Steve is trying to find a place in the 21st century. Because crappy weather meant that I caught up on all of the Marvel movies I missed for one reason or another, and hey, it's not like I don't have way too many other stories in progress at the moment . Takes place after Avengers and before Iron Man 3, and since my head still hurts from trying to reconcile the X-Men movies with anything canon for A Dangerous Man, I'm going to say (mostly) to hell with it in this case and ignore the comics and call the movies canon.
As a general rule, if you recognize the character/setting/device/etc., I'm probably not the owner.
Steve shifted a little further under the upper awning as the sun reached his perch, taking care to remain out of sight of those below. Not that anyone should have a reason to be looking at the rest stop roof, but if they noticed him it was bound to cause a commotion, and he didn't want to deal with that. Most of his focus was on the buildings in the distance, though, and one in particular that stood above those around it. Privately he thought 'the big, ugly building in New York' was still a fairly accurate description, but somehow it didn't look quite so offensive this time around. Maybe because the 'STARK' that had been plastered across the front had never been replaced, only the facing around the stylized 'A' repaired. He didn't know if there had been an official statement made as to the reason, but while it might be—was—a bit of conceit of his own, he liked the idea of an Avengers Tower.
There was a honk and a yell and he checked himself automatically, but it was just two cars jostling for position, and since his bike was well clear and there was no indication that things would escalate he returned his attention to the skyline. He didn't know where the rest of the team was now, how they were doing, any of that, but his head felt far clearer than it had two months ago. Or…no, it had been more like three months since he'd left New York. He understood what SHIELD had been trying to do when they'd put him up in an apartment as similar to one from the 40s as was available, but the 40s were gone now. Once he'd gotten oven the initial shock, Steve had needed to get out and learn what this time was all about.
Fury had seemed glad that he was planning to get out and had given him a card that allowed him access to money, to a 'thanks for saving the world' account, he'd called it, but given his feelings about SHIELD Steve had been loath to use it. Especially when he'd learned how much things cost these days. A whole dollar for a newspaper, for heaven's sake, and that wasn't even the worst of it. His feeling of reluctance had had only increased when he'd awakened at a roadside motel one morning to find a package waiting for him at the desk containing a helmet and a note that he was setting a bad example for the children by riding around on a motorcycle without one. While on one hand it had been appreciated since it was one of those little things about this time that had escaped him, on the other he hadn't liked the idea that his journey was being watched, and while he might not be in the same league as a few of his teammates when it came to intelligence he wasn't an idiot either. Since he did his own bike maintenance and knew that there were no bike components that he didn't recognize, and there was nothing in his pack that he hadn't put there himself, the card had been the obvious culprit.
The next time he'd stopped for food he'd offered to trade labor in place of money for his lunch, but the response had been…well, he wasn't sure that the woman at the counter had actually understood his offer. In his time bartering had been normal, beans and rice had been repayment for his mother when she'd taken in washing far more often than coin and he'd run errands for the old man on the corner for penny candy whenever it was offered, but that obviously wasn't so today.
He'd had better luck once he'd gotten further from the city and had stopped going to places with names that were quasi-familiar from his time in the new New York, though. The ones called chains. At other places, the ones referred to as Mom and Pop shops, it was much easier to find a person in charge who didn't make vague statements about corporate policy and was more willing to discuss unloading a truck or a few hours of dishwashing in exchange for a meal. Nights were harder, but while he was a city kid at heart his time in the Army had made him no stranger to sleeping rough. So long as the weather held or he could find some kind of shelter, he did just fine. Fuel for his motorcycle was more difficult to come by, that almost always required the card or some kind of temporary job where he earned cash, but he wasn't afraid of hard work and heavy lifting and like any child of the Depression he could stretch a dollar until it screamed.
He sighed, pulling his arms in tighter around his knees. It had taken some time, but he'd finally started getting accustomed to the sheer speed with which things moved in the twenty-first century—not just literally on their highways but more the always-on always-connected technology—and had started catching up on the other things. The people were more or less the same at heart, he'd realized that at SHIELD, but there were still new rules to learn, new behavioral norms…he'd missed seventy years that had included a Civil Rights movement, a Women's Rights movement, wars in countries whose names he barely recognized—a couple whose names he hadn't recognized at all—something called a Cold War, and a hundred other little things. The days that it had rained had been spent mostly in libraries and he was still nowhere near caught up.
As he'd ceased to be overwhelmed with the newness he'd begun to get restless, though, and it wasn't the kind of restlessness that could be solved by traveling to Yellowstone or the Badlands. It was more the knowledge that he couldn't continue to roam the US indefinitely. He needed to find a place for himself. A function for himself.
Unfortunately, right now the only offer he had was from Fury at SHIELD. He respected Fury a great deal and knew that Clint and Natasha worked for SHIELD and from what little he'd seen had seemed content with their lives, but he wasn't a spy and he certainly wasn't an assassin. The way that the agency as a whole operated, especially the Tesseract weapon development program and the nuclear warhead that they'd launched targeting an American city…it left him seriously questioning whether that was really the place for him. He was willing to work with them, or at least with Fury, especially if there were any more attacks on the Earth, but day to day it was hard to see himself there.
Three months ago he would have said that the place he really belonged was the army, but now he wasn't so sure. He was a soldier, and it was all he'd ever wanted to be, but the US Army today wasn't the same one that he'd known. He'd stopped in one of the recruiting offices he'd come across more out of curiosity than anything and found that the eligibility requirements were different, the training was different, even the way that they fought was different. He still had his commission and could probably get back in if he wanted to—it might take some creativity with the paperwork, but the story of him being found in the ice wasn't that much of a secret—but without a lot of retraining he'd just end up reduced once again to the position of walking recruiting poster and entertainer. That wasn't what he wanted at all. And it wasn't even that he objected to retraining, he knew that there were a lot of things that he needed to learn, but he was so accustomed to leading men that it would be awkward being both a green recruit and Captain America all at once. Awkward at best; at worst, if his natural inclinations took over in the heat of battle, it could be a disaster. If there was a way to start a unit like his Howling Commandos that would be one thing, but somehow he didn't see it happening without serious backing, and he didn't have that outside of SHIELD. So, here he sat.
The sun shifted further and Steve with it, but it wasn't long before the upper awning no longer offered cover, and after a quick glance around to make certain that no one was looking in his direction he swung himself back down to the ground and headed for his bike. Before he'd left Tony had told him that if he ever needed a place to stay he was always welcome at any of the Stark properties, and Steve had finally decided to take him up on that offer. At least for a little while as he worked on sorting things out. And he was actually looking forward to seeing Tony again. Well, if he was being honest it was more the idea of seeing a familiar face than seeing Tony in particular, but there were also things that he needed to say to Tony, and even if it was likely to be uncomfortable he'd always hated having that sort of thing hanging over his head.