Steve looked dubiously down at the tablet in front of him. Frowning, he flipped through the various pages Tony had pulled up for him.
“Any place. Just pick one,” Tony was saying. “Throw a dart on the map and we’ll go there.”
“If I throw a dart at a map I’ll hit what I’m aiming for,” Steve pointed out absently. Images of the acropolis were followed by the pyramids were followed by manatees floating peacefully beneath crystal-clear blue waters. His frown deepened.
Blinking, Steve looked up at Tony, who was drumming his fingers impatiently on the kitchen island Steve was standing in front of. Seeing Tony’s impatience with the whole endeavor suddenly made Steve relax, for whatever reason. It seemed that Tony was always having that effect on him, even still: catching him off-guard, with his defenses down, and worming his way in.
Steve smiled. “I’d still hit it.”
Tony huffed a laughed and scrubbed a hand at the back of his hair. After a moment his grin grew lascivious, his eyes shrewd, and he took a few steps forward. Tugging Steve to him, Tony tilted his head up just that extra couple inches. Even though it was an obvious ploy, Steve felt his heart speed up and his nerves flare with anticipation, like he was some excitable teen again. Tony’s eyes flickered down to Steve’s lips as he murmured: “I bet I could find a way to distract you.”
Steve hmmed and leaned forward, lips just not touching Tony’s. Not yet. “I bet you could, mister.”
Steve smiled softly against Tony’s lips as the other man groaned and knocked his forehead into Steve’s.
“Sorry. I didn’t expect you to be mating at ten o’clock in the morning. In the kitchen.”
Steve put on his best understanding parent face and turned to face Ian. “We weren’t... You didn’t interrupt anything, Ian.”
Tony was less patient, but in his own loving way. He scurried over to Ian and scooped him up, grabbing him under the armpits and shoving his nose into Ian’s neck. “Cut that Dimension Z talk, you little fox. You only do that when you want something. What is it?”
Ian squirmed and giggled in Tony’s grip, trying but not trying to get away. Steve smiled softly at the sight of the two of them together, relaxing against the countertop. It wasn’t exactly the white picket fence family he had fantasized about in his youth--it was better. So much better. And not just because it was real.
Abruptly Ian stopped squirming--suspended on Tony’s shoulder and with the advantage, even though Tony probably didn’t realize it--and cocked his head. “Hey, what’s that?”
Tony jerked forward and tried to stop Ian’s spying, to tug him away from the kitchen island, but the boy was too wiry for that. Steve smirked as Ian made easy work of slipping Tony’s grasp and ran over to the counter, studying the screens left open intently. “What’s this?” he queried. “Histories?”
His eyes narrowed as Tony yanked the tablet away from him, locking it down in one smooth gesture. “Sure, sport. Histories,” Tony agreed airily.
But Ian’s eyes were still narrowed, his gaze cutting between Steve and Tony too keenly to be fooled. Steve wasn’t even going to try and deceive him: Ian would be sure to wriggle the truth out of them in a matter of minutes. No matter what anyone said, Steve did sometimes know when to pick his battles.
“You don’t read histories,” Ian pointed out to Tony.
“For a mission,” Tony countered.
“It was landmarks,” Ian continued. He was talking to himself now, partially. A habit he had picked up from Tony, no doubt, because Steve never did it. “But also nature and non-historical locations. Leisure. Is it a leisure trip?” His eyes snapped to Steve’s. “You and Tony are planning a holiday trip?”
Tony groaned and threw the tablet carelessly back onto the counter. “It was supposed to be a surprise,” he grumbled.
Ian’s eyes cut back to Tony’s, like Steve's shield cutting through the air. “A surprise? For me?” Ian’s expression lightened, cautious grin turning up the corners of his mouth. “A holiday? For us? All three of us?”
Steve could see the moment Tony felt claustrophobic, when the feeling of “family” and “kids” really started to hit him. When he looked like he might cut and run, lest Ian start to think of them as a real family (which he did, of course he did, just like Steve did: Ian was just smart enough to know Tony didn’t want to hear it, didn’t want to be labeled that way, didn’t want to feel like he had that kind of responsibility even though he already did, even though he took all that on and more for Ian), Steve stepped smoothly forward.
He pressed a hand to Ian’s shoulder and smiled down. “Well, it’s supposed to be a vacation for the two of us, but since Tony wants to foot the bill, I figured we’d let him tag along.”
Ian smirked up at Tony. “You just don’t want to be away from Dad for several nights.”
Tony reached out and scrubbed roughly at Ian’s hair. “Maybe I want to hang out with you, squirt, since this old fuddy-duddy doesn’t know how to cut loose and enjoy his downtime in style.”
Ian snorted, squirming away from Tony’s hand. Resolutely he set to combing his hair back into a more stylish ‘do--carefully messy instead of actually so. “I don’t believe a preteen is good company for the kind of ‘cutting loose’ you do,” Ian pointed out.
Tony groaned and tossed his hands up. “Why do I even subject myself to you two? Seriously. Always ganging up on me. Hey, if you want to go on your little family vacation without your benefactor, fine by me. I’ll have my own vacation. With gambling. And hookers.”
Steve snorted. Reaching out a single hand, he wrapped it around the back of Tony’s neck and tugged him to his side. Tony went willingly, like a cat ready to be stroked. Steve grinned as he pressed a kiss to his temple. “I suppose we can let you tag along with us. If it’s okay with Ian, of course.”
Although Ian tried mightily to roll his eyes and wrinkle his nose up at the two men, he only succeeded in grinning broadly at them. Then he turned and scurried up onto a stool around the kitchen island, peering down intently at the tablet.
“Where are we going?”
Releasing Tony from his grip with one last stolen kiss--which Tony tried sneakily to deepen but Steve refused to let him--Steve moved to hover over Ian’s shoulder, peering at the vacation spots Tony had on his quite extensive list.
“We hadn’t decided that yet,” Steve told him. He reached a finger down and swiped at the screen, pulling up a few of his first choices. “I was thinking a camping trip. See the national parks-”
“And I vetoed that already, no,” Tony groused. “I refuse to go anywhere without plumbing and WiFi. And besides: I think you two have had enough living rough for one lifetime, right?”
Ian’s fingers were wrestling control of the tablet away from Steve and Tony, flipping through the options himself with wide eyes.
“I’ve heard of these places.” Ian had a list of historical sites pulled up: Egyptian pyramids, Aztec ruins, the Great Wall of China, the Roman Colosseum, Hadrian’s Wall.
He peered up at Steve and Tony, leaning back in his chair until his face was parallel with the ceiling. “These are the sites of great Earth warriors. We could go to one of them.”
Tony groaned. “No. Nothing educational. You can ask Scott to take you gutternsnipes to historical places on school time. We’re doing a vacation.” With one swipe of his fingers Tony shunted aside Steve and Ian’s suggestions and filled the screen with a single image. Steve rolled his eyes; Ian dropped his chin back down to look at the tablet, then cocked his head.
“This is the cartoon world,” he stated. “The Disney movies, they’re here.”
Steve sighed. Ian had a long list of movies he consumed since his time on Earth, and Disney movies were a large portion of that list. He was outmatched, and both him and Tony knew it.
“I’ll book us the best suites in the place,” Tony was saying. “Two weeks long, we’ll hit up every park, every ride, make sure we even do the waterparks--get some Florida sun. See every show, eat at stupidly expensive restaurants. It’ll be great. Trust me.”
Resting his chin on Ian’s head, Steve studied the images of Disney World he was scrolling through. It wasn’t the worst place Tony could have picked, certainly. And EPCOT would probably be nice for him and Ian: see all the different countries, and the Hall of Presidents. It might not be terrible.
Steve set their bags neatly inside their bedroom suite, keeping one eye on Ian as he headed off to his own section of the suite and the other on Tony as he whimpered and flopped down onto the king-sized bed.
“Turn the air to 50,” he whined.
“Take off your suit jacket,” Steve countered.
It was hard work suppressing a smile as Tony flopped uselessly around on the bed for a full five minutes before he managed to kick off his loafers and suit jacket, but Steve managed. Mostly.
After glancing across the main living area--and goodness bless it, this Disney apartment was enormous, Steve was going to have words with Tony about how much this must have cost--to make sure Ian was settling in, Steve shut the door to their master bedroom. Quietly he toed off his shoes, then padded over in stocking feet to the climate control unit on the wall. After turning it far too low, he joined Tony on the bed: lying stretched out next to him, but not touching. He propped his head up on his hand, watching Tony whimper with his eyes closed and face pressed mostly into the duvet.
“You know we’ve got two weeks of this heat,” Steve pointed out.
Tony’s reply was muffled but still intelligible: “I’m calling in Ororo. Or Thor. Anything to cool us down.”
Smiling indulgently, Steve nudged Tony until he rolled onto his back. Tony lazily consented to the manhandling, moving just enough to drape his forearm over his eyes and lick his lips morosely. Diligently Steve started unbuttoning Tony’s shirt, fingers steadily moving down the row of little plastic discs until the last one came undone. With Tony’s undershirt exposed, Steve moved his attention to removing his belt. Tony’s breath was already hitching, stomach twitching slightly at the movements, though he hadn’t moved other than that.
Humming softly to himself, Steve lifted Tony’s undershirt and pressed a kiss to his stomach. Tony sighed and squirmed at that--finally showing some sort of real reaction--before lifting the forearm from his eyes and glancing down at Steve.
Steve raised and eyebrow and met Tony’s eyes as he pressed another kiss to Tony’s stomach: this one lower than the last, just above the waistband of his slacks.
“Is that really your solution to me dying of heatstroke? To get me all hot and bothered?”
Steve smiled sweetly and swept his chin lightly over the front of Tony’s pants. He could feel him hardening slightly in there, a half-chub starting to form. “My solution to your whining over the weather is to distract you until the A/C sufficiently freezes us out of our rooms,” Steve replied.
Tony flopped backwards and sighed. “I guess it’s worth a try,” he mock-grumbled.
Steve grinned and started work at undoing Tony’s pants. He smelled slightly of sweat and musk. Not enough to be unpleasant: enough to make Steve’s mouth water, to have him nuzzling his nose against Tony’s neatly trimmed pubic hair. Tugging Tony’s pants down to at least his knees, Steve set to work sucking at Tony’s balls, licking the heat and sweat from the day from them with every lap of his tongue. Above him, Tony hummed contentedly: not a sound of real arousal, not yet. Just happiness. Steve smiled and closed his eyes, lapping at the head of Tony’s dick. He liked eliciting that sound from Tony. Liked that he could. Liked hearing it, knowing that Tony was happy.
He also liked sucking Tony’s dick, which he set about doing enthusiastically.
There was a knock at the door.
Ignoring the hard smack to his head courtesy a silently whining Tony, Steve extracted himself from between Tony’s legs and went to the door. Opening it just a crack--and being sure to angle his body so that any curious little boys wouldn’t be getting an eyeful if they peered past him into the room, Steve looked down at Ian.The boy was shirtless and in swim trunks, snorkeling gear perched atop his head and hopefully clutching flippers in one hand. He blinked up at Steve with wide, innocent eyes.
“I wanted to see if we could go swimming. The pool here has three different water slides. And a pirate ship.”
From behind him Tony’s voice called out: “Great idea. Genius. Meet you down there in twenty. Thirty! Maybe an hour. Ask your dad.”
Ian’s eyes grew shrewd, a smirk playing at his lips. Steve sighed. Figures the boy would try to make his escape as soon as he could, and calculate the best time his paren- Tony and Steve, would be “occupied”.
Carefully Steve tapped down on an undercurrent of nerves that still flared up whenever Ian wanted to go off on his own. It wasn’t like it was uncommon: the boy went to school at the Future Foundation and was away from Steve all the time. Before that, necessity had forced Steve to leave Ian alone, or even send him on his own missions, back in Dimension Z. It didn’t mean Steve liked letting Ian run about on his own. He certainly didn’t relish the feel of his heart running around outside his chest, soft and vulnerable and young, open to harm from villains and cruel chance alike.
“Twenty minutes,” Steve promised firmly. He ignored Tony’s groan behind him. “You go straight to the pool, and don’t go anywhere else unless it’s to come back here. Understand?”
Ian rolled his eyes but nodded. Steve planted a hand on his shoulder for good measure and looked him straight in the eye: “No exploring.”
“Scout’s honor,” Ian promised, holding up three fingers.
Steve frowned at the gesture. “You’re not spending anymore time alone with Tony.”
From behind him, Tony shouted “Scout’s honor!”
With a long-suffering sigh and a firm shove, Steve pushed Ian towards the door of the suite--and really, this room was too much, it must have cost half a fortune to stay here as long as they were; he and Tony were going to have words about that--and shut the door behind him.
When he turned around, he was greeted with the sight of a much perkier--in more ways than one--and fully-naked Tony Stark sprawled across their king-sized bed.
“Twenty minutes?” Tony asked coyly.
With a growl Steve climbed onto the bed with Tony and shoved him down onto the overstuffed mattress. Tony went all limp and compliant beneath him. Both men’s breaths quickened.
“That’s what I said,” Steve confirmed. “You have a problem with that?”
Tony just laughed and rolled over beneath Steve, ass moving sinuously backwards to rut against Steve’s still-clothed groin. “Not really,” Tony admitted. “Now come on:” he glanced back at Steve, eyes twinkling with mirth, “get me all good and sweaty before I take a dip in the pool.”
Steve leaned forward and bit at Tony’s shoulder, gently enough that there wouldn’t be a mark in twenty minutes’ time. He hummed as he ground his hips against Tony’s ass, the two already settling into a rhythm even though one of them was still fully-clothed.
“Nice and sweaty?” Steve murmured. His eyes drifted closed as he pressed more full against Tony, hands running down his haunches to grip at his hips.
“If you... think you can...” Tony gasped beneath him.
Steve was never one to back down from a challenge.
They were traveling via Disney bus--much to Tony’s dismay, but honestly, this was how everyone did things at Disney, so this was how they were going to do things--to the first park of the trip: the Magic Kingdom. Steve was staring intently down at his park map and different spreadsheets. He figured they should go clockwise around the park, starting in Adventureland with the Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise rides, then continue around until they ended the day in Tomorrowland for the fireworks. That way they would get the water rides out of the way early on in the day, giving them enough time to dry off in the Florida sun before they caught their death when the sun went down. Though, judging by how warm it was when Steve stepped outside for a quick run this morning, it didn’t seem the temperature in this state ever went below ninety degrees.
At least the air was fresh and light, a sea breeze reaching them even this far inland. Not that you’d know it judging by the way Tony was sweating and futilely trying to cool himself with a little overpriced fan he picked up in the giftshop.
Ian was curled up next to Steve’s side, eyes still a little droopy from the early wake-up (or really, from the delayed bedtime the night before), but carefully studying the park map with Steve.
He pointed a finger at a spot in FantasyLand. “I read online that the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride teaches you about all the cultures on Earth.”
Steve nodded. “We’ll get to that when we get to it.”
Ian peered at the map some more. “I think I might want to do the rollercoaster rides more than once. And splash mountain. Is that okay?”
“We have two weeks, so we can always come back to a park once you’ve found your favorite rides,” Steve pointed out. “You should make a list every day, ranking the rides you want to revisit. That way-”
“Put a real motor in you, you’ll see, you little bastarized son of a fan,” Tony grumbled beside them. Alarmed, Steve turned his head to find Tony ripping apart the little pocket fan and fiddling with the insides.
He wasn’t sure where Tony had even gotten the little toolkit from.
Steve turned back to Ian. “That way, you’ll be able to remember which rides you liked the most and spend the most amount of time with them on our mop-up days.”
Ian nodded seriously, eyes still darting over the park map, even though it was likely that he had memorized the whole thing. He had a better memory than Steve at times, it would seem, and Steve had certainly memorized the colorful little map by now (even if Tony had insisted that he had the whole thing available to him on his phone and that Steve shouldn’t worry).
Steve practically broke his neck, twisting it so fast in Tony’s direction. A quiet or surprised “Oh” from his was never a good sign.
Then Steve had to stifle some truly fearsome chuckles, because Tony had his eyes squeezed shut and his hair was blown back like there had been a lab explosion. But all this was just the result of a newly superpowered mini-fan that was blasting gale-force winds at Tony’s face.
Steve did allow himself a smile as he leaned over to Tony and squeezed his thigh. “Satisfied, now?”
A horribly ferocious burst of air blasted across Steve’s face as Tony turned the little souvenir shop purchase on him. Steve grumbled as he reached up to his hair to pat it down, even if it wasn’t long enough like Tony’s to become suitably messy. A moment later the fierce wind abated, as Tony turned the fan back on himself. He melted down into his seat and sideways into Steve’s side with a sigh.
“I might be able to face Florida with this,” he confirmed.
“You guys go ahead,” Tony was saying. “I’ll hold your cell phones.”
Steve frowned at Tony, doing his best to angle their little group out of the way of the other Disney patrons bustling all around them.
Tony was staring over Steve’s shoulder at the ride exit with a distinctly uncomfortable look on his face.
“We can put our cell phones in the lockers,” Steve countered. Between them, Ian was half-listening to their argument, but half leaning toward the ride and observing the patrons coming off of it with wide eyes and a cautious smile.
Tony shook himself and met Steve’s eyes. “It’s unsanitary.”
“You were covered in an unknown alien goo not two weeks ago,” Steve pointed out.
Tony grimaced. “These are dry clean only.” He pointed down at his seemingly casual shorts and t-shirt.
Steve wanted to ask how shorts and a t-shirt were dry clean only, or why Tony would wear something like that when he knew what they were doing today, but instead took a breath and focused on what was important.
“Ian wants you to go.”
At the mention of his name, Ian’s head snapped up, his full focus on Tony and Steve as he glanced between them. Catching on quickly, he moved over to Tony and tugged at his shirt.
“Come on,” he prodded. “Are you scared? If you’re scared you can hold my hand.”
Tony rolled his eyes and ruffled Ian’s hair. “I’m not your dad; you can’t dare me into doing things.”
Steve and Ian exchanged a glance: Ian questioning, and Steve confirming. They weren’t about to tell Tony that the only reason Ian tried that was because it worked on Tony. It had never worked on Steve. At least, Steve was pretty sure it hadn’t.
Tony looked back over their shoulders. Steve knew he was taking in the sight of laughing, soaking wet patrons stepping off the ride, shaking out their hands, wringing out their clothes.
“We’ll dry off in a matter of minutes in this heat,” Steve pointed out. That was why they were hitting the water rides early in their day in the park: to make sure the sun was high and they had plenty of time to dry out before nightfall. It was good strategy.
“You two are more than capable of going on a water ride without me,” Tony countered. “Get some father-son bonding time.”
Steve sighed, glanced down at Ian. Down there, Ian was pouting up at Tony, big puppy dog eyes being employed with full-force. Tony was staring right back, completely unmoved.
With another long-suffering sigh, Steve stepped close to Tony and wrapped a hand around his neck, tugging Tony’s ear an inch away from his lips. Mindful of Ian’s super-hearing (and maybe not much interested in saying such dirty things in public), Steve whispered: “I’ll let you use that thing you brought along that you think I don’t know about tonight. On me.”
Steve was referring to the vibrator he found in Tony’s suitcase when he’d been putting away their clothes in their hotel room. If Tony had really felt like keeping it secret, he wouldn’t have taken a nap straight away after their trip to the pool with Ian and would have put away his own clothes.
When Steve pulled away, Tony’s expression was tortured. Finally he sighed, dropped his head, and nodded. “You two win. Contaminate me with horrible disgusting water and ruin my disgustingly expensive clothes.”
Ian whooped and went ahead of them to find a locker, while Steve and Tony followed more sedately. Steve pulled Tony close and murmured in his ear: “And tonight, you get to ‘ruin’ me. Deal?”
“Damn right,” Tonight said, with nothing short of pride in his tone.
Thirty minutes later Tony looked like a drowned rat and was pawing pathetically at his clothes as they stepped off the line. Steve pulled him close once more and pressed a kiss to his dripping wet hair. “Thank you.”
Ian was staring between his relatively dry clothes and Tony’s soaked ones.
“We need to go again,” he announced. “And I’ll sit where Tony was sitting.”
Steve shook his head. “Put it on your mop-up list for later in the week,” he reminded Ian.
Tony sighed and finally stopped pawing at his clothes long enough to take off his shirt fully and wring it out. Steve stood back and admired the view.
As he did, Tony spoke to Ian. “And before you decide my seat was the wettest seat in the house, remind me to explain chaos theory to you.”
So maybe Steve was beginning to see the logic behind those “Fast Pass” kiosks in front of every ride. It didn’t mean he was going to let Tony and Ian use them. It was practically double-taxation: charging you to go on a free ride after they’ve already charged you to get into the park! Wasteful.
And at least the line for “It’s a Small World” had air conditioning. And was out of the sun. Speaking of which...
Steve rummaged through his knapsack until he found the sunblock. He gestured at Ian. “Come here. Let’s reapply.”
Obediently Ian turned to Steve and tilted his face up. Even with the coat of sunblock he’d insisted they all put on this morning, Ian and Tony were already turning a little pink--Ian more than Tony, what with Tony’s more naturally olive skin tones keeping him looking less like a lobster and more like some beautiful Mediterranean model.
Maybe Steve was biased. Then again, Tony had done modeling work before. And far be it from Steve to necessarily go along with the majority opinion, but pretty much the whole world agreed with him on the subject of Tony’s good looks.
Drizzling the white goop into his hands, Steve coated Ian’s shoulders and arms with it, big hands make quick work of the wiry limbs. A tanktop might not have been the safest outfit choice for Ian, but it was a Florida vacation and Steve had seen little harm in getting into the spirit of things. Plus it had Steve’s shield on it, which made him happier than he would cop to. More gently he dabbed the lotion onto Ian’s face, smoothing it in until only a faint sheen remained. He nodded and Ian returned to peering over the railing, down at what he could see of the ride below.
It took several seconds for the words to register with Tony. He was thoroughly engrossed in someone else’s little souvenir fan. Steve waited patiently, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth as he watched Tony work, pink tongue just barely poking out from his lips as he studiously poked and prodded at the motor. With a flourish he snapped it shut and passed it back to the family who had asked him to adjust it for them, to make it blow as powerfully as his. He must have fixed two dozen of them today, already.
With a blink he looked over at Steve, words finally sinking in. “Sorry. What?”
Steve waved the bottle of sunblock at Tony, who cringed and leaned as far away as he could in the cramped press of the queue.
“Oh, no. I’m fine.”
“It’s so you’re not miserable with sunburn tomorrow,” Steve pointed out.
“That stuff is horrible for my skin.”
“So is cancer.”
Tony glared at Steve for a full ten seconds. Finally he grumbled and held his hand out impatiently.
“I’m doing this just for you,” he reminded Steve as he smeared the bare minimum of lotion across the bridge of his nose.
Smiling, Steve leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the tip of Tony’s nose. “Thank you.”
The face Tony made was so far from a scowl but trying so valiantly to be one that Steve had to duck his head to keep from laughing more loudly than was appropriate for standing in line. Tony seemed to understand, because he punched Steve hard in the shoulder as he gave him back his sunblock.
Two more souped-up fan motors later and they were piling onto the ride with a dozen or so other park guests. Tony insisted on squeezing Ian onto the end so he could have fifty percent of the best view, and then sitting next to Ian so he could put Steve between himself and strangers. Steve indulged him.
As they went through all the different cultures of the world, Ian rapidly whispered questions at Steve, most of which he was thankfully able to answer. Tony helped fill in the rest (though he got his answers from his cellphone, so it was kind of cheating).
Ian laughed and smiled at the windmills in Holland and oo’ed and ahh’ed at the acrobatics in China and the pyramids in Egypt. When they docked at the end of the ride Ian skipped off, humming the tune of “It’s a Small World.” Tony let Steve help him out of the boat and grumbled “Now I’ve got earworm the rest of the day.”
“That one I’m rating a five!” he proclaimed as they set off for the next ride.
Steve nodded in agreement. He had liked the happy little dancing children from all over the world. It made international politics suddenly seem so nice and simple. Potential differences suddenly seemed surmountable. He knew that was childish of him, and the ride was probably horribly offensive and ethnocentric in some ways he wasn’t seeing just at that moment, but: it was Disney. He was allowed to indulge just a little in his more childish, rose-tinted worldview for the next dozen days.
Tony was slumped against Steve’s side, skin still radiating warmth from the hour-since-seen sun. In the dim light from the castle and streetlights around them, Steve could see Tony’s skin glowing a faint olive. Meanwhile, slumped against Steve’s other side and barely keeping his eyes open, Ian’s skin was glowing distinctly pink, even with all the reapplications of sunscreen Steve had insisted on throughout the day. Steve wondered if maybe an oversized hat wouldn’t be misguided. And if Ian would be willing to wear it.
The castle went dark in front of them and music began to swell. Steve shook Ian, though he was already awake and perking up at the noise.
“Want to hop on my shoulders?”
Ian glanced around quickly, first at the other kids perched atop their parents shoulders, then behind them. Ostensibly he was checking if there were kids his age doing the same thing, and if he’d be blocking the view of anyone else. Finally he looked up at Steve and nodded, raising his arms. Steve hoisted him to his shoulders with little difficulty--still hadn’t hit puberty or changed from his wiry strength, even after a year living easy on Earth--and smiled to himself as Ian settled into place. As the music swelled, Steve felt Ian place his hands on top of his head, then a heavier pressure as he set his chin down on top of them.
On his shoulder, Tony stirred as the first of the fireworks shot up into the sky. Steve glanced down to see Tony studying them with one eye open. Steve nudged Tony gently. “Not up to your standards?”
Tony sat up and yawned, arms stretching out big before he settled one around Steve. “They’re alright,” Tony confirmed. “The light show’s pretty good. For commercial use, at least.”
He was referring to the images and colors painting the side of the Disney castle, going along with the music and the fireworks to tell a story together. Steve thought it was all impressive and dazzling, but maybe to someone with Tony’s smarts when it come to explosives and the like, it was offensively simplistic.
But no: Tony was watching the display with a faint smile on his face, head resting again against Steve’s shoulder, though with a lighter pressure now that he was more alert. Steve smiled and wrapped an arm around Tony in turn, holding him tight. The other hand he kept wrapped around one of Ian’s ankles, even though he knew the boy could keep his own balance.
When the music took on a sinister tone and the castle was shrouded in purples and blacks, Ian appropriately oo'ed and ahh'ed at the implied battle of good against evil. When good triumphed and the music turned bombastic and joyous, Ian clapped along with the rest of the tourists, cheering softly. Tony grunted and pressed his nose behind Steve’s ear. “Next time we take down the Wrecking Crew, let’s end it with fireworks and music from the Little Mermaid. Maybe we’d see an upturn in public opinion.”
“You could install something in your suit,” Steve agreed, playing along for now.
“Could install something in your suit,” Tony countered. Then a burst of laughter escaped him, and he snuffled his face into the side of Steve’s neck. “Into the ass,” he gasped. “Star-spangled man, and all. Shoot...” Tony was laughing too hard to speak properly, “Shoot... sparklers... your ass...”
Steve flushed faintly and frowned down at Tony. “Not appropriate,” he grumbled. They were in a family park, after all.
“Guys, come on,” Ian complained. Lightly he tapped Steve’s chest with the heel of his shoe. “Lemme watch the fireworks.”
Tony snorted and slapped Steve on the shoulder. “Yeah, Dad. Let him watch the fireworks.”
Unable to talk low enough so Ian wouldn’t hear, Steve grabbed Tony’s hand and turned it palm-down, then started tapping Morse code onto it. You’re going to get it tonight, mister.
Tony snorted and grabbed Steve’s hand, giving it the same treatment. Counting on it.
Loops of hearts exploded in the sky above them and Steve tried not to feel too smug about how well the vacation was going so far. There was still almost two weeks to go.
The next day was EPCOT. Mostly because Steve thought it might be wise to alternate intense ride days with relaxing, scenic days. In the same spirit of that thought, tomorrow would be Bilzzard Beach, and then the next day would be Animal Kingdom. Steve thought it was a sound plan, personally. And not that he’d ever brag, but he was known for making good plans. It’s why they let him be in charge, after all.
Of course, Tony was always throwing a wrench in his plans, so naturally Tony insisted they deviate from the plan of going on Mission Space first thing (to avoid the lines and get the ride-rides out of the way early on, before they consumed so many Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream bars-on-a-stick that they all got sick on the ride), and detour over to the ride in the ball.
“I think I consulted for this,” Tony explained. “A few years back. Something where they were revamping it from the 1960s world-fair version, you know, and wanted to update it to talk about computers that could fit in your house. Something like that.”
“You don’t remember?”
Tony shrugged as they settled into the relatively short queue. As he leaned back against the iron railing, his gaze turned pensive. “I can’t remember exactly when. It might have been during the whole...” he hesitated, glancing at Ian. Overly casually he waved a hand. “Osborn business.” Steve winced and glanced at Ian. He was playing a game on his phone and not paying them any mind. “I don’t think it was when I was drinking, but maybe? Anyway, we’ll see.”
The three of them settled into a row to themselves and held still so their picture could be taken, presumably for some part in the ride later on. When that sort of technological marvel had first been put to use on the Haunted Mansion ride Steve had been open-mouthed and captivated as he listened to Tony’s ten minute explanation, but already it was seeming like an easy trick.
The ride fastened them in and then took off down the dimly-lit track, cheery music playing.
Then the narrator started up and Steve instinctively grabbed for Tony, holding tight to him.
“Hello. I’m Howard Stark. And I’ll be your guide today from man’s primitive beginnings all the way through his bright and shining future.”
Tony’s hand had covered his in an instant, squeezing tight.
“I forgot,” Tony whispered hoarsely.
“Do you want me-”
Luckily Tony interrupted, because Steve wasn’t even sure how he was going to finish that sentence.
“No. No. It’s...”
A long pause. Howard Stark’s voice was explaining to the rest of the passengers about cavemen.
After a moment Tony leaned over Steve to Ian.
“Hey, you hear that guy?”
Ian nodded, whites of his wide eyes visible in the dark of the ride. “Howard Stark. Is he a family member to you?”
Tony nodded and flashed a grin of white teeth, although his grip on Steve’s hand still tight.
“Yeah, that’s my dad. He must have recorded this back when this ride opened.”
“So he was a futurist, too?”
When Tony leaned back into his own seat, Steve couldn’t help but turn to him and kiss him deeply. His eyes were squeezed shut against an impossible swell of pride and love for Tony in that moment, because of that simple little conversation he had managed to have with his... with both of their son. Steve kissed Tony deep and didn’t let go of him for the rest of the ride.
In the end, Tony was right: he had done some work on the ride a few years ago. The narration changed from Howard’s voice to Tony’s, and he went on to narrate the last thirty years of human history and the entire section about what might come in the future. Steve kissed him again before the ride was over. Tonight he’d hold him tight in that ridiculous hotel room bed of theirs and remind him with every caress and kiss and smooth roll of hips how loved he was, how cherished, how special.
“Was that what being in space is like?!”
Tony sighed, pushed his sunglasses up his nose, glanced around. Finally he dropped a hand to Ian’s shoulder as they walked away from Mission Space. “Kind of,” he finally acquiesced. “They tried to simulate G-force. And weightlessness. But they can only approximate without some really extra-fancy tech, and they sure can’t get every detail right. Riding a rollercoaster will probably give you a better feel for spaceflight than that thing.”
“Like Space Mountain? Was that like being in space?”
Tony groaned and rubbed his free hand through the hair on the back of his head. “Kind of?” he said again. Finally he removed his hand from Ian and pulled out his cellphone. “Okay, here we go: space one-oh-one.”
Steve absently kept an eye on Tony as he flicked through video footage of himself and others in space. He didn’t need Ian getting the itch for spaceflight, in addition to his moonlighting as a superhero--and yes, Steve knew Ian sometimes snuck out of the Future Foundation to go deal with some pet project he had read about online or seen on the news.
Tony was explaining how their gravity simulators worked on the SWORD ship and other such tech they had at their disposal. Something impossible that Steve couldn’t understand about gravity wells and density emulators and those Higgs Boson things that had Tony staying awake late and reading papers about a little while ago, keeping Steve up with the light.
“That doesn’t make sense.” Ian was frowning at something.
“No, yes it does. Look.” Tony’s fingers flew over his cell phone, opening a different app so he could start sketching out diagrams and math.
Ian pointed at something and expressed confusion again.
“No, that’s... ‘integral’ doesn’t mean ‘integral’. It’s calc. Do you know calc, yet?”
Ian shook his head. Tony tsked and flicked open a fresh page on his phone. “What are they even teaching you at that school? Seriously, when the hell is Reed getting back, because I don’t think Scott is equipped to teach you guys math.”
Ian grinned. “The Tongs taught me some. And Bentley. They’re all pretty good at math.”
Tony made a faint noise of disapproval. “Still hanging out with Bentley, huh?”
At that Ian’s eyes grew sharp: “Just because of where he comes from-”
Steve’s heart clenched. Tony had been doing well up until then, but this: this was a delicate issue. An issue that required more tact and forethought than maybe Tony was capable of in right this second. Steve took a hurried half step forward, to catch up with the two of them.
But Tony was already talking, already scrubbing roughly at Ian’s hair. “Yeah, yeah. What, are you telling me you two are gonna become evil genetics boyfriends or something?”
Ian’s whole face scrunched up and he darted away from Tony. “No! I don’t even...” His face went red, and Steve was sure it wasn’t all from the heat. It wasn’t even that hot out yet--at least, not for Florida. “We’re not boyfriends,” he finally managed to snap. “Just friends. Like the Tongs. And they all are good at math, is all.”
“Well, ask them about calc next time. See, it’s all about measuring the areas under curves. You know curves--graphs--right?”
And that was it. Tony and Ian were back to chattering on about math and space and science.
Steve let out a long breath. For as much as Tony pretended he wasn’t an acting parent to Ian and rejected the notion that he’d be any good with kids, the man knew exactly the right things to say at the right time.
Mexico was the first nation coming up in front of them. Steve took a couple quick half steps to catch up and pressed a grateful hand to Tony’s back. When Tony glanced back at him, question on his face, Steve just shook his head and smiled. He’d thank Tony properly later.
And then Tony turned to Ian and promised “Eighteenth birthday. You and me. Go and hang out with the Guardians, alright?”
And that made Steve’s heart stop in his chest and ruined any good will he had towards Tony’s parenting skills.
Steve tried to hide his face from Tony as they left the Hall of Presidents.
“You’re kidding me.”
“It was Abe Lincoln,” Steve explained, blinking away tears.
“I’m never letting you live this down.”
“It’s not what you think.”
“You’re crying from an overflowing of patriotic sentiment. You’re every terrible clichè we’ve ever teased you about.”
“No,” Steve grumbled, frustrated. Wiping his face one more time, he turned to Tony. “Us.” He gestured between them. “He made me think of us. How a house divided against itself cannot stand. And how you’re my house.” He glanced over at Ian, who had snuck away to examine a churro stand. “A third of it, at least,” he corrected himself.
Reaching out, Steve snatched up Tony’s hand and pulled him close, ignoring the faintly nervous expression on Tony’s face. Quietly, he brought Tony’s hand to his lips and kissed it, then held it tight against his chest. “I just want you to know how important you are to me.”
The nervous expression on Tony’s face flickered to poorly repressed panic. He laughed slightly hysterically, whole body leaning away from Steve. “Okay, starting to sound like you’re about to propose. Seriously, save that one for the Statue of Liberty or a Mets game or something, okay?”
Steve huffed a sigh and quirked an easy smile at Tony. Tugging him close again, he reached his free hand up to take Tony’s chin between his thumb and forefinger.
“Cool your jets, mister: this isn’t a marriage proposal.”
Tony barely relaxed. Maybe a fraction.
Steve kept at him. “It just hit close to home, all that talk of unity of houses and differing ideologies never getting in the way of our underlying commonalities, our fundamental agreement in a drive to be good, to do good. And I want you to remember that. And to remind me of it. That no matter what it is, no matter what the battle’s over, we’re fundamentally for each other, Tony. We’re unified.”
A long pause as Tony did his best effort to keep his eyes on Steve, but they still darted around like they were looking for an escape. Steve waited patiently.
“Can you do that for me?”
A slow nod, finally, from Tony. “I can do that,” he replied.
“Then that’s all I’m proposing,” Steve promised. He drew Tony in for a quick kiss before releasing him. Ian was still staring longingly at the churros, and Steve supposed he could indulge him once more today. He had only gotten one overpriced, over-sugared treat so far today, and it was almost time to leave the park.
“At least,” he called over his shoulder as he stepped to Ian, “the only proposal I’ve got for you today.”
A sharp punch to his shoulder and a grumbled “Don’t you even joke about that,” had Steve grinning through his snack order for his little family. For his undivided house.
After double-checking the charge on Ian’s cellphone for the umpteenth time, Steve finally squatted down in front of him and looked him in the eye. “Be safe. No heroing. No wandering off. Stay in public spaces. Go straight to the park and back.”
Ian rolled his eyes but nodded. “Yes, yes, yes, and yes,” he promised. “Can I go?”
Steve hesitated. Took a steadying breath. Then he smiled, squeezed Ian’s shoulders, and let go.
“You better be back here before ten,” Steve ordered.
Ian just waved over his shoulder as he darted out the hotel room and away.
Steve took a breath. Then another. Then he ran over to the door and shouted down the hall. “And you better answer your phone if we call!”
“Don’t worry!” was all the promise he got back as Ian turned ‘round a bend in the hall heading toward the elevators. Steve frowned and clutched tightly at the door frame, letting go before he did any damage to it.
He wasn’t trudging when he returned to the master bedroom, but judging by the way Tony took one look at him and stuffed his head back into the pillows, he wasn’t his usual perky self.
A muffled reassurance from Tony drifted over to him as he sat forlornly on the edge of the bed: “He’ll be fine.”
“I know,” Steve sighed. Then he mustered up a smile and turned to look at Tony. “I’m just disappointed I didn’t get to go on ‘It’s a Small World’ again.” Tony merely snorted from beneath his pile of pillows and duvets.
Then he started humming the song and Tony cried out, unleashing a torrent of curses and as many pillows as he was willing to spare at Steve. Steve laughed as he fell off the bed. He knew Ian would be fine on his own for their second-to-last day at the parks. And he supposed he could make the most of the time alone. It was his and Tony’s vacation too, after all.
“Hey.” Steve lifted himself back onto the bed, climbing his way over to Tony. He pressed a kiss just behind Tony’s ear, ran a hand down his side. Tony squirmed beneath him, ostensibly trying to sleep but obviously interested, if Steve was reading his body language right (which he always did). “You want to try out that whirlpool bathtub, now that Ian’s out of the rooms?”
Tony rolled over, grinning up at Steve. “If it’ll take your mind off things,” Tony so graciously replied.
Steve grinned and dipped his head, pulling Tony in for a kiss that the other men threw himself into happily. Ian would get back just fine. And in the meantime: Steve and Tony had their own relaxation to attend to.