Steve thought that the super soldier serum had been a creation all its own, making him one of a kind once Erskine was assassinated. Bar some miracle or recreation of a serum whose formula had been created from memory, he wouldn’t see anyone quite like himself with the exception of Red Skull.
Which is why meeting Paul Parsons the Seventh is an oddity in and of itself.
The Howling Commandos had started providing backup for troops backed into tight spots between taking down Hydra bases. Unpleasant as it was, the battles brought back a sense of normalcy to a war being fought with energy weapons and a vibranium shield. Steve likes doing what he can to turn the tides and ensure that the majority of men are able to make it back to the states.
Though the current hail of gunfire keeping him from joining the fray is making Steve rethink a few of his most recent life choices. Like telling Bucky he could handle himself if they went on ahead and started setting up the next makeshift base.
Help comes in the form of a white uniform emblazoned with the sigil of a glowing lantern, dented helmet, and goggles that obscure the upper half of a smiling face.
“Need some assistance,” The man cocks his head to the side, observing Steve critically before his eyes land on the symbolic shield. “Captain, nice to put a face to the name. Come on, the boys can’t move forward until we push back their lines.”
Even more of an optimist than himself, Steve notes. Bucky would be baffled. “Trying soldier, but the shield can only cover so much until I’m Swiss cheese.”
“Fair enough. I’ll run distraction then, yeah, and you’ll move to the other side?”
And before Steve can even agree or question exactly how the other man plans on being a distraction without getting himself killed, he’s crouching and pushing himself off the ground with enough momentum to propel himself into the air…and staying there.
The stranger’s actually flying - full blown out flying, not hovering a couple inches off the ground like the car at the Stark Exposition - drawing gunfire his way as all attention turns towards the soldier capable of flight. Steve can’t really blame them, going slack jawed and wasting precious time before he’s able to scramble to his feet and take full advantage of what has to be one of the strangest distractions during a fight that he’s ever seen. Because certain people can fly now apparently.
The skirmish doesn’t last long after Steve crosses no man’s land and the flying soldier makes a flashy landing before throwing himself in the fray. They work well in tandem, covering one another’s openings before either of them can get too scraped up. Not that Steve’s worried about himself with his accelerated healing and all and once he sees the other guy shrug off a couple of bullets that only graze against his uniform he figures that neither of them are too concerned about the prospect of lasting injuries.
They don’t get another chance to talk until the other side has made a tactful retreat and the troop the soldier is with starts patching up their wounded - starting with Steve finding the other soldier walking amongst the injured and helping out the medics when he can.
“Got a moment?” This doesn’t have to be a private conversation, but Steve doesn’t know how much his fellow soldiers know about the other man - even if it is a given that they’ve witnessed him flying before since no one seems to be freaking out.
And the man doesn’t seem to mind being pulled away. “Sure! Always a pleasure to talk to fellow captains, even if the title is honorary.”
Now Steve had the man’s rank at least. The white uniform doesn’t have a name patch, just the emblazoned lantern - making him hard to identify by anyone not in the loop. Like Steve. Who’s still trying to get past his own super soldier abilities without having to add a flying soldier who can take bullets to the chest and remain unscathed into the mix.
Organizing his questions into several categories, Steve finds a quiet corner of the camp where they won’t be interrupted unless there’s an emergency.
The man beats him to the punch.
“Captain Rogers, Paul Parsons the Seventh.” He starts jovially, extending a hand for a firm shake that rivals Steve’s strength. “You’re one of Erskine’s, huh?”
“How’d you know about that?”
Another cheerful smile as Paul tucks his helmet under his arm and tugs the goggles down around his neck. “I met him about two years back, nice guy. He was interested in replicating what I can do and his heart was in the right place.”
Steve is completely dumbfounded. Paul knew Erskine and at least had basic knowledge on the super serum…and Erskine was interested in what he could do. The only thing he’d seen Paul do was fly and take a bullet like a real champ.
“Anyway, how is the old man? I knew he was doing a little something with his research and was excited about a subject he had high hopes for. You, I’m guessing.”
Erskine had said that the serum made good men great, and Paul seemed like a stand up guy. The kind of guy that would end up in back alley brawls to defend someone’s honor if it came down to it. The scientist had practically admitted that Steve had reminded him of someone that he’d met before. “He’s uhh…he’s dead. Sorry. He was killed by a Hydra agent.”
Paul’s expression falls at the news, quickly making plans to visit the man’s grave once he got back home. “Condolences. Erskine was a good man.”
“Yeah, he was.” Steve’s brows furrow in thought. “So you’re…”
“The guy the serum was based on, yeah, that’s me. Well, my old man too.”
“Your old man could fly and take a bullet?”
Paul laughs and rubs the back of his neck. “Yeah, I inherited from my pops. The flying is new though, bullet taking is from earlier in the family line and it isn’t a long lasting ability. I can only negate the one.”
If Steve weren’t capable of his own superhuman feats, apparently because of Paul and his father, he’d be in a state of disbelief. “You inherited the ability to fly…from your father. Is that, like, just a thing you do?”
“In the Parson family? Sure, first born inherits past abilities and adds something new into the equation.”
“So you can do something your old man can’t? What…can you shoot laser beams out of your eyes?”
“Close, but sorry to disappoint,” chuckles Paul. “I’ve just got a keen sense of sight. I can get a bird’s eye view when I’m up in the air, makes for a good lookout for incoming paratroopers.”
This…was a little beyond Steve’s comprehension. And between him and Bucky, he was the one with an open mind so saying that he was completely baffled by the idea of inherited superpowers was really saying something. “…How? Just…how?”
“Furthering my father’s legacy,” is Paul’s response, tapping the insignia on his chest. “And his father before him, going all the way back to the American Revolution.”
Now that sounded familiar. His old man had fought in the first war, wrote back to his wife fantastical stories about a man that could fly and wore a silver ring engraved with their family motto that dated back to the start of America. Sarah Rogers had just thought he was trying to keep her fears at bay with someone who was larger than life - the first hero.
“Your old man was Legacy…the Legacy.” Steve gapes. Bucky was going to be green with envy once he told the Commandos that he’d met Legacy’s son.
“Yeah, now I have the mantle and I’ll hopefully pass it down to my first born once I settle down after the war.”
They chat a little more, Paul providing some insight into what past generations of Parsons have lent Steve their abilities via the serum. His past is so tightly coiled within the history of their nation that it’s a wonder he hasn’t heard more about the Parsons before now. The night ends with Steve heading out to join the Commandos and Paul offering to lend a hand in taking down Hydra should he ever need it. That and a shared promise to meet up once they were stateside.
One week later and Steve crashes a plane into the Arctic.
When he’s woken up decades later and told that the world has changed a lot since he went down, Steve doesn’t expect any miracles. A good portion of his old friends are dead and gone so it shouldn’t be surprising that Paul Parsons the Seventh isn’t in the picture.
Still, he’s saddened that he missed his dance with Peggy and couldn’t hold to his promise to meet up with Paul after the war.
It doesn’t take more than a couple of days to learn that his son is proudly furthering his father’s legacy, silver band around his finger as he dedicates himself to keeping the world safe.