Chapter 1: Centaur Au
The director of S.H.I.E.L.D marched down the empty hallway with purpose. Located in the far corners of the helicarrier where only those with the access codes could enter the room, silence filled the space. Those who didn’t have access wouldn’t even see what color the door was, let alone see the hallway that connected to it. Without pressing buttons or using any scans the double metal doors slid open the moment he was inches away from it. He walked further in, passing machines and furniture that was scattered and the kitchen where a boiling pot was steaming, emitting the aroma of cooked broccoli before entering the lab.
“Anthony Stark!” Nick Fury barked when he spotted the one he came to see. He was standing in front of a giant screen that was buddied up by dozens of smaller screens around it and a giant keyboard connecting at the bottom.
Tony Stark jumped an inch in the air. All four of his hooves not touching the floor for a split second. He turned and had the decency to look panicked. “What’d I do now?”
Fury took a moment to acknowledge Jarvis standing in front of a table and stirring a steaming bowl, facing him. “Jarvis.”
He pinned his glare back at Tony, “Mind telling me why my agents are complaining about viruses that are attacking their personal devices and unable to get rid of them?”
“Oh, that,” Tony rubbed the back of his neck. A tell.
“Yes, that. Is this your doing?”
Fury took a deep breath, settling down his nerves that seemed to only react when the centaur was involved. “Elaborate, Tony. I need an explanation.”
Tony shuffled his front hoofs, lifting one and placing the other and repeating the action with his other leg. His tail flicked back and forth, “It’s Vision. He heard those agents talking about… me. He got back at them.”
And there it was. Just like that Fury’s… fury disappeared and was replaced by exhaustion. This wasn’t the first time Vision got protective of the genius and this certainly wasn’t going to be the last. Rumors had been going on about what could possibly be locked inside the room at the belly of the helicarrier, and while some rumors were downright ridiculous (a possible second Hulk trapped inside and studied for future Hulkings) some rumors hit a little bit close to home for Tony’s self-esteem.
“Do I want to know what they said this time?”
Tony looked away and faced the ground, meaning he wasn’t going to get the answer from him. Instead, Fury looked up at the ceiling (even though Tony had said time and time again Vision wasn’t up there exactly), “Vision what did they say?”
“The agents spoke of a hybrid monster who feasts on children,” the cool, accented voice of Vision said. And from the tone Fury figured the AI was still mad about it.
Hell, Fury was mad, too, now that he heard it, and no doubt Jarvis was also. Looking at the centaur he noticed the tense shoulders and the tense hind legs. This was affecting Tony in more ways than one and Fury was not going to let it stand without action. He made a mental note to ask Vision to let the viruses last for an entire week and to have their ringtones changed.
“Vision sign those agents up for double shifts and send them to seven hours of training. I want them worked to the bone.”
“Right away, Director,” replied the AI, and he swore he heard a sadistic tone from it.
“Nick,” Tony whined. “I don’t need you defending my virtue.”
Fury played innocent, “Who said anything about defending? Those agents have been slacking and they need to get in shape. Send a message to Coulson to have stacks of paperwork ready on their desks, Vision. Two week’s worth.”
“Of course, Director. Anything else?”
Fury grinned, “Spam them.”
Tony huffed, “Are you both done? Don’t you have other important director things to do, like actually have your agent’s work on real problems?”
Fury took steps forward, standing next to the centaur and looking up at the multiple screens showing different parts of the helicarrier and a few street cameras from various places of New York. “It’s been a slow week. Seems everyone thought to take a short break.”
“How fitting, considering what happened earlier this week.”
“And how do you know what happened earlier this week?”
Tony grinned, “It was Vision. I had nothing to do with it.”
“I deny such accusations,” Vision instantly quipped.
Fury cut them off, “Tony.”
“Like you could have kept that information from me. I built this helicarrier and the communication system it runs. We knew the moment the first message was sent.”
“And what do you say?” There was no point in trying to argue against the genius. Whether he liked it or not, Tony was going to eventually find out anything new involving S.H.I.E.L.D. There wasn’t much anyone could hide from him, especially when he had a state of the art AI on his side. Instead of fighting him on it Fury had learned to just go along with it. It produced faster results and allowed him to be involved instead of having Tony work behind his back.
“If I can study him uninterrupted I can have him awake in no time. My only concern is his mental state when he finds he’s missed seventy years.”
Fury nodded, “We’ll worry about that. You just get him up and walking. I’ll give you three hours uninterrupted.”
Tony slightly bounced in excitement, “I’ll fire up the suit and have Vision go down. Vision prepare the Mark IV. Now’s the perfect time to test the new brainwave features.
“As you wish, Sir.”
“Vision cancel that,” Jarvis ordered as he made his way to them with the steaming bowl held in his hands. “You aren’t going near any frozen soldiers or test any new armor features until you’ve eaten, Anthony.”
Tony deflated and had the makings of a pout starting, “But, Jarvis -”
“None of that. You have one option and that’s finishing this bowl, only after will you be trying to wake up Captain America.”
The centaur looked to Fury, his eyes asking for aid but he wasn’t going to get any from the director, especially if it involved going against Jarvis. The butler was ruthless. “Don’t look at me. This is Jarvis we’re talking about. Besides, growing boys need their nutrients.”
“I’m forty-two years old!” Tony whined the same old song Fury, Jarvis and Vision were far too used to.
On cue Fury responded with, “You may be forty-two in our years but you don’t look a day over eighteen,” and it was true. Over the years they found out that centaurs, or at least Tony, had a longer lifespan than a human’s. Already he went through forty years and yet appeared so young, looked like an eighteen-year-old human boy. They estimated, with a bit of blind calculation and the fact that Tony went through the teenage rebellious years, that Tony was just shy away from either being considered eighteen or twenty years old.
It was a good thing Fury wasn’t exactly a normal human himself and his body had more years than a typical lifespan. He’d hate to imagine the living circumstances the young centaur would be in, considering he and Jarvis had (for lack of a better word) ‘custody’ over Tony, since Howard Stark kicked the bucket years ago. Anyone power hungry and with selfish intentions would drool at the chance to have Tony under their wing. The centaur was a genius, creative and could invent almost anything if he set his mind to it. Only being held back by human restrictions (meaning that he couldn’t just wander around the streets or even walk around the helicarrier).
Fury made sure to keep those power hungry bastards at bay while Jarvis made sure Tony was cared for as a parent would care for a child. Stark hadn’t been exactly the best adoptive parent around. Scratch that, he was the worst. He only looked at the centaur as an opportunity and took advantage of his name as a claim on Tony. The only good thing Stark had done was provide Tony immunity against unfavorable characters who were curious to study the centaur and ‘make sure he wasn’t a threat against humanity.’ He also provided Tony his name, the one thing that made the centaur happy as he was able to share this with humans.
With a grumble and a pout, Tony grabbed the bowl and began grudgingly eating it. His manners were atrocious. The soup decorated his chin every time he swallowed a spoonful, and Jarvis made sure to inform them all about it. “You may look young but that doesn’t mean you can eat like a child. Honestly, manners were invented.”
Tony flicked his tail back and forth in controlled excitement. “I really want to get started on studying Captain America, Jarvis. I mean, it’s Captain America! He’s waited long enough and I can finally meet him in person, or - well, my armor can meet him in person.”
Fury and Jarvis took note of how Tony’s voice grew small. Hearing the young centaur talk of how he could meet others, new people, important people, his heroes, only to remember of the unspoken rule they were all aware of. How he couldn’t meet them, not in person, not in the flesh, because he wasn’t human, always broke their hearts. The one thing Tony wanted in the whole world, to walk down the streets and be normal, was the one thing he could never have.
Of course, that wasn’t about to stop Tony. If he couldn’t see them as himself he went for the next best thing, wearing a mask and operating it from the shadows. The armor wasn’t exactly the best mask to meet people, but it was perfect for Tony’s style. It showed genius, uniqueness, the right amount of flashy performance and, most importantly for the centaur, it looked human. Robotic, but human, and because Tony loved that armor so much and gave him the freedom he'd always wanted Fury fought anyone who dared try and take it away from him. Those that try are few in numbers and that was to be expected. After all who was stupid enough to go against someone with access to a protective AI? With technology these days there was hardly anything that Vision couldn’t obtain info on.
Fury prayed for mercy for those who manage to anger Vision.
“Rogers has waited seventy years. He can wait a few hours more until you finish. He’s not going anywhere,” Fury said, crossing his arms.
Tony huffed but continued eating without another complaint. He ate slower compared to the start but his excitement was still evident and he practically galloped over to the armor’s controls when he was finished. Fury watched as the controls wrapped around Tony’s front portion of his body. Control gloves were put on his hands and his two front hooves were fitted inside boots. And from the corner of the room where a glass case was located a hissing sound came to be and as Tony took a controlled step forward out came Iron Man from the case, mimicking his movements.
Chapter 2: Monster Au
(Monsters, shapeshifters, hunters, ironpanther, bamf Tony, Pepper and Rhodey)
Tony is turned into a vampire by the Winter Soldier in the night of his parents' murders, later raised as a hunter of rampant monsters.
Tony is present for the night Bucky attacked his parents.
On the verge of death in the back seat, he has a clear view to witness Bucky murder his mother and father. He’s helpless when Bucky takes an interest in him. Instead of outright killing him, Bucky chooses to force him to drink blood from the vampire and painfully turns him into one. Bucky takes him back to his handlers, wanting to raise him as a sire would a new spawn. Under Hydra's care Tony is forced to work for them, and with Bucky as his sire, and sires always have a sort of power over fledglings, Tony ends up doing everything he’s ordered, but only under Bucky's command. A messed up parent-child relationship of sorts.
After a few years, Tony manages to escape, all under Bucky’s orders (Bucky gained some sort of moral, wanting to free his ‘son’ from the pain caused by Hydra) and he ends up blindly flying for freedom. In his monstrous form his bulky, grey, giant wings carry him for a long distance, but do nothing against injuries from bellow as he is shot down when he makes the mistake of unknowingly flying over Wakanda. He gets brought in by the Dora to the king, T’Chaka, where the king decides whether to kill him or spare him. Since Wakanda is known as the civilization of shifters who hunt down and kill their enemies and any savage monsters - and vampires are known as the most dangerous of the Mons - it’s a miracle that T’Chaka decides to spare Tony. It only happens after Tony reveals his human form and gives his name he barely remembers. The king realizes they have the kidnapped son of Howard Stark. This complicates things. There’s much to gain if they can successfully use Tony, and will be a major loss if they end his life on the spot. King T'Chaka takes the risk.
Tony is spared under the condition he is trained and swears an oath to only hunt beasts going awol. Under T’Chaka’s watchful eyes, Tony is raised to be a hunter. To secure the safety of humans and kill Mons who pose a threat to, not just humanity, but all of society.
Another monster captured during the same time as him is Pepper. A beautiful siren who is spared with the same condition as Tony. Their training is rigorous, and they aren't spoonfed. The Dora Milaje make sure of it. If they wish to earn their living they must grow in strength and show they have much to give back. It's harsh and pushes them in ways freedom would never do, but they grow, they earn skills and they earn the approval of the warrior woman and their king.
A year later under T’Chaka’s and Wakanda’s care Tony requests to visit an old friend of his. Having earned the permission T’Chaka allows it, but only under the supervision of two of his most trusted Dora Milaje. Pepper asks to tag along and together they go to America. Tony goes to see his Rhodey. Someone he still has memories of, but can't place a complete image. Years under Hydra erased many of them. From what he does remember of the man, he knows he owes him a visit and confirmation of his well-being. To Tony's, and all of their, surprise the moment Rhodey sees them he attacks without hesitation. Rhodey knows of the Wakanda hunters and knows they kill any and every beast that steps out of bound. No pleading or begging is going to spare his life.
Tony has to transform and hold Rhodey back when the wolf inside comes out. Much to Tony's shock, it turns out Rhodey is a werewolf and shows even greater strength than himself. Tony has to use his wings in order to gain an advantage and prevent footholds for the werewolf to use. It's only because of Pepper that Tony is able to pin the wolf down, begging him to be calm and whispering his name to the man in hopes he remembered him. To his great relief, the werewolf does recognize the name. The large ears perk up the moment he hears Tony and his nickname 'Rhodey.'
Tony had never cried, not even when tortured or when he received his Sire's disappointed gaze, but upon hearing his name said from the man he had once been friends with he couldn't hold them back. "Hey, Honey Bear. Or should I say Honey Wolf?'
Once everyone is calm Tony explains what happened to him when he disappeared. Rhodey listens intently, taking in every word, and once he finishes he pulls Tony in for a giant hug, fur still out and all. "Next time, don't wait so long to tell me you're okay."
Tony sniffles, blaming it on Rhodey's fur. "I promise."
In some twisted turn of events, the two Doras end up somehow dragging Rhodey back with them to Wakanda after everything is settled. They see an opportunity in obtaining a trio set of the most powerful of the beasts and don't let the opportunity pass. A vampire, a werewolf and a siren. The three forming a team together would create an unstoppable force when bringing down the fiercest of Mons. Later the trio become four when T’Challa joins in with his shifting abilities as a black panther.
When they’re deemed ready T’Chaka sends Tony, Pepper and Rhodey back. Tony has to make up a story as to why he disappeared for a certain number of years to Stane, and since Stane is greedy and sees the benefit in having Tony back he accepts him, planning to gain as many weapon designs as possible. Pepper is still hired as a secretary and Rhodey plays the middleman for both the military (that he joins when they return) and SI. The three balance their hunting business between wrangling and passing as believable humans. During the day they’re everyday Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and James Rhodes. During the night they’re monster hunters out searching for out of control beasts attacking the innocent under king T’Chaka’s command.
Iron Man still happens, but the shrapnel in Tony’s chest poses no threat against his still heart, but the Ten Rings don’t know this. Yinsen is the only one who realizes it when he’s ordered to save Tony, and instead of creating an arc reactor that keeps the shrapnel at bay the arc reactor actually forces the heart to beat, fooling the ten rings and keeping Tony’s secret. Yinsen has heard about monsters having their own laws and figured if he helped Tony he could win him over in protecting the innocent. A noble gesture, and an unnecessary one, for what Yinsen doesn’t know is that Tony already does. Tony creates the armor originally for Yinsen in order to give him protection during their attempted escape. He puts on the armor in memory of Yinsen after the man is fatally wounded and dies in his arms. He avenges him, instead of breaking out as a vampire and revealing his secret to his capturers.
The Avengers also happen, but instead of just fighting threats against earth they also hunt monsters, hidden away from the public eye. Steve had fought against monsters during the war so he knows about them. Nat and Clint are well known and skilled monster assassins in Shield. Bruce is a created monster that Shield figured they could use against natural monsters, and since the other option is Bruce still getting hunted down he’s sort of forced to join the team. Tony is added with everyone thinking he’s a normal human capable of fighting because of his armor suit. He doesn't bother to reveal there's more to him than the normal skin.
Tony does his best to not set the Avengers off and for the most part, it works. Tony, Pepper and Rhodey continue to hunt down awol beasts quietly under the team’s nose, but then everything goes wrong when the Avengers run into the witch and her brother. The witch, realizing what she had come upon, manipulates Tony into creating Ultron. The whole Ultron debacle happens and everyone still blames him except for Pepper, Rhodey and T’Challa, and they are very vocal about supporting their friend. So much so that a rift gets created between them. The secret Mons on one side, minus Bruce, and the enhanced humans on the other.
Once they run into the Witch again the clues come together and all four realize what had happened for Ultron to have come online. Once Ultron is taken care of they are ordered to Wakanda where T’Chaka demands an explanation. When he learns of the power humans are now capable of possessing he acts. This is where the Accords first get started. Beasts have unspoken laws to keep them in order, but Wanda isn’t a beast, she’s a mutated human, and this is where T’Chaka realizes superpowered humans do not have laws to follow. T’Chaka plans to remedy that and they have no choice but to support it.
During the meeting later on, when the explosions occur, Tony runs into Bucky again for the first time since escaping Hydra and losing track of him. Tony tries to stop him, but because Bucky is his sire he ends up defending and helping him escape instead. In a desperate moment, he reveals his vampiric form to Sharon and Natasha. The two spies are left gaping when a giant, gray, monstrous bat hisses at them when they come too close to his Sire. T’Challa has to go in and pull Tony away from Bucky’s grasp, rescuing him from damaging the situation further.
Because Bucky has power over Tony he becomes a danger and Tony a liability, especially if Bucky were to order Tony to attack civilians. T’Challa chases Bucky to capture and prevent any use of Tony but Steve misunderstands and believes T’Challa wishes to cause harm. He never learned or realizes Bucky is a vampire. The trio and T’Challa try and control the situation. If word got out that a vampire attacked a building and killed people there will be hell for Mons everywhere. T’Chaka (he survives the blast, able to endure more because of his shifter status than normal humans) orders them to do damage control, to bring in the awol vampire, but Steve complicates things, feels betrayed that Tony never revealed he’s a vampire and does everything he can to keep Bucky out of his clutches.
Steve and his team battle the accords, believing Tony is supporting it in order to weaken human defence. Steve’s team consist of Natasha, Clint, Sam, Scott, Wanda, and Bucky. Tony, Rhodey, Pepper, T’Challa and Vision (who knows about what they do because of Jarvis’ memory) battle against them. Tony concentrates on battling Steve while T’Challa focuses on Bucky in order to keep him away from his friend. They are a bit outnumbered but do take down Cap’s team with their years of practice coordination. Natasha still manages to help Steve and Bucky escape, but gets captured herself instead of spared.
Tony doesn't learn of Steve's or Bucky's location from Sam. In the Raft every member spits and hiss insults at the Mons. Instead, he manages to find the location by sensing his sire, something T'Challa was heavily against because of the danger it could bring to him. It's a struggle to keep Bucky's will from overtaking him, but all Tony needs is a sense of the area. Smells, sounds, temperature and memory and he knows exactly where the destructive duo has landed. He has to take a breather after it's done, clutching his shaking hand. From only those few seconds he could feel Bucky calling to him, demanding him to follow.
T’Challa and Rhodey follow his information and go to apprehend the two, but their focus soon falls on Zemo instead. Tony goes for Steve and Bucky alone. Rhodey and T'Challa not knowing he followed. Tony doesn't want to fight them but won't leave without Bucky. The issue comes when Steve doesn't allow him to take Bucky, still thinking Tony to be the absolute monster he is.
The three fight, much to Tony's dismay. He's on his own with a supersoldier who's after his guts and a Sire who can order him to stop and expose his belly for a final blow in one command. Tony uses his armor in order to block any senses tying into Bucky. If Bucky tries to order him to stop or surrender, the armor is quick to silence all outside noise. Bucky realizes this and tries to get him out of it, so much so that in desperation he shifts to his own monstrous form and reveals he’s a vampire to Steve for the first time ever.
Steve stares in dismay at the sight, heartbroken and crying in despair. He gets furious at the revelation, believing Tony is responsible and changed his best friend somehow. Tony knocks Bucky to the ground but he’s horribly weakened after Bucky tried to pull the arc reactor out and his instincts are screaming to help his Sire. This is the moment Steve needed. He easily beats Tony to the point of nearly killing him, succeeding in taking off his helmet. He raises his shield and is ready to strike the finishing blow, actually aiming for Tony’s neck and ready to kill the monster. No hesitation, no remorse. Just a quick, clean, kill. He's suddenly pushed away and lands heavily on his side when a strong force strikes him from behind. To his shock and Tony's surprise, it's Bucky that had collided with him. Bucky orders Tony still, to not make another move.
Tony's instincts make it so and he's left lying there and waiting for his Sire's next command. Somehow, Steve believes it’s Tony making Bucky do this and tries to get Bucky to stop but Bucky strikes him when he gets too close. One arm short isn't enough to slow him down, and with his fledgling in trouble Bucky fights to the bitter end to keep Steve on the ground. The video cruelly plays when Steve finally makes no move to get up again. He's hollow inside as he watches Bucky slowly limp to Tony and helps him up.
"...Bucky?" His voice is uncharacteristically small as he calls to him.
"Howard!" a woman screams from the screen, grabbing Steve's attention. It's showing Bucky just having killed Maria and turning his focus to the next target. Through the haze, he can see Bucky pull a small figure out of the crashed car and hoist them up their feet. His breath is caught in his throat when he sees Bucky pull a knife and swiftly runs it over the exposed skin on the side of his neck. With little force, he brings the head of the young figure closer and presses their mouth against the bleeding wound, giving them no choice but to swallow the blood that no doubt trickles in. Steve is stunned as he watches it, watches his best friend force Tony Stark to drink vampiric blood. Despair fills his chest at the revelation and he's unable to move. His tears feel as cold at the ice that once claimed him.
Bucky drags Tony out, turning to give his long lost friend one last chance before moving forward. Even though the pain is almost crippling, he continues on, wanting to protect his fledgling, just as he had all those years ago. He comes upon T’Challa once they exit the building and hisses when the Panther Shifter moves to attack. It's Rhodey that takes control of the situation and convinces T'Challa to stand down for now. They tell Bucky that Tony will be taken to Wakanda to heal and Bucky only lets his fledgling go when they promise him he's allowed to visit, and to also obtain help, should Bucky seek it out. Bucky joins them in the jet. He doesn't look back again at the best friend he left behind. If he does, he doesn't think he'll want to leave, but the call of his fledgling is strong and he can't ignore it.
When everything settles down what follows is more truths revealed and learning to understand, seek help, forgive, but never forget.
Chapter 3: Soulflames Au Part 1 & 2
(soulmates, literal souls, stony)
Your soulmate's soul literally follows you everywhere and can feel the touch and affection you give them, no matter the distance. Steve never had the soul of his soulmate follow him until the plane crash and Tony's soulmate's soul has remained still, unmoving and cold to the touch for the longest time until someone wakes up.
Soulmate au where you are born with your soul out of your body and eventually it migrates to the person destined to be yours while their soul migrates to you. You both take care of each other’s soul, give it loving touches and feel what the other person feels.
Steve is born with his soul out of his body but his soul never leaves his side as he grows up. Neither does the soul of his destined makes an appearance. He learns to accept he’s never meant to have a soulmate and gives himself as much comfort as he can when he’s alone and stroking his own soul, imagining it’s the soul of his intended and that the fingers he feels brushing over his soul are theirs.
He crashes into the ice with only his own soul as company.
Tony is born with the soul of his destined already by his side, but while it follows him everywhere he goes it mostly remains inactive, as if it’s magnetized to Tony and that’s it. Even if he holds the soul in his hands he feels nothing on the other end, while in turn he never once feels the gentle brushes of fingers or any loving caresses on his own soul from his destined, nothing except for a constant cold that seems to surround it.
When Steve wakes up the first thing he searches for is his soul. Instead of finding his own he finds the soul of another and his first instinct is to reach out hesitantly and touch the soul as careful as he could, touch it as if it’s made of precious and easily breakable glass.
The moment Steve wakes up his soul absolutely glows and twirls in place, the most active Tony had ever seen it be. Tony is in the middle of reaching out to touch and calm it when he feels the gentle brush of warm fingers on him. Terrified it’s a trick of the mind he shakily holds the swirling soul to feel something and make absolutely sure it’s real.
They each hold the other’s soul at the same time respectively, hugging it to their chest. A distance away from each other it still feels as if they’re next to their destined and are hugging them in person.
Even after discovering time has moved on without him and the life he once had is no longer accessible, Steve surprisingly rests easy the first few nights after getting defrosted. Everyone expects him to have nightmares or have panic attacks at the sudden changes or even have a mental breakdown, but Steve actually stays grounded very easily thanks in large part to his new little companion following him everywhere.
He can’t explain to you just how happy he is knowing there is someone out there for him, that he isn’t some anomaly without a soulmate, to forever live with just his own soul by his side. He’s so thankful and grateful that his soulmate after 70 years got taken from him in a blink of an eye, is still there. Even if they’re old, which most likely is the case, and they missed their chance together, he’s grateful they lived long enough to show him he has a destined.
They aren’t going to get a happily ever after together like most, and Steve tries to show how sorry he is, how regretful he is for leaving them on their own for so long, by always touching and always hugging the beautiful and warm soul. He makes sure to give it plenty of affection and even give it praise, knowing full well his destined won’t be able to hear it, but perhaps they’d be able to feel the emotion he’s expressing as he’s saying it.
This leaves Tony very emotional each time. After so many years going with nothing but the feeling of coldness and no gentle caress or loving touches, being deprived of contact for far too long, he is forced to flee to his room and huddle on his bed as he soaks all the affection with teary eyes. He, in turn, makes sure to hug the now active soul following him, curl up with it on his bed and hold it very close. Sometimes he asks the soul questions during these moments, wanting to communicate with his soulmate but knowing he won’t get an answer. It’s more out of peace of mind for himself than anything.
Most questions he asks share a very common subject. “Where were you this whole time?” “Why now?” “Couldn’t you have done something sooner?” “What changed for you?”
Steve can’t hear the questions but he can feel the sorrow behind them, just as he knows his destined feels the same coming from his end. Regret for their missed chance a strong motivation to hold each other’s soul and fear letting go.
Then their first meeting happens and no one is prepared for it.
The thing about soulmates finally meeting? It’s a very special moment. Their souls attract each other, pulling the other until they meet in the middle and combine. When combined it’s as if their very being are joined and everything that is them is shared with the other.
For Tony, he sees a sickly child growing with odds against him, a loving mother who worked so hard to support her son, a father who left to fight for the innocent and remains a hero in his son’s eyes. He feels the sting of rejection when the papers come back and remains unqualified, the sorrow at watching the best friend say goodbye, the pain of an experiment to make a difference, the feeling of loss at watching a lifelong best friend fall from a train, the acceptance when the plane crashed and the grief upon realizing years of a life were taken within seconds.
For Steve, he sees a small child that carried high expectations even before they were born. A child who stood under the shadow of another and fought every day to see the light, a son who only wanted to make his father proud but failed at even achieving that. A teen prodigy who struggled under the expectations of a father who wanted perfect He feels the anguish and anger at the father for killing the mother, the fear and desperation when a hole was carved in a chest, the pain of betrayal when the man who was a second father revealed the truth, the surrender when the device meant to save was slowly poisoning instead and the sting of rejection, of not being recommended.
All this happens within seconds, and for Steve and Tony, it happens in the middle of a fight.
Iron Man joins a fight to aid Captain America. He sees the little glowing ball of light that is no doubt the Captain’s soul and thinks nothing else of it, but a moment after he lands and taking down enemies the flashes of past memories and emotions comes crashing down. He’s blinded from the fight at feeling all that is Steve Rogers and in turn, Steve Rogers gets knocked back by all that is Tony Stark.
When the sharing is done they find their souls have combined without their knowledge in the middle of the battle. Not one of them even realized the souls were migrating to each other. In the middle of them, the two souls twirl in a circle, embracing, completing the half of the other.
Shock is not enough to explain how they feel. Tony learns more than he thought he needed to know about Captain America and Steve learns more than he thought he needed to know about Iron Man.
Suddenly it’s as if they’ve known each other their whole life.
But it’s really not the time to think more on it. They still need to fight, but if they suddenly gained a boost and are in perfect sync of each other’s attacks, well, it’s not as if anyone will figure out why.
Not until they take off their cowl and helmet and realize the color of their left eye has changed to match their destined, just as people who finally meet and have their souls combine usually do. A manifestation of them becoming one.
It becomes near impossible to keep it a secret if they decided to hold off mentioning it to the world.
As their souls combine their eyes remain permanently changed. Steve walks around with a left brown eye and a right blue eye. Tony goes with a left blue eye and a right brown eye.
Anyone who sees them can’t help but stare at the intensity of their stares and the perfect sync.
Chapter 4: Tsum Tsum Soulmates Au Pt 1
(Soulmates, tsum tsums, stony, minor carolrhodey - buckynat)
#picture post#fanart#tsumtsum cutie#steve rogers#au where there's a tsumtsum for every person#and that tsum tsum is their soulmates tsum tsum#steve gets tony's tsum tsum#while tony gets steve's tsum tsum#and jealous peeps out there be trying to take their tsum tsums because they want to be the other's soulmate#tsum tsum all around!
Written with the help of Summerpipedream, Queendophne and Panna-acida. Thank you so much for helping the idea grow. <3
Little Iron Man tsum tsum is just grouchy and twitchy when he’s taken from Steve and when he gets the chance he escapes his capturers' clutches (most often a bystander that saw iron man tsum tsum flying next to Steve and can't resist grabbing him for a moment, if only to pretend to have Iron Man as their soulmate for a moment) and goes straight back to Steve, cuddling and claiming his arms when Steve can’t resist hugging him close. Steve always has a few choice words to give to the person who took his tsum tsum away. No one touches his soulmate.
When Tony and Steve are together you just see their little tsum tsums cuddling close and refusing to separate. When Tony has to leave for business and Steve for training you just hear their tsum tsums make whiny noises as they split apart to follow their humans. It breaks Tony’s and Steve’s hearts every time but there ain’t nothing they can do about it. That’s just life and even as soulmates they can't exactly spend every waking moment together. They have responsibilities and have to socialize with others that aren't each other.
That's okay though, that just means tsum tsum Iron Man and Captain America can spend time together with tsum tsum Captain Marvel and Black Widow.
Tony and Steve also make it up to them by letting them sit on their heads or shoulders and stick really close wherever they go. Not even training new recruits or board meetings will stop them.
Growing up with a Captain America tsum tsum doesn't give Tony a very happy childhood with Howard Stark as his father. Howard doesn't believe the Cap tsum tsum that Tony has flying around him is Steve Rogers and instead thinks it’s some impostor pretending to be Captain America, a performer or later on someone trying to take up the mantel. He’s mad at the idea of an imposter taking the name for themselves that his tsum tsum form is a Captain America and his son of all people ends up with them as their soulmate. He really wants to find this guy so he can give him a one-two and maybe sue them about imitating america’s greatest hero and icon.
In the meantime, as he waits for the imposter to make an appearance, he makes sure to remind Tony every day that his Cap tsum tsum isn’t the real Captain America and is a disgrace. He’s mocking the memory that is Steve Rogers and he will not let it stand without a word.
Cap tsum tsum gets really pissed about it and like shrimpy Steve who doesn’t back down he keeps picking fights with Howard every time they’re in the same room. It gets so bad that Tony avoids having to see his father at all, sighing in relief when he's sent off to school and lowering the chances of his father and Cap Tsum seeing each other. He considers it a blessing when he has an opportunity not to live in the mansion. When it's just him and Cap Tsum.
Tony grows up a Captain America fan, but not because of Howard’s obsession or the legend that was Steve, but because of his little tsum tsum that became his true hero and always looked out for him growing up. Size doesn't matter when someone has the temper of Cap Tsum and the 'never back down' attitude.
Oh man - I can just picture smol! fresh faced Tony taking on MIT. No one really takes him seriously, he’s too young, too small and talks too fast, so everyone ignores him, but Cap Tsum is determined to make sure that Tony makes it through. The first time that Tony is ganged up on, Cap Tsum Tsum is ENRAGED - he does his best, but even he can’t take all of them on. So he does the next best thing…
He drags the bewildered bystander over (who heard Cap Tsum Tsum’s battle cry of rage), and together they save Tony. Afterwards, Tony is shy, but Cap Tsum Tsum is determined, and nudges Tony towards the bemused Rhodey. It only takes a short while, but Cap Tsum Tsum is estatic when Rhodey and Tony become good friends.
Cap Tsum Tsum standing on Tony’s shoulder and encouraging him to say hi to Rhodey and thank him for helping. Squeaking and waving his tiny arms in a forward motion for him to get a move on and say something, anything. Tony is just so hesitant and shy but he eventually does it, even as his heart beats rapidly in his chest, and Rhodey can’t help but want to stick by Tony’s side, especially when his own soulmate’s Tsum Tsum, a Carol/Captain Marvel Tsum Tsum, starts becoming really good friends with Cap Tsum Tsum. Their friendship grows with every passing day hanging together.
Now it’s Tony and Rhodey against MIT and their little Tsum Tsums will not hesitate to charge at anyone who wants to hurt them, especially when they tag team. They’re vicious little cuties.
And when they take moments to hang out, make breakfast and make things explode, their Tsum Tsums turn out to be just as mischievous as them and there’s never a moment where the duo don't team up against them and play around. There was once a prank war between Tony and Rhodey and Cap and Marvel. Tsum Tsum versus tall boys.
Exactly so cute - Carol Tsum Tsum and Cap Tsum Tusm always have a blast together!!! But gah - that just makes Afghanistan even more heartbreaking to picture. Tony is doing everything he can to resist, but the moment they try to hurt Cap Tsum Tsum is the moment he starts to break. After Tony and Cap Tsum Tsum escape, it’s Carol/Captain Marvel Tsum Tsum that they see first, zooming up to them and squealing in worry.
Rhodey arrives shortly after, and he wraps them all in the biggest hug as they collapse into the sand.
Tony actually nearly breaking because they keep threatening and swatting at Cap Tsum Tsum so he really has to work fast in order to escape and as soon as they see Carol Tsum Tsum fly to them they collapse and just wait for her to reach them and for Rhodey to catch up and they don’t let go. The Tsum Tsums are just cuddled together and refuse to separate. Carol Tsum Tsum especially doesn’t want to leave either of their side.
And when Tony makes his first armor he puts a little slot just for Cap Tsum Tsum to stay in and be kept safe. Sometimes when flying for fun Cap Tsum Tsum is on Tony's head and squeals along for the ride. Even Carol Tsum Tsum joins them sometimes. So fun!
Now I’m seriously thinking about the other side for the Soulmate Tsum Tsum AU - Imagine pre-serum Steve totally confused when he meets Iron Man Tsum Tsum for the first time.He doesn’t look like any other Tsum Tsums around, and looks like a robot right out of science fiction! He’s even tinier than most Tsum Tsums around - but that makes Steve love him even more. Bucky teases Steve that his Tsum Tsum matches him - Iron Man Tsum Tsum is tiny, but fiercely protective. No matter how many times Steve gets sick, Iron Man Tsum is there to snuggle and keep him warm. He and Bucky even worked out a system in taking care of Sick!Steve. When Steve jumps on the grenade, Iron Man Tsum is right there along side him, scolding him the entire time, furious that Steve would put himself in harm’s way. And right after Steve takes the serum, Iron Man Tsum is the only one who treats him the same afterwards.
Scrawny little baby Steve who ends up overjoyed and yet a little confused when he first sees his Iron Man tsum tsum. He’s small, he’s a robot and he can fly! It’s odd but he’s also special and Steve always believed his ma when she said he was special. But Iron Man Tsum is like a science fiction character and people will stare at him. He looks far too advanced for their time, even if it's just a representation of the costume his soulmate will wear. Steve is extra careful as to who in the public sees his little tsum tsum.
And just imagine Bucky’s soulmate tsum tsum being a little Nat tsum. Iron man tsum and Black widow tsum tsum friendship! They have this adorable little ongoing rivalry for everything but they always make time to cuddle with each other. Because of their size Bucky and Nat tsum are very protective of scrawny Steve and tiny Tony tsum.
During their times as Howling Commandos Steve and Bucky carry their little tsum tsums in their pockets and when they’re camping and resting you see Nat and Tony tsums cuddled close to the fire with the rest of the Howling Commandos own tsum tsums.
It’s a sad thought when Steve and Tony tsum watch as Bucky and Nat tsum fall from the train.
Also imagine that Howard meets cap for the first time and sees the Ironman Tsum and says, “Gee Cap, your soulmate must be a true genius. A master of our time.” And it’s the ONLY time he compliments Tony cause he doesn’t even know it’s his son. And when he sees that Tony has a Cap Tsum is in denial even more that Tony is capable of something he can’t do and doesn’t want to believe it so he tries his best to break Tony’s spirit and vehemently denies that Cap Tsum is Captain America.
Howard having looked forward to meeting Captain America’s tsum tsum soulmate and eager to ask the soulmate how they created or came to represent whatever Iron Man Tsum Tsum was. He's so ready to talk engineering with them. He has such high expectations of the soulmate of the great Captain America. Then Cap goes down the ice, taking his robotic Tsum Tsum with him and all of Howard's hope to figure out what it is. When Howard sees his son get Cap Tsum Tsum and remembers the Tsum Tsum belonging to Steve, so sleek and futuristic, denial that his son is the very one he's wanted to talk to for years is all he has to say.
Surely his son wasn’t capable to create Steve’s Iron Man Tsum Tsum. His son didn’t deserve Captain America and his son shouldn’t get his hopes up. That Cap Tsum is a fake, an impostor, and whoever has the gall to try and take up the title of America’s great WWII hero deserves his son, but right after Howard gives him a talking to and ruins them.
Too bad Cap Tsum Tsum doesn’t let it go without a fight. He’s fiercely protective of baby Tony and determined to heal the hurt Howard’s words cause. He becomes baby Tony’s hero and baby Tony doesn’t need to collect any Captain America merchandise because he has the best thing. Cap Tsum Tsum.
Chapter 5: Tsum Tsum Soulmates Au Pt 2
(Soulmates, tsum tsums, stony)
Steve meets his Tsum Tsum
Nobody understood where these tiny little creatures, these little things people lovingly named Tsum Tsums, came from. Nor why they tended to follow one person around and only that one person. Why they looked like a person they would realize, upon meeting them, would become their other half was also beyond them.
Tsum Tsums were each different, each unique, and each had their own human. There was never a Tsum Tsum shared among people. A person’s Tsum Tsum was their own and nobody could change that.
Over the years the common feature among the Tsum Tsums, the one where they ultimately looked like another person, their intended, their meant to be, labeled them as keys to finding their soulmates. It was a lovely thought. One that was proven accurate over and over again. Could’ve been romantic or platonic. Perhaps Tsum Tsums really were a representation of their one’s promised, or perhaps they were there for a completely different reason and coincidentally looked like a person’s perfect partner.
Soulmates seemed more plausible and the easiest to accept.
So people each had their own unique Tsum Tsum. One that depicted their soulmate. Most were usually average and dressed in casual clothing, or suits or uniforms. Their outfits never changed and often represented what their partner’s passion was or what they were known for or what would become in the future. A Tsum Tsum dressed in a police officer’s uniform? Probably meant the person was really devoted to keeping the peace and streets safe. Their work was their life. A Tsum Tsum dressed in a suit? Could mean they were often seen with it on, recognized instantly because of it. Their symbol. Their mark in the world. A Tsum Tsum who wore a colorful costume but the person they represented didn’t own it? Most likely meant the person would do theatre in the future and be well known for the role they presented.
Tsum Tsums were truly amazing little creatures and everyone was thankful to have one. Especially Steve. He might have been skinny with almost every available ailment affecting him, but knowing he had a Tsum Tsum just like everyone else meant he was normal. Nothing was wrong with him.
Except, when his Tsum Tsum appeared to him for the first time he had to admit, for a split second, maybe he wasn’t that normal after all. Not when his Tsum Tsum was a… red robot?
His mama had always told him he was special. He just didn’t know she meant this special.
His Tsum Tsum was tiny. Fitting, considering how small Steve was himself, but not only was he tiny he was also covered in what he assumed was red metal. It had rectangular white and bluish eyes and a yellow mask and it flew! Steve couldn’t believe it. He had to rub his eyes multiple times just to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating. Then the little tsum tsum flew right to him, nearly crashing into his chest, and when Steve instinctively wrapped his skinny arms around it he found, even if covered in ‘metal,’ the little tsum tsum was very soft. Just like any other Tsum Tsum.
Steve clutched the little guy and bounced in joy. He had a tsum tsum. He had a soulmate! He couldn’t wait to show everyone. But then his mama saw his tsum tsum fly around and she didn’t look happy at all. She had been worried. She told him to be careful. To not let anyone take his tsum tsum or hurt it. Her tsum tsum that had resembled his father rested on her shoulder, nodding along with her as he watched his robot tsum tsum hover near him.
His own tsum tsum stared curiously at the pair but didn’t argue about being hidden. Steve was thankful. He knew not to disobey his mother. If she told him to do something there was a good reason for it.
So Steve kept his little tsum tsum hidden. Inside his bag, his large shirts, anywhere most wouldn’t usually look into because it was rude to do so. Those that did catch a glance at his tsum tsum would assume it was a costume and his soulmate really enjoyed performing. None of them ever saw his tsum tsum hover around him.
If it hadn’t been for the hovering Steve would’ve assumed the same. That his soulmate had a role in a performance and became well known as whatever robot character he played. But because his tsum tsum hovered he knew this wasn’t a costume and his soulmate wasn’t in a play. His soulmate was a robot. He was sure of it.
Nobody knew except him, his ma and her pa tsum, and Steve tried his hardest to keep it that way. He was just grateful it had been Bucky who saw his tsum tsum hover around when they had first thought to be alone, and not some unfriendly character.
“Your mate’s a robot?”
Steve nearly stopped breathing when the other boy asked that. His tsum tsum made a squealing noise and hovered right in front of him, ready to defend him from the other boy. He tried to catch his breath but it became harder and harder for air to enter his body. He sat down on the dirt as his eyes watered. His tsum tsum hovered worriedly and tried to reassure him.
The other boy was quick to move. Steve remembered vividly the way the other boy coached him to breathe again. The way he kept swatting at his tsum tsum to move out of the way. The way his tsum tsum was tackled to the ground by the other boy’s tsum tsum, and the way Steve jumped to his feet to pull his tsum tsum away from the danger.
“I’m James. This is my tsum tsum, Natalia,” the boy had said sometime after Steve calmed down with his tsum tsum safe in his arms. He was worried but so far the boy, James, hadn’t threatened to tell anyone about his tsum tsum. When his tsum tsum squeaked in reassurance Steve finally introduced them.
“Steve, and this is Tony.”
“Tony? A robot named Tony? Is he a boy robot or ‘omething?”
Steve wanted to shout he wasn’t a robot or a boy out of instinct, but truth be told Steve didn’t know what his tsum tsum was exactly. Was his soulmate a machine? Half a machine? Girl or boy? He couldn’t guess.
“Don’t he have another name? Robots are supposed to have rad names.”
Steve glared but his tsum tsum squealed out a name anyway. “He goes by Iron Man, too.”
“Now that’s a robot name! Mine says she goes by Black Widow, too.”
That caught Steve’s interest. “She does?” Usually tsum tsums only had one name. Two meant they changed their name sometime in the future or had alter egos, like superheroes!
The other boy’s tsum tsum was bigger than his own. It was a her from what he could tell. Red hair and green eyes and a black outfit with blue streaks on the edges and a belt that had a red hourglass-shaped symbol. Steve didn’t know what kind of work had people wear that uniform but he thought it looked incredible.
James later became known as Bucky and Nat and Tony tsums became nearly inseparable, as close as Steve was to Bucky. Which was fine and dandy because it meant Tony tsum no longer had to hide and could finally interact with other tsum tsums.
It was the greatest feeling in the world having a friend who wouldn’t tattle about his tsum tsum and when he watched his tsum fly around, teasing Natalia to try and catch him only for her to succeed and sit on him for the remainder of their game he knew it was time worth cherishing.
Chapter 6: Tony has the Serum Au
Tony Stark survives an explosion created by his own hands a few feet away from him with only shrapnel in his chest, survives chest surgery with no drugs to numb the pain, survives torture and waterboarding while having a car battery attached to his chest, survives the walk through the desert with no water, survives the climatic ending explosion, survives palladium poisoning, survives race car crash with only scrapes and bruises, survives god nearly strangling him, survives flying a nuke into space with no oxygen, survives multiple panic attacks, survives house exploding around him, survives snow and freezing temperatures in a shirt and pants, survives experimented human torches attacking him, survives climatic ending battle, survives battle against multiple buggy iron suits, survives thunder god nearly strangling him, and survives direct hit from the winter soldier.
All without his suit.
Tell me again are we really sure Tony is just a normal very intelligent citizen and doesn’t secretly carry some form of recreated supersoldier serum that Howard probably experimented on him with. Because otherwise Tony Stark is a helluva tough guy.
Written with the help of the lovely Summerpipedream! Thank you again. <3
I don’t know if this is what you meant, but this just came out :P
Failure was never an option.
Howard Stark has always hated failure. He was a prideful man, and while many of his fellow inventors and scientists hated him, they could never begrudge his results. Howard had always expected the very best out of himself, and never settled for less.
So when Howard snuck a few samples out of the lab, not even Dr. Erskine was the wiser.
No one ever saw him inject himself in anticipation, only to be disappointed when none of the projected effects seemed to take place. So when Steve Rogers was the very first success, Howard pushed down all feelings of inadequacy, and pushed his scientific curiosity forward.
And, with all the enhancements that Steve gained, maybe it was better that it didn’t work for Howard. Storming HYDRA bases was all good and dandy, but Howard was never one for jumping into the mud and getting dirty.
It didn’t occur to him that the serum did work, just not in the way that he expected.
Tony was a bright child, a constant fireball of energy, and soaked everything in like a sponge. It was only once Tony started taking apart circuit boards, and fixing complex equations that Howard started to consider the effects of the serum.
Howard was excited; how exactly did the serum affect Tony’s mind? Would it affect the body just as much? As the scientific curiosity burned to the forefront of his mind, Howard continued to push, and push and push…
Tony was no ordinary child, and Howard would not treat him as such. There would be plenty of time for Tony later on to play and do things like have fun. Tony would become better. Tony would become more. And if that meant making some sacrifices, then Howard would make them all.
Failure was never an option.
Tony growing up with the pressure of doing better, solve the impossible, understand the improbable, to keep pushing and pushing until failure never became an option. And because of the serum his mind continues to grow, to expand insight and provide outcomes that are not failures.
His body also grows in strength, able to withstand a lot and keep going. Probably why he could go for hours on end working on a project and never take breaks or experience fatigue until well into the third day.
He’s able to lift heavy equipment, break down walls, drag a 200 pound alloy suit across snow without breaking a sweat, and because no one is there to watch him work or do any of these things he’s never told regular citizens aren’t able to push so hard without at least training for it. To him it’s normal. He’s always been able to do it all and keep going.
So when the Avengers witness him doing something a regular person wouldn’t be able to do they are left with their mouths open and with Tony realizing that perhaps there really was something different about him.
“So he lives,” Natasha said when Tony walked into the room where a portion of the team were gathered.
Tony paid them no mind, looking at his tablet and reading over the schematics of his latest design again. He was close to cracking the barrier he found himself stump by. He could feel the answer coming he just needed to push it forward. One final push.
In his free arm he carried Dum-e’s new plating that the dummy somehow managed to crack weeks ago. That robot has escaped his maintenance long enough. No amount of begging was going to spare him this time.
“Coffee, Tones?” Rhodey offered, holding two steaming cups with a delicious aroma. Now that he mentioned it…
“Don’t mind if I do.” He handed over the plating to the nearest body. “Here, hold this for me will you?”
There was a loud ‘clank’ followed by a very painful ‘oof’ and a groan and now suddenly everyone in the room, including him, were staring at Clint on the ground pinned by Dum-e’s plating.
Everyone’s gaze turned to him afterwards, eyes wide with shock and confusion.
“Get this thing off me!” Clint managed with his chest apparently crushed on.
Tony reached down automatically to take the plating back and lifted it without trouble. He honestly didn’t understand why Clint struggled to do the same.
“What the hell! How much does that thing weight?”
Tony rattled a number without thinking about it. It was an easy answer he had known for years now, but it only caused their mouths to accompany their wide eyes.
Now he was lost. “Is there something wrong?”
Chapter 7: Ironpanther Soulmate Au Pt 1
(With a huge seasoning of BAMF Rhodey and Pepper; ironpanther, soulmates, warrior!rhodey, black widow!pepper)
Tony, like everyone else, has the name of his soulmate written on his body, but because he’s a few years older than T’Challa his name doesn’t appear until T’Challa is born and by that time Howard has already sent him away to boarding school and doesn’t bother to see who Tony’s soulmate is. Tony doesn’t bother to reveal it to his father or the public, except for Maria and Jarvis. Tony doesn’t figure out who T’Challa is and doesn’t bother to search for him.
T’Challa, however, is born with Tony’s name on his body already and because the Stark name is advertised 24/7 in both the states and eventually reaches as news to Wakanda, T’Chaka quickly figures out who Tony is and plans the future for when the two fulfill the bond. In Wakanda soulmates are a huge, sacred thing and unheard of if the two souls reject each other, whether romantic or platonic. Because T’Challa is a smart cookie, even at age seven, he knows the importance of soulmates and how lucky he is to know where his soulmate is this early in his life. All chubby cheeked and adorable he orders his dad to send the Dora Milaje to keep an eye on Tony and protect him. Unless T’Chaka wants to paint Tony as a big target, he can’t assign one of the Dora without people getting suspicious of Tony’s importance so he goes for another option. He orders James Rupert Rhodes to watch over T’Challa’s soulmate.
Grandmother Rhodes, for one important reason or another that she never reveals or offers, used to be a citizen of Wakanda before she left for America. Mama Rhodes and Rhodey are all Americans in their own right with roots going back to Wakanda. They make rare visits over to Wakanda and are trained warriors, but keep that part of their life a carefully kept secret. As a personal request, T’Chaka asks them to keep an eye on Tony and report in for T’Challa to know what’s going on in his soulmate’s life. T’Challa
demands asks Rhodey in person to make sure his soulmate is safe. Rhodey is honored to have the king himself and the prince request this from him and promises to not let them down.
He goes to MIT, transferring over to follow Tony and begins the biggest mission of his life. At first, he does what he was ordered to do, keeping a watchful eye on Tony and reporting to T’Challa everything his ridiculous soulmate had done for the week. But then Rhodey ends up becoming Tony’s dear friend after he rescues the little genius from the week's mishap and gets permanently imprinted on by the disaster human that is Tony Stark like a duckling does to their mother. Tony is a force he never expected and Rhodey finds himself wanting to protect the genius, not because he was ordered to, but because he wanted to. Rhodey starts to feel guilty from the situation he found himself in, especially when he learns that Tony spent most of his life having ‘friends’ who either wanted something from him or were hired for him.
Even Mama Rhodes starts to feel guilty and can’t continue watching over Tony because the king of Wakanda asked her to. She wanted to protect the little genius. There was something about Tony that just grew on you. A bit terrified but determined they communicate with T’Chaka and inform him that they can no longer report in, that they are now Tony’s friends and family and it is unfair to do this to him. T’Chaka, and even T’Challa, with surprising fondness, understand. T’Challa asks Rhodey, not as a prince but as a friend worried for his soulmate, to not let anything happen to Tony. Rhodey agrees and that’s the last time Mama Rhodes and Rhodey call the king and prince of Wakanda.
Later, when Rhodey spends months with Tony, not as a requested guard but as a friend, he reveals everything to Tony. He leaves out the prince of an advanced, isolated, country part. He tells Tony how he was asked by his soulmate to keep an eye on him but found himself wanting to be Tony’s friend over doing his duty. Tony is naturally pissed off and feels betrayed and refuses to talk to Rhodey for a week, but Rhodey doesn’t give up and continues to be his friend. Eventually Tony forgives him after Rhodey swears he cut off contact with his soulmate. Afterward, Tony nearly talks Rhodey’s ears off as he asks about his soulmate T’Challa. How he’s like, what he does for a living, what his favorite color is and Rhodey would answer with vague responses like “Oh, he’s charming, does a bit of leadership work, favorite color may be black, not sure, never asked him.”
Eventually, Tony does finally meet T’Challa, when they’re older and T'Challa snuck inside a conference that SI is involved in. The first thing Tony says after learning T’Challa’s name is “So you’re the bastard that hired and sent my best friend to me.” And while it was a very unexpected first meeting, T’Challa can’t help but grin because, yep, this was every bit of Tony the tabloids said he was and he couldn’t wait to start getting to know the real Tony that Rhodey had talked about so much when he reported in years ago. And while Tony was a bit peeved that T’Challa hired a bodyguard for him he’d be lying if he said he didn’t want to get to know his soulmate. Years of putting up with Rhodey’s vague answers has left him curious and it has gone on long enough.
Too bad Rhodey’s ‘leadership work’ was literally ‘ruling over an entire nation’ and T’Challa was a prince, and wow, he did not see that coming. RHODEY!
Romance happens. T’Chaka and Shuri and eventually the Dora Milaje approve of them. They elope on Tony’s part and bond in Wakanda without Obie being any wiser. Marriage happens for written paper reasons and Rhodey is Tony’s best man. Mama Rhodes gives Tony away. Grandmother Rhodes is there to give them her blessing.
After bonding happens they gain telepathic communication which makes it easier for long distance marriage. Tabloids may say Tony is a playboy, sleeping with any willing body near him, but T’Challa knows the truth and can sometimes see through Tony’s eyes because of their bond. Wannabe kidnappers make annoying appearances in Tony’s life and while Rhodey does a great job keeping most of them at bay and rescuing Tony within the 24hours, he can’t always be there, especially when he decided to go off and join the airforce/marines. T’Challa sends another ‘bodyguard’ to keep an eye on him and lessen the kidnappings. He can only go through so much without being able to do anything. He tells Tony about the bodyguard once Pepper stands in front of Tony, all high heels and menacing, and yeah, Tony is mad at T'Challa for doing this all over again and tries to order Pepper away, but she remains firm and won’t move because ‘I owe him, and if this is what he wants then I will do it.”
Tony can’t get rid of her but he can ignore her. Pepper goes with it, starting at the bottom of SI and working her way to the top in order to get within distance of Tony and be required to stay there. Tony can’t order her away if she becomes Obie’s secretary, after all, but after she finds an oddity in the paperwork and in the system Tony will admit that she’s useful and grudgingly asks her to be his secretary. One, to appease T’Challa’s worry and two, he might have been rash in rejecting her because of his anger in T’Challa for pulling this again. Only, it’s Rhodey all over again. Pepper falls for Tony’s charm and starts wanting to protect him because, deep down where Pepper didn’t know existed, Tony had made a spot and she cared. Even though the Black Widow program taught her not to. She calls T’Challa, tells him she’ll keep an eye on Tony, but can’t do it under his orders. T’Challa isn’t surprised and is just happy that a second set of eyes is now there to watch over Tony. Now more than ever he’s happy that T’Chaka spared Pepper when she was sent to kill in Wakanda; one of the many Black Widows rumored to have a high rate of assassinations. Shuri is a bit upset that one of her closest friends and sparring partners left for America but she’s glad for Tony to have extra protection, for her brother’s sake.
Chapter 8: Ironpanther Soulmate Au Pt 2
(Continuation of part 1. More BAMF Rhodey and Pepper; ironpanther, soulmates, warrior!rhodey, black widow!pepper)
When Tony is taken in Afghanistan T’Challa is mad with worry. Tony tries to reassure him time and time again through their bond. Tell him he's alive, if barely. He's hurt, but he's going and he wants to return home, but after the first month there was only so much he could say to reassure his soulmate and himself.
When he breaks free and Rhodey finally finds him they head straight for Wakanda first where everyone fusses over him. Pepper heads over the moment she can. Tony creates Iron Man when he's fit enough and back in the tower. He tries to keep it a secret, but can't seem to be able to. Not from T’Challa because of the bond. Not from Pepper because she’s hyper-vigilant thanks to her Black Widow training, and not from Rhodey because he recognizes when Tony is trying to keep a secret.
When Obie makes his move to take over and reveals he was responsible for Tony's kidnapping he gets taken down almost instantly. Pepper isn’t as weak and fragile as everyone believes she is. So much so that Coulson doesn't play a role at all. All three helping Tony keep Iron Man and Tony Stark out of SHIELDs eye. Tony also easly takes down Obie when they have their stand off. He may or may not have had sparring sessions with both Pepper, and Rhodey, and T’Challa and even the Dora (they are by far the most vicious, he isn't afraid to admit) and learned a bit of boxing from Happy. Stane never stood a chance.
When the arc reactor starts to poison him Tony is unable to hide it from T’Challa, but because of reasons, T’Challa is unable to leave Wakanda. Instead, Tony has to figure out a solution alone with T’Challa sending him encouraging little messages in his head. He gives Rhodey an armor outright instead of trying to force his hand and make Rhodey take it. Rhodey would not fall for Tony's tricks. He is a warrior and it's best not to push his buttons.
When Natasha is there to scope Tony out for the initiative Pepper is fully aware of who the agent truly is the moment she takes a step in her tower. She makes sure the agent only sees what Pepper wants her to see and let's Tony and the others in on the secret. Natasha doesn’t know of her, thinking all the Black Widows were killed or went into hiding, especially those who were sent to Wakanda. For the poisoning, T’Challa gives Tony vibranium when he’s able to leave Wakanda and spends weeks just cuddling Tony as he heals. Pepper and Shuri spend time together during their visit. Even healed, Tony still makes Pepper CEO. He knows that woman is hella scary and can intimidate anyone on the board. She knows what she’s doing.
During Loki’s invasion Tony is alone. Rhodey and Pepper are away on business and T’Challa is handling Wakanda affairs. Tony is on his own when facing Steve, Bruce and Thor, but with T’Challa mentally cheering him on he’s able to stand tall. They don’t know his true self and they don't need to. T’Challa gets a near heart attack when he almost feels the bond snap after Tony flies with the nuke but when it’s all over he immediately goes to Malibu with Tony to cuddle his fears away.
After the battle, Tony suffers from the ptsd. T’Challa tries to make it better but there’s only so much he can do, especially when he himself is experiencing little glimpses of Tony’s nightmares. How do you help someone who’s afraid of dying in space?
Without their armor, Tony and Rhodey are still able to kick ass, more so now than showed in the film. Rhodey doesn’t need his War Machine armor in order to fight like a true warrior and Pepper easily avoids getting extremis by handling herself against Aldrich and his henchmen. Aldrich doesn’t know what he got himself into. T’Challa can sleep at night peacefully knowing Tony’s arc reactor won’t ever be a problem anymore towards the end.
During Steve’s Winter Soldier fiasco Tony is in Wakanda with Pepper and Rhodey and are helping T’Chaka and T’Challa with an assassination attempt investigation, and nation matters.
In Age of Ultron T’Challa knows the truth of what happens. He sees the images that Tony was shown through their bond and tries everything he can to ensure that none of it will happen. Because of this, Tony is able to steer away from the manipulation and stop himself from going further with the Ultron project. The mind stone, however, had gotten a hold and through timed circumstances is able to bring Ultron to life before Thor is able to take the staff back. Needing someone to blame the others still aim their sights toward Tony, but can't fully pin it down when Tony shows them proof of what occurred, and with Pepper's skilled talking and Rhodey standing in their way they quickly drop the accusations.
Up to this moment, no one knows Tony is married and after all their suspicion and quick jump to blame him, he refuses to tell them anything. When Ultron is dealt with, Tony goes to Wakanda for some much needed cuddling and reassuring from T’Challa.
For Civil War Tony fights alongside his husband, and two best friends (Pepper is given an armor and takes her first flight out as Rescue). Team cap finds out first hand what happens when they fight against Tony and his soulmate, the prince of Wakanda, his best friend, a Wakanda warrior, and his best gal, a Black Widow (but no one knows it’s Pepper behind the mask as Rescue).
In the end, T’Challa takes in Bucky to heal without trying to murder him once, thanks to Tony's support. Tony and Rhodey (who was caught during his fall after Vision’s attack by Pepper) go together to apprehend Steve. With Rhodey there the video and Tony's reaction becomes mute. A lot of bridges are burned here for Steve and the others.
Rhodey is able to calm him down and together they leave Steve to his fate. Pepper is the one there to receive the package with the phone and letter. Tony asks her to burn the letter and put away the phone. T’Challa can sense that Tony has given up and while T’Challa didn’t like how the entire situation ended he understands Tony needs time to heal and actually encourages Tony to focus on what he wants. Tony doesn’t owe the world more than what he can give if it resulted in his diminished health and T’Challa knows Rhodey and Pepper will fight anyone who says otherwise.
Tony puts himself on momentarily hold, giving Iron Man a break and just working as Tony Stark. He focuses on fixing the accords for himself, Rhodey and Pepper with T’Challa’s help. He closes up loose ends that would eat him alive if left alone, sends Laura and her kids somewhere safe in one of his many safe houses that JARVIS didn’t even know about, spends the rest of his time working on new projects for his company and helps T’Challa when he requires aid in matters involving his nation.
He knows of T’Challa hiding Bucky away in Wakanda and while the pain of his mother’s death and the images are still there to haunt him his anger against Bucky had mostly disappeared. It’s Steve keeping his mother’s death a secret from him that Tony can’t forgive and his anger is aimed at that. Tony works with T’Challa to get Bucky some help without telling Steve. When they find a solution and Bucky recovers he and Tony end up developing this strained friendship. Bucky communicates with Steve occasionally, but because Steve isn’t allowed in Wakanda it’s all through phones. Bucky makes sure not to tell Steve anything about Tony aiding in his healing, or the fact that Tony and him have a friendship going on, or the fact that Tony and T’Challa are married.
Chapter 9: One That Got Away Au
(T'Stuckony, stony, winteriron, ironpanther, humor, no powers, coffe shop, shop owners)
Hi, So a little T'Stuckony prompt, Where T'challa, Bucky and Steve are all friends, who own a store together, and have at one point or another, come across Tony in their lives. They all consider him the ' one that got away'. Tony absolutley oblivious meets them again in the store.
Steve and Bucky opening up a little bookstore and they name it Barnes & Rogers (ha!) and it becomes a hit for their little location. With help from friends they eventually meet T’Challa, someone with a good eye for business and he sees the potential their little store has.
They agree to become partners. Steve and Bucky handling the store and T’Challa handling the business and expanding and getting investors. They become really good friends and manage to make Barnes & Rogers grow to include a wide selection of books sold (foreign ones that are really difficult to find in any regular store included) and add a little coffee shop that sells damn good coffee and handled by Clint and Natasha.
Becoming good friends they talk about their woes and discovery that all three have a ‘one that got away’ sweetheart that they always imagine one day they’ll run into again fairy tail style.
Steve describes them as a short brunet with the most beautiful eyes, fiery personality and fine facial bone structure that he met once during a weapons presentation while he was still in the army before being honorably discharged. He suffers an injury on his leg that’s a level 3 in pain on good days and level 7 on very bad days. On bad days he has to walk with a cane.
T’Challa describes them as someone who he met during a conference and he doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind, jumping on a table and pelvic thrusting after shooting down someone trying to insult them and he fell in love with how sassy and outspoken and new he was.
Bucky describes them as someone he met during a get together for amputees and he couldn’t look away from the doe eyes and the fluffy hair and the cute nose and instantly felt a connection through their similar circumstance of missing an arm, or in Bucky’s interest’s case, missing his hand and part of his forearm (avac!Tony making an appearance!).
Their descriptions are different enough that they never piece the similarity together, not until Tony actually makes an appearance in their store.
Tony is book hunting and Steve is the first one to see him when Tony walks up to ask about a certain book. Steve doesn’t recognize him at first, not until Tony takes his sunglasses off and it’s like returning back to their first meeting all those years ago. Steve stutters, points to the direction the book is located and quickly rushes to find Bucky and beg for help.
Tony runs into Bucky next, asking for the area where the book could be once he reaches the spot where Steve pointed. Bucky is left gaping and stuttering like Steve when he notices the same doe eyes he fell for and even the same prosthetic on the same hand he remembers. Bucky helps him find the book, says a rushed goodbye and goes to look for Steve or T’Challa, needing a wingman or two.
T’Challa takes the spot for check out when he sees no one is maintaining it and the moment he sees Tony all the suave and calm demeanor he’s known for goes out the window. He’s blushing, but you can’t tell unless you really look. He’s staring, he’s sweating, and he really needs to find an excuse to keep Tony there longer and gain the courage to ask for his number, or at least his name. He recommends Tony grabbing a cup of coffee, and you know Tony can’t resist a cup of coffee, so he goes.
Now the three are running through all the pick-up lines they can think of and how to start a conversation and how to ask for a date or a possible second meet up. Tony is sitting with his coffee and already reading through the book as the three walk up to him at the same time.
They're ready to start a conversation, but when they notice each other and how they’re looking at the same guy. Now, suddenly their descriptions of him are matching in their heads and they each know. This guy is all of their ‘one that got away’ and they got to him at the same time. There are no clear friend codes for this, and they’ve been pinning long enough. They want Tony and they will get him. This is war and they know it.
Tony meanwhile is all oblivious and just enjoying his coffee, not even aware of the turmoil and tension that’s happening behind him.
Clint and Natasha are whispering profusely to each other behind the counter as they watch and record it all on their phone to send to the others.
Chapter 10: Paper Hearts Au
(TonyxAnyone, soulmates, sentient wind)
I loved your t'stuckony soulmate story!!! It was amazing. I listened to Paper Hearts by the Vamps during the last two parts and I think it fits the story really well!! One of my favorite songs and now one of my favorite fics.
Now why'd you go and tell me that? All I’m imagining after listening to that song is another soulmate au, but instead of names written on the skin, it’s paper hearts. Someone can write a little heart note and release it in the wind. By fate, the paper always, always, ends up in their soulmate’s path.
Like picture tiny five-year-old Tony writing little heart notes with little sayings like “i’m happy and i hope u r 2!” and lets it fly in the wind out his window. Depending on your ship it can end with small skinny Steve (for stony), baby Bucky (for winteriron), or one at a time for both (Stuckony, making these one hell of confusing conversations) or all the way in Africa with tiny T’Challa (for ironpanther) or whichever ship you prefer. And no matter the person they see this cute little note and just smile, clutching it close. They write back “i am really happy” with a little drawing of them smiling and let the wind pick it up.
Like the wind is a sentient being who knows which person belongs with which it sends it with little disturbances.
Then little Tony grows up and stops writing altogether because Howard kicked the idea of soulmates right out of him. “Writing is for children. You’re a grown man, act like it!”
And yet whoever is his soulmates keep writing to him until eventually, they stop, too, because he won’t respond.
Tony saves all those little notes up until they stop. Hangs them in a private room where no one will see.
And the only reason his soulmate(s) even find him is because he ends up writing an address in a little heart-shaped sticky note (a gag gift from Rhodey) and the wind ends up blowing it away right out of his hand. The little note ends up with his soulmate and they see the address and they realize they’re close! Their soulmate has finally written back and wants to meet! So they rush to the address, eager out of their minds, but soon find that even though they’re in the same place as their soulmate, they have no idea who it is?
Desperate, they ask anyone who has a heart-shaped piece of paper so they can write to their soulmate (cute and sometimes convinient form of communication when there’s no signal, out of battery and more). One of the workers offer up a piece and everyone watches as the soulmate writes the note.
Letting the wind pick up the note is always such a wondrous thing so no one misses watching it if they can help it. They all smile as the soulmate(s) lets it go right outside of the door and stare confusingly when they see the piece of paper swoop right inside instead and land directly in front of Tony.
Tony is left gobsmacked while their soulmate(s) grins in rising hope.
Cue either fluff, angst, happy ending or rejection. Whatever you want.
Thanks, nonnie. What have you done?
Chapter 11: Retired Au Pt 1
(Stuckony, multiverse, old avengers, growing old, retired, time travel, sort of)
After the whole ‘civil war’ Tony lives his life numb. He’s healing slowly, but he’s always on the verge of breaking apart. Each day heavier than the last.
Watching who he thought was a friend strike at his chest and never look back as he leaves him to freeze tends to do things to a person, but he pulls through. Just barely. He lives on anxiety and constant worry. It’s not life, but it’s his.
Then fucking magic happens and he ends up getting sucked into some alternate universe where time is ahead, or at least the people are, because he sees his old teammates, or some of his teammates, and they're literally old. In reality, they're just a bit older than himself, as if time had sped up and everyone finally caught up with him.
He sees Clint is wrinkled and complains constantly about his arthritis in his arms and hands daily, and he gets away with always shouting “you kids get off my counter” to rambunctious superhero teenagers running around. Bruce, who has the Hulk to keep him fit without doing much, hunches more than usual and always has a cup of tea of different varieties on him. Natasha doesn’t look a day over 40 but she’s notably slower than Tony remembered, and she makes the laugh lines and crows feet look model material. Sam walks around with a cane and never fails to threaten people with it and isn’t afraid to actually prove it.
Thor and Vision look exactly the same as Tony remembers last seeing them, except now Vision has freaking kids and has an aged Wanda next to him and she’s dressed like a soccer mom and he can’t believe his eyes. Thor meanwhile is fit to continue fighting but enjoys spending his time with his aged teammates, going domestic on them, while another Thor, a female Thor, is out there handling villains. Tony notices a lack of hammer on Thor's person.
He also notices Rhodey on a wheelchair and Pepper has a walker and he makes a noise so loud he nearly breaks the windows from the pitch but he just can’t believe what he’s seeing.
There are more superheroes he doesn’t recognize and plenty of kid superheroes he’s almost too afraid to ask. He also sees an older spider-man with a daughter and his mouth falls wide open at that. It was just yesterday he saw Peter struggling with high school.
Then he sees Steve and Bucky, who look around his age with more silver in their hair. Steve has a beard and it makes him unfairly hot. Bucky has a mustache and it’s a travesty against humanity. Why anyone allowed that is beyond him. They’re grumpy, they’re sassy, they bicker and argue over the smallest things and they’re that old married couple and Tony has no idea where he ended up but ‘Retired Avengers Universe’ is the only thing he can come up with.
Then he discovers this universe’s Tony is long gone, died under circumstances the old Avengers can’t talk about without looking so sad and hurt, especial Rhodey, Pepper, Steve and even Bucky.
“He died a hero” they’d say, but it doesn’t explain much. Doesn’t explain why they look at him with such fondness, like they missed him so much, and yet they don’t see another Tony randomly appearing in their living room that strange. “It’s not the weirdest thing that’s happened to us,” old Clint would say. “Happened to us before,” old Sam would say. Rhodey and Pepper spend as much time as they can with him. “Our Tony is long gone, but it doesn’t hurt to see a familiar face.” They’re still sad but they’ve accepted it and they even look at him with love in nostalgia. He doesn’t know how to feel.
They treat him as an old friend they haven’t seen in 30 years. Considering he doesn’t know the date when their Tony died it could very much be the case. They’re retired, they have younger souls to take care of crime, they have no worries and they're finally resting, and they literally force Tony to take a rest, too.
Even if they’re old they’re still men and woman with violence in their background. Their definition of retirement is not the same as civilian retirement. There is pillow wars, pranks, and arguments over the remote that still end in fights. The games they play still involve being physical, their ‘back in my day’ stories involve fighting aliens and Tony feels like Alice discovering wonderland because - What the fuck?
Then Tony comes to enjoy his stay because he learns early on after finding out they’ve all betrayed each other at one point or another. They've had big fights that always ended in teams separating and choosing sides, but eventually the team always comes to forgive one another, because even though they’ve hurt each other they still care. It helps to know the outcomes of their fights ended up being worse than Tony's own.
Tony isn’t old, he tells them as much, and they hum in agreement, but he still stays and they don’t say anything. For once Tony feels free of worry and comes to learn a different side to his teammates and especially Steve and Bucky. Most importantly he comes to love these grumpy sides of them all.
He doesn’t want to leave.
Not after Steve kisses him and Bucky holds his hand with his metal one and Rhodey is smiling and Pepper looks so beautiful and his ex-teammates are all old and a grumpy and a family and it’s not fair.
He wants to stay.
Chapter 12: Retired Au Pt 2
(Continuation of the previous, Stuckony, multiverse, old avengers, growing old, retired, time travel, sort of)
For shits and giggles, they agreed to have a bingo game going every weekend, just to try and experience what regular old folks do when retired and since they don’t know that many they go with what the media depicts. It's a very horrible source, but they make it work.
Thor ends up being the guy to call out the numbers, seeing as his voice booms right through the room and walls, so even Clint is able to hear him with his hearing aids. He calls them out with just the right speed, letting them all, fast or slow, catch up. Rhodey and Pepper are also part of this group and soccer mom Wanda and uncle Pietro (Tony was shocked to see this) are also there along with Vision. A hilarious get together for sure.
Starts out fine. They listen to the numbers, stamp down their cards and wait for the next. There’s betting involved so they’re extra vigilant about possibly missing numbers. Tony is tagging along for the ride, not actually believing a gang of old retired heroes who fought crime and aliens would willingly play a game like this. He's also very much bored. They do this every weekend? What happened to them??
Surprise, surprise, he ends up playing, too when Steve and Bucky whine for him to join. Whine so much he has no choice but to eventually give in to their demands. He does and he’s so, so, bored. How can they willingly go through this?
Then it happens.
A knife goes flying.
Clint shrieks as it nearly hits his shaky right hand.
Natasha is on her feet with her arm out, showing she had just thrown it. Her aged face is serious and her eyes sharp on his bingo card. “Don’t cheat.”
Clint huffs after shaking the initial shock. “I didn’t.”
“Don’t lie to me. You have N-10 covered when Thor clearly called out B-10.”
“Uh, No, he called N-10, obviously. Which means I have Bingo.”
“Bullshit!” Bucky calls from his spot besides Tony and stands with purpose, making the table shake. “He called out O-10. I have Bingo.”
“No,” Bruce counters. “He called out G-10. Bingo is mine.”
“Stop lying, he called out I-10,” Sam says over them all.
Tony doesn’t have it in him to say Thor had actually only said the number 10 with no letter in front. Thor had even winked at him just before saying the number, meaning he had done this on purpose and Tony doesn’t know what will result from it but seeing as all these retired superheroes are growing grumpy at being cheated at by the second, he doesn't think he wants to find out.
He doesn’t see the first table flip coming and it’s from Steve of all people.
Like a flare being shot up everyone reacts. More tables are flipped, chairs are thrown, Bingo cards are flying and war cries are screamed. If Tony closes his eyes it would sound like another alien invasion was happening, but upon opening all he sees are his old retired teammates calling bull on everything and nearly strangling each other for it.
He’s almost terrified. Especially when he sees Pepper whack an unsuspecting Thor with her walker. It’s bloody, it’s near murder.
Tony can’t help but laugh so hard at the sight. He giggles, he snorts, he laughs as he continues to watch Bucky having Steve in a choke hold, Natasha with her calves wrapped around Clint carefully, Wanda has Sam floating in the air gently, stopping him from whacking Pietro with his cane, meanwhile Pietro is just sitting calmly on his still intact chair, waiting for the next number to be called.
Eventually, his laughing actually puts a stop to the whole war. The retired Avengers are looking at him with glee, with pride, with more nostalgia. He’s late to realize this was exactly what they were hoping for. They had planned it all along.
“There you are,” Steve says as he gently grabs Tony’s face and couldn’t resist kissing him. It leaves Tony shocked, and he never sees Bucky's own kiss coming.
It’s their first kiss.
Chapter 13: Some High School or Academy Au
(Stony, high school/academy, pre-serum!Steve, jock!Steve, nerd!Tony)
High school/Academy where small and shrimpy Steve, who is stereotyped as a nerd, even though he wears large jackets and loose jeans and spikes his hair. He's always seen with large stacks of books and is always in class on time and attentive because dammit all he wants to get the education and head off to college so leave him the fuck alone for trying to get the good grades.
Then there's popular everyone-wants-him Tony, who wears framed glasses has his hair all slicked back and professional and is sometimes seen wearing a devilishly-tight expensive-looking suit and is the definition of a mathematical nerd with a side of bashful, but everyone fans themselves when he crosses their path. Doesn’t help he hangs out with school president Pepper and captain of the football team Rhodey (who have known him long before the ‘popular kids’ title got stuck on them and love him for who he is).
Nerdy Steve, who will actually fight you if you call him names and gained a title for doing said thing, isn’t afraid one bit to get what he wants. So when he decides he wants Tony by george he’s going to get Tony, popularity be damned. He marches right up to him, pushes many of Tony's fanning fans out of the way, asks for a moment of his time and straight out just says “I like you, Tony. Date me.” The record screeches to a halt as Tony is left sputtering and blushing and pushing his glasses up far too quickly, leaving them crooked as he tries to find something to say. Words don’t come out of his mouth and he’s so flustered he eventually gives up and says “okay,” a little confused and still very much stuttering.
They have a wonderful first date and stay together for the whole year. Talk of the school they are and girls and boys are left devastated, hoping the two would break up. Then Steve gets sent away for summer camp. He keeps in contact with Tony via phone calls and letters all through the summer, and on the first day back Tony is standing near their favorite spot in the school waiting for Steve. He’s left with his mouth wide open as he sees Steve for the first time all buff and tall and smirking down at him and Tony shrieks as he flees all flustered because what the fuck happened to his boyfriend?? And Steve grins as he chases after him.
After Steve comes back all buff and tall and hotter, he gains a mob of fans of his own. He's no longer considered a nerd and now it's actually Tony that gains that nerd title himself by standing next to Steve and the other students start comparing Tony to the new standard Steve had set up. Girls and boys are fainting at the sight of Steve, and Tony gains the fear of losing Steve. This tall and buff man can now move on to bigger and better pastures than him. He has a whole group to choose from after all, and the group is completely willing, too.
First-year Tony carries these fears on himself but is able to push them back each day when Steve goes directly to him and never spares any of the fans a glance. He sighs in relief when Steve continues to walk with him to classes just like the year before. He relaxes his tense shoulders when Steve rebuffs a girl getting just a little too close and revealing a little too much in front of them, or a guy trying to not-so-subtly hint on his size to get Steve interested but Steve completely misunderstands. He stares at the guy very unimpressed before saying straight up “my dick is bigger, go away.” Steve never even realized the guy was hitting on him and instead thought this guy was trying to hit on Tony and was ready to defend his territory.
Second-year and they’re still together and the fangirls and boys are getting frustrated and making twice the effort, but ultimately are pushed to the side as Steve marches like a man with purpose right to Tony, who had grown an inch or two since their last year and may have filled out a little, all thanks to Steve constantly making him eat. Mostly they get their hands on take-out because Steve is shit at cooking and Tony forgets to eat so cooking is never on his mind. Tony has gained confidence here and even dares to mark his territory when fanboys and girls come sniffing. He presses himself against Steve and wraps an arm around his tiny waist. Purrs some words in his ear when one of the girls or boys try to make conversation with him. In doing this Tony always ends up pressed against a secluded wall because he might have pushed Steve a little with the purring next to his ear. He still gets all flustered as Steve turns the tables and whispers not-so-innocent things in his ear.
Third-year is when Tony comes ready to take names and heads and psychologically scar those foolish enough to earn his wrath. Third-year together with Steve brings out sassy Tony who won’t back down or hold back. He is ruthless, brash, has no chill and will probably never get a chill when Steve is involved.
Steve loves this side of him so much. His boyfriend being all territorial of him is so endearing and shows how much Tony loves him and Steve could sit and watch Tony get aggressive all day. Later on, when Steve has Tony all to himself he’ll repeat the same words Tony had said in whispers and through grunts. Tony gets embarrassed at hearing his own words thrown back at him, but dammit he couldn’t help it that girl was touching Steve's arm!
In the background, Pepper and Rhodey have to carry the person Tony had burned in his territorial fit to the nurse's office, doing damage control. Bucky and Nat for their part wipe away the evidence of tears.
Chapter 14: Matchmaker Au
(College, stony, cousins!Tony and Peter, matchmaker!Peter, fluff)
Another college au, but this time it has Tony attending a summer program for his masters and Steve attending summer classes in order to graduate on time as his scholarship demands. During this summer Tony ends up with tiny 7-year-old Peter as his charge because tiny Peter wanted to spend time with his cousin Tony and aunt May and uncle Ben were cool with it so long as they received calls every single day from them. Thus tiny Peter living with Tony and Rhodey in their apartment for 2 months and hanging around campus and classes with them and absolutely loving it, feeling all grown up walking around grown-up locations.
Peter always makes sure to stick close to Tony or Rhodey when they’re walking around campus. He holds their hands and when their hands are full he instead holds their pant leg or shirt, or sweater or jacket. One day there’s a mob of people walking around campus, a freak surprise, and he wasn’t holding Tony’s hand, so he ends up separated and alone in the middle of campus. Peter remembers his aunt and uncle's warnings and knows not to wonder away when lost. He stays put so Tony could find him faster, but then strangers start talking to him. Strangers, that know Tony by his name and their false concerns and fake smiles don’t fool Peter one bit. “Oh, aren’t you Tony Stark’s kid? I’m a friend of his. Let me take you to him.”
Peter has never seen them spend time with Tony thus knows they’re lying and he does what he’s been taught to do, he runs and he runs, but he doesn’t know where he’s going and ends up getting even more lost. He hides next to a building, huddled in the shadows and tries not to cry. It’s difficult not to.
This is where Steve ends up finding him, and with his bleeding heart unable to leave a child crying alone he walks up carefully, not wanting to spook the kid. He asks Peter what’s wrong and why he’s crying and Peter doesn’t trust him at first, but Steve’s eyes and smile seem genuine and he’s never mentioned Tony once, so maybe he’s an honest person? So he tells him, tells him he’s lost Tony and he’s alone and he’s scared. Steve, scared for the child as well, offers to stay with him until they find Tony. Peter would like that and tells him he last saw Tony near the spinning birds on a stick. Makes no sense, but since Steve studied all the public art on campus he’s very familiar with the spinning birds on a stick and knows they’re actually close by that art piece. He tells Peter and offers to take him, being mindful not to seem threatening. Peter agrees and they take off.
It’s not long when the spinning birds come into view that they hear shouting. Peter, instantly recognizing the voice, shouts back “Tony!” and Tony whips so hard and so fast to their direction it’s a wonder his neck doesn’t snap. He runs to them and nearly slides on the ground with his knees when he crouches to hug Peter for dear life. He’s trembling and he’s near tears but he’s so grateful he’s found him.
“Don’t ever do that to me again, Peter. I swear you’re going to be the death of me. Your aunt and uncle will skin me alive.”
“I’m so sorry, Tony. I didn’t mean to.”
Meanwhile, Steve is looking on in bewilderment because he knows who this guy is. It’s freaking Tony Stark. The guy who skipped multiple grades and already has three masters under his belt and very arrogant and pompous and - what the fuck? - he was not expecting this sweet child to be under the care of Tony Stark. He’s heard rumors, but watching the two… maybe they’re not that true?
Then Peter introduces Steve, tells Tony “he helped me find you again!” and Tony sends him a stink eye full of distrust, and while Steve understands distrust when kids are involved he feels it’s very ungrateful in Tony’s part, considering he helped him find the kid again.
Tony gives him a very short thank you and calls up Rhodey to let him know he’s found Peter and that’s the end of that, or so the two thought. Soon they find themselves always in each other’s company when Peter, like clockwork, searches out Steve and asks him for help with every possible reason he can think up on the spot, even using Tony as excuses, too.
“Tony needs help lifting this very heavy thing.”
“I do not!”
“Would you like to go with us and get burgers later?”
“I don’t think -”
“Please? Tony always orders more than we need. there’s no more room in the fridge.”
The list goes on.
Steve and Tony eventually come to like each other and even as a year passes they never realize they ended up matched together thanks to a 7-year-old tiny matchmaker who thought tall and strong looking Steve would be perfect for Tony who Peter thought needed a wife soon.
“Peter, I’m not a wife. I’m not a woman.”
“But you're marrying Tony.”
“Yes, but I’m still a man. That will make me his husband.”
“So…. will that make Tony your wife?”
Tony chokes on something in the kitchen and Rhodey grins mischievously on the couch. “He ain’t wrong.”
Chapter 15: Cliche Au Pt 1
(Stony, avengers academy, a/b/o dynamics, omega!Tony, alpha!Steve, cliches, cliches everywhere, humor/angst)
Avengers Academy where male and female alphas are a sought after rarity. They're the fantasy of many.
Male and female alphas are the primes, what many could only dream of. Male and female betas are the common folk, an easy norm. Female omegas are extraordinary gems, a reachable but very competitive goal. Male omegas are the extremely rare ones, the very few, and the freaks of nature. Tony is the very latter. A male omega in a world where he’s considered abnormal and more often than not shunned or pitied. He is also extremely exoticized in the deep belly of society. A prize many are unable to get, and all because he’s able to do the one thing males are not supposed to do.
Tony enters the academy open about his orientation. He was revealed young and there’s no point in pretending otherwise. He went in with high spirits and looking for a change, and with friends like Rhodey, Pepper and Jan he had high hopes in making a difference for himself. Then Steve Rogers joins the academy and all that hope about surviving the year without heartbreak goes out the window. For you see, Captain America is the one who he might have had a tiny, itty-bitty, crush on growing up before his orientation even presented itself. A prime alpha that many sought after and many would grovel to get in their arms - and he's someone who would never look towards Tony's direction because the academy had plenty for Steve to choose from. They ranged from many betas to incredible female and male alphas and even female omegas who could take down the competition for his attention. So why would he even look his way?
Steve would never, so Tony squashed any and all hope of even being a friend because what alpha in their right mind - like Captain America - would even give him the time of day? So Tony carries on one day at a time and ignores all the jabs and hurtful names from the fewer desirables and lives life the fullest. He has everything he could ever need and is able to obtain in the drop of a hat. There’s no need to be selfish and ask for the impossible. He has Rhodey and Jan to talk about his woes. He has Pepper to help run his company. Jan to tell him all about the happenings of the academy and also Jan who is very adamant about beating up anyone who dares say something bad about him. Life is good.
Then Pepper tells him she has papers he needs to sign and by papers she means a huge stack that’ll take at least five hours to go through and Tony nopes the fuck out of there, taking to the skies. Thing is Pepper can also take to the skies because she has the same thrusters he does and shit, he needs to outmaneuver her or his life will be over because of paperwork. He swerves, he dives, he flies high, but she’s hot on his heels and won’t give up and she’s calling Rhodey for backup. Not good. In desperation he goes low, hoping the many hero and villains walking about would slow her down, and it works! Unless she wants to barrel them head on she goes by foot, but it also forces him to go on foot as well.
So now it’s a chase scene and he’s gaining the upper hand. He’s running towards a set of stairs and instead of going step by step he decides to skip through and slide down the grassy hills on the sides. Bushes are blocking his way and his sight and he goes right through them, not realizing there’s a very steep slope that starts right after the bushes and he’s falling with no control and slams right into someone with the unfortunate luck of standing in his way. He knocks them back and they land hard on the ground.
Tony’s eyes are wide, staring into a set of intense blues that are just as wide and filled with shock. Tony’s mind takes a moment to process and when it does his faces goes scarlet as he realizes -
He’s kissing Steve.
He is kissing motherfucking Steve.
He ended up knocking Steve to the ground on his back and is currently lying on top of him, chest to chest and he somehow managed the distance flawlessly to go right for a liplock with the alpha. The perfect aim for an accidental kiss.
He scrambles to pull away and sit upright, trying his hardest to ignore the fact that he’s sitting on Steve’s crotch. His face is still red and he belatedly notices Steve’s own gaining color but that’s not important right then and there because ‘holy shit I kissed Captain America.’
He manages a shocked “shit" before Pepper’s voice breaks through and has him jumping to his feet ungracefully. Steve gets pushed to the very back of his mind as the need to escape Pepper rose. Disoriented but desperate he starts running on unsteady legs with an even louder “shit!” before taking to the air again and Pepper right behind him.
For the rest of the chase, Steve is forgotten. Even through the paperwork, the sheer agony of boredom keeps his mind occupied of the incident.
Besides, it had been a freak accident. An annoying cliche that doesn’t work in real life, but left his lips tingling and continue to tingle hours after it happened. He ignores it as best he can. Not like anything will come out of it. It meant nothing. Absolutely nothing.
It hurts and he wishes it never happened.
Chapter 16: Cliche Au Pt 2
(Continuation, stony, avengers academy, a/b/o dynamics, omega!Tony, alpha!Steve, cliches, cliches everywhere, humor/angst)
Cliche scenarios written with the help of the ever wonderful Summerpipedream!
Tony ends up winning his man because of all the damn clichés he runs into by pure dumb luck (or bad luck, depending on how he sees it). The entire thing is just Tony constantly running into Steve and doing a random cliché of the day that sometimes leaves them in very compromising positions or activities.
Tony is a ball of embarrassment while Steve ends up with multiple raging hard-ons because damn all these clichés usually leaves him holding Tony very intimately and these things are the stuff of spank material. Even if they're all usually really brief.
I got you!! Tony tripping and dramatically falling into Steve’s arms damsel in distress style! Tony and Steve at the campus coffee shop reaching for the same coffee and spilling it all over Steve’s very white shirt! Tony and Steve paired up as science lab partners in Pym’s class! Ohh Steve getting pushed and falling into Tony’s arms! Tony catching Steve but stuggles to hold him up because Steve is all muscle and too tall for smoler Tony to hold for long. Tony is flying but for some reason one of his boots malfunctions and he drops (literally) into Steve’s arms from above
Just Cliché after Cliché for Tony, much to his horror, and Steve not understanding why this is happening to them and why it only seems to be with Tony and only Tony. He isn't complaining. Not when that small and awkward omega is too adorable when he squeaks and runs away after landing on Steve's lap for the seventh time in a row.
Jan capturing every single moment of it and tagging them as that Cliché couple. She starts a hashtag and even her followers say Tony and Steve are meant to be with all the clichés happening.
Tony just wants a moment where he doesn’t go scarlet when Steve is present. He spends a good amount of time in the library trying to think of a way to prevent a cliche from happening, but then his books get promptly knocked down from his hands out of nowhere and are scattered on the floor and, wouldn't you know it, Steve is there within seconds to help.
Tony somehow agreeing to model for the art class, and everyone watching with amusement as Steve turns a bright red. Some misunderstandings when Bucky is fed up with all of Steve’s pining and tries to make him jealous by getting to know adorably oblivious!Tony. Somehow in all of this, Steve’s fan club all somehow becoming the Steve/Tony fan club, with all their members shipping the two of them together.
Tony is mortified at this point, so he’s just hiding out in the library because it’s easy for him to hide behind the giant stacks of books and towering bookshelves. He even gets into a bit of a groove, getting all the research done for his classes. Tony reaches up to grab the book just out of reach only to have Steve come up behind him to help him. Steve is confused when Tony just squeaks and throws the book at him before running out of the library.
(In his haste to leave, Tony leaves
a glass slipperone of his notebooks. Steve picks it up of course, and is obviously now determined to hunt Tony down in order to return it to him)
Throw in some scheming best friends/
the worstfairy godmothers ever, (Jan, Nat and Rhodey), and eventually the ENTIRE campus dragged into helping these two idiots get together. Even the teachers are in it at this point, and look the other way when students are testing out their schemes to try and get Tony and Steve together.
Also, might I add in some Tony getting in trouble or picked on and Steve appearing out of nowhere as the prince charming that chases all those jerks away and Tony does, in fact, fawn a little before he realizes what he’s doing and shakes off those thoughts and scurries away. He’s not going to fall for this dammit! He is not going to willingly set himself up for heartbreak.
Then in a moment of weakness, he looks back like a lovesick teen to Steve and sees Steve looking right back at him. Their eyes lock together in a romantic gaze that seemed to slow time. The most heartwarming music is playing from somewhere and this looks like a gaze straight out of a romantic movie, before he just nopes out of there. Nope, nope! He hightails it away.
Little does he know all of their friends are literally responsible for that. Rhodey and Sam were in charge of the music. Jan directed the lights to aim perfect and make their eyes sparkle and their faces glow. Loki and Bucky adjusted the lighting. Strange was the one who helped slow down time.
They all groan in frustration when Tony flees and Steve watches on in confusion at what just happened.
Tony is out and about practicing with his new boots and slowly gliding around in low height. He's making sure they’re working properly before he goes up, up and away. Everything looks good and he’s hovering just above the buildings in the Academy. Slowly he starts moving up until he’s on the same height as Stark Tower. He starts to gain confidence and decides to float around campus, passing the dorms, the gym, and Pym’s lab. This is where his boots decide to start acting up, sparking and making worrisome whirring sounds that his boots should not be capable of making.
He has exactly one second to say “uh-oh” to no one before his boots begin putting force and sending him everywhere without control. He’s screaming, he’s screeching and he’s telling everyone to get out of his way. He looks like a balloon deflating and swirling through the air to everyone on the ground.
Eventually, his boots give up and stop completely, but not before taking him right over Club A, where an unsuspecting Steve is sitting on a stool drinking. He’s minding his own business, chatting with friends and watching others dance or play pool. He has no clue what’s coming.
Tony’s boots give one last sputter before smoking, forcing Tony’s legs to zoom forward from under him. He shrieks one last time before he lands - not hard, but not exactly soft either - right on someone’s lap. His legs are dangling on the side of the person and he doesn’t even want to think about the fact that his butt is on someone’s crotch, and he doesn’t even know who that someone is. He just knows everyone currently in Club A is looking at them and saw the whole thing.
He hears a groan and he stiffens up, almost arching his back. He knows that voice and he is instantly mortified because “omg I’m sitting on Steve’s lap… again.”
He’s ready to jump right off and plant his feet on the ground to gain footing. The thing is, it causes his hips to shift around as he tries to find balance. He hears a squeaky sound that’s awfully close to a high “meep” from Steve and that does it. He’s not graceful and nearly trips on his own two feet but he’s off and looks at Steve to make sure he hadn’t hurt him or anything, thinking that ‘meep’ was out of pain. He did fall right from the sky on the alpha’s lap after all.
But what he finds is Steve stiff as a board, hands clutching the cushion of the stool and already ripping one edge of it clean off. There is a streak of red across his cheeks and his eyes are closed tightly shut.
Someone coughs from behind Tony and it snaps him into action. Cheeks inflamed he gives Steve a quick “sorry” before he’s running as if the devil is on his tail, beyond mortified.
What he never notices is Steve was a lot stiffer than he gave him credit for.
Chapter 17: Cliche Au Pt 3
(Continuation/angsty turn, stony, avengers academy, a/b/o dynamics, omega!Tony, alpha!Steve, cliches, cliches everywhere, hurt/no comfort)
Cliche au turns sad here.
After Tony and Steve finally get together thanks to all the cliches happening in their everyday superhero life, Steve ends up injured and taken to the infirmary where he's drugged out of his mind because he had to undergo surgery of some kind. He doesn’t know where he is or who the fellow standing by his bed is. He’s a supersoldier pumped with so much drugs it’s a wonder he’s conscious.
Tony, being the wonderful mate that he is, is by Steve's side during the whole thing. Not daring to leave. When Steve wakes up he’s right there next to him, ready to comfort and calm, but then Steve asks him who he is. His words are slurred. he's barely managing to make words. Tony sees an opportunity and whips out his phone, ready to record a hilarious moment or a tooth-rottingly sweet confession.
“Are you my nurse?”
And Tony may frown a little because couldn’t he have passed as a doctor instead?
He shakes his head, the camera on his phone shaking slightly from the movement. “No, I’m Tony.”
Steve stays quiet, waiting for him to elaborate.
“I’m your mate,” he finally says, barely holding back a grin for the reaction.
“No way,” Steve frowns and tries to sit up. “No way, you’re mymate?”
Tony frowns a little, too. That wasn’t a good kind of shock in that voice, and if anything Steve almost sounded… appalled at the mere idea. “Yes… way?”
“No,” now that was upset in the tone and Steve’s frown was in full force, as much as it could with droopy eyes. “No, why would I settle for you?” And ouch, that hurt… a lot. “I had the perfect dame, what happened to her?
“…I don’t know?”
“I mated with you,” Steve slurs and slumps back on the bed. “I lost the perfect dame and mated with you.” Steve continues to ramble but his words can barely be made out. The one clear thing Tony manages to hear is “I settled for less,” and yeah… that hit home for sure. All his insecurities rushing through the floodgates with no sign of stopping. Like an arrow aimed right at his chest. Tony feels his heart break in two.
His phone starts shaking in his fingers, his entire arm is trembling.
“You smell…” Steve scrunched up his nose in distaste, eyes closed shut. “You smell…” then he promptly falls asleep.
Tony remains still until the sound of something hitting the ground stirs him. He looks down to see his phone has fallen from his hand. The shaking too much to handle. His phone is still recording. He reaches down to hit stop and stuffs it in his jacket. He walks out on very wobbly legs. If he has tears in his eyes he didn’t notice, far too focused on getting to his lab and locking everything.
While on the flight back he wonders why he thought this would be different. More often than not he faces disappointments. The first disappointment is being alive, to the eyes of Howard. Presenting as an omega? Huge disgrace. Societies treatment of him? Not the greatest. Thinking someone finally cares for him despite his orientation and turning back to stab him blindly? Hurtful.
Steve saying he is a ‘settle less?’ Probably the worst feeling in the world.
He understands why Steve feels appalled by it. Justified, really. Who would settle for less when they could win the cream of the crop? And Steve could win all of it.
Tony locks himself in his lab, huddles in a corner, and cries. Ugly sobs escaping his mouth and waterfalls running down his eyes. His body is trembling and he knows he’s the sorry sight of an omega in distress. He's stinking up the place as one. But that’s okay. It’s his lab and he can… cry if he wants to.
Chapter 18: Cliche Au Pt 4
(Continuation/angsty turn, stony, avengers academy, a/b/o dynamics, omega!Tony, alpha!Steve, cliches, cliches everywhere, hurt/no comfort)
Continues after the last angsty chapter
Tony lost track of how long he cried. Heartbreak had no shortage, it seemed, for even after he shed all possible tears he could the pain still remained. He didn’t even want to imagine how his face looked or how he smelled. The temptation to remain in his lab forever was a strong one, but he knew he’d have to face the music.
Still, that didn’t stop him from remaining longer. In the safety of his work where expectation and society views couldn’t touch him. Where he could pretend he didn’t have a low worth placed upon him because of some presentation he had no control over.
Maybe he did have more tears in him. He curled up in a corner, imagining his own happy little world where no heartbreak was possible and Steve didn’t think him as settling down for ‘less.’
The thought sent a sharp pain deeper in his heart. He wondered if Steve had always thought that? Had he put on a facade when he was seen with Tony the whole time? Keeping the loss of the perfect mate to himself and pushing down his embarrassment of having Tony instead. Comparing Tony to that perfect mate each time he saw Tony? Having to put up with Tony’s flaws and be constantly reminded of what slipped through his fingers?
How had Steve put up with that all this time? Why didn’t he break up with him a long time ago? Was Steve that loyal he’d sacrifice his own happiness? Maybe they never should’ve announced their relationship to the Academy. Public pressure might have been the reason why Steve stayed. Saying he found happiness in Tony and then slowly losing that happiness because of Tony’s overwhelming lack of worth compared to that perfect mate he used to have. Trying not to prove society right about Tony by staying instead of sucking it up and accepting society’s “I told you so.”
Tony stared aimlessly at the floor as he came to a decision. He couldn’t let anyone settle for less. No one deserved that. Not Rhodey, not Pepper, not Jan, and definitely not prime alpha ‘everyone wants’ Steve.
“It’s not working out,” Tony said once he finally found the strength in himself to move from his lab and head outside. Steve had recovered from his surgery, was still technically on bedrest, but Tony had found him sitting on a bench in the Avengers park. Oddly enough his head was down and no one was present with him but Tony saw an opportunity and took it.
He didn’t dare actually look at Steve but he needed to say it. “We should break up.” He could well imagine the relief Steve must have felt when he finally said those words. Maybe Steve couldn’t break up with him because of pride but Tony breaking up with him was the holy grail of freedom. Now Steve could go out and find someone who was close to that perfect mate. Closer than Tony could have ever been.
“What?” Steve said, playing the role of the emotional dumpee. He had to make a show, prove society he had been ‘happy’ and didn’t want the omega to go. No one was around to see it. No one but Tony, but Tony was going to make sure everyone knew the alpha had been sad when he dumped him. Let everyone know it had been him who let Steve go and give Steve his freedom. “Baby, no. Why? What did I do?”
“Nothing,” Tony swallowed, the “I settled for less” echoing in his head with Steve’s voice. The truth finally told. “Like I said, it’s not working out.” I’m giving you your freedom. “You deserve someone who loves what you love.” No more settling for less. “And I deserve someone who…” words got stuck in his throat. “… just someone.” Someone with my same worth.
Steve was standing now. “Tony… at least look at me.” And he did. Steve was doing a wonderful show of tears in his eyes. “What is going on? I thought we were doing fine.”
“I guess you thought wrong.”
You can stop playing the role now, Tony wanted to beg. It only succeeded in stringing his heart along. “I’ll… be seeing you, Steve. Don’t have too much fun without me,” Tony tried flashing his fake press smile. The very same he had to pull each time someone poked at the ‘you are a frowned social anomaly’ wound. His lips shook. His smile brittle no doubt, but on the bright side, Steve no longer had to put up with him. He was mate-less now and had no reason to hold back. He could have all the fun he wanted and find that perfect mate again.
He turned and scurried away. No longer able to stand within reach of his ex-alpha. He was not his to claim anymore. Not his to try and scent. Tony's own neck was now covered by an ointment said to heal the crescent marks of a claim and he wore the bandage to cover it. It was now just a reminder of what he once had. A false happiness.
He wondered if he could claim a month-long family emergency and visit his mother. Not like many would miss his absence anyway.
Or notice him gone.
Chapter 19: Cliche Au Pt 5
(Continuation/angsty turn, stony, avengers academy, a/b/o dynamics, omega!Tony, alpha!Steve, cliches, cliches everywhere, hurt/comfort)
Steve didn't realize the turmoil Tony was going through, as he was suffering his own emotional battle after his omega broke up with him. He would eventually realize Tony was just as hurt as him after gets punched in the face by Rhodey, who marched right up to him and laid one hard and painful on him.
“What the fuck did you do to him?!”
Steve is of course confused, for he has no idea what’s going on. He learned Tony had temporarily left the Academy in a family emergency. He was no longer there and won’t get in contact with Rhodey, Jan or even Pepper. None of them can get a hold of him.
Steve was worried naturally, but his first instinct was to get defensive. He hadn't done anything wrong that he knows of. If anything he needed to be the one to leave campus and cut all contact with anyone. He recently got dumped shortly after coming out of surgery, of which his now ex-mate never visited him during his recovery. He was confused, heartstricken and not thinking straight.
Imagine his reaction when he finally sees that video, still in Tony's phone as a reminder of his worth. Tony had it safely tucked away with only Rhodey able to access it, but a very defensive Jarvis prevents him from violating Sir's privacy, and so it takes a long while until that video is revealed. Steve almost couldn't believe that was him in that video, saying those horrid things to his wonderful, caring and beautiful mate. Steve almost crumbled to the ground when he realized all the pain he had caused.
Tony was not on campus through the argument between Steve and Rhodey. He didn't think he'll ever have the strength to go back and face the music. if Steve thought of him so lowly, he can’t begin to imagine what the others thought of him, too. Rhodey, Pepper and Jan? What were their true colors? Did they put up with him? This whole time had he been an inconvenience to them all? Tainting their social circle by being associated with him? Was it pity that kept them there?
He can’t bring himself to answer his phone after Jan’s 17th missed call, Rhodey’s 23rd and Pepper’s 36 messages.
“Why don’t you answer them?” his mother had asked in a soft voice, a caring voice he knows to be true. The only real voice that cared.
“I don’t want them to put up with me.”
She sighed. All her work ruined because of one alpha.
When he finally returns single and not ready to mingle his worst nightmare come true. The side glances. The smirks. The triumphant gazes by the others who had wanted a chance with Steve. They're worse than he imagined. They're painful, and they're confidence shattering. Seeing others happy for his misery was not encouraging at all.
Tony would certainly not give dating a second chance after all this. He had come to accept remaining single for the rest of his life. One couldn't get their heart broken if they lived a life alone, after all.
No matter how much begging or guilt-tripping Rhodey, Jan or Pepper attempt at giving the dating scene another look he remained adamant. To never give it a consideration. His spirits had been crushed. His self-confidence was nonexistent at this point. Not even a date with another omega would make him take the risk. He firmly believes he’s the bottom of the barrel now. The scrape only the very desperate would take. He had no courage to try.
Rhodey tried another tactic. Instead of building that confidence by encouraging him to take steps outside his comfort zone, he would devote every possible second he could to showing Tony there was more to him than just his orientation. Remind him that he loved him, omega or not. He’s not the bottom of the barrel, he’s a diamond in the rough, needing to see his worth and gain that confidence to be an un-matchable jewel.
Steve apologized and promised to make it right after Rhodey finally gave him the go-ahead to get close. No matter how long it would take, he promised himself he'd make it up to Tony. He somehow convinces Tony to give them another chance after Rhodey's and Steve's combined efforts helped the healing process take root.
Tony would forever have this experience haunt him, always believing himself to be lesser, not worth much, but Rhodey and Steve made sure to always be there and push those dark thoughts away.
No one hated Steve more than Steve himself for doing this to Tony. He ended up being the bully that broke the spirit.
“I’m going to kick my own ass," was a mantra he always gave himself upon the moments Tony showed even the smallest amount of insecurities.
Chapter 20: Cliche Au Pt 6
(Continuation/angsty turn, stony, avengers academy, a/b/o dynamics, omega!Tony, alpha!Steve, alpha!Harley cliches, cliches everywhere, hurt/comfort, mpreg)
Living in a society where Tony is considered an abnormality and spoken to plus treated as much, Steve's drugged words cut something deep in him. Hearing his mate believing what society says finally breaks the little strength Tony had.
Tony develops a body dysmorphic disorder. He absolutely hates everything that makes him an omega in a male’s body. The slick, the heats, the slimness. Steve’s words echo each time in his head when he realizes his moans have gotten too loud and too high. Images of Steve’s scrunched up face of disgust like the day he had been drugged plague him. Sometimes, those images overwhelm his sights of the moment and all he sees on Steve's face while they have sex is that very same disgust. It never goes away, not even when Steve tells him how much he loves and cares for him. All Tony sees is the disappointment.
Tony is ashamed when his body creates slick. Tearing up when the words “I settled for less” comes back in full force in his head. He gets nauseated when the heat in his belly wants to take instead of give. He's disgusted when his body opens up so easily instead of resisting like most commonly done by male betas and alphas.
Steve’s words of “you’re beautiful” don't even reach him. Steve is crying in despair because he doesn’t know how to fix this, how to make Tony see he never meant those words. He was ignorant, naive, the typical douche of an alpha back in the 40s, and it took a good educational ass kicking for him to see the true worth of everyone when he woke up 70 years later. Nobody was less and nobody was more.
He’d love nothing more than to go back in time and kick his own ass.
Steve becomes desperate, asking for help on what to do, how to make this right, and the answer comes from Rhodey. Rhodey, who got the answer from Tony’s mother after she called Rhodey to check on Tony. He hands Steve a card with a number. Tells him to call. Tells him to convince Tony to try because he’s going to fight every step of the way. Tells him Tony’s mother is in support of this and if Steve wants to prove to her he really loves her son he’ll do it.
Steve calls. No hesitation. No question. It’s a number to a therapist.
Now it’s up to him to convince Tony to go.
When they’re older and worked through a lot of their issues by going to therapy together, talking about their fears (Tony thinking he’s worth nothing while Steve fears he’ll lose everything all over again) Tony and Steve finally make it official. They marry/mate and put a ring on it. They’re each others’ and nothing will change that now.
Tony has gotten better. He’s not fully healed, the words Steve had once said while drugged (making him speak nothing but the truth) cut deep into parts Tony thought he had locked up long ago. It left cracks in his walls and the gentlest of prodding would no doubt break those walls and cause his insecurities to come flooding through, but he’s better. He can walk out in public holding Steve’s hand and nearly holds it for their entire trip thanks to Steve squeezing his hand in reassurance and Steve taking every opportunity he can to compliment how Tony reminds him of the scenery around them. Beautiful.
They happily enjoy a few domestic years together before the talk of pups even makes a mention. The more they talk about pups the more they fall in love with the idea. Steve doting on their pups. Tony holding their pups close to his chest as he feeds them. Steve watching the pair and falling in love with both all over again. Steve having their pup perched on his shoulders. It’s almost too perfect when they imagine all this.
So when tests come back to show Tony is pregnant they are so ecstatic. They mention the happy news to their friends and team, get congratulations everywhere. The new generation of Avengers promises to take care of any bad guy and Carol and Sam take up the mantel to lead the teams.
The talk of a baby is everywhere. They make a nursery, they buy and overdo everything they need and don’t, Steve is already talking about how they’ll raise their pup to be the best they can be and they’ll love them. Steve makes comments about wanting their pup to look like Tony. He already has plans to teach their pup how to catch and he’ll make a baseball fan out of them, to balance out Tony’s race car obsession.
Life is great. Life is happy. Days pass by in anticipation. Each one bringing them closer to their pup. Then, because Tony starts showing and there’s no way to hide it from the public, the media covers a story of it. Speculations about the baby, predictions about Tony’s parenting, positive predictions about Steve’s, the baby’s sex, the baby’s worth, then whether the baby would make a great heir to Captain America, or if the baby would be tainted because of Tony’s omega status. A baby carried by a male omega turn out to be smaller and more fragile than babies by any other orientation. Will it live up to Captain America's name?
What if the baby turned out to be another male omega like it's bearer? That would be disgraceful for Captain America. The Captain should’ve picked a better mate to bear his young.
Tony’s hand clutching the remote trembles. His eyes never leaving the screen as they rip him apart. All the happy days are forgotten and now all that runs in his mind is “what if the babyis born a male omega? oh god, what would Steve say?
Now he’s not so sure about the baby anymore. If they turned out to be a male omega why would Tony willingly bring them to this cold, merciless world where their father wouldn’t stand to look at them, shamefaced, and their mother just as worthless as them.
He cries shortly after the show airing is finished. He’s curled up on the couch. Steve isn’t home. Jarvis’ words don’t even make it to his head. He’s wishing he’s not having this pup anymore.
Steve finds him like this later on and doesn’t understand what changed. He had been happy, still is happy, about the baby, but now Tony seems almost hesitant. What went wrong? Why is Tony sad?
It gets worse when they discover the sex of the baby. It’s a boy. Tony nearly panics. He had been hoping so hard for a girl, this way no matter their orientation they would never be frowned upon. But being a boy meant there’s a chance they’re a male omega now. A high chance. And it’s all his fault.
The baby is born. Strong and healthy with lungs of steel as he cries and cries. Eyes blue and tuffs of blond hair on his head. He looks like Steve more than anything and Tony is so thankful. The less of him in the baby the better. Steve has tears in his own eyes and Tony clings to the baby for dear life. Falling in love instantly. This is his baby. Half him and half Steve. No one else’s. Theirs.
Then the baby starts to grow. Says his first word, “ma,” learns to crawl, learns to stand, learns to wobble and finally run on unsteady legs. He runs to his mama’s opened arms, squeals when his dada gives him kisses. He pouts when mama gives him to dada when out with strangers. He cries when mama doesn’t give him kisses like his dada. He looks down when mama looks at him with sad eyes.
He pats his mama’s face when he’s four years old and his mama comes barreling down to hug him. His mama cries and cries and cries.
He doesn’t understand, but mama is sad, so he calls for dada and when dada comes he holds mama and him and doesn’t let go, giving them strong hugs.
“He’s an alpha. He’s an alpha, Steve,” and mama is smiling but he’s still crying.
“I love you so much, Harley. So much.”
He’s so proud of his alpha son, knowing it was him, male omega Tony Stark, who carried him, and who gave Steve a proper alpha heir. He's so proud he starts to distance himself so their family wouldn’t get tainted by the title “omega male births Captain America’s heir, will they live up to the podium?”
He distances himself so he doesn't embarrass his family.
Harley doesn’t see this. Harley grows up and his mama’s “I love you so much," seems more of a lie each passing year. He sees their mama not wanting to be seen with him in public. Sees his mama not wanting to carry him. Sees his mama avoid his gaze. What is a child to believe? What about a teenager? Clearly Tony never wanted them. It was Steve who did.
The fact that Tony still acts as if he loves him indoors is what sets Harley off. Tony distances himself in public but behind doors all of a sudden he’s so proud? Is Tony embarrassed? Did Tony not want an alpha son? What’s the truth?
When he's finally old enough and tired of listening to those very lies he demands to know if Tony ever actually wanted him in the first place. It causes Tony to tear up and for Steve to come to his defense. With a very heavy heart and extreme guilt, he reveals to Harley everything and why Tony is so hesitant to show affection in public. Harley is just so stunned by the information.
“Why… why would you ever tell anyone that? What is wrong with you??”
“You have to understand. This was a long time ago. I was drugged and my damn mind reverted back to when I grew up. They were… they were ignorant back then and I’m not proud for thinking like that.”
“You still said it!”
“I know I did! I live with that thought every day and there's nothing I can do about it. I regret it, Harley. I regret it so much.”
"I can't believe you!"
They go like this until Tony finally puts a stop to it. His eyes are red from earlier but he doesn't want to see them fight. When they're calm he admits to Harley the reason why he was so distant is that he doesn't want to embarrass him for having a male omega as their bearer.
Harley is just so crushed from the admission. The whole time as a child he had been so proud to have Captain America as his father and the great Iron Man, a male omega who wouldn’t sit in the sidelines and let the alphas, betas and female omegas fight on their own, as his mother. Iron Man, who gave hope and confidence to all the young male omegas out there. Iron Man, who had been his greatest hero.
Growing up the pup believed the great Captain America had ignored all of societies expectations and prejudice and fell in love with Tony easily. True love, a happily ever after together. Then Steve throws this bombshell on him, how he ended up emotionally damaging the greatest male omega of their time even before they started their happily ever after.
Harley had been so proud of his parents and now this?
Somehow Tony found it in himself to mate with Steve. To forgive and continue loving.
Perhaps Tony was stronger than he gave himself credit for. No matter what, the pup is still proud to have him as his bearer, but the emotional hurt brought by his mama's insecurities isn't so easily erased.
Tony doesn’t ask for forgiveness since he knows he doesn’t deserve it, but he tells him he loves him so much, how happy he had been when they discovered they were expecting, how overjoyed he felt when he had gotten Steve’s good genes and good looks, and understands if Harley didn’t want to be anywhere near him.
Harley is angry, confused, but he never wanted Tony to think he was embarrassed by him, and he’s tired of all this back and forth pushing.
He understands Tony's situation and takes steps to better their relationship, but he needs his mom to work with him.
“Do you love me?”
“Of course I do. You’re my -”
“Will you stand next to me when out in public?”
“Will you stand next to me when out in public? Will you not pretend I don’t exist when we’re walking down the street? Will you introduce me as your son instead of dad doing it? Do you love me enough to do that?”
“I do - yes.”
It’s a slow process, but Tony eventually doesn’t pull away at all, and if anyone so much as shows an eye roll or tries to scoff when Tony introduces their son instead of Steve, Harley is there quick as a flash to insult them and Steve is there to pat his shoulder and tell him “good work.”
Chapter 21: Stuckony Shifter Au
Shifter AU where everyone's forms are intimidating predators. Thor is a lion, Bucky and Steve are wolves, Rhodey is a bear etc. Nobody knows what Tony is. He's very private and refuses to shift in front of them even when he's injured and it would help him heal. Until one day he's hurt so bad it's not a decision. His body just does it. They pry open the suit to find a smol, fluffy, angry, black housecat. He only gets angrier when Bucky pins him between his paws for cuddling/grooming.
(Stuckony, shifters, comfort, smolballofanger!Tony)
Imagine his hissing as the team try to grab him out of the suit but he’s injured and his instincts are going crazy and it’s fight or flight here so he’s ready to throw down, big and tall be damn.
He’s hissing, he’s scratching, has his ears down and his fluff up, but the big people won’t leave him alone. Then the big people shift and he’s facing wolves, a lion, a bear, falcon, a hawk, lynx and more and he for sure doesn’t want to be there so the moment he can he runs. Out of his enclosure, he goes and makes it a full two leaps before big lion puts his paw down like nothing and stops him. He tries to go around but big bear is sitting there and throws his weight down to block his escape. He runs a different direction, avoiding big bear and big lion, but lynx keeps jumping and mimicking his movements to stop him and falcon and hawk are following above him.
Then wolves begin moving closer to him. They stare and they're low. Out of desperation, he hides. Bear smells familiar and doesn’t look hostile so he hides under his foof, close to bear's belly, as the wolves move even closer. They stop at just a distance, almost within paw striking reach, but just so. Bear doesn’t move to hurt and instead actually leans forward to obscure him from the sight of the wolves with the foof. ‘Safety,’ Tony’s mind manages to supply eventually. Bear isn’t enemy. Wolves are.
One wolf, dark in fur and metal on a leg, slumps on his belly and whines, pawing sadly at Tony. The other wolf, fur so bright it almost looks like the sun, rests on his belly, too and has his tail wagging, mouth open and tongue hanging out in a grin.
Dark wolf gets closer and closer, snout almost touching him. Tony doesn’t strike, waiting to see what happens, waiting for a possible fight. Dark wolf stops just short of snout touching Tony’s snout and waits, and waits and waits. Dark wolf waits so long Tony starts to think the worst. He’s ready to bite down, the tension so strong. Then a big, pink tongue sticks out and licks from his snout up to his ears and Tony is so shocked he’s left gaping.
The belly he hides moves, inhaling and exhaling in silent laughter, but Tony is still gaping. Then gold wolf moves to lick as well and no, absolutely not! How dare -
He tries to hide further in bear but bear is a traitor as he moves to reveal him and wolf paws pin him down and it’s dark wolf holding him and dragging him to his chest to hold, licking everywhere. Tony doesn’t strike. He tries to run, but dark wolf is strong and won’t let go. Bright wolf is there wagging his tail and licking Tony's snout.
All tails wag and Tony's angry but all bear, lion, lynx, hawk and falcon and others do is stand there and watch with amusement.
When Tony’s mind comes back and instincts are down he’ll forever deny Bucky carrying him from the scruff back to their home happening. He’ll never tell you how much he enjoyed being placed in the middle of the cuddle pile.
Chapter 22: Oh Deer Au
(Stuckony, shifters, partial-shifts, secrets, insecure!Tony, Howard's A+ parenting)
In a world of shifters, partial shifts are the norm. A trend that started in the 1800s and hasn’t died down. It is widely accepted and is half expected to just happen at this point. Partial shifts mean having tails, fangs and ears out. For shifters having animals consisting of horns and antlers, having those out are especially popular. Everyone uses their animal parts as a fashion statement or show of class. Long tails, the shiniest of furs, the largest of antlers, elegant whiskers are all in demand. People also use their animals to show off, to intimidate, to brag and to attract.
Steve has the lion as his animal and, like most of society, has his long tail and teeth out and about, flicking as he walks by and snarling when something gets on his nerves. He leads the team like a lion leads his pride. Bucky has the wolf as his animal. Part of a pack but sometimes sneaking off to be a lone wolf. He, like Steve, has his tail out, his ears up and his teeth sharp. They don’t have to brag about their shifts. Society does it for them. Naming them some of the most attractive shifters around. They don’t care about any of this, though.
Then in society, there are the black sheeps (no offense to black sheep shifters). They are folks who don’t partial shift from either out of embarrassment (short tails, small ears, tangled fur, un-attractive features, ect) or injuries. Tony is among these shifters and everyone assumes it’s because he’s embarrassed by his animal, and later on it’s assumed he sustained more injuries than first believed after his capture. They’re all partially right about their assumptions.
Steve and Bucky don’t care if Tony doesn’t shift. They want the little genius for themselves and they’re going to get the little genius. Except, flirting with someone who isn’t in partial shift is hard to get a read on because there’s no easy body language to take cues from. They don’t know if Tony is even taking notice or know if Tony returns the interest. They, like everyone else, believe Tony is embarrassed and won’t partial shift. They don’t care about that. They’ll take Tony no matter what animal he has.
Then one day they make their way down to Tony’s workshop, ready to get their flirting game on, when they see it. Tony, with his pants riding low, well below his waist, knees on the ground and bending forward, making the small and yet fluffiest tail stump they had ever seen stick out prominently. It’s wiggling back and forth rapidly in excitement, the white of the fur soft-looking to the touch. Their eyes are locked on it. Like a laser pointer to Steve and a ball for Bucky. They can’t look away.
Tony has the cutest little white-tailed deer tail they have ever seen, and they want to touch it so badly.
Later, they eventually find out the reason why Tony doesn’t shift in public. In his excitement, he has no control whatsoever over his tail. It wiggles and shakes when he gets really happy and he never notices. So in order to avoid embarrassing mishaps, he hides his tail away. If he’s partially shifted he tucks it in and hides it in his pants.
Steve and Bucky end up gaining the bad habit of always grabbing it when it's wagging uncontrollably. They, in fact, purposefully do everything they possibly can to get Tony happy and excited so the other can make a grab for it. It causes Tony to jump and release a honk each time in his surprise.
Tony doesn’t bother with his antlers because they get in the way when he’s working. Steve and Bucky fawn over their deer all day and night when they finally have him in their arms.
When he's comfortable enough with their relationship, Tony eventually shows his antlers in privacy. He wants them to know he trusts them. The act of showing his antlers means everything to Tony and he does the big reveal with beautiful gold chains and gems.
Those very same gold chains and gems were given to him by his beautiful red-deer mother, who never cared if his antlers weren’t as big as Howard’s elk antlers. She always said they deserved to be shown off as marvelous as they are.
Tony is about to show his antlers for the first time and is growing self-conscious as he remembers Howard’s words. "Those things aren’t fit to be seen, boy,” Howard would always say as he went and flaunted his elk antlers to the world and Tony was left with growing stumps on his head. Not yet having been old enough to have them fully develop but old enough to already receive Howard’s criticism.
Tony, in a desperate attempt to make a good first impression, puts the jewelry he never got to wear as often as he liked, the gifts from his mother, in order to impress. He's beyond worried of what Steve and Bucky would say of them. He paces back and forth before finally, finally, putting them on and waiting for his lion and wolf.
He worries for nothing. The chains and gems do their job. Steve and Bucky come into the room to the image of Tony sitting on the edge with both his antlers and ears out. Gold shining and gems sparkling. They’re left breathless at the sight and Tony grows confident at their stunned silence.
Then he has a lap full of growling, partial-lion and partial-wolf (their failed attempts at trying to ‘purr’) as they both gently nip at his ears.
“They’re beautiful, Tony.”
To Tony that meant the world. To him, who grew up with competitive antler shows (Rhodey a moose and Pepper a reindeer), his own were inadequate. To Steve and Bucky, who don’t have antlers and no one to compare, Tony’s are the greatest they’ve ever seen.
When Steve and Bucky give him gifts of gold for his antlers - and even his tail - Tony releases a screech of joy without his control. Tail wagging miles a minute.
Chapter 23: Mermaid Au Pt 1
(Stuckony, mer people, seahorse!Tony, tiger shark!Steve, octo!Bucky, mpreg, insecurities, comfort)
Mer-seahorse Tony is escaping from a not-so-healthy relationship with the help of whale shark Rhodey and blue ribbon eel Pepper. They're escorting him to warmer waters and as far away from someone he once believed was his mate but turned out was just using him. They have to be extra vigilant since Tony is carrying unfertilized eggs in his pouch that his… false-forever mate planted but didn’t want responsibility for.
Tony ends up separating from them when they have a run-in with some very aggressive bull shark-mers who don’t take kindly to food just swimming through their territory. With Rhodey’s massive size and Peppers dizzying twirls they both manage to hold them off long enough for Tony to escape, but at the cost of losing Rhodey and Pepper.
Tony wanders around now terrified for his life, looking for a place to settle and wait for his friends. Rhodey always told him he’d find him no matter where he went, just hide and stay in one place. So he does. He finds a good batch of tall grass long enough to hide him and strong enough for him to hold onto and no other mers to claim it as theirs.
He stays there tucked and safe, surviving on passing krill and small fish he manages to catch but notices the considerable weight he’s losing. He’s always constantly hungry, but he knows he’s vulnerable. Heavy and slow because of his pouch and grouchy as ever because of sexual frustration, knowing if he were to satisfy himself he’d end up with a pouch of maturing babies and he just can’t risk that. He has no mate to help him, no shelter of his own to call home and no way to provide for his young.
It’s too much of a risk. He’d rather travel with just simple eggs than growing young.
Days go by with no sign of Rhodey or Pepper and he’s growing hungrier by the hour. His stomach is rumbling loudly, displeased by the very small amounts of food. Desperate, he decides to leave his patch of grass, poking his head out to search for predators and pushing forward outside one little stretch at a time. He’s lucky and spots some clams nearby. Not a big lunch but they’re in abundance. Must have been mating season recently.
He’s on his sixth clam when a large shadow swims overhead and his entire body goes cold, heart already beating irregularly. He’s ready to bolt and hide under anything he can find, hell, even the sand under him, but he goes absolutely still when dark blue tentacles come into view from behind him.
“You’re a bit of a ways away from the herd, aren’t you, little horse?”
Tony turns in fear and comes face to face with a fairly large mer-octopus. Long brown hair floating and framing his face, making a shadow cast over his eyes. He looks menacing, dangerous, and he’s reaching out for Tony!
“Now what are you doing out here on your own? Sea ain’t a merciful place for a little seahorse like yourself.” Two tentacles wrap around the dip in his back, dragging Tony forward to the other mer. He’s going to die. He’s going to be eaten! He’s going to be this octo-mer’s dinner! He’s-
His stomach let out a huge rumble in hunger, so loud the other mer heard it and froze from the suddenness of it. Tony had no idea embarrassment could sweep up fear so fast. He had no control over the flush that crept on his cheeks.
The octo-mer stared for a while longer before bursting out in laughter. It only caused Tony’s face to go even pinker and give a pitiful attempt at a glare. He crosses his arms self-consciously.
“Looks like your stomach ain’t shy about picking a fight.”
The shadow from before, that loomed over him just a few moments ago, appeared again and down came a tiger shark-mer of all things. Not looking to bite him and instead was gazing at them curiously. “What’s the hold up, Bucky?”
“Our lost colt here is hungry.”
Tony’s tail swishes back and forth, a bit aggravated. “I’m not a colt!” Just because he was a seahorse-mer didn’t mean he was as completely defenseless as a newborn!
“But you are hungry, aren’t you?” The mer-octopus named Bucky said and had Tony’s stomach not rumble at the exact same time as he finished he would’ve made a witty comeback. Instead, he lowered his head ever so slightly, not wanting to admit the plainly obvious.
“Wanna join us for lunch then?” At Tony’s panic, the tiger shark mer quickly added, “over by the reef, I mean!” Tony was still panicking. “We’re not going to eat you!” he says a bit desperately. Tony doesn’t believe him. A tiger shark claiming to not wanna eat him? That’s a bald-faced lie if he ever saw one.
He tries to fumble away, to escape, but the octo-mer still had his tentacles around him. “Steve’s telling the truth, you know. We’re not going to eat you. You’re all skin and bones!” Tony huffs. Yes, he hasn’t eaten anything decent in a while. Leave him alone. “Bet your stomach would really hate not tagging along with us.”
Tony remains stubborn. He’s been fooled before.
Bucky shrugs, tells him, “your loss then,” and swims off with Steve. Steve gives him one last look, eyebrows furrowed before the two take off. Their outlines darkening and growing small as they go further away. Tony is left alone again. The clams have swum away, the krill have disappeared from the arrival of the shark and octopus, leaving him with no food and still as hungry as ever.
He swims pitifully back to his little turf of grass, intent on napping and soothing the pangs of hunger away momentarily. Hopefully when he wakes up the clams or krill or even a small crab would be near.
He gets woken up by tentacles shaking his shoulder and sucking on his skin. In a blind panic he jumps, trying to escape, but the tentacles hold him down. “Whoa! Easy there, Coral. Just us.” It’s Bucky, and that does not make it better. “You’re not an easy mer to find. We got you a little something.”
Bucky holds up his tentacles that aren’t wrapped around Tony. There are shrimp and clams in those arms. Plentiful when compared to the small bites that he has been having to live on. Above them, Steve swims down with arms full of unmoving small fish. Tony’s already drooling, but he doesn’t reach out for them. “Aren’t you going to eat?” Steve asks, holding one fish in his hand, offering it. He has a smile on his face, kind and genuine.
“Come on, Coral. We got this just for you. Eat up,” Bucky shoves the shrimp in his arms. Those that don’t fit float down to the bottom of the grass.
Tony hesitates, knowing there’s a catch to all this, but he’s so hungry and they’re all in his arms. They’ll demand something in exchange but he still takes a bite, and another and another until nearly all the shrimp are gone. He goes for the clams next, all the while Bucky and Steve scoop up what manages to fall and offer it again.
His belly is full by the end, pouch sticking out from the filling. Both octo and tiger shark-mers look very content. They don’t ask for anything in return yet. Instead, opting to leave once they’re sure he’s had his fill. Tony is very confused but he manages to sleep comfortably that night.
Bucky and Steve make frequent trips to his little territory. From the time that has passed, it was safe to call it his territory. No one had claimed it and no one looks to want to. Tony is still hesitant of the pair constantly bringing him food, knowing he’s probably one word away from becoming their next meal. For all he knew they were fattening him up to be their meal.
“You know we’re not going to eat you,” Bucky says it for what appeared to be the hundredth time. The tone is now fond more than anything.
“I don’t know that. You could be lulling me into a false sense of security, then eat me when I’m not looking” Tony grumbles then squeaks when Steve appears out of nowhere and circles him, his tail spiraling down Tony’s body.
“You’d be half right,” Steve admits and Tony’s seconds away from point accusingly and shouting ‘ah-ha!’ “I haven’t eaten anyone who hasn’t asked me nicely to,” there’s a sultry look to his eyes now and a grin that is anything but innocent. It makes Tony instinctively blush as he retracts his finger and words get stuck in his throat. Steve isn’t talking about eating for sustenance. He’s talking a whole other kind of eating.
The two mers have been doing this a lot recently. The comments that would make anyone hot and bothered. The flirting that would make Tony’s heart skip. The show of kindness that would make anyone swoon and make Tony fall harder, for Tony may or may not have developed a crush on the pair. Always showing up, always asking if he’s had lunch yet, always asking about his days, if he’s in the mood to swim, if he’d like for them to accompany him, if he’d like to see the reefs together, if he’s tired, if he needs a nap, the list goes on and on.
They have asked after him more times in the span of a few weeks than his ex-mate had in an entire year. That said a lot.
Three tentacles curled around Steve’s torso, hips and tail and pulled him back to make room. Bucky moved in-between them, curling another set of tentacles around Tony’s tail and waist tenderly. “Don’t worry about his bite, Coral. He may be all sharp teeth but believe me when I say it’s going to be all pleasure and no pain,” Bucky gave that same seductive grin. The tip of the tentacle around his waist caressing ever so lightly over his pouch where scales met delicate skin.
Tony’s breath hitched. His sexual frustration becoming evident as only the barest of touches sent a hot flash coursing through him. His pouch expanded, hole opening in want, even if he already carried eggs inside. They remained unfertilized, untouched, thus his body was trying to invite more in, or welcome the pleasure to finally have a brood going.
Steve and Bucky were watching him carefully, waiting for any refusal or hesitation. When they spotted none their gazes went down to his pouch. “Coral…” the endearment sent a flush going to his cheeks as his pouch swelled even more. “What’s this?” The question was meant to tease, they knew exactly what it was, but knew not what it carried safely inside.
The tip of the tentacle circled around his opening, touching the very edges but never going in. Tony made a noise when the thick part of a tentacle ran gently across the base of his pouch.
Steve groaned, “I love the noises you make.” He swam closer and nudged his tail softly against Tony’s, making the seahorse-mer’s tail wrap around instinctively. Now anchored Tony couldn’t really move much. Not as if he wanted to. Not with the way Bucky’s tentacles held him and Steve in different parts of their bodies. Not with the way Steve pecked at the corner of his mouth for a reaction before kissing him firmly on his lips. Not with the way the tentacle finally sneaked in and caused Tony to moan at the sensation of the suckers pulling on the sensitive inside of his pouch.
“Our place,” Steve managed against his mouth. “Let’s go back to our cave.”
Tony didn’t object, but he also didn’t move. He didn’t have to when Steve and Bucky somehow found it in themselves to get them going through the waters. Tony safely tucked in their arms, anchored to Steve while Bucky held them all together.
“You’re gorgeous, Tony. Look at you, reacting so beautifully.”
There were arms all over the place. Tony couldn’t tell who was who’s. Where Bucky ended, where Steve began or even where he meshed between them. Touches ran down his pouch, down his chest, around his arms and neck and tail. There wasn’t a spot left without contact for long.
Steve and Bucky switched between kissing him and kissing each other, never leaving one of them alone for long. When he found the confidence and courage Tony reached out to touch as well. He trailed down their large torsos, touched every inch of skin he could, went lower and lower and took into full detail all that they were. He touched those tentacles, those fins, and when they groaned in pleasure focused his touches on those very appendages that held satisfaction.
“If you keep touching us like that we won’t last long,” Steve managed as Tony ran fingers down an appendage under his abdomen.
“Maybe I don’t want you to,” Tony said, watching Bucky’s pleasure expressed on his face as he stroked a particular tentacle. He hoped they wouldn’t last long because he wasn’t going to last. Not after going for so long, all through mating season, through his rut, doing nothing.
He touched them while they touched back. Moans and groans echoed in the cave. It wouldn’t surprise him if someone came knocking asking them to keep quiet. That was if they were brave enough to enter the home of an octo-mer and a tiger shark-mer.
Tony’s hold on Steve tightened when the shark-mer’s appendage brushed the dip of his pouch. Doubling the sensation the tentacle was creating. He let out a particularly loud moan and pushed forward, making the appendage dip into the hole of his pouch, but not enter.
“Tony…” Steve panted as he left trails of kisses down his neck.
“Please, please…” Tony practically whined, trying to reach down but finding he couldn’t move his arms from them tightly wrapped by tentacles. They were everywhere.
Bucky was behind him, acting like the thread that kept them all together, kissing his shoulders and leaving sucker marks all over his skin. “Let me…”
The tentacle in his pouch retracted and the same one Tony had been stroking before replaced the empty space. It grabbed hold of Steve’s clasper, touching the tip of it with its own and guided it so they were one small push away from entering the hole.
“Going to fill you up,” Bucky mumbled next to his ear, “have that pouch full with nothing but us. No one will mistake you for anyone else’s. They’ll all know you belong to us.”
The thought sent hot pleasure to Tony’s gut. Sensations building up and tipping him over the edge.
“Do you want that, Tony? To be filled with us? To be ours?” Tentacles continuously stroked Tony’s pouch and Steve’s clasper as Bucky said this, bringing them closer and closer together.
Tony managed to moan out a ‘yes’ that caused Steve to make a desperate whine and Bucky to finally push in his sperm tentacle and Steve’s clasper. Many things happened at once after that. Steve bit down on Tony’s shoulder hard. Not enough to break the skin but plenty enough for Tony to make a strangle sound as the pleasure Bucky had promised it to be made his nerves sing.
Bucky tightened his hold around them, forcing them closer and making it near impossible to tell where one of them began and where the other ended. There were going to be purple sucker marks everywhere.
In his pouch Tony felt not only his own release, but also the foreign feeling of Steve’s and Bucky’s seed entering as well, doing what they had promised, filing him up of them for the world to see.
Briefly, he took a moment to think of their actions and what it would bring. Unfertilized eggs now creating his young, and two potential mates with no clue it was happening right before them. There had been no inkling of the pair wanting kids, and in the haze of pleasure, Tony didn’t think to tell them of it.
If they wanted no responsibility for them Tony would have to continue down the road to look for Rhodey and Pepper with crushed hope of no mate to help and care and the smallest of a chance of surviving the trek long enough for them to find him. He’d have to find another spot to call his own and plan to last as long as he possibly could while expecting to be a father soon. He’d have to -
“Stop thinking so loud,” Steve mumbled against his shoulder, gnawing at the muscle gently. Bucky rested his head on the other Steve didn’t occupy, swaying them gently and not letting go.
Tony dared to get his hopes up as he got comfortable.
The next morning Tony wakes up alone. No Steve or Bucky in sight. He suspected as much but it’s still devastating to see. His tail is aching and his muscles are tense from sleeping wrong and nothing to anchor him. Stomach already hungry he makes his way out, slower than usual and extra vigilant. His heart aches as he makes his way further from the cave. Used and left behind, like usual. Like most of his life when it came to finding love. Steve and Bucky slowly getting further away with every push he made.
He’s a good distance from the cave when out of nowhere Steve comes barreling down and gives him a fierce hug, twirling him from the sheer speed of his arrival. “I win!” the shark-mer grins as his tail curls around Tony’s lower half. Bucky is there seconds later, glare in place but more out of annoyance than actual anger. “You cheated!”
“You never said anything about rules.”
“It’s common sense not to tie someone up on a rock!”
“Details, details,” within seconds Steve is squeaking as Bucky tries to reach for him, using Tony as a shield. “Tony help!” Tony can’t find it in himself to lift a finger. He’s so overwhelmed he can’t help but cling, not helping their situation one bit.
It turns out both shark and octo mers had left in order to get breakfast for themselves and Tony. Tony is so happy he doesn’t care for their apologies for trying to make it back before he woke up and not making it in time. They’re here and they actually searched for him. That’s all that mattered.
They drag him back over for breakfast. A tentacle constantly on him all through the meal. Tony is ravenous after their coupling. He’s had the eggs for a while but now it feels as if he’s eating for two, or even six for all he knew. It couldn’t be because of the eggs, he knows this. They’ve barely been fertilized, if it even took in the first place (which odds were it did). The actual reason for it he didn’t dare to think about, or risk his whole face going red and revealing his thoughts. Mating with a shark-mer and octo-mer left no desire in him. Absolutely sated in ways no other seahorse would have achieved. It left him almost boneless as well with no energy to move and a hunger to match a blue whale.
He eats his fill and gets his share of hugs as their afterglow still lingers and the urge to just rest together is a strong one to ignore.
Tony selfishly stays a whole week without letting them know anything of his treasures before guilt starts to eat away at him. He’s in his patch of grass he claimed upon first arriving. A nervous wreck as he swims in a circle. He needs to tell them now so he could know if staying was the best option or if moving on was his only choice. If they didn’t want anything permanent with him then he’ll go further south. He’s late in the season, and there will be many dangerous, but it’s his only available option should Steve and Bucky chase him away, not wanting the responsibility.
Steve and Bucky later find him circling around still, noticing his nervous tension. “What’s wrong, Coral? You’re as tense as Steve when he hasn’t had his breakfast yet.” Steve gives Bucky a whack with his tail.
Tony stops and takes deep breaths. “I have something I need to tell you.” The two mers’ faces drop. “Nothing bad! I don’t think… it’s just… something I should’ve told you from the beginning.”
They looked at him still wary but confused as well. “What is it?” Steve asks him gently.
He takes deep breaths, making the other mers nervous now. “When I first arrived here I…” Chum, how was he going to say this? “I was, uhm… I was carrying.”
The shark and octor mers blink, not understanding. “You were carrying?” Steve prompts. “Did you have stuff on you? Did you lose it?”
“No, not that kind of carrying! I’m carrying… right now…”
“You have something you want to show us?” Bucky asks, oblivious.
“Oh for the love of -” Tony’s tail whip back and forth in aggravation. He put both his hands on his pouch, making it clear what he’s referring to. “I have… eggs.” It clicks and both their eyes got wide. “Not a lot for it to be obvious, but I have eggs. I never… tended to them after I received them. My old mate didn’t want me to stick around and swimming in the ocean is already dangerous enough on its own. I didn’t want to worry about my young.”
He looks down, not wanting to see their reactions. “I didn’t plan to ever tend to them until I was ready and somewhere safe. Then you both sort of happened and I never got to warn you and we did what we did…” He stops after that. They knew what he’s leading to. He doesn’t dare ask them if they want to be a part of his youngs' lives or not.
He does dare take a peek at their faces. No surprise they’re shocked, not having expected the news, but they don’t exactly look joyous over the prospect of being parents either.
“This is… you’re…” Steve stutters.
“Pregnant?” Bucky shrills out. His voice so high it makes Tony flinch.
He presses protectively against his pouch as he nods. Silence follows. The shark and octo mers obviously weren’t ready for this news, but it had to be said.
“That’s big news, Tony,” Steve says carefully.
Tony agrees. “Something to think about.” He leaves the question unasked but they got the meaning. They look at each other before nodding at him and leaving to do exactly that. Tony doesn’t stick around for their answer. There had been brief hesitation in those eyes of theirs. It told Tony everything.
As soon as they disappear he begins his journey south, not wanting to hear the words actually said. He’s careful and he goes more hungry than not. He grazes when he can, managing to catch a few unlucky krill here and there, but keeps going. His young are still eggs and he plans to get as far as he could before he has no choice but to settle down.
He’s three days in of his travel, in the middle of catching clams when he sees it. A large shadow passes over him. He panics. Drops the clam he’s in the middle of eating and tries to swim away, but something grabs hold of his tail. He screeches and flais, trying to free himself, but stops altogether when he sees very familiar tentacles wrap around him.
He turns, too stunned to believe those tentacles belong to who he thought they belonged to. Sure enough, he comes face to face with a grinning Bucky. Hair floating and framing his face in a similar fashion to the first time he saw him.
“Hey beautiful,” Bucky takes one tentacle to stroke his cheek. “You’re not an easy mer to find.”
Steve soon swims down to wrap his own arms from behind. “You know, when you told us to think about it we had expected you’d stay to hear our answers. Not swim off before we could say yes or no.”
Tony opens and closes his mouth, wanting to say but unable to say it.
“In case you’re wondering. Our answer is yes.”
Tony shudders out a breath. Tail gripping to the nearest limb. He rests his head on Bucky’s shoulder. Far too overwhelmed to manage sentences.
Tentacles wrap around all of them. “Aww, Coral.”
Chapter 24: Mermaid Au Pt 2
(Continuation, Stuckony, mer people, seahorse!Tony, tiger shark!Steve, octo!Bucky, whale shark!Rhodey, ribbon eel!Pepper, past mpreg, hurt/comfort, kids)
Rhodey and Pepper eventually find their way to Tony by following Rhodey’s own suggestion to him. “Head south, keep swimming. Find a place to hide and wait for me. I’ll find you. I'll always find you.”
After Rhodey and Pepper manage to escape the bull-shark mers safely themselves they begin their swim down south, searching every crevice, cave and patches of long grass for their wayward seahorse. Because of Rhodey being a large whale-shark mer, it's near impossible not to be seen when searching, meaning if Tony didn’t pop out from his hiding place within the first hour of them searching the spot it meant Tony wasn’t there and they moved on.
It made it easy but kept it frustrating when Tony wouldn’t appear each time they entered new areas and territory. Further they went, eyes sharp and focused and senses straining for even the smallest sign of their seahorse. The longer they went without a sign the more concerned and terrified they got, thinking the worst, because it’s Tony. They can never not worry.
As nights turn to days and vice versa and still no sign and the possibility of Tony lying in a deep ditch somewhere keeping them both up at night, they almost throw down the human towel and give up. Almost.
“Where is he, Rhodey? Where is he?”
“I don’t know, Pep. We have to keep looking.”
They keep going. Long after they begin losing a bit of weight from constantly on the move and growing weaker as predator mers who felt they were easy prey keep attacking. Nothing Rhodey couldn’t handle but it did eventually take its toll and one of the mers end up getting lucky and manage a deep gash.
Needing to rest and tend to his wound they stop in a cave occupied by fish, scaring them off easily. Not the deepest cave around but it was wide and provided an arch tall enough for them to hide behind and not be seen. It's perfect for them. Rhodey rests as Pepper goes out to find food. She finds a group of krill and searches for any small fishes she can find, knowing anything too big would cause Rhodey discomfort. Filter-feeders, she scoffs.
While in the middle of chasing a good-sized fish that would provide Rhodey with a lot of calories while not irritating his throat Pepper has to stop abruptly when she spots a little girl tiger-shark mer and boy seahorse mer just waiting there and staring at her. The sight of the guppies has her looking around frantically because while she hardly has anything to worry about with the young seahorse, it was the young tiger-shark that has her hesitating to remain in place.
When she didn’t spy any enraged tiger shark parents she calmed down enough to catch her prey and collect her krill and begin swimming back to the cave. Not even two twirls down she heard the sounds of little fins flapping and one look behind she found the two young fry following her. She stops and lets her tail flow in the currents to stare at them in confusion. The two stare back at her in wonder.
“Can I help you?” she eventually asks them.
The shark-mer swims up. Her golden curls floating and her blue eyes wide. Her grey tail a contrast to the blue of the sea. “You’re really pretty.”
Next to her the seahorse follows suit. Big brown eyes sparkling with something of familiarity to her, adding to it by the red coloring of his tail. Sharp and smart and something screams familiar to her. “Are you a ribbon eel, ma’am?”
Pepper nodded at them slowly. “I am. My name’s Pepper, what’s yours?”
Out of nowhere four more young fry shoot up from the dunes below them, startling her and making her tail curl around her in fright. Among the four is another tiger shark mer, a boy this time with light golden curls and blue eyes just as bright as the girls and another seahorse, a girl with dark skin and a red tail and her hair pulled up in two buns, eyes just as large and bright as the boy seahorse. The two remaining were two octo-mers. A boy and girl. Both with dark blue tentacles, the boy with dark skin and the girl with light and both making their tentacles curl and expand in excitement.
She's surrounded and she didn’t want to die via guppies or lose her food. Rhodey needed it.
She would forever deny screaming when all six of the young fry jumped on her, clinging to every and any spot of her tail they could. They were laughing and giggling and nothing like the murderous children she heard tales of growing up. At one point she had to stay absolutely still as they all refused to let her go.
“Aunt Pepper!” They all cheer and she swore her mind stopped for a full minute.
“You’re our aunt Pepper? Dad said you’d find us!” The girl tiger shark said. Big smile on her face. It made all of them cheer again and tighten their grip. The octo-mers clinging to her tail like bracelets, the seahorse mers anchoring themselves on her arms, and the two tiger shark mers hugging her tail and curling their own around her.
At that point, all she could do is expand her arms out and not move a muscle. They clearly knew her, but who were they?
Then, “Young fry, where are you!” someone shouts from behind her and all the guppies cheer even louder together to let whoever called know where they are. Pepper turns her head slowly and nearly pales when she spots two full grown male octo and tiger shark mers. This was it. She is so dead.
Then all together, “It’s our aunt Pepper!”
Shortly after it's followed by a very familiar seahorse mer shooting forward with his tail wiggling excitedly. “Pepper!”
Sweet Poseidon these are Tony’s kids, Pepper internally cries. There is six more mini-Tony’s!
Rhodey is very well unprepared for the group of baby mers that suddenly fish-pile on him with a shout of “uncle Rhodey!” when Pepper leads them to the cave. He's most certainly unprepared to see Tony and have him join in the pile, straining his injury. “Oh, my neptune, I’m an uncle??”
Chapter 25: IronHusbands Short
(Ironhusbands, soldier reunion, surprise, comfort)
Tony’s hands shook the entire time he stood on stage and the only reason not a single soul in the crowd noticed was thanks to the large podium that provided perfect cover for not only his shaking fingers but his shuffling legs.
His first official speech as CEO of SI. His first step to taking over his father’s company and his only chance at making a proper impression and kill any and all doubt of his capabilities and he was failing phenomenally at it. The sea of strangers and critical stares and expressionless faces judging his every move and looking for weaknesses.
He had stuttered a total of three times and avoided eye contact a total of twelve. If Howard had been there without a doubt he would’ve scowled at his tells. But Howard wasn’t there and that was the whole reason why Tony was even on stage in the first place. He was taking over the company at last and he was alone in the sea of sharks for the first time. No Obie to hold his hand anymore. No Howard to take the attention. No Rhodey to support him.
Just him on the spotlight as the crowd judged. A slab of meat on stage to criticize. He couldn’t even search the crowd for Rhodey to at least have distant support since Rhodey was in the middle of deployment and wasn’t due back for at least two more weeks and Tony would give anything to at least see his smile.
But Rhodey wasn’t there and wasn’t going to be there and Tony was completely and utterly alone.
“Thank you all for coming and enjoy the rest of the evening,” he managed with faked confidence and rushed off the stage. The sorry excuse of forced applause was pathetic and had Howard truly been there it would’ve been another reason for disappointment. But Howard wasn’t and Tony had done his part and it was over. For now.
There wasn’t another speech planned until three days from that moment and Tony wasn’t going to spend it imagining ‘if’s and ‘possibilities’ or allow the opinions of strangers who didn’t matter get to him. They hadn’t mattered before and they weren’t going to matter now.
A bottle of scotch was going to help with that.
Not in the mood for passive-aggressive comments and high chins, Tony sneaked his way through the gala to the balcony. The fresh air did little to calm his nerves but the lack of people did wonders for his anxiety. He was able to breathe properly and allow his fingers to tremble without judgment. He berated himself for not grabbing a glass of champagne. He would give anything for a strong drink, his workshop, and his couch.
He pressed his palms against his face and took slow breaths. The night was almost over. He just had to hold on a little longer and then he’d be free.
In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.
He wished so much for Rhodey to be there.
“You know, from all the speeches you’ve done that was by far your worst.”
Tony almost jumped an inch in the air and whirled in place, nearly unbalancing and falling over the balcony. The air he had been trying to get him was knocked clean out of him and his heart skipped an unhealthy beat.
He covered his mouth with his hand but it did nothing to stop the strangled noise he released. With no control, tears began forming when he took in the form of Rhodey in his uniform complete with his hat on his head. The smile he had hoped to see while giving his speech in place and arms wide open for a hug.
Tony didn’t need to be asked. He rushed into those arms and buried his face on Rhodey’s neck.
“Hey Tones, how’s it going?”
He might have been crying but no one needed to know that except for Rhodey, and no one was there to see except for Rhodey.
“When did you -?”
“Couple of hours ago. I tried making it for your speech but New York traffic got in my way. I’m sorry I missed it.”
“Doesn’t matter. You’re here.”
“I’m all yours for the rest of my stay.”
Tony was going to cherish every second of it.
Chapter 26: Crochet Au
(Winteriron, injuries, physical therapy, injured Tony, team as family)
Tony gets some kind of hand/arm injury that puts him out for awhile. When he's finally healed enough, he starts physical therapy only to come back after one appointment complaining that the therapist is a quack and he's not going back. It's Bucky offering to go with him that finally gets him to his next appointment. The therapist asks how his knitting is coming along and oh God. Tony wants to be literally anywhere else right now. He can hear Bucky laughing already. Except Bucky doesn't laugh.
Bucky knows better than most that when a PT tells you something will help, they mean it. So if the therapist says knitting then Tony needs to learn. Instead of laughing at him, Bucky offers to learn together. It quickly becomes their thing. Qeue nights in on Buck’s couch watching YouTube tutorials, the two of them browsing rabelry in briefings and sending each other their fave finds, Tony the yarn snob because “baby alpaca is the softest thing ever and you know it, Barnes!”
And maybe Tony’s not the best at it? His tension is all over the place, dropped stitches and curled edges, scarves with one end smaller than the other but he’s always so proud when he finishes something and Bucky will fight anyone who would dare make him feel otherwise.
Written with the help of the lovely Summerpipedream!
Hand injury for sure will affect Tony immensely. The fine motor skills damaged and in need of recovery and the very things he uses to create and build and be every bit the engineer he loves to be. He’d sink in a hole when told he’d need therapy in order for his fingers to make that recovery. Each time Tony tries to hold his fingers out, they shake uncontrollably as they resist even opening. He sinks lower and lower, hope in recovering slowly dying.
His hands were his life. Take that away and how would he create with everything he had?
Which is why when the therapist suggests knitting to help with healing he figuratively flips the table. The therapist is not taking his situation seriously. Clearly, they’re making fun of him and don’t understand just how important this is to him. How big it is. How it could end his very will.
He doesn’t storm off but it’s a close thing. The therapist is just doing their job. Horrible job and clearly Tony needs to find someone new, but doing a job. He huffs and paces and worries himself ragged. The possibility of his hands never being 100% again a real possibility and he’s starting to give up.
Then Bucky sees how the situation is affecting Tony and he knows just leaving it alone will only make it worse. He convinces Tony to give the therapist another shot. There’s a reason why they were highly recommended (only the best for Tony). Maybe they didn’t impress the first day but they’re bound to have helpful suggestions and information. Offers to go with him because going alone to the possibility of hearing bad news is always scary so to take away from that a shoulder to lean on is always best.
Then he hears why Tony thinks the therapist is a quack. On first thought, the idea of using knitting as a therapeutic activity is rather ridiculous, but a therapist wouldn’t suggest it unless it actually helped. So he doesn’t laugh and he doesn’t find it mocking and the first thing he does when they head back is buy all the materials and watch every video and read every available instruction out there with Tony and practice along with him.
A few minutes in and he realizes knitting isn’t a joke and understands knitting is exactly what Tony needs to get his fingers moving without strain or the risk of something blowing up on him from one misplaced wire. He doesn’t think Tony looks ridiculous as he puts all his focus on maneuvering the needle and manipulating the yard to create stitches and he especially doesn’t think ridiculous describes what Tony is when he sees the little frown and his tongue slightly sticking out as one particular strand of yarn proves stubborn. Cute seems more fitting.
The next day there’s a piece of cloth shoved to his face. It’s crooked and small and looks like a long piece of fabric, but Tony is holding it while ducking his face down, pink on his cheeks. “I made this for you.”
And Bucky is half tempted to ask ‘what is it?’ but knows better. Tony is barely learning and this isn’t wires or equations or codes. This is new to him and his hands are healing and he knows Tony always, always, tries his best with whatever he’s given so this piece of cloth was made with careful attention and love. So he takes it gently. “Thank you.”
He has no idea what it is but something is telling him to wrap it around his neck so he does. Turns out it’s a scarf and it’s small and out of shape and doesn’t wrap around his neck twice, but he tucks it in his shirt and leaves it on anyway.
He makes absolutely sure no one makes a comment on the scarf without suffering consequences.
Then he returns the sentiment and makes a scarf of his own to give him. Then tries his hands on a small blanket, then a larger blanket, then the largest he can do to wrap Tony up in a soft burrito and keep him safe.
Tony starts bringing in all kinds of yarn and his soft creations are gaining shape and by the end of the first month Bucky has 12 scarfs of different shapes and sizes and he cherishes every single one, especially when they’re the very reason why Tony is smiling again and even though he hasn’t noticed it yet Bucky’s espionage eyes has been keeping close watch and has been watching them improving.
Soon enough the engineer will have his art back. In the meantime, he’s looking forward to the new blanket made out of baby alpaca fur Tony has been working night and day on.
Steve SWEATS as he stares at Tony’s hopeful expression. Bucky’s standing right behind him, arms crossed, almost daring Steve to say the wrong thing. “Thank you Tony! This… this uh-”
Bucky points to his hands. Steve smiles brightly, glancing down at what he now knows are more than a tangle of knots, “-set of mitts are fantastic! Thank you.”
Tony frowns. “One is slightly bigger than the other. And you might not want to get them wet when you can, but they could keep you warm for a bit. Maybe I should see if I can fix them-
Steve hugs them to his chest, eyes teary as he clutches them tightly. “I like them as they are. They’re mine now. Thank you, goodbye.”
Tony and Bucky stare as Steve all but jumps out of the window to escape.
Natasha staring at the blob of stitches in Tony’s hands, eyes working fast to understand what it is. From the edges to the shape to the patterns and she still can’t figure out what it is and she’ll never admit she’s sweating but with Bucky just DARING her to say something upsetting it’s hard not to.
But Bucky knows not to push her buttons so he points to his head and a light bulb turns on. “Thank you. This beanie is wonderful.”
One turn of the beanie and she sees a horridly stitched attempt at cat ears on the top and even Tony looks a little embarrassed by it. “I thought you’d look adorable with them…”
Natasha does not tear up, but it’s a close thing. When Tony and Bucky are gone she collapses to the ground and starts shaking.
She wears that beanie the next day. No one dares say anything except, “Why does she get one and I don’t?”
Then one week later Clint is walking with a beanie stitched with lopsided bunny ears. Bruce has one with bear ears that are far too much to the side. Thor had received a scarf but Tony overestimated his size and instead of wrapping it around his neck he wears it as a shoulder shawl. He says it nearly rivals his cape. Rhodey and Sam are given blankets they refuse to put away when walking indoors. A child-like drawing of War Machine and Falcon on them.
Tony and Bucky work together to knit a big, big, blanket for them to use while hanging out in the living room and this causes a war between everyone. The blanket is so soft and so large and everyone wants a turn under it when watching TV shows or fighting over the remote. Tony and Bucky end up losing their rights to it.
Nat, Clint and Bruce walking around with their lopsided beanies and Rhodey, Sam and Thor with their shawls and blankets.
Bonus: Tony nervously slides the lumpy cowl across the desk to Coulson. Before Bucky can even blink, Coulson takes the cowl gently and turns to Tony with a kind smile. “Thank you for the cowl Tony, your rows are improving.”
Tony beams before darting out to find Maria’s office. Bucky blinks at Coulson, unwilling to admit it, but clearly impressed that he was able to identify the cowl without breaking a sweat. Coulson coughed before sliding on the cowl. “Fury learned to crochet a few years ago.”
Fury hearing about Tony’s therapy and one day walking in with his trench coat tail flying indoors and marching right up to where Tony and Bucky are sitting comfortably and knitting and just glaring down at them and their needles and their works.
Tony tensing, ready to criticism and negative feedback or mocking and Bucky ready to cut a Nick the moment he utters one bad thing and the atmosphere is tense and it’s long and suffocation is setting in and the rest of the Avengers are peeking their heads through the door all with one over the other like a circus act, waiting to see what’s going to happen.
Fury takes a seat and takes out his lucky needles and yarn he’s been wanting to use for some time now and his only comment is “keep your wrist facing the floor for the best stitches, motherfuckers.”
And everyone just collapses.
Chapter 27: He's My Alpha Au Pt 1
(Stony, AvAc, alpha!Tony, omega!Steve, insecure!Tony, oblivious Tony, like really oblivious, Steve thirsts for that idiot, so does half of the campus, everyone wants him)
Avac, because it involves Tony’s prosthetic gauntlet to play a huge role. So, Tony grew up as an alpha. A very wealthy alpha under Howard Stark, meaning he grew up believing he was top dog, the alpha everyone wanted and who could provide their mate with everything.
Then the accident that took his hand and half his forearm away happened and the arc reactor and suddenly that view is flipped around. He’s still wealthy, but Howard made sure to constantly remind him that wealth was the only reason why anyone would look at him now. Howard made sure to crush any confidence he had as an alpha. A crippled alpha wouldn’t be able to compete. He was inferior now. If they had lived like their ancestors in the wild Tony would’ve been left behind and died a long time ago.
With his self-confidence crushed Tony hardly held any pride as an alpha. He didn’t bother to compete with other alphas. Didn’t bother to pursue alphas, betas or omegas, seeing as they wouldn’t look his way. But most importantly, because he held no pride, he didn’t act arrogant or believed himself superior to betas or omegas. As an alpha, the public view him as weak and soft because of this. When other alphas have a run-in with Tony, they treat him as they would treat any other beta or omega. Sometimes even worse because he's an easy alpha to 'dominate.'
Despite all this, Tony treated betas and omegas as equals. Even when some believed he was taunting them with his 'respectful' attitude. He never used his alpha voice and made sure to take their hurtful jabs with a smile.
Every alpha out there, including Tony, think this behavior is too soft, weak, and no one would want to waste time on such an alpha. Tony has accepted this viewpoint long ago. What they don’t realize, including Tony, was that this behavior was downright attractive and a huge turn on to all betas and omegas.
There was never a moment in the academy where Tony doesn’t have someone flirting with him and meaning it, but because Tony is an oblivious fool and with no confidence to pick up cues he thinks they are taunting him. He ignores it all with a brittle smile.
Then comes in Steve, who sees this group of betas and omegas following after Tony like lovesick teenagers. At first, he thinks ‘arrogant, stuck-up alpha’ and is ready to bring Tony down a notch or two, not wanting an alpha to think they can bully anyone on campus. The first jab he takes has Tony shaking his head and giving him a false smile and nothing else. Not the reaction he expects but it leaves Steve shocked.
The second jab he goes all out and he’s sure it’ll get a violent outburst out of the alpha, but yet again all Tony does is give a shrug and tell him “I’ll work on it, later Cap!” before jogging away.
The third jab didn’t have much effort in it. Steve actually feeling a little guilty for trying to hurt this calm and gentle soul. The arrival of Jan, Rhodey and Pepper (all omegas) ready to rip his arms off is proof enough that maybe he judged a little too soon.
Fourth time there was no verbal attack. Just Steve trying to make conversation with Tony to get to know him and through it all Tony never once made him feel inferior for being an omega or talked over him or even imposed in his space. Tony allowed him to talk, listened, and took his suggestions into consideration. Then flirted (but it's obvious it's playful flirting) and left.
That was the first time Steve talked to an alpha without his hackles raising. It was also the first time he understood why so many were trying to get Tony’s attention. The alpha was soft, calm, guarded, showed more respect than all the alphas on-campus combined, and needed someone to watch over him. Steve wanted this alpha.
But he had competition and a lot of it. He’ll need to make sure everyone understood no one was getting that alpha except for him.
Meanwhile, Tony sits down in Club A confused and a little hurt when he sees Sam and Kamala get up and walk away upon his arrival, but he doesn’t stay hurt long because here is Steve, glaring at someone before smiling at him. He swears Steve seems to be flirting with him, but that’s probably his imagination. Captain America, one of the most sought after omegas around, would never be interested in him. A crippled alpha with nothing to offer except his wealth, and even with that that it wasn’t enough to keep them around for long before they decide to go out and find a true alpha.
But Steve is smiling and no one else seems to want to be near him, so he stays and takes what he can before Steve decides he can do better than have a crippled alpha as a friend.
Chapter 28: He's My Alpha Au Pt 2
(Continuation, Stony, AvAc, alpha!Tony, omega!Steve, insecure!Tony, oblivious Tony, like really oblivious, everyone wants him, heat/mating cycle)
Sweet and gentle Tony, who has never raised his voice or used his alpha voice on anyone before and treats all betas and omegas with the basic respect deserved. He’s breaking expectations everywhere he goes.
The first time he ends up going through a rut on campus, many (almost all minus Rhodey, Jan and Pepper) become a bit concerned and wary, expecting the rush of hormones to make him a mindless animal needing to hump any and everything. The thing is, alphas exaggerate the whole “I have needs, I couldn’t control it!” when they go and harass others during the few days before their ruts hit.
They can control their damn urges but use the excuse to keep them guiltless. Tony? Tony doesn’t do that. He shows them all alphas don’t become some mindless animal and in fact, alphas who claim otherwise are just huge assholes with no decent characteristics. All the more reason almost everyone wants him.
Tony goes into a rut months after Steve has started trying (and failing) to get his attention. He still attends classes like any other day. He’s notably flushed and a bit more sensitive to smells and touches, but he still talks to everyone like normal and shows no indication of wanting to jump the first beta or omega he sees.
Which infuriates Steve a little. Steve, who had been hoping to offer and help Tony through his rut after smelling it come closer, is crushed when Tony hardly bats an eye at it. Shrugs and describes it as an ‘irritation, nothing I can’t handle” and jogs off to class. If Tony isn’t bothered by it... how can Steve bring up his offer to help when the alpha clearly doesn’t need it?
Steve moans the loss, groaning at his circumstances. He had hoped offering to help could set the foundation to making the alpha his, getting marked and marking Tony back and finally making it official.
He doesn’t give up though. It’s awkward, but he asks Tony, even if he doesn’t need it, he can help him through it to get it out of his system quicker. And like the true sweetheart he is Tony rejects it with a rushed “I couldn’t ask that of you, Steve!” saying he’d rather keep his friendship than making it awkward between them, and Steve really wants to strangle this kind alpha because “dammit Tony I want you!”
But no, Tony won’t budge, and Steve simultaneously curses and praises Tony’s resolve. Now more than ever he’s going to make this alpha his.
But he's got plenty of people to fight against before finally making Tony his.
Other beta or omega classmates subtly try to hit on Tony and Tony does flirt back out of reflex, but Steve has noted it never goes further than a tease and Tony always remains respectful. Just playful and kind flirting on his part like “you’re handsome, and tall, and I am jealous of your hair and I found your issue. Here, you didn’t do step one before step two."
Tony never says what horrid and waste of time alpha would typically say. “I’d bend you over in a second if we didn’t have eyes on us.”
It makes Steve fall a little more in love. Gets him hot and bothered, too.
The other beta or omega trying to flirt goes all flattered and a flush pull on their hair when Tony 'flirts' back, thinking the alpha means it. Then they subtly get frustrated when they realize that, no, Tony still won’t pick up on their intentions!
Each beta and omega have only a certain amount of time to get their flirting game on because within seconds after their first line here comes Steve, standing behind Tony and just glaring into their soul. They quickly rethink their plan and give a random excuse before dashing away, tails between their legs and Steve’s eyes never leaving them. Tony is all hurt from their sudden departure, thinking maybe his flirting or just being himself (weak alpha and all) chased them away, but then Steve makes his presence known and throws an arm around his shoulder and he’s not so sad anymore.
The beta or omega run to their friends and their friends pat their shoulder in sympathy.
Chapter 29: He's My Alpha Au Pt 3
(Continuation, Stony, AvAc, alpha!Tony, omega!Steve, insecure!Tony, oblivious Tony, like really oblivious, everyone is protective of him)
So do the betas/omegas know the other alphas view Tony as weak? If not how do they react to the fact that what they love most about Tony, his kindness and gentleness, makes him viewed as less? (Do they threaten to beat up the alphas for making Tony have low self esteem??)
Other betas and omegas do know that other alphas view Tony and his mannerisms as weak. Only a select few (Rhodey, Jan, Pepper, Steve, Maria, and Natasha) know that Tony views himself as weak. All other betas and omegas on campus don't really know the extent of Tony's insecurities. They just think he's sweet and kind-hearted. A bit silly, but very respectful of their boundaries.
Most alphas think ‘true alphas' are brutish, strong, have muscles everywhere. They don’t like any ‘girly’ things (pink, flowers, light colors in general, soft and fluffy animals, all those typical things thought as too soft) and have to show others who is in charge. Dominance is strength. Dominance is attractive, according to them.
Many alphas think they have to be like this in order to win the attention of betas and omegas, including Tony (thanks to Howard). What they don’t realize is this is the alpha view, their own fantasy. This is not what many betas and omegas really want. There are a few prejudice betas and omegas who view this attractive and want this but everyone ignores them.
Betas and omegas (and some few alphas) want kind, gentle, and respectful. They basically want Tony, so when they are in the right place to witness Tony get mocked and shamed from other alphas for his soft character, they are quick to hit the culprit below the belt. Not actually hit because words and emotional scars are harsher than broken bones. Alpha egos are so frail you just gotta comment on how their knots won’t even stay, too small to feel, and alphas go home crying. All the while, Tony laughs and whoops at their comments, telling them that was clever and well-timed and compliment his defenders.
During Tony's rut, it nearly becomes an incident in the Academy. While Tony had many betas and omegas offer to help, some still brave enough to try even after Steve started making a claim, there was no avoiding alphas still taunting him and offering their own 'help.' The thrill of topping another alpha too much to let pass by.
Tony tells them all no. There's visible hurt in his eyes as the alphas laugh cruelly, but otherwise doesn’t say anything at all. Rhodey, Jan and Pepper make sure to put fear in the hearts of these alphas afterward, but it's really the betas and omegas who make sure they don't try again.
Tony thanks them wholeheartedly, and many of them swoon a little at the genuine tone in his voice.
Then here comes Steve all a growls and glares, giving off his ‘back-off’ vibes and steers Tony away. All betas and omegas glare at his back as they leave.
A kind of group is formed as many more are unknowingly rejected. Similar to that of Shoujo Anime where they all want sempai. It was the norm at the beginning of the Academy year. They each gave their shot, get rejected, and go to each other for comfort. Their support group. It's expected. They each get their chance, they each fail. No one expects to get a date with Tony. It's their system and they respect the system. Silently agree this system works.
Then came Steve Rogers. Who throws everything off balance.
The group of betas and omegas are often seen huddled together and talking about Sempai-Tony and hissing and glaring at whoever asshole alpha thinks they can take them on. Each time a new beta or omega tries to make Tony their mate and gets rejected this group all cheer and applaud the poor new reject and invite them to join their club of the rejected. It’s easier to smile and laugh together than cry and curse the wind.
Then here comes Steve sauntering in all smiles and apple pie and naturally gets rejected and the group is ready to welcome him to the group when the unthinkable happens. Steve doesn’t give up. Steve ups his game and TRIES AGAIN. Now the group is offended, mocked, crushed. How dare this omega from the 40s try and actually win Tony over? Who does he think he is??
Still, they have hope Tony will not accept Steve’s advances and sleep better at night thinking this. Then the impossible of the impossible. Steve makes sure to invite Tony to eat lunch together every single day. The audacity! Then Steve asks Tony for a walk around campus if he’s not too busy. The insolence! The last straw happens when Steve, shortly after his panties scene incident where he ran off with Tony’s jacket, starts wearing it. They’re all seeing red.
But of course, no one dares say anything to him. It’s Captain America!
Besides, Steve’s single glare to scare off any other suitors for Tony singlehandedly rivals all of theirs together. It’s not fair.
Chapter 30: He's My Alpha Au Pt 4
(Continuation, Stony, AvAc, alpha!Tony, omega!Steve, insecure!Tony, oblivious Tony, like really oblivious)
The panty incident and the level of obliviousness Tony suffers.
Tony so oblivious he doesn't realize what's going on around him. At all. He's staring solemnly at nothing while in the library. Chin resting on his crossed arms over the table, telling himself he’s a weak alpha, not deserving of anyone, no one will give him a chance, oh woe is him. No one wants a crippled alpha who wouldn’t survive longer than 16 minutes if his arc reactor is taken out and will never be able to hold their hand with his right ever again.
Meanwhile, Steve is laying on that same table, right in front of him, posed and waving like an offer, all “paint me like one of your french girls” and Tony. Won’t. Pay. Attention. To. Him. So oblivious to Steve trying to make him pay attention.
When Tony finally does notice him he’s all “Oh, Steve! I didn’t see you there. Why are you laying on the table? Are you tired? I’ll walk you back to the dorms if you want!”
Steve facepalms so hard the mark stays for the rest of the day. He groans at his circumstances again. Even Rhodey, Jan and Pepper facepalm, too, watching from Club A. Peggy and Natasha look at him with sympathy. Bucky and Sam would, too, but they’re busy internally cheering and trying to find opportunities to talk to Tony because they want him as well. The group of betas and omegas do visibly cheer at another day where Tony is free.
Steve won't quit, though. He's determined, stubborn and he's Captain America. He's never going to quit.
But Tony proves to be nearly impossible, even for Captain America. Nothing short of Steve lying on Tony's bed in nothing but panties would get the alpha's attention, and that's exactly what Steve does.
He's wearing pink, frilly, panties and is offering himself to Tony while spread on his bed. In a sultry voice he says, “Tony, you’re back! I’ve been waiting for you” with bedroom eyes when Tony returns to his room. Tony blinks and looks confused at him and for a moment Steve thinks he's finally got it! Tony finally understood what he wanted.
Tony blinks again before scrambling to take his jacket off and get a blanket. Now Steve is confused.
“What are you doing, Steve? You must be cold! Here, take my jacket.” Tony puts it over Steve's shoulders and drops the small red and gold iron man blanket (he doesn’t have much to be proud of as a disabled alpha but Iron Man is the first and only thing he’s done right and he’ll damn well enjoy it for as long as he can) over his lap. Steve blinks at the items.
“Did you lose a bet, Steve? Was it Taskmaster? No, he would’ve bet something else than this. Sam? Bucky? Doesn’t matter. If you need me to prove you did your part just let me know the name. Don’t worry.”
Steve sighs and falls back on the bed because, damn, he should’ve taken his panties off. He wonders if he can get away with tying the alpha down and keeping him in his room. Probably not. Rhodey, Jan and Pepper would kill him.
Tony offers him a drink and some cheese from his fridge. Tony keeps him company until Steve surrenders for the night, taking this as a loss and walks out the door. He makes sure not to offer the jacket and blanket back. They are his now. When Tony moves to take the jacket back he clings to it with a small hiss of “mine.” Tony isn’t bothered and even shrugs. “I have seven more. Keep it if you want.”
All the better. It’s forever his now.
The next day Steve walks around campus with the red and gold jacket instead of his regular blue. Every beta and omega in the vicinity shoot death glares at him while Rhodey, Jan and Pepper shake their heads fondly. It’s sort of a start at least? Tony is confused by this but when Steve insists he wants to wear the jacket Tony gives the smallest smile and feels the briefest of pride. Steve wanted to wear his jacket. Happy day!
Nothing short of Steve getting on one knee and proposing to Tony on the spot will make Tony realize Steve is actually interested in him now. If naked on the bed with only panties doesn't work, nothing but a proposal will. Even then Tony would probably deny it and say “Oh, are you practicing, Steve? I didn’t know you were dating someone. Who’s the lucky person?”
On the inside, Tony would feel crushed at the news. Steve had been dating? And he never once told Tony about it? Were they not friends after all?? And now Steve was going to be unavailable and now he really doesn’t stand even a fraction of a chance at getting him. He gives up.
Meanwhile, Steve just stares at him. Stares at his soul, at his fathead, while simultaneously screaming on the inside because how dense can this sweet but damn oblivious alpha be? So he does the only thing he can at that point. He stands up, grabs Tony by his jacket and drags him up to kiss him. No way is Tony going to mistake this.
He pulls back with a wide smile, eager for Tony to finally pick up what he’s been putting down the whole time. Tony is dazed and his cheeks are pink and he looks flustered. Then he opens his mouth, ready to say something, and Steve expects him to understand, a simple word of “Oh,” at finally getting it, but instead…
“You wanna fight?”
And Steve sighs, giving up and resting his forehead on Tony’s shoulder, almost in tears. “Tony no.”
Chapter 31: He's My Alpha Au Pt 5
(Continuation, Stony, AvAc, alpha!Tony, omega!Steve, insecure!Tony, oblivious Tony, like really oblivious, but Steve finally got through)
Before Steve can finally convince Tony he really wants him, he has to be careful with his attempts at showing them. Tony's insecurities make it very difficult to publicly show.
One attempt had Steve putting a giant banner on the sky saying “I like you, Tony. Mate me.”
Tony stood in place to stare at it with wide eyes and for a moment Steve dares to believe the dense alpha finally got it. Finally understood Steve wants him! But then Tony frowns, looks around, and walks over to where Rhodey and Jan are standing. His shoulders are hunched and his head is down. Something an alpha would certainly never do but it makes Steve’s heart sink because why? Why would he react in such a way? Did he not want Steve? That hurt a little thinking about.
He jogs over, needing to know Tony’s response. He basically propositioned him. All that’s missing is to put a ring on it and forever keep the others away but Tony has his head down and Steve needs to know.
He gets within hearing range and listens. “Hot tub?” Tony says and sounds so sad just asking that. Rhodey and Jan agree.
The alpha's back is to Steve so Rhodey and Jan are able to look over Tony’s shoulders at him and shake their heads in sympathy before following after Tony to the Stark hot tub.
Pepper appears from somewhere behind him and grips his shoulder hard, making Steve jump and shiver. “Might want to rethink your plan, Captain. Next time put your damn name on the banner. Tony will always, always, misunderstand. In your case I don’t think just telling him you’re interested will help you at all. Might make it worse, actually.”
Pepper pulls him in and glares at him, making Steve feel small. “Unless you have a full-proof plan that doesn’t involve a crowd, don’t try again for the rest of the week. Tony thinks that banner is mocking him and won’t respond to anyone while he licks his wounds. Your next plan better damn well have positive results.”
Steve gulps and nods, standing straight when Pepper finally lets go and walks away. He’s more determined than ever now. Tony didn’t jump or bat an eye after someone practically gave themselves on a silver platter. He thought he was being mocked. How can such a gentle soul have such low opinions of himself?
Steve clenches his hands, plans already forming in his head.
After much trial and error Steve thinks he’s finally found a way to convince Tony that, no, it’s not a joke. No, he doesn’t want to fight. No, he’s not making fun of him and no, he’s not trying to prove some point of superiority or independence by choosing the crippled alpha, like many asshole alphas seem to think he’s doing.
He plays it carefully and gets Tony a present, something akin to a promise ring, except not an actual ring since it’ll probably get ruin with all of Tony’s engineering and fighting with the Iron Man suit. Something that even Tony recognizes no matter how much in denial he is in.
Steve leaves campus with Jan, relying on her to help choose something proper and something Tony would proudly wear. Something that just screams Tony. Something that shows the whole world how much Steve knows about Tony.
It takes five grueling hours of browsing through accessories for them to find something even close to perfect. They go through rings, through bracelets, even through collars and piercings, but nothing screams Tony, nothing screams ‘I care deeply for you, Tony, and I want you to be mine and for me to be yours, if you’ll take me,’ and the longer they search the more his hope diminishes. Maybe he’ll never convince Tony to give them a chance. Maybe it just isn’t meant to be.
“We could try across the street. It’s highly recommended, according to this. Perfect place to buy a gift for your mate,” Jan offers, smiling and not giving up, but Steve’s tired and his heart is not in it anymore. He’s starting to give up. “How about we try again tomorrow?”
“Maybe. It’s just… none of these things say ‘Tony,’ and now that I think about it he can easily afford all this stuff. What can I buy that he hasn’t already considered? I don’t know why I thought getting him a gift would work.”
“Oh no you don’t mister! You can’t start thinking like that. Tony can afford everything in this store, that’s true no doubt, but it’s not about affording, it’s about giving! The thought that counts. I bet there’s a lot of omegas out there who thought the same thing and didn’t bother getting him a gift. Not for the Holidays and not for his birthday. How do you think he feels? You’re probably the first one who even thought of trying this!”
The more she talks the more Steve’s determination grew. What she says makes perfect sense. In all the time he spent on campus he never saw one of his omega or beta classmates give Tony anything. No one even thought to discuss it. What if Tony really had been going for years without receiving a single gift from the heart?
Steve would really be the first.
“But what if we don’t find anything for him?”
Jan pokes his chest. “We won’t give up so easily. There is something here. We’ll search every corner until we find it. If not, we’ll make it with our bare hands!”
They didn’t need to go that far. Not when Steve finally, truly, thought about it. The answer is so easy, so obvious.
“Jan… we don’t need to shop anymore.”
Her eyes lit up. “You have the perfect gift?”
“I’ve been having it.”
How is he so blind to not have thought of that before?
They plan it down to a T. Make sure everything is perfect and nobody’s there to get in the way or ruin it. Jan is in charge of bringing Tony to the Avengers park while Steve hides behind a tree waiting. Rhodey, Pepper, and Jarvis are on the outskirts of the park, making sure no one wonders inside while they have their moment or someone tries to object.
“Jan this is the park.” Steve hears Tony say as they get closer to his spot.
“What do you have to show me that involves the park? And what is that smell?”
“Fresh air, Tony.”
“I don’t like it.”
“Just a little bit further. You’ll love this. Trust me.”
“Is it a new outfit inspired by nature or some animal?”
“Nope. It’s a someone.”
“A some-” Tony’s eyes widen when he spots Steve make his appearance from behind the tree “-…one?” he trails off.
“Hi, Tony,” Steve gives him a small wave with a nervous smile.
Jan slides away without the two realizing it.
“Hi, Steve,” Tony says back, confused, wary, “fancy meeting you here.”
“Actually it was planned.”
“Planned? Did you need something from me?”
“Yes,” Steve takes a deep breath. “I need you to accept something of mine.”
“Oh, sure. Easy enough.”
Steve got the feeling it wasn’t going to be so easy for Tony if he understood what Steve meant by it. With sweaty fingers, he reaches into the pocket of his jacket as he starts walking closer to Tony, careful not to spook the alpha in any way. He gently pulls out something and holds it between his fingers.
He hears the audible and confused gasp from Tony. He understood.
“I want you to have these.”
Hanging from a chain held between his fingers are his dog tags. Old and worn and had been with Steve for some time now. They are one of few things Steve managed to keep from his time and they’re precious. Tony understood just how precious.
“Steve…” Tony is eyeing them as if they were a ticking time bomb, ready for it all to fall apart right before him.
“Will you have me?” Steve braces himself.
“You can’t mean it -”
“Tony, will you have me?”
Tony doesn’t reach for them. He actually takes a step back. He’s terrified, ready to bolt and hide away, but Steve can’t let that happen. He holds the chain out, his dog tags dangling. “I’m not messing with you and I’m not pranking you. I want you to have my dog tags, Tony. Will you take them?” Will you date me?
It took nearly a minute for Tony to react. He takes a shaky step forward in order to stand under the chain and allow Steve to put it on him. The tags rest right over his arc reactor.
“Steve… are you sure?”
Instead of saying anything because actions speak louder than words, Steve let his hug be his answer. He pulled Tony closer and held him tightly. Tony came carefully. “Are you?”
Tony wrapped his own arms around Steve’s waist as his response. The gauntlet digging into his back a comfort he didn’t know it could be.
Chapter 32: He's My Alpha Au Pt 6
(Continuation, Stony, AvAc, alpha!Tony, omega!Steve, insecure!Tony, oblivious Tony, but Steve finally got through to him, even got him a ring)
Once it finally sunk in that Steve is his, that Steve wants him, wants all Tony could give him, Tony would try to spoil Steve rotten. Like over the top spoil. If Steve gave something a look twice Tony would Instantly buy it. If Steve mentioned wanting some Swedish cheese to try Tony would handle that in a heartbeat. He'd get a whole fridge full of it. Does Steve want a variety of cheese? Tony has you covered, Steve! How about cheese from a goat in Austria?? Aged cheese? This 200-year-old cheese? Tony will give it all to Steve.
Steve wears a blue jacket because that’s his color scheme. Naturally it must be his favorite color, right? Be careful, Steve. Here comes Tony with all kinds of expensive-looking jackets and shirts and shoes. All blue. You like blue, Steve? Tony got you blue. How about yellow? Blue and yellow? You want some fuck?
One time Steve makes the mistake of commenting about how easier it would be to get from building to building on campus with a motorcycle (he already has one but can’t exactly use it on the sidewalks) just to converse and make a joke. Tony takes the suggestion with open arms and runs off to get Steve that motorcycle. Steve swears he looked away from Tony for one second and when he looks back Tony is there with a shiny new motorcycle, blue and yellow ribbon and all, ready to give him.
Steve is flattered sure, but mildly uncomfortable, too. This isn’t a case of alpha trying to provide for their omega, is it? Trying to show they can support their family? Steve hopes not because he really doesn’t need all this.
Then on another day Steve starts talking about unable to find privacy away from the paparazzi constantly trying to take his picture when he’s out on the streets and Tony gets this look that Steve just knows means he’s about to go over the top and Steve has to scramble in order to grab the alpha and stop whatever he’s thinking.
“But, Steve! Island!”
“No, Tony! I don’t need an island.”
“How will you get privacy then? I can make it so no one steps foot on it. A house on a cliff. A beach. A forest to run in. You like forests, right? I can buy you a forest!”
Steve has to sit his wayward alpha down in order to explain that, yes he’s very happy to receive those gifts, but he doesn’t need it. He doesn’t need all these items, these expensive materials when he’s perfectly happy with what he already has. He knows Tony can provide for him. Knows Tony can buy him all that omega jewelry and expensive cloth. He knows he and their future pups won’t go hungry. He’s fine. He’s happy. He doesn’t need it nor does he want it.
Tony looks down solemnly. In his hand, there’s a tiny box that Steve hadn’t noticed. Another gift and Steve is ready to tell him, no, to return it. He doesn’t need it. Then Tony goes to open it and inside is the largest eight and a half-carat rock Steve had ever seen. “So then you don’t want -”
Steve lunges for that one because, while the rock is unimportant, the damn meaning behind it does. (Later on, when Bucky finally chooses his mate as well and gets into an argument with Steve he shoves his 6-carat rock to his face and Steve retaliates. “Talk to my 6-carat ring, you punk!” “Talk to my 8 in a half!”)
Tony finally begins to understand he doesn’t need to give Steve much or go overboard with it, but it’s not so much needing to, but wanting to. Tony wants to show Steve how much he cares, how much he loves.
“Then get me small things, babe," Steve tells him when Tony voices his concerns to him. "Flowers. Chocolates. Coffee. Get me my favorite foods. I love food. Hug me every day. Kiss me hello and goodbye. I don’t need much.”
“But what if your friends get big things from their mates and you start to feel, I don’t know, forgotten? Or envious?”
“Then I’ll have you, and that’s enough for me.”
Tony chokes back a little hiccup there.
He still gives to his mate. Small things like Steve wanted. Makes sure to buy flowers for Steve on every Monday. Gets him a cup of coffee when he goes to buy himself one. Buys chocolates for him whenever he passes by a stand that sells them. Buys extra food to bring when he has the munchies. Makes sure to give the biggest hugs he can when he sees him. Sends him a text message saying he hopes Steve is doing fine and taking care of himself. Sends Steve funny videos and pictures. The works.
Steve gives him a smile that lights the whole room each time.
That is not to say Steve doesn't spoil Tony in his own way.
He doesn't have the money to spend lavishly as Tony does, but he's got plenty of love and affection to give. 70 years worth of it. He makes sure to give everything he can to his very insecure alpha while continuously batting away the many betas and omegas who continue to cry at the loss, but are still optimistic their relationship won't last.
He also marks Tony any chance he gets. He marks a lot. Hickeys. Scenting. Taking every opportunity to expose the dog tags Tony wears to show the world "this alpha is mine."
When Steve finally thinks the time is right and he gets a chance he puts a ring on Tony so hard no one would mistake the alpha as available. He made sure to get that near 9 carat gold ring with a bit of vibranium (not easy to get on his part for T’Challa also wanted that alpha and made sure to say no out of spite) that cost him all his earnings that build up in his savings over the 70 years frozen. He made sure to mark Tony and every and any way to let the other betas and omegas know BACK OFF.
The ring easily rivals the one Tony had gotten him during their early years. During the Academy. Tony does pout a little at being unable to use vibranium for the ring he gave Steve, but he's just so happy to have one from Steve at all. It's official. Truly official. The heavy insecurity over his shoulders finally starts to lift.
As for Steve, he never relaxes and never explains to Tony why he used to be so hellbent on marking him while they were in the Academy. Or even to that day. He also never explains why he sent death glares to everyone passing by them.
“Tony you precious, oblivious fool," Steve tells him when Tony inquires.
“I heard that, Steve.”
Steve continues to watch for any possible alpha stealers for months to pass until their honeymoon. Even while they say their “I dos” Steve asks Rhodey, Pepper and Jan to guard the doors in case any beta or omega dared to barge in and try to run off with Tony like some cheesy tv or movie drama. He got Natasha and Bucky to help keep betas and omegas in line and prevent any ‘I objects!’ from happening. He got Sam to keep watch on the balconies, not wanting a dramatic reference of that film where an omega or beta will cry Tony’s name in despair and Tony will change his mind and run off with them together to a bus.
None of that happened obviously, but Steve never relaxes. Not until he finally has Tony alone with him, naked, in their room on a cliff with a private beach and they’re safely enjoying their honeymoon. He searches the area before that, though, making sure there isn't a beta or omega hiding in the closet or attic.
Long after their honeymoon and the alphas and betas and omegas have shed all their tears at their loss, does Steve even hint at Tony’s popularity. And even then it’s casually mentioned.
“I still don’t understand why you marked me so much back in the academy, babe. You’d think it would’ve been me since I’m the alpha.”
“Hm? Oh, that’s because I had to make the other omegas and betas knew you belonged to me and only me and they had no chance unless they wanted broken arms.”
Tony stares at him with curious horror. “What?”
Steve gave him a dead look of exasperation before it went fond. “Dear, everyone on that campus that wasn’t an alpha wanted you, except for Rhodey, Pepper and Jan. Everyday was war trying to keep them away.”
“That - n-no, that can’t be right. No one wanted me on that campus, Steve. The cripple alpha not worth much.”
Steve put a comforting hand on his arm. “Babe, we talked about this.”
At one point they have a little academy reunion where all the hero/villains gathered to talk about old times and show off what their lives are like now. Some have kick-ass teams they lead. Some brag about how loved they are by the people. The villains taunt other villains about their destructive accomplishments. Couples go to brag about their grand romance, how they met, how perfect the other is.
Then there’s Steve and Tony, still together and Steve still as possessive and all the alphas, betas and omegas who still held on to hope decide it was the perfect time to include alcohol now because woe is them. Everyone not affected by this power couple drink because hey, free drinks.
Pepper and Rhodey join in on the bemoaning of The Era of Obliviousness. All the omegas and betas crying about their failed attempts, about the obliviousness being their downfall. Alphas curse this obliviousness, blame it for the reason why Captain America was taken from right under them.
Tony spends the whole time holding a drink but is too embarrassed to actually drink it. He sits with his face all flushed from all their tales. Steve sits smugly with an arm over his shoulder. The real victor of the reunion.
The Era of Obliviousness became a thing among them all to talk to the future generation of heroes/villains. It becomes history. There’s a book about it, written by someone who attended the academy at the same time as Steve and Tony, but kept his identity hidden. No one knows who wrote it. No one will.
It's totally Natasha.