When Tony Stark was little, he asked his Aunt Peggy, "Aunt Peg, why does Dad hate me?"
Aunt Peggy had frozen, dropping the pen on the table and looking up at Tony with tear filled eyes. Back then, young Tony had not been able to understand the emotions that passed through her face. Now, as a much older man, Tony knew Aunt Peggy was surprised, sad, angry and terrified.
"Come here Tony," she said, patting her knees. Tony let go of the small circuit board and climbed up on Aunt Peggy's lap. She pulled back the young boy's hair and rested her head on top of his.
"Listen to me, my boy. Your father doesn't hate you. Always remember that. Your father loves you. All right?"
Tony had nodded, not believing those words at all. Later that night, when Howard had come to pick him up, Aunt Peggy took him away and shouted on him. Howard had shouted back, saying how he never wanted Tony and it was just a piece of baggage left for him.
It was years later when Tony finally understood the meaning of the whole conversation.
Tony Stark never really had a normal family. So he made an unconventional one. MIT gave him Rhodey and the whole Rhodes clan. As he took the reigns of the Stark Industries, he found a lovely Secretary in the form of Virginia 'Pepper' Potts. Tony was quite happy with the world he had.
His life was easy-invent a few weapons, go to a few board meetings and ditch the others, sign random papers that Pepper got him and party all night before taking a woman or sometimes, a man, home. If Rhodey was in town, he would have drinks with him. Christmases were Rhodes family affair and he would not miss it for the world.
The first change came in the form of Afghanistan. Everything happened in a rush after that-Iron Man, Stane, Palladium Poisoning.
And Tony found a new member of his unconventional family-Natasha Romanov.
Despite having a weird start and a big no from her for the Avengers Initiative-whatever, Tony didn't care- the woman just appeared in his life. A deadly assassin spy who liked sneaking up to people and bringing food at odd hours.
The first time she appeared in his lab, Tony had screamed his heart out, earning a small chuckle from Natasha. JARVIS, that little shit, had not even informed him.
Natasha was an interesting person, though. Whenever she stayed, which was quite often, either the two would have most philosophical debates ever or they would throw mundane things at each other and behave like toddlers. Natasha would often climb on the couch Tony otherwise occupied and sleep with her head on his lap, which was quite scary. The first time Rhodey saw them like that, Tony was asleep and Natasha made a swift motion across her neck before pressing her finger to her lips.
As time passed, the two shared shitty childhood stories and the demons they shared. Tony was pretty sure Natasha was the only person who knew the extent of Howard's nonsense and Tony was the only person who knew the extent of Natasa' training.
One day, when Natasha was writing the report of her recent mission and Tony was working on the new suit, he looked at her and noticed something.
"You are naturally blonde?"
Natasha looked up, raising an eyebrow. "Yup. Dye it red."
Tony laughed. "Seriously? I thought it was legit."
"Nothing's legit about me Stark. You should know that by now."
Tony shrugged, nodding and going back to work.
As the day came to an end, Natasha jumped off the couch and pressed a kiss on Tony's cheek.
"I will be gone for some time. Don't be an idiot."
Tony snorted. "I thought between the two of us, you are the idiotic one."
Anybody else would have received a knife to their throat but Natasha merely smirked and swatted Tony's head before leaving. Tony wouldn't miss her too much-Pepper was coming, he had to finish the working on the Stark Tower and then the press conferences.
The next few days were quite unexpected for Tony. First, he was suddenly eligible for Avengers Initiative- Excuse you, he was not jumping around the tower in excitement and JARVIS, delete that video or God help me- and they wanted Iron Man. Then, while going through the works, Tony had to admit that the team members were quite- unique. There was him, Natasha, someone named Clint Barton-the guy who got Natasha to SHIELD, Hawkeye- Dr Bruce Banner, his legendary counterpart Hulk and...Captain America.
They found Captain America in the ice and he was alive.
Technically, they should have informed Tony about this since it the funds for Arctic expedition came from his father's trust fund and after his old man's death, he kept tabs of all the funds. So, he should have been the first to know. But Fury, of course, did not tell Tony.
Well, he would deal with that later.
When JARVIS pinged him about SHIELD going to Stuggard, Germany, Tony knew he had to suit up. What better way to make an entrance than to declare to the world that he was there by blasting AC/DC on the coms?
Once on the jet, Loki quite secured, Tony took off the mask and so did Captain America. And Cap froze looking at him.
Must have reminded him too much of Dad.
Ignoring the shocked face of Cap, Tony turned to the person he knew. "Hey, Nat."
"Hey, Tony," Natasha said without looking back, "I thought you were not recommended for the Avengers Initiative."
"First of all, screw you and second of all, screw you."
Natasha laughed as Cap began looking at Tony without the shocked face. "I don't remember it being this easy."
Conversation flowed after that-well, as well as it could with Tony being himself around the righteous Captain America. He was pretty sure he had pissed Capsicle by the time Loki's brother came to take him away. The little fight that followed wasn't any brilliant after that either.
Once Tony reached the Helicarrier, he skitted over to one person he knew would understand how he spoke-Dr Bruce Banner.
Natasha was still moping over Clint Barton- forbidden love, anyone? and Tony needed a partner after Captain definitely disapproving of him and Point Break weeping over his brother, um, excuse you, adopted brother.
The next few hours would never be clear for Tony. There was an adrenaline rush, there was sorrow, there were secrets and there was confusion. What Tony would remember was that Coulson had died, the team came together, he flew a nuke through the wormhole and when he woke up, Captain America legit hugged him!!
Once Loki and the alien objects were secured, Tony dragged everyone to the Shwarma centre and it was pretty good. When he was settled, calm and tired, Tony noticed Captain America.
That guy was freaking 25! He was a kid. For the world, World War 2 happened 70 years, for this guy, it had been mere weeks. Technically, he was in his 90's, but physically and mentally? he was the youngest in the group and yet, he was the most one who had lead the team.
Tony remembered being 21, suddenly taking the reigns of Stark Industries and handling everything. He could relate to the guy. No wonder he was permanently pissed. He just got out of one war and Fury forced him into another.
Once they were all done, tired and ready to go their separate ways, Tony pulled Cap apart. He was shocked, but Tony didn't give him time to speak before launching into an explanation.
"Okay, so I guess the last few days haven't been so great for you. I mean, I can't understand being forced into a world that is so different of mine. But it must definitely be terrible. I mean, a lot has changed in the past few years itself, seventy years is a long time. We have so many things, from simply connected telephones to smartphones and the Internet! It must be horrible for you. Dad talked about you a lot, saying you were always adaptable and could change but everybody needs help, right? I made that tower, the one that you called ugly and it's not really ugly. It is just different from what you remember buildings to be like. Anyways, You see, I have loads of residential floors and they are all empty. I can decorate them anyways, money is no matter, and you won't get better access to the world from anywhere else. So?"
Captain blinked owlishly at him before slowly saying, "Are you inviting me to live with you?"
Tony shrugged. "Kind of. If you are okay with it, that is Rogers."
His face went from an almost smile to a closed face in the matter of mere seconds. Tony had no idea what he had done wrong. Did he say too much? he had a habit of doing that.
"One condition," He said, smiling sadly, "Please don't call me by my name."
The request was odd, but Tony never questioned it. Once Loki departed with his brother to face Asgardian justice, whatever that included, Tony pulled Steve and Bruce to live with him at the tower. Natasha stayed half of the time there, so it was no surprise that she and Pepper had already designed a floor just for her. Barton could not stay with his SHIELD friends because-guilt.
The 'S','T','R' and 'K' had already fallen from the tower. Perhaps, it wouldn't be so bad to make the tower dedicated to the Avengers. It would be good publicity as well. With the most advanced people in that very tower, attacking it would be stupid.
When Thor appeared on the terrace a few days later and declared that it was a quite good headquarters for the team, well, it was settled.
It was officially dubbed the Avengers Tower.
And just like that, Tony had more members in his family.
Three weeks in, Tony knew all his teammates' quirks and habits.
Thor did not always live at the tower, but whenever he did, he wanted Pop Tarts for some reason. He could not understand any reference ever and he was a big softie.
Natasha had the most brilliant voice ever, but nobody was a fool to comment on it. Bruce once tried to compliment her, but Clint shook his head frantically.
Clint liked vents for some reason. If he was nowhere, he would be in the vents. There was also a small blanket on the A of the Avengers Tower that was made by him. Tony never tried to understand the weirdo.
Bruce meditated a lot. The only thing that would make him lose control was-spoilers?
Coulson was alive- he was going to kill Fury one of these days- and he liked to drop in at odd hours, just like Natasha did before. He was close to Thor for some reason.
Cap loved to draw. He was a mother hen. Any time Tony would spend more than four hours in the lab, Steve would come knocking in and force him out, either to make him eat or go sparring. When he first came, Tony had a weird sleeping routine. Anything more than four hours was too much. But God forbid if that super soldier saw Tony anywhere but on his bed from 10 to four in the morning. When Steve had put down the chart, Tony had laughed. But when he literally carried to his bed for seven days straight, Tony knew that Cap was serious. As a result, Tony started sleeping for at least six hours every day. Though Tony wouldn't admit it, he did feel a tad bit better. Not a lot, no, just a tad bit.
Steve was also an omega.
The first time Tony had discovered this was a few weeks after The Battle of New York. Cap was running a fever, which should technically be impossible since he had the serum. They were all sitting in the Living Room when JARVIS' voice rang through the speakers.
"Captain Rogers, I am detecting elated temperature from your body. Shall I contact a doctor?"
Everybody looked at Steve as he whimpered and shook his head. "No JARVIS, it's just my heat. I will be in my room. It will be fine."
"Heat?" Natasha asked, eyebrows raised. "You have heats?"
Steve nodded, resting his head on the pillow. "Of course I have heats. Who wouldn't I?"
"You are an omega?" Bruce asked a slight confusion etched on his face.
Steve nodded, closing his eyes. "Always have been."
"And the US Government allowed an Omega to serve in the War? Seriously?"
Steve chuckled lightly, trembling a bit. "They never knew. Erskine's formula would only work on an Omega and so he chose me. But no one else knew back then. Only afterwards they found out."
Steve words were slurred and it was clear he was ready to fall. Tony immediately stood up from his place and sat down beside Cap, making him rest his head on Tony.
"Hmm, Bucky. I missed ya Jerk."
Tony looked around, a little confused. Everybody knew who Bucky Barnes was- Captain America's childhood friend and only Howling Commando to give up his life in the battlefield. Was Steve hallucinating already?
"Cap?" Tony slightly jerked the guy. "It's me, Tony."
"Tony?" Cap asked, puzzled, "You are supposed to be small. Why are you so big?"
Natasha chuckled, before lifting him up from one side and Tony helping him from the other. "All right Steve, you are hallucinating already. Let's go down to your floor, all right?"
"But I want Bucky! I want my Alpha. Where's he?"
Everyone froze at Steve's words. That...made sense. Well, a bit of sense. But why did Steve call Tony Bucky?
"We will get him, Cap," Tony said slowly. He must have forgotten about the train. Was this his first heat after Bucky's death? Holy shit, that must be horrible. "We will get him. Let's go rest now, would ya?"
Steve nodded, resting his head on Tony's shoulder and holding on to him and Natasha.
The Heat lasted three days. For some reason, Steve would only calm down if Tony or Natasha would sit beside him and talk to him. The others thought it must be something to do with the fact that Tony looked a bit like Barnes.
"I do not!" Tony argued on the last night. Clint shrugged as Coulson continued, "But you do! You have similar bone structure hair."
Tony snorted. "You are weird, Coulson."
When the heat ended the Fourth day, Tony went down to Steve's room to find him gone. On asking JARVIS, it was revealed that Steve had gone off to DC, DC! to visit an old friend. How had he taken off? Why, with his motorbike of course!
Two days later when Cap returned, everybody was asking about his well being and reprimanding him for being so stupid. The only thing he said was to Natasha, "Please don't call me by my name."
The next day, when Tony and Natasha were sparring in the gym, Tony chuckled as Natasha told him what Steve had said.
"My rules apply to you too now."
Natasha huffed, attacking Tony with a knife. "Why though, why would he ask that from me?"
Tony shrugged, before moving aside and jumping on Natasha. "Dunno. Maybe he has decided to take you under his wing as well."
Natasha knocked him off, pinning him on the ground before asking, "What do you mean?"
Tony pulled his hand away before turning and looking up to her. "Oh please don't pretend you don't know what I mean! That guy literally monitors my sleeping pattern and my eating habits. He is worse than my mother and Jarvis combined!"
Natasha chuckled, standing up. "Well, he won't be able to do that to me. I am not as easy as you, Stark."
Turned out, Natasha was wrong and Tony was absolutely right.
Steve began to monitor Natasha's food habits like a hawk. What she ate, how much strain she put on herself- everything was being carefully taken care of. Tony laughed as Steve almost forced Natasha to eat because-, "Natasha you need healthy food! You are a spy and an assassin! How will you work if you don't have enough nutrients?"
Tony had been hit by multiple pieces of steak which he had merely enjoyed eating as Natasha sulked. For some reason, even she was not immune to Steve's lecture.
It came to a limit when Natasha was transferred to DC for some mission. Natasha was glad, Tony could tell. She would be free to do as she wanted to. But her dreams were shattered in a million little pieces when Steve declared he was going to lead the STRIKE team.
"Just tell him!" Tony said to Natasha the day before they were due to leave. "If he's bothering you so much, why don't you call him out?"
"The same reason you don't call him out," Natsah murmured, munching on cheeseburgers. "We both know he isn't crossing his limits and the things he does are actually healthy."
Tony snorted at Natasha's tone. It sounded like somebody was forcing her to speak those words. They were true, but still.
"But it's irritating!" Tony pitched in.
"hell yes, it is!"
Tony chuckled, looking back at the designs for Stark Industries.
"Do you think it's because he is an omega?"
Tony turned, raising an eyebrow. "What?"
"I don't really trust those bigots on what they say," Natasha said, sitting upside down, "But do you think it could be because Steve is an omega that he is mothering us?"
"Neither of us is an omega," Tony pointed out.
Natasha nodded, "True. It must be something else."