Tony set the bags on the counter and heaved a sigh. He stretched his back, winced at the aching muscles. Looking at the ten full grocery bags he’d hauled in from the car, he thought maybe he should have just bit the bullet and made two trips, but he was stubborn like that, wanted to just get it all done in one trip. He’d be paying for it later if the twinge in his spine was any indication.
He was tired, honestly. Things with SI had been kind of hectic lately, and there were a lot of hoops to jump through. Normally Pepper handled the brunt of the work, but she needed help this time around, and he wasn’t going to deny her, after everything she’d done for him over the years.
Still, mountains of paperwork and meetings didn’t mix well with taking care of a ten month old. Most days, if he wasn’t careful, and didn’t have enough caffeine, Tony was out like a light by 8:30. He didn’t really mind, because he loved being a parent just as much as he loved being Iron Man(that role had taken a backseat for a long time now which was a blessing and a curse) but sometimes it was a little much, especially when beforehand, he was staying up well past midnight. A lot of things had changed, which was just the nature of parenthood, but sometimes it wore Tony down a little more than he wanted to.
Today, it left the brunet feeling drained. Peter hadn’t slept well last night either, which didn’t help the situation. The Alpha already couldn’t wait until bed time, or at least nap time this afternoon.
Tony took another look at the bags he’d brought in. The trip to the grocery store wasn’t really pleasant today: the store was packed, the customers rude, and his favorite ice cream flavor was sold out, so he may have been a little grumpy now, a little more irritated than he wanted to be. Hell, he’d almost gotten into a fight with this old bird in the produce aisle. She had been a real bitch.
Tony really should have put away the groceries immediately, but needed a pick-me-up so to speak, in the form of the presence his mate and child. The work could be left for later.
He’d gotten much better about letting Steve take the reins the last few months, leaving Peter in his care more often, letting Steve participate, and trying to be less possessive. It had worked out well so far, and Steve hadn’t disappointed yet, in any aspect. He adored his son, was attentive and careful, and horribly affectionate with him, like Tony had hoped he would be when they first thought about having kids, so long ago.
There were a lot of obstacles to get to this point, and a lot of heartbreak and misfortune, but it was well worth it, honestly, because the reward of watching his baby grow up and having a devoted mate at his side was priceless.
To his surprise, Tony had forgiven Steve, faster than he anticipated. There were moments when he still thought about it all and got angry, or worried, or felt some type of way, but on the whole, he still loved the man, his mate, and didn’t want to part from him ever again. The familiarity had seeped back into their relationship, and honestly, things were almost better now, because they’d both been changed by their experiences, and understood how to find mutual ground, how to talk things out.
Neither wanted a repeat of the last year and a half.
The brunet left behind his work in the kitchen for the moment to search for Steve and Peter. Nothing brought him from feeling mediocre to utterly content as quickly as holding his child did. His fingers were itching to grab a hold of his little boy, to hold him close, to smell him, give him a kiss. He always thought it was weird when people said babies had a particularly pleasant smell, but it was true. Maybe Tony was just biased.
It was kind of quiet in their part of the Compound right now, quieter than Tony anticipated. Normally around this time, they’d be playing with Peter, letting him experiment with all sorts of enriching toys, spoiling him with affection with the TV on in the background, but right now, it was quiet. Their side of the Compound was quieter in general, thanks to some sound-proofing, but it was extra quiet at the moment. Tony couldn’t hear the TV playing, or any baby giggles or Steve’s voice, and when he followed Steve’s faint scent to their living room, he understood why.
The blond was asleep. He was spread out along the length of the couch, a hand dropped over the side. His hair was a little disheveled, and from the look on his face, he was pretty deep in sleep. That was endearing in itself, but that wasn’t all Tony was greeted with. Steve’s other hand was resting firmly on Peter’s back, the baby sprawled out on his chest, looking equally exhausted, his little pacifier sticking out of his mouth and his breathing deep and calm.
Apparently last night’s sleep troubles had more of an impact on his boys than Tony anticipated. There were a few toys spread out over the living room carpet, so an attempt to play had been made, but sleep had apparently overcome the two of them.
“My goodness,” Tony muttered, grinning to himself.
The Alpha didn’t even have words for how the sight made him feel. Sometimes, looking at the two of them, his heart felt so full he thought it would burst. The life he had now, a family life, was one he never knew he wanted, or needed, but one he couldn’t imagine himself without anymore. He loved Steve and Peter more than anything in the world.
God, they were just so perfect. Peter had grown, naturally, over the last few months, but he still looked so small in Steve’s arms, and horribly adorable, with big rosy cheeks and dark curls not unlike Tony’s. Steve was as handsome as ever of course, even with sleep circles under his eyes, and made a particularly handsome father, Tony thought. Despite all the pain and anger of the past, that sometimes came surging back up, Tony was proud to be Steve’s mate, and was proud to have a child with him. He was proud of what they had together.
The brunet took a second to take in the view, and another second to snap a picture on his phone, before moving into action. Tony approached the couch, bent down a little and brushed a hand through Steve’s hair, and pressed a kiss to his forehead. It didn’t take long for Steve to start stirring, always attuned to the brunet’s touch, his presence.
“Hey Daddy,” Tony said softly, dropping another kiss on Steve’s cheek. “You that tired, huh?”
Steve let out a little sigh, and his eyes slowly fluttered open, coaxed out of sleep by Tony’s voice, by his warm scent. The blue in them was as dreamy as ever, and Tony felt contentment surge in his heart as the Alpha’s gaze settled on him.
“When did you get back?” Steve asked, voice still a little drowsy. He shifted a little, careful not to disrupt the baby.
“Just now,” Tony replied, standing again. “They were out of coffee flavored ice cream, but there was a sale on paper towels, so I got a bunch. We go through them way too fast.”
Steve’s free hand reached for his, intertwined their fingers. “You win some, you lose some,” he replied.
Tony gave his hand a squeeze, took in the exhaustion on his face. “You definitely lost sleep. How are you more tired than I am, Mr. Super Soldier?” he teased, smiling softly.
Steve scoffed, partly in amusement. “Blame Pete. We were playing with Legos and the next thing I knew, he was practically sleeping sitting up. I sat on the couch with him instead, and, well, then I was practically sleeping sitting up.” He nodded at the baby sleeping soundly on him.
“Sounds about right,” Tony replied. He looked at Peter too. “He’s just entirely empty battery, huh?”
“Yeah. Guess that’s what happens when you wake up four times a night just to play with your toes and lie about being hungry.”
The brunet laughed at that, and he had to remind himself to be quiet. Steve grinned up at him, all affection, and it made Tony’s heart flutter. “Well, I could go for a nap too,” he said. “The couch is a little too small for the three of us though. You got enough strength to move to the bedroom?”
“I think my body can be persuaded,” Steve agreed.
“Here, let me take him,” Tony replied.
The blond drew his arm back, and Tony bent down, slowly scooped Peter into his arms, the baby’s head resting on his shoulder. Peter sighed a little, stirred momentarily, but didn’t seem interested in waking up quite yet. He was so warm, and soft, and fit perfectly in Tony’s arms. Tony took a second and let the contentment wash over him, comforted by the weight, the steady heartbeat of his child.
The hellish grocery store trip was all but forgotten.
“You two looked so adorable like that,” Tony whispered. “I’ll never get sick of it.”
Steve sat up slowly, rubbed his eyes and brushed back his hair. He regarded them fondly before standing up, leaning over to capture Tony’s lips in a kiss. It was just a short kiss, a greeting really, but was enough to leave them both smiling.
“I think you two look more adorable,” Steve replied. “Best sight in the world.”
“That’s up for debate, but thanks sweetheart.”
“The one debate I refuse to lose,” Steve agreed as they made their way to the bedroom.
He did his best to avoid debates these days. After all they had been through, finding a compromise was much easier than he thought it could be. Steve loved what he had. He loved being with Tony, he loved being a father, and he loved moments like this, safe at home with his family. He didn’t want to lose any of that. Some days things were hard, and downright scary, and he often worried that things could fall apart again, but he did his best to make sure they wouldn’t. If anyone or anything threatened to take away his happiness, he’d fight for it tooth and nail.
Luckily, no such threat was present today.
A few minutes later, Tony was comfy in bed, his shoes kicked off and the pillows soft under his head, a throw blanket on his lap. Steve’s arm was curled around him, his chest against Tony’s back, and Peter was in front of him, his little hand fisted in Tony’s shirt, gently sucking on his pacifier.
It felt unbelievably good, after the mediocre morning Tony was having. Laying there, all together like they did more often than not definitely lulled Tony into a state of comfort and exhaustion. It wouldn’t take long to fall asleep.
Steve pressed a kiss to his shoulder then though, and then another behind his ear. The soldier tightened his grasp around his mate’s midsection a little, nuzzled the crook of his neck, inhaled his familiar scent, his happiness releasing a wave of his own which the brunet gladly breathed deeply. It sent lovely little chills up his spine, and Tony couldn’t help but let out a content little growl at it all, and let his eyes slip closed.
“I love you,” Steve murmured in his ear, voice low and smooth, and it made Tony’s heart flutter.
“I love you too,” Tony whispered, and let out a yawn. He smirked to himself, though, and let his declaration linger in the air a few seconds before swinging the hammer, so to speak. “Though I’d love you even more if you put away the groceries I may or may not have left in the kitchen.”
“Oh, you’re a bastard,” Steve replied with a sigh, but pulled his arm back, ready to take care of the groceries. He knew there were some things that had to be refrigerated, because he’d put them on the list himself, so he knew there was no leaving it for later. He wasn’t surprised Tony had tricked him like that; it wasn’t the first time. Not that he really minded. It wouldn’t take long to put the things away, and then he could rejoin his mate and child in their impromptu nap.
“There are children present,” Tony remarked, grinning as he felt Steve shift behind him to get off the bed. He only felt a little bad at leaving the work for Steve. The blond had avoided the ordeal of shopping, after all. Neither of them were particularly fond of the chore. Besides, Steve had the pleasure of having Peter to himself most of the morning. Tony deserved a little cuddle time with their baby.
“Yeah, yeah,” Steve said, and pressed a final kiss to the top of the brunet’s head. He rubbed Tony’s back for a second, and shuffled back off the bed. “Take your nap, you evil genius.”
“Don’t mind if I do,” Tony said smugly, and snuggled a little further into the bed.
Steve rolled his eyes fondly, let his eyes linger on the love(s) of his life for a moment, and headed to the kitchen.