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The Trouble with Being a Unicorn

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It was nearly 2 am when the Avengers finally made it back to the tower. Filthy, exhausted, and miraculously uninjured, they dragged themselves out of the quinjet and to their respective rooms to shower.

Then they all gathered in the common room at the top of the tower to eat “whatever the hell is still open/not destroyed and delivers” in takeout. (This time it was Chinese, pizza and Indian.) It was Tradition.

And today, Peter Parker joined in for the very first time.

“Try the pizza with some noodles on top. It’ll change your life,” Bucky said, piling Peter’s plate high with alternating layers of carbs.

“I don’t think udon noodles goes with pepperoni pizza,” Peter said warily.

“Don’t give him that Buck,” Steve complained. “You can’t put udon on pepperoni.”

Peter sighed in relief as the plate was taken from him.

“Everyone knows that you have to put honey chicken on pepperoni,” Steve continued, and shoved a new monstrous plate at Peter.

Peter gave a low groan, but didn’t complain. He was too tired to argue. Steve ignored him anyway.

Clint rolled his eyes. “And I say that curry goes best on pepperoni. Spice on spice. Makes sense. You can’t pair honey with pepperoni-”

“Sweet and spicy is a classic!” Steve protested.

Peter did his best to pick the glazed chicken off his pizza.

“Sure, but the cheese ruins it-” Clint started.

“Ugh- not this again!” Tony groaned, emerging from the elevator. “What did I say about arguing at the dinner table?” he mock scolded, and smacked Clint upside the head as he walked past him.

The beta whined. “It’s Cap’s fault! He was giving the kid honey chicken on pepperoni!” he tattled.

“Only because Bucky gave him udon-”

Tony smacked Steve upside the head, which made Steve give off a grumbly growl of protest.

“You all are a bunch of uncivilized knotheads, you know that? Peter’s a growing omega! Which means he’s got a refined palette and does NOT need heaps of junk like you alphas!” He turned to Peter. “You have the butter chicken yet kid?”

Peter shook his head around his bite of slightly glazed pizza. Which was only mildly inedible. Clint was right. The cheese ruined it.

Clint rolled his eyes. “Not an alpha,” he sang resignedly. Everyone ignored him.

Tony shoved another plate at him, this time filled with rice and chicken and some sort of red sauce.

Behind Tony, Clint made frantic miming motions of dunking the pizza in the sauce at Peter.

Peter ignored him.

“Did anyone remember to order a salad this time?” Natasha asked as she emerged from the elevator.

“I placed an order for three salads Ms. Romanoff,” Jarvis said primly from the ceiling.

“Are you really going to eat salad right now?” Bucky asked, scandalized. “You took out like 4 guys with just your thighs- eat a fucking piece of pizza!”

She snorted. “The Maria Stark gala is in two weeks, and some of us have to fit into our spanx,” she said levelly, grabbed two salads, and pointedly shoved one of them in front of Clint.

“Hey!” he protested.

“You’re not allowed to get scurvy again, remember?” she said archly.

Clint made a face of disgust. “Can’t I just have some orange juice with my pizza?” he whined.


Clint sighed, but started on the salad.

Tony started piling naan on Peter’s plate, and gave him the last salad.

Peter choked on a bite of chicken. “Why do I get the salad?” he whined. “I can’t get scurvy!”

“Because you’re still growing. Now eat,” Tony said firmly.

Clint, the eternal bro, tossed Peter a bottle of ranch dressing. Peter caught it without looking. As a protest, he drowned his salad in it.

Everyone ate in silence for a few moments.

“Where’s Bruce?” Peter asked.

“That is an excellent question. Jarvis, where’s Brucie Bear?” Tony asked.

“Doctor Banner is in his labs, sir.”

Tony rolled his eyes. “Tell him if he doesn’t get his butt up here I’ll eat his vegetarian meatballs.”

A few seconds later, Bruce’s voice filtered down from the speakers in the ceiling. “You ordered malai kofta?” he asked hopefully.

“Jarvis was in charge of ordering so I’m going with yes,” Tony said.

“I’ll be up in a minute,” Bruce said.

Silence returned as everyone shoveled food into their faces. Bucky and Steve had a quiet competition to see who could shove the most food in their mouth at one time, Peter guessed. He couldn’t really explain the chipmunk cheeks on both of them any other way. He physically winced when he saw Bucky eat the udon/pepperoni pizza abomination he’d tried to pass off on Peter earlier. Bucky at least seemed to enjoy it.

Peter went for heaping seconds. He had a feeling that if he dawdled he’d be left with crumbs.

“So... what are we watching?” Clint asked.

Everyone groaned.

“No arguing at the dinner table,” Steve rumbled between mouthfuls of food.

“Peter’s the newest. He gets to pick,” Natasha said.

“Since when?” Bucky demanded.

“Since he’s new,” she said, and flicked a crouton at him.

“Did you just get ranch dressing in my hair?” Bucky whined. “I just washed that!”

“Peter gets to pick,” Tony said suddenly.

Everyone went quiet and turned to stare at Peter, who looked back wildly with a mouth full of naan. “Wa?” he managed.

“You get to pick a movie for us to watch,” Natasha said. “We always watch a movie together after a fight. It’s Tradition.”

Peter swallowed. “Um...” he looked around the room at the collection of crazy, twitchy, walking PTSD cases before him. “Beauty and the Beast?” he suggested faintly. He was fairly sure there was no explosions in that one. Right?

The suggestion was a hit. Jarvis showed the movie on a nearby wall, and one by one the Avengers relocated from the table to a collection of pillows and blankets and bean bag chairs on the floor in front of the screen.

Sometime around the snowball fight scene, Peter drifted off wedged between Tony and Steve with Bucky somehow draped over all of them. Natasha and Clint were somewhere on the edges of the pile, and Bruce slept on the couch behind him.

It was the best night’s sleep he’d ever had.

Which was why when Steve moved to get up at ass-o'clock in the morning, Peter whined like a dying pup and clung to his shirt. He wasn’t even fully awake yet- all he knew was that his warm, comfortable alpha was leaving the nest, and it was the worst thing ever.

“Shh...” a large hand cupped his face.

Peter whined some more. From behind him, Tony shifted and held him tighter, and rubbed a soothing hand on his back.

Peter didn’t let go.

The alpha sighed, and the large hand moved down to rub Peter’s scent glands- a dirty trick that worked, as Peter instantly went boneless and shivered at the reassuring intimate touch, releasing his grip on the shirt. He whined, needy this time.

“There you go... shhh...”

He felt Steve prod Bucky with his foot hard enough to rock the alpha in his place in the nest. The mass at his feet shifted. “Wha?” a sleepy Bucky said.

“Kid needs cuddles,” Steve whispered.

“Move over then. You were always shit at this,” Bucky grumbled.

Peter whined again as the hand left his scent gland, and the alpha left the nest.

“Shh... I got you kid,” Bucky whispered, and slipped into Steve’s former place. The new alpha moved Peter so that his nose was next Bucky’s scent gland and put out a pleasing gentle 'You’re safe now’ chest rumble.

For an omega raised by betas, it was the best fucking thing that had ever happened to him. For the first time that Peter could remember, he purred.

After a moment, Tony joined him.

Peter could feel Bucky’s smirk, and smell his self satisfaction, buried as he was in the man’s neck.

He drifted off again as Bucky gently rubbed his wrist up and down Peter's side, scent marking him.

It was officially, the best night ever.