The irony that it was now him who couldn't seem to tear himself away from the repeating loop of news footage wasn't lost on Tony as he paced back and forth in his lab, impatiently waiting for Steve and the others to get home so Fury could debrief them. He'd already sent a disgruntled Peter to his room, not wanting him to be exposed to the live-feed coverage of rescuers pulling burned and bleeding bodies out of the wreckage of what used to be some kind of scientific research centre. The kid didn't need to be watching that kind of stuff, not when he'd already lived through something far too similar for Tony's taste. Twice.
Of course, that had been Peter's very argument for trying to remain in the lab, pleading with Tony that he could somehow help and finally forcing Tony to pull out the "because I said so" card that he always kept hidden deep inside his back pocket, in the hopes that he wouldn't have to use it.
It was such a cliché, and Tony usually hated clichés. Especially when it came to parenting.
"JARVIS, you blocked that news footage from all of Pete's stuff, right?" he asked, his fingers tightly curled around his left forearm. The arm had been aching quite a bit lately, no doubt due to stress combined with his recent severe lack of sleep. At Steve's insistence, Tony had just had a complete physical exam with Helen Cho about a month or so ago that included a full cardiac workup, and she had pronounced his heart about as healthy as it could be given everything Tony had put it through.
But still, the arm seemed to enjoy aching, and the annoying constant tingly sensation was absolutely not helping Tony's patience.
"I did indeed, sir," answered JARVIS. "Master Peter is currently engrossed in a video chat with Miss Stacy."
"Mmm, I'm not sure if that's any better," Tony grumbled. He actually liked Peter's girlfriend, especially since it was obvious that she adored him, but being the daughter of a deputy police chief, Gwen Stacy probably had access to plenty of information that wasn't readily available to just the average citizen, and the last thing that Tony needed was Peter finding stuff out secondhand.
"Uhh, what're they talking about?" he asked, suppressing the shudder that followed. Peter was sixteen already, and therefore deserved at least some measure of privacy, but—
"You know what, J, nevermind," Tony quickly added. "Just tell me how much longer Steve's gonna be."
"Mr Wilson's vehicle will arrive inside the Tower garage in approximately three minutes, sir," said JARVIS.
Tony gave a nod as he turned on his heel, resuming his pacing. "Yeah, yeah, that's good. Just… why don't you tell all three of 'em to come up here when they get home, yeah? That'll save Steve the trouble of having to just repeat it all later. Oh, and get Barton and Romanoff on the line too."
"Very good, sir," said JARVIS. "Captain Rogers has acknowledged the message."
Fury hadn't been able to tell Tony exactly what kind of research was being conducted in the destroyed building, only that the Wakandan king had been touring the hospital next door when an explosive device detonated, killing at least thirty people and wounding almost a hundred more. As soon as news of the explosion broke, Fury reached out to the Wakandan delegation, offering the Avengers' personal assistance in discovering the identity of the perpetrators, an offer that the king's son, Prince T'Challa, said he would take under advisement.
"We're here, Tony," Natasha's low, raspy voice suddenly said from the secondary viewscreen as Barton strolled into view behind her, scratching at the back of his neck and yawning, looking like he'd just woken up from a nap.
Probably 'cause he just did, Tony thought, his lips curling into the slightest of smiles. It was already almost eleven at night, not exactly the best time to be napping.
And I thought my sleep was messed up.
"Hey, guys," Tony said quietly. "Steve and the rest should be here in a—"
"Captain Rogers has arrived in the penthouse, sir," JARVIS said, a second before Tony picked up Steve's steady footsteps heading towards the lab, followed by Sam and Bucky. Tony's heart gave a flutter as his tall, blond-haired, drop-dead gorgeous husband came into view, dressed in a pair of jeans that showed off his magnificent ass to perfection, and his New York Mets sweatshirt and baseball cap that almost exactly matched the blue in his eyes.
Hot damn, that is one fine-looking man.
"Tony," Steve said as he reached for Tony's hand, planting a quick kiss on his forehead. "Is Peter all right?"
"Yeah, babe, he's in his room, probably still whining to Gwen about how not awesome we are," Tony said, rolling his eyes. "I sent him out of here once the news broke."
Steve gave a nod, his jaw already clenched into his Captain America give 'em hell expression. "We can tell Peter about this once we know some more information."
"Yeah, that's what I told him," said Tony. "But you know Pete."
"Gentlemen, I have Director Fury on the line," said JARVIS.
"Put him through, please, JARVIS," said Steve.
All four men turned to face the main viewscreen as the grim visage of Nick Fury appeared, his single uncovered eye scanning across the room before landing on Tony.
"I'm afraid I don't have much more to tell you," he began. "I just put Hill and three other trusted agents on a plane about fifteen minutes ago, so hopefully once they get on the ground out there we can get some more concrete information."
"So you don't think there remains an immediate threat?" Steve asked, his fingers twitching in Tony's.
"Not at the moment, but new information is coming in every few minutes or so, so we're obviously still closely monitoring the situation," Fury answered. "What I can tell you people is that based on the currently available evidence, this does not appear to be the same type of attack that occurred over Wakanda earlier this week."
"It doesn't?" Tony asked with wide eyes. "So you're saying it's just some random coincidence?"
"Nah, it can't be just a coincidence," said Sam. "Based on what we know about the Wakandans, this smells more like an assassination attempt to me."
"Since whoever was behind this attack did in fact manage to kill the Wakandan king, I'd say that's a very reasonable theory, Mr Wilson," Fury said. "And as I told Tony, I've offered the assistance of the Avengers to Prince T'Challa, but I'm honestly not holding my breath on that one. If this humanitarian visit was Wakanda's way of trying to dip their toes into interacting with the rest of the world, I can't imagine that their prince is going to be too eager to make another attempt."
"Or, he might be even more eager for our help since the Avengers can be dispassionate," Natasha spoke up. "Is there any evidence that this might've been an inside job?"
"None that I've seen, although I haven't ruled out the possibility," said Fury. He held up his hand as someone off-screen handed him a tablet, his brow furrowing into a deep frown as he read. "Well, well, well. It seems like Prince T'Challa has actually accepted my offer to meet with the team. Captain Rogers, how soon can you leave?"
"What?" Tony yelped as a bolt of pain shot up his left arm. "Now wait just a goddamn minute here! Why all of a sudden is this considered more of an Avengers-level event than the actual attack from space?"
"Because as far as we know, the space phenomenon was a single occurrence, whereas in this case, our assistance is being requested by the head of state of another country," Fury said firmly. "Another country that might prove to be an invaluable ally if such another space phenomenon were to occur."
Tony huffed out a sharp breath, glowering at the viewscreen as Steve pursed his lips. The last thing he wanted at the moment was to have to leave Peter behind in New York before he'd had a chance to fully calculate the possibility of another impending attack from space. Rhodey was still up to his eyeballs in D.C. trying to help rebuild the Air Force's special ops after its decimation by HYDRA, and while Pepper and Happy were always an emergency option to watch Peter, as were the Leeds family—and even the Stacys, Tony supposed—neither Tony nor Steve felt really comfortable leaving Peter with anyone who wasn't an Avenger. The distraction of their constant worry for him was not conducive to a smooth Avengers mission.
"I'm not sure the presence of the entire team is necessary, Director, if this is more of a diplomatic meeting than a true mission," Steve said as he squeezed Tony's hand, once again reading Tony's mind. "Would you concur?"
Fury tilted his head, pondering. "I would," he said. "Who're you thinking?"
"I think myself, Sam, Bucky, and Nat should be enough," Steve replied, earning an affirmative nod from both Bucky and Sam. "If for some reason something else goes down, then Tony, Bruce, and Clint can always join us later."
"Agreed," said Fury. "And let's hope that nothing else goes down. We haven't even finished dealing with the whole HYDRA mess yet, and I always hate having to deal with two crises at once. It tends to make me extra cranky."
Oh, and we can't have that, Tony thought with a frown.
"Give us three hours to get set, then we'll head out," said Steve.
"Got it," replied Fury. "Coordinate with Hill once you're on the ground, she'll put you in touch with Prince T'Challa."
"Copy that, Director," Steve said in his Captain's voice. "We'll talk again soon."
As soon as Fury's viewscreen went blank, Steve turned to Natasha and Clint, asking in feigned seriousness, "Can Clint handle the twins on his own?"
"Hey!" protested Clint. "Now wait just a goddamn—!"
"As long as they don't figure out where he's hidden his arrows," Natasha answered, barely hiding her smirk. "Or ask him for help with their math homework."
"Hey, I have never claimed to be Bruce Banner, okay?" Clint said. "So there is absolutely nothing wrong with me not understanding their goddamn theoretical trigo-calculus, or whatever the hell it is that they're doing."
"But, yeah, I think they should be fine," Natasha finished. "They're usually pretty easy on us."
"Mmm," grumbled Clint. "That's 'cause you just keep babying them, ya big pushover."
"Well, I'm sure Pete could always give them a hand with their schoolwork if it comes down to it," Tony said, only half-joking. "Wouldn't wanna make Barton have to use his brains too much if it's too painful."
"Oooh! That was harsh!" Sam exclaimed as Natasha let out a snort, jabbing Clint in the side.
"Ow!" Clint whined. "Why's everyone being so mean to me? I didn't do anything!"
"Oh, give me a break," said Natasha. "Weren't you just grumbling earlier today about how early the twins have to get up for school?"
"Well… it is too damn early," Clint said, rather sheepishly. "You even said so yourself."
"Yes, but when have you ever actually brought them to school?" Natasha asked. "By yourself?"
Clint frowned, glancing at the screen as if he just realised the rest of them were still there. "Um… well… that one morning I was going to, but—" He broke off, scowling fiercely at Steve. "You know, I was in the middle of a perfectly good nap—"
"You're always in the middle of a goddamn nap, Barton," Tony snapped. "And this isn't helping."
"Well, shit, Tony," Clint said, all joking aside. "Yeah, Cap, we'll—we'll be fine. Long as you're sure you won't need all of us. I mean, have they caught any of the guys that set off the explosion yet?"
"Not yet, according to Fury," said Tony. "And so far no one's taken credit for it either."
"Well, we'll just have to deal with that once we're there," Steve said. "And like Fury said, the Avengers will be there as diplomatic liaisons, so too much of a show of force might send the wrong message. But I won't hesitate to call for backup if I think it becomes necessary."
"Damn right, you won't," Tony said under his breath. Despite his hesitancy in leaving Peter behind, Tony did not like Steve going off without him either. He had already upgraded the locator chips that he sewed into each of Steve's uniforms to maintain a constant lock on him as soon as he exited any of the Avengers' facilities, using a brand-new rotating transmission frequency program that Peter had helped him write over the summer. HYDRA had managed to override the locator in Steve's phone only seconds after they arrested him back in May, and there was no way Tony was going to allow himself to lose sight of him ever again.
Tony had also placed the new locators in Peter's Spider-Man uniforms, even though they never left the Avengers' facilities. Tony's thought was that he could never be too careful when it came to protecting his boys.
"All right, Nat," said Steve. He glanced at the old-fashioned wall clock next to the door, placed there by Tony just for him. "It's almost 2315 now, so we'll be swinging by to pick you up around 0230."
"Copy that, Cap," said Natasha. "I'll be ready. And say hi to my милая ошибка for me, will you?"
Steve smiled, a smile that Tony quickly mirrored. One of the worst things about Peter only getting to see his Auntie Nat on the weekends was that it had greatly decreased their opportunities to continue with Peter's ballet lessons. Peter still practised a couple times per week, and both Tony and Steve loved it when they just happened to wander into the living room to find Peter gracefully leaping across the floor while Swan Lake played in the background, but it still wasn't the same.
"We will, Nat. Thanks."
"Well, the hits just keep on coming, hmm?" Sam said once Natasha's screen went blank. "I know you said this was supposed to be diplomatic, but are you still thinking standard mission op, Cap?"
"Yeah, it's better to be safe than sorry," Steve said after a short pause. "We'll just keep most of our big equipment on the jet."
"'Cause we all know how well diplomatic missions tend to turn out, right?" said Bucky.
"Not necessarily, Buck," Steve said. His eyes flicked over to Tony, giving his hand a reassuring squeeze. "It's just better to be on the safe side here. I'm sorry about the short notice."
Sam let out a soft chuckle. "Hey, that kinda comes with the territory, doesn't it? At least we got to see the whole game."
"Oh, yeah," Bucky said with a frown. "Not that it was worth seeing or anything."
"Ahh, you're just sore 'cause your team sucks," Sam shot back. "If the Mets would've won you wouldn't be near as grumpy."
"All right, all right, you guys," Steve said as he shooed them towards the elevator. "Go on and get packed, we're wheels up at 0215."
"Copy that, Cap."
Tony watched them head towards the elevator, his mind already swirling with everything that he needed to get done before Steve left. He'd just finished a brand-new uniform for Steve a few nights ago when he couldn't sleep, a replacement for his traditional red, white, and blue Captain America uniform. This latest model featured upgraded Kevlar throughout the chest and abdomen—where Steve always managed to take hits, no matter who or where he was fighting—and some extra cushioning in his left boot to support the foot that HYDRA nearly destroyed beyond repair in their quest to study Steve's ability to self-heal. A shiver raced down Tony's spine as he recalled the stomach-flipping grotesqueness of Steve's poor foot, and how long it took for Steve to recover from it, with Tony worrying the entire time that HYDRA might've managed to push Steve's body beyond the regenerative limits of the serum.
Which they hadn't. Thanks to Helen Cho and her top-notch medical connections, after an extremely delicate and complicated surgery followed by a series of very bulky—and annoying—casts, Steve's foot was technically completely healed, with no traces of any lingering injury visible on X-ray or MRI.
But Tony knew that the foot still bothered Steve on occasion, even without him saying so—which he never, ever did. Tony suspected that part of it might be psychological, as even if he never liked to show it, the month that Steve spent as a prisoner of HYDRA still deeply haunted him. Especially the part about how he was drugged so badly that it forced him to believe he was fighting against Tony, and that Tony hated him.
Yet another demon in the ever-growing stack that he needed to slay.
The elevator doors had barely slid closed when Steve turned to Tony, curling his arm around his waist.
"Are you okay with all this?" he asked as he drew Tony flush against him, tucking his head under his chin. "I'm sorry that I didn't ask you first, but—"
"Steve, it wouldn't've mattered if you had," Tony said, muffled against Steve's broad chest. He wound his arms around Steve's waist, closing his eyes as he breathed in the scent of salted peanuts and beer lingering on Steve's sweatshirt from the baseball game. "You're the Captain, Captain, so what you say pretty much goes."
"Mmm," Steve muttered as he leaned back, sliding his hand under Tony's chin so he could meet his eyes. "You know that's not true when it comes to you and Peter, right? We always make those decisions together."
"Of course I do," Tony said firmly. "Which is exactly why you ever-so-bluntly informed Nick that there was no way in hell I was going to accompany you guys on this mission. Or Barton, for that matter. Us househusbands have to stay home and look after the kids."
Steve's shoulders sagged, his eyebrows knitting into a frown. "Tony—"
"No, no, honey, you know I'm joking," Tony cut in, brushing his fingers across Steve's full bottom lip. "Well, I guess I'm kinda only half-joking, but anyway, you know I don't wanna leave Pete here alone. Not now, not… after. But that doesn't mean I can't stand seeing you go off without me either."
"I know, mo grá, I know," Steve said, low and thick. He tucked Tony close again, his fingers gliding up his back to thread into his hair. "And I hate leaving you too, you know I do. But Fury's right. If that space phenomenon does turn out to be something important, then having the Wakandans as allies could be a pretty big help."
"Yeah, and I'm still not convinced that the two attacks aren't related." Tony slid his hands down the sides of Steve's back, slipping his fingers underneath his bulky sweatshirt and tight undershirt to ghost across the soft skin just above his waistband. "Coincidence my ass, there's no way you can tell me this second attack wasn't because of the first, even if it wasn't by the same people or group."
"I do agree with you there," Steve murmured. He dug the tips of his fingers into Tony's scalp so deliciously that Tony couldn't help but let out a soft moan, his eyes fluttering closed as Steve's lips brushed across his cheekbone over to his ear. "Can we go say goodnight to Peter now? I want some time alone with you before I have to leave."
A bolt of pleasure shot down Tony's spine at Steve's words, and the way his lips tickled the sensitive shell of his ear. He tilted his head up to meet Steve's mouth in a firm kiss, whimpering when Steve's tongue swiped across his bottom lip just before he pulled away.
"Not sure how you expect me to say no to that, you big tease," Tony whispered as Steve took his hand, intertwining their fingers.
"That was kind of the point, sweetheart," Steve said, with a downright mischievous wink. "JARVIS, is Peter still awake?"
"Yes, Captain," said JARVIS. "Master Peter is currently reading."
"Thanks, J," said Tony. "Oh, and if you don't mind, can you run another diagnostic on the locator chip in Steve's newest suit?"
"Very good, sir."
"Another new suit?" Steve said as they exited the lab. "Tony, none of my uniforms are even close to being worn out, and—"
"Yeah, well, right now you don't get a say in the matter," Tony said, probably a bit harsher than necessary when Steve frowned. He tugged on Steve's hand, halting him as they reached the living room. "Look. I just can't have you going somewhere without me being able to keep track of you." He paused, wincing. "Okay, that actually sounded kinda creepy, but you know what I mean. I can't—Steve, I just can't—"
I can't go through that again. It would kill me.
Steve dropped his chin to his chest, his thumb trailing across the back of Tony's hand as shame welled up inside Tony's gut. The last thing Tony wanted was for Steve to feel guilty about being arrested and tortured by the very same organisation he had sought to destroy for most of his adult life, but if there was anything that that godawful month had taught Tony, it was that Steve was a vital part of his very being, and that he would literally shrivel up to nothingness without him.
Over the last four years, Steve had managed to work his way into Tony's very soul, taking his place right next to Peter. And to lose either of them would completely destroy him.
"Sweetheart, I—" Steve started.
"No, honey, it's okay," Tony interrupted. "Just… I mean, you get it, right?"
"Yes, mo grá, I get it," Steve said softly as he cupped Tony's cheek in his hand. "But couldn't you have just upgraded the chips in my old uniforms instead of making me another one?"
Tony huffed, tearing his gaze away from his husband's piercing blue eyes, shining like the dotted lights in the distant skyscrapers. "Well… yeah, I s'pose I could have, but after I upgraded the locator chips, I just figured that I may as well upgrade your suit too, 'cause it gets to the point where it's just easier to make a whole new one. So I changed up the Kevlar a bit and made a few other changes that I think you'll enjoy."
Steve's luscious lips curled into a slight smile. "Yes, I'm sure I will. And I do understand about the suit. It's just that usually you have me try out a new suit in training a couple times before I take it on a mission."
"Yeah, well, this time I guess you can't," said Tony. "But I doubt that you'll notice any differences." And he wouldn't, Tony had made absolute sure of it. And on the very off chance that he did, it would be something like his foot not being as stiff and sore after walking on it all day long, which would only be a good thing.
"Besides," Tony added. "It's probably best to have a snazzy new suit for your first meeting with a prince, right?"
Steve smiled even wider, revealing his dimple. "Yes, I'm sure you're right. That probably means that I should polish my shield on the way there, hmm?"
"And Wilson's wings, and Barnes' arm," Tony said. He slid his hand into the crook of Steve's elbow as they continued towards the bedrooms. "I'm sure Nat's stuff is perfectly shiny already, knowing her."
"Knowing her, I'm sure it is," Steve said as they arrived at the door to Peter's room, slightly cracked open as per his usual. He rapped his knuckles three times on the doorway. "Hey, little guy, can we come in?"
"Uh huh," came the answer from somewhere in the depths of the room. Pushing the door open, Tony stepped inside, frowning when he noticed Peter's rumpled but empty bed. He glanced up, intending to look towards the overstuffed chair against the wall, and immediately jumped back with a gasp when his eyes landed on his boy sitting up in the far corner of his room by the ceiling, dressed in his favourite Hulk pyjamas and reading from his thick quantum physics textbook.
"Jesus Christ, Pete! What the hell are you doing up there?" Tony exclaimed, sucking in a deep breath as his heart slowly meandered its way out of his throat. It wasn't the first time that he and Steve had found Peter sitting up by the ceiling, and knowing Peter it wouldn't be the last either.
That did not, however, mean that Tony was at all used to it. Quite the contrary, in fact.
"Eh, it's just comfy," Peter said with a nonchalant shrug, as if it was a perfectly normal occurrence for a teenage boy to be doing his homework while sticking to the wall nearly five metres up from the floor. "It's not like I'm gonna fall."
"No, we know that, little guy," Steve said thickly. His heart was beating a bit faster than usual too, Tony could tell. "It's just… something that Dad and I aren't quite used to yet."
"You're implying that we will be at some point?" Tony asked, incredulous. "You know what, nevermind. Can you—can you just come down here, Pete? Papa's gonna be leaving soon, and you need to be getting to bed."
Peter sighed as he nodded, his expression glum as he launched the textbook onto his bed, crawling three paces down before executing a perfect backflip onto the floor.
Auntie Nat would've been very proud of her cute little bug, or whatever the hell her little Russian nickname meant. All Tony knew is that Peter practically melted into a puddle of goo every time she said it, complete with the dewy heart eyes that Tony wouldn't have believed were possible from the former Red Room assassin if he hadn't personally seen them multiple times. Natasha didn't allow too many people to see her softer side, but Peter had been granted the privilege from pretty much the first time Natasha laid eyes on him.
Which was all par for the course with Peter. Aside from a few psychopathic criminals and a couple of schoolyard bullies, Tony hadn't met a single person who didn't absolutely adore his sweet boy.
"Where're you going this time, Papa?" Peter asked as he stepped into Steve's open arms, squeezing him so tightly that Steve grunted. Peter had had yet another growth spurt over the summer, and still hadn't quite adjusted to his subsequent increase in strength.
Evidenced by the fact that he was already on his third backpack for the year, and it was still only October.
"I'm going to Africa, little guy," Steve answered as he kissed the top of Peter's head. "Namibia, to be exact. Director Fury wants us to open a dialogue with the Prince of Wakanda."
"You mean the new king," Peter said. He tipped his head back, looking up at his papa so adoringly that Tony's heart lurched. "'Cause wasn't their king just killed?"
"Jesus, Pete, how do you even know that?" demanded Tony. "I told you that you weren't allowed to watch that stuff."
"Gwen's dad was watching the news in the background while we were talking," Peter said, his bottom lip sticking out in its full pouty force. "It's not my fault that I could hear it."
"No, but you probably didn't tell her that you weren't supposed to be—you know what, nevermind." Tony let out a heavy sigh as he stepped into the family hug. "I'm too tired to argue with you about this, Pete, but you absolutely cannot say anything about Papa's mission until he says it's okay, you got that?"
"Yes, Dad, I'm not an idiot," muttered Peter. "I know my clearance level isn't as high as yours and Papa's."
"Nor will it be for awhile yet, little guy," Steve said sternly. His expression softened as he ruffled Peter's downy soft curls. "Did you remember to brush your teeth?"
Peter's eyes dropped, filled with worry. "Yeah, I did," he murmured as he buried his face in Steve's chest, his skinny arms tight around Steve's waist. "Just… please, Papa, be careful. Please? Promise you will?"
Tony bit his lip at the obvious concern in his son's voice, concern for his Papa, who he'd once feared he might never see again.
Even more proof—as if we needed more?—of how indelible Steve had become in their lives.
Never again, he thought firmly. It's never gonna happen again.
"Peter, I promise I'm gonna be careful," Steve said. "I'm gonna have Uncle Sam, Uncle Bucky, and Auntie Nat with me, so… you know they'll be able to keep me in line."
"Good," Peter stated. "'Cause they'll need to."
"This is more of a diplomatic meet-up than a real mission, Pete," Tony added. "Papa probably won't even have to get his new uniform dirty. And with the new locator chips, you and I will be able to listen in and keep tabs on him anytime we want."
Peter sniffed, his doe-like eyes shiny with tears as he nodded. "Uh huh. I'm gonna have the frequency pulled up on my phone until you get back. Just—just to be sure."
Steve shot Tony a concerned look over Peter's head, one that Tony volleyed right back at him. Both he and Steve had noticed a few clingy tendencies in their son over the summer, but with how aloof he could sometimes be and how grumpy he still was about not being allowed to do his patrols, Tony just assumed it was just yet another part of his wonky teenager mood swings.
"That's fine, little guy," Steve finally said. He pulled back, planting a kiss on Peter's forehead. "And we'll figure out a time to talk every night too, okay? Even if it's just for a few minutes."
"Yeah, I'd like that," said Peter. He swiped at his nose, attempting a smile. "When are you leaving?"
"In a couple hours, bud," Tony said. "Long after you're asleep."
"Which you should be now, little guy," Steve said gently. "It's pretty late."
Peter gave a somber nod as he gave Steve one final squeeze before crawling into his bed, burrowing down into his fluffy blankets. "I just couldn't sleep until I knew what was going on."
"Yeah, it's all right," Steve murmured as he sat down on the side of the bed. "I'd be the same way."
"Uncle Bruce and I will bring you to school in the morning, okay, bud?" Tony said. "You got your alarms set?"
"Yep, all three of 'em," Peter said. He closed his eyes as Steve brushed the hair from his forehead, leaning over to kiss him again.
"I love you, little guy," he said. "Oh, and Auntie Nat asked us to tell you hi from her."
Peter smiled. "Oh, that's awesome. Can you tell her that I miss her when you see her?"
"I can definitely do that," said Steve. "I'll see you in a few days, okay?"
"Uh huh, Papa. Thanks. Love you too."
Tony's throat was tight as Steve backed away, allowing Tony to take his place.
"Sleep well, bud," he said as he tucked the blankets under Peter's chin. He planted a kiss on Peter's forehead, thankful beyond belief that Peter still allowed him to do so. "Love you."
"Love you, Dad. 'Night."
Steve reached for Tony's hand as they backed out of Peter's room, the muscles in his jaw twitching as they made their way down the hall to their bedroom. Tony had barely had time to cross the threshold when Steve halted, turning to Tony and hoisting him into his arms as he backed him up against the wall.
"JARVIS, can you please soundproof the room?" Steve asked as he kicked the door closed, his blue eyes already darkening in the dim, bluish light. Steve cupped Tony's cheek in his right hand as Tony's legs wrapped around his waist, his body already buzzing with electricity. He absolutely loved it when Steve was frantic with him.
"The master bedroom is now soundproofed, Captain," JARVIS announced.
"Thank you," Steve said, barely getting the words out before he claimed Tony's lips in a bruising kiss, pulling back after only a second to whisper, "You're not too tired, are you?"
"Oh Christ, Steve," Tony rushed out. "No way in hell."
"Oh, thank God!" Steve rasped as he captured Tony's lips again, kissing and nibbling as his free hand slipped underneath the front of Tony's shirt, gliding up to brush his thumb across his nipple. A soft whimper escaped Tony's throat as Steve's tongue plundered his mouth, finally pulling away to kiss down his cheek and jaw to his neck.
"Steve—baby," Tony stammered, moaning as Steve sucked a mark into his pulse point, a spot that would definitely show in the morning.
Good thing Bruce was used to it by now.
"Bed!" Tony finally gasped, just before Steve attacked his mouth again, kissing him like he was afraid it would be the last time. Tony let out another whimper as he clung to Steve's broad shoulders, forcibly trying to empty his mind of his worries so he could focus only on how Steve was making him feel.
Which was really, really good.
"Steve—" he said again, finally having the presence of mind to tap him on the shoulder. "Honey, let's get on the bed. Like, right the hell now!"
"Yes, yes," Steve said as he broke away from Tony's mouth. A low growl rumbled up from his chest as he cupped his hands under Tony's ass, squeezing it as he carried him over to their bed, laying him down before crawling up to hover over him. Tony gulped as he looked deep into Steve's blown-black eyes, filled with such tenderness and adoration that his breath caught in his throat.
"I love you," Steve whispered, his fingertips trailing down Tony's temple and cheek to his lips. "God, I love you so much."
Tears pricked Tony's eyes, and for a heartbeat or three he had to fight the almost overwhelming instinct to look away. Steve had always worn his heart on his sleeve. From pretty much the first moment Tony laid eyes on him, he could tell what Steve was thinking and feeling, even as he tried to deny it. And sometimes… well… sometimes Steve was just so transparent that Tony was almost overwhelmed by it. The amount of love that Tony could see every single day in Steve's beautiful eyes and his gorgeous smile, and feel in every single one of his tender touches… he sometimes felt that if he wasn't careful, he just might end up drowning in it.
"I love you too, honey," Tony whispered. He slid his palms up Steve's arms and shoulders to cup his face. "Just… promise me that you're not gonna go diving out of any highrise windows this time, okay? 'Cause there's absolutely no need for that kind of drama."
Steve breathed in, his eyes glassy as he nodded. "I promise. As long as you promise me that you'll try to get some sleep while I'm gone."
Tony's eyebrows knitted into a frown. "Mmm, we'll see," he grumbled. He wound his arms around Steve's neck, tugging him closer. "Now, I believe that we were starting something here."
Instantly, Steve's face changed, becoming almost predatory as he settled himself over Tony, careful not to pin him too firmly.
"Yes, I believe we were," he practically growled as he dipped his head to find Tony's lips, slipping a hand underneath Tony's shirt to tug it off. Tony let out a gasp as Steve slid his palms up Tony's bare chest, his legs instinctively hiking up to hook over Steve's hips as his hands slid down Steve's back to grip his glorious ass.
"Get these jeans off. And the rest of your clothes too, while you're at it," Tony ordered as Steve tore away from his mouth to suck another mark into his neck. "A body this exquisite should never be covered. In fact, I might even make it a new house rule. No more clothes for you."
"Pretty sure Peter would protest that one, sweetheart," Steve said as he sat back, quickly ridding himself of his clothes. Tony's heart gave a flutter as Steve tossed his t-shirt onto the floor. No matter how many times he got to see his husband's glorious body, it still never failed to amaze him.
"God," he whispered as his fingers glided up the strong arms that held him close at night, across the broad, heaving chest that covered the biggest heart that Tony had ever seen, and down the textbook washboard abs that actually rippled beneath his fingertips to where his cock stood at attention, weeping slightly and simply begging for Tony's touch.
"Steve… I can't—I mean, I just—shit, baby, you're just—God—"
What in the name of Earth, heaven, and the rest of the goddamn universe are you doing with someone like me?
"No, mo grá, please, don't," Steve whispered as he flattened his palm over the scars on Tony's chest, framed by the dog tags that Tony wore around his neck. "Please, don't think like that. Is breá liom tú, agus ba mhaith liom tú a shásamh. Inis dom cad ba mhaith leat."
"Fuucckk," Tony breathed. "You have no idea just how sexy that is, do you? I mean, there's just no way that you could possibly know, because—"
He was cut off by Steve's downright wicked grin as his long artist's fingers slid down his chest and abdomen and underneath the waistband of Tony's soft pants, closing around his straining erection.
"I think I might have some idea," Steve said as he gently squeezed, pulling such a loud moan from Tony that it would've embarrassed the hell out of him if he hadn't trusted Steve implicitly.
"God, please don't ever leave me," Tony said before he could stop himself. His eyes went wide as his lust-addled mind caught on to the fact that he'd just voiced out loud one of the fears that haunted him the most, during those deep, dark hours of the night when he couldn't sleep.
"I won't, Tony," Steve said firmly. "We're going to grow old together, remember? You and me, sitting in our rocking chairs up at the Compound, long after we've passed down our shields and suits of armour to the next generation of heroes."
"And you'll be working on your newest painting while I work on some newfangled thing for one of Pete's kids," Tony added. He sucked in a shaky breath as a single tear trailed from the corner of his eye. "Steve, I want that. I want that so much."
"Then it will be, sweetheart," Steve murmured. He curled his fingers around Tony's cock, stroking him slowly. "But now… I'd really like to get back to what we were doing."
"Mmm, you and your plans—oh fuck." Tony's teeth dug into his bottom lip as he glided his hands up the broad planes of Steve's back until they hooked around his shoulders, pulling him closer and pressing their foreheads together. "Feels so good, baby. You're too good to me."
"Oh, you think so?" Steve said, raising an eyebrow. "But you still haven't told me what you want."
Tony huffed, groaning at the pleasure already building deep inside his gut. He slid his hands down his husband's shoulders and upper chest to his gorgeous pectorals, grinning at Steve's hard shudder as he scraped his thumbnails across his nipples.
"That's my sensitive man," Tony whispered as he did it again, pulling a choked moan from Steve's throat. "You like that, don't you baby?"
"You know that I do," Steve said, low and husky. "Tell me what you want, mo grá. Please."
"Steve, I just want you."
Now. Always. Forever.
Steve shook his head, his lips trailing across Tony's temple and cheek. "You've got me, sweetheart." He pressed a hard kiss to Tony's lips before pulling back again. "Can I—can I have you tonight? I want—I want to feel you around me before I have to leave, and—"
Tony slid his fingers over Steve's lips to silence him, rolling his hips up to meet Steve's and delighting in his husband's sharp intake of breath.
"You don't need to explain yourself to me, honey, you know that." He brushed his lips across Steve's, slipping his tongue inside Steve's mouth as he rolled his hips up again, pleasure shooting through his body like a rocket as he guided Steve's hand to his ass. "Now, get me ready already."
Steve's eyes grew impossibly darker, and he ground his hips down against Tony's one final time before shifting them so he was sitting up on the bed, with Tony straddling his lap. Then he shuffled forward just enough so he could reach his bedside table, digging through the top drawer's contents until he found a bottle of lube. Tony's heart began to thud in anticipation as Steve popped open the cap, slicking up two of his fingers before pressing them gently inside him, swallowing Tony's groans of pleasure as he carefully worked him open. Normally Steve took his sweet time prepping Tony, often teasing him to the brink of madness before finally acquiescing to Tony's pleas that he was ready. But not on this night.
This night, they were on a schedule, and Steve was never, ever late.
"I'm ready," Tony pleaded as Steve pulled his fingers out, only to re-slick them and press them in again, curling them so he could brush across the magic spot that made Tony cry out. "Oh, Christ, Steve, I promise I'm ready!"
"All right," Steve said as he gently removed his fingers. As soon as they were free, Tony twisted around, settling himself with his back to Steve's chest. He knew that Steve usually preferred to face him while they made love, but Tony was already so dangerously close to breaking down that he was afraid he might lose it completely before Steve left, and he didn't want Steve worrying about him while he was flying into a potential war zone.
As it was, he still had to reign in his tears as Steve wrapped his arms around Tony and lined himself up, slowly pushing inside him.
"Breathe, sweetheart," Steve murmured in Tony's ear as he kissed up and down the cords in Tony's neck. He groaned once he was fully sheathed, his forehead thudding against Tony's shoulder as he breathed in a shaky breath. "Oh God, Tony, you feel so incredible. I'm not—I'm not—"
"Shh, honey, it's okay," Tony whispered. He wound his arm around Steve's neck, turning his head so he could kiss him. "It's okay, baby. I'm here."
"I know," Steve said, sounding so tortured that Tony nearly came right then and there. Steve's body was so sensitive, and he had such a short refractory period that whenever they made love, Tony would often start him off with a handjob or blowjob, to help him take the edge off a bit.
It also gave him an unabashed opportunity to watch Steve's face as he orgasmed without being distracted by his own pleasure. Steve was so gorgeous when he came, and the fact that Tony was the only person to ever see him in the throes of climax was so unbelievably hot that he could barely stand it.
"You'll always be here," Steve breathed against Tony's neck as his thrusts slowly gained speed. "Tell me you'll always be here."
"I'll always be here," Tony said on a moan as Steve tightened his hold, sending bolts of electric pleasure shooting throughout Tony's body. They were pressed so closely together that Tony honestly couldn't tell where he ended and Steve began, with Steve's chest like a hot brand against his back. "Shit, honey, I'm—I'm getting close!"
"Me too," Steve said. He slid his fingertips down Tony's arm, interlocking their fingers before guiding them to Tony's cock, stroking him in time with his thrusts. "Please, sweetheart. Ba mhaith liom go dtiocfadh muid le chéile!"
Too overwhelmed to speak, Tony simply nodded, tilting his head back to capture Steve's lips in a sloppy kiss as he clenched down around him, the coil in his gut winding tighter and tighter and tighter as Steve suddenly went rigid behind him, crying out his climax into Tony's shoulder.
"That's right, hot stuff," Tony said, over and over as Steve shuddered and trembled, their interlaced fingers still curled around Tony's cock. "Fuck, you're just so gorgeous when you let go!"
With a final shudder, Steve pressed a wet kiss to the cap of Tony's shoulder as he carefully pulled out of him, twisting him around to lay down on the bed. "Now it's your turn," he said as he immediately took Tony's cock into his mouth. Tony gasped, his back arching off the bed at the sudden sensation of Steve's warm, wet mouth.
"Shit, baby," he choked out as Steve practically swallowed him down. "You're so good, Steve, so goddamn good." His fingers wound into Steve's hair as Steve's hand slid underneath Tony's ass, squeezing it as he hummed his approval, the vibrations rippling up Tony's body like waves as he was finally pulled over the edge.
"Oh God, Steve, I'm gonna—fuck!" Tony cried as he came, gripping Steve's hair for dear life as he flooded Steve's mouth. Garbled nonsense words fell from his lips as Steve's calloused fingertips trailed up and down his side, his entire body buzzing with residual current.
"Holy shit," he managed as Steve finally released his spent cock, kissing his way back up Tony's body. Steve grinned as he pecked Tony first on the forehead, then on the tip of his nose, and finally his mouth, rolling them over and tucking Tony close, his head pillowed on Steve's chest.
"Mmm. Don't want you to go," Tony murmured a few minutes later, once he felt capable of speech. His eyelids were so heavy he could barely keep them open, and his limbs still felt leaden, like they'd been filled with wet sand.
"I know," Steve said sadly. "It should only be for a few days."
"No, don't be making any promises that you can't keep," Tony warned, stifling a yawn. "But I still hope that you're right."
"Me too." Steve sighed as he glanced over at the clock, patting Tony's flank. "Don't get up, okay? Just let me take care of you."
Tony let out a chuckle as Steve gently rolled him onto his back, pressing a light kiss to his forehead before easing off the bed. He watched through half-lidded eyes as Steve sauntered into the bathroom, returning a few minutes later with freshly washed and towel-dried hair and a warm washcloth that he used to clean Tony's body, pressing another kiss to his lips once he was done.
"Please, don't get up, sweetheart," he said again as he handed Tony a pair of his sleep pants, tucking him under the covers once Tony had pulled them on. "I want to remember you lying in our bed just like this while I'm gone, with that look of contentment on your beautiful face."
More tears stung Tony's eyes, ones that he quickly blinked away as he attempted a smile. His contented feeling would evaporate as soon as Steve walked out their bedroom door, but he could at least pretend for the moment, for Steve's sake.
"Your new suit's in the closet, honey," Tony murmured as Steve pulled on a clean pair of underwear. "And I can't wait to see it on you."
"All right, just give me a minute," Steve said as he disappeared into their closet, returning a few heartbeats later with his new Captain America uniform, complete with a brand-new cowl. "It even smells new."
"Well, you know me," Tony said. He propped himself up onto his elbows to watch as Steve got dressed, pulling up zippers and fastening buckles as efficiently as only a military man could. Once he had finished pulling on his new boots and fingerless gloves, he picked up the cowl, holding it in his hand as he turned to Tony, a sheepish smile on his lips.
"Well, how does it look?" he asked, so sincerely that Tony had to bite back a laugh. He simply could not understand how Steve could not see how hot he was, and especially in a brand-new suit.
God bless Captain America.
"Are you seriously asking me that?" Tony replied. "God, Steve, you're just… you're just—" He paused, clearing his throat. "You're just fucking gorgeous, honey. That's all."
"Well, I think you just might be a bit biased," Steve said as he sat down on the bed, pulling Tony into his arms and burying his nose into his hair. "I love you, sweetheart."
"Mmm, I love you too." Tony tipped his head up, kissing the sensitive spot on the underside of Steve's jaw, grinning as he shivered. "Please, be careful, yeah? All you guys? There's no telling what you're flying into, so—"
"We will, I promise." Steve brushed his lips across Tony's in a soft, sweet kiss, trailing his thumb across his cheekbone. "Will you get some rest now? Please?"
"I will try," Tony said honestly as he laid back down, allowing Steve to pull the blankets up to his neck.
"Thanks. I'll see you soon." And then he stood up from the bed, took hold of his shield from its spot by their door, and stepped out of the room, finally allowing Tony to release the floodgate of tears that he'd been desperately holding back.
Please bring him back to us! he cried out into the universe as he flopped over onto Steve's pillow, hugging it to his chest.
Please, don't take him from us again!
Steve's heart was heavy as he made his way down the hallway, taking a quick moment to peek in on Peter before continuing on to the living room, where he settled in on the comfy loveseat to wait for Sam and Bucky. The nearby clock read 0200, so he tipped his head back and closed his eyes, breathing in a slow, deep breath as he tried to come up with his usual series of mission plans. With a nearly twenty-four hour flight time ahead of him, Steve knew he'd have plenty of time to finalise them, especially if any new information became available while they were en route, but he always liked to have at least a skeleton plan in place before embarking on any mission. Even a so-called diplomatic one.
"Pardon me, Captain," JARVIS said softly a few minutes later. "But Sergeant Barnes and Mr Wilson are requesting access to the penthouse."
"Yeah, JARVIS, that's fine," Steve said. He groaned slightly as he sat back up, rubbing at his eyes as he heard the penthouse elevator activate and make its way down. Both Bucky and Sam lived only five floors down from the penthouse, their apartments directly across the hall from each other. Bruce's apartment was directly below Sam's, and featured a built-in Hulk-sized panic room in the very back that he and Tony had designed, very similar to the room where Bucky was kept during his first few months at the Tower following Project Insight, while Clint's and Natasha's apartments were located two floors down from Bucky's.
And Steve absolutely loved that their entire team was so close by. Even though Clint and Nat were stationed up at the Compound for the school year, they were still only about a fifteen minute flight away, which made it all that much easier to coordinate training sessions and missions.
And every single one of them always had an open door for Peter as well, pretty much whenever he needed one. It was a massive weight off of his and Tony's shoulders to know that if one or both of them got held up somehow, that any number of their teammates could jump right in to pick him up from school or something.
"Hey, Cap," Sam said as the elevator doors slid open. "Fancy meeting you here."
"Yeah," Steve said as he pushed himself up to his feet, wiggling his toes inside his new boots. He could tell just in the few steps that he'd walked in them so far that Tony had done something new with them. They felt extra spongy along the footbed, almost bouncy, like his feet were being cradled in memory foam.
He'd have to remember to thank him later on.
"You two ready to go?" he asked as he looked between Sam and Bucky, both dressed in uniforms that Tony built for them. Tony had even managed to sandblast the red Soviet Union star off the upper part of Bucky's prosthetic arm, which now sported the same big A that Steve and Sam had on the arms of their suits. After his critical help during the battles in both the Miami and HYDRA bunkers, Bucky had more than proven himself a worthy addition to their team.
Plus, Steve loved how much Bucky adored Peter, especially given how instrumental Peter was in Bucky's recovery.
"Yep," replied Sam. "I'm ready."
"All right. And what about you, Buck?" Steve asked as he clapped a hand on Bucky's right shoulder. "You still okay with all this?"
"Am I ready to meet an actual prince? Hell no," Bucky answered, smirking slightly. "But someone's gotta make sure that you don't trip over your tongue, so here I am."
"No, no, that's why I'm here, Bucky," protested Sam. "C'mon, man, get it right, will ya? For once?"
"Yeah, well, give the guy a break, okay, Sam?" Steve said, grinning. "He is almost a hundred years old, you know."
"Oh, like you're not?" Bucky said with a playful pout. "And ninety-six is still not close enough to a hundred to say 'almost a hundred', so there."
"Oh, yeah?" Sam laughed. "So then, what is close enough?"
"Mmm," grumbled Bucky. "Ninety-nine and three quarters."
"I think you've been hanging around Peter a bit too much there, Buck," Steve said, chuckling as he started heading towards Tony's lab, and the landing pad next to it that housed their Quinjet. The three of them had just stepped through the outside doors and onto the pad when the sky suddenly lit up with one of the brightest bolts of lightning that Steve had ever seen, causing him to cry out as he brought his shield up to cover his eyes. Behind him, he heard Bucky swear, cursing one of the local weathermen or something when all the hair on the back of Steve's neck suddenly stood up.
"Watch out!" he cried, pushing Sam and Bucky back just as an ear-splitting crack of thunder exploded across the neighbourhood and Thor literally dropped from the sky, landing on the pad in a sizzling sparkle of lightning.
"What in the goddamn hell—?" Bucky started.
"Greetings, my dear friends," Thor cut in as he clapped Steve on the arm so hard that it nearly knocked him sideways. "I must apologise for my abrupt entrance, I'm afraid my landings tend to be a bit touchy without my hammer."
"Yeah, well, I'm afraid you might've just woken Peter up with that landing," Steve said, trying to reign in his impatience. With their soundproofed bedroom there was a chance that Tony hadn't heard anything, but Steve knew Peter was a lost cause. His enhanced hearing combined with the fact that he never completely closed his bedroom door would no doubt have him running onto the landing pad in five… four… three… two…
"Uncle Thor!" Steve suddenly heard from behind him, just before Peter launched himself into Thor's arms, all skinny arms and legs as Thor lifted him up from the ground, laughing.
"Ah, it is so good to see you again, Young Starkson!" Thor exclaimed as he set Peter down, ruffling his hair. "Alas, I wish my visit was of a social variety."
"Why?" Peter asked. "Did something happen to New Asgard?"
"No, no, New Asgard is fine," said Thor. "Well, at least mostly fine. I swear, trying to keep Loki and Valkyrie from tearing each other apart has become something of a full-time job lately, but… I digress."
"Um, if you don't mind, we're kinda in a hurry here," said Sam.
"Yes, yes, that is indeed why I'm here," Thor said. He turned to Steve, his expression rather grim. "Captain, it is my understanding that you are departing for Africa at this very moment?"
"Well, that was the plan," said Steve. "Why, do you have some information that might help us?"
Thor gave a nod. "I do indeed. It is my belief that this secret place, Wakanda, might be the home to one of the six infinity stones."
"Infinity stones?" asked Bucky. "What're those?"
"Ah… I believe you humans would call them, gems?" said Thor. "Special stones that carry influence over those who would wield them?"
"Gems," Steve said, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Like the stone in Loki's sceptre?"
"Precisely," answered Thor. "In fact, I've reason to believe that that gem is also one of the six infinity stones."
Sam's eyebrows shot up. "Well, then it's a good thing we've got it locked up pretty good."
"Yes, but unfortunately I doubt that your security will be good enough," said Thor. "Which is why it is imperative that I accompany you on this mission. I absolutely must discover if my vision was correct."
"Vision?" asked Steve. "What kind of a vision?"
"One that can only be seen in The Water of Sight, one of which I was lucky enough to find in our new home, hidden inside a series of caves cut into a mountain," Thor said.
"Oh, how cool!" Peter exclaimed. "I've read about those magic pools in some of my books!"
"Yes, Young Starkson, I'm sure you did, given the quality of your education here," said Thor. "And when I slipped into the water and allowed the spirits to overtake me, I saw in my vision six brightly-coloured gems, the combined power of which is nearly indescribable."
"And you think one of these gems is located in Wakanda?" Steve asked as he drew Peter against his side. The fact that he was even hearing this conversation in the first place did not sit well with him at all, but it was too late to do something about it now.
"It is my theory that three of the six infinity stones are currently housed here, on Midgard," said Thor. "One inside Loki's sceptre, one inside the tesseract, which is currently in the possession of New Asgard, and the third in Wakanda."
"Okay, and that's a bad thing, why?" asked Sam.
"Probably 'cause of that whole indescribable power thing that he just mentioned, Сэм," Bucky said.
Sam shot Bucky a harsh look. "Yeah, okay, but if that's the case, wouldn't it be better that we have these things than someone else?"
"No, I am afraid not, son of Wil," said Thor. "Because as mere humans, you lack the capacity to wield them. No, I believe that only a being of immense power would be able to handle these stones."
"Yeah, I saw that firsthand with the tesseract," Steve said, remembering how the cube literally burned the Red Skull into ashes right before his eyes. "Okay, so, what are you suggesting we do about this?"
Thor let out a sigh, one heavy enough to make Steve shiver. "At the moment, Captain, I have no suggestions. Only that it is of utmost importance that we find out if Wakanda is home to another stone."
"And what if it is?" Sam asked. "Could that help explain the weird space thing that happened a few days ago?"
"It very well could," replied Thor. "And if that is the case, then it will also be imperative that we somehow remove at least one of the stones from Midgard. It is far too dangerous to have so many in such close proximity."
Steve frowned, fighting against the strong urge to cover Peter's ears as he tucked him even closer. "Why, Thor? "he asked. "What's going to happen?"
"I'm afraid I have no good answer to that question, Captain," said Thor, so gravely that Steve's blood ran cold. "I have only what I fear."
"Okay, then what's that?" asked Bucky.
Thor shook his head, shooting Steve an apologetic look.
"Catastrophe, gentlemen, on a level simply impossible to quantify," he said. "This is why we must find out all that we can, and we must do so as soon as possible."
Silence stretched across the landing pad, with Steve's thudding heart the only detectable sound as Peter looked up at him, his brown eyes wide with the fear he was trying very hard to hide.
"Papa?" he asked. "What're we gonna do?"
"We're gonna figure it out, little guy," Steve said, a lot more calmly than he felt. "Somehow, we'll figure it out, because that's what we do."
We're the Avengers. We fight the battles that others can't.
And we'll do it together.