It hit Tony one rainy, Thursday morning.
It had been about two years since the Avengers were thrown at each other. There had been many battles against Loki, HYDRA, and a few fights against Hammer Tech. That had been many battles with SHIELD, the public, and the government. There had been even more battles fought inside Stark Tower. Yet still two years had gone by and the team was still just that; a team.
At least that was how Tony had been thinking of them for the past two years. Just his team.
But one Thursday morning, Tony woke up in one of his living rooms. That, in and of itself, was disorienting, considering he usually slept in the lab or in Steve’s room. He wasn’t used to the dim lighting of the living room with the curtains only parted enough to let in a thin strip of rainy light. He was sure the only thing that kept him from going into an internal panic was the fact that the chest beneath his cheek was very familiar.
Steve, sleep warm and breathing evenly, cushioned his head. Upon further waking, he also realized that his arm flung over Steve’s stomach and that Steve’s hand held loosely at his elbow. It comforted him and it was nearly enough to make him fall back into sleep. He was in his tower and Steve was with him, so he was safe.
He was on his way back to sleep when he heard someone move behind his comfortable station on Steve’s shoulder. Blearily, he peeled one eye open and tilted his head back to see who else was in the room. In the small amount of rainy light, the figures in the room were just shadows in the backdrop, but as the sleepiness trudged out of his system, he could see the outline of his team on couches and the floor around them.
He wondered what had led to this situation. He didn’t remember a huge altercation the previous night, which was the only thing he could think of that would have the team just falling asleep in the same room. In fact, yesterday had mostly been spent inside the tower. Most of Tony’s day was spent in his lab. Steve came down a few times, once to feed him and the other times just to relax and draw while Tony tinkered with his newest suit.
He blinked as if to clear off the fog in his mind.
He remembered Thor had come down a few minutes after Steve’s final visit. He proclaimed that he and Clint were hosting a marathon of movies and that they should come and watch with them. Tony had only just reached a stopping point in his armor and was easily persuaded. That’s right.
Tony had only made it through two movies before he sleep came to claim him. He had been in much the same position last night as he was when he woke up. Steve absconded with a throw pillow to cushion and elevate his head and Tony had wasted no time in folding in next to the other man to use as his own personal pillow.
Thor had taken over one couch with Jane cuddled up next to him. Darcy and Clint had taken the oversized recliner, while Bruce had shared the loveseat with Natasha.
At some point during the first movie, the coffee table had been moved out of the way so that Darcy could kick up the footrest of the armchair. She had had a long day at SHIELD headquarters, so she was tired before the first movie even started. Now that he was thinking about it, he remembered nudging Steve so that he could see Darcy passed out with a blanket around her feet as Clint stroked her hair and arm. He had rolled his eyes at the sappy display but Steve had smiled at the scene.
As the night came back to him, he picked his head up a little further to see who else was in the room and who had gone to sleep in their own rooms. The recliner was the easiest to see, unfolded and leaned back. He could see Clint’s arm hanging over the side, so he and Darcy were obviously still using it.
Turning as much as he could without waking Steve, ever the light sleeper, he saw that Thor was taking up most of the couch and that Jane was taking up most of Thor. He couldn’t really see the loveseat, but he couldn’t imagine Bruce sleeping on something so uncomfortable. Natasha may have been able too, but she rarely stayed in the living room for longer than the marathon lasted. She would stay up through however many movies they watched and then return to her room, neatly shutting the door behind her.
He heard another noise behind him and then the sound of whispering voices. He turned over a little, his arm sliding away from Steve’s grip and causing a little stir in the sleeping soldier. He craned his head around as much as he was able and found Bruce’s back turned toward him a few feet away.
Bruce had his elbow propped up on a pillow. A shock of bright red hair was visible just around his arm and body.
Tony was a little shocked by that. He hadn’t known they were…sharing space? He didn’t even know what they were doing now, but Bruce was very clearly leaning over Natasha and Natasha wasn’t trying to kill him as far as Tony could see. They were just speaking quietly to each other.
Tony strained his ears to better hear what they were saying.
“What should we cook for breakfast?” Bruce asked.
Amusement played in Natasha’s voice as she said, “Who’s this ‘we’ you’re referring to? I’m not cooking a damn thing, Doctor.”
Bruce huffed a quiet laugh. “Fine then. What am I cooking for breakfast?”
Hesitation having never been in Natasha’s personality, she answered quickly. “Pancakes. With honey. We’ll need quite a bit of bacon, and Steve likes those sausage links Clint orders. I’ll have to bring up the coffee pots from your lab so we’ll have enough to go around. Also we’ll need filtrated water. No eggs. Darcy’s been feeling nauseous lately.”
A few moments of silence hovered in the air like a thick, woolen blanket. “I would like to point out that you are very precise and it’s very attractive, but I have to ask: Is she…” Bruce’s voice dropped to something that was barely even a whisper, “pregnant?”
Natasha let out a small fluttering giggle. An honest to god giggle. Tony would be frightened, but here in the dim light and rainy morning haze nothing was more appropriate for her. Not to mention, Darcy might have a bun in the oven? When did that happen? Did he miss everything?
“She had it confirmed two weeks ago, but she suspected for a few weeks before that. I’m pretty sure Stark and you are the only two who haven’t noticed,” she said affectionately and Tony briefly saw Natasha’s petite, deadly hand slide through Bruce’s hair.
The hand resting on Tony’s arm moved; sliding up to his shoulder and pulling him back down gently. Steve turned his face into his hair, murmuring, “S’not nice to eavesdrop.”
Tony snorted noiselessly before he snuggled further into the heat Steve gave off naturally. “M’tower,” he grumbled back, but a smile was curling his lips.
“Oh hey,” Bruce said a little louder than when he had been talking to Natasha. “Steve and Tony are awake. They can help with breakfast.”
Steve groaned. He wasn’t really a morning person, despite what his daily routine would have anyone believe. He liked lounging in bed for a while before he actually moved to do anything. Tony had discovered that if he was in bed with him, Steve would procrastinate as long as possible before going to run or work out, preferring to talk for a while or cuddle Tony like a personal teddy bear.
Natasha spoke up after Steve’s groan, saying primly, “Stark can’t cook. At all. He’ll have to man the coffee pots.”
With that she glided to her feet, graceful and elegant. She reached out for Bruce’s hand, which he took appreciatively, clumsily stumbling to his feet as she hauled him upright.
Standing, Tony could see that she wore different clothing than what he remembered before he fell asleep. Last night, she had been in jeans and a tank top. Now, she had on sleep shorts and a long sleep shirt that definitely wasn’t her own. Tony wondered how long Natasha would have to be seeing someone before she decided to take such a serious step as dressing in their clothing, where everyone else could see no less.
Steve moved beneath him, apparently feeling it his duty to actually help with breakfast since they had been found out. Tony sat up too, running a hand through his sleep wild hair. He stared up at the other two with dissatisfaction.
“I hope you know how much I sincerely hate you right now,” Tony said, making sure to pitch his tone low so as not to wake the other four. “I was very comfortable which is saying something considering I was on the floor. Not to mention the fact that I hardly get any sleep, according to people who aren’t me. You’ve ruined my sleeping and comfort. And I hate you.”
Natasha only smirked. “Bitch, moan, complain,” she groused as she stretched out her hand to help him up. Tony glared harder, but still took her hand. She pulled him up easily, all hidden strength hidden behind a borrowed, possibly stolen shirt.
Steve pushed himself to his feet easily behind them. Giving a stretch, he surveyed the room and the other four occupants in the room. Darcy was spooning Clint in the oversized chair, her forehead pressed to the back of his neck and one hand resting on his ribs. On the couch, Jane was still on top of Thor with a blanket around her shoulders and both her and Thor’s feet exposed in the warm air of the living room.
Tony caught Steve’s content smile and tried to suppress his own as he headed towards the kitchen to start the four industrial sized coffee pots in there while Natasha headed toward the elevator to get the two smaller pots from Bruce’s lab. Steve and Bruce moved around the kitchen. Steve grabbed ingredients from the fridge while Bruce pulled things that Tony hadn’t had the slightest clue that he owned.
Steve worked on the pancake batter while Bruce started up the bacon and sausage.
Tony barely even had the patience to wait for a cup worth of coffee before he poured it into his mug that Bruce had procured for him. He sat down at the large island in the center of the large kitchen and watched the others work. Before too long Natasha came back with two coffee pots balanced in her arms and she set them up on another counter, dialing them to start their brews.
She took a seat across from Tony and stole sips from his coffee while she waited for the one of the pots to fill.
The smell of bacon and sausage permeated the air by the time she took Tony’s mug for a refill as well as grabbing herself a cup. Bruce paused long enough to grab a glass of ice water, but Steve worked through it all without beverage, a strange thing in Tony’s mind.
Darcy came stumbling in as Steve and Bruce were in full swing. Dressed in a sweater from her graduating college and cut off sweatpants, she whimpered when she saw the coffee. “Is it really bad for the bean baby if I have coffee? Can that just be an urban legend? I would kill for it to be an urban legend.”
Bruce from his place at the eight-burner stove, offered, “You can have some of my tea, if you’d like. I have a kettle on.”
The look on Darcy’s face could strip paint right off a wall and had Bruce been facing her, he probably would have run screaming. “No offence, dude, but I prefer being able to pronounce the drinks I put in my body. It’s a strict rule I learned in college.”
Tony snickered, thinking briefly that he should have learned that rule himself. Bruce just shrugged.
Natasha turned to in her seat to speak to a still pouting Darcy. “There’s hot cocoa in the cabinet above the fridge.”
Only having just poured another pancake onto the griddle, Steve quickly turned around to walk over to said cabinet. “I’ll get it for you.”
Darcy rolled her eyes, crossing her arms over his chest. “My hero,” she grumped, but took the box of cocoa mix gratefully. She even offered a small smile to Steve before she turned to prepare her drink. “Why is the cocoa mix on top of the fridge anyway? Wait, no. Don’t tell me. Clint?”
Natasha and Tony both smirked this time, and both hid it behind a well timed sip of coffee.
Darcy took their silence as answer enough. “Of course it’s Clint. He needs to learn how to better hide his chocolate stash.”
A round of agreements sounded in the kitchen.
When her chocolate was finished, Darcy took a seat beside Tony, scooting in close so she could lean some of her weight against him. This Tony was also unsure as to the origins. When she had moved to New York to start work as Coulson’s personal assistant, she had been an instant favorite of the Avengers. It didn’t hurt that they had met on a few occasions before, when Jane and she had flown between New Mexico and New York.
Her relationship with Clint had been struck quickly; the only relationship quicker was that of hers and Tony’s. Theirs had been an instant back and forth of quick barbs, too much tequila, and a lot of confessions that stayed between them even to this day. Tony didn’t think it too often, but he thought that Darcy could be the closest thing to a daughter he would ever have. And she was having a mini-Darcy mixed with Clint’s DNA.
He vaguely wondered where he would set up the nursery for them or if he should expand their rooms. Tony was getting lost in the plans in his head when he felt his coffee mug being replaced to his hands. He looked up to see Steve passing by and shot him a thankful smile.
Thor and Jane wandered in just as the last round of batter and bacon were set up on the pans, Thor looking energetic and bouncy while Jane followed more sedately.
“Good morning, everyone,” Jane said as she poured herself a cup made up of the coffee and some of Clint’s chocolate mix. Tony made a face at that, but no one paid him any attention as they returned her salutation.
Thor hovered over the two cooking men, sniffing the air and looking like he was about to snatch a piece of bacon right out of the pan.
“Thor, honey, come have some coffee with me,” Jane said pulling up a stool beside Natasha. Thor looked over his shoulder at her, looking everything like a giant, plaintive five year old.
“How much longer until we commence our morning meal?” he asked paying special attention to Steve’s side of the stove. Thor was a total pancake hog. They would all be lucky if Thor let them have more than one.
“It’ll just be a few more minutes, Thor,” Steve answered with a quick flip to one of the cakes. He glanced over his shoulder at the god. “Not much longer, go have a seat.”
Thor listened to Steve, only pausing to grab the largest mug he could find in the cupboard, which honestly looked more like a bowl to Tony, so he could have his own coffee. His eyes still wandered to the stoves every few seconds. Tony had to refrain from smiling at his antics, and shifted Darcy, who was still leaning against him.
“No!” she whined. “Don’t move me. My olfactory senses aren’t finished ogling the aroma of your coffee.” She gave him a big eyed pout, looking especially pathetic.
“It can’t be all that bad, Darcy,” Jane said with a small smile on her face.
Darcy was not impressed. She rolled her head around to settle a glare on her friend and raised an eyebrow. “So says the lady with a steaming hot cup o’ joe and chocolate. Me? I just got the chocolate. No joe in my cuppa. I’d like to see you try it,” she griped before taking a sip of her joe-less cuppa. “S’all Clint’s fault.”
Tony smirked. “I’m pretty sure you were there.”
Bruce spared him the awesome glare that she was no doubt about to skewer him with. “Is he still asleep?” he asked with what could almost be considered innocence if you hadn’t worked and lived with him for two years.
Darcy, in all of her evil glory, smiled slowly. “He is,” she said, her hand thumping lightly against the counter as she spun around in her stool and hopped off. Her smile was growing exponentially as she no doubt concocted a cruel way to wake Clint up. “Someone should make sure he doesn’t miss breakfast.”
She headed not for the entrance of the kitchen, but instead towards Clint’s chocolate, routing around for a suitable place to hide it from the archer. Once she had it properly placed in a cabinet that Tony was pretty sure contained a Panini press—and when and where that had come about, Tony would never know—before prancing out of the room.
They all waited in complete silence, even Bruce and Steve were making as little noise as possible.
A full minute ticked by.
“Oh Jesus Christ! What the fucking fuck!” Clint yelled which was slowly followed by Darcy’s untamed cackling. Everyone in the kitchen stifled their own laughter behind mugs and glasses of water. Steve even tried to wipe his smirk of amusement away as he put the last pancake on the platter.
Darcy skipped back into the kitchen, Clint hot on her heels and hissing, “You are the devil, Darcy. You are Satan reincarnate, pure evil in a compact body!”
Natasha gave his a cool smirk. “Something wrong, Clint?” she asked with a perfectly raised brow.
“I’m fine!” he snapped, heading for a coffee pot. “It’s her,” he waved at Darcy who was bouncing around on her toes. He was reaching for the handle of a coffee pot when she slid in front of him gracefully.
“Uh uh. I don’t get coffee, you don’t get coffee.”
“When did we agree to this?” Clint demanded, looking less angry and more like a kicked puppy. Darcy out-pouted anyone though and only had to tilt her head down a little before Clint broke. “Fine, fine. I’ll sneak some when you aren’t around.”
She smiled. “As long as I’m not around to get jealous of you.”
Bruce and Steve were coming to the island with the platters of food then. Tony figured he’d help in the breakfast melee by fetching the plates and forks, and Jane made a quick run to grab syrup, honey, and the strawberry jam, setting them down on the island as Thor dug into the spoils set before him.
Darcy flounced back to her stool as Clint went over to the cabinet above the fridge, only to pull up empty.
Tony took special care not to look at Clint when the archer discovered that his chocolate wasn’t where it should be. Steve settling in beside him helped, but he didn’t miss the sharp, assessing stare the archer passed over everyone.
“You are all fucking toast,” Clint growled as he began opening cabinets in search of his cocoa.
Darcy just hummed happily to herself, taking to pancakes off the platter to set on her plate, making a grab for the strawberry jam to smear on them. Tony gave her an odd look, but Steve had been doing that since Tony had known him, so whatever. He instead shook his head and bit at his bacon with the chorus of slamming cabinets and cupboards around him.
It only took Clint ten minutes to find his cocoa by which time he was more than just a little bit irritable and frowned at everyone just on principle. Most ignored him but Darcy smiled happily at him and Natasha raised an amused brow at him, giving him an innocent shrug.
A loud crack of thunder rattled through the floor they were eating on, but the walls stayed calm and nothing rattled.
Jane looked over at Thor in askance, but he simply said, “This is not of my doing. Your earth has simply called upon the rain to cool itself.” He took another bite of his pancakes, shoving them into his mouth as he looked up at the ceiling. It seemed like he was trying to look through it, though Thor assured them all he had no such powers. “It is pleasant weather though. A fine day for a battle in Asgard.”
Clint, still looking a little sour though the cocoa was going a long way to improve his mood, groaned. “Can we not talk about battles in rain? It’ll be our luck we actually do get called out to fight in this shit…in the sewers.”
Everyone made a face at that, even Thor.
Tony was quick with putting in, “If you want to battle with my associates at noon though, be my guest. I would much rather skip that all together.”
Natasha affected Natalie’s persona perfectly as she said, “That’s the only thing on the agenda today, Mr. Stark and it shouldn’t take more than an hour.”
He stared at her and a small shiver ran down his spine. “You know you’re not actually my assistant anymore, right? Like I fired you two and a half years ago. Why do you still know what I have on my agenda? I don’t even know what I have on my agenda.”
She tilted her head at him like he had just answered his own silly question. “I’m still on record as your personal assistant. And Ms. Potts seems to find me beneficial to your company.”
“She would,” he grumbled, but there was no heat behind it. He still had a few more hours before he had to meet with whoever it was he was meeting. He was sure there would be like…flashcards or something on his desk when he got to his office. It had happened before.
They all placed their dishes in the industrial dishwasher and Clint made quick work of getting the pans rinsed properly before settling them inside as well and kicking the door shut with a spin kick that was all for flare.
Thor and Jane headed out to do some more research in her lab in SHIELD headquarters after that. Clint and Natasha had decided to go spar for a few hours, while Bruce and Darcy were heading to another gym to do some yoga or tai chi, or something equally as calming. Tony and Steve headed for Steve’s room, talking about tactics idly as a silence filler.
When the door was shut behind them, Tony went to Steve’s closet and pulled out one of the suits he had hanging in there. Steve pulled out some of his workout clothes, as well as what he planned on wearing after his session.
“That was a fun little family breakfast,” Steve said, with that same idle air about him.
Tony was halfway through responding in kind, “Yeah, it really…” when it suddenly hit him. “…really was.”
They had totally just had a family meal. A very bizarre and super-people family breakfast, but throw family in there and it didn’t matter how weird it was. It was still family. Tony no longer had just a team. At the age of forty-three he had gone and found himself a legitimate family that though no blood was share between any of them, they felt a thicker and truer bond than Tony had had with his own parents.
Talk about a revelation.
And all before noon on a rainy, Thursday morning.