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Just Bloody Brilliant

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Don’t show your power to other people beside me and Harry, John. It’s dangerous. Most people will not understand you.’

Since his mum died, John realized if he couldn't get a handle of his power, he could be a danger to himself and everybody around him. Water was important in life and it wasn't hard to find them in most parts of the world. A slight change in his temper wouldn't cause a problem, but a big enough shock could crumbled his barriers.

Therefore, as the time passed, he trained himself with self meditation and exercising his control over his power. It wouldn't be hard if it weren't for the continued growth and evolution of his abilities.

Water and vapor still seemed to be the basis of his power, which he had conquered in his teenage year. Turning vapor into water was easy, but it wasn't just done doing the other way around. Water on the other hand was easy. As long as it has water in it, he could direct the element. It was truly amazing that he could stir the sugar inside his tea just by thinking about it.

Ice came to him after his sister, Harry persuaded him to try. Even ice wasn't the trickiest part from his list. Discovering his latest affinity while he was interning as a surgeon was an awful experience.

It was heart-stopping.

He can still see the blood just suddenly flowing away from the appendix he was going to cut, before the nurse managed to perform suction. Many scenarios ran inside his head about what they'd do to him if they suspected him.

Thank Heaven, his colleagues and professor only considered it as light playing with their eyes. Otherwise, he might be the one getting dissected on the table.

Well , the blame was on him.

He was a bloody doctor for God sake.

He should have realized that more than half of the human’s body was composed of water. This theory allowed John to do a trial and error. Of course, he wasn't into self harming. The good surgeon bought pig’s blood, scaring the hell out of his sister finding the blood filled the tub.

After explaining to her, she was in full agreement. His sitter encouraged him by telling him how much this particular ability could do to help John in surgery. He could probably help with aneurysm. Or he could make it worse.

There were risk in this specific skill of his, unlike water or ice. If he's not being careful, he could blow people up, exploding them from inside out.

Practice John. I have faith in you.’

His wonderful trusting sister believed so much in him. John wished he could have as big of faith in himself as Harry has for him.

After accidentally almost killing a life pig, he decided to stop with the experiment. In the end, John worked on simple things, such as preventing blood clod, using his power like a suction (changing the course flow of the blood), or helping with bloodletting.

At Afghanistan, he succeeded in killing an enemy soldier, whom pointing a gun at him, without lifting his hand out of his patient’s wound. Nobody saw it, but it was enough to spook him. It was the first time, he felt truly afraid of his power.

These days, John only needed to think it or asked for water and ice to response to him. Seeking for blood’s help wasn't as simple as that. It needed half of his full concentration, which was more than the usual.

John was quite careful when it came to his power. Therefore, he cursed his fear and inability in trying to help Harry and Clara after that dreadful accident. He wasn't afraid of people finding out, but he feared he's going to kill them in the process of helping them.

In truth, there were nothing he could have done to help them. The problem weren't focused on anything to do with blood.

By the time of his arrival, he was immediately told that his sister-in-law, Clara had a brain aneurism, which prompted her to die instantly the second she was thrown out of the window, hitting the pavement. She died on impact.

The people who had informed him back in America didn't have all the facts. He was being told that at least Harry has survived, but in a coma. Later, Harry's condition took a turn for the worse.

He was just going home for an hour to look after Rosie, his niece/daughter (results of volunteering to give his sperm to Clara, so that the couple could have a child). Suddenly, he received an emergency call from the hospital, stating that his sister has a sudden stroke.

By the time he got to the hospital, she was already gone. The moment Harry died, he felt a darker side of him wanting to come out to punish someone for his misery. He felt like he was being gutted like a fish.

His mind went haywire for a second. He wasn’t thinking clearly, but in the midst of it, he managed to call Tony.

His best friend.

His everything.

He held on long enough for the inventor to come and save him from this nightmare. He kept most of the destruction in his mind at bay. Channeling his ability into rain instead of killing everybody on the hospital by blowing their disembowelments.

Hearing Tony’s voice was like hearing the end of a successful operation. Holding him for dear life was like dangling on air with a piece rope keeping you from falling to your death. But having his hands around John was like ray of sunshine illuminating the darkness crowding his mind and heart.

Without Tony, and now Rosie, this world would end under John’s wrath.

***

He should have left London the moment he was kidnapped, strapped with a bomb to his chest. Even Tony begged him to moved out of his flat, find a new place to live or moved to Malibu with him, away from Sherlock. His partner disapproved of his friendship with Sherlock because John was almost always in danger when he assisted the detective on his adventures.

But, nooooo.

John liked the consulting detective. There was a void in his chest left by Harry's death. He filled that hole with Sherlock, unknowingly adopting the detective. The good doctor followed and protected the genius out of harm’s way.

Naturally, he pulled the line when it came to Rosie and Tony. As long as Sherlock didn't disturb his time with Rosie, he would help him in his investigations. When Tony’s in town, he would just tell Sherlock no.

No amount of pestering could get him to tell him anything about Tony. With his great deduction mind, he could only get himself as far as knowing that John was in a committed relationship with a man. Recently married he added after John came back from his short honeymoon.

He married a paranoid genius after all. No one could connect the Watsons to the Stark billionaire. No one.

Not even Mycroft and his CCTV. If it got Mycroft to make that face, the one that looked like he was having an intense diarrhea, well, it was just the icing on the cake.

And then, Sherlock got famous for solving so many cases. John's blog somehow had put a name on the whole ‘the only consulting detective’ in the world. His best friend (on Britain) has been solving more and more high-profile cases since.

When Jim Moriarty resurfaced once more, John knew he couldn't leave his friend. But he feared for his daughter’s life since he knew how ruthless and dangerous that criminal consultant was.

With the help of his lover, they smuggled their little girl out of London straight to New York, where Tony's new Stark Tower has just been finished.

John was impressed by the decoration Tony has put into Rosie's bedroom. The room has pink flowers wallpaper decorating two opposite sides of the wall, while the other sides was filled with soft green wallpapers. In the middle, there was a pink princess bed with cute rabbit and bear dolls on it. To the right side, Tony had put the latest gadgets and high state computer courtesy of Stark Technology. While in the other side, there were doll house, art supplies for kids and everything to help a child in developing their interest. He didn't even forget a big flat screen tv on the opposite side of the bed.

“Tony…” John was speechless. “This is…”

“It was last minute, but I hope Rosie loves it.”

“Are you serious?” He turned around, gazing into the eyes of the man who had been his best friends longer than half the span of his life. “She will love it.”

“You don’t know that,” he said sheepishly, scratching the back of his neck. “For all you know, she will hate it and…”

“You know our daughter better than that,” John admonish him.

They've been calling Rosie their daughter since before they officially wed four months ago. John didn't remember when it's started but he was beyond joy when Tony admitted as much to him.

A small smile appeared on his lover’s face as he mumbled his agreement.

“We will talk, after I put her to bed,” John smiled back at him, kissing his cheek. He was holding their sleeping daughter with his hands, her chin resting on his shoulder. The jet lag would be excruciating for her in the morning.

After closing the door, he was startled when he felt Tony enfolding him from the back. Tony's chest was warm and he could feel the new reactor bulging from His lover's chest. He still couldn't forgive himself for not noticing the changes in Tony's health. In his mind, he had failed Tony as a boyfriend. Tony didn't hold anything against him. He said it was his fault not telling John about it and to leave it at that.

“Stay.” The man whispered desperately on his ear as he held John around his embrace. “You will be saved, here in New York. With me and Rosie.”

Taking a deep breath, he let go of the air. “You know I can't do that.”

He felt the kiss on his left earlobe, the warm air coming from Tony's lips, leaving his body shivering in its wake.

“Please John.”

“I'll come back. After I made sure Sherlock is alright,” he turned around, putting his arms around the taller man’s neck. With a press of his lips against his, John looked into the eyes of his husband. “I promise.”

That was two days ago. As he come back to the streets of London, he found out that Sherlock was currently known as a fugitive for a crime John knew the detective didn't commit. Greg warned him to stay out of this, telling John to think about his daughter.

John's answer was to punch him and find his friend. He went to Mycroft and found out what truly has been going out while he was away. He left the place without as much as a look back.

One of Sherlock's homeless network bumped into him, slipped him a piece of paper. Written on it was Sherlock’s location, Bart's morgue.

He was glad when he saw his friend was doing just fine, but then he got a phone call telling him that Mrs. Hudson was shot. He got into a big fight with Sherlock, which led to him storming out of the morgue to go back to Baker street.

John was surprise to find out that the old lady was perfectly fine and realized he was just conned. Somebody (Moriarty) wanted him to be separated from his friend. He rushed back to the morgue when he got a phone call from Sherlock.

The detective was talking nonsense. Odd things about being fraud and conning everyone. It was bogus. The doctor arrived in time to see his mate standing on the top of the building.

He remembered feeling like he was falling as the awareness sunk in. Sherlock was going to jump. He's going to kill himself.

John was trying so hard to convince him not to do it. He even begged, pulling the Rosie card since Sherlock had a human connection to his child.

Unfortunately, even that didn't work. He didn't understand why his best friend was admitting all these lies about himself. He knew better than everyone how intelligent the man was.

The detective told him to stay where he was standing. He thought if he did do as he said, Sherlock would laugh and stepped back.

But, he didn't.

The moment Sherlock threw his cellphone away, John felt his heart jumped to his throat. He stood still on his place, still clutching the phone on his ear and heart was throbbing like crazy.

The doctor snapped out, when he saw the man he's being helping to protect for two years, jumped.

“No. SHERLOCK!” John fled out like being chased by a ghost, trying to get to the hospital building. A body, Sherlock’s was lying on the sidewalk.

On the way, a bike hit him, knocking him out of his course. Soon, people were crowding around Sherlock. He didn't know how he pushed through the crowd but he recalled seeing the bloody mess surrounding Sherlock’s body. He managed to grab onto his wrist, trying to find any pulse before people were holding him away for the medics to come through.

John knew he was frantic and disbelief filled his mind. He couldn't believe his friend just died. It was Harry all over again.

Not on my watch, he thought to himself.

Pushing aside the shock, John concentrated, his hand stretched out trying to reach for his friend.

Imagined how surprise he was to find out that the blood was still pulsing on Sherlock’s veins. He could feel it answering John's call.

Sure he was angry and upset wouldn't even describe how he felt at the moment. He wasn't Sherlock Holmes, but he was after all trained to perform surgery in a war zone. Thus, he has a cool head.

Sherlock must have been under pressure. John didn't understand but he kept his face blank, keeping the whole of charade ‘I just saw my best friend killed himself’.

The instant he got into the morgue, he searched from the tag and pulled the white sheet off of Sherlock’s body. It was definitely a body, with dark curly hair, right height and gender, yet it was definitely not Sherlock.

“How did you know?”

With a look that could penetrate concrete, John turned around, facing his still living neighbor currently hiding in a shadowy part of the morgue.

“I have my way, Sherlock.” He gritted through his teeth, slowly saying. “Now, tell me.”

Delaying a few seconds, John circled around the metal table, away from the Sherlock’s cadaver to stand just a meter from his soon to be ex best friend.

“Why?”

“It must be done.” The detective said in conviction, unwavering under the intense stare of his assistant.

One of the windows in the morgue was suddenly being smashed, creating a loud noise. The consultant immediately reached over towards John, trying to protect him from the attack.

John took a step back away. The detective fell, lying down on the floor, waving his hand motioning for John to do the same thing.

John tried to appease the man, since he knew he was the one smashing the window. He incidentally let his anger slipped through and shot some of those water drops to the morgue.

After making sure that there was no one to shoot at them, Sherlock, after a lot of threats from John's side, told him the truth.

There was three shooters who would shoot John, Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson if he didn't jump off of the building to kill himself. If Sherlock tried to warn any of them, his men would pulled the triggers. Molly, Mycroft and a bunch of Mycroft's agents with Sherlock's homeless network managed to pull the whole suicide act to fool Moriarty’s men.

John tried to be understanding, but he still felt betrayed all the same. It was the final nail to the coffin.

Truth be told, John was planning to move in with his husband when the tower has finished. Rosie missed having Tony. It wasn't enough for her to see him only a few days every month. The 7th year old wanted to move so much to America that she studied the culture, under JARVIS’s parental control.

John’s voluntary work was getting tedious as well. Rosie’s enthusiasm in moving overseas lighted up John’s long forgotten dream to live together with Tony. The only thing holding him back from leaving was his constant worry over Sherlock.

There's no question which one he chose, though. Before Moriarty came back, he decided he was going to break the news gently to Sherlock.

Now, he was just done.

“I'm moving, Sherlock.”

“What do you mean by moving?” Sherlock cocked his head to the side.

Crossing his arms, John repeated calmly. “I'm moving out of London, Sherlock.”

“You can't.” Sherlock huffed indignantly, being a brat. “I'm going to take down Moriarty’s crime syndicate and I'll need my assistant back after I come back to London.”

John has lose the will to even scorn his childish friend.

Oh my God! Was this truly his life? He has a child, married to a man-child and has a childish friend.

He started giggling, making Sherlock stop from ranting off about John's responsibilities as his assistant.

Soon, he ended his sudden manic attack, clasping his hands on Sherlocks shoulders. “I'm going to move away, whether you like it or not Sherlock.”

Before Sherlock could say anything, John continued. “I'm going to live together with the man I love and my beautiful daughter out of Britain and its whole complications.”

“John…”

“I cannot be your assistant anymore, Sher. But I can still be your friend.” He started walking away from the tall Brit. “You're the best detective in the world. I'm sure you could find my new home.”

***

Chapter Text

April, 2012

Tony admitted that he was jealous of Sherlock. The tall dude got to meet his husband more than he could; moreover, he's tall, smart, and who didn't want to date a guy with those long legs.

He rarely showed his jealousy towards the detective, but John could always see the signs. John always appeared entertain whenever he needed to unruffled the engineer’s feathers. The thought of him with Sherlock was so silly that John usually giggled unstoppable for minutes.

Sue him! The guy was hot even Tony wanted to tap that.

The idea of marriage never seem to have an appeal on the genius, even when he was being oblivious with his so called friendship with John. However, the night when he consoled John over Harry and Clara’s sudden passing…

Well, that was the night he made up his mind that this man was going to be his. The moment he came back from London, after he did everything Pepper said needed to be done, he confined himself to his workshop and start designing for a ring, which later he forged by himself.

He used the new element for his arc reactor core for the ring. The ring has a row of tiny gemstones around it with the same color as Tony's new reactor. Inside the ring, he put a monogram ‘Your genius, always’.

Initials are boring.

Tony kept the ring inside a square black velvet ring box. He carried the box inside his pants wherever he went. And since that 'Sherlock' showed up, he felt the need to put a ring on John. But he also kept on waiting for the right moment.

But the choice was out of his hand last January.

Tony forgot to take precious (like Gollum’s precious One ring. Get it?) out of his jeans pocket when John was doing laundry. Tony and Rosie were watching cartoon on tv in the living room while they were cuddling on the John's old couch in their pajamas. He liked cuddling with his little girl and just watched cartoon on Sunday morning. It's their ritual.

So it surprised him when John interrupted the tradition by suddenly came to stand in front of the screen. Tony looked up at his lover and realized John was holding something in his hand.

His ‘precious’.

The second he saw the box on John's hand, he knew there was no such thing as the right moment.

So while having an armful of Rosie, he blurted. “I made that ring by myself.”

John’s brow furrowed and he blinked several times at him, dryly he answered. “Is that your way of proposing to me?”

“Aren't you supposed to say yes?” Tony asked him.

“Aren't you supposed to ask me?” John asked him back with a raised eyebrow.

Tony pouted at him, steeling a glance at Rosie, trying to play stupid. “I forgot the question.”

The girl held both hands around her mouth, whispering onto Tony’ ear loud enough for John to hear. “It's ‘would you marry me?’”

He tickled the little girl until she laughed and gave her a big wet kiss on her face. “That's my girl! How come you're smarter than your Daddy?” Looking back at John. “So what do you say? Wanna get married?”

The smile John gave him was so radiant Tony thought he needed his cool shades.

A week later they got married in Tony’s cottage at Manitoba surrounded by pine trees with a lakefront view. Rhodey and Pepper were their witnesses while Happy officiated them since he actually had an online ministry license. Tony still didn't know why Happy has that license.

Since their marriage was a secret, John had to wear his ring with a chain and kept it around his neck. Tony kept the ring John chose on his index finger. Apparently his husband had a ring done as well and was planning to purpose to him the day after Tony's accidental proposal.

The ring was a titanium band with red and gold gemstones around it. Inside there was an engraving 'my everything, your Brit'. It was a bit cliche but he loved it.

John designed the band as a wedding ring and an inside joke. Since with those colors, people wouldn't think twice about the ring being Tony's way of portraying his narcissism over being Iron Man, instead of a wedding ring.

Anyway, they had a four-day-honeymoon. It felt more like a family vacation since they didn't have hot spicy steamy alone time with a kid staying with them.

No matter. Honeymoon sex was overrated, anyway. They could have their mind-blowing wedding day whenever they wanted to after John moved in with him.

Thank God for their beautiful beautiful daughter! She gave the final push for John to move out. And John was going to tell the good news (suck for you Sherlock) to that man.

Again, it seemed the world just didn't want Tony to be happy. He couldn't help but resent the detective for being the reason why his husband needed to lay his life on the line, again. As if it wasn't enough that John was almost bomb because of that stupid rivalry the Brit (not his John) had with that Ape shit criminal.

He threw his fist in the air and jumped like a kid on a trampoline when John called to let him know that he was going home.

“But…”

JARVIS had produced a video broadcasting live from inside of John's flat in London throughout several angles. He could see his husband sitting on the couch with his STARK phone.

“But, what?” Tony’s good mood was gone the second the word ‘but’ came out of the other line.

“This line is safe right?” John's sounded and looked anxious.

Tony grew alert all of a sudden. “JARVIS, secure the line. I want you to play a loud music in the flat and search for any potential danger in a radius of 3 miles. Used that British agent agent’s access through CCTV.”

From his phone, the first melody of violin could be heard.

“Line secure, but sir…” The AI’s voice sounded urgent and the video feed changed into a man bending over a sniper rifle behind an opened window in a white building. “There's a sniper on the third floor second window from the left on the third opposite building from 221 Baker Street. It's aiming at the doctor’s apartment window.”

“Tony? Love?” John called from the other line before Tony could have his panic moment.

“Honey,” Tony knew his voice turned squeaky. “Is that the ‘but’?”

“…yeeees?” His husband sounded unsure.

In summary, he found out from John that the criminal killed himself (coocoo) before threatening to kill the land lady, the police and John (his breathing got faster) if Sherlock didn't commit suicide. The veins in his nape were popping out when John got to the part of the story where he had to watch the asshole detective jumped off of a building.

He wasn't even dead, that weasel! He gave John a scare of his life for NOTHING! That SOB!

Even when he's pissed, John still tried to defend the smug bastard.

“I think the sniper will keep a watch over me in case Sherlock wasn't dead and tried to find me.”

Irony of the century.

“So, you're going stay there PRETENDING to be a ‘widower’ to help the lying SOB, again,” Tony couldn't even hide the anger out of his voice even if he didn't raise his voice.

“If it helps…” John said. “I told him I'm done being his assistant. I didn't even tell him where I'm moving, love.”

Okay, that made him feel better, just a bit. He's still furious, though.

“And he told me he will be away on a mission to take down Moriarty’s crime syndicate. It'll probably take him years to come back.

Tony immediately exclaimed. “It's the best damn early Birthday present, EVER!”

***

May, 2012

Pepper was in the kitchen, making grilled cheese sandwiches helping out Tony with Rosie around the penthouse. Without the constant appearance of John, Rosie became a bit flustered. She tried so hard not to show it, but parents could tell.

Tony had sat her down and explained to her that Daddy needed to help uncle Sherlock (the smug bastard). Even John had called her himself, telling her that uncle Sherlock's case was so hard, he couldn't solved it without her Daddy’s help.

It's been five days and her daughter was agitated from not seeing her Daddy.

That's where Pepper came in. Rosie loved her aunt Pepper. She distracted Rosie from thinking about John, just like today. Tony was playing doll house with Rosie in her bedroom when the tv turned on and John’s face appeared on the screen.

“Hullo, darling.” He called Rosie, who jumped up and crowded the screen immediately.

“Daddy! Papa it's Daddy.” Rosie pointed at the screen.

“John,” he couldn't help but smile at seeing his husband’s face.

“Love, I'm going home.”

Tony immediately felt joy, not just because he could finally see his husband, but also because John just called STARK Tower his home.

“I need to take care of some things first and say goodbye to some people too. Maybe also visit Clara and Harry, then JARVIS could book the earliest flight to New York the day after tomorrow after my bags all pack,” he said.

“You know you could just used the jet.”

“Too risky, Love.” John shook his head slightly. “But I did ask JARVIS from divulging my flight destination from nosy people.”

“So I can finally see you Daddy?”

“Of course sweetheart. I'll be seeing you two days from now. Both of you,” he said gently, putting his hand on the screen.”

Tony lifted the girl and they both put their hands on the screen as well. “See you soon. I love you.”

“Love you too Daddy.”

“Love you both. Cheerio.”

As the screen turned off, Rosie ran out of her room, couldn't wait to tell Pepper the good news. Tony couldn't wait to see his husband.

And just in time for Tony to disconnect the transmission lines from the tower and light the tower using his arc reactor tech tomorrow. John will be so proud of him.

***

After the elevator closed with Pepper and agent agent in it, Tony immediately focus on the screen he just opened in mid-air with his hands.

This Loki person was dangerous. A troublesome God person.

“JARVIS.”

“Yes, sir?”

“What time will John's plane arrive to JFK tomorrow?”

“8.45 in the morning, sir.”

“So with the baggage claim and traffic, probably 10.30 at the Tower?”

“Correct, sir. Should I cancel the flight, sir?”

“No, no. He’ll know something’s up if you rescheduled.”

“Sir, I don’t think…”

“Zip it JARVIS, let Daddy think.” He said to the ceiling.

“Okay. When he showed up tomorrow, let me know.” He needed to start reading these notes agent agent gave him. “I'll talk to him. And be a dear and called Happy and Rosie upstairs, will you?”

“Of course, sir.” There was a note of disappointment in JARVIS’s voice when he's being dismissed by his creator.

Forget about the AI. Right now, he needed to break the news gently to his girl and have Happy babysit Rosie, just until John got here. Their daughter was a worrywart but she was very understanding for her age. She got why Tony needed to be a superhero and why John needed to help uncle Sherlock catch bad guys.

Still, she's going to be upset. Damn.

And then there's John.

Tony's going to take the low road and high tailed the moment John entered the tower. He's gonna tell him that he's needed back in SHIELD and John got to take care of Rosie while he's away.

He's going to be sooooooo pissed at Tony leaving their daughter. But the angry sex would be sooooooo hot.

Oh yeah.

***

Chapter Text

From afar, he could see the sign of the STARK Tower from the side window, where he sat on the back of the car. John didn’t have any opinion on the building except that it was very high and just thank goodness the STARK name wasn’t in red and gold neon color. Pepper told him to give himself a pat on the back after averting that crisis. Just the image of those 5 gigantic letters in those horrific colors, made John want to scratch his eyes out.

“Moppet, are you fine?” John looked to the right, where he was putting his arm around his daughter. She seemed rather tired from the way she was resting her head on John’s side.

Rosie was rather down this morning, so with Happy as their tour guide, John brought Rosie to the café near Stark Tower, where they ate pancakes and waffles for breakfast. After that, they went to this little old book shop to buy some fairy tales for Rosie’s new bedtime stories. Both father and daughter loved books and they could spend a long time just to choose which one to buy. And Rosie even picked a sky blue scarf for her Daddy for winter uses from the store next to the book store. She told him that his old scarf was shabby.

Before they knew it, it was lunch time. Then they bought some sandwiches and lemonade, and tea for John. They have a simple picnic in Central Park. They even took some photos with Happy to send to Tony.

John sent those pictures to entice Tony of what he had missed. He was a bit petty like that. Usually, Tony would respond immediately but maybe he's still busy looking for that Tesseract cube, he texted John last night.

Now, they're on their way home to the Tower. Maybe his daughter was tired. They did after all went out since this morning.

She hid her face on john’s side, shaking her head, mumbling. “I miss Papa.”

“I miss him too, darling.” He planted a kiss on top of Rosie’s head, breathing on her smooth silky hair. “I bet he misses you too.”

She lifted her head a bit to look at John’s expression, “Really?”

“He does, darling,” John told her warmly. “Very much. And probably he’ll come home tomorrow. Let’s just wait for him, okay?”

“Okay,” there's still a faint longing on her expression.

Oh, Tony. He was going to talk that man’s ears off for putting that expression on their daughter’s face.

“You know who else misses you?”

“Who?”

“Uncle Sherly.”

“He does?” She asked,her face lighting up then she scrunched up her tiny nose. “Why didn't he come here?”

Sherlock was brilliant, but he was shite when it came to human relationship. To tell the truth, Sherlock was good, he just didn't know how to relate to people conventionally.

Children were naïve little human beings. They haven't been contaminated much by society's eyes and ears. To Rosie, all of those deductions Sherlock did was like magic. For a few months, Sherlock let her believed that he was a mind-reader. He liked Rosie’s attention and awed looks. And the other way around, Rosie was proud of his adoptive uncle’s achievements.

That's why, John wasn't going to let his baby girl find out about those bogus news about Sherlock. To Rosie, her uncle Sherlock was a hero. Just like Daddy and her papa. She would be devastated if she knew that people has been smearing dirt all over the detective’s name.

But, he's going to tell her one truthful thing though. “He's on a mission Rosie.”

She looked intrigued and asked in a low voice. “Like a spy?”

John nodded. “Did you remember the bad man?”

The little girl quivered slightly, fear portrayed on her delicate young face. “I don't like that man. He tried to hurt you and uncle Sherly.”

John nodded, stroking Rosie’s arm, trying to comfort her. “He couldn't hurt us anymore, darling.” He smile reassuringly at his daughter. “I promise you.”

She nodded, trusting her father’s words.

“And Sherlock's missions are very important. He's going to have the bad man's friends arrested. The bad man has many friends, so your uncle might be gone for quite a long time, darling.”

“How long?”

“Maybe years.”

“That's too long.” Rosie pouted, crossing her arms.

“I know, moppet.” John looked out at the window, before stealing a glance back at his daughter. “But, his missions are very secretive. So, we can't tell anyone about it.”

“Not even papa?”

“Well, your Papa already knows about it,” he curled his lips. “So it's okay.”

“When he come back, can we give him a present?”

“Of course, darling.” He gave her another kiss on her head.

“Can we give him a human brain?”

John could feel a sudden headache coming his way. The anger he felt suddenly build up inside his chest was quelled a bit by the hopeful look his daughter gave him. His daughter hung too much around his barmy best friend.

Trying to stay calm, John told her. “No.”

“But uncle Sherlock love to ex… Exeperim?”

“You mean experiment?”

“Yes, Daddy.” Rosie looked excited. “He had a brain in his cool box. He didn't show it to me but he said he liked to experiment on them.”

John had to quash the sudden need to bang his head against a hard surface. Damn it, Sherlock!

“I don't think that's a good idea.” Happy said, from the driver seat, watching them from the rear-view mirror. “It's very hard to find human body parts, Rose. Especially, for free.”

With a furrowed brow, Rosie pressed through. “Maybe we can ask uncle Sherlock where he get it.”

“But then it wouldn't be a surprise anymore, would it?” Happy continued.

She finally relented by saying. “I guess so.” Looking at her Daddy. “Maybe a manif glass?”

“Magnifying glass? I think that's a much better idea, Rosie.”

Then his daughter start chattering about the size and the color of her soon-to-be present. He blamed Tony for Rosie picking up over his habit of having a two-way-conversation with herself.

He mouthed a ‘thank you’ at Happy from the rear-view mirror. John got a ‘you're welcome’ wink out of it.

Her daughter’s voice became white noise as his thought moved on to his husband.

He was surprised when Happy picked him up at the airport with Rosie. He was disappointed that his husband didn't come as well. The chauffeur told him that Tony had something to do this morning, so he sent Rosie with him, as his welcoming committee.

The traffic was bugger, but he enjoyed chatting with his daughter, asking about her activities while she was in New York. She told her that papa brought her to the zoo. They have to disguise themselves, so that nobody could recognized them.

“Papa is very famous and he said sometimes people weren’t nice to famous people so we need to digaize ourselves.”

“Disguised.” John corrected.

“Yes, disguised.”

John was glad that Rosie were having so much fun while he's not around. She hadn't asked about Sherlock, yet. Thank God. John's still trying to find the right words to tell her that Uncle Sherlock was going to be away for some time.

Seemed that Rosie was too excited to see her old man that she forgot about everything else, including about his papa going away for a few days.

John didn't find out when the car went into the hidden garage in the Tower, not even when he entered the elevator with Rosie and Happy who insisted on helping him bring his luggage.

At that point, he didn't even had any preconceived against Happy’s offer. Who would be leery about a man nicknamed Happy? The answer… Well, he should have used his brain more, considering he only brought one carry on.

“It's good to see you again, Master John.” The delight in the AI’s voice was unmistakable when they enter the elevator. “It's been a while.”

John rolled his eyes. “We talked to each other, just this morning in London, JARVIS. Will Tony be waiting for us in the penthouse?”

“Daddy, Papa is…” Rosie immediately closed his mouth with both hands.

John cocked an eyebrow at his daughter’s slightly odd reaction.

There was a silent before the AI talked through the speaker. “ Sir can't wait to speak to you when you arrive.”

Being a former assistant to a detective could sharpen your mind at certain clues hanging around or even certain contexts. So, John noticed how odd it was that JARVIS used the word ‘speak’ instead of ‘meet’.

The next clue was when the metal door opened, the pent house was missing something. Or a ‘someone’.

“JARVIS, where is my husband?” He asked, walking towards the sofa in the living room. At the same time, Happy asked Rosie. “Let's go to your room, Rose. Do you want to watch some cartoons with uncle Happy? Your Papa and Daddy are going to have some grownup talk.”

The moment the door to Rosie's room closed, John's STARK phone rang. And the pieces started forming together.

“Hi, honey.” Tony's voice sounded too cheery for his liking. “How was your trip?”

“Well, let's see.” John said, humorless. “The flight was nice, even the food wasn't bad especially since that nosy AI of yours moved me to first class. The ride to the Tower was fun too since there's Rosie and Happy.”

“I'm so jealous to hear that.” Tony said.

“And then I came home to find out that my husband isn’t going to be here to welcome me home.” John gritted his teeth. “So.”

He deliberately ended it at ‘so’.

“So.” And his impossible husband decided to chicken out. “So maybe I should call you later?”

“Tony! Don’t you hang up on me, you git!” John yelled at his phone. “Explain to me why you’re not here.”

“Not if you’re going to be angry about it.”

John couldn’t believe the audacity of the other person in the other line. Well, he actually could since he knew the man for more than a quarter of a century. Bollocks, he even married to the man.

“What rights do you think you have to demand such an outrageous thing?!”

“When you agreed to marry me, you indirectly have agreed to accept me for who I am. That includes how childish I can be.” The superhero huffed indignantly.

“Don’t get shirty with me, you… you goat!”

“Sorry, but I don’t understand British talk.” Tony answered flippantly.

“Alright, let me put it this way.” John’s voice grew too dangerously calm. “If you still want to get inside my pants, you answer me straight this second.”

“It’s not fair.” He could practically see his husband pouting mouth from over here. “I married you so I can have you in my bed every day.”

In the background, John could still hear the sound of strong wind. He still couldn’t put his finger on it. The noise sounded so familiar… it sounded just like…

John’s voice grew hard and demanding. “Tony. Are you flying right now?”

“What makes you say that?” His husband sounded truly confused but it was missing that cockiness.

“Tony.” The Brit has lost all his humor, completely.

“Superhero business. SHIELD needed me in Germany fast.” The inventor answered rapidly. “Gotta go Honey!”

“Tony, wait…”

Even though he’s still upset and angry because he couldn’t get to see his husband, he never let anger dictate how he ended his calls with his long time best friend, and same thing applied to Tony the other way around. This whole thing started when John started working in the military.

“I love you.” He felt like swallowing a big lump under his throat. “Be careful.”

“Love you too. I’ll see you soon,” Tony replied warmly.

“I’m still angry at you. So, expect a payback from me when you come home.” John uttered quietly.

He could hear the rings of laughter from the other line. “I know. Bye honey.”

After Tony became Iron Man, borrowing Mycroft’s words, John worried about him constantly. He knew that Tony knew what he was doing and he understood why he needed to do it. In their argument, Tony was right about 1 thing, though. The moment he married the man, he agreed to accept him for who he was. Billionaire, inventor, genius, sassy, childish and even his superhero persona, Iron Man.

“Daddy, when Papa comes home, let’s go together to buy the magnifying glass, okay?”

“Of course, darling.” John grinned mischievously. “And maybe we could bring Papa to the Apple Store as well.”

Oh Tony loved his tech and he uphold them among other techs in the world. Apple brand was his main competitors and going into one of their store would make Tony looked disgustedly surprised and just… It would be the best revenge ever.

“To buy some apples?”

“Maybe just one Apple called an iPhone.”

There was peals of laughter from the driver seat. Oh yeah, Tony would enjoy shopping for an Apple.

***

They were just getting out of the car in Tony’s garage when his cellphone rang. He fished the phone out of his trousers’ pocket and saw the caller’s ID. The face of Tony with a small smile, eyes speaking of fondness and so much love with laughing wrinkles, looking right back at him from the phone. He took that photo when he caught Tony staring at him. He couldn't not take a digital memory of that smile. It reminded him of how much he was loved by his husband.

“Is it Papa?” Rosie looked elated.

Looking at the little cute smile, John nodded at her and picked up his phone. “Hullo Love. Did you see the photos I send you?”

“John, honey, don't panic.” Tony really should be better with his forewarning. “But I need you, Rosie and Happy to go inside the Panic room.”

“Tony? What happen?”

“Please honey.” Desperation filled Tony's voice. “It's very important to me if you guys go inside there immediately.”

Suddenly, they heard loud bangs outside the tower. Rosie cried out in fear, holding onto her Daddy. John soon lifted her daughter and turned to Happy who looked alert.

“Tony told us to go inside the panic room,” John shouted at Happy when the next booming sound came.

Happy urgently ushered them towards the elevator, screening a card on the elevator’s screen, uttering,” Howard ‘Happy’ Hogan. Authorization code: BOXER100997.”

A secret panel appeared below the actual existing elevators buttons. There were three buttons in a horizontal line and the big man immediately pushed the lowest button.

The elevator moved smoothly down and when the door opened, Happy ushered them from behind and into the room. The room looked like an entire floor of an apartment. The panic room was sealed and could only be opened from the inside.

“Thank God the tower wasn't exactly operating yet, so only us here. We’re safe.” Happy gave a long relieved sigh.

Ignoring Happy’s comment, still holding onto his scared daughter, John demanded on the phone. “Now, can you tell me what's going on?”

“Loki is in the tower. With the Tesseract. He has just opened a portal using my arc reactor.” Tony told him. “You remember Fury’s secret boy band, the one that I told you about?”

“The Avengers Initiative?”

“Yeah, the aliens are coming baby. And we’re the first defense.” Tony sounded a bit worried. “Stay safe okay? Don't go out.”

“Tony, what… I…”

“I love you, always.”

“I love…”

His husband has hung up the call before he could say the words. Oh God, the aliens! Tony was…

“Happy, turned on the news.” John ordered.

The screen immediately showed them what's happening outside. There were all sorts of weird looking creatures with guns. They were shooting at the civilians. Buildings were destroyed and the city was in chaos before the screen turned off, and they lost signal.

John held his daughter tightly in his arms, devastated. “Oh no, Tony.”

“Daddy, is Papa going to fight those monsters?” Rosie sobbed in his arms.

John felt a blockage in his throat, so there's nothing came out of his lips. He nodded frantically.

“Daddy, Daddy.” Between sobs, Rosie held John's face. “Don't let them kill Papa. Please, Daddy. Please.”

Happy came around them and tried to calm the little girl. “It's okay, Rose. Your Papa is Iron Man. There's nothing that can hurt him.”

Rosie just shook her little head, holding onto John's face. “No, no. Daddy, please. Not like mommies. Save Papa.”

“I don't…” John could feel tears forming on his eyes. He was scared he wouldn't be able to control his power. He never use them in front of anyone besides his dead relatives, Rosie and JARVIS, whom the latter he sworn to secrecy.

“Used your power Daddy! I trust you!”

I have faith in you.’

When the news of the Billionaire’s MIA circled around in every military channel, John’s world slowly crumbled around him. Fortunately, he was in Afghanistan where water was limited. So, he didn’t cause a natural disaster.

A month through Tony’s MIA, John busied himself with sick and wounded patients. He knew he worked himself too hard when he accidentally killed several enemy soldiers, not with his gun, on the battlefield after the last incident. He needed to get his feet back on the ground.

For those three dreadful months, he was living by a single thread of hope that Rhodey would find Tony. The moment he heard from Rhodey that Tony was found, he violated military rules to come and see his genius in the hospital. The minute he saw Tony in that hospital bed, he felt everything was right again in the world. John felt he could breathe again.

He swore he would do everything he could do to protect Tony. When the time called for it, he would protect Tony using his unique abilities.

“Alright, moppet.” His voice filled with conviction and he kissed his daughter on the cheek before he gave her to Happy. “Happy, look after her, please.”

“John, don't do anything stupid. Tony will kill me if anything happens to you.”

John wiped his tear, then rolled the sleeves of Tony's black hoodie that he’s wearing, until his elbows. He took out the scarf Rosie picked out for him and worn it high enough to cover half of his face.

The water from the spigot in the sink started running out, floating in the air, scaring the likes of Happy until he jumped an inch in the air while still holding onto Rosie.

“Jesus, what…?!”

The water started to gather behind John like a shield. “Don't worry, Happy. I can take care of myself.”

Then, he walked into the elevator, pulling the hood up on his head. John took a last see at his daughter. “I'll bring Papa back, darling. Promise.”

***

Chapter Text

“Sir, master John just left the tower.” The AI informed him while Tony was flying to shoot some of those chitauri’s flying chariots.

Panic, Tony stopped mid-air before continuing his path towards more chitauri. Inside his suit, frantically, he asked JARVIS. “What?! How could… JARVIS, I thought Happy and Rosie were with him.”

“Miss Rosie asked master John to help you, sir.” JARVIS answered calmly.

“I know he’s in the army before, but this isn’t exactly the time and place for him to act as a hero, damn it. “ He cursed. “He couldn’t just shoot them dead with bullets.”

“Sir, I think…”

“Did he bring his phone?”

“Yes, sir. I can track him from here. But, sir…”

“Just tell me where he is.” Tony was feeling a mix of frustration, worry and anger at his husband.

The man was supposed to be safe inside the panic room, even though Loki was in the building. Tony knew the chances was slim to none that reindeer games would know about his family in there and the fact that his panic room could survive against even atomic bomb, he felt at ease. There’s less things for him to worry about.

The inventor knew he shouldn’t be angry at his daughter because she’s just a little girl. She lost her parents and now she didn’t want to lose another parent-figure. So, he blamed John.

For God sake, the man was an adult, he should know better. He should have given more explanation and not succumbed to their child’s plea to help her Papa, if it was going to cause the life of her Daddy in the future. Or present, Tony thought dreadfully.

Oh God, what if…

What if he ran into Loki?

No, no, his mind reassured him. Loki was up there, on his pent house away from where John was.

Oh God, John was...

His husband first thought was probably to go outside. Out of the security of the tower.

Oh God…

What if the moment John walked out of the tower, he ran into a chitauri pointing that alien gun ray at him? Even if he managed to dodge, the man was only human and the enemy was an alien.

The chitauri was going to chase him, shoot him, hit him and trampled on the man he loved.

Oh God…

“Sir, SIR.” JARVIS called him, concerned at his creator silence.

Tony’s mind was in a turbulence so bad that he didn’t listen to JARVIS’ frantic call. He got so restLess thinking of all the ways the chitauri could kill his husband that he didn’t notice the chitauri chariot flying his way until it collided with him.

The impact caused him to almost crash into a building before JARVIS helped navigate his suit from crashing. Before he could get his head on the game, he heard the sound of something sharp met flesh, several of them in sequence just from behind him.

Flying around quickly, he saw the chariot that hit him before was now swooping down onto the hard rough asphalt and BOOM there it went.

“JARVIS, what just happened?” Furrowing his brows in confusion, Tony scanned his surroundings.

“I believed master John has just saved you, sir.” His AI responded, a bit presumptuously.

Speechless, Tony managed a dumb “what?”

“He’s standing below you, sir.” JARVIS told him, ignoring his creator’s confusion. “50 feet below you, on the street.”

“You asked me ‘where he is’ sir.” The AI continued, sassily. “And I answer to the best of my ability. Master John is right under you.”

Tony pushed the need to reprimand his AI about toning down some of his sassiness to the back of his mind and focused on what he just said. John was here.

Not here, here. But right below him. Under him.

Damn you JARVIS, for the sexual innuendo!

Looking down, he spotted his husband immediately. The Brit was standing near a broken fire hydrant, almost conceal by the water blasting from it. Flying as fast as he could, Tony landed on the street just few steps away from his husband. He pulled his faceplate back, observing his husband.

John was wearing Tony’s hoodie with hood on and a blue scarf, hiding half of his face from view. He wasn’t hurt and his clothes weren’t even wet, even though he was standing near the full blast of water running from the broken hydrant. It was weird, and he didn’t see him carrying any weapon. Not a gun, not a metal pipe or even sword… Okay that was out of the plot, already.

The second Tony landed, shortly, John went running to his side. He grabbed hold onto his metal suit and Tony felt his heart thumped happily. Okay, stop you treacherous heart.

Putting both gauntlets on John’s shoulders, he pushed him back gently. Perplexed, Tony asked him. “John, I told you to stay in the panic room.”

“I…”

“Stop. I don’t want to hear it.” The inventor cut him off. He was too upset right now and didn’t feel like they have time to chit-chat down here while the chitauri were running on rampage, blowing everyone from here to eternity. “I will get you home and after this whole invasion stop, we will talk.”

“Tony, I need…”

“John, just stop. I don’t have time to argue with you.” Tony glowered at his husband. “If I don’t know any better, I’d say you’re trying to stop me from saving people.”

He didn’t leave John any room to protest as he put his face plate back, and put his gauntleted hands around the Brit’s waist. Iron Man was preparing to fly when something stopped him.

His legs wouldn’t moved. Confused, he looked down and saw that his legs were being encased and nailed to the ground with ice. Frozen solid ice knee-high, since he couldn’t even fired his thrusters.

Face plate off, Tony looked at his husband, bewildered. He was searching for an answer when the doctor looked up and scowled at him. “If you just let me explain.”

Tony blinked a few times, then silently have a staring contest with his husband. He broke the gaze and told him. “Explain.”

Under his hood, the doctor suddenly looked deeply conflicted. Still holding on to Tony’s waist, John, bit his lower lip, trying to pull up his courage. “I need to tell you something.”

And then silence again for a few second.

The billionaire could hear the city being destroyed as he waited for his husband to speak his mind. “Time is ticking, John.”

“Alright. Here it is.” John breathe out, pointed at Tony’s leg. “I did that.

When Tony didn’t respond, John proceeded rapidly. “I have a power. Several powers, actually. I could control water, turned them into ice and I could even blow people from the inside out because… well, blood. That last one is risky for me to control. So I try not to use it.”

Tony was slack-jawed. Blinking a few times, he put his hand on his hip and started laughing. He couldn’t stop the bubbling laughter from coming out of his mouth.

The next thing he knew, he felt coldness on his eyebrows and goatee. It stopped being funny when he touched his goatee, pulled his gauntlet away to see that there were some ice pellets on his metal glove. “The hell?” He set his eyes back on his husband.

John wasn’t amused at all from the way he had took his hands off of Tony, crossing his arms menacingly. Tony couldn’t help but stared at his lover’s flexing muscles on those strong lower arms. He could still remember…

“Tony!” John snapped his finger in front of Tony’s face. “I’m serious. I have powers.”

“I figure when you told me that,” Then, he grumbled waving his finger at his goatee and then eyebrows. “But, is this necessary?”

A small smile appeared on the doctor’s face, “You do made a dashing Santa Claus.”

Tony couldn’t help himself and winked at his husband. Suddenly JARVIS interrupted,” Sirs, the aliens are destroying the city.”

John gave a short sigh while fixing the scarf that has been covering his identity. Clearing his throat, once more his husband met his eyes looking uncertain. “What I’m trying to say is…”

His hands reached for John’s face, which was covered by the hood. An understanding smile emerged on his face. “I know and I’m glad.” He cradled his husband’s face gently. “I laughed because I’m glad that you had these powers all along to protect you.”

Slowly, John asked. “You don’t think I’m… A monster?”

The billionaire hated the look of fear on his husband’s face. His brave courageous kind loyal down to earth husband was scared of his reaction. That was the last thing he ever wanted his husband to feel around him.

He promised right there and then that he would show how much this man was worth in his eyes. How much this beautiful man’s friendship and love had saved him countless time from desperation. How much this man had restored his faith over people. The faith that not everybody were there for him just because he was rich. The fact that he got Happy and Pepper because John encouraged him to put his trust in them; trust that they truly cared for him.

Without John, he would be lost. But without Tony, John would freak out. He knew how much John feared of losing him. He could see it in his eyes, the love and need he had for Tony. As if the moment he lost Tony (and Rosie) the world could go to Hell, for all he care.

So now, he needed to show the love of his heart that he would never ever get rid of Tony. He would be on his side, always. No matter how hard life hit them, they would always be together. Tony would make sure of it.

“I think,” Tony told him. “You are John Watson. The same man who saved me in London 27 years ago. My best friend and the most caring man in the whole world. And I’m so lucky that you said yes to me.”

From the look on his eyes, he could tell that John believed everything that Tony had said; nevertheless, he still looked hesitant.

“I love you, with or without these unique powers.” Tony said wholeheartedly. “I don’t even care if you told me you have three hands or one leg or you got a sex changed or… Boobs. Wait, do you want to…?”

Okay, he deserved that snowball to the face.

“Anyway… no, you’re not a monster.” He leaned forward, resting his forehead against John’s. “And I know there’s nothing I could say to get you back to safety. But at least now I know that you can protect yourself.”

“And give you a hand here and there.” And there’s the smile Tony fell in love with. “I did promise Rosie to help his Papa.”

A chitauri landed a shot not two feet from them. Tony immediately repulsored the beast, at the same time John shoot several icicles as big and sharp as knives at it.

The second the chitauri fell to his death, Tony whistled loudly, impressed at his husband’s ability. There was no time for fanboying at his husband’s ass kicking ability, he needed to move fast and be the superhero that he was.

Worried still, he knew John would want to follow and help him. He took a com out of a small panel on his suit’s waist, putting it on John’s ear. “That’s a com.”

His husband cocked an eyebrow at him as if saying ‘duh’.

“JARVIS had tampered with the signal so that you can listen to me and the other avengers talking. You can talk to me, and the other way around, but JARVIS will block the signal so they can’t hear us.”

With a last kiss on the forehead, Tony told him. “I know you want to help me, but I can protect myself, John. So, I need you to protect the civilians.”

It seemed that John was going to protest against it, but when he saw the unending fire and chaos on around them, he gave Tony a short nod. Even, changing the ice holding onto his legs to the ground, back into water.

Damn! His husband is so cool, pun soooo intended.

“I promise I’ll talk to you when I really really need your help.” Tony put his faceplate back again. “I don’t trust the avengers yet, so just be careful ok? Don’t get too close to them.”

“I love you.” John mumbled under the scarf, eyes telling him to be extra careful or there will be Hell to pay.

“I love you too.” Tony smiled behind his faceplate. “ And honey. Kick as many alien butts as you can!”

Flying, Tony could hear the sweet chuckles from the other line.

***

Chapter Text

Not far from where John was standing, he saw a few interesting people. He noticed them because one of them was wearing a very bright-colored clothes. That thing couldn’t even be called clothes.

That man was dressed in an American’s flag, which meant that this must be the famous world war hero, Captain America. The doctor couldn’t believe how all those muscles could fit into that costume. One thing was for sure. The Brit still couldn’t believe how anyone would want to wear that hideous thing, voluntary even. Even if the man was wearing the Royal Standard flag as a costume, John would still feel the urge to burn it (he respected all nations, but never when people dressed themselves with their national flags. It’s just not done)

He thought he saw a familiar red head among the trio. He would never forget the stupid silly ‘who can outsmarted who first’ game his husband played with that snake woman before. He didn’t hate the woman, but he despised what she did for a living.

Beside him was another fit looking man in black sleeveless with a… Were those bow and arrows?

The sound of hurried fast moving steps coming from behind him and with a quick glance, John soon asserted that they were soldiers of alien coming to attack him from behind. Raising his hand midway in the air, John flicked his fingers as hundreds of tiny droplets of water penetrated the foreign squad.

“Death by hundreds of ice bullets!” His husband exclaimed from the com. “That. Is. The. Coolest thing I’ve ever seen!”

“Not ice. Water bullets.”

Smirking, John could just imagined the gobsmacked look on the inventor’s expression.

“They’re easier to control.”

He could hear what sounded like a little girl’s squealing from the other line. It was definitely his Tony.

Tony cleared his throat, which John thought was out of embarrassment, then slowly demanded. “After this is over, I demand a full demonstration.”

John chuckled, looking up as he saw Iron Man flew away to the nearest alien chariot. When he looked back, the trio has left the street.

Shrugging, John continued to walk at the direction of where Iron Man has flown. Even though Tony had wished for him to help the civilians, his first priority was still his husband. He did promise his daughter, after all. If he got to save some New Yorkers in the process of following his husband, well that’s just a bonus.

The good doctor had called power forth over the water blasting from the nearest water source, formed them into several giant water balls the size of a balance ball, before rushing in a hurry to follow the flying metal suit.

As he ran into the warpath (funny, everywhere he saw was a definite war zone), the balls floated in the air traveling just behind him acted as shield.

Never have John ever dreamed of having full use of his powers in broad daylight, in the middle of one of the busiest city in the world, for the sole purpose of protecting his loved ones while at the same time saving people and preventing further aliens’ invasion.

It was dangerous. Exciting even.

But still dangerous. And everything that John had missed from Afghanistan and London.

People were running around him, abandoning their vehicles because the aliens, Chitauri Tony told him was their names, were swarming all over the street. The Chitauri started firing at them, but before some of those powerful beam could reach their targets, they were caught by small balls of water the size of balls from the ball pool. Those balls burst, disappeared into thin air when they collided with the beams.

John used the rest of his water balls to create a giant swirl moving around liked a snake, striking each and every single of aliens he saw in a swift move like a giant snake hunting for his preys. When John was certain that he had caught most of the aliens within his range, he stretched his arms which put the water filled with aliens stopped moving.

As he motioned his hands around upwards, the liquid turned into giant ice sculpture, freezing the aliens within. The Brit was a healer through and through; on the other hand, he didn’t like invaders, especially the ones who killed indiscriminately. He hated those ones the most.

Swiftly, he pulled his fingers into fists, prompting the solid matter to collapse onto the ground into tiny little pieces.

John wouldn’t say that he was a coward, but he didn’t want to look back at all those people he had saved from the aliens. Deep down, his biggest fear beside losing his family, was being feared. Thus, he decided to move forward.

An intact fire hydrant blew up as John passed it, blasting all those water. But instead of falling to the ground, all those water actively following behind John in small waves.

The farther he ran towards the direction of where people were running off from, the more aliens he fought. The man didn’t regret saving his fellow human, yet he regret losing sight of his husband.

“Love, where are you?” John spoke to the com.

“In the air, honey.”

“I know, you silly man.” He scolded. “I mean…”

His husband interrupted,” John, honey.” His husband was using the same voice he used with their daughter when he wanted to explain something to her. “You’ve only been here for a couple of times… “ sound of something blowing up in the background “ which means that even if told you where my location is, you wouldn’t know where to look.”

Ice knives flying from his right, hitting the right targets as John ran towards the hive of foreign soldiers. “I hate it…” He slowly stopped, crawling down on the asphalt, avoiding the shots aiming at him by those alien weapons. “… When you…” Raising his hands as the water behind him traveled to his front, creating a thick ice fortress around him. “Made sense.”

As he tried to regulate his breathing, Tony asked him in worry. “Are you alright John?”

“I’m fine. It’s just….so hard to run with a scarf covering your mouth, you know?”

“Honey,” His lover sounded as if he was contemplating to sweep John off of his feet and fly him to the nearest safe area. “Do you need me to…?”

“Love, just do your superhero thingy,” John huffed, keeping the ice stronghold solid and strong as the shooting become increasingly violent.

“Are you sure? I could just swing by your area and…”

“Bloody hell, Tony. I’ve got this all under control,” John scoffed. “Wait, that’s a good idea. That way, I could watch your back while you watch my back.”

“Nope. Not gonna happen.” Tony opposed immediately. “I trust you. I do. But, this whole invasion is wearing you down. I would rather fly you back to the panic room.”

With a long sigh, John looked up and sighted a speck of red and gold next to a skyscraper.

That Brilliant husband of his must have asked JARVIS to the track him down. Bollocks!

“Tony, I love you,” John said on the com, “ but so help me God, if you picked me up like a child and flew me out of this war zone, I’d shoot you myself.”

“But…”

“Let me do what I do best.”

Standing up, John cleaned the dirt and dust dirtying his pants when his husband’s voice cracking through the com. “… What?”

“Protecting my people.” He smiled behind his scarf, motioning his right hand as if swatting an invisible fly.

The ice barriers separated into a clear ice shield big enough for John to hide behind it and many sharp knives at once. With a flick of his fingers, those sharp ice flew as fast as missiles, killing the aliens in front of him in an instant.

There was silence on the other line before Tony swallowed and said. “Remind me never to piss you off.”

“I told you I can protect myself,” the shorter man grumbled.

“Okay, okay.” Tony murmured. “I know I told you that, but…”

“You’re worried.” John’s voice softened. “We both are.”

“Guess so.” His husband agreed. “So everything is under control?”

“Did you not just watch me kill a couple of dozens of aliens?” John didn’t move a single muscle when the ice shield and every visible ice blades flew out of the aliens carcasses, converged behind him and transformed back into waves.

It was but a second before Iron Man flew away and the good doctor received a reply. “This time, I promise I’ll let you handle things by yourselves.”

“Tony?” John began walking towards the direction of Tony’s flight path.

“Yes dear?”

“If you tried to save me again,” he skipped on a piece of concrete. “I will go to your workshop and freeze all of your tools.”

Before Tony could retaliate with an answer, John added. “Especially your blow torches.”

***

Since he left the premises, the name Dr. Banner has been thrown around in the com’s chatter and apparently the man has arrived. He wondered who the man was. There’s a niggling feeling in the back of his mind every time Tony or the other Avengers said his name.

Not long after, he found his husband again as a speck of red and gold flew in the sky and managed to keep up with him.

“Blimey, is that a flying moby dick?” John exclaimed as he skipped around a cab.

“Not dreaming, baby. It is a giant dicky moby dick!” Tony confirmed through their private channel.

“Dear, I’m going to send this alien to my teammates.” Tony told him. “You should probably change your route.”

Accidentally, he was following the giant alien whale as Iron Man baited it to sweep down through the street, making it followed him and barreling down building after building like a freight train.

“I think you’re right.” John decided to take a different route, jumping onto the wave and surfing around the building to take a good look at the scene.

From a distance, he watched apprehensively when he notice a man, he thought, walking at the direction of the killer whale.

Dr. Banner. Now might be a really good time to get angry.”

Suddenly, the man got bigger and just kept getting bigger in size until he turned into a giant green man. The giant green man smashed at the head of the humongous alien whale, stopping its current movements.

Oh, Doctor Banner! The physicist, who can turned into a green giant that Tony told him about. His name was bulk or something sillier than that.

He was going to prepare his barriers to protect Tony’s teammate from being crushed, when his husband appeared out of nowhere firing a rocket at the humongous alien to finish the job.

John didn’t realize he was holding his breath, until the whale died and its body’s toppled over the bridge. Seeing as he was getting closer to where the superhero team were standing and currently strategizing, he stopped and kept his distance, hiding the waves behind abandoned cars.

The loud angry screaming coming from the Chitauri resounding every where as the Avengers assembled to face them. When he looked up at the sky, he saw more and more aliens poured out of the portal as well as those giant Moby Dicks.

“Oh God! They have more than one?!” John asked, still in disbelieve at the scene.

The captain started commanding his team when John heard his husband plead from his com.

“Honey, I don’t want to say this, but I think we need your help.” Tony told him, anxiety cleared on his voice. “Let’s split up.”

“Be safe, Love.” John whispered and threatened him. “If you died, I’ll chase you to Hell and killed you again.”

“What a way to motivate your husband.”

Wanna give me a lift?”

“Cheerio, honey.” The inventor said in British accent.

“Cheerio, Love.” John couldn’t hid a smile creeping up on his face. “ You really do need to work on your accent. As you American said, ‘it blows’.”

The doctor heard a chocked sound from their private channel followed by his husband responding to his teammate request.

"Right. (Sounds of throat being cleared) Better clench up, Legolas.”

***

John knew he was no superhero, but he was a soldier and he had been to war. The fact that he was a former RAMC ranked captain, didn’t mean that he was in the war simply to patch some wounds and did surgeries on the middle of the desert. The former captain did participate in the war, not just as a medic but also as a combatant. Therefore, he knew how to kill people in the most efficient way as well as thinking quick on the best way to safe civilians and fellow soldiers.

Less casualty made everybody happy.

What he didn’t count on was the chances he’ll be saving civilians in the exact location where Captain America was trying to do his heroic duty.

How was he supposed to know that the same bank he entered was the bank where Captain America was told to rescue some trapped civilians?

He almost ran around the corner of another building when he heard frantic screaming for help. John immediately tracked back slowly and quietly.

Carefully, he looked back from the corner of the building to see a couple of civilians being dragged by the aliens into a Bank. He quietly followed them inside after eliminating the Chitauri scattering in front of the building with water bullets.

John opened the door gently and slowly, trying not to create a sound, even using his eyes, to block the sunlight. He opened the door wide enough for him to slip through and then close the door as quietly as he could.

His ice changed back into its liquid form and slipped through the door following behind him. The inside of the building were full of people, scared and tensed, minus ugly creatures.

Out of nowhere, he heard glass being shattered above him, pulling everybody’s attention towards the sound. Then he heard a beeping noise, and the sound of struggles as Captain America warned through the com.

“Everyone! Clear out!”

Was he actually above him? John thought panicky.

The moment the sound of the bomb was about to go off, John pushed his hands up as his power shielded him and the civilians inside an ice dome. If he was late by a second, there would be casualties since the explosion managed to put several big cracks on his barrier.

With a quick glance around, John demolished the dome so that the civilians could get out of the building. Some of them patted his backs on their way out, a lot of them thanked him and one of them even hugged him.

The Brit was speechless for a short time. He went out after the last person and on the entrance, he locked eyes with the young man behind Captain America’s cowl.

“Was it you?” He asked, picking his shield up and started walking towards John.

Feeling a bit wary, John just stood there with his hands trying to tidy up his scarf. He needed to make sure that the winding scarf held on.

The superhero stopped in front of him, hand raised in the Former RAMC captain’s direction. “Thank you for your help.”

It was rude not to shake his hand, so John clasped his hand on the other man’s hand. It was a strong hand shake.

“We could use more of your help after this,” the man smiled.

John answered with a simple shake of his head. Making out his mind was easy at that point. He loved the danger, but he got Rosie to think about. It’s way different from following Sherlock all around. This was aliens. It’s enough to have one superhero in the family. Their daughter didn’t need both parents risking their lives everyday to save other people.

The young blond kept on smiling anyway. “I guess you have your own reasons then.” Letting his hand drop, the good captain gave a short nod. “Then I should get back.”

When the man in blue, red and white costume has gone far enough from his view, John contacted his husband. “Tony. I accidentally ran into the captain.”

“What?! How the Hell did that happen?”

“I didn’t know we were going to be in the same building.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll take care of it,” Tony told him so. “JARVIS, I want you to maximize the Londoner protocol.”

“Londoner protocol is going strong, sir.” JARVIS confirmed through their two-way communication.

“You still have that?” John asked him thoughtfully.

“Sure, I do.” Tony answered without hesitation, protectiveness laying over his voice. “It applies to Rosie, too.”

It always got him smiled like a loony whenever Tony’s protective streak raised its head. Changing the topic,” I think I’m going back to the tower. After all, what’s the use of having all these power if not to protect our home.”

“Our home? I like the sound of that.” Tony replied warmly. “I’ll catch you up later, honey.”

“ ’Kay,” John was still trying to calm his racing heart when he began surfing on the wave he raised from the ice fragments left inside the bank.

Surprise after surprise came after him. And now, in the form of the great green giant man who suddenly leaped from somewhere, landed beside him near the entrance to the tower. On second thought he couldn’t keep calling him green giant man.

“Dr. Banner, you shouldn’t surprise me like that.” He chided the giant.

After Afghanistan, Living with Sherlock and now trying to save a city from being infested by alien soldiers, flying alien chariots (why chariots?) and alien whales (seriously?), a green giant wasn’t going to spook him easily. He meant, how bad could the giant be? After all, he’s on the good side, right?

BLUE,” the giant purred, holding his finger out to touch John’s scarf. “FLUFFY. HULK HAVE?

The great giant, Hulk was showing his full front teeth at John. Was he trying to smile?

John shook his head, loudly answered in a strict way, but still letting Hulk caressing his scarf. “No, no. This scarf is very important to me, Hulk. I cannot give it to you.”

The giant grumbled, using his thick index and thumb finger to pull the scarf away.

Unnerved, John slapped the bulky fingers, “Don’t give me that attitude, mate!”

It’s a wonder how this giant scared so many people when he was but a child in that big robust stature of his. Pulling his fingers away, Hulk pouted, looking rather wistful at the scarf.

Gently, the man patted the Giant’s hand. “There, there. You can still touch it.”

The green giant pulled his big smile again, but before he could touch, something big crash landed on Hulk, making the giant furious and jumped so high, John had to stretch his neck to see where the sweet giant went.

Something happened to the top floor, he guessed.

A beam caught John off guard, knocking him to the concrete. Thankfully it only managed to scrape his arm, but sadly creating a big tear on the arm-side of Tony’s hoodie.

He was prepared for the second beam as it dispersed into his wave and immediately being followed by a water spear embedded into the alien’s guts.

The former soldier needed to focus on his task. Soon, he sprang into action, defending the lower part of the tower from every direction within his sight.

From his com, John could hear a big crash and Tony’s ugh sound. “Tony?!”

“Fine, honey.” Tony cheered from the other end.

“Tell me where you are!”

“No.” Sound of repulsor being fired. “I need you to stay there containing most of the alien surge from the ground.”

“Tony, don’t be stupid.” John growled. “If you’re in any danger, tell me now.”

“Just stay there, John.” Tony said, dispiritedly. “Protect the tower.”

The line was cut from the com entirely. Even the Avengers Conversation was now silent. “JARVIS?”

“Sir has disconnected the line, master John.”

“Can you tell me where he is?”

“Sorry master John. He had instructed me specifically not to.”

“That impossible git,” John cursed, kept pulling on his power to fight as many Chitauri as he could.

“At least tell me, is he fine?”

“He’s physically fine ‘at the present’, master John.”

The word ‘fine’ reassured John for the time being. JARVIS couldn’t fool him the first time with his choice of phrase, but John should have listened as carefully this second time.

Because later, he got the most dreading call in his whole life.

“John?”

“Love, you’re alright?” John fired more water bullets as he circled around his spot. “I’m gonna kill you for hanging up on me twice in the span of two days.”

“You’re the best thing that has happened to me.” Tony told him. His voice sounded like the sudden calmness in the eye of a storm.

The sound of jet was getting closer and closer, but John couldn’t take his mind off of Tony. The way he tried to sound brave, yet John caught the hidden fear laying in it.

“Tony, don’t tell me…” John could feel his heart thundering inside his chest.

“Both you and Rosie. I want you to know that.” He added.

Then, the blasting sound was getting so close, John couldn’t not look at the direction from where the sound was coming from.

It was Iron Man, with a missile on his back. Horror suddenly dawning on John.

“No.” That’s the only word he could say, before his husband soaring up high towards the portal and swallowed by the deep dark hole in the sky.

“TONY!”

***

 

Chapter Text

The last thing he remembered was blasting the alien’s mothership to kingdom come before the thrusters stopped working and gravity pulled him down. People said that before you die, your whole life flashes back before your eyes. Something did flash back right before he closed his eyes, but it wasn’t his whole life.

So does the groom and groom prepare their own vows?” Happy truly living up to his nickname at the wedding and playing his part as a minister quite well.

Tony couldn’t contained the joy filling in his chest. In just a minute they would be husbands. And being the non -commitment guy he was before finally settling down with John, he decided to do his vow on the spot. He felt it’d be more genuine. See, he could be romantic.

He was just about to let the words out of his heart when John raised his hand to stop Tony before him and smiled sheepishly. “May I?”

The billionaire squeezed his-soon-to-be husband’s hand affectionately, nodded and encouraged him to go first. The Brit let go of their clasped hands to take a piece of folded paper out of his suit pocket.

The good doctor looked up and met Tony’s gaze, with eyes full of love and adoration as he unfolded the paper and began to read in front of their family.

“Tony, our first meeting was like some plot in a crime novel. It was almost 3 decades ago, and I still couldn’t believe that that teenager I saved was going to chase after me and fight so hard just to be able to stay in contact with me. There’s nothing special about me. I was just a normal British man, and still am.”

“No, you’re not,” he protested.

“Oh shush, you.” John put a finger on Tony’s lips, to stop him from furthering his interruption.

Laughters were heard from the front seat where all their family sat. He saw their child giggled on her seat right in front of him, while her brothers, the bots (yeah, he brought all three of them to Canada) were beeping merrily, rolling their wheels forward and backward.

Pepper smiled, but the mirth on those eyes couldn’t fool even the Pope. Rhodey wasn’t even discreet and just full out laughing his head off.

Happy, fulfilling his role as the minister trying to quiet them down, but that didn’t do it. Thus, the strawberry blond took pity at the chauffeur’s attempt and took control of the situation.

The former-captain cocked an eyebrow at all of them, displeasure cleared on his eyes. After clearing his throat, he continued,” As I was saying. I was just a normal British man, and still am.” His sharp gaze were daring Tony to disrupt him one more time. “And you were so amazing. So brilliant and humble at the same time”

Slowly, the doctor took Tony’s hand into his, smiled softly. “Some people may scorn you and hate you, even mocked you, but they don’t know you. You’re caring, protective and most of all, all you’ve ever wanted was friendship. And I’m so thankful every single day of my life that I was one of those lucky people,” he slightly looked towards Pepper, Rhodey, Happy then back at him.” Who got to have this.”

Tony could feel his heart swelling from all the happiness enveloping him.

“Most important of all, you’ll always there when I needed you the most, even if I couldn’t always be there for you in your time of need.” He put the paper back inside his suit pocket without leaving Tony’s eyes, then hold Tony’s hand with both hands. “The world may think less of you, but in my eyes you are perfect, Anthony Edward Stark.”

Wow, that was… Tony swallowed, a bit emotional and embarrassed from being the center of this man’s attention. The way he looked at him, Tony felt like he was the center of the doctor’s world. And they are each other’s world, Tony thought.

“John, you know I’m veeeeery bad with words. And spontaneous is more my thing, so here it goes.” With a deep breath, he conveyed, “I know I’m not perfect even if you said I am in your eyes. I talk too much, I’m arrogant, childish and I don’t sleep at normal time like normal people do.”

Taking another draw of air, Tony continued. “I’m a selfish man. So when I met you, just like Rhodey, I tried to hold on to you. Holding on to this nice foreigner who saved a stranger just out of the kindness of his heart.”

Rubbing his thumb on John’s hands gently, he kept his gaze on him. “When it comes to my inventions, I always know you never understood a word coming out of my mouth. Not many do, not that I’m undermining your intelligent, honey.” He immediately told his lover. “But, there’s also not many people who would stay for 3 hours just to hear me talk on the phone. Not even Rhodey. “He looked at Rhodey shortly. “Sorry, Platypus.”

“3 hours Tones?” The Air Force man shook his head, faking dejected look. “You’re right. We could never be together. I can’t compete with that” he put his hand on his chest, where his heart is. “John, you’re a saint.”

“I think it is adorable how passionate you are when talking about something you love.” Ignoring Rhodey, he assured Tony soothingly.

“See, only you sweetheart who think it is adorable when I talk your ears off.” Tony chuckles, trying to prove his point. “ So yeah. That’s the moment I fell truly in love with you.”

“Because of my listening durability?”

“Well, also because you are patient, sweet, and a wonderful father to our little girl.” He kissed the back of John’s hand. “I love you simply because you are John Watson. The bravest most compassionate man I’ve ever known. Sure the accent is a plus too.”

“Oh you.” John hit him a bit on the arm.

“Daddy, don’t hit Papa.” Their daughter chided from her chair wearing a beautiful yellow sundress with her hair pulled into a bun and white daisy crown on her head.

They were all laughing at the little girls remarks.

After that, they exchanged rings and Happy pronounced them husband and husband. They kissed and even took several pictures. The couple with their kids, with their friends and the whole family picture.

After cutting the cake and danced, the reception went smoothly with only 5 adults, a child, 3 bots and an AI having great times at Tony’s cottage. It was a simple reception lunch filled with lots of delicious food and desert. Moreover, on his insistence, Pepper and John reluctantly agreed to have pizza on the menu.

Everybody was enjoying themselves.

“I was an idiot for waiting this long.” Tony whined while his hand was entwining with his husband, their back against the large window facing towards the lake view.

Shaking his head a little, John disagreed with him. “We both were. And, we did have a lot of things going on in our life. Not exactly a good time to start a relationship, let alone a marriage proposal.”

“But, I still felt like…” Tony tried to find the right word.

“Like we wasted years of our life?”

The inventor gave his husband a nod.

“But think about it, Love.” The doctor, pecked him on the lips. “The waiting was worth it. Would you change this moment for anything?”

His husband waved his hands at everyone who came to their private ceremony.

At their daughter who was playing with DUM-E, U and Butterfingers. She was very fascinated with the Bots, treating them like playmates, instead of pets.

His CEO slashed best friend chatting with his oldest friend about something Tony didn’t want to know if the look of mischief on their faces were to be true.

Happy, the former boxer slash chauffeur slash his former bodyguard slash one of his closest friend and savior talking to the ceiling, where one of his youngest son’s camera resided.

Pulling his arm around John’s waist, Tony pulled his lip upward a bit. “You’re right. The wait was truly worth it.”

The part where everybody he loved was in one room, celebrating his marriage to the love of his life was what flashed in his mind before the suit died and he dived back from where he came from.

When he got the call from Fury about the nuke, his thoughts were immediately turned towards John and Rosie. The dream of seeing Rosie grew up and marry while both Tony and his husband sat down on the first row watching the procession.

Holding hands with their wrinkly old hands, watching as the white starting to creep on his husband’s hair, and playing with their grandchildren…

It wasn’t an easy decision, but there’s not enough time and no one else could do it. He s going to nuke those aliens if it was the last thing he’ll ever do. It’s not for the world, or even the city of Manhattan or New York.

He did this purely because he was an egotistical man, who was a husband as well as a father. He did it just so John Watson and Rosie Watson-Stark could live in this wonderful world. Even without him, he hoped John would hang on for the sake of their daughter.

He hoped he could come back, but the chances were not so great.

But now, maybe he did survive. He was being fished out of of the deep sea of darkness by a loud roar of fury. He jolted on his spot where he was laying down, opened his eyes wide enough and saw a man with blue scarf leaning in above him with the back of his hood facing Tony…

Tony thought, is that my hoodie?

“Silent, Hulk!”

Oh, oh! He recognized that voice anywhere.

Never thought he’ll be happy waking up to the sound of a giant super soldier roaring and his husband scolding at the so called giant. Should he be scared his husband’s gonna get himself killed by his new science friend’s counterpart?

HULK HELP.”

“Shush, shush, I need to… oh, God,” he heard sniffles from John, even though his husband still wasn’t facing him. “I can… I can still hear his blood singing to me. He’s still alive, Hulk. But…”

His poor husband was making hiccuping noises when he chocked out the question. “Why won’t he wake up?”

“He woke me up, alright.” Tony told him, putting his gauntleted hand on John’s waist.

Shortly after, his husband jerked around, still straddling him, which he just now noticing, and he saw those bright blue eyes staring back at him widely. The scarf was loose, revealing his whole face. Tears were rolling down his cheeks, his nose was red with mouth slightly open, “Tony?”

“Can I get a kiss? I almost die you...”

John stopped him by pressing his mouth to Tony, slipping his tongue through, which Tony returned eagerly. He moved his hand down towards John’s thigh and the other hand holding the back of his husband’s neck, pressing him further down to deepen their kiss.

His husband was moaning onto the kiss, whining in desperation probably to convince himself that Tony was here, living and surviving. They couldn’t get enough of each other, but air was the key to survival, so they let go.

Both of them were breathing very hard, looking into each other’s gaze. Tony was the first one to say anything. “Miss me?”

A deep whining sound came out of John’s lips as Tony felt those hands cradling his face. A tear fell from his eyes onto Tony’s face. “Expect a giant payback, you git.”

“I’ll be waiting.” His hand reached up to do the same thing to his husband’s face, sweeping the tear at bay, away from his face gently.

***

Chapter Text

When their call disconnected, John knew the metal armored suit has disappeared into the black hole in the sky bringing with it, his husband.

Tony has just gone into another world, literary. He was saying goodbye to John and … he was tongue-tied…

The doctor could feel his world started crumbling apart. He fell on his knees and just broke down. He put his arms around his stomach as he felt his guts being churned from the inside out. John felt gutted. His chest hurt like it never did before. Not when mum died, not even when he found out about Harry and Clara’s deaths.

This was worst.

His everything has just died.

He moaned and weeped for his lost, bending his waist until his head reached the concrete. When the chitauri all fell to the ground around him, he didn’t notice. The pain was almost unbearable.

John was almost numb inside when JARVIS frantically called out to him from the com in his ear. “Master John, please calm down. You need to save sir.”

“… JARVIS, I…” Oh God, Tony. “Tony is…”

“He’s falling master John.” Then for the first time since his creation, the AI pleaded. “Please save my creator.”

It took a second for John to register what he had just heard. His husband’s alive. He’s still alive. Oh God! Tony’s alive!

I’m gonna kill him, John thought murderously.

***

The news that his husband had come out of the wormhole gave John hope. He pulled himself up, started running to the middle of the street and looked up to spot his husband. There was a speck falling from the sky so fast, John was sure it’s going to plummet to the ground.

John knew he has pushed himself too much today, but the thought of seeing his husband alive once more thrummed the exhaustion he felt at the moment.

The water was singing, answering his call and this was the biggest volume he had ever gathered so far. John didn’t care where they come from, he was just grateful for its reply. Water started coming in waves, passing everything on its way and left any living being untouched on its way to John, even the avengers. It started hurtling towards John, becoming a stepping stone that vastly carrying him up towards the falling suit.

Before he could catch Iron Man, Hulk jumped in to save his husband mid-falling, crashing onto a building.

With both arms raised, John broke the flow into two and directed the other towards the two superheroes to soften their fall as they floated on the water. Then he flipped his palms up, bringing the liquid all up to Stark Tower’s aircraft landing pad, in front of the penthouse.

After arriving at their destination, John kneeled down on one knee and used all of his water supply to create an ice dome so thick, even Hulk would have a hard time smashing his way out. Using his power, he created thousands of minuscule holes for the air to come and go.

Soon after finishing the job, he fell on his stomach when he tried to stand up. His knees were trembling and he was gasping for breath. But the need to get to his husband overpowered his fatigue.

He dragged himself across the middle of the dome, to where Hulk had dropped his husband unceremoniously to the hard surface. John crawled onto the metal suit, sat on the armored waist and pried the face plate off of Tony.

Tony’s eyes were closed, and at the same time John realized that the thing that has been keeping his husband alive was no longer shining bright.

“No, no, no.” Teardrops falling down once more on his face. “Don’t do this to me, love.”

John put his hand on the genius’s face, detecting the blood flowing inside the arteries. It was so faint, John almost thought his husband had passed away from this world.

“Tony, please wake up, Love.” Closing his eyes, John put his forehead against the billionaire’s. “Don’t do this, please.”

When he uncovered his eyes, his husband still hadn’t woken up, and the humming of his blood was getting weaker. He crumbled on top of the inventor, holding tight onto the metal suit, sobbing quietly.

It was rather cliché, but John wake up to the sound of birds chirping. Wait, birds? It’s winter for goodness sake.

His forehead furrowed as his eyes opened slowly to the bright morning sun. Then, he quickly narrowed his eyes. Not because the sunlight was hurting his eyes. Or because he was still sleepy.

“Sod off, Tony!” He grunted, trying to push his wanker of a boyfriend out of his face.

He didn’t want to whinge but seriously! What kind of person turned his phone’s flashlight on his lover’s face when it was still dark outside? Oh right. Tony would.

He just wanted to go back to his pillow and off once again to the Bedfordshire.

“Honey, wake up. Open those pretty blue eyes for me. Come on.”

It’s too early (or was it still late at night?) for his lover to sound so exuberant.

“Bugger off.” He muffled through his pillow.

“Burger? Well, I’ll never say no to burger for breakfast.” He could hear Tony’s snickering on his left and started ranted about how the burgers in America was soooooo much better than the one in UK. Tony wasn’t exactly a poetic person unless he was talking about fast food.

It’s always amusing seeing his lover turned into the next Lord Byron, but today (tonight or this morning, bonker!) he strongly feel like he wanted to strangle the tech genius.

And now he was completely awake. His boyfriend was an arse.

John pulled his head out of the pillow, looking up at the inventor, whom still holding the bloody flashlight above John’s face.

“Are you pissed?” Tony looked genuinely confused. “Cause that is your ‘if I didn’t love you, I’d shoot your foot’ face. Wait, or is it ‘I’m going to replace your coffee with the decaf one’ face?”

In the dark, he could vaguely see Tony’s scrunched up his face in disgust. “I really really really hope it was the former.”

“Both,” John grumbled.

Looking dramatically scared, Tony put a hand on his chest and gasped. “I thought you love me.”

“Decaf, Tony.” John threatened, putting his blandest face over his sleepy face.

“Okay, okay.” He put his hands up, directing the light away from John’s face. “And I even used the birds chirping voice to wake you up nicely.”

“Decaf.”

“Okay.” Tony said in a hurry. He turned half of his body around from his sitting position on the floor to grab on something. Coming back to face John, he pushed a small red square box onto John’s hand. “So, merry Christmas.”

His mouth was a tad hanging when he got the box. It was the size of a ring box. Oh God, was Tony proposing to him? On Christmas?!

He didn’t want to seem ungrateful or something, but couldn’t he wait until morning?! It’s not exactly a normal hour to propose to someone.

Before John could say anything or protest about the timing, Tony immediately told him,” I couldn’t wait to give it to you. Open it.”

When his boyfriend truly looked happy and excited over something, he could be very contagious to the people around him. Now, he wasn’t even that upset anymore for being woken up so early.

After a deep sigh, John opened the box and looked inside. He couldn’t really see the inside of the box since it was dark. The problem was solved when Tony put his flashlight above John’s head.

It was a necklace with a silver chain and a simple 5 petal white flower pendant. The pendant itself has a single white topaz in the middle. It wasn’t an expensive jewelry, but seeing it made John felt a deep longing inside his chest.

He couldn’t took his gaze away from the pendant. Hoarsely, he asked his boyfriend. “Where…?”

“JARVIS helped me.” Tony informed him. “When you told me about it, I asked JARVIS to look for it. So, I thought it would be the perfect gift and you know? It was bought by some guy for anniversary present and before that the owner’s mum has it. And it’s been like 10 years since the anniversary, so you can guess how hard it was for the wife to let me buy it. Thankfully or unlucky for them, they had a money problem, so…”

“Why are you so good to me?” John looked up and locked gaze with the engineer in the darkness with only one source of light to brighten the room.

“Because I love you.” Tony told him like saying ‘because the earth is round, duh’. “And because I know how much it means to you.”

It wasn’t long ago when John and Tony were having one of their ‘getting to know each other’ conversation. One thing led to another and then led to John telling Tony on the phone about how their (him and Harry’s) dad had sold mum’s necklace, the last thing they had of her to some pawn shop for quids (Poundsterling) to buy alcohol.

They were devastated when they found out that the shop had sold the necklace. The owner wouldn’t even told them who he sold it to. And now he knew that the pendant was given to the shop owner’s mum.

John moved his hand slowly to find Tony’s hand resting on the side of the bed. He laced their fingers together, quietly whispering his thanks. “Thank you.”

Tony leaned down to put a chaste kiss on the back of John’s palm, then peering up at John under his eyelashes.

“You’re welcome.”

They were having a memorable sweet moment until Tony added. “My hand is cramping, so I’m just gonna put my hand down now.”

The moment was ruined, but John couldn’t hold the laughter bubbling out of his lips at his boyfriend’s silliness. The billionaire always found a way to make him laugh, even when he didn’t have any intention to be hilarious. With Tony, life’s never boring.

The memory of last Christmas pulled John back from his desperation. Thoughts of never got to have Tony bothered him with his silly spontaneous acts of mischief turned his hopelessness into driving force to restore his husband back from critical condition.

John pushed himself up with his elbows. Determination shown on his expression as he put both of his palms on Tony’s chest plate. He found the blood flow and started coaxing it to move faster through the whole circulatory system.

Believe John. Blood was still water and water’s your friend. It could save Tony. He could save Tony. He had to save him. It’s not too late.

He would never have to miss his kisses. Or his smile or the way he liked to be the big spoon for John in bed. The camaraderie of being survivors and having alcoholic fathers.

Life would never beat them down. This was their happy ending. They deserved happiness. And not even an alien invasion could take this happiness away from them. John wouldn’t allow it.

The blood started humming louder, almost normal. He felt the hope rising under his chest. Nothing change though when he looked at his husband’s face.

“Wake up, darling.” He rasped, taking his hands off of his husband’s chest. John was afraid he was going to blow Tony’s heart out if he kept on speeding the blood cycle. “Tony, don’t you leave me.”

“I didn’t give you any permission to leave me!” John shouted as tears started flowing again. Grabbing hold onto his husband’s shoulders, he felt distraught. John clogged up and started hiccuping his words. “Wa… wake up. Tony… please. I beg of… you. Please… Just open your eyes.”

Loud roaring echoed inside the dome, ringing John’s ears. John covered his ears, turning half around to look at Hulk, whom hunching behind them, avoiding bumping his head against the ice ceiling.

John barked with his croaking voice. “Silent Hulk!”

The green giant told him he just wanted to help, but John didn’t want to listen to his reasoning. He needed his husband to wake up. He felt he would lose his marbles if Tony didn’t regain his consciousness soon.

Praying so hard that it wasn’t a brain dead, the words tumbled down his lips. “Why won’t he wake up?”

“He woke me up, alright.”

The second he heard the inventor’s voice, he lost his mind and just kissed the hell out of his half-witted husband. He was feeling all sorts of anger and relief at the man. Furthermore, he was promising all sorts of Hell at his husband for making him grew more white hairs.

In the end, he felt as if a heavy weigh had been lifted off of his shoulders. His husband was alive and well. He was fine. Manhattan was half destroyed but casualties weren’t as high as it should be with the avengers help.

Then it hit John. He just help saved a city from alien. He could hear Tony’s voice inside his mind squealing like a little girl saying, my hero.

***

Chapter Text

Unfortunately, their heartfelt reunion didn’t last for too long. They were so content on staring into each other’s eyes, Tony didn’t pay attention to his surroundings until Hulk rumbled a simple question.

HULK SMASH?

The married couple looked towards Hulk, finally noticing the cracks inside the ice fortress. The continuance of the thumping sound was echoing around them. It wasn’t loud, though it sounded like a drum being hit softly. Yet, the repeatability of the unlikely music was annoying at best.

“No, no Hulk.” John forbid him.

The Brit was looking a bit pale, for Tony’s liking. He probably was drained from using his power, avoiding and counter-attacking the Chitauri at the same time. Tony hoped John knew not to pass his own limit.

The blonde man was set to do something when he raised up his hand above his head. Worry and curiosity filled Tony at the same time, but curiosity won as Tony grabbed his husband’s left elbow, trying to get his attention.

It worked and John looked back down at Tony, confusion marred his expression. “Love, I need to reinforce the dome.”

“Dome? What dome?”

“Look around you.”

And Tony did. What he found made his mouth dropping in shock. They were in some sort of a no exit cave made entirely of ice. He knew he was supposed to be scared, because of that traumatic event he experienced in Afghanistan before. Nevertheless, panic was the last thing he had on his mind because he wasn’t being held by a terrorist group in some dingy sandy dark hot cave.

Tony was feeling astounded. He knew his husband was powerful (he did just kill those mother-fucking aliens with water bullets. Water bullets!), but he didn’t understand how much until he saw it right now. His husband just created a flawless, strong vault made from ice and judging by the color of it, it’s a very solid ice. The inventor was in a man-made South Pole cave.

He was embarrassed to say this, but it took him to bit his own lip from letting out a shrill of excitement. He could rival Rosie in that department, alright.

Mirth showed in John’s eyes as the man teased him,” Just say it, Love. I know you want to.”

“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! You can made an igloo! A giant freaking igloo without a door. How did you do it? Why can we breathe? Where is the ventilation? How did you manage the air flow without a single opening in sight? Where does the…?”

John gave him a peck on his lips to stop him from another barrage of questions, rendering him speechless for a second. The doctor smiled upon their kiss and chuckled.

He lifted his head to stare into Tony’s eyes. Fondness couldn’t be denied from his eyes, and Tony’s heart was racing from the love radiated from the man. Over him. He couldn’t believe how lucky he was. Still couldn’t believe.

“Never change, Love.” He whispered. “Never ever change.”

Damn it! He wasn’t some coy virgin but he felt like one under John’s intense gaze. Faking a cough, Tony asked. “So, who’s making all that noise outside?”

“In my opinion, I think it’s a several someone.”

Cocking an eyebrow, he motioned his husband to continue.

His husband was acting unsure all of a sudden. Looking anywhere but Tony’s eyes. “Well, I might have kidnapped you and Dr. Banner there…”

A growl of protest swallowed what John was about to say next.

“Sorry. I meant Hulk.” A flash of something Tony portrayed as annoyance showed on his eyes. Definitely from being interrupted, Tony thought amusingly. John really didn’t like being cut off in the middle of a conversation. And, Tony was barely holding on to his laugh when Hulk protested behind them. Barely, since John looked at him sharply.

“As I was saying, I think your teammates thought I was kidnapping you.” John looked apprehensive.

“And how did they come to that conclusion?”

“Well…” John pulled himself off of Tony and sat next to him. “You were falling from the wormhole after delivering the missile. And Hulk here, caught you before you dove straight into the concrete.”

Without a beat Tony raised a hand at Hulk. “Thanks jolly green!”

The green giant purred out of happiness. Who knew he could do that?

“So, Hulk was catching you when you...” John continued, his hands were fidgeting on his lap. “You need to know. I was out of mind with grieve and JARVIS was begging me. I need to make sure you were alright.”

His husband’s voice has turned a bit bitter, making something clenched inside his chest. Using his elbows, Tony got himself up and sat down to have a better look over his husband.

“John?”

“You and Hulk were crashing onto a building, so I might have snatched the two of you in front of everybody.” Cocking his head to the side, his sight was focused on the arc-reactor. “In front of the Avengers too.”

“What?!” Tony couldn’t help how loud he was reacting to the new information.

“I need to check on you. Just to see…” He paused to take a breath. “I need to make sure you’re alive Tony. And I don’t want them to interfere, so I brought us to your landing pad on the tower.” John was clenching his hands, looking down on his lap. “Creating this dome, protecting the three of us from their meddlesome questions.”

Somehow, it all made sense. As if the fogs had all cleared away. Those thumping noise were made by the Avengers whom probably thought John was doing nefarious things towards their teammates.

They would think that his… His husband wanted to steal the suit when the billionaire was vulnerable or took a sample from Hulk to create another gamma-radiated beast, like Abomination (yeah, he knew about Thunderbolt’s guinea pig).

He couldn’t fault his husband from wanting to save him, after all he would be a hypocrite if he said he wouldn’t do the exact same thing when their position were reversed. But, now they would all think that John was a villain, who kidnapped two Avengers when they were still exhausted from fighting over invading soldiers.

Londoner protocol was flawless but it couldn’t protect the existence of the vigilante if he managed to steal not one but two prominent figures, who had succeeded in overthrowing the invasion. Doing it in broad daylight, where scared New Yorkers and the other avengers could see the occurrence, didn’t help the matter.

The only thing he could do, or JARVIS could do was to stop people from finding his identity. He turned on his communicator back. “JARVIS?”

“Sir? Are you alright now?” JARVIS’ voice was clear on his helmet even without the face plate on and he turned the speaker on so that John could hear the AI too. There was a child-like worry in the AI’s voice.

“Nothing you haven’t seen before. Over all I’m fine as I can be, JARV.” Tony said, reassuring his boy.

“I’m relieve to hear that, sir. What can I do for you?”

“How is the protocol?”

“Everything that could jeopardize master John’s identity has been removed. I have interfered with the signals from most of the news station aircrafts that have managed to catch master John in action. However, I experienced a glitch when you entered the portal, sir.” There was a hint of embarrassment in the AI’s voice.

“J…” Tony felt guilty for traumatizing JARVIS.

“I apologized sir. I wasn’t able to complete the task you instructed me to complete. I…”

“J, you’re doing fine.” Tony comforted the AI as he smiled at his husband, whom heard the whole thing.

The Brit was in full agreement with Tony. “Both of us were not thinking rationally, JARVIS.”

“Feelings are what makes us human. And you’re more human than computer, J. We’ve known this for years now.” The billionaire told him as a matter of fact. “You’re a real boy, Pinochio.”

“Does that make you Gepeto, sir?”

“Damn right, you saucy AI,” Tony grinned, happy that JARVIS has returned back to as normal as he could be.

“Okay.” He clapped his hand. “Let’s get serious. JARVIS, have you erased every evidence you’ve found or any trace of feed of John going outside of the tower as a power-user?”

“It was the first thing I’ve checked on the list, sir.” It was JARVIS’ way of saying ‘I know how to do my job, damn it’.

Rolling his eyes, Tony said,”Moving on. I hope you left some videos of John saving the civilians from some cameras around Manhattan, cellphone videos or anything. Just to clean his image from being the guy who kidnapped two avengers. I want the headline to be ‘mysterious guy saved Iron Man’.”

“Your wish is my command, sir.”

When did he get all sassy like this? Tony didn’t remember raising him this way.
Oh right, his role-model was me, Tony thought.

“But not too many. We don’t want to catch too many attention from unwanted parties.” He added.

“Should I erase the feed surrounding the East river sir?”

“What about it?”

There was a slight pause before JARVIS gave a response. “Master John might have summoned the water from the location in the form of water tornado, sir. But the tornado soon turned into a flood that flowing closer to the tower.” The computer immediately added. “It happened the moment master John saw you disappeared into the portal, sir.”

Tony’s eyebrows were now elevated up his forehead. His husband always seemed in control during the invasion. And he crashed that self-control when he saw Tony flew the nuke into the space inside the portal. Damn, he’s a dummy. He should have predicted what John would do if he saw Tony did that.

“God, I’m dumb.” Tony took John’s hand into his. “It’s my fault you snapped. Erased it J. I don’t want any of those Alphabet soup agency to find out about this. Bury it.”

Tony looked into John’s eyes and he saw fear and regret on his husband’s face. “It’s going to be okay, honey.”

“What about the Avengers?” John gripped the gauntleted hand hard enough. “We can’t stay here forever.”

John looked tired. There was no way the inventor would let his husband fixed the barrier again if they kept on trying to bulldoze it from the other side. Even if the man didn’t say it, Tony didn’t want to risk his husband’s health.

“I think…” Tony paused when John flinched from his touch on the right elbow. He was confused over the reaction until he saw the tear on the sleeve. Tony took John’s arm between his hand, holding it gently.

“When did this happen?”

John gave him a small smile. “It’s only a scratch, love. I was distracted a little.”

“You… What if it had hit you in the head?” Tony just saw red. “You would be dead and…”

“It’s a small scrape Tony. And I actually saw you almost died, heard you saying goodbye to me.”

“That’s not fair, John.” Tony shook his head, still upset. “It’s not the same thing.”

FIGHTING BAD” The jolly green giant shouted, smashing his fists onto the concrete. “SAY SORRY.”

They were silent after the green giant thrown his tantrum and Tony wasn’t embarrassed to say that he was gaping at the physicist’s counterpart.

“Smashing my landing pad is also bad,” Tony chided as he started standing up after waking up from his temporary surprise. Offering his hand down towards John. “But, he’s right. Fighting is bad.”

Laughing hoarsely, John took Tony’s hand and slowly stood up on trembling legs. “I’m fine. Just a bit numb, Love. And yes, I don’t want to fight.”

Still laughing, John asked him. “But, were we just being lectured by Hulk?”

Tony snorted. “Yeah, the irony wasn’t lost on me. It’s like having another Rosie here.”

“Well, I kinda like him.” John said happily. “He’s like our personal angry teddy bear.”

“Well, I do like Dr. banner. You couldn’t believe how connected we were when we were science-talking.” Tony draped his arm around John’s waist, laying his head on top of his head. “Anyway, promise to be more careful?”

“Promise not to die?” His husband countered.

Lips thinning, Tony replied slowly. “You know I can’t promise that.”

“I know.” John sagged again his half embrace. “Just for a month.”

Smiling, he traced his lips on John’s floppy hair. “I can do that.”

Then he let John go, turned around to face each other (in this case, John’s face against below his chestplate). The billionaire pulled his husband’s hoodie up. The blue scarf was still draped on John’s neck when Tony held both end of the scarf, wrapped it around John’s mouth carefully.

“Do you want them to know?” John muffled the question at him carefully.

“No.” Pulling his head up, Tony graced his gauntleted hand over the scarf one last time. “Maybe just Banner, for right now. What do you think?”

“Yeah. I feel we could trust him with our family.” John answered without hesitation while his hands fiddled with his scarf. “You like him and even if I don’t know anything about the doctor, I’m fond of his other form before and after he caught you. He’s like a giant 5 years old.”

“So we’re in an agreement.”

“Yes.”

Tony lowered his head down, face to face with his husband. He lied his lips against the scarf, where John lips resided behind it and seal the deal with a kiss.

“Now, let’s face the music.”

***

Chapter Text

John knew the Avengers would attack them (him) as soon as the ice transformed back into water. It wasn’t the Avengers’ fault.

Not exactly.

John was a wild card. They didn’t know anything about him. If he was in their position, he would be ready to attack as well when the enemies were weakening. It’s better to be cautious. Attack first and then converse at a later date.

Usually, he would be fully prepared to defend, but he was slightly weary and wasn’t fast enough at the time. The good doctor wasn’t exactly ready to defend his husband and Hulk, whom he was getting warmer to when the attack was aimed at them.

Thank God for Hulk. With his somewhat baser instinct, he was able to sniff some danger in the air, and had a fast-reaction to move in front of the couple and shielded them with his body. Tony was covering John with his armor as second protection. It was a few seconds late, but John managed to swirl the water like a snake, circled around them.

The impact created smog in the air and an angry growl from the green giant. It all happened so fast. When John opened his eyes, he didn’t see any hint of green hand.

John wasn’t paying attention to the other Avengers standing in offensive mode. He glanced side to side and noticed that green giant has left the protection he placed around them and was now pummeling a strong looking man wearing… a red cape (odd choice of wardrobe) with shouldered length hair on the other side of the landing pad.

The broad-shouldered man was holding himself rather well against Hulk, in fact he seemed to enjoy the struggle. There’s something wrong in that man’s head, definitely. They were creating breaks with rocks all over the place. John had had enough with their childish scuffle.

His husband was fast to uncurl around him, preparing to separate the two. Tony just felt from a huge hole in the sky and survive from dying, John couldn’t let him do that.

John was slightly sluggish, when he stood up. He felt hands holding his armpits, helping him from slipping back down. Looking up, he saw Iron Man looking down at him. None of the avengers saw the worried look on Tony’s face.

Giving the billionaire a tiny nod, he put his feet firm on the ground. Knowing how stubborn his husband was, Tony let go and let John walked towards Hulk.

Stealing a quick glance back, he saw the billionaire ushering the other avengers inside the penthouse. He was glad, his husband trust him to handle the kindergarten fight. After all, Hulk didn’t raise a single hand on him before.

“HULK!” John shouted as he took a casual stroll towards the wrestling match. The ice melted back into water, hovering just behind him like waves. When he was just two meters away from them, he did the only thing he could do when faced with a naughty kid. Lectures.

“Put that man down!” Crossing his arms, he looked at the two big man-children sharply. The sun was up in the sky, making his shadow look even more menacing.

Adrenaline were pumping wildly between them, so that was the reason why they probably didn’t hear what John said or even ignored him. Or maybe he wasn’t loud enough.

Since his voice wasn’t strong enough to travel through their ears, John did a simple flick with his fingers, letting the wave crashed into them, literary throwing many buckets of water to cool their heads.

After the initial shock, the green giant dropped the ‘fight me you green beast’ man on the ground, where the former was roaring his anger at John throwing water and the latter was laughing his heart out enjoying the ‘Practice fighting’. His words, not John’s. If it was up to the Brit, he would send the man straight to a mental hospital.

The former soldier curb the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose when the man kept on trying to provoke Hulk into fighting him again. Another flick of his finger and both of them were once again being splashed with water.

“I am a Prince of Asgard. You have insulted me, man that I do not know.” The blonde had the gall to look furious after his infantile attitude.

“Oh, shut up you. I’ll deal with you later.” John pointed his finger at the so-called royal arse.

HULK WET” It sounded like an annoyed grumble rather than a whine when coming out of the giant’s mouth.

He looked up and scolded the angry giant child,” Well, you should have dropped the man like I told you.”

Like a child, who didn’t want to be blame, Hulk pointed his finger at the other participant of the brawl. “THUNDER HURT HULK.”

“That’s no excuse, young man.” John told him from under his scarf. Then he turned towards the blonde man. “You, apologize.”

“It was but a mere handplay,” the prince muttered under his breath.

“A.po.lo.gize,” the Brit punctuated each syllable in tone that couldn’t hide his repressed ire.

“Yes, mortal.”

“Don’t you give me that tone, young sir.”

He ignored the loud snicker coming from the giant’s lips. “Apologize to Hulk, nicely. You too, boy.” His glance turned towards Hulk.

When silence still filled the air, John raise his hand up, motioning the water to float above their heads. “There’s plenty of water to bathe you both.”

Looking up, both of them cringed seeing the liquid hung about in the air as if mocking them, taunting them to disobey the Brit.

Sheepishly, both of them uttered their apology.

“Shake hands and this time, mean it.” The water were drizzling a bit above their heads, to emphasize John’s threat.

HULK SORRY.” The giant said quickly under his croaky voice, lifting his right hand towards the royal from the unknown kingdom.

“Sorry, beast.” The man’s hand was being swallowed inside the giant’s handgrip. “I was so full of Joy when you Invited me into this fun brawl. You have honored me with your strength. I’m relieve to call you my Shield-brother.”

Pulling his hand out of the giant’s grip, the man swiveled towards John, ruling out a few strands of hair sticking to the side of his face. He put his fist over his chest and bowed down slightly. “Let me introduce myself, I am Thor, son of Odin, the rightful heir to the throne of Asgard, the realm of Gods, the protector of nine realms. I would like to know your name, wise man.”

Speechless, John accidentally blurted out. “You are a Prince? A genuine God to earth royalty?”

“Spoken like a true scholar, wiseman.” He clasped John on his right shoulder, shaking his drying wound. It was still hurting. “To you mortals, I am a God. Thor, the God of Thunder.”

Thor let go of his shoulder (Thank God), held his hand to the side where a giant blunt hammer with electricity crackling around it suddenly flown towards his right hand. He couldn’t help being cautious around that strange weapon.

“Aliens and Super Soldiers and Gods, oh my indeed.” John watched the old time favorite movie with Rosie and Tony before. And now he knew how Dorothy felt in the land of OZ.

“I do not understand your speech, wiseman.” The God laughed heartily with a goofy smile on his face, hair brightened under the sun. “May I have your name, wise man?”

Before John could come out with something, somebody was calling over Thor.

“Thor, we have apprehended your brother. We think you would be the best man to secure him.”

“Of course, captain.” Thor nodded a little, then bowed slightly at John. “I must go assist my other shield-brothers and shield maiden to watch over my brother. I hope to see you again, wiseman.”

He watched as the God of Thunder walked away, passing a nod at Captain flag of America. Nodding along, the captain turned back, locked eyes with John.

“Tony told me you were helping him.” Without the mask and the threat of an invasion, the war hero looked so much younger. The eyes were the only part that showed people his true age. They were the eyes of the man who has seen wars, live through it and survive it.

He still looked ridiculous under that get-up though. No doubt.

John was going to give the man an affirming nod, when he felt a tug on his scarf. “Glancing over his shoulder, he saw Hulk grab a hold of one end of his scarf.

HULK, TOUCH?”

“Gently,” John told him. “And remember, fighting with your friend is wrong. Fighting is bad, right?"

THUNDER, NO FRIEND.” the giant showed all his teeth, still caressing the scarf.

“Thor helped protect us, just like you. Is he a friend?”

FRIEND.” Hulk grumbled, admitting his wrongness.

“Hulk, maybe you could watch over Loki, with Thor.” Hulk growled under his breath, peeved at the captain’s suggestion.

For the first time, John talked to the captain. “Loki?”

“He’s Thor’s brother. The leader of the Chitauri.”

“Oh,” looking back at Hulk, he put his palm on the gentle giant’s meaty finger and talked sweetly at him. “Hulk, be a dear and go watch the bad man.”

BLUE.”

“I know, honey. I’ll let you play with the scarf later. I promise.”

Huffing, the green giant let go of the scarf and walked towards the penthouse, leaving John alone with the dumbfounded looking captain.

“Stark told us, you can handle Hulk and Thor by your own, but it’s… Amazing to see that he wants to follow your command.” The captain said, fixing his slack-jawed look.

“Hulk is a child at heart,” he stopped the captain from cutting in with a raise hand. “An angry child, no doubt is still a child no matter the size. Children are not soldiers, they don’t enjoy being ordered around. On the other hand, they understand what it was to be scolded and bargaining.”

“Well, you seem to have a good handle on him.” A smile spread gently on the man’s face.

“You just need to find a way around his tantrum, captain.” John told him with his palm up. “Sometime you just have to talk to him like a normal human being. Scolding him for his wrong doings but never forget to show him that you care for his well being. And bargain with him. That way, you get what you want and he get what he wants. Anybody could do it. It’s not exactly hard to do.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, mister...”

“Blue.”

Cocking an eyebrow, the Captain nodded, respecting the man’s need to hide his identity. “Mister Blue, not everybody is brave enough to face Hulk. I know you have rejected my offer before, but the avengers, that’s what we called ourselves. Me and my teammates could really use someone like you on the team.”

“I appreciate the offer, captain.” John clasped his hands behind his back,” But I have more important matters to think about in my life.”

With a sigh, he gave John a dejected look. “It was a slim chance. At least I’ve tried. Again.”

“Yes, you did.” John gestured a hand towards the man, which the latter received. They shook hands and John informed him,” Please do left out the fact that you knew anything about my accent captain. I really enjoy my privacy and hate for it to be disturb. And you really don’t want to upset me.”

The man’s grip on John’s hand was suddenly tightening. “Is that a threat?”

The Brit was smiling behind the scarf. “It’s a friendly suggestion, captain.”

The captain seemed quite understandable after he gave him a vague reason and ‘warm suggestion’. The short blonde haired man nodded seriously. “I know a good man when I see one, and a good family man is a very dangerous man to cross.”

Now, it was John’s turn to turn rigid. He gave the young a cold chilling look.

“You have my word, mister Blue.” The man’s expression was full of understanding as he unclasp his hand from John’s. “I will ask Thor to keep your secret, too.”

John nodded shortly. He was reel and alert at the man’s precise guess. The Captain was a man to be watch out for.

He watched Captain America took off towards the penthouse, when JARVIS called through his ear. “Master John. Miss Rosie is currently in distress. She is looking for you and sir. Mr. Hogan is at a loss trying to console her.”

“How about Tony?”

“At the moment he’s occupied himself with the other Avengers. Mr. Hulk and Mr. Thor are currently on Loki’s watch duty. Mr. Barton, the Hawkeye is contacting SHIELD to take the perpetrator into custody. And Ms. Romanov is interrogating sir about your identity. Mr. Rogers is helping sir trying to dissuade her from further investigation.”

At least the young man genuinely kept his oath.

“Alright, JARVIS.” John walked towards the pent house. “I’ll be right there, along with Tony.”

When he got inside, the doctor walked silently, tapping the Iron Man’s suit on the shoulder. He could see his husband’s panicking behind his eyes when he saw John. The Brit just gestured his hand towards himself and then towards the elevator.

The advantage of knowing each other for more than half of their lives was that they knew what the others wanted just by using simple gestures and eye-contact. In this case, John wanted Tony to pretend he was a complete stranger.

“Elevator?” Tony cocked an eyebrow in fake confusion. “Oh, you want to use it?”

Playing his role, John nodded, hoodie concealing his face from the snake woman. Oh, John saw her legs from under the hood. He’s so enjoying the irritated look the black widow showed on her face, even if he couldn’t see it.

“Mr. Blue?”

The red-headed tried to use her sweet voice on him. The shorter man wouldn’t fall for that. John gestured his hand up, stopping the woman from continuing. Then he tapped a finger on his other wrist and gesture his thumb towards the elevator, motioning his hand in the universal sign of ‘I’m in a hurry’.

“I know you’re in a hurry, sir. But I would like to ask you a few questions. And maybe a debrief after.” If she was really a snake or a poisonous spider like what her name implied, John sure he would be able to feel her venom dripping against his neck, trying to coax him into letting her prey on him.

“He saved me Romanoff. Piss off.” Tony pretended to be angry on behalf of the stranger, whom was his husband. “He’s not even an avengers.”

“I have to agree with Tony,” the Captain joined the discussion. “For what’s worth, he helped us save the civilians and his job ended there.”

“But, Captain…”

“He’s a Good Samaritan as far as I’m concern.” The Captain’s tone was leaving no further argument. End of discussion.

“Okay,” the woman’s voice sounded hesitant, but not defeated. It showed John that she will keep on investigating into John’s identity. He needed to be careful.

As per usual, Tony managed to change the topic towards him. “What is it with you Natalie? When the proud son of America gave you a figurative middle finger, you bowed down but when I literary said it to your face, you ignored me.”

“You wound me.” He huffed dramatically, strolling towards the elevator, that opened suddenly the moment Tony walk inside. “Mr Blue whatever, let me show you to the front door. I will go back to you guys after I calm down.”

Looking bored, the spider lady put her hand on her waist. “Stark, not now.”

“Good day, ms. Rushman.” Turning around, back facing his audience.

“Let him be. He’ll come back after he calm down.” The captain assured.

Before John followed, he saw the look on Hulk’s face when he passed the other guy with his blue scarf.

Bollocks. He promised.

Using a thin ice, he cut a piece of the scarf out. It pained him to do it since it was his daughter’s gift, but he gave his word to the giant. He handed the piece of woolen cloth towards the green giant.

John didn’t let go of the cloth when the giant was holding the piece between his thumb and index finger. He motioned the giant to say something.

THANK YOU.” The giant was practically purring after having the cloth in his hand. Throwing everybody off when he showed his full-frontal teeth grin, stroking the piece of cloth between his fingers.

After petting the humongous elbow, John walked into the elevator, immediately stationed himself beside his husband. He didn’t forget to see Black widow’s eyebrows raised towards her hairline before the door was closed. He felt satisfied.

“So how was my acting?” His husband turned around to face him, anticipation cleared on his eyes.

Taking the scarf off of his face, John lifted his feet up, gave his husband a gentle peck on the lips. “Great performance, Love. Now let’s go hug our little girl.”

***

Chapter Text

Never in a million years Tony felt he would be ready to be a papa. The constant worry of having a child and protect them from the world was a foreign feeling. He saluted every couple or person who was brave enough to procreate or adopt a child or even children.

But the moment Rosie, his sweet little girl called him papa, he knew he was one of those people now. A parent.

Tony tried to deny it for months, even after he committed himself to John. He knew what he would be entitled to in a relationship with John Hamish Watson. Future happiness and a not so little bundle of joy (not a baggage, their Rosie would never be a baggage).

What he hadn’t expected was being almost knocked down when the 7th years old came barreling into the elevator the moment they arrived at the panic room. It was a good thing he had got out off his suit. The armor rested in the corner of the elevator.

“Omph. Princess, when did you become so strong?” Tony informed her jokingly, looking down at his daughter’s hair. The fact that her hair color looked like a mix between John and Tony’s hair always put a pleasant smile on his face. He’s so sappy.

When she lifted up her face from Tony’s pants, he saw the red-rimmed eyes on Rosie’s cute little face and he felt shattered. Her eyes were brimming with emotion. Only now he was noticing that his daughter was sniffling, clenching onto the back of his pants’ legs tightly.

His heart broke when he saw the look of worried and miserable on their daughter’s face. Tony felt like the worst papa ever. He had failed to be the father he promised himself to be to Rosie. He was the…

The inventor was so fixated on his failure as a parent until he felt a poke on his waist. Instinctually, he looked at his husband, whom was giving him a sharp back forward glance between Tony and Rosie. It’s his husband’s way of saying ‘get your head out of your ass, right now. Your daughter needs you.’

Bending a little, the billionaire put his arms around the little brunette. “Oh sweetheart. I’m fine.” Then he kneeled down to put his hands on the little girl’s shoulders. “You have nothing to worry about.”

Her lips were slightly trembling. Big droplets of tear ran down her face. “But… But you fell… I…I saw you fell Papa… I was soooo scared…”

Wait, did Happy…? No, he wouldn’t. There’s no way he let Rosie watched the news and saw…

Looking over Rosie’s shoulders, Tony saw Happy bit the inside of his cheeks, looking slightly regretful. He let out a frustrated groan.

“Your kid is very persuasive.”

Before he could reprimand his old friend slash chauffeur, Rosie caught his attention by carefully touching Tony’s swollen cheek. “I don’t want you to… To leave me li… like Mommy and ma…

Tony held Rosie’s face with both hands, Thumbs sweeping her tears away. With a tiny kiss on her button nose, he reassured her. “No, Angel. Papa loves you so much. Papa promised to always stay safe. You know that, right?”

“Because you are a superhero?” She asked between sniffles. “But why does it ha…have to be my Papa?”

This question left Tony speechless. It was a dilemma he had been having since he told the little girl about Iron Man. One night, the little girl found out when she saw it on the news her Daddy watched. Thus, when Rosie asked John about it, he referred her to him, since John thought that Tony could explain it better.

It wasn’t exactly John’s best idea so far. But in John’s defense, he also didn’t know how to tell Rosie that her Papa needed to become a superhero to destroy all of his weapons from terrorists’ hands. Or his need to atone for all the double-dealing Obie had done under the table, all those innocent lives that died because of his creations (oh God, Yinsen and his family). He became Iron Man because he needed to see and make sure that all of his destructive creations were destroyed by his own hands.

He explained to Rosie in simple words. Telling her that in the past, Papa made bad things and now he needed to clean up his own mess. That Papa didn’t trust anybody to do it, because it was Papa’s mistakes and Papa felt sad for making those bad things.

At the time, Rosie accepted the explanation without a second thought. Tony was glad that his little girl was still naïve and lived in a world of cartoons and fairy tales where no bad things could ever happen to the ones she loved.

Then Sherlock happened, or should he said shit happened. John almost died and it messed Tony’s peaceful live and Rosie’s concept of ‘world of rainbow shit and giggles’.

He assured the girl countless times that he was strong and he could handle those bad guys. Nobody can beat Papa, he said. It calm her down more since well, John and Tony always careful not to put on the news channels or something that would showcased Iron Man on tv.

Then today happened. Tony wasn’t ready, damn it.

He knew the reality would hit his daughter sooner or later. But he was hoping it would be longer, probably when she turned 12, 20 or never. The fact that his princess would find out that Papa being a superhero was a dangerous job, where he could die if he wasn’t careful, was just horrible.

“Because Papa is a good man, darling.” John kneeled next to Tony with his hand on the girl’s head and an arm draped around Tony’s shoulders. “Papa saved so many people out there today. If he wasn’t there, many other girls would have lose their daddies and mommies.”

“But, wh… What if I lose Papa?” She passed her glances between Tony and John. “Or Da… daddy? Then, I don’t have a… Anybody.”

“Princess, Rosie buns, honey.” He rained kisses on the sad little girl. “Papa promise you this. Papa will cut down the superheroing thingy.”

“Wh.. What is cut down?”

Ah, the infamous language barrier between kids and adults. Idioms.

“Papa was saying that he will become superhero for sometimes. Not all the time anymore.” John calmed her, brushing her hair with fingers from top to bottom. “Would you feel better if he did that?”

The sobbing has quieted down for a bit, so the girl managed to answer with a short nod. “And Daddy?”

“Daddy is not a superhero, moppet.” Smiled reassuringly, John patted the little brunette’s head. “But Daddy will protect you, Papa, uncle Happy, aunt Pepper, uncle Rhodey, and the Bots if you were all in danger. Even JARVIS. Can Daddy do that?”

Blinking her tears away several times, she chased after the dampness with both hands and nodded reluctantly.

Tony couldn’t help feeling relieve when the tears were over. He was the fun happy enjoyable parent. Serious emotional companion discipline parent was John.

“And you know what, sweety?” Tony gave her a very wet kiss on the forehead. “Papa will be here until you are old enough to marry. Maybe when you’re 40 or something.”

“Boys have lurgy,” her lips twisted in disgust.

Tony turned to look at his husband, mouthing ‘lurgy’ in confusion.

“I guess in your American terms, you called it cooties.” John shrugged.

“Of course they have.” Then, looking wide eyes at Rosie, he gasped dramatically. “Then don’t get marry ok, honey? Just stay be our little princess forever.”

Rosie was nodding so hard, Tony felt his own neck hurt. “Of course, Papa. Promise.”

Beside him, John chuckled and whispered to him.“ I dare you to tell her that afteeeer, let’s say 5 years.”

Being who he was, Tony could only grinned stupidly and said. “Challenge accepted.”

***

Chapter Text

“I don’t know how you talk me into this.” Bruce sighed on his seat in Tony’s sports car, hands fidgeting on his lap. “Or why I even listen to you.”

For the past four days since Tony met the nerdy looking scientist, he fell in love with him. With his beautiful, beautiful brain. He’s so smart, the billionaire still couldn’t believe they never run into each other.

Though, of course he heard about the physicist’s name before and sure he was interested, but there always seemed to be something going on in his life that needed his attention. And then, all of a sudden Dr. Robert Bruce Banner was just gone. It’s like the earth has swallowed his existence. Tony didn’t hear about the guy’s name anymore in the scientific world and well, he didn’t really think too much about it.

And then, he started skimming through Bruce’s academic achievements as well as his hidden past in Culver after agent agent delivered him the package. He noticed the name General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross was coming up a lot.

Wait… That was…

Damn it! That’s the military deuce bag who pestered him so much that year to create big guns. He didn’t know what the man was trying to catch, but he was wary of the man’s main objective.

It’s classified, Stark. You don’t need to know what we’re going to use those weapons for. Just know, if you do, you’ve served your country well.’

The crazy general appeared to be driven by an obsession. It reminded Tony so much of his dear old dad’s obsession of finding Captain America.

I don’t care about no stupid science competition, boy. I have to go find Captain America.

It was a good thing, his contract was to the military and not just to one US military general, so he kind of ignored the man. But, as he dig further, he found out that Ross has used his weapons to go on a manhunt over a dangerous criminal. Guess who he was chasing after?

He felt guilty as hell that his weapons were used to hurt Hulk, but Banner, now Bruce, told him that Ross was cunning and Tony didn’t know that the general would used his weapons for the US army that way.

After everything he went through, it was amazing how this man could still remain calm and clear-headed.

“Ten floors of candy land aside, you like me, Brucie.” Tony smirked, without glancing at the scientist way.

“Well, it’s still debatable.” There was a hidden smile in his tone.

They were just heading back home from sending the megalomaniac back to where he came from.

“There’s where you’re wrong, my fellow genius. I think after years of running, you miss having another genius' company.”

“With the other guy, I don’t exactly have many options.”

“Now, you do.” Tony stole a glance at the other scientist. “The tower will be undergoing some construction, just fixing some damages from the aliens and I’m going to remodeled one of the floor into a hulk-proofed apartment.”

“Tony, if you’re doing this out of guilt, I…”

“Hear me out, Bruce.” He sighed a little. “I hate seeing such a beautiful mind goes to waste and you my dear friend, have the most beautiful brain I’ve ever seen. I know how much you want to help people from the third world countries but, with your brain and mine combined, we could easily save them. Think about clean water and better sanitary facilities. Look at the big picture, Brucie.”

“Well when you say it like that,” the scientist combed his unruly hair, messy because of the wind. “Wait. So if the tower is under construction, where are you taking me?”

“Still to the tower. You’re going to live in my penthouse for a while.” He told Bruce. “The place has been cleaned up. And the construction crews have replaced the window that Loki broke when he threw me out and somehow patched the Loki holes. And I have a few awesome guest bedrooms. At least until your floor is finished.”

“And what do you mean I’m going to have my own floor?” The physicist shook his head exasperatedly, rubbing his brows.

“I thought you would want to have some privacy. Your own room, kitchen, living room, gaming room, and bathroom.”

“I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but don’t you think it’s too much? And shouldn’t you offer this floor to Captain Rogers, instead?”

Thinking about the righteous man made Tony wanted to scrunch his nose. Ups, he did.

Tony didn’t think it would be that easy to leave the whole panic room (apartment) since Rosie was still being the over-protective daughter that she was. But, apparently his little girl has tired herself so much by dwelling on her fathers’ safety that she felt asleep, not long after doing some poke and prod at them. She learned that trick from her Daddy. And the way she mother-henning John over the cut on his arm was rather sweet.

She felt asleep after Tony finished cleaning and bandaging John’s wound. Shortly after, she dove into the dreamworld, Tony quickly unclasped his wrist from her tiny fingers. After making sure that his family has settled nicely into the panic room with enough food and water, he kissed John for several times.

The Brit shooed him away in a subtle way. “Let’s continue this later, Love. You have a few guests to entertain after all.”

Reluctantly, Tony let go of his husband and went back to the elevator. As he was being sent up, back to his penthouse, JARVIS ensured him that he had produced an image of Mr. Blue walking out of the tower, where he slipped away through the chaos and just disappeared. He didn’t know what he would do without JARVIS. It’s so great to have a reliable bad-ass AI.

The journey up was rapid and the minute the door opened up to the correct floor, he was greeted with Romanov sitting on a chair she dragged from the bar onto the front of the elevator.

“Shit, Rushman! Are you trying to give me a heart-attack?” Tony put his hand over his arc-reactor.

His only answer was a slight twitch on her lips. Damn spy-assassin.

The genius inventor walked out, passing the amused looking agent warily. He recounted his teammates location in his home. Dr. Banner has transformed back if the mop of curly hair behind his couch was to be believed. Katniss and Point Break were watching rock of Ages carefully near the crater.

“Are you feeling better, Tony?” A voice said next to him.

“Fuck, where did you come from?!” Tony felt himself jumped an inch from his spot. He turned to face the owner of the voice who was crossing his arms over his chest, looking disappointed at Tony.

“Language, Tony.”

“It’s my mouth, Rogers. I’d do what I want with it.” He said petulantly with his hands on his waist. Luckily, Tony had time to put his cocky mask on. People kind of hate his smart-assesses. It rubbed other people in the wrong way seeing a genius billionaire looking so arrogant.

It didn’t irk the Captain as much as he thought it would, though. Actually, the young (or old? It’s so confusing) soldier looked relieved seeing Tony back. It made him uncomfortable to see his once worshiped hero looked as hopeful as he was back then after their first real conversation in the Helicarrier.

Probably, that talk he had with Rogers when the man cornered him in the lab while Banner was taking a toilet break really had something to do with it. The genius was fed up when the Captain kept pushing him to take the whole Loki threat seriously and that his dad was blah Dee Dah…

He kinda hit the man on his chest yelling something about how he hated Howard so damn much and to stop comparing the old man to him. Tony was blabbing everything about how Howard always demeaning his achievements, resented his high IQ and never has time for his son, except when he compared him constantly to the great Captain America.

He wasn’t ashamed to say he wanted to break the man’s image of his old friend with the new Howard, whom lost his friend in the war and later become the shittiest every year to Tony.

Since then, instead of walking on eggshells, their fearless leader was trying so hard to get to know him.

He meant, could anyone believe the nerve on this man to tell him, that he was sorry he couldn’t be in Tony’s life to watch him grew up. How he regretted not getting a chance to be the best uncle to Tony. What he could have done to keep Howard as the man he once knew in the war and be a good father to little Tony.

Well, how could Tony miss someone he never knew, right?

But damn the soldier for trying to reconcile with Tony and apologize for being a rude person after their first introduction.

Damnit. Now, he couldn’t even be annoyed at the soldier. The guy looked like a big damn golden retriever, for goodness sake.

John always told him that his hatred against the Captain was unreasonable. The past hero hasn’t done anything to warrant the billionaire’s resentment. He was dead (or so everyone thought). The fault lied on Howard. He was the one who kept comparing Tony to the great Captain America. Disappointing Tony with his behavior and hurtful words for the first half of his life.

It took him years to open up to John. He didn’t even flinch anymore when he heard the hero’s name. Now, Steve Rogers’ name was just a name of a dead guy who his father knew once upon a time.

Then he met the guy. Tony was surprised that he himself didn’t feel any different towards the man, except that The captain was Howard’s old friend. A decade of talking to his long distance best friend about his animosity against the former soldier has paid off somehow.

Why would he need a therapist when he got John?! Suck it, shrinks.

Without John, he would kept on loathing the man for the rest of his life. But, because of his husband, he could emotionally put himself in the man’s shoes. Being thrown more than half a century into the future where everyone he knew has long gone or so old, they’re just waiting on Death’s door, must have been devastating.

What he couldn’t stand was the stranger trying to reconnect himself to Tony like he felt he owed Tony something tremendously huge. As if.

He scratched the back of his neck and gave a captivating smile at Tony. “I don’t know about kids these days, but back in my days my mom will wash my mouth with a bar of soap.”

Tony spluttered on his spot, watching the flippant young old man with wide eyes. Who could have known that Captain America has a saucy attitude.

“He got you there, Stark.” Robin Hood barked a laugh.

“Congratulations captain.” The spy stood on Tony’s right, snapping her fingers in front of his face. Tony glared irritatedly at her slightly amazed expression. And how did she moved so fast? “You managed to do the impossible.”

“Wha… Whatever.” He threw his hands in the air. “I’m starving, anybody is hungry? Has anybody try shawarma before? I saw a joint about two blocks from here. I never try one before but it sounded interesting.”

“Haha, Stark. But you’re not getting out of…” Katniss was cut off.

“I could eat anything right now,” His scientist friend said from behind the couch, at the same time Thor loudly informed,” A victory feast! That is a wonderful idea, man of iron.”

The man with the plan put his hand on Tony’s shoulder, squeezed it gently. “It’s very nice of you to ask us all to join you, Tony.”

Tony wasn’t embarrassed to say that he was slightly basking in the limelight when Captain America aimed his proud look over him. His tiny self from the past did fanboy over this man.

“I guess I need to take a page out of your book, captain.” Once more he saw the female agent snapped her fingers in front of his face.

He didn’t even notice the look of surprise on Bruce’s face when they arrived at the tower and went the other way from the public Parkin spot in the tower. Instead, they entered the suddenly opened secret garage door in the tower.

“Yeah, no.” Tony slurred his words. “Okay, I don’t know. We didn’t exactly have the best start.”

“I think everybody in the flying submarine could hear your bickering,” the curly-haired man dead panned.

Ignoring Bruce’s impassive comment, Tony continued. “And then he was being so nice and trying to act like an uncle to me.”

“Again, everybody noticed the moment he started following you with those big puppy eyes.”

“Right?” He exclaimed, parking the car on his spot and shuddered. “I thought it was just me. I mean who bring someone Mac and cheese for lunch to the lab?”

Bruce was quiet for a second before he said bewilderedly. “A nice person?”

Tony got out of the car, followed by his guest. The billionaire waited for the nuclear physicist to grab his duffel bag from the car. Together, they walked towards Tony’s private elevator.

“So what are you going to do about the good captain?” Bruce inquired to fill in the silence as they entered the lift.

Tony wasn’t sure what he’s going to do about the super soldier. He was feeling a mix of uncomfortable, awkwardness and weariness towards the war hero. Most people were nice to him because they wanted something out of him. And in this case, Steven Grant Rogers wanted to reconnect with the reminders of his past friends.

“I don’t know, Bruce.” He was unconsciously standing and then leaned back against the corner of the compartment with shoulders sagged.

“Tony, I’m sorry if I seem pushy.” Bruce told him, nervously adjusting the strap of the bag on his shoulder.

The billionaire couldn’t be any happier when they arrived at the penthouse. Awkwardly, Tony patted his fellow scientist on his elbow. “It’s fine. Let’s go. I have a few people I want you to meet.”

They both got out of the elevator, well the scientist followed Tony’s lead. They were walking into the kitchen area. John was eating some fried dish with Rosie on the kitchen islands.

The moment his family saw him, Tony saw Rosie’s face brightened up and John smiled fondly at him with dazzling eyes. The little girl jumped off her high chair (it’s a good thing, she didn’t fall) and ran to him with her arms raised. “Papa, Papa.”

The engineer grinned as he scooped the little girl up into his arms, giving her a peck on the nose. “How is my princess? Did you finish your lunch? Is it yummy?”

“Daddy made fish and chips.” She giggled. “And papa, you know Daddy always made the yummiest fish and chips.”

Rosie was opening his arms wide, motioning how yummy his Daddy’s cooking was, which pulled a chuckle out of Tony.

“How about you, Papa? Have you had lunch yet?”

“Noooo,” he rubbed his nose on Rosie’s. “I want to eat Daddy’s yummy food with you.”

The sound of John clearing his throat grabbed his attention. His husband was cocking his head to the side, smiling his amusement at him. “Love, are you forgetting somethings?”

He raised an eyebrow as a sign of being confused.

Striding towards him, John opened his palm to the side. “Your guest, dear.”

Oh, Bruce. Turning around, still with his daughter in his arms. “Bruce, meet my family. This is my daughter, Rosie and,”

John stood next to him, holding his hand out. “I’m John Watson, Tony’s husband. We decided to keep our last name.”

Bruce still looked dazed when he took John’s hand. “I’m Robert Bruce Banner.”

“Hi, uncle Bruce.”

Bruce recovered fast from being called uncle by the girl and curled his lips up. “Hi, honey. Rosie, right?”

The girl gave a little nod, showing her cute smile. “Do you like fish and chips?”

“Hum, yes. I like it very much.”

“Hey, fun fact. Both of you are doctors. You’re Ph.D. and my husband is MD and MBBS.” Grinning, he told John. “Bruce here has been helping people in India using his medical knowledge. You both has something in common.”

The word ‘husband’ put a look of baffled once more on the physicist’s face. “You’re married?”

Raising his left hand, he showed his index finger to Bruce. “I kinda went off the market since January, but not many people know. That’s why I didn’t put my ring on my ring finger. So keep this to yourself, okay.” At the same time, Bruce showed his left hand, also on his index finger.

“Hey, you’re wearing your ring, honey?” There was a tone of surprise in Tony’s voice.

“Without Sherlock around to chase, I figured I won’t lose it.” John kissed him on the lips. Tony kissed him back eagerly.

When they pulled back, Bruce was already slack jawed. Holding his palm up, Bruce looked coy when the couple and their daughter all looked at him.

Bruce took a breath of air and smiled. “Congratulations. To the two of you.”

“You look surprised. Is it because Tony married to a man?” John was smiling but it didn’t reach his eyes.

“No, no.” Bruce swiftly denied. “Everybody in the scientific community know Tony swing both ways. It’s just surprising to see that he’s marrying somebody. Or that anybody manage to catch his attention for more than a casual fling.”

“Well, it wasn’t…”

Then there was a twin rumbling sound coming from both Bruce and Tony’s stomachs.

“Papa and uncle Bruce should eat first.” Rosie reprimanded them. “Talking and chatting later.”

Laughters filled the air as the three grown men obeyed Rosie’s directions. Queen Rosie strikes again. Nobody protest and just went to the kitchen and started eating. Laughters and stories have been exchanged during lunch. Then John ushered Tony and Bruce outside to the balcony, telling them that he and Rosie were going to prepare a surprise desert.

There were 4 comfy chairs and a round table in the balcony. As they brought their plain milk (Tony only stock non-alcoholic beverages in the fridge since there’s Rosie) with them and taken seats on the balcony which kind of merged with the landing pad. The geniuses were welcomed with a rather windy temperature. It’s a wonderful weather.

Bruce opened the conversation with, “You have a lovely family.”

“Cheers to that,” Tony raised his glass and drank.

“That’s why, I cannot stay here in good conscience.” Bruce bit his bottom lip. “You have a husband and a little daughter. What if… The other guy come out and hurt them?”

The billionaire’s mind was swirling on the idea of telling the scientist about his husband’s secret. Even if his husband had permitted him to tell Bruce, the man has just arrived and Tony didn’t feel right to give Bruce so many surprises. But, he really wanted Bruce to stay, though.

But the decision was out of his hand as he saw a swirling of milky white liquid floating and travelling out of the opened balcony door towards them. The white flow split in two and fill each of their glasses.

From the corner of his eyes, the billionaire watched Bruce looking wide-eyed. And looking from the glass window, he saw John winking an eye at him.

“Tony, what…?”

“I… have another secret.” Tony said nervously.

“What else Tony?!” There was a tinge of green on his face. Just a bit and it faded immediately, and Tony really didn’t feel a tiny bit scared because right now Bruce just looked annoyed. “It’s kind of easy to guess that somehow you know Mr. blue’s identity.”

Carefully, he sipped his milk and looked back at his new friend. “Yeah, I do. Know the guy closer to 3 decades, now. But in my defense I just found out about his power two days ago, just like you guys. He could keep a secret like no others, I tell you.”

“Wait. Almost 3 decades?” Bruce looked very surprise at this.

Smiling fondly, he put his glass down gently on the table. “He’s one of my oldest and best friend. He’s just…the best man I know.” He really want Bruce to understand how wonderful a person his husband was.

Glancing back to the scientist. “I’ve been in love with him for years, but I was too scared. I mean he’s kind, gentle, caring and… He’s perfect alright.” He could hear his own heart beating. “And I’m just me. I’m a train wreck.”

“No, you’re not.” John appeared on the door with two stack of empty glasses, napkins on his front jacket’s pocket and a big bowl that smelled so yummy from where they were sitting.

The Brit put the bowl on the table, prepared the glasses and napkins. Tony felt his mouth watered at the pile of small delicious fried doughnut balls with powdered sugar inside the bowl. Following from behind, was Rosie with a small bowl full of chocolate sauce.

“Papa, me and Daddy made your favorite desert. Doughnuts and chocolate sauce.” She put the bowl slowly on the table.

John helped him sit on the chair on Tony’s right before sitting on Tony’s left.

“Let me introduce myself again. I’m Dr. John Watson, from London and am recently married to a great man, Tony Stark.” He looked at Tony with loving eyes before looking back at Bruce. “I could also control the element of water. And I see you still have my scarf.”

Bruce shook his head in disbelieve. He lowered his head onto the table and hit his head a few times against the surface.

“It’s alright, uncle Bruce.” Their sweetheart stood and stroke the man on the back. “I’m not angry at you. Daddy said your friend, Mr. hulk like it so much. It is a pretty color.”

“I think you broke him, Honey.” The billionaire whispered on John’s ear.

***

Tony was glad, Bruce had regained his composure and was enjoying his desert. John had left him alone to deal with the scientist to accompany Rosie to watch her favorite cartoon in her bedroom.

While chewing on the sugary sweetness, Bruce suddenly told him,” I heard from the others that the other guy enjoyed your husband’s company. I still can’t believe it, except you did show me the footage and I have a piece of woolen blue cloth that somewhat has making the other guy purred in the back of my mind.”

Dipping his doughnut into the sweet chocolate, Tony mumbled. “You’re not the only one. I told you. I married the perfect man.”

Nodding, Bruce licked the sugar powder from his fingers. “I guess it will be saved to stay here.”

“Aha.” The billionaire enjoyed the doughnuts too much to reply.

“You have a terrific family, Tony.” He grabbed another doughnut. “And I think you should consider having Steve here. He would to know your family.”

The inventor was choking on a piece of doughnut when the gamma radiation scientist said that.

“Hear me out.” Bruce pushed the glass of milk to Tony’s reach. “From what I heard, when captain Rogers thought you were kidnapped by a vigilante, your husband,” he emphasized, “he was very determine to save you. No matter the cost.”

“And who did you hear this from?”

“From the SHIELD agents and Thor, who told me the story with his Shakespearean way of talk.” Bruce cleaned his hands with some napkins. “And I saw it from JARVIS’ footages.”

“So?” He kept eating the doughnuts, but he has been munching on the same piece since a minute ago.

“He wants to reconnect. You’re one of those last connection he has from his past.” Bruce flicked his eyes to him. “He’s a 26 years old man without a family in this new strange world. He wants to be needed, Tony.”

“So, what’s your point?”

“He can help protect your family.” The scientist gave Tony a genuine smile. “I like your husband and daughter. They’re lovable people. You managed being a superhero as well as being a good father and husband, Tony.”

Green marred his eyes. “And I don’t want to see any of you getting hurt. I want to protect all of you. I especially want to protect her smile. I’m sure Steve feel the same way if you only let him in.”

Steven Grant Rogers has always been thorns in his earliest life. He’s always better than him. A better person. A better human specimen. A…

“Tony, he’s not better than you. He’s human just like the rest of us. He’s only slightly better,” John’s voice soothed his anger.

No, it wasn’t him. Rogers wasn’t the problem. Howard made a decision to choose him over Tony. It wasn’t his fault or Tony’s fault. His dad just wasn’t a father material. And a shitty alcoholic.

Captain America was a war hero. But, Steven Grant Rogers was a simple man from Brooklyn and everything he knew has changed by the 70 years gap of time he spent on ice.

Without the shield, he’s only a man. A man who craved and needed to have someone to relate to. Someone he could talk to, not a therapist. He needed a friend. A John. Tony could be his John (friendship, not romantic relationship).

After all, the super soldier has made the first move towards reconciliation after their first shitty talk and now the ball was in his court.

Tossing the piece of desert into his mouth, Tony chewed and swallowed and the said,” I’ll talk to John. And then, maybe after Rogers finished his American sightseeing tour, I could offer him a floor here.”

Bruce gave him a look that said ‘I’m glad you see my point’.

Then he added. “Maybe Rosie would like a grandpa. Considering his real age, he could be my grandpa.” Tony started circling around the idea. “So does that mean my princess should call him grandpop? Or called him uncle since he’s actually still in his 20s? Or maybe…?”

Shaking his head, the physicist pushed the glass of cold milk back onto Tony’s hand. “You’ll think of something.”

***

Chapter Text

After 3 months of living together, John got so used to having his husband around. John missed the moans Tony gave whenever he ate the food he made for the family. They all liked Bruce’s cooking as well, but Tony never forget to make him blush over John’s cooking.

He missed waking up to see Tony trying to get out of bed after he thought John had felt asleep. It’s so funny how reluctant his oldest friend become when John tightened his arms around his waist, gluing Tony to the mattress. Of course, after sometimes, the man found out that John has been doing it on purpose.

John just silently looked at his husband for several seconds and kissed him on the lips. “8 hours, Love. Doctor’s orders.”

Tony liked to contradict other people and disagreed with them all the time, which making it hard for others to get close to him sometimes. Since he’s a genius and all, surely most of the time he was right. On the other hand, people whom he cared for has more chances in making suggestions that would be somehow more well accepted by the inventor, albeit reluctantly.

That’s why these days, his husband has looked healthier than before John and Rosie came to live with him. Although, John couldn’t help but be concerned about the nightmares that’s been plaguing Tony. Being his husband and best friend, John has learned long ago not to haste Tony into telling him what has been causing these recent nightmares.

Afghanistan’s cave has yet showing its ugly flair in Tony’s sleeps, so recent encounter with the invasion and wormhole wasn’t a far fetched guess to Tony’s increasing restless sleep.

Thank goodness it didn’t take long for his husband to tell him about his nightmares. John consoled him, kissed him and embraced his love. It calmed his husband more than he knew. Tony has becoming less tense and less withdrawn from others (Rosie and John were the only exception).

Though, Tony has a new obsession of building more Iron Man. He’s been using his time to tinker and build better suits in the workshop. The engineer told him that it was a precaution of another invasion on Earth.

The Brit let him be, since it helped Tony’s relaxed more and his husband always seemed to still have time for John and Rosie, even helped Dr. Banner with his experiment.

The MD. Was hoping that this business trip to California could ease Tony’s mind out of Earth’s safety and his worry over John and Rosie. Rosie didn’t even notice the motherhenning and John tried not to be miffed by it, since his husband was just protective over them after the aliens. Maybe Pepper and Happy could take some of the brunt of having Tony hovered behind them.

Rhodey was lucky he was on missions and managed to escape his husband’s watchful eyes. Damn him!

“Daddy, how about this?” Rosie was showing him an apple.

It was Sunday morning, and in just three hours, the Stark billionaire would arrive home. It’s been a week since Tony flew to California and instead of asking JARVIS to order the groceries, he decided to do the shopping and ran a few errands himself, bringing his daughter along with him.

After JARVIS showed him the less showy car Tony has, he drove with Rosie to the supermarket and other places. John had planned to cook the inventor’s favorite food and dessert with their daughter. It would be a nice welcoming lunch for all of them.

He was going to ask Dr. Banner (call me Bruce), Bruce to come along. But, from what JARVIS told him, the man just managed to sleep this morning after pulling an all-nighter on some water filter project.

The intelligent man has become one of his favorite people in the tower. He’s rather witty when you got to know him better. And he played well with their little girl. Although, the man was still conscious about ‘his condition’ and being cautious around his child for the first few weeks.

A lab accident happened, three weeks into Bruce living in the tower, causing him to turn into Hulk. After the accident has been handled, the green giant refused to turn back, opting to stay in Bruce’s apartment where he was being ushered to by John, whom he was comfortable with (or like the only person he really listened to).

The good medical doctor had ensured his husband that he could handle the gentle giant by himself. But being the protective husband that he was, he decided to stay with John and Hulk.

It was a miscalculation, really. Mostly on Tony, that git. And also John himself (course, he told his husband that he was partially wrong as well after Tony’s guilty burst).

The genius was running a security check up on JARVIS’ system at the time, causing no one to run over the Tower for two full hours. And John being John, he told Rosie that he was helping uncle Bruce with something before tucking the little girl for a nap and helping Tony to coax the angry giant.

And Rosie being the little curious girl that she was (he blamed it on Tony and Sherlock for encouraging this trait too much), couldn’t stop thinking about uncle Bruce and failed to take her scheduled nap. She slipped out after her Daddy has gone long enough for her to follow.

Of course she remembered Bruce’s floor number and without JARVIS to stop her, the elevator moved to where the Hulk was currently sitting on the reinforced floor, watching My Little Pony (if anybody could believe that. It soothed the giant) with Tony drinking a cup of coffee sitting on an armchair on Hulk’s left and John drinking a cuppa from Bruce’s private stash (surely he wouldn’t mind after making John babysit his other personality) on the right armchair, leaving the lonely sofa in front of Hulk.

When the elevator opened with a Ding, John could feel his heart stopped when he saw Rosie came out from it. He was sure Tony was having his own heart attack, since his husband has turned as pale as a white sheet.

“Daddy, Papa. Where is uncle Bruce?” Rosie asked, clenching her little bunny doll with her elbow as she looked around the room and saw Hulk. “Wow, you are so big. Who are you? Are you a green Teddy?”

TINY” Hulk rumbled, when his eyes landed on their daughter.

As if knowing she was being called on her size, the little girl directed her piercing gaze towards the green giant. “I’m not tiny. My name is Rosie.”

FLOWER

“It’s Rooosiiiie,” Rosie said, trying to teach the giant her name. “Daddy said it’s rude not to tell people your name after I told you my name.”

John was holding his breath in, out of anxiety.

“Right Daddy? Tell him.”

“Darling,” John sat up slowly, trying not to freak everyone in the apartment, mostly him and Tony. “You’re supposed to be in bed. It’s passed your nap time.”

Looking sheepish, Rosie apologized. “Sorry, Daddy. You said uncle Bruce needed help, so I thought I could help him too. Are you angry Daddy?”

“Hum,” Tony muttered nervously. “Sweetheart, listen to Daddy. You should go nap-nap right now.”

“But…” Rosie looked upset and on the verge of tears, probably thinking that he and Tony were angry that she didn’t take a nap. She was holding the bunny with both hands right now.

Ignoring the delicate situation, Hulk pointed to the screen, where Pinky Pie was planning to bake cupcakes for Rarity.”PONY. FLOWER, WATCH?”

The word ‘Pony’ incited Rosie to look up and over Hulk’s shoulder towards the screen. “Pony?”

CUTE HORSIE” Hulk purred, turning his head around to watch the cartoon.

Forgetting her fear of upsetting her fathers, the little girl walked towards her Daddy’s lap. Her eyes were intensely focusing on the screen.

John put his arms around the little girl, trying to protect Rosie from the giant. He knew it was irrational (or rational to other people) to think that Hulk would hurt their child, after they made up their minds that the giant never actually hurt innocent people. But fear was barmy.

As he locked gaze with Tony whom also had abandoned his drink, they managed to calm each other, just by ensuring that nothing dangerous was going to happen. They decided to stay as they were, watching Rosie’s favorite cartoon (Hulk’s too) and waited 'till their newest addition to the tower transformed back into the curly-haired scientist that they all knew.

So that’s how their little girl found out about Hulk, Uncle Bruce's friend. Bruce didn’t take it too well at first and refused to step inside the lab for a full week, until Tony dragged him back. Both of them convinced Bruce that Hulk didn’t do anything dangerous around the three of them and JARVIS backed them up with the footage (the cameras were still running even when JARVIS was indisposed for a moment).

It was odd how they took the whole event rather well, since they both suffered through a mild panic attack when Hulk addressed Rosie. After the second time it happened, they were convinced that just like John, Rosie had a calming effect on the giant.

Funny thing was, since that first time, Rosie and Hulk have some sort of a weird play date happening every time Bruce accidentally transformed. Together they watched ‘My Little Pony’ on Hulk’s insistence because he kept asking for his little companion. Thankfully, Hulk only came out for three times since Bruce made a habit of staying calm and taking to be more careful with his experiments in his lab.

“That one is wonderful, darling.” John smiled at his daughter. “Let’s buy ten of them, okay?”

Rosie showed he widest smile at John. “Okay.”

After they finished shopping, they went home to the tower with their shopping bags and boxes. After they parked in Tony’s private garage, Rosie started helping John taking their groceries out and into the opened elevator. As they were moving up, JARVIS informed them. “Master John, Captain Rogers is waiting in the penthouse.”

Cocking an eyebrow, John asked the AI. “ Does Tony know?”

After his conversation with Bruce, Tony told John about it and it too some time for John to convince himself about the captain. In the end, John agreed to let the American hero into their family. After all, if it got Rosie to have more protection, John couldn’t exactly refuse. And John did understand the war hero’s need to have somebody. Without Tony by his side, he would probably be lost like Captain Rogers.

So, John insisted Tony to communicate with the man through the STARK phone he had given to the captain before he left for his tour. He knew Tony still feel hesitance to get to know the man, so talking on the phone like they did for decades should help Tony and Rogers’ path to friendship or uncle-nephew relationship.

The super soldier still acted like the self-entitled uncle that he was and Tony didn’t really mind it that much anymore. In fact, he seemed to enjoy the attention whenever John caught him conversing on the phone with a rather shy look on his face.

Of course, John also asked Tony to give the captain some learning materials about the modern world to welcome him to the 21st century. Especially about the gay rights and how homosexuality has been mostly accepted in this modern world.

“Yes, master John.” The computer answered. “Would you like to meet him? Or should I let you out onto Dr. Banner’s floor?”

“No need, JARV.” Looking down at his daughter, John told her. “Rosie, do you remember grandpapa’s friend?”

“Grandpapa’s friend?” Her forehead furrowed in confusion.

“Papa told you about grandpapa’s friend in the war.” John smiled, reminding his daughter. “Grand uncle Steve?”

Her eyes were sparkling with recognition. “Grand uncle? Papa’s uncle? The one from the old, old, old war?”

“Yes. Grand uncle Steve is here. Do you want to meet him?”

The little brunette nodded her head up and down several times, then stopped suddenly when she accidentally bang her head a bit against the side of the elevator. Pouting, she put both hands on the back of her head, rubbing it.

He immediately went to check on his daughter’s head. “Darling, what did I say about shaking your head too fast?”

“Someday I’m going to hurt my head,” she muttered under her breath.

Stroking it gently, John sighed and asked her tenderly. “Does it still hurt?”

Shaking his head slowly, Rosie put her arms around John’s legs, mumbling. “ Sorry, Daddy.”

Smiling, John kissed her on her hair. “It’s alright, Love. Just be careful, next time.”

“Excuse me, but who are you?”

Looking behind his shoulder, John was surprised to see that they have arrived home. The elevator was opened with Captain America looking at them bewildered from the other side.

The young man was wearing a dark slack with blue shirt covered in dark brown jacket. At least he was wearing something normal for a change and not the national flag.

Grabbing his daughter’s hand, John greeted the man with a smile. “Good morning Captain Rogers. I assumed you’re here to see Tony?”

The captain frowned when he answered,” Yes. But are you lost? This is the penthouse.”

“No, no.” John grabbed one of the grocery bags and walked pass the American. “ Could you help me get all the bags into the kitchen?”

Still puzzled, the Blond-haired man retorted,” Uh, sure.”

The man was quick to follow the pair of them into the kitchen. After putting everything on the kitchen islands, Rosie pulled John’s hand to get his attention. He lowered his head down until he was facing his daughter.

“Daddy, who is he?” She whispered.

Looking up a bit, John watched the man carefully. He was sure the man heard her daughter’s loud and clear with his super-hearing, but if he did hear, it didn’t show on his expression.

“He’s your grand uncle Steve, Rosie.”

“No, he’s not,” Rosie crossed her arms, brows furrowed. “Papa said he’s 90 years old. That man doesn’t look old. His hair is not white, Daddy.”

Tony definitely hadn’t shown Rogers’ photo to their daughter. Even putting ridiculous ideas about the real appearance of the soldier. Tony did love teasing people so much.

He managed to curb the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose. John has a sudden onslaught of headache. “Your grand uncle had slept for 70 years on ice, darling. That’s why he still look so young.”

The simple explanation brought twinkles into her eyes. She passionately asked his Daddy,” Like sleeping beauty?”

Oh, Tony would love this so much.

Pressing his lips together, John was trying so hard not to laugh. “Something like that, sweetheart.”

And then, just like Tony, Rosie squealed and ran towards Rogers. “Are you really grand uncle Steve? Papa said you’re a superhero and you helped him saved the world.”

The man out of time looked dumbfounded when he suddenly became the center of attention of the little girl.

“But, you sleep so long and you hair is blonde like Princess Aurora.” The girl held his hand. “Are you the sleeping Prince?”

Laughter rang across the hall as John couldn’t handle the comment made by his innocent sweet daughter anymore while the captain cocked an eyebrow. Probably wondering who Princess Aurora was.

***

Chapter Text

The lunch was ready, as well as the ice cream. He was grateful for the former soldier unintended help of babysitting Rosie. Captain Rogers has been accompanying his daughter in the living room, watching sleeping beauty. The man looked rather flustered then abashed when Rosie’s comment about him finally clicked on his mind.

Rosie was dozing off a little bit, when John sat next to her. He automatically put his arm around Rosie, where she laid her head on his chest.

“Um, sir.” Rogers addressed him. “You have a lovely daughter.”

“It’s John, Captain.”

“Then, please call me Steve.” The captain cleared his throat. “Rosie told me that you’re her Daddy. So does that mean that Tony is… Her papa?”

“Yes,” John stole a glance to see Rogers reaction. “We got married almost 7 months ago.”

John applauded the soldier for his quick recover after hearing John’s surprising information regarding his self-proclaimed nephew’s marital status. Clearly, his husband forgot to tell him about them. Thankfully, there was no hint of disgust or disapproval in his eyes. It gladdened John considerably that the man from the 40’s could be so open-minded.

“Congratulations on your marriage.” He congratulated John kindly. John could see how hard the soldier tried to look casual after finding out about Tony’s recent marriage.

“I apologized on his behalf.” John told him, twirling a lock of Rosie’s hair with his fingers. “He could be a little too protective over me and Rosie. And I guess he’s afraid you wouldn’t accept he’s being married to a man.”

Steve baffled for a second before letting out a defeated sigh. “I guess it’s because I came from the 40’s?”

It was more of a statement rather than a question on his part.

“He told me you were happy about the Equal Rights Amendment, but he wasn’t sure you would be happy knowing he likes both men and women.”

“Oh Tony.” The soldier laced his fingers together on his lap. “I wouldn’t care anyway. The only thing I would be concerned about was his safety. Did he use protection or did he get bully for being who he is?”

“He’s a genius through and through, captain.” With a sigh, John look down on top of Rosie’s hair at her sleeping face. “He got used to being bullied and even the whole kidnappings.”

John saw the the moment Steve’s expression grew colder and hardened. “He shouldn’t have to get use to such horrible experiences.”

“Past is in the past, Steve. I’ve actually met him when he was in the process of being kidnapped,” he prolonged quietly.

The shaken look on the captain’s face was a prove to how remarkable the super-soldier’s hearing was. John noted the underlaying horrific behind the worry in his tone. “He was kidnapped even before Afghanistan?”

“He told you about Afghanistan?”

Scratching the back of his neck, the American soldier admitted sheepishly. “Afghanistan is a sensitive subject. He didn’t really tell me anything else besides he was kidnapped and escaped after three months.”

Then he pulled his fingers into fists. Anger shrouded his face as the man’s lips thinned. “He did tell me about Obadiah Stane’s role in the kidnapping. That man was his God father. How could he do that Tony?!”

“Greed is a terrible thing, mate.”

“If he’s still alive, I would have made sure he would never get to touch a single hair on Tony’s head ever again.”

The genuine fierceness in Rogers’ words showed how three months worth of communicating with each other had built the soldier’s protective streak over Tony.

Good. Tony needed more people who knew about his good-nature and compassion.

“You should get in line, Steve.” John was smiling but his eyes were full of deep seated hatred. “Tony didn’t have many friends, but the ones he had would volunteer to go through Hell itself to have a piece of that old snake.”

Their anger dissipated when Rosie mumbled in her sleep. Once again, Steve cleared his throat to break the silence. Casually he asked John. “So, you saved him from being kidnapped?”

It prompted John to tell him a summary of how he and Tony met. How they helped each other throughout the years. As Tony dubbed it their ‘schedule not sex phone calls’. After he finished telling the story to the captain, he decided to give him a shovel talk.

“Captain. Besides Rosie, Tony is the most important person in my life.” He said calmly, glancing seriously at the superhero. “So, I didn’t take kindly to people who hurt my husband, either physically or mentally.”

“I understand,” Rogers countered confidently, yet serene. “He’s also important to me. He’s…” Quietly he whispered the word,” family.”

“Good,” John clasped his hand on the man’s shoulder, smiling a little. “As you said before, a family man is a very dangerous man to cross.”

This time, Rogers wasn’t able to conceal his surprise. John used his power to freeze the glass of water that’s being held by the man, slowly while still holding his gaze.

Steve was quiet for a minute before admitting to John. “I thought I’ve recognized your voice.”

“And now you know who I am Steve.” His lips twitched upward. “She is the main reason why I refuse to be a superhero. We don’t need two superheroes in the family.”

The war hero gave a short nod in understanding.

“So, you see captain.” With a flick of his fingers, the ice turned back into water, albeit cold one. “Tony didn’t trust easily. And I hope this thing you have with him means a lot to you as it is to him.”

The look on the captain’s face was enough to ensure John on whose side he was on. And it’s good enough for John.

***

After leaving the captain with his sleepy daughter, John went back to check on his food. He felt confident that the lunch would be delightful, thus he started on the main surprise of this lunch. He almost finished wrapping the gift basket when suddenly Bruce stumbled out of the elevator towards the kitchen. His hair looked rumpled, but he looked presentable for lunch.

“Well-rested?” John asked as he finished giving a last finishing touch on the basket.

“As well as I can be.” The scientist shrugged. “Are those…?”

“Yes.”

“But…”

“I know.”

“Didn’t…?”

“It’s a surprise.”

The good scientist cocked an eyebrow at John, watched him with a thoughtful look on his face and then shook his head. “I don’t want to know.”

“You’ll see, Bruce.” John patted his shoulder. “You’ll see.”

He walked towards his and Tony’s bedroom to put the surprise on the bed. When he came back, Bruce was drooling over the meals the doctor has prepared on the counters.

“When will he arrive?” Bruce asked without turning around.

Looking over his watch, John estimated. “I suspect in 15 minutes or so.”

“I still didn’t understand how Tony could get so lucky. I mean, he get you to marry him.” The man turned around to look at John. “You’re a marvelous cook.”

“I just cooked what I like to eat.” John said, fixing the lapels on his sweater jacket.

Shortly after he said that, they heard a faraway sound of thrusters landed on the mechanical rings.

“Speak of the devil and he shall appear,” Bruce said in amusing tone as he took off his glasses to clean the lenses with his shirt.

“Oi, that’s my husband you’ve insulted,” John chided the man half-heartedly.

It wasn’t long before he heard Tony calling over the captain cheerfully. “Hey, star spangled banner. When did you arrive?”

“This morning, shell-head.” The young man grinned. “JARVIS was kind enough to let me in.”

“J, why didn’t you tell me Steve was here?” He asked, looking up towards the ceiling.

“In my defense, sir. I did tell you, but you were fixing the last miscalculation in mark 28.”

“Well, you should know me better by now. You could have just told me again about it.”

“I thought it’ll be a nice surprise among other surprises, sir.” JARVIS answered mysteriously.

“What else are you hiding young sir?”

Before the AI could retort back, Rosie’s voice joining in.

“Papa?” She sounded sleepy. “You’re home?”

That’s John’s cue to grab a glass of water for their darling daughter to drink. As he took a glass from the cupboard, he heard Tony cooing at their little girl. “Oh, princess. Did Papa wake you up?”

Walking towards the living room, John welcomed his husband with a peck to the side of his face. “I took her out this morning to run a couple of errands. I guess she got a bit exhausted.”

The girl took the glass from her Daddy and started drinking, while she watched her Papa put his arms around her Daddy’s waist. Tony casually plopping his chin on John’s shoulder in front of Rosie and Steve. He seemed to have forgotten about Steve’s existence when he saw his husband again after a week. They were showing case the perfect picture of a blissful marriage.

“Honey, J is here. You could have just asked him to do it you know.” Nuzzling his goatee on John’s smooth cheek. “What’s the point of having a butler AI?”

“So glad to be in your service, sir,” the AI replied sarcastically in his driest voice.

“Uh, don’t get angry, J baby,” Tony blew a kiss on one of JARVIS’ camera. “You know you mean so much more to me than a butler.”

JARVIS was Tony’s son and he practically ran everything in the tower as well as operational in all of SI’s branches, factories and other things. John always seem to be amazed of everything JARVIS has learned and did for his creator since Tony first introduced him to the computer.

“Thank you, sir.” There was a certain hint of pride in the AI’s voice. Like father, like son. They thrived on praises.

“JARVIS was doing great. I just want to get out and it was a fine morning, Love.” John patted Tony’s cheek softly. “And you do realize we have guest, right?”

His husband clearly did forget about the captain and tried to uncurl his hold over John’s waist. The Brit kept Tony’s arms right where they belonged. “You mister, forgot to tell the good captain that you’re taken.”

“Uh…”

John couldn’t see Tony’s expression, but he could feel his husband jitters a mile away. His hold on John were slightly tighter than a few seconds ago.

“It’s okay, Tony.” Steve stood up, walked around the sofa to stand in front of them. “I get it. They’re your family and I’m a stranger you’ve just known for only 3 months.”

The doctor looked upturned to see Tony’s expression. His husband looked apologetically as he focused his whole attention on the blonde man. “I’m sorry Steve. I…”

Steve cut him off with a hand. “Tony, I didn’t say that because I want you to feel guilty. I just mean… I get it, okay? There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to protect my family as well. And I’m happy for you.” Steve smiled widely at Tony. “Are you?”

“Huh?”

“Are you happy?”

His husband grinned, radiating sunshine and happiness. He rubbed the tip of his nose against John’s head. “Yes, yes I am.”

“Good,” Steve clasped his hands together, smiling. “That’s all I want.”

That’s all the precious moment they’ve got before Rosie interrupted them with a whisper. “Daddy, where did you put them?”

“Put them?” Tony asked, grinning. “Is this the surprise J was talking about? What are the two of you up to?”

Getting out of Tony’s hold, John smirked and put his hands on Rosie’s shoulders. “Rosie and I are going to prepare the table and you can check on your surprise. It’s on our bed. Me and Rosie picked them together.”

Tony dashed towards the bedroom’s direction while John invited the American captain. “Steve do you want to join us at the kitchen? I’m sure Bruce would be happy to see you.”

The soldier followed John and Rosie from behind. “Dr. banner is here?”

“Yes. He has been staying with us for three months,” John looked over his shoulder at Steve. “We’ve been rotating the kitchen duty when take outs started to get boring.”

“Papa is not allot to cook,” Rosie dictated, moving her hands. “Because Papa made the kitchen goes boom, boom and boom.”

“Allowed, darling,” John corrected her.

In the kitchen, they found Bruce has already taken the initiative to prepare the table for five. He waved at Steve,” Captain, so nice to see you again. I was resting in my room when you dropped by this morning.”

“Dr. Banner, it’s good to see a familiar face. And please. Just call me Steve,” he shook the man’s hand. “How are you?”

John let the two of them talked. Without the invasion, these men would probably never have met. Bruce would probably still on the run while helping people from all over the third world nations. And Steve probably would have worked with SHIELD, infiltrating and using his power to help the organization with their missions. The invasion brought so many disasters. At least there’s a good thing came out of it. Camaraderie between lonely extraordinary people.

A shout could be heard coming from his and Tony’s bedroom, I have prompted the captain into a defense mode while Bruce stepped in front of John and Rosie.

“WHAT ARE THESE ABOMINATION THINGS DOING UNDER MY ROOF?!”

The superheroes let their guards down when they recognized Tony’s voice.

“I guess he didn’t like the surprise,” John shrugged, biting his lower lip to hold the laughter in.

Bruce muttered under his breath,” Understatement of the year.”

Rapid footsteps could be heard coming closer to the kitchen and Tony, looking annoyed as all could be and red with fury, appeared from the corner with hands full of a basket of the newest iPhones in white with pink casings.

He put the basket down, none to gently on the dining table. He glared menacingly at John. “John, care to explain?”

“Papa, don’t be angry.” Rosie appeared in front of her Papa, trying to calm him down. “I thought they would look better in pink. Daddy said, you would like the apples in any color. And… And I chose pink. May… Maybe I should choose red or gold?”

“Uh?”

The gobsmacked look on Tony’s face was priceless.

“You don’t like the apples?”

Rosie was looking at Tony with eyes soooo big and hopeful. John was petty enough to use their daughter’s cuteness against his husband. Who could resist such an auspicious expression?

“Uh… papa didn’t say that,” the inventor smiled forcefully.

Cheerfully, the girl grinned happily. “So Papa just doesn’t like the color?”

Turning around, his girl looked at him to search for an answer. In all her sweet innocence look, she asked, “Daddy, can we ask them to change the color? I think Papa doesn’t like pink.”

In the background, they could hear a snort coming out of Bruce while Steve was asking quietly,” I thought Tony likes technologies. I don’t get why he’s so angry.”

When Rosie started chattering about the colors for those iPhones, Tony’s expression looked pained. It was as if he had just taken a bite out of a lemon slice. Made it a whole lemon.

“Is this payback?”

Three months was a long time for Tony to forget about the payback John had planned for him, but not too long that he would forget about it completely. Three months ago, instead of flying away, Tony could have just come clean the day before about his sudden unplanned trip to the Helicarrier. John would be disappointed, but he would have accepted it. And his husband could have been more careful with the nuke situation and tried harder not to put John into an early grave.

“Yes, dear.” John gave his husband a full on mouth kiss then smiled a full teeth smile. “Revenge is sweet. Just like an Apple. Or Apples.”

Behind them, Bruce was full blown out laughing now and Steve still sounded puzzled. “Was that a joke? I don’t understand these whole 21st centuries’ jokes.”

And beside them, Rosie kept muttering to herself. “Should have picked the red and gold ones.”

***