Like staying up until two am on a night where I have to work the next day because I have suddenly and overwhelmingly become obsessed with writing a canon and Boston appropriate Steve/Tony college AU.
In which Steve was part of Project Rebirth, but went straight into the field, he never became a symbol, and he never became a super hero. He was just an unstoppable soldier, an urban legend amongst the allies, without a name, so the allies just called him the American Captain, or Captain America.
After he went down at sea, any record of him or Rebirth was buried, and most modern scholars consider the stories of Captain America to be just battlefield gossip on the part of shell-shocked soldiers.
When Steve is recovered, SHIELD is outmanuevered by the military, and Steve finds himself being held by the Army as they attempt to determine what should happen with him. Presenting him as a soldier returning to college on the GI bill, the Army enrolls Steve in the arts program at Boston University, where a combination of an unfamiliar landscape and an ROTC program gives them an excuse to keep him in society, but with a firm boot on his neck until they can figure out what to do with him.
Meanwhile, Howard Stark has declined rapidly since his hayday and at this point is a barely functioning alcoholic. He remains the public owner of StarkIndustries, but is a reclusive ‘genius’ instead of a hard partying captain of industry. Incapable of working on anything of note, he’s a figurehead only.
Obie recognized and cultivated Tony’s talent, and Tony has been StarkIndustries primary weapons designer since the age of 11. Because this is EXTREMELY QUESTIONABLE BUSINESS PRACTICES, he never went to boarding school, never became a rich partying scion of the Stark family.
At age 15, desperate to escape his father’s drunken rages and Obie’s smothering control, Tony manages to finagle his way into MIT, where he is registered and is known as Tony Edwards. Anthony Stark, more a footnote on certain social registers and society pages, is left behind as Tony tries to focus his work on the failed Arc Reactor prototype.
MIT is on the MBTA’s red line. Boston University is on the green line. They meet at the Park Street Station, where the transfer between the red line’s subway cars and the green line’s trolleys is a series of convoluted stairways. Tony prefers the green line, where everything is mechanical and sharp, where you can hear the wheels and a sharp turn through traffic will send half the riders stumbling. Steve prefers the red line, where the subway is dark beyond the windows and he can pretend he’s anywhere, where the city above is invisible and faceless and he can pretend that he’s home.
I AM WRITING A COLLEGE AU ABOUT SUBWAY LINES SOMEONE STOP ME.