Been a Captain America fan since I was a kid, so I thought I try an Avengers story.
It had been six months since the Avengers Initiative saved the world from an alien invasion, yet Steve Rogers still felt like a man in the wrong place at the wrong time. Wearing a pair of grey sweatpants and white tee shirt along with a pair of black Converse sneakers, he put himself through a workout in Tony Starks' R&D test area in the basement of the Stark Building in New York City. Behind a blackened one-way glass that was all but unbreakable, Stark watched Rogers with his Captain America shield dodged and defended himself against drones designed to test his latest armor. Beside Stark stood SHIELD agents Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff, who had been sent their by Nick Fury to retrieve Rogers.
"Isn't it a little dangerous in there for someone not in a suit of armor?" asked Barton.
"Well, Hawkeye," said Stark using his SHIELD code name, "Captain America wanted a workout and I told him this was what I used for a workout."
"Did you tell him that you wore your armor while you did it?" asked Barton.
"Actually, I did," smiled Stark.
They watched as Rogers unleashed his shield taking out two of the drones then did a series of rolls, flips, and backflips ending with him jumping in the air performing a spinning kick that took out another drone. It was an impressive feat to behold even if the person performing has had their biology enhance by a super soldier serum.
"He is impressive," said Barton.
Natasha nodded but didn't say a word. She found Captain America a boy scout, Mister Do Good, the perfect and polite soldier. Okay, he was good in a battle, maybe even better than her and Clint, but he had no edge and she liked edge. Yes, she liked a man with edge, so why did she find herself thinking about Captain Rogers lately.
His shield appeared in his hand just in time to protect him from a drone blast, which sent him flying back from its concussive force. Landing on his back, he did a roll and came up throwing his shield destroying one of the last three drones. He then dove out of the way as one of the remaining drones tried to nail him. Its energy blast hit an empty spot.
"I have to hand it to him he's a tough old soldier," said Stark with real admiration creeping in his voice. "Too bad, he's having so much trouble fitting in to the present."
"Still hates it here, huh?" said Barton.
Hawkeye took an immediate liking to Captain America. He was a legend to most young boys and he had to admit that the man lived up to the legend.
"Pepper and I took him out for dinner the other night and all he did was stare at his plate and answer yes ma'am and no sir whenever we tried to get him to open up," said Stark. "He's Mister perfect soldier twenty-four seven. What's Fury want with him?"
"Not a clue," said Barton.
Natasha watched as Rogers was barely missed being blasted by an energy beam then managed to get to his shield and destroy that last drone. He stood there barely winded. His black tee shirt was ripped exposing six pack abs.
"I have to make a cheaper drone. These workouts are costing me a fortune," Stark said to himself.
"Can we have him now?" asked Barton.
"At least, let him shower, not that he's all that sweaty," said Stark.
"Why is he staying with you?" asked Natasha.
"Because I've made this building available to any of the Avengers, even you two if you want," smiled Stark. "He was staying in an overpriced, rundown one bedroom in Brooklyn and when they found out he was Captain America people wouldn't leave him alone. Everybody wanted something from him from saving their cat in the tree to protecting them from a drug gang. He didn't say no to anyone, so I pulled him out of there before he ended up either burned out or dead."
"Good call," said Barton. "I'm going to have to give rude lessons to him."
"I'll call Fury and let him know we need a pickup," said Natasha.
She turned and walked away. Stark looked at her go then looked at Barton.
"What's her problem?" he asked.
"I don't think she is overly fond of Captain America," Barton said.
"But he's Captain American. How can you hate Captain America?" Stark asked.
"She's Russian," smiled Hawkeye.
"Okay, good point," smiled Stark.
Steve Rogers sat in the back of the transport on the bench seating across from the two SHEILD agents as it headed for the helicarrier, which was hidden away in clouds on stealth mode. He was dressed in chinos, a flannel shirt, penny loafers, and leather bomber jacket. Clint, who was dressed in a yellow and black rugby shirt and black jeans, laughed at the Captain's look. He looked over at Natasha, who was dressed in black jeans and black shirt with a black leather jacket.
"We have to do something about the way he dresses," he said. "He looks like a Norman Rockwell painting."
"You mean you have to do something about the way he dresses," she replied.
"Hey, come on, Tasha, he's Captain America so lighten up with him," said Clint.
"He's your idol, Clint, not mine," she said.
Steve ignored them. Why wouldn't he ignore what they talked about, since his hearing and eyesight were better than the average person was. Over the sounds of the transport and air outside, he heard her words clearly enough. He heard his words, too. Although he wouldn't admit it, he was intimidated by Agent Natasha Romanoff. He was intimidated by most beautiful women. It was tough being a ninety-five year old icon and still be a virgin. He was definitely not of this time and felt it more and more every day. Taking a deep breath, he exhaled.
"We will be landing in four minutes," a voice came over the speaker.
Steve ran his right hand through his blonde hair then zipped up his leather jacket in order to hide his hokey, out of date shirt. He was suddenly feeling a little embarrassed by his sartorial choices.
"Hey, Tasha, do you know what Fury wants?" Clint asked her.
"Him," she answered.
"Helpful, aren't you?" he chuckled.
She looked over at him and stuck her tongue out, which made him laugh. The two agents had chemistry. So far the only people Steve had chemistry were elderly.
The transport landed then it was lowered below the deck, as the deck doors opened and the lift brought it down. The back of the transport opened into a ramp and Steve followed Clint and Natasha off the transport to a waiting Agent Maria Hill, who was dressed in a SHIELD black skintight jumpsuit. She smiled when she saw Rogers. Like most of the SHIELD agents, she was glad that Fury was keeping him close to SHIIELD.
"Captain Rogers, Director Fury will be glad you're here," she said.
"I was told he wanted me, but not why," Steve said.
"He's waiting for you in the command center," she said.
Steve followed Agents White, Barton, and Romanoff to an elevator and to the command center. Once they entered the ever-impressive command center of the helicarrier, Rogers saw Nick Fury standing in his favorite spot surrounded by screens supplying him with information. Fury turned and looked at Steve with his good eye. He smiled. His father was part of Cap's men in World War II. He grew up hearing stories about Cap and his exploits during WW II fighting Hydra. It was through stories about Captain America that Nick Fury grew up wanting to serve and protect his country.
"Cap, it's good to see you," said Fury.
"Director Fury," Steve said sound overly formal.
Steve stood there at attention and waited for Fury to fill him in on what he wanted.
"You cut the head off of Hydra literally when you took out the Red Skull, Cap, but the beast still lives," said Fury.
"How?" he asked.
"About twenty years ago Baron Helmut Zemo took control of the lingering dregs of the organization and turned it into a terrorist and spy organization. We want to shut them down and I want you to be part of it," said Fury.
"Hydra," Steve said softly.
Both Clint and Natasha looked over at Steve. He suddenly had a haunted look on his face. Hydra had cost him so much. It cost him the life of Bucky and a chance of a life with Peggy.
"I will do whatever it takes to take down Hydra," said Steve.
Fury smiled, "Good. I want you partnered with either Hawkeye or the Black Widow."
"I'd rather not be partnered with anyone, no offense to Agent Barton or Agent Romanoff," said Steve.
Clint smiled while Natasha looked at him with disdain. She wasn't good enough to partner with him.
"Why?" Fury asked.
"Bucky died when I made a raid on Hydra. I'd rather work alone against them," said Steve.
"Ain't going to happen, Captain," said Fury then he turned and stared at Natasha with his one good eye. "Black Widow, you'll be Captain America's partner on this."
She sighed and rolled her eyes, "Sir, I believe Clint would love the chance to partner with Captain Rogers."
"He'll get his chance, but not this time," said Fury. "Cap, I've got quarters waiting for you with reports for you to read and your latest version of your uniform. No more mask just like you ask."
"No reason for a mask anymore," said Steve.
"I know. I saw that picture of you on Time Magazine, nice shot, too," smiled Clint. "I bet that got you plenty of dates."
Steve blushed, "I'd like to go to my quarters."
"Hill, show him to his quarters," said Fury.
Steve followed Agent Hill out of the command center. Fury turned his attention to his top two agents.
"Got you plenty of dates?" Fury said as he glared at Clint.
"Well, I bet he got plenty of offers," said Clint.
"Black Widow, an intel package is waiting for you in your quarters. Read it. You and Rogers will get started once you've both read the material. Hawkeye will back you up if you need it," said Fury.
"I'll need it," she mumbled under her breath. Trained by the Red Room in Russia since she was child, Natasha had been given a variant of the super soldier serum. She healed quicker than normal and had increased physical gifts, but she still wasn't in the league of Steve Rogers. He was the first super soldier and still the top of the line.
"We'll have lunch in my mess to discuss things," said Fury.
The US base of operations for Hydra was out of Chicago, which meant that Steve and Natasha were going to start there. According to sources a white supremacy group called Aryan Brothers had been infiltrated by Hydra agents and was being run like a puppet by the US Hydra leader Edward Lundt. Lundt was a wealthy European industrialist, who owed his success to Hydra's manipulation of markets and help.
It was decided that the Steve and Natasha would pose as a couple and try to make contact with Lundt, who ran in exclusive circles. Clint was given the mission to upgrade Steve Rogers' old fashion look. Steve and Clint were dropped off in Los Angeles for some clothes shopping along with a company credit card.
As they entered the Armani store on Rodeo Drive, Steve Rogers never felt so old or so out of place. Clint lowered his sunglasses and smiled.
"We are going to have some fun," he said.
"This is fun," mumbled Steve.
"Yeah, this is fun. I'm thinking a couple of suits, a nice pair of dress loafers, shirts, and ties then we go somewhere else to get you some casual clothes," he said. "What color suits do you prefer?"
"Black or grey," Steve answered without much interest.
Clint looked over at him and laughed, "How old are you?"
"I told you that I'm ninety-five years old," said Steve.
"No, I mean how are old you really, you know, before you were freeze dried like a steak," said Clint.
"Twenty-six," said Steve.
"Man, we have some updating to do with you," Clint smiled.
"Sure, whatever, Clint," Steve mumbled.
After several hours of shopping, Steve and Clint ended up at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant, where Steve managed to eat enough for two lumberjacks. Clint watched him wolf down a steak au poivre along with a personal pizza, a couple of sides, and dessert of a brownie top with homemade ice cream.
"How the hell do you eat so much and not get fat?" Clint asked him.
"It's my metabolism, Clint. I burn calories at an alarming rate. Sometimes it seems like I'm always hungry. I also can't get drunk because of my metabolism. Believe me I have tried," he said.
"Tasha's metabolism is impressive but not like yours," Clint said.
"She is impressive," agreed Steve.
Steve knew that Clint and Agent Romanoff were close, so he didn't want to admit it but Steve was attracted to the assassin and spy. He hadn't been attracted to a woman like this since Peggy.
Clint smiled, "Who knows about your metabolism?"
"Not many people," he answered.
"Oh, we are going to make some money off of Stark the next time he is in a betting mood," Clint smirked.
"How?" Steve asked.
"You're going to bet him that you can drink him under the table," said Clint.
"But…," Steve started to speak, but Clint put up his hand and stopped him.
"We are talking Tony Stark here, Cap. You know that man who likes to call you Capiscle," he said.
Steve smiled. Stark really did need to be taken down a peg or two.
"Okay, you may have a point, Hawkeye. Mr. Stark could use an attitude adjustment," said Steve.
"Mr. Stark?" chuckled Clint.
Natasha checked into the Sutton Place Hotel as Mr. & Mrs. Steve Rogers. In order established their cover, SHIELD footed the bill for a luxury suite, which she had no complaints about. What she did have a complaint about was checking in alone, while Clint participated in some man-love for Captain America getting him a new wardrobe. The fact he did this with Director Fury's okay added to her irritation. Fury suffered from Captain America man-love also.
She waited in the lobby for Rogers to arrive. Two hours ago, his luggage with his new clothes arrives, but he was delayed because Clint told her that they were grabbing a pan pizza before Steve finally showed up. Natasha sat in a comfortable chair waiting for her faux husband to show up. Her level of annoyance was almost at critical level when he finally walked through the door.
Wearing a black Armani suit with a blue dress shirt and a red silk tie, Steve Rogers no longer looked like a man out of time, but he looked surprisingly good. Rogers noticed Natasha and he walked over to her. She stood up quickly as she approached.
"Agen…," he started to speak to her.
Stopping him from blowing their cover, she quickly moved into his personal space and gave him a passionate kiss. At first, the kiss was awkward as Steve was completely taken by surprise, but then suddenly he gave himself up to the kiss and returned it with equal passion. Natasha was surprised at how much she enjoyed the kiss. When they finally came up for air, Steve was blushing and Natasha was felt surprisingly excited by the kiss.
She whispered in her ear, "Remember, I'm your wife."
"I've missed you, Nat," he said in a normal voice.
He called her Nat not Tasha. She liked the way he said.
"Your luggage arrived a couple of hours ago, darling. Let me show the suite," she said then led him to the elevator.
Once they were in the elevator, she stepped away from Steve and glared at him.
"Are you an idiot?" she asked.
"No, ma'am," he said.
"You almost called me Agent Romanoff," she said.
"Habit, ma'am," he said.
"Stop calling me ma'am, you overgrown Boy Scout," she growled.
He kept quiet this time opting not to look at her.
"We are a married couple. Remember that," she said. "Of course, anyone who has seen Time Magazine with you on it should recognize your face. Sometimes I think Fury just wants to test my Russian temper."
He nodded yes then turned to face the elevator door, as the elevator stopped then the doors opened. Steve followed her to the suite, as Natasha let them in with a card key. It was an impressive suite with a large living room area, a master bedroom, luxury bathroom with a large walk-in shower, and a balcony overlooking the city. He stood there for a moment taking in his surroundings and memorizing every nook and corner just in case he was attacked while in the suite.
"Get comfortable, we'll be staying here for a while," she said.
"I guess I'll sleep on the sofa then," he said, looking at the large sofa. It actually looked more comfortable than many of the places he had slept in his life.
She looked at him and rolled her eyes.
"We can share a bed," she said. "I don't bite unless I like you, so you don't have to worry."
She smiled as Steve's cheeks turned red from embarrassment. The man blushed easier than any man she had ever known.
"I'll stay on the sofa," he said then he turned and walked away.
According to intel, Lundt dined nightly at Le Colonial, a French Vietnamese restaurant. Lundt also was an admirer of beautiful women, which meant Natasha would go out of her way to impress him as she and Steve dined at Le Colonial. She dressed in a simple, short black dress with a pair of expensive shoes with a four-inch heel. Next, she added a hint of Caron's Poivre and a black shawl over her shoulders and she was ready. Exiting the bedroom, she saw Captain Rogers was still in his Armani suit, but this time he was waiting for her to leave.
"You look lovely, Agent Romanoff," he said.
"I better look better than lovely to get Lundt's attention," she said.
"I see," he replied then cleared his throat.
She walked up to him and looked at him closely.
"I don't like the tie," she said. "Where are the ties you bought?"
"In the garment bag," he said.
She disappeared back into the bedroom coming out a few minutes later with a grey blue silk tie. Walking up to Steve, she tossed it at him.
"Put this one on," she said, "then let's go."The décor of Le Colonial evoked the French Vietnamese of the 1950's. It managed to be causal and fancy at the same time. Natasha and Steve walked in stopped at the maître'd station. The man looked up from his reservation book.
"Mr. & Mrs. Rogers," Natasha said.
He checked the book and smiled, "Please, follow me."
He seated them at a table and left them with two menus. Natasha opened the menu and perused it, while Steve looked at it and sighed. Natasha looked up from her menu and looked at him with a cold look with aqua colored eyes.
"I'll order for us," she said.
"Please, do," he said.
A waiter came up to the table with a friendly smile.
"Are you ready?" he asked.
"Yes, we'll start with Pho soup for him and Sup ga for me," she said, "then for the main course I'll have the Ca Hap and he'll have the Bun Thit Nuong. We'll have a bottle of Chateau Laville haut-Brion Pessac-Leognan."
"The 1997?" the waiter asked.
"Yes," Natasha smiled.
The waiter disappeared. Natasha looked over Steve's shoulder to where Lundt sat with an attractive blonde. He was fifty years old with a crown of white hair and twenty pounds overweight. The man also had the aura of someone who gave orders and didn't take them.
"Lundt is seated behind you," said Natasha.
"I know. I saw him when we first came in," said Steve. "There are also two bodyguards that belong to him seated to the table on his right."
Natasha checked the table out. He was right. They were mercs and she should have noticed that.
"He has checked me out twice," said Natasha.
"I hope his date doesn't mind," said Steve.
"She is a prostitute, Steve," Natasha said with a smile, as Steve blushed.
"Well, then I guess she doesn't care if he looks at you," said Steve.
Natasha suppressed a smile. Making Captain America blush and fumble was far more entertaining than she thought it would be. It helped that he was so sincere and innocent in many ways. Of course, it was also frustrating being around someone who was as sincere and naïve as him.
Their soup came and they started to eat. Natasha kept a close eye on Lundt, who seem to do business while he dined. She took out her encrypted smartphone and called Agent Hill.
"What is it, Romanoff?" Hill asked.
"We are at the restaurant. Lundt is constantly on his smartphone. I thought you might want to tap into it," she said.
"I'll get on that," Hill said then hung up.
The main course came and Steve ate in silence, while Natasha kept up her surveillance of Lundt. She noted his obsessiveness with making calls and checking information on a laptop. The meal finished in silence, as Natasha took the last sip of the wine. She looked at Rogers, who appeared antsy.
"You're not good at this, are you?" she said.
"I'm soldier not a spy," he answered.
"Well, he clocked me. The next time he sees me he'll introduce himself," she said.
"Confident, Nat," he said.
"I know my business," she said.
The waiter came with the bill. Steve paid for it with a SHIELD credit card then they headed out of the restaurant. Once they were on the sidewalk outside of Le Colonial, Steve took a deep breath of the cool September evening. Natasha's smartphone rang. As she answered it, he looked around at the traffic and pedestrians of Chicago. He remembered this city when it was nicknamed the city of Broad Shoulders. Natasha got off smartphone.
"Lundt when he was on the phone was talking to the handlers of a suicide bomber, who is scheduled to blow themselves up tonight at the Union Station Amtrak," she said. "It seems that Hydra is running someone for mayor and intends to get them elected by being tough on crime and terrorists."
"Union Station," he said to himself then he took off at top speed sliding across the hood of a parked car and into traffic.
"Rogers!" she yelled.
He ignored her and headed off running in the direction of Union Station. At first, Natasha tried to stay with him but had to give up. She may have been enhanced in the Red Room, but she was nowhere as enhanced as Rogers were. He had to be running fifty miles an hour.
Steve ran until he got to Union Station then he followed the signs to the Amtrak area. Once he found the area, he started a search based on what would be the best area for a suicide bomber to do the most damage. He headed for the waiting area and scanned it. Steve saw mothers, fathers, lovers, children, singles, and one man in a winter overcoat sweating slightly and looking nervous. He walked up to him, grabbed him by the overcoat, and opened it slightly. The man was packed with C-4 and tubes filled with nails and sharp objects, as well as a detonator that was counting down from one minute.
"Damn," Steve growled as he looked around.
The suicide bomber ignored Steve and said a prayer to himself. As Steve looked around, he saw a Men's Room. If he couldn't stop the blast then he could contain it. Grabbing the man by the overcoat, he led him into the Men's Room. There were six guys in there.
"Gentlemen, I'd get out of here if I were you," Steve said then he opened the suicide bomber's overcoat exposing the bomber vest.
"Oh, shit," groaned one of the men.
The six men hustled to get out of the bathroom as soon as possible. Steve started to look at the detonator and the timer. There was a choice of five wires to cut and Steve knew that a wrong choice would lead to the immediate detonation of the vest. He took a deep breath and looked at the still praying bomber.
"I'm sorry I have to do this," he said.
He grabbed the man and led him to an empty bathroom stall, opened the door, tossed him, then closed the door and braced himself for an explosion. It came quickly and with greater force than he anticipated. Steve was thrown back shattering a porcelain sink with his back and ribs. The water from the now broken pipes started to soak his suit. Looking down at his abdomen, he saw ten-penny nails and shrapnel ruining his shirt and piercing his skin and muscle. Getting up slowly, he buttoned his jacket and headed out of the bathroom.