Tony felt tears well up in his eyes.
Steve had hidden that from him. His parents' death. That his friend was repson--
No. No, Bucky wasn't responsible, and Tony knew that.
"Friend isn't the right word Tony." Tony looked up at the captain. Had he read his mind or someth-- "You were never just a friend to me." Tony's eyes widened, and he looked to where Bucky was, on the floor, holding his shoulder where his metal arm used to be. "You... you and Bucky are my world, and this is killing me. Please."
The look on Steve's face absolutely crushed Tony, but he couldn't just forget what Steve had hidden from him. And what made it worse, is that now, of all times, he just wanted to kiss the captain like he had since they had become a team.
"Tony, I'm sorry I didn't tell you about your parents, but what would you have done if I told you, hm? Killed Bucky when I wasn't around--"
"I don't blame Barnes for anything. I know it was HYDRA's work. I'm not mad at him, Steve!" Tony's tears were flowing down his cheeks, but he couldn't care less. "What I'm mad about, is that my best friend wouldn't tell me about my parents' death--which, in reality, the answer might have convinced me to help you--and decided that he knew what my reaction was going to be. I'm mad at you, Steve, because you thought you knew me when it counted, and you didn't. What kind of person do you think I am? I have a heart, believe it or not, and I understand Barnes wasn't in the right mindset. But..." Tony wanted to wipe his eyes, but couldn't. He shook his head and said, "I thought you knew me, Steve. I needed you to know me, because no one else does."
Bucky looked at Tony, not believing his ears.
After everything, Tony doesn't blame him. He felt a small smile on his lips, and got up, leaning against the wall for support.
"Hate to interrupt, really, I do, but I'm kind of missing an arm." Both Steve and Tony turned to him, and Tony lifted his face plate to look at the wires closer, not thinking about his tears.
"Don't." But, of course, Steve being the man he is, pulled Tony into a hug. "Steve let g--"
"No." Tony has never heard Steve sound so sad in his life.
When Steve decided to let go a long moment later, they noticed Bucky playing with one of his knives.
"Alright, diva, let's get you b--" Tony stopped himself short, knowing that there was no way of getting back to Avengers Tower without alerting the government. And now that he didn't bring in the two soldiers, he was a criminal like them. "Oh crap."
"We can't go back." Steve said softly. "But I think I know someone who can make it so we can."
"Stevie, that can take up to a week, maybe a month."
"Buck, it's either that, or getting sent to jail and never getting your arm. And potentially getting the death sentence."
Both Tony and Bucky sighed, before Tony spoke up.
"Alright. Call Sandra, and tell her to do it literally as fast as possible."
They really needed to stop relying on an eighteen year-old.
Steve pulled out his phone, and dialed the other Avenger's number.
"Hey Steve. What is it?"
"Um... we kinda need you to take care of some legal issues."
"Huh? Why? I thought you said you'd just lay low until you can prove the case flawlessly yourself?" Steve heard the clinking of plates in the background, and immediately felt awful.
"Uh, well, Stark's cooled down, I feel like shit, and Bucky's missing an arm."
"MISSING AN ARM!? Oh, when I see Stark--"
"Sandra, calm down, it's fine now. Jeez, your madder than Bucky was."
"Oh, fuck off. How much time do I have?"
"How much time do you think someone can go without an arm in the middle of nowhere?"
Steve heard Sandra repeat the question to someone else, and it was a long moment before she responded.
"It'll be done in a week and a half."
"Thank you so much, Sandra."
"I get a month of no bothering after this."
"You got it." Sandra hung up and Steve smiled. "Think you can go a week and a half, Buck?"
"Yeah, that should be fine." Bucky said simply.
Tony removed his armor, and sat down against the wall. His eyes were fixed on the floor.
"I'm sorry, Tony." It was almost lost to Tony's ears, it was so quietly spoken.
"No, it's not." Tony looked at the Captain with wide eyes. "I shouldn't have kept that from you--I... I was just scared for Bucky." Tony had to smile a bit at that.
"You've always been so selfless, Steve. I told you. It's fine. Worrying about this is only gonna make my grey hairs multiply." Tony said, smile turning into a smirk. But it was a bitter one.
Tony knew why Steve was apologizing. Really, he did, but... he wasn't the only one to blame here. Why was he the only one apologizing? Why wasn't he demanding an apology from Tony?
Oh yeah. He's Steve.
"You know, this isn't gonna happen often, but... sorry. I shouldn't--I know I said I would've helped you if I got the straight answer, but--that's... that's way after the Accords, and, well, I was a complete ass in that time frame. So... I'm sorry Steve, and I'm sorry Bucky."
The two soldiers shared a shocked look, before a blinding pain radiated from all three of their right forearms.
If they screamed, they didn't know it, because it felt as if their ears were stuffed beyond stuffed with cotton.
It could've been a second, a minute, an hour, but eventually, the pain subsided, and it was a mere warm and fuzzy feeling where the pain had been.
"What the hell?" Steve muttered, practically ripping the material off in his attempt to pull his uniform up.
And surely enough, there were two Marks there.
Bucky's eyes widened and he pulled his sleeve, and, surprise, surprise, there was Tony's Mark, as well as Steve's.
"Well, Sandra going to have a field day with this."
"Hold on. The government eases up if Marks would get in the way of their actions."
"And we can just say Tony's Mark wouldn't let anything happen."
Let's get something down. Marks, apart from looking nice, will start stinging if your soulmate(s) is/are in trouble. And if you are the one to willingly inflict pain on on said soulmate(s), the mark will either cause you such pain you pass out, or even a fatal result. There are some occasions, though, where the Mark will physically stop you from harming your soulmate(s). They allow you to feel your soulmate's(s') emotions, good or bad. And they, obviously, let the soulmates bond on a whole new level.
Steve pulled out his phone again, slightly dreading calling Sandra.
"She won't bite. Yet." Tony said, and Steve had to roll his eyes, but not without fondness. Steve dialed the number, and wasn't shocked to hear the growled response from the other end of the line.
"Steven Grant Rogers, if you call one more time--I am the one who is fighting a losing battle, here!"
Steve heard a voice in the background.
"Actually, you're forging the plan to fight a losing battle."
"Tim, shut up." Steve chuckled. "You're in no position to laugh, Rogers!" Ooh, last names, never good with Sandra. With the exception of Jessica and her other friends, but he has a theory she's just always secretly mad at them. Kinda like how Bruce is just eternally mad.
"Well, we called to make your fight a not-so-losing battle."
"Well, uh, the three of us each have each other's Marks."
Sandra and--apparently--Tim were dead silent for a solid minute.
"Well. Um... first off, congrats. Second, I'd say, mm.... how long do you think, Tim?... Alright. It'll be done in two days." There was a moment where all Steve could do was smile. "I wanna see those marks next time I see you three!"
"Alright." Steve hung up and turned to Tony, or where he would've been, had he not moved, he spun around, and saw him and Bucky sitting next to each other. "That was fast."
"No time like the present, Capsicle."
"'Capsicle'?" Bucky asks, struggling to hold back a laugh. Steve felt a flush creep up on his cheeks. "Oh, that is clever."
"Someone appreciates it!" Steve couldn't help but smile at the two.
He still couldn't believe they were soulmates.
Something slowly dawned on Tony, and his happy mood went south fast.
"You really don't want to be bonded to me." He said, getting up and leaning against one of the pillars.
And with Tony's mood change, came Steve and Bucky's.
"What do you mean?"
"I solve my problems with shutting myself out within the confines of my lab, Rogers, and drowning myself in a bottle. My public image is a playboy who fucks like it's nothing, and I made weapons for the government to hurt people. I can't deal with things I can't explain, I--I'll bring nothing good to you, and you two are already perfect for each other. I can't ruin that..." Tony whispered, and he felt the glares on the back of his head.
"Anthony Edward Stark. You are nothing if not perfectly imperfect. No one--and I mean no one is perfect. But you... you've come the closest compared to anyone else we know." Bucky said, walking closer to Tony, and the billionaire looked like a scared puppy. "Tony, please." Tony hadn't realized he was walking backwards, and he stopped upon realization.
Long enough for Bucky to wrap his arms around Tony.
Tony struggled for a bit to get free, but he gave in, and nuzzled his face in Bucky's neck. Tony felt another pair of strong arms wrap around his middle and put an arm on top of Steve's.
"We're not letting you go, Tony. Ever." The blonde said into Tony's hair, and the latter felt safe and loved.
"And if we're going by your logic, no one here deserves anyone. But sometimes, doll, you need to let the past go and enjoy what you're given."
"I've never heard you so inspirational." Tony said lightly, and he felt both of them grin.
Two Weeks Later
Steve, Tony, Bucky moved back into the Tower, and the others slowly started coming back as well.
Bucky has his arm back, and to Steve and Tony's shock, he didn't want the red star gone.
"Yeah, it meant something bad... but now it means something very important to me." Bucky was looking at the Marks on Steve's and Tony's arm and the two smiled.
Yes, there were times when they felt like they didn't deserve the other two, but one look at their smiles, and they couldn't find a place they'd rather be.