Sharon thought she had been mentally prepared for all possibilities when Captain America and his One True Love – it had always been capitalized in her head, when she was a little girl – reunited. She had never imagined something so magical would take place. Perhaps it was normal to professional romantics, who believed love always prevailed, but to a realist like Sharon, it was different. She had grown up hearing Aunt Peggy speak wistfully of her love, and the longing in her eyes was always there. Even when Sharon told her he'd been found, that he was alive, the pain lurked behind the joy. Now, as Peggy and Steve pulled away from an extended kiss, that longing had vanished. Unbefuckinglievable, as Tony Stark would have said.

As Sharon wiped away her own happy tears, she came to a further realization. Before Fury had whisked her away from the recovering Captain to a job keeping tabs on other New York notables, Sharon had worried that Steve always looked so lost. She knew the adjustment had to be rough, but there was no trace now of the sadness that clung to him in that SHIELD hospital room. Sharon didn't think she had ever seen two people so happy in her life. Ever. More than that, they looked...satisfied. As if this was the logical conclusion of events.

Peggy already held a certain status in her community, not only for her own war heroics, but also having been the ever-faithful girlfriend of Captain America. Most of the women in her building were younger and had grown up on the news reels of their stories. Most of the single men flirted shamelessly with her. She was always kind, but firm. Never needlessly stuck in the past – she'd always used to tell Sharon, "I know Steve would have wanted me to be happy, but I haven't found that right partner yet." Sharon wondered if Peggy ever would, with the notion of One True Love pretty solid in a young girl's head. Now she knew.


"He doesn't have a curfew, you know," Pepper said, coming up behind Tony as he watched Jarvis' security footage of the Stark Tower lobby. She slipped her arms around his waist and tucked her chin over his shoulder. It was already an hour past the time Sharon had estimated she and Steve would be back.

"It's not him I'm worried about," Tony said, leaning his head against hers for a moment before fussing with the light balance of the video feed. "It's his date."

"Which one?" Pepper asked.

Tony turned around to hug Pepper from the front. "Am I such a sap for wanting to make sure an old lady doesn't get her heart broken?"

Pepper smiled. "Yes." She kissed Tony lightly. "But I love that."

Tony stole another quick kiss. "Well, if it's attractive."

Pepper nodded. "Very. But I wouldn't worry. For Steve, that relationship never really ended. I don't think he has an ounce of malice in him."

"Except when it comes to me, apparently," Tony pointed out.

True, even though the two had moved past their initial butting of heads, the relationship between Tony and Steve was still a new and fragile one. "And I don't suppose you taunted him at all."

Tony shrugged. "Maybe a little. But only because he was being such a hardass."

"Sir?" Jarvis interrupted.

Tony's eyes snapped back to the security feed. "Yes?"

"Agent Carter's vehicle has entered the garage."

"Thank you, Jarvis." Tony looked back at Pepper. "Shall we go meet them?"

"Oh, yes, let's." Pepper wanted all the details.


"It was so sweet," Sharon gushed. "I could not stop crying."

"Oh, my God." Pepper clasped her hands together over her chest briefly. "So romantic." Tony had pulled Steve aside, presumably to deliver the "you hurt either one of those women and you die" speech he had told Pepper all about. Steve had been walking on air when he came in, a slightly dazed smile on his lips.

Pepper might have been a professional business woman, but she had her feminine side, and she had always been a sucker for tales of love prevailing through difficult circumstances. Maybe it had something to do with knowing how close she had come to being in Peggy's position before – to watch her love go off to sacrifice himself for the common good. It could still happen. She tried not to think about that any more than necessary.

"So have you ladies squealed enough about the details?" Tony asked as he strolled back into the room. "Is it safe for testosterone in here?"

Pepper rolled her eyes. "We're fine, thank you."

Tony nodded, then looked at Sharon. "Did you happen to get that DNA swab?"

Sharon scoffed. "Yeah, right in the middle of a beautiful moment, I interrupted it and asked Steve to let me swab his mouth."

"I'm just saying, you could have gotten it before Fury shipped you around. The man was unconscious. Not hard."

Steve had followed Tony into the room, which Tony either hadn't noticed or didn't care about. It was hard to tell sometimes. "Why do you want my DNA?"

Tony ignored him. "I'd think you'd be super-interested, especially with your current assignment."

"Why do you want my DNA?" Steve repeated, a little edgier this time. "You're not thinking of doing something with the serum, are you?"

"God, no." Tony shook his head. "One of you's bad enough."

Steve calmed quickly, that smile beginning to creep back onto his face. He looked at Sharon, as if hoping for less sarcastic answers.

Sharon shook her head. "Let me solve this the easier way. Steve, are you related to anyone by the name of Storm?"

Steve looked thoughtful. "Not that I know of. Why?"

"Oh, it's nothing." Sharon pointed to Tony. "He's just on one of his kicks. I'm currently keeping tabs on the Fantastic Four, and one of them happens to bear a striking resemblance to you. That's all. Tony's nosy."

"The who?" Steve asked. "It sounds like a band."

"Well, they are a strange little band," Sharon admitted. "They're supers, too, but they've pretty much tried to keep in the background for the past few years. They got tired of dealing with the same stuff the Avengers are going through now, who's responsible for the destruction, and all that. Plus, I think they just wanted some friggin' privacy. Can't blame 'em."

"I still say it's creepy," Tony insisted. "They could trade uniforms and you'd never know. I'll take Storm over him, though."

"Yeah, because he's just like you." Pepper couldn't resist.

Tony nodded. "Minus a few billion dollars, a lot of genius, and not quite so charmingly handsome. But he can fly. While on fire. Top that, Cap'n."

Steve didn't rise to the bait. He stepped around Tony, then moved to stand next to Sharon. "So tell me...is a couple of friends getting coffee together still a thing?"

Sharon smiled. "It certainly is – but the coffee's gotten pretty fancy." She extended her hand, which Steve took. "Is that an offer?"

"Oh, so this is our cue to leave?" Tony acted affronted. "Fine, I see how it's going to be. Leave us. Bye." He waved dramatically, then paused. "Oh, wait, I live here."

Pepper didn't want to encourage him, so she hid her chuckle behind her hand. If Tony ever got his way and the Avengers kept house together, it was going to be stuff like this all day long. Pepper wasn't sure if that was a bad thing or not.


Coming soon – Steve is stupid in love, and Tony calls up the other lovebirds – aka Clint and Natasha.