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First Sight
Marvel-MCU-1

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#1
“Captain Rogers-” Friday’s soft voice cut through the stillness broken only by the faint rhythmic beeping of the heart rate monitor, “Sir is showing signs of returning to consciousness.”

///////////////////////////////

He was pretty sure the world wasn’t supposed to be blurry, the last time he’d woken up with this kind of hungover had been...2000? Second new years party? “Ouch.” he declared eloquently, fuck fuck-

Wait...this was...a hospital?

Shit had he OD’d that badly?

That had been substantially longer. He’d learned his limits long ago, and his self destructive streak usually didn’t hit the needles.

Usually.

Trying to roll on his side, Tony paused feeling his whole back object violently to the bare whisper of movement on his part. “Ok, that's not happening…” he muttered more to hear himself than to express distress. “Oh-” there was the- “Pretty blondy, did we crash?” had he been in a car crash? That might explain more….

Drugged, arguably brain damaged, Tony Stark’s mind still spun a million miles a second...it just had the tendency to spin into it’s self like this.
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Marvel-MCU

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#2
First Sight

Steve had gotten up to leave Tony’s room in medical. Several times, actually. He’d eaten, and used the restroom. But no, other than for the necessary diversions, and his initial trip to the gym, he hadn’t really left Tony’s bedside.

Friday had said that Tony needed a friend to be there when he awoke. And given what had happened with Col. Rhodes… Well, there weren’t many people Steve could have hunted down (or copies of people, or whatever they were!) that would have been able to be here for him when he woke up. Which left Steve.

When Friday told him that Tony was starting to wake up, Steve gave a soft murmur of acknowledgement even before he was really awake, and then, upon becoming more cognizant, he smiled up to the ceiling, “Thank you, Friday.” No, she hadn’t likely told him for his benefit, but for Tony’s but still. He could be thankful. And he was glad that Tony had someone firmly in his corner, even if Friday couldn’t be a face the other man could wake up to.

Silently, he wondered if this was for the best. Certainly, Justin would have been here for Tony if they’d asked him to be, wouldn’t he? But Friday had implied that he was the better choice, and Steve still didn’t know if he really agreed with the AI on that. If Tony woke up with his memories, he could be upset, or worse, upon seeing Steve. And if he didn’t… Then wouldn’t this be more or less lying to him? Steve wasn’t sure, and he didn’t know if this would be good or bad for Tony. Or himself, but that wasn’t Steve’s priority right now.

“Tony, no no, please, just relax…” The idea of Tony getting up out of bed this soon after major surgery was alarming. “Crash? Well, you did.. You went through six stories, Tony; your back has to hurt like the dickens.” Pretty blondy… Steve frowned, “Tony, do you recognize me? Do you… Do you remember me? At all?”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#3
Blinking hurt.

Seemingly in response to that thought (actually the wince and flinch) the lights dimmed to a more tolerable level.

Nice.

Contemplating the adaptive required for the lights to read his distress and react accordingly distracted him from the question put to him. “What? Oh.” The low lights didn’t help, although it gave Steve a lovely halo effect.

Steve.

Tony’s face softened just a touch, lines of stress smoothing out around his eyes; he’d never admit it aloud but waking up in a hospital was exactly not his favorite past time, right up there with cave surgery...especially since you could argue that they were almost the same thing.

“Course I do-” his hand flopped out, landing on Steve’s leg. “My star spangled guy.”
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#4
First Sight

Steve smiled again at the ceiling. He knew that Friday wasn’t actually in the ceiling. Heck, he knew that Friday didn’t have a physical form other than her servers, but still.. There would be cameras around for her to catch the act, and because he always looked at the ceiling when he spoke to her, she’d know the smile was for her. Or at least, so he hoped.

He understood that the lowered lights would make it more difficult for Tony to see (not so much Steve, but that wasn’t what he was worried about), but the fact that Tony referred to him as ‘blondy’ (even with the flattering descriptor) was a little bit worrisome. Mostly because that was new. And new didn’t always mean good, even if it were sort of nice.

What if Tony didn’t know him? Then… Then he’d deal with that. They would deal with that. He and Friday could be a team, if they needed to. They could, they could be adults about this.

But Tony seemed to recognize him. Star spangled guy. Steve nodded and smiled, relieved that Tony knew who he was. And look! He wasn’t even freaking out or angry or upset…

Why wasn’t he upset at all?!

Steve’s smile faltered momentarily, and his voice was cautious, “Good, that’s good.” He tilted his head, watching Tony, watching for reactions, for any sign that Tony was going to become upset or was having any other sorts of problems, emotional, physical, or mental. “What do you remember, Tony? And, I know you are probably hurting, but does anything feel.. Wrong? I mean, hurt too much? You fell through a building.. The suit took the brunt of it, thank goodness, but you hit your head pretty bad, and you’re pretty banged up. And before you ask, the suit’s mostly alright.”

Had he noticed Tony’s hand on his leg? Yes, he had. But at the moment, he had other things prioritized other than questioning that touch. For all Steve knew, Tony was using the touch to ground himself. In fact… Steve reached to place his hand lightly on Tony’s, trying to reassure him, but not putting any force on Tony’s hand, making sure Tony could pull away at any time if he wanted to.

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#5
Frowning felt...odd, slow, in fact his whole face seemed like it was moving in slow motion; “Who’s hurt?” Because if he was this fucked up odds were he wasn’t the only one, the suit protected him from a lot and there were other members of the team that weren’t wrapped in protective layers of titanium alloy.

Through a building? “Evacuated?” he wanted to believe that his life was that nice, and at the same time knew damn well it wasn’t. Dark eyes shuttered with guilt. “How many?” What was the body count? Tony tried to compartmentalize, however considering he didn’t even remember the fight-(short term memory loss) his brain supplied helpfully, he couldn’t justify the cost.

The darkness in his eyes lightened as Steve covered his hand, Tony reacted by squeezing “Is-”

A sound that resembled a cat coughing up a hairball came from the speakers, “Case Odysseus Sir.” Friday sounded more than faintly apologetic.

Tony’s hand on Steve’s thigh stilled, blinking slowly he tried to parse what his AI was telling him.

It was a long long pause before his hand slowly crept away from Steve, “Ok...I-” Fuck...he knew he was hurt but that badly? Shooting Steve a look filled with horrible betrayal before he could shutter it away Tony tried to nod before his neck reminded him what a fucking bad idea that was.

“How long?”

The pause was now on Friday’s side. “From what I can ascertain...approximately a year.”

Tony’s eyes slid shut. “oh.”
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#6
First Sight

Steve winced, knowing where Tony was going with his line of questioning. Of course, his suspicion was only confirmed as Tony continued to ask questions. How had he ever thought that Tony wouldn’t have understood about Bucky? Here he was, worried about people he didn’t even know if they existed, but Tony’s first concern was who else was hurt, what about the civilians, and then it would be property damage before he worried about himself. Steve gave a small sigh at the thought, shaking his head as he answered Tony, “Just you, Tony. You’re the only one who was hurt. The building wasn’t inhabited. But Tony, you were hurt. You’ll recover, but… You hit your head; it required surgery.”

The responses he was getting from Tony seemed to indicate that he didn’t remember their last parting. And didn’t that leave a well of guilt in Steve, not just because of what he’d done, which would have been plenty to feel guilty over, but because he was finding that a part, a small voice in his head wanted Tony to forget. Not because of any ill wishing on Steve’s part, but because the idea of being able to return to the relationship they’d had before, to be friends again, was so alluring. But Steve knew that was wrong, and it only further burdened his guilty conscience.

Case Odysseus?

Steve’s eyes went to the ceiling. He didn’t feel betrayed, he knew that Friday was Tony’s, and that she’d do whatever she could or needed to to help him, and that was good, but… He didn’t like how it sounded. He didn’t like not knowing what she’d just told Tony.

But Tony was certainly allowed his secrets, especially from Steve, now wasn’t he?

Tony pulled away, and Steve let him go, his head dipping down when he saw the look in Tony’s eyes. He couldn’t tell if Tony remembered, or if Friday had just told him that Steve had done something terrible, but the end result was similar. But at least Tony wasn’t growing upset. At least he was...calm.

He asked how long, and Friday said it had been a year, and Steve grimaced, his head dropping further. Damn. “Tony… I…” His voice was soft, “I’m sorry.” He pulled himself together, lifting his head to look at Tony, to meet his eyes if the other man wanted to, “If you want me to go… But I…” How could he tell Tony what he wanted? As though he deserved to even be heard out? He shook his head, “I’m so sorry.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#7
“Who?” Tony couldn’t help the hitch in his voice, who he was addressing was unclear but it was Friday that answered. “Sir...I…” the hesitation in her voice was clear, “I do not believe Penelope was ever engaged.”

Tony blinked at the ceiling, brow furrowing, “What?” Friday hummed a oddly distressed little noise. “Polyphemus.” she answered at last.

Tony blinked at the ceiling again, glanced at Steve, the frown deepening. “What?!” Tony struggled against the pain, against the black threatening his vision, gripping Steve’s lapel to lever himself up, arm straining, “You are not nobody.” He hissed “WE are not nobody.” The blackness won and Tony fell back down to the bed.
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#8
First Sight

Who what? Steve was quickly growing more and more confused, but Friday seemed to understand what Tony was asking just fine. So at least there was that. At least this meant that Tony was coherent?

Still, Steve recognized the names they were both using. Odysseus and his wife Penelope, the giant cyclops, Polyphemus. He knew the characters, recognized the story. From the Iliad. Greek mythology.

Truth be told, Steve was beginning to think that Tony and Greek mythology was not a positive link here. The Greeks were very fond of their tragedies; most of their ancient myths were counted as tragedies. (There were a few that were more hopeful, but those were usually war stories and the like… He liked Perseus.. Why couldn’t Tony have used Perseus and Pegasus? That was a nicer story. Unless you were Medusa. And right now, Steve was pretty sure he’d have ended up being labeled Medusa in Tony’s story… But he was getting way off topic here…)

Friday’s answer of Polyphemus seemed to be the thing that finally had Tony upset. Great. Did that make Steve the cyclops or the too-clever human that stabbed him in the eye?? In the story, it was Polyphemus that was cast as the villain, though Steve had to admit he’d always felt badly for the cyclops. “I…” Tony’s struggles only served to earn a worried look from Steve, “No, Tony… We’re not… I… I’m sorry… Please, lay-” He sighed when Tony seemed to lose consciousness, his grip loosening. Steve moved lightning quick, reaching around to support the other man, laying him back down onto the bed gently, pulling the sheets up around Tony.

He was burning with curiosity, but first things first, “Friday, he’s okay?” Once Friday had answered, that was when he’d go grab the tablet from the side table and look up the stories that Tony and Friday had been referencing. He was quiet for a while, before he asked Friday, “Friday, any chance that I can know any of what you two were referring to?”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#9
Friday would argue that this did not constitute ‘coherency’ by a long shot, he talking, making sentences...but coherent? Not this drugged up.

Steve was right, Tony could be very...obvious with his themes when he got into a grove, and even if his father had been a mechanical genius he was still the scion of a powerful family and that meant private education focuses on the classics. Tony Stark didn’t like greek mythology, so when it came to name fail safes (that he more than half the time came up with or programed black out drunk) Tony chose names that evoked visceral reactions.

If an AI could have a panic attack Friday did in the long microseconds for the bed sensors to report to her, “Mr. Stark has lost consciousness, but does not appear to have injured himself further.”

His question was met by a blown out breath through the speakers, “Do you know the story of Odysseus Captain Rogers?” He hardly needed to look up the epic, Friday having already loaded it. “A man gone to war, and a long voyage home through uncertain future.” Friday remained quiet than.
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#10
It didn’t take him long to swim back to consciousness from the dark, cracking open an eye Tony saw that oh so familiar blonde head bend over a tablet. A fission of pain that had nothing to do with his physical injuries embedded itself near his arc reactor, “Geek.” he mocked wearily, pained affection lacing his tone.

“So right. Ignoring that last bit, because Oops brain damage.” he’d caught that, and now his tongue was running ahead of his brain, “Friday! Coffee Stat! I’m going to die of decaffeination before anything else!” Bable was Tony’s defence, another form of armor if you wanted to get phycological about it, “Sooo star spangled man with a plan, seems you’ve got the drop on me, now i’m the man out of time right? A year huh? Wow. that must have been some year.” did he sound bitter? Damn needed to work on that, didn’t have a right to be bitter if what Friday was saying was correct.

And of course it was, he’d programed her, she was Stark Tech that made her by default the smartest thing in the room. “Whatcha readin? Because no Cap, just no, I am no-” he stabbed out a finger at Steve, “Building Sam a suit, do you have any idea how much Rhodey would whine? Like all the whining. So just no. Put the baby blues away you can’t win me over. Your sidekick will have to be content flying around like a modern day Icarus and getting creepy with his robo-bird.”
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#11
First Sight

Well, Steve didn’t know what anything Tony was saying meant, but he knew that Friday understood what he was trying to get at, anyway. So that meant there was at least coherency there. At least as far as Steve could tell, anyway. It was as though the two were speaking in code, though, so Steve couldn’t really be sure. He might as well be trying to read something Tony was programming; he wouldn’t be able to tell if Tony had made a mistake, not really, not unless it was glaring.

Steve did, however, decide fully that no, he didn’t like anything that followed Greek mythology in connection to Tony Stark. Icarus, and now Odysseus, Polyphemus, and Penelope.

Tony might not like Greek mythology, but Steve knew it for one reason: the art connected to it. He read the stories because they told the story of the works that he had admired. Beyond that, Steve was partly at a loss here. He didn’t know the stories as well as Tony obviously did, and he had never been one to read so much into them, either.

Mr. Stark? The change in moniker earned the ceiling a look from Steve, another look of concern, only this time it was for Friday. “Friday? Are you alright?” She might not think it was genuine, but that didn’t stop him from asking. When she assured him that Tony (and herself) was okay, Steve relaxed a little bit, moving to read the story on the tablet.

Steve bent over the tablet and read. The Iliad. It was one hell of a long poem. But Steve read quickly, and this wasn’t his first time through. Still, the moment that Tony spoke, Steve’s head flew up, eyes widening just slightly, taking in the sight of Tony. He hadn’t stayed under for long, which was maybe a good thing. “Maybe, but you’re the one who taught me how to use it.” The smile was small, but the statement was filled with just as much cautious affection as Tony’s teasing statement had been.

When Tony dismissed the last bit of discussion, Steve didn’t argue. He winced at the casual mention of brain damage, but he let it go. And when Tony requested (demanded) coffee, Steve stood, heading to the coffee maker. He knew how Tony took his coffee; dark as night and far too bitter for Steve’s taste. And if Tony were going to stay in bed like he was, then Steve could let the coffee pass. Hell, maybe Tony would even agree to take the medicine Justin would be asking him to take. Maybe.

Maybe Tony would forgive him.

And maybe today was the day hell would freeze over. In this place, you could never know. Pretty much anything seemed possible. He had made friends with an elf.

Of course, Steve flinched at Tony’s declaration of possibly dying. And again when Tony referred to him as the star spangled man, because… Steve wasn’t that man anymore. The drop on him, the man out of time, a year, some year. Flinch, flinch, flinch, flinch, flinch, flinch.

What was he reading? “The Iliad.” The words were out of his mouth before he thought about the fact that Tony would understand immediately why he was reading that story. He was Tony Stark after all. Ah, well. Tony called him Cap, and Steve flinched. He mentioned Sam, and Steve flinched again. He mentioned Rhodey, and Steve jerked, the flinch becoming something a whole lot more than just a flinch.

Icarus was the thing that broke Steve’s motor control entirely, though. The coffee mug shattered when it hit the floor, and Steve breathed out a ‘shit’ even before it made it that far. He had been halfway turned to bring the coffee back to Tony, and his face was tight, strained, and pale. One word had been all it had taken. For the moment, Steve left the mess, turning to grab another mug and pour another cup, bringing it over to Tony before he turned to clean up the mess. “No one needs to be Icarus. That story doesn’t have a good ending for anyone.” Steve’s voice was tight, sounding just a little bit strangled as he forced the words out.

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#12
“Which just makes me King of the Geeks.” he hummed agreeably changing tactics to self promotion, deflect, deflect, keep it light, never let them see you bleed. “Just please tell me in this year you’ve learned to not go to altavista and type in yahoo.com for you email?” he begged plaintively.

“God why?” Tony knew why, but they were ignoring that so he asked lightly as though it was an just an idle impulse that had driven the super solider to pick up that particular-”It’s dry as hell, and no were near as satisfying.” Classical education meant just that, Tony had been forced to read and translate it from Greek, which was...just no. He had damn good reasons for his loathing of the epic.

“Boss, coffee would not be advisable until you can sit up without passing out.” Came the saccharin sweet voice of reason.

“Betrayal! Shock! Friday who hurt you like this that you would deny a dying man-” “You aren’t dying Sir.” “A nearly dead man-” he continued cheerfully as though he’d never been interrupted, “His one pleasure in the world?”

“Dr. Banner, after the Spanner incident.” Tony hummed trying to watch Steve unobtrusively, “Seee I knew it was him, big green traitor.” He could just barely make out the flinching, broad shoulders twitching with what he was pretty sure wasn’t laughter especially once the mug fell. “Shit! Friday! Get U...is he still in time out? How about the new Roombas? What ever clean up aisle 1!”

Sam. Something had happened to Sam and Steve was hiding it. Fuck.

“Hey big guy, no big-” Tony didn’t bother to reach for the mug, the demand had been more to assert him being ‘ok’ than any idea he could actually hold the thing with out spilling the contents all over himself, and thank you he wasn’t looking forward to hot coffee on his tenders.

Again.

“Steve.” Tony took a breath. “Its ok. Is..” Fuck he wasn’t good at this. “Did something happen to Sam?” Because Tony didn’t go falling through buildings as much as a rule with all the flying members of his team (one of whom was a S&R pilot) trying to catch his dumb ass. “I’m not gonna break.” Tony reached out fiddling with the controls of his bed to lift himself upright with out passing out this time, clasping his hand around the back of Steve’s neck, the gesture so familiar and easy. “But I think you might.”
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#13
First Sight

“Oh sure, lord it over the rest of us, your majesty.” There was dry wit in there, but it was just on the wrong side of forced. Steve was trying, following the path that Tony was laying out before them. Fake it till you make it.

Email? Tony was worried over his email?? Steve responded calmly, “I have my hotmail account and…. the other one.” He still had access to the Captain America account. He checked it once in awhile, carefully not on a routine (thank you Clint and Natasha) but he had never really used it. “And google is a helpful search engine.” It was actual work to keep his tone set into a forced lightness; parts of him wanted to break down into a stream of apologies, tell Tony about Hub, yell that Tony should be more angry, ask about the earlier conversation, and just sob. They weren't all equal parts, but Steve kept a tight rein on himself.

“I’m reading it because I have… Because someone I know referenced it and I couldn’t follow like I would have liked. So… Reading.” It was the god’s honest truth. Yes, Steve had read the epic before, but that had been in the 1930’s, not and even for him it had been years. So he was re-reading it, hoping to get at least some grasp of how bad things were with Tony mentioning ancient Greek names. He could do this. He was fine. He had it under control.

Until he didn't.

"I've got it. Tony." steve's voice was soft, gentle even, as he moved to deal with the spill and mess of broken porcelain. "It's my mess, I should be responsible for cleaning it up." Double meaning much, Rogers? Yes, of course, but then, he figured they were both going to be doing that, at least for awhile.

If Tony had told steve he couldn't hold the mug, Steve would have done so for him. Unaware of the problem, Steve didn't even try to hand the coffee to Tony; he knew better, instead, Steve sat the warm mug on the side table for Tony to take when he wanted. Once that was done and the mess was cleaned up, Steve moved back to his previous position next to Tony. Before Siberia, this would have been… Not easy, but not like this. Not forced.

"Did something happen to Sam?”

The question earned Tony a frown and a blink as Steve tried to follow the logic of why would even think sam wasn't okay. "No, Sam is fine.” Or he had been the last Steve had known. But he had been away for over two weeks now. Tony wouldn't break?! Steve begged to differ! He had just watched Tony fall from the sky (AGAIN!) and then proceed to crash through six stories of a building. He had watched as Tony had gone into surgery on his brain. He could have died! And Steve had no idea at all what he would have done had that happened… And he didn’t want to find out. Not now, not in the future. He knew that it would happen, one of them would die, eventually, but… He didn’t want to think about that. So he didn’t.

There were a lot of things he just wasn’t thinking about.

“I’m less breakable than you are.” His voice was a whisper, his eyes closing, his voice apologetic as he brought his hand up to rest on Tony’s shoulder, “I should be the one comforting you, you’re the one hurt and in medical. I’m sorry, Tony. I’m not all that great at this. You deserve better.” He blinked, shaking his head, “I’m pretty durable, Tony. You know that.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#14
“See Friday-” he began smuggly, “Cap knows what's up, you should learn from him.” The strangled snort from the speakers evoked the image of a eyes bulging out in an attempt not to choke.

“I shall take that under advisement Boss.”

“Hotmail?!” Tony groaned, “Common! Really? Giving Jobs your love? What about meee.” He whined not really paying attention to what he was babbling beyond the need to fill the silence.

Really Steve? We are gonna play this way? “Should probably ignore it, some people like to sound pretentious by referencing ‘classics’.” Tony's derisive tone made his verbal quotes clear.

“You don't have to clean every mess by yourself Rogers.” Tony said quietly “Even when you don't ask for help.” Tony didn't mean anything beyond that he would always lend a hand, even unasked when Steve needed one.

Of course considering the history he didn't know about that was a slightly loaded sentence or two.

Okkkk so it wasn't Sam….who else would leave him this...unbalanced?

Tony Stark was human which meant he would physically break. Hell even Steve would with enough force, but mentally? Tony wouldn't. He just wouldn't.

“I’d argue that Cap.” Tony whispered into that small intimate space between them.

You deserve better.

Tony sucked in a hard breath forcing himself not to react. “Yeah, gonna say no again, I might be missing some bits, but you've always been the better man.”

Tony pulled back, a half manic grin spilling his face, “Well you know except for the whole tech thing, hopeless just hopeless. Friday! Roombas! Chop chop!”
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#15
First Sight

Steve actually felt bad for Friday. He tilted his head back, his face and voice oddly affectionate, “You poor, long suffering woman. Thank you, Friday” He didn’t even try to disguise the warmth in his voice, and while he didn’t say ‘for always being there for him’ he was pretty sure the AI would understand what he was thankful for, even if Tony didn’t.

Tony’s familiar whining pulled an unwitting smile out of the blond, “No hotmail? What should I be using then? And I’ll have you know that nearly every piece of electronics I own are from Stark Industries.” Steve knew that this was just.. Filler. But he answered honestly. Not every single piece of technology was Tony’s work; the little black flip phone in his pocket wasn’t, and he had an old laptop that wasn’t back in Wakanda, but the shiny new one, his tablet, his smartphone… All Stark. Tony’s toys were always the best, and Steve had always done what he could to support his frie--- To support Tony.

Steve wasn’t so much trying to play at anything as much as respect the fact that Tony had asked the earlier conversation(?) to not be mentioned. “I see.” He didn’t argue with Tony, but he didn’t dismiss the fact that he was going to finish the Iliad, either. He would. Because he wanted to know what Tony was talking about. “Well, I can read it another time. Mostly, it was keeping me occupied while you were resting.” True enough.

He didn’t have to clean every mess… Steve frowned, his eyes showing the tension he felt, “Neither do you. But that doesn’t stop us from trying to. Because you do much the same, Tony.” He sighed, “And some messes are our responsibility to pick up.” The words were spoken with a firmness, but not loudly. Steve needed to make things right with Tony. He just wished he knew how.

Steve wouldn’t ever picture Tony breakable mentally, no. Maybe that was why his mind didn’t even get near that idea. Because Steve couldn’t (or wouldn’t) even imagine it. Each time that Tony called him ‘Cap’ Steve frowned, not because the nickname was a bad one; it wasn’t, not really, but because he wasn’t Captain America anymore. Tony had, the last time they’d seen each other, made sure Steve understood that. He missed the shield. It had become a part of how Steve had identified himself, and now it was gone…

Sometimes, when the hour was late and Steve still hadn’t been able to sleep, he wondered who he even was anymore.

Telling Tony he deserved better was an honest comment, not just about today, but about back then. Tony had deserved better. A better friend, a better Captain, a better version of Steve.

Tony’s assertion that Steve had always been the better man was too much for Steve. He had been holding himself together with strength of will since Tony had appeared in the sky and started falling. Hell, since before then if he were being honest with himself (but why would he start that now?), and this was what did him in. Horror bloomed across Steve’s face and a small, inarticulate sound ripped from him, not exactly a sob, or rather, not just a sob. It was a dry, frustrated, pained and painful noise, and Steve dropped his head into his hands, not crying, his shoulders didn’t move, but his breathing grew ragged, “No,” he choked out, “No I haven’t.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#16
“Hey!” Tony’s pointed accusing finger shook faintly, “I see you Rogers! Flirting with my AI! No! Bad Super Soldier! No dessert pudding! You hear me! I will not condone canoodling with my poor innocent FRIDAY, girl!” Tony narrowed his eyes comically, “Watching you.” He pointed at his eyes than at Steve.


“StarkMail.” The ‘duh’ was obvious by its omission, “the superior platform. Well of course, don't you know that inferior tech dies in my aura?” Tony preened at the compliment as he was meant to.

This was getting deep for a post op conversation, but hey probably better than asinine small talk about the quality of the jello...that he wasn't being served. “Hey...why don't I get jello.” He whined huffing at the slight.

One land mine dodged, Tony fell into the next face first, “Steve, Steve-” Tony pushed past his body's protests leaning forward enough try and bend partially over Steve. He was awful at physical comforting, as evidenced by the soft awkward pats; the fact that he was trying even though it really really fuckkng hurt though meant something.

“Hey, it's ok. Really. Talk to me. I can help.” It didn't really matter what the issue was, some how some way Tony would bend what ever needed to be broken to fix this. “Steve…” work roughened hands, smoothed by countless manicures only to be brutalized again and over by his work stroked through Steve's hair. “Talk to me..”
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Marvel-MCU

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#17
First Sight

At Tony’s admonishment, Steve looked back down to the engineer, frowning slightly, “Flirting? No, Tony. I like Friday, she’s amazing.” Steve’s voice was matter-of-fact; Friday really was amazing, just as JARVIS had been. It wasn’t flirting to compliment, or to commiserate with Friday.

StarkMail. “Right. Of course. I’ll make sure to switch over.” Just as soon as they returned home, right? Whenever the hell that was going to be. Maybe once Tony was back on his feet a little more Steve would go look to see if he could find the portal home. Arjay had seemed fairly convinced that one existed somewhere here, and since Steve had come out in Coney Island… He didn’t want to go home, not really, but he doubted that Tony would really like staying here. He’d want to go home, eventually. But first, Steve thought he’d need time to remember things. Definitely. Because finding out about Rhodes… No, Tony needed to regain at least most of his memory before he went home, but Steve would find the way home for Tony so he could go home.

Really, Steve had to admit that Tony seemed alright. From the surgery. He was pretty much himself, if a little too lighthearted with Steve, but he didn’t remember what had happened. Sure, Friday had told Tony that something had happened, but she hadn’t told him what, and Tony didn’t remember for himself, so it wasn’t as emotionally connected. It didn’t sit well with Steve. Next time Tony was asleep, Steve planned on quietly asking Friday if she thought they should tell Tony. Give the man a chance to decide, fully informed, if he wanted Steve there, or not. “If you want jello, I’ll go get you jello.”

Steve knew that Tony wasn’t digging at him on purpose. He didn’t know. And that made it even harder, because Tony didn’t know, and Steve wasn’t even sure if he should tell him. Especially right now. It wasn’t all that often that Steve really broke down, at least, not in front of someone. Sure, he would lock himself in his room and curl up. He would binge sketch for hours and even days, not really surfacing except to eat and sleep, taking his meals alone. He went for runs and found quiet places where no one was going to find him and stare at a tree, pond, statue, or patch of grass for hours, letting his mind drift to the past. But people didn’t see that part of Steve Rogers, at least not often. Sure, Natasha had saw past the facade. Tony had always known when to crack a joke or push him just hard enough to shake him out of it. Clint would make a wisecrack…

Being stuck alone first in Wakanda and now in Hub had let Steve dwell on things, though. He had begun to realize just how little he had to return to. Hell, the idea of going home hadn’t really even occurred to him until just now! He had nothing to go home to. He had no real home to return to, even. That weighed on him now, seeing Tony appear and fall like he had. Waiting for the surgery, waiting for Tony to wake up, not sure if he would remain amnesic or remember everything, wondering if he’d be tossed out of the tower or be given a chance to make amends. Between that, seeing Tony, being here, and his conversation with Friday, Steve was raw, the older wounds that hadn’t really healed open again.

“You should be laying down.” The words were far from steady, but the concern in them was real. “You’re going to hurt yourself, Tony.” Still, Steve reached up to clasp Tony’s arm with his hand, appreciating the gesture, the touch, the comfort, the other man was giving, even if he didn’t deserve it. Even if it should be Steve trying to comfort Tony.

Steve should be asking for forgiveness. But Tony couldn’t forgive something he couldn’t even remember. “It can’t be fixed. Not with you like this.” Steve took a deep, deliberate breath, struggling to calm himself back down. “I’m sorry, Tony. You have no idea how sorry I am. But you were wrong. I am not the better man. Ask Friday. She’ll agree with me on that.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#18
“What my Friday isn't good enough for you Rogers?” Flipping verbally neatly on a dime Tony took on the role of offended relation. Tony didn't exactly see himself as his AI’s ‘father’ but he protected them, nurtured them, taught, played, grieved when they ‘died’...so he was a something.

“I fear my love will ever be unrequited.” Came the dry response from the speakers.

Tony knew he was missing a year, he knew that some of the things he'd assumed where wrong, and he knew that he and Steve were...not right.

Tony might have been ignoring or intentionally verbally trying to avoid land mines, that didn't mean he was blind to the fact they existed.

“Fair deal.” Tony moved back to recline at Steve's request.

Lines creased his forehead, Tony was listening and...he thought he knew what was eating Steve.

Big boy pants Stark. You always knew this was going to happen.

“Steve-” Tony cleared his throat, “I-” fuck he was bad at feelings. “You don't have to say it, I've got a damn good guess what happened. And...well it takes two to break something, just because I don't remember my part doesn't mean I get a pass or that you have to take it all on.” Tony fiddled with the mug, lifting it, feeling rather proud when it only shook a little.

“Now I think I was promised jello-” his eyebrows waggled comically, Tony steadfastly ignored how that irritated his stitches and migraine. “Red only. Fruit punch not fucking cherry. Cherry jello is an abomination against man, God and machinery.”
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Marvel-MCU

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#19
First Sight

Tony’s sudden turnaround earned him a look of confused surprise, “I never said that, Tony.” He gave Tony a smile and then looked up to the ceiling, “Like I said. Poor, long suffering woman.” Steve viewed Friday, and JARVIS before her, as people. They had names, personalities, they responded to things in their own ways… Sure, Tony created them, but parents created their children. Tony might not consider his AI’s and bots his kids, but Steve saw them all as Tony’s family, and that was what mattered.

If Tony wanted jello, Steve would fetch him jello. The man had just had major surgery, if it would keep him from overdoing it, keep him happy and smiling and feeling even just the barest bit content? Steve would do that for him. He’d do it happily. He didn’t expect any small gestures like that to weight much against his betrayal (once Tony remembered what had happened) but it was a step toward acting the way he felt he should act. The way he should treat Tony. It was a start.

The fact that Tony moved to lay back at Steve’s request earned a relieved smile. It was good.

Of course, that wasn’t the end of it. Of course not. Steve watched the other man as he spoke, watched for… He didn’t even know what he was looking for. What Tony had to say, though… It was so much more than Steve even dreamed of hearing. That it wasn’t all just on him, that Tony didn’t want a ‘pass’. The thing he wanted most wasn’t there, but of course it wasn’t. Not everything broken could be fixed, after all. Steve noticed the fact that the mug shook, and was ready to help steady Tony should he need it, but for now, Tony seemed alright, and the man deserved to keep ahold of his pride. “When you regain your memory,” when, not if, Steve didn’t want to consider ‘if’ at this point, “If you still feel this way? Fine. But I’m not sure you will, Tony, and I’m not…” He wasn’t going to take advantage of Tony’s memory loss like that. Try to mend a bridge, to let Tony take even some of the responsibility, not if he didn’t even remember what he was talking about. Steve sighed, shrugging, “We’ll deal with this when you remember. Once you can talk about it knowing what it is. Until then… We can put it aside, something that needs to be dealt with when we’re both properly able.”

It wouldn’t be easy, though, and Steve knew that. “I need you to understand that I have plenty that I regret, Tony. That I know I was wrong about things. That trying to move forward doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad about what happened, or that I think all is forgiven - and please don’t try to forgive me until you know what it is that you’re forgiving, okay? I just want you to know that moving forward from now, I’m going to try to remember that this is something for later, and for now…” He took in a breath, giving himself a moment to collect his thoughts, “For now, I’m going to act the way I’d like to act with you. And I’ll be here, Tony. Whenever you need.” He smiled, so much of the tension easing up, at least for the moment, “And I’ll bring you fruit punch jello and remember that cherry jello is not acceptable.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#20
“Oh so you DO have designa on my sweet innocent-”

“Boss, you created me. I've seen your Youtube videos. I'm not innocent.”

“Delicate Friday.” Tony continued unperturbed by the interruption. “I'm going to need you to take this seriously, it's her first date. Sooo I think Saturday! Friday what day is it?”

“Tuesday Boss.” Came the long suffering sigh.

“Perfect so you have three days to mange the perfect date for my girl. Now remember Steve it's her first time so be gentle.”

“I would remind Mr. Stark that he had neglected to create a physical body. Which limits the possibilities for a ‘date’ as well as any ‘firsts’ that Captain Rogers could provide.”

Tony gaped for an instant, blinking at his AI. “Wait do you WANT a body?” The conversion derailed again.

There was a pause before the voice from the speakers returned, softly intimate. “No Boss. Who'd keep you from blowing up the lab then?”

An odd sad look crossed over Tony's face, his eyes skipping between the ceiling and Steve. “Yeah..”

“Sounds like I'm better off not remembering than.” Sign him up for more guilt, Angst and nightmares? Yeah pass please.

Treat him the way he wanted to? Well that sounded...nice for him?

“Sure Steve.” Tony sighed rubbing his head. “Sounds like a plan. Speaking of things people aren't telling me...I'm assuming the redesign of my Tower is something that's happened in the last year?”
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