definitely refrain from crossing the streams.
or, A SHORTCUT STORY ABOUT GHOSTBUSTERS. it was bound to happen eventually; you guys know what i’m like.
so, even before there is a small child running around the place and requiring entertainment, the avengers have an established movie night. steve’s got a lot of pop culture to catch up on, thor’s got even more pop culture to catch up on, jarvis has an inexhaustible supply of shit for them to watch, and everybody else just likes movies (what? there is no cadre of people that dependent on regular real life drama that doesn’t enjoy watching it go down on a screen, THIS IS MY BELIEF AND I AM STICKING TO IT). as a result of this, by the time jaime is old enough to appreciate movies, there are certain films that have already been tabled as options. anything with time travel, for example, tends to make steve uncomfortable but unwilling to admit to said discomfort; bruce hates hitchcock; natasha has Important Film Quality standards; none of them can watch superhero movies without yelling about tactics; and so on and so on. plus there’s the whole star wars thing, because it’s possible the avengers did that for halloween once (steve was luke, tony modified an old iron man into a frankly terrifying vader suit, natasha was han solo, thor was princess leia for reasons of his hair being able to pull that off, bruce was obi-wan and clint, to his life-long combined amusement and irritation, was chewbacca) and equally possible that steve and tony have done some playing out of some of tony’s less-than-subtle han solo obsession, whatever.
and then, you know, jaime gets old enough to watch things on tv and actually follow along, but at first it’s like—children’s television! only tony took issue with baby einstein because THESE SHOULD BE CALLED BABY STARK AND THEY’RE NOT EVEN GOOD, and steve and bucky both find kid-specific television in general more than a little bizarre, and natasha is unwilling to sit through watching anything targeted at an audience under the age of eighteen, and pepper says that if she’s going to watch television she’s going to watch television she enjoys because it’s not like she’s got a lot of time to waste on watching things she doesn’t actually feel like watching, and rhodey bypasses all kids tv to introduce jaime him to planet earth on the (correct) theory that watching animals do stuff is cool enough to make up for the lack of terrible rhyming songs. thor, in contrast to all of these attitudes, finds children’s television to be a “fascinating insight into the psyche of the midgardian parenting philosophies, and also, young elmo is most entertaining!” clint, proving to be the savior of them all, just likes cartoons enough to take the bullet of watching them with the kid for the rest of the team.
however, what results from this is a standing saturday morning engagement between clint, thor and jaime, wherein they all watch cartoons together that clint has picked out. and, naturally, as jaime gets older, he starts wanting to stay up later and do things with the family, and so he mentions it one saturday, and clint grins very big and starts talking about Classic Films Jaime Must See, and thor chimes in with his opinion that the two of them, being the most versed in young shortcut’s taste in entertainment programs, must be in charge of the great and vaunted task of choosing which Classic Films Those Are. which is great, except that they have to get their choices cleared by the rest of the team, and it’s hard to get all of the avengers to agree on anything, but it’s especially hard when it’s something like this, and they go round and round and round until, inevitably, they land on the holy grail of movies it’s hard to argue with watching…
…and so obviously, the first not-strictly-for-children movie that jaime is shown by his family of superheros is ghostbusters.
now, a brief fact about the rearing of children: perhaps you do not know this, dear reader, but given the option, a child who discovers something they enjoy watching? will often watch that something over and over and over and over and over AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN (no of course i am not still scarred by my baby brother’s thousand and one rewatches of that motherfucking elmo movie, why do you ask)? THIS WILL MATTER. IN A MINUTE.
so jaime watches ghostbusters for the first time with his whole family when he’s like six, and everybody says “don’t cross the streams” along with the screen, and clint gives him popcorn to throw when ghosts show up, and steve pulls jaime into his lap for the scary parts even as tony leans over and whispers “hey, buddy, you know what’s not real? ghosts aren’t real. because if ghosts were real we would be fighting them all the time, and we’re not, and if they DID show up, we’d be the ones beating them, just like we beat all the other bad guys, and also jarvis would totally know about them, so don’t worry about it,” which, as far as convincing arguments against being scared of ghosts go, is pretty solid. and natasha and pepper both agree that possession shouldn’t be such a good look on sigourney weaver, and bruce and tony argue half-heartedly about the fake science, and thor laughs loudly at that green hungry ghost because he’s been convinced since the first time he saw it that it’s based on volstagg, and bucky gets them all into a hilarious discussion about how they would go about fighting the stay-puft marshmallow man that goes on until jaime falls asleep on steve’s lap and they take him to bed.
so OF COURSE it’s his favorite movie. and, of course, he watches it eight bajillion times after that, until he can quote all the parts, because kids (tragically, in my experience) pretty much don’t get sick of movies.
and all of this is why one day, jaime goes down to tony’s workshop and says, “dad, i want to be a ghostbuster.”
and tony kind of grins and turns off his welding equipment and flips up his facemask and is like, “what, for halloween? because it’s may, kiddo, i think we’ve got some time before you have to make that decision—”
and jaime is like, “NO, WHEN I GROW UP. as a job! i wanna be a ghostbuster.”
and tony cocks his head and is like, “well, you’ve got even more time to make that call—wait, you don’t want to be an avenger?” because jaime has, as has been well-documented, been bastardizing the word “avenger” and attaching it to everything since he was old enough to talk
and jaime rolls his eyes and, in the tones of a six year old whose father is SO DUMB, is like, “i’m ALREADY an avenger, daddy. i wanna be a GHOSTBUSTER.”
and tony has to duck his head and grin down at his hands and try not to blubber like a moron, because whatever, okay, it takes tony a really long time to stop being bowled over by the fact that he has this family that is ridiculous and nothing like the normal model of how these things are supposed to go and it works anyway, and it’s great anyway, and he loves these people and they love him and there’s this little person who he doesn’t seem to be screwing up and who keeps growing up to be even more amazing, and that self-same kid doesn’t seem to find any of it strange at all, and is totally unselfconscious about the family he’s part of. it’s pretty staggering, for tony. to a certain degree, it NEVER really stops amazing him.
and anyway, that’s why he builds the kid a fully functional ghostbuster suit.
WELL, OKAY. it’s not fully functional, obviously—even tony stark is not so irresponsible as to even consider building an unstable nuclear-powered device based on fiction and made to serve a fictional purpose, let alone strap it to his child—but it’s an exact replica suit, with a gun dealie that shoots this silly string tony invented that is completely non-toxic and disintegrates after five minutes without damaging whatever it landed on, because tony stark? would totally design the best kids toys.
and jaime is SO EXCITED HE ALMOST PUKES, and then he runs all over the avengers mansion and stark tower shooting silly string at people until steve sits him down and is like, “jaime, i am excited you are having fun! but you cannot shoot silly string at strangers because it will make them angry,” even though it was really only the one stranger (but he did get pretty annoyed, being as he was like, the secretary of defense probably, sigh, avengers). so then jaime restricts himself to only silly-string ghostbusting the avengers and coulson and nick fury, who keeps trying to play like he is not at all moved or entertained by the kid running around with his hair purposefully mussed up to look like bill murray’s, and is not fooling A N Y B O D Y.
and thus, when halloween finally DOES roll around, tony throws a party at the mansion and has ghostbusters costumes made for everybody (except thor, who says, “tony, i do not understand. i am already possessed of battle armor—for what purpose would i require the garb of a buster of ghosts?” enough times that tony is just like WHATEVER BIG GUY YOU CAN BE PRINCESS LEIA AGAIN IF YOU WANT). and jaime leads them all through the whole party and shoots at stuff until he falls asleep, without ceremony and while sitting on clint’s shoulders, at 10:07 PM, after which point he is put to bed and everybody changes clothes.
AND THIS IS WHY THERE IS A PICTURE OF THE AVENGERS IN GHOSTBUSTERS COSTUMES, THOR IN A PRINCESS LEIA COSTUME, AND JAIME STANDING IN FRONT OF THEM ALL, WEARING HIS OWN COSTUME AND GRINNING LIKE IT IS HIS BIRTHDAY, THAT IS USED TO EMBARRASS HIM ALL THROUGH HIS TEENAGE YEARS.
THE END :D