•T O N I S T A R K•
TONI KNEW that she would never find her soulmate. She also hoped with everything in her, that she wouldn't.
Since the age of two, when she was able to read, she'd marveled over the black letters scrawled across her hip.
Her father, however, told her that soulmates were useless. There was no such thing as destiny. Love was simply a chemical in the brain, and people just chose to go along with whichever name was written somewhere on their body.
So Toni had grown to despise the terrible name on her skin, covering it with makeup at all times, and never, ever, letting anyone see.
She pushed the name from her mind, barely even remembering Steven scribbled on her side. She pretended she didn't see another woman's name on her father's arm, and another man's name on her mother's neck.
And she did what any young, rebellious billionaire would do. She slept around, she drank, she did drugs. Anything to help erase the name from her mind.
"Starks are made of iron, Antoinette." Her father would tell her. "They don't bother with soulmates." He'd said soulmates like a curse, disgusted at the word.
Toni pretended she didn't notice her mother's depressed episodes when she would run her fingers over the name on her neck and stare out into the distance, longing for something more, for something else.
Toni wasn't supposed to exist, it's what her mother had told her one evening when she was drinking her hundredth glass of wine. Children born from non-soulmates were wrong to the older woman.
But no matter the parentage, everyone had a soulmate. Toni made it her personal goal to never, ever, meet Steven, be it the last thing she did.
•T O N I S T A R K•
STEVE HAD been entranced by the beautiful name on his collarbone the second he could read.
His mother had read it to him hundreds of times before he ever even looked in the mirror, whispering about how she couldn't wait to meet the woman that would steal her little boy's heart.
Every chance he got, Steve would rub the letters, every single one ingrained in his brain. He dreamed of meeting Antoinette every time he slept and he wondered what she looked like.
He wondered how they'd meet and how she'd act. He wondered what she'd sound like and how much time they'd spend together.
“She'll be beautiful, Steven.” His mother would say. “She'll be perfect for you.” Steve could only hope.
When he was a young boy, he met his best friend Bucky Barnes who they eventually showed their soulmarks to each other.
Bucky had said that Antoinette was a beautiful name and Steve had said the same about Natalia.
Steve hadn't met his soulmate, even as he joined the army, but he never lost hope. Even as he was plunged into the cold darkness, he could only think that Antoinette would be waiting for him.
Waking up in the twenty first century had been a shock, but the name on his collarbone was still a firm black, so he had hope.
Steve made it his one and only goal to find his love, if it was the last thing he did.
•T O N I S T A R K•
AFTER THE battle of New York, Nick Fury had ever so nicely volunteered Stark Tower to be the new Avengers' living quarters for 'team bonding' and such.
He had worded it as “Less assemble time” but Toni knew the truth. Fury was a sap and wanted the group of rag tag heroes to become friends, and maybe even. . . family.
Toni shudders at the thought of family. It was exactly what she didn't want. People getting close to her was basically her biggest fear.
Besides Pepper and Rhodey, she hadn't had a close friend her entire life. And the family that she did have were all dead, and she was glad for it.
But seeing as Fury was forcing her, she might as well make the best of it. A mere day after the battle she'd had a construction crew fixing up the tower, and she herself had flown up in her suit to fix the A, knowing Fury would probably say she had like feelings or something if he saw her preparing the building for her teammates.
She made one floor for every single one of them, leaving the decor up for them to choose and leaving custom made Stark phones on their beds, (not even released yet) and a credit card connected to her account so they could buy or replace any furniture they wanted to.
She also left instructions for how to use the phone for Steve, because she was pretty sure he had no clue how to operate it.
There was of course, also a common room for all of them on the floor right below the top one. (The top one was hers.)
The first ones to move in were Natasha and Clint. Toni had emerged from her lab to find coffee after three days of being awake, only to find Clint on the counter eating a bowl of cereal and Natasha on a stool reading a magazine.
Clint had waved while Natasha simply looked up and nodded. "Great to see you." Toni said sarcastically, strolling toward tye coffee pot.
"I know, right? I'm amazing." Clint gushed. Toni snorted, she kind of liked the archer.
The next to arrive was Bruce, who had shown up one day with bags in hand and a very confused look toward the ceiling.
"I see you met my baby, Jarvis." Toni teased, jabbing his side lightly with her elbow.
He grinned weakly and Toni threw her arm around his shoulders, leading him into the elevator.
"You'll love it here, Brucie bear." She said with a large grin. Bruce smiled in response.
Next to come was Thor, who stayed for a few days, ate all the Poptarts, destroyed the lawn, and went back to Asgard.
The gardeners had been working at the grass for days.
And finally, last but not least, Steve showed up. Jarvis let him up on the elevator and and blond haired man had been so confused and in awe, that he could barely get words out.
Still a little bitter from the tension on the Quinjet, Toni had directed him to his floor, told him where the common room was, and retreated to her lab once again.
Since she wasn't used to it anyway, she didn't notice when not a single one of them said "thank you" for all she'd given them.
•T O N I S T A R K•
MONTHS AFTER the Avengers moved in, Toni still avoided them at all costs. She was either in her lab, on her floor, or somewhere halfway around the world at a board meeting that Pepper still made her go to.
She was currently in her lab, though, fixing one of her repulsors after a recent mission with her teammates.
It was an easy one and Toni had spent most of it bantering with Clint, then flying home in her suit as soon as it was over, skipping the debrief afterward so she could wrap her bruised and probably broken ribs.
She knew that next time she saw one of them, they'd grill her about responsibility and how she should have been there, but Toni just didn't give a shit.
Scratching the back of her neck, Toni yawned and set down the repulsors, deciding to work on it later. She stood and walked over to the lab door, nodding her head as Back In Black played in the background.
Petting Dummy as she went by, Toni exited the lab, yawning once again. She thought she'd been awake for about three days, but she wasn't sure.
Toni stepped into the elevator, bringing her foot up to rub, then putting it back into her black heels. Even at home, she had to look presentable, because if anybody saw her wearing, say a T-shirt and sweatpants, her reputation would be trashed.
"To the common room, J. I think I left my good coffee cup in there." She commanded.
"Of course, Miss Stark." Jarvis responded dutifully, the elevator moving upward.
Adjusting her designer dress (designer because, what else?), Toni walked from the elevator as soon as it stopped, veering toward the kitchenette and reaching for the cupboard.
"Stark." Steve snapped. She turned to him, grabbing her mug and walking toward the coffee pot.
"Yes?" She asked, pouring the delicious liquid.
"You skipped out on the debriefing again. Anymore and I'm going to have to bench you." Steve scolded.
Toni choked on her coffee, spluttering and laughing as she stared at him from behind her mug that read sarcasm is an art.
"You're going to put me in time out, Rogers?" She laughed.
Steve frowned. "This isn't funny, Stark. You have to be there." He snapped.
She raised her brows. "Why? You survived without me, didn't you? What was there that I had to explain?" She questioned.
"It doesn't matter that we didn't need you there. It's your responsibility to be there for your team." He growled.
Toni rolled her eyes. "I saved Natasha from becoming a pancake, didn't I?" She sassed.
"That's not what I meant! God, you should be more like your father and actually listen!" Steve exclaimed.
Toni's smile fell and she put her coffee down. If Steve knew how her father was after he'd gone in the ice, he'd be horrified and apologizing endlessly to Toni.
"Fuck you, Rogers." She spat, turning on her heel and stalking toward the elevator with an angry scowl.
Steve stood there seething and looked away. Toni entered her lab again, coffee forgotten as she sat down.
Yanking her ponytail from her hair, Toni dropped it on the table and glared at it like it was her least favorite iced Americano.
"Turn the music up, J." She snapped, spinning around and grabbing the repulsor again. The music instead, turned off.
Toni glared over at the door, her angry look fading when she saw who it was. "Natasha." She greeted.
"Toni. You know, Steve would've been a lot less harsh if you told him you're hurt." The redhead said.
Toni scoffed. "I don't give a shit. He can go fuck himself. You know, Howard spoke way too highly of him for him to be such a dick." She grumbled.
Natasha smirked. "That's because you never try to be nice. You're always rude to him."
Toni narrowed her eyes. "Am not! I sure as hell ain't gonna bow at his fucking feet." She hissed.
Natasha raised her brows. "Never said to. Maybe don't get on his nerves everytime you talk to him."
"So don't speak, then?" Natasha rolled her eyes, walking away.
Toni drove everyone away eventually. It was better if she never got close to them in the first place. So she didn't.
•T O N I S T A R K•
GROANING AWAKE, Toni blinked tiredly, stretching her arms over her head.
"Boss, Miss Potts is seeking entry." Jarvis said. Toni groaned again.
"Tell her I'm in Japan or something." She begged. There's a pause.
"Miss Potts can see you through the glass."
Toni sat up, nodding to the door. It opened at once, Pepper striding in, look nothing but professional.
"Toni, you were supposed to be at the board meeting thirty minutes ago!" The ginger hissed.
"I made you CEO for a reason, you can go to the board meetings for me." Toni flashed a press smile.
"You are still the head of R&D, you have to be there." Pepper stressed.
Toni flashed back to her earlier argument with Steve and frowned. "I made another Starkphone model and I'll release it soon. Tell them that." She said dismissively.
"Annie, you are supposed to tell them that." Pepper sighed. Toni grinned, spinning toward Pepper.
She and Rhodey were the only ones to ever call her that, the only ones she allowed to call her that. It always made her smile.
"Next time, Pep. I'm sorry. I'll even make another model of Starkpads if it will soothe you." It was the closest to an apology Pepper would get.
She sighed, hugging Toni quickly. "I have to go. Thank you Annie." The ginger left the lab, once again managing to lift Toni's spirits.
Suddenly, she heard a crash from one of the higher floors. "Jarvis? What was that?" She shrieked, jumping up.
"I'm afraid, it'd be best if you saw for yourself." The AI responded, opening the elevator doors for her.
Toni rushed toward them, leaning against the elevator wall with a deep frown.
Had someone broken one of the walls/windows and fallen out? Had someone dropped a very expensive piece of decor?
The possibilities were endless and Toni ran her fingers through her messy hair, just then realizing that she'd left her shoes on the lab floor.
Not caring much, the elevator doors opened and she stepped out, looking around frantically.
"What the hell broke and who broke it?" She cried, looking around and surveying everything.
Then her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. What the fuck. "Guys?" She asked very quietly and very slowly.
There were swallows of fear. "Yes, Toni?" Clint responded with a nervous smile.
She grinned at him, her eyes twitching. "Would you mind telling me how the everliving fuck, someone managed to get my favorite Bentley in the living room?"
Nobody responded. Clint slowly raised his hand in the air. "Uh, my bad?" He squeaked.
"Clinton Francis Barton. I will peel the skin from your bones!" She roared, stomping toward him.
He screamed, running from the room. "Jarvis, call my sui-" she was interrupted by a hand on her shoulder.
"Toni, he's useful to the team." Steve said, a grin fighting its way onto his lips.
"But my car!" She whined. The grin finally won, his face practically splitting in half from the smile.
"It's not broken is it? Surely we can find a way to get it back down to your garage." Steve commented.
Toni calmed just a bit. She could use her suit to carry it down, then she could work on it in the lab down there.
"Fine. But I will hit him next time I see him." She conceded.
Bruce laughed quietly and the sides of Natasha's lips quirked up. Toni slowly realized that she was standing there with her hair in all directions, her dress crooked, and her shoes gone.
"Well, shit." Toni muttered. Steve chuckled.
She glared over at him, her anger from their last conversation returning.
"By the way, fuck you, fuck Howard, and fuck being responsible." She spat, stamping toward the elevator, holding up her middle fingers behind her until the elevator doors closed.
She grinned and leaned against the wall. "J, remind me later to prank Clint. Also remind me to be angry at Steve."
"Right away, Miss." Jarvis said, definitely not reminding her to be angry at Steve, because he had seen the name on the super soldier's collarbone.
Neither of the two noticed that they'd called each other by their first names for the first time since they'd met.
•T O N I S T A R K•
"TONI, WHEN did you last sleep?" Steve questioned as Toni walked toward the kitchen for yet another cup of coffee.
"About five days now." Toni answered truthfully, having asked Jarvis the night before after the whole car fiasco.
Steve sighed. "That's not healthy." He scolded. She rolled her eyes, grinning as she found yet another hilarious coffee mug. It read I'm not Batman, I have friends.
It made her laugh every time because of the whole billionaire thing. Also the whole superhero thing too. . .
Enough of that, she shook her head and looked to him. "Okay, mom."
Steve sighed, shaking his head. "Please get some sleep, Toni." He begged. Despite not wanting to, his dumb puppy dog eyes convinced her.
She growled. "Fine." Toni snapped, putting the mug back and striding to the elevator.
"To the lab, boss?" Jarvis asked, knowing her so we'll. She really wants to, but. . .
"Nah, my floor, J." She responded, slipping her heels off and carrying them in her hand.
As soon as she got to her floor, she threw her shoes half- hazardly onto her couch and veered toward the wine cabinet.
"I thought you were going to sleep." Jarvis said drily.
"I will. First, I'm self medicating." She said in a snarky tone.
Jarvis didn't respond as she grabbed a full bottle of whiskey and padded toward her room. Putting the bottle on her bedside table, she walked over to her closet, shimmying out of her dress, the arc reactor becoming visible.
Toni looked at the full length mirror, tracing her fingers over the scars on her chest. She took a deep breath, as deep as she could, and grimaced.
The pain of the reactor was always there, a deep ache that settled in her bones. She felt it on the bad days and she felt it on the good days.
Sighing heavily, her eyes raked over there at of her body, stopping at her hip. Steven stood out against her tanned skin and she frowned.
Looking away, Toni pulled on a pair of sweatpants and a sports bra, collapsing onto her bed.
She grabbed the whiskey and "self medicated" herself until she fell asleep.
Toni woke quickly, her eyes snapping open only to find darkness. She gasped, panic clawing at her lungs as her hands flew to her chest, feeling for the reactor.
She couldn't feel the cool metal. That meant it was gone and she was going to die, who took it? Was it Obadiah?
"Miss Stark! You're okay! You're in your bedroom and your arc reactor is in place beneath your undergarments." Jarvis soothed.
Toni finally calmed down, feeling the ridges of the arc reactor under the cloth and breathing a sigh of relief.
Climbing out of bed, a cool breeze hit her torso, making her shiver. She swallowed at the intense darkness around her, used to always having at least a little bit of light.
Wandering from her room, she flicked on the light and looked around. Toni opened her fridge and frowned.
"J, where is all my food?" She asked in confusion.
"Gone, Miss. You haven't restocked." Jarvis informed her.
Her face soured as if she sucked a lemon. She walked to the elevator.
"Take me to the common room, I'll steal the team's food." She said sleepily, yawning.
Jarvis chuckled and Toni was down on their floor in seconds. She walked from the elevator and tears the kitchenette paying no mind to the others sitting on the couch watching a movie.
She opened the fridge, grabbing a half empty box of pizza and walking back toward the elevator.
"Toni, hey! Join us!" Steve called. Shrugging, she wandered back, dropping down in between Natasha and Steve.
"Hey, Toni, is that your soulmark?" Clint asked suddenly. All the attention was suddenly on her hip.
Toni frowned, having forgotten about it. Steve gasped and Toni cursed herself silently.
She'd failed at the one thing she'd needed to do, forget about it.
•T O N I S T A R K•
"DOES THAT say Steven?" Steve asked, deathly pale. Toni swallowed.
"Uh, yeah. It's whatever." She grumbled, putting down the pizza and covering up her mark.
"It's totally fine, Toni. We won't judge. I mean, heck, look at mine." Bruce said, pulling his shirt up a bit and revealing the name Elizabeth scrawled across his abdomen.
Clint shrugged, pulling his pant leg up to reveal Laura. Natasha sighed, turning and pushing up the back of her shirt, showing the name James written on her lower back.
"What about you, Steve?" Bruce questioned.
"Yes, what about you, Captain Rogers?" Jarvis asked excitedly.
Toni gives the ceiling a strange look. "Cool it, J." She muttered.
Steve blushed and looked down, tugging his collar out of the way to see the name Antoinette written across his collarbone.
Toni choked, flying off the couch and away from him. "Toni, what's wrong?" He asked in worry.
"I have to- I have to go." She croaked, sprinting for the stairs, way too impatient and skittish for the elevator.
Toni ran all the way up to her floor, slamming the door behind her as she struggled to fill her lungs with air.
"L-lock the doors, don't let anyone in." She whispered.
"Of course, Miss." Jarvis responded, sounding rather disappointed in her reaction.
"Did you know?" She cried.
"Yes, Boss." Jarvis said nonchalantly.
"What? Why didn't you tell me?" Toni exclaimed angrily.
"You never asked."
"I never- I never asked?" She hissed.
Jarvis stayed wisely silent. Sliding to the floor, Toni brought her shaky hand up to her face, her eyes falling closed.
She sucked in fast deep breaths, tye pain in her chest grounding her. "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god." She whimpered, dropping her hand to her side.
Toni dug her nails into the name, gasping frantically. "I never wanted to know. I never wanted to meet him." She sobbed, using her free hand to cover her mouth.
"Jarvis, c-call Rhodey." She gasped.
"Calling." Jarvis said, panic in his voice.
"Annie? What's up?" A very familiar voice questioned.
"Rhodey. Rhodey it's him." Toni rushed out.
"What? What's him?"
"Steven! Steven is Steve!" She shrieked, her hands yanking at her hair.
There was silence for a few moments.
"Steve Rogers? The Steve you hate?"
She nodded frantically, forgetting he couldn't see her. "Y-yeah. Yes. Exactly that Steve."
"Well, do you like him?" Rhodey asked calmly.
Toni paused. Did she like him?
"I don't- I don't know. No. Yes. Maybe?" Her breathing was picking up, getting harsher and faster.
"Calm down, Annie, calm down. Don't do anything. Avoidance; you're good at that, yeah? Don't do anything until you know what to do." Rhodey said simply.
Toni laughed. She laughed so hard.
"Platypus, are you encouraging my unhealthy behaviors? My doctor said you shouldn't do that." She teased, obviously deflecting.
Rhodey snorted. "Yeah, I guess so. Do whatever you want, Tones, I'll back you up."
Tears came to her eyes. "Thanks Rhodes." She hung up, sniffling and wiping her nose.
Toni stood stiffly, walking on trembling legs toward the counter. "Um, alcohol. Jarvis, where's my alcohol?" She squeaked.
Before he could respond, she waved it off, dropping onto the couch. "Uh, show me them. Now." She demanded, looking to the television.
The camera feed of the floor below pops up on the screen. "Why did she go?" Steve was asking.
"I don't know. She freaked when she saw your mark." Clint responded, glancing between Steve and the door.
"Why? Sure hers says Steven, but her name is Toni." Bruce said, frowning deeply as he stared at the wall.
Natasha, however, was simply looking from Steve to the camera.
"Toni isn't her real name, dipshits. Use the internet." The redhead said and rolled her eyes, striding from the room.
Toni's panic increased, her heart beating a mile a minute. "Oh god, oh god, oh god. They're gonna find out. I just found out. What the fuck. What the fuck."
Then she suddenly burst out laughing, clutching her side because it hurt so damn much.
"Oh, J, baby, Howard would throw that damn phrase out the window if he knew who Steven was." She laughed harder.
Eventually, though, the laughs turned to sobs and she clutched the reactor, agony rippling through her chest. She cried, and she cried, and she cried.
•T O N I S T A R K•
TONI HAD probably never avoided someone so much in her life. Ever since the whole soulmark fiasco a month ago, she hadn't seen Steve once.
That was, if you didn't count security feeds. She had watched as Steve looked up her real name and she had watched as he freaked out, but not nearly as bad as she had.
And then she had watched every single day as he tried to see her, while she avoided him like a bat out of hell.
So far, there were no assemble calls, so she didn't have to see him on a mission, but with the amount of anxiety in her nerves, she wouldn't be surprised if she just didn't show up on the next mission.
But she knew she really would be benched from the team if she skipped out on a mission without a valid excuse.
Valid excuse! That's her escape! She just needed to come up with a valid excuse.
"Uh, J, what's something that could get me out of an assemble call?" She questioned anxiously to the lab ceiling.
"Death." Jarvis said flatly.
She scoffed. "Not helping, you useless piece of junk." Toni grumbled.
Then her eyes lit up. "Actually-"
"Please don't actually die, Miss Stark, it was a joke." Jarvis cut her off.
Toni snorted. "No shit. No, I know. Maybe I could fake my death. Would that work? I could fake my death, move to Idaho, and start a potato farm." She ranted, chewing at her nails.
Jarvis laughed, a mechanical sound. "You wouldn't last a day."
Toni scrunched her nose. "Oh hush. How much food do I got left?" She deflected.
"None, Miss. You'll have to head up to the common room to get food." Jarvis said smugly.
She panicked, then calmed. "Hah, I can go to my floor." She sneered.
"Out of food there, remember?" Jarvis reminded. Toni soured, scrunching her nose again.
"Is, uh, anybody up there?" She questioned nervously.
"No ma'am." Jarvis said.
Sighing in relief, Toni stood and walked to the elevator, glancing down at her T-shirt and sweatpants.
She walked into the common room without looking around and went straight for the kitchen, brushing a strand of her back that had fallen from her bun.
She froze, the fridge door open. Swallowing, she glared up at the ceiling and very slowly turned around.
"Hey." Toni said awkwardly, scratching the back of her neck.
"Toni. Hi." Steve whispered. He throat went dry.
"I need to go back to the lab." She muttered, grabbing a bowl of leftovers and another pizza box.
"Toni, wait!" Steve cries, jumping off the couch and racing after her.
She stood still as he cornered her by the elevator. "W-we're soulmates. You can't say that doesn't mean anything to you." He pleaded.
Toni frowned, swallowing once again. "It doesn't." She said emotionlessly.
His brows furrowed and his pink lips parted so adorably-
Toni coughed. "Please, Toni. I've been waiting to meet you all my life." He whispered.
She grinned weakly. "And I haven't. Stark's don't bother with soulmates, Rogers."
Toni ducked into the elevator just in time to see Steve's heartbroken face.
She pretended it didn't stab a pang of pain into her heart.
•T O N I S T A R K•
THE FIRST thing that Toni had done after the confrontation with Steve, was go down to her garage and get into one of her cars, speeding away from the tower.
She drove around thirty miles above the speed limit but didn't care as the wind rippled through her hair and clothes.
She didn't even care that she was wearing casual clothing and had skipped out on shoes. She'd find more.
Toni drove for about a day straight, until she ran out of gas, then stopped at a gas station, refilled, and drove for another day, finally making it to her destination.
She parked in the garage of her Malibu home with a breath of relief. She hadn't been back in months and she'd missed the place.
Stepping out of her car, Toni shivered as her bare feet touched the cold floor. She padded toward the stairs and typed in the code.
Walking up, she glanced around at the familiar home, not being able to find it in her to smile anymore.
"Jarvis? You there, baby?" She called.
"For you, Miss, always."
A grin flickered on her lips at the familiar phrase. Toni strided toward the kitchen, digging into her wine cooler with a satisfied sigh.
She collapsed on the couch, drinking straight from the bottle. Even thinking of Steve filled her with conflict and confusion, so she decided not to think of him.
Instead, she thought of all the reasons they would never work.
Number one: Soulmates were stupid, just like her father said. They were just names on your skin that made you think you loved them.
Number two: Romance had never worked out for her. Any relationship she'd ever had ended in tears and heartbreak. If breakups with people who weren't her soulmate were bad, just how catastrophic would the inevitable breakup with her soulmate be?
Number three: She's not even sure she liked him. Steve had only ever gotten on her nerves since the day she met him.
They argued over the stupidest things, they enraged each other over the smallest details, and they had never, ever, thought of each other that way.
Sighing, Toni turned over on the couch, staring at the now empty bottle in disappointment.
She dropped it on the ground suddenly, not even flinching as it shattered. What was she supposed to do?
How was she supposed to react? Was she supposed to give him a chance? Because everything in her was screaming 'no'.
Squeezing her eyes shut, she pinched the bridge of her nose. She needed to talk to someone. She needed to know what to do.
Gasping, Toni sat up. Even as tears dripped down her face, she smiled. She knew exactly who to go to.
•T O N I S T A R K•
SITTING DOWN by her aunt's bed, Toni smiled softly. "Annie? What are you doing here?" Peggy asked softly, a smile lighting up her face.
"Hi Aunt Peggy. I missed you." She responded, taking the woman's hand.
Peggy smiled. "I missed you too, sweetheart. Now, what's on your mind?"
"You know me so well."
"Of course I do. I know everything."
Toni laughed. Then she sighed, her smile fading. "I met him."
Peggy's eyes lit up. "Steven? You met your soulmate?" She asked in excitement.
"It's, Steve Rogers, Aunt Peggy." She mumbled.
Peggy only smiled. "I know. I've known since you were born."
Toni frowned. "How?"
"Well, Antoinette was written under his neck and you had Steven on your side. It wasn't hard to figure out. In fact, it assured me that he'd be found one day." Peggy explained.
Toni laughed. "Oh, aunt Peggy. What do I do?" She asked.
"What do you mean, what do you do? You go fall in love with the man, of course!" Peggy exclaimed.
Toni frowned again. "I found out months ago, I ran away." She whispered.
Peggy smiled softly, putting her other hand over their hands. "Sweetheart, run back. He'll be waiting."
"How can you be sure? What if he doesn't want me?" Toni asked fretfully.
Peggy rolled her eyes. "Please. That man is as easy to read as a box of rocks. If he didn't like you, you'd know."
Toni sighed. "I don't know if I'm. . . soulmate material. Stark's don't bother with soulmates." She mumbled the last part.
A sudden fury lit up in Peggy's eyes. "What did you just say?"
Toni didn't answer, looking down. "Antoinette Evelyn Stark, you look at me. What did you just say?" Peggy demanded.
"Stark's don't bother with soulmates." Toni muttered.
Peggy breathed forcefully through her nose. "Howard Stark was a stupid, stupid man, Annie. Sure, there are some people who never meet their soulmates and live long happy lives with someone else, but that doesn't mean that you can't be happy with your soulmate."
Tears filled Toni's eyes. "Thank you Aunt Peggy, thank you so much." She whispered, her voice cracking.
"Anything for you, my dear, sweet Annie."
Toni placed a kiss on her aunt's forehead and stood. "I'll see you soon."
Toni walked from the room, a small smile on her face. She knew what she was going to do.
•T O N I S T AR K•
EXITING THE elevator, Toni's heartbeat was through the roof. She swallowed anxiously as she took note of the Avengers, minus Steve, sitting in the common room.
Clint smiled at her. "He's in his room, moping." Toni winced and nodded thankfully, her heels clicking loudly as she stalked back to the elevator, going to his floor.
Stepping out, she looked around at the still very bare decor. It seemed Steve hadn't bought anything else.
Toni brought her hand up and began tapping at the arc reactor; a nervous habit she'd formed.
Walking up to his door, she knocked and stepped back, letting her hair fall into her face.
She'd never been so nervous about something before. The door swung open and Toni's heart dropped.
Steve stood there, shirtless, with wild hair and dark bags under his eyes. "T-Toni?" He asked in confusion and shock.
"Hey, Steve. Can I come in?" She asked softly. He stepped back, opening the door wider. She walked in, glancing around.
Steve's room was a mess, with papers and art supplies strewn about, and discarded clothing.
The blond rubbed the back of his neck, closing the door. Toni finished her survey of the room and turned back to him.
"Okay." She said.
His brows furrowed. "Okay? What do you mean, okay?"
"I mean, okay. I'll give it a shot. Us." She clarified.
His eyes lit up and his stress seemed to dissipate. "R-really? I thought you said-"
Toni held her finger to her lips and he cut himself off. "Just let me try something. . ."
She stood on her tiptoes and snaked her arms around his neck. Steve had barely enough time to be shocked before her lips were on his.
A spark seemed to ignite between them and all rational thought was gone. They stumbled backward into the wall, Toni tangling her fingers in the blond's messy hair.
His arms found their way around her waist and they held each other like they'd known each other all their lives.
It took a lot of willpower for Toni to eventually pull away, and when she did, they were both panting heavily, staring at each other with wide eyes.
"So, uh, that wasn't what I was expecting." Steve breathed.
Toni laughed, straightening her jacket and smiling up at him. "Yeah. See you later?"
He blinked and nodded. Toni strode from the room, a bright grin on her face. She only hoped it would last.
Steve sat down in his bed, eyes wide and breathing unsteady. Brushing his fingers over his lips, he slowly smiled. He only hoped it would last.
honestly this one is just fluff
•T O N I S T A R K•
THE NEXT few weeks went spectacularly, the new couple spending every free moment they had together.
Toni hadn't admitted it, but she thought she was pretty fond of Steve Rogers.
Ever since their passionate make out session in his bedroom, nearly a month ago, they'd been closer than ever.
Their teammates were happy for them, but Clint was definitely starting to get tired of walking into a room, only to see the team leaders eating each other's faces.
Waking up to her AI calling to her, Toni blinked awake tiredly. "What, J?" She groaned out.
"Captain Rogers is requesting access to the lab." Jarvis repeated for probably at least the third time.
"Mmm. Grant him permanent access. Just don't tell him." She added that last part in a rush as she sat up, peeling her face off the metal table and stretching her arms above her head.
"Of course, Miss." Jarvis responded with a hint of amusement as the lab door swished open.
Steve walked in with a small smile. "Good afternoon." He said softly, sitting down next to her.
She turned her whole body, pulling her legs underneath her. "Bad afternoon." She corrected, wiping the crud from her eyes.
"When did you fall asleep?" Steve asked, his brows furrowed adorably.
"Uh. . . J?"
"3 o'clock in the morning, Miss." Jarvis responded in a scolding tone.
Steve frowned. "Toni. . ."
She waved him off, rolling her eyes. "Stevie." She mocked.
He huffed and she snickered, standing up. She'd fallen asleep wearing only a pair of jeans and an old AC/DC tank top.
"Toni, I was thinking-"
"Oh, what a disaster."
He scoffed out a laugh and Toni snickered again as he stood and grabbed her hands.
"I was thinking," he repeated. "That we should go on a date. A real one."
The humor faded. "A date? Why? We're already dating."
"Well, yeah, but I was hoping to take you somewhere and get to know you better." He said nervously.
"Steve, you know me already. We're soulmates." She said blankly.
"Well I know you, but I don't know much about you. Like, the little things. Your favorites, your hobbies, you know." He explained quietly, trailing off towards the end.
She looked up at him with a small smile. "I'd love to go on a date with you, Steve. Now let's go get breakfast."
He laughed as they made their way to the elevator. "Tony the team is eating lunch."
•T O N I S T A R K•
SITTING UP, Toni gasped, her hand flying to her chest. She sagged in relief, feeling the cool metal of the reactor and seeing the light blue glow.
"Are you okay, Miss?" Jarvis asked in concern.
"I'm fine, baby." She muttered, standing up. "Lights."
They turned on soundlessly and Toni felt a lot better. Glancing over at the clock, she saw it was 2:34 AM.
"J, is Steve awake?" She asked, stopping at her closet to pull a large sweatshirt on over her tank top.
"Yes, Miss, he is currently sketching in his room." Jarvis answered.
Toni grinned. Steve was so good at drawing and sketching. Walking over to the elevator, she leaned against the wall as Jarvis took her down without command.
She stepped out of the elevator, glancing around at the familiar floor. She was down here about as often as she was on her own floor lately.
Walking toward his room, Toni combed her fingers through her ratty hair. It had been about four months since her Aunt Peggy had convinced her to give the soulmate thing a try, and Toni was still a bit self conscious in front of Steve.
Most would think 'What does she have to be self conscious about?' but growing up in the presence of Howard, she was only ever told what she did wrong and how she "needed to change, because that makes you look terrible, Antoinette."
Shaking the thoughts from her head, Toni knocked on Steve's door. It opened a few seconds later and Steve smiled at her.
"Hey, Toni, what do you need?" He asked.
She shrugged. "Couldn't sleep. Got room in there for one more?"
He pulled the door open wider and let her slip in, closing it behind her.
"I was just drawing." He mumbled, rubbing his neck as his cheeks flushed.
Toni smiled softly at his adorableness and saw his sketchpad lying on his bed. She sat down and crawled over to it, pulling it into her lap.
Steve sat down beside her as she flipped through the pages. The first few were things seen in everyday life; flowers, trees, roads, but the next few stopped Toni in her tracks.
There was a seriously life like sketch of a smiling young man wearing an old army suit. "Who is this? He seems familiar. . ."
Steve smiled sadly, running his fingers over the page. "He was my best friend, Bucky Barnes." He explained.
Toni's mouth opened in a silent 'o'. "I'm sorry, Steve." She whispered, resting her head on his shoulder.
Steve didn't respond and Toni flipped to the next page. This one made her smile. It was her Aunt Peggy as a young woman. "Aunt Peggy was always so beautiful." She murmured.
Steve jolted in confusion. "Aunt Peggy?" He questioned. "Yep." Her lips popped at the 'p'.
He didn't question anymore after that. She kept flicking through the pages, smiling as she saw her teammates every so often, but then there was her.
On almost every other page toward the back, was her in different positions.
Asleep in the lab, laughing in the common room, frowning at her tablet in the kitchen, smiling brightly at Steve, everything.
Tears filled Toni's eyes and she put the pad down, looking up at him. His brows creased as he saw her shining eyes and he was about to say something, before she spoke up.
"You really care about me, don't you?" Toni whispered, her voice cracking.
Steve sat up straighter, turning her so he could look into her eyes. "Toni, of course I care about you. I. . . I love you."
They both froze at the words. A tear rolled down Toni's face. Besides her aunt and her best friends, Toni had never heard those words spoken to her.
"I love you too." And it was true, she believed it with everything in her. She crawled into his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck, planting her lips on his.
Toni pushed him backward and they fell onto the bed.
•T O N I S T A R K•
BREATHING DEEPLY, Toni smiled and snuggled closer to the warm body she was lying beside. Waking up with Steve beside her, was something she could get used to.
She turned over, blinking her eyes over and looking up to Steve's face, finding his baby blues staring back at her.
"Hi." He whispered.
"Hi." She replied, yawning.
"Want breakfast?" He asked, his fingers tracing patterns on her shoulder.
"Duh." She said, rolling her eyes.
He chuckled and sat up. She groaned at the absence of warmth and eyes up his bare back, while licking her lips.
She frowned when he put his clothes on. Then she groaned as he left the room, smiling back at her. Pouting, she sat up.
Throwing the sheet off her, she grabbed her clothes from the ground and dressed quickly, trudging from Steve's room, frowning when she didn't see him in the kitchen.
"J? Where'd Steve go?" She called.
"Captain Rogers is on the common floor, making breakfast." Jarvis informed her.
Toni groaned at the thought of more human interaction, but walked to the elevator nevertheless.
"Take me there." She said grumpily. Jarvis did so silently.
Toni strode from the cramped metal box and flicked her gaze over her teammates.
Bruce had his reading glasses on and was scanning through some magazine while sipping coffee, Natasha was eating a piece of toast, Clint was curled up asleep on top of the fridge, and Steve was making food at the stove.
At that point, Toni didn't question their antics anymore. Dropping into the seat beside Bruce, she lied her head in her arms.
"Cook faster." She groaned. Steve laughed.
"That's not how stoves work." He responded, turning to her with a grin.
"How do morning people exist?" Toni whined.
Suddenly there was a loud boom and Toni sat up, Bruce's coffee sloshing all over and Clint almost falling off the fridge.
"Jarvis! What was that?" She cried, shooting up and looking around frantically.
"That was Mister Odinson arriving on the roof." A pause. "He sends his apologies for startling you."
Toni groaned and dropped her head back onto her arms. "Is anything broken?" She questioned.
Jarvis was silent for a moment. "The roof."
She groaned louder. "The entire thing? Thor broke my fucking roof?" She cried.
"As well as some parts of the balcony."
"What the fuck. Is he dancing or something? Did he bring a bulldozer?" Toni yelled.
"No, Miss. In fact, he is on his way down."
Toni closed her eyes and sighed. "I need my Pepper." She complained.
Jarvis chuckled. "Miss Potts has been informed of the situation and is on her way." He confirmed.
Toni sighed happily, wincing as the elevator doors opened. "My friends! I have returned!"
"We know, Thor." Natasha said to the blond god.
"Lady Antoinette!" Thor called.
Toni choked, looking up. Steve looked back in confusion.
"What the- Thor! How did you know my name?" She cried.
He tilted his head with a confused look. "What do you mean, Lady Antoinette? Doesn't everyone?"
Toni groaned and dropped her head back into her arms. "It's Toni." She corrected.
Toni sighed. Suddenly the elevator doors opened again. She looked up again. A grin lit up her face amd she jumped up, racing over.
"Pepper! You made it!" She cried, hugging her friend. Pepper laughed and wrapped her arms around the billionaire.
"I was already on my way when Jarvis told me about the damage." She explained.
Toni shrugged, planting a kiss on her cheek. "I missed you so, so much. Please save me from these weirdos." She begged.
Pepper smiled. "No, Annie. You're fine here while I go deal with the repairs. It was nice seeing you all." She said the last part to the others.
"Bye, Pepper." Natasha called. The ginger nodded to the redhead. Suddenly, her gaze froze on Steve.
"Captain Rogers?" She called.
Steve looked over to her with a smile. "Yeah?"
"If you ever hurt Annie, there is nothing I won't do to you. I have connections, they'd never even find your body." Pepper said nonchalantly.
Steve looked horrified, Natasha looked to be agreeing, and Toni looked proud.
"That's my Pep. Bye bye!" She hugged the business woman again and waved as she left.
"So. . . Good shovel talk." Clint said tiredly from the top of the fridge.
Toni gave him a thumbs up.
•T O N I S T A R K•
TONI SIGHED and slipped her heels from her feet as she exited the elevator. "Where's Steve, J?" She murmured, walking toward his kitchen.
"Captain Rogers is asleep in his room, Miss." Jarvis informed her. She nodded tiredly and opened his fridge.
There was food on every level, but the super soldier always had a ton stocked in his kitchenette. "Jarvis, I really want pickle ice cream." She said suddenly, not wanting any of the stuff she found in Steve's fridge.
"Miss, you don't even like pickles." Jarvis said in confusion. Toni slammed the fridge door angrily.
"Order me pickle ice cream!" She demanded.
"Yes, Miss." Jarvis responded. Toni nodded and walked to Steve's room, opening the door and slipping in quietly.
She put her shoes by the door and took off her jacket, draping it across a chair as she walked to the bed.
Crawling across the bed, she climbed under the covers and lied her head on Steve's chest. The blond sighed heavily in his sleep, turning over and holding her close.
A grin made its way to her face as he unconsciously pulled her close. Toni pressed a soft kiss to his cheek and buried her face in his neck.
Just a year ago, she never would have thought this would happen. Growing up, she'd been taught that soulmates were useless, and a waste of time.
She'd honestly hoped with everything in her that she would never meet the mysterious Steven on her hip, but now that she had, she'd never been more glad.
Toni'd had flings here and there but she had never been in a real relationship, and she never expected to.
But here she was, lying in bed with her soulmate, that she was pretty sure she loved.
Toni sighed happily, turning over in bed. "Miss, there's a delivery man in the lobby." Jarvis suddenly announced, jolting Steve awake.
Toni burst out laughing as Steve sat up, looking around with wide eyes. "My pickle ice cream." She said, standing up while still laughing.
"Wha. . . Toni you don't even like pickles."
"Of course that's the first thing you say." She muttered, giggling.
She didn't bother grabbing her jacket or shoes as she made for the elevator. Steve trailed behind her like a lost puppy, his tired eyes flicking around.
"Toni, you realize it's like midnight, right? Normal people sleep at this hour." He commented, rubbing his eyes like a child.
Toni nearly cooed. "Actually, it's 1:17." She corrected.
Steve rolled his eyes and they finally made it down to the lobby. The doors opened and the pair walked over to the tired looking delivery boy.
Toni almost laughed at the boy's shocked face. "Uh, you ordered. . . Pickle ice cream?" He squeaked.
She nodded and dug through her pockets. Then she frowned. "Must of left my wallet. Here, will this work?" She took off her very, very expensive watch and handed it to him. He nodded numbly and handed over the box of ice cream.
"Thanks, toodles." She said, walking back to the elevator, Steve still trailing after her.
"Toni, you confuse me." Steve muttered as the elevator began to ascend.
She smiled as he wrapped his arms around her torso, resting his chin on her head.
"Mmm. Love you." He whispered.
Warmth bloomed in her heart and she grinned. "Love you too."
Saying the phrase so casually made her love it so much more. She wanted to wake up and fall asleep to those words, but only if they were from him.
The elevator opened up again when they reached Steve's floor and Toni went over to the kitchenette, finding a spoon and climbing into the island.
She sat and kicked her legs back and forth as she dug into the icy dessert. Her eyes fell close and she moaned when she took the first bite.
Steve chuckled as he watched her. "Im going back to bed." He mumbled.
"Uh, Sharon's visiting in a week!" Toni called after him.
"Okay." Steve called back. For some reason, that made Toni laugh.
"Okay." She mocked quietly, taking another bite.
•T O N I S T A R K•
AFTER HER meeting, Toni had practically bolted from the room. Since she'd been up so early eating pickle ice cream, she'd been so tired when Pepper dragged her to like a thousand meetings.
It was actually pretty unusual, though, because she'd spent days awake before and been completely fine for another few days.
It was now almost eight o'clock at night and Toni was tired. She yawned and stepped into the elevator.
"Take me up to Tasha's floor." She commanded the AI.
"Of course, Miss." Jarvis said.
Within seconds, Toni was stepping into the redhead's floor. "Tash? Where are you?" She called, looking around.
"Couch. Bring snacks?" Natasha called back.
"Sure." Toni said, veering toward the kitchenette.
She opened up the first cupboard she saw and grinned. "I'm hanging with you more often." She called.
Natasha didn't respond as Toni grabbed an armful of candy and chip bags. She closed the cupboard with her free hand and went to the fridge, finding two sodas and closing it with her foot.
Then she wandered out to the living room and dumped everything on the coffee table.
Natasha swiped a bag of M&Ms and one of the sodas. There was a show playing on Netflix and it took Toni a minute to figure out what it was.
"You like Supernatural, too?" The billionaire cried, grabbing a bag of pretzels.
"Uh, duh. It's my favorite show." Natasha answered.
"You're my favorite Avenger now." Toni decided, watching with her.
"What did you come up here for?" The redhead asked distractedly, her eyes glued to the screen.
"Oh, I just didn't want to bother Steve. He's drawing right now and I'm super tired." She explained.
Natasha smirked. "You didn't want him to draw you sleeping." It wasn't a question.
Toni sighed. "Yep." Then she grimaced as she watched the screen. "Dammit, Dean died again."
Natasha snickered. Then she looked over her billionaire friend. "How are you tired?" She asked suddenly, her face serious.
"I don't know. I think I'm sick. I've been craving weird things and I've been so moody and tired." Toni explained.
Natasha's eyes widened for a split second. "Annie, when was the last time you had your period?"
The blood drained from Toni's face. "No." She whispered. Natasha got up, putting the candy down.
"Stay here." She demanded.
Toni nodded numbly. No. No, she couldn't be. Could she? Her brows furrowed and panic settled in.
It was impossible. There was no way. Natasha returned a few moments later and handed Toni a small box.
Toni looked up at her in confusion. "Where did you even get this?"
Natasha only raised a brow and ushered Toni toward the bathroom.
Natasha stood outside the bathroom for six minutes, before she heard Toni's gasp through the door.
She opened it to find Toni sitting on the closed toilet lid and staring at the stick in her hand.
She looked up, tears in her eyes. "I'm pregnant. Tasha, I'm pregnant."
•T O N I S T A R K•
SITTING DOWN on the couch, Toni stared blankly at the TV, Supernatural still playing, but forgotten.
"What the hell do I do?" The billionaire asked. Natasha sat down next to her.
"You're going to eat food with me and watch TV." She answered, wrapping her arm around the brunette.
"I don't. . . What the hell am I going to do with a kid? How do I tell Steve? When do I tell Steve? Should I tell him now?"
"No, Toni. You can tell him tomorrow or in a few days. Today, you are going to relax and watch Supermatural." Natasha soothed.
Toni still looked panicked. Natasha sighed and paused the show, turning toward her.
"Alright, I'm going to talk and you're going to listen." Toni nodded slowly and hesitantly.
"My birth name isn't Natasha. I was born as Natalia Romanova, and I grew up in a place called the Red Room." Toni nodded, she knew that.
"I grew up not getting to play with dolls or hair or any of the other stuff that normal little girls did. I was never normal. I always wanted a baby. I wanted a little girl or boy that I could take care of and protect from horrors in the world like the Red Room.
"But I can't have that. Part of the graduation process of that place, was sterilization. I did everything I could to not graduate, but it didn't work. I can't have kids, Toni, so I'm gonna be Aunt Nat to your little baby and you are going to love that child more than anything in the world."
A tear rolled down Toni's face. "Okay. Okay." She croaked. Then she pulled Natasha close and the pair hugged each other as tight as they could.
"Let's watch." Natasha said finally, un-pausing the TV. Toni wiped her face and grabbed her pretzels again.
Natasha took a drink of her soda. "What're you gonna name it?" She asked.
"Natasha!" Toni laughed.
•T O N I S T A R K•
AS THE team all sat on the couch on the common floor, watching some cheesy movie about zombies, Tony stared at her soulmate, wondering how to tell him that she was pregnant.
Natasha noticed her staring and rolled her eyes. "Tell him " She whispered.
"Tell me what?" Steve asked, turning toward them.
Toni panicked, about ready to flee, when Jarvis spoke up. "There is a situation requiring the Avengers' presence in the lobby."
They all looked between each other, frowning. "Do we need our suits?" Clint asked.
"No, sir." Jarvis said.
Shrugging, they all stood and cramped themselves into the elevator. "Okay take us down." Toni called to the ceiling, mushed between Bruce and Thor.
Finally making it down, they all practically fell out of the cramped space.
Standing by the front desk, was a man with a metal arm. They all gasped, having known who the Winter Soldier was.
"How does this not require suits and weapons?" Clint called.
The the Winter Soldier looked to them and they all gasped again. Because the Winter Soldier also happened to be Bucky Barnes.
"Buck?" Steve whispered, ghostly pale.
"Heya, punk." The former Howling Commando said.
Toni's eyes widened. "James Barnes? Didn't you die like a million years ago?" She asked.
"Uh, not dead. I just sorta. . . remembered." He said stiffly.
Toni suddenly paled. She looked to Natasha. "Hey, doesn't your soulmark say James?" Clint asked the spy.
Natasha was also pale, nodding very slowly. Looking over, the billionaire confirmed that Bucky was also pale.
Steve fell over. "Steve!" Toni cried, rushing to his side. Bucky looked like he wanted to rush over, but stayed still, staring at Natasha.
"Honestly, this day is a mess." Toni grumbled after making sure her boyfriend was alive.
"Thor, a little help?"
Thor bent down and hoisted the super soldier up.
"Well, you wanna come up?" Toni invited.
Bucky nodded slowly and followed them into the elevator. It was even more cramped as Jarvis wordlessly brought them up.
They piled out again and Thor lied Steve on the couch. "So, Bucky, your soulmark say Natalia?" Toni asked, sitting on the arm of the couch.
"Yeah." He said gruffly.
She nodded. "Alright, Tash. Go connect with your soulmate."
Natasha started for the elevator. Toni scowled and grabbed her arm. "You don't get to pull a me. Go." She snapped.
Natasha nearly pouted but agreed. "How is this not freaking everyone out?" Clint asked.
They all shrugged. "Clint, Thor is a literal alien." Bruce said flatly.
Toni sighed. It was going to be a long day.
•T O N I S T A R K•
WAKING IN her own bed was strangely unfamiliar to Toni. After Steve had woken up the night before, Natasha and Bucky had already finished talking, so Steve and Bucky had wandered to Steve's floor to catch up.
Toni hadn't wanted to interrupt them, so she'd slept in her own bed on her own floor. Yawning and stretching, Toni sat up. Wandering to her closet, she found a tank top and shorts to wear.
"J, it's so fucking hot, turn the air up." She commented, going straight for the elevator and taking a deep breath.
She'd woken up three or four times in the night due to nightmares, because she didn't have Steve there to hold her.
When she slept in bed with Steve, she found she didn't have nearly as many nightmares. "Steve up?" She asked.
"All of the Avengers and Mister Barnes are on the common floor." Jarvis answered, taking her down there without orders to do so.
Toni yawned again and stepped from the elevator as it stopped. "Morning Toni." Natasha called.
Toni nodded to her, glancing over to Steve and Bucky, the blond not seeming to have noticed Toni's appearance.
"Morning Steve." She called softly, sitting at a stool.
He turned to her with a grin. "Morning, Toni. Love you." He said, turning back to Bucky.
Bucky choked. Toni laughed. "Love you? You're dating her?" He cried.
Toni laughed again. "Uh, yeah. Toni's my soulmate." Steve explained sheepishly.
Bucky's jaw dropped. He whistled. Clint and Bruce burst out laughing.
"Steve I need to tell you-"
"So, Buck, what all do you remember?" Steve asked eagerly.
"Well, I remember a lot from our childhood, and I remember bits and pieces of the army." He explained.
When Toni slipped from the room, the only ones to notice were Natasha, Bucky, and Clint.
The billionaire immediately made her way down to her lab. Stepping inside, she smiled as Dummy and Butterfingers rolled over and brushed against her legs.
Crouching down, she smiled and petted them happily. "Hi babies." Toni cooed, standing back up.
"Yes, I love you too." She called to You when the bot seemed to sag sadly from across the room.
The first thing she did was make her way toward her alcohol stash and swipe up every single bottle.
She walked over to the trash and dropped it all in there. Dummy beeped in shock and Toni giggled.
"That's right, baby, no more fun drinks for mommy." She said, sitting down in her spinny chair.
She ran her hands over her stomach, staring at the wall. She was going to be a mother.
Toni suddenly realized that she wasn't scared anymore. A smile spread across her face.
She imagined Steve finding out, she imagined how happy he'd be. She imagined him as a father, and she kept smiling.
Toni Stark had never been happier.
•T O N I S T A R K•
TONI YAWNED softly, slowly opening her eyes. "Mmm, Jarvis how long was I asleep?" She murmured.
"Seven hours, Miss." Jarvis answered.
Her eyes widened. "Damn. I don't normally sleep more than four." Looking down, she grinned and poked her belly.
Toni giggled and crawled out of her bed, trudging toward the closet. A cold blast suddenly hit her and she shivered, finally feeling the deep ache in her chest.
Bringing her hand up, she winced at the freezing cold metal of the reactor. "Jarvis, w-what the fuck? Turn the heaters on." She called, walking to her closet.
"Sorry, Miss, the air conditioning system has been broken, the repair crew should be in to fix it tomorrow morning." Jarvis said.
Toni groaned, pulling on a large MIT sweater she'd stolen from Rhodey. She wrapped her arms around her middle, shivering as the arc reactor bathed the room in light blue light.
"J, what happened?" She asked, her teeth chattering as she made her way toward the elevator.
"Mister Barton was in the vents again and touched something he shouldn't have." The AI responded.
"Clint." She whined as the doors opened to the common floor.
"I'm sorry! Please don't hit me, Natasha already did." The archer responded with wide eys.
Toni huffed, shooting a thankful look to the redhead and a glare to Clint. Everyone was sitting in the kitchen except for Bruce, who was in the common room, reading a book.
Toni frowned slightly when she noticed Steve didn't even glance in her direction, animatedly talking to Bucky.
She shrugged it off, veering toward the cupboard. If it was Rhodey, she probably would've done the same.
Grabbing a mug, she trudged toward the coffee pot, wincing as she took a breath just a little too deep. God damn her chest hurt.
Her entire body felt like icy pain. "Move, Steve." She said, as he was in the way of the coffee.
He did so, looking to her with a small grin. "Hey Toni." Then he went back to talking to Bucky.
Toni poured herself some nice hot, pitch black coffee and sat herself at the counter, wrapping her cold hands around the mug.
The billionaire startled as a plate was placed in front of her. She raised her brows at the extensive amount of food on it, trailing the hand by the plate back to its owner; Natasha.
"I want some!" Clint complained, reaching for her plate.
Natasha smacked the archer. "No. It's for Toni, the person who didn't break the heaters." Natasha covered smoothly.
Toni groaned, taking a large drink. "I'm not really that hungry." She said meekly, glancing at her friend.
Natasha raised one pointed brow. "Okay, okay." Toni muttered, picking up a slice of toast.
As she chewed absentmindedly, she noted that Steve would've normally said good morning and maybe given her a kiss or something by now.
He was just busy, though. He had to catch up with Bucky. But, Toni really needed to tell him about her pregnancy.
"Steve?" She murmured. He didn't seem to hear her.
"Steve?" She asked a little louder.
"Uh, hang on Toni." Steve responded, not even looking at her.
Toni nodded, looking down and taking another small bite. She didn't notice all three spies in the room frowning.
After eating a few more bites, Toni pushed her plate away and left, her friends staring after her. But not Steve.
Toni immediately went down to her workshop, feeling a bit better as the heat from all the powered machinery gave off.
"If I may ask, Miss, what's the scale today?" Jarvis questioned as she sat down in one of her spinny chairs and pulled her knees to her chest.
She huffed, rolling her eyes. The scale was something the two had come up with when she'd first gotten back from Afghanistan.
It was arc reactor pain levels, going from one to ten. They called the worst days, fifteen days.
Squeezing her eyes shut, Toni buried her face in her knees. "Fifteen." She whispered.
And nobody had noticed.
•T O N I S T A R K•
TONI LET out a cry as she shifted her body in the chair she probably shouldn't have fallen asleep in.
Her hands flew to her chest as she sucked in quick, short breaths. Every one sent a pang of pain through her body, but she dealt.
"Miss, are you okay?" Jarvis asked in concern.
"When do the repairmen get here, J?" She whispered.
"They were here this morning, Miss. You've been asleep for more than twenty four hours." Jarvis said.
Her eyes widened in shock as she tried to ignore the pain. "Seriously? What the fuck, J? Why didn't you wake me up? Even you gotta know that was too long." Toni hissed.
"I tried waking you, Miss, and seeing as you were in no immediate medical danger, I cold not inform any of your teammates." The AI answered.
Toni sighed, standing with a hiss of pain. She ran her hand over her face and trudged toward the elevator.
"Time is it?" She murmured.
"9PM." Jarvis answered helpfully. Toni nodded.
"The common room, watching a movie. Would you like to join them?"
Toni leaned against the wall, staring at the doors through half lidded eyes. What kind of person slept that long?
She rubbed her hand over the reactor absentmindedly as she stepped out.
"Hey, Annie, come join us." Natasha called.
Toni found that she didn't mind her friend calling her that. She smiled and nodded, seeing only a free spot between Natasha and Bruce.
She dropped down between them, throwing her arms behind their heads in a dramatic gesture.
The spy and scientist chuckled and Toni pulled her arms back in front of her, the movement having jolted her chest.
Glancing around, Toni saw that Steve and Bucky were talking quietly, the ex-Hydra assassin with his arm behind Natasha's head.
Toni smirked, looking to the redhead. "So, you and Barnes?" She teased softly.
Natasha blushed. She actually blushed. Toni snickered.
"Yeah. Thanks for not letting me run off." She responded with a small smile.
"Of course, Tasha, couldn't have you turning out like me." Toni jabbed her lightly in the ribs.
Natasha rolled her eyes, finally paying attention to the movie again. Toni tried, but all she could focus on was her soulmate's constant chatter with Bucky.
"Hey, uh, Steve? Can I talk to you, please?" Toni asked softly.
He didn't seem to hear her.
His head snapped toward her. "Yeah?" He responded.
"Could I maybe talk to you privately?" She replied, living her lips.
Steve sighed. "Can't it wait till later? I really want to watch this with B- the team."
A frown flickered on her lips. "No, Steve, I kind of need to talk to you now."
Steve sighed exasperatedly. "Toni."
He rolled his eyes and stood, walking into the kitchen. Toni huffed and walked after him.
"What is it, Toni? Bucky just got back and I really want to spend time with him." He complained.
"What is it? Steve, I've been trying to talk to you for days!" She hissed.
"Well then talk!" He yelled. They pretended not to notice the others staring at them.
"I've been trying! But every time I start, you're busy with Bucky!" She growls.
"Don't talk about him like that!" Steve exclaimed.
"You're not fucking listening to me!"
"Im listening now, aren't I?"
"No! That's the thing, Steve, you're not." Toni's voice cracked.
"You haven't even been trying to talk to me! You're always holed up in your lab!"
"Stop changing the subject!"
"I'm not! How can you talk to me if you aren't even near me?"
"I wanted to be! You shut me out! You won't listen to me, you haven't said 'I love you' since Bucky came back, Steve."
"I've been distracted! Can you blame me?"
"Yes! I can blame you, I am blaming you!"
"Youre being childish Toni!"
Toni scoffed, tears shining in her eyes. "I'm starting to think he means more to you than I do."
Steve didn't answer. He didn't fucking answer.
"Steve?" Her voice wavered.
"Don't tell me Rhodes and Pepper don't mean more to you than I do." He whispered.
Her lips quivered. "They didn't, Steve. They didn't."
A tear rolled down her cheek. "Toni." His face was anguished.
Sucking in a deep breath, she turned away.
She walked to the elevator, her hands trembling.
"Toni!" Steve yelled.
Toni didn't look back. "Goodbye, Steve. I hope you're happy."
And she left.
hello! This is the last chapter of AES but there will be a sequel very soon! <3
Chapter 22: Announcement
Heyyy, the prologue for the sequel is up!