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Steve Rogers was staring out into the distance, watching pink, red, orange and yellow swirling together in a beautiful dance of dusk. The first day of Thanos throwing the whole world in utterly chaos - only with a snap - was coming to an end. And it was only the beginning.
Natasha and Rhodey were the ones who tried to inform the government about what had happened. The confusion and utterly horror of watching your loved ones turn to dust should have turned into a mass panic, which gratefully hasn’t happened yet. He knew it was only the calm before the storm. The shock had still to set in and it was going to happen soon.

He could feel it within himself, see it in the eyes of his friends and people who fought next to him in the war.

Natasha and Rhodey were one of the first who understood what was happening, they had collected themselves and tried to inform the higher ups, so a plan to prevent a mass panic could be thought of in time. He made a mental note to ask them later about the outcome so far.
But right now he tried to focus and collect himself, he had to. The others were confiding in him, so he had to be strong.

“I missed the comfort of the beautiful sunsets here in Wakanda.” He addresses the queen next to him, without averting his eyes from the scenery. She had just stepped next to him.

“I know” she responds, her voice hollow and broken.

“I … I’m not made to be queen. I don’t know what to do” she sobbed.

He slowly turns to her, leaning her to his chest and putting a strong hand on her back.

“I know” he takes a deep breath.

“But you are a strong woman and your people need you. We will do everything to try and make this …” he takes in another deep breath “… mess undone. Of course we will still need your help and we are glad that you are here but … you should focus on keeping your people calm. To prevent any more harm and ease their fears.”

“You make it sound so easy …”

“It’s not. But I know you can do it. You have a big heart” he smiles at the Omega, who turned back to the dusk once more.

“What about you?” she took a step out of the hug and looked at him. Her eyes were puffy and tired but the fire in her eyes was still there.

He smiled at her and was just about to answer, when Rhodey came running towards them, as fast as he could with his prosthetics. He was waving his Stark Phone in his left hand.

“Shuri, it’s … it’s” he huffed out.

“Easy, easy” she told him, laying a helping hand on his back. He took a deep breath.

“It’s F.R.I.D.A.Y. She just texted me that she reconnected with the Iron Man Suit. Tony is alive! He’s in a spaceship and on his way back to earth. I told him to land in Wakanda. I… – I hope you don’t mind?”

Steve felt himself tense when Tonys name was mentioned. Of his Omega, no, he could no longer call him his. He lost the right to do so after Siberia and it still hurts him to this day. It’s been two years since that fateful day. Tony had not called him once, so when the phone finally had ringed, he and the rest of the Avengers that had stayed with him, had flinched. He carried it always with him. As big was the surprise to hear Bruce’s voice. Sad and worried - because it wasn’t Tony and it ringing meant big stuff happening, happy and confused - because no one had heard from him in a long while. His voice had been shaking. God, that had only been yesterday.
Now guilt and relief was swelling up inside him, only snapping out of it as Okoye appeared, grounding him back to Wakanda.

“There is an unidentified vessel heading this way” she informed her queen.

“Yes, I know. Let it in.” she looked at Steve and then back to Okoye: “And gather the other Avengers. We have a visitor.” Okoye nodded at her and went back inside the castle.
The air was tense.

“Seems like you will have to face him” she says to the rogue. He looks at her a little worried and turns toward Rhodey.

“I –“ he starts but Rhodey stops him.

“Don’t. We should gather with the others.” He simply turns and they follow him back into the castle.

Rhodeys eyes had been full with pain and another wave of guilt came over him. He had welcomed them so friendly back at the compound but he wasn’t going to be forgiven that fast. Not with what he did to his best friend. He screwed up and he knows that. Badly. There hasn’t been a day since Siberia, were Tony wasn’t part of his mind. His beautiful and strong Tony. His friend. His lover. All the sleepless nights he was thinking about how to apologize. He send Tony a phone with his number, hoping he would call. That he would want to talk, checking the phone every day for new messages or missed calls. There were none. Of course.

They all had sought refuge in Wakanda for half a year after the so called ‘Civil War’ and T’Challa had rightfully claimed his throne again. They had followed the news and updates about their former friends together. Welcoming the hospitality, safety and time to figure out how they would go on. The world was treating them like criminals. After one month they finally heard about IronMan, Iron Patriot and Vision who made an public appearance. Tony had looked so tired and broken. Well, for the mass he looked probably like he always looked minus the bruises, but he knew Tony better. They pack knew him better, seeing right through his façade, the sharp inhales next to him confirmed that.
Tony was the one to answer the most questions; he had always been the one to be able to handle these. That’s why those events had always been led by him. Rhodes had also some experience but Vision had none. But given that he was an Android, the journalist failed horribly to make him emotional. The questions had started out to be about the political situation, asking about their opinion and where they stood. Of course they stood on the side of the accords but also refused to antagonize their former friends. The last part only said between the lines.  Then the questions had turned personal. “Are you still bonded to Captain America?”
“No, we are no longer together.” Steve had winced at that statement but soon had felt rage about the ongoing questions: “Do you feel bad fighting against your Alpha? Are you open for another Bond mate? When will you recruit new Avengers? How do you feel about your Alpha abandoning you for another man? Wasn’t their relationship set to fail from the beginning like the world had told them?”
They had seen Rhodey tense next to Tony. Surprisingly there could be seen a little shift in Tony too. That had been new; he was used to such kind of questions. But whatever it had been, he had shrugged it off rather quickly, evading the press conference any further: “Seeing as the questions all have turned more personal than regarding the topic, I will now close this press conference. Thank you.”

 -  ~  - 

They were all standing on the landing platform, were he had landed just yesterday, preparing for the battle in Wakanda. Black Widow, Shuri, Okoye, Rhodey, Bruce, Thor and the talking Raccoon Rocket, who had recognized that space ship being the one of his crew, stood next to each other, waiting for said ship to land.

Rocket took some steps forward as the hatch of the ship opened. There were two figures staggering out, supporting each other’s bodies. When he finally spotted Tony he led out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. Tony was alive.

“Nebula?” the Raccoon said, sounding surprised.

“Ah, the fox” the blue woman said. There was some technical gear around her left eye and she looked overall like some kind of cyborg.

“Tony!”

Steve just watched as Rhodey stormed towards the genius. His armor was ripped apart, blood and dust covering his face and chest. The Alpha inside him screamed. It urged Steve to hug and protect him. Nails digging into his hands, it took everything in him to stay where he was. He had no right to be close to him right now and it was definitely not what Tony wanted.

“Where are the others?” he could here Rocket ask, his voice wary.

Nebula shook her head: “There are no others.”

“Oh no …” Rocket sunk to his knees, staring down at his hands. “Nonono”.

Surprisingly it was Bruce who spoke next: “What about the wizard a- and the kid?”

Tony shook his head. “Oh Tony.” Rhodey pulled his best friend into another hug. Steve couldn’t help the feeling of deep jealousy towards the other Alpha that was currently hugging his Omega. Especially when said Omega curled into the Alphas hug. He could feel blood triple down his palms.

“Hey, I really appreciate this and all but I’d really like to get out of this suit right now. And to definitely take a shower! I smell like … whatever-it-was Clint had cooked that day.” The others smiled and chuckled in relief. Yes, this was definitely Tony.

“And you need a medical check-up.” Rhodey looks at his friend with a stern face.

“Don’t worry about that, I already patched myself up” he gave him a thumbs up. It was covered in dirt.

“Nope, not happening” his friend answered and started to walk him towards the castle. Shuri gestured them to follow her.

They were just inches from him away when Steve managed to get his voice out: “Tony …” he didn’t mean it to come out so broken but his voice failed him as their eyes met, his heart clenching in his chest.

“Steve.” The Brunette nodded towards him and walked past. Steve turned around, unable to stop himself, and tried to reach out but Nat stopped him and shook her head. Now was not the right time.

- ~ -

“How is he?” Natasha asked Rhodey, as he reunited with the group.

They were sitting in a large room furnished similar like the living room area in the Avengers compound. There was a big table with chairs, a couch around a big TV and some kind of hobby devices. The décor and colors were way different though. Even though the castle was pretty modern, there were still touches from Wakanda. Carpets rich in color of red interwoven with different kinds of orange, browns and greens. It radiated warmth.

Rocket and Nebula had gone somewhere else to talk. Shuri and Okoye were probably still with Tony and giving out orders. Natasha was sitting on the couch, while Thor, Bruce and Steve were standing around the room. It was obvious that the fellow men had a lot of questions but they kept still, Steve quietly thanking them for that. He didn’t know if he would have been able to answer them, his own thoughts spiraling and questions filling his own mind. But now Rhodey was back and he knew there would be no more escaping.

“He’s fine. He has a stabbing wound on his chest but he has already fixed that. There are some broken rips and he has a sprained arm but that’s all.” He sighs. “There are other things I’m worried about though.” He looks directly at Steve. Their eyes met each other and there was an awkward pause.

“There is something I should tell you” he finally says. He shifts his weight a little bit, arms crossed in front of his chest. His gaze fell towards a picture on the wall, looking a bit distant and sighs: “Well, actually Tony should tell you this but …”

“Then why don’t you let Tony tell us?” Steve asked.

“Because I know Tony, and he wouldn’t be able to say and explain it properly. He would only create more misunderstandings.” He then looked towards Bruce and Thor.

“But first, do you two even know what happened?” he asked, gesturing with a hand towards them.

“Well not really, nothing besides the bits you guys told me. Tony told me we kind of broke up? Like a band …” Bruce answered. Rhodey and Nat smiled at him, glad that he doesn’t seemed to have changed that much in these past missing years.

“Well, yes and no.” he took a deep breath and looked at Steve, not judging but more like searching for an encouragement to continue. Steve nodded at him.

“It happened after the incident in Sokovia. We were confronted, because a lot of people died then and even before when we were fighting. The people and countries started to see us as dangerous and wanted to put us in check. So the Sokovia Accords were created. Signing would mean that every action would be supervised and would have to be allowed by the government. It also would demand everyone with a special ability to register their names and abilities.”

“Losing our freedom to choose” Steve said. Rhodey breathed out but nodded.

“Not signing would mean we would be forced to retire. Thing is, Tony, Natasha and I were Pro and Steve and the others Con …” it took some time explaining everything that had happened 2 years ago. Now it sounded so utterly useless and childish. God, they had been so dump, Rhodey thought.

“But then it escalated.” He finally said. “Tony told me what happened in Sibiria.” He said to Steve. Said man flinched and looked down. “Yeah, it escalated pretty much” he admitted.

“So you admit you were wrong?” Rhodey asked.

“Well, I haven’t quite been right and went too far, yes, but he tried to kill Bucky!” Steve answered rather calmly.

“Well, he had just seen his parents being murdered in front of his eyes. Not even that but you knew! And you didn’t tell him. And trust me, you know, if Tony really had wished to kill him he would have succeeded. We both know Tony wouldn’t do that and yet …” he calmed his voice down “and yet you rammed your shield in his reactor and left.”

“You did what?” This time it was Natasha who spoke. “That is new” she looked at him. Steve felt another wave of guilt wash through him, feeling the surprised eyes of his pack on him. He had talked with Natasha about what had happened in Siberia, about his guilt, but he had left out a few details of the fight itself. The only one who knew the full details were Bucky, Sam and probably T’Challa. Sam had sat him down one day after a particular bad nightmare, unable to hide his PTSD from him. He had let it all out back then and Sam had been angry at him, of course, he deserved that after all, but he also had stayed at Steves side and helped him sort some things out. They had sat down more regularly after that. It had been eye opening more than once.

“I- I just wanted to leave with Bucky. It was the only way to make him unable to fly and shoot after us. He was already getting up when we left. I made sure of that” Steve said, looking at his now blonde friend. His eyes filled with regret.

“Wow. Sounds like quite a harsh break up” Thor said. “Yeah” Bruce added. “That wasn’t really fair, from both of you” he added. “And many more innocent people were hurt” he continued, looking shortly at his friend who now could no longer walk alone. This had been quite the shock to the doctor.

“I know” Steve admitted.

“And he knows too” Rhodey confirmed. “He regrets not having listened to you earlier.”

“Yeah, he was quite eager then to capture me, us, and bring us to prison” Steve said with a huff.

“Yes, it was Tony who suggested to capture you, but only because Ross was willing to go over dead bodies, Steve” Natasha said.

The man looked at her with confusion. So Natasha continued: “I never told you, but Ross was willing to kill you, to get to the Winter Soldier. So Tony asked for time, to simply capture you, and he agreed. Though giving him less time than he originally wanted. So yes, he was stressed.”

“I hate that man more and more” Rhodey said, shaking his head.

“I had no idea …” Steve said, his voice low.

“There’s a lot you didn’t know Steve. Which leads me back to what I wanted to talk about with you. Regarding Tony.” Rhodey took a deep breath, shifting his weight again.

“I suggest you better sit down. This is not good news” he said, looking directly and firmly into the Ex-Captains eyes.

“What?” Steve let out confused. There were alarm bells ringing in his head.

“Just sit down” Rhodey pressed further and the other man obliged, sitting down on one of the chairs at the table. Rhodey took in another deep breath. “Okay, but first: Please listen to me till the end. I don’t want any misunderstandings to happen. I know it will be hard, but you have to listen, Steve! If you feel like it’s too much tell me and I will take a break but … you have to know everything regarding that matter so no bailing out on me too early.” There was a brief pause.

“Okay.” Steves voice wavered.

“Rhodey, what is this about?” Bruce asked carefully. You could hear that he was scared.

“Tony had a miscarriage.”

Silence.

He could literally smell the shock from the 2 Alphas. But it was also written in their faces. Natasha’s hands covered her mouth in shock, her eyes already watery. Rhodey focused on Steve and before said Alpha could intervene he continued:

“He found out he was pregnant after Siberia.”

There was another brief pause.

“He- He was pregnant back then?” Steve asked, his voice breaking.

“Yes. ” He simply answered.

Rhodey sighed. He had to admit he was enjoying Steve’s distress way too much. After all the shit Tony had to go through these last years, the helplessness in Tony’s eyes …, he understood their fallout about the accords but couldn’t understand Steve’s actions as Tony’s friend and lover, and being Tony’s best friend himself, how could he not be angry? Shame flooded over him, this was not the time for such thoughts, hell, he had said it himself, no misunderstandings. So as Steve started to come to his own conclusions he intervened.

“Did … did I …?” Steve gulped.

“No! God, no!” Rhodey answered hastily. “No, the baby survived. Tony actually wasn’t hurt much. Physically that is. But it was a shock. And then, it all went downhill.” He looked away at a wall. Remembering what happened two years ago brought back bad memories and a lot of heartache.

“Tony decided to tell no one. Vision and me and later Dr. Cho and Pepper were the only ones who knew. Of course he couldn’t tell Ross. He was cornering Tony already because you were his bond mate and he had deliberately refused to help him when you broke into the prison. Well, he wasn’t quite wrong about it but he also had no proof. Though he mistrusted Tony and Tony needed his trust, if he wanted to prevent any more arrests. If he had found out about the pregnancy, only God knows what Ross would have done. But to that later.
Tony had to stop from falling back to his old drinking habits. He also had to quit drinking coffee. It took only one day for the withdrawal symptoms to appear. He couldn’t sleep. He was hurting because of your break up and he would throw up everything he ate. We had to put him on IV more than once. It was hell.” He looked up.

Steves expression had gone blank. Natasha had already tears running down her face. From all the Avengers, she had understood the situation Tony was in the best. She knew about his responsibilities as a business man and outward appearance of the group. How he tried his best to help with casualties caused by their battles and the statements of hate and blame that were thrown at him. She understood how Tony had always taken the blame – no matter what – for himself in the end, even if he was more often than not to blame. She also had long realized, how Tony had tried to protect her back then, in his own weird way, even if it had meant to hurt her. It was what he could do best after all. He had pushed her away before she could think about anything else but saving her own ass.
Thor had a very serious expression on, not showing what he was thinking and Bruce, well, Bruce looked still shocked. It hadn’t been paradise between the avengers pack when he had left but hearing about this, it hurt him that he hadn’t been there to help. He knew about Tony’s condition after all, not the pregnancy, but about his health. As a doctor he could probably understand the best the hardship Tony must have been gone through or the toll it had took on his body.

“You still with me Steve?” Rhodey asked carefully.

Said man took in a shaky breath. He only nodded, relaxing his hands he didn’t noticed he had clenched into fists.

“But he managed. This wasn’t the first time Tony went through such a hell. He was managing. Honestly. We also did that public interview. Tony he - … he started to smile again. He loved the little peanut inside him. He also had medicine that worked temporarily against his morning sickness and he started to keep his food inside his stomach. Well, he still collapsed from the lack of sleep but it’s the little improvements, right?” he asked rhetorically showing a rather weak smile.

“Until it was no longer ok. Tony started to hide stuff from us like he always does. He is a master in it after all, I know that, and yet I failed to notice. He still insisted to be able to deal with Ross alone. A fact Ross knew and used for himself, starting to ask Tony over to his office, instead of coming to the avengers facility were we all where and where Tony felt comfortable and safe. And then …” he paused. God, he could feel the tears forming in his own eyes. He took in another deep breath.

“Ross found out about the pregnancy, I still don’t know how, he wasn’t showing enough as that it couldn’t be hidden in a hoody and he had scent blockers on. He confronted him about it in one of their meetings and threatened him. That bastard had found out about Clint’s family and their house and was close to finding them, demanding help from Tony. He was talking him right into a panic attack. And all Tony could think about was saving Clint’s Ass and that they couldn’t touch his family. They are innocent after all. By the time they finally noticed something was wrong and called an ambulance it was already too late. His body had a total breakdown. It was trying to save him so … the baby was seen as a parasite and repelled them. Tony woke up about a week later, no longer with the child.”

It was still silent, only the sobs from Natasha and even Bruce were heard. The latter men for once glad that the Hulk currently refused to come out.

“The doctors had told me in the beginning that a miscarriage was very likely. He wasn’t healthy for a pregnancy and given his age … and even if he managed to birth the baby, the probability of Tony surviving childbirth was about 10 %” he added silently. His gaze had already wandered down to the floor. When he dared to look up to Steve, he found that he had still the same look on his face. Completely blank. But his smell hung heavy in the air. Pure Alpha wrath twirled with grief and guilt. There were cracks in the table. Steve didn’t look up to him but he relaxed his hand a little and nodded. Rhodey continued.

“When the higher ups found out, that Rosses threatening had caused a miscarriage and because of that Tony flinched every time he saw him, they forbid him to talk to him. They negotiated a compromise with Clint and Scott and their families. Tony had insisted on that and I’m glad these people can even feel guilt or this would not have worked. They also promised to keep the miscarriage a secret and it’s nowhere mentioned in the files.”

Suddenly Steve stood up and started to walk towards the door.

“Steve! Wait.” The Alpha didn’t stop. “This last part is important, please listen!” he tried once more and the Alpha came to a stop without turning around.

“Neither Tony nor I blame you longer for what happened. We are angry, yes, but because how bad we all handled the Accords. He managed so well these last 2 years because he had Peter. That Spiderkid, you remember? But he is gone now too. Tony watched him disappear just like we did with all the others. He is devastated, yes. Does he want to talk to you? Yes, but not now. You will irritate him only further and maybe push him into a panic attack while bringing back bad memories, so please, Steve, have patience!”

He waited for an answer but Steve left the room silently, without looking back.

- ~ -

Steve remembered the way clearly. He had gone to the room daily, back when he was seeking refuge here. He opens the doors and reveals a rather large training room. One wall was completely plastered with mirrors. There were fighting dummies and a free area for combat training. He looked to his left were the punching bags were. He didn’t bother to wrap his hands and started punching. Again and again, without holding back. He gritted his teeth and tried to ignore the pressure in his chest, making it hard to breathe. It hurt but he didn’t care.

Punch.

Tony was pregnant. He was pregnant in Siberia. It was their child. He could have killed their child. It makes him sick.

Another punch.

He can hear a little crack. He doesn’t care. The child is gone. Dead. Their child. Another innocent life. Gone.

His punches were getting faster, harder.

He had left Tony alone. With all of that. He had waited for Tony to message him. But of course he didn’t. He wouldn’t have.

Crack. Punch.

All the time he had been too proud to try and seek out Tony. It had taken him a year to fully understand Tonys actions back then. Trying to finally listen and understand Tony’s arguments. They were talking past each other. Steve himself had worried about his best friend’s safety, Zemo and the other five enhanced soldiers. Tony had focused on the Accords.

Thump. The punch bag had crashed against the wall. He looked down at his hands. They were bruised and blue. Tears were starting to form in his eyes as he sank to his knees.

He thought he had already lost everything. But this… this was too much.  He was shaking now, the tears flowing down freely. He hadn’t slept the last two days - had not slept well in the last two years - and fatigue slowly crawled up his body.

He had hoped that maybe, he and Tony could talk it out. That they maybe could repair what he had destroyed. But the hope was gone now. He did not deserve Tony back.

Broken hands tugging on his hair, tears falling like flood gates: he screamed.

- ~ -

Natasha wanted to go after her friend when Thor offered to accompany her. She wanted to talk to Steve alone but Thor had a good argument, she didn’t know if she could handle an angry and broken Steve, taken over by his Alpha instinct. His scent was even strong for her to smell. They were on their way to the training room, where Steve had spent most of his time back then. She was almost certain that they would find him there.

The silence between them, as they walked side by side was welcomed. This war had already been a shock but hearing what Tony, their friend, had suffered through … without them, it was still shocking. He had given them a home. They had considered each other family and this was not how it was supposed to be like. She glanced at the Alpha walking next to her and wondered what he must be thinking. Or Bruce. To them they must look completely silly and out of their minds. A little smile formed itself on her lips with that thought but it quickly died when she heard a scream. Thor and her eyes shortly met, and then they sprinted towards the training room.

Thor opened the door and let Natasha in first. They found Steve on his knees, his back towards them. He was shaking. There was a destroyed punching bag on the ground and a big crack in the wall, were it probably had been thrown against. Natasha ran towards him.

“Steve!” she kneeled beside him, slowly entangling his hands out of his hair and checking them over. They were bruised and he probably broke some of his bones. “Oh Steve …” she breathed out as she searched for his eyes.

There was a silence, filled with sobs. Natasha pulled him into a hug while Thor placed one hand comfortingly on the ex-captains shoulder.

“I’ve been a complete idiot” he says after a while, tears still flowing and voice raw. “I should have …” his voice breaks.

“What does that matter” Natasha tries calmly. “It has happened and we can’t undo it.” She looked at him, cupping his face with one hand. Steve looked at hear defeated. Taking her other hand she starts to soothingly stroke his back.

”We all were complete idiots. None of us tried to stop us. Not for the right reasons. Bucky would probably be dead, if you would have listened to Tony. And Tony was definitely not someone to listen to you or me. He never does and you know it. Also, weren’t you listening to Rhodey? He said that Tony does not blame you!”

“But it could …”

“Don’t come at me with that. Every argument and fight can be handled better. Steve, we are also just humans. Humans make mistakes” she continues.

“Just like Gods.” Thors voice sounded regretful - the picture of Thanos smile still clear in his mind.

“We both know and Tony does definitely too, that he is a handful. He hides everything from us and then assumes we would understand him. We all made mistakes and I know that you know that too, so … we’ve talked about this.”

“It’s just …” Steve interrupts her. “It’s just, I hoped Tony and I could talk about it. To rebuild what has been lost. To hold him again. But now … how can I hope to be with him, when I betrayed him. Made him go through all of that alone? When he will look at me and is faced with all what he has lost? I’m not worthy for him!”

Steve’s eyes looked so sad and guilty and Natasha knew hers didn’t look better but she tried. She tried to look at him comfortingly, blinking away the tears that were starting to form in her eyes again. Seeing Steve so broken broke something in her too.

 “Shouldn’t that be something for our Tony to decide?”

Steve looked at Thor.

“If you’re worthy or not? As I can see it, you both made mistakes and both paid a price for it. According to Rhodey, Tony blames himself just as much.” Thor continues.

“And if he blames himself just as much, he may see himself not as worthy himself. So if you see each other both as not worthy, does that not make you both worthy again?”

It was then that Natasha thought it had really been a good idea to bring Thor along.

“That’s not how it …” Steve starts but the beta stops him.

“He is right. Tony blames himself probably just as much as you do. We both know that. That’s how he is. Always blaming and seeing only the bad in him. You both blaming yourself and keeping a distance will get you nowhere. We also have to take the current situation into consideration.” The teary eyes were now replaced with determination. “We have to find a way to fight Thanos.”

“Yeah, you are right” Steve sighs. “I’m sorry … I-”

“Don’t be” she reassures him. “We all understand. It’s perfectly fine and, after all, crying always makes one feel better” she shows him a smile. Steve returns it, even though it’s weak on his tired face and eyes puffy.

“But you have to promise to take better care of yourself! What will you do with your hands completely broken?” Natasha lectures.

“Sorry” Steve answers. “Though they are not broken. The little cracks will probably be gone in the evening.” He looks at her apologetically.

Thor helps him to stand up and gives him a little pat on the shoulder. Steve strokes through his hair gently this time, pushing back the strands of hair that had fallen into his face and ignoring the pain. He lets out a deep breath. Natasha had been right. He did feel a little better but he has not forgiven himself yet. He didn’t know if he could ever but for now, he should better go back to his room. Rhodey had asked him to stay away from Tony for a while. He didn’t know if he could manage that, but if it’s for Tony, he would willingly do that.

Who would have thought that they would reunite just the next day?

- ~ -

“….don’t wanna go. I’m sorry”

Tony jerked up. All he saw was white, then shapes and lines slowly forming and building a picture. It was silent and he could smell his own distress. It all had been just a dream right? He suddenly remembered Thanos, the war, Peter … He pinched his nose, closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then tried to take in his surroundings.

He was sitting on a bed in an unfamiliar place. The small room was painted in white. To his left was a wall of glass, showing beautiful veld scenery.  His bed, two chairs and a movable table next to him were the only furnishing, keeping the room simple.  There was an African themed painting on the wall opposite from him. The room had two doors, probably one for the bathroom and one to leave the room.
He groaned. Looks like he found himself in a hospital and judging by the scenery and his memory returning, he was in Wakanda. So he must have passed out. Well, great. Nebula had been helping him to get into the spaceship that idiot named Quill had left behind. He had told her that Thanos was probably at earth, seeing that there where the last infinity stones. Thanos won. Only imagining what he would find once he returned had nearly brought him to a panic attack, escaping it the way he always does: with work. That wizard had a plan and if breaking his head about it kept him from thinking about what he was about to face, he would damn welcome it. When the blue planet had finally came into sight again he reconnected to FRIDAY, oh dear FRIDAY. She had informed him about the survivors and victims of Thanos before landing. Apparently she had also contacted Rhodey, his best friend, who thank God, had survived. Learning that all of them are currently in Wakanda, they calculated a route to a landing spot there. Steve had survived too. Steve. His Alpha. No. Steve had clearly stated he no longer wanted to be his Alpha, but seeing him there, looking at him with these broken but so gorgeous blue eyes … it had brought old feelings back. They never had broken the bond, yet he couldn’t take it talking to him right there.
His thoughts were spiraling at his memories of Steve, when he noticed his racing heartbeat and tensing of his mussels. Symptoms he had learned to notice immediately. Trying to calm himself he took in some deep breaths.

Breathe in. Count to three. Breathe out. Breath In …

He hissed as he tried to stand up. His body was sore from the fighting and lack of sleep these last days. Looking down, he noticed that he was wearing some kind of Wakandan hospital wear. It was similar to the ones he knew, only in yellow and with a pattern instead of white.

“Tones.”

The Omega looked towards the door, where his best friend just entered. He noticed his worried look. A look he got sick off, having seen it way too often these past years. It was making him sick, that he got sick from his friends worry. He tried to stand up straight again, as he was still supporting himself on the bed.

“You should lie down” Rhodey said, stepping closer to the Omega in an attempt to guide him back onto the bed.

“I don’t wanna” Tony answered. “What about the others? Are they the only ones left?” he asked carefully but already knowing the answer. It still felt so unreal.

“Yes. But we asked a little bit around. It seems that Clint survived but we had problems contacting Fury. We believe … he’s gone too.”

“Yeah” Tony nicked with his head. “What about Pepper?” Rhodey could see the pain in his friend’s eyes.

“She survived.” Rhodey gave his friend a little smile, which he returned.

“Good” he exhaled. “Good …” Tony turned towards the window for a few seconds before he looked at his friend again. Rhodey knew that look, full with determination and a plan.

“Could you call everyone together for me? We have to talk about how to proceed.”

“Look, Tony, I know. Everything’s shit, but you need to-“

“I’m fine, Rhodey. I’m fine. There’s nothing that will be fixed with me staying in this room. In fact, I think it would only make it worse” Tony cut in.

“The last time you tried to convince me that you’re fine, didn’t end well” Rhodey insisted. “Because things aren’t fine. They just … aren’t” his voice lost it's volume in the end.

“But staying here won’t make it better!” Tony didn’t mean for the slightly raised voice of his. He tried to collect himself, tilting his head away from his best friend. “Laying here, without my mind occupied will only make me panic, you know that!” He returned to look at his best friend as he said the last part.

And Rhodey gave in. How he always did, because he knew Tony was right. It was his way of coping and it was how he worked. “Ok. I think you would like to continue your talk with Shuri, the lead innovator and current Queen of Wakanda, but I will only lead her to you after a nurse had a quick check up on you!”  He would insist on that.

- ~ -

Steve and Thor were the last to enter the large room. Steves eyes landed immediately on Tony, the Omega occupying his thoughts. If said man noticed, he hid it quite well. The air had also shortly tensed when they entered but it faded quickly as Tony started the meeting, creating a working atmosphere.

“Well then, everyone’s here? Then let us begin.” Tony tried his best to not look at Steve, knowing it would leave his voice stuck in his throat, which would be absolutely pathetic.

“What’s going on Tony?” Natasha asked.

“Well, as I was somewhere on a different planet in space, I had an interesting conversation with Doctor Strange –“

“That wizard guy?” Bruce asked. They were all sitting around a large table, Tony standing in front of them. Shuri had not sat down and leaned against a wall next to Tony instead.

“Exactly. Well, he used his time stone to look in, I think, 14 million different realities, searching for a successful outcome against Thanos. We only won in one.” The last sentence was spoken with a shrugging voice. Tony took a brief pause before continuing, ignoring the wary looks the survivors were shooting at each other: “And I believe we are in that one reality where we can win. Strange never told me exactly how we did it but according to his last words and the fact he voluntarily gave the time stone to Thanos, I am pretty sure that that’s the fact.”

“He did it in exchange for your life” Nebula said.

“No. We had already decided to trade the stone not even for a life. I think he did it because we will need me to win. As I said, he didn’t give any hint about how we could win but I already have an idea. And for this plan to work we’ll need her help.” Tony pointed towards Shuri.

Shuri had been looking rather absently, so she was rather confused and straightened herself as everyone looked at her. She gave the fellow Omega a confused look. “Me?” she asked.

“Yes you. Because there is still a problem I can’t solve, so I need your help.”

Everyone at the table was giving each other strange looks. The Tony Stark admitting to need help? Ok, it happened before but only when there were no other options left or not enough time for him to learn a completely new field of whatever was needed, like he did back then on thermonuclear astrophysics. But it also filled the ex-Avengers with guilt, wondering what these last 2 years did to him.

Shuri was sporting a smug smile towards Tony now. She didn’t quite idolize Tony Stark or his inventions but she had respect for him. He had made some good inventions and maybe he had sometimes inspired her for some of her inventions (improving ideas of his of course) and he was a fellow Omega, who stood tall in a world where Omegas were still frowned upon. She also respected him for being able to build things from scratch and trash, where as she had always her luxury lab and Vibranium to tinker with.

“I never thought Tony Stark would think of me as more intelligent or better than him” she said smugly.

Tony huffed: “I didn’t say that at all. You are definitely not smarter than me.”

Shuris smile dropped and she raised an eyebrow, while the others just grinned, because that was theTony they knew. “Excuse me?”

What nobody suspected though, was that Tony then genuinely smiled at her and patted her shoulder twice before leaving it there.

“But you are only what, eighteen, and almost as smart as I am. Keep up and maybe you will succeed me one day.”

Shuri didn’t know what to say. She felt genuinely insulted but somehow she also knew that this was also one of the best compliments you could get from this man. From Tony Stark - who is supposed to be absolutely rude, cocky and could not keep his mouth shut. Being complimented was not what she expected at all.

“And you can help too, Bruce” he said with a shrug.

“What? That’s all I get?” said man faking a gasp. The others laughed at that and Bruce looked at them betrayed, trying to hide a smile about the slowly lifting tension.

“But what exactly is your plan about?” It was the first time that Steve spoke in this meeting and he could feel the air tense again a little bit.

 It was also the first time that Tony looked at Steve, though, without their eyes meeting. Tony was too afraid looking into his former lover’s eyes, seeing them so broken and yet so beautiful and magnificent blue, that he feared he would get lost in them again, like he used to. Steve on the other hand didn’t know if he wanted their eyes to meet. He wanted Tony to see that he felt sorry for what happened, that he regretted it and would love to talk but he was also afraid of seeing pure hate in Tony’s eyes, that he remembered sparkling whenever he was talking about his inventions, work and improvements. What if he lost this light in his eyes? It would break him only more.

“I’m glad that you ask” Tony says, silently thanking his voice for staying steady.

“I actually had the idea when I thought about Dr. Strange, his strange magic tricks and his idiotic idea of giving the time stone to Thanos. So to answer your question, my plan is: Time Travel” he continues. The shock is hanging in the air.

“Impossible!” Shuri and Bruce manage to say at the same time.

“My, my …” Tony says calmly. “I’ve been told this phrase way too many times in my life and who was it that made it possible?” He looks mockingly at everyone before he continues: “Me, of course.”

There were a lot of sighs heard in the room and Tony raised an eyebrow at them.

“I have thought about it before and I definitely came to the conclusion that it’s simply not possible” Shuri said.

“Maybe you just didn’t try enough” Tony answered. Shuri felt anger blossoming insider her. How dare he accuse her of no trying enough! Already opening her mouth to protest, she found herself stopped by Tony tipping on his StarkPhone, putting holographs of his notes in front of her to read. He looked rather unimpressed. She barely noticed Bruce standing up and moving next to her, trying to catch a glimpse of the notes too.

“That is …” actually pretty good, she thought, but couldn’t find it in her to finish that sentence. Tonys smug face probably one of the reasons for that.

Steve couldn’t help but to smirk. His amazing, genius Omega. Making the other geniuses shut their mouth. He felt amazingly proud.

“But it doesn’t work!” Shuri finally decides to say, because that was a fact. His notes were good but they did not work.

“I know, that’s why I need your help. And …” he looked not-looking at Steve again and, god, was he smirking? Gulping the knot down in his throat he continued: “Are you maybe still in contact with that … big tiny guy? What was his name again?”

“Ant-man” Steve said calmly.

“Really? Wha .. Why would you name yourself after … after an ant?” he asked with disbelief. “Don’t tell me he got bitten by a radioactive ant?”

“No, I don’t think …” Steve started.

“That’s even lamer.” Tony cut in. Before anyone else could comment on that he continued: “Anyway, we need him too. If he’s still alive that is, though, I’m afraid that it won’t work without him. I believe he was set on house arrest?” he asked as if he didn’t know. Unbeknownst to Tony the others at the table were perfectly aware that Tony had actually played a huge role in achieving Scott's house arrest.

“What do you need him for?” Natasha asked curiously.

“Technically I need his suit or abilities rather than himself, but do you really want me to tell you about the science behind the whole time travel plan, Romanoff?” He gave her a raised eyebrow at that and the beta retreated at that:

“Please spare me the details.”

“What are his abilities?” Bruce asked.

“He can shrink and grow at will, through the help of pym particles. He can also telepathically control ants” Shuri answered him, her eyes sparkling. She really had wanted to learn more about that suit but Scott had denied her to look at it. Actually, she didn’t see him with it once.

“Pym-particles?” Bruce asked again. He felt once more so lost. He was gone for 2 years and so much had happened:  Between their friends, the appearance of new superheroes and especially now after Thanos.

“No one really knows about them. Hank Pym, who discovered them, has devoted his life to hiding and keeping the knowledge about them away from others. I remember my old dad ranting about him one day.” Tony pretended to think about the 'good old times',  before he slapped his hands together and happily stated: “That’s all I wanted to say. So, before we don’t have Ant-Man, we will probably not be able to solve that little problem in my idea of time travel. You are dismissed.”

Without further notice he put back his StarkPhone and turned towards Shuri and said: “I’d really like to visit your lab but if you have other duties to attend to … I don’t mind. I’ll be somewhere in my room or so. Do I have a room?”

Shuri thought about it. She didn’t have a very important meeting but Okoye would probably force her to do some paper work, which she definitely wanted to escape, yet showing Tony her lab could be risky. But he had surprised her today with his actions and there were some things she actually wanted to talk about with this man. So she thought: Who cares? She was the queen right now after all.

“Yeah, I have a room assigned to you” she said chuckling and then continued: “I don’t mind showing you around. I’d actually really like to talk with you about your notes.”

She pointed with her arm towards the door, gesturing for Tony to leave and follow her lead. It was also very welcomed to Tony, because he didn’t know how much longer he could stand to stay in the same room as Steve.

- ~ -

Tony looked at the young queen who was currently showing him her lab. She was enthusiastically explaining something to him, gesturing with her hands and literal stars in her eyes.
When they were about to enter her lab he had noticed her nervous fidgeting. He could understand it - honestly, his lab was his everything to him, a place where he poured his heart and soul into his work. His comfort zone. His safe place. Coupled with his reputation probably didn’t help her to calm down too. Including that the people from Wakanda had always been wary about the name Stark.

But then, the second she started talking, he could see the tension leave her body. She was in her element and he really wanted to answer her enthusiasm, ask questions but he had come across something he …, ok, maybe he did know deep down that this would happen, but he could pretend to be surprised.

“So what do you think?”

“Huh?” Tony snapped out of his thoughts and looked into big round, beautifully dark and expecting eyes. “I’m sorry” he huffed, a smile forming on his face, his eyes kind and warm. “To be honest, I only understood about 40 % of whatever you were explaining to me the last hour.”
She looked at him confused first, and then he imagined to see a faint blush forming on her cheeks before her face shifted into a grin.

“What, the more-intelligent-than-me Tony Stark, baffled by my humble inventions?” she said with a smirk but her eyes showed him kindness. Said man only huffed out a laugh at that.

“Would you mind explaining and showing me around one more time? Maybe, a little bit slower?”

“I don’t” she smiled and damn, that felt good to her. She knew her inventions and tech is superior to Starks but the man himself admitting he understood even less than half of it?  Despite all, this would be one of her best days ever.

 

“Wow.”

Shuri looked at Tony with a smile. “Can I take that as a compliment?” she asked. The man only raised one eyebrow at her.

She had to admit, the second round had started to make her a little bit more self-conscious. Tony had asked her more questions this time, really good questions, sometimes pointing out even some flaws or improvements she could make. He had grasped everything so fast this round. That man was sucking everything up like a sponge and it scared her a little bit. Because these secrets and tech actually wasn’t supposed to fall into that man’s hand, not that she showed him anything super-secret but …, God dammit, her family had always told her to never get involved with a Stark!

“Don’t worry. I’m not going to steal your tech.”

She flinched. Looks like he noticed her uneasiness. She looked back at the fellow engineer.

“I mean, I cannot simply forget everything what you told me and it’s amazing. And you may have inspired me for a few new inventions myself but I’m grateful you let me into your lab and explained everything to this old man. Also, it’s not like I have access to Vibranium.” His face was soft.

“I’m sorry it’s just …”

“Yeah I know, I don’t have the best reputation and honestly, 80 % of what you heard about me is probably true. But I know what it feels like when people steal your tech or take fame for something you did, so I’m really not going to do that. Also, I really like you.” He smiled at her and she could feel herself blush.

Tony meant what he said and also, without Vibranium, it would be impossible anyway.
Wakanda and so Shuri, had helped the rogue Avengers shortly after the Civil War to hide and to plan their next moves safely. He had also heard that they had helped Barnes to get free from his mind control and how they had helped to fight Thanos and save Vision, without even batting one eye. They owed them so much.
Shuris still young and all this responsibility is pushed on her like that, while still trying to cope with her loss. The situation reminded him a lot of his own when he had been younger. Only her responsibility is even greater. A responsibility she never thought she would have to take. Yet, she was still smiling, her eyes still sparkling when she talked about her tech and god he hated her puns. Somehow, in these past hours, she had found her way into his broken heart.

“Thank you” she answered with a kind smile. “I’m sorry.”

“What are you sorry for?” Tony asks confused.

“You said you know what it feels like to get your tech stolen and someone else taking credit for something you did. The world outside is cruel towards Omegas.”

“It used to be crueler”

“That’s …., here in Wakanda we treat everybody the same, no matter their second gender. Omegas are actually seen more like a blessing, because they can …, well anyway.” She started fidgeting with a tool she picked up from the desk beside her, trying to avoid looking at Tonys eyes.

“Yeah, that’s nice. But I think the world is doing better towards rights for Omegas.”

“True. You did a lot for that too. To be honest, I’m a little scared. I have no experience or knowledge about leading a country, especially in a crisis.  I’m already bound to make a fool out of myself trying to impress the other countries.”

“Yeah. They are going to belittle you. Especially because you are an Omega.” Tony watched Shuri intently. She looked suddenly so small, her eyes down casted.

“How do you …, how did you manage to …”

“Be confident. Don’t let their words get to you. Hold your head up high. I’m surprised, for me you seemed to be a person to just say ‘fuck you’ and show them the middle finger.”

Shuri laughed at that and looked at Tony smirking at her. “Yeah. That’s true. But I can no longer do that if I want to achieve something.” She said after she had calmed down from her laughing.

“Of course not. But you can always imagine it in your head right?”

“God, this sounds like you actually do that” she laughed, perfectly imagining Tony Stark in a meeting, smiling, nodding and proposing new strategies or products while mentally insulting and flipping off every single person in the room.

“Maybe we have more in common than you might have thought.”

Shuri stopped laughing at that but couldn’t help herself to smile at the fellow Omega in front of her. “In your dreams old man, I’m way better than you.”

Tony laughed which turned into a hiss, a hand landing on his waist.

“Hey, careful!” Shuri said rushing to his side and guiding him slowly to sit on a nearby chair. “I mean your spray did close your wound but it can’t – and neither can we – replace the healing process.

“I’m fine” Tony said through gritted teeth and Shuri gave him a little playful whack against the back of his head.

“I saw your medical report, I’m still the one in charge supervising your recovery so don’t believe you can fool me even for a second.” She looked directly into Tony’s eyes to get her point across. Said man raised both his hands in a surrendering gesture and let out a sigh.

“Alright I get it.”

Shuri looked at him for a moment. She had noticed the flinch in his eyes when she mentioned his medical report and she probably already knew why. To be honest, she wanted to talk about it with him but she had no idea how. Well, without scaring the Omega away or to anger him.
She grabbed another chair and sat down in front of him, her arms and head resting on the back of the chair. He looked at her expectantly and then sighed when she kept shut.

“Spit it out.” Tony leaned back against the chair, laid one leg on the knee of the other, his arms holding on to his ankle and looked outside the glass wall, taking in the rails.

“Soo, you and Steve …”

Tony snorted at that. His eyes met hers shortly before he looked away again. They looked broken.

“Yeah, me and Steve. Weird right? No surprise it ended like that. Really.” He was moving his leg up and down and making small hand gestures. Shuri didn’t answer and it was driving Tony insane. It gave him too much time to think. He needed to talk.

“Did he talk about me?” he asked quietly, still not looking at the other Omega.

“Yeah. A lot, actually.” She smiled. “When he wasn’t in the gym or mother-henning the others, he would be checking news about you and constantly asking my brother about your wellbeing. Or about you in general. They would discuss about how all of that could have been avoided.”

She remembered Steve’s look whenever T’Challa would return, hoping about some news about Tony. She remembered her brother’s deep sighs after his discussions or talks with the rogue Captain. But most importantly she remembered how broken Steve had looked, whenever he would see Tony in the news, or when he was lost deep in thoughts again. It wasn’t hard to guess for anyone who he was thinking about, whenever he would look like that. She also remembered how his eyes would lit up when she asked him about Tony, or his voice and words when he talked about him.

“A little bit too late I presume.” Tony said flippant.

Shuri sighed.

“I asked him once about you. I know it sounds cheesy but it was on that day, that I realized what loving someone means. I don’t know what happened between you, I know it was anything but nice but he never stopped loving nor missing you. Not when I first met him or when I met him again two days ago.”

Tony was finally looking at her again. His eyes looked still broken and sad. She could feel he was searching for lies, for anything she said to be not true but he would find none of that.

“That doesn’t fix things” he finally said. His voice sounded small and it made her want to hug him so bad. She sighed.

“No it doesn’t.” After a long breath that felt like forever she broke the silence once more, her voice calm: “He doesn’t know right?” Carefully she added: “About the baby?”

Tony took in a sharp breath and then giggled awkwardly. Smiling, he looked at her as if she was insane. “Of course not! Why should I have told him.”

She wanted to protest but when she imagined herself in his situation, she realized that she would have done the same thing. Not just because they had fought and broke up but also because Steve had clearly chosen Bucky over Tony, that much she did know. She knew it wasn’t in a romantic way, but her brother had told him it had looked like that to Tony. So Tony was trying to push Steve out of his life, thinking he didn’t want him any longer in his either.

And even so, if he had told Steve, and she was pretty sure Tony knew that too, it would have broken Steve even more. He would have ran right back to Tony to be by his side no matter the risk, but as a criminal, they would have found and arrested him sooner or later and then everyone else of the rogue avengers, who would have tried to get him out. Wakanda wouldn’t have been able to help them then.  She remembered how her brother had one day told her that the only reasons the rogue Avengers could stay hidden so easily, was because they had a guardian back in the states. Back then she couldn’t believe that Tony would do anything to prevent the Avengers and their families to get captured. Now she did not doubt it even a second.

Or Tony was simply way too stubborn and trying to be independent or maybe it was all of that.

She sighed again. This was leading nowhere.

“You know, Natasha once told me that he nearly blew their cover because he wanted to go visit you. I think it was about one year after your fall out.”

Tony looked up to her. He smirked: “I remember Ross telling me about a hot lead.”

She looked at him clearly, and then smirked too: “Of course the lead ended in a dead end right?”

Tonys soft expression confirmed what she thought but she asked anyway: “You always knew where everyone was, didn’t you?”

Tony looked at her smiling: “Not always, no. Romanoff is one damn good agent” he chuckled.

“You still love him don’t you?” Shuri watched Tonys eyes flicker again before he turned towards the glass wall once more, bouncing his leg up and down, and his body language screaming that he was nervous.
“And so does he” she continues. The engineer’s legs stop for a second, before they continue to go up and down.

“Why is everybody so eager to get us back together? Maybe it’s just over. Relationships end. It happens” he says annoyed.

“Because you two need each other and anyone can see that. You are both just too stubborn to see that yourselves. Also, because I think neither of you want it to be over.”

“And how comes that especially you know that?” Tony nearly shouts angrily.

“You know Tony, you never broke the bond.”

Silence.

“In Wakanda there is something we call ‘ulwazelelo’. I think it describes you and Steve perfectly.”

“What does it mean?” the male Omega says calmly but exhausted.

“Destiny.” Tony looks back at her. She’s looking at him with a firm but kind look. She can’t help but smile, and then it’s her who’s looking outside the glass window. When she turns back to Tony, lost somewhere else with his thoughts, she can see a weak smile on him.

- ~ -

Steve opened the doors to the common room, only to find it empty. He had hoped to find Nebula here and to ask her some questions about who she is, what happened up there against Thanos but most importantly about Tony. Staring out of the big window towards the former battle field, he lets his thoughts drift away again. He had missed Tony these past two years, god, he had hoped Tony would call earlier. The first move wasn’t his to take. Yet Tony never called. When the phone had ranged finally after all, it hadn’t been Tony on the other side. To say he was shocked would be an understatement. Fearing to have lost any hope of seeing or hearing him again, he had tried to reach out for their bond then but found himself to feel nothing. Tony had closed the path on his side after Siberia. It was clear rejection, Steve knew that but he still had never ended it. It was the string of hope Steve had clutched on these past years. Years that were filled with realization, guilt, anxiety and worry. Shaking his head, in an attempt to shake his thoughts away with it, he tries to think about their plan.

Time Travel. It sounded too good to be true but who was Tony if he wouldn’t be able to make it possible. If they went back in time, could they prevent the so called Civil War from ever happening? Because if Steve would be able to meet his past-self, it would be him, to punch himself in his perfect teeth. He would shout at himself to listen to Tony, to attempt to sit down with the whole pack again, discussing it together. Maybe Tony would have listened to Steve then too. He would have told himself to tell Tony, to not hide the information about his parents.

Yet he knew. Deep down he knew it was impossible. That’s not how this works. He needed to stop running away and face this. Face Tony. Face his faults.

It had been three days since Tony had landed back on earth. Tony had worked with Shuri and Bruce on their problem and the others were still trying to contact Scott. Clint was already on his way to the castle. He had lost both his eldest kids, leaving his wife and the now three year old youngest alone. The archer was devastated about what had happened and he also seemed angry that they hadn’t invited him to the fight. He would deal with him as soon as he would arrive.

He thought about Rhodey’s words, to give Tony some space but that was even easier than he had thought. Steve hadn’t even gotten as much as a glimpse of him since the meeting. He let out a deep exhale as he hears the doors opening behind him. A sweet smell enters his nose and he hears nostalgic footsteps approaching him. For a second he feels himself tense but the scent of metal and spring and home calmed him down. He does not turn around. As the person stops next to him he can’t help but to inhale the warm and nostalgic smell of the smaller person next to him again.

 

Tony walked up beside Steve without so much as even looking at him. Not that Steve was turning to look at him either. His eyes looked towards the outer scenery just like the man beside him. He could hear Steve inhaling his scent and his Omega side was blushing, not that he would let it come through.

“Apparently we need to talk.”

Ok, this was probably not the best way to start this conversation but it was a starter. He looked at the tall blonde next to him.

“Tony …” Steve turned around.

Their eyes finaly connect again for the first time since Siberia.

Steve feels his breath stuck in his throat as he looks at the tired, big eyes. It felt like time had stopped. The sun was projecting a dance of red and gold on his beautiful brown eyes. The sight in front of him is so incredibly beautiful and yet seeing the broken and hurt, hidden behind the beauty, made him want to throw up. Knowing that he was not only  unable to prevent it but also the very one to put it there. Yet he found hope in his eyes.

 

Tony finally looked into Steve’s eyes, which had lost their glow and innocence to lack of sleep and recent events - just as his probably had. A blue that once rivaled that of the blue sky, were now clouded with grey like on a rainy day. He realized just then how much he had wanted to connect his eyes with Steves. All fear was gone and it felt like nothing around them mattered but just them. He craved to just give in and throw himself in the embrace of the man opposite of him, which he knew used to make him feel so save. To hold on and never let go again. He wouldn’t be able to lie to himself any longer, that Steve didn’t suffer as much from it as he did. Tony could feel his hand twitch and before he could give in, he broke the eye contact, shifting his front towards the window again. The spell was broken.

“I hate you.” He said then.

“I know.” It hurt. Just with three words Steve could feel his heart break once again.

“I tried to …” Tony stopped, not finding the right words to continue when Steve continued instead.

“I know”

Tony looked at him shortly with an annoyed face but then snorted: “It’s funny isn’t it? All the time I thought about and feared this conversation but now …, what does it even matter?” He looked out onto the land that was cluttered with holes, forgotten weapons and dust. The dust making his stomach turn.

Tony knows that both of them are aware of their mistakes but he would never admit that out loud. Well, that he did know his mistakes. It would be too easy. They had both been right and wrong. The worst being that they didn’t listen to each other. Steve’s voice startles Tony out of his thoughts.

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Tony looks at Steve again.

“Not listening.”

Tony smirks. “Yeah.”

There’s a pause then. Steve opens his mouth in an attempt to speak but quickly closes it again. Tony watches as Steve’s eyes wander over his face. Notices how the Alpha is squirming in front of him in an attempt to find the right words. His posture tense, hands closing into fists. Eventually his body slumps and Steve turns his head slightly towards the window again, his eyebrows knitted and looking so vulnerable.

When Steve finally speaks he locked eyes with Tony again: “I need you Tony”.

The pleading voice was not really helping for the omega, who found it with every second incredibly harder to restrain himself to just plunge into his Alphas arms. I need you too, is burning on his lips. But it’s just not that simple.

“Well I certainly think that the plan against Thanos does not work when we’re alone. Together. Those were your words by the way.”

Tony tries with a shrug and nonchalant voice, breaking eye contact once again and pretending he didn’t understand what Steve meant. They both know that’s a lie. Suddenly he really wants to punch himself.

“Yeah.”

When Tony turns to look at Steve again he’s surprised to see him smiling, showing a fond expression rather than an annoyed one. Huh. God, he can’t do it after all.

“Well then …” he turns towards the door, his heart hammering against his chest. Steve noticed his motion and, of course, realized that he wanted to leave.

“Wait, Tony!”

“What? I think we cleared that up.” His voice sounds harder than he wants. He just wants to leave.

“I’m also sorry about what happened back in Siberia and not telling you, that wasn’t …”

Oh, God. Abort! - Tony thought. “I know. You already mentioned that in the letter.”

“Tony, please.”

“What?!” Tony finally turned back to Steve. He looked so sad, brows knitted again and eyes so broken. His hand had tried to reach out to him but had stopped midair, not sure if he was allowed to touch. He definitely wasn’t but, fuck, he wanted Steve to touch him so much. He felt himself relax as Steve let his hand fall against his side. This didn’t get unnoticed by Steve.

Steve was supposed to be the prime Alpha; strong, big and especially dominant. He could send other Alphas running with their tail between their legs with just one look (On the other hand, Omegas where drooling to get close to him). Of course, Tony knew that Steve really didn’t like to be too dominant, not thinking twice about kneeling in front of his Omega or putting his Omega and his pleasure before his own. Tony couldn’t help the shiver that went through him at these memories. But the way Steve looked right now was just wrong. It’s not that he looked submissive; even with his body slumped but still ... so wrong.

Tony had always been a touchy person. After all, he wasn’t really a good talking person, his mouth always getting way ahead of him and spilling things he didn’t meant. So he expressed his feelings through touch and team cuddles had become regularity. Tony showing that he didn’t wanted Steve to touch him was for Steve another hard punch in the gut.

So he couldn’t help but feel guilt. Yeah, he didn’t want Steve to touch him but he really, really wanted Steve to touch him and he felt that wasn’t fair to Steve. He led out a sigh: “Just tell me why. Why did you not tell me?” He knew he was pleading. But he also really wanted the truth.

Steve didn’t need a pause to answer this question. It wasn’t really unexpected and he had two years to think about the truth. Why he really didn’t tell him.

“When Natasha and I found out that Shield was undermined by Hydra from Zola, he was showing us pictures, suggesting things. ‘Accidents happen’ is what he said and among all the different pictures were the headlines of your parents … accident. It was gone before I could think more about it and then we were nearly blown up. After that, I honestly didn’t think much about it. But then as we got more involved it came back to me one day. You were so happy, finally smiling more and starting a conversation with ‘Hey I think your parents were murdered’ wasn’t really appealing either. I didn’t want to make you sad or rather be the one to make you sad. There was also the - at that time - possibility that it was Bucky and you were trying to help me find him. So I couldn’t really find myself to tell you. I wasn’t lying in the letter, in the end, it was to spare myself. I was afraid of the conversation. I was afraid of your reaction. Afraid that you might hate Bucky.”

He was looking Tony straight into his eyes, determined but gentle. Showing he really meant what he said. Tony who had held his gaze while Steve talked was now letting his eyes hover over his face. Steve could see the gears working behind them.

“For what happened, I really am sorry” Steve continued. His head hanging down and eyes filled with guilt.

“Stop!” Tony blurted out suddenly and way too loud, startling the Alpha. Damn, he really had no control over his voice today, Tony thought. Not that he ever had when he was together with Steve. But Steve was going too fast.

All the time Tony had wanted to hear these words from Steve, because there was always the voice in his head, telling him he deserved this. Steve would never have stayed. There’s no one that would stay with him. Of course Steve would be no exception, no matter how good it had felt. It’s Tonys fault.

So hearing Steve apologizing felt so good, yet it broke his heart. Because they had both made mistakes. He shouldn’t be the only one apologizing.

“It takes two to start a war” he then says because he could notice Steve panicking.

“No Tony, I … I hurt you. Oh God I- I rammed my shield into your arc reactor. It used to keep you alive. I should have –“

“We both made mistakes, Cap!”

“But you tried to make things right and I – I didn’t listen.”

“Well, you always stopped using your head whenever Bucky or the Winter Soldier was mentioned.”

“I honestly can no longer fight you on that one.”

“But why couldn’t you trust me? Why did you not ask for help? Why did you fight me?”

“They were all trying to kill him! Of course I had to save him, Tony. It was my fault that he even got into this situation in the first place. Even if it meant fighting you. You were trying to kill him too …”

“I don’t know. But I was so angry Steve. I know he’s your only connection to your past. Your best friend. Heck, I know what it feels like to be responsible for so many deaths without having any control over it, but I was so …” His eyes wandered off towards the left battlefield before returning to Steve once more: “I trusted you. I had to watch my mother being killed. By him, and a- and you knew it wasn’t an accident and you were choosing him over me.” He knew he was on the verge of shouting.

“That’s not –“ Steve tried to interfere.

“But you did, didn’t you? You didn’t stay behind after you pushed your shield into my chest. Worst thing is Steve, I thought you would kill me. I thought you would kill me!” He was definitely shouting now. “And then you left with him.” He added and his voice was breaking now.

“Tony I-“

“Don’t”

“Look at me.”

Tony suddenly realized that he was indeed looking outside again.

“Look at me Tony, please.”

He takes in a deep breath and slowly looks back at Steve. Damn, he could see the tears welling up in Steves eyes.

“I could and would never kill you. Leaving you behind is my biggest regret. I asked T’challa to send Rhodey your coordinates and I really wanted to go back but you know I couldn’t –“

“Yeah I know. Steve I know. To be honest, I no longer blame you. Because I fucking know we both fucked up. Both of us. But that was bound to happen right? After all we never really – “

“Don’t!” this time it was Steves voice that was slightly raised. “Don’t say it Tony. You know it’s not true.” He continues more calmly.

Tony sighs.

“The reason I chose Bucky was because I couldn’t let him die. Not only to protect him from others but most importantly from himself and his guilt. Because I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that he needed me. But I did not choose him as my lover. I would never choose him over my lover. He’s like a brother to me. I would never –“

“Okay” Tony answered before Steve could continue. What Steve had wanted to say was that he would never choose someone else as his lover but Tony. 

Tony didn’t want to hear the words from Steve. Because hearing that Steve still loved him, ... he couldn’t bear hearing that right now. But who was Steve when not stubborn.

“Tony I-“

“No” he said with a hiss.

This time it’s Steve who sighs: “This is not really working.”

“No …” Tonys voice is calmer this time.

Steve has already forgiven Tony but he had yet to forgive himself. He probably would never be able to completely do so but if he wanted to rebuild what he had with Tony, he had to be able to move on. Both of them.  He had held up the olive branch again, now it was up to Tony to take it or not. And God help him he wanted Tony to take it.

The silence made Steve nervous. Tony was facing the window again, away from Steve, who couldn’t keep his eyes from the Omega. He looked so tired and broken but his eyelashes were still so long and dark and beautiful. His beard was perfectly trimmed as usual but with more grey hairs.
Steves gaze fell onto his neck. They were given clothes from Wakanda, as their uniforms were ripped and dirty and a change of clothes not packed. Tony was only wearing a black T-Shirt right now, which let his neck bare, the mating bite openly visible. It’s still there he proudly thinks. Maybe they still had a chance.

“I think deep down I’ve already forgiven you in those two past years.” Tony suddenly says, turning to find Steve’s eyes again. Steve felt hope well up in him as he locks Tony’s eyes to his own, a little smile creeping up his lips.

Tony continues: “Because we are only humans and we both made mistakes that had consequences. I knew something like that was bound to happen and I thought I was prepared but I wasn’t. We’re just … so different.”

Just like that Steve found the hope crashing down again. He knew what Tony was hinting at and he didn’t like it. Tony always thought he didn’t deserve Steve when in reality it was Steve who didn’t deserve him. He didn’t want to let Tony get away with this. He never did in the past and he definitely will not now and Steve then remembered Natashas words. Why did it suddenly seem so easy?

“Yet we fit perfectly together” Steve cut in. When Tony opened his mouth in order to protest Steve stopped him and continued: “Yes we are different Tony. Two pieces that fit perfectly together, divided we put out our worst, together we bring our best out of each other. That was our biggest mistake. We didn’t try to work and understand each other.”

“Steve – “

“Together Tony.”

Steve had taken a step towards Tony - so the smaller man had to slightly look up into his eyes. Just as slowly, he had raised his right hand again and let it hover over his shoulder. When Tony didn’t show any signs of rejection or tension, he finally settled the hand down on his left shoulder. Then he settled his left hand on Tonys right shoulder too. All the while they never broke eye contact. Steve could see Tonys eyes beginning to water and what had been a feeling of determination in Steve, was replaced with panic. The smaller man noticed that and smiled.

“Steve” he said calmly and let the tension flow out of his body. He then broke eye contact to push himself closer to Steve, leaning his head against his chest. Right above where his heart was beating like crazy.

Steve didn’t know what to feel. His Omega had allowed to hug him and he didn’t think twice as he let his arms curl around the Omegas back, pulling him finally close. It had been two years. Two years in which he dreamed and tried to remember what it was like to be together with Tony. Two years of longing and the hell that had been these past days. Finally, he had his Tony back in his arms. He thought he was blessed and happy but then suddenly tears flooded his eyes, unable to hold back because Tony had reopened their bond and it came all crashing in. Feelings of guilt, feelings of hurt, feelings of fear, feelings of love. Steve sends his own right back mixing with the ones from Tony. All the pent up feelings from two years of separation crushing in at once on them. Holding on to each other they cried.

Exhausted Steve slowly let them both sink on their knees, Tony cradling closer to Steves chest. He then finally allowed himself to scent Tonys neck and couldn’t help his smile as the man started to purr in response. They were both smiling and crying at the same time, taking in each other’s presence and just feeling through their bond. Tony then suddenly shoved himself away from Steve and looked him in the eyes again. His eyes were red and flooded with tears and he looked … anxious? Steve wanted to pull him back in but Tony refused, so he looked at Tony confused - was he reading this wrong?

“Steve I –“ Tony then noticed or rather felt Steve panicking again. “No, wait. It’s just. I have to tell you something.” Tony found it rather hard to look into Steve’s eyes right now. Said man could feel that Tony was scared and suddenly he realized what Tony was about to tell him. Cupping Tonys face into his hands he slowly and soothingly strokes his thumbs over his cheekbones. Then he calmed himself and pushed a feather light kiss on Tonys forehead, a little bit afraid of going too far with it.

“It’s alright. You can tell me.”

Tony let his gaze fall down. His body slumped in himself, he had no idea how to do this and he felt so scared. So he settled his hands on Steves shoulders to steady himself. The Alpha had always been so grounding for him.

“I – “he starts but the sentence gets stuck in his mouth.

“Don’t worry Sweetheart. No matter what you say, I won’t leave you again. Never again.”
Steve can’t help his grin as he notices the blush on Tonys face in response to the term of endearment.  Though the blush soon dies down.

“Steve I …, I was – I had …” Tony takes in a deep breath but the next words still come out nearly as a whisper: “I had a miscarriage.”

If Steve wouldn’t have already known, he would have probably not been able to understand the words Tony were saying. Said men was now slowly lifting his eyes to watch Steves reaction and finds a sad smile that leaves the Omega confused.

“I know” Steve answers. He still holds Tonys face in one hand, lovingly stroking over his cheekbone, while he lets the other one wander to Tonys neck, slowly stroking over the teeth marks there. It’s a gesture meant to calm Omegas, to show them affection, to make them feel protected. It’s a strangely intimate gesture meant only to be between mates.

“Rhodey told us.”

Tony takes in a sharp breath. “When?”

 “After you arrived.”

“Wait, you said us?”

“Natasha, Bruce and Thor were there too.”

Steve could feel Tony tense up, so he pulled Tony closer against his chest again, not letting go of Tonys neck.

“Shh, it’s alright Tony. I’m sorry. I should have been there for you. I failed you, I –“

“No you didn’t Steve. You didn’t know and I didn’t tell you. I didn’t even think it was possible for me to still get pregnant you know. It would have killed me probably anyway” and yeah Tony was rambling again. Steve pressed him closer to his chest.

“Shh, Tony.”

“a – and then there was Peter and he is so adorable. Really. And I was so afraid and now he’s gone too.” Tony could feel the tears in his eyes again.

“Tony!” Steve tried to get back said man’s attention. Tony blinked a few times and looked at Steve again.

“We’ll get them back ok, Tony? Together. Are you in this with me? Together?”

It takes Tony a few seconds to understand Steves words. When he finally did, he smiles at Steve, which turns into a grin as Steves cheek turn pink. He had missed Tony's smiling face.

“We should talk about that plan of yours. I mean, keeping it to you is not really ‘working together’”

“I guess. But I am honestly not that far into it, so I can’t tell you much.”

“We can work it out together” Steve smiles.

He really wants this Steve thinks. Together with Tony. So he looks him into the eye again and asks.

“Tony, I - , I really want this. With you. I want to be yours again and I want you to be mine again. Is that …” he gulps. “Is that all right with you?”

He could see Tonys eyes widen and for a second he feels the panic again but then Tony lets out a huff and laughs. It’s one of the most beautiful sounds he had heard these last two years. After Tony calmed down from his laughter, he looks at a blushing Steve who was also shooting him a pleading look. Tony grins.

“I’ve always been only yours.”

Tony grinned even more when he could see the hint of red sparkle in the Alphas eyes, only to be replaced with affection. Which he was also sending right to Tony through their bond.

“Oh Tony.” Steves voice filled with love made Tony shiver, having missed it so much. “May I kiss you?”

And Tony laughs again because this is so Steve. And Steve’s heart is beating like crazy again because his mate was in his arms and he was beautifully laughing again. “Yes, please.” Tony says with a fond look.

Steve slowly raises his hand and cups Tonys right cheek, his thumb slowly once stroking along his cheekbone. Tony grinned and leans into the touch. After giving Steve one last look he gently closes his eyes and it’s a sight that makes Steves heart flutter. He doesn’t want this moment to end, he wants to cherish this sight and Tony but he also really really wants to kiss Tony.

Slowly tilting Tonys head to the side he leans in and their lips meet again. Oh, he thinks. He had really been craving this. Craving Tony. How could he have forgotten how perfectly they fitted against each other? Tonys warm and soft lips moving against his. It felt like he was finally whole again. He had kissed these beautiful lips so often before, yet he couldn’t think of any of their shared kisses that had felt like this. Then again, every shared kiss with Tony had felt special. Oh how he wished that time would just stop and oxygen wasn’t something they needed to survive.

His hand had moved down to Tonys neck to hover over the mark again while the other hand had found it’s place on the slender waist, tucking his mate close against his body.
Tony was gripping tightly on Steve’s shirt, pushing himself closer to the Alpha. Neither of them fighting for dominance, they were both enjoying and reveling in it too much.

It felt like promises. I won’t ever hurt you like that again. I trust you. I love you. I’m sorry. and I forgive you. I won’t stop listening to you anymore. I will be there when you need me. No hiding anymore.

Sadly though, oxygen was something they really did need and so the moment ended way too soon. Tony was the first to move away, Steve trying to follow him with his lips, though gladly taking some breaths himself. Tony seemed to feel the same as it didn’t take long for the Omega to find Steves lips again. And again. And wow, Steve definitely wasn’t going to complain and instead just grinned against Tonys mouth. They had missed out on a lot of kisses after all.

In the end, both couldn’t say how long they had been kissing each other only that at one point they had moved on to the couch. With Tony sitting on Steves lap, head rested on the Alphas shoulder, they both had fallen asleep – a content smile on both their lips. That’s how the rest of the pack found them.

As they laid a blanket on Tonys back the Alpha slowly woke up again. Natasha was smiling at him, her eyes speaking more than words could. Feelings of ‘I’m glad for you’ or pure happiness and ‘I’m glad’. She sat next to Steve and curled up against his free shoulder, Bruce, Rhodey, Thor and even Clint (when did he arrive?) joining them. They were glad that their pack leader and his Omega had finally made up. It was then that Tony slowly stirred and began to purr, his eyes still closed and breathing even. The pack smiled at the show of content and safe from their Omega and Steve nestled his nose in Tonys neck, a hand slowly stroking circles on his back, holding him close. And he swore to himself he would never let go of him again, as the warmth of Tony and the wonderful smell of home from his Omega and their pack slowly lulled him back into sleep.

They may be all scared and traumatized, had more scars added to their already wounded hearts. But they were together now. How it’s supposed to be and they would all be damned to let anyone come between them again.