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Glitter and Gold

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Toni Stark wanted to cry. She had been awake for nearly 48 hours and had finally just made it to her cozy bed when Friday had told her that she had a visitor at her door. With a bone rattling groan, the genius sat up and had briefly debated on putting on pants. It did not take her long to say fuck that. If one of the Rogues had decided to come bother HER at 2 am then they would get to see her wearing nothing but an old shirt and her favorite pair of underwear. Pants be damned. Toni all but ripped the door to her room open, a snarl on her lips when she froze. Standing in the dimly lit hallway was one James “Bucky” Barnes. He was shirtless, metal arm still missing and sweatpants hung low on his hips. Only what through the Stark for a loop was his eyes. Ever since the Rogues had been called home to the Compound, Bucky had always avoided her gaze. To the point if she even caught a glimpse of his grey eyes they were full of remorse and guilt. But now, they were red rimmed and he had tear tracks going down his face. His hair was a wreck and even in the dim light Toni could see deep bags under his eyes.

She watched as he shifted his weight, swallowing. “Stark...I…”

Toni felt something shift in her heart at the man. She had no idea what but staring at him like this brought a new perspective of their resident freeze-and-play murderdoll. Without a word, the brunette moved so she had the door open and he could see into her room. “Wanna come in?”

He gave her a look that was a mix of relief and fear. Slowly, he took a step forward before rushing into the dark room. Toni closed the door with a quiet click. Her brown eyes watched as he stood quietly in the center of the room before moving to sit on the floor with his bad shoulder pressed up against the dresser. Swallowing a sigh, Toni came up to sit on the floor next to him. Close enough to feel his body heat but not touching. She had seen the minute flinches everytime Rogers or Wilson gave him a clap on the shoulder or whenever Romanov would touch his arm. Seemed like the only other person who saw this was Rhodey and even then he would give Toni a side eye over it. Barnes brought his knees up to his chest, pressing his bad shoulder into the wood of Toni’s dresser.

It did not take a genius to figure out that Barnes had either a nightmare or a panic attack and was hiding out in Toni’s room. Her eyes tracked his movements for a solid minute before she let out a sigh. Stretching her feet out, she couldn’t help but wiggle her toes as she spoke.

“You know, I hate swimming.”

Barnes froze and turned his head to look at her. “What?”

Toni didn’t even look at him. Instead she let her head thunk against the wall as she stared up at the ceiling. “Yep. Hate pools now. Hell even taking a bath makes me panic. Can’t do deep water anymore. Not since Afghanistan.”

Silence fell on the two of them. Barnes simply stared at her for a few moments before turning his head to look at her bed. “I hate hot chocolate.”

Toni bit back a grin. Seemed like Barnes had caught on to what this topic of conversation was. “Hot chocolate huh?”

He let out a wet chuckle, “Yeah. Rogers makes it every time I have a nightmare or just can’t sleep. Can’t fucking stand it.”

Okay that makes sense to Toni. Letting her head roll, her brown eyes flickered up Barnes’s form. The really fake Brooklyn accent he had taken whenever the Rogues were around was gone. Instead a very faint Russian took onto his words. To her, he felt more real than when he was around the others. Toni decided to let that bit be. Instead she spoke again.

“I hate saying the word no. It ties into the whole no more water thing. Pepper and Rhodey caught on about six months after I came back. Jarvis had ratted me out after a four day engineering binge that I had put myself in.”

Barnes let his own head thunk against the wall. “Can’t stand when people sit next to my bad arm. I feel like I get caged in.”

“I will legit leave the room if someone tries to put their arm over the back of the couch while I am sitting on it.” Toni told him, rubbing her foot against the carpet.

Barnes turned his head to look at her. “Can I ask why?”

Toni bit her lip. Her hand came up to press against the arc reactor that glowed from under her shirt. “It happened because of Stane. Back when I still had the older model. He had put me in a miniature form of paralysis and had sat next to me on the couch. He had thrown his arm over the back of it as he literally ripped my heart out of my chest.”

Barnes sucked in a breath. She flicked her eyes at him for a brief second and went back to staring at the ceiling. What Barnes did next shocked her and will still make her wonder what possessed him to brush his good arm against her shoulder.

They sat there for a few more minutes in the quiet until Barnes spoke again.

“I hate the name Bucky.”

That got Toni to giggle. “Oh thank god I thought I was the only one who hated that name.”

Barnes had a small smile on his lips as he turned to look at her in the dark. “Why do you hate it?”

Toni let out a very unladylike snort. “You are an experienced assassin Red October. All of your street cred goes away when you are called Bucky. I refuse to call one of the most prominent men in the world of cold blooded killers a nickname of a five year old.”

“I hate it because it makes me feel like I am being forced to play a role for a man who no longer exists. Bucky Barnes died in the Alps.” he said, stretching out one of his legs.

Toni bumped his foot with her own. “Well what do you want to be called then?”

He brushed her foot back with his, eyeing the red nail polish on her toes. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, you hate the name Bucky right? I sure as hell do so what do you want to be called?” she asked, lifting her foot high enough to hook it over his own.

Barnes allowed her to do so, rubbing the back of his right foot against the arc of her left.

“James. I want to be called that.” he said after a moment.

Toni nodded, letting her hair get bunched up against the wall. “Cool. I will let Friday update that so you won’t be just Barnes anymore.”

Barnes-James gives her a small nod. “Thank you Stark.”

Here she nudged his foot. “Toni. Please.”

He smiled so softly that she was afraid she missed it. “Toni. That fits you.”

They sat there for a few more minutes before Toni spoke again. “I hate him.”

James didn’t say a word. Instead he just pressed his leg up against her own. “Because of me?”

She shook her head no. “It started way before that. I think it started when they did the Shield dump.”

That got a reaction out of James. He fully turned to her, pulling his leg back to get her attention.

“They did what?”

It was Toni’s turn to give him a look. “You didn’t know? Romanov and Rogers decided to dump everything onto the internet when they took down Shield.”

James’s jaw dropped. Toni continued on though. “I had to pull a big rescue op with Jarvis. We managed to save a lot of people and their families but,” here she looked down at her hands as they gripped her shirt, “I couldn’t save them all. Several died before I could reach them. I still regret it.”

Toni jumped at the feeling of a hand taking her own. She watched with wide eyes as James pulled her hand into his lap. He stared at it for a long time before he opened his mouth.

“I hate that you take the blame for everything that they do or have done. I hate the way the blame you for things well outside of your control. I hate them.”

Okay now that loop Toni had been thrown for? It had turned into a damn cliff and she was over that for she was so completely lost. She opened her mouth to ask him why when he kept on talking.

“I hate Barton for how angry he is at you for his wife leaving him. He left her first. You helping with the baby and getting Laura that divorce lawyer was something you didn’t have to do but you did it anyways. I hate that Maximoff hates you for something you didn’t even do. I have worked with Stark weapons before. I remember that I had a favorite gun while I was with Hydra and do you want to know what it was?”

Against her better judgement, Toni nodded. James spoke again but with a softness in his tone that went against the image he had in the main areas of the Compound. “It was a Stark gun. It never failed me. Always had the softest recoil I ever had felt in a gun. It lasted me a good twenty years before I lost it on a mission. Hell that was the first time during the 70 years Hydra had me that I had felt something. I felt actual sadness for losing that damn thing.”

Toni stared at him, an emotion she hadn’t felt since getting the Avengers together all those years ago and that was a hefty mix of hope and joy. “You - you actually mean that?”

He nodded, intertwining their fingers. “I do,” he looked into her eyes again. “I hate Romanov for the pure betrayal she gave you. I hate Wilson for thinking that you are what you show the public. I hate Lang for getting involved in a fight he had no clue about. I hate Rogers the most though. I hate him for trying to keep ahold of a ghost that died a long time ago and blaming you for what you did in Siberia.”

They sat there in the silence, two hurt and broken souls slowly heading towards the path of healing. Toni moved to rest her head against James’s good shoulder. He didn’t even flinch which surprised her. “I hate Rogers for everything he stands for. He doesn’t even realize that we can’t go back. Not to where we were.”

James rested his head on top of hers. They continued to sit there, drifting off to sleep as they sat in companionable silence…

~~~

When Toni woke up next, she was in her bed and a comfortable weight around her waist. She rolled over, blinking away the fog in her vision only to freeze at the sight on one James Barnes in her bed. He slept on, his good (only) arm thrown over her waist and face shoved into the pillows. The sheets dipped off his shoulders and pooled at his waist, showing off his broad back. Toni stared at him for a long moment before slowly moving out from under his arm. He tightened his grip for a good second before letting go. He just let out a sigh before burrowing deeper into the bed. Seemed like he needed the sleep just as much as she did. Toni slid out of the bed in a daze. So last night wasn't a dream from being awake as long as she had been.

Toni went over to her dresser to pull out an old rock shirt and a pair of jeans. She still had some projects that needed her attention. Toni rolled her neck, letting out a groan as her neck popped. Twisting her back, Toni moaned as her back popped in several places.

“That sounded like it felt good.” said a very thick male voice from behind her.

Toni didn't even bat an eye as she rummaged for a bra that wouldn't kill her before the day was over. “I'm like a giant rice krispie treat. I snap, crackle and pop.”

James slowly sat up and watched as she decided to say fuck it and go braless today. At worst she was a B cup anyway. Toni shrugged and took her shirt off. Ignoring the sudden intake of breath from the bed, the genius slipped on the clean shirt before bending down to pull on her jeans. James spoke up once more.

“Well that can’t be too healthy.” he leaned back against the pillows, watching her with a strange look in his eyes.

Toni simply shrugged, moving towards her vanity to pull her hair up in a ponytail to keep said hair out of her face as she worked for the day. “I go to the chiropractor once a month. I’m not to worried. Besides, Friday usually makes sure that I get enough stretch time via Dum-e.”

Now the soldier looked confused. “Dum-e?”

Friday piped in from her speakers that littered the ceiling. “He is Boss’s oldest creation. She made him while she was still in college.”

Toni waved her hand, a minor blush dusting her face. “Not a big deal. My first dip into AI. If you ever want to meet him come on down to the workshop.”

“You mean, I am allowed there?” James asked her, moving to sit up to the edge of the bed.

The brunette gave him a look. “Well yes. The other Rogues are forever banned from my playland but you?” She finished tying her hair back. “You are welcomed there when it gets too much James. Whenever you want.”

Here she moved to the door to her room and looked back at him over the shoulder. James sat there on the edge of her bed looking dumbstruck. “I mean it James.” And with that she left the room….

~~~

It had been a few days since that night and Toni was currently in her workshop working on the blueprints for a new arm for her resident murderdoll. From what she had seen in the common areas whenever she left her shop to refill on coffee and food was very surprising. The first thing she had noticed was the amount of space that was between James and the rest of the Rogues at any given moment. The second thing was the heavy amount of fear that came from Barton that was directed at James. It might have gone with the black eye and broken nose the archer had. The final thing that made Toni abscond to her haven was the look of pure murder in James’s eyes that was aimed at Wanda Maximoff. The Scarlet Witch refused to use her magic whenever he was in the room now. Which was the strange part since she loved to use it whenever she got the chance to flaunt it in Toni’s face. Friday had begun to compile a list of videos for Toni to watch over what exactly had been going down in her compound while she was working.

She swiped away another rejected idea. She really didn’t think that James would appreciate having a phone charger port built into his bicep. But what she did know that he would like is the bendable wrist knife. Bent around the wrist that would flatten out into one of his favorite means of death in less than 8 seconds. Toni bobbed her head to the music that flowed through her space when Friday piped up.

“Sorry to interrupt you Boss but James is at the door wondering if he could come in?”

Toni looked up at one of Friday’s cameras with a confused look. “I said he is welcome. Let him in babygirl.”

She twirled in her seat as she heard the doors open up. A smirk appeared on the genius’s face at the sight of the soldier entering her domain for the first time. The murder glare that he had one melted into one of wonder at the sight of her children and the Iron suits that stood at attention along one wall. The mass of machines and projects that littered her space was chaotic but had flow. One area was clear so Dum-e and Butterfingers could play whatever took their fancy, U going along with whatever they did. In another area sat a worn couch that Toni had dug out of a thrift store and was the most comfortable thing in her workshop. Along the opposite side of her Iron suits sat a coming together 1967 Chevy Impala.

James stopped in the doorway with wide eyes. “My God I love the future if this is what it is leading to.”

Toni let out a laugh, kicking off her work chair to stride over to the dumbstruck assassin. “Welcome to Toni Land! How can I help you today Tasty Freeze?”

James moved in a small circle, taking in everything. “I-I felt like getting some breathing room from the others and, well, you did say I was welcome here?”

“Well of course. Now, even I can see that fuzzy brain of yours has a lot of questions. I will try to answer them as best as I can. Lay them on me.”

He turned back to her with wide eyes before he spoke again, the fake accent dropping from his voice. “You sure?”

The smile he got in return said it all and it made his cold heart beat just a little louder…

Chapter Text

Toni jumped as the door to her workshop slammed open and a very irritated James stormed in. Brown eyes watched him move to the couch and that was when she saw the bottle of the good vodka Romanov usually smuggled into the freezer. The soldier all but ripped the cap off the bottle and took a deep swig. Toni got up, moving to go sit on the couch next to him. James had a look on him that screamed he was beyond pissed. Toni didn’t say anything. Instead she pulled her legs under herself and reached for the bottle. He handed it to her without a word, his gun metal grey eyes taking in the sight of her taking a swig.

“I hate scotch.” she said after a minute.

This was a thing they did. On the really bad days, instead of talking about it, they listed off things they hated. It was a strange way of doing things but it suited their needs.

James took the bottle back and knocked back another gulp. “I hate that craft beer Barton gets. I want to drink, not suck down whatever the fuck that is.”

A giggle escaped Toni as she settled back into the couch, a grateful look coming from her companion as he realized she sat on his good shoulder side. “I hate the taste of lemonade. Reminds me too much of when I got alcohol poisoning from drinking way to many lemon shots in college. Rhodey had to take me to get my stomach pumped and since that night, the scent alone will roll my stomach.”

A snort came from James. “I hate the look Rogers gives me when I reach for any form of liquor. He and Wilson will drink that Bud Light crap all damn day.”

“I hate that I slept with Rogers.” Toni said after a minute, stealing the bottle back from him.

James choked on air, whipping his head to her so fast that Toni got whiplash. His hair whipped in his face, making him brush it out of the way to stare at her with a look that had both horror and dumbfoundedness mixed together.

“You did what?!” he asked, gobsmacked.

Toni took another long drag of vodka. “Yep. We boned. Bumped uglies. Diddled the do. Had the sex.”

“Jesus when was this?”

“It happened during the Ultron fiasco.” Here she began playing with the bottle, passing it back and forth between her hands before putting on the couch. “I just….it felt right at the time.”

James couldn’t help but stare at her with his jaw nearly touching the floor. “Oh my god you actually slept with him.”

Toni hid her face in her hands, bringing her knees up to her chest. “I did and it was by far the worst round of sex I have ever had in my life. I am also including when I lost my virginity in the back of a truck at 17.”

James’s jaw snapped shut and a look crossed his face that Toni couldn’t identify. “On a scale of 1-10 what was Rogers?”

“You really want to know?” she asked him, handing him the vodka without a word.

He took it and watched her, nodding. An amused smirk come on her face. “He is a -3.”

James was thankful he didn’t take a drink from the bottle for he lost it by laughing. “Oh god! You serious?!”

Toni nodded, snorting out a laugh. “Oh my gods he was so bad at it James. Like I have had better in college.”

The amount of laughter that was coming from the infamous Winter Soldier was insane. Toni had to laugh alongside him as he asked her, “Where did you guys do it? Here in the workshop?”

“Do not say such blasphemous things in my home Jim-Jam!! I will have you know we did it in the guest bedroom at Barton’s farmhouse.” here she swatted at him, making him laugh that much more.

He raised his arm to thwart of her light smacks. “If Barton found out that you two fucked in his house he may legit have a heart attack.”

Toni stopped in her tirad and looked at James with wide eyes that glittered with an emotion. A slow evil smirk came over her face before she spoke.

“Friday? Where are the Rogues right now?”

“They are all in the kitchen Boss. Right where Mr. James had left them when they got on his nerves. Currently they are in discussion on where he is as well as if he has chugged that bottle of vodka he swiped out of Romanov’s hands on the way out of the kitchen. Do you wish for me to clear them out?” the AI asked, a hint of worry came from her tone.

Toni leaped over the couch, tugging James with her. “No, no leave them there. We are going up there Fri darling.”

James stopped in his tracks, making Toni almost fall over at the sudden jerk of her arm. “Why are we going up there?”

The genius huffed. “Because smartass we are going to not only need snacks for our drinking party, I am going up there to not so subtly tell the Rogues that Rogers and I boned. You are coming with me for front row seats.”

Now James was moving, pulling her along to the elevator. The two of them laughing as they got into it and let Friday take them up to the kitchen. Their laughter dying down as they entered the communal floors. They steeled themselves, rounding the corner to the kitchen to see the Rogues where Friday said they were. Wilson and Lang were sitting at one of the bars in the kitchen, a bowl of cereal in front of Lang. Rogers was sitting between Romanov and Barton on the other bar, Maximoff on Barton’s other side. Their chatter died the second they all noticed James and Toni enter the kitchen. The looks of death and fear spread among them and Toni decided to say fuck that and strode into her kitchen towards the pantry to dig out something to munch on as she and James finished off the bottle of vodka that sat on the floor in her workshop.

Barton sneered at her as she rummaged for snacks. “Well look who decided to show up.”

“My kitchen Barton. I have more of a right to be here than you do.” she sniped back, pulling out a box of poptarts that she tossed at James. He caught it and set it on the counter next to one of the empty wicker baskets that littered the Compound. Vision was into making them as his current project.

Barton snapped back, “Well you might as well crawl back into your workshop. With your newest super soldier toy.”

James gave him a death glare but it died off when Toni replied back with, “Yeah try one super soldier you try them all.”

Silence fell on the kitchen like an avalanche. Rogers at least had the decency to sputter and turn as red as one of Toni’s Iron Suits. Wilson brought his hand up to his mouth in shock; Lang dropped his spoon into his bowl; Maximoff turned a sickly kind of pale; Romanov just raised her eyebrows as Barton’s eyes went wide. Wilson had the balls to go, “God damn Steve.”

“What? Yes, we had relations but-” the blond started only to get cut off by Barton.

“The fuck does that mean relations?! Did you fuck Stark or not?!” he spat out, turning red rom a mix of anger and embarrassment.

Maximoff bit her lip, turning even more pale. Lang eyed Toni again as she tossed a family sized bag of jalapeno chips to James who in turn put it in the basket that was going to help carry their snacks back to the workshop. Romanov turned to look at the resident genius. “Toni? You and Steve actually slept together?”

Toni hummed, bending down to rummage further into the pantry. “Yeah. Wasn’t that great to be honest.”

Now Maximoff looked like she swallowed her tongue. Wilson and Lang both gave Rogers a baffled look while Barton pressed his forehead against the counter. Romanov’s gaze never left Toni’s form while the woman tossed more snacks to the Winter Soldier. He watched with an amused look at the sight of Rogers looking like someone kicked his puppy. “Wait, what do you mean it wasn’t that great?” the man asked.

Toni peeked her head out of the pantry, arms loaded with snacks. James had the same metabolism Rogers did so he required a lot of snackage.Toni raised an eyebrow at him. “You honestly think that was a great time for me? A quickie in Barton’s guest room that I didn’t even cum from?”

Now Romanov smacked Rogers that made the rest of the group recoil in shock. He raised his hands to get her to stop smacking him, Russian pouring out of her lips at a rapid fire rate. James’s eyebrows went up and a faint blush came over his cheeks. Apparently the Widow was cussing out her Captain. Barton rolled his head enough to give Rogers a scowl. “Dude not cool.”

Lang made a noise of disbelief, “I thought you didn’t like Ms. Stark?”

Barton raised his head to look at the hacker. “Just because I don’t like the woman doesn’t mean that she can’t be treated well in the sack bug man. Hell Steve man what the fuck?”

Wilson leaned back on his stool, shaking his head before casting an eye at James. “Come on man, I thought Buck here would have helped you out bagging a dame?”

The Soldier shrugged, taking Toni’s bounty to unload it into the basket. Toni moved around him to rummage in the fridge, like hell she would be drinking just vodka. She was a recovering alcoholic thank you very much and she did not need to fall off the wagon too much. James spoke back to the other Rogue.

“Last time I tried setting Stevie up on a date was well over 70 years ago and even then he didn’t know what I tried to teach him. I was hoping that his time out of the ice would help him.” Here he gave the still under attack Captain a side eye, “Apparently I was wrong.”

Lang shook his head as he took another bite of his slightly soggy cereal. “I guess I know why one Sharon Carter is refusing his calls now.”

Wilson and Barton let out a laugh while Maximoff went from pale to red. Toni gave a wink to her partner in crime as they took their goodies. Rogers managed to toss out a “Bucky! A little help here?!”

The one armed man looked back, saw that Romanov was still going at it to which James shook his head. “Sorry man but you brought this upon yourself.” The grey eyed man switched his gaze to the woman standing next to him. “Shall we get back to what we were talking about in your lab?”

Toni’s brown eyes lit up. “Come on Jim-Jam! I have a new idea for that arm of yours! How do you feel about gravity shifts?”

The doors to the elevator dinged open and they stepped inside…

~~~

A new routine had settled between the two of them. Whenever the Rogues would get to much for James he would hole himself down in Toni’s lab until he badgered her to get something to eat or to go get some sleep. In return, Toni got to babble her nonsense at him for hours at a time and got to get some input on her projects that were helpful. It also helped the broken assassin deal with modern day things. He loved interacting with the bots. Dum-E loved James, probably had something to do with the one arm thing. Butterfingers was a menace with his blow torch as always and it brought the Winter Soldier joy to let the possibly possessed bot destroy whatever James gave him. Toni suspected half the stuff Butterfingers tore into was stuff Rogers gave James. She did note that one thing was a Captain America shirt and she had to turn away so he wouldn’t see the smile on her face. On the really bad days, the two of them would sit on the raggedy ass couch in her lab and just tell each other things they hated to deal with it. It probably wasn’t the healthiest of ways but it worked for them.

As it was, Toni was entering the common floors. She had just been in another meeting with SI about adding prosthetics to their repertoire when Friday called for her to the common floors that the Rogues lived on. Fearing the worst, Toni left the meeting and was terrified that she would have to hide Rogers’ body. She rounded a corner to see James sitting on the floor, trying to make himself as small as he could as Rogers stood over him, panicking as Wilson tried to pull the blond man away.

Toni didn’t even bat an eye at the Rogues. Instead she hurried to the clearly freaking out Winter Soldier and climbed into his lap. She hiked up her skirt as she swung a leg over to straddle the man before pulling his head into her neck, running her fingers through his hair. He stiffened for a second before wrapping his arm around her waist, grip tight enough for their to be bruises later. Toni quite frankly didn’t give a shit about that. Her main focus was on trying to calm down her friend. Pressing her cheek to the top of his head, she began to speak.

“I hate sand.”

The hallway got quiet for a good moment or two before James spoke, albeit a bit muffled. “I hate that chair.”

Toni bit her lip, not caring if lipstick got on her teeth. “I hate doctors. Can’t stand them.”

“I don’t want to go to the dentist.” He murmured into neck, fingers digging into the silk of her shirt.

Toni shushed him, petting his hair. “Then we won’t take you to the dentist. Unless, something is hurting James. I don’t want you hurting sweets.”

She ignored Rogers huff behind her, mentally grinning as Wilson smacked him. James pulled back enough to look at her, grey eyes wide with fear. “You won’t make me?”

The Iron Maiden gave him a soft smile, brushing his hair back from his face. “Of course not babe. You have choices here. If you don’t want to go then I won’t make you. If you are hurting though, I want you to know that there are steps to help with that. Okay?”

He nodded, letting out a shaky breath. “Okay. It’s just….That damn chair.”

He really didn’t need to say anymore. Toni pressed her forehead against his.

“I know babe. Trust me. I know. Now, is there anything that is hurting? Aside from your arm.” She had to ask. She really didn’t want him to be in pain.

Thankfully the man shook his head no. James spoke up. “They wanted to do scans and something called a cleaning.”

Okay now the genius wanted to pull a Homer Simpson on Rogers aka choke the man out. “Did they explain what it was?”

James again shook his head no. Toni let out a sigh, pulling back to make eye contact. “They just want to clean your teeth. Make sure there are no cavities or anything like that. It is a bit uncomfortable and trust me, I have an electromagnet in my chest. It will suck but it is good for you. What we can do is go down to one of the floors here where I have a dentist on duty, let you talk to him and let you be aware of what exactly is going to go on. Will that work?”

James was silent for a few seconds before letting out a very shaky “Okay. You will be with me?”

“Of course honey. Now can you stand or do you want to sit here for a while?”

The Soldier pulled her closer. “Can we sit here for a bit? Please?”

It was all Toni could do to not melt into him. “Sure sweetie. However long you need okay?”

The two of them sat there, James keeping his grip tight on her. Toni, looked over his head to glare at the gobsmacked Rogers and the relieved Wilson. The Falcon gave her a nod. “I’ll bring you guys some water. Come on Steve, give them some space man.”

Rogers looked torn between someone killing his dog and constipated. Wilson all but ran to the kitchen at the end of the hall, apparently glad someone helped stop Boy Blue Wonder from doing more mental damage to his so called best friend….

~~~

James swallowed, eyeing the recliner that was now in Toni’s lab. She had it delivered for him to use now that it was time to give him the new arm. She already told him she wasn’t going to put him on any form of table or chair that would remind of Hydra. As it was, she had to get some form of concoction from one Stephen Strange to just get James under to do the procedure that wouldn’t cause him to have a full blown panic attack. It sat in a bottle on the workbench next to the chair. Toni came up next to him, pressing a hand to his side. He couldn’t help but look at her, her brown eyes gleaming like amber.

“We don’t have to do this you know.” she simply stated.

He sucked in a breath through his nose. “I want to though. They took that much from me. I want it back.”

Toni nodded, turning to the screens floating nearby. “I get that. So, how did you want to do this? I have the plans for the new port but I gotta remove what is there first. Helen Cho is just one floor down. Do we need to get her?”

James reached over and grasped her hand, making the genius freeze. He began to rub his thumb over the back of her hand. “I want you to do it. I trust you Toni. More than you ever know.”

Aside from the bots beeping in the background, the lab was silent. Toni sagged, looking much older than she looked. “Okay. But for the record, I am extremely against this. Friday, pull up Helen on the screen. She is going to monitor everything I do and tell me exactly how I am going to roll with this.”

The Soldier nodded, letting go of her hand to go grab the innocent looking bottle by the chair. He quickly knocked it back as he sat down in the recliner. It did not take long for the magic potion to start kicking in. As the world starting to fade, James rolled his head to look at Toni, who was staring straight at him. The last thing he heard was, “I’ll be here when you wake up. I promise you.”

James felt a smile tug at his lips as he finally succumbed to the liquid spell…

~~~

James let out a little groan, shifting enough that his neck popped. Blinking, he looked around. Seeing that he was still in the lab was a good sign that nothing bad happened. His grey eyes flickered to the side, seeing Toni grasping his hand in her sleep. Seemed that she had dragged the couch from it’s normal spot to be right next to the recliner and had taken his hand. A soft smile came on his face at the sight of the genius passed out on the couch. He didn’t dare to tug his hand free from her grip. Instead he shifted and reached out with his other...hand…. The Winter Soldier froze, seeing a gleaming gold and black metal hand. Grey eyes widened to the size of basket balls while he slowly rolled his new hand. It flowed a fuck lot more fluidly than his old metal hand did. Jame couldn’t help but let out a small and slightly disbelieving laugh at the sight of the new digits wiggling.

He sat up slowly, both not wanting to wake Toni (Gods knew she got minimal sleep as it was) and to take in his new limb. The main thing (other than it’s fine motor skills) was the fact that it did not hurt. At all. He kept twisting it this way and that, watching it with near childlike wonder.

“You know I added some features?”

James jumped, turning his head to Toni who was still laying down. A smile was glowing from her face, mirth dancing from her beautiful eyes. He couldn’t help it but James gave her a smile. Not one of those fake ones he would give the rest of them upstairs. No this was an honest to God true smile. It made his chest tighten just a bit for all the man wanted to do was kiss her. Swallowing back that urge, the newly two armed man simply pulled her hand towards him to tug her into a sitting position. “Show me?”

“Honey I never thought you’d ask.”

~~~

James couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face as he went through the compound. It had been a week since Toni had given him the arm and already, things were looking up for the man. Now, he could actually do things with Toni down in her lab. He helped her lift up some Iron Suits, loving the chance to show off to her. He could play with the bots better, although the confused and sad noises that came from Dum-E when the bot noticed the second arm was almost enough to make James have it come off. Almost. Right now though, he was resting his head on one of the desks and was smiling at Toni as did her thing as the owner of SI aka have meetings. He watched on as she tried to not cuss out another board member.

The genius pinched the bridge of her nose. “Look, I get that you want us to ‘help’ the Avengers but I am doing the best I can. We are no longer going to fund them or give them any equipment.”

Said board member gave her a scowl. “I understand you have issues with Captain Rogers -”

James was the one who said something for he knew if Toni spoke, this was going to end far worse. Probably with someone dying or getting fired.

“If this is about my arm Mr-” he took a quick glance to the name stamp, “Barangan, but I will have you know that I am not an Avenger. Nor will I. I am here because if I decide to try to strike it on my own, Steve will come after me and break more things.”

He laid on the fake accent to the point it made Toni want to laugh at how James was having them look at each other very guilty. Here the ex-assassin looked up, gave her a wink and went back to the man. “The arm Ms. Stark gave me was more of because she could and refused to see me wander around her home with, and I quote, lesser tech. Before you say anything else I suggest you watch what it is you exactly say.”

Here, he let some of his inner Winter Soldier bleed through, focusing more on the one who dared to speak. Toni leaned back, feeling a sense of vindication as the board was silent. Pepper spoke up through the holoscreen. “Mr. Barnes is right. We will use this to help further ourselves into the medical field as well as those in need. If we are done.”

No one said a word against the CEO and they all logged off. Pepper sent a look to her friend and mouthed, “Later” and clicked off. It was at that point Toni lost all decorum and proceeded to laugh.

James grinned at her, moving so he was standing next to her. “So, did I do bad?”

She threw her arms over his shoulders. “Babe, you did well. Let them sit on that for a good long while. If any of them try to leak what was said. Well, Pepper and our Legal Team will have a fucking field day with them.”

James made a noise of confirmation before winding both of his arms around her waist. “Well then. Shall we go get something to eat then?”

“I feel like tacos. You down for Mexican?” she asked, sliding out of his grasp.

He took her hand, following her to the door of the lab. “As long as it is spicy I don’t care.”

Toni couldn’t help but laugh as they made their way to the kitchen…

~~~

James knew today was going to suck of epic proportions. The reason for this feeling was the Avengers, both New and Rouge were doing a mandatory “team bonding” day...at the pool. James looked over from where he was resting on the edge of the pool to where Toni was sunbathing on a chair. Thankfully she managed to stay out of the water the entire time they had been there and James was adamant that she wouldn’t be in said pool at all. He could see that the New Avengers were doing the same thing, making sure that Toni avoided the water. James looked away from her, least his body reacted to seeing Toni running around in an Iron Man themed bikini.

He turned so he could reach for his drink with his lovely new metal arm, grinning at the sight of the metal faintly glinting in the sun. He had just taken a sip when all of a sudden he heard a shriek and a splash. Quickly turning back around, James saw Toni was in the water and Barton was laughing and giving Maximoff a high five. James threw the cup away and dived into the water, moving as fast as he could to Toni who was panicking. He scooped her up, and managed to as gently as he could toss her out of the water. Toni hacked out water, scrambling away from the pool’s edge while Rhodes moved as fast as he could over to them while Peter flat out jumped clear across the pool. James got out after her, pulling a towel off from one of the nearby chairs as Peter helped her to a chair. The Winter Soldier placed the towel around her shoulders and gently took her face into his hands. Her warm brown eyes were wide and her pupils were pinpricks.

Letting out a growl of Russian, James took her hands and pressed them to his chest. “Toni, you are not there anymore. You are home with me. Breathe with me возлюбленная.”

Her eyes laser focused on him, face regaining some color. “James?” she whispered.

He gave her a small smile, brushing some of her wet hair from her face. “Да I’m here. You are home. Not Afghanistan. Breathe with me doll.”

A sob escaped from the genius and she launched herself into his arms. He easily took all of her weight and began to rub his hands up and down her back. The assassin as slowly as he could, picked them both up, Toni’s legs locking around his waist and he managed to support her with his metal arm. He cast one look to the Rogues who were all shocked at how Toni had reacted and with that, the man carried the two of them inside, leaving them to deal with a very angry Rhodes. James had seen that once and decided to never be on the receiving end of that. Toni whimpered and gripped him tighter to where the man could feel her short nails digging into his skin. James promptly ignored the look from Rogers and moved to get the scared shitless woman inside.

Rage curled down his spine but he wanted to make sure Toni was safe first. He didn’t even bother sending a look behind him as Peter opened the doors to the rec center they were renting out.

~~~

Steve watched as his best friend carried Toni inside, a fury that was slightly new and old coiling in his gut. The blond whirled back to Clint and Wanda, blue eyes sparking. “What did you do?!”

Clint blinked at him. “What do you mean? I just dunked the princess in the water. It was a prank.”

Rhodes took in a deep breath, to the point Steve was slightly afraid that the man was going to breathe fire. The Colonel snarled out, “Just a fucking PRANK?!”

Here he stood up on his braces, and the Spider kid had to grasp at the older man’s arm. Steve decided to intervene since it looked like Clint was more than likely going to get murdered. The taller man moved between them and gave his “I am disappointed in You” look. It was enough to cow most of his team, Bucky being the strange exception.

“Clint, there is a reason Toni avoids the water.” Steve began.

Here the archer rolled his eyes. “Yeah yeah from being kidnapped. She should be over that by now.”

Steve looked upwards, knowing Clint just signed his death warrant. Rhodes spat out what sounded like a curse but all of them jumped as the sound of the doors being kicked open. They all turned to see one Pepper Potts making her way to them. Steve could see from the corner of his eye Parker trying to hide behind Rhodes who was looking torn between fear and enjoyment. Clint grumbled as the CEO stormed up to them.

She didn’t stop, moving past Steve with a fluidity he had only seen from Natasha. His eyes widened as Pepper Potts went and fucking DECKED Clint in the face. What was even more shocking was that the archer flew back and hit the water of the pool. The rest of Steve’s team made shocked noises and Wanda’s hands glowed with her magic. Pepper turned to her, eyes tinged orange and looked two steps away from lighting them all on fire. Rhodes came up, hands in a relaxed position. “Pep, calm down.”

Pepper snarled, a hint of actual fire coming from her lips. “Calm DOWN?! Toni is having a severe panic attack cause these, these, FUCKING ASSHOLES don’t respect her!”

Wanda twitched her fingers, “And why should we?”

Steve reached out and took Pepper by her wrists, pulling her back from snapping at Wanda. The Scarlet Witch raised her hands. “WANDA ENOUGH!” The Captain roared out, making them all freeze.

It was rare that Steve rose his voice. He never really yelled unless they were on the field and he needed their attention. It was enough to shock Wanda and Pepper out of their rage. He let the woman go and backed away. “Ms. Potts, if you could go make sure Toni is actually okay?” he began.

Pepper whirled on him, the fire back. “Don’t act like you care Rogers!” She turned her gaze back to Clint who was trying to hold his broken nose and get out of the water at the same time. “This isn’t over you fucking coward.”

And with that she turned on her heel and made her way back inside, where ever her feet touching the wet concrete began to steam.

Chapter Text

James glowered from his seat on the couch. It had been roughly a week since the Pool Incident and Toni was holed up on her lab. He thankfully managed to get her down for a nap about an hour ago and he hoped it would be more than an hour since she had regained nightmares that had been long forgotten. Now, he was on a new mission. One that was going not end well for his targets. Oh, they would live but it would not be the life they wanted. First things first, he had to gather intel for both Pepper Potts and the War Machine aka Rhodey. After the pool, it had been agreed (off record) that Clint Barton had to go. He was not fit to be a team player, nor to be an Avenger of any form. But sadly, they didn’t have much proof on Clint being “a bully” (in layman’s terms) to Toni and so, that was James’s job. Gather the evidence on Clint but without antagonizing him. That was the challenging bit to be honest for all James wanted to do the so called Hawkeye.

But for now, he was willing to gather intel and let the bastard self incriminate himself. James leaned back on the couch, eyeing the rest of the Rogues as they did their own form of team bonding. Sadly one of their terms of coming back was in their common area, Friday wasn’t allowed to record what was being said due to some “private affairs from their time on the run”. Which was code for them to not get T’Challa in trouble. Sadly Toni agreed cause she did care about the Black Panther and did not want him to get a new set of troubles on top of finally sharing his country with the world.

 

“Man, Stark is really blowing this way out of proportion.” said the archer from where he was lounging on one of the recliners that littered the common area.

James’s look darkened and Lang piped up, “Uh, because what you did wasn’t really cool man? Like, dude that wasn’t even remotely on the scale of okay.”

Grey eyes flickered to the Ant-Man who was sitting on the arm of the couch, giving his own glare to Barton.Wilson and Rogers finally came into the area, wielding snacks for the movie they were going to watch. “Everything okay in here?” asked the good Captain.

Barton whined, “Scott thinks that I was being mean because Stark is still crying about last week.”

James tightened his grip on the couch, trying not to lunge over to the shorter man to choke him out. Rogers himself gained a frown. “Clint, I have to agree with Scott. Toni has reasons.”

A groan came from the archer. “Yeah and? We all have gone through something. Why is she an different?”

At this Wilson spoke up, handing the bowl of fruit cubes made for Scott to the man. “Dude, I don’t know what kind of shit SHIELD made you go through but Stark was and still technically is a civilian. On top of that we all go through trauma differently. The past ten years for her haven’t been kind nor healthy for her, at least mentally.”

All of them looked at Wilson with different looks. The Falcon just shrugged, “What? I am a psychologist. I specialize in PTSD and let me tell you man, that woman needs some serious professional help. She needed it directly after she came back from Afghanistan but from what I can tell she has been nonstop. New York also didn’t help her at all.”

James tried to not smile. Seemed like Wilson wasn’t completely blind. But then Barton opened his mouth once more. “If she needs help then why hasn’t she gone go get it. She is wealthy enough to go get some.”

Okay now it was time for James to speak and he dropped the fake accent cause he wanted to show that he was done playing games with these people. “It’s because of Howard.”

Rogers whipped his head to look at the brunet. The rest of them had various form of surprise on their face. Lang was the one who had the balls to ask, “Her father?”

James nodded, “Yeah. I always remember him going, ‘Starks are made of Iron,’ so knowing Howard like I did and also remember that Toni was raised in a different environment than the rest of you. From what I can tell, being rich but showing any form of mental issues mean you were a disgrace or shit like that. She was kind of forced to not show any form of weakness, especially since she is the daughter of a very rich man.”

Barton snorted. “So she grew up rich. How is that bad?”

Wilson thankfully was the one who called Barton out on his shit, “Dude, even I can tell you that is one of the most TOXIC environments for any form of human mind. It’s even worse for women. Studies show that rich kids grow up in unhealthy way and it is way worse for the women and girls in this environment. Didn’t help that Stark was taught that while her family was made of iron but also was told that he had to be second to not only her father but to whatever man she would end up marrying.”

The room got quiet before Lang went, “Well holy shit.”

Rogers was the one who spoke next, “But she turned out okay?”

Now that got them all to stare at him. Barton was the one to say, “Steve she was a functioning alcoholic even before she became an Avenger. Even I can recognize that. And I don’t like her.”

Lang talked around a cube of watermelon, “Yeah man. She also had a wicked drug problem for years which I still think came from her godfather.”

That got Barton to go, “What do you mean?”

Lang swallowed, fishing around for another piece, “Well it came to light that the only reason Afghanistan happened was because her godfather, Obadiah Stane. He was the one who hired the Ten Rings to kidnap her cause apparently after she released the Jericho missile, Stark Industries was going to end weapons manufacturing. Apparently the man was selling decommissioned and reject weapons on top of some okay weapons under the table and was making his own profit off that. Turns out stopping the one thing he wanted was enough to try to get Toni to either die or worse.”

Silence fell on the common room, all of them looking various forms of horror and shock. James decided to tell them the final straw. “You want to know why she refuses to let someone throw their arm around her on the couch?”

They all gave shakey nods. James leaned forward, placing his forearms on his knees. “It was because Stane managed to paralyze her and rip her arc reactor out of her chest. She would’ve died if it wasn’t for Pepper keeping her first one down in the lab.”

Rogers turned green and looked like he was going to be sick. Wilson actually got up and left the room, muttering about how sick that was. Lang set his fruit down and stared at the floor. Barton? He looked mortified. “Stane did that?”

James nodded, “Yeah. Not even a month after she came home. All because he wanted to take that reactor and make money off of it.”

With that, James stood up and left the room…

~~~

Clint stared out of the window of his room. After that….talk in the living room earlier, none of them felt like watching a movie. Last he heard, Barnes had went down into the lab to be with Stark, as he had taken doing recently. Scott left to go be with his ants, Sam had been holed up in his room as well. Steve? He was still in the living room when Natasha and Wanda came home from the mall. Clint stared out across the Compound’s grounds, wondering when did he become such an asshole. After that talk, the man realized that he was being this ungrateful fuckhead to a woman who had opened her doors, did all that she could and for fucks sake flew a nuke into a wormhole. And what had he done in return? Spat in her face, chose the team that did nothing but burn her and probably made her slip worse in her mental health.

Clint scowled, turning from the window and said, “Hey, Friday?”

“Yes Mr. Barton?” said the cool tone of the AI.

He let out a sigh. “I need your help.”

“In what sir?”

 

“In writing both an apology and a resignation letter.”

~~~~

Toni stared at the little video clip that was on repeat on her Stark Pad. She was resting on top of James as they laid out on the bed she had ordered for the lab. The man under her was passed out, worn out apparently from playing with the bots. She let her eyes roam over his form as he slept on. She wanted to wake him up and help her make sure he hasn’t officially lost her mind. The video was of Clint Barton telling her that he was sorry. About everything. That he was guilty for how he had been treating her and that he wanted to do it right. Which meant removing himself from her space until they both felt comfortable in moving forward in either their friendship or work. He apologized for everything. He truly did not make it about himself (coughStevetakenotescough) and had legit apologized.

Toni sat there on the bed, leaning back so her back was pressed up against his side with his flesh arm wrapped around her waist.

“Fri? Love? Is this real?”

“Yes Miss. He even asked me for help and pointers. He even stated how he never really wanted to hurt you. He also turned in a letter of resignation to the Council. They are letting him work out the next couple of weeks so he has time to find a new place of living.” stated the lovely Friday.

Now that made Toni’s jaw drop. “He quit the Avengers? On his own??”

Even Friday sounded surprised, “I know! The rest of the Rogues are not yet aware but I know it is going to be interesting Boss. Clint Barton is finishing packing as we speak and has been asking me for help on best places to live with his budget and, get this, he even asked if he had enough funds to include finding a therapist.”

The genius let the tablet fall from her hands. “Are you serious?”

If Friday could nod them by god she would have been at that moment. “As a heart attack. Thankfully he does have the money for this and he is also looking at getting a new job. Apparently he is going to rebuild his resume and try to get a job at a local recreational center that teaches archery to kids.”

Toni let out a soft smile and shook her head. “I know he is a good person but goddamn that man. Keep tabs on him baby girl and let him know that once he feels ready for it, we can talk.”

“Will do. May I suggest you get some sleep? James seems to have the right idea.” giggled the AI.

Toni turned to the man who was gently snoring behind her. Her smile turned into a loving look. “Yeah. You know what? That does sound like a good idea. Night Friday.”

“Night Miss. Have pleasant dreams.”

Chapter Text

James was enjoying his book on the couch, well, not really. Instead he was watching the rest of the Rogues from behind his book as they were trying to figure out what they were going to do now that Barton had quit. Rogers had tried to get the Council to tell him why Barton suddenly decided to leave but they refused due to some privacy clause or what not. James was thoroughly enjoying the drama when all of a sudden the doors to the elevator opened and Toni came running out of it.

“JAMES GET IN THE CAR WE GOTTA GO!” she nearly screamed, running to where they had an emergency first aid kit.

He threw his book to the side, leaped over the back of the couch, his heavy boots thunking on the ground as he rushed to her. “What happened?”

She grabbed his arm and directed them to the elevator as fast as her little legs could go. “I got a call from Peter’s school. Something about an incident and that he was hurt. Oh gods we gotta go.”

James let her lead them down to the garage where she had Friday pull up her fasted car. James beat her to the driver side. “I’ll drive. You are in no condition to do so возлюбленная.”

She nodded and got in the passenger side. James took the keys from her and as he was pulling out onto the gravel pathway, he asked Friday, “How long does it take to get to Peter’s school?”

 

“Under normal circumstances sir about an hour and fifteen minutes.” she replied through the car speakers.

He nodded, “Try to get the cops out of our way куколка. I’ll get us there. Toni, try to get a hold of May.”

Toni nodded, biting her lip as she pulled up her phone. The Winter Soldier gritted his teeth and as he shifted gears, he took a glimpse in the rearview mirror to see Rogers coming out of the front of the building. Scowling harder, he slammed on the gas and with a spray of gravel, he roared them out of there…

~~~

Peter pressed the ice pack harder to his right eye, trying not to curse out in rage. He was sitting in one of the larger conference room at his school, waiting for his Aunt May to show up. Flash was sitting across the table with his parents behind him. Ned was on Peter’s right with his dad and MJ was on his left, her recently divorced parents bickering behind her. Ned’s dad leaned over to ask, “How are you doing son? You need more ice?”

That made the enhanced teen smile only to grimace at the feeling of his injured cheek moving. “I’m okay sir. Thank you.”

The man nodded, looking a bit grim. The principal stood, “Mr. Parker, are you sure you don’t need anything?”

Peter had to slink a bit farther in his chair. “I am fine I promise.”

It was then the door to the room opened and Peter gave a mental sigh. He turned around, ready to tell Aunt May he was fine when he was frozen in shock as Toni Stark came running to him, her brown hair flowing. She slid to her knees and quickly began to check him over. “Oh gods Peter what happened?? Oh gods above let me see your eye.”

He dropped the ice pack, more out of shock when he noticed James Barnes coming in behind Toni to gently cup his left (METAL!) hand to his injured right cheek. His grey eyes hardened and in that moment, Peter felt his spider sense go haywire. It made him want to nose dive out of the room in any way for the man felt worse than when he first met him at that German airport. James stood, letting Toni fuss at the kid. He turned to the rest of the room and growled out, “Explain. Now.”

The principal sputtered before coughing, clearly caught off guard at the sight of both the Iron Queen and the Winter Soldier in his school. “Uh, just a misunderstanding that apparently grew out of control.”

At this MJ hissed out, “Flash hit Peter! How is that out of control?”

James flickered his gaze to the girl and claimed her as both non threat and potential ally in this. He stood tall, easily falling into the stance that made the Rogues panic when they thought the Soldier was making an appearance. Did wonders to make folks talk. Ned was the one who managed to speak first.

“Flash was bullying Peter again, telling him that his internship with Ms. Stark was a lie and that Peter was only doing it to gain attention. Peter told him it wasn’t a lie and that he didn’t care if Flash didn’t believe him. He was done with dealing with his and tried to leave the conversation.”

The bully growled out, “Shut UP!”

“Достаточно!” James snapped. He nodded at Ned to continue, who did so for he really did not want to anger this man further. He had seen the videos.

“So as Peter was walking away, Flash shoved him and punched him in the face. MJ managed to kick him in the balls. That was when the teachers showed up.”

James nodded, looking across the table to the now pale Flash Thompson as his parents were clearly torn in disbelieve and embarrassment. He cracked his neck and took a step back. Rising from next to Peter, Toni stood. She was not just Toni Stark, owner of Stark Industries. No, in that moment she was the Iron Queen and you best get out of her way.

James took in what she was wearing and had to hold back a grin. She wasn’t even wearing shoes. Cut off jean shorts, an old worn t-shirt that had more grease and oil on it than the original print and her hair was up in a ponytail. But even so, looking as much of a hot mess as she did in that moment, she was still the Iron Queen and they best get ready to bow down. Toni sneered, straightening her back.

“So all of this, came from you.” Here the amount of venom in her tone was enough to make the Thompsons’ flinch.

Toni leaned over the table, pressing her hands to the smooth surface. “All because you decided that Peter Parker was lying about this? Because what? You have never seen him with me? Or you just didn’t want to believe that someone was chosen for this once in a lifetime thing over you.”

At this the teen finally snapped. “He doesn’t deserve it! Penis Parker is just a no good poor kid who lied his way to get here! He is nothing and will forever be nothing!”

The room fell silent. Toni gripped the table and she felt a new form of rage settle in her soul. James was the one who spoke next, although it was all in Russian. “Слушай сюда, ты, маленький засранец! Этот мальчик совершал вещи, о которых ты никогда не узнаешь. Он - особенный и уже чист душой на уровне, которого тебе никогда не достичь. Еще раз подойдешь к нему, и я с радостью снесу тебе голову с плеч! Мы друг друга поняли?

They didn’t know what exactly he said but Flash nodded. The Winter Soldier stood tall next to the Iron Queen. Both of them a force to be reckoned with. He turned his gaze to Peter who was still frozen in his chair. The grey eyes softened enough to make it feel safe. “Come. Let us go to the car Паучок. Toni has this.”

Peter shifted his eyes to Toni before nodding. Toni herself grinned and said, “I’m also extending the Internship to both Ned and MJ. They are qualified and also, Peter you are spending the weekend at the Compound.”

Peter said, “Yes ma’am.”

Ned and MJ, on the other hand, were staring at the genius with jaws open. James spoke to the parents, “Toni will send you the paperwork. If you also wish your children can come with peter to the Compound this weekend to get a better feel of the Internship.”

The three other adults simply nodded, eyes wide. And with that, James escorted a shell shocked Peter to the car…

~~~

Toni glared at the bully in front of her and said, “Also, until the end of time, Flash Thompson will never get a job with any form of Stark Industries. No matter what the position. I don’t care if it is for janitorial you will never work for my company or any of my branch companies.”

The kid stared and shot up, “That’s not fair!”

She held up a hand, glaring at him. “It is plenty fair. For you hit. My. Kid.”

The temperature seemed to drop at that statement. She turned her glare to the cowering principal. “I am going to be speaking to May Parker about this and seeing if I can get Peter to transfer schools. Your so called anti-bullying policy seems to only work when you want it to.”

With a nod, Toni turned to the still stunned parents of Peter’s friends. “If you wish to transfer your own children I will help cover the costs if you need tuition or books. I was also serious about the Internship. And James’s offer is legit. If you want your kids to join him at the Compound meet us at his apartment within an hour. I know it is Wednesday but I would feel much more comfortable if your kids were with us and, “she shot a glare to the pale Thompson family, “away from this mess.”

Ned’s father spoke up, “Uh, yes of course. Can we exchange numbers? If that’s okay?”

Toni smiled at him, “Of course. Come, let us discuss this elsewhere.”

They all stood up and was they were leaving, Toni shot one final, “Oh, and by the way I will no longer be donating money to this institution. Have a good day.”

 

With that, Toni shut the door behind her, knowing that deep in her soul, vindication was writhing with glee….

~~~

Peter winced as James carefully examined his eye as they waited outside for Toni. The man hummed under his breath. “You have blood swelling in the eyelid. We are going to have to pop it soon.”

Peter let out a groan. “This is going to suck.”

James chuckled. “We will deal with it at your place little one. For now just rest. I have a question for you,” he leaned back to rest against the car, “why didn’t you fight back?”

The Spider-Man sighed, shoulders slumping. “I didn’t want to hurt him. I nearly snapped to fight back but I didn’t.”

James nodded and cupped the teen’s shoulder. “I understand. I’m sorry for losing my composure inside.”

At this Peter whipped his head to look at James, “What? No! That was incredible! I swear to the gods I thought Flash was going to wet himself!”

The two of them began to laugh and it was in that moment, James swore nothing else was going to happen to this child. Ever. Not if he could help it.

Chapter Text

Steve frowned as he watched Bucky help the three teenagers in the kitchen. It had been strange to see Toni come running in not even three hours ago screaming about some kid named Peter and how Bucky just went with her without a word. The blond watched with both confusion and curiosity as Bucky went through the motions of making dinner but with three kids underfoot. Wanda scowled from her seat at the kitchen table, open textbooks around her. Steve had to bite back a sigh for one of the clauses for their return was for Wanda to get an actual education and it seemed that these teens were smarter than her book wise. The one girl out of them had to be the most jaded ball of sarcasm Steve had ever seen. And yes, he was including Toni in on this.

He watched from his own seat, an open beer in front of him as he tried to help Wanda go through Algebra. The beer was needed because when did letters start making appearances in math? Steve kept shooting glances to how Bucky was treating the kids and it was….strange seeing his best friend act so carefree around these kids when around the rest of the team, Bucky seemed closed off and not wanting to participate in anything. Hell he even refused to go to the shooting range with Sam and Nat the other day. Steve learned later Bucky had spent the day with Rhodes and Van Dyne going over plans to get more hand to hand combat training for the “New Avengers”. Steve was brought out of his musing by the teen called Ned going, “Mr. Barnes, sir?”

Bucky smiled at the brown haired teen, “Yeah?”

Ned had a small grin on his face and asked, “Is there anyway you can teach me Russian? I want to learn a new language and, well, Spanish is just kinda lame.”

Steve tightened his grip on his Bud Light. Bucky speaking Russian was a sore subject to the Team because it reminded them of how long Bucky had been abused and tortured. Sometimes Bucky and Nat would just get into screaming matches in the living room and that would be what was pouring out of their mouths. Instead of shying away from the topic as he usually did, the metal armed man grinned. “Of course маленький. It would be fun!”

Both Steve and Wanda let their jaws drop because Peter and MJ both piped in. “Can we learn too?”

“It sounds like a proactive time, Mr. Barnes.”

Bucky let out a laugh, one that made Wanda jolt for they had never heard that sound and it broke Steve’s heart a little bit.

“Of course. But you do realize that I will not go easy on you lot. I have expectations on the three of you.” Here he gave them a warm but stern look.

The three teens nodded and went back to making dinner which seemed to me a mix of appetizers and finger food. Bucky put the pizza rolls and taquitos in the oven while Ned went back to putting refried beans on tortilla chips. MJ hopped up on the counter, leaning back to look at the rest of the males in the kitchen. Peter grinned at her, ducking into the fridge to pull out cheese and jalapenos. Bucky had a soft smile on his face as MJ began a debate of why the nachos needed more spice and Ned told her no.

Steve just sat there, wondering what on earth happened to make his best friend become a dad….

~~~

Steve stretched as he entered the kitchen. He had just finished his morning run, alone as always. Sam had refused after their first time running, claiming the “on your left!” was getting old. Bucky had flat out never showed. Scott didn’t really run and the last time he offered to have the girls run with him he had gotten blank looks and Nat went, “If you even think I am going to run without a reason you are batshit.”

So, here he was, by himself at 8 in the morning making his way to get some water or a protein shake. He stopped when he noticed Toni standing at the stove, flipping pancakes. The teens were scattered across the kitchen and dining area setting up plates and other food. Bucky came from the dining area, sliding in behind Toni. Steve felt something in his chest tighten as he watched Bucky wrap an arm around the genius’s waist, looking down at her cooking. “малыш these look fantastic.”

She turned her head and smiled up at him. “Yeah well, these were the main thing Rhodey and I lived off of in college. Exams sucked and we didn’t want to deal with the stereotype of ramen noodles so pancakes it was.”

That made the former assassin laugh. He pressed a kiss to her head and went to go get the orange juice out of the fridge. As he did so, he called out, “Peter! No sticking yourself to the floor to win a shoving contest!”

There was a groan before a yelp that came from the dining room and laughter. Toni flipped another pancake and went, “You lot better wash your hands!”

New forms of groans came from the teens and Toni turned off the stove, turned around to freeze at the sight of Steve. He simply stood there, watching as she regained her composure just in time for Bucky to come up to her. He wrapped his flesh arm around her waist, the jug of juice in his metal hand. “солнышко, we must not keep those kids waiting. That son of yours can be quite evil when it comes to food.”

That got her attention away from her former friend and she sent him a smile. “Hey don’t blame me. You’re the one who decided to teach them how to fight off with a fork.”

The two of them made their way to the dining room, Bucky’s arm still around Toni’s waist. At the entrance to the dining room, Bucky looked over his shoulder and shot a smug look to Steve, who felt his eyes widen and watched as Bucky made himself home with Toni and the kids….

~~~

James smiled as he watched Peter web drag the juice jug away from ned, who threw a strawberry at his best friend. MJ (who was told that Peter was Spider-Man last night) just rolled her eyes at the boys and took another bite of pancake. Toni herself was laughing at the kids and it was then, James realized that he was in love with one Antonia Elise Stark. Just sitting at this table, watching her as she laughed and loved these kids. He sat there until they were all startled out by Friday going, “Boss! We have a Code Enterprise coming in!”

They all scrambled as Toni summoned her armor to the yard. “Are they friendly? What’s the eta? Friday get a hold of Rhodey and Marvel. We gotta get into formation.”

The AI seemed to sputter, “Uh, Boss? They are sending a message. I think you better listen to it.”

They all froze when on the holoscreen in the room projected a feed and Toni whispered, “Thor?”

The God of Thunder smiled at her, looking so different than what she remembered from two years ago. He spoke up, “Lady Iron! It is so good to see you again.”

Toni brought her hands to her mouth, eyes shining with tears. She whispered again, “You lost your hair.”

At this Thor laughed. “Not of my own will I will have you know.”

That made a watery laugh come from Toni. She took in a breath. “Thor, just, park in the back okay? If you can? Do I need to come up and meet you?”

Thor smiled fondly at her again. “I can have myself and a couple of others come down and meet you Lady Iron. I don’t think I can park it in the back as you say.”

“Okay. Just, don’t burn the yard when you come down. Trying to get those ruins out of the yard has been a bitch in the past let me tell you.”

James watched as the Asgardian laughed once more. “Give me a few moments and we will be down there.”

Toni all but ran out the door, letting James feel like he had a severe case of whiplash….

Chapter Text

James watched from where he stood next to the others as Toni ran out onto the lawn. The rest of the Avengers (New and Rogue) were all scrambling to do their jobs. Rhodey was in his War Machine suit, while the Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers was on the phone with the Council to announce that they were going to need help due to a spaceship full of Asgardians needing room to stay as well as provisions. James had been tasked with making sure the kids were a safe distance away but God help him Peter had already suited up. Thankfully MJ and Ned were more than happy to be placed in the lab (with strict instructions not to touch any projects but could start their own) for the duration of this meeting, since who knows how it could go. As James left the lab, MJ and Ned were being amused by the bots so they were in good hands. Now though, the Winter Soldier was trying to beat down the protective instinct as well as jealousy bubbling in his gut.

Toni launched herself at Thor, who swung her around and laughter coming from the two. Seeing her in the so called God’s arms made James’s grip on his Glock tighten just enough that Peter turned to look at him from behind his mask. Toni didn’t seem to care what was going on behind her as she ran her fingers through Thor’s short hair.

“Oh Thor your hair. It does look good though!” She drifted her hands down to cup his face and brushed her thumb over his eye patch. “Going for a rugged pirate look now are we?”

A deep chuckle came from Thor. “I guess so. Better than saying that my sister ripped my eye from my skull.”

Toni frowned. “Since when did you have a sister?”

“Since always apparently. Our father had many secrets.” said a new voice.

James stiffened as he watched Toni do as well. She turned from Thor to see Loki coming towards them.

Her eyes narrowed. “I thought you died. That’s what Thor told us.”

The trickster held up his hands. “Oh you know me Lady Iron. Not all that easy to kill.”

Toni let out a very unladylike snort. “Apparently.”

“Trust me when I say this Lady Iron, it is good to see you again.” Loki said, coming to a stop next to his brother.

Toni gave him a look. “Can’t say the feeling is mutual.”

Loki simply shrugged. “Trust me I had the same thought meeting one of you again.”

Toni frowned once again but her eyes grew wide when the brothers moved to show a shy Bruce Banner standing there. He simply waved, going, “Hi Toni.”

It grew quiet for a good minute before Toni ran to Bruce and tackled him to the ground. The man let out a laugh, falling to the ground and letting his fellow genius squeeze him. Tears fell from her face and she pulled back. “Oh my god Bruce!”

He chuckled, petting her hair. “It’s good to see you Toni.”

The two geniuses rolled around on the grass, unaware of the stares they were getting from the rest of the superheroes that had finally made it onto the lawn. Rhodey came up to the two giggling humans and let out a sigh, faceplate flipping up. “So, we are going to let Loki crash here?”

Toni looked up from where she was laying on the grass, peering up from under Bruce. “Well yeah. Best place to keep an eye on him.”

Loki sighed alongside Rhodey. “I will be on my best behavior. It would not do well to insult my king.”

That made Rogers go, “King?”

It was strange seeing Thor look shy all of a sudden. “Yes. King.”

Captain Marvel came up. “Let’s move this inside. The Council wishes to speak to uh, Thor about his people.”

They all agreed and began moving inside….

~~~~

James tried not to growl and continued to pace. Peter, who was still in his suit, was sitting on one of the chairs in the room across from the other conference room where the rest of the Avengers were talking. Thankfully the talk about what to do with the Asgardians was fairly simple. They would be moving all 300,000 of them (give or take) to Norway since Norway won the lotto on that one. Well, more on they had the point of that Asgard was from Norse mythology so, it made sense. Much to the frustration of the rest of the world. Thor told his people that even though he was their King, until they made their own country to listen to the laws of the land they were moving to. And even if they didn’t want to live in Norway and move elsewhere, they still would listen to their King.

When that long talk was over with (Peter counted. It took four and a half hours with three bathroom breaks from Toni,) they had to then discuss the Accords and how they worked since Bruce and Thor were off planet when Civil War happened. James watched as Toni stood on one side of the room with Rhodey and Danvers on one side with Rogers, Wilson and Romanov on the other. Peter was shifting enough that it was enough to make the already paranoid assassin on edge. On top of pacing, he was flipping a knife and eyeing the room through the glass doors of both rooms. * Since Peter was under eighteen he couldn’t be a part of the main discussion and neither one were part of the original Avengers, they couldn’t be there either. Danvers had the excuse of being the liaison of the Council and Rhodey had been there since day one so they could be there for the meeting.

James watched through the glass how much more irritated Toni was getting and how stressed the rest of the room was. No doubt because Rogers and the others were telling Thor and Bruce how they believed they were right or whatnot from this so called Civil War. James felt his spine tighten as he saw Thor stand up. He went over to Toni, patted her on the head much to the rest of the room’s confusion. He then went and stood in front of Rogers. It took only a second but it was enough. Thor brought his huge fist back and punched Rogers. In the face. The blond flew back through the glass wall, chaos breaking out. Peter and james saying fuck it and leaving the room, running and swinging to where Thor was after Rogers.

The centurion hit the floor and he flipped himself up just in time to get a boot to the face, breaking what was left of his nose. His head snapped back and he momentarily lost his balance. That was enough for Thor to grab him by the front of his suit. Romanov came up, her Widow Bites shocking into the meat of Thor’s arm. At that point Loki stepped in, grabbing the Widow by her legs and throwing her into Wilson, who had pulled out his gun. The two hit the floor in a heap. Thor ignored the minor shocks, he had worse on Sakaar. Rogers tried to kick out at the Thunder God who just shook the man.

“How DARE YOU!!”

 

That made everyone freeze. Toni tried to go over there but Bruce held onto her wrist, shaking his head at her.

Thor continued to shake the man in his fist. “You went up against this woman!” He pointed to the shell shocked Toni, who sent an equally confused look to Rhodey. Thor didn’t seem fazed that little arches of lightning that were dancing around and off the Asgardian. Once more the one eyes man snarled, a long line of lightning going across his shoulders.

“This woman who opened her home! Her arms to you! And you spat in her face over what? Not wanting to own to the mistakes you made?! Because you felt entitled to her wealth?Explain why you were oh so right?”

Loki carefully came up to his brother, who was causing the power to flicker more and more with each question. “Brother, put him down.”

Thor didn’t even turn to the other. “Why should I? He disrespected the Lady Iron and I refuse to have it happen again. Not while I breathe.”

That made Toni choke, a sob climbing out of her throat. Bruce wrapped his arms around Toni as her knees buckled in shock. James abandoned his post to go to help Bruce make sure Toni didn’t hit the floor. The two men held the Iron Queen up, as she watched the God of Thunder choke out Captain America. Loki placed a hand on the taller’s shoulder, ignoring the sparks going around his hand.

“Brother, I understand the urge to kill him. I do but we cannot.”

That made his brother flicker his eye to him. “And why not? He disregarded the rules once and it hurt our shield-sister. For what? Some Hydra whore and his pride?”

That made the room fall silent. James tightened his hold on Toni, who in turn gripped his shirt. “What does he mean Hydra whore?” the Winter Soldier asked.

It got deathly quiet before Thor began to laugh. It wasn’t the laugh he had done when he first reunited with Toni. No, this one felt like it was mocking. More dark. Thor turned his head to stare at James. “Did they not tell you?”

He made direct eye contact. “The Maximoff whelp worked for the thing you call Hydra. And she volunteered.”

James sucked in a breath. He looked down to Toni who had tears in her eyes. “I thought you knew?” was her answer. James knew she spoke the truth. She never kept anything from him. Not because they refused to but because she was an open book to him and vice versa now that they knew how to read each other.

James looked back to Wilson and Romamov, who looked guilty. He glared at Rogers who was still in Thor’s grip. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

He answered his own question, “Oh, I know why. To spare me like you tried to spare Toni.”

The Soldier stood tall, holding onto Toni. He sneered as Thor looked back to the frozen man in his hand. “Explain.”

Rogers blinked from behind his black eyes and broken nose. “It doesn’t concern you.”

Here Thor gave him another shake and Rogers’s eyes widened at the sight of Thor’s only eye glowing from the lightning building within him. It was then Toni spoke up, but her voice was just above a whisper.

“He knew that the Winter Soldier killed my parents and didn’t tell me.”

The room fell silent for a minute before Loki asked, “Who is the Winter Soldier?”

James gently let Bruce take Toni, who was not okay with that. She gripped onto his belt loops but he slowly took her fingers off of his pants. He gave her a soft but soloum look. He spoke out, “I was. Hydra took me, tortured me and brainwashed me into their perfect murder machine. Steve found out that I went on a mission to kill Howard Stark and to leave no witnesses so I killed his wife, Toni’s mother as well.”

His grey eyes landed on Rogers and hardened to match the cold of winter. “He never told her until she was shown a video of me doing it from a street camera that captured the whole thing.”

That made people lose their shit in the room. Rhodey had the look of murder in his eyes while Romanov looked twice as guilty. Wilson turned pale and looked torn between fainting and rage. It wasn’t until Bruce yelled out, “ENOUGH!”

They all froze, hell even Thor let go of Rogers in shock. The man hit the ground and groaned. Bruce pointed to the Rogues. “Take him to Medical. Now.”

They moved, as if reluctant to deal with their leader but at the same time, not wanting the Hulk to show up. Bruce pointed to Thor. “You, stop with the sparking. We do not need you to be a walking taser right now.”

At this Thor looked sheepish and even had a faint blush on his face. Bruce moved down to James and Toni. “You two, I take it you got all of your shit sorted?”

They nodded, Toni even going, “I ripped his arm off and he landed some hits on me in Siberia. Does that count?”

The scientist nodded. “For now. But,” he winced, “maybe we should take a break and calm down?”

That was something they all agreed on. And it was then Rhodey said, “We are going to need a broom.”

Chapter Text

Toni sat in her lab, watching the bots whirl around. It had been a few days since Thor “defended her honor” and in that time frame, things had been different in the Compound. For the most part, James had been withdrawn. Not towards the others that he cared about but, Toni noticed he had been quieter with them, as if he was watching them all with a new look. He did treat the Rogues very differently now. He would leave the room if Rogers or Maximoff entered. James did get into a straight up screaming batch with Romamov one day and Wilson didn’t even look at him. Thankfully Lang caught on that things had changed within their group and avoided James on his own. To be fair the Ant-Man was dealing with Hope and lawyers involving his kid.

Toni sat up straight as the door to the lab opened to reveal James walking in, slinging a bookbag to the corner. He approached her and wrapped his arms around her waist. She brought her hands up to rest on on shoulders, pressing her forehead to his and breathed. They stood there for a moment before he dropped his head to her shoulder, hiding his face in her neck. She raised her arms up to dig her fingers into his hair. She let out a small hum, just slowly swaying with him on the spot. It was a while before he let her go.

“Sorry.” he whispered.

Toni shook her head. “No, don’t apologize for it babe. You’re fine. Did anything happen today?”

 

He looked at her. “I got registered for school?”

 

That made the genius pause. “What?”

Here he grinned at her. He moved to the couch, letting U bring him the bag he slung earlier. James gave the bot a pat on the side before opening it. Toni grinned at him, moving to sit next to him on the couch. James handed her a package from the depths of his bag and she gleefully took it with tears shining in her eyes. In her hands was his acceptance letter as well as the “Welcome to Empire State University!” package. Toni let out a squeal before throwing herself at him. James himself laughed and let them fall to the couch. He smiled down at her as she pushed herself up so she could stare down at him.

“Oh my lord James! How? And what?”

Here he chuckled, moving so that she was on top of him but comfortable for the both. The smile he had on his face threatened to break it. “Well, it had been in the works since before Thor came down. I wanted to do something good with my life that didn’t revolve fighting.”

A pensive look came on his face. “That, and I wanted to be a good example to the kids.”

Toni frowned. “What do you mean?”

 

A sigh came from the former assassin. He let his head hit the couch with a soft thump. “Aside from my killing skills, I really don’t have much of anything. I didn’t want Peter or the other kids to see me, with barely a high school diploma and 70 years worth of murder for a career. I,” another sigh escaped him, “I just wanted to do right. I didn’t want Peter to use me as an example as to not continue his education. He is a smart as fuck kid. I don’t want him to not go as far as he could go with me as a reason to hold him back.”

Toni stared at him and rose up so she could look at James in the face. Her brown eyes were wide with an emotion he had never seen before and he blinked at her. “What?”

What she did next was something that he would have Friday play on repeat just to make sure it happened. Toni Stark kissed him. Grey eyes went wide as her soft lips pressed into his. Before he had the chance to actually figure out what alternative world he got sucked into, she pulled back. The smile she gave him was so full of emotion it made his heart tighten.

“James Barnes I want you to listen to me. Peter doesn’t care that you don’t have a college degree. And quite frankly neither do I. I have 12 of the damn things and let me tell you, the only thing they are good for is to shove in other people’s faces. But,” she poked him in the chest, “I am proud of you going to school. You want to better yourself and for that, I am super fucking proud of you.”

She sat up, straddling his lap in one fluid motion. “I am proud of you James. Nothing will ever change that.”

He laid there on the couch, one leg stretched out while the other was on the floor keeping him from falling off in shock. He surprised her next by surging up to kiss her. She gave a squeak and nearly toppled back but James reached out to catch her. His metal arm going around her waist while his flesh arm held her upper back.He broke the kiss with a laugh.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you.”

Toni rolled her eyes and flipped her hands over his shoulders. “You didn’t scare me. You just surprised me that’s all.”

A grin came on the other’s face. “Surprised you huh?”

Toni couldn’t help but smile as well. “Yeah. Wasn’t expecting that.”

They sat there for a minute before James went, “Can we do that again?”

“Oh thank fuck,” was the response before they kissed once more.

Friday locked the doors to the lab as well as dimmed the lights. She was going to report to Rhodey in the morning. It would be the first time that she won a bet.

Chapter Text

Thor held back a yawn as he followed the Machine of War into the Common Area. It had been a long and exhausting day with the Accords Council. On top of that Thor was still labeled as an Avenger so he had to catch up on the backlog of paperwork while dealing with Norway’s politics and trying to get things sorted out for his people. He perked up at the sound of what seemed like laughter. Sir Rhodes stopped in his tracks and let out a groan. “I forgot the kids were going to be here today.”

“Kids? As in children?” asked the King of Asgard.

Rhodes nodded and lead the way. “Yeah. Toni has been playing favorites again and this time, has three interns who basically live here during the weekends.”

They came around the corner and Thor landed his gaze on three young ones, (Give him a break, he didn’t know how Migardians age. Just that they aged a lot faster than Asgardians) who stopped in their laughter. There were two boys and a girl. They had taken up one of the couches and the short table in the living area, textbooks and papers were everywhere. Sitting across from them on the opposite couch was the man called Barnes. Thor felt his spine straighten at the sight of the man. He knew that this was one of the men who had hurt the Lady Iron but she had dealt with him on her own terms. Thor gave him a nod as Rhodes came up to the children. “So, what are you lot doing here this early?”

They had the audacity to look sheepish. “Well, the thing is Mr. Rhodey, our school is going to be hosting a new game in order to raise money.”

Thor came in, standing at the back of the loveseat to stay in view of everyone. The one eyed man could feel the cold stare of the Winter Soldier on his form as he watched the children.

The brown haired boy that was on the floor piped up, a smile on his face. “They are going to be hosting “Ninjas vs Assassins” game and it’s $10 to enter. Those who enter get a random target and you have three days to take your target out of the game. We have a month to prepare for the game, mostly because the school is trying to get a system up. During that time, we asked Mr. Barnes if he could help train us for the game!”

The girl spoke next. “The only thing is we can’t start training until we get our homework done.”

That caused the two boys to give small groans. Barnes gave them a feral grin. “Come on guys, history isn’t that bad.”

Thor nodded. “He is right. It is good to learn from history. Use it to your advantage.”

Barnes casted his eyes to him, a frown on his face. The boy on the couch looked to the god. “I fail to see how learning Roman history will help us.”

Thor used his long legs to climb over the couch and scooped up the closest textbook, from the corner of his eye he could see Barnes stiffed and his form changed from tense relaxation to straight on tense. Trying to not roll his single eye, Thor quickly read the text. “Oh! I have heard of this man. Spartacus!”

That got all of their attention. Even Rhodes. “You have?”

The king nodded. “Of course. His tactics were the gossip of the mead hall for years. Granted I was still a young warrior when this happened but he was quite good in using his smarts on the battlefield. Moving to higher ground, cutting his enemies off from their main supply lines. He was very good but sadly,” the god let out a sigh, “history and fate did not deem this man to gain victory over his enemies.”

“But he is the only man in history to run a revolution that long under another kingdom’s rule.” pointed out Barned.

Thor nodded, “Indeed which is why he was the talk of Asgard for some time.”

The boy on the floor pulled the textbook back to him to skim the paragraphs. “So, use his ideas as inspiration for the game?”

“For all of your battles both big and small little one.” Thor leaned back on the loveseat, enjoying the softness of the furniture.

The three children turned to Barnes. “We will take it under consideration.” the girl said with a nod before going back to her homework.

The boy on the floor though reached over the table and said, “Hi. I’m Peter. This is Ned and Michelle but we call her MJ.”

Thor took the boy’s hand and was surprised at the amount of strength in the grip. The (very) much older man grinned. “It is a pleasure. If it is okay with Sir Barnes, perhaps I can help out in the training of you children?”

Barnes looked surprised and went, “Uh, under supervision I don’t mind?”

Thor let out a laugh while Rhodes went pale. “Oh lords above why.”

Ned, the boy on the couch, closed his textbook with a mighty thunk. “Okay that’s all I can do for now. Can we start training now?”

Thor smiled. “I can meet you lot in the training halls. I must first go find the one who would be perfect to train your Valkyrie.”

They sent him looks as he got up from the couch. He looked to the ceiling. “Lady Friday? Where is Brynhildr?”

The AI piped down, “She is currently arguing with Mr. Loki down in Legal sir. May I have her meet you in the training room?”

Thor nodded, “Please. Thank you Lady Friday.”

Rhodes got up and shook his head. “I’m out. I am done. If you lot need me I am going to be in the lounge with a good book.”

The group gave him looks as Rhodes left the room with grumbling under his breath.

~~~~

Toni walked up to the training room, she had heard from Friday that Valkyrie and Thor were helping train the kids and if that didn’t set a fear in her gut faster than anything, well, she would eat her Iron Queen boot. She opened the doors and froze at the sight of her kids laughing their asses off at the sight of Thor hanging upside down from the ceiling via webs. Valkyrie and James stood to the side with slack jawed looks.

Ned wiped an eye. “I can’t believe he fell for it.”

Peter grinned and went up to the slowly spinning Thor. “Still doubt my skills in evasive maneuvers Mr. Thor?”

Thor let out a deep laugh. “No I do not young Peter. Perhaps you can let me down so I can help you learn how to shift your weight so you are not off balance as much?”

James came up and used the hidden knife (#6 by the way) from his arm to start cutting Thor down. Toni came in and got the kids attention. “What the hell?”

Peter grinned at her, practically shoving rays of sunshine at her. “Ms. Stark! Hi! Mr. Thor was showing us some stuff and well,” here the teen at least had the audacity to blush, “I got a bit carried away.”

Toni stood there and laughed as Thor hit the floor with a solid thump.

Chapter Text

Wanda made her way through the compound, trying to find Steve. She took in a deep breath, ignoring the butterflies in her stomach. He passed the common area and had to bite back a sneer at the sight of Stark cuddling on the couch with Barnes as they watched a movie. Wanda wanted to comment on how Stark stole Steve’s best friend on top of their freedom but refrained. Mostly because Wanda was actually scared of Barnes. The man made her want to scream in terror and flee whenever he so much glared at her. Why she had no idea but she wasn’t about to tempt fate. Wanda moved past them, ignoring the bone chilling glare Barnes sent her and Wanda made it to the elevator. She let out a sigh of relief as she pressed the floor for the gym. Usually Steve would be there working out with Sam but recently, after Thor returned to Earth, Sam had been avoiding Steve. A reason Wanda had yet to discover but she frankly didn’t care. It meant more time for her with Steve.

The doors to the elevator opened and Wanda made her way down the hallway to the main gym, the butterflies acting up once more. Her hazel eyes widened to the sight of Steve punching a sandbag, with his back to the door. She stood there for a moment, eyes travelling down his form. She didn’t care what Stark said, there was no way in hell that this beautiful specimen was bad in bed. Wanda knew it in her soul that it was another sign of the fact that Stark was wrong about everything. She took a deep breath before entering the gym, making her way over to her brave and fearless leader.

Steve pulled back when she called out to him, a smile coming across his face. Wanda had to beat down a severe blush at the sight of his soft smile. “Hey Wanda. What’s up?”

Okay, she could do this. She has fought off the Iron Queen and survived. Asking Steve out to dinner with her was doable. Wanda took a gulp before going, “I was just going to ask you something. It’s just,” she begun twisting the rings on her hands in a nervous tick she had yet to break.

Steve frowned and motioned her to the bench nearby. The two of them sat down, Steve putting his undivided attention on her. “Wanda? Is everything okay?”

“Yeah. Yes. Everything is fine. I just wanted to ask you something. That’s all.” she said, trying to not let her magic bubble out from her nerves.

At this, the Captain blinked and rested his arms on his knees. “Okay. Ask away Wanda.”

She bit her lip. By the gods this was terrifying. Whoever said asking out your crush was worthwhile was a dirty stinking liar. Wanda decided it was now or never.

“Willyougotodinneriwthme?” she spat out before hiding her face behind her hands.

Steve blinked at her in confusion. “I’m sorry?”

She peered at him from behind her hands. “I asked, if you wanted to go to dinner with me.”

Blue eyes blinked again. A new look settled in them. “To clarify, you want me,” he pointed to himself, “to go to dinner with you?” his finger moved to point at her.

Wanda nodded. Steve’s eyes widened a bit. “And I am taking it as you are not asking me as just two friends to get something to eat in the cafeteria?”

Wanda shook her head. She begun twisting her rings again.

“There is that burger place up the road that you like and so, um,” she grew quiet.

Steve sighed and ran a hand over his eyes. “Wanda. Look, um,” a blush came over his cheeks. “I am flattered, really but. I can’t.”

Wanda looked at him, eyes growing wide and pupils going small. “What?”

He rubbed a hand on the back of his neck.

“Don’t get me wrong, you are an attractive young lady but I can’t. It would be like, dating my sister and I just, I can’t Wanda. I am sorry.”

He didn’t get a reply for the Scarlet Witch stood up and fled the gym. Steve sat there and sighed, cradling his head in his hands.

“Well, that could have gone better.” said a new voice.

He didn’t look up as Natasha came up behind him and wrapped her arms around his neck to hand off his back. Steve reached up and patted one of the arms. “I didn’t know she liked me like that. I could have sworn she and Vision had a thing.”

Natasha let out a snort. “Please, at most they were like best friends, estranged siblings at worst. Trust me Steve, we all could see that she liked you.”

A groan came from the super soldier. “Damn it.”

Natasha patted his cheek and moved to stand in front of him. Steve pulled her close and rested his head on her lower stomach. The Widow brought up a hand to card through his blond hair. “Give her time. Heartbreak isn’t an easy thing to get over.”

Steve let out a rough chuckle. “I know that feeling all too well.”

The red head smiled wryly at him before pressing a kiss to his head. “Just, give her time. Trust me.”

He looked up and gave her a soft smile. “What would I do without you babe?”

Natasha hummed and pressed a finger to her chin. “Not sure. Probably still be kicking it up in Wakanda.”

He laughed and she couldn’t help herself. The spy pressed a kiss to his lips that he gladly returned. They broke it just as soon as it began. “Come on, she wasn’t wrong about dinner. Let’s go feed you.”

Steve let her tug him off the bench. A dark gleam came into his eyes. “Maybe we could have dessert in the bedroom?”

The smirk he got in return was full of promise.

Chapter Text

James bit back a yawn as he made his way deeper into the lab. He had come down from his normal patrol of the compound to make sure Toni was in bed. Sure he trusted Friday with keeping the compound safe but this was one of his nervous ticks that he had yet to break. When he made it to the lab, he was curious on why the glass doors and walls were blacked out and that the bots were all in their “rooms” but he chalked it up to Toni’s brain. If there was no science going on in the background then she couldn't science. Hence why he put up a screen around the bed area. If Toni couldn’t see it then it wouldn’t be on her list of things to do in that moment. It has worked so far.

James paused when he heard a whimper come from their impromptu sleep area. Worry tinged with fear bubbled in his gut. Out of the two of them, Toni was more prone to nightmares. Which surprised him to be honest since, you know, Hydra. James quickly moved to come around the screen, her name on his lips when the sight before him made him all but stop on the spot. Toni was stretched out on the bed, her sleep shorts were around her ankles and she had one hand between her thighs. Her other hand was covering her mouth as her fingers worked over her clit.

The former assassin stood there, brain short circuiting as he realized Toni was masturbating in front of him. Her eyes finally cracked open and she gave a scream, hand yanking out of her underwear. James felt a blush take over his face and down his neck. He turned around, shouting out “Sorry!”

He heard the rustling of clothes behind him and he felt his blush deepen. Tony called out to him to turn around. He did, trying to regain his composure but he knew it was a lost cause. They simply looked at each other, a new form of awkward silence coming between them before James said fuck it and sat down on the bed next to her. Toni rolled over so their backs were facing each other. It grew even quieter between them until Toni whispered out, “I'm sorry.”

That got the man to look over his shoulder to look at her form. He frowned in confusion. “Why are you sorry? I'm the one who walked in on you. And ruined a good time apparently.”

Toni gave a weak chuckle. “Yeah there's that.”

Once again they fell quiet. It stretched on for a while until Toni murmured out, “Fuck this.”

She sat up and placed a hand on his shoulder, causing him to turn to look at her, "You really did.”

They sat there for another moment, the silence right up to when Toni said, “Oh this is stupid.”

She rolled over and slid up behind him, legs going around his waist. The brunet froze, waiting to see what Toni was doing on top of trying not to flee the room. Her arms snaked up and around his chest, hooking her chin on his shoulder the genius spoke.

“You know, I thought I had another ten minutes before you came down from your patrol.”

Heat boiled in his gut. James turned his head to look at her in the eye, grey eyes smoldering. “Ten minutes to get off? That doesn’t sound plausible doll.”

The genius shrugged for her answer. “I have a lot of pent up tension okay? Give me a break.”

James moved so that he was now facing her. He let his eyes wander up and down her form. A slow smirk came on his face. “Oh I think I can give you more than a break малыш.”

A shiver worked its way up Toni’s spine at the sound of Russian coming from the man. She steeled herself and gave him a heated look. “Is that a challenge солдат?”

James stared at her with wide eyes before growling out, “да ты, бит, 'издеваешся
.”

Toni barely had time to steady herself when James kissed her roughly. Toni held back a moan as she was pushed back against the bed, 200+ pounds of man hovering over her. He ran his tongue over the seam of her lips. She opened her mouth the try to kiss back but let out a small groan when he took her bottom lip between his teeth and tugged on it.

“Babe,” she panted out, “don’t you fucking tease me.”

He chuckled and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “Oh but солнышко, you started it first.”

Toni let out a gasp at the feel of his teeth sinking into her neck. He worried the skin between his teeth and let go with a wet pop. Toni reached up and dug her fingers into his shoulders. “You fucker.”

The former assassin rubbed his nose over the mark. “Hmm? Did I do something?”

Toni narrowed her eyes and hooked her legs over his thighs. She wanted to roll them over but she eyed his metal arm. It was holding him up so therefore that tease tatic wasn’t going to work. So onto plan B. Toni pressed her back into the bed and looked up at her (hopefully) lover. She took her lower lip between her teeth and tilted her head at that right angle. “Oh you know what you did love.”

She gently shifted, letting her hips brush against his own. It was subtle enough to make it seem like it wasn’t a big deal but it at that right angle to make James stiffen above her. “And what exactly did I do?”

 

She brushed her hips against his once more, making him growl out, “Babe. You are killing me here.”

“Well,” she began, “why don’t you do something about it then солдат?”

James all but lunged at her, capturing her lips. Toni moaned as they kissed. Hips began to move as they kissed, and Toni slipped her hands under his shirt. James broke the kiss, mouth going straight to her neck to cover it in bites. Toni dug her fingernails into his skin, dragging them down his back after particular hard bite. The genius gasped when his metal hand slid under her own shirt and grasped her hip. The cool metal felt good against her heated skin and she shivered at the feeling of the it dig into her hip. His other hand slid down her body and cupped her thigh.

James tugged her close, making her squeak in surprise at the easy manhandling. Toni tugged at his shirt, snarling out, “Off. Get this off. Now.”

James didn’t even lift himself off of her. Instead, he reached up with his flesh hand and ripped his shirt off of him. They both froze before the woman whispered, “Oh gods that shouldn’t be that hot but oh my gods.”

That got a chuckle from the former Winter Soldier. Toni pushed the remains of his shirt off of his chest and she had to bit her lip to keep the noises of appreciation to herself. James shrugged off the last bit and smirked at her.

“Now, you.”

Toni blinked at him. “Wha? OH JESUS!”

He reached up and took a handful of her shirt. He pulled and it all tore away with a solid rip. Toni couldn’t help but gape up at him as his grey eyes roamed over her body. He licked his lips and his chest rumbled as he gave an appreciative hum. For a split second the woman had the urge to cover herself but stopped. Mostly due to James lowering his head to press a kiss to her arc reactor that glowed dimly in the dark. His eyes held a strange heated look. What he said next made a blush burn across her face.

“You are so beautiful. Like staring into the sun. You burn brighter than any star and I cannot find it in myself to look away.”

Toni did. She turned her head to try to bury it in the pillows. She let out a whine at him when he rose up to make her look him in the eye. He pressed a kiss to her cheek. “I would not lie about this солнышко. You, are one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Not just in looks.”

He pressed another kiss to her. “You are smart.” Kiss. “Funny.” A kiss to her neck. “Bold.” He nipped at her ear, causing her to whine. “Brave.”

He pulled back, just enough to look her straight in the eye and go, “Я люблю тебя.”

Toni sucked in a breath, her mind crashing. Toni.exc was no longer working. She didn’t even get a chance to say anything before James slid down her body and got to the apex of her thighs. His grey eyes held her own brown eyes only for their eyes to break contact when he pressed his lips to the top of her panties. Which made Toni throw her head back with a moan. Her fingers gripped the sheets, hair gaining tangles as she moved her head. James gripped the flimsy fabric with his metal hand and pulled. Another gasp left the inventor at that move. He threw the scraps of fabric over his shoulder and rose up to look her in the eye once more.

Toni bit her lip and felt her legs quake in the thought of what was about to happen when an alarm went screaming through the compound. James nearly got kicked in the head at how fast Toni rolled out from under him. She rushed to their stash of clothes and threw on a pair of pants and nearly ran out without a shirt. Thankfully James threw one at her as he pulled one on. He pulled her to a stop right before they reached the lab doors. “Is it important enough for us to go up there babe?”

She stared at him before sending him a smirk. “Yes but look at it this way, the faster we deal with this, the faster you can come back to this.”

Here she took his flesh hand and brought it up to her chest. She pressed his hand up against her breast and watched as he let out a groan. Before he could even give it a full on grip, she let go and whirled back to exit the labs. The loudest “FUCK” that came from him would go down in history…

 

~~~~

Toni ran out onto the yard, with the rest of her team behind her. She wanted to suit up but waited. Besides, Rhodey was in full War Machine gear, Thor sparking next to him. Bruce was off a ways, clearly ready to go green in a second. Loki was casually flipping a knife in his hand while the Rogues were making positions on the lawn. Vision floated nearby, eyes closed as he got a reading on what was descending on them. She approached him first. “What do we have son of mine?”

He blinked his eyes open. “Non hostiles. They need medical attention.”

Now that made her blink, James coming up behind her in full Winter Soldier regalia. She noticed he had activated the color scheme feature and it was in his former silver with star. Only instead of a red star, it was gold. She had to beat down a blush at the implication of it. Her attention was brought back to the android. “I am in contact with them. One is in serious condition ma’am. May we help?”

Toni frowned and sighed, “Might as well. Send them down. We will do what we can.” She turned to Rhodey. “Tell Helen to get the Cradle up and ready.”

Maximoff spoke up from her spot (James was very curious on why she was far from Steve, seeing as how she always tried to be the closest to the man). “You still have that?”

Toni tried very hard not to roll her eyes at the so called witch. “Of course I do. It has been a fantastic invention.”

“That got the attention of a murderbot that you created!” the Scarlet Witch snapped.

The genius nearly snarled but stopped when a beautiful spaceship began to descend to the landing pad nearby. Toni’s fingers itched to get ahold of that tech. The doors on the bottom opened and some figures came rushing out. A man who looked human (as in legit human) came running up to her, out of breath. “Please! My dad! I...I didn’t know where else…”

Toni watched as he gripped her wrists and all but collapse on the ground. She went down to her knees to look him in the eye. “It’s okay. We are here to help. Are you hurt?”

The man shook his head and looked behind him. Toni casted her brown eyes to see a stout male figure approaching. He was carrying a blue skinned male(?) wrapped in more leather (again, questions) than any of Toni’s crew even thought possible. The stout man who was grey skinned with amazing red tattoos all over his torso, gently spoke. “It is not looking good Quill.”

Toni nodded to Vision. “Hurry, get him to the Cradle. But be gentle.”

Vision nodded and took the injured alien in his arms. With a flutter of his cape, he flew to the main compound. Toni let out a sigh as the feel of the glare that she knew came from Rogers. Ignoring the good old American, she instead spoke to the clearly distraught man in front of her.

“Come on. Let’s get inside and get you lot cleaned up. You could probably use some food.”

As they stood, the Iron Queen looked over his shoulder to see other aliens coming out of the spaceship. It was enough to make the woman want a bottle of whiskey. Or two….

Chapter Text

Toni sat in one of their war rooms, watching as the ones who landed on her yard sit in their respective seats. Well, some were sitting. Others were pacing. Okay, only one was pacing. Her brown eyes followed him as he paced the room, biting his fingernails. The green skinned woman that came in with him seemed to have enough.

“Quill. Sit down.” she said, trying not to snap at him.

The man, Quill, gave out a hysterical laugh. “Like that is going to do anything Gamora.”

The woman, Gamora, let out a sigh. “Quill,” she moved to grasp his hand on his lap back, “it will be alright.”

Toni watched as he let out a sigh that seemed to deflate him. He sagged into the seat Gamora tugged him into. On his otherside was the strange tree thing. It held out its handheld game, going, “I am Groot.”

Quill smiled so softly Toni was afraid that she would have missed it by blinking. The man took the toy and gave a nod. “Thanks kiddo.”

It took everything in Toni’s soul not to coo at that. Seriously, diabetus is what that was. The talking racoon (yes, she made sure she wasn’t losing what was left of her mind) was fiddling with what looked like a gun but, here the genius cocked her head to the side.

“You should attach that powercore with a different converter and the recoil will be smoother on top of having a higher output.”

That got them all to fall silent. The racoon slowly put the weapon down and narrowed his eyes. “And what if I wanted to make the sound lessen without losing said output?”

Oh now he was just being petty. With a roll of her eyes Toni spoke. “Compress the barrel and enlarge the chamber to better distribute the energy. Also, put a bigger stock on the back to absorb the recoil better.”

Silence fell on them and then the racoon sneered. “But a bigger barrel means I can make a bigger boom lady.”

The Iron Queen desperately wanted to roll her eyes but refrained. “Yes but you are going to lose that much energy and power that you could use.”

The raccoon’s friends were watching is as if this was a tennis match. Quill had what looked like mirth dancing in his eyes. Gamora was straight up grinning. The strange blue female with them (Toni swore that she was a cyborg and gods above did Toni want to have a sit down with that later) legit have a strange sounding chuckle. “Oh I like this Terraform. She has guts.”

At that, the strange grey and red male spoke, “Should Terra’s people not have guts?”

Gamora turned to speak to him, clearly trying not to confuse the poor sod. The raccoon, on the other hand, all but snarled at her. “Bigger guns are better.”

Oh he was one of those guys. A new plan forming in her head, Toni threw her hair over her shoulder and gave him a bland look, “Well, it all depends on how you use it.”

Quill nearly brained himself on the wall behind him from laughing, Gamora herself just hid her mouth behind her hands to try not to laugh. The tree that she assumed was Groot stared with confusion alongside the grey male. The blue female grinned. Coming towards them was the final member of their group which was a soft looking female with large antenna coming from her forehead. She cocked her head to the side.

“Friend Rocket is embarrassed. Why?”

The rest of the alien crew began laughing while the now named Rocket grumbled under his breath.

 

The next second, Rocket swung the huge ass gun to Toni and gave a feral grin, “So, wanna find out who is right?”

Toni just blinked, sighed and moved. With a quick move, she launched herself out of the char she had been sitting in. Sliding across the tile floor on her knees, the woman quickly activated her wrist gauntlets with a quick snap. She learned from her quick interaction with the Winter Soldier back in Germany. She brought up her right hand, holding it not even an inch from Rocket’s face. The center repulsor glowing with a faint sound. Her left hand was also encased it its own gauntlet and was gripping the barrel of Rocket’s weapon. One foot was planted on the tile, helping to make sure her weight was distributed as well as stabilizing her form. It was very clear Rocket was not expecting that.

She was aware of the other aliens scrambling behind her but she didn’t pay them any mind. All of her focus was on the still shell shocked raccoon. All the genius did was quirk a brow in said rodent’s face. “Wanna find out how fast I can blow your rotten ass corpse out the window?”

After a few seconds, Rocket laughed. “I like you.”

Toni grinned and stood up. As soon as she did, she heard a cough behind her prompting her to turn around. She did so and had to smile at the sight of both James standing there. Rhodey sighed and shook his head.

“Can’t you go one day without screwing with someone?” said the War Machine

Toni shrugged in response. She still had her gauntlets active though as she moved to let James stand next to her. She pressed a kiss to his cheek and smiled at him. “Hey babe.”

He smiled in return. “Hello люблю. You seem to be keeping our new allies entertained.”

Toni beamed at him. “I try babe.”

He rubbed his nose against hers. “And you succeed.”

They continued to smile at each other and then, he sidestepped her and straight up backhanded Rocket clear across the room. The group freaked. He paid them no mind, instead he followed to where the animal had been thrown. Rocket snarled and brought up his gun only for it to meet the business end of James’s metal arm. Toni’s eyebrows shot up at the sight of it. He apparently found the camouflage feature on it and had changed the colors from its normal black and gold look to silver. The star on the other hand, was no longer just red. It had a beautiful gold outline with the tips of the stars being the same blue as her arc reactor. Toni had to beat down a blush at the realization of her colors on his arm.

James crushed the gun easily under his grip, not letting his utter satisfaction of Rocket’s eyes widening in apparent shock or fear. Reaching forward with his flesh hand, the man grasped Rocket’s suit to tug him close. With the calm of a Russian winter, he spoke.

“You will never aim a weapon at Toni. Ever. Am I understood?”

Rocket nodded, clearly shocked. James dropped him and ignored the animal’s friends as they tried to wrap their heads around what just happened. Any thoughts about it were vanished when the doors leading to the Cradle Room opened and Helen Cho said, “He is awake. And wanting to see his son.”

Chapter Text

Steve watched the new group with a concerned eye. He was not happy with that Toni went around him and his team to have this alien group take shelter at his compound. The thing that made the centurion furious was that Toni had rebuilt the Cradle. The thing that Ultron wanted all those years ago. Granted it had made Vision but that was beside the point. Steve eyed the aliens on the other side of the gym where the so called Guardians of the Galaxy were standing around. The blue man was the one that rubbed Steve the wrong way. While they all did, the man with the strange red mohawk (that Steve was sure was made out of metal) rubbed Steve the wrong way.

Sam came up next to him, looking over the group as they played around with some of the gym equipment. “What do you think Cap?”

Steve frowned, watching as the strange female with the antenna move her head to stare at them. “I don't’ like this. At all.”

“Stark is making rash decisions again. As always.”

Both men turned to see Wanda and Natasha coming towards them, both of them wearing similar looks of annoyance on their faces. Steve gave a slight wince at the quick flash of hurt on Wanda’s face. She clearly wasn’t dealing with the rejection well and, there wasn’t much Steve himself could do. Sam clearly had been brought up to speed on what happened between the two.

Natasha didn’t give anything away, thankfully. Instead she nodded her head towards the now goofing off aliens. The green skinned woman jumped up and swung around on one of the parallel bars, shocking the Earthlings at how agile she was. Natasha couldn’t help the frown that graced her features. “A group training session with these….people is a rather rash decision. Toni is probably wanting to see how we stand up to alien measures since she is rather sure the next threat comes from space.”

Steve could see that. Toni was rather sure on that since the New York Incident. He had helped her with many a nightmare after that. The blond shook his head, hooking his thumbs in the belt loops on his suit. He watched as they rest of the so called Guardians play around. “That makes sense but why did they not clear it through me is what I am curious about.”

Wanda spoke next, cutting Sam off rather quickly. “Because she doesn't respect you. At all. No doubt she is going to try to embarrass us with this.”

Sam side eyed the Scarlet Witch. “I am not sure.”

He looked back to see the tree thing (that was something he never thought he would see in his life) swinging from one of the bars with some vines in a makeshift swing. Natasha looked over to her friend. “What do you mean?”

“While Nat has a point on seeing how we might do in a fight against this group, something doesn’t sit right.” Sam cocked his head at his friends.

Scott came up, sucking down some sort of juice. “Hey guys. You ready to have some fun?”

Steve chuckled. “Fun how? Toni suggested this thing so I am wondering where the fun is.”

Scott looked confused, gulping down the last of his drink. “What do you mean? Toni didn’t suggest this,” here he pointed his head towards the still playing Guardians, “They did.”

Steve felt something shift in his chest but before he could say anything, the doors leading to the training room next to the gym opened and Toni’s team came out, lead by none other than Bucky. The rest of Steve’s team stiffened and shifted in place as they stared at the sight of his arm. A cold feeling spread in Steve at the sight of his metal arm gleaming silver, the same silver from when he was with Hydra. All of them were in full combat gear, but that wasn't what made them all pause. No, it was the colors that the star on his bicep is what made them pause. The red star was back but it was outlined in gold and the tips of the star was arc reactor blue. It was a clear show of who’s side Bucky was on. Following him was Spider-Man, bouncing on his toes in excitement. Thor came in next, speaking to a woman that was furiously typing away on a tablet. Bruce was following behind, wringing his hands as he spoke to a taller man with an actual cape. Rhodes tied up the rear, walking in tandem with one Hope van Dyne.

Steve felt more than saw Scott freeze at the sight of her, knowing that his fellow user in Pym Tech was actively ignoring him. Sam patted him on the shoulder, showing his friend that he felt his pain. They stopped and Steve watched as the Guardians came up. Their leader had on a grin, stopping just shy of Bucky.

“Hey there Terminator!”

Bucky simply rolled his eyes. “I don’t know who is worse. You or Toni when it comes to the nicknames.”

The green skinned woman cocked her head. “Where is Toni? I was hoping to speak with her.”

“She is right here!” All head turned to see her running into the room with Vision trailing behind her.

Wanda flinched at the sight of her ex-best friend, who ignored her. The Guardians all perked up, the tree even moving over to show her the electronic it held.

“I am Groot!” it said, waving the thing in her face. Toni laughed and patted the self proclaimed Groot on its head. A soft smile came on her face.

“You did huh? You are going to have to show me later. I couldn’t get past level 36.” she said, watching as Groot take on a shy look.

The three female Guardians came toward her, all showing different looks. “Well?”

Toni beamed at them. “Okay, I found the issue with Nebula’s touch receptors. I should be able to fix it within an hour. I even made some upgrades for her,” she looked towards the blue and purple one with a shy grin, “I hope you don’t mind?”

Nebula gave a smirk, one that made Steve straighten his spine. “I wish to see these upgrades.”

The raccoon snorted (seriously was no one going to point out the TALKING raccoon?) “If they are anything like the dude’s arm, I want them first.”

Nebula glared at him. “Not a chance in the lowest black hole are you getting them before me Rocket. I will send you into a star first.”

He laughed, giving a feral grin, “Wanna try me?”

The softest looking female spoke next, “Um, did my request?”

Toni ignored the bickering two and came up to her. “Don’t worry Mantis. Strange and I worked on it.” She waved Vision to come closer. He smiled at Mantis, who blushed and the tips of her antenna glowed, and handed her a case. She opened it and let out a soft noise. The green skinned woman came up on her other side to let out a noise as well. Mantis pulled out a beautiful necklace that was malachite inlay with bronze on a lovely braided leather cord. The tall man with the cape came over and offered to tie it around her neck. As he tied it, he spoke.

“The bronze is actually a spell that helps block out stronger emotions until you grow accustomed to the crowds.”

The blush on her face came back as the man trailed his fingers across her neck. The grey man that was part of the Guardians frowned and got a nudge on his shoulder from the human looking man. Mantis looked up and brushed her fingers over the necklace and gave them all a smile that seemed to be made out of pure sunshine. Vision seemed to blush and coughed into his hand. Toni grinned at that before going to the final woman. They stared at each other before Toni went, “I got it covered Gamora.”

Gamora nodded, “Thank you Toni. I understand if it was difficult to retrieve.”

The Iron Queen waved a hand, “Nah. It was rather easy. Trust me, we have ways here on Earth.” She tossed a wink to the purple haired woman.

It made Steve wonder what the request was but decided it wasn’t that important. Steve made his way to the little powwow, watching from the corner of his eye as Bucky stiffened and glared at him. Seemed he was still mad over Wanda. Steve also noticed how all of the Guardians moved too. Their leader piped up, “Alright peeps let’s get this show on the road. So,” he clapped his hands, “who goes first?”

Toni rolled her eyes, “That depends on what you lot want to do.”

The man laughed, throwing his head back, “Oh sweetie you don’t wanna know what I want to do with you.”

Steve felt his eyes bug out of his skull and Bucky narrowed his eyes and pulled his lip back in a silent growl. The blue skinned man slapped him across the back of the head. “Boy! What have I told you about keeping it polite around women like Toni?”

Rubbing the spot, he grumbled, “Treat them with respect or you will feed me to the crew.”

With a nod that made his red mohawk dip, blue man snarked, “Damn right. Best start apologizing kiddo.”

Here he looked over at the silently growling Bucky. “Or else I might not have a choice but to feed you to the crew.”

As the sandy blond tried to save his ass from the asskicking of the century, the red mohawk man nodded at Toni. “And don’t you think I forgot about you ma’am. You did me a solid and I will pay you back.”

Toni waved her hand again, “Don’t worry about it-”

He cut her off, “I am afraid I must insist Ms. Stark. Once we figure out how to transfer credits to you, I am paying you back for use of that fancy machine you used to safe my life.”

Toni stared at him, along side the rest of her team. “W-What?”

Gamora nodded, “We are repaying you Toni Stark. You saved Yondu’s life. That means the world to us.”

Rocket shook his head, breaking off his argument with Nebula. “Yeah. You thought we were just going to ditch without paying you back? We ain’t like that.”

Groot came up and slipped its hand in with Toni’s. “I am Groot.”

Tears welled up in her eyes that she quickly wiped away, Rhodes placed a hand on her shoulder, giving her a smile. Bucky came over and pressed a kiss to the side of her head. It was enough to make the Guardians shift closer. Toni sniffed once and shook her head. “Okay, enough of this. We came here for a training session.”

She clapped her hands and pointed to the human looking man amongst the Guardians, “Quill, you said you guys wanted to spar? Well let’s get to it!”

The three groups made their way to the training room next door, Steve watching as Bucky slipped an arm around Toni’s waist and a small pang of jealousy thrummed in his heart at the sight of it. Part of him still loved Toni and probably will until his dying days. They all got in the room and Toni walked up to the main console.

“Okay, so, since we have an odd amount of people here, we are going to do this a bit differently. That and some of us are not fit for combat.”

Here her brown eyes casted over to where Bruce and Mantis were standing to the side. The woman Thor had been talking to when he walked in waved her tablet in the air, “Yeah we are going to be with Toni at the main console.”

Sam looked at her, “And you are?”

“Oh! Sorry Mr. Birdman. Name is Darcy! I’m Thor’s assistant as well as friend so, yeah.” The grin on her face was rather sharp. It was enough to make Natasha raise her eyebrows.

Sam held his hands up in surrender, “Sorry, just curious.”

Toni rolled her eyes but continued, “So we are going to let the guests pick who they want to spar because we are nice folk. Which means,” she looked to them, “who wants to go first?”

They began to push each other out of the way as well as shouting over each other. In the end, Gamora won and pointed at Natasha. Steve dared to glance at his lover, seeing that she simply rolled her shoulders back. He had to ask, “Nat? You sure?”

Natasha gave him a grin and said her favorite thing around him, “Yeah. It will be fun.”

The rest of them moved to the side, watching as Gamora and Natasha walked to the main floor. The both of them eyeing each other. Natasha clicked her Widow Bites on, checking their charge. Gamora simply drew out a short metal stick and held in against her forearm. They squared up against each other, each one falling into their own stance. Then, without warning, Natasha shot forward. Gamora narrowed her eyes and stepped forward one step to meet her. The Black Widow threw her fist in a vicious uppercut. The purple haired woman caught the fist and kicked out, forcing the human to back off. Natasha flipped back and landed on her feet, narrowing her eyes at the other female. Gamora smirked and brought the metal object up across her chest. With a quick movement, she swung her arm out to the side. Steve’s jaw dropped at the sight of the now sword in the alien’s hand. Natasha blinked and went, “Well, wasn’t expecting that.”

The next thing she knew, Gamora launched herself and had crossed the space in a time that was impossible by human standards. Natasha barely even had time to bring up her arms to guard against the kick that sent her clear across the room. Gamora followed, not giving the assassin time to get her bearings. Gamora threw a few punches and swung her sword a few times. The punches got in and only a couple of nics to Natasha’s arms before the Black Widow threw a punch that had her Widow Bite active. She hit straight into the meat of Gamora’s thigh. The green skinned woman didn’t scream. Instead she kicked out, her boot making direct contact to Natasha’s face.

Steve took a step forward, hands tightening into fists at the sight of blood pouring out of Natasha’s nose. The red head reeled back with a cry and glared at her opponent. With a snarl, she darted forward and lept up, legs first. Gamora’s eyes widened at that before narrowing. She dropped her sword and easily caught the other before Natasha’s thighs could squeeze around Gamora’s throat. Gamora spun, using the momentum build up and tossed the Black Widow back to the other side of the room. Natasha rolled and came up in a crouch. Gamora simply popped her neck in return. Before either one could move, a shrill whistle noise was blown. Steve looked back and saw Toni holding up her hand.

“Alright ladies enough. I think we got what we could out of that fight.”

Gamora leaned back on her heels and raised her head, sneering down at the human. “She needs work.”

Natasha stood, ignoring the quickly mother henning of one Steve Rogers to glare at her. Nebula smirked, “Indeed. Her form is lacking.”

The two sisters grinned at each other, sharing some form of joke. Steve had enough. He turned to them, “This is not just about sparring is it?”

The Guardians looked at him. Mantis narrowed her eyes and her antenna glowed; the grey man legit growled and plamed the knives resting on his waist; Rocket bared his teeth and brought up his big gun from his back; Quill resting his hands on the butt of his pistols, narrowing his eyes; Gamora and Nebula rolled their shoulders back and Groot glared up from where he was playing his hand held game. Yondu stepped up and spoke, “Now what gave you that idea?”

He took another step, “Could it be that you finally noticed? Well,” he laughed, “color me surprised you noticed anything.”

It was then Steve realized that they, the Guardians, had been informed of their “civil war” and had chosen a side. The blond man narrowed his eyes and shifted, ready to have his shield drop at a moment’s notice. “If you are insinuating what I believe you are-”

Yondu gave a bark of a laugh, “Now this is something I was not expecting to see. Who knew that little shits like you existed even on backass planets like Terra.”

Wanda took a step forward, hands sparking with her magic. “I suggest you watch your tone.”

“And I suggest you shut the fuck up.” The blue man sneered, his uneven teeth showing as his lip curled. “I did not survive Ego stabbing me to deal with a spoiled ass bitch like you.”

Wanda brought her hands up, hands and eyes glowing. Before Steve could try to stop her, Yondu whistled. All of a sudden, an arrow was hovering in front of Wanda’s face. All of them froze. Yondu cocked his head to the side. “You really wanna go there little lady?”

Wanda gritted her teeth, “I can still kill you.”

The Guardians let out laughs. Yondu grinned and let out a slow whistle, The arrow dipped down and was now floating at the level of Wanda’s heart. Steve felt his blood freeze as he realized there was nothing they could do to stop the alien if he wanted to kill Wanda. Even if Steve threw his shield at Yondu or if Sam tried to knock Wanda out of the way, nothing would be in time if Yondu whistled. Said man began to walk forward once more.

“You lot will listen the fuck up because I am only going to say this once.” He glanced around, his red eyes taking in their positions.

“Toni Stark is now under our protection. Should something happen to her,” here he leveled a look at Steve’s team, “we will find those responsible and make sure they are taken care of. We look after our own.”

He whistled and the arrow returned to his side with a trail of red light. He caught it in his fist and he holstered it. With a flap of his cape, he turned to a shell shocked Toni. “I do believe we are done here. Come on y’all. I want some of this Terra food.”

The Guardians all turned and left the training room, unaware that they left behind a now terrified group of humans….

Chapter Text

Toni gripped the sheets, tangling her fingers into the fabric. Between her legs was one James Barnes, a wicked grin on his face. Her shirt was hiked up to her armpits, her pants thrown across the room and her underwear was barely hanging on under the attention of the man that was slowly driving her crazy. He tugged at the thing fabric with his teeth, a smouldering look on his face at the sound of her whine.

“James please,” she whimpered, tightening her grip on the sheets.

The grin he sent her was just on this side of not being smug. He leaned forward and rested his head on her lower stomach. His arms wrapped around her legs, hooking them on his shoulders. James’s smile turned softer as he pressed his stubbled cheek into her skin. She raised an eyebrow at him only to screech in laughter as he blew a raspberry on her skin. Toni tried to kick out but the man locked her legs down with his arms, furthering making her squeal in laughter. Toni retaliated by rolling over and scrambling free. James followed her, metal arm snatching out to catch her ankle. His other hand came up, tickling behind her knee.

Toni laughed out, “NO! JAMES THAT’S CHEATING!”

She easily kicked herself free, mostly because James was laughing at her. With a scramble of limbs, she was off the bed and around the screen blocking their sleeping area in the lab. Behind her, Jame smirked and bounded after her. A squeal came from the woman, twisting on her heel to run around one of the many tables in the lab. They led on a merry chase, rounding tables and dodging random equipment. The bots beeped in confusion at the sight of their humans laughing and running around the room. James let out a deep laugh as Toni did a sharp turn, dancing out of his reach. He skidded a bit on the smooth floor before bounding after her. It did not take long before he scooped her up from behind, her feet kicking the air. The two of them laughed, joy pouring off of them in waves.

He nuzzled her neck, humming a small tune. Toni pressed herself into him, tilting her neck to the side to let him nuzzle deeper against her skin. The two of them stood there in the lab, just enjoying each other’s presence when the door opened to reveal Rhodey entering. He gave a look of disgust.

“For fuck’s sake Toni can’t you put on pants.”

She stuck her tongue out at her best friend and pressed a kiss to James’s cheek. “I will grab you a shirt too love.”

The smile she got in return was enough to make her heart melt. The Winter Soldier turned to the War Machine and raised an eyebrow in a silent question. Rhodey gave a huff. “Look, trust me. I don’t want to disrupt this little love fest, the Guardians figured out how to transfer credits to our dollar system so they want to pay Toni back.”

 

James raised an eyebrow at the sound of Toni cursing from behind the screen. Her head stuck out at that. “They meant it?!”

Rhodey smiled at her. “They did so baby girl. Now come on, Gamora said something about Quill taking them out for pizza.”

The grin on her face threatened to break her face. “And I know just the place!!! One does NOT get pizza from anywhere but New York!”

James chuckled, “Damn right. We will meet you upstairs in about 5 minutes?”

It was Rhodey’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “As if. Knowing you, you would go back to whatever you were doing.”

 

James rolled his eyes and gave the other man a look. “You mentioned pizza. As if Toni would turn down food for sex.”

“You know, fair enough.” Rhodey said, shaking his head. The two men chuckled as Toni came running around the screen. She threw a shirt at her lover and raced towards the door.

“Shake a leg guys. Pizza waits for no man!”

James and Rhodey chased after her with laughter bubbling out of them….

~~~

Steve trekked through the kitchen, biting back a yawn. It was early, even for him but damnit he was hungry. Nights spent with Natasha made him hungrier than normal, probably because she wears him down like no other workout does. He made his way to the fridge, hoping that someone left something in there he could nuke in the microwave before eating when a noise made him freeze. Turning around, his blue eyes feel on the sight of one horror faced Wanda. He frowned for a second before realizing that his healing hadn’t kicked in yet, leaving the scratches and bite marks that clearly showed what he had been doing. Her eyes were wide and tears glistened in her eyes.

Steve held his hands up, “Wanda.”

Her eyes fell on him and the look of betrayal and hurt transformed in to one of just rage. Steve didn’t even have time to react for a wave of red slammed into him, tossing him clear across the kitchen. His back hit the top of the bar before he skid across it. As soon as he could, he jumped to his feet and ducked under another wave of magic. Alarms began sounding off, which he ignored. Instead, he dove out of the kitchen and covered his ears as more magic shattered the glass wall that showed the grounds. Steve didn’t even try to look back at the enraged witch. He began to run, jumping over the broken glass and moving outside so he didn’t get anyone in the way. The last thing he needed was someone getting hurt on their way to the bathroom. Steve ducked, feeling the strange heat of Wanda’s magic barely go over his shoulder. A cry from behind him made his heart hurt but Steve kept running until something latched around his legs. He grunted as his chin hit the ground, quickly pushing himself over to see red magic pulsating around his legs.

Steve tried to kick out only to get dragged back to the floating Wanda, her hair moving on its own as her power flowed from under her skin. Steve spoke, “WANDA STOP!”

Tears ran down her face and she went, “NO!”

He looked behind her to see both his team and Toni’s coming out, followed by the Guardians. Fear coiled in his gut, and yelled out, “Please! Wanda! You have to stop!”

 

A scream of unbridled rage came from the woman, “I don’t have to do anything Steve. Except,” she brought a hand up, curling her fingers in.

Steve felt the magic around his legs stretch over him, pressing his arms to his side and he began to float up towards her. His blue eyes went wide at the show of power she was making. Flicking his gaze behind her, he saw the others fanning out but slowly moving towards them. Bucky’s eyes were narrowed but everyone shared the same look of confusion. Wanda floated down so they were eye level. Tilting her head to the side, Wanda gave a slightly crazed grin.

“I can make you love me.”

That made everyone stop. Steve felt his jaw drop. “What?” he whispered.

Wanda cooed at him, bringing her hands up to cup his cheeks. “I can make you love me. We are meant to be Steve. You and I. As it should be love.”

Steve felt a new form of fear settle within him. “Wanda. Wanda listen to me-”

“NO!” she roared out, digging her fingers into his skin. Steve couldn’t help the wince for both her fingers and magic tightened on him. “You listen,” she began, not noticing the others moving closer. “I love you Steve. I have ever since that day.”

He frowned, seeing Toni give him one of their old signals. Keep her talking. “What day?” he asked in a low voice.

The smile he got in return made something rattle in his chest. “That day. Where you fought against Stark. Seeing you throw her into the ground, slamming your fist into her gut was just,” she let out a hiss of joy, throwing her head back in clear extacy.

Steve gritted his teeth. “I never wanted to fight her.”

Wanda snapped her head forward with enough force to make it pop. “Lies. I could see it. Everytime she argued back, didn’t follow the rules, disregarded you. She never did understand you Steve. But I did.”

He didn’t let it show that Toni was now behind her, using her new nanosuit that was awe inspiring. “You?” he asked.

Wanda’s smile grew, showing off more teeth. “Yes me. I knew how it felt, to have no one respect you. Listen to you. Understand you.” Wanda moved closer, her breath ghosting over his lips.

He tried to pull back but the magic holding him still would not budge. “Yes Steve. I fell for you hard that day. Seeing you fight back against her was,” her eyes gained a new glint, “beautiful.”

Steve gulped and hung his head, “I see. Wanda, I am sorry.”

Wanda frowned, “For what?”

He looked up at her and went, “This.”

Wanda had a look of confusion for a second before she screamed in pain as Toni let out several blasts at the witch. Steve yelped as the magic holding him up vanished and he fell to the ground. He hit it with a thud and groaned, rolling to his side. Seriously he couldn’t take much more of this shit. Steve got to his knees and looked up to see Toni holding out a hand and several other FLOATING pulse blasters were firing at a glowing Wanda. Wanda tried to fight back only to be overpowered by the powerful blasts. She hit the ground with a crash and as soon as she got onto her feet, Wanda screamed and launched herself upwards. Steve watched with wide eyes as Loki appeared behind her and slammed a gold shackle around her neck. All of the red magic vanished within an instant and Wanda collapsed to the ground. She writhed and clawed at the metal on her neck.

Whirling around to the now scowling Loki, the woman snarled out, “What did you do?!”

Loki raised an eyebrow. “I put an end to your tantrum.”

Wanda screeched, swiping her hand out no doubt trying to claw Loki’s eyes out when the man with the cape from the “training” session came up and poked her in the head with some glowing fingers. “Alright that’s enough.”

Wanda collapsed to the ground in a heap, not moving. Steve grunted as Same came up, pulling him up. “Is she?” he had to ask.

The caped man rolled his eyes, “She lives. I simply put her to sleep. She will wake naturally but not for a couple of hours at minimum.”

Steve watched as the man flicked his hand and his CAPE flew off and seemed to reluctantly wrap around Wanda. With tugs, it picked her up and floated behind the man. Loki crossed his arms over his chest, letting the others come closer. “Now, I knew she was unhinged but can someone explain what in the Nine made her finally lose all form of sanity?”

Steve closed his eyes, “I know.”

Bucky scowled at him. “Oh? Mind sharing with the class?”

A deep bone rattling sigh came from the man out of time. Sam pressed a hand to the blond’s chest to help him steady himself. Steve gave a nod, in both thanks to Sam and to answer Bucky’s question. “She, uh, had confessed to me a couple of weeks ago.”

That made people’s eyebrows shoot up and Toni landed next to Bucky, the nanobots crawling back to their container. Toni turned to Rhodes and went, “I TOLD YOU!!”

Rhodes groaned, “Fuuckkk.”

Steve ignored them and continued to explain, “It seems that she wasn’t really over it. And well, I may had um,” a deep blush came across his face.

Sam picked it up and grinned, “Well I will be damned. You finally got some huh?”

Even as angry Bucky was at him, a faint smile came across his face. “Color me impressed you shithead.”

Steve coughed, blatantly not acknowledging the looks from the others. “Yes yes. Well, I had gone into the kitchen to get something to eat,” (“Oh I bet you needed some refueling” snickered a voice) “when Wanda came in. My healing hadn’t kicked in yet so she saw the….remnants of my, uh,”

Toni, thankfully, took over, “So she had seen your little tryst leftovers, which seriously bad etiquette on your one night stand partner, and in a fit of jealous rage, kicked your ass?”

The blush on Steve’s face was enough to make a new color of crayon. Natasha coughed, bringing attention to the main focus. “What do we do with her now?”

 

Steve looked down at the ground. Rhodes spoke next. “She broke the rules of her pardon. While granted Rogers isn’t an Avenger,” the man ignored the look of hurt and wince from the blond, “she did attack a US citizen unprovoked.”

The group fell silent until a voice said.

“What do we do now?”

Everyone turned to see one Scott Lang crossing his arms over his chest. “It seems to me that Wanda needs to pay for what she did. She broke the rules and attacked someone she claimed she loves. There is no way around this. Wanda needs to to be punished.”

Steve sighed and nodded, “Agreed.” he turned to Toni and and nodded to her, “Do you mind if I leave you in charge of that?”

Toni blinked and gave him a wary look. “Yeah. We will deal with it.”

Steve seemed to deflate and sent a look to Sam. “I am going to head to Medical.”

Loki huffed, “I will accompany you.”

That made the blond man send him a frown. “Why?”

“Because you moron you were in contact with her magic and I do not want anything left over to be floating around. It offends the very air I breathe that it exists.” Loki snarked, beginning to walk towards the compound.

Steve just simply let out a huff and began following the God of Mischief. Having everyone stare at his bare chest was just getting awkward…

Chapter Text

It was weird, James thought. Seeing the Rogues in the same room as him but being broken like they were. Not broken in the literal sense but in a moral sense. Rogers was staring at the table, head cradled in his hands. Romanov was sitting next to him, closer than they had been before. Wilson was by the windows, staring out of them with a strange look in his eyes. Maximoff was locked down in a magic proof glorified jail cell that could house Loki for a few days. Lang was at the doorway, on the phone with someone. Probably Barton, giving him an update on what was going on.

James’s back straightened at the sight of Toni coming towards the room with Strange and Rhodey in tow. They were talking amongst themselves right up until they got to the door of the conference room. They entered and James immediately went to Toni’s side. She gave him a smile before turning her attention to the Rogues. “So, Maximoff is going to get shipped to jail. No trail. No bail. No nothing.”

Rogers looked up and in that moment, James could see how tired the man truly was. The blond nodded. “It….sounds fair. While I don’t agree with it, it is fair.”

“How in the hell don’t you agree with it?!”

They all turned to Wilson, who had the darkest glare on his face that James had ever seen. The man gritted his teeth. “She fucking assaulted you! Over what?! You being a human being with emotions and goddamn not choosing her? No Steve. I appreciate what you have done but I draw the fucking line here.”

Rogers turned so he was facing his friend from his chair. “Look, she was hurt-”

Wilson scoffed. “Yeah and guess what? Doesn’t excuse that she attacked you and had the intention to fucking mind rape and brainwash you into being her personal boy toy. I put up with a lot of shit man but Wanda was 20 pounds of crazy in a 5 pound bag.”

Now Rogers stood out of his chair. “That is uncalled for Sam.”

Wilson crossed his arms over his chest. “No. What she did was uncalled for. When you get rejected, you go and get drunk, eat a pound and half of cheesecake, cry with your buddies as you delete pictures of each other from your Facebook. What she did? That was fucking insane and downright vindictive. She could have killed you.”

Strange spoke before Rogers could. “She would have.”

They all turned to the Sorcerer Supreme with looks. Romanov asked, “What do you mean?”

Strange picked some lint off of his sleeve. “What she had intended for your good buddy Steve would have killed him. She was going to force her will on his and in turn, he would have tried to fight her back. Since, we know the man’s pride is the most important thing to him. Maximoff would have killed him within, oh, I say 5 minutes max if she did use her mind magic on him.”

Wilson looked at Rogers. “See? The girl, and I am using that term loosely here, is fucking batshit. I should know.”

Rogers looked back and forth between his friend and the magic user. “Are you sure?” he asked in a small voice.

Toni bit her lip at the sight of Strange scowling at Rogers. “I am 100% sure Rogers. Clearly your pride outweighs your intelligence as well.”

James bit back a snort, if only out of sheer will because of the look Rhodey sent them. The tension in the room came back as Wilson looked to Toni and asked, “Is there anyway I can get in contact with someone about a new job?”

Rogers looked heartbroken. “Sam?”

The black man shook his head. “I am done Steve. Like, I told you that not just Bucky needed therapy.”

Rogers blinked, “I thought you meant Wanda.”

A cruel laugh came from the Falcon. “Oh there is nothing on this planet or beyond that could help her level of crazy. I was talking about you.”

He turned from the shell shocked man back to the equally surprised Toni. “I take it I can talk to HR?”

Toni snapped out of it and went, “Uh, yeah. Here, let me walk you there.”

Wilson nodded and walked past Rogers. He didn’t even look back……

~~~~

Vision floated in the gardens outside, staring at the beautiful craft that the Guardians owned. They were spending some time here on Earth, mostly to have Peter Quill announce to his family that he wasn’t dead and to explain that his mother wasn’t crazy after all. He left with Gamora and Yondu to go see his family. Groot, Drax and Rocket were having a blast terrorizing the R&D department of Stark Industries at the moment while Nebula and Mantis had offered to stay behind at the Compound. Mostly because Nebula was for some strange reason bonding very well with Toni and Mantis, while having a magical necklace that could help block crowds of people's’ emotions, was still not used to human emotions at this level.

Vision tilted his head back at the sound of feet crushing the grass and saw Mantis walking up to him. He twirled in the air and landed softly in front of her. “Miss Mantis. How can I help?”

A faint blush came over her cheeks. “I….was just curious.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Oh? Anything in particular?”

She began to fidget. “Well, um. I was just wondering, perhaps we can um,”

Vision looked at her. “Miss Mantis are you alright?”

“Yes!” she squeaked out before looking at the ground, her antenna drooping. “No.”

Vision blinked before giving her a small smile. “Mayhaps we go have a cup of tea while we discuss whatever it is you are trying to ask?”

A deep blush came across her face. “That sounds wonderful.”

The two made their way inside, Vision looked down at her and something sparked in his chest. He took a subtly look down at his chest and wondered why a strange warmth was blossoming through it….

Chapter Text

Toni was in her lab, tinkering on something when Friday went, “Boss? Miss Potts is wanting to see you. It’s apparently urgent.”

 

Toni frowned but spoke, “Yeah. Bring her on Fri?”

The AI seemed to falter. “Actually, she’s here.”

Across the lab on the couch, James looked to the door with a frown. “Is everything okay Friday?”

Toni didn’t hear what her little creation had replied. Instead, all of her focus was on one Pepper Potts who came in the lab. Her head was high but you could tell the woman had been crying. Toni immediately stood up and rushed to her best female friend. “Pep? What’s wrong?”

Across the lab, James sat up straighter and was clearly making a list of who to make disappear. Pepper sniffed and said in a quiet voice, “Can we have some girl time please?”

Toni flashed her eyes to James who had sighed. The man looked to one of the cameras for Friday. “So what are our guests up to?”

Friday chirped in, “Some of the Guardians are in the kitchen cooking with Vision!”

James frowned slightly. “Who exactly?”

“Drax, Rocket and Yondu.”

James’s eyes widened. “Oh gods.”

Toni and Pepper had to laugh as the man rushed out of the lab as if the hounds of Hell were on his heels. Pepper giggled into her hand, “I am thankful he is trying to prevent mayhem.”

Toni ushered Pepper to the couch. “Bless him. Keep an eye on them Fri please. I don’t want to explain to the fire department why they were called out here. Again.”

 

The two women giggled again and sobered up slightly. Pepper looked at her and went, “Toni, you have to promise me to not….get mad.”

“Why on earth would I get mad?” Toni asked, confusion dripping from her tone.

Fresh tears welled up in Pepper’s eyes as she fished around in her purse. She took out a slip of paper and handed it over to her friend. Toni took it and then promptly felt her jaw hit the floor. Toni was staring at a sonogram. She shot her eyes back to Pepper, who was looking down at her lap. “Pep?”

Pepper hiccuped. “I’m pregnant Toni. About 7 weeks along.”

The CEO was not expecting Toni to hug her tight. Well, hug. Tackle hug. Same thing really. The two of them began laughing as Toni rolled them off the couch and begun to swing Pepper around in a hug, the taller woman’s feet barely touching the ground.

“Toni!” Pepper laughed out, wrapping her arms around the genius’s head. The shorter woman smiled up at her. Toni quickly set her down and rushed over to the nearest desk.

“Oh this is amazing. A mini Pepper running around. Oh Pepper I am so happy for you!” The brown haired woman whirled and beamed. She then began to draw up different things. “We are going to need to make sure you are happy and well. Oh, and of course the baby needs things too.”

Toni frowned, “Oh hell no. Most of these are just ugly as sin. No.”

Pepper blinked, “Wait, Toni slow down. Are...are you looking up baby stuff for me?”

The other woman blinked in return. “Well yeah. Like hell I am going to let you do this alone. Besides, if this is all I can do to help then I will.”

Pepper came up to her and hugged her. “You haven’t asked about the baby’s father Toni.”

At that Toni scoffed. “Pepper, if you wanted me to know you will tell me. Right now, I am more focused on you and the little bean you got growing in.”

Pepper laughed, letting her red hair flow out. “I mean, you are not wrong Toni. But, I..” the woman fell silent. “I want you to know who the father is. I haven’t told him yet since, well, it was a one time thing. We just, decided to try you know?”

Toni frowned. “So you had a one night stand? Pepper that isn’t like you.”

The red haired woman laughed, fresh tears coming forth. “I know. Well, not really a one night stand. We have been good friends for years and we got to talking about what ifs you know? Like, oh yeah we can totally date. Oh sex isn’t that hard since you are pretty attractive. And it just…”

Pepper sat down on a stool that DUM-E had wheeled up with. She patted the bot on the arm. Toni climbed onto the desk to look at her friend. “Pepper what aren’t you telling me?”

The brave and amazing CEO of Stark Industries broke down. Shoulder wracking sobs flowed and it was enough to make Toni nearly fall off the desk in her haste to get to the other woman. “Pepper what’s wrong?”

Pepper wailed out, gasping for air. “I can’t Toni! I can’t do this to him! He...he has a life a-and a career! I don’t want him to hate me!”

Toni patted her on the shoulders. “Pepper? Babe, love. Who is the father?”

“It….it is Rhodey….”

Toni sat there and took in a deep breath before hugging Pepper tight. They would figure this out. She turned to look at one of Friday’s cameras. “Fri. Not a word. To anyone. Am I understood?”

“Yes Boss.”

~~~

Scott Lang walked the halls of the Compound, wondering if he could get away with punching Steve Rogers in the dick. He had spent a good year and some change on the run with the man and his friends, only to learn how much of a giant douchenozzle the dear old Captain America was. Is. It is a complex thing. Scott had begun seeing the cracks forming when they were kicking it up in Wakanda (he had made good friends with some of the guards and had them on his Facebook) and only when they had returned, it grew worse to the current state. Scott sighed, shoving his hands in his pockets when he heard a noise. He came to a stop and listened. There were voices coming from one of the rooms up ahead. Narrowing his eyes, Scott pulled out the button for his suit that he wore under his clothes. Seriously, it was super easy to do so.

Scott approached the door and saw it was cracked open enough to let sound out. He pushed the button and shrunk. It was times like these that Scott was thankful Stark (Toni) had chosen tile throughout the entire building. Scott slid into the room only to stop and feel his stomach roll. In the room was one Steve Rogers and one Natasha Romanov. Having sex. Scott didn’t even hesitate. He turned on his heel and ran out of the room, regrowing to full size before he found a trash can. Hey, he worked janitorial before. He wasn’t going to do that to them.

Scott hacked and spat in the trash can. He stopped and looked up to the ceiling. “Hey Friday?”

“Yes Mr. Lang?”

Scott gained an evil grin, “Wanna do a thing with me?”

The AI sounded hesitant. “What thing Mr. Lang?”

The Ant-Man chuckled darkly. “How much do you want to destroy the good Cap’s social standing?”

Friday didn’t hesitate this time. “Go on?”

Scott began walking down the hallway to his room, “Oh, I can think of a few things. But first, I need you to uh, let me “hack” a few files from you.”

The thief smiled as he entered his room, Friday going “Of course sir.”

Chapter Text

~~Smut Starts~~~

Toni hummed as she lounged on the bed in the lab, flickering through projects on her tablet. Only, she wasn’t really paying attention to her tablet. Instead, she was making herself as sexy as possible. Which means that she was wearing gold booty shorts and nothing else. Granted, the genius was laying on her front and was making it seem like that she was relaxed as she waited for James to come back from doing his normal perimeter check around the compound. Toni grinned as she heard the door to the lab open and then close.

His heavy boots barely made a noise as he made his way across the lab and Toni had to bite her lip to keep from giggling. A strangled gasp from behind her made a smile crack across her face and she rolled over to lay artistically only to freeze at the sight of one Steve Rogers staring at her with a deep blush. Toni couldn’t help it. She screamed and scrambled for something to wear. He went “I AM SO SORRY!”

Coming around the screen was James who whipped his head to the blond. “I thought I told you to stay in the hallway!”

Rogers had turned around but Toni could still see the blush on the back of his neck. “I got curious and wanted to see if she was actually sleeping since I know she doesn’t get a lot of it.”

Toni scowled, “Friday, care to explain why you didn’t tell me he was in here?”

“I am sorry Boss but you had the privacy protocols active and he had come in with James.”

James held up his hands, “He asked if he could borrow my tool box to work on his bike and he came down with me to get it.”

Toni’s brown eyes closed and she sighed. “Just take the box and go please. James? If you do not mind I am going to go take a shower.”

Both men at least gave her the decency to scurry to the bathroom in private. Rogers rushed to the door, gripping the tool bag’s handles tight enough to make James frown. “I am sorry.” the blond whispered.

James gave him a look, “Just, go on.”

Rogers left the lab, clearly wanting to escape. James himself sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. Why was he such a fucking sap. The metal armed man rolled his neck before making his way to the couch. He should have known something was up when he saw the bots all in their rooms but he had foolishly thought that Toni was trying to get some sleep. He sat on the couch and quickly undid his boots. Once they were thrown off, he pulled his socks off and sent a look to the bathroom where he could hear the shower going. He bit his lip, thinking for a good minute before saying, “Fuck it.”

Getting up, the man made his way to the bathroom. On his way, he pulled off his shirt and undid his jeans. He silently slid into the bathroom only to freeze at the sight of Toni Stark in the shower. The glass doors were fogged over, obscuring some of the view but he could see enough to make his throat go dry. Toni was washing her hair and was facing the wall, letting her back and bottom be on full display. James quickly let his pants slide off his legs and fall to the floor with a near silent clank from his belt buckle. Toni didn’t seem to hear it over the rush of water.

James padded close and opened the door. Toni let out a gasp as the sudden rush of cold air brush against her bare bottom, prompting her to turn around. Her eyes went round at the sight of one James Barnes slowly murder strutting towards her, letting the water fall down him. Toni responded well. She squeaked and pressed her back to the wall under the shower head. James followed her and placed a hand on either side of her head.

“I wanted to say sorry doll. Didn’t mean for him to see you like that.” His breath ghosted over her lips.

Toni gave him a raised eyebrow. “And you think you can make it up?”

The slow grin she got as an answer was enough. He leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers. The moan they both let out was quiet and loud. His hands drifted down to her hips, rubbing circles with his thumbs. She huffed a breath when he broke the kiss. James simply winked at her before dropping to his knees. Toni blinked in confusion “James what are you!”

Her question was cut off with a squeal as he grasped her leg and placed it on his shoulder. He sent her a grin before pressing a kiss to her inner thigh. Toni felt her eyes widen as he ran kisses up and down her thigh before smirking at her. He took her other leg and tossed it on other shoulder. Toni’s hands flew to James’s hair, digging her fingers into the now wet strands. He paid it no mind, instead focusing on keeping Toni from sliding down the wall and then.

“JAMES!” Toni cried out as his tongue licked a strip up her slick folds.

He chuckled thickly before opening his mouth once more. The high pitched cry that fell from her lips was enough to made a jolt of lust go down James’s spine. He shifted them so that way Toni was being held up by his arms and most of her weight was on his metal arm. Toni’s fingers dug deeper into his scalp but it wasn’t painful. Instead, it was spurring him on as he continued to nip, suck and lap at Toni. One of her hands scrambled and took ahold of the metal pole that was the wash cloth rack in the shower stall. Gasps, whines and incoherent words fell from her lips as the man continued his sinful work. His tongue flickered at her clit, causing her back to bow out.

The man hummed low, making the sound vibrate through Toni. She whined again, chest heaving as James pressed his tongue deeper inside of her. The genius cried out. “James please!”

He pulled back, making her nearly sob. “Please what солнышко?”

Toni bit her lip. “Make me cum?” she asked shyly.

The chuckle that came from him was enough to make her shiver with sheer want. “Of course малыш. For you, always.”

Toni didn't get a chance to respond for James ducked his head back down. The scream that bubbled out of her throat was enough to make her glad that she had made the lab level soundproof (what with the science and explosions) and she gripped the support bar even tighter. The man between her legs chuckled deep in his chest, gripping slightly harder on her thighs. Toni gasped, letting broken phrases fall from her lips as James further drove her closer to the edge.

It didn’t take long though, given how pent up and frustrated Toni had been. James gave one good nip and that was all it took. Toni cried out, “JAMES” before arching her back. She sagged against the wall as he stood, making sure she wouldn’t fall over. The loopy grin she sent him was enough to cock an eyebrow over. “You okay?”

The giggle that came from her was slightly worrisome. “I am good babe. Very good,” she practically purred out.

James stared at her before letting out a laugh. He turned her around and snagged the body wash from over her shoulder. “Let me at least clean you up love.”

She hummed in response and the two of them wrapped their arms around each other, standing under the spray of water for a good while….

~~Smut is Over~~~

Scott popped his neck as he entered the kitchen, actively ignoring Steve as the man read the morning paper. Sitting next to him was Natasha who seemed to not to notice the man next to her. Scott had a hard time not scowling at the two of them but managed for he could see faint marks on both of their necks. No doubt Friday got the evidence already. Biting back a grin, he made his way to the coffee machine and pulled out his phone. He began texting, grinning at the little device in his hand.

“What has got you smiling over there?”

Scott jumped and saw Steve had put down his paper, eyeing his second to last “teammate”. Scott barely managed to cover his ass. “Uh, yeah. Kiddo is texting me.”

Natasha raised an eyebrow at that. “I thought she wasn’t speaking to you?”

“Yeah well, things change. She and I are working towards on fixing our relationship. Like the therapist suggested.” The Ant-Man crossed his arms.

Natasha rolled her eyes while Steve beamed at him, nearly blinding the thief. “That’s great! I am happy for you Scott!”

It took everything in the shorter man not to roll his eyes. Unbeknown to the two original Avengers, Scott wasn’t texting his daughter. Instead, a small text feed was to one Miss F. There was a reason friday had liked him more than the other Rogues when they first came back….

~~~~

Sam Wilson walked down the hallway that lead to the main offices of the Human Resources Department. As he made his way to the head of said department, he passed many offices and employees. He had to make sure he didn’t flinch at the glares and harsh whispers that followed him like a bad omen. While granted, he did officially quit the Avengers but siding with Cap and officially going “Rogue” had left its mark on him. Sam continued on, only to stumble as someone bumped into him. He managed to steady himself and looked at the person he had unintentionally run over. She was a tiny little thing, thick rimmed glasses on her face and was on the slightly thicker side of the fence. She had on a Thor t-shirt and a cute little purple beanie. Tight jean shorts and black tights covered her legs and showed off how nice her legs truly were. She startled, nearly dropping her tablet.

“Sorry! I wasn’t paying attention!” she said, straightening.

Sam blinked at her. “It’s no problem. Are you okay?”

“Huh? Oh yes, I am fine. Just running late. Do you happen to know which way it is to Mrs. Madronal’s office?” she asked.

Once again, Sam blinked. “Uh, yeah. I am on my way there right now. Maybe we should walk together?”

She perked up, making Sam honestly believe that he had gained diabetes from her smile. “Oh that would be marvelous. Thank you so much!”

Sam had to subtly check his pulse. No girl this cute was real. “No problem. By the way, my name is Sam Wilson. And who might you be?”

“Oh!” she fixed her glasses, “I’m sorry. I’m Darcy Lewis and I am Thor’s PA. Nice to meet you!”

 

Well fuck a duck. Sam grinned, feeling like he was going to die. Why on earth did he have to have some of the shittest luck….

Chapter Text

Pepper gulped, smoothing out her skirt. She had arranged a meeting with Rhodey to tell him the News. She had been keeping it a secret for nearly a week now and Toni threatened to kick her ass if she didn't tell him. Hell even James told her no one was expecting anything. If Rhodey decided to not want the baby then (according to the metal armed man) it was his loss. Toni already called dibs on being the godmother.

Pepper startled when a knock came from the door. She cleared her throat. “Come in.”

The door opened to reveal one James Rhodes aka Rhodey striding in. He smiled at her. “Hey Pepper. You wanted to see me?”

She felt swear collecting in her bra. Pepper could do this. She nodded. “Yeah. And I….oh fuck it.”

She slid a folder across the desk. He gave her a look and flipped it open. He stared at the papers inside before slowly sitting down. His eyes flickered up to Pepper. “Is this real?”

She whined and pressed her head on the desk before making herself as small as she could. It surprised Rhodey when she began to cry. “I am so sorry. Rhodey.” she hiccuped.

He then said fuck decorum and came around the desk to hug her. She continued to cry, her mouth now opening to let out all of her thoughts. “This wasn’t the plan! I wasn’t wanting to get pregnant. I am now terrified because we have been dating for only a few weeks and we agreed to take it slow and now.”

Rhodey pulled her up to look at him. He smiled at her, brushing her hair out of her face. To him? She was still beautiful with a blotchy face, running makeup and tears streaming down her face. Rhodey pressed a kiss to her forehead, “Pepper, it’s okay. Granted it speeds up my plans and it’s kind of backwards.”

Pepper blinked at him “You mean, you’re not mad?”

Rhodey squatted down, taking her hands. “Pepper why would I be man? It’s not like you wanted to get pregnant. This?” here he pressed a hand to her lower stomach, “This might be a little accident but it doesn’t change how I feel about you.”

The woman sniffed, “But you should be mad?”

“Pepper this is nothing to be mad about. If anything I am ecstatic over this.”

Now that? Threw Pepper for a loop. “Why?”

Rhodey smiled at her. “Because I am now creating life with you. I love you Virginia Potts and this doesn’t change that.”

Okay, Pepper was now full blown ugly crying. The two of them sat there in the office and absorbed each other for now Pepper was going “I love you” into Rhodey’s chest. Her secretary was smart enough to cancel all of her meetings for the rest of the day….

~~~~

Steve groaned as he rolled off of Natasha, chest heaving. She herself was laying on the bed, letting out a moan as she closed her legs. “That….” she started off.

Steve nodded, trying to find words. “Yeah. That.”

The two of them went quiet before Natasha spoke up. “You were rather, wild this time. Everything alright?”

Steve was quiet before going, “This isn’t fair Nat.”

This prompted her to turn her head to him. “What do you mean?”

The man sat up, groaning slightly. “This. I still have feelings for Toni and yet I am sleeping with you. I didn’t want to have a relationship the way Wanda wanted because I couldn’t see her like that. Sam is mad at me. God only knows where Clint is and Scott is barely making an effort now. Bucky? It’s clear where he is.”

Natasha sat up as well, not caring about covering herself. “Steve? Talk to me. And actually talk.”

The man sighed, shoulders sagging. “I still love her Natasha. Yet, there isn’t anything I can do. It has been over a year, nearly two since that so called war and she still hasn’t forgiven me. She forgave Bucky!”

The Black Widow gripped the sheets, feeling conflicted. Instead of doing what her training had ingrained her to do, Natasha decided to do something for herself for fucking once. She came up, plastering herself to his back. “Steve, you can’t dictate or direct when someone forgives you. We hurt Toni. We did. We can’t change that. All we can do now is wait and just hope that one day it happens.”

Steve brought a hand up to grasp at one of hers. “Is it bad that any time I see Bucky with Toni I just wanna sock him in the face?”

 

Natasha shook her head. “No. It’s not. Jealousy is a thing babe. It’s just being human. You still love and care about her which is okay but I do think it is time to let her go Steve.”

The two of them sat there for a good while right up to when Friday went, “Mr. Rogers, Ms. Romanov. You might want to see this.”

They both blinked and turned their attention to the TV that the AI turned on. It was Thor, at an interview in D.C., looking more and more annoyed. The God spoke, “If you are referring to my love life then that is none of your business. If you want some rag gossip then take note that the good Captain and his Black Widow are together. Good day.”

Natasha’s eyes went wide as the crowd of reporters went wild. Steve himself summed up the situation. “Oh fuck.”

~~~~~

Scott Lang giggled like a mad man as he scrolled online, watching as the deep routed Captain America fans tear themselves apart. Many of them didn’t like that their good old American was with a (in their words) “KGB spy who was waiting for a chance to sell American secrets.” The fans were fighting amongst each other, spreading theories and rumors. All of the social standing Steve had been working on, all those favors and such are now being thrown down the drain. While people liked Steve, people weren’t big fans of Natasha. So this was causing a new form of hell for Steve and all the PR he had been doing.

Scott leaned back in his chair, pulling the huge bowl of fruit cubes towards him and his Naked juice had a funky straw with an umbrella. Friday dinged through his computer speakers. “This was rather fun Mr. Lang. Perhaps we can do it again?”

Scott sipped on his drink, watching as some hardcore Steve stan fight with some other fan online. Seriously, this was better than some of the dramas online.

Chapter Text

Peter Parker had to hold back a grin as he all but skipped through the Compound. Ned and MJ were behind him as they made their way to the lab. “You guys have no idea how much I am ready for us to experiment on projects!”

MJ rolled her eyes, “Come on Pete, we experiment at school.”

Ned watched as his best friend snark back, “Not like we do here at the lab. Ms. Stark and I tend to blow shit up on purpose.”

The three teens approached the doors to the lab and had to blink at the blacked out glass walls. Peter cocked his head to the side. “Huh, wonder what’s up.”

Ned frowned and then went “PETER WAIT!”

But it was too late, the Spider-man opened the door and all three teens bore witness to one James Buchanan Barnes between Toni Stark’s legs….with her pants hanging off one leg. The three teens began to scream, prompting the adults to jump in fear. Toni kicked James in the head before falling off the desk. Peter slammed the glass door shut only for it to shatter from the force. All five of them began to scream and the bots came out, Dum-E rushing to get a broom while Butterfingers came out with a dustpan held up like a knife. U quickly grabbed the fire extinguisher. Toni rolled to her feet, “NO! U! PUT THAT DOWN!”

She tried to pull of her pants while James groaned from his spot on the floor. The three teens had broken out into a run, fleeing from the scene. Butterfingers began to smack Dum-E with his dustpan and started a fight with his eldest sibling. Friday just sighed to herself, wondering when in the hell shit went wrong….

~~~~

Peter Quill hummed as he made his way to the kitchen, for once glad he had some time to himself. Gamora and Nebula were having a girl’s day with Mantis down in the spa of the Compound. Drax, Rocket and Groot were having fun once again terrorizing the R&D Department at Stark Industries. Yondu was spending the day with some of the New Avengers, exploring the world that his son came from. Quill himself entered the kitchen only to see the three teens that Toni had all but adopted, looking gaunt and horrified. He raised an eyebrow at them. “Hey.”

He held up his hands as the three of them jumped. “Whoa! Whoah. Calm down kiddos. It’s just me. Everything alright?”

MJ (at least that’s what he remembered her being named) gripped her cup, looking into the distance. Ned pressed his face to the granite counter with a whine while the other Peter eyes the collection of liquor that lined the back of the counter by the fridge. Ned was the one to speak for them. “We saw something that we shouldn’t have.”

Now Quill raised an eyebrow at that. Parker explained. “We saw Mr. Barnes and Ms. Stark….together.”

Quill frowned before going. “Oh. Ohhhh. OH.”

MJ shook her head. “I cannot unsee. New project, invent mind bleach.”

Quill didn’t want to laugh. He really didn’t but he couldn’t help himself. “Trust me kiddos, that’s not the worst thing.”

Ned looked up. “Really? Walking in on the adults you look up to having sex isn’t the worst thing?”

The man shrugged, making his way to the fridge. “You could have seen them in the middle of an orgy.”

He had to cackle like a mad man at the screams the teens gave. Seriously, he loved living here….

Chapter Text

Steve entered the living area feeling six kinds of tired. He had spent the morning with his PR team trying to fix the mess that was his already fucked up social standing. Steve himself didn’t know how Thor found out he was more or less dating Natasha but it was turning into a fire he didn’t know how to put out. While people tended to like Captain America, after the DC incident, his favor began to slip. Natasha was flat out disliked (even hated) and her political standing took a nosedive. He popped his neck and froze at the sight of what appeared to be a karaoke scene. Steve blinked, knowing he was staring but he couldn’t help it.

The three teens were back and had set up a karaoke stand, and there was Toni and few of the other New Avengers with the Guardians. Toni was up at the mic, some jazzy pop song coming out of the speakers and Steve just stood there, listening as she sung along to the lyrics on the TV screen.

“Didn't mother warn you?
Now she's gonna mourn you
Being damaged's how you'll end this day
You're a big mess
'Cause I'm relentless
I gotta tell you I'm on fire today!”

Toni swung around, not seeing him as the rest of the group cheered her on. Rhodey was laughing as she swung her hips. Bucky had on this silly grin that Steve had only seen when he was truly happy. The Guardians were clapping and cheering along side the kids. Loki was draped along the couch, holding a spare mic in hand with a grin. Thor was letting out a deep cheer, patting the girl from training on the back as she took a shot. Toni struck a pose as she continued to sing.

“Fool you shouldn't stare into these eyes of fire
You're goin' to regret this little fight
You don't wanna mess with me
I'm something higher
Anguish you'll know for your miserable plight
Soon you'll bemoan your mistake of a life
You'll watch yourself suffer
You'll watch me ignite!”

Steve couldn’t help but feel his jaw drop as she dragged Rhodey up with her onto the floor, the two of them laughing as Toni continued along. Peter Parker pulled out his phone and seemingly was putting this on video. Rhodey danced with Toni as she sung, swinging her around as if it was second nature. Peter Quill hopped up from the couch and swiped the extra mic from Loki, sending Toni a wink as a new verse popped up on the screen.

“I dominate, desecrate, leave you in a foul state
Put you in the trash with that nonsense you perpetuate
Why'd you get me riled up? Don't you know I'm wild, bruh?
Bet you'll understand when I'm pissing on your ashes, son
Told you I'm torturous when you feel the force of this blast
You'll crash like a cardiac explosion, bitch
Bloody body, broken nose, screw it it's a bloodbath
Try to get away but there's no escaping Alcatraz
Look what you made me do, told you I would slaughter you
Fools you lose, blood cold, ice water dude
Reach into my bag of tricks, hit you with the baddest licks ever
You'll never contend, I win
Bringing out the beast in me, challenging my decency
Now I gotta ask: do you really want a piece of me?
Hope you're ready for the pain, suffer when I hit your brain
Erase your essence from Earth, no need to explain”

That got people to shriek and cheer as he rapped along to the lyrics, Quill laughed at their reaction. Steve felt his jaw hitting the ground as Toni finished off the song. The two of them bowed to the crowd and it was then Steve realized he had no impact on Toni’s life now. Bucky was with her, both clearly happy in their own world. Steve took a step back and ran to his room, feeling very small….

~~~

Steve made his way to the kitchen after another morning run, blatantly ignoring any and all calls from his PR manager for he wanted to strangle the woman. He entered the kitchen as nearly ran into the doorframe at the sight of Toni there laughing with the women that made up the Guardians as well as Pepper Potts. Gamora was holding a slip of paper in her hands, looking at it. “And this is inside?”

Steve froze as Pepper smiled, resting her hand on her lower stomach. “Yep. According to the doctor it’s roughly the size of a peach.”

It was then Steve realized Pepper was pregnant. He didn’t stick around. He retreated and ran to his room, nearly breaking the door in his haste to close it. The blond stumbled to his bed, gripping his mouth. A soft sob came from him as he realized that things would never go back to the way they were. He didn’t know Pepper was seeing someone and it was even more of a shock to learn she was going to have this man’s baby. Tears leaked from his eyes as a life he had envisioned finally left like a fading ghost. He had imagined at one point, marrying Toni. Loving her enough to have a child together. A brown haired, blue eyed little punk who would be smart like their mother but didn’t know how to back down from a fight like their dad. Steve covered his face with his hands and cried….

~~~~

Natasha stomped her way through Human Resources, feeling six levels of mad. She was working with both her own PR Team and Steve’s to get this trash fire under control. She didn’t know who spilled the beans to Thor but now she had to get this under control and fast. Her eyes found Sam, the man sitting behind a desk. Ever since he hung up his wings, he took on a job at the HR section of the Avengers. Seemed his PTSD Psych background was going to come in handy for working with the Avengers. The glare he gave her was enough to make her look away. She tightened her fists. She didn’t know when things went pear shaped but she knew one thing, she was not going to lose Steve. Not in any way.

Straightening her back, she made her way through the offices to get to her appointment…

Chapter Text

It was another lovely day at the Avengers Compound. Things were going as well as they could. Thor was now officially stationed down in DC with some of the others to make it so his people were safe and doing his kingly duties until they sorted out WHERE Asgard 2.0 would begin to rebuild. Peter and the kiddos were doing their best, getting ready for finals. The Guardians were still around, having a grand old time of screwing with Toni’s R&D Department as well as helping Stark Industries make their own rocket for space. Rhodey and Pepper? They were working through a lot. Not in their relationship. That was solid as a rock. No, what they decided to do was go public with their relationship and announce that Pepper was indeed pregnant. Toni was happy to do an exclusive interview and explained that the little tot was the new inspiration behind why Stark Industries was now dipping into the baby industry. Strange still floated in every now and then, having great discussions with Vision about humans and magic. It was a weird morning when James entered the kitchen to see the two of them yelling at each other in some dead language about who knows what. Hell, the former Winter Soldier honest to God believed that Vision didn’t know how to yell.

Scott Lang was still there, although it was obvious he was not longer parked in the Steve Rogers is Amazing Camp. He was actually working more with the kids, helping with their homework and training. He was even venturing out, gotten an actual job with some lower tech company to be their debugger. In more ways than one. Last anyone heard, he was having regular meetups with Clint Barton to discuss what they can do to help open a project about getting kids with any form of skills out of bad spots. Sam Wilson was planted deep into the Avengers HR. Turned out he was great at spotting mental problems and was fantastic at vendentting therapits. He had thrown more than one out on their ear when he noticed they weren’t there to help but to just make money. The Head of HR was glad that he had the temper of a saint for more than once he had to prove why he was the Falcon once. And had put up with Steve Rogers’s bullshit for a few years.

Toni hummed as she sat at one of her drafting tables, working on a new idea for a hover carriage since all the strollers and whatnot were just not fit for any kind of mother. Let alone the working kind. Toni had scowled at some of the more “popular” models. It’s like they didn’t put any care into the comfort of the child. James was sitting at his own desk in the lab, textbooks strone over the place. He had been accepted at the local college and was working his way towards a normal degree. So far, he hated one class he had to take and it was what he called his “common sense class”. Toni had been the witness to many a tantrum thrown by the so called professor’s homework.

James had his hair tied back from his face, glaring at the “textbook” for said class. He had formed this habit of muttering under his breath, cursing every and all beings about certain topics. It was amusing to watch every now and then. “Form a budget, so easy she says. What about those who don’t have a set income you stupid shit.” he muttered, scribbling out an equation.

Toni giggled, going back to making the hover carriage easier for parents to use. She knew what the masses would like. Only to jump at the sound the Assemble alarm going off. Both Toni and James jumped up, running to the briefing room as fast as they could. Granted as soon as they got out of the lab, James snatched Toni up and ran the both of them there in record time. He skidded across the tile floor before coming to a full stop at the door. Toni opened it, both of them falling through it. The other New Avengers were there as well as the Guardians and the last two remaining Rouges. Standing at the main computer was Rhodey, flicking his way through reports.

“Seems we have reports of some magician running amok Downtown. It’s not Loki,” he said, already knowing several people were about to ask about the God of Mischief. He flicked his wrist and another window opened showing said God in a meeting with what looked like political men. Loki didn’t break stride in his conversation but waved to the camera, much to the confusion of the men he was speaking with.

Quill stepped up, crossing his arms. “Then who is it?”

Vision cocked his head to the side, “We are not sure. It is not Strange or any of the members of his group. They are all working hard in their temple and Strange himself is working on a case with one of his fellow doctors.”

“So we can’t call him is what you are saying?” Carol Danvers asked, coming to stand next to Rhodey.

The War Machine nodded. “For now. Vision did get a hold of him. He is trying to finish the surgery he is in the middle of but it is hard given that he is in someone’s brain at the moment.”

He turned to the crowd of people behind him. “I am not going to take everyone. We are going to make this as fast as we can. I am also bringing people who are more familiar with New York given the circumstances.”

Here he gained a pained look. “Which means, Rogers go suit up. Seems the idiot is making his way to you and Barnes’s old stomping ground.”

Toni gritted her teeth but understood. Rogers knew New York better than most of the crowd there. Rhodey turned to Toni and James. “You two are coming as well. Barnes I know your memory isn’t what it used to be but that brain of yours is good for something. Toni, I need your genius head to get control of the cameras and help evacuate any and all civilians in the area. Finally I am going to have Vision join you due to the fact it is what it is. Magic.”

Those who had been called nodded. The others breaking off into groups in case of backup. Rhodey was barking orders like the good man that he was. Toni smiled at her best friend. “You coming too bossman?”

“Damn right I am. Magic. What next? Unicorns?”

~~~~~

That’s it. Toni was never going to let Rhodey speak again. That little bastard of a magician was simply a college kid who got in way over his head and decided that he was fed up with girls turning him down. Which meant he went the strangest route to use magic to get him a girl. Only, what power does best and corrupts. So, simple kid who wanted to find love turns to “Dark Lord of Chaos bent to have the world come to his knee” and it was enough to make the Iron Queen want to set fire to something. So far, finding him was easy. He left behind a trail of bodies and was very theatrical of his location. What was strange to the hero was that the bodies were all fine. Still breathing, still alive. Just, seemed like they were asleep. She ran a scan on one of them, moving them to be a bit more comfortable. “Guys, scan show that the people are fine. It’s almost as if they just fell asleep. I did call for the paramedics to come get them off the streets and into the hospitals asap.”

“Good work Iron Queen. So far this little shit is harder to get a hold of than we thought.” Rhodey grunted out. “Goddamn MAGIC SHIELDS!”

Toni turned her head to see War Machine use his turret gun on the guy only for them to stop dead against what looked like a glowing blue shield that popped up out of nowhere. The magician cackled as Rogers’s shield bounced off it harmlessly and one of James’s bullets did the same as Rhodey’s. The man sneered at them, doing a fabulous turn to let the cloak he was wearing billow out. Someone practiced in the mirror for that, Toni guessed. The man began to speak and Iron Queen groaned over the comms. “And here comes the traditional monologuing.”

James piped up, “Happens often?”

Surprisingly, Rogers answered. “You have no idea. We used to make bets on how cliched they would get. Toni once made off with a few hundred bucks. Got the guy word for damn word.”

A small pang of nostalgia went through her at that particular fight but Rhodey got them to focus on their opponent by cutting the guy off. “Alright enough. If I hear another drowned out speech about how you are a better ruler and how we need to unite I WILL gut you.”

The fucker had the gaul to laugh. “You can’t get past my shield so how will you ever gut me? And I think you will be more focused on your little friend more than me.”

They looked at him in confusion until he brought his arm up and a ball of what looked like bright pink energy came blasting off it like one of Toni’s repulsors. It flew across the street and slammed into Rogers, knocking the man off his feet. Vision came barreling out of the sky, aiming to hit the villain, only the fucker cackled and vanished in a plume of smoke. Vision snarled and whipped around to the other that had now rushed to the fallen man. “I am sorry I was late. I had to help the people.”

Toni waved her hand at him, knowing that Vision stopped a car from causing more trouble when the guy made the driver fall asleep at the wheel. James rolled Rogers over onto his back, the man completely unresponsive.

“Steve? Stevie?! Come on you fucking punk wake the fuck up.” James shook him, clearly growing more and more upset.

Toni let her helmet fade back in with the rest of her armour and she went, “James honey stop shaking him. You might give him brain damage.”

Rhodey spoke from inside his suit, “Scans show that he is like the others.”

Vision came up and pressed a hand to Rogers own, the stone glowing in the middle of his forehead. They stood there, not caring that the public was watching. Vision closed his eyes and hummed. “He is fine. I do believe I figured out what he exactly did.”

He stood up, dusting off his knees. “It seems it is a simple but powerful spell. It renders the subject into their ideal world. The body lives but the mind believes that they are in the world they wanted.”

The three other heroes looked at each other. Toni looked back to the android. “Okay, but how do we break the spell? Sacrifice a goat?”

Vision frowned, “There really is no way to except to enter the mind of those felled by the spell and get them to wake up.”

They stared at him. “That can’t be fucking it!” Toni yelled, shocking the men.

She pointed to the crowd, making them see the bodies the other New Yorkers were helping with. The glare on the woman’s face was enough to scare lesser men (or in James’s case, cause a flicker of heat to dance down his spine). “ We need an alternative! We have at least a hundred people here who have been mind fucked.”

Vision at least had the pride to look embarrassed. “My knowledge of this kind of magic is minimal. If we had Dr. Strange here then maybe we can create an alternative. But for now, this is all that we have.”

James growled. “Then send me in. Let me wake this idiot back up so we can hunt this fucker down.”

Rhodey intervened. “Oh no. I am not having another man down due to mind magic. We are going to take this back to the Compound, get Strange off his fucking ass and find a cure all. I am not going to let this maniac run wild. Send James in once we are back in the jet.”

“Me too.”

They all turned to Toni with surprised looks. She rolled her eyes, “I am not letting James go in by himself. Rogers is stubborn and no doubt Freezerburn here will need all the help he can get.”

James looked at her with a strange look. “Are you sure?”

The wry smile she gave was her answer. “Yeah. Trust me, together or not at all.”

Rhodey waved his hands. “Fine. Let’s just get this done for we are going to need all the help we can get.”

The managed to get Rogers off the ground and back towards the quinjet that James flew over for them. Rhodey went off to go play nice with the police about how to keep people off the streets while Friday sent an SOS to Strange and the others back at the Compound. The three humans sat in the quinjet and Toni had to take her lover’s hand. He looked at her with tired eyes. “It will be okay. While I am not his biggest fan I am not going to let this jackass die like this.”

James gave a wet laugh. “Doll, you truly are something else.”

They sat there in the bay, staring at the comatose state of Captain America as Vision flew them home…

 

~~~~~

They were all in the medical bay, Rogers on a bed in a set of scrubs. Toni was wearing her regular clothes alongside James. Bruce was flicking his way through a set of screens, making low sounds as he did. Carol was wise enough to send a call to Loki for his help, given the mage was a lot older and had more knowledge about magic than their friendly sorcerer. Vision stood nearby, ready to do his thing.

Toni and James were sitting on their own bed, Toni curled up in his lap. “So, we sure this is going to work?”

“With you in there we can get an accurate reading on how this spell works and try and find something while Loki is being flown in. Friday got a hold of Strange, he is almost done. Can’t rush brain power apparently but he is going to look at the victims in the hospital when he is done with the surgery.” Bruce said.

Toni gulped. “Alright then. Let’s do this before we chicken out.”

James gave her a kiss to the side of her head. “It will be alright love. We are going to go in there, rescue this idiot and come home.”

Toni nodded after letting out a deep sigh. “Alright. For the record, I am not doing this for him.”

Bruce nodded, “Noted. Vision?”

The android came up and placed one hand in front of the couple while the other laid across Rogers’s forehead. “Remember, he is stuck in this dream world so he won’t tell it is you until you get him to actually see you. He must break it. Either it be you or himself. If he dies in this mental world then he dies here.”

The both nodded, understanding the risk. Toni gave a nervous smirk. “No pressure. Right.”

Vision gave them a look before the stone glowed and then, the next thing either of them knew, they were no longer in the medical bay of the Avengers Compound. Instead, they were standing outside some New York townhouse, the street busy with children playing and the normal things of the city. What truly threw them was it wasn’t the 40s. In fact, it was modern day. They looked at each other in confusion when a car came up, claiming a spot in front of the townhouse. Toni had to blink at Rogers coming out of the car on the driver’s side, looking no different than he did. James moved to follow him, confusion and worry appearing on his face. Rogers shouldered a bag and walked up the steps and unlocked the door. Toni and James hurried to follow him and watched as he put the bag down in the foyer, locking the door behind him.

“DADDY!”

Toni jumped at the sight of what looked like a small child come running towards Rogers, slamming into the man’s knees. Rogers let out a laugh, scooping the kid up into his arms. He gave the kid a kiss on the cheek. “Hey little man. Did you have a good day at school?”

The kid leaned back, sitting comfortably on the man’s arm. “Duh. Cassie thought that the sky was blue to match my eyes. I told her it wasn’t true!”

Rogers chuckled, “But you do have pretty blue eyes Ed. Not your fault they match the sky.”

The kid, Ed, rolled his eyes that seemed eerily familiar to the two spectators. “Daddy. The science is there.”

“Damn right it is.” said a female voice. Coming from the end of the hall was none other than Toni Stark. A very pregnant Toni Stark.

James’s eyes bugged out of his head while the REAL Toni stood there, mouthing “What the actual fuck.”

They both jolted when Ed went “Mama!! Tell him!”

Both adults laughed and Rogers put him down to press a kiss to Toni’s cheek. “Hey you.”

She smiled at him, “Hey yourself. How was the mission?”

The blond man let out a groan, “I seriously wish sometimes Clint wasn’t a complete idiot but what can you do?”

Fake Toni laughed again, “Well, I could done a suit you know?”

That got Rogers (and surprisingly James) to scowl at her. “Not happening. You know we can’t risk it.”

Fake Toni rolled her eyes. “Yes I know. I still miss it though. Although,” here she looked to her stomach with a glare, “I am so ready to be done being pregnant. I don’t know how I did it the first time.”

Real Toni had enough of this. She stormed up to Rogers and went to go shake him only to watch as her hand phased through him. “What the actual FUCK is going on?!” she screamed, stomping her foot.

James came up next to poke at his fellow man out of time, only to watch as it went through his cheek. The fantasy continued on, with Rogers following Fake Toni into the kitchen. “So what’s for dinner?”

Toni watched the fake image of her move around the table (that was filled with papers and what looked like blue prints) “I did my specialty!”

Her and James frowned. They both knew Toni was a horrible cook. There was no redeeming that. Rogers laughed, “You mean you called the Compound and had Rhodes bring you something?”

“Of course I did. Remember last time I cooked?” Fake Toni rolled her eyes once again and opened some to-go boxes on the counter.

James spoke for the first time since entering this strange thing. “Okay, at least he has this lined up. But I honest to fucking God I had no idea this is what he wanted.”

“You and me both,” Toni said watching the “family” settle down to eat dinner. During this process, both the visitors were trying everything in vain to get Rogers to realize it was a dream. Toni threw her entire body through his own but all it did was make him frown and asked if his wife had turned on the ac.

James himself screamed at him, threw punches and tried to shake him more than once. After what seemed like an hour of screaming themselves hoarse, they sat down on the floor. Toni glared at the fake image of herself doing the dishes, humming some pop song. That’s what made her pause. “Hey babe?” she asked.

James looked at her from his spot on the floor. “Yeah?

“When have you ever heard me sing anything related to music outside of rock music?”

That made the metal armed man frown. “None that I can recall except for that stupid fucking song Peter got stuck in EVERYONE’s head.”

She pointed to the image of her doing the dishes. “Listen to what I am humming.”

James frowned at her and then his eyes widened. They gazed at each other before scrambling off the floor. “It’s not real. We know it. And I am guessing that Steve won’t notice the small things like this. We gotta get him to realize this.” said the genius.

The assassin nodded and they then began looking for other signs of things that were off. The drawings on the table were Rogers’s work but Toni tried flip through them but she phased through them. “Well shit.”

James growled under his throat and went “There has to be something!”

Toni patted him on the arm and then went to explore the house, hoping to the gods she will find something. It was when she was climbing the steps to go upstairs that she saw it. It was a simple picture, clear as day of their wedding day in this fantasy world. Toni scowled at it but that was when she noticed it. In the picture, there they were with their wedding party. Rogers and Toni front and center. Next to Toni was Pepper in her maid of honor dress with Romanoff and Maximoff as her other bridesmaids. That was the first thing. Even before all this went to hell, Toni would never have her in her wedding party. The other thing? There was no Rhodey or Happy. Like HELL Toni would not have them in her wedding party, regardless of what her husband (fake or otherwise) wanted. What also stood out was that Sam Wilson was standing in as Rogers’s best man. Not James. He was further down the line with Thor between them. Toni stared at it and knew that was it.

Turning on her heel, she ran back to the living room where James was poking Rogers in the back of the head. “Babe. I found the thing. You and him aren’t close. Like, that wouldn't stand in his true fantasy.”

The man looked at her. “Are you sure?”

She tugged him to the wedding picture and he simply went “Huh. You might be onto something. How are we going to get him to realize it though?”

Toni was stumped. This is why she hated magic. She let out a curse and punched the wall. “So we can tough walls and the floor but not anything that has a true effect on this world.”

She hummed in thought, sitting on the stairs. James went upstairs to explore some more, mostly out of boredom as she began to think. Toni frowned and then touched the wall again. “JAMES? Come here!”

He moved to her side in what felt like an instant. “What’s up?”

She pointed to the wall. “I need you to punch it. With your metal hand please.”

He shrugged and went, “Alright. Not my house anyways.”

Toni giggled and moved out of the way. “Punch the wall hard enough to get the wedding to fall down.”

He gave another shrug. Planting his feet, James leaned back and punched the wall. They watched as his fist went through it but not like when they touched Rogers. The wall shook, making pictures fall and break as there was now a hole embedded into the wall. James ripped his fist out of the wall and they watched as Rogers came running from the living room, shouting at Toni to stay back with Ed. The two of them watched as he crept around the corner and stared in confusion at the sight of the hole.

“What is it?” Fake Toni called from the living room.

Rogers called back, “I don’t know. Can you get Jarvis to do a sweep while I check it out?”

They watched on as he came up the stairs and, narrowing his eyes at the sight of the fallen picture. He ran his fingers over the fallen frame, looking over to the new hole in the wall. Toni watched as his eyes grew wide at the sight of the plaster dust on the floor. Toni shifted her foot and saw that her foot had a mark on the floor. She hit James in the stomach, making him see what she was seeing. Rogers came up, staring at it with a low brow of confusion. He whispered, “What in the hell?”

Toni reached out, hoping to brush her hand against him. Instead, Rogers went “Alright, I know you are there. I can see your footprints. Speak before things get worse.”

Toni wanted to rip her hair out. James squatted down and drew into the plaster dust. He made an arrow and pointed it to the wedding picture. Rogers frowned, picking it up. “What about my wedding photo? Is this what you wanted?”

The Iron Queen moved next. She wrote instead of drawing. “It’s Fake.”

Rogers blinked. He opened his mouth to ask something but got cut off by “Honey? What is it?”

The man went to reply when he paused, looking at the wedding photo once more. The frown he had grew deeper. He then looked back to where Toni and James were standing. Rogers slowly stood, moving closer to them on the stairs. They didn’t move, instead eyeing the other man as he examined the hole in the wall.

He then went “Bucky?”

“Oh thank god he isn’t a complete idiot.” Toni muttered.

Rogers turned around to face where they were standing. “What’s going on? Are you invisible? Don’t tell me you let Wanda practice magic on you again.”

Okay now that? Neither one was going to touch in a million years. James went, “Can you hear us now?”

Rogers squinted. “What?”

“Oh you can!” now that was surprising.

“Steve? What is it?” Fake Toni called again.

He hollered over his shoulder, “Nothing big baby. Take Ed downstairs and I am going to deal with this okay? It’s just Bucky. Somehow he turned invisible with Wanda.”

“Well that would explain why the alarms didn’t go off.” She hollered back but went to follow what her husband said.

Now that was another warning bell. Doing things he asked without sassing him back? Toni had many things to talk to Rogers about when they got back to the real world. Rogers motioned them to follow him into the kitchen where he busted out a broom. “Mind explaining why you are your dame are invisible Bucky?”

James sputtered, “I beg your fucking pardon?”

Rogers blinked at him. “You and Wanda? Been dating since Toni and I got married 7 years back? Hell you came over the other day asking about rings.”

Toni stared at Rogers while James was trying not to die on the spot. “Oh fuck no.”

Rogers clamped a hand over his mouth. “Oh shit. Wanda pretend you didn’t hear that.”

Toni decided to try to speak, “I am going to hop off the damn wagon as soon as I get home and get real familiar with a bottle of vodka.”

Rogers froze, slowly turning his head to where Toni was standing. “Toni? What? But-”

James cut him off. “Listen Steve, this isn’t real.”

“What are you talking about? Buck of course it is real but care to explain what the hell is going on?”

Toni had enough, “Alright listen here you sack of poorly packaged horse shit, I do NOT have time for this. Not anymore. I am currently trying not to freak the actual fuck out from this new nightmare and let me tell you, I am decking you in the face first chance I get.”

She got close and poked him in the chest, making his eyes go wide for she didn’t phase through him. “This world? This is fake. What is the last thing you remember?”

“I-I don’t what?” the Captain sputtered.

James came up next, pressing his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Stevie, come on man. I am the one who has swiss cheese for brains. Just remember.”

Rogers looked like he was either constipated or about to have his brain die on him. The three of them turned when they heard a “Daddy?”

Standing in the doorway to the kitchen was the Fake Toni, holding her son’s hand and having the other rest on her belly. “Steve? What’s going on? This better not be another magic thing?”

James gripped Rogers tighter, “REMEMBER GODDAMN IT!” He nearly snarled.

Rogers blinked again, this time tears are beginning to fall down his face. “Bucky? I-I don’t…..” he fell back, gripping his head.

Toni wanted to jump in joy at the realization of the spell breaking. Fake Toni waddled as fast as she could to her “husband”, “Steve! Honey! What is it?! Do I need to call Natasha? Jarvis! Get the medics here now!”

This time, real Toni spoke, “Jarvis is dead. We have Friday now.”

Fake Toni didn’t react. She kept her focus on Rogers who was now gripping either side of his head. His blue eyes were wide with panic and he stared at her. He went “Toni?”

Both of them answered.

“I’m right here babe.”

“Damn right it is. Get your shit together Capsicle.”

He shifted his gaze to where the Real Toni was standing with her arms crossed. Tears then began falling from his face. James looked around and saw that the distance was getting blurry. THe living room area looked like it was out of focus on a camera. James turned back to his Toni and went, “It’s working. He is getting there.”

Fake Toni made Rogers look at her, “Sweetie look at me. Everything is going to be okay.”

Little Ed came up, crowding close to Rogers, “Daddy? Are you okay??”

James shouted over them, “It’s not real Stevie! Remember! We were with Rhodey and Toni fighting that asshat magician!”

Rogers looked even more pained, gritting his teeth as sweat began to form on his brow. Fake Toni took one of his hands and pressed it to her large stomach. “Baby come on. Focus on me. Focus on little Maria.”

“Oh fuck you for taking my mother’s name!” Real Toni hissed. She grabbed the broom, not noticing the shocked look from both James and Rogers as she used it like a club to hit Fake Toni. The broom faded from her hands as it went through Fake Toni. It reappeared in the same spot before she grabbed it.

Rogers let out a broken sob and then, a sound happened. It was a mix of glass breaking and water rushing. The ground under them shifted, like the earth was snapping it’s back. Toni grabbed James’s metal arm and shared a look. Little Ed and Fake Toni were slowly fading with the rest of the world. Rogers lunged forward and pressed a kiss to her. He wrapped an arm around Ed and whispered, “I love you.”

The next thing any of them knew, there was a bright flash and then, Toni woke up with a gasp. She sat up, trying to get as much air into her lungs as possible. James did a similar reaction, nearly cracking his head on her’s. They sat on the bed for a second before Rogers woke up. Screaming.

He sat up with enough force to pop his back. He gripped the sides of the medical bed, warping the metal under his grip. “PUT ME BACK!”

Vision stumbled back from them while Bruce went “Whoa! Steve calm down! You’re safe!”

Rogers kept his grip on the now fucked metal, tears running rivers down his face. “PUT ME BACK!”

Natasha came running into the room, her red hair flying behind her. “Steve! Steve calm down!”

She put her hand on one of his arms and he snatched it from under her touch as if it burned him. Natasha watched as he used that hand to press against his mouth. Deep soul shuddering sobs came from him, finally let go of the other railing and used it to cover his head. They watched as the Great Captain America, the Soldier Out of Time breakdown and cry….

Chapter Text

Natasha watched as Steve sat in the common area, staring off into space. It had been a few days since the mage incident (which thankfully Vision and Strange took care of the little shit and find a better spell to wake people up naturally) and since then, Steve has been….off was the best word to describe it. The man did still go on his morning run but he stopped talking to people. To Natasha. Toni and James went to a therapist as soon as they could after the incident from what Natasha heard, wondering what in the name of God did they see in there. Once Steve was done with his run, he would go and sit in the common area, staring out off into space looking six kinds of sad and defeated.

The Black Widow honestly did not know what do for he wasn’t talking to anyone. Was barely eating and wasn’t really sleeping. The beard had made a return and was enough to make those who didn’t really care for Steve give him double takes. Even the Parker kid gave him worried looks. Natasha rolled her shoulders back, making her way to her lover. “Steve?”

She poked him in the shoulder, prompting him to look at her. Deep bags were set under his eyes and it was really disconcerting to see him like this. Natasha got down on her knees and took his hand in hers. “Hey. You okay?”

Blue eyes stared her down before he went, “No.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked.

Steve shook his head and turned his head to stare at the bar area of the kitchen. Natasha looked over her shoulder to see Pepper Potts and Toni standing there, getting something to drink. Thanks to how the redhead was dressed you could see a slight baby bump on her, which was enough to make something twitch inside of the Widow’s soul. A small frown came over her face as she watched the two women giggle over something as they got some juice. A faint creak came from behind Natasha, which prompted her to turn back to Steve. The man was staring at Pepper, his free hand clutching the arm of his chair in a death vice. It was then it clicked in her head what exactly Steve saw or did in that dream.

She whipped her hand out from his grip and stood up. The man didn’t even acknowledge her, keeping his gaze locked tight on the retreating forms of the other two. Natasha turned on her heel, leaving the common room to go back to her room. As she stormed off, one of her hands came to grip onto her lower abdomen. True tears pricked her eyes as she ran off to be alone….

 

~~~~~

 

“Hey man.”

Steve looked up from where he was working on a sketch to see Sam standing in the doorway to his room, looking with concern at the amount of sketches and drawings floating around the room. Steve put the sketchpad down and got up. “Sam? What are you doing here?”

Sam gave him a small grin, “What? Am I not allowed to check in on my friends?”

The two of them hugged and Steve went to clear off somewhere for him to sit. Sam eyed the top drawing with curiosity. It was a graphite still of a child, bright eyes matching a beaming smile. It was enough to make something twitch in the man’s chest for there was something about that child that rang a bell. Sam sat down, going “So what’s been going on here? I have been busy with so much paperwork I swear to God that I am going to burn it all.”

At that, Steve sagged enough that Sam noticed. “Not much. Been busy. We had a mission with a mage. That was interesting.”

Sam raised an eyebrow at that. “Interesting how? Like Loki booby trapping our break room to have the fridge shoot ice at us again,” He pointedly ignored Steve’s wide eyes, “or are we talking about Scott stealing all of the toilet paper at the villa?”

The blond chuckled at the memory before gaining a sad look. “Like he put people in a spell that made them go into their ideal world mentally.”

Sam’s eyebrows raised at that. “Oh so we are doing some sleeping beauty type nonsense.”

“For the most part it was. People who fell victim to it were put into a coma where they lived their ideal fantasy for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, Strange and Vision managed to create a better reverse on it.” the other explained.

Sam blinked, “Better?”

Steve rubbed his eyes. “The original breaker for it was to have someone or a couple of others to go inside the victim’s mind and break it from the inside. They had to find an alternative due to the fact that a good couple of hundred people fell victim to it.”

“Makes sense but it doesn’t explain why you have been drawing like a mad man apparently.” Sam gestured to the room that was covered in paper. Steve rubbed the back of his neck and sighed.

“I was one of the victims.” he said, leaning back in his chair as he picked up his sketchpad.

Now that? That explained a lot. Sam looked to the drawings with a new interest. He had to ask this though. “So, I take it someone went into your head and broke you out?”

Steve ran his hand over the drawing in his lap, not noticing that fresh tears were coming out of his eyes. “How do you explain to someone that you never wanted to wake up from it? It was perfect Sam. I was married. I had children. For fuck’s sake she was going to have our second one soon.”

Sam sat there, reaching over to grasp at his friend’s knee as he broke down. Body wracking sobs took over him, making Sam feel like he should give him a moment. Steve continued to speak. “We were all family. Things were as they were. You were the best man at our wedding and I just..”

Steve trailed off, not seeing the look of surprise on Sam’s face. He trailed a hand down the drawing once more, following every dip and curve in it. “She was amazing. I couldn’t believe it was happening. We got married. We had a family. I let her pick the names of our kids for she said, ‘If I am going to be destroying my body to have these kids then at least give me this’ and I let her for any woman going through pregnancy is stronger than I ever will be.”

The Man out of Time covered his eyes with one of his hands, sobbing. “Our first was a son. We had a boy Sam. She named him Edwin after the man that was more of a father to her than her own and I let her. She was going to name our daughter after her mother, which I had no problem with. I was allowed to give them middle names and I did. Edwin Chester. Chester after Colonel Chester Phillips who helped trained me in basics.”

Sam just sat there, letting him cry it out. Steve took another breath and threw the sketchpad down on the table. It was then Sam saw the drawing and felt his eyebrows shoot across his forehead in shock. The ink drawing was of one pregnant Toni Stark, her head thrown back in laughter as her hands rested on her round belly with Edwin pressing his small hands on it with a confused look. Steve spoke, this time his voice a whisper, “We were going to name her Maria Sarah. After our mothers. It felt right and it was. Oh Sam we were happy and then. Then I woke up and I just. Can’t.”

Sam looked to his friend, getting his attention by shaking his knee. “Hey, come on. This calls for something more than a few hugs I can provide.”

Steve gave him a look. “What?”

“We going to go find Natasha’s stash of vodka and get some cheesecakes. This calls for salted caramel.”

That got a small laugh out of the heartbroken man as he got up to follow him to get the items. There was a reason Sam said cheesecakes. As in plural.

~~~~

James popped his neck as he stepped off the elevator on the common floor, making his way to the kitchen. Toni had gone to bed but James woke up feeling thirsty. So, instead of snagging one of the drinks Dum-E had made him (with motor oil of course), he went upstairs to get a glass of water or juice. He made it out of the hallway and turned the corner to see a sight that made him stop dead in his tracks. Wilson was sitting on the couch, holding a bottle of Romanoff’s vodka while Rogers was sitting on the floor, shoveling what appeared to be a cheesecake slice into his mouth.

On the coffee table was a bottle of Thor’s Asgardian Mead which made James’s eyebrows raise. He could tell from here that at least ¾ of the bottle were gone. Rogers also was crying as he ate the cheesecake. James decided then to enter their line of sight to go get his drink. He had taken about three steps when Rogers looked at him. His eyes welled up with more tears and he began crying harder. “Bucky!” he cried.

He placed the cheesecake on the floor, stumbling to get up. Wilson helped push him up and James wasn’t THAT big of an asshole so he met the clearly drunk man halfway. Rogers gripped his biceps and was sobbing, “Bucky! We were married!”

Oh that explained so much. Wilson came up and tried to tug the drunk man off James. “Yeah we know Steve. Come on, let him go.”

Rogers shook his head. “You d-don’t get it Sam! We was married! We had babies!”

James got him to let go, looking him in the eye. “Steve. It wasn’t real.”

“IT WAS REAL TO ME!” He yelled, throwing his head back.

James shook him. “But it wasn’t! Toni isn’t married to you and she sure as hell isn’t pregnant with your kid!”

Rogers glared at him, his tear tracks causing his skin to look blotchy. “No because you fucking stole her from me!”

That got the two sober men to glance at each other. “I didn’t steal anyone man.” James said, letting the blond go to back up.

Rogers snarled, “Yeah right. She loved me! I knew she did! We made love at Clint’s and I fucking fell in love with her. She- she is perfect. She is amazing. Smart. Goddamn do I love how she wants to protect people.”

James had to agree with him on certain points but the brunet had to say this. “But she doesn’t love you. She barely tolerates you.”

“Because of you!” Rogers snarled.

“No!” The Winter Soldier stood tall, pulling his lip back in a way to show his teeth. Rogers and Wilson took a step back, surprised at the show of anger. James rolled his shoulders back and did what the kids called his murder strut. Wilson (who was clearly sober) was trying to pull the original™ super soldier back but James came up, poking him in the chest. “She doesn’t love you because of you. You lied to her,” he poked once more, “hurt her,” poke, “fucking took all the hard work she did to try to protect you and set it on fire. To her face.” Poke poke poke. “ Toni was working on redoing the Accords and getting rid of Ross but no. You had to fall into Zemo’s trap, get innocent people hurt and hurt the woman you say you love. So here is what is going to fucking happen now Stevie.”

He said the nickname so condescending that it was practically venom at that point. “You are going to go back to your room. Sober the fuck up. Sleep this shit off and then you are going to have Wilson here schedule you an appointment with a therapist because you need it. Not just from this. But from everything.”

With that, James turned and walked off, going to the kitchen to get something to drink like he fucking intended to.

~~~~~

Natasha sat in her chair, looking warily at the Cradle. Helen Cho was sitting across from her, flipping through a few holoscreens of the scans of Natasha’s body.

“So you want to undo this? You know this is not going to be an easy or quick process. It will take several hours and then you are going to need to rest for about a week after the procedure. Nothing strenuous for at least a month and then we are going to need to do a checkup at 4-6 weeks.” the good doctor said.

Natasha tightened her hands into fists, giving her a nod. “Yes. This is something that I want. I would like to start as soon as possible.”

Helen nodded. “Alright. Clear tomorrow at 8 am and we will begin the process. See you tomorrow morning Ms. Romanoff.”

Natasha stood, shaking the offered hand and left the room with the feeling of something akin to both anxiety and hope…

Chapter Text

Natasha took in a breath, letting it out slowly. She was laying in the Cradle, letting the interior light wash over her skin. Helen Cho spoke to her through the little speaker by her head. “Now, remember, just breathe and it’s completely natural to fall asleep during the process. At anypoint you wish to stop, just hit the red button by your right hand.”

Natasha nodded, “Sounds good.”

The next thing the Black Widow knew was that there was a deep prickling sensation at her pelvic area and she closed her eyes. She was scared to look down. There she admitted it. Natasha Romanoff was scared. This was something she did want and it would be nice to no longer have to take hormone supplements or medication. That and having a normal cycle would be nice to help with her hormone balance. A wince came from her when the sensation moved closer to her hip bone, making her clench her hands into fists.

Natasha breathed deep through her nose, trying to keep her calm. This was something that she wanted. This was the first step in making sure Steve was happy. A small smile came over her face at the thought of finally having a baby. Of being pregnant. Natasha tried not to cry at the thought of having her own child. Sure that was something the Red Room took from her. Now? Now she was taking it back for herself and she was not going to waste it.

~~~~~

Natasha bit her lip as she limped towards her room. It had been several hours later and she had done it. She could have children again. Helen Cho had told her bed rest for a day or so and then to take it easy. No missions and no training for at least a month. The thing that put a serious damper on Natasha’s plans was the doctor telling her no sex until AFTER her first cycle. While that was something that annoyed the assassin/spy, she saw where that was coming from. And just the thought of having sex right now was enough to make the red head recoil in pain. Yeah, she was fine for now.

As she made her way down the hallway, a door further down opened and there he was. Steve. He came out looking a bit better than he had been and that was enough for her. Natasha stood up straight only to wince as it tugged her pelvic area taut. Steve saw her, his blue eyes widening at the sight of her wince. He hurried over to her, “Natasha? Are you okay?”

Natasha smiled at him, “Yeah. Just...hurt myself and went to Medical. Helen has said for me to be on bed rest for the rest of the week and to take it easy.”

Steve softened. “Nat you gotta be careful. How did you hurt yourself? Is there anything I can do to help?”

 

“Was training and I landed wrong. Well, actually,” here she gained a shy look, “mind helping me to bed? Walking kinda hurts”

The man perked right up, gently picking her up to cradle her to his chest. “Of course! And you should have called Friday to let me know.”

Oh shit Natasha knew she forgot something. “Yeah well, Friday is busy doing other things. And she isn’t my biggest fan so she probably wouldn't have listened to me anyways.”

The frown that marred his face was enough. “Still.”

“Hey, you found me now. That’s all that matters.” Natasha said as they entered her room.

Steve gently placed her on the bed and took a step back. “Anything else?”

Natasha smiled at him, “For now I’m good. I’m actually going to take a nap and then maybe get something to eat when I wake up.”

The blond nodded at her, “Let me know when you wake up and we will eat together. I don’t want you to strain yourself.”

Natasha chuckled as she leaned back among the pillows of her bed. “Fine. See you in a bit.”

Steve brushed her hair back before going to the door. Natasha had to urge to call out “Love you” but refrained. Steve sent her one small smile before shutting the door. The woman leaned back, resting her hand on her lower abdomen. Things were going to look up for her.

~~~~

It had been nearly a month since she got her surgery and Natasha was glaring at her crotch. She was standing in the bathroom of her suite, naked as the day she was born and was doing just about everything in her power to have her period start. Frustrated, Natasha stomped her way into the bathtub, turning it on for she was going to sit in the hot water until she was bleeding from her vagaina or so help her she was going to knife fight God in the parking lot. She turned on the tub and then sitting in it as it filled. She was frustrated in so many ways, not just because of this. Toni and Barnes had been going to therapy, making everyone have a therapist for the most part.

The so called Guardians ran off to space only to come back a few days later because “They missed Toni.”.

Pepper Potts got farther in her pregnancy, now having a definite baby bump. She has scheduled to release new baby products that Stark Industries (aka Toni) had come up with. She also announced to the world that she and Rhodey were indeed an item as well as that he was the father of her child. Needless to say that went trending on Twitter real damn quick but the thing that really got on Natasha’s neves was that there really wasn’t a big hate group about it. While some of the good old fashioned assholes did show up, the couple didn’t get as much backfire when it was revealed that Natasha and Steve were an item.

Well, item was a term that Natasha had to say. For ever since that mage incident, Steve had been keeping his distance from her. It was enough to make her heart twinge in a way she had yet to feel. She sat there in the tub, looking at the tile with a worn look. Once she had her period she could finally give Steve what he wanted most. Pressing a hand to her stomach, Natasha knew she had to do something and fast. Her time was running out…

Chapter Text

Toni hummed as she walked down the hallway, a soft rock song going through her head. She was tapping away on one of her tablets, hell bent on making a very nice crib for Pepper when a voice at the end of the hallway made her pause. She looked up to see Rogers standing there, talking to one of the HR guys. Given the annoyed look on the kid’s face, Toni was willing to bet that Rogers was doing something stupid again. She was about to intervene when Romanoff came out of nowhere and basically dragged the good Captain away. Toni blinked in confusion at the sight of it. She shrugged and went to make her way to the kitchen when she stopped again. Something was off and it was bugging her.

Toni scowled before changing course to her lab. “Fri? Darling? When did the Widow start acting differently?”

The AI answered. “Around the same time as the Mage Incident. Apparently she went to see Doctor Cho about something and has been acting rather...weird since then.”

The genius paused. Something wasn’t connecting and it was bothering her. She looked down at her tablet, about to open a new program when her eyes took in the crib she was designing. Brown eyes went wide. “Friday, has she bought any kind of feminine products?”

“What do you mean Boss?” Friday asked.

“Tampons, pads, midol? Anything to do with a functioning womb?” Toni asks, quickly turning on her heel and running to find Rogers.

“She recently bought tampons and some other products. She even was crying on the bathroom floor the other week. I do not know if it was from joy or something else.”

Toni paled and rushed to find the two other “Avengers”. She could only hope that she wasn’t too late or that she was thinking of the wrong thing…

~~~~~

Toni found them. Eventually. Turns out Natasha knew some really good hiding spots from Friday after getting outed on live TV (thanks Thor. Really appreciate it buddy) and according to Friday, their scans showed that they did do the do. Multiple times. Apparently the good captain had learned how to actually give women a good time in the sack. Toni scratched that up to Romanoff teaching him.

Toni found them now sitting in the common area, Romanoff sitting on the same couch as Rogers. He was sketching something on one of the many sketchpads he had recently bought while the Black Widow was reading something on her tablet. Toni planted herself directly in front of her, a glare on her face. “We need to talk. Now.”

Romanoff gave her a bored look. “Okay? About what?”

Toni felt her eye twitch. “Do you want it to be here or in private? I am really encouraging the private talk here.”

Romanoff put her tablet to the side, giving the genius her full attention. Rogers also put his sketchpad down, closing it as he did so. “You can say this in front of me Toni. It’s fine, right Nat?”

Romanoff nodded, plantin her feet to the ground. “I have nothing to hide Toni.”

Toni gritted her teeth. “Fine. Are you pregnant?”

Romanoff’s eyes went wide as Rogers blushed. “TONI! That is very inappropriate! You know-”

“Why does it matter?” interjected Romanoff, not showing a thing aside from wide eyes.

Bingo. Toni knew she had something. “You aren’t that slick. Now, are you knocked up? Bun in the oven?”

“Toni!” Rogers shouted, looking like a new Crayola crayon given how red he was.

The spy narrowed her eyes. “I am going to ask again. Why does it matter?”

Toni deflated sadly. “It won’t work.”

That got both Rogues to blink at her. “What won’t work? Toni, Natasha can’t get pregnant. You know this.”

He sent his lover a sorry look. She ignored him, instead keeping all of her focus on the Iron Queen. “Why Toni? What makes you so sure?”

Toni got to her knees, giving the other woman a look. “Romanoff-Natalia,” that got her to stiffen, “please. Tell me the truth. I figured out most of it but the motivation is still unknown. Please tell me it wasn’t for him.”

Romanoff - Natasha blinked. “For him?”

Toni nodded, “Please tell me the baby isn’t for Rogers.”

“Me?” said man asked in confusion.

Natasha tilted her head to the side, looking over Toni’s shoulder aka her tell that something was wrong. “It was the reason at first.”

Toni felt her shoulders sag. “Natalia.”

“Nat what is going on?” Rogers asked - no, demanded, shooting to his feet.

Natasha clenched her hands into fists. “How did you figure it out?”

Both women ignored the man, instead having a full on conversation without him. “It was when I saw him talking to that kid from HR. You snagged Rogers and it was weird for me to see you do that outside of missions. You tend to keep to yourself and rarely touch others willingly. Aside from when you want it.”

Natasha let her own shoulders drop. “And you connected the dots from that?”

“And some handy dandy investigation work. Seriously, Friday scans everything that enters the building from the mail. Tampons and pregnancy tests were the real red flags.”

Rogers froze at that. Toni took the other woman’s hands into her own. “Even Friday can’t get doctors to talk but I can make the bigger picture myself. So, why Natalia?”

Actual legit tears formed in the Widow’s eyes. “Because I can make him happy.”

That got the genius to frown in confusion. “What do you mean honey?”

Natasha sighed, taking one hand from Toni to wipe away the tears. “It’s what he wants. I saw him that day a couple of months ago. He saw Pepper in the kitchen with you. She….she was starting to show and I saw the longing in his eyes. He wanted a baby. That was what he had in that magic world. A baby.”

Natasha pressed her free hand to her lower abdomen. “Now that I am a proper woman again, I can give him that happiness. It is what I can do.”

Toni held up a hand, “Okay, first of all you were always a proper woman. Never let anyone say that shit to you again. Just because you couldn’t have babies doesn’t make you any less. Second of all, did he actually tell you what he had in that dream world?”

Rogers paled while Natasha blinked in confusion. “He had a child right?”

“Well, yes. Two actually but that’s beside the point. Did he tell you who their mother was? Or what exactly what was going on in there?” Toni asked.

“No. We don’t talk about it because I figured it out.” Natasha said, leaning back slightly.

Rogers took a step forward. “Toni. Don’t” he whispered out.

“Oh fuck you Rogers.” she snarled out, finally turning her head to him. “Why the fuck didn’t you tell her?”

“Tell me what?” Natasha spat out, turning her head to look at her lover and hopefully the father of her child.

Rogers gave her the look. The one that showed he did something wrong but was trying to use his boyish charm and the “I’m from a different time don’t blame me” look. It never did work on Natasha or Toni. For good reason. The red head quickly stood, glaring at him. “Tell. Me. What. Steve?”

He shifted on his feet, “I did have a wife in the dream world. She was pregnant with our daughter when I was woken up.”

“Who was your wife Steve?”

“That’s really not important-” he tried to say only to have Natasha get up close, poking a finger into his chest.

“Who. Was. Your. Wife?” she all but growled out.

The Man out of Time looked at the ground and whispered out, “Toni. She was my wife and we had a son. Toni was about 7 months pregnant when I got pulled out of the fake world.”

Natasha stared at him before going, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because it was all fake.” he started only to get cut off by her.

“No. The feelings you have are real. You still love Toni. You don’t love me do you?”

“Natasha-” Rogers tried to start again but once again got cut off by a very angry Natasha Romanoff.

“Tell me the truth for once in your fucking life Steven Grant Rogers.” The Black Widow spat out, her accent taking on a Russian tilt.

Rogers sighed, going to sit down. “I was married to Toni because yes, deep down I still love her like I still love Peggy BUT!” he held up a hand, preventing other from interrupting, “I also love you Natasha.”

He gave her a look, one that Toni had never seen. “I do love you Natasha. You are smart, sarcastic, sweet and beautiful. I didn’t intend to fall in love with you.”

Natasha stared at him. “Yet you did not trust me enough to tell me what happened. You love me yet in your perfect world you had Toni for your wife. Not me.”

She looked out the large windows. “I do not know that I can love given how the Red Room broke me. I think that I care enough for you Steve and I did what came naturally towards me.” Here he placed a hand back on her lower abdomen, “I made a plan that would keep us both happy given what I believed was all of the evidence.”

Natasha dug her fingers into the fabric of her shirt. “I always wanted a baby. Always. A little one I could raise away from all of the death and all of the red. And when I found out that you too wanted a child, I honestly think that was the first time I was truly happy. A baby. Something that would provide us both smiles and laughter. Only,” her green eyes turned back to the shell shocked man, “I found the man that loves me betrayed me. My trust. Something I do not give easily.”

Natasha looked to the equally shocked Toni. “I have much to do to gain your forgiveness. I know you will never trust me again. Not like before. So, if you will excuse me.”

She made to leave the room but Rogers quickly reached out to grasp at her wrist. “Natasha wait!”

She reacted. Violently. She made him let go and decked him in the face. He stumbled back in shock. The glare she sent him was enough to make Toni quickly scramble back in fear of murder. “You will not touch me. Ever again.” Natasha spat out, her voice filled with venom.

She turned on her heel and with that, the Black Widow stormed out of the room. She rushed down the hallway, true sobs coming out of her and she couldn’t stop it. As she turned a corner, Natasha crashed into someone. The two of them fell to the floor in a tangle of limbs and cursing. Natasha rolled off the person she ran into and stared. It was an average man, a well put suit covered his frame but Natasha knew that he was a decent looking man. Papers spread out from a folder. He groaned as he sat up. Natasha quickly began to pick the papers up. “I am sorry.”

He rubbed his head, “No no. It’s fine. I wasn’t looking where I…” he fixed his glasses and stared at her with wide eyes.

“You’re Ms. Romanoff.” he said.

She tried to give him a smile, only for tears to start falling. He scrambled to his knees and dug out a handkerchief. “Oh goodness! Are you alright?”

Natasha honestly didn’t know. She hadn’t cried like this in years, not without having to play a role. She blamed the new wave of hormones going through her body as to why she couldn’t control anything. “I...am not sure?”

He helped her to her feet. “Well, perhaps you need some tea and a good conversation.”

She wiped the tears from her face with the cloth. “Excuse my manners. Natasha Romanoff.”

He gave her a smile. “Jack Whittner. A pleasure. May I escort you to the cafe? I always find a good tea helps with the tears.”

Natasha debated for a second. She gave him a nod, “Please. A cup of tea sounds lovely.”

The two of them walked down the hallway and for the first time in a long time, Natasha felt better….

Chapter Text

James Barnes was many things. Assassin. Deadly. Powerful. Strong. Down right sexy according to his girl but at the moment, brave he was not. For today was the day that he was going to meet Toni’s favorite kid (Don’t let Peter know or else the kid would sulk forever). He was standing in the common area, curling and uncurling his hands into fists in a nervous tick.

Toni was practically vibrating out of her skin in excitement, bouncing on the balls of her feet. “How much longer Fri?”

The AI giggled and went, “Not much longer Boss. Happy is turning up the drive as we speak.”

Rhodey came up next to James, chuckling all the while. “Nervous?”

The former assassin gave him a look. “Very.” he said as Toni rushed outside, laughter trailing behind her.

The two men followed her, Rhodey smirking the entire time. “Look, Harley isn’t that bad.”

James scoffed, “If I don’t get this kid’s approval then it is all over for me.”

Rhodey rolled his eyes and muttered, “Overdramatic white people. Look,” here he spoke louder, “it won’t be all over. At worst the kid hates your guts. What matters here is how well you get along with him so Toni doesn’t get upset. Toni loves you for some reason or another but she loves you. Yeah she does care and love Harley but that’s a different kind of love man. It’s what she thinks and feels is what is important here.”

James blinked before squinting at Rhodey, “I know why Toni needs you, you wise ass old man.”

The other man shrugged, looking smug, “She kept me around more than for my good looks Red October.”

Before they could really get into it, they both looked up at the sound of what sounded like something dying. Harley was currently laying under Toni for the kid got spear tackled to the ground. The sound they had heard was Toni’s squeal of joy for seeing her first (human) kid in the flesh for the first time in what seemed like forever. The two of them rolled around in the grass for a solid minute, giggling like loons. Both James and Rhodey came up to help Happy with the teen’s bags, since he was going to spend the summer at the Compound.

Happy simply shook his head, a smile on his face. “The kid wouldn't shut up the entire drive from the airport. I will say, try and keep him away from Butterfingers. Those two will be a force if they band together.”

Rhodey raised an eyebrow, “Is the kid filled with that much rage?”

Happy looked skyward, “May my life no longer be filled with rage filled children.”

The three men laughed, all knowing that will never happen. They took the bags and made their way up, ignoring the two still rolling around in the grass. As they were walking up the green, James noticed Rogers looking out from one of the windows and couldn’t help but wonder what the other man wanted…

~~~~

 

Steve blinked as he sat in his chair, the drawing pencil in hand going limp. “C-Care to run that by me again please?”

Standing in front of him was the kid Toni invited: Harley Keener. The teen was wearing a red t-shirt under a white and black baseball jersey and bootcut jeans. On his head was a black cap and the kid was chewing gum. Harley tilted his head to the side, “I asked if you wanted to join un in playing baseball. The teams are uneven and last I saw, Rhodey was still trying to explain the game to Vision and Drax.”

Steve had to stare at the kid, “Uh, sure?”

Harley nodded, blowing a bubble with the gum in his mouth. “Cool. Meet you out back in 15? I don’t think khaki is going to work with baseball.”

Steve stood up, a faint blush tinting his ears. “Yeah. Yeah sounds great. See you in a bit then.”

Harley gave another nod before moving to go out the nearest backdoor. Steve, on the other hand, rushed to his bedroom as fast as he could without slamming into walls (he has gotten better at taking corners but the main issue was dodging people and sharp turns). By the time he got to his room, he was over the moon. Not just because he was playing baseball (something he hasn’t done in 60 something years) but because one of Toni’s kids invited him to play. HIM! The one everyone was furious at over things he knew were good.

He quickly found a pair of wornish jeans and a different t-shirt, changing quickly and hopping out the door while putting on his sneakers. He made it to the backyard in a record time of 7 minutes, fully ready to play a good game of baseball. He showed up to see the Guardians there alongside some of the New Avengers. Toni herself was wearing one of her ragged looking band shirts and a pair of cut off shorts. Bucky stood next to her, a smile on both of their faces. Ignoring the twinge in his heart, Steve went up to where Harley was on the other side of the field, talking to one of the Guardians. Steve fought to remember this one’s name, for it was the grey and red skinned one.

Nearby was Yondu and Quill playing catch and for some reason, Quill seemed to be over the moon about it. Deciding to ignore that, Steve went over to Harley, keeping his nerves under control. Harley looked up at him, gently tapping his metal bat on the ground. “Oh cool, you made it.”

Steve couldn’t keep the smile off his face. “Yeah. Wouldn't miss it for the world.”

Harley nodded, still tapping his bat. “Cool cool cool. So, Drax,” here he turned to the other Guardian, “got anymore questions on how this works?”

Ah, so that was his name. Drax crossed his arms over his chest. “You explained these….bases and how the warriors guard them. You have no told me how your blunt stick is worked into this so called game.”

Harley groaned, letting his arms fall backwards and Steve could feel the kid’s frustration. The teen pinched the bridge of his nose. “Ok. This,” here he waved the bat, “is called a bat.”

 

Drax frowned, “It looks nothling like the small creature Mantis loves. Explain how these two things are related.”

Okay, now Steve could see why the kid was gettting frustrated. Harely rolled his eyes, “They are not related. They just share a name. That works?”

Drax shrugged, “Fine. Continue.”

Steve shared a look with Harley, no doubt the kid was having a rough time with this. The teen sighed, “Alright so, the bat is used to hit the ball. Remember the ball? We went over it.”

The alien nodded, “I remember. Quill aquired it to play what you call catch with Yondu.”

Harley looked relieved. “Right so, this bat is used to hit the ball. Like this,”

Steve did not see the bat coming for his face in time and surprisingly enough, the kid had a good swing. The soldier went down like a sack of bricks, feeling his jaw break from the force of the hit.

Drax, watching as the soldier no one liked roll on the ground in pain, nodded. "I see. This baseball bat is also a formidable weapon. Are people's head the ball young Harley?"

Harley popped his neck and tapped the end of the bat against his shoe, "Yeah. They can be."

They both jumped at the “HARLEY LOGAN KEENER!!”

Turning around, they both saw one very angry Toni Stark storming up to them. Harley turned to come up a story with Drax to see the alien high tailing it out of there. The teen waved a fist at the fleeing warrior, “Traitor!” he called after the male as he ran away with both Yondu and Quill in tow. Apparently your full name being called by your mother is universal for your ass is in trouble.

Bucky came up to check on Steve while Toni herself grabbed Harley by the ear. “What in the name of Thor’s left nut are you doing?!”

Steve groaned as he was helped up. He could already feel his jaw fixing itself (which was by far the strangest sensation) Slightly garbled, he went “It’s ok.”

“The hell it is Rogers!” Toni roared at him, yanking harder on the kid’s ear. “You young man are coming with me. James, take Rogers here to Medical. Please.”

Both Bucky and Steve high tailed it out of there, not wanting to have her rage on them. As they ran back inside, Steve looked over to his (former?) best friend. Bucky simply shook his head, “Trust me, I ain’t getting involved. I’m surprised he got a good swing in.”

Steve wanted to laugh but his jaw hurt too much. Maybe in a little bit he could but right now he wanted nothing more than to make sure his jaw was alright….

~~~~

Harley gritted his teeth as Toni all but threw him on his ear into the Lab. She stood in front of him, hands on her hips. “Explain. Now.” she growled.

Harley folded his arms over his chest, pouting. “He hurt you.”

“I know. But that doesn’t give you a reason to just….attack him.” Toni said, glaring at her favorite teen (Don’t let the Spider-baby know or else the kid would cry).

Harley let his arms fall, turning to meet her glare dead on. “He deserves it! He never should have been allowed back! He needs to learn his lesson for hurting you! Rogers doesn’t deserve your forgiveness Toni!”

 

“And that makes it okay for you to break his fucking jaw?! Harley I know you know better and who on Earth said I forgave the man?” Toni yelled back.

“Because he is here Toni!”

“SO I can keep an eye on his sorry ancient ass!! You really think I want him here?! Fuck no! The man lied to me, used me and left me for fucking dead in an enemy base!”

Harley moved closer, growling, “He needs to learn his lesson!”

“For what Harley?!” Toni shouted.

“HE HURT MY MOM!”

That shocked Toni to her core. Harley froze, before turning an impressive shade of red. He looked away, moving to just...collapse on the couch. Toni couldn’t move. “Mom?” she whispered, feeling something in her chest.

Harley winced and curled up. “Yes. I see you as a Mom Toni. I mean, I love my Ma. I truly do but….there ain’t nothing against having two moms is there?”

Toni felt tears welling up in her eyes, moving to curl around the angry and hurting boy. “Oh baby boy.”

Harley stiffed for a second before melting, wrapping his arms around her waist. “ M sorry,” he mumbled.

Toni petted his hair, moving them to get comfortable on the couch. “Don’t be sorry baby. I love you too.”

That got them both to start crying. James came into the lab, three large pizzas in hand with drinks. He froze at the sight of the two of them crying and hugging it out on the couch. He gave a soft smile when Toni looked up at him. He simply motioned to the food. “Seemed like comfort food is needed Doll.”

 

Harley looked up from under Toni’s arm. “Is that pizza?”

James chuckled, placing the pizzas down on the coffee table nearby. “New York’s finest kid.”

The assassin sat down, sprawling out his long legs. He flipped open one box and snagged a slice. He grinned at Harley, “So, you got Steve pretty good kid. He had a deep bone bruise and a broken jaw. Doc says he should be healed by tomorrow night.”

The blush on the teen’s face said enough and he slowly reached for a slice of pizza. “Uh, thanks?”

James took a bite, “I can always teach you how to get a better arch to do more damage later.”

Harley grinned while Toni looked scandalized. “JAMES BARNES DON’T YOU DARE!!”

“What did Mr. James do now?” a new voice said.

The metal armed man groaned, “I told you kid. Drop the Mr. It’s just James or Barnes.”

Harley turned around and had to stare at the new kid coming into the lab. The other teen shrugged, “Sorry Mr. James. Can’t do that or else I would be tempted to call you Dad.”

That got Toni to laugh while James sputtered. Toni waved, “Oh right. Peter meet Harley. Harley, meet Peter. What brings you here Tater Tot?”

Peter threw his bag onto a chair and sat down next to Toni. “Mr. Rhodey is on a homework hunt and I’m avoiding him for I don’t want to do my history homework.”

Toni grinned, “Then let us science!”

 

“AFTER you eat!” James said, making the three engineers groan.

Having Harley here was a good thing, James decided as they all fell upon the pizzas like raving wolves….