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Title: Golden Rule Days (Our Modern Family Belongs To Us)
Author: caitri
Rating: PG
Pairings: Clint/Natasha, Steve/Tony, Bruce/Darcy, Thor/Jane, everyone and the kitchen sink basically
Word Count: 2,589
Summary: How Kat Barton comes to realizes that her very large “family” maybe isn’t normal—but that’s what makes it awesome. Movieverse. Inspired by workerbee73’s Career Day, but it got out of hand. >_>
Disclaimer: I know this may come as a shock, but I am not, amazing as it may seem, Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, or Marvel Pictures. Just so you know.




Her earliest memory is sitting on Dad’s shoulders during the Thanksgiving Parade. The sun is bright and the cold wind is sharp against her cheeks, and Mama has been letting her have sips from her cup of hot cocoa. Uncle Steve had brought multiple thermoses of it because he makes the best chocolate out of everyone except maybe Uncle Phil. (She’s going to associate those big red thermoses with holidays forever.) When the giant Hulk balloon goes by, Aunt Darcy cheers the loudest and Uncle Bruce turns pink.

“Abingers!” Kat says as a cartoonish Captain America balloon goes by, followed by an Iron Man.

Mama says, “That’s right, sweetie. There they go!”

~

She’s really excited about starting Kindergarten. “Will I get to go on a train like in Harry Potter?” she wants to know when they’re all sitting down to dinner one night.

“Only the trains we take every day, kitten,” Dad says.

“I thought we’d decided you were too young for Harry Potter,” Mama says in that way that means someone’s gonna be in trouble.

“Uncle Tony’s not as good a programmer as he thinks he is,” Kat says. “Sorry, Uncle Tony.”

Uncle Tony huffs. “Your child is terrifying,” he says to Dad.

“Tell me about it,” Dad agrees, and ruffles her hair. “You know better than that, kitten.”

“It’s okay,” says Uncle Steve, “She only got to where they were starting classes before JARVIS called me in there. Not too much scary stuff.”

“That’s a relief,” says Mama.

“Can Peter take me to school?” Kat asks. He’s just moved in and is her new favorite.

“Umm, sure. If you want me to.” Peter smiles shyly at her from across the table. He’s old, all of seventeen, but he has to go to school too.

“We’re taking you on your first day,” Dad says with mock-impatience. “Sheesh, kid!”

~

Kindergarten is fun. Her teacher is Miss Williams, who looks a bit like Aunt Darcy with her long dark hair and dark glasses, only she smells like peppermints and wears pretty dresses instead of jeans like most everyone else does. Kat gets bored with learning the alphabet, because hello, she’d learned that ages ago. But she remembers what Uncle Bruce said about EMPATHY and just patiently repeats everything with everyone else.

~

One night their homework is to draw their family. Kat sits with her crayons at the kitchen table while Uncle Steve cooks (it’s his and Uncle Tony’s turn that night, but Uncle Tony has been forbidden from doing anything but chopping vegetables since forever, so really Uncle Steve is doing all the work while Uncle Tony talks fast the whole time like always), and Uncle Thor sits next to her drawing too while Aunt Jane naps on the couch in the other room.

“Can you pass me the green?” she asks Uncle Thor.

“YEA,” says Uncle Thor, handing it over, and picking up an orange one instead. He’s drawing a fantastical city that he explains is Asgard.

“How’s it goin’, kiddo?” Dad asks when he comes in from work, peering over her shoulder. “Whatcha workin’ on?”

“I screwed up, Daddy,” Kat admits unhappily, holding her paper up. “I don’t have room for everyone!” It’s true: though the sheets of paper they’d been given at school for the purpose were indeed large, they weren’t quite enough for her depictions of everyone. So far she’s only gotten Mama, Dad, her, Uncle Steve, Uncle Tony, Cousin Peter, Uncle Bruce, and Aunt Darcy. “What about Thor and Jane and Miss Pepper and—” She wants to cry.

“Shhh, it’s okay, kiddo,” Dad says. “We’ll get some more paper, easy!”

“VERILY, MY LADY!” says Uncle Thor. “I SHALL FETCH YON TAPE, AND TOGETHER THESE PAGES SHALL BE AFIXED!”

He does. They are.

It turns out that she needs three sheets for everyone. “Wow, our family’s big!” she says when she’s all done, and everyone’s admiring her handiwork.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Aunt Jane says, hand on her large belly. “It’ll be a bit bigger, soon, too!” Uncle Thor beams at her, pressing his ear to her stomach, his smile even larger than usual.

“Grub’s up!” says Uncle Tony, bringing in a large salad bowl while Uncle Steve follows with an even bigger bowl of spaghetti.

“Let’s put this up where it’ll be safe,” Mama says. They put it on the fridge, using up all the magnets to do so.

At class the next day, Kat’s family is definitely the biggest. “An’ that’s Miss Pepper and Mr. Happy and there’s Uncle Phil and that’s Miss Elisa with her cello and that’s Uncle Jim and Uncle Rhodey and there’s JARVIS but you can’t see him because he lives in the ceiling,” she adds, because it’s true.

“Wow,” says Miss Williams. “You’re very lucky!”

Kat knows that. Obviously.

Marcus Cunningham is frowning at her picture. “Why are some of your uncles holding hands?”

Kat had thought Marcus wasn’t bright before, but that just proves it. “’Cause they’re married.” She has to fight the urge to add Duh, but she knows Uncle Steve would be unhappy if she did. “Well, mostly. Uncle Jim and Uncle Rhodey are gonna get married this summer and I’m gonna be their flower girl!” She’s excited about that.

Marcus squints doubtfully. “My Daddy says people like that go to Hell.”

“Your Daddy is stupid,” Kat says before she can help herself.

That’s how she gets brought into the office of Mr. Finney, the principal. It’s quiet in there and none of the seats are comfy, and she fidgets while she waits. Mama and Dad show up soon after that, looking serious. They relax when they see her, though.

“What’s this about?” Dad wants to know.

“We were worried.” Mama doesn’t look at Mr. Finney, but Kat can tell she’s mad.

“I’m afraid your daughter used the S-word today,” Mr. Finney says with pursed lips.

“Which one?” Dad asks, looking worried—and not a little guilty.

“Stupid,” Mr. Finney says after a short pause, and Dad gives an exaggerated sigh of relief. Kat wants to giggle and knows she’s not supposed to because she’s in trouble. She catches the look on Mama’s face, though, and the urge evaporates.

“What’s this really about?” Mama asks, voice cold, and Mr. Finney swallows before telling the whole story.

“I’m afraid your daughter’s behavior was inexcusable,” he concludes, “and we’re going to have to send her home for the rest of the day.”

“But what about the other kid?” Dad wants to know. “Isn’t there, like, an H-word or whatever?”

“Unfortunately, Hell is a geographic location in some people’s faiths,” Mr. Finney says. “Mr. Cunningham only spoke as reflecting his family’s beliefs.”

“Well, our daughter was reflecting our beliefs,” Mama says. “What do you have to say to that?”

“I’m sorry,” the principal says. “There’s nothing I can do.”

Both her parents are quiet a moment. “Okay, here’s another S-word for you,” Dad says, picking Kat up. “You’re full of shit.”

“That’s the word Uncle Tony’s not supposed to say,” Kat whispers when they go out in the hallway. It feels weird not to be in class with the other kids.

“It’s okay, honey,” Mama says. “Your Dad’s not Uncle Tony.” She frowns, then nods at Dad. “I forgot something. I’ll meet you in the car.”

When she comes back, she has Kat’s drawing in a neat roll. “Let’s go home.”

~

Mama makes borscht for dinner that night. It’s one of Kat’s favorites, and the big steaming bowl of it is mostly comforting. (Everyone loves Mama’s borscht, so when she does make it, she makes tons. Even with Uncle Steve and Uncle Thor and Cousin Peter downing bowls and bowls of it, there’s still enough left over for lunch the next day.)

“Good job, kiddo,” Uncle Tony says when he joins them at the table, giving Kat a fist bump.

“What was that for?” Uncle Bruce wants to know as he sits down.

“Our girl here has joined the fine club of the expelled.” Uncle Tony unfolds his napkin and places it in the neck of his shirt; Mama gives him a look and he untucks it and puts it in his lap instead.

“Tony!” Uncle Steve says in that way he does whenever Uncle Tony says something he’s not supposed to—which is a lot.

“Sorry,” Uncle Tony says. He smiles up at Uncle Steve to show that he’s apologetic, and Uncle Steve kisses his cheek and then ruffles Kat’s hair as he sits down.

“She wasn’t expelled, we took her out,” Dad says through a mouthful of soup. He’s sitting next to Kat, so he puts his arm around her.

“Why?” Aunt Darcy asks while Cousin Peter continues, “What happened?”

Mama and Dad alternate telling the whole story once everyone is sitting down. Mama finishes with, “We’ve already found another school, but with winter break coming up, we have to wait a few weeks.”

“But what if I get behind?” Kat bursts out. She had really liked school and already misses it.

“Well, we can teach you stuff if you want,” Uncle Tony says, looking pleased with himself. “JARVIS, start putting together a curriculum for me, would ya?”

Yes, sir, JARVIS answers.

“Teaching, Tony?” Dad asks like he thinks it’s funny. “You? Really?”

Uncle Tony looks offended. “Hey, I taught at MIT once, c’mon.”

Miss Pepper rolls her eyes. “You showed up once a week, said whatever came through your brain, and then had three other people do all the grading for you.”

“It’s what grad students are for,” Uncle Tony says without apology. “Besides, this is different.”

“I can help,” Uncle Bruce offers.

“Me too,” Aunt Darcy and Aunt Jane say at the same time.

This is how for three weeks, her family takes turns with her education. Aunt Jane and Uncle Thor take her to the Planetarium and the Director comes out to say hi to them specially.

“I know you!” Kat says to Dr. Tyson excitedly. “You’re the PBS man!”

“PBS Man, huh? You say it like that, I sound like a superhero!” Dr. Tyson grins at her.

“You do more to educate people about science than just about anyone,” Jane says, “so you kind of are.”

“INDEED!” Uncle Thor agrees. “TRULY, WITHOUT THE PROGRAMMING OF THE NOVA, I WOULD FIND MIDGARDIANS’ THEORIES OF THE BIFROST MOST BEWILDERING!”

“You don’t say,” says Dr. Tyson.

Uncle Steve and Uncle Jim take her to the Met to look at art. Uncle Steve is animatedly telling her about an artist named Picasso, who, as near as Kat can tell, wasn’t good at drawing at all.

“You’re way better than him, Uncle Steve,” Kat says after the third picture that looks like wooden blocks fell over. “Your pictures actually look like stuff.”

Uncle Steve goes all pink and Uncle Jim nudges him with his metal arm. “See, punk, what have I been telling you for years now?”

“Yeah, well, you’re biased, Buck,” Uncle Steve says, still pink. Picking Kat up, he says, “So’re you, but you’re allowed. You’re too young to know better.”

“No, I’m not,” Kat insists, but she’s distracted by ice cream, and then they go back home and spend the rest of the afternoon drawing together. They make a long comic strip about three friends going to a museum where the paintings come alive and demonstrate art techniques. Uncle Tony sees it, laughs, and then after dinner JARVIS runs an animated version. Peter and Uncle Jim supply voices for the characters while Uncle Steve watches through his fingers and everyone laughs.

Uncle Tony takes her to the Natural History Museum with Uncle Bruce and Uncle Rhodey. Sometimes Uncle Tony and Uncle Bruce lapse into words that she can’t understand, and Uncle Rhodey rolls his eyes and puts it so that she can. “You, me, dinosaurs,” he says after lunch, and puts her on his shoulders while Uncle Tony and Uncle Bruce continue their incomprehensible discussion.

“You’re much better at this than they are,” Kat whispers to Uncle Rhodey, who laughs so hard that his shoulders bounce, and so does she.

Mama and Dad take her to the NYPL every few days. She’d gotten tired of picture books at school, where that was all they had for her “grade level” (“Is that like eggs?” she had asked Aunt Darcy when it was her turn to cook with Uncle Bruce one night. “You’re not far off,” Darcy had said.), and she’s impatient for the bigger books.

Caddie Woodlawn?” Dad holds up a book for Mom to see. “It’s exactly G-rated and progressive.”

A few years older, Kat is going to explain to Mom how that book made her friends with Loki. It had to do with not being afraid of the wild. Mom never buys that, and Dad definitely doesn’t until Loki saves her life, but—well. That’s all way off in the future.

Right then, all she asks is, “Why does Uncle Phil always follow us when we go somewhere?” Because there he is, a few tables over, reading a book about Captain America. (Which is funny since he gets to see Captain America every day, but maybe it has to do with how Uncle Steve is always in the uniform in books and usually in regular clothes in real life. Who knows.)

“He’s like the adult of us,” Dad says.

“Clint!” Mom says in an exasperated way, but even Kat can tell how much she doesn’t really mind it.

“I can hear you from over here.” Uncle Phil doesn’t even look up from his book. “This is a library, you know.” He looks over as someone shushes him, but his expression doesn’t change.

“You see, kitten,” Dad says into Kat’s ear, “if we’re your teachers, Phil’s the principal.”

“Oh!” Kat says, because that totally makes sense. “He’s way better at it than Mr. Finney!”

“No sh—stupid,” Dad says, and Mom rolls her eyes at him, and then Uncle Phil comes over to help select some more books to take home.

~

When Kat starts her new school in January, she goes to third grade this time. Uncle Tony beams when he hears this news that night.

“Time to start thinking about colleges,” he says to Mom and Dad. “What do you think? Harvard? Stanford?”

“Avengers U?” Cousin Peter suggests.

“I totally want to go there!” Kat says.

Everyone pauses to look at her. “When you’re older,” Mom says quickly.

~

Later, she does.

Why, what did you expect?

~

By the way, the picture that Kat drew of them all, when she was five? Tony had it framed in transparent aluminum and placed it right on the wall of the communal living room. No matter what damage Avengers Mansion takes over the years, it’s the one thing that always makes it out in one piece and is returned to its place of honor as soon as possible.

It’s what makes the place their home.

Comments

( 40 comments — Add your .02 )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
aadarshinah
Aug. 5th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
absolutely adorable. I love this.
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:41 pm (UTC)
*G*G*G* Glad you liked it, bb!!!! <3
lil_1337
Aug. 5th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
That was adorable and so much fun to read. I love the family feel and how everyone contributes to Kat's education.
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
*G*G* I'm so glad you liked it!!
burntcopper
Aug. 5th, 2012 11:02 pm (UTC)
hee. adorable. and yes, kat, they're stupid and should be told so.
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
*G*G* I'm so glad you liked it!!
inkvoices
Aug. 5th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
So much awwww :D And the hilarious things that kids think of and say too. Brilliant <3
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
*G*G* I'm so glad you liked it!!
cybermathwitch
Aug. 6th, 2012 01:16 am (UTC)
I'm a sucker for kidfic no matter what, but this one was really, seriously charming (and I mean that in the best way) - it's happy and cheerful and full of SO MUCH LOVE and WIN. :D
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
*G*G* I'm so glad you liked it!!
(no subject) - cybermathwitch - Aug. 9th, 2012 12:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caitri - Aug. 9th, 2012 02:07 am (UTC) - Expand
amanuensis1
Aug. 6th, 2012 01:31 am (UTC)
D'awwwwwww! So much d'awwwww!

“That’s the word Uncle Tony’s not supposed to say,” *cracks up all over again*
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
*G*G* I'm so glad you liked it!!
jacedesbff
Aug. 6th, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)
Excellent! :-)
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
*G*G* I'm so glad you liked it!!
tn_tiger
Aug. 6th, 2012 03:07 am (UTC)
Oh, I love this. Really heartwarming, thank you. I shared it with some friends.

You managed to write Thor in a way that cracks me up without belittling him.

Also? The Pepperony fic I posted recently mentions Neil Degrasse Tyson too. He's like, a honorary Avenger by now. ;-)

Edited at 2012-08-06 01:34 pm (UTC)
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
<33333

I know I'm in the minority, but I do love Thor. And Loki. I have an idea for a bitlet with Kat asking Loki to prom and, well, there are hijinks. I have no idea if I'll ever actually write this, but it would be fun!!
(no subject) - tn_tiger - Aug. 7th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caitri - Aug. 7th, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - boomslangvenom - Dec. 6th, 2012 06:49 am (UTC) - Expand
chrisfaithalin
Aug. 6th, 2012 06:17 am (UTC)
This is adorable. I loved the principal scene, Clint made me laugh so hard. The banter throughout this was awesome. And you had Neil Degrasse Tyson!!!! You are my hero. Oh and Phil at the library was so cute. I really enjoyed this.
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
<3

Neil Degrasse Tyson IS my superhero. That is all. ;)
hermyfan
Aug. 6th, 2012 07:06 am (UTC)
Aww, this is adorable! Love it so much :)
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
*G*G* I'm so glad you liked it!!
amine_eyes
Aug. 6th, 2012 08:25 am (UTC)
D'awww dorable :D
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
*G*G* I'm so glad you liked it!!
claudia_nic
Aug. 6th, 2012 04:54 pm (UTC)
Absolutely adorable. I like the Avenger method of homeschooling :D
caitri
Aug. 7th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
Right?? I want them for my family!!!!!!!!! <3
(Deleted comment)
caitri
Aug. 10th, 2012 04:42 pm (UTC)
*G*G*G* I'm glad you liked it!!!!!
workerbee73
Sep. 10th, 2012 01:45 am (UTC)
OMG, HOW DID I MISS THIS??? CLEARLY I AM MADE OF FAIL.

This was glorious. <33333333333
caitri
Sep. 10th, 2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
*G*G*G* I'm so glad you liked it even though it came out almost NOTHING like it was meant to!! <33
kendii_1007
Nov. 29th, 2012 02:23 pm (UTC)
already so late, but heard the podfic first THEN read the fic here just so i can read the words and drop a comment. this is ABSOLUTELY GOLD. i dunno how else i can venerate your awesomeness. this fic is so perfect for words. <3
caitri
Nov. 29th, 2012 03:24 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks, bb!!! <333
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