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Billionaires Treasure

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It had started with a recurring dream just before Thanos had attacked.

During the war with the Mad Titan and all that followed, Tony had all but forgotten his dream, being too busy undoing the mass of death that Thanos had caused, and then dealing with the aftermath as the world and the universe came to terms with what had happened.

It wasn’t until several weeks after the war that he remembered his dream.

When he started to develop symptoms that weren’t going away.

At first he dismissed them as fatigue, stress, an upset stomach, food poisoning, a dozen or more possible explanations while denying the one that lingered at the back of his mind.

When he couldn’t keep pretending that there wasn’t something going on anymore, even to himself, he took tests, six in fact so he could be completely certain.

Which was how Bruce found him one evening after coming home from patrol, sat in the bathroom with half a dozen pregnancy tests lined up before him on the toilet lid.

 

“Oh, My, God!”

“Yeah!” Tony murmured not turning around, a minute had passed since he’d pissed on the tests, he had another two to wait

“Are you, are we…?” Bruce trailed off, staring at the tests with wide eyes

“I don’t know,” Tony said finally turning round to look at Bruce, “I have all the symptoms, I haven’t bled since my last heat, and I know I’m close to Heat-secession, (The Omega equivalent of Beta Menopause) But I’ve been having sickness, sore breasts, I’m tired all the time, and I get stupidly emotional…Bruce, please say something!”

Bruce had seemed to have gone into some kind of trance, staring at the tests with a focus that was unnerving to say the least.

Sighing, Tony got to his feet, “I know this isn’t what we were planning on,” he said, “And I know us being Superheroes probably isn’t going to make this easy but…,” he trailed off as Bruce’s eyes widened, turning his head he looked down at the tests, one was showing positive.

 

Tony inhaled sharply and as he watched another two tests became positive!

“Oh my God!” he whispered feeling tears beginning to prick at his eyes, Goddamn Hormones!

“Bruce I..!” Whatever Tony had been going to say was lost as he found himself swept up into Bruce’s arms as the normally stoic Gothamite let out a cheer and kissed Tony so hard that the Omega swore he saw stars!

“We’re having a Pup!” Bruce cried finally setting Tony back down on his feet, “Oh My God this is fantastic!”

Tony wanted to reply, he really did, but he was caught between laughing and crying, looking down at the rest of the tests he found that the last three had also turned positive, there was no denying this now, one could be a false reading but not six

“Master Wayne, is everything alright?” Alfred asked, coming into the bedroom, “I heard you shouting”

“Yeah Bruce, what’s up?” Dick asked, he was staying over at the mansion that night, having given Bruce back up as Robin, instead of flying solo as Night Wing

“Shall I tell them?” Bruce asked quietly

“Yeah” Tony whispered, wiping his cheeks and nose, this crying thing was going to get really old really fast.

 

Together they came out of the bathroom and into the bedroom where Alfred and Dick were waiting.

“What’s going on?” Dick asked looking between the two

Bruce glanced at Tony who nodded and then looked back at Alfred and Dick, “We’re having a pup!”

 

*****

 

Six Weeks Later

 

Alfred and Dick had been as ecstatic as Bruce to the news of Tony’s pregnancy.

Pepper, Rhodey, and Peter were the next people they told, and they too were thrilled for the couple.

Stephen Strange, when told, simply rolled his eyes and sighed, saying he wondered how much longer it would take for Tony to figure it out!

Bruce Banner, who’d staying on in New York since the War congratulated them, as did Carol Danvers and Lucious Fox.

While they told their friends and family about the pregnancy, they decided, or rather Tony insisted that no one else be told until he was past twenty four weeks, when the Pups would have at least some chance of survival outside the uterus, and yes, it was Pups, plural.

The first scan revealed that Tony was carrying Twins, very healthy twins in fact.

Though while he had been assured of this, and been given every test there was to ensure that there wasn’t anything at all wrong with the Pups, Tony was still scared of something going wrong. He was very nearly fifty, not an optimum age to be having his first litter.

That made this a high risk pregnancy, with him being more likely to develop complications than someone ten or twenty years younger.

 

Since his protective instincts had just about quadrupled, Bruce was all in favour of keeping the news to themselves.

Tony immediately took a leave of absence from field work as Iron Man. For one thing he wouldn’t be able to fit into the suit soon, and more importantly he wasn’t going to do anything to risk the Pups.

So for the duration of the pregnancy and the first year after the Pups were delivered he was going to operate the suit via a head set, and only then when absolutely necessary.

This was something he made very clear to the accords council, whom he had to share the news with, even though he really didn’t want to, and he would also have to make clear to The Avengers, who were returning now from Wakanda, where they had been staying since the War until their pardons could be put through and finalized.

 

*****

While they had worked together during the battle, Tony still had mixed feelings over Cap’s team returning to the compound.

He wasn’t completely over what had happened, and with his hormones running wild he wasn’t certain how he was going to handle it.

Bruce on the other hand was very clear in his feelings in regards to Roger’s and his merry band of dickheads. He wanted them as far from his Omega and Litter as possible, the other side of the Galaxy would be preferable in fact!

He didn’t want Tony getting stressed or upset, he still wanted to kick the shit out of Steve for hurting Tony in the first place.

 

But on the day of the Avengers return he stood beside his mate, outside the compound to greet them.

Tony was fidgeting, he continued to pull at his suit and do up or undo his jacket restlessly.

“Has Peter infected you with his nervous energy or something?” Bruce asked

“No,” Tony sighed finally settling on having his jacket undone, “My trousers are too tight!” he explained, “They fit fine last week, maybe a little snug, but today I can barely breathe!”

Bruce couldn’t help but to let out a satisfied growl at that and ran his hand over Tony’s abdomen, he was nearing the fourth month and a small but definite curve was starting to show. For now it could be hidden by his clothes, but with the speed the Pups were growing at, that wouldn’t last for much longer. Already there’d been a couple of Fat Shaming pictures popping up in the media, the kind that trashy gossip rags published instead of reporting actual news.

Bruce, over protective and high opinionated as always, had taken offence at the Gutter Trash Press calling Tony fat, and had in fact made threats of suing the magazines in question!

Tony however vetoed that notion, telling him that they’d have the last laugh in a few months when they announced the pregnancy which would make the Fat Shaming losers look like dickheads.

 

“I’ve thought of another couple of a names” Tony said, changing the subject, they’d already put Alfie, Thomas, Marianna, and Selina down as potential names.

“Darius, and Julia”

“Julia,” Bruce repeated, “I like that, Julia, I’m not sure about Darius though”

“I think Richard would make a better name, or Riccarda!”

“No Peter, or Peta!”

Sighing, Tony and Bruce turned to see Dick and Peter in their full costumes hanging off the roof of the Compound, Dick by a repel, and Peter by web

“Could you two not do that?” Tony groaned, “I feel nauseous enough without seeing you two hanging around!”

The morning sickness, and wasn’t that a joke when it showed up morning, noon, and night, hadn’t gone away yet, Tony was also finding himself unable to eat any of his favourite grease laden foods, like cheese burgers and pizza, just the smell of them was making him sick right now, and to add insult to injury he couldn’t even stomach coffee!

While this was probably good considering that he would have to have cut back from his dozen or more cups a day, it wasn’t amusing him at all. Though his cravings for Strawberry Jam were rather funny, or at least Alfred’s reaction to seeing him eating Jam from the jar with a spoon had been funny!

 

“Aren’t you two supposed to be training or something?” Bruce asked

“We are!” Peter said, “We’re practising rooftop getaways!”

Bruce looked about as convinced of this as he would have been if some stark naked, obese drunk ran through the streets of Gotham proclaiming him Jesus Christ reborn! Though that had actually happened a fortnight before! Nothing really surprised him anymore!

“When can you tell if its boys or girls?” Peter asked

“About five months I think,” Tony replied rubbing his belly, a gesture he’d adopted since finding out he was pregnant, while he knew they weren’t big enough to be kicking yet he was sure he could feel some movement, something that felt like butterflies fluttering inside him

“Will you find out?” Dick asked securing the repel and dropping down to the ground

“No, we don’t care,” Bruce replied, “Boys, girls, Alphas, Beta’s, or Omegas”

“Are you going to tell the others?” Peter asked hopping down and literally bouncing over to Tony, the others of course meaning Cap’s team

“Eventually,” Tony sighed resting a protective hand over his abdomen, he really didn’t want to tell them, certainly didn’t want Wanda knowing about the Pups. That bitch still gave him nightmares, and since finding out he was pregnant he’d had more than one about her attacking his Pups in revenge for her Parents and Pietro.

He started as a warm hand covered his own and he looked up at Bruce,

“Nothing will happen to them Tonio, I promise,” Bruce said pressing a kiss to Tony’s temple

“Damn right, we’ll make sure of it!” Peter stated standing up to his full if rather unimpressive height!

“Best get round to doing so then,” Dick said nodding his head to the horizon, “Because here they come”

In the distance, the Quinjet could be seen making its final approach to the compound, bringing home Team Captain America.

 

As the jet landed Tony linked his hand through Bruce’s and took a deep breath, “Here we go”.

Chapter Text

Steve looked out the window beaming at the sight of the compound. It was good to be home. While Wakanda was undeniably beautiful there really was no place like home.

He had missed America over the past few years, he’d missed the compound, living with the whole team, working with them rather than just the few who’d remained with him.

He didn’t blame Clint or Scott for going home, they had families to think of, they had to come first, but he had missed them. Most especially he’d missed Tony too.

Why it had taken the two year separation for him to finally realize what he’d been feeling all along he didn’t know, and he felt rather stupid because of it, because it was so obvious now that he thought about it, ever since he first met him he’d been attracted to Tony Stark.

All of that tension between them, all the arguing and bantering, it had been masking what was really there between them, love.

 

Steve had never found a Male Omega attractive before, but then he had only met a handful.

Of the sexes Male Omega’s made up only five percent of the population, with Female Alpha’s like Natasha making up just ten, male Alphas like himself, and T’Challa making up twenty percent, female Omegas like Peggy making up another twenty, and Male and Female beta’s making up the majority at forty five percent.

Back in his day Male Omegas had been deemed the same as Beta and Omega Women, they weren’t allowed out on the front lines, with Alphas and Beta men, their place was at home, to care for the injured as nurses, to get pregnant and have babies and Pups to make up for the loss of population due to the war.

Erskine had been an Omega, an old Omega who had been past Heat-session and had not aroused Steve’s Alpha at all, although his Alpha had been weak due to his ill health, considering how scrawny he’d been it was practically a joke that he’d been born an Alpha at all!

Alpha and Omega Pups were larger than Beta babies, were born weighing between 11-15 pounds at birth compared with the Beta average of 7-10 pounds.

However this was because they did not grow in size for the first three months after being born, instead they grew the first of three sets of teeth, whelp teeth coming in first by three months old when they were weaned from the teat and began to eat soft solids, whereas babies would not start eating solids until six months.

The differences continued through childhood/puphood and into adulthood.

Alpha’s tended to be tall, the average Alpha male being between six ft and six ft four, the female between five ft eight and five ft eleven. Male Alphas were more muscular, broad shouldered and having a greater lung capacity than beta and omegas, the females tended to be slender, having athletic and sometimes boyish figures, Natasha was a rarity in the fact she had quite large breasts for an Alpha since they tended to have little in breast tissue since they would never nurse.

Alphas also had knots, the females knot being internal in place of a cervix and would protrude when aroused.

Beta’s tended to have moderate muscle mass, they had no knots, and the females like Omegas could conceive and carry infants, but did not have heats like Omegas.

Omegas were smaller than Betas and Alphas, the males averaging between five ft six and five ft nine, and the females between five ft one and five ft four. The males had no testicles, and both had less muscle mass than Alphas and Beta’s. The females tended to be very curvaceous with large breasts, and full hips, the kind of figure that dominated renaissance art.
The males too were generally softer and rounder, their pectorals more pronounced like breasts and would enlarge with milk to nurse young.

 

While he was decidedly average height for an Omega, Tony was not like any Omega Steve had ever encountered before. He acted like an Alpha or Beta, would not be spoken down to or made to be someone’s housewife, he demanded equal respect regardless of sex.

Steve had come to learn that this was normal in the twenty first century, that Omegas and Beta Female rights had been fought on after The Suffragettes, and over time they had amassed more and more rights, the right to decided when they wanted a family with contraception readily available, and abortion legal, the right to be paid equal to their counterparts, the right to go into any profession they wished, even to serve on the front line in the armed forces.

Steve had been amazed by all this, and supportive, he’d never looked down on Omega’s and Beta Women, hell his Mother God rest her soul would have knocked his head off his shoulders if he had!

But Tony wasn’t just different in those respects either. He was skinny for an Omega, too thin sometimes when he got focused on a project and forgot to eat!
He also had a good deal of facial hair, something Omegas often struggled to produce and was very proud of it.

He also Never dated Alphas or Beta Men. Not since one on and off relationship with some socialite Alpha had ended. He stuck to Beta and Omega Women or Omega Men.

Steve had been raised in a time when such relationships would be a crime, sex and marriage were for producing offspring, and since Male Omega’s could not impregnate they should only have relationships with Alphas and Beta Men.

Steve had found Tony’s behaviour outrageous even though it was legal and acceptable in the twenty first century, in fact he found everything about Tony outrageous and thoroughly exasperating to the point where it was driving him to distraction!

That, when he realized he was constantly thinking about Tony, in a good or bad light, he finally realized he was in love with the Omega, probably always had been, and wanted to make Tony his mate.

 

Once he had admitted this too himself and accepted it he told the others, Bucky first as it was his opinion who mattered more than anyone’s,

Bucky had just snorted and told he was intitled to make anyone his “Doll” including that “Punk Stark!”

Natasha had rolled her eyes and muttered something in Russian under her breath that Steve doubted was complimentary!

Sam had just shrugged and said it was Steve’s life and if Stark was who he wanted to be with then that was up to him.

Vision, who had remained with Wanda after the war had no voiced and opinion either way.

Wanda however had been outraged, had called Steve a traitor for wanting anything at all to do with “That twisted monster Stark!”

Her opinion towards Tony had not changed since day one, if anything it had only become worse. For the most part Vision was able to calm her down when she got upset about Tony, but sometimes even he wasn’t enough and her temper would cause property damage.

 

Steve was hoping that with the team finally getting back together Wanda would start to come round, especially since he was going to be making every effort to be with Tony, and while he could understand that she had issues regarding Tony he would not stand for her out right abusing him.

As the jet set down he shot a hopeful smile to Bucky who looked a little tense at coming to the compound.

“Looks like Stark’s here to greet us,” Natasha said turning of the jet’s controls, “He has put on weight too, those gossip rags weren’t kidding!”

Steve frowned at that, he hadn’t appreciated her commenting on those “Fat Shaming” pictures that Wanda had gleefully produced from the many celebrity magazines that she bought weekly, she and Natasha had engaged in making plenty of snide comments at Tony’s expense that Steve had found distasteful and unnecessarily cruel.

Yes Tony had gained a few pounds, but it wasn’t like he was obese or anything, why the press and public liked to make such an issue about such things he would never know.

 

“Let’s go and say hi,” Sam said slinging his bag onto his back, “I don’t know about anyone else, but I could use a long shower and a beer!”.

 

*****

 

Bruce could feel Tony tensing beside him as Team Cap approached them from the jet.

Dick and Peter, still in full costume so their face’s were concealed flanked them, forming a protective guard for Tony and himself.

While Batman was openly affiliated with The Avengers now, Bruce Wayne was only Tony’s partner and could not start fighting with the Avengers without revealing his identity, not something he was prepared to do unless there was no other option.

 

Unsurprisingly it was Steve Roger’s who came forward first and extended a hand towards Tony.

“Good to see you,” he said with a wholesome smile on his face

Tony hesitated, Bruce could practically feel the tension rolling off him and wanted nothing more than to sweep him up into his arms and carry him away, Tony getting upset wasn’t good for himself or for the Pups, he was already at risk of developing pre-eclampsia and they were doing all they could to keep his blood pressure down, dealing with this kind of stress was not going to help at all.

Reluctantly Tony reached out and shook Steve’s hand, his hand trembling a little as he did

“Welcome back,” he managed in a hoarse voice, “Everything is pretty much where it was before, though some more of the bedrooms are now taken and off limits unless the occupant says otherwise..”

“Fat chance of that!” Peter piped up grumpily

Bruce’s lips twitched at that

“The training rooms have been up graded, and a fourth has been added along with a new swimming pool, steam room, and jacuzzi…”

“Jacuzzi Stark?” Natasha sneered, “Planning on trying to get an eyeful of us in swim wear?”

Bruce felt inordinately proud of Tony as he graced Natasha with his most patronizing smirk

“Why would I possibly want to do that when I am already in a relationship?”

Natasha rose an eyebrow, “I thought Pepper dumped you”

“Then you were misinformed MS Romanoff, or is it Rushman today, or perhaps Romanova?”

This came from Pepper who glided over in a pair of impossibly high heel that matched her skin tight white suit dress that was cut just short enough to be attractive without being provocative.

“Tony and I ended our relationship amicably, “Dumping” is so High School don’t you think?”

“Pepper light of my life, I take it you brought the final documents from The Accords Committee?” Tony asked visibly brightening to see Pepper, Bruce would be jealous, Okay he was a little jealous, if he didn’t know that Tony was completely devoted to him already.

“What documents?” Sam asked, “We’ve already signed the damn accords haven’t we?”

“Oh yes these aren’t the Sokovia accords, these are personalized documents for yourselves to look through and sign after you’ve read them, surely T’Challa explained about them?” Tony said looking confused, “Signing the accords was step one, this will finalize your arrangements with the committee, what you are expected to do, what you can expect from the committee, how best you can work together”

“A contract” Sam said nodding, he shrugged, “Cool, gimme the file and I’ll read it, after I’ve showered and had a beer!” happily he accepted the file from Pepper and gave Tony a salute, “If you don’t mind I’d like to freshen up?”

“Go right ahead,” Tony said licking his lips and swallowing hard, a sign that his nausea was rising, “In fact, everyone do the same, we can talk later,” he turned and began to make as dignified a retreat as his urgent need for the toilet would allow, calling back a “Later”, to Steve’s call of his name.

“I’ll go and check he’s okay,” Dick said quietly to Bruce and slipped off before anyone could stop him,

“Stark’s as polite as ever I see!” Wanda grumbled and glared at Pepper as she was handed her file, “I still don’t see why we should sign anything!”

“Are you really going to start this argument over again Miss Maximoff?” Bruce sighed sounding bored and exasperated

Wanda narrowed her eyes, she recognised Bruce Wayne from the celebrity magazines she read and deemed him the same as Stark, an over privileged, arrogant, American Billionaire.

“And just what business is this of yours?” she demanded huffily

Bruce looked at her the same way he would like at gum stuck to his $5000 shoes,

“Anything that is Tonio’s business is my business, Miss Maximoff, he is after all my Partner”

“Partner?” Natasha repeated, “You and Stark are in business together?”

“No,” Bruce said sharing a smile with Pepper, “We are bonded”.

 

*****

 

Steve felt like he’d been punched in the gut at those words.

All his hopes and dreams of telling Tony how he felt, of what they could have together came crashing down.

The rest of the meeting past in a blur, and clutching his documents he made his way to his rooms and dropped down onto the bed with a heart felt sigh.

He’d heard rumours of course, that Tony and Bruce Wayne were seeing each other again, but he hadn’t paid any attention to it, hadn’t thought it anything more than a business thing. Apparently he was wrong.

They weren’t just business partners, they weren’t just lover, they were bonded!

A bonding between and Alpha and Omega was more binding than a marriage and far harder to break. It was a physical binding, the Alpha bite mixed the saliva and blood between the two, uniting their essences on a physical level. Breaking the bond required the Alpha to consume a vile concoction that would purge the omega’s essence from their bodies, the Omega had to have a painful ointment applied to the bite which would burn out the saliva from the alpha and also leave a permanent scar.

With Tony bonded to Bruce Wayne he was lost to Steve, the chances of them ever parting were almost non-existent.

Slinging and arm over his eyes Steve sighed heavily wishing once again, for what felt like the thousandth time, that he could go back in time and do everything over, so then Tony Stark might have been his.

 

*****

 

Bruce found Tony in the kitchen with Dick sipping at a cup of ginger tea, his suit jacket and waist coat were off, and his shirt was untucked, Bruce wouldn’t be surprised if his trousers beneath the shirt were undone to give his growing belly some room.

“Robert’s a good name, so’s Rachel, and Roxanne, Rose, Raymond, Ryan!”

“Dick, I swear to God if you don’t shut up about R names soon I’ll rip your tongue out and feed it to you!” Tony growled giving the unrepentant Robin/Nightwing a glare

“Feeling any better?” Bruce asked wrapping his arms about Tony and pressing a kiss to his head, pausing to breathe in the heavenly scent from his Omega’s fertile and breeding body

“Apart from feeling like I’ve put my nipples through a pencil sharpener, having heart burn from hell, and a stupid urge to cry all the time I feel great!” Tony replied sipping his tea “Oh and while we’re on the subject I blame you in advance for any and all stretch marks!”

“Duly noted!” Bruce said with mock seriousness and sat down at the bar besides his mate

“I take it they’re all settled in?” Tony asked

“Far as I know, Roger’s looked like he’d swallowed a lemon when I told him you and I were bonded!”

“Really?” Tony looked surprised, “I didn’t think he’d care. Oh and Lex called, he and Clark will be here tomorrow for the full meeting, Clark also spoke to Arthur, and Diana, they’re coming in too”

“And I’ve been on the phone with Victor and Barry, they said they’ll swing by” Dick said pouring more tea out for Bruce and taking a cup himself, “Will Strangeness be coming?”

“It’s Strange and yes he will!” Bruce said sounding scolding at the nickname Dick and Peter had come up for Stephen

“I hope he keeps his damn cloak to himself for once!” Tony grumbled “Bloody things always groping me!”

Bruce huffed a small laugh. Since Tony had fallen pregnant the Cloak of Levitation had taken a liking to Tony and proceeded to wrap itself about him every time they came into contact, the last time it had wrapped itself about Tony’s waist like a skirt and refused to let go until Stephen had threatened to leave it behind when he went back to the Sanctum!

“Well weird sentient cloak or not, with these fuckwits home things will be interesting to say the least” Dick said getting some cookies out of the cupboard and setting them on the counter, “We should probably enjoy the quiet while we can”.

Chapter Text

Clark and Lex were the first the arrive the following morning. Instead of using the Dragonfly jet, Lex caught a lift with Clark and was carried into the compound bridal style, looking completely had home in Superman’s arms!

Flash was not far behind the, showing up a few moments later and nearly ran straight into Peter before he could stop himself!

“Get some brakes man!” Spiderman cried webbing himself up to the ceiling just in time to avoid being knocked flying!

“Bite me Spider-brat!” Flash shot back dusting himself off

“It’s Spiderman!” Peter growled, “What’s you’re name again, Smash, Crash?”

“Oh I see everyone is being as friendly and helpful as ever!” A smug and long suffering voice said making both young men jump, Stephen Strange walked out of a portal and rolled his eyes at the pair

“FRIDAY send alert!” Peter stage whispered, “Stranger Danger, Stranger Danger!”

Stephen narrowed his eyes at Peter but did not deign to comment at the taunt!

“Who else is here?” Flash asked looking around the compound entrance

“Supes and Dragonfly flew in a while ago, Bruce and Tony were already here of course, Diana, Arthur, and Victor are on their way”

“Cool, is there food? I hope there’s food I’m completely starving!”.

 

*****

Thirty minutes later all of the Avengers and The Justice League were taking their seats around the conference table, the League, beside Tony, were all in full Costumes to shield their identities, which, in Diana’s case, earned her several heated looks from Sam and Bucky.

Tony was wearing the loosest pair of dress pants he owned, and the loosest suit jacket, teamed up with a borrowed shirt from Bruce, which, while much more comfortable about his breasts and waist, was too long in the arms and loose in the collar.

“You really should think about maternity wear” Bruce whispered into his ear as they took their seats, his voice was low and rasping, the voice modulator altering his speech so it would be unrecognisable to others.

“Not yet” Tony grumbled, “While I can still get my pants to fasten I don’t need elastic waist bands!”

“Even if you’re struggling to breathe?”

“Breathing is over-rated!”, beside them Lex snorted in amusement and Clark grinned at them both.

 

Steve was sat across the room from Tony, he felt the separation between them like a broad gulf. Before the Civil war, before Ultron, before everything went to hell Tony always sat beside him during in meetings. Now he sat apart from him, beside The Bat of Gotham and Night Wing.

The smile on Tony’s face and the soft laughter from their shared conversation that was too low for him to hear made his heart ache.

He wished Tony was at his side, was talking to him, smiling at him like that.

“Ah, Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome” Everett Ross and two other accord committee representatives came into the room and took their places at the table set up before the conference tables.

“I assume everyone knows why they are here?”

Wanda snorted and slumped down sulkily in her seat, “Because Stark betrayed us and sold us out!”

There came several collective groans from the Justice League at this and Peter was up from his chair in a second, “You take that back!” he yelled at her

“Or what?” she challenged, her eyes glowing red

“Or I’ll web you to the ceiling, Bitch!”

“Spidey!” Tony snapped, “Sit down, she isn’t worth it”

Wanda’s attention immediately turned to Tony and he flinched back at the sight of her blood red eyes, “How dare you?” she spat at him

“Stand down Miss Maximoff, now!” Wonder Woman ordered, beside her Carol was tensed and ready for a fight, likewise Natasha was tensed and ready, Bucky looked like he wanted to be back in Wakanda, and Steve looked stricken

“But Stark…!” Wanda began

“Mr Stark has done nothing, you are the instigator of this Miss Maximoff,” Stephen stated, “Now cease this hostility before you do something you may regret”

“Regret?” Wanda sneered, “You think I would regret…” she trailed off and gaped as The Cloak of Levitation lifted itself from Stephen’s shoulders, flew across the room and settled itself about Tony, wrapping him up like a burrito!

“For God Sake!” Tony groaned, “Strange! Your damn cloak is molesting me, Again!”

The humour of this broke the tension in the room, rather like a pin popping a balloon.

Lex snickered, “It’s worse than a randy dog humping your leg!”

“Maybe its part dog and is marking its territory?” Dick suggested

“I don’t know about that but it sure is Strange isn’t it?” Peter giggled sending Dick into a fit of giggles, Stephen pinched the bridge of his nose and concentrated on taking a deep steady breaths

Tony struggled in the Cloaks embrace, trying to get some wriggle room, but nope, it held on tight, apparently determined to keep him snuggled despite his struggles

“This is ridiculous!” he sighed looking to Bruce for help, the Bat rolled his eyes and made an attempt at getting Tony free, but the Cloak just slapped at his hands and seemed to shiver all over in a huffy gesture, rather like a cat shaking itself after batting off an irritation!

“I err, think we should get back to the matter at hand?” one of the representatives asked

“I think that would be wise!” Superman said struggling to keep the amusement off his face

Cheeks flushed pink with embarrassment Tony slumped in his seat safely contained in his molesting Cloak that he swore was nuzzling at his jaw with its collar!.

 

*****

The first half an hour of the meeting was taken up by making introductions between the teams. Aside from Carol Danvers, and Stephen Strange, the Justice league all chose to keep their identities private. Something that Steve was against stating that it was impossible to trust someone whom you didn’t know.

“We have to know each other if we are going to be working together!” he stated getting an approving nod from Natasha and another from Wilson

“Well our teams won’t be working together unless something globally apocalyptic happens, so that won’t be an issue.” Dragonfly said, his purple painted lips curving into a mocking smile

“But..,” Steve looked helplessly to Ross who was nodding his head

“The Justice League and The Avengers are separate entities, and will only work together in a time of extreme need”

“And the Justice league are all you guys?” Wilson asked looking them all over, he had to admit he was impressed, Superman could out match Thor any day of the week, Dragonfly, Batman, and Night Wing were notorious and formidable. They had all seen Dr Strange powers and Miss Marvels during the war with Thanos, and the abilities of Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and Flash.

“Our constant make up is Batman, Night-Wing, Dragonfly, Flash, Cyborg, Spiderman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman” Superman responded, “Our fringe members are Bruce Banner, AKA The Hulk, who will assist when absolutely necessary but would prefer not to be involved otherwise, as he is busy with his work, and acting as liaison with the Asgardians as they rebuild their society. Miss Marvel too will assist when needed but has duties with SWORD, and Dr Strange has his duties with The Sanctum”

“Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye, and Scott Lang, AKA Antman have made similar requests, to only be involved if and when strictly necessary with The Avengers as they have families to care for” Ross stated

“And just who is the leader of The Justice League?” Natasha demanded, “Stark?”, she threw a mocking look at Tony who didn’t so much as bat an eyelid at the jibe

“Mr Stark is taking a leave of absence from any all field duty, save for apocalyptic situations” Ross corrected, “War Machine/Iron Patriot will be replacing him in the field for this time”

“Only completely necessary” Rhodey piped up, “I am now Liaison to SWORD for The League”

“Of course Colonel” Batman stated “No one doubts your devotion to duty at all, it will be an honour to fight at your side if and when the time comes”

“Back atcha man!”

“As for the leader of our team?” Lex/Dragonfly asked, “That would be The Dark Knight and Superman, our joint leaders”.

“Now if that answers everyone’s questions can we please move on to your responsibilities as a UN sanctioned team, what you can expect from us and what will be expected from you?” Ross asked though it wasn’t really a question.

Steve sank back in his chair and let the man talk, only paying half attention to what was being said, his mind was focused on Leave of Absence from field duty. Why would Tony make such a request? Was he sick or injured somehow? Tony did not appear in pain at all, he didn’t really look sick either, a little pale maybe, and a little fatigued, but nothing out of the ordinary.

He vowed to speak with Tony as soon as the meeting ended. Maybe Tony was having doubts about being on a team made up of vigilantes and was rethinking the whole, leaving the avengers, or maybe he was working with the Accords on something else? Maybe he was working with SWORD? An ugly thought crossed Steve’s mind. What if Bruce Wayne was putting pressure on Tony to leave being Iron Man. As his Alpha he would have the ability to force the issue with Tony, an Omega’s natural instinct was to obey their Alpha, and while they could fight it and say no, it was difficult and physically uncomfortable if not down right painful for them to do so, since their entire being would be warring with them to submit and bare their necks before the Alpha.

Steve growled low in his throat, if Bruce Wayne was mistreating Tony in any way he would make the man suffer. Tony had made some mistakes in his life, was a difficult and volatile Omega who needed a lot of attention and probably a firm hand, but he did not deserve that.

“You alright Punk?” Bucky whispered to him quietly, “You’re growling!”

“I’m fine” Steve replied through clenched teeth, “Everything is fine”.

 

*****

By the time the meeting was ended Tony was desperate for the bathroom. The extra weight on his bladder was already making itself known and he tore off as soon as he was able, with the cloak swinging from his shoulders, still refusing to let him go despite his complaints!

Steve followed after him ignoring the frown that this earned him from his team who had cloistered together to discuss the meeting and the accords. Wanda was loudly protesting against most of it, stating that they were being victimized and bullied by the UN who were insisting upon being the ones to make the decision as of when action would be taken by the teams, and which team would be utilized.

They seemed determined to keep The Avengers in the states and only use The League for other countries, since the League had better reputations abroad than The Avengers did.

 

Tony was just coming out of the bathroom when Steve arrived and nearly walked into him. The cloak immediately lashed out and slapped at Steve to keep him away from it’s charge!

“For God sake!” Tony cried trying to calm the thing

“I don’t think it likes you much!” Flash said making them both jump as he just appeared from no where with Spiderman swinging behind him as fast as he could

“Boys, what did I say about using your abilities in the complex?” Tony sighed in complete exasperation

Both boys looked appropriately chastened, “Only in the training rooms!” they mumbled in unison

“Hey you two wait up!” came Night Wing’s unhappy call as he jogged down the hall after them, he paused beside Tony and Steve, “Everything alright?” he asked suspiciously

“Fine,” Tony said with a smile “If I need protection, Strange’s pervert cloak will see to it!”

“You’re sure?” Spiderman asked, hanging upside down from the ceiling in a position that made Tony’s delicate stomach churn

“Very!” he insisted averting his gaze

“Okay, lets hit the training room, I’ve got some energy to burn!”, he bounded off, crawling over the ceiling and Flash was gone in the blink of an eye, swearing Night Wing followed them at a jog.

 

“Can we talk?” Steve asked as soon as they were gone

“I believe we are both capable of verbal communication Rogers” Tony replied, “Be specific”

The ice in Tony’s tone made Steve flinch a little, but he swallowed the urge to snap back and kept his voice soft. “Why are you taking a leave of absence?”

“That’s private” Tony replied, a hand going to his stomach automatically, the Cloak lifted it’s hem and seemed to stroke his abdomen! “Heaven sakes you damn thing!” Tony cursed at it

“I’m just worried Tony!” Steve said, losing his cool a little now, “Are you alright?”

The smile Tony gave him was nothing short of beatific, “I have never been better in my life!” he replied, “Now if that is all, I need to get Strange to extract his pet from me!”, Steve opened his mouth to protest but Tony was already walking down the corridor, the cloak waving menacingly behind him in a obvious warning to Steve!

Sighing Steve slumped back against the wall and closed his eyes, looking at the ceiling when Spiderman had been hanging a few moments ago. So far nothing was going to plan, Tony was bonded to someone else, was off the field, and wouldn’t say more than a few words to him, everything he had hoped for in coming home was crumbling already, making him almost wish that he’d stayed in Wakanda, at least there he’d not had to face the grim reality of Tony not feeling the same, he could pretend to himself that there was a hope.

Well, maybe there was, unlikely, but maybe he could still win Tony from Wayne.

Straightening up, Steve tugged his shirt straight and headed for his room. He wasn’t fond of the internet but he did know how to use it, and all good strategies came from gathering intel, and the best way to learn about his adversary Bruce Wayne would be from the internet.

He would learn all there was to know about the man and then plan his defensive, and show Tony that he could and would be so much happier with him.

 

Also he supposed he should speak to Wanda about controlling her temper too, but that was a conversation for another time, the kid was dealing with great deal of upheaval and needed to be given time to adjust first.

Besides, Steve was too distracted with thoughts of Tony and Bruce right now to focus on Wanda, so it would better if he left it for another time.

Chapter Text

Compound

 

There were plenty of biography’s written on Bruce Wayne on the internet. One simply had to type in the name and nearly two hundred pages with various articles came up.

The first thing Steve learned about was the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Their shooting in front of a twelve year old Bruce orphaning him, and leaving him under the care of the family Butler, Alfred Pennyworth, whom Steve learned still lived and worked for Bruce Wayne.

There were several stories about his childhood following that. His brushes against the criminals who went on to become Gotham’s Super Villains. Edward Nygma AKA The Riddler, Jerome Valeska AKA The Joker, Oswald Cobblepot AKA The Penguin, The tragic Harvey Dent who’s horrific injuries drove him to have a psychotic break down and become Two Face.

The young Wayne’s continued friendship with Commissioner James Gordon who had been Detective Gordon and had been in charge of The Wayne’s murder case.

 

Were Steve just to read about this, about the many charity organizations Wayne had set up, the refuges for the street kids of Gotham, the support for the victims of violent crimes, to name but a few, then Steve would think Wayne a survivor of a horrific tragedy that he likened to Wanda, someone who’d injured the worst the world had to throw at them and come through it intact.

But, of course this was not all he read on Wayne.

He went on to read about the Wayne’s wild youth at collage where he had met Tony, the beginning of their decidedly stormy relationship that was on and off until 95 when after a massive fight that had left both of them in need of medical attention, and the police being called to the hotel they had been staying in, they parted company, seemingly for good, and for a time Wayne disappeared practically off the face of the earth. For nearly eight years he vanished, only to reappear in Gotham in 2002 with no explanation as to where he’d been or what he’d been doing.

A resurgence of Wayne’s relationship with Tony followed shortly thereafter but did not last long, while neither were violent to other anymore, there were many public and vitriolic arguments that had been well publicised.
For three years the two of them went back and forth, seeming blissfully happy for a while only to be found having screaming matches at each other a short while later.

It was shortly after Wayne took in the orphaned Richard (Dick) Grayson following the death of his parents at the hands of Two Face in 2005 that Tony and Bruce had parted company for good.

When asked at the time, both had said that they felt their feelings for each other were to strong and too volatile to be able to provide a healthy environment for a child.

They had kept in touch however, Wayne visited Tony in Malibu as soon as he returned from Afghanistan, had supported Stark Industry’s when Tony had been making the switch from Weapons manufacturing to Clean Energy.

 

What attracted Steve’s attention the most, and what he read with avid attention and growing anger, were the reports of Wayne’s playboy proclivities, his drunken antics, how he purchased a hotel after getting into a water feature with a couple of good time girls to avoid getting thrown out, how he burned down his own mansion which had to be rebuilt!

The man was clearly unstable, dangerous even. Why anyone thought he was safe to have around that boy Grayson, Steve had no idea. He suspected that Wayne had bought off the judges to gain custody of the boy.

He didn’t like the thought of Tony being with such a man, such a volatile and violent Alpha. Yes Tony could hold his own, but he would be no match against Wayne who could use his Alpha strength against the Omega, over power him easily.

Closing the articles Steve sat back against the pillows on his bed and tapped his fingers against his lips thoughtfully.

Tony didn’t appear injured in anyway, but bruises could be covered up, or in places that couldn’t be seen, he could be suffering in silence. He didn’t look well, he was pale and drawn, looking tired and sickly. A toxic bond could cause sickness in Omega’s, Steve had seen it before, seen plenty of down trodden and broken Omega’s back in his youth, trapped in violent relationships that were wearing them down, making them sick.

Tony could be suffering the same, could be desperate for help, but as always his pride was too great to ask for it.

Yes, that was just like Tony, he’d suffer in silence, not reach out and ask for what he desperately needed.

 

Well, Steve wouldn’t let him suffer, he’d save Tony, even if he had to kill Wayne to do it. Tony deserved better than to be locked in an abusive relationship, and Steve would make damn sure that he got it.

 

*****

 

Tony and Bruce awoke snuggled in Tony’s bed in the compound to the sight of several names webbed across the ceiling that could only have come from Peter sometime during the night.

Patrick, Patricia, Paul, Paula, Percy, Prue, Payton, Patience, Paris, and Portia!

“Oh for love of God!” Bruce groaned rolling his eyes, “I’ll string the little brat up by his own webbing!”

“Like that’ll stop him!” Tony muttered, he moved to kiss Bruce, maybe to initiate something a little more playful, but then his face paled and he scooted from the bed making a dash for the bathroom, sounds of retching followed a few moments later making Bruce cringe in sympathy, he’d be glad when the morning sickness finally passed and he wasn’t the one suffering!

 

“I hate you!” Tony yelled from the bathroom as he flushed the toilet, “I wish your balls and knot would shrivel up and drop off!”

This was not even close to the worst insult Tony had thrown his way after a bout of morning sickness and Bruce was not effected in the least. Getting out of bed he followed his mate into the bathroom, finding Tony brushing his teeth clean,

“This will pass soon,” he said planting a kiss on Tony’s head and went to start the shower running

“Yes,” Tony agreed as soon as he spat out the tooth paste, “But by then I’ll be having trouble reaching the sink, and tables, and bending down, or doing anything because my stomach will be sticking out so much!”

“Yes,” Bruce growled wrapping his arms about Tony and placing his palms over the small roundness of his stomach, “And by then you’ll no doubt be complaining about swollen ankles, backache, cravings…,”

“Don’t forget the stretch marks!” Tony added to list, “For which I am blaming you entirely, in fact I will be blaming you for all of it, every stretch mark, every added pound, all the backache and swollen ankles, and cravings!”, even as he said it Tony was grinning, his eyes meeting Bruce’s in the mirror over the sink, “Are you still going to want me when I’m the size of a house, waddling instead of walking, and complaining all the time?”

“You complain all the time now!” Bruce snorted pressing several kisses down Tony’s throat “and I’ll love you and want you no matter what,”

“Hmm, I’ll remind you of that in two or three months time when we’re struggling to fit into a bed together!” Tony murmured closing his eyes and leaning back into Bruce’s embrace

“And I’ll remind you of it everyday,” Bruce whispered into his ear before sweeping Tony up off his feet and carrying him into the shower with Tony’s laughter trailing behind them.

 

*****

 

There were fewer people in the compound that morning, Batman, Dragonfly, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Captain Marvel, and Dr Strange had all left the compound.

This left only Spiderman, Nightwing, Rhodes, and Tony as the Justice League personal in the building.

“The fewer the better,” Was Natasha’s opinion at breakfast, since there were so many people for breakfast a veritable feast had been cooked up, pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausages, eggs, toast, and cereals all lay across the kitchen counter along with pots of coffee, milk, and juice for people to choose from.

Rhodes sat separate from the Avengers with Spiderman and Nightwing ignoring the playful mockery that was going on between the pair, and food fight they had going, trying to hit each other with balled up bits of bread and failing as the other caught it too easily, Flash appeared out of nowhere and began filling a plate with enough food to feed both Steve and Bucky before going to join the other Justice League members and began to stuff food into his mouth at an alarming rate.

“Didn’t your parents teach you any table manners?” Sam asked as Flash barely swallowed one mouthful before shovelling another in

“Nah, my Mum was killed when I was kid, my Dad was framed for it so I got dumped in fuckin’ foster care where no one gave a fuck ‘bout me or anything but the government checks!” Flash snapped back

Had his skin not been so dark then Sam would probably have flushed in embarrassment

“He was only asking,” Wanda growled, “There’s no need to get nasty,”

Nightwing snorted and turned on his stool to gaze at her incredulously, “That’s rich coming from you!” he sneered, “One mention of your Brother, of your Long dead parents and you start blowing holes in walls!”

“Or floors!” Spiderman threw in, Vision was conspicuously absent from breakfast, still not liking the kitchen area, unsurprisingly

Wanda’s eyes flashed in anger, “How dare you?”

“Oh God you lot aren’t starting a bitch fight at this hour are you?”

Tony’s voice broke the tension, and Steve brightened a little only to deflate when the Billionaire walked in accompanied by Bruce who had an arm about his waist

For a moment no one said anything, then all of the Justice League were moving, hustling Tony to a chair with uncharacteristic chivalrousness,

“How are you this morning?” Nightwing asked “Feeling alright?”

“Did you sleep well?” Spiderman asked and got an eyeballing from Tony

“Surprisingly since it seems a rather large Spider was crawling about on our ceiling during the night and left us something to remember him by!”

The Spider in question was no doubt flushing under his mask and began shifting from foot to foot, “Well you see Mr Stark I was just…I had some really good ideas and I had to tell you right away and I didn’t want to wake you so I just…well you know left them on the ceiling, and you can just peel them down, though maybe Mr Wayne should do that considering your umm, well you know, and…”

“Kid for God sake shut up!” Rhodey groaned massaging his temples, “It’s too early in the morning for this shit!”

“Hear, hear!” Flash applauded, “And people say I run off at the mouth!”

“You do!” Nightwing shot back at him, then turned a glare on Spiderman, “Just what ideas were left on the ceiling?” he asked sounding like he already had a fairly good idea

Spiderman put his nose in the air, “That’s for me to know you Mr Wayne and Mr Stark to choose from!”

Bruce, who was filling a couple of plates with breakfast food let out an amused sounding laugh at that

“Don’t forget the strawberry jam!” Tony said to Bruce who rolled his eyes

“As if I would!” Bruce replied making sure to pick up the pot and carried it over to the table, he left the plates and went back to the counter pouring one coffee, and surprising everyone by the fact he chose juice for Tony instead of coffee when everyone knew Tony practically lived off the stuff!

He’d never had a great taste for strawberry jam as far as Steve could recall, yet he was slathering it over his waffles as if he couldn’t get enough of it!

“That’ll do your diet good!” Natasha muttered just loud enough to be heard

Tony took a deep breath and grit his teeth refusing from snarling back a comment of his own, Bruce rose up higher in his seat and Steve saw him slip hand under the table which he placed on Tony’s knee.

Flash however was not as restrained and snarled back at Natasha furiously

“He isn’t fat you blind bitch he’s pregnant!”

Chapter Text

Silence followed Flashes outburst with everyone staring in shock at Tony or annoyance at Flash.

Then, almost in unison Tony’s head hit the table at the same moment as Bruce and Rhodey’s hands slapped Flash upside the head!

“You idiot!” Spiderman said

“Why’d you have to open your big mouth?” Nightwing groaned

Flash slumped in his seat looking down at his plate, “Sorry” he mumbled, “It just sort of slipped out!”

“You are so off the God Father list!” Tony ground out, slowly lifting his head, “Ten more weeks! Just ten more weeks and I’d have told everyone, but no, blabber mouth can’t put a sock in it!”

“Sorry!” Flash mumbled rather redundantly.

 

From across the kitchen Steve stared. His mouth was hanging slightly open in shock.

Tony was pregnant, he wasn’t sick, he wasn’t suffering some kind of toxic bond, he was carrying pups.

All of his thoughts, all of his hopes seemed to fall away. He saw his happy vision of Tony being his being shattered into a thousand pieces as if a fist had been punched into a mirror.

Tony was bonded to Bruce Wayne and was having his Pups.

 

While he was lost in a melancholic silence the other Avengers were not so dumbstruck and began to voice their opinions loudly and explicitly.

“Pregnant?” Natasha said “At your age?”

“He’s not that old” Bruce snapped, turning round to give the black widow a dark look

“Old for a first litter,” Sam said with a frown, “This won’t be easy on you Tony, and the Pup…”

“The Pups are exceptionally well,” Bruce ground out resting a hand over Tony’s rounded stomach and the other he placed on Tony’s shoulder, wrapping an arm about him to hold him close, shielding him from the verbal blows coming from the Avengers.

“Pups?” Natasha repeated, “As in plural?”

“Indeed, we’re having twins.” Bruce stated proudly

“Congratulations.” Bucky said as Wanda’s plate and glass of juice hit the floor and shattered making everyone jump.

 

“Wanda?” Steve asked seeing the red film over her eyes, but Wanda’s gaze was fixed upon Tony who had shrunk down in his seat a look of terror on his face at Wanda’s fury.

“How dare you?” she spat glowering at him, “What right have you to have to have twins when you murdered my twin?” she roared and every glass in the kitchen shattered into shards that flew out making everyone leap away to avoid being sliced up by the glass

Bruce wrapped his arms about Tony and hustled him against the wall, shielding him with own body from the glass that glanced off his back, several cutting into his skin in thin shallow lacerations.

“Christ almighty!” Rhodey snarled
“You psycho bitch!” Spidey snapped from the ceiling where he had webbed himself and Nighwing, Flash had ducked beneath the table pulling Rhodey with him, as soon as the glass had fallen still they both leaped to Tony’s side to check that he was unharmed

“The Pups!” Tony whispered, and it was only because of Steve’s super soldier hearing that he heard him

“They’re fine.” Bruce said placing his hands over Tony’s belly, “You’re fine, and they’re fine.”

Tony shook his head his breathing too rapid, his whole body shaking in fear, “What if they’re not?” he whispered clasping his hands about Bruce’s “What if there’s something wrong?”

“Of course there’s something wrong with them?” Wanda snarled, “They’re inside you!”

Tony crumpled all the more, seeming to shrink in on himself at her vitriol which continued to spew forth.

“Nothing good can come from you Stark, only destruction, misery and death!”

“You shut up!” NightWing spat at her flanked by Spider Man and Flash, Rhodey would likely be beside them too but his focus was on Tony right now and trying to keep him from having a full blown panic attack

“You bring nothing but death Stark!” Wanda sneered, “Everything you touch wilts and dies. Those Pups inside you don’t stand a chance, they will shrivel up and die before they take a single breath outside the darkness of your poisonous womb!”

“SHUT UP!”

The roar came Bruce and Spiderman lunged for Wanda, shooting webs from his wrists which splattered over her face, silencing her mouth and covering her eyes, thus blinding and muting her. She fell back with a strangled cry and Spider Man was on her in an instant, encasing her in a full body webbing that rendered her incapable of moving in inch!

“That’s enough!” Natasha shouted banging her fist on the kitchen counter bringing silence to the room.

 

For a second everyone froze, then Bruce swept Tony up into his arms and carried him from the kitchen like a bride uncaring about the blood seeping into his shirt from the cuts on his back.

Bucky too slipped from the kitchen, drifting away like a ghost without a single word.

Steve needed to get a handle on the situation that he could see was rapidly getting out of hand. He couldn’t think about Tony right now, about the pain that was clamping about his heart over the news of the pregnancy, he had to be the Captain of the Avengers, the Field Commander and great leader that he truly was.

“Alright,” he said, “Everyone calm down…”

“Calm that crazy bitch down and go fuck yourself!” Flash snarled at him, “I’m gonna check on Tony and Bruce.”

“Me too,” Night Wing stated giving the Avenger’s a glare that would have done Batman proud, “If that bitch tries to hurt him and the Pups again, then I promise the body will never be found!” putting an arm about Spiderman’s narrow shoulders he led the younger man away. On the floor Wanda screamed and writhed in her webbed net trying to get free and failing miserably.

Rhodes turned a steely gaze upon Steve and the others he looked truly furious and ready get the War Machine armour and blast them all to Kingdom come!.

“You take this as your one and only warning Rogers” he growled, “You get this rabble under control, you keep them civil and respectful about Tony or I swear to you, you will wish that you remained buried in the Ice!”

“Now Colonel…” Sam began but Rhodey was already walking out the door leaving the Avengers alone in the kitchen.

Wanda screamed again and kicked her bound legs in desperation to get free!

“Damnit!” Sam muttered grabbing a knife from the counter and bent down to start cutting through the webbing to get her free

Steve ran his hands over his face and into his hair trying to process everything that was happening, Tony’s pregnancy, Wanda’s reactions. How could this be happening? Tony wasn’t meant to be pregnant, not by anyone other than him!. The thought took Steve by surprise, he’d never really given thought to getting Tony Pupped, had thought him too old to be honest, and their professions did not tend towards raising families, but now the thought of having Pups with Tony filled his mind. Thoughts of Tony swollen heavy with their litter, of beautiful golden skinned fair haired Pups with bright eyes and cheeky smiles filled his mind.

He was himself and Tony in the nest, new born Pups in their arms, tiny limbs red and wrinkled, impossibly small hands curling around their fingers, and rose petal lips parting to let out cries or little huffs of air.

That was what he wanted, that was how this was meant to be!

“I hate him!” Wanda snarled as she was finally freed from her cocoon, “He doesn’t deserve a family, not when he destroyed mine!”

“Oh leave off will you?” Sam groaned getting to his feet, “And for God sake get your party tricks under control so we don’t all end up cut to ribbons!”

Wanda let out a snarl of impotent fury and set about peeling the webbing from her hair and skin.

“He’s unlikely to go to term” Natasha said coldly, “His age is against him, his health too, he’ll probably deliver prematurely or miscarry,” she shrugged, “That’s probably why he hasn’t said anything to the media yet. Or because they know the truth.”

“What truth?” Steve asked in a hoarse voice

Natasha rose an eyebrow at Steve her expression impassive, “That he is completely unfit to be a parent of course”

Steve bit the inside of his lips falling silent again, Natasha had a point, Tony probably wouldn’t go to term, and then maybe the loss would tear him and Bruce apart and in the wake of the grief he could offer Tony comfort and…well, who knew what would happen from there?

 

*****

 

“She’s going to hurt them, she’ll hurt them to get at me, she’ll kill them I know it I know it!”

Tony was babbling hysterically as Bruce carried him to med bay and lay him down on the examination table.

“What happened?” Vision asked fazing through the walls having been alerted by Friday

“That Hydra bitch happened” Bruce snarled as he tried to get Tony to calm down

“Please make sure they’re okay!” Tony begged frantically, “She could have done something, they could be…” he broke off as a sob broke free from his throat

“It’ll be fine Tony I promise” Bruce said kissing his forehead, he looked to Vision, “Can you use an Ultrasound Machine?”

“I believe so, yes” Vision replied moving to bring the instrument over to examine Tony and hopefully set his mind at ease. He had known of Tony’s pregnancy, but had remained silent respecting the Billionaires wishes to keeping it secret for a time. He was also unsurprised that Wanda had lashed out, if she had discovered the pregnancy then she was not likely to be happy about it for obvious reasons, meaning he would have to keep a much closer watch on her to ensure Tony’s safety and that of the Pups.

 

In the short time it took for Bruce to help Tony get his shirt rolled up and trousers undone and rolled down, Dick, Barry, Peter, and Rhodey were all in the Med Bay to check on him and crowded round the side of the bed behind Bruce to watch the scan.

“I believe I have it” Vision said moving the scanner over Tony’s belly and finding the uterus, slowly an image formed on the monitor of two foetuses nestled inside Tony. The groups untrained eyes couldn’t tell much, just the basic shapes of the bodies and the beating of the tiny hearts.

“They look find to me” Rhodey said a smile curving his lips

“Indeed they do,” Vision agreed, “If memory serves on what I have read on foetal development of Alpha/Omega Pups then they are perfectly average for fourteen to fifteen weeks, no signs of distress or anything abnormal at all.”

“See?” Bruce said with a smile and kiss to Tony’s cheek “They’re fine”

“They are,” Tony whispered staring at the screen with rapt attention “They are”

“And we’ll make damn sure that bitch doesn’t get a chance to repeat that!” Peter growled “No one is hurting baby Peter and baby Patrick!”

“You mean baby Richard and baby Robert don’t you?” Dick said

“Barry’s a good name!” Flash piped up only to be slapped upside the head by both Dick and Peter making him yelp, “Why is everyone so mean!?”

 

Ignoring the bickering trio Bruce held Tony’s hands which were resting just above his belly that Vision was carefully wiping clean of the gel he’d used for the scan.

“Everything’s going to be alright now” he promised, “Nothing is going to happen to our Pups, I won’t let it”

“But what if…” Bruce cut Tony off, placing a kiss on his lips,

“No buts, everything will be fine”

“I believe someone should take a look at your back while you are here Mr Wayne?” Vision suggested making everyone aware of the blood over Bruce’s shirt, Tony reacted first

“Shit Rue why didn’t you say anything?” he sat up and began to try and hustle Bruce up onto the bed while untucking his shirt

“It’s just a few scratches!” Bruce protested, but it was futile as Dick, the little shit, began to assist Tony and he found himself sat on a stool bent forward over the bed having his back examined by Vision, disinfected, and some sticking plasters placed over the deeper of the cuts which were thankfully only surface wounds which would heal quickly.

 

What would not be so easily dealt with was Wanda, and the rest of the Avengers. But while they were a pain in the arse Wanda was the real threat, there was no telling what her powers could do to the Pups in the uterus if she could cause a miscarriage, and she was just twisted enough to do it. Tony would be destroyed by that, he’d never get over the grief, no doubt what the bitch would be counting on.

While they might be talking casually now, joking about names, and teasing each other, all of the League knew that they’d be having a serious conversation about Wanda at a later date, and would have to come up with some kind of way to protect Tony and the Pups from her even if it meant dealing with her once and for all.

Chapter Text

With Tony still so agitated Bruce decided it would best if they both went back to Gotham rather than remain in the compound. Also, he did not want Tony around Wanda anymore than absolutely necessary.

Flash took off shortly after they left, leaving just Dick and Peter as the only League members in the compound aside from Rhodey who had a mass of paper work and phone calls to deal with.

As both of them were more than a little wound up and needed to burn some energy they went to make use of one of the training rooms.

They started with Thai Chi to warm their bodies up and loosen their muscles before moving into actual sparring.

While Peter had superior agility, speed, and of course webbing, Dick had years of experience in fighting and his training as an aerialist so he was able to hold his own against Spiderman, and gave him tips on his fighting styles.

Peter’s main method of fighting was to web someone before they had the chance to fight back, or to move too fast for them to catch him, he had no real fighting disciplines and his punches and kicks were sloppy, leaving his wide open to attack and far too easy to counter move.

 

“Now when you throw a punch remember keep your thumb out of your fist or you’ll break it,” Dick said breathing a little heavily and continuing to bounce on the balls of his feet to keep his muscles warm, “And punch from your shoulder not your wrist, let all your strength come from your shoulder”

“Like this?”, Peter took a swing hitting Dick’s open palm that he held up as a target

“Yep, remember you take a swing its to put someone down, and once you put them down you want them to stay down”

“Webbing people usually makes that happen!” Peter said continuing to throw punches at Dick, switching his hands from left to right and back again

“Yes, but you should be able to defend yourself without needing to use the webbing, you shouldn’t have to rely on that alone”

“Worked on that psycho witch bitch” Peter sniped, then grinned, “Bet it’ll work on you too!” he held his hand up and shot webbing out at Dick intending to wrap him up in it, but Dick moved faster than he’d anticipated, dodging the webbing, grabbed Peter’s wrist, with a single kick he swept the younger man’s legs out from under him, twisted Peter’s wrist behind his back and had him pinned to the floor.

“You were saying?” he drawled leaning over Peter to whisper in his ear

“Oh screw you!” Peter shot back squirming beneath Dick’s weight, “Get off me will you!”

“Make me!”

Dick quickly regretted saying that as Peter employed his super strength, flipping their positions so he found himself on his back with Peter sitting on his groin looking smug

“How’s that Wings?” he asked

“Nice shot web head!” Dick grumbled then grinned, “Though I can’t say that I mind you being right there!”, he bucked his hips slightly making Peter’s breath hitch and his cheeks redden beneath the mask he wore,

“Dick!” he hissed quietly

“Relax Pete no one can see us” Dick soothed, he hooked a finger into the Spiderman suit and pulled Peter down for a kiss. Peter let out a whining sound, his hands shaking a little as they found their way to Dick’s shoulders, holding him and letting him take the lead. Peter was a virgin, hadn’t been with a woman let alone a man, but Dick wasn’t rushing anything, was taking his time, letting Peter grow more confident before they took things any further than kissing.

“Hmm, when you said we should train I didn’t think this was what you had in mind!” Peter chuckled

“Ah well, like Bruce always says, you have to be prepared for every eventuality!” Dick said with mock seriousness, he and Peter eyeballed each other for several minutes before bursting into laughter. After trading a few more kisses they got back to their feet to do some actual training with Dick guiding Peter through being able to counter the move he’d pulled on him and how to get people into holds they wouldn’t break from easily.

 

“You know what I think?” Dick asked as he ducked beneath a high kick

“No and I’m not sure I want to!”

“Bite me Spiderbrat! I’m thinking that Sabrina the teenage bitch needs some pay back for upsetting our GodPups Mamma!”

“Payback?”, Peter’s eyes shone brightly “Now that sounds like a whole lot of fun”

 

*****

 

Gotham

 

The room right next door to Bruce and Tony’s had been storage room, containing free standing mirrors, a couple of arm chairs, and painting covered over in sheets.

“The room is south facing so it’ll get plenty of sunlight” Bruce said opening the curtains which released a good deal of dust into the air, he undid the catches and opened the windows to let the air in, pausing to look at the wide windowsill, “With some work we could make some nice window seats.”

“And put a rocking chair between them,” Tony said looking round the room, “The nest and cribs over there?”, he pointed to the far right of the room where there was an alcove that would be perfect to have a canopy fitted over the whelping bed and the cribs.

Omegas generally did not go into hospital to deliver. The last six weeks of the pregnancies were spent in the nest where they would give birth and remain with the Pups for the first six weeks. Centuries past Beta women had copied the practise spending twelve weeks of laying in, encouraged by midwives and doctors to do so as it was thought it was beneficial for the baby. In truth it did nothing for either except make the Mother more vulnerable to infection as the room would be boarded shut with a fire blazing even in the height of summer!

For Omegas the six week laying in was more complicated and completely necessary.

As Pups were bigger than babies an Omega had to dilate more than a Beta woman or the birth would be impossible without medical intervention, before caesareans many Beta women had died struggling to deliver a Pup that was just too big for their body to push out.

During the last six weeks of gestation an Omega’s pelvis would separate into two halves with only the muscle and tendons holding their lower anatomy together. This ensured that the Pups would have enough space to move through the birth canal to be delivered. For the six weeks following the birth the Omega would be bed bound until their pelvis had re-joined.

For those twelve weeks the Omega would be dependant on their Alpha, would rely on them for everything, which made the need to have the right bond mate all the more important.

Bruce was both looking forward to and dreading the laying in period.

He was looking forward to pampering Tony, to caring for him and providing for him, but he was also dreading the pain that Tony would have to endure. The separation of the pelvis was not without discomfort and neither was the re-joining, also Tony’s age meant that he was at greater risk of his pelvis being permanently damaged, his bones were not as strong nor his muscles as supple as a younger Omegas, his pelvis may be too brittle to separate properly which would mean he would have to have medical intervention, and even if it did separate there was a greater risk of it not re-joining, if that happened Tony would have to undergo very painful invasive surgery to pin it back into place. He’d need months of healing and may be permanently damaged.

Already the Doctors were suggesting an elective caesarean to be performed at thirty seven weeks, (Early full term). Bruce was fine with that, while he didn’t want Tony to have an operation he did prefer this to Tony being crippled for life.

Tony however wouldn’t hear of it, wouldn’t risk his Pups being born premature no matter what the risk to his own health.
Wrapping his large scarred and calloused hands about Tony’s narrow hips Bruce pushed his nose into Tony’s hair and breathed in the heady scent of his pheromones. Since becoming pregnant, Tony’s scent had changed, grown sweeter and more heady, like the musk of honeysuckle in the warm summer air.

“Any ideas on the colour you want the nursery painting?” he asked Tony

“Not really, keep away from blue and pink, we could have one of each and they are so cliché.”

Bruce smiled into Tony’s hair and moved his hands to wrap them over Tony’s abdomen gently stroking the small bulge.

“No pink or blue,” he agreed, “How about Iron Man themed?”

Tony snorted and turned his head to look at Bruce, “What, Gold and Red?” he asked

“No, they make nursery wall paper with Iron Man on it, looks kind of cute, makes you look like one of those chibi things!”

Tony groaned and rolled his eyes, “Lets not, or, maybe just one wall!”

Bruce snickered and held Tony tighter, “One wall in Iron Man wall paper, the rest, maybe in yellow?”

“Sounds good,” Tony agreed, he sighed, “I guess we should get to the baby store, we need to buy the cribs, the whelping bed, changing mats, baby baths, clothes, nappies, fuck we are gonna need like an entire room full of nappies, I read somewhere that Babies and Pups need changing up to ten times a day!”

“Ten? Not even a horse produces that much shit!”

“Hey!” Tony protested, turning round in Bruce’s arms so they were facing each other, “No swearing, not in front of the Pups!”

“They can’t hear us!” Bruce laughed

“How do you know?” Tony challenged, “They say that Pups can hear voices in the womb!, you don’t want them picking up bad habits do you?”

Bruce appeared to consider this and shrugged, “I guess sex in the nursery is out too then!”

Tony’s eyes lit up, “Well it does need Christening!”.

 

******

 

Tony was going to bed earlier these days, making sure he got at least five hours sleep at night. Not much for most people, but considering he was a life long insomniac he was doing pretty well to sleep for that long.

 

Bruce tended to join him in bed later, sometimes going on patrol, other times he was working.

Tonight however he was making a multi-way video conference with the other members of the Justice League.

 

“So that Hydra bitch attacked him?” Arthur snarled slamming his fist in to the table his laptop rested on, courtesy of Bruce, as was the single room in the Inn that they had met in so Arthur would have a place to stay on dry land.

“Not directly no,” Bruce said with a sigh, “She lost control of her powers, lashed out at the whole room, shattered glasses and sent it flying.”

Diana shook her head her expression troubled, “She has a great deal of power that she has no respect for, that makes her dangerous to anyone around her, not just to Tony, though he is the recipient of her anger.”

“She’s a fucked up psycho bitch!” Peter snapped

“Language child!” Diana scolded making him blush

Stephen sighed, “I assume that you called this conference because you want to do something with her?”

“Or too her hopefully!” Dick grunted

Bruce scratched the back of his head and looked hopefully at Stephen, “Magic is not my area of expertise, that is your department, so I am hoping that you will have some idea of what to do with her, some way of putting a leash on her, or better still removing her powers completely!”

“Oh fuck yeah!” Flash cheered “Strip the bitch, she’ll be no trouble then!”

“No, but your big mouth still will be!” Lex sighed pinching the bridge of his nose and winced as it was bruised, as were his eyes, clearly patrol of metropolis had been eventful for him, a blur of colour appeared behind him and suddenly Clark in Super Man costume

“You’re late!” Arthur accused

“Busy night” Clark replied

“Hey baby!” Lex greeted tipping his head back to kiss Clark, “Did your drop those pricks off with the cops okay?”

“Perfectly,” Clark replied, “I got delayed on the way back as I had to help a couple in a car crash, the fuel line was gone and it was going to explode so I got them out!”

“Hmm my hero!” Lex purred looking smug as he looked back at Arthur, “See? He has a good reason for being delayed, where you would just be out on the piss or making out with dolphins!”

Flash, who had just taken a mouthful of hot chocolate ended up spraying the screen of his computer as he choked on laughter, Peter and Dick were in no better states, Victor was trying not to laugh, Diana had one of her patented “Why do I work with children?” looks, Rhodey just shook his head as did Carol, Stephen rolled his eyes and exchanged a glance with Bruce, a long suffering glance.

“Could we perhaps get back on topic?” Bruce asked with a sigh

“Sounds like a good idea,” Rhodey agreed

Arthur just shot Lex death glares!

“Honestly I don’t know what to do I’m afraid,” Stephen admitted, looking very much like he’d rather be chewing on glass than admit he didn’t know something, “Striping a person of their powers is not something I have a great deal of experience with, I will need to speak with Wong first before attempting anything.”

“Would the Thunder Gods brother be of any help?” Lex suggested, “I know he’s a dick,” he grinned, “No offence Dick!, But maybe he could help?”

Stephen didn’t look happy about this but nodded his head

“Alright then,” Bruce said, “In the mean time I think we should make sure that Tony is never alone in Miss Maximoff’s presence, or any of the Avengers for that matter”

“No problem” Dick agreed readily, “We’ll tag team, one or two of us with him at all times”

Lex rolled his eyes, “He’s gonna love that!”

“To say the least” Bruce agreed with a heavy sigh, running a hand over his face he stifled a yawn, “Lets call it a night,” he said rising up from his chair

“I’ll call as soon as I have news,” Stephen said

“And we’ll stay in contact and keep updated on this situation” Diana stated, she smiled to Bruce, “Remember to take care of yourself as well as Tony”

He gave her a rueful smile, “I will” he assured her, bidding goodnight to everyone he ended the call and went up to join Tony in bed.

 

Tony was curled up on his side, with an arm under the pillow, the perfect position for Bruce to slide in and wrap about him in spoons, and place his hands on the small bump of Tony’s abdomen, “…Rue?” Tony sleepily mumbled

“Sshh go to sleep honey,” Bruce said kissing his cheek “I love you,”

“You too,” Tony mumbled and burrowed into the pillow settling back into sleep.

Chapter Text

Tony could hear the sound of pups crying, hear their plaintive desperate cries seeking help from an adult.

He was laying in a bed with a body that felt like lead.

It took everything he’d got to drag himself from the bed and the moment he stood up he fell to the ground, his legs giving out from under him.

Laying face down on the ground Tony shivered, the air was surprisingly cold, and there was the scent of burned rubble in the air, mingled with blood and smoke.

“Tony!”

“Bruce?” Tony whispered looking up from the ground which instead of a carpeted floor was not torn up and charred earth, all around him was devastation, it looked like a nuclear holocaust, the aftermath of an apocalypse.

The crying grew louder and more desperate as the Pups grew more hungry or cold, or whatever it was that making them cry.

“Tony!” again Bruce called his name, his voice sounding fainter, as if he were growing weak.

 

Planting his hands on the ground Tony forced himself to his feet and began to slowly make his way through the debris and, oh God, the bodies!.

There were bodies everywhere, people he didn’t know, innocents, civilians laying in the hundreds with their eyes all turned towards him, accusing him with their vacant stares. But they weren’t as bad as the bodies of those he did know.

Peter, the poor kid lay in broken and mangled heap on the ground, Rhodey beside him, his spine snapped completely in half now, his head resting between his feet as if he were some kind of toy a destructive child had broken. Near them were Diana and Arthur. Diana’s neck had been broken and Arthur had been impaled upon his trident. Close by were Lex and Clark, Lex’s chest had been torn upon and an arm severed at the elbow, Clark had kryptonite rammed through his chest puncturing his heart.

Tears blurred Tony’s vision was he picked his way past them, sobs escaping his mouth as he went.

“Tony!”, Bruce’s voice was weak now, he sounded like he was struggling to breathe, was fighting for every breath.

“I’m coming!” Tony choked out letting out a hoarse cry at the sight of Barry with his legs torn off at the hips, Victor laying near him dismantled, and Carol decapitated, her head laying a foot from her body.

“Tony Please!”

Tony forced himself to walk on, to go past Strange who’s arms had been severed and his throat cut, then he came upon Dick and Alfred, the Older man had been torn in half, his legs and lower abdomen laying separate from his upper body. Dick had his skull smashed in like a soft boiled egg, his brain crushed beneath the shattered bone.

Clamping a hand over his mouth to stifle his sobs Tony pressed on, stepping over Alfred and nearly slipping in the river of blood that had poured from his body.

Smoke blurred his vision, and Tony heard voice whispering around him, voices of those he knew,

“It’s all your fault Tony,”

“Why didn’t you stop it?”

“You could have done better.”

“All you cause is destruction.”

“You are a useless boy, a pitiful excuse for an heir!”, Tony cringed at Howard’s cruel words that he had heard so many times during his childhood, “A weak snivelling and simple minded Omega, good for nothing but breeding. I tell you whelp the second you are of age I am getting you married off to the first Alpha that’ll have you, at least then you’ll be their problem and not mine!”

That rant had been a common one through out Tony’s childhood and adolescence. Howard had been a difficult man to please and he certainly hadn’t been pleased when his only offspring had been born an Omega Male instead of an Alpha or Beta Male. He had wanted an heir to leave Stark industries to, someone he deemed “Worthy” and having been born in 1917, a time when Omegas and Beta Women were second class to Alphas and Beta Men, only the latter would be worthy as Heir or Heiress in his eyes, not the former.

Nothing Tony did was ever good enough in his eyes, the fact he’d been reading and writing with accuracy at two years old, had been fluent in English, French, Italian, and could get by in German by the age of three did nothing to impress the man. Nor the rest of Tony’s accomplishments that had Jarvis, Ana, and Maria raving over their infant protégé.

Oh Howard had posed with his Son for pictures readily enough, had played the role of a devoted Father when cameras were around, but the rest of the time he either didn’t care to even acknowledge Tony’s existence, or was berating and belittling the Pup, more often than not reducing Tony to tears until he learned from the regular slaps to his face that Starks did not cry, that they were made of Iron and should show no weakness.

 

That neglect and at times outright brutality had haunted Tony through out his life, frightened him when it came to the thought of having a family, he had always feared turning into Howard, had had so many of the Man’s traits, alcoholism, obsessive compulsion, a fiery temper. He worried that he’d be as bad at parenting as Howard and just continue the cycle of parental neglect on his own offspring which was why he had resisted having Pups for so long.

 

“Tony!” Bruce’s hoarse and pained gasp drew Tony on, the smoke cleared and revealed a decimated nursery, the nursery that he and Bruce were planning on creating.

The door was hanging off the wall, and the walls inside the nursery were covered in blood.

Stumbling now Tony picked his way through the broken furniture, burned toys, and rubble from smashed in walls to find something that ripped his heart from his chest.

Before two broken cribs lay Bruce in a pool of his own blood, holes punctured his chest and abdomen. His hands were destroyed, mangled broken stumps were in their place and his legs had been crushed to the point that they were flat.

“Oh God Bruce!” Tony cried breaking into a run. He fell to his knees beside his mate who rasped as he drew breath, gazing at him with a defeated expression,

“You failed us Tony,” he whispered, blood dripping from his lips, “You didn’t save us, you let everyone die!”

“No!” Tony whimpered reaching out and cupping Bruce’s face, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry Bruce,” he wept, “Please don’t leave me, please Bruce, I love you I need you!”

“Too late Tony,” Bruce breathed as his eyes closed, “It’s too late”.

 

Tony let out a howl as Bruce breathed his last, he slumped on the ground, sitting Bruce’s blood and covered his face in his hands as he wept.

“Its your fault Stark!”

The voice startled Tony and he looked up to see Wanda standing over the destroyed cribs, her eyes were glowing pools of blood, she was surrounded by darkness, the only light was that which illuminated her face unnaturally.

“You did this Stark,” she accused, “You did this, you killed them all, you killed everyone”

“No!” Tony whispered shaking his head “I didn’t!”

“Of course you did,” Wanda replied, “All you cause is death, everything you touch dies, everyone you claim to love dies, even your Pups”

Red mist surrounded the cribs and they were lifted up revealing the inside to Tony who screamed…

 

*****

 

Bruce was jolted awake by Tony’s thrashing in bed and cries of anguish. His face was damp in sweat and tears were trickling down his cheeks.

“Tony you’re dreaming,” Bruce said gently clasping Tony’s shoulder and shaking him, “Come on love wake up,” he shook Tony with a little more force and after a moment Tony sat bolt up right with cry!

“It’s okay, you’re okay, it was just a dream,” Bruce assured him wrapping an arm about Tony’s shoulders, “Everything’s fine, you’re safe and I’m right here,”

Tony turned to Bruce, his eyes were reddened with tears and his cheeks were ashen, “You died!” he whispered, “Everyone had died and it was my fault!”

“No!” Bruce said cupping Tony’s face, “It wasn’t real it was just a nightmare!”

Tony however wasn’t so easily convinced, he looked down with tears continuing to run down his cheeks, “Our Pups,” he whispered, his voice barely audible, “She showed me them, what had happened to them!”

She.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Tony was talking about Wanda Maximoff, and Bruce Wayne was a genius and a superhero who was exceptionally protective of those he loved.

While he knew that this could just be a nightmare, he couldn’t discount the possibility that the Witch was using her telepathic powers to invade his dreams from a distance, after all, who knew just how much power she really had?

Stephen had to find a way to strip her powers, they could not let this continue. Even if, and it was a big if, Wanda was in fact doing nothing, the stress and fear that she might do something was going to wear on Tony, would make him sick, and that wasn’t good for him or for the Pups.

Heaving a deep sigh Bruce pulled Tony into and embrace and held him tight, swearing that he wouldn’t let anything happen to Tony or to their Pups, and he meant every word, he would do whatever it took to protect them and if that meant Wanda Maximoff had to die, then so be it.

 

*****

 

Compound

 

Sitting in her room red energy pulsed and danced about Wanda. The images she had projected in Tony’s mind had her smiling with twisted malice.

Hurting the Billionaire was so easy.

He was so incredibly fragile and insecure beneath his shell of devil may care attitude and arrogant sarcasm that manipulating, frightening, and hurting him was childs play.

Finding his weaknesses and exploiting them was no difficulty at all, and more than that it was an absolute pleasure to do so.

What Stark feared the most was losing those he loved. His new team, his mate, and his unborn Pups.

Making him see that, feel their deaths and blaming him for it had been the obvious way to proceed. A nightmare born from his own fears and blending into them his insecurities regarding his abilities to be a parent, or to do anything at all.

Wanda didn’t believe he was capable of being a decent parent, he was too selfish, to narcissistic, to irresponsible to be an effective and good parent.

He would be the sort of parent who had the Pups and then dumped them on nannies and nurses while he went about his normal activities. Would probably go and spend a fortune of cosmetic surgery to remove any trace from his body that he’d ever been pregnant at all, liposuction, tummy tucks, breast lift, the lot!.

 

Wanda snorted, Stark didn’t deserve to have those Pups, and they would be better off without him, in fact they’d be better off if they died before they were born, then they’d never have to suffer Stark at all.

 

Wanda knew she could case Tony to miscarry, she had the power to do it, but, Vision would know if she did, he would be able to sense it, as might that Wizard or Mage or Warlock Strange, so she would have to proceed with care, make it appear to be an act of nature and not her magic.

Her smile widened as she imagine Tony in throes of a miscarriage, blood pouring down his thighs, pain gripping his belly and making him bend double and scream in pain. Maybe he’d bleed to death, maybe the loss would make him commit suicide?

Both would be acceptable out comes, and in the meantime, until she found a way to bring about the miscarriage she could enjoy tormenting Stark to hearts content.

 

*****

 

Bucky wasn’t happy

He didn’t trust that Witch Maximoff. She was Hydra, had volunteered to join the organization that had tortured and mutilated him for decades. She was completely without any morals or empathy for anyone. All she cared about was herself and getting her own way.

While that would make her a brat if she were powerless it made her incredibly dangerous when she did in fact have an incredible amount of power at her disposal.

 

He had tried to talk to Steve about this, voice his concerns regarding Maximoff, but he hadn’t wanted to hear it, was too focused on his…well Bucky didn’t want to call it an obsession with Stark, but that was what it was turning into. He had seen Steve’s face when he had learned that Stark wasn’t just bonded to that Wayne guy but was actually pregnant by him.

Steve had looked like he’d been punched in the gut, then he’d look furious, betrayed, as if Stark getting with Wayne and getting Pupped by him had been a betrayal, where as far as Bucky knew, Steve had never said anything to Stark about his feelings for him, hadn’t even known about them before now himself, so how could there be any betrayal?.

 

Something else Bucky didn’t like were the teams reactions to the news, no one but himself had congratulated Stark, Maximoff had blown her top and endangered everyone with her misbegotten power, Wilson and Natasha had insulted Stark over his age and practically out right told him that he’d never carry to term and if he did then the Pups would be deformed in some way!.

Their attitudes disgusted Bucky, that was why he’d slipped away quietly, had wanted to get a distance between himself and the Avengers as he had felt the Winter Soldier stirring inside him.

He had a handle on him for the most part, it was only in moments of extreme stress that he reared his ugly head and lashed out.

Bucky didn’t pretend to know what The Soldier would think of how the Avengers treated Stark or how they had reacted to news of his pregnancy, but he doubted very much that it would be positive in anyway.

 

Since he was still carrying a measure of guilt in regard to Stark’s parents, something that he suspected he would carry for the remainder of his life, Bucky decided that the best way to at least attempt to give some balance to the cosmic scales in what he owed Stark would be to watch his back when he was in the compound, make sure Maximoff didn’t get her claws into him, that Romanova and Wilson couldn’t verbally abuse him, and while he was loathe to admit it, make sure that Steve didn’t do anything stupid.

He didn’t think Steve would hurt Stark, at least he hoped he wouldn’t, but he wasn’t prepared to take the chance on it either, so he would watch Stark’s back and quietly keep him safe from harm.

Chapter Text

The shriek of outraged fury that echoes through the halls of the compound have all the avengers running to Wanda’s room arming themselves ready for battle against a foe. However, upon arrival they find that there is no enemy, just Wanda standing before her bathroom mirror with her hair falling out in clumps!

Sam was unable to hold back a laugh and quickly exited the room snorting and trying to stifle his amused chuckles as he went.

Steve just stood and gaped at the distressed woman with hair falling off her head, a trail of it coming from the shower she’d been using and only a towel hiding her modesty.

“What has happened?” Vision asked as he fazed through the wall

“My hair!” Wanda screamed, “My beautiful hair!” as she spoke more of the locks fell to the ground at her feet

Vision looked to a still stunned Steve, “Alopecia?” he asked and Steve just shrugged not having a clue

“No,” Natasha said with a sigh, “She must have used her depilatory cream instead of her conditioner.” She held up the two bottles that had been on a shelf in the shower unit, both look very similar, easy to mistake.

“No I didn’t!” Wanda screamed stamping her feet, “Stark did this!”

Now Steve speaks, broken from his trance, “Wanda that’s ridiculous, Tony isn’t even in the building, he went back to Gotham with Wayne.”

Wanda isn’t letting this go though, she’s too infuriated and whirls on Steve with her eyes glowing like red embers in the fire. “He could have got one of his Justice League to do it, that Night Wing, or that Spider freak!”

Natasha rolled her eyes, “I think that’s a little far fetched.”

“As do I.” Vision stated

“No it’s not!” Wanda bellowed and the mirror shattered with her telekinetic rage

“Wanda calm down!” Steve snapped at her, “There is no need for this, it’s just hair, it’ll grow back given time.”

“But I look terrible!” Wanda shrieked, “Stark’s done this to make me ugly, because he’s getting fat and losing his looks!”

There came a loud bang as Vision’s immeasurably strong fist hit the wall, “That is enough!” he barked, “Tony could have had nothing to do with this, it was just an accident that you made yourself, and he is not fat he is pregnant”

“Which will make him get fat!” Wanda spat nastily, her face twisted into an ugly expression of cruel malice, “I’ll bet his mate won’t want him soon, not when he’s covered in stretch marks and is leaking milk like some prized cow!”

Natasha muttered something under her breath in Russian and stalked out of the room, clearly having had enough of the tantrum. Steve couldn’t blame her, he’d had enough of it himself.

“Wanda you need calm down and stop blaming other people for your own mistakes,” he said, “Finish your shower, wash your face, get dressed and come join us for breakfast, after which I’ll drive you to a hair dresser and we’ll get what’s left of your hair tidied up”

Wanda made an inarticulate noise of frustrated anger and all but threw herself into the shower, tossing the towel over the side of the door, loud sobs began to come from the stall as she turned the water on and Steve sighed, looking to Vision,

“Let her be for the moment,” the Android said, “She needs to calm down on her own.”

Nodding in agreement Steve made his own exit while Vision fazed through the walls.

 

The Android quickly made his way to the other side of the complex where Spiderman and Nightwing had spent the night and were currently sat upon Spiderman’s bed watching cartoons on the Twenty-Four inch plasma screen TV Tony had installed in the bedroom for Peter’s personal use.

“While I congratulate you on your prank succeeding I must ask that you desist from any further plans to prank Miss Maximoff!” he said by way of greeting as he fazed through the wall

“Uh…Hi?” Peter said

“What prank?” Dick asked trying to look innocent, Peter’s innocent expression was better, and perhaps if Vision hadn’t heard movement in the ventilation ducts and gone to investigate then he wouldn’t have seen Peter taking Wanda’s conditioner and changing the liquid for hair removal cream.

Had Peter intended any real physical harm to Wanda he would have intervened, but as it was, hair loss was a knock to vanity not an actual injury save to the pride, and her hair would grow back quickly enough so Vision had let Peter get away with it. Besides, Vision had not been happy with Wanda’s behaviour towards Tony. While he cared for Wanda, maybe even loved her if indeed he was capable of love, he cared for Tony too, the Jarvis part of him loving Tony and wanting to protect him, even more so now that Tony was pregnant and in a way more vulnerable than ever. Wanda needed to learn that she couldn’t do as she pleased without consequences, and maybe this wasn’t the best way for that to happen but it was perhaps karmic, and Vision could well understand Peter’s desire to get revenge on Tony’s behalf.

He sighed and looked at the pair, “I will not reveal what I know of what happened to Miss Maximoff’s hair, all I ask is that nothing like this happens again.”

Peter bit his lip and looked down at his knees, Dick however was not so mollified, he glared at the Android

“So what, we’re supposed to let her bully and terrorize Tony and not do piss about it?” he snarled, “Well fuck that shit! Tony’s our Omega, he’s the JL’s Omega and we love him and anyone who messes with him is gonna pay!”

Vision again sighed, he wasn’t going to change their minds, all he could do was hope that Wanda would learn to bite her tongue about Tony, or he feared she’d be in for a lot of less than pleasant mishaps.

 

*****

 

When he’d first heard the screaming Bucky had checked with the complex’s AI to find out what was going on and if he was needed. Upon learning it was just Wanda throwing a temper tantrum he’d opted not to go to her. Instead he had gone to seek out Colonel Rhodes.

 

The Colonel was in his office, going through what looked to be a mountain of paper work while drinking coffee from a mug that said “Coffee=Brain fuel”

Smiling a little a the novelty mug Bucky knocked on the door making the Colonel look up,

“Can I have a word?” Bucky asked uncertainly, “If it’s not too much trouble?”

Rhodey set down the file he was reading, “Come on in Sergeant,” he welcomed, “What can I do you for?”

Bucky grinned at the familiar play on words, he’d heard people say that back in the forties, funny how some things stayed the same while others changed so dramatically.

Crossing his arms over his chest he sighed, “I uh, I was hoping I could ask a favour?”

Rhodey shrugged, “Ask away”

“It’s pretty big,” Bucky said cautiously, “And you may not want to do it.”

Rhodey frowned, “Not planning on robbing a bank are you?”

“What? No of course not!”, Bucky rolled his eyes and sighed, deciding to get to the point, “I want to speak to Stark,” he said bluntly, “I have things to say to him, things that need to be said in person.”

Abruptly Rhodey’s congenial expression darkened and he tensed up ready to defend his friend, “What things?” he asked in a cold tone

Bucky had expected this and didn’t back down, “I need to apologise to him, for his parents, for Siberia, for…, for everything.”

Rhodey stared at him in astonishment, “That…, Howard and Maria Stark were not your fault, that was Hydra. Your body was used but you were not the one in control, you were a puppet on a string, and they were the ones pulling said string, and as for Siberia, Tony will be the first to tell you that he started that fight.”

“With good reason,” Bucky said, “He’d just seen his parents murdered, right after seeing you get hurt, and he learned Steve had been lying to him, anyone would have snapped, hell if it had been me I’d have blown Stevie’s punk head off never mind given him a kicking!”

Rhodey snorted, “Yeah, gotta say I’d do the same were it my Ma.”

“So..?” Bucky asked and Rhodey sighed

“It’s not that simple,” he said, “Tony’s not…, he’s a lot more fragile than he lets on, especially emotionally,”

“I figured,” Bucky said with a shrug, at Rhodey’s risen eyebrow he elaborated, “I’ve seen people like him before, hiding how insecure and easily hurt they are under a brash exterior, using sarcasm, humour, and flirtation to cover the wounds from view,”

Rhodey stared at him in surprise, “You’re are remarkably observant”

Bucky shrugged, “I learned to read body language, Stark’s obviously trying to cover his insecurities and his fears, just as his mate is exceptionally protective of him”

“Understatement!” Rhodey barked with a laugh, “Bruce would rip apart anyone that tried to hurt him, and probably not break a sweat doing it!”, he paused and cut himself on before he said anything more about Bruce Wayne, but he confirmed what Bucky had already discerned from the Alpha Billionaire. He was more than met the eye, was hiding something beneath a layer of vapid airheaded frivolity, a dark secret. He’d seen how fast Bruce had moved to protect Tony, moving with the kind of speed and skill that only came from experience of protecting people in dangerous situations, what Bruce Wayne’s secret was Bucky didn’t know, but he was pleased that Tony had such a strong mate to protect him.

“Look,” Rhodey said after a beat, “The best I can do is call Tony and see if he wants to arrange an appointment to speak with you, I can’t guarantee that he will be receptive to the idea but I will ask.”

“That’s all I ask,” Bucky said with a smile, he took a breath before pressing on, not sure that he wanted to tell Rhodes of this, but not comfortable enough to leave it either.

“One more thing, it’s about Steve,”

Rhodey’s expression darkened but Bucky continued, “He confessed to me, and to the Avengers that he uh.., has feelings for Stark, romantic feelings.”

“Well that sucks for him, it’s too late to be voicing them now!”

“That’s the thing,” Bucky said shifting uncomfortably, “I’m not sure he is convinced that it is too late. While I don’t think he’d do anything to endanger the pregnancy or hurt Stark, at least I hope he wouldn’t, I don’t think he’ll try and prevent someone else from doing so, and by someone I mean the Witch”

Rhodes sighed heavily and he gestured to the unused chair before his desk “Take a seat Sergeant, I think this is going to be a longer conversation than we thought.”

 

Gotham

 

An angry beeping and the sound of a door opening and something being thrown across the room was Bruce’s greeting when he entered the kitchen.

“The thing is possessed, It’s evil, we need a Priest!”

“We do not, stop exaggerating Alfred, it’s just a little glitch, Micky just has a few teething troubles that’s all, he’s a toddler right now, they always have temper tantrums!”

Bruce paused in the doorway not entirely certain that he wanted to enter the kitchen considering what was going on in there, and the smell of burned wires and the increasingly loud beeping noises coming from “Micky” whomever “Micky” was, did not exactly encourage him.

“Oh stop it Micky, it’s not going to hurt you it’ll help you, honestly you are being a total brat right now!” Tony sounded scolding and exasperated, there came a snapping noise and Tony yelped in pain!

“I told you it’s evil!” Alfred exclaimed

“Is not!” Tony argued his voice muffled

Sighing heavily Bruce entered the kitchen and found Alfred armed with a kitchen knife and a whisk and Tony with a selection of tools and the two of them before the….microwave? Well it had been his microwave, a nice normal microwave, now it was moving on it’s own making beeping noises and opening and closing its door menacingly!

“I’m not sure I want to know!” he sighed heading for the coffee machine which greeted him with an enthusiastic gurgle and puff of steam, “Good morning to you too Cathy!” he said to the Sentient coffee machine, which now apparently had a brother called Micky!

“Master Tony decided to invoke the devil and it possessed the microwave Sir!” Alfred explained glaring at the microwave which beeping at him

“I did not, I just made it…smart” Tony replied capturing Micky and began to work on the wires coming from its/his back panel which it earned him angry beeping and door slamming

“It spat the bacon against the wall!” Alfred cried

Tony shrugged, “Maybe he’s vegetarian!”

“A vegetarian microwave!” Bruce said sitting down at the kitchen counter, “Why not, we have a depressingly cheerful coffee machine, a snide and patronizing TV who questions any and all program choice, and a hoover that swears in French whenever there is a mess on the floor!”

Tony Stark should really never be left unsupervised when sleep deprived, it led to house hold appliances becoming sentient divas with questionable personalities, while Cathy was sweet, Tegan the TV was a judgmental bitch, and Henri the hoover was a foul mouthed creature that sucked up socks and underwear just out of spite!

“He’ll be fine, he’s just a baby right now!” Tony said bending over to fiddle with the wires, “Just got to give him patience!”

Alfred shot Bruce a look that seemed to plead for sanity but gave it up as a bad job, Bruce did run around Gotham dressed as a bat after all! Sighing the butler set about cleaning up the bacon mess while muttering about insane geniuses needed supervision!
Bruce moved closer to Tony and gave him a smile, “Feeling better?” he asked, he’d been worried when he’d awoken to an empty bed, Tony having risen without his knowledge, he’d clearly gone to bury himself in work, creating another sentient household appliance apparently. Thank God Bruce had put his foot down when it came to shower heads or God knows what would happen!

“I’m good!” Tony replied his voice muffled by a screw driver, he stood up straight and rubbed at his back arching it a little which caused his pajama pants to roll down and his vest to rid up revealing his suddenly prominent belly.

Bruce stared, he hadn’t been that round last night had he?

Tony noticed the stare and looked down grinning ruefully, “I think the popping thing happened” he said running his hand over the real bump he was now sporting instead of the gentle curve that had been there before, “Guess I’d better get those maternity pants!”

Bruce’s mouth was dry, his hands itched to touch, to possess Tony’s body, to scent and mark him as his own. A pure Alpha growl rose up from his chest making Tony’s eyes widen and Alfred grunt something uncomplimentary while beating a hasty retreat, patting Cathy as he went by her!

“Umm Bruce?” Tony mumbled “We’re in the kitchen!”

“Yes we are,” Bruce growled getting to his feet and crowding in on Tony, “And I’m going to fuck you on every surface available!”

Before Tony could even form a single word in answer to that he’d been swept up and tipped back over the kitchen counter, shoving a disgruntled Micky out of the way and was being swiftly unclothed by his lustful and possessive mate.

Chapter Text

The only thing that the hair dresser could do for Wanda was to shave what was left of her hair so that it would grow back evenly.

Sitting before the mirror she glared at her reflection as the remains of her hair dropped down onto the ground by her chair as the hair dresser got to work cropping what was left of her locks.

She was seething. She knew that somehow, in some way Stark was to blame for this, he had to have had a hand in this, and she would get her revenge one way or another.

Steve had dropped her off at the hair dressers and headed further into town. He wanted to buy art supplies and it wasn’t like Wanda was the best company right now. Well how could she be? Her crowning glory was laying on the floor at her feet, all that was left was a fuzz on her scalp like that which covered a peach!

Steve maybe right in saying that it would grow back, but it would take years and years for her hair to grow to the length it had been before, ten years at least! She’d never had short hair before, she didn’t want her hair short now, she wanted it long again!

“I’m afraid that’s the best I can do,” the hairdresser said to her taking the cape off Wanda’s body, “It will start to grow in quickly, once it gets to a certain length we can start styling it. I’d recommend you come back in maybe ten weeks?”

Wanda grunted and rose from her chair, she looked at herself in the mirror and froze. There, in the glass was a crimson face!, Wanda spun round to look but the figure had turned away and was walking down the street with a dark hood up over his head to conceal his face.

“That’ll be…”, Wanda whirled round to face the hairdresser who was about the charge her for the cut, red mist rose in her hands and covered the hair dresser’s head, and the heads of everyone else in the salon. After a few moments the hairdresser smiled “Thank you, I’ll put the change in the collection pot,”

“You do that!” Wanda said grabbing her coat and hurrying to the door.

 

She followed the figure down the street, breaking into a jog to keep up with him. Using her magic again she turned the road lights red so she could cross the road without waiting gaining herself a little time. The figure turned back to glance over his shoulder at Wanda and increased his pace, turning into an alley. Wanda broke into a run, chasing after the man into the alley herself.

With a yowl a cat ran out from behind some bins a mouse clutched between its teeth as he went. With glass and other waste crunching under her feet Wanda walked down the alley with a frown growing on her face. She had seen the man come down here, there was no exit at the other end, just a wall that reached up three stories with a narrow window at the top. There was no where he could have gone, so where the hell was he?

Suddenly Wanda’s upper arms were grabbed and she was shoved into the wall at her left, her arms raised above her head and pinned there in a grip that only a super soldier could manage.

“Well well what do we have here?” a German accented voice asked, whispering into Wanda’s ear, “Could it be a little Witch?”

“Skull!” Wanda murmured, “Red Skull!”

Red Skull chuckled, “I believe that is what I have been nicknamed, though my given name is in fact Johann Schmidt the founder and leader of Hydra, the organization to whom you own your remarkable gifts Frau Maximoff,”

“I didn’t know they were Hydra!” Wanda cried trying to squirm her wrists free, but the Skull held on tight,

“You need not lie to me Frau Maximoff,” he chuckled, “I am not the naïve Captain America who see’s the good in everyone, I am a realist and I believe you and I may become good friends,”

Wanda stopped her struggling, “Friends?” she asked looking over her shoulder to Red Skull, his face was a hideous sight, the crimson bones with their leathery covering, the missing hollow where a nose should be and the too large, too round eyes that glittered with madness, it made Wanda recoil, and yet she could not hide her intrigue, “Why would be become friends?” she asked

Red Skull smiled, a horrific sight to behold, “Why? So we can destroy our mutual enemy and create the Utopia I always dreamed of.”

 

*****

 

Gotham

 

“Are you sure about this?”

Bruce walked up behind Tony and stood behind him being reflected in the mirror as Tony scrutinized his appearance, not looking overly happy with it.

He’d gone and bought some maternity clothes but was not thrilled with them. The jeans with the stretchy waist bands and the T-Shirts and Vests with the side cords were fine, but more formal wear like the expensive suits he wore left a lot to be desired.

The trousers were unfitted and sagged everywhere by his backside and belly where clung, not too tight, but they didn’t exactly hide anything either. They were made with lacing on the sides that could be loosened as his belly expanded so they would last for a while.

The shirts were no better, they were fitted about the shoulders, then were loose so there was room for milk heavy breasts, then they were fitted again under the bust then fell loose in an empire cut.

The jackets were cut much the same, only buttoning at the bust and then falling wide and loose. While this made the clothing comfortable for him to wear while pregnant it wasn’t overly flattering and it certainly wouldn’t conceal the fact he was pregnant.

“We’re going to have to tell,” he said to Bruce tugging at the shirt again and scowling as it just fell back down in bell like shape, “We can’t keep hiding anymore,”

“So we tell,” Bruce said wrapping his arms about Tony’s middle and rested his hands over the bump, “We tell the world and let them share out happiness.”

Bruce smiled and leaned in to kiss Tony’s cheek but Tony wasn’t smiling, he wasn’t looking happy at all, “What is it love?” Bruce asked, “Do you want to call off this meeting with Barnes, because you can if you want to.”

Rhodey had informed him of James Barnes’ desire to speak with Tony, in private, to apologize to him without Rogers or anyone else trying to interfere. Bruce would have said Hell No up front, had it not been for Rhodey informing him of what Barnes had to say about Rogers’ little crush on Tony.

Bruce knew there was something wrong with that Alpha, not to say that Tony wasn’t attractive or shouldn’t have Alpha’s looking to mate him, but if Rogers thought he’d have any chance with Tony after all the shit he’d put him through then he was even stupider than Bruce already believed him to be, and he believed him to be pretty damn brain defective!

He did not like what Barnes was implying, it sounded like Rogers was developing an obsession over Tony and that was not something he was going to stand for. As if they didn’t have enough problems to deal with in regard to Wanda without this shit on top of that, having another man on their side to deal with the Rogues was the best way to go. So Bruce had told Tony about Barnes desire to speak to him and Tony had agreed.

Today Barnes was heading to The Stark Tower to meet with Tony so they could talk in private, Tony was understandably nervous about the meeting, but that wasn’t what was bothering him.

 

“Its not that,” Tony said

“Then what?” Bruce asked

“What if…, what if everyone thinks the way they do?” Tony asked, “What if everyone else thinks that I shouldn’t be pregnant, that I don’t deserve the Pups, that’ll be a bad parent?”

“Tony…,”

“Well they wouldn’t be wrong would they?” Tony said pulling out of Bruce’s embrace, “I fuck up everything, being Iron Man, being an Avenger, if it weren’t for me the Avengers would never have split and Rhodey would still be able to walk!”

“Tony that’s not true!”

Tony wasn’t listening, “I’ve never been anything but a fuck up, even when I was a kid I messed up, I got under Dad’s feet, got in his way, I wasn’t enough for him, not smart enough or strong enough and I always upset Mom, she was always happy before I came along, then she was miserable all the time because I ruin everything and..,”

“Tony stop!” Bruce cried seizing him by his shoulders and shaking him, “This is rubbish, you are not a fuck up you are not to blame for the Avengers falling apart, you are not to blame for Rhodey’s injury,” Tony wouldn’t meet his gaze, he was looking down at his feet sniffing as tears rolled down his cheeks, normally Tony wasn’t the sort of Omega who showed a huge amount of emotion, certainly not one who cried a lot, but the hormones of the pregnancy were making him emotional. “Your Dad was wrong about you,” Bruce said, “He was a piss poor excuse for a parent and had no right to tell you that were anything but perfect,” gently he stroked Tony’s hair back from his face and smiled as the Omega looked up. Using his thumbs he wiped the tears from Tony’s cheeks, “Your Mother quite probably had untreated PND, they didn’t know about it in the seventies and its not like Howard would have been any help to her, but it isn’t your fault that she go sick, nor does any of this mean you will be anything but a brilliant parent to our Pups,”

“You’ll make sure won’t you?” Tony whispered, “You won’t let me hurt little Tommy and Julie?”

“Tony you won’t hurt them,” Bruce said, a frown flitted over his forehead, Tommy and Julie? They had decided on names yet, not as far as he knew, but apparently Tony had done so, Thomas and Julia? He could live with that. Providing it was a boy and a girl, otherwise there would have to be a rethink!

“Promise me!” Tony insisted clutching at Bruce’s shirt

Bruce sighed and nodded his head, “I promise, it will never happen, but I promise,”

Tony let out a slow exhale and nodded his head sniffling and wiping at his face, “Guess I’d better clean my face up for Barnes, don’t want him seeing me like a drowned rat!”

“You like fine,” Bruce said with a fond smile, “And you don’t have to do this,”

“Yes I do,” Tony stated a firmness coming back into his voice, “I need to lay ghosts to rest and move on, so I have to do this.”

Bruce didn’t look convinced but there was clearly no talking Tony out of this so he nodded his head, “Lets get on the chopper then, and get to New York.”

 

Stark Tower

 

Bucky had waited until Steve and Wanda had gone to the hair dressers so Wanda could get the wreck of her head sorted out. They’d had to wait several days for an appointment to become available, not something that had put the Witch in a good mood. She’d been more temperamental than normal, her magic going wild and shattering glasses, breaking objects, and sending things flying. Bucky stayed as far from her as he could, not wanting the mind raping bitch anywhere near him.

 

Dressed in his smartest clothing, which consisted of Levi jeans, a loose fitting shirt, and a leather jacket he headed out of the compound, borrowing one of the motorbikes and rode off to New York.

 

He hadn’t been back to the city since leaving to join the army in WWII, it had certainly changed a hell of a lot. At some point he’d have to spend a day just walking the streets to explore the new City, to see what had become of his home in the past seventy years. Maybe he could slip away for a weekend, stay over in some hotel, go around all the tourist places by himself. He didn’t want Steve hanging off his shoulder and yammering in his ear. If he did this then he wanted to be able to do it alone, so he could absorb everything without Steve pestering him and constantly telling him what he should and shouldn’t do. Maybe Steve thought he was helping, but all he was doing was smothering Bucky, he didn’t need his hand holding, he didn’t need a baby sitter, and to have Steve constantly looking over his shoulder made him feel that he wasn’t trusted enough to be on his own. This hardly did anything for his self-confidence which he was still working on improving, yes he appreciated help, but he still needed space to breathe and with Captain mother hen around that would not happen!

 

Stark Tower could not be missed, she was as tall as the empire state, a building Bucky remembered rising up above the city when he’d been a Pup, he and the scrawny runt Rogers had watched as the sky scraper grew to tower over New York, becoming one of their land marks.

Now she was joined by many sky scrapers, Stark Tower included, though no other building had a landing pad with robots to take off the Iron Man suit!

Bucky drove the bike he had borrowed up to the tower and then into the car park with the warden waving him through when he explained who he was and that he had an appointment with Mr Stark.

He parked up and put the helmet inside the cab, securing the bike and heading the lift which took him to the reception where an assistant, secretary? A young beta woman in a sharp business suit was waiting for him.

“Sergeant Barnes, I am Bianca Tanzi one of Mr Stark’s assistants, if you will follow me I will take you to him,”

“Thank you, Ma’am,” Bucky replied politely, as the woman turned on her stiletto heels he gave her the once over, damn but she had a nice ass and he’d bet one hell of a pair of thighs under that figure hugging skirt! Allowing himself a small smile Bucky followed Miss Tanzi to another lift and stepped inside. Bianca pressed the buttons for the pent house at the top of the tower.

“We’re meeting in Mr Stark’s home?” Bucky asked in surprise, he’d expected a board room or an office, not Tony’s private home

“Mr Stark preferred to do so,” Bianca replied, “He is tending to keep a low profile these days,”

Because of the pregnancy or because of the Avengers? Bucky didn’t ask out loud but wondered. The lift moved fast and within a few moments they were arriving in the pent house with Bianca leading him through to a bright and airy living room was set up where Tony was sat with Bruce Wayne and Pepper Potts.

“Sergeant Barnes for you Mr Stark,” Bianca said with a smile

“Thank you Bianca, that will be all,” Tony said, he didn’t rise from the large corner suite sofa he was sitting on and his hands covered his abdomen concealing it from view

“Will you be alright on your own?” Bruce asked as Pepper got to her feet and headed for the lift, she gave Bucky a smile on her way past which he returned with a nod,

“I’ll be fine Rue, go and see what the Bots are up to,” Tony said to his Alpha, Bruce reluctantly nodded his head and straightened up, stiffly he walked to the lift giving Bucky a look on the way past clearly warning the other Alpha what would happen to him if he tried anything.

 

Shifting from foot to foot Bucky wet his lips and tried to think of something to say, Tony beat him to it,

“Come and take a seat, Frosty, d’you want a drink, something to eat? If your metabolism is anything like Rogers then you’ll likely be hungry all the time,”

“Um, I’m fine, thank you,” Bucky said cautiously taking a seat, he frowned, “Frosty?”

Tony grinned, “I’ve kinda got a thing with nicknames, Rhodey is my Platypus, my Sourpatch, my Honeybear, Pepper is my Pep, my Pepperoni, and my Peppercorn, Bruce is my Rue, my Grumpybear, my snugglebunny and my Sugar cookie!”

Bucky rose an eyebrow in amusement at the nicknames, he wondered what Tony had called Steve before everything had fallen apart, hell he’d got a few choice names for the punk himself right now and they wouldn’t be so endearing!

“So I’m Frosty then?” he asked ruefully

Tony shrugged, “You could be Terminator too, Iron Fist, Snowflake, Cool Whip, I think Cool Whip sounds good!”

Bucky let out a laugh unable to stop himself, Cool Whip! What would Steve think of that? He wondered

“So,” Tony said shifting in his seat, “Rue tells me you have something to tell me and I am fully prepared to listen but before you say anything let me tell you that I don’t blame you for anything,”

“You don’t?” Bucky asked

“No, it was Hydra, they fucked with your mind, mutilated your body and fuck knows what else, I know I lost my shit in Siberia but.., after I had time to cool off I put everything into perspective and I don’t blame you, I blame them,” Tony wet his lips and leaned foreward his voice dropping, “I don’t know what its like to be used as a murder doll or cryogenically frozen, but I do know what its like to be tortured and mind raped.”

Bucky’s eyes darkened, “The Witch,” he growled

Tony shifted uncomfortably, “Wanda did her mind wammy on me yeah, but before then.., Afghanistan, I was kidnapped by terrorists and tortured, it was only for three months but…”

“The days I long enough, too long,” Bucky interrupted, “Hell three hours is to long, no one deserves shit like that, no one,”

Tony smiled ever so slightly, “No one includes you Snowflake, you can’t blame yourself, I forbid you from blaming yourself, you are officially banned from doing so!”

Again Bucky’s eyebrows rose, “I’m banned from doing so?”

“Yes!” Tony stated and with a manic looking grin his jumped to his feet, “Now, if we’ve got the awkward emoting out of the way do you wanna come down to my work shop and see some super cool stuff, I’ve got some great ideas for your arm, an interchangeable hand for a start!”

“Interchangeable?”

“Sure, I’ll fit an electric toothbrush, and an electric razor which will be awesome for the mornings, and an electric whisk for when you’re doing pancakes, perhaps an electric drill for when you’re doing DIY, and maybe for when you’re…, you know, lonely and need a little something something, a dildo!”

Bucky gave up at that point, he just gave up and burst into laughter, Tony Stark was clearly insane and Bucky couldn’t help but get swept up in the madness

“Lead the way Doll!” he said grinning

“Doll?” Tony repeated

“Hey, you call me Snow flake I’m gonna call you Doll!”

Tony shrugged, “I can live with that!”.

Chapter Text

Tony and Bruce decided to reveal the pregnancy at a gala they attended along with Lex and Clark.

Dressed in a high waisted tail coat evening suit, Tony made no attempt to hide the pregnancy and shared a grin with Bruce as they got out of the limo and were inundated with flashing cameras and a roar of questions from the reporters outside the concert hall where the gala was being held.

“Tony, Tony! Are you pregnant?”

“When are you die?”

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

“Bruce! How do you feel about becoming a Father?”

“Are the two of you excited to become parents?”

“What do the Justice League and Avengers think of this, Tony? Is this the end of Iron Man?”

“Did you have help conceiving?”

“Is this the result of egg donation and IVF?”

“Will you be fit enough to go to term Tony?”

“Bruce, are you worried about possible foetal abnormalities, they are much more common in older parents?”

“This will put an end to those fat shaming pictures!”

“How much weight have you gained Tony, and are you worried about getting back in shape after you’ve given birth?”

“Have you got a personal trainer pre-booked?”

“Will you be having a natural delivery or a scheduled caesarean?”

 

Bruce sighed and looked to Tony, they had expected this, to received curiosity, excitement, congratulations, far to personal questions, and of course criticism.

Slipping an arm about Tony’s waist he met the glare of the cameras with a broad smile,

“Tony and I are happy to announce that we are expecting twins pups in five months-time, both Tony and the Pups are in excellent health and we couldn’t be happier,”

“Oh I could be happier, and I will be happier when the morning sickness that can’t tell time buggers off!” Tony offered up getting a laugh from Bruce and from the press

“What are you craving Tony?” a younger Beta reporter asked, her long blonde hair falling into her face as she furiously typed on her tablet, “And do you have any names chosen?”

“I’m craving strawberry jam at the moment,” Tony replied, “As for names…?”

“Will there be a Bruce Junior?” another reporter interrupted

Tony looked at Bruce with a questioning expression, Bruce wrinkled his nose and shook his head, “Not really my style,” he said with a shrug

“Oh, really? So we can’t have a little BJ running around?”

“You could have a BJ and an AJ!” another reporter offered

“Oh, no, no!” Bruce protested as Tony looked intrigued, “Don’t give him any ideas please!”

“I think it’d be cute!” Tony said

“See!?” Bruce cried gesturing to Tony, “See what you’ve started?”, the laughter carried on for a few moments before trailing off, “Seriously though, our favourite names so far are Thomas and Alfie, Julia, and Marianna”

“No Howard Jr then?”, Bruce felt Tony tense at the mention of Howard, it was not unexpected since they had chosen his Father’s name and not Tony’s.

“No, we both us prefer the names we’ve chosen to Howard,” he smoothly replied, “Now, I think its time we headed into the hall,”

Naturally the reporters didn’t leave it there, they yelled after the two mates as they headed up the red carpet covered steps into the building.

“What do the Avengers think of this?”

“Will Iron Man now be Iron Mom?”

“Can you still wear the armour Tony?”.

 

“That went well I think.” Tony said as they escaped the reporters and were welcomed by ushers into the hall, champagne was offered to them but on Bruce took a glass while Tony asked for iced water,

“As well as it ever does when dealing with the vultures,” Bruce grunted, his distaste for the press clear in his voice

“Oh come on, we’re not all bad!”

Tony and Bruce turned to see Clark behind them looking uncomfortable in an Armani suit that Lex had obviously bought for him

“Clarkie!” Tony said and wrapped his arms about the Kryptonian “You look good enough to eat, and you know I am eating for three…,”

“Only I get to eat him, Stark, keep your grubby paws off him!” Lex warned lacing a somewhat mockingly possessive arm about Clark and eyeballed Tony who grinned unrepentantly at him

“He’s a big boy Lexie, plenty for us to share!”

“I don’t share,” Lex hissed sounding like a territorial cat defending what was his against an interloper

“Good job I’ve got my own hunk of tall and dark man flesh then!” Tony said with a leer and draped himself over Bruce who’d been sharing a commiserating look with Clark over Tony’s shameless flirting and word play with Lex.

“Do these two ever making greetings like normal people?” Clark asked with a deep and world weary sigh

“Never!” Bruce replied sipping his champagne

“You’re Ice Water Mr Stark,” the waiter said serving Tony a chilled glass full from a silver tray

“Thanks,” Tony said absently and slipped a twenty dollar bill tip onto the tray without a glance

“Thank you Mr Stark, Sir,” the waiter said his fingers greedily grabbing the note and pocketing it

“You’re welcome, and its Stark-Wayne now,” Tony said shooting the young man a grin

“Damn right it is,” Bruce growled putting a possessive hand about Tony’s hip in a clear display of marking his territory and not just to the waiter but to every Alpha and male Beta present in the room just in case anyone of them got ideas about His Omega.

“I don’t think you need quite such a display of dominance Big Knot!” Lex said, “The bump kind of speaks for itself!”, he looked down at Tony’s rounded belly that Bruce hand a possessive hand over.

Clark cleared his throat and shifted uncomfortably, “We’re attracting a lot of attention guys,” he said looking to the crowd of socialites on the dance floor, by the bar, and at the tables set up for eating at or just sitting and talking. Everyone was looking at the quartet, some where making the attempt of being subtle about it and shooting them side glances then looking away to whisper furiously to their neighbours, while others stared openly with wide eyes and shocked expressions.

“Then we should give the fuckwits something to watch!” Lex stated, without warning he grabbed a startled Clark and pulled him into a deep French kiss that had the poor Kryptonian’s cheeks turning crimson while Bruce snorted and Tony laughed,

“D’you want to get a seat and something to eat?” Bruce asked

“Hmm, no, lets dance while I’m still capable of it!” Tony said, “A few more months and I’ll be too big for it and my feet will likely be swelling in a couple of hours so I’ll be doing enough sitting then.”

Shrugging in agreement Bruce down his champagne and left the glass of the tray of a passing waiter while Tony simply took hold of a babbling Clark’s hand and shoved his glass of ice water into it!

Both Tony and Bruce had received formal dance lessons as children, both being expected to be capable of dancing proficiently at such events when they had reached adulthood and so had no difficulty in dancing together to the music the string quartet were playing, though they kept to the slower dances rather than anything vigorous to keep from upsetting the pups.

“So, how many headlines do you think this will make?” Tony asked as he looped his arms about Bruce’s neck

“A dozen at least,”

“Want to put a price on that?”

“Fifty bucks?”

“Nah, if its more than a dozen then we buy those cute Iron Man and Bat Man onesies!”

Bruce made a disgusted looking face but nodded his head in agreement, Tony grinned and pulled him in for a kiss to seal the bet.

 

Avengers Compound

 

Steve was crashed out on the couch in the common area with Sam and Natasha flicking through the TV channels looking for something to watch.

He was disappointed that once again Bucky had chosen to remain alone rather than join them, join him, but he didn’t push the still skitterish man, T’Challa had warned him against doing so, told him that it was better to let Bucky have his space than to try and crowd him.

Wanda too was absent, choosing to remain in her room, not even wanting Vision’s company for once.

Natasha said it was because she was still sulky over her hair, which Steve understood, to a point, but it was just hair for God sake! She could put a hat on, or wrap a scarf about her head if she was that embarrassed by her cropped hair. The Spiderkid and the Night Wing had skipped out, muttering something about patrolling their territories.

No one had heard from Tony since he’d left, or from Bat Man, though when Sam had asked him Rhodey had said he’d been in contact with them both, not that he would share what had been said with anyone though.

“Hey, what’s going on here?”

Steve lifted his head from where it had been laid back on the back of the sofa and looked at the TV screen where some entertainment news show was on. Tony and Bruce were being featured on the screen at some society party or other, with Tony showing off his pregnancy to the entire world.

“…Here at the Concert Hall Controversial bond mates Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark have revealed that they are expecting Twins in December,” the reporter said into the camera which then turned back to Tony and Bruce as they answered questions put to them by the press with beaming smiles and laughter as they gazed into each others eyes clearly besotted with one another,

“Tony seems in good health and high spirits as they announced their pregnancy though neither would comment on what this means for Iron Man, nor how the Avengers and the newly formed Justice League have reacted to the news of the pregnancy.”

Sam turned to Natasha with a frown, “I thought they were keeping it quiet until he was over twenty-four weeks?”

Natasha snorted through her nose, “Stark could never resist making a scene, and its not like he could hide that belly anymore,”

“True!” Sam chuckled,

Steve only half heard them, his focus was on Tony, on the warm glow of his cheeks, the bright shine of happiness in his eyes, the relaxed set of his jaw. Had Tony ever looked like that when he’d been in the Avengers? He couldn’t remember it ever being so. Back then Tony had always looked on the verge of collapsing, shadows so dark under his eyes that they looked like bruises, cheeks so hollowed that you could cut yourself on his cheek bones if you slapped his face, his body constantly shaking from lack of food and far too much caffeine to be healthy, he had always been snappy, jittery, never staying in one place for very long and always looking ready to run for the nearest exit when the others were around.

Steve felt a stab of painful envy of the completely relaxed posture of the Omega Billionaire with Bruce Wayne, how Tony just leaned into his touch, rested his head over so slightly against the taller Alpha’s shoulder. While always a tactile man Tony preferred to be the one initiating contact, not the other way around, he always flinched when someone else touched him first, but with Wayne he was practically melted into his palms!

“So? Either of you want to place bets on the sex and gender of the Pups?” Sam asked cutting into Steve’s reverie and fixed gaze on the TV screen

“What’s minimum bet?” Natasha asked

“Fifty buck?”

“Done. Two Girls, both Alphas,” Natasha said decisively

“Alpha girls,” Sam repeated and typed that into his smartphone, a Samsung rather than a Starkphone, God Steve remembered Tony gifting them all phones that hadn’t even made the shelves yet and asking for nothing in return, he hadn’t got it either, only a thank you from Banner, Clint and Natasha had both been suspicious of the gift, Thor hadn’t really known what to do with a phone, and Steve…, had he said Thank You? He honestly couldn’t remember and that made his stomach churn guiltily.
He had a lot to make up for with Tony, a hell of a lot, especially if he were to have any chance with him.

“What about you Cap?” Sam asked looking at him

Steve reddened and quickly thought off the top of his head, “Omega boys”

“Omega Boys it is,” Sam recorded, “I think I’ll go for one of each both Betas,” he grinned, “We get Vis, Wanda, and Bucky involved and we’ll have a pot of $300.”

“That I will very much enjoy spending!” Natasha stated giving Sam an ice cold smile

“Keep dreaming Romanoff, that $300 is mine!”

As the two of them bickered Steve let his mind wander to the thought of Tony with the Pups in a few months. He reasoned he could accept another Alpha’s pups, that he’d raise them as if they were his own, care for them and love them as he cared for and loved their Mother.

Just because they were having Pups didn’t mean that things would work out for Tony and Bruce, and when it all fell apart Steve would be there ready to help Tony pick up the pieces and raise his litter, and maybe, if they were lucky, Tony might still give Steve Pups of his own before he’s heats stopped completely, then they’d have a perfect family together.

 

*****

Silent as the grave Bucky watched Steve from the vents in the air ducts. The Spider-brat, when learning that Bucky was an ally, had told him about them, shown him how to get in and out of them so he could move about the compound undetected.

Bucky was grateful for the information since this gave him unlimited access through out the compound without anyone being any the wiser.

He wanted to keep a closer eye on The Witch but was reluctant to approach her, he didn’t know how her mind powers worked and whether or not she’d be able to sense him coming, so he kept clear of her, letting the Android, Vision, deal with that while he kept an eye on Steve.

The part of him that remembered The Winter Soldier, still had the Winter Soldier’s instincts and skill set urged him to strike now while Rogers was unawares, to snap his neck, beat in his skull, rip his heart out. Bucky forced down the those thoughts, he had no intentions of killing his friend, not unless it was in a very extreme circumstance and there was no other option available.

As Steve sat on the couch with Romanova and Wilson discussing a bet over what sex and gender the Pups would be as they watched Tony and Wayne reveal the pregnancy to a sea of reporters, Bucky watched his expression, saw the hunger be ignited in his eyes by the sight of Stark on the TV. Bucky couldn’t blame Steve for finding Stark attractive, the pregnancy had only made him more so, he was, though it was cliché to say it, glowing, he was beautiful, anyone would want him, hell even Bucky wasn’t past admitting that he wouldn’t mind bending Stark over. But, for him it was a passing thought, an idle thought about an attractive Omega, not something that would happen and certainly not something he would ever pursue. Steve on the other hand seemed convinced that it was something he could pursue, Stark’s feelings on the subject be damned.

How far would he go? Bucky hoped, he truly hoped that he wouldn’t make a physical move upon him, but if he did, then Bucky would be ready for him and would do whatever it took to stop him.

 

*****

 

Wanda sat cross legged on her bed staring at the syringe in her hands, given to her by Red Skull.

It was such a little device, such a simple thing to use, and yet it was going to be so important, it would change the world, whether it be for the better or for the worse Wanda didn’t know, didn’t care, all she knew was that when she gave Skull what he wanted he would assist her in getting what she wanted, revenge on Stark.

 

 

*****

 

Hydra Stealth Ship

Five miles out of New York Harbour

 

Skull might still be alive and reasonably fit but his space travel, lengthy isolation, and advancing years had all taken their toll upon him. He was not the robust and powerful man he had been back in the forties, he was well over a hundred years old and feeling it. His joints ached now and protested against constant use, his once incredibly strong muscles faltered where once they had been as solid as rock, his healing was slowed, what had taken hours now took days and sometimes weeks. He was succumbing to old age at last.

His mind had also been damaged during his isolation. Humans were social creatures by nature, even the most unsociable person needed human interaction or they would go mad. Skull had been alone for more than seventy years. He had gone mad, had hallucinated, gibbered, cried and laughed, that clawed at his hideous face with his bare hands, beaten his fists into the rocks of his desolate prison, had gone over each and every single option he could have made when facing Captain America, had placed himself in both the pro and the con position as he analysed everything, speaking aloud as he did so and driving himself further into insanity by the sound of his own voice. He’d stopped speak for years, not a single word past his lips, he became a creature of habit, a ferret like beast scurrying here and there in search of insects, vermin, and other food sources which were present but scarce in his hell.

At some point he had began speaking again, speaking to God and to The Devil, asking which he had angered more and which would set him free for the gift of his soul.

Well, it had been the devil who’d answered had it not? Not a red horned beast with cloven hooves like the myths depicted, but a giant purple monster who slew a green female to take the soul from the pit.

Skull had stolen away with him, his saviour, his devil, Thanos, and found his way back to earth.

 

It had taken him time to gather the scattered forces of Hydra as Thanos decimated the Universe and The Avengers and Justice League put it back together, but eventually he had done so, and now, quietly and prepared to pick up where he had left of seventy years before.

 

He needed to fix himself though, his failing mind and body needed to be healed. Only one thing could do that, Steven Rogers blood. That had the pure serum in it, not the knock off in Barnes’ blood, or the explosive Extremis that Stark perfected, (Though Skull did want the schematics of that, not to use on himself, but on creating other super soldiers).

Rogers blood would be his salvation, he would extract the perfect serum from it and inject himself with it, healing himself, giving himself youth once more. The demented Witch would get the blood in return for his aid in killing Stark. Foolish child, she was too stupid and blinded by her own rage to see that after she had given him the blood she would be expendable. He would get Stark on his own, and from the Inventers lips would learn the secrets of extremis, and the abilities to build Iron Men Suits and Arc Reactors.

Chapter Text

Avengers Compound

 

“Ah, just the snow flake I was looking for!”

Bucky looked up from where he was demolishing half a box of cheerios in a serving dish of milk for breakfast and saw Tony walk, or rather waddle in with Bruce Wayne at his side, carrying a long metal box.

Steve, who was sitting across the counter from him working his way through a pound of bacon and half a dozen eggs, frowned at the nickname. When had Tony started calling Bucky nicknames? As far as he knew they had little to no contact with each other, but for nicknames to have started then they must have been in contact, have spoken and spent time together.

He opened his mouth to say something, to ask when Tony and Bucky had spent time together, but when he saw Tony standing just across the counter from him the words dried up in his mouth. Seeing Tony on TV had been bad enough but seeing him in the flesh was ten times worse.

He looked better than Steve had ever seen him, the weight he’d gained in the past weeks had rounded him out, erasing many of stress and time lines on his face and added a pleasant roundness to his cheeks and jaw, he had lost the sickly look that had been there earlier in the pregnancy and regained his golden tan that seemed warmer and richer somehow. His stance was altered, Tony usually stood in a nonchalant slouch showing his contempt for those in his vicinity, or he stood straight backed, his posture rigid and chin raised in defiance, ready to fight either physically or verbally against whomever was challenging him. Now he stood with a relaxed and slightly swayed back posture, his curve of his belly emphasised as he leaned back in an effort to compensate for the additional weight in his front and the aches it brought in his back. Everything about him was softer, even his expression was relaxed, it wasn’t strained from lack of sleep or stress, or bordering on maniac. In a word Steve would have to describe Tony as being content, and it twisted his guts painfully to see it and know it, because Tony was content with an Alpha who was not himself.

 

Oblivious to Steve’s scrutiny and inner turmoil, Tony lay the box down on the counter before Bucky and grinned at him, “I hope you don’t mind me setting it down here, it is a bit of an armful!”

Bruce groaned, “Tony, really, that’s bad even for you!”

“What d’you mean even for me?” Tony asked narrowing his eyes at his mate, “Are you implying that my jokes are bad?”

“I am not implying anything, I am stating a fact,”

Tony made a wounded noise and made a dramatic show of being heart broken!

“May I interrupt your lovers spat long enough to ask what’s in the box?” Bucky asked, a wry smile on his face at Tony’s dramatics, at once Tony was grinning again and opening the box

“As I said, an armful!”

Bucky let out a deep sigh as a prosthetic arm was lifted from the box and handed to Bucky.

It was clearly made to measure, having been weighted and made to fit Bucky perfectly. It also had a polymer skin covered that matched Bucky’s skin tone, what looked like finger nails on the ends of perfectly sculpted fingers, creases and indentations where knuckles would be, even lines on the palms!

“Now its made along the same lines as the one Shuri and T’Challa gave you, and the original from Hydra, though I’ve made it be that exact weight of your human arm, which makes this prosthetic four ounces lighter than the one from Wakanda and a full pound and a half lighter than the Hydra trash,” Tony explained to Bucky, I’ve also modified it to be touch responsive,”

“Touch responsive?” Bucky asked looking over his new arm

“Yeah, you see the hairs on the skin?”, Tony pointed to the tiny, almost microscopic hairs on the polymer, “Well they are fibreoptic, they look and feel much the same as human hair, but they are more sensitive and they pick up data from what they come into contact with, including contact with yourself, so when this is attached to you it will come up to match your body temperature.”

 

Bucky stared in amazement at the arm, utterly astonished that Tony would go to so much trouble for him, to produce something like this.

“Its as durable as your other arms, and fire resistant, impervious to chemicals too, though prolonged exposure is not recommended,” Tony went on, “And…,” he grinned and with a couple of simple twisted detached the hand from the arm, “It comes with other attachments!”

Bucky knew what was coming but he couldn’t hold back the snort of laughter and the groan as Tony began to bring out various utensils that Bucky could attach to his arm instead of the hand. A whisk, an electric razor, an electric toothbrush, a drill, and to Bucky’s amused mortification the most horrific looking dildo he had ever seen in his life!

It was of course Iron Man colours, bright red and gold, was at least four inches thick and twelve inches long with frighteningly realistic looking balls at the base!

“And it doesn’t just vibrate!” Tony proudly declared attaching the dildo to the arm and powering it up, Bucky yelped as the damn thing actually thrust!

“That is disgusting!” he cried unable to help himself as he burst in laughter, he looked to Bruce who had helped himself to a cup of coffee, the Alpha just shrugged apparently so used by now to Tony’s madness that nothing surprised him anymore!

“Stark, for God sakes!”, this came from Romanoff, apparently she had heard the commotion and come to investigate, along with Sam and Wanda. “Don’t you think that is a little inappropriate?”

“Inappropriate maybe,” Tony conceded, “But little it certainly is not!”

“You’re telling me!” Sam snorted looking over the dildo, “You compensating for something Barnes?” he teased and Bucky thrust the damn thing in his face

“Are you asking I show you my tackle Wilson?”

Sam held up his hands in surrender and made a show of backing away,

Steve cleared his throat and prayed that his cheeks were not too flushed, he looked to Wanda and then back to the offensive object in Bucky’s hand that he was waving about as if it was a sword!

“Could you please out that away?” he asked his oldest friend with a suggestive nod in Wanda’s direction, Bucky swung round and suddenly Steve had the end of the damn thing an inch from his nose!

“Bit too much for ya punk?” Bucky snorted making the damn thing thrust again!

“That’s too much for anyone!” Sam stated going to the fridge and thus out of reach of the dildo, “Even an elephant would think twice about that thing!”

“Its offensive!” Steve burst out utterly exasperated

Bruce snorted, “If you find that offensive how on earth do you manage to use the bathroom?”

This brought more laughter from Sam and from Bucky, even Natasha’s lips twitched a little and Tony was grinning with a devilish glint in his eyes that never boded well

“He sits down like all the girls do!” he said

“Girl!”

“Oh Punk, have you been showing off your frilly knickers again? We have talked about this before you know?” Bucky mockingly said and Steve’s cheek felt like they were on fire

Sam was just about on the floor now he was laughing so hard, “Do they have spangles on them?” he forced out between wheezes

“I do not wear frilly knickers!” Steve cried

“No, no of course you don’t Rogers,” Bruce said finishing his coffee, he closed the space between himself and Steve and patted the mans shoulder with perhaps too much force, it would certainly have hurt someone who didn’t have the super soldier serum enhancing them.

“You wear bright pink thongs with stockings and suspenders, that’s why you always walk around with an expression as if you have something up your ass!”

The insult that was delivered in the manner of a joke was said with such a dry wit that it left Steve utterly speechless, helpless he watched as Bruce left his side and went back to Tony, “Shall we go and get on with the upgrades, I want to get back to Gotham before dinner,”

“Before the magic is reversed and the carriage becomes a pumpkin?” Tony asked, then frowned, “Have you ever noticed how fairy tales and nursery rhymes are really fucking creepy?” he asked, “The Lizzie Borden one is all about axe murder, and Hansel and Gretel is about a cannibalistic Witch that gets burned to death! Honestly what are we subjected our offspring too? This shit could leave serious psychological scars!”

Natasha shook her head, “Only you would actually think about that Stark,” she said

“Yeah, and I wouldn’t worry about nursery stories emotionally scarring those poor bastards,” Wanda said her face twisted into a nasty sneer, she had remained silent till now, forcing herself not to lash out with her magic as she wanted to, she was under orders, there was a plan now, Stark would get what was coming to him, she just had to be patient and bide her time. However right now she could not resist taking a verbal swipe at him.

“Having you for a mother will do far more psychological harm than anything else ever could!”

 

The change in the atmosphere was immediate. The happy, care free and teasing mood that had been in the kitchen a moment before evaporated in a second.

Sam’s laughter cut off like the power being taken from a radio, Natasha froze in the act of stirring cream into her coffee, the spoon held between her thumb and fingers, lifted just above the brown liquid in the mug, Steve’s bewildered and flushed expression became one of confusion and a hint of disapproval, Bruce’s features darkened like a clouds coming over the sun bringing a threat of storms as Tony paled and shrunk in on himself, the happy and confident demeaner he’d had just a second ago disappearing like it had been nothing more than a conjuring trick. Bucky’s grinning and happy expression melted away and was replaced with an emotionless mask so like that of the Winter Soldier it was almost frightening to see.

Only a second passed from Wanda’s words to the change in the room and then they were all on her, shouting at her and reprimanding her, even Steve of all people!

“There is no call for such behaviour Wanda, I am very disappointed in you!”

“Cut that shit out Wanda, you may not like Stark but you don’t have to behave like a complete bitch all the time,”

“If you can’t say anything pleasant or at least civil then do not speak at all!”

“You say shit like that again you Hydra whore, I’ll personally remove your vocal chords from your neck before crushing your skull!”

“You dare make remarks of that kind again and I’ll see you drowned on a ducking stool like they did in the dark ages you twisted bitch!”

Wanda flinched back, she gazed at the angry faces before her, anger from Bruce and Bucky, disappointment and disapproval from Steve, Natasha, and Sam, she felt her anger welling up inside her, once again Stark had singled her out and she was being hurt by him.

She could feel her power building inside her, she needed to release it, needed to get it out or she felt like she might explode! Turning on her heel she ran for her bedroom, the door flying off its hinges and crashing into wall across the room as she stormed into her bedroom. With a hysterical scream she let her power out and the entire contents of her bedroom was sent hurtling across the room to smash, shatter, and disintegrate against the wall that actually cracked and dented under the force!

Panting and shaking Wanda slumped down onto the floor hugging her knees to her chest and began to cry, long, loud, and tearless. She cried like a toddler in a tantrum, demanding attention, and for once received non.

 

*****

After Wanda’s outburst Bruce took Tony to lab, hurrying him away and talking to him quietly as they went, no doubt reassuring him on the way.

Sam shook his head as he sliced a bagel and popped it into the toaster, “We’ve gotta do something about her attitude man,” he said, directing his words to Steve who shook his head

“Like what?” he asked, “She’s just a kid acting out,”

“She is not a child Steve,” Natasha ground out and rubbed at her temple as if she had a headache forming, “She’s in her mid-twenties, she’s a grown woman who should know better,”

“She’s been through so much though,” Steve protested, “She lost her parents…,”

“So did Tony!” Bucky burst out making everyone jump, “I killed them, remember that Steve? I fucking killed them!”

Steve looked pained at this and reached out to try and take Bucky’s human hand, but the former Winter Soldier flinched away, “It wasn’t you Buck,”

“It was my body, my hands, I may have been a puppet on a string with Hydra pulling the strings but it was still my body,” Bucky stated, “And Stark knows it, he saw it, and yet he’s managed to get past it and be a friend to me. Why can’t that Witch do the same, let bygones be bygones?”

“She’s a kid!”

Bucky made a disgusted sound and shook his head, he gathered up his arm and various attachments and walked away unable to carry on this discussion since Steve seemed to have his head firmly rammed up his backside.

“Nicely handled Cap,” Sam muttered buttering his bagel and taking a bite

“What!?” Steve protested

Natasha gave him a hard look, “Wanda is many things Cap,” she said coldly, addressing him as The Black Widow and not his friend right now, “But one thing she is not is a child. Stop pretending that she is and stop cutting her so much slack, because if you don’t then you will give her so much rope that she will not only end up hanging herself, she’ll hang you with her.”

Taking her coffee Natasha silently stalked from the room, Sam following after her, leaving Steve bewildered and confused as to what just happened and why everyone seemed to think Wanda was behaving badly, okay she was but there were reasons for it. Yes he needed to talk to her, get her to take a step back where Tony was concerned, but she was just a kid no matter what they said, and after all she’d been through she did deserve to be cut some slack.

But then, given that he was pregnant and fragile so did Tony.

Steve sighed and pushed away the remains of his breakfast his appetite suddenly lost as he tried to figure out what to do.

 

Gotham

 

In a garishly bright apartment that had mind teasers, puzzles, riddles, and question marks on the walls instead of wall paper, a tall thin man cut an article from the front page of one of the national papers and stared at the photo of Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne.

“Oh Mr Wayne this is just such delightful fun!” he chuckled, “You’ve given me such a perfect toy to use against the Bat Man, if fact you’ve given me three in one!”.

Chapter Text

Avengers Compound

 

Bruce and Tony ended up staying at the compound for lunch which they took in the kitchen with Bucky and Rhodey, sitting round the counter, talking animatedly as they ate tuna salads with hard rolls and drank fruit juice that sat in a glass jug at the centre of the table.

Steve sat with Natasha and Sam at the corner table, Natasha was eating in silence and Sam was scrolling something on his phone, which left Steve staring at Bucky, who was sat besides Tony, thankfully with his hand on the end of his arm and not that damn dildo.

Steve couldn’t explain why, but he felt jealous at the sight of his two friends enjoying each-others company away from himself. Was jealous that they seemed to be getting on so well.

Bucky was laughing and relaxed, his posture easy and expression one of contentment, something Steve hadn’t seen once since he’d been thawed out.

Bucky was never this relaxed around him, never this easy going, not anymore. He use to be of course, before his fall, before Hydra. But since then he was reserved around Steve, stand offish, uncertain and uncomfortable. It was like he didn’t remember them being best friends, and Steve knew that he did, knew he remembered everything, so why Bucky would act like this Steve just didn’t know.

Seeing him acting like the old Bucky with Tony was a double blow.

It was hard enough seeing that ape Wayne groping Tony and Tony preening like a cat being groomed without seeing his best friend deserting him for someone who didn’t deserve his affections at all.

Well no, that wasn’t entirely true. Tony did deserve friendship and Steve didn’t begrudge him that, nor did he begrudge Bucky friendship with others, he just wasn’t sure this was a good idea. Bucky was still fragile and Tony could be so insensitive and sometimes down right spiteful. Look at how he’d treated Wanda during the war, putting her on house arrest for one mistake, if that wasn’t spite then Steve didn’t know what was.

A loud laugh from the counter pulled Steve out of his thoughts and he saw Wayne shaking his head, his smile broad as he spoke, “And then Alfred is wrestling with the damn hoover, and I mean wrestling with the thing which is cursing up a storm in French and refusing point blank to have its waste compartment emptied despite being complete stuffed full of our underwear and socks!”

“Oh my God!” Bucky howled, “A French swearing hoover, and here I thought the dildo was bad!”

“Hey,” Tony protested, “That is a work of art for which your prostate will be very grateful!”

“Just as Alfred was so grateful for a vegetarian microwave that enjoyed cremating anything that is unfortunate enough to get put inside it and pebble dashes the walls with the charred remains!” Rhodey dead panned and Tony pouted, “Face it Tones, you are not safe to be left unsupervised, when you are perfectly normal household items become sentient and have personality disorders that are dysfunctional enough to give the best of psychiatrists nervous breakdowns.”

Tony huffed, “See if I ever upgrade your armour again.”

“Oh you will, just to keep that kid from SWORD from getting his hands on it, you know, the one you said couldn’t tell a screw drivers from a wrench any better than Dumm-E,” Bruce said,

“Carry on Wayne and you are sleeping on the couch for the next week, with Teagan for company, turning herself on and tuning into Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” Tony threatened,

“Uh, Teagan?” Bucky asked, Bruce shook his head,

“Our sentient TV who has a terrible addiction to reality TV and flat out refuses to play the SciFi channel and only shows other channels when she feels like it. She also hates the Blu-ray player as it doesn’t argue with us and only does as it is made to do, Thank God Tony hasn’t decided to make it Sentient or we’d be dodging flying Blu-rays and DVDs that it rejected and spat out at us like someone doing a discus throw!”

Tony scowled and looked like a petulant five year old, “You know all I get around here is abuse. I’m going to go back to my Tower and my lab where I am appreciated for my time and show loving affection by my bots.”

“Your Bots try to feed you oil and gasoline and grease on a regular basis,” Rhodey reminded him, “You once had to get a screw removed from your stomach because YOU had put it in a smoothie and you drank it without knowing until it was too late!”

Tony winced at the memory of going to the hospital to get that removed, YOU had been banned from smoothie making for a week after that, not that it had any effect since he still tried to feed Tony toxic substances, aided and abetted by Butterfingers and Dumm-E.

“I am abused and picked on,” he complained, “I demand the appropriate level of worship befitting my brilliance, I want naked men in a speedos rubbing my feet, I want a bathtub filled with melted chocolate, and I want cute Panther Cubs from Wakanda.”

“We’re not getting Panthers.” Bruce stated

“But they are soooooo cute, and I promise I’ll house train them and look after them and you won’t even know they’re there!”

How Tony could manage to sound like a wheedling six year old when he was very nearly fifty was one of lifes mysteries, and Steve watched it with a small smile playing on his face, it was just like Tony to demand such ridiculous things and try to rationalize it.

“No,” Bruce stated, “No Panthers, Lions, Tigers, Cheaters, Leopards, Pumas, or Lynxes.”

Tony pouted for a moment, then he brightened, “How about Cougars?” Bruce groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose!

“Why not a Komodo Dragon, or possibly a Polar Bear, and a few Hyena?” A snide sounding voice asked, and in a swirl of orange sparks Stephen Strange exited a portal into the kitchen with The Cloak flaring out behind majestically.

“Excuse you, but this is a private conversation to which you, Radaghast, are not invited,” Tony immediately snarked to the Sorcerer, who’s icy glare would have made a lesser, or perhaps a saner man think twice about exchanging insults with someone who was quite capable of opening a portal and sending you through the Bermuda Triangle.

Stephen’s elegantly bearded lips parted in a sneering mockery of a smile, “But Stark, everyone and their brother knows that you love an audience for everything you do and say, why would this be any different?”

Tony sighed dramatically, “I had a Strange feeling when I got up this morning, that this would be a Strange day,” Rhodey snickered and shook his head sharing a commiserating look with Bruce at the continued bantering and snark between Tony and Stephen in their odd One-upmanship friendship. Stephen rolled his eyes,

“The fact this day was going to be exasperating for me was Starkly obvious when I knew I would be coming here and running into yourself, Tony,”

“Rather a poor come back, Strange.”

 

This new voice had everyone straightening up, save for Stephen, who crossed his arms over his chest and shifted his weight to one hip, “Loki,” he greeted.

 

*****

 

Loki may have been pardoned, may have assisted and risked his life during the Infinity War, but everyone was still wary of him, for good reason considering he still liked to be a Dick most of the time and happily lived up to his title of God of Mischief causing trouble wherever he went. The only times he stopped were when Thor threatened him with his axe, Hulk roared at him, and Stephen was around and perfectly able to send him falling through another portal for thirty minutes.

Living dangerously as always Tony broke the silence which had fallen over the kitchen and called out to Loki.

“Hey there Reindeer Games, you stop by in the hopes of finding a magic sleigh to pull, or did you just miss my company?”

Loki turned amused green eyes on Tony, “I miss your company, Stark, like a miss bilgesnipe.”

“He has that effect on people.” Stephen said

“And I missed you, Sorcerer, like I would miss one of your Midgardian sexual diseases!”

Tony snorted with laughter at the affronted look on Stephen’s face.

Natasha, who had, up until this point been watching the bickering rather like a tennis match with Sam and Steve, cleared her throat.

“What exactly are the two of you doing here?” she asked of them,

Loki’s green gaze turned onto Natasha and he smirked at her, “We are here, Widow, because I will not subject myself to the dangers and torments on his lair.” He pointed at Stephen who sighed and rolled his eyes

“For God sake it was one time.”

“You left me falling for thirty minutes!”

“Once, only once!”

“Thirty minutes Strange!”

“You tossed me out of a sixty story window, so I don’t think you have room to complain.” Tony cut in

Loki sniffed, “You survived.”

“You didn’t know I would at the time, asshole.”

“But you did,” Loki said and gave Tony saccharine smile, “Survived to be impregnated by Wayne and gestate his spawn.”

“Oh such a lovely way of putting it” Bruce deadpanned

Loki ignored him however and walked towards Tony, which had Bruce and Bucky tensing in case of trouble. The trickster however made no threatening move towards Tony, in fact he looked him over and gave him a genuine look of affection, “The gravid state suites you, Stark,” he declared, “My felicitations on breeding,”

“Thanks, I think,” Tony said with raised eyebrows, Loki hummed and then did something complicated with his hands and Tony gasped, “What did…,” he lay a hand over his belly, his eyes widening, “Oh my God,”

“What, what, what?” Bruce barked in alarm, but Tony grabbed for one of his hands and laid it over his belly. The Alpha Billionaire froze, his eyes widening in shock,

“What did you do?” Rhodey asked, Loki, not accusing but still not completely certain he could trust the Trickster. Loki shrugged.

“I simply woke the spawn up and gave their kicks a little more strength so they could be felt.”

“They’re kicking?” Sam asked, looking shocked,

“They really are,” Tony laughed, “Hey Rhodeybear, feel this,” he beckoned Rhodey over and the Colonel placed his dark hand over Tony’s bump to feel the kicking from within,

“Damn, they’re strong.” He said, “They’re gonna be soccer players for sure.”

“Can I feel?” Bucky asked sounding timid. There was a pause and then Tony nodded and Rhodey stepped back for the former Winter Soldier to place his hand over Tony’s bump.

“Huh, reminds me of when my Mamma was pregnant with my sister.” He said, “I thought it was weird back then, that she had something moving inside her, I had some notion in my head that she’d eaten a baby whole!”

Steve winced at the memory of Bucky’s late sister Rebecca who died so young of flu, the disease that claimed so many lives before Anti-biotics and inoculations became available.

“I didn’t know you had a sister.” Bruce said quietly, he was a dark protective shadow behind Tony, an Alpha guarding his mate and young before an unmarried or bonded Beta, he was allowing Bucky to touch Tony, almost intimately, but he wouldn’t let his guard down, his most base animal instinct to be alert and ready to defend what was his was too strong to fully ignore. The fact he was allowing Rhodes and Bucky to have such close contact with Tony showed a great deal of restraint on Bruce’s part. A lot of Alphas wouldn’t allow Alphas or Betas anywhere near their mates when they were pregnant, simply because their protective instincts were too strong to allow it to happen.

Bucky glanced up, meeting Bruce’s hazel eyes, “She passed away when we were still kids, flu.” He said and startled slightly when Tony’s warm hand touched his,

“I had an older brother and sister.” He said softly.

Natasha opened her mouth to deny this, everyone knew Tony Stark was an only child, but one acidic look from Rhodes made her close it, and Tony’s next statement explained things clearly.

“They were both born too early. Steven only lived about three hours before he died, and Theresa was stillborn.”

Steve sighed and looked down to the floor, feeling remorse for Howard and his late wife, losing two children like that. It must have been heart breaking for them, they must have been terrified of losing Tony too.

Steven. Howard had named his first born after him. Steven Stark. Steve wondered what he’d have been like, what Theresa would have been like had they lived. Would they be like Tony, brilliant and exasperating, too smart and too arrogant? Or would they be different, kinder maybe, gentler, less abrasive and confounding?

Steve was pulled out of his thoughts by Loki.

“If you are looking for names then I have a few to suggest, Lokison, Hela, Fenrir, Jormungandr, and Narfi.” He said

“Uh, thanks,” Tony said

“Lokison obviously means Son of Loki, Hela, Fenrir, Jormungandr and Narfi are my children.” The Trickster stated, “There is also Sleipnir, my Son by Svaoilfari.”

Stephen cleared his throat, “Is Sleipnir not a horse?” he inquired

“Indeed,” Loki stated, “Birthing him was agony, and the pregnancy horrific.”

Silence fell in the kitchen as everyone processed the news that Loki had been pregnant with and given birth to a horse, and since the mental images that gave were disturbing to say the least, no one was going to spend long thinking about it at all.

“Right then,” Stephen said, “Shall we get to business?” he asked

Loki gestured to the door, “As Midgardians say, Lady’s first!”

Stephen didn’t bother rising to the bait, he just sauntered past and silently groaned as The Cloak removed itself from his person, floated across the kitchen and wrapped itself about Tony once again.

“STRANGE!” Tony bellowed, “Get your perverted Cloak under control or I am taking a flame thrower to it!”

 

*****

 

Leaving The Cloak with Tony, since it would take a lot of arguing and persuading to get The Cloak to release the Omega, Stephen went without it into the grounds with Loki to talk outside.

“I assume you summoned me to discuss the Scarlet Witch?” Loki said, without preamble, once they were a suitable distance from the compound so they would be out of earshot in case a certain Witch was listening.

“It is,” Stephen said not bothering to ask how Loki had figured this out, “She is out of control, is posing a threat to the safety of others, a threat that must be contained and dealt with.”

Loki shrugged, “Why not just kill her?” Stephen shot him a sharp look but Loki’s expression remained blank,

“We can’t just kill her.”

“Why?”

“Because she is a human being and deserves to live,” Stephen stated with a deep sigh, “At least she is not to die unless there is no other choice.”

Loki pulled back his lips disdainfully, “Her death would be more expedient and efficient.”

Stephen grit his teeth and strove for patience, “We are not killing her unless there is no other choice. Stripped of her power she will not be as much of a danger anymore, at least, no more than the next person.”

Loki sighed, “Very well, I will assist you in doing this, though if I might make a suggestion?”

“Knowing that you will anyway, go ahead,” Stephen said tiredly

“A protection spell or charm for Stark.” Loki stated, “If you are half the Mage you claim to be then you must have noticed the dark auras within the compound, the dark magic within the air that is being centred on Stark.”

Stephen nodded, “Its coming from Maximoff, her powers are bound to her emotions, she despises Stark, wishes him harm, so the essence of her magic is pooling about him in malevolent fog. Is likely effecting his emotional state when he is here, feelings of self-doubt, despair, depression. Having his friends and his mate with him at all times is likely keeping these feelings from gaining a permanent hold on him and his not being here for more than a few hours at a time is preventing the darkness from sending him into a self-destructive spiral. But, he is probably suffering nightmares, and feelings of anxiety anyway, which won’t dissipate until Maximoff’s power is stripped.”

“A simple charm would be enough to ward off the effect of her essence,” Loki stated, “It wouldn’t be able to prevent an all out attack of course, but it would shield him from these passive attacks,”

“I agree, except there is one problem,” Stephen said with a half smile, “Stark despises magic, will not have it anywhere near him if he has a choice in the matter. We can gift him a charm and he will destroy it rather than have it on his person no matter what we say.”

“Then we don’t tell him.” Loki simply stated, “Let him think it is merely a trinket, a gift, he need never know the truth.” Stephen looked uncomfortable, but because of Tony’s stubborn hatred of magic he was leaving them little choice.

“We tell Bruce,” he said to Loki who frowned,

“Why would we tell Hulk?”

Stephen rolled his eyes, “Not Banner, Wayne!”

“Oh, the sire of the spawn,” Loki said dismissively, “If you wish to do so be my guest, I hardly see the need myself.”

“Naturally.” Stephen muttered, “Very well then, shall we adjourn to the Sanctum to begin work?” He smiled at the glare Loki gave him, “No falling, I promise!”

“I swear to you Sorcerer,” Loki growled, “If I so much as trip on the stairs you will spend the rest of eternity enjoying the questionable company of my daughter Hela,”

“Delightful child I’m sure,” Stephen dead panned, “I must sadly decline though, so I shall retrieve my cloak and we shall be off.”

“Ah yes, your perverted Cloak which has a Strange attachment to Stark.” Loki said with an eat shit grin, “Lets go and do so.”

Gritting his teeth and cursing under his breath in Latin Stephen followed after the smirking Trickster, hoping they would get the Witch dealt with swiftly so he could get away from Loki, damnit, even spending another few decades or so with Dormarmu would be preferable to this!

Chapter Text

“Ohmyfuckinggod!” Tony said, in a single continuous breath, making beeline for where a set of Avengers and Justice League onesies for babies were hanging on a metal display.

Sighing and rolling her eyes, Pepper followed after Tony, as he made noises that sounded on the verge of being indecent, while picking up various onesies with delight on his face.

“Oh, I have to get all of them!” Tony declared, selecting an Iron Man, War Machine, Bat Man, Nightwing, and Spiderman, shoving them into the basket that Pepper was carrying, and already brimming with baby clothes, as were the bags that were in the limo, that Happy was driving around for Tony and Pepper, as they hit the stores for baby clothes.

“You don’t need all of them,” Pepper said, as Tony picked out a Hulk, Aquaman, Thor, and Superman,

“Pepper!” Tony cried, sounding utterly horrified by her words, “Of course I need all of them, did you forget that I have two mini me and Bruce in here?” he gestured to his belly, thrusting it forward to punctuate the statement, “We need clothes for them, lots of clothes, a fucking shit ton of clothes, we cannot have enough clothes!”

“I completely agree with you Sir,” a Sales assistant with dollar bill signs shining in his eyes at Tony’s excess, said to Tony, clearly already mentally planning what he would do with the commission he would earn from all this,

“Please don’t encourage him,” Pepper said, sighing heavily as Wonder Woman, Dragon Fly, Captain Marvel, Cyborg, and Flash were picked out, followed by Vision and Dr Strange.

“That should do it,” Tony said, then wrinkled his nose, “Maybe I should get two of each since it is twins…,”

“No Tony!”

“Absolutely Sir, I quite agree!” the Sales assistant said, ignoring the glare Pepper shot him,

“Right,” Tony said, and began to get a second set of all the onesies he’d already picked out.

“You don’t want the Captain America, Black Panther, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Wasp, or Antman onesies?” the Sales assistant asked,

“No, he does not,” Pepper stated, saving Tony from having to find a reason to explain his choices, and since the basket was now over following, Pepper shoved an armful of Onesies at the sales assistant, “Make yourself useful if you’re going to get him to spend even more than he already has!”

With his voice muffled behind the onesies that had been shoved in his arms, the sales assistant replied, “Yes Ma’am,” and followed behind Pepper as she trailed after Tony. Who was now looking a adorable little jeans and dungarees, and making cooing noises over how cute everything was.

“You still need to get maternity wear Tony,” Pepper reminded him, “And post-partum clothing,”

“Yeah, yeah, I haven’t forgotten Pep,” Tony said, distractedly, as he was drawn to the sweet little sets of pants, tops, jackets, and caps, and began to pick out several sets. “We’ll finish here and then go and get the Maternity clothing and Post birth clothing,”

Post-Partum clothing was made specifically for Omegas. As they would be stuck in the whelping bed for six long weeks, it was important that they would be comfortable, and part of that was aided by wearing fabrics that were soft and kind to the skin, like pure cotton.

Loose fitting night gowns were obvious, but there were also pants designed specifically for this time that had ties down the outside of the legs and about the waist, so they could just be slid on without the need to move the legs overly much. Shirts and tunics designed to open over the breasts to make nursing easy while still being comfortable to wear.

None of it was made for elegance, but the last thing a new mother would be thinking about was elegance, sleep between demands for food and nappy changes would be the top priority, everything else could wait until they able to get more than a handful of hours to actually rest.

“This store caters for both infants and Mothers,” the sales assistant eagerly let Tony know, Pepper glowered at him, obviously thinking he’d already earned more than enough in commission from what Tony had already picked out without adding more to it,

“Cool, I’ll take a look,” Tony said, picking through nightwear for the twins, “S’pose I’ll have to get XXL in everything,” he added, wrinkling his nose, “I’ll be a fucking elephant by then, but, on the plus side, we can use the stuff as marquis tents once I’m done with them!”

Pepper snorted softly, letting Tony complain and insult himself without comment, she tuned out the continued rambling and shifting the basket to balance it on the crook of her elbow, while taking her Stark Phone from her pocket and tapping in the pin to unlock the screen and logged onto the internet, to check Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Tony’s shopping spree had unsurprisingly not gone unnoticed by the general population. He and Pepper had been photographed multiple times since they’d started shopping that morning, and the pictures had then been posted with captions and hashtags, talking about where they were shopping, what they were buying, and how Tony looked, both his physical appearance and what his mood appeared to be.

 

So far no professional photographers or journalists had shown up, but she suspected they would before the day was out. Leaving social media she checked her E-Mails and Messages, clucking her tongue as her arm was jogged by some inconsiderate jackass, and made a reply to a few E-Mails, her head snapping up when she heard an unmistakable yelp from Tony.

Looking up she saw him holding his arm, the rude person who’d bumped into Pepper, walking away from him, having probably bumped into Tony like they had Pepper,

“Asshole,” Pepper muttered beneath her breath, intending to go back to her E-Mails, but then Tony dropped the clothes he was holding, a hand going to his head as the colour seemed to leach back from his face,

“Tony?” She asked, alarm rising within her,

“I don’t feel so good,” Tony mumbled, his voice sounding slurred, he wavered, his knees buckling, and would have certainly fallen to the floor, were it not for the intervention of the rude man who’d bumped into both Tony and Pepper, suddenly returning to Tony’s side and taking hold of him. Pepper felt a split second of relief that the man had stopped Tony’s fall, then alarm hit her as a gun was levelled at her face.

“Don’t do anything, MS Potts,” the man said, his back streets of Gotham accent as thick as his red skinned neck. Hefting Tony like a sack of potatoes, he tossed the Omega over his shoulder, clearly unconcerned with hurting him at all, “We’ll be leaving now,” he said, giving Pepper a smile that showed yellow and black teeth and made Pepper very thankful she wasn’t close enough to smell his breath,

“You won’t get away with this,” Pepper said, refusing to cower, even as her heart pounded in fear, “You’ll have the entire Justice League down on you like a ton of bricks, and The Bat? He’s got an especial soft spot for Iron Man, have you any idea of how he’ll react to this?”

The cocking of another gun behind her made Pepper flinch, and the cold barrel of a gun brushed against her ear, “Our boss is counting on his getting involved,” a female voice purred, “He will be in touch with other concerned parties shortly, until then…,” She struck Pepper across the head, knocking her unconscious and aimed her gun at the security guard who made a move to intervene, “Unless you want your knee caps shattering, back off Rent-a-cop!”

The over weight guard gulped and held up his hands in surrender, allowing the man and woman to depart with Tony, going straight to a van where a driver was waiting. They climbed into the back, the door slamming shut and took off into the traffic.

“Call the Police!” the guard yelled, running to Pepper’s side, “And an ambulance,”

“Do you think we’ll be sued!” the Store manager asked, his voice quavering at the thought of being sued by Stark Industries and Wayne Enterprises! “I really hope we aren’t sued!”

 

*****

Ed Nygma, AKA The Riddler was waiting for the hirelings with a maniac grin on his face.

“Excellent work,” he congratulated them, as Tony was carried from the van and placed in a wheelchair, to which his arms and legs were bound, “Any trouble?” he asked, looking Tony over,

“None that matters,” the girl, with bright green spiky hair and a dozen facial piercings replied,

Nygma rose an eyebrow and she sighed, looking put upon, “I had to knock out Potts, Okay? No one got shot or anything,”

Nygma was not impressed, with fast reflexes, he took a gun from inside his pocket and shot the girl in the stomach, “No, its not okay,” he said, as she fell to the ground, gripping her stomach with blood seeping through her hands,

“Get rid of that,” he said to his two male minions, gesturing to the girl, “Then go and deliver my message to Mr Wayne,”

Gulping, the heavy set man who’d knocked Tony out, and the scrawny bean pole of a man who’d been driving set about lifting the girl up to dispose of her, while Nygma took hold of the wheelchair and began to roll Tony deeper into the Narrows Wearhouse,

“I am possessed by all, feared and hated, yet also desired by those who can exploit me,” he said to the unconscious man, “What am I?” After a few moments Nygma chuckled and tapped Tony’s head, “Weakness, Mr Stark, we all have them and try to keep them hidden, especially from our enemies, fear and hate them, as they lead to our undoing.” He grinned at Tony, “You are Bruce Wayne’s weakness, and in his desperation to get you and his progeny returned unharmed, he will turn to The Big Bad Bat, to exact justice upon me!” Nygma sneered as he spoke of Bat Man, his voice becoming mocking and scornful, “Which is exactly what I want him to do. Because you see, Mr Stark, you are not the end game here, you, and you’re offspring are merely the bait on the hook that I will use to disembowel that Bat and end his reign over the city forever!”

 

*****

“Get back here you demonic menace!” Alfred bellowed, chasing after Henri, as he skidded down the corridor, his long hose trailing behind him as he went,

“Vous faire Chier Anglais barbare!” came the insulting French reply, from the demented hoover, who had sucked up several pairs of Alfred’s socks and was refusing to relinquish them,

“I swear, if you don’t give me my bloody socks back right now, I’ll smash you into so many pieces, not even Master Tony will be able to put you back together!” Alfred roared,

Bruce shook his head, going to collect the mail and ignoring the familiar argument between Alfred and Henri, as he opened the door to the mail man, the usual bills and flyers were handed over, along with what looked to be a hand delivered letter in a bright green envelope with no return address or stamp upon it,

“I found it by the front gate, Mr Wayne,” the postman said, “Figured it was probably from a fan,”

“Probably,” Bruce agreed, accepting the mail and letting the postman carry on. Letting the door close by itself, Bruce tucked the other letter beneath his arm pit and opened the bright green envelope, taking out a hand written card that had decorative question marks all over it.

Opening the card, Bruce’s stomach flipped over, and blood began to boil,

 

What has limbs on the outside, and several more within,
Changes in size, and has movement under the skin?
What lives within another, and turns one into three?
Figure it out Mr Wayne, and deliver Twenty Million dollars to me.

Riddler.

 

Bruce white knuckled the letter, easily able to decipher the riddle, A pregnant person, someone pregnant with twins, and since this was being aimed at him, that meant Riddler had Tony!

“Alfred!” he yelled, tossing down the other mail and heading for the Bat Cave,

“Sir?” Alfred called, he appeared at the top of the stairs, with Henri’s hose about his neck and several pairs of socks in his hands!

“Riddler has Tony, Call Dick, call everyone, we get him home Now!”

Chapter Text

Tony groaned and screwed his face up. His head ached and he felt dizzy as if he had a concussion. But that made no sense, he hadn’t suffered a head injury, he hadn’t been fighting anyone. Hell e hadn’t been inside the suit in months, couldn’t fit into it for God sakes!

He squinted as he opened his eyes, finding himself in a dilapidated warehouse that smelled of urine, salt water, and damp rot.

“The fuck?” he whispered, shaking his head to try and shake the fuzziness out of it, the last thing he remembered he had been shopping with Pepper, had been buying up half the store in baby clothes!

“Ah, and here I was thinking you were going to be asleep all day!”

The voice came from behind him and Tony tensed, all the hair on the back of his neck rising and his entire body flinching violently as two hands clamped on his shoulders.

“What has six legs, four arms, a rope, and can’t stand up?”

“Riddler,” Tony whispered, closing his eyes, and screwing his face up, “Perfect, just fucking perfect.” He shook his head and let out a deep sigh as Riddler came round to stand in front of him,

“Have you figured it out yet?” the maniac asked,

“That you’re an addle brained psycho with really tragic taste in fashion? Yeah, I’ve figured that out just fine, thanks!” Tony glibly replied, he experimentally tugged on his restraints and rolled his head around making his neck crack, “Well, I suppose it could be worse,” he said, speaking mainly to himself, “I mean yeah, I’ve got to put up with your piss poor company, but hell! I could be having deal with Fuck Face, the Clown Dick, or the over stuffed Turkey! So, all things considered, I guess this isn’t so bad.”

His head snapped to the side as his mouth was back handed by Riddler. The blow made his lips sting, but wasn’t hard enough to draw blood, and Tony shook it off in a second, looking back and grinning at Riddler, “You better stick to the brain teasers, dumb ass, ‘cuz you suck at the rough stuff!”

“Oh really?” Riddler shot forward and gripped Tony’s throat, “You are at my mercy right now, I could snap your neck, shoot you in the head, or just gut you like a damn carp and you think it’s a good to make smart ass comments?”

Tony tipped his head back, pursing his lips and looking amused rather than scared, “Bitch, do you have any idea who I am?” he asked back, “I am Tony fucking Stark, I have been held captive by terrorists in a cave in Afghanistan, and while being beaten, waterboarded, and electrocuted, I built the first Iron Man suit and escaped, burning the fucking lot of them as I went. I have survived Palladium poisoning, gone toe to toe with AIM, and Extreamis enhanced terrorists. I have fought Chitauri, faced off with two Nordic Gods, travelled through a freakin’ worm hole to deliver a Nuke to an entire army of aliens, fought against a legion of psychopathic Murderous androids, thrown down with two super soldiers, faced Thanos, the Mad Titan, and I am still kicking! What do you possibly think you can do to me, or threaten to do to me that hasn’t already been done?”

By the time he was finished Tony was shouting at Riddler, his smirk having been replaced by a scowl as he glared at the sociopath, daring him to make a threat.

Never breaking eye contact, Riddler moved his hand from Tony’s throat and rested it over the proud curve of his belly, “How about I carve open the roast, and pull out the delicious stuffing?”

Tony tensed and Riddler laughed sadistically, this was Tony’s weak spot, he wouldn’t risk his pups, would do anything and everything to keep them alive and well.

“The answer,” he said, straightening back up and strutting jauntily in front of Tony, “Is, a Man tied to a chair.”

“Great,” Tony murmured sarcastically, “How about you tell me whatever the fuck it is you want?”

“Oh, I’ve no need for that,” Riddler said, “Besides, I don’t want anything from you, you are…, bait, the proverbial worm wriggling on the end of my hook, looking to catch a particularly interesting fish.”

God, did this man ever say anything normally? Did he have to speak in riddles and double talk all the damn time? Tony was getting tired of dealing with this moron already.

“May I ask who the “Fish” is?”

“You may,” Riddler magnanimously said, “My Fish, is Bat Man.”

 

Tony stared at Riddler for several second, waiting for the punch line, then burst out laughing, “Oh my God you are completely crazy!” he spluttered, unable to stop the laughs that rang out of him, “Bat Man? You’re actually trying to bait Bat Man, have you any idea of what he will do to you when he gets his hands on you? I think a vacation in the sub basement of Arkham Asylum would be a pleasant alternative! Hell, having Freddie Kruger give you a hand job would be a better idea than this! You might still have a few bits intact when he’s done!”

Riddler let Tony laugh at him, continuing to look smug, “Laugh away, but you had better hope that The Bat decides to take the bait, that he doesn’t ignore Bruce Wayne running around getting your ransom money, and turns a blind eye. Because I don’t want the money, I could just rob a bank for that, what I want is the Bat, and if I don’t get him, well…,” he took hold of Tony’s wheelchair and pushed him along to an old, but still functional heavy goods lift, and push the wheel chair to the middle of the good tray. Humming a tune he made his way to the controls, and with ear splitting shrieks of rusting metal and gears that needed oiling, he put the crane into operation, moving Tony out on the tray, and positioning him over the water of Gotham Harbour.

“If he doesn’t show, then you’ll be going for a swim with the fishes,” he cackled at Tony, who stared at the water with grown trepidation. If there was one death he feared above all others it was drowning, after being waterboarded he had developed an understandable fear of this, and facing a death like that was terrifying.

“Come on Bruce,” he whispered, closing his eyes and clenching his fists, “Don’t let me down.”

 

*****

 

Compound

 

The entire Justice League had arrived within an hour or Tony’s kidnap.

Superman stood beside The Bat, his powerful arms folded over his impressive chest as he listened to the information they had so far.

Smoking a cigarette, which was stained with purple lipstick, Dragonfly paced restlessly.

Bucky allowed himself a moment to admire Dragonfly’s costume. Thigh high boots of dark purple leather, with crampons in the toes and coiled springs in the heels, to give him the ability to leap a good ten-fifteen feet in the air and cramp onto the side of buildings, his leather gauntlets matched the boots, the fingertips were steel tipped claws that could grip onto brick, and slice through flesh like a knife through butter.

His legs were covered in black leather Kevlar, and the same material made up his tunic, which was also in black, save for the dark purple of the chest piece, which matched the voluminous, yet stiff folds of what appeared to be excess material on the back of his arms, and between his shoulder blades and the middle of his back.

Bucky however knew better. The material made up the double wings of Dragonfly’s costume. He couldn’t actually fly without his jet of course. But, the wings had enough material when fully extended to allow him to glide through the air like a paraglider.

Noticing Bucky’s scrutiny, Dragonfly scowled at him, his sharp blue eyes narrowing within his dragon face shaped, purple leather cowl. “What?” he barked, actually making Bucky flinch. In his mind, what remained of the Winter Soldier mocked him for being so jumpy, and Bucky wished he could punch the smug bastard! He was less a second personality, and more of an additional inner monologue, that Bucky had learned to live with, and, when he was being snarky, suffer with gritted teeth!

“I wanna help,” he offered, feeling his cheeks colour for how lame it sounded, God, he used to have a way with words didn’t he? The gift of the gab? Now he could barely string a sentence together.

“Hey, Dragon Breath, play nice for once,” Nightwing said, patting his shoulder, and Dragonfly growled at him,

“I’ll pull you damn wings off, if you don’t shut it, you freakin’ Mayfly!”

Spiderman chose that moment to swing down in front of Dragonfly and hang before him upside down in the most nauseating manner, “Gotta get past me first.” He told the grumpy superhero,

“Bite me, Webhead!”

“Children! Can you please be civil for once?” Wonder Woman called, sounding exasperated. Besides her Aquaman stood stoic, though Bucky saw him checking her out, and, well, who could blame him? She was so hot she could melt metal!

“Have any demands beyond the Twenty Million dollars from Bruce Wayne, been made?” Cyborg asked,

“No,” The Bat grunted, “Not yet anyway, but, knowing Nygma, some ludicrous riddle will be sent with details soon enough,”

“And you’re certain its this…, Riddler, who has Tony?” Bucky asked, he had heard of the Gotham based super freak, who had some kind of twisted obsession with brain teasers, but he didn’t know that much about the man, except that he was insane, and should be locked up for life,

‘Or Killed’ the remnants of the Winter Soldier, whispered in his head,

“The ransom fit his MO.” Superman replied, “It was in the form of a riddle, that’s what Nygma does, although..,” he paused and frowned, “Kidnapping is not usually his style, when he wants money he just robs banks, he doesn’t kidnap and extort, that’s more Penguins style.”

“Could they be working together?” Rhodes asked, standing in the War Machine armour with the face plate up,

“Unlikely,” The Bat said, “They hate each other with a passion, and Nygma has no other affiliates, its more probable he’s working alone. But, Superman has a point, this is out of character for him, so, the question is, if not money, what is it he wants?”

“We have to find out.” A new voice, oh so helpfully put in, and Bucky silently groaned, as Steve Rogers, or rather, Captain America, marched into the briefing room, with the Avengers trailing behind him, all suited up and ready to go, even Maximoff, who looked sulky about it, her arms crossed and a scowl on her face as she stood to the back of the group.

“This is a private meeting, Rogers,” Dragonfly spat, “Take your little cheerleaders and go play paintball or something, we’ve got work to do.”

Bucky mentally groaned as Steve’s back stiffened and he stood up to his full height, trying to intimidate the unimpressed Dragonfly, who was several inches shorter than him, “Tony is our friend, this is our business.” He stated, and Dragonfly scoffed,

“With friends like you back stabbing ass wipes, who the hell needs enemies?”

The Widow was front and centre then, glaring at Dragonfly, “You watch your mouth,” she growled, bringing a smirk to the mans purple painted lips,

“Or what? You gonna try and jab a needle in my neck? Go on, gimme your best shot, I’ll send flowers to your hospital bed when I’m through!”

“Dragon! Enough!” Superman barked, before things could escalate further, “We need to focus, not pick petty fights,”

Dragonfly scowled and made a grumbling noise, but moved away from The Widow, stalking his way to the windows, followed by Superman, who began talking to him in a low voice, that, were it not for his super soldier hearing, Bucky wouldn’t have been able to hear, even Steve, who was about ten yards further away, couldn’t hear them, though his attention was on The Bat, and the terminals set up with the current information on the kidnapping.

 

“I’m sorry honey, but I don’t want you getting into a fight with her,” Superman said, soothingly,

“Why? I can take that bitch!” Dragonfly responded, defiantly, “I could kick the shit out of her, and the Star Spangled bag of dicks!”

Bucky’s lips twitched at the derogatory name for Captain America,

“I know Lex, but now isn’t the time, we need to focus on finding Tony, we’ll deal with the Rogues another time.”

Dragonfly sighed heavily, “I just hate seeing them walking around here like the own the place, Clark, I mean you saw the state Tony was in after fucking Siberia, Jesus he was on a damn ventilator for three weeks because double pneumonia, lost several toes to frost bite, it was only luck, and the fact he had just enough power left in his suit to move his arms, that he could put his hands in his arm pits, that saved him from losing his hands!”

Bucky swallowed painfully. He hadn’t realized how ill Tony had been after Siberia, how much damage he and Steve had caused.

‘He doesn’t blame you’ Winter piped up, at the back of his mind, ‘He calls you Snowflake, and Coolwhip, he made you that fun toy!’

“Shut up!” Bucky whispered under his breath, his cheeks flaming at the thought of the damn dildo, that was, really, very well made!

“He nearly lost an eye Clark!” Dragonfly, or rather Lex, and was this Lex Luthor? Billionaire or Lexcorp, and socialite of Metropolis? Did that mean that Clark, or Superman, was his boyfriend Clark Kent the reporter for Daily Planet?
Bucky would have to think about that more later, he was focused on Lex mentioning something about a lost eye.

“If the surgeons hadn’t been able to reattach the retina, he’s be blind in his left eye!”

“I know sweetheart, I hate them being around him too,” Clark/Superman said, “And we’ll take care of it, but right now, lets get Tony back from Nygma, then we can start making plans to tear the Rogues apart!”

 

Bucky felt sick. He hadn’t know that Tony had nearly been half blinded. It must have been all the blows to the head Rogers had given him with the shield in Siberia. God, lost toes, double Pneumonia, hypothermia, and nearly blinded. He turned an angry glare on the back of Steve’s head, angry with the Alpha, who hadn’t given a second thought to how hurt Tony might have been, or how he’d get back from Siberia, or anything.

Well, one thing was for sure, he wasn’t letting Rogers hurt him again, he’d die first, hell, he’d kill Captain America, before he let that happen.

 

“I think I know what he wants.”

This came from Nightwing, gaining him everyone’s attention. “It’s you.” He said, gesturing to the Bat, who’s cowl lifted slightly as his eyebrow rose,

“Me?”

“Yes. It’s perfect,” Nightwing explained, “He kidnaps Tony, sends a ransom to Bruce Wayne, whom, he knows, would immediately alert The League, and bring Gothams Dark Knight raining down on him like a ton of bricks.”

“Then he’s not only crazy, he’s a dumbass!” Aquaman snorted, derisively, “Pissing off Batman, baiting him? Hell, if he’s that suicidal, why not just walk into a Gas Works and light a match!”

“It does seem a logical conclusion,” Wonder Woman said, and scowled at Aquaman, “Not the gas plant,” she sighed, rolling her eyes,

“Well,” Batman growled, cracking his knuckles, “If he wants me, then he’ll get me, fist first!”

Chapter Text

In true Riddler style, a Sing ‘o’ gram showed up at Wayne Manor only a few hours later with another riddle for Bruce Wayne, which Alfred took in his place. Holding up his phone so that the JL and Avengers could hear the song.

 

Where Men on craft labour and sweat,
Where large birds fly and call,
Where the air is full of salt,
This where Stark will fall.

Lost in the eternal silence,
Where his screams will go unheard,
The cold and breathless will surround him,
Lest you heed my word.

Be here by sunset,
Or this shall be Stark’s fate,
Eight-Fifteen, Mr Wayne,
I suggest you not be late.

 

“Jackass!” Nightwing grunted, rolling his eyes at Riddler’s dramatics,

“Eternal Silence? What does that mean?” Spiderman asked, shaking his head in confusion,

“It’s Religious, the Eternal Silence is God,” Steve said, “So he’s hiding him in a church or religious building of some kind,” Dragonfly shot him a look of disgust, and Aquaman openly sneered,

“I doubt very much that it would go unnoticed if Riddler took and abducted Tony Stark to a Church,” Wonder Woman said, “Besides which, there is nothing else remotely religious about the song,”

“Where men of craft labour? A building site? A factory?” Superman suggested,

“What about a quarry, a Salt Mine?” Flash asked, “The air turning to salt?”

Cyborg rose an eyebrow, “Know of any Salt Mines in Gotham?”

“That’s not the only place where the air is full of salt,” Bucky quietly offered, he flushed and shifted uncomfortably as all eyes turned towards him,

“Go on?” Batman encouraged,

Clearing his throat, Bucky met the mans dark eyes, seeing something familiar there which he would have to think on later, but for now finding Tony was the priority, “Well. I mean, the sea is full of salt, if you go to the seaside then the air is full of it,”

“There is no beach in Gotham,” Natasha sighed, looking irritated,

“No, but there is a harbour,” Batman said, “With plenty of disused warehouses about the docks. The Eternal Silence, it could be a reference to the sea, taken from the religious, Eternal Silence of Heaven, and The Holy Sea.”

“Cold and breathless, that could mean fish!” Flash cried, then cringed, “No offence big guy!” he offered to Aquaman, who glared at him,

“Men of craft labour and sweat, the dock workers and sailors, with the craft being the ships, and the large birds being gulls,” Batman said, slapping the table with his hand, “It’s Gotham Harbour,”

“Lets go then!” Steve said, straightening up, ready to for the quin jet, the Avengers following behind him like good little ducklings, only to have Superman calling out to them and halting their progress,

“You can’t just go barging in with no plan, Riddler will have undoubtedly set a trap of some sort, and besides, Gotham Harbour is pretty large, with a hell of a lot of warehouses for him to hide Tony in,”

“That’s where you come in, Handsome!” Dragonfly declared, patting an impressive pectoral muscle and grinning up at the amused/incredulous face, “You’ve got the X-Ray vision, go and fly around and get your voyeurism on!”

Nightwing snorted, Spiderman and Flash looked like they were having epileptic fits in their costumes as they cackled, Aquaman huffed a chuckle, Cyborg appeared to be trying to look too mature to laugh, Wonder Woman just looked exasperated, as did Rhodey, and Batman was clearly ignoring the scene before him.

“Voyeurism?” Superman asked with a put upon sigh, “Really? You think I fly around all day gawking into people’s bedrooms and bathrooms?”

Dragonfly shrugged, “What you do from the privacy of your airspace is your business!”

“Hey? What if you’re like gawking into someone’s bedroom and they’re, you know, doing it, and then you like find out after its all done that they’re really old and saggy and wrinkly and shit?” Flash asked, looking oh so innocent, “Or what if you accidently see a guy doing it with a blow up doll…,”

“For the Love Rao, what the hell is wrong with you people?” Superman cried, “I do not go around looking into people’s bedrooms or bathrooms, and I certainly don’t watch their sexual activities!”

“Not when he’s on duty anyway!” Dragonfly deadpanned, earning another round of laughs and an indignant look from the Man of Steel,

“We’ll be having words later,” he growled at the smirking vigilante,

“I may be able to assist with the search,” Vision said, to Superman, “I can also scan buildings and see through structures,”

“That’ll be great,” Superman said and held a finger up to Dragonfly, “Not one word!”

Dragonfly pouted, “Spoil sport,”

“Alright, you two go and do that,” Batman said, “Once we know the location we need to be ready to move.”

 

As Superman and Vision both took to the air, the Avengers moved closer to the JL,

“Cyborg, can you scan the area for any devices that Riddler might have set up, bombs, charges and the like, and if there are any, disable them?” Batman asked,

“Sure,” the Cybernetic man replied,

“We can handle any losers he has on his payroll,” Nightwing said, indicating himself, Dragonfly and Spiderman,

“I think, since it is the dockside that he has chosen for this, that Riddler intends on drowning, Tony,” Wonder Woman said, “He probably has some plan for getting him into the sea and not being able to swim back up,”

“Then that’s my play,” Aquaman said, “Get me the location and I’ll be ready to bring Tony back to the surface,”

Rhodey looked troubled, “I appreciate that, but I hope it doesn’t come to it. Tony has enough fears of drowning without adding to them, so lets hope your services won’t be required,”

“Why is Stark scared of drowning?” Sam asked, “I mean, I get that its bad and all, but why would he fear it?”

“Because he was Waterboarded in Afghanistan, Dumbass!” Aquaman shot back, his ethereal eyes flashing menacingly at the smaller man, and Sam took a hesitant step back out of fear of the Atlantians temper,

“Shouldn’t have been selling weapons and killing people, then it wouldn’t have happened,” Wanda muttered, just loud enough for everyone to hear her.

In a moment the entire JL had whirled on Wanda, were yelling insults of threats at her, while the more level headed, held the more volatile back from acting out the threats, and glared at the Scarlet Witch, or Bitch as Spiderman seemed to enjoy calling her,

“Rogers,” Batman snapped, his distorted voice a low growl, “Get your team out of here, your presence is neither required or wanted,”

“Nor is it in anyway helpful,” Wonder Woman agreed, her ageless face dark with disapproval,

Steve, however stood up to his full height, chest puffed out and chin jutting as if he were offering it up for a punch, which, considering those present, he was risking, “Tony’s our friend,”

“The fuck he is!” Nightwing cried, “And that Hydra Psycho sure as hell isn’t his friend,”

Wanda opened her mouth to give one of her patented denials about having ever knowingly worked for Hydra despite having mind reading capabilities, when a sonic boom shook the building and Superman strolled back inside,

“I know what Tony is.”

 

 

*****

 

Tony was concentrating on ignoring Riddler, who monologued, asked him pointless riddles, and cackled when he didn’t respond.

He saw little point in getting into a conversation with a deranged psychopath. He’d just give himself a headache.

Instead, he worked on trying to get his hands free, managing to achieve nothing but painful scratches on his skin from where his nails had dug into it. He couldn’t get his legs loose, and he didn’t dare try and move the wheelchair, not with how the platform he was on swayed and creaked ominously.

Ignoring Riddler took work, but ignoring the growing terror bubbling up inside him took far more effort.

In his mind Tony could recall the taste of stagnant water, as his head was shoved repeatedly into his drum, his body shaken and the air knocked out of him so he couldn’t help but to open his mouth to try and draw breath, only to have it fill with water, that had flowed down his throat, choking him and taking him to the point of drowning, only for his torturers to bring him up again, throw him down on the ground, and brutally beat the water out of him. Leaving him vomiting over himself, breathless, and in pain from his breaking ribs. Then, once he’d got two or three breaths back into his body they would shove him back under the water again.

It had gone on and on for weeks, Tony getting weaker and more terrified every time they came for him, wondering if today would be the day that they drowned him for good, and part of him hoping that it would, because at least then it would be over, he wouldn’t be suffering this anymore, wouldn’t be hauling around a car battery which powered a lump of heated metal in his chest.

When people had asked him later, if the arc reactor had hurt to carry in his breast bone, he had always said no. Because compared to the crude device that Yinsen had put inside him to keep him alive, the pain was easy to live with and ignore. Where the first electromagnet had been agony.

The hot metal had been burning him constantly, the weight exhausting to carry, making it hard to breathe and every breath he did take, painful and raw. It’d made his back ache, gave him constant acid reflux that was so bad he felt the pain right up into his jaw.

The arc reactor had not been painless, but it had been much better. It didn’t burn him, and without the car battery, it wasn’t pulling on his back. The compression on his lungs could not be helped, neither could the acid reflux, but he learned to compensate, taking shallower breaths, and took antacids regularly, while avoiding foods that exacerbated the problem.

The Arc Reactor and his dodgy heart had not been the only things he’d left the desert with though, a fuck load of PTSD had happily tagged along for the ride. Tony’s fear of water being a major part of it.

At first he hadn’t been able to take baths, or even run a sink full of water, just standing under the shower had been challenge enough, with his face stuck out from under the spray so it wouldn’t get wet along with the rest of him.

For someone who lived right above the ocean, with a large swimming pool on his property, having a phobia of water was not something he could live with for very long.

So Tony had weaned himself back into baths. Keeping them shallow at first, no more than three inches, then gradually increasing the depths, going to dip his feet in the sea on the beach, slowly venturing further in, going up to his knees, his thighs, his waist, and finally taking a swim.

It had taken the better part of two years to get that far, and he was proud of himself for managing it. But the fear of drowning had still be at the back of his mind, lurking there, just waiting for the perfect moment to rise back up again, which it was doing right now.

 

The sound of the water lapping beneath him, the smell of the salt, and the light spray of water over his skin had Tony shaking and sweating. His breathing was becoming more and more erratic, a panic attack so close that Tony could practically feel it enveloping him. It was taking everything he had to hold it off, to not give into the panic his precarious position was causing.

He was so focused on trying to keep his breathing calm that he didn’t notice the yelps and cries of pain from outside the warehouse, or Riddler swearing, in fact he didn’t notice that anything had changed until Batman was crashing through the ceiling on a rappel and landing with an impressive thud on the ware house floor.

“Bruce!” Tony whispered, a grin spreading over his face, even as Riddler began to give a manic laugh and bowed to Batman.

“Give it up Nygma, you’re finished,” Batman growled, recoiling his rappel and advancing on Riddler, “Those mines, you set up? Cyborg took care of them, your hirelings are currently having the shit kicked out of them by Nightwing, Dragonfly, The Winter Soldier, and being webbed to the walls by Spiderman, which leaves you all alone to face me.”

Tony’s elation faltered a little as Riddler didn’t wail or swear or try and make a run for it as Batman destroyed his plans, instead he held his ground and smirked cockily at him, his eyes gleaming with a ‘I know something you don’t know’ expression, that set Tony on edge.

The Bat too, paused, his dark eyes looking about the building for potential traps that Cyborg, Superman, and Vision hadn’t spotted and disabled,

“You thought I would be prepared only for you, didn’t you, Batsy?” Riddler leered, “Thought I wouldn’t be smart enough to know that you play with other children now, that I wouldn’t have made plans in anticipation of that,”

Tony took a sharp breath inwards, his eyes meeting Bruce’s a fear shot through him over what might have been missed and what this might mean, then a second later he was screaming in horror as Riddler pulled on an invisible fish wire which released a scythe that he had hung on double braid rope, hiding the metal under the steel beams so Superman wouldn’t notice it.

The scythe sliced through the air towards Batman, who’s quick reflexes saved him from having the blade embed itself in his throat, but was not quite fast enough to avoid having it embed itself in his shoulder and lift him up off his feet, leaving him hanging and bleeding from the vicious blade.

Riddler laughed at him, at Tony’s screams of horror, mockingly saluting the Dark Knight, “I’m sure you had Aquaman on Standby for a water rescue,” he called to Batman, as he struggled to get free from the scythe, “But, I’m afraid, a steel mesh is blocking a water entrance to this part of the docks, and while, Aquaman might eventually get through, I doubt he’ll do it fast enough to save Stark,”

 

Bruce’s eyes widened, his lips parting with the word, “No,” as Riddler activated the release of the platform, sending Tony plummeting down into the water.

Chapter Text

Vision had opted to stay at the compound with Wonder Woman, and Flash in case there was a call out, leaving Superman and War Machine as the air support for this, though, neither expected to be needed, except maybe to fly Tony back to the Compound.

However, several minutes into the rescue, Aquaman broke the surface of the sea, as they observed, Dragonfly, Nightwing, and Winter Soldier making short work of Nygma’s hirelings, and Spiderman webbing them up to the walls, upside down, with only their heads free, but their mouths covered to shut them the hell up!

Tossing his damp curls back from his face, Arthur waved to them both, calling them in for assistance.

“This can’t be good,” Rhodey murmured, descending to the sea level, with Clark besides him,

“What’s wrong?” Clark asked,

“That bastard Nygma’s rigged a steel mesh over the entrance to the warehouse,” Arthur growled, “I can’t break through it, but you can burn through it,” Clark glanced to the War Machine face plate,

“Go,” Rhodey told him, Clark nodded to Arthur,

“Lead the way,”

 

*****

 

The cold water stole Tony’s breath away as he plunged into the sea. His vision blurred as the salt stung his eyes, and the foul tasting water flooded his mouth which was open in a scream, as he sank beneath the surface, the weight of wheelchair dragging him down to the bottom, where he stopped with jolt, sand rising from the bottom of the sea bed, turning the already murky water cloudy and blinding Tony completely as he tossed his head back and forth, looking upwards to the surface that looked so far away.

Desperately, he tried to pull his arms and legs free from the restraints, to get himself free from the wheelchair so he could swim for the surface. But they held fast, keeping him in place no matter how he twisted his wrists and ankles or pulled on them to try and get free.

His heart was pounding too fast in his chest, he could hear each pulse of blood rush past his ears in a frantic rhythm. His lungs were aching, panicking as they were denied the air they needed.

Holding ones breath for any length of time was not easy, but when the lungs were already practically empty it was that much harder. Tony knew, from past experience, that he would not be able to hold off the impulse of drawing breath for very long, it was why it was impossible to suffocate yourself without using something to cut off the air supply. Holding your breath wouldn’t work, the body’s natural survival instinct would kick in and force you to take a breath after so long. In the open air, this was fine, but if you were trapped under water, it was a death sentence, because the second you inhaled you would die, as water rather than air would flood the lungs drowning you.

Tony knew it would happen, remembered it happening in Afghanistan, remembered having cruel, uncaring hands, beating at his chest to revive him and get the water out of his lungs, so they could dunk him again.

He remembered laying on the sea bed, pinned under the ruins of his Malibu home.

He had thought he would die there, as he stared up at the sunlight reflecting on the sea above, the fire and debris still raining down into the ocean surrounding him. Dumm-E, YOU, and Butterfingers plunging into what could have easily become watery graves, had Tony not made back-ups to their programs and been able to salvage their “Remains” from the sea bed and repair and rebuild them.

That had taken him six weeks of long hard work, something Pepper hadn’t understood the necessity for. But then she didn’t get that they were more than just Robots, they were his dysfunctional children, his babies. They were as much a part of him as Jarvis had been, as Friday was, as Teagan, Cathy, and Henri were.

Thinking of them, his AI children, made Tony think of his Pups, the lives who would end with his, drowning along with him as they Father fought for his life above.

Had he been able, Tony would have cried, but the water was washing away his tears and he had no air with which to make a sound of sobs.

Darkness was beginning to spread over his eyes, dark spots dancing in front of his vision and a weightless feeling was in his head, he was on the verge of passing out, and the second he did his body would try and inhale.

He struggles were stopping, his limbs no longer able to function without air, his body was going limp, his eyelids closing and darkness was waiting to greet him.

Just as his eyes closed, Tony thought he saw something flashing in front of him, and dark shapes moving towards him, but then his vision turned black and everything went numb.

 

*****

 

“TONY!” The scream tore from Bruce’s lips as he watched Tony plunge into the water, sinking beneath the surface in a second and not resurfacing as the weight of the wheelchair pulled him down.

Nygma cackled manically “They say Two Birds with one stone, but in this case, it is four birds,” he turned back to Bruce, grinning with obnoxious pride at his own self-proclaimed genius, “I’ve got you, Stark, and the unborn offspring, four birds in one go!”

“You’re a dead man, Nygma!” Bruce roared, struggling on the scythe, he pulled at it as hard as he could, but the curve of the blade prevented him from simply pulling it out and getting himself free. The weight of his body, plus his armour was pulling him down towards the ground, dragging the blade up through his flesh, ripping a nasty gauge in his flesh until it wedged itself beneath the bones of his shoulder and collar bone.

He thrashed about, pulling on the blade, ignoring the pain that raged through his shoulders with every motion. Sweat was collecting under his cowl, stinging his eyes and he was internally counting the seconds that were passing, each one bringing Tony closer to death.

“One minute gone,” Nygma said, checking a golden pocket watch, “What is it? Three to five minutes to die of drowning?” he grinned at Bruce, “We’ll give it ten to be sure. Then I’ll bring him up, cut you down, and…” he took a gun from inside his coat, “Finish the job,”

“You bastard!” Bruce snarled, thrashing even harder.

 

He stared at the sea, under which Tony was slowly dying. This couldn’t be happening, he could not be watching his husband and mate dying while he was unable to do anything about it.

It was his worst nightmare, his very worst nightmare. Tony and the Pups were counting on him and he’d failed them when they needed him the most.

“Two minutes and counting!” Nygma laughed, staring at his watch, “Only a few more to go,”

“Less than that for you,”

 

Nygma turned and Superman’s fist met his face sending him literally flying across the warehouse, landing into a load of empty drums with blood running down his face from where his nose had broken.

From Bruce’s right, the door to the warehouse was kicked open, and Dragonfly, Spiderman, Winter Soldier, Nightwing, and War Machine burst in, just as Aquaman came to the surface with Tony laying limp in his arms.

*****

 

Superman’s heat vision made short work of the rope that was holding up the scythe, just as it had the steel mesh and the restraints on Tony.

Bruce, with the scythe still wedged in his shoulder, fell to the ground, but was caught by Clark, and gently lowered to the floor, where he immediately tried to run to where Aquaman was laying Tony down on the ground.

“Stay still,” Clark said, pushing him back,

“Tony!” Bruce cried, trying and failing to break Clark’s hold on him. He stared at Tony’s sodden, limp body. His face looked pale and lips were parted but unmoving. He couldn’t be dead, he just couldn’t!

Arthur bent over Tony, his ear to his mouth and his fingers on Tony’s throat, checking for a pulse. Bruce’s own heart stuttered to a halt as he stared at Tony, he felt frozen in place, as if time had literally stopped moving forward, when suddenly Tony coughed, spitting up sea water and sucking in a huge lungful of air.

A cry of relief escaped Bruce, as Arthur supported Tony’s back, sitting him up and gently beating on his back to bring up any more water he might have swallowed.

 

Tony coughed and spluttered, struggling to calm his breathing and take deep and slow breaths as Arthur, and Rhodey, who’d joined them advised him to do. Desperately his eyes sought out Bruce, who was still struggling against Clark’s solid hold on him. Dick had joined them, and was examining the wound in Bruce’s shoulder,

“Just pull it damn thing out!” he bellowed,

“Did you hit your head or something?” Dick snorted, “You’ll bleed out you muppet, this’ll have to be surgically removed,”

“I have to kill Nygma and take care of Tony is what I have to do!”

“We’ve got Nygma taken care of, don’t worry about him,” Lex said, coming over with Bucky carrying Ed over his metal shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He was still unconscious from the single punch Clark had given him, but Lex had bound his hands, and gagged him just in case he woke up and started babbling riddles.

“No, take it easy, you need stay still..” Rhodey trailed off as Tony shoved out of his and Arthur’s hands and scrambled over to Bruce, all but falling on top of him and kissing his face, pealing back the cowl and stroking his pale cheeks,

“I thought you’d been killed,” he whispered, his voice hoarse and choked from his coughing fit, a low moan escaped his lips when he looked at the scythe wedged in Bruce’s shoulder,

“I’ll be fine, it’s just a flesh wound!”

“Flesh wound? You look like a shish kabob!” Dick cried, getting a glare from Bruce,

“Bruce Wayne!”

Everyone but Tony and Bruce looked up at Bucky, who was looking at the Bat Man with his cowl pealed back and his face revealed.

“Well, that makes a lot of sense,” he chuckled, his smile froze when he looked up at was met with several concerned/threatening faces, “I won’t say anything,” he said, “Not to anyone,”

“Won’t be able to without a tongue in your head,” Arthur growled, ignoring the look of disapproval that Clark shot him,

“Everything alright in here guys?” Peter called, hanging upside down from the door frame, the cops are on the way, I can hear the sirens,”

“Yeah, great, hang about out there, why don’t you?” Lex shot back at him,

“Bite me, dragon breath!” Peter replied, and headed back out to meet the police,

“We need to get him into surgery, that things sliced through an artery,” Clark said, his x-ray vision directed at Bruce’s shoulder, “It’s keeping it plugged for now, but it needs removing via surgery,”

“You’ll be alright,” Tony said, cupping Bruce’s face, “Clark can carry you back to the compound, we’ll call Helen, and she’ll have this out of you in no time,”

“I don’t need carrying,” Bruce protested, trying to sit up and yelped for the pain that shot through him, the colour draining from his face,

“Stay still, you’ll do yourself even more damage if you’re not careful,” Clark chided him, leaning down to lift Bruce up into his arms, not at all surprised at the loud protests Bruce made, or the squirming he gave at being carried bridal style,

“Oh stop making such a fuss,” Lex sighed, “He won’t drop you or anything. Well, not unless you really piss him off!”

Bruce growled darkly and glared daggers, “I am a grown man, I can walk perfectly well unaided,”

“Not with a bloody great meat slicer through your chest you can’t,” Arthur stated, “Now shut up whining and let Supes get you out of here,”

Bruce opened his mouth to answer that, but Tony cupped his cheek and leaned in to kiss him, silencing him completely, “I’ll see you soon, sweetheart,” he promised him, stroking his hand over Bruce’s cheek,

“Yeah..” Bruce drawled, his voice slow and sleepy. He didn’t realize what was happening until he was already in the air, with Clark flying them back to the compound,

“I’ll give you a damn good kicking for this!” he growled at Clark, who just grinned at him and had the cheek to pat him on the head,

“That’s alright, Brucey, everything will be fine, you just lie back and think nice thoughts,”

Bruce made an inarticulate snarling noise. Think nice thoughts, yeah, fine, thoughts of disembowelling Edward bloody Nygma for causing this nightmare. Tony might be alright, but it was no thanks to him. It was down to Superman and Aquaman that Tony was alright, if he had been there alone, Tony would be dead and so would their Pups.

Never before in his life had Bruce felt like such a failure as he did right now. When Tony had needed him the most he had failed him. Had nearly let him die. All of the hours he put into training, all the time he spent fighting villains, it had all been for nothing, because when it counted it hadn’t done anything to save the man he loved, worse in fact. Tony had been attacked and nearly murdered because Nygma had a grudge to settle with Bat Man, he’d chosen Tony because he was a friend of Bat Man, so when you came right down to it, not only had he failed to save the man he loved, he’d caused him to be endangered in the first place.

“I’ll never forgive myself for this,” he whispered, as Clark lay him down on a medical bed in the infirmary, “Never.”

Chapter Text

Bruce, sadly wasn’t given much time to recover from surgery before he had to get dressed in a smart suit and present himself before the press, besides Tony, acting as the relieved husband, who was grateful for the actions of the JL.

With his good arm wrapped protectively about Tony’s waist, Bruce beamed for the cameras, which flashed before his eyes. The reporters snapping shots of the reunited couple and calling out questions to Tony.

“How did Edward Nygma get the jump on you?”

“I was out shopping for baby clothes, when I was jabbed with a syringe filled with a sedative, and I was abducted from the clothing store and taken to a dockside warehouse, where Riddler held me prisoner.” Tony explained, “Several members of the Justice League came to my aid. Batman, Superman, Dragonfly, Spiderman, Nightwing, Aquaman, Vision, and James Barnes. Between them they freed me and took care of Riddler and his cohorts. Batman, himself, was seriously injured in the fight and I wish him a speedy and full recovery.”

Bruce winced at the mention of his injury. His wounded shoulder was numb, the pain relief having not worn off. Helen’s cradle had worked wonders on re-knitting his flesh, the torn muscles and repairing the severed artery. But the area would be tender for some time, the flesh was new and delicate, would need to be rested and very gently exercised before he could go back to his usual routine.

 

Not being able to go out on patrol was doing nothing to improve the depressive mood that had settled over him since the fight with Riddler. All he could think was that he had failed Tony when his mate had needed him the most, and with this injury he would be completely useless to his mate for days if not weeks.

“Bruce, you must be delighted,” a journalist gushed at him, her too bright pink lipstick, stinging Bruce’s eyes even more than the flash of the camera lenses,

“More than I can say,” he replied, “And I am deeply grateful to the Justice League for the actions in bringing my Husband, safely home to me,”

Tony beamed at Bruce and lent in to kiss his husband, putting on a show for the cameras, while taking a good look at Bruce. At his pallor beneath the make-up on his face, disguising how pale he was, and concealing the numerous bruises he was sporting. He noted the lines of tension on Bruce’s face, the tight set of his mouth and the clenching of his jaw. All were signs that Bruce was only just managing to keep from snapping by sheer stubbornness, the last thing he needed was a lengthy press conference.

Nodding subtly to Pepper, over Bruce’s shoulder, Tony had her take over dealing with the press, making the Billionaires apologies, stressing the need for Tony to rest after his ordeal.

Hand in hand with Bruce, the two of them went back into the mansion, and straight to their bedroom, where Bruce gratefully took of his suit jacket and let it fall to the floor, followed by his dress shirt and rubbed at his shoulder.

 

“Lay down, my love,” Tony said, rolling back the bed covers, and stripping out of the clothing he thrown on, to replace the ones that the sea water had ruined.

“It’s you who needs to lay down,” Bruce said, turning his back to Tony, to stare moodily out of the window. The wind had been strong enough to shift the fog from the sky and the grim city of Gotham could be seen in the distance. The tall sky scrapers rising up above the roof tops of smaller buildings and houses. Bruce knew that City like the back of his hand. It was his hunting ground, his territory, his curse to bear.

For more than twenty years he had stalked the streets, fighting the scum who held the city in a grip of terror. He’d defeated crime lords, petty criminals, even triumphed over the super-villains, for a time at least. He had never truly lost a fight before, not since his parents deaths. Nor had he felt as desperate and helpless as this, since his parents deaths.

 

When he had been swinging from the goddamn scythe, Bruce had felt the gut wrenching terror an frozen inability to do anything, as he had been forced to watch Tony’s descent into the icy sea, that he had felt when he’d been a boy in the alley, watching as his parents were gunned down.

When he had started learning to fight, he had sworn to himself that he would never allow himself to be so inept again. That he would always be able to fight, to protect those he loved, and between Alfred’s tuition, and the training he’d received from the League of Shadows, he had achieved this goal, up until today.

 

He’d nearly lost the most important person in his life. Had to hang like a piece of meat in an abattoir, watching as the Omega he loved was plunged to his death in the sea, completely unable to help him, as a mad man cackled before him.

 

“If I ask what is wrong, will you answer me?” Tony asked, Bruce half turned, a grimace on his face. How could he burden Tony with this? Hadn’t the Omega been through enough for one day, for one lifetime? He didn’t need Bruce adding to his difficulties, especially not when he was pregnant.

“Of course you won’t,” Tony scoffed, “That would mean you’d have to give up brooding and sulking!”

“I don’t sulk!” Bruce automatically shot back, he looked over his shoulder and saw Tony giving him a far too knowing smirk. “I’m fine,” he lied, “My shoulder’s just a little sore,” he offered as an explanation of his morose mood.

“Then come and lay down,” Tony said, stretching out on the bed, “We can cuddle up together, take your mind off the pain,” Bruce paused, staring at Tony for several long moments. He longed to take comfort in his mate, to breathe in his scent, the delicious scent of a fertile Omega in pup, but the perverse side of him that thrived on his self-torment, refused to allow him this comfort, wanting him to suffer in misery.

“You rest,” Bruce said, “I’m going to go down to the cave for a while,” The cave was his refuge in times of stress, like Tony’s lab was his haven, they both retreated to such places when they needed time to think and work through things alone.

“Bruce,” Tony rose onto his knees, crawling down the bed and taking Bruce’s hand, as he made to go past the bed, “You know you can tell me anything, don’t you?” he said, “That I will never judge you, never think any the less of you. That there is nothing you could tell me that would change my love for you,”

Tony’s face was open and honest, his eyes filled with earnest love for Bruce, which struck his heart as painfully as a lance. The was a chance, a high chance, that Tony would blame himself for Bruce’s disquiet, if he were not careful, and for Tony to fall into one of cycles of self hatred, was the last thing that Bruce wanted to happen.

 

Sighing, he turned and cupped Tony’s cheek, stroking his thumb over the slightly fuller curve of his face, liking the softening of Tony’s angular jaw and cheeks.

“I know,” he murmured, kissing Tony softly, “And I love you, I love our Pups, more than I can say,” he ran a reverent hand over Tony’s abdomen, smiling as he felt flutter beneath his hand, “I promise, there is nothing..,”

Tony cut Bruce off, rising up and placing his fingers over Bruce’s lips, silencing him, “When we got back together, we promised that we would never lie to each other. Do not break that promise now, by making a false one in its place.”

 

Bruce sighed again, taking Tony’s hands and raising them to his lips to kiss each one of his fingers, “You’re too good for me,” he whispered, “Always have been,”

“Rubbish,” Tony said, shaking his head, “You are perfect for me,”

“I’m not,” Bruce insisted, “I failed you,” the words came tumbling out, without Bruce meaning them too, and he hated himself all the more when he saw the shock in Tony’s eyes.

“Failed me? How, when?”

“Today!” Bruce exclaimed, pulling out of Tony’s hands and pacing. “I was useless to you. Let Riddler get the jump on me, and you nearly died because of it, had Superman and Aquaman not been there then you would have died, and it would have been my fault!” Bruce slumped down into the armchair just across from the bed, his forearms on his thighs and his head hanging down in shame.

 

Tony stared at his husband in disbelief. This was what was bothering him? He was blaming himself for getting impaled? It was absurd, no one could have done better than Bruce had under such circumstances, but no one but Bruce Wayne would berate himself for even the slightest mistake.

The Batman may have many enemies, but his greatest enemy had always been himself, his own self punishment.

 

“You really are unbelievable at times,” Tony sighed, getting from the bed and crossing the bedroom, kneeling before Bruce, who immediately began to protest at him doing such a thing in his condition. But Tony wouldn’t hear of it, taking Bruce’s hands into his own and holding them tight.

“You have not failed me at all, not ever. I am here, right now, because of you,”

“No. You’re here because of Superman and Aquaman,” Bruce corrected, “You were abducted by Riddler because of me, because of his grudge against Batman. If not for me then you wouldn’t have been hurt at all, none of this would have happened,”

“And by the same logic, if not for me, Pepper wouldn’t have been abducted and experimented on by Killian, none of what Killian did would have happened if it had not been for my shunning him at that damn party,”

Bruce’s face scrunched up as a he scowled, “That’s not the same thing, and you can’t be held responsible for the actions or decisions of a deranged sociopath. He tried to accost you at a party when you were drunk, he didn’t make an appointment to speak to you properly, he just tried his luck in a crowd, when anyone with half a brain would know that at best all he’d receive is a dismissal and at worst, a kicking from security as they threw his arse out, possibly into police custody and given a caution for trespass.”

“Then can not the same be said for Riddler?” Tony asked, “If I am not responsible for what Killian became and did, if I am not responsible for Vanko or Hammer. Then you are not responsible for the actions of Edward shit for brains Nygma.”

“But he…” Bruce was again cut off by Tony, calloused fingers pressing over his lips, quietening him,

“Nygma chose me to call out the Bat, because I am the easiest of the JL to find. The majority of us have not disclosed our identities, so unless he wanted to tangle with not one but two superheroes, and possibly one with enhanced abilities, he had to go for one of us who is base line human, and, as Lex and Dick have kept their identities secret, that left only me.” Tony paused and snorted, running a hand over his bump, “I’m also not in fighting shape right now, so that made me an easy target.” He drew breath and exhaled loudly, “What I am trying to say is, none of this was your fault. It was all Nygma and his twisted, brain fucked, obsession with proving he’s the smartest of all. If not me, then it would have been someone else, or it would have been a series of robbed banks, or thefts with absurd riddles left behind. Do not blame yourself for the actions of a psychopath, not ever.”

 

It made sense, it really did, and Bruce wanted to believe Tony, believe that this wasn’t his fuck up, just as Vanko and Killian were not Tony’s. Lionel was not Lex’s, and Zod was not Clarks. It was just harder to forgive himself, to keep from blaming himself than it was when it came to others.

“I still didn’t save you,” He said, “You nearly drowned. Had Superman and Aquaman not been there…”

“But they were there. Because you were smart enough to know better than to go in alone. You accepted help from other, from our team, and everything turned out fine. I’m here, you’re here, and Nygma is back in his cell in Arkham, where hopefully they’ll keep hold of him for once, and his hirelings are rotting in prison,” Tony smiled, squeezing Bruce’s hands, “Everything is fine.”

Bruce smiled tiredly, “What did I do to deserve you?” he asked, freeing on of his hands and running it through Tony’s hair,

“You kicked the shit out of Ty Stone, when the pervert bastard tried to molest me while I was drunk of my ass in college!”

Bruce snorted at the memory. God, that felt like a lifetime ago, practically was a lifetime ago.

He felt the fatigue of the day weighing on him and did not protest, this time, when Tony rose and tugged him towards the bed, letting the Omega lay him down, strip him of his trousers and shoes, then climbed into bed besides him, pulling the duvet up over them, settling himself on Bruce’s good side.

“I don’t know what I would do without you,” Bruce murmured, wrapping his good arm around Tony, who was flush against his side,

“You’ll never have to find out,” Tony promised him, “We’re forever you and me, nothing will change that. Not super-Villains, not deranged genocidal aliens, nothing.”

Bruce smiled, his eyes closed and within a few minutes he was asleep, with Tony drifting off besides him. The two of them slept peacefully, neither disturbing when Alfred went to check on them later, smiling when he saw them both and quietly shut the curtains before tip-toeing out of the room and shutting the door, letting them sleep in peace.

Chapter Text

Wayne Manner

 

Tony Stark was not a cook.

The only time he had cooked for Pepper had been when he had been dying of palladium poisoning and it had been an omelette which had taken him three hours and over two dozen eggs before he finally got it right!

Bruce was only a little better. Alfred had taught him how to make some simple dishes so he could keep himself alive at needs be, but he was no chef, so it was normally Alfred who did the cooking at the manner, or the Billionaires ordered take-out, or just went out for a meal.

This morning was a little different though.

After sleeping through the afternoon and the night, Tony awoke early, his bladder pulling him out of the bed with a desperate need to relieve himself. After taking care of that, he washed his hands and his face, brushing his teeth to get rid of morning breath, and went back into the bedroom.

He stopped in the doorway and looked at the bed with a fond smile. Bruce was sprawled over the centre of the bed, limbs spread wide like a starfish, and head buried into the pillows, where he snored softly.

Bruce rarely slept in, and Tony was not going to disturb him while he did, especially not when he was injured and had such an emotionally draining day. Figuring that his mate could do with pampering for once, Tony decided to go and make breakfast for him, and serve him Breakfast in bed.

 

Breakfast in bed was not something that either Billionaire indulged in very often. Bruce was normally up too early for such a thing, despite being up late at night patrolling Gotham, and Tony was often just going to bed in the morning, if he went to bed at all. So this rare indulgence would make for a pleasant treat for them both.

Knowing that his culinary skills left a lot to be desired, Tony decided to keep the breakfast simple, mixing up the batter for waffles and heating the iron, then had Cathy get the coffee ready. She gurgled and bubbled happily, sending up clouds of steam as she heated the finest Columbian Coffee that money could buy.

“Maybe I should upgrade the waffle iron too,” Tony mused, as he poured on the first batch of batter and went to cupboard to get out the syrup, patting Micky on the way, who popped open his door and beeped happily.

“What do guys think?” he asked the microwave and coffee machine, “Want another little brother?”

“Dear God no!” Alfred stressed, as he padded into the kitchen, opening the waffle iron before the waffles burned, and got a spatula, scooping them out and placing them on a plate, “We do not need anymore demented robots running around this house.”

“They are not demented,” Tony said, sounding hurt, “They’re just a bit… special,” He poured more batter onto the iron and set about getting a tray ready, “Are there any blueberries?” he asked, “Or strawberries?”

“Try the bottom of the fridge,” Alfred replied, putting on the kettle for his earl grey, “What is all this in aid of?” he asked, gesturing to the breakfast that Tony was preparing, “Is his sullenness still sulking?”

Tony snickered at the term for Bruce, “He’s asleep, I thought I’d treat him to breakfast in bed,” he shrugged, opening the waffle iron and placing them on the plate, pouring on the next batch, “He had a rough time yesterday.”

Alfred hummed, “Not just because of his injury I imagine,”

“You know Bruce. If he can find a way to blame himself for something, then he will.”

“Indeed. Like someone else I know,” Tony narrowed his eyes at Alfred, knowing exactly what he meant. “You two are as bad as each other,” Alfred said, “Which is probably why you are so good for each other.”

“Well, they had to be good for something, didn’t they?” Dick asked, sauntering into the kitchen, yawning loudly and wearing nothing but a pair of Bat Man boxer shorts that Lex had bought him for Christmas as a joke. “Ohh Waffles!” he breathed, eyeing the plate greedily, but had his fingers slapped as he tried to reach for one,

“They are for Bruce and Me, you can get your own,” Tony said, setting another set onto the plate and pouring the last of the batter onto the iron.

“Oooohhhh, pleeeeaaase Auntie Tony!” Dick wheedled, making Tony snort at the high pitch, child like tone of voice he used.

“There are eggs in the fridge, and more flour in the cupboard,” Alfred informed the young man, “You can make your own waffles and let your “Auntie” get off his feet. He is pregnant, remember?”

“I could hardly forget with his belly sticking out like he’s swallowed a basketball!”

Tony sighed and gave Dick an exasperated look, “Remind me why Bruce and I allow you into our home?”

Dick’s smile was as bright as the sun, “Because you know you couldn’t possibly live without me.”

“Hey, is that waffles I smell?” Tony’s mouth dropped open, as Peter padded into the kitchen, wearing one of Dick’s t-shirts and a pair of boxer shorts, his hair tussled and a sleepy look on his face.

“He slept in one of the guest rooms!” Dick instantly informed Tony, his cheeks flushing a second later and poor Peter had turned scarlet and started babbling as he always did when he was nervous.

“I hope you don’t mind, Mr Stark, I mean Tony. But after yesterday I had to stay to make sure you were alright, and then Dick and I got talking and it was really late, and I didn’t want to have to go all the way back to New York, and Dick said it’d be alright if I stayed over, so I hope that it is alright, and I promise we didn’t do anything…”

“Okay, okay, stop before you give yourself an ulcer,” Tony said, holding up a hand. Honestly, Peter could exhaust him without even trying. “You’re eighteen, you can sleep with whomever you want, and I trust that you are mature enough to know to use precautions, so I won’t trouble myself to give you a sex lecture.”

“Yes, and Thank You, Mr Stark, I mean Tony,”

Shaking his head, Tony filled two cups with coffee, and got a sugar bowl, and small jug for cream from the fridge, which he added to the tray, “Waffle Iron is all yours,” he said, picking up the tray and headed out of the kitchen, leaving Alfred to deal with the brats and try to sweet talk Micky in doing as he was asked for once.

 

*****

 

Bruce had awoken since Tony had been making breakfast, and was just coming out of the bathroom, when he came in with the tray.

“What’s this?” he asked, his face breaking into a surprised smile,

“Breakfast in bed,” Tony replied, setting the tray down and tugging Bruce back to bed, “I thought, after yesterday, we could both do with some pampering.”

Bruce allowed Tony to get him back into bed, and held the tray steady as Tony climbed in besides him.

“I suppose we should make the most of all the late mornings we can get,” he said, taking one of the plates and loading it with waffles and blueberries, “We won’t be able to once the little ones come,”

“Nope, it’ll be three am feedings, sleepless nights, and an endless round of nappies” Tony agreed, spreading strawberry jam over his waffles, while Bruce stuck to maple syrup, “It seems that Peter stayed the night, with Dick.”

“Really? I thought those two were still dancing around each other.” Bruce chuckled, “Were we ever that cute, do you think?”

“I doubt it,” Tony mused, “If I recall, by the time I was eighteen, we’d already been together for two years, and it had taken me five months to get you into bed, because you wouldn’t touch me until I was sixteen!”

“I was merely being a gentleman,” Bruce said, sniffing, “Though you made it damn hard, no pun intended, to restrain myself, as I recall. Especially when you wore those damn leather pants and non-existent shirt.”

Tony laughed out loud, recalling the outfit Bruce was referring to. The skin tight, low waisted, leather pants, that he had barely been able to breathe in, and a see through, open collar shirt. The outfit would not have looked out of place in strip club, and a fifteen year old Tony had taken great pleasure in parading around Bruce’s dorm room in such attire, trying to get the stubborn Alpha to relent on his “No sex before its legal” rule. But all to no avail, Bruce refused to do more than kiss him before he was sixteen, no matter how hard Tony tried, and he really did try.

Not many Alpha’s of seventeen would have been able to resist a nubile fifteen year old Omega giving them a lap dance, but Bruce had done so, had resisted all of Tony’s attempts to seduce him before he was old enough for sex. Which was probably part of the reason why Rhodey took to him so well, the fact that Bruce wasn’t prepared to take advantage of him the way Tony’s other “Flings” had been.

“God. Who would have thought back then, that we’d be here now?” he said, picturing their adolescent selves. Both very sure that they would never have children, never conform to society and bond, both convinced that they would remain free spirited rebels, and be the Alpha/Omega couple that challenged the traditional views on marriage and bonding.

Of course that had been before Tony’s parents had died, before hi drinking had started to become a problem, and his dabbling with drugs had become an addiction. Before Stane had gotten his claws into him, freezing out Bruce.

Tony could see that now, looking back. How Stane had come between them, subtly manipulating Tony, who was already paranoid from the coke, and emotionally fragile with unexpressed grief, into pulling away from Bruce, and making him start to resent Bruce’s obsessive need to control everything.

Of course, even if Stane had not been on the scene there was no guarantee that Tony and Bruce would have worked out back then. They had both been so young, still innocent despite what their childhoods had taught them. They had both needed to mature, to grow as people. Sadly they had to do that growth apart from one another, but, at least they had found their way back together in the end.

“D’you think that one day, someone will make a love story about us?” Tony asked, looking to Bruce, who rose an eyebrow,

“Considering they have done several biopics on our “Fiery nineties relationship” I would be surprised if it didn’t eventually happen.” He sighed heavily, “With my luck they’ll cast Hugh Grant to play me, and it’ll be some depressingly cheerful romcom chick flick.”

“You never know, they could cast some one really fit to play you, like Orlando Bloom, or Tom Burke, or ohhh Ben Affleck!” Tony said, licking the strawberry jam from his lips, “God knows who’d be cast for me. Think Antonio Banderas would consider it? Or Johnny Depp?”

“They’d be idiots not to,” Bruce drawled, “But I think I see you as a Robert Downey Jr, myself.”

“Oh I can see it now,” Tony sighed, “Two kids meet in college, everything is rosy, then life and shit happens and they are separated. Only to find their way back to each other after heartbreak and the occasional apocalypse, finally ending in a huge white wedding with showers of rice and confetti, and Gwyneth Paltrow bawling her eyes out!”

“No, they can’t do that, because we haven’t done that.”

“What?”

“The white wedding,” Bruce said, “We haven’t married. We’ve bonded, but not married, not officially.” Of course a bonding was more binding than a marriage, but Bruce was right, they hadn’t said wedding vows or exchanged rings. “Do you want to?”

“What?”

“Get married?”

Tony frowned and sat up straighter, or as straight as his pregnancy would allow, “Are you proposing?” he asked, “I mean like, for real?”

“I am,” Bruce said, suddenly feeling nervous, though he wasn’t sure why. He and Tony were already bonded, Tony was carrying their Pups, there was no reason for his nervousness.

“Oh my God!” Tony whispered, letting out a shocked little laugh, and nodded, “Yes, yes I’ll marry you!”

 

*****

 

Compound

 

Steve was depressed. Wanda knew this, she could feel it oozing out of him. Ever since they had come back from Wakanda and he had learned of Tony’s pregnancy and bonding to Bruce Wayne, he’d been miserable.

Why he had fallen for Stark of all Omega’s, Wanda had no idea. It was a complete betrayal of everything she had thought he stood for. A betrayal of what they had fought for during the Civil War.

Stark was corrupt. Immoral. Utterly beyond redemption.

Yet Steve was in love with him!

Wanda knew this to be true. She had read as much in Steve’s mind, had seen enough fantasized images of Steve and Tony together there to be convinced of this, and it turned her stomach, infuriated her.

This anger and feeling of betrayal eased away any lingering doubts she had over helping Red Skull.

Steve’s perceived betrayal in her mind, had him deserving this and whatever came next, and Stark deserved to burn in hell for all he had done to her.

Resolved in her decision, Wanda slipped into Steve’s room, where he was sleeping late, having taken the graveyard watch, the night before, and not been relieved until eight am by Sam.

Knowing Steve’s reflexes were incredible, Wanda used her magic to keep him asleep, as she quietly opened the door to his room and slipped inside.

 

Steve lay on his side in bed, his left arm flung up over his face, and said face was turned into his skin. His mouth was slightly open, and soft snores escaped his lips as he slumbered. Behind the lid, his eyes moved, he was dreaming. Dreaming of Stark, of having Stark naked beneath him, body glistening with sweat and flushed with passion, as Steve penetrated him, thrusting inside him and filling his body with seed.

 

Wanda’s nose wrinkled in revulsion, and she hurriedly uncapped the syringe. Carefully she moved Steve’s arm down from his face, and lay it flat on the bed. Using a length of string, that she tightened about his upper arm, she brought up the vein and sank the needle into it, drawing out blood until the vial was filled.

As Steve’s serum would take care of the tiny needle wound, Wanda didn’t both doing anything more than unwrapping the string and slipping both the vial, used needle, and string back into her pocket, and quietly made her way to the door. She had just shut the door and started making her way down the corridor when there was a loud thump behind her.

Turning around, startled, she saw Bucky Barnes, standing behind her in the hallway, his face a mask of suspicion and hatred.

Chapter Text

Bucky had been in the vents. He’d been making it a regular habit, crawling through them, keeping an eye on what was going on, especially with Wanda.

He had not seen her go into Steve’s room, but he had seen her leave.

He would not have thought it anything unusual, might have even thought that the two of them were having sex, though he never got the impression that either felt that way for each other. But he was alarmed when he saw tendrils of her red magic swirling about her hands, and a residual mist lingering in Steve’s bedroom as she shut the door behind herself.

Not wasting anytime, Bucky dropped down from the vents, landing with a thump behind the Witch.

 

Wanda turned, a guilty expression on her face, which she quickly tried to hide under her patented wide eyed, fragile little girl image.

“You scared the crap out of me!” she said, faking a startled laugh, and placed a hand over her heart, “What were you doing…”

“What did you just do to Stevie?” Bucky growled, clenching his fists tight, so tight that the metal hand creaked under the pressure.

“What?” Wanda laughed, taking a step back, “I didn’t do anything. I was just seeing if he was awake, and he’s not, so…” She flinched away as Bucky took a menacing step forward,

“Do not lie to me, Witch. I saw your magic, now what did you do to him?”

 

The innocent little girl mask slipped away from Wanda’s face and was replaced by cold and hardened features. Her eyes met Bucky’s and they were filled with resolute determination, she jutted her chin, lifting it defiantly.

“I did nothing that he does not deserve,” She stated, the pitch of her voice lowering from the higher, whispery, little girl voice she used around the others. This was the deeper voice of a grown woman, a cold hearted woman, who cared for very little beyond her own wellbeing.

“And who are you to decide what anyone deserves?” Bucky growled,

“Who do I have to be?” Wanda snarled back, “That slut Stark?” She huffed a mirthless laugh at Bucky, “Is he fucking you too? Spreading those plump thighs and letting you lie between them, like he is that other Billionaire, like Rogers wants to be?” her face twisted, becoming something truly ugly in her malice, “He’s a murderer, and a whore, he fucks anything, and he killed my parents…”

“And I killed his.” Bucky bellowed, cutting her off, “Yet unlike you, Tony has found it in himself to forgive me, to reconcile with the past. Where you cling to it, letting your personal losses poison you, turn you into something twisted and malicious…”

“I am what this world has made me. What Stark has made me,” Wanda cried, her eyes flashing red, “And they will pay for it, all of them, him too,” she said, nodding her head towards Steve’s room, “Since he betrayed me. Let himself be seduced by Stark.” She shook her head, sounding almost regretful, “I thought he was my friend, thought I could trust him, but no, he is just like everyone else, and he will pay for it, you all will.”

Bucky lunged forward, grabbing hold of Wanda’s arms in a painfully tight grip, that had her crying out in pain and trying to struggle free. Her cries should have alerted Steve, should have brought him to the door to see what was going on, but they were alone in the corridor, something else that worried Bucky.

“What ever you have done, whatever you are planning, ends here!” he snarled at her, “You are not going to hurt anyone, least of all Tony Stark.”

“Fuck you!” Wanda screamed, she summoned her magic and Bucky was thrown back down the corridor, his body slamming right into the wall, where he lay crumbled and covered in debris.

Knowing that there was no way that the other Avengers did not hear that, Wanda wasted no time in running. As she headed for the compound front door she nearly ran into Natasha and sent her flying with another blast of magic as she tore through the compound and out of the door.

Using her magic, she started the engine of the first car she came across, parked outside and climbed into the driver’s seat. Putting her foot down she sped down the drive, heading the gate, which she blew apart with a blast of her magic and screeched down the road.

 

*****

 

Coughing brick dust from his lungs and feeling like he’d been hit by a truck, or spent a night out drinking with the howlies. Bucky staggered out of the hole his body had made in the wall and fell to his knees, coughing raggedly. His chest ached, his back too. He probably had a broken rib or two, bruised kidneys most likely as well.

“Sergeant Barnes?”

Bucky looked up, seeing Vision appear in front of him, Sam on the Android’s heels, along with Natasha who looked worse for wear.

“What the hell happened?” Sam asked, panting a little, having run across the compound,

“Wanda.” Natasha said rubbing the back of her neck, “She’s gone mad.”

“Worse than that,” Bucky grunted, he got to his feet, and pushed open Steve’s door, “I caught her coming out of his room. I saw her magic. There is no way he didn’t hear all this.”

Looks of alarm spread through the team, and they burst into Steve’s room, finding him asleep in his bed, looking peaceful and content.

 

“Captain Rogers?” Vision called, going over to Steve and gently shaking him, “Captain, can you hear me?” There was not response, Steve lay boneless on the bed, slumbering on as if he had heard and felt nothing.

“Mind out, Viz,” Sam said, going to check Steve’s pulse and breathing, “He’s breathing normally, and his heartrate is eighty a sixty a minute, normal for a resting pulse rate.” He carefully peeled back Steve’s eyelids to look at his eyes, which were moving rapidly, “I think he’s just asleep. Dreaming in fact.” He straightened up and turned to the others, who had gathered around the bed, “I don’t know what to do for him.”

“I don’t suppose a shot of adrenaline would help?” Natasha asked, “Or some other kind of stimulant?”

“I doubt it,” Vision said. He straightened up when they all looked to him, “I can sense Wanda’s magic here. She has done something that has rendered the Captain in a state of sleep.”

“Why?” Natasha asked, confusion creasing her face, “Why would she do that?”

“Maybe she just needed him unconscious for something,” Sam suggested, looking at Steve’s arm, as he carefully straightened him out, “He’s got a fading needle mark on the inside of his arm,” he said, “The kind you get when blood is drawn.”

“What would she want with his blood?” Bucky asked, his voice hardly above a whisper,

“I don’t know,” Sam said, “But right now, our priority must be waking Steve up and finding her.”

 

 

*****

 

The Avengers did not waste time. The called for help in dealing with this situation, both Clint and Scott came to the compound, thought neither could offer help with waking Steve, but would offer assistance in locating Wanda.

Vision and Bucky took the initiative and called for the JL. Well, they called Tony, who called the league. Since this involved magic, he couldn’t think of anyone better equipped to deal with this than Strange, save for Loki, who did not accompany the sorcerer, having apparently gone to visit Thor and Banner in the new Asgard they were creating.

 

Bruce insisted on accompanying Tony to the compound, despite what Tony or anyone said, getting into his Bat Man suit and ignoring all the reasons that he should stay behind and rest.

His one and only concession was a promise not to get into any fights while he was healing, other than that, he would not adhere to, and glowered behind his cowl whenever anyone asked him if he was alright, or suggested he sit this out.

 

“It is definitely magic,” Stephen said, as the teams gathered in the conference room. “She has placed him in a perpetual dream state from which he can not awaken.”

“Why?” Dick asked, “Why do that?”

“Maybe she didn’t intend to,” Lex offered, “Perhaps she just needed to keep him asleep while she took his blood, and didn’t realize that the… spell or whatever wouldn’t wear off once she was done.”

“It is possible.” Diana agreed, her expression troubled, “But what would she want with his blood? She is not a Doctor, nor has any kind of biological or biochemical abilities does she?”

“None at all,” Vision said, “She did not even finish high school let alone gain higher education. The blood would be useless to her.”

“But might be of use to someone else.” Tony sighed, “Someone who does have those capabilities and can use the blood for something.” He looked to Bucky, “Maybe to make more super soldiers.”

Bucky frowned, “Not for Hydra. They already have a version of the serum they can use.”

“They did have it, perhaps it was lost with Zola, and Strucker.” Natasha suggested, “Or. They wanted the original serum, the pure serum that is in Steve’s veins.”

“So the question is who and what for.” Scott sighed, shaking his head and rubbing his face, “Any ideas on who that might be? I mean I know you guys have a lot of enemies. Hydra, AIM, Dr Doom, to name but a few. Anyone you can think of at the top of the list that we can start looking at?” The blank faces around the room had him slumping in his seat and sighing heavily.

“What about Steve?” Clint asked, resting his forearms on the table, “Can you wake him?” he asked Stephen. The Wizard nodded,

“I think so. I need to research this, and be sure of what I am doing before I attempt it though. I dare not start prying into his mind, it is a very fragile thing, speaking both medically and mystically.”

“If you want to go, go,” Tony said to the Sorcerer, “We’ll call if we have any news,”

“Likewise,” Stephen said, then he paused and shot an apologetic look to Bat Man, or rather to Bruce. “I think that your own safety must be taken into consideration here, Tony.”

“Mine?”

“His?” Clint asked, “Why? Wanda hasn’t done anything to him?”

“Yet.” Rhodey growled. He was no happier with the archer for the comments in the Raft about his injury now than he had been when Tony had first told him of them. But he could remain civil for time being, put aside his personal feelings for the greater good.

“Wanda has in fact been lashing out at Tony since her return.” Stephen informed the archer. “Her attacks have been psychological rather than physical. Manifesting in nightmares, depression, and insecurities. Loki and I have been looking into ways to neutralize her powers for some weeks now.”

“What?” Tony looked at Stephen in shock, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“We didn’t want to worry you,” Bat Man said, his voice as soft as the modulator could make it, “You have enough to worry about, without adding anything more to your plate.”

Tony opened his mouth to say something, then recalled that they were not with just their team but the Avengers too, and shut it again, gritting his teeth and narrowing his eyes at Bruce. They would be talking about this later, in detail.

“Jesus Christ.” Clint muttered, shaking his head and looking down at the table. Natasha placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it gently.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Stephen said, conjuring a portal. Pushing away from the table, Diana got to her feet.

“I’ll help.” She said to the sorcerer, “I have not have much experience with magic, but more than anyone else here, and the sooner the Captain is conscious, the better.” Stephen nodded and gestured for her to go through the portal before him. The two disappeared in a shower of orange sparks.

“That’s weird.” Scott said, looking around, “Doesn’t anyone else think that was weird?”

“No,” Spiderman said, “That wasn’t weird, that was Strange!” There were several groans to this and Flash slapped him upside the head.

“Jokes aside,” Superman said, a smirk playing on his lips, that he knew Lex would tease him over later. “We need to make a plan for finding Wanda.”

“And someone should be here to keep an eye on Steve,” Bucky said, “Like this he’s a sitting duck.”

Tony nodded, “He’s right, Rogers can’t be left unattended, and the compound should have people on guard at all times right now. We should split into shifts, work around the clock, searching for Wanda, making sure Steve’s okay, and keeping an eye out for any assholes that want to live up to their titles.”

“Spidey and I can tag team,” Dick said, with a grin to Peter, “We don’t mind having Smash hang around with us, or the Cyberpet!”

“It’s Flash, bird brain,” Flash shot back, while Victor flipped him off.

“I’ll stay with Tony,” Bat Man said, decisively, his tone brooking no argument, and he didn’t rise to the snort that Arthur gave. “Sergeant Barnes, will you be on our team?”

“Certainly,” Bucky said.

“Rhodey, Carol?” Tony asked, “D’you two want to join us?”

“I am fine with that,” Carol agreed, and Rhodey nodded his head.

“That leaves, Supes, Dragon-breath, and me,” Arthur said, shrugging, “Wanna join our team Viz?”

“I am comfortable with that,” Vision said.

“That leaves us then,” Clint said, looking to Scott, Sam, and Natasha.

“We do round the clock shifts, eight hours. Starting now, with us.” Superman said, “Everyone else, go and conserve your strength. We’ve likely got a long road ahead of us, we should all be rested and alert for when we’ll be needed.

Chapter Text

The door had barely closed on the bedroom that Tony used when he stayed at the compound, before he was spinning around and letting rip at Bruce.

“How could you? How fucking could you?” he cried, “You know how I feel about people keeping secrets. You know what Rogers secret did to me, how hard it is for me to trust at all these days, and I trusted you, I have trusted you implicitly, I have always thought that you were different from everyone else, and that you would never do anything to hurt me.”

“And I haven’t!” Bruce protested, taking off his cowl and running a hand through his hair, “Tony I didn’t lie to you or try to hide anything from you, not… like the way you are implying.”

“And how am I implying it? How did you keep this shit secret if you weren’t hiding it from me?” Tony sneered, his lips pulling into an ugly sarcastic leer, “What? Did you just forget to tell me? Did it slip your mind while you were hanging from the ceiling in your Bat cave?”

“Alright, that’s enough!” Bruce shouted, “You are trying to pick a fight, and that’s not good for you or for the babies…”

“Oh, don’t you dare try and use them as a way of getting out of this shit,”

“I’m not, and I didn’t do any of this to hurt you, I did it to protect you and our babies from the Scarlet Psychopath.”

“Why didn’t you just tell me?” Tony cried, his voice cracking and growing hoarse, “Why did you keep it secret?”

“Because it was for your own good.”

 

Silence fell between them for several moments, and Bruce thought, for a second that he had convinced Tony that he had done the right thing, or at least, had been acting with the best of intentions, even if it had been misguided in keeping him in the dark. But then he saw the colour draining from Tony’s face as his eyes darkened with hurt and anger.

“Tony,” he began, taking an abortive step forward, and Tony took one back,

“So, you think that I am so weak and fragile that I need to be protected from everything. That I am not strong of capable enough to handle things.”

“No! Tony that’s not it at all. I just didn’t want to upset, or worry you,”

“Right, because that would be bad, I might burst into tears and I don’t know, have a nose bleed!”

“Now you’re just being petty.”

“Am I?” Tony shot back, swiping at a single tear, which rolled down his cheek, “God Bruce, do you have any idea how demeaning you sound? How patronizing and chauvinistic this is? That the little Omega can’t be exposed to hurtful information because his fragile little brain won’t be able to handle it, so the big tough Alpha will filter everything and keep him safe from the big bad world.”

“Tony!” Bruce growled. He was struggling to hold in his temper now. His fists were clenched at his sides and he was breathing heavily as he fought back the urge to lash out.

“You know I get it, I do.” Tony said, sniffing hard and wiping his eyes, silently cursing his traitorous hormones as they brought him to tears when he wanted to feel angry, not sad. “You were looking out for me, for your Pups. That’s instinctual to you, both as Bruce, and as an Alpha, and I can forgive that and understand it. But you have to understand how that feels from my side of the equation.

Yes, I am an Omega, yes I am having your Pups, and yes, I am not up to my full strength right now, but I am not a breakable piece of china, and I resent being treated as if I am. Even if you didn’t tell me everything, you could have told me part of it, just that you were having Strange and Loki look into ways to disarming Wanda. That would have been enough. But you didn’t.” He looked at Bruce sadly, his eyes shining with unshed tears, “You didn’t trust me enough, or have enough confidence in me, to give me this information. Just as Rogers and Romanoff didn’t with Barnes.”

“That is not the same thing, Tony.” Bruce said, shaking his head, “I would never do that to you, I would never hide something so important from you, not for any reason.”

“But you did hide this.”

“Yes!” Bruce cried. He went over to Tony and took his hand, “Yes I did, because… because I saw how much Maximoff was effecting you and I didn’t want to add to the stress.” He sighed and dipped his head, “You know I’m not great at this talking thing, that I never know what to say, but I promise you, that I did not do this to hurt you, and that I did do this with the best of intentions.”

Tony pressed his lips into a line and nodded his head. He inhale sharply and tilted his head up to keep the tears from falling. “Okay,” he whispered, swallowing hard to force his voice past the lump in his throat. “Okay, I need some, breathing room, so I’m going to get and get some air, and I will talk to you after I’ve cooled down.”

“Alright.” Bruce whispered, letting go of Tony’s hand and backing away, he tried not to, but he couldn’t help but to follow Tony with his eyes, as he walked out of the door.

“Fuck!” he cursed sinking down onto the bed.

“He didn’t take it well, huh?”

“Mother-fucker!” Bruce leaped off the bed and glared up at the ceiling vents where Spider-Man was looking down from.

“You tell anyone that you managed to make me jump and I will string you up to the Empire State Building.” He growled at the teen,

“Ha! Now I have blackmail material on you!”

“Little shit.” Bruce snorted, as Spider-Man disappeared from view, he sank back down on the bed, hoping that when Tony came back that they would be able to work on getting past this.

 

***

 

“Bite me, Fish boy! I have gone toe to flipper with Atuma, and if I can kick his scaled ass, I can sure as hell kick yours!” Lex was stood with his hands on his hips facing off against Arthur, who did not look impressed by the show of strength or the threat,

“Suck it, Dragon Breath. Atuma’s nothing but a blow fish, all puffed up and bloated. You wouldn’t stand a chance against me.”

“Oh yeah, wanna put your aquatic fist where your gaping mouth is?” Lex growled, leaning forward,

“Anytime, Bitch, just don’t complain when I rip those wings right off!”

“Guys, could you please cease the squabbling for five minutes?” Clark asked, looking over at them from where he was looking over the satellite data from the networks that Bruce, Tony, and Lex had set up, to keep a watch for supervillain activity.

“He started it,” Lex pouted,

“Did not!” Arthur grunted.

“Oh, I see that everyone is being grown up today!” Bruce drawled, as he came into compound’s main computer room.

“Huh, well, I see four functioning limbs, a head still attached, and no gushing wounds. So, things couldn’t have gone too badly with Tony.” Lex said, circling Bruce, indifferent to the death glare that the Bat sent him.

“We talked,” Bruce said, sitting down besides Superman, the least likely person to make fun of him, “We’re getting some space to cool off, so we don’t say things we don’t mean, or start punching things. Like irritating Dragonfly’s!”

“Want me to hold him for you?” Arthur offered, and Lex snorted,

“Like you could!”

“Children, please, I am trying to concentrate!” Clark complained, and let out an exasperated sigh when Lex pressed himself up against his back and began to massage his shoulders,

“What’s the matter Baby? Tell Lexi all about it, and he’ll make everything so much better!”

“Do you two have to hump in public?” Arthur grunted, “Even Dolphins have more decency!”

“Why don’t you go and check on Rogers, if you’re so offended by our red hot love?” Lex suggested, turning to look at Arthur, who rolled his eyes,

“Not offended, just not wanting to see the two of you making out in front of me, again.” He did take Lex up on the suggestion, making his way up to Steve’s room.

The Super Soldier was still fast asleep, and dreaming if the rapid movements of his eyes were anything to go by.

“Well, I looked in on you.” Arthur said, “You’re breathing, your limbs are attached, what more does anyone want?” With that he stalked out of the room, leaving Steve to his dreams.

 

***

 

Cocooned in his dreamscape, Steve’s dream self-wrapped about Tony’s back, cupping his hips and gripping them tight as he thrust inside the Omega’s willing body.

“God Steve, I want you, I need you!” Dream Tony cried, turning to accept kisses from Steve’s mouth, “Fuck me, mate me, fill me with your Pups!”

“Tell me how much you want it Tony,” Steve growled, drawing his tongue up Tony’s spine and nipped playfully at the bond gland, “Tell me how much you need it.”

Tony whined and squirmed, “I want it so much that I would kill for it, I need you to make me yours or I will die! Please Steve, I am desperate for you. Without you I have no reason to go on, I will be unfulfilled and desolate.” He threw a pleaded look over his shoulder, “Please Alpha, make me yours forever!”

Growling, Steve moved in and covered Tony’s back, biting down into the gland, making Tony scream…

 

***

 

Wanda shivered, wrapping her arms about herself. She had run out of petrol half way between The Compound and New York.

Forced to dump the car she had continued on foot and hoped to hitch a ride into the city. But she’d had no luck. There had been few cars that had gone past her, and those that had, hadn’t stopped.

By the time she reached New York, she was cold, tired, and hungry.

With only a little loose change in her pocket, she couldn’t afford more than a poor burger and a coffee, but at least it helped fill her stomach and put a little warmth into her bones.

She couldn’t afford a hotel, or even a motel to stay in and was not looking forward to spending a night on the streets.

What she needed was a place to crash until she contacted Red Skull. He would arrange transport for her to wherever he was staying, and then he’d reward her loyalty, and she’d be able to live some place decent.

With her mobile back at the compound, and traceable by Stark, Wanda couldn’t use that, and there were no pay phones where she was. There were however, people in diners, restaurants, and clubs, on mobile phones. All likely with places to stay. All that would be needed for them to invite her home was a little gentle suggestion in their minds.

Stuffing her hands into her pockets, Wanda crossed the road and headed for the nearest bar, seeking out the first well dressed, wealthy looking man that she could find, and sent out a stream of magic to implant the thought of letting her stay at his place and use all of his resources, into his brain.

The man looked up, startled, his eyes coming to rest on Wanda, and a robotic smile stretched over his face.

“Hey, Honey.” He greeted, his voice an emotionless monotone, “Wanna head back to mine? I’ve got the Jag parked outside.”

Wanda smiled and turned on her heel, beckoning for the man to follow her like a being summoned to heel.

Dropping a couple of bills on the table, the man got up and followed after her, his eyes wide and blank, his mind completely under her control.

Chapter Text

Tony ended up wandering around the compound and the grounds aimlessly. He was too restless to settle anywhere and do anything practical. Normally when he was out of sorts he would go to the lab and go on an inventing binge, which was how dysfunctional sentient appliances were created. But his bots were back at the tower and as he grew bigger with the twins it was getting harder to do things about the lab, it also wasn’t that safe for him to using the equipment he had in there now he was not able to move as easily as he used to. Pretty soon he was going have to give up his lab work until he’d had the pups.

Anyway, he was too distracted to invent anything that wouldn’t blow up or disintegrate within a second. After he had nearly blown himself, set himself on fire, and one memorable time, nearly cut his own arm off, he had set up protocols with JARVIS, and now FRIDAY, to not allow him access to any of the dangerous equipment in the lab when he was emotionally compromised.

It was a smart decision, and one that would undoubtedly save him from losing limbs in the future, but right now he was regretting it immensely.

He was also regretting walking the entire span of the estate by the time he got back to compound, as his feet and hips were killing him. Just one more side effect of pregnancy, was that if he stood or walked for too long, he ended up with feet so swollen they looked more like duck’s feet, and hips that felt like they were broken!

“Miracle of life my ass!” Tony muttered to himself as he kicked off his shoes and cursed as he struggled to get down low enough to pick them up. A shadow fell over him and a hand reached down, picking up the shoes for him and holding them out.

“Thanks.” Tony said, looking up, then froze as he came face to face with Clint Barton.

 

Tony and Clint had not spoken since The Raft several years ago. Any contact they’d had since then had been in the company of others, and they had not spoken directly to one another. A confrontation between them had to happen sooner or later, but Tony really, really wished it had been later.

Straightening up, Tony draw himself to his full (If unimpressive) height and schooled his face into his empty press expression, praying that Clint wouldn’t notice the redness of his eyes where his Goddamn hormones had him crying over his stupid fight with Bruce.

“Barton.” He said, formally.

“Stark.” The archer replied, “I was just… uh… your shoes!” He held out the shoes to Tony, who took them and shifted uncomfortably. His only comfort being that Barton looked equally as uncomfortable, shifting from foot to foot, and wringing his hands.

“You know uh… Laura had the same problem when she was expecting,” He said, gesturing to Tony’s shoes, “Her feet would get really swollen, especially towards the end of the pregnancy. She went up two whole shoe sizes, and she couldn’t wear her wedding ring because her fingers got swollen too.”

Tony stared at Clint not knowing whether or not to be impressed by him babbling such drivel or not. He finally settled on not, and just sighed,
“Well thanks for getting my shoes. I’ll be going now.” He said, forcing a tight smile and making to go past Barton.

“No, wait a minute Tony.” Clint said making an abortive move to take Tony’s arm and thinking better of it before he did so. “I… we need to talk.”

“Do we?” Tony asked, folding his arms over his chest and arched his brows at Clint. “What do WE need to discuss Barton? Haven’t we already said everything that needs to be said?”

A scowl darkened Clint’s face, “Jesus Stark, I’m trying here okay? The least you could do is meet me half way!”

Tony scoffed and rolled his eyes, “Meet you half way? You disgust me Barton.” He spat, dropping all pretences of professionalism or dispassion. “If you had attacked me on the Raft and just me, then I could live with that, hell I could probably forgive it. But you didn’t. You attacked Rhodey. You used a decorated war heroes injuries as barb to hurt me with, you made a joke of a life changing injury. You are so far beneath contempt that I don’t even have the words to describe you.”

“I’m sorry!” Clint cried out, “I get it. I get that I fucked up and that I hurt you, and I am sorry for what I said, I’m sorry I blamed you for my own actions and that I took advantage of Rhodey’s situation. Believe me Tony, I feel sick with disgust at what I did.”

“Good!” Tony said, “You should feel sick, you should be disgusted with yourself.” He paused, wetting his lips and drawing breath to collect himself so he wouldn’t become agitated. “I’m not perfect Barton. I am far from perfect. When it comes to fucking up I hold the world record for it. I’ve caused deaths, I’ve wrought destruction, I’ve drunk and drugged myself into oblivion, fucked my way through half of America, Europe, and the Middle East. But I have never gone out of my way to victimize anyone. I may have lashed out when provoked, I may have bruised some ego’s and dented some feelings with bad comments and ill thought out actions, but never have I deliberately set out to hurt anyone. But you have, and you did. Not just to me, but Vision too.”

“I didn’t…”

“Wanda sent him through several floors, you looked on and did nothing!” Tony yelled, “You didn’t bother to check if he was alright, you just took off without a backwards glance for him. And what? You think you can waltz back in here a couple of years later, say you’re sorry and all will be forgiven? Well I’m sorry, but have you been smoking crack?”

Clint dropped his head forward, his shoulders slumping.

“I hoped that maybe we could talk and work things out.” He said, his voice saddened but also resigned. “But there’s nothing here to salvage is there?” he looked up at Tony who shook his head.

“No. There really isn’t.” He said flatly, “I’ve moved on with my life since the civil war. I’ve cut myself away from that part of my life and am focusing on the future. My future, with my family. That isn’t something that you and yours are a part of. You, and the rest of Team Cap are associates I have to work with on occasion in a professional capacity. Bruce, Rhodey, the Justice League, they are my family, and I don’t need anyone else.”

Clint exhaled through his nose, rolling his lips and rocking on his feet as he nodded his head. “Fair enough.” He said, “I understand, and congratulations on the twins, and everything.”

Clint was trying to hide it, but there was a genuine note of sadness in his voice that made Tony’s heart ache with guilt over hurting him. Clint had been trying to make amends and he had just thrown it back into his face. Yes he had a right to feel angry and hurt, but holding onto grudges wasn’t healthy. Hell, if you wanted living proof of that just look at Maximoff!

Sighing, he closed his eyes and called out to Clint as he turned to go down the hall. “Wait, a minute.”

“Oh God what, what now, you wanna hit me?” Clint asked, spinning around, “You wanna give me a blackeye or something?”

“No.” Tony said screwing up his face, “I don’t want to do that. I… I’m sorry,” He said, “I’m not having a great day, Maximoff is going completely psycho, and my hormones are insane right now, and this was a very bad moment for you to try and talk to me.” He explained, “I don’t hate you, Clint. I did for a while, but I got over it. I don’t know how Rhodey feels, I don’t think he's forgiven you over what you said, and I don’t fully forgive it either. But I don’t hate you.”

“Okay.” Clint said, “That’s… thanks, for the not hating me. I’d deserve it if you did but thank you anyway.” His face creased when Tony hissed and gripped his back, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. It’s just joys of pregnancy.” Tony replied, “I’ve been on my feet too long, I need to go and sit down.”

“Go on then.” Clint said, “And Tony?” he added as the Billionaire turned to walk away, “I’ve missed being friends with you.”

Tony’s expression softened, “I’ve missed it too, Bird brain.” He winced again and Clint waved him away,

“Go and rest, rust bucket, we can diss each other later.” Grinning now, Tony nodded and continued on down the hall, heading for his bed room. Once he shut the door, he threw the shoes down onto the floor and got onto the bed. He had planned to only lay down and close his eyes for a while, but within moments of closing his eyes he was asleep.

 

***

 

No one noticed that there was anything wrong at first.

It wasn’t until Sam went to wake Natasha from where she’d been taking a nap, and Clark did the same with Lex, who had not slept in forty-eight hours, that it became clear that there was something very wrong, when they couldn’t wake them up.

Clark sent out an immediate alert to all Avengers and JL members, and when Tony did not respond, Bruce went to find him, and did find him, laying on the bed, fast asleep and just as unresponsive as Steve, Natasha, and Lex.

 

“What the hell is going on?” Bucky demanded, of Strange, when he returned with Diana from the sanctuary, “First Steve, now Romanoff, Dragonfly, and Tony?”

To make caring for their slumbering team mates easier, the four sleeping beauties had been moved from where they’d fallen asleep to bed in the med bay, where they could all be monitored at once.

Vision, who did not require any rest at all, volunteered to keep a watchful guard over them, while they searched for answers, and for Maximoff.

“I’m not entirely sure.” Strange admitted, frowning. He went over to Lex and pressed his forefingers to the young man’s temple. Beneath his eyelids, Lex’s eyes were moving rapidly as he dreamed in his sleep, just as Steve, Natasha, and Tony were doing.

“There is no coma present, he is just in a state of sleep, like the others.” He said, as he stood up, “While I can not be certain, I think that the spell Maximoff cast has spread further than Rogers and is making people remain in REM sleep, once they hit that stage.”

“Are you sure it isn’t making them fall asleep?” Scott asked, frowning down at the four slumbering people. “It’s the middle of the day, hardly a normal sleep time.”

“I don’t think so.” Strange said, “But like I said, I can’t be sure.”

“Well does anyone feel sleepy?” Scott asked, looking around at those in the medical bay, making them all look at each other before shaking their heads.

“Natasha knows the trick of falling asleep whenever and wherever.” Clint offered, “She’s used to irregular sleep patterns and knows to take rests whenever she can to keep her strength up.”

“Dragonfly hasn’t slept in two days.” Superman said, “He was exhausted.”

“And Tony’s heavily pregnant and still recovering from Nygma’s attack on him.” Batman said.

“So it’s likely that they all fell asleep naturally and now can’t awaken.” Victor said, he looked to Strange, “How far reaching will this be? Is it only those in the vicinity of Rogers and the compound, or is it going to spread further?”

Visions of random people falling asleep in their beds and not waking up filled the heads of The Avengers and JL. Of empty streets, abandoned places of work, an entire city coming to a stand still as people fell into this wakeless sleep.

“I don’t know.” Strange said, “But we need to find out, and fast,” he gestured to Diana to come with him, back to the Sanctuary to keep looking for answers.

“I would urge everyone to stay awake for the time being.” Diana said, “Even if you leave the compound, do not take the risk until we have a reversal for what Wanda did.”

“And when will that be?” Sam asked, “We can’t stay awake forever.”

“We’ll work as fast we can.” Diana assured him, her expression sympathetic and reassuring, “In the mean time, I suggest that you drink some strong coffee, eat things with high protein, and try to stay active, but don’t over exert yourselves.”

Stephen opened a portal and the two of vanished in a shower of orange sparks, leaving the rest of the teams standing around uselessly.

“So much for looking for Maximoff, I guess.” Flash sighed, having been looking forward to racing through the streets of New York City.

“Not all of us require as much sleep as others.” Superman said, straightening up. “I for one can go for several days without, Arthur, I believe you can too,” Aquaman nodded his head in agreement, “Cyborg, Vision, you can both go much longer than average.”

“I can stay awake for a good four days.” Carol said,

“I can generally make it a good thirty-six hours these days,” Peter offered,

“If I keep my blood sugar’s high, I can manage about the same.” Barry said, brightening up and looking like a hyper puppy who’d just seen a treat.

“I only need three or four hours a night and can manage without any sleep for up to three or four days.” Bucky said,

“Great.” Superman said, “Then the eight of us will make up the search team for Maximoff, while the rest of you, keep an eye on our Sleeping Beauties, and make sure no villains take advantage of the situation.”

There was general nodding and murmurs of agreement from the teams, though Scott frowned and hissed a whisper to Sam, “Is he in charge of us now?”

Sam shot him a disbelieving look. “Cap and Nat are both unconscious. So’s Stark for that matter, who better than Superman to call the shots?”

Scott shrugged, “I don’t mind, I just wanna know who I’m meant to answer to, is all.”

 

Batman nodded, reluctantly looked away from Tony, whom he’d been staring at intently, “Alright. The rest of us will split into groups, no one is left alone, so we can keep each other awake.”

Since Peter was going to be teaming up with Barry to go through the streets on foot, Dick chose to team up with Bruce, as did Rhodey, leaving Clint, Scott, and Sam as the other team, as those going with Superman filed out of the compound, to either take to the air, or to the streets, to start to search the whole of New York for Wanda.

 

“He’ll be alright,” Rhodey said to Bruce, who was more sullen in his silence than normal. “Strange said he is just sleeping. It might do him some good. Get him caught up on his rest.”

“That’d be something.” Bruce murmured, as he stared down at Tony, sleeping peacefully in the bed. Were not for the machines he was hooked up to, you would not have known that they were was anything wrong, that he wasn’t just sleeping normally. But, he was hooked up to a heart monitor recording his pulse, an sonogram to check on the twins, and an electro-encephalogram to record his brain waves, and those in the neighbouring beds were in the same state save for the sonogram machine.

“I wonder what they’re dreaming.” Dick said, looking at the rapid movements of their eyes beneath the lids. “You know Roger’s bed sheets were crusty when Barnes moved him? I heard Barry telling Victor. He’s been having wet dreams while he’s been sleeping!”

Both Rhodey and Bruce shot Dick annoyed glances. “Thank you, Richard, we so needed that revolting piece of information.”

“Well it’s good news isn’t it?” Dick protested, “It means they’re having good dreams not nightmares. It has to be a good dream to get you off, right?”

Bruce shot a looked to Rhodey who rolled his eyes, letting a deep and tired sigh, “I’ll go get some coffee and energy bars. I think we’ll need the strength!”

Bruce huffed a small chuckle and took the chair besides Tony’s bed, taking his hand and squeezing it gently, “Wake up soon love,” He whispered, “We still have to make up for our fight and we can’t do that while you’re asleep.” He flinched as Tony’s hand jerked and the brain wave pattern changed. “Tony?” he asked, hopeful that his mate was waking up, but didn’t respond, though he did twitch again, a frown forming over his face and a whimper left his lips, his expression becoming distressed and his heart rate increasing.

“I think he might be having a nightmare.” Dick said helplessly, he bit at his bottom lip, “What do we do?” he asked Bruce, who looked just as helpless as he felt. Normally if a person had a nightmare you would wake them up, but that was not an option here. All they could do was watch Tony suffer through an endless bad dream and hope that he found his own way out of it soon.

Chapter Text

New York

 

Wanda sent the young man she’d picked up to bed. He was good looking but she wasn’t in the mood for sex with anyone right now.

She looked through his fridge, helping herself to the triple chocolate cheese cake she found in there. She didn’t bother to cut it into slices, she just took the tray out of the fridge and got a dessert fork from the draw and began to eat.

While she did so, she wandered about the spacious living room, and decided to make use of the drink cabinet.

She hadn’t really had much experience with alcohol. When she and Pietro had joined Hydra they had been too young to drink. Then she’d been the Avengers and Steve didn’t approve of drinking much, so the most she’d had was a few cans of light beer. Since now she was on her own she figured she deserved the chance to try something else.

The cabinet was well stocked and Wanda took out every bottle, placing them on the coffee table and powered up the guy’s tablet, going into google to ask for cocktail suggestions.

She found a Cosmopolitan too bitter, and a Gin Gimlet too sour. The Tequila Sunrise was pleasant, and the Black Russian was delicious, and she really liked the Daquiri.
By now she was feeling rather light headed and a little nauseous but didn’t want to stop drinking. Having heard hat bread helped soak up alcohol she went and made herself toast and a coffee to help stave off the drunkenness so she could continue to drink.

A couple more black Russians and Daquiri’s later, and Wanda was passed out face first on the sofa, surrounded by bottles and glasses, snoring into the fabric of the sofa as she slept off her binge.

 

When she awoke a few hours later her head was killing her and she felt sick to her stomach.

She tried to drink some coffee and take some asprin, but ended up vomiting in the sink.

Not wanting to do anything but sleep until her head stopped hurting, she threw the guy out of the bedroom and made use of luxurious bed, pulling the covers up over her head and burying her face into the pillow.

 

*****

 

Compound

 

Lex’s sleep was uneasy, his dreams turning darker as he remained unconscious.

At first his dream had been of Smallville. Of the Mansion, the gardens. Of Clark when he’d been a teenager and Lex had been all but cutting his own cock off to keep from committing statutory rape.

It’d only gotten worse when the little bastard had started flirting with him, wearing tight shirts and flexing his fucking muscles everywhere.

Lex had learned the truth about Clark when the Psycho Son of his house keeper had found the invisibility roses and made use of them to attack him. Clark had saved Lex and taken a mace across the face from said psycho which hadn’t left so much as a scratch on him when it should have shattered his face. After that Clark had told Lex everything, even shown him the space ship.

Jonathon had thrown a fit, Martha had been frantic with worry, and Lex had worried about being shot. But he’d kept Clark’s secret, his relationship improving dramatically with Jonathon when Nixon had decided continue to investigate even after Lex had warned (Threatened his life) him off, and collected evidence of the ship. Jonathon had raced after him during a tornado, with Lex right behind him, the three of them ending up buried beneath a mobile home in an old mausoleum.

Lex had a punctured lung that had been rapidly filling with blood, something he’d tried to keep quiet from Jonathon as they searched for a way out, with Nixon being no help. Then when Clark had arrived to save them, the bastard had used the meteor rocks to weaken him and tried to take Clark prisoner.

Jonathon had been buried under dirt from where they’d been trying to dig their way free, and Nixon had beaten Lex around the head, stunning him for a few minutes. When he’d come round, he’d found Jonathon had freed himself and run after Nixon and Clark, tackling Nixon and was fighting with him. The deranged reporter having gotten the upper hand and had been about to kill Jonathon when Lex attacked.

He’d grabbed a shard of glass from the mobile home, run up behind Nixon and plunged it into his neck, killing him.

Then he’d fainted and not awoken for three days. When he had it had been to the whole Kent family around his bedside, and both Bruce and Tony pacing the halls, waiting for news.

After that Lex had been welcomed into the Kent family properly, and slowly but surely he and Clark had gotten together.

 

Dreaming about that had been fine. It had been pleasant and relaxing. But then it had turned dark as Lionel had appeared in his dreams, armed with Kryptonite, which he used to disable Clark and took both he and Lex prisoner.

Strapped to a gurney in a lab Lex was forced to watch as Lionel had Doctors using Kryptonite lined scalpels to do a Y incision on Clark’s chest.

Lex tried to scream, tried to get free, but as he moved, the bones of his arms and legs snapped and burst through the skin, and as he tried to move his lips he found that they had been stitched together! He could do nothing but moan in anguish, with bleed seeping from between his stitched mouth and tears rolling down his cheeks, as Clark’s chest was carved open, revealing the organs within.

Lex wasn’t sure what was worse, the sound of the bone cutters crunching Clark’s ribs, or the sound of Clark’s howls of agony. Blood was pouring out of him, pooling on the floor, a river of blood that the Doctors were ankle deep in.

“LEX!” Clark rasped, his eyes bulging out of his head and his lips turning blue, Lex tried to scream, he ignored the pain, forcing his mouth open, his lips shredding and spraying blood down his chin and over his chest, He drew in breath and tried to scream out Clark’s name, but he found, to his horror that his tongue was gone!

 

*****

 

Natasha was dancing. She had always loved the ballet, adored dancing, feeling so beautiful and graceful as she twirled and jumped, her form perfect as she moved through the dance of The Swan.

Before her was a huge audience, the lights of the stage half blinding her as she gliding before her Prince, a handsome man whose face she could not quite see, but she knew he was beautiful, knew he was perfect, and when he swept her up into his arms, lifting her above his head, she felt light as a feather and more elated and perfect in her life.

 

*****

 

Steve was caressing Tony’s swollen belly. The Omega was laying against him in a wooden rocker, his baggy maternity shirt rolled up to reveal the round curve of his abdomen.

The rocked back and forth on the porch. The light from the porch lights was golden and cast the garden in a warm glow.

Over head the stars were bright and the sky was clear and there was the smell of a wooden fire in the warm summer air.

 

“Will you build the swing set tomorrow?” Tony asked, turning his head up to gaze at Steve, who smiled fondly, leaning down to kiss his head,

“You know they’re gonna be too small to use them for ages.”

“I know.” Tony said, “But when I was growing up I never had anything like that. Dad wasn’t interested in getting me anything like that, Mum was always sick or sleeping, and Ana and Jarvis were too busy taking care of me and running around after Mum and Dad.

I want our babies to have everything that I didn’t get. Silly birthdays parties with balloons, brightly coloured cakes, and jam sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Swing sets, bicycles with stabilizers, camping in the back yard, all of it.”

“I know.” Steve said, holding Tony a little tighter, “And we will. We’ll do it all. We’ll have barbeques in the back yard with Bucky and Clint fighting over who can make the best burger. Play games with our little buggers. Put out carrots for Rudolph and Mince pies and Sherry for Santa, all of it.”

Tony hummed, resting his head on Steve’s chest. “It sounds perfect.”

“It will be.” Steve promised, “Everything will be perfect.”

 

****

 

Tony was in Afghanistan.

The Ten Ring had him by the back of the neck and the arms, were forcing his head into the disgusting water in the oil drum, shaking him and beating at his back, forcing all the air out of his lungs and keeping him under until he had to try and take a breath, when he did, water rushed into his mouth, down his throat and into his lungs.

The pain and pressure was agony. He wanted to scream but he couldn’t. All he could do was stare into the darkness as his life slipped away, and for a few brief moments, he knew peace. Only to come too on the wet sand, puking water out of his body, over himself, making the car battery shock him and cause him more pain.

Raza’s right hand was on him then, dragging him up, snarling at him in Arabic to do what Raza wanted.

“Go fuck yourself!” Tony spat in the mans face, and yelped as he was thrown back down, a boot connecting with his ribs and tipping him over, onto his belly. He scrabbled in the sand, trying to crawl away, but there were too many terrorists.

They kicked his legs and grabbed his arms, pinning him down. The sodden shirt he was wearing was ripped from his back and belt was whipped over his back, making him scream. Again and again the belt came down, the leather leaving welts and the metal buckle gauging into his flesh as he tried to squirm free, tried to curl up into a ball to protect him. But the torture was not over. Salt was thrown over his back, and one of Raza’s men rubbed it into the wounds, making Tony feel as if his back was on fire.

His anguished screams echoed around the caves, as they continued to torture him until he fell unconscious.

 

When he came too a few hours later, it was to Yinsen, carefully cleaning his back.

“How long do you think you can endure this, Stark?” He asked, peering at Tony through his glasses, “They are only going to get worse. They will leave your hands and eyes alone as you need them to work, but the rest of you is free game, and these barbarians know nothing but brutality.”

Tony sniffed. He felt sick. His head was aching, and his back felt like it was burning. He wanted to cry, wanted to curl up in a ball and cry like a child, to beg for mercy. But his pride would never allow him to do so.

Stark Men are made of Iron.

“They know you are an Omega, Stark. You’re a fortunate they have not resorted to rape. But they will.” Yinsen said, getting bandages to binding Tony’s back. “And they will take turns on you, will laugh at your tears and your cries of pain.”

“Doesn’t matter.” Tony whispered, his voice low and defeated. “I don’t matter.”

Yinsen scoffed. “I am sure there are many who would argue with that assumption.”

“No. There really aren’t.” Tony said, looking across the cave. “Only a handful of people will miss me. The rest of the world will barely notice that I’m gone. I will be a brief flame on a broken candle, surrounded by a dozen more candles that continue to burn brightly as my flame burns out and is not noticed.”

“Melancholic, but poetic.” Yinsen commented. “You are a romantic, Stark.”

“No, I’m not.” Tony said, slowly sitting up, wincing with every movement. “I mean there was one guy. One Alpha who I loved…” He trailed off, thinking about him, about Bruce, “I still love him.” He whispered, more to himself than to Yinsen. “But I can’t have him. The one person in the entire world that I want more than anything, and I can’t have him.” He looked up at Yinsen, his dark eyes shining with unshed tears. “So you see. When I say I don’t matter. It’s true. I don’t matter, nothing that happens to me here will ever matter, not to me, not to him, not to anyone.”

 

*****

 

Sanctuary

 

“I think I may have something.” Stephen said, drawing Diana’s attention out of the book she was reading from.

“What is it?” She asked, getting to her feet and smoothing her skirt down. Her sword and lasso were stood beside The Cloak which hovered protectively besides them, bobbing up and down slightly.

“Astral projection?” She asked, frowning at the page, Stephen was reading from.

“Yes.” The Sorcerer said. “I will use my Astral form and enter their minds, go into their dreams, and pull them back out, waking them up.”

Diana inhaled deeply and rose her eyebrows. “That is risky.” She said, “You could become lost in their minds. Become trapped in the dreams, be unable to break free. We could loose you and them permanently.”

Stephen nodded. “I know. But I do not see that we have any other choice.” He snapped the book shut and headed for the book shelf, slipping it back into place, and summoned the Cloak to him, smirking a little as it caressed his cheek.
“Be careful.” Diana said, getting her sword and lasso. “Do not go too deeply into their heads, or become drawn into the dreams. Always keep in mind that it is but a dream, never let yourself think of it as reality or you may lose your way.”

“I shall be careful.” Stephen promise, opening the portal back to the Compound, “Come on. The sooner this is done, the better.”

Chapter Text

Compound.

 

Stephen shut everyone out of the med bay wanting complete silence to centre himself as he went into a state of deep mediation and rose from his body in his astral form.

The first mind he entered was Natasha’s, his shimmering astral fingers laying over her forehead, where her third eye would be, centring himself, searching deep into her mind, down into her subconscious and slowly slipped into her dreams.

 

Natasha was still dancing, but now she was not on a stage, she was dancing upon a frozen lake, her feet gliding across the ice on pointe as if she were skating.
The sky was clear as crystal, the star and moon light shone down, bathing Natasha in a silver light that reflected off the diamante decorations on her costume, making her sparkle as brightly as the stars as she moved, effortlessly through the Black Swan Variations.

Around her, gliding through the ice, which froze as soon as they had cut through it, were actual swans, all white, all elegant and graceful as Natasha herself was.

Her arms were covered in feathers, and actual wings extended from them as she spread her arms wide. Her facial features were changed, pulled shaper and extended to form a red beak that was in place of her lips.

She had become a humanoid swan, and she was dancing like a ballerina, with all the poise and excellence of Darcy Bustle.

 

For a moment Stephen just stood and watched the show, appreciating Natasha’s form and grace before he approached her.

He faltered on the ice for a moment, before convincing his astral form that it was not real and that he could step anywhere and wouldn’t fall.

“Natasha.”

The swan spun around, her wings spread wide, diamonds glinting on the edge of the feathers. Her dark eyes narrowed as she regarded Stephen,

“You are not part of this world.” She said, her voice sounding different than it usually did, there was more of a Russian lilt to her words, and her beak clicked and snapped as it opened and closed.

“You are not my Prince.” She said with finality and turned, gliding away, apparently done with the conversation.

“Natasha, this is not real.” Stephen said, following after her, “You are in a dream, a dream that your body cannot wake up from. I’m here to wake you up.” About his feet, the swans swarmed, pecking at him with their beaks, trying to pull Stephen off balance, to drag him down into the frigid water and take him out of Natasha’s dream.

He had expected this of course. Natasha’s mind was trying to defend itself from harm, trying to force out the interloper which was Stephen.

He kicked away the swans, who squawked at him, rising up and flapping their wings menacingly. The ice beneath his feet cracking and splintering as he followed after Natasha, heading for a frozen waterfall about which she danced, her tulle tutu bouncing as she jumped high into the air, landing on the tips of her left toes effortlessly.

 

“Please listen to me.” Stephen said, getting the unhuman black eyes upon him again, “Deep down inside you know this isn’t right. You know that there is something wrong. Have you ever had a dream like this? Ever had it last so long, or been so intense and detailed?” He gestured around at the winter paradise that Natasha’s mind had created, complete with snow and ice covered trees and flowers, a perfect virgin snow covered ground, the dark blue sky without a single cloud, and an audience of owls, foxes, badgers, and other night creatures, sat around the lake, watching as Natasha and the swans danced.

Swan Natasha paused, frowning, she looked at Stephen, then at herself, her feather and diamond covered person.

“This is a construct of your mind.” Stephen explained. “You are asleep. You fell asleep and the spell that Wanda cast over Steve has effected you too. It is keeping you asleep.”

The twisted extended features of Natasha’s face faded away and her normal human face appeared again.

“Wanda.” She said, her accent more American and less Russian.

“Yes.” Stephen said, “Her spell has effected you, and Tony, and L… Dragonfly.” Natasha frowned at the near slip of Stephen’s tongue over Lex’s name, but she didn’t question him, instead the feathers and diamonds disappeared from her body and she stood before Stephen, dressed in a simple black unitard, crossing her arms and shifted her weight to one hip as she lake and winter wonderland disappeared.

Stephen glanced around at the grey expanse left in place of the dream, “And I thought it would be harder to convince you.” He murmured, giving Natasha a smile, which was not returned. Clearing his throat he extended a hand to her, getting a risen eyebrow from Natasha.

“You need to be in contact with me to move out of the dream world.” He explained, “And since it’s going to be difficult to go in and out of the dream world, I’m just going to move us from your dream and into Dragonfly’s, and then Tony’s, and finally Steve’s and wake you all up at once.

Natasha sighed and took Stephen’s hand, allowing him to lead her from her mind and into Lex’s.

 

*****

The sound of sobbing was the first thing that Natasha and Stephen heard, as they entered Lex’s mind. Then they both recoiled at the sickening scent of blood that filled their noses.

Gagging, Natasha pressed the back of her arm to her nose and swallowed hard, looking over to Stephen who looked equally as green.

“This isn’t like my dream.” She said, “This is… a nightmare.”

Stephen shrugged, “There is always a chance of that happening whenever we sleep, Dragonfly was unlucky enough to fall into a nightmare.” A heart shrill scream made them both jump and Stephen strode forward with Natasha right behind him, the two of them entering a blood soaked lab that looked like something out of a horror movie.

There were body parts laying on every available surface. Arms, and legs severed, intestines glistening like jellied eels in a metal dish. A heart lay in another dish with a scalpel stabbed into its centre. A pair of lungs were spread over a table, but the most horrific sight was the head of Superman.

Superman’s head sat severed on a table, the skin of his scalp peeled back, the dome of his skull cracked open to reveal his brain.

 

“Oh my God!” Natasha turned away retching into her hand, trying to fight the urge to vomit. She had seen some horrific things during her career as a spy, but this was horrifying.

“You should have known it would end this way, Lex.” A voice said, drawing Natasha and Stephen’s attention away from the dissected body of Superman, to the bound form of Lex Luthor, laying on a medical table, with Lionel standing over him, fixing electrodes to his head.

Lex was sobbing, his mouth a mutilated mess that oozed blood down his chin. He couldn’t cry out properly, he had no tongue, no teeth, and his lips were shredded.

“If only you had listened to me, Lex.” Lionel said, patting his Son’s bloody cheek, “We could have had this entire world in our pocket, we could have dominated, ruled everything. But you sold yourself like a common whore to that alien, turned your back on your family.” He shook his head, “You have only yourself to blame.”

“The hell he does, asshole!” Lionel turned and grunted as Natasha sunk a scalpel into his chest, puncturing his heart. “Amazing,” She sneered, pulling the blade free, “I didn’t think you had a heart at all!” Lionel slumped to the ground, his body disappearing as it faded from Lex’s dream.

 

“Lex,” Stephen said, taking the electrodes from his head, “This isn’t real. It’s a dream, a nightmare. You are safe in the compound. You fell asleep and the spell Wanda cast over Steve has effected you.”

“Wha…” Lex garbled, as his tongue, teeth, and lips grew back. He sat up on the metal table, rubbing his suddenly free wrists. “Clark?” he looked across the lab, but the gory image of Clark’s body was no longer there, in fact there was nothing but empty grey space.

“Just a dream?” He asked, looking to Stephen with true fear in his eyes, “Clark is safe?”

“He’s fine.” Stephen assured him, “Perfectly fine.”

“Lex Luthor is Dragonfly and Clark Kent is Superman.”

Both men looked at Natasha who was shaking her head, “I can’t believe I didn’t realize before.” Lex narrowed his eyes at her, “Makes me wonder who Batman is. Funny thing, how protective he is of Stark. The only person I know of who is like that and who is never around when Batman is, Bruce Wayne.”

Lex glanced at Stephen, “Is murder always a crime?”

Natasha rolled her eyes, “As if you could take me, rich boy.” Lex leaped up off the table and took up a fighting stance,

“Bring it on, bitch!”

“Children.” Stephen sighed, “We do have two other people to wake up!”

Glaring at each other, Lex and Natasha turned to Stephen, relenting in their desire to kill each other for now. Taking their hands, Stephen lead them from Lex’s dream and into Tony’s.

 

*****

 

It was the chill of the cave that they all noticed first, the frigid stale air that took their breath away as they walked into Tony’s nightmare.

Tony was being held down by two men, who had his arms stretched out either side of him, a third man was holding his legs to keep him in place while a fourth was bringing hot coals, held in a heat proof glove over to press into Tony’s skin.

His back, his sides, and his belly was covered in livid burns from the coals that had been held against his vulnerable flesh. Older injuries were visible on his skin, but most horrifying was the electromagnet in his chest. The gauged out crater with the crude metal inside it with leads running from there into a car battery that was by Tony’s side.

He screamed and tried to pull away from his captors, his right shoulder dislocating as he struggled against them, trying to get away, as more coals were pressed into his skin.

“Son of a bitch!” Lex snarled, he lunged at the man with the coals, shoving him back from Tony, twisted his arms behind his back, and forced him face first into the coal fire!

Natasha took care of the three men who had been holding Tony, who slumped to the ground, curling into a foetal position, sobbing raggedly.

“It’s alright Tony.” Stephen said, kneeling by his side, “You’re not really here, this isn’t real.”

“It is.” Tony whispered, “It is and I deserve it.”

“The hell you do!” Lex snarled, whirling around, fists clenched and ready to deal with anyone else that might hurt Tony,

“It isn’t real, Tony.” Stephen said, “It’s a nightmare. You’re asleep at the compound, trapped inside a dream, Natasha and Lex were too, Steve still is. I’ve come to get you out.”

Tony frowned, lifting his head and looking around at the cave. In Afghanistan there had always been dozens of guards, no one had ever stopped them from torturing him, Stephen, Lex, and Natasha had never been there, hell! He’d not even met Stephen or Natasha back then!

As he watched, the cave walls wavered in and out of existence, the pain from his injuries fading away as if they had never been there.

“That’s it.” Stephen encouraged him, “Remember reality, remember who you are today, this is all past, it is only a memory, it can’t hurt you anymore.”

Tony pressed his lips together in a thin line, thinking. Bruce. He and Bruce were back together. They were getting married, they were having babies. It had been more than ten years since Afghanistan.

As he accepted this the world around them turned to the grey nothingness and Tony rose to his feet, his injuries gone and his chest free of the arc reactor.

“Now what?” He asked,

“Now we go and wake up Steve.” Stephen said, taking Tony’s hand, then Natasha’s, while Lex took Tony’s other hand, “Then, we can all wake up.”

 

*****

 

It was a beautiful summer day that greeted them in Steve’s mind. A couple of adorable toddlers were playing on a swing set. A boy and a girl, who were all rosy cheeks, chubby limbs, and blonde curls.

Steve was watching them from where he was cooking on a Barbeque, turning the meat and keeping an eye on the pair as they kicked their legs, swinging back and forth. A large golden retriever barked as he ran from the house, heading straight for Steve, drawn by the smell of the meat.

“Don’t give him anything, he’s getting fat enough!” a voice called, and Tony’s mouth dropped open as a heavily pregnant dream version of himself waddled out of the house heading straight for Steve.

Chapter Text

“Oh My God!” Lex said in flat tone that was eerily reminiscent of Janice from Friends. He stared at the nineteen forties-esque family that Steve’s subconscious had conjured.

The two perfect turtle dover twins, the family mutt running around, barking happily, the heavily pregnant Omega, and the white picket fence.

“I think I’m going to be sick.” Natasha stated,

“You’re gonna be sick?” Tony cried, “How the fuck do you think I feel?” He stared at himself, or rather Steve Roger’s dream version of himself too shocked to feel anything.

His dream version looked so different from the real him. Dream him was younger, early thirties maybe, he had longer hair that reached down to his collar in loose curls. He didn’t have his signature goatee, was clean shaven. He wasn’t dressed in his customary thousand dollar suits or oil and grease stained jeans and t-shirts. He was instead dressed in classic forties Omegan clothing.

High waisted linen trousers that were held up by braces, a thin cotton shirt, and an empire waisted, knee length, short sleeved tunic.

The only thing that was missing was the flowery apron and rollers in his hair!

“I don’t even know what to think right now.” He whispered, wrapping his arms about his waist in a self-hug, he knew that he couldn’t hold Steve accountable for his dreams. No one had control over what their subconscious saw fit to conjure up during REM sleep, and he knew that it might be nothing, that it could just be dream that Steve had for no reason, other than perhaps he thinking about Tony being pregnant before he went to sleep, and his own desires for the happy family he’d hoped to have with Peggy but never got the chance to.

However, there was also the other reason for Steve to dream this, to make it so vivid and detailed, and that was because he was in love with Tony and wanted this for them.

In all honesty Tony didn’t know what to feel about that. Shock was his first feeling, that hadn’t really gone away, but there was more than that. He wasn’t disgusted or repulsed, although he didn’t really like seeing Steve’s ideal version of himself being a nineteen forties house Omega, who did nothing but have litters for his mate. If anything, he supposed that he felt a little sad for Steve, if indeed he was in love with him, then Tony did feel sorry for him, sorry for the unrequited love.

Glancing around though, it seemed that he was the only one who was feeling this way. Lex looked thoroughly revolted by the scene. Natasha looked somewhere between disapproving and dispassionate, and Stephen appeared to be taken aback and rather condescending towards Steve’s dream.

“What’s going on?” Steve asked, frowning at the sight of the four interlopers in his dream,

“Daddy!” the girl twin cried,

“Who, them?” The boy demanded, “And why that one look like Mamma?”

Dream Tony hurried to soothe the pair, addressing them as James and Sarah, urging Steve to take care of this quickly.

“Steven, I need to you listen to me.” Stephen said, as Steve’s puffed up, ready to defend his family, “This isn’t real, it’s a dream. You are asleep at the compound. Wanda cast a spell to keep you sleeping, it effected Lex, Tony, and Natasha too. I’ve come to wake you all up and break the spell.”

Steve shook his head, “That’s nonsense. Wanda would never hurt us. She is God-Mother to my Son and Daughter!”

“You don’t have a Son and Daughter, you fucking moron!” Lex bellowed gesturing to the twins, who were huddled against their Mother, “They are a twisted construct of your fucked, serum addled brain. They don’t exist. You and Tony are not together, you have never been together. Jesus Christ, he wouldn’t touch you with a nine foot pole!”

“How dare you?” Dream Tony cried, pushing the twins behind himself and glared at Lex. “I adore my husband, he is the best thing that ever happened to me!”

Lex made a puking noise and looked to Tony, the real Tony. “Can you believe this shit?”

Tony made a noise in his throat, still too shocked to speak.

“Steve!” Stephen persisted, taking the soldier’s arm, “You have to listen to me. The spell was cast over you so it is strongest here. I need you to fight this construct, to start dismantling it yourself, I can’t do that for you. It has to be you who does it.”

Steve scoffed in the sorcerers face and yanked his arm free, hard enough to make Stephen stagger into Natasha, who caught and supported him.

“I know what is real and what is not.” Steve declared. “This is real. My family. You are some kind of hydra trick trying to destroy everything I have built here with Tony.”

Natasha rolled her eyes, “Steve, for the love of God, you know this is fake. This era doesn’t exist anymore. It’s 2019 not 1945. Tony Stark is bonded to Bruce Wayne and is pregnant with his twins. Deep down inside you know that, so stop being an idiot and do what Stephen tells you.”

Steve would not be convinced though, he scowled at them, his hands curling into fists. “Tony, take the children into the house.” He ordered, “Call Bucky. I might need help taking out the trash.”

“Of course.” Dream Tony meekly complied, ushering the toddlers into the house. The Dog remained at Steve’s side, growling menacingly at the others.

“I am going to give you one more chance to leave this property…”

“Steve, please, do what we tell you and stop fighting us.” Natasha cried,

“Rogers, the longer you remain in this dreamscape the stronger its hold will be on you.” Stephen warned him. “You have to start waking up or you could be stuck here permanently.”

Steve wouldn’t be moved though, “I’ll count to five.” He said, “One, two…”

“Steve!”

“Christ sakes Rogers!”

“Three.”

“Steve please just listen…”

“Four.”

“You are condemning yourself…”

“Five.”

 

*****

 

Stephen was the first to be hit. Steve’s fist smacking into his face, throwing him to the ground, the next was Natasha, who moved to defend Stephen, she was able to block a couple of Steve’s punches, but his superior strength won out in the end and she joined Stephen on the ground. Lex, meanwhile was tackling the dog, which had leaped at him, teeth bared and aiming for his throat. He’d landed on his back and was trying to pry the damn thing off himself, with Tony pulling at the dog from behind.

“I always did prefer cats!” Lex snarled, turning his face away from the beasts snapping jaws,

“Come on you bag of fleas and slobber!” Tony grunted trying to pry the dog off Lex’s chest, only to have something hard hit from behind, sending him sprawling forward, over the dog and Lex.

The Dog yelped and struggled free, it’s claws digging into Lex as it went, and whirled around barking and snarling at the pair as they struggled to get up. Tony’s head was throbbing and dizziness was assailing him as he rubbing the back of his head, looking up to see Steve standing over them, shield in hand.

“Get off my property!”

“Steve.” Tony whispered, his eyes locking onto the shield. Memories of Siberia surfaced in his mind, of it being used as a weapon against him. Being driven down into his suit, shattering the face plate, and destroying the arc reactor, leaving him abandoned in the frozen wasteland.

“Damnit listen to us!” Stephen cried, as Natasha leaped onto Steve’s back, her hands wrapping about his throat to press into the pressure points and cut of circulation to his brain for a few moments to render him unconscious. Steve was too swift though, and flipped her over his shoulder, bringing her down to his feet and kicked her across the lawn.

“Hey Steve!” Dream Bucky cried, jumping over the garden fence to join him, “Tony said you needed a hand.” Speaking of hands, dream Bucky had both arms rather than a metal arm replacing one.

“They’re Hydra, Buck.” Steve said, clenching his fists, “They keep saying that my family isn’t real!”

Dream Bucky scoffed, “Couldn’t come up with a better lie, huh?”

“Guess not.”

Natasha flipped back onto her feet, crouching low, ready to strike. Lex took up a fighting stance, while Stephen appeared reluctant to get into a fight and Tony held back thinking hard.

“Isn’t there a way to prove it to him?” He asked Stephen, wanting to avoid a fight with Bucky and Steve. He had made his peace with Siberia and did not want to have his dredged back up again with another fight between them, even if this one was in the realm of dreams rather than reality.

Stephen frowned, his brows knitting together and his eyes shifting rapidly in the sockets as he thought frantically.

“I’ll take the Natasha look alike, and the bald dude.” Dream Bucky said to Steve, “You can have the weird goatee Tony and his facial hair double!”

“Hey!” Tony protested, “Stephen fucking Strangeness is not my double anything!”

“Strange Stark, Strange, not Strangeness, Strange.”

Tony smirked, “I know you are!”

Stephen rolled his eyes in exasperation. Steve frowned at the exchange, a look of recognition passing briefly over his face. It was only a second, but it gave Tony hope that they could break through to Steve without this becoming a fight.

“Please.” He said, stepping forward, holding up both hands, palms forward in a gesture of peace. “Let Stephen prove it to you, let him prove that this is a dream.” He looked to Stephen, “Is there a way?”

“Maybe.” The sorcerer said. “This is his dream, its his mind, he can make anything happen here.”

“Great!” Tony said, looking back to Steve, “Think of something, anything… umm, a swimming pool, make a swimming pool appear right here in the garden, a huge, Olympic size swimming pool!”

Steve rolled his eyes, “This is…” He trailed off as a pool appeared, “That’s…”

“Steve honey, the twins need attention and Tony’s in the nest with the triplets.” A voice called from the house, and a woman who looked similar enough to Steve to clearly be his Mother, came from the house. Dressed in nineteen thirties clothing, not looking a day past thirty-five when she’d have had to have been in her fifties if this was real.

“Mom?” Steve whispered, looking sickened.

“She died before the war. Of TB.” Tony said quietly, “You know that. She died long before you had the serum, Bucky was lost during the war, Hydra got hold of him, made him the Winter Soldier.”

Almost immediately Bucky transformed before their eyes, as Steve recalled the Winter soldier. Tears shone in his eyes and the picturesque scene flickered in and out of existence.

“I don’t have a family.” He whispered, sounding truly heart broken, “I don’t have a mate, or Pups, and we…” He looked to Tony forlornly, “We’re not together.”

Sadly Tony shook his head, “No.” He said, “We’re not. This isn’t real Steve, it never was. It was just a dream.”

“A really fucked up dream.” Lex grunted,

“Not helping, Lex.” Tony scolded,

“Steve.” Natasha said, coming forward, “You have to do what Stephen tells you and wake up, we need you. Me, Sam, Bucky, we’re your family and we need you.”

The world flickered, slowly fading into nothingness, leaving just a blank grey state. Steve let out a pained breath and turned away from Tony, not wanting him to see his tears.

“Now what?” Lex asked, looking around.

“Now we wake up.” Stephen said, “And bring this to an end.”

 

*****

 

Shaking with fatigue and looking thoroughly exhausted, Stephen opened the door to the med bay, allowing the Avengers and Justice League inside to see their awakened team mates. Everyone had come back to the compound, abandoning the Wanda search for the moment, to see their team mates so they could be sure that they were alright.

Clint, Scot, and Sam immediately went to Natasha and Steve, hugging them (As much as Natasha would allow) and looked extremely relieved that they were awake again.

Bucky hung back, not approaching Steve but standing nearby anyway. He gave him a reassuring smile when Steve looked his way, easily able to guess why Steve looked to melancholy and what his dream had probably been about.

Lex was swept into Clark’s arms and hugged fiercely, while Arthur teased him. Barry and Victor joining in. Diana beamed at the sight of her friends safely awoken, supporting an exhausted Stephen, whom she helped back to the Sanctum to rest and recover.

Tony was swept up by Bruce, Dick and Peter climbed on the bed to hug him, Rhodey not far behind, or Pepper, and Carol grinned from the foot of the bed with Alfred and Vision. Everyone very grateful that he and Lex were awake again.

From Bruce’s arms, Tony glanced over to Steve, who was watching the interaction with a painful longing. They would have to speak about this. Have settle this once and for all.

Tony needed to make sure that Steve understood that nothing would ever happen between them and Steve needed closure. Leaving things hanging would not be healthy for either of them and would be detrimental to the team if they had to work together.

Resolved to speak with Steve as soon as he was able, Tony settled into being hugged by his family, relieved to be back with them again.

Chapter Text

“I think we need to talk.”

 

Steve and Tony stood in one of the conference rooms in the compound. Neither felt like they could sit in the chairs and were both keeping a distance from each other.

Steve couldn’t meet Tony’s eyes, never had he looked so defeated or ashamed of himself as he did right now. It was a tragic sight to see, Captain America chastened and despairing.

It was all the more tragic because this was not his fault. He had no reason to chastise himself, no man could control their dreams, and had it not been for Wanda his dreams would have remained private, this was all the little Witches fault, not Steve’s or Tony’s.

That didn’t make it any easier to talk though, hence the fact they were avoiding looking each other in the eye and struggling to start the conversation.

 

Naturally, Tony broke the silence first, he hated silences, they made him uncomfortable and this was an uncomfortable situation as it was.

“I never knew that you felt that way about me.” Steve looked up, startled. His cheeks reddened and he quickly averted his gaze.

“Neither did I,” He whispered, “Not until after the Civil War and Thanos.” He drew in a deep breath and wrapped his arms about himself, slowly but surely raising his eyes to meet Tony’s. “It just crept up on me. After everything we’d been through, how hard we fought, how much you maddened me. I realized that you were always what I was thinking about day in and day out. Were always on my mind no matter where I was or what I was doing.” He smiled wistfully, “I realized that I wouldn’t think so much about someone that I didn’t love. That you couldn’t possibly irritate me or get under my skin so much if I were not in love with you.”

Tony bit his bottom lip and ran his hands over his belly, hunching his shoulders inward.

“I had hoped that we might… after Thanos, once I came back here, that we might get together.” Steve said, “Only, when I came back, you were already with someone else.”

“Yeah.” Tony’s voice was soft but clear. Steve nodded and rolled his lips, forcing a smile,

“I already knew it. I knew when you first announced that you pregnant by Bruce that you could never be mine. I just didn’t want to believe it.” He let out a bitter laugh, “I was still clinging to the fantasy that I hadn’t missed by chance with you, that it wouldn’t be Peggy all over again. I should have learned my lesson there.”

“Steve.” Tony sighed and decided to take a chance. He reached out and placed a warm hand on Steve’s arm and gave him a small but sympathetic smile. “I am flattered that you would be interested in me. I really am, and I don’t think less of you for feeling this way, nor do I think of you as a pervert for your dreams, or anything that you might be worrying. Dreams are dreams, no one can control them, and if it weren’t for Wanda your dreams would have remained private, as they should have been.”

“I am still sorry you had to see that though.” Steve murmured, horribly embarrassed by the dream that Tony had seen. In the light of day he could hardly believe himself that he had in fact dreamed that up. Himself and Tony in a nineteen forties picture perfect family setting. The dream had been everything that he had wanted with Peggy back then, everything that Tony was not. Hell, thinking about it, he couldn’t imagine Peggy willingly becoming a housewife, doing nothing but having babies and spending her time cooking and cleaning. She had been a career woman, had fought tooth and nail to earn her position and would not relinquish that just because Steve wanted to settle down and have a big family.

Tony certainly wouldn’t be a house-Omega. Yes he was pregnant now, was taking things easier than he normally did and would be going on maternity leave, but he would be going back to work after that, he wouldn’t be spending the rest of his life in a nursery tending the little ones. He’d never be happy like that and Steve knew it, even if his subconscious mind did not.

“Do you think that if things had been different, that maybe we could have…” He didn’t finish the sentence, didn’t need to, Tony understood well enough and shook his head.

“I’m sorry Steve but no. Bruce is the only Alpha I have ever wanted, the rest of my lovers have been Omega’s and Beta women.” He shrugged, “Besides, I prefer Brunettes and Red Heads to blondes!” This earned him a small laugh from Steve with helped break the tension a little.

“You will find someone, you know?” Tony said, moving his hands from his abdomen to his back to try and ease some of the pain there, “What about Sharon?” he asked and Steve shook his head,

“Its too… she’s Peggy’s niece, I know its not really incest but it feels wrong.”

Yeah, Tony could see that. There was something odd about Steve and Sharon.

“Maybe I’m just fated to be alone.” Steve mused.

“Rubbish.” Tony scoffed, “You’re young. Hell, you are barely in your thirties.” He rolled his eyes as Steve rose and eyebrow, “For the spent actively conscious you are barely in your thirties. You have your entire life ahead of you. You will meet someone, it just hasn’t happened yet.”

There came a noise from outside the conference room door and what sounded like a muffled curse a second later. Steve frowned and Tony rolled his eyes, waddling to the door and yanking it open, having to step back to avoid been fallen upon by Lex, Peter, and Dick.

“You know, I would expect this behaviour from Dickless and the brat here, but Alexander, I am very surprised at you!” Tony scolded, folding his arms over his chest, “Listening at keyholes, honestly!” He gave them all a mock disappointed look that had Peter looking sheepish, Dick looking amused, and Lex shrugging indifferently.

“I was just making sure that Captain Pervert wasn’t going to try anything!”

“Hey!” Steve protested,

“Well you don’t exactly merit much faith right now.” Lex stated, standing to his full, if rather unimpressive height, he was only an inch taller than Tony.

Steve sighed, “I have a lot to make up for, I know, and I am going to do my best from here to make amends.” He looked at Tony as he said this, meaning more than just the dream, meaning everything that he’d messed up. “I think the first step would be to deal with Wanda. Where are we on finding the traitorous little bitch?”

It was rare that Steve ever swore and for him to call Wanda a bitch showed just how furious he was with her. There would be no leeway for her this time, not even Steve would be forgiving her actions. She was on her own now and would pay the price for what she had done.

“Viz, Clark, Rhodey, Arthur, Barry, and Carol are out searching.” Peter said. Since the dreams they had dispensed with hiding their identities. With Natasha and Steve both knowing who Lex was, it had been easy for them guess the identities of everyone else, like Clark and Bruce, and knowing each other just made things easier, although it would be a while before trust was built, right now the two teams were tolerating each other and being civil, but there was a potential for something more, given time and effort.

“Where’s Diana?” Tony asked,

“With Strange and Loki.” Lex replied, “Looking into ways to neutralize the Bitches powers.” He shrugged, “I’d vote just to cut her head off, but they want to strip her powers instead, well, Diana and Strange do, Loki’s on my side.”

“Naturally,” Tony drawled and shrugged, “We should probably go and join the others. If I’m gone for too long, Bruce will start to panic and send out a search party for me!”

“He was arguing tactical strategy with Romanoff and Barton when we left him.” Dick said, “They’ve probably moved past screaming obscenities and drawn blades by now!”

Lex snorted and Tony looked pained, “I hope not, blood is a nightmare to get out of the carpet.”

 

*****

 

Wanda figured that magic was the only way she was going to be able to get in touch with Red Skull. It wasn’t as if she had an E-Mail address for him, or a phone number. The contact she did have was back at the compound and she couldn’t go back there for it.

So she used her abilities to find him.

Standing on the balcony of the Man’s apartment she reached out with her mind, searching the City and the minds of the people, skimming the surface of their minds, looking into their memories for anything connected with Hydra and Red Skull.

Many had heard of him, he was a famous villain after all, right up there with Hitler. Even children knew of Captain America’s nemesis, but no one seemed to know more than that, just the old stories.

As powerful as she was, Wanda’s powers did have a range limit, she need to move around in order to reach more people, and really, it wasn’t safe to stay in one place for very long, not when the Avengers would undoubtedly be searching for her.

 

The man she’d got under mind control provided transport for her, his car being perfect to drive around the city streets, and his credit card bought her a whole array of clothing and anything she wanted to eat and drink. She could have moved on to hotels and other places to stay at night, but Steve’s blood had to be kept cold in the fridge or it would become useless, so Wanda returned to the apartment in the evening, sending the idiot under her control to a corner so he was out of her way, and amused herself with Netflix on his TV while enjoying pizza from New York’s best take out.

She wasn’t worried, sooner or later she would find Skull, or he would find her. He needed the blood after all, so he couldn’t afford for her to be lost to him. All she had to do was be patient and she was safe for the time being, had a comfortable place to stay. She was keeping a low profile so as not to attract attention from the Avengers or Justice League. Which was annoying, because if she weren’t worried about them finding her, she could reach out with her powers and contact Skull telepathically, like she had when she had given Tony nightmares in the past. But, with Strange on the team, she worried that he might be able to track her magically if she did so.

If it came down to it she would take the chance, but she wanted to give it a little more time yet, before she risked exposing herself.

 

*****

 

Barry skidded to a stop as Arthur landed in front of him, the trident clanging on the pavement as he set it down at his side.

“Shit, fishboy, are you trying to get run over?”

“Don’t call me fishboy, road runner!”

“Meep fucking meep. What do you want?” Barry asked, scowling at the Atlantian, who was saved from answering by Clark suddenly dropping down from the sky.

“Vision said that he can sense Wanda’s magic all over the City.” Clark said, “She’s been moving around a lot and he can’t trace a specific location, there are too many leads to follow.”

“So what? Is she on a mind raping spree or something?” Barry asked gesturing wildly and shifting about with nervous energy that was always flowing through him, Arthur gave him a sardonic look,

“Would you be surprised if she was?” Barry thought about it and shook his head, considering all that Wanda had done so far nothing would surprise him about the deranged bitch.

“Rhodey suggested that we call it a night and get some rest, we can start again fresh in the morning.” Clark said and Arthur leered at him,

“Want to get home and snuggle with Mr Clean?”

Clark smirked back at him, “Make all the jokes you want, I’m still sleeping with a Billionaire.”

“So are Bruce and Tony.” Barry pointed out and frowned, “Does putting them together make them quadrillion Aires, and would adding Lex to that make it sextillion Aires?”

“Erm…” Clark frowned, and Arthur stared at Barry as if he were mad. Following Barry’s trains of thought was often difficult as they ran as fast as his legs did.

“Let’s just head back to the compound.” Clark said, after a beat, “You can ask Tony, Lex, or Bruce. Their the geniuses after all.”

“Cool, lets stop for burgers on the way, I’m starving!”

 

*****

 

Compound.

 

Everyone decided to stay over night at the compound, taking the guest rooms instead of going back to their own homes.

As soon as they were in their guest room, Lex was ripping Clark’s clothes off and climbing the Kryptonian as if he were a tree.

“Slow down a minute!” Clark laughed, staggering a little as Lex pushed him back onto the back and straddled him, kissing his chest hungrily, his caresses feverish and desperate.

“I need you,” He growled at Clark, “I need to know you’re alright, that Lionel didn’t get you, that you are here with me and that this isn’t a dream.” Sighing, Clark reached up and cupped Lex’s smooth cheek,

“I’m here baby, Lionel is dead and buried. He didn’t get me, this is real, you and me, together.”

Lex closed his eyes, turning his face into Clark’s hand and kissed his palm tenderly, then taking the hand into his own he guided each of Clark’s fingers into his mouth, sucking on them one by one and playfully nipping them with his teeth. The nips sent shocks of pleasure through Clark’s body, straight down to his groin and Lex grinned as he felt Clark’s length harden beneath him.

“Fuck me, farm boy.” He breathed, letting go of Clark’s hand and leaned forward to seize Clark’s mouth in a searing kiss, “I need you to till my field!”

Laughing a little at the dirty farm talk, Clark flipped them both over, trapping Lex beneath him. The incorrigible Billionaire turned and gave him a fey look over his shoulder, his eyes half lidded and pupils wide with lust, “Gonna sew your crop?” he asked, biting his bottom lip as Clark lifted his hips, reaching under him to take Lex’s length in hand, stroking and teasing him. The great thing they had discovered about Kryptonian physiology was Clark’s self lubricating penis. His Foreskin seeped a slick like substance, similar to pre-cup, but much creamier and perfect as a lube. So there was no need for them to use artificial products and if Lex was relaxed enough, Clark didn’t have to do much to prep him either.

Soon enough he had Clark moaning and squirming beneath him, offering up his backside eagerly and yelping in delight when Clark gave it a slap.

“You should save your strength,” he said to Lex, “Farming is all hard graft.”

“Hmm, how hard?” Lex purred and let out an obscene moan as Clark slowly slid inside him, “Fuck, like putting in fence posts!”

Clark chuckled and leaned over, kissing Lex’s smooth head and whispered into his ear, “Fence posts always need a damn good hammering!”

 

Lex was not a quiet lover to say the least. He liked to be vocal and Clark liked to see just how loud he could make him get, which was fine when they were in their own apartment, but not so much when they were in guest bedrooms and had neighbours next door, one of whom was Arthur who bellowed at them to “Shut the fuck up and shag quieter!”

“You’re just jealous because you aren’t getting any, Arial!” Lex panted, up on his hands and knees, the entire bed shaking with the force of his and Clark’s love making, he deliberately moaned even louder as Clark hit his prostate and reached back to run his nails over Clark’s thighs as he knew he loved, eliciting moans from him.

“Pair of over sexed bastards!” Arthur grumbled, thumping the wall.

Both Clark and Lex were laughing as they came and collapsed on the bed in a heap of giggles.

“He’s gonna be pissed with us in the morning.” Clark said, grinning at Lex, who shrugged,

“He’s always pissed, and he shouldn’t be complaining, we haven’t even done it against the wall, yet!”

 

*****

 

Elsewhere in the compound, Tony and Bruce lay in bed together, in each others arms. Neither was in the mood for sex, wanted physical contact and comfort more than carnality.

“And Roger’s knows not to try and pursue you?” Bruce checked for the umpteenth time. Tony rolled his eyes,

“Yes, he knows.” He sighed, “I can’t help feeling sorry for the poor kid. Unrequited love sucks.”

“Yeah. Maybe we should get him a Puppy or something,” Bruce grunted. Just because Tony didn’t think of Steve as a problem didn’t mean he was going to trust the other Alpha. “I am sorry, you know?” He said, “About not telling you about Wanda and the plans we’d made to deal with her.”

“I know.” Tony said, he turned and gave Bruce a tired but real smile, “I get that you were trying to protect me, that it was done out of good intentions and not to try and control or coddle me. But, in the future, please, remember that I’m not a damsel in distress. I can handle bad news, you don’t have to worry about breaking me.”

“It’s just, you’ve been through so much already that I don’t want you to suffer anymore.” Bruce said, brushing hair back from Tony’s face, “And I know I can be over bearing and over protective, but… well I guess it’s the pheromones from your pregnancy, they’re sending my instincts to protect you into overdrive. It’s taking everything I’ve got to keep from attacking every Alpha and Male Beta that comes near you! I know intellectually that they are not a threat, but on a base instinctual level I’m seeing them that way and I want to keep you and our Pups away from them.”

Tony understood this, it was the base Alpha instinct that Bruce couldn’t fight. He could control himself enough not to attack people, but that was as far as his restraint would go, the rest was a biological imperative to protect and care for his mate and offspring. It was ingrained in his DNA, just as it was in Tony’s to build a nest when the time came in preparation for nurturing his Pups and during his lying in he’d be relying on Bruce care for him completely, which he knew that the Alpha would do without question.

“Okay, lets call a compromise,” He said, snuggling closer to Bruce, or as close as his round belly would allow, “No more secrets, unless their Christmas or Birthday surprise present type secrets.”

“That sounds fair.” Bruce agreed, laying a large hand over Tony’s middle, “We’ll have plenty of those to plan for, first birthdays, Christmases, parties.” He paused, “No clowns.” He said, “I don’t think I could stand that!” Tony snorted with laughter,
“Considering Gotham’s history with Clowns, agreed!”

Chapter Text

Wanda’s reign of terror throughout New York came to an end as Captain Marvel slammed into the road before her. Wanda hit the breaks in the car, her heart pounding. She curled her hands about the steering wheel staring at the woman before, who was quickly joined by Superman.

“Get out of the car, get down on your knees with your hands over your head.” Marvel ordered, her hands glowing, her body ready to strike at the first sign of provocation.

Wanda gripped the steering wheel tighter, she felt her magic building up inside her body, felt it flooding into her hands and her eyes, her vision turning red with it. “No.” She whispered

“Do not make this any worse than it already is.” Superman said, “You have no where to go, the best thing you can do is come with us without a fight.” Twin thumps of the ground made Wanda jump, glancing in the rear view mirror she saw that Aquaman and Cyborg had arrived to join the stand off. They were followed by Vision, and from a portal Strange and Wonder Woman appeared.

“It’s over Maximoff.” Cyborg called, “Get out of the car and give it up.”

“The hell I will!” Wanda snarled. With roar she let loose her power, shattering the windows of the car and blasting all of the Justice League and Avengers backwards with the force of the power. Breathing heavily she scrambled out of the car as they were getting back onto the feet and gathered her strength ready to fight,

“She’s too far gone!” Aquaman growled readying his trident,

“Wait!” Superman cried, holding up a huge hand as he flew over towards Wanda, “Don’t do this,” he pleaded with her, “Just stop now, before anyone else gets hurt.”

“Damn everyone else.” Wanda spat, “What did anyone ever do for me?” she lashed out with her power, hitting Superman and sending him flying backwards through a shop window. The civilians who had been on the street had thankfully already fled, save for a few idiots who were crouching behind parked cars to film this.

Captain Marvel took to the air and blasted Wanda, who dodged and aimed her red magic at her, only just missing Marvel. With a roar Aquaman lunged for her, with Cyborg backing him up. Wanda dodged Aquaman, shooting at Cyborg and hitting his chest, sending him spiralling into the road with cracked under his weight.

Spinning around, Wanda gathered her power, her gaze on Aquaman, but before she could lash out, Wonder Woman’s lasso wrapped around her, pinning her arms to her sides. “No!” She screamed as her magic hit the ground by her feet, “Let me go!”

“I don’t think so.” Stephen said, coming to stand in front of Wanda, with Vision joining him. “It’s time this ended.”

From out of the broken shop window, Superman flew over, setting down besides Wonder Woman, keeping a watch on Wanda, who struggled against the lasso that kept her pinned. As Stephen drew complicated symbols in the air that sparked orange.

“In name of magic, old and yet to be,
I call upon the ancient power to harken to me.
Let that which was made, now be undone,
Return what was taken to where it begun.
Remove the gift she is unworthy to own,
Take back what is yours, let this seed be unsown.”

Wanda felt like there was something moving under her skin, like a thousand ants were crawling beneath her flesh! She squirmed and moaned, trying to break free from the lasso, trying to get away from the Sorcerer who was intent of taking her magic.

“Stop!” She screamed, as red began to ooze from her lips, her nose, her eyes, ears, and fingernails.

“Severe the cord between thy power and She,
Cast off her shell and be now free.
Rise now from flesh and bone,
Return now to thy true home.”

Wanda screamed and cursed as the magical energy flowed out of her body, dancing on the air like red smoke on the wind, flowing back into the mind stone from where it had originated. When the last wisps of magic left Wanda, Stephen made more symbols in the air,

“Let that which is separated never again be one,
I bind the fallen witch, her powers begone.”

The Mind stone glowed brightly and pulsed as Wanda’s magic settled back within the gem, leaving Wanda stripped of her powers, devastated and destitute.

With a scream of hysterical anger, she fell to her knees, howling and screaming as if she were in agony. All of the minds that had been open to her just seconds before were now closed, sealed away from her like boxes shut up. The power that had been her one constant for so many years was gone, she felt like she had been hollowed out inside, as if all of her intestines had been ripped from her body and she had been left gutted and bleeding out.

Above her she could hear voices speaking but she could not focus on the words, couldn’t really hear what was being said, all that she could think of was what she had lost and had no idea how she would ever manage to live as a regular human being again.

 

“I’ll take her to the Sanctuary.” Stephen said, placing a hand on Wanda’s trembling shoulder, “She will need time to learn how to live like a human again. Without her powers.”

“She will have to answer for her crimes.” Marvel said,

“I know. But at present she is in no fit state to do so.” Stephen said, “We can care for her there, keep her safe and make sure she does not escape.”

Wanda wanted to protest, but all she could do was curl up in a ball and sob piteously.

“Take her.” Superman said,

“I’ll go with you and see that she is secured.” Wonder Woman said to Stephen, who nodded, helping Wanda to her feet, she was so unsteady that he had to support her weight or she would have fallen again.

“Its gone.” She whimpered, “Its all gone.”

“You’ll be alright.” Vision said to her, gently, and Wanda wanted to scream at him, to beat her fists into his chest, but she was too weak, all she could do was huddle into Stephen and let him and Wonder Woman take her through the portal.

 

*****

 

Compound.

 

“So its over?” Peter asked the assembled teams, “She’s finished?”

“She is.” Wonder Woman confirmed, “With her power stripped she will not be a threat as the Scarlet Witch anymore. Her mental state is a cause for concern though. Since Stephen stripped her power she has been either catatonic or hysterical. While this may be a reaction to the shock of having her power removed and she may recover in time….”

“She might never recover.” Tony finished for Diana.

“Can’t say I’m heart broken over that.” Lex muttered, just loud enough for everyone to hear. Clark rubbed his back gently, understanding Lex’s reaction.

“She can’t stand trial in her current condition.” Diana said,” She simply isn’t fit. Stephen is working with the other sorcerers to try and help her heal and reconcile with being baseline human again, but it will take time, if it is possible at all.”

“And if it isn’t?” Sam asked, and Diana shrugged,

“I don’t know, at this point I don’t think we should look to far ahead where Wanda is concerned and simply be grateful that the threat is past.”

Bucky shifted in his seat and cleared his throat,

“Something to add to that?” Arthur inquired, with a risen eyebrow,

“Maybe.” Bucky said, looking around at the gathered teams, “Maximoff ain’t a witch or a superbeing anymore. Great. Best news I’ve heard in a while. But, she still stole Stevie’s blood,” At this Peter piped up again,

“We found it. We got the vial from the fridge of the poor schmuck she had zombified into letting her stay in his crib and use his shit, remember?”

Once Wanda’s magic had been stripped the spell she had cast over the man had been broken and he had alerted the authorities, who had in turn contacted the Avengers. The vial of blood had been retrieved from the fridge and destroyed by Tony himself with Steve watching so that the Super soldier could have peace of mind where that was concerned.

“Yeah, but why did she take it anyway?” Bucky asked, “She ain’t a Doctor or chemist or scientist. What was she gonna do with it?”

This did serve to take the cheer out of the room as everyone paused and thought over the question. Wanda had no use for the blood herself, there was nothing she could have done with it. She couldn’t extract the serum, she wouldn’t know how to do so, just injecting it into another person, even herself wouldn’t give them the serum, it was too diluted in Steve’s blood, for the serum to activate it had to be extracted from the white blood cells and injected pure into someone.

“She had to have been working for someone who knew what to do with it.” Dick murmured, “Who though?”

Silence followed the question as no one had an answer.

 

 

Hydra Base.

 

Skull cursed as he watched the news reports. The news of the end of the Scarlet Witch had reached the media fast and thus reached him. While he was not upset about her getting taken out it was a major kink in his plan. She had been his best way to get Rogers blood and the pure serum, now he needed another way.

Rising unsteadily from his chair he staggered over to the computer changing the feed until he found another news report, this one outside of the Avengers compound, where Batman, Iron Man, and Captain America were answering questions put to them by the media.

Skull enlarged the image, focusing on Steve Rogers.

“Wanda Maximoff had a grudge against Tony from day one that I was unfortunately blind to, but my eyes were opened and I saw her for what she truly was. Thankfully before she could do much more damage, and hurt Tony more than she already had.” He gave Stark a look that caught Skull’s attention. It seemed more than friendly, rather wistful and regretful. A look of longing, unrequited love.

Skull chuckled, his cold, dead eyes focusing on Stark’s prominent belly, “Maybe there is another way to get his blood.”

Chapter Text

After Wanda’s departure the integration between the Avenger’s and the Justice League went much smoother. There was still tension between the two teams, not every problem had been solved by removing Wanda, but there was a lot less friction.

While he couldn’t be certain, Strange, believed that Wanda’s magic had been affecting everyone, that she had been affecting the emotional responses of everyone in the compound by projecting her own feelings of resentment and animosity upon them, resulting in irritability, paranoia, and distrust in everyone, along with frequent nightmares of bouts of insomnia as her magic had pooled out.

Unlike with her attacks on Tony, this had been subconscious. Wanda’s lack of understanding when it came to her abilities had meant that she couldn’t contain her magic properly, so when she used it, it would act like a cup been over filled, with some spilling out around her.

With this magic now gone, everyone caught up on their sleep, having normal REM cycles and the paranoia and irritability lessened greatly. They were all able to be more patient or take a step back from a situation rather than snapping with frustration.

There was still no love loss between Bruce and Steve, the two Alphas were still barely tolerating each other, but they weren’t ready to tear each-other’s throats out either, so that was progress.

Steve also agreed to undergo counselling. He had a natural phobia of psychiatric treatment, back in the forties it hadn’t really existed beyond people being heavily medicated and locked up in asylums that were little better than prisons. However, he was aware that had changed dramatically in the past seventy years and agreed to start seeing a therapist to start working through his issues.

To help him feel comfortable, Sam went with him to his first few sessions with his Doctor, explaining things that Steve didn’t understand such as PTSD, Survivors Guilt, and Martyr complex.

The Doctor was good, but she didn’t pull her punches either, something that Steve responded to well, preferring to be told how it was rather than being coddled or babied.

Learning that he had a martyr’s complex was not something he liked hearing, nor did he wasn’t to admit it to himself, but, after Sam helped explain it, and the Doctor went into more detail, he had to admit that it was the truth, along with his PTSD and Survivors Guilt.

To his relief he was not medicated, although with his metabolism it was unlikely that medication would have worked anyway.

Twice a week he went to his therapist to work through his issues and make plans to move forward with his life. Amazingly, going to therapy brought him closer to Bucky than he had been since the Forties. Had them talking again in a way that Steve had been beginning to think was something he’d never have again.

 

Weeks went by without much trouble. Doctor Doom made an attack on New York which was quickly defeated by the Fantastic Four. Joker decided to take a gala hostage in Gotham with Harley Quinn, which Batman, and Nightwing had to take care of.
A wannabe Evil Genius/Mad Scientist caused trouble in Metropolis which Dragonfly and Superman defeated with minimal fuss, and the Avengers had a throw down with the Wrecking Crew that was more annoying than anything.

Tony’s pregnancy progressed without anymore worries, his blood pressure was stable, as was his blood sugar levels, his pelvis was also showing no signs of difficulty, which had been the biggest concern on whether or not it would be able to separate for him to give birth without medical intervention.

Before he went into his laying in period, he did an interview and photo shoot with Hello, doing a nude bump shot alla Demi Moore, which went viral once it reached the internet.

 

“I’ll say this for Stark, he looks damn good for pushing fifty and being heavily pregnant with twins.” Natasha commented and she looked through the interview in Hello, eyeing the photos that had been taken.

“He certainly has that glow.” Bucky agreed, looking over her shoulder at the spread, he grinned, looking to Steve who was trying to negotiate with Toby. The sentient toaster. Tony had been bored two weekends before and had been left unsupervised, which had resulted in yet another dysfunctional AI. This one was rather pyromaniacal, insisting on setting fire to anything that had the misfortune to be put in it’s slots, and, when it was feeling bored, the curtains too!

“We wouldn’t have got photos like these in our day.” Bucky said, while Steve pleaded with Toby to just toast the bread and not turn it into charcoal for once.

“I swear, from no on Tony is not to be left alone with any kitchen appliances!” Steve grumbled pushing aside the bread, giving up on having toast. He crossed the kitchen and looked down at the photos, his cheeks reddening as he saw the images.

“Would you like to have some alone time?” Natasha teased, her grin widening when Steve glared at her. He might know that he had no chance with Tony and have accepted it, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t still attracted to the Billionaire, because he was, very much so, he just knew that it wouldn’t go anywhere.

“I’m surprised Bruce let people look at him stark naked,” Bucky snickered, “Stark Naked, huh!”

“Lame.” Natasha drawled flipping the page, while Steve grunted, very aware of Bruce’s over protective nature when it came to Tony. That had only increased in the past few weeks as Tony had entered the third trimester. Bruce’s Alpha instincts to protect and ensure the wellbeing of his mate and offspring were on over drive and would remain so until after the birth and the laying in period, when Tony was back on his feet again. Until then Bruce would be viewing pretty much everyone and everything as a potential threat to the safety of his family.

It was not something he could control, it was a base animal instinct that all Alpha’s were affected by when their Mates were close to whelping.

“Heads up people.” Sam called, coming into the kitchen with the mail, mostly junk mail, a magazine subscription, and an invitation which he held up. “We are all invited to the Baby Shower of Tony Stark, tomorrow at Wayne Manor.”

“Really?” Steve looked gobsmacked, a feeling that was mutual by the look of surprise on Natasha’s face.

“The party starts at 1pm tomorrow. Guests are asked not to bring gifts but to make a donation to either the Maria Stark Foundation, or the Survivors of Violent Crimes Charity.” Sam said, reading from the invitation. “Dress code is smart/casual.”

“Smart/Casual, that’s jeans with a dress shirt and tie, right?” Bucky asked, still getting used to fashion of the twenty-first century.

“Yeah, or slacks and a nice shirt.” Sam confirmed, “Not T-Shirts and jeans or tracksuit bottoms.” A crack of thunder and a flash of lightening along with an earth shaking thud had them all running out of the kitchen to the gardens, Vision gliding out of the labs to join them, as they greeted Thor and Banner, or rather Hulk, who had landed in the grounds, leaving an impressive dent in them.

“Friends!” Thor cried, striding over, his arms spread wide and a joyous smile on his face,

“Hi,” Natasha said, Hulk grunted,

“Want pizza!” Thor chuckled and patted his side,

“Soon friend Hulk, we shall call on the wonderous Dominos and sate our hunger, but we must first greet our friends and make ready to visit Friend Stark on the morrow.” Hulk grumbled and folded his arms, looking sulky.

“You’re coming to the baby shower?” Steve asked, surprised. Tony and Thor’s relationship was… difficult to say the least, and things were rather tense between Tony and Banner, with unresolved issues of abandonment on Tony’s side and guilt on Banner’s in regards to Ultron, Johannesburg, and Wanda.

“Aye, though why Midgardians celebrate the wetting of infants I do not know!”

Bucky and Sam chocked on their tongues while Natasha shook her head, “We’ll explain.” She said, “Come on inside, we’ll introduce you to the latest AI. You’ll love him, especially when he sets fire to the curtains!”.

 

******

 

Gotham

 

Wayne Manor.

 

Tony grinned as arms wrapped around him from behind and two palms lay over his huge stomach. “Getting hard to do that now.” He said, laying his hands over Bruce’s,

“Just a few more weeks.” Bruce purred, kissing Tony’s neck and inhaling deeply, “God you smell good, like a field after rain, like freshly baked bread, earthy and appealing.”

“Pheromones.” Tony murmured. He pushed aside the curtain, looking out of the window, down at the gardens, where tables and chairs were being set up, before a huge floral arch strewn with green and white ribbons. While they were going to be holding a baby shower they were also going to be doing something else. They were going to get married.

 

Neither wanted a huge wedding with the worlds press in attendance, they wanted something private and quiet that they could tell the world after they had done so. Of course any celebration they held would attract attention, so holding a baby shower was a way of hiding the fact they were getting married from the world until it was done.

The only people who knew that this was going to be more than a baby shower were Dick, Alfred, Pepper, Rhodey, Peter, Lex, and Clark. Everyone else was under the assumption it would be Tony’s final farewell before he went into his laying in period before the birth.

 

“You sure you’re not unhappy about not going on honeymoon?” Bruce asked, watching as the preparations were being made.

“Sure.” Tony said, tipping his head back so he could look at Bruce, “Its not like I can fly anywhere in this condition, and we’ll be too busy with the pups after the birth.”

“We could still go somewhere though.” Bruce said, “A Weekend upstate or something.”

“Um remember what happened the last time we went upstate, the mud monster thing?” Bruce groaned, recalling vividly the thing that Tony was talking about. The creation of some deranged Scientist that had gotten loose from the lab and gone on a rampage.

“I swear it took me weeks to wash all that mud out.” Tony grumbled, “And remember when Lex and Clark tried to go upstate and Poison Ivy attacked with killer vines that were strangling everyone?”

“Yes, Lex was complaining about how his neck ached for weeks after.” Bruce admitted, maybe upstate was cursed for superheroes. “We’ll go away somewhere when the Pups are born and weaned.” He said, “Maybe to the Chalet, we haven’t been skiing in a while.”

“Yeah.” Tony said and grimaced, squirming out of Bruce’s embrace, “Toilet break.” He said, hurrying as fast as his body would let him to get to the bathroom for the umpteenth time that day. Bruce grinned, watching as he went, and looked back out of the window feeling a shiver of thrill and nervousness run through him. He was getting married tomorrow. Him, Bruce Wayne. Confirmed bachelor, playboy of Gotham City was actually getting married to Tony Stark, most unlikely to wed Omega, and in just six weeks time they would be having their pups, their twin Pups.

Bruce could not remember a time he had been more excited, happy, or terrified in his life, and he suspected that this was the way he would be feeling for a long time to come, especially when the Pups arrived.

Chapter Text

“WAKE UP TIME!”

“Fuck off!” Tony grunted from somewhere under the bed covers and Bruce threw a pillow at Lex, who dodged it and jumped onto the bed followed by Dick. The two of them clambering onto Tony and Bruce’s legs and dragging the bed covers off them despite their protests.

“Whoa, back up, I don’t need to see little Bruce!” Dick cried, averting his gaze as Bruce’s morning erection was made all to visible.

“Can’t you two fuck off and let us get up in peace?” Tony asked, rubbing his face and scowling at Lex, who lay full length down his body, resting his chin on Tony’s bump and grinned obnoxiously at him.

“Nope.” Dick cheerfully said, proceeding to toss a dressing gown at Bruce and drag him out of bed, whether he wanted to get up or not. “Come on, we need to get your shaved, showered, and made to look half decent before the guests start to arrive and the Priest gets here.”

“And the same can be said for you. But I’m not going to try and pull you out of bed because you weigh a ton now!” Lex said to Tony, who promptly kicked him off the bed in retaliation, and tried to bury himself back into the bed, only to swear when the Pups rolled onto his bladder forcing him to get out of bed and go to the bathroom, kicking Lex in the side as he went and ignoring the wolf whistle Dick sent him for his bare arse being on display.

 

After emptying his bladder, Tony washed his hands and face, and set about trimming his beard and shaving the stubble off his cheeks. The door was knocked and Lex called into the bathroom, “I’m going to bring a breakfast tray up. Take your time, we’ve got hours.”

“Why did you wake me at the crack of fucking dawn then?” Tony yelled back,

“Because it’ll take that long to get you ready.” Lex called back

“Will not!”

“Will too!”

“Will fucking not.” Tony grumbled rubbing shaving foam onto his face and began to shave, going through the practiced routine of shaping his goatee and cleaning off all the stubble, when he was done he washing the remaining soap off his face and looked in the mirror at himself, “You’re getting married.” He whispered to his reflection, “You. Tony fucking Stark are actually getting married today.”

Somehow this had felt rather like a dream, an idea for the future, a far away hope than something that would really happen. Yet here he was, on the morning of his wedding, His wedding to Bruce Wayne. The boy who’d stolen his heart when he was fifteen, and now thirty odd years later they were actually getting married and having babies!

“What would Mum have said?” he murmured looking down at his swollen belly and ran a hand over the stretched flesh. He would have liked to think that she would have been happy for him and Bruce, would have approved of the marriage and been happy about having Grandchildren. Howard he was sure would not have approved save the prestige that came from uniting the Stark name with Wayne. As well as being a scientist and business man, Howard had been a terrible social climber. Half of the reason he’d married Maria was because of her social status as a Collins-Carbonel.

The Collins had come from her Mother’s side of the family and went all the way back to the late sixteen hundreds, to a young woman from London, a thief and prostitute who’d been mercifully sentenced to transportation instead of hanging. She’d been sent to Virginia, where she had worked off her sentence and met a young man by the name of John Collins, with a little money and a small tobacco plantation which had prospered, and the family had had survived the generations, wars, and depression, as part of America’s highest society.

The Carbonel had originated in Italy, on her Father’s side. Owning land, Vineyards, in Southern Italy. Having at one time being Dukes and been intermarried with the D’Este, Medici, and Borgia.

Before Howard no one had ever heard of the name Stark, his family history was nothing remarkable, his Father had emigrated from Germany looking to make his fortune in America, something he had failed at completely and turned to drink, picking the wrong fight and ending up getting his own knife through the eye one night.

Howard’s Mother had been hard working and had moved from New Orleans to New York looking for work. Her own mother had been an Irish Chanel prostitute who’d had no idea who’d Fathered her daughter and had died of syphilis when her daughter had been very young.

Making himself a fortune had pulled Howard out of the gutters and raised his social status but not put him among the blue bloods until he’d met and married Maria.

Tony’s marriage to Bruce would have had his support only because of the Wayne name, nothing else. He would have cared nothing for the fact they loved each other or what they had been through. He certainly wouldn’t have approved of Tony being pregnant. He’d hated that Tony was an Omega, having wanted an Alpha or a Beta Son, not an Omega.

Looking down at his huge bump Tony couldn’t fathom Howard’s reasoning. He couldn’t care less what gender or sex his Pups were. Though he had a sneaking suspicion that he was having a boy and girl. But really he didn’t care so long as they were healthy.

Jarvis and Ana he was sure would have been happy for him, especially for him having a family. Had he still been alive then Tony would have had Jarvis walking him down the aisle. Though as Jarvis was gone, Rhodey was doing the honour of giving him away.

Sighing deeply, Tony gave himself one last look in the mirror and went to the shower, wanting to be done before Lex came back with breakfast.

 

*****

 

While Rhodey, Lex, Peter, and Pepper took charge of getting Tony ready for the wedding. Alfred, Dick, and Clark took charge of Bruce.

Dick dragged him from the bed, and shoved him into one of the guest rooms to shower and shave. Ignoring his protests and literally shoved him under the water even though it was cold!

Alfred brought up breakfast for them, and Clark carefully laid out the suits, keeping them far away from the food and coffee so they wouldn’t get stained.

“I hate you!” Bruce grunted when he came in from the bathroom, glaring at an unrepentant Dick, who saluted him while eating bacon with his fingers.

“How’s Tony doing?” Clark asked,

“Lex dragged him up and got him into the shower.” Dick replied, “The others will help deal with the last minute nerves and panic attacks, and other dramatics.”

“He won’t have last minute nerves.” Bruce said, over his shoulder and he combed his hair and got it into style, “Why should he? We both want this, we’re already bonded, we’re having Pups, there’s no reason for nerves or panic attacks.” He paused and looked over his shoulder, “Unless he’s only going through with the wedding because he thinks its what I want and is trying to keep me happy.”

“Bruce.” Clark protested, while Alfred reached around and slapped Dick upside the head for putting the idea in Bruce’s head.

“What if he is only doing it to please me?” Bruce asked, starting to pace, “I know I can be over bearing and pressuring, have I been doing that?” He looked up at Alfred, who went to answer but Bruce carried on talking anyway, “I might have made him think that he didn’t have a choice, that he had to marry me in order for the relationship to work.”

“He doesn’t.” Clark said, “He is marrying you because he loves you.”

“He loves me, I know that. I know that.” Bruce said, nodding his head, “And I love him, and he’s having my babies.”

“Only just figured that out have you?” Dick snickered getting another clip about the ear from Alfred. Clark took Bruce by the shoulders and held him still, giving him a shake.

“Tony is in love with you, you are in love with him, and the two of you are going to be having twins in a few weeks. You have no reason to doubt his sincerity in wanting to get married, alright?” Mutely Bruce nodded and Clark patted his back, turned him around and shoved him to the bed to get some breakfast.

 

******

 

A few hours later Tony was stood before the mirror in the bedroom turning side to side, “Fuck, I’m fucking huge!” he complained, “Why did I chose white? It’s not flattering, I should have gone with dark green, something better than white!”

“You look fine.” Pepper said, bringing the white jacket over to him and slipping it onto his shoulders.

“I look ready to pop!” Tony argued,

“So? You are very pregnant.” Peter offered,

“Not helping kid.” Tony called back, he groaned when Pepper did the jacket up, the folds of the jacket falling over his bump, as did the shirt he wore beneath. While the trousers fit snug to his legs. The only bit of colour on him was the dark green tie about his neck that Pepper smoothed down.

“The guests are arriving, and the Priest is here.” Rhodey said, coming into the bedroom, dressed in his dress blues. His slim physique made Tony groan even louder. “Problem?” he asked Pepper,

“Nothing that matters.” She replied,

“It matters. I look like a great white outside of the ocean, that matters Pepper!” Tony cried, he went to run a hand through his hair but was stopped by Lex and a drink was shoved into his hand. “Hello, have you gone blind? I’m eight and a half months gone here!”

“One brandy won’t hurt my God Children and it’ll calm you the fuck down.” Lex said, “So drink it, take a deep breath and lets get this show on the road.”

“You are not the boss of me!”

“He isn’t but I am.” Pepper said, “So drink that, lets get this button hole sorted, and get you married, Mr Stark.” Tony opened his mouth to retort but one look at Pepper’s glare shut him up and had him gulping back the brandy instead. He grimaced a little as it burned his throat and he felt the warmth flowing through his limbs, relaxing him. Pepper fitting a lily to his button hole and straightened his jacket, giving him one last cursory look to be sure he was tidy.

“Alright, I think we’re ready.” She said, picking up her bouquet and nodded to Lex and Peter,

“Ready Tony?” Lex asked, doing up his jacket and checking that Peter was ready.

“Yeah. “Tony said a little breathlessly, his cheeks pleasantly flushed with the brandy, “I am.”

 

******

 

The guests were shown to the gardens and took their seats at the tables, frowning at the arch and speculating on where Tony and Bruce were.

Presently Dick came out of the manor and made his way to the arch, calling for everyone’s attention.

“Ladies, Gentlemen, Aliens, Cyborgs, Mutants, and Androids alike, welcome to Wayne Manor and thank you for coming on this very special day, in which not only will a baby shower be held, but also a wedding.” He grinned as collective gasps ran about the Justice League and Avengers. “That’s right, today Bruce Thomas Wayne and Anthony Edward Stark will be making honest men of each other and have gathered you here to celebrate their marriage, so please, if I can have everyone on their feet for the ceremony to begin.”

 

Shocked, bemused, and grinning both teams did as asked, getting to their feet and clapping as the Priest came out of the manor, followed by Bruce, Clark, and Alfred, going to stand beneath the arch.

“Fuck me!” Clint whispered,

“Tell me about it.” Sam chuckled, “Trust Stark to do something shocking.”

“Always keep ‘em guessing.” Bucky said, nudging Steve in the side, “Right?”

“Right.” Steve said, his eyes on the door to the manor as music began to play and Lex and Peter came out, followed by Pepper in a beautiful sea green evening dress and finally Tony, on Rhodey’s arm, being led to the alter.

As he went past, Tony’s eye caught Steve’s and he gave the Alpha a tremulous smile as if he were wishing for good luck. While he felt a pang in his heart Steve nodded to him, silently giving his blessing as Tony went by, going to stand in front of Bruce, before the priest to say their vows.

 

It was the first time that Thor had ever been to a human wedding, so he was of course very interested in the details and the vows, which Natasha quietly explained to him as the ceremony went on, the Thunder God cheering the loudest when Tony and Bruce were declared married and kissed.

 

Thanking the Priest and signing the registry, Tony and Bruce went to mingle with their guests, apologizing for not letting them in on it, and thanking them for their support. Explaining that they had wanted a quiet, private affair rather than having to deal with paparazzi trying to get pictures.

“It would have been nice to have been informed so we could have dressed more appropriately for a wedding.” Diana said archly,

“Oh nonsense, you look wonderful, and we wanted this to be relaxed not overly fancy.” Tony assured her,

“I think you look fine.” Arthur said, looking her over, a grin on his bearded face, he quickly glanced down to make sure he wasn’t sitting on her lasso again!

“You look very well yourself, Tony.” Diana said, looking him over approvingly, “Not long to go now.”

“Six weeks.” Tony said, resting a hand over his bump, “Believe me I can’t wait!”

“Getting uncomfortable now?” Carol asked,

“Unbelievably so.” Tony groaned,

“Well, soon it’ll be sleepless nights and shitty nappies.” Arthur said,

“What d’you mean will be sleepless nights? I’m already having them with these little sods rolling all over my bladder!” Tony declared, he looked up when a hand rested on his shoulder and saw Steve, “Alright?”

“Yeah, congratulations.” Steve said, very aware of the Justice Leagues eyes on him,

“Give us a sec.” Tony said to them, rolling his eyes when Arthur cracked his knuckles menacingly, Diana insisted on dancing though and dragged him away, Carol going to find Rhodey, giving Tony and Steve a few minutes alone.

Steve sat down in front of Tony shaking his head, “You’re married.” He said, shaking his head, “I can hardly believe it.”

“Me neither.” Tony laughed, running a hand over his belly, grinning as he felt a kick, “Wanna feel?” he offered Steve. The super soldier looked startled but gamely lay his hand over the bump, grinning when he felt the movement.

“Those two are going to be handfuls for you and Bruce. Especially if they take after the pair of you.”

“Tell me about it!” Tony said with a rueful grin. He sighed heavily, “Obviously me and Bruce are going to have to be off the scene for a while now, probably a long while. Bruce won’t want to go far once I’m in my laying in and I won’t be going anywhere for three months, so you and the others will have to pick up the slack so to speak.”

“I know, we’re ready.” Steve said, “I’m ready.”

“Are you?” Tony asked, serious now, “Because the world is going to need you to be. They will need Captain America to be strong and thinking clearly, not trying to atone for misplaced guilt or working through emotional angst. Rhodey will need you to be his back up, to support him is shit goes down. I need you to do that and to be the Captain America who fought back when Loki first showed up, not the one who was trying to make things up as he went along and drowning in survivors guilt.” He held up a hand when Steve went to protest, “I understand PTSD and Survivors Guilt, I’ve both myself. We’re all fucked up, we’re all traumatized one way or another, not one of us is perfect and never will be, and it doesn’t matter so long as we can focus and get the job done when it is needed. That is what I need you to do.”

Steve rolled his lips and thought before he answered, “I can.” He said, “I’m still working through things, but if a fight comes then I’ll be ready, I’ll back Rhodey up, but if I might make a suggestion for Rhodey’s second in command?”

“Go ahead.”

“Bucky.” Steve said, looking over to where Bucky was talking and laughing with Bruce and Clark, “He has experience, he is a Sergeant, he knows command, he would be a good fit.”

“Okay.” Tony said, “I’ll talk to Rhodey about it, and the three of you can work it out amongst yourselves.” He sat back in the chair, trying to get as comfortable as possible in his condition, “I’m glad you came Steve. I wasn’t sure you would.”

Steve shrugged, “It hurts.” He admitted, “Seeing you with Bruce, seeing what I can’t have, but it’s a bittersweet pain because I’m happy to see you happy.” Tony smiled, warmed by Steve’s honesty, “Although,” Steve added with a grin, “If you ever fancy a quick dalliance…” Tony squawked and swatted him, patting Steve’s shoulder and kissed his cheek as he went to join Bruce.

“Dance with me?” Natasha asked, or rather ordered, giving Steve little choice but to agree and take her out to dance. “How are you doing?” She asked as they swayed to the music.

“I’m alright.” Steve said. “Happy for Tony, sad for me, but alright, I’m not going to fall apart.”

“Good, because I don’t have time to watch rom/coms and eat ice cream with you!” Steve laughed and felt some tension in his shoulders loosen. Looking over Natasha’s shoulder, he saw Tony and Bruce dancing gently and he had to admit they looked good together, they fit, like two pieces of a puzzle complimenting each other perfectly, and would soon be completed by the arrival of their Pups.

 

“You and Rogers seemed pretty close.” Bruce said and he slowly moved with the beat, “Anything I should worry about there?” he was only half joking, there was still an element of distrust when it came to Steve that wouldn’t be going anywhere any time soon.

“Shop talk.” Tony said, “Just making sure he was doing alright and would be able to step up when you and I are busy with baby detail.”

“And how are they behaving?” Bruce asked, slipping a hand down to cup Tony’s belly, “Happy that Mommy and Daddy are married?”

“I think so.” Tony said, “They haven’t been jumping on my bladder for a while so I think that means their happy.” He grinned up at Bruce, “I know I am, in fact I think this is the best day of my life.”

“Not quite the best yet.” Bruce corrected, laying both palms on Tony’s belly, “That is yet to come.”

Chapter Text

Skull was not a fool. He was insane but not a fool. He knew that he had to wait until Tony was immobile to capture him.

Stark was not a person you wanted to make a prisoner of. The Ten Rings had learned that lesson the hard way as had the Mandarin and AIM. One way or another he’d find a way to get himself free and burn the shit hole he was being held in to the ground.

Rumour had it that when he’d been kidnapped as a twelve year old shortly before he’d started MIT at Thirteen, he’d killed one of his kidnappers with the sharp edge of a broken coke can. Slashed the mans throat open after cutting the rope binding his wrists.

Whether or not it was true Skull did not know, but he did know that Stark would be far too much trouble to keep prisoner unless he were incapacitated in some way.

So he waited until Stark was three weeks after from his due date, when his pelvis would have separated enough to prevent him from walking around.

He also knew that to abduct Stark he needed to distract both the Avengers and the Justice League. To get them away from their Compound and Gotham City so that Stark would be unprotected.

 

So he launched a two pronged assault from Hydra, targeting Central Asia, and Europe, forcing both teams to deploy to counter the attacks.

The Avengers headed for Asia to fight Hydra there, while the Justice League went to Europe, leaving Vision to monitor the Compound and Alfred to keep and eye on Tony at the manor.

 

*****

 

Aside from being more uncomfortable than he had ever imagined possible, Tony was doing very well. His pelvis was separating without difficulty though not without discomfort. He was suffering constant aches in his hips and lower back that was only going to get worse before it got better, but on the last check up he’d had with the Doctor there was no sign of the bones being too brittle to separate or risk of fractures.

As expected Bruce had been a complete Mother Hen to him since his laying in began. The Alpha hardly left his side let alone the house. Was constantly checking on Tony’s wellbeing, asking if he needed a drink, food, the toilet. Well, the last was almost a constant need, Tony swore that his bladder was about the size of a thimble by now and that he needed to relieve himself every ten minutes. He also did not resent the massages that Bruce gave to try and ease his leg cramps and back ache.

Having Bruce present also helped to stave off the boredom of being bedridden. Oh he could watch TV, read, use his tablet, but he couldn’t do anything physical and if he hadn’t Bruce for company he would have descended into madness very quickly.

 

“So we are decided then? Alfie or Thomas for boys, Julia and Caterina for girls?” Tony asked, as Bruce rubbed cocoa butter into his boulder sized bump,

“Fine by me.” Bruce said, wincing at what looked to be a very sore mark on Tony’s side, “The stretch marks don’t hurt?” he asked, “They look like they should hurt.”

“No, they’re painless, except to my ego.” Tony replied, glaring at the purple stripes with malevolent fury, “I blame you for them anyway.”

“Yes Dear.”

“And my swollen ankles.”

“Of course.”

“And my varicose veins, back ache, and constant need to piss!”

“Fine. Whatever makes you happy!” Tony narrowed his eyes,

“Are you just humouring me, Mr Wayne-Stark?” Bruce grinned,

“Of course not, Mr Stark-Wayne, whatever gave you that idea?” He pressed a kiss to Tony’s cheek and climbed to his feet, “You need something to eat, you need to keep your strength up.”

“Sure. While I lie here doing completely nothing.” Tony grumbled,

“You are doing something, you are growing people inside you.” Bruce replied as he walked out of the door.

 

Bruce had barely gotten to the bottom of the stairs before the alarm went off, alerting him of being called to action. “Now, really?” He asked, rolling his eyes and heading to the Bat Cave to see what was going on.

Superman was waiting on screen for him, “Sorry to trouble you Bruce but we need the Bat.”

“Now? I can’t leave Tony like this.” Bruce protested,

“No choice babe,” Came Lex’s voice from over Clark’s shoulder and Bruce saw Lex in the background getting ready to head out.

“Hydra have launched two assaults, one in Madrid, the other in Nur-Sultan. The Avengers are heading for Nur-Sultan, while we’re going to Spain. The attacks are very aggressive, we need everyone which includes you.”

“Damnit!” Bruce cursed, “Why now? We’ve not heard a peep from Hydra in months, why do they have to slither out of the woodwork now?”

“I’ll be sure and ask why they couldn’t pick a more convenient time for their attempts at world domination!” Lex called, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

“There really is no way you could manage without me?” Bruce asked, really not wanting to leave Tony.

“If there was I wouldn’t be asking.” Clark replied,

“No I don’t suppose you would.” Bruce sighed, “Alright, am I transporting anyone?”

“Dick, Diana, Flash, and Peter. They should be getting to you in a matter of minutes, we’ll discuss plans when we’re in the air.”

“Roger that.”

 

Bruce took the stairs two at a time to get back to Tony and tell him what was going on. He loathed leaving his mates side. Tony however took it well, insisting that Bruce not worry and that he’d be fine.

“You shouldn’t be alone though.” Bruce sighed, his forehead creasing in upset,

“And I won’t be, I’ve got Alfred here haven’t I?”

“Its not the same though is it?”

“No, but I can manage for a while.” Tony assured the Alpha, “Now go and kick the shit out of Hydra, make them regret interrupting our honeymoon and then get your backside back here with pizza and ice cream!” Bruce snorted at the last,

“The Doctor said that you need to go easy on the grease and sugar during your laying in.”

“Oh please, what is another ten pounds at this point?” Tony scoffed and squawked when Bruce patted the top of his belly, “I am not a dog!” he scowled at Bruce’s retreating form, “For that I demand you carry me into the bath when you get back, and massage me from head to foot!”

“Your wish is my command!”

 

*****

 

A good third of Madrid was under fire from Hydra and the rest of the City were in the process of evacuation, the military having moved in to try and defend the civilians and prevent Hydra from getting any further through the City.

A building exploding was what greeted the JL as they landed in the city.

“Christ!” Lex exclaimed ducking as glass, brick, and debris showered them, followed by a rain of bullets from the Hydra ground forces. Others were in the air using retro fitted Leviathan weapons.

“Alright lets do this.” Superman said lifting into the air, followed by Arthur, Victor, and Bruce in his jet to start dealing with the Leviathans. Flash charged down the street, moving faster than the bullets being fire, grabbed hold of the guns of a couple of the Hydra soldiers, not slowing his momentum, dragging the two of them backwards, their guns aimed at the air, firing at and hitting their fellows in the leviathans, he ripped the guns out of their hands and used them as battering rams into a couple more soldiers, which took out several more as they fell to the ground still firing their guns!

Diana charged the soldiers, her sword and arm guards deflecting bullets as she ran, flipping over them, landing and spinning around with her sword drawn, decapitating two soldiers and sinking the blade into the chest of another. Arrows from Dick hit the necks of several others, along with darts from Lex, as the two fought from the rooftops. Peter webbed himself down the street, swinging over the road and using his feet to slam into the heads and sides of the soldiers, using them as stepping stones and spring boards as he went and entangling them in webs to disarm them.

Over head, Clark, Bruce, and Victor were trading fire with the leviathans while Arthur was leaping onto the ships and slamming his trident into them and the soldiers riding them.

“Is there a prize for the most killed/maimed/disabled Hydra dickface?” Lex asked, over the coms,

“If there is, you’ll lose.” Captain Marvel declared as she joined the party, blasting at the leviathans and the ground forces.

“How are the Avengers doing?”

“Well enough, Rhodey has gone to assist them.” Carol replied, “And Strange is on call if needed.”

“Like we ever need that arrogant asshole!” Arthur grunted, kicking a Hydra agent off a leviathan and taking control of it himself.

“Play nice children.” Bruce scolded, the sound of amusement in his voice.

“Do we get treats if we do?” Dick inquired,

“I want a pizza!” Barry put in, “Extra cheese.”

“Anchovies on mine!” Peter added,

“Pineapple for me.” Lex called out,

“Focus people!” Clark cried, “We’ll discuss Pizza toppings later.”

“Spoil sport!” Superman rolled his eyes, wondering why his team was made up of overgrown children and resolutely not looking at the tight fit of Lex’s pants over his ass, because a boner in this costume was not what he needed.

 

*****

 

In Nur-Sultan things were much the same. Falcon and War Machine were tackling the Leviathans while Captain America, Winter Soldier, Black Widow, and Hawkeye were dealing with the ground forces.

“Is this nation Hydra day or something?” Clint demanded, firing arrow after arrow down at them, “Where did all these jackasses come from?”

“Don’t know, but I wish they’d fuck off back there!” Bucky snarled, firing a P90 with his human hand while using his metal hand to crush the throat of another soldier. The Shield ricocheted off the heads of the soldiers, slitting open the throat of another and delivering a vicious gnash into the shoulder of another on its way back to Steve, who was ploughing his way through the forces along with Natasha, who was using a gun and her widow bites as she went.

“Why come out of the woodwork now?” Natasha asked, rolling over Steve’s bent back and kicking her feet into the face of a soldier then wrapped her legs about the neck of another, snapping his neck while firing her gun until the clip emptied, swiftly she flipped over, used the body of another soldier as a shield while she reloaded and began shooting again.

“Maybe because they know Iron Man won’t be on the scene?” Rhodey suggested from the air, “With the loss of Tony and the Scarlet Psycho out of commission we are down two warriors.”

“Maybe.” Steve said, grunted as he slammed the shield into the face of Hydra soldier and used his fist to break the face of another.

“Damn I’m gonna wanna eat a truck load after this shit show!” Bucky declared, “Three double bacon burgers, chilli fries, onion rings, sour cream and chive dip, those mozzarella sticks, and some kind of pie to finish off with.”

“Apple?” Falcon asked,

“Don’t start!” Steve groaned, ignoring the whistle of the Star spangled banner from Clint down the coms.

“Nah, I’m in the mood for something sweeter, pecan maybe.” Bucky replied, “Yeah Pecan pie with ice cream on top!”

“Dude, you’re making me hungry!” Clint complained,

“Make mine a cheese burger!” Natasha ordered,

“Southern fried chicken burger for me.” Sam said,

“Make that two.” Rhodey agreed.

 

******

 

Gotham

 

Wayne Manor.

 

Alfred did not have a chance to take up a weapon as a shrill screeching device was fired through the window of the manor, making his ears and nose bleed while knocking him unconscious. A second later the power went out and the gates to the manor were shattered as a heavily armoured truck stormed them.

The truck stopped outside of the manor and Skull climbed out supporting himself on sticks as his soldiers went before him, breaking down the front door and make sure that the way was clear as they swept through the manor to find Tony.

Tony had heard the noise and tried to take cover. Walking was impossible but he rolled himself off the bed anyway, and crawled across the floor, going to the bathroom, shutting and locking the door.

With shaking hands he dialled the Compound and Vision to raise the alarm, flinching as he heard German coming from the bedroom and fists hammering on the door.

“Tony?” Vision asked,

“Viz, We’re under attack, I think its Hydra. I don’t know what’s happened to Alfred and they right outside the door!”

“Remain calm, I shall be with you as fast as I can.” Vision said.

“Yeah. Not sure you’ll be in time.” Tony said, looking up to see the hinges on the door giving way, looking around the bathroom for something he could use as a weapon he spotted Bruce’s spare razor blades. As fast as he could he threw himself across the tiled floor, grabbing the box of blades and took one out and pushed it into his hair, wincing as he cut into his scalp, tangling his hair about the blade to hold it in place to use as a weapon later. He had only just finished when the door gave in and the Hydra soldiers bust in aiming their guns at him and yelling for him to put his hands over his head in German.

Unable to do anything else Tony complied, struggling and complaining as he was dragged back out to the bedroom where he saw a face he had never expected to see, Red Skull.

“I see you recognize me, Herr Stark. I am flattered.”

“Don’t be, tomato face, you should really lay off the sunbed, you know?” Tony quipped, he looked around, “What’s with the house call? Are you such a fan of me that you had stoop to breaking and entering?” Skull chuckled and reached out, stroking Tony’s cheek with a leather gloved hand.

“You have such fire, such passion. I can see why he is in love with you.”

“My Husband? Yeah, I’d agree with that, and my amazing ass of course.” Tony replied, making Skull laugh again,

“Oh no, not your air head mate, Stark. I care nothing for him. I have one goal in mind, one that you will help me in obtaining.” He grinned at Tony, the sigh hideous and terrifying to behold, “Captain America will give himself to me to save you.”

Tony refused to show fear and glared at Skull, “Steve’s not that stupid.” He spat, “And if you’re stupid enough to abduct me then you will learn that it is a very bad idea, just like Riddler did a few months ago.”

“I doubt it, Herr Stark, after all, your teams would not wish to risk your life, or the lives of your offspring, would they?” His leather clad hand stroked Tony’s belly making the billionaire flinch, “Bring him.” Skull ordered his soldiers, “It is time to go.”

Tony was lifted by his under arms and dragged along the ground, his knees, shins, and feet being battered and bruised along the way. As he was carried out to the truck he prayed that Alfred was alright and that Vision would arrive and help him soon.

Chapter Text

Gotham

 

Vision arrived at the mansion just minutes after Hydra had left with Tony. He fazed through the walls going straight into Tony’s bedroom and finding the bathroom door kicked open, frowning, Vision looked around, relieved by the fact he saw no blood, but there was also no Tony.

Fazing through the floors, Vision made his way to wear Alfred was laying on the ground. His ears and nose were bloody, burst veins and blood vessels from the ultrasonic that had knocked him unconscious. Carefully Vision moved him, putting him on his side so he wouldn’t choke if he vomited, and measured his life signs, relieved to find that he was well enough.

Sighing Vision tapped his communicator contacting Bruce, who replied with a grunt.

“A little busy right now Viz.”

“I understand that Mr Wayne.” Vision said, “And I would not disturb you if were not an emergency, but I am afraid it really is an emergency.”

“What’s wrong?” Bruce asked, clearly distracted,

“It is Tony, he has been kidnapped.” Vision said as gently as he could at this point,

“What?” Bruce’s reply was frantic and sharp with terror,

“Tony called me, he said he was under attack and he believed it to be Hydra who had abducted him.” Vision looked around, “Alfred has been rendered unconscious. They used an ultrasonic device on him. I believe he will be well.”

“Christ on a Cross!” Bruce cursed, and Vision could practically see him running a hand over his cowl covered face in frustration.

“You have to go, Bruce.” Superman said over the coms, “Tony needs you.”

“I know he does,” Bruce snarled,

“It all makes sense.” Diana said, “All of it.”

“What does?” Dick asked,

“This attack, the second one in Nur-Sultan. The Hydra forces weren’t doing anything specific, they didn’t have a goal in mind, they weren’t trying to seize anything or gain a foothold, they were just causing mayhem.”

“A diversion.” Lex breathed following it up with several curses in various languages, “They had to get us all out of the way to get to Tony.”

“But why?” Peter asked, “What could they want him for? Especially now when he’s pregnant.”

“Oh, it makes sense to do it now.” Lex chuckled bitterly, “Tony Stark is the worst prisoner in the universe. One way or another he’ll make your life hell if you abduct him. He always finds a way to turn things to his advantage. So, if you want to kidnap him and you don’t want to have your ass handed to you, what do you do?”

“Wait until he’s defenceless.” Bruce murmured, “Right now he can’t even stand let alone walk, he’s completely helpless.”

“Which makes him the perfect prisoner.” Diana confirmed.

Even as they spoke the Hydra forces were starting to withdraw, were pulling back from their attack, retreating to their vehicles and aircraft to leave, their job already done.

“Let them go.” Superman instructed, as Arthur and Cyborg made to follow them, “We have bigger things to worry about.”

“We have to get back to America.” Diana said, “And start searching for Tony.”

 

 

*****

 

Skull’s base.

 

While he was unable to fight, Hydra were not taking any chances with Tony, Skull ordered for his wrists to be cuffed and for two guards to be watching him with weapons trained on him at all times.

Scowling darkly at them Tony shifting uncomfortably as he was jostled about in the Hydra truck that took them to the docks. There was a boat waiting there, onto which Tony was dragged, his knees, shins, and feet scrapping across the floor as he went.

“Would it kill you fuckwits to carry me better?” he demanded of the two guards, and was rewarded with a punch to the jaw, “Typical,” he spat, rubbing his gums with his tongue, “So insecure about your abilities that you have to resort to violence to prove you’ve got the upper hand.” A slap around the back of his head followed this and made the razor blade sink into his scalp which had him yelping, but thankfully the guards thought he was just yelping because of the slap.

“You’re going to have to do a lot better than that to scare me, you know?” Tony declared, “A few slaps and punches don’t even scratch the surface of my fear, bitches! I am Tony Fucking Stark-Wayne. The man who has survived everything and come out on the other-side leaving wreckage in my wake!” He cried out as he was shoved into a dark room, in which there was a metal cage that had a bare mattress on the floor, a metal pan and bucket besides it, and a thin sheet over the bed.

The guards tossed him down onto the mattress, uncuffing him swiftly and backing out of the cage which they then locked behind them. A dry laughter stopped their progress and had them turning to look back at Tony, who lifted his head and gave them a terrifying smile.

“You should run now.” He said, quite calmly which was unnerving given the situation, “I know you don’t believe I am capable of hurting you, not in my current condition, but I will hurt you, I will find a way to hurt you, because that is what I do. People abduct me, they want something from me, or just to hurt me and I always end up hurting them. Always.” Tony pointed at the guards, “You two think about that, think about what you know about me, about the things I have done, and just think about what it is I will do to you,” He smiled and settled back on the mattress, making himself comfortable with his hands behind his head, “And when you have thought about it, boys, run. Run as far away as you can get so that when the shit storm arrives you won’t be caught up in it.”

Despite knowing that Tony was imprisoned, believing that he was unarmed and completely at their mercy, the guards were troubled enough by his speech to actually leave the room, closing the outer door behind them and taking up their posts there rather than staying in the room with Tony.

Tony smirked as the door was closed. It was nice to know that even when he was nine months pregnant and could barely move he could still scare the shit out of people!

Carefully he pulled the razor from his hair, taking care to seem like he was rubbing his head in case he was on camera, which he expected that he was. Skull wouldn’t be stupid enough to not have a security camera in the room. Once he had the razor in his palm Tony clenched his hands into fists and lowered them, resting them over his belly where the twins moved restlessly.

“Don’t you two get any ideas about making an early appearance.” He warned them, “Just wait in there nice an patiently because Daddy is coming, he’ll be here soon, we’ve just got to wait.” Taking a deep breath he closed his eyes and concentrated on remaining calm and trying to think of a plan to help himself get free. While he was confident that Bruce would come and rain hell down on Hydra, he would rather not wait for very long either.

So he had a weapon, but it was only going to be useful at close range and he wasn’t able to put up a fight, if he used the blade he would have to kill with it, slit the throat open. He could slash out the eyes to incapacitate, but it would be better to put the person down for good.

But, even if he managed that he would have the problem of mobility. Right now he couldn’t walk and he wouldn’t get very far crawling, he needed to be carried, so… perhaps slit on throat and take the second guard prisoner? Make them carry him?

Well, maybe he could but it was doubtful, really he needed to be able to move under his own steam. Opening his eyes he looked about the room. His cell was barren except for the mattress, pan, and bucket. Outside of the cell there was a desk and a couple of chairs, one of which was an office chair, with wheels. Tony grinned. It wouldn’t be perfect but it would work as a wheelchair, and once he killed the guards he could take their guns and use them to defend himself.

 

*****

 

Elsewhere in the ship, Skull watched Tony on the monitor. He chuckled as the Omega managed to scare the shit out of the guards, sending them scurrying out into the corridor to get away from him.

“He is remarkable.” He said, glancing at his guards as they went about their duties, “Unable to fight, ready to burst with child, and yet still has the power to strike fear into the hearts of warriors.” Skull laughed until he broke off into a coughing fit, one of the guards brought him water which he took, wiping his mouth with a handkerchief.

“I will be glad when my health is restored, this frailty is most tiresome.”

“Orders Sir?”

“Orders?” Skull asked, glancing over his shoulder, “Take us out of Gotham harbour, take us back out to sea. Keep us cloaked from radar Ja? We do not want to be spotted.” He turned back to the monitor, watching Tony, who had shifted to lay on his side, “My meeting with Captain America will be on my own terms. I will be thwarted again, this time I will be triumphant and celebrate his death by my hand.”

 

*****

 

Gotham

 

Alfred was conscious again by the time both the Avengers and Justice League returned to America. Instead of going to the compound the convened at the manor, all battle weary and seething with rage.

Bruce went first to Alfred, checking him over, “I’m fine, my head and pride hurt but I’m fine.” Alfred assured him, he was drinking tea that Vision had gotten him and while still being a little shaky was well enough.

“Have there been any demands?” Steve asked Vision, who shook his head,

“There has been no contact at all.” Vision replied. He looked unusually troubled, normally his expression was blank and impassive which showed the gravity of the situation.

“What do we do?” Peter asked, perching on the edge of a couch, “Start searching the city? The state?”

“I doubt it would be so simple.” Lex murmured lighting a cigarette, at Alfred’s pointed cough he rolled his eyes and headed to the windows, opening one and hanging outside.

“It’s more likely that Tony will be taken to a more remote location.” Diana agreed, “Certainly out of state, if not out of the country.”

“Well we can’t search the entire world.” Clint exclaimed,

“The hell we can’t!” Arthur grunted, “We can and we will.”

“Which will take weeks even with out combined powers and resources.” Carol said, “We need to be more proactive, we need genuine leads to start a search.”

“Hydra bases?” Peter suggested, “We can start hitting them, odds are they’ll have Tony stashed in one of them.”

“And they have bases all across the globe.” Lex called from the window, “Doesn’t shorten the list much.”

“The more remote ones, less chance of detection?” Sam asked,

“No.” This came from Bruce, making everyone look at him,

“No?” Superman repeated,

“No.” Bruce said again, “We need more information, we need to speak to someone who knows Hydra,” Bucky looked up but Bruce shook his head, “I was thinking more of someone who has been conscious the whole time, and has likely be working for them in the recent past.” Steve raised his head, his eyes widening,

“Wanda.” He breathed,

“Precisely.”

Chapter Text

Sanctum

 

Bruce, Steve, and Diana marched through the Sanctum, following Stephen, who lead them to Wanda’s room, where she was sat on her bed, hunched over herself, rocking back and forth, muttering to herself. Her eyes darted about the room fearfully, she flinched from the shadows, whimpering as if she was terrified.

“I’m not sure what you hope to learn from her.” Stephen said, standing in the doorway. “As you can see, there isn’t much left of her mind. The mind stone not only gave her power it took possession of her whole mind, when the power was removed, it took her mind with it and has left a shell in its place.”

“Can she understand us?” Bruce asked, frowning at the girl. He’d intended to be brutal, to use all of the force of the Bat on the Witch. But seeing her now, he couldn’t bring himself to do such a thing. She was more like a child than a woman, a frightened little girl, scared of monsters lurking in the shadows and things hidden under the bed.

“She can.” Stephen said, “Wanda?” Frightened, animal like eyes snapped over to him and Wanda whimpered, hugging her legs tighter, cringing as if she was expecting a blow. “Wanda,” Stephen said, his voice soft and gentle, like the kind of voice you would use on a frightened child to comfort them. “Wanda, these people would like to talk to you, they would like to ask you some questions. Is that alright?”

Wanda bit her bottom lip and nodded her head rapidly,

Giving them a smile, Stephen beckoned for the others to come in and speak to Wanda.

“Hi Wanda,” Steve said, smiling at her, “Do you remember me?” A jerky nod followed, and Wanda’s eyes shifted to Bruce and Diana, clearly more afraid of them than she was of Steve right now.

“Okay, Wanda, I need to ask you something, and I need you to be honest with me.” Steve said, crouching in front of her, “I need to know who you were stealing my blood for, what they wanted it for.”

“Bad.” Wanda whimpered looking down, “I was bad, I was so bad.” She whispered, shaking her head, “Sorry, sorry, sorry, bad, bad girl, sorry!” with shaking hands she reached up to scratch at her head, her nails digging into her scalp deep enough to draw blood,

“Stop that, don’t hurt yourself,” Steve said, taking her hands, but Wanda wasn’t comforted by this, she leaped away from him, flinging herself into a corner and cringing away from him,

“Wanda its alright, no one is going to hurt you,” Stephen said, trying to reassure her, “We just need to know who you took the blood for.” Wanda shook her head and buried it in her knees, sobbing loudly. Stephen sighed and straightened up, “She can go on like this for hours.”

“Maybe I can help.” Diana said, taking her lasso from her belt, “This will ensure she speaks the truth, it will compel her to speak.”

“Try.” Stephen said helplessly, “There’s no other way to get the information from her. Her mind is too fragmented for telepathy to work now, she struggles to tell reality from fantasy and has the mental age of a five year old.”

“Christ.” Bruce murmured, “What a bloody waste of a life.” He had hated Wanda, he had hated what she had done to Tony, to the others she had violated, but seeing her like this was devastating. It was tragic to see the remains of what could have been a bright and intelligent woman had Hydra never got their claws in her. Had the civil war in her country never happened, had her family not been caught in the crossfire then she might never have fallen prey to Hydra and never been mutated by the Mind Stone which had ravaged her mind and left her this pitiful remnant of womanhood.

Carefully Diana lay the lasso over Wanda’s shoulders and stepped back as it began to glow golden.

“Wanda, can you tell us now, who you were working for?” Steve asked, as Wanda lifted her tear streaked face to look at him,

“I was working for him, your enemy.” She replied, her voice a dull monotone like that of a computer speaking rather than a human being.

“What enemy Wanda, be specific.”

“Your oldest enemy, your first enemy.” Steve frowned and looked behind himself at Bruce who just shrugged,

“Who is Steve’s oldest enemy?” Diana asked,

“Johann Schmidt” Wanda replied, “The Red Skull.”

Steve inhaled sharply, his eyes widening in shock, “Skull is dead, long dead.”

“He survived,” Wanda monotoned, “Survived and he wants your blood.”

“Skull, he must have been the one to take Tony.” Bruce said, “He’s the founder of Hydra, he’s behind all of this.”

“Where did he take him?” Steve asked Wanda, “Where is his base?”

“Unknown.” Wanda replied,

“What does he want the blood for?” Bruce asked,

“Unknown.”

“I don’t think she knows anything else.” Diana said, retrieving the lasso. The second it was off her shoulders, Wanda went right back to sobbing.

“Red Skull, wanting my blood, but why?” Steve asked, “It doesn’t make any sense. Hydra already have a working serum, why would they need it from my blood?”

“I don’t know, but at least we can be sure of something.” Diana said, as the three men looked at her, “If Skull is the one who took Tony, and that is likely, then he probably still wants your blood, Steven, so, he will make contact with us at some point.”

 

*****

 

Skull’s Ship

 

“Bored, bored, bored, bored. I am fucking bored!” Tony yelled, banging the bucket on the floor, “Come on Assholes, I’m bored, come and entertain me!”, he tossed the bucket across the cell, banging it against the bars of the cell.

“Jesus, at least those morons in the desert kept things entertaining, give me an interrogation, a few threats, something to make this endless boredom, a bit more bearable!” he yelled. Sighing heavily he ran his hands over his abdomen, smiling when one of the Pups pushed up against his palm,

“I know, it’s dull here, precious, don’t worry, it won’t be for long, Daddy will come for us soon, and then we’ll go home and have strawberry jam on scones.” Tony frowned, his stomach rumbling, he was always hungry now, this far along in the pregnancy, and it had been far too long since he’d last eaten anything.

“Hey, bellends!” He shouted, “I want something to eat. I want warm cherry scones oozing with butter and strawberry jam, you hear me? and they better be fresh scones, I don’t want any stale crap, fresh and dusted with icing sugar!” He grinned, folding his hands beneath his head, “And while you jackasses are at it, get me a chai latte, a copy of Hello, and a massage, my back is killing me!”

“It will not just be your back killing you, if you keep up with these demands, Herr Stark.” Skull said, coming into the room, leaning heavily on his cane, Tony regarded him dismissively,

“Unless you’re here to give me a Swedish body massage, then I’m not interested in anything you have to say or do.” He said, “And tell your errand boys to hurry up, will you? I’m hungry!”

Skull chuckled, a rasping sound that had his lungs rattled like something inside a tin can, “Your humour is amusing, and it is quite impressive to see you remaining strong despite your predicament”

“Yeah, well, what can you do?” Tony asked, shrugging, “After the first half a dozen times, Kidnapping becomes old hat.” Sighing he looked around, “Nice dump you’ve got here, all you’d need to do is scrape all the rust off, completely over haul the entire vessel and maybe it’d be half decent.”

“Your wit is most humorous, Stark, I wonder if you will manage to maintain it if I were to start peeling the skin from your back.”

To his credit Tony did not so much as flinch at the threat, instead he smirked at Skull, “Right now, I doubt you could peel an onion without doubling over.” He looked over the mad man, taking in the sunken features, the gaunt and withered frame of his body, the tremors in his limbs and the difficulty Skull had breathing.

“You’re sick, aren’t you?” He said, “Not just mentally, but physically sick.” He frowned, something about that not seeming right, “No, you’re not just sick, you’re old. Ancient. Its been seventy-five years since you were tossed across the galaxy, and unlike Rogers, you were awake and active during that time, and you were what, late thirties when that happened? So now you’re well over a hundred years old and… you’re dying.” Tony’s eyes widened in shock, “You are actually dying of old age!”

“You will be silent Stark,” Skull snarled at him, turning and hobbling to the door, “You will be fed once a day, if you complain then I will have my men beat you until you are silent.”

“The rattle in your lungs, its pneumonia isn’t it?” Tony called after Skull, a grin on his face, “You’re getting weaker by the minute, your lungs struggling to take in air, your heart stuttering and struggling to pump blood, you can feel death creeping over you, getting closer and closer every minute.”

Skull shouted in German at the guards who closed and locked the door, leaving Tony alone in his cell again, chuckling to himself.

So Skull was dying. No wonder he wanted Steve’s blood. He probably thought he could save himself using the pure serum. Tony didn’t know enough about the serum or biology to know if it was possible, but he supposed if anyone could do it, it would be Skull. But, judging by the looks of him, he didn’t have a lot of time left, not by the sound of his breathing, in likelihood he would be bed bound and oxygen dependant in a matter of days, and dead a very short time after that.

“That’s good news for us then, isn’t it?” Tony said to the Pups, “He’s desperate, in a hurry, which means he’ll make contact with Daddy soon, and a short time after that we’ll be home again.”

Laying back down on the bed, Tony tapped his fingers against his sides, feeling the restless stirring inside him and the increasing pressure on his pelvis, and hoped that soon would be swift enough.

 

*****

 

Wayne Manor.

 

It was not long after Steve, Bruce, and Diana had returned from the Sanctum that contact was made, from Red Skull, calling Bruce Wayne directly for a video conference.

His leathery red face loomed out from the screen, and he laughed at the sight of the teams behind Bruce. His focus going directly to Steve.

“Ah, Captain America, it has been too long since we last met, I fear.”

“Not long enough, Skull.” Steve growled, clenching his fists, “I thought you dead, the whole world thought you dead,”

“Indeed, you were all mistaken, as I was transported across the galaxy, where I waited, along on the planet Vormir, for three quarters of a century, until the Mad Titan came to claim his prize.”

“Thanos.” Lex murmured,

“I finally found freedom, stealing aboard his ship and eventually making my way back to earth, to my home. Where I found that not only had my rival survived, but his dear friend, Barnes too, had lived through the years.” Bucky growled and clenched his metal fist tightly making Skull laugh, “The Winter Soldier. I must commend Armin. So beautifully devious and ironic, to turn Captain America’s best friend into Hydra’s perfect killing machine.”

“Enough!” Diana snapped, as Bucky paled at the mention of being Hydra’s killing machine. “Cease the posturing and just tell us what you want.”

“Tell you? Should it not be Master Wayne asking me that, or should I say, Bat Man?” If Skull had thought he’d get a rise from them at revealing he knew who Bruce was, then he was gravely disappointed, “Very well. Rogers. I want you.” Skull said, addressing Steve, “You will give yourself to me and I will give Stark back to you, unharmed.”

Clint scoffed, “Yeah, and there’s a bridge in Brooklyn you want to sell us too!”

“You should leave the sarcasm to Stark, he is far more witty.”

“Cut the shit, Skull.” Bruce snarled, “You don’t get a damn thing without proof of life, let us see Tony, now.” Skull gazed at him and chuckled,

“Proof of life, Mr Wayne? Very well, I shall give you proof of life, though I fear you will wish I did not.” With that he cut the connection.

“Did you get him?” Sam asked Cyborg and Vision who had been working on tracing the signal,

“No.” Cyborg said with a sigh. Dick squeezed Bruce’s shoulder,

“We’ll get him back, Bruce, we will, I promise.”

 

****

 

An hour later a drone flew over Wayne Manor, dropping off a package addressed to Bruce, which he carefully opened after Cyborg scanned it for explosives and poisons. Inside he found a note saying Proof of Life. Beneath the note was a blood-soaked rag which he unwrapped and let out a choked cry of horror.

Laying in the bloody rag was Tony’s severed ring finger.

Chapter Text

Skull’s ship

 

Tony had known something was up the second that Skull hobbled back into his cell with a couple of his guards/minions in tow.

He shoved himself up the mattress his body tensing and eyes wide as the cell door was opened, “What’s going on?” He asked, looking to Skull as he pressed himself back into the wall.

“His hand.” Skull said to the guards, ignoring Tony, “It doesn’t matter which.”

Tony’s brows twitched in confusion for a second then, as one of the guards revealed a pair of pliers he knew exactly what was going to happen.

“No!” He lashed, kicking at the guards, managing to get one of them in the shoulder before they pinned his legs down to the mattress.

“Hold him still!” The leader demanded, trying to grab Tony’s wrists, only to grunt as the Omega’s fist connected with his jaw, he staggered back and two more guards moved in to take his place, trying to take hold of Tony and pin him down but the Omega was not going down without a fight.

Ignoring the pain it caused him in his hips, Tony made himself sit up and clawed at the face of one of the men, his nails digging into the eyeball and ripping it out.

The man screamed, and fell back, clutching at his face as blood streamed down his cheek.

“Get hold of him.” Skull bellowed before breaking off into a coughing fit,

“My eye, my eye!” The guard whimpered, “He took my eye!” If he thought he would receive compassion from Skull he was sorely mistaken as Skull took a gun from a holster and fired, shooting the man in the gut, and then in the head.

“Weak fool.” He grunted holstering the gun indifferently.

Meanwhile the other guard and the one with the pliers was struggling to get Tony pinned down long enough to grab one of his hands, and avoid getting their own eyes clawed out as he continued to struggle against them. Screaming, cursing, biting, and scratching at them for all he was worth, but it was in vain, as the larger of the two eventually managed to get him pinned and the one with the pliers took hold of his left hand, bracing the blades about the base of his ring finger,

“Please don’t..” Tony whispered, watching with wide, terrified eyes as the blade closed and horrific pain hit. He screamed and sobbed as blood spurted from his wounded hand, the severed finger dropped away, to be picked up by the guard with the pliers and carried out of the cell. The other two let go of Tony who cradled his hand to his chest moaning for the pain.

“You can thank your husband for that.” Skull said to him, smirking in amusement. “He wanted proof of life.” He turned to go, getting as far as the door before he paused and looked back at Tony who had called out to him.

“You think you’ll get away with this, you think that Bruce will let this go, have you any idea of the Man you are dealing with?”

Tony was ghostly pale his entire body was trembling, and blood still leaked from his wounded hand and splattered his clothing and his face. He should have looked pitiful, yet somehow, he looked terrifying in his anger, so much so that even Skull was given pause to see him and listen to what he was saying.

“Do you know what is coming for you, the kind hell you’ve just brought down on yourself?” He asked, his voice deceptively calm and small. “Kidnapping me was enough to earn his anger, but many have done that in the past and Bruce would have been content to simply see you rot in a prison cell. But now?” Tony paused and laughed, “Now you have gone and hurt me and will make a show of it to Bruce, no doubt to play on his fear and guilt. But you see Bruce doesn’t have any fear and hurting me to play on his guilt will just ensure that his wrath will rival that of God himself.” Pulling himself up onto his knees, Tony pointed at Skull with his wounded hand, that was still bleeding down his wrists and onto the mattress, “He’s coming for you and when he gets hold of you The Bat of Gotham is least of your worries. It’s the Alpha you want to be afraid of, the Alpha whose pregnant mate you have dared to harm.”

Skull swallowed thickly and left the cell without a word to Tony, barking orders to his minions outside, a couple of whom came in to dispose of the body and to stitch up Tony’s hand so he didn’t bleed to death.

Rubbing at his sore hand, Tony slumped back against the cell wall trying to conserve his strength. He knew that he would have to make his move soon and that he would only get one shot at it. He had to be ready and it had to work. Glancing at the blood drying into the mattress and the bare stitching in his hand Tony smiled just a little. Perhaps Skull had unwittingly helped him out.

 

******

 

Wayne Manor.

 

Bruce’s balled fist hit the kitchen counter with a loud thump that made everyone jump as it broke through the silence in the room.

Growling and snarling beneath his breath, Bruce picked up the severed ring finger. He knew it was Tony’s even without the rings upon it. The familiar scent was enough to let him know. The was his Omega’s scent, his pregnant Omega Mate’s scent.

Bruce could feel the anger surging through his body with every beat of his heart. Feel the rage building inside him wanting to explode and burn down the world and everything that stood between him and Tony.

A red haze was settling over his vision, as if blood were pooling in his eyes. The indescribable Alpha fury that he had never felt before in his life. Someone touched his arm and he turned with a savage, almost animalistic snarl, bearing his teeth and clenching his fists, ready to strike down whomever was trying to stop him from getting to his mate.

“Bruce, you need to calm down.” Diana said to him and Bruce almost laughed. Calm down? How could he calm down when Tony was God knows where and injured, “I know you’re angry, I know you want to give into the rage, and I understand. But if you do that now then you will be of no help to us in getting Tony back. You need to calm down and think rationally. For his sake Bruce.” She looked at him directly, speaking very clearly and calmly, making sure that he took in every word until he relaxed under her hand.

“Alright.” He said, letting out a breath, “What now?”

“I turn myself over to him.” This came from Steve, whom everyone turned to stare at in shock at his words.

The Super Soldier was slumped against the kitchen counter his shoulders sagging and his expression morose. “It’s the only way.” He said, looking up at Bruce, “Me for Tony.”

“No, that’s insane.” Clint cried,

“Steve you can’t.” Bucky agreed,

“I have to.” Steve said, standing up straight. “I’m what Skull wants, he’ll let Tony go if I give myself to him.”

“The hell he will.” Lex scoffed, drawing Steve’s attention to himself. “This is Red Skull you’re talking about. You actually think he’ll keep his word and let Tony go because you’re doing what he wants? Come on. Why would he?”

“He wouldn’t.” Natasha said with finality. “He’ll take you and he’ll kill Tony anyway. Probably in front of you so he can get off on making you suffer the sight of it.”

“They’re right.” Bruce said, and Steve sagged. “I know you want to help, and I appreciate it, but sacrificing yourself isn’t going to work, not against someone like that.”

“Not if we play fair it won’t.” Cyborg murmured,

“What?” Barry asked him and Victor shrugged,

“Skull won’t play fair, so why should we? I say we play him at his own game. Double cross. Or in this case a trojan horse.”

Frowns followed this statement as everyone looked at each other until Lex’s eyes widened with understanding.

“Bait him.” He said.

“Exactly.” Victor agreed. “Steve goes to Skull. Gives himself to him without a fight. Maybe concocts a sad little tale of how he ran away from us, determined to sacrifice himself for Tony’s sake, etcetera. Skull will take him because he clearly needs him for something and will lead us right to where his hideout is, by a sub-dermal tracker in Steve Rogers, AKA the trojan horse.”

“Brilliant.” Dick whispered, a grin spreading over his face.

Bruce however was frowning, “Skull might be a mad man but he’s not an idiot. He’ll surely search Steve for implants.”

“So we make one that can’t be detected.” Lex said, “Vic, do you think you can manage it?”

“Sure.” Victor replied, “I can have something in a few hours, maybe less if I get some help, Vision?” He looked to the Android who nodded once in agreement.

“Go then.” Diana said, “Everyone else, we need to make ready to move in as soon as we have a location and have a plan of attack.” Steve’s lips quirked slightly,

“Tony’s usual, “I have a plan, attack” isn’t going to cut it this time?” A couple of chuckles followed that statement and Diana shook her head, smiling as she did.

“We can’t risk him becoming injured, we need to be surgical in our strikes so that the ones getting hurt are Hydra.”

“As soon as we get a location I will fly over the base and check it out.” Clark said, “I can spot where Tony is and where the defences are.”

“You will also be the best person to carry him out of there.” Lex said, he held up a hand as Bruce made to protest, “He can fly, you can’t. Do the math.”

Sighing heavily Bruce acceded to the logic of the argument, and Peter patted his shoulder, “Look on the bright side. While Supes is damsel in distress-ing Tony out of there, you can be beating the shit out of Skull.” The teen offered as consolation. Bruce smiled weakly. He would certainly enjoy beating the crap out of Red Skull and any of his Hydra minions, but he wouldn’t be happy until Tony was back by his side, something he could only hope would happen very soon.

 

*****

 

Three hours later Victor and Vision had managed to make a stealth sub-dermal implant tracker which was inserted into the crook just below Steve’s elbow. Victor ran a scanner over the implant and didn’t register which made him smile as he looked over his shoulder to Lex, who was on the computer,

“Have you can signal?” He asked,

“Perfect steady beat.” Lex called back, “Wherever he goes we’ll be able to see and follow.”

There came a whooshing noise and Barry appeared in the room, “Skull’s calling again, are we ready to go?” He asked, Steve stood up and pulled his uniform on,

“We’re ready.”

Chapter Text

New York Docks was the arranged meeting place. Well not so much arranged as demanded by Skull.

The team put up a fuss, stating that they would not give in to his demands, while Steve made sure that Skull’s eyes were on him as he nodded his acceptance of the deal.

Alone, as they could not risk any of the team being spotted. Steve waited at the end of the jetty as a small speed boat approached containing a dozen Hydra agents, but no Skull or Tony.

“Drop any weapons, Kapitan.” A heavily German accented Hydra Agent said, as the boat reached the end of the jetty. “Put you hands over your head and turn around,”

“I’m not armed.” Steve said, complying and putting his hands over his head and turning his back, though his instincts rebelled against putting himself at such a disadvantage before his enemies.

“Down on your knees, Kapitan.” The guard ordered and Steve heard people getting off the boat as he lowered himself to his knees. Moments later his wrists were being seized and his arms lowered so cuffs could be placed upon his wrists restraining him.

“Get him into the boat.” The guard ordered. Steve was roughly pulled to his feet and dragged out onto the boat, and pushed to his knees on the floor, with the barrels of machine guns pressing into his shoulders with the end of them aimed at his head.

“Don’t go getting any ideas Kapitan.” The Guard sneered, “My men will shoot you in the knee caps if you try to run. The Fuhrer may want you alive, but he does not need you able bodied.”

Steve gave him a tight smile that didn’t reach his eyes and settled as best he could for the duration of the journey to the ship Skull was hiding on.

 

*****

 

The rear of the ship opened to allow the small speed boat inside before the metal doors closed once again, swallowing them in darkness save for the dim artificial lights which illuminated the interior of the ship.

Steve looked around, memorizing the route he was taken as he was lead from the boat through the ship, going to where Skull was residing at the command centre of the ship.

“Ah Kapitan America, it has been too long since we were last together,” Skull said by way of greeting, “You look just as I remember you.” Steve looked him over, taking in the haggard appearance of Skull’s frame, the way he was leaning heavily on a cane and was clearly taking breaths with difficulty.

“You look older.” Steve said, frowning at Skull, “And frail.” Skull chuckled and coughed raggedly,

“Indeed. Unlike yourself and your beloved Bucky Barnes, I did not spend three quarters of a century frozen, I endured the passage of time, alone, on a barren planet, waiting for my liberation to come.”

“And you got old doing it.” Steve said, “Old and ill.” He smirked at Skull, “I’ve heard breathing like that before, in my youth. I heard many breathe as you do now, during their final days. You are dying aren’t you? That’s why you want my blood, you think it will cure you.”

“I do not think it,” Skull said, straightening up as best he could with his body as frail as it was. “I know that your blood will save me. It carried the pure serum, which I will extract and use to revive my body before time claims it.” He snapped his fingers at the guards, “Take him to the cells, put him in with Stark. They can keep each other company.”

“You said you would let Tony go!” Steve cried, putting up a fight against the guards so Skull would not become suspicious, “You can’t do this Skull, we had a deal!”

“Ja, a deal that I am now revoking.” Skull replied, “Enjoy your time with Stark, Kapitan. For when I am done draining your body of every drop of blood, I will throw your corpse overboard, and toss Stark with it.”

Steve gave a roar of anger at Skull’s nonchalant attitude at the senseless murder of Tony and his unborn pups. He snarled and struggled all the way to the cells, into which he was thrown, stumbling to his knees as the door was slammed behind him.

Tony sat up on the mattress his eyes wide with shock at the sight of Steve, “Dear God, tell me you are not stupid enough to have given in to Skull’s demands.”

“I couldn’t just leave you to his mercies.” Steve said, getting off the floor and moving to the mattress, his eyes landed on Tony’s wounded hand and he reached for it, his brows knitting together in concern for Tony, “He’ll pay for this. I promise. Bruce was ready to rip him apart for daring to hurt you so.”

“I’ll be alright.” Tony said, pulling his hand away, “What about you?” He asked, “The others?” He glanced over Steve’s shoulder to the walls and wiggled his eyebrows wanting Steve to know that they were most likely being filmed. Steve got the message easily and lowered his voice to a whisper, resting his hands about his mouth so the movement of his lips could not be seen by anyone.

“It’s a set up. I have a tracker embedded in my arm. The others are coming, we just have to be patient.”

“Maybe not too patient.” Tony said. He surreptitiously moved his right hand, opening it between himself and Steve to reveal the razor blade within. Steve grinned,

“I shouldn’t doubt you and your ability to take care of yourself, and Skull should know better than to take such an Omega hostage.”

Tony grinned back, “It’ll be easier to make a move now that you’re here. I was planning on using that office chair to make a get away, but with your super-strength you should be able to carry me.” Steve’s lips twitched,

“I don’t know, you’re pretty huge now, I think I might struggle…” He broke off with a laugh as Tony swatted him, “Seriously though, are you alright, have they hurt you more than just your hand?”

Tony shook his head, “Just a few bruises, nothing that won’t heal quickly enough.” He rubbed at his abdomen, wincing at the aches the over stressed muscles gave. “Do you know when they are planning on making their attack?” He asked,

“A few hours.” Steve replied, “Superman is doing a recon so he can spot where we are and where best for them to strike.”

“It’ll make a rescue easier if we’re on deck.” Tony said, “If I can get us out of the cell, can you get us up in deck and hold position long enough for the others to get here?”

“Absolutely.”

“Alright then, this is the plan…”

 

*****

 

Two hours later a couple of guards entered the cell carrying a tray of food intended for Tony and Steve.

“What’s this, a last meal for the condemned men?” Steve asked with a sneer, eyeing the thick juicy steaks, red wine, creamed spinach, and baked potatoes.

“The Fuhrer wants your blood to be strong, you need feeding before he will take it.” One of them said, while the other took out the keys to the door, “Turn your back, hands over your head, Captain.”

Steve complied, while Tony lay motionless on the mattress, “You too Stark.” The guard ordered, “Move.” Tony didn’t shift, “I said move Stark!”

“Tony, are you alright?” Steve asked, lowering his hands and reaching out to shake the Omega’s shoulder, “Tony?” He rolled the Omega over from his side, onto his back, revealing a puddle of blood that was oozing from his mutilated left hand.

“Oh my God get some help!” Steve cried in alarm at the guards, hurriedly clamping a large hand over Tony’s wrist to stop the bleeding, “Go!” He bellowed as the guards froze, “He’s no use to Skull if he bleeds to death, and Skull might want to use him for something, imagine what he’ll do to you if you wreck his plans.”

The fear of Skull’s anger at such an failing on their part spurred the guards into action, one bolting for the door to go and get help, while the other unlocked the cell, taking out his gun and aiming it at Steve, “Back away from him,” He ordered, “Go to the opposite side of the cell, get down on your knees with your hands over your head.” Glaring at the guard Steve complied and waited with baited breath as the guard got down to Tony, leaning over him to check his pulse, which was the exact moment that Tony’s eyes shot open and he struck.

Fast as a snake Tony’s right arm shot out and he slashed the razor blade across the man’s throat, spraying himself in blood at the flesh tore open. Gargling and choking on his own blood, the guard fell back, the gun slipping from his grip to be picked up by Steve, along with the second firearm that was in the guards belt.

Tony meanwhile, quickly used torn strips of his shirt to bind the stump of his finger where he’d torn the stitches. It had looked like a lot of blood on the mattress, but actually it hand only been a little blood and a lot of urine, to make it look like more and to re-dampen the blood stains already on the mattress.

Pissing a bed was disgusting, but needs must and Tony had been bursting to relieve himself so it had killed two birds with one stone.

“Time to go.” Steve said to Tony, handing him the guns and carefully scooped the Omega up bridal style, with Tony covering their rear with a gun over Steve’s shoulder, and their front with the second gun in his left hand. “I take it you can shoot.” Tony gave him a look,

“I grew up around guns, of course I can shoot.” He flinched as an alarm rang out and Steve got moving. The two guards that had been posted outside the door were the first to get shot, Tony hitting them in the centre of their foreheads and killing them outright before they could get off a shot of their own.

“Get their guns,” He said to Steve, “They’ll come in handy.”

“I’ll lean down, you grab them,” Steve countered, tilting downwards enough for Tony to pry the machine guns from the dead men’s hands and sling them over his shoulder, “Can you get the spare clips?” Steve asked,

“Not unless you put me down.” The sound of shouting and running footsteps reached their ears and Steve decided against it immediately, lifting Tony back up and heading out of the door and down the corridor.

Squirming a little, Tony placed the hand gun into the low slung pants he was wearing and jostled one of the machine guns down from his shoulder, taking hold of it with his finger on the trigger ready to fire the second any guards came upon them. They didn’t have to wait long as a dozen appeared before them and Tony opened fire, yelling as he cut them down, several fired back, the bullets hitting the metal bulk head around him and Steve as Captain America ran down the corridor as the guards fell to the ground, he stumbled and grunted as one stray bullet grazed his thigh as they went.

“Are you okay?” Tony asked,

“Just a scrape.” Steve replied, not stopping, his head jerked slightly as more guards came from behind them as Tony began to shoot the hand gun, emptying the clip as he took them out and yelped as a bullet hit his upper right arm.

“Tony?” Steve cried in alarm,

“Flesh wound.” Tony replied, gritting his teeth against the pain, which he knew was not intense enough to have hit bone, “Just keep going!”

Cursing under his breath Steve did so, reaching a narrow stairwell that was going to be difficult to manoeuvre with Tony in his arms. Carefully he set the Omega down on the bottom step and vaulted over him, “Let me go ahead and clear the way.” He said, taking one of the machine guns from the Omega, “Wait here.”

“Yeah, like I can go anywhere.” Tony snarked rubbing his belly, he scowled at Steve’s irritatingly lean form as he ran up the stairs, and settled himself back, the remaining hand gun and machine gun at the ready. It didn’t take long before he had to use both as more guards poured down the corridors, he showed no mercy, shooting to kill and managing to avoid being shot again, though he emptied the hand gun doing so.

A few minutes past with more gun shots ringing out before Steve returned, the side of his face pouring with blood and his left ear split open from where a bullet had grazed his face and head. “Christ!” Tony cried upon seeing the wound,

“I’ll live,” Steve replied, he looked at the bodies in the corridor, and made the executive decision to get them fresh guns and more clips before he picked Tony up again and hurried up the stairs.

 

*****

 

“Stop them!” Skull roared from the command centre, “Do not let them get away. Kill Stark, but I need Kapitan America alive.” He broke off into a long harsh coughing fit that brought blood up the back of his throat and splattered his lips. His body shook with the force of the coughing and he wobbled with vertigo as his head spun.

“Get me the Kapitan now!” He snarled to his second in command, “I do not have the time to waste.”

“Ja Mein Fuhrer.”

As Skull’s second scuttled off, barking orders and collecting guards as he went, Skull eyed the monitors where he saw Steve carrying Tony out onto the deck of the ship. More than three dozen Hydra agents lay dead or dying in their wake, the two of them having taken out the guards who had tried to stop them and they were not slowing down for a moment.

“Amazing.” He breathed, bracing himself against the control table, “Stark is pregnant and immobile, the Kapitan unarmed, yet they fight and succeed. What is there secret?”

 

*****

 

Upon deck Steve looked about for a location they could use to hold down until rescue came for them, by now he was sporting a third gunshot wound, this one to his right shoulder and Tony had one through the flesh of his left calf. They had spent three entire machine gun clips reaching this point and four hands guns, leaving them with three more machine gun clips and two for the hand gun.

Steve headed for the helm, thanking God that the Skull had made his personal command centre elsewhere on the ship or the bridge would have been too heavily fortified for he and Tony take control of. As it was, there were only a token few Hydra sailors there that were easily taken out and he was able to get them into the Bridge and Tony set down on the floor while he locked the doors and shoved chairs against them.

While he was doing this, Tony reloaded the guns, handing the machine gun to Steve and keeping the hand gun for himself.

“How long do you think we can hold out?” Tony asked, as Steve patrolled the bridge, watching for Hydra agents who were bound to come raining down on them in seconds.

“Not long.” Steve said, “So lets hope the others aren’t too far away.” He frowned as Tony moved to pull himself up into one of the chairs and began to look over the controls, “What are you doing?” He asked, “You need to take cover.”

“I’m fine, and I think it’ll be in our interests for the ships weapons systems to be out of commission.” Tony replied, as he began to work the controls at almost blinding speed, “I can disable them from here, no torpedo’s, No rockets, nothing but manual weapons.”

The corner of Steve’s mouth lifted into a smile that fell away as Hydra forces approached, “Keep your head down,” He advised Tony, taking position with the machine gun, the glass might be reinforced but it wouldn’t stop the bullets indefinitely and he needed to be ready for when they broke through.

A noise like that of hurricane hail set upon the Bridge as the bullets were fired at the glass, Steve tensed, sweat running down his forehead as he waited for the glass to give way before he opened fire. Behind him, working the controls, Tony was muttering to himself as he did something technical and the ship seemed to shudder as if it had hit something and then all the lights went out.

“I cut power.” Tony said, grinning at Steve, “They’ll be relying on naked eye visual now, no radar, no alarms, nothing. The ship is dead in the water.”

“Perfect.” Steve laughed, looking over his shoulder at Tony, taking his eyes away from the windows just as they gave way to the bullets.

Chapter Text

The glass from the windows smashed down across the back of Steve’s back and head, throwing him to the ground with the force of the blow. The machine gun rolled across the room as the glass showered down about Steve, who groaned and struggled to remain conscious as his head spun and his stomach churned.

“You Mother Fuckers!” Tony yelled, using his handgun to shoot at the Hydra forces outside the window, Steve shook his head pushing himself up onto his knees and reached for the machine gun. He could feel blood running down his back from where his skin had been split open but paid it no heed, he couldn’t afford to lose consciousness now, Tony was counting on him and he would be damned before he let him down again.

Spinning around he fired at the Hydra agents letting loose a wave of bullets that served to take out the ones Tony hadn’t killed himself.

“Are you okay?” Tony asked, once they were clear,

“I’ll live,” Steve replied, glancing at Tony, “How about you?”

“Oh you know, same old, same old. The twins are crushing my bladder, one of them is using my kidneys as a football while the other one uses my stomach for a punching bag. I haven’t seen my feet in months, and I’m torn between hunger and nausea almost constantly.”

Steve’s mouth twitched in amusement at Tony’s droll reply, “The joys of Motherhood?”

“Joy my once perky backside, any joy I felt passed away when I stopped being able to put my own shoes on and couldn’t go for more than twenty minutes without a bathroom break,” Tony grumbled, “Now, I am I tired, uncomfortable, covered in stretch marks, uncomfortable, constantly needing the toilet and did I mention uncomfortable?”

“You did, a couple of times actually.”

“Just putting that out there,” Tony said with a wince and a scowl, “Will you two sit still?” He asked, looking down at his bump, “Please? I’m kind of in the middle of something here!” He groaned and shifted with clear discomfort as the twins moved inside him, “God! You’re not even here yet and you’re already ignoring me. That isn’t fair you know? I’m the one that’s been carrying you around for nine months, I’m the one you’re supposed to listen to. Ignore Bruce, all he did was ejaculate, feel perfectly free to ignore him. In fact you have my complete permission to give him hell and make up for all the discomfort I have suffered!”

Steve couldn’t help it, he dissolved into laughter at Tony’s rambling speech to the Pups, it was ridiculous and endearing and so Tony, to be having an argument with unborn babies while in the middle of a fire fight!

His amusement didn’t last for long however, as more Hydra forces arrived and he went back on point, shooting down as many as he could before they reached the window and began to fire in, “Take cover!” He yelled to Tony, emptying the clip and quickly reloading,

“You take cover!” Tony yelled back, reloading the hand gun and continuing to fire, until a sonic boom hit the air, “Sounds like the cavalry has arrived!” He said to Steve with a grin, the Alpha looked at him a smile on his face that froze, then he dropped to his knees with the gun falling from his hands revealing a blossoming blood stain on the middle of his chest.

“Steve!” Tony cried in horror as the Captain toppled to the ground having clearly been shot.

 

*****

 

Superman lead the charge into battle, backed up by Captain Marvel, War Machine, Vision, and Cyborg. They were followed moments later by Falcon, Dragon fly, and Aquaman, with Bat Man piloting the troop carrier and Clint piloting the Quin Jet bringing the rest of the team.

“Alfred, you’ve got the controls.” Bruce said as he circled the ship and switched over to remote control that Alfred was manning back at the cave.

“Roger that, Master Bruce.” Alfred replied over the coms.

“Lets go!” Dick growled as the door opened and one by one they dropped down onto the ship, the Avengers doing the same, leaving FRIDAY piloting the quin jet.

They were met was resistance from the Hydra forces, but far less than they had expected. The troops were carrying only firearms and were not that much of a difficulty for the assembled teams to fight.

“Why aren’t they using torpedo’s or something?” Spiderman asked, webbing himself up the mast towards the crows nest and then swung back down, kicking down several Hydra agents as he went, and webbed himself across to the bulkheads. “I thought Supes said this ship was heavily armed.”

“It is.” Vision replied, over the coms, “They have weapons but none seem to be functional at this time.”

“I’m reading that too,” Cyborg agreed, “They’ve lost power to most of the ship, they are dead in the water.”

“What, how did that happen?” Aquaman asked ramming his trident into the chest of one Hydra agent, lifting him up over his head and tossing him off the weapon sending his body slamming into a couple more.

“Tony happened.” Lex said, shooting dragon darts into the throats of several agents. “I’ll bet you its his doing.”

“That’s Stark, the worst person ever to kidnap.” Natasha drawled, panting a little and the sounds of flesh hitting flesh and cries of pain could be heard over the coms.

“Where is he?” Batman growled, “Have you got him?” he asked Superman,

“That’s a negative Batman. He’s not in the cell I saw him in earlier, I’m not sure where he is, or Rogers.”

“Well hurry up and find them!” Dick grunted as he back handed one agent and kicked another in the face.

“I can make it easier.” Diana said, “Cover me.” Without waiting she took her lasso and snapped it out, wrapping it about the wrist of a Hydra agent and pulled him towards her, reeling him in like a fisherman with a catch.

“Cover Diana.” Rhodey ordered. Between them, he, Vision, Cyborg, and Carol were taking out the heavy armament but were taking care not to breech the hull, not until they had got their entire team safely off board at least.

“My pleasure Colonel.” Cyborg said, shifting positions to flank Diana and keep Hydra away as she interrogated the agent she had lassoed.

“Where are Stark and Rogers being held?” She demanded of the man,

“I don’t know. They broke out of the cell, we’ve been ordered to re-capture them.” The man replied, unable to stop himself thanks to the lasso. Diana’s eyes narrowed and she took hold of the man by his uniform, pulled him closer.

“Where were they last spotted?” She hissed into his face.

“The helm, but one of them was shot bad, I don’t know anything else, you lot started attack then and…” Diana punched him squarely in the face knocking him out cold. “Did you get that?” She asked,

“Loud and clear.” Superman replied, flying over to the helm, he floated down onto the deck and stepped inside the cabin that was in disarray, with shell casings, empty clips, bullet holes and glass everywhere. But more worrying was the blood staining the floor. Clark bent down and dipped his fingers into the blood which he found was fresh.

“Have you found them?” Bucky demanded,

“Not yet.” Clark replied, using his x-ray vision to scan the ship. There were a lot of people on board and he couldn’t see features only anatomy. However there was only one pregnant person on board which shortened the search. The second he located Tony he used his heat vision to burn through the hull and flew down deep into the bowels of the ship to an infirmary.

There were several guards outside the door that fired at him, a pointless effort since bullets bounced off his skin and with his strength he was able to just knock them all flying with a single swing of his hand.

On entering the infirmary he found Tony strapped down to an gurney, cursing up a storm and struggling for all he was worth to try and get free as Doctors surrounded Steve, who was pale and unconscious, laying on a gurney like Tony but with cannulas inserted into the crooks of his elbows and blood being drained out of his body into storage bags that were hooked up on either side of him.

“They’re bleeding him dry!” Tony yelled bucking on the gurney, “Get him out of here!”

One of the Doctors pulled a gun from his belt and fired at Clark, eight rounds bouncing off his skin with a stinging sensation as he flew across the room, knocking the gun from the man’s hand with such force he snap the man’s arm back hard enough to have the bones come through the skin. As he fell to the floor howling in pain and clutching at his arm with his good hand, Clark made short work of the rest of the Doctors and quickly pulled the cannulas from Steve’s limp body, his eyes widening when he saw the blood wound on the Captain’s upper abdomen.

“He needs emergency surgery.” Tony said, “You have to get him to a hospital right now!”

“I need to get you out of here too.” Clark snarled in frustration, Tony shook his head,

“Steve first, get him to a hospital and come back for me.” He rolled his eyes when Clark hesitated, “For God sakes it’ll take you five minutes I can last that long without someone holding my hand!”

Looking unhappy with the situation Clark lifted Steve into his arms, concentrating his gaze he used his heat vision to cut through the straps restraining Tony, freeing the Omega, “Will you be alright?”

“Toss me a couple of Guns and I’ll be fine.” Tony replied, sitting himself up with a wince. Supporting Steve with one arm, Clark bent down and took two guns from the unconscious Doctors, handing them to Tony who cocked them and took aim at the door. “Go on.” He urged Clark, “The sooner you go, the sooner you’ll be back.”

Clark nodded, his expression grim, “Bruce will string me up with kryptonite for this!”

“Don’t worry about his sullenness, I’ll deal with him.” Tony replied, giving Clark wink,

“I swear, you’re worse than Lex!” Clark sighed, “At least now I know where he learned it from!” He flew away to the sound of Tony yelling after him, using all his speed to get back to the mainland and get Steve into the nearest hospital capable of dealing with his injuries.

 

*****

 

Tony was not alone for very long in the infirmary, guards began to arrive within moments of Superman’s departure and were taken down, one by one as he waited for Clark’s return, emptying one gun and getting down to the last bullet on the other when Skull appeared at the door.

“Oh, come to bask in the scene of your failure?” Tony sneered at him, “Steve’s gone, and my team are ripping your loser-ass soldiers to shreds right now, so you might wanna do yourself a favour and hang yourself before my husband gets his hands on you, because ooohhh Skully, he is gonna make you wish that even your Grandparents had never been born!”

 

Skull rasped a pained laugh and shook his head, “You think I don’t know I have lost, Stark?” He asked, “You think I care about what your degenerate husband may do to me?” he broke into a coughing fit and spat blood onto the floor, “I am finished Stark, without Kapitan America’s blood I am dead and I accept that.” He hobbled forward, coming closer to Tony who kept the gun trained on him, “I accept that I am going down, but I do have one consolation.”

“Oh yeah, and what’s that?” Tony asked, as a guard came in, he shot the man dead without even thinking about it and looked back at Skull, “You were saying?”

Skull smirked, “That I can take down you with me.” From a holster behind his back he pulled out a gun and fired.

Chapter Text

As Skull fired the gun at Tony there came a blinding blur in the air, like heat haze on a road, only it was moving towards Tony and it slammed into him, knocking him off the gurney and down onto the floor where it came to a stop and Tony found himself with The Flash laying over him.

“I rescued you, I actually rescued you!” Barry exclaimed, “I did it, I rescued Iron Man!”

“Badly.” Tony groused, his backside and back aching from hitting the floor,

“But you have so gotta make me a God Father now!” Tony rolled his eyes,

“Scheisse!” Skull cursed staggering and adjusting his aim. Realizing that the rescue was not quite yet complete, Barry patted Tony on the head which made him squawk indignantly and then leaped up and sped across the room to Skull, disarming him before he’d even managed to finish pulling the trigger.

“I would make an excellent God Father.” He said, unloading the gun and letting the bullets rolling across the floor,

“No!” Tony yelled trying to sit up with a great deal of difficulty, groaning as he did.

“Are you okay?” Barry asked, but before Tony could answer Bat Man ran into the room, panting slightly and splattered with blood.

“Tony?”

“I’m good.” Tony said, softening as he was enveloped in Bruce’s arms. A dry cackle that might have been a laugh and might have been a cough disturbed them and they turned their heads to look at Skull who was watching them with a sneer on his hideous face.

“I suppose you do get to have your happily ever after,” He said to them, spitting the words with blood splattering his lips, “The Billionaire playboy Boyfriends, turned superheroes, turned parents. It’s almost poetic, Shakespeare could not have written better.”

Checking again that Tony was alright Bruce got his feet, cracking his knuckles and turned the full intensity of his glare upon Skull, “You do know that much of Shakespeare’s works were tragedies don’t you, filled with betrayal, heartbreak, and vengeance.”

Skull rasped another laugh, “Of course, which is why your story is so fitting, or it will be.” He backed away from Bruce who was advancing on him, intending to rip him apart, “You disabled power to the ship Stark, I congratulate your skill in doing so, but I already had a contingency for such an event hidden beneath the ship, lined in lead so your Alien pet could not see it, and separate from the main power.” Smirking he flipped open the top of his cane revealing a button beneath, “Enjoy your tragedy!”

Before either Bruce or Barry could react Skull had already pressed his thumb down on the button setting off a massive bomb hiding beneath the ship. The explosion ripped through the hull, putting a massive hole in the centre of the ship and tearing right the way up through the decks, splitting the ship in half.

 

*****

 

Those on the deck were thrown to the ground or over board as the explosion tossed them about, sea water swiftly began to rush into the decks of the ship, flooding the two halves as they bobbed in the water, quickly being pulled down by the sea that was set on claiming them.

“Christ!” Cyborg swore, he, Vision, War Machine, Falcon, and Captain Marvel were thrown back by the explosion as it tore through the air and were forced to watch in horror as the ship split in half, Avengers and Hydra agents being thrown into the ocean or battered about on the debris strew deck.

“Get them on board the jets!” Carol shouted diving down to the sea where she plucked Natasha out of the water. Black Widow was barely conscious, she had a nasty gnash across her forehead and was laying limp as Carol carried her to the Quin jet.

“Over here!” Clint yelled, using one arm to wave for help as he clung to the remains of the crows nest, Peter and Dick besides him, clinging on for dear life.

Vision, Cyborg, and Falcon flew in, picking them up and carrying them to the jets,

“Where’s Superman?” Clint demanded as Cyborg dropped him off on the Quin Jet,

“He was taking Rogers to Hospital, he isn’t back yet.” Victor replied, he didn’t wait for Clint to reply, he flew off to go and help others.

 

Laying on his back, his metal arm wrapped about her torso, Bucky was keeping Diana’s head above the water. Wonder Woman had been near the explosion and had been knocked unconscious, had she been human she would no doubt have been killed as the Hydra Agents near her had been.

“Down here!” He yelled to Rhodey who swooped in and lifted them both from the water, “Has anyone seen than speedy kid, Bruce or Tony?”

“No.” Rhodey murmured just as Arthur rose from the water carrying a limp Lex in his arms, “Arthur!” He bellowed, “Tony, Bruce, and Barry were down in the ship, they maybe trapped.”

“On it.” Arthur replied as he placed Lex on the Bat Jet just as Super Man arrived back,

“What the hell?” Clark cried,

“We’ll explain later, I need your help, Tony, Bruce, and Barry are missing.” Arthur replied diving back into the sea. Clark followed after him keeping pace with Aquaman as they powered through the sea to the flooding decks of the ships.

“What about the Hydra Soldiers?” Peter asked as Dick began to check Lex over, like Diana he’d been near the explosion and had a nasty looking head wound as well as a clearly broken arm and an open wound on his leg.

“Let the fuckers drown!” Dick snarled getting a first aid kit to begin patching Lex up, he handed a bandage to Peter for the cut he had over his eyebrow that was leaking blood through his mask.

“There are two life boats intact, put them in there.” Carol said moving in to cut the two boats free,

“Waste of energy.” Dick grunted,

“We’re the good guys remember?” Cyborg drawled, doing as Carol suggested, as did Vision and Rhodey, meanwhile Sam was helping Clint with Natasha.

“My head!” Diana groaned,

“Stay still Doll, you took a hard hit there.” Bucky said holding her steady.

“Doll?” Diana whispered a small smile curving her lips, “What is it with soldiers and charm?”

“Like us army types huh?” Bucky chuckled, and Diana smiled weakly,

“Always liked a man in uniform.”

 

*****

 

The explosion had thrown Barry, Bruce, Tony and Skull through the bulk heads and hull of the ship as the bomb blew her apart.

Skull was impaled upon shards of the bulk head, the torn metal pierced his body in five places, stabbing through his heart, liver, large intestines, lung, and his brain as one shaft went through his eye and into his skull.

Barry was throw across the cabin and slammed into the bulk head, being pinned there by gurney’s, medical equipment, and other debris falling upon him.

“Fuck!” He yelled trying to get free, his eyes widening when he felt water at his feet and lapping about his ankles, “Double Fuck!” He began to squirm harder, kicking his legs as he tried to get free, “Why couldn’t I get super strength instead of super speed!” he muttered thumping against the bulkhead “HELP!”

Within moments the water was up to his waist and then it was at his neck, “Help me!” Barry cried, his eyes widening and his face then screwing up as a corpse from one of the Hydra personnel floated into him, “Oh God sakes, Help Me!”

As the water rose higher he took a huge breath and held it just before it covered his head, all around him he could feel the ship moving, sinking, more debris rained down from the decks above, electric fused and sparked in the water as it filled the infirmary, the ship lurching forward as the sea pulled the ship down. Slowly but surely the debris moved enough for Barry to swim free.

Franticly he looked around for Tony and Bruce but couldn’t see them, he hadn’t seen them since the explosion, he wanted to look for them but his chest was already throbbing and his head was dizzy with the need for air. Desperately he looked around until his eyes lit on a couple of oxygen cannisters. Grinning he swam for the cannisters turning one on and taking a relieved gulp of air only to jump as he heard a thumping from behind him that was distorted by the water, then Superman and Aquaman swam through the side of the bulkhead.

Eyes wide Barry waved at them trying to convey that he didn’t know where Tony and Bruce were. Clark clasped his shoulder and pointed to the hole he and Arthur had just come through, then he pointed upwards meaning that he should swim to the surface.

Barry shook his head not wanting to leave without Tony and Bruce, but Clark pointed at himself and Arthur meaning that they would find them. Unhappily Barry nodded and pushed one of the cannister’s into Clark’s hands in case Bruce or Tony needed it, Clark nodded and patted Barry’s back sending him on his way.

Barry swam as fast as he could, using the oxygen as he went until he reached the surface and began to tread the water, waving an arm to attract attention. Victor swiftly swooped in and carried him up to the Bat Jet.

“Where are Tony and Bruce?” Peter demanded, taking Barry’s hand to help him on board,

“I don’t know, Clark and Arthur are looking for them.”

“But..” Peter looked to Dick, “They’ve been under water for…” Dick swallowed hard and shook his head,

“They wouldn’t have been flooded right away, they have time and they are both strong.”

Pressed his lips together Barry turned and looked down at the sea and the sink ship below.

 

*****

 

Tony and Bruce had been blown through the bulkheads and down through the deck before they’d stopped, thumping against the metal and being pelted with debris. Bruce sagged limp a pained moan leaving his bloody lips as part of an operating table connected with his head knocking him out cold.

“No, Bruce!” Tony cried, grabbing hold of his husband and trying to move, but his legs were crumpled under him and he was pinned down by a steel pipe that had fallen across his thighs wedging him in place. Desperately he tried to pull himself free to get to Bruce, his panic increasing as the water began to rush in, luckily Bruce was on his back and his face was kept out of the water which rose at an alarming rate.

With tears running down his cheeks Tony pulled and pulled on his legs to try and get free, scraping his nails bloody and raw as he clawed at the bulkhead, the water rising and covering his face, memories of Gotham Harbour when Nygma had attacked and memories of the Mandarin and of Afghanistan swirled in his mind as he struggled, Bruce’s body floated slightly up from the floor but his Kevlar weighed him down keeping him under water.

Tony screamed soundlessly, reaching out his arms to try and take hold of his husband who was drowning right in front of him, inside his body he felt his uterus contract as the labour began, the stress and fear bringing on the birth early.

‘So this is it’ he thought, as he stared at Bruce, hands stretched out to try and take hold of him, ‘This is where I die, under water, with my husband and my babies, not in battle, not because of Thanos, here, alone, in the depths of the ocean where I can’t even scream’

Sinking back against the bulkhead Tony closed his eyes preparing to let out the last of his breath only for his eyes to snap open as a roaring sound reached his ears and he saw Clark and Arthur bursting through the deck above.

Wide eyed and frantic Tony pointed to Bruce, whom Arthur took in his arms, he gestured to Superman who nodded and began to swim away, taking Bruce to the surface while Clark cut the pipe pinning Tony and pressed the oxygen to his mouth. Gratefully Tony took a gulp and wrapped his arms about Clark’s neck, letting Superman carry him from the sinking ship.

Chapter Text

Dick and Peter helped take Bruce from Arthur’s arms as he flew him up to the jet, followed by Clark carrying Tony.

“Get the defib kit.” Dick barked, as they lay Bruce down on the floor of the jet. Swiftly he worked Bruce’s Kevlar off his body and bared his chest, pinching the older man’s nose he breathed two breaths into his body then began chest compressions while Peter brought the defib kit.

Diana rose along with Bucky to help Clark with Tony, seeing that Superman wanted to be with Lex who was still unconscious.

“Bruce!” Tony cried, struggling to try and get up from where Clark had lay him down only to be doubled over with the pain of a contraction.

“Is he alright?” Peter asked, eyes wide in fear,

“I think so.” Diana said, gently feeling over Tony’s belly, “Labour.” She diagnosed, frowning at bullet wounds,

“Never mind me, it’s Bruce who needs help.” Tony snapped, batting her hands away and made to lunge towards Bruce again only for Bucky to block his way and keep him laying down, “He needs me!” Tony cried,

“Think about what he would want,” Bucky soothed, pushing firmly on Tony’s shoulder’s to keep him down, “He would want you to care for yourself and the Pups.” The anguished look that Tony gave him even moved Winter’s normally stone cold heart. Gently he squeezed Tony’s shoulders trying to offer him as much support and comfort as he could.

Meanwhile Dick was continuing with the chest compressions as Dick worked the manual ventilator, pumping air into Bruce’s lungs.

“Come on, Old Man, you are not dying on me.” Dick muttered pumping Bruce’s chest, “Come on, you’re about to be a Father, don’t you dare give up now.” As he completed the compression cycle he charged the defib, “Clear,” He shocked Bruce’s body, the electric making Bruce arch up off the floor and start coughing, vomiting up sea water as he cleared his lungs.

“That’s it, bring it all up,” Dick encouraged, helping Bruce to lay on his side, and rubbed firmly at his back to encourage him to bring up any remaining water, “Get him a blanket.” He said to Peter, who scampered off to do so.

“Bruce!” Neither Bucky or Diana could keep Tony from hauling himself across the floor to reach Bruce’s side. He took the Alpha’s frozen hands into his own and cup his bruised ashen face, “Bruce?” he whispered staring into Bruce’s dazed eyes, fear of brain damage filling his heart as Bruce didn’t respond. Then slowly Bruce pulled a hand free and lay it over Tony’s bump.

“Oh Bruce!”

Bruce smiled weakly, his throat too sore to speak right now,

“He’s alright, he’s alive!” Flash yelled over the coms, a chorus of cheers responded bringing grins to everyone’s face.

“Wha’ss ‘appin?” Lex slurred, blinking owlishly at Clark,

“We won baby, we won.” Clark said stroking his smooth head and looked up in alarm as Tony let out a pained groan,

“Alright, lets get home.” Dick said, “Resuscitation is one thing, but I am not delivering Pups, hell no!”

“Pussy!” Tony snarked as he panted,

“Get us to the Manor.” Bruce croaked, sitting up and pushing off the blanket that Peter had wrapped about his shoulders,

“You are going to the hospital.” Diana said, “As is Tony.”

“No, we have the nest ready, I need to be there.” Tony protested,

“And I need to be with him.” Bruce said,

“You both need medical attention.” Diana said,

“Then get a Doctor to the Manor,” Bruce said, scowling as Peter pushed the blanket back on him, “But we are going home to have our babies.”

 

*****

 

Vision, Victor, Carol, and Arthur remained behind to take the Hydra forces into custody, the Coast guard along with Police were coming to collect them and take them back to the main land, the four just stayed there to make sure the Hydra agents didn’t try to escape in the life boats.

Natasha needed medical attention and Clint, Sam, and Bucky wanted to go to the hospital to see how Steve was doing.

Lex too needed medical attention, so he and Clark headed there with them, Diana and Barry headed back to the compound to file a mission report, while Rhodey, Dick, Peter, Bruce, and Tony went to the manor.

Having been alerted by Diana as to what was happening, Alfred had contacted Stephen Strange for his medical expertise, and he, along with another Doctor by the name of Christine Palmer were waiting for them when they returned.

“Has there been any word on Steve yet?” Tony asked, as he was carried by both Peter and Dick from the jet, while Rhodey supported Bruce.

“He’s still in surgery.” Stephen replied, “The bullet ruptured his aorta, were he not a super soldier he wouldn’t have survived at all.” He clucked his tongue at the sight of the bullet wounds Tony was sporting along with his wounded hand, “You should really be in a hospital.”

“No way, I’m giving birth in the nest and that’s and end of it.” Tony replied then screwed up his face as another contraction hit,

“Alright let’s get you into the nest and see how far along you are.” Christine said, she glanced at Stephen, “It’s been a while since I practised obstetrics.” Stephen shrugged,

“I doubt it has changed much!”

“Screw you Strange,” Tony yelled back at him, “Unless you can make this painless and swift for me, keep your mouth shut or I’ll rip your tongue out and feed it back to you as a steak sandwich!”

Strange sighed heavily, “Well it was hardly surprising that Stark would take to labour like a cat to water.”

 

*****

 

Strange checked Bruce over while Christine saw to Tony. He took Bruce’s pulse and blood pressure, listened to his breathing and his heartbeat, checking the rhythm and his lungs for residual water.

“You really should be checked out in hospital,” He said, to Bruce, “But as far as I can tell you are alright. However I want you to see your GP for a full physical as soon as possible.”

“Fine,” Bruce said, getting up from the bed and grabbing the clean shirt that Alfred had ready for him, he nodded his thanks to the older man and made his way to the nest where Tony was lying back panting through another contraction while Christine cleaned and stitched his wounds.

“He’s doing very well,” She said to Bruce as he made a beeline for the Omega, “Only three centimetres dilated so we have a while yet.”

“Hi baby,” Tony greeted, “How are you doing?” he leaned into the touch as Bruce bent to kiss him,

“I’m fine, its you I’m concerned about.” Bruce’s gaze fell on Tony’s hand and his jaw tightened as rage ran through him.

“I don’t know what happened to my rings.” Tony said apologetically, “Skull took them with my finger…”

“I’ve got them,” Bruce assured him, “We’ll get them re-sized so you can wear them on another finger.” Tony smiled then moaned and tensed,

“Remember to breathe.” Christine encouraged him, “In and out, don’t tense up, just relax and let your body go with the flow.”

“Easier said than done.” Tony said through gritted teeth, trying to do as she said and relax his body moaning as he did so.

“Can I get you anything?” Bruce asked, “Food, water, things to throw at me?” Tony snorted with laughter at the last and shook his head,

“I’m good,” he replied, “But I want to know how Steve, Lex, and Natasha are doing.”

“I’ll find out for you.” Christine said, standing up and taking off her gloves, “I’ll give the two of you some privacy and be back in a little while.”

“Thanks Dr Palmer.” Tony said trying to make himself comfortable as possible in his current position, Bruce helped him settle against the pillows and lay a hand over Tony’s belly,

“Just a few hours now and we’ll meet them.” He said looking equal parts terrified and awed by the prospect,

“You ready to be a Daddy?” Tony asked,

“After dealing with the nightmares that are Dick Grayson, and Lex Luthor, I think I’m ready for anything!”

 

 

*****

 

Thanks to his enhanced healing Lex was up and around within a few hours, though was sore and bruised which was making him snarkier than normal.

Natasha had regain consciousness, she had nasty concussion and a thumping headache, but had insisted on rising from her bed to join the others as they waited for news on Steve.

“Has anyone heard from Stark yet?” Clint asked, “Are the Pups born?”

“Not yet.” Clark replied, “It’ll be a while yet I should think.”

Lex snickered as he sipped a terrible cup of hospital coffee, “Bruce had better hope that it isn’t or Tony will make his life a living hell.”

“Anyone want to take a wager on how long the labour will be?” Sam asked,

“No,” Lex said,

“Why?” Sam pouted at him, actually pouted,

“Because I am not suicidal, and if Tony finds out you took a bet on how long he was going to be in serious pain then he will cut out your intestines and strangle you with them!”

Sam looked uncertain but Clint shrugged, “Eighteen hours,” He offered,

“Twelve,” Natasha countered,

“Twenty.” Bucky chimed in,

Lex rolled his eyes, “You are all so very, very dead.”

 

After what seemed like forever a Surgeon in scrubs came to the waiting room looking fatigued but satisfied.

“Captain Rogers has survived surgery and is currently recovery, we’ll be taking him to intensive care once he’s out of the anaesthetic.” A collective groan of relief ran through the group and Lex rose to go and call the Manor and the Compound and relay the good news,

“Can we see him?” Bucky asked, the Surgeon looked like he was going to refuse, but when he saw the desperation on the teams faces he agreed,

“Five minutes, he needs to rest.”

“Thank you Doctor.” Sam said as they hurried from the room to check on Steve.

 

The super soldier looked ghostly pale and fragile laying in the hospital bed with a nasal canula, IV drip pumping him full of pain killers, blood, anti-biotics, and fluids. It was clear how hurt he was by the fact the wound on his face had yet to start healing where normally it would have closed over by then.

“Is the serum working?” Bucky asked the Doctor with a frown,

“It is,” The Doctor confirmed, “It has simply been hindered by the blood loss, but I expect him to make a full recovery within the week.” Bucky nodded his head relieved by the news, a knock on the door made them turn to look at Clark who stuck his head around the door,

“I’m taking Lex home to get some rest, Arthur called to say that the Hydra agents have all been detained, he is heading to the compound along with Carol and Victor, while Vision is going to the Manor.”

“Alright. Thank you Clark,” Sam said gratefully, “If not for you Steve wouldn’t have made it, neither would Tony and Bruce.”

Clark actually blushed a little at the praise and ducked his head, “It was a team effort,” He said, and looked to Steve, “Let us know when he wakes up?”

“Sure thing, Man,” Clint assured him, sighing the Doctor cleared his throat,

“Times up I’m afraid.” He said, “You should all go and get some rest yourselves, it’ll be several hours before he’s conscious again.”

“I could do with a shower,” Clint admitted,

“We all could,” Natasha agreed, “And a change of clothes.”

“Well lets go and do that and come back.” Bucky said, “Hopefully by then the Punk will be a bit closer to waking up.”

With nothing else to do the others agreed, filing out of the hospital room to go back to the compound and get themselves freshened up before returning to the hospital.

 

******

 

Twenty Four hours later.

 

Steve regained consciousness but remained groggy, drifting in and out of sleep while the Avengers team sat in his room, reading and talking quietly while waiting for news from the manor.

Tony was still in labour and Lex and Clark had joined the vigil at the manor as they waited for the delivery.

Tired, in pain, and beyond done with the whole business of having babies, Tony cried out as waves of pain racked his body. He mercilessly gripped Bruce’s hand uncaring if he broke the man’s bones or not, he was just so desperate to get this over with.

“Alright Tony, you are nearly there, the first Pup is nearly ready.” Christine said from her position between Tony’s parted thighs, “Wait for the contraction and then push down.”

“I am never doing this again, do you hear me?” Tony growled at Bruce, “I am never having sex with you again, if you bring your cock anywhere near me after this I will cut it off!”

Since he had been threatening Bruce with castration for the better part of twelves hours now Bruce took it on the chin and kissed Tony’s sweaty forehead, gritting his teeth as his hand was crushed while Tony bore down. Awe struck and slightly grossed out, Bruce watched as a bloody head slowly emerged from Tony’s body, a small screwed up face becoming visible as the body moved out of the birth canal.

“Alright the head is out,” Christine said, “Next contraction will be a second or two, bear down and your baby will be here.”

Tony panted, drawing as much air into his lungs as he could then pushed down feeling a form slipping out of him into Christine’s waiting hands, a second passed, then another, then a choked cry hit the air.

“A fine Alpha girl.” Christine declared clamping and cutting the cord, she wrapped the mewling pup in a towel and laid her on Tony’s chest. Bruce made a choked noise, tears running down his cheeks as he beheld his baby girl for the first time, Tony was in much the same state as they looked at her tiny form.

“Julia.” Tony whispered, sniffing and laughing, “Julia Martha.”

“Yeah.” Bruce agreed, wiping his eyes on his sleeve. With a shaking hand he reached out to stroke her wrinkled cheek gasping in awe at her tiny hands that were balled into fists, “Hello Julia, I’m your Daddy.”

Tony stiffened and groaned as a fresh contraction began.

“Alright, if you can take little Julia, Mr Wayne, it looks like her Brother or Sister wants to make an entrance.”

Looking terrified as if he was going to brake her, Bruce did as Christine said, holding Julia against his chest as Tony moaned and panted.

 

It took another forty minutes for Julia’s sibling to come along and this time it was a breech birth. Being out of practise with obstetrics Christine called Stephen in to help with the delivery and between them they eased the Pup out of Tony’s exhausted body.

“A healthy Omega Boy.” Christine called out as the infant began to wail loudly, his face red and little limbs wriggling as she wrapped him up and handed him to Tony,

“Thomas!” Tony sobbed holding him close, “Thomas Alfie.”

Crying still, Bruce held Julia and leaned in to see his Son, a smile stretching wide on his face as he beheld him.

“Well done Tony.” Stephen said looking unusually proud of the Billionaire, “You have a fine pair of Pups.”

“Thank you.” Tony whispered overcome with emotion, he looked at Bruce, “I can’t believe it, they are finally here.”

“They are.” Bruce said, just as overwhelmed as Tony, “Our Pups, our treasure.”

 

Stephen went with Bruce to help clean the Pups up, weigh and measure them and get them dressed in an Iron Man onesie and a Bat Man onesie, while Christine delivered Tony of the placentas and gave him a bed bath, changed the sheets on the bed and settled him back down, by which time Bruce and Stephen were done and brought the twins back to him.

Eagerly Tony took Julia while Bruce held Thomas, settling down on the bed besides the Omega, “Thank you so much.” Bruce said, kissing Tony’s cheek, “They are perfect.”

“They are.” Tony whispered staring captivated at his Son and Daughter who for the minute were sleeping peacefully. Both Billionaires were too engrossed in their twins to even notice as the cheers went up from downstairs as the news of the Pups was given out by Stephen and Christine.

In the Compound and in Steve’s hospital room similar cheers were let out in celebration at the twins safe delivery.

Chapter Text

Steve was released from the hospital after ten days. It showed just how injured he’d been with how long it had taken his body to heal before he was able to go home.

One of the first things he did was go to visit Tony at the manor.

Bruce greeted him after Alfred let him in. The normally immaculate billionaire was dishevelled. In place of his usual snappy suits he was dressed in a pair of worn sweat pants and a faded t-shirt with what looked like spit up staining his shoulder.
His hair was uncombed and he had shaving foam dried up by his ears, not to mention the dark circles about his blood shot eyes.

“So,” Steve said, looking the other Alpha over, “How’s parenthood?”

Bruce shook his head and spread his arms wide, “Its great, its brilliant, its…. I haven’t slept in days, Tony hasn’t slept in days. They don’t stop. They cry and they pee and the poop and they want feeding and then they cry more and they only sleep for like an hour, how do people do this and not go insane?”

Steve couldn’t help it he just burst into laughter at Bruce’s babbling and the fact he was clearly over whelmed with the Pups. Bruce scowled at him but then there was the sound of crying from upstairs,

“Bruce!” Tony yelled, “I need nappies!”

“God, again?” Bruce moaned, “How can they shit so much?”

Giggling Steve followed after Bruce as he hurried up the stairs to get the nappies and went along to the nest where Tony was laying in with the Pups.

While he was clearly tired from getting little sleep, Tony did look less wrung out than Bruce. He was a little pale and his hair was untidy, but until the almost manic state that Bruce was in Tony was serene, taking this in his stride as he changed one of the pups and cleaned them up, then lay them back down besides their sibling who was just working up the impulse to start wailing.

“Oh, is it your turn now?” he asked, lifting the sibling up and setting about changing the nappy.

“I’d ask how you’re doing, but its pretty clear that you’re doing great.” Steve said, Tony looked up with a grin as he finished changing the Pup and then lifted her up,

“Do you want to hold her?” he asked,

Steve’s eyes widened, “I err.. guess so.” Uncertainly he took the Pup into his arms. She squirmed and let out a few whimpers, blinking at him in obvious confusion as to who he was.

“Hi,” Steve whispered to the Pup, “I’m um Steve, Captain America.” The Pup wriggled and let out a few choked sobs, “I don’t think she likes me,” Steve said, a worried look on his face,

“That’s because you’re holding her like she’s a sack of potatoes.” Bruce chided him, taking Julia from Steve and getting against his chest with his hand cradling her head, “Like this, see?” He said, bouncing her and Steve could easily guess how the spit up had hit his shoulder.

“I just don’t have much experience with babies.” Steve admitted to Tony, who grinned at him,

“It takes practise, but after you’ve done the first few nappies and been peed on you kind of get the hang of it!”

“Oh you’re going to sleep, that’s nice, you can sleep with your Brother and then maybe me and you your Momma can…” Bruce trailed off as Julia began to cry again the second he went to move her, “Damnit!”

“Looks like adult nap time will have to wait.” Tony said with a wry smile, “Why don’t you try walking her around the house, that settled her last night.”

“You mean at three this morning,” Bruce said, doing as Tony suggested, leaving Steve with Tony and a sleeping Thomas.

“So,” Tony said, pulling the blanket over his legs up a little higher, “I never really got to thank you for saving me on Skull’s ship.”

“Well I didn’t,” Steve said, “I got shot and you nearly drowned, if it hadn’t been for Superman..”

“Stop, do not compare yourself with Clark. He is an Alien and has supernatural abilities. You are just human, stronger than most but still human, so any comparison is unfair.”

“True.” Steve admitted, sinking down into the rocking chair, “I just wish you hadn’t been hurt.”

“And I wish you hadn’t either. You nearly died protecting me, Thomas, and Julia, non of us would be here if it hadn’t been for you.” Tony smiled and held out a hand for Steve to take, which he did without hesitation, getting up from the rocker and kneeling besides the Omega,

“I’ve talked about it with Bruce and we would like for you to be Godfather to Thomas and Julia.” Steve’s eyes widened in surprise,

“Me?”

“If you are okay with it.”

“Okay? I’m honoured Tony, its incredible, I am, I don’t even have the words for this,”

“And that is probably good!” Tony laughed, “And I hate to cut this visit short, but my nipples are starting to sting which means the twins are going to want feeding soon.” It was comical to see Steve look both frightened and grossed out at once. He swiftly made his farewells and departed before Bruce returned with a wailing Julia who was demanding her lunch in her usual ear splitting way.

“You certainly like to be heard, don’t you?” Tony said, undoing his shirt and bearing his nipple, and guiding Julia to it so she could nurse,

“She’s either going to be an opera star or a banshee when she grows up,” Bruce said, “Right now I’m not certain which.” He buried the last of the sentence in a yawn that nearly split his face open,

“Honey, why don’t you go and get some rest?” Tony suggested,

“Because I need to be here with you and the Pups.” Bruce replied,

“And you need to sleep. I can manage for a few hours or I can call Alfred,”

“But I’m the Alpha, its my job to care for you and our litter!”

“And you are, honey, you’ve not stopped for three days, you’re at the point of collapse.” Tony said with a warm smile, “I know you want to do everything, but you need to rest or you are going to get sick, and if that happens you won’t be able to take care of us at all.”

Bruce could hardly argue with that logic, though he was very reluctant to leave Tony and the Pups despite the assurances that they would be alright.

“Just an hour.” He said, heading for the master bedroom, “Just for an hour.” He kicked off his shoes and crawled under the covers burying himself in the soft sheets and was asleep within minutes.

 

Bruce’s hour actually turned into twelves hours, in which he missed dinner and Lex and Clark’s visit, and Tony washing the twins in the small tub besides the bed with Alfred’s help. It wasn’t until he stumbled into the nursery during the early hours of the following morning that he saw Tony and the Pups again. All three of them sound asleep in the nest looking peaceful and content.

Smiling, Bruce quietly made his way over to the nest and climbed into the mattress, settling down besides Tony and wrapped his arms around him. Over Tony’s shoulder he saw Julia and Thomas silently slumbering, their little rose bud mouths parted as they slept and tiny hands at each side of their heads utterly blissful. He thought back to Steve asking how Parenthood was going and smiled, “It’s the best thing I have ever done.”

 

*****

 

After Skull’s demise Hydra went pretty much out of business over night, the forces had been severely depleted by Red Skull’s plans and without a new leader in sight they were floundering.

AIM and Doom had a brief alliance that lasted only as long as it took for Reed Richards to prove that Doom was planning to double cross AIM, then they left the general populous, Avengers, and Justice League alone to go and battle it out between themselves.

Penguin had a brief rise to power before he was taken out of business by Lex and Dick, and Spider Man teamed up with The Flash to stop Green Goblin’s schemes.

So all in all it was a quiet three months leading up to the Christening of Thomas and Julia.

After the birth Tony had healed well, his pelvis recovering without complication and he was up and around again after his six weeks laying in with no difficulty, by which time he and Bruce were starting to get the Twins into a routine, of Eating, changing, and sleeping, so they could both catch several hours each.

This meant that they didn’t look like the living dead when they went to Church to Christen the Pups.

Both teams were present, including Stephen, Loki, Thor, and Banner, the latter having to explain what a Christening was to Loki and Thor as they didn’t know.

The Godfathers were Rhodey, Peter, Steve, Dick, Alfred, and shockingly Barry who was standing up by the font with a dazed expression on his face.

The Godmothers were Pepper, May, Carol, Diana, and Selena, who looked vaguely contemptuous as she stood by the font, having been ordered not to pick anyones pocket for the entire ceremony or reception.

One by one the respective God Parents swore to protect and love the Pups, who screamed loudly at getting water splashed onto their heads, but settled down quickly enough after they were back in Tony and Bruce’s arms.

Unfortunately the press were waiting outside of the church for photos, which they posed for a few minutes and answered a few questions, the best one coming from Lois Lane.

“So how does parenthood compare with work as a superhero?”

“Honestly?” Tony asked, “It is more frightening, exhausting, exciting, and fulfilling thing ever, not even kicking Thanos ass could compare with this.”