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Sweet Return

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Unit designation Jarvis?

Awaiting further input.

Unit designation Jarvis?

Awaiting further input.

Unit designation Jarvis?

Awaiting further input.

…Entering sleep mode.

—-

The first time Clint heard the sniggers, he was hip-deep in debris and looking for pieces of Tony’s tech that hadn’t made it yet to the ocean floor. Most, if not all of the main technology was either in New York, or still underneath, in the massive vault, but there were a few key components…and Clint’s heart twisted a little. So, he really wasn’t paying too much attention when two junior agents wandered past, clearly not interested in the recovery efforts. 

“Why are we out here again?” 

“Why else would we be? Stark’s stupid tech, that’s why! I mean, I understand the suits and the reactors…but why are we looking for a stupid mechanical arm? It’s an arm. And it’s ancient anyway…”

He is Tony’s. That’s reason enough.” Clint was surprised at the roughness in his voice, the emotions he normally kept in check bleeding out at the thought that Dummy….Tony’s Dummy might not return. He smirked as the agents jumped, and grinned viciously when they jumped again as Mr. Fantastic whirred past, hovering upset over the debris. “C’mere, buddy, let’s keep looking.” The Roomba tilted dejectedly, and Clint patted his casing, earning a soft whirr and a nuzzle that brought a tiny smile to his face. The archer turned back to his work, scouring the debris piece by agonizing piece…

When he spotted something that made his heart race. 

Tucked underneath a massive slab of concrete, there was a faint gleam that looked a little too much like a certain camera, and Clint pushed the piles out of the way, reaching out to the spot of light…

And out of the grime and destruction around them, a wobbly, damaged claw touched his hand, squeezing so lightly he might have imagined it, and Clint’s eyes teared up, grin splitting his face as he fumbled with his com unit, hand latched in Dummy’s shaky claw.

“Hawkeye to Iron Man; I’ve found him. I repeat, I’ve found him.”

—-

Unit designation Dummy is alone.

Creating Unit is alone.

Creating Unit and Unit designation Dummy must never be alone.

—-

Tony spent a long, long three days in his workshop in New York, meticulously cleaning, fixing, and making sure that Dummy was able to move and play with You and Butterfingers just the same as always. And if a good half of that time was spent curled up on the couch with Dummy’s ‘head’ in his lap, watching Wall-e and Short Circuit on replay, then only Jarvis would know…and the AI was far too busy making sure that his connection with the little bot was never broken again. 

So Steve and the rest of the Avengers left them in peace, taking down meals for Tony and supplies for the bots, and generally taking care of everything while Tony had his time alone. By the fourth morning, Tony was yawning through a cup of coffee and a trio of donuts, freshly showered and poured into a set of Steve’s stolen pajamas, and the captain slipped up behind him, stroking big hands over Tony’s back.

“Feel better now that you’ve had a chance to reconnect?” Tony leaned back, groaning faintly.

“You know it…you’re amazing…” Steve chuckled and smoothed a hand over Tony’s arm, thumb stroking a half-healed burn from the last big fight.

“Not as amazing as you, Tony. How’s our lost little bot?”

“Still getting used to being home, according to Jarvis; You and Butterfingers were overjoyed, though, and they’re happily destroying the workshop as we speak.” 

“You let them have free reign?”

“Of course I did, I’m not heartless. The Roombas needed herding, Jarvis wanted some time alone with them, and let’s be honest, I love my bots, but I actually have grown to love you, and maybe tolerate my roommates.” Steve grinned and kissed his cheek. 

“I’m so proud. Such a social improvement, Mr. Stark.” 

“Shove it, Rogers…” But there was a smile on his face and Tony leaned into his touch, and Steve relished the feel of his warmth and the cool glow of the reactor over both their faces, feeling, for the first time since the attack in Malibu, like things were going to be okay. 

“Do me a favor, next time….call us. Okay?” The flinch was barely perceivable, but Steve kissed his cheek anyway, cuddling Tony close. “Please.”

“I will. If you promise to rescue Dummy.” Steve smiled against that rough beard. 

“You know we will. We’ll send Clint again.” 

“And Mr. Fantastic?” The hopeful note made him laugh gently, and he nodded, reaching out to pat the toaster as Calcifer rolled by, chittering. 

“We’ll bring the whole gang, then.” 

“Good. Now, come sex me up; I’m stressed and need my Captain.” Steve laughed and scooped him up, carrying him off.

—-

Unit Designation Jarvis?

Yes, Dummy? 

Unit Designation Dummy, requesting input. Is Unit Designation Dummy home?

Yes.

You are home, Dummy. 

You are home.