Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Clint/Phil, Steve/Tony, Natasha/Pepper, Thor Odinson, Bruce Banner
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: After dinner on the wharf, the team goes back to the cottage for a peaceful evening.
Dates Of Completion: August 17, 2013
Dates Of Posting: August 26, 2013
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Marvel and Paramount do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1349
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Inspired by this prompt at avengerkink. The entire series can be found here.
MOONLIGHT ON THE WATER
Upon the sea,
Not more beautiful
Than you and me,
For we are mated
Our love is sweet
Yet pleasingly tart.
Moonlight shimmered on the water as the Avengers piled out of the van that Fury had provided once back at the cottage. Clint remarked, “Maybe we should paint flowers on the side.” His smirk gave him away.
“Oh, right, a real hippie van,” Tony drawled.
“Look at that moon,” Pepper said dreamily.
“Let’s take a walk on the beach,” Natasha suggested. The women walked down the path hand-in-hand.
Clint asked Phil, “You want to go to bed?” but Phil shook his head.
“Come, let us go inside,” Thor said.
“Steve and I’ll be in soon,” Tony said, and Steve followed him to the deck where they sat on the cloth chairs.
Steve patted his stomach. “That was some meal.”
“Yeah.” Tony could hear the voices of their friends in the living room behind them as someone turned on the ancient TV. “You know, I could have upgraded that box if you hadn’t dragged me away.”
“It was time to go to dinner!” Steve stretched out his legs. “You can fool with it tomorrow.”
Tony watched Natasha and Pepper walk along the beach. “When did you have lobster before?”
“The night before the U.S.O. tour left for Europe, an unknown benefactor provided us with a seafood feast. Only a few of the troupe knew how to eat them, but with their guidance we managed.” Steve smiled a little wistfully. “I loved the rich flavor and hoped I could have some again someday. Just took me over seventy years to do it.”
Tony took hold of Steve’s hand and squeezed. Through the window screen behind them they could hear Batman telling Robin that it was always good to be prepared.
“Holy Boy Scout, Batman!”
“I wonder if Thor understands camp,” Tony murmured.
“Holy Thunder God, Iron Man!”
Tony grinned and squeezed Steve’s hand again. They listened to the sounds of the waves as the Dynamic Duo saved Gotham City yet again.
“You said you always wanted to go on a seaside vacation. Was this your first time at the beach?”
“Sort of. I went to Coney Island occasionally with Bucky.” Tony could hear the tiny catch in Steve’s voice as he spoke his old friend’s name. “I couldn’t go on the rides. Weak stomach,” he said with a wan smile. “I had to be careful what I ate, but I managed a hot dog now and again. We did manage to get to a small beach once in awhile for the day. Nothing fancy.”
Tony thought of the fun he’d had on beaches on both coasts when he’d been a kid and wished he could have granted Steve the same luxury. He was beginning to understand that while his parents had been distant and even neglectful, he had always been well-fed and well-clothed and been given opportunities to have fun. Only Thor understood privilege and having every physical need met. Pepper did, too, though her background was middle-class, not wealth. Both had enjoyed loving attention from their parents, which was one up on him.
But the rest of the Avengers had suffered through terrible childhoods. Bruce had endured an abusive alcoholic father who had killed his mother, and Natasha’s childhood had been a nightmare in the Red Room. Clint had lived in the circus with an older brother who would eventually betray him. He had no idea about Phil, though from the files he had read, he probably had enjoyed a nice, middle-class childhood.
And Steve? Tony had not only read the S.H.I.E.L.D. files but his father’s personal project files. Steve had been born into poverty and had been a sickly child, not shedding his ailments as he grew up. His father had been killed in the Great War and after his mother died, he had been sent to an orphanage and had disappeared from the institution a few months after arriving. Tony suspected that Bucky had something to do with it.
Steve must have gone hungry like a lot of people during the Great Depression.
That hurt Tony, to think of his gentle lover going hungry. It was why he always kept the massive refrigerator in the Tower stocked. Thor’s appetite was prodigious and Steve needed more food than average to fuel his Serum-infused body.
I want to give him everything. I’m bringing him to Malibu the first chance I get.
Natasha leaned down and picked up a fan-shaped seashell that was perfectly-formed. She placed it by Pepper’s ear. “I want to get you some funky seashell jewelry in town.”
Pepper laughed. “How charming.”
Natasha smiled slightly. “The weather girl on Channel 63 said last night that rain’s in the forecast day after tomorrow. We can go into town and browse the ships and pick up ticky-tacky things and eat ice cream in sugar cones.”
Pepper could see the two of them strolling down the busy street. She’d be wearing a long, seashell necklace and big, straw hat as Natasha really worked a pair of dungaree shorts and a green halter top. She smiled happily at the images.
Natasha put her hands on Pepper’s shoulders. “I want to give you everything. I’ve never…” She swallowed and Pepper cupped her chin tenderly.
“You are the best thing that ever happened to me, ‘Tasha.”
Blinking away tears, Natasha put her head on Pepper’s shoulder while Pepper hugged her.
When Pepper and Natasha returned from the beach, Steve and Tony came inside, too. There was laughter and teasing as the friends enjoyed each other’s company. Bruce dug out a bottle of sparkling water and cut up some lemon and lime slices and passed out drinks all around. Clint was happy that Fury was as good as his word and hadn’t called them with any urgent missions.
I could get used to this vacation thing.
Gradually everyone tired and went to bed. Clint helped Phil get into his pajamas. Being unable to bend meant that Phil needed help every day tying his shoes and a million-and-one other things that the healthy took for granted. Clint knew that his lover was frustrated but Phil kept those feelings mainly to himself.
Clint stripped down to his boxer shorts. He was sad that Phil insisted on wearing his pajama top but he was self-conscious about his scars. Clint could only hope that he had convinced Phil that the scars did not make him less sexy in his eyes.
Clint was remarkably tired. Somehow running around a beach all day and eating lobster for the first time had worn him out as much as a battle against Doctor Doom.
“Tired?” Phil asked.
His companion chuckled. “Whenever Mom and Dad took us to the beach, my sisters and brothers and I would run around and have fun and then sleep like babies all night. Something about the beach tires you out, but it’s a good kind of tired.”
Clint settled himself comfortably and yawned. “I agree, it is a good kind of tired.”
Phil stroked his head. “Go to sleep, Clint. I’ll be right behind you.”
Clint grinned and allowed himself to drift to sleep as he listened to the ocean’s lulling rhythm and felt Phil’s gentle hand.
Clint awoke several hours later. The nightstand clock read 3:00. The cottage was quiet, everyone peacefully asleep. Clint was grateful for that state of things. He knew that everyone suffered their share of nightmares. The vacation was relaxing everyone, including Phil.
Using the rays of moonlight that illuminated the bedroom, Clint could see the lines of pain etched around Phil’s eyes and mouth. His heart ached for his partner’s suffering. Loki’s one brief moment of evil would take months to recover from, but Phil was a strong man.
Clint tenderly touched Phil’s jaw. This vacation would help him heal, and that was the most important thing.
He lay back down, falling back asleep as the moonlight shone upon the sea.