Hello everyone! Here's another instalment of this story I'm trying to write! Sorry for the long period of time between chapters!

Chapter 2

Steve hated sleep. When he slept there was no hold on his mental suppression. He preferred to be in control of his emotions, leaving what would distract him behind to focus on a goal. But when the lights went out and he closed his eyes there would always be flashbacks; memories that he almost wanted to forget. Any attempt with medications never seemed to work no matter how many he took in order to prevent the dreams from returning.

It pained him dearly, wishing that they would leave his mind forever; but it was where his life really began. The people who stood with him in the name of good and justice were lost in the passage of time. Sure their legacy's remained in some way or another, but having them linger in his thoughts...it was almost too much to bear.

One of his memories flickered through his thoughts while he dreamt. It was like he was watching a coloured movie reel playing out at one of the theatres, viewing everything happen from an outside perspective. Steve watched his younger self sitting alone in his bunk at the SSR army camp, reading a book to help focus on the upcoming procedure he was about to go through the following day. His thin frame remained still, unsure of how to feel or what to do. He could hear the patrols marching outside his room, their boots thudding loudly outside his window. Tomorrow his life was going to change, for the better he hoped.

He heard a soft knock coming from the door as it creaked open slowly. Steve looked back to see a warm, familiar presence enter. His body relaxed seeing Dr. Erskine come inside holding a bottle of what looked to be some kind of alcohol in one hand and a pair of drinking glasses in the other. Erskine looked towards Rogers, giving him a small smile when he noticed Steve's unconvinced look on his face.

"Can't sleep?" Erskine asked, walking softly towards the blonde.

"Got the jitters, I guess," Steve replied, closing the book.

The doctor let out a soft chuckle as he placed the glasses beside Steve, setting aside a blanket on a bed nearby. "Me too."

The thin blonde watched as Erskine sat down with the bottle firmly in his hands, setting the book aside. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Just one?"

Steve swallowed the lump in his throat, trying his best to get the words out, "Why me?"

The doctor paused, looking at the bottle that he now had resting on his knee. "I suppose that's the only question that matters."

Steve leaned back at the response, keeping silent while the doctor told a story of his life in Augsburg. He talked about the country, Adolf Hitler, being sent Johann Schmidt to coerce the use of his formula to create an army of super soldiers. Erskine described how HYDRA's head scientist used the serum on his himself, despite the doctors pleas to not experiment with it so soon; the lust for power driving Schmidt forward.

"Did it make him stronger?"

"Yeah...but, there were other effects."

Steve looked down, a shiver going up his spine as his mind registered those words. He feared that something might go wrong tomorrow. He tried to hide it, but he couldn't mask his fears in his eyes while his hands twitched slightly.

"The serum was not ready. But more important, the man." Erskine sighed softly while watching the blonde shrink at the thought. "The serum amplifies everything that's inside. So good, becomes great. Bad, becomes worse..."

Steve looked up briefly before his gaze returned to the floor.

"...this is why you were chosen. Because the strong man who's has known power all his life, they lose respect for that power. But a weak man, knows the value of strength, and knows compassion."

Steve frowned, his gaze still fixated to the floor. "Thanks, I think."

Erskine smiled, signalling for Steve to pick up the glasses in each hand. "Whatever happens tomorrow you must promise me one thing..." The doctor filled a small amount of liquid in each glass, setting the bottle onto the floor and taking one of the glasses, holding it in front of him. "...that you will stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier- but...a good man."

Tony had already made it back to Stark Tower. He raced back after he had woken up at Rogers apartment after a few hours of a surprisingly relaxed sleep, realized where he didn't want to be, cleaned up and left his phone behind. He quickly grabbed his things and managed to rush out the door without waking the Captain. He was now sober enough to return and collect himself at Stark Tower. It had been awhile since Tony had been this low, and he let one man that he preferred to keep at a distance see him get that far gone. He cursed at himself, swerving into the parking lot and jumped into an elevator, still in the track pants and shirt that the blonde had given him.

"Welcome back, Sir."

The brunette flinched, startled by the low apathetic tones of JARVIS through the speaker above him. He gave his head a shake as he let out a wavering breath. "Hey Jarvis, Daddy's home."

"I am aware of this, Sir. Your phone was left behind at Captain America's residence. There were eighteen missed calls from Miss Potts remaining on that device. Shall I put you through to her on the home intercom?"

"Ah, no. Not yet. Listen. I programmed you to activate on that device. Let me know if Cap finds it without breaking it."

"Sir, I do not think that was wise. Analysing the data provided by the S.H.I.E.L.D. Database-"

"I know. I just want to get under his skin. It doesn't take much for an antique like him."

"I also want to inform you that-"

"Look, I haven't been five minutes and you're already hounding me. I need a shower and something to eat. Possibly an omelet. Spiced with a little-"

"Miss Potts has already arrived at the office."

The elevator opened and he stepped out, his thoughts attempting to compile an excuse as he looked up to see a familiar face, "Pepper!"

Virginia Pepper Potts quickly turned around, dropping the phone from her ear. Her ash blue eyes were filled with worry when he heard his voice. "Tony!" she exclaimed in surprise, taking a couple of steps towards him and stopped, giving him a once over at what he was wearing. "What happened to you?"

"Uhm, well." he looked down at the loose garments that he still had on, looking away from her briefly. "It's a little hard to explain?"

"Do you realize what time it is? And..." she looked closer, noticing that his eyes were slightly bloodshot with faintly darkened circles. "You've been drinking again, and you haven't been sleeping...is it-"

"I'm okay." he said, waving her off. "You're not my mother, you're my CEO. Excuse me." He tried to step around her but was stopped, her hand firmly on his shoulder.

"Tony." she said softly, dropping her hand to her side. "Listen. You may have promoted me to be your CEO for Stark Industries, but I'm still your friend."

"I know."

"Then you should know that when I see you like this, I worry. It's what friends do."

"I realize-"

"Then don't push me away. I care about you too much to see you like this."

"Pepper..." Tony muttered, letting out a sigh. "...I just had a sudden lapse in judgement on how much I had to drink last night. That's it."

"And where did you go? Did you drive while drunk?"

"I may have. I can't remember."

This only made the Pepper's expression turn from worry to shock. "Tony!"

"What?! I didn't die! I must have pulled over and passed out for a few hours in the car. I woke up sober enough to get back here before the police, or god forbid, the press found me. Next time I will call Happy at 2am to drive me around at night if that makes you feel any better."

Pepper crossed her arms, rolling her eyes. "And the clothes?"

"When I woke up I realized that I must have spilled some alcohol on me last night and it left a stain. So I stopped at the nearest clothing store and bought them. They were comfy. The cashier was rather attractive too-"

"Then you didn't come straight home." she said, raising an eyebrow.

"Christ! Stop trying to pick apart my story." he said annoyed, wanting to go to another room where he could have a moment of silence.

"Then what are you not telling me?" she asked.

"Nothing! Everything is fine! I'm fine! Now can you let me go take a shower? I haven't had one in days."

She looked up, a smile on her lips. "You're lying."


Tony didn't move as she stepped even closer, watching as she ran her fingers through his hair. She was only one of the few people that could get this close to him. His mind registered what she was doing and stepped back, seeing the unimpressed look on her face as he felt the remainder of his story crumble away. Pepper Potts was also one of his closest connections where he could show most of his true self without the judgement of the outside world. The brunette looked down at the floor, his mind running a mile a minute to try and fix this problem before he felt her light touch on his cheek, lifting his head slowly so she could meet his gaze. His eyes were filled with all sorts of emotion that he didn't show anyone but her.

"Tony, will you please tell me what really happened?"

The brunette swallowed the lump in his throat, "Pepper, I-I..."

"Sir, I just want to remind you that Captain Rogers has woken up at his residence and-"

Tony paled looking into Pepper's eyes, now feeling a chill lingering in her eyes "Jarvis! Off!"

The voice of the AI was immediately cut off, followed by a long, awkward silence between both parties now standing staring at each other. The billionaire had a new look of horror and frustration on his face while the CEO looked back at him, her eyes wide as she tried not to have her jaw drop. She shook her head slightly and let her hand fall once again, her expression quickly changing to an eerily calm demeanour.

"Board meeting, half an hour. Get cleaned up." she said bluntly before walking around him towards the elevator. "Don't be late, Mr. Stark."

"P-Pep...Pepper wait!" he turned, trying to go after her. However, he was still sluggish as the doors shut before he could press the button. He stared at the metal doors for quite some time with a hand resting on the cold, metallic surface, letting out another curse before looking out the window at the darkened clouds that covered the city. He exhaled slowly, tossing his clothes on a chair, his shoulders drooping slightly.

"I think I need another drink."

Steve slowly opened his eyes, letting out a soft groan as he looked out the window. The sky was clouded over from the night before while raindrops remained fixed on the glass panes. It was early in the morning, possibly around 8 or 9 from what he could gather. He sat up rubbing his chest with one hand, pushing away the blankets with the other as he slid himself off the bed. He kept his pants on from the night before, the shirt thrown somewhere next to a hamper. He rubbed his face, feeling the thin layer of stubble on his cheeks and neck while he tried to remember something else other than the hazy dream that wanted to surface in his thoughts once again.

'We never did get to finish that bottle together, eh Doc...?' he thought, his fingers moving up to rub his eyes.

He dropped his hands when he finally got his bearings and opened the door, his mind remembering what had taken place only a few hours before. He stood at his bedroom door and listened if there were any signs of life. He didn't hear a thing as he walked quietly towards the living room.

'Maybe he's still asleep. Or...' Steve thought as he made it to the couch, looking down and seeing the blankets neatly folded and the pillow placed on top and no sign of the billionaire's outfit to be seen. '...he left.'

Steve gave another look around the apartment, the air in the apartment was still. He was expecting the brunette pop out of another room, but it didn't happen. He walked around the couch, reaching down to pick up the pile of bedding and get ready to get back into his routine despite the interruption of last night. He turned and felt something vibrating in his arms, making him jump and drop the pile onto the floor.

"What on earth was that?" he asked surprised, pulling the pillow off and noticed a small device fall to the side onto the floor. It vibrated loudly, moving slightly against the hardwood. Steve picked up the contraption, looking at it closely as to how to turn the thing off.

Once he had it in his palm it stopped. He flipped it over and small screen flickered on which almost made Steve drop it again. His eyes narrowed, shaking his head. "Stark, you-"

"Captain Rogers, I presume?" a voice spoke.

The sudden voice in the room made Steve look around. It sounded like a stoic male voice with a British accent. His brain went into overdrive as he searched the vicinity of his location, noting where his suit was before speaking, "Who are you? Show yourself."

"I'm afraid that it would be impossible, Sir. Not to worry, I am no enemy." the voice stated. "I am merely a computer AI. My name is JARVIS."

"Jarvis?" Steve repeated, looking at the device as his mind began to work. He had heard that name mentioned before, sometime during one of the battles with the team, "Wait, the voice that's in the Iron Man suit?"

"Affirmative. I was left behind by Mr. Stark for you to find when you had woken up."

Steve felt his eye twitch at the mention of the billionaire's name. He took a few steps towards the kitchen, leaving the blankets and pillow behind for now. He set the machine down on the counter like it was going to have a mind of its own, watching it idly. "Why did he leave you here? Secondly, why are you in this device and not in the suit?"

"I was given instructions to activate when you had located this phone and to notify him when you received it. His intentions were not immediately disclosed to me. As for how I am here, my programming allows me to be anywhere Mr. Stark needs me to be in case of emergencies."

"I see," The blonde shook his head again. "What a strange man. Does this mean that he's going to return and pick you up?"

"Mr. Stark has many devices at his disposal. It's rare that he would do so."

"Okay. Then what am I supposed to do with...you?"

"I am aware of your situation with the use of technology of this period. Therefore, if you wish to be rid of this device, it will be immediately deactivated and my program removed without any traces that I was here. All you will need to do is locate the nearest garbage receptacle."

Steve paused. 'I don't like being around these kinds of things. Stark knows this.' he pinched the bridge of his nose, shutting his eyes briefly. 'And to be talking to one of these...what are they called, computer programs? It's strange. It's like I'm talking to an actual person.'

"Awaiting your command." Jarvis stated.

Steve took a moment before he responded, "Jarvis?"

"Yes sir?"

"Don't turn off, I guess." he said, picking up the device again. "It's a waste to just throw you away. I will..." Steve's tone began to have a slight edge to it as he spoke, "...return you to Stark the next time I see him."

"Of course, Captain Rog-"

"Jarvis, you don't have to call me that. Steve is fine,"

"Steve. Yes, Sir. My apologies. Will you be needing any assistance?"

"No. I uh, I'm going to get cleaned up and...go for a run I think."

"Alright. I will be on standby if you need me."

"T-Thanks." Steve noted, moving into the living room and set the strange electronic on his coffee table before heading towards the bathroom, turning on the water as he started to get prepared for the day.

The billionaire went through a long day of meetings and interviews with an array of reporters before returning drained to his apartment at the top of the Tower. He rarely made it back to his home in Malibu, keeping close to his suits and his repair shop. It was where he felt the most himself- just him and his toys to tinker with. He pulled at his tie and ripped it off his neck while walking towards the bar with a frustrated grunt, tossing it aside while he went for a glass. Despite his arduous day his thoughts returned to the night before, his mind reeling for an answer as to why...

Tony's frustration only grew as the day rolled on. He never had another chance to talk with Pepper and explain what really happened. It seemed that she was avoiding him, not surprising. She's a woman. They blow things out of proportion all the time without knowing the full truth.

But in all what took place, in reality, nothing happened. The variable wasn't a problem, but it was anomaly in the brunette's thoughts he couldn't figure out-

...why him? Of all places why did he go there?

He fiddled with the buttons of his shirt in one hand holding a glass of liquor in the other as he made it down to his lab. He needed to be somewhere comfortable, surrounded by technology and machines that he could fix by himself. He punched in the security code for the door and stomped in, flopping down on a chair, the ice tinkling inside the glass by the sudden movement. The room was mostly quiet besides the low hum of computers. It was almost too quiet...

"Jarvis, on." Tony muttered, taking a sip of the welcoming booze.

The computer screens flickered to life with various programs running all at once. The British accent filled the room while Tony looked up at the ceiling, feeling the familiar warmth of the liquid spread throughout his chest.

"Welcome back Sir. I trust your day went well?"

"As well as it can be expected." the brunette groaned, running his finger along his trimmed goatee. He set the glass down on a nearby stand, looking at his Iron Man suit. "How is the new plans coming along?"

"Unfortunately I was unable to function while you had shut down my programming this morning." the AI said bluntly. "The only active program was that remained was your last cell phone you had left behind in Captain Rogers residence."

"Oh yeah, right." he said, rising form his chair. "Sorry about that. Guess I'll grab another one from the cabinet." He took a few steps before opening a drawer with a few rows of the latest cell phone models, eyeing one of them before returning to his seat. "DUM-E, come here."

The whirl of small wheels got closer to Tony as his robot with the least high-tech functions made its way towards him. Its robotic arm moved up and down while the clamp open and closed, recognizing the genius. Tony handed the phone to the robot, pointing a finger at it.

"Listen, I need this one programmed like the last one, give me a new number and all the bells and whistles. You know the drill." he ordered, watching the clamp slowly grab the device. "And if you get a scratch on the screen or I'm going to donate you to goodwill if you're not careful."

"Shall I program myself into that device like the other ones?"

Tony waved his hand, grabbing his drink for another sip. "Yeah yeah. But give me a new kick-ass ring tone for it. The last one was too boring."

"No one ever called the last one, Sir. You never heard it."

"Didn't I? Oh whatever. Just do it."

"I also need to inform you that my message was not fully sent to you. Captain Rogers did retrieve the phone at his apartment."

"Really? What did the fossil do? Did he throw you out? Break it into pieces like some cave man?"

"Despite your hinted musing, no. He had left it at his residence. Apparently your thoughts of his reaction was different from what you had perceived."

The brunette chuckled. "I guess I can admit when I'm wrong." he stated, and then he paused. "Wait, did I just say that?"

"He also had mentioned that he would return the phone the next time you two would meet. However, due to your odds of seeing each other outside of the Avengers would be next to impossible."


"Maybe, Sir?"

Tony's mind seized, realizing what he just said. He took a gulp of his drink and choked, leaning forward while coughing and sputtering, wiping his mouth.

"Sir I noticed that your heart rate has increased by eight percent in the last six seconds. Are you alright?"

"Yeah Jarvis. Just...nevermind." Tony breathed, getting some air into his lungs before settling down into his chair. "Just do me a favour and turn on something from my playlist."

"Of course, Sir." Jarvis said in a calm tone.

The AI went silent as rock music began to pound through the surround sound, filling Tony's eardrums while he settled. But his mind continued to try and put together reasoning that wasn't currently coming to him. He swirled the drink in his hand before putting it back to his lips, his gaze finding another bottle that was full of alcohol and he got up to get it.

Later in the evening, the Captain returned to his quiet apartment. His training routine wasn't interrupted for the rest of the day at the gym. Everything was back to normal. He tossed his bag by the door before slipping off his shoes and walked over to the kitchen, pulling out a glass and filled it with water. He downed it quickly, refilled it and ran a hand through his hair and wandered over to his living room, sitting down in his chair. It was peaceful, quiet, nothing to bother him-

But his peace was short-lived. He nearly spilled his glass as he was startled by a loud blaring sound coming from his coffee table. He looked at it quickly as he heard some kind of rock guitar music that he had recognized on the radio somewhere. The cell phone that Stark had left was vibrating on the glass as the music continued. Steve's eye twitched in frustration as he picked up the device, looking at the screen, seeing a familiar billionaire's name pop onto the screen.

"How do I shut this thing off?" he asked aloud. He was quickly answered when the music died down and Jarvis' voice returned.

"Steve, Mr. Stark is calling you at Stark Tower. Shall I answer it for you?"

'I don't really want to talk to him...but,' he mentally sighed. "Only if it will turn the racket off, yes."

The music was cut off, followed by someone's voice on the other end of the line. There was some noises in the background Steve couldn't really make out but it didn't really matter. A long pause followed, along with the sound of soft breathing through the speaker. Steve didn't really know what to do with the electronic object, just keeping it in his palm for now.

"You know..." the male voice said. "It's usually polite to greet the person you're answering."

"If I wanted to say hello, I would have." Steve said bluntly, his tone slightly irritated.

"If that were the case, then why did you take the call?" Stark asked, his speech slightly slurred.

"To turn off what ever that noise was."

"Noise? Oh! The ringtone? Do you know some of the lyrics? I would really like to know so I don't have the same one for the new cell."

'Ringtone? What...?' the blonde mentally asked, but then shook his head. "Not important. Why did you call me?"

The billionaire acted slightly offended. "Rude. I only asked a question."

Steve remained unfazed. "The reason. Now. Or I will get Jarvis to end this call."

"No. Don't."


"Because I can just override it-"

Steve's tone become rather sharp, "The point of this call. Why?"

"Fine. Jeez." the brunette went silent. "Are you...hungry?"

"Not really." he said quickly, his stomach wanted to go against his answer.


"Why Stark?"

"Because...I want to take you out to a restaurant..."

Steve raised an eyebrow, looking at the phone in confusion. "What for?"

Another pause. "Just...as a thank you. For what happened last night. I make sure to pay my debts."

"Stark, you don't owe me anything."

"It's a Stark thing."

"And I don't do outings besides the gym."

"You went out for shawarma with me and the others."

"We defended the world from an alien invasion. It was an exception."

There was a small pause, and then the billionaire spoke again, "Come on."


"Cap, do this one thing, and I won't bother you. I'll even take this phone back if you won't have it smashed to pieces when we meet."

Steve sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose to try and curb the increasing annoyance building in his mind. "As long as you don't get yourself as drunk as you were yesterday. I like my alone time."

"Fine. Alright. Come to Stark Tower in two hours. Bring the phone. Stark out."

"Wait St-" Steve was about to ask before the audio cut out, leaving the apartment silent. He set the phone back down and leaned back into his seat, groaning loudly. "Where were we going?"

.o~End of Chapter 2~o.

Whoo! Sorry this took so long. I've been thinking of where I want this story to roll. Thanks for reading!

07/22/15 : Just some editing and grammar correction.