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Childhood is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies Part 4

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

~

It was another two weeks before they let Tony out of the hospital on strict orders of bed rest, which Tony took to mean working from the cot in his workshop. With the cast on his arm, he'd be operating the suit remotely for a while, but that didn't mean he could stop making improvements. Stock had taken a pretty big drop when the public found out the chairman was in emergency surgery, so he owed Pepper something big and mind-blowing.

He was dictating some specs to JARVIS to keep from forgetting he couldn't use his right arm when Bruce input his entry code and flopped down beside Tony on the cot. "What's up, Cookie?" Tony said absently, giving Bruce about a fourth of his attention span until he knew if the conversation was important. He knew better than to use his propped up foot to poke Bruce with, even if poking him with the cast would be entertaining. Painful, but entertaining. Unfortunately, the pain won out at the moment.

"You should be resting," Bruce mused.

"I'm in bed!" Tony protested, not looking up from the schematics for the new jet engine that promised to be more cost effective. He regulated this conversation to 'not worth paying attention'.

"You are," Bruce said, sounding fond enough that Tony knew he wasn't actually down here to force Tony into resting. With Bruce, it could go either way, depending on the direction of Hulk's anger. But if that wasn't why Bruce had come down, Tony was at a loss for why the man was here. This didn't have the air of a social call, despite the fact Bruce had plenty of reason to want to wallow in Tony's awesome.

Bruce was one of those people who one had to wait for, who went at his own pace to take the world by storm. Not Tony's style, but he was willing to go at Bruce's pace so long as the other man didn't mind gentle shoves in the right direction. It also meant Bruce had far more patience than Tony, and sometimes played games with Tony's inability to wait in return for Tony's poking. Today though, Tony was willing to wait Bruce out, and he was rewarded with a small smile and a hand ruffling his hair after a few minutes of silence had fallen between them. Tony scowled, but relaxed into the touch. Which is why he glared at Bruce for making him tense up again with his next words. "Are you ever going to talk to Steve?"

"Why should I?" Tony asked, making sure there was no hint of sulking in his voice. He hadn't so much as seen Steve since his return to the tower, not even at the small party the Avengers had thrown to welcome him back. It was pretty clear Steve wanted nothing to do with him. "He hasn't bothered to talk to me."

"I'm pretty sure he's under the impression he isn't welcome to at the moment," Bruce said with a raised eyebrow. "I can't imagine why he would come to that conclusion."

Tony inched away to the far end of the cot, returning his attention to the engine. It was much more difficult with only one hand and a foot to work with. "Why do you care?" he asked, trying not to feel childish. It didn't help that he was severely tempted to stick his tongue out at Bruce.

"You always drag me into your fights with Steve," Bruce said, sounding far too amused. "I back you up that one time on the Helicarrier, and you seem to think I'll be on your side for every fight you have with Steve. Pillow fights and popcorn fights during team bonding night included."

"You always pick my side anyway," Tony said, feeling a little smug.

"Only because you hide behind me as a deterrent," Bruce said wryly.

"Well, it works," Tony said, moving a vector that was in the way with his good hand. "I didn't ask you to get involved this time."

"No, but I thought I'd be proactive," Bruce said, bringing up a display on his own tablet to work on. He flicked over the results from some blood tests to Tony's tablet.

"Iron levels are low," Tony said after a cursory glace at the data. "What are those things? That's not normal blood. It almost looks like..." Tony trailed off, realizing whose blood sample he was looking at.

"Maybe next time you'll believe me when I say you need more protein in your diet. And no, not more hamburgers," Bruce said, flicking over a few more results from the tests they'd run on Tony once he was stable, this time with Tony's name on the data clearly marked. "Sadly, it's not a viable solution to injuries. We had to synthesize nearly all of what Hydra had drained from him to get even a workable amount of the serum's healing factor for you, and the last thing I want is for Steve to go through more of that."

"Yeah, yeah. Without him, I'd be dead," Tony said, sending the data back over.

"There were ways that might not have involved you getting hurt," Bruce said, a hint of Hulks rage in his voice despite the forced gentleness. "Thor was talking to his mother about different possibilities, and there's a few mystics in New York that seemed genuine. You didn't have to go to Loki."

"I didn't want anyone to stop me," Tony admitted.

"We wouldn't have."

"No, but you would have made me wait." Tony tapped at his chest before remembering the arc reactor wasn't there anymore. Old habits die hard. "I didn't want to wait, because waiting meant more nightmares and I was convinced that if I was an adult, the nightmares would go away." He laughed, but the sound didn't carry any mirth. "It hasn't, by the way. I've seen countless people die before, but I keep having nightmares of his eyes."

"The trauma stayed," Bruce said with a sigh. Tony leaned into Bruce just a little, wanting, but unable to ask for comfort. Luckily, Bruce knew all of his cues, and he moved a little closer to Tony to share body heat.

"Why does it never work out between me and Cap?" Tony asked, toying with the problem. He brought up a few statistics of how many times they'd clashed and the events leading up to it, desperately searching for an equation that would make this work.

"You both seem to have very bad timing when it comes to offering the olive branch," Bruce said thoughtfully. And yeah, Tony could see that. In the six months since the team dispersed, Tony had kept in contact with the others, but every time he'd tried with Steve, it hadn't taken a genius to know Steve wasn't in the mood. And the few times Steve had tried had been right after Pepper's break-up or the anniversary of Yinsen's death. Yeah. That's not just bad timing, that's really shitty timing. Since the Avengers reformed, he and Steve had only managed a shaky truce.

"Just try talking to him," Bruce suggested. "He wants that olive branch as much as you do."

"Yeah, so much he'd rather take the easy way out than actually deal with me," Tony said, feeling like the wound was laid out bare.

Bruce just ruffled his hair again and stood up. "You'll end up beating the bad timing one of these days."

Tony glared at the statistics that mocked him. Fine then. He could beat those odds. Just watch him.

* * *

Saying that and doing something about it were two different things. Really, Tony wasn't all that surprised, but in this case, he would have liked to be. Tony stood in the doorway of the den, crutch under one arm as he watched Steve draw. He'd been standing there for a good part of the last ten minutes, alternating between being too pissed to say anything and not knowing where to start. His foot was really starting to hurt, but it wasn't enough to push him in the room or back out of it, though thankfully the cast was off now since his leg had been more of a fracture.

It was when Steve stopped drawing, tracing the picture with his fingers with a heartbreaking smile tilting his lips that didn't reach his eyes, that Tony realized no timing was ever going to be good for them. He might as well get this over with. "So what's a Capsicle like you doing in a place like this?" Tony asked, finally hobbling the room.

Steve jumped, dropping his pencil as he spun around, then started cursing. "That sort of inattention will get me killed," he muttered.

"If you're on a battlefield, which hey, you're not. Just Stark Tower," Tony hissed, not liking the implication. "You must really not like living here if that's the way you view it. Or maybe you just don't want to deal with me?"

"I deserved that." Steve winced, then gathered his art supplies up. He looked straight ahead, instead of at Tony. His head wasn't bowed, but it might as well have been. "I can leave, if that's what you want."

Tony realized with a start that Steve wasn't talking about the room, but leaving. Not leaving the Avengers, because a rift between the two of them wasn't enough that Fury would accept the resignation for an answer, but leaving the Tower. This was Captain America defeated, acknowledging his loss with a dignity Tony could never even hope to achieve.

Tony had defeated Captain America's stubbornness, forcing him to give up. All this time competing with Cap for his father's attention, and he'd finally beaten the man down. His very own victory.

Somehow, it didn't seem worth it.

Tony flopped down on the couch where Steve had been sitting, leaning his head back against it and staring at the ceiling as he kept his crutch within range. "This isn't working. I can't fix it either. I'm a genius, but I can't figure this out. Even with pushing Pepper, Happy, and Rhodey away a few times, how fucked up do I have to be that even Captain America gives up on me?"

"That's not-"

"Isn't it?" Tony asked. "You were the one who just offered to leave." The silence answered his question well enough. "I fix things," he went on with frustration. "That's what I do. I'm one of the smartest men on the planet, but I can't fix this. I've tried everything, but I just don't know how."

"You can't always fix things that are broken," Steve said quietly.

"Why not?" Tony asked, looking over at Steve. "Tell me what I'm doing wrong."

"Tony..." Steve said, sitting down next to him. "Sometimes there are too many pieces to fix. It's not something you're doing wrong."

"It's not you, it's me?" Tony said acidly, bitterness pulsing through him. "I've heard that line before, Cap. Several times."

"Look, you weren't able to fix things with Pepper either, right?" Steve asked.

Tony couldn't help the full body flinch at this, and he resented that deeply. "Fuck you. This isn't working," Tony said, pushing himself up with his crutch. He didn't need Captain America telling him how Tony had ruined one of the few good things in his life. He knew full well how that went.

"Wait," Steve said, and Tony wouldn't have listened, but Steve had grabbed hold of his good wrist. "Tony, that's not-"

"Let go," Tony hissed, tugging on his wrist ineffectively against the super-human strength. "Let go of me you bastard or-"

"Tony, please," Steve said over him, desperation in his voice. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that."

"Then how did you mean it?" Tony spat.

"Would you let me try to explain?" Steve said, working back some of his own anger. "Please?"

Tony sat back down on the couch grudgingly. "Then explain."

Steve let go of his wrist and the breath he'd been holding. "I'm sorry. I hadn't meant to imply... I always say the wrong thing around you, and I don't think I've put my foot in my mouth as much with anyone besides..."

Steve paused, running a hand through his hair. "Anyone besides?" Tony asked, feeling curious. Who else had Steve pissed off this much?

"Peggy," Steve said simply, and Tony immediately regretted asking. Steve leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, looking straight ahead.

Tony couldn't tell if Steve was avoiding eye contact or seeing into the past. He also didn't know what to do with a vulnerable Steve Rogers. How they'd skipped from yelling to this, Tony would never know, but he wasn't ready for this step in their relationship. Really, he wanted to go back to the steps they'd missed and possibly never leave them. "Look, Steve-"

"Please just listen," Steve said.

It was the please that did Tony in. He no longer had a piece of vibranium close to his heart, but he doubted even that could have withstood the look Steve was giving him. Tony nodded, keeping his mouth shut as Steve continued.

"What I meant earlier was that you and Pepper didn't work because you both couldn't find what would make it work," Steve said. "Even though you work swell as friends. It took both of you not fixing it. It's... It's the same here. It's not all your fault for this not being fixed. I think you've tried harder than I have, which is my fault, not yours."

Tony would have liked to say something about him and Pepper being swell, but he stayed quiet as asked. Until Steve said that last bit, then it was his turn to stare at the wall. "Yeah, I get it. You'd rather not deal with this me."

"That's not true," Steve said, sighing heavily.

"Then explain that to me, because I'm getting all sorts of mixed signals here." Tony looked over in time to see Steve wince.

"Will you listen without storming off this time?"

Tony flushed, a habit he did not willingly indulge in. He had very little shame to speak of, but yeah, Steve had a point. He'd stormed out of most of their encounters, and he was starting to wonder if his resentment towards Captain America had ended the encounters a little too quickly. He waved a hand, hoping it would distract Steve from the faint blush. "Yeah, yeah. You've got my permission to yank me back onto the couch if I start storming. Though for the record, that's totally Thor's thing." Mostly because it was much harder to properly storm out when one had a busted hand and still needed a crutch to get around.

Steve gave him a weak smile for that, then took a breath to steel himself. "It was an easy way out."

Tony flinched, wanting nothing more than to do what Steve just forced him to promise not to do. But damn it, he wasn't breaking his promise five seconds after making it.

"It was an easy out for the fact we don't get along, for all the reasons for this distance between us that we can't seem to bridge, to make up for Howard, and for..." Steve paused, looking over at Tony. For a brief second Tony could have sworn he saw longing that was bafflingly directed at him. It was gone before Tony could even blink though, so he must have imagined it. The emotion didn't make sense anyway, so he must have been blinded by all of these feelings that he hated having to sort through.

"And for a lot of other things," Steve finished. "That doesn't mean that it was right, and I'm not proud of that. I'm not... Captain America has sure been made into this big legend, hasn't he? It was bad enough back during the war, but these days it's blown way out of the ballpark. But I'm just a kid from Brooklyn. I'm not even familiar with Brooklyn anymore. My Brooklyn no longer exists."

"Steve..." Tony was at a loss of what to do. The defeated slump was about Steve's shoulders, and Tony felt his anger drain away like water through his fingers, no matter how hard he grasped at it. No one should look that lost. Especially not Captain America.

But that was the point, wasn't it? How many people looked and saw Steve Rogers?

"I'm just a kid from a world that doesn't exist anymore," Steve repeated, taking no notice of Tony. "And I make mistakes all the time. I never meant to make you feel like... to feel it wasn't worth trying to get to know you."

Tony swallowed, pushing away the fresh hurt those words brought up. "No worries, Cap. It takes more than that to get past my defenses."

"I don't think it does," Steve said, looking up at him gravely - looking through Tony and past his walls.

"You think wrong," Tony snarled, feeling far more vulnerable and open under those blue eyes than Steve had any right to make him feel. He was done with this conversation. He was-

The tight grip on his wrist held him in place no matter how hard Tony tugged on it. "You promised," Steve reminded him gently.

"I've heard enough. I don't-"

"I'm sorry."

"What?" Tony stopped pulling out of Steve's grip, surprised into stillness. Tony was the one who always owed apologies. Having them directed at him was a novelty that didn't really wear off, especially when he hadn't expected one.

"I'm sorry," Steve repeated, pulling Tony back down on the couch with a small tug. He ran his thumb over the inside of Tony's wrist. "I was scared of losing you if your wounds were too much when you got back to normal. I was scared of never getting a chance to make things right between us, no matter how hard I tried. And I hated the look in your eyes when you thought that you weren't good enough to stay with us as a kid. But I made a mess of things again instead of helping."

Tony sat there in stunned silence as Steve finished, wondering if he'd somehow stepped into an alternate universe of some sort. He'd thought Steve... Well, probably not hated him, because that was a strong word, but a step below tolerance was fairly accurate. "Why do you care?" he found himself asking before he could stop his mouth from running.

Steve smiled ruefully. "'Cause you're a link to my past I've treated poorly. And you're a pretty swell guy if I could say something without putting my foot in my mouth, or if you'd actually stick around to let me explain. And it kills me a little when you feel you have to ask questions like that. I meant what I told you, you know."

Letting go of Tony's wrist, Steve reached for the sketchbook. "What did you tell me?" Tony asked, nonplussed by the direction this conversation was taking. Steve had said a lot of things in the past, most of them unpleasant. It didn't sound like he was talking about any of those though.

Tony caught a brief glimpse of the picture Cap had been looking at when he'd walked in - a gorgeous woman with short cropped hair and a hint of a smile behind serious eyes - before Steve flipped a couple pages back, handing the new image to Tony.

He stared numbly at the new picture before him, barely remembering to grasp the edge of the sketchbook with his good hand so it wouldn't fall. He was shocked enough he'd even forgotten he hated being handed things. Vaguely, he recalled reading that Steve had a nearly eidetic memory in his father's notes. That was the only explanation for the fact that his own eyes stared out at him like a photograph. Except they were young and frightened, and so very vulnerable. His younger self clutched at the Captain America teddy bear like a life-line, holding out the Hulk teddy bear with a determined air that warred with his eyes.

"When you were trapped in that closet," Steve started, meeting Tony's eyes steadily as Tony looked up at the sound of Steve's voice. "I told you that I knew someone named Tony, who was one of the bravest men I've ever met. Even as a kid, you had more guts than I could have ever imagined. You've got bravery and kindness in spades, no matter how you try to hide it."

Tony set the picture in his lap so he could touch it, fingers brushing over the Cap-Teddy in his younger self's bruised arms as he was careful not to smudge the lines. "So I'll leave, if that's what you want," Steve continued. "But I'm not giving up on fixing this. That was a mistake, and I'm sorry. But now it doesn't matter how hard it is, I'll keep trying. Because that little kid had too many people give up on him, and... I might be plain old Steve Rogers, but I don't want to be one of those people. Even if that's all I can do and if I keep making mistakes."

Tony swallowed, wondering when his throat had gone so dry. Steve had that same defeated air from earlier, but this time Tony saw an undercurrent of determination lacing it. Steve Rogers had lost the battle - and lost it badly - but the War was still far from over. He looked back down at the picture, wondering if Steve had really lost as badly as he thought.

"You can't take Hulk-Teddy away," Tony said, earning him a pair of raised eyebrows. "He gets angry when he's too far away from his friends. And you won't like him when he's angry, so you should just-"

"Are you using a teddy bear as cover to tell me I can stay?"

Tony blinked. "Yes. I mean, no. Definitely no. And anyway, teddy bears are manly and for adults, or are you telling me Captain America lies to children? And now you're laughing at me! No, you messed up big time so you are not allowed to laugh!"

He glared as Steve laughed, his shoulders shaking silently as a hand covered his face from view. "See if I get you an Iron-Teddy. It's the most awesome, and you won't get one," Tony said, which really, only made Steve laugh more. No, he wasn't pouting, thank you very much. Pepper not allowing Tony to have an Iron-Teddy only meant he'd ordered about 100 of them in revenge, but Steve was definitely not getting one. Bruce could have Steve's share, because Bruce was awesome and would appreciate it, unlike Rhodey who would just laugh at the offer. Bruce was obviously a better best friend.

A very small part of him wondered when the last time Steve had laughed was, and he was drawing a blank. It was an uncomfortable thought, and Tony wondered why it bothered him so much. "But Captain America did lie," Tony said as the thought hit him, immediately wishing he hadn't because Steve had stopped laughing. "You said you had a friend also named Tony. We're not..."

"Wishful thinking on my part, I guess," Steve said with a melancholy sort of smile that made Tony feel like he needed the arc reactor again to keep his heart from failing.

"Yeah, well, you'll have to do something about that," Tony snapped. "Because I can't fix this, and I'm crap at this sort of thing. You're the strategic genius, so chop-chop. Get moving! It's officially your problem to keep that from being a lie."

Steve's eyes went wide at Tony's temper, but slowly a sly smile took the place of the hurt expression. "Alright," Steve said, earning him a tentative smile in return. "But you're not as bad at fixing this as you think."

Tony stood up with a snort, angling the crutch under his arm as he fought down disappointment when Steve's hand didn't grab hold of his wrist again. "Talk to Pepper, Happy, or Rhodey. They'll disillusion you of that," he said, deciding this heart-to-heart was over for now. Quitting while they were ahead seemed like a good policy. He felt a little lighter too, to be honest. Maybe Bruce had a point about this whole talking thing. "Right. I've got half a dozen things that need doing and the company doesn't run itself. Well, technically Pepper does that, but she gets annoyed if I leave her to the wolves for too long and no one wants an annoyed Pepper. So I'll just-"

"Tony," Steve said, his tone making Tony stop short.

"Yeah?"

"Thank you." Tony felt his mouth fall open for a moment before he snapped it shut. Steve continued on, appearing not to notice Tony's gaping. "For letting me keep trying, and for forgiving my mistakes. And for proving me wrong every time I misjudge you."

"You aren't so bad yourself," Tony said once his voice started working. He punched Steve's arm lightly, trying to ignore the sap that was coming out of his mouth. "Even the non-bottle bits."

Steve did catch his wrist again, but not with the firm grip to keep him there. He traced his fingers on the inside of Tony's wrists in a surprisingly intimate gesture that Tony only barely suppressed a shiver for. He smiled openly at Tony, an expression Tony had only seen a few times on Steve, and only once before directed at him. "Um, Cap?"

"I mean that, Tony. Thank you."

He squeezed Tony's hand once as he spoke, and when Tony pulled back this time, he had to fight the urge to rub his wrist where Steve had touched it. It was easier when he remembered his other hand was still in a cast, but the feeling of want didn't go away. "You're welcome," Tony said uncertainly, not entirely sure what was going on, though he knew it was something big. He made a hasty retreat after that, because he hated being confused. He stole one last glance at Steve as he left the room to see him smiling at the picture of the teddy bear, giving Tony an Idea.

* * *

Two weeks later, Tony stared down at the boxes that had been delivered to his suites, rubbing the tender spot on his wrist that wasn't quite a bruise with his now freed hand. It was a pity the serum had washed out of his system, because his ribs and broken bones had really appreciated the healing boost. He'd have needed both casts for another month without it. Like Clint. And no, Tony was not gleeful over the fact that his casts came off first. Mostly. Okay, maybe just a little.

He and Steve had already crashed and burned again, but Steve seemed to have interpreted Tony's permission to yank him back during the argument as a long-term thing. Tony wasn't entirely sure how to feel about that, but the silent tension that followed their spat had been halved, so he was willing to allow it for now. The faint pressure he could still feel on his wrist meant a lot of things, but mostly that Steve wasn't giving up. Tony didn't know how to feel about that either, but Bruce had smiled and told him that was okay the one time he'd mentioned it.

This though... Tony looked down at the boxes gleefully. This was a fantastic plan, and he knew exactly how he felt about it. Which just made it even better. "JARVIS, where did I put the scissors?"

"On the table to your left, sir," JARVIS said, a note of resignation in his voice. "Might I remind you of the Giant Rabbit Fiasco before you embark on this ill-advised adventure?"

"This is different," Tony said, grabbing the scissors and cutting the tape that sealed one of the many boxes. "These aren't giant. Besides, they're cute! Everyone loves cute. Pepper likes cute. It'll go better than the Giant Rabbit."

"If you say so, sir, but I don't think decorating Stark Tower with hundreds of teddy bears dressed as the Avengers' alter-egos is a particularly good plan."

"It's an amazing plan," Tony said as he pried open the box. He grinned maniacally as he saw his first box was of Iron-Teddys, because that had to be a sign. They were just a little bigger than the others, and ten times more awesome. He may have also ordered more of them than the others. "Are the others asleep?"

If he had programmed JARVIS to sigh, his AI would have done so just now. But since JARVIS didn't actually breathe, Tony had disregarded that idea. "They are, all but Ms. Romanov who won't return until tomorrow morning."

"Awesome. Time to get to work! Send the reinforcements, J. I'm gonna need Dummy and Yu to help or I won't finish in time," Tony clapped his hands together, wincing in pain after remembering that he still needed to take it easy on his right hand. Then he smirked at the masked teddy bears in his box.

"Another ill-advised plan, though I'll admit it's more to the letter of the doctor's orders that you shouldn't be moving around as much," JARVIS said as Tony picked up one of the Iron-Teddies. He glanced over at the lineup of the original teddy bears he'd arranged on his desk, then down at the bear in his hand. The Captain America bear sat a little a part from the rest where Tony may or may not have found it easier to grab after waking up from a nightmare of eyes and stars. Teddy bears were definitely cool for adults.

Tony stood, crossing the room to put the Iron-Teddy next to Cap-Teddy. He smiled, liking the picture it made. They weren't friends yet, and Tony didn't pretend to understand some of the looks Steve had been giving him recently, but for the first time, Tony allowed himself a bit of hope concerning the mess that was the relationship between him and Steve.

"It'll work," Tony said, more to himself than to JARVIS. If nothing else, there'd be a spectacular explosion since they were both too stubborn to stop trying. "Right, nap time's over, boys. We've got a long night of decorating ahead of us and there's still a lot of work to do!"

And the extra work? Tony figured it'd be worth it.

~FINI~

Memory: I would like it to be known that the Great Teddy Bear Fiasco went over about as well as JARVIS had predicted.  Tony got a very stern lecture on appropriate ideas from Pepper, Rhodey just laughed at the Iron Teddies, and Tony was forced to donate most of the teddy bears to charity.  But not before all of the Avengers had stolen a full set for themselves, because teddy bears are cool.  Thor is the only one who displays his proudly, however.  Tony might have found an Iron Teddy next to the Hulk Teddy he'd given Cap on Steve's couch at one point, but he's sworn to secrecy.  Coulson may have grabbed two Cap Teddies, one for collectable purposes and one for cuddling.  Steve pretends not to be a little creeped out by the latter.

Speaking of Coulson, Tony did end up making a robot dog for him.  Coulson was more amused by it than he let on and Clint thought the laser eyes were hysterical.  Pepper was not so happy considering the burnt spots that started to appear around the Tower, but the dog was named K-9 and Coulson grew rather attached to it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, that's the fic.  The teddy bears have taken over the tower, like they do.  And Steve, why do you do this to me, wanting slash in the one fic I can't do much with it?  Especially when Tony was no where near ready for slash either.  This is why you had an extra flashback in Waterloo, because unlike the Brigadier, I can torment you when you torment me.  Hopefully you enjoyed the fic regardless of everything I did to little Tony.

Anyway, the quote of the fic:

"Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies."
-Edna St. Vincent Millay (The rest of the poem can be found here)