Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Steve/Tony, Natasha/Pepper, Thor Odinson, Bruce Banner, Clint/Phil
Continuity: The Avengers (2012)
Genres: Fluff, Humor, (A Touch Of Hurt/Comfort), Romance, Slice-Of-Life
Rating (this chapter): G
General Summary: Battle-weary Avengers are sent on vacation by Nick Fury with the dictum…have fun or else! ;)
Chapter Summary: The Avengers arrive at their seaside cottage.
Date Of Completion: July 31, 2013
Date Of Posting: August 19, 2013
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Marvel and Paramount do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2175
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Inspired by this prompt at avengerkink. The entire series can be found here.
Just you and me,
The waves are blue
And so are you,
Until the sun
Warms your buns,
And we frolic
Just you and me.
“It’s so small!” wailed Tony as he flailed, his arms going around like pinwheels.
Steve laughed at his lover’s dramatics. “It’s perfectly fine, Tony.” He clapped his companion on the back.
The other Avengers piled in and set their luggage down.
“I like it,” Pepper declared. Natasha nodded her agreement. Pepper’s shoulder was bandaged and Natasha wore a bandage over her left temple.
Steve went to open the windows, limping slightly. The cottage was modest with its knotty pine walls and kitchen cabinets. Old-fashioned but comfortable furniture filled the living room: a couch patterned with blue sailboats and a matching overstuffed chair, a wooden coffee table carved in the shape of a whale, seascape paintings on the walls and an ancient TV in the corner. The picture window framed a magnificent view of the ocean.
“Beautiful,” Steve murmured.
Thor walked over to join him and clapped his fellow blond on his back. “Such a fine view! Asgard could do no better!”
Steve grinned. “I can’t wait to get down to that beach.”
“Good thing it’s a private one,” Bruce said as he picked up his duffel bag, stifling a wince. “How many bedrooms?”
“Two upstairs, according to Fury.” Steve turned to face his team. “There’s a full bath upstairs, and a tiny one with a toilet and sink under the stairs.”
“Two bedrooms means someone’s out of luck,” said Clint as Phil sat down on the couch.
“Not really.” Steve pointed to the side porch. “The couch folds out into a bed, and so does this living room couch.”
“So who gets what?” Bruce asked.
“Tony and I will take the porch.” Laughing at Tony’s sputter, Steve patted the billionaire’s shoulder.
“Thor and I will take the couch,” Bruce said. “Sorry I’m not exactly the Lady Jane.”
Thor laughed merrily. “I am honored to bed with a comrade-in-arms.”
Everyone grinned as Thor blithely inspected the couch, figuring out how it opened but not working the lever as Phil was sitting on the comfortable cushion.
“So we get upstairs. Great!” Pepper picked up her suitcase while Natasha followed her up the stairs while carrying her own luggage.
“We get the other one,” said Clint firmly. “Wanna rest?” he asked Phil. “I can unpack.”
“I’d like to lie down before lunch.”
Thor picked up Phil’s suitcase and took Clint’s as well. He led the way upstairs as Clint and Phil followed slowly, Clint matching the pace of his lover. Bruce found a closet and hung up his meager belongings.
Tony followed Steve out onto the porch. “Good thing this side porch is screened in.” He tapped the screen. “Keeps the mosquitoes out.” He punched Steve’s shoulder. “So why did you volunteer us for boot camp, Capsicle?”
Steve smiled fondly. “Pepper wanted to be close to the bathroom because of those new pills she’s taking that make her go more than usual. Phil is still recovering from Loki’s attack so he should get a comfortable bed, and Thor is too big to use the porch bed, especially if he has to share it with Bruce.”
“You’re a big guy.” Tony leaned against the wall with crossed arms.
“Yeah, but I can cuddle with my companion and we’ll have room to spare.” Steve rubbed his sore shoulder. Their last battle had been brutal and one of the reasons for Fury to have ordered this vacation. He remembered the colonel’s declaration of “You’ll have fun if it kills you!” and smiled.
Tony snorted. “Always the strategist, eh, Cap?”
“That’s right.” Steve whistled as he inspected the old couch. Thankfully the springs were in good shape. He had definitely slept on worse. “I’m sorry, Tony. I know you’re used to fancy digs but I thought you’d like to rough it this time.”
Tony pushed away from the wall. “You’re really something, you know that?”
“I hope so.”
Tony rolled his eyes and grabbed Steve’s arms, pulling him close for a kiss.
Bruce knocked on the doorframe. “Hey, how about a cook-out on the deck for lunch?”
“Perfect. Nick said he had the cottage fully-stocked,” Steve said.
“We can do hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill and get some seafood tonight.”
“I’ll get things started.” Bruce disappeared into the kitchen.
“So you think this vacation in the wilds of Maine will work?” Tony asked.
“No one will ever think to find us here, especially you,” teased Steve.
“Malibu more my digs?” Tony smirked.
“Yeah, but you look good to me anywhere.” Steve grinned as he hugged Tony.
Bruce happily grilled hot dogs and hamburgers while Tony set the round picnic table with paper plates, cups and plastic utensils. Thor brought up the yellow-and-white-striped umbrella from the small basement and set it in the center of the table. He opened it up while Natasha and Pepper brought out bowls of garden and potato salad and bottles of beer were set in an ice-filled cooler, dragged out by Clint. Phil happily took a seat at the table as Clint got him a hamburger. Pickles, mustard, tomatoes, red onion slices and ketchup were added and Steve was glad to see that Phil’s appetite was good.
“Can’t beat this view,” Tony said as he relaxed in his deck chair, holding a frosty bottle of beer.
“No, you can’t.” Steve sat next to him and also held a bottle.
Everyone watched the sailboats and other pleasure craft bobbing on the sparkling blue waves. Bruce kept up a steady supply of hot dogs and hamburgers until he turned off the grill and joined his friends in enjoying his handiwork.
All of the Avengers were in desperate need of a vacation. For some reason, supervillains and other nefarious types seemed hell-bent on taking over the world lately, Steve thought. Thankfully the Fantastic Four and other superheroes were popping up, so a vacation was just what the doctor ordered. Or Fury, anyway, he thought wryly. They were a battered group physically and emotionally.
“That was a great meal,” Phil said.
“Simple yet satisfying,” Natasha agreed.
“I think we should get seafood tomorrow night,” Pepper suggested. “I am stuffed.”
“That’s a great idea,” Steve agreed. “We can spend all day at the beach and then introduce Thor and Clint to the joys of lobster.” Thor’s face lit up.
Tony smiled fondly at his lover. “Watch out, Capsicle. If you don’t put sunscreen on tomorrow, you’ll look like a lobster.” He took a swig of beer. “You’re really into this vacation stuff, huh?”
“Yeah.” Steve watched a seagull dive for fish in the sparkling sea. “I always wanted a seaside vacation.”
Tony was about to say something when Pepper asked Steve to help clear the table. The captain jumped up and helped her and Natasha clean up.
Once lunch was over, Steve suggested going down to the beach. The walk was short, which was good for Phil. He couldn’t take a long walk.
The Avengers were pleased with the private beach. The sand was warm on their bare feet as they removed their shoes and splashed into the water.
“When we come tomorrow, that’s where we set up,” Pepper said as she pointed to a spot near the rocks.
“Anything you say, Red,” Natasha drawled.
She was pleased with this seaside location. During her days in Red Room training, a young, idealistic doctor had declared fresh sea air and swimming were just the things to keep the trainees at optimum efficiency.
So, to my benefit, I got to swim and spend time on the beach.
Natasha didn’t need a degree in psychology to know that she associated the beach with freedom. Even though still under surveillance, she had enjoyed the illusion of freedom with the endless ocean stretched out before her and actual relief from the confines of the Red Room. She walked through the water hand-in-hand with Pepper. She couldn’t wait to see her lover in a bikini.
She loved this time of day on the beach as dusk began to fall. It was a time when all the day’s cares could be washed away. Every part of her body that ached felt a little better.
Steve and Tony were exploring a tidal pool in the rocks while Clint and Phil sat on a large flat rock while they talked and watched the sunset. Thor and Bruce splashed up to the women.
“The sea is a magnificent bounty of Nature,” Thor said happily.
Bruce looked relaxed, always a bonus, in Natasha’s opinion. Thor and Bruce were as thick as thieves, as the old saying went. Their friendship might be partly due to their matching strength as Thor and the Hulk during battle, but Natasha suspected that they just liked each other. Thor was a lot smarter than people gave him credit for and he was eager to learn Midgardian science while Bruce enjoyed finding out about Asgardian magic.
This beach vacation is the perfect idea. Fury knew what he was doing when he sent us here.
She wondered if he ever took his own advice. He always seemed to be on the job.
Pepper bumped her hand against Natasha’s hip. “You okay? You seem far away.”
Natasha smiled. “I just like the beach.”
“So do I.” Pepper sighed happily as she took a deep breath and closed her eyes. “I love the sea air.”
“You’re beautiful.” Despite the lines of strain around her eyes, Pepper was still a vision.
Pepper opened her eyes and smiled. “I could say the same, Czarina.”
Natasha smirked. “That bikini is going to look so good on you.”
Pepper laughed. She kissed Natasha and they splashed off down the beach.
Back at the cottage, everyone flopped onto the living room furniture. Tony rubbed his hands and turned on the ancient T.V.
“No cable?” Clint squawked.
“Are you kidding? We’re lucky if we get a signal, much less cable.”
The signal was a little fuzzy at first but soon cleared. “Hallelujah for the digital age,” Bruce said.
“So what’s on?” Natasha asked as she snuggled next to Pepper on the couch. Clint and Phil took up the rest of the sofa, and Steve and Tony sat on the smaller couch. Bruce was comfortable in the lone armchair while Thor sat on the floor, his back leaning against the couch next to Steve. Pepper had set out a bowl of nectarines and peaches on the whale-shaped coffee table, and Thor was happily eating one of each fruit. He gave a nectarine to Steve, the two of them always needing fuel for their bodies.
“What do we have to choose from?” Phil asked.
“Three network channels and a couple of local stations,” Tony said. “Fury booked us in a five-star hotel, didn’t he?”
“Aw, c’mon, Tony, it’ll do you good to rough it a little,” Pepper teased him.
Bruce absorbed the relaxed atmosphere gratefully. Not even meditation gave him as peaceful a feeling as he was enjoying in this moment.
“Hmph, are you calling me spoiled?”
“Oh, brother, when we you ever not spoiled?”
“Don’t give our friends the wrong impression.”
Bruce smiled at the banter. He happily watched the sitcom he couldn’t even name while listening to the conversation around him. Thor glanced back at him and Bruce could see how contented he was, a fact that pleased Bruce.
We’re becoming a family. Tony would scoff while secretly being pleased; Phil would be amused; Clint would be happy that Phil was happy; Natasha and Pepper would say, “Of course” and Thor would be thrilled. And Steve? He would be incredibly happy.
Natasha went into the kitchen and popped microwave popcorn. Sodas and beers were brought out and the moon shone down on the ocean as the evening continued with good cheer.
Everyone turned in early. Thor and Bruce prepared the sofa bed and Tony and Steve pulled out their bed on the porch as the rest went upstairs. Steve stripped down to his T-shirt and shorts and Tony pulled on a tank top and pajama bottoms.
“Good thing we have a bathroom downstairs. I don’t fancy going upstairs in the middle of the night if I need to use it,” Steve said.
Tony tossed him a pillowcase. “Neither do I.” He peered at the screen. “I hope there aren’t holes in that wire. I don’t want the mosquitoes to feast on me.”
“I’ll feast on you.”
“Aww, how romantic.”
Steve laughed as he fluffed up his pillow and climbed into bed. The springs creaked. Tony shook his head and joined him, groaning as he tried to find a comfortable spot.
Steve listened to the surf in its eternal rhythm and felt sleepy. Tony said, “This ocean thing is pretty cool.”
Steve smiled. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool.” He slipped his hand into Tony’s and squeezed as he drifted off to sleep with a smile on his face.