It all started on his birthday. No, it all started months before his birthday when Tony’s PR people suggested he meet with an up-and coming documentarian, billed as the “new Ken Burns but better because she’s not a white dude”.
It wasn’t that she hadn’t done her due diligence either; Tony, in his cocky wisdom, had assured her no lawyer in America would try and sue Steve Rogers for copyright infringement. And yet, here he was, on his fucking birthday, at 6 am, being served papers.
“Tony, you told everybody that this wouldn’t be a problem! What the hell man?” Steve shouted.
Tony just looked back at him sheepishly. “I believe in the good of people’s hearts more than I should?”
Steve sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He could feel a headache forming and he hadn’t had a headache that was not caused by Tony since the 40s.
“How...how are we going to fix this? Because it’s one thing for me to be sued, but it’s another thing for Nnedi to be sued. She’s not well known and I can’t have a stupid decision on our end mess up her entire life.”
“That I can help with and I know I’ll be successful. I have like 27 lawyers on stand-by at all times. I will take care of everything and we can counter sue for damages. Plus it will drum up a lot of sympathy for you and Nnedi. I will make this right Steve, I swear. JARVIS, please let Nnedi know that she doesn’t need to worry about anything. This is completely my fuck up and I’m going to take care of it.”
Steve felt his shoulders relax. He believed in Tony’s lawyers even if Tony himself was...a bit flighty and a lot egotistical.
“Hey! While JARVIS gets in touch with everybody and sends the appropriate paperwork to the lawyers, let’s get the gang together and watch a movie,” Tony suggested with a gleam in his eye. “I have the perfect idea for a marathon.”
“Tony, I don’t want to watch both Independence Day movies again,” Steve sighed.
“Oh Cap, I promise we won’t watch those again this year. Even though it’s an amazing tradition and Will Smith is the original GOAT.”
Which brought Steve to now.
The idea of watching Hollywood’s version of himself was worse than getting beat up by bullies in the alley in Brooklyn. It was worse than having his body grow eight inches and gain a hundred plus pounds in five minutes. It was worse than being punched by the Red Skull.
But somehow he found himself at the tower, about to watch movies about himself. Which were made by a studio that was suing him for the rights to his own life story. Natasha and Tony had fully committed to the idea of binging the films. Tony assured Steve that they weren’t actually going to give money to the studio, he could just find them all on the internet. Steve assumed that what he was doing was illegal but honestly he couldn’t care about anything any more. He couldn’t figure out how his life had gotten to this point. It was like a commedia dell’arte of his life with Tony as the helpful moron, Natasha as the canny trickster, Sam as the mischievous best friend, Clint as the clown, Bucky as the love interest, and himself as the Captain, the one voice of reason in the whole room.
“Steve, I can’t believe you haven’t seen these before,” remarked Natasha. “I grew up in Soviet Russia, in the Red Room, and I’ve seen most of these.”
“Captain America and the Red Skull was my favorite movie growing up!” Sam added.
“I loved the one with the dinosaurs, personally,” Clint said.
Steve looked at Bucky who had a huge shit eating grin on his face. “Hey, we’re your dancing monkeys, Stevie. You chose us as your friends.”
Steve rested his head in his palms and muttered to himself, “they’re not assholes, they’re my friends. My asshole friends. My friends who are assholes. They are both. They are assholes and they are friends. What is my life.”
“JARVIS cue up the movies by release date,” Tony requested.
Captain America (1946)
Steve had to admit, this movie wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t too far from his actual life story. Yeah, there were some inaccuracies, but overall, it was a pretty good fictional representation of growing up in the 30s. He assumed a lot of that was due to the fact that he had only gone down in the Valkyrie a few years prior to the release date. Plus he thought Peggy would have loved to see herself played by Rita Hayworth.
He was horrified to see the costumes. “What the hell am I wearing?” he choked out.
Natasha and Sam giggled.
“Steve. Honey. Seriously, that’s not much removed from your USO outfit. You definitely wore tights back in the day,” Bucky responded.
“I can verify that. Dad showed me a couple of mock-ups from when he designed your uniform and talked at length about how ridiculous your tour tights were,” added Tony.
“I hate all of you,” Steve muttered.
Heartbreak on the Western Front (1974)
“This was my favorite movie when I was a kid!” Natasha said excitedly.
“When you were a kid, being brainwashed into being an anti-American assassin?” Bucky asked, dryly.
They started conversing in Russian, low and sharp and fast. Steve had no idea if they were going to resort to fisticuffs or make out. And while he and Bucky were an item, he got a little warm thinking about his best friends making out.
Bucky threw up his hands. “Fine! Fine! I concede the point.”
The rest of the group, who did not speak Russian, (well, Steve knew a couple curse words but that was only in relation to his and Buck’s alone time) all looked at each other with wide eyes.
“It’s fine. We were just having a little round of ‘who had a harder childhood,’” Bucky explained. “Natasha won by a hair.”
Natasha looked smug.
“Ok, Russian assassin time is over. Jarv, can you play the movie?” asked Tony.
A few minutes into the movie and Steve was seeing red. He looked at Bucky who had a similar look of horror and anger.
“What the fuck?" shouted Bucky. "Betty Carver, sexy nurse? Oh hell no!”
Steve clenched his jaw. “I did not fight alongside the most brilliant, capable, person to have her portrayed as a piece of eye candy. Tony, when we’re taking on the studio, we’re counter suing for slander. Peggy Carter deserves so much more than this airhead who only wants to get into Cap’s pants! And is her accent British by way of Ohio? I...I...I don’t even know how to react to this!” he yelled as he threw his arms up in the air and walked away from the TV.
“Natasha, how could this be your favorite movie?” hissed Bucky.
“Oh, it’s not now. But when I was a kid, learning about Americans, I loved the dumb muscly hero and the airhead nurse who was just there to be eye candy. You could say Betty Carver sparked my sexual awakening.”
“But she’s such a ditz! And Peggy was so much more,” Bucky replied.
“Yeah, but 14 year old me thought Farrah Fawcett was hot.”
“Ok, so clearly the 70s were a dark time for everybody. Sorry Cap, sorry Bucky. Next film?” asked Tony.
Steve came back. "Fine,” he growled.
“But warn us if they fuck Peggy over in another film, man. Cause that was not cool,” Bucky said with a glare.
“This is the worst of the movies,” Sam added, gently. “Sorry, we all grew up with this being a silly movie. I guess it’s tough to see somebody you actually knew and respected relegated to ‘ditzy, sexy nurse.’”
Captain America and the Red Skull (1982)
Clint was snoring quietly when JARVIS brought up the next movie. He mumbled, “sandwiches” then suddenly sat upright.
“Is this the Red Skull music? I futzing love this movie. It’s got everything: car chases, machine guns, Steve Rogers taking out Nazis and communists, Peggy Carter taking men down with a stapler, Bucky Barnes: Boy Wonder. It’s almost as good as Maximum Retribution!”
Bucky sputtered. “Excuse me, Bucky Barnes, what?”
Steve could feel the smile threatening to cross his face. He tried so hard to not giggle but Bucky’s glare showed him he was unsuccessful.
“Let’s just watch the movie, Buck. You thought this would be fun. And Matthew Broderick is an amazing actor. I’m sure it’s fine.”
It was not fine.
Bucky was pacing which was fine because Steve had fallen over on the couch, laughing. He could feel tears prick his eyes. Clint and Sam were jamming so much popcorn in their mouths and randomly “shushing” everyone. Tony looked like that, what was it, (meme?), of the dog in the burning everything saying “this is fine”, and Natasha was just scanning the room, watching all the men act like idiots.
“Why the fuck did they cast me as a fucking kid? They know I’m older than you, right? Like the stupid fucking comics didn’t make me out to be the plucky sidekick enough, now they have to go and do this?” Bucky said as he paced.
Steve had actual tears streaming down his face.
“And Steve, like you come out of this movie looking any better! You’re some steroided up meatball who is clearly overcompensating with the size of that gun. And how would anybody even be able to fire that thing? The kickback would literally kill you!”
The rest of the movie passed in the same manner: Steve laughing until he cried, Bucky ranting, Tony looking scared for his life, Natasha observing everything, and the birdbros watching like it was great cinema.
“This whole thing is garbage,” Bucky shouted as the movie finally ended. “Like a 16 year old could have made those shots! Hell, before I got the knockoff Nazi serum, I could barely hit a guy at 300 feet and I was a trained Sergeant in the war! This is such nonsense! Clint, I can’t believe you like this! Sam, you like terrible things so I’m not surprised you liked it. Tony, relax, you didn’t actually do anything involved with the making of the movie. I won’t leave snakes in your toilet.”
“You...what? Snakes in the toilet, Buck, come on! Don’t do that! These are supposed to be our friends,” Steve stammered.
“JARVIS, next movie, pronto!” Tony squeaked out.
The Song of Steven Rogers (1989)
“Aw, Mel Gibson, I remember when you weren’t a ginormous douche,” whined Clint.
“Yeah, he’s pretty much the worst,” agreed Sam. “I mean this movie is ok but damn, it has not aged well.
“Reaganomics were bullshit, the ‘war on drugs’ just meant ‘let’s lock up brown people’, AIDS was widely ignored and there was so much cocaine,” Sam continued.
“Yeah, the late 80s were garbage everywhere,” agreed Natasha.
Steve didn’t enjoy the movie. It was a terrible piece of right wing propaganda. He grew up Catholic, but that didn’t mean he kept his faith. He especially didn’t appreciate the fact that a man who had gone on a well documented diatribe against Jewish people was portraying him in the movie. Steve grew more and more annoyed as the movie went on.
“Ok, no, this is bullshit. I didn’t go off to war because of my faith. I didn’t save the 107th because Jesus came to me in a vision, either. I wanted to fight because it was the right thing to do and I infiltrated Azzano because I needed to find Bucky. Because we gay love each other. Something that this jackass probably wants to pretend isn’t the truth or is the liberal media skewing my actual words.”
He grew increasingly vexed as the movie started to wrap up. Nobody seemed happy with the way the movie had treated Steve.
“Ok, that was some me level bullshit,” announced Tony. “Shots!”
Bucky complained that shots did nothing for Steve and him but Tony steamrolled over his objections. He kept insisting they needed a palate cleanser and vodka was the answer.
Steve did the shot, which burned on the way down but ultimately did nothing. He was in a pissy mood and felt prickly in his own skin.
“Next movie?” asked Natasha.
Steve nodded but everyone could tell he was upset.
“I think you might actually like this one, Steve,” said Sam. “It’s the complete antithesis to that sappy bullshit we just watched.
When the first dinosaur came up on the screen, Steve stood up, said “nope” and went down to his apartment.
He got a glass of water and drank it slowly. He heard Bucky come in and sighed happily when he was enveloped in a hug.
“Hey, Stevie, happy birthday.”
“Thanks. We have ridiculous friends.”
“I know, but they really like you.”
“They like you too, Buck.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, they tolerate me. So, how does triple digits feel?”
“I don’t know, weird? Happy? A little sad.”
Steve relaxed in Bucky’s arms and turned to kiss him. He was happy and sad. He was in the future with his best guy, able to legally declare his love. His friends could be assholes, admittedly, but they meant well and he would trust them all at his six. But watching so many movies about his life did make him miss Peggy and his ma. He knew Peggy had lived a full life, he didn’t mourn that, but she was such a dear friend, he missed not growing old with her, not having their families grow up together. Yeah, he and Bucky would have had to pretend to be “bachelor roommates” but Peggy had never cared about the moral objections to their relationship that most of the people from their generation had. And he would never stop missing his ma. She and Peggy would have adored each other. They were some of the strongest people Steve had ever known and he always felt a pang of sadness when he thought about them.
“Come on, Stevie, let’s take a little nap,” whispered Bucky.
They got in bed and Steve got to be the little spoon. He felt safe in Bucky’s arms and warm in their bed. As sad as he sometimes felt, the future had Bucky and Bucky was his home.
“Next time I blow you, I’m going to do it for Mel Gibson,” Steve responded. As he felt laughs shake Bucky’s body, he felt a moment of peace over take him and quickly drifted off.
Enfants de la Patrie: Children of the Homeland (1998)
Steve woke when JARVIS said “sirs, your presence is being requested upstairs. I think you both might actually enjoy the next film.”
Steve rolled over to look at Bucky raising his eyebrow in question.
“I trust JARVIS’s judgement more than I trust Stark’s,” Bucky mumbled into Steve’s hair.
“Ok,” Steve agreed. “Let’s go watch another movie.”
The movie was unexpected. Steve didn’t realize there had been a film made about his romantic relationship with Bucky. The actors looked pretty similar to Steve and Bucky as well, even if Bucky was a little more of a twink, thank you the future for that term, than he had actually been in the war. The movie was in French but had subtitles. Steve was grateful for his knowledge of the language because the subtitles didn’t accurately capture the romance of the script.
Sam sniffed audibly when “Steve” and “Bucky” shared their first kiss. “What? I have feelings, I’m in touch with my masculinity enough to cry a little at sad things. Don’t judge me,” he declared.
When “Bucky” and “Steve” made love under the stars in war ravaged Paris, Bucky let out a snort.
“What?” he asked when he saw Sam glare at him. “This is good and I’m glad people actually started to accept Steve and me as a romantic couple, but being on the front was nothing like that. It was muddy, stinky, cold, and terrible. Steve and I barely even touched each
other’s dicks when we were on a mission.”
Natasha smirked and Tony looked a little queasy. Clint had fallen asleep again, now that he had seen his favorite movies. Sam was still sniffling. “It’s a movie, not real life, jackass. It’s got emotions and it is supposed to make people feel things. Don’t overanalyze it.”
Steve would admit that the movie was sweet and emotional. He wondered if the French were more accepting of love in all forms, after all they had come up with some kinky shit before the war, or if people were just more accepting of his actual identity in the late 90s. He suspected it was a combination of both things.
Sam was audibly weeping when Bucky fell off the train and Steve was feeling a little weepy himself. His character uttered the tagline “it’s too much to love when you die” and he felt a tear fall. He was touched by the depth of emotion and softness conveyed in the film. He let out a big sigh as the credits started rolling.
“Don’t make moon eyes at me, Rogers. We’re both a century old. It’s unbecoming,” grumbled Bucky but Steve could see tears sparkle in his eyes.
Into the Valley of Death (2002)
“Why does America spend so much money saving Matt Damon?” asked Clint. “Like, we’ve saved him in World War II and space twice! What the hell, Matt Damon? Why can’t you save yourself?”
Steve silently agreed. He had launched a one man crusade into enemy territory to save Bucky, America and its troops couldn’t have cared less. But he did think the movie was beautiful and got more right about the dreariness of war than any of the other movies. The sweeping soundtrack made him a little proud of his country. Even though lately it had gone to hell in a handbasket.
“Ok, if we’re done with all the rah-rah for America, I think we’re on the last movie, Steve,” Tony said. “They made this one the year before you got defrosted. It’s a big blockbuster that made tons of money. Channing Tatum…”
“Is a total stud muffin!” interrupted Clint.
“I was going to say, does a pretty good job at accurately representing you. But they actually reached out to Peggy when they were writing the script. It’s not completely accurate though,” Tony replied as he glared at Clint.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
“Steve...darling, don’t forget you owe me a dance,” Kiera Knightley said as she sniffed prettily.
“Name a time and place,” answered Channing Tatum heroically.
“Eight o’clock. Stork Club. Don’t be late.”
“How could I stand up my best gal?”
Suddenly guitar music started playing and two men started singing.
“Do they realize that the song isn’t actually about looking for me,” Steve asked with a smirk. “From what I understand, Paul Simon was just traveling to see his girlfriend. Which, is the exact opposite of what happened.
“Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together
I’ve got some real estate here in my bag
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies
And walked off to look for America
‘Kathy I’m lost,’ I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America
All come to look for America
All come to look for America”
“Plus, I wasn’t in love with Peggy. And apparently that fact was pretty well documented by 2011.” Steve was more bemused than angry.
“There was a big outcry in the LGBTQ comminity about the queerwashing in the movie,” Tony admitted.
“The studio issued a ‘sorry not sorry’ statement after the fact. They said they had to appeal to an ‘international audience’ and a gay romance wouldn’t do that,” Sam said with a glare at the television.
“Peggy renounced it,” added Natasha.
“It’s a bummer that they messed up such a big part of your life because ‘nohomo’,” Clint said with a scowl. “I love Channing, he’s hella hot, but he should have known better.”
Steve smiled at his friends. “Yeah it’s bullshit that they took my life story and erased one of the biggest parts of it. And even though the studio is suing me, I can’t be too mad. I mean, I’ve got Bucky here with me now. And everyone knows it, even Fox News.
“Nnedi made sure to include my entire life, not just the parts that would play well in China. So hopefully kids who are coming to terms with their sexuality and gender realize I’m in their corner.
“In fact, Tony, can you ask Pepper to set up a press conference to address the lawsuit and the fact that I am unashamed about being queer. And maybe we can set up a non-profit to help people? I know we’ve all given to different inclusive charities over the years, but maybe a pro-LGBTQ charity, with Captain America in the actual name would be a sign that the intolerant aren’t welcomed by the Avengers.”
Bucky and Sam started clapping. “Ok, assholes, thanks for the golf claps,” he said, gruffly.
“Naw, man. That was great! Sign me up,” Sam said with a huge smile.
“Speeches like that are part of the reason I’m so in love with you, Stevie.”
Steve beamed at Bucky.
Later that night, they were in their apartment, getting ready for bed.
“How was your birthday?”
“Pretty good. Got to spend it with most of the people I love. Plus we got to watch some truly terribly movies.”
“I’m glad. Happy birthday, Steve, I love you.”
“Love you too, Buck.”
Steve outright refused to watch Twinks, Justice, and the American Way (2014) when Tony suggested it.
Also, they successfully won their lawsuit against the movie company. The judge read the suit, sighed and said, “I find no grounds to hear anymore of this frivolous lawsuit. Captain Rogers’s life rights were sold when he was assumed dead, now that he’s alive, he is able to tell any story about himself that he pleases.”
Steve had always been a little shit, so with Bucky’s help he flew to China and made a really bad ripoff of The First Avenger called Steev Rogar: America Man. Tony bankrolled the whole thing and Natasha laughed until she cried.