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where Death stood to win

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Nebula is urging him: help me fix that. We need to get out of here.

Something like that. He’s not really listening.

He wishes he had her resilience though. Tony doesn’t know who she lost but he knows it hasn’t stopped her from being fuelled by rage – to carry on. He, instead, sits on the ruins. Cradles the ashes.

“Come on,” the blue-and-silver girl insists, with eyes that hold no tears “We need to hurry up. I can still catch him.”

Him.

Tony looks at her, disbelief on top of pain. She stops. At some other time, in some kinder universe, he would be gazing at her, child-like, a thousand Christmas in the neat lines of her making. He would ask too many questions: What sort of metal is this? Are you a cyborg or a robot? Is that synthetic skin?

He would act like Peter.

Now, the dullness he feels must show in his face. Nebula turns away.

“Fine.” she says “I’ll do it myself.”

Tony stays. Nothing to this planet but its fossils. All sand and metal carcass like something out of Star Wars. Peter would make a note of it, Peter would say something, do you know that really old movie? 

Peter—

His chest hurts a lot when he sobs.

 

 

(It will be fine if he stays here. If he never returns to Earth, never sees the extent of Thanos’ victory. Half of them. And in that half, Pepper? Rhodey? Steve—

Don’t think about it. Don’t open your eyes again.)

 

 

Thanos finds him dry-eyed. His eyelashes are still wet, however, thick and black like lines of ink. He’s always his prettiest when he’s been crying.

“Tony,” The Titan says, because massive genocide gives you a certain familiarity, it calls for first names.

He raises his head. Hadn’t notice the Titan yet, but now he’s so close, all that purple sickness which is his skin.

“Finish the job?” Tony murmurs, his voice faint but fearless – he had meant to ask did you come here to finish the job? But what came out was a suggestion.

A hand as big as his head holds him by the hair gently, like before, when its owner was thrusting a spear through his abdomen. There’s no room left for whimpers or for fear. His worst nightmare already came true after all.

Thanos looks at Tony, smiling. He tells him:

“I’m just getting started with you, Stark.”

 

 

Everything fades.

 

 

He wakes up briefly, feels himself being carried by strong arms, like a bride, like a damsel in a bodice-ripper. Steve carried him like this once and for all his teasing it did feel romantic. Everything felt romantic then. It was before Siberia, before Ultron, all bright moons and too much wine and amore like the Dean Martin song. He had been very stupid and happy enough to almost convince himself he deserved it. Even as Thanos, nameless as he was at that time, had already begun to embrace him in his nightmares. Even then, even so, Tony still thought: this can last. Please, let it last.

 

 

Peter’s ashes cling to his fingertips. He keeps that hand close to his heart – to that pale turquoise light that rears in his chest.

He did have a dream in which he had a child, no more than twenty four hours ago. A sign of age, perhaps? The last efforts of an old omegan body at the end of its fertility. Steve had wanted children. He would breathe against Tony’s belly, kiss it and wonder, wonder aloud…

Let’s make a baby. What do you think?

I think that Hydra guy was tougher than he looked if he managed to hit you that hard in the head.

Tony would answer, smiling, his fingers curling around Steve’s yellow hair.

When Steve left him those warm memories became frost to the touch. Tainted postcards in his mind.

Loss on top of loss, a hollowed out chest. You’re too old to believe you’ll die of heartbreak, Tony told himself. It hurt but he had been hurt before. He wasn’t alone; he had Pepper, Rhodey, Peter –

Peter, for a few hours a day, sometimes minutes, sometimes just the length of a few phrases: I rescued a cat from a tree today, Mr. Stark. Helped an old lady cross the street. In class we—

He tried not to feel as a parent would, tried not to smile every time he listened to those messages, tried not to adopt, in secret, that child to his heart. Of course he failed miserably. Even before the cave in Afghanistan, before the shrapnel, his heart had always been a country open for conquering. Even when he masked it with metal, with his words, with his flair.

 

 

When he comes to, he’s lying on a soft bed. Close, a smell of wood and rain and flora. His hand reaches for the wound on his side, where Thanos pierced him, and finds it completely healed. It’s a bad sign.

He drags his body from the bed, looking around. He’s in a simple room with a chair, water, a door that leads to a bathroom. A small window through which sunlight too red to be from his Earth is filtered. He is expecting chains and prison bars but the room simply leads to another one, which in turn opens to a green field.

Tony goes out, still limping a little. Blood peeling from his skin, dried and old. There are tree suns in the lilac sky of this planet, and two moons. They seem to form a constellation of their own.

Thanos sits on the grass, looking as peaceful as a Buddha, statuesque and primeval like the sight which he gazes upon.  His back to the human he spared.

“I dreamt of you,” Tony breaks the silence, his voice factual, almost emotionless. “For the last six years I’ve heard your voice. When I first heard your name it sounded familiar. I knew you.”

“I’ve been living in your mind since you destroyed my army,” Thanos answers, and turns to look at Tony. “I saw you falling like a stone. Like a jewel. I almost had you, but gravity was faster.”

 “You can have me now,” Tony offers, some hope blooming in his voice. “Is that what this is about, right? I destroyed your army. You want revenge.” The logic is tortuous but it’s the only one he has. “That’s why you kept me alive. You want to torture me.”

Thanos keeps looking at him. Tony goes on:

“Do it. Anything you want. But when you kill me, let my life be exchanged for Peter’s. Please. I know you can bring him back. Let me die in his place. Please.”

“Peter?” Thanos asks, and then pauses. A talkative little fly. He remembers. “Ah. The child.”

“Yes.”

The Titan smiles.

“You’re not used to begging, are you Stark?”

He isn’t. In that cave, almost a decade ago, not once did the word please was held between his lips.

“I’m begging now.”

He is. He is, with his body too. Kneeling in this strange land and looking at Thanos with eyes so wild and round, so pretty and brown. Not a whiff of his anger, he’s keeping it hidden. He’s a meek animal now. A childless father. He couldn’t save anyone but if he can save Peter—

Thanos gets up. He’s tall like a god. Again his hand seeks Tony’s hair – there’s his predilection apparently – and strokes it as he would the fur of a house cat.

“You will beg,” the Titan says “for something else entirely.”

 

 

He faints once more. It will occur to him, later, that his body is not his anymore. The stones can move the universe but also something feeble like his flesh. All Thanos has to do is clench his fist and Tony is out like a light.

 

 

When he wakes up again he’s clean, bare. There’s a faint memory of water. Something cold against his lips. Staying awake seems like a waste in this new reality so he tries to force himself back to sleep. It doesn’t work; something catches his eye, it’s a small mirror on the wall facing the bed. In it, himself. But not as he was yesterday, no, this is him ten, fifteen years younger, with longer hair and less signs of his perpetual lack of sleep. He touches hesitantly the smoother lines of his face – a half restored youth. His eyes are still the same, though: deep, dark, haunted.

Thanos comes in. His genocidal knight.

In his nakedness, for the first time since Thanos won, Tony feels fear again. There are only so many tortures that require him to be pretty and naked.

“I want to go home.” Tony says, testing the waters. Speak it into reality. “If you’re done playing Nip Tuck with me, then send me home.”

“I thought you wanted to die.” Thanos replies, approaching the cot. Tony tries not to flinch, not to make himself smaller.

“I have a feeling you won’t be killing me anytime soon.” Tony says drily.

“No, I won’t.” Thanos nods, and sits on the bed. Tony stands his ground, he doesn’t press his body to the wall or pull the sheets to his chest to try and hide what the Titan has already seen, has already coveted. Maybe there’s no courage in it, no bravery, not like Steve would do. Maybe he does it to preserve the illusion for a longer while. That he and Thanos are equals. That his is not a body to be ransacked. “Nor will I be sending you home. In fact, this is your home now.”

But I don’t want it to be, Tony thinks, childishly.

Thanos holds him by the neck, non-threatening. A possessive caress from a hand that enshrouds him whole. One of those thick, rough fingers presses against his lips. Tony isn’t surprised. War takes shape in this too even in alien cultures apparently.  So he’s a spoil. A war bride.

“You’re trembling,” Says the Titan, while assessing him like he’s something of worth, “So this is what you fear? Pleasure, not pain?”

Tony laughs drily.

“Very bold of you to think you can give me pleasure.”

Thanos smiles like he’s been challenged.

He kisses the mortal and Tony feels devoured, feels the weight of the Titan’s body doubling over his own like a blanket of lead. Thanos holds his chin with his fingers, forcing his mouth open and Tony feels his tongue slipping inside. Tony moans, half chocking, his hands pushing against the Titan’s massive chest as if there’s any hope to slow him down. The reality of what’s about to happen begins to set it with all of its implications and the Omega’s fear turns to panic. He struggles, a pathetic effort. Thanos holds him down as a beast would a rabbit.

“There’s no need for that. I’ll be gentle.” The Titan says, parting easily Tony’s naked thighs while a single hand holds the genius’ wrists above his head.

Tony laughs again, hysterical.

“It doesn’t matter how fucking gentle you are, it won’t fit. Go fuck someone of your own species, or did they all die too when you killed half the universe?”

He earns a slap for that. Unpassionate. Something to ease an animal to its death. His head rings, he feels dizzy with pain. Thanos’ expression doesn’t change, he doesn’t even look mad. In those unresisting moments, he presses a thumb to Tony’s hole. Teases it, circling the tight pinkness of it with the pad of his finger, but no wetness comes. Tony’s cock remains flaccid. But Thanos has seen the man’s dreams and steals from them the memory of touch. Those times long ago when the Captain (the man who tried to stop him with bare hands and gritted teeth) and Tony where perpetually within each other’s bodies. Steve would kiss the scars above Tony’s heart and go lower, lower until his Omega was mewling with pleasure. Thanos has seen all of this. He knows what Tony likes and can hurt him the most too.

Tony whimpers, raising his head a bit. There’s some blood running from lip. Thanos let go of his hands, pulls him by the hips and takes the Omega’s cock in his mouth in one smooth movement. Tony cries out with the surprise of it and arches his back. The motion is sure to trap him deeper in the Titan’s mouth and the pleasure erupts, uncalled for. Thanos hums his agreement and Tony’s cock begins to fill. He’s wet now, sweetly, a taste not meant for Thanos’ mouth but here they are. Tony whines, hates the betrayal of his body. It shouldn’t be stirred so easily. Not after everything that’s happened.

He’s trembling when Thanos let go.

“Don’t--” Tony tries, as Thanos slides a finger inside him. It’s heavenly thick and finds his prostate fast. Tony’s toes curl and he moans

“Look at you,” Thanos says, his voice heavy with tender pride, his finger moving in and out, in an out, fucking Tony like a cock “Opening for me. Getting wet for me. You are my rightful prize.”

“And you're my fucking curse,” Tony spats, or tries to because the pleasure melts his voice into a pathetic mewl, “I hate you.”

“I know you do, my pet.” Thanos says, before kissing him on the mouth once more, while his fingers pinch the Omega’s nipple, bringing forth the acid of pain so dear to Stark, “but not for long.”

It’s insufficient preparation. What Tony doesn’t know is that for all his calm, the Titan fiercely longs for what his body promises. It’s been too long, and yes, all of his kind are gone. Thanos doesn’t waste words; when he called Tony his prize he meant it.

He wraps one of Tony’s legs around his waist, pushes the other as far as it will go towards the Omega’s chest. And it doesn’t matter how wet he is, when Tony feels the bluntness of the Titan’s cock against his hole he knows it will hurt. Still, there’s no unnecessary cruelty. Thanos takes him slowly. He’s true to his word, he’s gentle. With eyes closed for a few moments like a god finally learning mortal pleasures after years of abstinence. Like Zeus going down to rut with humans.

Tony watches him for a while, his pained gasp stuck in his throat. When Thanos bottoms out, the Omega closes his eyes. Thanos is huge inside him, filling him up to the brim, to the point, probably, of blood. It’s not the first time this happens against his will, but it is the first time when he knows he won’t be able to put himself together afterwards. There’s nothing to be put together – there’s nothing to return to. He still feels the fractured, vanishing weight of Peter’s desperate hold. Part of him is thankful for the pain he feels now, for the rape he endures – he deserves some sort of punishment, and this as well might be it. It seems foolish now that he tried to escape this. He deserves worst.

Still, the Mad Titan’s cock presses against his prostate. Ever the whore, Stark thinks of himself, as he moans again, this time not entirely out of pain. He thinks of Steve. Their first time, when Tony took him as easily as if his body had been made for the supersoldier’s cock. A messy thing, the Alpha not knowing how fast to go, how much to give in and chase his own pleasure. He would ask: is this ok? Am I hurting you? with a trembling mouth and a perpetual blush and blue eyes that followed Tony’s every change of expression. Tony thought it sweet. He teased his Captain: fuck me harder, Rogers. Until I can’t speak. Didn’t you want to shut me up earlier? That’s the best way to do it.

It seems so long ago.

The Titan fucks him hard now and Tony whimpers and mewls like a captured animal. That massive cock inside him bulges his stomach with every thrust in a mocking flash of a pregnant belly. It fucks right into his womb and he wails. It hasn’t occurred to Tony that Thanos might leave in him more than a trauma. They’re different species; Thanos is not even an Alpha – not a proper one anyway – and so conception is the furthest thing from the Omega’s mind.

(And would his body accept it? Wasted as it is foiled ground for any seed?)

His mind is foggy with pleasure and pain now, the needed combination for his high. Masochist little thing, ever since the beginning. Always looked for the boys with sharpest teeth. Someone to help him immolate an ancestral fault.

(And Steve… gentle, sweet Steve. Tony, for a moment in time, convinced that he deserved it. The tenderness of it. But in the end, Steve had the sharpest teeth of all. Went away with his whole heart in his mouth, left the Omega a wounded mess in a frozen ground. Took a bite from which Tony still bleeds.)

Thanos holds the human’s chin.

“Think only of me.”

He orders, a caring tyrant.  He clenches his fist inside the gauntlet and Tony’s mind is gone. There’s only Thanos’ touch, as if he’s clean from any others. As if Thanos is the only lover he’s ever knew, as if the word lover is applicable to Thanos.  Tony whines and his back arches one final time, a quivering bow. It lasts a few seconds where all the terror is gone and then his body falls back to the bed, his chest dirty with his own come. In the corner of his eye, Thanos smiles, cruel and proud.

The Titan grabs him and uses him like a fleshlight.

It’s too much, Tony feels Thanos’ cock splitting him in half but his body is so spent that he barely whimpers. When the Titan finishes inside him, with a grunt pressed against his ear, Tony orgasms a second time. Thanos spills in him like he’ll never stop, an endless breeding. He’s never had that much come inside and, with the effects of the mind stone unmade, he feels filthy and unredeemable. With no knot to plug him up, when Thanos pulls out Tony’s hole leaks white seed painted pink with some blood. It pools beneath him, between his thighs. Thick fingers push it back in. With his other hand Thanos wipes out Tony’s tears.

 

 

He’s been dreaming of Yinsen. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t think of him, of the promise he made, but it’s rare for them to meet in dreams. Tony’s subconscious is scarcely that kind.

He’s been dreaming of the bird-like quality of his touch. The brittle frame of his glasses unbroken even in that ungrateful place. Yinsen, an Omega as well, sinewy and elegant like a great white egret.

I will see my family now. I want this, he said, his breathing wet with blood, I want this.

I want it too, Tony answered, grasping at Yinsen’s clothes as if this could grant him passage, take me with you. Please, I’ve wasted it; I’ve wasted my life—

 

 

“Wake up, Tony.”

It’s Thanos’ voice. Deep and gentle.

The pressure in his chest, feeling it all again. Looking at the Titan and his heart swelled with some rotten sound, as if in it a stray and hopeless animal had curled up to die. And of all his traumas – Obie towering over him, a smirk almost lustful as he reached within his ribs, Pepper falling down, her scream the sharpest of his failures, Steve, Steve with the shield built for him by his father, raising it over his head for a last, final blow—had been leading up to this. To the coldest of all worlds he had woken up to.

Tony swallows down the panic, he can’t afford it now. Tries to remember the breathing exercises and the memory of Harley resurfaces. Are you on medication? Shouldn’t you be? Harley. Is he ok? Is he—

“You need to eat.” Thanos says, holding a red, alien fruit which he peels with a knife.

“We need to talk.” Tony counters, and his voice trembles just a bit.

“There’s nothing to talk about. You are mine.”

Simple like that. A tone so final it feels like a sword. Tony pushes back some angry, helpless tears. It takes a lot of strengthen not to cry his defeat.

“Ok. Ok, I get it. This is how you get off, I understand. The whole concubine, prisoner of war thing. I can play that.” The Omega offers, emulating the voice of his lost days, his untouched days, his days of victory. “I’ve probably played worse. You want me to choke on your cock, to roll over and be a pretty bitch, to play the Leia to your Jabba? I’ll do it. No judgment, everyone has kinks. Apparently even giant purple aliens.”

Thanos looks at him, seeming entirely too amused. Tony carries on:

“Just. Just, please. Please. After you are done with me, when you’re ready to kill me… bring the boy back.”

“What makes you think I will ever be done with you?” Thanos interjects, and eats himself a slice of the fruit.

Tony looks at him dumbfounded. Then dread sets in like first frost.

“Eat,” The Titan orders once more “and then we can discuss the boy.”

Still uneased, Tony reaches for the fruit. Thanos smiles and pulls it away from his reach.

“Not like this, little human.” He explains and holds open a palm from which he expects Tony to eat like a most behaved of pets. The blood red thing sitting on his hand like a heart pulled fresh from a living creature.

Tony, godless as he is, recognises the metaphor as if it was made of numbers and iron. He wonders if the Titan knows that, with a fruit of the same crimson stock, Persephone bound herself to Hades. If he’s versed in human myths. And as his tongue touches this alien pomegranate, if the same contract applies.

Dutifully he licks the last of the fruit’s wetness from the Titan’s fingers. It tastes sharp, almost like wine. He’s not hungry but Thanos, from the look in his eyes, now is.

“You throw away your life so easily,” Thanos says, caressing Tony’s face. Tender like teeth. A starving animal about to feed. “Ready to die alone in a merciless void. With my army as your last vision. My death-seeker. You have no idea how precious you are to me.”

“Why?” Tony asks, even as he fears the answer. Bu he’s a scientist through and through and curiosity wins.

Thanos looks away for a moment. Eyes small and dark and ancient. He, too, pierced by loss.

“I’ve lost so many children in this path. I’ve lost the one I loved the most.”

Gamorra? Tony revisits Quill’s face, his hurt, the fatal punch. He mourns! The alien girl had screamed.  Gamorra. A statement of Thanos’ heart.

Thanos looks at him again.

“With the universe restored to its balance I can allow myself to be fruitful. And you...” He holds Tony’s face now with such sick fondness that Tony already knows which role befalls him. His mouth dry and no laugh in his throat even though the situation calls for hysterics. The fucked-upness of it. “…will bear my children.”

His lungs expand uselessly. He opens his mouth desperately like a fish feeling the earth beneath its scales. He’s having a panic attack. It’s like waking up from the nightmares again, the vision of the wormhole not yet faded from behind his eyelids. Only this time the wormhole has a name. The nightmare holds his body with greedy, thick hands. It seeks to germinate inside, to breed in him other monsters. It whispers gently against his ear:

“You can name our firstborn Peter.”

Tony screams.