"Natasha," Clint cries, throwing himself down at the kitchen table next to her. "Mom and Dad are fighting again."
Tony and Steve freeze from their argument in the sitting area off of the kitchen to turn and stare at him. Natasha just sighs sadly and pats his back, shaking her head. "I know, it’s very upsetting, isn’t it."
"Yes," Clint tells her with a drawn out whine. He turns to Bruce, who is at the stove making tea. "Why can’t they just get along?"
"Sometimes our parents fight," Tasha replies, also watching Bruce. “But it doesn’t mean they love us any less.”
"...what?” Tony finally asks, glancing at Steve who had his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
“Your fighting is upsetting the children,” Bruce says, completely straight faced except for the slightest tick of his lips upward that he tries to hide by taking a sip of his tea.
“The children?” Steve wonders, and Bruce gestures at the table where Natasha and Clint were laying their heads down with twin innocent looks in their eyes. Right across from them, Thor is passed out with his head tilted back and mouth wide open, the occasional snort escaping him.
Tony stares at him, concern finding root in his chest as he thinks about Thor swallowing his tongue. He blanches at the realization. “What the fuck, you’re right. We’re running a day care.”
“Language.” Steve scrunches up his face, before a faint hearted expression crosses it. “Oh my gosh.”
“Don’t tell mom not to use her language, it makes up fifty percent of her vocabulary,” Clint pesters cheekily. Tony opens his mouth to reprimand him, before what Clint said catches up to him.
“Hold on, why am I the mother?” He demands. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Steve pinch the bridge of his nose, muttering something like “that’s what you’re focused on?”
“Because you’re just like a mom,” Natasha tells him. “You care for us, don’t deny it we all know its you who leaves those care packages, you can cook, and you might bitch about it, but you always make us new armors and weapons when we get hurt out on the field instead of chewing us out like Steve. Face it, you’ve become a mom.”
“Holy shit,” Tony breathes, taking a step back, and Steve reaches out to catch him. Tony impacts against a very nice chest and his mind blue screens before he can repute anything Natasha said.
“Also Steve is such a dad,” Clint pipes up. “I mean, America, baseball, the army, and the whole ‘I’m disappointed in you spiel’, how much more dad like can you get?”
Steve sits Tony upright with a slightly amused and indulging look on his face. “If that’s your standards of a father, I don’t have to work too hard.”
“Eh,” Clint flops his hand around lackadaisically. “Three of us have daddy issues, and Nat’s never met her parents, so our standards are kinda skewed.”
Steve adopts what Tony has dubbed his ‘kicked puppy’ look and Tony, mind finally rebooting, flicks him on the arm. “Relax, Capsicle, we’ve coped.”
“None of you have gotten therapy for it, have you?” Steve asks drily, and all four shake their heads in synchronization. “Of course you haven’t.”
“Look Steve,” Clint tells him seriously. “We turned out just fine.”
As if on cue, there’s a loud thump and everyone abruptly turns their heads to see a knife embedded into the wall, Natasha’s arm still finishing it’s arc across the room. Steve’s eyes widen at her incredulously.
“Spider,” she says with a shrug.
“Yeah,” Steve drawls. “I think-“
“I think this talk is about to get into emotions, and we all know how allergic I am to those,” Tony announces, clapping his hands. “So I’m just gonna go…” he hooks a thumb over his shoulder at the door and bolts.
“Tony!” Steve calls. “We weren’t done!” He too rushes out of the room, giving Jarvis strict instructions not to let Tony lock himself in the lab.
“Mommy and Daddy need to just get over their issues and fuck already,” Clint tells Bruce seriously, and Bruce agrees with a nod.
There’s a loud snort, and Thor jolts awake. He adopts a somewhat sheepish look. “Shield siblings, what have I missed?”
“Am I living in a frat house?” Tony raises his voice, staring down Thor, Natasha, and Clint. “No, seriously, Bruce and Steve can pick up their shit, why can’t you? I am always picking up everyone’s crap around here.” The three look appropriately chagrined albeit hiding their amusement. “I am not your fucking maid. You know what? No, you’re not listening to me. Steve! Jarvis, call Steve.”
Jarvis’ response of “Captain Rogers is on his way” is over shadowed by Clint’s cry of indignation.
“Mom, no, don’t call dad,” he blurts, eye widening warily. “We’ll pick up our stuff-“
He’s cut off by Steve strolling into the room. “Jarvis said you needed me...” he trails off, appearing to take in the scene before him. Tony juts his chin out, daring him to make a comment about the state of his clothes. One of them, Tony suspects Thor, had left the jug of milk on the floor, and Tony, in his hunger fueled mindset of cooking, tripped over it with a full bag of flour in his hands. Needless to say, he was not very happy. To his credit, Steve just closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, before coming to stand next to Tony. He crosses his arms and surveys them sternly.
Both Clint and Thor start to fidget under the ‘Captain America is disappointed in you’ glare. Even Natasha, usually unflappable, looks a little uneasy.
“Well?” Steve asks, raising an eyebrow “What happened?”
Immediately Thor and Clint try to pin the blame on the other, while Tasha just raises her hands and says, “Wasn’t me.”
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” Steve starts lowly, and despite him not raising his voice, it cuts through the argument like a hot knife through butter. “Tony’s right, you do need to learn to clean up after yourselves. Starting right now, you three are on gym duty. There are weights that need to be put back, mats that need to be spray-cleaned, and machines to wipe down. I’m sure you can find something to clean. When you’re done you can go around the tower and pick up your stuff. Does that seem fair?”
Natasha resolutely stays silent, while Thor and Clint mumble an affirmative.
“Right,” Tony says when it becomes clear no one else is going to speak. “Hop to it.” The three scramble off, and Tony pat’s Steve’s arm, ignoring the way the muscles flex under his hand. God, he has a problem. “Thanks Captain Dad.”
“No problem, dear,” Steve replies, tongue in cheek. Tony huffs out a laugh and sets about cleaning the kitchen up, trying not to focus on the fire low in his gut that was ignited by the pet name. And when Steve starts to help him sweep up the flour and start cooking team dinner? Tony finds he doesn’t mind one bit.
“Tony! Mom!” comes a shout from down the hall. Tony vaguely hears the voice but doesn’t register it.
He’s in the common room, designing on a tablet and tuning out everything around him. That is, until an insistent hand keeps tapping him on the shoulder.
“What?” He finally asks, exasperated.
“Tell Nat to give me back my bow,” Clint complains.
“Natasha, give Clint back his bow,” Tony absentmindedly says, getting back into his outline. They try to talk to him some more, and he hums and haws and agrees until he finally just says, “Look, go ask Steve.”
With that, they rush off and Tony sighs in relaxation at the quiet. That is, until he’s pulled out of it later by the smell of something burning and the sound of Thor yelling and Clint screeching. He vaults off the couch into the kitchen to witness the refrigerator, microwave, and sink on fire. Thor’s running around like a chicken with his head cut off, Clint’s cursing while trying to bat the flames of the microwave away, and Natasha’s trying to put pot lids over the burning stove. Bruce snatches a fire extinguisher off of the wall and sprays down the whole mess with white foam, coating everything including the people.
“Shit. Thanks Bruce,” Clint sputters.
“Thanks,” Natasha and Thor echo.
“What the hell happened in here?” Tony snaps, and all four adult-children jerk around to stare at him, extinguishing foam making their eyes seem manic.
“We asked,” Natasha immediately starts with. “You said yes.”
“When? And to what?” Tony says, mildly horrified.
“Like an hour ago. We asked what would happen if we heated glue and you said you didn’t know. Then we asked if we could test it and you said yes.”
“I don’t remember this,” Tony states, but it comes out as more of a question towards the end when he catches Thor’s imploring frown.
“You did indeed give consent to allow this experiment to take place,” Jarvis tells him.
Tony cocks his head. “Huh. I’m pretty sure I didn’t say you could set the kitchen on fire though.”
Bruce shrugs. “Unfortunate side effect.”
“And the fridge?”
“Aye,” Thor rubs the back of his head sheepishly. “The blame would lie on me. I had thought due to the cool temperatures of the ice box, it would aid in extinguishing the flames.”
“Right,” Tony drawls. “Where did you even get the glue?”
“You said to ask Steve,” Clint shrugs. “So we did and he gave us Elmers.”
Tony, still in mild shock, simply nods. “I want this all cleaned up by the time I get back.”
“Ok,” they answer, and Natasha gives him a once over.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to go find Steve, and maybe ask why he didn’t help put a stop to this.”
“Hey, May, how can I help you?” Tony answers the phone.
“Hey Tony, I’m sorry to bother you, but a situation came up at Peter’s school and I can’t get off of work right now.” Tony had taken Peter in, surprisingly much to May’s encouragement around a few months ago. Now every weekend and sometimes even some week nights Peter would spend at the tower, hanging out with Bruce and Tony in the lab, playing video games with Clint, or sparring with Nat, Thor, and Steve.
“Do we know what happened?” He gets his thoughts back on track.
“I’m not sure, but I believe they said Peter’s been hurt,” she responds and Tony’s blood runs cold.
“I’ll be there in ten,” he promises quickly before hanging up, grabbing his suit jacket off the back of couch and running through the hall to the elevator. “Steve! Get in the car we have to go!”
“What? What is it?” Steve demands, emerging from his room.
“Peter’s been hurt at school, we gotta go.” Tony is in the elevator before the doors fully open, Steve right on his heels. When they make it to the garage, Tony goes to get in the drivers seat but Steve stops him.
“Supersoldier reflexes,” he reminds him. “I can drive faster.”
“Okay,” Tony consents breathily, launching himself over the doors and into the car.
Just as promised, they arrive at the school within ten minutes, and Tony charges into the school, Steve tramping along a little slower behind him. Nearly slipping on the tile floor from his momentum, Tony slides to a stop in front of the office doors and bursts in. “Where is he?”
The receptionist looks up at him, stunned, and then to Steve who had just entered behind him. With a shaky hand, she points to a door to their left, and without even stopping to thank her, Tony darts in.
His gaze immediately zeroes in on Peter, who is holding an ice pack to what will probably be a pretty good shiner in a few minutes. He scrambles over, ignoring the other people in the room and gently grips Peter’s jaw, turning his head side to side to examine the damage. There’s blood on Peter’s clothes, most likely from a nose bleed, but other than that and the eye, he seems to be in okay shape.
“Mr. Stark, what are you doing here?” Peter asks as soon as Tony lets go.
“Your aunt called, she said you had trouble at school,” Tony tells him, fingers fluttering over Peter’s arms to make sure nowhere else is injured.
“Tony,” Steve calls, and Tony looks up and finally takes in the rest of the occupants in the room. There’s MJ and Ned, two of Peter’s friends sitting next to each other on hard plastic chairs with their parents behind them. A little further down there’s this smarmy appearing kid who’s face has gone pale, his father on his phone behind him. At their staring, he feels himself pull on his professional mask, and Steve, probably sensing Tony’s blood thirst, sidles up next to him. He bumps his should against Tony’s, most likely trying to keep him grounded, but Tony doesn’t need it. He has never felt so focused in his life.
Peter tilts his head back to look at Steve, downtrodden. “Hi Mr. Captain Sir.”
Steve smiles indulgently down at him. “Hey Pete. Tough day?”
Peter just glares at him, which is answer enough. “Why are you and Mr. Stark here?”
“May was apparently stuck at work.” Steve shrugs.
“What happened,” Tony growls at the principal, as the door opens and he steps. The man’s stride falters when he notices who exactly is in his office.
“Mr. Stark,” he says as if he can scarcely believe it. “Captain Rogers. What a- it’s a pleasure.”
“Can’t say the same,” Tony barely resists snarling. “What happened to Peter?”
“Tony,” Steve chides quietly, grabbing his arm and whispering in his ear. “You need to calm down, there are other people here.”
Tony glares at him but ultimately steps down and lets Steve take the lead. But not without a venom filled “Yes, dear.” He receives a spectacular bitch-face for that, but he doesn’t care, too caught up in the moment.
“I can tell you exactly what happened,” Ned speaks up. The principal waves him on. “Peter, MJ, and I were walking back to class from gym when Flash starting yelling insults at us. We-“
“That’s not what happened!” Flash argues, interrupting and all it takes is Steve’s dad look to get him to settle back down.
“Anyway,” Ned hurries to finish. “We ignored him, but then he said, well, he said...”
“He called Peter a severely homophobic name, usually reserved for homosexual men,” MJ says, appearing uninterested although Tony knows it’s a front. Like calls to like after all.
“Yeah that,” Ned agrees, and Peter hunches in on himself. Tony takes a deep breath.
“Well, that didn’t get a reaction from Peter, but we told him to cut it out,” Ned says. “But Flash got mad and when Peter went to use the bathroom later in class, he cornered him there and well, I’m sure you can guess.”
“Yeah, yeah I can,” Tony says, tone almost careless, except he can tell from Peter’s pleading eyes that he didn’t keep all of the animosity out of it. Steve looks over at him alarmed. Tony pulls out his phone and Jarvis, always amazing, has already gotten into the school records and given Tony the boy’s name, a run down on his school life, and family history. “Right, Mr. Thompson.”
Both father and son straighten. “Eugene is now banned from every Stark Industries facility, pay roll, and property. I see one hair of yours, I’ll press charges.”
Both of their faces turn red.
“You can’t do that,” Eugene argues, at the same time the senior says, “now Mr. Stark-“
“I swear to god, if you say boys will be boys I will repulser your ass,” Tony snaps, pointing his finger at the father threateningly. “I should know what boys act like, I have three at home.” Belatedly he realizes that was poor wording in regards to Bruce, Thor, and Clint, and that the tabloids tomorrow will probably be filled with headlines about his mystery children, but it fits. “This was harassment, clear and simple, and I will press charges if forced. Am I clear?”
“Yes sir,” they reply and Tony nods.
“Good.” He retreats back, content to let Steve work out logistics with the principal and instead choosing to fuss over Peter, who swats his hands away without much force.
In the end, it was negotiated that Eugene be suspended for a few days before spending another week in in-school-suspension and the next two months in detention. Tony led the way back to the car, still fuming and not quite happy with the punishment, wanting it to be more severe, but what can he do.
“You didn’t have to do that,” Peter mutters as they all get in the convertible.
“No, I should have done worse,” Tony grumbles and they way Steve peers at him makes him settle down, lest he get the ‘we are adults, we can not threaten minors’ speech. Again.
“Oh my god, you are such a mom,” Peter groans, and Steve smirks at Tony’s outraged squawk.
“That he is. Come on, let’s take mama bear here home, and then we can have a good chat about why you were hiding being bullied from us.”
Tony thinks that the panicked gaze that Peter shoots him, begging for escape, is good enough retribution for the teen’s previous comment.
“All right, you little shits, Mama’s home!” Tony calls, stumbling out of the elevator with his arms full of bags.
“Mama brought McDonald’s!” Clint exclaims, throwing his hands up in the air and backflipping over the couch. “Mama brought McDonald’s!”
“Uh uh,” Tony snaps as Thor reaches for his bags. “Steve has yours, these is mine.”
Thor frowns, and Tony glares at him. Thor ups the look, pouting, and Tony resolutely doesn’t give in. Finally, Thor gives him puppy dog eyes and Tony groans in frustration.
“Fine, you little ass, here you go.” Tony hands him a bag full of French fries and Thor takes off happily munching on his treat. “Fucker.”
“Language,” Steve reprimands, carrying at least twenty brown bags into the kitchen and dumping them on the table. He passes them out, checking each one. “Natasha, here’s your double with fries and sweet tea.”
Natasha takes the bag with a nod of thanks. Clint bounds up and hugs his to his chest when Steve hands it to him, prompting an eye roll from both the soldier and Tony. Bruce quietly drifts by, and Tony hands him his salad and Sprite.
Finally all the food is passed out, and Tony and Steve collapse together on the couch. Tony leans his shoulder into Steve and they bumps knees.
“Sweet we can eat in the liv-“
“No, go sit at the table,” Tony cuts him off almost immediately and Clint slinks back to the kitchen dejectedly. “It’s like herding cats.”
“I think this is worse,” Steve sighs, throwing his head back. “Eat at the table, Thor!”
There’s a thump, and the screeching of a chair, and another thump, and finally Thor is apparently settled because he doesn’t make another sound.
“Milkshake?” Tony offers about halfway through his meal. He leans the cup towards Steve.
Steve accepts and bends his head down, maintaining eye contact with Tony when he takes a sip from the straw. Tony licks his lips, mouth suddenly dry.
“Just kiss already!” Clint calls from the kitchen and Tony can only focus on Steve, who is blushing adorably.
Tony bites his lip hesitantly. “So is that okay or...” He never gets to finish his question because Steve presses their lips together.
It was really only a matter of time before the public found out. That was expected. What was unexpected was who revealed it.
“Oh yes,” Bruce says, nodding at the reporter. They are currently at a panel style press conference for the latest battle, which as usual has devolved into a gossip fest. Tony’s not really paying attention, content to mess with his phone on the table. “They’re practically our parents at this point.”
“Yeah, watch this,” Clint says. He clears his throat. “Hey mom.”
Tony crosses his legs and there’s a fair moment of silence before he answers without looking up. “What?”
“Can you help us?”
“Steve darling, can you get that?” There’s a gasp around the room at the pet name, but Steve just looks good-humoredly at him and doesn’t respond. They wait for more, but Tony’s apparently dismissed him, resolutely staring at his screen with a furrow in his brow.
“He does this literally all of the time,” Clint announces.
“He can hold full conversations without realizing it, and then gets confused when we bring it up to him later because he doesn’t remember it,” Bruce adds sagely. “We almost burned down the kitchen once because of it.”
“Someone try to get his attention,” Clint cajoles.
“Mom, I’ve been stabbed,” Natasha immediately suggests sarcastically, and Tony doesn’t even blink.
“That’s nice, Tasha.”
“Mooom, Thor set the toaster on fire. Again,” Clint whines.
“Have Jarvis get a new one.”
“Hey Tony,” Steve says, voice full of mirth. “The kid’s dating Wade.”
Tony’s head snaps up, eyes wide and horrified.
“He fucking what?”