Peter stares, watching them all a little blankly. By his side, Tony has his head in his hands. He’s been groaning for the past twenty seconds.
“So… you went on a ten-year murder spree where you joined a terror organisation of your own free will in order to kill Tony, who wasn’t even responsible for the death of your parents in the first place- and then decide that just Tony isn’t murderous enough for you, and go for the rest of his team for some reason, too?”
Across the room, Wanda bristles. “It wasn’t like-”
“And then your team leader let you on the team you were trying to murder? Almost immediately after the one single fight you helped them with?” Gamora interrupts. Her eyes are cold and dangerous.
Steve opens his mouth to defend himself, but Drax cuts in. “And you,” he gestures harshly at clint, “you were willing to abandon your family and get yourself arrested, just so you could involve yourself in a matter that did not concern you anyway?”
“You think I wanted to be arrested? That was all Tony-” Clint begins, but Drax roars, and Clint rears back, eyes wide and hand reaching for the bow at his hip.
“TONY STARK DID NOT FORCE YOU TO BREAK YOUR LAWS! I WAS PUT IN JAIL BECAUSE I FOUGHT FOR MY FAMILY, NOT-”
“Drax, stay calm. These people are breakable,” Gamora warns, although she is staring at them all as if she wants nothing better than to let Drax get himself worked up over them.
“You know, Tony has only been giving you his view on everything that happened,” Steve counters. He’s looking at Tony like… like he’s disappointed in him, and that’s enough to get Rocket yelling angrily.
“Oh, so you sayin’ you didn’t tear the team he invested his time, his love, his effort into, apart- all so you could save a guy that Tony had offered to rehabilitate in the first place anyway? Or what about the fact you didn’t tell him that your best bud murdered his parents? That a lie too?” He snarls, and on his shoulder, Groot’s arms are slowly growing, pricklier and heavier- he can feel the weight on his shoulders.
“I think everyone needs to calm down, here-” Sam begins, but Gamora silences him, knuckles cracking as she steps forward.
Sam, wisely, takes a step back.
“You do not get to talk- not when you chose to put your trust in a man you met for three seconds, whilst he was breaking into Tony’s compound, over the actual Avenger and team-mate himself,” she hisses, hands thrown up into the air as she turns to face all of them now.
“You sicken me. I may fight and argue and be frustrated with my team- but at the end of the day, they are still my family. They are still the people I would trust without a second thought,” she shoots a glare at Sam, “who I would always tell the truth to, even if it hurts,” Steve looked at the floor, jaw set in a grim line, “and who I would never, ever ask to be on the same team as a woman who subdued them to their worst fears and tried to kill them. I would rather die.”
She spat on the floor, and then turned away. “I am going back to the ship. You may continue your discussions if you must, but I am finished. I will only kill one of them if this continues.”
“That would be a shame,” Drax says quietly, his voice low and threatening.
Tony, who spent the majority of the conversation absolutely silent, speaks up at that point. “Hey! Drax used sarcasm!”
No one laughs. He goes back to holding his head in his hand.
Peter just looks slightly sick. His hand is wrapped very, very tightly around Tony’s.
“You know that post of text that Tony showed us a few weeks ago? He called it a… a me-me? With the breadsticks and the asshole date?” Rocket pipes up after a few seconds of silence, gun still spinning ominously in his fingers. “I think it’s time for us to shove Tony in our spaceship and say we have to go, right now, immediately.”
Despite everything, Tony lets a huff of laughter escape at that. Peter- seeming to suddenly snap out of his horrified trance- nods his head approvingly, beginning to tug on Tony’s hand. “Yes. I agree. Wonderful though this diplomatic meeting of teams was, I’m afraid we have urgent business to attend to. We have to… show Tony… something awesome.”
“Yes. LOVE, AFFECTION AND VALIDATION!” Drax roars again, curling an arm around Tony’s shoulders and placing the most violent and angry kiss possible on top of his hair.
“Later, losers!” Rocket calls out, sticking his middle finger up behind him and then turning to punch Tony’s thigh gently before scarpering back to the ship.
Groot hops down from Rocket and then latches on to Tony’s forearm, clambering up his arm until he was resting on Tony’s shoulder instead. Tony glances over at him and grins happily. He’s always had a bit of a soft spot for Groot.
“hey,” he whispers, as the tiny tree alien quickly began to grow a few flowers, and then plucked them off his hand and tucked them into Tony’s hair. “I am Groot,” he whispers right back in reply.
Tony smiles, rolling his eyes. “Yeah yeah, I know. Don’t worry about them- I left them behind a long time ago.”
Steve hears that. He looks at tony for a long time, his eyes a little sad and regretful.
Tony just stares right back, and then raises his eyebrows and shrugs, adjusting the beginning of the flower-crown Groot was making for him.
“Call me the next time it gets too much for you guys to handle,” he calls out after them, as Peter and Drax both steer him hurriedly back toward the ship and away from his old team.
Groot giggles on his shoulder, and then places another flower behind his ear. “I am Groot!”
“I agree,” Tony says, just as Peter nods his own approval, gently bumping their shoulders together. “Let’s go and play Space-Tag.”