Maria watches Tony fidget in the leather seat of the Bentley, and wishes she could make his fears go away.
Tony’s always thought too much, which isn’t bad. His mind is beautiful, the way he can take in so much information and cycle through so many thoughts and ideas while keeping up an engaging conversation about a different topic entirely.
With a mind like that, he understands people all too well, which isn’t always good. Howard always told him that he was too sensitive, that he needed to man-up, to be a Stark.
She’s tried to erase those words, but it’s hard, cleaning the past remarks and hurt that’ve made themselves at home in his mind. She knows this herself, from every hateful remark Howard has thrown her way.
Opposites can attract and Anzac a doe-eyed baby kangaroo has become best friends with Peggy, a tiny squint-eyed wombat. Their unlikely union developed after the pair - both orphans - shared a pouch at the Wildlife Kilmore Rescue Centre in Victoria, Australia.
Do you think the rabbits think the cats are mocking them? Also does tony have any other animal quirks cos of being around, Jarvis, Peggy etc like did he go through a barking stage when he was younger
Rabbits probably don’t have the capacity to think the cats are mocking them? Rabbits and house cats can actually get along very well in real life.
I mean they don’t really bark? They’ll growl or hiss or click when upset, but barking/meowing isn’t really something they do. That being said, there was a point where if he was cornered he would kick people that he learned from Jarvis. (Rabbits and hares, when cornered, will bite and kick the shit out of you.) He also tried to intimidate people physically like Peggy did but no one ever really took him seriously because he was tiny. (Peggy pretended to let him bully her but only because when he started he puffed up his hair to be bigger and she thought it was adorable.)
Even at 5 year old size, Peggy Carter was all lungs and sass. Just in a cuter size and voice. The men, including Steve, turn to face her with rapt attention, like she still commanded it even though she was tiny.
Peggy had volunteered for an experiment to shrink someone to microverse size so they could hopefully find Hank’s beloved wife, Janet Van Dyne. Scott had accidentally found her, or rather she found him, but the man was far too disoriented to even remember anything. So of course Hank wanted to try again but using his friend and colleague who stood up for him… he was antsy, to say the least.
For Tony’s part, he still wanted to iron out some kinks that he perceived were there but Hank wouldn’t hear of it. ‘Never trust a Stark’ was something he still followed, especially after a civil war nearly broke out. Fortunately, Peggy had arrived restored thanks to the soul stone which Vision had used prompted by Wanda’s ability to see into the hearts of men. Peggy was on Steve’s heart and mind a great deal; what would Peggy do? How would Peggy handle this? The answer was always easier than he knew: in person. Using her vast knowledge of diplomacy, the sheer amount of dirt she had on General Ross, and her keen eye for political BS, she was able to settle what could have been a huge blow up between the Avengers and keep them united for what was likely to be a cosmic battle of epic proportions. However, because Bucky was still suspected of the explosion in Vienna but thanks to a concerted effort and Peggy’s familiarity with much of the UN,T’Challa is able to mourn more freely and in a much healthier fashion.
“Aunt Peggy, I’m just saying the gun should not have been jumped, it should have been cleaned and fine tuned and inspected.” Tony holds up his hands defensively. Hank starts on saying something but Peggy clears her throat.
“It doesn’t matter now. Can I be put back?” They’d used a kind of shrinking technology for the experiment so maybe a growing one could reverse it? “Theoretically, yes. Immediately, no. This time I am willing to admit that Tony is right. The fixes should take…” Hank glances to Tony who looks back at him like he was crunching the numbers. “A day. Tops. Looks like you’re sleepin’ on the couch, Steve.” The other man rolls his eyes and sighs shortly. “Yeah, yeah. C’mon, Pegs. Let’s get you clothes that fit.” Peggy nods to the men and follows Steve out of the lab and toward the clothing fabricator, the main purpose of which happened to be replacement clothes in case of lab accidents. Luckily for them, it could be set for little girls’ sizes. Peggy’s slacks and blouse are replaced with a red t-shirt and jean shorts, choices she made herself.
“So this is what you looked like when you were…5?” She nods to Steve’s statement question. “Sometimes I wonder what would’ve happened if we’d met when you were little. ‘Course, your parents probably wouldn’t ever move to my part of Brooklyn but a guy can dream.” Steve shrugs, helping her onto the sitting room couch. “Bucky wouldn’t have to stretch himself thin going after your bullies I’d imagine. And you wouldn’t have those same bullies saying you can’t get a girl because I’d be right there. We’d play in the mud and rain and get sick together and then my mum would help take care of your mum and then your mum would be alive to see us get married and maybe we’d find Bucky for the wedding…” Little Peggy sighs and shakes her head. “But then you wouldn’t be young enough to fight with the Avengers and things might be worse off.”
“Either way, I’m with you, and we’ve got Bucky and a family so that’s all that matter.” Steve lets her sit in his lap so he can ruffle her hair and kiss the top of her head. “Oh Stayve.” The little girl coos and leans back against Steve to rub his jaw with her little hands. Steve was grinning like a loon hearing her little Cockney accent. Apparently it wasn’t always posh like he’d thought.
They spend the rest of the day together, letting Peggy relive her childhood by going to an amusement park, eating candy, absolutely cleaning house in laser tag, and eating loads of ice cream while watching scary movies. And especially fighting a dragon at a local renaissance fair and winning.
The next morning, Steve receives a text to bring Peggy outside for the fix. She grumbles about wanting to stay this age forever but Steve gently reminds her that she’d miss out on intimate times with him. Even if he aged slower than a normal human and she aged up, that’d be a long time to wait. With improved enthusiasm, she stands still for the device to restore her and looks down at herself to see she’s in an adult sized shirt and jean shorts. The two men congratulate one another then invest themselves in finding out what they did right so they can succeed the next time.
Peggy walks over to Steve who looks infinitely more relieved now that she’s in her late 20′s again.
“Thank you for spoiling me yesterday.” She nuzzles his cheek and he wraps an arm against her back.
“You know I’m always looking for ways to spoil my best girl.”
“I’m gonna miss that accent.”
“Well y’know guv’nor, I’m always primed to impress you American blokes, innit? Wanna have top banter and snag a cheeky Nando’s?” Peggy teases, citing more recent British slang which sent Steve’s eyes into a full Dwayne the Rock Johnson style roll.
“Well, well, well only if you wanna hear the jazziest cat in all the land speak real smooth like to his dame, capiche?” They both giggled like the silly fossils they were, walking off to the hangar with the full intent of going back to the fair to find their inner child.
Imagine pre-serum Steve who loves his body, despite frustrations with chronic illness and disability. Imagine Steve looking at himself in the mirror and loving what he sees, maybe he flexes or poses with his shirt off or talks to himself, but just. Tiny!Steve body pride. (Bucky and/or Peggy like him just the way he is, too. ;3)
Steve’s gone the majority of his life very much informed of the burdensome nature of his body. Asthma, scoliosis, and heart arrhythmia were just a few of the many illnesses and disabilities he was born with, and he would be lying if he didn’t fantasize about being 6’2 and of perfect health once in a while.
But Steve loves being skinny and 5’4. Steve loves being small. He could worm his way into tight spaces, which not only made him the reigning champion in hide and seek during his childhood, but also the person everyone in his neighborhood called on if they accidentally dropped something into an otherwise unreachable place.
His cheeks and lips would be dusted pink from exertion afterwards, body heaving from his asthma, nose cherry red if he was down with a cold (which was always). His mother would scold him for straining himself, but would always ruffle his hair and fondly kiss him on his forehead afterwards, calling him her adorable little helper.
Steve found himself pretty adorable too, all flushed face and glimmering eyes.
Sure, his chest was a little sunken in, and he never developed much chest hair, just a few wisps here and here, but that never stopped him from taking off his shirt to pose in front of a mirror, flexing his arms and grinning. Bucky’s caught him several times, styling his hair and winking at their mirror. Steve’s sheepish but never embarrassed.
“Lookin’ handsome today, Rogers.”
Then Bucky tackles him to the ground and blows a loud raspberry on the concave part of his chest, and Steve could never hate that.
He loves how he can just tuck himself under Bucky when they sleep on the same bed during the winter, loves how they can sleep on the same bed without feeling cramped, loves how Bucky can wrap him up with single arm and loves feeling like he can fit anywhere.
Peggy gives him a hug just before Steve goes off for super-serum injections.
“I’m gonna miss this, you know.” Steve says softly, as he rests his head on Peggy’s shoulder.
“What? Human contact?” Peggy says, and Steve can hear the warm smile in her voice. “You’re not going to die, Steve.”
“No, not that.” Steve says, nuzzling against her curls and holding her as tightly as his frail frame can manage. “I’m going to miss… this. Being small, I guess. Is that strange?”
“No. No it’s not.” Peggy says, quieter now. “Not at all.”
Spy Peggy stood clutching Sally close, watching the playground. She was observing again. Alex and Thomas had both been let out of time out for playtime; Mr Washington had said hopefully they would take that time to “let off steam” and make up. No such luck. Alexander was currently sitting in the sandpit, stabbing into the sand with an old spade. He had even said no when John and Aaron had offered to play ball with him! So they were over with Lafayette and Angelica, kicking the ball between them. Meanwhile, Thomas was playing on the climbing frame while James watched nervously below. Charles and Eliza were taking turns on the slide, seeing who could go the fastest. And Hercules was no where to be seen, but Peggy knew he was staying inside eating the fruit snacks. Everybody seemed to be busy and distracted. So Peggy’s plan could go underway. She glanced around one final time, and then made her way nonchalantly over to the railings that backed onto the middle school opposite. The middle schoolers would be outside for their recess in about five minutes, but Peggy figured that was enough time for her plan to work. As she reached the railings, she began flying Sally around and making plane noises. “Fairy Sally can fly so high!” She called, in the hopes that Thomas or Alex would hear. When neither of them turned, she tightened her grip and shouted, “Fairy Sally flies the highest of them all! Watch how high she can fly!” Pausing, she saw that the boys still hadn’t taken notice. Frowning with one last final effort, Peggy yelled, “FAIRY SALLY FLIES SUPER HIGH!!!” and launched Thomas’ doll into the air, aiming expertly for the bit at the top of the railings that connected them together. Sure enough, Sally swooped back down and landed right on the tiny platform. Peggy clenched her fist triumphantly; her plan was that Thomas would be worried about Sally being stuck, and Alex who always had to prove himself, would have to help get her down. She looked back, but Alex was still stabbing at the sand, and Thomas was still climbing higher much to James’ dismay. Peggy sighed and prepared for her last resort; she opened her mouth and breathed in, ready to scream–
“Oh! What do we have here!” A snooty voice made Peggy freeze and she turned around, looking up. King George was staring down at her with a smug smirk on his face, pushing up his paper crown. Samuel as always was right by his side. “Yeah, what do we have here?” Samuel echoed with a snicker. Peggy clasped her hands together nervously. “My dolly.” “Your dolly?” George mockingly gasped. “Well, how did your dolly get allll the way up here? You’re much too little to reach this high!” “I threw my dolly,” Peggy mumbled. George made an over-exaggerated shocked face, and Samuel giggled again. “You threw your dolly? And she got stuck in the railings? Oh dear, oh dear!” George tutted. “How irresponsible of you!” “Yeah, irresponsible!” Samuel repeated. Peggy’s belly was already bursting with butterflies, but it just about turned to ice when she saw George reach effortlessly to the bar and grab Sally, pulling her over to their side of the railings. Her lip began to tremble, and she said “That’s my dolly!” “It may be your dolly,” George sneered, “But you haven’t been taking very good care of her. Looks like we’ll have to take her off your hands.” He flung Sally carelessly to Samuel, who held her by the leg and started swinging her. Peggy, filled with fear, but enraged by their attitude, jumped at the railings and pushed her arm through, trying desperately to reach Sally. What if they took her into their school- suppose Sally was never seen again! Thomas would be so upset- and it was all Peggy’s fault… Peggy started to cry as George and Samuel laughed, taking turns at wagging Sally in front of the toddler just out of her reach. Peggy furiously made attempts to grab her, and the railings started to hurt her arm as she pushed harder and harder. She wobbled back, wiping her eyes, panicked, wondering what on earth to do.
I love this so much. Also, KING GEORGE YOU LIL SHIT. STOP.
There’s not much he can do, short of a miracle, to put on fifty more pounds and maybe grow another foot, overnight.
But Dr. Erskine gave him a foot in the door and Steve Rogers isn’t going to squander that chance.
He does his best with the physical training, carry his weight, keep up as much as he can, ignoring the pain in his muscles, the too-rapid beat of his heart, the tell-tale wheeze in his lungs. He shrugs off the bullying from Hodges - he’s not about to break discipline and get kicked out, not for some ape just trying to get his kicks. Fact is, the fellas have been taking Hodges aside, muttering about, “Come on, quit picking on Rogers, we ain’t got time for this shit no more, yeah?”
When they’re not training, Steve spends his time reading up on military tactics and strategy, history, field manuals, map-reading. Officers’ books. He’s read some of them before and he’s just refreshing his memory. The others are new and he’s soaking up every bit of knowledge that he can.
Winchester teases him, “You lookin’ to become a General or somethin’, Rogers?”
Steve grins. “Nah, just doin’ some light readin’. Fella’s gotta get some entertainment somewhere.”
You’re a little guy, Bucky once told him. Ain’t nothin’ to be done to get you bigger and stronger than you are now, punk, but that ain’t no tragedy, no how. Real fight’s up here - and he remembers Bucky gently poking his temple with a finger. You fight with your brains, you fight smart, you make it out alive. You got that, punk?
Eventually, they move on to firearms training. Steve, at least, can take apart and put together a rifle pretty quickly. It’s just another puzzle and Lord only knew how well he’d done at those, all those times he’d had to spend in bed, bored out of his skull except when Bucky was there keeping him company. So he gets that sorted out fairly well.
They’re all brought out to the firing range and okay, this much, Steve can do easily, he thinks. There’s nothing wrong with his eyes, at least - drawing’s his trade and he’s always trained himself to look, not just see. Aim at the target. Shoot. It’s not too hard to do.
So he does. Center mass. Dead center. Each and every time.
Peggy - Agent Carter - slants him a look. Target’s moved a little bit farther. Steve reloads. Takes aim. Fires again.
Head shot. Sweet and easy, just as Bucky taught him. It’s a little different from Coney Island and the shooting games - these are always rigged - but principle’s the same. He can get that done.
“Think you can manage another, Private?” she asks him.
At this point, the men are gathered around, muttering to each other. Most of them have managed to be decent shots, all within regulations. Steve, however, is shooting well over expectation.
He nods, then abruptly remembers to answer out loud, “Yes, ma’am.”
She barely stifles a smile, but the approval is clear in her eyes. Target’s moved farther. Two hundred and twenty five meters, well over the sniper range maximum for training.
Steve aims, takes a breath.
“Shut up, asshole,” somebody says. It sounds like Winchester.
Steve had been waiting for that - there’s always a distraction, Bucky tells him. You learn to ignore it. He focuses his attention on his target. Squeezes the trigger.
Head shot. He’s got it.
The others cheer.
“Pity you Yanks won’t train your snipers better,” Agent Carter mutters. “Good job, Rogers."
There’s a couple of more men whose range scores are similar or nearly as good as Steve’s. Agent Carter says that she’ll be training all of them personally.
Steve gets a few pats on the back from his squad mates, a joke from Winchester and a promise extracted to draw him a pin-up of Betty Grable. Steve rolls his eyes but yeah, he’ll get that done. He’ll be writing a letter to Bucky first, maybe let him know all those lessons paid off.
He’s just not going to tell Bucky about the grenade story though. He’ll never hear the end of it.
- end -
Note: So according to Wikipedia, the U.S. Army’s sniper training during World War II was very elementary, which gives you an idea of how goddamn valuable Bucky Barnes was as the Commandos’ sniper and how good at the job he probably was, even before the whole Winter Soldier deal.
Although this is a headcanon, so I was prepared to pretty much prepared to chuck canon at the door, I did look for a screenshot of Steve’s known disabilities at the time. There’s nothing wrong with his eyes. There’s nothing wrong with his aim. And we know Steve can shoot and given the way he wields that shield, it’s a safe bet that Steve can actually hit the broad side of a barn. I also think Steve probably is a superb shooter - we’ve seen him use a gun when he needs to. My headcanon!Steve does have sniper skills - he just prefers the shield most of the time and also because he’s usually in the direct line of battle, so that duty is generally left to Bucky and of course, currently, Clint as well.
For headcanon purposes, I am pretending that Basic Training in the MCU-verse took a little longer than a week. Seriously, even without checking Wikipedia I know it takes LONGER than one week. I just figure that since it’s a “special” project, the majority of Steve’s squadmates already had been going through Basic and Steve was the new guy pretty much playing catch-up, since he got in there on the say-so of Dr. Erskine.
AHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah, we know Steve doesn’t succeed in keeping the grenade story from Mrs. Rogers. Poor, poor Steve.