bedtime story the first!

which, for future reference, if you guys want to avoid the bedtime stories in general you should block “bedtime stories”; if you specifically want to avoid the NONSENSE KIDFIC, you should block “shortcut stories.” YAY TAGS

so, this first one is entirely cate’s fault, as tonight we were chatting about steve and tony and jaime, AS YOU DO, and she said: 

I have this image of Tony sprawled on the bed, exhausted, because my god, what are the batteries they install in these kids, it’s ridiculous, and Jaime is sitting on his belly, poking at the arc reactor.  so shiny

and, i mean, you guys, look, WHAT WAS I EVEN SUPPOSED TO DO, OKAY, GOD.

so the first thing you have to know, for this story and all the other stories, is that steve and tony spent a whole lot of time being like WHAT DO about the whole “dad” thing before jaime started talking, because tony steadfastly refused to consider “father” or “papa” or ANYTHING, but also insisted that if someone was going to get the dad title it should be steve, and steve was like, “you’re being ridiculous and it’ll work itself out but admittedly i have NO IDEA how.” and the avengers were totally unhelpful—particularly clint, who suggested that they just have the kid call them “chatty” and “tall” 

but then jaime handily solved that problem for them, because one night he was sitting on steve’s lap on the couch, occasionally reaching out to poke at tony’s tablet’s screen and interrupt vital processes (to tony’s absolute lack of ire, really, it was sad, the kid had him totally whipped already, what the hell), and steve laughed at something tony said and jaime leaned back to look up at him and said “cap” 

and EVERYBODY FROZE—like, clint stopped playing the wii and bruce put down his pen and pepper stopped typing and natasha quit sharpening the edge of her katana and thor paused with a pudding cup halfway to his mouth and rhodey and bucky quit making what were quite obviously bedroom eyes at each other

and tony, tony dropped the tablet because his fingers had gone numb and looked at steve—steve’s wide, stunned eyes—and said, “did he just say—” 

and steve said, “jaime, what…what did you just….”

and jaime said, “cap!” and then, after another minute of silence, “cappa!” while grabbing at steve’s finger and trying to bite it, like his first word was NO BIG DEAL OR ANYTHING

and after a second bucky said, “well, i’ll be damned,” and steve just started beaming, this huge, impossible smile

and after that, it was easy—steve was cappa or cap, and tony was dad. 

AND ANYWAY, it’s some time after that now, jaime’s almost two and already terrible, and tony keeps having all these flashbacks to…well, to his entire life up until jaime showed up, all the hundreds of thousands of times he WILLINGLY avoided sleep, and what the hell had been the matter with him, seriously, what was he thinking, why hadn’t he caught up when he had the chance, why hadn’t he gotten a swiss bank account and put some sleep in it, because it’s eleven at night and he has never been more tired in his life and yet HERE’S HIS KID, SITTING ON HIS STOMACH, WIDE AWAKE AND POKING AT HIS ARC REACTOR THROUGH HIS T-SHIRT

and, indignity of indignities, saying “arcwackter!” as he does it.

and tony, finally at the end of his rope, props himself up on the pillows and is like, “okay, here’s a game, ready, it’s game time, i’m gonna say a word and then you’re gonna say that word, fun, right? it’s totally a game and not at all an evidence-gathering exercise-“ 

and steve walks in and rolls his eyes and is like, “he can say his ‘R’s, tony, calm down” 

and tony is like “jaime, say red.” 

and jaime is like, “red” 

and tony is like, “okay, good, now say read”

and jaime is like, “read” 

and tony is like, “perfect, that’s so great, now say arc reactor—” and jaime is like “ARCWACKTER” and steve does a REALLY terrible job of hiding his smile behind his hand as tony collapses back against the pillows again in defeat 

and then jaime is like, “cappa, daddy’s funny” and steve is like, “that is more true than you know in so many ways, buddy,” and ruffles his hair as he goes into the bathroom

and tony calls “thank you you for that, everyone’s against me,” after him, and then he turns to jaime, who is still poking at his chest, and is like “seriously, how are you still awake”

and jaime pokes him again and is like, “glows!” 

and steve, from the bathroom, in his absolute driest voice, says, “would you look at that, he’s got your attention span,” and tony is so not even going to dignify that with a response, so he focuses on jaime

and he’s like “is that what it is? if i build you one of these one of these just for you, will you maybe sleep in your own room? at, like, a normal human time? how does that sound?” (and he ignores the way steve cheerily sings out “your sleep schedule, too!” because really

and jaime tilts his head inquisitively and tony, seeing an in, is like “c’mon, shortcut, it’ll be your own special arc reactor—”

"ARCWACKTER" 

"yes, that, all for you, what do you say?" 

and jaime looks at him for a minute—and that’s steve’s face, god, that’s so steve’s face, forget genetics, that narrow-eyed serious contemplative gaze is ALL steve, and tony can’t help but smile at it, because, well, who could—and then he shakes his head and says, “no, like yours” 

and steve comes out of the bathroom with a toothbrush dangling from his mouth, meets tony’s exasperated look with a shrug, and then a smile, and says, “hey, can’t argue with that logic.”