“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”― Pablo Neruda
The Avengers Tower is an amazing feet of architecture-self-sustaining on energy, each floor lovely and modern with the top of the line everything.
But at the end of the day, it’s just a house, and this isn’t a story about a house.
It’s a story about how that house became a home.
The story of how the Tower gets its last inhabitants starts with Jane Foster moving her entire lab into one of Tony’s science-and yes, he says it with the emphasis-floors. Jane brings about a metric-fuck ton of equipment held together by duck-tape, a determined, slightly crazy sense of focus, and Darcy Lewis.
It’s Darcy that Peggy actually enjoys most, because as much as she and Natasha identify with each other, Natasha isn’t exactly ‘girlfriend’ material-she’s much to stoic, and scary for that-and this place could desperately use some more estrogen.
Darcy on the other hand is basically estrogen with legs-she’s sassy, fun, doesn’t take herself to seriously and perhaps most important, she knows how to wrangle crazy scientists into you know, eating and sleeping and all those other lowly human things, which Peggy can tell you from dealing with Howard and Tony is harder than it looks.
And so, for a while, the Tower falls into a certain routine. Jane, Tony and Bruce hole themselves up in a lab and do science to get the Bifrost working again, Darcy-and occasionally Pepper, when she isn’t too busy running a Fortune 500 company-make sure they all eat and sleep and don’t kill themselves while doing it, and she and Steve and Natasha and Clint try to stay the hell out of the way, because that lab tends to catch on fire much more than can be healthy.
Some of her time is taken up by missions, which aren’t as awkward as they could be-Natasha and Clint actually take the whole ‘actually Peggy Carter thing pretty well.’ Natasha, because she’s got a past of her own that rings a little too close to Peggy’s and Clint because Clint’s a guy who doesn’t care what you call yourself, as long as you’ve proven you’ve got his back, he’s ok with you.
Ever since Syria, Clint’s been ok with her.
The remainder of her time is divided between girl’s nights with Jane, Natasha, Darcy and Pepper, movie nights with the rest of the house-where Coulson and Clint argue over movies-and Steve nights.
Well, days with Steve too-walks through Central Park, lunches at little café’s and afternoons at art and history museums-but the nights deserve special mention.
And then that routine takes a dip, because Jane comes rushing out of the science cave mumbling about wave readings and particle equivalents finally adding up, and Darcy translates it into meaning that they’ve basically figured out how to make it work, so the Avengers all pack up into one of Tony’s jets and head to New Mexico.
Peggy inducts Steve into the mile high club.
The fact that the Bifrost machine actually works is secondary after that in Peggy’s mind, but Jane is pretty thrilled, if the way that she’s eating Thor’s face is any indication.
Thor doesn’t seem to mind.
Tony, after a few minutes of awkward throat clearing, threatens to get a hose and spray them.
At that, Thor finally pulls back from Jane’s lips long enough to boom cheerfully at the Son of Stark and the Son of Coul-who he is especially overjoyed to see has not joined Hel’s realm-and then slaps Tony so hard on the back he almost falls over.
And then he goes back to making out with Jane.
Peggy thinks she’s going to like Thor.
It turns out that Thor’s arrival is especially well timed, because a week after the jolly deity arrives the Skrulls invade.
Well, maybe invade is giving them too much credit.
The Skrull situation goes like this.
Peggy and Pepper walk into Tony’s lab to welcome him home after a two day business trip.
The person they find in there is wearing Tony’s face but isn’t Tony.
Three minutes later Steve is called in to drag a now unconscious not-Tony into a holding cell.
Ten minutes later, after Thor quickly consults Odin to be sure that Loki is still locked up in Asgard, the being is identified as a Skrull, and Fury sends Coulson and Peggy in to interrogate it.
Five minutes later the come back out with Tony’s location, as well as the invasion plan.
The less said about the specific details of those five minutes the better.
And then the Avengers, Peggy included, suit up and fly to Tony’s location to go get Tony back.
What they find there isn’t exactly what they were expecting.
Because it turns out that the Skrulls kidnapped Tony for the purpose of having him build them a weapon to use to enslave the Earth.
And then they left him alone to build it.
The Ten Rings could have told you how bad an idea that was.
You know, if any of them were still alive.
And so, when the Avengers drop into the warehouse where the Skrulls are holding Tony, they arrive just in time for the head Skrull to push the button on the giant whatever it is that Tony has built.
Tony, being held by two Skrulls, smiles, and it’s not a pretty sight.
The mother-ship explodes overhead.
It pretty much goes as expected after that; Clint takes out the two Skrulls holding Tony, Peggy throws Tony his case that holds his suit as Thor and Bruce-all Hulked up-work on playing smash the aliens.
And after a few minutes of Steve, Natasha and Peggy taking out the Skrulls on the ground and Thor, Bruce, Tony and Clint taking out the ships in the air, the Skrulls in their few remaining ships make their first intelligent decision in this whole plan and haul ass off the planet and so no one dies, and earth’s mightiest heroes save the day once more.
Peggy goes to sleep beside Steve, thinking that the worst is over.
She wakes up alone in a cell.
It only takes her a second to get her balance when she wakes up-Peggy has been a spy too long to not know what the taste of pennies in her mouth and a headache means.
Old school, but effective.
From that, it’s easy to discern a few other details.
She’s been kidnaped, by HYDRA, if her cell bearing a HYDRA insignia is any clue, which probably means that she’s being used as bait of some kind. It’s not that she hasn’t made enemies of her own that would love to kidnap her for just her, but those kinds of situations usually start with her waking up tied to a chair and in a great deal more pain. She might be handcuffed now, but she’s on a fairly comfortable mattress and nothing seems to be broken, which dings closer to hostage than target.
So, kidnapped by HYDRA, likely as bait for Steve, because although the other Avengers would come for her, she’s Steve’s girlfriend, and HYDRA is sort of unhealthily fixated on him anyways.
Which, to be fair, in itself isn’t that bad of an idea, because Steve will come after her, even if he knows it’s a trap.
And then Bucky walks into the door and Peggy realizes that apparently, they decided to hire the Winter Soldier to do it.
So, HYDRA are flaming morons.
“Long time no see,” Peggy says casually as Bucky cautiously comes up to the bars of her cell, pitching her tone to one of polite conversation, ignoring their situation entirely.
It’s a strategy, and it clearly works, because Bucky is visibly thrown by her lack of anger at being in the cell, and that surprise-or perhaps that was his originally plan and it just speeds it up-gets him to unlock the cell door and come in, standing awkwardly in front of the door, blocking it.
He shuffles on his feet subtlety, a clear tell, and the part of Peggy that remembers skating with him in Russia hurts for how alone he is, but the part of her is looking for an escape rejoices as she says, projecting only earnestness into her tone, “These aren’t really necessary, are they?” And she lifts her handcuffed wrists in emphasis, “You know me Bucky-I’m not going to go anywhere. This is obviously a trap for Steve, so he’s going to come for me eventually.”
“Yeah, Steve’s like that,” Bucky says, a bit resentful, but even Peggy, who hasn’t seen him for a half a century can see the envy-how much he misses the comradery that he used to have with Steve-that lies under the surface. Still, he moves forward all the same, sitting hesitantly on the bed beside her as he reaches for her hands and unlocks the cuffs, his hands lingering longer than need be over the slightly reddened skin, clearly hungry for touch.
That in mind-and because there is still that part of her that cares for him-she says, after a moment, waiting until she’s caught his eye, “You could come back-stay with us,” voice gentle, rubbing her thumb in soothing circles over the skin of his wrist where he is still holding her own.
“I can’t,” he says after a moment, to the floor, voice quiet, but he wants to-is wavering in front of her eyes and Peggy can see it-and it makes what she’s about to do the right decision.
“Bucky…” She starts, leaning in non-threatingly, arms outstretched to give him a hug, and although he watches her warily he doesn’t move for the gun at his hip and once she does reach him, he folds into her arms like she used to into Howard’s, the simple relief of being supported by a friend.
And then Peggy twists her hands just so at one of his pressure points near his collarbone and he crumples in her arms, the dead weight of the unconscious and Peggy lowers him gently to the ground before using the handcuffs he just unlocked for her to lock him to the radiator and relieving him of his gun.
He might not want to be saved, but Peggy is going to give it a try anyways.
But first, she has to save herself.
So she chambers a round, and goes off to show HYDRA just why kidnapping her was a bad idea.
When the Avengers burst in, Steve leading the pack, it’s to the sight of 9 unconscious HYDRA agents, 4 of them bleeding from a sundry of non-vital gun shots wounds and 1 dead agent-he fired first and she doesn’t regret it-and Peggy sitting, legs demurely crossed on the bed of the cell, watching over an unconscious and still handcuffed Winter Soldier.
Steve, blind to anything that isn’t her, sweeps her up into his arms, murmuring her name into her hair as his hands skate of her body, looking for any sign of wounds. Not having found anything, he finally manages to let his attention move to something else, and it’s then that he notices the crumpled form of Bucky on the ground and just freezes, whole body stiff with shock in her arms.
“So, we need to have a talk,” she says gently to his stunned face, and Steve nods like a marionette who’s strings have been cut, before, after one agonized look at Bucky-who’s been identified by several agents as the Winter Soldier and behind her kidnapping by now-he lets himself be lead away.
It’s actually a talk that goes pretty well, despite the circumstances. Because Peggy actually wasn’t keeping the fact that Bucky was alive hidden from Steve on purpose-after the Cold War the Winter Soldier dropped off everybody’s radar, and it honestly didn’t occur to her to bring it up, because he clearly didn’t want to be found. That and the fact that she was hiding his identity from SHIELD-and everyone else-in an effort to protect him goes pretty far in Steve’s mind.
So, surprisingly, does the knowledge of the month she and Bucky spent in Moscow. Because any fears that Peggy had at telling Steve-a new relationship, even despite the whole 70 years thing-about the fact that she once drunkenly made out with his best friend are quickly swept away by Steve who says, voice earnest as he brackets her chin with one of his massive hands, “I’m glad you two had each other after I was gone-even if it didn’t end all that well.”
“He’s my friend too,” Peggy says simply, and means it, because anything romantic that might have existed between them died with his actions as the Winter Soldier and Steve’s return, but somewhere, deep inside, he’s still that good guy who took her skating and suffered through the ballet with her, and friends never give up in friends. “I’ll do anything I can to help him.”
“Okay,” Steve says, pulling her in close and taking comfort in her physical presence, “Okay.”
She cuddles in closer, and plans.
The problem with having the Winter Soldier in SHIELD custody becomes apparent pretty quickly. Because normally, SHIELD has legal authority to hold him for as long as they want, but after a while his home country would try to step in a work something out, and Fury, after he’d gotten the information he needed, would trade him back for something that benefited the country, or give him a legal trial.
Russia categorically denies they have any knowledge of him what so ever, and James Barnes has been legally dead for more than seven decades, and dead men don’t have legal rights.
Which means that SHIELD can hold him for the rest of his life.
Which is potentially forever.
Peggy has a problem with that.
Well, Steve too, but Peggy is the one who actually has the clearance to do anything about it.
It’s like that Tom Hanks movie where he’s a citizen of nowhere, only Peggy intends to have him stay in a place nicer than the airport.
Fury is actually pretty easy to convince about not keeping him in a SHIELD prison-mostly because Fury isn’t a moron, and so he readily sees the advantage that SHIELD would have if they managed to convert another ageless spy-this is the reason why Natasha is alive and working for SHIELD after all.
“So what do you intend to do with him?” Fury asks, after she’s made her request, his only question so far, and as close to a yes as Peggy is ever going to get from him.
Tony isn’t exactly thrilled at her idea.
“Wait,” Tony starts slowly, after she runs the idea by him, “you want me to give a dangerous criminal-no offense Steve, ‘cause I know you were besties-a floor in my Tower?” And then he finishes, slightly incredulous, slightly serious, “And why should I do that?”
“Because you love me.” Peggy says dryly, and at his eyebrow raise she continues, tone becoming slyer, “And because I have baby pictures and enough stories to blackmail you until you’re an old man.” And then she pauses for effect before she finishes, “Like say, Santa Fay when you were 19 for starters.”
“Right, so his own floor it is,” Tony says quickly, and then with a trapped look on his face, he makes a hasty exit from the room.
Pepper and Pepper’s suspicious, “What happened in Santa Fay?” follow him out.
Steve disguises his snicker as a cough.
Clint-who it turns out was in the ceiling the whole time-doesn’t.
Peggy just smiles.
The floor that Tony gives him is basically a prison-bio locks keep him from accessing the rest of the Tower, a distinct lack of sharp objects and JARVIS has orders to watch him like a creepy creeper-Tony’s words-but it’s a much nicer prison than anything that SHIELD would have given him.
That and it’s a prison with Jacuzzi tubs and flat screen TVs and heated marble floors in the bathrooms.
That has to ease the sting of the whole ‘no freedom to leave’ thing a little bit, right?
Not so much apparently.
Bucky refuses to let anyone in for a week, and spends that time constantly trying to escape.
He fails, because JARVIS is secretly a ninja and going to rule the world one day, but Peggy doesn’t let it faze her.
Peggy never thought that this was going to be easy.
The Winter Soldier has forty-seven confirmed kills on record, after all.
Reconciliation is going to take time.
Thankfully, Peggy’s got loads of that.
On the eighth day Bucky lets her in.
They don’t talk much, just sit in silence, but it’s a start.
Peggy can work with this.
After Bucky is moved into the Tower-“he isn’t living here, there’s a difference!” Tony insists-life takes on a new routine.
Every morning that Peggy isn’t on a mission she goes down to Bucky’s floor and they talk for an hour or two, about a variety of subjects. In the beginning it’s all designed to antagonize her-needling her about everything, especially about their time together in Moscow and how Steve would take that. When she calmly tells him that Steve does know, and what his response was, Bucky gets quiet fast, and his knuckles whiten on the table as he looks somberly downward, unable to meet her gaze.
He never apologies, but the conversation gets more pleasant after that.
They talk about the music and the movies they’ve heard and seen throughout the years-premieres and concerts that no one else in the Tower could have seen because they were too young. About the experiences that no one else in the Tower have-Reagan and tearing down the wall, the Cold War from different sides, the Kennedy assassination and more. It’s nice-it helps her feel not quite as old as she really is, because Steve is great, but he hibernated through those seven decades where she actually lived through them, and being able to share some of those experiences with someone else is nice.
Then of course the start to talk about the more personal things-the war and their time in Moscow-how much he hated that opera but how the ballet was alright because the dancer was ‘a smoking dame.’
They don’t talk about Steve.
Tony visits once or twice-partially because he wants to assert the reminder that it’s his house-and partially because he can’t resist the opportunity to meet another person who knew his father. Peggy never knows the exact details of what they talk about, but although they’re not smiling when he leaves, they’re not frowning or screaming at each other either, and Peggy figures if it isn’t broken she’s not going to try and fix it.
And then sometimes Natasha visits, because she and Bucky apparently had a thing when they were both Russians.
No one touches that one with a fifty foot pole, and Clint sharpens his arrows menacingly until Natasha comes back out. But no blood is drawn, and if the hickies on Clint’s neck are any indication then he and Natasha are still good, and so Peggy chalks it up as a success.
Time passes, and eventually, Bucky talks to almost all of the Avengers.
He still refuses to talk to Steve.
Steve tries to stay positive, but it’s clear it’s hurting him.
Peggy curls around him, and tells him everything will work out in the end.
Life outside Bucky’s floor goes on as well of course, and Tony manages to keep even their daily-missionless lives interesting.
Case in point, his new way of greeting Steve.
“Step-Steve!” Tony says cheerfully as he enters the kitchen, his newest nickname for Steve. Peggy personally thinks it’s a step up from his previous Capsicle, but Steve isn’t all that fond of it, if his constant return of, “I’m not your step-father Tony,” is any indication.
Peggy personally thinks Tony is doing it because he feels a little weird that Peggy-and by association Steve and Bucky, but mostly Peggy-look younger than him now, which is a valid point. It should probably bother Peggy a bit, because she’s pushing a hundred and doesn’t look a day over 28, but it doesn’t. The old adage ‘you’re only as old as you feel’ is a cliché but it’s especially relevant here, because living with Steve and Bucky and especially Thor, whose age clocks in around a thousand, makes her feel young at body, and Tony and the others make her feel young at heart.
Besides, she lives with a man who could teach the Dalai Lama a lesson on serenity and still turns into a giant green rage monster and a Norse god who doesn’t like to wear pants in the morning.
It’s safe to say that her definition of ‘weird’ has undergone a bit of refinement.
Tony however isn’t deterred by Steve’s rebuttal, as he continues cheekily, “Well, you’re dating my godmother, which makes you pretty damn close! And while we’re on the subject, what are your intentions towards her?”
“Tony!” Steve says, the tips of his ears burning red, but Peggy only laughs, as she brushes a kiss to Steve’s cheek and turns to Tony and says, tiny smirk on her face, “I’m the one that climbed him like a tree and despoiled him-you should be asking me what my intentions are!”
Steve’s cheeks burn at that, but Peggy’s attention is entirely on the horrified look on Tony’s face as he says loudly, voice higher pitched than normal, “I can’t hear this! This is like hearing about my parents having sex!”
Peggy smiles, but she isn’t ready to let Tony off the hook yet, as she says, slyly, “I hate to shatter your illusions, but your parents had a lot of sex. Why do you think the New York mansion was so well soundproofed?”
Tony’s response is an even more horrified look, and to stick his fingers in his ears and do an about face, leaving the room, saying loudly and over-dramatically, like a little child, “Lalalalala!”
Peggy’s and Steve’s laughter follows him out.
“I don’t want to have sex with Steve,” is how Bucky greets her when she enters his floor one morning around the 6 month mark of him being there.
“Good for you?” Peggy answers back, entirely puzzled, because their last conversation was about Russian Opera, and so she’s a little lost on how they got onto this subject.
Yes, Russian Operas are a little, you know, but really.
“I just want to clarify that,” he says, voice still bizarrely serious, but the reason for him saying it becomes clearer as he continues, “my decent into the world of villainy was not because I had a desperate, unfulfilled longing to sleep with Steve.”
“Who said….?” She asks, trailing off as it becomes obvious, “Tony.”
“Yes,” Bucky says with a nod and a roll of his eyes, before continuing, humor clearly starting to fray, “he’s been circulating it around, and it’s starting to wear thin.”
“Tony thinks everyone wants to sleep with Steve,” Peggy finally settles on, aware that despite the ridiculousness of this conversation, the fact that he’s willing to talk about Steve is a good sign. And then, as the thought hits her she finishes absently, “that was probably Howard’s fault come to think of it.”
It’s clearly the right thing to say, as the humorous glint comes back into his eyes as he drawls, “That museum is creepy.”
“That’s what I told him,” Peggy says with a smirk of commiseration-because really, she loved Howard, but that museum is so, so creepy and she’s never taking Steve to see it-which Bucky returns.
And then, before her eyes he becomes more sober as he says, finally opening up, “It’s just, so much of my life was about him you know-protecting him from the guys he’d get into fights with and being his friend that when he died, I lost a huge part of myself.”
He the turns pained eyes towards her then, and Peggy takes his hand automatically, an instinctual gesture of comfort as he continues, “I didn’t know how to cope with the knowledge that I was going to have to live forever without that part of me.”
And then, so quiet that Peggy almost misses it, voice projecting towards the floor, “And now he’s alive again, that part of me is still lost, because he doesn’t need me to protect him anymore.”
“He’s always needed you as his friend,” Peggy says, trying to put everything-all of her own feelings, and all of the emotions she sees on Steve’s face every time Bucky refuses to see him-into her voice.
He doesn’t say anything, but he squeezes her hand in response.
They sit there like that for the rest of the morning.
When Peggy enters Bucky’s floor the next day for their daily talk, it’s to find Steve already there. She doesn’t hear much, but the timestamp on the entrance says he’s been there for nine hours and the word “Brothers,” is used, and after a moment Steve pulls Bucky into one of those great Steve hugs of his, and Peggy can see tears in both of their eyes.
Peggy smiles even through the tears that are gathering at the corners of her own eyes, and backs out of the room with a smile on her face.
She’s got something to run by Fury.
“So, want to work for SHIELD?” Is how Peggy greets Bucky the next day, throwing a sheath of papers on the coffee table in front of the couch where he’s sprawled out.
“Fury would trust me to do that?” He asks, clearly surprised and not trying to disguise it as he sits up and pokes the paperwork gingerly, like he’s afraid it’s going to attack him.
Peggy smirks, rolling her eyes before she says dryly, “Fury doesn’t trust anyone to do anything, so don’t get ahead of yourself.” And then, more seriously, “But it’s a legitimate offer-you’d work for SHEILD, and your access would expand to the rest of the Tower, not just this floor, with more freedom in the future if it works out.”
“I’m probably going to regret this, but then I’ve done dumber,” Bucky says after a moment, and he takes the pen that Peggy is offering him, signing the papers.
“It’s definitely going to be interesting,” Peggy says, an amused glint in her eyes.
Bucky looks appropriately wary.
Bucky’s career at SHIELD starts with a political science graduate student.
“This is Darcy,” Peggy says, introducing her to him, because unlike Darcy, Bucky doesn’t have the benefit of reading her file, “she’s the head cat wrangler,” and this is actually a term Coulson started, “after Coulson.”
Bucky gives her a slow look over, lingering on…certain parts before he says, charming smile offsetting the offense that would normally come from the address, “Nice rack.”
“Nice ass,” Darcy parries back, giving him a long look of her own.
Peggy plants her face firmly in her hand, but she’s smiling.
This is a good sign.
Once Peggy’s removed her face from her hand she turns to Bucky and says blandly, “You’re going to be Darcy’s assistant-help her herd in the crazy scientists and do paperwork and such.”
“You realize that this is a huge waste of my talents right?” Buck says, just the expected amount of incredulousness in his voice as he continues, gesturing grandly with his hands, “I can shoot the face off a nickel at 500 ft!”
“And I once tasered the God of Thunder,” Darcy says, unimpressed, tone one of abject boredom, “get over yourself.”
“Really?” He says, clearly impressed, if the appreciative, “Nice,” that he gives her is any clue.
Peggy just shakes her head before she says, to both of them, “So, are we all good here?”
“’Mr. And I want my scalps’ and I will be fine,” Darcy says, hooking her arm through Bucky’s, and then, when it becomes clear that Bucky didn’t get the reference she made she asks, “No, really?” And her voice is incredulous, deepening Bucky’s look of clear puzzlement, as she exclaims, “You actually killed Nazi’s and you’ve never seen Inglorious Bastards?”
“Brad Pitt is highly over-rated,” Bucky offers as his defence, and Darcy pauses, shrugs in acknowledgment before saying, “Points for that,” as she drags him off down the hallway, “But you’re still watching that movie.”
Peggy’s either had a stroke of genius or she’s just created a monster.
Thankfully, it seems to be the former, and it makes a strange sort of sense, because there is actually a method to her madness. Because yes, having Bucky-who has several skills that make him optimal for field duty-be Darcy’s gopher is a massive waste of his talents, but it’s also a way for him to possibly develop the one skill that’s keeping him out of the field.
Because no matter how much Bucky has conversed with the Avengers, they don’t trust him and vice versa, and so if Peggy sent Bucky out in the field now the Avengers wouldn’t trust him to hold his position, and that’s how people get killed, and Peggy can’t have that.
So, step-an-fetch-it duty.
Because it might seem counter intuitive, but after a few months of no poison in their coffee, their files filed properly and food when they turn around, the Avengers get used to seeing Bucky around, and more importantly, get used to relying on him.
It’s like the toaster; no one really thinks about it, but everyone trusts the toaster to make toast, because that’s what it’s always done, and that’s what it will always do.
And it works both ways-as the Avengers warm up to Bucky and start to rely on him, they include him in things and he starts to get into a routine with them, and he in turn warms up to them.
It’s a far cry from fully trusting him, but it’s a pretty damned good start.
And so, life goes on.
A year after Peggy gets kidnapped by the Winter Soldier, Tony Stark proposes to Pepper Potts on her birthday, at a surprise party that he’s organized for her. In front of a small group of their closest friends-close enough to be family-he gets down on one knee and tells her that, he might not deserve her, but he also can’t live without her, and if she says yes, he’ll do everything in his power to make her the happiest woman alive.
Pepper manages a dry retort of “we’ll see,” before she launches herself at him and between kisses says yes several times.
It’s a beautiful moment, intimate and sweet and as Peggy moves to join their friends to congratulate them, she can’t help but wonder when Tony turned into such a mature, responsible adult.
And then he announces the engagement to the world by changing his Facebook status, and Peggy realizes the answer to that question is still never.
But she’s smiling from ear to ear.
That’s the Tony she knows and loves.
And then there’s the resulting media frenzy where every station from FOX to MSNBC to CNN tries to figure out if it’s a legitimate story. Eventually, they all come to the conclusion that it is, with varying reactions; FOX thinks it’s a media stunt, MSNBC thinks it’s the romance of the decade and Anderson Cooper looks dangerously close to tears at the news and nope, Peggy isn’t touching that one.
“The first Avenger’s wedding,” the news proclaims, and Peggy refrains from mentioning that Clint and Natasha have actually been married in five different countries, including once undercover in a mass wedding in Korea by a man claiming to be the Messiah-and yes, despite everything that’s happened in the last year, that still remains one of the most surreal experiences in Peggy’s life.
But eventually the fervor finally dies down, and Peggy thinks that the worse of it is over.
And then the wedding planning actually starts and she realizes just how wrong she was.
See, the thing about the wedding planning is, despite the four month deadline to the wedding-mostly because Tony is a moron who’s afraid Pepper will change her mind given more time-it should be easy, because Tony Stark has more money than God, and so that should making picking a venue as easy as pie.
Unfortunately, he also has a reputation for being a bit…hard on party venues.
Eventually, after hours of frustrated phone calls, they decide that the Tower is probably the best place-it’s well protected, beautiful, and has sentimental meaning to the couple.
The fact that nowhere else will take them is ignored.
That dealt with, the other stuff actually runs a bit more smoothly-Pepper has a rolodex that would make people with OCD salivate, and so flowers and catering and the like are a breeze.
The decision of the people included in the wedding party, not so much.
Because well, it’s obvious that Rhodey is the best man, before Tony even asks him.
And then Pepper asks Coulson to be the maid of honour.
Rhodey has some objections to that.
Some loud objections to that.
“Oh hell no,” he says when he finds out, gesturing widely with his arms at Coulson to make his point, “I finally get to be the best man at Tony’s wedding, and he’s the maid of honour! No offense man,” he says then, with a nod to Coulson that gets him a tiny smirk in return from the man in question, “‘cause you’re badass, but I can’t hook up with you. Can’t Natasha do it?” He finishes, voice somewhere between pleading and interested at the thought.
“Try it and die,” Clint’s voice says cheerfully from the ceiling, where no one knew he was hiding, startling a few people.
His voice is followed by Rhodey getting a nerf dart right between the eyes.
Coulson stays the maid of honor.
Peggy confiscates Clint’s toy and tries to figure out how she ended up the mother of a group of superheroes.
And then of course Tony sticks his head into the room and says cheerfully, “Step-Steve!” as he sets his eyes on Steve, and Steve parries back absently, not looking up from the guest list, “Still not your step-father Tony.”
Right, it’s Tony’s fault.
But she’s smiling all the same.
Needless to say, the wedding planning gets put on the back burner when the Kree attack.
It’s not so much an invasion as it is small raiding party that Loki ‘helpfully’ leads to Earth. Still, it means that Manhattan-because it’s always Manhattan, no one ever invades Texas-is temporarily overrun with violent aliens, and so all SHIELD Agents and the Avengers are called to arms.
Peggy has some worries about it being too early for him to be in the field, but those are extinguished when Bucky takes out a Kree that was about to sneak up on Tony’s back, and Tony flashes him a thumbs up in thanks, never once having thought that Bucky was aiming at him.
Peggy is smiling, even as she covers Steve’s back with one of the Kree’s own weapons.
The battle ends with the Hulk smashing Loki again-and really, absolutely funnier the second time-the Kree falling under the might of the Avengers and packing up hauling ass off the planet, and Thor using the refurbished Bifrost to once again try to lock up Loki in Asgard.
Peggy isn’t holding her breath on that last one.
But the Avengers have triumphed no matter what, and so as they all gather back at the Tower, Tony turns to Bucky and says, “You’re alright in my books man,” giving him a slap on the back-thankfully not while wearing the suit.
Fury gives him permission to leave the Tower, and a probationary status as a member of the Avengers.
Thor declares that they must celebrate, and then brings out the Asgardian mead.
The events of the rest of that evening are classified.
Kree dealt with, the wedding once again moves to the forefront, but by that point most of the details are done.
It’s Pepper that settles the final loose end when she comes to Peggy and Steve’s floor in the Tower one afternoon and says, “I wanted to ask you if you’d walk me down the aisle. My parents and Tony’s are both dead, and you’re basically Tony’s third parent.”
“I’d be honored,” Peggy manages to say through the tears that are threatening to clog up her throat, and she takes Pepper into her arms and hugs her, tightly, like she would any member of her family.
Peggy knew she made the right choice, all those years ago.
Which basically brings the wedding planning to an end.
Well, except for a wedding present, because what do you get the man who has everything?
But Peggy’s got something special in mind.
Peggy’s friendship with Bruce starts like this.
Peggy is British.
And yes, although it’s a cliché, Peggy really enjoys tea, something that the inhabitants of this Tower, who run on coffee IV’s, don’t really get.
With the exception of Bruce, who has a collection of exotic and soothing tea’s that makes Peggy’s inner Brit weep tears of envy.
And so, through tea, Peggy and Bruce bond, and she likes what she discovers. He’s a man of science, just like Tony, but he’s also a bit more cautious. He’s been bitten by the consequences of thinking that just because you can do something you should, and it makes him an interesting person to debate with and talk too. All in all, he’s one of the sweetest people she’s ever met.
He’s also one of the loneliest, and it doesn’t take a genius to tell why.
It’s no secret that Bruce is in love with one Betty Ross, whose father, the General, refuses to let anyone who might have ever even thought about the Hulk near her.
Tony voices his disapproval of the situation quite a lot.
Peggy’s met General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross once or twice when she was Sharon, and although she doesn’t think he’s the great Satan like Tony does, she does think he’s a blunt instrument, and although she admires his parental desire to protect his daughter, at this point he’s just hurting her and everyone else, and Peggy isn’t going to stand for that.
The problem, however, is how to actually do something about it, because the General has significant influence with the right people, and everything that Betty herself has tried has failed.
It’s Bucky who she brings the problem to-because if there’s anyone else better than her at getting around the law then her Bucky is it-that actually gives her the solution when he says, after several hours of nothing, voice frustrated but not serious, “I guess you can’t just kidnap her huh.”
“No…” Peggy says slowly, an idea, crazy but possible blooming at his words as she says slowly, trying it out for size, “but I can arrest her.”
Bucky looks at her like she’s gone mad, but Peggy is smiling, plan already forming in her mind.
She runs the idea quickly by Fury, and he smiles, baring his teeth in return.
The General stepped on his feet about this, and Fury doesn’t let anyone get the better of him.
He tells her to get to it.
Peggy takes one of Tony’s planes, and Bucky, and flies to Virginia that afternoon.
It’s Betty who opens the door of the apartment that SHIELD has listed as her address, and before she can speak Peggy pre-empts her, saying, “I’m agent Margaret Carter of SHIELD, and this is Agent Barnes. I’m sure you’ve heard of us from your father.”
“Yes,” Betty says tightly, and Peggy has a second to wonder just what the General has been telling his daughter about them before Betty asserts, loudly and passionately, “If this is about Bruce, I’m not going to back down!”
Peggy ruthlessly supresses the smile that wants to spread across her face, instead saying seriously, “Actually, Dr. Ross, this isn’t about Dr. Banner-at least not directly. SHIELD has recently reviewed your file, and found that, your status as one of the creators of the HULK serum makes you a threat to national security. Therefore, Agent Barnes and I are here to escort you to a SHIELD facility, where further legal action may be pursued.”
“Wait, you’re here to arrest me?!” Betty exclaims, incredulously, and Peggy can feel the beginnings of that smile that she was suppressing creep onto her face as she says, voice bland, “Yes. And because of your new threat status, SHIELD has blanket authority to detain you in our facilities indefinitely. You’re going to our facility in New York; I think you’ll like it there,” and then, with special emphasis, just to make sure there aren’t any misunderstandings, “especially the company.”
“Yes…” Betty says slowly, smile beginning to dawn on her face, “I think I just might.”
It takes Betty 15 minutes to pack, and 2 and a half hours for them to land, and she smiles- a smile that threatens to split her face-the entire way.
They end up landing around 1:30 in the morning, and so by the time they get to the Tower there is part of Peggy says that they should wait until morning. However the other part of her, that is looking at Betty’s face says not to, and so Peggy tells Betty to wait in one of the sitting rooms adjacent to the foyer while she asks JARVIS to get Tony and Bruce down here.
It only takes a few minutes for Tony to appear in the foyer, wife-beater covered in some type of motor grease, and as he catches sight of Peggy and Bucky he walks over to them and asks, somewhere between genuinely curious and just snarky, “Why am I in the foyer at 2:00 am?”
“I got you a wedding present,” Peggy answers, voice giving nothing away and at that Tony’s expression becomes momentarily contrite as he says earnestly, “You didn’t have to do that.”
And then Bruce picks that moment to walk out of the elevator, all rumpled hair-a sure indicator that he fell asleep in his lab again-and a befuddled expression and Tony’s eyebrow raises in confusion as he asks, “Wait, why is Bruce here then?”
“Because it’s technically a present for him,” Peggy says, and it becomes especially hard to supress her satisfied smile when Tony whips around and questions, “Wait, what-?”
But it’s at that exact moment that Betty, clearly not able to handle another moment apart when she’s so close-walks in the door, and everything just freezes.
“Hi Bruce,” Betty starts, hesitant and cautious, like she’s afraid that he doesn’t want to see her.
However that clearly becomes a non-issue when Bruce says, “Betty…,” voice dazed and reverent, like he’s afraid he’s still dreaming, and at that Betty apparently decides that enough is enough and jumps him.
Bruce definitely doesn’t seem to mind.
He’s also apparently been working on his deep breathing, because they’re doing some seriously intense kissing, and he’s apparently still got a tight leash on the other guy.
Its then that Tony interjects, breaking her attention away from Betty and Bruce as he exclaims happily, “You got me a happy science bro! You are the best godmother ever.”
“Yes I am,” she says with a satisfied smile, watching as the fruits of her labour round second base in the lobby, before she finishes, a mock-dangerous edge to her tone, “But if the next words out of your mouth are Bippity-Boppity-Boo I’m still replacing your hair gel with Nair.”
Tony’s mouth snaps shut.
But they’re all smiling.
The General makes a great deal of noise about his daughter’s new residence, but in the end there isn’t anything he can do, because everything Peggy did was above board, and all the right paperwork was filed.
No one ever wins against Coulson in a paperwork war.
Betty stays right where she is.
And life in the Avenger’s Tower goes on.
The bachelor party of Tony Stark has no strippers, no hookers and no kegs. Instead Tony and the rest of the male Avengers, including Bucky, Coulson, the Warriors Three and even Fury have a poker night with a reasonable amount of Scotch.
This, more than anything else, proves that Tony is in it for the long haul.
Well, that and that Coulson is a shark at poker.
The bachelorette party of Pepper Potts-organized by Darcy-has all three, and although Pepper partakes in the festivities and enjoys herself, she admits to Peggy that-out of the hearing of Darcy-she much prefers quiet evenings spent with Tony in the workshop or on their floor of the Tower.
Peggy can’t think of anyone else in the world that she’d rather have marry her honorary son.
She knows Maria and Howard would have felt the same way.
The wedding of Pepper Potts and Tony Stark goes better than anyone could have ever imagined.
Pepper is radiant as she glides down the aisle on Peggy’s arm, and there are tears in Tony’s eyes when he sees her.
No villains, terrorists or aliens attack.
That alone pretty alone much chalks it up as a success in everyone’s books.
There are tears in a few other people’s eyes, Peggy’s included, when Tony and Pepper exchange rings and recite their vows.
Happy Hogan, crying in a very manly way in the front row, gets a tissue passed to him from Maria Hill.
It has her phone number on it.
His cheers when the bride and groom first kiss as a married a couple seconds after that are especially loud.
Tony and Pepper dance to Etta Jones’s At Last, as their first dance, and then, in true Stark style follow it directly up with Black Sabbath’s Iron Man.
Even Steve laughs loudly as his whirls her around to that one.
And the wedding even goes well for people other than the bride and groom; Tony introduces Rhodey to a woman named Chess Roberts, who is apparently a reporter who has ethics.
They bond over being the only sane people in their respective fields.
By the end of the night, Rhodey is no longer complaining about Coulson being the maid of honour.
Bucky takes Darcy as his date.
“You like her,” Peggy says, nodding towards Darcy as she and Bucky take a turn around the dance floor, while Steve and Pepper waltz elegantly and Tony takes a turn with the little flower girl-a niece of Happy’s.
“She’s fun-no baggage or bad history,” Bucky answers back frankly, “I need someone like that.”
“Good,” Peggy says, happy as long as he’s happy, before she reminds him, only half tongue in cheek, “But just remember that if you break her heart, Thor will use you as a life size whack-a-mole game.”
“You don’t have to worry about me,” Bucky says with a charming smirk as the song ends, before he plants an overly dramatic kiss on her hand and then heads off to rejoin Darcy as Steve returns to her own side.
She thinks he might actually be right.
She’s still going to of course.
That’s what family does.
And then there are the speeches-where despite threats to the contrary neither Peggy nor Rhodey embarrass Tony too badly-which are followed by the tossing of the bouquet.
Peggy doesn’t even really line up-she gets herded by Darcy-where despite not even trying for it, Pepper’s toss of the bouquet seems to falls right in her hands.
Peggy blinks at it in surprise, and then looks up fast enough to catch Bucky slapping a hand on Steve’s shoulder and saying something that turns the edges of his ears red.
Tony catcalls, and Peggy rolls her eyes at him, and then Thor catches the garter and everyone’s attention is taken up by the spectacle that is Jane trying to explain to him that he doesn’t actually have to wear it.
She absolutely ignores how nice Mrs. Peggy Rogers sounds.
Four months later, after the mess that was Thanos invading-that miraculously all of them survived, although Rhodey and Clint broke more than a few bones; and the things that Natasha did to Thanos in retribution for that last one can’t even be mentioned-has finally wound down, Steve gets down on one knee on top of the Empire State Building and proposes.
The first thing that comes to Peggy’s mind, that escapes from her lips before she even realizes it is, “You know you don’t have to do this because I caught the bouquet, right?”
“Yes,” he says, a knowing smile on his lips before he says, voice soft and earnest, “I know. I’m doing this because it seems like I might actually have forever, and I can’t think of spending it with anyone other than you. And then he looks up at her with those eyes of his and asks again, “So how about it Peggy?”
And well, there’s only one answer that she can give.
“Alright soldier, let’s do it,” she says, launching herself at him, and he swirls her around once, look of joy on his face before he kisses her in a way that absolutely fries her brain.
Peggy is so caught up in him, she doesn’t even notice the cheers of the crowd until she comes up for air.
The pictures on TMZ are hard to miss though.
But, because they just can’t catch a break, then there’s the Extremis situation, and the excitement of her upcoming wedding gets a little side-tracked by Tony lying near death in a coma in the hospital.
And then, it’s when Peggy and Pepper are alone in the room with an unconscious Tony that Peggy notices something very important.
“How far along are you?” She asks quietly to Pepper, nodding at the hand that isn’t grasping Tony’s limp one, resting protectively over her stomach.
“Six weeks,” Pepper says, quietly, eyes dark with the strain of all of this instead of the excitement she should be allowed to feel, “I only found out two days ago. I was going to tell Tony when…”
“He’ll be ok Pepper, I promise,” Peggy says when she trails off, giving Pepper a quick hug, and she’ll do anything to make it true.
So then Peggy steps outside, takes a breath, chambers a round, and goes to find Maya Hansen-who Peggy’s had a bad feeling about since she showed up-and show her exactly why messing with Peggy’s family is a bad idea.
It takes ten minutes for the whole story to come out-Maya releasing the Extremis virus so she could have a human test subject-Tony-to try to keep her cancer research alive.
Peggy does not put a bullet through her skull, but only because Tony wakes up, fully healed, now able to control his armour with his mind.
Tony takes out the threat, the Mandarin and his criminal organization fall, and Maya Hansen will spend the rest of her life in a SHIELD prison.
And Pepper Stark gets to tell Tony he’s going to be a father.
All in all, not a bad days work.
Tony, on the surface, seems to take the news of his impending fatherhood pretty well, if the delighted kisses he presses to Pepper’s still flat stomach are any indication, but Peggy’s still waiting for the delayed terror to hit, like it did with Howard.
And then, a few weeks later, Peggy wakes up at three am to find Tony a step away from hyperventilating in his workshop, trying to further modify the security system on the Tower.
It doesn’t take a genius to guess why.
And there’s the terror she was waiting for.
“I found your father in his lab doing the same thing when your mother was pregnant with you,” Peggy announces as she walks into the lab to get his attention, and Tony jerks at the sound of her voice, nearly clipping Dummy with a blow torch as he spins around to face her.
Dummy chirps indignantly.
Tony ignores him.
“It’s silly,” Tony says in response, eyes dark with sleep deprivation, continuing before Peggy can interject, “intellectually, I know it’s silly, because this is the safest place in the world for them to be. But I can’t sleep because every time I do I see something happening to them, and so here I am.”
“Worrying is natural Tony, that’s just what parents do,” Peggy says gently, remembering fondly all of the times she and Maria and Howard worried about Tony, especially in those first few months where every cry was a near death situation. And then, to try and make him laugh she says, “Your father built a bomb-shelter bassinet. That was silly-and ugly. Maria refused to have it anywhere near the nursery.”
And then, at the dangerously familiar look that blossoms on his face-the same look that used to make the maids hide instinctually because the young master was building something crazy-Peggy says, knowing even as she does so that it’s futile, “No, Tony.”
The next morning, there is a bassinet in the workshop that is has bio-recognition, a panic signal that can broadcast across the entirety of the globe and a security setting that, if JARVIS senses danger, a bullet proof, bomb proof, god proof screen comes up to cover it.
It’s also adorable, and color coordinated with the nursery.
Pepper plants her face in her hand when she sees it, but after he builds it Tony starts sleeping through the night again, and so Pepper makes the wise choice of the lesser evil.
The bassinet ends up being the focal piece of the nursery.
And then times passes, and three months before her wedding, Peggy’s birthday comes around.
It’s her 100th.
Steve and the rest of the Avengers throw her a party, and make the mistake of letting Bucky and Tony decorate the cake.
It has 100 candles on it.
She should feel old.
She just feels happy.
Peggy smiles, and turns to the crowd, these people who love her, and asks, cheekily, “You going to help me out with these?”
The candles don’t stand a chance against the combined power of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
She’s already got everything she could wish for.
The wedding planning for her wedding to Steve is actually pretty simple; mostly because they just do everything that they did for Tony and Pepper’s wedding. They decide to use the Tower, they book the same caterers, same florists, buy the dress from the same designer.
It’s only when the move to the bridal party that any real changes start to come up.
“Steve wants me to be the best man,” Bucky says one afternoon in greeting as he barges into her and Steve’s sitting room where Peggy is trying to finalize the guest list.
“And?” She says after a moment, puzzled, only half paying attention, “Do you not want to do it?”
“No I-” Bucky starts, and then stops, changes direction, and if Peggy wasn’t so distracted she’d notice that his voice has become oddly vulnerable, “he asked me, after all that’s happened.”
“You’re his family,” Peggy says absently, not picking up on it, still mostly focused on the list-how the hell do they know nine Agent Smith’s anyways-but she means every word, because it’s obvious to her, “who else would he ask?”
Peggy’s not sure exactly what she’s done to deserve the hug he gives her-like it’s going out of style-but she enjoys it all the same.
But really, nine Agent Smith’s?
That decided, the topic of the maid of honor comes up next; Peggy just says that she’s asking her best friend.
Coulson is thrilled to do it.
Bucky takes it much better than Rhodey; he just snorts, and asks Darcy again.
Coulson shows up with Sif.
Tony moans about the cosmic inequality of hotness for an hour, before Pepper drags him off to a closet and puts those pregnancy hormones to good use.
When they come back, Tony has a red mark on his neck, sex-hair and a slightly glazed look on his face.
He says nothing about Coulson and Sif.
Pepper has a smug grin on her face.
Tony manages to make himself presentable again in time for him to walk her down the aisle-because it was only ever going to be him, and if he ever thought otherwise than he’s the dumbest genius she knows-and so, 72 years after Peggy fell in love with Steve, she finally gets to marry him.
And as they do their slow walk, she only has eyes for Steve, so very dashing in his dress uniform, whose starring at her like she’s the most beautiful woman in the world.
He makes her feels like it, every-day, by just being him.
Tony lifts the veil off her face when they finally reach Steve, kisses her brow like she used to his when he was a child and hands her hand seriously over to Steve, who takes it with the same level of importance, before stepping back into his place.
And then the minister starts speaking, and Peggy looks at Steve and asks, out of the corner of her mouth, “You ready for this soldier?”
“Only from the moment I met you,” he whispers back, and Peggy knows there’s no one else she’d rather spend forever with.
She doesn’t remember much else of what the minister says, but she remembers Steve’s lovely vows, and “I do.”
She especially remembers the kiss.
She’s pretty sure Bucky-and possibly Tony-catcall, but Peggy couldn’t care less.
She just married the man of her dreams.
The reception, held on the top floor of the Avengers Tower-the one with the cool windows and curved balcony; that are closed, because booze and that design are a bad idea-is pretty much everything that Peggy could have ever wished for.
The space is beautiful, the music is beautiful, and the first dance-to Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again, the only song they had ever considered-brings tears to her eyes.
“Think you’ve found the right partner?” Peggy teases him, craning her next up to be heard over the music as they dance, and Steve’s smile is so brilliant it outshines the sun.
“Yes, I believe I have. And her name is Mrs. Peggy Rogers,” Steve says as they twirl around, and this is so much better than that dance he couldn’t make.
This dance is forever.
Well, metaphorically speaking of course, because literally the dance has to end eventually, and when Peggy and Steve are both ready for a breather, Tony calls everyone over to the bar with a loud announcement of, “Avengers assemble for shots!”
Peggy rolls her eyes fondly at the word play, but she and Steve and the rest of the Avengers head over all the same. Once they’re all over Tony hands out the shots, and then interrupts himself when he looks around and says loudly, “Wait, wait, we need short-round.” And Peggy only barely restrains her snort at Tony’s new nickname for Bucky-he’s been calling him hero’s sidekick name’s for the last three weeks-Robin was especially popular, as well as Super-Boy-but Tony calls again, louder this time to make sure Bucky can hear, “Short-round come on over here, we’re doing shots!” Tony says, gesturing impatiently at Bucky whose still across the room.
Bucky does come over, a bemused look on his face as he asserts with good humor, used to the stupid nicknames by now, “I have no idea what’s happening right now.”
“You’re an Avenger,” Tony says, like it isn’t a huge thing because to him it isn’t-it’s just something that is, like the sun rising and setting every day-slapping Bucky on the back, “embrace living in the nut house and take the drink.”
Bucky swallows once, and Peggy can see tears in just the corners of his eyes.
He takes the drink.
“To us,” Tony says once he has, raising his shot, “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”
“To family,” Peggy says simply, raising her own shot.
“Here, here,” Bucky says softly, and Steve nods as Tony says, a soft smile on his face, “I’ll drink to that.”
And so they do.
And this is how the Tower gets its last inhabitant.
And so, as Steve and Peggy take the dance floor again, Peggy can’t help but just look at all these people; these people who wormed their way into her life, and that she couldn’t imagine life without now.
Pepper and Tony, dancing slowly, his hand on the curve of her stomach; Darcy and Bucky, whirling dramatic around the floor, both laughing delightedly; Clint and Natasha, waltzing expertly, moving like one entity that just happens to have four arms and legs. Thor and Jane smiling as Jane stands on Thor’s feet to be closer to his face; Bruce and Betty, swirling slowly, in their own little world, to even Rhodey and Chess Roberts, cutting a dashing picture across the floor to Coulson and Sif, unsurprising graceful and Maria Hill and Happy Hogan, doing an impressive foxtrot.
This is her family.
“Everything alright?” Steve asks, the question whispered into her ear, and Peggy smiles.
“Everything is perfect,” she returns back, and brushes a kiss to his lips, “Just perfect.”
And it is.
Well ok, maybe ‘last’ was jumping the gun a bit.
Margaret Marie “Maggie” Stark is born at 3:02 am to a cool, calm and collected Pepper Stark and a frantic, anxious, Iron Man suit-wearing Tony Stark.
He doesn’t faint, but personally Peggy thinks that’s only because the suit wouldn’t let him.
Maggie has her mother’s nose and hair, and her father’s eyes and mouth.
She seems to have her Uncle Thor’s lung capacity though.
Thor, upon hearing Clint say that, is so proud that Peggy doesn’t have the heart to ruin it for him.
Tony corners her when she’s staring at her namesake in the nursery and says, as Howard did so many years ago, “She’s going to need a godmother.” And then he smiles, and says teasingly, “Know anyone who might be interested in the job?”
Peggy smiles, kisses his brow and slides a hand into his, before she says, “I’m offended you even have to ask.”
Besides, she thinks, as she places her unoccupied hand on her still flat stomach, it’ll be good practice for Steve.
But this is Tony and Pepper’s day, and so she keeps that one to herself, at least for now.
She’s got time.
Well, at least another seven months.
For now, all she wants to do is stand here with her family-getting bigger by the moment-and be happy.
So she does.