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Our Grinch

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It was the first of December, and Tony Stark had just woken up. More like his young daughter Morgan who was six, woke him up. She was excited today. They would get to put up the Christmas tree. "Daddy, it's time to get up," she said, jumping on the bed.

Pepper sat up, looking at her as Tony slowly opened his eyes. "Morgan, what have I told you about jumping on the bed," said Pepper in a stern voice. She was tired of Morgan jumping on their bed. "You are not allowed to jump on this bed or any bed."

Quickly Morgan stopped jumping on the bed. She smiled as she moved up to her parents to lay in between them. "Hi, mommy and daddy," said Morgan.

Tony smiled at her as he started to tickle her. She began to giggle. "How is my princess today?" he asked her. He then looked over to Pepper real quick. "You could let her have some fun, but I understand why you do not want her jumping on the bed."

She giggles some more. "I am fine, daddy, but it's time to get up. We need to go put up the tree," Morgan stated.

He let out a groan as he got up. Morgan ran from the room as Pepper slowly got up. "You promised her, Tony. She has been excited for this for a long time," Pepper told him as she walked over to him. She gave him a stern look. "You are not going to back out now, and if you do, then I will make your life hell."

Wrapping his arms around her, Tony leaned in to kiss her. "I know," replied Tony with a groan. "You do not have to threaten me, Pepper."

She sighed. "Tony, please get through the day for her. I promise it will be ok. Now we need to go eat," Pepper said, taking his hand.

They were leading him out of their bedroom and down the hall to the stairs. They then walked down them with Tony following them into the kitchen. Morgan was already sitting at the counter, looking at them. All Tony could do was a nod. "Fine," he said as he went to sit next to Morgan.

Pepper smiled as she got breakfast going. Pancakes with waffles. "I do not want you to forget that Steve and Bucky are coming over today," Pepper stated. "Plus, Peter said he would be by later after he gets done with his classes."

That made both of them smile. "I like Grandpa Steve and Grandpa Bucky. It will be nice to see Peter as well," Morgan told her parents.

Even if Steve and Bucky were not her grandparents, she saw them as much. "Great, at least I'll have help," Tony said.

Pepper nodded as she got the Pancakes started. "Tony, please try like I asked," she reminded him.

He sighed. "I will," was all Tony said.

Right now, Pepper and he were going through a lot. They could hardly see eye to eye on things. She wanted another kid, and he did not. Guess who won that one. Pepper did. She was currently eight months pregnant. "Tony," Pepper warned as Morgan looked between them.

"Is everything alright?" She asked them.

"Yes," they both said even if it was not.

They had promised not to fight in front of Morgan. "Princess, do not you worry. While mommy goes out shopping, we will put up the tree," Tony stated.

"Awesome. Thanks, daddy," said Morgan hugging him.

He returned the hug. "You are welcome," said Tony as Pepper brought over some pancakes.

"Here you go," she said, sitting them down. "And just butter."

Tony and Morgan frown at Pepper. That was not very nice. A few moments later, they were all done eating. Morgan looked at her mother. "May I leave the counter now?" Morgan asked.

"You may," replied Pepper smiling at her daughter.

Once Morgan was gone, Pepper looked over to Tony. He was not smiling now. "Pepper, I know what you are going to say, but this is hard for me. You know how much I hate Christmas. I love Morgan and will do this for her, but not you. We have to get through this," Tony told her.

Pepper nodded. "We do, then we can tell her," said Pepper.

It hurt Tony to lie to his daughter, but there was not much he could do at the moment. He did not want to ruin her Christmas. "Ok," Tony starting to go over to the sink and wash the dishes.

Quickly, Pepper stood up, grabbing her phone as she did so. "Now, you have fun with Morgan and do not cause any trouble," said Pepper leaving.

While Pepper took off and after the dishes were done, Tony went to get the boxes out. After that was done, Tony went to check on Morgan. She was in her room playing. "Hey, Princess, you ready to go get the living room sat up?" Tony asked her.

She nodded her head as she picked up her toys. Morgan then ran from the room, giving her father a big smile. "Come on, Daddy. We have a tree to put up," Morgan called back to him.

Tony strolled from the room. He wanted to savor these moments while he could. Who knew what would happen after the new year. "I am coming," Tony yelled back.

Soon they had boxes open and was looking through them. "Are mommy and you having problems?" asked Morgan, looking up to her father.

He shook his head. "It is nothing you need to worry about Princess. Everything will work out," Tony stated.

"It is about the new baby that will be here soon, isn't it?" Morgan asked.

Tony shook his head again. "It is not, Morgan, and I rather not talk about it. Let's get this over with," he said, pinching his nose.

He then leaned in to hug Morgan. "I love you 3000," said Morgan.

"I love you more," Tony replied.

A few hours later, Tony and Morgan hadn't gotten far. "Barnes and Rogers are here," F.R.I.D.A.Y. told Tony.

"Thanks, F.R.I.D.A.Y," replied Tony.

When Steve Rogers enter the living room with his husband, James Barnes and Jamie, their one-year-old son, Tony Stark, was sitting on the floor. "Hello," he said, looking up from the box he was digging in.

They both gave him a look. "What are you doing?" asked Steve as he went to take a seat on the couch while Jamie was still in his arms.

He needed to put his feet up. Tony smirked at him as Morgan spoke up. "Grandpa Steve, we are putting up a Christmas tree."

Bucky, on the other hand, went to sit on the floor. He appeared to look in the box. "I can see," Bucky replied.

Once taking a look around the room, Steve could see the mess. "So what changed, Tony? You always hated Christmas," Steve said to Tony.

Tony shrugged his shoulders. "Nothing really beside having Morgan. I want her to know what Christmas is even she will not know the real meaning," Tony told Steve with a smile on his face.

Tony was an atheist who did not believe in God or what Christians believe to be the true meaning of Christmas. But, he did want her to know that it was the season for giving and enjoying time with family. "I can get behind that," said Steve.

Bucky had a frown on his face. He knew Tony, but not as well as the others. The man was Jewish, so while he saw where Tony was coming from, he felt Morgan should know about it all. He was not going to question Tony, though. "Thanks, Steve," Tony said as he went back digging in the box.

Morgan smiled at Bucky as she dug through the box. "Dad needs help putting up the Christmas Tree," said Morgan as she got out some lights.

Both men shared a look as Tony gave his daughter a look. "You know you are supposed to put up the tree first," Steve said jokingly to Tony.

He gave the nod as he stood up. Morgan smiled as she stood up as well. She went to take a drink of her drink as Tony pulled the Christmas Tree box over to them. "I know, Steve, but as you know, growing up, we did not have Christmas," spoke Tony.

Working quickly, he got the box open. Bucky smiled as he stood up to help. "Wow, sorry to hear that," said Bucky.

Tony shrugged his shoulders. "It is alright," Tony stated. He smiled at Bucky. "Did you have Christmas growing up?"

Steve shook his head as Bucky spoke up. "Steve's ma was worked too much to have Christmas, and my family was Jewish, so we did not have Christmas, but Chanukah or more known as the Festival of Lights," Bucky said.

All Tony could do was a nod. He didn't know much about the Jewish faith, but he was willing to learn at some point if needed. "That is cool. Sorry to hear that, Steve. As much as I do not want to do this because Christmas sucks to me, I am doing it for Morgan, who is beyond excited," Tony replied.

Steve nodded before looking over to Tony. "Are you alright? You seem out of it," Steve stated.

The man shook his head. "Everything is fine for now. Pepper and I are going through some stuff," replied Tony. He gave them both a look. "I rather not talk about it. No one not even Rhodes knows."

Bucky reaches over to pat Tony's leg, which Tony did not mind. "It's ok you do not have to talk about it, but we are here if you need us," stated Bucky.

He nodded at them as he stood up. "Would you guys like some hot chocolate or something?" Tony asked them as Morgan ran back into the room.

She smiled at her father before she heard Steve speak. "We will both take tea," replied Steve.

Bucky gave the nod. "Tea it is then," Tony said, going over to the fridge.

He got the tea out then two glasses. Tony started to pour them as Morgan came over. She smiled up at her father. "Can I help take them over to them?" asked Morgan.

Tony smiled down at Morgan. "You may, but be careful," Tony said to her.

She gave the nod before walking away with it. Morgan carefully took it over to Steve, who took it. "Thank you," he said.

Morgan smiled at him as she started to tickle Jamie. "Hi, Jamie. It's nice to see you. Do you want to come to play on the floor?" she asked him.

He gave her a look. "Well, how about we wait until the tree is up and everything is cleaned up," said Steve. Steve looked at the mess on the floor. "It's messy, and he could get hurt."

Morgan nodded at that. "Yea, it's better to be safe than sorry," she replied.

So, Morgan went back over to the floor where her father and Bucky were at. She sat down. "You ready to get back to work?" Tony asked his daughter.

She smiled as they sat to work. A few hours later, the three of them stood up and looked at their tree. Tony thought it was ugly just because there was so much on it. Bucky, on the other hand, thought it looked cute or somewhat lovely. Morgan loved it. "I love it," she stated.

All Tony could do was shake his head as he walked away. He went to text Pepper. You could say Tony was getting worried about where she was at.

Tony: Hey, Pepper, it's me. Where are you at?

Pepper: I went shopping, Tony. I needed a break, which gives Morgan and you time together.

Tony: It would not be so bad if it were not to do Christmas stuff. I am glad Steve and Bucky are here to help; otherwise, I do not think it would get done. I can not do this, Pepper. Christmas is what you do, not me.

Pepper: Suck it up and be a big boy.

Without getting angry, Tony put his phone down. Did Pepper not care about their daughter? Right at this moment, Morgan was so happy. She was showing Bucky and Steve the ornaments that she made. He could hear her laugh, as well. "Is mommy coming home?" Morgan asked, looking over to her father.

She was not stupid at all. Morgan knew he went to text her mother. "I do not know, Princess. She is busy shopping," Tony told her.

Steve and Bucky shared a look. But it was Steve that spoke up. "Pepper knows you hate Christmas, but she has you here doing this all by yourself."

All Tony could do was a nod. He felt like crying. Things were terrible, but he did not realize they were this bad. "Do not worry. We are here," said Bucky with a frown on his face.

"I know," snapped Tony.

He did not mean to snap, but it had just come out. Because one thing Tony was not going to do was snap at Pepper. "Let's calm down for Morgan's sake," Steve said.

Steve noticed that Morgan was beginning to look upset. "You are right, and I am sorry," replied Tony.

The two men shared a look. "If it is alright, we can watch Morgan so you can get rest or go out," Bucky said to Tony.

The man shook his head. "One of us has to be here with Morgan. It is a rule that Pepper has," Tony stated.

"That is bull," said Steve.

Bucky nodded his head. "So, no one can watch Morgan?" Bucky asked.

The man nodded his head. "She rather not have anyone watch her. Even Peter can not, and she likes him," Tony said.

He went to sit on the couch, looking at them. Steve handed Jamie off to Bucky before going to sit next to Tony. "Hey, Tony, it is gonna be alright," Steve stated.

Tony shook his head as he leaned into Steve. He started to cry, so Morgan came over to him. "Daddy, I love you 3000. Mommy is a pain sometimes," Morgan stated.

All the adults laughed at that. "That is true, Princess, and I love you too. It is going to be ok now, Morgan. Do not worry," Tony stated.

Morgan climbed up on to her dad's lap. He smiled down at her. "Ok, I will not worry, daddy," Morgan told him.

She gave him a big hug, and he let go of Steve. "Sorry for the wet shirt," Tony said as he looked down at it.

Steve let out a chuckle. "It is alright, Tony. Jamie has done worse to my shirts, so you get them wet with tears is not so bad," replied Steve.

He was not upset at all. This time, Steve was going to be there for Tony as much as they could. They were friends again, and Steve knew that Tony was going through a lot. "Steve is right. Jamie loves to spit upon shirts," Bucky said as he walked over with Jamie.

Bucky sat his cup down on the end table after he finished it off. Tony let out a chuckle. "I bet. Morgan was like that as well," Tony stated.

Everyone laughed but Morgan. "Daddy, I was?" she asked him.

He nodded as he tickled her a bit. "Are you excited to be a big sister?" Steve asked her.

Morgan looked over to him as Tony continued to tickle her. "I am. I hope he or she enjoys Christmas just like I do," Morgan told Steve.

She leaned into Tony and fell asleep, which lead Tony to kiss her forehead. He was worn out right now. "Are you excited, Tony?" Steve asked.

He shook his head. "I am not excited at all," Tony stated.

Standing up, Tony laid Morgan on the couch. She would be fine sleeping there. Tony gathered up the cup then went to the kitchen to put them in the sink. "Care to talk about it?" Bucky asked him.

While Tony did not want to talk about it, he knew it could not hurt. "Well, Pepper said Morgan was getting older, and she wanted to have another child. I told her Morgan was enough for me," was all Tony said.

Steve shook his head. "Did she go off birth control?" asked Steve.

There was a nod as Tony started to wash the dishes. "She did. I asked her about it after she told me that she was pregnant. Pepper came clean about the truth," stated Tony.

Steve went over to help Tony wash the dishes. He took a bowl then started to dry it with a towel that he picked up. "I am sorry to hear that, Tony. It has been hard for us since I found out that I was pregnant again. Sure we wanted more kids, but not this close together. Jamie is only a year old," Steve told Tony, who nodded.

"Thanks, Steve. I understand. I could get happy about it like Pepper says I should," Tony started, but Bucky cut him off.

"You do not have to be excited about it, Tony. Sure, you will love the kid no matter what since it is yours, but other than that, you do not have to be excited about it."

Steve smiled at that. "Bucky is right. You will grow to love the child, but it does not mean that you have to be excited. Having a child is a big deal," said Steve.

He smiled at them as he finished up the dishes and went to sit in a chair. "You guys are right. Could you two tell me how you are dealing with this?" asked Tony.

Bucky and Steve shared a look before nodding. "We are taking it one day at a time," Steve said.

"Also, we spend as much time as we can with Jamie right now. Now that Steve is in his fourth month, things have gotten better," Bucky stated.

That was good to hear, at least. Tony gave them another smile. "Thank you, both," he replied.

While that was going on, Pepper was out with someone. She was not shopping like she had told Tony. Sitting her bags down that Pepper had gotten to cover her ass when she got home, Pepper sat down. A smile was plastered on her face as she smiled at the man from across her. "I have missed you," Pepper started.

The man reached across to take her hand. "I have missed you too, Pepper. My wife does not know I am here," said Ross with a smile on his face.

Pepper smirked at that. She loved it when they got to spend time together. "Well, if you could hold on, Ross. I need to call home and check-in," replied Pepper.

Ross gave her a nod. "I can," he told her.

Taking out her phone, Pepper dialed Tony's number. "Hey baby, I am going to be out a little longer, but I wanted to check in on Morgan," Pepper said in a sweet voice to butter him up.

Tony nodded on the other end. "It's fine, Pepper. I know we need things for the baby," Tony stated. "Also, Morgan is asleep on the couch."

With a smiling her face, Pepper said, "At least she is good for you. I know she gets tired and needs a nap. I hope you got the tree up."

Switching his phone to the other ear, Tony told Pepper, "I have. Now I will let you get back to your shopping and come home soon. If you need Happy to pick you up, then call him."

"I will if I need him too," said Pepper as she hung up.

Ross smiled at her. "Is everything good at home?" he asked her.

She nodded at him. "It is Ross," she replied.

He gave her a look. "And Tony does not know that the kid is not his?" Ross asked her.

Pepper shook her head as she looked down at the menus. "He does not at all. Tony thinks it is his. I have played my part well. Soon we should be able to run off together," Pepper said.

It was something that Ross was pleased about because he loved Pepper dearly or so he thought. He did not realize the hold she could have on one man. Add in the fact that he was using her for sex as well, even if he did love her. "That is good to hear. Keep up the good work," Ross told her.

She smiled at him as she looked up. They leaned into kissing each other. A moment later, their waitress walked up to them. "May I get the lovely couple something to drink?" she asked them.

Pepper gave her a look. "I will have sweet tea," she said as Ross spoke. "Same for me.

While the waitress noticed who Pepper was, she knew better than to say a word. "I will get your drinks and be right back," she said, walking away quickly.

Ross gave Pepper another kiss. "I can not believe that Tony is falling for this," Ross stated.

With a shrug of her shoulders, Pepper said, "I do not think he is. Tony wants this to work out for Morgan's sake."

It was a lie. Tony was ready to tell Morgan that they were having problems, and things were not looking so hot. "Well, maybe Tony is in denial because he does not want it to end. He loves you," said Ross smiling at her.

Pepper once again shrugged her shoulders. She did not care if Tony loved her or not. In her eyes, Tony had not shown her that he loved her. With the baby that is not his, she thought it would bring them together, but it tore them farther apart. "I highly doubt that, because it's only because of Morgan that he wants it to work," she told Ross.

Once again, it was a lie but did Pepper care no. She would do anything to get what she wanted. The waitress smiled at them as she came over to them. "Here are your drinks," she stated. She then gave them a look. "Can I get you anything to eat?"

Quickly looking down at the menus, Ross said, "I will have the all you can eat platter."

He glanced over to Pepper, who smiled up at him. "I will have a salad," said Pepper, who was watching her weight even if she was eight months pregnant.

Pepper did not want to gain to much weight this time. She smiled over at the waitress. The waitress smiled at her back. "I will get your food order in," she said.

She quickly walked away before she had to deal with them again. Pepper and Ross spent the rest of their lunch talking about whatever they could think of, and then it was time to leave. "I best get home. Morgan will be worried about where I am at," said Pepper.

Ross gave the nod as he hugged her. "I had fun, Pepper," said Ross.

Pepper hugged him back. She gave him a quick kiss. "I have to go now, but I will call you later," said Pepper.

All Ross could do was a nod. He had a feeling that she would not call at all. They waved goodbye to each other before going to their cars. Pepper got in her car then sent a text to Tony.

Pepper: I am heading home now. Please give Morgan kisses and hugs until I get back.

Tony: Pepper, I promise I will. Morgan woke up about two hours ago. I do not want to fight, but now it is four o'clock, and you are never out this late. Morgan will want to spend time with you, but you will be too tired to do so.

Pepper: Tony drop it. It is no big deal. I needed a break, and I got one. It does not kill you to watch our daughter.

Tony saw a bit of red. He was not going to scream or yell, but he would respond.

Tony: This is the five-time this week you have gone out, Pepper. Not to mention the times you come home just so that you can go back out.

Pepper: Tony, can we not do this now. We can wait until I get home and after I have a nap.

Tony: Sure.

He did not say much more to Pepper because there was not anything to say. Letting out a sigh, Tony looked to Morgan. "That was mommy. She is on her way home, but she is tired. Mommy said she was going to take a nap when she got home," Tony told Morgan, who pouted.

"But, I want to spend time with mommy," said Morgan.

Morgan understood why her mother was tired all the time, but it still hurt. "I know, princess. It has been a long day for her, and with your brother or sister on the way, it is only going to get longer. Steve can tell you," said Tony.

Steve gave the nod. "It is true. I get tired a lot after a long day," he replied.

All she could do was give the nod as she went to her room. Morgan went to lay on her bed to cry it out. Tony looked at them. "What do I do?" asked Tony.

"Maybe tell her the truth, Tony. She has a right to know," said Steve looking at him.

Tony gave the nod. "I know Steve, but I am not sure that I can. It is gonna hurt her," Tony replied as Bucky gave him a look.

"While it is true she will be hurt over this, do you think she will be more hurt when she finds out that you guys hid this from her. Morgan is a smart girl," Bucky stated.

Tony nodded again before getting up. He walked his phone over to the charger and plugged it up. "You are right. It sucked when you did not tell me the truth, Steve, and now I am lying to my daughter. I hate it," Tony stated.

Bucky smiled at him. "Then change it, Tony. Pepper may not like it, but it is not about her. It is about a little girl that is going to get hurt either way," Bucky said, speaking the truth.

Jamie started to fuss since he was getting tired. "Is there someplace I can lay him down?" asked Steve taking him from Bucky.

"Yes, upstairs and to your left. The nursery is set up. Jamie can sleep in there," Tony said.

Steve smiled as he walked up the stairs. Once Steve was gone, Tony turned to look at Bucky. "How are you doing with all of this?" asked Tony.

With a sigh, Bucky took a seat on a stool. "Some days are better than others. It has has been very hard. Steve has been great through it all, though. When I need a break, he gives it to me," replied Bucky smiling.

Tony nodded. "Pepper and I do not work that well together," Tony told him. He had a frown on his face. "She never really gave me a break and always complained about things. Pepper said since she gave birth to her, it was my job to raise her. She did all the hard work."

"Well, it takes work, but Steve and I figured it out. It helps that we have known each other for a long time," Bucky stated. "It will get better, and that sucks big time. It takes a village to raise a kid. You can not and should not do this all by yourself."

With a smile, Tony said, "Can I tell you something?"

Bucky nodded. "You may, Tony. I have open ears," Bucky said.

Tony grinned at that. "Pepper and I are divorced. Morgan does not know it. We are just pretending to be together for her. Also, I know Pepper is cheating on me," Tony said with a sad smile.

Bucky gave him a look. "You are surely taking this well, Tony," Bucky replied. He frowns. "If it were me, then I would have done lost it."

"It is only because of Morgan, or else I would have done drunk my self to drink," Tony yelled without meaning too as Steve came back down the stairs. "She is the reason that I am staying sane right at the moment."

"Is everything ok?" asked Steve, sitting down.

Tony shook his head as Bucky spoke since Tony couldn't repeat it. "Pepper is cheating on Tony, and they are divorced. The thing is, Pepper does not know that Tony knows this. "

He stood up to hug Tony, but the man told him to sit down. "It is ok, Steve. I do not need a hug right now. You can always hug me later."