- The Hidden Life of Steve Rogers – 01/?
- Fic: The Hidden Life of Steve Rogers 2/?
Author: animealam/Black Dragon on the Rocks
Pairing: Steve Rogers/OFC, Steve Rogers/Natasha Romanoff, Tony/Pepper, Thor/Jane
Everyone assumes what they see of Captain America, is all there is of Steve Rogers. A man from the past who is transparent and incapable of telling a lie. But there has always been more to Steve than met the eye.
It was not that Steve could not lie, because he actually could if he truly needed it to protect those he cared about, or get himself a semblance of a private life. The ‘thing’ was, he did not like to tell untruths. Lying rubbed him the wrong way, and it always had, so as a rule he avoided lying. It was always much easier to let people assume what they will, not talk about his personal life, be evasive, or ‘innocently’ draw attention to something else.
Unfortunately SHIELD has been compromised from its very beginning, and some people inside have wanted Captain America out of the agency, without making him a martyr.
Autor Notes.- This began as a plot bunny that would not leave me alone. I had just watched on DVD Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and went straight into reading Fanfiction about it. I found The Road Not Taken by thegraytigress and absolutely loved it (despite it not having a Kleenex alert, which it definitely should, as it made me cry… A lot).
I thought about reading more parent Steve fics, and there aren’t all that many. So I went ahead and decided I’d write my own, only… Well I had been listening to Pitbull and then a few of my followed Harry Potter stories updated… and this story was the end result.
This is only the first chapter, and a test to see if I should continue posting. I already have written nearly 17,000 words, and will probably keep on writing. The plan is to span all the way through The Winter Soldier, but there will be no Avengers 2, or any of the comic timelines since I have not read them.
This story will hopefully end a Romanogers, even when it does not start that way. My stories tend to have a mind of their own and go where I had not intended them to. So we’ll see if this sticks to the plan.
It begins in between Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I am using the timeline in the Marvel Cinematic Universe on wikia. As to the Harry Potter timeline everything gets moved a few years to make them match with the MCU. The Battle of Hogwarts takes place in May 2, 2009.
The chapters for this story will probably vary a lot in lenght, as for some reason it came out as one continuous work, so I’m cutting it where I think it fits better and not based on word count.
His latest mission had been successful, but it had taken a little over four months of undercover work. This was actually a first for Steve, as unlike his previous jobs for SHIELD, he did not work with Natasha, Clint, or the STRIKE team; for once all the planning, and executing of the mission was left for him to take care of.
Usually he was the one taking care of the tactical planning in all missions he was involved, but if there was some undercover work, either Natasha, Clint, or someone else within SHIELD provided them with identities, backgrounds, and whatever else was necessary to complete the mission.
This time almost everything, but the birth place of the cover he would use was left to him. Steve did have a couple of Italian SHIELD contacts (officially SHIELD did not have ‘offices’ anywhere but the USA. Truth was the agency was present in just about every country).
The two agents were the ones who discovered the problem in the first place. It was them who gave him a short induction on what they had found about his target, but unfortunately neither had had any luck inserting themselves into the target’s Organization.
The Italians provided him with the pertinent IDs, and ensured the background for his identity would pass a basic check. Anything too thorough would reveal he was not who he claimed to be, but that was to be expected in any but the deepest undercover works, the kinds which took years. The two italian SHIELD agents were also to provide the usual backup should it become necessary, but it had been essentially a solo job.
Perhaps it was Fury’s way to test how well he had adapted to the new century and the work of a spy, although he had always told SHIELD’s Director he was more of a soldier; and Steve thought Fury had understood his position. The Director had actually told him he did.
It was no secret Steve was not quite comfortable in the role of a spy, and he rather avoid any mission where he had to play a part for too long. It seemed Fury thought he could still make a spy out of him, judging from the mission.
Or maybe the Director just wanted Steve out of SHIELD once and for all. They sure had done very little since they found him in the ice to convince him to stay. Of course being the master manipulator that he was, Fury probably wanted it to be Steve who quit his association with them. It would be bad PR if SHIELD ‘fired’ Captain America for a conflict of interests.
It had started to become increasingly obvious, he was not quite what SHIELD expected, or needed him to be. More than once the Director told him his morals and views of the world did not fit with the organization, and the way the world was now. They were in conflict at times. On those occasions Fury had suggested he needed to adjust his view of the world, but Steve had not felt it necessary.
The last mission almost seemed designed to push at all his buttons, to get him to the point uncomfortable did not even begin to cover how he felt about it. Frankly he almost went AWOL when he was informed of the mission. The following shouting match with Manning (who was his handler) was epic.
Or perhaps the one eyed meddler simply wanted to have a laugh at seeing him utterly fail. A way to prove him right that Steve was not good enough to pull such a mission through, or handle everything they threw at him. Manning had more than hinted about it during their ‘discussion’. His personal and professional pride got badly stung. Never mind the fact the agent had also hit jackpot on some of his still lingering fears about living in the future.
It did not help Natasha usually teased him of his inability to lie. It was not that Steve could not lie, because he actually could if he truly needed it to protect those he cared about, or get himself a semblance of a private life. The ‘thing’ was, he did not like to tell untruths. Lying rubbed him the wrong way, and it always had, so as a rule he avoided lying. It was always much easier to let people assume what they will, not talk about his personal life, be evasive, or ‘innocently’ draw attention to something else.
Well, if this was for laughs, the one laughing had been Steve after all. If it was about his skill set, well, he proved them wrong. Despite how uncomfortable he had felt, how utterly it compromised who and what he was, Steve had gritted his teeth, and pulled the mission through without anyone from SHIELD intervening. But his already dwindling trust in the agency diminished even more.
His target was an Italian group of arms dealers working with very sophisticated, and yet old weapons. Somehow they had found a previously undiscovered HYDRA weapons cache and manufacture plant. Steve did wonder how no one else knew about it before. From the files he read, all HYDRA members had either been captured and questioned, or killed. Either they were lied to, or they did not get all of HYDRA.
The later was a thought fit to bring him nightmares.
The leader of the group (which shockingly consisted of a surprising number of females) was a woman named Domenica Bastieri, and their operations were run from the male stripper club she owned. Bastieri’s Ragazzos. His mission was to infiltrate the club, get to Bastieri, and obtain the location of the plant. If possible he was to get their buyers list, as well as to stop the weapons production.
The job was more suited for Natasha’s skill set, as Bastieri was a feminist and the men around her were either brawn or eye candy. The spy would have been perfect to infiltrate the organization as a woman wanting better options in a still male dominated world, or something of the sort.
There was only one option for him, and brawn was not it, since it would not get him close to Bastieri or any means of getting the necessary information. Steve knew both Natasha and Clint would have probably laughed till they cried, and he cringed at the ribbing he would get from Stark if he ever found out about it.
Steve could not deny hating the idea, and Manning for choosing him for the mission. He preferred to be fully clothed when facing a crowd of drunk women as it was, unfortunately, not a new experience for him. He did have to travel across the country, and the bases in Europe, for a few months with the USO girls after all.
Besides he was not the naive, pure, and virginal guy they believed him to be, as certain things had been around since the dawn of mankind, and he was no saint. They had just not been openly spoken about in his time, and he was not comfortable speaking about something so personal.
Those who knew him now tended to forget he was raised in the times of the Depression. Back then people sometimes did whatever they had to do to get some food on the table for their families, and he had not thought any less of them.
Then he would have to remind them he had travelled with thirty show girls for a few months, and those broads had been more open minded than modern people would give them credit for. They were not about to pass the oportunity to have a go at the shy, and naive looking, kid in thighs, and since he was no monk, they had taught him more than a thing or two.
Then there was also the fact he was in the army, and actually fought in a war, once he proved himself to Colonel Phillips. He had seen and done a lot of things he was not proud of. There was nothing glorious about war, and when the battles were over, Steve got to see and experience the seedy side of things. Then there were the things he learnt after he was brought out of the ice, most of which SHIELD had not taught him.
Steve knew SHIELD kept an eye on him, and was even aware his appartment was bugged, but he learnt to evade them to keep his privacy; to protect the friends he had managed to make without the agency’s monitoring and approval. Which was ironic really, since SHIELD had not done much for him after they took him out of the ice and thawed him.
Back then Steve managed to make a friend, and with her came others. Her name was Dana Rose Williams. She was in her forty’s, was as smart as Stark, and probably just as wealthy, but unlike the flashy billionaire, Dana hated being in the spotlight with a passion. Not that she could always avoid it, but she tried hard.
It was Dana who taught him how to use a computer, a smartphone, and the microwave, amongst other things. She thoughtfully introduced him to a lot of things he had missed while trapped in the ice. She made a list of selections of what he should know about each year he was trapped. Things like history, news, music, sports, movies, inventions, some politics, fashion, and even showbiz gossip.
Dana had sat with him to watch or listen to them, explain if he had doubts, or answer any question he had. She chose only the most remarkable things, like a top ten list -although sometimes there were more, or less items- which gave him a better idea how everything had slowly reached the point they had when he awoke from the ice. It was also Dana who made the first suggestions for his ‘things-to-see-hear-or-learn’ notebook. Things he could do on his own, or with friends if he wanted.
She was incredibly good with technology and biochemistry, even passionate about it. A bit like Stark actually, although he had gotten chased all over her property with a paintball gun for daring to say it. She was one damned good shot, and he had ended covered in neon green paint.
Dana had even provided him with a SHIELD proof phone. She would rather keep their friendship out of the agency’s radar, and he agreed. Williams Enterprises was one of SHIELD’s main contractors after all.
When they met, it had been only four days after awakening in the ‘wrong’ century, and for some inexplicable reason SHIELD had set him loose on his own in New York City. Agent Manning only gave him the clothes on his back, a smartphone, an ATM card, and told him they had got him an appartment; the address was in the phone’s contact list. Manning had not even bothered to provide him with an ID, or explained how to use either the card or phone.
Dana, and Damon Johnson (her chief of security), had rescued him from the streets when he was about to enter survival mode and his PTSD was wrecking havoc with him. SHIELD’s people tended to forget he was human under his enhanced body, and he had (at least in his mind) just been in a war the previous week.
The last he remembered was making the ultimate sacrifice asked of a soldier for his country, only to find he had not only managed to survive against all odds, but also had lost sixty-seven years of his life trapped in the ice. Steve, like a good many soldiers, had issues. A lot of them, since he had lost everything and everyone he knew.
Dana had healed him because he had got himself run over by a bus, and hit by a couple of cars in those four days before he met her. He had been so disoriented, confused, and scared. Terrified was probably more accurate, as nothing he saw or heard was quite familiar, and everything was so bright and loud.
Dana fed him, clothed him, provided him with a safe place to rest, and took the time to get him back to himself. She got him an identity he could be anonymous in, and which did not require any explanations about how and why he was ninety something and did not look it. Then she explained what the ATM card (which only had three hundred dollars in it) was, and how to use it, and the smartphone.
The only thing she asked in return, when he asked, was for him to partner with her in the ballroom dancing lessons she was about to take. One of the things on her list of ‘Things to do before she died’. Something Dana made a few years back when she was diagnosed with cancer. It was in remision, and had been for some time, but Dana still kept her list and tried to do, or see all she had added to it.
She was a big ‘girl’, at six feet; and he called her voluptuous while she simply said she was ‘plump’. She did not fit the modern standards of beauty, but dames in his time had more curves to them than 21st century ones. Even Peggy had been nowhere near as slim as women these days, although she was considered slender back then.
Dana needed a tall, strong partner. Damon was, but he insisted he had two left feet and his wife of nearly twenty years had yet to be able to teach him to dance. Steve agreed to attend the lessons with Dana. It was very little she asked in exchange for the great help, and the friendship, she provided to him.
He did not know how to dance, so it would be an interesting experience. The rest was history as they said, because he was actually very good at it; a surprise for a man his size. Latin rhythms, then jazz had followed those first lessons.
Despite his size, the serum made him quite flexible, and granted him amazing control over his body, so learning to dance was not too different from learning fighting techniques and martial arts.
Dana had listened to his concerns, and objections to the mission. She was his sounding board, without revealing the full nature of it to her, and simply let him come to terms with what he wanted to do and why. Whatever he chose, she would support his decision, whether he quit SHIELD, or remained working with them.
A good part of his reasons to go ahead despite his reservations were the HYDRA weapons, as he simply did not want them available for every criminal and terrorist who could afford them. But there was also the fact his professional pride had been badly stung, as well as his usefulness to the world.
Once Steve had finally decided he was to go ahead, Manning gave him two weeks to get ready before he was flown to SHIELD offices in Rome. Steve began his planning as well as preparing, both physically and mentally for the role he would have to play.
When he worked for the USO Steve had had a crash course in acting, something that was never mentioned. If he had not been coached he probably would have been even worse than he believed he was. The shows had required a bit of acting to pull them off, then there were the movies he made.
When he began, people actually thought he was a bulked up actor hired to play the role of Captain America 24/7 for morale purposes. Back then there had been no mention of the Super Soldier Serum, at least not initially.
The first movie Steve made was awful; well all of them were in his opinion and he would have been happier if none of them had survived to the 21st century, which they did unfortunately. His acting had been stiffer than cardboard. But the other ones were not as bad (acting wise) as he did improve.
Steve could act, it just took a lot of effort to get himself in the right frame of mind for it, acting was not natural for him. It was mostly because he really did not like it. The acting had also helped on all those functions he had to attend, which he hated with a passion and made him feel more like a trained monkey than the shows.
Unfortunately his job for the USO was to sell war bonds, and for that Steve had had to act like the confident and experienced soldier he had not been allowed to be. While he did not like it, Steve was quite good at putting on the charm when he needed to get the wives of wealthy men to start buying. Perhaps that was where his naive, and virginal fame came from, because he never accepted their propositions despite being advised by some higher ups to accept if it brought more money.
Dana had offered as much moral support as he needed. She also did her best to boost his confidence, as well as help to allay some of his doubts about being able to lie his way convincingly. She believed he could keep the act he needed to complete his mission, even if it would be very hard for him.
The dancing he learnt thanks to his girl had helped Steve immensely. Dana had also assisted in choreographing several of his presentations before he left. Since they did not know how long he would be away, the rest of the choreographies were up to him, and from the response he got at the club Steve knew he did not do too bad.
Dana had also helped him with his looks, as he could not present himself looking like Captain America. She was a muggle born witch and they had means to change their appearance which needed a counter for them to revert. He had changed his body hair colour to black, grew his hair past his shoulders, got one ear pierced (oh she had had way too much fun with that transformation), and wore several days of stubble. Dana seemed to think he looked dead sexy like that.
He had not been able to grow a beard before the serum, and even after it took longer to grow than it usually did for other men. But the potions Dana provided worked, thanks to another potion she created to get his metabolism to ignore them. In a way Steve looked very similar to the alias he had been using practically since he met Dana. The only differences were the darker long hair, the stubble, and the earring.
Magic had not been new to him, with the level of clearance Steve had had during the war, he had learnt about it and come in contact with it. There were several witches and wizards involved in the war against Germany since one of their own had joined Hitler, and they suspected Gellert Grindelwald was also working at some point with Johann Schmidt.
When he arrived to Italy, it took little time for his contacts in Torino to get him the necessary documents identifying him as Stefano Martello age 22, from Napoli. Stefano Martello had actually existed back in his time. He had been the eldest son of his neighbours who had worked at the Empire State’s construction, and had died when Steve was nine after a serious accident at work left him with an infection he was not able to fight. Stefano was the one who taught him Italian, and he had been born in Naples like the rest of his family.
With an identity established, Stefano only had to find himself a place to live, and get himself an audition at Bastieri’s Ragazzos. He had the portfolio of an aspiring model/actor/singer (Dana and Adelle -her AI- took care of helping him with that), who had not had much luck in Rome, and needed to make ends meet.
He spoke fluent Italian with a Neapolitan accent and it was something which helped him immensely to blend in, as it was actually a requisite for the mission to work. Steve was not sure if SHIELD had chosen that city because they actually knew he spoke Italian (which he doubted), or it was a huge coincidence (which was most probably the case).
The fact he spoke other languages besides French (which Jaques had insisted all the commandos learnt) was not in his file as far as Steve knew. He actually spoke nine others besides English, a good number of which he learnt in Brooklin from several neighbours who were immigrants and did not speak their new home’s language. Teaching English had provided Steve with some income which did not require exhausting work. Besides he had always learnt other languages easily.
He auditioned for Bastieri’s Ragazzos, and was immediately hired by Domenica herself. Dana had assured him it would be the case, but Steve had not been so sure. He still had lingering self esteem issues from when he had been a sick and runty guy. He owed her twenty bucks and dinner because she had been right.
It had been a truly hard mission for him, as Steve had to practically put all he was in the back of his mind to be able to get into Domenica’s good graces. But he managed, got the job done, and provided his contacts with the information they needed on Domenica’s organization. There had been more of it than previously believed, and it was not only weapons they were dealing with, but drugs as well.
Steve had not earned the right to visit the plant, despite managing to break into Domenica’s computers, a feat in and of itself since Steve did not consider himself a computer wiz. Far from it, but Dana and Adelled had taught him a fair bit since he met them.
In his opinion it was enough to get by, nothing like Stark’s genius, or even Natasha, who was quite good but not to the billionaire’s level. It helped Steve did have more brains than people gave him credit for, and having perfect recall was a huge bonus.
Domenica had a much younger brother, Bruno, who was actually the one who found HYDRA’s plant and weapons. He was also the one who figured out how to make everything work. The boy was a surprisingly brilliant teenager who had even started designing his own Tesseract powered robots and machines. But Bruno felt isolated, and he did not agree with what Domenica was doing. He was actually a pacifist.
Stefano had befriended the lonely boy. He taught Bruno a some basic martial arts, and listened to the technical babbling he tended to get into, and which everyone including his sister ignored. Bruno used Stefano as a sounding board, and he had quite a lot of experience doing that. Stark, Banner, and Dana did it all the time when an idea got hold of their minds.
So Stefano listened and asked questions, no matter how stupid, when he felt the boy was stuck on an idea or concept, much like he did with the others; it usually worked getting them unstuck. His friendship with Bruno got Stefano access to the plant. He put a good word for him with his Italian contacts after he was finished with the mission, and last he knew SHIELD was going to hire Bruno to work at their R&D Department.
Steve had got the information SHIELD wanted on the buyers, as some weapons had already left the plant, then destroyed it. It had not been in his mission instructions, but he was not about to leave a way to make HYDRA weapons in anyone’s hands. Not even SHIELD’s. Phase two back during the Tesseract crisis proved to him neither they, nor the World Security Council, were to be fully trusted with those types of weapons.