Disclaimer: Sadly, I own nothing related to Marvel, either the comics, movies, TV shows, etc. All of that belongs to the Disney Corporation (though I might try kidnapping Captain America and Hawkeye some day, just for fun).
AN: Here's the first one-shot. Others to follow soon! Enjoy, and please don't forget to review!
Story #1: Awkward Visits:
Looking over at Adena, Steve tried to resist the urge to put a protective hand on hers. They were, after all, on territory that was unfamiliar to him, and his instinctive response was to keep her safe. She hated it when he was like this, but it was a habit he had formed, and one that was hard to break, because he didn't want to.
It had been three months since the incident with Agent Carter, and during that time, Steve had tried (unsuccessfully) not to be a nervous wreck about Adena's safety. Even when they were on the familiar streets in New York, he still sometimes found himself glancing around, assessing their surroundings and searching for danger. Adena always rolled her eyes and told him to relax, but after everything that had happened to her, Steve wasn't about to let his guard down again.
Luckily, that was the only main issue they had, and things were settling back to normal between them. They did have the occasional disagreement about his education of the modern world, but nothing major –he was progressing very well, according to Adena, and the routine they'd settled back into was a comfortable one.
There was one important change to their relationship, though. Ever since that night in Adena's room, the two of them had taken the next step of sleeping together in one bed. They never did anything more than sleep –well, except for the occasional kiss, of course, and they did tend to snuggle up close during the night, but nothing more than that.
Even though Steve had, at first, experienced mixed feelings about their change in sleeping situations, the shared bed turned out for the best. He felt better having Adena close to him at night, and in turn, she was glad for it, too, if only so he would be there if she ever had a nightmare about her meeting with Agent Carter. Even though Adena had made peace with the woman, and had forgiven her, she still sometimes relived the incident in her nightmares. Luckily, those were becoming fewer and fewer; she now only had them once every two or three weeks, but on those nights, his being there was a comfort to them both.
As the cab pulled off of the freeway, Steve tried not to think about Sharon Carter, and instead tried to focus on today. 'At least this trip will be good for her.' He firmly believed that, because unlike their last trip somewhere, this one was taking them somewhere very familiar to her.
"Cap, stop fidgeting," Adena chided him as the cab got closer to their destination. "You look like you've got itching powder in your clothes."
He honestly couldn't help it. Even though he'd faced down Nazis, Red Skull, alien armies, and fought Loki hand-to-hand, Steve found himself more nervous and afraid of today's events than any one of those.
By now, they were in a residential neighborhood, with nice houses and tall trees lining the streets. Each house had a decent yard, and each was decorated (or not) according to the tastes of the house's owners. Having never lived in the suburbs, Steve found it much more spacious compared to the cramped streets of New York and Brooklyn he'd grown up on.
'The air's cleaner, too,' he realized as he breathed in the scent of cut grass, flowers, and bark dust. There was still the undertone of exhaust from cars, but it was much less than New York.
"What did you say to them?" Steve softly asked, turning his gaze towards his girlfriend. "I mean, about me?"
She gave him a smile that bordered between extreme excitement and nervousness. "Well, they know that my new job is helping a soldier reintegrate back into the world, and that I like what I do. They also know that I'm dating the man I was helping."
Steve smiled as she blushed. "They didn't approve, of course, since it's kind of unethical in their eyes, but I think that as long as I'm happy with my life, they will be, too."
"But they don't know it's me," he stressed, keeping his voice down so that the driver couldn't hear him. Inside, he wasn't sure if he wanted to know what her answer would be.
"No, they don't know," Adena soothed him. "I just told them I was bringing you on my trip to meet them as part of your education process." She took his hand and squeezed it. "Now calm down; we're here."
For the first time in ages, Steve felt like he was going to be sick. He honestly hadn't known what to expect on this trip, but this meeting wasn't it. He couldn't help but feel like an outsider as the car drew to a stop and Adena leaped out, running up to a grinning man who swung her up in a tight hug as she cried out, "Daddy!"
In the time it took Steve to pay the driver and retrieve their bags, Adena managed to hug and kiss her parents, hug her younger brother, and tell them all how much she'd missed them.
"Cap, come up here and meet my folks," she called, motioning for him to join them on the front stoop. "You can leave the bags on the curb; no one's going to swipe them."
Swallowing hard, Steve took the fifteen or twenty steps it took to get to her. Shifting awkwardly, he let Adena introduce him to her family: Kathleen, her mother; her brother, Marcus; and, last of all, her father, Steve.
"So I guess you're the reason Adena insists on calling me 'Cap,'" Steve joked, shaking the older man's hand. "She said it was too odd calling me by the same name her father had."
The older Steve chuckled. "That's the sort of things she does," he replied. "I'm glad she found a good nickname for you, though. I'm assuming she chose that name because you're an Army captain?"
"Yup!" Adena put in, grinning as she took his hand. "So, now that you've met everyone, why don't I take you inside and show you around? Dad, can you get the bags?"
It was a nice house, he had to admit, with a nice, cozy kitchen and small eating area, a large open space that was a living room and dining room, and a den, where there was a large television and a very comfortable-looking brown leather couch.
"If you're going to stay here during your visit, I'm afraid we only have the one small guest room, since my son rents out the larger room," he heard Adena's father apologize to him.
"Oh, don't worry about it, Dad," Adena replied, waving aside his apology.
Steve immediately noticed that Mrs. Philips was giving them a suspicious look. "I guess I could make up a sleeping bag on the floor," she suggested, eyeing them closely.
Adena sighed and shook her head. "No, Mom, the bed will be fine for the both of us. And," she quickly stressed, "No, we haven't taken things that far, so don't you or Dad dare threaten my boyfriend! All we do is sleep in the same bed; that's it."
Mr. and Mrs. Philips didn't look convinced, but they said nothing as Steve let Adena and her brother lead him into the living room, the older couple staying in the den for a whispered conversation that Steve probably didn't want to know the topic of.
"Sorry about that, Steve," Marcus quietly apologized. "Our parents aren't usually so wacky over stuff like this, but after what happened in New York, they've been terrified of something happening to my sister. It's been really hard for them to turn off the 'protective parent' instincts."
Adena rolled her eyes. "I told them I was fine," she huffed. "And I like living in New York, even after the alien attack."
Marcus shrugged and gave her a knowing grin. "So, since you're all-knowing when it comes to The Big Apple, can you tell me if you've seen Tony Stark?"
"Oh, yeah," she said, smiling. "Cap and I go hang out with him every other weekend. I've even got Pepper Potts on speed-dial, so that we can chat about girl stuff whenever we're feeling bored."
Steve almost swallowed his tongue when she said that. He knew that their friendship with Tony was supposed to be kept quiet – it was a smart idea, considering that anyone associating with him might be thought to be one of the Avengers. For her to be so open like this, even with her family about something so sensitive…
Marcus laughed and reached over to give her shoulder a playful shove. "Good one, sis. Still, if you do ever manage to wrestle him into a corner, would you ask him for an autograph?"
Steve almost sighed in relief as Adena promised to do her best.
Seated in the den, Steve tried to keep his nerves from getting the best of him as Adena's family asked him about the alien attack on New York in an attempt to get another person's perspective of the whole event. He kept his lies simple, but believable: he said he'd fought with the local authorities and Army soldiers in order to keep innocents safe, and had even encountered a few of the Avengers in passing while fighting.
"So why the Army?" Marcus asked. "I mean, why not something else, like the Navy, or just staying an Ordinary Joe?"
Steve shrugged. "I wanted to help my country, and joining the Army felt like the only way to do it. Since I joined, I haven't really regretted much about it."
"You must have seen some horrible things, though," Mrs. Philips said, a look of sympathy on her face as she offered him a plate of cookies to go with the coffee he had in his hands.
Oh, yes, he certainly had, most of them occurring quite recently. But he could hardly tell them that those horrible events had involved Adena getting kidnapped twice by an alien, then by a possessed government agent.
"Mom, please," Adena quietly said. "Let's not talk about stuff like that. He's made a lot of good progress, and I don't want all of my work undone so quickly."
Her mother looked slightly ashamed. "You're right, sweetie; you've worked hard to help rehabilitate him." She looked over at him. "I'm sorry, Captain Rogers; I didn't mean to offend."
"Oh, it's alright," he assured her. "It's only natural that you'd want to ask."
Talk turned towards what other things Adena had been doing in New York, and again Steve had to hold his breath while she carefully wove some very nice and very believable lies for her family. She never once mentioned going on vacation in California, or hinted at any of the 'situations' she'd been in. When they began talking about what had occurred while she'd been gone, and what was for dinner that night, Steve let himself relax and enjoy his coffee.
Finally, Mrs. Philips took her son and daughter into the kitchen to help with the cooking and setting the table, leaving Steve alone with his girlfriend's father. When the others were out of earshot, Steve felt the older man giving him a close look.
"You know, I have to say that you look incredibly like someone I know of," Mr. Philips said. "So, would you let me ask you a hugely personal question, while my daughter is out of the room?"
Steve wasn't sure he could say 'no' to this kind of thing. "Sure, go ahead."
"I don't know if you know this, but my mother was a huge fan of Captain America," Mr. Philips said, getting up off of the couch and heading towards a large cabinet that sat close by. "Still is, actually. Anyway, Mom kept a huge stack of photos of the man, and when she was a teenager, she decided that her first-born son should be named after her hero."
He rummaged around in the cabinet for a few minutes, and when he turned back around, there was a large photo album in his hands. Looking at the dusty book, Mr. Philips grinned broadly, as though sharing an old joke. "My dad never knew why she wanted to name her son Steve, but he liked the name anyway, so here I am."
Rubbing a hand over the cover to remove some of the dust, Mr. Philips looked at it with affection. "When Adena was younger, she would go visit my mother for the summer, and while she was there, my mother would tell her stories about Captain America. Adena would then come back to tell me the stories all over again. My mother and her tales are quite possibly the greatest things my daughter and I have in common."
Steve had to swallow nervously as the book was brought over and placed in his lap, the album opened to a page with a clear photo of him, Steve Rogers, in his costume from his stage show. In it, he was looking off to the side, and clearly unaware that someone was photographing him. It should have confused him as to when and where the image had been taken, but he remembered the city and event. He even suspected who the photographer was, but in all likelihood, that person was probably no longer living.
"A remarkable resemblance, isn't it?" Steve Philips asked, eying him closely. "I swear you look just like him. Are you a relative of some kind, like a great nephew or cousin?"
Now, this was something Steve hadn't considered, and he bet that Adena hadn't, either. She had probably been so excited to visit her family that she hadn't thought that her father would remember the stories and photos shown to him as a child. Now Steve would have to do some damage control, and he was willing to bet that passing off his 'resemblance' as a coincidence wasn't going to do it. To save his identity, he'd have to lie, if it kept Director Fury and SHIELD from possibly getting involved.
"Yes, I am related to Captain America," Steve said aloud with a sigh. "A few generations removed, of course, but obviously the resemblance is there. I sometimes think that's why your daughter loves me, but I'm hoping that her feelings are more genuine than that, since I really do love her."
Mr. Philips eyed him very closely, and for a moment, Steve wasn't sure his story would be believed. That's when Mr. Philips said, "Of course she loves you. Adena isn't some shallow girl who would date a man because he looks like her superhero. I'm sure you know she's got more sense than that!"
"Oh, I do!" Steve hurriedly told him. "Believe me, I do know that!"
To his relief, Mr. Philips laughed. "After spending so much time with her, yeah, you would." Then he sobered. "So you love her, huh? You'd better treat her right then, mister, or else. I'm trained in karate, and even though I'm thirty years out of practice, I still know several ways to break you in half if you hurt my baby girl."
Steve grinned. "Believe me, sir, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'll take care of her; I promise."
The other man relaxed just a little bit. "I'll hold you to that."
The sound of a buzzer filled the air, signaling the start of dinner. Both Steve and his namesake turned towards the dining room, the silence between them an understanding one.
"So, what did you and Dad talk about while I was in the kitchen?" Adena asked him that night as they lay in bed, curled up and facing one another. "He didn't go all protective, did he?"
Steve chuckled softly. "Of course he did. Any good father would, in that situation. We talked about me treating you right, and how he would kill me if I didn't."
She sighed. "Well, I guess if he didn't kill you and wipe the floor with your face, it means he likes you. Granted, Dad likes most people, but I always imagined him hurting the first boy I brought home."
Steve looked at her. "I'm the first boy you brought home?" he asked, surprised but very honored.
"Why does that surprise you?" she asked in amusement.
He shrugged. "Given what a wonderful woman you are, I sort of assumed that you'd have had a few boyfriends before me."
She laughed a little, then smiled warmly up at him. "That's sweet, Cap, but I can promise that you are the first guy I've brought home to meet my family."
Good –that's how he liked it. The thought of another man with his arms around her was enough to make Steve see red. He was about to say so when a yawn escaped her lips, signaling it was definitely time for sleep.
Grinning, Steve reached out to pull her close. With her beside him, he might just survive this visit.
"Mom, will you please stop giving me those looks?" I pleaded as I packed up my clothes for the trip back to New York. I loved being back at the "old homestead," as people said, and relished the quiet of the suburbs, but I was looking forward to returning to the bustle of the big city.
"I'm sorry, honey, but I'm just a bit worried, that's all," she said, handing me a shirt I had purchased during a shopping trip we'd taken. "I mean, being involved with a person in the military is so risky, and…it isn't what I imagined for you."
Oh. Well, I guess I could see her point, and if that was her main concern with me dating Cap, then I guess that could be a good thing.
"Mom, Cap is a good soldier, and an even better man," I assured her. "I know there's the chance he'll be hurt when he's called to fight, but I have faith in him and his abilities –I know he'll try his damn hardest to come back to me."
Mom's concerns aside, it had actually been a good visit. Dad had been on his best behavior when it came to being around Cap, but that might have only been when I was around them. On the other hand, Dad hadn't been giving my poor boyfriend any glares or threatening looks, so I took that as a sign that he approved of our relationship.
Marcus, of course, liked Cap because he was a good guy. I also highly suspected that my brother was thrilled with the idea of having someone close to his age to talk to about stuff and hang out with –though, technically, Cap was easily three or four times his age. Still, the two got along pretty well, and I liked seeing the two of them bond over 'guy stuff,' like sports and whatever movies I'd gotten Cap caught up on.
Mom, however, had been the most concerned about my relationship. I hadn't been able to figure out why, at first, since she'd kept saying it was nothing, but now that I was leaving, I guess she figured she'd better speak now, or be forced to hold her peace.
"I know he's a good man, Addie," she said, using a nickname that only she was allowed to call me. "He seems sweet and very attentive to you, but I just want to make sure that you know what you're getting into, if worst comes to worst."
Ah, moms; can't live with them, but you couldn't be here without them!
Smiling, I stopped packing and wrapped my arms around her. "I love you, Mom," I said. "Thanks for being all protective."
She chuckled and squeezed me tight. "I love you, too, sweetie. Just make sure you're prepared for whatever comes your way when you're hooked up to an Army man."
Trust me; after all I've already been through as Captain America's girlfriend, I was more prepared than she thought! 'Not that I can tell her that, of course…'
"I'll be careful, Mom," I solemnly promised.
She grinned at me. "And if things get more serious, you'll tell me, right? First thing?"
"Mom!" I squeaked. "That's not going to happen anytime soon!"
My mother simply shrugged and gave me a smile. "Well, you can't blame a mother for trying… especially when she's eager to spoil some grandkids-"
I covered her mouth with both my hands. "Nope, you're not going to get me with that argument! I know Marcus isn't in a hurry to settle down, but no pressuring me when I'm not ready!"
The two of us exchanged glances that were half amusement, half stubbornness, then burst out laughing, my hands dropping from Mom's mouth so that I could finish with the packing.
"Well, a mother can dream," Mom said, patting me on the back. "Now, tell me all about New York again. I want to hear more about the shopping, so that your dad and I have places to go when we come visit you."
Wow, wouldn't that be a visit to look forward to. And I was willing to bet that Director Fury would have his hands full covering up a bunch of stuff if my folks ever did show up!
Plastering on a smile, I told her about the high-end shopping of 5th Avenue and Times Square, all the while praying that they didn't come to New York anytime soon.
AN: First stop: meet the parents. Anyone want to guess what the next step is? (wink) Please review!