title: ain't it the life
pairings: steve/tony, clint/bruce, nat/pepper, thor/jane.

notes: foo fighters and a marvel marathon brought this gem on. enjoy.

Steve jolted awake; eyes wide, chest tight, fingers gripping the bed sheets. Scrubbing the sleep from his eyes, he shakes away the feeling of old water and the bone crushing force of metal crashing into the sea. Taking calming breaths he turns to make sure he hasn't woken Tony. But where the man should be, there's a neat empty spot. Steve knows he should be used to this by now -Tony's lack of sleep is nothing new- but he enjoys waking up to Tony curled into his chest. Those where the morning's that Steve loved the most, they're peaceful, quiet and relaxing.

Looking over at the clock on Tony's night stands, he sees that's it's only two thirty in the morning. Steve pushes the sheets away from his body and pulls on his shirt he left lying on the floor. Stretching the kinks out of his back, he gets up and leaves their room. Walking through the Avengers Tower, he makes his way to the elevator. JARVIS must know he's awake because the doors slide open the moment he arrives in front of them. Stepping into the elevator, he pushes the button for Tony and Bruce's shared lab. Shutting his eyes he enjoys the last bit of silence and wonders if anyone else is awake.

"Mr. Stark, Br. Banner and Mr. Barton are in the lab, sir" JARVIS said startling Steve from his thoughts.

"I said that out loud, didn't I?" Steve chuckled, rubbing his neck in embarrassment.

"You did, sir" JARVIS said.

"Thank you JARVIS, glad I'm not the only one up at this hour" Steve said.

"You're very welcome " JARVIS replied as the doors slide open.

Just like JARVIS said; Tony, Bruce and Clint were scattered around the lab. Tony and Bruce were looking at a 3D projection of a,what the hell? A 3D projection of a toaster. He'll have to ask Tony about this later when he's more awake and his brain is able to follow Tony's science babble. Clint was doing something on the StarkTab, brows furrowed in concentration. Knowing Clint, he's probably playing Angry Birds.

Looking up from the tablet, Clint flashed him a grin and a lazy salute.

"Hey Cap, what are you doing up so early?" he asked moving over to give Steve some room on the couch.

"Nightmares, didn't feel like going back to sleep. Plus Tony wasn't in bed so I can down here" Steve explained sitting down next to the archer. Steve's PTSD wasn't a big secret to the team. It wasn't unusual to find him running around the track, destroying a few punching bags or watching shitty TV in the middle of the night. The understood and didn't talk to him about it, they all had their own demons.

"Welcome to the 'our boyfriends are science bros and don't sleep like normal people' club. We should make t shirts." Clint chuckled and tossed his tablet on the table in front of him. Steve hummed in agreement, grabbing the blanket hanging off the back of the couch and wrapped it around himself.

"How long have you been up?"

"I've been down here since midnight. Pretty sure Stark and Jade Jaws have been down here since after dinner" Clint said taking a sip of his coffee. "You want a cup?" Clint asked shaking the almost empty cup.

"Coffee sounds great, thanks" he said snuggling into the warmth of the fleece blanket.

"Hey Butterfingers" Clint coos and Tony's robot zooms right up to them; chirping, mechanical hand opening and closing. Clint pet the robot and moved closer to Butterfingers.

"Hey, can you pour Steve a cup of coffee? With milk and sugar please?" Clint asked still petting Tony's robot. Butterfingers' hand moved up and down, confirming he could, and zoomed off towards the coffee machine to make Steve's cup of coffee.

"Barton, stop coddling my robots!" Tony shouted, not even bothering to look up from the screen.

"Someone has to! Besides, the wonderful Butterfingers is making your boyfriend a cup of coffee" Clint stated, glaring at Tony's head.

The moment the word 'boyfriend' left Clint's mouth, Tony snapped out of his science paradise, eyes roaming around the room before landing on Steve. When their eyes connect, a soft smile spread across Tony's face and Steve smiled right back, sticking a hand from under the blanket, waving at his genius boyfriend. Tony stepped around the clustered work table and strolled towards Steve, wiping the grease off his hands before putting the rag back in his back pocket.

He stops in front of Steve and leans down, Steve meeting him halfway as their lips meet in the softest of kisses. Eye lids sliding closed he can feel Steve smiling against his lips. Tony-the naughty son of a bitch he is-adds just a hint of pressure, nibbling on Steve's bottom lip before he pulls away. Opening his eyes, he took in Steve's red kissed lips and the flush blooming across his cheeks. Even after being together for almost a year, he still loves it when Steve blushes, even more so when he's the one who caused it. It's something that Tony takes pride in and he tries to make it happen as much as possible. Steve blushing is high on his "Things I love" list, but it's right under "making Steve swear". Because let's be honest, who wouldn't love hearing Captain America swear?

Tony plopped down on the couch next to Steve and snuggled up to his side.

"Good morning sunshine. Couldn't sleep?" he asked dropping his head against Steve's shoulder.

"Another nightmare. I didn't feel like going back to sleep" Steve said unwrapping the blanket around him and draping it on him and Tony.

"Sorry I wasn't there when you woke up" he apologized looking up at Steve, brow scrunched together, feeling a little gulity about not being there for his boyfriend. Hating to see that look on Tony's face, he wrapped an arm around Tony, bringing him closer and planted a kiss on his forehead.

"It's okay. You're here now and that's all that matters" he said giving Tony and squeeze to reassure him. Their romantic moment was ruined by Clint, who was making gagging noises at them while Bruce was trying really hard not to laugh.

"You guys are gross" Clint shuddered taking Steve's coffee from Butterfingers, patting the robot for doing a good job. Butterfingers whistled happily and zoomed away, heading towards Dummy.

"Here" Clint said handing the cup to Steve, who murmured a thanks as he look the cup with his free hand.

"I'm serious about you coddling my robots Barton. Stop it or I'll deny you access to my lab" Tony threatened, glaring at Clint to make sure the archer knew he was serious.

Clint scoffed at the man and glared right back. "Please, like Bruce would let you do that to me. Besides someone has to show them love! You keep threatening them" Clint remarked.

"Like I would do that to my babies, they may be utterly useless but they are mine"

"You're an ass Tony"

"I love you too hawkass" Tony snickered, winking at Clint.

"You're never going to forget that are you?" Clint asked covering his face in embarrassment.

"Fuck no!" Tony shouted, grinning at Clint's mortified face.

"Bruce was on Sesame Street!" Clint said pointing at his boyfriend.

"I was adorable. You were the victim of a very bad pun. Front page too" Bruce said walking towards the couch.

"You both suck" Clint whined, pouting at Bruce as the man sat next to him, putting his arm around Clint.

"We aim to misbehave" Tony grinned at Clint, leaning forward to fist bump with Bruce.

"Speaking of misbehaving, what are you guys working on?" Steve asked looking at Tony and Bruce.

"A toaster" Bruce said sipping his tea.

"I'm sorry, did you just say a toaster?"

"Yeah, I'm sick of Thor crushing them! I'm thinking of making it out of adamantium. I'll have to talk to Logan about it since he's the expert but I think the metal is Thor proof" Tony explained grinning at his pure brilliance. They were on their tenth toaster this year and he was very much done with buying a new one every few weeks because the toaster kept burning Thor's pop tarts.

"Well, good luck with that" Steve really shouldn't be surprised that Tony's finally gotten around to building a toaster that wouldn't break under Thor's strength. Tony's been complaining about it for months, he was even talking about just stock piling them so he wouldn't have to run to the store all the time.

"So far it's looking really good. We've got a special setting for pop tarts and a special setting for bagels"

"Thank you" Clint said with a smug smile on his face.

"Bruce's idea, I wanted your bagels to burn" Tony said glaring at both Bruce and Clint. Ignoring Tony's bitch face, Clint leaned up to Bruce and kissed him. Letting out a surprised squeak, Bruce kissed his boyfriend back. When they realized that air was vital to survival, they pulled back, Clint snuggling into Bruce's side.

"And you say Steve and I are gross" Tony grinned at the two love birds.

"Bite me Stark" the archer said with a smirk on his face.

"When and where Barton" Tony said right back, playful smirk on his face.

"Are you two done yet?" Tony jumped in his seat, barely containing the scream lodged in his throat. He whirled around and there stands Natasha, clad in red flannel pants and a black tank top holding a box of take out pizza with a playful smirk on her face.

"Jesus Christ you are a fucking ninja! Give a guy a heads up okay?" Tony asked scrubbing a hand down his face, getting his heart rate back down.

"I'll keep that in mind. Pizza?" Tasha asked sitting down next to Tony, opening the box and grabbing a slice.

"You are a saint Tasha, thank you" Tony said kissing her on the cheek then grabbing a slice of the left over pizza. Pizza slice in hand, Natasha hands the box over to Steve so he can pass it around to the others.

"Couldn't sleep?" Tony asked taking a huge bite out of his pizza.

"Couldn't sleep. When I saw that all of you were awake, I grabbed the pizza box from the fridge and came down here" Natasha explained in between taking bites of her slice of meat lovers pizza.

"Pepper's still asleep"

"Yeah, you know how she is, nothing can wake her up. I left her a note telling her I was down here incase she does wake up" Nat said smiling at Tony's over protectiveness. Tony nodded his head in understanding and went back to eating.

"So why are you guys awake" she asked licking the tomato sauce off her fingers.

"Science stuff" Tony said pointing at himself and Bruce.

"Nightmares" Steve said giving his piece of pizza crust to Tony, who shoots him a scowl because Steve is a fucking picky eater as he nibbles on the garlic bread crust.

"Couldn't sleep. Insomnia's a bitch, what 'cha gonna do" Clint said shrugging his shoulders. Natasha hummed in understanding, insomnia was one of the many things both her and Clint shared. Many of the missions they completed together were filled with sleepless nights, so they'd usually just stay up talking about anything and everything that they could think off to pass the time. Natasha brought her legs up and wrapped her arms around them, propping her head up on her knees.

"So, what science stuff has the both you awake...again" Natasha asked cocking her head to look at both Tony and Bruce.

"Toaster" Tony said and nods his head like it explains all of the secrets in the world.

"God of Thunder proof" Nat asked with an all knowing smirk on her face. It's about time Tony snapped and did something about it.

"Of course" Bruce said finishing his slice of pizza.

"About time, I was wondering when you'd finally crack"

"Well, this morning I was seriously considering stock piling toaster so that was the final straw" Tony said sipping his now cold coffee. Natasha hummed in agreement, grabbing the final slice of pizza before anyone could reach for it. They all sit in silence, eating their last slices of pizza, but the silence is broken by the light tap-tap-tapping of a keyboard.

"Barton, who are you texting at this insane hour?" Tony asked, watching Clint type out what appears to be a short message before putting his phone down.

"Darcy. Thor's over and let's just say the walls are not sound proof" Clint said picking up his phone when the screen lights up. There's a collective groan from the group and Barton hums in agreement, reading over Darcy's reply which consists of some very flavourful language that would make Steve faint.

"Can she drive?" Tony asked looking at Clint over the back of the couch.

"Of course she can, why?"

"Tell her to pack her shit and come over. God knows we have enough bedroom, she can crash here until Thor decides to come back" Tony said wiping the bread crumbs off his hands.

"Really? Does she know her way here?" Clint asked looking up from his phone.

"She knows her way. She's been over here a few times." Tony said watching Clint type out Tony's invitation.

A few minutes after the message has been sent, Clint's phone starts playing "She's Electric" by Oasis and Tony can't help the grin that spreads his face at the man's choice of song for her. It really fits.

"Hello darling" Clint answered with a bright smile and mock British accent.

"Hey Romeo. Can you put me on speaker phone? I need to worship you all and thank you for saving me from the hell that's going on in my house" Darcy asked. Clint pulled the phone away from his ear and pressed the speaker option on his phone. The sounds of New York City fill up the room, along with it, the sound of a starting car.

"Darcy, you're on speaker" he said, phone cradled in the palms of his hands.

"Thank you. Now who the hell is awake besides you and Tony?"

"Nat, Steve and Bruce"

"Holy fuck, do you people not sleep? I mean, I have an excuse but you know" she trailed off, letting out an awkward laugh.

"We really don't. Sorry about the whole Thor thing" Tony said. Sound proof walls are the one thing that automatically went into the Avengers Tower when it was being rebuilt about the whole Loki fiasco.

"Thank you for getting me the hell out of there. Don't get me wrong, I love Thor, I really do but there are just some things that I do not need to hear. I don't think I'll be able to look at Thor or Jane in the eye after what I've be hearing" Darcy said.

"You're welcome Darc. You know you're always welcome. If this ever happens again-at it probably will-don't be shy" Tony said with a smile on his face. When he first met Darcy, he immediately feel in love with her. She has spunk, was completely honest with everyone and she was sarcastic and witty as fuck. Plus he managed to take down the God of Thunder with a taser. Needless to say him and Darcy got along swimmingly. But Darcy got along with all of the Avengers.

"I will take you up on that offer Tony. Holy crap my poor ears guys, just gross! When I see Jane, I'm going to tell her that she needs to give me a heads up if Thor comes over. I do not need to hear them having sex marathons, gah so gross! Tony why aren't NYC apartments sound proof? This is the noisiest city ever, sound proof walls shouldn't even be an option! You should really talk to someone about that" Darcy rambled, mouth going a mile a minute as the awake Avengers tried to smother their laughter.

"I'll get right on that. Do you know where the extra bedrooms are?" Tony asked.

"I do not. Those were not on the Avengers Tower tour"

"I'll have JARVIS light up a path for you. You know which elevator to take?"

"Of course. I brought my access card. Thank you guys so much for letting me crash in your superhero pad. I'll make pancakes in the morning for everyone okay" Darcy said.

"Oh pancakes! I can't wait. Hey when you get here, head straight to bed. We'll see you in the morning okay" Clint said.

"Okay. Thanks once again guys! See you all in the morning."Darcy said.

"Good night Darcy!" They all said together.

"Night guys. Darcy said and ended the call. Clint dropped his phone on the table and snuggled back up to Bruce. The group sat in silence, getting their thoughts together about Thor and Jane.

"So Thor and Jane huh" Tony said scratching the back of his head.

"They kinda had a thing going on when I was in New Mexico but wow, poor Darcy" Clint said shuddering at the thought.

"I'm glad we got Darcy out of there. There's just some things you don't need to hear" Nat mumbled against Tony's shoulder, eyes closed on the edge of sleep. Tony pointed at the blanket next to Clint's head and made a "gimmie" motion with this hand. Bruce grabbed the blanket from the back of the couch and passed it over to Tony, who unfolded it and draped it over Natasha. She wrapped the blanket closer to her body, mumbling a quiet 'thank you' into Tony's shoulder and feel asleep. Tony smiled down at Nat's sleeping form, snuggled up against his shoulder. Feeling sleepy, Tony snuggled back into Steve, dropping his head on his boyfriend's shoulder.

"Do you want to head back to bed Tony?" Steve asked.

Tony grumbled and shook his head, "Too comfy, we'll wake up Tasha if we move" Tony mumbled into Cap's shoulder, already half asleep. Steve whispered "okay" into Tony's hair and wrapped an arm around him, bringing him closer.

"Love you Capsicle" Tony whispered into Steve's arm, falling into a deeper sleep. The day's events and staying awake for so long finally catching up to the man.

"Love you too Tony" Steve planted a kiss on Tony's head then turned to look at Bruce and Clint, "You guys can grab the cot if you want to sleep down here"

"Nah, we're gonna head up to bed" Clint said getting up from the couch, holding his hand out for Bruce to grab. Smiling, Bruce grabbed the archer's hand and let Clint pull him up off the couch.

"See you in the morning Steve" Bruce whispered, letting Clint drag him to the elevator. Once inside the elevator, Clint waved at Steve and mouthed a "good night" before the doors closed.

"Jarvis, dim the lights please" Steve asked. The lights in the lab began to dim, leaving the room in almost total darkness. Steve whispered a "thank you" to the AI. Laying his head to rest of top of Tony's, he closed his eyes and lets sleep wash over him. Cuddled up to next to Tony, no nightmares visit him for the rest of the night.

Pepper woke up the next morning a little bit after eight. Not feeling Nat's warm body next to her, she turned over to see a folded note on the woman's pillow. Sitting up, she unfolded the note and read Nat's letter.

"If I'm not here when you wake up, I'm down in Tony's lab with the rest of the misfits.
I love you.

Pulling on her Ugg slippers, she walked through the Tower, tying her hair up in a messy bun. Wishing Jarvis a good morning, she walked into the elevator and made her way down into Tony and Bruce's lab. The sight that she's greeted with, makes her wish she had grabbed her phone off of the bedside table. Tasha is curled up with her head resting on Tony's thigh. Tony's head is resting on Steve's shoulder while Steve's head is resting on top of Tony's.

Not wanting to wake anyone up, Pepper made her way back to the main floor and headed into the kitchen, inhaling the scent of fresh coffee. She grabbed a cup from the cupboard and poured herself a cup, adding in creme and just a touch of sugar. Grabbing a seat at the end of the island, she began to read through the morning paper. Stark Industries was up 50 points on the DOW, hype over the new Stark phone what was going to be released later on in the week.

Hearing slippers against the tile floors, Pepper looked up from the paper to see Darcy walk into the kitchen; pajamas still on, carrying her Macbook.

"Good morning Pepper" Darcy said, setting her laptop down on the table before going to make a cup of coffee.

"Morning Darcy. Did you sleep here last night?" Pepper asked, watching Darcy putt around the kitchen.

"Jane and Thor were doing things last night" Darcy began as she sat down next to Pepper, "I was texting Robin Hood since he was already awake and I told him what was going on. Next thing I know, he texts me telling me to pack up and drive over to Avengers Tower. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, I got the hell out of there" Darcy said turning on her laptop.

"Ugh, sorry to hear that, but it was nice to Tony to invite you over" Pepper said sipping her coffee.

"Yeah, he said if it ever happened again to just come over. Sadly, the volume limit on my iPod does not drown out the moans of a Norse God," Darcy said shuddering "Any ways, as a thank you to everyone, I'm making everyone pancakes so hopefully, they'll be awake soon" Darcy said sipping her coffee.

"Pancakes sound awesome. Before you woke up, I went into the lab. Nat, Steve and Tony are still sound asleep. Bruce and Clint are-"

"Awake and in need of coffee! Good morning baby doll" Clint said hugging Darcy from behind, dropping a kiss into her wavy hair. Smiling at Clint's sweet actions, she lifted her head up and planted a kiss on the man's cheek.

"Morning sunshine, good morning Bruce" Darcy said as Bruce kissed her cheek. Letting go of Darcy, Clint walked over to the coffee pot, pulled out two cups and made coffee for Bruce and himself. Bruce pulled out a chair and sat down next to Darcy, dropping his head on her shoulder to read the New York Times with her.

"Good morning Pepper, you sleep well?" Clint asked giving Bruce his cup as he leans against the island.

"Like a baby. I heard you guys were up pretty late" Pepper said setting her newspaper down.

"We were all awake last night. I was up at midnight, Steve came down at around two thirty and then Tasha came down before three" Clint explained, sipping his coffee.

"I got here when they finally headed to bed" Darcy said, waving at Bruce and then Clint.

"Which was around four" Bruce said looking at Pepper over the top of Darcy's head.

"Bunch of insomniac's" Pepper muttered around the rim of her cup.

"Hey, I usually sleep like the bed. Not my fault Thor decided to do the deed" Darcy said and started to mock gag.

"Why don't you just get your own place?" Clint asked.

"Because the rent is just too damn high! Plus, I like my place. It's close to school, S.H.I.E.L.D and here. Perfect location. And it's not like I can afford to pay for my own apartment, not with the cost of tuition." Darcy said shrugging her shoulders, "But now thanks to you guys and Tony, I can come here when Thor spends the night with Jane. Total win-win for me" Darcy said with a grin.

"You got a point. Hey did you finish your thesis?" Clint asked, moving around the island, sitting down next to Bruce.

"Yup. Typed out the final paragraph while we were texting last night. 26 fucking pages. So glad this is my last paper for the year" Darcy said with a smile on her face.

"Can I read it?" Bruce asked looking at Darcy with pleading eyes.

"Of course. You can read it while I get started on making pancake batter. It's so it's not that interesting" Darcy warned, getting up and walking into the kitchen, pulling out all the ingredients and two large bowls.

"I'm sure it's amazing, even if it is political science" Bruce said picking up her laptop and setting it down in front of him, opening the word file on her desktop.

That's how the spend the first part of the morning, Bruce reading her final paper out loud while she makes an insane amount of pancake batter. She answers any questions that were thrown her way. Tony, Steve and Natasha made their way into the kitchen a few hours later, as Darcy was half way through cooking the final pancake. Darcy poured each of them a cup of coffee, putting the milk, creme and sugar on the table.

"Bon appetite!" Darcy said, setting a platter down on the table filled with steaming pancakes. A loud chorus of "thank you"s erupted in the kitchen, making Darcy smile.

"You're very welcome" Darcy said, taking her spot in between Pepper and Bruce. Darcy watched as everyone battled over grabbing the biggest pancakes, tossing syrup bottles back and forth, going over plans for the day. Thor coming over last night wasn't so bad after all. She could definitely get used to mornings like this.



Le fin.