“If you fly away with my baby one more time, Thor, I will steal your hairbrushes,” Tony warned as he scooped up Bruce with a scowl directed at the way too amused Asgardian.
“Your baby?” Steve asked dryly as he bounced Clint in his arms with an unbeatable rhythm.
“I think the AC/DC t-shirt is claim enough,” Tony shot back and smoothed a wide-eyed Bruce’s downy hair back from his forehead, “We agreed, didn’t we? Each daddy has a set of babies. That was the rule. There are rules here, people. Where is your discipline?”
“Probably out the window when you stole my baby and flew out through it to go wave to Macy the flying dog,” Steve answered with an eye-roll. Tony narrowed his eyes at his boyfriend and looked at a sleepy Natasha, who was busy chewing her fist on the mini-mattress near him.
“You’re not stinky Steve’s baby, are you cara?” he asked her and grinned when she reached out to grab his face, “No, you’re not. No, you’re not. You’re the cool dad’s girl, aren’t you?”
“Cool dad? And that is you?” Thor asked in the most disbelieving voice possible even as he lifted a babbling Clint and placed the boy on his shoulders, little feet dangling in the front and hitting against his chest, “Should not the God be the coolest?”
“When you get Asgardian babies, then you can be the cool dad,” Tony informed him like that logic made any sense whatsoever.
“Sure, Mr. Pee-pee,” Thor said with a straight face and Clint cackled above him at the words, clearly associating them with his favorite bathroom humor.
“He didn’t mean to,” Tony muttered and shook his head at Bruce when he blinked at him, “Well, okay, he did mean to, he’s not a pigeon. But he clearly didn’t mean to do it on me. Didja Brucie?”
“Ja!” Bruce gasped happily and shook his chubby fists in the air.
“I rest my case,” Steve announced with a smirk and got up gracefully with a drooling Sam on his hip, “I’m gonna go deposit my baby in his crib. Take a good look, Tony. The Dodgers costumes should be claim enough, right?”
“Har har,” Tony replied dryly but Steve simply chuckled and sashayed out of the messy room.
“Any progress in finding the antidote to this…condition?” Thor asked Tony when both men settled down to engage their charges.
Tony shook his head and made funny faces to Wanda who was trying to imitate every expression of his. “Till your di-”
Thor cleared his throat but Tony smoothed out the slip effortlessly.
“-divine brother doesn’t show up again, we’ve got no way of finding out the exact nature of his science,” Tony said, ending it with puffing his cheeks out, much to Wanda and Bruce’s laughter.
“Tis magic, Tony, not science,” Thor corrected but Tony simply shrugged a shoulder.
“You say tom-ah-to, I say solanum lycopersicum. Same difference,” he said and didn’t catch Thor’s amused grin at his antics.
It had been a surprising mission to say the least, when yet another fight against Loki had occurred but ended with the most unusual conundrum. With Tony being protected by his armor, Steve having used his shield and Thor having been immune to Loki’s magic, the three Avengers were the only ones left in the adult form while their team-mates had de-aged to kids and babies.
At first Nick Fury had tried to put his foot down about keeping them contained in the Hellicarrier, but with some extremely strong and vehement objections from Steve, Thor and especially Tony, SHIELD had relented to leave the baby Avengers in the hands of their adult comrades. Since their take-charge, the three men had grouped the kids into sets for better care and monitoring. The only problem came when Tony got greedy and tried to sneak in babies from the other two sets into his own.
Nobody had thought it possible but Tony Stark had become like a kid in a candy store with all the babies. Pepper had blatantly asked Steve if they were planning something in that direction and Steve had simply shrugged. Now, after a long day of experimental bathing techniques, mini-food wars and some amazingly fun play-time, they were finally settling down for the night.
Thor too left the room with Pietro and Clint after a while, leaving Tony alone with baby Wanda, Bruce, Natasha and Bucky.
Tony hummed under his breath for a while, playing with both Bucky and Bruce at the same time even as Wanda and Natasha attempted to have their baby conversation with all the grace of infants. He didn’t know why it struck him or why he wanted to do it all of a sudden, but watching Bucky bob his little head to his humming brought back memories of Tony’s own childhood, filled with black and white keys and lilting melodies.
“Hey, you guys wanna do something cool?” he asked out of nowhere and Bucky made an enthusiastic ‘Gah!’ sound while Bruce simply blinked at him through confused brown eyes. Deciding to go ahead with his plan, Tony called for Vision from the workshop.
“Hey, Vizy, grab a couple of cubs and follow me,” he instructed and got up with Natasha and Bucky in both his arms. Vision stared at the back of Tony’s head for a minute before letting out a hiss of air and complying with the request.
Tony had visited the old sitting room only twice after their death. Once had been during a particularly bad Christmas, when he had trashed the rest of the Tower before collapsing in the old room. The other had been fairly recent, during his mother’s birth anniversary, when he had lit the candle beside the piano and simply sat there in silence for a while. Now, as he entered the room of countless memories again, he paused at the doorway and breathed in deeply.
“’Ny?” Bucky asked with a soft pat to Tony’s cheek and Tony looked at the kid staring at him with large beautiful eyes.
“Nothing baby,” he smiled and kissed Bucky’s cheek, getting a shy smile from the child before striding forward toward the somber piano.
“Mr. Stark?” Vision asked skeptically from behind him but Tony simply gestured at the couch beside the piano.
“Set our audience there, will you Viz?” he announced and placed Bucky and Natasha on the couch too, picking up the throw pillows and arranging them around them. Vision looked curious but did as asked and sat among the kids, baby Wanda in his lap and Bruce under his arm.
Tony sat in front of the piano and shot the kids a smile before turning to face the instrument. Opening it, he paused and took a breath, smoothing his fingers over the long forgotten keys. He had a million notes, a million memories to draw from but one stood out the most. One of his mother playing just for her own joy.
It was as though the memory was playing through him, when his fingers began moving over the keys.
There’s a saying old, says that love is blind
Still we’re often told, “seek and ye shall find”
So I’m going to seek a certain lad I’ve had in mind…
“That’s you, pal,” Tony winked at Bucky and grinned when he got a giggle from the boy.
Looking everywhere, haven’t found him yet
He’s the big affair I cannot forget
Only man I ever think of with regret
“Ain’t that right, Brucie?” he asked with a pout and Bruce hid his face into Vision’s side with a shy smile, making Tony chuckle and wink at an enthralled Wanda.
I’d like to add his initial to my monogram
Tell me, where is the shepherd for this lost lamb?
“Tell me, Vizy,” Tony did a little wiggle with his shoulders and Vision rolled his eyes fondly. Tony continued the song but had a new voice to accompany him in the next verse.
There’s a somebody I’m longin’ to see
I hope that he, turns out to be
Someone who’ll watch over me
“Nice chops, you got, honey,” Tony waggled his eyebrows at Steve, who had entered the room with the verse. Steve simply rolled his eyes and grinned, moving in and taking the next verse.
I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the wood
I know I could, always be good
To one who’ll watch over me
Although he may not be the man some
Girls think of as handsome
To my heart he carries the key
Tony took over the last verse and made pouty faces at his audience who were listening to him in rapture.
Won’t you tell him please to put on some speed
Follow my lead, oh, how I need
Someone to watch over me
… Someone to watch over me…
“That was truly marvelous, Tony!” Thor declared from the doorway and Tony did a mock bow from his seat.
“Mo’, mo’!” Bucky demanded and Steve chuckled at Tony’s expression.
“I’ll show you more, you greedy puppy!” Tony said in a mock-growl and lunged out of his seat to make a show of trying to eat Bucky, Bruce, Wanda and Natasha who began squealing with laughter.
It was decided that they would all sleep in the same place for the night to avoid complications and Vision dragged four large mattresses to the common floor, bringing more than enough of fluffy pillows and Avengers blankies for everyone. Thor was the first to fall asleep, a drooling Pietro on his chest, curled up Clint under his arm and thumb-sucking Bruce clinging to his waist.
“You’re having fun,” Steve observed in a soft whisper as he ran a soothing hand over a fast asleep Bucky’s head.
Tony shrugged as best as he could with Wanda attached to his chest and Natasha mashed face first against his stomach.
“They’re cute. Like mini-robots,” Tony tried to say as nonchalantly as possible but Steve’s face broke out into a fond smile.
“Sure, cool dad,” he whispered and Tony rolled his eyes with a grin tugging on his lips, muffling a laugh as Sam made a discontented noise when Steve stopped petting his head and continued petting Bucky.
The kids remained kids for the next day too and came back to normalcy only thanks to Rhodey, who caught Loki in Times Square of all places. There were a lot of loud complains and declarations of mortification from the re-aged Avengers after that.
But sometimes, Tony caught whiff of one of them humming an old Oh Kay! tune and he would smile to himself.
Yeah, he was the cool dad, alright.