Stories From The Island
Title: Stories from the Island: Prologue
Disclaimer: We don't own anything belonging to MARVEL and we're not making any money from this fic
Summary: 45th in the Redeeming Grant series. A family retreat leads to introspection and bonding.
Authors: Hope1iz and BlackFox12
Warning(s): Spanking in later chapters; spoilers for various MARVEL movies and television programs.
Tony stood at the bow of the ferry, watching as the tiny island came into view, pulling Pepper in more closely to him and leaning over to kiss her on the cheek. "This was a good idea. I think everyone needed it. I'm so proud of you for thinking of it and arranging it with everyone..." He smiled at his fiancé before glancing back over his shoulder to locate Harry. His son was standing next to his grandfather, but what he and Steve were talking about Tony could only hazard a guess. He glanced around at all the rest of the members of his family; Bruce and his kids; Uncle Phil and all his kids and grandkids; Uncle Nick and his brood; Melinda...Bucky...Sam...Ben...all their kin. Even Odin had joined Thor, Loki and Mack. "I'm also glad you had the guesthouse renovated so that it could fit the entire family, plus a few extra people..." he muttered softly.
Pepper chuckled. "Yes...well, I'm serious about wanting our wedding to be here. So we need to have enough room for all the family. Plus my parents, Jane, Darcy, Eric, Betty, Foggy... and the potential family members that are liable to have been adopted by the time we finally get around to making our marriage legal!" Her voice was seriously teasing. She looked over her shoulder as well, grinning at her the family members behind her who were patiently waiting for the ferry to dock, before looking back at Tony. "Everyone has been stressed lately. I know it comes with the territory of protecting the world and being heroes... but everyone needs some time to unwind. And with all the new additions to the family, it seemed like a bit of family bonding time was needed as well. I may not be a hero or able to save the world, but I can protect my family and help them get what they need," she said emphatically, as she snuggled up to her fiancé again.
Steve and Harry were talking animatedly, although the conversation died a bit as the island came into view and Steve wrapped his arm around his grandson, bringing Harry over to stand with his parents, smiling as he caught the tail-end of what his daughter was saying.
Coulson had moved next to Raina, as Natasha was talking to Grant and Bobbi, and was drawing her into conversation... while at the same time surreptitiously checking to see what her comfort levels were.
Raina, for all appearances, was cool and collected and sure of herself. Of course, appearances could be deceiving; and she had got very good at deception during her years of working with shadier elements in her quest to 'evolve'. Now that she was a part of a family that actually cared about her and her feelings, she had to remind herself to actually let them in and to let them see her vulnerabilities and uncertainties. "How long are we staying on this island?" she turned and asked her father for the third time, distracted enough that she hadn't really heard his answer the first two times.
Grant was watching his newest sister from the corner of his eye, trying to figure out how she was feeling. "I'm curious about that cave that Leo warned us against exploring. Why he would even mention it if all he was going to do was warn us not to go near it is beyond me. He had to have known it would raise my curiosity..." he muttered with a soft laugh. Since none of the parents had seen fit to mention any cave yet, he wondered if he couldn't sneak over to see it anyway.
Bobbi's eyebrow went up. "If Leo warned you against it, you can better be certain we're going to be told not to go near it by either daddy or one of our uncles. I don't think trying to get away to see it before they have a chance to tell you not to is such a good idea..." she whispered, knowing exactly what her brother was thinking, since she was thinking it herself.
"About a week." Coulson didn't show any kind of impatience when responding to Raina's question for the third time. He draped an arm casually around her shoulders, hoping to gently encourage her to open up a bit more. "We don't get a lot of opportunities to go on holiday like this as a whole big family," he commented, aware that Raina hadn't had a chance to meet her grandfather and aunt and uncle yet... but he hoped to get her more used to this family before overwhelming her even more.
Natasha snorted softly, having overheard Bobbi and Grant's whispered comments. "Leo hasn't figured out that the worst way of getting someone not to do something is by telling them they can't do it," she said, amusement in her voice.
"And...we're not doing any work or experiments or anything we normally do? At all?" She sounded dubious. She may not have bonded closely to the family...yet...but she'd observed enough to know which ones were workaholics, which ones were addicted to their electronics and gadgets and which ones liked being surrounded by the noise and fast pace of the city.
"Well, as long as dad...or one of our uncles...doesn't veto it..." Grant's grin was slyly impish.
This time, Bobbi snorted. "Like that's not going to happen..." She chuckled.
"It's a family bonding time," Coulson replied. "We leave the work behind because forming those kind of bonds... spending time with each other... is important." He squeezed his daughter gently. "I want to be able to spend this time with you."
"If Leo's said that it's dangerous, then I guarantee Dad and our uncles are going to agree," Natasha said.
Raina smiled, almost shyly. "I like that idea..." she said softly.
Grant sighed, but didn't disagree with his sisters. He knew they were likely right.
Matt stood against the railing of the ferry, his eyes closed, letting the breeze blow over his face and taking deep whiffs of the fresh ocean air. "It smells clean..." he remarked quietly to whoever was close enough to hear him.
Karen moved closer to her brother, bumping shoulders with him and leaning on the railing as well. "It does. And it's a gorgeous view..." She began to quietly describe the island as they approached, giving him quite a bit of detail.
Sam smiled as he listened to and watched his children, edging a bit closer to them so he could join in the conversation where it was appropriate and didn't have to raise his voice to be heard.
"What's the first thing you both want to do when we make landfall?" Matt asked, including his father in the question, even as he moved to squirm underneath Sam's arm for a hug.
Sam wrapped his arm around Matt, hugging him in close, and did the same to his daughter. "After settling in... I think it would be good to either go exploring or hit the beach. We could probably do both in the same day, but we have time to space things out a bit."
"Exploring..." Matt quickly put his opinion forward. "That way, I can get a feel for the island...find my way around easier..."
Sam nodded and looked at Karen. "If you don't have a preference, I think exploring first would be a good idea," he said to his daughter.
Karen smiled. "I like that idea, too..." she admitted.
Jemma was sitting on one of the ferry's benches, next to her father, as she watched her brothers. She glanced toward Bruce. "Do you think there will be any new rules this time? Do you have any new rules?"
Bruce smiled. "I don't, but we'll find out soon if your grandpa or great-uncles do..."
"I've been telling everyone to avoid the cave..." Leo commented.
Peter nudged his brother. "Yeah, but telling someone they shouldn't do something just makes them want to do it more. I guarantee someone's going to want to make sure it's dangerous for themselves."
Bruce overheard Peter and raised an eyebrow. "Who was told not to do something? And what were they told? And who did the telling?" he asked, slightly baffled. He was fairly certain it wasn't one of the parents that had said something, because generally, when they said not to do something, the children's first reaction wasn't usually to immediately want to do it.
"I've been warning everyone to steer clear of the cave," Leo said, adding, "The same one that's steep and fills with water quickly... more of a hole than a cave." The same one he'd nearly ended up becoming trapped in... though he didn't remind his father of that fact.
"Ah...I see." Bruce laughed softly. "I have a feeling your grandpa will address that first thing."
Clint wandered over, his arms around Wanda and Pietro. "Address what first thing, cuz?"
"That everyone is to stay out of the cave on the far side of the island," Bruce answered seriously.
May walked over to her daughter and put an arm around Skye's shoulders. "Think you'll be ok without your electronics this week?" She grinned.
Smiling, Skye leaned a bit into her mother. "I'm getting better," she defended herself. "I only need to be told twice... maybe three times occasionally... that's progress," she teased.
"You've been improving greatly. I'm proud of you," May agreed, with a smile.
"I don't need them in the way I used to," Skye said, before asking, "Is there anything in particular you'd like to do first on the island?"
May's smile was serene. "I plan to make no plans. If something catches my fancy, I'll do it. If there is something you'd like to do with me...just say the word."
Bucky stood at the port side, looking out over the ocean. "Dolphins have been following us. See them?" he said out loud, to anyone near enough to hear.
"I do..." Ben answered.
Lance was sticking close to his father, his brother and cousin (Blake) on the other side of him, talking animatedly. Instead of saying anything, he poked Bakshi in the side.
Distracted from his conversation, Bakshi followed the line of his father's gaze. "Dolphins! I always wanted to swim with them!" The slightly wistful note to his voice gave way to a hint of surprise as he realised an almost-memory had surfaced.
Blake glanced at the dolphins and then at Bakshi. "If it's something you want to do, maybe it's something that could be arranged," he suggested.
Bucky glanced at his younger son and grinned. "That sounds like a good memory...remembering something you've always wanted to do. Blake's right. I'm sure we could arrange it somehow..."
Thor stood close to his father and brothers, watching the island as they moved closer to it, and commented, "I do not believe the island will be good to spar upon."
Loki grinned at his older brother then looked at his father and Mack. "We could always try and spar in the ocean..."
"Or not spar at all..." Mack shook his head. "There are other ways we can test our skills against each other..." he added.
All of a sudden, Tony was yelling, "Land Ho!" at the top of his lungs and the ferry was beginning to slow as it approached the dock.
Fury heard his nephew calling out and walked over to the far side of the ferry, drawing his children with him. "We should probably have a system in place for how everyone leaves the ferry," he commented. "Otherwise, it'll just be a free-for-all."
"And I think there are some ground rules we're going to need to cover before anything else," Steve commented, remembering how Leo and Bruce had nearly got stuck down the hole.
Tony had walked back over in time to hear both comments. "You're both right." He smiled at his cousins, ruffling a hand through Kara's hair. "You both want to do the honors?"
"I suspect we can cover those ground rules once we're inside and have taken the bags in," Steve said. "When it comes to leaving the ferry... Tony, why don't you and Pepper take the lead? Nick and I will organise how everyone else exits."
Tony nodded. "Ok. Will do. I've got the key to the front door anyway..." He grinned impishly before taking Pepper by the arm and leading her to where the gangplank had been lowered to the dock. "Ready, Hot-pepper?" He grinned at his fiancé. At her nod, he grabbed both her bag and his bag, somehow putting one over his shoulder and grasping the other in his hand, before offering his arm again and leading her down to the dock...then walking carefully up the walk to the front of the refurbished mansion. "You did a good job, sweetie!" He admired the remodeling touches that had been added to the outside, noting that the added 'wing' matched perfectly with the older part of the house. "How many rooms did we add again?"
"Not too many..." Pepper said softly. "We had to share rooms last time, but everyone seemed to prefer that, so I only added enough rooms to accommodate the rest of our very large family if they share space. Plus three guestrooms for if anyone not in the family visits and they don't want to 'share'. Knowing this group, we'll end up with a few rooms empty because all the family groups will end up in one room..." She laughed softly.
Fury and Steve very quickly began organising the rest of the family. While some of them were a little impatient, they followed the directions and it didn't take long before everyone was on the island... even with the sheer amount of them there were.
"I'll let you direct people to their rooms..." Tony muttered to Pepper, before opening the double doors to the mansion wide and stepping into the middle of the foyer, turning around to face everyone. "There are a few rules for the island, a very few, that we should get out of the way right now... and then Pepper can show you which direction the rooms are." He beamed at his family, excitement dancing in his eyes.
Steve stepped forward, smiling as everyone quietened and looked towards him. "Most of the rules are the same ones we have normally... don't go anywhere without clearing it with one of us first. There is a particular cave on the island... I know Leo's already mentioned it to some of you. You need to avoid going in there. When the tide rises, it fills with water and becomes more treacherous."
"Aw, man...now it's official..." Grant whined playfully.
Bobbi grinned. "Yep. Now we definitely can't go, unless we want to be in trouble with Uncle Steve..." She grinned innocently at said uncle.
"What? You aren't afraid of being in trouble with dad?" Clint raised an eyebrow, but it was clear he was teasing too.
Raina's smile could have melted butter as she gave her own innocent smile toward Clint. "Daddy didn't say we couldn't go there...just Uncle Steve..." She left it unsaid that the assumption could be made that since Coulson didn't veto it, he wouldn't be the one getting after them if they broke the rule.
"Does this mean if I get daddy's permission, I can go to the cave?" Kara's face was the picture of childish confusion, though the twinkle in her eye indicated she was joining in on the teasing.
Laughing a little, Coulson squeezed each of his children's and grandchildren's shoulders. "To head off anything like that... I'm vetoing it along with Steve. I'd rather keep you all safe and well." Although he was joking with them, he was also very serious about their safety.
"Considering that won't be happening... no," Fury said, his own voice teasing.
Kara giggled, wrapping her arms around her father and holding onto him tightly before stepping back and picking up her bag again.
Pepper cleared her throat. "If there are no more critical announcements... Those of you who were here before will remember that there were bedrooms on the top floor in two different wings and then three bedrooms downstairs. The remodel has basically added one new wing onto the house. All the old rooms have been left as is for those who don't have large families, or who would like a room to themselves. The new wing has rooms that have been separated into suites for the larger families who don't want to be separated. There are approximately three bedrooms, a sitting room with a fold-away sofa bed, plus a shared bath per suite. They can be found on the first floor and the second floor and there are four suites on each floor. The new wing is the first hallway on my right. Go pick a room and then meet me back down here, so I can show you where the kitchen and family room is!"
It was several hours later. Bedrooms or suites had been chosen and most of the family had spent the afternoon exploring the island. It was nearing time for dinner, however. Pepper wandered into the kitchen and looked into the fridge. "I don't know what to make..." She sighed. "Nothing in here seems...vacation-y enough!" she finally declared, with a huff.
Tony wrinkled his nose. "Just what would be vacation-y enough?" He glanced toward some of the other family that had wandered in, to see if they had any ideas.
"I think there was some gathering of fruit," Steve commented, walking over to join his daughter at the fridge. "Why don't we do a barbeque?" he suggested. "Take it outside... then we can all sit round a campfire. Toast marshmallows."
"I think that sounds like a good idea." Sam had wandered in with his children, taking advantage of their exploration to gather a basket of fruit.
Pepper blinked then grinned brightly. "I like that idea!" She quickly began to pull items that could easily be cooked on a grill or over a fire out of the refrigerator and began placing the items into a basket that she pulled out of the pantry. "We even have graham crackers and chocolate bars if someone wants to make S'Mores..."
"S'Mooooores..." Bobbi, who had begun helping Pepper pack up items, got a look on her face that caused Tony to blink worriedly then hide the chocolate at the bottom of the basket.
Bucky smirked. "Why don't I just get a group of the guys together and start hauling firewood down to the barbeque pit?" He quickly grabbed both his sons and started toward the back door, grabbing hold of anyone who didn't appear to be in the middle of already helping Pepper and Tony pack up food.
Steve left the others to help with the food, joining Bucky and his nephew to gather the firewood, since he knew his strength would make the job easier.
Pietro ended up joining his uncles, figuring he could get firewood gathered fairly quickly.
More of the others joined Tony and Pepper, while others filtered out to help gather firewood and also collect blankets and pillows to sit on.
Soon, various items were roasting over the fire while everyone lounged around sipping drinks and occasionally checking on their meal to make certain it wasn't burning. It was very relaxing. Loki had just taken his own turn adding a bit more wood to the fire and had returned with another drink for himself and his father, sinking down onto the blanket he was sharing with a tiny, relaxed sigh. The breeze was blowing gently enough to cool but not to blow anything over. He looked over at Thor and gave him a big grin. "I do like eating outside..." he said with another grin.
Thor smiled, sitting back next to Loki and nudging him gently. "This is very different to times we've had to eat outside before," he said. "Do you recall, brother? We were visiting one of the other worlds..."
"We have visited many worlds, Thor. Which one do you speak of? Vanaheim? Alfheim? Please do not tell me you are thinking of that time we went to Nidavellir!" Loki began to laugh.
Thor laughed. "That's exactly the time I was thinking of..."
Mack glanced between his two brothers, a curious expression in his eyes. "Care to share with the rest of us? It sounds like a great story..."
Loki glanced around and noticed that everyone within hearing of Thor's voice was keyed in on their conversation- which meant everyone, since Thor's voice carried easily. "Tis your story, brother..." he teased gently, leaning back against his father and giving his brother a big grin.