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she is a radiant warmth

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Morgan was bringing her boyfriend, Rory, home. Or that’s what Tony and Pepper thought. She’d had a lot of fun with it, having known Rory for a year or so, and they’d started dating a couple months ago. She had talked about Rory often, but was careful to never use any pronouns to see how far she could take it.

You see, Rory was short for Victoria. And Rory was 100% in on the joke. Morgan knew that it would be no problem at all bringing home a girlfriend. Her big brother, Peter, had just married Ned, and they’d been together many years before that.

So, no, it was in no sense about her being afraid of being rejected, she just wanted to see her parents’ face when they realized Rory was a girl. She hadn’t even dreamt of being able to take it this far, but now the two of them were in the elevator on their way up, giggling in anticipation of Tony and Pepper’s reaction.

They almost crashed into Peter when they got out of the elevator. “Oh, Morgan, hi! And, Ror—”

“Nope, shush!” Morgan was quick to stop him. Peter’s face lit up in realization.

“Oh, you’ve still got it going?” he asked with a smirk.

“Yup,” Rory confirmed. Peter shrugged.

“Well, I just might have to stick around a little longer, this’ll be gold,” he grinned. He was just visiting to deliver some papers. And, of course, to say hi. Not that it’d been long since he saw them; he worked for Stark Industries. Full time, ever since college. He was well into the process of getting ready to take over the company whenever it would be needed.

Ushering the girls into the living room in front of him, he barely managed to keep a straight face. He'd met Rory a few weeks ago, and immediately jumped aboard with their joke. The fact that they had managed to keep it going for this long kind of surprised him. But not really. His little sister could be sneaky.

“Oh, hi, honey. How was school?” Pepper asked when she spotted them. Tony looked at them, too.

“It was good,” Morgan shrugged, keeping perfectly casual.

“Who’s this? I thought Rory was coming over,” Tony asked as he got up and walked towards them with a smile.

“Yeah,” Morgan confirmed, on the verge of laughing at the fact that neither of her parents had noticed their intertwined hands.

“Yeah?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Morgan tried again.

“Oh,” Pepper realized with a grin.

“What, ‘oh’?” Tony frowned.

“Hi, I’m Rory,” she introduced herself, sticking out her right hand, her left holding Morgan’s. Dumfounded, Tony accepted the handshake. “Short for Victoria,” she explained.

“You’re Rory. Okay, how… Oh, you’ve been doing this on purpose, haven’t you?” Tony looked almost proud when he realized what his daughter had been doing.

“Didn’t think we’d get it this far, but honestly, it wasn’t hard,” she teased.

“Well played, sweetie, well played,” he laughed, and looked at his son. “Oh, you knew,” he said immediately, an expert at reading Peter’s facial expressions; much easier than reading Morgan’s.

“Too fun not to go along with,” he defended himself with a laugh.

“Well, it’s very nice to meet you, Rory,” Pepper stepped in, gesturing for them to come into the living room instead of just standing at the edge of it. “I’ll have dinner ready in about an hour. You can come too, Peter, and bring Ned, okay?”

“Sure, see you soon, then,” Peter accepted, heading for the elevator.

“We’ll be in my room in the meantime,” Morgan announced, pulling Rory with her.

“If you’ll be doing any funny business, we sure as hell don’t wanna be able to hear it,” Tony warned jokingly, not one to tell his almost grown up daughter to sit three feet away from her girlfriend with the door wide open. He trusted her not to do anything stupid. She was, for sure, much more responsible then he'd been at her age. 

“I’ll make sure to have FRIDAY warn you so you can evacuate,” she answered back, making him snort. There was no doubt where she’d gotten her sass from.

“I’m really happy for her,” Pepper sighed when she heard her door close. “Yeah, me too. No straight kids in this house,” he chuckled. Tony silently thought of how grateful he was that his kids were completely comfortable with bringing home their partners, knowing they wouldn’t be judged. He must’ve done something right.

 


 

 

As soon as Morgan closed the door behind them, they broke into laughter. “That was even better than I imagined,” Rory laughed and pulled Morgan close to her. They shared a short, sweet kiss before cuddling up on the bed; Rory’s head on Morgan’s chest. “For a genius, my dad’s pretty slow sometimes,” Morgan grinned. Rory huffed out another laugh, drawing figures just below her girlfriend’s collarbone. It was a warm moment. They both felt their hearts buzzing and didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.

“I wish my parents were this accepting,” Rory whispered after a few minutes of silence. Her parents were conservative Catholics who were not at all happy to have a gay daughter. They had found out one time Morgan was visiting her and they had fallen asleep together on her bed, forgetting to set an alarm so they would be awake when her parents got back home. There was screaming, harsh words and tears, and they didn’t want to see Morgan ever again. It had ended with Morgan dragging Rory out of there, trying her best to comfort her on a park bench not far away from her house.

“Me too. But you’re always welcome here, okay?” Morgan reassured her with a kiss to her hair. She knew how little Rory liked being at home. After her parents found out, they had become very distant and outright ashamed of her.

“Thanks,” she smiled, pressing a short kiss to the side of Morgan’s neck before cuddling even closer to her.

“I love you,” Morgan whispered for the first time.

A short gasp. “I love you too.”

 


 

“FRIDAY? Let the girls know it’s time for dinner,” Pepper said as she set the table and heard the elevator ding, signaling Peter and Ned’s arrival.

“Hi, Ned!” she called out when she saw them.

“Hey, Pepper,” he smiled back.

Peter faked offense. “What? No greeting for me?” he gasped, making Ned snort.

“Don’t be so needy, we saw you an hour ago,” Tony teased good-heartedly, earning a playful smack to the back of his head from his son.

“Morgan and Rory appear to be asleep, should I wake them?” FRIDAY asked, but Tony got up. “No, thanks, Fri, I’ll go get them,” he said, walking towards his daughter’s bedroom. As silently as possible, he opened the door and couldn’t help but smile at his daughter holding her girlfriend tightly with her mouth slightly open. Double checking that his phone was on silent, he snapped a picture to show Pepper later.

“Morgan, Rory. You gotta wake up. Dinner’s ready,” he announced in a voice he knew was loud enough to at least wake Morgan up. She groaned and squeezed her eyes shut before opening them to look at her Dad.

“What?” she mumbled tiredly.

“Dinner,” Tony chuckled at how confused his daughter looked.

“Oh,” she realized, turning her attention to Rory who was obviously a heavy sleeper.

“Hey. Wake up,” she said, shaking Rory slightly. “Victoria,” she said a little louder. That caused a reaction.

“Don’t call me that, you fucker,” Rory grumbled as she opened her eyes and it made Tony burst out in laughter as he walked away.

“C’mon,” Morgan laughed, sitting up, pulling Rory with her, “look at me.” With a playful smirk, Rory turned to face Morgan who was sporting a dopey grin. Morgan cupped her face and kissed her gently before standing up, Rory following suit, holding her hand as they walked to the kitchen.

“Ay, Ned!” Rory called out when she spotted him.

“Rory!” he yelled back.

“What- you knew too?” Tony asked, eyebrows raised.

“Don’t look so surprised. Peter can’t keep secrets for shit,” Ned laughed, making his husband blush slightly.

“Okay, yeah, that’s true,” Tony admitted, sitting down at the table, prompting the rest of the people in the room to do the same.

If Rory had been scared it would be an awkward dinner, she had completely forgotten that just two minutes in. She felt like she fit in, and they all asked her questions to get to know her. In addition, much to her girlfriend’s chagrin, they all seemed to have some embarrassing stories about Morgan that they gladly shared.

It was all good until Pepper, meaning well, asked her about her parents. “Has Morgan met your parents, Rory?”

Morgan looked at her mother with wide eyes, trying to stop her. She seemed to catch on. “Oh. If you don’t want to talk about them, that’s okay,” she assured her quickly.

“No, it’s fine,” Rory said, taking a breath to elaborate.

“Rory, you don’t have to-” Morgan whispered, concerned. Tony and Pepper shared a look.

“It’s alright,” Rory interrupted her with a small smile. “They’re just not as… accepting as you guys. Long story short, I’m not allowed to have Morgan over,” she settled on.

“I’m very sorry to hear that. But you’re always welcome here. Anytime,” Pepper smiled warmly. Motherly. Tony nodded along with her statement.

“And our place, too,” Peter added.

“Thank you. I really appreciate it,” Rory said, a small blush tinting her cheeks. Morgan grabbed her hand under the table, and Rory really felt like she could become a part of the family, just like Ned had.

After that was out of the way and Rory didn’t look like she wanted to talk any more about it, Tony changed the subject, trying his best to make Rory feel like she belonged. He knew too well what it was like to have a father who made you feel like a lesser person. Even though he’d only met Rory an hour earlier, he could already see how much she meant to his daughter. A happy Rory equaled a happy Morgan, so sue him if he tried his goddamn best to welcome Rory into the family right away.

 


 

 

“I gotta get back home,” Rory announced and stood up when it was almost nine in the evening. They had moved from the dining table to the couches in the living room.

“I’ll walk you out,” Morgan said, getting up as well.

“It’s a Friday night. You can stay over if you want?” Pepper offered kindly.

“Oh, no, I can’t. Curfew,” she explained shortly. “But thank you.”

“How are you getting home?” Tony asked, looking up at them from where he was sitting.

“The subway,” Rory told him, picking her phone up from the table.

“Nonsense. I’ll drive you,” Tony decided, but Rory shook her head.

“It’s fine, really. It’s not that far.”

“That’s a lie. Dad’ll drive you, and I’ll come with. It’s no bother,” Morgan said confidently.

“Alright,” Rory smirked shyly, and turned to talk to the rest of the people in the living room. “Uhm, thank you for having me over, I had a great time. I’ll see you soon?” She sounded a little uncertain.

“Of course, come over whenever you want,” Pepper smiled, “it was great having you here, Rory.”

A relieved smile replaced the hesitating one and it warmed Morgan’s heart to see. “Let’s go,” she encouraged her, pulling gently on her hand.

“Bye, you guys!” Rory called out over her shoulder as they walked towards the elevator and heard them all returning it.

 


 

Down in the garage, Rory tried to act normal, but couldn’t help her eyes widening at all those cars. She stood still for a second, just looking at all of them until Tony had made his way over to one of the more casual looking black ones. Morgan chuckled quietly at her reaction before getting in the back of the car with her.

Rory told Tony her address and FRIDAY put it into the GPS, the voice slightly startling her; she hadn’t expected the AI to be in the car as well. He put on some soft rock and they all mumbled along with the lyrics on the fifteen-minute drive.

Upon getting close to her house, Rory leaned over and whispered something to Morgan who nodded reassuringly and spoke up. “Uh, Dad?”

“Yeah, sweetie?”

“Could you drop her off at that corner right there?”

“What?”

“Dad.”

“Alright, alright,” he yielded at the tone of his daughter’s voice. She sounded serious, so he pulled over.

“Thank you so much for driving me home, Mr. Stark,” Rory said as she undid her seatbelt.

“No problem at all. And call me Tony. Mr. Stark makes me feel even older than I am.”

“Well, then, thank you, Tony,” she smiled and opened the car door. Morgan got out too. “I’m just getting in the front,” she explained.

“You okay?” she asked Rory when Tony couldn’t hear them.

“Yeah. It’s just- You know how they’re like. If they see a strange car dropping me off…”

“Yeah.” Morgan stepped closer and pressed a short kiss to Rory’s lips. “I love you. See you soon,” she smiled warmly.

“I love you too.” The soft light of the street lamp above them cast a glow over Rory’s face and Morgan couldn’t help but trail her thumb over her cheek. “Bye,” Rory whispered and turned away, walking towards her house.

Morgan got back into the car, this time in the front. “What was that about?” Tony asked as he turned the car around.

“Her parents. They’re really strict. If they’d seen her being dropped off by a car they haven’t seen before, she would’ve been fucking-”

“Watch it.”

“-interrogated into tomorrow.”

“They don’t sound particularly,” he waved his hand around looking for a word, “nice.”

Morgan scoffed. “You got that right. I can’t even go to my own girlfriend’s house.”

“Yeah, what’s that all about?”

“I’d been over many times and we always managed to pass as just friends, but one day we accidentally fell asleep. And, well, her parents came home and found us in bed like you found us earlier today. And they were so angry at her and said so many disgusting things to her and told me to never show my face in that house again, so I dragged Rory with me out of that house, away from them, and she was so sad, Dad. She cried and cried and cried and-”

“Hey, hey, you need to breathe, sweetheart,” Tony tried to calm down his, now hysterically crying, daughter. She listened to him and took a deep, shaky breath and dried away her tears with the sleeve of her sweater.

“It’ll be okay. She’s as old as you, right?”

“Yeah. Just a couple months older.”

Tony didn’t even think twice about his next words. “Well, great, then she’s 18 in a month. If you’re both okay with it, she can move into the tower.”

It took Morgan a couple of seconds to process his words. “Are you serious?”

“‘Course I am. Doesn’t sound like she should be living with those parents for longer than necessary. Talk to her about it, okay? If she doesn’t want to, that’s fine. But if she does… she’s more than welcome to live with us.”

“Thank you so much, Dad,” Morgan grinned, really wanting to give him a hug, but that’d have to wait until they got back home. A huge weight lifted off of Morgan’s shoulders. She really, really hated how Rory’s parents treated her.

“They don’t… hit her, or-”

“No. No, never that. They aren’t nice, but… they’re not that bad either, thank heavens.”

The rest of the drive was silent, and once they were back at the tower and out of the car, Morgan immediately flung herself at her Dad, crushing him in a hug. Tony hugged her back at least as tight and pressed a kiss to her hair. Up in the penthouse, Morgan bid her parents good night and went straight to her room. Tony went to talk with Pepper about what he had offered Morgan in the car. He had a feeling she wouldn’t put up a fight whatsoever.