Chapter 1: Past and Present
Fate was cruel; at least that’s what Antonia Elizabeth Stark thought as she ran through the hellicarrier to get her suit. The ship was going down and she was going to have to work with the man who had just tried to get her in her suit to fight her as well as insulted her. Long ago Steve Rogers had been a man she loved. Long ago she, Steve, and Bucky had been three people who could never be separated even by war, even by Hydra, and even by an over protective brother by the name of Howard Stark. Toni wasn’t the forty something genius daughter of Howard Stark. She was almost a hundred and had been Howard’s younger sister. She fell in love with a sickly shrimpy punk who couldn’t stand bullies and fought for what was right. She fell in love with the charm of a protective older friend who was a lovable jerk. But Steve Rogers, the man out of time didn’t know she had lived with him through the depression. He had no idea she had been there with him in the war. He had no idea Toni was a mutant who didn’t age or die. It had been Howard when he realized the true extent of what her abilities meant that had turned to her with a solution.
“You’re a Stark, the world will notice if you don’t age. Let’s make a new identity for you so they never find out. Maria and I can fake a pregnancy; we’ll claim we’re keeping our daughter out of sight of the press. Then when you’re ready you can reveal yourself as the Stark heir.”
Long ago Antonia Stark had been Natasha Stark. She loved her family; always had and knowing one day she might not be able to carry her family name had killed her inside. She’d hugged her aging brother half wishing she could give him her ability and spend however long she’d live at her side. They’d always been together. Siblings willing to face Nazis together, willing to build an empire in a world that refused to see a woman ever in such a place of power, and they had been close even when they fought worse than cats and dogs. But she would not wish this double edged sword on anyone else. She had realized the curse of this gift when Bucky had fallen from the train and she was still here. She realized it when Steve took a nosedive into the artic. They had died before their time but even if they hadn’t she’d would have still lost them one day. That became more apparent when she woke to a world without Howard Stark. Even if he too had died before his time his hair had gone white and the signs of his old age had begun to show. Even if he’d lived to the ripe old age of a hundred, she would still remain the same. She watched everyone she knew and love die. Watched them age and even in Peggy’s case watched her mind fail her. These were things she’d never suffer, or at least not for a long time. It was a gift and a curse that at times she screamed bloody murder for and other times thanked whatever force existed that granted her it.
So this Steve Rogers she didn’t know. Didn’t understand why he hated her. Even as she hid herself behind a mask that made her appear the appropriate age for her current identity, she didn't understand why Steve would spit such hateful words when she had done nothing to deserve them.
Sometimes she wished she was back in the 40s. Drinking with her brother after an inventing binge, going dancing with Bucky, or spending a quiet night inside with Steve knowing he was having a bad day and too weak to even walk nearby for a coffee.
Chapter 2: World War II
Natasha Stark meets Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes
A second chapter same day because the first one was so short
Natasha wasn’t sure what brought her to this part of town but she was happy she’d been passing through when she heard some idiot getting his ass handed to him. She’d grabbed the bigger man that had been pounding on the smaller weaker man even though he was already down. There was no reason to go that far unless you were trying to kill someone. She snarled as she threw the man and glared at him daring him to get back up.
“You’re move but I have to say I don’t feel comfortable with an unfair fight of two against one. Why don’t you walk away before you look any more like an ass.”
The man almost looked ready to continue fighting but he was smart enough to realize what it would look like fighting a girl and a man that clearly had too many health issues to actually be in a fight. After he left she turned to the shorter man that was picking himself up.
“So I know it looked like you could handle it but I thought why not lend a hand, no one should face a bully alone.” She offered her trademark charming Stark smirk as she looked at the startled man.
“Thanks.” He offered his hand. “Steve Rogers.”
“Natasha Stark, I’m not from around here so maybe you’d help me out. I’m dying for some food but I have no idea what’s good around here.”
Steve looked honestly surprised by her asking him. His expression quickly changed as he pointed to the right.
“There’s a diner that’s pretty good just a block away.”
She stared at him a moment realizing he didn’t understand her meaning. Deciding to take matters into her own hands she grabbed his arm and began leading him where he pointed.
“Then let’s go.”
He looked startled again.
“What? Why would you want to go with me to a diner?”
“Because you seem like a swell fella and seeing as I took the glory of teaching that bully a lesson I owe you. So why don’t you join me for some good food and you can tell me about your crusade to teach bullies a lesson.”
Steve was a bit red with embarrassment. Clearly he’d never actually spent time with a dame before. She smiled thinking she was lucky and wouldn’t have competition for his attention then. He was kind of cute and she liked cute fellas just as much handsome ones.
“Um…I was actually supposed to meet my friend Bucky.”
She stopped slightly sadden that he already had plans but she released him.
“Well don’t want to upset your friend by stealing you away. Maybe next time then.” She kissed his cheek before she walked off.
He looked about ready to follow after her regardless of his previous plans but Bucky came to his side clearly having looked for him. Steve looked at Bucky still flushed and shocked by what just happened.
The blonde took a moment before he looked back where the whirlwind of a woman was walking towards the diner. She was beautiful, waves of chocolate brown hair, amber eyes, and sun kissed skin. She was wearing plaid dress that hugged her body perfectly.
“I think I’m in love.” He whispered before he could stop himself.
“What? Stevie what happened?”
He pointed to her.
“Natasha, she saved me from getting my ass handed to me and offered to take me to eat. I told her I was meeting with you so I couldn’t and she kissed me on the cheek.”
Bucky looked surprised as he turned to see the dame that had not only kicked ass but was interested in Stevie.
“Well Stevie your ma would be ashamed of your manners. Leaving a dame waiting.”
Bucky grabbed his arm and dragged him along to catch up with Natasha.
“Excuse me ma’am, ‘fraid I have to apologize for my friend here. See he’s a punk and doesn’t know it’s rude to refuse to escort a lovely dame like yourself.”
Natasha turned looking startled before she smiled seeing who it was. Her beautiful amber gaze turned to Bucky before she looked him over.
“Well I can see who helps Steve when dealing with bullies.” She turned to Steve and added with a smirk, “You’re sidekick is kind of handsome cutie.”
Bucky was blushing now as much as Steve but while Bucky was shocked by the sidekick comment as well as being called kind of handsome, Steve was trying to hold in his laughter.
“So are you fellas here to escort me together? I wouldn’t want to be cornered by some dangerous folk while I’m walking all by my lonesome.”
The smirk on her face told them both she could handle herself but they each offered an arm hearing the invitation to them both.
“Well as long as I can work to remove the word sidekick from the things you think when you see me.” Bucky offered as they walked.
“Well I don’t know, you look like a sidekick to me but what do I know? I’m just a genius.”
Both looked interested.
“Genius?” Both asked the same time making Natasha think they were adorable.
“Oh yes genius. I’m one of the brilliant minds behind the weapons of Stark Industries. My brother and I build the weapons being used in the war.”
They both looked shocked.
“Wait you’re Howard Stark’s sister?”
“Sure am, intimidated yet?” She offered a smirk with a slightly hopeful gaze.
Clearly people were intimidated just by the Stark name.
“Not even a little doll.” Bucky assured her.
“Doesn’t matter who your brother is. Why should that affect our opinion of you?” Steve added.
“Oh I’m definitely keeping you two.” She smiled as they entered the diner.
Both learned very quickly just how smart Natasha was. She was going into a detailed explanation of one of the weapons she’d designed unaware she’d lost the two early on in her excitement. When she looked up she realized they likely had gotten annoyed with her excited chatter. Instead they both looked in awe and like they had enjoyed simply hearing her talk.
“Sorry, I often get pretty excited about engineering.”
“No worries here doll, must admit I’ve never met a dame as smart as you.” Bucky said offering a charming grin.
“Wish I was smart enough to be able to build that kind of stuff. Buck’s more familiar with these things than me.”
Natasha looked at Bucky excited.
“You like engineering?”
Bucky shrugged looking kind of embarrassed.
“Use to want to be a mechanic.”
“We should get together some time and see how good you are.” Her gaze turned to Steve making the blonde feel happy to know he wasn’t overlooked with Bucky there and that there was a dame that was even interested in him. “What about you? What are your dreams cutie?”
His blush returned with a vengeance. He got the feeling if he got to spend more time with her it would be happening more often.
“Well I kind of want to be an artist.”
“I never thought I’d meet a talented artist. Can I see some of your work sometime?”
She sounded so hopeful making Steve look ashamed when he had to refuse.
“Can’t really afford art supplies right now so I can’t.”
She seemed to consider that for a moment.
“Well I doubt I’ll ever meet a real life artist in person again so why don’t I buy the supplies and commission a piece from you? I always thought the family home could use something beautiful to lighten it up. If Howard complains I’ll just kick his ass worse than that bully.” She said with a playful wink his way.
“Stevie say yes.” Bucky elbowed his friend trying to convince him.
“Um…if you’re sure.”
“Perfect, don’t suppose your one of those artists that don’t mind people around while you create your masterpiece. I love to see the talented at work.”
Both quickly agreed to let her be present as Steve painted her something. She brought the supplies to their home a few days later and sat with the two as Steve decided what to paint. Natasha had pulled Bucky into a conversation about one of her projects. The two were trying to be as quite as possible to not distract Steve. Only when the blonde took breaks did Natasha approach him wrapping her arms around his to thin frame and would kiss his cheek.
It was surreal how they’d fallen into a routine so easily and almost like it was a natural state for them. Natasha would arrive and spend hours with them. A few times when Steve was busy with other things and taking a break from her painting, Natasha would steal Bucky away to take him to see what she and Howard did. The man had a talent for work like this and learned during his time with her and her brother. However Howard was and always had been a protective brother and saw the way Bucky looked at her. Learning that she spent her free time with the two men Howard had on occasion stopped by as well.
Howard thought he was so stealthy in seeing what the two’s intentions were with her. He always forgot her enhanced hearing so she’d heard his question as well as the threat upon their life if they ever hurt her. When she’d returned to the room where the three were gathered she smiled pretending to be unaware of the conversation that had transpired while she’d been away.
After that Howard kept a distance, or at least as much as he could being over protective. The three were happy as they were but happy endings were for fairytales and one day Bucky got his papers sending him to war and both Howard and Natasha were recruited to help more closely with the war efforts. When they’d told the news to Steve they felt like they were leaving their Stevie behind. Natasha loved Steve just as much as she loved Bucky and she knew without ever asking the two men loved each other as much as they did her.
“We’ll see each other after the war.” Steve with like a solemn vow.
Steve and Natasha saw Bucky off and then when Howard and she had to go Stevie saw them off. Neither Natasha nor Bucky knew about Project Rebirth and Steve’s part in it until after. When the 107th had been all captured and Bucky taken by the enemy, Peggy Carter had gone to Natasha needing a pilot for a dangerous mission over enemy territory. Howard could have done it but if the siblings were being honest, she was better of the two.
Natasha had looked at Steve and both had been truly shocked to see each other. She’d punched him for his idiotic behavior and not telling her sooner. He’d smiled and pulled her in for a kiss. For once it didn’t leave him on the verge of passing out.
“Go get our soldier Captain.” She told him from where she was flying just before Steve jumped out of the plane.
Natasha was with Peggy when they returned. She couldn’t help but smile seeing them return in style. They brought enemy weapons that could help them understand what Hydra had been doing that gave them such an edge in the war. They brought back soldiers that would have otherwise been lost as they’d been held by the enemy. Natasha was so happy to see them but something was off. She was always careful about drawing suspicion with her strange abilities but she couldn’t help catching the scent that was foreign to her Bucky. It wasn’t a scent from a location he’d been or anything he’d been around. It was a scent much like any person’s natural scent meaning it was part of him. She didn’t ask and the two never told her but she knew. Hydra was working on some kind of experiment and Bucky had been an unwilling participant. She’d tear Hydra apart by herself if she could knowing what they’d done to her Bucky.
With Captain America leading the fight against Hydra, he and the Howling Commandos fought and turned the tide of war against the Red Skull and his forces. In the background supplying the group with gear and weapons was both Howard and Natasha with Peggy working alongside them as well.
The war would surely end with them victorious. At least that’s what Natasha thought until she found Steve trying to drown himself in alcohol after a successful mission with Bucky the only casualty. The serum kept Steve from getting drunk and it was a pain she knew too well. She couldn’t drink her problems away either. She’d found out when she and Howard had been drinking together after a successful inventing binge where both had been awake for to many days but they’d wanted to celebrate. She’d remained horribly sober while Howard had passed out. Bucky had died a hero and she wouldn’t let Steve think of his sacrifice to the point it consumed and destroyed him. She tried to keep him from turning to the darker thoughts of losing someone he’d known his entire life. She’d like to think she succeeded and that the only reason he drove that plane with him in it into the artic was because it was the only option, not because he’d lost his dear friend and lover. She cried for the loss of her lovers but she swore she’d at least honor their sacrifice enough to bring them home to be buried. No one had gone looking for Bucky’s body, not with where he’d fallen. It was dangerous and in enemy territory but Natasha wasn’t worried about the danger. She’d survive.
She told Howard where she was going and while her brother tried to talk her out of it, he understood that she’d loved them both. She’d bring them both home, even if it was only for a proper funeral.
Chapter 3: The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste
The invasion is over, the Avengers won. Toni decides to have a talk with Loki to fill in some gaps in her information
They’d won, they defeated the aliens. But Toni wasn’t done yet. She had looped the security feed and only Fury was aware she was paying their prisoner a visit before he was to be taken back to Asgard. Bound in chains and gagged Toni felt a ping of sympathy for the god. She knew what it meant to be held prisoner. She knew what it meant to be made unable to speak. This was a cruel punishment for a man no more guilty than Clint.
“The invasion failed.” She said in greeting.
Loki met her gaze looking unimpressed and slightly annoyed.
“You must be relieved.” She said as she drew closer earning a slightly curious look from the god.
She had brought a chair over and sat looking at him and smiled sadly.
“The mind is a terrible thing to waste. It’s even worse when someone else takes a hold of it commanding your every move. You could be a genius, the most intelligent person in the world and your mind your greatest strength…but then someone takes it and turns you into an obedient puppet. Becoming nothing more than a rabid dog following the orders of your master…and no one can see that you’re only rabid because of the one holding your leash and barking commands.”
His eyes had widened as she spoke. He realized she knew the truth.
“You don’t deserve to be gagged. You might be someone who has rightfully earned the name silvertongue and god of lies, but Thor put that on as punishment for your crimes here. I know those crimes aren’t your own so let’s give you a bit of your dignity back shall we?”
She walked in and removed the gag but not the chains. Loki met her gaze and lowered his head in thanks.
“You’re welcome. Need something to drink? Food if you’re hungry? Can’t imagine you’ve been allowed anything with the muzzle on.”
Loki studied her a moment.
“How were you able to tell my mind was not my own?”
She sat down on the floor of his cell and considered the question.
“How about an answer for an answer?”
Loki narrowed his eyes suspicious.
“What do you wish to know?”
“Thor…he’s like a giant puppy but anyone with eyes can see he’s got some serious faults. He was so ready to defend you when someone talked badly and when someone mentioned the number of people you killed suddenly it’s, he’s adopted. I get the feeling there’s some family issues there and some serious ones. But I also know whatever Thor is, you’re not the same. So you’re adopted but I get the feeling it’s not from Asgard.”
Loki’s gaze turned into a glare.
“So you wish to know what I am. Do you believe learning the secret of my heritage shall give you an edge against me? Use my secrets to humiliate me for my crimes?”
“Not at all, I’m just curious. I’m a genius, I like knowing and learning new things.” She sniffed the air catching that strange scent of winter and ice from Loki that clung to him. It was stronger now that it wasn’t buried under the strange scent that clung to those under the scepter’s power. “I’d like a name to put to the scent of your people.”
Loki looked intrigued.
“You can smell I am not of Asgard. I was unaware humans could smell such things.”
She smiled weakly.
“They can’t, I’m a bit unique.”
Loki considered that.
“I am Jotun, a frost giant. Taken in by Odin when I was an infant. I was unaware I was this monster until a little more than a year ago.”
She took in the information adding it to the array of things she was adding of need to know regarding alien forces.
“Alright, as for how I knew the scepter’s power clings to those it touches. I could tell you were under its control because I caught Clint’s scent when he was under its control to.”
“If this is not a natural ability of your species, how do you possess such a talent?”
“That’s a second question.” She pointed out with a smirk.
He looked slightly annoyed but saw her point.
“Very well ask your question so I may have my answer.”
She leaned forward looking at him with curiosity.
“Thor said you’re a mage. Why do you keep yourself coated in a layer of magic?”
Loki made a face startled by her question.
“You know of my glamour?”
“If that’s the layer of magic then yes.”
Loki stared at her as though trying to figure out how she worked.
“Frost giants are monsters, the allfather hid my heritage. He claimed me his son yet he could not shame his name by letting all of Asgard see me for what I was. Beneath this glamour I am the monster Asgard fears and hates.”
She was honestly curious now.
“Can I see?”
Loki glared at her.
“Do not think I’m a fool like Thor. I shall not show you so you may mock me.”
She rolled her eyes before she glanced towards the door. Fury had entrusted her with this and was giving her time but she wanted to ensure no one came to see this. Hearing no one approach she turned back to Loki and held up her hand.
“You wanted to know why exactly I have the abilities I do.” She was like another mutant though her claws did not extend from her knuckles but her nails. Metal coated claws extended making the god’s eyes widened.
“I am what humans fear and hate. A mutant both blessed and cursed. My abilities allow me to survive more than what my species should be able to. But it curses me to outlive everyone I know and love. My life is one built on lies because I can never let the world know the truth. I’m older than I appear but also look younger than other believe. These claws now coated in metal, a gift from one who saw the monster I was and wanted me as a mindless tool for their plans.”
She returned the claws and met Loki’s gaze.
“Whatever reason Asgard has to hate you just because you’re Jotun, well fuck them. How you were born doesn’t make you a monster and doesn’t mean you deserve their hate. Years ago my brother and I were the driving force behind the military’s weapons and gear that allowed their soldiers to win the war. My mutation makes me a monster in their eyes but my actions speak louder than simple genetics. My brother and I fought against the monsters who intended to destroy countless lives. I chose my path and it was one that I did not let my status as a mutant define me.”
Loki studied her seeing no lie in her words.
“How old are you?”
She smiled sadly.
“I was in World War II just like the man out of time. I listened as he went down in the plane. I was there when he tried to drown himself in alcohol when our lover fell from the train and was presumed dead. I’m sure you can guess my age.”
Loki nodded before he looked at the chains he wore.
“Perhaps we are not so different. I am curious though. If you must hide, does that mean your lover does not know that you continue to live?”
She shook her head.
“Nope, I’ve disguised myself and changed my name. He loved me in the 40s but he hates me now. Spitting cold words my Stevie would never have spoken before. Whoever came out of the ice, I wonder if there’s anything of my love left inside him.”
Loki seemed to understand losing someone even if they were still alive.
“My apologies Lady Antonia. I imagine it must be much like living with Thor. I remember how he was when we were children. Loyal and someone I would follow to the ends of the universe. Centuries have passed and I’m staring at the same face but it is not the Thor I grew up with. He became arrogant and no longer trusted me as he once did. I saw Thor but it was not the Thor I had come to know and trust.”
There was a knock on the door letting her know Fury had given her all the time he could. She looked at the muzzle that would have to go back on before meeting Loki’s gaze and knew he too knew it was going back on.
“Perhaps we shall meet again Lady Antonia. If we are to be seen as monsters perhaps we could stand together as such against the worlds that hate us.”
She smiled before she returned the muzzle.
“I hope we meet again Loki.” She agreed before she left him in his cell.
Fury waited until she removed the loop from the recordings before talking to her.
“So?” He asked as the single word conveyed all he was asking perfectly.
“He was under the scepter’s control just like Clint. Sending him home might very well be a death sentence. You want to talk about becoming part of a bigger universe, talk to Loki. I want to help him. You want to prepare for what might be out there; we both can get what we want if we convince Thor to let Loki stay.”
Fury considered it looking a bit unhappy with the possibility of Loki staying. Fury however didn’t allow personal feelings to interfere with his job of protecting their planet.
“I’ll talk to him.” The director finally said.
“It might be better if I do it.”
He glared at her.
“Why? I can more than easily convince him to let his brother stay.”
“The issue you seem to be forgetting is Thor is hundreds if not thousands of years old. That long alive gives him plenty of years of experience dealing with two faced liars. You can’t manipulate him Fury. He may seem harmless as he gives off the impression of being an overexcited puppy but at the end of the day he’s a crown prince meant to one day take a position that requires him to be both a warrior and a diplomat. If you think he won’t see your manipulation coming you’re an idiot.”
Fury was a smart man but he couldn’t see everything coming. He realized she was right and left her to it. Toni of course was a genius so when she approached the thunder god who was staying in Shield to remain close to his brother she arrived with a folder in her hands.
“Hey Point Break.”
He looked at her with a slight frown he always wore when he didn’t understand one of the nicknames she gave people.
“Ah the lady of iron, it is good to see you.”
She offered him a smile before she leaned against the wall.
“So I’m curious, is your dad willing to listen to a mortal about what happened here?”
He frowned looking adorably confused.
“My father…does not have the highest opinion of mortals. As they are not allowed in Asgard I do not believe there is a way to hear one’s opinion.”
She kind of figured that.
“Well would he listen to you?”
Thor frowned again.
“I am uncertain. What is this concerning? I fear I do not know the reason for this visit.”
Toni held up the folder.
“I’m a tech girl and a paranoid bitch so I did scans. Did you know Loki’s brain shows the same affects that Clint’s did when under the scepter’s control?”
Thor stood grabbing the folder looking alarmed.
“My brother’s actions were not his own?”
“Nope. He’s free of the control by the way, I’m sure Hulk putting him through the floor did the job of freeing him well enough.”
“This is…wondrous news though I do not believe I can convince father of his innocence even with this proof.”
“What are the chances that Loki won’t spend the rest of his life in prison for this if you can’t get your father to believe he didn’t do this willingly?”
Thor sighed closing the folder.
“It is…very likely Loki will never see the free world again.”
Toni considered that for a moment.
“Then don’t take him back.”
Thor looked at her shocked and suspicious.
“I’ll keep him safe here. I have the resources; no one will come after him as long as he’s under my protection. Maybe it will also help him to spend some time away from Asgard.”
Thor thought a moment before he nodded.
“Yes, I believe this realm could be good for my brother. If I have your word you will protect him then I shall return to Asgard without him. I’m certain my father shall be displeased with me not following his order to return with Loki but…I have failed my brother too often. Once we were close but it seems in the recent years we’ve drifted and I had not realized it. I shall protect him as once did.”
She wasn’t expecting the bone crushing hug that he gave her. It knocked the breath from her lungs but she patted his back happy to be able to help. Maybe it was her way of easing some of the guilt over the one she hadn’t been able to save. Maybe she just wanted to help Loki. She didn’t know.
Chapter 4: Winter Soldiers
Natasha Stark finds Bucky, but not before Zola finds her
Timeline: Just after events of Captain America the first avenger
Two chapters together as a gift to start the new year! :)
P.S Chapters go back and forth in the timeline. Not sure if there's a tag for that. if there is can someone let me know so i can add it?
Natasha woke to find her entire body hurt like hell. She slowly got up and caught a familiar scent. Her eyes snapped open as she looked around the room. She searched for the source of the scent but she was alone in the room. She wasn’t alone long though as the door to what she assumed was a cell opened. Men with guns entered with a much shorter man standing with them. She quickly recognized him as Arnim Zola. She thought he’d been captured but knowing the military they’d have offered him a deal for the higher ups of Hydra.
Natasha glared at the man not wanting to seem weak.
“You are not what you seem. Not a super soldier but perhaps something else. Something better.” He said when he stood there looking up at her like she was something of awe but there was something else within his gaze. Something that told her he was the one who experimented on her Bucky and he would happily do the same with her.
“I don’t know why you kidnapped me but Stark Industries has a strict no ransom policy.” She told him though she suspected it wasn’t why she was here.
“We did not bring you here for money. Do you think we don’t know about what you can do? You tracked us here, like a loyal dog following their masters.” He slowly grinned looking at her coldly. “You shall become our weapon.”
She’d had enough as she moved to strike. She took down two before Zola injected her with something that had her fading fast.
“Don’t worry, the process will be painful but you won’t remember it soon.”
The process included coating her bones in a metal they called adamantium. She screamed as they forced the metal into her body. While she managed to fight her way through their forces hoping for freedom, Zola had many traps set up in case of her attempt. She was taken down and dragged away to begin the second phase of his experiments. It meant wiping her memory and brain washing her. A process that like he said was painful especially with the metal now coating her bones when they fried her brain.
Zola had of course also taken into account her healing factor when handling her brain washing. Her body and mind would heal eventually even from the trigger words placed in her mind. It was the nature of her healing factor that it could heal this to. So the brain washing process would have to be redone every few years. In case of extra safety they did so yearly if able.
Natasha fully brain washed held no name. Zola and Hydra would call her asset from time to time but she was a weapon and therefore had no need of a name. Missions were completed without question and she followed her handler’s instructions obediently.
She wasn’t sure how many years she was used this way. Sent to kill people she would never remember once her mission was completed. Muzzled like a beast and stored away like a proper weapon. She did however remember the day she was preparing for a mission and didn’t wear the muzzle that would have blocked out the scents around her. She caught a scent that was familiar though it made no sense as she had no memories before this day. She turned as an agent arrived with a man with a metal arm. She glanced at it before her eyes flickered to the man…no the weapon that was being sent with her. The job required two weapons. They said nothing as they were outfitted in the same uniform but different gear. She did not require such things as knives and guns. She was a living weapon. She knew the other weapon was one without the extras he carried but she made no comment of it. They were silent as they’d been trained to only talk when ordered.
Their target this time was a group. No witnesses. She was sent for close combat while the other asset remained at a distance with his sniper rifle. She had never failed a mission but somehow the earlier recognition of the scent had distracted her and one of her targets escaped her. She rushed after him but seeing his body fall dead she turned her attention to the far building where the other weapon had been waiting. She did not like failing. Failing meant punishment and she had failed. She should not have needed the other asset as backup.
Their handlers picked them up afterwards as they always did and she could see the subtle differences in their posture to know who was getting punishment. She was not trained or required to feel but some part of her was angry and grateful. Angry because she’d failed and the other asset took her kill and grateful he would not be punished.
Of course not receiving punishment did not save them from the chair. They wiped the male asset first while she stood obediently waiting her turn. Her injuries from her earlier punishment had healed already. She always healed so quickly and with many of those in charge of her punishment it made things worse. Always someone wanting to be the first to leave a mark on her. No one ever managed to succeed.
While they wiped her they placed the other asset in a cryochamber. Time meant nothing to the asset. Wipes kept her from knowing how long she’d been a weapon. Took away any memories of past targets. There was only one thing that survived the wipes. That scent of the other asset. They went on missions together sometimes though she wasn’t sure how many they had gone on before she grabbed his arm after they’d finished a mission. Stormy blue eyes turned to meet her amber gaze and without a word she leaned up to press a kiss to his lips. Her senses had always been heightened so the familiar taste of his lips had her mind going into overdrive. A memory long forgotten as she found herself whispering a name lost to him.
He grabbed her pulling her close but they knew their handlers were coming. They parted ways before they were caught and punished. The kiss was the first of many until the day she remembered enough to convince him to escape with her. They ran from Hydra hiding with all the training they’d given them. They lasted a month before they were found. Punishment was harsh but it was not the last escape. They were always found though no matter how long they managed to remain free. Though Bucky didn’t always remember how many times they’d escaped, on the last attempt together he pushed her to move. She’d looked at him uncertain why he wanted her to go. Realization hit her as she realized he knew Hydra would always keep coming if they lost both assets. She wanted to argue but he gave her little choice as he rushed to meet their pursuers head on.
It took several more months of freedom to remember she had once had family. Going to the Stark mansion had her meeting a familiar but strange face. Howard Stark, her brother had changed and aged in her absence. She cried for the first time in years knowing time would take him from her even after she’d finally reunited with him.
Chapter 5: Family
Loki learns he won't be taken back to Asgard and who he will be staying with
Timeline: After events of Avengers
Another chapter uploaded because I realize it's cruel to leave you all for a week without another update after that last chapter
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
To say that the avengers weren’t happy with Loki staying on the planet was an understatement. Hearing Toni was behind it Steve had looked at her like he couldn’t believe she had done something so stupid.
“He’s a murderer.” Steve told her sounding like he was scolding a child.
Toni kept her emotions controlled as she thought to remind him how many he’d killed in the war. She instead met his anger with her usual sass that the world knew her for.
“Listen up Rogers; he was the first to have the scepter used on him. I mean if we’re locking up innocent people now why don’t you volunteer first?”
She had once loved to see red on his face as he blushed at her comments. Now though his face was tinted red with anger. It was so strange to have him but her Stevie still so far from her reach.
“Toni you know that’s not what this is about. He killed a lot of people and you just want to let him live on our planet?”
“Maybe she just wants a booty call with a real life god.” Clint snapped still very angry about this and refusing to believe that Loki could be innocent.
Toni refused to show the pain that the comment caused her. Many believed her early years in MIT had started her on the path to becoming the world’s biggest slut. Toni had remained loyal knowing that Bucky was alive. Even if she hadn’t yet known if Steve had survived due to the serum or not, she had promised herself she’d wait until she had one or both back with her. She’d promised herself she’d free Bucky from Hydra. When Peggy had still been with Shield they’d worked together to search out how Hydra had still been hiding and when she retired, Fury had picked up the search with her. Yes Toni flirted as easily as she had in the 40s but at no point did she take another home with her.
“If I was going for a booty call you think I’d go for an alien? No thanks, I’ll stick with your everyday vanilla human and not someone who can snap me like a twig with their pinky.” She snarked.
She wasn’t actually certain how she would hold up against the god outside her suit. She wasn’t in the mood to actually find out. Thankful the group couldn’t argue with her anymore as Fury swept into the room.
“Loki’s staying and you don’t have to deal with him because Toni has offered to keep him with her.”
She heard Clint whisper to Natasha that Toni was banging Loki. She kept her expression controlled and left when Fury told her that Loki was ready to head out with her. Fury had discussed the terms of Loki’s stay with the god though he had not mentioned who would be his keeper judging by the pleasant surprise on Loki’s face.
“So we meet again Lady Antonia.” He greeted with a charming smile.
“So we do Reindeer Games. Ready to see your new home?”
His smile was both sad and grateful hearing that Midgard would be his home at least for now. Toni normally had Happy driving her places but she needed to have a private conversation with Loki before they arrived.
“Just so you know there are others at the tower.”
Loki looked at her seeing the expression on her face. She didn’t like being all serious but this was something she couldn’t and wouldn’t skip over it.
“I shall be on my best behavior regardless of who your houseguests are.”
She finally smirked at him.
“Oh there’s no best behavior with the terror twins. I just need to know you’ll know when to put an end to their pranks as the other adult in the house. Mischief and all that is fine but there’s a limit.”
Now the god looked confused.
“Pardon? Are the others that live with you children?”
“Yeah, my kids.”
“I was unaware you had children.”
“Most are, fame is a terrible thing and I wanted them far away from it.”
Loki considered that for a moment.
“Is their father not in the picture?”
She clenched the steering wheel tightly.
“No, not right now but I hope soon.”
There was silence before Loki spoke again.
“He is another that had his mind taken?”
“My Bucky, from the 40s. We escaped together so many times but it never lasted. They always found us. Eventually Bucky told me to go on alone, that they wouldn’t come after me if they had one of their assets back. It was true…at least until about sixteen years ago. I was captured again and he helped me escape again. We had a day together and I ended up pregnant.”
“I see, perhaps I may help you find this missing lover.”
She glanced at him but said nothing. They arrived at the tower and JARVIS greeted them. Like many others Loki jumped in surprise. Toni introduced them to each other and no surprise Loki was actually impressed and unaware Midgard had the capability of such technology. When the elevator opened up on their floor Toni stopped Loki from stepping out confusing the god. He didn’t get the chance to ask though as a blue blur passed right in front of the elevator. Only then did Toni let him step out.
“What in the Norns name was that?” He asked when they stepped out.
“Wait did mom bring a guy home?” The blur returned stopping right in front of Loki glaring at him. “I don’t approve.”
And was gone again.
“Pietro he’s not my boyfriend, he’s a guest so get your speeding ass back here and introduce yourself properly.”
The blur returned looking annoyed.
“Loki this is my son Pietro. Pietro this is Loki. Where’s your sister?”
“Last time I checked Wanda was cleaning up some of the mess.” He glanced around. “What happened here anyways? Did you throw a party without us?”
“No Pietro I didn’t throw a party. At least not willingly. Someone decided to invite aliens to the planet.”
“So that’s what happened to our home. I was wondering.” Wanda said as she entered the room.
“Wanda, this is Loki. He’s staying here with us.”
She raised a brow.
“I don’t approve.”
“He’s not my boyfriend.” She snapped annoyed that the two assumed.
“If you say so mom. I’ve cleaned up most of the mess. Whatever’s broken has been placed in corner for whoever will be fixing this mess.”
“Thanks Wanda, I have people coming to do repairs.”
“Does Pietro have powers because you do as well?” Loki asked.
“Please don’t mention my abilities. Outside my family and a few others, people don’t know I’m a mutant. And yes, both my children are also mutants.”
Loki saw the red of Wanda’s power as she showed her own mutation.
“I see. I must admit I’m impressed. In Asgard we are taught Midgard is a primitive world. I’m happy to see Midgard is far more impressive than I originally thought.”
He held up both hands that glowed with the green of his magic. Wanda looked surprised and Pietro looked impressed. He worked his magic restoring the room to its previous undamaged state.
“Huh, well that’s convenient. Guess that saves on time.”
“You’re a mutant to?”
“No Wanda, he’s an alien prince.”
She stared at him before she just walked back likely going to her room. The fifteen year old twins went to do their own things while Toni showed Loki to one of the guest rooms. As she showed him his room they passed Ororo who had brought the twins from Charles’s school.
“Make yourself at home, if there’s anything you need just tell JARVIS.”
After she got Loki settled she went to Wanda’s room knowing the twins would be there. They were sitting together watching TV but they turned to look at her when they heard her enter the room.
“How was school?”
“Charles says my control over my power is doing better.”
“Is it true that you and Logan are friends?”
She almost sighed. Pietro had little interest in school so of course he ignored the question to ask something else.
“And who is spreading rumors about me being friends with the wolverine?”
“Everyone knows.” Wanda answered as she turned back to her show.
“We hang out occasionally.” She answered before joining them.
“Is he still so broody when he’s with you?”
She gave Pietro an unimpressed look.
“I’m not discussing this with you. You should respect your teachers.”
“Logan isn’t a teacher.” Wanda countered.
She wondered sometimes if Wanda was smarter than she let on. Toni was pretty sure Wanda was just very perspective. Yeah Logan wasn’t a teacher that was true. But he helped out Charles and the school and had protected the students when necessary while there. He was someone respected by both students and teachers of Charles’s school.
Toni was drifting when Pietro nudged her leg reminding her to go to her own room.
“Hhm? Right, have you two eaten yet?”
Twin looks met hers and told her that no they hadn’t.
“Alright, I’ll make food then I’m hitting the sack early.”
Toni had never been good at cooking and she’d even warned both Steve and Bucky back in the day she was a terrible cook with no intention of improving. She’d only changed her mind on that when she found out she was pregnant. Five burned down kitchens later she’d become decent enough not to poison her children and continued taking lessons to improve. Before the kids she’d survived solely on take out and snacks that didn’t require preparing food.
She took into account she had an additional person to feed as she prepared food. Ororo had already headed back to the school according to JARVIS. Sometimes whoever dropped off the kids stayed for a while but today wasn’t one of those days. Toni suspected Charles and the other teachers were concerned about the alien invasion having been so close to the school.
Food was simple. Baked fish, rice, and steamed vegetables. Yawning in her tired state Toni mumbled goodnights to the twins and Loki who had arrived for food. She showered and went to bed certain she’d sleep at least twelve hours with how tired she was.
Sleep wasn’t always easy for her though. She’d dream of the lives she’d taken during her days at Hydra’s command, she’d see Bucky strapped to that chair, and now added to her nightmares was the portal and the forces beyond their world she’d seen.
She woke up and all her sleep muddled mind registered was the form standing over her. Training kicked in as she snarled and her claws pierced the body leaning over her. She pushed the body above her to the floor never removing her claws from her target. Her mind cleared enough to see her claws piercing Loki’s shoulder as she had her other hand with the extended claws ready to tear him apart.
She didn’t understand what he was doing here and it took a few moments to take in her naked state.
“What the hell? Didn’t JARVIS tell you not to come near me if I was having a nightmare?”
She pulled her claws free and inspected the wound. Normally she’d be worried but if someone claiming to be a god couldn’t handle a wound like this then clearly she made the right choice in being an atheist.
“He did mention it however you appeared to be having a nightmare and I wished to help. I was unaware you attack upon waking.”
Loki sat up touching the wounds but there wasn’t blood dripping from them so Toni guessed they were healing remarkably quickly.
“Sorry, it’s old training. I see an unknown threat so I attack.”
“My apologies then. I had sensed something was wrong and came to see what it was. Upon seeing you looking to be in pain I had attempted to help.”
Toni rubbed her eyes looking around. JARVIS knowing her well was already giving her the time, date, and temperature outside. 4am, an unholy hour to be waking up in but Toni wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep.
“What are you doing up this early anyways?”
“I have not slept yet.” He got up offering her his hand which she accepted. “I fear my experience with the chitauri has left me unwilling to sleep more than necessary.”
“So another insomniac, perfect. Well I don’t know about you but I’m starving seeing as I didn’t eat dinner. Want some breakfast?”
“If you would allow me to cook. I must repay my debt for the meal you made yesterday.”
Toni just shrugged.
“Let me get dressed. I’ll meet you in the kitchen.”
When Toni joined Loki the god was surprised by her attire. Toni was in the comfort of her own home so she dressed in a way she couldn’t in the outside world without arising suspicion. She wore a blouse and a skirt clearly the style of what she’d worn in the 40s. She hadn’t bothered putting on the special mask she normally wore to hide the fact she hadn’t aged since the 40s. She wasn’t expecting people to show up so why bother when Loki, Wanda, and Pietro already knew the truth.
“I have not seen you wear such clothing from your public appearances.”
She raised a brow.
“You know what I wear in the public? Stalkerish much?” She teased.
“Well when one plans to rule a world, learning of its defenses is preferred. You are avoiding the question though Lady Antonia.”
“Yeah I am, it’s what I use to wear. Back when my brother and I were building weapons in the war.”
“I see, so the fashion of your time. I would imagine it would not be looked upon favorably for you to wear such things where your adoring fans can see.”
“Nope, I’m the one the world loves to hate so not sure where you think I have adoring fans. But as someone in the public eye I’m expected to be wearing the height of fashion.”
“Reminds me of Asgard. Appear less than perfect and rumors will spread quickly.”
“See you understand. And Pepper wonders why I get sad only being able to dress this way at home.”
“Pepper is another of your family?”
“She’s like a sister, she runs Stark Industries.”
Loki raised a brow.
“She runs your empire?”
“Company but yeah. I never wanted to run Stark Industries. Back in the day Howard was the face and I just did inventing. When he died it went to me.”
“So you are similar to me in having no wish to rule. I had once told my brother I never wanted the throne yet he did not seem to believe me. To hold such a position is dreadfully boring and allows for little time for the things we enjoy.”
She smiled at him.
They ate breakfast in silence. Toni drinking coffee and Loki enjoying a glass of orange juice that she warned him Wanda might come after him for later. Wanda loved her juice but more than that she didn’t like people touching her things. Toni knows exactly where she got that from.
“What do you plan to do with your freedom?” She suddenly asked startling the god.
“I am uncertain. I do not know where my talents may be useful in this realm and I am very much unfamiliar with this realm as it’s been many centuries since I’ve spent any extended time here.”
“Well if you figure out anything you’d like to do let me know and I’ll see what I can do to help.”
Loki smiles thankful for the offer and says as much. Surprisingly his place in their world is found fairly quickly the next time the kids are brought back from Charles’s school. This time dropped off by Scott who stops to talk to Loki as the god had become more comfortable there at the tower. It’s after a meeting with Charles that Loki finds himself a place among the school helping the more advanced students. Loki took to helping them train as he had been raised a warrior in Asgard and had a skillset useful in helping the mutants who wanted to be heroes like the avengers.
If Marvel can fuck with Pietro's and Wanda's backstory so can I (insert evil laugh) I am the god of this Fanfic universe.
P.s don't hate me, i just didn't want to do an oc for Toni's kid. On the plus side yeah no Hydra for the twins
Chapter 6: Spider Meets Deathstrike
Fury wasn't going to let the Black Widow, former KGB agent go on her first mission alone. He didn't trust her on her own yet so he called in a favor to a certain indestructible mutant
Timeline: Before Avengers/Iron Man but after Captain America the first avenger
Fury needed to send someone with the Black Widow as she had recently joined Shield. While she had talent they could use, she use to be KGB and he didn’t trust risking his agents partnering with her. The Black Widow was deadly and got on Shield’s radar for a reason. So he called in a favor he never imagined he would have to.
Romanov was suited up and ready for her mission and Fury was smart enough to know she expected to have someone with her for her first few missions. Fury hid his satisfaction seeing the Black Widow startled by not having realized her partner had arrived.
“Agent Romanov, meet your partner for this mission Lady Deathstrike.”
Romanov spun around carefully concealing her shock at seeing the woman sitting against the wall. She wore a tactical vest, dark pants, and combat boots. The muzzle mask she wore as well as darkened goggles and the clear lack of weapons on her person was unsettling. Her chocolate brown hair was tied in a high ponytail but other than that none of her features were showing to give away who she was that she snuck up on the legendary spy/assassin from the red room.
“Deathstrike, I trust you know the mission details.” Fury said while Romanov studied the woman before her.
“You have a name other than your working title?” Romanov asked.
Deatstrike stood with all the grace of a trained killer, never so much as making a sound as she moved. Her covered gaze turned to Romanov but she said nothing.
“She doesn’t talk much; when she does it’s in Russian. I’ll see you both when the mission’s completed.”
Fury turned away leaving the two to complete the mission given to them. Romanov disliking not knowing who or what she was being partnered with tried to get answers. Deathstrike remained silent and entirely focused on their mission. Their mission ended with success and when they reported in Deathstrike remained after Agent Romanov was dismissed.
“So how’d she do Natasha?”
She finally removed her head gear and met Fury’s gaze.
“She’s good but she’s also use to being able to affect those she turns her skills on. She concealed it well but she was annoyed she couldn’t get me to talk.”
Fury nodded accepting the report.
“Outside someone trained like you she’s fine then.”
“From what I can tell yes. She’ll be a good agent with Shield.” Natasha stood before said one last thing. “Just remember Zola was given a chance in exchange for what he could be offered; now we have Hydra still existing in the shadows. I’d still keep an eye on her, the red room trained her. She could be loyal for years but there’s a chance she’ll change her alliances.”
She put her gear on again before taking her leave. No one saw her leave and still no one but Fury knew her identity.
Chapter 7: The Winter Soldier
Hydra makes their move to begin Project Insight, they didn't count on their former Asset stopping them and getting her lover back
Timeline: Captain America the winter soldier
Toni had been in the workshop only for an hour before her cell phone only for her work as Lady Deathstrike rang. She quickly picked up the phone and answered in a heavy accented Russian voice.
“Natasha, we need you in DC. Hydra is behind the hellicarriers.”
She was already on the move knowing Fury would hang up the moment he relayed the message. She grabbed her gear and called Loki at the school.
“Lady Antonia.” He greeted charming as ever.
“I’ve got an emergency call for work. I need you to watch the twins.”
Even without him speaking she knew he was concerned.
“What manner of work is this?”
She didn’t hesitate to answer.
By now he knew her story. One of the few alive that knew about her life both past and present.
“Shall I escort you to your job then?”
Even with Hydra running amok she smiled.
“Sure thing Frostbite.”
He was likely rolling his eyes on the other end of the phone before he arrived. Teleporting helped to get her to DC without anyone connecting Lady Deathstrike to Iron Man. As far as anyone would be concerned Iron Man was still in New York.
She had caught up with Fury which took a while seeing as the man had called him right before speaking with Steve and being gunned down in the super soldier’s apartment. She studied the evidence at the location of the shooter. Bucky, he was the only one Hydra would trust with a mission like this.
All she had to do was stay near Rogers. Following them ended though when she learned they were going to New Jersey but she’d placed a tracer on them for after they discovered what lie within their destination. They’d be back, the hellicarriers were in DC. In the meantime she tried to find any trace of Bucky but the problem with heavily populated areas was scents were everywhere and it was difficult to find one. Especially one of someone that disappeared often and easily. She’d been lucky to even catch Bucky’s scent back when she’d been looking for a body. Well lucky in the sense she’d discovered he was alive. Not lucky when Hydra captured her.
By the time the tracker shows they’ve returned to DC, Toni has had no luck in finding Bucky. She continues to follow Rogers who even as part of the avengers still does not contact any of them. He instead goes to Sam Wilson, a man Toni knows uses the wings she had once designed for the military. Said wings were not used by the military anymore which was probably why no one noticed when the three decided to take them for their mission. She doesn’t understand either Steve’s or Natasha’s reasoning though she shouldn’t be surprised. She’d given her evaluation for the Black Widow; Fury was the one who chose to ignore her words. Natasha would have excelled remaining with Shield; instead Fury placed her with the Avengers. Now she was taking actions she shouldn’t and ignoring possibilities she would have had she remained the spy Shield needed.
Both Steve and Natasha approached Sitwell who was Hydra’s mole. None even aware she was listening as he listed some of the targets. Still even knowing the avengers were among those targets neither even considered calling in the avengers. This was a tech problem, the hellicarriers had Stark tech on them, yet even Natasha with her understanding of technology and Toni’s capabilities didn’t mention bringing her in.
Toni didn’t let the feeling of betrayal overwhelm her, she was mission focused right now. When the three took Sitwell with them she followed having stolen a motorcycle to follow far enough behind that the Black Widow wouldn’t notice.
Only when Hydra makes an appearance along with the Winter Soldier did she interfere. She jumped from the motorcycle landing on the Hydra vehicle and punched through the windshield. She killed the driver before getting into the vehicle to deal with the other agents. With them out of the way she went to join the fight that broke out between the others.
The Winter Soldier had seen her deal with his handlers and paused when she makes her presence known. Both look at each other, their expressions hidden but she knows behind his goggles there’s nothing. If he even has a sliver of memory of her he’ll know, this is her mission and her gaze is just as empty as his.
He takes a step towards her but pauses, hesitation isn’t allowed but he does so anyways. She holds her arms as though waiting, accepting him into her arms for a hug. He recognizes this, even with all the wipes he remembers. The others seeing the odd exchange wait uncertain how to proceed. At least they’re smart enough to wait. Bucky takes another few moments before he grabs his mask and removes it. His goggles follow and a gasp can be heard from Steve. She and Bucky approach each other now, slowly as they each know the other is still a threat. Once within reach though Bucky cups her still covered face and leans down to place a kiss on her mask.
“Bucky?” Steve takes a step forward causing her to run.
Bucky won’t follow though. His enough of himself to recognize Rogers and looks at him with confusion but slight recognition. By the time he turns to look for her she’s out of sight but watching from afar.
She watches Steve try to get Bucky to remember, try to remind him he was never Hydra. Bucky accepts Steve’s offer to go with them, to stop Hydra before they can launch the hellicarriers. Seeing Maria Hill join the group and likely going to take them to Fury who faked his death, she makes her next move. Slipping past Shield and Hydra was easy, changing out a few things on the hellicarriers before they launch just as easy. She’s gone before Rogers and his team show up. Hydra’s agents try to get the hellicarriers into the air and fail. Alexander Pierce is utterly confused by this and starts barking orders to fix the problem. It’s too late though, Rogers arrives with Bucky, Natasha, Sam, and a not so dead Fury.
Toni already foresaw Steve’s plan of revealing Hydra by releasing both theirs and Shield’s secrets. Toni’s smart enough not to do such a stupid move and risk the lives of innocent agents. So she put in a safe guard when she snuck in. The files would look to be released onto the web but in reality they’d be released to JARVIS who would begin sorting out where everyone’s loyalties lie. After that she’d approach Fury regarding rebuilding Shield. Though she’d never been fond of all the secrets Fury kept, she understood. He had tried to stop the nuke the WSC sent, he understood where to draw a line but his mission had always been the world’s protection as a whole. Fury had Toni’s trust just as Peggy did. They were good people and would always stop those like Hydra.
“You’ve been busy.” Fury greeted when he walked into his safe house to see her sitting there reading a book he’d had lying around.
“I’ve been doing what I’ve always done.” She replied before she looked up.
“The files weren’t released online were they?”
“No, but JARVIS has them so you should still be worried.”
“What’s the plan then?”
She closed the book before turning her attention entirely on him.
“Rebuild Shield with only those loyal to them. Remain in the shadows to avoid another Hydra issue and let Rogers think his plan went through. I’m sure you can get a few appropriate government officials to pretend to confront Romanov on releasing those files. She’ll say they won’t arrest them because the world needs them.”
He stared at her a moment.
“You seem to know how she’ll respond to the confirmation and you don’t sound happy about it.”
“I’m not happy. You ignored my warning.”
He didn’t show his surprise but there were minor differences she could see in his expression.
“Romanov was good as an agent, you made her more. Put her in the light where the Black Widow will fail. I’m the one who knows tech yet she never mentioned bringing me in. There were avengers that were among Hydra’s targets yet she still didn’t believe they could be trusted. If those hellicarriers had gone into the air the damage and life loss would be too great. She’s compromised by how she sees Rogers just like all his adoring fans; she’s blinded by what the symbol of Captain America is. She doesn’t see that Rogers is lost in this century. Confused and still living in the past. He use to do stupid shit, broke the law to try and get into the army. Rogers isn’t perfect and he’s a lot worse than he used to be now. You should have kept her out of the avengers. Her skills at manipulating her targets is good, but we aren’t targets. She’s in a new situation and she’s still using her skills and it will only end in disaster.”
Fury finally realized he hadn’t fully processed what her earlier assessment of Romanov had meant.
“I messed up.” He admitted.
“Yes but hopefully things will work themselves out. Any word on what Rogers plans to do now that Shield’s gone and he has his old war buddy?”
Fury had the decency to look ashamed.
“I may have pointed him and the others to you.”
She raised a brow.
“Me or the other me?”
“The other you.”
She sighed but nodded.
“Guess I better be there when they arrive then.” She said slipping out of his safe house to head back to the tower as Toni Stark.
Loki answered her call and teleported her back home. None of the avengers had bothered to contact Toni since the invasion due to Loki’s presence. With the supposed fall of Shield they’d be left no choice but to seek Toni out due to her resources.
Toni of course was worried about having any of them near her children. Bucky included only due to the fact she felt guilt. They were his kids to but she couldn’t reveal that without revealing who she was.
Chapter 8: The Tower
Steve and his team make it to the tower and Thor returns
JARVIS announced that her uninvited guests had finally arrived. Toni glanced up from what she was working on. Not surprising Steve and crew arrived together. She left her workshop going to the common area to greet her guests. She had several residential floors as she occasionally had guests and liked to have rooms for them to stay in. The penthouse floor had hers, the twins, and Loki’s room. Loki and twins were gone five days a week staying at the school and were mostly there on weekends. Occasionally they’d return home if they wanted to see her or just be home. It was easier with Loki with them as he could just teleport them to the tower instead of having to drive from the school.
She could admit to herself she was nervous. Steve and Bucky were so close yet at the same time out of reach. It hurt more than she could ever say aloud. When the elevator opened she grinned.
“Well look what the cat dragged in. Haven’t seen you guys since I took in the lovely stray from Asgard.”
Steve looked a little annoyed by her words, Bucky seemed confused and had a flash of recognition though she was almost certain he wouldn’t connect her to who she use to be, Sam looked surprised, and Romanov was carefully keeping her expression neutral.
“Toni, Shield has fallen. We need a place that’s safe and can recover.” He looked to Bucky. “This is my friend Bucky from the 40s.”
Toni looked Bucky over.
“Well if you’re bringing handsome guests like this sure why not, how could I possibly say no? So Shield’s fallen then? Did they not have life alert?” Steve looked confused while Toni decided to continue. “Seriously Capsicle at your age I’d thought you’d know about them. Haven’t seen the commercials? Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up?”
Sam can’t help the laugh that gets past his tightly closed lips. He clearly doesn’t want to upset Steve but honestly it’s funny. Steve gives him a disappointed look.
“Toni this isn’t a joke. Shield was Hydra.”
Toni waved off his words.
“Alright, seems like something the avengers would have been called in for but glad you handled it Cap. There are some rooms you can use, how long you guys think you’ll be staying?”
Natasha raises a brow.
“We just told you Shield’s gone. Everything exposed including our homes. We have nowhere else to go.”
Toni had already known what Natasha and the others planned. Like this she looks like the bad guy if she refuses them. They were trying to back her into a corner. They have nowhere else so she’s their only option. She’s just supposed to support them or else look like she’s unreasonable. It’s not like it’ll hurt her bank account to give them room and board.
“Well you can use the rooms for as long as you need. Just don’t bother the other floors. The tower houses part of my company as well. JARVIS will direct you to where the guest rooms are.”
“If you will step into the elevator, I shall take you to the guest floor.” The AI spoke startling the group.
They follow the AI’s instructions leaving Toni to relax slightly. She turns away from the elevator and gets herself some coffee. She’s slightly tired from dealing with them and having heard proof she was nothing but a resource to them…to Steve. It’s more of a realization that her Stevie is gone. He died in the ice and that symbol walked out of it wearing his face.
She was still sipping her coffee when a gentle hand was placed on her shoulder. She turned knowing she would see Loki but the hand on her shoulder was warm and the scent told her the god of mischief had arrived with his brother.
“You seem troubled my friend.” Thor said.
She hadn’t expected Thor to be capable of such gentleness. She supposed from her experience being knocked around by his hammer it’s why she thought that. She offered him her trademark Stark smirk.
“Just thinking big guy, so you’ve returned to us lowly mortals. Here to stay?”
“I have returned, my father was not happy with my decision but after much thought he realized as a future king I had made the correct choice. Imprisonment even if Loki was guilty of other crimes, would only drive him to madness. Here he may heal and learn much as I did in my banishment.”
“Well at least your dad didn’t punish you. So Point Blank, you going to see your lady love? Heard you’d hooked up with a mortal when you were here.”
Thor smiled sadly.
“I fear the Lady Jane and I were not destined to be. I had visited her before coming here but she was quite displeased with me not visiting when I came to retrieve the tesseract. She did not understand my priority was my king’s orders and the protection of the nine realms.”
“No offense big guy but it sounds like she saw someone exotic and just had a crush. Seriously, you tell her you’re a prince and she doesn’t think your duties come first. I’m sure you’ll find the right one for you.” She patted Thor’s arm offering a reassuring smile.
His smile brightened a bit.
“Thank you Lady Toni.”
She had to admit he had a nice smile.
“I guess you’ll be needing a place to stay to then?”
“I would not wish to intrude in your home Lady Toni.”
She waved off his concern.
“Don’t worry about it. I have plenty of guest rooms but I’m not sure you’d want to be near Cap and his crew.”
Loki raised a brow.
“They are staying here as well? I had thought they would not wish to be near me.”
Toni gave him a look.
“Well as it turns out they decided to take down Shield as it had a Nazi infestation. So their homes and all that are gone. They didn’t have any other choice but to come here so basically now that they need a resource to use, they came here. Bucky I can forgive; he’s still confused and recovering from what Hydra did to him and doesn’t know mine and the avengers’ history.”
Loki’s eyes widened as he knew about Bucky.
“I see, are you alright?”
She knew what he was really asking about but as Thor didn’t he didn’t say it exactly.
“Being used like a resource and just expected to comply? No, I’m not alright but at the same time I’m not going to leave them out on the street.”
“It appears I’ve missed much in my absence. If our shield brothers are causing such problems I would not wish to be near them.”
“I can put you on the floor beneath ours then. Right now there’s only one other person there.”
“Thank you Lady Toni, I shall attempt to not interfere with your work or your guests.”
“It’s fine Thor, you’ll have free access to everything any of my welcome guests do. There’s a gym, indoor pool, and a bunch of fun stuff. Need anything my AI JARVIS can help you. Don’t worry about bothering me; I don’t mind guests in my workshop.” She turned her attention to Loki. “Surprised you’re home. Something happen with work?”
“When I discovered Thor had returned I took some time off. I assumed while Thor had been here a few days during his banishment, he is not yet familiar with this world. As the smarter of the two of us I have taken it upon myself to show him how this realm works.”
“Good call, need any help let me know.”
Loki raised a brow.
“I have a horrible suspicion that you would be a poor influence on my brother. Tell me, what would be the first thing you’d show him?”
Toni smiled sweetly and with all the false innocence she could muster.
“How to order takeout.”
Loki barely suppressed a chuckle.
“My brother is a poor cook; at least you guessed that correctly. Though if he were to eat takeout constantly I can promise you he’d begin to look more like Volstagg.”
“Big guy I’m assuming?”
“Well wouldn’t want that to happen. Plus I need more regular breaks for food, I could cook when necessary.”
“I can learn to prepare my own meals.” Thor protested.
Loki gave Toni a knowing look.
“Let me guess, would end as badly as when I tried to cook before the twins?”
“Perhaps worse.” Loki said with a smirk.
“Then no, Thor I’ll cook.”
Thor grumbled but accepted. No doubt more upset both Loki and Toni were ganging up on him than being told no. Toni laughs at seeing the god looking like an upset child and Loki just smirks. The two work to show him how everything in the tower works as well as how to communicate with them if he went out.
Of course giving Thor a cellphone and seeing how it doesn’t survive long she realizes she needs to improve the design. It could be a special design for the superhuman community. She knew Colossus had been having issues keeping a phone due to being stronger than most. She begins to design a near indestructible phone on her tablet while Loki showed Thor some of the movies he’d found to be enjoyable and that Thor might like. While the two brothers were very different they had both been raised in Asgard. Tales were generally not told unless they were of battle or of past quests. So both Loki and Thor could sit and enjoy those types of movies together.
Hearing a sound she was familiar with from the show Doctor Who Toni looked over at the god of mischief. Loki at least remembered to control his strength as he answered his phone. She’d have to ask him later why he chose that as his ringtone because apparently someone was a secret Whovian and had been denying her TV marathons.
“Loki speaking.” He answered when he picked up. “Ah, yes my apologies. I fear I got distracted with my brother. I shall be there in a moment to collect you both.”
Thor looked at his brother looking confused.
“Brother, who is the boy that calls you uncle?”
Toni had turned back to her tablet but now looked up again with a questioning stare.
Loki looked a bit embarrassed.
“I did not mention it but the twins have taken to calling me Uncle Loki. If this bothers you I can ask them to stop.”
Toni considered it a moment before she smiled.
“No it’s fine, without their father in the picture and you the only real male role model in their life it’s nice. Hope you don’t mind being an honorary Stark because we grow on you like mold, there’s just no getting rid of us.”
Loki smiled fondly before he kissed the top of her head.
“I am quite alright with that. If I am the uncle in the family that makes you my sister. I hope you’re prepared to have a god as a sibling, there’s no getting rid of me either.”
Before she could respond he vanished to pick up the twins. It wasn’t even the end of the week which meant the two were homesick. That or the little tricksters knew Thor was there and wanted to be their usual nosy selves. Toni’s money was on them being nosy.
“I can see you have been very kind to my brother. It is a true honor to be considered family through a bond. May I ask why your children’s father is not present?”
Toni wished the couch would just swallow her and take her far away from this conversation.
“He’d be here if he could…but he can’t.”
“I see...my apologies. My brother has always been good with children.”
Toni had seen that as he interacted with the twins. He’d been able to help Wanda with her power maybe even more than Charles had. Loki had said her abilities were a lot like magic and had been able to give advice on how to control and use her abilities. Loki had also been training Pietro beyond what he did at the school. It wasn’t until Toni had seen Pietro smile more with a male role model around that she realized how much not having a father had been affecting him.
“So I kept moving his things and it took him a while to figure out it was me.” Pietro said as they appeared in the tower.
“Playing pranks on your professors again?” Toni asked already having to suppress a smile.
“It was only a small prank on Beast.”
“Awe but I like Hank, why do you prank him?” Toni half whined.
“It’s because he’s the only one who never gets angry with Pietro for his pranks.” Wanda answered before turning her gaze to Thor.
“Greetings, you must be Lady Toni’s children. I am Loki’s brother Thor.”
Thor of course greeted people with hugs so he scooped both twins into his arms and off the floor. Toni was pretty sure a squeak came out of one or both of them making her burst out laughing.
“Thor buddy, down boy. I’m pretty sure you’re about to squeeze their souls out.”
Thor put them both down looking apologetic for crushing them. Both were fine though.
“Now, do you two have homework? Don’t try lying to me again; god of lies will see it.” She leveled them with a look that told them not to bs her.
“Finished it already.” Pietro answered looking proud because he often attempted to get out of schoolwork.
“I have also completed my work. Who are the other guests here?” Wanda asked likely having sensed the others. Turned out even without the red of her power showing she could sense things.
“Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, Natasha Romanov, and Sam Wilson. Also you already know Remy is staying here for a few days.”
Remy was the one staying on Thor’s floor. The man often stayed if he was passing through or needed a safe place to lay low for a while. She wouldn’t say she and him were friends but they trusted each other enough to call upon one another when needed.
“Wait Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes like from the Captain America comics?” Pietro asked having been a fan.
Toni tensed only slightly but she covered it fairly quickly.
“Yeah, Rogers and Romanov are part of the avengers. Barnes is recovering from something so he might not want guests. Wilson is a friend of theirs.”
Pietro was already looking ready to rush to meet them as they were his heroes.
“You want to meet them don’t you?”
He nodded so fast she knew it was a losing battle.
“Alright. Just…don’t let your hero worship get the best of you. Put them up on a pedestal and you forget underneath their title they’re still human.” She said ruffling his hair before leading him to where the Steve and the others were.
Wanda joined them likely to see why Pietro fanboyed over the old war heroes. The others were relaxing on the floor she’d given them. Steve was drawing, Natasha sharpening some blades, and Sam was showing Bucky some things of the new century.
They looked up when they heard the three arrive. Toni looked at Pietro and saw the poor kid looked about ready to faint.
“Please don’t faint Pietro.”
The boy looked up at her with wide eyes.
“It’s really Captain America and Sargent Bucky Barnes.” He said with all the awe a fanboy could have.
“Yes Pietro it’s really them. Do you want to say hi or am I going to carry you out when you pass out?”
Pietro looked back and waved at the heroes. Then proceeded to faint.
“Is he alright?” Steve asked concerned.
“Yeah, he’s a fan of the old comics so he wanted to meet his heroes.”
She picked up Pietro with ease.
“Toni just because a fan bugs you to meet us doesn’t mean you can just bring anyone here. What if he was a spy?”
Toni glared unable to stop herself. Thankfully Wanda was never one to shy away.
“Mother, why are such rude guests staying in our home? She has no respect for you…she even feels as though she’s entitled to what you can offer.” Wanda said a slight red light within her eyes showing she had used her abilities to get a better insight to the group.
Toni placed a hand on Wanda’s head causing the red to fade.
“I’m just helping them until they get on their feet. They lost their homes recently. Why don’t you take your brother upstairs and talk Uncle Loki into pranking Thor. I bet the three of you could pull something awesome.”
Wanda nodded using her power to lift Pietro and walked out. Once she was gone Toni turned an icy glare on Natasha.
“Don’t ever talk down to me in front of my kids. This is your only warning before I put you out on your ass regardless if you have another place to go.”
She turned and left not bothering to listen to anything they said. She took a few minutes to calm her anger before she went to find her kids. No surprise found Thor dogpiled under a mountain of Loki clones, Pietro, and Wanda.
“Mom join us, we’re winning the war against Thor.” Pietro called even though Thor was already breaking free.
“Nope I think I’ll just stay here rooting for the underdog. Go Thor, you totally got this.
It was almost cute how betrayed the three looked while Thor emerged victorious. Thor in his excitement picked up Toni and spun her around as he celebrated winning the battle.
“Thor buddy, going to puke if you keep spinning me.” She said feeling a bit dizzy from it.
“Apologies Lady Toni. I have come out victorious as you believed I would. We must celebrate.” His voice boomed and who was she to say no when he sounded so happy.
“Alright sure, what do you guys want to do since apparently we’re celebrating?”
“I vote we throw a party. Invite our friends.” Pietro offered which was an idea Toni could totally get behind.
“Sure party tonight, let’s say six? I’ll have food brought in but who are you all inviting?”
The fact that all four of them grinned meant Toni might not like who was going to be invited. Either way she was going to have to arrange for a lot of food. She was already making calls to have food brought in when she saw the twins typing away at their phones sending out invitations. Seeing Thor disappear via bi-frost Toni realized her guests may not be all human and she’d already seen how much the two gods ate. She sighed; well this was going to either go fine or terribly.
Things she decided when the party had begun were going terribly. Thor’s friends, the warriors three and Sif didn’t realize they should be careful of their strength. They’d broken several things already. Loki apparently got a kick out of inviting those who were once his enemies or he tried to kill so he had invited Fury, a not so dead Phil, and for some reason Clint and Bruce. All four of course had showed up.
From the school had come Ororo, Scott, Jean, Kurt, Logan, Charles, and seveal others that Toni wasn’t familiar with. Charles was supervising the students, Logan was trying to just enjoy himself drinking but it seemed Loki was determined to try and get the Wolverine to fight the thunder god; the kids were all over the place and driving her up a wall. Since when were kids so hyper? Of course Kurt nearly scared her half to death popping up without warning and she was almost certain she’d been about to stab him a few times. This was not a sane environment for a former assassin. She could only imagine what a newly freed winter soldier would do with chaos like this.
She decided to sit down away from the group hoping to ease some of the tension in her body. She was wound tight waiting for an attack she knew wasn’t going to come but years of training said otherwise. She had to be ready. She could easily hide how uneasy she was but she didn’t like to be the persona that she played to the public when she was around her children or those of the x-men.
Where she ended up sitting with a beer was near Logan. His own beer was almost empty so she sat down and handed the second one she held out to him. Luckily it seemed Loki had given up on pissing off Logan. Honestly she couldn’t deny she was curious who would win between Logan and Thor in a fight. Still she’d rather not have a fight break out in her home.
Logan’s presence was enough to keep others away and finally she felt herself relaxing. She was still ready for an attack and she’d be a fool not to be on guard around the Wolverine. It was just easier not being in the middle of the chaos that was teenaged mutants and the overgrown children that were the brother gods.
She couldn’t help but smile when she saw the mutants test the gods’ strength by making both pick up as many of them as they could. Loki nearly fell over when Kurt teleported on him as he held both Scott and Jean easily. The god quickly corrected his stance and easily held the added weight.
“He really doesn’t seem like the Loki we faced during New York.”
She looked up happy to see Bruce. She had been hoping the shy doctor would stay to do science with her. He was holding a cup with tea in it and for the life of her she couldn’t remember where she had even had tea in the house.
“New York wasn’t him.” She said taking a sip of her beer.
“You seem certain.”
She gave him a look that had the doctor shrugging.
“So I heard what happened with Shield. Didn’t see that coming.” Bruce said continuing to make conversation and Toni got an inkling that he wanted something.
“Come on Brucie Bear, if you want something just let me know. You know you and Jolly Green are my favorite.” She said giving him a playful and slightly flirty wink.
Bruce blushed slightly.
“Didn’t mean to approach you to only ask for something. I guess I was hoping for a chance to get to know you and the real Loki? I feel kind of bad about Hulk putting him through the floor.”
“Brucie you can stay to. Might as well have all the avengers in one place.” She said with a shrug.
“Hey Stark, I heard those two were your kids. Is that true?” Clint asked taking a seat near her.
“You mean the twins? Yeah, why?”
Clint looked at them and couldn’t help the smile that only someone who was a parent could have.
“Sorry, didn’t know anyone else from the team was hiding a family. You keeping them out of the public eye so they don’t get hounded?”
“It’s for their safety to. So Legolas has a family to? Got to admit, you seem like the type to have a family.”
Clint looked surprised.
“So if you want to move in I’ve got the space. Plus the others are already here and it might be good to have the team in the same place.”
“Wait, I get to live with superheroes and a billionaire? Fuck yeah I want to move in.”
Clint decided to run off to brag to Fury about getting to live with a billionaire. Toni just laughed before turning her attention to her guests. Somehow they were causing even more chaos than before. She heard a crash and sighed knowing it was likely the gods again.
Toni and Thor bond and Loki takes the family for an off world trip
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Somehow Toni’s tower had become known as the Avengers Tower when the media got word of the team living there. Toni hated it a little but she did nothing about it. She simply focused on what she was doing and tried not to let the name bother her.
She had just watched Loki and the twins leave for school when she felt a familiar presence near her. She turned acting as though she’d simply turned around by chance. She jumped startled when she saw Bucky standing in the corner.
“I have a heart condition you know.” She said just like she said to everyone else even though it wasn’t true.
“I remembered something.”
She stared at him a moment.
“Good for you? Do you want a cookie? I mean I can give you one but I think maybe this is something more up Steve’s alley than mi-”
“I killed your parents.”
She froze thinking of Howard and his wife. Her brother gone from the world to soon and while she’d known for a long time that she would outlive him, his death had hit her hard. She gripped the counter wanting so badly to tear someone apart but she knew Hydra had killed her family. Bucky had no part of that, just the weapon used for the hit.
“Go back to the floor you’re supposed to be on.” She said trying and failing to keep her voice even.
Bucky left seeming slightly confused by the response. He had likely thought she would attack him. She’d known the truth behind Howard’s death since it happened. It was just so painful to hear about it again. She didn’t think she’d ever be done grieving her brother.
That was how Thor found her. Still gripping the counter and in her current state her claws had extended and had pierced the countertop.
She looked up startled and pulled her claws free to quickly hide them. Thor had clearly seen them but he said nothing about them.
“You appear on edge, perhaps some time away from work will help you relax.”
She sighed but nodded. It might help to be away from the tower where Bucky was. He didn’t deserve her anger but she had no idea if she might direct towards him.
“Want to go with me? You haven’t seen much of this world right?”
Thor brightened hearing the invitation.
“Aye, I would appreciate seeing more of this realm.”
She pointed to his armor that he was still wearing.
“Might want to change big guy.”
Thor changed into clothes that JARVIS had likely bought for him. She waited for him to be ready before they headed out together. Toni wasn’t sure what Thor would like but she figured food was the best option. Let the god try different kinds of food their world had to offer; maybe even see some of the sights.
They ended up at a Japanese restaurant first. She told Thor her plan for the day which he eagerly agreed with. The god ate more than a normal human and had made a comment earlier about how different the food was compared to Asgard. She couldn’t help but have him try sake while they were at the restaurant. She added it to the list of things they could do together. Thor had tried beer and loved his mead from Asgard but he hadn’t tried much else in the way of alcohol. Thor drank the Japanese alcohol but didn’t like it much. At least he tried it; some people weren’t willing to try new things. Wanda was one of these people.
They saw some sights before they sat and relaxed in the park where Thor was downing three hot dogs looking oddly happy with the day’s activities so far. Toni ended up taking a picture seeing the god grin happily towards the camera. When they ended up at Toni’s favorite Italian restaurant Thor had stopped her from taking his picture and asked the waitress to take one of them together. Toni had been surprised as Thor pulled her close and the picture was taken.
Toni accepted her phone back and stared at the picture of her and Thor. It reminded her of the days during the war. A picture taken to remember the heroes and minds behind the turning of the tide of war. Two Starks standing with the Howling Commandos. Her and Howard closer to Steve and Bucky than the others with no one knowing the true reason for it.
Toni was smiling as she slipped her phone back into her pocket. After the restaurant they had gone to a bar. Toni insisted they try drinks together. She was known for her scotch but she was always willing to try whatever was unique to the bar she went to.
Thor didn’t like sweet drinks but there were a few mixed drinks he was alright with. Toni had tricked him into trying a Bloody Mary, Thor was not happy with that but he smiled seeing her laugh at the trick. Loki would often prank him so he couldn’t be angry with such a harmless prank like that. She of course took a picture of his face.
“Lady Toni, I have not had so much fun in many years. I thank you for allowing me to see such wondrous sights of this world.” Thor’s voice boomed as the god was slightly tipsy.
“Glad you enjoyed yourself big guy. Want me to take you to your room? You’re looking a little unsteady there.”
Thor made a face showing he clearly did not approve of the idea.
“Nay, I am a gentleman so I shall escort you to your bedchambers before I rest for the night. One must always protect fair maidens such as yourself.”
“Whatever you say, you’re one of the good ones.”
Thor frowned slightly.
“Do most not care for the maidens of this realm? Have mortals been raised without manners?”
“Most fellas nowadays don’t escort a dame without wanting something.” She said before she could catch herself realizing she’d relaxed enough around Thor that she slipped back into old habits.
Thor was to troubled hearing this to focus on her choice of words as they arrived at her floor.
“Then they are not worth your time Lady Toni or that of anyone else. I thank you for a fine evening.” He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it before leaving without pushing for anything and simply doing as he said he would.
Toni was reminded of better times. Days when men were more often than not gentlemen. Not like now where men sought after women as something to use for their own pleasure. Toni sighed; honestly she’d been missing that feeling of being wanted. The last time she’d been intimate with anyone had been with Bucky.
She ended up going to sleep at a normal time which was nearly unheard of and woke up to two teens jumping on her bed. She grumbled in annoyance before she opened an eye open to see she had more guests than she originally thought. Loki and Thor stood there to. She lifted her head to sleepy to think about the fact that she didn’t have her usual disguise on.
“Wha?” She mumbled trying to understand why she had a wake up party coming to get her.
“Mom, Uncle Loki said he’s treating us to breakfast before school. Get up, get up.” Pietro said shaking her.
Wanda just used her power to take blanket off of Toni and the bed. Toni glared at her half-heartedly as she got up. She hadn’t been expecting guests so she was only wearing a sleeveless shirt that didn’t cover her panties and did little to hide her braless chest.
“I’ll get ready, just go. No more waking me up like this. I’m not decent enough to be seen by houseguests or my children.”
“Lady Antonia, I’m treating everyone to breakfast off world. Perhaps dress however you feel comfortable.”
She glanced at Loki seeing both gods were carefully looking away to give her privacy. She had a feeling the twins talked them into coming up to her room. She waved them out of her room before she went to get ready. When she came out it looked like she’d stepped right out of the forties.
Loki smiled seeing her dressed comfortably and Pietro and Wanda made comments about how she looked like she was in the wrong time period. The realm that Loki took them to was the sister realm of Asgard. Loki had an estate there and had told the servants they were coming. Breakfast was laid out on the table and while it looked alright Toni was a little worried if the food was safe for humans. Nothing yet had been able to poison her but her twins didn’t have a healing factor.
“It’s alright; I made certain everything would be alright to eat for you and your family.”
Pietro of course had already sped over to the table and was eating. Either the thought hadn’t occurred to him, or the young mutant had placed his trust in Loki. Thor pulled the chair out for Toni and Loki had done so for Wanda. Toni wondered if all gods from Asgard were like this. She really didn’t understand how neither was married yet.
“This is delicious. Better than even some five star restaurant food I’ve had.”
“I shall let the cooks know they have done an excellent job. As this is a realm you have never seen before, would you like to remain while I’m away at work? It is not as advanced as Asgard but my home does possess quite a bit of knowledge from several realms.”
“You’d let me stay and have a mini vacation?” Toni asked surprised.
“You have welcomed me into your home so it is only fair I welcome you into mine. This was once our mother’s so Thor has missed it as well. If you have any questions you could ask him. I would pick you up at the end of the day.”
“That sounds perfect. Thanks Loki.”
Loki took the twins as he teleported to the school leaving Toni to explore.
“Lady Toni, if I may ask about your appearance? My brother has mentioned I’m often careless in my speech but I fear my curiosity has outweighed the chance I may offend you with the question.”
“It’s fine Thor. Tell you what, I’ll explain while you give me a tour since you know this place.”
Thor was happy to lead her through the estate that looked like a massive castle fit for a very different time period. Apparently Frigga had been royalty even before she married Odin so the estate/castle had been one of her properties she’d given to her son.
“So I wasn’t always known as Antonia Elizabeth Stark.”
“You have changed your name then.”
“Yeah, I use to be Natasha Stark…Howard Stark’s sister.”
Thor frowned slightly in confusion.
“Is Howard Stark not known as your father?”
“He is. He and his wife offered to set me up with a new identity. Not sure if you realize but it’s not normal for humans to live as long as I have, especially without aging. I’ve looked this way for nearly a hundred years. I’m unlikely to start aging again anytime soon.”
“Your comrades do not know of your true identity?”
She shook her head with a sigh.
“Bucky and Steve knew me when I was Natasha. Right now Bucky’s recovering and Steve’s proven to have changed from when I knew him.” She shrugged like it didn’t matter. “Either way my lovers from the 40s are gone one way or the other.”
“How is it you’ve remained the way you are? I understand that the captain was encased in ice and I know little of the son of Barnes to know how he too has remained as he is.”
“I was born a mutant that has a healing factor that prevents me from aging normally.”
“I see, and it seems my brother knows of the truth as well. I am glad you entrusted me with this secret my friend. It must be difficult living among mortals with a seemingly immortal life.”
“It sucks yeah but I had made peace with it a long time ago. No use crying over outliving all my friends and family.”
She didn’t cry, those kinds of emotions had been beaten out of her a long time ago. It took a lot to break her programming.
“I would think one would still cry for the loss of those they cherish. Perhaps there is another reason you do not mourn those you have lost?”
She stared at him seeing the look in his eyes, as though he knew.
“You know I forget you and Loki are thousands of years old. You’re pretty observant it seems. Yeah I’ve got my reasons that I don’t cry over it. That’s a story for another time though.”
Thor accepted that as the tour continued. Loki had a collection of art from across the realms, a weapons room that was filled with some of his own design or weapons Thor had taken from fallen enemies. Though the home belonged to Loki, Thor had added some things partly as an excuse to see his brother when he stayed there. The library was where Toni had stopped the tour. Even though she was tech girl she could read books if it meant learning more about the universe beyond her world.
“You know how these are organized big guy?”
“I am uncertain. Is there something that you wish to read about? I can help you look for it.”
“I’m pretty interested in technology from other worlds. But anything that you think might be interesting works to.”
Thor helped her search but the books were in various languages she couldn’t read. Thor had handed her a circular glass with a bluish tint. Confused Thor had told her to put it over a book. She did so and saw right before her eyes the words translate so she could read them.
“Holy shit this is awesome.”
Thor smiled as he placed a pile of books next to the table she was at.
“It is similar to the magic that gives those of Asgard All-speak. Though I must warn you not all things translate properly.”
“That makes sense, not everything has a translation. But this does give me an opportunity that might be interesting.” She said grinning.
“What opportunity would that be?” Thor asked curious as he sat down to join her.
“Well if I study enough of these both with the All-speak glass and without I might be able to learn these languages.”
Thor looked a little confused.
“I do not understand, why would you wish to learn a language you may never use?”
She gave him a serious look but she supposed with him always having All-speak it wouldn’t make sense to him.
“Well let’s say whatever race speaks this,” she said pointing to one of the books. “decided to come visit the planet. We don’t know why they’ve come to our world, then we have a misunderstanding because humans’ first thought after the New York incident is that they’re invading, and next thing we know we have a war on our hands and another enemy that could have potentially been an ally. Besides, I’d enjoy learning another language. Add it to my already impressive resume and list of skills and languages.”
“I was unaware you know more than just the language you speak Lady Toni…would you prefer I call you Toni or Natasha? I fear I did not ask this before when you explained.”
“Well if we’re someplace there’s no risk of anyone else overhearing Natasha is fine. Otherwise Toni please. Also I speak plenty of languages. I have a company that extends to all corners of the world. It looks better if I approach potential partners or buyers in their own language. Imagine if you didn’t have your All-speak and I was a guest in your home looking to be allies. How do you think you’d respond of instead of me expecting you to speak my language, I greeted you in your own. Fluent fully in whatever your native language is so that I could have any conversation with you.”
Thor did consider that.
“I believe I would value you as a guest more than others. Though I doubt that would be my first thought if you spoke in my native language.”
“Well you guys are based in Norse mythology, is your native language Old Norse? Or something else?”
“It is indeed what your people call Old Norse.”
“Oh ok that I can do. I kind of figured that; let me see if I got this right.”
She repeated a bit of what she’d been learning. The reaction wasn’t what she was expecting but she understood now what he’d been talking about what his first thought would be. He looked turned on and if the small possessive growl he gave was anything to by, he clearly liked it.
“Um…well I can see I at least got your language right.”
Thor nodded his gaze locked onto her.
“Indeed, it is quite appealing to hear you speak in my native tongue.”
She could see that it had been appealing to him. She slowly turned back to the books in front of her though uncertain how to respond to his…reaction. Thor was hot, there was no denying that. She just hadn’t been with anyone since Steve and Bucky. They were alive, there’d been no official breakup, hell she had Bucky’s kids. Still something in her brain told her it would be really fucked up to move on even though both thought she was dead.
The hours went by in a blur of her reading whatever Thor set down for her. She hadn’t realized it was time for lunch until a plate was set down beside her. Looking she saw Thor who almost looked fondly down at her. She just ate the food offered and thanked the god before going back to her reading.
When she was finally pulled from her reading it was because Loki was there to pick them up. She pouted slightly but helped Thor put everything back in its place. Loki looked at a few of her choices surprised they weren’t all about technology. Thor had picked a few regarding cultures and laws among other realms. Toni had actually found those interesting.
“Perhaps another time when you require a break from your busy schedule I may bring you here.” Loki said mostly talking out loud to himself.
“If you wouldn’t mind that would be awesome. I mean I totally owe you for this Reindeer Games. If there’s ever anywhere you want to go in Midgard let me know. I’ll have a jet waiting with your name on it.”
Loki smiled with his eyes alight with mischief.
“I shall keep you to your promise Lady Antonia.”
Toni made a mental note to paint one of her private jets with Loki’s name. Maybe she’d call it AirLoki. Yeah she was already making plans for that as they arrived back in the tower. Luckily Loki was a godsend with the kids as the twins were actually doing their homework. Wanda was grumbling about doing homework and Pietro was looking at his sisters answers which resulted several times in him being flung away by the red mist of her power. Either way it was more than Toni could get the kids to do.
She was beginning to suspect Loki was winning their love so he could steal them for himself. As though reading her thoughts Wanda looked up with that small smug smile like she knew. Toni narrowed her eyes slightly suspicious of her daughter. Well, at least when Loki took them and became villains together they’d be the most amazing team ever. Toni might just turn into a villain to remain on their side.
“You’re thinking about something mischievous Lady Antonia.” Loki whispered to her.
“Just wondering if you’re winning their love to take over the world together. I could see it happening.” She grinned at him causing the god to roll his eyes.
“As though I would turn them onto a path of villainy. Surely there is a more likely chance of you building an AI bent on humanity’s extinction.”
“Hey JARVIS could rule the world and we would all willingly bow to our new awesome robotic overlord.”
“Surely not ma’am, I’d much rather be the glorified babysitter I have been since my creation.” JARVIS sassed as only someone raised by Toni Stark could.
Toni just shrugged and accepted her creations and family were out to get her.
Next chapter the one you've all been waiting for. Avengers learn Toni's secret. Will post in a few days ;)
Secrets are revealed and an old enemy makes an appearance
Toni should have realized nothing lasted forever; no secrets could be kept no matter how well guarded. They had gone after the scepter discovering that it had ended up with Hydra shortly after the battle of New York. They could be doing nothing good with the powerful magical artifact in their control.
Loki and Bucky had joined them for the mission as this was Hydra and they had no idea what to expect with the Nazi cult having the scepter. Toni had gotten the closest to the base first which meant she ended up facing the big guns first. It seemed like something she should have remembered. There had been a dangerous criminal Shield had dealt with, the Abomination. Toni had been told by Fury that the WSC had originally wanted the Abomination for the avengers. Fury had told them no and working together they’d made certain the Abomination had remained locked up. Seemed Hydra had tracked down the sorry excuse for a Hulk copy.
Toni found herself slammed into the ground with her suit barely keeping up with the impact. Before she could recover a massive green hand picked her up.
“Someone want to tell Hulk his old buddy…apparently doesn’t like me.” She said through the coms uncertain if anyone was even remotely close enough to see what was happening.
Toni had seen the footage of the fight; she knew the Abomination wasn’t like Hulk. Hulk got stronger as he got angry, the abomination while seeming to have more control and aware of his actions lacked this ability.
“Pathetic little hero. You know they’ll all abandon you. Throw you aside the moment you don’t have any use.” He mocked as he broke apart the armor protecting her.
She’d tried to struggle but he tightened his grip forcing her to stop. Her bones were coated in a nearly unbreakable metal; the Abomination wasn’t strong enough to crush her. Hell even Hulk likely would be unable to until he got angry enough. Still it hurt, her organs weren’t as indestructible and while she could heal she didn’t need the pain. She needed a plan and of course it came with the same thing that always happened with those who tried to kill her. They underestimated her because they all believed her to be the spoiled little princess of the Stark family. Even when she’d been Natasha Stark she hadn’t been spoiled. She’d climbed her way to the top right at her brother’s side. Even when the world thought women had no place standing as equals in man’s world. Sure most men were actual gentlemen back in the day but that was very different than seeing women as equals.
The Abomination held her by her leg upside-down trying to toy with her assuming her helpless without her suit. So far no one was close enough to see so she let loose. Claws came out and before he could react she pierced the skin of his wrist. He cried out and with the com in her ear having survived the armor being removed Steve was demanding an update. Clearly he’d assumed she was joking before with Hulk’s buddy. She was going to kick Steve’s ass later for that. The Abomination attempted to grab her but if there was anything she could take from Hydra’s training it was they taught her to be fast and effective. She jumped from his arm and lashed out allowing her claws to sink into his skull. She lost herself in old training, attacked swiftly and effectively to take down her target. At some point the mask she wore hiding her true identity was damaged and she’d ripped off the thin sheet that blended into her face hiding the fact she hadn’t aged since the 40s. By the time she came to and out of her old training’s haze she was standing in the middle of the base with someone calling her name.
She turned to see the team there. Recognition on Steve’s face, a knowing look on Bucky’s, and Loki and Thor were trying to reach her. Bodies surrounded her, blood coating her claws as she stood in the middle of the massacre. She didn’t need to ask to know she’d killed the Abomination. There was no way she would have left him alive. She retracted her claws and swayed a bit on her feet. It had been so long since she lost control. She didn’t even see the gods move, just collapsed into Thor’s waiting arms. She didn’t like to kill and she hated calling on old training.
She woke to warmth and yelling. A combination that had her comfortable but irritated. She opened her eyes to see she was on the common room floor of her tower. A level Steve and his groupies shouldn’t be on. She groaned as she sat up realizing she was held protectively in Thor’s embrace. Steve was doing the yelling it seemed and Loki was working to keep the good captain away from her.
“Let me check on her, I know her.”
“She does not need you yelling as she recovers from the fight.” Loki snarled at Steve.
The others were wisely staying out of the fight.
“Thor buddy, love the cuddle time but I think now isn’t the time for it.” She sassed because that’s what she did.
“Lady Toni are you feeling better?”
“Her name is Natasha, not Toni.” Steve protested making all the memories of their strike on the Hydra base come rushing back…shit.
Toni got up and ran a hand down her face. Thank god someone had wiped the blood off of them.
“Steve shut up please.”
Steve looked at her with those puppy dog eyes.
“Don’t.” She snapped unable to look at him. “I stopped being your sweetheart when my Stevie died.”
Steve looked crushed at the words while Toni walked away needing food after that mission. She was starving and thirsty and just plain old annoyed.
“Toni, say it with me Cap T-O-N-I.”
He looked even worse than before.
“Toni…why didn’t you tell me? Tell us?” He motioned to Bucky who looked like he fully understood her reasons.
She did look at Bucky though.
“Do you remember me?”
“You didn’t react like I was expecting because you know I didn’t have a choice.”
She sighed hiding the pain in her expression.
“You killed my brother but I understand what Hydra’s brain washing does. At least this time maybe they won’t recapture us. We’ve got the avengers and gods at our side.” She offered a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. They’d done this song and dance before, teammates might not change much.
Toni crushed the cup she’d been holding when she heard Bucky’s question.
“Before you told me to escape…yeah we slept together. They’re yours…ours.”
Bucky looked ready to faint.
“We have kids?”
“Yep, they inherited the x-gene from me and are badasses just like you. Plus they’re loyal to a fault which I totally blame you for as well. Shame on you Bucky Barnes for being a good friend.” She moved her hand like she was scolding him which had him smiling.
“You haven’t changed much Natasha.” He said before he could catch himself.
“I’ve changed with the times Bucky. My personality not so much.” She shrugged.
Natasha had been oddly silent but she finally stepped forward.
“When were you going to tell us you are Lady Deathstrike?”
She didn’t like that name as she turned an icy glare to Natasha and spoke to her in the heavy accented Russian voice she used while in that persona.
“I’d advise you not to mention that name again little Natalie. Before now there have only been two who know of my identity and I’d prefer to keep the number with that knowledge low.”
Her voice was emotionless just like when she was programmed as the winter soldier. She and Bucky had both been assets, nameless weapons and simply ghost stories outside Hydra. When she’d been free and doing missions for Fury she’d gone under that other name. Fury and one other knowing her true identity. It was easier and further covering her identity with the use of the other language and the accent.
“We aren’t your enemy.” Natasha decided to try instead.
“You are not my allies either.” Toni countered not yet switching back to English.
“Lady Toni, nothing will be solved with everyone not thinking clearly. Why don’t we take a break so we may clear our heads before continuing?”
Toni looked at Thor and nodded.
“Sure.” She said finally back to English.
She walked away from the group not wanting to deal with them. Her Steve had died in World War II and he had died a hero sacrificing everything for the innocent. Bucky…her Bucky might still be there but he was followed now by a shadow of death. She understood that, time changes many things. People were not immune to this change and while she had kept hold of Bucky during their times together she had no misconceptions that whatever they had might have died.
She had escaped to her room to avoid the others. She had kept her secret for a long time but no secret could be hidden away forever. She’d known this but still, she wasn’t prepared for Steve to change just because she was now Natasha Stark instead of Toni Stark to him.
She found herself taking the painting he had completed for her long ago in her hands. During her time taken by Hydra Howard had protected her belongings. The painting was of her and Bucky sitting together in Steve’s old home. He said he wanted her to see how he saw them. The two most important people in his world. They use to smile more, before the world became a cruel place that loved to beat them down. Hydra had destroyed Bucky; the world had destroyed what remained of Natasha Stark. Hydra had been painful but she had always built herself up again when beaten down and told to submit. The media and public were another matter. Never caring about the person behind the name. They were people she walked among daily, those she now protected, and they would stab her in the back and throw her under the bus simply to get a story.
She had become a person no one really knew anymore. She became what Steve saw when he watched videos that made him feel he was justified in telling her she wasn’t a threat but she should stop pretending to be a hero.
“Bucky you can’t sneak up on me anymore.” She said before looking up to see him standing in her room.
“Wasn’t trying to, just natural for me to walk silently.”
She smiled as she motioned to him to sit with her. He did so, again his every step silent.
“This is what Stevie made you…you bought the supplies for him.”
“Did you just remember?” She asked remembering the process of memories returning.
Bucky nodded as his hand moved like he wanted to take the picture in hand. She held it out to him and he took with careful hands fearing he might ruin it.
“We use to be inseparable…we’d stay home with Stevie if he was feeling really bad. You and I would go see a film together…Howard wanted to kick my ass when he learned me and Stevie liked you.” Bucky smiled fondly as he said the last part.
“Yeah he did. Probably would have to if I hadn’t threatened to return the favor.”
Bucky grinned remembering what she had been like. Just as protective of them as they were of her. Even with Steve being about 90 pounds soaking wet.
“I miss those days…I miss my Stevie.” Bucky whispered the last part but she heard it and understood.
“He never liked technology like we did. Back in the war he shined, now though he’s lost. A world were technology rules he probably doesn’t feel like he belongs.”
She knew what had changed Steve. It took time to look at the facts from his time waking in the new century to how he’d been greeted. Lies and deceit from the moment he woke up. Secrets revealed, traitors among allies, a world that values technology so much people rarely genuinely interact with each other.
A situation like how they met was unlikely in this time. People to preoccupied with cellphones and the media to look at the world around them. Toni had always been looking to the future. Perhaps if she hadn’t been cursed with this long life and Steve hadn’t gone into the ice that fact wouldn’t have separated them. Bucky had always liked technology and had been willing to learn. She and Bucky might still be able to manage even with how much they changed but now…now she and Steve were looking in opposite directions. She to the future and he to the past. Opposites attract, she won’t deny that but in this case they would repel each other.
“He can still be someone in this time. The war’s over. He’s a talented artist; he could go to school and finally get an art degree. He doesn’t have to…” Bucky’s voice trailed off knowing it was a useless thought. Steve was stuck in the past. Fighting a battle they both knew he didn’t think would end.
Toni got up and went the safe she kept hidden. When she returned she handed over a painting Bucky didn’t know about. There on paper well preserved throughout the ages was Natasha Stark, skinny small Steve, two armed pre-war Bucky, and pre-war Howard Stark. Standing together like nothing could ever tear them apart.
“Who made this one?” Bucky asked his voice showing awe for the image of people that no longer existed.
Bucky looked at her shocked.
“I wanted to repay Steve for the picture he gave me. I hoped…maybe the serum would allow him to survive. That he could wake up even decades later and know I never forget us.”
Because in her eyes her first love had been a Steve that would fight bullies even if he was to sickly to do so. Standing up for what was right, not the massive form of a national icon who people barely remembered his actual name. Toni hadn’t been an artist like Steve but she’d taken classes in secret, worked hard to improve her skills if only for this one item.
“You can keep it; a futurist doesn’t need something like that.”
It hurt too much to keep but she’d never say that. Bucky looked at her but didn’t argue. He accepted it and before long he left Toni to sit alone in silence.
Toni had fallen asleep after Bucky’s visit and when she woke up it was to a warm and gentle fingers moving through her hair. She opened her eyes curious who could have possibly gotten so close to her without her waking. She couldn’t remember when she last let down her guard around anyone that wasn’t her children. Looking she found it was Thor who was treating her so kindly.
“You’re very warm.” She said before a yawn escaped her.
“I would hope that is a good thing Lady Natasha.”
“Yeah Thor it’s a good thing. Not that I don’t appreciate this but what are you doing in my room?”
“You seemed quite troubled. I thought you could use a friend. Was I mistaken?”
She nuzzled closer to his warm leg that she was using as a pillow.
“No, you’re good. It’s been a while since I’ve had a friend willing to do this for me. Rhodey use to let me cuddle close with him but he’s always away…Steve and Bucky use to let me do this to. Steve had such bony legs though but his fingers were talented for more than just drawing.” She smiled at the memory. “He knew how to massage my scalp that was just right. Bucky not so much, he was better at shoulder massages.”
“You miss your lovers.”
“Time would have taken them from me either way. It has taken everything else from me.”
There was silence before Thor’s hand paused in what it was doing.
“I am sorry for your loss Lady Natasha.”
She let out a wet laugh as she tried to hold in her tears. Sadness was an emotion she long since thought beaten out of her. Weakness wasn’t allowed by Hydra. Weakness received punishment. Yet now faced with the reality of her true identity revealed and having to face the two men she had loved for decades she couldn’t hold in the emotion. She had loved them and remained loyal even when she thought them dead.
“I don’t want this pain. I remained loyal even when I thought them gone from this world forever. I never looked at another the way I did to them. I’ve never slept with anyone else but them. Sometimes I wish I had just accepted they were gone years ago. Moved on with my life and tried to be happy with someone else.”
She was picked up by strong arms before she realized it. Her eyes widened when she found herself pressed against a warm strong body and lips sealing over hers. Emotions swirled within her before she pushed away from Thor.
“What do you feel Lady Natasha?”
She felt like she’d betrayed them. She felt like she had somehow cheated on them even though until recently they had thought her dead. It hurt and she felt disgusted with herself for ever having her lips touch another man’s.
“I see the emotions within your gaze. Do not wish for the past years to be different because what you’re feeling now would have been felt then to. You are a strong warrior and you made the choices you did for a reason. If it is not your destiny to be their lover anymore then so be it. But you have waited all this time for a reason. If you must say goodbye to them then you should do so properly or else all lovers you take will make you feel as you have now.”
She let her tears fall.
“Damn it Thor…why are you so insightful?”
He smiled gently at her as he wiped away her tears.
“I have lived many years Lady Natasha. There is a reason neither my brother nor I have wedded before. We know we shall live a long time and that time can claim lovers whether through death or change. I have seen the pain one goes through when past loves are not ended properly and I would not wish for you to suffer in such a way. Past regrets can poison future relationships.”
She rested her head on his shoulder letting him gently rub her back.
“Thank you Thor. I should properly end things. If it’s our fate to end up together things will work out. Us humans have a saying, if you love something set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it does not come back, it was never meant to be.”
“I wish you the best in your task Lady Natasha.”
She stayed clinging to him for a bit longer before she finally gathered the strength to talk to Steve and Bucky. It took longer than she expected to gather up the courage to go talk to the two. She decided to shower before going seeing as she’d fought outside her armor against not only the Abomination but Hydra goons. When she approached the floor the two shared with the others she felt nervous. She knew the others were unlikely to give them much space to talk which didn’t help in her uneasy feeling at the coming conversation.
“Natasha.” Steve sounded so relieved when he saw her at the door.
“It’s Toni actually, we need to talk.”
He ignored the correction of her name as he motioned for her to enter. Bucky was there with Romanov close enough to indicate that the two had been talking. Sam was sitting on the couch away from them but with them all in the same room who knew if they’d all been discussing the recent reveal of her identity. She didn’t see Bruce or Clint so maybe the two had been on their own floor instead of gossiping about the not so dead 40s inventor.
“Can you guys give us some space?” Surprisingly it was Bucky who asked as he glared at Romanov and Sam.
The two reluctantly left leaving Toni alone with the two she had loved dearly even after she believed them dead.
“Natasha…” Steve said a fondness in his voice that she remembered from the 40s but had been nowhere in sight when he believed her to be Toni Stark.
“My name now is Toni.” She sighed so tired as the weight of everything that had happened seemed to press into her more. “Whatever we had…it’s not there anymore. You’re not the Steve Rogers I fell in love with…Bucky I don’t….I don’t know. Things just don’t make sense right now and are too complicated. I’m just here to tell you I’m officially putting an end to our relationship.”
“Why? We still love you.” Steve protested.
“No you don’t. All you see now is Natasha Stark. When you didn’t know who I was you hated me. You came here only to use me as a resource. Rogers…we’re through.”
She turned away not wanting to see the expression either wore. It was already too hard to face them and now that she’d properly ended things it just hurt too much. Later when she found herself sitting curled up in her workshop with only the bots to keep her company she cried.
It's been a while since i updated this story and i'm sorry for that. I don't know when updates will be coming but i'm trying
Thor is a good friend and breakfast leads to plans for a trip and party
Toni wanted space when she ended things officially with Steve and Bucky. It seemed only one of them realized that as she found flowers and various gifts delivered from a certain blonde super soldier. It was driving her insane and apparently it showed. One morning she woke up to Thor on her floor picking up the bouquet of flowers preparing to take them away.
“Is there a reason you’re in my room?” She asked leaning against the doorframe of her bedroom.
Thor paused looking at her before he held up the flowers.
“They are an unwelcome gift, you have stated your wish for the relationship you once shared to end and he is not respecting your wishes. I was simply attempting to help ease some of your stress.”
Toni sighed but she offered the god a slight smile.
“Thanks Thor, I appreciate it. Hey you want to get breakfast? I’m starving and I feel like going out.”
Thor brightened at the offer and accepted. Toni took Thor to one of her favorite diners, a place in Brooklyn that had been opened since her time and had continued to be family owned. When they were seated Toni pointed to the hostess and told Thor that she’d known the young woman’s grandfather. A stubborn old man but there was no one better to go drinking with. The man could regale you with endless tales and he hadn’t even been a soldier in the war, just a man that talked to every person that walked through his diner doors and picked up stories from the many people he’d encountered. Thor smiled and told her that reminded him of Loki, no one else had more stories than the trickster that had traveled to more places than any other god.
When food came Thor dug in complimenting the food.
“The pancakes here have always been the best.” She said before a scent caught her attention.
Her head shot up and she looked towards the entrance where Bucky Barnes was walking into the restaurant. Toni should have realized the super soldier would visit the diner; they use to come here together all the time. As Bucky was led to his own table he noticed her and kept his head down like she might think he was attempting to win her attention like Steve had been doing.
“This is a place you once visited with the son of Barnes?” Thor asked noticing her attention elsewhere.
“Yeah, we both loved the food here.”
Thor glanced at Bucky before turning back to their own table.
“Lady Antonia, my brother was thinking of another trip off world. Perhaps a place that both you and the children may like.”
Toni raised a brow interested and curious.
“Oh, where was he planning? I’d love to go visit another world again.”
“He was thinking Alfheim, home of the elves. He has a friend there that will allow us the use of their home so we could perhaps visit for a weekend.”
It did sound interesting.
“Sure, I’ll see what the twins think….” Her eyes flickered to Bucky and a thought occurred to her. “maybe I should ask Bucky to? I mean now that he’s in our lives and knows the twins are his maybe he should get a say in the matter. A trip off world is pretty big.”
Thor smiled at her.
“It is nice that you consider the feelings of your children’s father.”
She shrugged not seeing it as anything that was a big deal; she was a reasonable person even if many would disagree. Watching Bucky a moment she noticed he was focused entirely on the book he was writing in and only had a cup of coffee at his table. She wondered if he was even eating properly, he looked a bit on the thin side.
“C’mon Thor, let’s go see if Bucky thinks it’s a good idea.”
She got up and walked over to Bucky’s table with Thor close behind. Bucky looked up startled when they joined him.
“Hey, we were here for breakfast and Thor told me something interesting Loki’s planning.”
Bucky remained silent.
“So Loki’s thinking a weekend in Alfheim would be nice for the family. So before I ask the twins I thought I’d ask your thoughts about the idea.”
Bucky looked between them before looked up as the waitress came over thinking the two were bothering him. He assured her they weren’t before he closed the book he’d been writing in and focused on Toni.
“You’re asking me if it’s ok to take the twins on a trip?”
“Yep.” She said before she stole his coffee and drank some of it.
“That’s good coffee but I think you need pancakes.”
Bucky tensed at that.
“Don’t have money for that.”
She raised a brow at that. So he wasn’t just relying on her for money but she was sure Steve would at least make sure Bucky had money for things he needed.
“My treat, consider it an attempt to bribe you into agreeing to let the twins come on the trip.”
Bucky almost smiled.
“Bribery doesn’t work on me, that I can admit hasn’t changed from the 40s.”
She couldn’t help the laugh she let out at that as she waved down the waitress so Bucky could order food.
“So no bribery at all will work?” She teased.
“Well I mean a big breakfast might work, but I make no promises.”
She gave him the go ahead to order what he wanted, it was her treat. She wasn’t surprised when he ordered enough for three people. He really didn’t look like he was eating enough.
“Son of Barnes, what is this book that you have been writing?” Thor asked once the waitress had walked away again.
Bucky tensed before he glanced at Thor with his hands tightly gripping the book.
“It’s…when I remember things I write them down. In case I forget again…”
“I see; a worthy endeavor to regain control over your life after what that villainous group did to you.”
Bucky blushed at Thor’s words.
“So not to be super nosey but I can’t help myself, why are you having money problems?”
Bucky looked at her like she was an idiot, which was just rude. Just because they weren’t dating anymore didn’t mean he could ignore the fact she was still a genius.
“I can’t just apply for a normal job. If I use any old identification people look at me like I’m an idiot trying to get one over on them. Not like I can tell them that I was frozen on and off for decades when I wasn’t being sent to kill people. What little I do have is from under the table jobs that they don’t ask for ID.”
“Huh…” Her voice trailed off not because she’d forgotten about that but because she had very clearly remembered that shit.
She pulled out her phone and sent off a quick text and wasn’t surprised to receive a quick response because Fury was responsible like that. The response however was pissing her off to the point her claws were extending. A warm large hand on hers stopped them and she looked up to find Thor staring at her.
“Is all well?”
“Nope.” She said sliding the phone back in her pocket. “Turns out spiders are a real problem.”
That earned her a look from both the men at the table.
“What do you mean?” Bucky asked.
“Well the whole needing a new identity because no one’s going to believe a youngster like you is almost a century old isn’t something I didn’t think of. Fury got you a whole new identity when I asked him to. He’s laying low right now to deal with Hydra so he had Romanov go to him to pick it up. That was a month after you arrived at the tower.”
Bucky’s eyes turned cold with his anger.
“So I could have been working and being able to afford a proper amount of food this entire time?”
So he wasn’t eating properly.
“Yeah, you know if you need a job I can help.”
Bucky shook his head.
“Don’t want to take advantage; you’ve already let me stay at the tower when you didn’t need to.”
She wanted to say something but she wasn’t sure what she could to ease the man’s guilt. Instead she stayed silent and finished Bucky’s coffee. He didn’t seem to mind as he was getting free food.
“So trip off world?”
Bucky met her gaze seemingly considering it.
“You’ve protected them all this time; I have no reason to think that’ll change just because you go to another world. If they want to go I have no right to say no.” His gaze turned to Thor as he asked, “Will you be there also?”
Thor nodded causing Bucky’s gaze to darken.
“If anything happens to them I will hold you responsible.” Then he smiled. “Have fun, take pictures please. I’d love to see them.”
Thor laughed as he patted Bucky on the shoulder.
“We shall and if even a single hair on their heads is hurt I shall allow you to take vengeance upon me.”
Toni rolled her eyes but she smirked at the interaction.
“Well I’m going to text Loki and tell him the plan is a go then. And I’ll let Wanda know she can take as many pictures as she wants.”
Bucky turned to her at that.
“Does she like taking pictures?”
Toni nodded as she texted them.
“Yeah, she wants to be a photographer when she’s done with school. She’s got a real talent for it to. If you want to see her photo album you just need to ask, she’s always willing to show it off when someone’s interested.”
Bucky smiled hearing something about his daughter. He gave a whispered comment of how it would be nice to see what Wanda enjoyed.
“Hey you have a phone yet?” Toni asked Bucky.
“I don’t have money for pancakes but you think I have money for a phone?”
She shrugged as the waitress arrived with Bucky’s order.
“People have weird priorities. Anyways I’m giving you a phone later.” She held up her finger when he tried to protest. “No protesting, it’s for our children’s safety. After what happened last time when I brought them to the floor you guys are using I won’t risk it. Wanda just texted me saying she would be willing to show you her photo album but she refuses to go to your floor. So she’ll text you once I get you a phone and arrange for you to come to our floors.”
Bucky didn’t argue after that and muttered something darkly about the others watching their back if they talked to the twins like that again. Toni smiled seeing Bucky protective of their children.
“Well Red October we’re going to head out and leave you to eat in peace. I’ll get you that phone later today I promise.”
Bucky looked up confused.
“You don’t have to leave. I…don’t mind the company.”
She raised a brow and looked to Thor to see his thoughts. The grin on his face told her exactly what he thought. She returned to her seat as Thor decided to begin regaling Bucky with stories of his youth and of the many pranks Loki had played on him. Bucky listened as he ate intrigued by the many stories Thor had. One in particular caught his attention.
“Wait so there was an alien dictator that had people fighting each other to the death for entertaining? What the hell? Did he look human? So far I’m getting the idea most aliens look human.”
“Yes the grandmaster looks human but I assure you he isn’t. Not all outside of Midgard look human. The dwarves stand taller than most species, Jotun are different as well with their icy blue skin and red eyes. Loki is quite good friends with a kronan named Korg, he is humanoid but he is made up of stone. Loki met him when we were in Sakaar.”
Bucky looked like he might not believe him before he shrugged.
“See, now that I need to see. If they’re friends why doesn’t Loki invite him over?”
Thor smiled looking fond at the mention of Loki’s friend.
“Loki knows the dangers Midgard holds to those that are not from here. Both Loki and I are welcome here due to my actions with the avengers and Lady Toni’s protection of Loki. He does not think Midgard would be so welcoming of a clearly alien being such as Korg.”
“Well that sucks, humans are terrible.”
“You do remember you’re human right?”
He waved her off.
“It doesn’t make it any less true. Seriously why couldn’t we be born gods? His life sounds awesome.”
“Oh sure, a lost Valkyrie attempting to sell him for profit and being stabbed regularly by his own brother does sound amazing.”
Bucky waved excitedly with his hand.
“I know right?”
She just shook her head laughing at his antics. Thor decided to keep regaling him with stories until it was clear they were overstaying their welcome at the diner. They left with Toni leaving a very large tip for the waitress and thanking her on their way out. Outside they stood a moment not sure what to do now.
“You know what I miss?” She spoke up drawing the other two’s attention.
“What?” Thor inquired.
“The ocean, been a while since I was back in Malibu. When was Loki planning this trip?”
“It will likely not be for a month at least. He must make arrangements beforehand.”
“Well then, this weekend let’s all go to Malibu. I’m thinking family get together, maybe some friends so I have an excuse to invite Brucie-Bear so I can talk sweet science to him by the ocean. I’ve got a pool there and we could do a BBQ.”
“That does sound like fun.” Thor agreed.
She turned to Bucky.
“What do you say? The twins deserve to get to know their dad.”
“You want to let me go to your private mansion?”
“I like Malibu and a family BBQ sounds fun. Is that a yes or no?”
He hesitated before he nodded.
“Awesome, I need a new bathing suit though. Thor I bet you and Loki don’t have even a single bathing suit so you’re coming with to buy one. Be ready for when school’s out, we’re going shopping.”
“A mighty adventure to the mall!” Thor boomed loudly attracting the attention of others around them.
“Hell yeah, an adventure that will get me a smoking hot bathing suit. And maybe I just want to see you topless.” She teased Thor.
“I’d pay to see that.” Bucky mumbled before his face turned red in embarrassment.
“Then I must insist you join us son of Barnes, I to wish to see you without your shirt. I am certain it is a truly impressive sight.”
Toni raised a brow at the direction of her day. Apparently it was going to be filled with pancakes and topless men. Well she couldn’t complain. She texted Loki saying ‘I’m getting all the men topless today’ to which he replied ‘I feel like this needs an explanation’ She smirked and told him about the plans for Malibu. That earned her a picture text first before a message to explain the woman she was seeing. ‘Pity you won’t see me topless then. If we are going to enjoy a party near the beach I insist on a two piece bathing suit to show off my ass’
“Thor does your brother often because your sister?” Toni asked Thor causing both him and Bucky to look at the picture text.
“Damn, that’s Loki?”
“Ah yes, Lady Loki. It seems my sister decided to change things up again.”
“Huh, so that’s interesting. Well she’s coming with for shopping. She wants a bathing suit to show off in and I’m all for letting her do that.”
Shopping as it turned out turned into an entirely crazy affair. Wanda had invited Ororo, Rogue, and Jean while Pietro had invited Scott, Remy, and Kurt. That didn’t even compare to Loki inviting Logan, Bruce, and Clint. Thor was the first to come out showing off his first option for a bathing suit that had little Mjolnirs and lightning bolts on it. Wanda laughed and told him to pick something else. To that he got a wicked look in his eyes as he turned back to the changing room. When he came out next he didn’t do so alone. Several others had been changing and now Thor, Clint, and Bruce came out wearing matching swimsuits with Toni’s armor on them. The three were also joined by Scott, Remy, Kurt, and Pietro wearing suit shorts with the X-men’s symbol on them. They all decided to do a pose causing Toni and several others to burst out laughing. Wanda smirked and lifted her camera to snap a picture of the group.
They decided those were the swim suits they were getting and that left the women to pick out theirs. Tony had picked out a red and gold bikini, Loki had picked a black and green one, Ororo had decided on a blue one piece, Jean picked a red one piece with white flowers, and Rogue went with a green bikini. They decided to pose as well seeing as none of them would be outdone by the men. Wanda again snapped pictures before the last of their group went to try on theirs. Logan to all their surprise just held up a speedo that he would be getting, several people had a dazed look as they likely imaged the man even older than Bucky wearing a speedo. Bucky was a little ashamed but he too picked a speedo, one that had was designed with mini War Machines on it. That had Toni laughing as she grinned and gave thumbs up in approval. Wanda had picked a one piece bathing suit that had the symbol for the x-men on the center of it.
“I vote ice cream to finish our trip out.” Toni said earning a round of cheers.
They went to the food court to get ice cream. Once they all had their sugary treat they sat down taking up several tables. They were laughing and talking amongst themselves without issue for five minutes before a man so enraged he was red in the face stormed over.
“How dare you bring that freak here? I’m here with my family, I don’t need them put at risk because you bring someone so dangerous here. The only place for mutant freaks like him is prison so they can’t hurt us normal people.”
Toni stood so quickly her chair hit the ground. Her anger filled eyes were solely focused on the man that dared to come to her table and berate her for being among friends. It seemed the man was only referring to Kurt because he was the only one noticeably a mutant.
“How dare you fucking talk that way about my friends. I suggest you apologize and leave before this ends very badly for you. Believe me when I say I will ruin you, you fucking hateful ass.”
“How can you stand by mutants? They’re freaks of nature that are worthless. Look at him, he’s clearly a freak. He’ll never get work like that; he’s just going to be a drain on other people’s resources. Mutants have no place in our society. He’s probably an uneducated mons-”
Toni punched him hard. The man hit the ground while Toni took out her phone and snapped a picture.
“JARVIS, find me who this man is and then get his employer’s contact information.” She said into the phone to have her AI help her ruin this idiot.
“I pity your family to have to live with someone so hateful.” She leaned down over the man as she promised him darkly. “Until you realize the error of your ways and properly apologize I will do everything in my power to make sure you don’t find work again. Your hate only spreads more hate and problems. You disgust me and it’s you that is everything wrong in this world. You don’t know us so you have no fucking right to bash my friends just because some people are born differently than others. Now get away from us.”
When he didn’t move Logan, Bucky, Loki, and Thor stood up to stand at her side to show their support. The man snarled out how he was going to sue her for this. She gave him an unimpressed look.
“Just try and sue me for supporting the rights of others, I’ll let my lawyers know to be ready to crush you.”
The man turned back to his family where his wife was offering him her support while the teenager son who mouthed to her a quick ‘thank you’ before he was led away. Toni made a note to see if that kid was ok. Either he didn’t agree with his dad’s hate or he was a mutant living in fear.
When she and the others returned to their seats they were approached by several people that had gathered around during the argument. Some saying thanks because they had friends or family that were mutants. Toni gave them her contact information so they could get in touch to help them. Apparently there were quite a few mutants that were overlooked for scholarships or jobs due to their noticeable mutations. Toni also sent a quick email to Pepper regarding the clear discrimination against mutants and asking what they could do for them.
Once they finished their ice cream they headed home. Kurt hugged her when they reached the tower and Toni couldn’t help but squeeze him back and whisper promises to him to always have his back.
Once inside they settled in to relax. Wanda was pulling Bucky away to show him her photo album, Pietro was talking with Loki in hushed whispers, Logan was raiding the fridge for beer, and Ororo and Jean had decided to look for a movie to watch which was slowly drawing others to gather around.
Eventually they all found themselves watching a romantic comedy. Toni watched for a good twenty minutes before her eyes drooped and she ended up sleeping with her head resting on Thor’s shoulder.
Chapter 13: Family BBQ
The Stark family and friends finally have their big BBQ and pool party
A whistle was heard as Logan and Bucky walked out of the mansion in their speedos. The whistle had come from Loki surprisingly. Bucky blushed deeply and covered his face while Logan looked at Loki who blew him a kiss and offered a flirty wink.
“Get in the water bitches!” Toni cheered where she was sitting on Thor’s shoulders with the god grinning.
“Stark you know I’ll never be one of your bitches.” Logan said as he moved to one of the lounge chairs.
Bucky decided to get in via diving board. He did a cannonball that had Rogue, Kitty, and Pietro cheering.
“Perfect form, I’d give you a nine out of ten.” Remy said from where he was lounging next to Rogue.
“Meh, I’d give him a seven out of ten.” Scott said from where he was holding a beach ball having paused in his game with the others.
“Ten out of ten my friend.” Kurt said cheerfully before he and the others returned to their game.
Toni hit the beach ball back to the group when it came at her and laughed when it smacked Beast in the face. The number of attendees to this event were much larger than Toni had originally thought but she didn’t mind. She was happily enjoying her time with them.
Clint was working with his wife Laura, Bruce, and Ororo to get food ready. Toni had been so happy to meet Clint’s family and was in love with his kids. The squirts were being watched by Jean who was happy to keep them entertained. During the entire party Wanda had been snapping pictures with some happily posing for them. Thor and Toni had done peace signs, Bucky stuck his tongue out at her earning a laugh, Pietro and Kurt had decided to flex for the picture, and Wanda had managed to snap the perfect picture of Kitty pushing a caught off guard Loki into the pool. The female trickster decided to retaliate by using magic to completely soak the mutant. Toni would later get a copy of the picture of Loki laughing for Thor to take to their parents.
“Hey guys, I’m almost finished grilling the first batch of burgers. If you guys are hungry now first come first served.” Clint called making Thor drop Toni into the water earning a squeak of surprise.
“You cannot get between Thor and food.” Loki teased her when she mock glared at Thor.
Pietro reached the grill first because he was faster and surprisingly Remy was right behind him with two plates, one for him and the other for his girlfriend. Toni was still curious about that relationship seeing as Logan was super protective of Rogue like she was his kid and Remy came across as a bit of a playboy type. She wasn’t entirely sure how their relationship even worked seeing as Rogue couldn’t touch people.
Toni swam over to Loki who was floating along unbothered by the chaos around her. Toni decided to join her and floated on her back. When she was pulled from her relaxed state it was because someone was poking her. She peaked open an eye and spied Pietro and Wanda there holding a plate of food in each hand.
“Let’s go, we got food.”
Toni and Loki got up and headed to the table where Thor and Bucky were sitting together discussing what sounded like battle strategies. When they sat down Wanda set a plate in front of Loki and Pietro put his second plate in front of Toni. Their conversation went from their favorites of the foods served to games they wanted to play inside once it was too cold outside to continue swimming.
When they finished eating Loki and Thor were quick to return to the pool. Toni watched them decide to have a battle between the two of them. Thor ended up on the losing end as Loki used his magic to splash the thunder god more. Bucky decided to help turn the tides as he jumped in and helped Thor fight back. Toni laughed until Loki summoned her magic to pull her into the pool and the fight. She glared at the goddess before she joined in. From there both sides gained more allies until the air grew colder and they decided to head inside.
“Thanks for cooking.” Toni thanked Clint once they were inside.
“Hey no problem, this was fun. The kids love swimming but we don’t have a pool back at the farm.”
“You could always build one.”
“Not my area of expertise. I mean I’m always working on a new project around the farm but building a pool I’m sure is an entirely different kind of project than I’m use to.”
“Well I could pay for it to be built by professionals.”
Clint gave her a shocked look.
“Why would you do that?”
“Consider it an early Christmas present or something. I mean I don’t really need a reason. Your my friend and I like to give my friends gifts.”
Clint surprised her by hugging her suddenly. She was tense in her confusion. When he pulled away he wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
“Hey Laura, we’re officially adding Toni to the Christmas list.”
Laura walked over to join the two with a smile on her face.
“I like that sound of that. What did she do to win you over? You don’t usually add anyone to our Christmas list.”
“Toni here officially announced us as friends.”
Toni was still very, very confused.
“What’s going on? What Christmas list, am I officially on a hit list because I’m telling you now I won’t make it easy for you.”
Both laughed with Clint patting her on the back.
“Nah, that’s the Halloween list. The Christmas list is the select few we give gifts to on the holiday. So far the list includes you, Fury, and Nat.”
Toni was speechless for a few minutes before she smiled genuinely at the archer and his wife.
“Thanks Legolas, I’m totally going to make your new pool the most extravagant thing you’ve ever seen. I’ll contact some people and we can work on how you want it.”
Laura sent her a quick thankful smile as Toni and Clint went to check on the kids. Cooper was sitting on Remy’s shoulders as the mutant was showing off his abilities with his cards. The boy looked excited and impressed as he watched. Lily was with several of the mutants trying to decide what movie they wanted to put on. Toni spotted Wanda with Bucky as she showed him the pictures on her camera from the day.
Toni sat down relaxed by her friends and family surrounding her. She was drifting off when she felt someone picking her up. She startled but relaxed when she saw it was Thor who had decided to share her seat by sitting on the chair with her in his lap. She just gave him an amused look before leaning against him and finally drifting off to sleep.