Steve couldn’t believe it when Wanda shoved a heavily pregnant Tony into his hotel room. He gaped at Tony, was rubbing his sore wrist which Wanda had twisted behind his back when she’d dragged him from the car and taken him into the hotel.
“Wanda… what?” Steve asked,
“I got him.” Wanda said, her eyes gleaming, “Now we can get the baby from him!”
“You’re deranged.” Tony spat at her, rubbing his swollen belly, “You’ll get life for this, you psychotic bitch!” Wanda’s eyes flashed crimson and she lashed out with her magic before Steve could protest, sending Tony across the room and slamming into the wall with a horrible sounding crunch.
“Tony!” Steve cried out, as the pregnant Omega fell to the ground, leaving a streak of blood from his head down the wall.
Steve crouched down in front of him, cupping Tony’s face, as he groaned, his face pale and eyes glazed with dizziness. “It’s okay,” Steve gently said to him, “You’re going to be alright.”
“He’s fine.” Wanda snapped, folding her arms over her chest and rose a defiant eyebrow at Steve as he turned and glared at her.
“Baby.” Tony whispered, groggy and disoriented. Steve turned back to him and paused for a moment before placing his hand over the bump. His heart seemed burst with love as he felt movement from within Tony’s belly. The movement of their baby.
“Oh my God.” He whispered, staring down at the pregnant curve of Tony’s belly,
“What’s going on?”
Steve turned to see Natasha standing in the doorway, frozen on the spot with her eyes wide as she took in the sight of Tony crumpled on the floor.
“My God, what have you done!” She cried, “Tony? Are you…” She didn’t get any further, as Wanda lashed out again with her magic, sending Natasha flying backwards, over the balcony railing and plummeting down to the ground below.”
“Natasha!” Steve cried in horror, leaping up and running to see if she was alright, but Wanda grabbed his arm, stopping him.
“We have to get out of here!” She snapped, “Get Stark, he’s too fat for me shift him on my own.”
“He’s not fat, he’s pregnant!” Steve snarled at her, “And he’s right, you are deranged!” he pulled back his fist and punched Wanda in the face, knocking her out cold.
“Natasha!” Steve heard Clint’s voice, but ignored him. He went to Tony, picking him up bridal style and carried him out of the hotel room. He ignored Clint, Scott, and Sam, who were calling an ambulance for Natasha, didn’t pause for a moment to check on her, his only thought was of getting away from here. Getting him and Tony out of there to somewhere safe, so they could have their baby and raise him or her together.
He carried Tony down the stairs and out into the car park, finding a car with the doors open and the engine still running, he placed Tony carefully into the passenger seat, securing him with a seat belt, and hurried around to the driver’s side of the car, got in and put the pedal to the floor.
Tony groaned. His head was spinning. He felt sick and his back was aching so much he wanted to cry.
Screwing up his face, he forced his eyes open and frowned. The last thing he remembered was being in Steve’s hotel room, but now he was in a car, driving outside of New York, heading upstate by the looks of it.
“What the hell?” He asked, sitting up as best he could.
“It’s okay, You’re safe now.” Tony flinched and looked over at Steve, his eyes widening and panic filling him, he looked around the car, weighing the odds of his survival and the baby’s survival if he jumped from the vehicle at this speed.
“It’s alright Tony, Wanda’s not here.” Steve said to him, and actually placed his hand on Tony’s knee, squeezing it and offering him a smile.
“Not exactly a comfort.” Tony said, through gritted teeth. Though he was thankful that the demented little bitch wasn’t around, he would rather that Steve wasn’t around, and he was safe and happy with Bruce.
“Where are we going?” he asked, looking out at the darkened street.
“Canada!” Steve said. As if that made perfect sense. “We can head up to Calgary, or Toronto. The air is clean and clear. The crime rates are lower. We can raise our baby there. Maybe get a farm. You mentioned something about building a farm for Pepper after Ultron. Well now we can have a farm. You me and the baby.”
Tony stared at Steve like he was out of his mind. No, wait, he was insane! This whole thing was insane!
He shook his head and looked and tugged at the seatbelt, shaking his head, “This is madness.” He whispered, “Complete madness.”
The car engine began to make noises and the car shuddered, and the speed slowed before it came to a complete stop.
“What the hell.” Steve hissed, turning the key in the ignition, the engine spluttered, sounding like someone having a coughing fit, before it died again.
“We’re out of gas, moron!” Tony drawled, looking at the gage. He smirked at Steve, “So, what now, shit for brains? You going to spout wings from your arse and fly us out of here?” Steve scowled at him,
“I know that you are hormonal, and that you don’t mean what you are saying. But please, Tony, try to be helpful.”
“Fuck you, asswipe!” Tony snarled, taking of his seat belt and opening the car door, “I’m out of here.”
He climbed out of the car, slamming the door, and began to walk (Waddle) back down the road, rubbing the small of his back, and wincing at the acid heartburn in his gullet.
“Tony!” Steve shouted, getting out of the car and starting after him.
“Stay the hell away from me!” Tony yelled back at him,
“You can’t be out here on your own.” Steve protested, jogging up to Tony, who couldn’t manage to walk very fast, so Steve was beside him in a few steps and put his hands on Tony’s shoulders, turning him around, even as Tony struggled against him.
“Let me go!”
“I’m trying to take care of you!” Steve cried, his face turned as Tony delivered a stinging slap across his cheek, followed by another, and then a kick to the shin, “Stop it!” Steve shouted, as Tony continued to struggle against him, slapping and kicking him, until Steve raised his hand and back handed him, knocking Tony to the ground, his lip splitting and a tooth being knocked out of his mouth.
Steve froze in horror, gasping as he realized that he had just raised his hand to a pregnant Omega. Not that Tony hadn’t deserved a slap. He was pushing Steve right to the edge. But still, he shouldn’t have hit him.
Tony spat his tooth and blood from his mouth. His hands were grazed from the gravel and his head was hurting again, thanks to Steve hitting him. Fighting the nausea that swirled in his stomach, he moved to try and get to his feet only to feel a sharp and deep cramp slice through his abdomen, which had him doubling over and clutching his belly. Between his legs he felt a gush of hot fluid and feared for a second that he’d lost control of his bladder again. Then he realized that his waters had broken.
“No.” He whispered, looking down at his belly, “No, no, not now!”
“What!” Steve cried, crouching down in front of him, “What’s going on?”
“I’m going into labour you brainless twat!” Tony snarled, he struggled to get to his feet, slapping Steve’s hands away and tried to walk, but another cramp had him doubling over with a cry.
Steve wrapped his arms about his back, supporting Tony and rubbed at his back. “It’s going to be okay,” He said, sounding panicked.
“No it isn’t,” Tony whispered, too frightened to struggle against Steve’s hold, “I need to get out of here. I need to get to a hospital.”
“No.” Steve said, and Tony gaped at him, because, really? Here he was, going into premature labour and Steve was saying that he didn’t need to be in a hospital right now?
“We just need to get you somewhere to give birth.” The super soldier said, he looked around the darkness, his sharp eyes trying to find something, anything. “I can see something. Maybe a farm or something in the distance.”
“If we go slow then you can get there on your own feet.” Steve said, turning Tony in the direction he had seen the building.
“It’s alright.” Steve said, continuing to ignore Tony, “You’ll be alright. I know this isn’t ideal, but Alpha’s and Omega’s have been delivering their own litters since the dawn of time.” He grinned at Tony, “We can do this. I’ll help you through it, I know it’ll hurt, but I’ll be there for you and at the end of it, we’ll have our beautiful baby.”
“STEVE!” Tony yelled, stopping walking, making Steve jerk back and stagger slightly. “I can’t give birth out here. I can’t have a baby here. I need a Caesarion for one, and the baby is coming early. He or she might have breathing difficulties, might need medical intervention that he or she won’t get out here…” He broke off as another contraction came. He groaned and panted through it. Clenching his fists and squeezing his eyes shut. He wanted Bruce, he wanted his soon to be husband to be with him, holding his hand, rubbing his back, kissing his face, promising him everything would be alright.
“Come on.” Steve said, “Breathe through it, you can do this.”
“No I can’t!” Tony moaned, “I can’t.”
“You can.” Steve stated, “You are strong, our baby will be strong, everything will be fine.”
Tony let out a frustrated cry, shoving Steve away from him and clutched his belly. “It won’t be fine. I can’t give birth Rogers. My heart won’t take it, and the baby is too big! I have to have a Caesarion!”
Steve gave him an exasperated look, clearly not believing him, “You don’t Tony. You can give birth, it’ll hurt, but you can and you will do this.” Without waiting for another argument from Tony, he swept the Omega off his feet and began to carry him into the field, heedless of Tony’s protests and begging for him to listen to reason.
The police were no use at all, which didn’t surprise any of the Bat family, or Peter. The officers spoke to them, assured them that they were doing everything in their power to find Tony, blah, blah, blah. They were also investigating a “Disturbance” at the hotel the rogues had been staying at.
When he arrived, Rhodey explained what was in fact going on there, and that Vision had gone to help deal with the situation.
It seemed that Maximoff had taken Tony directly to the hotel and a fight had broken out, Natasha had been thrown off the balcony by Maximoff and was now on her way to hospital with very severe injuries.
Rogers had disappeared with Tony, leaving Barton, Lang, and Wilson behind.
“It seems that after the truth came out in court, Barton, Lang, and Wilson had a change of heart and were in the process of cutting deals for themselves to stay in America, even if it meant a prison sentence.” Rhodey explained. “They were in discussions with their Lawyer, when all this shit went down, and Wilson saw Rogers running away with Tony in his arms.”
“In his arms?” Peter repeated, his huge eyes getting even wider. He gripped Tim’s arm tightly, Bruce’s middle child moving closer to him, offering comfort while also taking his own.
Bruce clenched his fists tightly, anger and anguish clear to see in the tension on his face. “I think we can assume that Tony has either been injured or drugged.” He said, in a tight voice, “The question is, how severely.”
“Is Maximoff with him?” Dick asked, and Rhodey shook his head,
“Something happened between her and Rogers and he knocked her out cold, left her at the hotel. She is the reason that Vision has gone to the hotel, as she’d holed up in there going insane.”
Damian scoffed, “Why don’t the cops just shoot her?” Alfred frowned at the boy but didn’t reprimand him as he normally would, since they were trying to make him a little less blood thirsty.
“No one can get close enough to do so.” Rhodey replied. “The cops have evacuated the area, Falcon, Ant Man, and Hawkeye have suited up to try and take her down, Vision thinks that if he can get close enough, he can strip her powers from her. So, I said for him to go there and leave the search for Tony to us. Now obviously I can search from the sky, what about the rest of you?”
“I can take the jet.” Bruce said, “So that puts two of us in the air. We also need to search the City, since we can’t be sure Rogers hasn’t bolted somewhere here.”
“So we split up and search the city.” Damian said, “I’ll take Manhattan.”
“I’ve got Queens.” Peter said, it was his district after all.
“I’ll hit Brooklyn.” Dick said,
“And I’ll cover The Bronx.” Tim said, “But that still leaves, Staten Island.”
“I’ll cover that one.” Alfred said. He gave Bruce a look when the younger man went to protest, “I was kicking arses since before you were born, Master Bruce. I can handle myself well enough.”
Bruce smiled slightly and nodded, “Alright. But everyone be extremely careful, and if you do find Rogers, do not engage alone, call in and wait for the rest of us, and I do mean you too Damian.” He said to his youngest who scowled immediately, “I know you can fight, but Rogers is a super soldier, and I don’t want you trying to take him on your own and getting hurt.”
This did nothing to mollify Damian, in fact he just scowled all the more. Dick placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed.
“Think about Tony and the baby.” He said to the stroppy boy, “If you rush in, they could end up getting hurt, we can’t risk that.” This did succeed in getting Damian to agree, though he was clearly planning on introducing Rogers to his katana the first chance he got.
Bruce had to remote pilot the jet from the mansion to bring it to the tower. So, while the others took off to begin the search he remained at the Tower for a few minutes, checking in with Vision.
“We have sent Ant Man in to get intel on Miss Maximoff’s position.” Vision said, “Once we know where she is and can be sure that there are no civilians at risk, we will move in.”
“Be careful.” Bruce ordered, “I know you’re strong, but that bitch has hurt you once already.”
“Indeed, I made the mistake of trusting her, not something I will ever do again.” Vision sounded less human as he said this, clearly, he was still hurt by Maximoff’s betrayal, something he would likely carry with him for the rest of his life.
“Ant Man and Falcon will distract her, while Hawkeye gets inside the building and will blind her with gas arrows and restrain her, then I shall move in and remove her powers.” Vision explained. “Good luck with your own mission. I hope you find Mr Stark soon. Once I have dealt with Miss Maximoff, I shall join the search if you have not found him by then.”
“Thanks Vision.” Bruce said, hoping that the Android’s help would not be required, “Take care, and hopefully I’ll see you soon, with Tony.”
“Indeed, Mr Wayne.”
As he landed the jet on the landing pad outside Stark Tower, Bruce paused, pulling the cowl over his head and sighed deeply. For twenty years he’d been doing this, been Batman, been fighting lunatics and despots. But never had it been so personal as it was right now, never had he so much at stake, never had he felt so unsure or nervous as he did right now.”
“Will you keep us all in contact, FRIDAY?” he asked the AI,
“It will be my pleasure.” She replied, “The Boss Lady is fielding the press. I’m afraid that they already have news of Boss Man’s abduction and want a story. She says not to worry and that she will handle it, and for you give Rogers a punch from her!”
Bruce snorted, “I’ll be all to happy to do so.” He said, boarding the jet and getting into the cockpit, “Hold on Tony. I’m coming for you.”
The building that Steve had spotted turned out to be a derelict farm house.
Half of the roof had caved in, rendering most of the rooms uninhabitable, only what had once been the living room, and the kitchen were still standing.
There was no power, or water, and the only furniture was a moth eaten, half collapsed sofa, that Steve placed Tony on, while he went to search through the house for supplies.
Tony’s first thought was to try and escape while Steve was occupied. But a contraction ripping through him left him unable to do anything but moan in pain and grip the sagging cushions in his fists.
“Breathe love, remember to breathe.” Steve called to him, from somewhere in the house, searching through the debris.
“Fuck you asshole.” Tony threw back, squirming to take his trousers off. He didn’t relish the thought of being half naked in front of Steve, but he needed to get the trousers off. They smelled of urine and were wet from his waters breaking, and he’d be more comfortable with them off.
After a couple of attempts he got his trousers off, then his underpants, gasping when he saw blood on them, then recalled being told about the blood that would come away prior to the birth.
He’d just tossed them on the floor with his trousers, when Steve came back into the living room with a couple of filthy sheets. He paused when he saw Tony’s state of undress, the Omega very glad that his tunic like shirt came down to his mid thighs, since it covered it groin.
“We can use these.” He said to Tony, shaking one of the sheets out to get the dust off it. Helping Tony to rise, he lay it over the sofa, and set Tony back down, just as another contraction hit, this one worse than the last.
Though he didn’t want to, Tony couldn’t help but cling onto to Steve as the pain tore through him, wrapping about his middle, shooting down his back, and gripping his pelvis.
Steve wrapped his arms about Tony, rubbing his back and making soothing noises to the Omega encouraging him to breathe and relax.
“Relax?” Tony snarled, as soon as it had past. “We’re in the middle of fucking no where, I’m in labour, I need a C-section, and you are telling me to relax?”
Steve clucked his tongue, as he shook out the second sheet, tearing it in half, and putting one half to the side to wrap the baby in, while he spread the second half over Tony’s lap.
“You don’t need a C-Section, you can do this, Tony.” He said, refusing to listen to reason, “I know you’re scared, but I’m right here, and I will get you through this.” He offered Tony a grin, “Just think of what we’ll be able to tell little James or Sarah when they are older, about how they came into the world?”
Tony stared at him wondering if Steve had suffered a severe head injury! This was insane, completely insane. Wanda had abducted Tony, Steve had then taken him from her, had driven him out this shit hole, and seemed to think that they would be getting a happily ever after?
“I wonder if there is anything, I can use to start a fire.” Steve murmured, looking at the fire place. “We need to keep you and the baby warm.” He looked to Tony, “I’m going to look for some wood, or something I can burn.” He said, “Will you be alright on your own for a few minutes?”
“Do you actually care about what I want or need?” Tony shot back, getting a patented sigh and eye roll from Steve,
“I’ll be back soon.” Steve said, “Remember your breathing exercises and try not to tense up.”
“Feel free to fall and break your face out there!” Tony spat after him. Left alone he surveyed the room, looking for a weapon to use, for an escape route, for anything really. There was some broken glass on the floor, from where a tree branch had come in through the window, but Tony couldn’t bend down to the floor to pick it up, and if he did get down there, he wouldn’t get back up without help.
He couldn’t run. He’d never make it across the field without Steve catching up to him, let alone any further. There was no transport, and even if there had been, he was too big to get behind the wheel.
All he could do was wait for help to come to him and hope that it wouldn’t be too late.
I'm not going to go into details of Wanda's capture, as it will be pretty much just a repeat of what happened in Quickening. I'd rather focus on Tony and the birth of Max
With Wanda successfully dealt with, Vision was able to join the rest of the Avengers and Bat family in searching for Tony.
Clint had begged the Police to be allowed to go to the hospital Natasha had been taken to, not resisting being in handcuffs all the while, he just wanted to be there when she woke up.
In an act of compassion his wish was granted, while Sam and Scott went to the Police station. The Lawyer was working on getting them deals, but they would be held until they had a hearing and then would either be held on remand or released on bail pending trial.
Wanda was being taken to a secure hospital pending an assessment of her mental state, and then she was likely to be deported back to Sokovia.
“Has there been any developments?” Vision asked as he took to the sky.
“Nothing yet.” Peter replied, and let out a grunt, “Fuck, will you stay down? I’m trying to have a private conversation!”
“Problems?” Dick inquired, sounding amused by this.
“Ran into a couple of fuckwit wannabe muggers.”
“Fuck you man, we ain’t wannabe’s!”
“I said stay down and shut the hell up.” Peter said and Vision heard the swooshing sound of his webbing as he dealt with the mouthy mugger.
“I stopped a car theft.” Damian offered, over the comms, “No sign of Tony though.”
“On the bright side it only seems to be low level crime going on. No super Villains being dickheads.” Dick said, “That would have been all we need.”
Rhodey scoffed, “You know that if one of them decides to start being a dickhead, then it is now totally your fault for jinxing us!”
“I’m going to head over Connecticut, see what’s happening there.” Bruce said, “There’s nothing in Long Island, so I don’t think Roger’s took Tony there. Vision, why don’t you look upstate?”
“Certainly Mr Wayne.” The Android replied, turning in the air and heading in the direction that Bruce suggested.
“Okay losers, you can just hang around here until the cops show up.” Peter said, still speaking over the comms but actually addressing the muggers.
“Let us down you little shit!” The swooshing noise of the webbing came again followed by muffled cries indicating that Peter had webbed the muggers mouth shut.
“Uh guys?” Tim asked, over the comms, “I know we’ve got other priorities, but I can see three big guys with some impressive weaponry paying a bit too much attention to a pawn brokers.” He was huddled in the shadows on top of a roof in The Bronx, and saw the three men approaching the pawn shop via a back alley. Had it not been for the sawn-off’s they were carrying he might have given them the benefit of the doubt, but those weapons were not exactly something someone carried from simple self-defence.
“Hang tough Tim, I’ll be with you soon.” Peter called, beginning to web his way across the city, swinging from roof top to roof top at incredible speed.
“FRIDAY. Remote control a couple of Tony’s cars and pick up, Damian, Dick, and Alfred, to back up Tim and Peter.” Bruce ordered the AI. Ordinarily he would have gone himself, but he needed to focus on finding Tony. However, he wasn’t going to let his children go into battle alone. Having them all fighting together meant they were that much stronger, and Alfred could more than handle himself if necessary, and would make sure that the boys got out safely.
“On it, Batman.” FRIDAY replied. She started the engines of three high powered sports cars and sent them roaring out of the tower, heading for their passengers. “Incidentally, the Police have a licence plate for the car that Wanda Maximoff stole, which Captain Rogers has used to abscond with Boss Man. I am currently search CCTV and Traffic Cameras for the car, with any luck I should be able to point you all in the right direction shortly.”
“Let us know FRIDAY.” Rhodey said as he went on with his search. Silently praying that they would find Tony soon.
Broken chair legs, slates of wood from what had once been a bed frame, and pieces of a table were what Steve had found to build a fire with. Piling up the fire place and using torn pieces of wall paper to ignite it. He blew on the flame, tending it, to get a good blaze going, making sure that the flew was open to let the smoke out.
On the sofa Tony groaned, throwing his head back and fisted the sheets tightly contractions ran through his body.
“Remember to breathe.” Steve encouraged him. Picking up a dented metal saucepan he had managed to scrounge up. While outside he’d managed to locate an old water pump, that had most likely been used for the live stock on the farm. It had still provided water, for which Steve was grateful, however, there was no way for him to know if it was safe for human consumption, so he elected to boil it before giving it to Tony.
The Omega’s contractions were coming on faster now and lasting longer, suggesting that the birth would not be that far away. Steve was feeling both anxious and elated about that.
Once the fire was going well, Steve carefully held the saucepan by the handle over the flames to heat the water, “Why don’t you get up and try walking?” He suggested to Tony, “That’s supposed to help, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” Tony scoffed, “You know what else helps? Having a fucking Doctor and doing this in a fucking hospital, Rogers!”
Steve grit his teeth. Tony was really starting to try his patience. He understood that the Omega was in pain, that he was frightened, but there was no reason he should be this difficult, Steve was doing his best here and it wouldn’t hurt Tony to meet him half way.
Tony scowled at the back of Steve’s head, wishing he had something he could throw at the man, wishing he had the strength to get up and walk away. But his hips and pelvis felt like they were on fire. He doubted he could stand right now, let alone walk.
As the labour continued more and more pressure built up on his pelvis and his hips. It felt like a heavy weight was bearing down on them, forcing them apart. Technically he knew that this was the case, that Max or Maxi was moving down to be delivered. But he didn’t think it should feel like this, but then he shouldn’t be delivering the Pup outside of a hospital. This was an abnormally large pup, even for an Alpha or an Omega. So, what was normal for others did not apply for him.
He did try to breathe through the contractions though. Tried to do as his Obstetrician had advised if he had started to go into natural labour before the scheduled C-Section, but it was hard to breathe. His chest felt too tight, like there was something constrictive wrapped about his ribs preventing him from taking deep breaths.
His back and his front were aching, and he had chronic heartburn that he was trying to ignore.
Having had symptoms of angina before, he knew what this foreshadowed, even without the tingling in his left hand or the cramps in his left arm. His heart was not liking this at all and the longer it went on, the more stressed his heart was going to become.
“Water’s starting to simmer.” Steve called, from the fire place, as if Tony gave a flying fuck about boiling water right now.
He was too busy trying to remember when he should start pushing. Did he have to wait until after he’d dilated ten centimetres? Or was upon the dilation of ten centimetres, like right after nine centimetres he was supposed to begin pushing? And was he supposed to push continually or just when a contraction came?
He'd never been told any of this because there had been chance of him giving birth naturally, otherwise he’d have gone to Lamaze classes and learned all of this, now, he was just trying to recall what he knew from TV births.
Christ! How was he even supposed to know when he was at ten centimetres? It wasn’t like he could reach down there to measure anything, and he couldn’t very well take a look could he?
Another contraction hit and it was like a fist had been punched up between his legs while a battering ram was pounded against his back and his front.
Doubled over and sobbing for the pain that just went on and one, Tony didn’t even resist when Steve came over to him, wrapping his arms about him and rubbing his back, he was just too desperate for some relief to care about who was giving it right now.
“Need to measure.” He panted, once the contraction had passed, “Ten centimetres.”
“Right.” Steve said, sitting back on his haunches, “How do I do that?”
Tony glared at him, hating Steve for putting him in this position and hating that he was going to have to rely on Steve to do this.
“Fingers,” He gritted out, “Push them inside me, you can tell the width by the number of fingers you can get in.” The fact that Rogers looked vaguely repulsed by the idea of putting his fingers inside Tony’s dilating body gave Tony a little vindictive pleasure, however, he still had to suffer the indignity of spreading his legs wide and bearing himself to Steve in order to do this.
He bent his knees and reached for them as best he could with his huge belly in the way, his backside on the very edge of the sofa, showing off everything to Steve who was very gingerly measuring the dilation with his fingers.
“Uh six, I can get six in.” He said, pulling his hands free as fast as he could, and tipped some of the boiled water over his hands to wash them. Using a chipped mug, he dunked it into the water and handed Tony to cup to drink from, having wiped the dust off the cup first of course. Since there was no way that Tony would drink out of a dirty mug.
“I get worms or something from this, I’m donating half of them to you!” Tony grumbled, drinking anyway, he was too thirsty not to.
“You won’t.” Steve assured him, giving Tony a grin. He tore some of the liberated bed sheet and dipped it into the water, wiping Tony’s face with it, and took his hand when the next contraction came, having to hold back a wince of his own as Tony crushed his hand.
“That hurt did it?” Tony asked, seeing the pain on Steve’s face, as he gleefully mangled the Alpha’s hand, “Guess how I feel!”
“You’re doing great Tony, really, you are.”
Tony scoffed, rolling his eyes, “As if either of us would even know!” He tried to pull himself back on the sofa, to try and make himself more comfortable but a lightning bolt of pain shot through his lower back, around his coccyx and into his pelvis as he tried to move.
“Oh God, there’s something wrong!” He cried out, digging his nails into his palms so hard that they were drawing blood, “There’s something really wrong!”
“There isn’t, you’re panicking over nothing.” Steve said, “Pain is normal in labour, its just that these days people get drugged up on newfangled pain killers and the true pain of labour is something you never experience.”
Tony shot him an incredulous look, “How the hell would you know?” He cried, “You’re a fucking Alpha, you’ll never go through a fucking labour in your fucking life. What the fuck do you know about labour pain?”
Steve lifted his chin defiantly. “I know that your generation is a lot weaker than mine was. You can’t take the pain as we could, you’ve become soft to it from too much interference with nature.”
Were he not in agony then Tony would have stood up and decked Rogers for that. But all he could do was glare at the arrogant asshole.
“I am not weak.” He spat, his voice low and eyes blazing in fury, “My generation is not weak. We just don’t see the need for people to suffer needlessly, and I am telling you that there is something wrong. This pain isn’t normal, I shouldn’t feel…” He broke off as all the air seemed to leave his body. For moment he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t inhale at all. A deep and dragging pain sat heavy in his chest and his head spun, making the room go fuzzy for a few moments, until he managed to draw breath again.
Shit, had he just had a heart attack? A mild one maybe? His chest was aching, and his left arm felt strange. Not numb exactly, but there were pins and needles in his fingers that was worrying.
“Steve,” He whispered, unable to speak any louder, “You have got to get me out of here. I’m not going to survive this if you don’t.”
Once again his words fell on deaf ears, as Steve set about wiping his face and plying him with more water, then set off to refill the saucepan.
Desperate now, Tony forced himself off the sofa, landing on the floor with an oof. He couldn’t stand, he was on his hands and knees crawling like an animal to get himself across the room, and when a contraction came, he could do nothing but wrap his arms about himself and sob, waiting for it pass.
Once it had, he made himself get up again and continue to crawl, out of the door, out of the house and into the night.
He didn’t know where he would go, all he knew was that he had to get away from Rogers and try to find himself some help before it was too late.
The would be thieves were quite easily taken care of once the boys had all gathered.
Tim had already cased the pawn brokers while the would be thieves did the same, taking far more time over it than Red Robin, who had spotted three ways in for them to use.
He would take the back entrance with Alfred, while Dick and Peter would go in through the upstairs window, which was broken, only cardboard covered the hole where the glass should be.
Damian, who always liked to make an entrance would go in through the front door.
The thieves had only just gone into the shop and taken aim at the owner and assistant when the Bat family and Spider Man burst in on them.
Damian was first, kicking the front door in and threw one of his katana blades with deadly accuracy disarming one of the thieves both literally and figuratively!
As the poor fool fell to the ground clutching at the stump below his elbow, his two friends turned on Damian, who’d already moved out of the line of fire before they could even get a shot off, taking cover behind a display case, his second katana ready in hand. He didn’t need it though, because Tim was through the back door with Alfred, his staff wrapping around the head of the second thief then slammed it into his side, making him dizzy and made him double over in pain which gave Alfred the chance to bring his forearm down over the man’s elbow forcing him to let go of the shot gun.
“Get down on the ground, hands behind your head, Mate.” He instructed, his voice muffled by the scarf he had up over his nose, hiding most of his face.
“Fucking Christ!” the remaining thief cried whirling around and firing at Dick and Alfred who dodged the shot, taking cover as Damian had.
“Ain’t no fucker getting’ outa ‘ere till I got my fuckin’ money!” He bellowed firing another shot at the ceiling, “Now empty the fuckin’ safe, shit for brains!” He yelled at the owner, “Or I’ll blow a hole in your face the size of a fuckin’ grapefruit!”
“Betcha good at blowin’ shit,” Damian taunted,
“Watch your mouth young man!” Alfred scolded,
“Shut the fuck up!” The thief bellowed, “What the fuck d’you clowns think this is, a fuckin’ school yard?”
“Might as well be.” Tim muttered,
“Money now you mother…” The thief didn’t get any further as webbing covered his face and an arrow pierced his shoulder forcing him to drop the gun both from pain and the fact he couldn’t see.
“And that’s three for three.” Dick said, leaving it to Peter to restrain the thieves with webbing, Spider Man paused, his eyes widening when he saw the severed limb.
“Umm, should we call an ambulance?”
“Why bother?” Damian drawled, retrieving his katana from the floor and wiping the blood off it on one of the thieves coats while Peter webbed a tourniquet about the man’s stump.
“Time to go.” Alfred said, he tipped a nod to the owner and assistant, “I trust you can handle things from here, so we’ll be on our way.”
The owner and assistant were too stunned to say a word, they just watched as the superheroes walked out the front door, leaving the would be thieves bound with spider webbing on the floor of the shop.
“Hey Bruce, everything’s taken care of,” Dick reported, “How are things on your end?”
“Nothing so far,” Bruce replied, sounding tired, “FRIDAY is still combing through the CCTV, she can do it fast, but it’ll still take time.”
“Maybe we should call off the manual search until we have a solid lead.” Alfred suggested, taking the scarf from about his mouth, “All we’re doing is wasting energy when we’re going to need it when we find Rogers, we should go back to the tower and wait, at least until we have an actual direction to go in.”
“As much as I hate to admit it, I think he’s right.” Rhodey sighed, “We should all take the chance to rest so we’re fresh to fight.”
“Agreed.” Bruce said, turning the jet, “Everyone reconvene at the tower.”
It didn’t take Steve long to find out that Tony was missing, and Tony had not managed to go very far when the Captain came out of the house shouting his name.
Knowing he couldn’t possibly out run Steve, Tony didn’t even try. Instead he lay down on the ground curling onto his side, hiding in the long grass and hoping that the darkness would help hide him from Steve’s sharp eyes.
“Tony, for God sakes you are in no condition to be running around!” Steve bellowed, Tony could hear him running, hear his long strides as he ran through the farm searching for him, “You are putting our baby at risk!”
Tony rolled his eyes, like he wanted to be out here playing hide and fucking seek with Captain Numbnuts! He held his breath and bit down on his bottom lip when a contraction came, forcing himself not to cry out, listening as Steve’s footsteps grew a little more distant, the Captain was heading around to the other side of the house in search of him.
Letting out his breath Tony forced himself back onto his hands and knees and began to move, crawling as fast as he could towards the road. Lifting his head up from the grass he caught sight of lights in the distance, moving lights. A car! If he could reach the road he could flag them down and get the hell out of here, get to a hospital and have his baby safely, he wasn’t going to make it in time on his hands and knees though, he needed to be on his feet.
Taking a deep breath Tony forced himself to stand, his legs nearly giving out and his hips screaming in pain as they bore his weight. Biting his tongue to stifle his cries of pain Tony forced his throbbing, pregnant body across the grass, moving as fast as he could. Sweat beaded his forehead and tears ran down as his cheeks as he took agonising step after agonising step.
Tony glanced over his shoulder and saw Steve coming for him. Groaning he tried desperately to increase his pace, lifting his arms up and waving frantically, hoping that just maybe those in the car would see him.
“Help me!” He yelled doing his best to run, but couldn’t managed more than a clumsy stumble, his left knee gave out and he fell forward, landing on his hands and knees, but pushed himself back up and forced himself to keep going, “Help!” he screamed waving his arms, “Help me!” Tony stumbled again, his body swooning to the right, but before he hit the ground strong arms wrapped about him from behind, pulling him back upright.
“No, No!” Tony screamed kicking out, he dug his elbows back hard into Steve’s stomach, trying to break free, but the man held him too tight, pushing Tony’s arms down and holding it secure under his own and clamped his free hand over Tony’s mouth preventing him from crying out.
Hope died for Tony as he watched the car drive past, continuing on without seeing him. Tears slid down his cheeks and he sagged, the fight going out of him as his last hope disappeared into the darkness.
“God, Tony, why do you always have to make everything so difficult!” Steve sighed, lifting the Omega up into his arms and turned around, carrying him back to the farm house. “What were you thinking?” he demanded, “Running around in your condition, are you so selfish that you just had to put our baby at risk to spite me?”
“Fuck you!” Tony spat, he dug he elbow into Steve’s stomach making the man grunt and glare at him as he carried him back inside the farm house and set him down on the sofa. Tony immediately went to stand but he was doubled over by another contraction that took his breath away and left him unable to do anything but fall to his knees and grip onto the side of the couch. Even as the contraction past he struggled to breathe, his lungs feeling so tight and the cramps in his pelvis did not leave, it remained even as his uterus relaxed again.
“Foolish, irresponsible, self-centred..” Steve was ranting,
“Oh shut up will you, I’m fucking giving birth here!” Tony snarled, trying to catch his breath. His chest was aching again, even more than before. His little excursion across the field hadn’t helped and it was becoming impossible to take deep breaths. He brow creased and he groaned as the next contraction came. This one lasted longer and more pressure was added to his over taxed pelvis, the birth was coming closer and closer.
“Alright,” Steve said, kneeling down behind Tony and began to rub his back, “Just breathe evenly and let it happen, it won’t be long now and then we’ll have our baby.” Tony grit his teeth, to busy trying to breathe to snarl at Steve. He was giving up on himself getting out of this alive, all he could do now was hope that his baby made it and that Bruce found him and raised him.
It was just after dawn when FRIDAY tagged the car and found the route that Steve had taken.
“He’s headed out of the City, looks like he’d going North.” She informed the Bat Family and Avengers, who wasted no time in getting ready to go. Bruce on the jet, Rhodey in the War Machine armour, Vision simply flying under his own power, and everyone else on the Quin Jet with FRIDAY flying.
“The last shot I have of the car is heading towards Adirondack Mountains.” FRIDAY reported.
“Thanks Fri, stay in touch.” Rhodey said, blasting off and leading the way.
By air it didn’t take long for them to reach the road that Steve had taken and even less time to find the car, abandoned on the road side.
“Its out of gas.” Rhodey said, checking the inside of the car, he looked around, “They couldn’t have gone far on foot, Tony’s in no fit state to walk for more than a few minutes, and knowing him he’d put up a fight.”
“To say the least.” Bruce mused with an involuntary smile, “Lets put down and search on foot from here, if Rogers is around I don’t want to give him any forewarning.”
He landed the bat jet and FRIDAY landed the quin jet in the field, both engines ran quietly so they gave little warning, but Bruce didn’t want to take any chances.
“Is that a building over there?” Damian asked, pointing towards the farm in the distance.
“Its something,” Dick agreed, frowning, “Do you think Steve would have taken Tony there?”
Bruce shrugged, “Lets check it out.”
“I’ll go first.” Vision volunteered, “I can faze, they won’t know I am there.”
As the others silently moved across the field towards the farm house, Vision flew overhead searching the land and then the building, he fazed through what was left of the roof and then down into the remains of the farm house, startling slightly when he heard a cry of pain.
“That’s it Tony, bear down!”
“Fuck you, what the fuck do you think I’m trying to do!”
Had he been able Vision would have paled at the unmistakable sound of someone in labour, of Tony in labour. He knew how dangerous it was for Tony to try and give birth naturally, knew that he should never be attempting this, and by the sounds of it, he was not far from the actual delivery.
Swiftly, he fazed back through the building and up into the air, flying across the farm to meet the others.
“Well?” Rhodey asked as soon as he set down before them.
“They are inside.” Vision replied, “But we have a problem. Tony is in labour.”
“Tony is in labour.”
The gravity of those words were not lost on those gathered outside the farmhouse. This complicated matters. They had already known that Tony’s presence complicated things, that he might get caught in the cross fire if they were not careful, but him being in labour presented a new problem with how to handle this.
“Should we call for an ambulance?” Dick asked, frowning worriedly,
“An air ambulance would be faster,” Damian said, “And the jet faster still.”
“Yeah, but what if he gives birth in the jet?” Tim countered looking terrified at the prospect. Damian rolled his eyes,
“Then we catch it as it comes out, stupid!”
“Catch it? Its not a football Demon!”
“Boys not now!” Bruce scolded them, he ran a hand over his face breathing deeply as he thought on his feet. “As much as I want to rip Rogers a new one, getting Tony out of there is the priority, so that us what we focus on.”
“Agreed,” Rhodey said, “So how do you want to play it?”
Tony was honest to God screaming now, or at least he would have been had he got enough air in his lungs to produce the sound, but his chest was too tight for him draw that much breath and ached angrily on every inhale. But the pain in his pelvis was unbelievable. He felt like he was being ripped in half, as if someone had gotten hold of his legs and was pulling them every which way.
He felt dizzy and sick, he was bleeding heavily, he knew that, he could feel the blood coating his inner thighs and pooling at his knees. He could smell it too, the sickly scent of iron in the air which turned his already upset stomach.
“You are doing amazing Tony, really you are.” Steve gushed as he rubbed ineffectually at the small of Tony’s back, “Just keep on like this and we’ll have our baby soon!”
“I rather think not.” A new voice said, and in an instant Steve’s hands were no longer touching him, and Tony heard Steve cry out in protest as he was pulled away. Turning, Tony saw Vision, who must have phased through the building, with his arms locked about Steve, lifting him two feet off the floor and keeping hold of him even as the super soldier struggled to get free.
“I do hope I am not too late, Mr Stark.” Vision said, with his usual formality which made Tony choke out a laugh, that turned into a cry as another contraction hit.
“Let me go, Vision, Tony needs me!” Steve bellowed, trying to break free of the Android’s grasp, but Vision was not having any of it.
“You are the last person he needs.” He said with utter finality, he did however release Steve, but only because at that moment Batman burst through the broken window and greeted Rogers with punch that floor him.
“And if you have half a brain, you’ll stay down!” The bat snarled, Steve of course did not have half a brain and was up again a moment later aim a blow at the Bat, which he dodged, catching Steve’s arm and elbowing his stomach, then grabbed the back of his shirt and body slammed him face first into the wall.
“Boys!” He shouted, “Its time to take out the trash!”
Like a plague of very frightening locust the bat family and Spiderman swarmed Rogers, taking care of him, so Bruce could focus on Tony.
“Hey Cap, remember me?” Spiderman asked, as Steve sat up, only to get his face punched again, “Bet you won’t forget this time I kick your ass!” Using his webbing he bound Steve up in a cocoon, lifted him, and threw him out of the window, Dick, Damian, and Tim following after him and Rhodey standing guard in case War Machine was needed.
“Now,” Damian said, slitting the webbing with his katana, “You can’t say I’m not giving you a sporting chance, because I am cutting you free when I didn’t have to.” Steve opened his mouth to reply, but he didn’t have time, as Damian was suddenly on him, slashing at him, forcing Steve to leap back or risk getting his arms sliced off, as it was Damian slashed him across the chest. Steve tried to keep out of reach of the katana blades, but Damian moved too fast for him to counter and soon enough Steve was crying out in pain as a katana blade was puncturing his thigh.
“My turn!” Tim declared tossing his staff from hand to hand. Graciously Damian backed away, letting Tim take over.
Tim allowed Steve to get back onto his feet and then feinted left, making the Captain move that way to tackle him, giving Tim the chance to bring his staff across Steve’s back knocking the air out of him and sending him to his knees.
Slamming the staff down into the ground Tim ran and then leapt into the air, spinning around and kicking Steve in the face as the momentum carried him, as he landed, he pulled the staff free and jabbed it backwards, hitting Steve in the gut when the soldier tried to tackle him from behind.
“My go.” Dick declared, and almost before Tim had even moved away Dick was on Steve, wrapped his legs around him, driving him back against the farmhouse wall, back handing and punching him. He arched himself backward, flipped off Steve and kicking him under the chin as he back flipped from him.
Steve spat blood on the ground, and clenched his fists in anger, “You had better get the hell out of my way…” He trailed off when he looked up and saw all Dick aiming an arrow directly at his neck, a glance to the left showed Damian twirling his katana blades, to the right showed Tim leaning nonchalantly against his staff, and a cough from above had Steve looked up to see Spiderman hanging upside down from the wall above him.
“So, you were saying?” Dick drawled, then all the humour drained from him as Vision phased through the wall looking as ashen as an android was able.
“Colonel Rhodes you had better call that air ambulance.” Vision said to Rhodey, “Tell them to hurry, that there will be a neo-natal new born, and that Tony has suspected pelvic fractures, is bleeding heavily, and may have suffered a heart attack.”
Rhodey paled and swallowed hard, turning away to speak into the suit com system.
“Viz, what’s happening?” Tim asked, his eyes wide with fear, and Vision’s answer did not help anything.
“Its too late to try and move him. Tony’s got to give birth here and there is a strong possibility he won’t survive it.”
Tony had just about collapsed into Bruce’s arms as the Alpha joined him, sobbing and panting he clung to the black Kevlar, breathing in the reassuring scent of Bruce’s body.
“Its alright honey, I’m here, you’re safe now, I promise.” Bruce soothed, pulled back his cowl and kissed Tony’s forehead. The Omega sighed in relief, then began to cry out again as another contraction came, this one even worse than the last, and Tony’s legs just gave out under him, he slumped and would have fallen onto his side had Bruce caught hold of him in time.
“Viz!” He barked, taking Tony into his arms and supporting his upper body, his chest to Tony’s back.
Vision looked apologetic as he sank down to his knees besides Tony’s bloody legs. “Forgive the familiarity, Mr Stark.” He said, “But I need to see how far dilated you are.” Tony no longer cared who looked at him down there, hell, they could get King Kong and Godzilla in here to gawp at him, so long as they delivered the Pup safely!
“Just do it!” He said, trying to move his legs, but white hot agony shot through him, preventing him from doing anything like that.
“Breathe Tony, try to breathe, we’ll get you out of here as soon as we can.” Bruce soothed, having to resist the urge to punch something. He hated seeing people he cared about suffering for any reason and hated labour all the more because there was nothing he could really do to help.
Tony shook his head, his face screwed up and streaked with tears, “Not….. contraction,” he panted, “Something else.”
Bruce looked to Vision, perplexed. “What?” He asked,
“Pelvis.” Tony groaned, “Hurts so much.” His face creased and he moaned as another contraction came, adding more pressure to the agony that his pelvis had become.
Vision frowned, and very carefully placed his hands over Tony’s pelvis, feeling around the cradle, pressing here and there until he found something odd, and Tony shrieked in pain. “I’m sorry,” He immediately apologised to the Omega, “You have a fracture in your pelvis.”
“How?” Tony groaned, “Didn’t do anything.”
“I think it’s the Pup.” Vision murmured, “It’s too big to deliver naturally, its caused a fracture in trying to push through.” Bruce snarled in anger at Steve’s idiocy,
“We need to get him to a hospital.” He said to Vision, easing Tony back against his chest and stroked his forehead, not at all liking the blue tinge to his lips or the difficulty Tony seemed to be having in drawing breath.
“We may not have time.” Vision said, taking hold of one of Tony’s thighs, “I am sorry to do this Tony, but I need to see the birth canal.” It was easy for Tony to guess what Vision meant, and he nodded his head, screwing his eyes shut and gripped tightly to Bruce’s hand as Vision carefully and as gently as he could, moved Tony’s legs into position so he could see the birth canal.
Tony’s screams echoed about the room and brought tears from Bruce in empathy for the pain he was going through. “Well?” the Alpha demanded of Vision, who looked up, his face somehow pale.
“It is too late.” The Android said, “I can see the head clearly, delivery is not far, moving him now could kill them both.”
After Vision got Rhodey to call an ambulance he flew to the quin jet and raided the first aid kit for swabs, and packs to stop bleeds, and a syringe of morphine to help ease Tony’s pain.
“This is your fault you selfish bastard!” he heard Damian snarling at a cornered Steve as he flew back to the farm house with Rhodey following him inside.
“The ambulance is on its way.” Rhodey said, swallowing hard the sight which greeted him. Tony was being propped up by Bruce, his legs spread unnaturally wide, naked from the waist down with a spreading pool of blood beneath him.
“I think I need to push.” Tony panted, “Oh God it hurts so much, I can’t, I can’t!”
“Vision!” Bruce cried desperately, at the helpless looking Android,
“Just get the baby out!” Tony begged struggling to breathe, “Do what you have to, just get him delivered!”
“It may cause you more pain, and you may suffer more fractures.” Vision warned, holding his hands up.
“Just do it!” Tony wept groaning as another contraction came, his body was desperately trying do what needed to be done, but there was just no space for the baby to move, the shoulders were too wide for Tony’s pelvis to manage without causing more damage, but he was bleeding more and more and growing weaker as time went on, plus the baby was likely to be becoming distressed, if it wasn’t delivered soon then it may not survive.
Taking a deep breath Vision elongated his hands, stretching out his fingers and thumbs, making them thin and almost flat before he slide them up inside Tony, forcing them around the baby to take hold of him.
Tony was gasping and rigid with agony, the sound of his cries were broken only by the sound of bone snapping as more fractures were added to his over stressed pelvis. Vision did not waste time, as soon as he felt Tony’s body begin another contraction he pulled as much as he dared on the infant, pulling it down the birth canal, guiding it out into the world followed by a thick gush of blood.
“Packs now!” He barked at Rhodey, who moved to grab them and handed them to the Android who carefully lay the Pup on his lap and pushed the packs up and inside Tony to try and staunch the incessant bleeding.
“Tony, TONY!” Bruce cried, to the Omega, who had gone limp against him, his face a ghastly shade of grey and lips completely blue. On Vision’s lap, the new born baby boy spluttered and cried, blinking sticky eyes at the world, unaware that inches a way his mother was fighting for his life.
“What do we do?” Rhodey cried, as he handed Vision the last pack, the bleeding wasn’t stopping or slowing and Tony was showing no sign of regaining consciousness, despite Bruce’s pleading.
“Take the baby.” Vision ordered the Colonel, “And cut the cord!”
Mutely Rhodey did as Vision ordered, carefully wrapping the baby boy in the sheet that Steve had set aside, and let out a sigh of relief as he heard the sound of helicopter rotor blades.
“The choppers here!” Tim shouted into the house.
“And not before time.” Rhodey whispered gazing at Tony, his eyes meeting Bruce’s and knew that the battle for Tony’s life wasn’t over yet.
Steve actually managed to break free from the boys and ran back into the farm house with them hot on his tail. He dodged the katana that was thrown at him, and the arrows that were fired at his back, charging back inside the farm house and into what was left of the sitting room, just in time to see Rhodey lifting the new born off Vision’s lap, as the android set about pushing pack after pack inside Tony’s profusely bleeding body.
“Tony, come on sweetheart, open your eyes,” Batman encouraged the limp Omega. His face was hidden from Steve’s view, Rhodey’s body was blocking his eyeline, anyway, Steve’s focus was on Tony, who was slumped boneless over Batman’s lap with a river of blood spreading from between his thighs.
“What happened?” Steve whispered, feeling sick at the sight of Tony’s grey skin and the unnatural position of his spread thighs.
“The hell!” Rhodey barked, unable to do anything about Steve while he was holding the baby in his arms, said baby gave a loud and unhappy cry at the raised voice, attracting Steve’s attention away from Tony.
“Is it alright?” He asked, stepping forward, his arms outstretched to take the baby from Rhodey, “A boy or a girl?” Rhodey took a step back, but he needn’t have worried as the boys were right behind Steve and quickly took care of him. Peter cocooning him in webbing to make sure that he couldn’t get away again. Just to be sure of keeping Steve from seeing his identity, Bruce pulled the cowl back down over his face, then caressed Tony’s clammy cheek worriedly.
“Jesus Christ!” Damian whispered, staring wide eyed at the sight of Tony, “Is he…”
“He’s going to be fine.” Bruce said, refusing to believe otherwise, he glanced at Vision, who was taking Tony’s pulse.
“He’s pulse is too erratic, he’s losing too much blood.” The Android said, he looked to Rhodey, “Where are the EMT’s?”
“Coming,” Rhodey replied, while jiggling the baby, trying to get him to settle, “They had to land down the field, there was too much crap this close to the house.”
“We’ll go and flag them down.” Tim said, taking Peter’s hand and pulling him out of the door. The sight of all the blood was making him nauseous. Glaring down at Steve, Damian delivered a vicious kick to his stomach,
“If he dies asshole, it’s your fault!”
“He won’t die.” Bruce snarled, the whispered under his breath, “He can’t, because I don’t know how to live without him.”
Panting from running and carrying equipment, the EMT’S burst into the farmhouse, Tim and Peter leading the way.
“What’s going on?” The first said, getting down besides Tony and opening up one of the kits he had with him,
“Mr Stark has delivered the pup, but suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis doing so, and is haemorrhaging heavily.” Vision replied, “His pulse is weakening, and he may have suffered a cardiac arrest.”
“How long has he been unconscious?”
“About six minutes.”
“Alright, give us some space.”
Everyone was forced to step back as the EMT’s set to work of stabilizing Tony as best they could to get him to the hospital. Steve, bound by the entire torso was forced to watch as they lay Tony flat, ripped open his shirt to expose his chest and placed pads attached to a monitor upon his chest. The machine beeped wildly, the readings obviously alarming.
“He’s tachycardic, I don’t think his heart is making a full contraction.” One of the EMT’s said,
“Abdomen is distended and rigid, there is a heavy bleed inside, possibly uterine, possibly pelvic.” Another said, “Pelvis is badly broken and unstable,”
“What does that mean?” Peter asked, as the EMT’s pushed drugs into Tony and hooked him up to a drip feed containing blood and saline.
“Lets ex-fix the pelvis and move him.” The first EMT said breaking open the kit, just as the heart monitor went wild and suddenly a continuous shrill alarm sounded. “He’s arresting, Defib now!”
“Oh God,” Rhodey whispered, hugging the baby to his chest, Tim clasped a hand over his mouth, fighting tears, Peter wrapped an arm about his shoulder, holding him close, Dick rested his shaking hand on Damian’s shoulder, giving it a squeeze as the boy fought to remain stoic, Bruce stared at Tony, his eyes glassy with unshed tears. Slowly he sank down besides Steve and whispered into his ear,
“If he doesn’t make it, neither do you.”
They were forced to watch as the EMT’s worked on Tony’s body, intubating him to push air into his lungs via a tube down his throat, and shocked his chest with a defibrillator, putting more drugs into his veins to try to get his heart beating again.
The seconds ticked by, becoming minutes, three, four, five, six, seven, and finally Tony’s heart began to beat weakly.
“Alright we’ve got sinus rhythm, let’s move now!”
Only Tony and the baby could ride on the chopper, Rhodey reluctantly gave the new born to the EMT’s and took custody of Steve, taking great pleasure in dragging him up from the ground and “Accidently” dropping him before lifting him again.
“I’ll dump him with the authorities and meet you at the hospital.” He said to Bruce, who nodded, heading for the bat jet, they would be flying to the tower to the outskirts of New York, where Alfred would be meeting them with the Limo and changes of clothes for them to go to the hospital in. The jets would then be taken care of by FRIDAY and Vision, the Android would join them at the hospital after securing the jets.
Alfred was only waiting for a few minutes in the limo before the jets arrived, with Pepper in the passenger seat, snarling into her phone at her P.A who was having the unfortunate job of dealing with the media.
“Is there any news?” Alfred asked, as the boys hurried to the car,
“A boy who seems fine. Tony’s very ill.” Bruce replied, pulling off his cowl and setting to work on his Kevlar. Changing in the back of the limo was not easy considering how many of them were in there, but they managed it somewhat clumsily among some cursing, and were suitably attired by the time they arrived at the hospital and hurried inside, going to reception where they were directed to one of the private waiting rooms for family members, where a member of nursing staff came to talk to them about what was going on.
“Firstly, Alpha baby boy Stark is very healthy despite being a bit early. He weighed in at an impressive fourteen pounds, ten ounces. He has been placed in an incubator at present, but it is more a precautionary measure than a necessity as he is not having difficulty breathing or maintaining his body temperature.” The Nurse smiled the looks and sighs of relief that ran about the room. “I don’t suppose you would know of a name that Mr Stark would like?”
“Max.” Bruce immediately said, “He wanted Max for a boy. Max Edwin.” The nurse nodded, making a note of that.
“What about Tony?” Peter asked, his breath hitching as the Nurse took a moment before answering.
“Mr Stark has been taken to theatre for emergency surgery to repair his pelvis, perform a D&C to empty the uterus and hopefully stop the bleed, but, if that does not work then I am afraid the Obstetrician will have no choice but to perform a hysterectomy.” Bruce closed his eyes and clenched his fists. Tony had been hoping to have more children. If a hysterectomy was performed, he would be unable to do so.
“A Cardiothoracic surgeon is operating on Mr Stark’s heart, to perform a bypass, he is being given blood transfusions and will be taken directly to intensive care once he is out of surgery.”
“When will that be?” Pepper asked, swallowing back the tears that were trying to break free,
“Surgery is likely to go on for several hours yet, MS Potts, I will be keeping you updating though.”
“Can we see the baby?” Tim asked sniffing, the Nurse paused, likely to refuse, but one look at the ashen face boys and the grief stricken adults and she couldn’t refuse them,
“I’ll have a Paediatric Nurse come and take you to Neo-Natal in a few minutes,” She said with a kind smile,
“Thank you,” Alfred said, since no one else seemed able to do so right now.
“He’ll be okay.” Bruce said, nodding his head and giving everyone a determined look, trying to convince both them and, himself. “This is Tony. He always beats the odds, he’ll be alright. He will, I know it.”
As soon as he was handed over to the military Police, a power dampening collar was placed upon Steve negating the serum and reverting him to his weak, sickly, pre-serum form.
At barely five ft three and 120lbs soaking wet, the Police had no difficulty in containing the former super soldier. Taking his mug shots, his finger prints, shoving him into a jump suit and dumping him into a cell.
“I want to make a phone call!” Steve yelled as best his weak lungs would allow. He felt shaky and unstable, his skinny body struggling to move about and his heart fluttering wildly in his chest as he wrapped his painfully thin hands about the bars of his cell door.
The guards shot him a contemptuous look, “Who in the hell would you call?” one of the sneered, “Your friends are either in their own cells, hospital, or want nothing to fucking do with you, Rogers, now sit down and shut the fuck up, or you’ll be having a few “Accidents” while your in our care.”
Steve scowled, looking like a sulky Shih Tzu! “I have a right to a phone call,” He snarled, having to pause to cough, “I want to call Tony, I need to speak to him, I need to be with my baby…” He trailed off and let out a yelp as one of the guards grabbed hold of his jumpsuit and yanked him forward, slamming him against the bars of the cell.
“Tony Stark is in hospital because of you.” The man snarled into his face, “He could die. You are facing charges of kidnap, grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, failure to report a crime, aiding an abetting a wanted fugitive, attempting to pervert the course of justice, negligent homicide, manslaughter, and ABH. You won’t be seeing the outside of a prison for the next fifty years!”
“If then.” The second guard grunted as the other man shoved Steve back into the cell with enough force to send him down onto his backside, “Ain’t nobody gonna let you near Stark or his baby, Rogers. You’re going to prison for the rest of your miserable existence. You better get used to it.”
Panting and his pride stinging, Steve unsteadily got to his feet and walked back to the bars of the cell, slumping against them as the guards left him. It wasn’t true, he knew it wasn’t true. No one would send Captain America to prison. It would all be fine, all he had to do was wait and once a judge saw him he would be released and could be back by Tony’s side and raise their baby with him.
Steve smiled at the thought of the baby, he still didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl, but that didn’t matter, he or she was beautiful and he couldn’t wait to hold them.
After dumping Steve with the military police, Rhodey joined the others at the hospital along with Vision, to wait for news on Tony.
Hours past and they took it in turns to go to the vending machines for coffee, soft drinks, and snacks. Pepper fielded calls from SI and WE on her phone. Already half of America’s media were camped outside the hospital and by morning they would be joined by the rest of the planets journalists looking for a story.
It was getting on for dawn when the surgeons finally came to the waiting room, where they had all sprawled over the chairs and the floor to wait for news. Springing to their feet and ignoring the stiff ache in their muscles and bones as they surgeons came into the room.
“How is he?” Bruce was first to ask….
Lol hahaha I'll bet you all hate me now!
Tony’s pelvis had been fixed and pinned into place with titanium screws that were being held rigid with a cage that circled his hips. He would be pinned like this for the next twelves weeks while his pelvis healed, then he would have to undergo physio and use both a wheelchair and crutches for a time, but the Orthopaedic surgeon was confident that his pelvis would heal fully, although a recommended against another pregnancy and a natural childbirth was out of the question.
Not that that was going to be an issue. The Gynaecologist had done his best to save Tony’s uterus, but he had been bleeding too heavily, the damage done by the natural labour had just been too much for his body to handle and in order to save Tony’s life, he’d had to perform a hysterectomy.
The bypass on Tony’s heart had been successful and he was already showing signs of improvement which was very encouraging.
Bruce and the others were shown into the ICU room that Tony had been placed in, all of them wincing at the sight of his battered body.
With the pelvic cage in place he couldn’t be covered in a blanket, so he was stripped practically naked, save for an adult nappy to cover his modesty and adhesive dressings over his chest and lower abdomen.
Bruising was already starting to form, red and purple over his thighs, hips, abdomen, and chest, promising to blossom into black and blue over the coming days.
He was breathing easier now, his breaths were even and steady, not shallow and taken with obvious effort as they had been at the farm house.
“How am I going to tell him that he can’t have anymore children?” Bruce whispered, not really asking it as a question, just speaking the worry out loud.
“Let the Doctor tell him. That’s their job.” Alfred said, patting Bruce’s shoulder,
“And he has Max.” Pepper offered, “That will soften the blow.” Mutely Bruce nodded, taking a seat at Tony’s bedside and slipped his fingers into Tony’s hand.
There came a clatter, and everyone turned to see that Tim had kicked a metal waste disposal bin over, “I wish I’d killed Rogers!” he spat, his boyish face twisted in anger.
“Should have skewered the motherfucker!” Damian groused, for once not being reprimanded over his language as he normally would have been.
“I should go and deal with the media,” Pepper murmured sounding less than happy about that prospect, “They’ll be hounding the medical staff until they get a statement.”
“Vultures.” Dick grunted, placing a hand on Bruce’s shoulder, the Billionaire jerked slightly, looking up at him,
“You should go home,” He said, his voice ragged with fatigue, “Get some rest. Bring in some of Tony’s things so he’ll feel more comfortable. Baby clothes for Max too.”
“I don’t want to leave.” Peter protested, but Alfred shook his head,
“Bruce is right, there is no point in us all staying, and Tony won’t be waking up for a good while yet. Between the pain killers and anaesthetic, he’ll be asleep for several hours. We should go and get ourselves freshened up and come back later.”
“You will be staying here, I assume?” Vision asked Bruce, though it was obvious that the Billionaire would not be moving from Tony’s side unless forcibly prized away from him. Bruce nodded his head anyway,
“I’ll bring you a change of clothes then Sir.” Alfred said,
“Thank you.” Bruce said, then after a beat added, “Make it a couple of days worth, I’m going to get them to put a camp bed besides Tony so I won’t be leaving him.” Under other circumstances they might have teased Bruce over such sentimentality, but not this time. Right now none of them really wanted to leave Tony and were only doing so because they had too, Bruce staying there made it slightly easier to walk away as they knew that should Tony awaken before they returned, he would not wake up alone.
It was nearly twenty-four hours before Tony was completely out of the anaesthetic and fully conscious again. During that time, Bruce had persuaded the hospital staff to put a camp bed down besides Tony’s bed so he could stay in his room, and Max had been moved out of the Neo-Natal unit and into Tony’s bedroom, since it was clear that he didn’t need any help breathing or anything else.
Sadly, owing to his injuries Tony would not be able to care for him as he would have liked. Thanks to all the drugs that had been put through his system his milk was no longer viable and the nurses had already started Max on the bottle so Tony’s milk would be drying up within a few days.
Slowly but surely, he began to come around. His hips were aching like crazy, his chest hurt, and his abdomen cramped painfully. With his brow creasing Tony opened his eyes and whimpered at the brightness of the lights above his bed which dazzled him for a moment, causing him to scrunch them shut again.
“Tony?” He knew that voice, he’d know that voice anywhere, “Damian, go and get the Doctor,”
“Tony, its alright, don’t try and move, you’re safe and so is Max.” Bruce said, his voice a soothing rumble into Tony’s ear. Slowly, Tony opened his eyes again, blinking as they adjusted to the light, he saw Bruce hovering over him, looking sleep deprived and worried. About the hospital bed were Rhodey, Pepper, Peter, Tim, Dick, Alfred, and Vision, all on their feet looking worriedly at him.
“What…” Tony began, then coughed, his mouth was as dry as sand paper,
“Water, get him some water,” Bruce said. Rhodey was the closest and quickly poured some water from a plastic jug and handed the cup to Bruce who carefully fed it to Tony.
“What happened?” Tony asked, as soon as his thirst was sated. He looked around, his eyes landing on the crib that had been moved into his room, where Max was tucked up sleeping, “My Pup!” he immediately tried to sit which was the worst thing he could have done as a wave of agony shot through him making him cry out in pain. The cause of his anguish was plainly obvious when he looked down the bed and saw the steel cage pinning him down.
“You mustn’t try to move, Tony,” Pepper admonished him, “Your pelvis was fractured in multiple places, the Doctors had to pin it to repair the damage.” Tony wasn’t listening through, all he was interested in was Max, whom Alfred carefully lifted from the crib and, brought to him laying the baby into Tony’s arms, over his chest.
The change over Tony was instant and almost magical to see. The second Max was lain into his arms all traces of pain washed away from the Omega, his frown lines smoothed away becoming smile creases as he held the infant close, breathing in his baby scent and pressing gentle kisses against his plump arm.
“Hello little one, I’m your Mamma and I’m very relieved to see you.”
Bruce smiled broadly at the scene, stroking Tony’s hair and pressing a kiss to his cheek as the Omega sniffled, shedding tears of joy at the sight of his Son.
“I am sorry to interrupt,” The Doctor said, coming in with Damian, he looked regretfully at Tony, who was engrossed with Max, “But I’m afraid I do need to do a check-up.”
“Can’t it wait?” Tony protested, not wanting to let Max go for even a moment.
“I’m afraid not,” the Doctor said, “I will be as brief as I can though.”
Sighing unhappily Tony let Bruce take Max, who carefully handed the baby over to Pepper,
“Hey, you come with your Auntie Pepper while Mamma sees the Doctor,” She cooed to the Pup who blew a spit bubble in his sleep and wrinkled his nose adorably, “Oh God, now I want one myself!” She moaned, making Rhodey chuckle as he followed her out of the room with the others, leaving just Bruce and the Doctor, who glanced at Tony to get his permission before he began his examination of the Omega’s body and explained what had been done in theatre to save his life.
Tony’s face fell as his eyes filled with tears when the Doctor informed him of the hysterectomy, valiantly he strove to keep from crying before the Man, gritting his teeth and nodding his head mechanically at what else the Doctor had to say but not really paying attention to him. All that he could focus on was the fact that he would never be able to have another child, never be able to give Bruce a child, and thanks to his pelvic injuries he would not even be able to look after his new born Son. He’d have to lay on his hospital bed for three months completely useless while others cared for Max.
“It’ll be alright, sweetheart.” Bruce said, as the Doctor departed, “You’ll heal up in no time, and then you’ll be home and we can start planning our wedding.”
Tony forced a smile and nodded his head, trying to push away the dark thoughts that was encroaching over his mind that not even Bruce’s reassurances could completely hold at bay. It didn’t help when the others returned sans Max and told him that the nurses were giving him a change and would be feeding him before returning him to Tony’s arms.
He should be the one doing both, should be nursing his son, should be changing him and tending him, not hospital staff. His nipples stung and burned beneath the dressing over his chest as milk tried to flow. Beneath the steel cage his hips and pelvis throbbed mercilessly, a mocking reminder of his inability to care for his Son.
Later, that evening, after the others had left and Bruce had settled down to sleep besides his bed, Tony allowed the tears to come, let himself cry as a gazed at Max, who lay in his crib, sleeping peacefully, having been tucked in by Bruce.
Tony would have gladly given all his billions to be able to get out of the bed and go to his Son, to lift him up without aid from another and place him at his breast. Such a simple act, one done by thousands if not millions, but right now it was impossible for him to do.
All thanks to Steve Rogers denying him the medical treatment he had needed.
Anger warred inside Tony, burning in his stomach along with the aching despair over his bodily limitations and the inescapable fact that he would never be able to have another baby. He knew, deep down that he should be content by the fact that Max was healthy and happy, that he had his Son, something that many people never got the chance to say as neither nature or medical intervention would allow them the chance of parenthood.
But for right now, as the reality sank in, all Tony could think of was what he had lost and the long arduous weeks he would have ahead of him trying to heal from his many wounds, weeks which he would miss out on sharing with his Son, the only baby he would ever have, precious time that he would never be able to get back.
I'm afraid there won't be an update on any of my fics until Wednesday next week.
Steve was taken before a judge within days of his arrest and formally charged with the kidnap of Tony Stark and the Pup, grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm, resisting arrest, attempting to pervert the course of justice, failure to report a crime, manslaughter, negligent homicide, wilful destruction of property, endangering the public, and terrorism.
Bail was set at ten million dollars, something Steve could not possibly pay, he was on legal aid, his lawyer being brought in by the state to represent him since he could not afford to pay for legal council himself.
As he could not post bail, and no one would post it for him he was to be held on remand in prison until the trial was to begin.
Within two days of being in prison he was transferred from the general population into the infirmary, following a “Welcome” from the inmates, more than a few had relatives and/or friends who had been helped or saved by Tony Stark and Iron Man at some time or other, and were not happy to be sharing the prison with him.
Another problem was Steve’s health. Without the serum his asthma had come back with a vengeance. Steve was struggling to adjust to not being able to breathe with ease, was trying to push his body too hard and it simply couldn’t cope, resulting in severe asthma attacks that required hospitalization.
Thankfully medication for such conditions had improved dramatically and Steve was quickly put on medication for his asthma which he was warned would have some unwanted side effects, the steroids he was placed on would inevitably result in weight gain, and he was banned from using the prison gym because even with the inhalers and steroids his lungs would not be able to handle anything more taxing than yoga.
The beating he had received from the inmates had also left Steve unable to take any physical exercise, a dislocated knee, fracture ankle, broken ribs, broken wrist, and collar bone. He was looking at weeks of being in plaster while waiting for his limbs to heal, something that would have been taken care of in hours by the serum.
Sighing in frustration and boredom, he fingered the collar about his throat and glared at the TV that the Doctor and Nurses had playing throughout the day to amuse themselves while treating the inmates.
The news was on, more coverage of his arrest and pending trial. He cringed at the sight of himself being lead from the court in hand cuffs, his skinny body dwarfed by the guards who had no trouble manhandling him into the prison van.
More follow up stories were on Clint, Sam, and Scott, who were in the process of cutting deals and being held on remand in separate prisons throughout the state.
Natasha had also been charged with her involvement in covering up the Stark’s murders, and aiding and abetting the rogues since Leipzig airport.
Since she was recovering from her injuries she could not go to trial until she was recovered enough to leave the hospital, something that was going to be months away. Much like Tony it seemed.
Steve could hardly believe the list of injuries that Tony had, a fractured pelvis, heart bypass, hysterectomy.
It was the last that hurt the most. That Tony would be infertile now and Max would never have a sibling.
Max. He hated that name, as soon as he spoke to Tony, he would get him to change it to James. Perhaps they could keep Max as a middle name, but not a first name.
He hoped that Tony was alright, that the hospital were taking care of him, he wished that the guards would let him call the hospital so he could speak to Tony, wished that Fury would return his calls, but the man wasn’t answering any of his numbers, Sam, Scott, and Clint had betrayed him, Natasha was no use to him, and Wanda was in a lunatic asylum, which meant he was alone, completely alone, something Steve had not been in a long time.
It was hard to not give into despair, but Steve was a survivor if nothing else, he determinedly kept his spirits up, reminding himself that he had James to think about. He couldn’t give up, he had to be strong for his Son, and start making plans for when he got out of here.
Certainly, once his trial came around he would be set free, once he told the world his reasons for what he’d done no one would convict him and then he could take Tony and James up to Canada as he had planned and they could live a quiet peaceful life together. Maybe even adopt a few more children so James would have siblings to play with.
It was plans like this that got him through the monotony of his days, and gave him the strength to deal with the insults from the inmates and guards as he whiled away his time, waiting for his body to heal and his freedom to be returned to him.
Tony watched with bitter resentment as the nurses carried a crying Max away to be changed.
He hated this. Hated being unable to care for his son, having to let others do what he should be doing himself. He loathed having to rely on others at the best of times and this really wasn’t a good time for him.
He was in a lot of pain, his morphine being restricted to prevent addiction so he couldn’t sleep much as his pelvis was constantly throbbing, his Hysterectomy scar was sore, but thankfully healing well, or so the Doctor told him. As was his chest.
He was having to suffer daily humiliation of having the adult nappy changed by the nurses until he stopped bleeding. Not to mention the bed pan he was using as he couldn’t very well get up to go to the bathroom, and to top it all off, he was having to deal with having his body pretty much naked all the time since putting clothes on was an impossibility.
Tony had never been ashamed of his body before, hell, there were nude images of him all over the internet from his youth, he had never cared about having people see him naked, had even enjoyed the attention and shown off before cameras while wearing nothing but his skin. But he had never been in such a state before.
He'd become less inclined to bare his flesh after Afghanistan, the scarring from the shrapnel had been wide spread over his chest, mostly flesh wounds, save for the mass that had centred in his breast bone, and then the hideous, mangled scarring that had surrounded the arc reactor had not been a pleasant sight. Pepper had never said anything against it, or the reactor, but he had seen the shock on her face the first time she’d seen it. A natural reaction, it was hardly like it was normal to be carrying around a circular lump of metal with a glowing blue light in your chest.
Then after he’d had it removed there had been more scarring, a thick mass of scar tissue the size of a fist, along with more scarring on his left thigh where they had harvesting flesh and bone to graft over the hole in his sternum.
This was now joined by fresh damage from the open heart surgery he’d just been through, along with his hysterectomy scar, and the scars that would be left from the pins and screws in his pelvis. Not to mention the scarring from his stretch marks that marred his belly, which was disagreeably round still, the muscles loose from the pregnancy and soft with added baby weight that wasn’t going anywhere.
Maybe he’d have felt different if he could be up and around, could be sleeping in his own bed, taking care of Max, wearing clothes, and not looking like he’d been run over by a truck. But as it was Tony felt horribly insecure about his appearance and thoroughly depressed over his situation.
Not even his anger at Steve and his merry band of dickheads was helping to alleviate the misery that was settling into him.
He tried to put on a show of happiness for Bruce and the others, especially the boys, he didn’t want them to see him moping around.
He knew that he should be thankful that he had survived at all, he’d come so close to dying, again. Had nearly bled to death, his heart going into failure and needing shocking to start beating again. He was lucky with the fact that his pelvis would heal given time, he’d be out of the cage in a matter of weeks and starting physio to get walking again. It could have been a lot worse, he might have been crippled for life had the damage been any worse.
He was also extremely thankful that Max had not been hurt in the delivery. That was something that was haunting his dreams when he did sleep. His mind replaying the horrors of the birth, making it even more terrible than it had been in reality.
In his dreams Max could twice his actual size and Tony would be literally split in half trying to deliver him, his bones shattering and an ocean of blood gushing out of body as a monstrous sized infant was torn from his body.
Or Max would be crushed by his pelvis not giving enough to allow him to be delivered, his fragile bones shattering under the pressure, and a mangled and twisted body being brought into the world instead of his precious little boy.
The fact that Max was whole and healthy was his one fortune in this whole nightmare. Something made all the more poignant by the fact he knew that he would never have another child.
Try as he might he couldn’t help but resent the fact his chance of another had been taken from him. Nor could he keep from feeling as if he were failing Bruce by not being able to give him a child of their own.
Bruce had not said anything on the subject, and Tony wouldn’t bring it up, for fear that he would be right and Bruce was upset that they couldn’t have a family.
He didn’t talk to anyone about his disquiet in fact, bottling everything up in true Tony Stark fashion and tried to paint a smile on his face to hide everything, while inside he was slowly but surely breaking.
Bruce was not blind, nor was he a fool. He knew Tony well enough to know when something was wrong, and it was clear that his fiancé was distressed.
Oh he was trying to hide it, but Bruce would see it, could see the pain in his eyes, the discomfort in his face that was growing worse with each passing day.
During the first few days he had put it down to pain from Tony’s injuries, the recession of hormones from giving birth, which always brought the “Baby blues” but that would have passed swiftly enough, which had him thinking that it wasn’t just baby blues, but post-natal depression.
It wouldn’t be a surprise for Tony to be suffering this, the birth had been terrible to say the least, he had been through hell, he was traumatized, so perhaps it might be better to call it PTSD rather than PND. But either way Bruce wasn’t sure what to do.
He could talk to the Doctors, but that felt like a betrayal of trust. Tony was very private when it came to personal things, he lived his life in the public eye enough as it was and guarded what little privacy he had jealously.
So he turned to the one man he could always count on to give him advice when he was in need.
“So what do I do?” He asked the older man, as they sat in the hospital canteen drinking some truly terrible coffee.
“Talk to him.” Alfred said, “Let him know that you are there for him, will listen to anything he has to say. Let him know that there is nothing he could say or do that will change how you feel about him.”
Bruce pulled a face, “I’m not good with words.”
Alfred snorted, “You don’t say!”
“Remind me again, why do I keep you on staff?”
“Because no one else will put up with you, Master Bruce!”
Bruce smiled wryly, enjoying Alfred’s wit. “Just talk to him, you think that will solve everything?”
“No, of course not, it’ll take more than one conversation. But it is a start.” Alfred said, “It’ll hopefully encourage him to open up and stop bottling everything up inside.”
Bruce nodded, trying to think about how he would go about starting this conversation with Tony, he couldn’t really think of a subtle way to lead him round to this, so maybe just going straight in would be the best option.
“Do me a favour,” He said to Alfred as he finished the last of his coffee, “Don’t bring the boys in tonight.”
“What, you’re doing it right away?” Alfred asked, in surprise.
“This has gone on long enough,” Bruce said, decisive as ever, “Leaving it will only make matters worse, so tonight, me and Tony will talk, and hopefully, try to resolve whatever is wrong.”
Tony was holding Max in his arms, tracing his fingers down his smooth cheeks as he slept peacefully on Tony’s chest.
Bruce paused in the doorway watching the maternal scene. It was nearly perfect, so very nearly perfect. If it wasn’t for the medical equipment around and the hateful cage pinning Tony’s pelvis then it would have been a scene that Bruce would have wanted to capture on camera, and that made a double tragedy. Because he wanted to forget all this as soon as it was done. He wanted to draw a line in the sand where Tony’s pain and suffering had been and leave it there in the past with no memories attached to it.
But in doing so, they would be cutting off the memories of Max’s earliest weeks. The tiny changes and accomplishments that came from infancy. They shouldn’t be forgotten, they should be remembered and cherished.
It wasn’t fair, it was very far from fair, and if Bruce was having difficulty dealing with all of, then God only knew what Tony was feeling, if he did have PTSD and PND, then it really wouldn’t be a surprise.
“Hey.” Tony noticed Bruce in the doorway, his relaxed expression tensing at once and he shifted as much as he could, tugging at the crumpled sheet at his side to pull it over himself.
Bruce frowned at the action. He and Tony had never been body conscious around each other, hell, when they had first met, Tony had been strutting around him half naked twenty-four hours a day to try and get him into bed before he’d turned sixteen. So, it was strange now for Tony to be showing modesty in front of him.
“Are the boys coming in?” Tony asked, “Pep? I think she is really getting broody you know?”
Bruce smiled as he came further into the room, shutting the door behind him. This was typical Tony, avoid the issue if he could, but striking up a conversation about something else. Sometimes Bruce would let him get away with it, put off talking about what they needed to talk about, but not today.
“How are you feeling?” He asked, pulling up one of the plastic chairs and sat down besides the bed.
“I’m fine,” Tony said, with a plastic smile that didn’t fool Bruce for one minute. “What?” Tony asked as Bruce gave him one of his probing looks.
“You tell me.” Bruce replied sitting back and crossing his legs, “You say that you are fine, yet you’re barely eating, you’re not sleeping, you’re avoiding talking about anything but trivia, and you’re covering yourself up as if you’ve got something to hide.” Tony shrugged helpfully,
“Have you tasted hospital food lately? Or slept in a hospital bed?”
“How about the Pizza the boys brought in?” Bruce challenged, “One slice of pepperoni and I know you love pepperoni.”
“I just don’t have much of an appetite.” Tony said looking away from Bruce. He couldn’t lie to him convincingly when he was looking into Bruce’s eyes. “It’s not like I’m doing anything.” He added, scowling, “I’m just laying here, watching as other people do everything, including caring for my Son.” His jaw tightened as he tried to hold back tears that were pricking at his eyes. “I suppose I should be grateful,” He said, trying to sound jovial and risking a glance at Bruce who looked at him with so much empathy that Tony had to look away again.
“I mean, most parents would be grateful to have someone else doing all the work for them, wouldn’t they?” He asked, his voice wavering and breathing getting heavier as he fought the urge to cry. “Not having to do the nappies, walking the floor when the baby won’t settle, the feeding…” He looked down at Max, a couple of tears rolling down his cheeks. “By the time I’m capable of caring for him myself he’ll be so much further alone, maybe even going through the night and he’ll have been weaned off milk and be eating soft foods…” As the tears came on in full force, Bruce moved sit on the edge of the bed, holding Tony as best he could as the Omega sobbed.
“I hate, I hate all Bruce!” Tony wept, “I hate being here like this, I hate being unable to care for Max. I hate looking like this and being so useless and pathetic that I can’t even feed or change my own baby. I might as well be dead for all the good I am to him!”
“Don’t say that,” Bruce said, “Don’t even think it.”
“Why not?” Tony asked, looking at Bruce with bloodshot eyes and a tear streaked face, “It’s true.”
“No it is not.” Bruce firmly said. “You are not useless or pathetic. You have been severely injured, and it will take time for your injuries to heal, but that isn’t your fault, it doesn’t make you a bad parent, it’s not like you did this on purpose.” Tony sniffed and Bruce pulled a handkerchief from his pocket, giving it to him to dry his face and blow his nose. Max stirred slightly on his chest, his rose bud mouth opening letting out a stream of drool. “Lovely” Bruce sighed, as Tony quickly wiped up the mess, “Babies really are poop and drool machines.”
“They’re cute too though.” Tony said, sniffing again, “I never want to stop looking at Max, I never want to miss a single moment with him. I hate it when the nurses take him away. I don’t know what they’re doing to him, if he’s alright, and if he’s not then there is nothing, I can do about it.” He looked up, meeting Bruce’s eyes, “You know, I was six months old, the first time I was kidnapped? Howard wouldn’t pay the ransom, and it was three days before the FBI caught up with the kidnappers. I was nearly dead of dehydration by them, because they hadn’t thought about what they’d feed a six month old, or that I wouldn’t be able to drink from a regular cup.” Tony shrugged, “After that, kidnapping became a regular occurrence. Every few years some asshole looking for a pay out would grab me and I’d spend days in the back of a car, or in some motel room, or a shed in a wood, waiting for the authorities to move in, or the kidnappers to simply give up and leave me there, when they realized that Howard would never relent on not paying up.”
Bruce nodded, he could remember his parents talking about a Stark kidnapping, when he’d been a boy. How they’d not let him out of their sight for several days when the Stark heir had been taken.
Who would have thought that decades later, he would be sat on the bedside of said Heir talking about said kidnappings?
“I don’t blame Howard for not paying.” Tony said. “You can’t negotiate with terrorists. But what I do blame him for was never coming to the hospital after I was found. He just went straight back to work as if nothing had happened, even when my ankle had been broken because I put up a fight when they tried to take me.” Tony shook his head and looked down at Max. “I promised myself that I wouldn’t be that kind of parent. That when Max wanted me or needed me, I would be there for him. Always.”
“And you will.” Bruce said, reaching out and brushed Tony’s hair behind his ear, “You’ll be a wonderful parent to Max. Your inabilities now won’t last, in a few weeks you’ll be able to sit up instead of laying down, then you can feed Max yourself and change him, and soon after that you’ll be walking again, which will be doubly great because not too long after that, he’ll be crawling and then walking and we’ll need to baby proof the whole of Gotham and New York!”
Tony chuckled at that and took a deep shuddering breath. “God I’m a mess.” He said, “I look like a damn car crash, hell, it looks like I have part of the car attached to me!” Bruce snickered a little, glancing at the cage.
“You’ll be getting out of that soon enough.” He said, “And you don’t look so bad. Your bruising is fading, you’re getting some colour back in your cheeks, I admit the bed sheet isn’t the most flattering thing you’ve ever worn but compared with those leather hot pants back in college I think it’s an improvement!”
Tony flushed a little and laughed at Bruce bringing up the infamous leather hot pants, that had been so tight that he’d barely been able to breathe in them, and so short that they had hardly been legal at all!
“I think my Hot Pants wearing days are over.” He said, grinning at the memory,
“Oh I don’t know, you’ve still got one hell of an ass.” Bruce said, “But I don’t want you wearing them for anyone but me. I’d have to gauge the eyes out of anyone else who saw you like that.” He lowered his voice and wiggled his eyebrows, “Especially if you wore a leather corset, fishnet stockings and cracking a whip!”
“Hush, not in front of the baby!” Tony scolded, but his eyes were dancing with mirth, he felt lighter and less broken than he had in weeks. It was perfect, it wasn’t sorted at all, and both he and Bruce knew that, knew it was going to take more time and more conversations to resolve everything, but just opening up about how he had been feeling, letting Bruce in on his problems helped immensely.
Two Months Later
Getting out of the hospital bed and into a wheelchair was a god send for Tony. For one thing he could leave the hospital after twelve long weeks, and he could finally care for Max himself.
Having been born a little early, Max hadn’t been weaned at three months as Alpha’s and Omega’s generally were. The first set of milk teeth hadn’t come in just yet, although his gums were showing signs of them erupting soon, he was still on milk, so Tony got to experience nursing him, even if it was only by the bottle rather than breast.
He also quite happily changed every nappy, not complaining even when they stunk to high heaven and Damian claimed that he must have been feeding the baby Mexican or Indian food for it to be so ripe!
Being able to care for Max himself, helped Tony’s self-esteem immensely, as did getting to wear actual clothes rather than hospital gowns and just bed sheets to cover his modesty. His body was continuing to heal well, the incisions from his surgeries healing into neat lines with no infections or anything to slow down the healing process. His body was slowly recovering well from the hysterectomy and his heart had already shown vast improvement thanks to the bypass, both of which were certainly aiding him in making a full recovery.
As the Penthouse at the tower was on one level, they decided that until Tony was out of the wheelchair and able to manage staircases unaided, that they would live there as it was simply the easiest option available.
With Damian and Tim being in school in Gotham, this did mean that they had to stay in Gotham under Alfred’s care. Uprooting them to New York half way through the school year would on disrupt their education and Bruce felt they were both mature enough to handle being away from his constant attention. They were however under strict instructions to obey Alfred and not to try and take advantage of the situation. Dick also moved back to the Manor for a while, to help keep an eye on things. Damian could be a handful and a half if the mood took him and while he was still very fit for a man of his age, Alfred was not young anymore, even if he’d rather chew glass than admit it.
Sleeping in his own bed helped Tony’s insomnia, especially since he had Bruce snuggled up to him. The Alpha was adamant about them sharing, even when Tony had warned him that he might get woken in the night since it took a lot of effort for Tony to move from the bed to the wheelchair if he needed to get up and got to Max or go to the bathroom.
Bruce had wanted to just lift and carry Tony wherever he needed to go, but, Rhodey spoke to him quietly and said that it would be better for Tony’s self-worth if he could do these things for himself. Carrying him once in a while would be affectionate or romantic, but doing it all the time would make Tony feel like a burden which he wouldn’t want, so Bruce resisted his inclination to help unless Tony asked for help, letting him do things under his own steam and did have to admit that it had a positive effect on the Omega, as he regained independence and especially when he began to go outside for the first time in months.
The Doctors had encouraged him to get some fresh air and sunshine, and while Tony wasn’t a huge nature person, he had missed the outdoors, spending some time on the balcony at first, then venturing out to Central Park with Bruce and Max, although the best time was when the whole family went for a picnic in the park and he lay back on a blanket watching Bruce, Dick, Damian, Peter, Tim, Alfred, Rhodey, and Vision playing football against each other.
Max was growing more active and much more observant and let out baby noises when Tony held him up to watch as a goal was scored, and play referee when the boys began to argue, almost becoming hysterical with laughter when Rhodey and Bruce tackled each other and ended up in a very undignified wrestling match on the ground cursing each other as they ended up with mouthfuls of dirt!
For once the media kept a discreet distance from the family, only taking photos and recording images from several feet away instead of intruding and demanding interviews, letting the family enjoy their time together.
In prison awaiting his trial. Steve saw the images of this picnic on the infirmary TV screen. He’d got into another fight with his cell mates, was back in his hospital bed with broken ribs. The Prison administrator was thinking of having him moved to the pervert wing to segregate him from the rest of the prisoners to keep this from happening again.
Steve didn’t want to go there, but he also didn’t want to go back on solitary confinement and the guards were getting sick of having to haul him down to the infirmary every time he got hurt, so he had little option available.
Seeing Tony with James in the park should have been a ray of sunlight for him in his miserable state, but it only served to remind him that he was separated from them, and Bruce Wayne’s presence in the images enraged him, especially when the presumptuous Alpha touched Tony and James.
He kept on asking to be allowed to contact Tony, even asking to go through Tony’s lawyer if necessary, but so far nothing had happened. He was desperate to talk to the Omega, to see him and James. He knew that if he could do so then all of this could be straightened out and this absurdity of a trial would be forgotten and he could take Tony and James home and care for them.
One Year Post Trial.
To no one’s surprise but his own. Steve was found guilty and sentenced to several life sentences to run concurrently, with parole not to be considered for at least forty years by which time Steve would Seventy One years old.
Tony’s injuries had healed and he had been walking unaided after six months with only a very slight limp in his right leg remaining from his fractured pelvis.
He and Bruce had postponed their wedding until he was fully healed and the trial was over and done with so it wasn’t hanging over their heads. Tony had also insisted that he be given time to shift the remaining baby weight despite the fact that Bruce loved the squeeze he had on his ass.
Max was growing well, was walking and talking, and worrying his parents to death since he was now into everything and could move at the speed of light if their backs were turned for only a second!
Tony seriously considered putting a bell about his Son’s neck and Bruce had given serious thought to using a leash on Max to keep him out of trouble! Yet despite the horrors of Max’s toddlerhood Bruce and Tony were in the process of adopting a baby.
They had undergone the routine checks by social services and been deemed fit for adoption and a teenage girl who had fallen pregnant had been introduced to them. She knew that she was not remotely ready to be a Mother, she hadn’t even finished high school, let alone got a job, a house, or any way to support a child, but she had not wanted an abortion either, so she had bravely continued with the pregnancy and put her baby up for adoption. An open adoption so that she would continue to have contact with her child throughout their life which Tony and Bruce were happy to do.
She was due to give birth a few weeks after their wedding which was only a matter of days away but Tony had something he had to do before then.
He had to see Steve one last time.
He had thought long and hard about his decision to go to the prison to see Steve. Had discussed it with Bruce, Rhodey, and Pepper before finally deciding that he needed to do it, he needed to lay this ghost to rest for good so he could focus on his future with his family.
After being patted down and wanded for concealed weapons, drugs, etc, he was shown into a private visitors room where Steve was waiting, his wrists chained to the table, preventing him from rising more than a few inches from his seat, which was nailed down to the floor, as was the table, to prevent either being used as a weapon.
Swallowing hard, Tony sat down in the chair opposite Steve, taking in the former super soldier’s appearance.
The two years Steve had spent in prison had not been easy on him, that much was very clear. The Asthma medications he was on were steroid based and his weight had ballooned. A lack of sunlight had seen his skin turned pasty pale and his hair darkening from sun kissed blonde to a darker more mousy hue, with several streaks of silver in the strands.
Lines had been added to his face, especially about his mouth and eyes, his mouth was also oddly sunken, the reason for this becoming clear when Steve opened his mouth to greet him and revealed a lack of front teeth. Apparently he had pissed off some of the perverts in the Nonce Wing of the prison and the loss of his front teeth were the result.
With prison dentistry not being up to much all Steve had been given were a set of ill fitting dentures that he generally did not bother wearing as they rubbed his gums too much, he had asked for dental implants but the prison system didn’t have the funds, nor were they going to spend thousands on such a procedure for him.
Never the less he smiled as Tony took a seat before him, clearly happy to see him, a sentiment that was not returned as Tony’s face remained stony.
“How are you?” Steve asked, reaching forward as much as his restraints would allow, but Tony kept his hands on his side of the table, not reaching forward to touch Steve.
“I am doing very well.” Tony replied, “I’m going to be married in three weeks time, Bruce and I are adopting a baby six weeks after that. I had wanted to give Max a sibling myself, to give Bruce a child myself, but that became impossible with the hysterectomy.”
For a moment Steve looked saddened and Tony thought that he might apologize, but no, what came out of Steve’s mouth was not an apology, at least not one for his actions anyway.
“I’m sorry the Doctors did that to you. They had no right!”
Incredulously Tony scoffed. “They removed my uterus to save my life, Rogers. I was bleeding to death, thanks to you denying me the medical attention I needed when I went into premature labour in the middle of no where.”
“I didn’t know that you would be so hurt…” Steve started to protest but Tony cut him off with a roar,
“Bullshit Rogers, Bull fucking shit! You knew, you knew because I told you that I couldn’t deliver naturally, Christ, I begged you to take me to a hospital and you wouldn’t listen.” Tony paused, taking a deep breath to calm himself before he continued. He needed to get this out but it was best if he didn’t get himself upset, it was better for his heart. He was doing well with the bypass but he’d had to give up the Iron Man suit save for using the headset and even then it was only in extreme cases.
Eventually Harley Keener would take over as Iron Man, but at present he was still too young, Tony wasn’t going to let him use the suit until he was an adult, though he was letting the boy train with it, and was allowing Bruce and the boys to train him, when he’d introduced them.
Once he was sure he had calmed himself sufficiently, Tony continued.
“My pelvis was fractured in multiple places. My Uterus was ruptured, and I suffered a massive heart attack that very nearly killed me. I spent twelve weeks pinned to a bed by a steel cage holding pins in my pelvis in place, having to watch as others took care of my Son.
Thanks to all the drugs I was on for pain and to prevent infection my milk was tainted so I couldn’t even feed him. I never got the chance to nurse Max, I couldn’t give him his bottle because I was flat on my back, I couldn’t change his nappy, wash him, all I could do was hold him and miss out on his first weeks of life because of you.”
Determinedly Tony kept his voice steady, making himself take deep regular breathes and not give into the temptation to start shouting at Steve.
“Rather unsurprisingly I ended up with Post-natal depression. I felt like the worst excuse for a parent on the planet because I couldn’t even wipe my own Son’s backside!”
“I hated myself Rogers.” Tony snapped, cutting Steve off again. “I hated that I had to reply on other people to care for Max when I should have been doing it myself. I hated that my body was too weak to recover faster, I blamed myself for my dodgy heart, my smashed pelvis, hell, I even blamed myself for my uterus rupturing and the fact I would never be able to give Bruce a child.”
The PND had dogged Tony for months. All of his insecurities had come back in full force as he’d struggled to recover from his injuries and to regain his mobility. He’d been terrified that something was going to happen to Max, terrified that he was not going to be a good parent and that he was getting things wrong. Blamed himself for every scraped knee and runny nose.
He’d frequently felt that he was letting Bruce down in someway, by not healing faster, not being in the mood for sex, not shedding the baby weight as fast as he’d wanted himself too, for ending up with PND. It had all been a vicious cycle and it had taken him a long time to recover, perhaps even more so because he refused all medications for depression, not wanting to dull his mind or risk becoming dependant on anti-depressants.
Bruce had stood by him through it all, supporting him, listening to him, assuring him that he loved him regardless.
Had it not been for Bruce then Tony doubted he would have come through it at all. Or that he would have found the courage to come here and face Steve and finish this for good.
“I don’t quite know what I expected from you today.” He said, tapping the table with his nails, “You to admit fault, to apologize, to actually show some decent human behaviour. But I guess I was hoping for too much there. Because you aren’t sorry for any of it, are you?”
“I am.” Steve protested, “I’m sorry that you were hurt, I’m sorry you lost the ability to have more children, had I known…”
“Stop!” Tony said, holding up a hand, “Just stop. You are not sorry, you are making excuses, lies in fact. You knew I couldn’t give birth naturally because I told you so. Yet you put me in the position where I had no choice and very nearly died as the result.
Just as you knew the truth about my parents deaths and decided to withhold that information so that I found out about it in the worst possible way and in a fit of blind rage attacked James because of it.
You believed James was innocent of the Vienna bombing and you were right. But instead of going through legal channels, contacting the local authorities, negotiating with them, you charged in and your actions resulted in multiple deaths and permanent injuries. That poor little girl for example, you remember, the one who lost both legs so far up her thighs that she will never walk again. She was a ballerina, was very likely to become a prima ballerina she was so good. But thanks to you, that career will now never happen and her Father will never see her grow up.”
Tony paused, a bitter smile twisting his lips, “Perhaps it is fitting then that you will never see Max grow up. Never hold him, never hear him speak, never be there on his first day of school, never be part of his life at all.”
Tears were shining in Steve’s eyes by now and desperately tried to reach for Tony, struggling against the restraints that held him secure.
“You know, I thought I hated you.” Tony said, “And perhaps a part of me still does, but do you know what I feel the most when I look at you? Contempt. Sheer disgusted contempt for the pitiful excuse who was meant to be the height of human achievement.
If aunt Peggy could see you for what you have become, if Erskine could see what his protégé would degenerate into would he have continued his experiments? I think not.” Tony sighed, sinking back and shaking his head, “He was wrong, you know? About how bad becomes worse and good becomes great. The problem with enhancement, the kind you were given, is that you cannot enhance one thing without enhancing something else, both the positive and the negative. If you enhance intelligence you will inevitably enhance arrogance and ego. If you enhance physical strength and endurance then you will enhance aggression. Also, by enhancing things throughout the mind and body, there is the risk and likelihood of enhancing psychological issues. What may have only been a nuance or a tendency towards depressive or addictive behaviour would easily become a full blown psychosis.
While I am sure he had the best of intentions what he was doing was never going to produce anything but monsters. If human beings were meant to be enhanced then they would develop such abilities naturally, as our Mutant community do. Such abilities are probably the next step in human evolution, but for us to achieve it and have respect for it, we have to get there without artificial intervention.”
“You’re wrong.” Steve said, “I was Erskine’s finest moment, his greatest achievement.”
“Hmm, the same could be said for Red Skull since he did same to him, only minus the skin troubles for you.” Tony countered, “But, we could argue this until we’re blue in the face and never resolve it and I have wasted enough time on you. Too much in fact and I am not going to waste anymore on you.” Tony rose from his seat and did up his jacket, “I won’t be seeing you again, or thinking of you, and as well as us adopting a sibling for Max, Bruce is formally adopting him too, so he will be his Father legally as well as in every other sense.”
“No.” Steve growled, “I won’t allow it. I won’t Tony. James is my Son, he is mine!”
Tony stopped by the door, knocking on it to let the guard know he was done and turned, giving Steve one last look. “His name is Max Edwin Stark. Soon to be Max Edwin Stark-Wayne, and you have no say in the matter, you’ve been stripped of all your parental rights, as far as Max is concerned you may as well be dead. Which what you are to me.”
With Steve calling after him Tony left the visitors room and walked confidently out of the prison, smiling and putting on his signature sunglasses as he stepped outside and joined Bruce, who was waiting for him besides a Ferrari.
“All finished?” Bruce asked, opening the car doors,
“Completely.” Tony said, kissing him and getting into the passenger seat, ready to start his future.
As the car sped away, heading back to Gotham, Steve was led back to his cell, where he was spend the rest of his life, never hearing from or seeing Tony Stark again.
Three weeks later Tony and Bruce were married before their friends and family and spent two glorious weeks in the Maldives on honeymoon, returning home and welcoming a daughter into their family just over a month later whom they named Mia Martha.
There will be one more chapter to this fic, an alternate ending.
This is an Alternate ending.
I am putting up a tissue warning. I am also going to hide behind my sofa!
The song lyrics are Hallelujah.
Well I heard there was a sacred chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music do you?
Well it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, and the major lift
Baffled King composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
The baby’s anguished cries mingled with the shrill, monotonous beep of the heart monitor that was registering a flat line.
Tony’s flat line.
Tony’s heart was not beating.
Tony was technically dead.
Bruce clung to the technical part, refusing to think of the other part, reminding himself in a silent chant that people could be and were revived from flat lines all the time. The EMT’s were here now, they had equipment, they were working on Tony, they would be able to restart his heart.
He flinched as a shock had Tony lurching up off the floor, his back arching upwards with the force of the volt running through him.
“Nothing, lets try another cycle.”
Bruce didn’t really listen to the EMT, he was focusing on the tube down Tony’s throat and the plastic apparatus that the EMT was using, was squeezing to get air into Tony’s lungs.
The second EMT was doing the compressions, his hands fisted and pressing down into Tony's chest, pausing at the end of every cycle for the other EMT to breathe for Tony, then Tony was given another shock that had his body lifting off the floor again, but once again the heart monitor did not change, no steady beat took over the shrill, repetitive sound.
“I’m administering Adrenaline,”
Bruce watched as the drug was administered into Tony’s veins, having seemingly no effect.
Another drug was added, but nothing happened.
“Charged, Clear.” Tony’s body arched up again with the shock and to Bruce’s relief the monitor beeped!
Beep, Beep, Beep………………….
“Shit, he’s gone again.”
“Increasing the adrenaline.”
“Come on Tony, Come one.” Rhodey whispered, “Fight for us.”
Bruce startled a little as he felt a hand slide into his own, glancing to the left he saw Damian at his side, silently offering him support.
There was a horrid smell in the air that Bruce became aware of, the stench of blood, a mass of blood. It was heavy and metallic, sickening and terrifying because he knew that it was Tony’s blood he was smelling. Hell, he could see it, a river of blood spread across the room, gushing through the packs that Vision had shoved inside Tony to try and stop the hemorrhage.
The breaths, the chest compressions, the shocks became a rhythm. Over and over it went with the seconds ticking away, turning into minutes, endlessly long minutes, until the senior EMT who was administering the shocks bowed and shook his head.
“He’s cold.” He said to the second EMT, “I’m calling it.”
“Yes Sir.” The second said, taking his hands off the breathing apparatus and the senior EMT turned off the heart monitor and slowly got to his feet, turning to face Bruce, his expression sympathetic but resigned, and in that moment Bruce felt his own heart stop beating.
Well you faith was strong but you needed proof,
You saw her bathing low on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you.
And she tied you to her kitchen chair,
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair,
and from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Bruce was in a daze as he went to the hospital. Tim and Peter were crying, holding each other, and being half hugged by Dick, who was shooting worried glances at Bruce. Damian was chewing his finger nails, a dark scowl on his face. Every few moments he would swipe at his eyes, wiping away tears he refused to let fall.
Rhodey and Vision had taken Steve to the military Police to be incarcerated, Steve wasn’t putting up a fight anymore, he, like everyone else was in shock.
It hadn’t really hit yet, the reality of the situation. Not when they were sat with Alfred in the waiting room, not when they were joined by Pepper, Rhodey, and Vision.
Bruce was numb. He felt frozen inside, as if ice had been pumped into him. He couldn’t feel anything, he couldn’t fully register anything that was happening. Certainly not that Tony, his body, had been taken to pathology for an autopsy to determine cause of death.
Cause of death.
Tony was dead.
It just didn’t seem real, it couldn’t be real. Tony couldn’t be gone.
He was just too vivacious, too passionate, too much a force of nature. It just could not be possible that he had died.
Bruce continued to think this, continued to believe this, convincing himself that any moment now a nurse would come bursting into the waiting room and tell them that Tony had woken up, that it was a miracle, and that he was already trying to leave the bed they had him in.
That would be classic Tony, wounded, sick, and climbing out of bed despite his Doctor’s telling him he needed to rest.
Bruce believed it, he really did.
Until the Doctor walked into the waiting room. Then he knew. This time Tony wasn’t coming back, this time he was really gone.
Well baby I have been here before,
I’ve see this room and I’ve walked this floor
You know I used to live alone before I knew you.
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch,
Love is not a victory march,
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Max Edwin Stark-Wayne. Was released from the hospital in Bruce’s custody two days after Tony’s death. He would be sharing custody with Pepper.
Apparently Steve was demanding to see his Son from his prison cell. He had been charged with the Murder of Tony Stark.
The autopsy had proven that Tony had died of complications from giving birth without medical intervention, something Steve had wilfully denied him, which had resulted in his death. Whether or not he would be convicted on Murder or Manslaughter had yet to be seen, but the public response had already condemned him.
Maybe if his heart were not so heavy then Bruce would have felt some cheer that the worlds response against Steve Rogers. But as it was all he could feel was the agonizing weight of grief, mingled with terror.
The terror was over being a parent to Max.
“I never thought I’d be doing this without Tony.” He admitted to Alfred, as he clumsily gave Max his bottle, holding him cautiously, afraid that he might break the baby if he wasn’t careful.
“I always thought we’d bring him home from the hospital together.” He sniffed and gave Alfred teary eyed smile. “I had this image in my mind of how I would help him get out of the car and take the hospital bag on my shoulder while he carried the baby, and you and the boys would be at the door to greet us, all cooing over the baby, even Damian, though he would be trying to remain stoic and making sarcastic comments!” Alfred snorted, easily able to picture it,
“And then Tony and I would bring Max up here and put him in his crib, and settle him in, but we wouldn’t leave him, not for a while. We’d just stand and watch him sleeping. It wouldn’t be until later that we would go to bed. Tony would still be sore, you know? And I would help him get into bed, and spoon around him, and we’d just sleep until Max woke up for a feed, and I would bring him from his crib to Tony, and he’d nurse him there, in bed, and it would be perfect.”
Bruce looked down at Max, sniffing as a couple of tears rolling down his cheeks, “It would have been perfect.”
“It would.” Alfred whispered, knowing there was nothing he could say or do that would make this any better, that would make the grief less terrible for Bruce, for all of them.
“You’re all I have of him now,” Bruce said to Max, who was concentrating on his milk, “You’re my last link to Tony, and I can see him in you, my little Angel. I can see your Mamma in you, and when you are old enough I am going to tell you all about him. About your Mamma, how special he was and how much he loved you.”
Max blinked baby blue eyes at Bruce, utterly innocent, but already captivatingly beautiful.
“I’ll look after him for you, Tony.” Bruce whispered, “I’ll raise him as you would have wanted, I will protect and love him always.”
Bruce didn’t take Max to Tony’s funeral. He wouldn’t have known what was happening and he didn’t want Max to start crying through the service, which with him being a new born was very likely to happen. So Alfred stayed back at the manor with Max while the others attended the funeral and lay Tony to rest.
Somehow the next year past in blur of activity, taking Bruce up to the trial of Steve Rogers before he even realized that much time had passed.
Caring for a baby was a lot of work. Feeding, nappy changing, bathing, soothing when cranky, walking the floor when he wouldn’t settle. Then there was the shock of Max turning himself over, and his teething. Sitting up on his own, his first word!
Okay, so his first word was Crap, perhaps not what Bruce would have wanted, but with several adolescents around them they were lucky it wasn’t anything worse!
Crawling came next, and dear God could the little bugger move! Bruce swore he was breaking sprinting records trying to keep up with him and things only got more insane when Max took his first steps, toddling along on unsteady legs and gaining a terrifying amount of speed in no time at all!
Steve was convicted of Tony’s manslaughter, which along with his other convictions saw him getting several consecutive life sentences. That was the last time Bruce lay eyes on Steve, as he was taken down from the dock, to spend the rest of his miserable life in prison.
Bruce and everyone held a joint celebration that weekend, both for Tony getting justice, and to celebrate Max’s first birthday.
He was a little too young to know what was going on, but he certainly enjoyed the cake, smearing it all over himself and his plastic plate, squeezing it through his fists and stuffing it into his mouth with a huge grin on his face.
“God, just think, if he makes this much mess at just a year old, how much more will he make next year?” Pepper asked, as she used a warm dish cloth to clean Max up.
“Don’t!” Bruce groaned, “I’ve enough grey hairs already without thinking of what is yet to come!”
Well there was a time when you let me know,
What’s really going on below,
But now you never show that to me do you?
And remember when I moved in you,
The holy dove was moving too
And ever breath we drew was Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Max was five when he and Bruce sat down to talk about Tony properly. He was extraordinarily bright for his age, taking after Tony in his intelligence and dark hair, though his eyes had remained blue, the only thing, along with being taller than average, that he had inherited from Steve.
Bruce explained, as best he could, editing some details because of Max’s age, as to what had happened to Tony and why Steve was in prison.
“Was it my fault?” Max asked, worrying at his bottom lip, “That Mamma died?”
“No, Angel, not in the least. Never think that.” Bruce said, taking Max into his arms, “Your Mamma was poorly, he needed to be in a hospital, but Steve didn’t let him go, and that is why he passed away.” Max sniffed, in his left hand he held a photo of Tony that was framed in a silver picture frame shaped like a heart that Bruce had given him when he was a week old.
“Your Mamma love you very much.” Bruce said, kissing Max’s head, “He named you while you were still inside him. You were the most important person in the world to him, he was so happy when he found out he was going to have you, the happiest I have ever seen him. He couldn’t wait to meet you, You know he made up three nurseries for you and decimated the baby supplies for half the country buying all the things he thought you would need.”
Max giggled a little at that while looking at Tony’s photo, “He was pretty, my Mamma.”
“He was.” Bruce agreed, “And you know what else he was?”
“Yeah, he was Iron Man, now do you want hear about Iron Man?”
Twenty years later
Max had grown into a tall and very handsome young man. He stood at six foot three inches, with lean but healthy musculature, sapphire blue eyes, a generous mouth and a sharp jaw line that was complimented by high cheek bones that Max always felt made him appear girly, but were actually very striking.
Standing before Tony’s grave he placed a bouquet of red roses, yellow chrysanthemums, and lily’s over the grave.
“Hey Mamma.” He greeted Tony, “I know it’s been a while since I was last here, but I have a lot of news for you.” He sat down on the grass, crossing his legs and making himself comfortable, “I guess I should start right from the beginning huh?.....
Well maybe there is a God above,
But all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.
And its not a cry that you hear at night
Its not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.