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4. Human Shield (5. Gunpoint)

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They are at a press conference, introducing their newest member of the family. He’s at the podium answering questions, while Tony stands a few feet behind cooing at Peter who is bundled up and nestled comfortably in his arms.

Steve knows the cover of every magazine tomorrow will be of his husband pressing kiss after kiss to Peter’s tiny button nose.

They are nearing the end and he decides to take the final question from a reporter who had her hand up for a while. He’s tapping his fingers on the podium, waiting for the question, when chaos erupts from the back.

“He’s got a gun!”

Steve does not hesitate for a single moment. He whirls around, rushing towards his husband and son.

There’s one thought and one thought only repeating in his head. Protect them. Protect them.

The sound of a gunshot floods his ears. He stumbles towards his family, wrapping his arms around them, shielding them.

A searing hot pain explodes through his back, resonating throughout his entire body, overtaking all his senses. As he falls to the floor, he hears a distant voice frantically calling out his name.

Tony.

An ear-piercing cry from his baby boy. He tries to reach out, to comfort his baby, but his limbs refuse to cooperate.

As the darkness completely overcomes him, a single mantra echoes through his mind.

I love you both.

~

“If you don’t want me here, why don’t you just say it already?!”

The words leave Steve’s mouth before he can stop them. He watches, eyes wide as the screwdriver in Tony’s hand falls to the floor. Steve’s trying to stammer out an excuse as Tony turns out to look at him. He looks…ashamed.

“Is – is that what you think?”

Steve swallows, feeling goosebumps travel down his back. “Can you blame me for thinking that? You’ve ignored me every day for the past month, Tony! If I’ve done anything, tell me, so I can try to fix it. And if I can’t, then I’ll leave. Either way, I can’t deal with this.”

Tony falls back into his chair with a heavy sigh, head in his hands. “Steve, you haven’t done anything wrong.”

“Then what’s going on between us Tony.”

Tony refuses to look up as he speaks. “It’s hard to explain Steve.”

Steve shakes his head, moving closer. “I don’t care, Tony, I need something,” He says softly.

“Steve, I…”

“Please, Tony.” He places a gentle hand on the man’s shoulders and that’s when Tony finally glances up at him. He’s never seen that look in the man’s eyes before. Vulnerable. Terrified.

“I’m in love with you, Steve.” 

~

Tony’s already in bed when Steve walks out of the bathroom. He’s not yet asleep though as evident by how quickly he snuggles up to Steve the second he gets into bed.

Steve rolls his eyes, reaching over to turn his lamp off. He snuggles in, one arm wrapped around his husband and closes his eyes. “Goodnight, hon.”

“I want a baby.”

Steve’s eyes shoot open. He’s sitting up in less than a second, reaching for the lamp. He glances down at Tony who looks up at him with a sheepish expression. “What?”

“A baby. You know, tiny little humans.”

“Tony…”

Tony jumps up, reaching for his tablet on the bedside table. “I’ve been researching!”

Steve takes a deep breath. He has a feeling it was going to be a long night.

~

“Steve, be careful. That’s precious cargo.”

Steve grumbles softly, shaking his head as he settles Peter into his car seat. “Daddy’s going to be a handful, sweetheart,” He mumbles, carefully strapping him in.

Tony’s head squeezes into the tiny space beside him. “Don’t pinch his skin!”

Steve frees up a hand to push Tony’s head back out. “I will leave you here. The nurses can deal with you.”

Peter’s nurse who accompanied them down to the entrance quickly pipes up, “No thanks, Captain.”

~

“One, two, three…”

Steve smiles, shaking his head fondly as he steps into their room. “Kiddo’s got all his fingers and toes, hon?”

Tony grins, tickling Peter’s tummy, the baby letting out a squeal of approval. “He’s perfect.”

Steve crawls into bed with the two of them, making sure not to jostle Peter too much. He leans over pressing a kiss to the side of Tony’s head. “This is perfect.”

~

Sounds return first.

The monotone beeping of the heart monitor. The hustle and bustle outside his room.

But, most importantly the sound of his husband’s voice.

“Baby, you can’t really be doing this to strangers. You show that smile of yours at the nurse again and she will melt into a puddle.”

Before he even opens his eyes, he croaks, “He’s already flirting with the ladies.”

He hears a gasp followed by the sound of scraping chairs and scrambling feet. He peels his eyes open just in time for Tony to be by his side, gently grabbing a hold of his face. He smiles softly, “Hey, hon.”

Tony gapes, shaking his head. “You son of a bitch.” He leans down, pressing a kiss to Steve’s lips.

A few moments later Tony pulls back only to tell him, “I hate you.” Then a longer kiss to his mouth and this time when he pulls back up, there are tears running down his cheeks. “I love you so much.”

Steve knows he has a lot to say but for now he sticks with, “I love you too. It’s okay.”

Tony smiles nodding his head, stroking Steve’s cheek.

Gah!

They both stifle a laugh at the five-month-old’s outburst.

“Someone doesn’t like the fact he’s not the center of daddy’s attention at the moment,” Tony mumbles as he walks over to where Peter was in his baby carrier. “Come here, sweetheart.”

Steve’s holding his breath as Tony walks over with Peter in his arms. He ignores the tears burning his eyes as Tony carefully places their son into his arms.

“Hey, bubba,” Steve whispers, heart practically bursting as Peter’s tiny hand latches onto Steve’s finger. Peter glances up at him and he sees the questioning gaze turn into familiarity. Peter let outs an angry squeal, tugging at Steve’s finger.

Steve presses a kiss to the tiny forehead. “I know, baby. I’m here now.”

And he wasn’t planning on leaving anytime soon.