“Who is this?” Luce stared at the young boy - maybe 15 years old, sitting on Tony’s massive couch, a dark bruise surrounding his left eye, partially covered by a bag of frozen blueberries as a makeshift ice pack.
Tony poked his head around the corner of the kitchen. “Hi honey! That’s Harley.” Luce stared at the kid. That hadn’t given her any worthwhile answer. She walked over and knelt down in front of the kid - Harley she corrected herself.
“Hi. I’m Lucia or Luce. I’m a nurse at Mount Sinai, and one of Tony’s friends. Is it ok if I look at your bruise?” Harley nodded slowly. She lifted the ice pack off of his eye, inspecting the bruise. It looked about 3 days into the healing process, a yellow-greenish colour.
Tony came out of the kitchen, holding a plate with two sandwiches and a bottle of Gatorade. “Here ya go kid.” He handed the plate to Harley, ruffling his blonde hair with a soft smile, that Luce had only seen shown to herself, Rhodey and Pepper, and to Luce’s daughter Maya.
“Hey Tones? Can I talk to you in the hallway?” Tony looked at Harley who shrugged before Tony nodded in response. They stood up and moved to the hallway, where Luce spoke.
“Who is he? Why-why does he have a bruise like that. Tones, what are you not telling me?” Tony sighed, running a hand through his hair. “He’s the kid. The one I met during the Mandarin attack. He-he helped me out with some stuff.”
Luce gasped. That explained it. “He’s the kid. The one you call every Tuesday.”
Tony nodded. They watched as Harley ate his sandwich, one hand still pressing the ice pack against his eye. He looked so young. His blonde curls fell into his face, and he was pale in the evening light.
“Tony. How did he get that bruise? Did he get in a fight? Is he doing superhero stuff? What-”
“His dad is back. His dad- he’s like Howard ok? And his baby sister lives with their grandma, but he didn’t want to stay in Tennesee, so he hitchhiked from Rose Hill all the way to here. 14 hours Luce. ”
Luce sighed. There was no way she was letting the kid go back. “It’s ok Tony. I wasn’t going to tell you to send him back. I promise.”
Tony let out a breath of relief. He looked back at Harley, a smile forming on his face. “He’s a good kid Luce. Super smart.”
Luce smiled, gently cupping Tony’s face. They stared at each other before she kissed him on the lips quickly. “I bet he is. You take care of him ok?”
“I will.” She kissed him again, and he smiled against her lips.