Jon hugged Daniel as he and Samantha Carter emerged from the elevator. "Daniel." He held on for a moment to remind himself of the friend he'd had in Daniel. Then he let go and wrapped one arm around Sam's shoulders. He remembered she felt uncomfortable with men just hugging her out of no where. "I hear you managed to not blow up your command. Good job, Carter."
She rolled her eyes as she gently pulled out of his hold. "Yes, sir."
Jon huffed and watched Daniel stare around himself. "Lose the sir, Carter. I'm not him. I haven't been for a long time now."
She frowned and moved towards the desk along the far wall. "Uh, sorry. Force of habit, uhm, Jon."
He nodded, because he knew how that felt. "So. What did you geniuses decide?"
Daniel crossed his arms. "Uh, well, there's a problem."
Jon grimaced. "There's always a problem. What is it?"
Sam brought up reports, graphs, numbers, lists. Jon tried to ignore it because he didn't need it all rearrange itself in his head without his permission.
Daniel pointed at one of the graphs. "They are the same gene for the people like you or Sheppard with the full gene."
Sam waved her hand at another graph. "The people that have or had the recessive version of the ATA don't show the blood marker that Pretender gene holders do."
Jon squinted at the graphs. "What about people like McKay that took the gene therapy to activate the ATA gene so they could do stuff like fly Jumpers?"
Daniel sighed. "Well, that's where it gets weird. They show the blood anomaly, which we now think is what the Ancient tech is checking for. They don't show the empathy or borderline telepathy."
"It isn't telepathy, Daniel." Jon poked at the graphs. "So the Centre wouldn't have picked up people like McKay because he didn't show the blood thingy they were checking for?"
Sam started to slap his hand and then stopped herself and just rearranged the chart when Jon quit messing with it. "Why didn't we tell you this at the same time as General O'Neill? You're asking the exact same questions."
Jon purposefully flicked a list off into space, but Daniel caught it and put it back at the edge of the workspace. "We don't like each other, Carter."
Daniel gave Jon that sure-whatever look that he liked using so much. "Then there's people like me. I show the blood anomaly, but I don't have the ATA gene at all. I don't fall neatly into any of the groups."
Jon blinked and gripped Daniel's shoulder. "The kids." He left Sam and Daniel staring after him as Jon went to find Stark.
Bruce looked down at Hanna and Francis staring up at him. Eddie watched from where he was not exactly hiding under Bruce's chair. "You what?"
Tony smiled at him. "Please?"
Bruce frowned at Tony. "Tony, explain to Hanna and Francis why transforming into the other guy isn't a socially acceptable idea."
"I do socially unacceptable things all the time." Tony grinned his media smile for a second before going serious. "Bruce. It is important."
Bruce sighed and leaned over to look down at Eddie. "Stand by Tony, please."
Eddie scrambled out from under Bruce's chair and huddled behind Tony. Bruce stood up, carefully pushed the chair under the desk, and turned towards Tony.
"This is a bad idea, Tony."
Tony spread his arms. "Would I have a bad idea, Bruce?"
Rolling his eyes, Bruce drew a deep breath, on the exhale he let go.
Hulk blinked and smiled without his teeth at the Scared Tiny. No teeth smile meant no mad fight. "Tiny Friends." Hulk rumbled as Hanna and Francis hugged his legs. "Why always ask for Hulk? No like Puny Bruce?"
Tony-from-inside-Spaceman kept one hand on Scared Tiny's head. "No, that's not it at all. Remember how I said Hulk gets a present? They made you a present."
Hulk blinked. "Hulk no have presents. Ever."
Scared Tiny edged around Spaceman-not and touched Hulk's calf. "You broke the law of Conversion of Mass. How did you do that?"
Hulk looked to Tony-inside. "Hulk smash law?"
Tony laughed. "No, no. Eddie means you should be impossible. It isn't a smashable problem."
"Oh." Hulk looked around himself. "Tiny Friends?"
Tony made sit-sit motions. "They are getting your present. Sit down for me, please."
Hulk huffed and dropped to sit on his butt. "Why present?"
Hanna appeared with Francis from around the desk. They held a box between them.
They sat it in front of him and Hulk touched the corner of it with his fingertip. "For Hulk?"
Hanna pressed her hands together. "All for Hulk." She smiled at him. "Not for smashing."
Hulk gingerly pushed the top up and off the box. Inside was not-paper nearly Hulk's skin color. Hulk pushed it around trying to get at what was underneath.
Tony came closer, Eddie following, clinging tight to Tony's side. "Here, Big Guy. Let me help."
Hulk folded his hands together so he couldn't smash the puny not-paper and watched as Tony pulled a red and gold Tiny Friend size not-person from the box. Hulk leaned over to look closely at the not-person.
"It is a teddy bear." Spaceman flapped one of the arms like it was waving. "An Iron Man teddy bear."
Hulk gently took the not-bear-not-person teddy and rubbed his fingers over the head. "Not Spaceman."
Tony-inside smiled up at him. "Sure, that works."
Hulk hugged the Not Spaceman to his chest and blinked, looking down at the Spaceman-bear. "Hulk like warm middle."
Hanna tugged on the knee of Tony's pants. "We didn't make it warm."
Hulk huffed as Tony shook his head. Tony patted Hulk's leg. "No, Hanna, we didn't. He means it makes him feel good."
"Oh." She looked up at him and narrowed her eyes. "Bruce is all worry. You are all happy and not unhappy inside of what did I do wrong now." She glanced at Tony. "That's not feeling good."
Tony looked up at Hulk. "No, but it's getting there."
Hulk frowned and shifted Spaceman-bear to one hand so he could pick up Tony with the other. Scared Tiny scrambled under the desk and watched, wide eyed. Tiny Friends both moved closer. "Tony-inside not okay. Smell wrong bad."
Tony made a face. "Ask before manhandling, okay, Big Guy?"
Hulk rumbled and sat Tony down gently. "No smell, Puny Bruce no shiver worry. Bad smell, Puny Bruce worry." Hulk touched his finger to Tony-inside's tiny flat smell in the center of his chest. "Make bad smell go?"
With a sigh, Tony sat down in the chair Puny Bruce liked best. "I had quit drinking and now I'm drinking some. I'm..." He looked at the various Tiny Ones. "I'm an engineer. A designer." He rubbed the side of his face. "I don't know how to parent. I tell you no math and no tests because forcing you isn't going to help."
Hanna pulled on Eddie and all three gathered around Tony. Hulk watched them with his Spaceman-bear held close.
Tony rubbed his nose. "There's so much to do. I don't..."
Hulk went careful slow and wrapped his arm around them all. "Tony-inside was first...Only person like Hulk as Hulk. No smash." He settled Spaceman-bear into Tony's lap next to Francis. "Tony-inside hide Tony. Tony put on Tony-inside and then put on Spaceman. Spaceman make loud boom noise."
Tony sat there staring up at Hulk.
"Tony hide. Tony afraid all leave, no like Tony." Hulk touched Tony's hair. "Hulk like Spaceman. Even booms. Like Tony-inside." Hulk smiled, careful not to show his teeth. "Hulk very much like Tony. Even bad smell."
Tony buried his face in Spaceman-bear. The Tiny Ones started patting and touching Tony. Hulk rubbed his fingertip across Tony's shoulders.
"Puny Bruce like home. Like Hulk's room." Hulk frowned as Tony's shoulders hitched under his fingertip. "Puny Bruce know Tony is good parent. Better parent than Puny Bruce Father."
Tony leaned back and wiped at his wet face. "Hulk, anyone is a better parent than Bruce's father."
Hulk nodded. "Hulk know." He unwrapped his arm from around them all. "Hulk think Tony just tiny smash. Tony get not-smashed."
With a shaky smile, Tony took Spaceman-bear as Hulk handed it to him. "Thanks. I know you mean that in a non-liquor way."
Hulk snorted. "Take Spaceman-bear to Hulk's room?"
"Good." Hulk touched the top of Spaceman-bear's head. "Hulk tell Bruce help Tony know he not puny parent." He flopped over sideways and closed his eyes.
Bruce came back to himself hungry and covered in a blanket with kids on all sides. "Oh."
Eddie's face appeared blurry as he stared down at Bruce. "You broke a Law. I like you."
Bruce gave a wary smile. "I'm glad to see you too."
"Hulk names everyone. Hanna said. Do you know what he named me?"
"Uhm." Bruce threw his arm over his eyes. He could feel the material of his pants was still the same, so it had stretched and snapped back just fine. "He thought you were scared so he called you Scared Tiny, I think."
Eddie looked down at himself. "I'm short compared to him. Neat."
"He took Hulk's present to Hulk's room." Eddie laid down next to Bruce. "Tony is always worried. Like me, but not about the same things. Does he get beaten for it?"
Bruce took his arm away from his face and turned his head to look at Eddie. "No. He doesn't get beaten."
Eddie's shoulders relaxed. "Good." He looked at Bruce from the corner of his eye. "Hulk protects you, right?"
"What do I have to do to get him to protect me, too?"
Bruce lay there, staring at the ceiling for several moments. "You...you don't have to do anything, Eddie."
Jarod frowned at Jay smoothing his blankets. "What is wrong?"
Jay sighed and sat down on the edge of Jarod's bed. "Raines is dead."
Jay pressed his lips together and then carefully made himself room beside Jarod to lay down. "He was evil, I know that. I never wanted to see him again..."
"And, yet you mourn for him."
"Why?" Jay turned his face away from Jarod. "I know I shouldn't..."
"No, no." Jarod grunted as he shifted to get an arm around Jay. "He raised you until I stumbled onto your existence. You can hate and mourn him."
Jay sniffed hard and pressed his face to Jarod's blanket. "I'm so mad at him. He's dead and I'm still mad."
Jarod hummed as his eyes slipped closed. "That's alright too."
Steve sat down next to Peggy and watched her read reports for several minutes. "Ma'am..."
"If you are going to tell me off for being happy to help kill Raines, I can and will shoot at you again."
"Oh, ah, no." Steve ran his hands over his knees. "He would have just found another way to hurt someone if he hadn't have been killed. I actually had a thought about Tony and I wanted to know what you thought."
Peggy sat down the report she was on and turned in her seat to face more towards Steve. "What is that?"
"Tony." Steve rubbed his forehead. "He was nearly killed by Obadiah Stane and the public doesn't know that. Tony had to publicly mourn the man that took the arc reactor from his chest."
"You assume Tony mourned the man."
Peggy patted him on the forearm. "Your mistake is thinking in a victim mindset. Tony isn't a victim in his own mind. He mourned in public, but I would bet you my nickers that he mourned the loss of a father figure, or trust, or perhaps even the shirt he was wearing when it happened."
"I...hadn't thought of it that way."
"I know." Peggy went back to her reports. "Now quit blushing, soldier." She held out a report to him. "Above all else don't pity him. He survived. That's what matters, Steve."
Steve nodded and took the report as he tried to will down the blush creeping up his ears.