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Still Here, Still There

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“Hey, Steve”.

“Mmh?”

Tony sighed nervously and observed his new husband in silence for a couple of minutes. The blond was lying on his back peacefully, eyes closed and chest moving with steady breaths. His eyelids brushed his cheeks gently, his pink lips showing a tiny smile. A sheet covered his naked body from the waist down, and his legs were tangled with Tony’s. The engineer, as nude as the Captain, was snuggled up by his side, arm lazily drawing circles on Steve’s chest.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Sure, honey, was is it?”

“I just… well, you told me a while ago you didn’t want to settle down. Marry, kids, all that jazz”

“Yeah,” Steve said, confused and opening his eyes “, but that was before we even got together, Tony. We’re married now, as you can see, I’ve changed my mind”

“That was were I was getting to, babe. Seeing we’re happily married now, I thought… well, do you want kids? It’s something I’ve been wondering for a while, now”

“Oh…”

“I mean, I never thought about it too much. Then again, I never thought about getting married either, not until I met you and fell in love with you. And I don’t even know if I could be a good Dad, you know? It’s not like I had a good example and…”

Tony was cut by Steve’s lips in a short and sweet kiss.

“Honey, you’re rambling. Honestly? I haven’t been thinking about that. We just married, I’ve only been thinking about you”

“But… do you want to?”

Steve seemed to think about it, smiling after a few moments.

“I would love to have children with you, Tony. I would love to be with you raising a tiny person, even when I know it has to be hard, especially for us, superheroes. But, of course I’d love to have a kid with you. Do you want them, like… now?”

“It doesn’t have to be now, babe. I just… that question had been stuck on my mind for a while, now, and I wanted to tell you about it”

“Okay. Now… do you want to?”

“It does sound good. I don’t know if I could be a great parent, but having you by my side to help me sounds really good”

“Then now we know kids are a good possibility for us” Steve smiled, kissing Tony’s head. The engineer smiled and nodded, and kissed his husband sweetly on the lips before resting his head on his chest. He closed his eyes and drifted to a peaceful sleep.

 

Tony’s words had broken a dam. Steve was telling his husband the truth: he had barely thought about kids, before.

When he was still scrawny and weak he thought he was never going to become a father: he was too weak, too small, too ill. Doctors didn’t even know how long he had, and even when Steve was stubborn as a mule, he did know kids were a big no for him. Then he had become Captain America. It was at that moment he became hopeful about finding someone and settling down. He dreamed of having kids, then, after the War. It was a possibility he dreamed about almost every night, to sleep through nights free of violence and fear. Then he had gone into the water, and that dream had dissolved into it. When he woke up he was sure: he was not going to become someone’s dad, let alone husband.

But then he had met Tony. The engineer had been extravagant, sometimes too cocky, and had some problems with showing emotion. Steve and he had had a rough start, but slowly their relationship had evolved. Steve told him about his dreams changing, Tony said how he never thought about becoming a family man because of his Dad and the life he had been living.

Then they'd become a couple and before they even knew it they were moving in together, coming out to the world and celebrating anniversaries. Tony had asked Steve to marry him and the blond had yelled ‘yes!’ before he could even process it, both crying of happiness. One year later, they had been happily married for a few months.

The team had been happy for them. At first, they had asked them to not show too much PDA (Clint was really adamant about it), but they slowly got used to seeing them together holding hands, cuddling, kissing sweetly when they thought no one was watching.

So, yes, Tony and Steve were the definition of a happy couple, basically. And they were happy together, just the both of them (and their friends, who didn’t get what privacy meant). However, Tony’s question changed something between them. Before, when they saw a baby they didn’t think twice about it. It was cute, yeah, and sometimes parents asked for a picture with their children. They also attended Galas and Events, and Steve had seen so enough mini Captain Americas and Iron Men to last a lifetime. Again, they didn’t think too much of it.

Now? Each time Steve saw a baby he got dumbstruck, like something inside him was begging him to pick it up and talk in that stupid, stupid voice. Tony would’ve laughed, but he was acting just like Steve. 

Clint actually was the first to pick it up, when the husbands had cooed about a baby they saw in the news wearing an Avengers t-shirt.

“Oh God” he had groaned “, you want to have kids this soon? ‘Cause, don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for yah, but I do not want to change diapers. Nope”.

Tony and Steve were confused by his words, receiving a soft “idiots” from Natasha, an amused look from Bruce and a confused face from Thor.

“What?” Tony had asked, even more confused than Thor.

“Kids, you two” Clint repeated “You are not thinking about having them? Sorry, I thought you did”

“We talked about kids but didn’t decide when to have them” Steve explained.

“Well, now that Clint says it, you guys have been showing some suspicious behavior. I’ve never seen your eyes shine at a kid dressed as Iron Man, Tony, but you practically melted the other day, when we found that little girl in the streets playing superheroes”

“She was cute, okay!” Tony tried to excuse himself, but only got laughs. He rolled his eyes, crossing his arms across his chest.

“Guys, it’s okay if you want kids now,” Bruce said, calmly “. It would’ve been okay a few months ago, too, because it doesn’t really matter if you’re married or not… what matters is if you’re ready”

“Which leads to a crucial question… are you guys ready?” Natasha asked, smiling knowingly. Steve and Tony looked at each other and had a silent conversation, sharing a smile before answering.

“I think we are,” Tony said, Steve hugging him tighter. The rest of the Avengers smiled happily at them. Except for Thor, who was still really, really confused.

“I don’t get it. My friends, are you expecting a child?”

“They’re not, Thor, but they want to have a kid” Natasha explained.

“That’s wonderful!” He exclaimed then, smiling widely “. The kid for sure will be a remarkable Midgardian, having the Man of Iron and the Captain of America as their parents!”

“Wait, that’s a good question” Clint intervened “, how are you going to do this? Are you going to adopt?”

“I think…” Steve said, unsure “I’d like to have a kid of my own blood. I mean, I love the idea of adoption and what it means, but… it’s always been a tender topic for me, parenthood. There were so many moments in my life I thought I was never going to settle down, you know? Now that I’m married and having a kid who’s… mine it’s a possibility, I think I’d like to try that”

“We get it, honey,” Tony said, kissing his cheek. The rest of the Avengers nodded, understanding Steve’s words “. Personally, I think I’d like to try to have a biological kid, too”.

“Then you can try that” Bruce suggested “. Now, what you have to think about is if you want it to have Steve’s serum”

“We can choose if the baby has it or not?” Steve asked, surprised.

“I mean, I think it’s possible for you, yes. We could at least look at it, run some test with you two”.

“Then, if it’s a possibility, I don’t want to. It’s been good for me, but I want the baby to be a normal kid”

“I agree” Tony nodded”, our lives are crazy enough. If we want to add a kid into the mix is better if he, or she, is as normal as possible”

“Then we’ll work on it,” Bruce told them, smiling “and who knows, maybe we’ll have another member in our family, soon”

“It sounds nice,” Steve said, smiling at Tony. Tony returned the smile and they shared a sweet kiss.

“It does”.

 

It had been hectic. After finding out they could have a kid without Steve’s serum, they got to work with Bruce, studying their DNA and being careful to not mess anything up. Neither of them wanted to experiment too much, because it was a human being after all, but it was necessary to at least see if the baby was going to have Steve’s serum or health problems. Tony and Steve absolutely didn’t want any of those things, so they agreed to test that and play with the DNA of their kid just a little bit, just for its health.

Before they even knew it (like everything that had happened in their relationship), they were expecting a kid. After the news broke, all of their free time was filled with baby-book reading, buying things for it, preparing the nursery, picking out names. Both had agreed to wait to know the gender, wanting it to be a surprise. The whole team tried to find out on their own, but it was pointless. Clint and Thor were betting for the baby to be a girl. Bruce, Rhodey (whom, of course, was into the pregnancy as much as everyone else) and Natasha, the logic minds of the bunch, said and said it was a baby boy. They also gave their own opinions about names and no, Clint, ‘Hawk’ was not a good name, and no, Thor, we can’t name the baby after your mother, we’re so sorry about that. Steve also vetoed Natasha’s ideas of buying mini knives as the baby’s first toys and both of the husbands were incredibly grateful for Bruce and Rhodey’s calmness.

They were ready to become parents and waited impatiently for the baby to be born. It was crazy: having kids wasn’t even on their minds one year prior, but it was practically all they thought about since Tony had dared to open his mouth.

They had their bets, but they were more private. Both of them kind of wanted a boy, because, as much as they loved the idea of having a daughter, both had the wish to raise a son. Maybe it was because both of them had lacked a father growing up- they didn’t know, and didn’t want to think about it-. Plus, stereotypes aside, they had no clue at how to raise a girl. Sure, they were lost at how to raise a boy as well, just not as much.

The Superhusbands had also agreed the first name was not going to be after someone they knew. They wanted their kid to have a life of their own, they didn’t want people telling the kid: oh, yeah, the person you were named after did this or that… they didn’t want their kid to feel like they had to live to the expectation. However, they agreed they could use the middle name to honor someone. If it was a girl they were thinking Sarah or Maria. If it was a boy… well, it was an easy choice.

They also felt ready. They had read every book they could find, saw videos, talked to people. They were ready, they knew it. It was stressful as hell, but they wanted that.

Steve thought about Bucky so much while he was waiting for his kid to be born. His best friend would’ve been so proud of him and what he had achieved… Bucky’d have been the funny Uncle, the one to bribe them and help them to go behind their parents back while telling Tony and Steve only part of the story. Steve missed him more than anything, and he wished he was there, with him and Tony in that big and crazy family. But he knew Bucky was there with him, in spirit, and each time he got too emotional he pictured the brunette smiling and shaking his head, telling him how big of a punk he was.

Tony thought of his mother. He would’ve loved for her to meet her grandchild. She would have sung lullabies in Italian or Spanish to the baby and taught them etiquette and piano. He thought of the Jarvis, and how they would treat his kid with love and consideration, and he thought of his father, of his constipated emotions and his coldness. For the thousandth time, he decided he was never going to be Howard Stark.

The months went by incredibly fast and before they could even process it, the team and Rhodey were in the waiting room of one of New York’s private hospitals, the Stark-Rogers baby about to be born any minute.

“All I’m saying,” Clint said in the sixth hour “, is that Thor and I are going to win some money today”

“As if” Natasha snorted “, the baby it’s a boy, you big idiot”

“I have to agree with Nat,” Bruce said “, they’re so going to have a son”

“I’m sure the kid of our dear friends is going to be a remarkable Midgardian, regardless of its gender” Thor boomed, smiling happily. Clint groaned, punching his arm (not like the God felt anything).

“Dude, not helping

Thor just smiled wider and patted Clint’s head like he was some dog. The archer scoffed, but the smile didn’t disappear from his lips. They had to wait another two hours, but finally, they were called in a room. There was a crib there, but no baby was placed in it. Instead, it was Tony who held a tiny bundle of blankets with an equally tiny baby in there. He was standing in the middle of the room, Steve behind him with both arms around him, both of them looking at the baby adoringly.

“Hi,” Natasha said, in the softest tone they had ever heard from her “, can we come in?”

The superhusbands looked up and smiled at them, nodding.

“Hey, who is this little babe?” Clint asked, getting closer to the baby. Tony and Steve shared a proud smile and the blond opened his mouth.

“We proudly present to you our son…”

“Peter James Stark-Rogers” Tony finished, and Steve smiled and kissed the side of his head. Both chose to ignore the soft ‘damn it’ Clint breathed, and the smiles of the winning members of the bet. Rhodey cleared his throat, clearly touched by the name of the kid.

“James?” He asked, weakly. Tony smiled at him, nodding.

“It’s the perfect middle name for the kid. James because of you, because you were there for me since I was fourteen and because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you and your patience and love towards me”

“… and because of my own best friend,” Steve said, his own smile a little more nostalgic.

“I thought his name was Bucky,” Thor said, having heard stories about the pair.

“That was his nickname. His full name was James Buchanan Barnes. I chose to call him Bucky early into our friendship, but his true name was James. He was always there for me, and I think this is a nice way of remembering him”

“Of course it is” Natasha smiled “, James couldn’t be a more fitting name. Just one question, why Peter? Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the name, but I want to know why you chose it”

“We just love it” Tony explained “. We agreed to give our kid a new name, to give him the possibility of living his own story, without having to live up to a legacy. That’s why James is his middle name”

“We wanted something to remember the people who have gotten us here, wanted to see that in our son”

“Without robbing him of his own identity” Bruce smiled”. Well, Peter… welcome to the family. It’s crazy sometimes, and it can get to your nerves… but it’s the best one there is”

“Damn right, little one” Clint smiled, brushing his finger gently against Peter’s soft cheek. “Y’know, he’s so cute”

“He’s indeed a beautiful baby, this son of yours” Thor smiled “. Could I hold him?”

“Sure,” the husbands said. They feared for a second Thor’s strength, but the Asgardian held Peter with a gentleness no one saw coming.

Peter was indeed beautiful, with some dark hair curling in his tiny head, soft and round cheeks and a little button nose and pink lips. He was the cutest thing they had ever saw. He slowly was held by all of the team, and by the time he had made it back to Steve’s arms, they were all exhausted. The doctors had told the husbands they could leave next day by morning, so the team left for the Tower, to check everything was okay, and Steve and Tony put their son to sleep and tried to get some themselves. They just had a son. And he was perfect.

 

“Okay, Peter, this… is your home” Tony told his son, exiting the elevator. Steve trailed behind him, with the baby bag and tons of presents they had received. It was almost comical to look at him.

He dropped everything by the couch and stretched his muscles, looking at his husband and their son with a sweet smile. Good God Tony though, falling impossibly more in love with his husband at that moment. Steve went next to them, one gentle finger brushing against Peter’s soft and small cheek.

“He’s finally home, with us” he whispered. Tony hummed in response, leaning on him and letting Steve put an arm around him and their kid.

“Are you ready to get one hour of sleep each night?” Steve laughed, kissing the side of his head.

“It wouldn’t be the first time, so I think I can sacrifice my sleep for our baby boy”

Tony smiled, content with that answer.

“He is perfect, isn’t he?”

“He totally is. I feel like I could be looking at his little pretty face for all of my life, and I’d die happy”

“Yeah, same. But, now that you say it, we should put him to bed, now that he’s falling asleep” Tony commented, noticing how Peter struggled to keep himself awake. Steve hummed in agreement and lead them to their bedroom. Peter had his own bedroom and crib, but they had decided for their son to sleep with them for the first few weeks. They put Peter in his crib, the baby already asleep, and left for the kitchen in order to grab something to eat.

“He was exhausted, huh?” The Captain asked, smiling. His husband nodded, opening their fridge.

“Poor thing. Uncles and Aunt who are obsessed with him and a new house… it may be too much for a newborn”

“As if he can complain” Steve laughed “Every kid wishes to have the Avengers as their Uncles or Aunt”

“Yeah, our little devil spawn is lucky”

Steve rolled his eyes at him affectionately, but got closer to kiss him deeply, Tony smiling against his lips.

“Okay,” the brunet said when they stopped to get some air “, what was that about? Not complaining about it, by the way”

“I wanted to celebrate with you the birth of our child, babe. We’ve been so busy with Peter and our friends and getting out of the hospital that I barely got time to kiss you…”

“Again: I’m not complaining”

Steve laughed, kissing him again.

“We did it, Tones. We have a kid of our own”

“I know, it’s… crazy”

“But a good crazy”

“Of course, a good crazy. We’re Dads, honey”

Steve laughed in delight and kissed his husband again, not seeming to be able to stop. They did stop, however, when they heard the elevators doors opening.

“Hey,” Clint said, stepping into the kitchen “, my nephew asleep?”

“We just put him in his crib, Bird Brain, and if you do as little as waking him up, you’re dead”

Clint rolled his eyes and threw himself at the couch, closing his eyes.

“You’re no fun”

“We have a newborn who is going to be waking up all the time,” Steve told Clint, sitting next to his feet “, so we’d rather have him asleep, right now”

“Please, if he has inherited your ‘rightness’ he’d give you guys no headache, I’m telling you”

“Steve, baby, I lied to you. We did not become fathers yesterday, we already had stupid, teenage kids”

Steve snorted and watched as Clint shot a shocked look towards Tony. He could get used to that life.

 

Tony stirred in his bed, rolling over and patting the left side of the bed, frowning (still with his eyes closed) when he noticed how cold it was. Okay, so his husband was not in bed with him… he opened one eye and saw it was four a.m. And, yes, Steve was crazy enough to go for a run at six, and even five a.m, but four? He blinked the sleep out of his eyes and sat up, rubbing his tired face. It was when he looked at an empty crib that he remembered they just had a son, a few weeks prior. He smiled when he thought about his little baby, and wondered where his two favorite boys could be. Getting out of bed, he wandered into their lounge, where he stopped dead in his track.

His husband was there, shirtless and almost asleep, their little son curled up in his chest, also sleeping. Steve had a protective hand over his tiny body (it was indeed tiny-Steve’s hand almost covered it), and he had him just over his heart.

“Oh my Lord, I think I’ve never been more attracted to you,” Tony said in a low tone, not wanting to wake up the kid. Steve looked up at him, smiling lovingly and yawning.

“Hi, darling. How long have you been awake?”

“Not long, but I woke up and you weren’t in bed and I got worried… is it bad to admit I temporarily forgot we have a kid?”

Steve laughed softly, gently petting Peter’s back. Tony went to sit next to them.

“It’s okay, hon, Peter is not even one month old, he just turned three weeks. We’re still getting used to it”

Tony nodded, resting his hand over his husband’s, leaning on his shoulder so he could look at Peter’s sleepy face.

“Is our little Bambi okay?”

“Oh, yeah, he’s fine. He just needed a diaper change, and then he couldn’t get asleep, so I brought him here so you wouldn’t wake up”

“And the no-shirt part? Not like I’m against it”

“I read it’s good for a newborn to be skin to skin. Something about warm. It also feels really good, you know? It’s like we’re more connected, and this way Peter falls asleep easier. Want to try?”

“Er…I don’t know, babe, with the Arc Reactor, I may scare him”

“Don’t be silly, he’ll be fine. C’mon, Tony”

“Okay,” the brunette sighed, taking his shirt off and getting comfortable on the couch, Steve putting Peter on his chest. Tony smiled at the sensation, holding his baby over his chest, the baby’s fingers lightly brushing against the arc reactor. Steve was right, the sensation was really good. To feel his son -his own blood, a part of his heart and soul- so close to him, skin to skin. Peter purred happily and Tony couldn’t help but smile at him adoringly. He felt as Steve put an arm around him and kissed the side of his head.

“My boys” he whispered “, forever”

“Forever, baby”