Honeysuckle and Cinnamon
As a rule, not one of the Avengers or Avengers related personnel talked about werewolves.
It was kind of a thing.
Even Tony knew to keep his mouth shut, thanks to one swift fist to the face courtesy of the Black Widow.
Twilight movies were strictly forbidden. The restaurants that delivered nearly every night knew to have one of the super soldier sized servings be mostly very rare meat in the days leading up to the full moon. And everyone knew to let Captain America have his privacy during a full moon.
They didn’t talk about it, but everyone knew and acknowledged that Steve Rogers had spent some time as a werewolf and still retained some of those wolfish tendencies, even if he didn’t turn extra hairy anymore. One of the lingering characteristics was even unknown to Steve, buried deep within him, dormant and waiting.
Until Thor arrived at the Tower with two young ladies. And then it was only a matter of time until the wolf that Steve thought he had lost came out to play.
“See, it’s awesome because it deflects the heat with a complicated bit of science that some genius figured out,” Tony held up the flamethrower with a sort of manic glee in his eyes before he started it up and aimed it for Steve. The flame seemed to bounce right off of the modified material that Tony was testing out for new uniforms for all of the team that wasn’t in a robotic suit and/or indestructible via hulk-i-ness or hunky Asgardian-ness, i.e., Steve, Natasha, Sam, Bucky and Clint.
“What’s it feel like?” Tony wondered, enjoying the attempt to set someone on fire far more than he thought he would.
“Warm,” Steve said, mostly unimpressed.
“ Awesome ,” Tony grinned as he tested every inch of the skin tight bright blue shirt they had made for Steve to test out. He hit a patch right under Steve’s left pec and furrowed his brow when he saw the man twitch slightly. “Alright, there Cap? Is the fabric holding up?”
“Just a ticklish spot,” Steve shrugged him off with that sort of grim set of his jaw that meant the topic of conversation was one of those off limits topics. Tony couldn’t help his genius brain and knew without a doubt that it was Steve’s wolfish sweet spot, like that one spot on a dog that would have their leg twitching in pure joy. And if Tony said anything more about it, Steve or JARVIS would tell Natasha and Natasha would wind up socking Tony in the jaw again.
“WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING YOU RIDICULOUS MAN BABY?!”
Both men flinched and Steve felt the flamethrower move off of him and point towards the source of the angry shouting. Steve moved without thinking, tackling the new arrival to the floor even as she kept shouting her head off at Tony.
“YOU CAN’T JUST LIGHT SOMEONE ON FIRE, I DON’T CARE WHAT KIND OF SCIENCE --- OOF! ” as they both hit the ground out of the way of the flamethrower that Tony was getting under control. The girl, because that’s what she was, a tiny little woman, who felt soft and lovely beneath Steve, and to her credit, she didn’t miss a beat, still screaming, “YOU’RE DOING! AND YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE GOGGLES ON YOU DUMBASS, MANSCAPED FUCKWAD!”
Steve took a deep breath and his senses were assaulted with the smell of honeysuckle. Lovely honeysuckle blooming heavy on a warm summer’s night while the crickets chirped as he and Bucky ventured to a fishing hole somewhere in New Jersey on a day trip. He took a long, luxurious sniff and felt something inside of himself slot into place and a sudden purring sound echoed throughout the lab. Steve was a little stunned to realize it was coming from him.
“Are you alright?” Darcy Lewis, Stark’s new lab manager, the girl who Thor had brought to the tower along with Dr. Jane Foster, looked up at him, her glasses askew on her face, blue eyes blinking in concern. He had seen her from afar, toiling about in the labs with Dr. Foster, but had yet to meet her face to face. Until that moment. “Did he hurt you with that flamethrower? I’ll make him pay for you. Natasha taught me how to track him and Clint taught me how to give him super wedgies. Also. You. You’re purring , dude.”
“Oh no,” Tony remarked from a safe distance away. He put both hands over his mouth to stop himself from saying anything that could get him into trouble.
“STARK?! DID YOU TRY TO SET CAPTAIN AMERICA ON FIRE?” Darcy demanded angrily. Steve leaned into her and nuzzled his nose against the side of her head, his breath hitting her ear. “STARK!? WHAT ELSE DID YOU DO?”
“Put him into an early heat,” Tony blurted before slapping his hands over his mouth again, looking up at the nearest surveillance camera warily and wordlessly begged JARVIS not to speak a word of this to Natasha. Probably to no avail.
“Uhm, Captain Rogers?” Darcy asked softly as he moved in small increments, going from a protective cover of her body, to more of a snuggling into her position, his long limbs curling around her, his nose going from her hair, to her neck as he breathed her in deeply. “You’re super cuddly dude. That’s awesome. But, maybe I should introduce myself?”
“ Mate ,” he whispered against her skin.
“Uhhhhhhh, buy a girl dinner first?” Darcy gave a dry little chuckle. “Modern rules say three dinners. Or dates. Not that you have to buy it for me, because I’m a modern woman with a Pepper Potts approved salary, but---”
The door to the lab blew off its hinges and Thor, Sam and Bucky came running into the room, having received some mysterious alert from JARVIS down in the gyms. They each stared at the scorch marks on the lab floor leading to where Steve was on top of someone small and curvy, looking as if he were trying to cuddle her safe. Sam gave Steve a double thumbs up, Bucky looked a strange mixture of horrified and proud, and Thor...
Well, Thor lifted his hand up in the air for Mjolnir.
“You disrespect the Lady Darcy!” Thor bellowed. “She is one of my dearest friends and I will not have you pawing at her like an animal!”
“Woah, hey, now, you gotta watch your mouth about that!” Tony warned.
Steve was shocked out of his dreamy, touchy feely state by Thor’s yelling and immediately detangled himself from Darcy and hopped to his feet. He went to help her up and instantly thought better of it.
“ Dude ,” Sam stage whispered. “ Track pants are not your friend right now .”
Steve caught on quickly to what Sam was talking about... that he had become very aroused in a very short period of time and made a run for it. When Darcy retold the story, time and time again, she would swear that there were little cartoon plumes of smoke in his wake.
“Uhm, what just happened?” Darcy wondered, as Bucky bent over to lift her up and off the ground.
“Cap’s a werewolf and you’re apparently his one true mate, because you know, that’s a THING, apparently and I’m so excited about this I could pee, I swear it,” Tony blurted out with manic glee. “I mean... I could pee .”
Steve tried to stay away from Darcy after that embarrassing afternoon in the lab. But something in him refused to obey the very human desire to sulk and be painfully ashamed in privacy. Instead, he followed her around.
Darcy and Jane went to the movies that night. Steve followed. Unable to talk to her, of course, but followed nonetheless, bought their tickets and the ridiculous amount of overpriced theater concessions and sat in the row behind them. One text from Natasha put Darcy’s mind at ease about her new shadow and she just shrugged and went with it. As shadows go, Steve Rogers seemed like a fine one. Every time Darcy turned to give him a silly little smile, that thing inside him roared in approval and Steve felt his heart hammering in his chest.
That night, he hadn't meant to wind up in front of her apartment door at Stark Towers. But he had woken up curled up against her front door, a soft and fluffy blanket tucked carefully and tenderly around him. It smelled of honeysuckle and he spent a lot of time in the next few weeks with it close at hand so he could give it a sniff and a cuddle whenever he wanted.
Darcy went out for coffee and donuts the next morning for the labs. Steve followed. Still unable to force words past his lips, but somehow he managed to give her a small, happy little smile when she chattered on about the movie from the night before. He happily carried the bags full of bakery boxes for her and balanced two full trays of coffee in his hands as they walked back the two blocks to the tower.
Darcy went to the labs for a day’s work. Steve followed. Glaring at Tony. Drinking coffee that Darcy had doctored up for him with an insane amount of sugary syrups. And even going so far as to give a yes or no answer when Darcy asked him questions.
The pattern continued for days. Where Darcy went, so went Steve.
It was necessary to protect her. Something deep inside of him knew that she was his. And he was hers. Every moment he spent without her now made that part of him that he thought had been erased and banished come roaring to the surface, demanding to know where his mate was, and if she was safe.
“Hey big guy,” Darcy smiled at him one Saturday morning as they worked on making enough breakfast to feed the entire gang. Including Thor and Bucky and Steve and Jane. Jane really loved breakfast foods and gave every Asgardian and super soldier stomach a run for their money.
“Yes, Darcy?” Steve wondered. His words had slowly started to come back with the more time he spent with her. He still went nonverbal sometimes when another person was in their company. Especially when it was male company, going so far as to sniff suspiciously at Bucky when he got too close to Darcy. But when it was just the two of them, he had no problem with chatting. He liked it, quite a bit, actually. She was very easy to talk to.
“I think we need bagels,” Darcy nodded. “And I’m going to go downstairs and walk across the street and get them, but you are going to stay here and make these pancakes so that when Janie wakes up, she has the appropriate number for her starter plate. Janie likes your pancakes more than any other pancakes so you keep on cranking them out and I’ll be right back.”
“No,” Steve shook his head, swallowing back a growl. “We’ll both go.”
“Steve,” Darcy said patiently. “We talked about this. I’m totally fine with being your one true werewolf mate. The sci-fi nerd that dwells within my heart thinks it’s pretty darned cool, actually. But you have to let me have my little moments of Darcy alone time, remember?”
“You get that when you’re sleeping,” Steve argued softly.
“That’s not going to be that way forever,” Darcy gave him a little wink. “As a matter of fact, if you trust me enough to let me go to the bakery and come back without you following me, I’m thinking we can kind of make this thing official. I think you trusting me, is really, you know. Attractive.”
Steve made a whining sound as he clearly battled some kind of beast within. He shook himself out of it and yanked her towards him gently, pressing a chaste little kiss against her lips. She giggled and went back for a deeper, more playful kiss that had Steve’s insides and the ridiculous beast living inside of him singing in harmony.
“Hurry back, please?” he smiled at her.
“You betcha, Rover,” Darcy ruffled his hair with one hand playfully while her other hand rubbed up and down his stomach, finding the spot under his left pec that had him nearly shaking with sudden joy. Darcy laughed and shook her head. “That is going to be so much fun later.”
Steve kissed her nose before turning her body and giving her a gentle push. Even though the beast inside roared at the thought of sending her away. He diligently went back to making the pancakes, forcefully willing the need to follow Darcy down. He’d managed to finish making seven huge stacks of pancakes and turn off the burner when the klaxons went off.
He didn’t even wait for JARVIS to speak, he was off like a rocket, running towards the express elevator that Tony had modified for emergency situations. Steve held on to the hand grips tightly and JARVIS rocketed the elevator to the ground floor of the Tower, faster than a freefall.
“Miss Lewis is in danger. There are three sizeable squadrons of AIM mercenaries attempting to abduct her,” the artificial intelligence managed to tell him. “Sir and Prince Thor will join you momentarily.”
Steve ran through the lobby and managed to bust the revolving door in the front of the Tower, his eyes darting everywhere as he approached the scene. Darcy was hidden behind a smoldering, overturned taxi cab, and every few moments she would turn and lob a bagel at the advancing mercenaries.
He let out an inhuman roar, louder than anything Darcy had ever heard in her life. Louder than Thor when he sneezed. Louder than a metal Destroyer burning up Puento Antigo. Louder than her stomach growling the morning after eating Chinese food. Darcy stopped throwing bagels and watched as Steve, the adorable little puppy who had claimed her as his own just two short weeks ago ran into the fray, leaping on the nearest enemy and throwing the goon bodily into a line of other goons.
"Goon bowling," Darcy whispered, thinking for a moment of creating a wacky summer reality show where super heroes had to play silly games with their super powers but somehow always wound up covered in slime. Her heart jumped when Steve continued to roar and snarl his way through physically destroying the seriously inept bad guys who had tried to snatch her less than ten minutes ago.
Natasha had tried to patiently explain to Darcy that Steve had a wolf inside of him. He no longer shifted, but there were some kinds of changes that never truly went away. Darcy had made a lot of jokes at the time about fanfiction and alpah/beta/omega dynamics, but now, she was really seeing it. Steve may not be covered in hair and busting out of his clothes with a wolf-man body, but he was... feral at the moment.
He didn't have his shield, he didn't NEED his shield, not when he was moving even faster than a super soldier, bashing heads against heads, throwing grown men over a hundred yards away. He gripped the end of the barrel of a rifle and bent, causing the thing to nearly detonate, and he didn't even flinch. Twenty people were all in traction in a very short span of time and Darcy was left peering over the overturned car, gaping at him in wonder.
"Kiddo, let's get out of here while Cap finishes it up," Tony appeared out of nowhere, his suited up hand on Darcy's shoulder causing her to yelp.
Steve turned away from the last of the would be kidnappers at the sound of her distress and bounded towards her, tackling Tony to the ground and causing Darcy to fall backwards and scrape her elbow on the gravel of the ground.
"NO, no, bad Steve! I'm friendly, I'm a friendly!" Tony shouted.
"Steve!" Bucky scolded as he ran up towards the scene.
Steve was on top of Tony, punching at the thankfully metal Iron Man mask. Every time Tony tried to use the thrusters to get out from underneath the good Captain, Steve would maneuver his bulk to pin Iron Man down again. Bucky approached Darcy, who was wincing over a torn up elbow and he gave her a little apologetic smile.
"Stevie, your girl is hurt," Bucky announced loudly.
Steve stopped his pummeling immediately and climbed off of Tony, going to Darcy with completely human worry on his face instead of the feral anger that had been there a moment before.
"Darcy?" he whispered. "You okay, doll? I'm sorry."
He gingerly took her hand and inspected her wounds, fighting the very gross urge to lick at them.
"I'm okay, Steve," Darcy promised. "Thanks for the rescue. I was running out of bagels."
"I'll always protect you," Steve promised, picking her up and carrying her back to the building in order to tend to her wounds. They passed Sam on the way back in, and although Steve was harmlessly territorial with any man who got too close to Darcy, with Sam, he was especially always a little more on edge.
Probably because Sam had spent a little time as a werewolf too. Less time than Steve, but still enough time to get a little wolfish every once in awhile.
"We're good dude, I'm not sniffing on your mate," Sam promised, watching with a smile as Steve carried Darcy back into the tower, his nose nuzzling against her hair affectionately. Sam turned back to the scene and got a small whiff of gardenia and he smiled.
Natasha walked up to him and said, "I'm going to be a very busy girl for the next few days. He managed to knock them all out, not one of them dead."
"So much interrogating," Sam nodded.
"So I assume you'll want to help," Natasha smiled. Sam never liked being very far from her.
"Yes, Nat," Sam nodded. He reached out a finger and ran it from her elbow to her wrist. Just because he wasn't as potent of a werewolf as Steve had been, he still had the desperate need to be close to his true mate as well.
Within a month of Steve Rogers meeting Darcy Lewis, there was one more thing added to the list of things we aren't allowed to talk about in the Tower.
- The ticklish spot on Captain America's torso.
- The fact that Captain America likes his meat on the very rare side.
- The fact that Captain America stays locked up in his quarters during the full moon.
- The well cultivated and cared for bite mark on the side of Darcy Lewis' neck.
Natasha would literally obliterate your reproductive bits if you teased Darcy about it. Scott had made ONE Teen Wolf reference and he had needed to go to the medical ward immediately after. Rhodey had given Darcy and Steve a strange look as they cuddled on a couch during one of the family movie nights. And Rhodey had then wound up mysteriously ill for a prolonged period of time. And his official twitter account had waxed poetical about explosive diarrhea during that time, and for the life of him he couldn't delete the tweets.
Steve was on a goodwill mission, helping to rebuild a community that had been torn apart by a mutant dispute a few days ago. He sent Darcy constant texts though, and Natasha smiled as Darcy's phone buzzed against her chest as the young woman napped on the common room couch, covered by blankets and surrounded by all the pillows that could be found in the common room and a few of the couch cushions too. When she didn't wake to answer it, Natasha's phone began ringing.
"She's fine," Natasha promised as she answered. "She's napping right in front of me."
Barring a world ending event, Steve refused to leave Darcy unattended. Someone trustworthy was always left with Darcy whenever Steve had to leave her. It was usually Natasha, Pepper or Jane. Sometimes Sharon. Steve was lucky to have so many ultra-competent females in his life. He inherently knew that Darcy would be fine on her own, but thankfully she indulged his baser natures and let herself be protected in his absence.
"We're on our way back now, everything is all done," Steve revealed. He paused and his worry could be heard over the line, "Is she alright? She's been tired an awful lot."
"She's absolutely fine," Natasha promised. "See you soon."
Natasha busied herself while Darcy napped, doing the things the younger woman usually would do before the team came back from a mission. Take out was ordered. A bakery was called to deliver the cookies and treats that Darcy would usually make herself. Natasha even managed to set up the little margarita machine that Darcy had called her prized possession, second only to Captain America's booty.
Darcy still slept through it, and Natasha added more blankets and pillows to her pile every time she passed in and out of the room. Jane came up to the common room and turned her head to the side as she barely glimpsed a long and twisted curl of Darcy's hair peaking out of one of the blankets. She gave Natasha a curious look and Natasha only smiled serenely.
"Right," Jane nodded before leaving again quickly. When she returned, she had Darcy's stuffed little Bucky Bear and an armful of her own blankets and pillows.
Pepper arrived half an hour before the team, already loaded with bags full of expensive chenille blankets and luxuriously stuffed pillows. They added them to the pile and around the pile. Every once in awhile, Darcy's arm would reach out and grab one, bringing it closer to her and positioning it better in what was now looking like a big, fluffy nest.
Steve was still last off of the quinjet. That hadn't changed over time. His impatience seeped through his pores though, and the team had become much faster at departing from the quinjet. No one wanted to be the one to stand in the way of Steve and his Darcy.
"You're itchier than normal," Bucky accused as they walked off the quinjet together.
"Want to get home to my girl," Steve shrugged.
"Hmmm," Bucky gave him an appraising look. "You gonna ask that girl an important question some time soon? It's been almost half a year. You're gonna ruin her reputation, pal."
"But he bit her, isn't that enough?" Tony questioned, only to scrunch up his face at the realization that he had trounced on one of the forbidden topics. "Woops."
"I have a plan," Steve said to Bucky, after he was done glaring at Tony.
"You always do," Bucky rolled his eyes, but smiled fondly. He wrapped an arm around his best friend's shoulders and they walked towards the waiting elevator. "C'mon, I want to see what your little lady whipped up for us this time. I hope it's the peanut butter cookies again."
Steve smiled as Bucky waxed poetical about Darcy's cookies for the short elevator ride down. He sniffed the air as soon as the elevator doors opened. Something was off. The honeysuckle scent in the air was heavy, but it was tinged with something new.
Something like cinnamon against the sweet, flowery smell. It was wonderful .
Steve ran into the common room and his eyes widened at the sight of one of the couches being completely covered and barricaded by pillows and blankets. The smell was coming from underneath all of it and he kicked off his shoes quickly before working at the snaps and pulls to his uniform top.
"Uhm..." Tony held up a hand in question, looking at an unimpressed Natasha and Pepper pleadingly.
"No," Pepper said simply.
Steve got out of his uniform fast and was down to a simple pair of blue boxer briefs that he thankfully left on before gently making his way into the big nest of blankets and pillows.
Tony made a squeaky noise and waved his hand in the air impatiently, "But, I have so many quest---"
"NO," Natasha ordered him.
Steve started purring underneath all of those blankets and pillows and the sound was loud enough to rattle the whole of the room. It was a calming sound and Natasha smiled at Sam, content and peaceful as the group went about eating and doing their normal debrief ritual, as if there wasn't a big nest set up on one of the couches and their team leader wasn't buried in it with the lab manager, purring like a big happy cat.
Natasha handed Jane a big plate of food and directed her to the blankets. She handed Pepper two glasses full of the margarita slush, both virgin. The least threatening members of the party delivered the food and the drink and received a muffled thank you from Steve under all those blankets.
And Tony danced in his seat and raised his hand in the air again, his mouth full of pizza.
"No," Sam smacked his hands down.
Three hours later, Pepper manhandled Tony out of the common room, and Darcy and Steve were left in their plush little nest all by themselves. They confined themselves there for the better part of a week. Natasha organized their care. Making sure they had the privacy to sneak out of the nest without being seen to use the facilities. Ensuring that they had enough food and drink at all times. Bringing in even more blankets and pillows as they built the nest around the couch even bigger and stronger.
They all still ate there during the day. Bucky would lean against the furtherest edge of the nest and chat with Steve and Darcy throughout the day. Jane would come in and ask Darcy questions, getting the muffled answer in response. Sharon and Maria dropped by and would plan certain team movement with Steve. And Tony would sit and stare at the nest in open curiosity, but kept his mouth mostly shut, as he was heavily policed by Natasha and Pepper.
When Darcy showed up to work a week later, Tony's eyes bugged out of his head at the sight of her. She looked mostly like her normal self. Just...shinier and happier.
"Seriously, kid, what the hell happened? Nobody will tell me," Tony sighed heavily.
"You don't know?" Darcy gave him a funny little smile.
"I have suspicions, but no one will tell me," Tony whined.
"I'm pregnant, you big goon," Darcy rolled her eyes. She gave him a warning look but it was to no avail.
"A LITTER!" Tony cackled. "You're having a litter!"
"Dammit, Tony," Darcy rolled her eyes. "You deserve this."
Darcy gave a hand gesture to the nearest surveillance camera and sure enough, Natasha appeared in the lab in less than five minutes.
"Shit," Tony sighed. He really needed to learn not to pick on the werewolves and their lady loves and...you know, now the litter.
It wasn't a litter. It was just one little baby.
Steve and Darcy still spent time maintaining and keeping up that little nest, but didn't spend as much time in it as they initially did. They went about their lives, taking the spare room in Steve's apartment and turning it into a nursery, and generally only diving into the nest for an hour a day as Darcy's belly swelled up with baby over the next few months.
Scott referred to it as a pup just one time, and Jane Foster had duct-taped him to the ceiling.
Tony made a big stink when Natasha, Pepper and Jane had planned the puppy themed baby shower.
"YOU'RE ALLOWED TO CALL IT A PUPPY, BUT I'M NOT?" Tony demanded hotly. "I have never felt so disrespected in all my life!"
"Christine Everhart called you a scum sucking turtle weasel last week on her blog," Sam reminded him helpfully.
"Still," Tony sighed. "I don't get to tell any of the good wolf related jokes thanks to Natasha's constant vigilance and devotion to ball tapping me with her fists. Unfair. And not to mention all the furry jokes I have stored up for a rain---"
Natasha appeared from nowhere and swatted Tony on the back of the head with a gift bag that must have had a tiny set of baby barbells in it, because he was down for the count. Sam just grinned at her happily, and continued to watch his favorite person go back to the party.
Thor had brought the Asgardians for a visit for the baby shower, and it was a lot of fun to watch Volstaag and Fandral attempt to play the shower games. They both kept throwing back entire jars of baby food, not even attempting to guess the flavor, but greatly appreciating it regardless. Sif had somehow turned a simple game of guessing the measurement of Darcy's belly into an arm wrestling match with Bucky, and she was easily keeping up with the metal arm.
"Pal, I think I'm in love," Bucky sighed to Steve later as they made another trip back to Steve's apartment with baby loot that their friends had generously gifted them with.
"You're going to need to check with Thor to get the proper courting procedures in place," Darcy warned him as she opened the door to let the super soldiers in with all the goods. Her hands went to her large and unwieldy belly, rubbing somewhere around where her ribs would be, where the baby was content to kick at vital organs. "Calm down, kiddo. Mama needs those."
Bucky smiled as Steve went for Darcy, picking her up as he began purring and massaging her belly. The affection between the little family was clear, and Bucky managed to swallow his usual teasing of Steve about making it official with Darcy. His current argument was that his unborn nephew would be born a bastard. Darcy always shrugged and said that being a loved bastard was better than being an abandoned orphan, as she had been.
Bucky went about putting away most of the baby gear. He had helped build all the furniture, and painted the room too, and was privy to where all the diapers and wipes and things were to go. By the time he got back to the living room, he wasn't surprised to find it abandoned, and instead went straight upstairs to the common room, seeing that the nest was occupied by Steve and Darcy. He sat down next to it, asking Darcy questions about what a proper Asgardian courting procedure was like as he went about building a little baby swing that he had purchased for the baby.
Sam came into the room a few hours and sniffed the air. The cinnamon smell that had been faint since the beginning of Darcy's pregnancy in Sam's nostril was now getting heavier and heavier by the minute.
"Uhm? Doctor?" he called out.
"We're fine!" Darcy hollered back.
Bucky's eyes widened and looked between the nest and Sam, who only shrugged at him helplessly.
The night turned into another group event. Sam called Natasha, who brought Pepper and Jane and the Asgardians. Every once in awhile, Sam would sniff the air and ask if it was time to go the hospital, to which Darcy would assure him it wasn't.
Tony was actively trying to peek inside the nest, anxious beyond belief. He had a doctor, an EMT and a nurse on standby on the floor below them, ready to swoop in and take over at a moment's notice.
"Why are you so worried?" Sif requested of both Tony and Bucky, who were both clearly anxious.
"This kind of thing usually happens at a hospital," Tony answered.
"Or at least with a midwife," Bucky shrugged. All of his little sisters had been born at home, but it hadn’t been easy work at all.
"But she is marked by the good vargr, the babe has the traces of the race of Fenrir," Sif shrugged. "Bringing the child into the world will be blessedly simple."
Bucky and Tony both flinched when they heard Darcy let out a little sound from inside the nest and Sif smiled at them both when Steve began purring loudly again.
"You are here because he trusts you both implicitly," Sif shook her head. "You are to protect them when he cannot. It would be impossible for foreign hands to help at this point. Your Captain would be unable to bear the intrusion. You are to keep them safe while the blessed work is done."
"Huh," Tony nodded. A big, proud grin appeared on his face. "That's nice."
More hours passed, and most of the group had chosen other couches and chairs to sleep on, as the only noise coming out of the nest was Steve's purrs and Darcy's small noises of discomfort.
Somewhere around three a.m., Steve's head poked out and he nodded at Natasha. She washed her hands thoroughly before disappearing into the nest as well, and Steve's purrs went louder and the space between Darcy's noises almost disappeared. At three forty-five, Natasha popped back out of the nest with a big grin on her face and an armful of dirty blankets in her arms.
She tapped a few buttons on her phone and said softly, "JARVIS?"
JARVIS put the image up on the screen, a small, wrinkly little bundle with Steve's nose and a shock of Darcy's dark hair appeared on the screen. The picture was replaced with video and the little baby began moving, and making tiny noises. Steve purred and pressed his lips to the baby's forehead before kissing Darcy softly.
"So cute!" Jane exclaimed joyously.
"Did they decide on a name?" Pepper wondered.
"Not yet, Steve said it'll come to them eventually," Natasha smiled indulgently. She threw the bundle of blankets in the incinerator before walking to Sam and wrapping her arms around his midsection. "They'll be in there for a while, but Darcy said you're more than welcome to stay in the room too."
"But I want to hold him!" Tony sighed.
"That's not going to happen for at least a week," Natasha laughed. "I didn't even get to hold him for more than a moment."
"Fine," Tony rolled his eyes. His expression went shocked then and he looked at the cuddles between Sam and Natasha. "Wait, what? When did that--- How? Oh god, can I please tell my furry---"
"NO," Pepper grabbed him by the ear and drug him away.
Inside the nest, the sounds of their friends talking, laughing and having silly little arguments was exactly what Steve and Darcy did not know that they needed as Steve had wrapped his arms around Darcy and the baby as she leaned against his chest. The tiny baby boy was a hungry little thing, happy to nurse endlessly. Steve smiled when a metal hand poked through the walls of the nest with two bottles of water. He took them from Bucky and shook the man's waiting hand heartily.
"This is the best," Darcy sighed, melting into Steve's body even more as weariness started to show on her face after the very, very busy day she had. She put one hand on the baby's swaddled bottom, holding him in place against her chest where he would undoubtedly go back to nursing again soon. Her other hand found that spot on Steve's torso that never failed to have his body twitching with little happy bursts of movement. "Love you, Rover."
"Love you too, Darcy," Steve nodded, holding her a little tighter with one hand, his other going to the baby's back, marveling at how small the little guy was. He breathed in through his nose deeply, the combined heavy smell of Darcy’s sweet honeysuckle and the baby’s cinnamon making his pulse beat erratically with the sheer happiness of it.
"No problemo, it was easy peasy," Darcy mumbled. "Just give me a year or two before we do this again, 'kay? Night night now."
Steve grinned as she promptly fell asleep. He sighed, knowing that now he at least had a one or two year window to get her properly down the aisle. He'd been asking her every day since her attempted kidnapping in front of the Tower. Two days ago she had told him yes, as soon as she didn't look like she swallowed an extra large planet.
Bucky's metal hand reappeared in the little window of their nest, this time holding a small little jewelry box. Steve took it from him, knowing it contained a replica of his mother's ring, sized perfectly to fit Darcy's finger. Steve would put the ring on her finger as soon as she woke. But in the meantime, he would be content to hold on to the little family inside of the nest and the big family outside of the nest that he had managed to build with Darcy. For once, he thanked that silly little beast that lived inside of him. It had certainly made the right choice.