Actions

Work Header

a kingdom needs a queen lest it crumble and fall

Chapter Text

    “You do not have to do this.”

    You sigh at your big brother’s words, words that he must have repeated over a million times these past few months. Turning away from your vanity to face him, you find the king sitting slouched on your bed, the flickering fire lighting up all the handsome features on his face. He’s stripped off his armor and is now clothed in his more casual wear; a pair of dark leather calf boots, dark blue pants and a matching shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. In his clear blue eyes that are locked on you, you find worry and you find doubt, things you have yet to figure out how to dispel.

    “Brother, regardless of what you say I am going to do this.” You inform him for also the millionth time. “It’s my duty.”

    “Your duty as Crown Princess is not to be used as a pawn during war--”

    “We are not at war, and that is exactly what I am trying to prevent.” You argue, standing from your chair. Your skirt brushes at your ankles as you walk over to him, his head raising to keep eye contact with you. His wheat colored hair looks less golden in this light, darker and closer to yours. You sit beside him, placing a hand on his arm to try and comfort him. He takes it in his hand, grasping it tight.

    “(Y/N), I want you to marry for love, as I have.” Steve says to you softly. “I do not want you to marry a man you don’t know merely because of my inadequacy as king.”

    “Stop that. You are a marvelous king.” You promise, squeezing his fingers. “Besides, what am I going to do here? Sit around and look pretty?”
    “If you want to.” Steve jokes, a smile finally cracking on his lips. “You’re Crown Princess, little sister. You need not lift a finger for the rest of your life.”

    “And allow you and your fool of a husband rule this kingdom whilst I dawdle? I think not.”
    “Fool of a husband? You wound me, (Y/N).” You laugh and roll your eyes, recognizing that voice instantly. The wooden doors to your bedroom opens, giving you a glimpse at the guards outside as well as the cobblestone hallway. James, your brothers husband of many years, walks into the room fresh from the woods by the looks of his muddy boots.

    “Tell her she does not have to follow through with this plan.” Steve orders his husband. “We can think of something else, write another treaty, something.” You watch as James merely chuckles, walking over to press a quick kiss against your brothers lips.

    “We both know telling (Y/N) anything does not guarantee her listening.” James points out, dropping a kiss to your forehead afterwards. He starts to peel off his dirty hunting outerwear to throw in the corner of your bedroom, a bad habit he’s started lately ever since Steve starting coming late at night to try and talk you out of your plan.

    “Why is it that he understands and you do not?” You ask Steve, eyebrows raising in question. Steve scoffs, letting go of your hand so he can stand and place his hands on his hips like your mother used to do.

    “I’m your blood brother.” Steve states. “I care more.”

    “Lies.” James interrupts as he yanks off a boot. “I care just as much, and if (Y/N) would like to marry some crazed Stark from the Southern lands, who am I to apprehend her?”

    “Her brother-in-law, her king .” Steve answers, not realizing it’s a rhetoric question.

    “You act like I’m going to be a concubine or something. I’m going to be queen, brother. Not to mention, I’ve heard the Stark lands are very beautiful.” You comment, turning away from the pair to grab your comb. It’s getting late and you must ready for bed, no matter how worrisome your brother feels.

    “It’s a tundra there for most of the year! You know how easily you get cold.”

    “I’m sure there will be many furs and many fires.”

    “How will you acquire all the nutrition you need? They barely have any vegetation.”

    “Well, the people in the Stark kingdom have survived there for hundreds of years so I assume I will be alright.”

    “You don’t know the man, what if he tries to hurt you? Beat you? What if--”

    “Steven. Stop it.” James voice is stern, causing your brother to pause in his rant. The air in the room changes and the conversation that you have been having with Steve for what seems like forever becomes more serious. Slowly the second king turns to you, reaching forward for your hand. You take it and allow him to pull you up to standing position.

    “What is it?” You ask James.

    “You’re doing a very brave thing, (Y/N).” He informs you gravely. “Truly.”

    “I’m only doing the right thing.” You retort. “What kind of princess would I be if I didn’t marry for my kingdom?”
    “Times are different and you know princesses don’t do that anymore.” James lips quirk up in a small smile. “But you’ve always been wise, (Y/N). You’ve always been obliging and sweet, knowledgeable of your duties. For you to do this to avoid war, it shows just the kind of queen you will be.”

    “A great one, I hope.” You murmur, feeling your emotions whirl.

“Are you not afraid?” Steve asks you weakly from your side.

“Of course I’m afraid.” You laugh humorlessly as your hands tighten on James’, steadying yourself. “But I am not allowing this kingdom to go to war once again with the Starks. Not if I can help it.”

Visions of the previous war flash through your memory. You were young then, merely a babe whose first three summers marked the ending of a war. That doesn’t mean you don’t remember; you remember everything. You remember the way the previous King of the Stark Kingdoms stormed into your home and murdered your parents with such a vengeance that you could practically hear the splatter of their blood on the stone walls. You remember Steves cry that echoed down the hallways even long after your parents deaths. You remember that after being slain by James’ sword, the Stark Kingdom was left to his only son Anthony, already 21, who never even wanted it in the first place. It’s been a two decades since then and the lonely king has yet to take a wife. That’s where you step in you suppose.

Ever since that war, the three kingdoms of Midgard, Asgard and Wakanda have signed treaties and built allies in hope that no amount of blood shall be shed like that again. The war was not over land but over resources and the only king that refused to take part in anything at all is King Anthony Stark. You don’t blame him, the legacy his father left for him isn’t exactly admirable. The Stark kingdom down south are centered by the ore rich caves of Avenger Mountains. Silver, steel, copper, iron, gold; all the metals can be found in surplus in the mines. King Howard Stark wanted to horde it, wanted to raise the prices so high and so steep just so he can be richer than he already was.

In all these past centuries and through hundreds of kings, King Howard was the most greedy. He refused to talk peace, refused any compromises offered to him. He wanted to take and not give anything return. It didn’t take long before the other three kingdoms banned together to overthrow him. The war lasted for fifteen years, you being born on it’s twelfth anniversary and you remember your professor once telling you that they dubbed it the Infinity War.

Thor and Loki of Asgard are whimsical brothers, ruling king and crown prince respectively, whose lands are rich with produce and fruit. To the east they lie where the sun favors their lands and mirth is tangible in the air. Magic is freely used there, enchanted items crossing hands and borders with no troubles. They had loyal fighters who fought for their kings and only their kings. It’s a good thing they were on your side for the Infinity War. Noble King T’Challa and Queen Nakia lay to the west where vibranium is aplenty, another type of material that can be used in everything from medicine to architecture. Their fortresses are fortified with the mystical metal which they are happy to trade for things that their home lacks. You’ve always admired their beautiful dark skin and cunning warriors that mounted battle rhinos that are twice as large as you and a hundred times more vicious.

Here, in Midgard, things are far simpler. The north is warm as well, but not as warm as the east. The sea breeze cools down the days and harbors are a never ending bustle of ships that hold bounties from the ocean. Fish, seaglass, kelp, salt; these are the staples of your home. Warriors donned swords and arrows and fought for their home, for their wives and husbands, for the children that they want to grow up safely. You love it here but sometimes, the memories of the halls echo with the timbre of your father's voice and the melodic tone of your mothers singing. That’s when being home hurts.

    “I am much better warrior than our father.” Steve jests, snapping you out of your reverie.  

“Even a warrior can fall to poison, Steve, just as a mighty capital can fall to siege. I’m not willing to risk this family we have oh so tenderly built.” You glance over to the mirror that reflects you all in bronze, gazing upon the only two people you love.
    “She’s made her decision, Steve.” James says to your older brother. “She made up her mind months ago, I don’t know why you keep fighting her on it.”

“Are you sure?” Steve asks you once again. “You will live in the south--rule the south. The north will no longer be your home.”
    “Well, surely I will be welcome back for the summers, no?” You tease.

    “Of course but you know what I am trying to say, sister. The south will be….lonely if you don’t find companionship with your husband.”

    “He’s not my husband yet. He has to court me first, remember?”
    Steve sighs at your stubbornness, at the way you keep trying to throw him off. It’s not like you’re wrong though. When you arrive in the Stark kingdom, the wedding will not yet be planned. There will be a three month courtship and then, only then, will you make the final decision. You’ve already made it regardless. Whether the Stark king is kind or cruel, you are willing to make the sacrifice. Your innocence can be lost if that guarantees the safety of your people.

    “Her journey will be long. We should let her rest, Steve.” James places a hand on Steve's shoulder, letting him know he’ll drag the king out if he has to. You give your worried brother a reassuring smile and finally he nods, giving up the fight. They say their goodnights, leave their kisses on your forehead to let you know you are loved and soon return to their chambers. Your handmaiden comes in to draw you a bath after the long day and as you sink into the hot water, you can’t help but think of King Anthony.

    He’s older than you by two decades, almost two and a half. You hope that time has made him kind, but you can’t count on that. Time has given him wisdom; he’s finally agreed to a sort of treaty. James had sent a letter a few months ago, offering your hand in marriage to form an alliance as a sort of last resort and surprisingly, King Anthony replied in agreement. The letter he sent back arrived just earlier this month to inform your kingdom that he’s willing to invite you into his home for a season to see if you are compatible with him. Steve has been reluctant since considering all the things that people hear about King Anthony.

There are many tales about his promiscuous nights and his alcohol hazed days. He takes no concubines or wards but the maids in his castle are no stranger to his bed (stable boys as well). That’s fine, you suppose, but only until you two are married. Lenience is a trait you have but breaching the virtues of marriage is crossing the line. You can only hope you are enough for him.

But among it all, you’ve heard great things as well. You’ve heard rumours of his ingenious, the way he seemingly crafts magic from iron. You’ve heard of his mercy to the criminals of his kingdom, allowing them to rehabilitate instead of merely killing them. There are stories, true or not you do not know, of his beauty as well. They say he is the most handsome king that Stark has ever seen and at this is when your heart flutters.

You sink further into the bath water and shut your eyes, trying to imagine him. Every girl you know has dreamed of a man who loves her, a man with the face of Narcissus, the bravery of Hercules and the heart of Hestia. Will King Anthony have blue eyes? Green? Will his hair be long or short? Is his voice deep and gentle or will it be loud and brash? Will he be taller than you? Will his hands be larger than yours? Will he kiss you sweetly? All these questions and not a single answer.

A knock at your bathroom door causes you to rise. “Come in!” You call. You turn away as your handmaiden enters, towels and sleeping gown surely in hand.

“Are you ready for bed?” Confused you look towards the question. It’s too different than the usual voice of your handmaiden and probably so because the person that entered your bedroom is not her.

“Peggy?” You ask, eyebrows drawing together in confusion. Peggy is Steve and James’ handmaiden, has been for years. She’s a little more to your brothers if you’re going to be honest. You’ve seen her leave their chambers at all hours of the night but you leave it be and don’t ask. You were never one to pry into Steve’s business.

“I sent your handmaiden home early.” She explains, placing the pile of things in her arms on the counter. “I wanted to spend a little time with you before you began your journey.” You can’t help but smile at her words. Peggy has always been beautiful and kind. Older than you, her advice has always been helpful.

“I’m going to miss you.” You tell her, standing from the now lukewarm water. She wraps you in towel instantly, helping you step out of the bath afterwards as well.

“You know everyone here is going to miss you too. Steve is going to cry for months after you leave.” Peggy smirks at that thought and you can’t help but giggle.

“You’d think as king he would realize just how important this is.”

“He may be a king, but he is a brother first.” Peggy reminds you, wrapping your hair up. She’s right of course, but you still wish Steve could find a little solace in your actions. You sigh and make you way out of the foggy bathroom to take a seat back at your vanity.

“I hope he’s kind.” You mutter. She follows behind you, throwing your dirty gown in the corner with James’ armour. She continues to help you dry off and help you into your sleeping clothes.

“Who?”

“King Anthony.” You answer.

“Well, even if he isn’t kind in the beginning, there is a way to make him kind.” Your interest is piqued by her words.

“How so?”
    “You’re a woman, (Y/N). Use that to your advantage.” Her smirk causes you to flush as her meaning becomes clear. You’re no stranger to the idea of taking a mans bed, you’re not a child. You’ve even kissed a few soldiers in far off hallways before Steve scared them so bad with a speech that threatened to cut off all their favorite parts if you’re touched again.

“Not all men respond to that.” You point out, willing the blood in your face to drain. You lean back as she starts to plait your hair to ready you for bed and you start to apply your night creams.

“What do you think King Anthony will respond to then?”

“I don’t know. Intelligence, perhaps?” You ponder aloud. “Kindliness?”

“Come what may, you will be a wondrous queen.” You smile at Peggy’s words, feeling a warmth bloom in your chest.

“Thank you, Peggy.” She returns your smile in the reflection of your vanity, tucking a strand of your hair behind your ear.

“To bed now, Queen Stark. You have a long journey ahead of you in the morning.”

 

Chapter Text

    The chill of dawn seeps through the layers you’re wrapped in as you wait for King Anthony’s people to arrive. He had promised to send a crew of his own soldiers to escort you which is thoughtful of him. You hold onto that thought, hoping all his future actions will be laced with the same kindness. If so, your future life may not be as horrid as your brother seems to think it will be.

Steve stands to your right, gripping your hand so tight it almost hurts. He wears his crown for the first time in forever, usually claiming it itches. A king he truly is, laden in gold and royal blue fabrics. He clutches his mighty shield in his other hand, a gift from the Stark kingdom from a long time ago. Steve’s face is so transparent, you can practically see each and every emotion flicker across his face. He’s worried and afraid; you can feel the thunderous beating of his heart through your connected palms.

James stands to your left, shoulders broad with his nose tipped towards the sky. He wears similar attire, crown glinting lightly in the sunbeams. His choice of weapon, a foreign shooting machine from his faraway lands, is slung across his back. You’ve never understood the mechanics of it but you’ve seen the damage the armament can do.

You do not have a weapon. You refuse to carry one though your skills with a dagger are enough to be a threat. You want to walk into this trusting in your soon-to-be kingdoms people. All you have is yourself and the clothes you wear. Your own golden tiara, another symbol of your royalty, is nestled in the locks of your hair. It’s a beautiful thing, all rubies and diamonds, gold twisted into the shape of a night star, the emblem of your kingdom. You’ll have to have it melted down once you marry to have it match your husbands. You remember the Starks ideogram is much more complex, the picture of it hazy in your mind because you’ve only seen it once or twice. It’s a silver circle with an upside down cerulean blue triangle placed inside, beams connecting it to the outside. It’s beautiful though you’re not sure what it means.

Behind you, a small army stands ready just in case the Starks decide to be rash. It’s a precaution that you wish your brother wouldn’t have taken but there was no talking him out of that. You’re sure the Starks will come fully armed as well. You just hope they have enough space for all of your things. Your luggage is a small mountain, filled with more than enough heavy gowns and wool shawls that you think you’ll ever need. Steve seems to be sure you’re going to freeze to death.

    “Are you sure you’re alright with all of this?” Steve asks you in the quiet morning. “Do you think that’s enough food? Do you want to bring your handmaiden with you?”

    “Steve, she’s going to be fine.” James answers for you. “We’re sending a village worths of supplies with her. If anything, she’ll gain a few pounds by the time she gets there.”
    “It’s only a month journey, Steve.” You inform him. “I’m going to be fine. I’m sure King Anthony also has made certain preparations.”

    “I’m just--I’m worried.” Your heart constricts at the way his voice softens and you raise his hand to your lips. You kiss his knuckles, hoping to warm his hands and reassure him that you’ll be alright.

The way his eyes shine, it reminds you of the parents you both share. Queen Sarah, the beloved, the beautiful, they called her. That’s where Steve got his golden locks and sea colored eyes. You personally take after your father, King Joseph, with his much more ordinary features. They called him the warrior, the picture of justice. He may have been stern, but all he wanted was the safety of the kingdom.

    “They’re here.” James declares. Steve head snaps up and your eyes follow his gaze. Soon enough, just as the red and gold Stark flag comes into view, you feel your heart start to beat in time with your brothers.

    The first thing you notice is how tired they look. They’ve just taken what is usually a month’s journey in a fortnight on horseback. You wish you could invite them in, allow them a nights rest in a proper bed in front of warm fire but you know you had to be on your way instantly. King Anthony is waiting for you and winter is slowing approaching by the way the cold creeps into the air. You cannot risk a journey in the snow, especially not with everything that is at risk. If you die on the road, even if it be by natural conditions, war will surely break out. As level headed as your brothers are, if you pass, you know they will see no reason.

    The sound of armour clinking stops as a small group of warriors stops a few hundred feet ahead of you. The soldier most up front unmounts his horse gracefully, taking just a few step forwards before the unsheathing of swords and cocking of arrows behind you stops him. This is what you’re afraid of; a stray arrow could mean the start of a war.

    “State your name, rank and allegiance!” One of your own soldiers bellows, stepping forward, bow and arrow in hand. You don’t recognize him so he must be new and he certainly is young.  His voice echoes in the tranquility of morning and you want to praise him for the way it doesn’t shake.

    “Natasha Romanoff, lead commander! My allegiance belongs to King Anthony Edwards Stark!”

You almost think your ears are tricking you but no, the voice is feminine. Suddenly, the soldier you once thought was a man takes off his helmet to reveal the person beneath the iron. Waves of red hair falls across feminine shoulders and striking green eyes find their way to yours.  It’s undeniable now. King Anthony’s lead commander is a woman and a beautiful one at that. Samuel Wilson is the lead commander here at Midgard and he seems just as shocked by the way his mouth is practically touching the ground.

“Weapons down!” Steven commands. His demand is law and there’s no hesitation as all your people follow it. You let out a breath that you hadn’t realize you have been holding back at the sound of the army behind you doing the same. From your peripheral vision you see James moving forward towards Lady Romanoff, stride full of purpose and confidence. You do the same, almost having to tug Steve along.

She’s more beautiful the closer you get and you wonder how she attained her position. You refuse to think she slept her way to the top, not with the way she holds herself. When you finally reach her vicinity, Steve has the audacity to keep you behind him and James like you’re not allowed to make conversation. You grit your teeth in annoyance but keep your mouth shut. You know your place.

“King James, King Steve.” Lady Romanoff greets politely, bowing her head just slightly in respect as she regards each king.

“Lady Romanoff.” James acknowledges. “How was your journey here?”

“Swift.” is her response. You almost want to laugh at her bluntness and instantly decide you like her.

“Thank you for arriving so promptly, we know it must have been a burden.” Steve confesses. “I only have hopes that this decision we’re making will benefit all four kingdoms.

“As does King Anthony.” Lady Romanoff reveals. “That is why he sent us before the first snowfall of our lands. The winters are harsh at Stark.”

“Are you sure your soldiers need not a night of rest?” Steve inquires. “We have plenty of room.”

“No, your majesty.” Lady Romanoff denies with a small shake of her head. “If we may, we would just like to replenish supplies for our horses and get going before the sun reaches midsky.”
    “Of course.” James turns his head to a nearby soldier and nods his head, the mere action allowing the boy to know to give the Stark entourage everything they need and then some.

“May I meet the princess I will be escorting?” Lady Romanoff asks, eyes peering over Steve’s shoulder to meet your own.

“Yes, yes of course. Lady Romanoff, this is my little sister. Crown Princess (Y/N).” Steve says, moving aside. You take a step forward but not in front of your kings. Until you are queen, you are to stay behind them .

“Lady Romanoff.” You greet, taking a hold of your skirt and curtsying deep. “May I not be too troublesome in your journey back home.”

“It shall soon be your home as well, your highness.” She responds, bowing lower than before. It’s strange, you think. She merely bowed her head for your brothers but here she is, bent at the waist for you. You attribute it to who you will in the future; her queen.

“(Y/N) is sensitive to the cold.” Steve suddenly blurts out. “Please make sure she has enough furs at night, and keep the fire crackling. She also doesn’t like red meat or dairy, it makes her stomach hurt. Also, she’s a lightweight, she cannot handle her wine and--”

Brother .” You seethe, giving him a glare. You’re not a child anymore and here he is, embarrassing you in front of your future people. All Lady Romanoff does is smile at the request.

“Of course, King Steve. Everything we do will be for her comfort.” She reassures him.

“Come on, Steve. Let’s go grab her things.” James slings an arm over your brothers shoulders and drags him away. Steve complies, giving you one last pained look before allowing himself to walk away.

“I’m sorry about that. I’m really not sensitive to the cold.” You inform Lady Romanoff once your idiotic brother is out of ears reach. She eyes at the fur that you’re swathed in and you can’t help but go a little red. “Well, not that sensitive.”

“Your brother is a kind man to worry like this.” Lady Romanoff observes. “I’ve seen many kings and brothers that are not quite as caring.”

“Is...Is King Anthony kind?” You ask warily, afraid you’re crossing boundaries. Instead of looking offended, an understanding smile spreads on Lady Romanoffs lips.

“Tony’s a little annoying at first, but he’s kind.” She reassures you.

“Tony? A-Annoying?” You stutter. You can’t quite believe she’s willingly said that out loud in front of so many people. Is it customary to be so casual with your king at Stark Kingdom?

“Yeah, a big pain in my ass actually.” She laughs, the curse falling from her lips so naturally. “You have nothing to worry about though, Princess (Y/N). He’s a gentleman.”

“Are we talking about King Anthony? He better be a gentleman.” James interjects, arriving back on scene. You roll your eyes at James but feel safe as his warmth swamps your side.

“Everything is all packed up and your supplies have been replenished, Lady Romanoff.” Steve informs her happily, always eager to serve.

“We should head on our way then.” She turns and signals to her people.

“Already?” You hear yourself ask. A wave of sadness sweeps through you and your hands grip tightly at the fabric of your skirt.

“Let us say goodbye.” James commands. Lady Romanoff nods and steps away to the side, far enough that she can’t hear.

“Stay safe, and stay warm, little sister.” Steve orders you, placing both his hands on your cheeks. You nod, reaching up to cradle his hand close to your face.

“You must be cautious, little one.” James informs you, face grave. “You must remember that twenty years ago, I was the one that slay King Anthony’s father.”

“Do you think he will use me as revenge?” You ask, the thought almost having completely escaped you until now.

“No, King Anthony would have waged war long ago if the death plagued him. Still, be safe and be wary. I promise that we will come visit in the spring.” James says sweetly, kissing your temple.

“If you change your mind, send a letter.” Steve demands. “Alright? No matter what, no matter the weather, I will personally come get you.”
    “And no heirs until the wedding.” James warns, earning him a roll of your eyes.

“I’m a big girl, I will be fine.” You inform the both of them. “I’ll send a letter when I arrive.”

“And one every week!”
    “Steve…” James goes, shaking his head.

“One every week.” You promise your brother with a smile. “Lady Romanoff awaits me now.”

She glances over at the sound of her name and you wave her back, letting her know you’re ready to leave. Steve wraps you up in his arms from the front and James traps you in from the back. You’re a Midgard king sandwich for a few moments, happily drowning in their warmth and strength. The silhouette of the castle you’ve spent your whole life in is etched into the back of your eyelids, just reminding you of the home you’re going to leave. When they let go, you can’t help but feel empty.

“Are you ready, Princess (Y/N)?” Lady Romanoff asks softly. You nod and step away from your brothers, trying your very best not to look upon their saddened faces.

“I’ll send a letter, big brother.” You repeat, mostly for Steve. He nods and grits his teeth, trying to hide the pain you know he’s feeling.

“Protect her with your life, Lady Romanoff.” Steve begs even though it’s unseemly of a king.

“Of course, your majesty.” She answers obviously. “I was planning to already.”

“Safe travels.” James wishes, shooting you a bright smile. “Don’t cause Lady Romanoff any trouble.”

“I love you both.” You find yourself saying. They’re strong words that hold truth, but you don’t say them often enough. The shock on Steves face and the widening of James eyes are too much and you turn away, walking ahead of Lady Romanoff. She bows behind you, bidding goodbye and jogs until she reaches your side.

“Your carriage is over here, your highness.” She says, gesturing over to the only one in side.

“Thank you.” You whisper, eyes burning with tears. You didn’t realize how hard this was going to be, leaving your home and leaving your family. Sure, you’re doing it for the right reasons, but the way that your last breath has been caught in your chest makes you almost dizzy.

Lady Romanoff is steady as she helps you into the carriage, tucking your cloak around you. The inside is fairly nice and comfortable, covered in furs and fabrics to make it cozy and snug. Your personal bag is on the opposite side, filled with snacks and a bit of needlepoint to keep the time going. As you sit, you take a deep breath in and let it out, hoping it will calm your nerves.

“Princess (Y/N)?” You look to Lady Romanoff, waiting for her to speak. She stands at the side of the carriage, one hand on the door to ready and close it. “I would just like to inform you that everyone in this party is here for you. Anything you need, whether it be for comfort or indulgence, feel free to ask.”

“Thank you, Lady Romanoff.”
    “Please, just Natasha.” She grimaces slightly. “Lady Romanoff is such a mouthful.” You giggle at that.

“Then please, Natasha. Just call me (Y/N).” She nods and sends a smile your way. She closes the door and you lean forward so you can look out of the window. As the horses start to move and turn due to Natasha’s commands, you find your gaze falling upon your brothers. You’re too far away to tell but when you start to wave, you swear Steve starts to cry. James whistles and waves back, a hand on his husbands lower back. They get smaller and small the farther along you get and soon enough, James and Steve are a dot in the distance and you are on your way to meet King Anthony.

You only hope he’s kind.

 

Chapter Text

    King Tony doesn't know what made him do it.

Granted he was probably drunk or exhausted or something of the sort when he sent that letter, agreeing to the Midgardian kings suggestion of taking his little sisters hand in marriage. Did Bruce make him do it? Pepper? Did Strange use his peculiar magic on him to make him write the response? There’s no other plausible reason as to why he would. He doesn’t even know what she looks like or how old she is. She could be ugly beyond all belief, stupid like a rock or the girl could be twelve . If that’s the case, it just means he’s going to have to send her back and start a war or something.

Kidding.

King Tony cares too little to start a war with the other nearby kingdoms. At this point he’d rather someone just come take over and let him live the rest of his days out in a prison cell. He’s never wanted the throne, never wanted a crown, never wanted the power. It was shoved upon him after his father's death and he supposes he’s just grateful that the other kings left him alone for the past twenty years instead of coming and pillaging all his villages.

Sighing, Tony rolls onto his back. Muted sunbeams light up specks of dust in the air that are creeping in past the curtains. The light blue glow of his arc reactor allows him to see the crinkles of his blanket and the grainy wood of the top of his bed frame. It’s like a nightlight almost, except for the fact that this is the only thing keeping the king from dying. Tony reaches up and places a palm over the machinery that has kept him alive for the past two decades or so in a possibly affectionate manner. The metal is warm much like his own skin and if he focuses hard enough, the pathetic beat of his heart could be felt through the iron.

Closing off his vision by balancing his forearm on the bridge of his nose, the battle that gave him this scar plays vividly on the back of his eyelids. Back when he was young, when King Howards words were everything to the young prince, he had entered the battlefield with no fear or doubt. Tony had no faith in his fathers love for him but he had faith in his father's appetite for war. His father’s capability to make weapons that killed thousands with one strike was also quite admirable so when King Howard said they would win, Tony thought they would as well.

All it took to shake that faith was one poorly executed explosive that buried itsy bitsy little pieces of shrapnel into the young prince’s chest. It took days to save him, to bring him back from the brink of death. The electromagnet placed in his chest kept the shrapnel from entering his arteries with every heartbeat and the arc reactor his father modified made sure that Tony didn’t have to carry around a battery for it to work. It was the best they could do and sure Tony’s grateful but sometimes, a huge part of him wishes that his father would have just let him die.

Tony almost wants to laugh because regardless of what he wants, he’s alive. His father cut out parts of his ribs, parts of what made him human and replaced it with machinery to keep him alive. He’s alive and today, he’s going to meet a princess from Midgard that he needs to make fall in love with him or the damn kingdom that his father has oh-so precariously built on the lives of others will crumble. As a good son, he can’t really allow that now can he?

Plagued by the thought of Princess (Y/N)’s arrival, he’s been kept awake. He doesn’t know how to act. He doesn’t know what to do. Well, he knows what to do but actually doing it is another question. Pepper has been harping in his ear for months about how beneficial this alliance will be, how it can help his people and bring the Starks back into the worlds good graces. She goes on and on and on about trade and money and prosperity and it all makes Tony want to do his head in.

Fuck that, to be honest. Stark doesn’t care about the rest of the world or what it thinks of him. He’d let Pepper become queen if the old laws allowed it and if the notion wasn’t complete blasphemy. Tried passing the crown off to a few friends actually and none of them would take it, claiming the blue blood that runs through his veins is the utmost important reason as to why he must stay on the throne. That’s some bullshit too. The last time he bled, Tony remembers it being just as red as any other soldiers.

When the door to his room starts to open, creaking with age, Tony sighs and curls up on his side, pulling the blankets over his head. Here they come. They’re never going to give him any peace, are they?

“Good morning, your majesty!” A certain political adviser says loudly, not a single ounce of respect in her voice though the words deem otherwise. Pepper’s familiar clicking from her heels walk their way over to his side of the bed, gently tugging at his blanket. He sees her slim silhouette through the fabric but denies her entrance as best as he can.

“As king, I demand you all leave me alone.” Tony grumbles. It’s a futile attempt but attempt he will.

“Tony, get up.” The voice is grating on his ears and one day, Tony swears he is going to fire Bruce. The doctor is a part of his threadbare political council which just recently has become active again. Usually Bruce and Pepper just sit around diddling their thumbs but Tony supposes it’s time to give them something to do.

“I am up.” Tony answers from underneath his sheets. “So get out.”

“You need to get ready, your bride will be here within the hour.” Bruce informs the king, yanking the sheets off of Tony’s bed.

Ah yes, his bride. He hates it when people remind him of his past mistakes.

Bruce opens the curtains and the sunlight harshly attacks Tony’s eyes, the cold attacking his body. He groans but Bruce doesn’t care, continuing the routine with the rest of the windows in the bedroom. Goddammit, why do none of his subjects respect his wishes anymore? Cracking an eye open, he finds Pepper standing before him holding a bucket of what he’s sure is very icy water. It’s her new go to lately to get him out of bed before noon and frankly, even if it’s been successful, it’s rude.

“Really?” He asks blandly.

“You have five seconds.” She smiles devilishly before she starts counting down. “Five. Four. Thre--”

“Just give it here.” Bruce walks over and takes a hold of the bucket, not even pausing before he dumps the whole thing on his king.

“Oh, fuck , Bruce!” Tony swears, the cold shocking his body so bad it hurts. Winter at Stark Kingdom is already brutal enough and the fire stoked from the night before had died out. Bruce might as well have taken pneumonia and injected it into the kings veins.

“You have to watch your tongue, Tony.” Pepper orders, throwing a towel over his head. “I hear the princess of Midgard isn’t used to fowl language. Her brother Steve is much too proper for that.”

“She’ll have to get damn used to it living here.” Tony grumbles, sitting up to wipe his face off. A shiver wracks through his body as the ice water seeps it’s way into his pants, soaking his ass and thighs.

“Tony, this is important.” Bruce says gravely. “You have to get this girl to like you, turn on all that charm that I know you have. Our people are suffering and at this rate, we won’t have any people after the next five winters. Do I have to tell you how trade is going again? Our sales have dropped 44% over the last--”

“Alright, alright, just get out.” Tony orders, standing up to physically get them out of his room. “I’ll be ready by the time she gets here.”

“I’m sending someone in to help you.” Bruce informs him as Tony shoves him with one hand. “You know what? I’m gonna send in Wanda because she has no problem manhandling you.”
    “And, uh, the arc reactor. Maybe keep it hidden for a little bit?” Pepper suggests as his hand on her lower back ushers her out. “I know it’s a part of who you are and everything but we don’t want to freak her out, right?”

“Good god, leave!” Tony practically yells, shutting the door in the noses of the two people that always seem to be on his tail. Strange had the decency to stay in the medical wing and Clint never left the armory. It’s always Bruce or Pepper with their heads up his ass, telling him to do this or sign that.

Tony knows full well how important this meeting is, how important this particular princess is. As much as his father wanted the Stark kingdom to be self sufficient and solitary, there’s no damn way. Centered smack dab in the middle of  hundreds of miles of mountains, steady trade with other kingdoms is mandatory for the survival of the citizens. You can only survive on potatoes, salted meat and rain water for so long. Tony’s not stupid, he knows he needs to open up trade once again for his kingdom to even stay a kingdom.

For the past three decades, even during his father's rule, no members from other kingdoms have been welcome at Stark. This princess will be the first after the Infinity War and hopefully, she won’t be the last. If Tony had a god, he would pray to said god that this princess isn’t like every other royal he remembers meeting. If she’s a little stupid that’s fine, and he does not need her to be some sort of grecian beauty. All he hopes for is that she has a personality he can tolerate and, if he’s being very positive, that she is willing to give him an heir. The age is creeping into his bones and if he leaves the kingdom with not even a daughter, civil war surely will ensue.

“Your majesty, Dr. Banner sent me in.”

Tony looks up to find Wanda standing at his doorway, tentatively awaiting to see what is mood is like today. She must think him strange to just stand in the middle of his room but Wanda is used to Tony’s antics by now. She’s been his handmaiden for years ever since she’s become of age. He had picked her and her brother Pietro up from the doorsteps of the castle when they were just children and since then, he’s kept them in his employ. Pietro started off as a message runner and it wasn’t until years later that Wanda showed up at his door as a handmaiden, happy to serve.

“Right, just come in.” Tony says, running a hand across his face to try and rub some of the exhaustion away. “I have to get ready within the hour.”

“Would you like me to draw you a bath?” Wanda asks, shutting the door behind her.

“Give me the whole treatment, Wanda. I have a princess to woo.”

 

~~~

 

The sight of her wakes Tony like nothing else has before; not sunlight, cold water or the sound of an arrow whistling through the air during battle. Watching her exit the carriage, Natasha’s hand gently guiding her down to the ground, it’s like he’s finally learned to see after living his whole life through a haze. He didn’t expect her to be so beautiful. The incomparable cold of his lands has caused a rosy hue to appear on her cheeks, pinking the tip of her nose as well. Her hair is a waterfall around her face, down surely to protect her ears from the icy winds. The first snowfall of the year dusts her figure and the snowflakes melt instantly when they touch her skin.

Tony has lain with many people over the years. It’s not something he’s proud of but he’s not going to hide the fact either. He’s felt practically everything on the spectrum from infatuation to lust; love even, once upon a time. The thing is though, he’s never felt this entranced. The urge to greet her, to swoop down and place a kiss on the back of her hand, it’s almost overwhelming.

She’s brushing the snow off of her full skirt when Tony realizes that the poor girl doesn’t have any damn gloves on. Why didn’t Natasha give her any? He knows the north is warmer than the south around this time of year and she probably didn’t bring any but Natasha knows better than that. Tony immediately starts to walk towards the pair, taking off his leather gloves in preparation. The sudden action startles not only Pepper but Bruce as well. It’s only when he’s standing just a few feet in front of her does the princess finally look up.

“Y-Your majesty.” She stutters, looking up to him, eyes wide and lips parted with shock. She’s unbelievably young but Tony is grateful she’s at least not a child. He watches as her chapped hands painstakingly grip her heavy skirts so she can spread them and curtsy, showing him a deep respect. “A pleasure to meet you, King Anthony. I apologize for my appearance, I’ve yet to have time to prepare myself.” She says meekly, keeping her gaze down even as she rises. She clasps her hands in front of her in a demure position and Tony moves before he thinks.

“Your hands, princess.” Tony points out, reaching for them both. “You have to wear gloves in this weather or your fingers will fall off.” She’s silent as he slips his gloves on her hands, the fit too large for her. The ends go far past her dainty wrists and if she were to even let her arms hang by her sides the gloves would slip off. It’s his favorite pair for these past few years but Tony doesn’t even think twice before relinquishing them to her.

“I offered her my gloves. She just wouldn’t take them.” Natasha states beside them, lips slanting in displeasure.

“I-I didn’t pack correctly for the weather and I didn’t wish for Lady Natasha to suffer because of my inept actions. I apologize, King Anthony.” She says, eyes glued on the leather gloves now on her hands. It’s like she’s never been given a gift before which Tony highly doubts. Surely suitors come from all over to ask for the hand of the only princess of Midgard, spilling souvenirs and jewels at her feet all the while.

“King Anthony of Stark.” He introduces, placing a hand over his heart as he respectfully lowers his head. “Princess (Y/N), yes?” She looks up from the gloves, bright eyes meeting his head on. Tony is awake now, more than ever. Jesus, he feels like a young boy again, standing in front of his first lover. His heart beats like war drums as she gazes up at him, a whole head shorter.

“Yes, your majesty.” The girl answers politely. “Crown Princess of Midgard.”

“Well, princess, come in from the cold. I’d rather not send you back to your brothers in the form of an icicle.”

Tony holds a hand out for her, wind biting the bare skin. She barely pauses before she takes it, a small smile on her lips. Her hands are petite, dwarfed by his as he escorts her into the castle he calls a home. As he walks her inside, past a beaming Bruce and satisfied Pepper, he can hear Natasha yelling orders like the bossy little commander she is. Clint runs out to greet his wife, kissing her soundly in front of the crowd. Tony watches as Princess  (Y/N)’s eyes follow that, smiling at the romance.

“Her husband Clint.” Tony explains briefly. “He’s quite clingy, can’t live without her for more than a few months. Almost threw a fit when I sent her out for this latest mission.”

“That’s sweet.” She comments as they duck into the castle, finally shielded from mother nature. Tony catches her shivering and taking in shuddering breaths. He always forgets that Midgardians are so susceptible to the cold.

“Was your journey here difficult?” Tony asks her, leading her over to the main fire. It roars loudly, the mouth of it’s entrance larger than he. He hopes it will warm her quickly and it seems to do the trick. He can practically see the frost in her hair start to melt at the heat.

“Oh no, Lady Natasha and the rest of your party are very kind.” Princess (Y/N) responds, tipping her face into the fire. “I have to thank you for sending such a capable group for my retrieval.” When she turns back to him, smile on her lips, Tony can’t find the ability to breathe in her presence. Genuinity and kindheartedness practically emanates off of her and Tony briefly wonders if all Midgardians are like this or if it’s just her. He’s not used to it, not one bit.

    “And I have to thank you for accepting my invitation.” Tony manages to say. He looks around and before finding exactly who he’s searching for. “Wanda, come here please.”

    “Yes, your majesty.” Wanda says, appearing by his side in just a moment.

    “Wanda, I’m promoting you. You’ll be Princess (Y/N)’s lady-in-waiting while she is here at Stark. Princess (Y/N), meet Wanda.” Tony gestures towards Wanda and the new lady-in-waiting curtsies low.

    “It’ll be my pleasure to serve you, your highness.” Wanda greets mannerly. The princess blinks in astonishment as if she’s surprised to have been given a lady-in-waiting. She quickly recuperates and returns the gesture, not lowering quite as much.

    “Thank you, Wanda and thank you, King Anthony. This is very, very kind of you.” She says to him, turning his way. He doesn’t know how to answer really, no one has said that to him before. Instead the king clears his throat and takes a step back.

    “There will be a celebration of sorts later to honor your arrival. Food, drink, dance, the lot.” Tony mentions. “I’m hoping you are not too fatigued to join the festivities?”

    “Of course not, your majesty.” She answers quickly, a happy smile spreading on her lips. “I would love to attend.”

    “Wanda, will you show her to her room and allow her to rest before dinner?” Wanda nods at her kings request and gestures towards a hallway at the opposite side of the welcoming room. Princess (Y/N) turns to Tony before she follows Wanda, addressing him one more time.

    “Thank you, your majesty.”

    She keeps thanking him. She’s thanked him what, a dozen times in these past fifteen minutes? It’s unsettling and Tony doesn’t know how to react so he merely does what he does best. He turns away to leave, not saying anything in return, and hopes the pounding in his chest ceases before he has to see her again.

 

~~~

   

    The fire in your bedroom crackles pleasantly, the heat permeating the whole space as if it’s been going all day. You reach forward once again, warming your palms on the flames. King Anthony’s leather gloves are still on your hands, a comforting shade of tawny brown. The material is well worn and faded where he must hold his weapons considering the spots are soft to your touch. You slip them off, less frigid now, but hold them tightly in your hands. You can’t help but allow a delighted expression take over your features.

    King Anthony is benevolent and that’s all you’ve wished for these past few weeks. Sure he’s a little informal and his mannerisms are rusty but you don’t blame him. It’s been years since he’s met another royal and surely this meeting has been plaguing his mind just as much as it has been plaguing yours. You’ve imagined what it would be like possibly a hundred times over and none of those scenarios played out like this.

You thought he would greet you in his home or at dinner, not just as you arrive. The meeting should have been different, proper if anything. You should have bathed and dressed appropriately before kneeling before him as his betrothed, not just as you’re sliding out of a carriage after a three week voyage. The first time gazing upon his face you felt your breath stop in your throat. He is as handsome as the rumors say with a swirl of mahogany hair and dark brown eyes. There was age in the crows feet on his face and apparently, sleep had escaped him the night prior. Regardless he’s the best looking man you’ve come across that hasn’t been a family member and it makes your heart squeeze.

    “Your highness?” Wanda comes into your view, holding bathing materials in her arms. “Would you like to take your bath?”

    “Oh, yes please.” You implore. “I haven’t been able to take a bath since I left Midgard.” It’s not a lie. You’ve had to make do with wet cloths and dry shampoo for the past few weeks and you’re desperate to be clean.

    “It was an arduous journey, no?” Wanda asks of you, leading you to the bath. You look around as you walk and speak, taking in as much as you can. The Stark castle is larger than your own, laced with metals instead of stones and echoes in a metallic way. The welcoming room from what you remember is also larger than your own and that fire . It was beautiful. You wonder if it’s lit all day or all year round.

    “Arduous yes, but worth it I’m sure.” You answer her as she leads you into a separate room. Instead of a regular tub, you’re met with a large space, almost cave like in its demeanor. A small lake of steaming water meets you, marble countertops tracing the edges. Beautiful orbs of soft blue light seemingly float around the room but at closer inspection you find that they’re actually hung from the ceiling with wire.

    “It’s a secluded bath, no worries.” Wanda says to a reassure you. “King Anthony has made sure that you have as much privacy as he needs.”

    “Are all the baths at Stark like this?” You marvel, looking around. You reach the shore of the bath and crouch down, dipping your fingers into the water. It’s the perfect temperature, hot enough to ease away the aches of the day but not too hot to scald.

    “No, but King Anthony uses this as his own private bath as well.” Wanda answers. “His room is down the hall that way.”

You hum in acknowledgement as you start to take off all the layers you had piled on over the expanse of the journey. You settle into the water quickly, sighing with relief as you can physically feel the grime peel of your skin. Wanda wades into the waters as well after tying up her skirt around her waist so she can help you wash your hair and back. The steam that rises is laced with something sharp, something that clears your nostrils and your mind.
    “So, Wanda,” You begin, eager to learn about your new beautiful lady-in-waiting. “have you been working at the castle long?”
    “Almost half my life, your highness.” She answers, gently tilting your head back. She pours warm water over your scalp, soaking your hair over and over. “King Anthony took my brother and I in when we were younger. Our parents left us on the castle doorsteps and he could have turned us away but he took us in, gave us jobs.”

“That’s very generous of him. What does your brother do around here?” You ask.

“He’s a runner for letters, packages, things like that. He’s all I have, Pietro.” You can hear the adoration in her voice and it’s obvious that the love is there.

    “I have one blood brother as well but he’s more of a pain than anything.” You jest, thinking of Steve. “But then he married James and well, now they’re both a pain.”

    “I hear King Steve and King James are very amicable kings.” Wanda states as she massages soaps and oils into the ends of your hair. It’s of a similar scent as the steam, citrusy and fruity. You hum in agreement, proud of your siblings.

    “Have you ever been, Wanda? To Midgard?” You inquire.

    “No, your highness, I have never traveled beyond the Stark walls. I would love to one day; I hear the summers are beautiful.”

    “They are.” You confirm wistfully. “You know, I have a window in my bedroom that looks out to the back courtyard. There’s this tree there that blooms so beautifully in the summer but so briefly. It only takes days before the petals start to fall but those few days are a flurry of white and purple and blue.”

    “That sounds beautiful, your highness.” is all she says.

It is beautiful and momentarily your heart aches at the loss of your home. It’ll be years probably before you’ll be able to return, maybe even longer. You push those thoughts away. This is your home now. These walls, King Anthony, Wanda and Natasha; they are your home now.

 

Chapter Text

    Tony watches at a drip of condensation slips down from the lip of his glass, traveling south until it wets the oak of the wooden table. He gulps and grabs the drink, downing the golden mead in one go. The buzz he desperately has been chasing since earlier today escapes him and he waves a servant over for a refill. He can feel Bruce’s eye on him, can practically hear the lecture later on tonight on how he needs to cut back on his drinking and how his liver isn’t going to last much longer. Frankly, Tony doesn’t care. He needs something to get him through tonight.

    The king is well versed in the art of courting. Since he hit puberty--hell, before his balls even dropped, Tony knew how to talk to a girl. Even after his parents died and he was thrust onto the throne, though he had no idea how to rule, Tony had his words. His silvertongue could talk him out of anything and into anyone’s chambers. These encounters have never been anything more than a one night stand or a month long fling. Relationships merely aren’t his thing but here he sits, awaiting to court a princess so she can save his kingdom.

    The ball is entirely in Princess (Y/N)’s court. Twenty years after the Infinity War has ravaged destruction across his lands, the kind that isn’t visibly seen but causes his people to crumble anyways. Stark is rich in gold sure, there is plenty of money flowing about. The problem is that there is nothing to spend the money on . King Howard had cut off trade to all other kingdoms due to his greediness and his people have paid, paid dearly . The mountainous lands of the kingdom can grow nothing but deeply rooted trees and hardy herbs, the cold killing everything else. Medicine, food, cloth, bare necessities except for water and shelter has been lost in Stark for the past two decades and only this marriage with Midgard will bring them back.

    Tony knows he should have done this years ago. He had tried right after the war but who in their right mind would do business with a tyrants son? He doesn’t blame the other kingdoms. They needed time, needed to make sure that he wasn’t going to wage a devastating battle for the sake of revenge. Stark had been one of the most powerful military kingdoms for all of Tony’s childhood, their weapons the most advanced of the land, their warriors highest in numbers. Even Tony waited for the clutches of revenge to take him so he could avenge his father's death, his mother as well, but it never came.

    Instead the drink took over, the beautiful women, the dashing men. A lavish life flooded all his senses, trying to kick away all other feelings of regret, confusion and bitterness. Sure he became king, but king of what? Of who? With his whole family dead and the rest of the world shunning him, what did Tony really have? The thought of it made Tony selfish and he has been selfish, irreparably so. The first decade of self-indulgence half way explainable; second one not so much.

    His father died in his forties and that’s most likely why Tony has been thinking more and more about his kingdom, about his people. It’s simple, the conclusion that he came to. He merely didn’t want to die having done nothing. Nothing for the kingdom, nothing for his bloodline, nothing to try and reverse his father's horrid legacy. If he can do anything as of right now, it’s form an alliance with the kindest of the kingdoms and to do that, he has to somehow make a beautiful twenty something year old princess tolerate him enough to marry him.

    Tony can do that. Tony is sure he can do that. There are no little Prince or Princess Starks roaming around, he’s made sure of that, and any yearly/monthly/weekly flings he’s nursed for the past few years have been clearly informed he would not longer partake in those meetings. He’s cut his drinking down and even made sure to wear the red robes that Pepper ordered him to. It doesn’t mean he’s not fucking nervous though. Anthony Edward Stark is more nervous than he’s ever been and it’s not a feeling that he’s used to.

    “She’s pretty.”

Tony glances over to Bruce who is sipping his drink so smugly that the king could punch him. The coward drinks red wine, stating it leads to less of a hangover and is swathed in rich brown and dark green robes. The words are clear in their intent and Tony knows that Bruce is happy that they’re true. Tony’s even glad that they’re true but it doesn’t make it any less wrong to talk about her like this. She may have come to be his wife but if that ends up being so, Tony would rather her be more than just another pretty face in the castle.

    “What?” Tony deflects.

    “I’m just saying, she’s pretty .” Bruce repeats, placing his drink down next to Tony’s. “Young, pretty, well-mannered. She’s the perfect princess.”

    “And what of it?” Tony asks warily.

    “You cannot tell me you don’t like her.” Bruce answers, giving Tony a knowing look. “I saw the way you looked at her when she arrived.” Tony merely scoffs and looks away, gulping down half of his beer.

    “You know nothing, I look at everyone like that.” Tony says back nonchalantly. Not exactly a lie.

    “I spent weeks with her and do you boys really want to know something?” Natasha asks her king. “She’s too good for you, Tony.” Tony rolls his eyes as Clint guffaws, halfway drunk off his behind.

    “Regardless of that, their matrimony is what’s going to save all our asses.” Dr. Strange comments. “You better be nice to her, Stark.”

    “I am nice, what’s wrong with all of you?” Tony snaps.

    “We have to talk Tony up.” Clint advises, eyes sweeping across the group of people that has surrounded Tony for the past twenty years. “Make this girl fall for him and trap her before she realizes Tony’s a bit of a dick.”

    “Excuse me? I’m a what?”

    “Right, right.” Bruce agrees, paying the king no attention. “We should tell her he killed a bear with nothing but his hands.”

    “I know you all don’t have that much experience with young princesses but do you men really think women are impressed by that?” Pepper snorts, shaking her head.

    “Fine, enlighten us.” Dr. Strange commands. “What kind of man would (Y/N) prefer? Romanoff?” Natasha doesn’t even have to think about it before she answers.

    “A kind one.”

A pause.
    “Damn. We’re really screwed.” Clint states, earning a howl of laughter from everyone at the table except for Tony.

    “I should have you all beheaded for insolence.” Tony says pointlessly. They all know that Tony would never hurt them, would never even fire them from their positions. All bark, no bite; the king cares far too much for his friends even if he won’t willingly admit that aloud.

    “Hush now, all of you. Here comes the bride.” Bruce announces just as entrance into the room starts to open. Tony stands immediately as he sees her, almost knocking over his own glass as his chair scrapes back. As both of the tall oak doors are pulled wide Tony walks his way to the front of the table so he can better see her as she enters, feet moving like he’s floating.

Tony feels like he’s floating as Princess (Y/N) walks in with Wanda trailing behind her, swathed in gorgeous red velvet and intricate golden lacing. Tony has never seen a gown like that before in Stark where the women tend to bundle up due to the cold but no, (Y/N) bears through it and continues to wear a dress he’s sure she would feel more comfortable in if she were in the warmth of the north. The long bell sleeves practically trail behind her as she walks and Tony spies square neckline that is a little lower than what he thought she would go for. Tony finds that he likes it, he likes how it reminds him that she is a woman, not just a girl being traded for peace.

Princess (Y/N)’s eyes are bright as she looks around the room for a familiar face. When she lands on him she smiles as if he’s what she’s been searching for. It makes his breath hitch. She starts to stride toward him, her face in the open with the strands on her head braided up expertly. A beautiful golden diadem twists into the hair atop of her head and when a piece of her hair falls into her face Tony feels an overwhelming urge to reach up and brush it away, feel her cheek underneath his fingers.

“Go greet her.” Bruce orders from in between his gritted teeth.

With a nudge from his best friend Tony is descending down the steps, going to meet Princess (Y/N) halfway. Briefly from his peripheral vision, he watches his team of friends rise from their seats as well. In a dreamlike state he watches as the crowds part for him and especially for her. They know who she is, everyone knows who she is; every duke, duchess and soul in the castle. She’s the woman that is going to change this kingdom. They watch her with awe as she walks, the click of her heels louder than the rush of blood in his ears. Before he knows it, he’s crossed the room to reach her and she stands a few feet before him. He can’t find it in him to speak so he’s glad she does first.

“Good evening, King Anthony.” Princess (Y/N) says sweetly, lowering her eyes as she curtsies low for him.

“Princess.” Tony holds out his hand for hers and somehow, someway, she instantly finds it inside of herself to trust him and place her fingers atop his own. She smiles bashfully as he brings her knuckles to his lips, placing a gentle kiss there that he’s sure Bruce and Pepper are squealing about. “Did Wanda help you settle in properly?” He asks her as he starts to walk, heading towards the rest of the team at the head of the room.

“Yes, Wanda is wonderful.” (Y/N) smiles at her lady-in-waiting who flushes slightly at the compliment.

“Thank you, your highness.” Wanda says gratefully as she trails a little bit behind the pair.

“Wanda, why don’t you take the rest of the night off?” Tony proposes. “Pietro has just returned from his latest trip and I hear he’s got a gift for you.”
    “Really? Thank you so much, your majesty.” Wanda smiles brightly and she jets off, causing (Y/N) to grin.

Before the princess can say anything else Tony stops their journey just as they reach the top of the stairs. He turns them so they face the crowd that is eagerly waiting for his next few words, for him to officially introduce the new princess. He let’s go of her hand and allows his palm to rest on the small of her back as she clasps her fingers together in front of her stomach. Tony can tell with by the way (Y/N) tips her chin up as she sees an audience that she’s truly a royal. People that were married into royalty are different than those raised in it. The regality and the way she poses herself screams queen, it screams leader and Tony truly appreciates it.

“Hello, my friends, my loyal subjects and my brave knights.” Tony booms, his voice crossing the vast room. The king has no problem capturing the attention of the whole room, all eyes entirely on him as stragglers rise from their seats in respect. “I’m sure everyone has been anticipating tonight or in particular, a very special arrival. Say hello to our first guest in a very long time, Crown Princess (Y/N) of Midgard.” Tony watches, satisfied as all the women he can see curtsy and men genuflect in acknowledgement of her royalty.

“Thank you all for your kindness.” Princess (Y/N) says, addressing the crowd. “Your home is beautiful and I cannot wait to explore these lands.”

“Now, tonight will be a night to welcome this princess into our lands. Eat, drink, be merry; it is a celebration after all. It is  her first time here and so we must be hospitable, we must be kind, and above all we must be respectful . Do you hear me soldiers?” The screams, whistles and cheers that come from that make (Y/N) flush adorably as a small little smile appears on her lips. With a wave of his hand, Tony releases his subjects from their position and the party starts up once again. When he turns them around to lead her to her seat, he’s met with his whole team standing there in waiting.

“Natasha!” (Y/N) exclaims excitedly before he can introduce them.She reaches for his lead commander who returns her enthusiasm tenfold. Natasha beams as she takes (Y/N)’s hands in hers, bringing her in close for a hug.

“Hello, (Y/N). You look well rested.” Natasha says, reaching up to brush away a lock of hair from the princesses face the way Tony desperately wanted to.

“I took a bath .” The two women laugh at that as if there is some secret joke within the words. It’s not until Clint clears his throat behind Natasha that the warrior decides to introduce the rest of them.

“Oh (Y/N), this is General Clint Barton.” Natasha says as Clint shoots a smile (Y/N)’s way. He bows slightly at the waist as (Y/N) acknowledges him with a nod.

“Hello Lord Barton. Husband as well, right?” (Y/N) asks politely.

“Yes but please, princess. Just call me Clint.” He says, face grimacing at the propriety.

“This over here is Dr. Bruce Banner, the royal advisor and Dr. Stephen Strange, our royal healer.” Natasha continues, the proper men walking forward as their names are said.

“Such an honor to meet a Midgardian princess.” Bruce says, bending at his waist. “I hope our castles have been agreeable to your standards.”

“Oh everything is so beautiful here, thank you Dr. Banner.” She answers honestly, eyes traveling the expanse of the ballroom.

“Well I hope you enjoy your stay here, Princess (Y/N).” Stephen says, bowing as well. “But I heard from a little bird that you have a few lesions on your hands from your travels. May I?”

Stephen holds out his hands for an inspection and though confused (Y/N) places both of her palms in his. He sucks at his teeth as he flips her palms back and forth, spying exactly what the problem is. The skin across her knuckles are dry and chapped, threatening to split if used. Tony had actually asked Stephen to form some kind of salve for (Y/N)’s knuckles; he hates seeing what the weather has done to her.

“It only looks bad, doctor.” (Y/N) reassures Stephen. “I’m sure that my skin will adjust to the weather soon enough.”

“No need, I have a balm for you.” Stephen informs her as he puts on a polite smile. Reaching into his pocket that seems to be able to hold anything, the doctor pulls out a small container, petite enough to fit on the flat of her palm. “Apply this as often as you need on any skin that you find is dry or cracking. It’s gentle enough for your face as well.”

“Oh my, thank you.” She beams at the gift, holding it in both hands. It’s so obvious to see that her gratefulness is sincere.

“Last but not least, this is Virginia Potts, King Anthony’s political advisor. We all call her Pepper though.” Natasha finishes as the lady in question makes herself known.

“It’s the freckles and the hair, sadly.” Pepper explains, curtsying lightly.

“Oh but you have beautiful hair.” (Y/N) compliments sweetly. “Hair like flames, my brother says.”

“Carrot top is what Tony says.” Pepper jokes. “Nicknames are his thing, he gives them to everyone.” (Y/N) giggles before she turns to the king.

“Do I have one?” She asks playfully.

“How about ‘beautiful’?” Tony replies with ease, finding his way back into his playboy tendencies that had stuttered when they first met. The words are bold, just like him and Tony can see by the way that she smiles and pinks that they land where he wants them to. The nervousness he felt earlier dims just a little because if he can do anything even on his deathbed, it’s flirting. “Come, sit, eat, princess. I’m sure you’re famished.” Tony observes, holding out his arm so she can see where her seat is.

(Y/N) is already steadfast friends with Natasha but everyone else takes a liking to her as quick as rainfall in spring. Sitting next to her now, hearing her speak and laugh, it’s mesmerizing. She’s truly a princess, embodying all the traits a princess should surely have. She sits straight, head tall with her hands clasped in her lap as she smiles demurely. A part of Tony wants to see her unravel, wants to see her bare her teeth as she laughs louder than what is appropriate or even hear any sort of cruel quip fall from her rosen lips.

“Are you enjoying the food, (Y/N)?” Natasha asks the princess. “I know your brother said you don’t quite like red meat.” All (Y/N) does is smile, shaking her head.

“Steve thinks I’m far more fragile than I am. I had to write him a letter today to let him know I’ve arrived safely. I hope he’ll sleep at least a few hours before it arrives in a few weeks.” She jokes, knowing her worrisome brother well.

“Tell us what Midgard is like, princess.” Bruce politely commands. “I’ve been but that was years ago.”

“I doubt much has changed. We’re a type of people that like to keep to tradition.” She confesses though proudly. “The ports are beautiful though, much more modern than before. There’s some new system in place to keep ships coming and going almost constantly. I’ve yet to master it but it works very well; we’ve not had a hitch in years.”

“Yes the sea.” Natasha reminisces. “It was beautiful as we passed it.”

“There’s not water here, not even a godforsaken lake.” Barton shakes his head. “I do hope one day I can come see.”

“You’re welcome to go drown yourself in a tub if you’re so eager to find a body of water, Clint.” Tony teases. All that earns him is a rude gesture from the soldier that Princess (Y/N) gasps at.

“Oh ignore them.” Pepper tells her. “I tried to get them to behave better before your arrival but they can only be so chivalrous before they become crude.” The laugh that comes from her is sweet and melodic, bringing forth a smile from the blonde haired woman.

“I’m merely not used to such a casual environment.” She murmurs, looking around the room. “Midgard is quite strict in formalities in comparison to Stark.”

“Imagine what it’s like when King Loki and King Thor come to visit.” Pepper smirks. “The help they bring practically have heart attacks.”

“It’s because Tony is lazy.” Stephen explains, ignoring the slight glare the king gives him in response to the words. “Twenty years of seclusion has allowed the muscles Tony uses for etiquette to become atrophied.”

“Lazy, am I?” Tony asks devilishly. “Not too lazy to have you beheaded, Strange.”

“Try me, Stark.” The doctor responds, just as snarkily. Staring straight at the king, Strange cuts into his steak, the blood bleeding out so profusely that Tony wonders if the thing spent more than three seconds in the pan.

Princess (Y/N)’s laughter is what breaks the tension between them, drawing the attention of all others at the table. She takes a sip of her wine, the liquid reddening her lips. “You all are so hilarious, I love it.” She says, smiling brighter than the sun. She tosses her head back and laughs again and Tony is already committing it to his memory, the way her eyes twinkle, the way the muscles move on her decolletage.

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re a little bit strange?” Bruce asks her cautiously, a smile quirking up the side of his lips.

“Not at Midgard, but I fear that will be the case here..” She replies good naturedly.

Just like that, she falls beautifully into the rhythm that makes up Stark. Tony watches from the sidelines as she makes conversation, charisma emanating off of her in a different way than he’s used to. She’s not over the top, she doesn’t shower everyone with compliments or praise their accomplishments to high heaven. She’s real, candid, straightforward. The king can’t smell even a little bit of deceit from her. (Y/N) is absolutely nothing like he thought she would be, so different than every other royal he’s extrapolated his expectations from, smashing his collected data to smithereens.

“Natasha, my love, dance with me!” Clint demands loudly, cheeks pink with intoxication. He stands up quickly, holding his hand out for Natasha who looks up at him tiredly. He always gets like this after a few drinks and while the rest of the group finds it hilarious, the rest of the group doesn’t have to deal with his touchiness once bedtime comes.

“No.” is his wife's curt answer.

“Natasha!”
    “Just dance with him or he’ll never shut up.” Bruce laughs, nudging Natasha to stand. He turns his head to Tony, mischievously smiling before he speaks. “You like this song too, don’t you Tony?” Before Tony can say something snarky in return, something about Bruce’s poop colored robes and how he can go shit himself for all Tony cares, Princess (Y/N) beams.

“Yes, this song is quite pleasant.” She says, turning her bright youthful eyes on him. That’s when he knows he’s lost the battle before he could even arm himself.

“A dance then, princess?” Tony stands, offering her his arm. “We can show the Romanoff-Bartons how it’s done.” Setting down the glass that was in her hands, (Y/N) grins and stands to take his hand. There’s complaints from Clint as the pair make their way to the dance floor and all Natasha does is wave him off.

The song is light and airy, other couples already spinning themselves dizzy to the beat. Tony turns to (Y/N) as she places her free hand on his shoulder and he places his own on the small of her back. Tony gulps as she steps close, lithe and graceful, smelling faintly of flowers and fruit. He wants to say something as they start to move in sync to the sounds, anything would suffice but it seems any willing words are caught in his throat like a bad fishbone.

“Are you enjoying your night, King Anthony?” (Y/N) asks, gazing up at him through thick lashes. He feels his heart squeeze at her eyes but her words manage to allow him to swallow down that ball in his throat.

“Am I giving off any emanations that I am not?” Tony asks in return.

“You’re just quiet is all. I’m not used to quiet kings.” She jokes.

“You’re telling me King Steve has a big mouth?” Her lips come up in a smirk.

“Not any bigger than King James, that’s for sure.” (Y/N) laughs at her own joke as Tony finds it in himself to smile as well.

“Merely quiet because a part of me can’t believe you’re here.” Tony confesses amongst the noise of the filled hall.

“I can’t believe it either, but I am glad I am.” (Y/N) says softly, her hand tightening gently on his shoulder.

“And this...arrangement. It does not bother you, princess?” Tony asks tentatively. He did not want to press any buttons or bring the girl any distress but he must know. He does not want to marry a princess that is unwilling or keep her here longer than she wants.

“Why would it?” She replies in return. (Y/N) quirks her head to the side slightly, lengthening the column of her neck and allowing a tuft of hair to slip out from behind her ear.

“Surely you’ve heard the disastrous histories of our time of princesses being married off to men for power, for alliance.” Tony states. “Only the very rare few were treated civilly. Are you not afraid?”

“I am more hopeful than I am afraid.” The words catch him off guard. The king has always prided himself in being able to come up with witty responses in seconds, but the next words he says are plain.

“Hopeful for what?”

“For a better future; perhaps one where Lord Barton may visit the sea.” The small smile on her lips is coy and Tony can’t help but chuckle.

“You are a good princess, (Y/N). Almost too good, has anyone told you that?”

“I’ve heard similar words from King James.” (Y/N) confesses. Ah yes, Tony remembers King James well; the man that killed his father. He isn’t bitter though nor does he seek any sort of revenge. His father was not the best man and certainly was not a proper king.

“You have no resentment towards the kings of Midgard?” Tony ponders aloud. “You care not of how easily they are willing to marry you off to an old man like me?”

“If you must know, my brother fretted like a mother hen for months before allowing me to finally leave Midgard.” She smirks at the memory. “I am here because I want to be, King Anthony, worry not. I have no skills in the battlefield, no stable boy whom I long for and no calling but this one that tells me I am here to be by your side.”

Her words strike a spot inside his heart, piercing straight through the armour he’s been building up all these years. Here. For him. It’s a foreign idea but not unpleasant. “You can call me Tony.” The king lamely supplies, voice surprisingly firm.

“Tony it is.” The way she says his name, the way her lips and tongue wrap around the syllables causes a new sort of affection to swell in his chest. The king finds himself smiling and thinking that mayhaps, this won’t be so bad afterall.

 

Chapter Text

    A soft knock at your door is what awakens you. You’re used to the Midgardian sun on your face being your alarm clock, bringing you to consciousness slowly but surely, not a maid rapping on your door. When you open your eyes today though, there is no warming sun. The rays that fall upon you are grey, they’re cold and muted by lingering clouds. You shiver underneath your blankets as the morning chill, colder than ever before, seeps through from underneath the mattress. Snuggling into a cocoon you hope to fall back asleep, not wanting to touch what you know are surely cold floors with your bare toes.

    “Your highness, are you awake?” Wanda’s voice asks gently as her footfalls keep you awake. Ah, darn it. So much for a few more minutes.

    “Mmm, yes.” You answer, rubbing your eyes as you bring yourself up to sitting position.  “What time is it, Wanda?” You inquire, swallowing a yawn whilst you do so. With sleep still glazing over your vision, you look around slowly to take in your surroundings. For a moment you’re confused by the different layout but soon your mind connects the dots and you’re reminded of where you are. It’s your new bedroom, furnished by all the basic necessities as well as some luxurious additions. Wrapping your arms around yourself, you tremble. Stark really is so much colder than Midgard.

    “Nearly nine, your highness.”

    “Nine!” Your eyes fly open wide as your heart jumps to your throat. You’ve never slept in this late before!
    “Oh it’s alright, your highness.” Wanda laughs as she walks over to your side, a tray in her hands. Gentle swirls of steam come from the teapot and glass plates rattle on the metal as she moves.  “King Tony sleeps till noon most days.”

    “I usually rise by dawn.” You murmur. Your heart beat slows just as bit as you realize you’re not late for anything and you take in a deep breath. Being in Stark is really going to meddle with your sleeping schedule isn’t it?

    Wanda places the tray in her hands next to you on the bedside table as she gives you a soft smile. “I’ll be sure to come and wake you a bit earlier from now on. Would you like to take a bath this morning?” She asks you. “Or would you like breakfast first?”

    “A bath, I think, a quick one to wake me up.” You answer, throwing off your blanket. “I had a bit of a late night.”
    “Yes I was told.” Wanda smirks as she takes your hand, helping you stand in the early morning grogginess. The cold causes your toes to curl but walking to the bathroom helps. “I heard you and King Anthony had a swell time last night.” Wanda comments, grabbing a few towels as she follows you.

You flush brightly, words triggering memories to flash through your mind. You really did have a swell time last night. King Anthony--no, Tony is amazing. His hands held you close as you danced, warm and comfortingly human on your skin. When you first met him, you expected to feel some kind of resentment but you don’t. His father’s actions are not his and while the rest of the world may blame him, you do not.

It’s true though that his words are just as charming as the legends say. They make your heart flutter, how could they not? When he walked you back to your room after all the festivities dwindled, he left a kiss on your knuckles that still burns even now, hours later. You feel like it’s all a dream but when you look around in this extravagant castle, so differently lavish than your one in Midgard, you’re reminded that it’s all real.

    “We did.” You say softly, unable to stop a smile from spreading on your lips. “Will I see him today perhaps?”

    “Of course! Actually, he wants me to invite you to meet him at the stables. I believe he would like to show you around the castle grounds.”

    “Is it cold out? Shall I wear something warm?” It takes you a moment and a pointed look from Wanda to hear how silly you sound. You laugh, shaking your head at yourself. Of course you should wear something warm. You’re in Stark now after all.

    “I hung up many of your things last night whilst you were out with King Anthony.” Wanda informs you as you slink into the bath, water warming you from inside out.

    “Thank you, Wanda.”

    “It’s my job, your highness. I just wanted to let you know that King Anthony also has gifted you a few garments when he figured that you would not be used to the cold.” Your heart quivers at the thought of him thinking for your well being.

    “He did?” You ask, not really to know but just to talk.

    “Yes. A few gowns in the Stark style and a multitude of capes, gloves and other accessories to keep you cozy. I believe there is even a pair of leather boots to keep your feet from the newly fallen snow.” Your cheeks hurt from how wide you smile.

After your bath, you thumb through the assortment of dresses that have been given to you. It’s obvious that a feminine touch has been added; no matter how kind Tony is he is still a man. In the end you choose a dark purple, long sleeved dress with delicate silver embellishments. It’s of thicker material than you’re used to but Wanda is right, it keeps you warm. The boots that have been supplied to you are so different than the shoes you usually wear but that’s because Midgard sees snow once in a blue moon and you’re used to an assortment of heels and flats.

Your lady-in-waiting clasps a beautiful dark green cape over your shoulders trimmed with soft black fur, complete with a hood and matching gloves. There are slits at the sides that you slide your hands through, allowing you to use them while still wrapped in warmth. You choose to leave your hair down this time around to fend off the cold that is outside, hoping it doesn’t tangle if there is wind. With a light breakfast of tea and porridge in you, you feel fuzzy and comfortable.

    “To the stables, your highness?” Wanda asks you, straightening out your hair. She wears her own cape, simply black to match her uniform and you wonder if you could perhaps fund a tailor to trim it with fur to keep her warm as well.

    “Yes, please.”

    Walking through the halls, you take in everything you see. Yesterday, the weary of travel had made everything hazy but now you can see clearly. The halls of the Stark castle are towering but bare, not a single portrait or decoration besides for torches to light the way in the night. The inner halls that you walk through hold no light but the outer ones are lit by vast windows, allowing the sun to do what it’s mean to do. Whilst the castle in your home is bustling with help, visitors and citizens coming and going, this place just seems empty. You see a few souls here and there, all bowing as your pass but that’s it.

    “It’s right outside here, your highness.” Wanda says as you reach your destination. She pushes open a door to the surrounding grounds and immediately a blistering wind hits you. You bring up your hood to protect your head before you step across the threshold and what you see takes your breath away.

    Yes, Stark is cold. Yes, here in Stark it snows as much as the sun shines in Midgard. Yes, you’re scared that your fingers and toes may become ravaged by frostbite but by the gods is Stark beautiful . Dew that lines every blade of grass in the field before you has become frozen, the ice glistening in the light of the sun. The trees that you can see have been frosted with the same treatment, looking like something out of a fairy tale. Snow dusts the cobblestones beneath your boots, no longer falling but still sticking to everything it can touch. Outside now, you breathe in the crisp morning air that shocks your lungs but makes you feel fresh and brand new.

    The clanging of swords and shouts of men shakes you out of your admiration for the land. Wanda leads you towards what you can only infer are the stables except you can spy two figures sparring on the grass, a small group of young men at the sidelines. Their sparring session reminds you of dance, each parry and thrust a beautiful rhythmic ode to song. Nearing closer, the small set of soldiers spit down the middle so you and Wanda acquire front row seats to the fight. You gasp slightly, finding that you recognize one contestant but not the other.

    Tony holds his sword like an extension of himself, face focused as he brings the blade down from his right, the metal sparking as it meets it’s opponent. The owner of the opposite weapon is a dark skinned man with an oval face, strong nose and determined eyes. He uses Tony’s force as momentum, dragging the blunt side of his sword upwards to shove the king off. The sound screeches in your ears and you grimace but watching as Tony makes a comeback, turning on the heel of his foot to strike at the other mans side is beautiful.

    You’re not a stranger to sparring. You watch James and Steve do it all the time, even training with them every once in a while. The soldiers at your castle are always messing around, practicing their skills with daggers or bows and arrows in the free courtyards. It’s never been this mesmerizing though, and you can’t seem to take your eyes off of Tony. He wears no coat, no armor, merely dark trousers and a burgundy tunic that is rolled up to his elbows. Sweat darkens the material at his chest and small of his back but it doesn’t deter him from fighting with all he has, strength and skill emanating from the king so strongly you swear you could touch it.

    With flourish, Tony manages to swipe a kick at the strangers ankles. He falls to the ground, flat on his back with no way to prevent it and the whole group can hear the air being knocked out of his lungs. You laugh and glance over to Wanda as the soldiers around you whoop and cheer for their king. She’s smiling as well but rolls her eyes while mouthing Boys. good naturedly.

    “You’re getting rusty, Rhodey!” Tony points out with a dashing smile on his lips. He drives his sword into the hardened grass so he can lean over and help the man up.

    “I’m not rusty--”
    “Do not lie, Rhodey. It’s unseemly of a knight..”

    “Tony, I could kick your ass any time, any--”

    “You wish. Remember that time I kicked you down a hill with both my hands behind my back?”

    “Shut up, I just let you win because your lady is standing over there.” Rhodey grunts, gesturing over your way once he’s back on his feet. When Tony finally looks over you give him a bright smile, dipping slightly as you spread your skirt. Beside you, Wanda follows in suit.

    “Rhodey, come say hello.” You hear Tony say, clapping his friend on the shoulder as he leads them both towards you and your lady-in-waiting.

    “The rest of you, back to training!” Rhodey orders sternly. The soldiers around you scatter, bowing goodbye before they disappear but it’s adorable the way they continue to speak of the fight.

    “(Y/N), good morning.” Tony says when he reaches you. Up close you can practically see the adrenaline of the battle pump through him, lighting up his eyes and demeanor. His hair, while tamed the night before is a bit of a mess now, curls and waves doing whatever they want. You find the sight charming and preferable.

    “Good morning, Tony.” You reply. “That was an amazing fight I just witnessed.”

    “Thank you, your highness. My name is James Rhodey, at your service.” Rhodey bows lightly, a hand coming to rest on his stomach as the other folds across his back.

    “Rhodey here has been my sparring partner for years. Today’s win was just one of many.” Tony explains, shooting his friend a winning smile. Rhodey scoffs at that.

    “Like I said Tony, I just didn’t want to embarass you in front of your princess.” His princess. The words because your cheeks to pink and you hope the pair in front of you will write that off to the cold weather. Seeing Rhodey smirk though, you have no such luck. He continues to speak and thank god because you have no idea what to say. “I best get going then. The new recruits won’t train themselves. Same time tomorrow, Tony?”

    “If I’m up that early.” After a warriors handshake, Rhodey nods goodbye to you and Wanda before making his way into the stables, disappearing among the wood.

    “King Anthony, shall I accompany you and Princess (Y/N) on your ride?” Wanda asks politely.

    “No, that’s alright. We only have two available horses as of right now anyways.” Tony explains. “I’ll take care of everything, take the morning off.”

    “Oh my, being promoted would make one thing I would be working harder but I suddenly have all this free time.” Wanda jokes.

    “Don’t make me give you a list of chores to do.” She laughs and you lean over to kiss her goodbye. She becomes a dot in the distance as she walks away and when you turn back to Tony, his eyes are glued on you.

    “Ah, you’re wearing it.” He states, gesturing at your attire. You feel flattered as his eyes sweep over your figure, a different sort of heat bubbling up in your stomach at the ways his pupils widen. “The dress and everything else. Do you like them?”
    “Yes, everything is gorgeous. Your gifts are most generous, thank you.” You reach up, fingers stroking the mink affectionately. Tony smiles at the gesture, lips closed but quirked upwards.

“Do you know how to ride, (Y/N)?” Tony asks you, leading you towards the stables.

“I’ve been taught the basics.” You answer. “Nothing advanced, I’m afraid.”

“No need, you’ll be riding FRIDAY and she’s a sweetheart.” Tony turns to you just as you chuckle.

“FRIDAY, what a curious name for a horse.” You comment, following him through an arched wooden doorway. Inside is slightly warmer though not by much. A few stable boys linger, cleaning out the space or refilling water troughs. One comes up to Tony with a towel and new tunic in hand, his nervous eyes flitting between the two of you.

“King Tony, Princess (Y/N).” He greets, bowing low. He must be no more than ten or eleven by the looks of him, smeared in dirt and wearing a threadbare overshirt. The young boy holds out his arms and Tony grabs the closest thing on top, a towel.

“Hello there, you’re not the usual stable boy. Where’s Johnson?” The king asks casually, wiping off the sweat on his face and neck.

“Oh. Um. I-I’m filling in for him this week, your m-majesty. My brother is s-sick, your majesty.” The child stammers.

“Yeah?” Tony asks, eyebrows raising in question. “What’s your name, kiddo?”

“A-Alexander, your majesty.”

“And how old are you?” The question seems to drain the color from the boys face and his head drops before he answers.

“Eleven, your majesty.”

“Alexander, you must know the rules at the castle.” Tony states sternly, lowering the towel from his face. “I do not allow anyone under the age of sixteen to work here, especially during a weekday. Why are you not in school?”

“My family needs the m-money, your majesty. Please don’t send me away, we can’t afford for Johnson to lose his job.” The boy pleads. “I can miss school, it’s only a week—“

“Go home.” Tony orders. He reaches into his side pocket, pulling out a small satchel that jingles loudly. Alexander barely catches it with his hands when Tony tosses it to him, juggling it like a hot potato before he manages to get a hold of the money. Tony takes his shirt and you watch as the Alexander’s eyes widen to the widen to the size of a dinner plate once he realizes that Tony has given him what is most likely a years worth of stable boy wages.

“W-What is—this is too generous—I can’t—“

“Get out of here and get to school.” Tony orders nonchalantly. “Buy your brother some medicine and tell him I expect to see his freckled ass here in two weeks, healthy as he can be. Understand?”    

“Yes! Thank you, your majesty! Thank you!” Beaming now the boy turns around and runs at full throttle in the opposite direction. Tony just made sure his whole family is set for these upcoming years and seeing the exchange warms your chest.

“Do you do that often? Casually give out gold to your workers?” You ask curiously.

Tony chuckles as he turns around, continuing to take his shirt off of him by pulling the back over his head. He speaks casually whilst he undresses and redresses himself, muscles of his back rippling as he moves. Your eyes do a quick sweep of his figure, taking in skin you’ve never seen on any other man but your brother before you flinch away, eyes downcast and face heating up faster than kindle. Biting your lip you will your heart to stop thumping so damn hard against your rib cage, reminding yourself that here at Stark things like this are common . You’re just overreacting!

“No, Johnson is just a very solid worker. He should have known better than to send his little brother but hard times are upon us and I can’t blame him. Oh, I see you’ve found FRIDAY.”

Unsure of what he’s talking about, you look up. A tall beautiful horse is right in front of you and somehow you’ve missed it all this time. You’re in the stables after all, of course there are horses around. This one, FRIDAY, is a beautiful mare with rich dark brown fur. She looks at you intelligently, tail held high behind her. A neigh from beside her makes you jump, forcing you to split your attention. The horse beside FRIDAY kicks at the stall, anxious to get out now that it sees it’s owner.

“JARVIS, I’m coming to get you, stop being a drama king.” Tony says teasingly. The king reappears in your line of sight, fully clothed, thank god , as he unhooks the lock of the door for the horse next door. Out walks a black stallion, head held high as he chuffs at Tony. He nudges the king with his nose, forcing him back as he trots out of his previous home. Large and robust, the gorgeous animal causes Tony to laugh as it flares it’s nostril, neighing lightly as it circles him.

“He’s beautiful.” You comment, a smile spreading on your lips.

“He’s a pain. Here, let me allow FRIDAY to come out or she’ll start crying too.”

You step aside and watch as FRIDAY trots over to JARVIS, nudging at him and nibbling at his neck. You remember from a long time ago how this is a sign of comfort, of familiarity. It’s sweet to watch as the pair stand next to each other, obviously very much in love. The stallion is probably in love with another dozen of mares but regardless, you like seeing how caring animals can be.

“JARVIS here has been with me a long time, about ten years.” Tony says, reaching over and patting the animal on the back. “FRIDAY is much younger, only about four. Can’t get her off of him though, attached to his hip she is.”

“They’re sweet.” You say, reaching up to touch her. She nuzzles into your palm, walking close so she can sniff at your hair. You giggle and take off your gloves you can really feel her warmth.

“She seems to like you.” Tony observes as he starts to saddle up JARVIS. The horse is mostly obedient, standing in place as his owner does what he like but JARVIS does do everything possible to annoy Tony from nipping at his hair to being just slightly out of reach every time something needs to be buckled.

“He’s playful isn’t he?” You notice, laughing as he gives Tony a sloppy lick. “Do you need any help?”

“No, it’s alright. JARVIS is set and now I just have to get FRIDAY ready. She’s much easier. There’s some carrots over there, do you want to give him one? I’m sure he’s peckish.”

You walk to the opposite side and reach into a hanging burlap sack, feeling around for a few large carrots. Before you can even turn around, JARVIS invades your personal space by thrusting his muzzle over your shoulder, trying to get at the treats with his lips and teeth. It’s so ridiculous, the sight of it, and you can’t help but laugh out loud, jumping out of the way to keep the vegetables out of reach. You only managed to grab two of them but it’s enough for JARVIS to whinny and follow you, mirth in the large horses eyes.

You’re giggling as you backup, standing on the tip of your toes and placing a hand on the horse to keep him back. You’re not paying attention the least bit to anything but JARVIS’ greediness so it’s not surprising when you bump into Tony’s sturdy chest. You squeak and teeter, unused to the type of shoes you’re wearing and JARVIS’ pushiness. You probably would have fallen if it wasn’t for Tony’s hand on your lower back, keeping you upright.

“He’s so damn needy.” Tony chuckles, completely unaware of how his close proximity makes your cheeks color.

Taking your surprise to his advantage, JARVIS snaps up the carrots in your hand, chomping happily. You let out a breathy laugh and shake your head. One would think that the animal planned this but you know better than that. “Do you ride sidesaddle? Or regular?” Tony asks you, hand slipping from your back to your waist, leaving your skin cold when his touch leaves you.

“Either!” You chirp, masking your nervousness with a bright voice. When you turn you find Tony giving FRIDAY an affectionate stroke on the back of her neck.

“Down, girl.” The king orders, leaning down to tap gently at her shins. FRIDAY complies and bows down, bending her two front knees. Amazed, you silently walk over and mount her, the motion familiar and graceful. You grip her reins as she rises, tightening your knees as she takes a few steps.

Feeling steady, you allow yourself to glance over to Tony. He grabs a cape from another peg stuck into the wooden beams near JARVIS’ stable and drapes it over his shoulders to protect himself from the cold. Shooting you a bright confident smile he mounts JARVIS with ease and speed, patting the animal amicably on the side of his neck.

“Well, first stop of the tour is this stable.” Tony jokes, gesturing towards the infrastructure. You can’t help but laugh at the silly quip, shaking your head.

“Very observant.” You comment. “Where to next?”

It’s absolutely delightful following Tony around as he shows you the grounds. He’s so funny , your face hurts from the constant laughing. It’s a drier sense of humor than you’re used to with hints of self depreciation and teasing. Some of it was crude and even a little bit mean, things that if you were asked a month ago you would have said that’s not funny. Regardless, it’s obvious that Tony is well known around the castle, many people stopping to make conversation with him. You like seeing him interact with people. You remember Steve always saying that the way someone treats the help is a large indicator of how they will treat you as a person.

By mid morning, you’ve made a full round around the castle. You’ve met the butcher, the cook, the head maid, the gardener, the blacksmith and everyone in between. You guys stopped by to say hello to Natasha and Clint at the training grounds, popped into Bruce’s lab where the doctor showed you something that you smiled and nodded at but didn’t quite fully understand, and even bothered Dr. Strange for a little bit before he kicked you and Tony both out.

“I have one more location to show you.” Tony states from beside you. You’re both still perched on your respective horses, strolling along the outer grounds of his estate.

“I thought we have been everywhere in the castle.” You say in a perplexed tone.

“This is a bit outside of the castle if you’re up for it, princess.” Tony looks past you towards a line of trees that lies at the base of a small range of mountains. There is an air of mystery past the borders of the castle and you feel adventure sparking in your heart.

“Race you?” You ask him cheekily.

You don’t even let him answer, turning FRIDAY around immediately and digging your knee into her sides. She speeds up exponentially at your command and Tony’s loud laughter behind you sets a fire in your blood. The wind knocks your hood back, whipping your hair and surely tangling it in the process. You can’t seem to care as Tony makes himself known in your peripheral vision, smiling brightly as he winks at you. Before you can even flush or gawk he passes you swiftly, JARVIS a blur of black as he speeds ahead.

“Come on, FRIDAY!” You encourage, motioning for her to go faster. “We can do it, girl!”

It’s useless. After all, JARVIS is a stud no doubt chosen for his speed and skill and FRIDAY is just a breeding mare. Still, you can’t find it in yourself to feel bad when you lose because when you arrive where Tony has unmounted, he’s grinning at you unabashed. It’s the first time you’ve ever seen him smile like that, like he’s truly and really happy. Something inside you bursts and you realize that from this moment on, all you ever want to do is make him smile like that.

Ever since you were a child, you have been compliant and amenable. You’ve received every birthday gift with a smile on lips whether you liked it or not. You’ve attended every class, every lesson, allowed everyone to tell you what you should do and then did it. You are the definition of acquiescent and you have never asked for anything in return. You have never wanted anything in return. Except for this. Except for him.

For the first time in your life, you want to do something. You know you are inept and inexperienced but you will try. For Midgard, for yourself, for Tony, you will try.

 

Chapter Text

    “Slow.” Tony comments, striding towards (Y/N) as she arrives. She scoffs at his words as she swings her legs down to dismount. The roll of her eyes is the cutest thing he’s ever seen but he feels like if he patronizes her even more she’ll threaten to go back to Midgard and he definitely doesn’t want that.

    “You’re lucky that I’m not a sore loser.” She teases, playfully pushing him away by placing her hands on his chest. Chuckling, Tony allows her to move him even though he’s sure she’s about as strong as a baby bird.

    “I’m not sure about that, you sound a little sore to me.” He jokes, taking the chance to turn to JARVIS.

    “Are we leaving them here alone?” (Y/N) ask, returning her attentions to FRIDAY. She reaches forward and strokes the mares face, one hand under the horse's chin to scratch pleasingly. FRIDAY chuffs affectionately, stepping forward to be closer to her.

    “FRIDAY and JARVIS will be alright, don’t worry about them.” Tony reassures the princess. He reaches for a pack that is hung on JARVIS’ saddle, swinging it over his shoulder before taking FRIDAY’s reigns from her hands. He ties the lovers up to a nearby branch, leaving a few apples and carrots behind for them to snack on. They’re happy to settle down and rest, nipping at each others ears.

    “Where are we going?” (Y/N) asks him, straightening out her dress as he walks towards her.

    “One of my favorite places.”

Tony reaches forward and without thinking, takes her hand in his. It doesn’t take more than a moment for her to intertwine their fingers, so naturally, akin to the way rivers cut through valleys over time. Her skin is soft underneath his, warm and dry, slender knuckles partially healed from Strange’s medication. (Y/N) holds on firmly to him, palm to palm and the king pauses.

Tony’s not sure why he does it because he’s not really the hand holding type. Out of every relationship he’s ever had, every fling or one night stand, Stark can remember how many times he’s held a woman's hand on, well, one hand. It’s too intimate for him, makes things too serious. When he looks down, confused at the connection, it must be strange to (Y/N) considering he initiated the gesture. Tony looks back up to the princesses face and finds her confident and bright, unnerved by it at all.

“Well? Come on then. Show me this favorite place.” She encourages, squeezing his hand. Nodding and refusing to put any more thought into his actions, Tony pulls her along underneath the canopy of the trees.

The sun is up higher now, clouds having moved along to shroud some other part of the castle. The air warms up even just slightly so, filtering through the foliage from above. Specks of sun line the well trodden forest floor as well as fallen leaves, branches and sprouts of mushrooms. It’s obvious that Tony has come this way many times before with the way the trail is formed. He wasn’t lying when he said this is one of his favorite places. It’s close to the castle but fairly secluded, just the place he needed when everyone wanted something from him.

They walk in silence, her hand warm in his.     It’s a fairly easy hike with a very slight incline, even a child could do it. Tony thought he should have filled the silence with some sort of conversation but (Y/N) is too busy looking around, mouth parted as she gawks at the nature. By the way she reacts, Tony could swear she’s never even been outside before. It takes only ten minutes before Tony spies the slightly rocky hill that marks the entrance to where he wants to be. It’s not too tall, about three feet up but still can be dangerous for those who aren’t used to it.

“Careful here, there’s a bit of a step up.” Tony warns, allowing (Y/N) to walk first. She lifts her skirt to hook her foot on an edge of a large rock, skillfully making her way up. Impressed, Tony follows her up, doing his best not to jostle his bag.

When he reaches the top, he finds (Y/N) staring out in the scenery, mouth parted and eyes wide with admiration. He has led her to a pretty solid cliffside, not high off of the ground below at all. A fall from the edge may result in a broken bone or so but not death. It juts out from the side of a hill overlooking a fast flowing river that cuts through the forest at the back of the castle. It’s fairly small for a river, about 50 feet wide and at the deepest only twice that much. In the spring when the snow melts, it practically triples in size and this cliff becomes swallowed with water.

Right now with winter approaching is when this river looks is best (in Tony’s opinion at least). He’s always loved the look of snow and ice, unyielding and reaching every single crook and cranny of the earth it chooses to crawl across. The top few inches of the river has already frozen over but underneath, the water rages just like it always has, crystal blue and pristine. The grass around it has become frozen as well, spiking up in a dangerous manner. From up here one can get a generous birds eye view of the mountains behind, capped with snow and clouds and if you looked side to side, the river stretches as far as the eye can see.

“This is...god, this is beautiful, Tony.” (Y/N) murmurs, standing precariously close to the edge. The wind blows momentarily, fluttering through her hair and dress. Tony can’t help but note again just how damn beautiful(Y/N) is. The sunlight bounces off her cheekbones, lights up the shadows underneath the curve of her lips and around her nose. When she turns around to smile at him, Tony feels his chest clench so tight he swears that it must be her hands around it, squeezing until he pops.

For a moment, Tony feels like a fool. He met (Y/N) yesterday and the day before yesterday, he was doing his very best not to even think about her. He knows nothing about her, nothing about her childhood or her past. He doesn’t even know her favorite food or flower or whatever fuck else he should know as someone who is going to marry her. She’s practically a child, half of his age, and here he is pining for her. Then, fractions of a second later, Tony finds that he doesn’t care all that much.

Isn’t this what he’s supposed to do? Feel his heart beat a tattoo into his rib cage, let his emotions run wild, fall in love with a princess from a far off land? This is the shit that Bruce and Pepper have been nagging him to do for months, begging him to feel something, anything, for this girl that he doesn’t know. It’s crazy because he is, he is feeling something and it should scare the hell out of him but it doesn’t. Instead, Tony wants to drown himself in it, wants to let himself do whatever feel right.

“What’s in the pack?” (Y/N) asks, walking back from the ledge.

“Lunch.” Tony manages to answer once he tears his gaze away from her. He takes off his cape and throws it across the hardened autumn ground as a temporary blanket. He kneels down and starts to pull out containers that he had a few staff members from the kitchen pack for him today, only glancing up when she decides to settle down across from him.

“You prepared a picnic?” (Y/N) asks, slightly impressed.

She smiles as she watches Tony unpack the over the top ten course lunch that he’s sure Pepper had some sort of business in preparing. Bread, butter, jam, grapes, apples, sandwiches, vegetable soup, salted meats and creamy cheeses, it’s all there. Tucking her legs to the side and leaning on one hand for support, (Y/N) smiles at Tony, eyes sparkling as he pulls out the final two thermoses from his pack. Unscrewing the one with wine in it, Tony pours the dark red liquid into the cap and answers her question.

“I thought you might be hungry. Do you have any allergies?” She shakes her head, taking the makeshift cup from his hands.

“What is that?” (Y/N) ponders, glancing at the thermos in his hand and then at the cap in her own.

“It’s a device that keeps cold things cold and hot things hot.” Tony explains. “Cold wine, warm soup, etcetera.”

“Magic?” She gives him a confused look, head quirking to the side and brows coming together.

Ah, right. Midgard probably didn’t have these contraptions. Tony had invented them a little ago while he was messing with different metals and vacuum seals, finding that they hold heat and coldness alike when he accidentally poured coffee into the experiment. When he figured out its use he slowly incorporated them into everyday use in the castle, this little convenience making the lives of many much easier.

“Just science, love.” Tony educates, smirking as she slightly blushes. “You see, there’s a vacuum seal inside here enveloped in glass. I found glass to be a little too fragile so I’ve made it stronger by coating it in silver. I’m too lazy to explain the mechanics of how it captures heat and cold but I’m sure Bruce will be happy to teach you if you’re really curious.”

“The rumours really are true, aren’t they?” (Y/N) asks him, eyes wide with awe. Tony gives her a confused look, mind flashing to every deriding piece of gossip he’s ever heard about himself.

“What kind of rumours?” Tony questions, eyes narrowing slightly. “Bad ones?” She laughs and shakes her head.

“Very good ones actually. They call you a genius.” She informs him, reaching forward for some fruit. Tony nabs a piece of bread, smothering it in an unhealthy amount of butter.

“Do tell.” Tony encourages with a smile, his ego inflating. “What else do they say?”

“Well, there is another widespread speculation that you are a bit of a playboy.” She informs him innocently. Through her lashes she looks up at him in question, the inquiry obvious.

“I can’t cut off the tongues of those who tell the truth.” Tony admits with a sigh. “But please do give me the names of those you heard that from so I can throw them in my dungeon for fun.”

Peals of laughter fall from her lips as she shakes her head, the sound more beautiful than Tony has ever heard. Still smiling, she reaches up to tuck a stray piece of hair behind her ears and continues to look out into the scenery. She tucks her cape around her body, snuggling into the mink. Tony knows he’s staring, he can’t help it. Here he is in the most beautiful place he knows with a unequivocally beautiful girl.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” (Y/N) asks softly when she catches his eye.

“Because you look gorgeous.” Tony replies simply. Her cheeks stain red but she faces him head on and locks her eyes on hers.

“Thank you.” She says to him. “You’re very handsome yourself.” Tony flashes her a smile, absentmindedly reaching up to touch his arc reactor, a habit that’s formed over the years.

“Tell me, princess. Are there rumours about this?” Tony asks against better judgement. She gives him a confused look, unsure of what he’s asking about until Tony flicks open the top few buttons of his shirt to reveal the light glow of his heart.

Tony feels like an animal being dissected in (Y/N)’s eyes. They’re instantly drawn to the device that powers his body and to her it must look like a goddamn unicorn. His own technology here in Stark is primitive compared to Wakandas but for a Midgardian to lay eyes on his arc reactor must be something like magic. She didn’t even know what a thermos was for god sakes, what the hell does he think he’s doing?

“What...What is that?” (Y/N) asks him softly, slightly frightened eyes meeting his. Tony gulps and takes in a deep breath before he answers.

“It’s an arc reactor.” Tony states simply. “It keeps me alive.” Still confused.

“How?”

“Well, when I was around your age, I was wounded in battle. Little pieces of metal hit me right here.” The king answers, tapping the metal of the reactor which thunks accordingly. “My father, the smart man he is, along with a few doctors inserted this into my chest to keep the shards from reaching my heart.”

“A magnet of sorts?” Tony beams with pride at (Y/N)’s ability to connect the dots.

“Yes, exactly. An electromagnet, to be precise and it’s powered by this device my father also invented called an arc reactor.” (Y/N) nods, not understanding the mechanics but understanding it’s importances. He watches as her fingers twitch on her lap and he knows exactly what she wants. “Would you like to touch it?” Tony asks her playfully. It doesn’t escape him the nature of his words and the circumstances in which he’s said it before.

“Is that--is it safe to do so? I don’t want to hurt you.” Her voice is soft and worried, the tone only making Tony’s heart squeeze affectionately in his chest.

“Absolutely safe, beautiful, go on. It won’t bite.” She gulps visibly before raising her hand, fingers trembling as it closes the distance between them.

Plenty of people have touched his arc reactor before. Rhodey does when they train, Bruce does when he pats his chest, Pepper does when she's particularly worried for him and even Strange does when he helps Tony make modifications. Yet with (Y/N) reaching towards him Tony has never felt more vulnerable or more exposed. He finds himself holding his breath and when her fingertips finally meet the metal of the contraption, he exhales. The weight on his chest that has been there ever since the arc reactor was placed inside of him seems to lift and (Y/N) traces the rim of the metal with the pads of her fingers.

“Does it pain you?” (Y/N) asks him, fingers straying to the center. He shakes his head.

“Not anymore.”

“And...and you would perish without it?”

“Until Strange manages to find a way extract practically microscopic pieces of metal from my arteries, I’m afraid so.” Tony confesses. “I’ll stay alive as long as it keeps functioning correctly.”

“What is it made of?” She continues to question. He reaches up slowly and lays his hand over hers, her fingers warm in the cold.

“This around here is merely metal alloy. It’s a mixture I’ve concocted myself to make sure it doesn’t overheat or rust.” Tony teaches, moving her fingers around the rim. “But this inside here is a material called vibranium. We used to use palladium but that became too toxic. Vibranium is a much cleaner energy source.” At this she looks confused.

“Vibranium? Wakanda has not allowed vibranium to be outsourced.” (Y/N) murmurs, thinking back to her history lessons. “It supposedly has never left Wakandian borders.”

“They gifted a little bit of it to my father a little while ago.” Tony grimaces at that statement. “Well not so much gifted as my father broke into their supplies during the beginning of the Infinity War and took as much as he could.”

“Do they know ?” (Y/N) queries, her eyebrows raised so far up on her forehead Tony swears that if they go up just a little bit more they would have reached her hairline.

“They know some vibranium went missing.” Tony offers sheepishly.

“There are absolutely no rumours about this.” (Y/N) gives a short little laugh as she admires what practically is his heart. She leans back, taking her touch with her as she composes herself.

“I’d like to keep it that way if that’s alright.” Tony mentions. She nods quickly.

“Of course, I won’t tell a soul.”

“Promise?” (Y/N) giggles as he holds out his pinky finger but gladly repeats the action.

“Promise.” She says, hooking their fingers. They shake once before they part and Tony sits back, thoroughly satisfied with how that went.

“Stark men are made of iron.” Tony states simply as he leans back, enjoying the view. She smirks at how true that is.

“Is that a phrase you use often?” (Y/N) asks.

“My father used to say it a lot, more so after I acquired this little gadget.” He says blandly. “Whenever I complained something was too hard or difficult, whenever I said that I couldn’t accomplish something. His pep talk or sorts.”

“Oh.” He looks down and finds her fingering the edge of her cape, rubbing her thumb over the fur.

“We do not have to speak him. I know it’s a strange topic.” Tony offers.

“My brother did kill your father.” (Y/N) mutters guiltily.

“Yes, well, my father killed hundred of thousands of people including both of your parents so I don’t think I can talk.”  

They meet eyes after that particularly horrid statement. Tony can feel her body tense next to his. He’s scared she’s going to cry or yell or maybe even try and kill him. Thinking about it now, this is the perfect ruse for an assassination. Stark would be free of a king, free to take over and the Stark bloodline would end efficiently with him. That doesn’t sound too bad actually and--

(Y/N) snorts with laughter.

She continues to giggle and when Tony gives her bewildered look she shakes her head, her eyes scrunching close. “I’m apologize, it’s just--what are we doing?” She asks, smile bright. “You father killed my parents, my brother killed your father, and here we are! On a date! Are we mad?”

“I’m sorry, we’re on a date? Damn, if I had known I would have dressed better.” Tony jokes. She cracks up and all of Tony’s attention is locked onto the curve of her lips as she smiles, the way her eyes scrunch closed from all the happiness that lights up her face. He wants to make her laugh forever. When her giddiness die off Tony can see worry creep up on her features, eyes downcast.

“What are we doing?” She asks him softly after a few moments.

“I’m trying to sweep a princess off her feet, what are you doing?” (Y/N) smiles but shakes her head.

“Never being serious; I’m not sure that’s a redeeming quality or not.” (Y/N) comments teasingly.

“Then here is me being serious, darling.” Tony sits up straight so he can turn to her, face to face. “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.  I’m nearing my fifties, my kingdom is falling apart, I’ve never taken a queen like I’m supposed to, I have zero heirs, this clunk of iron is my heart, and you are my last hope.”

The confession hits her like a brick, harsher than the cold that envelopes them atop this cliff. (Y/N) gulps and looks away, reaching up to push her hair back behind her ear. She does that a lot, Tony notices. When she’s nervous, when she’s flustered, it’s a tick. Tony keeps silent as she thinks, giving her time for the gears in her head to whir.

“For my whole life,” (Y/N) starts. “my only job has been to be a princess. To be pleasant and kind and pretty. I dare not complain for I know I live a blessed life. I am eternally grateful to have been born into such status but when you replied to my brothers letter accepting his proposition, you gave me a chance to be more than just a princess. I know it’s silly and trivial but you’re my something more, Tony, so I suppose that I’m here to be yours as much as I hope for you to be mine.”

Tony swallows thickly as she looks at him, emotion plain on her face. He did not expect that. Hell, he did not even expect himself to be so honest. It’s insane to think just how much they want this to work out and how afraid they each are of rejection. Tony feels like a goddamn idiot.

“God, we’re a little bit fucked up aren’t we?” Tony laughs as (Y/N) gasps. “We are. Just admit it.”

“I am not going to say that word.” (Y/N) denies, pointedly looking away.

“No one is going to jump out from the bushes to reprimand you, princess. Just say it.” Tony nudges her side with his elbow, causing her to giggle.

“It’s improper.” (Y/N) states as if he doesn’t know.

“Why?” Tony questions. “What makes a word improper or bad? People attach random connotations to words as if all words aren’t just made up sounds we’ve fastened meanings to.”

“Philosophy, Tony? Isn’t it a bit early for that?” The voice comes from behind, instantly recognizable.

“You’re interrupting my date, Brucie-bear.” Tony says annoyed, not even bothering to look behind him.

“I’m sorry, I just thought Princess (Y/N) may want this letter that arrived this morning.” Bruce explains, holding up an envelope. (Y/N)’s eyes light up brighter than a full moon as she stands, reaching out for it, obviously recognizing the sigil.

“From my brothers?” She asks hopefully.

“Indeed, princess.” Bruce happily hands over what he’s holding as (Y/N) squeals in excitement.

“They surely sent it right after I left if it has arrived so soon. Gosh, they’re so impatient.” (Y/N) shakes her head as she sits down, fingers tearing open her letter so viciously that Tony is scared she’s going to rip it. Bruce takes a seat in front of them as he helps himself to some salted meats. He eyes the light of the arc reactor but says nothing, occupying his mouth with chewing.

Dear little sister ,” (Y/N) starts cheerily. “ It’s James. I had to fist fight Steve  to write first (I won, he cried). I just wanted to know how the Stark Kingdom is treating you and if I have to come fight that Anthony .”

“Fight me?” Tony laughs. “I’d like to see him try.” She gives him a little look before returning to her letter.

Steve was insistent on sending you a few more things with this letter. You’ll find some more candied cherries that you like so much as well as a few souvenirs from home. I hope you’re not missing us too much, princess. but I can’t lie and say we’re not missing you even more. Here’s Steve now. Ignore the tear marks, he’s just a baby. ” (Y/N) coos and wiggles in her seat, pressing the letter to her chest as she beams. Tony can’t help but smile and laugh. Her eyes scan the page as she takes in the rest of the words, practically vibrating with excitement.

Tony looks away just for a moment to catch Bruce’s eye who smiles knowingly at the king. Ugh, Tony hates that. With a small movement of his head Tony kindly tells Bruce to fuck off but all the doctors does is grin that shit eating grin of his and stays in place. Tony almost entertains the idea of kicking him off the edge of the cliff but (Y/N) probably would not approve of murder in her presence.

“I must write back!” (Y/N) exclaims once she finishes reading. She turns to him, a question falling from her lips. “Would you like to return with me?”

“I think I’m going to stay out here a little longer. Bruce, why don’t you escort her inside to the office?” Tony suggests as he stands with her.

“Are you sure?” (Y/N) asks, stepping close to him worriedly. “All alone?”

“I’ll be fine, go on now. If you don’t write back soon I fear James will come and, uh, how shall I word it, try to fight me but inexplicably fail?” His words derive an adorable giggle from her lips.

“This, all of this was just lovely.” (Y/N) tells him with a grin. “I hope we can do it again sometime?”

“Anytime, dear.”

She gazes up at him through thick lashes and pinked cheeks, looking inexplicably youthful. The princess bites her bottom lip softly causing Tonys eyes to land there, the thought of how plump they are overwhelming his brain. He barely even notices her eyes flitting from him to Bruce who merely stands there awkwardly, hands in his pockets. Tony is just about to ask what’s wrong when (Y/N) moves forward, stands on her toes and presses a loving kiss to his cheek.

It’s innocent. It’s pure. Tony’s heart stutters in his chest as he stand there agape not knowing what to do. Flushing brightly, (Y/N) steps back as a satisfied smile spreads on her lips. Clearing his throat, Bruce makes himself known. “Shall we go?” He asks (Y/N). She nods and gives Tony one last glance before departing. The skin of his cheek burns as she disappears into the trees with Bruce and his heart, his poor excuse of a heart, drums in his chest so hard that he feels his lungs become short of breath.

What the hell is this girl doing to him?

 

Chapter Text

Your humming reverberates off the walls of the bathing room (cave?) as you sink lower into the hot water. Your hair fans out around you as you lean back, sounds echoing as even your ears become submerged. A week has passed since your lunch with Tony on the cliffside and sadly, you haven’t seen him since. You’re not upset in any way; a king is a king and you’re sure Tony has plenty of things to do than sit around with you and have picnics. There are times that you do not see Steve or James for weeks because they are too busy.

You’ve managed to fill up your time without him. Wanda is a wonderful tour guide and turning out to be a great friend. Like promised, she comes to wake you earlier than before and you’re grateful for the extra hour in the day. Lately though, you merely spend it in the marvelous baths here in Stark. You have no idea how the water always stays so warm and clean but you absolutely adore your private little hot spring.

You’ve even done a bit of exploring yourself. Most of it is in the castle but the library is your favorite place thus far and you’ve spoken at great lengths with the librarian, Lord Wong. He’s given you many novels to enjoy and he’s always happy to converse with you their contents though he’s a tad shy. Dr. Banners lab is a close second; the doctor always makes time for you, quickly becoming a good friend in this new land. You don’t quite understand everything he is working on but the way he’s eager to teach you and answer any questions is heartwarming. He’s gifted you small little contraptions to try and make your life at Stark easier; a mirror that is clear as day, a slim box that tells you how warm it’s going to be and even a device where you can call for Wanda at the click of a button.

Natasha does her best to come see you but you can’t ask too much of her, her job is far too important. When she does manage to come find you, she always brings her archer husband along and Clint always brings you various edible treats. You once jokingly tell him to stop you’ll swell to the size of the moon and he retaliated with even more fruit tarts and sweet breads. You’ve found that Dr. Strange is also some sort of magician who is more than happy to demonstrate his skills for you when he’s free and refills your tub of hand creme any time you wish.

Smiling and thinking, you take your time as you lather up. Wanda had left you with a basket of shampoos and conditioners earlier and you’ve been using them at your leisure. There’s not a lot of things like this at Midgard where the men in your life have much more plain preferences. The little luxuries in Stark include scented soaps and electrical lights that you’ve never seen before. There are even pitcher-like contraptions that heat up water in seconds! No need for a pot or flame of any sorts!

You do wish to see Tony, though. Your cheeks start to redden and you’re not sure if it’s the thought of Tony that does that or the steam from the bath. Images of him--smiling, fighting, laughing, existing--it floods your head until he’s all you can think about. He’s crude and rough around the edges but there’s something in him that makes every part of you rustle with excitement. You left a kiss on his cheek the last time you two were together, a bold action that you didn’t know you had in you. He seems...perfect. A little over confident, sure, but he’s handsome and sweet and charming and makes you nervous in all the right ways.

Yet, there’s the question about that little thing inside his chest.

An arc reactor he had called it. You have no idea how the science works but what you could derive from the conversation is that he would die without it and he showed it to you . There’s not even an inkling out there in the universe that the Stark king has such a weakness and if the world knew? God, all hell would break loose, you’re sure of it. The other kingdoms wouldn’t use that information for evil but there are plenty of bandits and rogue groups out there that would try their hand at taking over Stark.

You ponder if you should tell Steve and James. They should know, shouldn’t they? So should all the other kingdoms if this alliance pans out. After a moment, you decide against it. You will not see them in real life for months so you cannot speak it to them. Writing the fact down to send it in a letter not only makes it physically real but also easy to spread and you can’t do that. You cannot betray Tony’s trust like that, not after he so willingly gave it to you. You can’t believe he told you. You can’t believe he showed you. For some strange inexplicable reason Tony placed all this faith in you after only knowing you for a few days and you’re not sure if you want to peg him as reckless or brave.

Sitting up with a sigh you decide to lather shampoo into your hair and finish bathing for the day. This new one is cooling and minty, suds arising quickly as you work it through your tresses. It’s getting quite long and you ponder if you should cut it any time soon. Steve always preferred your hair long but you think it’s because it reminds him of your mother. You don’t really want to look like your mother though, you want to look like you. Perhaps you’ll shorten it just a bit or even thin it out.

“Your highness?” Looking up you find Wanda standing at the edge of the water with towels in her arms. “Are you quite alright?”

“Oh hello, Wanda. I’m alright, just thinking.” You answer, dipping your head back to wash out the shampoo.

“King Anthony was hoping you’d join him later on today.” Wanda informs you, kneeling down to wrap up your freshly washed hair.

“Really? Soon?” You ask worriedly. You still need a few hours for your hair to dry and to get ready.

“Anytime, your highness.” She gives you a reassuring smile. “The Autumn Market Festival starts today and he would like to take you.”

“What’s that?”

“Before winter hits, the villages that surround the castle convene in the main square to sell off and trade anything they have leftover from summer. It’s a way to make money and get supplies before it becomes too difficult to travel.” Wanda explains simply. Yes, you remember that square. You had passed through it on your way to the castle and if you remember correctly, there is a beautiful fountain at the center you want to visit. Thrilled by the idea of seeing Tony and doing a little bit of shopping, you hurry to get ready.

An hour later you’re looped arm in arm with Wanda as you both head to the front of the castle. The sun is shining today so you’ve opted for a low boat neckline gown, leaving your collarbones bare. It’s a beautiful cornflower blue with long quartered sleeves and a thick skirt. Wanda holds onto a thin velvet cape just in case it’s cold but you assume you’ll be alright. You need some sun on your skin; you’re afraid you’re becoming quite pale already.

“There they are!” Tony exclaims, holding out his arms as you and Wanda exit the castle. You relish in the way his eyes seem to light up at your presence and you know yours are surely doing the same.

You smile at the sight of him waiting there for you, dressed handsomely in a rich leather jerkin and dark undershirt. His sword is sheathed at his side, as well as a man you don’t recognize. He sports a mop of dark hair and set of kind eyes, tall nose in between them. He bows respectfully when you arrive, his hands holding onto the reigns of a horse you recognize as JARVIS.

“Hello there, I do not believe we’ve met.” You say as you do your best to pleasantly smile.

“This is Happy, he’ll be our body guard today.” Tony explains, clapping the man on the shoulder.

“Happy? Like the dwarf?” You ask tentatively. Tony snorts as Wanda giggles beside you. Happy clears his throat and shrugs off Tony’s hand, shooting the king a glare before returning his attention back to you.

“My real name is Harold Hogan, your highness.” Happy says. “You may call me anything you like. I’m honored to be a part of your detail today.”

“Thank you, Sir Hogan. I feel very safe already.” You assure him. The soldier pinks at the praise and nods, taking a step back. JARVIS takes this as an invitation to jut himself into the conversation, shoving his muzzle into your space.

“JARVIS, give her some space, good god.” Tony chastises, reaching forward to shove the beast back. You only laugh and reach up to pet JARVIS’ neck, causing him to chuff happily.

“Hello handsome, have you missed me?” You ask him sweetly. The intelligently animal  whinnies as if to say Of course, milady, of course.

“Why yes I have.” Tony answers cheekily from beside you, giving you a signature smirk that you’ve found to be permanently stuck on his lips.

“Good afternoon, Tony.” You say, finally turning to him. He sets those dark brown eyes on yours and you feel your heart speed up at the intensity.

“Good afternoon, princess.” He replies softly. “Ready for our outing?”

“Yes, of course.” You turn to JARVIS and stroke a line down his face. “Will we be taking JARVIS?”

“We could or we can walk. It’s quite beautiful out today.” Tony looks up to the sky where the sun shines warmth onto earth, quite uncharacteristically so here in Stark. You’re glad for it though you’re afraid the sun is doing it’s best one last day before it goes into hiding for the winter like a bear.

“A walk would be lovely I think.” You say.

“A walk it is.” Tony holds his arm out for yours and you take it, the action natural and well practiced. Wanda and Happy fall into step together behind the two of you, JARVIS trotting at a leisurely place. Glancing up to him you swear the crows feet by his eyes have become deeper, the bags underneath his eyes darker. You fret, you can’t help it.

“How is your heart today?” You ask him as you both stroll on cobblestone roads.

“Better now that you’re with me.” Tony flirts. “I do apologize for leaving you neglected, princess.”

“Oh, that’s alright. I understand a king has many duties.” You say understandingly.

“I hope I can make it up to you. There is this lady in town that I’ve been told makes a marvelous cheese and herb bread thing, I think you’ll like it.”

“Will I like it or will you like it?” You counter causing him to chuckle.

“You have me there, love.”

The main square that you walk into is nothing like the main square you had passed a week earlier. What had once been a ghost town is now bustling with activity. People brush shoulder to shoulder with you as they walk past, an assortment of wares in their bags. You look around in awe, taking in the open shops and multiple vendors. Dust is kicked up as people past you to get to their locations, eyes on both you and Tony. A few people even say hello earning themselves a close lipped smile from their king. You watch as a young boy, a beautiful orange haired child brushes past your skirt with a metal doll in his hand painted red and gold. Around you, you realize that the wares of this market are much much different than what you’re used to.

Instead of fruits and vegetables, you see metal and fire starters. Silk and cotton fabrics are replaced by burlap and rope; the sweet sugar candies that line the stalls of Midgard are hard loaves of bread here in Stark. It’s not dark nor grim for the boisterous bargaining and loud laughter you hear is lively. You suppose it’s only unconventional because it is not what you grew up in. Tony seems perfectly happy and behind you Wanda is as nonchalant as one can be as she chats with Happy. You push the feeling of uneasiness down into the pits of your stomach and turn to Tony, willing to make this day as great as can be.

“Sheila! Beautiful baker, are there any of my favorite treats here today?” Tony asks as you both near a pretty woman. With chestnut hair and flour dusted clothes, the woman stands behinds a table with wheels in front of a small residence. Behind her inside the small wood house you spy a hot oven going, the heady smell of bread thick in the air. She looks older than you but the mirth in her eyes tells you her soul is still young.

“King Anthony! For you, always.” The baker disappears inside the house and returns quickly with a hefty and overfilled basket in her hands. “For the princess as well.” Sheila adds, her eyes meeting yours. She curtsies as best as she can in the small space and your heart flutters.

“Really? Oh, thank you.” You say feeling warm.

“Yes, yes. I heard Midgardians like things sweet so I hope this suffices.” She points at a small roll the size of the palm of your hand that lays atop all the others. It sports a beautifully baked top, shiny with some sort of glaze. “We do not have much sugar here at Stark but the maple of the trees in the mountains is much like honey.”

“This is so kind.” You whisper, reaching for your purse inside the folds of your dress. “Please, let me pay you.”

“Nonono, a gift. For the Midgardian princess.” Sheila repeats. She points at the pastry once again with a hopeful smile on her face. “Try it?”

Tony holds up the basket for you and you pick up the baked good. It’s a little heavier than you expect and when you bite into it, you taste a salty and still slightly warm filling. You make a sound of surprise as you chew, the taste of honey from the glaze and umami of meat bursting in your mouth. It tastes delicious! You’ve never had anything like it. Sweet and salty all at once, it is easy to become addicted to.

“Tony, you must try this!” You exclaim, bringing the bread up to his face. Before he can protest the food is already at his lips and all he can do is accept the fact that you’re plopping the rest of it into his mouth.

“Oh shit, this really is good.” Tony warbles through his chewing. He turns his head to a very self satisfied vendor. “Sheila. How long have you been hiding this from me?”

“It’s new, your majesty. I’m glad you enjoy it.” She beams. “Satisfactory?”

“Satisfactory? I need a supply of these at the castle at all times. Happy!” Tony calls for.

“Yes, sir?”

“Talk to Sheila, give her some money. I want these ready whenever I want them.” Tony says, handing the basket off to his guard. The exasperated look on Happy’s face is so comedic you can’t help but laugh. Snickering, Tony pulls you away to the next few stands as Happy starts to make negotiations with a very shocked baker.

“My favorite jewelry maker is a bit up that way if you’d like to visit him.” Wanda suggests kindly.

“Would that be alright?” You ask Tony.

“We can do anything you like.” Tony says suavely. When you reach the stand that Wanda suggests, an elderly man is sitting at a stool behind his wares. Seeing his king approach with the princess that everyone has been talking about has him stumbling up, reaching for his cane so he can stand.

“Hello Edward.” Wanda greets with a nod of her head. “How are you today? How are your sons?”

“W-Wanda. They’re fine! Lukes wife is with child and Alec is finally deciding to settle down with Penelope. Enough about that though. You’ve brought royalty to my humble little shop.” Edward stutters sweetly, a hand placed on his chest. “Your majesty, your highness.”

“Edward, is it?” Tony asks politely. “You’re a jewelry maker?”

“Yes, your majesty, have been for fifty years.” Edward gestures at the assortment of fine silver and gold, displayed beautifully and artfully. A pretty little white gold necklace catches your eye not surprisingly so. It’s as thin as a strand of hair with no pendant of any sort but it glitters in the light. You’ve always been attracted to delicate things; they’re easier to match with your dresses and the more gaudy gems have always been off putting to you.

“See anything you like?” Tony asks you when he sees you staring.

“Perhaps that right there? It’s beautiful.” You point at the necklace and Edward smiles.

“Ah, the princess has beautiful taste.” Edward compliments, picking it up with shaking fingers. He spins it between his forefinger and thumb, picking up the other side with his other hand. You watch as he pulls it at opposite ends, demonstrating its surprising strength. With a flourish of his hands he holds it out for you. Before you can take it from him Tony does so first.

“You want to try it on?” Tony asks you. Nodding excitedly you turn your back to him, mentally patting yourself on the shoulder for putting your hair up today. After a second Tony’s hands comes into view as he places the strand of white gold around the neck. You barely feel the cool metal with how slender it is but you certainly feel Tony’s fingers at the back of your neck, solid and shiver-inducing.

“It looks very fitting, your highness.” Wanda compliments once the necklace has been clasped. You turn to Tony to show him and his eyes immediately drop to your chest. It lays comfortably an inch or so below your collarbone, feeling light.

“Yes, very fitting.” Tony agrees, his voice low. You stand still as his hand comes up to touch the gold, rolling it between his fingers as he inspects it’s quality. After a minute or so Tony nods with seeking approval and you feel cold once his touch leaves you.

“How much is it, Edward?” You ask. “I would like to wear it home.”

“A gift, your highness.” Edwards says beaming. “I would be honored if a Midgardian princess wears my work around.”

“This is excellent craftsmanship, Edwards, we cannot just take it.” Tony argues. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out more than enough money to pay for the trinket, reaching forward and placing it into Edwards palms. The jewelry makers jaw drops to the ground as he counts the amount of gold pieces in his hands.

“Tony, I can pay for it myself.” You reassure him. “Do you think my brothers sent me here with no means?”

“It’s a gift.” Tony insists softly.

“You’ve already given me many gifts.” You pout.

“I want to give you the world.” Tony says plainly as if it isn’t the cheesiest thing you’ve ever heard in your life. You smile, about to tell him so before Happy snorts with laughter from behind. Tony turns to his guard, face dark with annoyance. “You can fuck off now, Happy.” Tony orders.

“S-Sir, I can’t leave you out here without--”

“I don’t care. Good bye , Happy.” Tony repeats, pulling you a little farther along into the throng of people. Amazingly fate seems to be on Tony’s side as Happy struggles to get through the crowd, only to find himself trapped amongst a line of cargo holding horses. At the very same time a whole horde of children weave their way through Happy’s legs, tugging at him and Wanda to play. In seconds they’re swamped by the surrounding people and surely you and Tony are long gone in their vision as well.

    “Did you orchestrate that?” You ask Tony incredulously the farther along you go. “The horses? The children?”

    “No, but I damn sure wish I did.” All you can do is laugh as Tony pushes you in front of him, hands solid around your waist, his chuckles vibrating by your ear.

    “Tony, where are we?” You ask quietly, allowing him to lead you around a corner of a building at the end of the street. “What are we doing?” He just laughs as he spies Happy and Wanda turn the other way, joyful that you’re both truly free now. It’s infectious and you can’t help but giggle yourself. You look around finding an empty alleyway, backdoors of various homes facing you. Apparently the market doesn’t reach this far back.

    “I have no idea!” Tony admits brightly as he saunters towards you, not a single trace of worry in his face. “We can do anything you like, love. Are you hungry? Maybe--”
    “Goddammit, Drax! I told you not to punch that guy!”

    At the sound of the voice you jump in your place, hands tightening in the fabric of your dress. Tony immediately goes to stand in front of you, placing a hand on the hilt of his sword. You know that you’re safe with Tony but you can’t help but feel a little frightened. That voice though, why is it so familiar to you?

    “He was insulting my mother!” A man yells as he turns around the opposite corner you and Tony did. You hold back a gasp at his greyish blue skin. Red tattoos cover his entire body all the way up to his head and for a moment, you wonder if he’s a demon. Ice blue eyes lined by an equally red iris suddenly land on you and Tony, stopping in his tracks. He wears nothing but dark pants and a pair of buckle riddled knee high boots, his top muscular half naked.

    “What the hell, Drax? Move!” A new voice orders. You can’t help but squeak when a furry creature comes into view, standing completely upright as he walks past Drax’ legs. It looks at you with a white snout and white fur lining the edges of it’s face, intelligence in it’s eyes. Is that, is that a rabbit? Of sorts? No, it’s too big to be a rabbit. Standing up straight you deduce that it’s head would hit your chest at minimum. It wears an orange jumpsuit and no shoes, carrying a weapon much like James’. It’s far too large for the little one, the length matching his height but that doesn’t seem to matter.

    “I am Groot!” A tall tree with a face appears behind Drax and the animal. It seems humanesque with trunks for legs and branches for fingers. It’s skin is bark, some of it covered in moss, some of it with branches protruding out. The fairy tale like figure looks at your with beady black eyes, head tilting to the side as if analyzing you. At this point, you swear you’re dreaming.

    “Yes, Groot, I see them.” The animal grumbles cocking the weapon and holding it up with two hands.

    “I am Groot. I am Groot! Groot!”

    “What do you mean don’t kill them?”

    “Yo, man, we’re trying to stay low key. Stop being so loud. Sneaking into this place was not easy.” A finally human-like person steps into the alleyway sporting red leather and a funky sort of mask. Though no one else’s was familiar, the owner of that voice definitely is. Fear dissipates as it’s replaced with curiosity and you wish you could see who is underneath that mask.

    “Well apparently it’s not hard enough either.” Tony interrupts, unsheathing his sword. Drax pulls out a short shortsword as Rocket raises his weapon to the threat. “Who are you people?” Tony asks.

    “Who are you , asshole?” The masked man shoots back. He reaches up, clicks something by his temple and the mask retracts back into the back of his ear as if by magic.

Oh my god , you think. That voice, that demeanor, it all clicks in your head when you see that face. You recognize the swoop of curling strawberry blonde hair atop his head but there’s new dusting of stubble by his jaw. His voice is deeper now, changed by time and puberty, but those mischievous green eyes you could never forget. Of course it’s him.

    “I am King Anthony Edwards Stark.” Tony answers in an offended tone, the bodies of the opposite party stiffening. “Now I’m only going to ask one more time. Who. Are. You?” You hear your own voice in the tense air before you can stop yourself.

“Peter Quill?”

 

Chapter Text

    “Holy shit, (Y/N) is that you?” Peter says as a bright smile splits his face in half. Perplexed as to why they’re on first name basis’, Tony looks from one face to the other. Squealing, the princess rushes past Tony to launch herself into the newcomers arms completely and wholly, laughing happily as he catches. Still confused beyond belief, the king sheathes his weapon as he watches the man spin his princess around with glee, arms tight around her waist.

“I cannot believe it is you!” (Y/N) exclaims as she wraps her arms around Peter’s neck. “And with so many friends!”

“Yeah, well, I picked a few up these past ten years.” Peter laughs, letting (Y/N)’s feet touch the floor. Still excitedly yelling, the miscreant embraces (Y/N), bringing her as close as he can, pressing his cheek to her hair and cupping the back of her head. To much of Tony’s disappointment, (Y/N) not only allows him to but returns the hug with fervor.

“Hey Quill, who the hell is this?” The small animal snaps, gesturing towards (Y/N) with his gun. The princess steps back from Peter but still leaves a hand pressed to his chest where underneath his heart surely lies. Tony notes that Peter's actions are similar; moving back but leaving one of his arms still around her waist.  

Tony does not like that.

“Yes, explain, Peter.” Drax orders as he places his sword back into its scabbard.

“Uh, childhood friends?” Peter says, looking to (Y/N) for approval of his answer.

“More like the kitchen boy who always got me into trouble every chance he got.” (Y/N) corrects with mirth. “You know, Steve would have a conniption if he knew you were here.”

“Yeah well, good thing he’s not.” Peter admits. Tony hates the way he has to stand to the side as Peters touches his princess in a far too friendly manner. “What are you doing here in Stark? You’re a princess of Midgard.”

“Oh yes, well,” (Y/N) finally turns to Tony, leaving Peters side to return to his. “I’m with Tony here.” The king meets her halfway, intertwining their fingers like lovers once their hands touch. Tony knows that he shouldn’t be this way but the shocked look on Peters face brings him an immense amount of joy.

“Boyfriend?” Peter asks, voice squeaking.

“Betrothed.” Tony corrects snappily even though that’s not quite the truest word he could have used. They haven’t quite decided yet but Tony wants to say what he can to bristle Quill. There’s something about the rogue that irks Tony to no avail.

“Damn, ya girl went and got married to fucking King Stark.” The racoon snickers. Tony twitches at that. So the damn thing knows who he is and is still acting this way?

“Rocket!” Peter says in exasperation, face reddening.

“King?!” Drax goes in a surprised voice.

“Groot?”

“Yeah, King Anthony of Stark. That’s this bastard.” Rocket answers his tree guard.

“What are you even? A skunk?” Tony insults, staring down at the varmint.

“Skunk?! You wanna go, goatee man?” Rocket growls as he puffs up his chest. Tony laughs, knowing full well he’s got at least two feel on the creature.

“Hey, hey, hey, ladies. Let’s just, uh, calm down.” Peter suggests. He clears his throat and straightens his jacket, finally turning to meet Tony head on. “Anthony, right?” Peter asks, far too impolitely for Tony’s taste.

“King Anthony. King Anthony of the kingdom you’ve just snuck to. Remind me who you lot are again?” Tony demands.

“Peter Quill.” He answers confidently. “This is Drax and Rocket and this big fella here is Groot.”

“I am Groot.” The tall tree says, reaching forward to (Y/N) with a limb of branches.

“Oh hello.” She says giggling, allowing Groot to shake her hand. Tony watches with awe as Groot turns his palm to the sky and a beautiful purple flower sprouts from the center. Groot plucks it from his hand and holds it out for (Y/N), a doofy smile spreading on it’s face.

“I am Groot! Groot.”

“He says it’s for you” Rocket grumbles.

“How kind.” (Y/N) smiles and takes the flower before leaning down. “Rocket, is it? It’s nice to meet you.” As polite as ever she reaches out to shake the creatures hand. For a minute Rocket merely stares at (Y/N)’s outstretched hand like it holds the plague, unsure if he should take it or not.  After a moment and after Peter's not so subtle foot nudge, the racoon shakes it.

“Hiya princess.” Rocket says deflating.

“A princess? Quill, is this the princess you’ve been speaking of all these years?” Drax asks loudly.  “The one you’ve been in love with since you were eight? The one that you grew up with?”

    What ? No! That’s another princess. I know a lot of other princesses. Plenty of princesses. Yup. Not her.” Peter looks around nervously at which Tony rolls his eyes. How damn obvious. Beside him (Y/N) merely laughs. Apparently that’s something she hears a lot.

    “Tony, do you think they could come back to the castle with us?” (Y/N) asks hopefully, placing a hand on his bicep. “I’m sure they’ve been traveling and are weary. Right, Peter?” A nod from her so-called friend.

    “(Y/N). They’re trespassers.” Tony says through gritted teeth. “God, where is Happy when I need him? I should have them arrested. ”

    “Try.” Rocket snarls. Tony moves forward to grab the animal by the scruff and shake some respect into it but (Y/N) holds him back. Her grip tightens in his as she asks him again with her eyes, bright and pleading and beautiful, Rocket flipping him off from behind her.

    “I’m sure they mean no harm though. Right, Peter?”

    “What? Oh right. Yeah. No harm.” Peter agrees unconvincingly. Drax’s strangely threatening smile and Rockets’ still cocked gun doesn’t help his case.

    “Please, Tony?” (Y/N) pleads in a soft voice. Tony gulps as she looks into her eyes. He knows that he’s no match for her batting eyelashes or hopeful gaze. He’s going to say yes at one point or another so might as well not fight it. With one last look to the strange crew, Tony sighs.

    “Fine. But they leave tomorrow .”

 

~~~

 

    Tony doesn’t like how friendly Peter Quill is. He sits too close to (Y/N), acts too familiar as he touches her, and doesn’t seem to understand that Tony is the king of the very exact kingdom that Quill and his little ragtag army just broke into. Tony reminds himself that he’s going to need to look into that later, ask Happy to up the number of soldiers at the perimeters. No one should be able to just break into the Stark Kingdom without him knowing and definitely not some amateur criminal like Quill who is for some reason, having dinner with him.

    It’s a much more intimate dinner than the gala that was thrown a week or so ago. Tony would have much rathered just send the team some food so they could enjoy it in the privacy of their jail cells, er, bedrooms but (Y/N) wanted to “catch up”. He had Pepper throw an impromptu dinner party which earned him a glare, a huff, and a “Always with the damn dinner parties.”. The amount of attendees have been quartered but Tony didn’t want to be a poor host. The wine pours endlessly, a few pigs and turkeys have been roasted and even a small orchestra plays in the corner to give the room some sound.

It turns out that Peter used to be a dishwasher in the Midgard kitchens until he was sixteen years of age. He was an orphan that Steve and James took in when he was only seven and allowed him to be raised by the maids and head cook of the Midgard castle. His father left and his mother died; of course the midgardian kings pitied the young boy. They gave him a bed that came with three square meals a day and in return, Peter worked.

Being the only child brave enough to even make contact with the princess, he and (Y/N) spent plenty of time together inside those castle walls. The princess even had her brothers hire the orphan a tutor to teach him how to read and write, a luxury not many orphans were allowed. They were best friends (Peters words, not hers) and Tony wishes that he could deny that but he can’t. It’s obvious in the way that they laugh with each other, bright and unabashed. It’s even more obvious when Peter doesn't even have to think twice before casually reach up to fix a stray hair floating around (Y/N)’s face. She doesn’t flinch or flush or anything, just used to it. She’s used to being close to Peter but not to Tony.

Tony swears he’s not jealous. He’s not jealous. No. Absolutely not. King Anthony of the goddamn Stark Kingdom is not jealous of some dirty pledge-less rogue with a damn racoon as a pet. Tony isn’t fucking jealous. Except he is and it’s goddamn infuriating. The new emotion burns inside him from his stomach all the way up to his throat as green as bile, tasting just as bitter and sharp.

“Oh god, remember the time I stole your brothers shield so we could go sliding down the back stairs of the southern corridor?” Peter reminds (Y/N) excitedly. “I scratched the shit out of that paint.” She laughs at the memory.

“Yes, and I distinctly remember him grounding me for a month because of your antics.” Playfully she whacks him on the shoulder that he laughs at.

“Then King James beat my ass.” Peter nods, looking wistfully into the distance. “That was a good day.”

“You stole a King Steve’s shield?” Tony asks in a disbelieving tone. “Really?”

“Eh, well, I gave it back.” Peter points out. “So really it was more like...borrowing.”

“Yeah, the same way we’ve been ‘borrowing’ all of our merchandise to sell.” Rocket chuckles, chomping on a carrot messily. Drax bellows with laugher from beside him.

“By borrow, we mean steal and by sell, we mean on the black market.” Drax explains without a care. Tony’s eyes narrow as Peter sputters and laughs nervously, shoving a drumstick into Drax’s mouth.

“He-He’s joking.” Peter says. “Right, Drax? Say you’re joking. You know what, just don’t talk. Eat your turkey.”

“What are you doing nowadays, Peter?” (Y/N) asks curiously. “I haven’t seen you in almost a decade.”

“Ehh, you know. Trading; sometimes with Yondu and sometimes not.” Peter answers. “I’ve been traveling, making my way around the galaxy and trying to find my dad.”

“Your father? Really? Any luck?”

“Nah. But it’s cool. We’re having a great time, right guys?” Peter looks over to his team. Rocket warbles something through a full mouth, Drax gives him a thumbs up as he downs a glass of mead and Groot just stares at him. Peculiar, the lot of them. Peter just clears his throat and turns back to (Y/N) and Tony. “But enough about me. What about you guys? What’s, uh, what’s going on? You guys a...thing?”

“Why? Does it bother you?” Tony taunts.

    “I mean, (Y/N), if you’re happy--”

    “I am happy.” (Y/N) interjects, reaching for Tony’s hand. “I really love it here, Peter.” He can’t help but smile devilishly at Tony as he raises her knuckles to his lips for a kiss. (Y/N) blushes slightly, just as Tony predicts but doesn’t take her hand out of his Take that , Quill. No matter how many childhood memories they share, they were still all platonic. Tony will always have the upper hand there.

    “That’s great. I’m-I’m glad for you.” Peter says to her. In these words Tony surprisingly finds nothing but truth. “I never took you for one who wanted to be queen though.”

    “I’m not marrying to be queen, Peter.” (Y/N) says back.

    “You’re telling me this is love then?” Peter gestures at the both of them, eyebrows turning up in question.

    Love? That word hasn’t even crossed Tony’s mind. It hasn’t even been a week since they’ve met, of course they’re not in love. The biggest thing that Tony could call it right now is a crush. A strong infatuation. That’s on his part at least; he’s not completely sure how (Y/N) feels. Dear god, what if (Y/N) thinks that she loves him? That’s what young kids do nowadays, he’s seen it a million times. The thought of that is when Tony’s brain stops functioning.

    “I’m telling you that it could be.” (Y/N) answers firmly. His brain boots back up, lights flickering on and the machinery rustling awake. She’s right, Tony thinks. It could be.

    “Enough of that!” Rocket suddenly yells. “Love, shmove. What’s more important is that I hear you have some pretty cool tech shit around here, Stark.”

    “Hear from who?”

    “Come on, Iron Man. Don’t play dumb.” The racoon smiles, baring feral teeth. The old byname makes Tony bristle. He didn’t realize people still knew about that era in his life. How old is this creature anyways?
    “Iron Man?” (Y/N) asks, interest piqued.

    “An old nickname. Means nothing.” Tony lies.

    “You wanna hear somethin’, princess?” Rocket asks (Y/N) with a smirk his snout. “Your boyfriend here built a shnazzy little suit that  he used to blow up villages and people with during the Infinity War. Missiles in the shoulders, repulsors and fight stabilizers, lasers, sonic pulsors, some real cool shit that--”

    “Come on, Rocket. Stop.” Peter orders much to Tonys surprise. The king would think Quill would do anything to make (Y/N) see him in a dirtier light.

    “What? What is he talking about, Tony?” Tony ignores her question and instead sets his glare on Rocket.

    “How do you know about that?” Tony asks seriously. The animal laughs.

    “I remember it.” Rocket says back with a growl. “You took out my forest, jackass. Don’t remember do you?”

    The thing is, Tony doesn’t and the look of his face says it clearer than words can.

    It’s horrible, he knows that but it’s a bit preposterous to ask him to remember every single thing he’s ever killed. The war began when he was a child and his father, dear beloved fucked up Howard, raised him to be a killer. Well, he had used the word “warrior” back then but the sugary coating fell off the older Tony got. He is a killer through and through. His brain, his body, that beautiful suit he invented and perfected--all of that was to kill.

    And that suit, god that suit. It’s the most spectacular thing he’s ever made. He knows he should have destroyed it after the war, plans and all, but Tony couldn’t. It was his and his alone. The only one that could wield it, wear it, is him. He made it specifically to be powered by only an arc reactor and his in particular. His father never wore it. No soldiers have ever worn it. All the damage and destruction that his suit havoced was done by him and him only.

    The scraping of (Y/N)’s chair as she stands grates at Tony’s ears. She moves past him, not even looking at him or allowing him a chance to explain. “I am Groot?” Groot asks, standing at her absence. The strange creature seems to have taken a great liking to her.

Swearing under his breath Tony stands to follow her, explain it to her, only to be stopped by someone's grip on his shoulder. “Don’t.” Peter says, his lips slanting. “You’ll only get her more mad if you hound her.”

    “Fuck off.” Tony swears, shoving Peter’s hand off of him.

    “I know (Y/N) and I know she’ll only get pissier if you bother her.” Peter continues. “She’s smart and she knows you’re not some crazed killer anymore--shut up, Rocket. Just let her think it through and she’ll come to the right conclusions because you and I both know how damn intelligent she is. She’ll come to you when she’s ready.” The advice is good and that only makes Tony even more suspicious.

    “Why are you helping me?” Tony asks.

    “We have the same goal.” He says.

    “What goal?”

At this Peter pauses. Tony watches as his face softens and a sad little smile appears on his lips. “We both want her happy.” Peter tells him.

Well. Tony can’t fight that.

 

~~~

 

    You don’t see Tony for seven days. It seems to be a forming pattern; be with him for one day and then not again for a week. It’s not like you’ve been making it any easier though. You’ve apparently reverted back to your fifteen year old self and haven’t left your room at all since that night. You haven’t seen anyone but Wanda and the only person you have allowed to come visit you is Peter to say goodbye. Other than that your doors have been sealed shut to the world including Tony.

You just...you want to be alone. You need to think. It makes you ache, almost physically ache and there’s a twinge in your chest every time you think of him. His face after Rocket’s words has been burned into your memory like a nightmare. It haunts you as you make your way around the small expanse of your bedroom. You see it in the reflections of water and of mirrors, so oblivious and confused.

    He didn’t remember.

    You’ve been so swept up in this fantasy that you’ve been a fool. Tricked by his pretty eyes and alluring words, how could you let yourself forget that Tony is Howard Starks son? The son of a war lord has no doubt seen more than enough blood shed. Hell he’s probably shed enough blood himself. He’s probably killed more people than you could imagine, slain by his sword or by this strange suit that you had no idea about. A suit that no one told you about, nonetheless.

That’s the thing that gets you. The Tony that you know, the only Tony that you have known; you can’t even imagine him on the battlefield nevermind decimating entire populations. How could he not remember? How could he just forget? How does a person forget ? You still haven’t forgotten about that rabbit you hugged so hard that it died when you were nine so how did Tony forget about most likely and quite literally complete genocide?

    You don’t know how you’ll react when you see Tony again. Before he was just a handsome and lonely king who you were one hundred percent willing to fall in love with but now? Will you still see that man or will you see a murderer? Will you still be able to love him? You thought you could. Moments before that, you thought that you could. Silly you. How did you let yourself forget the kind of man he is?

Someone knocks at your door, most likely Wanda. You sit up just as she walks in, a tray in her hands that probably holds your dinner. You don’t know why she keeps bringing in more and more food. Your appetite has escaped you almost completely and you can’t hold anything down but tea and plain rice.

“Hello, your highness.” Wanda says sweetly. “It’s dinner time.”

“Thank you, Wanda. You can just leave it there.” You gesture at the table next to your bed where you’ve just realized holds the last tray that she left there for lunch. It’s practically untouched.

“You must eat something, your highness.” Wanda says worriedly, taking a seat by your legs.

“I’m trying.” You say feebly.

“King Anthony has asked for an audience with you.” Wanda informs you. She moves herself so you’re forced to see her face and the worry in it. “Again.”

“Tell him I’m on my monthly.”

“I don’t think he’ll accept that for much longer.”

“Then tell him I’m not feeling well.”

“He’ll only send Dr. Strange.”

“Well then--”

“I think you should see him.” Wanda offers. The pinched look on your face makes her sigh. “If you don’t want to see him , do you want to go home?”

“What? Of course not.”

“Then I suppose you’ll stay in this room for the rest of your life?” Wanda stands, brushing off her skirts and turning away. “We can have the wedding in here though it’ll be a very intimate party. Perhaps even your coronation?”

“That’s silly.” You mutter.

“Of course it’s silly.” She laughs, turning back around with her hands on her hips. “That’s why you have to go see King Anthony. You told me your whole reason of being here is to get to know him. How are you doing that again? Sitting here in this room?” Groaning you retreat back into your cocoon of blankets. You hate that she’s right.

“He wants to see me tonight?” You ask her meekly, your voice muffled from behind the blankets.

“Yes. I daresay he misses you.” As dark as your thoughts were before, the thought of him missing you makes you smile. It’s a small little smile but a smile nonetheless.

The bed dips beside you once again as Wanda sits down. You allow her to peel back your blankets to see your face and she reaches towards your temple, moving away some stray hairs from your line of view. Her face is kind and warm and you feel your armor start to melt. Sighing in defeat, you sit up.

After laying in bed all day, bathing is a welcome activity. Wanda takes extra care getting the knots out of the ends of your hair and chooses for you a dark grey dress made of soft cotton. It’s thinner than what you’re used to, a single layer of a dress but it’s long sleeved and unbelievably comfortable. She gives you a motherly look as you nibble on your dinner, taking a few bites of carrots and a swig of wine. It churns in your stomach as you leave the safety of your bedroom, Wanda’s arm in yours.

“Where are we going?” You ask her.

“King Anthony’s laboratory.”

“He has a lab? Like Dr. Banner?”

“Yes, exactly. No one is allowed inside except for those closest to him.”

“So you’ve never been inside?” Wanda shakes her head.

“King Anthony is very strict about entry into his lab, much more strict than anything else.” Wanda pauses in front of a door which you’ve never seen. You do realize that you’re not that far from your room though. It’s barely five minutes away.

“Through here?” You ask. Wanda nods as she opens the dark wooden door for you.

“Would you like me to come collect you in an hour, your highness?” You shake your head.

“I’ll be alright for the rest of tonight. Thank you, Wanda. Really.”

It’s not just a thanks for leading you here, it’s a thanks for getting you off your butt. She smiles lovingly and nods, curtsying slightly before she turns to leave. A hand clutches at the thin strand of white gold around your neck as you begin down the stairs and you start to pray that when you see Tony your heart beats just as fast as before.

Chapter Text

    A massive headache that has been pulsing between Tony’s eyes since two days prior swells as he stares into the ceiling light of his lab. The glare probably isn’t helping his cause of trying to get rid of it. Strange’s medicines are of no use either and  Tony is sure a wink of sleep would at least reprieve him of this pain for just a few hours if only he could rest. He’s been feeling tormented every since (Y/N) left dinner that night and his mood went for a dive after she allowed Peter fucking Quill into her chambers but still refused him. Peter. Fucking. Quill.

    A small beep to his right causes him to shift his gaze. Dum-E, a robot that Tony designed long ago, is chirping as the one claw it’s equipped with spins. It moves as if questioning him and Tony can’t help but smirk. “I’m fine, Dum-E.” Tony says, pushing away the glass of water the robot offers. The robot places the glass back on Tony’s workbench before whirring, seeming to say, Doubt it, sir. and Tony can’t blame him.

    After Peter left, Tony decided not to follow his piss poor advice. He left (Y/N) for only a day before he asked for her presence. Maybe that wasn’t the best route considering a week later, he has still yet to see her. And Tony misses her. The king never realized how physical the feeling of missing someone can be, how hollow it makes one feel but at this point Tony swears a part of his heart has shriveled up and fallen off.

    Blowing air out of his mouth Tony spins in his chair, lowering his head so the glare of the light isn’t directly shining into his eyes. He looks around at the mess he’s compiled over the past few days, lips slanting. He usually tries to be neat because he doesn't allow any help into the lab. The only people that are allowed entry are Bruce, Pepper and Strange. Clint and Natasha don’t care enough to come dragging him out of his lab when they need him, preferring to send in one of the latter if it’s especially important.

    Standing up Tony grabs a screwdriver with one hand and a still glitching honing arrow in another. He’s been building these for Clint this past month after the archer complained about not having any new “cool gear” like Natasha. They’re simple things but Tony’s trying to make them even better, able to latch on to something as small as a fly. Why? Because he could. That’s what Tony does in his free time when he’s bored or anxious; he tinkers. He builds.

    This laboratory has been Tony’s sanctuary for as long as he can remember. It’s a gorgeous lab with high ceilings, fortified concrete walls and clear glass doors to allow Tony to see who is coming and going. A single flight of stairs lead down into the workspace and a large ramp all the way across the room leads out into the training grounds. Looking around now, Tony can see the past forty or so years of his life and his advancement in sciences like a timeline.

    A battery. A circuit board. A computer. An engine. A line of crude to beautiful arc reactors. He doesn’t have the heart to scrap any of it, none of it at all but his most beautiful inventions stand tall on the right wall. Each with their own home, his Iron Man suits are displayed behind electronic glass cases, shining beautifully with the help of stark white lights.

His latest five suits, all with different capabilities for different situations, are being showcased but the previous forty three have either been reused or stored.They’re his best inventions yes, but they’re also the ones that have caused him the most pain. The ones that have done the most harm. Tony grits his teeth and reaches over towards his work bench to slap down on a button that darkens the tint on the glass cases, effectively blocking the suits out of his sight.

    A dull knock on glass makes Tony look up from his work. He expects Pepper, nagging him to eat something for the hundredth time today or even Bruce coming to ask for help on a new formula. The king does not expect (Y/N) to be standing there, waving at him shyly. He’s stuck in his seat as he takes her in for the first time in a goddamn week, his breath stuttering in his throat. Her hair is shiny and slick, styled in a braid as if she’s just come from a bath. She wears a dress that is grey and subdued, thin enough for him to see the curves of his body that tend to get swamped in layers. Just as pretty as ever, (Y/N) points at the lock of the door that keeps her out and Tony’s eyes widen.

    “Oh fuck.” Tony swears, scrambling out of his chair. He slaps Clints arrow on the nearest work bench along with the screwdriver as he walks to the glass door that blocks off the rest of the castle to his lab. It’s enforced glass that Tony’s encased this whole room in just to make sure any mishaps that happened didn’t blow up the whole castle.

    “Hello.” (Y/N) says gently when he opens the door. With the glass gone, Tony lays his eyes on her entirely. He breathes in her presence slowly, all of the words he’s prepared for this moment turning into mush in his mouth.

    “Hello princess.” Tony finally says back lamely. “Uh. How are you?”

    “I’m doing alright.” (Y/N) answers. “How are you?”
    “I’ve been good. Fine.”

“That’s good to hear, your majesty.”

“Mm.”

“.....May I come in?”

Nodding, Tony steps back and allows (Y/N) to enter his safe space. With flats on her feet instead of heels, her footfalls are quiet on the metal floor. She looks around as she takes it all in, fingers reaching out to lightly touching his little trinkets. He feels a little nervous now that she’s here and his heart is still beating harshly from shock. Tony takes in a deep breath, shutting the glass door behind him.

Beepbeeepbeeeeeeeeepbeep.

“Oh. Hello, there.” Tony smirks as (Y/N) regards Dum-E with a childlike innocence. The machine reaches forward and opens it’s hand, spinning right and left once to greet the princess. (Y/N) reaches forward gingerly and shakes Dum-E’s hand, giggling slightly. The interaction, so very (Y/N) and sweet, helps Tony’s heart to slow to a normal rate.

“Alright, Dum-E, go find something to clean.” Tony orders, walking over to the pair. Dum-E clicks a goodbye, does his form of a bow and rolls away. Tony’s oldest invention disappears around the corner, leaving (Y/N) and Tony to themselves. He looks to her as she stands there a few feet away, an arm wrapped around her stomach as if to protect herself and the other hand reaching up to tuck back more of her hair.

“I lied.” Tony begins as he locks eyes with her.  “I’m actually not well at all.” (Y/N) blinks at his words and stays silent, unsure how to answer that. “Not being able to talk to you or see you--it’s been torturous, (Y/N), really. I didn’t realize how fond I’ve become of you until you didn’t want to see me.” Her face softens at his confession and she sighs.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to see you, Tony. I just needed time to think.” (Y/N) says mellowly.

“Surely someone told me what kind of man I am before you came here to Stark.” Tony states, desperation lacing his voice for her understanding. “I thought they’d surely be teaching people about Stark men in history classes by now.”
    “Don’t get cocky. They only teach about your father.” (Y/N) says teasingly as she reaches for the screwdriver he had discarded earlier. The side of Tonys lips can’t help but tilt up as she shifts it in between her hands, analyzing it. She swallows thickly and places it back once she’s done looking at it. Her eyes travel up to his face and as she opens her mouth to speak his heart speeds up.

“I do know what kind of man you are, Tony. I was only a child during the war but you were a man. Of course you fought, of course you killed. It’s childish of me to think you did anything less. Thinking about it now, I’m sure Steve and James have massacred more people than I could imagine during the war. There’s no reason for me to have been acting this way and….I’m sorry.”

“No, no, no, love. Don’t be sorry, nothing is your fault.” Tony protests, reaching for her. The last thing he wants is for (Y/N) to feel guilty for an extremely normal reaction. She allows him to cup her face in his hands, thumbs stroking across her cheek bones. The skin contact lights him on fire, brings back a warmth to his heart that Tony didn’t realize had been diminished by her absence.

All of a sudden the princess steps forward, arms wrapping delicately around his waist as she embraces him. (Y/N) lays her cheek on his chest right where his arc reactor hums, a thin layer of cotton preventing her skin and the metal from touching. Burnt by her warmth and the feeling of her hair at his throat, Tony freezes. That in itself is ridiculous; he’s a man that has less problems with a naked woman than one that merely wants to show him some physical affection.

Tony licks his lips and gulps, tentatively moving his arms around her shoulders. He steps forward as well so they’re pressed together from head to toe, not a single piece of him apart from her. He allows his cheek to fall to the top of her head and he feels her breathe deeply against his chest, her fingers clutching onto the fabric of his shirt. Shutting his eyes, Tony feels a sense of tranquility blanket over them like snow.

It feels good, this intimacy. Tony’s not used to this stage of courting, usually just jumping straight to the good stuff. But (Y/N)’s warm and pliable, embodying the sort of softness only a woman can have and she makes his whole body feel loose. The stress and tenseness that tends to build up during the day eases out of him and even that monster headache that has been threatening to split his skull open backs off.

With her head still pressed to his cheek, (Y/N)’s small voice permeates the air. “Tony, do you think that if we met under different circumstances you would still be fond of me?” The insecurity that laces her voice is unfamiliar to Tony and makes his heart ache. He leans back, reaching up to brush away a soft lock of hair from her eyes before he answers as honestly as he’s ever answered any question at all.

“You think I, an old and war torn king, would turn you, a young and beautiful princess, away? Darling, please.” At this she smiles that soft smile that he swears is just for him and Tony’s soul soars to heaven.

“Beautiful?” She asks lightly.

“Surely you know.”

“Well it’s nice to hear.” Tony chuckles, pulling her closer.

At this distance he can see everything about her up close in a way he’s never been able to before. She has an old scar by her left eye, her baby hairs curl at her temple and the tip of her nose comes up just a little. Yes, beautiful, Tony confirms in his mind. No doubt about it. This is a beautiful woman who could be his wife. His wife , his partner forever, someone to love and to care for throughout the whole course of his life.

“I want to show you something.” Tony says decidedly.

“What is it?”

“I want to show you what Rocket was talking about.” Her mouth parts in surprise and before she goes to tell him that he doesn’t have to, which Tony knows she will because she’s just that kind and forgiving, he reaches over to press a switch and reveals his life's work. The glass clears, the lights flicker on and Tony feels like his soul is on display.

(Y/N) extracts herself from him, eyes widening at the sight of it all. He hears her take in a short breath as a hand comes up to her heart, to the necklace that Tony had gifted to her. With his emotions clogging up his throat, he waits patiently as (Y/N) walks over to his suits. She reaches up and places her fingertips against the glass of his favorite, Mark 48. It’s a beautiful sleek form of the Iron Man suit, more red than gold or silver. It’s taken years to be able to hone it down to a configuration such as this and as deadly as it is, it’s a piece of scientific work that Tony can’t help but be proud of it.

“This….” (Y/N) begins, turning back to him. “This is the suit?”

“Yes.” Tony confirms as he walks over to her. “The latest version of it, but yes.”

“God, it’s stunning.” (Y/N) murmurs, her eyes returning it. “You built this, Tony?”

“Yes, I did.” He can’t help but smile with pride. “Do you want to see it in action?”

“Is that allowed?”

“As long as Pepper doesn’t find out.” At this she laughs and Tony wants to show it to her more than ever. He pulls her back to him and her arm goes around his waist as if that’s where it belongs.

“Show me then.” (Y/N) orders lightly as her fingers splay on warmly on his back. With a smile Tony turns back to his suit, confidence surging through his veins.

“Mark 48, activate.”

The moment the words leave Tony’s mouth, it’s as if God breathes life into the machinery. White bright light floods the eyes of the suit, the centerpiece starting to glow as well. The glass case retracts back into the wall and the suit steps down from it’s pedestal, causing (Y/N) to gasp.

“Mark 48, equip mode.”

The metal peels back to allow Tony to step inside. The king presses a quick kiss to (Y/N)’s temple for he enters, feeling like he’s finally going home. The sound of machinery forming a cocoon around him, the chink of the face place sliding into place, it all causes adrenaline to flood his system. The system that Tony specially designed for the suit flickers on and soon enough he sees (Y/N) in front of him, cascaded into the electronic blue sheen that analyzes and takes her in. Height, weight, threat level, temperature; a million numbers and observations pop up before his eyes at Tony does a quick sweep of the room.

“Oh my god.” She whispers, taking a step back from him.

“It’s only me, (Y/N).” Tony says, the intercom relaying his message in his own voice. “Don’t be afraid.”

“I’m not!” She reassures him instantly. “This is just...oh my god.”

“Would you like to go for a short flight?” Her eyes widen to the size of saucer plates.

“You can fly?” Tony smiles beneath the mask and moves forward, savoring at the way the metal glides and obeys his want. (Y/N) shrieks as he scoops her up bridal style, her arms flying around his neck to keep herself upright.

“Hold on tight.” is the only order Tony gives before he activates his propulsors, lifting them into the air.

It takes seconds to get them outside. The exhilaration of flight has always made Tony feel superhuman but the sound of (Y/N)’s gleeful laughter makes him feel like god. She does as she’s told and holds on tight as they shoot up into the night sky, stars littering the blackness with pinpricks of light. Tony grins as he takes them in loops and dives, relishing the feeling of power in his body. His heart swoops in his stomach as every nerve in his body shoots with electricity everytime he goes a little faster, flies a little higher. Nothing has beat this feeling for the past twenty years and Tony swears nothing will until he looks down and finds  (Y/N) joyous expression.

Tony lands as gently as he can on the cliffside that he’s so fond of. Dust plumes from the power that comes from his feet, surely dirtying the edges of (Y/N)’s dress. She doesn’t seem to care as he lets her down, legs wiggling as she gets used to the solid ground once again. She still giggling when he orders the suit to release him and when her eyes land on his she finally stops.

“You do that all the time?” She asks loudly. “That was exhilarating!”

“Have fun?” Tony responds cheekily.

“Did I have fun? Oh my god, my heart is going a million miles a minute, feel it.” She reaches for his hand and places his palm directly on her chest to prove it to him. Tony’s breath hitches when his skin touches hers and Tony wants to think about the soft swell of her breast underneath his hand but the pounding of her heart takes over his senses instead. She’s right; her heart pounds maniacally from the adrenaline of the flight.

“You might want to calm down before your heart leaps out of your throat and into my palm.” Tony teases as he moves his hand up to cup her face. (Y/N) grins brightly and steps closer to him, hands reaching forward to place on his waist.

“Too late, Tony. It’s already yours.”

 

Chapter Text

    Pepper plops a small wooden box down onto Tony’s work space causing everything on the metal table to rattle from the force. It’s a small little thing, obviously aged with the way the edges are scuffed and the wood has lost its shine. Why does it look so familiar to the king? Screw that. Why is Pepper here in his lab, giving him a glare that could freeze him faster than a Stark snow storm?

    “Uh, hello to you too?” Tony says, looking up at her through the lens of his safety goggles. It makes him feel strangely cornered and a little bit annoyed that she’s decided to nag him here in his lab. Usually it’s his bedroom or on the training grounds, occasionally the bathroom when she’s especially desperate. How rude of her to trap him in his very own sanctuary.

    “It’s been two months.” Pepper states as if that’s supposed to mean something to him.

    “Is this an intervention of some sort?” Tony asks. “Because listen, I’ve only drunk half a barrel of whiskey this week and I think that’s a great improvement. Strange says my liver is already looking a little less dead.”
    “Princess (Y/N) has been here for two months.” Pepper repeats. She gestures at the box once again, one hand placed on the narrow of her hip, and Tony’s eyebrows come together on his forehead. He pushes his goggles up into his hair as he puts down his soldering gun to regard her with a wary eye.

    “Your point?” He asks, leaning back into his chair.

    “When are you going to propose to her ?” Pepper asks softly. “I think it’s time.”

    “I thought I had a month left to decide.” Tony states. “That was the deal. Three months before we decide.”

    “Well, it’s November, winter is coming and it’s not going to be a nice one.” His friend points out. “It’s already colder than ever, Tony.”

    “What do you want me to do?”

    “I want you to marry the princess like you’re supposed to.”

    “I feel like you forget that she is an actual person.” Tony snaps angrily, tearing his eyes away from her. “She’s not just here for me to marry--”

    “What are you talking about, that’s exactly what she’s here for.” Pepper protests. “The whole point of her arrival is to see if you and her are compatible and you are .” Pepper reaches forward the box once again, opens it and then swivels it towards him so he can see what she’s got. Almost instantly Tony recognizes the jewelry inside.

    “Are these my mothers wedding rings?” He asks, anger turning into fury. “Did you really pry my mother's wedding rings off of her cold, dead fingers to try and prove some kind of point?”

    “It was in her will, you idiot.” She says, unaffected by his ever changing moods that she’s been dealing with for decades. “She wanted you to have it for the next queen of Stark. Come on, Tony. We don’t have a lot of time. Do you want me to bring Bruce down here to give you the numbers?”

“You know the only good that will do is give him another aneurysm. Besides, swear you won’t be jealous if I ask her to marry me?” Tony smirks as Pepper’s face flashes with confusion and then annoyance.

“Tony, we haven’t been together in a decade and a half. I think I will learn to manage.” She drawls. “You don’t have to worry about me or any other person you’ve slept with. You have money. You have a home. (Y/N) is somehow not repulsed by your enormous ego, possibly even a little charmed by it. What are you waiting for?”

    To be honest, he doesn’t know. Arranged marriages have taken place in far less shorter times than this for far less important reasons so Tony isn’t sure why he’s stalling. He supposes it’s because he’s afraid; what man isn’t? Marriage signifies the end of his freedom to sleep with anyone he pleases as it did for his father. But the thing is--Tony can’t help but think--as much as Howard Stark loved alcohol and pretty little barmaids, Howard Stark loved Maria more. Yes, as cliche as it may seem, Tony’s father’s playboy tendencies were cut short once he met Maria. It was love at first sight he’s been told. They married in three weeks and Maria gave birth to Tony that very year.

    The actually terrifying thing is that Tony isn’t afraid. He simply doesn’t feel that fear. He’s not scared to marry (Y/N) at all and that’s what frightens him. Why isn’t he scared? Why doesn’t he want to be single any longer? Why is he so willing to fall into this fairy tale when all his life he’s been insistent on staying a single bachelor? He finds that a part of him even….wants it. Tony’s been thinking about asking of course, been thinking about it since they met. Thinks about it every time he brings her to the cliffside for lunch, every time she joins him for dinner in the lab, every time she slips her hand into his as they walk around the castle, every goddamn time she stands so close he wishes he could kiss her breathless.

    That seals the deal for him. Tony Stark has never really wanted to kiss anyone. It’s always been a part of foreplay, a nicety, a courtesy to the men and women he bedded. He’s never really understood the whole idea of sparks flying when you first kissed someone mainly because he’s never felt it. Even when he and Pepper had their fling once upon a time, he never felt that urge to kiss her the way he does (Y/N).

    Tony reaches forward and plucks the rings out of the box, twirling the golden set between his fingers.  The engagement ring with it’s three stone design and perfect diamonds set in the prongs has his father written all over it. The wedding band on the other hand is a simpler piece; delicate white metal with small glistening diamonds throughout the whole thing, front and back. The inscription inside glints in the light. To my life, my love, my queen. People have called his father a million things but one could never say that his father wasn’t a romantic.

“If I say I’ll think about will you go away?” Tony asks tiredly, shoving the rings back into the wooden box.

“No, Tony. This is something I need to know right now because I need to start planning.” Pepper informs him. Then she sighs, leaning back and crosses her arms across her chest. “You’re in love with the girl, it’s so obvious. Just ask her to marry you already.”

“I am not in love with her.” Tony grumbles, not quite so sure of the statement.

“You’re well on the goddamn way then.” Pepper points out. “Stop denying it.”

You’re very annoying. Dum-E, can you shoo her out of here please?” Tony lowers his glasses and picks up his soldering gun once again as Dum-E beeps over, wielding a fire extinguisher like a weapon.

“Dum-E, down.” Pepper orders sternly, pointing her finger at the robot. He wilts and rolls back, lowering his extinguisher.

“I gave you an order, Dum-E.” Tony says. The robot beeps sadly, gesturing towards Pepper and Tony rolls his eyes. “You’re scared of Pepper? Weak.”

“Tony!”

“I’ll ask her, good god.” Sighing he reaches for the box, snaps it shut and shoves it into his pocket. It seems to satisfy her wants and Pepper smiles, lips tight and closed but happy nonetheless.

“Soon.” Pepper urges, leaning forward with her hands on his desk. “I mean it, Tony. This. Week.”

“Pushy. Are you sure you don’t want to marry her?” Tony quips.

“I’m writing up invitations.” Pepper starts as turns around with a smug smile on her face. “We’ll have a winter wedding!”

“Wait, Pepper!” Tony calls out. She turns around, red hair flouncing in the action.

“Yes?” He pauses.

“How should I ask her?” Pepper smiles.

“She likes baby’s breath.”

    It takes two weeks for Tony to find the flowers. It’s a little hard with everything dying and whatnot because of the cold, adding the fact that the only blooms that seem to be native to Stark are weeds. He had to send Pietro halfway to Midgard to find this elusive flower that goes by the name of baby’s breath and to be honest, they’re a little underwhelming at first. It’s a symbol of everlasting love that flourishes in the form of miniscule flowers that come in an array of colors. Dainty and simple, the horde that Pietro brought back reminds the king very much of his princess.

Tony swears the ring box is burning a hole in his jacket pocket. Choosing only the wedding band that his mother wore until her very last breath, he’s rehomed it to a newer and sleeker version of it’s ancestor that Tony personally designed, the wood now a gorgeous dark oak. He’s padded the inside with velvet instead of cotton and shined the gold until it looks brand new. He can only hope and pray that (Y/N) would like his mothers ring because the princess seems to like things on the simpler side of luxury.

“Tony?” The king turns to find the apple of his eye smiling at him, for him, always for him.

She walks his way dressed in something pastel pink and flowey, the chiffon trailing behind her like a cloud. The feminine color is almost painfully vibrant against the chrome and metal of his lab. That necklace he bought her lays across her collarbones as it has every time he’s seen her, partially hidden by the clasps of a thick black velvet cape. The sight of her, grinning and eager and sprightly makes his heart start to race and dear lord, is he actually sweating? What the hell? He swipes his palm on the fabric of his pants before reaching out for her.

“Hello there, princess.” Tony greets with a small smile. The moment she’s close enough her arms go up around his neck, bringing him close to her body and to her warmth. It’s a habit now when they see each other. She’ll wrap him up in an embrace, he’ll place a shaky kiss to her temple and the maids will titter as Bruce or Strange or whoever is closest blushes at the intimacy. Right now though, it’s just the two of them.

“You asked for me?” (Y/N) says sweetly, her hands still settled on his sides. He hopes she can’t feel his heartbeat pounding through his skin.

“Yes, there’s something I wanted to talk to you about.” Tony answers. “Come this way, love.”

(Y/N) takes his hand without question, trails behind him with her eyes wide and trusting as he leads her to the back part of the lab where the exit ramp leads to the outside. It makes his chest warm with the way that she looks at him like he’s a better than the man he actually is; the sad thing is he’s not. He can’t bring back the lives that he took, he can’t unbreak the string of hearts that he left in the dust and Tony for sure can’t undo that damn war that brought them all here in the first place. The only way he can mend anything at all is through her.

Suddenly, a deeply unsettling fear steps in. What if she says no? It’s obvious that she’s ten times way too good for him. Young and beautiful, it’s clear as day that the princess could do anything she damn well pleases and have any man she wants. She doesn’t have to choose him. (Y/N) has blue blood, she has money, she has a castle and a kingdom to her name so there is no goddamn reason for her to even consider his old, wrinkling, alcohol soaked--

“Tony?”

The sound of her voice rips him out of his bout of self deprecating thoughts. When he turns to her, (Y/N) is looking at him with a sense of worry and care that he can only rival with his mother’s gaze. It makes his heart stop dead in his chest, makes--not all--but enough of the bad thoughts dissipate into thin air and all that Tony can do is lead her farther up the walkway he’s spent all day preparing.

Tony reaches up and grips (Y/N)’s chin. For a moment he entertains the idea of leaning down to kiss her, to press his lips against hers and breathe in her gasp. The desire to is all but consuming and yet Tony finds the will inside of himself not to. Instead he turns her head towards the sky as they exit his lab and instead of familiarizing himself with the way the crevices of her lips will surely meld with his, he watches her take in the scene. He watches how her eyes widen and her mouth drops and her breath hitches in the cold fall air.

“What...Wha--” (Y/N) words stutter and Tony’s never felt more proud. He almost wants to give himself a pat on the back because damn, did he do a good job on this.

It’s a simple set up of course. He knows his soon-to-be queen and she wouldn’t like anything that’s too elaborate or gaudy. Instead of fireworks or a orchestra, Tony plants the bush-like flowers to form a walkway up into the grass where Dum-E stands, a bouquet of said blossoms in its hand. It was all at random, blues mixing in with pinks and whites. Pop in a few soft blue levitating lights, allow some lightning bugs to attend, add in a clear starlit sky with their bright and big full moon sister and boom. You have a perfect, soft, romantic space for a proposal that will hopefully bring four separate nations together.

“Dum-E, flowers.” Tony motions the robot over and (Y/N) laughs as she’s gifted the bouquet. The tip of her nose pinks from the cold but the air stays still, wind merciful much to Tony’s relief.

“Thank you, Dum-E.” (Y/N) says as she smiles. When she turns to him her eyebrows have come together in puzzlement. “What is all of this Tony?”

“I’ll answer that but first answer me this.” He reaches for her free hand, promptly squeezing the fingers tight in his own. “Are you happy here? Here in Stark?”
    “Yes, of course.” (Y/N) says. “I’m very happy here, you’ve all been so kind and--”

“Could you be happy for a lifetime?” Tony swallows and feels wrecked by insecurity. “With me, could you be happy?”

(Y/N)’s lips part. Her lashes flutter as she blinks. Tony feels his heartbeat in his ear drums as she licks her lips and goes to speak, a smile spreading on her face. “Of course, Tony. I would be so happy to spend my life here at Stark.”

Tony lets out a harsh breath at her answer and after he reaches into his pocket for the box. His fingers wrap around it and when he brings it out into the air he feels her grip tighten exponentially so. Flipping the top lid open, Tony presents the box to (Y/N) like a worshipper offering gifts up to a deity. Her eyes flicker from the ring to him and then back to the ring and finally settles on his face, the bouquet falling from her hands as they both come up to rest over her heart.

“It’s my mothers.” Tony murmurs, answering the unspoken question. “She wanted the next queen of Stark to have it, wanted my future wife to have it. Honestly, I never thought I would ever do this. I’ve always been perfectly fine being alone, thought that was my destiny. But then the fates--they decided to give me more than what I’ve ever deserved and gave me the chance to be with you.”

Tony releases her only so he can pluck the ring from the cushion, tossing the box to the ground right after where it pitter patters quietly. Tony ignores Dum-E’s whirring as the robot goes to pick up what it’s master dropped and instead holds the ring between his thumb and forefinger between he and (Y/N). His throat starts to constrict with emotion--love?--and he speaks before his vocal cords snap.

“Marry me?”

(Y/N)’s sharp intake of breath makes him want to throw himself off a cliff. She pauses but then the way her trembling hand raises from her side makes him breathe a sigh of relief. He takes it as an answer and with the life breathed back into him Tony meets her halfway. He slips the ring onto the right finger and underneath the moonlight, the diamonds glitter. (Y/N) gives a small laugh when it slides on, the perfect size, and she looks up at him with tears glistening in her eyes.

“That’s a yes, by the way.” She whispers, voice cracking. Tony snorts.

“I sure hope so. I’m not going to let you take my mothers ring to Midgard without at least a kiss in return.” Tony laughs as she does. He jokes but he wants to kiss her, truly, more than he wants to breathe and more than he wants a whiskey after a long day. That’s when Tony decides to take a leap of faith.

When (Y/N) looks up at him he leans down, closes his eyes and gingerly presses his lips against hers. At first? Nothing. Tony feels absolutely nothing and he fears he’s made a mistake. But then she kisses him back, her face angling so she can slot her lips against his. She steps forward and puts her hands on his chest so she can press herself against him. And then, there they are.

The sparks.

Electricity jumps from her skin to his as he moves her lips against hers and the more that they touch the more he can feel it. It makes him dizzy, makes his skin hot and when her fingers travel up, skitting across his neck so she can weave her hands into his hair in a way that makes Tony stops breathing. He can’t help himself from running his hands from her waist to the small of her back, thumbs digging into her skin as a way to drag her closer to him.

When the pads of his fingers brush across her jaw in an attempt to push her hair back, she shivers, breath stuttering and goosebumps raising on her skin. Her grip tightens in his hair as her mouth part to breathe in sharply, skin of her lips barely touching his. The desire to kiss (Y/N) for the rest of eternity jumps straight into wanting to take her to bed. Vivid images of her naked and wet crashes into him like a particularly nasty ocean wave and Tony slowly tears himself away before he does something foolish. Lust has never really been a sin he could pry himself from.

(Y/N)’s lashes flutter as she opens her eyes, lips plump from attention and use. Her cheeks are bright pink, pupils blown wide him as she looks at him with adoration. He’s sure that he’s in no better condition with the way his heart thunders under his skin and his blood roars in his ears. A mess after just a kiss, completely unraveled all the way to the center. Who has he become?

“We’ll have a winter wedding.” Tony croaks out, tucking her hair behind her ear like he was trying to moments ago. She smiles, eyes bright and twinkling, and Tony feels himself drowning inside her.



    Dear my brothers,

   

    I’m happy to inform you both that I am an engaged woman.

    Tony asked me to marry him today! I write this letter with his mothers ring weighing on my finger and joy singing in my heart. I said yes of course. He found my favorite flowers somehow and planted them before he asked me. I was under the impression that nothing grew here in Stark. Regardless, the wedding will take place the moment you can arrive. The date is December 31st and Pepper has informed me that the coronation will take place shortly thereafter. In two months I will be crowned Queen of Stark.

    A part of me is excited to get married and another part is excited to become queen. Bigger parts of me are afraid and I’m not sure entirely why. Were you both afraid before the wedding? Did things change between the two of you? Tony and I are in such a good place right now. I daresay that these feelings are real for the both of us and I don’t want to ruin it. Not to mention...Queen? I do not know if I am exactly queen-material. I do not want to fail at this endeavor, I do not want to fail you both or god forbid, Tony. I know the rebuilding of a kingdom will not be simple and I hope I am up to the task.

I miss you both dearly. The idea of seeing you both again after months has me feeling bright, not that I haven’t been feeling bright. Stark is beautiful in it’s own way, glistening and cold and though scarce in people, the ones that I have met are hardy and strong. James, I think you would like it here especially. They like to hunt!

I feel the winds changing, my brothers. A new era of prosperity will begin and I am so thankful to be able to be a part of it. Come quickly and journey safely. I want you both to be here when I become a married woman and I want you both to be here when I become a queen.

 

Your loving and doting little sister, (Y/N)

 

Chapter Text

It’s snowing.

The last time you stood outside before the crack of dawn you were leaving Midgard. You had a plethora of luggages and hope sweeping through your veins like blood, awaiting Natasha and her small but impeccable army. But this time you’re not going anywhere; you doubt Tony would let you anyways with the way he’s holding your hand so tight. He looks anxious almost with the snow settling in his hair, melting on the tips of his ears but you don’t ask. Instead you lift his hand that's wrapped in yours and press a kiss to the gloved back.

“I’m not nervous.” Tony denies even though you haven’t said anything. You giggle and he glares at you.

“What? You’re cute when you’re nervous.”

“If I’m nervous, and I said if ,” Tony starts, holding up a finger. “It’s only because your brothers might be coming here to murder me considering that itsy bitsy little event that happened two decades ago.”

“Or they might be coming here to congratulate me for finally making an honest man out of you.” You propose, reaching up and adjusting his scarf. Your words seem to placate him and the hardness in his face eases just a little even though the exhaustion stays.

It’s been a long month for the both of you. Tony’s been running around doing god knows what, but apparently it’s important by the way Bruce and Natasha run around after him. He’s having one on one with soldiers, speaking to some old diplomats that haven’t had anything to do for the past few years and sneaking kisses from you late at night when you finally find some time together. Pepper reassures you that he’s doing his best to prepare for the arrival of three royal families and that he’ll be fine as long as he gets his mandated five hours of sleep a night but still you worry. His world is about to be turned upside down, shaken and stirred, and given back to him to handle all on his own.

You want to help him, you want to attend these meetings and touch his skin to reassure him when things get rough but you can’t. You have a wedding to plan and steps of a coronation to learn, you’re busy enough on your own. Pepper is doing most of the leg work, bringing in florists, cooks, tailors and bakers to you just so you can say yes or no to whatever cake or bouquet they show you that day. It’s a hurricane of perhaps, maybes, this is too salty ’s and this dress is too tight ’s. You wake up at eight in the morning and return to bed at midnight but surely, it will be worth it right?

“I see them.” Natasha states loudly. Her words make you look away from your fiance and into the blurry snow-hazed horizon instead. It takes a few seconds but then the shadows start to appear on the horizon and your heart jumps through your chest.

It’s not until Tony is shouting your name that you realize you’ve taken off. The ground beneath your shoes has long hardened and it takes the pounding of your feet without complaint as you run. Your breath comes out in pants the further you get and soon enough, those two vague figures on horseback that lead the crowd become more and more recognizable. A head of blonde hair, a swoop of brown, the shine of the shield you’ve crouched under more than enough times as a small girl when you hid from thunderstorms; it brings tears to your eyes.

“(Y/N)!” Steve shouts, sliding down from his horse. You sob as he gets closer, not even 50 yards away at this point. He looks tired and thin, the weather and journey wearing on him but he’s still as handsome as ever. You run faster, practically sprinting at this point and your lungs strain from the exertion that you’re not used to putting out.

    In a moment, he’s there. Steve reaches around your waist as a grin splits his beautiful face into two and pulls you close, spinning you as you shove your crying face into the crook of his neck. He smells like Midgard, like hope, like home, like the flower tree you miss that stands tall in the courtyard you can see from the view of your old bedroom. Steve cradles your head in his big hands, pressing kisses to your temple, your cheeks, your forehead. You swear you see tears in his eyes as well but before you can ask him, another figure drops down beside you.

    “Save a little love for me, dear sister.” James orders, a similar smile spreading on his lips. His hair looks a little shaggier than before but beautiful blue eyes sweeps up all your emotions into a big ball of adoration and love.

    “James, oh my god.” You cry, removing yourself from Steve so you can launch yourself into the dark haired kings arms. James chuckles as he wraps you up, squeezing you so tight around your ribs that you can barely breathe.

    “God, what did they do to you? Why are you crying so?” Steve asks, placing a hand on your lower back. You shake your head, sniffling unattractively.

    “I’ve just missed you both so much.” You say, brushing away the tears that have finally stopped falling.

    “We’ve missed you too.” James says in return, eyes soft with emotion. All of a sudden he holds you at arms length and shakes his head, face showing disapproval. “Pale as a ghost and thinner than a branch. Do they not feed you or allow you outside, (Y/N)?”

    “You’re right, James, look at her.” Steve agrees, placing a palm on your cheek. He shakes his head and you merely roll your eyes.

    “Oh stop it.” You chastise. “Tony has been taking very good care of me.”

“Has he now? Very good care?” James asks, eyebrows raised at the unintentional innuendo.

“James, please, you’re going to give me palpitations.” Steve says, eyes shutting as he tries not to imagine it. You flush in embarrassment and thwack your other big brother on the chest, bringing forth nothing but laughter as he staggers back a foot or so.

“I am a lady .” You seethe. “Do you really think--”

“Jesus christ, (Y/N), I didn’t realize you could run like that.” A voice interrupts. You turn your head and find Tony, Natasha and Clint all on horseback. Furthur in the distance is the rest of the entourage and only then is when you realize how far you’ve run. The sun is up now but the snow falls harder. You feel like a child, happiness thrumming directly underneath your skin at the sight of it all. His kingdom, your kingdom, the white weather and redness of your cloak.

“I’m sorry, I was just excited.” You laugh, walking back over to Tony. He dismounts just in time for you to take his hand in your own to bring him to James and Steve. They don’t even try to hide their stare at your connected grip with Tony and you only pray that their protectiveness settles down.

Once you’ve reached them, a strange tenseness settles over the situation. Clint and Natasha have stayed behind but you see their hands on their weapons to draw at a moments notice. Pepper stands nervously between the both of them and even Rhodey is there with a hard face. You wish that wasn’t the case but you see Sam doing the same a few yards back, fingers white on the hilt of his sword. You’ve been so excited to see your brothers, to have Tony finally meet them somewhere that’s not on the battlefield that you’ve all but forgotten about the war that brought you all here. James killed his parents, Tony’s parents killed yours, it’s not exactly a picture perfect situation.

“King James, King Steve.” Tony starts stiffly, holding out his arm. “Welcome to Stark.”

“Thank you, King Tony.” Steve says, just as awkward as he grasps Tony’s forearm. “You have a beautiful home.”

“Cold kingdom, Stark.” James comments reaching out as well.

This is when Tony pauses and your heart jumps in your chest. His face flickers briefly with pain, almost undetectable but you see it. He’s standing in front of the man that murdered his father and if he chose to avenge him you don’t think you would blame Tony. After all, if Howard Stark was still alive you don’t think you could forgive him never mind amicably shake his hand.

“Not just my kingdom for much longer.” Tony finally says as he grips James forearm. He turns to you and sends you a smile, eyes cheeky and lips pink. You feel your body warm from toes to temple and even Steve seems pleased at his words.

“Let’s go inside.” You suggest as you shiver. “There’s a warm fire and drinks for all of us.”

“Have you been letting her drink?” Steve asks Tony as you all walk back. “She pinks like a peach in summer with a drop of wine in her system.”

“Steve--” You start.

“She pinks at the drop of a few words sometimes.” Tony answers before you can scold your brother, earning a laugh from James.

“Yes, she does blush quite so prettily doesn’t she?” James accentuates the fact by reaching out to pinch your cheeks. You swat his hand away with a glare only making the three males around you chuckle.

“Ah, Lady Natasha!” Steve greets when they get close enough.

“King Steve, it’s nice to see you again.” Natasha says with a professional closed lip smile. “You as well, King James.”

“A pleasure.” James says kindly.

“Wow, the kings of Midgard.” Clint marvels with a grin, hands crossed over his chest. “Nice to meet you both. Clint Barton, I’m Natasha’s old ball and chain.” You giggle as she rolls her eyes and you make a note to ask Clint one day how they met. You watch happily as they both shakes Clints hands, making small talk with how do you do ’s and good, thank you, fine, you? ’s.

“This here is Pepper Potts.” Tony introduces, arm coming out to lead her to the front. She curtsies respectfully, probably a big ball of nervous wreck. “She’s really the one that keeps the kingdom running.”

“A pleasure, Lady Potts.” Steve says politely.

“Oh please, just Pepper will be fine.” She insists. “Lady Potts makes me sound like an old maid.”

“Clint, make sure the Midgard army has places for their horses in our stable.” Tony orders. “Wanda, will you lead our kings to their room?”

Surprisingly, everyone else makes it that same day. King Thor and Prince Loki appear around noon, a crack of thunder and burst of green magic announcing their arrival. Thor kisses your cheeks with loud smacks of his lips, deriving laughter from you but a strange look from Tony and your brothers. He congratulates you on your wedding, on your coronation and even presses a hand on your lower stomach as he teases you about a little Stark that will hopefully be running through the castle halls in a few years time. Loki is much less intense than his older sibling, merely placing a respective kiss on your knuckles. His actions are repressed but there’s a glint in his eyes that tell you that there must be something more there. They come with a much smaller party than your brother did including just themselves and three mighty men; Fandral, Hogun the Grim, and Volstagg the Valiant . The Warriors Three they called themselves.

It’s later in the day, near dinnertime when Wakandian horns blow in the distance. King T’Challa stands tall and broad as his wife, Queen Nakia is a vision in their traditional gowns. Princess Shuri, a sweet young girl with a mind as keen as Tony’s, greets you with a hug and a gift. She presses a small wooden rhinoceros into your palm, carved from the nature of her lands and informs you she’s been waiting to meet you for years. You almost cry right then and there, the sisterhood between you two solidifying the longer you stand clasping her hands in yours.

It’s a mess after that with everyone running around and going berserk. It’s a single day before the wedding and two before the coronation so you also have a bit of a hectic flair about yourself. Seeing James and Steve, it’s soothed the bubbling emotions in your soul. Peggy had even tagged along and so far, she’s made great friends with Wanda and the both of them have been helping you ready for your wedding.

Strangely enough, it’s not the actual wedding you’re worried about. It’s what happens...after. The wedding night, consummating the marriage, sex, all of that . It’s got you in knots since the night Tony asked you to marry him. The process of child making isn’t foreign to you. In fact you distinctly remember the night that Steve and James sat you down after dinner, called Peggy in, and then proceeded to wait on the sidelines with green faces as she explained to you the birds and the bees.

Sex with Tony though, that’s something you know nothing about. You’re half tempted to ask Wanda if she knows what to expect but you don’t think you’d be able to go on sanely if she confesses she’s been in bed with your king. Jealousy has never been something you’ve experienced before but it’s been making itself known lately. It rears it’s ugly green, teeth baring head every time a particularly pretty girl serves Tony his morning coffee at breakfast or leaves his room at odd hours of the night after dropping off more paperwork or a late night snack.

You don’t think he would ever be unfaithful. He’s fond enough of you that the luster of a new relationship hasn’t yet worn off, surely?  You don’t know. Are you...sexy enough? You know you’re no beauty to compare to the gods but you believe you’re attractive enough in your own way. But is pretty enough for a king who has been deemed a god in bed? A blushing bride may be attractive to a normal man but for Tony, you’re almost sure he’d prefer someone more experienced, wouldn’t he?

A sharp jab at your hip makes you hiss and you look down to find the guilty face of a young seamstress. “Oh I’m sorry, your highness, do forgive me.” She pleads. You’re not sure way she looks so afraid, the fear probably stemming from some of her other less pleasant clients.

“Oh it’s fine, Hilda. Surprised me, is all.” You answer, the words clearly soothing her worry. “Will there be enough time for the adjustments?”

“Yes, your highness, definitely.” Hilda answers standing up. She readjusts the fabric of your gown, stepping back and walking around you in a semicircle to eye her work. The dress is gorgeous, all hand sewn and designed by Hilda herself. She’s the daughter of the seamstress that designed Queen Maria’s wedding gown and you wanted something nostalgic and traditional.

“Oh, look at you.” Someone coos. When you turn to find out who, you find Peggy with a bright warm smile on her face and teary eyes to match.

“Why aren’t you at dinner, Peggy?” You ask her curiously. “Surely everyone is in the banquet hall.”

“Everyone but you. Why are you hiding?” Peggy, as knowing as ever, gives you a look that crumbles the wall you’ve been slowly putting up.

“For some reason I feel silly.” You confess lightly, turning your gaze back to the large mirrors that have been propped up in front of you. Hilda bends down once again, pins in her teeth as she readjusts a hem that she’s already fixed half a dozen times.

“Why is that?”
    “I’m not sure. I look like a bride, sure, but I feel more like a young girl playing house.” You sigh at your reflection. She hums in acknowledgment as she walks over, placing the wicker basket she was holding by your feet. Standing atop of the pedestal you find you can peer right into it, finding an assortment of hairpieces that she must have brought from Midgard. Something pretty and colorful glints in the pile and as if she’s been reading your mind, she picks it up.

“Do you love him?” Peggy asks you casually though her words are grave.

“I...I think so.” You allow yourself a little smile as you feel Peggy’s hands sweep up your hair, trying out different pins and pieces. “I’ve never been in love before, Peggy. I don’t know what it’s like, I don’t know what to compare this feeling to.”

“Well, tell me how you feel about him then.” Peggy suggests. You give it a moment's thought before you answer.

“He’s kind even though he pretends not to be. There’s a soft spot in that hardened heart for the people around him and he’s so witty, Peggy. I can’t spend more than a few minutes in his presence without laughing. He’s the smartest man I’ve ever met. The technology here that he’s invented; it’s mind blowing. Midgard could benefit from it you know, Asgard as well if they ever switch from magic to science.” You nod to yourself as Hilda helps you out of the wedding dress, Peggy standing to the side with another gown in her hands.

“Sounds like you adore him.” She comments, slipping the fabric over your head.

“I do adore him.” You agree as she walks you over to the vanity, setting you down. “I think he’s fairly fond of me as well.”

“Is he? How do you know?”

“Well, he seems to like kissing me.” You laugh, remembering all the times he’s pulled you into an empty hall to press his lips against yours. “And...he said so. When he proposed to me, he said he does. But he’s never uttered words of love. I don’t know if we’re there yet.”

“That’s alright. This is a political marriage and while those seem to rarely end in love, I believe yours will. Just give it time.” Peggy reassures you as she fixes your hair better than she did before. Instead of an updo, she chooses a side braid that many maidens of Midgard prefer. The glint of seaglass catches your eye and you notice that the dress you wear is of the same pretty shade. In this light fabric, with your hair plaited to the side and a net of sea glass woven into your locks, you look very Midgardian. You realize you’ve missed looking this way.

“How have James and Steve been? A handful?” You ask her, reaching forward for your creams and lotions. In the reflection the handmaiden rolls her eyes but smiles nonetheless.

“They’ve always been hard to handle.” She begins. “But they’ve been especially insufferable since your leaving. The idea of your growing up, becoming a bride, a mother , it has Steve all worked up.”

“Well surely he didn’t think I’d be a little girl forever.”

“He hoped though, you know how he is. Seeing you in a wedding dress is going to give him a heart attack.” Peggy smirks. “I think it’ll give James one as well.”

“Peggy.” You start softly. “May I ask why you’re unmarried?”

She pauses at this, eyes catching yours in the mirror. Her relationship with your brothers has never really been something you both have talked about, more so just accepted. It’s been like that ever since you were young and you’ve never thought anything of it till you got older and realized that their circumstances are a lot different than the usual couples. They’re happy though, and if you could be half as happy Steve, James and Peggy are in your marriage, you would be satisfied.

“I think you know why, dearest.” She answers just as quiet. “It was hard enough for Midgard to accept two kings, what makes you think they’ll accept me as well?”

“You know Steve and James will fight for you. I’ll fight for you, Peggy. Not to mention, I think Midgard needs a womanly touch with me being married off to Stark.” You inform her, turning your waist so you can see her face. “I won’t be there any longer and you would make a wonderful queen.” Her features soften and you see the hope flicker across her eyes. It’s gone just as quick as it was here and she sighs, shaking her head.

“Let’s worry about you first, princess. Are you ready for your wedding night?” The flush that floods your cheeks at the mention of it answers her question better than you can say.

“As ready as I can ever be, I suppose. I’m a nervous wreck though.” You utter, turning back around.

“The nervousness will ease and I’ll be there the next morning to change the sheets.” Peggy promises, leaning down to press a kiss to the top of your head. “Then we can titter about it like schoolgirls and compare sizes.” Your embarrassed shriek causes her to laugh heartily but regardless the knot in your stomach becomes less tight and you find it a little easier to breathe.

 

Chapter Text

    The collar of the cape is too tight around Tony’s neck and the fur trim tickles his jaw annoyingly. Tony reaches up, face scrunching as he tries to adjust the article of clothing to a position that hopefully won’t choke him for the rest of the day. The man he sees in the mirror is not wedding ready, not wedding ready at all even though his wedding is literally in fifteen minutes. His hair is sticking up strange and there’s dark circles under his eyes from the night before. Those damn Asgardians love to drink and Thor wouldn’t let him retire to bed until they’ve both drunk a literal barrel each of golden mead.

    Usually that’s no problem for Tony. Drinking all night? He does that anyways, or he used to at least. Ever since (Y/N)’s come around he hasn’t felt that dying need for a burning drink. Guzzling all that beer last night shocked his system as if he was thirteen all over again and Tony feels bloated and lazy. Groaning he turns away from the mirror to find his friends, amused and laughing.

    “How does it feel to be a bachelor no more?” Strange asks cheekily, arms crossed in front of his chest as he leans on Tony’s bedpost. The December sun shines glaringly on Stephens cheekbones making them look sharper than usual. Tony wants to punch him more than usual as well. 

    “Yes, excited to be a married man?” Bruce adds on with a happy smile. He sits on the foot of Tony’s bed, hair freshly cut and beard shaved.

    “Shut up, the both of you.” Tony grumbles. “Wanda!” Tony yells. “Can I get a new cloak? God, this one is choking me to death.” With a roll of his eyes and a sigh, Strange gestures Tony to walk over to him. Unsure why, the king complies and looks up to the ceiling as Strange's fingers adjust the cords.

    “Don’t have Wanda running around, she’s busy taking care of (Y/N).” Stephen orders.

    “He’s just acting out because he’s nervous.” Bruce teases.

    “Bruce, I’m not nervous. I’m merely getting married.”

    “What, not worried about tonight then?” Strange asks as he finishes messing with Tony’s cloak. Lowering his head, the king finds that it’s surprisingly much more comfortable now.

    “Why in the world would I be worried about tonight?” Tony mumbles, turning back to the mirror. He reaches up and tries to fix his hair to no avail, the curls not listening to him in the least bit. Why is no one here to help him?! Surely it doesn’t take an army of maidens to prepare one princess for a wedding. Not to mention it’s (Y/N); she’s already beautiful.

    “First night together with your wife, of course. Don’t be daft.” Strange says. “Think you’re up to the task?”
    “I don’t know, was I up to the task when we used to fuck?” Strange doesn’t sputter or turn red, his sharp face free from any sort of embarrassment or shyness about the drunken nights that they’ve spent together. All he does is rolls his eyes and shake his head.

    “You’re right, Bruce, he is acting out. Must be very nervous then.” The doctor comments with a snarky smile that makes Tony want to strangle him.

    “I’m not nervous I just--I don’t want to hurt her. She’s a virgin...”

    “How do you know that?” Bruce asks, eyes squinting in suspicion. “She’s beautiful, surely she’s had some experience with some eager boy back at home.”

    “She blushes when I press a single kiss to her cheek, Bruce, she has about as much experience as you.” Tony insults without any menace. Bruce shrugs.

    “I’m married to my work, Tony, kill me.”

    “Be kind then.” Strange orders for (Y/N)’s sake. “Take it slow and you’ll both be alright.”
    “Or wait.” Bruce suggests. “If she’s not ready, just wait. It’s not like anyone will know but the two of you.”

    “Kingdom needs an heir, Banner, he can’t wait. His swimmers are already losing their speed.”
    “Hm, I suppose you’re right, Strange. I read once that a man's fertility drops dramatically once he hits forty.”

    “Exactly. (Y/N) is at her peak baby-bearing years and Tony’s men won’t be able to reach the egg if he dilly dallys.”

    “Please stop talking about my sperm.” Tony groans. “Why are we even talking about children? Can I get married first before you all want to turn (Y/N) into some child making machine?”

    “You boys ready?” All men turn to the feminine voice by the door. Pepper walks in, a stunning vision in dark blue silk and creamy skin. Her strawberry gold hair is out of the usual tight bun that she’s preferred for work lately and has been curled to frame her pretty face. Strange gives a small whistle as Bruce goes woooow and Tony can’t help but admire her as well.

    “We’re ready, Tony’s having a bit of a meltdown though.” Strange answers, pushing himself up off the bedpost.

    “You better not be getting cold feet, Stark.” Pepper begins angrily as she clicks towards him in her heels. Bruce and Strange slink out of the door to leave him at the mercy of Pepper Potts, raging dragon lady. Some friends they are.

    “I’m fine, Stephen’s a dick.” Tony mutters. This helps her breathe a little better and then suddenly, Pepper is smiling at him.

    “You’re getting married. To someone who actually likes you. Never thought I would see the day.” Pepper says cheekily. Tony gives a short laugh and sighs.

    “Me either.”

    “Are you happy, Tony?” Pepper suddenly wonders. She looks up at him with bright wide eyes, eyes that he was actually once in love with.

Pepper has always been the only one to care for him, the one that’s been there since he was 16 and fighting a war that wasn’t his. They’ve known each other a goddamn long time and Tony can’t even remember a part of his life that she wasn’t there to take care of him. She’s wiped vomit from the side of his mouth, pressed gauze into his wounds, even cut his hair and took care of his beard on the days that life was too much for him to even move. It’s no surprise that they fell in love.

It was a nasty relationship though; a lot of screaming and yelling and angry sex. They were too perfect of a match for each other, him being fire and her being tinder. It’s no wonder they burned out in less than six months. After that, Tony never would have guessed that he would marry before her, always so sure that a better man than he would come and whisk one of his best friends off her feet and to a pleasant little castle somewhere a little more up north.

    “I think I will be.” Tony finally answers. “What about you, Pepper? Happy?”

She laughs and shakes her head. “Tony, I’ve been waiting all my life for a woman to come take you off my hands.” Her answer is so very her, so very them that Tony’s lips quirk up in a small smile.

When she offers her arm he takes it, feeling strangely less and less worried as they walk to the main hall. She even manages to press down that cowlick atop his head with a swipe of her thumb; magic, she is. Once they arrive, Tony almost feels like he’s in a dream. There are so many people there, half his kingdom including everyone that traveled for the wedding. Tony even thinks he spies Peter Quill slinking around one of the corners of the room but before he can go confirm the fact his eyes land on (Y/N).

    When he arrives, no one even looks at him. Why would they when (Y/N) is standing up there so beautifully? He’s quiet as he makes his way towards her, arm falling from Peppers. He takes in the way her dress falls around her hips, the way her face lights up as she talks to her siblings. A thick red string is held in her palm, the other end laying there limpy as it waits for him.

His friends and her family surround them in a little semi circle, the casualness of a Stark wedding a lot different than all the other kingdoms. No priest, no doves, no veil. Just a short ceremony where a red string ties their souls together for the rest of eternity, sealed with a simple knot and kiss. This is when it hits him that he’s really getting married. He’s becoming a husband. He’s acquiring a wife.

    “Look who finally decided to show up!” Thor booms, clapping Tony on the shoulder. He leans in, bright smile on his face. “Thought I might have did you in last night, King Tony.”

    “It’ll take more than a little Asgardian ambrosia to do that.” Tony bluffs, earning himself a laugh from the king of Asgard.

    “Could you be any more boisterous, brother?” Loki grimly asks, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. Seems like the younger brother can’t take his alcohol as well as his sibling, being adopted and whatnot.

    “Ah, cheer up, Loki. It’s a wedding!” Shuri chirps from in between her brother and sister-in-law.

    “A beautiful one at that.” King T’Challa comments.

    “And with a gorgeous bride.” Queen Nakia compliments, her eyes turned towards (Y/N). Tony’s gaze follows the queen and when he’s finally face to face with his bride, Tony could cry.

    “Thank you, Queen Nakia.” (Y/N) says politely as she grins.

    “Let’s get this thing started!” Shuri yells. “What are we waiting for??”

    “Shuri.” T’Challa warns in a low voice. The young princess pouts but keeps her mouth shut.

    “She’s right, what are we waiting for?” James asks, looking around.

    “Grooms here, we should begin, yes?” Steve says, sending Tony a smile.

    “Tony?” (Y/N) goes. It’s the first time she’s spoken to him today and Tony feels the rest of the world sweet away.

    “Hello, love.” Tony says. His body moves and reaches for her instinctively, their fingers meeting in the middle. As they step closer to each other, the crowd parts and rearranges itself for the ceremony. The red string tangles between their feet and Tony swears as he lifts his foot up, trying to shake it off. She giggles and reaches down with her free hand to pick up the strands away from them so they don’t trip.

    “Ready?” (Y/N) asks him softly. She seems so sure and confident, brilliant and beautiful; Tony wants to steal some of it for himself.

    “Always.” He answers, bringing their clasped hands to his lips.

    “Let’s begin, lovebirds.” Pepper says, shooing them apart.

A cute little close lipped smile arrives on her face as she listens to Pepper, the officiator of the wedding and the rest of the crowd quiets down. Steve and James go to stand beside Pepper to represent her side of the family. The very first part of the ceremony needs usually parents from both parties. Both Tony and (Y/N)’s parents are dead so the surrogates for her are James and Steve. Tony’s surrogate is Pepper of course; she’s the only true family he’s every known.

“Good morning all, we have gathered here today to tie the red fate of string between this man and this woman.” Pepper starts, voice travelling beautifully across the expanse of the room. “This red string of fate will connect Princess (Y/N) of Midgard and King Anthony of Stark together for the rest of their mortal lives and further into the afterlife….”

“This is your chance to run away before you’re stuck with me forever.” Tony whispers, leaning forward. (Y/N) bites her lips to hold back her laughter, afraid to interrupt Peppers speech.

“What if I want to be stuck with you forever?” She says cheekily in return.

“Well then you’re in the right place, we’re actually at a wedding right now.”

She giggles at this, blatantly interrupting Peppers words. Tony holds back a snort as (Y/N)’s eyes widen to the size of her brothers shield and her face turns as red as the clothes he’s wearing right now. She mouths I’m sorry to Pepper before turning to him to glare as if it’s his fault he’s hilarious. He gives half a shrug and smirks at her, unaware of all the eyes that are on them watching their adorable exchange. It’s only when Pepper moves towards (Y/N) does Tony realize that there’s a world out there beside them.

“(Y/N), I tie this knot to bind you to Anthony for the rest of your life. May your marriage be filled with love, communication and joy.” Pepper says, fastening the string around (Y/N)’s delicate wrist.

“Thank you.” (Y/N) says lovingly, leaning forward and pressing a kiss to Peppers cheek. With a smile, the older woman steps back so Steve can step in.

“Anthony, I tie this knot to bind you to (Y/N) for the rest of eternity. May your marriage be filled with kindness, understanding, and peace.” Steve says, tightening the string around Tony’s wrist as well.

“Thank you, Steve.” Tony says with a nod. It’s unspoken but Steve knows that Tony will take care of her.

“With this, we pronounce you man and wife.” Pepper says unable to keep the excitement out of her voice. “Congratulations.”

The crowd roars thunderously and Tony feels like he’s in heaven when (Y/N) beams, her smile bright and unabashed. He walks forward, an arm wrapping around her waist as the other goes to cup her face. He can barely kiss her with the way they’re both smiling but he does his best as everyone around them whoops and screams. The way she presses herself against him, fingers in his hair as she laughs into their kiss, it makes Tony feel like he can do anything in this world.

“Alright, alright, no more kissing in front of the big brother.” Steve says only half way joking. Tony only smiles as he leans back, allowing his wife ( wife) to turn to her brother and shake her head.

“May those with blessings step forward.” Pepper announces as the crowd dies down. At this Tony goes to stand by (Y/N)’s side, their red string linked hands finding each other as their guests step up to them. First comes King Thor who drops his hammer down before he makes his way towards them.

“King Stark, Queen Stark, I bless thee days with sunshine and gentle rain.” Thor says brightly, reaching out to take each of their hands. “May I suggest the countryside of Asgard for your honeymoon? We have very beautiful lands.”

“Thank you, Thor.” (Y/N) says with laughter. “We might take you up on that offer.” Thor chuckles good heartedly and gestures for his brother to come up as well. Loki looks a lot less grumpy than when he first arrived, probably due to the fact that he’s had a good night's sleep and decent food in his stomach. With a brighter face and his dark hair slicked back, the younger sibling of Asgard approaches them.

“Congratulations, dear princess, on what hopefully is a successful marriage. Please do call if problems ever arise.” Loki says facetiously with a small curve of a smile on his face. Much to Tony’s pleasure, (Y/N)’s cheek stay the same color instead of flushing brightly. “Considering my dear brother already took care of your blessings, I merely have a gift.”

Loki holds out his palm and Tony watches as (Y/N) leans forward to look into the empty hand. With a flourish, Loki reaches over with spindly fingers and forms a ball for just a moment before green magic fills Tonys vision. (Y/N) gasps slightly when the smoke clears and in Loki’s palm lays a ring, perfect and real. With a smile, the Asgardian picks up the ring and reaches for (Y/N)’s free right hand. She gives it all too willingly, awe and admiration in her eyes.

“It’s beautiful, Prince Loki.” (Y/N) compliments, mesmerized by the glittering emerald stone.

“If you are ever in danger, ever in need, or simply would like some company, break this jewel and it will light a beacon that will draw me to wherever you are.” Loki in forms her, Thor nodding in the background as the king approves of his brothers choices.

“Thank you. We will treasure your gift.” Tony says as (Y/N) dons the jewelry. His voice causes Loki’s eyes to flicker to him for the first time in minutes and Tony wonders if he should be worried about Loki’s intentions.

“Us next! Us next!” Shuri says as she bounces in her spot. She barely waits for Loki and Thor to retreat before she’s running up and throwing her arms around (Y/N)’s neck in an embrace. (Y/N) merely laughs, returning the hug with enthusiasm as she rocks them both to and fro.

“Shuri!” King T’challa says through gritted teeth, reaching forward and pulling his little sister back.

“Congratulations on your wedding, (Y/N)! Goodness, you look so beautiful! Is this a Midgardian gown? Or a Stark?” Shuri questions curiously as she fingers the fabric of (Y/N)’s sleeve. T’challa sighs tiredly as he’s completely ignored, Nakia patting his arm to console him.

“Stark.” Tony answers without meaning to as if he knows anything at all about fashion. In all honesty, the dress merely reminds him of his mothers gowns and he made the leap.

“Shuri, the blessing.” Queen Nakia nudges.

“Right, right.” The young princess clears her throat and stands up straighter than before, chin tipping up as she becomes a tad more serious. “(Y/N) of Midgard, Anthony of Stark, Wakanda blesses thee both with this heart-shaped herb.”

Gasps and murmurs spreads through the crowds like wildfire and even Tony can’t help the way his jaw drops. Sure, his father stole some vibranium once upon a time, a feat he’s not even sure that King T’challa knows of but to have the legendary plant gifted to him? It’s an act of generosity that’s only heard of in Wakandians. This plant is what makes Wakanda....Wakanda and the only thing Tony can do as he receives the precious gift is say thank you.

Okoye comes forward with a completely black pod held in her hands, her stance strong and sure. Bending her knees as she hands it to King T’challa, Tony holds his breath in his chest.  T’challa smiles handsomely, kindly as he holds it out for the fellow king to take. In his hands the egg shaped receptacle is lightweight, the material so smooth it resembles glass. Out of curiosity, Tony presses the small little button at the base and blackness recedes, revealing a glowing purple herb planted in pitch black soil.

“The heart shaped herb is a finicky thing.” Queen Nakia says. “It will not grow in sun so giving a plant to Midgard or Asgard is useless. We hope it will grow here in Stark where the weather is not quite so hot.”

“It thrives in dark and damp conditions.” Shuri informs him. “Doesn’t like sun much but loves moonlight and do try to keep it away from the freezing cold? Though the plant has no seeds, it will grow like weeds once it’s planted so make sure you have many caretakers. I suggest you plant it into soil in the many caves here in Stark, King Anthony.”

“I have no words.” Tony murmurs, eyes flickering across the faces of the royal Wakandian family. “Thank you. Truly.”

Next is the Romanov-Bartons. Natasha gifts a beautiful and lethal dagger to (Y/N), making her promise to use it on Tony if ever need be. Clint just claps Tony on the shoulder, wishing the king a long eventful marriage. Bruce embraces them both tightly, murmuring his congratulations with a cracked voice. Strange places a kiss on (Y/N)’s cheek and warns that if Tony doesn’t treat her right he’ll slip arsenic into his coffee. He merely laughs.

Only here in Stark can the kings followers openly threaten him at his wedding and still live after.

 

Chapter Text

 

“The string snapping tradition.”

“The string snapping tradition?” You echo, head turning to the side. Clint nods and smiles as Natasha gives him an annoyed look.

Around you sits your family and friends, old and new as you enjoy your lavish dinner. The wedding had gone off without a hitch and here you are, a married woman sitting beside your husband. Your husband . That is who Tony is now and every time you look over to him, handsome and regal and witty, you feel your affection for him swell to an insurmountable scale. The steady electric lights around you glow beautifully, the technology that bloomed from Tony’s hard work always putting you in awe.

“That’s a ridiculous tradition, don’t make them do that.” Natasha says, jabbing her pork with a knife.

“What is it?” Steve asks curiously as he drinks his beer.

“It has to do with this here.” Tony answers as he holds up the red string that still ties the two of you together. You had wondered why no one has cut it yet but you haven’t voiced your thoughts; you like being tied to Tony and having him always at a few feet away.

“It’s simple. The bride and groom pull the string with all their strength to try and snap it.” Clint begins. “Each second that the string stays in place is each year the marriage will last.”

“And how long did you and Natasha last?” James asks, a knowing smile on his lips.

“We didn’t.” Natasha answers bluntly. “The string snapped the moment we started pulling.”

“Yet here we are, ten years later.” Clint smiles, leaning in for a kiss. Natasha humors him and offers him her cheek but you can see how pleased she really is about that fact.

“Shall we try it?” You ask Tony excitedly. “Midgard doesn’t really have fun traditions like this.” Your cheeks are pink from the drink and you know you’ve already had too much. Steve is right, you really can’t handle your wine but it’s your wedding day! You think you’re allowed to be a little free. Tony is probably buzzed too being on his third drink of the night but regardless of that he shoots you a smile that lets you know his answer before he even says it.

“Sure.” Tony goes as he stands. The chairs clear so you and Tony can stand further apart. You watch as he wraps the string once around his palm for a better grip and you do the same, a giddy smile on your lips. “Ready?” He asks. Nodding, you brace yourself as the audience counts down.

Three!

Two!

One!

You pull as hard as you can. The string becomes taut instantly and you laugh as your brothers encourage you to tug harder. Tony can’t help but crack a smile himself as he digs his boots into the ground to be as steady as possible so you can do the tugging. The seconds are announced by the audience who all understand this well known tradition, practiced at weddings of royals and commoners alike. Somehow, much to your confusion, the string stays together even as they hit thirty seconds. And then forty. And then fifty.

“Tony, what are you doing?” Pepper asks with mirth. “Pull harder!”

“Don’t be such a weakling!” Sam goads. “Give it to her!”

“If I pull it’s going to snap!” Tony protests as the string digs into his skin. “Bruce!” Understanding, the doctor goes to stand behind you, presumably to catch you if you fall. Only when Bruce has his arms out and ready do you see Tony’s face change. His eyes harden, his knees bend slightly, his other hand comes to wrap around the string and you brace yourself. You squeeze your eyes shut as your heart races, pumping adrenaline and booze throughout your body.

Tony yanks harshly, just once and somehow, the string doesn’t snap. Instead, the momentum causes you to come tumbling forward and into his arms, a small shriek escaping your throat as your world spins. Tony barely catches you as you both get knocked to ground, audible gasps coming from their friends as the breath is knocked out of Tony’s chest. You expect pain, to bang your elbow or your knee but instead, you’re fall is cushioned by Tony.

“Fuck.” He mutters into your hair. You feel one of his hands on your lower back, the other planted on the ground to hoist you both up. Your palms are placed on either sides of his waist, face buried in the crook of his neck. This is the closest you’ve been to him all night and the only thing you feel is worry.

“Oh I’m so sorry, are you alright?!” You ask, sitting up to keep your weight off of him. You’re wedged between his legs and you fret, teaching out to touch his cheek and side of his head.

“It’s alright, I’m fine.” He says softly with a bit of chuckling. Lifting his hand you see that the cord is still intact and you laugh at the ridiculousness of it.

“What is this thing made of?” You wonder.

“It’s just string, I swear.” Pepper says, leaning down to help you up.

“Are you unharmed?” Steve says, instantly on you once you’re standing.

“Yes, of course.” You say, brushing his hands away as he tries to spin you. You slap at James arm when he tries to lift your skirts to check your knees, earning yourself a swear.

“See what you did?” Natasha whacks Clint on the chest with the back of her hand and all the archer does is laugh.

“Well at least now we know they’re going to last forever.” Clint points out cheerily. His words warm you from the inside out and you allow yourself a small smile. Sure the tradition is a bit silly but you like the thought anyways. The guests of your wedding go a little crazy and looking out into the expanse, you still can’t believe you’re here. By this time tomorrow, these will be your people. Your kingdom.

You turn back to Tony who’s brushing dust off his arm, Bruce helping him. As he moves his arms, you feel the string still connecting you to him pull. “You hear that, my husband? Forever.” You joke walking over to the king. He pauses, pupils dilating as they focus on you. For a moment you’re scared that you’ve said something wrong but the softness of his voice when he speaks informs you otherwise.

“What did you just say?” He asks breathlessly.

“Forever?” You cock your head to the side inquisitively, confused as to why he’s suddenly so serious.

“Before that.” He murmurs softly. Now you smile.

“My husband. That’s what you are now.” You say, reaching forward to place a hand on his chest, the red string bright against the rest of his clothes.

“Right.” The corner of his lip comes up as he smiles down at you and you feel the warm of his grip on your hip. You both share a warm moment, his lips pressing against yours for a few seconds before a loud chime enters the air. You look up and find it’s one of the grand clocks striking midnight.

“Twelve already?” Pepper asks. “God, we need to go to bed.”

“Pepper, the party is barely begun.” Clint complains as she starts to motion to the musicians to cut off the music. You watch as her single action starts an amazing domino effect, waiters and waitresses starting to pick up plates, maids ushering guests into their rooms.

“We have a coronation first thing tomorrow. I want everyone up and ready by eleven or I’m maiming each and every one of you.” Pepper threatens, her eyes lingering on everyone's faces.

    “We heard you, boss.” Bruce says, voice laced with amusement as the entourage starts to leak out of the banquet room.

    “Bedtime then, love?” Clint asks, arm snaking around Natasha’s petite waist.

    “Congratulations again, little sister.” James says, pressing a kiss to your forehead. Steve bids you goodnight as well and you watch silently as your blood brother grips Tony’s shoulder a little harshly before leaving. You kiss Bruce goodnight, allow Clint to drop a smooch on your cheek as well before you turn back to Tony. You want to ask him if he’s ready to go but pause when you find him looking around the room, eyes squinting as it tries to find a face.

    “Who are you searching for?” You ask him, following his flickering eyes as best as you can.

    “Wanda. Isn’t she going to help you ready for bed?” He asks. He turns to you, a bit of a smirk on his lips.  “Get you out of what I can only assume is a dozen layers?”

    “I was...I was hoping you could help instead.” At this you blush, eyelashes batting as you look down.

Tony’s smirk drops and he continues looks at you, confused and shocked and in awe.  You don’t exactly know how to tell him that you had allowed Wanda a free day after dinner because, well, you knew that Tony should be the one undressing you tonight. That makes more sense and it’s more romantic than having Wanda hide in the bathroom whilst you walk out of it naked and crawl onto the bed to be with Tony. Right? Isn’t that how these things usually go? Your breath is caught in your chest and you don’t know what else to say. Luckily, Tony is a smart man and he takes note of the way you redden, the way you bite your lip nervously.

    “Alright then.” Your husband murmurs softly. The gentleness of his voice, the way you know he’ll take care of you, it makes that ball of nervousness in your throat dissolve into almost nothingness.  You allow him to take your hand in his as you make your way through the now familiar halls of the castle.

    Reaching the doors of his bedroom is just as nerve wracking as you think it’s going to bed. During the festivities today, you know the maids have been merging your rooms together, bringing your dresses to his closet and mixing your heels with his riding boots. Walking in though, it’s strange to see your books among his and your vanity propped up on the wall with windows. The bed has that soft cotton blanket you’ve become so fond of folded at the foot, no doubtedly freshly washed and pressed by Wanda. Above the fireplace that has been stoked long ago are even a few of your knicknacks; a seashell jewelry box, a few of you rings and some midgardian hairpieces.

    “Let’s cut this damn string.” Tony says as the door shuts behind him. He pulls out a small dagger from his waist and slides it up under the string on his wrist. With a quick flick of his wrist, snips it into two. You hold your wrist out for him and he does the same, only he doesn’t let go once he sheathes his dagger.

    The mood changes when he lifts your hand up to his face. It’s so natural the way you cup his cheek, thumb sweeping across his cheekbones. As natural as the sun rises every morning, the way the sea level rises and falls with the changing seasons. Tony presses a kiss to the inside of your hand, lips and breath warm on your palm as his eyes lock on yours. He waits for you, doesn’t move closer or farther and just waits. He’s giving you all the controls for tonight and you’re grateful even if you don’t know what you’re doing.

    You step to him but turn around as you sweep your hair to one side with shaking hands, licking your lips to try and alleviate the dryness. You know what he’s seeing; a woman saying yes, a woman laying all his trust in him. There’s a slight moment of a pause before you feel Tony’s hands slowly undoing the back of your corset, his fingers somehow steady in the moment. He’s quiet, no witty quips or teasing words falling from his lips and you’re grateful. Your nerve would leave you if he started to jest.

You can’t help but remind yourself that Tony has been with plenty of other women before but you haven’t been with other men. Your inexperience just makes you even more nervous, scared you’ll not able to please your husband on your wedding night. With each level of the garment he gets through, you’re able to breathe a little bit more but the newfound oxygen doesn’t help your emotions. The nervousness that Peggy swore would go away doesn’t, only intensifying as the seconds tick by. It seems like forever until he pulls at the last ribbon, freeing your ribs and your lungs.

    Without the support of the corset, you dress immediately starts to droop. You take in a shuddering breath as you shimmy out of it as gracefully as you can, willing courage into your demeanor as more of your skin becomes visible in the firelight. You wear nothing underneath, nothing at all and why would you? It’s your wedding night and everyone knows exactly what will happen, especially Wanda and Peggy who had dressed you earlier today. Soon enough your beautiful gown is a heap on the floor by your ankles and you’re entirely bare, lit only by the moonlight and fire place.

The presence of your new husband behind you is nerve wracking. His breath is warm on the back of your neck and you manage not to flinch when his palms settle on both sides of your waist.  He presses a gentle kiss to your left shoulder and you feel yourself almost melt at the tenderness. Abruptly, a log in the fire in front of you both snaps loudly in the quiet tension. You jump almost sky high as you wrap your arms around your chest trying to protect yourself. Your heart rate skyrockets as you take in a sharp breath. Tony’s hands tighten on your hips, steadying your sudden movements as you hear him say your name. Feeling like a child, your face flushes red at your own actions.

    “I-I’m sorry.” You stutter, completely embarrassed, head hanging. “I don’t mean to be so easily frightened.”

    “(Y/N),” Tony repeats, turning you to face him. You expect his eyes to travel down your body, to ravish you lecherously with his gaze. After all, it is his wedding night and you are now his wife. He has every right to take you right here, right now whether you want him to or not. Instead he reaches up, placing his hand on the side of your neck, thumb stroking your jawline. The touch is gentle and sweet, calming your nerves just slightly. He pauses there, not moving as he looks upon you.

    “What is it?” You ask him meekly. Tony’s eyes flicker across your face, his brow crinkling as he thinks.

    “You’re too nervous.” He concludes, not even questioning you. “We’re not going to do this tonight.”

    “What?” You ask. Your heart, still hammering,  plummets into your stomach with disappointment and hurt. Does he not want you? Are you not beautiful enough? You’ve been readying yourself for this night for months and he doesn’t want to proceed ?

    Tony turns away and grabs the cape he wore for the ceremony from the bed where he threw it. He sweeps it around your shoulders to make you decent, quickly tying the cords at your neck and while he does, you see the pinched form of his face that refuses to look at your body. He doesn’t seem disappointed or angry, you can’t really tell what his expression is. When he’s finished, Tony merely walks away from you towards the fire that lights his bedroom. You can’t seem to find words until he pours himself a drink to sip on, continuing to settle on the chair to warm himself by the flames.

    “What do you mean not tonight?” You ask, walking over to him, feet cold on the floor. You block him from the flames but still he refuses to look at you, not even answering you. You give him a moment, a chance but he stays quiet. Being ignored only makes you angrier and a courage rises inside of you from god knows where. You reach forward and grab his drink from his hand, turning around just so you can throw it into the fire, glass and all. It shatters against the hard stones, fire flashing like a bomb from the alcohol.

    “I’m not in the habit of sleeping with women who don’t want me.” Tony finally supplies as an explanation, eyes meeting yours for the first time since he’s walked away. He looks afraid, almost, but you’re not sure because you’ve never seen him afraid before.

That’s when it clicks; it’s not that he doesn’t want you. He’s afraid he’s going to hurt you because he thinks you’re unwilling. Your demeanor softens at his care, heart constricting tight as you think about how much thought he’s put into this night. You’ve only been thinking of yourself but now you know that Tony has been put in a tight spot as well. What kind of king would he be if her forcibly takes his wife to bed? What would his people think?

    “Tony, I’ve never been with a man. In any sense, actually.” You confess quietly, head down though you know there’s no shame in your situation. “Of course I’m nervous.”

    “You’re not just nervous, you’re uncomfortable.” Tony states as if he knows exactly how you feel.

    “No, I’m not. Do you know why?” The bravery you’ve been praying for starts to course through your veins and you move. You step towards him and force yourself into his space, his legs spreading by instinct as your own move in between them. You occupy yourself onto his lap, a hand reaching up to settle onto his chest. He doesn’t breathe, merely staring at you as you swing your legs up so they’re hanging off of his.

    “Why?” Tony asks, his attention fully on you.

    “Because I trust you.”

    The words change his demeanor and you feel him finally breathe under your palm. His eyes finally falls to your legs, bare now that the cape has fallen to the side. You see it now, the way his eyes darken with what you hope is lust as he takes note of your virgin skin, skin that has never even seen the sun.  You reach over for his hand that is settled on the arm of the chair and gently take hold of his wrist. You move his touch so his palms are settled on your thigh, fingers splaying wide once he touches your flesh.

Boldly, you reach up and pull at the ends of the cords that keep your--his cape around your shoulders. You do it slowly, catching his attention and this time, and when you’re bare once again he’s looking . You swear your skin is on fire with the way your body heats up underneath his gaze, heart beating so damn hard in your chest that you feel dizzy.

    “Are you sure?” Tony inquires, voice darker than you remember. His pupils are blown wide open, dark and shining as he slowly takes in your form.

    “Absolutely.” You answer without hesitation.

    It seems to be the right words with the way he smiles at you, face tipping up so he can be closer. You lean down in return and press your lips to his in a firm kiss, feeling happiness trickle into your heart. You feel one of Tony’s hand traveling up your back over the curve of your spine so lightly it makes you arch. It causes goosebumps to raise on your skin where he can surely feel and this only spurs him on. His lips gently open your mouth, an action that you’ve never felt before. Tenderly, Tony’s tongue reaches out to touch your own, testing the waters and how you react. He tastes bitter like the drink that he was holding but that doesn’t matter to you, only that he’s kissing you and that you feel like you’re flying.

When he stands, an arm supporting your body from underneath your knees, he lifts you both. You give out a little squeak of surprise and Tony breaks the kiss with a smile. Your squeak earns you a chuckle from your husband, your husband as he brings you over to the bed you two will share for the rest of your lives. The thought no longer scares you, instead causing the butterflies in your stomach to flutter actively.

    “You’ve never lain with another man?” Tony asks you, turning his head to yours.

    “No, never.” You answer shyly. “I’m likely to bleed tonight, I’m sorry.”
    “You’re not going to bleed.” Tony reassures you, only confusing you in the process. He lays you down on the furs that tickle your skin, standing back only so he can pull his tunic over his head.

“O-Of course I am. I’m a virgin.” You repeat, somehow finding the words. You slowly take in the rippling muscles of his abdomen, the way his arms flex as he crawls his way back over your body. There’s a tent in his trousers that prove to you his arousal as if the way he looks at you now isn’t enough. When his body covers yours he leans down, kissing you a little more passionately than before. You feel the neediness in his kiss, in his body with the way he tries to get even closer.

“Darling, that’s merely a myth.” Tony informs you sweetly, his breath mingling with yours. Your eyes flutter closed, shivering as you feel his body occupy your personal space. His weight in between your legs is actually comforting the way a heavy blanket helps one to fall asleep.

“A myth?” You ask, your arms naturally finding their way around his neck, fingers weaving into his hair.

“If we do it right, it won’t even hurt. Let me show you.” Tony promises. “If you want.”

You nod, giving him the consent that his eyes are looking for. This time when he kisses you it lights a fire in your stomach, burning like nothing has before. Tony tastes you fully, no longer gentle with his actions. His actions are purposeful, tactful, experienced as he touches you. You arch up into his touch when he fondles one of your breasts, thumb brushing over an erect nipple. The sensation is foreign but not unpleasant and your body lets out a little moan without your consent.

Tony’s lips leave yours only to trail down the side of your neck, tongue tasting your skin without hesitation. God, it feels good. The spots he leaves behind are cool in the air as they dry and you know they will mottle by morning, a piece of evidence of his attention. His teeth nips at your collarbone and the slight pain surprises you so you can’t help it when your hands tighten in his hair. Instead of deterring him, it just turns him on even furthur. It seems Tony likes a little pain with his pleasure.

“Tell me if you want to stop.” Tony murmurs against your skin, pressing kisses to the tops of your breasts. You can’t even answer him as the feelings of his warm tongue overwhelm your senses and like instinct, your legs go to wrap around his waist. You’re searching for friction or something to quell that burn at your core but strangely enough, Tony stops you with his hand. He grips one of your thighs, spreads your legs with a solid touch and moves his kisses slowly down your body.

“T-Tony?” You stutter, perplexed by his actions.

You know you’re not an expert on making love but you’re sure that this isn’t the position that you both should be in. You’ve only heard of this position but in reverse and in hushed whispers from girls in the hall. You never knew that the man could do that same and the thought seems silly now, seeing a head of dark luscious hair between your legs.Your face flushes at the close proximity of his face to your sex and when he sees your reaction, all Tony does is smirk at you before pressing a kiss to your thigh, biting down with his blunt teeth. You whimper at the sensation, back arching when he swipes his tongue across the red skin.

“Trust me?” He asks charmingly. You look into his eyes and find no ill consent, only a strange sort of mirth that you can’t place.

“Yes.” You breathe.

“Good.” Tony murmurs, dipping his head down low once again.

You’re not sure what to expect but when Tony licks a stripe from bottom to top of your sex you let out a gasp. You throw your head back, hitting only pillows in the action as the most debaucherous sound you’ve ever made escapes your lips. You feel Tony grip your thighs harder, pulling you to him as he hums in approval of your reaction. He doesn’t stop, his tongue touching the entrance of your opening tentatively. You take in a shuddering breath as he works slowly, licking between your folds, readying you for something more.

Tony explores parts of you that you didn’t realize you have, bringing out sounds from your throat you didn’t even know you could make. Your chest falls and drops with every heaving breath you take, your hands twisting up the sheets of his bed until they’re wrinkled beyond belief. What truly stuns you is how much Tony seems to enjoy this act of languidly tasting you, of flattening his tongue against your slit, of pleasuring you in a way you’ve never been pleasured before.

You whimper when you feel his finger slip inside and the intrusion causes you to tense up unwillingly. Tony pauses at that and you want to scream at yourself. A part of you just wanted to do this, get it over with. You’ve heard so many horror stories of many girls first times, the way their husbands touch made them bleed for days. You’ve heard of the way it always hurts the first time and although you trust Tony with your life, your body just can’t get over the fear others had instilled inside you.

“(Y/N), sweetheart.” Tony whispers, removing himself so he can make his way back up to you. You can’t help but notice the wet sheen on his lips and jaw. “Do you want to stop?” He asks you softly. The way he cups your face, stroking your cheekbone, thumb pressing to his bottom lip; it melts your heart. You raise one of your hands to cover his, moving your head so you can kiss his palm. You don’t want him to be concerned for you, you just want him to be happy. You want to be able to do this for him as his wife, as someone he can grow to love.
    “No, it was just...new.” You answer, other hand reaching up so you can touch him, ground yourself in his warmth.

“Bad?” You shake your head, swallowing the thick ball of nervousness in your throat.

“Good. It was good.” You say timidly, moving your face so you can kiss him. He kisses you back tenderly and this time, it’s you who asks for permission into his mouth. Tony grants you entrance, tongue swiping at your teeth. You can smell yourself, taste yourself on his lips and it excites you. A gentle hand squeezes your hip comfortingly, the other brushing back your hair so he can nuzzle his nose underneath your chin. You sigh in pleasure, intertwining your hands in his hair. You’re not used to this reverence but it makes your soul glow like a firefly in the night.  

“You’re beautiful, (Y/N).” He flatters, making your heart thrum. “Truly.”

You can’t even thank him before you feel his touch on you again, finding its way in between your folds. Suddenly you feel his finger brush across a nub that you didn’t even realize is there but you definitely know now by the way it makes you feel. Every nerve in your body lights up and you’re acutely aware of every time he rubs across it. The pleasure you feel from his attention is like none other you’ve felt before. He’s added fuel to the fire with every stroke and you’re just so very sure you’re going to burn from his touch.

This time when Tony inserts a finger inside you, the sensation is actually  delightful. You suck in a short breath as he caresses your inner walls slowly, his mouth finding it’s way to your chest once again. He bites at the hardened nub of one breast and soothes the pain with a flick of his tongue. Dexterously he adds another one of his fingers, stretching you farther than you’ve ever felt before. Though the feeling is peculiar you don’t find it to be too much. It’s actually just enough and you arch yourself into him, wanting more. Tony eases you into the rhythm, fingers curling up and suddenly hitting a spot that makes you gasp.

“Ah, is that where it is?” He asks you cheekily from in between the valley of your breasts.

“Wh-Whaa--” Your question is interrupted when he does it again, adding the stimulation of that button that you had not been aware of. The combination makes something in your lower stomach coil, that fire from before turning into an inferno. The muscles in your abdomen start to burn as you grip at his scalp, probably painfully but you can’t process the thought correctly.

“Let go, (Y/N).” Tony orders gently. “Let me feel you let go.”
    His words are a magical catalyst and your orgasm, a myth to some women you’ve spoken to, hits you so hard you’re seeing stars on the back of your eyelids. Your body clenches up, thighs trembling as Tony continues his administration's to help you ride it out. Dots dance in your vision as your eyes flutter, the world becoming a beautiful euphoric haze. You’re panting by the end of it like you’ve just ridden across a mountain on horseback. It takes you a moment to get your bearings together and when you do you find Tony gazing at you, a smug smile on his lips. Hazily you see him bring his fingers up to his lips, licking off the wetness from in between your legs like it’s honey.

“Did you like that?” Tony asks you as if he doesn’t already know. He’s shifted to the side, laying on his hip as one hand rests on your waist and the other supports his head.

“Could you tell?” You joke, making him laugh. He leans down with a smile, kissing you sweetly in the aftermath. Your body buzzes warmly in the postorgasmic glow, positively vibrating from his attention. The familiar way he holds you now is addicting and you hope he never goes back to being afraid to touch you.

“We can stop here.” Tony proposes gently, reaching up to brush away a lock of hair from your temple. His suggestion confuses you. What kind of man doesn’t want to be taken care of, especially after taking care of his wife?

“What about you?” You ask, eyes flickering to the very obvious bulge still in his pants. Tony grips your chin to bring your gaze back up, his face more serious than before.

“I’m fine, (Y/N).” He assures you. “We don’t have to do this tonight.”

“But I want to.” You argue stubbornly, leaning up to kiss him.

You reach forward, placing a palm on his chest where the evidence from the last war makes it home as you make sure he knows that you’re doing this completely on your own accord. His heartbeat underneath is steady and filled with life, getting closer and closer as he covers you with his body. Tony slips himself back in between your legs and you allow your hand to travel down until you reach the hem of his pants, pulling at the tie that keeps them up. The moment you’re able to, you push down his trousers and touch him, wrapping your fingers around his girth.

The way his breath hitches during the kiss is more than blissful. It emboldens you and you find the audacity to move, even if it’s just slightly. His skin is velvety soft and you feel the head of his manhood smear something wet on your palm. He grunts when you lightly move your hand against his length, hips thrusting into your touch. Tony murmurs your name against your cheek almost desperately, like he needs something from you only you don’t know what.

“Tell me what to do.” You whisper. “Teach me.”

“J-just--faster.” Tony chokes out. “Grip a little ha-a-arder.” His voice stutters as you listen to his commands, using that wetness as lubrication. Experimentally you twist your hand as you drag it up and dear god, the reaction is better than you thought he would. Tony shuts his eyes, mouth dropping open as he tries to breathe steadily. You can’t believe he’s acting like this just from you touching him. You can’t believe how much it makes you want him, a familiar desire sparking at your core.

Suddenly Tony’s hand jets out and grabs your wrist almost painfully so, stopping you from moving. For a moment you’re scared that you’ve hurt him or that you’ve done something wrong but Tony kisses you gently to reassure that it’s not so. “You have to stop or we won’t be able to do anything else, love.” Tony mumbles into your mouth.

“Then can we--” You swallow thickly, your anxiety easing away to be replaced by want. “Will you make love to me, Tony?”

“I’ve never heard sweeter words fall from your lips.” He flirts, that signature smirk forming on his lips that you’ve become so goddamn fond of.

Your heart flutters as he leans back to step off the bed, kicking off what is rest of his clothes. You finally see him fully, him as bare as you are and it makes your desire blow up into straight up lust. You’ve never thought that you’d ever feel like this especially not tonight but here you are, itching to be with Tony in the most intimate of ways. It doesn’t escape him, the way your eyes travel across his body. You don’t try to hide it from him anyways.

“(Y/N), you need to tell me if it ever hurts.” Tony orders, making his way back onto the bed. You nod as he gets closer, feeling light as he kisses you with certainty. Tonys hands hook themselves underneath your knees, spreading you apart as he places himself against your core. You feel your pulse start to rise again, the fear bubbling up from your stomach and threatening to come up like bile. Almost like he can feel it himself, Tony breaks your kiss so he can look you in the eyes.

“Do you want this?” He asks you tenderly. “Do you want me?”

“Yes, I do.”

You’re blown away by the honesty in your words and how much you really do want him. You nod to confirm it again, reaching up to pull him close by the back of his neck. Your actions move his whole body and slowly, you feel him enter you. He’s right, it doesn’t exactly hurt; the stretching burns slightly so but the pain isn’t sharp nor world ending. You mewl slightly at the pressure you feel and Tony does his best to ease whatever discomfort you feel by pressing kisses to your cheek and chin, pressing a firm one at your pulse point.

“Fuck, you feel good, baby.” Tony confesses in a cracking voice, moving further to bury himself in your warmth. The pet name, so different from the others, it makes your heart clench. You want to ask him to say it again, want him to call you his baby forever but the wetness you suddenly feel between your legs shoot fear into your heart.

“T-Tony, I think I’m bleeding.” You whisper, afraid that the moment he sees the blood he’ll be turned off. Your eyes flicker down in between your legs, searching for some sort of dark liquid that is surely covering your inner thighs and staining the sheets.

“No, sweet girl.” Tony denies, pressing a quick kiss to your lips. “You’re merely slick with want.”

He’s right, you realize. There’s no blood there, merely the shine of what is your own form of lubrication. It’s like honey as it oozes out of you, coating you and him and your thighs lustfully. Tony takes your distraction to his advantage and thrusts completely inside, his hips are flush to your thighs. You bite down on your lip, suppressing a shout from his actions. Tony continues to move slowly, almost torturously as he lifts his hips and drags himself out of you before entering once again. You’re acutely aware of how he feels, how he makes this hard wanting noise every time you clench yourself around him. Tony moves his face so he look you in the eyes as he thrusts into you harder than before, causing you to moan.

His lips capture yours in a passionate kiss and you brace yourself, knowing what’s coming. He enters you again and again, his hands holding onto your hips like they’re a lifeline and you feel him hit a place inside that makes your breath stop. He holds you in place as he makes love to you, kisses you and makes your lashes flutter with gratification. When you pull back your legs to wrap around him, hips tilting up, Tony’s steady pace starts to stutter. You can feel the way he starts to tense that he’s close and you want him to let go, you want to feel that inside of you.

“Tony, don’t hold back.” You tell him, bringing his face close so you can press your lips against his. “Come on, darling.” Moaning into your lips from the pet name, Tony takes no time at all to comply. His pace quickens and become more brutal, taking from you what he wants. He reaches up, curling his hands into your hair to keep the kiss in place as he, in a few crude words, fucks you into his own completion. It’s not even moments later when you feel him spill his seed inside of you, coating your thighs with wetness.

After a moment, Tony peels himself off of your figure as he presses a gentle kiss to your lips, the feeling of being empty now strange and foreign. He doesn’t leave you though which you’re grateful for.  He stays by your side, a soft hand in your hip rubbing his thumb back and forth on your skin. You need a second to take in what you two have just done, need a second to merely be with him. When your eyes meet Tony's, you find an affection in them for you that makes your heart thump. The way he looks at you makes you believe that this marriage is more than  just a contract, more than just an alliance, more than a political move. It makes you believe that this marriage can be love.

Chapter Text

Tony wakes up wrapped around an elegant form, feeling much warmer than what he is used to. When he cracks an eye open, he’s met with a familiar head of hair nestled underneath his chin and a small back pressed to his bare chest. One of his arms is slung around a dipping waist whilst the other is being used as a pillow. His legs are tangled with someone else's underneath the sheets, someone soft and feminine and warm. It hits him who and Tony can’t help but smile as the events of the prior night make themselves known.

Things went better than the newly wedding king could ever foresee. Tony didn’t expect anything to happen, almost made sure that nothing happened. Sensing (Y/N)’s hesitation was a bit of a blow to his ego but it surely wasn’t something he wasn’t prepared for. The wedding night can be a cause for many young maidens because of what is expected and (Y/N) is not an exception. Tony would never force (Y/N) to do anything she doesn’t want but god how she wanted and when he realized that, it didn’t take much for the king to fall to his own desires. It’s ridiculous how just a stroke of her palm had him writhing like a school boy.

Tony wants to tell (Y/N) that he loves her. It’s strange to think that he would want to say those three little words, words that he’s never pegged himself to use. They’ve known each other for not even a year but Tony is a fool if he thinks he can lie to himself any longer. There’s no need to; she’s his wife and in a few hours time, she will be crowned Queen of Stark. Lying here beside her, feeling the steadiness of his heartbeat and feeling the lull of sleep trying to call him back into the dreamlands, Tony can no longer deny his emotions.

Yet the more he wants to tell her, the more unable his voice is to speak the phrase. It’s been lodged there since he’s asked for her hand in marriage and he wants to say it, desperately wants to say it but here hasn’t been a….moment. He can’t really quite come right out and blurt it, can he? It has to be said properly under the canopy of the stars or amidst a flourishing garden. (Y/N) would like that, she appreciates a bit of romance.

There’s also the nagging question of whether or not she loves him too. He sees affection in her eyes, feels it in the way she touches him but he doesn’t know . She’s never said it to him either and while young-Tony would never say it first, now-married-and-old-king-Tony barely cares. He just wants to say it so she knows because that’s what love is, isn’t it? Selflessness? It doesn’t matter right now. He can think about this until he’s raw another day. There’s a much more pressing matter at hand.

Doing his best not to rouse his new wife, Tony turns his head to see where the sun is in the sky. By it’s position, he ventures to say that it’s nearing midday. He’s surprised anyone let them sleep in that long considering today is coronation day but he’ll take what he can get. If he was going to be ready in time it’s best to be getting up and though he hates to wake (Y/N) from her slumber he must.

“(Y/N).” Tony starts softly, moving himself so he can prop his weight on the elbow his wife is currently using as a pillow. Her little mumble is adorable and he can’t help but press a kiss to the back of her bare shoulder. “We have to get up, love.” Tony continues, squeezing her arm gently.

“Hm?” She goes, turning her body so she can press herself against him chest to chest.

Tony blinks in surprise when her arm snakes around his body and she cuddles up to him as if they’ve been together for decades. Deciding to just let it happen Tony allows his palm to stroke down the slope of her back, appreciating the velvety softness of her skin. Underneath the sheets, they’re both in the nude. Tony can feel her entirely and he’s sure she can feel him. There’s an intimacy to this that he’s not quite used to; most of the people he sleeps with are gone by dawn.

“It’s coronation day, (Y/N). We have to start getting ready.” Tony murmurs into her hair.

“What time is it?” She asks softly as she slowly awakens.

“Almost noon, I’m assuming.”

“Noon?!” (Y/N) shrieks. Tony chuckles as her eyes shoot open, fully awake now. The princess scrambles up into a sitting position, eyes moving back and forth across the room as she covers herself with a sheet. “Oh my goodness. Peggy? Peggy!?” (Y/N) scrambles out of bed, barely making herself decent as she pulls the bed linen with her and leaving him cold. The call for her old handmaiden is met with the opening of the chamber doors and Tony moves quickly, covering himself with a pillow.

“Yes, your highness!” Peggy bursts into the room just as frazzled as her mistress and looking for a source for her distress. Wanda follows in right after with a coy smile on her lips, walking right over to Tony with a cup of coffee in her hands. She says nothing about his state though that’s probably because she’s seen him like this dozens of times before.

“Your majesty, good afternoon.” She greets calmly.    

“Ah, Wanda, you’re a doll, anyone ever tell you that?” Tony compliments as he takes the drink from her. His body immediately perks up from the delicious smell, less affected by the caffeine and more so from the habit.

“Every so often, especially from cheeky kings with hangovers.” Wanda teases.

“I need to get ready! Dear lord, why did no one come get me?” (Y/N) asks frantically.

“We merely assumed you and King Anthony had a late night and would need the rest.” Peggy explains, reaching forward to brush back the messy hair from (Y/N)’s face. Vibrant red washes over the princess’ features as her gaze falls to him. Tony gives her a wink as he sips his drink ever so casually. A late night they did indeed have.

She strides over to the bed and takes a seat at the edge. Tony opens his mouth to ask her what she needs but (Y/N) moves before he can speak. Tipping up his face with her fingers underneath his chin, she presses a quick kiss to his lips. She sits back immediately after, not even allowing enough time to allow him to kiss back. When she stands there’s a smile on her face that makes his heart leap. “We’ll meet again later? I must get ready now.” (Y/N) says.

“Of course.” is all Tony can say. She’s jetting off before he can even finish his words, Peggy following her quite dutifully. Tony turns to Wanda who is already grabbing his robes and boots. Her voice is cheery as she speaks as if she’s the one being crowned queen today.

“Your turn then, your majesty?”

 

~~~

 

There hasn’t been a coronation ceremony in what seems like an eternity at Stark. When his father died all Tony remembers is the crown being placed on his head and that was that. There was no time for a fancy event for everyone thought there was a war to win. Funny how that turned out with Stark losing irreparably and totally, being left with almost nothing to their name. Before that, King Howard was coronated when he was merely a child so if Tony’s math is right, which it always is, it’s been about fifty or so years since a ceremony of this caliber has been held in Stark.

Maybe that’s why Pepper is being such a crazy bitch.

“There--no, there , for god's sakes. Up, up, yes good, now a little bit to the right. No, right. I said right Jefferson, are you blind?!” Pepper shrieks. Her usually pale skin has lit up into an alarming shade of splotchy sunset red that spreads from the tips of her ears all the way down to her chest. Standing just a few feet behind her Tony swears he can hear her heart beating like a Wakandian war drum, getting faster and faster as the seconds go on.

“N-No, Lady Potts. I’m not blind.” The poor servant answers, face paler than the white lillies he holds in his hands.

“Alright, Pepper, I think you need a drink.” Tony suggests, leading her away from the man before she castrates him. He waves Clint over and who nods, knowing exactly what’s going on. Clint steps in to put the finishing touches in the coronation room much to many of the servants surprise. The archer actually had quite the eye for colors and design.

“What I need is competency, Tony.” Pepper corrects as Tony asks for a small glass of sherry from a passing servant. “I swear to god everyone in this castle is useless except for me--Tony, I can’t drink!”

“Right, right. Have to be sober or something.” When the servant comes back with of his orders, Tony thanks him and downs them both to Pepper’s disapproval. “Listen, we’re fine, Pepper. Look around, it’s all very beautiful. You did a great job.” Tony reassures her as the alcohol warms his stomach. Huffing, one of his oldest friends actually listens to him and allows herself to take in the entirety of the space. Tony hopes her heart slows down a little bit or else it’s going to pop like an overfilled balloon.

It really is gorgeous. Some of the decorations from the wedding has been reused and repurposed in a way that you could barely tell they were the same thing. White lily bouquets have vibrant colored flowers added to them as they line the walls, brightening up the space and making it seem like they’re outside. The windows have been lined with royal red curtains, the velvet swathing the rough walls and bringing a sort of softness to the ambiance. Small fires line the lower walls to bring a bit of warmth inside, a small precaution against the Stark cold. On the stage sits two identical thrones, side by side. His father had his mother sit at a smaller chair whenever they made an appearance but Tony will have none of that. (Y/N) is his equal.

The crowd is already filing in excitedly, the ceremony scheduled for a half hour from now. There are separate thrones on the floor for the kings and queens of the other two kingdoms not being married together. King T’Challa and Queen Nakia are already seated with their small army of soldiers behind them, Okoye and W’kabi standing tall. King Thor and Prince Loki are much more casual without any protective detail, armed with only green magic and a thunderous hammer that seemingly no one can lift but the king of Asgard.

On the stage Tony can see little x’s marked with tape where he and (Y/N) will stand. To the left behind him are spots for Clint, Natasha, and Strange. On (Y/N)’s side to the right are spots for her brothers and even Peggy whose role in the Midgard is still shrouded from Tony’s vision. On the podium at the center holds a large ancient wooden box that Tony has only ever seen in dark corners and hazy memories. In it holds the queens crown, a small delicate scepter and the first arc reactor ever made, the arc reactor that made Stark a kingdom.

“Hello, Stark.” Tony turns to find the kings whose little sister he just married. Steve stands there regally in blue as his husbands wears a matching outfit in black. They look well rested and well fed making Tony feel like a good host. The tension that had been in between the three of them has been lessened considerably after an amicable dinner but the king didn’t want to take any chances.

“King Steve, King James.” Tony says respectfully.

“It’s just Steve and James now, Stark. You married our sister yesterday and no doubt laid with her last night, I doubt those pleasantries are needed any longer.” James says bluntly causing his husband to make a very unkingly noise. Tony can’t help the smile that tugs his lips up and decides right then and there that James Barnes is a good man even if the soldier did murder his father.

“I can’t believe we’re brothers.” Tony states shaking his head. “With my parents killing your parents and what not.”

“And then I murdered your father. Yikes.” James adds.

“Can’t wait for some half-drunk bard to turn that into a three hour song.” Steve says without humor. It makes James and Tony laugh anyways and he feels any hostility that lingered disappear.

“Where is my beloved sister anyways?” James asks, looking around the room as it becomes even more crowded with various royals, politicians and v.i.p’s. Tony follows in suit until he hears Pepper scream.

“What do you mean it’s lost ?!” Pepper yells, poor woman having an aneurysm by Clints side. Apparently someone had mentioned it to her that the ceremonial velvet pillow is yet to be located and now she’s having a bonafide meltdown.

“Good god, someone get this woman a pillow !” Clint yells, rubbing Peppers back as she leans over panting.

“Is, um, Pepper alright?” Steve asks cautiously, head tilting to take a look at the commotions. No. Pepper is not alright. Damn, Tony should have just given her more time to plan all of this. It’s not really his fault though, she’s the one that wanted to do the wedding as soon as possible.

“She gets like that sometimes, she’ll be just fine.” Tony lies, turning so he can go to her. “Pepper? Dear? What do you need?”

“I need someone to FIND ME THIS PILLOW!”

“I think we need to remove her.” Clint tells Tony quietly behind Peppers back. “She’s gonna blow.”

“Nonono. No removing.” Pepper protests turning to face them. “I need to be here for the ceremony.” She breathes in deeply and lets it out trying to calm herself down. They’re big and loud breathes as Clint counts in the background.

“That’s right, deep breaths.” Tony encourages. “In and out. You are fine, Pepper.”

“I need to be here for (Y/N). Where is (Y/N)?” Pepper frantically turns side to side, searching for the princess.
    “She’s still getting ready.” Tony answer and what a mistake that was.

“Getting. Ready?” Pepper seethes. “What do you mean getting ready ? We have to start in ten minutes and she’s--”

“Ready! We’re ready!” Tony’s head snaps to the voice finding Wanda standing at the doors, waving to get their attention.

“Good to go?” Clint shouts across the room, his fist forming into a thumbs up as he raises it. Wanda beams and nods, following his actions.

“Alright, let’s get this show on the road.” Tony says. “You good, Pepper? Breathing?”

“Ceremonial pillow. Where’s the pillow, Tony?” Pepper asks. “We need the pillow.”

“We’ll be okay without the pillow, just stand over here and try not to keel over alright?” Tony pleads.

Pepper nods, breathing slowly with Clints help. Natasha appears with her eyebrows raised as she takes in Peppers disheveled state and thankfully doesn’t ask anything. Bruce mouths What’s wrong? to Tony but the king just shakes his head to tell him not to mention it. Shrugging, Bruce merely makes his way to podium behind Tony and (Y/N). He’ll be performing the ceremony today and Tony had to beg for hours for him to do it. It just seemed right with Bruce being Tony’s best friend and whatnot.

When (Y/N) enters the room, Tony feel’s just like when he first saw her. The sherry he drank earlier can do nothing against how she clearheaded she makes him feel. She’s a breath of cold air, shocking his lungs, stinging his nose, making his entire body shiver. His heart clenches as she walks towards him wearing layers and layers of red and gold velvet, the outfit sparking memories of his mother when he was a child. That beautiful hair of hers that he loves so much cascades down the sides of her face, unwoven and untouched. Atop her head is her old tiara that will soon be replaced by a new one, one of Stark design.

Tony reaches for her, taking her hand once she’s in his reach. “Look at you.” Tony says, lifting her fingers to his lips. She giggles as she walks up to her spot, smiling at everyone that surrounds them.

“Coronation worthy?” (Y/N) asks the group.

“Yes, little sister.” James answers firmly. Steve nods and turns away, hand coming up to pinch the bridge of his nose and stanch the flow of tears. James shakes his head but smiles, throwing an arm over his husbands shoulders to comfort him.

“Shall we get started?” Tony asks. The group responds unanimously and as Bruce raises his hands to inform the crowd, Tony and (Y/N) go to stand in their positions.  Her hand squeezes his tightly as she looks over the crowd, head tipping up. The way her eyes scan the crowd, not greedy or excited, merely in awe, it makes Tony almost melt.

“Yesterday, King Anthony married Princess (Y/N) from Midgard,” Bruce begins, voice booming. “And though unorthodox, today we will crown her as queen. This alliance between Stark and Midgard will being a long and beneficial relationship with not only the included kingdoms but all kingdoms in this realm. Today, in the presence of citizens of Wakanda, Stark, Asgard, and Midgard, in the presence of all ruling kings and queens, we will begin the coronation of (Y/N) of Midgard.”

The audience rises as (Y/N) turns to him looking confident and able. She doesn’t seem to be nervous at all so why is he? When Bruce reaches for her coronet, she looks excited . Tony wishes he had shared that sentiment when he was twenty one. He’s glad though. He’s so, so glad that she’s happy to be there with him in his kingdom. Tony cannot believe just how grateful he is to not have to rule alone.

“With this scepter, I decree (Y/N) an integral ruler of Stark.”

Bruce places the thin fairly useless thing that Tony never understood the importance of in (Y/N)’s hand.

“With this device, I decree (Y/N) an integral piece of Stark’s machinery.”

The arc reactor rests easily in her other palm.

“With this crown, I decree (Y/N) Queen of Stark.”

Tony’s breath is stuck in his chest as tips her head downwards and Bruce places the Queens crown, untouched for decades, atop her hair. When she looks up, eyes locked on his, Tony’s heart damn near bursts in his chest. It’s only when the buzzing in his ear stops roaring does he hear what the crowd has been chanting and why she’s grinning so brightly.

“Long live the Queen! Long live the Queen! Long live the Queen!”

 

Chapter Text

    Tony finds that he quite likes marriage.

    He never thought he would. Married life looked boring on paper. You go to dinner parties with other married people to fake compliment their snotty children and even uglier babies. No one is ever entirely faithful because if Tony remembers correctly, a solid 25% of his previous lays have been with married men and women alike. Not to mention, you only get to have sex with one person who owns half of all of your things and nags you to pick up your cloak. Who wants that headache? It seemed awful; the only half decent marriage he’s ever seen is between Natasha and Clint but they’re an anomaly so he doesn’t quite count them.

Married life with (Y/N) on the other hand though--god it’s something else.

    It’s been a week of being married to (Y/N), just a week, and Tony’s opinion has done a complete one eighty. Married now means that he gets to kiss her as much as he wants and he does, he really does. In between the flurry of paperwork and meetings that will help him set up trade and a relationship with the other kingdoms, Tony finds himself sneaking away from Pepper and Bruce at least half a dozen times a day to find her. She's studying quite diligently lately, claiming that if she were to be a queen of Stark she best be educated as one. It’s quite fun actually, hiding from Happy and Rhodey whilst (Y/N) does her homework whenever Pepper sends out a search party for him. When his advisor is especially desperate, she sends in the assassins which Tony finds a little ridiculous. He’s almost always in (Y/N)’s presence, which is where he is right now.

    “One day, Pepper is going to find you and kill you.” (Y/N) says gently, eyes on the book on her thighs. Her thighs . Images of those thighs, soft and plush, wrapped around his temples and his waist play in his head, the memory almost causing him to flush.

    “She wouldn’t dare kill me in your presence.” Tony informs his wife as breezily as possible. He takes in a deep breath and tries to clear his mind. They’re sharing a nice moment, he needs to calm down.

Currently she’s situated beside him, shoulder pressed against his as her feet are propped up on an ottoman, warming on the fire. He sits in a similar position but there’s no ottoman for him (he’ll have to talk to Wanda about that) and his arm is slung around her shoulders, fingers playing with wisps of her hair. The book she’s flipping in her hands isn't one of many the castle owns but something that Bruce had lended to her from his private collection, something about physics of the body. 

    “I think I’d let her.” (Y/N) says nonchalantly. “I mean, the castle would be a little quieter without Clint and Natasha storming around trying to find you. I could actually get some reading done.”

    “I am wounded .” Tony lies easily, a hand coming up to his heart. “I cannot believe you would let Pepper kill me.”
    “Awh, did I hurt your feelings?” (Y/N) asks, finally turning her head to face him. Pretty and sweet, her doe eyes look up at him, lashes fanned out against plump skin.

    “Yes, quite a lot actually.” Tony says dramatically, adoring the way she rolls her eyes with a smile on her pretty pink lips. “I don’t think I can forgive you.”
    “Will you forgive me if I give you a kiss?” She asks coyishly, knowing exactly what his answer is going to be. (Y/N) changes her whole position, bringing her feet back from the ottoman to tuck to her side. The action causes her to lean in closer to him, causes his hand that was oh so innocently gripping her shoulder fall down to her lower back.

    “Maybe. Let’s try.” Tony says smoothly, leaning down to connect their lips.

    He’ll never get tired of this, the way her lips slot so perfectly against his, the way she does that little sigh the moment their skin touches. Tony thinks about those lips all the time lately; on him, his neck, parted as they pant while he fucks her or wrapped around his cock while she’s on her knees. He’s debaucherous, he knows, and he’s doing his very best not to completely corrupt her but what the hell is a man to do when (Y/N) leans in closer, a little whine in her throat, asking for more?

    So Tony takes a chance and reaches around her, positioning his hand behind the knee farthest away from him so he can pull his wife up and over. She’s light in his hands and for a moment, Tony wonders if he should ask Wanda to feed her more. All that is forgotten when (Y/N) quite literally quivers in his grip, her lips gasping as she settles in his lap. Tony looks up into her eyes as her palms settle on his shoulders, squeezing experimentally to see his reaction. She’s blushing again, sweet and though no longer a virgin, still just as shy. Tony merely sighs wistfully in return, leaning up to ask for a kiss as his hands rest on the back of her thighs.

    The kings mind short circuits as she settles her weight on his lap, her heat covering him completely. His hands squeeze tightly on her skin and he’s unable to keep himself from trailing up, fingers of one hand delicately ghosting over that precious ass that he didn’t get to worship the last time they were together while the other presses itself into her back to bring her closer. (Y/N) sinks into him without protest, pressing her chest against his as he deepens the kiss.

Tony gently licks his way into her mouth, allowing her to set the pace at which they kiss. She tastes so good, like cream or something equally decadent that makes him feel heady and dizzy. (Y/N) gives a particular mewl when he nips at her bottom lip and the sound goes straight to his crotch, fucking hell. He wants to bury himself inside her but more importantly, he wants to know if he’s allowed to. Can he touch her the way he wants? Will she let him? Does she want him to? These questions have been wracking his mind all week, buzzing underneath his skin as he has to sit in boring, long and preposterous meetings.

Tony’s done his best to return to bed every night because honestly, he loves wrapping himself around (Y/N)’s body. Sometimes, a lot of times, when Tony comes to bed it’s too late or too early for (Y/N) to be coherent. She’s like a cat, he’s found. In the cold she likes to sleep all day, curl up around books in a nest of blankets in front of the fire and merely snooze. He likes that when he comes back to her, she’s happy to snuggle into him, arm slung across his torso as she buries her nose into his throat.

But Tony wants more than that. He can’t help it; he’s a man and she’s so goddamn beautiful. Even now, it’s not enough to touch her like this. Tony wants to feel her skin, feel her ribs move underneath his touch as her breath hitches. He wants to feel her heart race under his palm, run his hands over the goosebumps he once felt before. As he kisses her, Tony goes to reach for the bottom edge of her skirt with his left hand. He finds his way underneath the layers but the moment he touches the soft supple back of her calf, (Y/N) tenses up.

    It makes him want to vomit. Fuck. He feels bad immediately and Tony pulls back, hands, lips, body and all. “Fuck, I’m sorry.” He says instantly, shame sweeping over his face. She’s flushed and breathing a little hard, her hands retreating to her stomach. She starts to stammer as she climbs off of him, brushing back her hair behind her ears in that nervous, anxious way of hers that Tony’s taken notice of by now.

    “I’m just—I’m--not to--”

    “It’s fine.” Tony says standing up, tearing his eyes away from her. “I should be getting back to Pepper anyways. God, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have touched you like that without asking first.”

“Tony, no—”

“I’m sorry, I’ll see you at dinner.”

He’s running out of the door with his tail between his legs before (Y/N) can say anything else, before he can make anymore mistakes. His breaths come in deep and quick as he makes his way back to Pepper. Fuck him, why the hell did he go and do that? They were doing just fine and Tony had to go and ruin it.  His damn dick had to do all the thinking instead of the his brain and that’s always been the damn problem. But he’s older now, he should have a better grip on the hormones that he’s been dealing with for decades. Shit.

Tony feels and acts like a bastard for the rest of the day. He can’t help it; the man wears his emotions on his sleeve. Unfortunately, a new recruit in Tony’s now growing political office has the audacity to mention it and the king fired him right then and there. No one has asked about it since but Tony’s not an idiot, he knows that people are talking about it. He doesn’t care. He just feels bad for how he treated (Y/N).

A timer on his desk goes off and Tony looks up from the blurring words of a contract from Wakanda. With a sigh he reaches over to turn it off, finding the time to be already eight p.m. Has he really been in here for five hours?

The door to his office creaks open and in comes Wanda, a tray in her hands that smells damn good. “Good evening, your majesty.” Wanda says as she walks over. “I brought some coffee for you while you work.”

“Thank you. Do you know where (Y/N) is?” Tony grumbles, leaning back into his chair.

“She’s in your quarters, your majesty, awaiting you.” Wanda answers as she sets Tony’s third cup of coffee for the evening by his side. “She has yet to have dinner.”

“Uh, can you tell her I’ll be working late tonight?” Tony asks warily, busying himself by flipping papers. “Just bring her a meal and some flowers from me.”

“Are you sure you would like to do that?” Wanda asks pointedly. He looks up, searching her face as to why she asked him that.

“Why wouldn’t I?” Tony inquires.

Wanda looks him right in his face and Tony admires that. He likes Wanda, likes her brother, likes her spunk and he’s kept her in his employ because sometimes she calls him out on being a jerk and isn’t afraid to do so. But right now, with her mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water, Tony doesn’t feel like she’s going to lecture him. He feels like she wants to tell him something and if she tells him that (Y/N) currently hates him for being a pervert, he’d actually be grateful. But she doesn’t.

“Queen (Y/N) merely doesn’t like to eat alone. Shall I ask Dr. Banner or Dr. Strange to accompany her?” Wanda says casually, adding cream and sugar to his coffee.

“Uh. Sure. Ask anybody, everybody. You as well.” Tony says back, returning to his work.

“Yes, your majesty.”

Wanda leaves and Tony works straight till midnight, an uneasiness at the pit of his stomach. How is he supposed to act when he returns to bed tonight? Normal? Apologetic? Should he pretend nothing happened? Tony’s quite good at that. He did that for twenty years, actually but it’s not exactly a helpful habit. He should talk to her. Tony wracks his brain for the bullshit that Peppers been trying to feed him for years but can’t come up with anything but “Communication is key.”.

(Y/N) is asleep when Tony returns. The fire flickers low, light bouncing off of the angle of her jaw and shadow of her neck. Tony wants to go to her, lay beside her, drown himself in the scent of her but he doesn’t. He doesn’t feel like he has the right to slip into bed beside her or hold her like he wants. Instead, Tony silently throws a few logs into the fire so it will crackle into morning and heads to his lab. He tinkers until dawn.

 

~~~

 

There’s a nasty mottling bruise on his right ribs and an even nastier cut in his left bicep. Both his knees have been scraped red and are now indefinitely sore from being fallen down on so much. Even his jaw aches, throbbing periodically every few seconds from a punch that had his brain rattling inside his skull. Tony hisses in pain as he enters his chambers, letting the door slam shut behind him. It aches every time he breathes and burns every time he moves. Rhodey really didn’t go easy on him today, fuck.

The king sighs as he strip off his shirt, groaning as his bones crackle in the motion. That damn asshole Clint had the audacity to actually pop one of Tony’s shoulder out today during training as well, laughing while he claims it was just an accident. Natasha’s smirk informed him that it wasn’t but Clint let Tony punch him real good once on the jaw to make up for the “accident” and boy did Tony do his damn best to put all of his weight into the throw.

“Tony? Oh my god.”  

Tony looks up to find (Y/N) staring at him with fear and shock and worry. She rushes over after exiting the bathroom, hands hovering over his bruises and cuts and frets like a mother over a sick child. He wants to focus on her words really, something about is he okay and if that really hurts as much as it looks it does but he can’t because she’s damn near naked . Tony thought he was imagining it, his lust addled brain making up a scene that can’t possibly true but there she is.

(Y/N)’s wearing a nightgown that’s so delicate, white and short that she might as well have been not wearing anything at all.  Dainty little straps hold the scrap of silk to her body, lace trimming the bottom of her dress that ends mid thigh. Mid-fucking-thigh. Tony can see all of her. Nothing he’s never seen before of course but still, seeing it at arm's length once again, everything inside him freezes.

“Tony, Jesus Christ, are you alright? ” (Y/N) practically yells, face directly in front of his. Tony jerks back practically five feet, heart hammering blood into his face. Her face pinches at his actions, looking almost offended as she pulls her outstretched arms back to her side.

“What...what are you wearing?” Tony stammers, unable to say anything else.

He’s ogling now, he can’t help it. Her nipples are hard from the cold, poking out from the thin material as her hair flows around her face, freshly washed and dried. Her face is free from any makeup but it’s not like she needs any, she’s always been beautiful without it. Her thighs are on display, thick and there, ready for him to touch. She’s barefoot which somehow makes her look even sexier and Tony needs an award right now for how well he’s holding back.

“You don’t like it?” Her words are accompanied by her hands sweeping across the fabric, the action stretching the dress across her body. Tony gulps. Her voice shoots straight to his dick. It’s not sultry or anything of the sort but the lilting tone of her words, almost begging for his approval, it makes blood flow very, very, very south.

“Why are you wearing it?” Tony asks, words strained. He knows that he hasn’t come to bed at a decent time for the past few weeks but (Y/N) has never worn anything like this before. She’s not really the type for silk and lace, more so cotton and fur.

“I..I thought you might like it.” Her eyes flicker away, disappointment washing over her face. “Natasha said you would.”

“Na--Natasha?” Tony squeaks. “Natasha gave you this?” He’s going to have to need to talk to that woman. Tony doesn’t care what kind of lingerie the Black Widow has lying around, doesn’t care what she wears for Clint when they’re feeling especially frisky, but giving something like this to his wife? What the hell?


    “Do you not like the style?” (Y/N) wraps her arms around her bosom as if to protect herself, teeth sinking into her bottom lip the way Tony wants to bite down there. “I can try a different one if you tell me what you like.”

What are you talking about?” He’s completely confused now, oblivious to what’s worrying (Y/N) so much.

“I can lose weight if you prefer, or I can gain some. Do you not like my hair? Would you like it shorter?”

“(Y/N), why the hell do you think I would want you to change anything about yourself?” Tony breathes. (Y/N) pauses, her eyes finally flicking up to meet his.

“You haven’t touched me since our wedding night.” She answers quietly, sadly and it breaks Tony’s heart into a million jagged pieces.

Their wedding night. Right. That was almost a month ago now, give or take a few days. At first Tony is befuddled. Of course he’s touched her since their wedding night. If he recalls correctly, he couldn’t keep his hands to himself to the point that he practically traumatized her.  He’s been much more careful since then by keeping his kisses chaste and sleeping a good foot away from her in bed. The last thing Tony wants to do is cross the line again.

“I was giving you space.” Tony tells her lamely. “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable again.”

“I wasn’t uncomfortable.” (Y/N) says hastily.

“Well you didn’t like it either.” Tony retorts. Her throat bobs as she swallows and Tony hates how far away she stands. She looks cold and Tony realizes that he is now too. He still grips his shirt in his hands and when Tony looks down, he finds his knuckles white. Exhaustion from the day hits him and Tony sighs. “Let’s just go to bed, (Y/N).” Tony suggests tiredly, turning away. “We can talk about it in the morning and--”

“Iwasonmymonthly.” She blurts. Tony pauses, unsure if he heard her correctly. When he turns back around her face is bright red, obviously embarrassed.

“Excuse me?”

“My monthly.” (Y/N) says more slowly this time, jaw tight. “I was on my monthly that day and that’s why I..I refused your advances. Not because they were unwelcome. ”

The pieces fall into place in his head with loud chinking and clinks.

Ah. He gets it now.

“My advances are welcome then?” Tony asks, voice dropping low as he steps towards her. Her eyes widen slightly at his actions, at the way he drops his shirt to the ground without care and her arms drop from her chest to clasp by her stomach, a welcoming sign.

“Always.” She answers firmly.

“And you wore this...for me?” (Y/N) licks her lips and nods, flattening out the miniscule dress of the nightie once again. She keeps her eyes on his, unwilling to shy away from his gaze. It almost kills him when he realizes she must have been feeling insecure about herself for these past few week, kills him as he thinks about all those questions she had asked him earlier.

“(Y/N), I don’t care if you lose or gain a pound.” Tony states, slipping his arms around her waist once he’s close enough. She takes in a sharp breath, almost uncatchable except for the way her chest rises. “I don’t care what you wear or what you do with your hair. I don’t think I’d even care if you grew a tail or sprouted feathers or acquired scales.” He stops his speech as she giggles, obviously amused by his inane comments and it suddenly hits him how entranced he is by her smile.

“Really?” (Y/N) murmurs, hands traveling up his arms. Only when he flinches in pain from the cut Rhodey gave him does she stop, drawing her hands back. “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I forgot that you’re hurt.” She whispers, worry leeching back into her face.

“It’s not that bad.” Tony says, shifting his arm to look at the cut again. It’s been cleaned already and Strange had deemed it too much to patch it up with gauze and tape. Just keep it clean. The doctor had said.  

“Should it be out in the open like that?” (Y/N) asks him. “I think we have some fabric in the bathroom, let me go get it.”

“No.” Tony argues, hands latching onto her before she can walk away from him. He brings her close, savors the way her lashes flutter as she allows him to press them together. “I don’t want to do that right now. What I want to do is to make up for lost time.”

Tony doesn’t wait any longer to lean down and kiss her, happy to find that she’s just as eager to kiss him as well. (Y/N)’s warm and plush, tastes like wine that Tony deduces she must have drank beforehand to get her courage up. Her arms wrap around his neck, fingers intertwining into his hair as she tugs and whines into his mouth  when his hands sweep across her back. The silk slides deliciously underneath his palms but Tony doesn’t want to touch silk or lace, he wants to touch (Y/N).

He backs them up into the bed, loving the way she falls back into the mattress. (Y/N)’s hair splays around her like a halo, pristine against the white sheets. Her vision is glazed as she looks up at him through hooded eyes, eyes that silently tell him, “Come here and fuck me.” Tony practically chokes on lust as he unties the strip of fabric around his waist that keeps his pants up, kicking them off and away. If Tony were a better man, a king that could feel shame, he would be embarrassed about how damn hard he is right now but he’s not because when his eyes travel down, (Y/N) isn’t wearing a single fucking thing under that dress.

“You’re going to kill me.” Tony groans, falling to his knees as his hands go to thighs. (Y/N) laughs at his dramatics and bites her lip in anticipation as leans over her to kiss her lush mouth. God it’s good, it’s so damn good. Tony feels like he’s drinking in those drugs that Strange once gave him when he broke three ribs that made him feel loopy and hot and good .

“Tony.” She murmurs as his kisses fall to her neck, to the hollow of her collarbone.

“Yes, darling?” Tony says without thinking. He’s too focused on the softness of her skin and the way her legs spread for him, wide and willing and ready. She squirms underneath him and arches her back as his hot breath dusts over her breasts. Tony knows what she wants--well ,knows what he wants. What he wants is to latch his mouth on her nipples that have been hard since he walked into the room. He wants to swirl his tongue around the small pebble and hear her mewl and moan and--

“Can I--what you did for me last time. Can I do that for you?” Tony pauses and lifts his head, shocked into stopping by her question, by her soft but eager tone.

“You want to suck my cock?” He asks. She twitches underneath him, legs tensing at his verbiage. Usually he’d censor himself a little for her, knowing the crass words must fall into her ears like breaking glass but this time around he has no self control. The way she flushes and the way she licks her lips just makes it worse, the saliva wetting the pink and making him think awful dirty things. 

“Yes.” (Y/N) says.

“You know you don’t have to, right?” Tony ventures caringly.

He wants her to of course. Tony would kill a man right now to see (Y/N)’s mouth wrapped around him but he doesn’t know what people have been telling her. They must be telling her something, the halls of a castle are never free from gossip. If she’s not pregnant in three months there will be rumors of her infertility for god's sakes. Tony knows Natasha has been telling her a few things at the very least, things about lingerie and silk nighties that yes, Tony really does love. He doesn’t want (Y/N) to think she has to do anything for him and he’s happy to bury his head between her legs to pleasure her until the day he dies.

There are worst ways to go.

“I want to.” (Y/N) insists, leaning up to press a reassuring kiss against his lips.

Well, what kind of man would Tony be if he said no to that?

In moments he finds himself sitting at the foot of his bed, briefs thrown aside and (Y/N) quite literally on her knees in front of him. She looks nervous but excited all at the same time and against his better judgement, Tony wants to completely wreck her. He wants to fuck her throat and watch spit dribble down her chin while he does it, have tears stream down those cheeks that never seem to be free of a blush and tangle his fingers tightly in her hair. Tony willingly drowns himself in lust as he thinks about what she’ll sound like if he fucks her from behind, hand on her throat, the other on her clit, thinks about what she’ll feel like when she cums around his cock.

But Tony doesn’t because he actually likes (Y/N), loves her even if he can’t say it and he wants her to like him-- love him back. She’s not a maiden he’ll never see again, a traveling merchant or pretty duchess that he doesn’t have to remember the name of. She’s (Y/N) and he wants to see her in his bed for the rest of his life, wants to acquaint himself with every birthmark, old scar and curve. Lust blooms into true affection as Tony realizes this, realizes he’s already fallen so goddamn hard without even knowing if she feels the same.

All that is forgotten when he feels one of her hands rest on his knee as she grips him lightly with her other, the cold of her wedding ring causing his dick to twitch. He hisses lightly as she moves her palm up, thumb swiping over the red throbbing head. (Y/N) looks up at him as she experiments and Tony could blow right there with the sight of unsure eyes and long lashes; he's never seen anything so goddamn hot. But he doesn’t because it’s rude to cum on a ladies face without her permission so instead he takes a deep breath in and holds it there as her head drops down, breath searing hot, tongue flat and wet and providing a sweet sweet friction.

(Y/N)’s careful with her teeth as she licks tentatively around the head. Her tongue is inexperienced but eager, burning and wet and feeling beautiful around him. She sucks gently, opening her mouth wide to take more of him in and this is always Tony’s favorite part, watching a pretty girl test her limits on his length. He's not crazy endowed by any means, but he's a little longer than average with a decent girth. (Y/N) does better than he expects, her tongue flat and hot on the underside of his dick as her hands splay wide on his thighs. It takes all of him to tampen the jolt of his hips when her lips glide slowly across his skin, positive she wouldn’t like it if he shoved himself completely down her throat.

He chokes out her name, head thrown back as she speeds up her movement. His orgasm is coming fast, balls tightening along with the muscles of his thighs and stomach.  His hand goes to her hair to feel the softness of her locks, to brush them back so she can work as freely as she wants. (Y/N) hums with satisfaction, the vibration only driving Tony closer to the edge. Her nails scratch as his inner thighs causing them to quiver and shake. Her hands tighten as she does her best to take all of him in and Tony sees a slight wiggle in her hips.

Tony knows that wiggle. It’s a needy wiggle, a movement that begs him to touch her. Tony can’t believe what an idiot he’s been, ignoring her wants like that ever since this whole thing started. Of course she’s horny, jesus christ. The one thing he’s learned with all of his partners is that women are sexual creatures much like men, more so a lot times. She’s been waiting for him, thinking about this night for the past few weeks. Tony doubts she knows how to masturbate to take the edge off with how stuffy royalty tend to be and he feels like a dumbass for thinking about only what he wants.

“Come here.” Tony orders roughly, half so he can take care of her and half so he doesn't blow right then and there from a blowjob like some sort of kid.

(Y/N)’s beautiful eyes are wide and confused, lips wet and red from her previous actions as Tony pulls her up. He drags her close, scooting back and positioning her knees at his sides so she can straddle him. Tony doesn’t even wait, doesn’t even ask before he hitches her barely there dress up with his left hand and reaches in between those heavenly thighs with his right. His fingers meet wetness just like he expects and her little moan as he sinks two digits easily into her heat makes Tony swear there has never been a more satisfying sound.

“T-Tony.” She stammers, hands tight on his shoulders. He makes a uncommitted noise as he mouths her breast, something he’s been wanting to do all night. He wets the silk with his tongue, biting gently at her nipple with his teeth as she whines. Her hips lower as she grinds into his palm, begging for friction and contact. Tony fucks her slowly with his fingers, loving the way her thighs tremble when he presses against that g-spot he’s memorized from the last time they were together. She’s sopping wet and so easy to finger fuck, the viscous liquid traveling to his wrist. It's pornographic and gorgeous and Tony swears his mind is never going to forget any of the noises she likes to make. 

“Feel good?” Tony rasps, looking up to catch the expression on her face. He removes himself so he can find her clit, lubrication making it easy to slide circles around the button that makes her groan like a mad woman. She nods as best as she can and returns his fingers to her core, inserting three digits instead of two. They slip inside her like a dream, barely needing any work to fit comfortably. 

“Take this off.” Tony orders, free hand grabbing at the hem of her dress. She doesn’t fight him, doesn’t have anything sassy to say and merely helps. She lifts it up and off, throwing the garment to the pile that holds the rest of their clothing. Tony doesn’t even wait for it to hit the ground before he’s palming at her breasts, bringing forth a moan. He tweaks at one of her nipples with his fingers and she tightens up on him again. Tony swears like a sailor as he holds himself back, praying to god he can last.

“P-Please, inside--I want--”

“I know what you want, baby.” Tony lets her know. He guides her down, swearing as she sinks down on him entirely, fucking wet beyond belief. “Your pussy is so tight, fuck.” Tony mumbles against her chest, the vulgar words slipping past his lips before he can help it. He’d take it back but by the way (Y/N) tightens around him and the way she whimpers let’s him know that she likes it.

So Tony cranks up the dirty talk and (Y/N) practically falls apart on his hands. It all spills out, every single lecherous thought he’s had about her since he kissed her the night he proposed. He tells her how he wants to fuck her for hours, wants to mark her neck with hickies and let the world know she’s his and his alone. This makes her lashes flutter, her face heat up and her throat moan.  He confesses that he’s had wet dreams about cumming inside her cunt, inside her mouth, on her chest, across her back; confesses that he hasn’t had a wet dream since he was twenty five and this makes her hips buck on his dick as she rides him with all she’s got. When he lets her know that he’s been jerking off to the memory of her from their very first night together, fist wrapped around his own cock in the shower as he thinks about how hard he came inside her, (Y/N) bites his shoulder so hard he swears she draws blood.

Tony kisses her in a disgustingly filthy way, teeth and tongue and spit. She loves it, holy hell, opens her mouth up for him and sinks her hands into his hair to pull hard . Tony grunts as she pushes him onto his back, lifting herself slowly before she lowers. Tony watches with a focus he hasn’t had in years at the way her mouth drops as he fills her. Her pupils have been blown wide, her eye color not even visible at this point and Tony feels proud of his work. (Y/N) builds a rhythm for herself, one that Tony is more than happy to dance to as he watches her.

“I think, Tony, I think I’m going to--” She’s interrupted as he thrusts up against her, desperate to watch her fall apart.

“Do it, let me see, baby.” Tony breathes, dragging her down for a kiss. His thumb finds her clit and rubs vicious circles around it, hips snapping fast to bring her over the edge. He’s close too but he’s been close since she closed her mouth around him and Tony truly would rather die than cum before she does.

And she does. She does so beautifully, lips falling open as her whole body shakes atop of him. Tony follows quickly behind, teeth biting into her collarbone and hands bruising her hips as he brings her down again and again to ride through the pleasure, his or hers, Tony can’t tell the difference. It lasts for an eternity? Or a few minutes? Who knows. All he can feel right now is how he slips out of (Y/N)’s wetness and how she whimpers at the sensation, obviously still quite sensitive after her orgasm

“Are you alright?” Tony asks her softly, turning her body over so she can lay down on the bed. (Y/N) glows with satisfaction and pride sticks to all of Tony's insides. A happy wife, a happy life, they say. 

“Yes, absolutely.” She breathes. “Was that...good for you?” Tony can’t help but laugh.

“It was very good, don’t worry, baby.” (Y/N) blinks at the words.

“I like it when you call me that.” She says softly. “Baby.”

“I’ll call you that more often.” Tony leans down and steals a kiss. She smiles into his lips and he inhales her breath. He leaves her side for a moment to  grab something clean to wipe them both off but after that, he doesn’t leave her again, just drinks in the happy satisfied look on her face that comes from good sex.

“Did you...mean all those things you said?” (Y/N) asks shyly, curling up beside him. “A-About us? And sex?” Tony smirks as he drags a blanket over the both of them, wrapping his arms around her figure. He doesn’t miss the look of excitement in her eyes as she looks up at him.

“Every single word.”

 

Chapter Text

    Nausea hits you hard like an stormy ocean wave and you wretch over the edge of the porcelain toilet boil. It’s disgusting; green and brown and tasting vaguely like your last meal mixed with something sour. You gag as the slurry comes up from your stomach and momentarily, it’s so horrible you want to die. Wanda holds your hair back and makes a sympathetic noise as most of your breakfast escapes you in a violent manner. Good god. The taste of bile only makes you more sick and you feel orange juice and coffee come up, burning your throat like acid. You haven’t thrown up since you were a child, since there was that summer of fevers that spread like the plague in Midgard.

    “My lady, what is this, the third time this week?” Wanda asks softly. She brings a wet towel to your face, wiping away vomit and tears alike. You nod, feeling defeated and upset.

You wish Tony were here to hold you, to run his hand across your stomach to alleviate the uneasiness you feel lately but he had jetted off on a hunting trip with Clint and Bruce a few days prior. Boys . The moment mother nature allowed a little bit spring sun to shine they were off to shoot pheasants and bucks. They won’t be back for nearly another week so you suppose you will have to suffer through this illness alone.

    “I don’t know what it is.” You murmur, slumping down onto the cold floor. “I can’t eat anything without it coming up. I feel awful, Wanda.”

    “Shall we try blander foods?” Wanda suggests kindly. “Tea and toast?”

    “No, I don’t want to eat anything at all.” You mumble, allowing her to pull you up from the ground. It’ll only end up with it in the toilet or giving you heartburn for some strange reason. Your head pounds from the pressure of throwing up and your remind yourself to make an appointment with Dr. Strange. Hopefully he can give you something for the sickness, food poisoning perhaps? You did have seafood earlier this week which normally your body agrees with but now can’t handle. You decide you'll dissect your diet later but first, a nap

“I’m tired. I want to sleep.” You say as she helps you stand.

    “Your majesty, it’s only noon.” Wanda’s lips slant. “You also have a meeting with Lady Potts in a half hour and a tutoring session with Dr. Banner--”

    “Wanda, reschedule it.” You snap with more force than you mean to, brushing past her to exit the bathroom. “I’ll meet with them before dinner. As of now, I just need to sleep.”

    With her lips pressed tight, Wanda nods. You shuck off your shoes, not even bothering to change your gown as you collapse onto the bed. Wanda tucks you in without a word and you hear her come in and out with water and crackers just in case you change your mind. You would say thank you and apologize if you could because really, that wasn’t nice of you to be so rude. You’ve never been so irritable before, not even on your monthlies and Wanda is only doing her job. But you can’t. You really are tired and before you know it, you’re asleep.

 

~~~

 

    “Dr. Strange, do you have any anti-nausea medication?”

    Stephen looks up from his work to find (Y/N)’s lady in waiting in his workspace, hands clasped politely in front of her stomach. He sees her more often now that she’s gotten promoted, especially during the queens monthlies for cramp medication and whatnot. She hasn’t come in a few months though for any of that.

Hm.

“For the queen?” He asks nonchalantly. Wanda nods, worry coming over her features.

    “She’s been vomiting a lot lately. Tired as well and a bit moody, if I may be honest.” Wanda says. “I was hoping to give her some medicine when she awakens.”

    Stephens brows twitch on his forehead. Nausea, mood swings and exhaustion. Obvious symptoms of pregnancy. Is it too soon to ask? Tony and (Y/N) have been married for months now and Strange wouldn’t be surprised if she’s truly with child. They’ve been going at it almost disgustingly around the castle like a couple of teenagers and though Tony’s bare ass isn’t anything new to him (having been buried in it before), it’s not something Stephen wants to exactly see on the weekly basis. He expects all that lust from (Y/N) considering her age but apparently she also brings out the worst of Tony’s hormones.

Animals .

“Sure, I have a few things to help her out.” Stephen finally says and then, as casually as he can, “Have her take a pregnancy test for me as well.”

“A test?” Wanda squeaks.

“Yes, Wanda. Surely you know morning sickness is a prominent part of the first trimester for expecting mothers.” Stephen drawls as he gathers some anti-nausea pills and prenatal vitamins.

“I can’t believe that slipped my mind.” Wanda says, eyes wide now. “Oh my god, the queen is pregnant.”

“Don’t go around telling people until she takes this test.” Stephen orders, pressing a bag of things into her hands. “Have her take it first thing tomorrow morning for accuracy and bring her here if it’s positive.” Which it probably will be, Stephen thinks quietly to himself.
    “Yes, my lord.” Wanda says. She retreats quickly and Stephen sighs as he settles into his chair.

The next morning when (Y/N) bursts into his office, the positive test in hand, Stephen is already prepared. He smiles at her as she walks in, eyes wider than the moon and looking more shocked than Tony that one time Stephen informed him he’s actually as clean as a whistle, no STD’s in sight.

“Your majesty, good morning.” The doctor greets smoothly. He already sees that motherly glow in her skin making her skin plump and bright; or maybe she’s just that pretty, Stephen isn’t sure.

“S-Stephen.” (Y/N) stammers walking over to him, Wanda following behind her. “This test--it says that I’m--that I’m--”
    “Pregnant, my queen.” He finishes, standing so he can help her sit. “Yes, I believe you are.”

“Really?” Her eyes are wide, mouth parted as she does her best to breathe evenly. Wanda is practically vibrating beside her queen, obviously ecstatic about the news.

“Let’s find out. Lay down here.” Stephen leads her to a cot and Wanda helps her get situating, sitting by her legs and taking ahold of one of (Y/N)’s hands for comfort.

“Oh, I’m so excited for you, your majesty.” Wanda says, bright grin splitting her face. “A baby! King Anthony will be so pleased when he returns.” Stephen can’t help but smile at that as he grabs a pair of latex gloves for cleanliness.
    “Wanda, will you lift her majesty’s skirt? I need access to her uterus.” Stephen says clinically. (Y/N) blushes but allows Wanda to help her hitch the fabric up above her waist. Stephen would feel a bit of shame at viewing another mans wife so intimately but he’s a doctor and over these past few months he’s found that (Y/N) blushes at the drop of a hat anyways.

“What is this contraption?” (Y/N) asks him as he squirts a bit of gel on her belly. She flinches at the cold but doesn’t shy away. Without the layers of her dress, Stephen now sees the soft swell of her stomach. Yes, very happy Tony will be indeed. Stephen also sees why the king has been chasing the young woman all around the castle for a bit of play as well if her legs are as soft as they seem.

“An ultrasound machine, your majesty.” Stephen answers, flicking it on and placing the probe onto her lower stomach. “If you certainly are pregnant, we will see the baby right….here.”

Stephen always likes this part. He’s a doctor of the mind first, neuroscience having been his first love since he was young, but as he watches (Y/N)’s face soften at the sight of her child, he knows obstetrics are a close second. She gasps as she sees the two part white blob on the screen, not yet taking up her whole uterus but certainly making her/himself at home. Tears glitter in her eyes, no doubt blurring her vision and yet she keeps her gaze locked on the screen.

“Congratulations, my queen. You are with child. We will need a blood test to confirm but I’d say...eight weeks? Ten, perhaps?” Stephen deduces, moving the probe around for a different view. Healthy as far as the doctor can tell, good size, a single gestational sac, perfect.

“Oh my god.” She breathes, eyes locked on the baby. “Wanda, I’m pregnant.”

“Yes, your majesty.” Wanda has tears in her eyes, sniffling already. “Congratulations.”

“Shall we call for Tony?” Stephen asks as he pulls off his gloves.

“I can ask Pietro to run for him.” Wanda offers.

“No, no. Let him have his trip with his Dr. Banner and Clint.” She says like the wonderful wife she is. “We can tell him upon his return.” Then she smiles like the sun, happy tears leaving shiny streaks down her cheeks,

Stephen doesn’t know if Tony really deserves her but the doctor damn sure hopes the king will spend the rest of his life trying to be someone that does.

 

~~~

 

You buzz with excitement as you stand outside, the cold not even bothering you. Ahead is a dense forest where Tony, Bruce and Clint had escaped to weeks prior. It wasn’t supposed to be a long trip but apparently they’ve had so much luck they decided to stay a little longer. Disappointed sure, but you said nothing even with your belly starting to get larger. At nine weeks when you discovered you were pregnant, your stomach looked normal, much like if you had a hearty dinner. You’re entering your twelfth week now and it’s a little more obvious so you’ve supplemented your gowns with a few more layers to keep the secret from Tony until you tell him.

Wanda comes up from behind, sweeping an extra blanket around your shoulder to fend off the wind. She’s been so fussy once Stephen confirmed your pregnancy, making you drink herbal soups and not letting you stand for more than an hour of the time. You allow her to do it, knowing Tony will only be a dozen times worst once you tell him. With a soft kiss to her cheek you let her know to take a break, perhaps find Pietro for dinner.

“Are you ready?” You turn to your side to find Natasha, peering at you through happy eyes. She dons her armour of course, you don’t think you’ve seen her in anything else since the first night you arrived. Her beautiful hair has been swept up in ponytail leaving her face in the open.

“Ready for what?” You ask. “We’re not telling him until dinner.” She laughs, nodding understandingly.

“I’m really happy for you both.” Natasha says quietly. “I’m very glad this arrangement was successful, my queen.”

“Well, you’re the one that brought me here safely, Lady Romanoff. If anyone is to thank, it’s you.” You smile as she smirks.

“I like to think I should be thanked for this little gift as well.” She teases as she eyes your stomach, finding pleasure in the way you flush. Ah yes, the nightgown. It was very helpful.

A comfortable pause goes by before a question pops in your mind. “Do you think you and Clint will have any children in the foreseeable future?” You inquire casually.

Natasha’s eyes widen and blink at the sudden question but her face turns motherly. “One day probably.” She answers wistfully.

“My little one is going to need a playmate.” You say lightheartedly. She smiles and nods and you hope that maybe you’ll see a little redhead with bow in hand running around the castle in a few years.

“Ah, here he comes.” Bruce says from your other side, a hand shielding his eyes from the sun as he looks into the trees.

“Remember, not a word!” You remind everyone. A chorus of Yes, your majesty. ’s pleasantly meet your ears and you smile, eyes following Bruce’s gaze.

Your beloved husband is the first to catch your eyes, a vision in blue and red with a fat happy smile on his lips. JARVIS’s pitch black coat ripples underneath him as Tony kicks the stallion into full gallop, his eyes twinkling once they catch yours. You laugh, shedding the blanket off your shoulders as you break formation and walk towards him. Weeks! You haven’t seen him in weeks. You didn’t realize how much you’ve missed him until he’s suddenly so close to you again. Your chest aches longingly so and it’s not until he’s sliding down from JARVIS do you realize you’re crying.

“Miss me?” Tony says, sweeping you up into his arms.

“Yes, yes, yes.” You kiss him with all you have, a surprised noise coming from his mouth as your wrap your arms around his neck. It doesn’t take long for him to return your affections, arms going around your waist as he dips you low, mouth moving against yours. It feels blissful, ethereal as he kisses you and you swear you’re never letting leave for another trip ever again.

“Quite a welcome home, isn’t it?” Clint teases, dismounting FRIDAY. “Natasha, I expect the exact same!”

“You wish.” His wife deadpans, shoving Clints face away when he leans in. “How did the hunting trip go?”

“Splendid!” is Tony’s bright answer. He turns around, you still in his arms as he gestures to the multiple horses that ride in with trophy animals on their backs.

“We’ll have a feast tonight.” You say excitedly. “A celebration of your success. Of your return.”

“You’re very happy today.” Tony notices with a smile.

“My husband has returned, healthy and with so many gifts.” You inform him. “What woman wouldn’t be happy?”

“A feast then.” Tony nods, never one to refuse you of anything. He kisses you and you feel a flutter, now in your stomach instead of your heart.

 

W E E K S       E A R L I E R

 

    “THOR!”

    The scream rips through Loki’s throat as he watches one of Hela’s undead minions slash a ghastly cut into his brothers chest. Hela, that bitch . The moment Odin passed she couldn’t fucking wait to come to Asgard. Heimdall kept her out for as long as he could but what could he do against a warrior filled with bitterness and rage? He and Thor had solely three days before she burst through the wards. Now Loki has two older siblings that he can’t stand. Damn it all.

Thor doesn’t even seem to think twice before he grabs the minions head, shooting a powerful bolt of thunder through it and the thing crumbles to its knees, burnt to a crisp. In that moment, Loki has never been more grateful for his brothers godly attributes that allowed him to harness the power of lightning. The stubborn fool never really dies but that injury will definitely slow him down. Loki rushes over, throwing up a spherical shield over the both of them in hopes of warding off the rest of the soldiers. Thor falls to a knee, Loki wrapping his arm around his waist as he watches pain wash over his brothers face.

    “I can still fight.” Thor chokes out, thunder sparking around the pair. To prove his point the warrior coughs up a bout of blood, smattering Loki’s leather breastplate with red.

    “No you obviously can’t, you idiot.” Loki snaps, looking around as the undead army slowly cuts off the light as they swarm above the protective shield like an army of bees. Loki’s sea-green eyes flit from undead soldier to soldier, watching as they pound at the magic with their own weapons. Small miniscule cracks start to blossom across the surface and fear strikes the frost giants heart. Is this how it ends? Amidst a battle with their sister who wants to take over all four kingdoms and rule as some merciless dictator? Dead on the field with nothing to his name; no wife, no family, no kingdom?

    “You can’t hide, little brothers.” A maniacal voice sings causing Loki to tense up with fear. “Can I call you that, Loki? Or do you prefer Laufeyson?”

    “It’s Odinson now, you bitch.” Loki says though he knows she can’t hear it. Even in this pain, Thor smiles.

    “Where to then, brother?” Thor asks, breaths short and strained. “Better think quickly.”

    No. This is not how it ends. While Thor may fight against the idea of fleeing battle, leaving their soldiers to fight a hopeless fight, Loki knows that the true blood of Asgardian royalty must live on. He’s adopted, sure, and Thor may have made a big fuss about keeping him as crown prince once the fair haired brother took the throne but Loki knows in his heart that he cannot rule Asgard. The people would never accept it and Loki knows by now after many futile attempts at attempting to overthrow their father that he will never be king. The only hope he has now is saving his brother, bringing him someplace that he can recuperate before coming back and destroying Hela.

    “Well, you have such a fondness for regular mortals. Midgard it is.” Loki answers, pulling back his shield so he can transport them. He pools as much of his green magic as he can inside his body to ready them for the jump. He’s never brought two people at once, only used to his own supple form. Thor is thicker than a hundred year old trunk and Loki only hopes that he doesn’t leave behind the gods arm or leg in the transportation. Maybe his tongue though; that’s wouldn’t be too much of a loss.

 

---

 

    “It’s here!” Steve exclaims excitedly, waving a letter in the air as he bursts into James’ office. “It’s another one of (Y/N)’s letters!” James looks up from his work to find his husband beaming, fingers holding onto what he’s sure is (Y/N)’s letter from Stark. He can’t help but smile at Steve’s giddiness, the emotion infectious.

    “Open it then, let’s take a look.” James stands and walks around the desk where Steve leans on the structure, practically tearing open the envelope.

    “Shall I read it aloud?” Steve asks, pulling out a single sheet of paper.

    “Of course, I want to know if she misses me. It’s been weeks since the last one, she must be withering away without us by now.” Steve laughs and shakes his head, straightening the paper out so they can both read (Y/N)’s sloping letters.

   

    Dear my brothers,

 

I have some very good news, In less than a years time, you will both be uncles.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly, I am with child. As of today, Dr. Strange thinks I am about nine weeks along. My little girl or boy will be born before winter and Tony and I will have an heir. Though this has come sooner than I expected, I am elated. I am so happy. I have yet to swell but I am told that I have a sort of glow that only expecting mothers have. I wish you both were here to see it.

Tell me you will both will be coming to the birth. If not, my little one should be here by September or October and I believe you may be able to come next spring for the christening at least. He or she will be beautiful, I truly imagine, and my baby deserves to meet their uncles. Please plan your wedding with Peggy accordingly so, I do not wish to travel whilst heavily pregnant or with a newborn. And yes, I said wedding with Peggy because I refuse to allow you to lead her on any longer.

I miss you both dearly. I feel like every time I send a letter, it’s a very boring recap of my days. I’m glad to be able to send some good news. Also, please go easy on Tony. He’s been working himself to the bone with these Accords you’re all trying to coordinate and I understand how important it is that this all works out. Ease up, yes? I’d like for my husband to return to my bed every night from now on. I don’t think that is too much to ask now that I am pregnant.

I find it strange, the situation we are now in. I never thought I would be anything more than the princess of Midgard. I never thought I would marry or have a child. I merely thought I would stay by both of your sides for the rest of my days and whilst the thought before was perfectly pleasant, I now know I’ve always wanted more. Tony has given me so much. Friends, a kingdom, a partner, and now a child.

I feel so blessed.

Please reply soon. I miss you both so much.

 

Your doting little sister who sends all her love to the north, (Y/N).

 

    “She’s pregnant.” James lets out a laugh. “Steve, she’s pregnant!”

    A pause from his husband. When James looks over, Steve is still staring at the words on the page, eyes wide and jaw dropped. “Steve, surely you know they have sex.” James says softly, smile twitching on his lips. “Come on.

    “Tony...he….he fucked our sister.” Steve murmurs in disbelief. “Enough times to get her pregnant. James. How many times?” James cackles and shakes his head, taking the letter from him and gripping his face so he can turn Steve to him.

    “Steve. (Y/N) is with child.” He slowly repeats. “This is a good thing! She’s not a baby anymore, of course she’s going to have sex with her husband.”

    “I know, I know, it’s just--” Steven gulps down his emotions, fingers hovering over the smudged ink of the letter. (Y/N) never did know how to let a letter dry properly before folding it up. He smiles at the thought of her, the little sister that has brought nothing but light to his life since the war.

    “I understand.” James presses a kiss to his husbands temple, leaning his forehead there afterwards. “Smile, Steve. We are to be uncles!”

    “Uncles.” Steve nods and wets his lips, the information finally settling in. He grins wide, mirroring James’ expression. But then his eyes widen and his mouth drops again as he grips the letter so tight it crinkles. “How does she know about Peggy?!”

    “We’re not exactly secretive.” James snorts. “Everyone knows we’re in love with Peggy.”
    “God, this girl is going to kill me.” Steve sags, hand coming up to his eyes. James laughs and envelopes the king in a hug, pressing a kiss to the corner of his lips.

    “Oh come on. Let’s write back and let her know we’ll be there for the birth.” Steve turns around to find some paper and parchment, his husband trailing behind him whilst being the tiniest bit handsy. Steve is laughing, about to tell James to get his hand out of his shirt when suddenly, Steve’s attention is stolen by a strike of green lightning that cracks the midsummer sky in half.

    “Fucking hell, what was that?” James asks, looking out the window for the source.

    “Language.” Steve chastises, following his husbands line of sight. The lightning struck the land by the stables and even from this far away, the kings can see the scorch mark that it’s left behind. It’s barely a few seconds later that the ground pulses with a sort of green light, like when a rock is thrown into a lake.

    “I know that magic.” James murmurs. “That’s Loki’s magic.”

    “Asgardians?” Steve questions, feeling perplexed. “What are they doing here?”

    “Let’s go find out.”

 

~~~

 

    “Shuri, this isn’t going to work.” With a roll of her eyes the Wakandian princess steps up to her brother, straightening out the new robes that she has fitted to immediately shift into his battle wear at a moment's notice with voice command. She’s quite proud of it; it’s been difficult to find materials that will shrink and change shape due to soundwaves.

    “You always say this, and what ends up happening?” Shuri asks, raising her eyebrows at the king. It’s his turn to sigh and look away.

    “It works.” T’Challa answers with chagrin.

    “Exactly! So, say it for me.”

    “I am not saying that.” His face is grim, eyes almost glaring at her as refuses.
    “This is a prototype and those are the only words that I have programmed to activate the suit so you have to say it!” Shuri argues.

    “Shuri, you rotten child, you couldn’t think of any other words to program?” Shuri laughs at his frustration and stands, hands on her hips as she waits.

    “Fine.” T’Challa grits his teeth, replaying the phrase in his mind one last time. “In the name of Wakanda, I will pun--”

    “Your majesty!” A voice interrupts causing Shuri to groan.

    “So close.” She whispers to herself, eyes shutting in disappointment. King T’Challa turns around to find a soldier running towards him, chest heaving with exertion as he arrives.

    “Are you alright?” T’Challa asks, reaching forward to place a hand on the young mans shoulder. “What is it, soldier?”
    “A message for you.” The man pulls out a piece of paper from his pocket and hands it over to his king, leaning over seconds later to he can catch his breath.

    “What is it, brother?” Shuri asks as she watches a graveness wash over his face.

    “Asgard.” is his answer. “They need our help.”

Chapter Text

    Tony finds that (Y/N) is smiling a lot tonight.

    He’s not complaining of course, he loves his beautiful wife’s smile. Even after six months of marriage, the honeymoon phase still hasn’t phased out and her grin makes Tony feel warm and fuzzy inside. She’s all over him which he also loves. Her hand is on his thigh and she allows him to wrap and around behind her back, fingers pressed into her ribcage in a way that she would usually blush about. The high of the hunt seems to have gotten to her too.

The next thing he notices is how present Wanda is tonight. Usually the lady in waiting is allowed to eat on her own with her friends and her brothers. (Y/N) never makes Wanda work while festivities are being held, stating she wants Wanda to enjoy the night just as much as she. Tonight though, Wanda stays directly behind (Y/N), fretting over her the way a mother would a sick child. Tony brushes it off. Weird sure, but nothing to be worried over. He can’t exactly go, “Stop caring so much, Wanda.”

But then (Y/N) refuses a glass of blueberry wine and that’s just peculiar . She loves blueberry wine. Tony had a whole entourage travel to Midgard to bring back ten barrels for her just last month and she had thanked him in a very physical way. For her to refuse it? Something has to be different and Tony can’t help but scrutinize her under the facade of admiring her. Is her hair longer? Actually, are her tits a little bigger as well?

“Why are you staring at me like that?” (Y/N) asks amongst the laughter of their friends.

“Something’s changed.” Tony states. He watches as her carefree demeanor stiffens up and Wanda from behind her takes in a sharp breath. Ah, that confirms it. Something has changed.

“Tony, can’t you just enjoy dinner without making a conspiracy about everything?” Natasha asks, saving the day.

“No, not when something is so obviously different.” The king says slowly, leaning back into his chair so he can take all of (Y/N) in.

She’s let her hair down today, the small waves informing him that she had it braided the night before. Dainty earrings dangle from her ears, glinting in the firelight everytime she moves her head. She’s a little curvier than when she’s first arrived by she needed that, a bit of insulation of sorts to protect her from the cold. Besides that though, he can’t make a conclusion as to what is exactly different,

“Nothing is different, Tony.” (Y/N) says steadily, fork coming down to spear a potato. She brings it up to her mouth, eyebrows raised as she dares him to say anything.

“Stark, did the woods finally bring out the inner animal in you and lower your IQ?” Stephen asks blandly, looking up at Tony as he cuts through his pork.

“Nature does not lower IQ.” Tony states with a scoff. “What are you on, Strange? Trying a new cocktail of drugs on yourself?”

“Nothing you haven’t had before.” The doctor quips right back.

“Boys, please.” Bruce goes. “Are we ever going to have a night while you’re not at each other’s throats?”
    “It’s more fun this way, Brucie.” Clint says with a smile as he brings his wine up to his lips. “You’re not drinking tonight, (Y/N)? But it’s your favorite.” Natasha elbows his ribs and the archer yelps, looking over to his wife confused. They have a short conversation through eyebrows and facial movements that Tony can’t understand.

“I’m fine, Tony.” (Y/N) says, pressing her palm to his cheek in a way that makes him turn to her. “Promise.”

“If something's wrong, you need to tell me.” He says firmly. She smiles and shakes her head.

“Nothing’s wrong. Everything is right.” The words make him buzz pleasantly, placating that part of him that wants to worry. When she kisses him, tasting like decadent meats and herbal tea, Tony melts completely like ice in sun. Tony still things that (Y/N) is hiding something from him, he’s not an idiot, but it doesn’t seem detrimental so he lets it go.

Tony leans back in his chair to survey the room. It’s so different than what it was last year. Brighter, lighter, rambunctious and crowded . A big part of the Accords that Tony has been working on with all the kings and queens is diversity which means a big chunk of Stark citizens have been allowed to integrate into Midgard, Asgard and Wakandan societies. In return, talents from those said kingdoms have also been employed in the castle and throughout the land. It’s strange to see but things have worked out so far and no one has murdered each other so Tony is going to call it a success.

“Pietro? What are you doing here?”

Tony and (Y/N) both turn around to find a panting Pietro, silver hair a mess around his blue eyes. Wanda talks to him in hushed tones as he tries to catch his breath and for some reason, Tony knows there is something wrong. Pietro holds out a scrunched up piece of paper for the king, eyes filled with worry and Tony takes it without a word. It hasn’t been sealed, not with wax or glue so Tony knows that Pietro must have read it already. The runner’s shakey demeanor isn’t exactly comforting.

“What is it?” (Y/N) asks, eyebrows tied together, leaning over to read the words just as he does.

 

Tony, it’s James. A battle has broken out and I write this as I ride my way to Stark.

Asgard as fallen. I repeat, Asgard has fallen. Hela Odinson, older sister of Thor and Loki has begun on a rampage. The last citizens of Asgard have been brought to safety at Midgard but Hela is heading South.

She is heading SOUTH, Tony. She comes with an army of undead magical soldiers.

Yes. Undead. Magical. Apparently they are very hard to kill so you better light up that suit of yours that you think no one knows about.

We are on our way. Wakanda is sending reinforcements as well. I hope this gets to you in time.

Tony. Protect our sister. Protect your family.

 

Fear strikes Tony dead in the heart. He blinks, once, trying to process the slanted and smudged words on the paper and for the first time in a very long time, his war instincts take over.

“Clint, Natasha, put your ear pieces in.” Tony snaps, standing up abruptly. “I need archers, footmen, anything and everything, and I need them to reinforce the borders of the castle. I need runners at the edges of the kingdom, I need to know the moment anything approaches us.”


    “Code?” Natasha asks, reaching in between her cleavage to pull out a small sort of plug. As she puts it in her ear, Clint twists his hearing aid to the station Tony will be talking through. Peppers eyes widen and she does the same as Natasha, Bruce and Strange following the actions.

“Code Avengers.” Tony says sternly.

“Shit.” Clint breathes, eyes steeling. “Alright, boss, we’re on it.”

“Bruce, I need you to take the queen to the safe room.” Tony orders as Natasha and Clint run off. “She is the number one priority, above me. No arguing, no exceptions.”

“No, I need to be with (Y/N).” Strange protests. Tony’s eyes narrow at the words, confused and curious as to why Strange is willingly taking himself out of commission to be a glorified body guard.

“That’s fine.” Bruce says quickly. “Perfectly fine.”

“Tony, what’s happening?” (Y/N) asks before Tony can question the medical doctor. When Tony’s eyes finally land on his wife, he needs to choke down a sob that threatens to make itself known. Her being hurt is his worst fear, jetting far above anything else he’s ever been afraid of. Tony leans forward, hand on her cheek as he kisses her one last time, trying to put everything he feels into it.

“I love you.” Tony says bluntly, pressing his forehead to hers. “I thought I’d let you know.” Her eyes widen and she takes in a breath that doesn’t come out. Tony doesn’t blame her for being shocked. It’s the first time he’s ever said those three words and he kind of curses himself for waiting so long because he’s felt it for months. He needs her to know though, especially if this battle is anything going to lead to war.

“Stark.” Strange says tensely, inserting himself into the conversation. “What’s going on?”


    “Thor and Loki have some deranged older sister that’s coming to take over our kingdom.” Tony breathes out, pinching the bridge of his nose. “She has an undead magical army of sorts. Asgard has already fallen and she’s coming here next.”

“Christ.” Bruce murmurs. “Undead...magical army?”

“I know, that’s why I need you to protect (Y/N), Stephen. Under no circumstances is she to be hurt, do you understand?” Strange goes to cup (Y/N)’s elbow and lead her away but she wrenches away from him.

“Tony.” She says shakily. Tony lets out a shuddering breath as she launches herself into his arms, face burying into the crook of his neck.

“You’re going to be fine, Strange will protect you.” Tony says into her hair, eyes squeezing shut. He doesn’t know if he says that to comfort her or him, maybe both.

“What about you, who is going to protect you?” She cries.

“Baby, I’m Iron Man.” Tony boasts sweetly. “I’m going to be just fine.”

Tony steps back from her and reaches up to his arc reactor. He taps twice at the center and prays to God that the nanotech he’s modified for his suit works as seamlessly as it did during the trials. By the way (Y/N) gasps, the way Bruce and Strange both stare, Tony decides that it is. The metal creeps over his skin, tightening beautifully above his clothes as it molds to his form. The suit is shiny and slick with every gadget, trick and toy that the rest of his suits have and Tony has to give it to himself. He’s done a damn good job.

“Go on.” Tony says sweetly as his face plate settles in. “I’ll see you in the morning.”  (Y/N) twitches as Strange takes her arm again and Tony watches painfully as his friend leaves with his wife. The only solace that Tony takes is that he knows Strange will die before anyone touches a single hair on his queens head.

“Where to, Tony?” Bruce asks.

“I need you at front lines.” Tony answers. “You know why?” Bruce's jaw tightens but he nods.

“Be safe, Tony.” He says to the king. “They need you to be safe, you have no idea.” Before Tony can ask who “they” is, Bruce is running off and Natasha is crackling in his ear.

“Tony. We need an explanation.”

Tony does a quick recap as he activates the propulsers in his feet. He flies through the ceiling easily, stone and cement crumbling around him as he makes his way into the sky. He’ll deal with that later and he definitely won’t tell Pepper because she’ll just get mad again (“Third ceiling this year, Tony!”). Regardless, it’s exhilarating to be going this fast and Tony loves it, only wishing he is flying under different circumstances.

“Shit, really?” Clint swears. “We have to fight off an army of the undead?”


    “I have the villages clearing out.” Pepper informs him through her ear piece. “Do as much damage as you want, children. Citizens are safe.” Tony wants to kiss her with relief. He didn’t even think about that.

“Midgard and Wakanda are coming with reinforcements.” Tony informs the crew as he scans the grounds, searching for anything out of the ordinary. The letter was dating a few weeks prior to today so if they’re traveling fast, they should be here by now or soon.

“So, what’s the plan?” Clint asks. “Kill the witch?”
    “I don’t know what Loki or Thor want to do with her.” Tony confesses. “She’s under their jurisdiction. We just need her keep her out of the castle for now until they arrive and give instructions.” Of course Tony wants to kill the witch, wants to kill anything that is any sort of harm to (Y/N), but he’s working with three other kingdoms now. It’s not just about him anymore.

“Where is Bruce? Strange?” Natasha asks.

“Strange is on protective detail. Positions?”

“West castle border. Awaiting Wakanda,” Clint.

“Heading towards south kingdom border.” Natasha.

“On my way to the safe room.” Pepper.

“At safe room.” Strange.

“Hulk going to east.” Banner.

“Okay, kiddos. You know the plan.” Tony says, jetting forward towards the south kingdom border. He unlocks the wings on his back and his speed doubles. “I’m heading out to find Steve and James, I need the castle locked down tight, you hear? No one in, no one out and (Y/N)’s safety is our number one priority.”

“Strange. You need to tell him.”

Tell him?

“Later, Natasha.” The doctor goes.

“Excuse me.” Tony interjects. “Tell me what?”

“Focus on the mission, Stark.” Strange orders.

“No, tell me what?”

“I have bodies coming towards me!” Natasha yells.

“Friend or foe?” Tony asks, veering himself to head towards him.

“Not sure.”

Tony hears Natasha yell for archers to raise their bows and soldiers to unsheathe their swords. The moon shines in a sky with no stars, full and bright as it lights Tony’s way. He sees what Natasha is talking about and flies straight past him towards the horde. The technology of Tony’s mask locks onto the heat signatures, informing Tony that yes, thank god, these people are Midgardians. No undead soldiers in sight just yet.

“Steve, James! A pleasure to see you both again.” Tony greets loudly as he lowers to the ground. Bows and arrows are aimed towards him but he feels no danger, comfortable enough to retract his helmet. “Though I wish the circumstances are a little bit different.”

“You gave me a heart attack, Stark, goddammit!” Steve yells, halting his horse. He’s decked out from head to toe, shield shined to perfection as it glints in the sparse light of the field.

“Where’s (Y/N)?” James snaps.
    “Safe.” Tony replies. “Natasha, stand down. It’s friends.”

“Got it.”

“Is this security really the best you have, King Anthony?” A new voice interjects. “A few foot soldiers?”  Tony looks over James’ shoulder to find Loki, angrily staring at him and Thor, grinning brilliantly.

“Man of iron!” Thor shouts. “It has been a while since you have donned this honorable armor!”

“It has been a while since someone’s angry sister came trying to take over my kingdom and kill my friends.” Tony replies lazily.

“I’m adopted so she’s not really my sister.” Loki informs the king.

“By that logic, am I not really your sibling?” Thor makes a hurt face and Loki rolls his eyes. “You had called yourself Odinson, I thought you have finally accepted your heritage, dear brother.”

“We need a plan.” Steve states, nipping that conversation at the bud. “I haven’t faced Hela’s soldiers myself but by what Loki and Thor have told me about them, they’re a force to be reckoned with.”

“Yes, our dear sister wields some pretty powerful magic. More powerful than my own.” Loki murmurs with disdain.

“Her soldiers are loyal only to her and if any of your soldiers fall during battle, they will also be captured by her magic.” Thor adds gravely. “Your warriors must be ready to fight their friends.”

“And where is she?” Tony asks, looking around. “Is she on her way, taking a pitstop? What’s the deal?”

“So eager to fight, King Anthony?” All kings turn towards the new voice to find King T’challa, suited up and ready to go. His head piece retracts and Tony recognizes the technology, admiring the way it seamlessly works. The Dora Milaje stand proudly behind him, Okoye at the head.  The Border Tribe and the Jibari Mountain Tribe are present as well and look ready to fight.

“Ah, man of panther!” Thor grins, waving his hammer. “How wonderful it is to see you.”

“Clint, how the hell did Wakanda sneak up on me like this?” Tony snaps in his head piece.

“Sorry, boss. They had some sort of cloaking device.”

    “Do not chastise your men, Stark.” T’challa says with a knowing smile. “Wakandan technology is a tad bit more superior than what you have here.”

    “T’challa, we’re gonna need to have a talk about sharing if you want me to play nice for the rest of our alliance.” Tony states, practically drooling at the thought.

    “If we survive this, I’m sure my sister will be more than happy to...play.” The king smiles and Tony nods, feeling a little bit better about this damn wa--

    “HULK SMASH!”

    “Shit.” Tony swears, head whipping to the east. “I think she’s here, boys.”

“Keep Hela out of here, Stark.” Strange orders and then briefly, “Breathe, (Y/N). If you hyperventilate it’s not good for the--” before Strange turns off his intercom. God Tony wants to dissect that, he needs to, and he almost does until Hulk screams again at the other end.

“Natasha, concentrate our forces around the east end of the castle.” Tony orders, reaching into a compartment to pull out a set of ear pieces. “Clint, you too. We need all we got. Steve, James, T’challa, we’ll meet you there. Oh, and put these on!” Tony throws the package to a confused Steve before he propels upward.

Tony sends out his missiles the moment he sees Bruce’s Hulk form wrestling the army of the undead. A strange event happened during the Infinity War and the poor doctor got dosed with something nasty, turning him into a big green monster when he gets too angry. Tony had taken him of course after realizing it was his father’s doing, giving the man an education and a place to belong. Never realized Hulk would be so helpful in battle though.

“Are you doing alright, Banner?” Tony asks, dropping bombs on nasty little soldiers a little farther up in the distance.

“Banner fine, HULK SMASH!”


    “Right, right, that’s goo--holy fuck!” Tony veers the left, momentum spinning him a dozen times as he barely misses getting smacked down by a skeletal horse with wings . He shoots his repulsors at it, finding satisfaction in the way it splinters and burns, spinning to the ground. When he looks up, he finds plenty more coming at him.

“Stark, can you hear us?” Steve asks in his head.

“Yes, I can hear you. Loki, you there?”


    “What is it, mortal?”

“Why didn’t you tell me she was going to have flying undead horses too?”


    “Ah. We forgot about that!” Thor’s boisterous laugh would make Tony roll his eyes if he wasn’t so busy locking missiles onto the airborne horses and dodging spears being thrown his way. From the corner of his eye he finds Rhodey, sweet, sweet Rhodey, backing him up in a suit that Tony gifted to him years ago.

“There’s a lot down here too, Tony.” Natasha informs him. He looks down, finds her there with Clint as they do their best to destroy the incoming soldiers. “Fuck. They don’t even stay down for long.”

“Lady Natasha! How are you doing?”

“King James? Uh, fine, I suppose. Could do without this dead guy coming at me right now though.”
    “Hitting on my girl, Barnes?”

“I don’t know if you know this but I am quite literally married to a man.”  Clint laughs, sound of the string of his bow being let go accompanying it.

“War to fight here!” Tony yells, dodging the lightning that Thor brings down from the sky. “Anyone have eyes on Hela?”

“I feel her but I don’t see her.” Loki says. Tony sees a flash of green magic from below that destroys anything in a mile radius, Loki at the center with nothing but himself. Whew. Tony is glad Loki is on his side this time around.

“It’s probably a hive situation. If you take Hela out then you probably take out the army with her.” Pepper advises.

“Always the smart one.” Tony compliments half heartedly, eyes searching the premises for this Hela. “What does your sister look like, Loki? Hot?”


    “She actually looks a lot like me, so yes. Dark hair, green eyes. Spiky crown.”

“Weaknesses?”

“Sister Hela wears a cloak that gives her most of her powers.” Thor informs him. “Remove that and she will be powerless enough for you to kill her.”


    “Kill her?” Tony asks. “You sure, King Thor? Will your people be alright with that?”


    “She decimated half of Asgards population and I am the king of Asgard. I say we kill her.” Thor’s voice is angry but hard and Tony knows this is not something to argue about.

“I second that.” Loki goes. “I’m not too fond of her either.”


    “Alright, two goals then, team. Keep anything threatening away from the castle and, uh, kill Hela.”

“Yes, sir.” Natasha says, voice underlying with glee.

“Got it.” Tony can almost see Clint’s smile.

“SMASH!”

 

Chapter Text

    Hela comes at Tony with a power fueled by anger, vengeance, and tact. He didn’t see her at first, a little busy prying a soldier off of James’ back and preventing the king from getting speared with a rusty sword but Tony definitely feels her grip wrap around his neck and plowing him through a dozen walls of his own castle. Tony tries to wrench away from her uselessly so and it happens so fast Tony barely has time to register the pain before a heinous face makes herself known in his vision.

    “King Anthony.” Hela croons, knee on his chest and fingers still wrapped around the metal at his throat. “I’ve come for your kingdom, Starkson.” He coughs from underneath his faceplate, vision registering glowing green eyes and a sharp headpiece that makes her look like a ten point buck.

    For the first time in years, Tony feels true fear course through his veins. Usually he knows his enemy, he knows their tricks and their past and exactly how to get under their skin. He does his research because that’s the best way to be prepared, to protect the ones that he loves. Yet, Tony knows nothing of this woman that has him pinned on his back, knee on his arc reactor and fingers wrapped around his neck. Thor had something about a cloak that gave her power and how his father had locked Hela away with blood magic to keep her from the world but that’s it. That’s all Tony knows and how the hell is he going to protect (Y/N) if he’s so ignorant?

    “Hela Odinson. A pleasure.” Tony chokes, lifting his right hand to shoot a beam of energy right into her face. It barely loosens her grip but it’s enough for the king to take in a breath and fly away.

    “What is this shiny suit of yours?” Hela asks him from the ground, her minions swarming into the castle from the new openings that had been made. Tony swears as he looks around, trying to figure out where she brought him. The throne room. That’s not good. Strange and (Y/N) are directly below and because of that, Tony can’t exactly start blasting the ground around Hela like he wants to. Sure there’s ten feet of steel between this floor and the safe room but  it still makes Tony feel uneasy especially now with her army swarming the place.

    “Sorry, Stark. There’s too many.” Natasha says once she realizes what happens. “Back up is coming soon.”

    “We’ll be right there after--this--fucker--gets--off--of--me!” Clint informs him, each word accentuated with a punch to some poor undead soldier.

    “It’s just something to make me look pretty in the moonlight.” Tony answers snarkily as he flies a little higher. “A little like yours. I’m not a fan of green though.”

    “Let me see your face, Starkson.” Hela orders with a smile so sickening Tony almost shudders even as he looks down at her. She stands firm, eyes on him as she places her hands on her hips. She smirks and then says, “I’ve been told you look like your father.”

     Tony pauses.

    “You knew my father?”


    “Knew? We were fairly good friends.” Hela answers as she finally starts to move, choosing to walk over to his throne. She shoots him a feigned face of sadness as she speaks. “I mourned when he died, you know.”

    “I didn’t.” Tony says curtly. “Let’s take this outside, Hela, I don’t really want your blood in my throne room. It’ll be a pain to scrape away.” Hela smirks at that as she slips into the golden seat, only making Tony’s blood boil. She kicks her feet up to hang over the sides and only when her foot touches (Y/N)’s throne does she smile sinisterly.

    “You’ve married, Starkson?” Hela inquires lightly. “I’d like to meet her. What is her name?”

    “Not any of your business. Are we going to sit here all night and chit chat or what?” Hela shakes her head, sucking her teeth in disappointment.

    “Anthony, so rude. Is that any way to speak to your new queen?” She asks confidently.

    “You will never rule my kingdom, Hela. We do not allow disowned royalty to wear the crown.” Tony responds coolly.

    “If I kill you, I will.” She snaps, angry now from his words. It’s the first sign of true emotion that Tony has seen since she waltzed her way into his home. “After all, you have no children, no heir and whomever you’ve chosen to marry is no doubt pitiful and powerless.”

    “You know nothing of her.” Tony says slowly, fingers twitching to do some damage.

    “I know that she is not here. She is not fighting. What kind of queen allows her people to die on the field as she sits in a, oh, what do you call it…. A safe room?”

    Tony doesn’t wait to raise his palms and center a beam of energy straight at Hela, his throne be damned. If she knows about the safe room, the witch must certainly know where it’s located. He needs to get rid of her, maim her, something before she can do anything and bring (Y/N) harm. The blast destroys any soldiers around but does almost nothing to her and Tony knows that echoing laugh is going to haunt him for eternity.

“What the hell happened to my back up?!” Tony yells into his intercom, focusing his rockets on the running heat signature that tries to make it’s way across the room to him.

“HERE!”

Dust plumes as Hulk comes crashing in through the opposite wall, wind causing Tony to spin off course. Even while tumbling in the air and trying to get his balance back, Tony sees Natasha and Clint roll in, daggers and arrows flying. Banner grabs one particularly large undead soldier and uses him like a whip, knocking over it’s brethren with no care. The king feels proud, proud of his soldiers and proud of his people, but only momentarily so before a hand wraps around his ankle and pulls him down.

“I! WILL! RULE!” Hela bellows as she smashes him into the ground.

All that force cracks the foundation and Tony hears metal aching from underneath, his heartbeat quickening at the thought of the ground giving out. Hela’s grip tightens around Tony throat so hard that he feels the metal of his armor crunch. Tony acts without thinking, fist coming up to connect jarringly with her jaw as the other hand grips her wrist. She yells, jumping back as he turns on the heat and burns her skin almost to the bone.

    Tony doesn’t miss a beat, standing and pressing his wrists together. The motion brings forth the wings from his back that transform into a larger form of the repulsors in his palms, the power from aimed at Hela. It’s bright and blue and blinding and Tony keeps it at full power until a red little 50% beeps on the top right corner of his vision. Shit.

    He shuts the power off, watches Hela’s heat signature return to standing form after kneeling. She had used her cloak to protect herself and that makes Tony feel like a dumbass. Right. The cloak. Take the cloak, take the power. He needs to calm down and prevent his emotions from taking over his actions.

    “Sister.” A voice thunders. “Must you be difficult?” Tony’s head turns just slightly and finds Thor standing in a huge hole in his wall, Mjolnir steady in his hand. He looks just like what he should look like having just fought an army, war torn and tired.

    “I’m busy, little brother.” Hela answers, holding out her palm to summon a sword. It’s a beautiful thing, Tony has to admit as it smokes into existence, with a curled handle and glinting wicked blade. He wonders if he can keep it after the fight.

    “It’s rude to destroy another ones home, Hela.” Loki interjects looking impeccable compared to his sibling. “Shall we battle elsewhere?”

    “Why is everyone trying to get me out of this room?” Hela looks around, heels clicking as she walks. “Is there something important that you’re all trying to hide from me?”

    “God, can someone kill her already?!” Clint asks impatiently, arrows flying to keep soldiers out of the throne room.

    “Thor, Loki, we need those horns and cloak off of her.” Tony says, settings of his helmet making sure only those with ear pieces can hear.

    “Have a plan?” Loki asks though his own magic is pooling in his hands. Hela merely laughs and shakes her head, saying something about how Odin never really saw him as blue blood.

    “I say we pin the lady down and remove her false crown!” Thor suggests, his hammer starting to spin in his head. Not a secret plan then, Tony can't help but think. 

    “Sounds good. Natasha, Clint, keep those festering bodies out of my throne room please. I don’t want clean up to be any more difficult than it has to be.” Clint grumbles, Natasha shushes him and Tony knows that he won’t have to worry.

    It happens fast with his back up here with him. Thor pulls forth mighty thunder from the sky, striking his sister with the force of gods and goddesses. It barely knocks her down to her knee, her laugh showing that it doesn’t hurt as much as Tony wishes it does. Loki’s magic, Loki’s beautiful, adaptable, flexible magic lashes out like a whip, wrapping around Hela’s sword bearing wrist. With a hiss and pull from her little brother, Hela’s Nightsword falls to the ground and clatters on the cement. She shoots him a look so cold and nefarious that even Tony feels a little bad for him.  Well, would feel a little bad if he wasn’t dive bombing down to her at his fastest possible speed, right side of his armour transfixed into a blade to cut off her damn head if he needed to.

    Turns out, Tony doesn’t have to. Out of nowhere, sparking orange ropes whip out and grab Hela’s left wrist. She roars like a lion in frustration and when Tony’s eyes follow the ropes he finds Strange, suited up and his own form of magic making the air around him crackle. Face scrunched up in concentration, Strange yanks at the strings and pulls Hela down to her other knee. In one swift motion, Tony reaches down, and pulls at the woman's headdress only to have it budge barely an inch.

    “Keep her down!” Tony yells, propping his foot on her chest for leverage. She growls and screams at the impropriety, eyes flaring brilliantly amongst the dust and debris.

    “You are going to regret this, Starkson.” She says darkly. Tony doesn’t reply, just pulls and pulls as hard as he can. Thor comes around to help him and says something to Hela but Tony doesn’t have the energy listen. All his power goes into removing this god awful looking headdress off the scalp of an even more god awful sorceress and maybe get back to dinner and cuddling his wife to bed.

    “Her hand!” Loki yells, eyes wild as he sees his sister pull forth her power into her right hand. “Don’t let her hand touch the ground!” Tony’s head whips to Hela’s right hand which looks perfectly normal but Tony isn’t one to ignore a warning. He lets go of her headpiece, allowing Thor to take control and goes to grab at Hela’s wrist.

    It’s too late.

    She snaps Loki’s bond with a yells and slams her palm on the ground. The whole thing cracks and caves in at a moments notice like a rock being thrown through paper walls. Tony’s world disappears beneath him, his friends yell from around him and for a split second he feels weightless, burdenless. Then his head slams against concrete and the ringing splits open his skull like someone screaming directly into his ear. He swears, twisting and turning to try and get on his feet as fast as he can. When he spies Pepper underneath a slab of metal with her eyes shut he can’t help but feel like she’s already dead and it’s all his fault. With his head spinning back and forth like an owl, he goes to search for his team until he hears a trembling voice.


    “T-Tony.”

    (Y/N).

    The king sees the worst thing he could possibly imagine, a play by play scene of his worst fears happening right in front of him. Hela has her non dominant arm around (Y/N)’s neck, slung in an almost friendly way as her sword glints by her side. Tears stream down (Y/N)’s face through the grime and grit of the crash as her fingers grip at Hela’s forearm, breath coming in short and fast. Something is different though and Tony can’t put a finger on way until he realizes that Hela’s hair, stringy and black and savage, is floating around her face.

Ah, her headpiece. Thor must have got it off and Tony isn’t sure what kind of strange rejuvenating magic that cloak had but with it gone, Hela literally starts to rot. The left side of her sags and festers, skin flaying as if thousands of years are going by in the matter of seconds. It’s disgusting, even to Tony and (Y/N) wretches as the arm touching her starts to go black, bones coming into view.

    “It’s okay, baby.” Tony says firmly though he has no idea what he’s going to do next. “I’m going to come get you, alright?”

    “Oh, Starkson.” Hela looks at him with pity, half of her face decaying away as the seconds tick by. “Don’t you know it’s a crime to lie to the queen?”

    Tony doesn’t know what she’s done until a foot of her blade protrudes from (Y/N)’s chest, bloody and red and dripping.

    He hears himself scream, a devastating, throat destroying sort of sound that he’s never made before. It bounces off the walls and ceilings of the broken metal box and comes back to him, a pitiful echo of what he truly feels like. Tony swears his heart is breaking. It has to be. It has to literally be tearing apart inside his chest, piece by piece, shrapnel entering his arteries and shredding him into pieces; nothing else could possibly hurt this much.

    Time stands still and anything that happens in front of him looks like a dream. Loki pushes Hela away with a burst of green magic. Thor lowers his hammer onto her chest with a deafening crack, keeping her there for as long as he wants. Strange enters the scene now, hands hovering over (Y/N)’s wound as he screams something at Tony. Something. Something. He doesn't know what.

All the king can do is fall to his knees and watch blood drip.

 

~~~

 

“STARK!” Strange yells, face cut up and bruised, voice no better. “God, Stark, come here and help me !”

Stephen turns back to (Y/N) who coughs up enough blood to be worrying. That’s not good. Definitely not good. Four inch wide sword shoved probably through the second and third ribs. Sternum is cut clean, through and through but if the doctor can remember correctly, the blade had multiple peaks. Pulling it out now, in the midst of an unsterile battlefield where dust flies is definitely a mistake. She’ll bleed out. Not to mention, it’ll grate at whatever is left of her heart into nothingness and if that’s the case, there is no way to turn back from that.

“Save the baby.” The voice is broken and quiet but it makes Stephen shatter into a million pieces all the same. (Y/N) looks up at him, blood trickling from the corner of her mouth as she says it again. She reaches up, hands clutching at his arms as they both sink to the floor. Her lashes start to flutter and her eyes start to roll, snapping Stephen back into doctor mode.

“(Y/N), you need to stay with me.” Stephen orders. “(Y/N)? Stay with me, look at me, say something.”

“Save the baby, do anything for the baby.” She whispers, fingers tightening on his cloak tighter than a dying woman should be able to. “Promise me.”

“I promise, just look at me. We’re going to patch you up, alright?” Stephen says quietly, eyes scanning the area for someone, anyone to fucking help him. All he sees is dust and death and a fallen king.

“The baby….Stephen….the baby. Please….”

 

    ~~~

 

“You were not given permission to do that!” Tony roars, the anger inside him rivaling a volcano.

    “It was the only way to save her life!” Stephen screams back, hands shaking at his sides. His queens blood still stains his fingertips and the doctor doesn’t think he’ll be able to scrub off the redness anytime soon.

    The surgery went surprisingly well. Stephen was right of course; the nick on her lungs was easy enough to fix and the bone will mend itself now that it’s set the way a healthy body does. But the heart. The heart was where the problem laid as all problems tend to. (Y/N)’s heart on the left side was so tattered by the blade that the muscle barely remember how to beat. He was almost ready to give up when he thought of Tony and Tony’s heart and how he had worked with Tony for years to design an arc reactor for his cause. It saved his life, why couldn’t it save (Y/N)’s?

So Dr. Strange put an old prototype into (Y/N)’s chest, cutting the least bit of sternum away as possible to slip it inside. He wires it to an outside pacemaker to keep her heart beating at a steady rhythm, his ingenious stopping when it comes to the workings of technology. If it were any other person, Stephen would have written up a two hundred page case file and published it for the world to let it know that he is, in fact, a goddamn mastermind..

    “You think she wants to live like this? Like me? Running on batteries and vibranium?” Tony seethes, vision blurring. The images of the arc reactor buried in (Y/N)’s chest sends another wave of fury through him, burning everything in sight. It was a shock to see at first before anger took over any other emotion he could have had.

    “Do you think I wanted to do this?” Stephen takes in a breath and lets it out in a huff, hands clenching tightly. “Don’t you think I wish I was a better doctor? A better man that could save her without going to such lengths? If I had done what other doctors would have chosen to do, she would barely have days, Stark.”

    “You should have given her a choice.” Tony says darkly. “You shouldn’t have put that arc reactor in her chest, Strange. You know how much I hate my father for making me less than human, you know and yet you still chose to--”

“She’s pregnant, you fucking idiot.” Stephen snaps. “Do you really not know? Did you not hear her? ‘Save the baby.’ God, you are dense. It’s not just her life in the balance anymore.  I didn’t make this decision lightly, Stark, and I most certainly did not….”


    Tony doesn’t hear anything after She’s pregnant . Anything Stephen said after that was  swamped by a roaring buzz in Tony’s ears, the buzz leaching into his whole body to make him shake. His heart stops in his chest and Tony reaches up to clutch the cloth, hot from the whirring machinery underneath. He takes in a single breath and his lungs don’t let go of it.

    Pregnant?

    It seems like he’s following in his father's footsteps after all, impregnating his wife before the seasons have barely changed. It’s only been half a year since they’ve married and after that little misunderstanding, they have been going at it quite a lot. Thinking about it now, Tony doesn’t use condoms with her because he presumed Strange would have put her on birth control or something but they’ve never talked about that either. Fuck, if that’s the case, it really took four months for his seed to take. The conversation he had with Bruce and Strange before their wedding flashes through his mind and he thinks that it’s truly a miracle that he even has the chance to be a father.

    Pregnant?

    Then suddenly, Tony is angry. Why didn’t she tell him the moment she knew? Why didn’t anyone tell him at all?! Why didn’t she send someone for him? Why did she wait? She couldn’t have possibly been scared about his reaction. They’ve talked about children and Tony had offered to wait until she was ready but she said no. She said, “The fates will decide.” and decided they have. They decided to give them a baby and then rip it out of their hands, decided to let Hela even be born, decided--

    “Tony. Tony!” Stephen snaps his fingers in front of the kings face and while usually that would earn him more than just a glare, Tony lets it go. “I need you to build a better arc reactor, one that’s her size and for this purpose. This one I put in will only keep her heart pumping for a few days, barely so. She won’t even wake up until we put a better model in, one more like yours. You hear me, Stark? I need your best work.”
    Tony nods, tongue too heavy in his mouth to speak. Bruce is right there beside him to ask all the right questions about dimensions and needs. Then he works, doesn’t even go to see (Y/N) on her deathbed, because that’s what it is. She’s dying and she needs him to make her into what he is. It’s a bit ironic actually. Stark has always been about iron and ore, machinery and technology. That’s what makes Stark, well, Stark, and it fit strangely when Tony had an arc reactor placed inside his chest but (Y/N) doesn’t deserve this.

    She doesn’t deserve to suffer through life with half a heart like he does.

 

Chapter Text

    When you wake up, a blue light glows in the darkness. It lights up the familiar ceiling of your chamber that you share with your husband. Your first thought is Tony and your second? The baby. With a gasp you reach towards your stomach, heart hammering inside your chest in a new foreign way. Your palm glides over the slight bump you’ve grown so accustomed to and the sigh of relief you give is loud in the silence. Thank god. Thank god.

    “(Y/N)?”

    A light flickers on and you whimper as your vision goes white before it adjusts to the brightness. Tony’s beautiful face is there when you can see again and you can’t help but smile.

    “Hi.” You manage to say, voice scratchy. You move to sit up and in a second he’s there beside you, hands at your side, fingers brushing hair away from your face.

    “Hello, baby.” He says back, words cracking. He looks tired with bloodshot eyes and chapped lips, thinner even and you want to ask him if he’s been eating properly. You almost go to when his eyes flicker down to your chest and you can’t help but follow the action.

    For a moment, you feel like you’re not in your body. Surely that’s not you . There’s metal there instead of skin and a blue luminescence that reminds you of Tony but not yourself. The lines and stitches are clean and when you take in a shuddering breath they stretch and move with your lungs in a way you know that they won’t leave a scar. It’s beautiful work really and if it wasn’t all on your chest you think you would be more impressed by the doctor who did it. Instead you’re just shocked and it all comes back quick. Hela, the sword, the blood that dripped from your wound as you begged for Stephen to do anything to save the baby. Anything at all.

At least he listened, you suppose.

    “Is this...is this what I think it is?” You ask quietly, eyes unable to wretch themselves away from the arc reactor. Your fingers reach up, quivering and you surprisingly find that the metal is warm like you are, not frigid. It looks just like Tony’s if not smaller and it fits into your chest the way a key would slip into a lock.

    “Yes. I’m sorry.” Tony whispers. There are tears in his eyes that you don’t know why are there.

    “Stephen did this?” He nods. “And...and it’s permanent? Like yours?”

    “It’ll keep you alive. Just like me.” Tony informs you painfully. “Your heart...it can’t beat properly without it. The sword cut through too much for anything to really salvageable. Bruce and I, we had to build you knew valves and chambers. Shuri helped; she sent us the organic material that will work like metal but move like cardiac muscle.”

    “And the reactor...I’m assuming a battery? Of sorts?” He laughs shortly and nods.

    “You’re so smart.”

    “Me? You actually built it.” Tony cracks a small smile but it falls away quickly.

“I didn’t want him to put that thing in your chest but he said it was the only way.” The king confesses. You hear his emotions clear in his voice.

    “Tony, don’t blame him.” You whisper.

    “He shouldn’t have turned you into something like me.” Tony growls. He shakes his head, jaw gritting in that way of his that will give him a headache later if you don’t relieve his mood.

    “I’ve always wanted to be a little more like you.” You confess. He looks at you, shocked but soft all at the same time.

    “Why?”

    “Why not?” You retort reaching up to cup his face. “Handsome, strong. Not to mention you just won a war for me.” You manage to smile and those tears that have been on the verge of slipping finally slip down Tony’s cheeks. Something breaks down inside him, you visibly see it on his face and he cries. Your heart, or whatever it is now, it aches as you see him cry, a scene you’ve never seen before.

    “You didn’t tell me about the baby.” He chokes, breath coming in sobs.

    “Twelve weeks.” You squeak guiltily. “I was going to tell you at dinner.”

    “Jesus, twelve weeks.” He echoes, eyes squeezing shut. Tony’s hand reaches for yours and he brings your palm to his lips, kissing it softly. His overgrown beard scratches at your wrist and you sink your fingers into his hair when he lays his head on your lap.

    “I love you.” You whisper. “I didn’t get to say that before the battle began. I do, Tony, I love you, I love you so much. I love you.”

    Tony lifts his head and you don’t get to say anything else before he kisses you. He kisses you softly like he’s afraid you’ll crumble into dust with the slightest bit of pressure so you pull him closer, hand gripping the back of his neck. You’ve just had major heart surgery but you don’t feel weak. Quite the opposite actually, you feel strong. You kiss Tony back and in that moment swear you will never be weak again.

 

~~~

 

    Beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. He’s beautiful. You can’t believe he’s finally here.

    “We don’t have a name yet.” Tony murmurs from beside you, just as entranced with his son as you are. He’s cuddled up beside you, refusing to leave your side since the labor pains started. It was actually quite funny to see him go a little woozy at the sight of your son crowning and the midwife had to shoo him up towards you so she could work.  

    “I’ve always liked the name James.” You say, shifting the blanket out of your sons face. He coos, eyes scrunching a little bit before he relaxes and returns to sleep. Your heart swells with love.

    “And blow up your brothers ego to the size of the moon?” Tony snorts. “Not on my watch.”

    “Anthony Jr. then? A.J for short.”

    “No, don’t really like that.”

    “Well, what do you like?” Tony pauses, fingers dusting over the small arm of the unnamed baby. You’ve never seen him like this before but you decide you like it.

    “I’ve been fond of he name Peter.” He murmurs wistfully.

    “Peter? Like, Quill?” You smirk. Tony groans.

    “You’ve ruined it.” He says  causing you to laugh. “You’ve gone and ruined it.”

    “Fine, not like Quill. But I like the name Peter too.” You inform him softly.

    “Parker, for the middle name.” Tony suggests. “Peter Parker Stark.”

    “Has a nice ring to it.” You compliment. “Where did you get it from?”
    “Not sure.” Tony answers, only half paying attention to you. You can’t find it in yourself to be mad with the way he’s looking at your son, eyes soft and shining with tears he’s surely holding back.

    “Maybe that’s the name of a son you have in another universe.” You tease. Tony chuckles, the smile spreading slowly like honey on his lips. Regardless of how he came across the title, it feels right and little Peter Parker Stark opens his dark brown eyes as Tony say it again as if he’s already used to it.

    “Hello, Peter Parker Stark.” Tony coos, leaning down to drop a kiss on his sons head. “I love you so much, and I’m not going to be anything like your grandfather. You can have as much beer as you like when you turn thirteen--”
    “No.” You interrupt, eyes glaring.

    “Well, sixteen then, because your mother is a spoilsport.” Tony corrects. You roll your eyes and he just chuckles.

    “I love you, Peter.” You say, rocking him slightly as the child fusses.

    “I love you, Peter.” Tony echoes. He turns to you and presses a kiss to your temple. “I love you, (Y/N).”

    “I love you too, Tony.” You return the sentiment, leaning your face up. He presses his lips against yours and your eyes close shut to take it all in. Take in the warmth of your son in your arms, take in the way the bed dips besides you where Tony sits. You take in the life you now lead.

    Wife, queen, mother.