“He’s not nearly good enough for you,” the Bartonbelle sniffed in Tony’s ear. Tony stopped working on his latest creation made of tire rubber and splints from palm trees - it was going to be a base for a robot, all right, it was a work in progress - and he whipped his head around to look directly at the tiny fairy hovering in the air.
“What? Who? You?” Tony taunted, lifting his head in the air like he vaguely remembered the very haughty, proper mothers of so long ago doing when they saw him covered in grease. “Yeah, you aren’t nearly good enough for me, I don’t know why I let you hang around.” Clint frowned and flew into Tony’s hair in the next moment, pulling roughly at the strands until tears pricked in the corners of his brown eyes. “All right, I take it back! You can stay, you vicious little sprite!” Clint flew back in front of his face, arms crossed and expression smugly satisfied.
“Fairy, not sprite.” Clint glared for good measure as Tony rubbed the top of his scalp. “I’ve told you at least a dozen times.”
“But it’s so fun to wind Phil up when I call him that, you have to admit it.” Tony grinned and Clint shrugged noncommittally, purple wings beating to keep him at eye level.
“Steve still isn’t worth your attention,” Clint said stubbornly, returning to the original point and derailing Tony’s idea of asking why Clint wasn’t leaping to make fun of the more responsible fairy as they usually did. Tony sighed instead. They would probably end up arguing over this, just like last week, and Clint would fly off in a snit and Tony wouldn’t see him for at least a few hours, maybe not even the whole night. Tony had been really worried about the little creature when that had happened, even though he knew the effect of those frog-poison-tipped arrows (Tony had designed them, after all) and knew that no one in the forest region of the island of Stark could trap his friend. Which didn’t explain why Clint kept ending up in the Red, the area that bordered the forest and the water - only Natasha lived there and she scared Tony something awful.
Natasha was fierce, always ready to fight at the slightest provocation. Tony had found out the hard way pinning her to the ground in wrestling moves he’d learned from Rhodey and Happy wouldn’t work; she was a slippery thing, probably part mermaid, Tony wouldn’t be surprised to learn. Plus, she was a girl, which automatically should have lowered her in Tony’s eyes but it was hard to think of someone who could make him cry ‘uncle’ in under two minutes as beneath him. She had a soft spot for the foul-mouthed fairy Tony hung around with, Tony didn’t want to try and figure out their relationship.
Thinking about the redhead always made Tony think of his favorite redhead, Pepper the mermaid. Sure she had a bad habit of chastising him - she really liked to finger wag over Tony’s habitual lateness, a trait Tony did not think looked good on the half-fish woman - but he couldn’t deny that their banter was excellent, almost as good as when he and Clint got going about Captain Loki’s latest close call to escape the clutches of the hammer-wielding crocodile named Thor.
Tony didn’t know the full story behind that antagonistic relationship - it had been going on far before Tony had arrived on the island - but Pepper and Phil had both told him that it had to do with the hammer Thor held in a scaly paw and a fight for power over a throne of a faraway land that could only be reached by the third star to the left and if you kept on going, because Asgard was somewhere over the rainbow bridge. But really, that was just a rumor and Tony didn’t put much stock in things he couldn’t tinker with or fix himself.
“Steve’s a swell guy, all right?” Tony said defensively. Clint rolled his eyes and flew over to his perch in the corner, settling down on the small cushion.
“You’re using his lingo, fer chrissake!” Clint’s glare tried to bore a hole through Tony’s forehead, he could feel it. “He’s got his way too serious little brother stumbling around after him, too. I doubt you’d want Bruce poking at all your creations, leaving sticky jammy fingerprints everywhere.” Tony winced at the idea. Bruce was awfully enamored with the mint jelly Rhodey had unearthed from somewhere and he left a green smear on everything he touched.
“He’s not that bad once you get to know him!”
“Why would you want to know him?!” Clint cried out. “The boy wears suspenders!”
“Like your purple vest is any better a fashion choice,” Tony replied snidely, even though he’d been the one to bribe Pepper into making it from dozens of clam shell shards. “Anyway, I’m seeing him tonight. We’ve got plans, Steve promised he’d help me lure Thor into the latest port where Sleipnir is docked.”
“Did he promise, or did you just ask if he wanted to join you?” Phil’s voice in his ear made Tony jump in the air and Clint cackled with glee at the surprise. “We all know that Steve won’t say no to you, Tony. Sometimes he has a hard time differentiating between ”
“Be careful how you phrase things, too.” Clint added. “I don’t want you thinking that it’s some sort of date; then you’ll be going bald and growing up like-” he cut himself off but Tony knew he was talking about Obi. The betrayal by his mentor’s decision to grow up and live a life outside of the island had hurt Tony for a long time. But he was over it now. Mostly.
“It’s not.” Tony lied. “Steve and I are just friends.” Phil looked like he wanted to say something, but Clint motioned the fairy over to him. Tony looked closer at the pair, noting the way Clint’s smile softened. “I’m gonna go bother Pepper now, you two just,” he waved a hand vaguely and made his exit from his workshop/sleeping area as quickly as possible.
Pepper would be glad to see him, Tony was sure. Maybe Steve would want to come along too, the mermaids always seemed to like to trill excitedly over his bajillion muscles. He turned away from the path that led to the waterfront and started down the shortcut he’d invented himself to reach the treehouse that he’d given Steve to sleep in. It wasn’t like Tony was using it, it was just extra space on the island, ready for the latest Lost Boy who appeared.
“Steve!” Tony scampered up the rope ladder and stuck his tongue out at little Bruce who was involved with his chemistry set on a bridge and largely ignored Tony as he ran past. He slid into Steve’s sleeping quarters. “Want to come down to the rocks and visit Pepper with me?”
The blond-haired boy looked up from his sketchpad with a smile. “Sure, Tony.” He stuck the pencil behind his ear and tucked the paper beneath his arm. “You think Pepper would let me draw her? Rhodey found me an orange pencil that would highlight her hair really well, I think.”
Tony resolved to have a talk with his longtime friend about gift giving and how it was dangerous. He didn’t look to closely at the monster growing in his chest about how Steve made no mention of drawing him.
“Yeah, sure she would,” Tony replied after realizing he’d been silent and Steve was staring at him with eyes that were far too blue. “Pepper likes you.” He took ahold of Steve’s arm and tugged him along to the metal pole that was erected just next to the treehouse for easy escaping. “Now if it was me who was asking,” Tony made a throat slashing motion and slid down the pole instead of finishing the sentence. He waited impatiently for Steve to figure out how to get down the pole while still holding onto his sketchpad and pencils.
The pair made their way to the rocky beach where the mermaids liked to tan, Tony splashing his way into the water and scrambling up on a large rock. Steve followed more sedately, hopping from rock to rock until he was at the top next to Tony. Pepper’s bright red back tail doused them with water; they spluttered as she flipped onto a nearby rock.
“Tony Stark, what brings you to my side again? What problem can’t you solve now?” She laughed and Tony glared. “Oh, Steve!” Her voice was sweeter when she spotted the blond. “Sorry, I didn’t see you. Are you going to draw me today?”
“Uh, if you’d be so kind as to let me, Pepper.” Steve stammered.
“I think I can find time in my busy busy schedule to have some fun,” Pepper responded happily.
“I’m surprised you know what fun is, Fishface.” Tony said cuttingly. He hated being ignored. Pepper’s tail dipped into an oncoming wave and splashed only him with enough force to knock him off the rock and into the water.
Tony popped up to a glittering knife being waved threateningly in his face. “Don’t call her that ever again,” Natasha warned. “Even if you think I’m not in range of hearing,” she leaned closer, so her green eyes stared into Tony’s face, “I am always listening, Stark.” He swallowed hard and the redheaded girl tucked the weapon away. She held up a hand and hauled Tony out of the water, pushing him back onto the rock next to Steve.
Steve had his sketchpad out and a very good likeness of Pepper’s freckled face and upper arms already down on paper when Tony looked over his shoulder. He was ignoring the giggling girls, the devilish redheads who were holding hands on the same rock and leaning into one another. Tony was sure they were up to something that probably wouldn’t end well for him.
“So, you guys heard about Clint?” Natasha’s eyes narrowed at Tony’s cheerful tone.
“What about the feya?” Natasha questioned when Tony smiled slyly, waiting for someone to ask further.
“I think he’s got a thing going on with Phil!” Tony crowed delightedly. Pepper and Natasha gave him equal looks that said Tony was clearly being an idiot.
“He’s had a thing with Phil for ages, you’re just now noticing?” Pepper said kindly. Natasha’s bark of laughter was muffled in her pale shoulder, making both of them shake.
“Phil?” Steve asked.
“Super responsible fairy,” Tony explained over the girls’ giggles. “Like a tiny harpy in a suit of cloth.” Steve nodded. “You almost done here? I’m feeling under-appreciated all of a sudden.” He emphasized his point with finger pointing. Natasha drew herself up but Pepper tucked the girl against her side and the warrior settled down without a word.
Steve continued drawing until he was satisfied and Tony amused himself by peering at the drawing’s progression and making funny faces at the girls. Steve finished as the sun cast an orange glow over the water. He carefully tore the page out and handed it to Natasha’s dry hands. Pepper had slipped into the water an hour earlier, complaining that her skin was dry. (Steve had promised her that he had enough to finish by memory so the mermaid had pressed her lips against Natasha’s cheek and swum off.)
“I’ll keep it for her, don’t worry,” Natasha smiled at Steve. She stood and hopped from rock to rock with a grace Tony pretended he didn’t envy. Her feet touched the shore and she ran off to the Red without looking back, curly hair streaming behind her.
“Ready for our next adventure?” Tony queried. Steve nodded.
“Can I put my sketchpad and pencils away first? I should also check on Bruce, I didn’t realize it was getting so late,” Steve complained. “Why did you let me stay out here?”
Tony resolutely didn’t answer with the words on the tip of his tongue - because you looked so happy - and instead joked that the sun always set at the same time, maybe it was time Steve started paying attention. The blond shoved him away playfully but didn’t know his own strength it seemed, because Tony ended up in the water for the second time.
“Okay, how about you run back, check on your little brother, I don’t know why you’re bothering since we both know he’s still playing with the chemistry set like we left him, but I need new clothes, clothes that are actually dry because it seems to be a thing about me being soaked today, I don’t quite understand but if it makes you happy-” Tony shut his mouth, aware he was rambling as he usually did. He looked up for Steve’s reaction but the other boy only laughed kindly and held out a hand to help him out.
Tony walked with Steve to where they parted ways on the path, each step of his leaking water. He’d waved off Steve’s attempts to cover him with his own jacket and waited until he couldn’t see the back of the blond head to give in to his shivers that came as dusk fell and took away the sun’s warmth.
“Thought you didn’t like swimming, Tony.” Clint flew out of his workshop and looked up and down at Tony’s dripping clothes. “Or did Steve ask for a wet t-shirt contest?”
“Shut up,” Tony grumbled, storming past him. Clint, of course, ignored him and hovered outside Tony’s sleeping curtain as he shucked off his wet clothes and changed into darker, warmer attire better suited for the night’s adventures. “You coming tonight or you have plans with Phil? and why the hell didn’t you tell me?” He poked his head over the raggedy fabric to meet Clint’s blue eyes. “I looked like an idiot in front of Steve and Natasha laughed. Why did she know before me?”
“Of course I’m coming tonight,” Clint snapped. His wings jerked him backwards, away from Tony. “You’d probably get captured by Loki without my sharp eyesight, don’t even try and deny it. And I told Tasha because she’s my friend.”
“I thought we were friends,” Tony said, more than a little hurt.
“We are friends,” Clint reassured. “You can have more than one friend, Tony. But you’ve got your robots and now Steve, I needed something that was just mine.” Tony heard the unspoken I need someone who won’t leave and reached out to clasp the fairy between both of his hands.
“I’m not leaving you, not ever. I’m never growing up. Don’t you worry.” Tony gave the tiny head a noogie with his thumb until Clint bit his finger with surprisingly sharp teeth and Tony let go with a swear.
“All right, we’re done acting like girls. Let’s go.” Tony decided. He looked around his workshop, grabbed his power glove - another work in progress, eventually Tony had plans for a full suit of armor - and went to meet Steve.
- - - - - -
Tony crept closer to the ship, Steve a steady presence beside him. The reeds rustled and the two boys stilled. Natasha’s face peered out from the plants, red hair smeared with mud to better blend in.
“I could hear you two coming from a mile away,” she announced. Tony stuck his tongue out at her.
“Hey, it’s Tasha!” Clint flew in a circle around her head and landed on her shoulder. Tony watched with sour amusement as the girl held up two fingers for a high-five. “Welcome to the party!”
“It’s not a party if we get caught by Captain Loki,” Phil admonished, hovering over Steve’s right ear. Tony stared. What had happened to his plan of two boys adventuring into the dangerous lair of the feared pirate captain had somehow become a group of idiots blundering along and interrupting what clearly wasn’t a date because Tony and Steve were just two boys. However, he was glad the other three Lost Boys - Volstagg, Fandral and Hogun weren’t also tagging along; it would be a lot harder to keep such a large group quiet.
The five set out again, Natasha slipping back into the reeds with Clint as Tony and Steve squished their way through the muddy bank. They came upon the small dinghy pulled ashore first and exchanged excited looks.
“Doesn’t that mean the Captain’s out here though?” Steve asked worriedly. Tony shook his head.
“No, Captain Loki doesn’t ever leave his ship for fear that Thor will eat him. He always sends his first mate out instead. Not that Amora is much better because she is a super creepy witch.” Tony shivered. Obi had made some sort of deal with her that enabled him to leave the island and so Tony didn’t trust her at all. That sort of power was dangerous.
“Hush,” Natasha’s whisper came from somewhere in the reeds. “We’re almost at Sleipnir.” She rose out of the plants and Tony caught the glint of many pointy knives strapped to her body.
“Are those necessary?” Steve questioned. Natasha looked at him and Clint shrugged over her shoulder as she moved to take the lead.
“You try talking her out of weapons,” the fairy said. “Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s a waste of your time.” He zipped around Phil in a tight circle and then flew back up to Natasha’s position.
“I’ll go find Thor,” Phil told them. “Be quiet, Amora is still somewhere around here.” His gossamer wings shined in the bright moonlight and he flitted through the reeds. Steve motioned to Tony and they followed Natasha to the water’s edge. She waded in without a care and Tony could see the faint outline of a head above the waterline in the shadows of the large ship. He bet it was Pepper.
“Well, what’s this then?” The smooth, baritone voice of Loki was loud in the quiet. The boys dropped to the ground as Natasha ducked further into the shadows, into Pepper’s arms. “I know you’re out there somewhere, Stark!” Tony breathed a shallow sigh of relief and covered Steve with his arm like it would make a difference. He told himself it did, being able to feel the other boy’s chest rising and falling with each breath he took.
“I can’t sense them anywhere.” Amora answered a few feet away from Tony at the edge of the forest and both boys tensed. “I’m sure it’s the work of that damnable sprite in the suit.”
Steve’s hand over his mouth stopped Tony from correcting the enchantress. Steve stared unblinkingly into Tony’s eyes until the boy nodded, and then the blond removed his hand slowly.
They listened to her push the small boat back into the water and Tony lifted his head to watch her propel it with magic towards Sleipnir.
Loki spoke again. “I have a comrade of yours.” Loki gestured and one of his crew pushed a smaller body forward towards the railing’s edge. “The Lady Sif is mine unless you show yourself and submit to me!”
Steve gasped out loud at the sight of the girl with her hands bound in front of her. She craned her neck to look up at the pirate captain, glaring at him with no trace of fear. “He’ll come.” Sif said confidently. Her voice carried over the still water.
“I know he will,” Loki answered, petting her black hair with long fingers.
“Not Stark, he doesn’t care.” Sif clarified with a smirk. “Thor. Thor will come. Then where will you be?” She gasped as the fingers tightened but she didn’t say anything else as Loki dragged her back out of sight.
“Okay,” Tony whispered to Steve. “New plan! Rescue the Lady Sif and save the day.”
“I like that plan.” Steve agreed. They crawled out of the reeds and Natasha met them, coming up from the water silently. The trio stood at the edge of the water, hidden by the shadows of the huge ship and apparently Coulson’s fairy magic even though he was nowhere to be seen. Clint hovered between all of them, flying around from Steve to Tony to Natasha to Steve again.
He stilled momentarily, eyes trained on the dark forest and Steve stopped outlining his plan of attack. “What is it?” he questioned.
“We’ve got company.” Clint announced. Natasha’s hand was almost immediately holding a knife or three and Tony aimed his power glove at the crashing sounds that were getting closer. It only had one charge but if he used it, then the three would have enough time to get away.
“Stand down, good friends!” Volstagg boomed in what passed for a quiet voice for him. Clint put a hand to his head in disgust. “We have come to aid you!”
“Then try and do it a little quieter!” Tony reprimanded. “I’m not sure Loki heard you arrive.”
“Everything will be fine, Stark.” Fandral said, sliding into the space between Tony and Steve. “I’m Fandral, one of the Warriors Three.” He introduced himself to Steve, who shook his hand. Tony ignored his greeting.
“Okay, new plan. We can take on more of the crew with these three, that’s good,” Steve went back to outlining the rescue. A small part of Tony was happy at the rebuff he gave the stylish warrior.
“Have you seen Coulson?” Clint darted over to question Hogun. He merely shook his head and Clint sighed.
“He’ll be fine, feya.” Natasha reassured him quietly. “You know how Fury keeps such tight control of the only bartering chip that Thor enjoys.” Clint nodded with a frown and went back to scanning the water in front of them for any sign of the crocodile.
There was still no sign of them when it was time to get into position, so Clint reluctantly took to the air as Steve moved forward. The others fanned out behind him. Natasha slipped into the water and started climbing up the anchor line as the boys clambered aboard as quietly as possible.
Hogun was the first to spot Sif tied to the mast and his quick hand gestures signalled the others. Volstagg rushed forward, breaking the careful plans of Steve. Tony watched, only somewhat horrified, as the larger boy took down two of the crew before being lashed to the mast next to Sif.
“Well, this is an interesting turn of events,” Loki walked down from the bridge and circled around the two. Sif spit at his feet and Loki danced back out of range. “I wasn’t expecting the famed Warriors Three to make an appearance.”
“Yeah, we’re all full of surprises.” Tony was only slightly shocked to hear Steve’s firm voice but he just stopped himself from giving away his own position hidden behind some coils of tarred rope when Steve walked onto the deck. Tony knew his friend was noble but this really was the most idiotic thing to occur; apparently if the plan was out the window, it was thrown out with force.
“Who are you, then? One of the new Lost Boys under Stark, I’d wager.” Loki’s voice was silk-smooth. He stepped closer and grasped Steve’s chin in his hand.
“Steve Rogers, but I’m not under anyone.” The blond answered confidently. Tony watched as Hogun and Natasha began taking out Loki’s crewmembers, knocking them out.
“You were made to be ruled,” Loki yelled and Tony jumped, heart beating overtime in his chest. “Perhaps you might remember that family means something.” He motioned and Tony’s stomach dropped as Amora dragged out the tiny form of Steve’s little brother. Bruce’s face was angry and he was yelling nonstop through the cloth stuffed in his mouth.
“Bruce? What, how-” Steve swung wildly at the captain and the crew tackled him. Amora secured Bruce between Sif and Volstagg as Steve struggled.
“Put him with the other three brats. Stark will certainly show up now.” Steve was roped alongside Sif and Volstagg, who greeted him like it was an circumstance of ordinary life to meet someone while being held hostage by a pirate captain. Well, it was rather regular for life on the island, Tony admitted privately. He didn’t pay much attention to Steve’s careful questions to his brother because he was busy hiding suddenly unconscious bodies.
Tony watched with a growing sense of fear as the few crewmembers that hadn’t been knocked out and hidden below decks started to remove part of the railing, putting a large wooden board in its place. It jutted out over the water, trembling when one of the crew bounced on it lightly. Loki came down from the bridge again, Amora trailing a few steps behind him.
Tony nodded at Natasha’s quick hand movements towards the water and hoped Steve had informed Sif that the mermaids wouldn’t let her drown when she had to walk to the plank.
“Which one of you wants to be first for the sharks? I hear Michael the Great White is particularly hungry this evening.” Loki sneered, bending down to look at Bruce.
“You leave him alone,” Steve warned.
“Or what?” Loki sounded bored.
“I volunteer! I haven’t had a swim in ages!” Volstagg interrupted. Sif smiled broadly and took Bruce’s smaller hand in hers. Tony watched her mouth move but was too far away to hear what she told him.
The crew members cut through the ropes holding Volstagg to the ship’s mast and frog-marched him to the plank. He looked down at the ocean and turned around to face the three hostages.
“It has been an honor and a joy serving beside you, Lady Sif.” Volstagg bowed to her. “I go to my death.” He bounced at the end of the wooden plank a few times before one of the cred stomped on the end and Volstagg fell off. Sif emitted a short scream as he disappeared from sight.
“So, which one wants to be next?” Amora questioned. Bruce nodded firmly as Sif spoke up.
“I will,” she said proudly and the crew collected her. Tony saw as the attention was on the lady that Bruce wiggled his way out of the ropes and ran to a shadowy corner of the deck. There was a glint of purple near his shirt and Tony sighed. At least the kid had Clint with him.
Which led to thoughts of the other fairy who still hadn’t made an appearance with Thor. Tony left Fandral making googly eyes at Natasha - he bet the warrior wouldn’t be a Lost Boy for much longer, if he kept thinking with his body instead of for fun - and darted to the edge of the railing. The mermaid Darcy waved at him with a bright smile then dove underneath a wave, flipping her tail at him. Tony huffed and turned back to the action happening in the center deck of Sleipnir when there was shouting from Amora.
“Thor is close, Captain!” she called out. Tony chose this moment to step out of hiding. “We should make for open waters.”
“That won’t help you, I’m afraid.” Tony scoffed. “Coulson might be a fairy,” he emphasized pointedly to the enchantress, “but he’s got enough knowledge from Fury to do some pretty big things you’d never think him capable of.” He grinned as Clint swooped to his shoulder, tugging on Amora’s dark hair as he passed by.
“Stark.” Captain Loki said, staring down at him.
“That’s me,” Tony confirmed. “Now you think you could let Steve go? I’m not sure he signed up for this part of the island tour.”
“What’s the benefit for me?” Loki ignored Hogun and Fandral battling his crew and saving Sif from walking the plank.
“We don’t kill you,” Natasha replied calmly. She walked onto the deck, twirling a knife and smiling grimly.
“Amora!” Loki called out. There was no reply except for the thud of bodies as two of the Warriors Three knocked out their opponents.
“She’s not coming,” Clint told Tony. “Phil’s taking care of her. Thor’s waiting just below in the water, if we can herd Loki to the edge.” The boy nodded but stepped closer to Steve, who was still tied to the mast. Natasha tossed him a knife and Tony cut him loose.
Steve rubbed his wrists and Loki watched the three of them circle him with wariness.
“Are you helpless without your witch, Loki?” Tony threw out brazenly, moving closer so the captain took a step back.
“Hardly, Stark.” Loki picked up a mop and wielded it like a staff. Tony couldn’t help but laugh as Natasha darted in and used her very sharp knives to cut it in half. Loki took a step backward and handled the mop like a spear. He jabbed at the three of them, pushing them backwards towards the other railing.
“Use your power glove, idiot!” Clint cried out, whizzing over Tony’s head to distract Loki. Tony looked down at his right hand and remembered that yes, he was wearing the prototype. He held it in front of him, aimed towards Loki and thought really hard about what he wanted to happen.
Loki’s sneering laughter was cut off when a beam of blue light hit his chest, knocking him back and overboard. He didn’t say a word as he fell into the water. Tony and Steve leaned over the railing to watch as Thor the crocodile swam towards Loki. Tony started to cheer but it died out when a blast of magic hit the crocodile.
“Hey!” He looked over at the open window where Amora leaned out. She glanced at him and shrugged.
“A deal’s a deal, kid.” she said loftily as Thor began to writhe. Tony caught sight of Coulson, arms crossed, hovering over her head. He leaned back over the railing to watch.
“What’s going on?” Steve asked as Thor’s body began to shift. “I thought Thor was going to eat him and then, no.” He sounded mildly disappointed.
“I have no idea.”
“Amora turned Thor into a crocodile way back when because she thought he needed to learn a lesson.” Natasha sounded bored as she explained all the action going on below them. Her red hair was still smeared with dried mud. “Coulson made a deal with her, that he wouldn’t turn her over to Fury if she changed him back.”
“Brother! It is good to see you again!” Thor had a very loud voice and long blond hair. Loki looked like he was going to smile for a moment then his face smoothed into blankness.
“Don’t you dare touch me,” Loki said, as if he wasn’t treading water with an audience of mermaids, the Warriors Three and Tony, Steve and Natasha watching from above. He ignored Thor as he paddled closer to him and started to swim towards shore. Thor kept calling after him but was soon distracted by the shyer mermaid that Tony never talked to, Jane.
“All right then, this adventure had a happy ending.” Natasha was clearly amused. “It’s been fun.” she said grudgingly before she executed a perfect swan dive into the water. The girl popped up a few feet away from Pepper.
Tony turned to Steve, who was eyeing the distance between the ship’s deck and the water. “You climbed up here with no problem, but you’re afraid to jump in now?” Steve didn’t say anything. “Bruce is down there, clearly having fun.” Tony pointed out. The smaller boy was happily swimming between Jane and Darcy, though the younger mermaid kept having to dive in to catch everything Bruce stopped paddling and started to sink.
“Right.” Steve muttered with what Tony thought was false confidence. He smirked to himself and pushed Steve in before he could say anything else, jumping in immediately after. Both boys resurfaced, Steve spluttering and spitting out water as Tony laughed wildly.