ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This story is a sequel to "Love Is for Children."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, Clint Barton, Natasha Romanova, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers, JARVIS
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: No standard warnings apply.
Summary: The Avengers celebrate Easter together.
Notes: Asexual character. Aromantic character. Asexual relationship. Non-sexual ageplay. Flangst. Hurt/comfort. Mention of past issues. Cuteness. Crafts. Holiday traditions. Ethnic traditions. Teambuilding. Personal growth. Howard Stark's A+ parenting. Making up for lost time. Family of choice.

Skip to Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.  There is also a sequel, "Dolls and Guys."

There is now fanart for this story and it is ... Easter eggs!  Read the original comment with pictures, or visit my LIFC scrapbook folder over on LiveJournal.

"Eggshells" Part 1

The Avengers sat in the common room together, watching television. It wasn't game night, but they spent more and more of their off-duty time together these days. Phil enjoyed this sign of the deepening bonds of team and family. Currently Phil sat on the couch between Steve and Tony. Phil preferred to keep a close eye on Steve in case it became necessary to change the channel. Clint and Natasha cuddled together on the loveseat. Bruce curled up in a chair. Tony channel-surfed idly, looking for something interesting.

"Okay, I'm lost," Steve said, frowning at the screen. "What's with all the funny colors?"

"They're Easter eggs. You must've seen those when you were growing up, didn't you?" Clint said.

"Yeah, but those are ... what did you call them? Day-glow colors?" Steve said.

"They're dyed," Phil pointed out.

"With what?" Steve said. "The last time I saw colors that crazy, Howard misappropriated some tracer dye and painted a bunch of dummy grenades and hid them in the -- um. Nevermind." He broke off, looking at Tony.

Tony was staring down at the remote control in his hands. He turned it over, fiddled with the back, turned it right side up again. "My father never did anything like that with me," he said in a tight voice. "He was an atheist. So I didn't get to hunt Easter eggs. He said Easter was just an infantile wish to turn back time and raise the dead, that rational people should know better."

Steve winced, rippling against Phil's side. "I'm sorry, Tony," said Steve. "I didn't mean to bring up bad memories for you. It's just ... Howard was my friend, and now he's gone, and I miss him. I try not to talk about him around you, because I know you didn't really get along with your father, but it feels like I'm walking on eggshells. It's really hard."

"It's hard growing up without getting to do stuff all the other kids do, too. I swear if I didn't know better, I'd think you were talking about a totally different man," Tony said.

"In a way, that's true," Phil said. He needed to defuse the tension between them on this topic, or they'd hurt each other the way they had when they first met. Clearly it wouldn't go away on its own. "Losing someone can break people."

"What do you mean by that?" Steve asked.

Phil thought twice about his options, then decided to bring it out in the open as delicately as possible. "You were on the radio with Howard and Peggy when the plane went down, Steve," Phil said. "They couldn't protect you, but they could and did make certain you didn't go through that alone. I've lost agents under very similar circumstances. It's not something everyone can recover from. Peggy did. From the divergence between your description and Tony's, it sounds like Howard didn't. In essence, it may be that the man you knew as a friend died that day, shielding you from the worst of the stress."

Steve sniffled, then rubbed both hands over his face, smearing a line of tears across his cheeks. Phil passed him a handkerchief. "Yeah, that fits," Steve said hoarsely. "Now I kinda feel like I got him killed."

"You didn't," Phil said firmly. "Howard made his own decision to cover your back as best he could. You want to blame someone for what happened, blame Hydra."

Tony was frankly staring at both of them. "I never ... I really never thought about it that way," he said.

Steve and Tony leaned into Phil. He looped an arm around each of them. Phil worried about Tony a little, because Howard Stark was touchy territory there too. Eggshells, indeed. "No reason why you should, Tony," he said quietly. "It's not a perspective most people would think about."

"I should have," Tony said, his voice hitching. "I've seen it. Something like it. Golmira."

Because Yinsen had quite deliberately given his life to buy Tony's freedom, Phil recalled, and that had forged the Merchant of Death into Iron Man. "Even so, Tony, the situation with Steve and Howard wasn't your fault. Don't blame yourself for something that happened before you were born," Phil said.

"I'm not. I'm blaming myself for being a jerk, now, to one of my best friends," Tony said. He turned to Steve. "I'm sorry. You've lost so much, and I don't want to take away yet another thing. Go ahead and remember your friend; that way something of him will survive. I wish -- I wish I could have known the same man you did. At least this way I can hear about him. Just, you know, I may need to tap out if it gets too much for me."

Phil gave Tony an encouraging squeeze. "I'm so proud of you," he murmured.

"Thanks, Tony. That means a lot to me," Steve said. "Let me know if I overdo it."

"Fair," Tony agreed.

[To be continued in Part 2 ...]

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-28 09:00 am (UTC)
avia: (nest of books)
From: [personal profile] avia
Ahh, a sequel! So excited that this story doesn't have to end~

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-28 07:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] antivol.livejournal.com
Great chapter! I'm so glad you're doing a sequel. I teared up a little reading this one - kudos to Phil for deflecting the situation, that wasn't easy. Thanks for sharing!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-28 08:09 pm (UTC)
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alee_grrl
I ended up leaving my last review for the first story on AO3 (vMures), but I absolutely loved it. I'm very happy to have more in this universe! Thank you!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-28 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] blazeorfade
Yes! Sequel! I love how you write the bonds and interactions between the characters and that we get to see it all from Uncle Phil's perspective. This is such a great series.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-01 04:23 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Father-son relationships… that aspect touches me deeply.
(deleted comment)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-01 09:19 am (UTC)
silverblaze85: sam and dean doing snow angels while Cas looks on (Snowangels)
From: [personal profile] silverblaze85
Oh, I just found "Love Is For Children", and absolutely adored it. It's perfect, and sweet, and I just wanna draw pink glittery hearts all over it. I'm so utterly thrilled to see that it's expanding. Do you mind if I add you as a friend so I can keep an eye out for updates?

Talking Steve down

Date: 2014-06-16 12:59 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
One promise I remember that my soul makes to Family is that I will always be there when they go. I've failed a few times, but I try to make those times as few as possible. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, keeping that promise. I think that's why I do it, that and the knowing that comes after, that someone loved them enough to make "Always" have meaning.

Howard Goddamn Stark

Date: 2016-04-03 07:49 pm (UTC)
heartsinger: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heartsinger
I think his presumable participation in the Manhattan Project was also a major factor.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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