Actions

Work Header

One for My Baby

Chapter Text

Steve didn’t know why he let Sam and Nat talk him into this. He could think of a few things he could be doing right now than sitting at one of the local clubs watching his two best friends dip and grind with the rest of the people on the dancefloor, namely finishing the commission he had for the large painting that was sitting in their living room.

Places like this were easy to navigate for the two of them, Sam was tall, dark, and handsome and Natasha was…well Natasha. They could easily blend into the bars and clubs they were so fond of visiting after a long week of counseling and tattooing, respectively. Steve, however, who was 5’5 and hundred pounds soaking wet, had a little more difficulty dating.

“Besides,” Sam usually informs him, “you’re an omega, man. There’s plenty of guys out there who would like you.”

“And they turn tail when they see the hearing aid or catch me wheezing.” Steve would bite back.

And all that left in the dating pool were the numerous asshole male alphas and overcompensating male betas he’d dated in the past who wanted nothing but a slick hole to fuck.

He sighed, maybe he should hail a cab and head back to their shared apartment. His paints and pencils wouldn’t disappoint him. He was just about to get up and brave the wall of bodies to notify his friends of his departure when he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder. He immediately bristled, but turned around to see who it was.

“Is this seat taken?”

Steve’s intake of breath was swallowed by the loud bass pumping through the speakers of the club as he stared up at the most entrancing pair of blue eyes. The man’s hair was tied up in a bun, a few strands escaping and getting into said entrancing pair of blue eyes. His features were pretty but not overly so, and stubble dotted along a strong jawline. Oh wow.

He hadn’t realized (he totally realized) he’d been staring until the man gestured to the seat next to him, raising a brow. Steve blinked and snapped himself out of it quickly before this handsome stranger walked away. “Um, uh, no.” Smooth Rogers, smooth. “Go ahead.”

The handsome stranger grinned and sat down on the stool next to him, Steve catching his scent as he settled in and waved the bartender over. The guy was an alpha, which would automatically put Steve on edge again if it wasn’t for the fact that the smell was pleasant and not overwhelming, like smoked Applewood.

“A shot of vodka for me and my friend…” the stranger looked over at him in question.

“Steve.”

“Steve here.”

The woman, a pretty beta, gave him a flirty smile before heading for a bottle.

“I’m not really big on drinking.” He was a total lightweight and he’d rather not have this night end with him being carted out by Sam, again.

“Bah,” the man waved. “You just haven’t had good vodka yet. Have you?”

Steve shook his head. Despite Natasha’s few attempts he avoided it after seeing its effects on Sam, who could hold his liquor with some of the best of them (just not Natasha). She had shared some of the “good, authentic stuff” with him and by the time they were finished Sam had stripped down to his underwear, singing Marvin Gaye out in the hall and twirling his shirt around. The neighbors had given them the stink eye for at least a week afterwards. Nat still had the footage and was waiting for the right time to use it as blackmail.

The bartender came back with their shots and the stranger started a tab, pushing one of the shot glasses over to Steve.

“I spent some time in Russia, so it’s not top notch but it’s good enough. Try it, I obviously didn’t drug it.”

“I don’t even know your name.”

“James, but only my ma calls me James. Bucky’ll do just fine.” The man, Bucky, held out his hand and Steve shook it with his much smaller one. “Cheers!” Bucky swallowed the shot in one go.

Steve, who wasn’t stupid enough to challenge his lungs and just downing it like he did, sipped at his until it was gone. It was smooth going down but it still packed a punch.

Bucky caught the bartender’s attention and pointed to his glass and held up two fingers.

“So, Steve, what brings you here?”

“My friends dragged me here to be honest.”

Bucky snorted. “Same, but I feel better coming out with mine so he won’t be alone. He can take care of himself but Phil would kill me if I let him come out on his own because while Bruce is sensible, Tony is Tony.”

“Your friend’s an omega?”

Bucky nodded. “So, what do you do?”

Steve wasn’t really good with talking about himself, and two shots in and possibly counting, it probably wouldn’t get any better. “I’m mostly a freelance artist, but I tutor kids at the local rec center three days a week to help balance that out.”

Bucky grinned, and oh it was a beautiful sight. “I’m always excited to meet people who can draw an’ paint; ‘cept for those stuck up asses that just throw paint at a canvas and call it art. I can’t say much though since I can’t draw for shit outside of basic sketches. How’dja get into it?”

“My ma was a nurse. She’d always come home tired and worn out, so when I was a kid I’d started leaving little doodles around the apartment for her to find to make her laugh. She bought me a sketchpad and some pencils the first opportunity she could afford them and encouraged me to continue drawing. I’ve loved it ever since.” He was surprised how easy it was to tell him about a small piece of his childhood so easily, especially since his mother’s death two years ago still managed to choke him up sometimes. He fiddled with his shot glass for a few moments before awkwardly asking, “uh, so what about you?”

“I’m an engineer.”

“What kind of engineer?”

Bucky grinned. “Most people just leave it at engineer.”

“Most people who find out I’m an artist try to get me to draw something on the fly.”

“Fair enough. On paper it’s robotics, but I like to get my hands into anything as long as I can create.”

Their conversation took off from there, falling into a sense of camaraderie that didn’t come easy with alphas for Steve outside of Natasha. They talked about their workdays, some of their likes and dislikes (“seriously, how do you not like mayo? It’s one of the most important parts of a good burger!” Steve wasn’t going to tell him that he doesn’t get along with eggs.), and even a couple of high school memories, while making their way through what had to be the whole bottle of vodka.

Sam and Natasha had spotted him with Bucky at some point, Nat scoping out the situation before giving him one of her secret grins while Sam gave him a thumbs up. Bucky looked back to where his gaze had fallen, giving the pair a quick wave before turning back to Steve. “Your friends?”

 

The longer they sat there the more physical Bucky became. Touching his shoulder when his head tossed back with a hearty laugh, a hand on his knee every so often; he wasn’t overbearing with his touches and Steve knew that if he gave any indication that he wasn’t comfortable then the alpha would back off. A first it would seem. The bartender came and went, throwing in a word or three when she could, but eventually backed off with a slight scowl when Bucky barely paid attention to her, much to Steve’s secret delight.

Eventually Bucky scratched at the back of his neck nervously before speaking. “Well Steve, and I really hope I haven’t read this wrong, but do you, uh, maybe want to get outta here?”

“Yes!” Steve blurted out before flushing. “Um, I mean, sure.”

Bucky’s smile was blinding. He waved the bartender over and picked up the tab, despite Steve’s protests, and stood up. Steve moved to follow suit, nearly falling as he realized that he may have reached that limit where Sam would typically have to help him outside. Bucky helped to steady him.

“You wanna tell your friends that you’re leavin’?” Bucky’s own words were starting to slur as the alcohol took a faster effect upon his standing as well.

Steve waved in their direction, hoping to catch their eye since he wasn’t sober enough try to penetrate the wall mob of people to get to them. Sam’s eyes caught him soon enough and Steve gestured towards Bucky and himself then to the door. Sam’s liquid brown held a note of concern and Steve glared at him, it’s not like he was some damsel in distress, and the beta relented, giving him a nod and a grin.

Bucky had done the same to a blond and a two brunets in one of the corners on their way out before the cool night air hit them. It didn’t take too long to flag down a cab, Bucky giving the driver his address.

 

The drive wasn’t a long one in theory, but with the fingers of Bucky’s right hand dancing long his thin thigh it certainly felt long. They pulled up to a very tall building, Steve insisting on paying the driver before they stepped back out into the night air.

Steve followed along as he was led through a very large lobby to what looked to be a private elevator.

“My floor, J.” Bucky said as the moved inside.

“Who are you -” Steve didn’t have time to finish before he was pushed against the back wall and soft, but firm lips pressed against his own. He was left panting when they finally broke apart and the elevator doors slid open soundlessly.

The lights turned on automatically as they stepped inside the small hallway that led to a huge living room area. Steve barely caught a glimpse of the expensive looking furniture before Bucky was back at him, strong arms easily lifting him up and carrying him through the apartment and to the bedroom. Bucky kicked the door closed behind him and crossed the room, sitting Steve down gently on the bed before nuzzling at his neck.

Steve gasped and wiggled underneath him as he felt himself becoming slicker.

“You smell so good, Stevie, so good.” Steve barely had time to think before his coat was gone and his shirt was ripped open, buttons flying this way and that. He opened his mouth to protest when pressed kisses up against his scent glands just south of the back of his right ear, drawing a loud moan from the blond.

“Bucky!” Steve whined and the alpha growled in response, his large hand trailing over Steve’s just visible ribs to his thin chest, his thumb circling Steve’s nipple.

Bucky trailed down his neck, nipping and sucking until his mouth joined his thumb and forefinger in the assault on the hardened peak. Steve squirmed beneath him as he switched sides, giving the other nipple the same attention. Satisfied with his handiwork, Bucky trailed down further with his tongue until he reached Steve’s belt. He looked up for permission with darkened eyes, quickly unbuckling it when he was awarded it with a sharp nod.

Steve tilted his hips up from the bed so Bucky could work his khakis and briefs off, pausing to divest him of his loafers and socks before tossing it all behind him. Now that he was fully naked and Bucky still had every piece of his clothing on, he was starting to feel more than a little self-conscious about this thin frame. His ribs were visible if you paid enough attention, his hipbones were prominent, and his knees were knobby.

He moved to cover himself and started when he heard Bucky mutter “beautiful.” He felt a blush coming on, starting from his hairline to the center of his chest. He didn’t have much time to ponder what Bucky said when Bucky shrugged off his leather jacket, hesitating for just a moment before removing the glove on his left hand that Steve hadn’t noticed he was wearing and tugging off his long-sleeved shirt.

Steve gasped as gleaming metal was revealed, blending in with the soft tan of his skin where they met on his shoulder and a number of scars littered the area.

“Is this gonna be a problem?” Bucky asked gruffly, looking everywhere but at Steve.

Steve shook his head quickly, this wasn’t a problem at all. “If this and this,” he waved at his own body and pointed at the hearing aid in his left ear, “isn’t a problem for you, then your arm isn’t a problem for me.”

Bucky frowned, finally looking at him. “There’s nothing wrong with you.”

His medical history would beg to differ. Instead of saying something to that effect, he just gave Bucky a pointed look.

Bucky shook his head with a chuckle and kicked off his boots, swiftly shedding his impossibly tight jeans and underwear (were those Calvin Klein?!), revealing the rest of his build, muscular but not excessively so. His cock was the largest he’d seen so far, but not intimidating. The alpha climbed up on the huge bed with him, easing him up until his head was lying on the soft nest of pillows at the top before turning him over on his stomach.

Starting at the base of his neck, making him shiver all over and slowly leak onto the bed, the brunet kissed and licked his way down Steve’s back; his hands, both flesh and cool metal, rubbing up and down his arms and sides as he went.

Steve bit his lip when those large hands reached his bottom, firmly massing the small globes of his ass. For all of his slow exploration, Bucky didn’t waste time repositioning himself so that he was between the omega’s legs - he spread his checks and promptly licked over his hole, the blond moaning loudly in the quiet room as he was spread open by that talented tongue.

He moaned as Bucky’s tongue delved deep inside him, his breaths coming out in harsh pants (please don’t have an asthma attack, please don’t have an asthma attack) and more slick leaked out of him. Steve bit his lip as a thick finger joined Bucky’s tongue.

“Buck – please, hurry.”

Bucky added a second finger in response and Steve grunted, trying to push back against them. He couldn’t remember a time where he was this wet outside of his heats - he didn’t know if it was because he hadn’t gotten any in a while or if those before Bucky just hadn’t been as attentive. Most of his previous lovers would have already been knot or balls deep inside him by now. He could feel himself growing increasingly impatient.

“Come on, Bucky! Fuck me already!”

The alpha ignored him (of course) and added a third finger instead, pumping all three carefully, but purposely in and out.

Steve was on the verge of throwing a tantrum when Bucky finally pulled his fingers out and sat up. He was about to move away when the omega flipped over on his back and urged him forward.

“Steve w –”

“Don’t make me wait any longer, Bucky.”

“But –”

Fuck. Me.

Bucky tugged Steve’s thin legs over each shoulder and positioned himself at the blond’s slick entrance and slowly eased in. Steve felt so full as Bucky bottomed out, the brunet leaning down to capture his lips in a passionate kiss, stealing his breath away, as he waited for Steve to adjust.

Once Steve bit his lip and nodded, the alpha started slow at first before easing into a nice rhythm, both of them breaking the kiss to take in air, their eyes locked together. Bucky felt great inside him, but he needed just a bit more.

“Harder.”

“But –”

“I can take it. Don’t treat me like glass, Bucky.”

He still didn’t look so sure but he listened to Steve nonetheless and put more of his weight into each thrust. Bucky’s hands slipped on the small traces of sweat along Steve’s legs and he moved his hands to Steve’s hips, leaning forward and changing his angle, searching for…

Fuck!” Steve arched up off the bed his fingers tangling in the thread of the comforter below him.

Bucky chuckled. “Found it.”

Each thrust hit his prostate and pushed him closer to the edge and he could feel Bucky hardening further and just a little more…

Bucky wrapped his metal fingers around Steve’s neglected cock and came with a loud cry. “Bucky!”

The alpha wasn’t far behind him and Steve shuddered as he felt Bucky come inside him with a groan.

 

It wasn’t until they’d both calmed down that Steve asked “Why didn’t you…?”

“Knot you?”

Steve nodded.

“Ain’t my place.” Bucky answered as he pushed himself up and crossed over to the bathroom. Steve could hear water running for a few seconds – he turned off his hearing aid and placed it on the bedside table - before Bucky came back out with a damp cloth, cleaning Steve’s chest, stomach and thighs, the rest could be handled later. He tossed the cloth in a random direction and bullied the sheets from underneath Steve, curling his flesh arm around Steve’s waist as they settled in. “Night, Steve.”

“G’night, Bucky.” Steve replied sleepily.

It didn’t take long for them to fall asleep.

Chapter Text

A beam of early morning sunlight woke Steve, and he groaned softly as the hangover slowly took over. It wasn’t as bad as it used to be, a point he would try to remember to bring up to Natasha when she called him a light weight. He stretched, feeling a pleasant ache down below; rolling out of bed, he blearily stumbled to the bathroom, only to walk smack into a wall.

The blow served to wake him up the rest of the way, Steve realizing that this wasn’t the apartment he shared with Sam and Nat. Then a loud snore made him jump, exacerbating the dull ache he felt. Sparing the snoring lump on the bed a glance, he picked up his clothes and rushed to the bathroom to wash last night off of him. He didn’t typically do one night stands, and when he does it’s usually with guys that are gone before he wakes up or want him gone before they wake up.

The shower was something out of a dream, the hot water lasting until he was ready to get out and it came out from nearly every angle. At least he slept with a guy that had the latest bathroom technology. He quickly dried off and got dressed, peering out to make sure the - he sniffed the air - alpha was still snoring away before sneaking out. He used the elevator from last night, the car opening to a quickly filling lobby, the clock on the far wall told him it was just after seven.

Shit!

There was a class this morning he’d agreed to take over for Peggy that started at 8:45. He had just over an hour and a half to get home, get dressed, and get to the rec center. He rushed through the front door, nearly knocking a poor woman over as he dashed. He paused to look around, he was in the heart of Manhattan, he’d been around here a few times and it would take about ten minutes to make it to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Praying that his asthma wouldn’t flare, he darted through the crowd to get to the station. With the crowd there he almost didn’t make it, but he’d claimed the second to last seat on the 7:18 bus to Nostrand Avenue, which was another ten minute journey that would get him to Brooklyn. The rec center wasn’t too far from his apartment, within walking distance, he would be cutting it close but he could make it.

 

He had to pause in the threshold of the apartment and find his inhaler, taking in deep inhales of the medicine.

“You good?” Sam poked his head out from the kitchen.

Steve nodded as breathing became easier.

“We were wondering when you were gonna show up. Get changed, have some breakfast. I made those weird allergy-free pancakes of yours.”

Steve rolled his eyes. “They’re not weird.” He quickly got changed and looked at the clock, it was nearly 8:30. He rushed to pack his bag, and stopped by the kitchen to grab two apples. “Sorry Sam, I’m subbing for Peggy this morning. I’m sure Thor’ll take ‘em!” He tossed behind him as he left for the rec center.

Thor was the owner of a furniture store, each piece built with extreme care in the warehouse behind it. He lived in the apartment across the hall with his fiancée Jane, an astrophysicist that Steve rarely saw. He ate any and everything in sight as long as it was to his taste, and he showed an affinity for Steve’s special pancakes.

He made it just as the stragglers arrived; he was still hungover, but the class he was teaching looked college-aged, so he knew they’d understand. When there were lulls in the class where he let the students’ imaginations run wild while he spoke to them one on one, he tried hard to remember last night, but other than the introduction and impressions of the sex, he drew a blank.

Oh well, it was for the best he guessed.

 

 

 

2 months later…

 

 

“That’s really good, Bebe. You’re really getting the hang of making those bushes look more realistic.”

“Thank you, Mr. Rogers!” The nine year old beamed.

As much as he enjoyed the Tuesday and Thursday classes, his Friday after school class never ceased to amaze him with their progress at such young ages. His Friday class consisted mainly of eight and nine year old children, which the occasional straggler who was a bit younger or a bit older. Seeing how well they were picking up their lessons and applying them made him think back to when he was that age, it took him longer to get where they are now because his mother couldn’t really afford the classes that these kids were taking and reminiscing only served to make him more determined to bring out the best in each of one of them.

“Mr. Rogers, can you come look at my tree?” Colin called from the back.

“Of course, Col-” A sudden bout of nausea hit him hard and he barely had enough time to make it to the connected bathroom before he was hurling up his breakfast that morning.

One of the older kids, Sasha, came in to check on him. “Are you okay, Mr. Rogers?” The twelve year old girl questioned.

“I think s-” Steve started before another bout of nausea came, leaving him sputtering over the porcelain bowl. He waved his hand spastically at the door, trying to get her to leave, which she did, closing the door behind her.

He was glad that it had been the last half hour of class because it was another ten minutes before he was out of the bathroom, looking a little worse for wear. He was also grateful that the three oldest kids were taking charge of cleanup, making sure the other students cleaned their supplies and their hands. He made a point of telling their parents how helpful and mature they were.

He’d experimented with his pancake batter that morning and chalked it up as a failure and the reason why he’d been sick. It wasn’t until three straight mornings of puking his guts out that Natasha pushed a pregnancy test at him and pointed to the bathroom. Which is how he ended up leaning most of his weight on the bathroom sink to keep himself from collapsing as he looked at the test results.

“Well?” Sam asked from the other side of the closed door.

Steve fumbled with the lock and handle, Sam and Natasha coming in to check on him.

Sam looked over his shoulder at the test and gave Natasha a quick nod.

Steve flopped down on the toilet seat, his wide eyes still glued to the little plus sign.

"So," Sam shifted from foot to foot. "What are you gonna do?"

Steve continued to stare at the test.

Natasha raised a fine brow. "Only you would get pregnant by the first decent male alpha you've met."

Steve groaned.

Most of the night had still remained a blur, but he’d remembered enough about the alpha, Bucky, to tell them a little about him.

“What are you going to do?” Sam repeated his earlier question. “Whatever decision you make we’ll stand behind you on it. Whether we become Uncle Sam and Aunt Nat or not.”

“I’m not getting rid of it!”

Sam held his hands up, “I didn’t expect you to. We need to get you to a doctor.”

“We need to find the father.” Natasha asserted. “What else can you remember from that night?”

“I already told you. His name was James, but he prefers Bucky. He’s was an alpha. He had brown hair and blue eyes.”

“What about the morning after? Can you guess where his apartment was during your walk of shame?”

“None of us believe the walk of shame is a thing.”

Natasha’s lips quirked up. “That’s not the point.”

“I didn’t get a good look at the apartment other than it looked big and expensive and nothing about the building other than it was in Midtown Manhattan.”

“Fancy place then.” Sam pursed his lips. “Was there anything special in the lobby?”

“It was full of people in… business suits?” Steve frowned.

“Hmmm.” Natasha walked out of the bathroom. “I’m going out for a bit. Sam, take him to get an appointment.”

Sam poked his head out of the bathroom. “Where are you –” The door slammed shut behind her. “- going.”

 

 

~~~~

 

It had been about two weeks since they’d made her this angry, and he can’t believe that he forgot just how terrifying Pepper can be when she’s worked up.

“I can’t believe you two did this again!”

“We were trying to test how much damage the arc reactor can take –”

She cut Tony off. “By causing a level seven explosion!”

“If it’s any consolation…” Bucky nearly clammed up at the death glare the beta sent his way, “at least we know this model of the arc reactor is resistant to extreme temperatures as well as holding up to a level seven explosion.”

“Which is good to know since we can now replace the old reactors powering the building.” Bruce piped up.

“And you condoned this and watched them do it?”

Bruce shrunk back. “Well, they did possibly traumatize the two floors underneath.”

“Try five. “

“Let them know everything’s alright. Just better geniuses at work.”

Bucky thinks Pepper actually growled at Tony.

Tony gulped. “Ooor I could?”

“JARVIS said you were on your way here before the explosion. Did you need anything?” Bucky asked. “Besides paperwork?” Eyeing the thick folder in her arms with trepidation.

“Someone is here to see you, James. She knew what you go by so I’m assuming you know her. She didn’t look threatening and JARVIS insisted she had no weapons on her person. I thought I’d deliver the message myself since I have contracts that Tony needs to look over. There’s also a few things for you to -”

“And I’m going to see about that visitor.” Bucky quickly bypassed her and members of the hazard team to get to the stairs, getting down to the 73rd floor before taking the elevator, pulling his glove out of his back pocket and putting it on as it took him down to the first floor.

By the time he got to the lobby he wanted to smack himself for not asking what the woman looked like, but as he scanned the floor he noticed a woman who stuck out like a sore thumb. She was short and slight, with red hair and arms covered with various colors of ink. She was eyeing the crowd, intelligent green eyes scouting the area until they landed on him.

Bucky approached her. “You’re the one Pepper mentioned?”

“Yes. You’re taking my friend to Roberta’s tonight at eight. Don’t be late.”

“Excuse me?”

“Steve insists that you’re a nice alpha and I’ll take his word for it.”

“Steve?” It had been a long time since he’d met the little spitfire at whatever bar Clint and the gang had dragged him to, but the omega hadn’t strayed far from his thoughts since. “Wait? You’re his friend from the bar, right?”

“Yes. You’re meeting him at the appointed time and place tonight. Don’t be late and don’t disappoint him.” The redhead turned and left, leaving Bucky highly confused.

 

~~~~

 

 

“You did what?!” Steve gaped at Natasha.

“I told him he was going to meet you at Roberta’s tonight.”

“How did you even find him?” Sam looked a little scared.

“Midtown Manhattan. Lobby is filled with people in business suits. Has apartments on the top floors. Also has brown hair and blue eyed men named James who goes by Bucky. Alpha. You were in the sectioned off floors of Stark Industries and didn’t even have a good look around? Shame on you.”

“You should’ve become a PI instead of a tattoo artist.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” She turned to Steve. “When is your appointment?”

“Wednesday.”

“Good. Just in time for you to get him on board.”

“You – you want me to tell him?”

“He’s the father isn’t he?”

“Well yeah, but –”

“Then you’re telling him on your date tonight.”

“I don’t have a say in whether or not I’m going, do I?”

“If it makes you feel better, his eyes lit up when I said your name.”

It did make him feel better. Somewhat.

 

 

Roberta’s wasn’t a fancy place, so he dressed like he normally does, in his khakis and a plaid shirt (that he changed about a dozen times, finally sticking with one that brought out his eyes according to Nat). It wasn’t hard to find Bucky once he got out of the cab, he was taller than most of the people lingering outside the restaurant, and his hair was tucked under a cap in the same bun it’d been in when they first met.

“Bucky?”

The alpha turned around and smiled. “Steve.”

“Shall we?”

 

It took a while before they were seated, but it was worth it to be tucked in the corner of the restaurant. That sat in silence for a moment, Steve’s mind scrambling for something to say that wouldn’t make this awkward.

Thankfully, Bucky spoke first. “So, how’s your work going?”

“Good. The kids are really showing some talent.”

More silence.

“How’re your friends?”

“They’re doing well.”

Silence.

Bucky was obviously waiting for some input from him, but he was so used to the alphas and betas he’d dated dominating the conversation that he felt a little bereft. It made him determined to see where this could go.

“I’m so sorry that Nat ambushed you!” Damn it, Steve. “Um, I mean we didn’t get much of a chance to talk before the alcohol hit, which probably made everything afterward a blur. I hope we can bridge in those gaps and get to know each other while we’re sober.”

“Of course. In case you forgot, I’m an engineer. I got my Masters in mechanical engineering and bio engineering at MIT by 19 and went back there to get my Masters in electrical engineering and computer science and got that by 26.”

“Oh wow.” Steve scratched the back of his neck. “Well, I graduated with my Masters at NYU. A former professor of mine started a recreational center focused heavily on the arts and he called me up when he found out I was looking for work to help with the commissions. I know it’s nothing like -”

“Don’t sell your education short.” Bucky cut in politely. “I think creativity is crucial and what you an others like you are doing is encouraging and nurturing that in younger generations.”

Steve couldn’t help but smile. When he usually talked about his education he usually got dismissed, not many people thought art degrees were worth something without being the next big painter. Things seemed much easier after that (and after finding out they’re both from Brooklyn), the only lulls in conversation being when they ordered and when they first got their food. They shared a Rosso, with Bucky eating the majority of it since Steve was worried about what his stomach could and couldn’t tolerate.

Which brought him back to why they were here in the first place. He had to tell Bucky about the pregnancy.

Bucky had just finished a story about an explosion that had happened earlier that day in his workshop, it was a funny story since Bucky appeared to be unharmed, but his thoughts snatched out whatever humor was to be found. “Steve?”

“Uh, so there was a reason Nat came to find you, and possibly threaten you, to come here.”

Bucky motioned for him to continue.

“Um, well. Here goes nothin’.” Steve took a deep breath. “I’m pregnant.”

“Get the fuck outta here.”

Steve started. “What?”

“What?” Bucky looked just as startled.

“I said I’m pregnant.”

“With… emotion?”

Steve gave him a look.  “With a baby.”

“And you’re telling me…?”

“And you’re supposed to be a genius.” Steve muttered. “Because you’re the father.”

“I’m the father.”

“Yes.”

“How the fuck did this happen?”

“We had unprotected sex, that’s how it happened.”

“But you weren’t in –”

“It’s very rare but it still can happen outside of a heat.”

“Jesus H. So what happens now?”

“I’m going to the doctor next Wednesday. I was hoping you would come with me.”

“So you haven’t confirmed it yet?”

“I took a pregnancy test –”

“More than one?”

“No, but –”

“Store bought tests can have a decent margin of error. Have you had a heat yet?”

Steve shook his head. “Not enough time has passed. I usually have one every three months. The last one was about a week before that night.”

 “So there’s a chance you might not be pregnant. I bet you’re not pregnant. In fact,” Bucky pulled his wallet and threw several bills (too many, in Steve’s opinion) down to cover the meal and a tip. “I can take you over to SI right now. We have two medical floors.”

“Oh, okay then.” Steve got up and accepted the hand that Bucky offered, wondering what effect this would have on a possible relationship once they discovered if he was pregnant (he was almost certain he was) or not.  

Chapter Text

Stark Industries, as he knows it now, was less crowded than it had been the morning he’d taken off and more populated than he could vaguely recall when he and Bucky had stumbled their way through it. They stepped into the same elevator from that night and the doors slid smoothly closed.

 

“Take me to the second floor of medical, J. Ask Banner to come up as well.”

Steve jumped when he heard the disembodied voice respond.

“Of course, Master Barnes.”

“Who is that?”

“It’s J.A.R.V.I.S., he runs the place.”

“And he just knows wherever you are? Does he just stare at the security camera until someone gets on?”

The door slid open just as silently as it closed, opening to what looked to be a private waiting room.

“No, J.A.R.V.I.S. stands for Just A Rather Very Intelligent System. He’s an AI.”

“Oh.”

“Tony and I created him about a decade ago. He was named after a friend of ours who passed.”

“Sorry.”

Bucky shrugged. “It was a long time ago.”

The elevator opened again to reveal a man that couldn’t be too much older than Bucky. He looked mild mannered and calm, his dark brown hair gray in some areas.

“How many times have I told you that I’m not that kind of doctor?”

Bucky grinned. “Yet you still patch us up and you still came. Bruce, Steve. Steve, Doctor Bruce Banner.”

Dr. Banners’s grip was firm but not too tight as they shook hands. “Nice to meet you, Steve. What is this about?”

“We need a pregnancy test.” Bucky cut right to the chase.

For Bruce’s part, he didn’t look surprised, but he appeared curious. “So he’s that Steve?”

“You told people about me?” Steve turned to glare at Bucky. “What, did you high five afterwards?”

Bucky held his hands up, but Dr. Banner was the one who answered.

“Not in an objectifying manner. He didn’t give any details. He just told us your name and what you looked like.”

Bucky sighed. “Let’s head to the back, Doc.”

“Sure.” Dr. Banner motioned for them to follow him, Steve behind him and Bucky close behind Steve. He had the neutral aura and smell of a beta. He led them to one of the examination rooms, Bucky closing the door firmly behind them.

 “I took a pregnancy test earlier today after several days of sickness and the test was positive. He won’t take my word for it so here we are.” Steve huffed and hopped up on the examination chair. “Let’s get this over with, Dr. Banner.”

Dr. Banner gave Bucky a loo. “Well, we can do this one of two ways: urine or blood sample?”

Steve pulled up his sleeve and held out his left arm. He was not peeing in a cup or on another test.

“Right.” Dr. Banner walked over to the sink to wash and dry his hands thoroughly. “Are you allergic to latex?”

“No.”

The silence was oppressive as Dr. Banner worked and Steve was completely still, even as a spot was cleaned for the needle and as his blood was drawn.

“I don’t have much on my plate, so this should take about thirty minutes to an hour.” Dr. Banner said, all but running out of the room.

Unlike before in the club and at the restaurant, talking didn’t come easy, and after a few attempts Bucky thankfully gave up, waiting out the 45 minutes it took for Dr. Banner to come back quietly.

“I’m seeing traces of the hCG hormone.”

Steve snorted.

“You really are pregnant.” Bucky collapsed onto one of the chairs near the door.

“That’s what I told you.”

“Shit.”

“Do you have thoughts as to what you want to do, Steve?”

The blond scowled. “I’m not getting rid of it.”

Dr. Banner nodded, handing the results to Steve. “I’ll leave you two to talk it over.”

Steve pulled his sleeve down and got up.

“So what happens now?”

“What happens is that I go through this pregnancy and I have the baby.”

“I mean between us.”

“Is there an us?”

“Before this whole bombshell and before we slept together that night things were easy between us. I’d like to see where this goes.”

Steve felt a flash of anger. “I don’t need you to humor me, James.”

Bucky winced. “Did you not hear that first sentence?”

Steve sighed. He was sure that at some point Bucky wouldn’t want much to do with him outside of this thing inside of him, his track record proved that numerous times. Outside of a little bedroom fun, he wasn’t the ideal omega in the eyes of most people. “Fine.”

“Good.” Bucky stood. “I’ll take you home.”

“I can make my way just fine.” Steve said as he walked out, heading towards the waiting room.

Bucky looked at his phone as he tailed him. “It’s almost 11.”

“Your point?”

“I’m taking you.” Bucky ushered him into the elevator.

The journey downward was quiet and mercifully short, opening into a parking garage. The garage was much smaller than average, but the cars in it were undoubtedly expensive, some he’d never seen before and some he knew to be foreign from the many car magazines Gabe had around his apartment.

They stopped in front of a silver Ferrari with a red interior, Bucky pulling the keys seemingly out of nowhere to unlock it.

“I usually don’t take the cars out when I’m out of the area, too risky. But public transport at this time is even more risky.”

“Is this yours?” Steve asked as he climbed inside.

Bucky joined him, settling behind the wheel. “Yep. This side is mine and the side across from us is Tony’s.”

“Mh.”

Bucky plugged Steve’s address into the GPS and took off.

 

They pulled in front of Steve’s apartment at a quarter to twelve. Steve felt a little self-conscious about the place, it wasn’t the best apartment block in Brooklyn but it wasn’t the worst either. Before he climbed out, a large hand closed over his wrist, he flinched and Bucky quickly let him go.

Bucky looked hesitant. “I’ll see you soon, yeah?”

“Yeah. I’ll see you soon, Bucky.”

The night was still save for the gentle hum of Bucky’s Ferrari. He could feel eyes on him as he walked to the entrance to the building, looking back to find Bucky watching him. He waved and Bucky waved back at him; taking a deep breath, he let himself inside, the Ferrari taking off soon after.

 

~~~~~~

 

It wasn’t that this area was all that bad, he just knew that Steve and their pup deserved better. He wouldn’t bring up a change in living arrangements now or anytime soon though, he didn’t want to alienate the omega.

 

Bucky found Tony and Bruce in Tony’s lab, Bruce tapping on his StarkPad and Tony tinkering as usual.

“I’m surprised you’re up this late, Bruce.”

“I think special circumstances warrant me staying awake. So, Steve?”

“Firstly, everyone thought that I was going to be the one who would have unexpected pups and pregnant omegas at my door and I would like to be apologized to for such a notion. And secondly, congratulations?”

Bucky sighed and flopped all over Tony’s couch. He didn’t have to ask to know that Tony had been looking at the feed. “What the hell am I going to do?”

Tony looked over at him. “Is he getting rid of it?”

“No, he isn’t. I don’t want him to either.”

“Well, it’s not like it’ll want for anything. You’re on my payroll, well, Pepper’s payroll; you’ve got more money than you’ll ever know what to do with.”

“Parenthood is more than just throwing money at a kid and hoping he’ll stay occupied.” Bruce kindly informed.

Tony snorted. “If only you’d been around to tell Howard that.”

Bruce decided to ignore him and turn back to Bucky. “Your main concerns are helping to get the pup –“

“Or pups.” Tony interjected. Bucky felt nauseous at the thought.

“– to term and your affiliation with Steve now and at the time of the birth.”

“I told him I’d like to see him again.”

“So is this thing turning into a relationship?” Tony asked. “Because shotgun weddings aren’t as common as –“

Bucky waved him off. “I’d been hoping that I’d see him again after that night. And things had been so easy then and before he dropped the pregnancy bomb on me. I’d like to think things could still be easy between us.”

“That ship sailed the moment he started whelping.”

Sometimes he really wanted to punch Tony in the face. Multiple times. With his left fist.

“The blunt way he put it aside, Tony’s right. Things aren’t easy for couples that have been bonded for years when a pup comes along, let alone a newer couple. You don’t really have a foundation that they do.”

Bucky didn’t mention that he and Steve hadn’t really discussed what they are or what they will/could be.

Bruce yawned, heading towards the elevator. “You should first find out about any appointments he has and make sure you’re there with him. It’ll show that you’re committed to the pup and possibly a more solid relationship.”

Bucky propped himself up on his elbows. “You mean you’re not gonna be our doctor?”

“I’m not that kind of doctor!” Bruce tossed behind him as the elevator doors closed.

Bucky felt exhausted all of a sudden. Tonight had been such an emotional rollercoaster for him, can’t begin to imagine what Steve has felt these last few days.

“I guess I should get some sleep too. ‘S been a long day.” He got up.

“Barnes.”

Bucky stopped just in front of the elevator doors.

“I know I sounded like a bit of an ass earlier –”

Bucky scoffed.

“Well, the whole ass then. Being a sarcastic ass is how I deal with these type of surprises. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I was the one people would expect this to happen to. You’re one of the sanest of us - after Rhodey, of course. What I guess I’m trying to say is that I can’t help out with much, as much as that thought bothers me, but I can listen and brainstorm with you. Y’know we nocturnals have to stick together.”

Bucky grinned. He hadn’t heard or said that in ages. Tony had been the first to say it, back when they were fifteen and staying late in Professor Lensherr’s lab to work non-stop on their projects.

“I know. At one point you were the only one that did.” Bucky’s grin widened further. “That little speech didn’t get you godfather position though - you’re still in the running with Rhodey.”

“Damn.”

Bucky laughed as he entered the elevator.

He was going to be a father. This thought has played his is mind in loop ever since Steve had told him at Roberta’s.

Half of the ride was silent before J.A.R.V.I.S. spoke. “I believe congratulations are in order, Master Barnes?”

“I guess so, pal.”

The elevator doors opened to his floor.

“If it is any consolation to you, Master Barnes, I believe you will make a good father.”

Bucky’s smile was tenuous at best. “Thanks, J.”

Chapter Text

Natasha and Sam were waiting for him when he came in.

“So… it’s after midnight,” Sam said after a few beats of silence.

Steve sighed, dragging himself over to his recliner across from the pair. “I know what time it is.”

“Did you know that we also tried calling and texting you and were seriously considering calling the police?”

Steve eased his phone out of his pocket and unlocked it, wincing at the numerous notifications. “Sorry, it somehow put itself on silent.” It wouldn’t be the first time, or the second, or the third; he needed a new phone but it wasn’t exactly in the budget.

“How did it go?” Natasha inquired.

“It went well until I told ‘im I’m pregnant.”

Natasha’s eyes narrowed and Sam sat up straighter. “What happened?” They questioned at the same time.

“He was shocked, obviously. His exact words were ‘Get the fuck outta here.’ Then he asked me if I was sure. I told him about the tests and he went on this spiel about how they could be inaccurate, so he took me to a doctor to confirm it.”

“Was he hostile towards you in anyway?”

Steve shook his head and took Natasha’s mother henning in stride. “Like I said, he was in shock, but deep down he looked as if he knew I was telling the truth. He didn’t ask if it was his or not after my blood was tested and the results were positive.”

Sam frowned. “You got to a doctor and the results at that time of night? You go to a hospital?”

“He took me back to Stark Tower. They have a medical bay and he had his talking ceiling find a doctor in the building.”

“What’s this about talking ceilings?”

Natasha held up a hand and redirected the conversation back to where it was. “What happened after?”

“He asked what happens between us now. I asked if there was an us and he said that he liked the direction we were headed in and wants to continue dating.”

“Did he allude to your future with a child?”

“Not really, but he didn’t mention me getting rid of it.”

“Did you exchange numbers?”

Steve frowned. “No. We didn’t.”

Natasha gave him a look and Sam ran a hand down his face in exasperation.

“He knows where I live. Steve shrugged, he didn’t see the big deal. He doubted he would see the alpha again at this point, now would be the perfect time for him to ditch him. He’d heard about alphas doing that before, going against nature itself to avoid responsibility.

“But does he know about your appointment coming up?”

“No,” Steve stood up. “I’m tired. G’night guys.”

He could feel their eyes on him as he left. He knew they were worried but he could do this. He’s never backed down from a challenge, no matter how impossible it seemed and he wasn’t going to start now.

 

He woke up late in the morning nauseous. He made it to the bathroom just in time to puke up what felt like his internal organs because there was no way he ate enough last night for the amount of vomit in the bowl. He brushed his teeth and rinsed his mouth thoroughly before hopping into the shower.

When he finally made it to the kitchen it was silent, Sam and Natasha long gone. There was a small package on one of the counters with a note attached to it.

 

This was in our box this morning. Make sure you eat something, you’re no longer taking care of just yourself.

-Nat

 

The box was addressed to him from Stark Tower. He opened the box to reveal a sleek, new phone. A sleek, new Starkphone. A note was taped just inside the box.

 

I guess this was simpler than just asking. My number is already plugged in. Don’t go showing it off complaining to someone about it, this version doesn’t come out until almost two weeks from now.

-Bucky

 

Steve was caught between indignation and anger. Was this the start of Bucky forcing shiny things on him that he didn’t need? Had he seen the apartment building and thought it was a dump and felt sorry for him?

What if his intentions had been pure and he’d wanted to have a way to communicate with him but didn’t have the time to ask or deliver the phone himself this morning?’ He thought to himself. ‘Your current phone is a small step up from a damn paperweight anyway.

He was proud, but he also wasn’t stupid.

He turned on the phone and spent the next ten minutes figuring out how to work it. He ended up transferring his contacts from his old phone to the new one and texting everyone his new number. He wondered how and when he would tell his other friends about his pregnancy. Very soon. Probably tonight, just to get it over with. He stared down at one contact in particular and opened up the messenger.

To: Bucky

11:38am

I see you’re in the business of handing off new tech to strays. Does Stark approve?

He didn’t have to wait long for a reply.

 

From: Bucky

11:40am

My best fella ain’t a stray.

Steve blinked. My best fella? He felt his cheeks heat. Was it too early for endearments like that? Well, he didn’t exactly hate it per se. Another message came up.

 

From: Bucky

11:43am

When are you available to come see Bruce again? I read that you should have a check-up soon.

To: Bucky

11:44am

I thought he wasn’t that kind of doctor? Besides, I have an appointment booked already.

He got up to locate the bread, popping a few pieces in the toaster. He wasn’t hungry, but he didn’t want to be on the business end of Natasha’s wrath. Besides, she was right anyway, he was eating for two and the pup inside of him needed all the nutrition that Steve could provide.

 

From: Bucky

11:46am

So cancel it. Steve scoffed at that as he fished out a plate from the cupboard. Banner may say he isn’t that kind of doctor, but he was hairline deep in obstetrics and gynecology books.

To: Bucky

11:51am

So you’re just gonna go all alpha on me now? Your way or no way?

From: Bucky

11:52am

That’s not how I meant it and you know it.

Steve had an inkling, but he still sent out Do I? He fished out the apple jelly from the fridge and went searching for a knife or a spoon.

 

From: Bucky

11:58am

I haven’t imposed on you yet and I won’t start. I’ll be fine going with you to wherever but I know you two can get the best care possible here. Bruce is a damn quick study and Helen is a leader in male omega obstetrics. Please?

He rubbed at his still slightly concave stomach. It was true, Bucky had been nothing but considerate with him when they had been together, putting him head and shoulders above the rest of the alphas he’d encountered outside of his friend circle. And if Helen was the Dr. Helen Cho, he knew that she knew her stuff, he’d written an opinion piece on one of her many published papers. And he did want what was best for his –their? - pup. He relented.

 

To: Bucky

12:06pm

Ok.

From: Bucky

12:07pm

Thank you. When can I come get you?

He had an afternoon class to teach today. He wouldn’t have time to get to Manhattan and back and be on time for it.

 

To: Bucky

12:09pm

My original appointment was for tomorrow at noon.

From: Bucky

12:10pm

Gotcha

From: Bucky

12:11pm

And maybe we could have lunch after?

 

He was actually serious about them dating? He didn’t want to get his hopes up, but alphas like Bucky didn’t come around often and he was interested in him.

 

To: Bucky

12:14pm

I’d love to.

 

He’d sent out a mass text to his friends before his class, asking them to gather at his place, shooting one to Sam and Natasha about what his intentions were. He’d agreed with his earlier assessment that telling them early on about his pregnancy was best so they didn’t trick him into feeling guilty (Peggy and Clint didn’t hesitate to use it and Thor’s puppy dog eyes made everyone who was on the receiving end of it feel like the scum of the Earth).

He could hear them just a few feet from the door when he got home, chatter and laughter filling the air. He knew the door wouldn’t be locked so he didn’t bother fishing out his keys.

“Steve!”

The gang was all here: Peggy, her niece Sharon, Angie, Thor, Jane (surprisingly), Clint, Phil, Gabe, Morita, and Falsworth were seated either on one of the chairs provided or comfortably on the floor. Natasha and Sam materialized out of nowhere from the kitchen, spreading out snacks and drinks.

“My Jane and I have wondrous news!” The jolly alpha beamed at him.

Steve accepted the bottle of apple juice from Natasha, turning down the chips until she glared him down. “That’s great, Thor. I have some news, too. Care to go first?”

“Well,” Jane smiled shyly, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. “Thor and I are expecting!”

The sheer irony of the situation made Steve laugh, the sound being swallowed up by the others congratulating the happy couple. He couldn’t help but hope that one day he and Bucky would be that close and excited about their pup.

“When is it due?”

“The beginning of May is the prediction.” Jane grinned.

He could feel eyes on him, and he traced the feeling back to Natasha and Sam looking at him expectantly.

Once the clamor died down and everyone turned their attention to him, he took a quick, shallow breath before blurting out. “So am I!”

Silence.

“What?” Clint looked adorably confused.

“I’m pregnant.”

There was another bout of silence before everyone – excluding Nat and Sam – hit him with a barrage of questions. When did this happen? How did this happen? Were you forced? Who’s the fucker I’m gonna have to kill? You had a boyfriend and didn’t tell us?

He held his hands up to try to quiet them down but it wasn’t until Natasha let out a sharp whistle that silence reigned again.

“It happened the night Sam and Nat dragged me out to that bar. I met someone, one thing led to another, and here I am.”

Peggy spoke up. “Was he an alpha? A beta? He didn’t drug you or force you did he? I know the type of guys you end up with.”

“He was an alpha. He was also kind and considerate, the complete opposite of who I’m usually stuck with.” Steve was quick to defend.

“Have you been able to find him?” Clint asked. “What’s his name? Where can I find him? We need to have a chat.”

“Yes, I have and you will do no such thing!” Steve scowled at him. “Natasha already turned spy and hunted him down.” He bit his lip. “His name is James.”

“Goes by Bucky though.” Natasha’s distaste at the nickname was written all over his face.

Both Clint and Phil’s eyes widened. “Wait! Barnes is the father?” Clint’s voice went up a few octaves.

“You know him?”

You’re the one he left with? Of fucking course, you were too small for me to see past him and I was well past too drunk to really make you out in the crowd anyway.” Clint pulled out his phone. “I’m definitely going to have words with that asshole.”

Phil thankfully took the phone away from the blond. “I take it he knows now.”

“He knows.  He insisted on me coming to the tower for my appointment tomorrow.”

“But what about your appointment in the city?” Sam asked.

“Canceled it. He said that Dr. Banner and Dr. Cho will be looking after me.”

“You could do a hell of a lot worse than those two, especially Cho.” Phil commented. “She’s an expert in the study of male omega obstetrics and births.”

Clint grumbled.

“This is double the reason to celebrate then, my friends.” Thor grinned.

Everyone agreed with a cheer and began to converse.

Peggy sat on the arm of the recliner. “When will we get to meet this James?”

“I don’t know.” Steve answered. “Soon maybe?”

“I’ll hold you to that, love.” She kissed him on the forehead, leaving a red mark he furiously had to wipe at to get off, Peggy laughing the whole time.

“I know you will, Pegs.”

Jane came up and sat on the other side of him. “Can you believe it? Our pups are gonna arrive at around the same time. Maybe we could do a double baby shower?”

Steve gave her a small smile. Nat, Sam, and Peggy wouldn’t go for it, would insist that they meet him earlier, but maybe that could be when he introduced Bucky to the rest of the gang. “Maybe.”

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Bucky drummed his fingers nervously on the wheel as he waited for Steve to come down – he’d chosen the same car as last time to make sure Steve would recognize it, but then again, how often does someone from around here see this type of car?

He’s usually not anxious around omegas, betas, or alphas, but Steve made him constantly second guess himself in his presence. It was equal parts exhilarating and nerve-wracking.

He caught sight of a familiar small figure hunched in on itself walking towards the car.

Steve had held a similar disposition when they’d first met that fateful night and he didn’t understand it. Why would someone so beautiful and sharp do their best to make themselves invisible?

Bucky put on his best smile, trying to ignore the way his heartbeat picked up once Steve was in the car. He fought the urge to take a deep breath of Steve’s combined scent of charcoal, paints, and his natural, sweet omega smell that was tinged in the lavender that indicated pregnancy. He wondered why he didn’t pick it up before.

“Hey.” He greeted him.

“Hi.” Steve responded, securing himself with the seat belt before leaning back, his eyes steadfast on the road ahead.

“How are you?” Bucky asked as he pulled off. “Have you been able to eat much? Are you still getting sick?”

“I haven’t upended the food I had this morning, so I’ll take that as a fine for now. I don’t typically eat much, but Natasha was threatening to force feed me so I relented to pancakes.”

He pulled out into the mostly empty street, taking off smoothly.

“Good. How have your classes been going?”

“They're fine.”

“You have any place in mind after the visit?”

“Surprise me.”

Bucky glanced over at the omega, taking in the tension in his shoulders and how he stared outside of the passenger's window with an unnecessary focus. He could take a hint.

 

The rest of the way back to the tower was filled with silence. Bucky felt unbelievably awkward. They've proved twice that conversation could flow easily between them, but when the pup is the main focus of their outing things become still between them.

Is this always how it's gonna be?

“What do you mean?” Steve asked, bringing Bucky out of his thoughts

“What?” He blinked, mindlessly pulling into one of his parking spaces.

“You said ‘is this always how it's gonna be?’ what do you mean by that?”

“I said that out loud, didn't I?” Bucky sighed. “We seem to get along real well until the pup comes into the mix. Why is that? I'm tryna do right by you Steve and you just seem to clam up on me. If this is how it is before it gets here, I'm dreading what it'll be like when it arrives.”

“You believe that I don't think about all of that too?” Steve turned in his seat, fixing Bucky a glare that could melt ice. “This pup is all I've been worrying about since I found out I was pregnant. We're not some couple that's been together for years and decided it was time to start a family! We were never supposed to see each other again!”

Bucky flinched. Ouch.

“All we were supposed to be was a one night stand.” The blond took a deep breath, softly finishing with, “you were supposed to be a fond memory of the one alpha that didn't treat me like shit. This wasn't supposed to happen.”

Bucky felt equal parts angry at all the other shit alphas that Steve had the misfortune of dealing with; sympathy for Steve’s plight because at the end of the day, he was the pregnant one with all the expectations; and finally, guilty that he'd been so careless to assume that Steve was just going through the motions.

He unbuckled his seatbelt and scooted over, unbuckling Steve’s as well before he pulled the omega into a tight, but not painful embrace. He felt Steve stiffen, then try to push him away, but Bucky held on until the omega begrudgingly relaxed.

-

Steve fought against the waves of emotions threatening to drown him. He wouldn't admit it but it felt nice to have a strong pair of arms around him, regardless of the composition of said arms.

He hadn't meant to unload any of that on Bucky and he knew that the brunet meant nothing malicious when he asked him about the tension that surrounded them whenever they were outside of dating circumstances. All of these feelings and negative energies had been building inside of him for what feels like forever and he took part of it out on the closest person.

But once he started he just couldn't stop. “I'm fucking terrified. I don't even know if I'm healthy enough to carry him or her to term, let alone get us through the birth. And what then? I have to share an apartment with my friends, which was theirs to begin with, and I'm barely able to cover a portion of the bills. How the hell will a pup be able to fit into that?” He broke off with a sob, he hated that he had a tendency to get this way when exhaustion, stress, and now hormones get to him.

He felt a large hand combed through his short hair.

“Are you done?”

Steve shrugged.

“Okay, now let's see if I can tackle those one atta time. I'm terrified too, I have no idea what kinda father I'm gonna be. This is new and scary, so you're allowed to be terrified. We can be terrified together, yeah?”

Steve reluctantly nodded.

“We won't know how much of a risk this is to you or the pup, it can be tough even for female omega and betas. That's why we have Helen and Bruce, I trust that they'll get you and the pup through this as safe as possible.”

Helen was renowned for her expertise in male omega obstetrics and he'd met Bruce and the man didn't appear to be a slouch.

“And as far as getting stuff for the pup,” Bucky paused for a moment, appearing hesitant before soldiering on. “You know you and the pup won't have to worry about nothin’ right?”

Steve tensed, pulling away from the alpha. “I don't need your handouts.”

“For Christ’s sake, Steve!” Bucky groaned, exasperation clear in his features.

Steve held up a hand. “I'm willing to admit that I need all the help I can get when it comes to getting stuff for the pup. I draw the line at myself, I'm not your concern.”

You're carrying my pup.” Bucky enunciated slowly. “You're my-”

“I'm your what? Your omega? Newsflash, when I looked into the mirror this morning I didn't see a bond bite on my neck. I don't belong to anyone.”

Bucky held out his hands in a sign of surrender. “I know you don't and I got carried away. I'm sorry.”

Steve willed himself to calm down. His emotions were going haywire already and he wasn't even that far into his pregnancy. “Can we just get this done?”

-

“Can we just get this done?”

“Yeah, sure.” He didn't want to anger Steve any further. He didn't know what parts were true anger and what parts were hormones (he went from scared to pissed in just a few moments) but whatever it was this was a particularly sore subject for Steve, as he knew it would be. He should have just kept his mouth shut.

Steve quickly climbed out of the car, Bucky pulling himself out at a more sedate pace. The sound of their footsteps was loud in the silent garage, making Bucky even more tense.

“Take us to Helen, J.” Bucky said once they climbed into the elevator.

“Right away, Master Barnes. Welcome back, Mister Rogers.”

Bucky almost grinned when the blond looked up at the ceiling. Most people didn't know how to address JARVIS. “It's Steve.”

“Mister Rogers is the best you're gonna do. Anything else would offend J’s delicate sensibilities.”

“Yes, heaven forbid I add a little class to the tower, Master Barnes.” JARVIS replied dryly.

That made Steve smile just a little. He made a note to give JARVIS an upgrade as soon as possible.

When they stepped inside they saw two dark haired heads close together, one peppered with gray and the other tied into a neat ponytail.

Helen looked up and grinned. Bucky found it easy to return it as she stepped forward for a hug.

“It's good to see ya, Len.”

“It's good to see you, too. Now is this Steve?” She held out her hand, which Steve automatically took.

Helen was a beta, her neutral scent and soft demeanor put almost anyone at ease, allowing her to keep her patients calm and excel in her field.

“It’s nice to meet you, Dr. Cho.”

“No need for formalities, I like to be on a first name basis with all my patients and you’re here with a dear friend of mine, so that makes you extra special. Call me Helen or Len.”

Steve looked a bit uncomfortable but he nodded. “Okay. It’s nice to meet you, Helen.”

“Great.” Helen beamed, striding over to the exam recliner and picking up a more comfortable looking version of a hospital gown. “Great! Now if you can change into this we can take our first look at you.”

If you’re okay with me working with Helen.” Bruce interjected.

Steve shrugged and took the gown, going over to the small room in the corner. Once the door closed behind him, Bucky took a deep breath, shuddering breath.

“That bad?” Bruce asked, keeping his voice low.

“Either I’m sayin’ the wrong thing or I’m just makin’ things awkward.” Bucky ran his flesh hand through his hair, tugging slightly. “And I think that his hormones are already kicking in.”

“It’s known to happen in all pregnancies.” Helen responded, washing her hands thoroughly. “Especially male omegas since the small amount of testosterone in his body is starting to be overwhelmed by the increasing estrogen the pregnancy is causing.”

 “I really like ‘im, but I don’t know what to do.”

Helen brows crept up. “You don’t know what to do?”

Bucky felt irritation flare up inside of him. “This is all kinds of different than just scratchin’ an itch, Len.”

Helen pursed her lips, considering him for a moment before nodding. “It’s about time you grew out of those ways anyway.”

Steve chose that second to reappear, looking even more uncomfortable than before, pulling uselessly at the hem of his gown.

“Now if you’ll take a seat and lie back.”

Steve silently came over and climbed up on the seat, lying down. Bucky came to stand beside him.

-

Helen rolled over on her stool and Bruce rolled a sleek monitor for them to see. She brought the stirrups up. Steve stared at them and her.

“Put your feet up.”

He could feel his face heat up as he did as he was bid, his legs propping wide open. Bruce, bless his heart, threw a sheet over Steve’s legs to give him a miniscule semblance of privacy.

“What we’re going to do today is get a first look at the baby. It may not resemble more than a blob to you right now, but that’s A-Okay.”

Steve’s eyes widened when she pulled something long and phallic looking out of nowhere, the omega glancing up to see Bucky eyeing it with distrust as Helen squirted gel over it, the liquid coming out with a squishy sound.

“This is going to be cold, but I need you to relax.” Helen looked over at Bucky, whose gaze was still fixated on her wand. “You seem really interested in this, you want one up your butt too?”

If looks could kill. Her lame attempt at a joke allowed him to loosen up just a bit as Helen guided the wand between his cheeks and slowly inserted it inside of him. It was cold and foreign, despite its silicone surface. Since he was in no way aroused, she had to tilt the wand up to breech the canal leading up to his uterus.

An image flickered to life on the monitor.

“Just past your cervix there is your uterus. That dark area in the middle is the amniotic sac, and that blob just in the middle is the embryo.”

Steve felt a hand on his bicep and looked over to see Bucky’s eyes locked intently on the screen and a bit misty.

“You see that little flicker there? That’s the pup’s heartbeat.” She eyed the screen with a calculating look. “It looks like you’re about eight or nine weeks along,” she speculated, grinning at the pair.

“That – that’s it?” Steve knew she mentioned that it would be just a blob but it was still a bit jarring.”

Helen laughed. “As I said it looks like a little blob, but time will fly and before you know it the pup will have all its little fingers and toes, etc. All you need to do is take care of it.”

“I’ll just get a picture here and print out two copies for each of you.” Bruce offered, typing at the keyboard connected to the monitor.

For the second time that day, Steve felt the tears run down his face. Sure it’d seemed easy enough to yell at Bucky about it in the car and yes he had passing thoughts about his future with a pup, but this was indeed yet another revelation that he was indeed pregnant. Unlike the home pregnancy test and the blood work Bruce had done (not to forget all the vomiting he did, but deep down he’d secretly hoped it was yet another bug he’d caught), this was visual proof of the burgeoning life inside of him. He brought a hand up to cover his mouth, muffling his sobs.

“Steve?”

Helen and Bruce shared a quick glance before they began to tidy up, making a quick exit once they were finished.

“Steve?”

“Oh my god. I’m pregnant.” Steve took a gasping breath, tears falling even harder. If he didn’t stop soon he was going to have one hell of an asthma attack. “Oh my god.”

 “Hey, it’s gonna be okay.” Bucky moved hesitantly, as if he was approaching a spooked deer, and slowly wrapped his arms around him. He sobbed harder. “Steve, hey. It’s gonna be okay.”

Steve was even more unsure of that than before.

Chapter Text

Disappointingly, but unsurprisingly, Steve didn't feel like going out after the shortened doctor's visit. They said nothing on the way back to Steve's apartment, the omega sniffling and breathing out shuddering sighs. Bucky wanted nothing more than to reach out and give Steve any type of comfort, any type of reassurance, but he now knew it would be unwelcome.

He pulled along the curb and turned off the car.

“I'm sorry I got you into this. I know this is th’ last thing you wanted. If I hadn't been so fuckin’ stupid this wouldn't have happened.”

“Stop.” He looked over to find Steve glaring at him. “I'm pretty sure I was the impatient one that night, if I'd just waited for you instead of whining like I was in heat we wouldn't be in this mess.”

Bucky refused to place all of the blame on Steve. He was just as responsible for the end results of that night as Steve was. He thought more so. “We were both reckless, but we can make th’ best of it, can't we? I mean, we don't hafta do the whole dating thing if that makes dealin’ with this harder. We can raise him or her as friends. People do that.” He wouldn't mention how that was the last thing he wanted, he wanted the omega for his own but he wouldn't force it.

Steve’s expression was neutral. “It'll be a start.”

Bucky hoped that his disappointment didn't show. “Maybe we can try seein’ Helen again soon too?”

“Yeah. Soon.” Steve opened the door.

“I mean it, Steve. I want to be one hundred percent sure you two are okay. Same time next week?”

“Two.”

“Steve-”

“Two weeks.”

“Your appointment was half finished, Steve. There's no way we're waitin’ two weeks. End of discussion.”

Steve smiled humorlessly. “Fine. As you say, Alpha.”

Bucky felt his blood run cold. “Don't be like that, Steve. Ya know that's not how I meant that. You yourself were worried ‘bout any complications this pregnancy can have. We may be flippin’ between the whole ‘are we, aren't we’ thing but at the end o’ the day I want you safe, regardless of whether or not you're carrying my pup.” He took a deep breath. “So whaddya say?”

Steve bit his lip, Bucky tried not to stare. “Same time next week.”

Bucky felt relief wash over him. “And friends?”

“More like acquaintances. Can't be promoting you to friend status just yet.”

It felt good to see a bit of Steve's wit again after this disastrous morning. “Fine, smartass.”

Steve climbed out of the car and gave him a short wave before entering the apartment building.

Hours later when Bucky was in his lab, elbow deep in an engine, he got two notifications on his phone. Wiping as much gunk off his hands as he could with the nearest rag, he checked his phone. Two texts. Both from Steve. He quickly opened them.

From: Steve

7:54pm

What do you call a fake noodle?

From: Steve

7:55pm

An impasta.

Bucky barked out a laugh and quickly typed up a response.

To: Steve

7:59pm

A sandwich walks into a bar. The bartender says “Sorry, but we don't serve food here.”

Steve sent back a laughing emoticon. He smiled. He’ll take this for what it was, Steve extending an olive branch. Sure, he could work at being Steve’s friend, though he hoped that one day it could be taken a step further.

-

“How did it go?” Sam asked when he breezes through the door, right on time from work.

Steve had been lounging on the couch, staring blankly at the t.v. for the last several hours. “I broke down. I snapped at him. Broke down again. We left before the appointment was supposed to be over. I accused him of being controlling when he really wasn't. Then he suggested that we be friends. The one good alpha I meet and I sleep with him, get knocked up by him, and then freak out on him enough for him to friend-zone me. Ain’t I a catch?”

“Your reactions are somewhat reasonable given the circumstances.” Sam sat down on the couch next to him. “Maybe he didn’t mean the friend thing like you think he meant it?”

Steve glared at him. “His exact words were: ‘We can raise him or her as friends. People do that.’”

“Maybe he’s giving you an opportunity to back out if a relationship isn’t the best course here. And honestly, it's not such a bad idea. If you guys are trying to force a relationship and it doesn’t work out, it’ll be harder for you to be friends, and that’ll create tension when you’re trying to co-parent. Going the friend route is much safer, you’ll be on good terms when the pup arrives and it could turn to something more later on that’s more stable. Some of the longest lasting and strongest bonds start with a solid friendship.”

Steve’s eyes widened. “Who said anything about bonding?!”

Sam held his hands up. “I'm just sayin’ is all. Get more comfortable with each other as friends and see where that takes you. Romantic relationships have too much expectation for you to juggle with the whole unplanned pregnancy thing.”

Steve shrugged. “I guess.”

“And as for ducking out of that appointment, you know I'm telling Nat if you don't have some sort of backup plan, right?”

Steve gaped at him. “You wouldn't.”

“I so would.”

Steve huffed. “Then you'll be happy to know that he insisted that I go back the same time next week.”

“Good.” Sam stood. “Maybe you two should chat more. Get to know each other.”

Steve opened his mouth to tell him that’s what they’ve been doing, but Sam cut him off.

“Without the expectations from dating. Just call him. Or text him. Shit, email him. Have you talked about sports yet? Favorite cooking shows? Do you know what color is his favorite? Do you know if he has any siblings? Just get a friendly conversation going. I'm gonna scrounge us up some dinner, you feel like anything?”

“Whatever you come up with is fine.” Steve turned his attention to the flickering images on the television. Just get a conversation going. Steve fished out his phone and opened the messenger app.

He knows that they both like baseball. He knows that Bucky rather fond of red, black, grey and silver, if his cars and wardrobe was anything to go by. He knows that Bucky’s short time in high school was filled with mischief and constantly questioning the intelligence of his teachers. He knew Bucky was a huge fan of mayo (Steve fought a shudder at the thought). Maybe he should ask about his favorite shows? His hobbies outside of tinkering?

On a whim, he just sent a corny joke in the end that he'd heard at the station the other day. Not too long after, he received a message in return, his heart racing as he opened it.

From: Bucky

8:00pm

A sandwich walks into a bar. The bartender says “Sorry, but we don't serve food here.”

He giggled. Actually giggled. He sent one of those little faces laughing before sending another little gem.

To: Bucky

8:03pm

Why do golfers wear two pairs of pants? In case they get a hole in one.

From: Bucky

8:07pm

What did the fish say when he swam into a wall?

Dam!

To: Bucky

8:08pm

Why did the orange lose the race? Because it ran out of juice.

Sam poked his head out from the kitchen, watching as Steve read something on his phone, his head tossing back as he laughed.

Sam grinned and went back to chopping carrots.

Things seemed to go a bit smoother after that. What started out as lame jokes turned into sending links of short and funny videos of people tripping and cats getting stuck in curtains to them finally being comfortable enough to ask each other things they hadn't mentioned previously.

He found out that Bucky had three younger sisters. Rebecca, two years younger than him, worked as a software developer; Elizabeth, ten years younger, was studying dentistry at NYU; and Aubrey, the youngest at fifteen, was in her junior year at boarding school and had dreams of going to MIT.

To: Bucky

3:42pm

Omg Wait, so it’s Bucky, Becca, Beth, and Brie?

From: Bucky

3:45pm

I assume you’re joking but that’s exactly what it is.

Chapter Text

Bucky was really good at the whole corny joke competition they had going. One even had him laughing so hard Natasha had to thump him on the back to keep him from choking on a piece of peach from the fruit plate she’d forced on him after he came home from his class one day.

After learning a little about his sisters, he told Bucky how he met Nat and eventually Sam, who claimed the title of siblings for him. He told a few stories about his other friends, both lamenting on how they both had the (mis)fortune of knowing Clint. He was surprised he hadn’t figured it out the night they met when he mentioned Phil, but then again he had been drunk and he and his friends were more likely to call Phil ‘Coulson’ instead.

 

From: Bucky

11:32am

It's amazing that we hadn't met before.

 

Steve shared that sentiment. They didn't text about the elephant in the room, or his belly... or whatever and the time for the next appointment was growing closer.

The night before Bucky was due to come pick him up, he was worried that they would take a step back to where they were after the last appointment. He told Natasha as such.

“Don't over think it. Sam says that you two have been texting nonstop this past week. Since you're not trying to date, a lot of the pressure to really click isn't there. Ask him about his day or his projects. It's not as complicated as you're making it,” she shrugged.

When he stepped outside the next morning, bundled up to hell and back, Bucky was waiting for him at the curb. He could see the alpha drumming his fingers, both flesh and metal, against the steering wheel nervously. That made him feel a bit better as he shuffled quickly to the car.

Bucky tensed slightly as he got in, quickly shutting the door against the cold December air.

“Hi.”

“Hey.”

“How are you two?” The alpha asked cautiously.

“Fine.” Steve winced at the way it came out. “Good. The nausea isn't as frequent, but I’m not foolish enough to think I’ve seen the last of it. At least I haven't hovered over a toilet in two days.”

“Good.” Bucky smiled as he drove off.

Silence reigned for about half an hour, Steve fidgeting up until he recalled Nat’s advice the previous night. “Are,” he cleared his throat. “Are there any new things you're working on?” There, he said something. Non-date conversation is a go.

Bucky glanced over in pleasant surprise. “Uh, yeah, I am actually. I'm leading the project on making an arc reactor powered engine for vehicles.”

You’re doing good Rogers, keep it going. That sounded a heck of a lot like Nat. “That's what powers all of your facilities, if I heard correctly?”

“You heard right. We're trying to reduce as much of our carbon footprint as possible.” Bucky glanced over at him and Steve motioned for him to continue. “I'm also working with Tony on a more secure cloud storage for all of our connected gadgets and configuring data for JARVIS’s next upgrade. And I'm always tinkering with prosthetic designs, making it lighter and fine tuning the motor skills and strength capabilities. I hope I can get them to where they actually feel things, but I can't complain, it's come a long way since the first one I threw together.” He bit his lip, perhaps wondering if he was talking too much.

“You built the arm yourself?”

Bucky grinned. “For the most part, though Tony and Bruce stepped in when I needed a hand.”

“Wow.” Steve couldn’t imagine building something like that with two hands and all the assistance he could find, let alone with one hand and just two friends.

“Not so much wow. It was a hunk of metal that I attached to what was left of my arm. It weighed a helluva lot and it had a tendency to run hot.” Bucky pursed his lips in distaste, perhaps at the memory.

Steve licked his lips, wondering how to ask about the current one. Of what he could remember of that night, the line between metal and flesh seemed to flow smoothly together, though there had been scars.

Before he could however, Bucky asked after him. “What about you? Are you working on anything? Can you work on anything? How's it going with the classes you're teaching?”

“The paints aren't heavy, so I've still been working on the commissions I have. I'll have to ask the doctors about whether it's actually safe or not. The kids are always surprising me with the skills they possess. I have them working on their favorite cartoon characters, but I hope to have them coming up with their own superheroes soon.”

“How is it? Working with kids?”

“Challenging. They can lose focus quickly and I've had to break up a few altercations before paint started flying. There's times where kids have broken down in the middle of class because they think their painting isn't as good as mine or the other kids’. But there are times where they create things they're so proud of that the smiles on their faces make the world seem that much brighter. That alone makes it worth it.”

“I'm hoping to really get behind some of the schools around the area, get a good science program going that'll give birth to a whole new generation of engineers and such. Art programs too, that drawing and sketching skill is essential for designing. I wish I had looked into it earlier on.”

The drive had gone by much faster than the other times, and the silence was comfortable as they climbed out and hurried to the elevator.

“It’s good to see you well, Mr. Rogers.” The AI spoke as the elevator rode up to where the doctors were waiting.

“Thanks, JARVIS.”

“Steve. How are you?” Helen asked as soon as they were visible.

“Fine. Thanks.”

“That’s great to hear. We’ll just be checking your vitals and getting a feel for potential risks and we’ll schedule out your visits and get you some vitamins.”

Steve settled himself on the exam chair, Bucky taking the seat next to it.

Helen and Bruce worked around him – Helen checking his vitals and checking for things he wasn’t even sure about while Bruce recorded everything and even asked a few questions of his own.

“Our biggest concern is your asthma and your heart, which we’ll be monitoring closely each time we see you. We can work on your diet and nutrition once we get a list of any allergies you have.”

Steve pulled out his wallet and handed over one of the many copies he had of his allergy list. His ma had gotten him into the habit of having them and Natasha and Sam eagerly encouraged it. She didn’t bat an eye at extensive it was.

“The supplements we will give you will help with your anemia. The fallen arches mean that you’ll see a lot of discomfort or pain as your pregnancy progresses. Your scoliosis is also going to mean that there’s going to be some aches and I highly suggest massages to help with both your feet and back.”

“I’ll make sure he has the best damn masseuse Pep can find.” Bucky assured her.

Steve rolled his eyes, but he didn’t protest. Who protests against massages? That voice still reeked of Natasha.

“Typically for male omegas, I’d want to see you every 3-4 weeks, but I’m placing you as high risk just to be safe. That means you’ll be seeing us every 2-3 weeks at our discretion during the first two trimesters and every week from the beginning of the third until you give birth. It’s a lot of visits, but you and your pup’s safety comes before any inconveniences. Unless there’s something that catches our attention or you have questions or we’re at a milestone, it shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes each time. Any questions?”

Bucky piped up. “What’s your best recommendation for nausea?”

“Ginger root tea.” Bruce answered from his position in front of his computer.

All three laughed at the scowl on Steve’s face.

“Adding pepper, mint, or honey will help mask the taste.” Bruce offered. “Anything else?”

“Yes. I, uh, I use acrylic paints for work and teaching, is it safe for me to do that?”

“Acrylic paints don’t contain solvents that are harmful to you, so as long as you’re working in a well ventilated area you should be fine. If it feels like it’s too much though, get out of the room immediately and have someone else finish it and clear the area for you.”

Steve nodded.

“I’ll get you all your vitamins and Bruce should be printing out your schedule as we speak. I’ll make sure Barnes gets our meal recommendations to you asap.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Bucky saluted her.

Twenty minutes later, Steve had a bag full of vitamins and a list of appointment dates.

“I’ll see you in three weeks, Steve.” Helen smiled.

Steve waved and climbed off the chair, following Bucky to the elevator.

“Are you doin’ anything tomorrow?” Bucky asked casually as the car descended to the garage.

“I have a class at 3:30, but I’m pretty open outside of my commissions.”

“Do you want to visit MoMA?” Bucky paused, then quickly added “You could ask your friends to come if goin’ alone makes ya feel uncomfortable.”

“How about we rain check and do it Saturday? It’s been a long time since the gang and I got together and you’ll be seeing them a lot once you meet them and they’re definitely itching to meet you. It’ll give them enough time to maneuver their schedules.”

“Mind if I bring my own back up? I don’t think you’ve met Tony, then again maybe you shouldn’t meet him, but Bruce is a great guy outside o’ the doctor/patient setting. Darcy is definitely someone I’d like ya to meet.”

“That’s fine with me.”

“Good.” Bucky grinned.

“Good.” Steve returned it.

Maybe this whole friends first thing wouldn’t be so bad. He wouldn’t dream of telling Sam he was right though.

Chapter Text

“Wait, are you sure that you're sure you're not trying to morph into Pepper? Because that's the only explanation I have for you wanting to go to an art museum.” Tony said as he flicked through multiple screens in front of him.

Bucky pinched the bridge of his nose with his left hand. “For the millionth time, it’s a group trip to hang out with Steve and his friends. Look, are you comin’ or what?” After getting the confirmation from Steve that everything was a go for Saturday, he had to assemble his own gang, and he'd decided to start with Tony since he was already in the building. He was regretting that decision. He should've just pulled a Pepper and told him about the trip as he was dragging him out of the lab to it.

Tony absently popped a blueberry in his mouth. “Sure I'll come meet your sweetheart and his posse. Can't have you getting the third degree without being there to do the same.”

“He's not my sweetheart.” Bucky grumbled.

“Nice dismissal of my kind support, Barnes. What happened?” He closed his fist, dismissing the programs.

“The whole datin’ thing put too much pressure on us to connect for the pup. Thought’d it'd be best to be friends. He agreed.”

“But that's not what you want?” Tony guessed wisely.

Most people were surprised when Tony showed insight when it came to people, but Bucky knew that Tony paid a lot more attention to what people said as he worked (and in general) than they give him credit for. When Tony looks like he's paying attention to you like a normal person would, then you're most likely being ignored. Unless you were Pepper. Or Darcy.

Bucky shrugged. “Nah. But it's better than nothin’.”

“You guys’ll figure it out.” Tony clapped his hands together once. “Now that we've had a semi adult conversation, how about we go bug Bruce like children that we are at heart? He was supposed to be back by now or am I imagining that, J?”

“Dr. Banner is indeed in the tower, Sir.” JARVIS responded with reluctance.

“Good. Good.”



“OW!” Bucky winced and rubbed the side of his now tender head.

“How come I'm just now finding out about this? Who else knows? I swear I will shoot you with your own taser if you don’t answer me this instant, Barnes.”

Darcy was an omega he'd met a couple of years ago at a concert night at a small bar near the tower. She'd run into some trouble with a couple of buzzed asshole alphas and betas when she was on her way to her car. She'd tased one of them with her taser but the others hadn't been deterred. In the end he, Phil, and Tony had to chase them away, but unfortunately for Bucky she'd been spooked enough to turn the taser on him. It hadn't felt great, but at least he hadn’t been on the ground drooling.

After laughing uncontrollably for almost five minutes, Tony asked if she had a job and hired her on the spot as a PA when she said she was “in between jobs.” Pepper didn't go for it until Darcy produced a resume, went through an actual interview process (which she ended up acing), and signed a stack of NDAs, but her time keeping and organizational skills had proved invaluable. It also didn’t hurt that she had the ability to thoroughly intimidate most of the R&D department.

He'd given her a taser gun after her third year - he'd blinked multiple times when she had come down to shove a stack of papers at him to sign, marveling at the fact that she was still here - as a gift for not quitting or having a nervous breakdown and then quitting, she was the only one besides Pepper who hadn't ran for the hills after six months. Instead of bullets it shot charges that were much more effective than the offensively primitive device she'd had previously.

He made her promise not to use it on him, but he was skeptical about her willingness to keep said promise, which was why he held his hands up defensively when it looked like she was reaching inside her purse. “I'm sorry! Bruce and Hel know ‘cause they're Steve’s doctors, Tony knows because I was freakin’ out and Pepper knows because she's Pepper. I haven't told anyone else I swear!”

Darcy glared at him, staring into his soul to gauge whether or not he was telling the truth. She adjusted her glasses. “Fine. You'll live to see another day.”

Bucky let out the breath he knew damn well he was holding.

“How far along is he? Are you gonna tell everyone else? How casual is this shindig? Is it an all-day thing?”

“He's around 10 weeks. I'm gonna let the guys know when I ask ‘em to come. And I'd dress more in the way of comfort than style. It’s cold more often than not now.”

“Psh. You novice, thinking I can't look like a billion bucks going cas in cold weather.”

“You always do.”

“If you really wanna suck up, you'd get me the largest, sweetest thing that Starbucks has to offer.”

“Consider it done.” He said as he headed towards the elevator.

“And Bucky?”

Bucky turned. “Yeah?”

“You might want to let your family know. Juuust a suggestion.”

It was the last thing he wanted to do, but all he said was “I know.”




Next on the list was his old friend Tim Dugan. He waited until noon the next day to stop by the car shop he owned. When he walked in he was spotted immediately by most of the workers there.

“Bucky!”

He grinned and gave them a salute. “How’ve you boys been?”

He was given a chorus of answers, but the general consensus seemed to be “same old, same old.”

“Barnes!” Bucky winced when Dugan materialized out of nowhere and clapped him hard on the back. He's known Dum Dum since he was thirteen and awkward, having met him during his very short stint in high school and he still hadn't gotten used to the mechanic’s playful hits. He's much bigger than he was when Dum Dum first started doing it so at least he didn't fall to his knees anymore. “What brings you to my humble shop, old friend?”

“I know you close shop on the weekends, ya got anything goin’ on?”

“Gonna be bored as a housewife. What do you have in mind?”

“This might take a minute. You got time?”

Dugan snorted. “Comin’ in just before my break and he asks if I have time. You up for a couple of burgers?”

Bucky shook his head, regretful. “Technically, I'm not even supposed to down here. Pep’s gonna serve me my balls for dinner t’night if I’m not back soon.”

“Wouldn't want that now would we?” The large man laughed jovially. “C’mon back.” The sounds of wrenches clanging and loud bouts of name-calling were muffled as soon as the door closed. Bucky took a deep breath.

“You look rather serious there, kiddo.” Dugan sat behind his surprisingly neat desk. “What's going through your head?”

Bucky cut to the chase. “M’gonna be a dad.”

To his credit, Dugan didn't fall out of his chair like he normally would when someone caught him off guard, though his eyes did widen. “Hmm. I always thought it would be Stark. When'd you find out?”

“He told me last week.”

“You sure it's yours? They can do the tests in utero these days.”

“I believe ‘im.” Bucky shrugged.

“So you wanted to know what I was doin’ this weekend to talk to me about it while you try to get yourself hammered as soon as humanly possible?”

“I want you and the gang to meet ‘im. We're plannin’ a day at MoMA.”

“I think the boys and I can make it. You might want to ask them though. Does your family know of your future parental status?”

Bucky cringed. He knew he would have to eventually but he was just as prepared to tell them as he had been when Darcy told him the same thing, as in nowhere near. “No.”

“Wini’s gonna eat you alive and George’s gonna get the popcorn out. I'm already wishing I could film it. Get Bec to film it.” Dugan flashed him a fleeting grin. “All jokes aside, how are you?”

“Terrified. Kind of excited.”

“Hold on to the excitement. You were great with your sisters and you're great with my miniature devils. You got friends and family that'll be more than happy to help out and give advice once everyone actually knows. I suggest telling mama Wini and your family before you go any further.”

Bucky sighed, feeling equal parts comforted by Dum Dum’s kind words and apprehensive at the thought of talking to his ma. It was one of the reasons he’d come to the beta, he may be loud and boisterous but he was also calm and gave some of the best advice. “I should go see if the others wanna tag along. I'll text the details to ya when I get ‘em.”

“Good luck!”

Bucky acknowledged him with a wave.

Pepper looked about ready to tear his heart out of his chest and stomp on it with her very high Jimmy Choos when he finally made it back.



He waited until Friday morning to drive up to his parent’s house. By the looks of it Becca and Beth were conveniently visiting as well. NYU wasn’t too far from home and if he remembered correctly she didn’t have classes on Fridays this semester, she often visited on the weekends. Becca kept her own hours mostly and he saw her sporadically. He sat in the car for a moment, taking deep breaths to prepare himself before climbing out, hurrying up the driveway to get out of the cold.

He rang the bell rapidly, shifting from foot to foot to keep warm. He didn't have to wait long, no one did when his ma was home.

“James! My baby! What a surprise!” He suddenly had an armful of his ma and he had to straighten up to avoid tumbling backwards. “Come in, come in. Have you eaten? Doesn't matter you're eating again.” His ma waved him in, locking the door behind them.

He quickly disposed of his outer layers, the warmth of the home heating him swiftly. He trailed behind his ma as they walked into the dining room.

“George, Rebecca, Elizabeth, look who's here.”

“Bucky!” Beth was out of her seat and wrapped around him before he could blink.

“How’s it goin’ Beth?” Bucky asked, wrapping his arm around her shoulders.

She punched him in the arm. “I haven't seen ya in what feels like forever.”

He felt another punch in his shoulder, this one was much harder. “Jeez, Becca. I see yer still takin’ those boxing classes.”

“Yeah, you'd know that if you'd talked to me recently.” She complained, hugging him from behind.

George waited until they were done before coming up, giving him a one armed hug and a clap on the back. “Good to see ya, son. Have a seat.”

He sat down in his usual spot to the left of his ma, quickly filling the empty plate that had mysteriously appeared in front of him. He quickly lost himself in the familiar chatter and banter of his family, all that was missing was Brie, but he'd been informed that it wouldn't be long before she was home for the holidays.

“So Bucky, what brings ya here, son?” George spoke up. “Not like you to show up without lettin’ one of us know. Not that we’re not glad to see ya.”

Bucky sat back with a sigh. Now comes the reason for this little visit. “I, uh, I got some news.”

“Have you found an omega or a beta?” Winifred questioned hopefully.

“Are you getting married?” Beth asked.

“You finally did that Stark boy in?” George grinned.

“Ya knock someone up?” Becca joked.

Bucky blinked rapidly as she hit the nail right on the head, regardless of whether she meant it as humor.

His ma looked excited. “James? Don't leave us in the dark.”

Becca’s eyes widened incrementally the longer he stayed quiet and he saw it in her eyes when it finally clicked. “Oh.”

Beth wasn't too far behind her, casting a quick look of understanding at Becca. “Omg, omg. O. M. G.”

“What? What's going on? James?” Winifred looked worried now.

Bucky sighed. It was now or… now really, he wasn’t getting out of this. “I'm gonna be a dad, Ma.”

Silence.

“I didn't know you were dating and now you're telling me you're going to be a father? Why haven't we met them? Are you gonna do right by them?”

He was already in the hole by the look on her face, he might as well bury himself. “I haven't really been dating. It was somethin’ that just, uh, happened.”

His ma looked absolutely scandalized, “James Buchanan Barnes! You put some poor soul in the family way and it just happened?”

Bucky winced and looked at the others. His dad was looking at him with downturned lips and his sisters were caught between shock and intrigue.

Winifred sighed, her disappointment was crushing. “I really thought you were better than that.”

“I'm not sorry for what we did, but I am sorry for not being cautious. I’m tryin’ my best to do right by him, but that don’t include marriage,” he stressed. “We tried the dating thing for a short bit but we decided we were better off as friends for now. I got two of the best people I know lookin’ after him and the pup.”

“How does everything look with the pup?”

“The pup’s doin’ fine,” he pulled his phone out from his back pocket and went into his picture gallery. Selecting a scan of the ultrasound, he pushed the phone over to her. Becca and Beth go up and bent down behind her as his father leaned closer.

Winifred gave him a teary-eyed glare once she looked her fill. “I am in no way happy about the circumstances, but I’m gonna be a grandma!”

“When do we get to meet him?” Becca asked, sitting back down in her chair.

“I’ll have t’ ask after the trip with the gang tomorrow. I don’t want to freak ‘im out with the whole meet the family thing, y’know?”

Shit, what did he say to make his ma look so pissed?

“James Buchanan Barnes,” Damn, that was twice in one setting. “You’re telling me that all your little friends knew before your family?”

Jesus Christ, he’d be lucky if he’d make it out of this house alive at this point.

Chapter Text

Okay, so he did make it out of his parents’ house a lot sooner and a lot more alive than he'd initially thought. The only drawback was that he was very sure his ma was gonna give him the cold shoulder for a very long time, or until he brought Steve over. He sighed as he made sure he had everything he came with before opening the door.

A hand reached past him and shut it again. He turned to see his father behind him. He hadn't said much of anything after Bucky told them the news.

“She's mad as hell at ya right now but she'll be bustin’ at the seams to get updates from you.”

“She's so disappointed.”

His pa gave a single nod. “She got a right to be and if I'm honest I'm right there with ‘er, though for a different reason.” George huffed. “Me ‘n Winnie sat each and every one of you down and explained safe sex and consent to you. It's either you didn't get it, which neither of us are dumb enough to believe, or you completely disregarded it. What did we tell ya?”

“When someone’s drunk, they’re unable to give consent, regardless of whether one or both of you are drunk.”

“It coulda been a bad situation, son.”

Bucky sighed. “I know, sir.”

“I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell ya not to do it again, seein’ as one of the consequences is gonna be able to look ya in the face in a few months.” George chuckled.

Bucky snorted.

His father clapped him on the back. “Take care of yourself and that boy. We look forward to meetin’ him.”

The cool air was jarring as he walked as fast as he could to his car. The minutes were grueling as he waited for the engine and the space itself to warm up before he pulled out of the long driveway.

 

He wasn’t in any sort of mood to be in the lab when he got back, so he went up to his penthouse instead, shooting a quick text to Steve as he flipped through channels on his TV.

 

From: Bucky

10:34am

Told my family about the pup.

 

He didn’t have to wait long for a reply.

 

To: Bucky

10:37am

How’d that go?

 

From: Bucky

10:39am

I don’t think I’m gonna hear from my ma for a while.

 

To: Bucky

10:39am

That bad?

 

From: Bucky

10:41am

She’s understandably pissed that I got you into this situation.

 

To: Bucky

10:42am

I thought we both agreed that we got each other into this?

 

From: Bucky

10:43am

That’s definitely not how my ma sees it.

10:46am

And just a head’s up, she’s gonna wanna meet you sooner rather than later.

 

To: Bucky

10:49am

I’m not sure I’m up for the whole ‘meet the family’ thing, Buck.

 

From: Bucky

10:50am

We’re friends right? I told her that we weren’t like that.

 

To: Bucky

10:50am

I don’t know...

 

From: Bucky

10:51am

Besides, they’ll love you. It’s hard not to.

 

Bucky winced. That’s not something friends typically say to other friends, at least he didn’t think so. He also didn’t want to continue to pressure Steve into taking a step he clearly wasn’t ready for. He immediately changed the subject.

 

10:53am

So, are you excited about tomorrow?

 

To: Bucky

10:55am

Yes! The gang’s ready too. Though I think it’s less the art and more intimidating you, so be prepared for that.

 

From: Bucky

10:58am

I would say the same but they’re more likely to want to wrap you up in bubble wrap than interrogate you.

 

To: Bucky

11:02am

Sorry to say that you won't be given the same courtesy. I've told them to play nice but they usually take that as scare them away.

 

From: Bucky

11:02am

:’(

 

To: Bucky

11:03am

You're so dramatic.

 

While all the feelings from the visit to his parents’ place still bubbled deep within, texting Steve had done good things for his mood. After sending their goodbyes and see you tomorrows to each other, Bucky pocketed his phone and headed towards the elevator, he had an entire day to kill and he could think of nothing more worthy now than throwing it away in his lab.

 

~~~~~

 

 

Phil had somehow procured a van for their little outing and despite his protests, Steve ended up in the back.

“Why am I back here again?”

“Because pregnant people should not be sitting up front, it's too risky if we get into an accident.” Natasha informed him. From the front seat, he observed bitterly.

“I'm not even showing, I've driven in the front with Bucky many times, and just because I can't sit in the front doesn't mean I have to be all the way in the back. The windows don't even roll down, they just push forward and barely open an inch when you do.”

“Better safe than sorry,” Sam said, poking his head out from one of the seats in front of him. “Besides, it's too cold out to be worried about windows. Jane is sitting right next to you and she's not complaining.”

Steve turned his attention to his fellow pregnant omega, Jane was currently glued to her tablet, mumbling as her eyes and fingers darted quickly across the screen. He then turned a pointed look at Sam, who shrugged and turned back around.

Crossing his arms across his chest, Steve pouted (“Fuck you, Sam. I'm not pouting.”) throughout the trip, his mood slowly lifting as they got closer to MoMa. He's been here dozens of times, but each time felt like the first. There was always something to see, whether it be new as an exhibit or something discovered in pieces he'd already seen.

Bucky and the others were already inside, but no one else was there.

The alpha scratched the back of his neck sheepishly as they approached each other. “It may not be the full MoMa experience, but with Tony, Pepper, and me...”

They were public figures, even if Tony and Pepper were more out there than Bucky. Steve smiled up at him.

“It's okay, I understand.”

Bucky motioned the waiting group over to where they were standing. “You've already met Bruce and Helen. I'm sure you already know, but that's Pepper Potts and-”

“Tony Stark, I'm sure you heard of me.” The alpha (there were few betas or omegas that could pull off that amount of arrogance, it wasn't really in their natures) said, tilting his glasses down enough to reveal sharp, intelligent eyes.

Steve held out his hand and after a moment that lasted almost too long Tony shook it. Pepper quickly followed, her grip soft but purposeful. She smelled like a beta.

Steve tried not to bristle when Bucky put his hands gently on a very pretty brunette who was around his height. She smelled of white chocolate, definitely an omega.

“This is Darcy Lewis.”

Instead of shaking the hand he offered, Darcy engulfed him in what was a startling, but actually very nice hug. He patted her back awkwardly.

“It's nice to meet you, dude. I haven't heard much about you,” she sent a glare Bucky’s way, making the alpha - to Steve’s great amusement - shrink back a bit. “But we'll rectify that.”

She stepped back to let Bucky introduce the others, the rest being betas. Tim (“Call me Dum Dum, kiddo.”) was one of the largest he'd ever seen. Logan was a man of few word it seemed, only giving him a nod. Wade was the opposite and if Bucky hadn't tapped his watch Steve doubted he would've stopped talking.

 

~~~~~~~~

 

Bucky had ignored the snickering behind him when he perked up at the first sight of Steve. The omega was followed by a rather large group of people, and other than Phil, Clint, and Natasha, he'd never seen them before.

He could sense a few alphas in the group, and he firmly stomped down on the primal urge to warn them away from Steve.

“Down boy.”

He sent a glare in Tony’s direction, before turning to meet Steve halfway. He'd have to make introductions short, especially with the amount of people behind Steve. He'd only brought the friends he sees on a regular basis (it was a shame Rhodey couldn't be here, but he was on the other side of the planet), but by the exasperated look on Steve’s face, he had the type of friends that invited themselves to things. He's glad his own list only consisted of Tony and Darcy.

“I'll try to make this quick,” Bucky watched Steve turn to the group. “You know Barton and Coulson, and you've met Nat.” He pointed to the dark skinned man to her right. “That's Sam Wilson, he’s my other roommate. The woman who looks like she can break your soul with one look - don't give me that look Nat we know you can too - is Peggy Carter; that’s her mate Angie Martinelli. The tall brunette in the back is Maria Hill and next to her his James Falsworth, the huge guy in the back is Thor Odinson, the tall one next to him that looks like he wants to be anywhere but here is his brother Loki, the woman attached to her tablet of science is his mate Jane Foster. The mellow blonde that actually knows many different ways to maim someone is Sharon Carter, she's Peggy’s cousin. Next to her is Gabe Jones and next to him is James Morita. Did I leave anyone out?”

Bucky shook their hands one by one. He had an excellent memory and he categorized their names and faces accordingly. “Nice to meet all of you.”

He took a deep breath, willing his nerves to simmer down. “Admittedly, I'm not huge on art.” He was relieved when most of the others seem to agree. “Lucky for us, we got two great guides who've been here many times I'm sure.” He looked to Steve then to Pepper, getting two eye rolls for his trouble.

After a brief smile at each other, the two took point. Before today, Bucky thought that the whole art thing was quite dull, now though? It was still pretty boring, but the way Steve lit up when he talked about some of his favorite paintings and exhibits made the whole three hour trip worth it.

He looked at the clock on one of the museum’s walls. It was just about lunch time. “It’s about a twenty minute drive back t’ the tower, how about we head there and we’ll call for lunch?” While everyone had miniature side conversations going, it was small talk about the art and how someone’s day had been. Being in a public - there were staff lurking just around every corner, who knew what they would hear or record – place also held him back, he could tell it was the same for all of his friends except the mechanic boys. Being in a private area at the tower would make for better conversation and camaraderie; he really wanted all (at least most) of his friends to get along with all of Steve’s.

“The majority of them took the day off and those who don’t usually have night shifts anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Great,” he grinned. “Let’s rally the troops then.”

 

~~~~~~~~~

Even though they tried to play it cool, he could tell that most of his friends were very impressed with the tower. Steve was surprised when they took the main elevator, but then again, this one could fit all of them while it would take multiple trips on the private ones. Bucky waited until they were all in before he pressed the button for the floor they were going to, his eyebrows proceeded to rise when Bucky was asked for his I.D., a full body scan, and a voice recognition test.

“You’d be surprised at what people try to do to get up to the upper level floors. So far, this has been the best option to keep unauthorized people out. If it’s Pep, Barnes, or me then the checks will activate Jarvis into this elevator.” Stark explained. “Jarvis, buddy, say hi.”

“Hello, everyone.” Just about everyone from his side jumped at the voice seemingly coming from everywhere.

“Take us to the communal floor, J.” Bucky said.

“As you wish, Master Barnes.”

Steve smiled. “Hi, Jarvis.”

“It’s great to see you are in good health, Mister Rogers.”

“Will you ever call me Steve, Jarvis?”

“I’m afraid not.”

Steve chuckled, shrugging when he met the inquisitive looks of his friends.

“What, no love for me, J?” Clint asked as they stopped on the communal floor.

“Hello, Mister Barton. I apologize for not making you feel special.”

Clint pouted as everyone else laughed at his expense.

The doors slid open to reveal a massive room. There were several large, comfortable looking couches surrounding the biggest television he’d ever seen. There were various games like pool, table tennis, and plenty of arcade games, Clint already making a beeline for one of the shooters. A huge table with lots of chairs separated the main area from the kitchen, which was filled with all the latest appliances and quartz countertops. Steve could fit several of their apartments into this one area.

“Any ideas on what we’re gonna shove down our gullets?” Stark asked as he flopped down on one of the couches, pushing his glasses up to rest on his head. “Are we gonna order something healthy and pretend to be the art snobs that only Pepper and Rogers are in the spirit of visiting an art museum?”

Steve pursed his lips, he was not an art snob.

“Would Thai work? Anyone with pressing allergies?” Pepper asked, flicking Stark’s ear in retaliation for his comment.

“I can’t eat shellfish or eggs.” Steve responded.

Pepper smiled. “Noted. Anyone else? Good. JARVIS, order the entire menu from our usual spot twice, I know they have variations that accommodate Steve.”

“Certainly, Miss Potts.”

“Feel free to mingle. Let’s get all this awkwardness out of the way.” Pepper encouraged.

Sam and Wade immediately made a beeline for the racing games; Darcy challenge Natasha to a game of pool, Morita and Logan headed that way too; Thor tugged a very reluctant Loki over to the hoop game, joining Falsworth, Dum Dum, and Gabe; Jane sat on an adjacent seat to Stark and began chatting about something science-y from the way Tony perked up and listened, Bruce and Helen were quick to join in on the conversation; Pepper, Peggy, Angie, Maria, and Phil began to chat amiably; and Sharon followed Clint’s footsteps, picking up the player two gun.

That left just him and Bucky. He breathed a sigh of relief just as the alpha did the same – they shared a grin.

Chapter Text

“You were worried too, huh?”

“A little,” Steve admitted. “I didn’t think they’d come together so quickly.”

“I ain’t lookin’ a gift horse in the mouth.” Bucky turned fully towards him. “You two doin’ all right?”

“The ginger root tea is doing wonders for the nausea and Nat forced me to make her and Sam copies of the food recommendations Helen made and have been shoving food in my face ever since.” He shifted with a wince, he’s been up on his feet for too long.

As if reading his mind, Bucky guided him into the kitchen section to give them a bit of privacy. The seats at the island were surprisingly comfy and he sighed at the relief of being off his feet.

“You have any idea when you'll start t’ show?”

“I'm starting to fill out a little, but I'd attribute that to Sam and Nat shoving food down my throat.”

“I'm glad that they're there t’ look after you.” Since I’m not there to, goes unsaid. He sorely wished that he could be around Steve much more than he is - there's gonna be so much they’re gonna miss between an alpha and his (okay, not really his) pregnant omega that will do both of them, as well as their pup, so much good. He was still finding hard to accept that he and Steve might never be together the way he so often dreams of.

“How did yer students take it?”

Steve gave him a smile that made him want to wrap his arms around him and never let go. “A lot of them have been tellin’ me about the misadventures of their younger siblings. Quite a few want to get a ballot going to pick out a name for him or her.”

Bucky grinned. He loved kids, unfortunately he didn't spend enough time around them due to the nature of his work. “What's in the lead so far?”

“Abigail for a girl, Peter for a boy.”

“How do ya feel about those?”

“Not gonna happen.”

“Thank the stars. Those are too common.”

Steve nodded his agreement, “it doesn't have to be wild, just a little different.”

“We'll cross that bridge when we get there.”

“Right.”

A wild tuft of hair poked its way in the kitchen. It was Tony. Bucky resisted the urge to let out an exasperated sigh. “What are you two lovebirds doing in here? You should be mingling!” He strolled over to one of the massive fridges, pulling out several beers and a bottle of juice for himself.

Tony had had a bit of a drinking problem a couple of years ago due to his daddy issues having daddy issues, but after Bucky’s accident, he'd cut himself off cold turkey. It had proved disastrous until the combined efforts of Pepper, Bruce, and himself to finally get him to quit the stuff properly, and he'd been sober ever since. He also liked to brag that quitting the bottle was one of the things that he’d had been able to do that Howard never managed.

Bucky made an effort not to drink around Tony, choosing to go out instead even if Tony insisted it was fine. Well, that led him to his current predicament, so he definitely doesn't see himself drinking in the future either. He got up to pull a few more drinks out for their guests.

They turned to see Steve frowning lightly. “Isn't a little early for any of that? And some of my friends have to drive home.”

Tony waved him off. “Loosen up, Munchkin.” Steve scowled at that. “Phil’s a real straight edge kinda guy. You'll get home in one piece if it comes to that.”

“Tones...”

Tony flapped a hand. “Ah, that's right, no scaring the sweetheart off, no problemo.”

“Tony! He ain't my-”

“Or am I reading the whole heart eyes thing you two got goin’-”

“Stop. Talking.” Steve rubbed at his temples.

“Aye aye, captain. Now that I've got you wondering who's making said heart eyes, I have drinks to deliver. Be a good sport and carry the rest, Buckster.” Tony scampered out of the kitchen, leaving a slightly awkward atmosphere in his wake.

“I should get these drinks out to everyone.”

Steve slid down from his perch. “Yeah, I'll just commandeer one of the many couches you have.”

He left just as Sam came in, the two friends stopping for a quick and quiet chat, Steve rolling his eyes and continuing out. “How much water you got stocked in those monsters? The last time I got drunk during daylight hours was after the final exams for my final semester in college.”

“Sure, man.” Bucky opened the fridge closest to him, revealing a whole shelf full of bottled water. “I told - well, Steve told that idiot about the alcohol.”

“Nah, there's plenty of takers out there, the water will help though.” Sam walked over and grabbed an arm full, setting them gently on the counter before turning to Bucky. “So, you wanna be standing up with your arms full for this shovel talk or do you wanna have a seat?”

“Pretty sure there ain't a need for a shovel talk, pal. Steve and I are just friends.”

“Pretty sure neither of you are foolin’ anyone but yourselves. I can count on both hands how many times you two forgot the rest of us existed at the gallery.”

Bucky felt his face heat. “Well...”

“I can't remember the last time someone looked at Steve like that or vice versa, so don't count yourself out just yet. And when he does come around, I expect him to be treated like the best thing that's ever happened to you. And not just for the pup's sake. If I suspect something’s up, I'm sending Nat after you.”

Bucky gulped. The redheaded alpha set him on edge since the day she showed up unexpectedly at the tower's lobby. Yeah, no, he was pretty certain he was terrified of her. “It'll never be intentional, but I'd be the first one t’ dial her up if I hurt ‘im. And I care about Steve for more than just the pup.” Bucky took a deep breath before looking Sam in the eye, he was essentially Steve's older brother, so he wanted this to count or he'd never have a prayer of being more to Steve. “He's unlike any other omega I've ever met. The others before him put on a show, they acted like the stereotypical omega or they were just wired that way, I dunno, but all they would do was demonstrate how submissive they could be and all that jazz. Outside of intimacy, that ain't what I want. I wanted, I want a spitfire. I want someone who's gonna tell me to stick where the sun don't shine when they know I'm bein’ an idiot.”

Sam snorted. “Steve’ll tell you that even if he's wrong but thinks he's right.”

Bucky grinned. “I know. I beat myself up constantly after that night for not gettin’ his number or somethin’. As far as I'm concerned, despite the road ahead, that pup is a blessin’ in disguise fer me. I'm more than willin’ t’ let him set the pace for this whoIe thing. I just hope yer right and that I have a chance.”

They stared at each other for a few long minutes before Sam glanced over his shoulder. “What do you think?”

Bucky turned to see Natasha leaning against the door frame. How long had she been there?

“He'll do, Sam. He'll do.” She came over a collected some of water bottles, giving Bucky a nod as she left.

Sam picked up the rest. “You've got your warning. Don't disappoint us and most of all, don't disappoint him.”

Bucky took his haul and followed Sam out of the kitchen.

~~~~

 

As much as he put stock in them being friends, he hoped that Sam wouldn't scare Bucky off the idea of being something more. He nearly whined when he saw Nat get up as soon as he sat down on the couch furthest away from the others.

The couch dipped on his left and he turned to find Tony handing him a bottle of juice, which was odd since he only saw him pull out the one. Not knowing what else to do he took it. “Thanks.”

“Sure thing.” Tony cracked open his own juice and took a sip. “Y’know they thought I'd be in the position ol’ Buckaroo is in? They thought I'd be the one to put some poor thing in the family way.”

“We both made the willful, if inebriated, decision to forgo protection. You should also know that suppressants aren't one hundred percent effective. We're both to blame, not just him or myself.”

Tony continued speaking as if he hadn't heard him. “Imagine our surprise when Barnes ends up being the one with an unwed baby momma.”

“Dam.”

“Hmm?”

“Dam. The term extends to the carrying party, male or female. I prefer it to mother.”

“Fair enough.” The alpha swirled the juice around in his bottle. “So, didn't think you'd be knocked up by a guy worth billions, huh?”

Steve blinked. “Your mind isn’t a one track thing, is it?”

“I’m a genius, of course it doesn’t. You didn't answer my question.”

“It was a bit abrupt.” Steve eyed him. “I didn't have a clue who he was if that's and what you're implying. I was well on my way to drunk when we met. That’s usually how I pass by the time until Sam and Nat decide we’ve been wherever they drag me long enough.” Steve paused. “As pathetic as it seems, I was just glad that I wasn't approached by another knothead who thinks I should be grateful they're willing to pity fuck me. Imagine my surprise when this gorgeous alpha came up and actually talked to me instead of blurting out whatever stupid pick up line he thinks will work.”

Tony frowned. “You may not be my cup of tea Rogers and you may not be as handsome as moi, but you're not the ugly duckling.”

Steve rolled his eyes hard enough that he was surprised they weren't on the ground.

“Anyway, his name is always brought up in interviews or news stories but he's managed to keep his face out of everything. I always tell him he must be some super-secret spy. People read or hear how we're bffs and all that and are able to put two and two together when they spot us out. We've entered the age where everything is on the internet, including what he looks like now.”

“Is this going anywhere? You say a lot but you aren’t sayin’ much of nothin’.”

Tony gave him a long look. “What I'm saying is that Barnes spent a lot of time out of the spotlight since we became partners, but that’s changing. He'll be in the same boat I'm in, especially after the prosthetic lines drop and that arc motor holds up to testing. There's nothing juicier than him having a pregnant omega being seen with him. Drunk or not, people saw you two chattin’ it up at that bar and leaving together. A nice little check their way and your one night stand and your life becomes public interest.”

“It's none of their business.” Steve growled.

Tony shrugged. “It never is. Will you be able to handle that, Steve?”

“If this is your way if giving me a shovel talk, you must lack a lot of practice.”

“Let's put it this way. Bucky likes you. Really likes you. But whether he's prepared for it or not, he's gonna be in the press almost as much as I am. Pepper’s already been pushing the gossip rags off his trail, but it won't be long before you have cameras in your face. If you can't handle the prospect, there's a discussion that needs to be had.”

“What do you expect me to do? I'm not getting rid of it and if you think I'm gonna prevent Bucky from seeing his own pup you have another thing comin’.”

“Then I suggest you two meet up with Pepper. You might want to give your friends a heads up too.” Tony leaned forward. “Look kid, from what I've seen so far, I like you. You strike me as the type to help old ladies across the street while also being a little shit. By the way, that comment about my amazing facial hair was unnecessary since I don't spend ‘days’ grooming it. I'm not trying to be the bad guy here, this is actually a one off thing I'm doing, I'm not the type to listen to mature advice, let alone give it. I'd rather you hash this out asap than watch my friend get his heart broken because dam or not, we're gonna have a problem if you do.” Tony sipped his juice. “Consider that part your shovel talk.”

He clapped Steve on the back before pushing himself off the couch, strutting over to where Bruce and Jane were, easily sliding into their conversation.

Steve took a long, stuttering breath. He got up and made a beeline for the bathroom. He locked the door behind him and eyed himself in the large mirror. God, all of that sounded like one of his worst nightmares. Him and his friends (and eventually his pup) being followed by strange men and women with cameras, his life being casually discussed as it was everyone's business, the assumptions, the looks from people on the street, the parents of the children he teaches (oh no, what would Mr. Erskine do if parents sent him enough complaints)....

The only alternative was to cut ties with Bucky altogether. His own father had left his ma out to dry. He'd bailed as soon as he got the news of her pregnancy. If the alpha wants to be present there was no way he was gonna stop Buck from getting to know his own pup, but but but...

God, he should have been more careful that night. Better yet, he should have just ignored Nat and Sam and stayed home.

This was such a mess.

Chapter Text

Bucky frowned when Steve was nowhere to be found as he left the kitchen. Everyone else was mingling, so either he left or he was in the bathroom. He could always ask JARVIS but he had a feeling that Steve was still here so he decided to stick with the latter option and began passing out drinks.

He didn't think too much of it when Steve still hadn't reappeared after a few minutes, but he began to worry when the food arrived and he still hadn't come out. Had he actually left? Wouldn't someone had said something or left with him if he did?

He saw that Natasha and Sam appeared to be just as concerned, and the red headed alpha got up and headed for the restroom as Pepper ushered everyone over to the table to eat. With one last glance over to the bathroom, the door had opened a tad and Natasha eased inside, he joined the others.

 

~~~~~

 

After working himself up into a state, it took four doses from his inhaler before he could breathe properly. He didn’t realize how long he’d been in the bathroom until he heard a soft tapping on the door.

“Steve?”

He nearly sagged with relief. It was Nat.

He opened up the door just wide enough for her to fit through, and the alpha immediately began running her fingers through his hair as soon as she had the door locked again.

“What’s wrong, solnyshko?”

He didn’t waste time and told her everything that Tony had told him. Her face stayed soft but her evergreen eyes darkened as she listened.

“Do you have an idea of what you want to do?”

Steve shook his head. “Cutting Bucky out of the pup’s life when he’s so eager to be a part of it is cruel, Nat. But... I don’t know if I can handle being a part of whatever media circus surrounds them. The pup and I will never have peace again, not to mention how it’ll affect your lives too.”

Natasha hummed.

“What do I do, Nat?”

“You do what you want, Steve. You just have to make sure you can live with the decision you make.”

“I -” Steve breathed out harshly and took another dose from his inhaler. “Please, Nat.”

Natasha eyed him carefully. “I’ve heard that celebrities can put out the word that they don’t want their kids’ faces out in the public domain. They can get their faces blurred or bolded over. With the resources that Barnes and Stark have at their disposal, I’m sure if they start out early on the pup can be spared from most of it. James will still be able to be in the pup’s life that way. If the general public doesn’t know what the pup looks like, then they’re not all that likely to tie him or her back to you, which could spare you and us, at least for quite some time. Not that I care too much about that.”

She was right in that instance. If Natasha Romanov didn’t want to be found, you’d never see her.

She tilted her head in mock-curiosity. “Unless... there’s more to your dilemma than you’re willing to admit?”

“What are you talking about?” Steve pushed the lid on the toilet down and flopped onto it.

“How do you feel about James, Steve?”

Steve’s eyes widened. “I don’t see how that has anything to do with -”

“It has everything to do with it. Children can be protected to an extent but adults are fair game, which is where your problems are going to stem from.”

“Maybe I want our pup to spend time with both of his or her parents,” he argued.

Natasha put her hands on her hips. “Or maybe you can get your head out of your ass and admit that you’re falling for him and you want to be more than two people co-parenting.” She sighed. “It has to be one or the other, Steve. Pull back now and limit the chances of you being seen in public together. Of course there’s still the checkups and I do agree that the best chances for you to carry out the pregnancy and deliver a healthy pup is if you continue to see Dr. Cho and Dr. Banner. Spend only enough time with him to get the custody thing sorted out and be done with it.”

Steve bit his lip and gave in to the urge to hug himself. Natasha and Sam (and slowly but assuredly, Bucky) were the only ones he allowed to see him vulnerable like this and vice versa.

She knelt down in front of him, unraveling his arms and taking both of his hands in hers. “Or you can have a relationship with him. We’ve all seen how you two behave around each other, I’ve seen the way you light up and laugh when he texts or calls you. I know it hasn’t been long but that man out there would give you the world if you asked for it.”

Steve snorted, keeping his gaze firmly locked on his lap. “I’m carrying his pup, of course he would.”

“You should have seen his face when I said your name that day. It could have been any Steve in New York and yet he gambled on going to Roberta’s just in case it was you.  He’d been kicking himself for not being in contact with you and I didn’t even have to come up with creative ways to... coerce him to come. He didn’t even know you were pregnant and he still jumped at the chance to see you again.”

“You’re not one to advocate this hard for someone. Or take such a clear stance.”

“I assumed ‘what do I do?’ was your usual code of ‘give me pros and cons for both sides’. This is the most positive I’ve seen you in years, Steve. I wish you’d been there when he was talking to Sam. He sees you the way that we see you. Deep down, you know you’ll be kicking yourself for not trying to really see where this goes, and since when did you back away from a challenge?”

 

Steve wiped at his eyes. “I never thought to ask about how this all affects you. That’s another reason why I’m surprised you’re sorta in Bucky’s corner.”

“My alpha didn’t see him as a potential threat initially, and it certainly doesn’t now that I’m used to smelling him on you. His scent is nowhere near pleasant enough to make me want to jump his bones, but he smells faintly like dryer sheets to me. He isn’t off putting.”

That was a good sign. A great one even. It meant that should they ever decide to pack up - you’re not even holding up at the prospect of a very public relationship, let alone having a very public pack, what the fuck are you even thinking, Rogers? - there would be little or no injuries when deciding who would be Pack Alpha.

She then scowled, reluctantly adding “Stark’s is bearable too, though his personality offsets that. Now, back to the subject. Do whatever will make you the happiest, but whatever you decide, you have to talk to him, not at him, about it. Do you understand me?”

“Yeah.”

“Good. Now, let’s go eat before all those big lugs take all of the food. You’re eating for two, remember?”

 

~~~~~~

 

Even though every part of him wanted to sit close to his makeshift family, he decided to sit in the thicket of Steve’s friends instead. He would be seeing more of them in the future, so it was best to establish good bonds as early as he could. As he waited for the Jasmine rice to come around, he asked the people around him - Thor, Gabe, Sam, and Peggy - how they met the little omega, the others who heard him and weren’t too far from his vicinity also threw in their own tales.

So he was a bit bothered that each story had one thing in common - Steve getting into it with various men (mostly alphas) over others, not the part where he stood up for what he believed in or protecting other, but the part where all it took was one asshole to react physically instead of arguing or walking away. They were halfway through when Steve and Natasha came out of the bathroom, taking the remaining seats by Bucky and Sam respectively.

Steve looked a little strained but he politely asked for Thor to pass him his specially ordered food. Bucky stomped down on the urge to frown when he saw how little Steve had put on his plate. He held his tongue however, pulling back from the conversation as Steve joined in. He noticed that the blond wasn’t as positive as he’d been just a half an hour earlier and he smelled slightly off. He could tell that Steve’s friends had noticed to some degree, but they kept their mouths shut after receiving a quick glare from Natasha.

Had someone said something to him? Was he not feeling well? Oh god, was it the baby? These questions and those similar were spinning around in his head as he ate the rest of what his now dwindled appetite could stand, and pushed the rest away as the others finished.

“Ah, as much as I’d like to stay I have to be at the office in a couple of hours.” Phil announced as everyone began to help clear things away, making sure Jane and Steve kept their butts firmly in place (and guess who had a problem with that? Both. It was both of them).

“We had a wonderful time, I hope we can all get together like this more often. I almost forgot what it was like to have lunch without analyzing and being analyzed for weaknesses or actually having to force someone to eat.” Pepper said.

She’s talking about Tony when she mentioned the eating, right? And I’ve eaten lunch with her plenty of times.  Buck thought, pouting internally. Then he thought about the last time he’d had lunch with Pepper before realizing he couldn’t remember the last time he’d had lunch with the beta. He’d have to rectify that when things weren’t so muddled.

“Are you running a company or heading into battle while simultaneously babysitting?” Gabe asked.

Pepper honest to god smirked. “I wasn’t aware of there being any difference.”

Good ol’ Pep.

“Can we talk, Bucky?” A quiet voice asked and he turned to see Steve behind him.

“Of course.” He put on his best smile, but the seriousness of Steve’s tone made him a little nervous. “Do we need to go anywhere or...?”

“Please.”

They broke off from where Steve’s friends were collecting their outer layers and Bucky led them into the large walk-in pantry in the kitchen, sliding the door closed behind them.

“I think - I think that we shouldn’t be in contact each other for a while.”

What?

“What?”

“It’s just, reality was pretty much thrown in my face today and I’m gonna need some time to think on it.”

Bucky tried to run a hand through his hair before realizing he had put it up in a bun - he compensated by tucking one of the free locks behind his ear. “Yer gonna hafta be a lot clearer on what you mean, Steve. What is this ‘it’?”

“Today, especially with the whole having to close down the Met for a couple of hours, made me realize that you’re a public figure, Bucky. Any day now, I can have strange people pointing cameras in my face and yellin’ at me and askin’ me questions they don’t need to know the answers to.”

“I’ve managed t’ avoid ‘em for years, Steve. We’ve gotten around fine when we’ve gone out.”

“How much longer will that be, Bucky? You’ve got a lot of things about to come out, what with your prosthetics and your engine, and Pepper’s been able to put those people off your trail but soon enough it won’t be that way. And what’s better than nailing interviews with the suddenly not so recluse business partner of one of the biggest companies in the world? Being the first to get the scoop on said business partner’s mysterious pregnant omega ‘friend’.”

“Who told you about Pepper keepin’ me out of the magazines an’ shit?” Bucky a combination of ice cold fury and fiery rage. So someone had been talking to Steve.

He could practically see Steve backtracking. “It isn’t hard to figure out. I thought it was common knowledge that Pepper keeps you guys in line.”

“She keeps Tony in line. Darcy’s been handlin’ my side of the PR because I’m easier to manage. Unless ya spoke to someone who knows somethin’ I don’t.”

“It doesn’t matter who I spoke to -”

“The hell it does, Steve!”

“What matters is that I need the space to decide what I’m gonna do now that I have this whole publicity thing to consider.”

Bucky felt cold. “So what yer sayin’ is that you need time t’ decide whether or not yer gonna let me around my pup?”

Steve’s eyes widened. “What? Bucky, no. I -”

Bucky threw his hands up. “What other option is there, Steve? You’re right about me havin’ t’ realize I ain’t gonna be able to avoid the press like I used to, Darcy made sure t’ start hammerin’ that into my head as soon as the prosthetics line was up to snuff. There’s only so much that can be done between me, Darcy, J, an’ apparently Pepper to keep him or her outta the press but with all this tech floatin’ around it’s only a matter of time before people know what the pup looks like! I can’t help that the best way I know how t’ help make the world a better place puts me in the public eye.”

He blinked back the tears that were slowly forming. It wasn’t fair. Sure, he could try to reason with Steve, even fight him in court, to be able to see and spend time with their pup, but what he truly wanted was the pup and Steve. When Steve had asked to dial their relationship back and try to be friends first, he still held out hope that if he didn’t push, Steve would eventually come around. Boy did that make him seem like one of those creepy fucking alphas that whined about being ‘friend zoned’ but deep down he felt that instinctive pull towards Steve that his parents always used to tell him that they felt when they were around each other. That pull in his heart and mind that told him that this was his one.

He never told anyone that that pull was what finally gave him the courage to approach Steve that night at the bar even after watching from a couple of seats down as the blond had glared down other alphas (and even a beta or two).

His parents hadn’t told him about the pull possibly being one sided. Maybe regular attraction was all that Steve had felt that night (he had been under the influence), and that initial attraction had fizzled out after their attempt at dating and now he was stuck with a metal armed freak as the father of his pup. Hell, no wonder Steve had pressed for them to be friends and with all the press crap, he’d finally found a way to get as far away from him as possible.

He hadn’t realized he was spiraling until he felt long-fingered hands cup his face and heard someone say his name.

“Bucky? Bucky!”

He snapped out of it to see Steve staring up at him with no small amount of concern.

“You back? Jesus Bucky, you smell like a funeral.”

Bucky hadn’t realized that he’d been putting out such a melancholic stench.

“I’ll do it if ya want.”

Steve looked confused. “Do what?”

“Do ya need me t’ sign over my rights or somethin’? I’m surprised ya stuck it out for this long.”

“Stuck it out? Bucky, what are you talking about?”

Bucky waved his metal hand in Steve’s view. “It may be nice t’ see people on the street with these but not everyone wants t’ be with someone who has one and deal with the mental fall out that came with needin’ it in the first place.”

“I already told you that I didn’t have a problem with it.”

“You were drunk that night.”

And so were you. So if I couldn’t possibly have meant what I said that night then you couldn’t have possibly meant what you said that night.” He watched as Steve flexed his jaw. “With my laundry list of problems, there is no way in hell that I would look down on you for your arm. There’s guys out there with both of the arms they were born with that didn’t treat me as half as good as you do and or even acknowledge that I’m somethin’ other than a walking hole to get their knots wet in.”

The omega stood taller, a staple move in all of his friends’ stories, before continuing. “I coulda easily not gone to Roberta’s that night, I coulda easily not told you about me bein’ pregnant, and I coulda easily said no to all our friends getting together.” Steve’s eyes widened in realization. “Do you think I’ve been doin’ all of this out of pity?”

Bucky shrugged, looking down at the ground. He could remember a time where he was what other people would call suave, but the accident single-handedly tore down his entire sense of self-worth when it came to his appearance. He was sure that Steve missed the other scars that littered his body from the road, glass shards, and metal.

“That’s real rich, seeing as I had been thinkin’ along those lines too.”

Bucky’s head snapped up, his eyes locked on Steve, who’d dropped his own gaze. “How could ya even think that?”

“I’m short, even for an omega; I’m sure if you hadn’t been as drunk as you were you would have easily been able to count my ribs; I have more than my fair share of health issues; and I’d rather eat hot coal than try to cut my edges off to fit in someone’s mold of how the stereotypical omega is supposed to behave. I’m an alpha’s worse nightmare in terms of anything but a quick fuck.”

Bucky reached out, cupping Steve’s chin so that they were as eye to eye as they were going to get. “I ain’t all that great with words anymore, so I’ll just get right to the point. One of the reasons I’m so drawn t’ you is because yer not afraid to give me shit. I don’t care how extensive your medical history is, all it tells me is that ya fought all your life against nature itself to be in this moment right now.”

“Bucky -”

“No, if I’m not gonna see ya for a however long, if at all, after this, ya gotta let me get this off my chest.”

Steve closed his mouth.

“I don’t care how tall you are, but I won’t deny that I like bein’ able to tuck ya under my arm. You bein’ short ain’t an issue. I don’t care that yer so skinny, it just makes it easier for me to pick ya up if ya ever allowed me the privilege. Yer fuckin’ beautiful, Steve. I don’t wanna hear ya saying otherwise. Got it?”

Steve nodded slowly, his cornflower blue eyes wet.

“Whoever else realizes that and gets to have ya without ya havin’ to worry about cameras is the luckiest idiot on the planet and I’d kill t’ be in their place.” Having said his piece, Bucky stepped back.

Only to have a little over a hundred pounds of omega crash into him.

 

~~~~~

 

Steve held on to Bucky with everything he had. Out all his twenty-four years on this earth, he’d never heard anyone besides his ma call him beautiful. No one had ever implied that he hung the moon in their eyes with as much sincerity as Bucky had. No one who hadn’t looked at his outside and found him wanting. It wasn’t the first time he’d felt such a pull towards Bucky, despite him trying to be as practical about their situation as he could, but he hadn’t felt it as strongly as he had when Bucky had been inside him that night until the alpha wrapped his mismatched arms around him.

“We need to talk to Darcy or Pepper.”

“Okay.” He heard Bucky say, that melancholy sinking back into his scent.

Steve pulled away just enough to look Bucky in the eye. “I want to keep our pup out of the public eye for as long as possible. I also need to create a list of all the causes I’m involved with or know of, I’m sure the paparazzi will be bored with that and roll their eyes when they see me soon enough.”

To watch the hope and elation light up Bucky’s eyes and breathe them in his scent was something Steve would never forget as long as he lived.

 

 

Chapter Text

Everyone was looking in their direction when they came out of the kitchen, sporting different versions of concern and confusion on their faces.

“You should head back. I'll make sure Steve gets back t’ ya in one piece.” Bucky said to Steve’s friends.

At their hesitation, Steve nodded. “It's okay guys. I won't be too long getting back.”

Slowly, the gang began to trickle out, Bucky’s friends following close behind after saying their goodbyes. Steve turned to Pepper and Darcy, “we need to talk.”

Pepper nodded, taking a seat on one of the couches, Bucky tugging him over to the love seat in front of her.

“I want to keep the pup out of the media crazy for as long as possible.”

“We can work on that.” Darcy opened up a window on the coffee table beside her edge of the couch, tapping rapidly on the interface.

Pepper’s eyes widened. “Does this mean...?”

He felt Bucky’s arm wrap around him. “Yes.”

“Hm.” Tony considered him from his perch on arm of a perfectly empty seat.

“I want to be left out as much as possible if you can manage that.”

“There are laws in effect that will protect the pup, but no so much you. We’ll do our best to keep the hoard away, but once you start showing, it's only so much we can do.”

“Steve, I know ya said you wanted t’ see where this goes, but you can still back out before it really hits the fan.”

“Questioning my commitment already?”

“I just want ya to be sure.”

“I am.” Steve felt Bucky’s arm tighten around him further. “What needs to be done?”

“All we need to do now is have all our ducks in a row by the time people began to get nosy.” Darcy answered, her eyes still locked on the table.

“Which means?”

“The prosthetic lines are scheduled to drop in about two months. What I’d like to see is you two out and about either now or about a month from now.”

Steve frowned at Darcy. “You mean deliberately seek out paparazzi?”

“Yes. You wouldn’t be the first and you wouldn’t be the last to do that. That way, when Bucky does the interviews and whoever is doing the interview asks, then Bucky can answer. It’ll naturally ease to the public.”

“If I may interrupt, Miss Lewis.” They all startle at Jarvis’s abrupt timing. “We have a bit of a problem on our hands.”

“Lay it on me, J-man.”

The large tv came to life and displayed two images: one of Bucky and him at the art gallery today and a very blurry one taken at the club where they met.

“J-man, how come you didn’t tell us about this. I thought you were tracking and deleting those!”

“The photos in question have been deleted, to the detriment of many blogs on a social media website known as Tumblr and the proper management has been notified of picture from today’s gallery Miss Lewis.”

“There’s no telling if those pictures will end up in someone’s gossip rag and they’ll no doubt end up on Tumblr again or even Instagram. Somebody could have screenshotted them by now, the internet is the home of receipts.”

Pepper sighed. “I thought we would have more time than this.”

“What do we do now?” Steve asked.

“I could provide a distraction?” Tony offered.

“You’ve already gotten into your fair share of trouble, Tony. Don’t you dare.”

Tony shrugged. “Thought I’d ask.”

Steve rubbed a hand across his face with a sigh. Even if he hadn’t been sure about doing this with Bucky, he’d have been out there regardless with those photos.

“We’re gonna hafta directly confirm or deny this sooner or later, aren’t we?” Bucky voiced his next question.

“Depends on if you want to get ahead of the curve or just roll with the punches. If you’re serious about this then we’ll let them know that you’re in relationship. We can spin it as a get together after a successful project for the bar and meeting up again for the gallery. Make it seem like you got more time under your belts.” Darcy and Pepper both looked apologetic.

Steve turned to see Bucky’s eyes gazing at him with trepidation, resignation, and longing. “This is yer last chance, Stevie.” The alpha said quiet enough for it to be just between the two of them.

Steve looked back at the images on the screen. The bar shot could be debated but the gallery shot left no doubt that they were either together or it wouldn’t be long before they would be. It was odd seeing how they looked at each other, like no one else in the world mattered.

“Where do we start?”

 

----

 

“I’m so sorry about this, Steve. I thought we’d have more time than this.” Bucky reiterated for what had to be the thousandth time. “There could be a chance that Jarvis caught it in time.”

Steve gave him a look. “Do you honestly believe in those odds? It’ll be fine, Bucky.” Steve relaxed into the plush cushion of the couch. After talking with Darcy and Pepper for over an hour (in the end they decided to go with the flow and chose not to block the photos from streaming), Bucky had invited him up to his floor. It suited him, completely relaxed in most areas while being sporadic (mainly in the way of spare parts being scattered around) in others. “I am worried about the pup though. We can stop the major press junkets but what about something like those photos happening again.”

“I would like t’ think that most people are against snappin’ photos of kids but humanity isn’t as great as we’d like t’ seem.” Bucky crouched in front of him, his piercing eyes full of sincerity. “Once we announce our pup we can let the world know that they’ll be facin’ our lawyers should any pictures began to circulate.”

At this point it was all he could ask for. “Okay, Bucky.”

Bucky reached out to touch his face but pulled back at the last minute, Steve grabbed his hand and placed it where his neck met his shoulder.

“I know we agreed t’ tryin’ this and everything, but if I do somethin’ that yer not comfortable with, please let me know.”

“I will, Buck.”

Bucky smiled. Steve returned it.

“I can take ya home now if you’d like?”

“I’d – I’d like to stay for a bit, if you don’t mind?”

“Yer welcome here anytime, Steve.” Steve’s side was enveloped with warmth as Bucky sat down beside him, holding out the remote for him to take.

Steve turned the tv on and quickly found a science channel with a How It’s Made marathon.

“A man after my own heart.”

Steve grinned and relaxed further into the couch with Bucky’s arm now around him again. He would accept this bit of peace; he knew it wouldn’t be long before Nat contacted him about the pictures, since she seemed to know everything there was to know about most things.

They were several episodes in before his phone buzzed. It was a message from Nat. He opened it to find that she had sent him a Twitter link. It led to a tweet from US Weekly that included the two photos Jarvis had shown them. Does second and reclusive mastermind behind Stark Industries have a sweet little omega?

Steve scowled. Not that they were wrong, but he hated it when people automatically assumed that he was an omega before they even approached them. And sweet?

“If ya glare at yer phone any harder it’s gonna catch fire. What’s up?”

Steve shoved the phone at him and watched Bucky’s impossibly blue eye scan the screen. He watched Bucky sigh and hand the phone back. “This ain’t what I imagined this would go when ya finally decided t’ take yer head out of yer ass.”

 

“What? Me?”

“Yes, you.”

“Last time I checked, we both agreed to be friends.”

“I went with what you wanted. I’ve been yers for quite some time, punk.”

Steve couldn’t help but smile. He shot a quick text to Nat, we’ve seen them. I’ll explain the situation when I get back.

“I hope all of this won’t scare ya off.”

“I’m not easy to scare off in general, but when I want somethin’… Sam’s told me more than once that my stubbornness will be the only thing besides cockroaches that can survive the apocalypse.”

Bucky’s hearty laugh did some of the best things to his stomach. He refuses to call it butterflies.

 

-----

 

“What’s going on?” Natasha asked as soon as Steve set foot in the door later that day.

“Can I get settled first?”

The alpha got up and ushered (forced) Steve into the apartment faster, helped (forced) him out of his shoes, gently urged (forced) him into the cushioned arm chair, and offered (forced, jeez Nat) him to take the cup of tea that Sam had started when he texted that he was on his way back home.

“Now that you’re settled, tell us what’s going on?” Sam asked mildly, sitting on the couch across from where Steve was seated.

“Before you left, we decided to make it work. As a couple.”

“I’m not one to speak of true mates but you two came together and complement each other too well for me to think otherwise.”

Steve felt oddly touched at that. Natasha was never one to bullshit and she was right 99.9% of the time. It gave him hope about his and Bucky’s future as a couple. He made a mental note to ask her what she thought of the pull that he felt and that Bucky admitted to feeling.

He cleared his throat. “Yeah well, like I said, we’re together together now. We were strategizing how to go about this as to how to reveal it to the public when Jarvis got those photos.”

“So, you don’t mind going this public?” Sam asked.

“I absolutely mind going this public, but we’re behind closed doors more often than we are on dates and stuff. If this does last, then…” Steve trailed off with a smile, absently sipping his tea.

“You’ll have the family you’ve been constantly gushing about since you got comfortable around us.” Sam teased.

“Shut up,” Steve relaxed further into the armchair (not anywhere near as comfortable as the furniture in Bucky’s apartment but it was enough to settle him). “Don’t get me wrong, I know this isn’t gonna be easy, us deciding to be together isn’t a cure all, but I didn’t even think I’d get this far.” He gestured at his stomach. “Omegas tend to run small, but I’m-”

- A runt. You should be thankful. A young, virile alpha willin’ to take you on - ain’t no reason for you to be givin’ me lip, Rogers.

I don’t care, damn it! Stop!

Ungrateful little shit!

He snapped out of the flashback to Sam kneeling in front of him and Natasha sitting on the arm of the chair, gently stroking his hair. Somehow, his cup of tea was now on the coffee table.

“Don’t you dare go there, Steve. Don’t you dare.” Natasha kept repeating, never ceasing the smooth movements.

It’s been over a year since his mind had even gone down that road.

“Maybe you should go see Dr. Danvers?” Sam suggested.

Steve took a deep, shuddering breath. “I’ll be fine. All of this media stuff must be getting to me.”

“Enough for you to flash back to him? Are you sure you and Barnes worked this out peacefully?”

“More than. Bucky’s been nothin’ but good to me, even if I’m sure he knows he’s got a sure thing.”

“I’m willing to bet money that he’s scared that what’s going to happen will scare you off. You’re not a ‘sure thing’ to him just yet and I doubt he’d ever put it that way. Especially if he wants to keep his knot. Don’t talk like that about yourself, solnyshko.”

“If you won’t get in touch with Dr. Danvers can you at least call Barnes? I heard that hearing your mate’s voice could help you calm down.”

Steve gave him a halfhearted glare. “We’re not mates.”

Yet.”

Steve felt a hand fumbling with his pocket. “Hey!”

“Sam’s right. We’ll talk about the media stuff later.” Natasha took out his phone and punched in his passcode, still combing her other hand through his hair. She quickly found Bucky’s contact and press the call button.

“This isn’t necessary. I’ll be fine.”

“Barnes? He’s fine physically but he’s had an episode. I don’t care if you recite the alphabet, just talk to him.” Natasha shoved the phone against his ear.

“Steve? Are you okay? Natasha said you were havin’ an episode?”

“I’m fine. Nat’s just overreacting.”

“Sorry to tell ya this pal, but knowin’ what I know about you this far, I’ll trust her judgment on this. What’s wrong?”

The hand in his hair disappeared and he watched as Natasha dragged a protesting Sam out of the living room.

“I, uh. I had a relationship that didn’t end so well almost two years ago and apparently, I still have a, uh, flashback of it every now and again.” He heard Bucky curse.

“What happened?”

“I’d rather not talk about it.”

“Steve –”

“I know we’ll have to eventually but please not now.” Please drop it. Please, please, please drop it.

“Fine.” Bucky didn’t sound happy about it but he acquiesced.

“Tell me about the little robots you and Stark are rumored to have.”

“They’re real, doll. Dummy, U, and Butterfingers. They were our first attempts at artificial intelligence.”

“Tell me about them.”

“Well, we created Dummy our freshman year at MIT…”

Thoughts of the past took a back seat to Bucky’s misadventures with his AI robots and he found himself laughing at the bots’ antics.

“I’d love to meet them some day.”

“They’re just as curious about you. They’ve heard us talkin’ about you a dozen times an’ want t’ put a face t’ the name.”

“Next time?”

“Next time.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Steve’s check in with Dr. Cho and Dr. Banner went by quickly, he and the little peanut (as Bucky called it, Steve was not amused) were moving along nicely considering his numerous ailments and before he knew it Bucky was excitedly ushering him into the elevators to the lab he shared with Tony.

Stepping into the lab felt like stepping into the one of the science fiction books that his ma had been so fond of. It was bright but not overly so and while the only other person there was Stark, it seemed to be buzzing with life.

“Steverino! Come down to finally meet your future step kids or were you missing this lovely face?”

Steve decided he didn't exist and began scanning the workshop for the robots.

At the sound of newcomers, three machines, the robots he assumed, turned to face them.

“DUM-E, U, Butterfingers! Come an’ meet Steve.”

The robots had already begun to race each other to greet them by the time Bucky started calling their names. The first one to arrive was quite literally a giant dexterous arm.

“That's DUM-E.”

“That's not a really nice name.”

“It's fitting, I promise.”

Steve rolled his eyes but reached his hand out, DUM-E clasping it and giving it a very enthusiastic shake, beeping loud and fast.

“He was our first attempt at artificial intelligence. We built him in Howard’s lab when ‘e was off doin’ whatever it was that old rich people do. He wasn't all that bright when we first made ‘im but with a few upgrades over the years we've gotten ‘im to a fifth-grade level.”

The one with a camera head forced its way up front, zooming its lens in and out slowly, as if it was investigating him.

“That's U. We went through a Mythbusters phase our sophomore year at MIT an’ Rhodey got tired o’ being our cameraman so we built U to take ‘is place. He's kinda useful for keepin’ that idiot outta trouble.”

Even though he felt a little foolish doing it, especially since DUM-E hadn't stopped shaking his hand, Steve leaned in close to U’s lens and leaned back out before doing it again, imitating what the robot had been doing.

U let out a shrill beep and spun around in circles before gluing himself to Steve’s other side. That left Butterfingers in front of him. Butterfingers was much smaller than the other two robots, while they were almost taller than Steve, this one only came slightly above his knee. He looked like a much scaled down version of DUM-E.

“DUM-E is a disaster when it comes t’ cleanin’ or helpin’ us find stuff we drop an’ we told ‘im as much. We had t’ meet some fancy investors overseas about three years ago an’ when we came back t’ this one buzzin’ around a pile of nuts, bolts, an’ screwdrivers we gave up on ever findin’ ourselves an’ the floor was spotless.”

“They built him?”

“Ain't as dumb as they would ‘ave us believe but they're still idiots.” Bucky answered fondly.

Steve crouched down and offered three of his fingers to Butterfingers, who clasped them in his little claw and shook them as enthusiastically as DUM-E had, but he was much too small to rattle his entire arms like his counterpart had.

“It’s great to meet all o’ you.”

They beeped happily in response.

He and Bucky spent the day in the joint lab with Tony and the bots. Steve even played fetch with DUM-E and Butterfingers and a rudimentary game of I Spy with U while the two geniuses tinkered with their thingamajigs and doohickeys.

-------

Steve was around fifteen weeks along and according to his internet searches, now would be the time for him to start showing. His clothes had always been baggy on him, but now he was slowly filling them out. He snuck into Sam and Nat’s room and looked in the full-length mirror there, he didn’t have one of his own, he would not do that to his already subpar self-esteem. His face had filled in just a little, his cheeks a little less sunken in.

He unfastened his button up and pulled up his undershirt, turning to the side. And there it was. He didn’t know when it happened, but his stomach was curved. It was a little more pronounced than the pictures he’d looked up online but he figured it had more to do with the fact that he had mostly been skin and bones.

He suddenly had the exciting urge to tell Bucky. Ever since he and the alpha had decided to truly make a go of things, they’d been in constant contact on the phone and when he went to the tower for his checkups with Dr. Banner and Dr. Cho, they often made a day of it, having lunch and dinner and just generally spending time together.

It would be a first, but he didn’t have classes to teach today and he’d finished up his commission for a small bookstore not far from the apartment yesterday so he had nothing better to do. He pulled down his undershirt and buttoned his shirt back up, tucking into his khakis and buckling up his belt as loose as his stomach would allow. He’d pay Bucky a surprise visit.

------

Since he already had clearance to the topmost floors of the tower, he just waved at the guards sitting at the front desk and by the elevator and stepped inside.

“Could you take me to wherever Bucky is, J?” Steve asked, rubbing his gloved hands together to rid himself of the remaining chills.

“Would you like me to announce your presence, Mister Rogers?”

“Nah. I want it to be a surprise, J.”

“As you wish, Mister Rogers.”

As it turned out, Bucky was in the lab. The elevator opened to reveal the short corridor leading to the expansive area. He could see Bucky through the glass, but he also saw that he wasn’t alone. He had his arms wrapped around a mysterious brunette whose hair was much too straight and whose figure was too slim to be Darcy.

Judging by the lingering scents (he could pick up Bucky’s, Pepper’s, Tony’s, Darcy’s, Dr. Banner’s usual scents), the brunette was an omega. Steve silently watched as the omega burrowed herself closer to Bucky, her nose buried near his scent glands, and tightened her arms around him and the alpha responded in kind, his human hand rubbing up and down her back similar to the way Bucky does to him when they’re relaxing on the couch up on his residential floor.

Steve felt nauseous as Bucky placed a kiss to her head, much like he did when he was seeing Steve off from the tower. He quickly turned around, hurrying down the corridor to the elevator. Just as the doors were about to close, he saw Bucky rounding the corner.

“Steve! Steve, wait! J, hold th’ elevator!”

“Don’t let him in, JARVIS.”

“Mister Rogers, I -”

“Keep going, J. Take me to the lobby.”

The doors closed and the car descended.

“Mister Rogers -”

Steve bit on his lip, trying to hold himself together. “I don’t want to hear it, JARVIS.”

“I implore you to reconsider -”

Steve placed his hands over his ears, willing the car to go faster. As if he sensed Steve’s distress, JARVIS sped the car up and he was on the lobby floor.

He rushed through the lobby, ignoring a few stares on his way. Being small was finally an asset to him as he blended in with the Manhattan crowd on his path to the subway, keeping his head down as he heard his name called out.

Steve turned off his phone after the first few minutes on the train, the constant shrill and buzzing driving him insane. He was barely inside the apartment before the tears started to fall. He left his coat, gloves, hat and shoes by his bedroom door and burrowed under his sheets, curling into a ball as much as his tummy would let him.

Honestly? He should have known better. Arm aside, Bucky was an intelligent, young, virile, gorgeous, and well off alpha. And then there was Steve, a scrawny runt of an omega who had to live with two other people just to make ends meet. He was lucky Bucky had humored him for this long anyway.

He cupped the roundness of his belly protectively. He didn’t know what this would mean for his pup.

“We got Auntie Nat and Uncle Sam, we’ll be okay. I promise.”

Chapter Text

When Steve woke up, shadows echoed around the room. His eyes felt sore, no doubt they were red from the amount of crying he had been doing. His eyes wandered around his small bedroom, finally landing on a glass of water with a note sitting beside it. He eased up and reached for the note.

Come out to the living room with us when you’re up. - Sam

Steve gratefully emptied the glass. He didn’t want to go to the living room because he knew they’d want to talk as soon as they saw his face, but he knew that if he stayed here, he was only delaying the inevitable. Changing out of his rumpled-up clothes, he donned comfortable pajama pants and a too-large undershirt. He didn’t make a production out of it, he quietly eased out of his room and made his way to the living room where Sam and Nat were lounging on the couch directly across from their tv.

Both looked up when he arrived, Sam standing up and heading into the kitchen, coming back with a cup of tea that he sat in front of Steve where he sat down and taking his own seat.

Natasha got right to the point. “What happened, Steve? We’ve been getting calls from Barnes all day.”

Steve sighed, playing with the handle on the cup for a moment before responding. “Apparently, I’m not the only omega Bucky’s been fooling around with.”

Sam frowned. “The guy looks at you like he worships the ground you walk on. How do you know he’s stepping out on you?”

“I saw him loved up with some brunette down in his lab. It wreaked of omega when I was down there and no one else with access to his lab is an omega but me.”

“A, you don’t know that. B, did you get a look at the omega at all? Or get their scent? What were they doing that convinced you that they are romantically involved?”

“She was some brunette and they were wrapped up pretty tight, Nat. He was even petting her hair.”

“And her scent?”

“It didn’t have that base undercurrent of a family member. If that’s what you’re asking?”

He heard Natasha curse under her breath.

“It hurts like a bitch right now, but I’ll be all right. I always am.”

“You shouldn’t have to just be ‘all right’, Steve.” Natasha sighed, “We want you to be happy. I still believe we don’t have all the facts here.”

He ignored her last sentence, he saw what he saw. “I have you guys, all of our other friends, and in a few months’ time, I’ll have the pup. It’s all I’ll need.”

Sam’s chest puffed out slightly. “Damn right, Rogers. But first, we need to confront this knothead. He’s done you wrong and we ain’t sitting by without giving him shit.”

“Let’s just forget about this and move on gu-”

Sam shook his head. “That’s not possible in this case. Y’all got a pup on the way. You’ll have to hash things out with him no matter what he’s done.”

“And the sooner the better, medvezhonok.”

The three friends snapped to attention when they heard a couple of frantic knocks on the door. There was the sound of a slight scuffle before a much calmer knock sounded.

Sam shot Steve a look. “Looks like sooner is here.”

“No! Natasha don’t!”

But the redheaded alpha was already to the door, opening it wide to reveal a determined, young woman; a nervous, shifting, equally as young woman; and an obviously fretting Bucky.

“Did Steve make it back here safely? Can I speak to him? I can-”

“We would like to speak with Steve, if that’s all right with him?” The woman in question looked like the female version of Bucky, with much longer hair that pooled down to her waist, slightly darker blue eyes, and a less noticeable cleft in her chin.

Natasha looked back at Steve with a quirk of her brow and he shrugged.

“We’d like to nip this in the bud before it becomes one of the cliché misunderstandings in those rom-coms Ma likes so much.”

Natasha waved them in and closed the door behind them as they entered.

“I’m Rebecca Barnes, or Becca. If you can’t already tell, I’m one of Bucky’s sisters.” She stopped at a short distance away from Steve, holding out her hand.

Steve stood and took her hand, admiring her firm, yet gentle grip. He could tell by her scent that she was an omega as well, but it wasn’t the same smell that had him turning away back at the tower. Her scent had the same undercurrent as Bucky’s. Becca motioned for the other woman to step forward, which she did hesitantly. He got a whiff of her and immediately began to tense. She didn’t smell like Bucky’s family, but she did smell like that hall. It was her.

“This is my best friend, Kitty Pryde. She’s practically the fourth Barnes sister.”

“I’m so sorry guys! My boyfriend of five years just broke up with me this morning and the one of the first things I thought to do was go to Bucky because he’s pretty much a big brother to me and his scent helps to calm me down and I’ve been such a wreck and I’m so sorry!”

Steve felt heat rushing to his face as two feelings dominated his psyche, relief and chagrin. It used to be a constant struggle to try to separate Brock and the shitty one-night stands from other alphas like Nat and Thor but this situation proved that it was still a cloud hanging over his head.

“Can I talk to you Steve?” Bucky glanced at Sam, then Natasha. “Alone?”

As much as he didn’t want to, he felt he owed Bucky that much.

“Yeah, Buck.” He felt Natasha come up beside him and give his shoulder a light squeeze in support before he pushed himself up off the couch and motioned for Bucky to follow him.

He closed the door softly once they were both inside his room. He shifted from foot to foot but couldn’t bring himself to look Bucky in the eye, though he could feel the alpha’s gaze on him.

“’m sorry I forgot to tell ya about Kitty. She’s been with us so long I tend t’ forget that at the base her scent doesn’t quite match ours even after all these years. They insisted on comin’ along since I’m shit at talkin’ t’ people and me forgettin’ t’ tell ya about Kitty reinforced that.”

Steve looked up at him. “I’m sorry I didn’t give you the benefit of the doubt. You’ve been nothing but kind, gentle, and patient with me.”

Bucky shook his head. “I know quite a few alphas tend t’ start that way before they reveal how much of an asshole they truly are. ’s why I came over here as soon as Becca made me shower and change once I realized ya weren’t gonna answer my calls. I’m hopin’ you’ll tell me about it in the future so I can make each of their lives as miserable as I can make it.”

“That ain’t necessary, Buck.”

“Like hell it aint. For you, I think anything’s necessary.”

Steve just shook his head, but with a small, hopeful smile. “If I think it’s necessary for me to have a hug, could I get one?”

Bucky grinned. “Of course, sugar.”

Steve rolled his eyes at the pet name but didn’t hesitate to twine his arms around the alpha’s waist once he was wrapped in his strong arms against his broad chest. He felt hesitant fingers brush through his hair, but once he relaxed even further into Bucky’s embrace, they became more confident in their movements.

“I’m so sorry, Buck.” He couldn’t stress it enough.

“It’s okay, Stevie. I’m sorry again for not tellin’ ya about Kit-Kat. I gotta grovel t’ her later.”

Steve huffed out a laugh. “You’ve got nothin’ to be sorry about Bucky. But maybe I should meet the rest of your folks so there’s no more confusion?”

Bucky pulled away just enough to look him in the eye. “Don’t let this misunderstandin’ scare ya into meetin’ my folks, Stevie. If you ain’t ready, you ain’t ready.”

Steve thought back to that night where Bucky refused to knot him because he hadn’t given him the permission, whereas any other alpha would have just gone for it anyway. He thought back to Bucky insisting they get the best medical professionals available to look after his and the pup’s health throughout his pregnancy, when any other alpha he’d encountered would have done their best to convince him to get an abortion or just plain abandoned him. He thought about their friends meeting up so they could get to know each other and create an even better environment for their pup to thrive in.

“We pretty much skipped the meet the family part and leapt straight to pregnancy. It wouldn’t hurt to backtrack a bit, hm?”

The alpha’s bark of laughter sounded like music to Steve, and it chased away the last bit of negative feelings from today’s mix-up.