she would be doing was going to be dangerous.
But she knew she was going to miss him like crazy and she was right. They'd only been dating for a couple of months when she left; she didn't know how long she was going to be gone. That was the worst part. But both of them knew it was the nature of their jobs that this could happen. Whether they wanted to or not, they had to accept it.
Fortunately, Amanda was extremely efficient at what she did. It had only been a couple of weeks, and Amanda was on her way home.
Surveying the skyline of New York as her plane started getting closer and closer; she noticed the impressive outline of Stark Tower. Tony had opted months ago to not rebuild the house that he'd held so dear. By the time the fires had been put out and the damage assessed, most of the south portion of the house was gone and what was left was unsalvageable. Tony had decided to tear it down in favor of the now in-repair Stark Tower.
From her vantage point, it didn't appear that the attacks from Loki and the Chitauri had done nearly the amount of damage to the tower that Sin and her crew had done to the house, but it definitely needed work. The only remaining letter left of his name on the side of the building was an 'A'.
It must have been a bit of a feat to get the group back together; they had all gone their separate ways. Doctor Banner was somewhere on SHIELD's remote radar, but ultimately left alone. He'd expressed interest in finding a patch of uninhabited planet where he wouldn't hurt anyone. Thor had returned to Asgard, somehow, and was all but entirely unreachable. Amanda wasn't quite sure how it worked. Tony had thrown himself fully into the green energy project with Pepper. That's how the new Stark Tower had come about.
Natasha had been sent undercover, too, but she'd gone somewhere else. It probably was just as much…fun…as Amanda's trip was. Hawkeye, on the other hand, was given the task of making sure the newly re-acquired tesseract was safe while Doctor Erik Selvig finally got his chance to work on it.
Bucky Barnes was accepted into SHIELD, but he'd been moved to the California branch. That left Steve and Amanda plenty of time to get to know each other. Which made it that much harder for her to leave; Steve would be alone.
Amanda checked her phone again. It was so nice to turn her actual phone back on and start getting messages again.
She had 20 messages from her mother and sister once she'd turned it back on. They were very, very angry with her lies; it took lots of drawn out, dramatic conversations and half-hearted and real apologies to make it to where they were now. She'd listened to each of the messages; gradually they became nicer and nicer and the last message said Aunt Peggy was starting to breathe on her own.
Now she could enjoy the evening with Captain Rogers, and feel slightly less guilty about not going to see her still-comatose aunt first.
"What are you so deep in thought about, Agent Carter?" the pilot asked. He was a fellow SHIELD agent; someone who'd survived the fight that had occurred between them and the alien invaders. She'd known him for years.
"Just thinking about what I missed," Amanda said.
"How long were you gone?" he asked. The pilot didn't know what she'd been doing; he'd just been given orders to bring her home.
"Just a few weeks," Amanda replied. "But it feels like a lifetime."
"Well, welcome home," the man smiled. He brought the plane down on the runway smoothly.
Amanda closed her eyes and re-opened them. She really was home.
Opening the plane's door, she grabbed her one single bag and quickly took the steps. She peered around the tarmac of the private airbase; she smiled when she found what, or rather who, she was looking for.
"It's about time," he said, squinting slightly into the sun behind her face.
Amanda smiled back at him. "I missed you so much."
He put his arms around her, without hesitation, and kissed her deeply. He'd gotten over his bashfulness in the couple of months they'd had together.
"Oh, Captain," she smiled once they had broken apart for air.
"Let's go home," he said, looking down at her, his blue eyes dark with want.
"Hold your horses, there, Steve," Amanda said. "I was hoping to get a shower first. It's been a while since I've had proper hot water."
Steve nodded. "Of course," he said. "Right, right."
They took the short walk, hand in hand, to Steve's motorcycle.
"I hope the motorcycle is okay," he said, handing her a helmet.
"Of course it is," she replied, accepting the helmet from him and sliding it on her head.
"All right, let's get you home."
Steve Rogers missed her the whole time she was gone. It wasn't a feeling he particularly enjoyed, either. It was incredible to see her plane land. And now she was holding onto him tightly as he drove them around the wreckage that was New York.
SHIELD had gone through and done a lot of clean up, specifically, alien removal, but the ravages that had occurred were still all around them.
Steve brought the two of them to his apartment. Most of her things had wound up there anyway. But honestly, he was being selfish; he wanted her all to himself.
His apartment could be described as 'retro' by all accounts. But it was all things he was used to the first time around, with a few extra modern pieces of equipment interspersed. He liked it, having his own space, but Steve was definitely happy to have a companion.
Steve carried her things, her one single bag, that she'd survived with for the 32 and a half days she'd been gone. He was curious as to what she was sent to do and where she'd lived, but he wasn't about to pry. She was back where he could protect her and that's all Steve cared about.
After opening the door, Amanda immediately began peeling off the clothes she'd been wearing for the last 16 hours. She knew she looked, and smelled, like hell, yet Steve couldn't stop staring at her. And she didn't realize it, but she was torturing him as she removed articles of clothing. He's wanted to touch her for so long.
"Seriously, Steve, I feel gross," she said. It was then that she was really seeing the look on his face. "I'm going to hop in the shower and then you can tell me about the blond waitress you rescued," Amanda smirked.
He blushed bright red.
"Uh…" he stammered.
"Yeah, she's all over the news thanking you," Amanda laughed.
"I helped a lot of people that day," Steve said, clearly not understanding that she was kidding.
"I heard," she said, removing the rest of her clothes before walking into the bathroom.
Steve had followed her room to room and was now taking in her naked body as she turned the water on.
She was bruised all over and there were several new cuts that were becoming scars on her collarbone, upper arm and what looked like a brand on the middle of her back.
"Have you been to a doctor?" he asked, stepping towards her, his hands touching the circular mark on her back gingerly.
Amanda tried to hide the wince of pain she felt as he touched her there, but she failed miserably. Her entire body tensed.
"I am a doctor," she said.
"Except you can't reach this. What happened?" Steve asked.
"I'm fine; it's not a big deal," Amanda replied.
Amanda, self-consciously now, bent to test the water temperature. Finding it satisfactorily warm, she pulled the tab to turn the showerhead on.
She smiled at him reassuringly and climbed behind the shower curtain. The warm water was a welcome change despite the resulting stinging on her injuries. Amanda had all but forgotten them as she flew home. She was so happy to be alive to return to New York that a couple scars didn't mean anything to her.
Amanda realized how tired she was as the heat started to permeate her muscles and she swore she could feel it in her bones.
"Amanda?" Steve's voice called from the other side of the shower curtain.
It broke her from her thoughts.
"Yes?" she said warily.
Steve pulled back the curtain just enough for him to climb in with her. He bore scares of his own, some as fresh as Amanda's.
"We're a real pair," Amanda said, tracing her hand along the scar on his side. Now he had matching marks on the sides of his abdomen.
"Did they do anything else?" he asked. He was still shy; he didn't want to utter the words. But he wanted to know.
"No," she replied. It was the truth.
"What happened?" Steve asked as he helped her massage the shampoo into her hair and scalp.
"You know…stuff," Amanda replied. Steve was a soldier; he had to understand what she meant. "It doesn't matter anymore. I completed the mission."
"That's good," he said.
"If I didn't finish it, were you going to finish it for me?" Amanda laughed.
"I'm going to find out if whoever did this to you is still alive and kill them myself," Steve said from behind her.
Amanda turned to face him.
"Very unnecessary, but not un-appreciated."
He looked at her with a confused expression.
"Already dead," Amanda said before moving to wash the soap from her dark hair.
"Next time I'm going with you," he said firmly.
"That is incredibly noble and wonderful, but you aren't exactly an individual who can blend in, sir," she said. "You are kind of recognizable," she laughed.
"You know Natasha came back all beat up, too," he said, touching the area around the circular burn on her back. "They pulled her out to help us. Well, they pulled her out because of Barton."
Amanda turned. "Are you okay?" she asked after turning around to look him in the eyes.
"Yeah," he smiled. "I'm okay. I was just hoping that you'd be back then, too," he said.
"I got a text from Nat about the whole thing. I hear I missed a bad ass trip for schwarma."
"I was too tired to enjoy it," he said. "I was falling asleep at the table. Stark couldn't stop laughing."
"That sounds like Tony," Amanda said. "Now let's talk about us," she said.
It had been long enough; this time was going to be just about her and Steve.
Steve got dressed and just enough to make himself decent to answer the door. He'd ordered dinner in and he was going to climb back in bed with Amanda the second he closed the door.
The food was in his hand when he heard his phone ringing in the bedroom.
"Steve, your phone is ringing," Amanda called.
"I don't know why these things exist," he said grouchily. He handed the bag to Amanda, who was wrapped in a sheet toga-style. She moved to get up with the food, but he shook his head and held up his hand to stop her. She settled back in and waited for him to deal with the phone call.
"Hello?" he said into the phone.
"Banner and I are going to the basketball game tonight. I got you a ticket. You're coming," Tony announced.
"I can't. I'm busy," Steve said.
"That sounds suspiciously like a lie," Stark said. "I didn't know that you could lie. Game's at eight; we'll pick you up."
"No, you won't, Stark. I'm not going."
He didn't want to tell them about Amanda; he wanted her all to himself.
"Whatever," Tony hissed into the phone. It was loud enough for Amanda to hear across the room.
Steve disconnected the call.
"He's acting like a petulant child," Amanda observed.
"Fury put me in charge of the team," he said.
"That's great!" Amanda said.
"Communication kind of broke down in the middle of it all," Steve said. "Hulk attacked Natasha, and then Thor attacked the Hulk. Barton was compromised; he was being controlled by Loki. And Stark and I…"
"You two had an argument?" she guessed.
"Several arguments. It all worked out in the end, but everyone has kind of left me alone," Steve said.
"I am sorry about that."
"And Stark's tower is a behemoth blocking the New York skyline," Steve replied bitterly.
"I've never seen you like this," Amanda replied, observing him. He was tense.
He sat down on the bed next to her.
"Like what?" he asked, opening the bag of food.
"Usually you're so even-tempered."
"It's been a long couple of weeks," Steve replied. "Lousy weeks. But it's all right," he said. "You're back and the world is safe again. Let's eat."
Steve held her close to him. She was snoring softly and sleeping deeply. She'd probably catch hell tomorrow for not telling anyone she was home, but she said she didn't care.
They'd made love three times since they'd walked back into Steve's apartment. If he had any say about it, she'd never leave his sight again. But they would need to buy a new headboard for his bed, as it was cracked and splintered and they would need to clean up the kitchen counter before they cooked anything else. That memory made him smile.
His eyes began to close as she nestled her face further into his chest.
A banging on the door woke him a couple of hours later. Who would be stupid enough to play a prank on Steve Rogers? Amanda was still fast asleep and he moved as gently as possible to keep from waking her.
He found his sweats and pulled them on quickly, willing the pounding to stop.
He wrenched open the door without checking the camera or peephole.
Tony Stark, totally drunk with Bruce Banner, stood at his doorstep.
"This had better be life or death," Steve said, running a hand through his just-had-sex hair.
"What were you so busy doing?" Tony slurred in an accusatory tone.
Flat-footed and not in his suit, Tony came up to Steve's nose. Steve leaned disinterestedly on the doorframe, a wall of muscle keeping Tony from seeing the clothes strewn about in a path to the bedroom. His only problem would be if Banner got agitated.
"Things to do, Stark. Go home. You're drunk," Steve said.
"I tried to get him to go home. But he started to yell like a child. It was easier to bring him to you."
"Gee, thanks, Banner."
"Who's here?" Tony yelled. He was peering around Steve and hand to have caught sight of something feminine on the floor.
"You wearing a bra 'cause your pecs got to big?" Stark said.
Steve used one hand to hold Stark back.
"You need to go home and sleep this off," Steve said.
"Who is in there with you? Someone that's naked!" Tony said.
Tony was really drunk. Really, really drunk.
"You're acting like a jealous girlfriend, Stark," Banner smirked.
"Watch it, Banner," Stark hissed. "You're cheating on Amanda. Not okay!"
Steve rolled his eyes.
"Watch what you say, Stark."
"You're an asshole, Rogers," Tony said, carefully enunciating each syllable. "You're supposed to be America's…" he paused to hiccup. "…hero. But you're just some loser," Tony drunkenly carried on.
Steve's face was a mask of indifference. He didn't argue; he didn't protest.
It wasn't until Tony started poking him hard in the chest that Steve did anything. He had Stark by the wrist and pushed him back. Tony was caught-off guard and stumbled back into the wall.
"You're going to regret that, Rogers," Stark said in a low growl.
He righted himself and charged Steve.
"What the hell is going on out here?" Amanda yelled. She was once more wrapped in the plaid sheet from Steve's bed.
Tony's face went pale.
"Welcome home, Amanda," Bruce said.
"Howdy," she said sarcastically. "I ask again, what the hell is going on here?"
"When did you get home?" Tony said, coming out of his drunken state rather quickly.
"This afternoon. I think you owe Steve an apology for calling him an asshole," she said.
"You heard that?"
"They heard it in Asgard."
"Why are you so bruised up?"Tony asked.
"The mission I was on," she said sourly. "Go home. I'm done talking to you, Tony. I have a meeting in the morning."
Tony shuffled slowly down the hall and Banner followed after him.
Amanda headed back to the bedroom, leaving Steve alone in the doorway.
It wasn't exactly how either one of them had figured tonight would go, but they were good at improvising.
Steve closed the door and followed behind her. He wondered if the modern world was always going to be like this.
… … …
A/N: Okay, what did you think?