In which Steve is awed by the Strike Team Delta.
He’d had time to pour over the briefing from S.H.I.E.L.D. and only enough time to try and process in the quinjet on the way to what Coulson was calling a Helicarrier.
He felt both awe and reticence when he watched the files on Stark. He was intelligent and reckless and made Steve think a little of himself and, much like he felt in his own skin, he wondered how much of Stark was a costume.
He felt guilt watching Banner. Of all the advances made in the twenty-first century and still Erskine had been so beyond his time that no one had yet caught up to him. The fascination with the serum – with what Steve represented – had led Banner to a prison made out of his own skin. (He would wonder, later, how far off the trial serum had been in Banner’s case, I’m always angry, echoing in his head).
He felt dumbstruck at the possibility of Thor’s existence. For all that he had seen in the life he’d had Before, he never thought – he’d seen the vast expanse of the cosmos, before Schmidt had disappeared into it, but he hadn’t thought that there’d be something else –someone else – out there. It made him wonder if Schmidt was still out there, too.
He’d watched and re-watched the footage of Strike Team Delta – Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton. He was. He was awed, and looked forward to meeting them most of all. As far as the information from S.H.I.E.L.D. had noted, they had no enhancements. They had pasts, sure, but they had no serum or otherworldly abilities or suits worth millions.
They were human, made of blood and sweat and hours upon hours of practice and (to read their files) abuse and perseverance and they were as skilled and fearsome a team as any of the others recommended on Fury’s list.
Steve thought of his time Before, he and Bucky, back alleys and bloody lips and scraped knuckles and how hard it was to survive and here were two people so dedicated, so skilled they may as well have been a two-person Commando unit. Were, as far as Steve was concerned. He was anxious to meet them.