Tony carefully set the pregnancy test down on the counter, still feeling a little stunned. He had been half-expecting this, but still.
Positive. He could hardly believe it.
“Congratulations, sir,” Jarvis said. “Shall I call in Captain Rogers?”
Part of Tony wanted that. Wanted to fling himself into Steve's arms so they could celebrate together and make a grand announcement that Tony was carrying what was going to be the world's most genetically gifted child (and take that naysayers, all those years of partying had not left him infertile, thank you very much).
But rationally, he knew that being pregnant wasn't one big happy party. Steve was going to worry and fuss over him even more than he was already. He was probably going to ban Tony from welding and operating heavy equipment. And he was definitely going to bench him from the team. Steve had been ridiculously overprotective lately. Tony was being his normal dashing self and Steve kept chastising him for being reckless.
He could only imagine how much worse Steve was going to be now that he was pregnant. Steve would probably force him to go on bed rest. And Tony was not about to be bedridden for the next nine months. That would be boring as hell.
“Not yet, J,” Tony said. “I'll tell him when the moment is right.”
“As you wish, sir.”
They both knew that there wasn't going to be the perfect moment. Tony was just going to keep working as usual until he started showing or Steve realized he'd missed his heat cycle. And then Steve was going to yell at him for endangering the baby and neglecting his own health and blah blah blah. Steve would probably be right, as usual. But, whatever. That was a problem for Future Tony. Present Tony had at least a week or two to enjoy living like a normal, non-pregnant omega.
But maybe he'd try to cut down on the caffeine a little. Just a little.
Surviving without caffeine was a lot harder than Tony thought. He had only been down in the lab for twelve hours and he had already fallen asleep twice. Thank god he worked alone. He wasn't in the mood for any teasing.
He could really go for some chocolate. Was chocolate as bad as coffee? As if he would know. It wasn't everyday he got knocked up by a sexy supersoldier. Maybe the baby would inherit Steve's super genetics and be absolutely immune to the effects of caffeine and Tony would have suffered for nothing. But then again, the baby would inherit Steve's pre-serum genetics and be so incredibly fragile that a single sip of coffee could leave it crippled.
Better safe than sorry.
Tony drummed his fingers against his work table. He had no idea what he was doing. How did everyone else magically figure out this whole parenting gig? How did Tony's parents do it? Not that they were spectacular role models, but his mother had at least managed to give birth to him, and make it through an entire nine months of pregnancy without turning him into a hideous mutant blob with her ineptitude. That had to count for something.
And maybe she had help. Yes, that had to be it. Nobody could be expected to handle pregnancy on their own. There had to be an instruction manual somewhere.
Tony rooted in the box of Howard's old things he kept in a corner of the lab and triumphantly unearthed a series of books labeled Life Lessons.
Aha. The Definitive Omega Pregnancy Guide. That looked promising.
Tony flipped through a few pages, grimacing at the pictures. There were far too many pictures of heavily pregnant omegas stirring pots of soup over the stove while the burly alphas stood by, grinning widely. And the captions were even more offensive.
He tossed the book into the trash can. Pregnant omegas were supposed to have a glow about them, were they? Oh, he'd show them a glow. As soon as he set the damn book on fire.
“If I may,” Jarvis began.
“No, you may not. Dummy, hand me my welding torch.”
“I suggest investing in a modern parenting guide. Possibly more than one.”
“But then Steve's going to know,” Tony whined.
“Captain Rogers is an attentive alpha. He's going to find out regardless.”
Tony knew that. Of course he did. He was just buying a little time.
“Google, J,” he said. “Hit me with all the pregnancy facts. I'm ready for it.”
Or, not, as it turned out. There were a horrifying amount of dietary restrictions. As Tony had suspected, coffee was on the big list of no's. But so was chocolate, tea, and soda. And even worse, sushi and lunch meat. What the hell was he supposed to eat now that he wasn't allowed to have sandwiches anymore? He was a terrible cook. He couldn't even stir a pot of soup without burning down the kitchen.
There was also a big list of healthy things that he was supposed to eat to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals babies apparently needed. But, again, terrible cook.
“Order me up some multivitamins,” Tony said. There. Then he wouldn't have to worry about eating healthy. He could just eat ice cream and peanut butter and jelly the whole nine months and he would still be fine. Just fine.
“Prenatal vitamins, sir?”
Tony waved a hand. “Whatever they're called. Just the ones with all the....” Tony squinted at the holographic screen. “Iron, calcium, folic acid, Vitamin C-”
“Absolutely, sir,” Jarvis said. “Your baby will be perfectly healthy despite your best efforts to sabotage your own health.”
Haha, very funny. Tony glared upwards. “Not in the mood, Jarvis.”
He had a headache already. Oh, god, the lack of caffeine was going to kill him.
The next two days were torturous. He was trying to eat better, really he was. He made occasional ventures up to the kitchen to snag a banana, an apple, a granola bar, a handful of almonds. And he was taking his vitamins. There was no reason why he should be hungry all the goddamn time. He could usually get by snacking all through the day, but not anymore. He needed an actual meal.
And Steve would probably cook him a nice hot meal if he asked. Steve liked to cook for him. It made him feel like he was being a good alpha and providing for Tony, since obviously he didn't need Steve to go out and work for a living. But he had to be careful how much he asked for. Usually, he was far too preoccupied with work to eat three meals a day and Steve had to chase after him to make sure he was eating. If he suddenly showed up regularly in the kitchen demanding Steve's cooking, Steve would start asking questions.
Ugh. He was making things so complicated for himself. He needed to just suck it up and tell Steve. Steve would be happy to fuss over him and cook whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it. And maybe an occasional back massage. Steve was good at those.
God, he was starting to sound like one of those helpless, delicate omegas from that stupid book. No, he didn't need Steve catering to his every whim. He was a strong, independent omega and he could totally work all the way through his pregnancy. Really, how hard was it to sit and look at a computer screen? He could do that, easy.
His vision began to blur. He blinked a few times and refocused on the screen. Oh, god. He had been looking at the same page for over an hour. Goddamnit.
He shoved the chair back from the desk. Nope. He was done. He wasn't making any progress on anything anymore and if he was just going to keep nodding off in his chair, he might as well go to bed. At least his bed was warm and had Steve in it.
Steve looked a little surprised when Tony crawled in beside him. “I thought you still had things to work on.”
“Nah,” Tony said. “They can wait. I'd rather have sex.”
Steve chuckled and stroked Tony's neck. “You don't start your cycle for another week. You shouldn't be this insatiable.”
Tony snorted. “I'm always insatiable. It's one of my many flaws.”
Steve carded a hand through his hair. “I'd say it's more of a perk, really.”
Tony tipped his head back and allowed Steve to nip at his collarbone. Steve liked leaving little bite marks all over him, leaving his claim on Tony's body. And normally Tony was all about that. But tonight, he was in a little bit of a hurry. He was tired and he just wanted a nice bout of sex to ease the tension out of his body before bed. He rolled his hips against Steve to coax him into skipping the foreplay. And Steve seemed to be getting the message. He spent less time than usual on the preparation and more time pounding his brain into mush.
Tony curled into Steve's side and sighed with contentment. He felt warm and relaxed. The perfect combination for a good night's sleep.
“Must've been pretty good,” Steve said. “You're not usually this cuddly.”
Tony gave him a thumbs up and a hazy smile. Oh, it was good alright. Maybe there was something to this pregnancy glow after all.
Steve stroked the back of his neck and Tony's eyes drifted shut.
But when the call to assemble sounded the next morning, it felt like Tony hadn't really slept at all.
“Fuck this,” Tony growled, burrowing down further in the blankets. “What kind of villain starts their reign of terror at four in the morning?”
Steve looked at him with fond amusement. “Aren't you usually still working in the lab at this hour?”
Tony snorted. “Only for the first three days. After that, I sleep till noon. Come on, Rogers. You should know this by now. We've been living together for the past two years.”
“Of course. And since I've been living with you for the past two years, I also know you're good at going without sleep.” Steve swatted him with his pillow. “Stop whining. We need to get moving.”
Tony made sure to continue whining, just to spite Steve. He whined all through their hurried breakfast (that was okay, skipping his morning coffee meant he had plenty of time for a granola bar and muttering about getting up at ass o'clock), he whined as he got into his suit, and he whined on the flight to D.C.
It didn't seem to be working as well as he hoped. Steve just looked at him with mild exasperation. On the other hand, his whining seemed to be working really well against Natasha, if the glares she kept shooting him were any indication. And, seriously, her piloting was making him nauseous.
Mercifully, it was a short trip. Natasha set the Quinjet down in the middle of the national mall, as far away from the hordes of screaming people fleeing the city as possible. There was a lot of smoke in the distance, but Tony could make out the outline of two spider-like robots standing tall above the cityscape.
“More giant robots?” Tony complained. “Isn't that the fifth time this month?”
“Then you should have the routine down pat by now,” Steve said. “Iron Man, get in position.”
Tony huffed, but he flew on ahead to check things out.
The robots were admittedly pretty impressive. They were a big step up from the last few incidents. There was no visible seam in the shiny black hulls, no exposed circuitry, no glimpse into the inner workings of the robots. Still, the only weapons they seemed to have were laser cannons mounted on the top of each robot. They were great for torching the place and terrifying the general public, but as far as world domination schemes went, they were pretty simple. Still, the workmanship was impressive. Aesthetically pleasing and-
“Iron Man, report,” Steve said over the comm. “What are we looking at?”
Tony rolled his eyes and spiraled downwards, dodging a laser blast. “Oh, just some laser-shooting robot spiders. Nothing we haven't seen before.”
“Lasers?” Clint groaned. “Really?”
“Yep. Hence the fire and the smoke and shit,” Tony said. “These things mean business.”
“Weaknesses?” Steve asked.
“The legs, probably.” The multi-jointed legs gave the robots excellent maneuverability, but they'd also be pretty vulnerable right at the joints. Thor or Hulk should be able to snap their legs pretty easily and get the robots off balance. Even Clint and Natasha could probably find a way to jam the moving parts and grind the death march to a halt.
“Oh!” Tony said. “Clint, buddy, remember Star Wars? Remember that scene in the Empire Strikes Back?”
“Oh, hell yes,” Clint said. “Tash, you still got that length of rope?”
“Always,” she said.
“Right,” Steve said, sounding only mildly annoyed that he wasn't coming up with the plan this time. “Do whatever it is you need to do.”
Clint whooped loudly. “These bad boys are going down.”
Tony grinned and began flying circles around the closest robot, diverting its attention so Natasha and Clint could slip in around its legs. The robot's cannon swiveled, firing shot after shot that Tony easily rolled to avoid. He was used to getting shot at by now, no big deal.
But he wasn't prepared for the robot to reach up with one segmented metal leg and smack him hard in the chest as he flew by.
Jesus, those things hit hard. Tony went flying and landed hard on the concrete the next block over.
Alarm bells starting going off. Suit integrity was compromised, targeting interface damaged, etc, etc. Yeah, of course the suit was damaged. Tony could feel dented metal plates digging into his shoulders and collarbone.
“Tony, are you okay?” Steve asked anxiously over the comm. “Should we call a medic?”
“No, I'm fine. I'll be fine.” Tony grimaced as he pried off twisted pieces of his chestplate. He was going to have to redo the whole panel. Fuck.
He tensed as a large shadow fell over him. Reluctantly, he lifted his eyes upwards. Yeah, he had sort of forgotten about the other robot.
And him without most of his armor. Oh, he was fucked.
Tony swallowed and crouched down, trying to make himself as inconspicuous as possible. Maybe the robot wouldn't see him. Probably too much to hope for, considering the way one sharply segmented leg began to wave in the air.
“Tony!” Steve shouted.
Jesus, Steve sounded close. Much closer than he should have on the comm.
He heard frantic footsteps and looked up to see Steve running towards him. Oh, thank god. He was saved. Steve's shield could totally slice through the leg joint.
But instead, Steve barreled past the robot and shoved Tony aside.
Steve didn't have time to put up his shield before the spider robot struck. Its leg slammed directly into his chest. Steve went flying back a good fifty feet and impacted hard against a building. The glass windowpanes shattered and chunks of plaster and the door frame rained down on him.
And Steve wasn't moving.
Tony raced to Steve's side and began digging him out of the rubble. The rest of the team could take out the robot on their own. He had to save Steve.
Steve's eyes were still closed when Tony managed to drag him out the rubble. And he didn't look like he was even breathing. Tony frantically brushed all the dust off Steve's face, made sure his airways were clear, but still, nothing.
“Don't do this to me, Steve,” Tony pleaded. “Wake up, please wake up.”
Tony's eyes pricked with tears. “Steve, please,” he whimpered. “I need you. I've always needed you, but now more than ever.” He swallowed and took a deep, steadying breath. “You’re going to be a father, Steve. That’s right, a father. If you won’t stay alive for me, at least do it for the baby. Please? I can’t do this on my own.”
He dropped his head onto Steve's chest and sobbed. Steve was dead because of him. And he would probably end up killing the baby too because he couldn't do anything right.
There was movement beneath him and Steve's voice croaked out, “You're pregnant?”
“Steve!” Tony threw his arms around Steve's neck.
Steve grunted. “Easy, Tony, easy.”
Tony backed away and wiped at his eyes. “Oh, Steve. I'm sorry. I should have been paying more attention to the robots and not underestimating them. You wouldn’t have gotten hit and-”
“Hey,” Steve said. “I'll heal. I'm more concerned about you.” He cupped Tony's face in his hands. “Are you really pregnant?”
Tony grinned. “I took a pregnancy test every day this week. Pregnant, pregnant, pregnant.” He nuzzled into Steve's neck. It felt so good to share the news with Steve. He really should have told him sooner.
Steve cradled Tony against his chest. “I can't believe it,” he said. “I didn't think I was capable of getting anyone pregnant.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Oh, come on. What kind of super soldier would you be without super sperm? It's only shocking I didn't get knocked up sooner.”
Steve shook his head. “I was born an omega, you know.”
“An omega I'd happily befriend,” Tony said. “Because seriously, you were the shit back in the day.”
Omega Steve had been frail and delicate, surprisingly tiny even by the standards of his time. But there was a lot of spirit in that little body. And Tony had always admired spirit. He grew up reading of an omega who took on betas and alphas and joined the army to fight against injustice.
Admittedly, he had liked the omega in the stories a lot better than the alpha at first. But he had warmed up to him eventually. Steve wasn't like most alphas Tony knew. He didn't make stupid jokes about putting him in his place or question his ability to run a company. And Steve seemed to find Tony's sass charming and endearing.
Tony loved him for it.
Steve's mouth twitched like it did when Tony cracked jokes at a serious moment. “All my alpha attributes are artificial,” he said. “The muscles, the hormones-”
Steve nodded. “Nobody was sure if I'd be a functional alpha or if I'd just look the part.”
Tony waggled his eyebrows. “I'd say you function pretty well, if I do say so myself.” He was being silly and normally Steve would roll his eyes and swat him. But Steve was studiously ignoring all his sex jokes and it was making Tony nervous. Steve was never this serious.
“I didn't know I could get you pregnant,” Steve said quietly. “I would have discussed it with you first. Omegas have a lot more freedom these days. Just because they can bear children, doesn't mean they have to.”
Oh, Steve. Gorgeous, wonderful, perfect Steve. How could he ever think Tony wouldn't want to have his baby?
“Hey,” Tony said. “Stop worrying. This is a good thing. I'll be a sucky mother but you'll probably be the best father in the world and that will make it all okay because I'm having your baby oh god, this is not the way I planned on telling you-”
His eyes narrowed. Steve was...Steve was laughing at him. The nerve. He had watched Steve almost get killed and he was still freaked out about it. How was that supposed to be funny?
“Oh, Tony,” Steve said finally. “You are going to be a fabulous mother.” He moved his hands down to rest over Tony's stomach. “I can't wait till you start showing.”
Tony sighed happily and arched back into Steve's touch. Oh, yes. He couldn't wait. He was going to drag Steve all over town so everyone could have a picture of him standing proudly beside Tony with his belly swollen with Steve's child.
“And I'm going to bring lunch down to you every day,” Steve whispered in his ear. “I'm going to take such good care of you.”
Tony melted into Steve. “We can have lunch together in the lab?” Oh, this was so perfect. Steve wasn't banning him from the lab. Of course not. How could he have ever thought Steve would do that to him?
“Of course,” Steve said. “You're probably going to be spending a lot more time down there now.”
Tony swallowed. “You're kicking me off the Avengers, aren't you?”
“Of course not,” Steve said. “You do what you think is best. But,” he trailed his hand up to Tony's shoulder and rubbed a hand over the sore shoulder, “imagine if the hit was just a little lower. I know you'd never be able to forgive yourself if anything happened to the baby during our fights.”
Huh. Tony had never thought about it that way.
“You won't have to make a decision for a while yet,” Steve said. “But if becoming Iron Man starts to be too much of a burden for your body, you have to promise me you'll step down. I don't want you pushing yourself too hard.”
“I promise,” Tony said.