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Antiques of S.H.I.E.l.D.

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"You mean to tell me that you haven't ever heard of it? Ever? Oh, man, come on. We are watching it right now. I recorded my favorite episode on DVR and burned it onto a DVD. I can’t believe you’ve never heard of it." 

It all started when Trip was explaining to Skye about the plan to destroy the underground. Which led to Skye asking about what other Howling Commando stuff Trip might have, which led to him showing her some more of his collection.

But that, in and of itself, was fine. The mistake- or fortuity, depending on how you saw it- happened when Skye wondered about how much Howling Commando stuff was still out there.

That is when Skye found out what her boyfriend, Agent Antoine “Trip” Triplett’s favorite television show of all time was.

Antiques Roadshow.

This revelation from Agent Triplett brought a blank stare to Skye’s face.

“What’s that?”

I’m going to go ahead and break a wall or two here because I figure if you have found this piece of writing, then you are at least a little bit like me. So what I want you to do right now is imagine how YOU would react if your significant other had never heard of your favorite television show.

Trip acted exactly the same way.

In other words, he started fangirling about aforementioned favorite show. Which was apparently his favorite mainly because of aforementioned favorite episode: A special on WWII era memorabilia and 'militaria' from members of the (in)famous Howling Commando unit.

And the most obvious solution to the problem of Skye not knowing about Antiques Roadshow was to get her to watch it. Right that very second.

Skye let herself be dragged by Trip to the rec room.

After inserting the DVD, Trip and Skye cuddled up under a blanket to enjoy the episode, Trip practically vibrating with excitement as a man named Mike Walberg introduced the program.

A cheery ragtime-y tune started playing with the title scene. Skye thought she could hear Trip humming along with it. She rolled her eyes. This was going to be just as bad as when Simmons got her to watch an episode of Doctor Who. Although she had to admit that Martha was a bad-ass.  

“We get a lot of Militaria coming through the doors of our Roadshow. Less often we get something from a well-known name in history. In this special, we have gathered together some finds that revolve around a very famous group from World War Two- the 107th, better known as The Howling Commandos, led by Captain Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America. Let’s go see what find we have.”

The scene switches to two people sitting around a table with an old poster portraying Captain America on it. The poster is a little worn around the edges and has a stain the color of Rhubarb pie. It has two signatures on it.

“So tell me where you got this poster. It has quite a story behind it.”

“I got if from my mother when she died, a few years back.” Said a middle aged woman. “She went to one of the Captain America shows in New Jersey, and was able to get it signed by Captain Rogers.”

“But that’s not the only signature that’s on here, though.”

“No, it’s not. And that’s the fun part. After the war, my mother became friends with an English woman named Peggy. They lived in the same building for awhile, and eventually my mother, Angie, found out that her friend was actually working for the government. She put two and two together about what unit Peggy worked with during the war. When she asked Peggy about it, she signed the poster.”

“That’s excellent. That unit, of course, was the 107th, who worked closely with the SSR to bring down the Nazi science division HYDRA. Agent Peggy Carter was an agent in the SSR who served both during and after the war until the SSR disbanded and absorbed into other government agencies.”

“Right off the bat I can pretty much guarantee that the signature from Captain America is legitimate. His signature is very easy to legitimize. However, the reason for that is because he signed so many items. This is bad news for you, because it devalues the signature, but still, the fact that it has the signature is what gives it worth. There is also damage on the poster: some staining, the border has some tears. This also decreases the value.”

“However, you have something very unique here. Right now, more historians are becoming interested in the greater workings of the SSR. Howard Stark manufactured weapons for the SSR, and part of the investigation that went into the attempt to discover who kidnapped his son Tony earlier this year, uncovered some previously overlooked information that is causing quite a buzz in the historic community. The SSR was apparently tasked in finding some of Howard Stark’s stolen inventions, and Agent Peggy Carter was believed to be directly involved-”

Trip paused the program.

“Ok. Now stop listening to that dude and start listening to me, because there is a lot wrong with the next bit, because it was all still classified until SHIELD fell apart.” he unpaused but kept on talking over the man. “The branch of the SSR that Peggy was part of was not trying to do anything but find Howard Stark and prove he was a traitor because they thought he was selling his weapons to Russia. Then Peggy, badass SHIELD founder that she is..."

Skye knew this, of course. It was in the S.H.I.E.L.D. handbook, right after the chapter about HYDRA being evil nazis. But she didn't want to ruin Trip's fun, so she let him continue on.

"Oh! but now the man’s stopped telling the US government’s attempts to cover shit up, so pay attention.”

“... but Carter’s signature does seem to be genuine. It definitely matches what we have seen of it on released government documents. And that is excellent news. Not only because it definitely confirms a great family story, but because it adds value to the piece. Now a mint condition poster of Captain America with an autograph I’ve seen go for around 450 dollars. There isn’t much of a market right now for Captain America items. However, that second autograph is extremely rare, Peggy Carter became extremely mysterious in the 1950s, and historians love her. I would estimate that if this were in mint condition, if would go for around 550 to 600 dollars. With the damage, I would estimate this to be sold for around 400 to 500 dollars.”

“Wow. Well, I think it’s sort of part of the family history now. I don’t have any plans to sell it.”

“I don’t blame you! It’s a great story.”   

A little treasure chest with the selling estimate price comes across the scene with a little chiming sound and sparkles, while the people continued talking in the background.  

“Has anyone told you you’re a big nerd, Mr. Triplett?” Skye said, laying her head on his shoulder.

“Nah, girl. They’re all too stunned by my good looks to notice.”

“Good thing I like you for both.”

"I wouldn’t have it any other way." He said, pulling her close and kissing the top of her head.

The show cut to a new item on screen, this time, a teddy bear. It looked vaguely like the mass produced Bucky Bears that were being re-released now that Captain America was announced alive again, but the nose was different, and the coat as well; the normal red accents were just the same blue color.

"Where did you get this?"

"My grandfather was a toy manufacturer, and happened to be put in charge of the creation of the Bucky Bear. This was when the design of the comic book incarnation was first being developed, so while they were designing the costume for the character, they were designing the Bears concurrently, testing them out in limited markets to see how well they sold before settling on a final design. This is one of the prototypes for the bear."

"Wow. Well, what you have here is a very rare item. We get various incarnations of the Bucky Bear coming through here. The one released for the 25th anniversary of VE-day are especially common. Our research tell us that there were only around 150 of any prototype bears sold, and that is a very limited amount. And this bear is in excellent condition. If I were to make an estimate, I would say that this is worth around-"

"Is this the Howling Commando special of Antiques Roadshow?!"

The couple turned around to see Phil Coulson, staring at the tv with what Skye would refer to as heart eyes. They stared at Phil. He looked at them when they didn’t answer.  

"Is it?" He sounded a bit like an excited puppy.

"Uhhh... Yeah." Trip said, somewhat awkwardly, as he had, a few seconds ago, been thinking about pulling Skye onto his lap. But he couldn't do that in front of her dad the director. As it is, being caught how they were, cuddled up with his arm around her, this was likely going to earn them lots and lots of teasing later on from the team.

“I looked for a long for one of those bears. I have the other three bear prototypes, as well as all the mass-produced ones from throughout the years. That’s the only one I’m missing. I have quite the collection.”

“I bet I have something that you would trade your whole collection for.” Trip replied.

“I would never trade my collection for anything other than bringing Rogers back to life, and that happened without me needing to trade it away.”

“You don’t know what I have.”

Skye could see Coulson’s brain working on trying to figure out what Trip could have that was worth that much. Skye wondered herself what Trip could have that was worth that much. Coulson loved his Captain America collection. She think’s Cap would eat his Shield before Coulson traded his collection away.

“No. There is no way you have something that valuable.”

Trip paused the program and turned to Coulson, probably only to add dramatic effect. It worked.

“I own a charcoal drawing, done by Steve Rogers, of all the Commandos, complete with a landscape background, and signed with ‘Cap S.G.R.’, and a date and location written on the back.”

Coulson’s eyes widened and his jaw fell open. Trip grinned and leaned back in satisfaction.

“Well. I was just proven wrong.” Coulson said after he regained the ability to speak.

Skye looked between them, completely lost.

“How is one drawing worth all the different Bucky Bears in the world?”

Trip and Coulson shared a look. “That’s why we needed to watch this episode, sir.” Trip said seriously.

“Fast forward to the sketchbook.” Coulson said, sitting down on an armchair. Trip picked up the remote and fast forwarded. Skye saw as they rushed past some comic books, a movie reel, and some photographs. Finally, the screen cut to what looked like a journal. Trip pressed play.

“-a sketchbook filled with drawings by Captain Rogers. What you have is very unique, as very little of his art survived, and the majority of that is sketches done during the war, sent home to Sergeant Barnes’ family. The school that Captain Rogers went to threw the work he had out when he dropped out to take care of his ailing mother, and while we know he was employed to do some sketches for newspapers, it is unknown which he did. Where did you get this?”

“My mother worked as a USO girl during the war. She was one of the ones who came over with Captain Rogers to the front. When he was transferred from the USO to the 107th, this was a departing gift to all the girls. He had several sketches from the tour that he told the girls to spread amongst themselves, so there are a few torn out pages.”

“Can I open it?”  

“Go ahead!”

The curator carefully opens the notebook to the middle. There is a dancing monkey on the right and a map of Italy overlain with a train on the left.

“Fitz is going to be ecstatic when I tell him Captain America is a fan of monkeys.” Skye says.

“The great thing about this notebook is that it has some silly bits as well” The woman explained. “Captain Rogers was always a very real person for me. My mom told me some stories growing up about their life in the USO. She ended up marrying one of the men that Captain Rogers rescued. So it’s really thanks to Captain America that I exist!”

“This is wonderful!” The curator replied, flipping through the sketches slowly. “Some of these are the most complete drawings that I have seen. You have something really special here. A couple of the sketches we have recovered have gone for six hundred to one thousand dollars each. It’s almost a shame that there are pictures torn out, because if it were whole, I think the whole collection together would go for more, since it has a history that we could put into context. As it is, I think it still has more worth together than it would be if you took it apart and sold the images individually. I would estimate this to be worth around twelve to eighteen thousand dollars, because there are so many sketches.”

“Wow. That’s incredible!”

“To have some of his art! Can you imagine!” Coulson sighed.

“I don’t have to.” Trip gloated. “ But the real story about how the USO girl got the notebook is better, though.”

“The real story?”

“Yeah, the USO girls stole it. In retaliation for Steve going AWOL to find Barnes.”

“They stole it?”

“Steve let them keep it as an apology when he got back. The girls were apparently all really protective of him. They had him pretty whipped, as well. He got teased a lot about that. But then, according to grandad, they all got whipped. But then when the girls got back to the states they sent the Commandos a huge care package for them to share.”

“That is so cool.” Skye said. “A.C! Do we ever get to meet the Avengers? I need to meet Cap.”

“Well… There’s the issue with that. They still think I’m dead.”

“Can’t you just tell them you’re alive?”

“It’d be best if they didn’t know.”

“Uhg. Trip, restart this and tell me all the stories you know relating to each item. Coulson, you should call a mandatory team bonding meeting. Everyone needs to know about this.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Trip said, grin on his face. Coulson hurried off to get the rest of the team.

“You know this was originally a British show.” Jemma said when the rest of the team had gathered.

“It doesn’t matter, Jemma. The Howling Commandos are, uuum, pffffff. What’s the word. Universal.” Fitz replied

“Are we going to talk about how this is essentially a boring version of Pawn Stars?” Hunter claimed

“This was around for at least 30 years before Pawn Stars started. But I agree that Pawn Stars is pretty great. Except for that one time when one of our retired agents tried selling a prototype weapon to them. That paperwork was not fun.” Coulson replied.

“To be fair, the stories you guys are telling make this show a billion times more interesting.” Bobbi commented.

“Oh. I think I remember processing that one. It was certainly a highlight. But not as good as Sitwell’s report on the Chitauri weapon that was missing.” May said.

“Trip really has the inside scoop for that.” Mack agreed with Bobbi.

“I feel a lot better about tasing Sitwell now that we know he was HYDRA.” Jemma said

“Shush guys, I’m trying to watch.” Skye complained.

The group, thankfully, listened to Skye, as Trip continued to lecture her on how the Commandos carried around a Bucky Bear that was shot more than they were. Until Dernier gutted it and used it as a bomb, that is.

Trip’s granddad was apparently a very talkative drunk.