not language but a map

writer, reader, eater of bagels. cracking inappropriate jokes to cut tension since 1989.
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once upon an amusement park:

RIGHT SO, a couple of people wanted jaime’s first trip to an amusement park. this, naturally, thrilled me, because i am A ROLLER COASTER FANATIC, so without further ado, here is that story!

okay, so when jaime is like ten, he gets slightly obsessed with roller coasters, right? and this is 95% tony’s fault, because upon making the discovery that there are video games that let you like, build your own amusement park, he promptly designed one that would use actual engineering principles to let you design roller coasters and gave it to the kid. as a result, jaime has talked about NOTHING ELSE for like six weeks, and also has designed a number of roller coasters with that video game that made even natasha make a “um, i am pretty sure that is a recipe for disaster” face. 

SO, THE AVENGERS LOAD INTO THE QUINJET AND GO TO CEDAR POINT. and this is a bedtime story, so, while i am going to claim the reason for this is that steve Has Not Forgiven coney island for that time with bucky and that ride, the actual reason is that i have lived 45 minutes from cedar point for most of my life, have been there as a child, as an adult chaperoning a child, and as an adult not chaperoning shit, and have also ridden every ride except top thrill dragster because fuck waiting in line for four hours for like 20 seconds of excitement that’s totally not going to top skydiving. i may….have a slight….adrenaline thing….ANYWAY, NOT THE POINT, the point is that they go to cedar point in the quinjet, and the first thing that happens is that clint is like, “um. where am i supposed to….park…this quinjet?” 


and, okay, sidebar because this is up there in the most ridiculous stories of my childhood, which is, seriously, a high bar: they shut shit down at cedar point when it rains, right? because, you know, dangerous, and so one time before my youngest brother was born, my parents took me and my other younger bro all the way out there and it started raining before we even got into the park. and i think i was like 9, so he was like 7, and we were heartbroken about lack of amusement park, so my father started driving around looking for shit to do, right? and there was this….drive-through zoo thing, because ohio is a strange place, and i HOPE TO GOD it has been shut down because the health and safety violations and those poor animals and oh my god, but the point is, we get to this place, and my father pays for the tickets and is then handed two GIANT BUCKETS OF FEED, which is when it comes to light that how this place works is that you DRIVE THROUGH IT WITH YOUR WINDOWS DOWN AND TOSS FOOD TO THE ANIMALS KEPT INSIDE. and i am…honestly really not sure at all, in retrospect, why my parents decided to press on with this mission at this point, but they did, and anyway that’s how my mother got licked in the face by the moose that stuck its entire head into the car. SIDEBAR OVER. 

so, whatever, clint eventually parks the quinjet and they get inside, and jaime is SO EXCITED and wants to ride on ALL THE THINGS, and we’re going to say he’s tall for his age at 10 and thus over the height limit for the rides, because this was true for both of my brothers at ten and thus is not ridiculous (it was not true for me, but tbh it’s still almost not true for me, so whatevs). and the avengers, right, you’d think they’d be a pretty hard bunch to rattle with things like roller coasters, and they kind of are, but like. steve hasn’t been to a modern amusement park ever; neither has bucky; tony has, but only to throw or attend parties held inside of them; ditto pepper; natasha hasn’t, because honestly, WHY; thor, obviously, hasn’t; bruce has, but not since hulking; rhodey has, but only like once as a kid because i can’t see someone as duty-bound and responsible as rhodey being the kind of kid who really pushed for amusement park trips (though i can totally see him as being the kind of kid who really pushed for museum visits, someday i will write the story about rhodey and the smithsonian natural history museum, NOT TODAY).

as such, clint barton, raised in a circus and well-versed in all things carnival or amusement-park related, is like, FUCK YEAH, I AM THE BOSS OF THIS VACATION. 

so the first thing clint directs them to do is get a map and decide on a plan of attack, because, if you have never been to cedar point before/have been to cedar point before but not for awhile/are at cedar point with more than one other human person/want to get out of the park without the words “oh god i spent six hours in that terrible fake mining village labyrinth death corner” on your tongue, THIS IS ABSOLUTELY A NECESSARY STEP. and everyone except jaime kind of groans about it because they just know tony and steve are going to end up fighting about what route they’re going to take, and honestly the only reason jaime does not groan about it is because bucky wisely grabbed the back of his shirt with the metal arm the minute they got through the gate to keep him from taking off with his stark-bred wild impulsivity towards the closest coaster, and he is, as such, busy groaning about THAT. 

and then tony and steve do totally have an argument about which path to take, because HEADS UP SEVEN UP, 50% OF ANY FAMILY AMUSEMENT PARK TRIP IS ARGUING ABOUT HOW TO MANAGE SAID FAMILY AMUSEMENT PARK TRIP, and jaime is still trying to escape The Arm, and clint is already breaking in with “no you don’t understand you need to let me at the carnival games, i will win stuffed animals for all of manhattan” and pepper and natasha are making the “oh my god we could be in LA right now” face at each other and bruce is going YOU KNOW I’M NOT GETTING ON RIDES, RIGHT and rhodey is frowning and making a confused face at bucky and looking around, because there is no way in hell they should be experiencing the peace they are currently experiencing from citizens taking pictures of them…

…which is why he is the first one to notice that thor is FLYING IN THE AIR CHASING THE FLIGHT PATH OF THE CLOSEST COASTER (which for the record is a ride called the raptor where your feet dangle and you flip upside-down), LAUGHING HYSTERICALLY AND SHOUTING QUESTIONS AT THE SHRIEKING RIDERS. 

"we should have gone to the smithsonian," says rhodey. 

"what’s a smithsonian?" says jaime, who is ten and single-minded. "is it a ROLLER COASTER?" 

"try not to take that one to heart, pal," says bucky to rhodey, and then, to jaime, "SHORTCUT, THIS ALLOY IS STILL STRONGER THAN YOU CAN EVER HOPE TO BE, STOP TRYING." 

so whatever, they get thor to come down and (eventually) get jaime to stop asking him to do that again but carrying jaime this time, and then they make the executive decision to Split Up and reconvine later, because eventually this is the decision everybody makes at cedar point. tony and steve and bucky take jaime in the direction of the gemini, which is a nice wooden starter coaster, and clint and natasha and thor take off in the direction of the carnival games making bets about who is going to win the most (or, in the case of thor, booming loudly about GREAT GAMING BATTLE THIS DAY), and pepper and rhodey and bruce give each other the look of adults the world over who have found themselves stuck in amusement parks when they don’t actually like amusement parks, and decide to find some fucking air conditioning, stat. 

and, okay, so here is how the gemini works: there are two trains on two different tracks, one red and one blue, and they race! and obviously both steve and tony want to ride with jaime, but jaime is like, I WANT TO RACE, and then bucky makes a crack about how steve’s stomach might not be able to ~handle~ the ride and steve is like YOU ARE ON, I AM RIDING WITH YOU, and tony is like FUCK YES. so they get into the lines, right, but that is when tony realizes that oh fuck, amusement parks involve WAITING IN LINES, DEAR GOD, and steve won’t actually let him pay off every person in front of them to let them cut because “you can’t do that at every ride, tony, it’s gauche and you don’t have that much cash on you and what kind of example would that set for our son, honestly.” and jaime is totally happy waiting in the line, because ROLLER COASTER, and also jaime is that kid that can entertain himself for hours with nothing but his own imagination. bucky and steve, obviously, are capable of waiting like adults, so it’s pretty much just tony bitching and bitching and bitching and yelling at people taking pictures of them and whining and groaning and bitching until they FINALLY get to the front. 

then they go on the ride. and jaime LOVES IT, shrieks with laughter the entire time and whoops out loud when their car (the red one, obvs) beats bucky and steve’s car (the blue one, oooobvs), which is heartwarming enough that tony enjoys it too. that is, he enjoys it until the ride stops, which is when he recognizes that he is kind of getting a little old for sustained high-speed motion that isn’t a) in the name of justice or b) happening inside of the iron man suit. his neck hurts. also his back. also everything. but steve and bucky, naturally, looks fresh as a pair of spring fucking daisies, the post-human bastards, and jaime is jumping up and down and grabbing steve’s shirt and going “cappa cappa that was SO COOL oh my god roller coasters are THE BEST we beat you we beat you DAD TELL CAP AND BUCKY WE BEAT THEM” and steve’s grinning this huge soppy grin that does funny things in tony’s chest even now, so tony swallows it down and is all “yeah that’s right, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS” and just doesn’t mention that he’d like to sit down for awhile, because, you know, he’s tony stark and he Has His Pride, if not his like…logic or grasp on sane life choices.

so then they ride on a couple more nearby coasters, which, if i am remembering the layout of that place right, would be the mean streak (a giant wooden coaster that leaves anyone over the age of like 14 going “MY BODY, WHY”), the mantis (a coaster where you are strapped in standing up, which i consider great fun and everyone i have ever known in possession of a penis informs me is a junk-killer), and the magnum (which is a big, fast, bright red metal coaster with one of the most thrilling drops ever). and tony keeps expecting jaime to like, get scared or get sick of it or something, anything, please god not another one, BUT NO, jaime loves EVERY RIDE and is so excited and grinning so big that tony can’t bear to disappoint him by sitting anything out, and steve and bucky are obviously totally fine after all these rides because, you know, healing factors. but by the time they get off the magnum tony feels like he’s gone about 20 rounds with a skrull army, and is kind of walking along with his head down behind steve and bucky and jaime, poking at his phone and trying not to let on about it, when steve sidles up next to him and puts a hand on his back.

and tony’s all, “oh hello,” and steve is, quietly, like, “you know you’re not going to ruin his day if you don’t go on every ride, right?” because of course steve has noticed that tony is Not Enjoying This At All. and tony kind of pulls a face, because tony never quite gets over the fear of turning into his father and like, sitting out all of jaime’s defining moments, and is like, “i just want him to have fun, y’know?” and steve laughs at him and slings an arm over his shoulder and is like, “tony, he IS having fun. c’mon, we’ll meet up with the others and assign someone else to ride duty for awhile, what do you say?” 

so then they do meet up with the others, and natasha and clint have been banned from playing the carnival games because they’ve won so many giant stuffed animals that thor has built himself a like, massive plush throne that he’s sitting on while chatting with (booming at?) tourists. in fact, the only stuffed animal he hasn’t commandeered is this person-sized green gorilla (that natasha won by climbing up one of those unwinnable twisting ladder things in 12 seconds), which jaime promptly names FURRY HULK to ten minutes of wheezing laughter from bruce. and pepper totally found both air-conditioning and the like, heads of the park, and is organizing a deal for switching the whole place to arc-power, and rhodey has discovered that while he does not really see the point in amusement parks he totally sees the point in taking bucky onto the ferris wheel, which he does, and which both of them return from looking considerably less put together but decidedly more cheerful. 

and the rest of the day goes pretty smoothly, all things considered; clint and natasha and bucky take over ride duty, and clint lets jaime eat like six funnel cakes and then acts all surprised when he gets off the millenium force and pukes into a trash can, but the kid totally rallies and is all like “daaaaaaad, cappaaaaaaaaa, i drank all the water like you said i’m fine I WANT TO GO ON MORE RIDES,” and it turns out there are fireworks that night, these big ones that jaime looks up at wide-eyed from the top of steve’s shoulders, and on the ride home he falls asleep on tony’s shoulder right after he says, “i wanna build roller coasters when i grow up,” which is really almost like saying, “i want to be an engineer when i grow up,” so, at the end of the day, the whole thing is a win.