Disclaimer: This story is disclaimed.

AN: This is my first upload to this site. This was a look into the mind of Steve Rodgers, originally part of a much larger piece with an original character I'd been developing for sometime (in a piece of original fiction that I've been working on). Because I have no plans to put that here, I decided to see what kind of response I'd get to this interpretation of Captain America. Reviews are appreciated. Thank you.

Steve Rodgers was by no means what one might consider stupid. Actually, he had quite the mind, mostly wired for strategies and personal interrelationships. People were always pointing to his physical prowess caused by the supersoldier serum when they said he was a hero, but as Dr. Erskine said it was the man who made the soldier, rather than the weapons.

So when people seemed to forget that he is much more than merely muscle, he tended to get angry. And when he woke up to see that the war was over, and he had missed seventy years, and each of his friends and comrades and Peggy was dead, and he couldn't even correctly operate a phone, and it seemed that he was completely useless as anything but muscle, he felt himself floundering.

A punch at a time. They had tried lying to him, rather than treating him like an intelligent human being. His fist smacked into the punching bag. They didn't seem to realize he was still in the warzone. Smack. Situational awareness was necessary as a soldier. It kept him alive. Smack. He catalogued his surroundings, constantly. Marking things he didn't understand. Smack. And everything. Smack. In this godforsaken. Smack. Future. Smack. Was so. Smack. Different. Smack. Confusing. Smack. Startling. Smack. And going outside he had nearly. Smack. Hit the first. Smack. Civilian. Smack. Who had. Smack. Startled him. Smack. The punching bag went flying off the hook, breaking open and pouring sand across the ground.

If he hit a normal man, they were not getting back up. And so walking the streets of New York was not currently feasible. But he needed that to adjust. To see what was different.

And yet he couldn't risk it.

He picked up another punching bag, hanging it on the hook.

He had been a show monkey once before. And it felt an awful lot like he'd been woken up by SHIELD to be one again. Though he knew that they knew he was more. But his need to acclimate seemed to inhibit their plans for him.

He should have died in the ice. It would have been easier.

But then, when had Steve ever taken the easy way out? He lashes out at the bag. Smack. Smack. Smack. Repetitive. Sweet. Addictive.

Director Fury was in the doorway. "Trouble sleeping?"

It's almost a laughable question. As if he didn't know. But he buries the unreasonable surge of resentment and answers. Because he knows that this man saved his life. "I slept for 70 years, sir." Smack. Smack. "I think I've had my fill." Smack.

"Then you should be out, celebrating, seeing the world."

Steve stops laying into the bag and looks at the man. Really looks. Because Fury knows why that is a bad idea. It occurs to him that this is much more serious than he thought. A reprimand, maybe.

Fury had stopped by twice, but each time it was not a simple check in. The first time it was to talk about the Avengers Initiative, of which he was practically drafted into. Though he wouldn't have refused. The second was to inform him that he would be speaking to psychologists to help him with PTSD. An order.

He was a soldier.

But Fury did not do small talk, did not stop by to say hello. And so Steve decided to go along. Because perhaps, with whatever he said, it would soften the blow. Somehow he doubted it.

He turned away, beginning to unravel the wrap around his hands. "When I went under, the world was at war. I wake up, they say we won. They didn't say what we lost."

Fury follows. "We've made some mistakes along the way. Some, very recently."

Of course. Like waking up a super soldier who didn't seem capable of acclimating to the 21st century. "Are you here with a mission, sir?"

"I am."

"Trying to get me back in the world?" Because if it works, thank you. And if it doesn't, well, at least he could find his way back to this gym.

"Trying to save it." He holds out a file open, and Steve takes a look.

And then he stops. Cold fear gripping him. Like he can't breathe. Like his lungs are frozen and his heart is filled with ice and like he's back seventy years putting a ship into the ocean to save his New York and watching Red Skull disappear as he holds a blue cube, disintegrating under its direct power like so many man had died from weapons powered indirectly. He died to get rid of this threat.

The Tesseract. Because if he did one thing useful in his death he prevented more destruction by Red Skull and lost the cube. Because if he did one thing, he prevented the destruction of New York and other capitals of the world and lost the weapon and tool that could make more. "HYDRA's secret weapon." Except that the image has SHIELD letterhead. And it's clear they'd been studying it. And if something had gone wrong and the cube was in the wrong hands, hands that would use it to create weapons that would destroy…

He blinked; the images of people disintegrating under the blast of blue energy played behind closed eyelids. Images that were his nightmares.

"Howard Stark fished that out of the ocean when he was looking for you." Then he shouldn't have been looking for him. "He thought what we think. The Tesseract could be the key to unlimited sustainable energy. That's something the world sorely needs."

Steve frowned slightly. That could be useful. From what he'd seen, energy was used much more than back in his day. And from what he'd read about the current Stark project, sustainable energy was much more difficult to produce. Or was it clean? He doesn't quite understand as well as he probably should, but he could appreciate what such a device could do for people.

But Fury was here with a mission. And Steve didn't understand energy on the level that would be needed for such a project. He wasn't a scientist. And he knew that they needed him because they lost the cube to people who would use it for the same purpose as HYDRA. "Who took it from you?"

"He's called Loki. He's… not from around here." Steve knew geography. They knew he knew his geography. It was a necessity in the war, and it was one of the first things he had studied when he'd woken up. To see how the world changed following World War II.

Following World War II. That phrase never failed to trip him up.

"There's a lot we'll have to bring you up to speed on in you're in. The world has gotten already stranger than you already know."

Steve looked away. "At this point, I doubt anything would surprise me." He was the equivalent of a time traveler. Stuck in the future. And some of the things he'd read were absolutely mind-boggling. But nothing could surprise him more than waking up and being alive and then being lied to. He mentally frowned. He was really hung up on that, wasn't he?

He stood to collect the next punching bag. He would bring it up to his apartment.

"Ten bucks says you're wrong." Steve didn't answer. Because he didn't want to admit that it scared him to think even more had changed. "There's a debriefing packet waiting for you back at your apartment." A nod of recognition as he walked away. "Is there anything you can tell us about the Tesseract that we ought to know now?"

Steve wanted to scream. He wanted to hit something. He wanted to break down sobbing. Because this meant his sacrifice was for nothing. That what he did to Peggy, leaving her behind, was for nothing. Instead he focused on putting one foot in front of the other. It was a direct question so he needed to answer. "You should have left it in the ocean." And they should have.

It's later, after he's read the packet, after he broke the punching bag that he brought with him, that he lets himself succumb to the need to weep. Because the world still needed him. Because he wasn't useless. Because some things never changed.