A/N: This is to celebrate Steve Rogers' birthday. I know it's a little late, but better late than never, right? No warnings, I guess. No pairings besides from Tony hitting on Natasha once and Clint reminding him of Pepper. Completely unedited, so sorry if there are any grammar or spelling errors! Otherwise, enjoy and please review!
It all must have started when Natasha showed up at his doorstep.
Steve had just woken up, wearing t-shirt and sweatpants and sitting by the breakfast table and reading a newspaper. Just like any day in his small Brooklyn apartment.
But then the doorbell rang, and with eyebrows furrowed and mouth full of sandwich, Steve went to open.
"Morning, Captain." His mind did barely have the time to recognize the voice before Natasha had pushed herself past him, a blur of red hair his eyes almost were too slow to follow.
"A-Agent Romanoff?" Steve said, quickly swallowing his bite and following her. "What are you doing here?"
"Natasha." She corrected him, not even turning around. He noticed that she had a big sports bag with her, which she unzipped without a word of explanation. Then she started opening the drawers in his bureau, ripping out the clothes and throwing them carelessly in to the bag.
"Excuse me, ag-Natasha, are we in a hurry?" Steve asked confusedly, staring at her. "Has anything happened?"
Natasha didn't answer. After a moment, she zipped the sports bag and handed it to Steve. Her face was like stone, hard and serious and not giving away anything.
"Change clothes and meet me outside in five minutes." She instructed him, and before he had the time to open his mouth and ask what was going on, she had left again.
"Could you please tell me what's going on now?"
They were in a big black car, Natasha sitting in the front seat next to the driver. When he had come out from his apartment, she had told him to get in the backseat with the bag, and without any explanation told the driver to get going.
"We've been called in." Natasha said shortly. Steve leaned forward so he could see the road in front of them clearer, wondering if he could get any information out of what direction they were driving in.
"By agent Fury?" He asked, looking at Natasha. "Is it about the tesserakt?"
"No." To Steve's big surprise, the driver answered. To his even bigger surprise, he recognized the voice.
"Agent Barton?!" He turned his head so fast that his neck started to hurt. And yes, it was indeed Clint Barton who was driving, his face as emotionless as always and his eyes set firmly on the road.
"You can call me Clint." He huffed. "And no to both of your questions. This is a little bit more private business."
Steve scowled, trying to figure out what Clint meant by that, but he didn't ask anything else. Slowly, he leaned back in his seat and looked out through the window.
They kept driving for quite a while, until they had left the city behind. The roads and tall buildings were replaced by a little wilder scenery, with trees and other things which weren't very common in the middle of the crowded city New York.
The silence in the car was eerie and heavy with questions, but Steve kept quiet when the two agents seemed to refuse to explain.
At some point, he started to think that maybe the aliens were back with some kind of new super-technology that could make people change appearances, and that maybe Clint and Natasha weren't really Clint and Natasha, but maybe some evil servants of Loki or some other enemy. He instantly dismissed this ridiculous possibility, but he still let himself be suspicious enough to be on his guard.
Clint made a movement with his hand, and Steve thought that he was finally going to explain, but then he just turned on the radio.
"And the celebration of Fourth of July will go on until late at night, with-"
Steve froze, asking himself if he had heard it right – of course he had, but he kept telling himself that no, it wasn't Fourth of July today and no, it wasn't his birthday today.
Clint and Natasha didn't seem to notice. If they had heard the radio, they didn't show it. The woman on the radio kept talking about how Independence Day was so important in American history while Steve slumped down in his seat more and more for each word.
It was his birthday today. He had totally forgotten and he shouldn't have remembered because it brought back memories that shouldn't bug him anymore since they were in the past. Of course, the memories didn't know that, or maybe they did – but they certainly didn't care.
He had lost track of time when Clint finally stopped the car. The two agents wordlessly got out of the car, slamming the doors behind them and going to the back of the vehicle, probably to take something out from the trunk. Steve briskly stepped out, inhaling the fresh air and taking a tighter grip around his sports bag before looking at their surroundings.
They had to be by the beach, because the air smelled of the sea and you could hear the waves crashing against land even though you couldn't see any water. The ground was covered in short, green grass, and trees were standing here and there. A gravel road led up to a house, which was what Steve's gaze fell on first.
It was huge, with white brick-walls and a black roof. The door was partly in glass, met by a big porch in wood. The windows were dark. It was admittedly beautiful, and when Steve looked back at that moment, he should have known whose house it was.
But he remained oblivious, and he followed Natasha and Clint up on the porch. They were carrying bags too, and Steve frowned slightly and wondered if they were going on a trip or something.
Natasha raised her hand and knocked three times.
The door swung open, revealing complete darkness, and Steve just opened his mouth to ask if anyone was home when there was a loud pang and sudden light emerged from the room, along with a whole lot of colorful confetti.
"Happy Birthday!" A lot of voices shouted in chorus.
Steve just stood there and blinked in sheer surprise, and suddenly someone grabbed his arm and dragged him inside.
The room as huge, all decorated in colorful confetti and banderols and other party things. A pile of beautifully wrapped gifts were lying on a table and a metal cart was filled with bottles and glasses of wine and beer. But Steve's eyes immediately went to the people of the room.
Tony was grinning widely, wearing a party hat and a big t-shirt with the words "CONGRATS – NOW YOU'RE ONE YEAR CLOSER TO DEATH!" written on it. He was holding a huge bottle of champagne, which was popped open and bubbling fervently. Thor was standing behind him, his lips stretched in a huge smile and holding a sign, colored with crayons in messy colors, which said "HAPPY BIRTHDAY". Bruce was leaning towards the couch, confetti in his curly hair and a weary smile on his face. Natasha and Clint were still standing next to Steve, small smiles playing on their lips too.
"W-What is this?" Steve sputtered, eyes wide and blinking too often.
Tony rolled his eyes.
"A birthday party, of course." He pronounced each syllable as if Steve didn't know English. "Did your time under ice make your eyesight bad or-"
"Congratulations." Natasha cut off briskly.
Thor walked over and patted Steve's back very hardly.
"Happy birthday! You're lucky not to be immortal, human."
Steve frowned, but Clint grunted and said:
"Doesn't that mean he wouldn't die, like you?"
The Asgardian blinked.
"I can die." He said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"But how are you-You know what, forget it." Clint said grumpily. Thor looked confused for a second, but then his grin was back and he left for the cart with alcohol.
Bruce approached Steve hesitantly, looking as shy and out of place as he always managed to make himself look, but he smiled and reached out a hand.
"Happy birthday, Captain." He said as they shook hands.
"Thank you." Steve said, still trying to take in what was happening. Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder and turned around to see Natasha. She had a small smile tugging at her lips.
"The radio didn't ruin the surprise, did it?" She asked.
"It wasn't planned?" He asked, letting his gaze sweep over the party. "You acted very calm about it."
"Well, it's my job to keep calm when no one else ever is. It's needed." She added and nodded toward Tony, who just had put on music on a blast so that everybody in the room flinched as the speakers suddenly almost blew up.
"I'm happy someone does." Steve said, smiling to her.
"Gift-time!" Tony called out over the loud music, clapping his hands as good as he could while holding a bottle of beer in one.
Thor excitedly jumped to his feet, Bruce pursed his lips slightly, Clint sighed and Natasha nudged him. Tony and Thor helped to get all the gifts to the couch, where they all sat down and stared expectantly at Steve.
"Open one!" Tony said impatiently.
Steve hesitantly grabbed one of the gift-wrapped boxes and read the card that was attached to it.
"'From Tony and Bruce.'" Tony looked very pleased with himself, but Bruce gave Steve a slightly apologetic look that made the captain worried. He opened it carefully, asking himself if he really wanted to know what was inside, but it turned out not to be so horrifying.
"It's a computer." Tony said. "But not just a laptop. Tell him, Bruce!"
He looked encouragingly at the doctor, who sighed silently and sat down on the arm of the couch.
"We – Tony and I – have created a program that will teach you how to use the basic stuff on the computer." He looked down at his hands, and only glanced up to give Steve a small, apologetic smile. "It will take you step by step through the use of technology. Tony thinks you won't survive if you don't know how to use a computer."
Tony raised his glass with a serious look.
"It's all true, my friend."
"Um… Thank you." Steve said, examining the computer carefully. "Thank you very much." He added genuinely when he saw Bruce looking at him doubtfully.
Thor handed Steve a big box with a golden ribbon on it. He looked very pleased with himself.
As the box was opened, it revealed a blue cloak.
"I thought it would fit your suit." Thor rumbled happily.
"Wow… Thank you, Thor." Steve said politely, letting the soft material rest in his palms.
"Natasha and I got you that." Clint said as Steve picked up the last gift.
The box was heavy, and Steve was delighted when he saw what was inside.
"Chronicles and stuff about events during your sleep you should know about." Natasha explained. "It's very interesting reading."
"Thank you." He said with a smile. "Thank all of you." Steve looked at them all, chuckled slightly and gestured toward the gifts. "I'll use them well."
"Okay, we should really go to sleep now." Natasha said calmly, putting her hands on Tony's shoulders.
He was very drunk by now, and had absolutely no filter between his words and thoughts – not that he did normally, but this was even worse.
"Only if you'll sleep in my bed." He said with a crooked grin.
"Where's Pepper, Tony?" Clint piped up, taking a sip of his beer. Even if he had had a beer in his hand most of the time, he didn't seem drunk at all.
Tony frowned in response.
"Natasha's right." Bruce said hesitantly. He hadn't touched any alcohol during the whole party. "It's late."
"It's splendid." Thor said happily. He should certainly be drunk too, but maybe human alcohol didn't affect Asgardians. "I think we should stay awake the whole night!" He slammed his fist in the table, which almost seemed to break.
Tony made an approving sound and pointed at Thor.
"Now that's the kind of attitude I like. The rest of you are boring." He pouted, but a second later his face lit up in a way that could only mean trouble. "We could watch a movie!"
"Yes! A movie!" Thor said, raised his bottle of beer and drank all of it in a gulp. Then, looking slightly confused, he asked: "What is a movie?"
"Oh! This is great! Both Thor and the Captain doesn't know what movies are. We gotta show them." Tony looked at Natasha, Clint and Bruce with pleading eyes.
Natasha rolled her eyes, and Steve assumed she was going to say no, but then she sighed and climbed up on the couch from behind.
"What are we going to watch?"
Tony grinned, Clint just shrugged and drank more of his beer and Bruce sat down next to Natasha when she motioned for him to do so. Steve wasn't really sure of what was happening, but he sat down between Thor and Clint and stared at Tony as he prepared the movie:
"J.A.R.V.I.S, put on Transformers."
"Transformers?" Natasha said, obviously not happy with it.
Tony turned and stared at her.
"Do you prefer Star Wars?"
She rolled her eyes, but didn't protest. Clint patted her shoulder.
Suddenly, a crack opened in the wall and grew bigger until it revealed a huge, black screen. It lit up just as the lights in the room dimmed, and Thor clapped his hands like an excited child.
Steve didn't really understand much of the movie, because it was mostly flashy cars transforming in to huge robots and explosions, but he kind of enjoyed it. Like when the main character was being chased, and Thor kept yelling at him to run faster and Clint tried to calm him down, or when Bruce asked what was going on and Tony started telling him what the whole movie was about and Natasha kicked him because he wouldn't shut up. Bowls of popcorn and other snacks were passed around and fought over, people find themselves with drinks that weren't their own, quiet murmurs and long, loud conversations about the movie were exchanged. At some point, everybody found themselves in much different places than when the movie begun; Bruce was sitting on the floor, his back leaned against the couch, Natasha had her back against the arm of the couch and her legs outstretched on Clint's lap, Thor was sitting on the back of the couch, Tony was lying down on the floor with his elbows propped up and his head held up by his hands and Steve was the only one who hadn't changed position.
He looked around at the rest of the Avengers, all of them too absorbed by what was happening on the screen to notice. He realized that if Natasha and Clint hadn't come to get him, he would probably have spent the day incomplete oblivion of the fact that it was his birthday or noticed it in the newspaper and let himself sit and think about the past. But these people, his friends, had gone through the work to fix a birthday party for him.
Steve didn't realize he was smiling until he looked back to the screen to see a robot die, and asked himself why the corners of his lips were twisted upwards.