It was raining when Tony exited his car. In front of him was a church.
He wasn't sure why it always rained nowadays, but it wasn't like he could do anything about it. Tony knew this weather kind of suited his mood, and his current mental state.
Attending funeral after funeral after you've been beaten up by the father of the embryo in your womb in Siberia before he left you in the cold, was beyond hard and painful. Tony had cried himself to sleep more than once. However, he couldn't let anybody know, except Vision who had figured it out by himself.
"I sense a lifeform in you," the android had mentioned to him once. "Is it… Steve's?"
Tony remembered breaking down in front of him, after that Vision never mentioned the relationship between Steve and the lifeform in Tony's womb again. He felt guilty, yet grateful. It had been barely a week after the incident in Siberia. Tony wasn't ready for something that would remind him of that event, and he doubted he would ever be.
"Thank you for coming, Mr. Stark," an old beta woman, whose son was one of the soldiers Barnes had killed in Germany, greeted Tony with a sad smile. The said soldier was probably the only family she had left. Tony felt like someone was stabbing his heart all over again, just like the funerals he had attended earlier.
"You don't have to, really. I know it wasn't you," the old woman said, leading him into the church. Tony could see the sorrow on her face.
"I want to come," Tony said, putting on a mask of a strong man. He was crying on the inside because he truly wanted to stop attending funerals, but he couldn't. Tony knew this was Zemo's fault, but he had been with these men in that facility. He should have stopped Barnes, prevented these people from getting killed.
So Tony went to their funerals, half because Secretary Ross wanted him to "take responsibility" and half because he knew he had to take the blame; he needed to take the blame. Before this, Tony couldn't care less. But Charlie Spencer had opened his eyes about the fact that there were always people crying and trying to find their beloveds after the fight when the so called Avengers went home to sleep. Now, Tony wouldn't just save the day and go to bed. He had consequences to deal with, and duties to perform.
This was going to be a long day.
It was night when Tony got back to the Avengers facility in New York. He was tired, worn out, and also depressed by his deeper instinct because it kept calling for a mate he would never have. The life in his womb was barely six weeks old and Tony already felt like he was going to die from longing and misery.
Pregnancy was one of the worst and best things a male omega could experience. If a male omega mated with a caring alpha who was ready to give him what he needed, to love him and care for him, it would be the best experience. Yet, Tony wasn't even mated when this happened. Then a few weeks after this lifeform appeared in his womb, its father rammed a shield into his chest. Tony had already been suffering from the half-formed bond, the weight of his duties, the tension, the conflict, the pain from being called a backstabber and losing friends, when he found out that Steve was protecting the one responsible for his parents' death. The next thing he did after Steve had walked away was to lie down and close his eyes.
Tony had planned to tell Steve about the child, but then he learnt about Charlie Spencer and then Secretary Ross called him. Then shit happened, and it all went downhill so fast that Tony hadn't had time to breathe, much less talk to Steve about matters not related to the Accords. He couldn't keep his teammates out of the Raft, but he could at least help Steve if he could find out where Steve went. Still, the harsh words from Clint made Tony want to curl up into a ball and ignore the world around him. But he pushed that to the back of his mind, he had to stay strong. He had to help Steve, and Steve was in Siberia.
On the way to Siberia, Tony decided that he would tell Steve about the child after they took care of Zemo. But when it was clear that Steve didn't choose him, Tony was prepared to die. His heart was breaking when they fought. He was on the verge of crying when Steve dumped the shield down in front of him and walked away with Barnes. Tony knew he was heartbroken at that moment, both himself and his omega-self. He couldn't handle losing Steve, and his omega-side couldn't handle losing its mate. To be honest, Tony would have truly died if not because of Vision. The android had found him, still lying on the ground in the same spot as he had been after that final battle, before he could freeze to death by his own choice.
Tony got himself out of the expensive clothes as soon as he reached his room. He ordered FRIDAY to fill the tub with hot water before looking at himself in the mirror.
The man in the mirror stared back at him with wounded eyes filled with dried tears, pain, and sorrow. Tony turned away, stepping into the tub and closed his eyes. At least he could still relax like this, maybe.
Vision came to take him to bed after two hours of Tony crying until he was tired enough to doze off from exhaustion. The hormones was killing him. They were all Tony could think about right now.
Despite the pain from pregnancy hormones, Tony still honestly wanted to tell Steve, to let the only alpha who had ever helped him through his heat know that he had a child. Then he tried to reason with himself that it wouldn't make a difference. Steve would probably want nothing to do with this child. But Tony couldn't just get rid of it. He look at himself again in the mirror and all he could do was to sigh tiredly. It had been a long day and Tony wanted nothing but a peaceful sleep as he lay down on his bed.
Yet he could not have it. He had been plagued with nightmares almost every night since Siberia. The picture of his mother being choked to death, the flashback of how Steve rammed the shield into his arc reactor, right on top of his heart... To put it simply, what happened in Siberia just came rolling back to him every time he was asleep long enough to start dreaming.
That was why Tony set the alarm to wake him up every hour. He could not let himself dream, or he would wake up in tears and Vision would rush into his room to comfort him. Tony was glad the android told Rhodey only about the nightmares, but not the fact that he was carrying Steve's child and how his instincts wouldn't stop calling for his "intended" mate.
Tony had told himself a thousand times that he did not have a mate, didn't even have a bite mark. Steve had helped him through the heat weeks before the meeting with Secretary Ross. But that was all, there was nothing more and the alpha had made it clear when he chose Barnes.
Tony groaned and covered his face with his hands. He was so tired. He knew what he needed, but hejust have it. He wanted peace, but all he had with him now was misery. He had tried to do his best for everyone, to follow the law and the world's decision that the Avengers should follow the rules set by half of the world's population. 117 countries had voted for them to be supervised.
Then Steve had thrown everything away, and it appeared that most of his friends decided to do just the same. They did not care about him nor his efforts to make sure the UN didn't decide that the Avengers were more dangerous than helpful. Tony agreed with Steve that the safest hands were still their own, but they couldn't just ignore what 117 countries had asked from them.
They might not owe the world anything, but they used their powers and the world was affected by them. There were always consequences. It was clear that they had not dealt with the consequences well enough, or the world wouldn't decide that they should be controlled on some level.
Yet Tony didn't expect his friends to not even care about the Accords, partly because he was the one supporting it.
Maybe he deserved it after years of always making snarky and smart-ass comments, so when he got serious almost everyone concluded that he was wrong and he was about to do something horrible and dangerous.
Yeah, maybe it was true. He used to sell weapons. Maybe it was his time to pay the price.
Tony turned to his left and saw the shield leaning against the wall. He still did not know why he still had this reminder. His father had built this shield, but Steve had used it to protect that person who killed Howard. Or that was how Tony tried to rationalize to himself why he had said that Steve didn't deserve it. Well, that was half of the reason, but the most truthful one was that Tony did not know how to ask Steve to stay. Yeah, it turned out pretty well because Steve was gone now, and Tony had been called "an idiot" in front of the UN's council for letting two criminals get away while T'Challa was the "true hero" because he'd caught Zemo. Tony deserved it though; he had let them get away.
Tony knew Bucky had suffered more than him. And later, after a few days of cooling down along with crying, Tony decided that he wouldn't hate Barnes. That poor man had gone through many shitty situations. The person whom he was angry at was Steve, and mostly himself.
"Maybe I'm only good at destroying," he told himself, flipping on the bed to turn his eyes away from the shield.
He knew he truly needed to get some sleep because tomorrow Rhodey would be released from the hospital and he already had a pair of bio-prosthetic legs for Rhodey to try. It would make his friend be able to walk again, or that was what Tony hoped.
Aside from Rhodey falling from the sky and Steve, Tony didn't feel like he had lost anything more. Well, he was hurt when Clint said that he was a backstabber, and he was hurt to see his friends (if they still regarded him as a friend) being imprisoned. It was not his idea, but it proved his words that all of this would be done to them eventually. To be honest, Tony didn't think that his words would be proved to be true this quickly. And he hated that it had been proven in this manner.
Natasha leaving him was reasonable. She was in pain too. Tony didn't know how much, but he did not blame her. She'd just read the game and decided this was the moment she should be on Steve's side. Tony didn't know if he was glad or angry that she did it because it led to the event in Siberia. She just did what she thought was right, he guessed.
It might be his fault too, the way he'd lost it after knowing that Steve had hidden the truth of his parents' murder from him. Tony knew that his parents were killed, but he didn't expect Steve – who Tony still thought to be trustworthy – to hide it from him. If Steve had told him earlier, the worst case scenario would be Tony not going to Siberia and not talking to Steve for weeks. But finding that out because a stranger decided that he had to know, was another thing. And it hurt. Very much.
He ended up having only three hours of unhappy rest before getting up and getting ready. Vision wanted to go with him to the hospital, and Tony let him. The android had been slightly more protective of him since he found out in Siberia that Tony was with Steve's child.
Rhodey was so excited to see them. To be honest, he was in even higher spirits than Vision and Tony. This was not the first time Tony envied Rhodey's positive way of thinking. Rhodey even ordered Vision to stop feeling guilty: he knew the risks, and it had been his choice to take it.
Then a letter came. A letter and a phone, an old very low-tech phone. Tony didn't have to look at it to know that he could not track it, probably had an anti-tracking device or something like that inserted into it. Actually, he probably could track it, but would it be worth the trouble and the heartbreak?
His first feeling was relief that at least Steve still thought of him. However, after that came anger and pensive sadness. Now it was obvious that Steve would care only if Tony was in trouble (or caused trouble), only if Tony needed help. Tony knew he was being very biased on this, but that was how he felt. He felt abandoned, and the word "sorry" on the letter wasn't going to make him feel better.
'Well, I shouldn't have hoped in the first place. Between me and Barnes, Barnes is his best friend and probably future lover, while I'm just the crazy arrogant one who always creates one disaster after another.'
Tony thought resignedly before he locked the letter and the phone away in the drawer. He wasn't ready for anything like this.
Shortly after, Ross called him to let him know that there was an attack on the Raft by Steve Rogers. Tony tried not to listen, but it resulted in Ross threatening to arrest him too if he found evidence indicating that Tony had involved. It was virtually impossible for Captain America to have broken in alone. Tony insisted that he knew nothing, which was actually the truth. Eventually, Ross mumbled a threat before he hung up.
Tony covered his face and decided that he needed to do something before he broke down, again.
So he went to his lab and started working on the new prototype for Rhodey's prosthetic legs. After his first breakdown, Vision had banished all alcoholic beverages from the Avengers' living zone of the facility because he knew Tony would turn to them as soon as he could not take this anymore. Which was probably any day now. Tony knew Vision was doing this for him and the child, couldn't let the alcohol harm it in his womb. Vision knew Tony would feel even worse about it if it happened, and he thanked Vision for that.
There were still people at the base, but Tony didn't meet them much. Maria Hill kept him posted on their progress in hunting down the rest of the remnants of HYDRA – missions led by Nick Fury himself. Tony let them do their job. Dr. Cho sent reports to him about her research, and he could only read them briefly because he was too quick to lose focus when he had so many other things that he had to do. It was hard doing this all by himself when the person who should be doing this kind of job was Steve.
He was glad that they all supported his choice. Well, he didn't think that Nick Fury fully supported him, but the former director of S.H.I.E.L.D. said that Tony was right to agree to the Accords. Nick said that if he had been in Tony's shoes, he would have done the same thing – at least for the signing part.
Hill simply dropped by his lab one day and said that she would fully support Tony in this. She said he had made a reasonable decision. All Tony could say was 'thank you', and the female alpha left with a supportive smile still on her face.
There was also Dr. Cho. She didn't know much about the conflict between Tony and Steve to actually say anything, but she did say that if she had to choose between 117 countries and one person, she would have done the same as Tony. Tony didn't miss the caring and warmness in her eyes. She understood him on some level, so all Tony did was to smile back and invite her to dinner.
Tony was too afraid to move back to the Tower. There were too many memories there. So he stayed at the base. He couldn't get rid of the memories, but this place contained less of them since he hadn't stayed here very often.
Vision had all of the rooms, except for Rhodey's and Tony's, swept clean of anything that would remind Tony of the past. Tony didn't know how Vision managed to do that without feeling like he would break apart, but he didn't ask.
It was in the evening when Vision came to remind him that it was dinner time. Tony wasn't hungry at all, but he knew he had to eat. So he followed Vision out of his lab and to the dining room.
Rhodey was already there. He and Tony managed to finally talk about something that reminded them of the good times, something that happened before Tony became Iron Man. They smiled and laughed, and Tony was able to get rid of the bad feelings that were eating at him, at least for a while.
After that, they watched TVs, catching up with the world – anything that was not related to Avengers. They talked about old movies they watched together, talked about games their played, and the times they spent doing nothing.
Tony went to bed after that, and the cycle started again. He would try to sleep, and would wake up in less than an hour because he was so paranoid and afraid of the nightmares. Sometimes, he slept for more than an hour, and the nightmares would wake him up. He ended up crying at around 3 in the morning, and Vision was there for him. The android hugged him and Tony cried.
Ross called him the next morning, telling Tony that he had more funerals to attend because apparently some guards at the Raft died. Not during the attack, but after that when they were sent to hospital and the doctors could not save their lives. There were also people who were paralyzed for the rest of their lives because the damage to their spinal cords by that criminal. It was the new name Ross now called Steve by.
Tony just agreed that he would go before he hung up. One of his inner voices screamed that he wasn't responsible for this, but the other said that he was now. He hadn't been able to stop Steve, so now he had to deal with the consequences.
Vision offered to go with him, but Tony refused. He wanted Vision to take care of Rhodey. His friend was able to walk more and more, but Tony still didn't want to leave Rhodey alone. In the end, all three of them going to the funerals together.
This was not the first time Tony saw hatred in the eyes of the victims' families. The officer's daughter looked at him like he had been the one to break her dad's neck. Yet when Rhodey appeared, their eyes became softer.
After attending the funeral, they went to the hospital where the rest of the officers were. He saw the blame and anger in their eyes and pretended not to see them. Tony told them how sorry he was and presented them with the same type of the bio-prosthetic legs Rhodey was using. He said that he would try his best to make sure they would be able to walk again, and Rhodey also showed them that he was able to walk, not very far, but walking nonetheless.
The hate lessened, and their attentions were turned to the bio-prosthetic legs. Tony was okay, or that was what he was telling himself. He was okay because this was not the first time he had to do something like this. There were people who were injured and some were half-paralyzed since the first attempt to catch Barnes after the explosion that killed King T'Chaka. Tony had met all of them and helped them as much as he could. They did not blame him, not even when it had been Tony's former teammate who'd crippled them. Tony knew that Steve and Barnes tried not to kill the men sent to arrest them, but their super-strength still did enough damages for some to die in the hospital, and some to be crippled for the rest of their life.
"Tony, it wasn't your fault," Rhodey said to him the next morning. Tony was glad he had just finished his breakfast, or he wouldn't be able to find the will to finish it.
"What are you talking about?" Tony said, looking away. "It's my fault. I let them get away."
"But you're not the one who injured them," Rhodey frowned. "Hey, hey, don't turn away. Listen to me."
"I'm not going anywhere," Tony replied, still refusing to meet his friend's eyes. He heard Rhodey sigh, before his best friend rested his hand on Tony's shoulder and squeezed it lightly.
"I know what you're trying to do. I know you feel guilty. But you don't have to take all the blame. You've done enough." Rhodey said softly. "Vision and I can help. You don't have to attend every funeral and receive all that… blame and hate. You also need to recover, just like them."
"I can't," Tony laughed. He sounded so exhausted and sad, and that was what he truly felt. "You know, I just can't. When something goes wrong I have to work and work until I feel better. And now I'm not feeling any better yet."
"You have to forgive yourself Tony." Rhodey's hand on his shoulder tightened slightly. "It's not your fault."
"It's my fault." Tony shook his head.
He felt like crying. Rhodey didn't know about the child he was carrying, but that was fine. Let him think that Tony only felt guilty about the passing events, and not because he still could not figure out what to do with the child in him. He was lucky that it wasn't two months old yet, or others would be able to smell the change in his scent. Some of them might not know what it meant, but Tony was sure that trained agents like Maria Hill would.
Tony had found out that he was pregnant because he always monitored the hormones in his blood. It had been just before he went to MIT to announce the scholarships by the September Foundation when Tony knew he was pregnant.
Then shit had happened, and he had no chance to tell Steve. Now, the alpha had disappeared to somewhere in the world where no one would be able find him.
"I have work to do," he cut Rhodey off, standing up. "I have a meeting with the board of my foundation tonight, and a meeting with Ross this afternoon. I have prototypes to send to the hospitals… to those officers. See you around."
With that, Tony went to his lab. He made sure the new bio-prosthetic legs were shipped to their destination before dressing up for the meeting. Vision offered to go with him, but Tony insisted that the android should make sure the bio-prosthetic legs reached their destination safely. He would be fine. A meeting with Ross wasn't going to kill him.
"I will ask again, Stark. Do you know the whereabouts of Rogers and the rest of the criminals?" Ross asked sharply.
Tony just stared at him. He was angry at Ross calling his friends "criminals", but he said nothing about it. There was nothing he could do to stop Ross from calling them whatever Ross wanted. Well, in the eyes of the law, Steve and the rest of them did break the law.
"This is the thousandth time that I've told you that I-don't-know," Tony said, trying to sound annoyed more than exhausted. "He hates me, and I think he made it pretty clear."
"Well, what about this?" Ross showed him a footage. A footage of Tony carrying the shield that once belonged to Steve out of the jet and into the building. It was the footage from security cameras in the hanger. Tony felt his blood run cold, and now he thanked himself for not putting cameras in the Avengers' living area.
"The shield?" Tony said, trying to sound nonchalantly when the event on Siberia rushed back to him. "Rogers left it behind after I told him that he didn't deserve it. My dad…" Tony almost choked on this part, but he kept going. He could not let Ross see his tears. "…he built that shield. So if Rogers was going to protect Barnes, he at least should give the shield back."
Ross was silent for a minute or two, and Tony felt like vomiting. He was so tired right now.
"The UN would want to have that," Ross said. Tony wanted to laugh. Did Ross think that there was some kind of hidden way for Tony to contact Steve through the shield?
"As you wish." Tony nodded. "I'll have it sent here tomorrow."
"Good." Ross nodded. After that, they exchanged a few more words and then Tony was allowed to go.
It wasn't until he was safely in the sky in his helicopter that Tony vomited. The pregnancy sickness was coming, and Tony knew there was no way to stop it.
He vomited several time on the way back to base after the meeting with the people who ran the September Foundation for him. The meeting made Tony feel better to be able to think about other things. Yet the sickness was killing him right now.
Vision seemed to know what happened, because the android had made him an easy to ingest meal. Rhodey was already asleep when Tony got back, and he felt grateful that Vision was the only one that was still up.
"You should at least tell Mr. Rhodes," Vision said after Tony finished eating. "I have been monitoring your hormone levels. They are rising and the sickness is going to worsen. You might experience… panic attacks, especially when there is no comforting pheromone to help you."
Tony was glad Vision didn't tell him that said "comforting pheromone" normally came from the father of the child.
"I'll manage," Tony replied. "Go to my room and make sure the shield there is sent to Ross tomorrow. He wants it and I better not kept him waiting."
Vision just looked at him and nodded. After that, the android left him alone until Tony finished his meal.
Tony threw up several times that night, before his body finally ran out of energy and Tony collapsed on his bed. This time, exhaustion was able to make him sleep deep enough that he did not dream.
Tony woke up with a terrible headache. He groaned and tried to make himself get up from the bed. Something within him was screaming, screaming for something he didn't have. Screaming for a mate to help him through this terrible stage he was in.
Then Vision was beside the bed. Concern was written all over the android's face. Tony groaned and closed his eyes, bringing one of his arms up to cover his face.
"Good morning. Shit… I feel like I was run over by a truck," Tony said. His voice was hoarse and he felt like shit. "I need you to do some shopping for me," he said weakly, trying to sit up but ended up slumping back down onto the mattress.
"You have to tell Mr. Rhodes," Vision said, no… Tony knew that Vision was begging him. "Please sir, at least Mr. Rhodes should know about this. Please."
"I'm fine," Tony grumbled. "Just… do some shopping for me. I have to deal with this on my own."
Vision looked at him with such sadness in his eyes. It made Tony's heart hurt, but he tried not to care. He had to get through this on his own. His friends shouldn't be suffering this burden with him.
"Mr. Stark…" Vision tried again, but Tony cut him off.
"No, I'm sorry. But I have to get through this alone," Tony said. He tried to sound as stern as he could, even though he sounded like he was whimpering. His hand automatically laid upon where his womb was, where his child was. "I can't even… can't bring myself to let go…" He looked at the hand on his stomach. Yet, the strange thing was that he couldn't bring himself to think of the abortion option. "This is my mistake, and mine alone for forgetting to take the birth control pill before that heat. I… I let this happen, Vision. It's my fault."
'It's my fault to love him so much but have no courage to tell him. It's my fault to be so happy when he wanted to help me with the heat that I forgot the pill. It's my fault I can't just let this… thing… this child… our child… go even though I know that it will bring only chaos and more conflict.' That was what Tony didn't say, but he guessed that Vision might already know because the android' eyes were even softer.
Tony sighed, pulling himself into a sitting position with a terrible headache still cracking his skull. He knew Vision would never agree with his decision, but he knew that the android wouldn't deny his request.
Tony then weakly instructed Vision on what to buy. He needed pills to lessen the sickness that male omegas would have if they had no comfort from their mates. He heard that the pill wouldn't help much since it was for omegas whose mates would be away just a day or two. It was not meant for those who did not have mates. Yet it was still better than nothing.
The second thing Tony wanted Vision to buy was a beta-scent spray. This kind of spray was created for omegas to cover up their scents when their heats were near, to lessen the attention being directed to them from the change in their scents. It would made they smell almost like betas, which was what omegas mostly smelt like when they were not in heat. He could not risk anyone else knowing. He wasn't ready to tell anyone, let alone the public, that he was carrying Steve Rogers' child.
After Vision left to buy what he asked, Tony dragged himself to the shower. But when he came out of the bathroom, he still felt awful. Tony couldn't even bring himself to look at his reflection in the mirror.
He still remembered the phone Steve sent him. It was still locked in a drawer along with the letter. Half of him was considering if he should at least try to call, to check if Steve would answer him. But in the end he decided against it, afraid that he would end up crying instead.
He went to the lab and tried to calm himself down with all the tinkering he could do there. Tony knew he should eat, but just the smell of food made him want to throw up. So he decided to ignore the food until he stopped feeling nauseous every time he tried to eat something.
Tony worked and worked. He still felt the loneliness clinging onto him and eating him from the inside. He tried to tell himself to hang on, to wait until the pill arrived. He told himself he had to get through this even though the hormones and his instincts were going to break him before he could kill himself. He tried to ignore the panic that was slowly setting in. The panic and longing, the desperation and despair. The feeling of being abandoned, unwanted… unworthy.
Tony worked until he collapsed onto the floor, crying and clutching at his chest where his heart was. Then he picked himself up and began to work again, trying to busy his mind with the thought of new bio-prosthetic leg models.
However, in the back of his mind, he still wandered back to the start of the conflict. Tony knew that signing the Accords had its disadvantages. Steve was right when he stated that they might not be able to go to the place they were needed. It was true. Tony knew politics all too well, but he couldn't find enough reasons not to sign it. The world wasn't going to wait for long. He knew they had to sign the Accords and do the bargaining later if they were to save their skins and still be able to operate in the way they wanted. They had to show the world that they were ready to take responsibility before asking for their right to choose.
Then there was Barnes. Tony knew it was not Barnes' intention to kill his parents. Yet it still hurt to know the truth from someone who was their enemy and not someone he once trusted.
Tony dropped the tool he was holding to clutch the front of his shirt. There he went again, into a semi-panic attack and almost hyperventilating.
He dropped down to the floor, couldn't stop the self-depreciation from sending him into the state of semi-conscious with tears in his eyes. It was like he almost ran out of tears to cry – almost.
Vision found him on the floor an hour later, too tired to move. The android carried him out and back to his room. Tony was glad he wasn't able to see anything clearly, or he would feel even guiltier because of the concerned looks from Vision and Rhodey.
The android gave him the pill, and Tony took it before he passed out from exhaustion.
This was not the first time Steve spent his time looking at the blankness ahead. Behind him was the room where Bucky was in deep sleep. This place was so quiet and peaceful.
Tony never called, and Steve wasn't surprised. He knew he had committed a terrible mistake in not telling Tony the truth. He did not regret not signing the Accords. If he did, Bucky would have been dead. Yet there was no denying that what he did was not the best choice.
Since T'Challa had welcomed him to Wakanda, Steve had time to calm down and sort out the turmoil inside him. He spent most of his time brooding and reading while sitting near Bucky's room.
Steve knew Tony did what he thought was right. And the thing he regretted was what he'd told Tony at the airport. He had accused Tony of breaking the team apart by signing the Accords. The truth was, Steve was to blame as much as Tony, or maybe even more. Tony had carried pressures from everyone: the team, the governments, and the people. Tony was the one who always caught up with the damage control unit, always offered help to rebuild the cities damaged from the Avengers' fights, and took the blame from the people there. Tony cared about the world even more than Steve did, and Steve wouldn't deny it if anyone asked if he felt terrible about himself after realizing this.
But he couldn't just leave Bucky. The omega had been his world when he had no one else to turn to. Bucky had always been there for him. Steve had already lost Peggy; he wasn't going to let Bucky go without putting up a fight.
It was not like he did not care about Tony. Steve did care, but he'd still chosen Bucky. He knew Bucky wasn't going to kill Tony, while Tony was more than intending to end Bucky's life.
Someone was calling him, Steve turned back and saw Wanda standing behind him with Clint.
"We're going to Sokovia," Clint said. "It's… nearly her birthday."
'And Pietro's birthday too', but Clint didn't need to say it out loud. He knew Steve would understand.
"Be careful," Steve said, nodding. He knew that Clint and Wanda would not be coming back to Wakanda. They had deemed it safe enough to go back to Clint's farm. Both Wanda and Clint intended to keep a low profile for a long time, at least until Wanda figured out what to do with her life.
Natasha had contacted him after he and Bucky had left Siberia. She said that she had to leave because of what she did to T'Challa, and now the governments were hunting her. She said she would be somewhere in Russia or Sweden, trying to find the way to get that trigger code out of Bucky's head. Steve was grateful, and a bit worried. However, he knew she could take care of herself.
"Do you think they will go to Sokovia?"
Sam came to talk to him after Wanda and Clint left. He and Scott just finished their workout. Steve knew what Sam meant.
"I think Vision will, but I'm not sure about Tony," Steve replied. A philosophy book T'Challa gave him was still in his hand.
"To be honest, I feel… guilty," Sam said carefully. "I mean… it's all over the news nearly every day that Stark and the others have attended a funeral of someone who died because of our actions. You know the blame's mostly on us, but they… they took it. Even though I don't agree with the Accords, I don't think it's fair for them to shoulder the responsibility and the blame alone. And…" Sam sighed. He looked guilty. "…I know it's not the Accords that make they take the blame."
'They did it for us' was what Sam did not say. Steve didn't reply, but he knew that Sam was right. And it was their fault for not seeing the damage they had done until it's too late. Secretary Ross was right when he said that the people were afraid, but it had been them who'd decided to ignore the truth – except for Tony.
If he had a chance to change the past, Steve knew he would still choose to save Bucky, but he would have told Tony the truth. Steve knew, even before Ultron, that Tony's parents had been killed by his best friend.
And he would have confessed to Tony that he loved the genius omega. Steve did not know when he had developed feelings for Tony, but he had. That had been why he'd offered to accompany Tony during Tony's heat weeks ago. Yet he still could not bring himself to tell the omega how much he loved him.
The moment he slammed his shield down onto Tony's arc reactor was one of the most painful moments Steve had ever experienced. But what's done was done. He'd walked away with Bucky, trying hard not to think of what Tony was going to do. The suit had been broken, and Tony was hurt. Steve had been afraid Tony might freeze to death, it had been more than once that he almost decided to go back to check.
Steve would be lying if he said he wasn't relieved to hear from the news that Tony was still alive, even though it was from the announcement that Steve and the others were no longer the world's heroes, but one of the world's most wanted criminals.
T'Challa suggested that they should spar after he was done with his daily duties as the king. Steve accepted the invitation. Half because he wanted to work out, and half because he wanted to take his mind off the only omega he had been thinking about for most of the day.
"Will you be alright?"
"I'm fine, stop patronizing me, both of you," Tony sighed as the car parked in front of the hospital. Today he, Rhodey, and Vision were visiting the officers who were injured from the attack on the Raft. With his condition, Rhodey insisted to come with him no matter what.
Days ago, after he passed out after taking the medicine, Vision had decided to tell Rhodey about his pregnancy. He woke up with Rhodey sitting beside his bed, sad and worried about him. Eventually, Tony couldn't find himself to be angry at Vision. He knew that Vision's intentions were good, so he let both of them hold him and tell him that they would support him. Tony eventually cried and let Rhodey comfort him with everything his friend could think of.
After that, he had followed Rhodey to the kitchen, where Vision had prepared dinner for him. The android had sorted through more than hundreds of recipes to find some that had no records of making a pregnant omega throw up. Tony was so grateful. Throwing up was never a good experience.
Then, both of them had stayed with him in his bedroom until Tony was asleep. They both held him when he woke up from nightmares. Tony knew he wouldn't be able to recover quickly, but he was sure he was slowly going to. At least he knew Vision and Rhodey would have his back.
Tony had been taking the medicine for pregnant omegas every day, and also using the spray. The pill did not help much, but it did lessen the time he had to spend throwing up nearly every morning. And Vision made sure to get himself between whoever going to deliver Tony the reports from the people working at the facility.
They all knew Tony would soon need a doctor. But not just anyone. Tony didn't know how Vision and Rhodey did it, but they eventually were able to contact Bruce. At first Bruce refused to come back, but Vision changed his mind by one sentence.
"Tony is pregnant, and there is no other doctor we trust except you."
That was how Bruce came back, secretly. He didn't stay at the facility, but he would be in the town nearby where he could drive to the facility within an hour. And, if it were an emergency, Vision could fly to wherever he was and bring the doctor here in less than twenty minutes.
Bruce told him that the child was healthy, but he warned them that the pregnancy was going to worsen after the third month. Unlike female pregnancy, male omegas relied heavily on the pheromones, scents, and physical contact from their mates to help their bodies produce accurate doses of hormones to stabilize their bodies during pregnancy. If not, they were likely to have depression – along with self-depreciation, mild to severe panic attacks, weight loss, headaches, loss of appetite, terrible nausea in the morning – followed by throwing up, loss of important minerals in blood's plasma from vomiting, and dehydration.
Tony told Bruce that he would manage. That made the doctor give him a look but said nothing. Tony knew that Bruce had an idea of who the father of the child was, but he didn't say a word. Tony was grateful, just the presence of the child was enough to remind him of Steve.
Happy said he would stay with the car as they went to meet the officers and their families. Tony was glad that Happy decided to show up at the facility and offered to guard and drive him anywhere he wanted. He didn't say anything as Happy quietly revealed that Pepper was worried about him, and he was glad Happy didn't ask how he was doing or feeling.
They entered the building and made their way to meet the officers. Most of them were still practicing walking with their bio-prosthetic legs. Tony was happy to see the smiles on their faces.
The doctors and the officers' families came to thank Tony for the prosthetics, but he just waved them off, saying that he did not deserve the gratitude. He felt at peace just from seeing the happiness in their eyes.
However, Tony's peace didn't last long. As they were exiting the hospital, they were greeted by an army of reporters trying to get their opinions about the world's situation. They had been successfully avoiding the reporters for so long by not telling anyone when they would be visiting the officers, and never staying long enough for the reporters to catch up to them. It seemed like today they had stayed here for too long.
"Mr. Stark! What do you think of the situation?"
"Mr. Stark! Any idea of where Captain America is?"
"Is it true that Miss Romanoff is hiding in Russia?"
"Vision! Sir! Can you give us an opinion about the current world situation?"
"How long will it take before you successfully hunt down the heroes-turned- criminals? Do you think they will become a major threat to the world?"
"Mr. Stark! Do you regret signing the Accords?"
"Was it the Accords that made you attend the funerals?"
"Do you think there is a chance that Captain Rogers will show up again? Where do you think he and the rest are hiding?"
"Will you visit Sokovia any time soon?"
All the questions were shouted at him. Vision and Rhodey were immediately shielding him from them as they walked towards the car. Tony tried not to listen to any of them, but they were like daggers stabbing at his heart. He thought there was no way this situation could get any worse, but it did when he heard one question being shouted out among the others.
"Mr. Stark! Is it true that the Winter Soldier killed your parents in cold blood?"
That was it, and the last moment of his mother's life was replaying in his head. Luckily, they were in front of the car now, and Happy immediately opened the door for him. Rhodey pushed Tony in while Vision closed the door behind them. The android took the front seat and then they were driving away from the press.
When they got back to the facility, Tony immediately went to his lab. He kept on working until the panic set in and he collapsed. Vision brought him to his room and Rhodey stayed with him until Tony calmed down enough to stop having flashbacks.
"Tony… you need to get help," Rhodey said as he held Tony close. "Anything… maybe we can contact an omega service. They'll keep this secret. They're professionals…"
"No…" Tony shook his head tiredly. "…you know there is no cure for my condition."
'My cure is the pheromones and the support from the father of this child, which you know is impossible to acquire' was what Tony actually wanted to say. But it would only make him cry, so Tony decided against it.
He closed his eyes and tried to sleep instead. Tony was so exhausted from the pregnancy, the press, and the world situation. Tomorrow, he had a meeting with Ross. Actually, Vision had volunteered to go meet the Secretary, but Tony didn't agree and insisted that he would go meet the Secretary himself. It was going to be Wanda's birthday in two days and she would probably be in Sokovia. He didn't want to take the chance of meeting Wanda away from Vision. Tony knew how badly the android missed her. However, he also warned Vision to be careful, because Ross might already have sent his men there. The android promised Tony that he would be careful.
Tony could only hope that his situation wouldn't get worse, that he would be able to survive another day.
Sokovia was nearly like what she remembered before Ultron. Wanda was glad that her hometown was recovering, slowly, but steadily.
Clint was beside her. Sometimes, she was almost annoyed by his patronizing, but she was also grateful. He was like her father, and Wanda couldn't help but feel that sometimes Clint actually thought of her as his daughter.
Even though there were no government officers presented, they still kept a low profile. They wore hats, Clint even had a fake beard, and they always avoided cameras. Luckily, there weren't many cameras around the city because half of it was still in the midst of reconstruction.
It was her birthday and Wanda had a feeling that Vision would be here. She just knew he was going to be here. To be honest, Wanda was still feeling guilty about the situation. She had to accept that Stark had his point, and she didn't blame Vision for taking his side. However, what had been done was done. She had to move on.
"Be careful," Clint said as she led him to where she sensed Vision's presence. "It might be a trap."
"He is alone," Wanda said as she continued toward the forest outside the city. "You're overreacting."
"Better be safe than sorry."
They reached the forest and had to walk for a while before they found Vision. The android was looking at a young tree in front of him. He turned to greet them with a wry smile.
"Hi," Wanda said as she smiled back. She tried to relax even though Client was obviously not. "How are you?"
"I'm good." Vision nodded, turning his head toward the tree he was looking when they arrived. "This is where I killed Ultron… his last body. It might not have been a long time, but this tree has grown on that spot already," Vision said. His voice was neutral. "Nothing is permanent, I guess. And I'm glad the world keeps it that way."
"Is there a hidden meaning behind what you just said?" Clint asked from behind her, and Wanda gave him a look that had the male beta rolling his eyes and mumbling about just being cautious.
"How are you?" Vision asked her. If he was offended by Clint's words, he didn't show it. Wanda mentally noted to talk to Clint later about being over-protective.
"I'm good," she said. "I… um… saw the news about you… attending the funerals."
She was about to say that she was sorry. But Vision just shook his head.
"No need to blame yourself," the android said. "You did what you thought was best for the situation. We all made mistakes, Wanda, but there is nothing we can do to change the past."
"I know," Wanda sighed. She felt even guiltier, but pushed the feeling back because she didn't want Vision to sense it. He already carried so many burdens. "How are Rhodes and Stark?"
"Mr. Rhodes can walk freely now. We have estimated that he will be able to run and do some simple exercises within two weeks," Vision replied smoothly, but Wanda saw a slight change of his expression when he was about to talk about Stark. "Mr. Stark is… recovering," he said and refused to give more information.
"Viz, it's okay," Wanda said, moving closer to the android. "We're not angry with him, not anymore. We all did what we thought was right."
Vision was quiet for a while. Wanda could tell that he was thinking hard. In the end, Vision handed her a thumb drive.
"If you have a chance, give this to Captain Rogers. Please," Vision said. "It's a video… only Captain Rogers knows the password to open it."
"What is the video about?" Clint asked, frowning.
"Something he should know. It's about two lives that might be of his concern," Vision replied. "I made the video myself. And if you think that this thumb drive has a virus or a tracking program, you may destroy it."
"Fine," Clint nodded and moved to grab the drive, but Wanda pushed him away.
"I will get this to him," she said, taking the drive and turned to glare at Clint. "It's okay. Vision is telling the truth."
Clint looked at her, then Vision, and sighed. He leaned back against the tree behind and shook his head, telling Wanda that he trusted her.
Steve leaned back against the armchair as he watched the news on the large television in his room. T'Challa had given each of them a large room to stay in. His had floor-to-ceiling windows and a large beautiful terrace that gave him the perfect view of the forest and the far away cities of Wakanda. However, Steve had to admit that he sometimes missed the sounds of people, especially Tony, at the facility. And he still missed the view of New York City from Avengers Tower.
Then, as he was about to turn the television off, news of Tony Stark appeared. He seemed to be at a hospital. The reporters had swarmed Tony, Vision, and Rhodey as they exited the building. Even from the screen, Steve still saw the exhaustion on Tony's face, and the irritation on Rhodey's.
"Mr. Stark! What do you think of the situation?"
"Mr. Stark! Any idea of where Captain America is?"
"Is it true that Miss Romanoff is hiding in Russia?"
"Vision! Sir! Can you give us an opinion about the current world situation?"
"How long will it take before you successfully hunt down the heroes-turned- criminals? Do you think they will become a major threat to the world?"
"Mr. Stark! Do you regret signing the Accords?"
"Was it the Accords that made you attended the funerals?"
"Do you think there is a chance that Captain Rogers will show up again? Where do you think he and the rest are hiding?"
"Will you visit Sokovia any time soon?"
"Mr. Stark! Is it true that the Winter Soldier killed your parents in cold blood?"
The questions were bullshit, especially the last one. Steve couldn't help but felt his anger rising at the reporters almost jabbing their microphones into Tony's face.
Then the picture was cut back to the newsreader as she proceeded to say, "Mr. Stark and his team are still refusing to give an answer regarding the direction they and the UN will be taking for the Avengers, nor are they answering whether it is true that the Winter Solider had killed Tony Stark's parents. However, there is a leaked video of what truly happened to Howard and Maria Stark…"
Steve was too stunned to hear what she said next as the screen changed into the video he had watched in Siberia.
The video of his parents' car crashing, followed by the figure of Barnes stepping toward it, was all over the news. Even though they cut it at that point, it still hurt. Tony felt the tears running down his face before Rhodey shouted for FRIDAY to turn the TV off.
Tony didn't say anything as Rhodey tried to calm him down.
He was hyperventilating and his friend shouted for Happy and ordered FRIDAY to call Bruce.
Tony didn't say anything as he collapsed down on the floor, hands clutching at his chest. Then he was screaming his heart out.
Thank you so much for your supports! They mean a lot to me. You guys are amazing.
It will take a while before I can update the next chapter, but I will do my best ^^
Ps. Thank you for pointing out of how I typed 'Client' instead of 'Clint', that's a very embarassing mistake. OTL"
It had been a week after that video from Siberia was broadcasted. Now it was everywhere. It was on the news when they were talking about the unstable situation of the world, on the internet where a complete version was posted.
Tony had spent two days after he saw that video on the news in his lab. He worked until he could not go on. He ignored all calls and what his body needed. He did not say a word when Rhodey and Vision talked to him. Tony kept working until he collapsed from exhaustion and another bout of panic attacks.
Rhodey was very worried. He, Bruce , and Vision had tried everything to help their friend. Yet the omega showed so little response. It was only until the third day after the video had been broadcasted that Tony started talking again. He asked Vision to make him scrambled eggs. Rhodey would be lying if he said he didn't feel relieved.
It was the sixth day after the video from Siberia went viral that Tony was back to himself. Vision and Rhodey had attended all the meetings while Tony recovered in his lab. They had granted Happy access to all places of their living area, in case something happened and they weren't there in time. Happy spent most of his day watching Tony tinkering in the lab.
However, on the seventh day, Secretary Ross decided to visit them at the base. And this visit made Rhodey wish he could punch the alpha in the face without any consequences.
"Good afternoon gentlemen, I've seen that you've been… busy."
Ross said as he stood in front of the table they were sitting at. Happy was in another room because he wasn't allowed in. Rhodey knew that Ross' second sentence was meant for Tony, but his friend still showed no sign that he acknowledged that.
"I'll get straight to the point then," Ross said, putting a picture on the table. Rhodey took a look at it and felt his heart drop when he saw that it was a picture of a package labelled 'Tony Stark'. He remembered this box, the deliverer had misread Tony's name from "Stark" to "Stank". But that was not the point here.
'How did Ross know about this? How did he get a picture of it?' Rhodey was slightly panicked. Tony didn't tell him any details about the package, but he had already guessed that it must be something from Steve Rogers.
"Took us some time to get the picture." Ross shrugged as he enlightened them of how he got the picture. "My men had noticed a FedEx car visiting this compound, but that day there was no record of what it delivered. So I guessed that they might have a picture of it from where it was loaded. Luckily, this box was on top of the pile when they loaded it into a truck."
Rhodey felt his heart drop. He stole a glance at Tony and Vision. The android kept his eyes on Ross with a blank expression while Tony was looking anywhere but at Ross. He friend was slightly fidgety and Rhodey knew Tony couldn't tolerate this situation for long.
"Stark." Ross seemed to know too, because he now stared at Tony. "I know you're hiding something. I don't want to say that the cells at the Raft are still empty, but I will take you there if you give me a reason to."
"What do you want?" Tony looked up. Exhaustion was written all over his face. Rhodey couldn't feel anything but frustration because Tony deserved better than to be wrecked by his hormones and people like Ross.
"What is inside the box?" Ross asked with a stern voice. Rhodey could see the triumph in the alpha's eyes.
He hoped Tony would come up to something to trick Ross, but he knew that his friend wouldn't. Tony was too tired and too stressed. That was why Rhodey wasn't very surprised when Tony didn't put up a fight. All the omega did was to get out of his chair and walk to the door that would lead him to a locked drawer. Rhodey was sure that it contained whatever was in that package. This was the first time Rhodey cursed that this place had half of the walls made out of glass.
The omega came back later with a piece of paper. He handed it to Ross without looking at it. Then he slumped down on his chair as Ross read its contents. Rhodey knew that it must be a letter from Steve Rogers, and his guess was confirmed by Ross after the alpha finished reading.
"Did he send you something else other than this letter?" Ross asked.
Tony looked up again and shook his head. The omega's voice was so hoarse and tired. "No, why?"
"Because I have a feeling that he might have given you something more than just this," Ross said. Rhodey knew this was a warning. "And I will not tolerate even the slightest deception." And this was a threat. Rhodey knew the Secretary meant every word he said.
"No," Tony shook his head. His eyes were on Ross. "Is this what made you come all the way here just to ask me about the package?"
"Not all," Ross smiled, a predatory smile, before he waved his hands for his bodyguards to leave the room. "I have one more thing to discuss with you."
"Go on." Tony shrugged, a careless smirk appeared on his face. Rhodey couldn't help but grin. At least the Tony from before the Accords was coming back. "Hurry up old man, I bet you still have a lot of things that require your attention."
"Thanks for caring about me, Stark," Ross replied, and Rhodey started to have a worse feeling about this. "But I suggest you might want to take a better care of yourself since you're pregnant."
Tony was frozen in his place. Rhodey was too shocked to say anything, and Vision stared at Ross with wild eyes.
This was not what they had expected. And Rhodey knew this was going to make the situation ten times worse than what it already was.
"Oh, come on." Ross rolled his eyes. Rhodey watched the alpha pace back and forth two times before he continued. "I smelt your pregnancy since the last time we met, Stark. And I believe I know who the father is," Ross said as he put both his hands on the table and stared at Tony. "The reason I hadn't mentioned it to you earlier was because I wasn't sure if you would choose to get rid of it. But now I'm confident that you will not. Don't worry, I have no intention to tell anyone. But if you cross me, then the world will know that you and Rogers had created 'something' together before breaking up."
No one said a word as Ross grabbed the picture from the table and adjusted his suit. The Secretary said nothing more but Rhodey knew that the damage was done. He could see the panic starting to form in Tony's eyes. He could see the colour draining from Tony's face. He knew Ross saw this, and Rhodey was angry because he could do nothing except watching Ross threaten his already heartbroken friend.
It looked like Ross had achieved what he came here for, but the alpha wasn't done yet.
"By the way, my men just got a picture of your friend from the town not too far from this compound," Ross said as he signalled his bodyguards who were watching from outside the room that he was ready to leave. However, he still had time to put another picture down on the table. Rhodey felt his blood ran cold, this was a picture of Bruce Banner.
"And there's another picture of your friend. This one was taken almost two years ago from a bank's CCTV," Ross said as he put another picture down on the table. Rhodey felt the colour drain from his face. It was picture of Clint Barton and a woman Rhodey had never met, but knew she was Clint's wife. Clint had showed him her picture once.
No one said a word. Rhodey didn't know what to say. Ross was looking at all of them like the victor he was. After that, the alpha took all the pictures back and turned to leave.
"I'm sure we will be able to locate them soon." Ross walked to the door, a triumphant smile on his face. A smile of a person who knew that he had them in the palms of his hands. "Prepare to help me interrogate them Stark. Good day gentlemen."
Then Ross and his men were gone. Tony was hiding his face in this hands. Rhodey smelt tears.
Vision got to Tony first. Rhodey shouted for FRIDAY to send Happy as he rounded the table to comfort the shaking omega.
"I will take Mr. Stark to his room," Vision said and was about to lift Tony up when the omega grabbed his arms. There were tears in his eyes, but Tony didn't let it fall until he finish his sentence.
"No, you go warn them," the omega almost whispered as he tried to fight back his tears. "Go, now."
Vision nodded, and then the android was floating in the air before disappearing through the ceiling. Rhodey hoped that it was not too late.
Wanda had never thought that she would see Bruce Banner again after Ultron. What she had done to him that resulted in the 'other guy' inside him emerging and destroying a city was not easy to be forgiven. However, he didn't visit Clint and her because of that. It was because of an emergency.
It was two AM when an old car appeared on the road leading towards the house. Clint was immediately up, and so was Wanda. They prepared to fight, but then the car stopped and Banner came out of it.
"Bruce?" Clint was surprised. He immediately went out to greet the scientist with Wanda sceptically following. "Nat's been looking for you everywhere…"
"This is not the time," Banner cut Clint off as he shoved a sealed enveloped into Clint's hand. "Get this to Steve, and you two must go now. Ross has a picture of me, and a picture of you and Laura. It won't take long before he knows where you are." The beta was fidgeting nervously.
"What?" Clint frowned as Wanda felt her heart drop. She wasn't ready to be on a run again. They had arrived at the farm only three days ago, Wanda couldn't believe that she would be on a run again.
"You have to go before he finds you," Banner repeated as he walked back to his car. "And from my experience, you won't want that to happen."
There was something bitter in Banner's voice, but Wanda didn't have time to think about it. She knew that he was totally uncomfortable around her, and that made her feel very guilty. However, that wasn't what she was concerned about right now as Clint shoved the envelope into his pocket while cursing Ross.
Laura looked heartbroken when she knew that they had to leave. Wanda felt tears filling her eyes as she watched Clint hug his wife. Wanda had known Laura for just three days, but she liked Clint's wife already.
After that, they were in a car, heading to somewhere far away from the people they loved. Wanda rested her head against the car's window tiredly while Clint drove them to Canada. She could feel anger and sadness radiating from the male beta beside her.
"I hope Dr. Banner will be okay," Wanda said as she watched the view outside. "I haven't… haven't had a chance to properly apologize to him for what I did."
"He understands," Clint replied. "He's gone through… a lot. He's run away from Ross before, he can take care of himself."
They stopped at a small post office to get the envelope to Steve, after that they drove all the way to Canada without rest.
It was a week after the video from Siberia went viral.
Steve stared at the thumb drive in his hand. It had been sent here by Wanda. In the package, she left a note that Vision wished for him to have it, and that he was the only one who knew the password.
The package had arrived this morning, but Steve still hadn't decided what to do about it until the afternoon.
Steve looked at the thumb drive in his hand again before deciding to give it a try. T'Challa had given him a new laptop with no internet connection, just in case.
He plugged the drive in. It took only 3 seconds before a window popped up with a blank space for him to enter a password.
'The only password you've given me,' was what written on the screen. Steve frowned. Before the Sokovia Accords, he and other Avengers had codes, secret words when they were on missions. But a password…?
Then Steve remembered. There was only one time he had given Vision a password. It was weeks ago, just before Tony's heat started.
Since Vision was the only person in the compound who couldn't be affected by hormones from both alpha and omega because he was an android and his body did not produce hormones nor have receptors for them. Steve and Tony decided to have Vision be the one bringing them food and drinks while Tony spent the heat with Steve. Steve had given Vision a password because he knew he wouldn't be able to distinguish anyone from each other just by sound alone. Having Vision say the password before entering was easier than Steve trying to remember who it was when he had his hands full with Tony.
'Star Wars' was the password. Steve had just finished the Star Wars trilogy before he offered Tony his help. He still remembered Tony staring at him with wide eyes, before the omega grinned and said yes.
Steve still remembered Tony writhing under him, begging and demanding for him to go harder.
The alpha groaned and rubbed his forehead. He typed 'Star Wars' into the space provided and waited as the window disappeared.
Then there was a video file appeared on the drive. Steve double-clicked it, and the video started.
"Hello, Captain Rogers."
Vision's face appeared on the screen. Behind the android was a kitchen. Steve looked at the clock on the wall nearby, it was 3 AM in the video.
"I will get straight to the point," the android said, looking around him as if he wanted to make sure no one was listening. "Captain… you are going to be a father."
What? Steve's eyes widened. I don't understand…
Wait, I do.
"Mr. Stark is pregnant," Vision in the video said before Steve could let himself get carried away. And the android just confirmed what he thought. "And his condition is getting worse. He needs you sir, even if you might not want to see him again. Mr. Stark and your child need you."
Then Vision and the kitchen disappeared. On the screen was now a chart of hormones detected in Tony Stark's blood. The pregnancy hormones were high, along with the hormones producing when people were stressed.
"And this is footage I pulled from FRIDAY. She does not share the server with the rest of the compound, so no one knows about his pregnancy, except for us."
Vision's voice came, before the chart disappeared. What appeared next was a video which was probably from Tony's lab at the compound. Tony was working before he collapsed, tears all over his face and hands clutching at his chest.
Vision and Rhodey rushed in. They tried to calm Tony down, and the video was cut off. Vision's face appeared again.
"That was from yesterday," Vision said. Even though his voice showed no emotion, Steve could see from Vision's eyes that the android was worried. "I know you are a wanted man. Yet there is a high chance of Mr. Stark… miscarrying, especially from the third month until the child was seven months old. In those months, male omegas need the pheromones and physical contact from their alphas to balance their bodies."
Then Vision was quiet for a few seconds before he spoke again. This time, Steve could see that Vision was afraid.
"Mr. Stark has chosen to keep the child," Vision continued. "He has decided to keep it a secret, but I have a feeling that you need to know."
The video ended and Steve just sat there, staring at the blank screen.
No blame was thrown about. Vision did not blame him. The android just simply told him about the situation of his former teammate. The condition of the omega he loved.
'I have to go back' was all Steve could think as he closed his eyes. He had seen what happened to pregnant omegas whose mates had never come back from the battlefield. Some of them had miscarried, and some died along with their children during childbirth. Some survived, but they were never the same. They were still caring and kind, but the spirit in their eyes had disappeared.
Steve had seen all of that, and he had sworn that he would never let anything liked that happen to his mate.
And now, now Tony was carrying his child.
Tony was not his mate, but there was no denying that this was going to be painful for Tony. Perhaps even more so than mated omegas. Steve had heard that when an unmated omega became pregnant, they would immediately start forming a bond with the father of their child, unlike the usual bond which would occur after the bite-mark. And the half-formed bond would going to be hell for them. The longing for the bond to be fulfilled, the longing for their mate.
Steve turned the laptop off and sat down on the bed. He rested his head in his hands and growled at himself.
He had to do something.
Tony couldn't believe he was doing this.
It was several days after the last time Ross visited them at the Avengers' compound. Tony felt a bit better, but the pregnancy sickness he was enduring was getting worse.
Today, there was a party at the main office of Tony's September Foundation. He could tolerate wearing suits, giving the PR smile to the cameras, and even the guests of the party staring at him when they thought he wasn't looking.
However, there was one thing that Tony could not handle: the press who tried so hard to get him to answer their questions. Tony knew that soon he would have to make an actual public announcement about his place in this political war. Or Ross would do it for him, and Tony knew he wasn't going to like it.
Vision was here with him at the party, and Tony was more than glad that the android helped to redirect attention towards him. It was not every day that you could take a picture of an android wearing a suit.
Then he saw Ross at the party. Tony wasn't sure if the old alpha was invited, but the man was already here in a suit.
Ross glanced his way, and Tony knew that the Secretary was here to talk to him only.
Vision eyed Ross as Tony walked toward the alpha. The android offered to accompany him but Tony refused. He wanted to know what Ross had in mind.
"Secretary Ross," Tony said as he walked to stand beside the alpha. "Welcome to the September Foundation's party, even though I'm sure I wasn't the one who sent an invitation to you. Do you want a drink?"
"No, I invited myself," Ross replied. His expression was plain, but there was something in his eyes. Something dangerous. "Tony… I hate it when you lie."
"Lie?" Tony frowned. "I didn't lie." He tried to play cool, even that he knew he was caught. Ross knew that he was lying.
"You lied about the package," Ross said and Tony's heart dropped. "I knew there was something more than a letter. The weight wasn't correct. Just a box and that letter wouldn't weigh 0.5 kg. What are you hiding?"
Tony didn't know what to say. He didn't think that Ross would go as far as checking the weight of what was sent to him. No, he knew Ross was going to check, but he was too tired to think of a second plan before he lied. He was too tired. He felt like giving up. Giving the phone up so Ross would stop and let him be.
"Tony," the Secretary continued as Tony said nothing. "I knew your parents. They were great people, and I hate to see their son protecting the wrong person. You should be protecting the people, Tony. Not protecting the criminal who used to be good and reasonable."
Tony said nothing. He stared at the party ahead, suddenly feeling numb. He was so tired. Part of him wanted to shout at Ross, that the alpha knew nothing and had no right to talk about Steve that way. Steve was now an outlaw, but he had saved the world more than Ross ever did. However, the other half just wanted to just give up, so that the world would leave him alone.
"I will visit tomorrow. I hope you will have made up your mind by then," Ross said as he pushed himself away from the wall. "Think about it Tony. Do you want to raise your child in peace or do you want to raise it in the Raft?"
Ross whispered the last sentenced to him and walked away. Tony had to suppress the urge to touch his stomach as he watched until the Secretary disappeared. Tony turned and saw Vision looking at him. The android nodded and Tony inhaled before he immediately made his way to the parking lot.
Happy was waiting for him. Tony reminded himself to thank Vision later for calling Happy to get the car ready.
Back at the compound, Tony got rid of his suit and stared at the mobile phone in his hand.
On the TV, the reporter was talking about the September Foundation's party. Since he had left the party early, Vision was now the primary target for the photographers. Tony watched as the android answered the reporter with a gentle smile that Tony Stark had a very busy day tomorrow, so he had to leave shortly after attending.
"This is bullshit," Tony murmured as he stared at the phone. He had to give it to Ross tomorrow. To be honest, Tony wanted to just disappear. He owned many islands in the Pacific, there was no way Ross could find him if he decided to truly disappear. But he couldn't just leave. He had Rhodey, Vision, and that Spider-kid – Peter. They were counting on him. And he would not leave this compound in Ross' hand.
In the end, Tony turned the phone on. There was one contact on the phone - 'Nomad'. Tony chuckled. Nomad? No mad… yup, he wasn't mad at all. He was just tired and overwhelmed by everything.
Tony pressed call and brought the phone to his ears. Half of him expected Steve not to answer, but half of him was desperate to hear the alpha's voice.
Steve picked up quicker than he thought. Tony inhaled sharply. Steve's voice was still the same as he remembered. There was no other sound after that.
"Tony? Are you there?"
There was a lump in his thought, but Tony cleared it out. He heard Steve's sharp intake of air and wondered what Steve was doing. He tried to talk back but nothing came out. Maybe he should've sent message instead.
"Ross knows about the phone," Tony said, hating how his voice was shaking, like he was about to cry. No, he really was about to cry. To hear Steve's voice again was just too much. His omega-side was screaming for him to ask if Steve could just come back – to beg Steve to come back because the pain from the pregnancy was too much. He could not do this alone.
"I have to give it to him tomorrow," he continued. But instead of saying anything that was in his mind, Tony hung up. He turned the phone off and tossed it away. He couldn't risk having Steve call back. The alpha would call back, he was sure, and then Tony was going to cry. He was tired of crying.
Then he was vomiting in the bathroom. The pain was overwhelming as he tried his best to stay conscious. Tony knew he was breaking apart, and there was no doctor to help him. Bruce was gone; his friend had to go before Ross found him.
Tony called after midnight, after Vision had returned and helped him to bed. "Invite Dr. Cho to lunch tomorrow."
Before Dr. Cho became a world renowned geneticist, she had been an excellent physician. Tony wasn't sure how much she knew about omega biology, but he hoped it was enough. He wasn't 100% sure if she was trustable, but he would have to take the risk.
FRIDAY replied as Tony rested his head on Vision's shoulder. Rhodey was in the kitchen. His friend suggested that hot chocolate would do Tony good, so he was going to make sure Tony had it with a floating marshmallow as a finishing touch.
"Sir, if I may suggest," Vision said after he put a blanket over Tony's legs. "I think we can trust Maria Hill."
Maria Hill's pheromone wasn't the one he needed, but it should still help to calm his nerves. It would at least tell his omega-side to calm down, that there was still an alpha he could trust – something like that. If he could trust Hill, of course.
Well, he didn't have many choices, and Hill was very trustworthy when compared to Ross.
"Yeah," Tony nodded. If it was the previous week, he would have fought Vision over who to trust – which would be no one except for Rhodey, Vision, and Happy. Yet right now he was too tired to even argue. "FRIDAY, invite Agent Hill to the lunch tomorrow too," Tony ordered before closing his eyes, only opening them again when Rhodey walked in with his hot chocolate.
"Is this all?" Ross asked as he looked at the old-tech phone lying on the table.
"That's all." Tony shrugged, looking away. "Have your men search the place if you don't trust me," he added, turning back to look at Ross. The older man stared back before he nodded to his men.
"Don't misbehave again," the alpha said, as if Tony was a little kid, before walking out of the room. His men took the phone with them. Tony blew the wind out of his nose, shaking his head. Half of him was worried about Steve, but another half just spat and said that the alpha deserved it. Steve shouldn't think that there would be no consequences in the first place.
"I still want to punch him in the face," Rhodey said, watching Ross walk out of the building. "You okay?"
"Me? Yes." Tony nodded. "After last night's slumber party, I guess I'm better now. Not at my best, but better." He then turned to Vision. "It's time to cook." He grinned, clapping his hands.
Vision nodded and smiled, before he floated through the wall towards the kitchen.
"You can cook?" Rhodey raised his eyebrows. "The last time you tried to cook, your kitchen caught on fire."
"That was ten years ago," Tony laughed. "Come on, you know Vision isn't going to let me burn the place down."
"Yep, hope you're right." Rhodey rolled his eyes, following his friend to the kitchen.
Tony watched Maria Hill and Helen Cho's expression after he told them about the pregnancy. There was no need to mention Steve, they had already figured that out. Hill looked surprised. Tony guessed she was surprised that he trusted her. Helen was surprised and worried.
"You can't keep it a secret forever," Helen said. Tony was glad she was the one who said that because if it had been Hill, he would've assumed that the alpha was going to tell Nick Fury.
"I know." Tony nodded. He knew Helen was stating the truth. He couldn't keep this to himself forever. "I'm not planning to keep it a secret, but I'm not ready yet."
"I will do what I can." Helen nodded. "And… Tony, you don't have to take responsibility for everything that happened. Not everything was under your control."
"I know, love," Tony chuckled. Helen might be snarky sometimes, but she always cared for her friends. "Trust me, these fellas won't let me work myself to death." He waved at Vision and Rhodey. He couldn't say that he was better, but Maria Hill's scent was helping. He could trust her. He could trust this alpha, and that fact calmed his omega side down.
"You almost died so many times before." Rhodey rolled his eyes. "Not going to let that happen again."
"Tony," Hill said. Her voice was calm, but Tony had a feeling that she was hesitating. Not hesitating because she didn't mean what she said, but because she wasn't sure how to say what she wanted to say. "I have never thought that you would trust me."
"Hill, we have known each other since Mr. One-eye tried to initiate 'Avengers Assemble'," Tony said. "And I took you in after the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. I don't think I need to have trust issues with you. I know you are not your boss."
Hill nodded. There was no need to say more. She wouldn't tell anyone. Tony smiled before leaning back against the chair. He started to feel at peace. Not much, but it was a start nonetheless.
"Okay, enough of dramatic conversations," he said before raising the glass of fresh water in his hand. Vision wouldn't let him have anything alcoholic. "To our hearts and souls," he said, grinning. His friends smiled, raising their glasses too.
"This should help you," Helen said as she handed Tony some pills. "They will help you calm down in case you have a panic attack."
"Thank you dear." Tony nodded. "So… what about you and Hill?" he asked, grinning. Helen turned to look at him, cheeks heating up a bit.
"I'm not sure what you're trying to say," the female omega replied. "We are colleagues. That's all."
"No, no… I know that look." Tony smiled. "Come on Doc, you know better than trying to lie. I will make you a congratulations cake."
"We're not…" Helen tried again, before sighing and deciding to give up. "Okay… fine. We're… dating. And that's truly all."
"Okay, okay." Tony patted Helen on the back. "Your face is redder than a tomato now." He grinned, always loved teasing Helen. She might be snarky, but her reactions when she didn't know how to retort was just adorable.
"Shut up, please." Helen rolled her eyes. "If you need anything, just call. I will tell Maria to bring you her clothes, her scent will help calm you down. I will check on you twice a week. Oh, and thanks for lunch. It's very delicious."
"Thank you." Tony nodded and walked her to the door. Hill was already waiting for her there. Behind him, Vision was floating around the kitchen, putting washed dishes and plates back in their cabinets. "See you around Doc."
"Take care." Helen nodded and left. Hill gave him a nod and left too. Tony watched them both go. He had a feeling that they were made for each other. This made Tony smile.
Tony went to work on a new model of his suit. He tried to forget about anything else. Hill's shirt did help in calming him down a bit. And as he worked, Vision silently slipped into the room.
"Vision, what's up?" Tony asked without looking at the android. His hands were still tangled with the wires.
"I just wanted to check on you," Vision said, titling his head to the side. "Do you need an assistant?"
Tony was about to refuse, but Vision reminded him of JARVIS. He and his former A.I used to talk and retort at each other all the time.
"Well, surprisingly yes," Tony said, trying not to look at the android but still caught Vision's warm smile. The android floated towards him and landed softly on the other side of the table. Strangely, Tony didn't feel like Vision was patronizing him.
They worked in peace for several hours before Rhodey called them to dinner. The beta had decided to cook today, saying that he had nothing better to do.
Tony told FRIDAY to turn on the television after dinner. He sat down with a glass of milk in one hand. Well, since he could not have his favourite buddies who had been locked away by Vision, Tony decided to drink milk. Also, they said calcium was good for children.
"…There was no answer of when Tony Stark will announce his position on this conflict. Mr. Stark had been the one pushing for the Accords, but many people are afraid that after the civil war between whom we called "Avengers", he will change sides."
The news caught his interest as soon as Tony heard it. He put the glass down and listened carefully. The reporter was talking about the conflict that spread through the world. From online polls, 53% wanted the Accords to remain, the other 45% did not, while 2% remained unsure. It was not something serious yet, just a conflict on the internet. However, Tony knew it would turn into something big if he did not act.
"Vision, Rhodey," he called, eyes still fixed on the screen. "I want you to be the editors of my speech. I'm going to give my opinion tomorrow about how I feel about this conflict. The press is starting to annoy me." He gestured toward the TV.
Rhodey frowned. "You don't have to do that," Rhodey said. "It's not necessary."
"Well, it will be necessary soon." Tony shrugged, bringing Hill's shirt close to his nose and inhaling the faint scent of the female alpha before continuing. "If I don't do it, Ross will be forced to. Press conference or whatever, the old man is obsessed with making sure the world will hate… whoever is siding with Cap." He couldn't bring himself to call Steve by his name. It was still too painful.
"We will be there, all of us," Vision said softly. "We have all decided to support the Accords."
"Yeah," Rhodey nodded, patting Tony on his shoulder. "Let's get to work."
Tony smiled and brought up the screen. Together, they slowly decided what to say, and what answers they would give to the public and the world. Also, Tony knew the rest of the Avengers would hear what they would say as well. He smiled sadly, feeling both ready and not ready to talk to them in this way. He wished it could be face-to-face, but there was no way they were going to meet him. Not with Ross after their trails.
Wanda was killing time by reading everything Clint had in the old house as the said man was working on his bow not far away from her. She sighed and rested her face against the window, looking out at the woods. They're lucky that Clint had a house in the countryside of Canada. The nearest town was around 10 kilometres away. Here, it was quiet and peaceful. It gave them time to think and consider things.
It was surprising that they were able to find a signal for the old television sitting in the corner of the room. Wanda had no interest in it at first, until she ran out of things to do. So she turned on the TV, and startled when she saw Tony Stark's face on the screen, along with Rhodey and Vision. They seemed to be giving an interview. Ross was with them, sitting far away at the edge of the table.
"Clint," Wanda called as she unmuted the television. But instead of hearing Stark's voice, she heard the reporter's voice instead.
"…Mr. Stark and the rest of his team gave an interview this afternoon about their side and opinion of this conflict. Mr. Stark confirmed that he and his team still support the Accords. They will heed the decision of the United Nations, even if it means facing their old teammates and friends."
Then the voice changed to Tony Stark's as they showed some parts of the interview and the questions being asked.
"Sir, what was behind Captain America's motivation? What do you think drove him to go rogue?"
"That's an interesting question," Stark replied. He had the mask on his face. Wanda had seen this mask countless times when Stark had to give an interview. The mask he used when he wanted no one to know his true feelings. "Well, I believe the reason is something called 'corruption'. He always believed in S.H.I.E.L.D., and when that belief was proven to be just an illusion, it hurt." Stark shrugged and gave his PR-smirk to the camera. "No hard feelings Cap, I know how betrayal feels like." He then turned back to the reporter who asked the question. "The next reason is that he does not trust the authorities, not after what happened to S.H.I.E.L.D." This time Stark eyed Ross. The Secretary glanced back but said nothing, and Stark continued. "And the last reason is the Winter Soldier. They're friends. I think that's enough for him."
"Sir, what about the rest of the team? What do you think drove them to follow Captain America?"
"Um… I cannot give my opinion about everyone. There is one man who I still cannot remember his name…"
"Scott Lang," Vision interrupted, "I will give my opinion on him."
"Thank you, Vision." Stark nodded, before turning back to the press. "So… who should I start with? Black Widow then, she is the easiest." His voice was neutral. Wanda wished she could know his true feelings. She still felt bad about what happened at the airport. "She sided with the side she thought was right. At the airport, Cap said that Zemo had a plan to wake up other Winter Soldiers who were kept in hibernation. She thought it was a reasonable decision to let them go."
"What about Clint Barton, sir? General Ross has confirmed that he has a family, so why would he do that?"
"Same reason as her." Stark shrugged. "Family? I don't know, maybe he felt like Cap needed him more or something like that? Ask him for me when you meet him. My parents were murdered when I was still a grumpy teenager, so I never had to experience the process of choosing between them and the mission." Stark's voice cracked a bit at the end. Wanda turned to look at Clint. The archer was looking away from the screen. Stark's words hurt him, but Wanda had a feeling that Clint quite deserved it after calling Stark a backstabber on the Raft. It was not that she liked Iron Man, but she knew that Stark didn't deserve to be called a backstabber when he wasn't the one who pulled Clint into this.
"What about the rest of the Avengers, sir? You have said that they are your family."
This made Stark looked directly at the reporter in front of him. The mask nearly slipped, but Stark was more professional than they thought. "Yes, I consider them my family," Stark said. He was using present tense. "But when they do something against the law, I will not follow them. I might compromise where I can, but when I can't, I don't. It doesn't matter that they're friends or family, when we do something, right or wrong, there are always consequences. They have to face those consequences on their own. My job is to sit back and urge them to follow the law."
"Opinion about the Falcon, sir?"
"I will take that question," Rhodey said and the reporters all turned toward him. "He's a friend, and still a friend. I understand his action. But like Tony said, he has to face the consequences on his own. We will not help him."
"And the others? What about Wanda Maximoff? Was it her actions in Nigeria that made you sign the Accords?"
"Wanda Maximoff is our friend and family," Vision said. His voice was neutral, as always. "It was not just because of her actions, but also because of the loss that we have caused," he continued. Even though he was just looking at the camera, Wanda felt his eyes boring into her. "We have miscalculated many things and compromised several situations. It is clear that we are not fully capable of protecting the world on our own as we thought."
"And Scott Lang, sir?"
"He is clever, but reckless," Vision replied. "We are quite sad to see him using his abilities in the wrong way."
"And that's the end of the interview…" The screen switched back to the newsreader as she moved on to the next story. Wanda turned to look at Clint. The older man was sitting not far behind, looking at the picture of his family in his hand.
"Will you be okay?" she asked, moving to stand beside him. Clint looked at her and gave Wanda a weak smile. Wanda smiled back before moving back to the television. Both of them had so much to think about, so many things to consider.
Tony slumped back onto the sofa behind him. He sighed, closing his eyes. They had just gotten back from the interview. Ross was satisfied with them for finally stating that they were not going to help Steve or the rest of their teammates. And the press were even more satisfied to have the interview, so they had something to chomp on and make money by asking opinions from some professors and politicians to give opinion on their interview.
"Hot chocolate?" Rhodey asked. Tony nodded without opening his eyes. He heard Rhodey enter the kitchen and Vision sitting down on the couch nearby.
"Vision," Tony said. "Do you think they will watch the news?"
The android took some time to reply. "I guess most of them will," he said. "Unless they're hiding in a place that has no signal."
No one said anything as they both enjoyed the silence. It was raining outside. Tony opened his eyes to look at the rain. His thoughts wandering back to when he was a child and his mother often stayed with him when there was a storm. It was so long ago.
Tony put his hand on his stomach, wondering how his child was doing. Would it be afraid of lightning and thunder? He mused and chuckled.
"I hope you will like hot chocolate," he murmured to himself and his unborn child. "It's better than alcohol, or that's probably just what your Uncle Vision would say."
"It's truly better than alcohol," Vision said, eyes still fixed on the book he was reading. "I can find thousands of research articles to prove it to you."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Tony rolled his eyes and smiled when he smelt his hot chocolate on its way.
Steve was on the train. In his hand was a letter from Bruce Banner. It had been delivered to Wakanda a day before Steve's departure.
Bruce wrote to him about Tony's pregnancy. What Tony required, how he would suffer, and everything Steve needed to know. The beta also mentioned that Ross was after him, Clint, and Wanda, that's why he was writing this letter in the car. He said he would be away for a while, or until Ross had retired.
Steve grimaced as he looked out at the countryside. Greenery was everywhere, but it didn't help lift his spirits. He had seen the news, and it made he feel even more guilty. No, he didn't feel guilty about saving Bucky. He felt guilty about Tony. He should have told the omega everything. That was why he was going back to America now. He could still hear Tony's words again and again in his head.
"…I know how betrayal feels like."
"…My parents were murdered when I was still a grumpy teenager, so I never had to experience the process of choosing between them and the mission."
"…I might compromise where I can, but when I can't, I don't. It doesn't matter that they're friends or family, when we do something, right or wrong, there are always consequences. They have to face those consequences on their own. My job is to sit back and urge them to follow the law."
He had watched the interview several times on the internet. Steve knew that Tony was right. They had to face the consequences on their own. He knew what he did wrong, and he hoped that it was not too late to fix.
"We have miscalculated many things and compromised several situations. It is clear that we are not fully capable of protecting the world on our own as we thought."
Vision was right. The truth hurt, but it was still the truth nonetheless. Steve knew they had done something wrong, they had miscalculated. Maybe it was his pride that made him blind. He was arrogant, just liked what Rhodey had said. Dangerously arrogant.
Steve looked back to the letter before putting it away. The train was approaching its destination. It was time he got off.
Steve grabbed his bag from above his head before following a few people out of the train. The station was old but it still stood. Swiftly, Steve blended in with the people and disappeared from sight.
Sometimes Tony hated himself for thinking about the past.
He was in his room, staring at the ceiling with Hill's shirt covering his nose. It was getting harder and harder for just her scent to calm him down. He still had morning sickness, and they were the worst. Tony hated throwing up, but he was glad Vision was always there to help.
It had been several days since the interview. Nothing interesting had happened. He went to charity events with Vision and Rhodey. He worked on his suits and the bio-prosthetic legs. He worked on medical equipment. He visit the foundations under his name. Vison or Rhodey, or both of them, were always with him.
Hill visited them every three days to give Tony her clothes and take the old ones back. Helen gave him a check-up and reassured him that he was doing well, that the baby was healthy and he had nothing to fear as long as he wasn't stressed. Well, that was the worst part though. Tony usually stressed himself before he knew it.
Then, his phone was ringing with a strange number on the screen. Tony frowned. He had never given his number to strangers. This might be… them.
"FRIDAY," he said, moving over to grab the phone. "Track where this call is coming from."
"On it boss," FRIDAY said.
Tony slid his fingers across the screen to accept the call. He had a feeling he knew who was calling. His heart was beating so fast as he brought the phone to his ear.
"Hi," Tony said, keeping his voice neutral. "What can I do for you?" He had to bite back the bitterness in his voice. This was not the time.
Steve's voice was a bit different through the phone, but he was still Steve nonetheless.
"Tony… how are you?"
"I'm fine," Tony replied, voice cold and hard. He could feel his anger rising. "Is this the best you can offer?" He huffed. "You disappoint me."
"I know," Steve replied, his voice seemed to be so far away. "I'm sorry."
Suddenly Tony felt like he was about to cry. He bit his lips, keeping his voice neutral as he continued, "This is not a good time. Call me back tomorrow." He hung up before Steve could reply.
He wasn't sure why he told Steve to call back. But Tony did want to hear the other's voice again. He really did.
"Sir, he is in Italy. But the call was cut before I could pinpoint his exact location," his A.I. said, and Tony waved at the air above him.
"It's okay," he said as his hand searched for Hill's shirt. "He will call back."
Tony then laid back and slept with Hill's shirt over his face. Vision was somehow in the room as he laid down again. The android offered to be his pillow. Tony was more than grateful.
As he let himself drift off to sleep, Tony couldn't help but wonder what Steve's intention was and had the blond watched his interview? Surely he did, but how would he feel? They were questions Tony would ask Steve later if the alpha called back.
Well, Steve was definitely going to call back nonetheless. If there was something both of them had in common, it was that they hated loose ends.
This was not the first time Vision felt thankful that he could identify the amounts of each hormone circulating in a human's body. It might not equal mind-reading, but at least he had a lead on what was going on. Hormones were parts of the neurological system, and it controlled what humans did. One might not be able to tell much from hormones, but at least it gave a clue of what was going on.
Vision hovered just above the ground as he watched Tony Stark typing rapidly on the keyboard of his giant computer in the lab. There were statistics and data running on the screen beside him. Vision titled his head to the side.
"Mr. Stark, may I ask what do you have in mind?" Vision asked quietly, looking at the screen. "I've a feeling that you're up to something. Your hormones say that you're slightly stressed," he added and waited for the response.
"Maybe," Tony murmured. There was no grin on his face, nor a sign of a panic attack. The omega was just up to something serious. "Tell me Vision, how fast can you hack into military-grade databases?"
"Depends on the route I use," Vision replied. He was already interested. "Mr. Stark, does this have something to do with Captain Rogers calling you earlier?"
"Not much." Tony shrugged, still typing.
Steve Rogers had called again today, and Vision had watched carefully as Tony walked around his room with the phone to his ear. He had heard them exchange a brief greeting, before Tony asked what the alpha wanted and where he was going. Steve Rogers simply replied that he was going back to the USA. He did not say where, and Tony did not ask. The omega just told Steve to be careful before hanging up, then immediately went to his lab. Vision had then watched Tony tinker with his suits for a while, before going to check on Rhodey. When he got back, Tony was in front of the computer.
"Sir," Vision said, looking at the screen. He had a feeling that he knew what Tony was doing. "I remember the secretary 'kindly' warning us not to misbehave," he said, adding sarcasm there because he felt like it.
Tony chuckled, bringing Hill's shirt to his nose and inhaled. It was not because he was going to have a panic attack, it was for comfort. "You know, after I'd spent some time breathing in Hill's scent, I think I want to do something. Something extreme, just like what I would've probably done before all this shit happened."
"Hacking into Secretary Ross's files, sir?" Vision said. He was slightly surprised, but the other part of him was happy. Tony doing something dangerous was a sign that his friend was getting better. There was more life in Tony's eyes, more determination.
"Yes, my boy." Tony grinned. "Thanks to Hill, the hormones have finally stopped tearing me apart. I've had enough of those mini-emotional breakdown." He kept typing, smirking as more information was downloaded.
"That's information about his… experimentation on humans." Vision read the data with ease. Well, he was half robot, C language or statistics weren't hard for him to read. "I guess you want to make them and these documents go viral," he added following the line of data moving across the screen.
"Yep." Tony nodded. "I've written several encryptions that would save us from getting arrested. They won't know we're the ones spreading it on the internet. Well, I think Ross would know, but he wouldn't have any evidence. He could just burst in and arrest us by force or something, but I will broadcast it for the world to know. And FRIDAY can control my suits while I'm busy, if we need to smack this old man's head."
"I wouldn't use the word 'smack'. I think the right word would be…" The android titled his head, thinking of the word he wanted. "…'smash' would be better," Vision said, already prepping his system for going online. His eyes were glittering as he stared at the screen. "Where and what do you want me to hack?"
Tony's grin became wider, before the omega directed Vision to their target.
Several minutes later, Tony was grinning from ear to ear as he watched data fly across the screen. It turned out that Vision was pretty good at this, even though he hadn't had any experience except for when he had hacked into Ultron.
"That's quite impressive," Tony said. "You can be a hacker if you want to."
"Isn't that against the law?" Vision asked innocently with a slight smile.
"Well, a hacker vigilante can still sell. You know, people love mysterious heroes. And don't give me that innocent smile, son, you just hacked into some very important servers," Tony said, rounding the table as he walked to another screen, typing quickly. "We should have this ready for launch within two hours."
"May I ask why we're doing this?" Vision said, titling his head as he hacked into another server, before copying all the information.
"I might agree with the Accords, but I didn't agree with Ross." Tony shrugged. "I knew what he had done to Bruce. I never liked him. I just want a new supervisor." He picked Hill's shirt up and brought it to his nose, inhaling deeply and sighed as his nerves settled down quickly. It was possible that he could still have a panic attack, but Hill's scent was helping a lot.
Vision nodded, focusing on the task. Vision in the past wouldn't do this, he would persuade Tony to use another way. But now, now he just didn't care.
Hours later, after Vision and Tony finished uploading the videos and papers into the internet, Rhodey called them to dinner. Today, they were having baked chicken with herbs, something Tony was sure he would end up burning the kitchen down if he'd tried preparing it alone.
Hill called them after dinner, telling them to turn on the television. Tony grinned while Rhodey raised his eyebrows.
"I have a feeling that you have something to do with this," Rhodey said as Tony told FRIDAY to turn on the television.
On the television, the reporter was talking about several video clips and papers of Secretary Ross that went viral within half an hour. Videos showing how he was involved in many experiments which were considered questionable and might not be legal. There was no response from the Secretary yet, but the internet was on fire right now. Thousands of tweets talking about the videos and papers. There was already a lot of internet memes for them.
"Tony?" Rhodey said, turning toward his friend. Tony just grinned.
"Don't judge a book by its cover," the omega said, gesturing at Vision. "And I'm just the helper."
Vision gave him a look, but didn't say anything. Rhodey thought he saw the android smirk.
Steve was nursing his morning coffee as he watched the news. Last night after talking to Tony via a public phone, he went on a hunt for something. Steve had a feeling that Ross might be trying to blackmail Tony, and well, that was not going to happen. Not if Steve got his hands on what he wanted first.
Natasha had helped him locate where he wanted to be, he needed to be. She was a spy and everyone was looking for her. As for Steve, he had never been a spy, so this time he decided to try something new. Also, he had the mask Natasha used when they exposed Hydra within S.H.I.E.L.D.
Breaking in was not easy, but Natasha was guiding him step by step. She was safe in Siberia, and he had King T'Challa's technology to help aiding in his plan. Steve knew that this was a gamble, if he failed, he would bring all hope to reunite the team down with him to his grave.
'Team', the word stung. Steve knew he shared the blame, but it was not just guilt that motivated him.
"Steve, I hope you're still alive."
"I am," Steve chuckled, bringing the coffee to his mouth. "And I have to admit, your kind of work is quite interesting."
"Oh, sweet. Tell me you still have what you risked your life for."
"Of course," Steve said, gripping the bag that was on his lap. "I will deliver it today."
"I will." Steve replied, and Black Widow hung up. He finished his coffee quickly before walking out of the café. Now all he had to do was delivering the package, and then he would go to the Avengers compound.
Steve hoped that Tony would let him in.
"What is this, Stark?!"
"Whoa, whoa…" Tony was grinning from ear to ear as he listened to Ross's angry voice from the speaker. "Calm down boss, what do you mean?"
"I don't like your tone, Stark. What did you do?"
"Me? I did nothing," Tony replied, snapping his fingers to turn on the television. Behind him, Rhodey was trying to hide his chuckle, and Maria Hill was smirking.
"Stark, you heard my warning. I will give you one last chance. What did you do?"
"Nothing. Hey, I guess it's the news that upset you…"
"And I know you are responsible for it!"
"Secretary, why did you say that?" Tony pretended to sound surprised. "You have me under your watch 24 hours a day. And if I do something, S.H.I.E.L.D. would know. Nick Fury must have reported to you by then. So why do you think it was me? Don't you know someone else who's had more experience in spying and hacking?" He didn't want to direct Ross's attention to Natasha, but that was the sensible excuse. She had been one of the world's best spies. Besides, she had been the one who'd put all the information of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra on the internet.
"Stark, I think…"
"You can blackmail me, Ross. Why would I do that?" Tony tried to sound upset. "Look. I might not care about the world, but I don't want you to tell the press about my story either. Do you think I will get anything out of this? Really?!" He tried to sound very upset, but the grin was still on his face. Rhodey was shaking his head while Hill walked away before she laughed out loud.
Ross was quiet for a while, before the alpha growled back.
"If I have evidence that you are involved in this…"
"Then you're free to arrest me, I got it," Tony tried to sound exhausted and upset.
Ross murmured something before hanging up. Tony shrugged and put the phone back to its holder and turned back to his audience.
"Well?" Tony said, opening his arms. "No clapping? I'm hurt."
Rhodey pulled him into a hug, while Maria Hill and Vision clapped their hands with large smiles on their faces.
That evening, Maria and Dr. Cho cooked them Italian food while Tony tinkered with his suits. Rhodey was watching some sports on the television along with teaching Vision the rules of the game. Tony had never felt this peaceful since the Accords had passed. Maybe it was because Hill was around, or maybe it was because his hormones had settled down a bit.
Helen called them to dinner with a bright smile and a bright red hickey on her neck, which she tried to cover with her hand. Vision pointed it out and Helen blushed, murmured something about Maria hugging her from behind. Tony chuckled and announced again that he would be the one making a wedding cake. Rhodey just shook his head, but there was a smile on his face.
Everything seemed to be going quite well, especially when they turned on the television. The reporter was talking about Ross's past crimes against human rights being revealed because someone had sent evidence to several newspapers. Some of the paper evidence were already scanned and put on the newspapers' websites. There was still no official word from Ross or the government, but people were demanding answers.
"It seems like we're not the only ones fighting," Rhodey said. "Is this yours…?" He asked Maria Hill while pointing at the screen. The female alpha shook her head, picking up her glass.
"I've no idea," Hill replied, shrugging. "And I don't care of who they are. They're pretty good, actually." She sipped her drink and turned to talk to Dr. Cho.
"And you?" Rhodey turned toward Tony, who shook his head too.
"Absolutely no idea," Tony replied, stretching with a grin. "But I think Ross deserves it. Maybe someone decided that enough is enough and acted out. I mean, he is pretty good with making enemies."
"I would like to suggest: a vigilante." Vision said. "Maybe someone we know."
"Don't start it." Tony waved at the android. Half of him liked what Vision said, but the other half was still sour from the whole ordeal in the past. "I mean, I'm glad if it's them, but I don't want to talk about it." He had to bite back the bitterness in his voice. His friends were in a good mood, Tony didn't want to ruin it even though he had a feeling that this evening wasn't going to be peaceful for long.
"Boss, we have a guest," FRIDAY announced.
Tony frowned, he had a bad feeling about this. Besides him, Vision stood up and floated out of the room. The android had become quite protective of him for a while.
"Who is it?" he asked, turning to see Hill tensing up. Alphas had slightly better noses than others, maybe she had already scented who their guest was.
"Captain Rogers, sir," FRIDAY replied, and Tony was torn between confronting Steve and locking himself away. His heart ached because he still remembered what happened, but his instincts were filled with joy. Steve, his alpha, had come back.
"Tony," Rhodey called him, and Tony snapped his head toward the beta. He wasn't sure what expression he was wearing, but it should be enough to alarm the rest of the room.
"If you don't want to see him, just give us the word," Hill said, standing up. Cho already reached for her medical bag in case Tony needed anything.
"No, just…" Tony inhaled deeply. He scented it now. Steve was here. Here, in the same building as him. The alpha still smelt as good as always. His heart ached, and Tony wanted to scream. Just when he thought he got a hold of himself, Steve showed up and everything was going to turn into a mess, again.
No, I won't let that happen.
His brain screamed as Tony tried his best to compose himself. He was tired, but not sick. He was better now. He had to make this work.
"FRIDAY, tell Vision to let him in," Tony said. "I… I want to talk to him alone."
"Tony…" Rhodey seemed to disagree, but Tony waved his friend off.
"I will be fine," he replied, pointing toward the living room. "I will talk to him in there. You see, glass walls, you guys will know if anything happens." The omega then turned to the only S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the room. "If the situation goes downhill, I won't mind you kicking him out of the base."
"Got it," Hill replied, her posture composed and in control. Still, Tony sensed the turmoil inside. Hill wasn't the type of person who talked about what she felt, but she truly cared about him as a friend.
"Okay then," Tony rubbed his hands together. It was now or never. "Let's see what Grandpa Capsicle wants."
Tony didn't expect Steve to give him that sad smile. He could see the alpha's nose flare a bit with the jealousy in his eyes from Hill's scent; Tony was wearing Hill's jacket. But it dissolved quickly and was replaced by a sad and guilty look.
Shit, what happened? Why does Steve look so… defeated?
He was confused, very confused. At first, Tony expected Steve to walk in like a boss, and started asking nonchalantly of how he was doing. Not like this. Not like this Steve seemed to be so exhausted.
"You seem to be pretty tired, Cap," Tony said, testing the waters. He could feel the others' watching from the other room. "When was the last time you slept? And why are you here? I know my buildings have everything you need for the most convenient place to sleep, but there must be something more than just wanting to be in my magnificent kitchen," he said as he waved toward the kitchen that was separated from this room by a glass wall.
"I…" Steve started, and then stopped. He seemed to be out of words to say, that was new. And then there was silence.
Tony was about to say something, because this silence was making him slightly stressed. His omega side was telling him to be closer to Steve, to be able to smell the alpha properly. The other half of him said no. That would only make the situation worse. But Steve spoke up before Tony could decide.
"I'm sorry," the alpha said, his voice was soft and clam. But his eyes, those blue eyes were full with sadness and guilt. "Tony, I… I should have told you. Everything. It's my fault. I fucked up. I'm sorry."
Tony knew he should say something back. Steve was expecting him to be angry, to throw out harsh words and punching Steve. Yet, suddenly Tony felt so tired, so tired he didn't want to deal with anything, not even the omega instinct that was nagging at him to get closer to the taller male in front of him.
"Everyone fucked up, Cap," Tony said, he wasn't sure if he wanted his words to have a double meaning, but they seemed to have. "I… I'm fucking tired of everything. Politics, Ross, the world, you." He gritted his teeth, forcing himself to continue. "Not that I don't want to punch you, but I'm fucking tired. I…" Tony inhaled deeply, trying to calm his nerves down. Well, Steve's scent actually helped a lot. His omega side was less annoying, but his anger was still there. "…look, it's late and we both are tired. You're welcome to stay. Oh, and I want your jacket." He waved his hands around, signalling that this conversation was over. Surprisingly, Steve didn't protest. The alpha took his jacket off and handed it to Tony who snatched it from the alpha's hand.
"Goodnight," Tony said, turning and walking out of the room. Steve didn't move to stop him.
"Goodnight Tony," the alpha said and Tony felt shivers run down his spine. His omega side was purring, but the rest of him was too tired and too stressed for this.
"You okay?" Rhodey asked as soon as the door to the living room slid shut. Tony gave his best friend a tired smile.
"I'm good," he said, clutching Steve's jacket in his hands. "Actually, I think I will go to bed early today," he added, walking past them to the sleeping area.
"Mr. Stark," Maria Hill called him before Tony reached the door. "Sir, do you mind if I have a word with him?" she asked, her voice calm and collected.
"I don't." Tony shrugged, half of him was curious of what Hill might say to Steve. "Goodnight everyone, I will cook blueberry pancakes in the morning." He grinned as he imaged Rhodey rolling his eyes, and Dr. Cho had a fearful expression on her face. He had cooked that recipe once, and Dr. Cho had an upset stomach for a day. After that, she was very careful of anything Tony added blueberry in.
Steve didn't expect Tony to walk away. He had expected the other to shout at him, to hit him, to say anything that would be mean and hurt him.
But Tony just walked away, and Steve's heart ached. Tony looked so tired, more tired than anytime Steve could remember.
He wasn't sure if this was just a trick or something, but he trusted that Tony wouldn't send him to Ross. Not that Ross would have enough free time anyway. His reputation was shot to hell from the revelations on the news, and the internet was on fire right now.
Tony said that he was tired of Steve. Tired, not angry. Steve wasn't sure what hurt more. Yet, Tony had asked for his jacket. At least he could still help. His scent should help calming the omega down since he was… he was the father of the child.
Hill's voice interrupted him from his thought, and Steve turned back to see the female alpha walking through the door. His instincts sneered, disliking her because Tony had been covering himself with her scent. His other half was grateful though, that she had decided to help Tony.
But before Steve could say anything back, the female alpha punched him right in the face.
"I've never seen Steve Rogers covered in…so much blood before," Helen said, shaking her head as she watched the former Avenger washing his face before turning to grab the medical kit. They had left Steve alone, for now, but in a room full with CCTVs. It's not Mr. Stark's idea to put cameras in his room, but Vision and Hill had quickly installed them while Steve was stitching himself up in the living room under Rhodey's watchful eyes.
"That bas…" Hill spoke before she quickly cut herself off. "…he deserved it, or maybe something worse." She gritted her teeth, staying still while Dr. Helen Cho tended to her wounds. Hill got them from spending a good period of time beating her former boss up. She was sure that the other alpha could fight her, but he knew better than trying to fight back while Maria Hill beat him up. And it's not kind of a fight out of anger, no, it's…an expression, from an alpha to the alpha who had mistreated someone. In this case, Tony Stark.
"What did you plan to do with him next?" Dr. Cho asked, gently cleaned blood from Maria's hands.
"I don't know," Maria replied. "It's up to Mr. Stark."
Besides them was Vision. The android had been standing in front of the screen for quite some time now, just watching Steve Rogers. After Maria was done beating him up, she walked out. Vision was the one who politely, but coldly, showed Steve to his room.
Dr. Cho nodded. She knew better than to ask anything. Maria might appeared calm, but inside she's still furious. She glanced at Vision and wondered what the android was thinking.
Mr. Rhodes was with Tony. Helen had insisted him before he went to Tony's room that it anything happened he had to call her immediately. So now what they could do was wait.
Tony laid on his bed, Rhodey was on the chair, reading a book. Steve's jacket was pressed to his nose. He didn't have a breakdown liked what he had thought, but there were still anger and sadness.
To be honest, Tony didn't know what to do with Steve. He needed the alpha, but also didn't want to see him. His omega's side was happy, but he was angry. Tony still loved Steve, but he wasn't sure if he loved the alpha enough to forgive himself and Steve, and forgot what had happened.
He shifted and Rhodey immediately looked up from the book in his hand. Tony almost huffed, the beta and Vision had been clearly over-protective, or at least in his opinion, especially after Steve showed up.
Spoke of Vision, the android flew into his room several seconds after that. Tony pretended to looked like he was asleep as he tried to listen to what Rhodey and Vision were talking about.
They appeared to be discussing what to make for breakfast, at first, then about the rest of tomorrow. It appeared that, given the situation that the government was still figuring out what to do with Ross, there would be no work until the government had worked out what to do with this situation.
Tony stayed still as he listened to Vision talking about getting the supplies and stuffs, and Rhodey talking about going to a gym. He's not 100% in sync with his new legs yet, but he would be soon; this made Tony felt proud, knowing that his friend was happy and that he still could fix things.
He fell asleep with Steve's shirt pressed to his face, trying hard not to think about tomorrow. Tony knew he would have to come up with something, something to say and something to do with Steve, but he didn't want to decide now. Now he wanted to sleep and dream.
Tony woke up to the sound of soft soothing music. He yawned and looked around, frowning as he realized that someone had turned on a stereo in his room. The song was so suiting that it made Tony wanted to go back to Steve, but then he saw Steve's jacket in his hands and decided he needed to get up.
Rhodey was already in the kitchen when Tony walked in. He was teaching Vision the rules of basketball while making breakfast.
"I thought I said today we're going to have blueberry pancakes," he said, grinning as both of them turned to him.
"We'll have blueberry pancake, but you're not the one cooking," Rhodey replied. "I still remember how you burnt the whole kitchen down."
"Come on," Tony pouted. "It happened like…a year ago? Don't bring it up. You can trust me on this."
"No way I'm going to trust you in the kitchen," Rhodey chuckled and invited him to sit at the breakfast stall. Vision asked if he wanted to drink juice or milk and Tony smiled as he chose milk. At least this day was starting off with a smile.
Maria Hill and Dr. Cho joined them shortly after Tony woke up. It appeared that even Helen Cho was being protective and Tony was half embarrassed half grateful. He was embarrassed because he felt like they didn't trust him to get through this, but grateful because they cared deeply for him.
Tony didn't question the wounds and scratches on Maria's hand. He had a feeling that they had something to do the talk with Steve Rogers yesterday.
"How is Captain Capsicle?" he asked before his reasonable voice could give its opinion. The rest of the people abruptly turned to look at him as if he had said that a dolphin could fly, well, actually Tony was confident that he could make a dolphin fly if he wanted to. There were some ironman suits he had designed for underwater work, so he should be able to make a suit for dolphins too.
"He's still in his room," Vision said. "My guess is that he isn't sure of when he should come out."
"Okay, so he's waiting for my signal," Tony shrugged, surprised by how calm he was. Probably because of my shitty hormones have finally settled down from Hill and his scent. And maybe because Steve doesn't know about the child? Tony thought, didn't know that Vision had told the alpha some time before about his child. "Okay, I'll be in my lab until he has eaten. I still have to talk to him."
"If you say so…" Rhodey murmured, turning to Vision who nodded and flew out of the room, probably to inform Steve of Tony's decision.
Under a bright light from outside and the lights above their head, Tony decided that Steve had changed a lot even when he's covered in bruises and scratches. Maybe Hill has rammed his head against the wall? Tony thought, almost smirking. He had barely seen Maria Hill in action, but he knew that she's good with hand to hand combat.
"So…what brings you here?" he asked, entwining his finger as he regarded the alpha in front of him.
Steve looked at him. He seemed to be thinking and Tony started to feel like he didn't want to sit here anymore. His mind was killing him with trepidation. He was afraid that Steve would say he's here to sleep and then he would be one his way. Tony didn't want that. Of course he still wanted to punch Steve, but he also wanted Steve to stay. With his hormones no longer messing with his emotions, at least for now, Tony was sure that they could manage a civil conversation until one, or both of them, screwed up.
"You," Steve replied. "I… Vision told me that you're pregnant."
What?! Tony's eyes widened. He abruptly turned back to where the wall that was made from glass and saw Vision who didn't look away. The android seemed to know what Steve just told him, but didn't avoid his eyes. Tony noted that he would talk to Vision after this.
As he turned back, he noticed that Steve was looking at his belly. One side of him sneered that the alpha only came back because of the child, but the other side hushed before saying that he must not judge anyone before looking from every point of views.
"Yes, and there is no baby bump yet, no need to look at my belly," Tony said, waving his head. He tried not to panic, not yet. At first he thought that he would have to deal with Steve trying to apologize and talking about rebuilding the Avengers, if the alpha was still interested in that, or whatever. But the child? That's not what Tony had prepared.
Steve seemed to notice that Tony was very uncomfortable right now, because he changed the topic even when he was clearly still wanted to talk more about the child. "Um…what's your plan?"
"After this?" Steve waved his hand. "I know you're behind the leak of Ross' dirty stuff on the internet. What are you planning to do next?"
"Nothing much…" Tony said, a bit hesitated before decided that he's going to give Steve a chance. Well, everyone deserves a chance…right? Also, he still could have Steve thrown out of the compound if he no longer wanted the alpha here. He's sure that Vision and Hill could manage that. "…maybe wait until we know who's going to replace Ross. If that person is decent, we'll start discussing about the Accords, editing some of them and fixing parts that must be fixed before we can operate as…well…whatever the public wants to call us."
Steve nodded. "So…do you think how long until we know?"
We? He used 'we'. Tony almost asked Steve what was he thinking, but he changed his mind and went on. "I don't think we do. Just chill." He shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant.
And then they fell into silent. Tony had to admit that he was surprised at how this turned out. He had never thought that he would be okay being around Steve, not this soon, but right now he's feeling okay. He felt like he got it under control, that he's going to make this work.
"What do you plan to do with…" Steve said and trailed off, looking at Tony's belly. His eyes softened and Tony's heart fluttered. His instinct was saying that Steve had already bonded with the child. It's naturally normal for alpha and omega to have an early bond to the child.
"I have no plan yet," Tony replied. "I…I don't know… you're the father, what do you think?" He meant for this to be a joke to lighten the mood, and realized that he shouldn't say that because Steve took this as a real question. The alpha was having an unreadable look on his face, the one that Steve always wore when he's deep in his thought.
Steve was quite for a while. When he spoke again, Tony knew that he's serious. "I…I've no idea, Tony. I…" he then looked up to look at Tony. "I'm sorry."
Tony had a feeling that this apology was more than for not knowing what to do. And suddenly he felt like he was back in Siberia.
"I understand why you didn't tell me," Tony spoke, his voice light and flat; he knew that he and Steve would be having this conversation sooner or later. "I understand why you chose him. I'm not angry, not anymore. But I…" Tony waved. "I can't forgive you for not telling me, not trusting me. If you told me sooner I wouldn't…lose it at Siberia." Tony almost growled as he shoved the memory back to the deepest part of his mind. "You should have trust me more. You should have told me about Zemo after you knew what happened, after you helped 'him' from that river." Tony bit his lower lip. He couldn't speak the Winter Soldier's name without feeling like being stabbed yet. He knew that the poor man was controlled, but not yet, he still needed more time.
Steve nodded. To Tony's surprise again, Steve was a lot calmer than what he had expected. To be honest, some part of him thought that Steve would just say that Tony was wrong and that he should have trusted the alpha to handle the situation alone and not getting in his way.
"I'm sorry," Steve said. "You're right. I should have trusted you, and I'm sorry that I didn't. You're right."
"That's it?" Tony frowned. He hated the feeling that's now bubbling in his chest. Half of him wanted to hug Steve, the other half wanted to punch him and ask if this was the best Steve could do.
"Yes," Steve nodded. "I have no excuse. You're right. I'm sorry." Steve almost whispered the last few words. "I've never meant for it to turn out this way."
"Neither did I." Tony's voice was hoarse as he replied. "But that…that didn't mean…"
"I know," Steve nodded. "And I understand if you wish to kick me out."
Tony almost snored. Yeah, he's definitely feeling better. But having Steve back? Not yet. He had never prepared for Steve to be this…passive and calm. He had dealt better with angry people before, especially those people who thought that they're right when they're wrong, and that was a lot easier. Tony would just slap their faces with facts and smirked as they tried to gather their shattered pride. However, with Steve liked this, Tony wasn't entirely sure what to do.
Tony told himself that he would find a way to work it around; he always found the way. "I will be frank with you," he said, voice rid of any emotion he might have right now. "I don't trust you, no offense. However, you're allowed to stay. I don't think the government will check on us anytime soon since they have a reputation to fix."
"I understand," Steve smiled as he nodded. Tony thought that he's almost snoring, but then the alpha's his voice lowered. "Did… Ross know…about the child?"
That's the question Tony didn't want to answer; it brought back bad memories and bitter taste in his mouth. "He knows," Tony replied, gritting his teeth. "That bastard, it's my fault for underestimated his nose, thinking that he had replaced his sense of smell with his pride. But I doubt he'll have time for us while trying to save himself from the press and the world congress or whatever they call it now. Politicians are hungry wolves ready to devour their own allies as soon as they see a chance." Tony chuckled, trying to ease the mood, mostly for himself. He didn't want to go back to that stage of mental breakdown.
"I agreed," Steve smiled. "Um…thank you Tony."
"Don't thank me yet," Tony said, suddenly uncomfortable and felt like he needed to get away because his emotions started to mix together in the way that Tony didn't want them too. He had to clear his head before he could do anything else.
"I will be in the lab," Tony said, standing up – signalling that this conversation was over. He hoped that Steve would get the hint that Tony didn't want the alpha to follow him. His lab had been his sanctuary for a while now, a place where he didn't have to focus on something else except the work in front of him.
"Are you alright?"
Rhodey asked as soon as he walked out of the room. Tony nodded, offered his friend a sincere smile.
"I'm alright, you're over-reacting," Tony chuckled, patting his friend on the back. "I'll be in the lab. Hey, Vision," he turned to call the android who seemed to be waiting for this call. Vision knew that Tony would want to talk about what he had done. "Walk with me, I believe you owe me some explanation."
Vision nodded and flew right through the wall. Rhodey raised his eyebrows and Tony waved him off, telling his friend that it's okay.
"…so…you tell Rogers about…this…" Tony said as he waved a hand over his stomach. Vision nodded.
"Why?" Tony continued. "I believed you're intelligent enough to know that what you've done is considered inappropriate and you're lucky that I'm not totally angry about it, not yet."
"I want him to know," Vision replied. His voice was neutral and he didn't avoid Tony's eyes. "I think that it is better if he knows. I know that you would not approve of me telling him, at least at that time, but our situation is still…not secured enough. I want to secure the chance that Mr. Rogers will come back for you when you need him. I am sorry that I told him without your consent."
Tony sighed and sat down on his favourite chair that was in front of his working desk. He was not angry, just annoyed that Vision did this without his permission. "Well, you're lucky today I'm not having mood-swing and now I'm in a quite happy zone today," Tony said, massaging his temples. "Just…don't do that again, promise?" he added, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
"Promise." Vision nodded. Tony smiled and then directed him to start working with the projects laying around in the lab. Tony was working on a new leg prostatic prototype. His goal was to make it less expensive, so now he's testing as many materials as he could to find the ones that worked best and had the lowest costs.
Steve joined them for dinner. It seemed like Maria Hill was less hostile toward Steve now; they're talking when Tony walked into the kitchen. Both alphas were still tense when they're around each other. However, when Dr. Cho came in Maria relaxed her shoulders a little and Steve also noticed. Tony heard the former Avenger congratulated Hill and Helen Cho while he went to see what Rhodey was making.
"So…" Rhodey said as Tony approached. "…he will be staying?"
"As long as he doesn't cause troubles, he can stick around," Tony replied, watching Steve talking to Maria and Dr. Cho. "I've a feeling that he has something to do with those documents that were sent to the news."
"Well, we should ask him then," Rhodey said. "I'll ask him, if you want me to."
"You've read my mind," Tony smiled, patting Rhodey's back before going to setup the table.
A month later
Tony hummed as he walked around his lab. Vision was in the corner of the room, rummaging for parts that could be used. Rhodey wasn't in the compound. His friend had been invited to give a speech at the pilot academy. Steve was still around, even that sometimes he would disappear for days and went straight to bed after he came back. Tony had never asked what the alpha had been doing, but Maria kept updating him that Steve had taken interest in working undercover. He's pretty good at it after he had been trained, actually. And Maria seemed to be enjoyed training him. Tony had a feeling that she's happy to have a chance to beat him up.
While Tony took a break from all the 'saving the world' gig, Maria Hill stepped up in his place. They operated more in secret. Nick Fury dropped by once or twice a week, to check up on them and give advices if needed. He didn't seem to be surprised when he saw Steve.
Rhodey could run and walk like a normal person now. He had asked if Tony wanted to go with him when he gave the speech, but Tony declined and said that just the project he's working in was enough. He still showed up in public from time to time, to important galas and parties he had to attend.
Tony and Steve still managed a civil conversation so far. They managed to avoid everything that would surely bring conflict, such as the recent events in Germany or in Siberia. So it's mostly small talk and Tony was okay with that. He knew he's going to need more of Steve's hormone soon, but right now it's enough.
Rhodey didn't trust Steve, but he did start to warm up to the male alpha. Vision was still too neutral to read, so Tony decided not to try.
Bruce had contacted and let Tony knew that he's somewhere in Asia. He said that he would visit as soon as everything was more 'peaceful and less likely to turn to shit'. Tony replied that he's looking forward to that.
Tony took Peter Parker to the compound sometimes, just to let the boy showed him new moves and talked his ears off. Well, actually he quite enjoyed it when he went to work in the lab and left Peter with Steve. Rhodey said that Peter had talked Steve's ears off, and that the male alpha was both impressed and annoyed.
Overall, Tony thought that everything was going to be okay. He's still tense from time to time when he's alone with Steve, but he's improving. All they had to do was to avoid everything that would bring back memories, which would be hard, of course. Tony knew that they would have to talk about the child in his womb someday, and that day was close. He had started to feel a bump. It's still small and unnoticeable under his shirt, but it would grow soon.
"You can't avoid that conversation forever," Rhodey said one day. "You have to talk to him about it."
"I know," Tony replied, half rolling his eyes in annoyance as he tried to fit the part in his hand into where it should fit. "I just… I can't just walk in and say that 'Hi Steve, want to talk about the baby?' no, I probably can, but that's going to be very awkward."
"Well, may be bring it up while you two have conversation?" Rhodey shrugged. "I don't know. But you have to talk to him about this soon. It's nearly your third month." His friends reminded him and Tony's shoulders dropped. He knew that Rhodes was right.
"I know that Rhodes," Tony sighed, "I will talk to him, but I doubt that we will…work it out. I still cannot think of the plan or any condition that will make this work yet."
"Just talk to him first, okay?" Rhodey patted his shoulder. "Kicking him out of the compound is still an option, if the situation goes south."
"Agree," Tony laughed, shaking his head. Rhodes smiled and the two of them walked out of the lab to take a shower before dinner. Tony planned to talk to Steve this evening, he really hoped that they would be able to work this out.