"Or because there were two of them," he said, though he wasn't too sure. "You think that means it's a boy?" he asked, shifting his attention between her and his sandwich.
"I ... I'd like it to be a boy," she admitted with a rueful smile, lifting the carton of juice out of the fridge and pouring a couple of glasses. "I still feel like I'm better at being a mum to boys than girls."
"Maybe you should ask Lianne what she thinks about that," Steve remarked with a smirk, though he knew she was serious. Tali and Sarah were still too little to ask and were decidedly "Daddy's Girls", but he knew they adored their mother, just as much as the boys did.
"It's all right, she has her Auntie Liv to be girly with, and her mum to defend her honor," Lucy said, hopping back up onto the counter to finish her sandwich with a smile. Her expression softened. "I know we're close. I just feel more at a loss with the girls than with the boys, that's all."
"Would it make you feel better if I said I'm the opposite?" he asked, confessing something he'd never told her before. He turned away a moment, a small frown on his face, as he flipped the sandwiches over.
"No," she murmured, reaching out to run her knuckles over his cheek fondly. "But it does mean we balance each other out, and that means we've got this. Between us, we can do it."
"I think it's because of my Dad," Steve confessed further, though it hardly mattered now. He'd been especially close to his mother and had had her a little longer than his father before she'd died.
"It makes sense, love," Lucy assured him. "But it doesn't mean the boys don't get the same amount of you as you give the girls. It just means that you
feel they don't. Martin and Jamie adore their papa, and there's no one else in the world who can ease their worries like you can."
Steve smiled, reassured by her belief in him, even when he didn't believe in himself. It was a strange feeling for a man who had spent his life refusing to give up on anything or anyone. "Thanks, Luce. That means a lot," he told her, leaning close to brush a kiss to her lips before moving back to slide the sandwiches onto a plate.
She smiled into his kiss, glad she could reassure him. Her own lack of consistent parenting made her very uncertain when it came to any of their children, but Lucy had decided a long time ago that all she could do was her best. "If you had a choice," she asked curiously, "what would you rather have another of - son or daughter?"
He frowned a little again, feeling a little apprehensive about stating a preference, as if the child might hear and think they were not loved if he made the wrong choice. He shrugged. "It's not gonna change how much I love him or her," he pointed out.
"I know that. It won't change anything." She looked down at the last bites of her sandwich, leaving them on her plate as she frowned herself. "I was just curious. I suppose I'm a bad person to have a preference at all."
"Would it be horrible to say I'm hoping for another boy, too?" he asked. He wasn't just saying that to make her feel better. He was practically incapable of lying, after all, unless it was absolutely necessary.
"I don't think so," she assured him. But then, if she was a bad person for having a preference, then perhaps it was horrible. She shrugged, shaking her head. "Maybe we shouldn't talk about it."
"I think it's normal to have a preference," Steve pointed out. "I know people always say they just want a healthy baby, but I'm sure most people have a preference. I will admit I'm kind of glad it's not twins again! That was enough to exhaust even me," he said, smiling in hopes of cheering her up. "A boy would give us three of each," he added with a shrug as he took a bite of his sandwich.
"Oh god, I never want to have to deal with newborn twins ever again," Lucy agreed, laughing more easily. "I love our terrible twosome, but they were hard work!"
"So, let's just be happy there's only one in there," he said, nudging her knee with his hip, an easy-going smile on his face. "Maybe we should let this one be a surprise," he suggested, though he knew they both were a little too anxious to wait seven more months to find out what was brewing inside her.
"I'd like to, but we both know I don't have the patience to put up with not knowing," was Lucy's response. "And Jamie is definitely going to want to know as soon as possible so he can prepare himself."
"Why is he so dead set against another sister?" Steve asked, clearly confused by that. Yes, Martin and Jamie were slightly outnumbered, but that didn't mean they didn't receive their fair share of attention.
"Honestly? I have no idea," Lucy admitted. "But between them and their cousins, not to mention Nat and Colin's new girl, the boys are very outnumbered in their family."
"That's true. Maybe he's feeling a little overly-mothered," Steve said, which would have been kind of amusing if their son wasn't feeling so annoyed about it. "You know ..." he started, thoughtfully, "Maybe I should take them to a ball game sometime. Do some things I was never able to do with my Dad."
"Absolutely," Lucy agreed. "And we can find something for you to do with Lianne another time, so there's no hard feelings. I would suggest going to a ball game as a family, but I think the twins would be bored too quickly just yet."
"It's too bad the Dodgers aren't in Brooklyn anymore," Steve murmured in disappointment. Even baseball had changed since he'd disappeared into the Arctic. Of course, there was no reason he couldn't take them to L.A., but it wouldn't be the same.
"Darling, the teams have changed so much since you knew them," she pointed out. "Why not ask the boys which team they'd like to see and support? It isn't as though it's difficult to get pretty much anywhere on Earth from here."
"Do you think it would be safe to do that?" he asked. They'd moved to Rhy'Din for the very reason that they no longer felt Earth was a safe place for their children, but that had been before they'd defeated Hydra.
"A visit to watch a baseball game is hardly predictable," Lucy pointed out. "The only reason Hydra managed to target Liv was because she and I regularly visited Sue in the Baxter Tower. You have never taken the boys to a baseball game, so there is no way to predict that you will."
"Do you think I should ask Johnny or Tony to join us?" he asked, uncertainly, though he thought that sort of took away from the point of the trip, which was father-son bonding.
"No," she said firmly. "But if you are concerned, then you should let AJ and Meg know where you'll be and for how long. A.E.G.I.S. will keep an eye out for you."
"Should I be concerned?" Steve asked. He wasn't really worried about his own safety, so much as that of the boys. Lucy was right, though - going to a baseball game was unpredictable, and it was unlikely anyone would recognize him, not to mention the fact that the threat from Hydra had been eliminated, at least for now. The only reason they were still living on Rhy'Din was the fact that they were semi-retired and it had become home.
"No, I don't think there is, but this is our children," Lucy pointed out. "I think having A.E.G.I.S.'s backup would allow you to relax more and enjoy the day with the boys as well."
"Okay, that sounds fair." After all, he didn't really want to go to a baseball game with his shield strapped to his back. He smiled at the thought of doing something he'd always wished his father had done with him. "This might be fun." And just when was the last time Steve Rogers had had fun?
Lucy grinned at the look on his face. "I am absolutely certain it will be," she promised cheerfully. "I won't even insist on a proper meal that day."
Steve laughed. "Hotdogs and popcorn!" That was a proper meal for a day at the ball park. "I love you, Luce," he said, leaning over to smooch her, just because. Why hadn't he thought of that on his own? All he had to do to bond with his boys was do all the things he'd missed with his own Dad.
"I know, I'm just impossible not to love," she answered playfully, kissing him in return. "Love you back, always."
"Don't let it get around," he told her, tapping a finger against her nose. "So, what now, Mrs. Rogers? Do we go back to bed and leave the dishes for morning?"
"That's what we have a dishwasher for, darling," she teased him fondly, her nose scrunching under the affectionate tap. "I am very much on board with the concept of spending the next, oh, eighteen hours in bed."
"Eighteen?" he echoed, laughing. "I'll be lucky if I can sleep eight," he pointed out, though they admittedly didn't have to spend all that time sleeping.
"Who said anything about sleeping?" she countered, tucking her heels behind his thighs to pull him close. "I intend to tire you out so you sleep with me for once, and don't have to watch me snoring like a freight train for half the night."
He chuckled again as she tugged him closer, his hands coming to rest against the counter on both sides of her as he leaned close. "Are you planning on having me run a marathon?" he asked, blue eyes bright with amusement. A sex marathon maybe.
"No running required," she murmured against his lips, her fingers tickling their way up over his sides as she grinned into him. "I may even let you have it all your own way for the first round, captain. Hmm?"
"That sounds like a tempting offer, Doctor," he replied, his lips ghosting hers, as he felt her fingers touch his sides. He wasn't incapable of doing his own fair share of teasing, after all.
"Of course, if you're not interested, I could go and fetch the twins from Liv while you put your chastity belt back on, darling," she added impishly.
"Since when have I ever worn a chastity belt?" he teased, eyes sparkling. And why would he ever want to wear one? There didn't seem much point in it, unless you were interested in torture.
"You never know, we might discover more of your deeply hidden kinks if you accede to my suggestion," Lucy murmured wickedly. Discovering Steve's kinks was one of her favorite things to do, when they had the leisure to do so.
Steve laughed. "I don't think a chastity belt is one of them," he told her, very sure about that. Lucy had managed to corrupt him a little, but he had his limits.
"I still think you'd go a little gooey if I had a Captain America suit made for me," she told him, her voice filled with mischief. It was a long-standing tease that she was never likely to go through with.
"More like Captain England," Steve teased back, as Lucy was decidedly English, through and through. "Or maybe Captain Britain," he added, not knowing there had actually been one at one time in one reality or another.
"Mmm, now, which would you rather?" she asked, easing a little closer until she was perched right on the edge of the counter. "Red and white, or the full Union Jack?"
"Well, I don't have all fifty stars, just the one," he pointed out. His suit had been patterned after the American flag, but it wasn't an exact copy of it. "And just why are we having this conversation?" he asked, chuckling again.
"I have absolutely no idea," she admitted laughingly. "You should shut me up before I start spouting more nonsense again, or we could be here all night."
"Not if I can help it," he said and with that, he scooped her up into his arms and pressed his lips to hers. He held her there a moment, as if she weighed nothing, before turning to make his way back toward the stairs and their bedroom.
Worries and secrets and cares aside, this was the glue and the heart of their family. The love that bound husband and wife, and had made a home for their pint-sized half dozen. It didn't get better than this.((No plans at this time to bring Thanos into the story, but we just couldn't resist doing something with at least one of the Stones. Who knows what might develop in the future? ))