Tony Stark was not asleep. Well, half asleep. Dozing, really. Then again, he had a warm snuggly redheaded wife in his arms and really, who needed sleep?
"Husbands," said wife murmured. "Husbands who should be asleep instead of verbalizing their thoughts."
Tony winced. "Sorry, dear."
Pepper Potts (she'd refused to change her name simply because she'd gotten married) opened one eye to give him death glare #4, muttered something about having Natasha dissect his brain, and then closed her eyes again and went back to sleep.
"Your pardon, Sir," said a calm, melodic voice. It seemed to come from everywhere and evoked the image of a butler, in full butler gear, nose raised slightly, and stubborn as a bulldog. Which was the point, since Tony had patterned Jarvis' base personality off the butler Tony's family had had as a child.
"Jarvis, it is . . ." Tony looked around for a clock.
"Five forty-five in the morning, Sir."
"Yes, five forty-five in the morning, and I specifically recall programming an alpha priority command about this sort of thing."
"Indeed you did, Sir. However, there is also a list of exemptions to that command. In this case, exemption number fifteen, sub category six."
Which meant the twins were arguing and the kitchen was the battleground. Lovely. Exactly how Tony wanted to start the day.
"Your turn," Pepper groaned.
"She's your goddaughter," Tony pointed out, but he was already pushing back the covers. Jarvis helpfully directed one of the track lights towards the pair of boxers and a robe that he'd learned the hard way to keep handy. Especially over the past year.
"And you adopted him," Pepper responded smugly. "Both of them, in fact."
"Yes, and right now I'm trying to remember why." Tony pulled on the boxers and robe and slid his feet into slippers.
"Sir, I do advise you to hurry," Jarvis said. "I remind you that Doctor Foster is in residence and that she was fairly detailed in her intentions should the children ever disturb her slumber again. At present rate of contention, the noise level will be sufficient within the next five minutes."
"On my way, Jarvis," Tony sighed. "On my way."
"Bring coffee when you're done," Pepper called after him.
Flour was everywhere. In fact, the kitchen was covered in it. The very large kitchen that Tony was regretting having installed or at least not having locked down. Mental note, wire Jarvis directly into the kitchen.
In the middle, directly over the center island, hanging from the glass rack, two teenagers hung upside down, shouting at each other and hurling what Tony thought was bits of pastry. According to Jarvis, the argument had started over exactly when Thor's birthday was, and what was appropriate for a Norse God's birthday breakfast, which had been when the food fight started. Since both kids could bench press small cars with ease, the kitchen had reached its current state in an incredibly short rate of time.
Picking up a metal spoon, Tony whacked the implement against the side of the refrigerator several times. "Jarvis told me the whole story," Tony said. "Get down from there." Both teenagers obeyed, making no noise as they landed, to the point of barely disturbing the flour on the floor and then they stood there, hanging their heads. "I thought we talked about this." Tony said. "In fact, I know we did. In fact, I'm pretty sure Jarvis has a recording of it."
"Indeed, sir," Jarvis agreed. "Along with the fifteen previous times this discussion has occurred."
"Fourteen," Doreen Green disagreed. "That time with the blender doesn't count."
"Agent Romanoff disagrees," Jarvis replied, "and it was her blender."
Peter Parker snickered. "He's got you there, Dorrie."
"I remind you, sir," Jarvis pointed out, "that you were directly complicit in the events leading up to the blender going rogue."
"He's got ya there, Petey," Doreen responded. A year in New York had erased most of her Alabama accent, but not all and it sometimes came out at the oddest times.
"What you both have," Tony said, "is a wrecked kitchen and a house full of caffeine addicts, three of whom are trained assassins, Doctor Foster knows about 20 ways to kill you with Science, and Pepper controls your allowances."
"But we didn't touch the coffee maker," Peter protested. As though on cue, the coffee maker made an buzzing noise and then sparked noisily.
Tony sniffed the air, then frowned. "My beautiful, wonderful children whom I love dearly for some reason that currently eludes me, why does the coffee maker smell like fermented products of which neither of you are anywhere near old enough to so much as look at funny?" He surveyed the kitchen again, this time noting the home brewing kit on the counter, and the giant beer stein next to it. "Beer? You were using the coffee maker to make beer?"
"Instant mead," Doreen corrected. "We found the recipe online. Mister Chemistry just messed up." Her tail, caked in flour, swished back and forth.
"Me?" Peter exclaimed. "You jostled my elbow!"
Tony hit the fridge again with the spoon. "No allowance, either of you, for the foreseeable future and you will clean up this mess. Jarvis, call down to the Tower's cafeteria kitchen and have coffee and a full continental breakfast sent up. We'll put it in the dining room."
"Very good, Sir," Jarvis replied as Doreen and Peter trudged out of the room in search of cleaning supplies. "I have also taken the liberty ordering a new coffee maker and updating the search filters."
"Yeah, thanks Jarvis," Tony mused. As a rule, Jarvis did not directly monitor Peter and Doreen's internet activity - Tony believed rather strongly in internet privacy - but he was a parent now and apparently, There Were Rules About This Sort Of Thing.
Tony opened the refrigerator and took out a bottle of mineral water, letting his mind drift back over the past year. Not that he'd change a damn thing, but right now, he needed to remember