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(Un) Surprisingly Better

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Staying in Wakanda was not as Steve expected.

It wasn't bad, per se, but it wasn't comfortable either. After the so-called "Civil War" Steve and his team were considered terrorists around the world, and they had nowhere to turn to. King T'challa offered Wakanda up as a temporary solution, but it was clear he wasn't doing it out of the goodness of his heart. T'challa agreed to help Bucky as much as he could. Steve was glad, really, grateful for the king's understanding. But T'challa's kindness ended with Bucky. Towards the rest of them, the king was dismissive and curt. He didn't say much to them if he could help it, and he mostly avoided them around the palace.

Steve knows better than to mistake the king's actions for actually wanting Steve's team in Wakanda. T'challa wanted to contain them. To prevent the remains of Steve's team from causing any further damage.  They have caused nothing but problems for the young ruler, who recently lost his father and had to deal with his new position, along with the fallout of the Avengers. The Civil War and the accords shone an unwanted light over the previously discreet country, and Steve knew that T'challa's only option was to house them in Wakanda for the foreseeable future. 

The team and himself spend most of their time sulking. There aren't many better things to do. Natasha left them after the fight at the airport in Germany, but she came back to Wakanda, not telling anyone about her mysterious vacation. Barton was solemn, bitterly missing his family. Steve sympathized, of course, but chose not to deal with him because of his foul mood.

Lang was still weird. He too missed his family but that didn't stop him from acting like an over-eager puppy. He didn't spend much time with them, and Steve couldn't find the will to learn more about the man. He hated himself a bit for it, after all, Lang has stood beside him as they fought Tony's team. Then again Scott, like Clint, has made a choice to join Steve.  

Wanda spends most of her time thinking about Vision or expressing her views regarding Stark. She wasn't very subtle about the hatred she felt towards Tony, claiming he is responsible for her parents' death and their dire situation. On some days, Steve wanted to reprimand her for it, it wouldn't be good for the team, once they all reunite, to let the wound fester. On other days, Steve wants to agree. It is the disagreement with Tony that led them to escape after all. The billionaire's inability to see reason and work with a team came through this time.

Sam approaches him, he has been sitting at the corner of the room, and he had just about enough of watching Steve think himself to death. "Hey, you hungry man? It's been a while since breakfast, I'm starving." Sam thought the mention of food might give Steve a momentary distraction.

Steve blinked at him slowly, as if he was still caught up in his thoughts. He then seemed to comprehend Sam's suggestion. "Not really hungry, Sam. But you should go grab lunch with the others."

"Steve, this isn't healthy. You shouldn't isolate yourself so much. The team is already enough on edge as it is, we need your leadership, Captain."

Steve looked incredulously at Sam. "I know, you're right. I just am a little homesick, that's all."

"It's fine, Steve. But stop acting as if you've given up, it's rubbing off on the rest of the team." When Steve doesn't look convinced, Sam continues, "Natasha isn't here, so I'll take her role as being the person to give it to you straight." Sam straightened and made himself appear more serious. "Get off your ass. Stop sulking, it won't change what happened. Be a damn leader."

Steve huffed at him, as if annoyed. "You are an awful Natasha. But the face you made was close."

"Well, she always got to you better, that's for sure. And I know right! My face was totally deadly right now."

Steve smiles at him and chuckles. "Yeah, I'm still shaken." He deadpanned.  "The offer to grab lunch still stands?" He adds.

Satisfied with his attempt to lighten the mood, Sam smiles at Steve and says, "Sure man, let's go, have I mentioned I'm starving?". He turned around and started walking towards the door, but before he could reach it, one of the king's guards beat him to it and came into the room.

"The king has important news regarding your stay in Wakanda. He requested to see you at the throne, I was sent to escort you out."

They glanced at each other, and then Steve said "Ok… Sure. The rest of our team is in their rooms, let us jus-"

"The rest of your team is already being escorted to the king's chambers as we speak, now if you would please." She motioned for them to start exiting the room, and they obeyed silently.

Steve doesn't know how to feel about this. For some reason, it seems like the guards radiate an aura of satisfaction. Considering their openly expressed thoughts about Steve's team, this can't be good. Sam lightly fidgets when they get to T'challa's throne and wait for his verdict. In T'challa's chamber, the rest of the team is silently and impatiently waiting for the king to speak.  

"Captain Rogers, Mr. Wilson." T'challa nods at them. "As you are the last to join us, I will present the matter at hand." The king looks determined and firm, which doesn't actually clue Steve into his emotions or motives. One of the things Steve finds admirable about T'challa is that he cuts straight to the chase.

"I am pleased to inform you that you have been pardoned by the U.S government. Effective immediately. You will all collect your personal belongings and will return to U.S soil by tonight."

Steve is shell-shocked. He's pretty sure that his mouth is dumbly hanging open, countless questions waiting on the tip of his tongue. Why are they being pardoned? Who's responsible for it? What are they supposed to do once they land back in the U.S? Are they still Avengers, or will they be arrested the second they land?

T'challa saves him the need to get over himself and voice any of his concerns. "I'm sure you harbor important questions in regard to your delicate situation. You shall not worry, the team issued to get you back home will answer everything you have to ask. Now, if you would please, I have a country to run."

Steve is still frozen, processing. Sam is the one to tug at his arm and respond to the king "Of course, we won't waste your time, your Majesty. Thank you for informing us." He then drags Steve back out, and the rest of the team follows them.

They are all, much like Steve, in different stages of shock. Except for Natasha who seems unaffected by the news, but then again, she's never affected by anything. They don't speak until they reach back their accommodations, they just separate from each other and start packing quietly.