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for the feeling that i get when you are gone

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Tony is supposed to be helping Rhodey when he starts to feel weak.

Rhodey manages to catch the bar and hold them both up, despite everything. "You okay?"

It takes Tony a second to catch his breath and he feels like he's going to throw up, but he nods. Swallows down the bile. "Yeah. Completely fine. You?"

Rhodey huffs and Tony extricates himself from his friend. Rhodey doesn't look as convinced as Tony would've hoped. "You need to see a doctor, Tony."

"You're the one who needs a doctor. Best in the world. Available to you anytime." Tony manages to snag a waste basket in time to puke.

"Tony."

~

"I'm not that kind of doctor, Tony," Bruce says and Tony just grumbles. "Besides, I'd need to actually see you."

"I already told you my symptoms," Tony replies. "Nausea. Vomiting. Tired all the time. There's this ache in my abdomen sometimes. I ate an entire box of Girl Scout cookies yesterday."

Bruce sighs into the line. "Maybe you're pregnant," he jokes. "I have no idea, Tony. Could be anything. Seriously though--" and Bruce's tone changes, has Tony feeling tense and sick and sweaty--"how are you doing?"

"Mh." Tony shakes his head even though no one can see it. "Yeah. I'm fine. Everything is fine. Other than the-- you know. What I told you."

"I may be out of the game, but I know that something went down, Tony. Maybe you should--"

"Yeah. Thanks, Bruce. I gotta go. I need to-- Bye."

Tony ends the call and hangs his head between his knees.

~

Rhodey calls Pepper.

Pepper calls a doctor.

Pepper doesn't talk to Tony.

Tony... He gets it.

But he complies with the doctor, goes through the motions and explains his symptoms as the doctor hums and asks clarifying questions.

Then the doctor asks if Tony has any medical equipment and thirty minutes in the lab later, the doctor says, "I think you need a specialist, Mr. Stark."

Tony rolls his eyes. "What kind?"

The doctor clears his throat. "Maybe an...OB/GYN."

Tony snorts but the doctor doesn't crack a smile. "Wait. Are you-- you're serious?"

"Since aliens started falling from the sky, Mr. Stark, there's not much out of the question." He shrugs. "In my professional opinion...you're pregnant. And probably about three or four months along. Most surprising is the trauma that little one must've gone through to make it this far. Very strong." He thumps his tablet and Tony is pretty sure he's going to pass out.

He manages to lead the doctor out and the man agrees to contact an OB/GYN for him, but Tony is just going through the motions.

~

Three or four months.

Three or four months.

Seems so vague for a guy Tony knows must've cost a lot of money, but maybe it's the situation--a pregnant man isn't exactly the usual.

Four months ago, Tony and Pepper had been on the rocks. They weren't talking, but nothing had happened yet--not officially.

Tony thought she needed time and space to work it out and Pepper had just needed time and space away from Tony. Maybe for good.

He grimaces at the memory. He was naive. Naive and selfish. Pepper never should've been in those situations. Not-- He shudders.

But a little over three months ago, the Pepper situation still unresolved, Tony had been faithful--even if it was all but over. Up until...

Up until...

Rhodey was supposed to be on the mission, actually. To join Steve and Sam in their hunt for Rumlow and for Barnes.

Rhodey had been on another mission, however. One that had been officially sanctioned by the U.S. government. So Tony had to do.

"You could've gotten us all killed, Stark."

"Sorry, next time you need someone out there to save your ass, I'll make sure I'm unavailable."

"Told you this was a mistake," Sam says, but he wanders off when Tony shoots a glare in his direction. The real fighting is over.

"I should've brought Vision. Or Wanda."

"Yeah," Tony spits. "Maybe you should've. But you brought me."

And then Tony remembers how close their faces got, the literal and metaphorical drop of the gauntlet and then-- and then--

It had been quick and dirty and angry.

Tony had never used any of those words to describe Steve, so when Steve acted like nothing had happened--embarrassed as he seemed--Tony had almost convinced himself that it really hasn't.

It had just been some weird fantasy his mind had concocted.

But now he's thinking about it. He's remembering it. And...it had happened.

Holy shit. He had-- and Steve-- and--

Oh.

If that doctor was right, and it wasn't a tumor or some other weird side effect of the job, whatever this might be in Tony...

It might--might--also be part-Steve.

"Very strong."

The doctor's last sentence echoes in Tony's mind.