Stories From The Island: Back to Reality
Title: Stories from the Island: Back to Reality
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; spoilers for various MARVEL movies and television programs
It hadn't taken long for everyone to retire to their sleeping bags for the final night of the vacation. The next morning, the majority of the family was up early, checking that everything was packed and ready to go... and that everything that needed to be was disposed of properly.
Karen was helping wash and put the linens away when Skye walked by with cleaning supplies. Even though Tony had people that came weekly to check on the villa, that could have cleaned, the family had decided that they should clean up after themselves. "The linens are almost finished...how much of the cleaning is left?" she asked her cousin.
"There are only a few more things to do," Skye answered, wiping down the surfaces. "There's not a lot of mess, considering just how many of us there are."
"Well, we were pretty careful to clean up after ourselves as we went along." Karen smiled as she began to fold dry sheets. "I'm going to miss this place," she said wistfully.
"I'm sure our parents are already thinking about when we can come back here," Skye said. "It's nice to all be together, without something happening."
"You can say that again..." Karen agreed. She glanced over as Jemma popped her head into the room.
"We're having one last big breakfast before taking off; the kitchen is the last place we'll need to clean," the biochemist said. "Apparently, Uncle Tony didn't like the idea of everyone subsisting on prepackaged pastries and juice-boxes 'just so we can keep the kitchen clean!'" she mimicked her uncle's voice playfully.
Skye smiled and finished wiping down the last of the surfaces. "Sounds good to me! If everyone cleans up after themselves..." she said playfully.
"That would be perfect! That will give this last load in the drier time to finish drying. Everything else has been folded and put away..." Karen smiled. She walked toward the kitchen and took her seat, glancing around at the rest of the family. She laughed softly at Kara, who had somehow got hold of a bottle of blue nail polish and was painting her father's fingernails, glancing up at Fury to see how he was responding...she was a bit surprised he was allowing it. She glanced at Kara again, wondering if the woman was going through one of her 'immature' phases as a result of having to head back to the 'real world'. Kara didn't look anxious, though...maybe she was just teasing Nick.
Fury, used to his daughter, didn't try to stop her painting his fingernails. He talked quietly to the rest of the family, even though he kept some of his attention on Kara... just in case there were feelings below the surface.
On the off chance that Kara wasn't having an episode and was just teasing her father, Karen decided to 'help' tease her uncle. Sidling up to Kara, she asked conspiratorially, "Would you like a glitter overcoat? I have some in my bag..."
Kara's eyes widened and she whispered back, "That would be awesome! Thanks, Karen!" She gave her father an impish grin. She'd been feeling out of sorts since waking up that morning, the idea of leaving their little idyllic hideaway and going back to the 'real world' where everyone had to work and couldn't spend every waking moment together upsetting her more than she wanted to admit. The nail-painting was less about feeling immature and more about wanting to keep her father still in one spot, with her, for a few moments before that became more difficult.
"You've got it, girl!" Karen grinned and went to get the polish from her bag.
Coulson couldn't help but chuckle at the look on his brother's face... slightly exasperated, but full of fondness nevertheless. "I wonder how many agents wouldn't find you as scary if they had a picture of this moment..." he mused out loud.
Fury fixed his best friend with a glare that had no heat behind it. "Don't you dare. I have all sorts of material I can blackmail you with in return."
Grant, walking by at that moment, blinked and gave his uncle an interested look. "Really? What type of material, Uncle Nick?" He gave his own father his own version of an imp.
"Oh! Are we doing mani-pedis?" Bobbi chirped, as she walked into the kitchen from where she'd been finishing cleaning-up her own section. "What fun! I'll make sure to keep my polish at the top of my bag, so we can do more while boating back to the main island...or when we're on the plane..." She gave her father and brother a considering look. "I've got clear varnish..." she suggested coyly.
Matt sat down next to his uncle, not able to see what was being done, but curious all the same. "What color is it?" he asked curiously.
"Blue...and Karen is getting me a sparkle for the top coat..." Kara's grin could be heard in her voice.
Grant, not one to let up when he found out about possible information on his dad he didn't know, asked again. "What type of material?" He glanced between his father and Nick.
"I'll tell you later." Fury's grin was positively devious.
Coulson reached out and wrapped his arm around Grant's shoulders. "Just as long as you promise not to repeat any of the stunts I did," he teased.
Grant gave his father a suspicious look. "If I did repeat any of them...what might happen?" he asked cautiously.
"That would very much depend on which one you repeated," Coulson replied. "But generally speaking? The majority would end with us having a discussion." While their way of handling things wasn't a secret... he didn't see the need to outright say how he would deal with it, knowing Grant would read between the lines. He moved his hand to the back of his son's neck, squeezing gently.
"Wow...So who caught you? Uncle Paul or Grandpa?" Grant grinned, not upset in the least that his father was warning him off from doing things he himself had done. It was further proof that his father had changed into someone more responsible because his children needed him and made Grant feel safe and cared about.
"Both of them did, at one time or another," Coulson replied, keeping the contact with his son. "The story I shared wasn't the only time your uncle had to help me... and it wasn't the only time I did something reckless. But that was quite a long time ago," he added, not outright saying that he kept himself safe for his children... even though that was implied.
"Well...yeah. It had to be eons ago- decades and decades ago- you never get into trouble now..." Bobbi teased gently over her shoulder, as she bent over the table to get a better look at the 'work' Kara was doing on Nick's nails.
I didn't say it! Grant mouthed to his father, wide-eyed...although it was more joking than seriously worried or nervous.
By that time, Karen had returned with the glitter polish and was sitting on the other side of Fury, watching Kara carefully apply it. "You think dad would let me...?" she asked Matt in a lilting tone.
Coulson reached across and gently tickled his daughter's ribs. "No, now it's left to my children to do that."
Natasha wandered in, talking to her niece, and glanced towards her cousin as she heard Karen's question. "Give him the 'daddy's little girl' look," she suggested.
Bobbi squealed and managed to trip herself in the effort to get away from the tickling, sliding onto the floor in an undignified heap.
Karen blinked at her cousin's sudden 'disappearance' then looked at Natasha curiously. "'Daddy's little girl' look?" she grinned slightly. "Is that the look I always see Kara using on Uncle Nick?"
With a trace of amusement... although he was checking to make sure Bobbi wasn't hurt... Coulson leaned down to help his daughter up... then gently pulled her onto his lap.
Natasha nodded sagely. "I guarantee he won't resist."
Bobbi couldn't help but laugh at herself, even as she snuggled close to her father. "Nat's right...It's a very effective look..." she remarked, leaning up long enough to give her father a saucy grin, before putting her head back on his shoulder.
Grant sighed. "And sadly, it does not work quite as well if you are male..." He winked at his sister and grinned at his father.
"You going to try it on dad, then?" Matt asked his sister in amusement. "What are you going to try and get him to do?"
"Paint his nails, of course!" Karen responded as seriously as she could, given the subject.
At that moment, Clint hollered from the kitchen area, "Breakfast is almost ready! Head to the dining table!" It was loud enough to carry through most of the house and to the outside.
Coulson gently squeezed his daughter's waist. "Then maybe I shouldn't tell you it's very hard to say no to any of you." Pressing a kiss to the top of her head, he waited for Bobbi to be ready before he got up.
At that point, Pietro zoomed through to the dining area, only just avoiding knocking into anything.
Bobbi snuggled close for a few more seconds before standing up and moving into a chair next to her father.
Grant didn't remark on his father's words, leaning over and kissing the older man on the cheek before finding his own chair.
"There! Finished!" Kara exclaimed brightly, before quickly cleaning up her items...just in time for the rest of the family to trickle in.
Clint walked into the dining room, several platters of eggs, bacon, sausages, potatoes and cinnamon rolls balanced precariously in his arms. Raina came in behind him, loaded up with bowls of fruit and pitchers of juice and water. Jemma followed Raina with plates and cutlery.
Bucky had just walked in from outside and took some of the burden from his nephew and niece. Placing the items on the table he paused. "Is that some new fashion statement, Nick?" His voice was amused.
"I believe we were discussing that it's hard to say no to the children," Fury replied blandly.
"Not saying no ends with you getting blue, glittery fingernails?" Sam stepped over to help with the food and drink, placing them on the table before he sat between his son and daughter.
Lance sat in the chair on the other side of Bobbi, poking her gently in the side. "I hope this isn't going to turn into a thing..." he joked.
Bobbi gave her not-so-ex-husband a coy look and batted her eyelashes. "It could..." she purred. "...Would you wear polish for me?" The whole seductive scene was ruined when she giggled.
May had come in by this point and sat down next to her daughter, one eyebrow going up at the comments she was hearing. "I don't know why you have such a hard time putting your foot down, Nick. I think you must secretly like wearing blue glittery nails." Her face was perfectly serious. Her eyes were gleaming.
"I wanna paint your nails, daddy!" Karen put on her most innocent, pleading expression.
Clint blinked when he finally finished bringing in food and sat down, not having heard all the conversation before. "Say what now?"
Ben turned and looked at Blake. "You are not painting my nails. Let's make that clear now." His voice was gruff and it sounded Ike he was choking on something. Matt figured it was probably laughter.
"There are plenty of things I'd do for you." Lance paused before adding, "Wearing nail polish is not one of them. Or anything else like that."
Fitz, like Clint, had wandered in partway through the conversation and as he sat next to Jemma, looked a bit confused. "Why are we talking about nail polish?"
Fury very determinedly did not make any comments... though he couldn't help but grin at Karen's pleading look to her father.
Sam paused in the act of reaching to pour himself a drink and looked at his daughter. "I think I should leave wearing the nail polish to you girls. And Nick," he added, grinning as he teased his brother.
Blake snorted softly. "I think you should worry if I ever did want to paint your nails..." he commented.
Bobbi pouted, but didn't say anything else. She noticed Kara beginning to fidget and was worried that the other woman might think they were making fun of her if she pressed.
Jemma sighed. "I'm going to miss being so close to everyone. I mean, we live in the same building and do things together, but...this was different somehow and I'll miss it."
"It was nice," Pepper agreed.
Fury, also noticing Kara fidgeting, wrapped an arm around his daughter's shoulders, squeezing gently.
"There's more freedom," Pietro commented. "I can run here, without worrying about being seen. Or knocking over people." He shrugged and helped himself to some more food. "It's nice."
"The closeness is good," Wanda agreed softly.
Kara smiled at her father and settled down as he hugged her. "It has been nice...having the ability to move around without worrying about disturbing someone's work, or running into strangers who don't understand..."
Tony was listening to the comments quietly, a thoughtful look on his face. "You enjoyed the extra space to move around outside?"
"I think the extra space has been really helpful," Steve commented. "What's on your mind, son?"
Tony frowned thoughtfully before answering. "It's just...there's no place in the city safer than the tower," he began. "But even so, I can't help feeling it isn't as safe as I'd like. Part of the problem is we live above the company offices and labs...the bottom half is public. There is only so much security I could add before it affects the company and the employees' ability to work in a negative way. So..." He paused uncertainly.
"What are you thinking about?" Fury prompted. "Maybe it's time we considered another option anyway."
"There's an old storage facility about an hour outside the city. It's on a large amount of acreage, surrounded by woods on three sides and mountain on the fourth..." Tony paused, once again uncertainly, but then continued. "With a little remodeling, we could turn it into a family dormitory on one floor and use the remaining floors for a command center, training facilities, laboratories for items we don't want even Stark Industries to be tied to. It would mean Pepper would have to commute again, but I was thinking of making her a suit to protect her when she wasn't with us, so she could use it to fly in to the office and miss traffic..." He grinned at his fiancé. "Point is,.. we could remodel the family floor however we wanted. One huge room with enough beds for everyone and no privacy...one big bedroom per family...one bedroom a person, but all close to each other. All we'd need beyond that is a big kitchen/dining room and a big family room, since the command center would take the place of offices and libraries. That is, if you all are serious about not wanting even one floor to separate the family from each other."
Steve squeezed his son's shoulder gently. "I think that's a good idea," he said. "It isn't like we need to be that separate from each other... but I think the only real thing we'd have to consider would be if someone needed a bit of alone time, for whatever reason."
"The mansion could always act as that," Coulson suggested. "As long as we know if someone's there... I can't see it being a problem."
"The mansion is actually closer to the storage facility than it is to the tower, so anyone needing alone time could easily go there and still be close enough that it wouldn't take long to get to them or them to us if needed." Tony nodded in agreement. "So everyone wants to do that?" He looked around the assembled group, but focused mainly on the parents since he knew the 'kids' would go along with whatever their parent wanted to do.
"I can't see any reason not to," Fury said honestly.
There were various murmurs of agreement from the other parents at the table.
"So...um...would we all be sleeping in one huge room with a lot of beds, like a barracks? Or would we have small rooms to ourselves, like a dormitory?" Jemma asked curiously.
"It's not necessarily something we have to decide now," Steve said. "We can figure out what we all think would work best for the family... even have some kind of combination when it comes to the bedrooms."
"We can all take stock of our particular family groupings...maybe have a meeting about it a week from now. There's no hurry, I'm assuming?" May added.
Tony nodded. "No...no hurry. The storage facility needs to be emptied of all the items that are still there, though there shouldn't be many, and then I'll have to have inspectors come out and make certain that it is structurally sound. After that, then we can get blueprints drawn up and hire contractors and such."
Coulson nodded. "That sounds good to me. We can discuss it in our smaller family units first." The look on his face was fond as he looked at his children and grandchildren.
Pepper glanced around and sighed softly. "I guess we need to clean up our dishes...then head down to the dock."
Karen quickly jumped up and began helping to do just that.
The other family members began clearing their own plates and cutlery as well and it didn't take long before they were all heading to the dock... though there were a few disappointed expressions, as the vacation was over.
Thirty minutes later, the island was shrinking into the horizon. "We'll come back..." Tony promised everyone. "Count on it."