"Tony, if you balancing precariously on that railing doesn't kill you, then Stephen will." Scott says.
"He won't know."
"Mama Bear always knows. What do you even need me for?" The thief wonders as he watches Tony fiddle with a camera in the corner of one of the lower floor.
"You have a Master's in electrical engineering. I trust you can handle the circuit board behind the panel over there." The billionaire motions toward a wall, momentarily losing his balance and Scott's heart jumps into his throat as Tony rights himself.
"Uh...yeah. Sure. What do you need me to do?"
Scott walks over to the wall and opens the panel that Tony had pointed out, and the older man instructs him through the task of rewiring the board. It wasn't that he couldn't have done it himself, but the tower was Tony's and he had it wired and built a specific way. Now that two AI's had complete control of the tower, Scott wasn't about to fiddle with anything his own way.
Once finished, Scott closes the panel and walks back over to Tony who had thankfully gotten down safely from his unsteady perch. Tony gathers the small amount of tools he had brought downstairs with him and they started for the stairs.
"You couldn't do that yourself?"
"I could have but it was a lot faster with your help." The engineer says as he climbs the stairs first with Scott following him.
"I'm going to take that as a compliment. While we're at it can you-"
A sharp gasp from Scott has Tony turning around and he watches in horror as the younger man missteps and falls backward. He reaches out to try and grab one of Scott's hands but he falls just out of his reach, and tumbles down the stairs. They had climbed just enough that it was a good distance down, and Tony cringes when Scott stops at the bottom with a sickening crack.
"Oh fuck! Lang!" Tony drops his tools and races back down the stairs to kneel next to the unconscious thief. "Friday! Get Bruce and Stephen down here!" He carefully checks for a pulse and heaves a sigh of relief when he feels a faint pulse.
Seconds passed, but they might as well have been hours when Tony heard running footsteps, and he didn't even look up to acknowledge who it was.
"Oh my god." Bruce joins Tony on the other side of Scott and checks his eyes with a small flashlight. "What happened?"
"He fucking slipped on the stairs and fell! I heard a fucking crack!"
"Do you know where Quill is?" The scientist asks calmly.
"I think getting lunch for them?" Tony covers his mouth with a shaky hand. "I tried to help him-"
"Tony, this isn't your fault. It was a freak accident. I need you to keep Quill distracted when he gets back until me and Stephen can get him stable and run tests. Can you do that?" Bruce says as he grips Tony's shoulder and the engineer nods shakily.
Stephen rushes down to them at that moment and he opens a gateway to the medbay that he and Bruce carefully pick up and carry Scott through. As soon as the gateway closes behind them, Tony stands up, a bit shakily, and climbs the stairs again. He stops to gather his tools, takes the elevator up to his lab to put them away, and then takes the elevator up to the family floor. At least he knew that Quill would first come looking for Scott there after finding their floor empty, but then he remembered an important detail. Quill's Celestial Gaze. It was entirely possible the god already knew about the accident, but then again it probably only forced him to look if Scott (or Cassie) were continuously afraid.
Tony had Friday warn the doctors just in case.
Thankfully, the celestial seemed unaware when he strolled onto the family floor not ten minutes later. Tony did his best to look nonchalant as Quill looked around for his husband, and looks over at him from the random show that was on when he turned the tv on.
"Scott had some errands to run for work. You must have just missed him." He manages to say with a straight face.
"Really? His food is gonna get cold." Quill says as he drops the bag of food on the coffee table, and sits on the couch next to Tony.
"He said to either go ahead and eat it or give it to someone else. He'll grab something on the way back."
"Ok...hungry?" The celestial pushes a styrofoam box toward the engineer and Tony's stomach churns. The thought of eating Scott's food after lying to Quill nauseated him.
"Uh...no. Just ate actually. I think Harley is home." Tony looks up at the rooms above. "Patatino! There's food down here if you want it!"
Not only did Harley come out of his room, but so did Diana. When they discovered that tacos were on the menu, they both raced down into the living room, and Harley grabbed a plate from the kitchen on the way. He and Dia sit at the coffee table, and the teenager sets one of the three tacos in the box on the plate for his sister before they both tear into their meal.
Bruce had a reason for keeping Quill out of the loop about Scott's accident. The space pirate was extremely overprotective and would no doubt hover the moment he found out. They just wanted to be able to take care of Scott before Quill went ballistic. As soon as they were done, one of them would come up to break the news and to inform them about how he was doing. Tony really hoped Scott would be okay, Quill was one matter, but Cassie? She needed her dad.
"Dad? You okay?" Harley interrupts Tony's train of thought, and he finds both kids looking at him.
"Yeah. Fine. Just have a lot on my mind." Which wasn't a lie, he just wasn't going to be specific.
A couple of hours pass as Quill and the kids finish their lunch, and they choose a movie to watch while Tony gets lost in thought again. He was just waiting for the elevator to open any moment now, be told about Scott's condition, and for all hell to break loose. Hell meaning Quill. Tony just needed to know that Scott would survive and that he didn't suffer any permanent damage. He wasn't just the occasionally annoying friend, he was family too. If Scott died or had any lasting damage, it would haunt Tony for the rest of his life.
The elevator opened five minutes later, and Stephen was the one to step off.
"Harley, take your sister upstairs." Tony commands immediately, and the boy doesn't argue. As soon as the kids are out of earshot, Stephen takes a calming breathe before looking pointedly at Quill, who regards him curiously.
"Quill...there was an accident."
The celestial was on his feet the moment Stephen finished his sentence. "Cassie?!"
"...Scott." Tony corrects quietly and Quill stares at him.
"You said he was out on errands!" Quill nearly shouts and Stephen holds out his hands in a placating gesture.
"We just needed time to get him stable and run some tests before you hovered." Quill clenches his fists but Stephen continues. "He's going to be fine. I was able to heal him with magic a bit, but head wounds are touchy. We don't think there's any permanent damage though."
Tony shudders with relief as Quill takes a deep breath and unclenches his fists. "I can see him?"
"Yes. He still hasn't woken up yet, but you can see him."
Tony got up to follow Quill and Stephen down to the medbay, and the god immediately took the empty chair next to Scott's bed and held his hand. Tony and Stephen take the nearby couch and quietly inform Quill about the accident, and when he says nothing, the couple fell silent. Quill wasn't mad, he just needed time to process what he saw in front of him. A haunted look crossed the god's pinched expression when he looked at the scars on Scott's neck and Stephen frowns.
"It was an accident. There's nothing you could have done."
"I promised to protect him."
"And you do. But these things happen." Stephen assures him.
Quill sighs. "You're sure he's going to be okay?"
"Yes. He might be a little confused but that's temporary."
Quill nods and gently brushes his thumb across the back of Scott's hand for a few more minutes, and the thief finally stirs into consciousness a few minutes later. The other three jump to their feet as he opens his eyes, and Stephen immediately stands by the bed and asks Scott to follow his finger. The sorcerer nods in satisfaction when Scott does so with relative ease, and then he looks around the room.
"Where am I?" He murmurs.
"The medbay. Do you remember what happened?" Stephen asks.
"No?" Scott looks down at his hand when he feels a gentle squeeze and he follows it up to Quill before yanking his hand away. "Who the hell are you?! Who are any of you?!" He shouts and all three of them turn white as a sheet.
Tony barely had to glance at Quill to find utter devastation clear on his face. Stephen was focused on calming Scott down without having to use sedation, and when the thief finally does settle after a couple of minutes, Stephen sighs.
"Scott...what is the last thing you remember?"
"I…" Scott looks between the three of them and then settles his gaze on Tony. "Wait...Stark? I remember fighting in Germany…" The thief trails off and furrows his brows. "...it's fuzzy after that."
Quill backs away to stand in the far corner of the room and he rubs his neck before slumping his shoulders. Stephen carefully explained that Germany had been eight years ago, and gave him the nutshell of what happened up until his accident. He didn't want to overload Scott with information, but he hoped maybe something would bring recognition to hazel eyes...but nothing. Scott continued to look confused until his eyes widen.
"Cassie? Where is she?"
"Out with Peter. They should be home soon." Tony informs him.
Scott immediately asked to see her when she got back, and when she and Peter got back, Stephen told her about the accident and Scott's memory loss. She took the news rather well as soon as the sorcerer told her that her father would be fine, and that the amnesia was only temporary, and she took Scott's surprised expression when he saw her well too. It was just like the five years after the snap and Scott accepted it well enough because of the information Stephen gave him.
Quill took it hard though. Scott had absolutely no memory of him and the god went unnaturally quiet as he sat outside Scott's room. It was obvious that he wanted to stay by his husband's side, but he also didn't want to make Scott uncomfortable. So he decided to stick by the door outside during the few days the thief remained in the medbay. During that time, Cassie took pictures to her dad to see if that would help jog his memory, and eventually told him who Quill was. It helped keep the panic at bay when Stephen and Bruce released the thief from the medbay and let him return to his floor, and he saw Quill on the couch. They made eye contact for all of five seconds before the celestial looked away with a pained expression and continued to fiddle with one of his tools from space.
Tension remained for the rest of the night. Quill didn't want to upset Scott. He wanted the younger man to approach him, but of course it didn't happen. Quill slept in his old room, although he spent the majority of the night tossing and turning because he had grown used to having Scott in his arms. It was torture having him right next door and not being able to touch him, to hold him...to hear him breathe.
The next morning, Quill dragged himself down into the kitchen to make himself a bowl of cereal, and he found Scott sitting at the island. He thought about turning back around and waiting until the younger thief moved on, but decided it was better to get his breakfast and at least show Scott he was there. No matter how much it hurt that he had completely forgotten about Quill, the celestial would stay by his side.
"I'm not allowed to touch the stove or the oven, but I can make a mean bowl of cereal if you haven't eaten yet." He says as he walks into the kitchen. When he doesn't get any kind of response from Scott after pulling a box of cereal from the cabinet, Quill turns to look at him.
Scott was hunched over the counter with his eyes screwed shut in pain, and Quill threw
caution to the wind and rounded the counter when he saw a tear fall onto the countertop. One of two things had to be hurting Scott for him to actually cry over the pain, and considering the way he was completely still was all too familiar to Quill. The scars were flaring up to the point that it hurt Scott to even move his neck.
Light flares to life in Quill's hands and the power hums as he carefully reaches out to place the cool touch gently against Scott's neck. The reaction was instant. The younger leans into the soothing touch and sighs with relief as Quill's power works its magic, and after about five minutes, Scott finally opens his eyes. Quill slowly pulls his hands away after a few more minutes and walks back around the counter to finish making his cereal, leaving Scott to experimentally move his head.
"Better?" Quill asks and Scott nods.
"How did you do that?" Quill holds up one of his still glowing hands before willing the light to fade. "You use magic?"
"Not exactly. I'm a Celestial."
"Like a god?" Quill nods as he starts eating his cereal. "You'd think I would remember that."
"Stephen said the amnesia isn't permanent."
"...but what if it is?" Scott asks quietly. "What if I never remember you? I can tell this is hurting you and I hate it. I'm sure you can have anyone you want, and it's been driving me crazy wondering why you, a god, would choose me!" He combs his fingers through his hair frantically as Quill tries to get his attention. "Everything else is just as confusing and-"
The celestial reaches out and gently grabs the back of Scott's neck, and the younger man stills immediately. Not from pain, but from surprise. Familiarity. Hazel eyes look up to meet green in curiosity and Scott mumbles quietly.
"I know this…" He allows himself to relax into Quill's strong hold again. "...but something is missing."
Quill knew exactly what it was that Scott said was missing. "Look at me."
Scott looks back up at the celestial and his eyes widen when the entirety of Quill's eyes fill with mini versions of the galaxy. Flashes of memories fill the thief's mind as he looks into eternity, but it stops all too soon when the hand at the back of his neck pulls away and Quill's eyes fade back into their normal green color.
"That's enough." Quill whispers.
"What? No! It was helping!" Scott argues.
"You looked terrified!"
Scott rubs his neck and looks away. "I...I remembered how I got these."
Scott jumps when Quill tosses his empty bowl into the sink before walking off, and the celestial comes back moments later with a leather bound photo album similar to the ones Cassie had shown him. Quill drops it in front of Scott with a thud and watches him open it and slowly flip through the pages, and he explains the story behind every picture Scott stops and asks about. They were happier memories. It was bad enough that one of Scott's recovered memories was when he was abducted, kept captive, and tortured.
"Wait a minute." Scott says a few more pages into the album. "I think I remember this."
Quill looks down at the picture that Scott is looking at, finding the picture the team took of one of their barbeques at the lake house. The picture showed Cassie jumping on Quill's back and spraying whipped cream into his mouth (something they bonded over now ever since that day she got sick), and Diana reaching up for the celestial to pick her up.
"I took this picture." Scott says. "Right after I did, Cassie covered your face in whipped cream and you retaliated by-"
"Throwing her in the lake." Quill finishes. "I guess the pictures are helping."
Scott spends the rest of the morning looking through the album, and Quill washes the dishes after the younger thief eats his own bowl of cereal. It was Scott's request for the celestial to stay nearby, so he decided to clean the kitchen to keep himself busy while the younger studied every picture. Sometimes recognition would light up hazel eyes, and other times there was confusion, but when Scott started to rub his temples, Quill closed the album. That was the sign that he was pushing himself too hard and giving himself a headache trying to remember.
"You should watch tv or something for the rest of the day. You can look at these again tomorrow."
That's how the next couple of weeks passed. Scott looked through photo albums, Quill and Cassie told him stories about things he was a part of, and whenever he started to get frustrated or rub his head, they called it a day. Scott was openly frustrated about his progress though. The memories came slowly, if at all, and he was getting impatient. He complained about the poor sleep he was getting whether it was from tossing and turning or constant nightmares, but then one night Quill's sleep was interrupted because his Celestial Gaze was forced onto him out of his own broken slumber. He saw Scott in the middle of a nightmare and very distressed, that he didn't waste any time jumping out of bed and leaving his room to run into Scott's. The moment Quill kneeled on the bed, Scott came out of his nightmare with a shout, saw him, and threw himself into the Celestial's arms.
"It's okay. It was just a dream." Quill says quietly as he wraps strong arms around Scott's shaking form. When his shaking finally subsides, Quill starts to move away until Scott grips the front of his shirt tightly.
Quill nods and lays down next to Scott when the younger lays down, and just the near presence had them both asleep in seconds even if they weren't touching anymore. It was the best sleep they had in weeks. Scott may not completely remember Quill, but his body did. His body remembered the warmth and safety the god provided, and having him nearby quelled the nightmares.
Even if Scott's amnesia lasted for months, years, Quill wasn't going anywhere. If this was the extent of his memory recovery, they would just start over. Quill already knew what Scott liked, and the younger thief was already warming back up to him despite the missing memories. That was up to Scott though. If he wanted to keep things the way they were and focus on getting his memories back, Quill would wait patiently and continue to support him. Not that he was actually going to offer up that option in the first place. He didn't want Scott to think he wouldn't be able to recover his memories.
Scott was looking at pictures again one day when Quill brought home tacos, dropping the bag on a space free of clutter on the coffee table. The younger closes the album he's looking through to dig through the bag enthusiastically, and pulls out his tacos before sliding the bag back over to Quill when the pirate joins him on the floor. They move the albums further away so they have more space to eat as they watch tv and Cassie joins them a few minutes later.
"You didn't get your tacos a few weeks ago, so I figured I'd make up for it today." Quill says after swallowing the bite he took.
Scott laughs. "There isn't going to be a spaceship landing in here is there?"
Quill and Cassie just laughed and didn't think anything of his words, but Bruce happened to step off the elevator the moment Scott asked that question. He was there to check on Scott's progress, but his question threw him for a loop.
"What did you say?" The scientist demands and Scott looks up at him.
"If there was a spaceship-" Scott starts before suddenly freezing and staring off into the distance.
What he meant as a joke was actually another memory and it caused everything to flood back into his mind. The fight between Steve and Tony, when they all moved into the tower after they made amends, being stuck in the Quantum Realm, their desperation to recover the infinity stones and the war with Thanos…
...he remembered it all.
He remembered the guilt of missing out on five years of Cassie's life, and he remembered the pain and loneliness he felt when everything was said and done and he didn't have someone to go home to. At least not like Tony or Steve or Clint. He didn't have a best friend or a lover. He loved Cassie, but there was only so much he could talk to his daughter about.
Then Quill came.
Memories of their first meeting, and the time they spent together. The moment Scott realized he was in love with his best friend, when Quill made the first move, when he proposed. He remembered it all. He remembered everything up to the moment that he slipped on the stairs and fell backwards and a shout startled him out of his reverie which was how he discovered he had been hyperventilating. Strong arms pull Scott against Quill and he buries his face into the man's collarbone to inhale the scent of leather and space that was once again familiar to him.
"You're okay. I've got you Sugar. Just breathe." Quill mutters into his ear and Scott's heart soared at the pet name. It was the first time his husband had called him that since the accident.
"I remember." Scott finally whispers after catching his breath, and Bruce moves closer.
"Everything. It just came to me all at once and I guess I got overwhelmed." He admits and Quill pushes him back just enough to look at him.
"Everything?" He asks hopefully and when Scott nods, he pulls him closer again for a kiss that the younger immediately melts into. Cassie jokingly makes a noise of disgust and when they pull back apart, Quill rests his forehead on Scott's. "You have no idea how hard it was to hold back from doing that."
"I hate to interrupt but I really think Scott should finish eating and then get some rest. Memories coming back like that isn't easy on the mind or body." Bruce says.
Scott wasn't about to argue because he felt exhausted and wanted to do just that. So he and Quill finish their lunch, Bruce gives him a quick look over, and Scott promises to spend time with his daughter after he rests. Cassie was just glad his memories were back again and told him to take his time and that she would make his favorite for dinner that night, so Scott went up to bed with Quill's help. The onslaught of memories left him a little shaky, so he was glad that his husband was so attentive to his needs that he didn't need to say anything. He changed into more comfortable clothes and laid in bed, and as soon as Quill laid down next to him, he curled up against him and enjoyed feeling strong arms wrap around him.
"We have a month of this to catch up on." The celestial jokes.
"I know. I'm sorry." Scott mumbles.
"Don't be. It wasn't your fault."
"I know it was hard...but thank you for staying. You could have easily broken it off and-"
"Stop. There wasn't a chance in hell that I was giving you up. Marriage is about the bad times too." Quill reminds him. "I will do anything to keep you. To protect you...because I love you."
Scott smiles against the god's chest. "I love you too big guy."
Scott reaches up and slaps his hand over Quill's mouth. "We're having a moment. Don't ruin it and let me sleep."
Quill chuckles after Scott pulls his hand away and tightens his hold on the younger thief. They had weeks of affection to catch up on anyway.