The day had started peacefully.
No fights on whose turn it was to cook breakfast, no threats of bodily harm should the coffee not be shared, gentle smiles all around from a very rare night of no nightmares for anyone.
T'Challa should have realised it was a warning of what was to come.
The alarm to assemble rang shrill and loud just as lunch had been set on the table. Curses and oaths were uttered as the team sped to don their uniforms and armours, before boarding the quinjet and flying off to the co-ordinates provided.
New S.H.I.E.L.D. had picked up on energy that was greatly similar to the bifrost and the portals opened by the Tesseract. The Avengers landed in a large field in the middle of nowhere, empty aside for a single being sitting in a stone throne. The being appeared... blurry to T'Challa, though nothing else he could see was.
"The Collector... but what is he doing here?"
Thor moved to confront the being.
"Collector. What brings you to Midgard? Know that this planet is under my protection, and I'll not accept any of your tomfoolery."
He -the Collector Thor called him- spoke with an exotic, cultured voice.
"Your protection of Earth is still young Asgardian. I visit this place often, and see no reason to just stop-"
"Wait a sec..."
T'Challa glance to the side upon hearing Tony's mutter. Bedecked in the crimson and gold of his armour, Tony retracted the face plate and took a step forward as the alien kept speaking.
"As this place holds one most dear to me."
The team spun to look at Tony, shock, confusion and slight anger on their faces. The alien gave a short laugh before the blurriness of his figure began to focus.
"Never an ounce of hesitation Anthony. It is a wonderful thing to see."
The now-revealed white-blonde stood from the throne and walked to Tony, his arms open wide. Tony stepped into the embrace with a small chuckle.
"You've never advertised your presence before. Why now?"
The Collector chuckled too, briefly tightening his arms around Tony before moving to hold the man at arms length.
"Because I am here to see my nephew in a more official capacity."
Tony stood straighter at the words, his face showing his concern and confusion. The Collector merely smiled at him.
"You are more than of marriageable age Anthony, and I would have you settled happily."
Through the team's stunned silence, Tony's mortified groan was thunderously loud.
"Please tell me you did not cross the universe for the sole purpose of trying to introduce me to even more of your chosen suitors."
"I only wish the best for you Anthony, and this selection has quite the number of prince's and heiress'. You would be treated as the star you embody, and sit upon silken thrones, wanting for nothing."
Tony stepped back, outside of the Collectors reach, with slight anger on his face.
"I have all that I want and need here and now Uncle Tivan. None of your chosen will change that, nor will they replace the ones I love here."
The Collector took a step forward, ignoring not only how Tony moved further away, but how the team reacted negatively to his actions.
"Anthony, you are the last descendant of my Mother's family. The Stark Line is long and honoured. Do you really believe that any on Earth can truly match you? Can truly stand at your side as you deserve?"
Tony's eyes are like fire as he takes another step back to have him once more beside T'Challa.
His words have T'Challa's claws shoot out, prepared to attack should the Collector not desist.
The being's dark eyes roam over the Avenger's, lingering particularly over Vision, before once more coming to rest on Tony.
"I've angered you. Very well nephew, I shall cease. For now at least. I do, most dearly, wish to see you happy."
Without a further word, the being vanishes through a small portal, the stone throne going with him.
With the threat gone T'Challa wraps his arms around Tony tightly, shaking slightly in his anger.
"T'Challa? You okay Schrödinger?"
T'Challa cannot hold the rage from his voice.
"If he tries to take my intliziyo from me, I will end him."
Tony chuckles and snuggles deeper into the embrace, despite the awkwardness of his armour.
"Love you too T'Challa."