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Ageing Superhero


Evergreen

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((soo I'm not gonna pretend like I know that much about the Avengers, but I saw the movie and couldn't get that girl out of my head who Cap saved. Remember her? They showed her multiple times. I believe she was in the train station, and she watched him run past her, then she was interviewed about him. I'm loving all the fics about the Avengers, but I figured there wasn't one yet about the Cap and a girl, so here it goes. I don't even know if he could get sick, but ignore it for my sake, okay? My imagination, my rules. Ha. Hope you enjoy. And of course other characters will be making entrances throughout.))

For all the times I've tried to take a little time out for myself,

I'm just growing all alone again

But I find in my mind that I'm not

(Lyrics are from "Ageing Superhero" by Newton Faulkner)

Part I (no sneezing in this part. sorry!)

There were a lot of things Steve Rogers wasn’t used to since his ascent out of hermitude. It was a strange transition from self-sustaining super soldier to teammate. Sure, he’d been a soldier so he’d dealt with teams in the past, but he’d become so accustomed to his own routine holed away from society that it still shocked him that not only did he have a group of people who were capable of getting in touch with him, but they actually enjoyed spending time with him. The feeling was mutual most of the time and while he still remained guarded in their presence, he slowly but surely began to come out of his shell.

His current ordeal had started when he mentioned to a nosy Tony Stark that he found the waitress whom he had seen during the battle beautiful. He really shouldn’t have said anything, but they had been playing the story on a permanent loop and every time he saw her interview about him, he felt his breath catch. Tony had noticed his sudden attention shift when the story came on in a Vietnamese restaurant and with a little prodding, Steve had admitted his feelings figuring there wouldn’t be any harm.

Apparently Tony had joked to Pepper about his boyhood crush and, inspired, she had tracked the girl down. It only took two days for Steve to receive the phone call from Stark that not only had Pepper spoken to the girl whose name turned out to be Emma Jacobs, but she had also asked Emma to meet him for a date that Saturday.

Throughout the week, Steve had felt an unfamiliar nervousness settle in his stomach but as that jittery feeling began to affect his head and a general feeling of malaise settled over him, he began to suspect that nerves were not the only factor in play. To his credit, he did have a remarkable immune system but his return to society and its germs coupled with the strain of the battle had left him vulnerable. Of course, the superhero refused to admit it and Steve waited up until about an hour before his date to realize that while he was physiologically superior to the average human, he was still human to an extent.

Dating was something he could only vaguely recall and honestly he had dated in a time where chivalry wasn’t dead and women were a lot more predictable or at least they behaved that way. He liked the progress women had made but honestly the idea of going on a date with an independent New Yorker scared the hell out of him and he wondered if she would even appreciate him being a gentleman. It wasn’t something he could turn off.

As he dressed in a pair of black slacks and tucked in a deep blue dress shirt, he wished there was something about him he could turn off because a date with a superhero had a certain ring to it and currently he was feeling unbelievably human.

Speaking of rings, he had just finished raking some mousse through his hair when his phone began to ring, something the rest of the team had insisted on him getting and using.

“Hello?” he answered, wincing as that simple word scraped out of his throat, sounding strange from the dull ache he was beginning to feel.

“Hey, Steve. You okay? You sound… Off.” It was Pepper. Naturally. She was one of the only people who didn’t call him Captain or one of its derivatives.

“I’m fine,” he said firmly, strolling back into his bathroom and looking at himself in the mirror. Jesus he felt like a child being this nervous about a date, but he hadn’t been in one in decades. “How are you?”

“Great. Tony and I are having a date night,” she said cheerfully, and he cracked a small smile as he heard Tony scream in the background: ‘I’ll watch chick flicks in exchange for hot sex any day’. Pepper continued with a slight laugh, “Are you ready for your date?”

He tried to let out a small sigh but flinched as a soft cough came out instead. He cleared his throat quickly and pinched the bridge of his nose as an unfamiliar itching sensation began to prickle in the back of his nose. “Yes. Uh… Pepper… I was wondering, do men still get women flowers on the first date?”

As Pepper let out a sound of appreciation at such a sweet gesture he heard Tony groan and assumed he was now on speakerphone.

“For the love of God, Cap, you’re the one man who ruins it for the rest of us! Why do you have to be some damn romantic?” Tony chided.

“I think it’s sweet,” Pepper said.

“Of course you do, woman. What’s with the cough?” Tony asked as Steve smothered another small cough.

Even though Tony wasn’t there, Steve felt his cheeks heat up. He didn’t get sick. He was a superhero… Not just an average person who was well endowed in the brain department and made a superhuman suit like Stark. He couldn’t change his identity, but he definitely could lie… Or try to.

“I swallowed some water the wrong way,” he sputtered out.

He could hear the suspicion in Tony’s voice. “You’re not getting a cold there, are you, champ?”

He heard Pepper’s hushed question. “Can he even get a cold? I mean… Isn’t he incapable of getting sick?”

Steve cleared his throat partly because it was itching again and partly because he was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. “I’m fine,” he insisted. “But I have to go. I don’t know much about dating, but I assume showing up late is still in bad taste.”

Tony started to say something, but he heard the rustle of the phone as Pepper turned it off speaker, shushing her egotistical partner. “She’s going to love you. I mean, she already does… All of America does actually.”

That little statement caused the nerves fluttering in his stomach to intensify and he restlessly paced in and out of his bathroom. “Yeah,” he agreed hollowly. “Thanks for the call, Pepper. Truly. And thank you for setting this up.”

“No problem. Now go get her!” she said excitedly, and he felt his heartbeat pick up further as he heard Tony in the background: ‘Make sure you bring condoms, Cap. Girls nowadays give it out on the first date!’ “Hush, Tony,” Pepper exclaimed. “Don’t listen to him, Steve. Be a gentleman… Be yourself. She’ll love you. I’ll call you tomorrow and see how it went. Have a good night!”

“You too,” he echoed robotically and hung up, coughing again as Pepper’s statement circulated in his head: “She’s going to love you. I mean, she already does… All of America does actually.” That was the problem. If he didn’t live up to Captain America—if he was just Steve—how would she react?

TBC

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Ooooooooooooooh. Cap!!!!!!!!!!!! <3 *fangirls*

Please continue. I love where this is going! And lol. Classic Tony advice......

I can't wait for the next bit. :)

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I seriously just whimpered like the little fangirl I am. This is just too adorable! And Cap getting all nervous over his date! Too cute! This makes me want to watch Cap's movie and the Avengers all over again! I hope you continue this soon!

BYE! :bleh:

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THIS.

“Yes. Uh… Pepper… I was wondering, do men still get women flowers on the first date?”

As Pepper let out a sound of appreciation at such a sweet gesture he heard Tony groan and assumed he was now on speakerphone.

“For the love of God, Cap, you’re the one man who ruins it for the rest of us! Why do you have to be some damn romantic?” Tony chided.

I reread it so many times. And died. Can he get more adorable? Also, everything is so in-character! I love it. Thanks!

So excited for what comes next!

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Cuuuuute. I try not to be attracted to Capt. America, because big, muscly, and All American is not usually my type...

But I fail miserably.

Super excited to read the next part!! :)

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((wow! i don't think i've ever gotten 6 responses within 24 hours of posting a story. this feels so nice. let me reply to you all.

snifflechick: glad you think tony's advice sounds like him. i have a hard time writing pompous. haha.

bubbles!: isn't he adorable? i like being able to write a strong, yet sensitive man. there aren't many characters out there like him.

zwee: yay it's in character!? i'm nervous because i don't know captain america all that well. this is him in my head.

ickydog2006: part two has arrived! and it's longer! hooray!

daisoku: yay for squealing! that's just the effect i want because i squeal as i write this. no lie.

rika: yeah, i tend to like artsy people myself, but chris evans is so attractive. last night when i was writing this, i just looked at shirtless pictures of him. yum.

now here's part two. and be forewarned. i have a hard time deciding how i want my narrator to be. in the first part, it was mostly narration from Steve's POV (not in the first person, just in his POV), but this time i have a little bit of emma towards the end of the section. hope she's not too whiny or annoying. i know if i were going out with freaking captain america, i'd be like 'why the hell does he want to date me?'))

Part Two!

It wasn’t until Steve was standing in front of the florist, who was busy putting together a flower arrangement of bright, multi-colored dahlias and fragrant peonies, that he really started to feel sick. There was a twinging itch in his throat that extended up into his sinuses, which made him feel like sneezing and coughing simultaneously. The fragrance of the flowers wasn’t helping either. It wasn’t that he was allergic, just that Steve’s sense of smell, like the rest of him, had been enhanced and given his current nasal irritation, it simply worked to coax out a sneeze.

It was a weird feeling. It wasn’t that Steve didn’t sneeze. He had, of course, gotten something in his nose in the past. That was possible. But that was a different feeling entirely. It was a swift, wildfire itch that made him sneeze three times in quick succession and then he was done with it. This was more taunting, and while he could vaguely recall from what felt like his past life how he’d feel when he had a cold, it was like looking at himself through a fogged window. When the itching in his nose worsened, however, he found himself turning politely away from the florist and muscle memory took over. He hadn’t remembered a sneezing pattern when he’d been sick, but his body seemed to as he brought his elbow over his nose and covered two rapid-fire sneezes into it. Hih’KTSCH. KTSCH. Instead of lowering his arm, though, he naturally left it up waiting until another itch blossomed like the flowers before him and he sneezed three times in the same rapid-fire fashion. IHKTSCH. TSCHH. TSCHH. Sniffing experimentally, he bent forward once more with a straggling sneeze that was much more irritated than the rest. Hih’ITSCH’uhh.

“Bless you, sir,” the florist said, her hands frozen on the bouquet as she looked at him wide-eyed. “Is it the flowers?”

He felt tempted to lie and say, yes, he was allergic to peonies but that damn moral code of his urged him not to and he shook his head. “Thank you and no, it’s not. I’m fine,” he said simply.

Once he had paid for his flowers, he returned to his car, wishful that he had some sort of napkins or tissues in his glove box, but it wasn’t often he had something in his nose and quite frankly he had thought he was immune to getting sick, but clearly he had been mistaken. He tried to push the idea of sickness as far from his mind as possible, hoping that if he ignored the feelings they’d go away.

He managed to make it to Emma’s apartment without another incident and parked along the street, noting that she didn’t have a doorman. He tried to remember money was tight in New York, but as he noticed the graffiti littering the wall next to her call box and the group of scantily clad women pacing up and down the street a block away, he felt his protector response protest that she shouldn’t live here. Like the feelings of ill health, Steve pushed that part of him down and after a moment of staring at the unfamiliar piece of technology, he pressed the button next to her name and within a few moments her voice, the voice from the television, greeted him.

“Hi, Emma. It’s Steve,” he said, frowning as his voice came out a little quieter from the strain on his throat. After a second of silence, he cleared his throat softly and uncomfortable. “Steve Rogers…”

“Sorry, I was distracted. I know who you are. I’m just finishing getting ready. Come on up.”

With that, her complex door unlocked and he entered, trying to ignore the stench of urine that his sensitive nose picked up on. He coughed a few times from the smell and the itch in his throat, wincing as it felt like something had rubbed it raw. As he climbed the stairs, he felt a dull ache settle in beneath his eyes, and he could feel the congestion beginning to settle in. He gave a swift sniff before he reached her door, squinting his eyes in pain, before he pushed through the discomfort and knocked on the door that read 3C.

If the sniff hadn’t done the trick to clear his head, seeing her most certainly did as she opened the door. She was dressed in a lace dress the color of lavender that contrasted her brunette hair nicely, which was curled and gathered to the side. Steve noticed she wasn’t wearing much make-up, just enough to accent her eyes and to make her lips shine. He caught himself from lingering on her lips, surprised at his urge to kiss her. He couldn’t remember the last time he kissed someone and he half-wished Tony hadn’t been on the line so he could have awkwardly asked Pepper whether kissing had changed because if Tony was right about women giving it out on the first date, he had no idea what kiss was acceptable.

Realizing he’d remained silent, he smiled apologetically and held out the bouquet, which she looked at and grinned. “You look…” he paused, feeling like ‘beautiful’ didn’t cut it. “Stunning.”

Emma took the flowers, a smile still lingering on her lips. “You don’t look half bad yourself, Captain,” she joked.

While he could recognize her use of his other name was a joke, Steve felt his cheeks heat up slightly. “Call me Steve,” he encouraged, realizing his cheeks weren’t the only things burning. His nose had decided to start itching and he turned to look at the place, wrinkling it when he knew she couldn’t see him.

“Do you want to sit down? I’m almost ready. I’m sorry. I got off my shift late. I’m normally on time,” she said hurriedly.

Wrinkling his nose again, he was relieved as the itch died down a little and he turned back to look at her with a disarming smile. “Sure. I don’t mind waiting.” He took the few steps to the couch and sat down. He turned to watch her as she fumbled around in the kitchen, automatically making the move to help when he saw her begin to drop a vase. His reflexes were fast, but he couldn’t get to it in time and it shattered on the floor.

“Oh no,” she breathed out, staring down at the glass and pushing a stray strand of hair away with a hand he noticed was shaking. “I’m so sorry.”

“Are you alright?” he asked seriously, rubbing the back of his neck as he made an observation that might make her uncomfortable. “You’re, uh, shaking.”

He was right in thinking it’d make her uncomfortable and he frowned as her cheeks turned bright red and the shaking worsened. “God, I’m such a mess. I’m just really nervous.”

“Nervous?” he asked, shocked.

“Yeah. I mean… When Pepper called me, I thought it was a joke. Like why would you want to go out with me? You’re perfect and I’m clearly not.”

Steve felt troubled by this, Pepper’s sentiment that all of America loved him already circulating through his head. “I’m not perfect,” he said softly, instead. “No one is.”

She smiled sadly and nodded in half-agreement. “Yeah, you’re right. Sorry.”

“You don’t have to keep apologizing,” he said gently, unsure what dating etiquette was in this situation.

“Sor—I mean, okay. I need to put shoes on and then I’ll clean this up, then we can go.”

“Here,” he said as he finished pushing the glass aside. He held out his hand to help her. “Be careful.”

Her hand was warm and shaky as she grabbed his hand, but she took the few cautious steps to the living room, disappearing into her room and leaving him to survey the damage. As he tried to figure out what to do, his nose began to burn worse and he noticed a roll of paper towels nearby. He carefully crunched over the glass and grabbed the paper towel in time to catch his volley of sneezes into .Hih’KTSCHH. KNTSCH. He rubbed at his nose through the paper towel, but it was to no avail. The rest of them came like before. IHSHH. TSCH. TSCH. This time, instead of just one, he let loose two more sneezes strong enough to bend him at the waist. Hih’KTSCHOO. TSCH’uh.

“Bless you… Seven times.”

Wiping his nose, he turned around slowly to find Emma there in a pair of simple gold heels, surveying him in shock. “Thank you. Excuse me.”

“Wow. That was impressive. I guess you don’t do anything halfway, huh?” she attempted a joke that made his cheeks burn. “Oh, jeez, sorry. I didn’t mean to embarrass you. I’m not doing anything right tonight.”

“No, it’s fine. Honestly, I’m nervous, too,” he admitted as she entered the kitchen and grabbed a dustpan and handheld broom.

“Really? Why?”

“I haven’t done this in a while.”

“What? Sneezed?” she joked, and he could tell that it was her way of diffusing her own nerves.

He chuckled. “Well, yeah. Kind of. But I haven’t been on a date in a while and I’m an old man with no concept of current dating.”

Emma laughed at that, kneeling down at his feet and sweeping up the glass. When she stood up, she was right in front of him and she paused, setting the dustpan and broom on the counter. “May I?” she asked, her hand lingering over his heart.

He felt his cheeks flush further and he nodded.

She placed her hand against where his heart was, meeting his eyes. “You’re still capable of love?”

He nodded, looking down at her.

“Then that’s all you need. You’re still human, Steve. I may have to keep reminding myself of that because you intimidate me beyond belief, but maybe both of us being nervous will be a good thing?”

Steve held eye contact for a moment before he pulled away, furious as his nose ruined the moment. “Sohhrry,” he sputtered out, keeping his back turned to her as he went through the whole process again. Hih’KTSCH. KTSCHH.

“Bless you,” Emma said quietly. “Are you okay?”

“Fihh Fine,” he choked out. Hih’TSCHH. TSCH. TSCHH’uh.

He sniffed hard and bent forward for one final sneeze. Hih’ATSCH’oo.

“Bless you. How does one fight super-villains with a habit like that, huh?” she asked jokingly as he turned around to face her, his eyes watery.

“Excuse me,” he said, sure his cheeks were bright red. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine. Not like you can help it,” she said dismissively. “But for curiosity’s sake, how often does that happen?”

“Usually not very often,” he admitted with a sigh that caused him to cough several times, directed into his elbow.

Emma stood there with her arms crossed over her chest, looking both worried and intrigued. “You’re sick?”

“It appears that way.” He rubbed the back of his neck, frowning as he noticed the slight sheen of sweat that had accumulated. Come to think of it, he felt like his skin was hot, but he was freezing. “I mean, it’s just a cold. I didn’t… I didn’t want to cancel on you.”

She hesited before she pointed at the couch. “Sit down for a second.” She followed him to the living room, waiting until he sat down to critically look at him. “Well, I’m not nervous anymore.”

“Because I’m not perfect?” he asked, feeling fear bubble up inside him like the soup he so desperately craved.

“I guess that’s part of it, but not in a bad way, Steve. I practically raised my siblings, so I’ve seen my fair share of runny noses. You might be good at killing aliens and protecting people and all that superhero whatnot, but this is my forte.”

“What is?” he asked, nervously bringing the back of his wrist to his nose to ensure that it wasn’t running.

“Making people feel better…”

At that, he stiffened, looking around. “No, you don’t have to do that.”

“To your argument, I want to, and yes I sort of have to. You saved my life. Really, it’s the least I can do.”

He stood up and shook his head. “I’d really prefer to be alone. Listen, I’ll reschedule this, okay?”

Steve tried not to watch the hurt expression appear, but he sighed when he noticed how unsure she looked.

“May I?” he asked with a faint smile as he repeated her question. She looked up at him and nodded. He gingerly wrapped his arms around her in a hug. “I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

“I don’t need a fancy date, Steve. I’d just really like to see you again,” she whispered.

“You will,” he promised, pulling away from her. “You look beautiful, Emma. Really. I’m sorry for making you get all dressed up.”

“It’s okay,” she said, pausing. “Just feel better. And let me write down my number in case Pepper didn’t give it to you. If you need anything or just want some company while you’re sick, call me. I’ve got the next two days off.”

He took her number from her before going to the door. “I really do apologize for this,” he said sincerely. “I just… Really don’t feel well.”

“I know you don’t. You're burning up, hon. No one feels good with a fever,” she said, blushing as she called him ‘hon’. “Sorry. Guess it’s the mom in me coming out."

“Goodnight, Emma.”

“Goodnight, Steve,” she said, leaning against the door frame as he left, frowning as he began to sneeze again, the sound echoing painfully off the walls.

TBC

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Ugh!!! I can't believe it stops there. I totally need to see what happens next. I was really hoping that Emma would take care of him but I guess that's too much to ask for on a fist date lol. Can't want to read more.

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Oh lord, so much Avengerfic I'm going to keel over with happy! I think this is actually my favorite Cap!Fic yet. I agree, he's not usually my type either but that smile and the uh... bulging pecs sure don't hurt B|

You've got his shy 'fish out of water' sweetness down perfectly without making him seem doofy or a pushover. Perfect, I just want to squeeze him. And I'm really glad you decided to use that lady from the movie who was fawning over him a bit, I thought her earnest reactions were really cute! Also, the sneeze-spellings. HNNGH!

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I love this! Steve is just way too adorable! I mean seriously though, why won't he let Emma take care of him? Even if Steve is a superhero, he needs a little caretaking now and again! I hope to see more of this soon!

BYE! :bleh:

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UM. Yes.

I didn't think anyone could even be this adorable. So cute, and so good!

Yes! It's in character! I mean, as far as I can tell... I don't really know Captain America super well either. I've never read the comics, but I've seen the movie twice, and The Avengers twice... And to an inexperienced Cap-lover, it's very in character. <3! AND SO CUTE. Have I said that?

And I like Emma a lot. And I like how shy Steve is.

And I LOVE this story!

I'm with practically everyone else, that I hope she ends up taking care of him, but I'm sure that's why she gave him her phone number! To look after him this early might be awkward, I'm glad they're waiting... I'm excited for if it does happen though.

Thank you!

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Ahhh!! This is amazing!! =)

I'm also not very familiar with Captain America, I've only seen the Avengers once, that's it.

But your story is so wonderful! I love how Steve is being all shy even though he's a superhero and all that, it's lovable!

Oh, and Emma is also really awesome.

I really hope she gets to take care of him.

Yay, I also love his sneezing pattern, it's fucking sexy. *_*

Thank you a lot for writing this, I hope there wiill be more sooooooon <3

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((OMG THANKS FOR THE LOVE, YOU GUYS!

*Dark_Side*: I wanted him to stay, too, but he's not done with Emma. Yay caretaking!

Garnet: ahh! I loved your fic and it makes me so happy to hear you say this is your favorite Cap!Fic. That's truly an honor. Yay!

Rika: My thoughts exactly. He's so sensitive and strong. The perfect man (at least when I write him).

Bubbles!: I think you'll like this part then. Yay for caretaking!

Zwee: Thanks for all the feedback! Woah! Hopefully this part will be believable with the Emma/Steve relationship.

LovelyLinda: Thanks so much! Sneezing patterns are super sexy. It's just nice knowing that there are more sneezes almost every time he sneezes.

Obsessed: Why thank you! smile.png

Now without further ado, here is the next part!))

Part Three

The drive back to his place felt endless, especially as he was left to feel the ache of his fever and the weight of his guilt for how he handled saying goodbye. Steve was usually good at assessing situations, but he knew he had let Emma down. All he could picture was her expression when he said he had to leave. As his feeling of guilt mounted, he found himself dialing Stark Tower.

“How nice of you to drop in on my romantic evening, Cap. Wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Tony greeted sarcastically.

“Sorry,” Steve said, realizing he had forgotten entirely that Pepper and Tony had plans.

“Ah, it’s alright. Pepper had to leave anyway. Something about important business in D.C. as if there could be anything more important than me. So what’s up? Are you calling from the bathroom like a little girl?”

“Not exactly,” Steve said vaguely, unsure of whether he wanted Tony to know what was going on. He really had wanted Pepper’s opinion. If he wasn’t going to tell Tony he was sick, he had to after his nose acted up. Hih’IGTSCHH. ITSCHH’oo. The first two came on so suddenly he couldn’t pull the speaker of the phone away in time. Hih’KNGTSCH. TSCH. TSCH. The next three were muffled into his forearm. Thankfully there weren’t any straggling sneezes and he sniffed, wincing as his nose gurgled in protest.

“I can feel the germs you sprayed on me through the phone. You are sick.” Tony said the word ‘sick’ like it was profane. “That’s… Interesting.”

“No. It’s not,” Steve replied irritably.

“So why are you calling here?”

“Because I think I messed it up with Emma. I was going to go on the date, but I didn’t feel well and she offered to take care of me and I can’t have her seeing me like this… So I left.”

“Who would have thought, Captain America afraid of a little TLC.” Steve could hear the smile in Tony’s voice and it further aggravated him. “I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve got the wrong anatomy to be giving you advice.”

Steve sighed, wishing that Tony could help him. “Okay. Well, if you could tell Pepper I called, I would appreciate it.”

“Will do.”

“Thank you,” Steve said quietly, preparing to hang up when Tony’s voice became both uncomfortable and serious.

“I’m sure as hell not putting on my nurse outfit and coming over, but do you want me to get someone to bring you some medicine at least?”

“No, I’m fine,” he said automatically.

“Suit yourself. I’ll give Pepper the message. And don’t sweat it, Cap. You’re a national treasure or whatever. She’ll give you a second chance.”

“Thanks,” he repeated. “Have a good night.”

“You too. Don’t spread your contagion!”

Steve gave a soft laugh that turned into coughs as he hung up, completing the drive to his house, where he promptly parked and went straight to bed after peeling off his sweat-drenched shirt and pants. He spent the majority of the night oscillating between feeling freezing and burning up, and when he woke up in the morning, he was half under the covers and half out of them.

It took him a minute to realize what had woken him up: a soft, but persistent knocking at his door. He looked around for his clock, squinting at the digital display: 11:00. Shocked, he scrambled to get up, doubling over his bed as the room spun and thick, congested coughs tore out of his chest. The knocking continued and he slowly pulled a pair of sweatpants over his boxers. Remaining shirtless, he made his way towards the door, wondering how he managed to sleep for so long and who had come for him. He knew it wasn’t Tony. There was no way he had gotten over his germophobia to pay a visit.

When he opened the door, he had to squint at first at the brightness outside, but quickly he adjusted and saw Emma standing before him in a pair of jeans and a black and white polka dot blouse.

“Ebba?” he asked, rubbing his eyes to ensure that he wasn’t hallucinating.

“Hi… Pepper called me because apparently Tony called her. She gave me your address and said to tell you to stop being so stubborn…”

It took him a minute to process as he fought through the fever-induced haze that made him just want to sleep.

“I can leave if you want me to. I didn’t want to freak you out, showing up like this, but… But I was worried about you. I hope you’re not angry.”

He did manage to process that statement faster and he shook his head, wincing as the pressure in his sinuses shifted, causing his eyes to water and nose to burn. He pinched his nose, hoping to stave off the fit, but they came anyway. Hih’NGKT. NGXXT. He stumbled backwards a little as his vision became blurry. Clearly withholding them had been a bad idea. Emma tentatively entered and grasped his bicep to steady him. “No… Dod’t,” he protested feebly and she let go of him like he was on fire, crossing her arms over her chest in worry as the sneezes doubled him over. Hih’NGTSKSCH. KSCHH. KNTSCGGSCH. He sniffed to keep his nose from running, grimacing at the popping feeling that it caused. Hih’IGTSCH’oo. TSCHOO.

“Bless you. You done?” Emma asked hesitantly.

“I thidk so,” he rasped out.

“I brought you some supplies. I figured that even if you want to kick me out, at least I’ll know that you have some medicine.”

“I wouldd’t kigck you oud,” he said quietly. “I jusdt dod’t wadt you to see be ligke this.”

“Is that what this is about? Because if you think me seeing you sick is going to make me forget what I’ve seen of you already, you’re wrong.”

“Really?” he asked in shock. “Because I dod’t wadt to disappoidt you. I’b gnod perfeckgt.”

“And thank God for that. Seriously, if you were perfect, I would be scared to be anywhere near you because I’m definitely flawed. The only way you’ll disappoint me is if you refuse to let me take care of you.”

“I dod’t wadt to ged you sigck.”

“If you do, then you’ll just have to take care of me. Deal?”

He considered for a moment and then smiled slightly. “Deal.”

“Now that we’ve got that over with, you sound terrible and you’re burning up. Thankfully I brought everything you could ever need, so why don’t you go lay down and I’ll bring you some stuff?”

“Okay,” he agreed. He wanted to make it back to his room, but his legs felt like jelly beneath him and so he stumbled to the couch, laying down and realizing he felt freezing. Too tired to get up, though, he shivered against the cushion, hoping it would pass before Emma came back.

“Oh no. Poor thing,” she cried out and he garnered enough energy to turn to face her.

“‘Mb fide.”

“Uh huh,” she said flatly. “Where are your blankets?”

“Closedt id the hallway.”

As much as he hated feeling like an invalid, when she returned with a warm fleece blanket he felt relieved she was here. She sat down next to him and gently rubbed where his arm was beneath the blanket. “Better?”

He nodded tiredly, fighting to keep his eyes open.

“I can see that you’re tired but just stay awake with me for another minute so we can get some medicine into you and then sleep all you want.”

Although she was speaking to him like he was a child, he liked it. He liked feeling mothered. It had been so long since anyone had taken care of him and honestly feeling like this scared him. He wasn’t used to the enemy being within his own body.

“Okay, I’ve got Dayquil and Nyquil. I’m going to give you Dayquil because I think you’ll sleep anyway and don’t need the extra tranquilizer. Can you sit up?”

Steve thought he could, but as he shifted to try to push himself up, he realized it was a lot harder.

“Easy there. You’re really sick, aren’t you?” she asked, gently helping him sit up. “Are you okay? You don’t look entirely here.”

Hih…Jusdt need to snihhh sneeze. Ah’KTSCHH. KNSTCH’uh.” He brought the blanket up and buried his face in it. “Sorry,” he gasped out before another three came. Ihktschh. KTSCHH. He could vaguely feel Emma sit down next to him, gently rubbing his back. This time he didn’t try to keep her from touching him as his back clenched and he jerked forward with an impressive fit of four back-to-back sneezes. TSCHH. TSCHH. KTSCHH. TSCH’oo.

“Bless you,” she said softly, pulling at the blanket so he would lower it from his face. He turned away from her, though, sniffling pathetically and coughing as it drained into his throat. It took him a good thirty seconds to catch his breath, phlegm rattling in his chest. Again she rubbed his back with one hand and with the other she opened a box of tissues she had brought, handing it to him. “Blow your nose,” she instructed gently, and he attempted to, coughing again as all it seemed to do was shift the packed mucus from one spot to another.

“’S gross. Sorry,” he slurred out, meeting her eyes with his bleary ones.

“No. It’s fine. I work in the restaurant industry, so believe me I’ve seen gross. Okay, let’s take your temperature and then give you some medicine.”

“I dod’t wadt to tagke by tebpature. Id’s high. Probably higher thad ad average persod. Id will just freagk you oud. I just wadt to sleep…”

“Alright, it’s okay. Just medicine then.”

He nodded before swiveling away from her. Hih’IGHK’TSCHOO.

They both waited for a minute to see if there would be more but they didn’t come and she laughed lightly. “Bless you. Here. I brought you liquid medicine because I didn’t know how your throat would be for pills.”

“Thagks.” He took the measuring cup she had poured some medicine into and drank it, realizing how thirsty he was. “Do you have wader?”

“Yeah. And tea and orange juice and Sprite if your stomach bothers you. Here you are,” she said, unscrewing the water bottle cap and handing it to him. “Pace yourself, hon. If you drink all of that at once it might come right back up.”

He wanted to stop, but he couldn’t until she grasped his hand and then worked the water bottle away from his lips. “I’m guessing you haven’t drank anything?”

“Jusdt slept,” he murmured, covering a yawn.

“That’s all I have for you for now. You can go to sleep and I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Steve nodded and closed his eyes. “I’b glad you’re here.”

“Me too, hon. Now just go to sleep. You’re okay. I won’t let anything bad happen.”

Soothed, he relaxed against the cushions and was nearly asleep when he felt her kiss his forehead and heard her whisper, “Sweet dreams”. He didn’t have the energy to respond, but he descended into sleep feeling safe in a way that he hadn't for decades.

TBC

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Mmmmm, shirtless sick Cap. Soooooo hot. I'm jealous of Emma! She's so lucky! Update soon!

BYE! :bleh:

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I haven't seen The Avengers yet, but I have seen Captain America as well as Iron Man and I looooooove thiiiiissss.

I adore Cap, especially his old-fashioned gentlemanly nature. I think you did a really good job of capturing that. And for some reason I really love the fact that he has a specific sneezing pattern. It makes me think of how he must have been before the serum...

Anyway, really great job with this. I especially love the interactions with the other primary Avengers characters, like Tony and Pepper. And Cap's embarrassment over being sick!

I'm definitely looking forward to more.

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I was just going to lurke and not sign in but the fic was so good I just had to comment! I love it, you did Cap perfectly and theres nothing I like more than a Cap sickfic (they're so rare)

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You have definitely converted me to a Cap cold hoar. Must have more. And a follow up contagion fic with Cap caretaking would be lovely. ;)

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Yum Yum Yum.

All I've really cared about reading before the Avengers came out were Supernatural fics.

Congratulations on broadening my horizons!

Can't wait for the next part, boo!

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I'm so happy that Emma went over to Steve's place to take care of him. It would have been horrible if Steve had to suffer all by himself.

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