"...when you go green."
That's what little Michael Stark heard once he'd crept to a stop behind the couch.
"Uncle Bruce is green?" He piped up, revealing his location. It was too much. He could not suppress the question.
"Just like his dad." Pepper sighed.
Tony gave her a feigned look of offense.
Bruce pinched the bridge of his nose, but couldn't help smiling.
"Hey buddy." Tony said, turning from the other two to face the little voice. Michael took that as an invitation into the adult's inner circle and went running into Tony's always available arms.
Tony looked at his little son. "Why are you out of bed?"
"The moon is too bright." He offered. The boy's face dared his father to doubt him.
"Huh." Tony said incredulously.
"Why is Uncle Bruce green?" Michael asked again.
"I'm only green sometimes." Bruce said before Tony had to figure out how to answer.
He came over and took Michael out of Tony's arms. The first thing the boy did, as always, was take off his uncle's glasses and put them on his own face.
"You know how your dad got hurt and now he has the blue light?"
Michael nodded enthusiastically. His dad glowed in the dark. He was a nightlight in desperate moments.
"Well" Bruce continued. "I had an accident too and now I turn green some times."
Michael's eyes got wide. This was a revelation.
Bruce pre-empted the child's request to see this phenomenon.
"And you know how your dad's blue light lets him fly in the Iron Man suit?"
Michael nodded even more enthusiastically. How could he forget?
"Well, when I turn green it helps me fight bad guys like the iron man suit does for your dad. So I only turn green when there are bad guys."
Michael looked crestfallen.
"Don't worry, bud." Tony said as Bruce passed Michael back to his dad. "Iron man is way cooler than a green guy anyway, right?"
"Right!" He shouted.
Tony took the glasses off the boy's face as he began to excitedly squirm out of his arms. As he handed the glasses off to Bruce, he winked. Bruce nodded his approval at Tony's methods. It was a worthwhile attempt to stave Michael's interest. Although, neither doubted that he would come asking soon enough. For tonight, however, it was no longer on the agenda.
"Let's go, munchkin. Back to bed." Tony announced and headed towards the door.
"No! I want mommy to take me."
Pepper smiled knowingly. "Really? I thought big boys could go to bed all by themselves."
Michael practically dove out of Tony's arms. "I can!"
Then he ran from the room.
"He's gonna be back in one minute." Tony said blandly.
"Of course he is." Pepper laughed. "I just love his reaction to that."
"It reminds me of you." She said as she left to go intercept her son's return trajectory.
"I don't know what she's talking about." Tony said, turning back to Bruce. "I can go to bed all myself."
Bruce laughed out loud.