Harley rolled his eyes, reaching for a new card. Peter, Harley, and Morgan were sitting on the floor, playing cards in Tony’s lab at the compound. How his younger sister was so good at a game that was primarily luck was beyond his understanding. She was only six, and yet she had better luck than Peter and him combined.
“Petey,” Morgan said, turning to the teen. “Do you have any sixes?” Peter started to look through his hand, but before he could answer, Tony was standing in the doorway.
“Suit up, kid. Alien threat in the city. Cap could use some backup.” Peter got up quickly, setting his cards on the ground before racing to the corner to pull his suit out of his backpack, throwing it on over his clothes. Meanwhile, Tony turned to his other two kids.
“Stay here, stay safe. Nat and Clint are hanging behind. They’re in the kitchen if you need anything. We’ll be back soon.” Peter ran to Tony’s side, calling over his shoulder for them not to play without him before they both turned down the hallway, heading to fly (and swing) into the inner city. Harley walked to the doorway, watching them go until they disappeared around the corner before turning back towards his younger sister as she sighed, putting her cards on the ground. Raising an eyebrow, he walked over to her, sitting back down.
“What’s wrong, Mo?” She huffed another sigh, looking up at him before crossing her arms over her chest.
“Daddy and Petey always go away to save people. Why don’t we get to do anything fun like that?” Harley chuckled a little at her pouting, but he couldn’t deny that he always felt that pang of jealousy whenever Tony and Peter left to go superhero-ing. He’d always wanted to help Tony fight off the bad guys, and he knew Morgan felt that way too, but with no superhero abilities like their brother, they tended to get left behind.
“That’s just what happens when we don’t have powers or suits like they do, I guess,” he said, giving her a small smile. “But hey! Maybe someday we can learn to fight just like them.”
“You could start now.” Harley was startled slightly by the voice that came from the doorway, and he and Morgan both turned to see Natasha standing in the doorway, Clint beside her. “I mean, only if you want to, of course.”
“Hi Auntie Nat!” Morgan said excitedly. “Whatcha mean if I wanna?”
“I mean, I could teach you how to fight. If you want.” Harley’s eyes widened a little bit, and he looked at Morgan whose eyes were also going wide.
“Really?! Like a superhero?!” Natasha nodded, and her smile grew as Morgan’s grin widened. “I could fight like you, like my Daddy! Like Petey!” she continued, jumping up. “Please can I?” Natasha laughed, crouching down slightly.
“I offered, didn’t I?” she opened her arms and Morgan ran over, letting Natasha scoop her up in a hug before she set her back down on the ground and grabbed her hand. “We’re gonna take things slow though, okay?” Morgan nodded excitedly, and Nat laughed before looking over at Harley, raising an eyebrow. “What about you, kiddo? Wanna learn to shoot an arrow like your Uncle Clint?” Harley didn’t even hesitate, nodding his head eagerly before also standing up--because hell yeah he did!--following Nat and Clint as the two of them led the kids to the training room.
She was gonna learn to fight! And that was the coolest thing ever, because all of her favorite people in the world could fight. And then maybe if she learned to fight, her dad would let her help out on his missions! And that would be really cool.
“Alright sweetheart,” Nat said, taking her to one side of the training room--the really big training room. “Like I said, slow first, okay?” Morgan nodded, but she didn’t know if her auntie Nat even saw, since she was walking over to a pile of big boxing gloves. When she came back, she had a much smaller pair in her hands. “Your dad actually got these special for you. I guess he figured you’d wanna learn someday.” She helped Morgan put them on, then put a pair of flat, rubbery things around her own hands before kneeling down so she was at Morgan’s eye level.
“Okay,” she said. “I want you to punch my hand as hard as you can.” Morgan’s eyes widened a little, and she shook her head.
“I don’t wanna hurt you!” she said, sincerely. Her aunt chuckled a little, then she clapped her hands together with the rubber things around them.
“These are nice and solid,” she responded, giving Morgan a small smile. “You won’t hurt me--promise.” Morgan eyed her a little bit, still suspicious, but decided she was probably right. It’s not like Morgan could punch super hard like anybody else anyways. She excitedly tried to punch, but even she could tell it was really bad. She hit the thing on Nat’s hand, but she only hit the bottom. Punching was harder than she thought. Her aunt’s lips tilted a little bit, like she was trying not to laugh--Morgan’s cheeks got a little red at that--and then nodded.
“Pretty close, sweetheart! Good job! Let’s try to fix your stance a little, okay?” Nat moved so that she was standing behind Morgan, helping her fix her feet and hands so that she was standing the right way. She showed Morgan how to do a lot of practice punches in the air. It was a lot easier when her auntie showed her exactly what to do. After lots and lots of practices, Nat finally let her try on the rubber things again.
“Alright. You got it this time.” Morgan focused really really hard, and she kept her stance just like she’d been taught and tried to punch. And this time, she hit it really hard, right in the middle--so hard she could hear it!
“There it is!” Nat said, sounding excited. “That’s how you throw a punch! Go for it again!” Morgan did, hitting with both hands at different times over and over again, hitting harder and following her aunt as she moved around a little, getting her to punch in totally different places. They kept going and going and going, and Morgan felt like she was getting better and better and better.
She was having so much fun, and she couldn’t wait to show her Daddy everything that her auntie had taught her!
Okay, so Harley had SEEN the training room, but he’d never been IN the training room, and now that he was, he was baffled. It was way bigger than he expected, first of all, and all of the equipment and tech was insane. It was so obviously put together by Tony that it made Harley smile.
“Alright, first things first,” Clint was saying as they set up facing the targets across the room. “Feet shoulder-width apart, facing me.” Harley did as he was told, looking directly at Clint. “Alright. Now turn so you’re looking at the wall, arms straight out, perpendicular to the floor.” Harley followed the instructions again, going through the stance and the motions step-by-step before Clint eventually put a bow in his hand.
“Alright, now practice the drawback a few times.” Harley did, pulling back and releasing the string. Finally, Clint grabbed a quiver and brought it over, setting it on the floor next to them. “Alright, let me see the bow.” Slowly, step by step, Clint showed him how to carefully line the arrow up with the bow and string before getting into position, shooting an arrow at the target and hitting it smack dab in the middle.
“Woah…” Harley couldn’t stop the amazement from escaping himself. I mean, obviously he knew Clint was a good shot. He’d seen him fight before, a ton of times. But something about seeing him make such an accurate shot this close up was even cooler. Clint chuckled at the reaction, handing the bow back over to Harley.
“Alright kiddo,” he said. “Your turn.” Harley looked at him, aghast, having no idea how in the heck he was supposed to try to do that. But Clint just smirked at him, gesturing to the target before stepping back to watch him. Harley gulped a little, suddenly terrified to try to perform in front of Clint--Hawkeye, of all people. But when he saw the smile and encouragement in Clint’s eyes, he took a deep breath in, slowly, and lifted the bow to the stance the bowman himself had taught him, arrow in place. He eyed the target, staring straight at its center as he breathed slowly in and out. Finally, with a steady release, he convinced himself to let go and the arrow went flying, hitting the exact center of the target.
“No freaking way…” he breathed out before he could stop himself, at the same time that Clint said: “Attaboy!” Staring at the target, mouth open in shock, it took Harley a minute to realize Clint had a hand held out for a high five.
“Hey, kid, don’t leave me hanging,” he finally said, getting Harley’s attention. Still shocked--which was quickly turning into excitement--Harley brought the bow down and reached up to slap Clint’s hand, laughing at himself.
“I just did that!” he eventually said, looking right at Clint. “I can’t believe I just did that!” Clint chuckled, smiling brightly.
“I can. You’re a natural. Just like your Uncle.” He then winked, pulling out another arrow, which he handed to Harley before pointing at another target. “Care to try again?” How the heck could Harley say no to that?
Harley shot arrow after arrow, occasionally letting Clint take a shot when he got too jealous. Most of them hit pretty close to the center, and within fifteen minutes, he had hit all eight targets dead-center in a row--and man did that make him feel cool. And the fact that Clint was clearly impressed only made the whole thing better.
He hoped Tony would feel the same way.
When Tony came back from his mission with Peter, the last thing he was expecting to see was Clint teaching his other son how to shoot from a distance of at least thirty feet, much less Nat teaching his daughter how to roundhouse kick. In his shock, his question came out a little bit harsher than he had been anticipating.
“What the hell is going on here?” The arrow Harley had been about to shoot flew out of his hand and off course, hitting the wall and falling to the ground with a rattle. Tony saw him stiffen slightly, turning to face him as Clint, Nat, and Morgan all did the same.
“Daddy! You’re back!” Morgan said excitedly, but her smile immediately turned into a frown as she stared at him. “And you said the h-word.” He couldn’t help how much his face softened at his daughter’s statement, and it took everything he had not to chuckle a little.
“You’re right. I did. I’m sorry.” It was then that Tony heard Peter step into the room behind him and Morgan’s eyes immediately shot to him instead.
“Petey!” she said, running over, wrapping her arms around his legs in a hug. Tony watched her run by, rolling his eyes a little, though it was mostly out of fondness. Of course, he doesn’t get a hug, but Peter does, with his stupid big brother special treatment.
Not that it mattered. He had bigger problems at the moment.
His eyes narrowed as he turned towards Nat and Clint. “Care to explain this?” The two exchanged glances, but before either of them could answer, Morgan was separating herself from Peter and turning to her dad again.
“Auntie Nat’s been teaching me to fight! Like her! And like you! And like Petey! And Uncle Clint taught Harley how to shoot arrows, like him! And we’re really really good, Daddy! I know a whole lotta stuff now and I feel really smart and really tough and I wanna come on your next mission with you and I--”
“Alright alright, slow down lil miss,” he said, bending down so he was eye level with her. “I’m glad you learned a lot, and I love you very very much, but you’re not quite big enough to start really learning how to fight yet. And you’re definitely not big enough for missions. But someday, maybe, okay?” He watched his daughter as she looked at him suspiciously, and he could see the wheels turning in her head, but before he had a chance to react, she punched him, hard on his left arm.
“Ow!” he exclaimed, and he watched as her face turned into a proud--and very smug--grin. He could hear Peter trying to hide his laughter behind him, and he could see the hidden smile in everyone else’s faces, but he worked very hard to ignore all of them.
“See?” she said, her smirk growing even wider. Yeah, she definitely got that from him. He rubbed his arm slightly, not expecting such a hard punch--though I guess if Nat had been teaching her, he probably should’ve. He stared at Morgan for a minute, eyebrows raised at her as she looked at him as if waiting for a concession.
“You just punched me! Did you think that was gonna change anything?” She continued to stare at him, crossing her arms and tapping her foot, clearly not backing down. Tony supposed she’d gotten her stubbornness from him too. Finally, after a stare down for several minutes, he sighed, shaking his head.
“We’ll talk about it. Deal?” Morgan’s face lit up, and she gave him a giant smile.
“Deal!” she responded, seeming to believe she’d at least gotten somewhere. Tony had no intention of actually letting his six-year-old go on any real missions, of course, and he figured a part of her knew that, but he knew that hadn’t really been her point either, so he was willing to let this one slide. Suddenly, Peter spoke up behind him.
“So...does this mean you guys don’t wanna finish ‘Go Fish’?”
“Of course we wanna finish ‘Go Fish’!” Morgan answered, running over to Harley. “We can train with Auntie Nat and Uncle Clint again tomorrow. Right?” Morgan turned to said aunt and uncle, causing Harley to do the same, and Nat and Clint looked at each other before looking at Tony. He thought briefly, but it didn’t take long for him to nod his head, sighing a little as he did. He supposed they were bound to want to learn at some point. And besides--what harm could training really do? Sighing slightly, seeming pleased that Tony had agreed, Nat bent down to Morgan, giving her a smile.
“Of course kiddo. Anytime you want.” Morgan gave an excited little hop before running over to Harley, tugging at his shirt.
“Come on, Harles. Go Fish isn’t any fun if I can’t beat you and Petey at the same time.” That finally made Tony laugh, and he watched as Harley begrudgingly handed the bow back to Clint, receiving a pat on the shoulder in response before he was dragged out by his younger sister, Peter leading all three of them out the door and back to the lab. Tony watched them go before shaking his head, turning back to Nat and Clint.
“I leave for an hour and you’re already corrupting my kids.”
“I wouldn’t call it corrupting, exactly,” Clint said. “We’re just...teaching them the ropes. On a few things.” Tony rolled his eyes, walking with him over to the targets to help with picking up the arrows.
“Oh sure. Just showing them the ropes on how to kill people and fight when they shouldn’t even have to be worrying about that type of thing.”
“Hey,” Nat interjected, joining them by the range. “We didn’t tell them to fight. They asked us, technically. And you know, Morgan was crazy excited. She really wanted to impress you.”
“She’s six!” Tony shot back quickly, but he couldn’t help the small pride that welled up in his heart knowing that Morgan wanted to impress him. Even if it was with fighting. Fighting that apparently meant him getting punched. “And she punched me!” Nat and Clint both started laughing at that, and Clint spoke through their giggles.
“Yeah, and she punched hard! She was taught by the best, after all.” Clint and Nat looked at each other then, laughs tapering off before they glanced at Tony again. “And besides,” Clint continued. “What the harm in learning a few solid punches?” Tony rolled his eyes again, about to interject and explain that he didn’t exactly want his daughter going around punching everybody now, but before he could, he was stopped by the sound of feet pitter-pattering across the floor. He turned to the sound, but barely had time to register who it was before his daughter barrelled into his legs, squeezing hard.
“Sorry I punched you, Daddy,” she said, voice muffled, since her face was pushed up against his legs. However, she seemed to realize her mistake, because she looked up at him when she spoke next. “I still love you 3000.” And at that, Tony immediately melted, any anger over the training session gone.
“I love you 3000, too, kiddo,” he said fondly, ruffling her hair. “Now go beat your brothers at that game.” She giggled, running off once again. He watched her go, then turned to see Nat and Clint staring at him, fond smirks on their faces.
“Alright,” he started slowly, watching them raise their eyebrows at him. “Maybe a little bit of training wouldn’t be such a bad thing.” He turned towards the door again, staring after where his kids had disappeared too, but not before he caught the small victory handshake shared between Nat and Clint. He shook his head a little at that, but it was all out of fondness. In the end, he knew his friends--his family--wanted to look out for his kids just as much as he did. And that was what really mattered.
“Besides,” he said, eventually. “I could definitely get used to those apology hugs.”