grianchloch: (The Kiss by sweetgirl7808)
[personal profile] grianchloch
Title: The Man With a Plan
Character: Hint of Steve/Bucky, Sam Wilson, Natasha Romanoff, Tony Stark
Fandom MCU
Rating: Gen (Steve/Bucky hinted at)
Word Count: 1774
Disclaimer: Sadly, the characters aren't mine, I'm just playing with them for a while.
Beta: Seleneheart
Notes: The story starts during the last scenes of Age of Ultron.
Summary: Steve learns fast when he has to keep something important a secret.

Picks up during the last scenes of Age of Ultron ….

“Maybe I should take a leaf out of Barton’s book. Build Pepper a farm, hope nobody blows it up.” Tony ponders as he’s leaving.

“The simple life?” Steve tries not to sound too skeptical.

“You’ll get there one day.”

“I don’t know. Family, stability … the guy who wanted all that went into the ice seventy five years ago. I think someone else came out.” Steve lets a little of the regret he’d felt during the vision Wanda had caused seep into his expression.

“You alright?” Tony asks.

“I’m home.” Steve smiles and nods, contentment on his face as he looks across at the new Avengers facility.

Once Tony has driven away, Steve finds Natasha waiting for him.

“Tony bought it,” Natasha murmurs as she and Steve walk towards the training room, a statement, not a question.

“He did,” Steve confirms, not breaking his stride.

“You’re picking this up fast, Rogers.” The smallest of smirks curls the corners of her lips.

“I‘m learning from the best.” Steve’s eyes meet hers fleetingly, then he’s swinging open the door into the training room where the others are waiting.

The first training session is basically a game of tag, letting everyone get to know a little of their team mate’s powers and abilities. Sam and Rhodey fly around the room, while Vision and Wanda bring them down. There’s time enough for honing their abilities, but right now Steve needs them to get to know each other’s strengths and test out weaknesses, and hopefully as they train together, they’ll start seeing each other as part of a team.

It’s something that most of the original Avengers never got. They were thrown together and somehow managed to survive each crisis as it came along. The nearest thing they had to training as a team was out in the field, taking down HYDRA bases and occasionally saving the world. At least the Howling Commandos had a few weeks training in England before shipping out, and Steve wants to give his new team time to have that too before the next crisis hits.

All through the training session, he’s got a rousing chorus of Star Spangled Man running through his head, which helps keep him firmly in the zone.

“Who’s strong and brave, here to fight the American way? Who vows to fight like a man for what’s right night and day?”

In the first team meeting, ground rules were set for those with mental powers; that they respect the privacy of their team mates unless express permission was given first, or unless, in the field, a threat warranted it. But Steve isn’t willing to take any chances, and so the song cycles round again. And again.

“Who can’t ignore there’s a threat and a war we must win? Who’ll hang a noose on the goose stepping goons from Berlin?”

He hates the song with a passion, but he can guarantee that once it’s in his head, it’ll stay there.

At the end of the training session, Steve dismisses them with a smile. It feels good to see them start to come together as a team. They often eat together, something else that helps them get to know each other, but Steve hasn’t let become a habit for him. It’s noticeable, Natasha explained, when someone deviates from something others know is a habit. Better not to let habits develop unless it’s for a reason.

Wanda and Vision leave together, heading in the direction of Wanda’s rooms, and Rhodey heads to his office. Avengers training hasn’t relieved him of all his air force duties and he often works through dinner.

So that leaves the three of them. The DC Crew as Sam calls them.

“See you out front in an hour.” It comes out as more of an order than he intended and he gets two amused Yes, sir’s! back which he waves off as he strides towards his quarters.

It’s not home, it’ll never be home, but it’s his space on the sprawling facility that he helped redesign. He strips, dropping his uniform in the laundry basket, and steps into the shower. The hot water does nothing to ease the tension across his shoulders as he concentrates on the words of the damned song.

“Who will indeed heed the call for America? Who’ll rise or fall, if it’s all for America?”

He can’t risk any stray thoughts being picked up, not by Wanda, not by Vision or this could all go to hell. He trusts Vision, he does, but JARVIS was Tony’s creation, and Steve doesn’t yet know how far his loyalties can be pushed. No, he can’t think like that.

Steve grits his teeth and starts humming the tune along with the lyrics in his head as he scrubs shampoo through his hair. Five minutes later, he’s out of the shower and drying himself off. He dresses in a blue plaid button down, and puts his signature leather jacket on top. Classic Captain America off duty. This is a useful habit, he reminds himself, a way of deflecting attention by doing something expected.

Sam’s already waiting for him when he gets down to the main entrance.

The car that pulls up is sleek and red and highly noticeable with just enough room for three. He and Sam pile in, and Natasha pulls away as the doors close, driving towards the compound gate. She waves to the guys on duty, and speeds away.

“You sure the car’s clean?” Steve asks.

“Clean and shielded,” she assures him.

“Thank fuck for that. If I have to hear that damned song one more time …”

“Should have picked something you liked.” Sam hums Trouble Man under his breath, and Natasha joins in.

“Needed to be something I knew inside out, right? I heard that song so many times on the road, I don’t have to think about it, it’s just there.” Steve lets out a deep sigh, and drops his head back against the seat. “Shit, this is the first time I’ve felt like someone wasn’t looking over my shoulder for days.”

Sam snorts and shakes his head.

“And Tony really thinks you didn’t swear?”

“The important thing to learn about lying is …” Natasha started.

“Keep it small, keep it simple,” Steve finished. “It was my first lesson. Make someone believe something about me that wasn’t true. So the first time I saw him after DC, he said shit, or something, I don’t even remember, and I said “language”, gave him a disapproving stare, and he ran with it. Turns out it’s all about perception.”

Natasha smiles and nods. “And tonight, my star pupil gets his reward.”

“Been a long time coming.” Steve stares out the window, reluctant to think on where they are headed. He’s spent so long keeping it out of his mind that he’s almost scared to let it back in.

Fields and trees give way to houses, and then taller buildings as they drive into the city. Natasha pulls into the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant. The three of them are greeted warmly and led to one of the private dining rooms.

Inside, Clint gets to his feet, and wraps Natasha in a warm hug. “Missed my work wife.”

She hugs him back, lingering a little before letting him greet Steve and Sam.

Steve’s pleased Clint could make it. He’s seen the haunted look in Natasha’s eyes since Bruce disappeared, but they haven’t had time to talk about it. Opening herself up like she did, trying to let Bruce in, can’t have been easy. Hopefully spending time with Clint will give her a little peace.

They sit down around the table, and order enough food to feed at least eight people. Half of it comes in take away containers, neatly packaged up. Steve and Sam pinch spring rolls off the table, to Clint’s protests, then investigate the bag Clint brought with him. They quickly change into the clothes from the bag, soft hoodies, jeans and a couple of baseball caps.

“You’ll be okay until we get back?” Steve asks.

Natasha throws Sam a set of keys.

“We’ll be fine. The last panel in the corner is a door. Take the stairs down. There’s a blue truck waiting for you. We’ve got the room all night if we want it, so take your time.” Natasha gets to her feet, and touches Steve’s arm before kissing him on the cheek. “Good luck.”

“Thanks.” Now Steve’s getting nervous.

Sam drives them further into the city, to an apartment block that looks like many others in the affluent area. There’s an underground parking garage, and a two tier security system. A tag on the truck lets them through the first gate, retina scans get them through the second. The tag works again to let them access a private parking bay, retina scans and thumbprints get them into the elevator that takes them directly to the penthouse apartment.

“Breathe, man.” Sam squeezes Steve’s shoulder. Steve clutches the takeout bag tighter.

‘Thanks, really, again, for helping with all this. Have I said how much I appreciate it?” Steve asks.

“Too many times to count.”

The elevator stops, and Sam takes the bag from Steve’s hands as the door opens.

“I’m gonna take this through to the kitchen, cause that Kung Pao chicken is calling my name. The rest is all yours when you’re ready.”

Steve nods as Sam leads him into the apartment.

“It’s just me,” Sam says loudly as they round the corner into the main living space of the apartment. “I brought food and picked up this dude who thinks he might know you.”

Steve stops and stares, not sure he can walk another step without his legs giving out from the sheer relief of finally seeing Bucky standing there, looking back at him. Steve hasn’t had the luxury of playing this moment out in his head over and over like he’d wanted to, but the reality is in sharp focus, so much better than anything he could have imagined.

“Hey Steve.”

Steve lets out what can only be described as a sob. “Buck.” Love, relief and concern tumble through his head, as he reaches for Bucky, forbidden thoughts that he no longer has to hide.

Then Bucky is there, arms around him as if he’s still the little guy from Brooklyn and Steve hugs him back, burying his face in Bucky’s neck. This time, he’s never letting him go, whatever the cost.
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