'Fuck' Is his first thought as he groans, there were alarms going all around him, doubling the painful throbbing in his head' Wha-'
'Security breach' Tony freezes immediately, because that is Visions' voice but, something was off; he realizes immediately, he tries to concentrate on the last thing he remembers but it feels like his brain was put through a blender-'There is an unusual, disturbance in the 56th floor of the Avengers Tower-'
Before the voice can continue, Tony's mind catches up with him and he gasps audibly which causes the voice to falter, he can't believe it, "JARVIS, is that you?"
There is silence apart from the alarms still blaring in the background, Tony waits because he doesn't know what else to do in the moment, it's like his brain has abandonded him as soon as he heard the voice and connected the possibility of what was happening.
'Sir?' And yes, if there was any doubt he had doubt before, the fragile disbelief in the voice of his AI made him certain.
This was JARVIS, which means.......
Tony looks up at Steve who's staring back at him in disbelief, 'They did it, they defeated Thanos.'
He looks at Natasha hugging Bruce in relief and victory, Captain Marvel is looking down at Thanos in pity, which he thinks the purple scrotum doesn't deserve, Rocket hurling abuses at Thanos while Rhodey's expression is caught somewhere between laughter and horror. Thor slumping besides a tree exhausted with Stormbreaker in his lap. There are others who are hugging each other and then sagging down in relief.
A bright light to his side causes him to turn and he sees Adam Warlock, he still didn't understand the man but it didn't matter; because he could use the gauntlet to restore the half of the Universe that was lost, as soon as he wore the gauntlet everyone's attention was immediately focused on him , anticipation and anxiousness so thick that if you stick your tongue out you could probably taste it.
Adam probably feeling everyone's' eyes on him smiled and nodded,"I feel a strong connection with the soul stone, everyone is safe inside and I can set them free."
The Warlock made a fist and suddenly gauntlet was glowing Tony closed his eyes and when he opened them, he knew it had worked because he could see Barnes standing by Steve's side, as soon as Captain America realized this, he hugged the ex-assassin in a tight grip, Tony felt a pang in his chest and smiled sadly, as he saw them hugging for it felt like was eternity, so beautiful together, there was no room for him in between them, but then he startled when he saw that Steve's eyes had now turned to him. Actually Barnes was also looking at him with a strange look in his eyes.
'When did they stop hugging?'
"Tony." He suppressed a shiver at the voice practically caressing his name,"Come here." Tony's eyes fell on the outstretched hand and he hesitated, he looked towards Barnes and saw the man was still staring at him but more intensely now, like he could see his soul, read his mind, look under his clothes and no armor could stop him. He had never felt so exposed by a fucking stare.
"Thanks for saving my life."Barnes said and Tony's eyes widened as a metal arm stretched forward, "Com' her', doll."
He couldn't, not now, not yet, not until he knew the kid was alright and Strange too. He needed to find them and make sure they were alright.
"Tony?" There was concern in Cap's voice now,"What's-"
"Mr. Stark!" He could literally feel relief pouring into him and flooding him with emotions that scared the crap out of him, he saw Peter with his mask on and Strange with a frown on his face coming towards him,"Kid your-
"Mr.Stark, watch out behind you!"
Tony felt his body being sucked, but before he could comprehend what was happening he was already being sucked inside the portal, all he heard was panicked voice behind him as he was swallowed into the dark portal, he could only think that among those voices' Peter, Steve and Buckys' were the loudest, probably because they were closest but before any of those voice could follow him his world turned black.
'Was it a time portal? ' He wondered dazed before he replied to the obviously confused and distraught AI,"Hey baby boy."
Before he could receive a reply or ask any question of his own the alarms stopped suddenly and then people entered,"Who are you?"
He looked dumbfounded at Captain America without his beard looking like he did when they first met and along side him stood Bucky Barnes, Clint Barton, Sam Wilson, Wanda Maximoff, her brother Pietro and then his eyes fell on Natasha whose eyes widened in turn,"Tony Stark?"
"What?!?"Clint exclaimed,"The dead heir to the Stark Industries?"
Tony took calming breathes, dead, no, that means no time travel, just- what? Another reality? Alternate Universe? Another Dimension? he could feel another head ache coming.
"You must be an impostor." It was Barnes who said that and he could see the assassins griping their weapons tightly, energy that Scarlet Witch was exhibiting, they were going to fight him.
He had no wish to die today after just saving the world.
He tapped twice at his reactor and soon was covered in his armor, he could see the widening of their eyes as he pointed his hands towards them,"I am not here to fight and I am not an impostor, if we could just sit down like the adults some of us are, we can work this out peacefully."
'Stand down Captain.' It was JARVIS who replied his voice cold and hard in a way that Tony has never heard before,"If anyone tries to harm Sir then I am afraid I have to neutralize you.'
"Wait...What?" Tony exclaimed and he could feel the sentiment echoed by the rest of the bunch.
"JARVIS, you can't be serious,"Wanda said,"What are you thinking?"
'I won't ask again Ms.Maximoff,' Tony has never heard his baby boy sounding so malicious before,'Stand down all of you.'
Tony had no doubt in his mind that JARVIS will make good on his threat and it seemed others agreed too because they backed off, but they were on guard, suddenly there was a familiar beeping and Tony turned and a smile split his face because,"DUM-E!!!!" He removed his armor to greet the bot. Ignoring the eyes burning holes into him.
The robot beeped and twirled enthusiastically before running towards him,"Hey DUM-E have you been taking care of things while I was gone?" It was question he often jokingly asked DUM-E because he was the eldest of his bot and it was cute to see DUM-E happily twirling to show how responsible he was.
'Sir,' The slightly hitched voice of his AI, his youngest boy, and it made him smile sadly,"I guess I am dead here huh JARVIS? I am so sorry to leave you alone baby boy. I love you so much."
The AI was silent for a while and so where the rest of the Avengers, who were watching him silently and carefully and when JARVIS responded it was filled with emotions that an AI should not be able to express,"I missed you, sir.'
With his hand still resting on DUM-E he turned to his stunned audience and smiled,"Hello everyone, my name is Tony Stark, I guess you have some questions."
As they all entered the living room, he was surprised to see BUTTERFINGERS and U waiting he giggled as they along with DUM-E formed a little cult circle around him and began to twirl and beep happily,"Alright, Alright, I know you missed me my babies but daddy has some work to do, you guys go play and I'll join you guys later in the workshop alright?"
Steve smiled as he saw bots looking so lively first time in his life, he didn't even know that DUM-E owned a tennis ball.
They all beeped and stopped twirling but refused to leave his side, he sighed and allowed them to follow him into the living room,"You guy have something to eat?" He asked and received several blank stares, guess it was still too early,"Jay, can you order daddy some take out?"
"He's not your slave." Wanda frowned,"He-"
"Already done, sir."
"Wow,"Clint whistled,"Even though JARVIS is courteous, he still treat us like guests, but you?"
Tony smirked,"He's daddy's little boy."
"He knows you." Wanda asked hesitantly and Tony nodded,"I created him. Well my other dead version I assume."
"So you're not you, you're another you that's not you." Pietro spoke and Tony gave him a funny look, because what? Still he nodded,"In simpler words, I am from another reality I think, but it's kind of hard to think right now, I am still thinking this might just be a dream, but it feels too real, apart from me being in this reality ,the time line is a bit different too."He said before asking,"This is the Avengers Tower, formally the Stark Tower right?"
He received a few nods,"Okay who is running the Stark Industries?"
It's JARVIS who replies, 'The Stark Industries rights are shared between Colonel Rhodes and Ms. Potts.'
"Oh thank God." He slumped in relief, "Pep and Honey Bear were the right choice, good job baby boy, What about Stane?"
'Neutralized, after Colonel Rhodes and Ms. Potts discovered he was behind your.... death.'
"Well, can't say I'll miss him," Tony shrugged, "How are my Honey Bear and Pepper."
"I don't know about Ms. Pepper," Sam told him even though he asked JARVIS, "but Rhodey talks about you all the time, how much he misses you, how good you were and I don't think he ever recovered from your death, he thinks it's his fault he couldn't find you in time."
This was fucked up.
'Sir, they are here, Ms. Potts and Colonel Rhodes were informed of the disturbance.'
Tony sighed,"Guess If I am staying here for a while I have to face them sooner or later."
"You shaking."Barnes informed him whispering right into his ear, he squeaked and turned accusingly at the man who smirked at him amused,"You want to give me an heart attack Barnes?!?"
He saw Steve frowning,"You know Bucky?" He asked and Tony rolled his eyes, looks like Steve was possessive of his frozen caveman no matter what universe they were in.
"Yes, Cap from another life, and no I am not trying to pick him up,"He told Steve dryly when he saw him open his mouth, which was promptly shut with- was that pout? Jesus." And yes I know you too Sprangles as well as others too."He sent a meaningful look to all of them.
Before Steve could reply, Pepper and Rhodey entered the living room area,"What happened, JARVIS won't tell us-" Rohdey paused in his mid-sentence as he saw Tony, Pepper's hands went to her mouth in shock her eyes filled with tears and the sight broke his heart a little.
"Hey platypus,"He smiled at Rhodey and then to Pepper he said,"You always were an ugly crier Peps."
And there was no doubt in her mind, or maybe she just didn't care as she ran to hug him clinging to him crying; not even questioning the why, how, and the when just sobbing into his shoulder as he hugged her tight with all his strength, combing back her hair whispering sweet words of comfort in her ear, how it must have been so hard for her, she is a strong woman Tony knew, but she was human; he held her until she pulled away to look at his face again,"Don't cry, Pep."
They both turned and looked at Rhodey who still hadn't moved from his position,"Sugar Plump?"
"Tones?" And this fragile voice did not suit his War Machine, now he was the one running towards his best friends jumped up knowing Rhodey would catch him like he always did, and he did, he caught him and hugged him, Tony closed his eyes tightly as Rhodey cried, gut wrenching sobs, as never got to say good bye to his Tony, never got to apologize to his best friend, for letting him down, for letting him die alone.
Rhodey apologized again and again saying how sorry he was and Tony kept assuring him because he needed to, told him it wasn't his fault, that it was okay, let him say things he knew he couldn't say to his dead best friend anymore.
Tony thinks what he could do a bit of flashbacks and how people in other universe are doing.
This universe is going to be different from the universe we know.
"Where did he go?" Steve looked at the place Tony just disappeared in growing horror, he could feel Bucky's hand on his bicep squeezing but he barely felt it,"Adam! Where did he go?!?"
Adam looked impassively at the place Tony was once occupying before turning to the distraught Captain America and White Wolf whose expression was closed off but the tight lines of his mouth proved that he wasn't unaffected, blazing blue eyes turned to him and he repeated his partners' question,"Where did he go?"
"I do not know."
"Hey, warlock!" Adam turned to voice and saw ....-his companion? Acquaintance? Fellow warrior? Yes. He nodded to himself, that seemed an accurate assumption-Tony Stark, coming towards him.
Adam nodded but didn't use the name,"How can I help you?"
"You say you have a strong connection with the soul stone, is that right?"
"Yes,"Adam confirmed softly as he stared at the soft hopeful eyes,"I had it for a time and formed an unbreakable bond with it."
"What can you do? Can you-"Tony licked his lips nervously and anxiously,"You said that all the people who disappeared because of the gauntlet are inside the soul stone."
"Yes, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can change form and covert into another energy. "Adam explained eagerly and that was probably the first emotion Tony saw in that guy, he was slightly taken aback,"Soul stone has taken the energy of whoever that is effected by it's use."
"Is your link strong?" Tony asked,"Like, can you make sure that everyone in it is alright?"
"You wish to find out?"The warlock asked bemused.
"Yeah,"Tony's hands' shook as he run them through his hair,"there's this kid, you know? Li-like not my kid, but close to it." He explained,"He, was scared and I-I do-don't know if he's ok-ay or scared, I am worried,I-I ju-st want to make sure he-"
"I can show you."The man interrupted and Tony paused before looking at him,"Show me?"
"Come here." Adam gestured him closer and Tony hesitated before complying.
He suppressed a surprise yelp when Adams' arms went around his waist and the man ducked so his forehead was touching his' and eyes looking into his own, which-holy shit, was his eyes white?
For a while white was all he could see before a little golden started to blend into his vision and he looked around in confusion,'Wha-'
'Concentrate' A voice he recognized as Adam told him but he couldn't see the guy, ' Think about the person you want to see, the soul stone is filled with many souls, but if you concentrate I can help you see who you want to see.'
Tony closed his eyes and thought of big brown innocent eyes, adorably childish attitude which was as reckless as it was responsible. A strong boy he was proud of despite being not related to him by blood.
Tony's eyes snapped open and saw brown eyes disbelieving staring back at him,"Pete."
The eyes filled with tears as the kid ran into him clinging to his shoulders and crying,"Where were you, I was so alone here!"
Iron man hugged him back just as fiercely if not more,"You're okay."
"I am not okay!"The kid cried and Tony felt his own eyes burn at his terrified voice,"I'm scared Mr.Stark."
"Look Pete,"Tony pulled back even though the kid kept trying to cling to him,"I have to go back."
"No!" Peter cried,"No, please Mr.Stark don't leave me alone, please."
It broke his heart, but he couldn't stay, if he wanted to save Peter, save all of them he had go.
"Pete, I have to defeat Thanos, I will get you out I promise," Tony assured when Peter started shaking his head, "Look at me."
Peter looked at him and Tony met his eyes steadily, "I know your scared, but I will get you out, I promise. Trust me and hold on for a little longer okay?"
"Okay,"Peter whimpered,"Take care of Aunt May, please. She will be worried, please tell her I - lo-ve her."
'I can't keep doing this for much longer Tony, if there is anyone else you'd like to talk to, or something else you'd like to stay, hurry.'
Before Tony could answer it was like his heart had decided for him, because Peter was gone and now in his place was James Barnes, who was looking miserable sitting alone with his eyes closed looking like he was going to cry.
After civil war Tony had spent a lot of time thinking about this man, this man who was the reason for the rift between him and Steve, the one responsible for his brutal beating, the cause of his nightmares and the one responsible for his parents death, leaving him all alone, leaving him without a chance to say 'I love you' to his parents, for a moment he felt a sick satisfaction as he saw him alone and miserable, even though it was rotten of him he couldn't help but think,'You deserve this, for making me miserable.'
But there was a voice most probably Steves' disapproving and reminding him,'It wasn't him', 'He had suffered his whole life, paying for the crime and deeds he didn't want to commit but was forced to.'
The said mans' head snapped up and his eyes opened wide, he looked at Tony is disbelief before his face crumpled,"Kill me."
"I can't, I am not really here."He flinched at his own voice but Barnes just looked more wreaked if possible.
There was silence and Tony sighed in disbelief at what he was about to say,"Hold on for a little while."
Barnes turned to him in confusion,"What?"
"I'll get you out,"Tony winced at the look Barnes gave him,"We will get you out."
"He's fine,"Tony assured him," We are working on a plan it is full proof ."
"Heh-"Bucky let out a bitter chuckle,"Why would you help me?"
"I am not."Tony replied maybe a bit too fast and defensive,"I am saving the universe which by default includes you too."
They both winced at his phrasing and Tony groaned internally.
'He's scared, almost as much as the kid was,'Tony couldn't believe that ,' Time is running out Lord Stark, If you want to say something do it now, then we have to go back.'
'What could he do?'
Tony cautiously moved closer to Barnes who stared at him coming closer but didn't move away, in fact he seem to gravitate towards him and this close Tony could see that the guy was scared too.
He paused in front of him thinking a bit before throwing caution to the air and cupping Barnes face whose eyes widened and he seem to hold his breath as Tony pulls him down so he could stare into his eyes.
"Listen to me carefully,"Tony whispered and ignored the way Barnes eyes seem to drop down to his lips before looking up,"I will get you out, you will see Steve again."
Tony said thinking it was Steves' name that made Buckys' breathing picked up.
He ignored how he glanced at his lips again.
Pure trust is the last thing he sees before he is back to staring in Adam's eyes again.
Tony took a shaky breath and closed his eyes.
Tony sighs as Rhodey practically carries him to the couch, sitting down so that Tony was now in his lap, it was embarrassing especially the way Bucky Barnes had his eyebrows raised judgmentally.
"Don't give me that look Barnes,"Tony hissed,"Like you and Steve are any better!"
Steve looked confused,"We are close,"He confirms,"But we are not like that."
Tony could not help the laugh that escapes him involuntarily,"Still pinning for the plumps of your best friend."
He wipes the tears from his eyes still snickering and ignores Clints crackling in the back ground,"Really Steve,"He chided mockingly," just bang him and let him bang you, no one does what you do for a 'friend'."
Steve turns red and sputters while Bucky just smirks at him,"And what exactly did he do for me?"
Tony shrugs,"Well, apart from becoming a war criminal in order to protect you?"
Natasha snorts because that is so Steve ignoring order and his own life when Bucky is concerned. The man had one way track when Bucky was added to the equation.
"He almost killed me."
Everyone froze and slowly turned to their guest from another world who had by now accepted his situation was now snuggling into Rhodey whose arms around him tightened,"What? What do you mean?"
Tony looked up at Steves' suddenly horrified expression and Bucky's that was filled with anger?
"Oh don't worry those are mine- I mean my world's Steve.....and Bucky."Tony waved off Peppers' concerned gaze,"Are my parents dead?"
'Yes,' It was JARVIS who replied his tone clipped.
"How did they die?"
'Howard Stark died during an Hydra infiltration of S.H.E.I.L.D, Maria Stark passed five year after his death, due to cancer.'
Tony sighed in relief which caused him to receive weird looks from his audience,"Sorry, I don't why I brought it up,"Lie. He knew why, it was because he was a bitter old man, so he tried his best to fix it,"Me and Cap had some disagreement regarding an issue, Barnes being involved added to fuel to the already scourging fire."
"What issue?"Bucky asked he was now less angry.
"Nothing, relevant to your world hopefully." Tony told him, before turning to Pepper,"How is the company doing?"
"Good."Pepper told him, "Not at top as it was during when you were alive but, not bad. Hammer industries are at top right-"
"WHAT?"Tony screeched all exhaustion gone,"That incompetent piece of shit, over took us?!?"
"After you died, he spent a huge amount of money and bought our best engineers."
"How are you funding the avengers projects." 'Dead in Afghanistan Jesus Christ that seem such a long time ago.'
"Us and S.H.E.I.L.D are handling it, we have a-"
"Fuck that!"He got up,"JARVIS, is my workshop still there?"
"I haven't allowed anyone to access it.'
No access, so demolition was out of option and he moved to get there.
"Good, daddy is proud of you baby boy,"Tony tells his AI affectionately,"Keeping incompetent hands away from my sanctuary."
'Of course Sir.' JARVIS replied his tone distinctly smug.
"Make me coffee," He stopped right next to Rogers who looked at him surprised, he has to remind himself this was not the Steve that betrayed him,"A whole pot, I getting to work."
"He's not your slave."Wanda snapped and Tony turned his eyes towards her,"Listen here you brat, you are mooching off of Stark funds you have no right to tell me what to do."
"Your not even the real Tony Stark."Wanada was burning red.
Suddenly Rhodey and Pepper were in front of him.
"He's our Tony,"Rhodney said calmly but his eyes were promising pain,"Stand down Wanda."
"Money doesn't grow on trees,"Tony told her,"It doesn't appear out of thin air either, you should know that."
Pietro placed a calming hand on his sisters' shoulder and she seem to calm down,"I asked him to make coffee because his coffee is orgasmic."
Steve sputtered something that Tony ignored and Bucky chuckled while Clint just nodded sagely.
"I advise you learn to control your power."Tony turned to Pepper,"I have plans and techs that will put us back on top Pep."
'The least I could do to help, till I am here.'First matter of business, new merchandise to get Stark back on the top.'
Tony continued towards the workshop,'And when we have enough funds, War Machine and Iron Legion.'
He couldn't let Rhodey unprotected if was fighting with the Avengers.
Okay, this also jumping between worlds, some are confused so I am going to add some sort of header to make it easier to understand so, there are two different realities one is the original one which we have seen in movies till infinity war and other is different in many ways but also similar, the other one has no Tony Stark because he had died in Afghanistan, which caused a ripple of different events to happen, so is very different to our current one.
Also the time line is also is a bit behind in the sense it took longer to push the Avengers initiative without Iron Man.
So I will refer to the original world as OU and other one as AU for better understanding the skips okay?
Steve worriedly bit his nails, they had relocated to a conference room of some sort, they were still in Wakanda, everything was back to normal, everyone was alive , Bucky was alive, they had saved everyone.
'Tony' He thought miserably as his remembered the portal appearing behind the genius and taking him away from them.
Bucky's voice pulled him out of his thoughts and he saw that Bucky looking at him carefully, there was no judgement in his eyes, only understanding,"Calm yourself and concentrate, we need a plan."
Steve turned and saw the people who were presently were in a similar state to his, Rhodey was staring blankly at nothing, he was waiting for Pepper to arrive, Thor was locked in a furious debate with Dr. Stephen Strange, Natasha and Clint sat side by side not saying anything just tired and helpless, while Spider man, sat in his Aunts arms inconsolable. Bruce was trying not to turn green while he kept taking deep breaths.
"What are we going to do?" Steve asked loudly as Adam Warlock entered the room with King T'Challa and Shuri, it got everyone's attention and everyone was silent again,"What's the plan?"
Adam hesitated briefly before speaking,"The plan is complicated."
"What do you mean?" Bucky asked his grip on Steve's shoulder tightening.
"Portals are unstable. Especially when no one specifically created it," It was Strange who answered Bucky as he steadily met Adam's eyes for conformation, he got a nod in return "We don't know what kind of of portal it was, time or space."
"We don't know which stone caused such a wild and unstable portal to appear,"Adam explained,"We don't know if Tony was consumed by the powers of one stone or both, although both working and creating a portal together is a very far fetched assumption but not entirely incorrect."
Steve felt dread filling his heart and could see it mirror on Bucky's face, but it was Bruce who asked shakily, "So what do we do?"
"Check which stone was responsible,"Shuri answered grimly as though it wasn't as easy as she said," from my understanding, Vision had a great deal of....Intimacy with the mind stone. We have to find people who can connect well with the stones as Vision did with mind stone or Adam with the soul stone...."
"Or me with the time stone," Dr. Stephen Strange interrupted her,"If it was time stone responsible for the portal then I can probably find out."
"What if it wasn't the time stone?" It was Peter who asked finally pulling away from his Aunt who looked at him worriedly,"What if Mr. Stark was taken due to space stone? What then? Who can connect with the stone then? Who will get Mr.Stark back?"
"There was a person who spent a great amount of time with the space stone was able to use it, flawlessly."Thor answered but his voice was so sad and miserable, that Steve had to look away.
"But?" Natasha asked, impatiently because she was worried and needed answers.
"Loki?" Bruce asked softly and Thor looked at him with a sad smile.
"Loki."He confirmed softly.
It was three in the morning when Tony finally emerged from his workshop, he assured his bots who seemed to have developed a separation anxiety, that he will be back as soon as he can, he rejoiced as he saw a batch of fresh coffee already made and he tiredly dragged his feet towards his salvation poured himself a cup and turned around only to almost shit himself.
There in the darkness stood Barnes like a serial killer from a slasher film,"Why?" He asked dramatically clutching to his arc reactor.
The man looked amused and chuckled, "Finally out from your secret lair?"
"You know what? Fuck you Barnes,"Tony hissed then gulped down the hot liquid not caring it burned his tongue and throat."My work shop is cooler than any lair you would ever see in your life."
"Wouldn't know."Bucky shrugged,"Don't have the permission to enter there, nobody has actually."
"Pep and Snuggle muffin do,"Tony answered,"What are you doing up so late, Steve kick you out of bed?"
"Like he could."Bucky snorted.
"Don't encourage him."They both turned and saw that Steve dressed only in Pajama bottoms, actually Bucky also didn't have any shirt on, and both of them together it was enough to give anyone complex, Tony was muscular and proud of his body but the muscles and height on the super soldiers was ridiculous.
"We wanted to talk to you,"Steve told him he looked a little nervous something that was not present in Steve in his world, they were different, both of them were, different from the Bucky and Steve from his world not only their personality but physically as well, Bucky was the same height but his hair were shorter he looked like his pictures from the time he was in the Howling commandos, short hair no bearded caveman look, he looked like he knew what he was doing, unlike his completely brain washed unsure self they had in his world.
'This man can seduce your underwear off you.' Tony thought a little hysterically.'This is the Bucky Barnes if he was saved in time.'
Steve was different from the one in his world too, not physically no, he was still a total beef cake, but this Steve was happier.
"Ask away."Tony quipped as he turned from Bucky to fully face Steve Rogers, and damn, him and his Steve hadn't been this close since-
"You said I almost killed you,"The question was undoubtedly uncomfortable for the symbol of America,"Why did I do that?"
"You said it was because I was involved." He heard Bucky but didn't turn to face him.
"We always had a thing, too different from each other I guess,"Tony shrugged,"I am assuming that Barnes is still alive because he's a super solider too?"
Steve's expression turned cold,"They experimented on him with the serum, without his consent!"He sounded outraged and he could feel Barnes tensing up behind him,"We found him during a operation, he had been missing for three days before we found him."
"Yeah,"Tony sighed ,"He got off easy."
He saw Steve's disbelief before he turned and headed for the workshop and felt them following him,"What do you mean easy?"
"Well my Barnes had it worse,"Tony winced at his phrasing but ignored it as he entered the workshop where his bots were eagerly waiting for his return, he laid down on the couch and stretched tiredly, he saw that Bucky and Steve had taken chairs and were waiting for him to elaborate.
"During a mission to remove HYDRA from it roots, Barnes fell off a train and was captured by Zola, who brain washed and tortured Barnes until he was reduced to being a mindless but very efficient assassin, who carried out HYDRA's dirty missions for about 70 years."
The pure horror on Steve's face was expected but the coldness in Barnes face was not,"How cou-"
"But why did Steve try to kill you?"The man interrupted whatever Steve was about to say.
"One of your assignments were my parents."He told him before his eyes met horrified eyes of Captain America and James Barnes,"Steve knew. But he never told me, he called himself my friend but hid this fact from me until it was too late, A man named Zemo, a fucking villain, that's how I found out the truth of my parents death, and you were there and I couldn't resist not hurting you."
Steve looked equally part worried , guilty and horrified for a person who had done none of those things, and Barnes looked sad,"I am sorry."
Tony closed his eyes as he felt them burning, he wished the right people would have said that to him, he felt a hand on his own and looked to see Steve who was kneeling beside his couch,"I-"He seemed to struggle for words before saying,"That's awful, I can't believe- he- I, I just-"
"Breathe Stevie."Bucky's voice came behind him amused and Tony watched in awe as Steve did just that before looking straight into his eyes,"He should have told you, it wasn't your fault and even though it might not mean much coming from me, I want to tell you, sorry you had to go through that."
And from the first time since what felt like forever Tony felt his eyes well up and he smiled a freely.
The smile made him look younger and Steve was sure his heart stopped for a moment before it started beating, twice as hard, as he saw that beautiful smile and he could hear Bucky's breath hitching with his super hearing, probably in much as awe as him, seeing the beauty of the man in front of him, he looked absolutely gorgeous and so soft and breathtakingly breakable and vulnerable that he wanted to gather him in his arms.
"Thank you Steve."
"I want to see him."
Tony looked up from what he was working on and saw an annoyed Adam being confronted by a very impatient Steve Rogers, looks like someone had told Steve that he had seen Barnes in the soul stone.
"You can't,"Adam snapped back at him,"It is not a visiting place, I have connection with the stone and I had assured it that Lord Stark was my very close friend, it won't accept everyone who wants to go inside.
"But, I need to make sure he's okay."
"He's okay."Tony told him quietly and Steve's head snapped to him,"Scared and a bit on the suicidal side but he seem to believe that we- I mean you, are gonna get him out so he was okay."
"Tony,"Suddenly his shoulders were grasped and he was looking into bright blue puppy eyes,"Are you telling me the truth?"
He steadily stared back, so Steve can see he was not lying,"I know how much he means to you, it seems that all souls who go there, they can't meet up with another or something because I think loneliness was what he was scared of instead of dying. But he physically he was fine."
"Lord Stark can go back with me Lord Rogers, you can relay your message with him but I'm sorry I can't take a unfamiliar energy signature to the soul stone." Adam told him before his eyes turned to Tony,"If he wants to go of course."
The pleading look that Steve was sending him, it was impossible for him to not go back, "Fine I needed to talk to Strange to make sure he is okay too and Peter too If I can,"
"Thank you, Tony."The intense look Tony got from Cap was filled with something that made him turn his head and swallow thickly aware of the eyes watching his moments, he nodded and walked over to Adam, before turning back and asking,"What do you want me to say to him?"
Rhodey punches in the code for Tony's workshop and feels himself fill with a happiness he never thought he would have again, his best friend was going to be inside, he had never gone to the workshop after Tony's death, too full of guilt and sadness. But now, he walked in and stopped in his tracks at the scene in front of him, it seemed at some point Tony had fallen asleep, not surprising, but what was surprising were two super soldiers staring at his best friend while he slept,"Hey!"
Both the soldiers jumped up and looked at him like guilty kids who have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar, well one of them at least, Steve looked guilty but Bucky the shameless ass went back to staring at Tony.
"Can I help you guys?" Rhodey very pointedly raised his eyebrows.
"No!"Steve exclaimed and his voice was loud enough for Tony to jump awake and look around in confusion,"Wah? Wah ish ti?"
Bucky and Rhodey glared at the blond, Steve looked sheepish,"Sorry I woke you."
Tony squinted at him adorably,"Ish 'ine. Hey, hunny bunn'"
"Hey! Good morning sunshine, brought you breakfast." Rhodey moved towards him and frowned when he saw Steve helping Tony up, when did they get so close?
"Thanks'"Tony mumbled,"Oh hey, I researched Hammers' tech and it's as shitty as I thought it would be, nothing compared to what I do in my world, I designed a new Stark pad, better features, memory, battery, resolution, operating system etc, etc."
Rhodey went and saw the new plans and the model Tony build and Rhodey's eyes nearly bugged out,"Tony this is amazing-" He stopped as he saw another design among the others, it was an armor?
"Tones......."Rhodey called his voice filled with awe,"What is this?" He pointed at the screen that had the plan and turned towards Tony who was now wide awake and glanced at the plan he was gesturing to.
"I haven't developed nano tech, cause' the tech is so ancient here, gotta start from the bottom,"Tony nodded towards the plan and gestured JARVIS to show the details in holograms ,"As soon as the funds are restored, I'll be making that for you."
Both Steve and Bucky were watching fascinated at the strong looking amour suit that was floating, "This looks neat."
Tony snorted at Bucky's choice of words,"What's it's called Tony?"
"Strange."Tony ran towards the sitting figure of Dr.Strange who slowly stood up,"How-"
Tony hugged him and the sorcerer supreme seemed lost for words before he hugged him back, hesitantly and first but then firmly, "I am so glad you're alright."
Dr. Strange smiled,"Of course," he then scoffed, "Why wouldn't I be?"
"Ass."Tony grinned before asking,"Why did you give up the time stone?"
"It was the only way Tony," Was the familiar response, "Future depends on you, I thought of that, when you said that Thanos has been in your head for six years, you had an insight, a rare one, then when I saw the one possibility that could save the universe, that possibility had you."
"But how?" Tony didn't give a shit if he sounded like begging.
"I can't say."
"It's alright Tony, believe in your instincts, you will not fail."
And even though it was not exactly in Strange's control the motherfucker disappeared.
"Hey kid,"Tony hugged the boy who was clinging to him again fiercely,"Aunt May is okay, she's worried, but I assured her you will come back."
"Thank you Mr. Stark......how much longer?" Peter asked his face pink and tears track visible on his face and Tony hugged him again tightly,"Not long I promise, stay strong kid."
'Tony, this time is more limited," He heard Adman say, "Hurry."
Now he was once again in front of Barnes, who looked surprised and happy to see him,"Hey."
"Hey." Tony echoes and then an awkward silence follows in which Barnes stares at him and Tony tries to gather courage and discard the ache in his heart as he remembers Steves' words.
"I have a message from Steve." Tony says finally and Buckys' eyes light up hopefully,"Yeah?"
"What did he say?" Tony closes his eyes and decided to bite the bullet.
"I love you."
He sees' that Bucky eyes had widened in surprise? What? Did Steve just send his first confession through him? He hoped not.
"I want you to stay strong Buck; coz' I am with you till the end of the line." Tony almost feels his throat close up but he pushes forward, "And when you come back to me, when we are together again. I promise we will do what we have been wanting to do, for what it feels like forever." Get married? "Because life is too short and unpredictable, I don't want to take any chances Buck' not again."
Bucky is looking at him so passionately that Tony feels his face burn a little, but when Bucky steps closer to him it feels on a full blown blush, Bucky cups his face and whispers softly, why? "Yeah, I want it too Punk, I want it so much, that it's becoming' hard for me to control myself right now from doing something regretful." Tony wonders what he is talking about as he see Bucky taking a deep breath to calm himself but his eyes are still burning as it stares at Tony,"I love you too."
When Tony blinked he's back to staring into Warlocks' eyes again and Adam doesn't say anything when Tony says he needs a minute.
Loki? Is that you?
I want to put up an A.U and O.U Steve and Bucky for comparison.....Maybe next time?
"How did it go?" Rhodey was in Strange's face as soon as the wizard was done using the powers of time stone,"Did you see him? "
Even though he was asking that, internally he knew the answer, if Strange would have found him, Tony would be here with them, but he still asked, still hoped. But then Strange was shaking his head, "I checked both the past and all the future possibilities, he wasn't-" It was strange to see the guy hesitate, which doubled Rhodey's fear, “He’s-, the- one of our time was not in the future and I think- I think all the versions' of Tony I saw in all those possibilities were.....fading."
"What does that mean?" T'Challa asked and the rest were too stunned,"Why was he fading?"
"The future changes, constantly, you step on an ant right now that will also cause a ripple of changes, the fact that Tony is not here and possibly in another dimension or world, that fact is causing a big rift and changing all the future outcomes regarding him."
"How many possibilities did you see?" Steve asked, Bucky's hand on his shoulder anchoring him as it has been since Tony disappeared.
"Change was drastic, the possibilities increased to a nineteen million four hundred and three."
"That is ridiculous,"Clint whispered in disbelief,"That's-Jesus! He's fading in all of them?"
"There are some in which he's more stronger; cases if the past years had turned out differently, but yes most of them are losing him," The doctor looked distressed, "it's a matter of time before he disappears in all of them; because, bringing him might be close to impossible."
"What do you mean impossible?" Steve demanded and his harsh tone made Peter jump and cower behind his Aunt.
Strange gave him a cool glance and looked at him like he was small,"Very similar to time stone, the space stone also has million of possibilities, it also has different worlds, universes, galaxy and dimensions, can you imagine million on those and only one that consists of Tony, our Tony, there is no wielder of the space stone; so we have to manually check into all of the dimensions, can you imagine looking into million of those? Tell me Captain, can you?" His tone by the end had grew hard and vicious.
Steve looked ready to commit homicide, "I can."
For him, was implied by his tone but not said.
There was total silence, as everybody held their breath, eyes darting between the solider and doctor like they were waiting for one of them to snap, but as Steve took deep breaths to calm himself, he looked immediately regretful, "I'm sorry."
Strange gave him a weird look before nodding,"It's fine Captain, I understand that you’re worried."
Steve barked a laugh that was too bitter,"You have no idea."
"You said Tony was strong in some possibilities; that he was, as of yet not fading in them, what were those?" Bucky asked,"What was different?"
"He was married in those," Strange replied smoothly,"There were many possibilities but strong understanding created strong possibilities as do strong partners."
"Married to who?"Bruce asked,"Pepper?"
Strange nodded,"He was but, he was fading in those so not strong enough, I am assuming Ms.Potts doesn’t approve of Tony’s self- sacrificing self, which is understandable, war is often harder on those left behind." He rolled his eyes at the obvious curiosity on everyone's face,"Every possibility was different, but he had married different people, in every possibility, even some of us."
Some looked confused and some blushed.
"Me too?" Peter asked and Strange shook his head,"No, not you. He was strongest with two paths. One had him married to me." Strange smirked smugly," An intriguing concept to say the least, the other... however was surprising on many levels."
"Was it Steve?" Bucky asked softly, like he knew and Steve's head snapped to the White Wolf,"Was Tony with Steve?"
"Yes." Strange hummed and Steve's eyes widened and Bucky nodded like he always knew the outcome,"But not just him."
"He was happily married to both you and Steve."
Bucky didn't even heard Rhodey's colorful curses over his own heart beating painfully hard in his chest.
"Hey Soldier,” Bucky drawled and Steve smirked up at him from where he was seated against a tree, sketching,”What brings you here?”
“Just wanted to see how you’re doing, Buck.” The blond replied as Bucky pecked his lips and then sat down besides him,”I know, we are taking it slow but I just missed you too much.”
“Still no word from Stark?” Bucky asked watching Steve stiffen from the corner of his eyes, the jealously over the time had faded and there was just a dull throb left and now he found himself more amused and interested in hearing about the Iron man from his boyfriend.
“No.” There was genuine grief in those words and Bucky sighed sympathetically, “You need to give him time Steve.”
“I don’t think he would ever talk to me again, Buck. I should have told him, we could have talked and he would have understood,” Steve told him,”He’s not like what Wanda says he is, he's brave and selfless and he- he was just hurt, If I had told him sooner, like I was supposed to; he wouldn’t have hurt you, he would have unders- this wouldn’t have happened.”
“I am so stupid, I miss him Buck, he was the one who gave me a home when I was lost and alone, he worked so hard for us, Buck.” Steve looked broken,” I am just realizing so many things now.”
“Shhhh….”Bucky pulled the man to him who was clinging to him just like when they were kids,”Me too, tell me more about him. Not something sad, something good.......happy.”
“There was this one time, he was just walking around in the living room in his underwear,”Steve started and Bucky smiled slightly,” Clint saw him and took some bills from his wallet and put em’ in Tony’s waistband.”
Steve was chuckling and Bucky snorted amused,” And then he said ‘If your gonna dress like a stripper’ Im’ gonna treat like a stripper, so either put some clothes on or start dancing.”
“What did he do?”
“He started dancing.”Steve giggled as he remembered Tony circling Clint who looked both horrified and amused ”Pole dancing using Clint as a pole and I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard before.”
Buckys’ shoulders were shaking, he could imagine it, Tony Stark dancing in his underwear and suddenly remembered the magazine he had, which contained the photo of the billionaire genius in his underwear, “Was he beautiful?” He asked as he thought of the gorgeous spread of the man and he could feel Steve breathing shakily against his shoulder, “You have no idea, Buck.”
Bucky bit his lips,” I think I just might.”
"Okay," Tony nodded towards one of the cameras,"Fill me up on all the important facts of this world, that you think I need to know, Jay."
'Of course sir,' His AI replied his tone light and Tony smiled, Vision was a good guy but he was not Jay, they were different, it was so good to have JARVIS with him again,"I think you might need a body, Jay."
"Something with stealth......something powerful," Tony was not a permanent fixture in this world. But he had to make sure everyone here would be okay without him, he needed to full proof everything, he didn't know if there was a Thanos here. He didn't know anything about this world, so he had to make sure the stones are secured to a place no one could get them.
'Can't use the mind stone to create Vision, have to avoid another Ultron fiasco,' Tony thought, 'Was Loki here? Did he have the tesseract and the mind stone? Time stone should be with Strange. The reality with the Collector and the soul stone?'
He needed to make sure, he couldn't let what happened in the his world to repeat itself, but he couldn't involve everyone in this, Thor; maybe be, because he was sure the demi-God can handle himself, but the others' no, they were just too- soft? Vulnerable? Innocent...... Maybe all of those.
"Let's get you hooked up with my suit so you can be online," Tony said," For now, how are the Stark Pads doing out there?"
'They are calling it 'The revolutionary modern tech', since going on the market and the stock was completely sold out in a week, I think Colonel Rhodes' might have cried a little.'
"Awww...poor baby," Tony cooed," Wait till he see's War Machine. I have new planes to make you a personalized stealth body, Jay."
'Thank you sir, but I must insist that you don't. I like the freedom of being everywhere.' JARVIS replied his voice distinctly amused.
"How about a body which you can have online and offline whenever you want?" Tony asked "would that be-"
'Sir, there is a disturbance.'
"What, where? Who is it?"
'I don't know Sir.' Is the hesitant reply as if he is ashamed, 'This is the live feed.'
As soon as Tony see's it he groans, because fuck his life side ways, there Standing in all his thorny glory was Reindeer Games.
[Still in A.U]
Steve knew bad when he saw it and when he saw 'the God of mischief' as his brother the blonde God of thunder had called him, he knew that this was going to be trouble, for the protection of the S.H.I.E.L.D employees', after many had already suffered the wrath of the man, they were moving him to the Avengers' tower, their home.
'Near Tony', he thought worriedly and the sentiment was shared by the rest of the team, even Wanda seem to consider, Tony as fragile, the man was a genius but he was vulnerable, he wasn't modified like him, Bucky or Natasha, he had no powers and even though they had non-super powered people like Sam and Clint on their team, they have a excellent fighting history.
But Tony didn't, and even though they argued against the decision, they couldn't give a solid reason for not wanting Loki, in a super secured location surrounded by earths mightiest heroes, unless they wanted to give out the truth about Tony, which was asked by Colonel Rhodes and Ms. Potts to not be revealed.
"You've gotta be kidding me!" Steve looked up and saw it was Pietro who staring down at the landing pad and Steve swallowed his own scream of frustration at the sight of Tony just standing casually on the side, his expression a little grim.
If Colonel Rhodes and Ms Potts weren't about to murder him about bringing a criminal to Tony, they would surely now, as soon as the door was open Bucky was running towards the exit and marching furiously towards Tony.
"Tony get inside." Bucky growled and soon they all evacuated the jet and Steve frowned at the look that Tony was giving their prisoner, ignoring Bucky entirely.
"You're a menace no matter what world I'm in aren't you, oh thorny one."
The man in question tilted his head to the side curiously, intrigued no doubt,"Who are you Mortal?"
"Bring him in." Tony said instead of answering the God, he wiggled his fingers towards the man to follow him but when he didn't Tony raised his eyebrows,"Let's not play this game, sly one....you and I both know you can get out of those," He gestures to the handcuffs that tied Loki's hands together, "without any effort."
He turned and left leaving the audience stunned and true enough Loki was slipping off his cuffs and before anyone could stop him he was following Tony with a gleam in his eyes that Steve did not trust.
He just wanted to retire already.
"What are we going to do, Steve?" Bucky asked as soon as they were alone in their room," Tony, could be lost, helpless and-"
"I know Buck, but you heard Strange, there nothing we can do right now," Steve stopped him as soon as he opened his mouth to complain,"We have Bruce, Vision, Strange, Adam and Shuri working on the space stone, they'll figure something out."
He couldn't hide the tremble in his lips as he spoke," Did you heard about- the Tony, you and me part? Do you think it's possible? You think he'll have me?"
The fragile tone of his voice broke Steve's heart, he hugged the man to him tightly," I hope so Buck, I know now there is a possibility where we can be happy together, I didn't know that something like that could ever happen."
"Us and Tony together."
"Yeah," Steve closed his eyes as he savored the image of Tony between him and Bucky, his eyes went dark,"But, now that I know there is a possibility, I swear nothing is going to come in between."
Steve pulled back to look into's Bucky's eyes and saw dark blue eyes staring into his passionately, he saw them reflect his own desire and.....hope.
"When he told me," Bucky started quietly, " the message you gave me through him, when he said those words to me, I just wanted to push him down and keep him there with me, so I could hold him longer, Steve.....I wanted to trap him, so I can confirm everything with him, what I feel for him, what you told me about him, I just wanted to- He's so good Steve so beautiful inside and out-.... I just wanted to gather him in my arms and never let go, how can he be so strong and fragile at the same time? It's unfair, I want to protect him Steve and Keep him safe with me, with us."
"I know you do Bucky and I promise you once we find him, we are never gonna him let go."
Things progress, some platonic flirty FrostIron, jealous super soldiers and confused Avengers.
My internet is gone, I don't know how I am going to update, but where there is a will, there is a way, please note that, English is not my first language, I know you guys see the mistakes, I do too sometimes but I am doing my best.
Tony headed directly towards the workshop, certain Loki would follow him; but as soon as he was inside, the door automatically closed behind him and suddenly there was an emergency protocol alert, "Jarvis?"
'An imminent threat has been located inside the Stark Tower,' JARVIS voice rang out coldly, 'Sir, you are advised to stay inside; I have sent for Colonel who should be here soon.'
"Jarvis, it's fine baby boy," The genius said nervously, his baby boy was definitely angry, "He's- I just want to talk to him."
'It's ill advised,' Was the reply he got, 'All personnel are to be escorted out of the tower.'
"What?!? Jay, no, it's their home, you can't kick them out!"
'No,' JARVIS replied to him firmly, 'This is your home, they have brought a very powerful and dangerous person here and by doing so they have put your life at a great risk.'
"I am sure it's not their fault," Tony said soothingly," I bet it was Fury's idea to send him; I am sure they couldn't argue against bringing him here without revealing something about me, come on Jay, you know that."
'That's still not enough a reason to put your life at risk, Sir,' JARVIS's voice rang out with an edge before it crumbled a little, 'I can't lose you again.'
Tony's shoulders sagged and he closed his eyes at the JARVIS's secret confession to him,"You won't Jay, I promise....Beside-"
"Well, that was certainly amusing."
Tony turned tiredly towards the still locked and sealed gate Loki had infiltrated through; he could hear others trying to beating on the door trying to get in, but it seem that the man had messed with JARVIS's system, he hadn't alien proofed JARVIS yet, " I want to talk to you."
"About?" Loki hummed, a little too gleeful than Tony would have liked.
"The infinity stones, specifically the ones you have, space and mind."
Loki's eyes seem to light up at this,"You are no ordinary mortal," He hissed delighted; ignoring his brothers' threat of breaking the door in," You are special, I knew when I saw you; but if we are going to discuss the stones, we can't do it here."
As he said that a portal, Tony remembered as the power of space stone appeared behind him and Tony gasped, in his world Loki required a very powerful instrument to harness and balance the powers of space stone using the scientist Erik Selvig; but here he was using it with such ease.
'This Loki is stronger.' Tony thought a little hysterically as the man stepped into his personal space, he could hear JARVIS's panicked voice before the door was smashed in, the man wrapped his arms around his waist and for the third time in his life, Tony was sucked into the portal.
"That's it?" Bruce demanded of a grim looking Shuri," Is that all we can do?"
"For now? Yes." Shuri replied calmly,"With this I have managed to cross out billion of possibilities; only a few millions are left, theses five million possibilities have a signature much similar to Mr. Starks, so he's definitely in one of those."
Bruce sighed it was more than anyone could do, but the Princess of Wakanda was a force to be reckon with," We have to wait in on Adam, Strange and Vision-"
"Excuse me your highness." One of the guards outside interrupted Bruce and Shuri motioned for her to continue,"We have a situation."
As Bruce and Shuri came the room was filled with people,"What's happening?!?"
"It's Adam." T'Challa replied and they turned to the man who had his eyes closed and was surrounded by an orangish yellow glow.
The glow started disappearing and Adam was standing stunned,"What happened Adam?"
"The soul stone,"Adam said softly,"It's trying to tell me how to trace Tony's signature."
"I thought the soul stone only connected to you?" It was Vision who asked his face conflicted,"Why is it helping you trace Tony's signature?"
Adam opened his eyes as the glow faded completely and turned to Vision,"During our time together, fighting alongside each other....the stone took a shine to Tony, I-I had never seen the stone bonding with anyone apart from myself."
Bucky was quite besides Steve and it was Peter who gasped,"That's why it happened!!"
"What happened?" Shuri asked.
"Myself, Mr. Parker and Sargent Barnes were able to to see and keep each other company in the Soul realm; which is I am assuming something Tony wished for." Strange told her and her eyes widened.
"He did,"Adam confirmed softly,"He was worried about you all being alone and the stone picked up on it, it had become too fond of Tony, because the man had shown appropriate respect and understanding of the powers of the stone."
"Hey kid, are you alright?!?"
Peter slowly opened his eyes and a blurry image of a man manifested in front of him, he took in the long brown hair and deep blue eyes staring down at him in concern a hand stretched out in front of him to help him up.
"Jesus?" He asked confused and received an amused snort from the person in front of him.
" No, Bucky Barnes, we have met before remember?" The man asked and Peter remembered him, he was the guy with the cool metal arm.
"Yeah," He replied hesitantly,"Why- ?"
"Seems like your awake."
Peter jumped at the voice and looked behind him and saw the wizard from before was looking down at him with a hint of concern on his face,"What's happening? Are we- did Mr.Stark do it?"
"Not yet."Strange said softly,"But I suspect he does have something to do with our current situation."
As if he was waiting for a cue Tony manifested behind Bucky, the said man stared wide eyed stunned at the three of them together,"Adam? What's happening here?"
'Calm down, Lord Stark, it seems as if the stone has picked up on your distress and made the people you care about be in the presence of each other to lessen you worries.'
"The stone?" Tony whispered incredulously,"But, I -I didn't even come to you, to be able to get inside the stone?! How am I here?!?"
'It has become fond of you, it wanted to assure you, that's why you are able to reach inside of it , '
Adam replied a bit amused at what Tony couldn't be entirely sure,'You might not even require my help.'
'No,'Tony shook his head,'It's too dangerous for all of us if Thanos gets a wind of this, even though I appreciate the help, I guessing that Thanos himself might also share a connection with the stones no matter how benin' it's- it's too risky for everyone involved, I don't want him to sever the connection you and the stone share if he finds out, because then we have no way of making sure they're alright.'
'Lord Stark, are you sure?'
Tony sighed, ' Yeah tell- if you can- I- tell it thank you? I really appreciate the gesture and help it has lent me."
'Of course.' Adams voice sounded so fond and foreign to him that it startled him, it was like the man was whispering right next to his ear.
"Mr. Stark?" Peter called hesitantly and Tony turned to him,"You have been silent for a while now."
"Sorry, Kid I was just- never mind, are you alright?"
"Yeah,"Peter nodded and fidgeted in his place and the older man rolled his eyes before opening his arms wide without a word, he saw the relief on the kids' face as hurried towards him to hug him tight and Tony chuckled as he felt the arms around him holding him tightly.
"Are you still sure he's not your ward?" Strange asked amused as Peter blushed pulling back and Tony glared at him mockingly,"Shut up and come here!"
"I don't need a hug,"Strange protested weakly as Peter and Tony pulled him into a three way hug, when Tony pulled back he saw that Bucky was staring at them longingly," You waiting for an invite?"
At that Barnes finally moved towards them, but instead of joining on the group hug he seperated them and just picked Tony up as the engineer yelped and hugged him painfully tight to his chest, he grumbled as Peter joined the hug from behind Tony, but didn't say anything"You got bit by a cuddle bug?"
"Shut up, Stark." The Winter Solider mumbled against his collar bone and very close to his neck, Tony suppressed a shiver as the rough beard scratched his sensitive neck and- woah wait was-was Barnes smelling him?!?
Before he could think too much or question him, Barnes pulled away from him and looked down at him with his pupils blown and a soft almost adoring look that it made the words die in his throat.
Some one very pointedly cleaning their throat brought him out of his staring contest with Barnes, it was Strange who looked at Tony before very pointedly gesturing to Peter.
"Okay. I have to go,"Tony said hurriedly and tried to ignored the pain in his heart at totally devastated look on Peters' face and the flash of pain that graced Barnes face.
He turned to Strange and Barnes as he carefully warned,"You guys better take care of him!" he gestured to Peter and before he could receive a response he woke up in his bed, and no matter what anyone said; he did not scream like a little girl at the sight of Steve Rogers' face looming inches above his.
Maybe a little.
"Friday told me that your heart beat was elevated," Steve hurriedly explained himself like it could make up for his creepy staring," You were restless and I was going to wake you-"
Tony decided to have mercy on him,"It's fine Cap," He assured, " Just took a trip to the soul stone, you might be glad to know that your boyfriend is not alone anymore, he's with Peter and Strange."
Steve's eyes had widened,"Wha- How?"
"I don't know,"Tony admitted,"Adam said something about the soul stone being fond of me, I guess this means the individual stone have some sort of conscious in them."
"It's fond of you?" The former Captain asked and Tony frowned at his stiff tone,"You think it's because Adam is so fond of you?"
"No,"Tony told him firmly before giving him a funny look,"I don't think that's how it works. Even if it did, I doubt Adam has a fondness for me, or anybody really."
Tony snorted tiredly, he laid down and didn't even care as Steve started to tuck him in like a toddler, he will deal with this later, he was so sleepy that he thinks he imagined a pair of soft lips kissing his forehead. And a harsh whisper.
"You're so defenseless, Tony."
"Shit!" Clint hissed,"He took him! The son of a bitch took him!"
"Rhodey would be here soon,"Sam told them worriedly,"He's gonna kill us all!"
Bucky didn't respond as he continued to stare at the place Tony had disappeared right in front of their eyes, his fingers clenched tightly into a fist as he shook, they were so stupid to bring him here.
Steve was hyperventilating, this was nightmare, Tony was too vulnerable with Loki,"Jarvis can you trace him?"
'It will require sometime,' JARVIS replied his voice hollow and Steve winced,'Sir, was in the middle of getting me online on his suit but the program was not fully downloaded on the suit, I might be able to get a feed but I can't track him.'
"Where is he?!?"
They all turned to a furious and panicked Rhodey marching towards them,"God- where is he? Is he alright?!?"
"Colonel I need you to calm down,"Natasha told him firmly, but her shoulders were tense with worry,"He's been taken."
"Oh god, no, nonono,"Rhodey's face crumbled,"Not again."
"Was that really necessary?" Tony deadpanned at the God of mischief who smirked at him.
"Of course, otherwise we would have been disturbed." Loki shrugged.
"What do you want Reindeer Games?"
"What do I want?" Loki tilted his head to side,"I thought you would know that already."
"Not really, no,"Tony shook his head,"I don't know that much about you, so you tell me what you want and I will tell you what I know."
"I want to rule over earth." Loki said simply but his eyes lacked the conviction," You midgardians, need to be ruled over."
"You don't want a throne,"Tony challenged the God and realized he might have talked himself into an early grave as Loki's eyes narrowed dangerously,"You want recognition."
"What do you know about me, mortal?" Loki hissed angrily and Tony put his hands up he knew he had to make a solid point soon before Loki decides to just kill him,"I know that if you don't stop this and find the reality stone soon and hide it, a battle will ensure in the future that would claim your mothers' life."
The way Loki's angry expression crumbled into one of horror and fear, Tony realized that maybe, both Loki in his world and this one might just be too similar after all.
Tony and Loki talk, Rhodey worries and Pepper finds out.
Okay AU Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are referred to as'Steve and Bucky' by Tony.
The OU Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are referred to as 'Rogers'/Cap and Barnes' by Tony.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Tony looked around anxiously, he didn't know where Loki had brought them, the place was deserted they were- no he was backed up against a cliff; which he couldn't help but think was a deliberate choice, he had already grabbed a tracker for himself when he knew the Avengers would be bringing Loki to the tower, in case, the situation headed sideways; which, in his experience always did.
He pocketed the device and watched Loki pacing in front of him menacingly, the man stopped glared at Tony,"Start talking, Mortal."
"Tony,"He couldn't help but say but before Loki could deliver a scratching remark he continued,"I don't know much myself, but I'll start by saying that this is not my world."
"What do you mean?" Loki questioned, his eyes glinting before they widened in realization,"the space stone."
"Yeah,"Tony replied,"Not just that,"He hesitated but then continued,"I didn't notice it before, when I woke up after being without sleep for about thirty hours and I didn't feel as tired as I usually do, but it seems that time did a bit of a number on me too, I mean- I am bit younger, like about the same age when this world's Tony died."
"I see,"The God of mischief hummed in dark amusement,"So you told me a possibility of what happened in your world, my mother is no longer alive."
"Neither are you,"The short haired brunet told him and noticed that the man in front of him paled slightly but didn't looked surprised,"Please tell me that you have never heard of the Mad Titan Thanos." He pleaded.
Silence he got in return was as good as a conformation.
"Tell me what happened in your world," His voice was grim as he met Tony's gaze,"And I will decide what path I should be following."
Tony hoped he would be able to make up his mind fast as he activated the tracker, he started from the beginning.
Pepper hummed happily as she looked at the plans and progress she had made with Tony's Malibu house, the house was now fully furnished, they had installed the latest security system which alerted the agents of S.H.I.L.E.D about any danger, in about five seconds after detection, it was a safe location, she had full proofed the house against any threat she could think of, it was now complete.
Now she just had to bring Tony here.
New York for some bizarre reason was the center of any terrorist, alien attacks and other dangerous activity and as safe as the Tower is with the Avengers around, she could no longer take any chance with Tony, the man was a trouble magnet, but this time she was prepared, she will not lose him.
Rhodey will agree with her.
"You seem very happy today." She smiled at Happy who raised his eyebrows at her chirpy attitude,"Do I wanna' know why?"
Happy was not very happy that they were making so many changes to Tony's Malibu house, more so than he had been when Pepper and Rhodey had decided to house the Avenger into the Stark Tower and renamed it, he smiled sadly, it very much felt like they were moving on from Tony.
He missed Tony.
"I am sure when you see the reason you would too." Pepper smiled and Happy tried to smile back but didn't think he succeeded and shook his head, it has been a long time now, they should be allowed to move on.
Her phone ringing broke him out of his thoughts and he jumped alert when he saw the blood draining from Peppers' face as she tightly gripped her phone in horror, fear and fury,"Rhodey,"He had never heard her sound so angry before, especially with Colonel Rhodes,"Where is Tony?"
He wasn't sure what they were talking about anymore.
When Tony finished explaining everything he thought was relevant to Loki, he watched as the man computed all the details; they have been here for about forty to fifty minutes; assuming they are still somewhere on earth, he wondered how long would it take others to get here"What do you expect me to do Tony?"
Tony jumped at suddenly being addressed,"I-I don't know man, give up your evil plot to conquer the earth and help us?"
Loki frowned at the suggestion but didn't choke him for it, so it was kind of a progress,"Alright," the man finally sighed,"for now I will cease and not harm your people, but that is only because you given me valuable information that would save my mothers' life,"The man gave him a smile,"not because I have a sudden change of heart to do the right thing."
"You sacrificed the stone to save Thor's life." Tony pointed out though it was the Loki of his world and it didn't make up for the lives Loki had probably taken here on earth, but it said something about him.
Loki smiled at him softly, "Sometimes I am envious of him, but I have never doubted that I love him."
The smile transformed his face and Tony couldn't help but think that it suited him.
Loki turned and Tony did too to see what he was looking at and saw that the quin jet was approaching, it landed few feet away from them and the first one to jump out was Rhodey, who ran to hug him,"Oh thank God."
"I am okay, Honey."Tony cooed and hugged Rhodey back who refused to let go him much to the chagrin of Bucky who was standing right behind him frowning at duration of the hug. Tony gulped as he saw saw Pepper marching towards Loki, she was glowing orange.
"Peps?" He called out panic as he saw Loki taking defensive stance and Thor was right beside his brother trying to appease Pepper who from the looks of it still had Extremis's genetic mutation,"Pep, it's alright! I am okay, he just took me to talk to me, I swear I am alright."
At this Pepper's head snapped in his direction so fast it was like a scene from a horror movie, he looked at him for what it felt like a hour before she took a calming breath and then she stomped towards him and others took a noticeable sigh of relief, she joined Rhodey in inspecting him looking for injuries that weren't there, before she accepted what he said, as the truth.
"That power you used in the man of Iron's abode was the power of the space stone,"Thor accused and Loki shrugged.
"Okay, before anything else,"Tony interrupted Thor and everyone looked at him, skeptically in case of Rhodey and Pepper because they knew that look,"I need you to use the stone to send me back to my world."
"Stones are more complicated than I thought,"Peter whispered from where he was seated and Adam turned to him,"they can choose people they like and have preference."
"It would be more....peculiar if the strongest objects from the beginning of time didn't have some complexity to him, wouldn't it?"
Peter nodded,"Can you trace Mr. Stark, can you feel where he is?"
Adam frowned and closed his eyes to concentrate,"Yes."
That made everyone perk up and Steve and Bucky were besides Adam in a heart beat asking urgently,"What? Where is he?!?" Bucky demanded.
Adam's eyes snapped open,"He's here."
"What do you mean....in your world?" Rhodney asked his voice small and next to him Pepper whimpered.
"I-I my, I have friends there too Honey bear,"Tony assured him mentally panicking, he had to go back to his world sooner or later permanently though,"I have to make sure to let them know I am okay."
"But you're coming back right?" Steve asked his face like a young prince who was denied his treasure and golds,"I am coming with you."
"Me too."Rhodey confirmed.
"Not possible,"Loki drawled lazily from where he was leaning against a tree," it's almost impossible for mortals to travel back and forth from portals to portals especially when the power is so uncontrolled, your bodies can't handle it,"He paused and gestured to Rhodey,"Well specifically your's can't."
"Tony does it,"Pepper objected and Loki sighed,"He has gathered favors of the stones, at least two stones are very fond of him."
"Time and Soul,"Tony guessed and received suggestive eyebrows from Loki.
"From where we are from you would have gained the title of an enchantress."
Tony growled because he felt like he was being mocked but Thor was nodding seriously and he felt himself simmer,"So?"
"Me and Steve can go,"Bucky declared,"We are super soldiers, I don't trust you with him."
Loki just smiled innocently, but Thor stepped forward,"I will accompany, Anthony and my brother, is that not reassuring?"
"It's not that,"Steve assured Thor,"But he would feel more comfortable if me and Bucky went along with you guys' I just-"He hesitated before continuing,"I don't trust the people in his world to not to hurt him."
Tony remained silent as Thor nodded in understanding,"Aye, Captain, I understand your need to care for your infatuate and protect him."
"His what now?"
Tony's exclamation was ignored both by Steve and Thor while a smirking Bucky pulled him close,"You mean our." He corrected Thor who gave him an understanding look,"Aye, your union is one of the most noble I have encountered."
"Our what now?"
Again his words were ignored by Thor and Steve and Bucky was hiding his face in his shoulder silently shaking.
"Then if all that nonsense is settled,"Loki sauntered up to them dramatically, he neared Tony and ignored Rhodey and Bucky growling at him,"I think we should get going. The faster we get this over with the sooner we lay all the issues to rest."
As he opened the portal and he turned and held his hand out to Tony, but before Tony could grab it, Thor was enthusiastically holding Loki's hand who rolled his eyes, but didn't comment, Thor then grabbed Steve, who pulled Bucky and Tony towards hims protectively,"Wait, how do you know which reality is mine? There should be millions of portals."
"So they are,"Loki confirmed,"But I am the only space stone keeper." with that he went into the portal pulling them along.
When Tony blinked all he saw was black, he looked up and found himself staring into greenish blue eyes of Captain America who stared down at him dazed,"Hi."
"Hey."Tony replied softly, he realized two sets of arms were wrapped around him like steel bands, Bucky against his back and Steve against his font both extremely close to him,"You 'kay, doll?"
Tony shivered, Bucky was so close to his ear, his breath tickling his ear his voice gravely and deep, his lips barely touching the sensitive shell of his ear.
Before he could reply a voice interrupted them,"Who are you?"
Tony looked and saw the Dora Milaje of Wakanda, he could feel Bucky pulling him closer to him as Steve took a fighting stance in front of him,"Mr. Stark?!?"
It was Okoye with the rest, Tony realized with relief, other wise one wrong move they'd all be dead,"Hey, General, can you ask them to stand down, it's a long story."
"Halt,"The woman barked in a strong voice that halted the others' to stand in attention, Tony would never cease to be impressed by these ladies,"Everyones' been worried about you."
"Tony!" He heard his name but, he couldn't look past Steve's broad shoulders because Bucky still hadn't released his hold on him, suddenly his grip on him was tightening painfully."Oww....Bucky! Soft human here! Ease up!"
"Who the fuck is that?!" An angry voice demanded, he recognized it as Bucky's voice but it hadn't come from behind him, it had come from behind the strong wall of the Dora Milaje, they parted and he saw his team heading towards them and boy did Barnes and Rogers did not look happy.
"Who are you?!?" Cap asked his face raw with hostility and the anger,"Let go of Tony."
"Cap it's alright."Tony said,"They're from the world I was in, they brought me here, to make sure I arrive safely with the thorny one and point break,"He gestured towards somewhere behind him he hoped Loki and Thor were because damn was Bucky strong.
"Why is the fuck is he holding you?!"Barnes moved towards him ignoring the hostility between the group, he grabbed his arms to pull him towards him except Bucky still hadn't released his grip on him,"Let him go."
He could hear Loki snickering somewhere behind him and he groaned.
Fuck his life.
Okay, I've been asked this a lot so I hope this makes it clear once and for all, the Tony in AU is dead, DEAD and no he will not be resurrected. The two worlds are different precisely because of that.
Tony's realities collide...
I repeat Tony refers to AU Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes as 'Steve and Bucky'.
And he refers to the OU Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes as 'Cap/Rogers and Barnes.'
"Mr. Star- Holy Shit!"
Tony turned and grinned when he saw Peter gaping in his direction, he turned to go and greet him, but couldn't move he sighed,"Bucky, can you please let go of me?"
"Why?" The bastard asked genuinely confused, Tony turned his head to glare at him.
"Why are there two of Captains and Mr.Bucky?" Peter asked confused.
"Tony."Loki interrupted all of them,"We don't have time, or rather I don't have time, I would like to head back to my reality as soon as possible so, whoever you have to meet and greet, do hurry it up, you have an hour at most here."
"You can't open the portal after that?" Tony asked and Loki smiled at him, it wasn't a pleasant smile,"I can, but I won't. I do wish to hurry along our plans. Nothing good will come out of staying here for too long."
"Tony, what's he talking about?" Barnes asked his face a bit pale and Tony frowned worriedly at him,"You okay Barnes? Cap-"
"He's coming with us."Steve told them and Cap was shaking his head,"We are only here to make sure, he can meet his friends, assure them he's fine, then he's coming back home with us."
"No,"Cap began shakily,"No, this is his home, here is his home, with us, yo-you can't take him-
"Cap-" Tony tried to assure the man but stopped when he saw those desperate eyes he looked heart broken.
"I won't let you take him."
Suddenly he was lunging towards Bucky and a well aimed vibranium wakandian' shield to Bucky's head which separated him from Tony who stood stunned and watched as a fight broke out between Steve, Bucky, Cap and Barnes. He didn't know what to do as Steve and Bucky were over powered by the strength and experience their counterparts seem to possess; not to mention the brutal strength both seem exhibit, Tony couldn't help but feel like they were desperate, while Steve and Bucky were hesitant in their hits.
"Stop!" He yelled and then went into the fight to try to break it up, but they didn't listen, but as he put himself in front of Steve and Bucky, he was vaguely aware of their audience but ignored them in the favor of trying to meet Barnes and Cap's eyes who stopped at the sight of him, but they stood looking like vicious animal ready to strike down a threat, "Cap this is ridiculous! Stop right now, you had no right to attack them!"
"They are taking you away!"
"I am choosing to go with them!"Tony yelled back, because you had to yell like a lunatic around here to be listened,"Even if I weren't, you had no right to attack them! He has done nothing wrong!"
Steve looked miserable,"I'm sorry."
Tony relaxed and then turned to Barnes and raised his eyebrows when he didn't yield,"I think you need to apologize."
"I think I need some answers."The man snapped back.
The man stubbornly lifted his chin in defiance and Tony groaned, looked like he had a stubborn streak to him.
"It's fine Tony," Steve told him and Tony turned around and saw Steve helping Bucky up, who didn't seem to share the sentiment and glared at Cap viciously, "It's my fault, I was checking something and it obviously provoked him,"He gave his counterpart a meaningful look, which Tony didn't understand but it seem Cap did because he nodded back, still tense,"Why don't we have a talk?"
He soon found out that Pepper had just arrived there in Wakanda and suffered a slap to the face and then a hug which he thinks broke couple of his ribs.
"Does other world have some sort of de-aging cremes?"Rhodey joked as he first sees him, his eyes misty, "Cause I am thinking you might have to bring me some of those."
"You don't need any cremes for you face, sugar plump,"Tony said as he hugged him back,"I love as who you are."
"I see that the time stone has some influence in that portal," Stephen said," 'You couldn't have possibly have survived', is thought that I keep having but I am glad that I was wrong."
"Aww, I knew you cared Doc'!"Tony laughed as he got a nasty look in return,"Okay so I am short on time so I want you to listen to me, I have to back."
"Tony,"Pepper asked angrily,"Go where? You just got home!"
"Pep, that guy is there, they have no idea, I have to help them," He shot a quick glance at Steve and Bucky who were with Loki and Thor whom seem to keep them busy as he tells his team what's going on in the other world,"They are defenseless, I can't ignore the problem they are going to have, knowing I can help them."
"Tony it's not you responsibility."Bruce pleaded he had been quite the whole time just hovering close to Tony worriedly,"It's their problem, their world they can handle it."
Cap was quite but Barnes was apprehensive, but they hadn't spoken to him since Cap apologized, but it didn't matter because he just didn't have time for their sullen silence,"I can't."
"Why not?" Rhodey snapped.
"Because there is a Rhodey and Pepper there who are defenseless,"Tony snapped back at him,"They have nothing Rhodes, no Iron Legion, No War Machine, No Tech and No Iron man."
"Why is there no Iron man there Mr.Stark?"Peter asked shakily and this what Tony wanted to avoid, a sad Peter, it's horrible and should be prevented at any cost.
"I'm dead there."
A shocked silence falls over the whole team and as if they could sense tension Bucky, Steve, Loki and Thor were now looking at them. It seem, their Thor had gone with the Guardians to hopefully find a solution to bring him back to their world, Tony winced, he couldn't believe he had caused such a rucks with his disappearance, but Adam had assured him he could relay the message to Thor on his way home, which Adam could now return to after knowing he was alright.
"Killed in Afghanistan, no Badassium, no free energy, no money and-"Tony closes his eye which burn, he feels strong hands on both his shoulders' but doesn't care who they belong to because it gives him strength to continue," Jarvis and Bots are there, I can't leave them without making sure they okay, I can- can't take the guilt if something happens to them while knowing, I could have prevented it!"
No one says anything for a few moments before Rhodey says," I am coming with you."
"No, your body can't handle it."Tony shook his head and smile,"the other Rhodey wanted to come too."
"Tony, if- If I let you go,"Pepper seem to swallow harshly before she continued,"I need you to promise that you will come back to me. That you will come back home to us. Alive."
"I will Pep,"Tony said softly.
" You have to take someone with you." Bruce insisted and he was about to object to the suggestion when-
"We can go with you."
The words pulled Tony out of his staring contest with Bruce to look at Rogers' incredulously,"What?"
"They came with you,"Barnes pointed to the other group,"I am assuming if they can come with you here, we can go with you there."
"What?!? You don't have to!" He insists but Steve is already marching towards the group,"Ah! You- listen when people talk!"
Tony growled but froze when he felt the hand on his shoulder sliding down his arm to reach for his hands, him freezing seem to halt Barnes' own movements as well for a moment, Tony watches from the corner of his eyes as the guy seem to hesitate before touching his hand softly, lifting it and then holding his limp finger in his strong and much larger hand, he is quite as he watches the man smile, a small soft smile as he shyly looks down at his hand capturing Tony's smaller one.
Tony purses his lips from saying anything, because he doesn't know what he could say. He looks up and sees' everyone watching them and blushes furiously, he pulls his hand back and tries to ignore the wounded noise that Barnes makes at that.
"Shall we?" Loki is suddenly in front of him raising a very unimpressed eyebrow at him,"We are out of time."
This time the portal opens he is prepared, what he is not prepared of is being surrounded from every side by super soldiers who have a tight grip on him as they walk towards the portal.
He huffs in annoyance but lets himself be led around by strong arms and once again he was in the portal
He must be loosing some favors of the stones because as soon as he is in the other world, he feels dizzy and so drained he collapses on the muscular chest in front of him.
"Tony?" He could hear the concerned voice of Captain America but he couldn't bother to figure out which one, because he was just so tired, he just wanted to sleep,"Are you alright."
"Give him to me Stevie,"He opened his eyes and sees' Barnes's face looking down at him with concerned eyes, they're pretty eyes, he feels himself being lifted off from the ground and frowns when it seems that Barnes can carry him easily.
" Do I even weight anything to you?"
"No," Barnes tells him shamelessly, "it's like holding a couple of grapes."
He could feel a cool hand, pushing the hair out of his face, he could also feel the growl working in Barnes' throat, the vibrations.
Instead of being scared or snapping at them for treating him like a weak civilian, he closed his eyes and fell into a dreamland.
"So what are we going to do? I don't know why you people tagged along." Barnes turned to face his counterpart who seemed to be less than pleased to see him, especially since it was him and Steve that were attending to Tony who was sleeping peacefully.
"He looks so innocent." Steve said dazed and he shared the sentiments, he really did, the man looked like a angel.
"Bucky be nice." The other Steve scolded and he winced because that's Steve too, just not his Steve.
" Why? Look at them! They're obviously after Tony." The man snorts with his face which is kind of unnerving.
"If its true about what he thinks is here, then no, you can't protect him. We are to make sure someone can."
" We can protect him, that is what we do."
"Son don't." His Steve sighs, "Tony is not someone you can protect if you have no experience, tell me, the time he's been here how many times has he landed himself in trouble?"
It was quite before a voice replied,'I think that, Mr. Rogers is right, they have much more experience in ensuring Sirs' health.'
He thinks he remembers the voice from somewhere but it's Steve who gasps awed,"JARViS?"
'You are aware of my name?" JARVIS asks and Steve nods.
" You were Tony's AI, he was devastated when we lost you."
Before the AI could reply it was Steve's counterpart who asked his most pressing question.
" So? Who gonna sleep with him?"
A little chapter before the plot thickens
I know it's hard but it'll get better soon.
Soon in the story the AU Steve and Bucky would be referred to by their names and every other name will be gone.
The OU Steve and Bucky would later be referred to as Cap or Steve and Barnes or James.
Steve's statement got him three very judgmental stares; not only from Bucky who he could see was distinctively amused by his slip up, but his older counterpart and the long haired Bucky were also giving him the same look.
He refused to feel embarrassed because,"That's not what I mean," He knew how it came out, "I mean to say, that I don't trust Thor's brother, not only is that guy dangerous, he seems to be- uh, too interested, in Tony; someone has to keep watch."
"We'll do it."The bearded version of him said quietly but firmly.
"I don't think so." Bucky objected, "He'll be safer with us and it'll help him remain calm if he knows that he's in the room with people who didn't try to kill him at one point."
It was an arrow that was shot neatly right into the target, he had never seen men who seem unaffected by anything to flinch like they had been smacked with an iron rod, in the face.
"You don't know anything," His counterpart hissed,"don't think you know everything, we were at opposite sides, we disagreed on stuff but never have I ever wished to kill Tony, it was- a mistake, we were too worked up; it was sudden, he was angry."
"No, I don't think you understand,"It was his Bucky who interrupted the self-loathing monologue, "he wasn't angry, he was betrayed, he was-"
Steve startled at the words spoken by the other Bucky who had been silently staring at Tony,"He was heartbroken."
Bucky hesitantly nodded to his counterpart and shared a look with him, while the bearded Steve just look devastated,"So was I."
And he didn't knew what to think anymore, it seemed till this point that the other worlds' version of him and Bucky were dating, he had seen them move closer to each other like they couldn't bear to be apart from each other, like they had survived through many wars and only had each other, it was like they thought each other as -one was a lost satellite with the other being the earth grounding them, keeping them sane.
And well, now Tony.
Tony seem to be like the sun to their earth, like without him they would be a lifeless ball of ice-coated rock.
It was unnerving, because he wanted Tony too, but unfortunately for them, there was only one Tony.
Him and Bucky weren't dating, it was topic they had silently agreed not to discuss,even though they have shared women between them; it was nothing more than a night of lust filled passion, Steve knew that Bucky was into dames' too much to ever be interested in him, unlike Steve, Bucky had many lovers in the past, a player as they call him, handsome heart breaker but what astonished Steve was that none of the women who were dumped by Bucky had ever had anything bad to say about him.
After seeing him sleeping with any attractive woman that crossed their paths, Steve had slowly started to give up on any possibility that his feelings would ever be returned, had started to accept that he could never have Bucky the way he wanted him, without a woman between them.
Then Tony happened.
Falling in love with Bucky was like a sweet poison pumping through his heart and spreading throughout his whole body, slow working deadly poison that slowly but surely left him paralyzed to anything and everything he couldn't do anything but take it, while Tony was the complete opposite, when he saw him he felt from the bottom of his heart a deep urge to protect this person, Tony was all smiles and snarks but Steve could see the heartbreak on his face and identify it immediately because he sometimes saw it reflect in his own face when he looks into a mirror.
"That's sad, but I think Tony might be safer with us."Bucky said not at all sounding like he sympathized, he still didn't know what Bucky's intention with Tony were, but if he was going to treat Tony the same as he treated other women in his life, then Steve was not going to let Bucky near him, as much as Steve loved him.
"I don't think so,"The long haired Bucky finally snapped back,"he's our Tony, maybe you should keep your distance from him."
'I sorry to interrupt your rather amusing conversation gentlemen,' JARVIS's voice rang out,'But Colonel Rhodes is on his way down, it might be better for all of you to step away from Sir'.
Steve straightened and watched as their counterparts straightened as well, reluctantly putting distance between themselves and Tony.
Looks like Colonel is as terrifying in the other world as he is here.
As soon as the door opened Rhodey's wild eyes darted on everyone before stopping on the sleeping form, he didn't even question the sudden appearance of Captain and Sergeants' Doppelgangers, he just quickly moved towards the bed, looking Tony over for any injuries,"What happened?"
"He was tired and passed out." Rhodey registered the voice of Captain but he couldn't careless which one, right now he had more important things to question.
"Wh-Why did he pass out? Jarvis?"
'There is nothing of concern, it seems that the wayfaring between the space portals, has been harsh and has been to much for someone of Sirs' physique,' JARVIS explained and Rhodey sighed in relief, ' with an appropriate amount of sleep and food, he should be able to recover easily.'
"Okay,"Rhodey nodded to himself before he turned to everyone else with a glare,"What are you bums doing in his room? He needs rest! Out all of you."
"No buts!"Rhodey growled,"The team is waiting for a report, you need to explain-"He pointed towards the Captain and Sergeants' doppelgangers"-that to them as well, I will watch over Tony. You guys can leave."
"We can't leave you alone with Tony and t-them!"Bucky pointed towards the newcomers and Rhodey honestly didn't care,"That evil magician can come here and take both of you, that guy is crazy."
"I am not an invalid,"Rhodey hissed,"Tony completed the suit- which I can summon easily from anywhere as long as I have this-" He held up a watch, Tony had gifted him, he couldn't hide his smugness as the only one who got something from him, "And don't think I am stupid enough to not notice, that you and Steve seem to follow Tony around like a love sick puppy, you guys together have seduced and banged more people then I can count, I won't let my Tony fall into your dirty clutches."
"Awww, that's not fair,"Bucky pouted but Rhodey remained unmoved, that guy was more of player than Tony was when he was alive, he had corrupted Steve along the way, not fully, but enough for Rhodey to be wary of both, because together there were practically irresistible to any human. He thinks they are yet to fail in bringing anyone they like into bed with them.
"Can I stay?" It was so quiet that he thought he had imagined the whisper, but when he looked up haunted blue eyes were staring back at him,"I-ve never, I would like to be with him longer."
The request was sincere that much Rhodey could see and appreciate, the man looked like he was requesting for a high novelty but was prepared to be rejected,"You- didn't you kill his parents?"
The man flinched like a kicked puppy and Rhodey felt bad, but it was Captain's look alike that answered him,"He was brainwashed, tortured for more than seventy years. Trust me, he never would have done it, if he had a choice or a will."
He remained quite computing the request and at the same time analyzing the man before him, the room was tense, as they were waiting for his reply, but he couldn't leave Tony alone, he was paranoid to a point that there was no way he would be okay with leaving Tony alone with anyone; even with JARVIS watching.
'Sir has assembled a stealth suit for me and I have downloaded myself to it,' JARVIS's voice rang out and there was a 'pleased and proud at his father' kind of tint to his voice, which he often used when he talked about Tony,'If it helps, I can deploy it, so I can protect Sir from an immediate threat or danger.'
"Yeah, it might help,"Rhodey squashed his worries, he just wanted to wrap Tony up in a blanket and hide him under his bed, where he could keep his eye on him and ensure he is safe. He needed to get control of his stalker like worries, but Pepper seems to have the same problem; he felt relived that it was not just him, who was going insane with worry that something might happen to Tony, but it would seem that Tony was just worry inducing to everyone he encountered.
"Okay, but just you and Jarvis,"He finally said, then pointed at Captain's counterpart,"you have to come with us."
Natasha watched as Steve, Bucky, the other Steve and Rhodey entered the common room, she frowned slightly when when she saw that Tony was not accompanying them.
"Where is Tony?"Clint asked voicing her thoughts,"Is he okay?"
"Fine,"Rhodey replied,"Exhausted though."
"Not surprising,"It was the God of mischief who snorted mockingly at them,"the mortal is strong, but he is at the end- a mortal, I can feel that the stone is as much intrigued with him as I. But he has not attained the favor of the stone yet."
"He won't be needing anymore travelling through the stone would he?" Pietro asked nervously from where he was seated besides Clint, who had both the Maximoffs' on each of his side.
"Depends on what his next action would be."Loki shrugged,"My brother has returned to warn the king and the queen of the future outcome of the coming conflict and when he returns we will try to relocate the stones."
"Didn't Tony already tell you the location?" The other Steve asked.
"No, he has, but things aren't exactly a copy of your world, the fact is that my brother does not have any association with a woman named Jane." Loki huffed as if this was too much for him,"So finding the reality stone is going to be a difficulty."
"What about destroying the ones you already have?" Natasha asked.
"You have the stones and you haven't destroyed them yet?" The other Steve asked in disbelief,"What are you waiting for?"
"We need them to find other stones, let me remind you-"
"Rogers, that it would take your people centuries to reach anywhere, that isn't Midgard without the space stone. Besides, the stones have their own conscious as well, our objective is not to destroy the stones but find a suitable keeper for it, to ensure it's safety."
"What about the time stone?"
"What about it?" Loki straightened, his eyes glinting as he looked at Rogers' intensely,"Do you know where it is?"
"Did Tony not tell you?" The man asked back, suspicious because you just don't trust a man like Loki, especially since Tony himself seem to keep the location of the stone secret.
"No,"He looked irritated,"He said the time stone was in safe hands, that we didn't have to worry about that particular stone."
Steve thought of Strange and decided Tony was right, it probably was.
"If you don't mind Captain America, what can we call you, so that- you know? We don't get confused between, our Captain and Sargent."Sam asked sheepishly and the man nodded understandingly,"What do you call them?"
"Steve and Bucky."
"I guess you can refer us with our designation or our last names."
"Well, what does Stark calls you?"
The man smiled ruefully,"He had many for me, he calls me Cap, Capsicle, Oldman, Rogers' and makes references to many movies' he know I haven't seen yet."
"Huh, I guess I'll go with Rogers and Barnes, wouldn't want Stark to feel like I stole his very amusing nicknames for you guys."
Bucky watched Tony's peaceful face while he slept, confirming things Steve had told him about Tony in the four years they had been in Wakanda, Tonys' eyebrows did pinch from time to time, but it didn't made him look like a angry squirrel like Steve had said, no, he looked like a cat, maybe be because he looked younger than he was when they met.He could feel his lips twitch up a little as he took in the adorable frown, he could feel the gaze of the armor that stood on the other side of the room across from him, but he ignored it, because this was the first time he had seen Tony this up close.
He wanted to touch him again, feel his small hands in his owns, the weight of his body, the softness of his hair and how plump those lips were- could he bite it?
He leaned back in the chair and took a deep breath, this was his chance to get to know Tony, to help him, to protect him and hopefully to gain forgiveness to a crime which was very much unforgivable, but he had to try and apologize, he wanted him to know that he was sorry, the man deserved an apology, he also wanted to assure him that he would never hurt him again, he wanted to beg for forgiveness.
"Nnnh."His eyes snapped opened when he heard that, thinking Tony was awake, but the man just seem to have turned his side and his hand was on Bucky's thigh now, he didn't dare to breathe in case it woke the tired man up, he needed sleep, that was what he was told and he's make sure that he would, hesitantly his hand reached out and slowly he ran his fingers through the soft dark hair, he watched in awe as the frown disappeared and man snuggle closer to his leg.
Tony didn't ever call him by his name, he always referred to him as Barnes, it had never bothered him before because sometimes, he would say it in a teasing way, and his last name still contained a soft tentative affection he knew Tony had for him, but seeing him call this worlds' James Buchanan Barnes as 'Bucky' he couldn't help but feel the surge of jealousy that welled up inside him, the possessive thought that his name was stolen from him, because this Tony was from his world, he couldn't help but feel it was his right to called by that name. This world has lost their Tony, but Bucky was not about to lose his.
READ THE NOTES!!!!! PLEASE AND THANK YOU!
Okay someone advised me to use bold or italics to differentiate between the OU and AU Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers.
Which I think is a great Idea, I don't know where the comment went before I could reply.
Anyway I am going to us bold for the OU Bucky and Steve because it isn't their Universe.
Bucky frowned when he saw Tony showing signs of restlessness, he tried to soothe him but he really started to panic when he saw that the restlessness turned into open distress as Tony started thrashing, "What's going on?!?"
'My scans indicates a large amounts of distress and elevated heartbeat,' Bucky recognized the voice as the one which Steve had called Jarvis, 'It seems Sir is experiencing a night terror.'
"What do I do?"
"I am not certain,' JARVIS replied his tone a bit unsure,'I have looked up some measures, but late Mr.Stark never had them, I am apprehensive; the data I have states that we can't do anything to prevent them, it says 'to wait it out and keep him safe.'
Bucky watches helpless as Tony's eyes snap open and he continues to thrash, he saw the absolute fear and terror on his face and after a few minutes of it, Bucky couldn't help but pull Tony towards him, he could see the armor moving from the corner of his eyes, closer but still at a respectable distance but ignores it in the favor of soothing the thrashing man in his arms.
"It's okay Tony, you're safe wit' us doll', you're safe, you're alive," Bucky whispers softly and pulls the shorter brunette up in his lap,"You're home Tony, wake up please, doll."
Slowly Tony stops thrashing and Bucky feels hands clutching to the back of his shirt, he doesn't comment on it and keeps one hand on the back of Tony's skull and his other moving soothingly down his back,"You're safe I promise, I'll protect you, Tony."
When Tony comes to himself he is being rocked back and forth, soft whispers of safety are being said to him constantly and he could feel a very muscled shoulder in front of his face, for a minute he doesn't know what to do because he still feels tired, he doesn't know how he came to be in someone's lap, but it was comforting, the words, the hands around him and he can't help but cling back as he buries his head back into the strong shoulder in front of him.
He falls asleep again.
Rhodey shifts impatiently in his chair, they have been here discussing the next course of action they should take but his mind is still on the fact that Tony is five floors down alone, with a person who the genius shares a complicated relationship with to say the least.
He keeps expecting alarms to start blaring as JARVIS informs them that Tony is in danger, but five hours into the meeting something has yet to happen; he could see the same anxiety on Peppers' face as she asks question that he himself had been too coward to ask,"Can you do this without Tony?"
Her answer is met with a stunned silence, they watch as Loki straightens up and levels her with a look,"No."
"You don't really need him do you?" Rhodey backs her up,"he already told you what he knows, the outcomes and the possibilities, he's not strong enough to fight with you guys, he needs rest-"
"I'd be careful of calling Tony weak Colonel," Steve's eyes are narrowed dangerously,"He's our world's best defender, he has taken on the likes of Thanos before and has emerged victorious, I will not stand you belittling him."
"Calm down Captain," Steve stands firmly in front of his counterpart,"That's not what he meant."
"No he didn't,"Bucky confirms softly before addressing both Pepper and Rhodey,"What's this about?"
"I- we can't loose him again,"Peppers cries standing up,"I will not allow him to go on this- righteous mission! I can't let that happen again!"
"Pepper,"Natasha walks towards the hysterical redhead calmly,"We understand but-"
"No!"Pepper snarls like a angry lioness,"don't you dare tell me you know what it feels like, you didn't know him like we did, loved him like we did, I thought my heart was ripped out, when they brought his body from Afghanistan or what it looked like a body, I-I wasn't even sure, we had to get a DNA test! Can you imagine that?!? A fucking DNA test! To confirm it really was him!"
Rhodey doesn't watch what the reaction to her words are because he is too busy trying not to think about that day, Tony was young and reckless, he was like the mischievous little brother, causing trouble to get attention; which he never got from his parents, he was innocent, he didn't deserve it, he didn't deserve the six hundred Maschinengewehr 13 rounds to his body but it happened anyways and he lost his brother, his family to the greed of Obadiah Stane. He couldn't believe how the most precious person in his life was taken from him over something someaning less, and so brutally.
The pin drop silence was deafening, no one said a word, even Loki seems to deflate at that for a moment before he forced himself to say,"It's not your decision." after a pause he adds a soft,"I'm sorry."
Pepper lets Natasha pull her into a hug, she seems to holding herself back from brawling like a baby and throwing a tantrum and Rhodey can empathize, because they know what Tony' decision is going to be.
Steve and Bucky stared a long look, both thinking about Tony who was just five floors away but it felt like he was further, Bucky trampled the urge to run back down and check, make sure they still had him.
Rogers stepped forward,"You're right, I can't imagine what you feel like," He hesitates because he really can't, but then continues,"But believe me when I say this, we can not do this without him, this world can not be saved without Tony Stark."
"I don't care about the world,"Rhodey answers him,"I care about him."
"And he cares about this world," Pepper whimpers,"so we can only try to protect him."
'Yes,' JARVIS's voice made almost everyone jump, with the exception of Natasha, Pepper, Rhodey and Steve ,'And this time we have tools that will aid in keeping Sir safe.'
The lift door opened and they all looked and found Tony entering the floor with a beaming smile followed by a serene looking Bucky Barnes, he frowned when he saw everyone looking tense and Pepper in Natasha's arms on the verge of tears.
He totally deserved the pillow which was thrown at his face.
"Is Thor back yet?" He asked affronted by the pillow throw but letting it slide for now.
"Not yet,"Loki drawled lazily and then looking like he was bored with the whole thing, Tony ignored him in favor of landing his butt on Rhodey's lap whose arms went around him.
"Okay, what have we've come up with so far?"
"Actually,"Steve frowned as he looked at his phone,"We have a call Fury wants us ASAP." He looked up hesitating,"We should go."Althought he said that he was yet to make a move to leave, actually none of them seem to be eager to leave the tower and Tony sighed,"Go, this is your job, me and Loki will discuss everything after Thor comes back. In the meantime Platypus can brief me on what you guys discussed so far."
"I am not comfortable with him here with you,"Surprisingly it was Wanda who said it, while glaring at Loki who sneered in return, he really was in an alternated reality for Wanda to be worried about it him,"I think I should stay too."
"Nope."Tony popp'ed,"It's a Avengers call, it would be suspicious when all of you don't go, specially when Nicky asked you to come ASAP, I'll be fine, I have my suit and Rhodey and JARVIS have one too now,"Tony shrugged off her concern even though he was warmed by it,"Besides I've got Cap and Barnes watching my back too, I'll be fine."
"What about me?" Pepper pouted,"don't you trust me to protect you?"
"Pfff, like someone is stupid enough to try something with you here, but Pep you have a board meeting don't you?"
"How did you know that?!?" Pepper hissed as the rest went towards the quinjet.
"I just send out the next Stark product ideas I had in mind through Jay, I sent out the final design of the products to the board to be approved, also the prototype Iron Legion suit which I want you to personally review, so I scheduled a meeting."
Pepper glared at him and Tony frowned, "You want to skip a meeting? Definitely an alternate universe."
"I don't liked you skipping them and of course I am eager to see them praise your new tech but," She bit her lips anxiously"I feel like if I leave you will be gone again."
Tony's eyes softened in understanding, especially when Rhodey's arms tightened their grip around him.
"I'll be here Peps, I promise."
She still looked worried but trusted Rhodey and JARVIS to inform her if something went sideways, so with reluctance she left.
They arrived at the SHIELD HQ quietly, Steve could feel the agents frowning at their usual lack of bustle, when they entered the main area he was met a raised eyebrow of Maria Hill and a confused smile from Coulson, Fury on the other hand ignored the funeral silence they had going on and started barking the details of the mission.
"We have information that Dr.Bruce Banner is trapped in a facility, which is presumed to be one of HYDRA's," Fury started and refrained himself from popping a vein when Pietro ignored his words and ran around messing with his agents,"Dr.Banner is one of the most brilliant of mind that is currently in existence; he has been experimenting with a version of super soilder serum which has left him with a condition, a rare condition. "
"You called us here because you want us to retrieve a doctor from an HYDRA facility?" Clint asked just to be sure because," you don't need all of us for to infiltrate a HYDRA base."
"He does actually," Agent Hill said and motioned them all to look at one of the screens which had a picture of a man he assumed was Dr.Banner," this is Dr.Banner and this is his form that you're probably gonna deal with." Suddenly the image changed a big muscled green giant took the place of the timid looking doctor.
"That's him?!?" Pietro asked and then whistled, "damn right you need us."
Fury ignored the youngster as he always did and continued," His transformation is triggered by excess stress but mostly anger, it doesn't help that he is contained, which is probably not help him calm down, you are probably have to face him, subdue him and then bring him back."
"He looks strong." Wanda comments.
"He is." Coulson confirms.
"When do we leave?" Natasha asks Steve who turns to her his face grim.
After Rhodey gave him the details of the discussion and what he didn't pay attention to was filled in by Rogers and JARVIS, after everything he sat down and told JARVIS to switch on a news channel, most of them were showing the Loki fiasco and his confrontation with the Avengers, but he stopped at the next news coverage he saw.
"There is no Maria Stark foundation," Tony tells Steve who groans, because that is just great," no special charity work smiliar to the one my company does in our world because SHEILD is sucking out all my funds and Rhodey and Pep do the best they can helping people, but it isn't enough."
They turn back and watch the news feed JARVIS displays for them of all the homeless people that inhabit the streets of New York, who have been most effected by the recent attack the shelter home they inhabited was now distroyed, Tony watches the sad faces of countless people when one face in particular makes him say, "Pause it Jay."
He could feel Cap and Barnes confused gaze but ignores it in the favor of watching a kid, who looks so familiar,"Jay that kid with the brown hair, the one that looks like he's eight, I want his name."
'I am scanning the database of the homeless shelter, it'll take thirty seconds.' JARRVIS replies but Tony can't look away from the image of the small brown haired boy, who looks so familiar, like he knows him but can't put a finger on it, someone familiar but at the same time so different he is brought out of his thoughts as JARVIS's voice echoes again saying he has found a match.
'The file says he is ten year old orphan, who lost his parents in an accident and then his Aunt and Uncle in the attack that occurred in Los Angeles, according to the files the name is Peter Parker.'
Peter is that you?
I am using bold for the OU Bucky and Steve because it isn't their Universe.
Bucky shared a concerned glance with Steve as they watched Tony who seem to be frozen solid, his hands were shaking and his mouth was open in shock as he stared at the frozen image of the boy in front of him, they had never seen Tony look so disturbed before, the boy on the screen barely looked like he was eight and he assumed he had to take JARVIS's word for it that the kid was ten, Bucky frowned at the photo because the boy looked familiar somehow.
"Tony? What's wrong?" Steve asked his voice tinted with barely concealed concern,"Do you know him?"
They both jumped when suddenly the Nanorobotics started constructing a suit around Tony, before they could reach him Tony was flying away from them and then out of the window,"Wha-"
"JARVIS, what the hell just happened?" Steve demanded as Bucky ran towards the window Tony flew out of confused and panicked.
'I am not sure, Captain Rogers.'
Tony remembered her, no one could forget that woman if they once met her, she was a perfect combination of strong and beautiful. She had the attention of many men who were charmed by her beauty and despite their attention, she had only had one aim in her mind, to raise Peter with all the love in the world.
He admired her for raising a kid by herself, not just any kid; a kid like Peter Parker, he had never in his life met a kid as brave, as upstanding and as eager to help as the young Spider Man.
His Parker is a good kid, it might not seem like a high complement to anyone but Tony knew that kids like Peter were rare.
It was probably because of his Aunt May.
But he didn't have her, this Peter was alone, he couldn't imagine what the boy was going through right now.
He didn't know what he expected when he landed in full armor in an alley behind the ruins of the homeless shelter, but he could hardly think and worry about the consequences, he disabled the suit and a bust of wind made him realize he had ran out in the cold winter without a coat, he walked fast anyway, ignoring the cold and saw the people scattered on the street in the chilling cold, without much covering them; men, women and children; some crying, some cursing their fate but he couldn't bring himself to care because he was spotting a struggling Peter who was being taken away by a buff looking man.
He couldn't describe the wrenched feelings that welled up inside him, he ran towards the alley Where the boy was being dragged into and he saw the man who had taken Peter struggling to control the little boy who thrashed and screamed, but no one seem to hear his voice, it was like they were in another zone, like people couldn't hear his broken pleas, but Tony realized with dread that they could hear him, they just didn't care.
"Shut- stop struggling you little' sht' ya' not gonna' make it easy on yourself'" The man growled and when his voice fell on deaf ears he raised his hand and threw a punch which landed on Peter's stomach, who gasped in pain.
Tony moved on his instincts, he moved so fast that the man didn't see him coming as he punch his cheek with his hand which was partially covered with suit, the man landed a few yards away from them and Tony repressed the urge to break every bone in the scumbags body in favor of checking up on Peter who looked at him in fear and pain.
Tony bent down to his level and saw Peter flinch fearfully and scramble back away from him.
What could he say to ease Peter so he could take him with him to get immediate medical help?
"Hello, Peter."He tried to keep his voice soft and felt sad when the boy still looked at him fearfully,"You don't know me, but I was friends with your Aunt May."
That got the kids attention and Tony watched as the kid emerged a little from his scrunched up position and looked at him cautiously.
"I have been looking all over you,"Tony continued when the boy didn't respond,"Your Aunt asked me to take care of you, her most precious nephew."
The boy's lip trembled and he saw fat tears started rolling down his face as he hiccuped, he still didn't say anything; but hearing his screams earlier Tony knew the boy wasn't mute, he was just quite unwilling to say anything and Tony knew when to not push.
"Peter, I need you to come with me,"Peter looked at him with suspicious eyes, like he had forgotten how to trust anyone in this world and maybe he had, who could blame him? "I know you don't trust me, stranger danger and all; May taught you better than that right? But Pete I need you to be safe, you need a hospital-I if you come with me I'll promise I will take care of you."
When the boy continued to look at him with distrust he brainstormed for ideas to make the kid trust him enough so he could take him back to the tower, he bit his lip before he looked at him,"Okay, you don't trust me, so I am going to show you a secret of mine okay?"
The boy didn't respond and Tony really didn't expected him to, but he was watching Tony with barely concealed intrigue on his face, Tony smiled at him before he tapped his reactor and Nanorobotics started covering his body until he was fully encased in his armor, he looked down and saw Peter was looking at him awe,"You see kid? No need to be afraid, your Aunt would never do things half way, she sent a super hero to help you."
Blindly smashing in through the front door was not his forte, he was calm, cool and collected, you have to be when you're a trained assassin, you have to be discreet and possess great stealth and agility and that is the reason why only him, Sam, Natasha and Bucky went on missions related to HYDRA.
Okay sometimes they took Steve with them, but the man could be discreet when he understood why it was important.
'But now.' Clint thought mournfully as he looked at the Maximoff twins, one eager and reckless and the other hesitant and dangerous, he wondered if it was still too soon for them to be going on mission such as this with them, while Wanda has been training extensively under the guidance of Charles Xavier, she was still a kid and still very much unpredictable, she was too young, they both were, he still couldn't understand why they we're hired by Fury to join the Avengers, it didn't make any sense.
'Well, I have a bow and arrow, none of this makes any sense.'
"You alright old man?" He shot a glare at the cheeky looking Sokovian.
"You do look a little peachy," Wanda commented her words tinted with worry Clint appreciated but didn't really need, "Are you worried about something?"
'So many things.' Clint thought but didn't voice it, everything seem to be so upside down in a mere span of weeks, two literal Gods have come to earth one of them -he has no idea why they are trusting- despite him killing eighty two people in a matter of two days; owner of the building they have been inhabiting in, has suddenly appeared in their life, the AI who he till that point he thought was catatonic has a personality so viciously protective against any threat against his creator and indulging accommodating for him that he wondered how they have missed that or how much that guy meant to JARVIS, there is Rhodes and Pepper who seem like that God himself had breathed air into their mouths and now they were anywhere and everywhere, it seem like they were finally living instead of just breathing, also the cherry to their metaphorical ice cream was this Thanos guy who scared the shit out of the God of Mischief and had plans to wipe half of the universe and he had a bow and arrow.
A fucking bow and arrow.
"Just be careful," He says instead of answering because he can't unload on anyone without coming off as a lunatic,"You guys have powers, but- just be careful alright? These guy are experienced with people with abilities, the guy they are holding up is pretty strong."
Wanda nodded understandingly, but he doubted when the time came she would be able to hold back, Pietro smirked at him before winking and dashing towards where Steve and rest were discussing the final adjustments to their plan.
Clint waited as Natasha joined him, "We are entering through their front door, I don't know how I feel about this."
Natasha glanced at him briefly before responding,"There isn't much we could do against Dr.Banner," She took a pause and Clints eyebrows furrowed in concern,"I am worried about something."
"Tony?"Clint asked Natasha looked at him strangly before shook her head,"No, he- he's a bit weird but, I trust him. He's working hard to make SI great again and if Fury noticed the sudden increase in funds and new tech the compay seem to be crapping out but the minutes, he hasn't said anything, yet."She adds ominously and Clint turns towards the group before them and they are joined by Sam.
"This complicates things,"Sam comments shooting Clint and Natasha a look,"this mission is delaying the others we have lined up."
"It's a high priority mission."Natasha say dryly.
"Yeah, but they can handle it," Sam motion towards the group,"If we delay it more than a few days, we might have a bigger problem at hand."
Clint pursed his lips as Natasha nodded to Sam.
"The Winter Soilders."
While Bucky was pacing the living room like worried mother waiting for her son who broke the curfew, Steve watched him pace with distant amusement and fondness before he asked JARVIS, "You're online on his suit right? Where did he go?"
Bucky's head snapped to him so fast he worried that his boyfriend might have snapped something in his neck,"Why didn't you tell me that sooner?"
Steve shrugged,"Didn't think you'd listen, thought to just let you release some steam."
'Yes, Captain Rogers,' JARVIS interrupted, 'it seems that sir has reached the site of the disaster and currently attempting to convince the child Peter Parker to come back to the Stark tower with him.'
Steve hid his wince at JARVIS's continue use of the name Stark Tower for the establishment harboring the Avengers, the AI had no problem in expressing his annoyance at the incident what was called 'the bringing God of Mischief into his creators' house and endangering his life', as he had heard from Colonel Rhodes and although he agreed to an extent with the sentiment he also knew that Tony can defeat any one of them if he wanted to, -which he wouldn't- but knew Tony had held back against him and Bucky in Siberia, the man had created Hulk buster and Thor buster to tackle the strongest Avengers in their team, he hadn't used Thor buster against Thor but if the Hulk buster was capable to stop Hulk then he had no doubt the Thor buster would be a challenge to Thor too, meanwhile JARVIS had openly expressed his threats of using his suit that Tony had created for him to take down anything that could or would cause Tony any harm, and the treat was not just towards the Norse Gods but extended towards the Avengers as well.
Tony is still blissfully unaware of the malicious threats his AI had made, of course.
"Why- who is that kid? How does Tony know him, I-I mean he looked famili-"Bucky frowned because he did know a Peter, but, he couldn't-" Steve does that boy look similar to that Spider boy in our world?"
"Spider Man."Steve corrected automatically, he was squinting at the picture of the boy displayed in front of him,"He does look a bit like him, the name and Tony's reaction to him, I doubt it's a coincidence."
"Tony is attached to his kid, like he's his own."Bucky mummered.
"He did go a great length to save him." Steve agreed, not that Tony wouldn't for any of his friends because, he did fight like a berserker for his friends and strength and power didn't mean anything against knowledge and doing absolutely anything to win.
But with Peter Steve saw genuine fear in his eyes and helplessness at the thought that they might lose and his failure would cause Spider Man to remain alone in the stone forever.
He could still recall standing outside of the lab as Tony worked endlessly, going through plans over plans, not sleeping and eating to set everything straight, like it was his personal responsibility to make sure that they defeated Thanos.
And Steve had worried fussing and making sure Tony ate and slept on time 'like a mother' Natasha had teased him, but he couldn't even care he came across as a stalker following Tony around everywhere he went in Wakanda or Space with the exception his bedroom and bathroom, because he was afraid that Tony might just kill himself in saving the universe.
'Sir has arrived with his young guest.'
Bucky rushed towards the platform and Steve followed him, they saw Iron man land with a small quivering bundle in his arms, they watched while wide brown eyes turned to them fearfully and clutching to now the fabric of Tony's thin t-shirt.
Steve couldn't help his disapproving frown but Bucky beat him to it as he returns with a blanket DUM-E seem to have brought and wraps it around Tony's shoulders and adjusting it to wrap around Peter as well."What were you thinking going out in that kind of weather dressed like that?!?"
Tony gives him a funny look then smiles as cuddles Peter closer for warmth and looking down at the child, his face so full of love and affection that Steve hopes would be directed at him too some day.
"Welcome home, Peter."
Some Hulk catching, smashing and flashbacks
I made the chapter longer than normal for the lack of update. ENJOY!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"I have a bad feeling about this."
That's what Clint had said when they had taken their positions to infiltrate the obscure HYDRA facility; as Steve made his way inside the building; Natasha had hacked the system with Sam and apprised them that Dr.Banner was on the basement levels of the facility; ever since he had entered the building alongside Bucky he couldn't shake off this ominous feeling, he could feel his anxiousness mirrored in Bucky's eyes as they waited for the lift to arrive.
"This is strange." Natasha's voice echoed over the com,"There aren't half as many agents patrolling to safeguard Dr.Banner, this seems too easy."
"Banner, has been experimenting with a different version of super solider serum on himself," Sam continued where Natasha left off, as Steve and Bucky entered the lift. Pietro , Wanda and Clint should be entering the facility from the ancient underground tunnel route they had discovered,"maybe they already got what they need to know about the serum and don't need him' no more."
"That's not important now," Steve responded as the lift opened and they saw few soldiers waiting for them with their guns raised, he hurriedly pulled and covered Bucky and himself behind the shield but after there were no shots fired at them, he looked up and saw Pietro standing smugly over the unconscious HYDRA agents on the ground,"We are here, and looks like so are Quick Silver, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye."
"We'll keep an eye out from here," Natasha said,"Black Widow and Falcon out."
Steve entered the lower level and heard Bucky whistle,"Nice digs they have here."
"It's big,"Steve agreed ignoring Pietro's 'that's what she said' in the background followed by a slap and his pained grunt.
Suddenly a ferocious roar sounded; that seem to shake the whole building, "What was that?"
"That's a sound a cornered animal makes,"Clint answered him grimly,"I believe that, Fury was right, that's probably Dr.Banner's other form."
"What's wrong Widow?" Bucky asked and received a panicked reply.
"It's a trap you guys," Sam yelled,"there is something wrong, Containment Module is opening by itself it's gonna-"
The metal flaps seem to lift immediate and they are able to see the hulking form of Dr.Banner hurling himself at the transparent containment cell,"How long can it hold him?"
"We were supposed to transfer the pod using Zephyr One and take him to the larger holding room at SHIELD!" Bucky barked and he pressed the lift button, because the cell walls had started retreating upwards, the man is gonna get out.
"The interior of the Containment Modules is made from poly-tectic adaptive materials that can withstand some superhuman powers, It's supposed to hold him but -" Nat replied her voice nervous and unsure,"I can't seem to find the controls, you guys need to get out of there, you can't fight him there! He can cause damages that will make the whole building collapse on itself."
"I can protect them," Wanda says confidently,"My shei-"
"Will be of no use if you are using your power to protect us from being flattened by the big one, while the whole building is collapsing in on us," Clint hissed at her, and controlled the urge to throw a fit at her stubborn expression because slowly the Module was half open, he grabbed her shoulders roughly to look into her now wide eyes,"I know you want to help"-and show you can control your power- he thought but didn't say,"but, trust the judgment of your elders and help us get back on the surface, we need you to help us get out of here, alive."
She was silent as she stared into Clint's urgent blue eyes before she nodded, Clint stepped back as she formed a shield around them,"I am opening the launching pad on your far right, get out through there," Sam guided them and then they were flying out through the opening, Clint looked back and he swore as she saw that the Green beast was out of the Module and was staring right at them.
"Fuck."He heard Pietro whisper right next to his ear and couldn't even scold him on his personal space issues because yeah, this might be the first time he was afraid for his life.
"Tony," Steve whispers urgently as Tony carries the small bundle gently but protectively to the couch,"Is the kid alright?"
"I don't know,"Tony responds as he lays the small figure on the couch, but as he tries to move away the small fist curled in front of his t shirt prevents him from moving further away, he looks down at Peter who looks up at him in panic and fear, his eyes silently pleading Tony to not to leave his side, he knows this look, it's familiar, because he wore it himself quite often when he desperately and silently asks the people important in his life to stay with him, he settles on the floor besides Peter, who is on the edge of the sofa, looking like he would fall off and into his lap.
"It's okay Pete,"He whispers silently cooing not noticing the intent gaze of the super soldiers, the men moved closer surrounding Tony and Peter like a protective muscled wall,"I'll be here when you wake up, I promise."
Peter stares at him for a few seconds, assessing him, before his shoulders slump and slowly he falls asleep,"Jay, scans."he orders as he lifts his suit covered hands above Peter's body.
'Abrasion on his hands and arms-'
"His stomach? He was hit-"
'I couldn't detect any internal bleeding Sir, it's best to wash and disinfect the wound and let young Sir rest.'
"I'll get the first aid,"Steve nods and goes towards the cabinet JARVIS directs him to,"I'll get some towels and water to wash him."Bucky hurries and Tony watches as both of them scramble to take care of the boy they practically knew nothing about, he smiles as a thought enters his mind.
'They'll be great dads.'
Unlike himself, he thinks a bit bitterly, he once again mourns the loss of May Parker; he know the woman would rise from her grave to kill him if he let anything happen to her nephew and well Tony will rather rip out his own arch reactor than let anything happen to kid.
"This is gonna be your baby brother okay? You have to take care of him, baby; I know I always rely on you, but- it's because you're so reliable that, I am asking this- please baby boy, if something happens, if for some reason I am not there for you guys, I want you to promise me, to take care of him, okay? Love him like you love me."
It's quiet and Tony can't see or feel anyone except him and JARVIS as he waits for his reply,'Of course Sir.'
"That's my favorite boy."
Bucky, Steve and Tony work together silently on Peter as they tend to his wounds, wash him and then dress him in fresh clothes that JARVIS had ordered as soon as Tony brought the kid home, as they work, Bucky couldn't stop himself from stealing a few glances at Tony who still has a worried frown on his face.
"He'll be okay,"He finds himself saying and immediately those big brown doe eyes are on him, blinking and looking at him earnestly, he finds himself tongue tied and when he doesn't elaborate and keeps staring dumbly at Tony, the genius looks at him in confusion before turning to Steve and saying,"Your boyfriend is weird Rogers."
Steve chuckles,"He's shy," he says after sometime because he's secretly evil.
"Hey,"He protests weakly and lifts his hands to to punch Steve lightly on his arms but winces, immidiately the blue eyes are filled with concern,"You okay Buck?"
"Yeah,"He replies as he lowers his stiff arm and now Tony's eyes is also filled with mild concern,"Is it your arm?"
"It's fine,"He quickly assures but Steve is not having it, neither is Tony it seems as he asks Steve to fetch his tools from his workshop,"Okay, first off all who designed this? What mind am I working with?"
"Yessssss,"Tony hisses pleased,"I love that girl, I love her mind even more, one day she going to rule the engineering industry like the queen she is."
Bucky doesn't say anything because it's true, Shuri has a brilliance he had never seen before and although Tony has years on her and the brilliance of making tech out of basically nothing, Shuri has her age and enormous resources on her side.
"You can fix this then?"
Tony scoffs as if insulted,"This is Wakandian tech, made by princess Shuri, you don't fix it, you maintain it," Tony sees Steve coming asks him to sit near them,"I can show you how to maintain it, simple steps and you can do it for Bucky yourself."
Steve nods seriously even though his heart beats louder at being so close to not only Bucky but Tony as well, three of them have never been this close together and not fighting, he could help but feel that they were making progress, he opened his mouth because he could apologize, it might be the perfect opportunity, Tony might even listen to him, he can tell Tony how sorry he is, but his mouth clamps shut as he thinks how it would ruin whatever peace they currently had.
"I am sorry."
Steve head snaps to Bucky so fast he had a whiplash because what? He can see that Tony has frozen stiff from where he had been working on Bucky's arm refusing to meet either of their eyes.
"For what I did to your parents,"Bucky said hesitantly his face filled with so much fear, remorse and anguish that Steve's heart ached for him, because it wasn't him, he knew Bucky would never hurt an innocent, but he had, it's been his own hands responsible for the death of the Starks and he needed to do this, they had to do this, if they wanted anything resembling the future Strange had saw,"And for what I did to you in Siberia."
Tony takes a deep breath his hands tremble but soon they are being grasped tightly, one in Bucky's human hand and other in Steve's,"Tony?"
"I'm fine,"He snaps feeling anything but,"I'm fine."He repeats because of puppy'ish looks he gets, dear God.
"I can't forgive you,"He whispers,"either of you."
He doesn't have to look at their expressions to know how miserable they may be feeling,"I know it wasn't you,"He addresses Bucky first because he looks fragile on the verge of a mental break,"I-ju- they- I thought for the longest time that it was dad who was responsible for mom's death, and even though I loved them both,"God because even after all that Howard did he still loved his dad,"I spent more than half of my life forcing myself to hate him."
Because it didn't matter how horrible Howard was to him, he knew the man did the best he could, it wasn't enough, but it was something.
Bucky is silent as he squeezes Tony's hand, he's shaking Tony notices and hesitantly squeezes back,"Just let me stay mad at you for bit okay? I promise I will forgive you because it wasn't you fault, but just let me be upset."
Bucky nods and Tony glares at Steve ,"You on the other hand deserved to blasted."
"I hate you! Yo- you are a stubborn jackass!"
Steve nods again because it's true, he had been a stubborn jackass, both of them were.
"You left me alone! I had to face Ross alone! All those countries caught in the cross fire! Media! All on my ass because you couldn't be a fucking adult."
Steve closes his eyes, because he had gather the effects of his action and it's consequence that cornered a battered Tony, he had been remorseful all of his time in exile, he should have talked it out with Tony, about Bucky he would have understood and helped him, if just had told the truth; he might have been angry but it would have simmered if Steve had taken the time to be an adult.
"I'm so sorry Tony,"He said shame faced,"I'm so sorry, for everything, and I know I have broken your trust and our friendship with the stupid actions I took but-" Steve took a deep breath and then buried his face in Tony's hand,"I never stopped caring about you, I never stopped regretting my actions and even though you might not believe me, not trust me or want to do anything with me, I am so sorry but I will still be looking out for you."
'Because I love you.'
Tony is silent as he takes deep breathes because years of anger was receding, he knew he didn't have it in himself to be angry at Steve forever, he was just so hurt.
He still is.
Tony had a hard time remembering why he was so angry at Captain-invadingyourprivacy-America, he glared halfheartedly at the man kneeling in front him, cowering but not backing out.
"Would please eat something and rest for a bit?"
Tony tried very hard to ignore the delicious looking sandwich, Steve had apparently made for him, it didn't matter because the sandwich could look like crap, he would still eat it because Steve had made it for him.
He was so fucking pathetic.
"Don't do this Cap," he glared or at least tried to because Captain was now looking at him like he was breaking his heart, that he, Tony Stark was breaking the fragile heart of Captain America,"I need to research this, if I can do this, I don't have to call the suit to me, it all will be stored in-"He tapped his reactor which was visible though his t shirt,-"in this."
"I know,"The man nodded somehow looking more puppy-ish -and how is he doing that?-"But Tony, it's not good to force yourself like this, you need to take care of yourself, please Tony, it doesn't feel right having movie nights and dinners without you, I know it isn't your thing but can you please try?"
Tony squashes the urge to say that it is his thing, he would love to be there with the team, but after the whole Ultron/Sokovia incident and Bruce leaving and Pietro's death he just couldn't face the team, it was too hard, with the absence of JARVIS still fresh in the back of his mind, not to mention his budding feelings for a hundred year old man.
And Tony realized as he looked into the pretty blue eyes, that Steve could ask him to donate both of his kidneys and he would do it just to make him happy.
He groaned but nodded in defeat.
But it didn't really feel like a defeat with Steve looking at him with a smile so bright it could rival the sun.
"How do we subdue him?"Sam yelled as Natasha and him ran towards the exit moments before the door closed, he kept running as it was a matter of time before Banner got out and would be squatting them like flies,"Plan B, what the fuck is plan B?"
"Calm down,"Natasha snapped, as she ignored Steve's 'Language!' on the com,"that right behind us is a rage machine, if we engage him directly, there'd be no point, we need to exhaust him enough to be able to bring out Dr.Banner."
"EXHAUST HIM?" Sam screeched horrified,"Him? That thing right behind us? The one filled with Super solider serum? That's our plan B?"
"Well, we were really hoping for plan A to work!"Clint replied and shrieked as Hulk broke through the metal door.
"We need to exhaust him so Scarlet Witch can put him to sleep."Steve replied as he avoided another tree that was thrown his way,"so do not engage him, he's dangerous and unpredictable, so attack while maintaining a hundred meter distance. Is that understood?"
"No fun."Pietro pouts and doges a smack that Clint had aimed his way,"Too slow old man."
"I'll murder you."Clint growled while aiming the arrow at him.
"Enough."Natasha snapped,"Concentrate Clint."
They all circle the big giant as he looks around frantically for something or specifically someone to smash, he roars and heads towards Clint who is about two hundred meters away but man, the guy is closing the the distance pretty fast, he runs as he hears Natasha telling him to run towards them, but in panic he really can't tell what way it is. His heart races as he hears the monster getting closer and closer to him but suddenly he is lifted and everything is blurry.
"Wha-"He looks up in confusion and sees that it's Pietro carrying him and is now glaring down at him in anger.
"Are you stupid old man?"
"Pietro!."Natsha yells but before the Hulk can attack the pair Wanda jumps on Hulks shoulders and a reddish orange glow surrounds the Hulk, Clint frowns as Pietro hadn't moved a single inch even though Banner is about less than fifty meters away from them, he seems to be still glaring down at him and Clint gapes at the audacity of the kid.
"Are you alright?"Clint turns and sees it's Wanda standing close to them, he looks behind her and there on the floor is the human form of Dr.Bruce Banner,"You're not hurt are you?"
Clint looks back at Wanda's worried eyes and she combs his hair back and then turns to Pietro who still looks pissed off, and he wonders that if they had somehow imprinted on him like baby ducklings to their mother, because he could see this affection turning into a mess he wants to avoid, because as much he adores the brats, there is a limit to their coddling him like a child, he knows he is the weak link in their group of super powered heroes, he is powerless with no high tech and only bows and arrows at his disposal he ignores their looks as he gestures to be put down and moved away from them before he nods.
"I am fine, thanks."
Bucky watches Tony as the man had fallen asleep on the floor with his head on his hands on the sofa, he had covered the Philanthropist with a blanket and staring at the sleeping man as Steve decided to put together something for Peter so he can eat as soon as he wakes up.
He can't but feel sad at the current situation of the young Spider man because the kid deserved the world, he deserves better.
And he knew how much the kid meant to Tony.
"Why isn't he here?"Bucky paces back and forth and doesn't notice the look that Peter and Strange share behind his back.
"He's probably busy."Peter assured him nervously,"It' Mr. Stark, you know how busy he is."
"I doubt he's busy enough to not come and see you," Strange commented and Peter blushes because yeah, Tony worries about him too much to not come and visit him,"It's probably because he's not asleep yet, which means he's working on something."
Bucky's attention is on him, his eyes narrowed,"How do you know so much about him?"
Strange raises an unimpressed eyebrow at him,"You have to be blind to not see how much he cares for Peter or vice-versa."
Peter turns red but doesn't deny it and Bucky sighs,"I am just worried something might have happened to him."
"Awww, worried about lil' ol' me? Barnes you melt my arch reactor."A voice teases and Bucky's head turns to look at a smiling but tired looking Tony.
Tony smiles a smile so wide and happy that Bucky feels his heart thump longingly, as Tony hugs Peter to him tightly, he knows that Strange is right, that Tony cares for Peter like a his own son, he watches as Tony again pulls a reluctant Wizard into a hug which was solid if not as tight as the one he had given to Peter.
Finally Tony turns to him and he freezes in anticipation, Tony walks towards him and slowly his arms go around his torso and Bucky's hands rest on his waist,"Hey there Robocop, Steve sends his love."
His hands tighten on Tony's waist as he puts his lips close to Tony's ears and secretly enjoys the shivers that runs to Tony's body as he breathes into them and whispers,"Thanks doll, I know you don't have to do this, for either of us, but thank you."
Tony nods and if Bucky holds him a little longer than it was appropriate then Stange and Peter say nothing about it.
Reviews are not necessary but are appreciated and adored!
Rhodey can't even-what is a hulk?
Thank you for the love and support, I hope this chapter cleans up all the misunderstanding.
As they ship Dr.Banner to the SHIELD facility Steve glances at the silent tension between Clint, Wanda and Pietro, the Maximoff twins keep glancing at the blond who resolutely ignores their silent worried looks and he can't help but feel that this was a long time coming, Clint had saved the siblings from a HYDRA mission the twins were carrying out; they were trained to be weapons at such a young age that, they had no boundries and understanding of the concept of going too far.
After rescuing them from their evil clutches, the siblings had fallen silent and withdrawn, scared but viciously protective of each other, it was Clint who never gave up on them and brought them both out of their shell in the hopes that they can get a chance to be kids again properly, it wasn't Clint's fault that he wanted the twins to experience a normal life but he hadn't expected the attachment they would form for him.
Nobody did really, two years ago it was hard for any SHIELD member to approach the siblings but it was impossible for them to approach Clint. The twins had become his self appointed knights and wouldn't let Clint leave without a tantrum like children and the poor guy had become a nanny for the kids; although Steve could see he loved and adored the Maximoff twins sometimes the guy looked like he was suffocating because of their attention, they had abandoned the chance to have a normal carefree life in order to join SHIELD and that's probably what bothers Clint the most, he felt responsible for them choosing the path they had in order to protect him.
He hears a sigh next to him and looks at Bucky slumped on his shoulder casually, he feels okay, he doesn't feel raw and hurt at Bucky's rejection to his unspoken feelings; while Bucky heartlessly uses him like a cushion, it has been too long and Steve can say his feelings for his best friend had mellowed into dull aches he feels occasionally.
"Finally, we're going home."Bucky mummers and Steve laughs a little.
"It's only been two days."
"You're telling me you are not worried about that psychopath near Tony?"
Steve thinks about it,"No, I mean- Tony knows what he's doing better than any of us," He tells Bucky,"Besides he has the other us, JARVIS and Colonel Rhodes with him, I am pretty sure that's a pretty strong team he's got there."
"Yeah, but he's human- I mean he's non-powered!"Bucky hisses and Steve frowns,"he's so soft, have you seen him sleep? He looks like- he should be kept safe, like I feel the urge to follow im' around to make sure no ones' pickin' on him."
"You're exaggerating,"Although he understands the need to protect Tony but-"He's not an invalid and neither are the people protecting him."
"Oh so you trust his parent killers?"Bucky demands and Steve glares back at him,"They tried to kill im'!"
"I am well aware of that!"He yells a little too loudly and realizes they have the attention of the all the occupants of the jet, he simmers and then whispers harshly,"But he still allowed em' to come with him, you can't assume what their relationship is like Buck, you know that!"
"Are you telling me that they could be dating?"He ask the question like it causes him physical pain to imagine that scenario, maybe it does,"I ain't gonna' buy tat'."
"I am sure they are okay Bucky stop thinking so much and relax, we'll be home soon."
Rhodey remembers seeing this scene a few days ago, his best friend sleeping while two creeps watch him with intense concentration, he wonders if it's something every super soldier has, the habit to watch his best friend sleeping, he wonders if it's hereditary or maybe a post-serum thing, maybe it signifies that all super soldiers are attracted to tech genius billionaires, maybe the serum alters the genes and turns the subjects in creeps, maybe it an alarm to warn them of a future stalker like behavior and Rhodey should just kill all of the super soldiers to avoid the mess this is likely to become, and maybe Rhodey should just stop thinking about the metaphorical reason of of this and just clear his throat pointedly.
He does just that and ignores the silent snickering of the God of Mischief, who stands besides him and is obviously amused by the situation.
"Colonel." Rogers' greets him, his tone a bit nervous and that's good, he is glad he makes them nervous,"I am sensing a pattern here."
"Who is that?" The man besides him ask curiously and Rhodey peers over to look at a small bundle that seem to be half on the sofa while his other half was glued to Tony, he frowns.
'This is young master Peter,' JARVIS answers them and his tone is a bit strange, Rhodey notices but doesn't comment,'Sir has decided to adopt him from the local shelter that was destroyed in the attack a week ago.'
JARVIS sounds a bit stiff since the person who caused the attack was standing right beside him and he notices from the corner of his eyes as Loki stiffens a little.
"Peter Stark?" Is all Rhodey could say because what else he's suppose to say, his best friend just helped out a kid which was nice of him and also made Rhodey happy because it kind of means that Tony might stay with him, with them in this world but on the other hand he wasn't sure Tony should've adopted such responsibility and bring the kid here where the one responsible for his situation also lived, albeit temporarily.
It was bitter sweet.
''Peter Parker Stark,' JARVIS corrected him but then stops like he was trying it out ,'though I am uncertain what Mr.Stark would decide on.'
They see Tony stirring and Rhodey watches bemused as Barnes hurries to the Kitchen while Rogers hovers over Tony, who yawns and looks around dazed, he smiles sunnily when he spots Rhodey and he feels a smug satisfaction at being on the receiving end of it,"Hey, honey."
"Hey darling."He responds at glares away Rogers to sit beside Tony on the floor,"Who's this?"
"An addition to the family,"Tony responds cheekily before he sobers up,"I have this kid in my world, but he's fifteen, a upstanding young man, you'd love him Rhodes,"Tony says as he runs his fingers through the mess of brown hair,"I couldn't leave him out there Rhodey, he's-"
"You don't have to explain,"Rhodey squeezes his hand tightly,"It's okay, I understand, JARVIS and Pepper would see through the legalities."
"I can't adopt him,"Tony mummers,"Dead here, remember?"
"We'll have a press conference,"Rhodey promises,"We can tell the world, you're alive."
"But I am not,"Tony says and Rhodey's heart is suddenly filled with dread,"I am not of this world-"
"You could be,"He whispers urgently and doesn't care how close to begging he sounds,"You can stay here, with us. With me."
"Rhodes."Tony looks close to tears and he feels no better himself.
Tony bites his lips and then he looks behind him where Steve is standing, his face is blank but he has a white knuckled grip on blanket he's holding, Tony can also see Barnes standing behind him he's tightly holding a cup in hands and he looks scared his eyes are pleading as he looks at Tony, he looks like a puppy and Tony rubs his face with his hand.
"I'll think about it."
He winces when he hears the cup shatter and then Peter is bolting up on the sofa.
When Steve and others finally lands they are greeted by occasional sniffling and silence, his eyes almost buge out as he sees Tony carrying a toddler in his arms and rocking him back and forth.
"What is that?"Sam asks horrified and he receives a glare and a hiss as Tony leave the common room with the kid, none of them is a bit surprised as four soldiers follow the genius out of the room.
"My brother is coming,"Loki informs the room at large, his tone quiet and Rhodey looks at him, this is the first time he had seen guilt on Loki's face probably since the disaster he had caused had come to stare him in the face.
Suddenly Thor is entering the tower and his smiles at the room at large,"Hello my fellow warriors, Loki my brother how have thou-"
"Stop it."Loki snaps,"I am not in the spirits to entertain idle chats brother, how is mother."
"She's well,"Thor responds his voice a bit pouty,"father had agreed to look for the reality gem; he had bestowed the honourable task to search for the other gems to us."
"Yeah, we were going to do that anyway,"Rhodey responds with a smile but everybody but Thor could hear the anger in his voice,"But thanks for the official permission I guess?"
"You're very welcome."Thor beams and Rhodey turns to Loki as Thor sprints towards the kitchen to eat some poptarts,"I would like to see the balls on your father, I mean they must be plenty heavy to think he can order us around."
Loki grins at him with beguile,"Oh you have no idea."
Tony carries Peter to his room, he is annoyed and very aware of the four super soldiers following him and ' Stalkers ' he sighs because what even is his life right now,"Can you guys leave us alone? You're scaring Peter."
He receives no response, he looks at Peter who stares at the tall muscled men who seen to be following them and then raises an very judgmental eyebrow for a ten years old, he turns to Tony and raises both of his eyebrows and Tony huffs,"Bodyguards."
Peter turns back towards the identical pair of men following him and Mr.Stark, were they twins? They looked same but also very different at the same time, he feels tired just thinking of it and feels relief when they enter a room, because a room means-Holy shit.
Peter looks around in awe at the room they have entered, he wants to explore the enormous room but he doesn't have strength to do so, when Tony lays him down on the super comfy bed he looks towards his-Angel? He opens his mouths a few times to say thank you but the words won't come out, he's still scared and wants to thank the man in armor but feels tears of frustration in his eyes when he can't seem to make himself say anything because it still feels like a dream, he's afraid he'll sleep and then wake up on the roadside without his angel, cold and hungry.
"Shh,"The man coos, "It's okay, Peter, go to sleep, you don't have to force yourself to say anything, one step at a time okay? Sleep for a while and then we can have dinner together, but right now you should rest."
As if he was under some spell, he finds himself slipping and feeling more safer then he had in years.
Tony smiled at the boy before he stands up and turns back towards the unfairly good looking foursome in the room,"So......You guys wanna have a chat?"