The tabloids started calling him ‘queen’ after he took over SI from Stane, after Iron Man, after he stopped using suppressants. He’d never liked them, always been suspicious that they kept him from...doing something.
He’d been right, of course; looking up the ‘queen’ gender had explained so much.
For the first time, he had goals he could actually live up to, something to aspire to be; a good man and a good queen. He set out to prove himself to...mostly himself, actually. He’d made the world see what he could do on the freeway already; ‘hero’ was a much easier title to maintain than ‘queen’.
Doors opened to heroes; scared people would actually let you leave that hundred dollar tip, call you on that IOU. The Maria Stark foundation had never been so busy; no matter how many homeless kids he ran into ( searched out ) or veterans he pulled out of dumpsters ( even literally, once ) he could take them to the foundation and help.
Tony wanted to hide from the press, do his thing without having to see his meagre efforts dissected, newspapers making money off his attempts to help -- but JARVIS insisted he should lead by example, that other companies might contribute. So Tony ignored it, and grit his teeth when the paps hung around the abuse help center, and stood between the cameras and the kids. Even with the attention he could help, though; oozing queen pheromones, comforting enraged teenagers and drinking really awful coffee with the other addicts.
The heart of it, the thing that held Tony the tightest and pulled him across the continent to New York, was a respite center: six big rooms in an old industrial building, where packs went to recover. Some of them were dealing with tragedies -- deaths in the pack, loss of the lead pair -- and some were struggling with exactly what Tony was.
Coming home from a war zone.
He couldn’t stay too long, he ran the risk of adopting them as sub-packs and they didn’t need to be tied to him that way, but it helped. PTSD was a thing, and just seeing them was a relief. Occasionally someone would say something like ‘that smell, right? The dust? Comes right back,’ and Tony would crumple and just feel so relieved that he would leak scent all over the joint. The military packs knew that scent, looked at him with those cold, all-seeing eyes, but they’d never said anything. The more times they looked at him like that, the more he understood how deep it was, how the...blank cold was something...non-judgmental and neutral. Maybe he’d be able to talk about his dreams sometime, not now, but maybe sometime.
But he wasn’t there for himself, even if it was good in some mystical psychological way; he went to help. He went when the center manager called, and his presence settled raging emotions when they got too high. Nervous and new at this whole game, having to work hard at controlling his unsuppressed social scent, Tony would sit in the corner of the therapy room and try and help them talk it out without damping their feeling so far that they went to sleep. They were always so tired, he wanted them to be able to rest, but that instinct wasn’t the best use of their time there. He resisted.
Pepper was his guiding light; he’d never had this much free rein before and she kept his eyes open, stopped him from forging blindly ahead with one project when there were five more like it, and they needed a better strategy. She was the one who developed the rules for becoming SI Pack, and she was the one who made sure that every last engineer and intern knew what they were getting into before they started flirting with Tony’s hormones.
She had always been good with interpersonal politics.
His spare time had never been so good before. Even the days where he came home limp and exhausted, brain swimming in reflected angst, it was better than anything he’d had before. He felt alive, whole, all that mystical wellfulness bullshit. He was helping. It mattered.
Also: no more hiding.
Contrary to everything Obie had ever said, no one penalised SI for an omega leader; contracts started coming in thicker and faster. Google had them build the Nexus ‘Pi’, Dell switched from Intel to Stark. The small hospitals started buying Stark medical equipment, and steadily, orders started building up. No one had wanted to buy his remote surgery robots when he was a weapons manufacturer, but now he’d come out as a queen it was a different matter entirely.
It felt...strange. Fraudulent. The robots were designed using weapons money, there was no reason for people to be more comfortable around them now than there had been before, and yet. It helped him feel less of a fraud when he started using the development team’s names as product branding. The Stark logo was still there, brazen as ever, but the names inside it varied and Tony wasn’t taking all the credit for his employees' work any more.
Unless something came out of his own two hands, his own development suite, it didn’t have his name on it. It caused a few confused emails, and a weird as fuck talking-head segment, but the media came around eventually. They weathered it.
Their share value clawed up out of the post-weapons-dump hole it’d fallen into. Investment picked up. He was the omega who managed to queen half of Wall Street; it sure was something.
The Iron Man prosthesis collected dings and bullet holes on three continents, and it wasn’t easy, but it was good.
He was on top of the world.
And then someone tried to invade his city.
He knew, the second he stepped onto the helicarrier’s bridge, that he would be taking the Avengers home with him. The combined loss-stress scent coming off the Captain and Banner was enough to make him want to mother them. Their scents were familiar from the shelters he helped at, scents he associated with black bruises and broken packs. He could feel them cracking, their needs bleeding through into starvation. One conversation and he knew -- he recognised the feeling he had for them, even Natasha with their history. The captain was prickly as fuck, and Tony couldn’t exactly grasp why, but oh he was gonna work on that. The Hulk... well, he might have to wait while he got his hormones around what Bruce was, gender-role-wise. Hell of a thing.
And Thor... He'd thought he'd imagined the twisting confusion of Loki's scent, but Thor was... He wasn’t typed, his scent was lacking markers. But he flowed easily into an ally-alpha role in the conversation. Pretty soon, they didn’t have time to worry about it.
The feeling of incipient ownership stole over Tony, the potential to make them a real team, even while they argued and blustered and yelled at each other in the lab. The world blue-shifted, like a star hurtling towards the viewer at high speed and there was a moment when Tony considered blooding himself to draw the fierce roil of hormones into sharp focus--
But he didn't need to, because someone blew up the fucking floor. Steve was there in seconds, even before the flames blew past him, and hauled him to his feet away from the collapsing floor. Tony felt the signals snap back into place; alpha, protect, command, direct , but Steve wasn't the one giving orders, and Tony felt the queen in him resonating with Steve in a terrifying, basal harmonic.
This man was his now.
He lost touch with the betas, and Thor was too far away, but Steve was with him and his and he was going to make this man a pack, and in the midst of the fighting, he knew that meant binding this ridiculous team together with his sweat and blood and heart.
That meant not letting the damn tower get vaporised in the fuckups of a frightened security agency.
Lying on the pavement afterwards, visor gone and filters moot, he felt Pack snap into place. Possessive, protective instincts, as strong as the day he’d killed Obadiah, got him up onto his feet.
Cap was smiling. Dusty, sprawled on his ass on the pavement, and beat all to hell with a crater where his belly plating should be, but he was smiling. It was cracked ‘round the edges, like his face had frozen solid and needed thawing out before smiling was anything but painful, but Tony knew it was a victory.
The Hulk... The Hulk was beautifully simple; a loud Alpha, tough and strong and painfully kind, and Tony could smell the hold-protect-shelter rolling off him, even through the smoke and dust.
“Alright, Avengers, on your feet.” He was the only one standing. Thor was kneeling, looking up at him like he was sunshine. Hulk was semi-upright, crouching and poking at Tony’s-- oh, hey! Faceplate! Hulk picked it up before obeying Tony’s edict, and held it delicately up to the light. Steve... Well, who knew what was going on behind that fading smile, but Steve understood battlefields, he knew how lucky they were, and he looked at Tony like he wanted to hug the living daylights out of him. His fingers twitched, reaching towards him, and Tony grabbed his hand; even gauntlet on glove felt amazing and fitting . They’d talk about hugs later, Tony thought they might just be even nicer.
“Steve, get up , it’s time to move.” He tugged on the hand he’d captured, and Steve rolled upwards, swaying when he got to the top. Tony steadied him with a move straight out of the omega handbook, tucking his shoulder under Steve’s arm. “Has anyone reported in? My comms are down.”
And that was how Tony became queen of the first superhero team on the planet.
He got them home, he fed them, and he patched up the holes in their stupid hides. Steve was the worst, but Clint came a close second, and Tony called up a fellow omega from SI’s first aider list. He didn’t want to put another alpha in the room with Steve hurt, and all his betas were busy with the jobs that let them handle the trauma. The other omegas were holding up to the world-shaking stress the best; with packs of betas around them, they’d been out of danger and able to see what the fuck was going on more clearly. Tony knew his pheromones were running rampant in the building, nudging and energizing people, and he hoped that at least for now, it was a good thing.
He had tried to hold back, but it was futile. Every time Steve or Clint hissed in pain, he bristled, and his mouth tingled with the animalistic urge to lick them clean. He really was at risk of putting them both to sleep without their consent, so he resisted his instincts.
He wasn't sure how effective it was they weren’t resisting it at all from their end, and Tony’s control was shit; Clint passed out asleep multiple times.
There was a lot of work to do, enough that he set up a control center out of the Tower lobby. No one would fight on a queen’s ground, not even with emotions running alien-invasion high. It helped that the police, the National Guard? They loved Steve. They’d do whatever Steve told them. And his orders were good; Tony got him maps and coloured pencils, and he was re-routing convoys of cleanup crews non-stop for hours, new problems coming in as soon as the old ones were fixed. In between rallying ambulances and fire crews, and helping the pop-up hospital manage shock patients, Tony kept him steady with judicious application of cereal bars and water. He even let Tony change the cool pack on his stomach without making sad faces. The burn was bad, and with his metabolism being what it was Steve was relying on Tony’s o-biology to give him pain relief; it wasn’t ideal. Tony was a pretty strong omega, but... He iced it and apologized for the cold by getting Steve’s scent on his cheek.
Tony’s SI pack was so suddenly busy, he had to make new chains of command all over the organization; they need cranes and vehicles and surveyors. He was so busy, he forgot that Thor wasn’t typed, until he commented about Tony’s ‘unique leadership style’. He’d been taking orders from Tony all day, and he looked... radiantly happy? Tony didn’t understand how anything in this situation could make him look like that.
Looking out over the heaving lobby the morning after the fight, the chaos almost completely unabated, Tony swayed slightly. He needed to eat, and drag Steve away for at least an hour or two of sleep.
They wouldn’t be done repairing his city for years, he had to pace himself. No more pushing through to dawn, there was too much work here to burn out on the first week.
He flopped onto the couch at the end of each day after that and pretended to be a cooked noodle, because holy fuck did they get shit done. Steve was a quiet Alpha, a good-of-the-pack Alpha, and that was the Team. That was the City. That was Tony. Steve was like a gun in hand, dangerous? Yes. Powerful, yes. But focused. He bowed to Tony’s political maneuvering with the grace of a professional, and stood at Tony’s shoulder in meetings, on rubble-strewn streets, in front of appeal cameras. Like it was his place. He looked comfortable, like all he ever wanted was to be the good behind someone.
The touch of Steve’s fingertips to the small of Tony’s back gave him the determination to keep fighting when the idiots in the Senate demanded the Avengers pay for damages. It was an impossible ask, a get out of jail free card for a government in favour of using its money to build weapons instead of homes. The Avengers weren’t even a legal entity , they had no capital and no infrastructure. It was Steve’s solid morality, bolstering him up, that kept him from taking the entire team( pack) overseas out of rank frustration with those idiots .
It meant that when Tony was exhausted from too many phone calls with too many assholes, it was Steve who came and oozed pheromones at him until Tony calmed enough to submit to petting. In retaliation, he demanded feeding behaviour so feral, it was obscene.
“Do you want pizza? One of the local places brought a stack of pies as Tribute.” Steve rattled the boxes at him, and Tony’s mouth watered.
He nuzzled into Steve’s shoulder and pushed him into the couch, enjoying the smell of polite, back-seat Alpha. “...‘s not called tribute anymore, it’s just... gratis .”
Steve huffed in amusement, and Tony got a whiff of the not-territory stress Steve had been kicking out on the Helicarrier, but a nip of the thin skin at Steve’s throat sorted that out. They settled onto the sofa, him and Steve and Clint, and ate pizza. Clint was ravenous, he didn’t have any time for social anything , but Steve...Steve smelled like touch-starvation still, like he was dying for some bonding time. So Tony insisted on Steve hand-feeding him. Steve let him lick his fingers after each bite, and Tony started to smell himself coming off Steve; pack bonding was happening, and while they still hadn’t talked about it, Tony could feel Steve's acceptance in every antiquated ritual, the little tilt of Steve’s hand and the soft animal sounds in the back of his throat.
He was Home, it was official, he gave up on modern practices and rubbed his scent all over Steve’s hand. He’d get to the others soon too, even Natasha, though damnit, he’d use his words.
“It is tribute, though; you’re queen, only one in the city. It’s right you get thanks after...”
Tony clicked his tongue and let Steve’s tightening grip turn him into a pliant, happy pile of omega contentment. “Don’t think about it, just feed me pizza. It’s not cheese-in-the-crust is it?”