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Steve Rogers is a Bad Student

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Maria Hill had been Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America’s handler for about 7 weeks by now, and frankly she was tired. When she had found out she was going to get to train a super-soldier and American icon, she thought it would be modern combat and workouts. She had not realized that it would actually be making sure he used his seatbelt, quit smoking, explaining what “Galaga” was, and -most frustratingly- explaining it was inappropriate to all people “colored”, “oriental”, and “broads”. It wasn’t frustrating because he was unwilling to listen, it was frustrating because she didn’t have time to  answer all his questions.

And he had so many questions. He had asked when it became inappropriate to use that kind of language, and why.  He had asked why bananas were gross, why the U.S. was still at war, why neo-Nazis were a still a thing, what “Ban the Bomb” signs meant, and how gay marriage became a thing. While she couldn’t blame him, he woke up after 70 years, she’d be curious too. but she still had to train 58 other agents.

So, she and some of the top handlers, advisors, professors, and military experts developed a curriculum to help him catch up on everything he needed to know. However, Captain America and Steve Rogers were not the same person. Captain America was the good soldier in the PSA’s they watched growing up. Steve Rogers was that kid in class who just wanted to draw and would fight with the teacher.

And did he fight. He had been through 12 tutors in 5 weeks. The record for shortest amount of time was 5 hours, and the longest was 12 days. They had run out of all the professors with a security clearance, there was no one left!

“Maybe that’s the issue? Steve might have been a soldier, but he’s still a punk from Brooklyn.” Maria thought while tapping her pen on the desk. “Didn’t Lily just get her PhD?”


 

Maria sat tapping her pen against her desk, Lily was her last hope. She was an old friend from college, a history major and a tad eccentric. She was notorious for sitting in odd places and being kind of a mess, but she was a damn good tutor. She could teach anyone anything as long as it was about history.

When Maria called her she had just finished up her PHD but no one was hiring. She explained she had a student with unique needs.  Lily just said “Sure, I’ve got nothin’ better to do.”

Maria was unsure if she would show up in a T-Shirt insulting Sigmund Freud or Watson and Crick or some other old white guy, she could walk in straight out of 1972. “Maybe she was going through a 50’s thing?” Maria wondered.

In walked (now) Dr. Lilibeth Dimano. Maria’s jaw dropped.

“Lily!”

“Maria!”

“What happened to your hair?”

“I grew it out, Kris thought it’d make me look more palatable to the committee, apparently academics don’t like angry bald brown girls. Now that I’m Dr. Dimano I was gonna shave it again, but I kinda like the bob.” Lily smiled.

“It’s good. You look different, but it’s still good. A little on the Carl Sagan side of things” Maria couldn’t get over Lily’s new look. She ditched the graphic t-shirts for an old professor look.

“That was the intended effect.” She pretended to flip her hair, and burst out laughing. “Speaking of- is my student here?”

“Lily that has nothing-” Maria remembered Lilibeth’s tendency to switch topics in the middle of a sentence, and decided it was better to move on. “You know what. Yes, Steve is in the other room. Here’s your curriculum. They got up to the war of 1812.”

“Maria. You know me. I’m not gonna do this if you are breathing down my neck. I’m gonna do this my way, and make sure my student learns in the most effective way possible.” Lily became gravely serious, almost out of nowhere.

Maria decided to match her tone, “Dr. Dimano, this is a study plan designed by some of the best scholars-”

“And how has that worked Ms. Hill? I get to do it my way, or I’ll walk and you’ll be stuck with a clueless supersoldier you’ll have to release into civilian life..”

“How did you know? Who leaked?” Maria worried there was a mole.

“Why else would you call?” Lily let out a short laugh. “It’s not exactly like super secret government agencies are interested in bald brown girls with a history of calling out government overreach, with a brand new PHD.”

Maria shook her head, nothing could get past her.

“You win. As long as it works. Let’s go meet Captain Rogers.”

Maria showed her around the complex, explaining where she was and absolutely was not allowed to be. “Here’s the cafeteria, but I’m telling you bring your own lunch, the food here is gross.” She pointed to a tiny hallway “The women’s room is down the hall and to your right, and here is your classroom.”

It was a small conference room with two windows, a table and a projector. “Not quite the classroom I would have set up, but okay.” Lilibeth thought.

When Maria opened the door Lily had no idea what to expect. She knew Captain America from TV, and the movies. She had to watch a Sam J Jones look-alike dressed in the suit tell her not smoke weed or eat a Mars Bar.

What she was not expecting was the real Steve Rogers. There was something equal parts off-putting and comforting about seeing him like this.

She was really not expecting him to speak to her, despite talking to each other being her sole job.

“Ma’am, I’m Steve.”

“I’m Dr. Lilibeth Dimano. I’m really excited to work with you.”

 

Chapter Text

Maria sat tapping her pen against her desk, Lily was her last hope. She was an old friend from college, a history major and a tad eccentric. She was notorious for sitting in odd places and being kind of a mess, but she was a damn good tutor. She could teach anyone anything as long as it was about history. 

When Maria called her she had just finished up her PHD but no one was hiring. She explained she had a student with unique needs.  Lily just said “Sure, I’ve got nothin’ better to do.” 

Maria was unsure if she would show up in a T-Shirt insulting Sigmund Freud or Ronald Reagan or some other old white guy, she could walk in straight out of 1972.

In walked (now) Dr. Lilibeth Dimano. Maria’s jaw dropped. 

“Lily!” 

“Maria!”

“What happened to your hair?” 

“I grew it out, Kris thought it’d make me look more palatable to the committee, apparently wealthy academics don’t like angry bald brown girls. Now that I’m officially Dr. Dimano  I was gonna shave it again, but I kinda like the bob.” Lily smiled.

“It’s good. You look different, but it’s still good. A little on the Carl Sagan side of things” Maria couldn’t get over Lily’s new look. She ditched the graphic t-shirts for an old professor look.

“That was the intended effect.” She pretended to flip her hair, and burst out laughing. “Speaking of- is my student here?”

“Lily that has nothing-” Maria remembered Lily tendency to switch topics in the middle of a sentence, and decided it was better to move on. “You know what. Yes, Steve is in the other room. Here’s your curriculum. They were able to finish the historical events, but no pop culture.”

“Maria. You know me. I’m not gonna do this if you are breathing down my neck. I’m gonna do this my way, and make sure my student learns in the most effective way possible.” Lily became gravely serious, almost out of nowhere.

Maria decided to match her tone, “Dr. Dimano, this is a study plan designed by some of the best scholars-”

“And how has that worked Ms. Hill? I get to do it my way, or I’ll walk and you’ll be stuck with a clueless supersoldier you’ll have to release into civilian life..”

“How did you know? Who leaked?” Maria worried there was a mole.

“Why else would you call?” Lily let out a short laugh. “It’s not exactly like super secret government agencies are interested in brown girls with a history of calling out government overreach, with a brand new PHD.”

Maria shook her head, nothing could get past her.

“You win. As long as it works. Let’s go meet Captain Rogers.” 

Maria showed her around the complex, explaining where she was and absolutely was not allowed to be. “Here’s the cafeteria, but I’m telling you bring your own lunch, the food here is gross.” She pointed to a tiny hallway “The women’s room is down the hall and to your right, and here is your classroom.”

It was a small conference room with two windows, a table and a projector. “Not quite the classroom I would have set up, but okay.” Lilibeth thought.

When Maria opened the door Lily had no idea what to expect. She knew Captain America from TV, and the movies. She had to watch a Sam J Jones look-alike dressed in the suit tell her not smoke weed or eat a Mars Bar.

What she was not expecting was the real Steve Rogers. There was something equal parts off-putting and comforting about seeing him like this.

She was really not expecting him to speak to her, despite talking to each other being her sole job.

“Ma’am, I’m Steve.”

“I’m Dr. Lilibeth Dimano. I’m really excited to work with you.”

Chapter Text

Lily couldn’t help but stare at Steve. He towered over her like a giant, but the hopeful look in his eyes made her eager to start. This was not the same man that told her not to have sex in health class.

“Captain Rogers, why don’t we go for a walk?” Lily asked, begining to twiddle with the ring on her finger.

“Lil- Dr. Dimano, we try to keep lessons based in the classroom, that way Steve doesn’t get overwhelmed.” Maria explained with the faux politeness she had perfected.

“It is simply not enough to know the world, one must also be of the world,” Lily retorted matching her tone. “Besides, if he can go on missions to other countries without knowing why he’s going, he can decide if he wants to take a walk outside”

“That sounds lovely, Dr. Dimano.” Steve smiled.

Maria seemed insulted, but relented.

---------------------------------------------------

Steve and Lily were walking around in a park near the Capitol Building. 

“So, Captain Rogers-”

“Steve is fine.” He said quickly.

“So, Steve. I’m not going to beat around the bush. Why did you go through so many teachers?”

“Well, Dr. Dimano-”

“Lily is fine”

“Well, Lily, it just felt like all those fellas before you. They, I don’t know how to explain it, it felt like they didn’t want to prepare Steve Rogers for modern life. It was like they were just preparing Captain America for a mission. They kept talking war and military strategy, but they never talked to me about what I actually missed."

Lily stopped them, she looked at him earnestly "Well, I'm not going to make that mistake. I want to prepare you for this crazy world, even life after SHIELD.”

“What?” He looked at her confused.

“Well, being 95 you are eligible for retirement.” Lily laughed.  “Anyway, secret agenting isn’t the most stable of industries. I want you to know what to do if god forbid, but you get hurt or something happens and you can’t work.” 

Steve stood there frozen. 

“Shit did I break a fucking super soldier? “ She asked, genuinely scared.

“I’m sorry, I just. Never thought of that. I- I guess I’ve been going for so long, I never realized it could stop. I can’t even imagine getting hurt, it’s been so long.” His face was blank, deep in thought.

“What have you done unrelated to SHEILD since waking up?” 

Steve shrugged,“Nothing I guess, it's been only a couple months. I’ve just been doing homework, going on missions and catching up. It has been hard to meet people, especially those who get it. Most people think I've gone crazy.”
Lily put a sympathetic hand on Steve’s shoulder. The nice moment was interrupted by Lily’s stomach. “Let’s get some food. There’s this awesome diner near my wife’s office.”

Steve’s eyes got wide,“Wife?” 

“Oh boy. Okay, so we have a lot to discuss.” Lily laughed nervously.

Chapter Text

They walked in the cool autumn DC air. Lily showed him the restaurants she frequented, the stores she shopped at. The businessmen out to lunch zoomed passed them, they heard them shouting through their bluetooth about stocks, trade deals, embassies, bills.

 The warm, quiet restaurant was a welcome change.

“So homosexuals can get married now?” Steve asked way too loudly. He seemed confused, but a little excited.

“Okay, Steve we are going to use our indoor voices, please" Lily tried to explain politely "And let’s get some food before we start.” 

The waitress walked over with two cups of water.

"Hey Lily! How's Victoria and the little rascal?" She asked with a familiar and kind smile.

"Thanks for asking June. Tori's good, she says it's getting difficult to wash Washington off every day. Emmeline is beginning to revolt against being washed off, you know how it is."

"Oh I get it. My boy’s are the same way, except Billy’s a clean freak and showers 3 times a day, but he still smells. Hang in there Lily, I'd say it gets better. But trust me teens are difficult." It was clear to Steve the two were very close friends. It reminded him of why he wanted to do this in the first place. He wants to make those connections. June’s voice snapped him back into reality, and his present dilemma. "So what'll it be?"  

“I’ll have a burger,” Steve said quickly, then turned to Lily. “So the homosexuals.”

June was taken aback and gave the man a strange look. She looked to Lily, confused.

“Well, I’ll have fries and June-a very large coffee.” She joked. “Okay, so don’t call us homosexuals-”

“Why not?”

“It’s considered offensive now.” 

“Why?”
“Well… You know how your not supposed to call Native American people Indians” She explained patiently.

“I did not. You’re not supposed to call them Indians?”

“Okay, so we definitely need to have that discussion. Tomorrow is just HR videos. But to answer your question about gay people, it’s just not appropriate to call them homosexual. Queer is iffy, depending on a bunch of stuff. Let’s just stay away from that term for a while.”

“Okay so when did that happen? Back in my day we were gettin’ jailed for that.” Lily noticed a look in Steve’s eye. She couldn’t quite place it.

“Well, things have gotten better. At least here, I can’t speak for every other country on the globe but Tori might. Tori is my wife, she’s a lawyer. We moved to DC, for a couple months, while she works with Congress, and I finished up my PHD at GW. We are probably going to move back to New York.” Lily started to ramble, she always rambled when she was nervous.

“You’re from New York too?  What part?” Steve asked excitedly.

“I’m from the Bronx, Tori’s a Jersey girl.”

“I’m a Brooklyn boy. I haven’t gotten a chance to check out the neighborhood yet.”

“It has certainly changed. A lot more coffee shops and handlebar mustaches,” Lily laughed. “Actually maybe not a lot more mustaches.”

“Seems like a lot of things have changed.” Steve sighed, it felt like the world had just changed too much. “So, how long have you and Tori been married.”

“4 fantastic years. We got married in 2015, not long after the nationwide ruling. It was just a happy coincidence that the ruling was announced so soon before the ceremony. We had the ceremony planned for that July since we proposed.” Lily smiled, it was the happiest day of her life. “Next thing you know it’s 2019 and we’ve been married four years, and have a kid.” She was tearing up at the sheer joy her life had brought.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but how does that work?” Steve asked as quietly as possible. 

Lily’s face jumped around for a little bit. She felt a little uncomfortable, but understood where (and when) he was coming from. “Okay let's establish some rules. You can ask me anything, and I won’t judge you or anything like that. However, let’s keep those kinds of questions between you and me. You can call me, or text me, whenever you need. I’ll clear anything up for you, you just don’t ask other people these kinds of questions. Deal?” Lily asked sticking out her hand.

“Deal.” Steve shook on it. She was reminded of the sheer size of the man sitting across from her. His hand was more than twice the size of hers.

“Okay so, there’s a couple of ways that same-sex couples can have kids. Tori and I chose to adopt. Now a days people can use artificial insemination, which is like where they use science to make a baby. Plenty of people do that, not even just because they’re gay.” 

“Okay so gay people can just, live their life. Like just go out, and not have to worry?”

“Well not quite, some people still aren’t quite accepting and it can be a whole thing if you like hold hands and stuff. There’s still some legal troubles and don’t get me started on the president, that asshole is trying to make things harder. But pretty much things are okay.”

June brought out Lily's coffee, "I grabbed you some of that syrup you like to put in your coffee, you foul beast."

Lily poured the syrup in almost complete, awkward silence. She was worried that she had blown the whole thing. What was she thinking, signing up to work for the man. And who did she think she was? No one person should explain history to this man. She continued to overthink things and indulge her anxiety until Steve began to confront his. 

"So let's say that you were hypothetically attracted to women." Steve said very slowly.

Lily thought "not quite hypothetical" but just nodded along instead.

"And you were also -completely hypothetically- attracted to men." He added so quietly and slowly she was not sure if she had heard him right. She began to understand what the look in his eye was.

"Well, that's more than okay. There's plenty of people who are bisexual." She took his giant hands. She remembered being young and confused once too, she could not even imagine what not knowing what those feelings were for 80 years could even feel like.

"That's what that's called 'bisexual'?"  He asked smiling. It was wider and more genuine than any of the photos she had seen. He finally dropped some of the tension in his shoulders too.

"Yep, bisexuality is a wonderful thing." She let go of his hand but gave him a few taps.

June brought out the food at the perfect time, huge revelations can make a person hungry.

"So you never answered my question. What does Steve Rogers the man -not the myth- like to do?" Lily asked.

"Well like I said, the man hasn't gotten a chance to figure it out." Seve took a big bite from his burger. He had ended up ordering two more, because of his superhuman metabolism.

"New Steve's not too different from Old Steve. What did Pre-Cap like to do?"

"Oh my God, Buck would tell you fighting. My god was I a punk. Little tiny guy, and I'd fight anything that moves." He reminisced, Lily would be lying if she didn't notice how happy he looked mentioning bucky. "I guess other than being a punk, I loved art. I was going to be an artist before the whole…" he gestured to his body.

"Well it's good we're in DC, we've got like 17 museums in the Smithsonian alone." She laughed. "That's not a half bad idea. Tomorrow, me, you, National Gallery. After HR, we need to make sure you don’t do anything you’ll regret."

"What?" Steve asked confused.

"A lot has changed obviously. The world is very different, and the way people are interacting is very very different. Or at least it should be. You’re a good man Steve, you wouldn’t do anything to hurt someone. That doesn’t mean what you do won’t hurt anyone though.” Lily did her best to explain. She was proud the world was changing, and she was proud she got to help change it. She also knows it could be difficult to learn, if you weren’t open to learning. She had never met anyone so excited to learn. “As for the museum, what better way to teach you history than through art? Art reflects the time it was created!" 

"That sounds really great, thank you, Lily."

"What else do you like to do? Besides to wear sweaters that are too tight?" She teased lightly.

"Well I'm sorry shield doesn't have super soldier sized shirts, and the poor intern in charge of picking clothes doesn't exactly know what to get me." 

"Okay so as soon as we're done here we're going to make a trip to the mall, get you some clothes. It should not be a 17 year old’s job to buy you tshirts and underwear that is ridiculous. Oh and I'll take you to Michael's, your brains gonna EXPLODE!"

"Dr. Dimano you're being too nice." Steve chuckled. It was clear he was tensing up and worried that she was just doing this out of pity. No one had shown him that kind of kindness in a very long time.

"No, I'm being decent. You're just not used to people treating you as more than a weapon." Lily said with the kind of determination that left no room to argue. “Too nice would be offering to pay for your fourth hamburger. No this is going on the SHEILD credit card I was given.”

Steve laughed at that. They continued to get to know each other. Steve talked more about Bucky, a little about Peggy. He had just visited her and he was a little worried. She let him talk. He asked her about Victoria and Emmeline. Lily showed him pictures and videos.

“While I can’t offer you copious amounts of meats, would you like to come over to my house for dinner?" Lily gave him a look that told him he had a choice but he didn’t, one only a mother could give."I’m sorry, you’ve just awoken the Filipino mother in me and I will not stop worrying about you.”

“Lily, if you are just doing this out of pity-”

“Steven Rogers if I just pitied you and not genuinely cared about you we would be in that meeting room, talking about the revolutionary war while I tried to be relatable.” Lily was only half kidding. “Besides, I could use the help with cooking. Emmeline is a picky eater.”

“Well as long as Victoria won’t mind.”