"WE'RE FREE!" Tony cheered, throwing his cap into the air as he ran out into the courtyard. Aurora and Rhodey following right behind him. Both wearing the same big smile as Tony, for today they were graduates of MIT.
"Celebrate good times, come on,
It's a celebration,
Celebrate good times, come on,
Aurora giggled as Tony sang and blindly dragged Rhodey into a spin and knocking backwards into a frowning Nick Fury.
"Stark." He grumbled and gave his daughter a quick congratulatory hug.
"Dad." He replied cheekily.
Nick snapped his face round to glower at Tony so fast Aurora was worried he would get whiplash.
"Not happening." He growled.
"Yet." Tony laughed as he jumped out of the way of Fury's incoming fist. Aurora could only groan in embarrassment as her dad and boyfriend acted like a couple of immature children and having Rhodey laughing at them on the side lines wasn't helping either.
"Now really, Stark, Fury. Is that anyway to behave?"
"Aunt Peggy!" Aurora cried and enveloped the woman in a big hug.
"I'm so glad you made it!" And boy did she mean it. It was such a relief to have a mature adult present.
"Congratulation's sweetheart. I am so proud of you." She smiled warmly at her honorary niece. "Henry would have been here, along with Jake and Clara, but something came up at the last minute."
"That's fine. I am just glad you could be here. I owe you and dad a lot after all." She left the reason for owing them unsaid as they both knew well what Aurora was referring too. She also didn't mind that the others weren't there.
She had met Peggy's husband, Henry, and her two children, Jake and Clara, about a year after arriving in this world. She often stayed with them when her dad had to work long assignments for S.H.I.E.L.D. Henry was a very kind and understanding man and treated Aurora with respect, he didn't know her full past, but he knew the signs of abuse when he saw it. Jake and Clara on the other hand, were the cousins she always hoped Dudley would be to her – kind, supported, protective, almost like siblings. They were both ten and thirteen years older than her, with Jake being the oldest, but despite that they were very close.
Aurora turned around to look at Tony's surprised face.
"Peggy Carter is your Aunt."
"Technically she is my god mother, but yes, she is my Aunt. Why?"
"Nothing. Its just my dad has mentioned you in passing. You might know him, Howard Stark."
"I am aware who Howard Stark is boy." She replied coldly. Her mouth was in a tight line as a flash of sadness flickered in her eyes.
"Yeah… um… He mentioned how during the war you were a force to be reckoned with. A no nonsense woman who put the lives of others before your own. He, ugh, he also mentioned how you were close to Captain America and how you discarded him and forgot about him after the war." Tony said awkwardly.
"Did he now?" Peggy replied crisply, making Aurora wince, Tony was not making a good impression on Peggy.
"But I think he's wrong. If you and Cap were as close as he said you were then I think Steve would understand why you moved on. He wouldn't have wanted you to be lonely in life."
A silence fell over them that was broken by a breathless laugh form Peggy.
"Thank you, Anthony. You have the Stark brains, but your mother's heart and Jarvis' empathy." She glanced down to her niece with a slight smirk. "He's a keeper Aurora, better hold on."
Tony grinned at her apparent approval of him dating her niece, and wrapped his arm around Aurora's waist. "I am a keeper, but Aurora here is a winning catch."
Aurora snorted and tried to mollify her laughs at Tony's, unknowing, quidditch reference. She would have to hell him and Rhodey about the sport one day, she knew they would love it, Clint too if he was interested.
"So, you three. Now that you've graduated what's next?" Peggy inquired.
Aurora coughed after calming herself down. "I am due to start at the Hospital in August. They are giving me a month to myself before starting as a way to relax as its going to be taxing. I am also going to be working at the Stark Industry Medical Department part time on weekends if my hospital shifts don't overlap."
Peggy frowned worriedly at that. She was afraid if Aurora got too close to Howard, he would use her to any means necessary in getting Steve back. Howard was once a dear friend, but his obsession with Steve has cloud his judgement over the years and as a result he is not the man she used to know. He was colder, striker and pig headed, luckily, she knew he was hard core in the weapons department of his business and the medical department was a minor interest of his. It was Martha who pushed for it and had control over it with the help of Jarvis.
"And you Anthony?"
"I am going to be doing my own thing and creating more AI's and robots. Then if and when dad retires take over Stark Industries."
Peggy sighed. Another Stark with gadgets on the brains at least she now knew he was better than Howard and would respectfully care for Aurora. A fact Fury kept refusing to acknowledge.
"And you two?" She started pointedly at Clint and Rhodey.
"I am continuing with my part time work, only this time make it full." Clint answered, staring straight at Fury and Peggy, hinting that he wished to be back in the field as a full agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
"I am waiting to hear from the Air Force Ma'am on what my first assignment will be."
"And what will you four be doing before then?"
They all share a questioning look as it never came up before. So relieved that they were graduating and that their careers were ready and waiting they never thought on what to do before they had to start. Clint assumed he would return to his previous post the next day but it seemed the Director didn't want that yet. While the others never gave it much though at the time.
"Oh, oh. I know what we could do!" Tony cried.
"What are you a monkey?" Clint asked in annoyance.
Tony just ignored him and stared at Aurora and Rhodey. "How about we take a celebratory holiday? Say skiing perhaps?"
"I always wanted to try skiing." Aurora gasped in awe at thought of all the snow. "I'm in."
They all turned to Clint for his response. Clint glanced at Peggy and Fury and sighed at their signal that yes, he was going with them. He groaned at the thought of spending more time with the annoying Stark heir.
"Fine. I'll come too." He grumbled.
"Well Mr Sourpuss, if you are going to grumble about you don't have to come." Tony huffed childishly and crossed his arms.
"I said I am coming Stark."
"Maybe we don't want you too."
Aurora and Rhodey just groaned tiredly at their antics and waved goodbye to Peggy and Fury.
"Sure, you want to going skiing for the first time with them?" Rhodey asked, pointing at the now yelling duo.
Aurora chuckled half-heartedly. "I'm sure. It will be fun."
"If you say so." He muttered as they watched Tony and Clint wrestle on the floor.
It will be fine. She hoped.