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Holiday Conversations

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“Is there anyone you didn’t invite?” Sherlock asked, sipping his drink as he spoke to his cousin-in-law while the penthouse of the Avengers Tower looked like a near madhouse. There were various generations of families running around, all interconnected in one way or another, and all at the invitation of Tony Stark.

“The press?” Tony said with a grin. “This is a family event. Well, Avengers family.”

“Same difference to you,” Sherlock said, a small smile on his face.

“Pretty much.” Tony had some of his punch and then blinked and looked down. “This is actually good.”

“Molly may have insisted sparkling apple cider be used instead of apple juice.”

“She wanted something bubbly, I take it?”

Sherlock nodded. “Pregnancy does not agree with her, but she’s thankful it’s twins so we’ll have a boy and a girl and won’t need to try again. Still, I think once she has the children in her arms she won’t mind again.”

Tony chuckled at that. “Pepper was the same way before we had Ed. She’s not minding it so much this time.”

“She’s pregnant again? How did I miss that?” Sherlock asked, surprised.

“Focusing on your own upcoming blessing.” Tony waved his hand holding out the punch towards the room. “There’s a whole epidemic of pregnancy, it seems. Strange magicked up a way Loki and Darcy could have a kid, Thor and Jane have the next heir to Asgard due any day now and one already out, and if Sharon doesn’t get knocked up soon I don’t want to know what she and Barnes do behind closed doors.”

“Movie marathons,” Steve said as he came up. “Sorry to butt in on the conversation. Bucky doesn’t quite get the concept of ‘Netflix and chill.’ Especially since she keeps picking sci-fi and fantasy movies for them to watch.”

“Kind of sad you actually know what that means,” Tony said. He looked around. “Aren’t you babysitting the princess?”

“Actually, your son has Shuri completely entertained. I hear any more memes, I may just send Peter to Wakanda for New Years.”

“You know, a student exchange program wouldn’t be that bad, if T’Challa would go for it,” Sherlock pointed out. “Peter’s school could begin a program with an academic institution in Wakanda. But I wouldn’t send Ned or MJ. I think Peter would miss them too much.”

“And I’m assuming Shuri should be the first Wakandan student to come over?” Steve asked.

“It had been my thought, but knowing Shuri, she’ll teach more classes than she’ll attend,” Tony said. “She’s smarter than me.”

“I never thought I’d see the day that Tony admitted someone was smarter than him,” Steve said with a smirk before taking a sip of his drink.

“I’ve said for years Pepper is smarter than me,” Tony pointed out. He looked around. “Maybe not an exchange student thing, but an internship at Stark Industries trading off to Wakanda for something similar? It could be interesting. I’ll have to bring it up with T’Challa, when he’s done dealing with the politicians.” He had some more of his drink. “I know Jane has mentioned that there’s an idea of her going to Wakanda to work with some of the astrophysicists there since she’s been off-planet so I could always have her represent Stark Industries and we can have Shuri run a department or three here.”

“Run a department,” Steve said approvingly. “I think she’d go for that if it means she can stay in New York for a while. I have a list of things she and the other kids want to do before she goes back. I swear, the list is a foot long.”

“At least Ned and Peter are here in the building,” Tony pointed out. “I thought we’d have lost a lot more, when...”

Sherlock raised his drink. “But the Avengers saved the day,” he pointed out. “The world is safe and more threats than one could name have been avoided. I mean, we may still have the sibling problem at a future point when it comes to the Odinson brothers, but Frigga seems healthy enough. I think she’ll rule for quite some time, and if by then Thor and Jane’s son is well and truly ready to rule the people of Asgard I doubt it will be a problem.”

“Helps that Asgard got destroyed by Thanos,” Tony said. “Stroke of luck on our part.”

“Hate to say it, but it was better to lose Asgard and head off the Apocalypse and save Earth in the process,” Steve said. He looked around. “You ever wonder if it worked out differently somewhere else? Or somewhen else, or...something?”

“Are you talking about multiple universes?” Tony asked. “Could be a thing. There could be other versions of us who, say, disbanded the Avengers or lost to Thanos.”

“There could be a version where Peggy Carter had an entirely different family,” Sherlock said. “Where none of you in the Carter line are actually related.”

“Hell, there’s a ton of different ways it could have played out. There could be...I don’t know, a different version of each of us,” Tony said. “But I’m pretty glad we have this version. We’re happy, right?”

Steve raised his glass. “I think we’re happy,” he said with a grin.

“Here here,” Sherlock said, tapping his glass against Tony’s. There was a commotion to their left and all of a sudden Thor was lifting Jane up and Sherlock grinned. “I think our Christmas just got a lot more interesting.”

“Did her water break?” Steve called out to Darcy.

“Yup, Cap!” she said. “Hospital is a go.”

“Yup. Much more interesting,” Tony said with a grin, setting his glass down. “Come on. Let’s go make sure Thor doesn’t destroy another set of hospital room chairs this time.” The other two men set their glasses down as the crowd began to converge around Thor and Jane. A new addition to the family couldn’t have come at a better time, Tony thought to himself as they made their way out after Thor and Jane.