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Family is Everything

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“Good morning sir,” FRIDAY announced through the speakers in Tony’s room. “Morning Friday,” Tony replied, eyes still closed and unconsciously reached out to the other side of his bed. Of course there was no one there, another morning of waking up alone. He somehow always forgot that Steve Rogers wasn’t his husband anymore and it had been a year since the divorce was finalized. Three years since he last had sex. Three years since someone else pleasured him, he thought, finally opening his eyes and reaching into his bedside table drawer for his vibrator. He pulled down his pajama pants and started massaging himself and an inch away from inserting the vibrator when Friday spoke again.

“Sir, Peter and Morgan are approaching your room.”

Tony sighed, removing the vibrator and placing it in the drawer where it belonged. He then sat up and awaited his kids’ arrival. Peter came in first, still in his pajamas, tray of food in hand and his sister close behind. They were almost identical. Peter’s hair was just a bit lighter and Morgan had Steve’s eyes but everything else from the way they smiled to the bridge of their nose was all the same. Harley, on the other hand, his first born son, was all Steve with his hair so light he almost looked blonde.

They did this most mornings. Tony wasn’t the best cook. He wasn’t any type of cook really. Even when Steve was still living with them, Tony left all the cooking to Steve. He was happy though, that his kids inherited this trait and could fend for themselves.

Peter sat on his bed first as Tony got into a sitting position. Peter placed the tray of food on the bed side table and hugged his mother before he ruffled his light brown hair. “Good morning, mom.”

Tony embraced him back and placed a small kiss to his forehead. He would never admit it put he had favorites when it came to his kids. They pulled apart and Morgan was there to hug him next.”'Morning mom,” she began. He was just missing one kid; Harley, who was following in his footsteps, off at MIT and studying engineering.

“So we got scrambled eggs, bacon and waffles,” Morgan continued. “Peter & I are about to head off to school. Are you going in to work, today?”

Tony thought for a second, “Yeah. I promised your Aunt Pepper I’d be there to present a new project with her.” Pepper Potts, was co-CEO of Stark Industries. She had been one of Tony’s two best friends since before his MIT days. He had asked her to help him run his company about 5 years ago when he was going through another hard time in his relationship with Steve. She agreed, of course and made S.I. ten times more efficient that it had ever been before. Tony thinks Howard would be happy to know his company isn’t crashing and burning to the ground, if he was alive today.

“That’s awesome,” Peter added, getting up to leave. “And don’t forget we’re staying at Dad’s this weekend.” That’s right. It was Steve’s weekend with the kids. Since the divorce, every second and fourth weekend of the month was appointed for the kids’ time with Steve and he was able to see them any other time that was convenient to everyone. Tony wanted the divorce to be as mess-free as possible and so he never went to court for any custody hearings regarding the kids and Steve didn’t fight it either.

“We love you mom,” Morgan chimed in, rising off Tony’s bed as well.

He let out a small smile. “Love you both,” he kissed his fingertips and extended his hand towards Peter and Morgan.

-

At school, Morgan met up with her friends, Torunn and Amelia. Torunn was the crowned princess and heir of Asgard. She was as beautiful as her mother and as blonde as her father. Thor, against Sif’s wishes, allowed her to attend school in New York so she could experience all the things and long-lasting friendships he forged. He believed it was essentially for the future Queen’s betterment. Tony welcomed her with open arms as she stayed at the Stark Mansion with the Stark-Rogers family.

Amelia was Pepper’s daughter. Morgan was as close to her as Pepper was and still is to Tony, best friends since birth. She and her brother Calvin were family, like the cousins the Stark-Roger kids never had. Amelia was almost the spitting image of her mother with even brighter red hair and her mother’s calm and collected personality.

The three girls chattered by the lockers in the hall as Nathan, Bruce Banner’s son and Morgan’s boyfriend for the past 6 months, approached them. “Hey” Nathan greeted them, adjusting his glasses before wrapping his arms around Morgan and planting a brief kiss on her cheek.

Amelia cooed at the couple, “You guys are so cute. Makes me miss Jacob,” she stated, before Torunn smiled at her and rubbed her arm soothingly. The long distance of the relationship was always the hardest part.

“He’s coming down with Harley for my mom’s Christmas party though, right?” Morgan questioned.

“Yeah but that’s two months away.” Amelia half-whined but she looked forward to it anyway. The group soon made their way to their respective classes.

-

Tony adjusted his suit jacket as he and Pepper walked out of their 3 hour meeting. They had successfully launched their new project idea and if things went smoothly, it would be effective within 6 months. He greeted his workers as he and Pepper made it to his office. He smiled thinking of what Stark Industries had become. It was better and he was happy to know that his and Pepper’s kids would up hold the new reputation of the company long after they were gone. Well, Morgan more than the others. Peter, Harley, Amelia and Calvin weren’t that interesting in running the company. Not as much as Morgan wanted to.

“Thanks Pep,” Tony began pouring them both a drink when they reached his office. The room was all glass and Tony stood at one of his windows admiring the view of New York City, below.

“What for?” Pepper asked, taking the glass from Tony and having a sip after sitting in one of the chairs facing his desk.

“This. That. Everything. You and Rhodey.” Pepper and Rhodey had been there for him since before he met Steve, before they fell in love, before they started a family & eventually fell apart. They were the only two people that kept Tony grounded and pulled him through all the messes in his life whether he created them or not and Tony was forever grateful. He sat across from Pepper, before she spoke again.

“You know we’ll always be here for you Tony. Always. You deserve happiness,” she punctuated her last sentence by resting a hand on Tony’s. Tony seemed conflicted with himself and Pepper noticed. “How are you Tony?”

Tony placed one leg over the other and leaned back in his seat, arms folded behind his head. “Never better.”

“Tony, when is the last time you went out?”

“Last week.” He answered way too quickly. “I took the kids to go see my mom. We all helped her out with her garden and -” Tony rambled on until, she interrupted.

“I mean. Like, out-out. With a guy. Like a date?”

“Oh,” and Tony realized he really hadn’t been on a date since Steve and that was years ago. “I’m too busy to date right now. We have this new project now. And the kids. I have 3 kids to take care of, Pep. And I happen to be a single parent and -”

“Tony. You’re rambling again.” Pepper stopped him. “We’re doing this project together like every other project. Your kids are 16, 17 and 19. Your baby-days are long gone and you have Steve and me and everyone else. We’re always here to help.”

“I just don’t think I know how to date anymore.” Tony confessed.

“That’s fine.” She paused for only a second. “You remember Christine from Leah’s baby shower?” Pepper inquired. Tony nods wondering where all this is going. “She has a friend, a Dr. Stephen Strange who happens to be single.”

He finally caught on. “Pep. I don’t do doctors.”

“You don’t have to do anyone. Just go on one date with him. From what Christine’s told me, I think you guys would make a good match.”

And Tony actually gave it some thought before agreeing. One date wouldn’t hurt.

-

“Winter, please stop running” Bucky pleaded at his daughter as he ran after her.

The caramel–colored-skin girl grinned, her dark curly hair in two little puffs as her father caught up with her, “How about you go play in your room with your dolls, while papa and daddy talk with Uncle Steve, okay?” as he brushed a little fuzz of her hair out of her face.

“Okay papa,” and the 8-year old ran off, being caught briefly by her dad before making it to her room. “Bye Uncle Steve.”

“Bye Winter,” Steve responded while sitting at the kitchen island. “Gosh. She’s gotten so big.”

“Yeah. I wish she could stay little forever.” Sam responded.

Bucky was making lunch and Sam briefly hugged him from behind. Steve smiled at his best friends and thought about how far they had come. They despised each other in the beginning until that hatred turned into sexual tension. The eventual sex gave them Winter and their beautiful little girl made their marriage of 4 years an obvious choice.

“So what’s on your mind?” Bucky finally spoke, cutting the sandwiches he was making into 4s and Sam got drinking glasses from the cupboard above their kitchen sink.

“Tony.” Sam answered for him. “Probably Tony.” He paused. “Always Tony.” And Bucky couldn’t help but let out a little laugh at Sam teasing Steve.

“You guys are so mean to me. Why am I even friends with you two?” Steve finally got to speak for himself.

“Cause we’re family. And we don’t get to choose our family.” Bucky added, passing a plate to Steve and setting one on either side of him for himself and Sam.

“So you’re stuck with us,” Sam explained and Steve couldn’t agree more.

“It’s about Sharon,” Steve insisted. That was a first. Bucky listened intently from there on after when he sat down and Sam rolled his eyes. “She’s just gotten so clingy lately.”

“Lately?” Sam asked, sarcastically. Steve turned his attention to him “Steve, you knew what she was like before you started this thing. Buck and I told you.”

“She was never like this.” Steve glanced at Bucky and then Sam before carrying on again. “I told her it was just gonna be sex but I think she wants it to be more than that.”

“I really don’t understand why you were sleeping with her in the first place.” Sam took a bite into his sandwich. “And, I don’t know if you forgot Steve but you’re gay. Super gay.” He said the last two words slowly, like he was speaking to a child.

Steve turned to Bucky to hear what he had to say but he got the same thing from him. “Super gay,” he put in.

Steve didn’t know why he even bothered. They were like the same person now after years of being together. That use to be him and Tony. “I know.” He acknowledged. “I just couldn’t bring myself to sleep with another man that wasn’t Tony.” It was a good notion but it still didn’t change the fact that he was sleeping with someone that wasn’t Tony, even if it wasn’t a man.

“We get that Steve but you really shouldn’t be using her like that.” Bucky was right. He always was. Sharon didn’t deserve that. She was clearly into him for more than just the sex and he didn’t want what she did.

“You need to drop her like a bad habit,” Were Sam’s finally thoughts on the matter before they started talking about their kids again and Bucky revealed that he and Sam were trying for another baby. Winter was a miracle after years of trying and failing to conceive so they were hoping to get lucky again.

-

Peter swung by on a building before landing on the roof another. He was on three-way call with Ned and Michelle. He was out patrolling. The city had been safe for the past few months thanks to him, or rather, Spiderman. He sat on the ledge of the building watching the busy streets of New York. “Homecoming dance is next week. Who are you taking?” Ned spoke up.

“I don’t know. Not many gay guys at school,” Peter reminded him. It made him think sometimes that he’d be single forever because everyone else was dating, even his sister and brother.

“I think they’re just all still in the closet,” Michelle piped in. That made Peter laugh.

“Will you go with me Mj? As friends of course.” Peter asked. He didn’t mind going with one of his best friends. He liked guys. Everyone knew that and his mom and dad knew that long before he realized it. So he never really came out, like everyone else. It was just an unspoken thing. There weren’t really any guys at his school that he liked anyways.

“Sure,” Michelle stated, nonchalantly. She didn’t see Peter as anything else but a friend. She had eyes for someone else but she was too afraid of rejection to pursue it.

“So Pete, catch any bad guys tonight,” Ned wondered aloud.

“No. It’s really quiet tonight –” Peter began before his spider senses went off and he felt a presence behind him. He turned around and came face to face or rather; face to crouch - with some guy in a red and black suit. “Well, hello to you too but my eyes are up here” the guy sang, looking down at Peter.

Peter stood up quickly. He noticed he had katana swords holstered behind him in the formation of an X. He was definitely taller and more buff than Peter and he had to admit his suit fit him really well.

Ned and Michelle heard it though and started asking about whose voice they had heard. Peter ignored them.

“I’m deadpool.” The guy continued and since Peter couldn’t see his face he had to guess that he was probably grinning under his mask.

“Spiderman.” He was terribly close to him and he could somehow feel this guy’s eyes staring into his through their masks.

“So you’re some kind of superhero?” the guy, Deadpool inquired, circling Peter at this point like a shark.

Peter hesitated for a second. “I am. What about you? I’ve never seen you around here before.” Deadpool stopped circling him and stood behind him. He was closer than he was before and Peter didn’t think that was possible. This guy really didn’t know personal space and Peter couldn’t bring himself to take a step or two back.

“New in town. And no, not a hero. Just a killer,” he whispered and Peter finally took those much needed steps away from this guy, facing him now.

“Relax. I’m not going to hurt you,” Deadpool explained. “I like you. See you around, Spidey.” And he hopped off the building, landing somewhere below. Peter rushed to see where he had landed but he was nowhere in sight.

“Peter, what was that?” Ned finally spoke up after listening in on the conversation.

“The better question is, ‘who was that?’ because it sounds like he’s totally into you.” Michelle remarked.

“Guys, I think I’m going to head home now before my dad realizes I’m not in my room and calls my mom.” Peter responded, swinging off to his father’s house. Ned and Michelle said their goodbyes and Peter hang up. On his way home he spoke to Karen. She was now built into his suit all thanks to himself and he asked her to get all the information there was on Deadpool.

Chapter Text

Carol Danvers-Rhodes arrived on the 4th floor of the Avengers Compound’s main building; except it wasn’t called the Avengers Compound anymore. It was Tony’s and once upon a time, Steve’s family home. The entire compound was remodeled into a large home with a large lawn for Tony and the kids. The only thing that stayed the same from the good old Avengers days was all the suits of the now retired avengers sitting in showcases in the basement. Risking your lives every day to save the world wasn’t easy and after all was said and done, everyone decided to settle down with their families and for once, just lived for themselves. Avenging put their kids in danger every day.

Carol spotted Pepper giving out orders to people, in preparation for Tony’s annual Christmas party in less than two months. “Hey” she approached her, “I thought we were still on for lunch today.”

They had become good friend long before their kids started dating and often made lunch dates so they could hang out more given their busy lives. Carol hadn’t let avenging go so easily though. There were so many other planets out there that still needed help. She was constantly going back and forth from planet to planet. It put a little strain on her relationship with Rhodey but she had to remind him, that she had this amazing power and it would be selfish of her not to use it to help others.

And Pepper was running Stark Industries. If that wasn’t enough, she had been Tony’s support system for a while now and she was thankful that he was doing much better as of late.

“We are. I’m almost finished here.” She motioned for Carol to walk with her, making their way to elevator. Pepper was still typing away on the tablet in her hand as their conversation progressed. After some time, Carol inquired about how the party planning was going.

“Great. I’m actually going over the guest list with Tony right now.” Pepper explained.

“Oh. Is you-know-who on the list?” Carol tilted her head to the side a bit and gave her a knowing look.

Pepper understood. They talked about you-know-who a lot. “As much as I wish they weren’t, they are.” She sympathized with Carol. She tried to omit the name from the list every year but Tony wasn’t having it. “Tony wouldn’t be happy if they weren’t invited.”

“Right.” She recalled how Tony felt about that particular situation. “What’s that thing he always says?”

“Family is family. Everyone is invited.” Pepper answered and she knew the question that was going to come next. “So that means Asgardians too?”

“And Wakandians, Bartons, Banners, Wilson-Barnes…” Pepper trailed off. There was always some kind of inevitable drama at Tony’s parties and no matter what she did, she could never prevent it because their very large family was absolutely crazy and according to Tony everyone was family. Everyone.

-

“Mom. Hey. I just sent you the model,” came Harley’s voice as his face appeared on a holographic monitor in Tony’s lab. It was clear he was using his phone to project an equally similar monitor before himself in his dorm room. “Took me a few days but I finally figured it out.”

Tony had been working on a new project with Bruce for the past few weeks and he figured he’d let his son have a go at it. No they weren’t avenging anymore but creating things had always been a hobby of his so he wouldn’t be stopping that anytime soon.

Of course, Harley figured it out. He just didn’t expect him to get back to him for another few days. His first born seemed very pleased with himself and the moment he smiled Tony’s heart melted. Steve couldn’t deny Harley even if he wanted to. He was his twin.

“Days?” he asked in disbelief, “Harls, Bruce and I’ve been scratching our heads about this for weeks.” Harley was far smarter than people gave him credit for as people thought the only thing he got from Tony was his old playboy behavior with his constant change of sexual partners.

“You’re getting old, mom.” But then again others thought he was too smart for his own good. “Let me know what Uncle Bruce thinks about it, yeah?” Harley suggested, running a hand through his light brown hair and Tony could see the mess of a room behind him.

“Yeah Harls. And would it kill you to clean up after yourself sometimes?” Tony was in complete mom-mode now.

“Ah-ah. No. I don't want to hear it. I moved out so I could avoid lectures like this,” Harley rebutted as he grabbed a soda from his mini fridge.

Tony rolled his eyes. “Harley James Stark Rogers, if you were here, I’d smack you upside the head.” Getting up from his seat and finally saving the model to the folder with all his work. “I have to go and get ready for a date,” Tony said proudly.

Harley almost choked on his drink. “A date?” He sat up straight and eyed his mother suspiciously as he walked around his lab putting stuff away and asking Friday to shut down his other computers. “With who?”

“Your Aunt Pepper set me up with some doctor.”

“You’re dating doctors now?” he took a breath. “Who are you? And what have you done with Anthony Stark Rogers?” The mention of Rogers stung but he had to remember he never got around to changing his name again following the divorce, so legally he was still Anthony Stark Rogers.

“Honey, it’s just one date.” Tony stated simply. It was just a date. He wasn’t marrying the guy.

A thought sparked in Harley’s head and he narrowed his eyebrows before speaking again. “Does Dad know?”

“What? No. That’s none of his business.” Tony rolled his eyes for the second time in their conversation. “Look baby. Thanks again for helping with the model. I’ll talk to you later. Love you” and he hung up before Harley had a chance to respond.

-

Harley stared at the wall where his mother was projected moments ago prior to picking up his phone and sending a few text messages.

One to his group chat with Peter and Morgan. Why didn’t you guys tell me mom was dating someone?

And the other to his dad. Did you know mom has a date tonight?

Just like his brother and sister, he was fully aware of why his parents’ relationship ended but he was always rooting for them to get back together because he knew they still loved each other. Tony and Steve made the decision to never hide anything about the nature of their divorce if they wanted it to go as smoothly as possible. They needed their family to stay intact even if they wouldn’t be together anymore.

He got replies from both his texts.

Peter: Oh yeah. Some Dr Strange or something like that.

Dad: With who?

And Harley passed the information along to his dad. He was probably struggling to use the internet now to find out who he was. Steve was really old-fashioned and hence not very tech-savvy which was weird considering he had lived with Tony Stark for years and had 3 super smart kids.

He straightened up his room a bit, before a figure - all tall, pale-skinned, long jet black hair and light green eyes - stood in his doorway. A simple green dress draped over her body. Nertha. She was a friend and one of the many girls that warmed his bed from time to time, whenever she visited him on campus. Sex with her was always great. There was literally something magical about it and Harley often jokingly called her the Goddess of Sex.

“Lady Nertha,” he spoke whilst bowing before her. His tone was mockingly even though his words held nothing but truth. She was Lady Nertha of Asgard, daughter of Princess Hela Odindottir.

“Harley. I was wondering if you’d like to lay with me?” she spoke softly, approaching him and placing a hand on his check before kissing the other.

“You know I love lying with you Nertha but I made plans with Jacob already.” He took her hand from his other cheek and kissed it, flashing a smile. “Maybe later.”

Harley noted she was a bit put off by the notion but didn’t think much of it.

He found Jacob in his own dorm, smiling stupidly at his phone. He wondered how anyone could be that smitten with one single girl. “Don’t you get tired of sleeping with the same person, over and over again?” His words drew Jacob’s attention to him.

“We’re not even sleeping together, Harley. And if you must know, we’re saving ourselves for marriage.” Jacob explained.

Harley gasped all dramatic-like. “Jacob Rhodes. You’re still a virgin?” he asked.

“Yeah. What’s the big deal?”

“How did I not know this?” and he remembered all the girls that he suggested in the past and Jacob always denied. Harley figured that he must have been secretly gay until Amelia came along. Jacob didn’t respond. “We have to get you laid immediately.” He began scrolling through his phone and an idea popped in his head. “How about Nertha?”

Jacob’s eyes widened at the mention of Nertha. “I am not sleeping with the daughter of the Goddess of Death. I value my life. And I love Amelia.”

“Love?” he tested out the word. “That’s for old people Rhodes. Like my Mom and Dad or your Mom and Dad.”

“If you think so Harls. Suit yourself.”

-

Tony glanced over his reflection in the mirror one more time before he went to the living room and asked his kids how he looked.

He was going to meet Stephen Strange tonight so he told Peter and Morgan bye, grabbed his keys and opened the door only to come face to face with Steve. He was wearing a tight grey long-sleeved shirt that was rolled up to his elbows and a pair of jeans. He looked good, too damn good and he could smell Shawarma coming from the bags in his hand.

“Steve,” he missed the way Tony said his name. “What are you doing here?”

“I thought maybe we could have a family dinner tonight. I brought Shawarma,” gesturing to the bags in his hand. It wasn’t unusual for them to still have family dinners from time to time but what was weird was that Steve never came over unannounced. He always called ahead to make sure the kids were there because they were the only reason he ever showed up to Stark Mansion anymore since the divorce.

“I wish you’d have called first.” Tony lectured. Steve gave him an apologetic smile. As if he hadn’t gone out of his way to buy food and make his way over there on account of Harley’s text earlier, in hopes of…what, exactly? Stopping Tony from going on his date?

“I’m heading out right now,” Steve was drawn out of his thoughts, his blue eyes meeting brown ones and Tony hesitated for longer than he’d hope to. “But, I’m sure Morguna and Pete would love some Shawarma.” He stepped out of the doorway and let Steve in before asking Friday to let his kids know their dad was here. “I have to go, Steve. Good night.” And then Tony was gone, the door closing behind him. Steve settled in the TV room with Peter and Morgan while they ate their food and questioned them soon after, “Who’s this guy your mom’s going out with, anyways?”

-

“Dr. Stephen Strange”, the older guy introduced himself, getting up to pull out Tony’s seat at the restaurant Pepper and Christine had made reservations for them.

“Too formal?” Stephen thought out loud, taking his own seat, opposite Tony. There was already a bottle of wine on the table and Stephen was pouring them each a glass.

“Maybe a little,” Tony responded. He didn’t think he would ever be able to get over that fact that his ex husband also shared the same name even if it was spelled differently. It was like dating Steve all over again.

“Sorry. I haven’t been on a date in a while. Busy with work, you know?” he gestured to Tony. He really did know. He used to be buried in work down in his lab for hours on end until he met Steve. It always felt like he took a moment from his work and the next thing he knew he was pregnant and married. Steve had knocked him up in the first 3 months of being together, proposed when he was 5 months pregnant and married him a few weeks after Harley was born.

Everyone said they were moving too fast.

Maybe everyone was right. Look at them now. But in the moment, when you knew, you just knew.

“You seem a bit distracted,” Stephen noticed.

“Just thinking about my kids,” Tony lied. Because what was he going to say, ‘oh, I was just reminiscing about my life with my ex husband’. Yeah. Great way to start off the date.

“That’s understandable. I don’t have any kids of my own but I get it. Tell me about them,” Stephen tried making conversation. He was doing a lot better at this first-date-in-a-long-time-thing than him.

“I wouldn’t want to bore you with talk of my kids, doctor”. Tony took a sip from his wine glass. After which their waiter came and took their orders. They handed their menus to the waiter and Stephen took this opportunity to hold Tony’s hands in his own.

To say Tony was shocked would be an understatement.

“I don’t think you could ever bore me Tony. I know we don’t know each other well but there wasn’t a single doubt in my mind about meeting you the moment I heard about you.”

Tony averted his eyes. He’d heard that before. When he was younger and still new to the whole dating thing but that was a long time ago. He opened his mouth to speak but got cut off.

“I want to get to know you, Tony.” Stephen carried on. “All of you, if you’ll give me the chance,” and he brought Tony’s hands up to his lips and kissed his knuckles.

Tony chuckled. “You’re just trying to get into my pants, aren’t you?” Or maybe that's what Tony wanted.

“Just want to get to know you.”

“Alright Stephen. You’ve definitely caught my attention but we’re going to need more wine if we’re going to be trading secrets.” And Stephen conjured up a portal with the circular motion of his fingers to the restaurant’s kitchen and pulled out two bottles of wine. Tony had already learned from Pepper that he use to dabble in superhero-ing but he didn’t know they would be having show-and-tell featured in their date. He would have brought a suit of armor otherwise.

“Show off.” Tony remarked. He would give Stephen a chance because why the heck not. They were both single and lonely and everyone deserved a special someone. The name would take a while to grow on him though. It was way too close to comfort.

Chapter Text

Peter could sense someone sneaking up on him as he overlooked the city. It had to be him. He hadn’t run into him for the past 3 weeks and as much as he hated to admit it, a teeny tiny part of him couldn’t wait to encounter him again.

“Wade.” It wasn’t a question. He knew his name now. Wade Wilson.

“Peter.” Wade mimicked his tone. Peter almost had whiplash with how fast he spun around to face him. He knew his name too and then there was a little chuckle coming from the masked man before him.

“How do you know my name?”

“I could ask you the same, Petey.” He responded mockingly.

“I asked first, Wade” he countered in a heartbeat because he wasn’t going to let him get under his skin tonight.

Wade sighed, faking exasperation. “Well, if you must know. I can read minds,”

That wasn’t impossible. He could shoot webs from his wrist. His mom was Ironman. His uncle Thor was an actual god. Wanda was dating Vision, an intelligent machine personified. Aunt Carol could shoot laser blasts from her hands. It wasn’t impossible that Wade could read minds. Peter just hadn’t read any mention of it in his file. And in an afterthought he wondered if Wade could hear what he was thinking in this moment.

“Yes. I know what you’re thinking right now.” Wade remarked and Peter’s eyes widened. He did it again. “I’m kidding,” he confessed sitting by the ledge of the building. Peter followed suit, keeping a safe distance between them. “I followed you home a few times.”

Peter glared at him. “Yeah because that’s not creepy at all.”

“Nope. I told you I’d see you around” and he started drumming his fingers against the concrete. “Your turn, Webs. How’d you know my name?”

“Honestly. My AI Karen got me all the dirt on you. There wasn’t much though. Just that you’re a hired assassin.”

“Sounds like you know everything then.”

“You know a lot about me already from following me home all the time.” Peter started. Wade probably knew everything, really. “You know my name, my family, and my friends. You know what I look like”. He got a nod with each statement he made and even though he couldn’t see his face, Peter knew he was pretty damn pleased with himself. “I think it’s only fair you tell me about you or at least take off your mask.”

Peter then pulled off his mask to encourage him to do the same but all he got was Wade, taking one of his gloves off and gingerly holding his face with his uncovered hand. “Gosh, Petey. You’re even more beautiful up close. I could kiss you.”

They both leaned closer, Peter raising his hand to remove the mask and Wade stopping him as soon as he started pulling at it. It snapped Peter out of whatever trance he was in with the realization of what he was seconds away from doing dawning on him. He was going to let Wade kiss him.

“But I can’t. I don’t think you’re even legal yet,” Wade’s hand still holding Peter’s at his wrist. No. He wasn’t legal at all and Peter knew Wade wasn’t in his particular age group. But why would that ever matter to Wade. He killed people for a living. Surely kissing an underage kid wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. And as much as he wanted to say all that and beg Wade to kiss him, he composed himself and changed the subject.

“Why are you even in New York?” he took his hand back from Wade.

“My ex just moved out here with our daughter. She knows what I do for a living. Says she doesn’t want that stuff around Ellie. But I followed them here anyways” That added hurt to injury. Not only was he a little sexually frustrated, jealousy was now coming to claim him. Why was he anyways? Wade would never be an option.

-

Natasha, Bruce and Bruce’s son Nathan made their way through the elevator and onto the 3rd floor of Tony’s home. Nathan disappeared with Morgan not long after into the home theater where, Peter, Michelle, Ned, Torunn, Amelia and Calvin already were. Nat and Bruce found Tony on the phone. He motioned for them to sit while he poured them both a drink.

“I heard you and Steve are back together,” came Maria Stark’s voice over the phone. Tony was truly appalled at the insane notion.

“Where are you getting your news from mother?” Tony wondered out loud.

“Rhodey came by a few days ago. Said you were dating Steven and something about it being strange. Don’t know why he’d say that though. I think it’s wonderful that you guys got back together. You guys have three babies together. It will be good for them, having their parents under the same roof again.” She went on and Tony smiled sadly.

His mother was definitely getting up there in age. It wasn’t surprising she could have gotten things mixed up. But everything after the mention of Stephen was a never wavering philosophy she held all her life about family. Family was everything to her. It’s why Tony made an effort to visit her as often as possible with the kids. It’s why he was finally having her moved in with him, even though she didn’t want to let their family home go. It will still be there, he always told her. We can come and see it anytime you want. In all honesty, however, Tony never wanted to step foot in that house again after he got his mother out of there. There were too many bad memories there. She had stayed with Howard for all those years enduring his abuse, with the hopes of giving Tony a proper and stable family home. In the end though, it did more harm than good but he would never tell her that.

“Rhodey doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Tony supplied. He would never let her feel like she was wrong. “I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow when I come to get you.” Tomorrow, he was moving her into Stark Mansion. She would have her own wing and more people on her staff to care for her.

“Okay. I suppose I should finish packing.” Maria realized.

“Don’t you dare lift a finger, mother. Let the guys help you.” Tony lectured. She was a bit stubborn, loved doing everything herself and didn’t like help. Tony was happy he didn’t get that trait.

“I got it Tony. See you tomorrow honey. Tell the kids hi for me. Love you.”

“I will. Love you too mom. Bye,” he hung up and sat with Bruce and Nat.

Tony thought they were the weirdest couple ever and he never missed an opportunity to let them know but who was he to judge. They were happy and that’s all that mattered. They lived close by and Tony would always welcome them so they could catch up. Bruce hugged Tony first, he was a hugger. The complete opposite of everything the Hulk was and Bruce had struggled with balancing the two for a long time before Nat came into his life. They had only been dating officially for 3 years now but it felt like forever. Their strange dynamic worked. Nat got the love and family she always wanted - given she couldn’t have kids of her own - through Nathan, and Bruce got someone that loved all of him; the good, the bad and the green. He truly believed he would never find someone to care for him the way Nathan’s mother Betty Ross once did. As a result of that he didn’t let himself care for Natasha at first, thinking one day she would get tired it and leave just like Betty did. Overtime however, he become conscious of the fact that if things ever went sideways in their relationship the reason would be anything but that as she had her own demons fighting as well. We’re all just broken little things, aren’t we? Tony had casually said one day, years ago when addressing the Avengers. It was crazy how it held so much truth. None of them were perfect.

Bruce and Tony pulled apart and Tony got to hug Natasha next.

“So you’re dating Dr Strange?” Nat inquired, sitting by Tony.

“How does everyone know that?” Tony was flabbergasted; tilting his head slightly to the side with his eyebrows frowned. Why did everyone know this? It had only been two weeks since Tony’s first date with Stephen and yes, everything was going great considering their first date. He had just got back from another date last night, as a matter of fact. It was their 5th one in those two weeks but he really didn’t need everyone and their mama or his mom to know yet if things didn’t work out.

“Steve.” Bruce explained. Apparently, Steve had taken it upon himself to let everyone know that he was seeing Stephen.

“I really don’t see why he thinks this is any of his business,” he groaned, typing out an angry text to Steve.

“Tony, he –” Nat got cut off.

“Don’t. Just don’t,” Tony seemed conflicted with himself as he got up to leave. “Nice chat.”

Nat glanced to Bruce, with a ‘what did I do wrong’ look on her face. “You know how Tony is. He hasn’t fully forgiven Steve and –”

“Yeah. I know. It’s been years though.” Nat rebutted.

“It’s been years since the red room,” Bruce shot back and Natasha raised an eyebrow. That was a touchy subject and had it been anyone else, they’d probably lose an eye for that comment. It was necessary nevertheless, to bring up her past. She couldn’t fully get over it after so many years. It should be understandable why Tony couldn’t let go of what Steve did.

“It’s been years, yeah. But things never got better after that.” Bruce fixed his glasses, ending the conversation with that last statement and Nat went looking for Tony afterwards.

-

Morgan was sitting real cozy with Nathan as they watched the movie with their friends, a blanket thrown over them. Torunn sat by Amelia. Ned was watching the movie intensely. Michelle’s cheeks a little red as she talked with Calvin and Peter was off in a corner by himself, smiling at his phone.

The movie finished, Ned suggested another and Morgan used the opportunity to call out to her little brother. “What’s got you smiling over there Peter?”

Ned heard this and responded for Peter. “Oh are you talking to Wade?”

“Who’s Wade?” and everyone in the room turned to look at a blushing Peter. He really didn’t know how to answer that. He wasn’t sure what the relationship was or lack of but he and Wade had been talking almost every day since that day they almost kissed. Wade had given him his number and when he wasn’t annoying him in person, Wade was blowing up his phone.

Even though nothing was going on but two people getting to know each other, his overprotective sister would never approve of it. And what was he to tell her about how they met? The only people that knew he was Spiderman besides Wade now, were Ned and Michelle. And Peter glared at Ned now for even mentioning Wade. This was a conversation he didn’t ever want to have.

“Just a guy I met the other day. We’re just getting to know each other. It’s nothing serious.” Peter confessed, quite honestly but of course Morgan needed more than that.

“No. This is very serious. You’ve never dated anyone before. Like where is he from? How did you guys meet?” Morgan seemed to be genuinely curious.

“We’re not dating, Morgan” he explained sadly, “So please stopping going all ‘mom’ on me. I’ll tell you when I’m ready. Can you respect my privacy until then?”

“Of course.” She could respect that. He’d tell her when he was ready. No need to go snooping around. But she was Morgan Stark Rogers. Snooping was her middle name.

-

Tony was on the fourth floor of his home admiring what had become of the preparations for his Annual Christmas Party. It was 3 weeks away and Tony had to admit it was his favorite time of the year because all his ex-Avengers teammates and their own families would be there, just like one big extended family.

Steve came up in the elevator a moment later. He wore a checkered blue and white shirt and a dress pants. He was freshly shaven and his strong cologne hit him as Tony turned to face him.

“Hey Tones. What’s up?” he said it all casual and innocent like he didn’t know what he had done. Steve got closer than he really needed to be and Tony couldn’t just let that slide.

“You’re really close. Way too close.”

Steve ignored him all together, not moving an inch. “You look really good Tony. I just miss being near you and I never stopped loving you.” He pushed a lock of his dark hair out of his face and looked down at him with his shiny baby blues. But Tony’s been there, done that and he wasn’t going back. He hated when he said shit like that.

“Then why’d you cheat on me repeatedly?” Tony smacked his hand away. He looked ashamed of himself. Tony would never let this go.

Steve ran his fingers through his golden locks in frustration, taking a few steps away from Tony. This was the most sensitive topic that always came up in their conversations. He was stupid and cheated on the one person he has ever loved his entire life. “It was once, Tony and to this day I am so sorry. You know I am. I made a huge mistake and lost the love of my life because of it.”

It was the same song and dance every time they had this discussion and every time he pleaded his case, Tony wanted to fully forgive him. He always looked so sincere but actions always spoke louder than words.

“Yet you two were spending a shit ton of time together afterwards. I couldn’t even go through my heartbreak in peace without seeing you two together.” Tony’s eyes got glossy and tears threaten to fall. It was one of his most painful memories, besides being kidnapped in Afghanistan all those years ago. He was pregnant with Peter the day he found out about Steve’s infidelity and he struggled with his pregnancy from that point onwards. As a result, he had a difficult labor, to the point where his heart had stopped for a while.

Steve wanted to hold him in his arms and tell him everything was okay like he used to when he had episodes of PTSD and he wanted to apologize for all the pain he caused him. He had stayed with him and tried to move pass it but of course him staying in contact with her didn’t help the situation. Tony thought he was still cheating and after 9 years, he caught Steve in a moment with Sharon Carter. Steve explained nothing had happened but it was too much for Tony to handle. They became on and off for the next few years for the sake of their kids. But Tony got fed up with the situation and ending up filing for divorce for the sake of his own sanity. Steve signed, unwillingly and it was just finalized a year ago after 3 years of processing.

He knew he repeatedly hurt Tony but he never cheated after the first time. He knew Tony deserved better. He deserved better than him and most of all, he deserved happiness. Nothing else had ever been easy in his life. Why should he add to his pain? Steve finally opted for, “We never…never again.” It was just that one time, that one stupid mistake that cost him everything.

“It doesn’t matter anymore,” Tony sniffled after which he recomposed himself. “I need you to stop blabbering about who I’m dating to everyone. It’s none of your business.”

“Tony. I just don’t trust him. There’s something off about him.” Steve had the audacity.

“Oh, that’s just rich!” Tony exclaimed. “So, how’s Sharon?” Everyone knew Steve was still sleeping with her. Sharon made sure everyone knew. Steve stayed silent so Tony used the opportunity to make his point.

“Right. It’s none of my business and whoever I choose to date or sleep with is none of your business.” He punctuated his words with a slight raise of his voice. “You lost that right the day you decided to stick your dick in someone that wasn’t me.”

He was still at a loss for words. “He’s coming to the Christmas party. Don’t make a scene Steve.” Tony then waltzed away, leaving an irritated Steve in his wake.

Chapter Text

Torunn stood on the front lawn of the Stark Mansion, with two of Tony’s hired housekeepers standing close behind her. Tony didn’t believe in having help around his home when he had a fully functioning and immaculate AI running his household. He only hired help at this time of the year to aid in getting his guests settled in and to cater his event. The crowned princess of Asgard was patiently waiting to greet her Asgardian family. Holidays were the only times of the year, she got to see her immediate family in person and Christmas was when they came to her.

A dazzling light eventually flashed across the sky and before long her father, mother, aunt Hela and Valkyrie appeared in the middle of the lawn. They were dressed in full Asgardian drapes and armor. Torunn longed to dress in full Asgardian fashion again. The little bits and pieces she added to her everyday wear was never enough making her sword, the closest thing she had to home.

She heard Tony sneer from the floor above them, remarking that Thor branded his perfectly manicured lawn every time he went to and from Asgard. Torunn smiled to herself and walked swiftly to meet her family as they drew nearer to the mansion. When they were within speaking distance, Torunn curtsied, before her mother and father. They were King and Queen after all. “Father. Mother.” She spoke respectively before Thor scooped her up into a bear hug.

“Ah. It’s good to see you again daughter. You’ve grown so much.”

Torunn giggled and went to her mother once her feet were back on the ground. Sif kissed both her cheeks before hugging her tightly. She looked forward to holidays the most because even though she saw her often through portals, there was nothing greater than being in person. Torunn was her pride and joy, her first born. It was so hard to let her go. “My sweet girl, I’ve missed you so much,”

“I missed you too mother,” Torunn responded. She then turned her attention to Hela, hugging her Aunt before she could deny it. “No Nertha?” she questioned.

“Somewhere around. You know her, probably pining after that Stark boy again.” Hela explained with great aversion. She could never comprehend her daughter’s fascination with mortals, Stark’s son especially. After Thor re-instated her crown following Odin’s death, Hela was known as a Princess again. She earned a seat on Thor’s council and was a major influence of what Asgard had become today. She carried herself at an even higher standard now and what her daughter had become was a low point in her eyes, especially for a God. Mortals were beneath them. Nertha was doing the most un-Asgardian thing ever.

Harley, Torunn realized. Wherever he was, Nertha was somewhere close by. “And Uncle Loki?” Torunn continued noticing her favorite and only Uncle was nowhere in sight.

“Your Uncle Loki will show up soon enough. He has always been of his own way.” Thor explained. In all his years, Loki was one thing that never changed. Torunn finally turned her eyes to Valkyrie. It was nice to see another familiar face but it was strange that she would stand as a guard for anyone of the royal family. They all could fend for themselves. They were Gods and skilled warriors alike.

“And hello Valkyrie.”

“Hello, princess.”

“I didn’t know we were re-instating guards for the royal family, Father” Torunn wondered, looking to her father. That had not been a thing since Odin’s reign.

“Only for a time.” Thor clarified, taking Sif’s hand, stormbreaker still in the other and led them towards the Mansion.

“I told your father I didn’t need a guard,” Sif addressed her daughter and Torunn felt so in the dark, like they were completely omitting something. She was this close to asking them what she had missed when her father spoke up again.

“Yes, well.” He said nonchalantly. “It’s not for you. But for the baby.” Thor had a smug grin on his face and Torunn stopped them in their tracks.

“You are with child, mother?” she searched their faces for confirmation. Her mother nodded. “Just 4 months along. A boy.”

“That’s wonderful.”

“Are you truly happy, Torunn? You know as my firstborn you will be the ruler of Asgard one day. You’ll be Queen. It will never be for your brother to claim.” Thor had changed a lot of laws when he became King. One of the first laws was the succession of the crown and the passing of power. The firstborn child, whether male or female would be the heir to the throne. He saw the amount of destruction that came forth as a result of Hela and himself fighting for the throne. She was the first born child and believed for years that she would rule after Odin until Thor was born. He didn’t want that for his kids and even though Torunn had been an only child all her life, everyone knew that a son born to the King and Queen would always be a topic of discussion. He assured her however, the throne was hers.

“Yes father. I know the law and I am happy. I’ll have a brother soon.”

-

In the week leading up to Christmas, the Stark Mansion became very busy. The Wakandian royal family and the Bartons were the next two families to arrive following the Asgardians and Tony was happy they passed on any grand entrances that might further wound his front lawn. Then the Banners, the Wilson-Barnes, Pepper’s family and the Rhodes came next. Even Vision and Wanda showed up and that was a rarity because they were forever busy traveling the world.

Harley and Jacob had been home for Christmas break for a few days now and Tony treated Harley like he was his favorite person in the world. His first baby was home and he couldn’t be happier.

Tony was smothering him in a hug. It was the third one in an hour. Harley was whining about it. “Mom, please stop. I’m not a baby anymore.”

“You’ll always be my baby.” Tony squeezed his son again. “Enjoy my love. You’ll miss it when I’m gone one day.”

Morgan entered the room with Peter and Tony would not let them leave until they did a group hug. “Oh I love you guys so much. My three babies under the same roof again.” He kissed each of them on the head prior to pulling away. Getting to Harley was a little difficult, being as tall as Steve, one too many inches taller than Tony but he made it work.

“So, have you all done your Christmas shopping yet?” Tony wondered.

“We’re going to the mall with Grandma today to finish up.” Peter informed him, referring to Morgan and himself.

“That’s nice. My mom loves you guys more than she loves me, her only child.” It was true. Maria Stark adored the only three grandkids she had and they appreciated her just the same. She was the only living grandparent they had between Tony and Steve. Joe and Sarah Rogers passed one after the other years before Steve even met Tony and Howard Stark passed away in an unfortunate car accident 6 years prior to Harley’s birth.

“Harls, you should come too.” Morgan suggested.

“I can’t. I got a thing-” Harley started. He was hooking up with some random girl later on and Tony could tell that’s why he’d be busy. His former player behavior must have been genetic because Harley was everything he used to be and more before he met Steve.

“Go Harley,” Tony commanded sternly. “Under my roof, my rules. How often do you see your only grandparent? Go spend time with her and your siblings.”

-

-

-

At the Christmas party, Clint, his wife Laura and Natasha were busy talking when Vision and Wanda joined them. The couple had just flown in to New York, from Scotland after many connecting flights.

“Vis and I are thinking about getting a puppy” Wanda stated. She and Vision had been together for only a year now, travelling the world together and falling in love. It was an odd pair but it worked and no one could deny what they felt for each other. Clint smiled at Wanda and Nat sipped her drink quietly.

Clint saw the way Vision stared at Wanda. He knew that look. It was the same way he looked at Laura when they first met and it was the same way he looked at her now, 18 years and three kids later.

Across the room, T’challa was catching up with Sam and Bucky. Nakia was busying herself socializing with guests and Okoye following close behind her. T’challa’s son, Prince Azari and Winter had just run off together and he implied that they might have just been in the presence of the future King and Queen of Wakanda. It was obvious the two children had become good friends in their few years of knowing each other and Bucky admitted that he wasn’t opposed to the idea. T’challa then suggested he visit Wakanda soon if not to see the country again but to introduce Winter to the country and know the land, if he intended for her to be Queen one day. Bucky was always welcomed in Wakanda. Sam joked about gaining the royal treatment if Winter was made Queen. T’challa wasn’t amused.

Not long after, Steve approached them. The four men then engaged in conversation. Tony’s name was brought up a few times, whether it be just Sam teasing Steve or otherwise. At the mention of his name, Steve spotted Tony by the elevator hugging a man that had to be the infamous Stephen Strange. Tony lead him around the party; a present in his hand. A pang of jealously hit Steve.

-

“You look ravishing.” Stephen complimented Tony, giving him a kiss on the cheek. Tony led him in and over to the grand Christmas tree in the corner so he could add his present to all the others surrounding the tree. Everyone was asked to bring a gift for at least one other person on the guest list. They would be opening gifts together in the morning.

“Not so bad yourself.” Tony reciprocated, dragging him over to where the kids were hanging out. “Come. I want you to meet the kids.” Morgan, Harley and Peter were standing by one of the food tables eating and conversing with their friends and each other. They had made an effort to stay together upon Tony’s request so he could introduce them to Stephen and vice versa.

Harley was stuffing his face, Morgan was chatting with Torunn and Peter was hanging out with Michelle. Harley was dressed in a white dress shirt and black dress pants to match. His sleeves were rolled up a bit and his first two buttons were undone. Morgan wore a simple red off-the shoulder-dress and Peter was in a suit. He wore his glasses tonight when he didn’t want to use his contact lens. Tony motioned them towards him and the trio left their friends at the snack table to meet Stephen.

“Stephen. This is Harley, Morgan and Peter,” pointing each of his children out as they greeted Stephen. “And guys, this is Stephen Strange.”

“Dr Stephen Strange,” he corrected.

Harley stopped his eating from the small plate he still had in his hand. Morgan raised an eyebrow and Peter looked from his mother to Stephen in the span of two seconds. Well that was unnecessary, Morgan wanted to say and she looked at her siblings. She knew they were thinking the same thing. Tony was rolling his eyes and Stephen eventually let out a smile and a little laugh seeing the look on their faces. Everyone managed to crack a smile in the end however and soon all three Stark-Rogers kids had disappeared into the party in search of their friends.

Tony instructed Stephen to mingle, promising to introduce him to his mother and his closest friends later on for he still had to entertain guests as the host. Stephen decided to linger by the bar afterwards, watching Tony go from guest to guest. He sipped his drink before he heard a voice speak his name. He put his drink down and gave the slightest smirk when he found the source of the voice. Steve Rogers was glaring at him.

“Steve Rogers, right?” There was a pause. “The ex-husband.” He jeered.

Steve gave him the once over, his eyebrows furrowed and his jaw clenched. He just couldn’t stand him. “What game are you playing here?”

“Still pining after Tony, huh?” of course he would answer a question with a question. “I don’t blame you though.” Stephen teased, raising his glass to his lips again. “Just don’t see how you could cheat on Tony Stark and ruin everything.”

Steve didn’t know why he was letting him speak this long, uninterrupted but then Tony’s voice came ringing in his head. Don’t cause a scene.

“Being inside –” Stephen started up again and that set him off. He didn’t need to hear this. He didn’t need to know this. He tried to hold his tongue, clenched his fist and uttered, “Don’t. Don’t you fucking dare.”

His lips curled up into a smile and Stephen was ready to taunt him again when they saw and heard Maria Stark approaching them. “Steven!” she called out.

Steve backed away from Stephen, welcoming Maria with a hug. “You look lovely Maria” he paid her the compliment and she returned the favor.

“You haven’t visited me in so long.” Maria stressed, taking his hand in both of hers.

“I know. I’ve been too busy but I’ll definitely come see you more now that you’re living at the mansion.” She was happy to hear that and only noticed in that moment that there was someone next to Steve.

“Oh. Who are you?” she wanted to know.

“Dr Stephen Strange, Mrs. Stark.” He stated and shook her hand. Steve wanted so desperately to get Maria as far away from him as possible. “Tony and I are dating.”

Maria was surprised. She pulled her hand away. “Oh no. You must be mistaken. My Tony doesn’t date doctors. Pleased to meet you though. Excuse us.” She turned her attention back to Steve and started speaking in softer tones. Steve led her away after a moment, smirking back at Stephen. This was one Stark he wouldn’t be winning over anytime soon. He wasn’t family and Maria knew it. Now if he could keep the kids on his side maybe there was still some hope left.

-

Peter found Shuri shadowing Prince Azari. She had taken it upon herself to keep an eye out for her nephew from the day he was born. He was to be King one day and Shuri took great pride in seeing over him. The little prince was currently eating handfuls of cake with Winter and a few other giggling kids. She had not seen Peter approaching her.

“Shuri!” she smiled at seeing Peter. They had met when they were younger than Azari and Winter and kept in contact as much as possible over the years. She had no problem admitting when someone was on the same wavelength as herself and admired Peter’s intellect which was no surprise being Tony Stark’s son. They had shared research in the past. She was even in the process of helping him create a brand new spider suit, as a matter of fact; a kind of iron spider suit. Yet another person who knew he was Spiderman but she had figured it out on her own after years of being friends. Shuri just took one look at footage of him saving people in New York and she stared him dead in the face and said, “I have a few ideas for your suit.” And of course Peter denied it but Shuri reminded him, she wasn’t stupid. She was, after all the head of Wakanda’s Science and Information Exchange and pretty darn good at it.

They talked for a while with Azari and Winter lingering close by and soon Michelle and Ned joined in on the conversation. Peter’s phone went off. It was Wade and he excused himself, disappearing into the party.

Wade: Your bed is really comfy.

Wade: Also. I brought you a Christmas gift.

Leave it to Wade Wilson to sneak his way into his mom’s Christmas party at their home and casually hang out in Peter’s room like it was nothing.

Chapter Text

Thor and Bruce were off by the Christmas tree, drink in their hands. He had only a moment ago announced that he and Sif were having another child. Asgard would gain a Prince from their King and Queen and to say Thor was excited was an understatement. He loved his first born. He loved his daughter more than he had ever loved anyone but the joy that came with having a son for a man was undeniable. And while deep in his thoughts, spotted his wife and daughter across the room. Valkyrie was close by. Thor knew he was the luckiest man alive.

“Asgard will have a prince!” he exclaimed, toasting with Bruce but never forgetting how his brother renounced his title and only used it when it benefited him. That was Loki for you. He was not Odin’s son but Frigga loved him like she birthed him herself and he was Thor’s brother. And Thor wondered where he was in this moment. Was he on Sakaar again? Did he even intend to show up to party?

Hela on the other hand, enjoyed being a member of the royal family, a Princess no less. It was what she deserved considering how Odin had pinned them against each other in their fights and squabbles for the throne. He smiled at his older sister when their eyes met from across the room. There was a hint of a smile on her lips with a sulking Nertha by her side.

“I’m happy for you Thor.” Bruce spoke with his tempered voice. “There is something special about having a son.” He knew. Nathan was the best thing that happened to him and he was forever grateful to Betty for giving him the chance to be a father. Seeing your child for the first time was an electrifying experience. Holding them in your arms, knowing this little human is a part of you and watching them grow was the most heartwarming feeling. It was by no means easy but it was worth everything. Bruce looked around at his friends. Most of them had kids. They knew the feeling and his eyes landed on Natasha. Laughing and chatting with guests.

“Yes. If only Natasha could have that.” Thor supplied, noticing Bruce’s line of sight. Natasha couldn’t have kids and the thought use to haunt her. Bruce even suggested adopting but she always insisted Nathan was enough and he singled him out from the ocean of people, Morgan wrapped around his arm conversing with their friends.

-

“Valkyrie.” Sif addressed her guard. “Take a moment. I am more than capable of caring for myself. I hope you haven’t forgotten that I am a skilled warrior.”

“I haven’t my Queen.” They only did this to humor Thor and she walked away to get some food. Sif made her way to the open glass doors to get some fresh air. Her morning sickness was getting the best of her. She leant against the railing, a hand on her small bump when Carol Denvers appeared behind her.

“I wanted to say congratulations.” Carol gestured to her belly.

“Thank you.” And then there was an awkward pause. Carol had to remind herself to play nice.

“Thor must be so excited to have a son.” She continued.

“He is,” Sif responded simply. She liked to keep conversation short with Carol because things always tended to blow up between them.

“I’m happy he’s happy.” She was still going. Sif looked indifferent. She wasn’t sure if she should believe Carol Denvers could ever be happy for Thor since he married her.

“But not happy for me.” Sif spoke for her. She never would be. She and Thor had dated before Sif. He was going to marry her, make her Queen one day but Carol didn’t want that. She could never be anyone’s Queen. She hadn’t even thought marriage could be an option for her until she met Rhodey and settled down. And Odin, who was King at the time, would never let an outsider sit on the throne alongside Thor. He arranged a marriage with Sif. She was a strong noble warrior and of Asgard. She would do well as Queen. Thor had no choice but to obey his father’s wishes but vowed to Carol that he would end their marriage and give up the throne (Loki or Hela would gladly take it) and be with her once Odin had passed. None of that happened as Sif had gotten pregnant and he would never abandon their child.

Sif eyed Carol now. They knew each other’s history and even though Odin was the one to blame for this mess, it still did not change the fact that Thor and Sif grew to love each other. Something she knew they had no control over but there was still bad blood. Sif didn’t like the constant reminder of what was every time she saw Carol and Carol didn’t like the reminder of what could have been. It didn’t matter anymore though Thor made her weak and finding Rhodey after the way things ended was good for her.

 “Look. We’ll never be friends.” Carol stated and Sif scoffed. So they were going to address the elephant in the room then. “But I do wish you both the best.” Carol complied. “I just don’t understand your hatred towards me. You got Thor in the end.”

“But you never fully moved on. Even after years of marriage with someone else and having someone else’s child.” Sif shot back. “You just couldn’t let it go Carol.” She jeered.

A spark flashed across her eyes and Sif could see her fists visibly glow. Carol was an inch away from her face now. “Wanna say something else?” she hissed.

“That’s no way to speak to a Queen,” she mocked, smoothing out her dress and resting her hand on her belly again before reaching behind, a knife now concealed in the sleeve of her dress.

“You’re not my Queen.” Carol reminded her and Sif was sure she was going in for the kill. She wanted her to try it. But Valkyrie came just in time and interrupted their little cat fight.

“My Queen you should come inside,” she led Sif inside with that, giving Carol the once over. Valkyrie even did a double take.

-

“What is happening over there?” Michelle wondered. She stayed with Morgan, Nathan and Ned after Peter bailed on them and had just witness what was just the outskirts of a potential fight between Carol and Sif.

“Aunt Carol and Uncle Thor use to date,” Harley answered, appearing out of nowhere behind Michelle. He was creepy like that at times. She gave Morgan a look as if asking why her older brother was so weird. Morgan shrugged.

“Really? I didn’t know that.”

“Not many people do. It was years ago,” Morgan filled Michelle in. “So there’s always this awkward tension between Aunt Carol and Sif. It’s just never been this close to a fight.”

“I don’t mind having girls fight over me.” Harley explained, winking at Michelle and she made a disgusted face. “I’ll wait,” he whispered so only she could hear. “Or whenever you’re ready,” he smirked.

Morgan heard him though and glared at her brother. Harley was such a degenerate sometimes. He held his hands up in mock surrender and slowly backed away, so much so that he almost bumped into someone. Someone that looked eerily familiar and if the lights weren’t constantly flashing, he could probably make out her face by now. She happened to catch his gaze and immediately called out to him. “Harley. Hi.” Her voice gave her away.

“Lila? Lila Barton?” Stood before him was Clint and Laura’s eldest child, waving at him. He hadn’t seen her since they were little kids but he vaguely remembered her being around Morgan’s age. She’d definitely grown up a lot. She looked good. Lila strolled towards him.

“I almost didn’t recognize you. You look – you look great,” he commented. He hadn’t been able to be alone with Nertha all night with Hela lurking close by but all grown up Lila would do.

“Thanks.” Harley could see her looking flushed under the lights.

Harley took another second to admire her before he put his plans into action. He glanced around the room, combing through the faces of the guests before he located Clint and Laura. They were what seemed to be dozens of people away. “You wanna hang out somewhere else?” he suggested. The further they got away from the Bartons’ view, the better. Harley had put his hand out so Lila could wrap her hand around it. She took it and they made their way out of the party.

“How old are you again?” Harley wondered after a moment.

“Seventeen,” Lila assured him kissing his cheek.

“Nice.” He mused and he wasn’t even aware of the fact that they had walked passed a very jealous Nertha.

-

Before Sif and Carol broke into an almost fight, Rhodey had been having a conversation with Jacob and Amelia. Rhodey liked Amelia for his son. She was like a Pepper 2.0 and Rhodey knew how good of a heart she had. She was strong-willed like her mother and very logical unlike the other girls he had seen Jacob with, courtesy of Harley’s influence. He saw his wife approaching Sif after she stepped outside. They were at an awkward distance away from each other but that was understandable given their past. Rhodey knew about his wife’s previous relationship with Thor and he knew she wasn’t completely over him no matter how many times she denied it. She had sulked about it (as much as freaking Captain Marvel could ever sulk) for a time before she met Rhodey. They become more than friends years later. She grew to appreciate and care for him but it was the birth of their son that really made her leave Thor in her past, that was until she saw Sif and each time the feelings came rushing back.

Right now, her hands were glowing and Rhodey could hear and see her and Sif shouting at each other from where he stood but he wasn’t able to make out the words. Jacob and Amelia noticed the ruckus too.

Rhodey then excused himself stating, “I have to go stop your mother from killing the Queen of Asgard,” to Jacob.

“Do you think we’ll ever be like that?” Amelia spoke after a beat. Jacob peered down at her and wrapped his arm around her waist.

“Never.” He only ever had eyes for her even when Harley tried to pressure him into his lifestyle. He wouldn’t put her through the heartbreak his mother went through and hadn’t recovered from. He kissed her to validate his point.

 

Rhodey passed Valkyrie guiding Sif inside where Thor had also seen but not heard the whole incident. He faintly heard Sif explain to him that Carol had been the one to start their almost fight, claiming he would never put their child in danger like that intentionally, which wasn’t hard to believe; Carol had been the one to approach her after all and many people could vouch to that.

He reached her soon enough. Her back was to him and she sank back into his arms the moment she felt him pressed up against her. “You good?” he questioned, kissing the top of her head.

“She taunted me.” She closed her eyes, soaking in his touch.

“I know,” and they stayed like that until Loki made this grand entrance that caught everyone’s attention.

-

Loki had been tossing around in someone’s bed a few minutes ago when he remembered Tony’s annual Christmas Party. He flew into his clothes and conjured up a few gifts before pulling up a portal to the Stark Mansion. He ended up on the floor below the first time and then cast his spell again to get to the floor where the party actually was.

“Everyone,” he commanded when all eyes were on him. “Your guest of honor has arrived.” Thor had asked of Tony, years ago to let Loki think this party was for him as his birthday was December 24th. It was a way of forcing Loki to attend these family gatherings as he had loathed most of the people in the room but if they were celebrating him, he’d let his hatred temporarily subside. Loki wasn’t stupid though, he figured out that the party wasn’t for him after the first one he attended but Thor didn’t know he knew so he kept up the rouse. Even thinking he had caught on to the Earth holiday and started bringing gifts for everyone.

Hela was the first to comment. “Done whoring yourself out for the grandmaster then?”

“For today? Yes,” he shot back, grinning proudly at her. “Wonderful to see you again dear sister.”

“Likewise, brother” she retorted, returning his smile. Although she tolerated both her younger brothers, she was closer to Loki than she was to Thor for obvious reasons. 

Loki greeted Nertha and then Torunn. “My dear nieces.” Loki never failed to let his brother and sister know how much he preferred their children over them. He and Nertha shared a hug and bowed before Torunn after which she pulled him to his feet and hugged him tightly. She definitely inherited Thor’s strength.

“Loki!” Thor spoke next, hugging his brother even tighter than Torunn did. “I thought I’d never see you again.”

“That’s quite an exaggeration, brother.” Loki patted his back and pulled away from Thor who was smiling like a child who just got some candy. Sif appeared behind Thor and he let Loki know that Sif was with child.

“Another?” he glanced at Sif, asking her why she would let Thor do that to her again.

“A son,” Sif added and Loki glanced from her to Thor to Torunn and back to Thor again gauging their reactions. Yes, Thor had out ruled the law that stated the first born son should be a King’s heir but the people of Asgard would never forget. Thor read his expression and let Loki know that Torunn was his heir and always would be, no matter what the people thought. She was his first born. And unbeknownst to the people of Asgard but Sif and Hela, Thor asked of them to ensure Torunn was crowned Queen after he had passed. His word would be law, even after his death.

“So where is my favorite nephew?” Loki began and soon remembered the child in Sif’s womb. He stooped down and spoke to Sif’s belly. “No offense. You’re not born yet.” The nephew he was in pursuit of had actually been missing from the party for some time now. Tony and Steve had unwillingly allowed Loki to babysit Peter, Morgan and Harley several times in the past and Peter had quickly become his favorite.

Loki spotted Tony talking with Pepper. He had gifts floating around him for some time before he sent them flying over to the Christmas tree. Where was Peter?

-
“Wade! You can’t just sneak into my room like that?” Peter began, wondering out loud why Friday or Karen hadn't informed him about Wade's trespassing. He was dressed in regular clothes for the first time with a jacket and oddly enough his Deadpool mask covering his face. How long would he keep that a secret?

“Oh. I got to know Friday and Karen while I was waiting for you. They’re cool.” Wade announced; he was sitting on Peter’s bed going through the contents of his bedside table.

“As are you Mr. Wilson,” Friday & Karen responded simultaneously. When did Karen and Friday start calling people cool anyways? There were just too many questions with Wade. He pulled out a white box from the draw and waltzed over to Peter.

“Here's your gift Petey,” he hands off the box to Peter.

He stresses that he didn’t know they were at the point where they gave each other gifts and apologizes immediately. Wade shrugs it off. “Open it.”

And Peter pulls out an even smaller box from within the box and then Wade is getting down on one knee and he doesn’t know what’s happening anymore.

“Will you marry me Peter Stark Rogers?”

Peter was stunned. He stopped opening the smaller box and stared at Wade completely frozen until he repeated himself.

“Open it.”

In the box was a necklace with the letter ‘W’ on it. “Not a ring but I want u to wait for me,” Wade stood up. As if he wasn't the one that needed to wait for him to be legal.

“Of course, I'll wait for you," Peter humored him. Wade helped him clasp the necklace from behind.

“Thank you Wade.” It was such a sweet gesture and Peter felt bad he hadn’t gotten anything for him in return. “Am I ever gonna see your face?” They were silent for a moment before Wade gave a nod. Peter realized he wanted him to remove his mask right now. He pulled the mask off seeing his distorted skin for the first time. He saw in his eyes that he was desperately awaiting his reaction but Peter just smiled.

“I think you're even more beautiful up close,” he repeated the words Wade had said to him that one-night weeks ago that they almost kissed. Peter could see his lips curl into a smile for the first time and he pressed his lips to Wade's cheek briefly.

“I guess you have to go back to the party huh?” And Wade Wilson was actually pouting.

“No. Not yet” Peter took Wade’s hands in his. “Karen, please lock my door. Don't let anyone in. Not even my parents.”

Chapter Text

Almost everyone slept over. Tony had arranged accommodation like he did every year for everyone. They only exceptions were his kids’ friends that went home to their own families once the party was over last night. Steve was just getting back from his regular early morning run with Sam when he caught sight of Strange helping Tony with breakfast. They were giggling and Tony had on an apron that read “kiss the cook”. He seemed genuinely happy. Steve wished it was him making Tony laugh like that again but for the past few years all he ever did was make him cry. He saw Strange press Tony up against the counter and he couldn’t bring himself to look away. Sam patted him on the shoulder, making him turn away from the scene. It was his way of sympathizing with him. Sam eventually left Steve standing there to go freshen up for breakfast and wake his husband and child.

Steve thought of doing the same too. He went to wash up and headed to Harley’s room to drag him out of bed prior to sending Sharon a Merry Christmas text. He’d give her that much.

Harley’s door was unlocked, which was odd but he let that slide. “Harls,” Steve began before he got an eyeful of a half-naked Lila Barton. She was struggling to wrap the sheet around her leaving a still sleeping Harley completely naked. The commotion woke him up and he grabbed a pillow to cover himself when he saw his father. He realized that someone hadn’t locked the door behind them last night.

“Hi Uncle Steve,” came Lila’s voice. She sounded ashamed. “I’ll just get dressed and leave.” She bolted to the bathroom without a response and was out within two minutes, dressed and out the door in a second.

Steve glared at Harley; his arms folded over his chest.

“Really Harley?”

Harley stuttered for a second before he mustered up some confidence. “She’s seventeen, Dad. That’s a 2-year difference. Totally legal.”

Steve shook his head at that. Harley had the tendency to “date” out of his age group quite often; sometimes younger and sometimes older. Tony didn’t like. Steve hated it the most. But he wasn’t a kid anymore. He’d do whatever he wanted to, like he usually did. Harley was always the wild child. “That’s not the point. You just ruined that girl’s innocence.”

Harley looked appalled and burst out into a laugh. “Dad, I assure you, that wasn’t her first time. I mean –”

Steve’s jaws visibly tighten. “Why do you think I need to hear this, Harley?” He kept quiet after that and Steve continued. “Clint is going to put an arrow through your arm and no one is going to stop him.”

Harley sighed and eventually got dressed. Steve questioned him immediately after. “What do you think of your mother’s new boyfriend?”

“Well, I just met him last night but he’s cocky, full of himself, definitely thinks he’s better than everyone. None of us really like him.” He was referring to himself, Peter and Morgan. “But if Mom likes him then I guess it’s whatever.”

It was definitely not whatever. There was something off about Stephen Strange. Steve just hadn’t figured it out yet. Harley went to find breakfast and Steve went to Peter’s room next.

-

Peter had overslept for the most part. He stayed up most of the night with Wade just talking and having a good time. Wade would never touch him. The most he ever did was hold his hand. He wouldn’t even return the kiss on the cheek Peter gave him last night. He was sticking to his word and as much as Peter admired and appreciated that, he was getting a bit frustrated at this point. Was he really going to wait almost 2 years before they did anything? He needed to let Wade know that he didn’t have to. He would never tell.

He didn’t know what time Wade left or when he fell asleep. He just knew he was sitting at the end of his bed, the last time he saw him and he sure wasn’t there now. Instead he had a blanket wrapped around him but he did remember changing into his pajamas on his own accord. Peter checked his phone; he had 4 unread messages from Wade.

Wade: I heard you snoring when I started talking about my childhood. Can’t say I’m not a little hurt. I tucked you in btw so don’t freak out.

Wade: Nice spending the night with you Petey. Ttyl x

Wade: ttyl means talk to you later

Wade: the x is a kiss

Peter was smiling at his phone when Steve knocked at his door. “Come in,” he stated.

“Hey Pete,” Steve walked in and sat on his bed. “Michelle told me you went to bed early because you weren’t feeling well.” Steve by pure instinct placed the back of his hand on Peter’s forehead. “What’s wrong?”

Peter mentally thanked Michelle for covering for him. “I think I ate too much.” He lied. “I already went to the bathroom already.” Because that would sell his story.

Steve looked a little grossed out. “Oh okay. Are you up for breakfast then?”

“Maybe a little,” Peter supplied and started getting out of bed. “I’m just gonna brush my teeth.”

“Okay. See you in a bit.” Peter headed to his en suite and Steve left his room, closing the door behind him. He was getting nearer to Morgan’s room when her door opened, and she popped out smiling widely at her father.

“You went running without me, didn’t you?” she questioned. Morgan enjoyed hanging out with her father. Morning runs were like a ritual for them now. She’d been joining him for runs since she was 4. She was a daddy’s girl and Steve knew he wasn’t supposed to have favorites, but Morgan was undeniably his.

Steve returned the smile and wrapped his arm around his daughter’s shoulders and walked down the hall to the elevator. “Sorry honey. Your Uncle Sam caught me first and I didn’t want to wake you if you were still sleeping.”

“Okay. I’ll let that slide because I did kind of oversleep,” she confessed and that wasn’t the usual for Morgan Stark Rogers. She never missed a beat. Everything needed to be perfect. She was super uptight, but Tony eased her out of that the day he noticed that his only daughter was turning into a female version of Steve Rogers. She often mimicked everything her father did as a child and Tony being the complete opposite wasn’t having that. She needed a balance but now she was 70% Steve and 30% Tony.

They talked all the way to elevator and Steve had to ask, “Hey. What do you think of Stephen Strange?”

-

Everyone gathered for breakfast and then on the 4th floor where the large Christmas tree was surrounded by gifts, in a separate room from when the party was kept last night. Tony’s hired cleaning crew was already busying cleaning. Everyone exchanged gifts. Loki gloated about having the best gifts for everyone. Peter agreed. Harley found Torunn and handed her a gift. “Here you go, Princess.”

She took the gift coming face to face with him. She was only a few inches shorter than him. It made him feel small. Not many girls were as tall as him, being 6ft.

“I am not my cousin Harley Stark Rogers. I will not sleep with you.” She knew the nature of his relationship with Nertha. Nothing was a secret with this extended family.

Harley was surprised. He definitely wasn’t expecting to hear that. He straightened up. “I’d never suggest that. You’re a princess after all. My chances with you are non-existent and you happen to be my sister’s best friend. I’d never.”

“You are smart.” Torunn remarked, handing him a gift in return. “Never forget that my father is the God of Thunder; he wields stormbreaker and I carry a sword.” She smiled brightly at him and Harley faked one.

Across the room, Tony introduced Stephen to Maria and she apologized for not believing her son would be dating a doctor. He had sworn off doctors and everyone except Stephen knew it. Steve was watching the scene unfold.

“Careful or you’re going to burn a hole through Strange’s head,” Natasha remarked sneaking up on him, like the spy she was. Steve didn’t realize he was glaring.

“Is it working?” he played along. Natasha smiled and he finally met her eyes.

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” Natasha started. “Sharon keeping you locked up?” She and Steve had always been close. Almost as close as him and Bucky and Sam but as of late, they had been seeing less of each other and Steve knew he was to blame.

“No. I’ve just been distracted,” he said slowly, and his eyes wondered back to Tony and Stephen. Jealously was eating him alive. He hated seeing Tony with someone else.

“I see that.” She stated. “Come on, let’s go open some presents,” and then she was dragging him towards the Christmas tree.

-

It was days after New Year’s Eve. 2017 was finally here. Everyone went to their separate homes and school had been reopened. Peter and Morgan were currently in school and Harley and Jacob went back up to MIT; Harley left with a bandage wrapped around the wound on his arm from Clint’s arrow. Clint had found out about him and Lila. He had tried to put an arrow through him. And like Steve had said, no one tried to stop him except for Tony. He couldn’t stand the sight of his precious first born being hurt. Harley was glad Clint managed to only graze him. Steve informed Harley that if Clint wanted to actually hurt him he would have because he never misses.

Tony had stayed home from work today and Stephen had come over after working late the night before. Stephen rolled off Tony before pulling out of him and tossing the used condom in the bin by the bed. He turned to face him again and started sucking on his neck. “Stephen,” Tony moaned. “I don’t want to have to explain a hickey to my kids.” Tony always thought of his children as little kids even though his youngest was 16. Stephen was confused at times, knowing good and well that a 16-year-old knew about sex and if their mother was dating again, he sure as hell would be having it.

Stephen stopped his sucking and looked down at him. “Your kids are teenagers, Tony. They’re all probably having sex.”

“Don’t say that.” Tony groaned. “I don’t want to ever think that.” Stephen lay back in bed and folded his arms behind his head, staring at the ceiling. Tony pulled himself up, using his elbow for support and resting his head in his hand.

“They don’t like me.” Stephen concluded after a while. Tony stayed silent. “Neither does your mother.” Maria still hadn’t warmed up to him even after being properly introduced by Tony. So, yes; everything he said was all very true but Tony wasn’t going to say that to him. “She said several times that you don’t date doctors. Can I ask what that’s about?” Stephen added.

“I just think doctors are complete assholes and full of themselves. And I vowed to never date one.” Tony explained, playing with his beard. Stephen looked a little insulted, so he buttered him up again. “But that’s changed since I’ve met you.” And he took some comfort in hearing that.

“Excellent save.” He commended. Tony gave him a smile.

“And don’t worry about my family. It may take some time for them to warm up to you. They’re just not use to me being with someone that’s not Steve.”

“And he definitely doesn’t like me.” Stephen mumbled.

“Doesn’t matter what he thinks. He’s just my kids’ father. Nothing else.”

“I don’t understand how he could cheat on you like that. Anyone that could have you should be grateful. They would be the luckiest person alive.”

Tony ignored the mention of Steve’s infidelity. He didn’t want to think of it when he was with Stephen. “So, you’re just chatting yourself up now.”

“All I’m saying is I would never do that to you Tony. I love you.” They’d been dating for little over 3 months and it was the first time he’d said it. Was it too soon? He was looking at him expectantly. He didn’t want to be pressured into saying it if he didn’t feel it. He didn’t think he could ever love again. Not since Steve took that love and stumped all over it.

“I…” he was hesitating. “I care for you Stephen. I really do, a lot. I’m just a little scared to love again not since –” And Stephen captured Tony’s lips with his. They made out for a while, Stephen groping his ass and pinching his nipples. Tony was getting hard again and Stephen started stroking him. Tony moaned into the kiss and Stephen got between his legs, positioning himself at his hole. He pulled away. Tony was struggling to catch his breath.

“I get it,” was all Stephen said before he was sinking into his already stretched hole. Tony gasped, feeling him without a condom for the first time. He nodded as best he could, given that Stephen’s face was an inch away from his and his hands soon found his black and gray hair, yanking at it with each thrust. He was deep. So deep, Tony thought he could feel him in his womb.

“You feel so good Tony. And so tight.” Stephen added. They were kissing again and Tony bit down on his bottom lip when he gave a particularly hard thrust. He tasted blood. Stephen gave even harder thrusts following Tony’s attack on his lip. He felt full with how deep Stephen was going. His cock was being squeezed mercilessly between their bodies. “Damn it Stephen!” he screamed out coming between them. It took Stephen over the edge, filling Tony up to the brim and marking his insides as his.

“I wish I could stay in you forever.” He caught his breath. His cock still nested in his hole, beads of cum slipping out.

“That’s fine baby. I just can’t go another round after that.” And Stephen tried to stop himself from getting hard again.

He failed.

And they were at it again. Tony was left sore and half crippled after that. Where was he getting all this energy from, being in his late 40s?

-

“Dad! You didn’t have to do that,” Lila Barton pleaded. “I wanted it.”

And Clint wanted to hurl.

He didn’t need to hear his 17-year-old daughter talking like this. He glanced at his wife and she looked just as concerned as he was. Laura tried to get Lila to calm down. He had struck Harley with an arrow, just minutes ago. He was getting bandaged up by Bruce and Tony as they got their stuff together to go home. Harley would be fine.

“Mom. It was consensual. He didn’t force me to do anything.” She carried on.

“Baby. It doesn’t matter. That shouldn’t have happened.” Laura added. She saw Natasha approaching them.

“And you shot him with an arrow.” She turned back to her father.

Clint was unfazed. “He’ll live,” he said, walking away from the argument to put the last of their bags in their car. Clint didn’t blame Steve or Tony for Harley’s doing. He was his own person after all and legally an adult. And so he decided they didn’t need to stay there any longer.

“Cooper. Nathaniel. Let’s go.” The other two Barton kids came down soon after with their own bags. Lila groaned and went to get her stuff too.

Nat reached them, “You guys are really leaving?”

“You don’t think I should?” Clint raised an eyebrow.

“No. I get it. Harley over stepped. I just don’t think you should be putting all the blame on Harley when they both admitted to it being consensual.”

Clint and Laura exchanged looks. “And they’re both still kids,” she continued. “They make mistakes.” Natasha lived by that. Everyone made mistakes. It was only human nature. She’d made so many mistakes in her past but she’d redeemed herself over the years and she believed everyone deserved a chance to do the same.

When Lila came back, she smiled for the first time that morning. Aunt Nat would be on her side. “Please tell me you talked some sense into Mom and Dad.”

Of course not. Lila ended up being grounded. She grumbled and complained about it the entire ride home. Clint supposed Nat was right. It was kind of selfish of him to attack Harley and not punish his own daughter. Might as well hold everyone accountable for their actions.

-

Morgan, Torunn and Peter had just gotten home from school. Morgan and Torunn disappeared to their rooms and Peter lingered in the kitchen. He unconsciously twisted the “W” on his necklace while rummaging around the kitchen to find a bite to eat.

“What’s that?” Tony popped up behind him, staring directly at the necklace.

“Nothing.” Peter lied, dropping the “W” and stuffed it into his shirt.

“I didn’t know we were lying in this house again,” Of course his mom would guilt trip him like that. All because of dad. Tony sat at the kitchen island and Peter knew to join him there.

“It’s just a gift from a friend...” he trailed off. Tony waited for him to continue. “A guy.” And realization hit Tony. His face lit up.

“You have a boyfriend.” It wasn’t a question. “Who is he?”

“Mom,” he whined, “He’s not my boyfriend. I swear. We’re just friends.”

“Sure.” Tony responded, sarcastically.

“Really. He’s a bit older so it would never work.”

“How old are we talking?” Tony wanted to know because How old could the guy possibly be? Thirty? Tony almost laughed to himself.

“Twenty...” Peter began.

“Well...” Twenty wasn’t so bad.

“…eight.” Peter finished.

“Absolutely not!” Tony shouted. “You’re 16 Peter!” He paused. “Is he forcing you?” He said the last part in a whisper.

“No!” Peter countered. “He refuses to touch me and we’re just friends.”

“Not with someone that's almost 30 years old!” Tony went off again. “I want to meet him.”

“Mom…” Peter was panicking. How was Wade going to react to all this?

“I don't want to hear it Peter. I want to meet this guy.” Tony repeated. “You’re lucky I don’t tell your Dad.” Yeah. He really was. Steve would flip out 10 times more than Tony just did.

Chapter Text

Peter had brought Wade by a day after the whole debacle. Wade wasn’t the least bit worried about it but Peter was freaking out. They rode the elevator to the 3rd floor where his mom was waiting, no doubt. Tony minimized the screen projected before him from his phone that then disappeared altogether, when he saw Peter and his “friend”. Tony stayed seated while they approached him.

Peter spoke first. “Mom,” he said it slowly. “This is Wade...Wilson.” Tony got an eyeful of Wade’s face. He stared for a while before he addressed Friday.

“Friday pull up all the information on that name.” Tony requested.

Peter listened in horror as Friday started listing pieces of information on Wade. “Yes Boss. Wade Winston Wilson. Born November 22, 1988 in Ontario, Canada. Age 28. One child: Eleanor Camacho. Age 5. Alias: De –”

“Karen! Override!” Peter shrieked at the mention of Deadpool. It wasn’t going to help the situation if his mom found out what Wade did for a living. At least not right now because talk of Deadpool ultimately meant talk of Spiderman.

“Friday has been override until further notice.” Came Karen’s voice.

Tony stared at Peter for a second, his eyes narrowed. “Do I want to know why you did that?”

Peter rattled his brain for an answer. “I mean, you could just ask Wade whatever you want to know.” Yeah. That made sense. Tony was still narrowing his eyes at Peter until Wade drew Tony’s attention to himself by finally speaking up.

“It's an honor to meet you. I'm a big fan.” Wade gushed but Peter wasn’t sure sucking up was the best way to start this. Wade had his hand held out for a handshake, but Tony stayed seated looking from his scarred hand back to his scarred face.

“Just how exactly did you meet my son, Wade?” Tony questioned, speaking Wade’s name with so much disgust. Tony kept his eyes on Wade as did Peter, wondering what he was going to come up with. He couldn’t possibly say they met up on a roof one night when they were “superhero-ing”.

“Well, I’d been watching Peter…” Wade started. Tony’s eyes widened. Peter wanted to curl up into a ball and die. Wade wasn’t helping at all. Did he know how to lie?

“You’d been watching my 16yr old son?” Tony’s jaw tightened. “Should I just call the cops and get this over with then?” He didn’t have time for this. Not only was this terribly inappropriate, let’s not forget it was illegal.

“We met at the library,” Peter lied. Tony sighed. This was getting ridiculous, really.

“Peter you're a smart kid. Tell me. What do you think a 28yr old wants with a 16yr old kid?”

Peter knew the obvious answer, but he wasn’t going to say it. Instead, Wade did. “Probably sex.” He said, proudly like he’s just answered the million-dollar question and got it right.

Tony’s hands folded over his chest. Peter glared at Wade and it took him a minute to catch on. He found himself trying to right his wrong. “Not that I'm doing that. I would never. Not saying I wouldn't want to. I’d like to, But! Not now. Obviously. At some point. Probably after Peter's birthday in August. You know, the age of consent in the state of New York is 17.”

“Wow,” was all Tony could say. He was getting tired of this conversation. His point still stood. Peter tried thereafter to plead his case.

“Wade is different mom. I promise you. He's a good person. He's kind. He's honest. He's respectful (with me).” He added that last bit as an afterthought. “He's a good guy.” And Peter meant every word.

“Yeah. I'm not the smartest person but I know I like Peter and I want to be with him. One day. When he’s older of course. I'll wait for him.” Wade chimed in, subconsciously reaching out for Peter’s hand and squeezing it for comfort. Peter took it willingly.

Tony stared at them for a moment, playing back everything in his head. This wasn’t going to work. What type of parent would he be if he let Peter continue with this? He’s just a kid.

“Wade you sound harmless,” Tony didn’t believe for a second that he was. “But Peter is just a kid.” He continued, “And maybe you guys aren't doing anything,” Tony doubted that. “But it doesn't look good. You got a kid. Surely you get where I'm coming from.” What would his reaction be if his daughter at 16 was “seeing” an older guy?

But Wade didn't get it. He never gets to see Ellie. He hadn't seen her up close in almost two years. He just sneaks little peeks at her from a distance. His ex and her mother, Carmelita Camacho didn't want Wade in his daughter's life. Ellie didn't even refer to him as her father because she wasn't really sure who he was. Carmelita always kept Ellie away.

Tony’s words brought him out of his thoughts and Peter’s hand had slipped out of his. “This isn’t going to work. I can't have my son being “friends” with you. It’s freaking illegal and God knows if it was, I still wouldn’t let him because frankly I don't trust you.”

Tony got up and began walking away from them.

“Then trust me mom!” Peter cried. Why couldn’t his mother just trust him?

Tony ignored that. “I don't want you seeing Wade anymore. And Wade, you need to stay away from my son. Or I will take matters into my own hands.” He headed towards the bar in the living room and got himself a drink.

“Mom! You can't do that.” Peter screamed. Tony didn’t look at him. Wade took it as his que to leave.

“Bye Petey,” he offered before he made his way to the elevator, smiling sadly at Peter before the doors closed. Peter wanted to cry. He wanted to shout. He wanted to defy his mother. He wanted to make him angry because why couldn’t he just trust and believe him. Trust him and believe that nothing was going on.

Tony was watching Peter fume, a drink now in his hand. The silence grew between them.

And then Peter uttered the words that no parent ever wanted to hear. “I hate you.” Tony’s heart broke and Peter disappeared into his room.

-

It was early February. Nathan’s 18th birthday was coming up. Natasha put together a small intimate family dinner like she did every year she’d been in his life because Nathan didn’t like having the attention on him. It gave him anxiety.

Natasha had brought him a little cupcake with a lit candle as soon as the sun was up that Saturday morning. She adored Nathan so much it was suffocating. It was understandable though. He was the closest thing in her life to a son and in the 3 and a half years she and Bruce had been together, Nathan had actually slipped up a few times and called her ‘Mom’.

She and Bruce sang him Happy Birthday as best they could; Nat more than Bruce being the better singer. They sat on either side of his bed and Nat ran through the events of the day per his requests. They had made his favorite breakfast. They each got him a gift and he wanted to spend the day with Morgan before they had dinner together, later that night.

Nathan’s dislike for attention and parties was well-known but it didn’t stop family from coming by and dropping off presents for him.

He and Morgan spent most of the day out of the city and in the great outdoors by a lake before they had to come back home for the dinner. Nathan’s mom, Betty was going to be there, and Morgan would be joining them as well. In the 10 months they’d been dating, Morgan had only met Betty Ross a handful of times. She imagined it was the same for Nathan with his mother living so far away. They called and texted all the time, but he never saw her enough. That was okay though because he was well aware of his mother’s love for him. And besides, he had another mother living with him that loved and cared for him just as much; if not more.

Morgan liked Betty. And it didn’t take long for Betty to warm up to her too. She liked Morgan a lot. She asked about her every time she and Nathan spoke and dotted on her every chance she got. She even went out of her way to let Steve and Tony know how good they did at raising her. Morgan always beamed when she heard that. She was happy to make her parents proud. Someone had to because Harley wasn’t and maybe Peter was trying.

Dinner was good. The atmosphere was so cheerful and positive. Conversations flowed freely and easily, and no one was going at it with each other. Everything said and done was genuine. Morgan didn’t know the last time she had a family dinner in her home that was this positive. There weren’t fights. No one was ever at another person’s throat with a knife – so to speak – but it could never be this passive at the Stark Mansion.

She knew her parents meant well. She knew in her heart that they still loved each other but her Dad had broken her Mom’s trust all those years ago and things could never be the same again. She did miss that. But for now she would live vicariously through the Banners. She just needed to soak up all this positive family energy a little while longer and that’s why she chose to spend the night.

She’d slept over plenty of times before. Nat and Bruce didn’t think anything of it and neither did her parents. They knew they could trust them. They were smart kids and Morgan especially, knew better.

She and Nathan were in his bed some time later cuddling and going through his photo albums together. They looked at his baby pictures, kid pictures, family pictures over the years. Family pictures with his mother’s side of the family; family pictures with Nat’s side of the family too. Nathan pointed everyone out as they went along. Morgan knew most of Nathan’s immediate family – the Rosses but there were also a few faces she didn’t recognize. Nathan didn’t hesitate to fill her in.

“You remember last summer when I spent time with Nat’s family in Volgograd?” That was the city in Russia where Nat was born. Surprisingly enough, Nat still had family there.

At the mention of it, the memory did come back for Morgan. Nathan had updated her all summer about his time with Nat’s family. She had one older sister, Tanya who was married to a guy named Misha Kozlov and they had 3 kids – Ana, Jaime and Levi. “Oh.”

“Yeah, those guys are pretty cool.” Nathan explained and turned the page to reveal a group picture of the rest of the Kozlovs and himself. Nathan stuck out like a sore thumb among the red heads. There were even pictures of Nathan’s Grandpa Ross – Betty’s father, Thaddeus Ross. Nathan was big fan of his. Morgan reminded him that her parents weren’t, and neither was his dad.

After they got through the album, they settled into bed and let the TV play in the background. Morgan couldn’t help but share with him what she was feeling, following dinner.

“I wish my parents could be as happy as yours.” She began, resting her head on his shoulder and occasionally titling her head back so she could meet his eyes. He’d already taken his glasses off in preparation for bed and she could clearly see his steely grey eyes. “And you have 3 parents.”

Nathan thought for a moment as he always did before saying anything. Morgan valued his opinion greatly. “I don’t think it will ever be like that until they forgive each other. But I get why your mother never could.” Just like everyone else, Nathan knew about what her father did to her mother. “It’s almost unforgiveable. And if he does, who’s to say he won’t do it again?”

Morgan couldn’t agree more. “I know. But I also know they miss each other so much.” She slid down from his shoulder, pulling him down with her so they were fully under the covers minus their heads. She turned to face him, resting her head against his heart. She wished she wouldn’t think about her parents’ relationship so much. They’d moved on after all. Mom was happy with Stephen and Dad was happy with whoever he was with now. It was just sad to think that the relationship was severely broken and extremely difficult to repair.

She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t realize she was crying until Nathan kissed her wet cheek. He wrapped his arms around her, and she smiled through her tears. Nathan was the only person she ever let see her this vulnerable. She had to be strong for everyone else; for her brothers, for her friends and for her parents.

They stayed in the same position until Nathan complained about his arm falling asleep and she laughed, apologizing. She appreciated the gesture and kissed him sweetly to thank him. She slipped her tongue into his mouth and he welcomed it. He sucked on her bottom lip for a second and her fingernails grazed the back of his neck. That alone was enough to get him hard. They kissed many times before but never like this; never this intensely. Nathan pulled away, staring at her in awe. She was gone; her eyes wild, glossy and terribly aroused.

“I want to,” she mumbled. They’d never really talked about having sex before. They figured they would just let it happen went it happened. Nathan just didn’t think it was going to be tonight. But who was he to complain? There was no one else he’d rather have his first time with than her. And clearly, she felt the same way too because one second, she was sitting on his lap fully clothed and the next her top and bra were gone. Nathan drank in the sight of her nakedness and held her in place against his clothed erection. He could feel her soaking through her underwear and soiling his pants.

“Right now?” he questioned, in disbelief and she grinned innocently at him, like she wasn’t in the process of removing the rest of her clothes. And a lot of thoughts came flooding into his mind; like his parents –all 3 for that matter – were a few doors down from them and he didn’t have a condom.

“I brought condoms.” She responded as if she’d read his mind. “Just consider this a second birthday present,” she finished, leaning back down to kiss him. And Nathan was gone too. Of course, she’d plan this; like everything else in her life.

-

Tony hurried with his mother to the emergency room. He hated hospitals. He had almost not shown up, but Maria had insisted. Peggy was like an Aunt to him after all. She was as much family as everyone else. They were in the middle of breakfast when Sharon Carter had called Maria’s phone and told her the terrible news. Peggy had a stroke. Peter and Morgan wanted to be there too when they heard about it but Tony wouldn’t let them. He didn’t ever want them to step foot in a hospital unless someone was giving birth. He had bad memories associated with hospitals.

Peggy’s son and daughter were already in the room sitting by her side. She was still unconscious for the most part. They got up to greet Tony and Maria before passing along what the doctor had told them. She was going to be okay. She was very lucky.

Sharon came in not long after and Tony took that moment to leave. He didn’t need to be breathing the same air as the person who was keeping his ex-husband’s dick warm at night. Tony excused himself giving Sharon the once over as she hugged his mother and was a foot out the door when Peggy called out to him.

“Anthony, my dear, is that you?” her voice was weak, and her frail hand was reaching out to him. Only she and Howard ever called him by his full name and he absolutely hated it but what kind of person would it make him if he didn’t humor a poor elderly lady who just suffered a stroke. That could have been his mom. And he struggled to get rid of that thought the moment it crossed his mind. He watched his mother now, strong and healthy, smiling sadly at Peggy.

“Hi, Aunt Peggy.” He came back into the room, rushing to her side, cupping her small hand in both of his. She used the other to caress his face.

“No Steve?” she asked, looking around. Even in her sickly state, she would never forget Steve.

“No Steve.” He confirmed. He got up and placed a kiss on her forehead. “You should rest Aunt Peggy,” he walked away from her and directed his next words to his mother. “I’ll be outside mom.” He knew she’d want to stay a while longer with Peggy. She was one of her only friends.

He managed to make it outside the room this time. His phone went off signaling a new message. It was Steve. How is she?

He typed out a quick text. She’s okay. The doctor said she was lucky.

He didn’t get a respond; just a very nosey woman peering over his shoulder. “Is that Steve?” Sharon asked, struggling to make out the text on Tony’s phone. Tony put his phone away after that and turned to face her. She didn’t look the slightest bit apologetic.

“I’ve been trying to reach him. He hasn’t been home in a few days. And he hasn’t been answering any of my calls or texts –” She went on.

And Tony only got one thing from all that chattering she was doing. “You guys are living together now?” he asked in disbelief.

“Well. No. Not really...” She stuttered. And Tony had heard enough when she finally finished her statement. “…but we have the baby coming and we don’t want to be living apart –”

Tony’s heart fell out of his mouth. “Baby?” he whispered.

“Yes.” Her hand was casually resting on her mid-section.

“I didn’t know.” He hesitated. “Congratulations.” He mumbled before walking away from her.

Steve had told him time and time again that he never wanted anymore kids after Peter even though he wanted more but a couple years later and he would knock Sharon Carter up, no problem. It didn’t matter anymore though, right? They weren’t together anymore. He had Stephen. He was happy.

-

Steve had opted out of visiting Peggy in the hospital to go to Sam and Bucky’s place instead. Sam was out grocery shopping – one of his favorite pass times. He and Bucky were sitting on the carpeted floor of Winter’s playroom. She’d just run out the room to get two more cups for the tea party her papa and Uncle Steve were now a part of. She had a lot of dolls packed neatly around the room, several doll houses, lots of artwork on the walls and even a TV and play station system for when she played games with her dad. All her dolls had one thing in common. She enjoyed doing arts and craft and from the day she could hold a paint brush between her fingers, she painted every single doll’s left arm in the shades of her papa’s metal arm. She liked to call them collectively, her Winter Army.

Her prized possession, however, was her collection of Avengers action figures sitting under her windowsill. Her Winter Solider and Falcon ones were always sitting together holding hands.

Winter was a happy child and Steve remembered clearly the day she was born. He found it a bit strange that they had named her Winter, knowing what Bucky had gone through in becoming the Winter Solider. But Bucky explained that he couldn’t change the past. It was what made him, him as unfortunate as that was. He’d learned to forgive himself and move on from the darkness that came with the memory and wanted to give the word a new meaning. And what better way was there than to give the name to his and Sam’s miracle? Now every time he said the name Winter, he thought of their daughter. Steve thought it was kind of poetic after all was said and done. Sam actually cried more than he did during the birth.

“Why didn’t you go?” Bucky questioned. Steve was quiet for a while.

“I just don’t want to see her like that,” he confessed.

Steve then pulled out his phone and texted Tony to ask how Peggy was doing. He also had plenty of missed calls and texts from Sharon, but he wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of acknowledgement. He tried to break things off with her a few days ago and then she dropped a bombshell on him. She was pregnant and Steve didn’t know what to do anymore. Sam had laughed at him and Bucky had yet to say anything about it. His words were clearly lost on Steve.

“Or do you just not want to see Sharon?” Bucky inquired.

“Yeah. That too.” Steve sighed.

“You can’t just abandon her Steve. She’s pregnant. With your kid.” Bucky lectured. “You were sleeping with her. It was bound to happen sooner or later.”

“But I was always so careful Buck.” Steve ran his hands down his face before clasping them together under his nose, his elbows resting on the little tea party table set up before them. Clearly, he wasn’t careful enough.

Winter had entered the room again, teacups in hand and Steve and Buck grew quiet. She put one in front of her papa and the other before her Uncle Steve. She put cookies, cakes and other pastries on everyone’s plates and took her seat.

“No elbows on the table please.” Winter explained. That was something Morgan would say at her age. Steve apologized and quickly removed his elbows from the table. He missed his kids at that age and if he was being honest, he wouldn’t mind having another kid. Just not with Sharon Carter.

-

“She’s pregnant.” Tony continued. He was in his kitchen attempting to make dinner. Pepper was projected on a screen behind him from his phone and there was cooking video displayed before him.

“I don’t believe that.” Pepper concluded.

“You think she’s lying?” Tony met her eyes on the screen. The cooking video paused each time he looked away.

“I wouldn’t put it pass her. Let’s not forget she’s a little off…” Pepper reminded him. She was right. Sharon Carter had always been a little on the crazier side. But she was also sleeping with Steve so her being pregnant wasn’t far-fetched. “I say if you haven’t heard it from Steve, don’t believe anything.”

Tony was busy cutting up some more seasonings when he saw Peter get of the elevator. “Hey honey.”

Peter merely glanced at him mumbling a hello before continuing to the next room. He was obviously still upset about what went down that day, a few weeks ago, when Tony met Wade.

Pepper who was still on the phone saw the interaction between them. “He’s still mad, huh?”

Tony sighed, putting the knife down. “Pep. Tell me I did the right thing here because Peter hasn’t stop guilt-tripping me for it.”

“Yes Tony, you did the right thing. The guy was what? Almost 30?” Pepper started. Tony nodded. “I would have done the same thing had it been Amelia or Calvin.”

Peter wasn’t happy about it. Tony was faced with the silent treatment for two weeks and now they were at single word answers on Peter’s part. Tony hated when his kids hated him but boy did he have to dish out tough love sometimes. It’s just that he and Peter had always had a good relationship being his last baby and he needed someone to tell him he was right. And it couldn’t be Steve because he hadn’t mentioned any of this to him. It wouldn’t go over well with Steve and besides, he had handled it already. The situation was non-existent at this point.

Lost in thought, the pot of spaghetti sauce started burning and sticking to the pot. Pepper caught on to it before Tony did and gestured to the pot. She then offered to come by with dinner since Amelia was going to be heading over there anyways to see Morgan. Tony accepted wholeheartedly, groaning that he’d need to toss out another pot. He was just always going to be a horrible cook.

-

After ending the call with Tony, Pepper got to packing containers of food and then Amelia walked in. She’d seen this scene before. There was only ever one reason her mother would be packing food.

“Did Uncle Tony burn his cooking again?” She questioned, already knowing the answer.

Pepper smiled at her. She loved and cherished her and Calvin so much. They didn’t have a father. She’d been doing this all on her own. She always wanted kids but not necessarily with anyone else, so she went the route of getting inseminated, not once but twice. She often wondered to herself if she was putting her kids at a disadvantage by not having a second parent. But Amelia and Calvin were perfectly fine as far as she could see and Amelia was almost 18. She did it for almost 18 years and they never seemed to be lacking in anything, physically, mentally or emotionally.

“Yeah.”  Pepper chuckled. “Can you pack the salad?” She gestured to the salad sitting on the kitchen counter and Amelia got to it. They got the food together and drove over to Tony’s.

Chapter Text

Nertha joined the rest of the Asgardian royal family for dinner. Thor sat at the head of the table with Sif by his side. Her belly was hard to miss now, under her royal robes being 7 months along. Hela was across from her and Nertha sat next to her. Loki was missing per usual and more recently, Valkyrie.

 “What of Valkyrie?” Thor asked the table. Valkyrie had been voluntarily absent when it came to their family gatherings following their return from Earth for Tony’s Christmas party and Thor wondered what had become of his friend.

“She’s been absent from my side, quite a lot.” Sif informed him.

“I’ve noticed she spends a lot of time on Earth, brother.” Hela added. Leave it to Hela to keep a close eye on everyone. “Almost as much as Nertha,” and Hela glared at her daughter. Nertha scoffed, continuing her meal.

“You don’t think something may be happening there that she has chosen to omit?” Sif worried, ignoring the last of Hela’s statement.

“I should hope not. I’ll find her and speak with her afterwards.” Thor concluded, motioning for everyone to continue with their meals.

After dinner, everyone disappeared to their respective rooms. Thor helped Sif to bed and then he went in search of Valkyrie. He found her returning from Earth upon arriving at the bifrost. Thor greeted Heimdall, briefly.

“I should have you relieved of your duties,” Thor joked once she was in earshot.

“I’d like to see you try,” she challenged. And Valkyrie spoke again before Thor could. “I’ve met someone. When we visited.” Thor stayed quiet encouraging her to go on. “She’s very distracting.”

“Oh.” Thor paused. “That’s great.” This was good news. Valkyrie had been by herself for years now and Thor knew she wasn’t happy. But then he noticed she wasn’t sharing his smile. “Something the matter?”

“She belongs to someone else.” Valkyrie explained.

-

I hope you’re okay. Please respond.

That was probably Peter’s 10th text to Wade for just today. Since Tony had scared Wade off, Peter hadn’t been able to reach him. He wasn’t responding to his texts. He wasn’t responding to his calls. And he didn’t show up on the roofs anymore when he patrolled the city at nights. He supposed he shouldn’t be mad. He was only doing what his mother had asked of him. His mom did threaten him and Peter hated him for it. But when did Wade Wilson start taking orders from people? Why was he never rebellious when it pertained to me?

It was like he disappeared. Not even Karen could track him down. He had just disappeared. Like he never existed. And Peter knew if he gave it a little more time, he’d start to believe it himself; Wade never existed. But he did. He knew he did. The necklace around his neck was proof of that. But it had been over a month now. And his mind was conjuring up crazy ideas. Like what if mom did something to him or worse; what if dad did something? What if he was dead? No, he can’t die. That’s crazy.

“Peter. Are you listening to me?” Michelle pulled him out of his thoughts. They were in the sitting room by the kitchen where they had started doing their homework until they broke off into conversations that were completely unrelated. Michelle had been chatting away and he was chewing on his pen, absentmindedly still deep in thought about Wade.

“Sorry Mj. Just –”

“– thinking about Wade,” she finished. Peter had been moping around a lot lately.

“I just didn’t think he would disappear like this. I thought…” and he took a deep breath to prevent himself from crying. He was subconsciously playing with his necklace again before he let it fall back into his shirt. Michelle gave him a moment. Peter threw on a smile and tried to perk himself up. “You were talking about Calvin. Which I guess means you’re finally over Amelia.”

She knew Peter was better off not discussing Wade so she carried on with the conversation as well. “Well…I didn’t say that. But Calvin is nice and it’s only fair I give the person that actually likes me a chance.” Peter thought of Wade. He thought Wade liked him; wasn’t that why he was giving him a chance. He asked him to wait for him. He wished he could but how long should he wait for someone who disappeared without even saying goodbye.

“I guess as long as you’re not using him to get to Amelia.” Had Wade been using him somehow? I mean, he didn’t even want to kiss me. But still…

“That’s not me, Peter.” Michelle replied. Peter knew that. That was more of Harley’s vein line of work. “I actually kind of like him,” and she was smiling. Which was good; she’d been hung up over Amelia for far too long now when Calvin was standing right there with arms wide open.

And as if on cue, Amelia entered the room with Morgan close behind. Morgan was stunned. She hadn’t expected to find her brother and his friend in the common living area. She quickly hid something in her backpack while Amelia greeted the duo for them. Peter noticed that but didn’t think much of it. Whatever it was he was sure Morgan had it under control. She was the most responsible one out of the 3 of them; Harley and Peter. He wouldn’t put it pass her to handle whatever was going on. They were in the next room when Peter spoke again, realizing how flustered Michelle was looking when he put his attention back on her.

“You’re blushing.” He noticed.

“See. I’m not exactly over her.” Michelle sighed, covering her face with both her hands. Peter reached out and patted her on the back, letting out a chuckle.

“You’ll get there.” He assured her. Crushes took some time to get over. He knew that much; just not how long. He didn’t know when he’d stop thinking about Wade even though he walked out of his life.

-

Rhodey sat in bed, his back against his bed’s headboard and an episode of his favorite show playing before him when Carol walked through their bedroom door. She was dressed in casual clothes and as far as Rhodey knew she should be just now returning from a mission which usually required her suit. She was heading to their en suite when he caught her attention

“No mission today?”

Carol halted her actions and faced her husband, “No. I was with Valkyrie.” She answered truthfully. Carol had been spending an enormous amount of time with Valkyrie following Tony’s Christmas party last year; 3 months ago.

“You guys have been hanging out a lot.” Rhodey noted. He wasn’t bothered by that. They both had friends they spent a lot of time with. But between his job, her still being a superhero and finding time for everyone else, they barely had time for each other these days. And the fact that she had become so close with Valkyrie in such a short span of time had Rhodey feeling a little bamboozled.

“Yeah.” Carol responded, stepping into the bathroom. He heard the bathroom sink running. “She’s such a great person. She has a good heart. She –”

“Carol, if this is your way of getting close to Thor and Sif –” because Rhodey wasn’t buying that. Not for a second.

“No!” she countered, stepping out of the bathroom, her hair now in a ponytail. “This is me and Valkyrie hanging out. Being friends.” She paused, narrowing her eyes at him. “James, I can have friends.”

Rhodey stared at her for a long time before she disappeared into the bathroom again. She was lying. He knew she was. There was more to it than what she was letting on. He pulled himself up to the side of the bed and thought it over for a minute. He called out to her when a thought came to him and she came waltzing out of the bathroom, her top now gone. She met his gaze and Rhodey saw something in those green eyes of hers that he hadn't seen in years. “It’s more than that, isn’t it?”

“No.” Her voice was low.

“You’re lying,” he added, getting up so they were face to face.

They were both silent now. Rhodey was still staring at her. Carol didn’t look away. She didn’t move and neither did he.

And then Carol pursed her lips and spoke. “I like her. A lot.” He had the hunch. It was one thing to think something but to have it confirmed was another.

“I didn’t know you were into women,” was all Rhodey could say.

“I’m not.” She paused. He held one of her hands. “It’s just her.” Rhodey squeezed her palm gently because, yeah he didn’t want to lose his wife to someone else but they could work pass this.

But “I think. I need a moment.” He explained. It was too much. Carol released his hand and took a step back. “Yeah. I’ll sleep in another room.” She went to grab a pillow and a blanket when Rhodey stopped her, taking them from her.

“No. You stay here. I’ll sleep in the other room.” Carol watched him leave.

He was halfway out the door when the words slipped pass her lips. “I love you James.”

He smiled at her, his eyes crinkling at the corners. “I love you too.” And he meant it. They just needed some time to get pass this.

The next morning, Rhodey found their bedroom empty. He called and texted her but got no reply. He wasn’t expecting her to ghost him like that.

He decided to call Pepper, being her best friend, she might know where she was. That was a dead end but as long a she had her on the phone he shared the events of the previous night with her. When Pepper was all caught up she let Rhodey know what she thought.

“I didn’t know she was gay.” 

“Apparently neither did she. But I know we can work it out. I was hoping to start figuring something out with her this morning but…”

“Mhm. I’m sure she’ll be back soon. You know Carol, she likes to blow off steam first.” Pepper reminded him.

“Yeah.” Rhodey said, realizing that Jacob was calling him. He let Pepper know and ended the call with her.

Back at her place, Pepper turned to Carol who was wrapped in a blanket on her couch. Carol was grateful to her for not ratting her out to Rhodey.

-

It was family dinner night at the Stark household. It was the first one in a long time that had Maria Stark in attendance and Tony was happy about it. 

Maria had cooked and she was almost through setting the table when Friday announced that Steve was here. Morgan and Peter were already taking their seats at the table and Maria was placing the final dish on the table.

“It looks amazing Grandma.” Morgan commented.

“Smells really good too,” Peter chimed in. and Maria went around kissing their foreheads.

“It’s a shame Harley isn’t here.” Maria realized. She took her own seat and Steve came waltzing into the room, a dish in hand. He brought dessert.

“I don’t mind. He’d eat all the food before anyone else got a share.” Peter confessed.

“Peter. Your brother is a growing boy.” Maria justified, giving Steve a kiss on the cheek as she took the dish from his hands and carried it to the kitchen for later.

“So am I.” Peter shouted, watching his grandmother walk away.

“We can do it again when Harley is here for Spring Break next month,” Tony finally spoke. Maria emerged from the kitchen again and they were able to start dinner.

Morgan appreciated her parents playing nice. She could probably thank her grandma’s presence for that, but she’d take what she could get. Peter limited his interactions with his mom and Steve noticed. When he inquired about it, Tony glanced over at Peter asking him if he wanted to tell his father or should he?

And now Peter was being painted into a corner. Steve was going to absolutely flip out. “Well…” he began. Steve looked at him expectantly, as did Morgan and Maria. Tony on the other hand, was clearly amused.

Then Friday was announcing that Stephen was in the elevator on the way up and Peter couldn’t be happier. He’d gladly trade out talk of his relationship with Wade for any drama that would likely ensue when Stephen and his dad were in the same room. But why was Stephen here, on tonight of all nights; on family dinner night? He wasn’t family. Steve had asked out loud and both Morgan and Peter shrugged when Tony had left to go meet Stephen.

Tony had completely forgotten about his date tonight with Stephen. Work was hectic these days. He and Pepper’s latest project was being launched next month so he was forever buried in his work. And he was also trying to plan a surprise party for Morgan’s 18th birthday next month. With everything going on, he must have scheduled a date with Stephen on the same night as family dinner night without realizing it.

Stephen had access to his home. He could come and go as he pleased so it wasn’t a surprise that he was exiting the elevator now onto the 3rd floor. He was dressed in dress pants and a half-buttoned shirt. He greeted Tony by pulling him in for a hug. “Hey. You ready to go?”

Tony sighed into the hug. He could always just relax in Stephen’s arms. It was nice. They pulled away a little and Stephen pressed his lips to Tony’s. Tony let out a little moan when Stephen’s hands were cupping his ass.

“Are you alone?” Stephen questioned because he was getting just as aroused as Tony was and he wouldn’t mind doing it right here before they left for their date. But the sound of Maria and Peter’s voice informed Stephen and reminded Tony that they most certainly were not alone. And then Stephen wanted to at least greet his mother, but Tony stopped him.

“Baby. I forgot. It’s family dinner night with the kids…and Steve…I forgot that we scheduled our date for tonight.” Tony admitted.

Stephen understood. “I can leave, we can reschedule. I wouldn’t want to impose on your family time.”

“No. I couldn’t let u leave after you came all this way,” Stephen did live far away. “Looking so good,” Tony was nibbling on his bottom lip as he reached a hand into Stephen’s unbuttoned shirt.

Stephen drew him closer once again, enveloping him in another hug. “We could go right now,” he breathed. It wouldn’t be a problem if they did. He just needed a few minutes.

“Tempting...” Tony commented, stopping himself from going any further in Stephen’s shirt. “But I gotta go back to dinner…” he trailed off, before suggesting he join the family dinner. Stephen looked unsure.

“You want me to have dinner with a room of people who hate me?”

“I’ll protect you.” Tony provided, dragged him towards the dining area. “Come on.”

Maria was chatting with Steve when Tony entered the room again; Stephen only a step behind him. Everyone grew silent the moment they noticed Stephen.

“I forgot that Stephen and I had a date tonight. Just been so busy…” Tony was rambling, “Anyways. Thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.”

Everyone watched the scene play out as Tony had Stephen sit by him. His seat was at the head of the table; Morgan on his right and now Stephen on the left. Peter was closer to the other end of the table where Maria sat and Steve was too.

It was painfully awkward when Tony retreated to the kitchen to get Stephen a plate. Steve spoke up first, merely grumbling under his breath. “I thought this was a family dinner.”

Stephen heard and was about to respond when Tony re-emerged from the kitchen, plate and glass in hand. Tony helped share Stephen’s plate and Tony was grateful when a voice was heard over the clinking of utensils against plates. It was his mother.

“So Stephen, what type of doctor are you?”

“Surgeon.” Stephen supplied and he heard Steve scoff.

“I’m sorry. What exactly is it that you do?” he directed his words to Steve.

“Dad’s an artist,” Morgan informed him. Stephen glanced across at her. Steve was proud of how much pride was in her respond. She really was her father’s daughter.

“Art. That’s a very derivative industry.” Stephen jeered.

Steve put his fork down and took a sip from his glass. “I mean after years of being Captain America; saving the world…” Steve drawled on, very nonchalant. “…I don’t see why I can’t indulge in my other skills. It pays well enough.”

“And Dad’s work is phenomenal. Tremendously good at what he does.” Morgan added. Steve grinned at his daughter. Yeah, she was forever his favorite child. He didn’t ever have to ask her to make him sound good, she just did it on her own.

“Better than da Vinci then?” Stephen mocked.

“Better than da Vinci.” Steve confirmed. You could just hear the irritation in his voice.

“You two might as well pull out your dicks too.” Tony snapped, pausing his eating and glared at both respectively. “I’ll get a ruler.”

Stephen and Steve stayed quiet after that. “It’s like I have 5 kids instead of 3.” Tony went on. Silence flowed across the table until Maria went to the kitchen and grabbed desert.

Peter broke the silence. “I’m gonna pass on dessert.” He pulled his chair out, taking his plate with him to the kitchen. “I have homework.” Tony tried calling after him but it was pointless.

“We have a very dysfunctional family,” Morgan noted after a moment. Everyone else at the table knew it but none of them would admit it. Tony smiled sadly at her.

Stephen finally spoke up. “I suppose I was acting rather childish.”

Steve couldn't agree more. “Yeah very childish.”

“And you weren't?” Stephen rebutted, glaring daggers at him.

Tony put a stop to their bickering before they started again. “I never thought I’d have to say this but,” Tony paused, addressing Stephen first. “No matter the amount of hatred,” he glanced at Steve briefly “I have for Steve, it doesn't take away from the fact that he is still the father of my children so I'm going to need you to at least respect him.”

Steve was surprised to hear this. He never thought in a million years Tony would pick up for him, that Tony would ever be on his side again. Especially after what he'd done in the past and/or where they were at this point in their lives, but he was happy about it. He smiled smugly at Stephen thinking maybe there was still some hope left for his and Tony's relationship.

Tony directed his next words to him. Steve was looking way to happy with himself. “Steve,” he started, “I don't know if you haven't caught on yet or you're just choosing to omit this, but Stephen is my boyfriend.” Steve’s smiled faded and Tony carried on. “So, I’m also going to need you to respect him as well because he's a part of my life now whether you like it or not.”

Steve gave him a look of resentment and Tony was annoyed by it because Steve had a girlfriend, a pregnant girlfriend for that matter so he really shouldn’t be concerned with what was going on in his love life and Tony voiced this. “Don’t you have a pregnant girlfriend you need to get home to?”

No one was expecting that. Certainly not Steve. Morgan stopped eating feeling herself grow nauseous and dizzy from it all because her father’s girlfriend or whatever Sharon is to him being pregnant was news to her. “Dad?” She looked up at her father with betrayal in her eyes. When was he going to tell her? Did Peter know?

“I was going to tell you and Peter once we figured it out…I…” Steve was struggling to find the right words. He wanted to sort everything out with Sharon before he told them. He wasn’t aware Tony knew. Sharon must have said something.

“It’s whatever. I’m just going to go.” Morgan pulled out her chair, rushing to her room; her hand covering her mouth. Steve called out to her and was ready to go after her when Tony asked him and Stephen to leave.

Tony walked Stephen out of the room. He tried to apologize for his part in the ruin of the dinner, but Tony didn’t want to hear it. It was just another messy family dinner for the books. Stephen placed a kiss on his cheek, but Tony’s mood didn’t falter as he watched the elevator doors close between them. He was left with Steve.

“I was going to tell you. I just wasn’t expecting it.” Steve sighed. “I’m sorry.”

Tony unfolded his arms. “You don’t owe me an apology. We’ve both moved on.” They needed to keep reminding each other. “You’re free to be with whoever you want, date whoever you want. As am I.” Tony added that last part in for good measure. Steve could sense there was a but coming and he finished Tony’s train of thought.

“But the kids – our kids – deserved to know. I know.” Steve finished and Tony was smiling at him. “Sorry about dinner.” Because he hadn’t apologized for that yet. “Good night Tony.” And there was way too much compassion in those words.

Tony stepped out of the way so Steve could get to the elevator. “Good night Steve.”

When Steve was gone, Tony made his way into the dining area where his mother had started cleaning. “Honey. You should have known not to ever have those two in the same room.” Maria advised. And Tony knew she was right. Maria offered to finish up and Tony ventured to find his kids. They were the most important thing in his life, not any boyfriend or his kids’ father; only his kids mattered.

Tony got to Peter’s room door first. “Pete,” he called out. “I’m sorry…” he apologized when it was Steve or even Stephen who should be apologizing.

Peter opened his door slightly, peering out at his mother. “It’s okay mom. We’re used to it.” He explained. And that wasn’t a very comforting thought. He hated to think his kids were going to turn out like him; a product of dysfunctional home. “Good night, mom,” Peter finished, closing his door before Tony could reply.

“Good night,” Tony whispered. He took himself to Morgan’s room next. Her door was unlocked, and Tony scanned the room but saw no sign of her until he noticed the door of her en suite bathroom was closed. Morgan had looked a bit sickly at dinner.

Tony knocked on the door and called out to her. “Morgan. You okay?” There was no response and it caused Tony to worry. He was about to knock on the door again when she finally answered.

“Yeah. I’m okay, mom.”

Tony left it at that. He let Morgan know he was there if she needed to talk about the mess that was dinner, leaving her to finish up in the bathroom.

On the other side of the bathroom door, Morgan sat on the toilet, her shorts and underwear pooling at her feet as she stared at the plastic stick in her hand.

Chapter Text

Morgan had been avoiding this for a while now. That was her mistake. She had been feeling extremely ill for the past few days. She even mentioned it to Nathan because he would be the first to know. He had suggested they get a few pregnancy tests and then they’d go from there. Amelia had gone with her to get them. Nathan offered to stay with her whenever she took them, but she told him she wanted to do that on her own. And Nathan understood that. So, she bought the tests. Had them hidden away in her room so she wouldn’t have to see them. But that was a couple days ago. She even forgot about them until she felt her dinner rising up her throat the night before during that god-awful family dinner.

She could put that off for only so long. Now she was pregnant. She knew this was a possibility. She knew there was a chance. She just wasn't expecting it but she really should have.

“We used a condom,” Morgan began. Nathan was sitting on her bed, in her room. He came over as soon as Morgan texted him the news. He didn’t care that is was the middle of the night. She needed him. Morgan was shocked, she just showed him the test and he held her in silence until they fell asleep together. They would discuss it in the morning.

It was morning and the initial shock had faded away. Morgan was busy circling the room trying to justify why she shouldn't be pregnant in typical Morgan Stark Rogers fashion. And Nathan was there to quash everything that passed her lips.

“Not the second time,” he countered. Okay, so maybe they hadn’t used a condom the second time.

But, “You pulled out,” she shot back, pointing a finger at him.

Nathan stayed quiet sucking on his teeth. That wasn't entirely true. To be fair there were plenty of times where he hadn't pulled out in the heat of the moment.

Morgan groaned, falling flat on her back on her bed. Nathan turned to look at her. “We were stupid. I was stupid,” she remarked, staring up at him. Morgan felt him running his fingers through her hair and it put her mind at ease. Then she pulled herself up to meet his lips with her own and he willingly deepened the kiss. She reached for his belt buckle, trying to undo his pants when he stopped her and started to push away. They were both out of breath and Nathan tried to expound on why they shouldn’t be doing this considering the predicament they were in. Except, he didn’t stop himself from kissing where her neck met her shoulder. Morgan struggled to pry herself away. She had to be the more resilient of the two.

Nathan drew his face out of her neck, his lips inches away from hers again. “What are we going to do?” Morgan asked. There was a baby to think about. The thought made her shiver. She never thought she’d be saying that so soon but here they were. A baby between them, literally.

“We should probably tell our parents,” Nathan suggested. He took his phone out, typing out a text, asking his dad and Nat to come by the Stark Mansion. Morgan texted her dad too. She scanned over the messages he had sent her last night, following the dinner, which she had purposely ignored. Dad was going to freak out and Mom might have a heart attack. And she remembered, Sharon was pregnant too.

It would be fine though, right? They’d sit them – Steve, Tony, Bruce and Nat – down and they’d had a proper conversation about it. Nathan’s hand was slipping into hers, squeezing it reassuringly. She really hoped this went over some-what civil.

“And after that?” Morgan wondered. What were they going to do? Did they want a baby right now? “Do we want a baby?” she asked aloud.

“Whatever you decide, I’ll be fine with.” Nathan responded, adjusting his glasses and smiling at her. “You’re going be the one carrying him or her. It’s your body. I would never ask you to do something you don’t want to.” And that was gratifying. He wasn’t going to force her to do anything.

Morgan shook her head. She couldn’t, however, agree with that wholeheartedly. “No. This is our baby. You get a say in this. We decide together.”

“We’ll figure it out.” She finished, wrapping her arms around him and kissing him deeply.

-

Jacob had just got off the phone with Amelia and decided to call his mother. Hopefully, she wasn’t too busy or off world. Amelia had let the cat (flerken?) out of the bag about his mother’s living arrangements. She’d apparently been staying at Aunt Pepper’s since the middle of March and it was almost April. Why Amelia waited so long to mention this to him, he didn’t know but he supposed it wasn’t her place to say and it just slipped out.

“Hey!” Carol answered. Her voice was vibrant, loud and perky. Everything seemed good on her end. Maybe he should have called his dad first. Unlike his mom, his dad wasn’t very good at hiding his emotions.

“Hey mom. I’m just wondering how you are?”

Carol was taken back by that. “I’m great. Why?” And Jacob decided it was best to just get to the meat of the matter.

“Did something happen between you and dad?”

Carol grew quiet on the other end, so Jacob continued, “Amelia told me you were staying at her house.” He confessed. That was probably one of her next questions anyways.

She struggled to find the right words, but she figured, she might as well come clean. Jacob was almost 20 years old. He wasn’t a kid anymore. He could handle this. “Your dad and I are in a bad place right now.”

Jacob didn’t miss a beat in his response. “Are you going to tell me you guys fell out of love?” He’d heard that cliché line before. He watched one too many rom-coms with Amelia. It was the same thing in every movie; just different characters.

“No. We still love each other.” Carol stressed, truthfully. They didn’t fall out of love. She just happened to develop feelings for someone else, as well.

“Did you cheat on him?” her son asked, bluntly.

“I’m sorry. Why would you think I cheated?” Jacob heard Carol’s voice raise a bit.

“Because you’re still not over Uncle Thor.” Jacob dared say, all too quickly and he regretted instantly. That was a touchy subject. That was a low blow. That was right below the belt. That was uncalled for. He overstepped, on his own mother for that matter and he knew that wouldn’t sit well with Carol. She was always the stricter parent. She didn’t take any crap.

“And I think you’ve spent way too much time with Harley. You may be almost 20 but I’m still your mother Jake. I can still blast you into the next galaxy.” Jacob found his hands, glowing unconsciously. He didn’t use his powers often. He didn’t like how destructive it could be. He often wondered, how his mother could control it so well. But when he thought about it, she never really did. Carol Danvers just let everything out.

“I’m sorry.” Jacob responded, sincerely, his hands returning to its normal state.

Carol ignored his response altogether and got back to the initial discussion. “I didn’t cheat on your father and neither did he. I met someone but I didn’t do anything with her.”

“Her?” Jacob was shocked. “I didn’t know you were gay.” Not that was a problem. He just didn’t see that coming.

“I’m not. I just.” Carl paused. Jacob awaited her response. “It’s hard to explain. But I love your dad. We love each other and we’re working it out, so I’ve been at your Aunt Pepper’s for a while but we’re okay.” She said the last part with so much sincerity, Jacob wondered who she was really trying to convince; him or herself?

Jacob stayed quiet after that. Carol took it as her cue to end the conversation. She told her son how much she loved him, and Jacob didn’t hesitate to say it back.

When the line went dead, Jacob found Harley venturing into his room. He noticed there was something a little off about Harley but maybe he was just hangover. He’d spent all night out with Nertha. Harley had become very preoccupied with Nertha as of late; more than the usual.

“Harls.” Jacob called out. Harley was raiding his mini fridge.

“Yeah?” Harley popped the top and started sipping on the soda he took out.

“What was it like when you found out your parents were getting a divorce?”

Harley thought for a minute. He’d heard part of Jacob’s conversation before he walked it. His parents had announced they were getting a divorce to him and his siblings almost 4 years ago. He was 16 at the time. Morgan was 14 and Peter was 13. It was safe to say Peter took it the hardest. Dad wasn’t living at home anymore. It was weird.

“To be honest. I didn’t even feel like they were divorced. Dad came by the house all the time. We still had family dinners, still took family trips. It was painless for us, kids. Even though I know it wasn’t for Mom and Dad.” Harley paused. “Bottom line is, we were and still are a family. That never changed even if they split up. And I bet things will be fine for your family too, no matter what your parents end up doing.” Harley hoped it all worked out well. Jacob was an only child. His mom and dad were truly the only family by blood that he had.

“Thanks,” Jacob responded. “Wiser words were never spoken by Harley Stark Rogers.” He teased.

“That was really sappy, huh?”

“Very.” Jacob grinned. Harley faked hurling before he was grinning as well.

“So, your mom’s gay huh?” Then Harley was talking again before Jacob could respond. “That’s hot.” Harley burst out into fits of laughter, but Jacob knew Harley. He knew he was serious. Jacob was in the middle of getting himself a drink when Harley’s phone went off and put a pause on his laughter. Harley opened the text that had popped up and hurried to his feet.

“I gotta go. Nertha needs me.” He clarified.

“So you guys are a thing now?” Jacob teased, narrowing his eyes at Harley and putting the can of soda to his lips.

“Yeah. We’re together.” Harley said it like it was obvious. Jacob almost choked.

“Are you serious?” Jacob’s voice faltered.

“Yeah. I love Nertha. I love her so much.” He was pulling on his jacket and stuffing his phone in the pocket.

“Are you on something?” Jacob could only whisper at this point. Harley chuckled.

“No. I’m serious Jacob. I am in love with Nertha. I gotta go.” Harley finished, then he was out the door. Jacob stood there in awe and confusion.

It was odd. It was strange. It was peculiar. It was down-right weird; Harley being in love. It wasn’t normal and Jacob concluded that he must have been on something or under a spell? He wasn’t sure but he knew the root of the problem and he knew exactly how to fix it.

-

Steve, Tony, Bruce and Nat were seated in the living room. They were completely in the dark about the need for such a gathering. Steve thought Morgan was inviting him over so they could discuss Sharon being pregnant, but he saw that wasn’t the case when he found Bruce and Nat waiting with Tony. Bruce and Nat couldn’t begin to imagine what this was about, and Tony was getting a little worried. Morgan didn’t even want to talk about the night before, when he mentioned it. He was starting to think this gathering and that little bathroom incident were linked somehow.

Nathan and Morgan sat on the other sofa across from them. Morgan was biting her lip and pleading with her eyes for Nathan to come out and say it. The silence was going to eat them up. Tony had to know, what was going on.

“We’re pregnant,” Nathan finally said. And the mind-numbing silence prolonged even more. Nathan and Morgan watched them, awaiting their reaction or response or something because it was way too calm. Where was the screaming and shouting about how stupid she was and how could they be so careless and every other stereotypical thing parents of pregnant teenagers said?

Steve and Tony shared a look and Morgan caught that. Gosh, mom must be so disappointed, she thought.

“I wasn’t expecting that.” Tony stated, keeping his eyes on anything but Morgan.

“You’re disappointed.” Morgan concluded. It wasn’t a question. She knew he was.

“I’m surprised.” That was Tony’s kindest way of saying he was very much disappointed. He still didn’t look at her and Morgan could feel the tears falling down her face. She was crying. She doesn’t cry. It must be the hormones, right? She wasn’t crying because she knew she disappointed her parents, brought shame to them, ruined her future. She was supposed to take over S.I. Her name would be slandered. People would find out. It would look so bad on her parents. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers’ teenage daughter was a complete fuck-up. Not even Harley had ever messed up this badly and he was sleeping with any and everybody.

Steve got up from his seat and walked over to Nathan and Morgan. He stooped down before her and attempted to wipe her tears with a napkin. It crushed him whenever he saw her cry and that was rare. She always held everything together. Always had everything under control. She was miss perfect. Tears were out of character for her and it pained him to see his little girl cry. Nathan let go of her hand and let Steve pull her into his arms.

Nat finally spoke up, coming to sit by Nathan. Bruce followed. No, he wasn’t the pregnant one, but he needed support too. “You guys are okay. Everything happens for a reason.” She whispered to him.

Steve glanced at Nat upon hearing that and at Tony. He was staring back at him. Was he thinking the same thing? Did his act of infidelity happen for a reason? No. It was just a stupid mistake.

Tony tried to push his disappointment aside and went to take Morgan from Steve’s arms. Her face was red and puffy at this point. He kissed her forehead. “Honey, what I’m saying is that I’m too young to be a grandparent.” He was only turning 45 in May.

Morgan managed a laugh between her tears. Her mom always knew how to lighten the mood. “I’m sorry mommy.” She’d take it back if she could. “I’m so sorry.”

They pulled apart and Tony took her face into his hands. All he could see was his little girl. “No baby. You’re okay.” Tony kissed her forehead again. “We love you so much. We all do,” he motioned to everyone else in the room. “We’re here for both of you.” He looked to Nathan.

“So we’re having a baby?” Bruce added, patting Nathan’s shoulder.

“Well...we haven’t decided.” Nathan supplied, because Morgan was still too choked up to talk. The room grew quiet again. “We just found out last night. We don’t know…” He trailed off. Their parents were all collectively sharing a look.

Back in their day when they were having kids, abortion was never an option. Nat in particular took offense.

“Well,” Bruce broke the silence. “Whatever you two decide. Just know you have our full support. 100%.”

“110%,” Tony corrected. That was comforting. Now they just had to decide what they wanted to do. Should they keep the baby? Were they ready to be parents?

Following the discussion, Tony pulled Steve to the side. “Steve?” he called out. Tony could see how distracted Steve was as he watched Morgan and Nathan leave the room. He hummed to indicate that he was listening, however.

“Why do you always do that?” Tony continued, touching his arm so he’d finally look at him.

“Do what?” he asked, clearly confused.

Tony narrowed his eyes. “Take up for Morgan. Pretend like our daughter can do no wrong. I know she’s your favorite. But come on…what she did…what they did is not okay.” Tony knew Steve loved Morgan so much that if she killed someone, Captain America and his righteousness be damned, he’d help her hide the body.

Steve shook his head, taking a step back. “I do not pretend like she can do no wrong.” Steve Rogers really did believe he treated all his kids fairly and equally.

“Yes. You do.” He shot back. “You ran over to her, wiping her tears away like all she’d done was fall and bruise herself.”

“She’s still a kid.” Steve justified. What was he supposed to do if he saw his little girl hurting like that?

“Who had sex.” Tony reminded her. That had Steve quiet for a second before he fired back.

“So that means we turn our backs on our little girl?” Steve wanted to know, narrowing his eyes at Tony. “She already feels so bad about it. She needs our support.”

“Of course. I never said we shouldn’t support her.” Tony said. “But what happened to reprimanding her?” Steve was quiet again, thinking. He refused to believe he put Morgan above his parenting. Did he? Then Tony spoke again. “What if it was Peter who had gotten pregnant?”

Steve almost lost it at that. “Hell no! Not happening. I’d be damned if Peter even so much as had a boyfriend. No fucking way!” His arms were folded over his chest while Tony gave him a look of ‘I told you so’. There was a little gasp from Steve when he realized Tony was right.

“See?” Tony paused, rolling his eyes. “You’re not being fair. You’re being way too lenient with her, when our daughter – your daughter messed up.” He corrected himself.

-

It was the first week in April. Morgan’s birthday was on the 26th and with that thought, Tony remembered his birthday was coming up too. He hated his birthdays. Didn’t like to celebrate himself; not anymore; not like he use to when he was younger. But for Morgan, any of his other kids or any of his friends or family, he’d go all out for them. He’d throw the biggest most extravagant parties. Morgan’s was no exception because little miss perfect was turning 18 and that was a big deal.

Peter caught his mom in the middle of picking a birthday banner. He’d been thinking a lot lately, with Wade being MIA and not there to distract him. Even though it was all said mother’s fault, Peter knew he had to move on from it all. He needed to move on from Wade and this undeniable malice towards his mother. He couldn’t hate Tony forever and with his newfound forgiveness for his mother came the need for a revelation. For whatever reason, his Spiderman secret was eating him alive. He wanted things to be good between him and his mom. He didn’t want there to be any secrets. Morgan had just told him and Dad that she was pregnant not even two days ago. If little miss perfect could mess up that badly and confess to it so early, Peter figured his revelation would be the least. And he was mom’s little baby, like mom liked to say. He wouldn’t be difficult on the baby.

“I think Morgan would like the red, white and blue one,” Peter suggested. Tony shot up and turned in the direction of Peter’s voice. Tony looked over the banners again.

“You know. You’re right. Very Captain America-esque. Should have guessed.” Tony agreed, sending a pic of the banner to Pepper. She oversaw all this fun stuff. Peter was quiet. Tony spoke up. “So you’re talking to me again?” He stared at his son; arms folded over his chest.

“Yeah.” Peter scratched the back of his head awkwardly. “I’m sorry mom. You were right.” Tony smiled at that. “I should have never been hanging out with Wade in the first place.” Because Wade had disappeared – per Tony’s threats – and broke his heart in the process. And Peter was getting teary-eyed and Tony gladly wrapped his baby boy in a hug. “I’m sorry.” He mumbled.

“It’s okay. That guy was a menace you know. He killed people for a living.” Tony informed him. Of course, Peter knew.

“Yeah. I knew.” Peter retracted from the hug. “Mom. I gotta tell you something.”

“What’s up?” Tony’s voice was laced with concern. Peter was radio silent. “You’re not pregnant too, are you? It’s like everyone’s pregnant these days.”

That shook Peter. “No. I can’t even get pregnant.” That was ridiculous. Tony was giving him a knowing look. “Wait. I can’t, can I?”

“Well…” Tony hummed. He could.

“Why’d you never mention this? What if I got pregnant?”

“I figured you weren’t having sex.” Tony raised an eyebrow.

“I’m not but like that’s a big deal, Mom.” Because what if he did have sex unprotected one day and he winded up pregnant when he wasn’t ready for a baby? And mom and dad, he bet had just omitted that.

“Yeah.” Tony brushed it off. “What were you going to say?”

After a beat, Peter finally fessed up. “You know that guy who swings around, saving people, in that red and blue suit?”

“The spider-ling, spider-child, spider-boy?” Tony snapped his fingers at every guess, when he swore, he got it right.

“Spider man, Mom...” Peter whined.

“Right.”

“That’s me.”

Tony placed his right palm over his mouth to conceal his shock…or smile, rather? Why was he smiling? Did he...?

“You knew?!” Peter realized.

“What?” Tony faked shock, his tone was sarcastic. “No.” he sang that. “I had no clue.”

“How long have you known?” Peter asked in disbelief because now he was laughing.

Tony answered with a question. “How long have you had these powers?”

“Almost a year.” Peter answered. “You’ve known for a year?”

“Half that.” Tony corrected.

“Does Dad know?”

“I’ve ran it by him a few times. Your father has selective hearing.” Tony explained. Peter could understand that. Steve only ever heard what he wanted to hear.

“Who else knows?”

“Besides Ned, Michelle, Wade and Shuri?” Tony listed while he packed away the stuff on the table. “Just me and your dad. Figured you’d tell everyone else whenever you’re ready. Didn’t want to spoil it.”

“How did you find out?” Peter wondered.

“One. I know what you look like, you’re my son. Two. Karen and Friday are linked. And three, I like to keep tabs on your medical records.”

“Why?” It was just a series of questions now on Peter’s part.

“That damn super solider serum.” Tony scoffed. “It’s modified your DNA since birth. And Harley’s and Morgan’s. Morgan’s more than yours or your brother’s though. I like to make sure you guys are okay. Like everyone else, we check for any possible powers at birth and overtime. Bruce did with Nathan. Nothing there.” Tony mentally thanked the Gods. How would they possibly deal with another Hulk? Another Hulk that would be dating his daughter. “You know Torunn - literally God. Jacob. Even little Winter – she’s stronger than she looks.” He finished.

Peter stared at his mother in horror. “Mom. You’re dropping a lot of information on me right now. A lot of relevant information. 16 years into my life.” This was a lot.

“I guess I shouldn’t mention your twin that didn’t make it at birth then.” Tony chimed in.

“Wait? What?” Peter was overwhelmed.

Tony laughed it off. “I’m kidding sweetie.”

Peter held his head in his hand. All this new information was giving him a headache. How could his parents hide these things from him? If he hadn’t asked would they had said anything? And how would he know what to ask anyways? It made him wonder, what else were they hiding?

Chapter Text

Tony was startled out of his sleep when he heard a scream. He shot up. He could feel himself shaking all over. He spoke into the darkness. “Fri, what’s happening?”

“Morgan is bleeding immensely, Sir.” With Friday’s response over the speakers in Tony’s bedroom came a dim glow of light from above, reflecting into Tony’s brown eyes.

Tony’s heart dropped. His hands were still shaking. What happened to Morgan in the few hours he’d last seen her? And her baby? Was her baby okay?

“Cause?” Tony wanted to know. He was freaking himself out more by not knowing. Then he pulled the covers off himself and got out of the bed.

“I’m not sure, Sir.” Friday explained.

Tony was racing out his room to get to Morgan’s. “Is there someone else here?” What if someone had gotten pass his security and attacked Morgan. Tony could never guess who. He and the avengers had rid the world of villains years ago. Only petty thieves were left that Peter was conveniently taking care of as Spiderman. Still, it wasn’t impossible that some new villain had come out and decided to attack his family first. No matter what he did, he always made enemies.

“No one else is in the building, since Mr. Rhodes left earlier Sir. Your mother, Peter and Torunn are the only other people here.” Friday answered. Good. So no intruders had gotten in but it still didn’t explain why Morgan was bleeding.

Tony found his daughter on the edge of her bed. Her hands covered in the outpour of her own blood which was leaking from the spot between her legs. Tony could only draw one conclusion from that. She was losing the baby. Sobs were escaping Morgan’s lips. Her eyes were red and the tears wouldn’t stop.

“Mom….” Her voice cracked. “It won’t stop…” Tony ran to her, trying desperately to calm her down. “I can’t stop it…the baby.” She choked out her last words.

“It’s going to be okay.” He tried to assure her before Peter and Torunn came bargaining in. They’d heard the scream too. Peter was shocked out of his mind and stood frozen at the doorway. Torunn had her sword in hand; ready to fight at a moment’s notice. She dropped it when she saw the scene before her, running to her friend’s side. Tony let Torunn take Morgan into her arms as he spoke to Friday. He needed to act quickly.

“Friday! We need an ambulance.”

“On it sir.” Friday responded within the second. Tony then addressed Peter who was still frozen in the doorway. “Peter? Sweetie, I need you to call your dad.”

Peter mindlessly reached for his phone, struggling to find his dad’s number.

“Friday. Call Nathan Banner. Tell him to meet us at the St. Grace hospital.” Tony ordered, watching Morgan cry in Torunn’s hands.

Peter got around to calling his father but was loss for words when Steve finally picked up. “Pete?” Steve questioned over the phone. His voice was ragged and laced with sleep.

Tony snatched the phone from Peter’s hand, stepping outside of Morgan’s room before responding for Peter. Morgan didn't need to hear this. Peter finally moved from his spot and went to Morgan’s side. “Steve?”

“Tony what’s going on?” he worried. It was 2 in the morning. This couldn’t be a regular phone call.

“I think Morgan’s losing the baby.” He whispered and saying the words alone was painful enough. Why was this happening?

“Oh god,” was all Steve could manage to say.

-

Jacob watched Harley with Nertha. He watched his best friend hang on to every word that Nertha said like it was the air he breathed; like a hopeless idiot. Jacob took that one back. Harley clearly had no control over the things he done pertaining to Nertha.

She liked to send Harley to get her things. Poor Harley can’t say no. This time she was sending him out to get her some ice cream. Harley hopped to it and Jacob was left with Nertha. She casted her striking green eyes upon Jacob’s hazel ones. She knew he had a burning issue. She was waiting for him to say something.

“Something on your mind Jakey?” she hooted. Jacob responded instantly.

“What is it? A trick? A spell?” Nertha stopped him right there. She feigned a level of dismay only Nertha could.

“A trick? A spell?” she mocked. “What do you think we are?” It was a rhetorical question. Jacob didn't plan on answering anyways. “We’re not witches or wizards. We’re Gods.” She whispered as a green glow emitted from her body outlining her figure.

Jacob’s hands were glowing on instinct. Nertha became amused. “It’s mind control.” She informed him. “Courtesy of this lovely spell book” Said book appeared in the palm of her hand. Jacob smirked. Okay so maybe it was a spell. Whatever. “Borrowed from my dear Uncle Loki.” It materialized just as fast.

“And just how long were you planning to keep Harley under mind control?”

Her response was nonchalant; as if Harley was just another human she could tinker and toy with it. “For as long as it suits me.” She'd seen the way Harley was with Lila Barton at the Christmas Party those months ago. It infuriated her. She wanted Harley all for herself.

That ticked Jacob off and within a second he had her pushed up against the closest wall, his right arm pressed firmly against her chest to keep her in place. Nertha was strangely turned on by it all and she licked her lips, noting that Jacob’s lips are only an inch away from her own. She wouldn’t mind spending a night with him.

“You need to put an end to this Nertha.” He sneered.

“Or what? You’ll kill me?” she wondered. “You can’t even stabilize your powers.” Jacob looked away at that. Harley must have mentioned that to her. Jacob couldn’t let that deter him. He was glaring at her again when next he spoke.

“Maybe not but I don’t think Tony Stark and Steve Rogers would be too happy to hear that their son has been subjected to mind control.”

Nertha scoffed at that. “As if they scare me.”

“No?” he mocked her. “What happens when they tell Uncle Thor?”

Nertha knew if they told Thor, it would nip Hela in the butt. Uncle Thor might even cast mother out? And where would we go? Where would we live? By the Bifrost with father? Nertha supposed she hadn’t thought this all the way through but in hindsight she never imagined this would get back to anyone on Asgard. Okay. Nicely played Jacob Rhodes. Nertha accepted her defeat. She wouldn’t dare bring more shame to her mother.

“I suppose I can’t make anyone truly love me.”

Jacob released her. “Someone might but you can’t make Harley. He doesn’t even know what love is.” Nertha had to agree with that. As much as she cared for Harley, she knew he didn’t feel the same.

At the mention of his name, Harley entered the room with two containers of ice cream in his hand. “I brought pistachio because I thought of your eyes and –”

Nertha pleaded with her eyes to Jacob for him to wait just a while longer before she released him from the mind control. She enjoyed being dotted on. Jacob shook his head to express his disapproval. He wasn’t having it. Nertha rolled her eyes and interrupted Harley’s speech with the wave of her hand, ending his enchantment. He blinked a few times and then he looked from Nertha and Jacob to the containers in his hands, asking what was going on. Nertha gladly retrieved both containers from Harley’s hands and they levitated around her as she existed the room.

Harley felt a sharp pain in his head and Jacob went to his aid, sitting him on the bed. He asked what happened again and Jacob finally answered. “Long story short. You’ve been under mind control for the last couple of weeks.”

-

Tony picked up after the third ring on Pepper’s third attempt at calling that morning. She and Tony were due to be present at their long-awaited project tomorrow; 6 months in the making. Tony had been MIA and completely unreachable for a day or two now. Pepper was getting a bit concerned.

“Hey Pep.” Tony sounded tired, like he hadn’t slept in a long time so maybe he was throwing himself into finishing the model for their project. 

“Are you okay?” she questioned.

Tony groaned audibly. “We’ve been trying to keep this under wraps. Only immediate family knows but Morgan was pregnant.” Pepper kept quiet when he paused. “She lost the baby two days ago.” A lightbulb went off in Pepper’s head; so that was the real reason Amelia hadn’t been over to see Morgan. All Amelia was getting when she called or texted Morgan was Tony or Steve letting her know how ‘sick’ Morgan was; how it might be contagious. But Morgan had had a miscarriage.

“I’m so sorry Tony.” She managed. Pepper could imagine Tony waving her off.

“Pep, I see how torn up she is and it’s like I’m the one who had the miscarriage. I can feel her pain. It breaks my heart. She’s just a kid. She shouldn’t have to deal with something like this.” She can hear Tony’s voice break.

“I know.” Pepper’s eyes get a little wet at Tony’s description. “One of the pains of being a mother. You can just feel your children’s pain.” Pepper knew. Even as old as her kids were, if they so much as got a paper cut, she’d wince at the sight of it.

“I can’t make it to the project launch tomorrow. I’m sorry.” Their long-awaited project was finally being put in effective tomorrow.

“It’s okay Tony. Just take care of Morgan. I’ll take care of the project.” Pepper assured him and Tony was forever grateful for her. The call ended and Pepper saw Carol enter the room; she was reminded of Carol's extended stay in her home. She thought back to the conversation they had three weeks ago when Carol snuck into her house at 4 am after the incident with Rhodey. It wasn’t until Rhodey had called the morning after that they’d talked about it.

 

3 weeks ago

Pepper had just lied to Rhodey over the phone about Carol’s whereabouts. With what she’d learned from him, Pepper decided to question Carol. “That was Rhodey.” She began.

“Thank you for covering for me, Pep.” She thanked her.

Pepper took a seat beside her and Carol turned her body around to converse with her. “So you and Valkyrie? You've never told me you liked women.” Pepper felt a bit wounded by the revelation. She thought she'd know this already since they were so close.

“I’m not.” Carol had to stop lying to herself. “Valkyrie and I are just getting to know each other.”

“That sounds like the early stages of a relationship.” Pepper teased. Carol got quiet. It did sound like that. "You're starting to remind me of Steve and you-know-who."

Carol became a little defensive. "I'm nothing like them. I didn't cheat." She reminded her. She and Valkyrie though they were very much attracted to each other hadn't acted on their emotions.

“Do you still love Rhodey?” Pepper inquired. Where did her husband fit in with her new found feelings for a woman?

“Of course I do.” Carol stated seriously. “I have never loved anyone as much as I love James.” 

“Not even Thor?” Pepper had to ask. She knew how much she had cared for Thor back in the day even if it was years before her time. Carol never failed to stress about the seriousness of that relationship.

“Not even Thor.” She emphasized and Pepper realized this must be serious. “But Valkyrie?” Carol paused. Only Valkyrie could come this close. Her eyes started to glow beyond her control. “She makes me feel the way I felt when I first met James.”

It was that serious, huh? Pepper thought.

 

Present

Was it possible for a person to love two people the same way? Pepper had thought about it a lot while Carol had made herself at home for the past 3 weeks. She was helping herself to everything in her home, from her food to her clothes. She was in a suit of Pepper’s pyjamas right now as a matter of fact. Carol had no desire to go back home for clothes if it meant seeing Rhodey so soon, at the time. She was ashamed, humilated and disappointed in herself for falling for someone else when she was already happliy married.

“When am I getting my home back?”

Carol poured herself some orange juice, taking a sip before answering. “Next week. James is coming to get me on Saturday.” It was Wednesday. Just two more days to go.

“You guys worked things out then?” That’s the only assumption Pepper could make. They’d somehow worked past the issue and things were amicable to say the least.

“We’re going to therapy.” Carol made a face.

“You don’t think that’s a good idea.” Pepper wondered. It was a good an idea as any. They had to figure something out.

“It’s Rhodey’s idea.” Carol began. “I just don’t understand why we need to share our problems with a complete stranger.”

Pepper wanted to question her further, when she realized she was already running late for work. “Whatever gets you out of my pyjamas and out of my fridge.” She bid Carol a farewell and headed out her front door. "See you later."

-

Nathan had been spending his days at the Stark Mansion to comfort Morgan which left the Banner household rather quiet. Nat didn’t mind through, neither did Bruce. They’d stopped by a few times to check in on Morgan, but they know it was probably so overwhelming after losing a child. She probably needed space. She needed the comfort of her boyfriend and her parents.

Nat was hurting for her. She could only imagine how painfully it must be to lose a baby. She was so grateful that she wouldn’t ever have to go through that pain, given her inability to have children.

They were sitting in their living room, trying to watch a movie when Bruce noticed her lost in her thoughts. He took one of her hands in his and it made her turn her attention to him. “What you are thinking about?”

“Morgan,” Nat answered honestly. “I’m worrying for her. I can’t imagine how she must be feeling.”

“Yeah. That can’t be easy.” Bruce noted and Nat snuggled closer into him. They stayed quiet after that until moments later, Bruce whispered something by her ear.

“Why don’t we get married?”

The question took Natasha by surprise. They’d never talked about marriage before but in hindsight, she supposed she should have seen this coming. They were getting closer to their 4-year anniversary; 4 months off to be exact and Bruce had married Betty way sooner than that. But there were a lot of factors at play for the duration of his first marriage. Bruce wasn’t a ranging green monster anymore; her father wasn’t a Former Lieutenant of the U.S. Army and she hadn’t gotten pregnant. So maybe she shouldn’t compare then to now.

“Divorces are expensive.” Nat settled with that for a response. She made herself think about that in more detail. People spent so much money to get divorces these days. Not that she and Bruce were struggling financially. After they retired from being Avengers, they realized they had to start earning money to sustain their living arrangements. They weren’t living at the Avengers compound for free anymore. Now Bruce was working as a full-time private doctor and she dabbled in her own line of work so they were pretty stable financially.

“We’ve been together for almost 4 years. We haven’t failed yet.” Bruce reminded her. It wouldn’t be the worst thing if they got married. He just didn’t understand why Nat would associate marriage with divorce.

“Banner doesn’t suit me.” She countered.

“You’re right.” He had to agree with that. Natasha Banner didn’t sound right. “You can keep your last name.” he resorted. He was ready for anything she would throw at him.

At that point, she pulled herself up and turned to face Bruce. He was smiling at her, his eyes crinkling at the corners behind his glasses. He pushed a stray hair behind her ear. Nat held unto the hand as it rested on the side of his face.

“Why don’t you want to get married?” He questioned, watching as she took the hand from her cheek and kissed his palm.

“It’s not necessary. We don’t need a piece of paper to show our love. We don’t need society telling us how to live.” She leaned forward and placed a kiss on his lips. They just needed each other and not anyone else’s opinions or views.

“I guess.” Bruce added, when she pulled away. “It would be nice though…” It really would be, but it wasn’t for her. Nat was settling back into his arms when her phone beeped, signaling a new message. She reached over to grab it. It was a text from her sister, Tanya with a picture attached of her and her kids. She showed it to Bruce.

“We should visit them this summer.” Nat suggested. “All of us.” Because last summer, it had just been Nathan while she and Bruce stayed home and had some alone time. It was great being alone with Bruce, she wouldn’t mind doing that again. But she was thinking it would be wonderful to see her sister and her family again. To stay on their farm, do farm work, camp out in the woods and take some time away from the real world.

“Sounds like a good idea. I do love the great outdoors.” Bruce mused. He hoped Nathan would be up for it by then. He knew the loss of his and Morgan’s baby was putting a toll on him right now.