"Oh crap." Some of the batter spilled on the floor just as the pancakes needed flipping. "Steve, can you wipe that with a paper towel?" Sam turned back to the pancakes. One of this favorite parts of having a new running buddy is getting to make breakfast for someone afterwards. He likes feeding people, especially superheroes who sit awkwardly in his kitchen behaving like a normal awkward guy instead of some motherfuckin’ legend.
"The … paper towel?"
"Yeah buddy, on the table over there." Sam briefly registered Steve stooping to clean up the batter, and then spending a long time washing his hands. It wasn’t until he turned around with a plate full of pancakes that he caught Steve holding up a damp (but clean) paper towel.
"The paper towel. I’ve rinsed it. Where should I hang it?"
Sam’s not quite sure how to respond. “Steve…. I usually just throw those away.”
"Oh." Sam could see Steve trying to recover, pretend that’s what he meant to do all along. "Of course." Steve looked like he was tossing a five dollar bill in the trash, and not just a paper towel.
Sam handed him the plate of pancakes and had enough experience with this sort of thing to let Steve think for a bit as they ate.
"So you can just throw paper away…" Steve started, but then stopped.
"Yeah, it’s always the little things, isn’t it?" Sam said between bites. "When I first got back I swear I spent a whole day just in the grocery store, looking at people buying food." Steve looked guilty, in a way that only Steve could about skulking around the frozen food aisle, so Sam changed the subject.
"I’m surprised it’s taken you this long — don’t you use paper towels to dry your hands in the SHIELD bathrooms?" Then, thinking back to his grandma, he clapped his thigh excitedly, "You’ve got handkerchiefs, don’t you? Come on, show me."
With some chagrin, Steve pulled out of his pocket a neatly folded and ironed handkerchief, with the letters “S. Rogers” simply and precisely stitched in one corner. “I guess I don’t need this anymore, huh.”
"Nah, it’s fine, man. My grandma still does this stuff. Saves all the soap slivers to mush into a new soap… thing. Ties old socks into a mop. Living through the Depression does that to people." Sam continued, "Besides,that’s way more environmental. Maybe I should be the one using fewer paper towels. So do you wash those by hand?"
"Of course. We old folks didn’t have washing machines during the war." There was something weird about Steve’s smile when he said that.
Sam thought about the thousands of crisp clean uniforms in all those war propaganda films. No way all that was done by hand. “Bullshit, I’m sure you had washing machines back then. If not you, at least the army. It was the 1940s, not the 1800s.” What was Steve trying to pull?
Steve gave him a look. Sam held his gaze and chewed his mouthful of pancake with slow deliberation. Sam is very good at awkward yet earnest staring contests.
Steve broke his gaze and got up to get more pancakes. “Actually, Bucky’s family had a washing machine — they could afford one. After, mom, well, passed away, he would use that as an excuse for me to visit him more often, but I preferred doing things myself, so…” The way Steve was talking, It was as if Sam had passed some secret friend test.
"Hey, you want some sausages to go with that?" Sam loved feeding people, and this breakfast was far from over.
If the second half seems especially weird, it’s because it’s sort of a sequel to this. ::shrug::