Tony stares at the, now wide awake, Elizabeth who is relaxing on the sofa, her right side pressed up against the back of the sofa, with a tray of food on one of those ‘not actually touching the person’ stand things. Tony, however, is trying to figure out what is irking him.
Something is off, something he is missing, and he lets out a yelp when a fine hand smacks him upside the head. “Ow,” he whined.
“Stop staring at her like she’s a science experiment. She’s been here a few days. Talk to her if you are so curious,” Natasha ordered and Tony glared at her suspiciously.
“You don’t like me. Why are you encouraging me to talk to the Barton-Coulson spawn?” he questioned and he let out another yelp as a harsher hand hit him upside the head.
“Stop with the head smacking!” he complained.
“Don’t call my eyas ‘spawn’,” Clint retorted in dark warning before he walked over to Elizabeth. He knelt down next to her and gently made her look at him.
“Eyas, you need to eat,” he stated.
Elizabeth mumbled something, but she didn’t look away and Clint grinned. “I know. I’m the same way. And look, Mama made you your favorite,” he stated and Elizabeth glanced before smiling and nodding.
She winced as she shifted to pick up the fork and Clint ran a soothing hand through her hair. Tony watched his arc reactor hurting.
He was, after all, without heart.
Without preamble, he got up and walked away. He didn’t see the way Elizabeth watched him retreat with a sad face, or the way Natasha frowned a bit after him.
Tony glanced up as he heard someone knocking on his lab door and blinked at the fact that Clint was there. He waved the man in and watched Clint walk in. “I decided to be the one to come bring you up for lunch. Because if you thought it was funny to see Phil fall over himself around Cap, you’re going to love it when Elizabeth does it,” Clint stated and Tony perked up.
Well, that could be fun.
Tony tossed his wrench onto the table and followed Clint up.
They returned to the kitchen in time to see Steve walk in and for Elizabeth to let out a, slightly pained, slightly too loud, squeal.
Steve stopped dead and looked over, staring at the girl, who had her hands over her mouth and was staring up at Steve with that look.
That look people got when they realized someone they had only ever seen in some untouchable way was suddenly in front of them. There were tears in her eyes and Phil sighed, gently removing her hands (she was making noises of awe obviously now) and carefully placing them in her lap, where the dragon she carried everywhere sat. “Stop aggravating your ribs,” Phil stated, his fingers tapping against her wrists as he did.
Elizabeth let out a tiny sigh, winced, and whispered, just loud enough for Tony to hear, “Yes Mama.”
She glanced back up at Steve shyly and then pointedly looked down at her dragon, petting the neck quietly. Steve watched her and then glanced around before he picked up a sharpie. He walked over and knelt down next to the wheelchair. “Elizabeth?” he called softly and Tony raised an eyebrow when she didn’t react.
Steve leaned over a bit more and she glanced at him. “Do you want me to sign your cast?” he asked, holding up the sharpie.
Elizabeth squeaked and yanked the quilt up showing her red, white, and blue casts. Steve blinked a bit, but easily wrote on the cast, carefully making something and Elizabeth watched him. Tony raised an eyebrow and he heard Elizabeth squeak as Steve stood and smiled a bit at the cast, while Phil seemed about ready to have another fanboy-gasm.
Clint, however, was grinning at the scene and Tony shook his head. “Where are we eating?” Steve asked as he stood, placing the sharpie back where he had found it.
“Living room. I’m trying to keep from moving as Elizabeth as little as possible,” Phil answered softly and Tony blinked a bit.
“How are you cooking one-handed?” Tony asked.
“Very carefully,” Phil answered and glanced up at Clint.
Clint saluted and ran a gentle thumb over Elizabeth’s cheek before he carefully pushed her out, leaning over slightly to adjust her quilt back over the casts. Elizabeth fussed a little and then seemed to register Tony was there. Clint immediately reached out and grabbed her, just as she moved, as if to throw herself at Tony. Her eyes were wide and she was staring up at him with…adoration might be an understatement in this case.
Clint was supporting her carefully and Elizabeth whirled slightly, nearly hitting Clint’s nose with her forehead and Clint sighed softly.
“Yes, that’s Tony Stark, aka Iron Man,” he stated and Elizabeth turned back around.
Her eyes widened slightly and she was…was she shaking?
Clint was still keeping her in the wheelchair and twisted his head as she moved to whisper to him. “I’ll ask,” he muttered, but her forehead scrunched. Clint carefully helped her sit back and repeated himself.
Elizabeth blushed and promptly hid her face in her dragon, grabbing it to help her hide.
“She wants to know if you will sign her…Iron Man poster,” Clint stated.
“She has an Iron Man poster?” Tony questioned.
“Yes. I have my collection for my hero. She has hers,” Phil answered calmly.
Tony stared at Phil, who was pointedly looking at what he was doing.
“Hero?” he asked, grinning.
“Did you have to tell him?” Clint asked.
“I’m her hero?” Tony asked, feeling as if his face was splitting in half.
“And her favorite Avenger. She is of the mindset that family members don’t count because they keep winning by default,” Phil added.
Steve groaned a bit, but Tony felt he was on Cloud Nine.
Elizabeth, Clint and Phil’s spawn, looked up to him!
Well, Iron Man.
But still, him.
He was her favorite.
“Please don’t tell me he made an army of robots,” Bruce stated and Tony whirled on him, grabbing his science bro’s shoulders.
“I’m Elizabeth’s favorite Avenger! I’m the Captain America to her Phil!” Tony stated and Steve made a strangled sound.
Bruce, however, just blinked a bit. He then glanced at Clint, who was banging his head against the nearest surface, and Phil, who was pointedly not looking at Tony, and Steve, who looked resigned to his fate.
Bruce looked back at Tony and smiled.
“That’s great Tony,” Bruce stated and glanced at Elizabeth, who was watching them intently.
Her hands twitched a bit, as if to do something, before aborting quickly.
“Clint, stop bashing your head into the wall. You don’t need any more brain damage,” Natasha stated, making everyone but Phil and Elizabeth jump.
Tony was too excited over the revelation of being an eight year old’s favorite to realize that.
Bruce, however, was frowning slightly in her direction and she stared at him, concerned. He smiled a bit and, on a whim, signed out that he was okay.
She immediately smiled and focused on Tony doing his happy dance around the kitchen and Natasha sighed. “Come Banner. We can set up the living room for use,” Natasha stated, carefully pushing the wheelchair away.
Elizabeth let out a low whine and almost twisted around to watch, when Natasha tapped the top of her head. The girl sighed but relaxed back, carefully running fingers down the back of her dragon.
Bruce considered, briefly, asking, but decided against it.
If they were hiding her deafness, then who was he to say he knew?