“You have to obey my commands in the field!” Steve’s voice rang out loudly, eyes like blue fire and any sane man would have backed down and apologised. Tony Stark was not a sane man and he took a step closer to his captain.
“Did anyone get hurt?” Steve’s jaw worked, Tony could practically hear the grinding noise, but he pressed further. “Did anyone get hurt Captain?” He watched as Steve shook his head eyes fixed to the ground, every line of his body tensed and furious. “Then get off my back!”
Steve let out a shout of frustration as the doors to Tony’s lab slammed shut behind him. He heard the music start and knew his boyfriend was cutting him out. As he turned away his fist collided loudly with the wall, causing a dent, Steve flinched for a moment, wondering if Tony would be upset before shaking it off and heading for the gym. Tony heard the crack and peered around the corner to see Steve’s retreating back and the damaged wall. He shrugged it off as unimportant and turned back to upgrading Natasha’s stingers.
Meanwhile Steve was taking out his frustration on the punching bags in the gym, three were already piled up in the corner, leaking sand and he was currently trying to destroy the fourth one too. He felt a hand on his shoulder and whipped around only to see Sam staring calmly at him. He shrugged off the hand only for Sam to catch his wrist. He sighed and turned fully to face his friend.
“What’s eating you man? We all disobey you in the field, hell, last week I let Clint backflip off me. You didn’t react like this.” Sam watched as Steve’s jaw clenched and he fixed his gaze firmly on the floor. Sam sighed and pulled him away from the punching bag, onto a bench and shoved a water bottle into his hands. Steve let out a long breath and turned to face his friend.
“I could’ve lost him. When he was taunting Doom, he turned his back to the threat as he flew away. If Natasha hadn’t knocked Doom’s aim off....he nearly got vaporised and there was no need to take that risk.”
“Steve, Tony’s right. What he did, it ended the battle faster, less damage, less casualties. It was worth the risk.” Steve got up suddenly and Sam moved with him, but Steve had already set off in the direction of Tony’s lab. Sam hesitated, moving to follow but Natasha materialised and stopped him.
“Let them sort this out Wilson. You don’t have to fix everything.”
Steve was standing outside Tony’s lab inputting his codes only to realise his access had been revoked. He began hammering on the sliding doors, yelling to be heard over the loud music. Tony could hear him, but he wasn’t ready to face Steve, he was still angry that he thought he was supposed to obey every command when the rest of the team wasn’t held to that standard. After a while the banging stopped and Tony realised that Steve was probably getting ready for the gala. When the team was ready to go, Steve grabbed Tony’s wrist and pulled him into a room, he turned ready to yell at him but paused when he saw Steve’s eyes, soft and apologetic. His boyfriend pulled Tony into a tight hug and Tony, confused, hugged him back, feeling tears drip onto his neck.
“You’re okay, you’re alive.” The words came out in a single breath as Steve clutched at Tony’s shoulders. He blinked at his boyfriend’s reaction, rubbing a hand against his back softly.
“Steve? What’s wrong?” Steve took a shuddering breath as he broke apart from Tony before answering.
“I thought I was going to lose you, Doom nearly vapourised you, I saw the beam miss you by inches and I just...”
“You were scared for me?” Tony brushed a hand under Steve’s eyes, coming away wet, wiping away the tears. “I though you wanted to control me.”
“I’m sorry, you made the right call, but all I could think about was what I’d do if I lost you-“
Steve was cut off as Tony pulled his boyfriend in for a deep kiss. He startled for a moment before relaxing into the embrace, relishing the warmth, even with the salty taste of tears.
“Come on captain, I’ve got a gala to show you off at.” Steve laughed loudly as they left, one arm hooked with Tony’s and the other in his pocket, fingering the velvet of a small box.
At the gala every Avenger was being chatted to and fawned over, Thor had at least twenty people of assorted genders hanging on his every word, Clint was demonstrating trick shots to an adoring crowd as Natasha flicked peanuts at him to put him off and Sam was chatting to military generals who were deeply engrossed in the conversation. Meanwhile Steve had been accosted at the door by women and men who dragged him away from Tony, running their hands over his arms, laughing raucously at every word and cooing over his suit. He looked desperately over at his boyfriend to save him, but Tony simply sent him a mocking wink and turned away, head thrown back in laughter and Steve’s heart clenched with love. He forced a gracious smile and gave the adoring crowd his full attention.
As the gala progressed and guests got more and more drunk, Steve was hoping more and more that Tony would come rescue him as men and women kept pawing at him, increasingly bold as they grabbed more and more alcohol off passing trays. Eventually, unable to deny Steve’s pleading looks, Tony extracted him from the group of drunk gala attendees, warding off protests with an airy excuse of,
“You lovely people can’t keep my boyfriend all to yourself I’ll start to get jealous!” Punctuated by a flirty wink and Tony got to speak to Steve in private for the first time all night. “Enjoying yourself captain? I never knew you were into exhibitionism!” Tony watched with delight as a bright red flush spread across his captain’s cheeks as Steve laughed along with him. He wondered if it was possible to sneak Tony up onto a balcony, so he could-
“GET DOWN!” Tony yelped as Steve grabbed him and put himself in front of him. Tony screamed as Steve jolted once, his blood soaking into Tony’s suit as he caught his boyfriend before he hit the ground. Distantly he could hear people screaming, Thor and Natasha began helping people evacuate while Sam and Clint began to engage the enemy. Tony yelped as a syringe was shoved into his neck and Steve’s body was dragged out of his arms, he clawed and kicked at the people holding him hostage, but he couldn’t move, limbs refusing to respond, tongue heavy and slow.
Tony yelled out for help as he thrashed weakly in his captors’ arms and the attackers aimed their guns at the still evacuating crowd, distracting the rest of the team. Tony watched as Steve was hauled away and he was cuffed, dropping down into a pool of his boyfriend’s blood, feeling it warm against his face, the coppery scent filling his nose, unable to move as the drug flooded his bloodstream. He felt his eyes drop, heavier and heavier, Steve’s body becoming blurry and indistinct until he slipped away into blissful oblivion.
When he woke up, he was leant against a wall in the ballroom still covered in Steve’s blood with Natasha pulling out a syringe from his throat. He groaned as his eyes adjusted to the bright light, but they sharpened quickly when his gaze fell upon a small velvet box, still sitting in the pool of blood. Tony picked it up, trying to ignore the stench of blood, and his team watched as he shuddered.
“He was planning to propose- “Tony broke off, voice cracking, “-he was going to propose and now he’s- he’s-“
“We’re not thinking about the worst cast scenario yet Stark. I’ve got S.H.I.E.L.D on the lookout right now, Clint’s scouring the security cameras, it’s not hopeless do you hear me?” When Tony’s gaze remained fixed on the box in his hand, Natasha reached down and gripped his chin, forcing him to meet her gaze. “Stark. Do you hear me?” Tony stood up in a rush, box clenched in his fist as he snapped.
“Do I hear you? Yes, I hear you Romanov, forgive me if I don’t believe you. Look at this blood Widow! Look at all this fucking blood on the ground, on the walls, on my fucking suit, and tell me he could survive!?” Natasha watched him calmly, green eyes sharp and unwavering. She was silent the entire ride back to the tower and waited for him quietly as he showered and changed. Tony saw her staring at him and glared, but she didn’t react, merely waited. “What?” When he got no response, Tony got angrier. “Are you expecting a breakdown? Did Fury task you with it? ‘Babysit Stark Widow, god knows he can’t do it himself’. If that’s why you’re here, leave.” At this outburst Natasha rolled her eyes and yanked Tony down onto the sofa with her.
“I’m not watching you because Fury told me Stark. I’m here because I want to be. Because I'm worried about you. Because you spent the last two hours watching the love of your life get shot and kidnapped. We care about you Stark, even if you don’t see it.” Tony blinked at the uncharacteristic display of emotions.
“Does this mean you admit you like me?”
“Watch it Stark, I can still kill you in three moves.” At this, despite everything that had happened, and the bloodstained suit still sat on his bedroom floor, Tony laughed, and for one moment, he felt better.
Steve grunted as he came awake, feeling battered and cold, slowly he became aware of his surroundings, clean and sterile. Everything was smooth, polished, shiny stainless steel, even the cuffs binding him to the table. He noticed the drain on the floor, noted the coppery scent that hung in the air, overpowering the smell of cleaning fluids. He shuddered as the doors opened and a draft was let in, along with a young woman, dressed in surgical scrubs. Her hair was pale, silky blonde with warm brown eyes that looked surprisingly similar to Tony’s
“Good morning Captain America. I will be your surgeon today. We will be performing a series of simple procedures this morning to gain a base mark for your healing abilities. Over the weeks the procedures will get more interesting, do you have any questions?”
“I don’t consent to the surgeries, you can’t proceed.” Though he didn’t expect the ploy to work, Steve wondered how she would react.
“I’m afraid this is all in the pursuit of science Captain. With you spending so much time with a futurist, I would’ve thought you wouldn’t impede progress. Besides,” a sinister smile crept over her face, darkening the brown of her eyes, in a way Tony’s never had, until the colour seemed consumed by black, “you’re all tied up, we don’t need your consent. Ten blade please.”
At this Steve gritted his teeth as the smooth, polished, shiny stainless steel knife dug into his skin, drawing a long line of blood that trickled down his sides, warm and slick. As the young surgeon began her work, the remains of Hydra watched eagerly from the camera room, meticulously studying her technique and occasionally barking orders into the woman’s comm.
“Don’t cut there you fool! If you kill him the Avengers will not come to save him, and the trap will be ruined.” They leant back in their chairs casually, eyes tracing every line, every slice of the blade into the skin. They noted, absent-minded, that it took a very long time before the captain began to scream.
Steve was left panting on the table, with long, yet precise, injuries decorating his stomach, thighs and sides. The young woman had left her blade in his leg, smiling sweetly as she drove it hard into his muscle, causing him to yell out in pain.
“That’s just a little experiment sir. Try to get some rest. I’ll be back tomorrow.”
Steve took a shuddering breath and held it in, regulating his breathing even as someone inserted an I.V into his arm. He focused on Tony, his bright warm eyes, all-encompassing smile and quick inquisitive mind. Steve took another deep breath, grounding himself. You have to get through this. His mind wandered back to the small velvet box, likely still in his suit. You have to get back and propose.
Tony was out of his mind, it had been nearly a week, yet no one had managed to hunt down anyone who knew anything about where Steve could be. They’d tracked down the thugs who’d kidnapped Steve only to find out they’d all been slaughtered before they were even paid, and no one knew who they’d been paid by. The cameras merely showed Steve had been pumped with enough drugs to knock him out and the only thing that prevented Tony from taking matters into his own hands was the promise that the one gun they’d managed to find would give them enough clues to track down Steve. Natasha was also following him around, refusing to allow him to hack into S.H.I.E.L.D or any government agency to speed up the investigation.
Meanwhile the young surgeon was running her hands over Steve’s wounds for the hundredth time, marvelling at his recovery period. Her knife was waiting on a tray, but she was focused on the large but slowly fading scar that bisected his abdomen, that had been fresh and leaking blood just two days ago.
“It’s amazing. Your cells regenerate on a level I’ve never seen. If I could replicate the formula that runs in your veins…I could have an army. But the code, it keeps breaking down, denying me the knowledge.” She continued to mutter to herself even as she began to carve chunks off Steve’s shoulders and thighs. The chunks of flesh hit the ground with wet lumps, splattering blood on her shoes yet she didn’t seem to notice. “Such power, why do you waste your potential? Ah well.” She hummed softly as she continued her work, smiling sweetly at Steve the whole time.
When she’d finished, and the workers and cleaned the room of blood, cleaned the chunks of his flesh from the floor and dabbed disinfectant on his wounds, Steve worked up the strength to speak. She was shocked enough that she paused before exiting and turned to face him, brown eyes curious and they looked so similar to Tony’s that Steve’s heart clenched painfully in his chest.
“Why do you do it? Why turn to evil?”
“The naiveite, Captain, is amusing. I was a sheep like you once. Doctor Emily Winsor, general surgeon, saving lives and feeling like I’d made a difference. When I cut, it was to heal, to mend, to fix. But then I began to realise what the human body could withstand. And it fascinated me. I wanted to see how I could force skin to stretch and tear and heal. Watch suffering in its purest form, by inflicting it. So, you ask me why I do this?” She leaned in to whisper directly in his ear. “I do this because the screams make me feel more alive than twenty years of lives saved.” She moved back and in her surgical scrubs, tied back hair and bright smile, she looked like any surgeon you’d see in a hospital. “I will see you tomorrow for surgery Captain. Try to get some rest.”
The next morning, she arrived again, still with her soft and calming voice, still smiling sweetly as she picked up her chart and read it out in her gentle voice. “So, it says here that you have never lost a limb Captain. I must say, I'm intrigued to see if you can grow one back after it’s lost. Or will you just heal the stump up well?” She grinned at him and Steve watched her brown eyes sparkle, just like Tony’s, and used that thought to galvanise him and gather his strength. “Well!” She clapped her hands together and tossed the chart away. “There’s no time like the present to find out! Ten blades please.” As the words left her mouth the doors to the room were suddenly blown off their hinges and there was a familiar whistle through the air before she was wrapped up in rope and Hulk was ripping off Steve’s restraints. He was deposited in Tony’s arms and he smiled.
“I knew you’d come for me.” Passed his lips before he passed out, surrendering to oblivion.
When he woke up, he could hear the steady, rhythmic sound of hospital machines and he began to panic, his heartrate increasing rapidly before he felt Tony’s hand wrapping around his own, settling him, the metal of his ring digging in- Steve looked down at Tony’s hand and noticed the engagement ring on his hand, catching the hospital lights.
“You-“ He broke off to cough, “you found the ring then. I guess that’s a yes?”
Tony startled, and a pretty blush spread across his cheeks as he tugged his hand out of Steve’s and rummaged around in his pocket, only to pull out his own velvet box and Steve’s heart jumped in his chest. “Never wanted to steal your thunder Cap but I have to know, will you marry me?” The tears spilled over and down Steve’s cheeks as he nodded furiously, and Tony slipped on the band, both were smiling and laughing.
“Is this how you imagined it?” Tony managed to choke out through the euphoria and Steve shrugged, eyes fixed on Tony.
“I always imagined I’d propose on a moonlit night surrounded by candles and a nice meal to go to after. But this, this is much better.” He replied before pulling Tony into a deep gentle kiss.
“Tony for god’s sake we don’t need 360o angles of the wedding, we can just hire a photographer and be done with it!”
“Steve. I am not trusting this day to some hack with a camera that we picked up for a cheap hourly rate when I can do this so much better myself!”
“The cost Tony! Or the hassle! You want to be forever checking cameras to make sure they permanently have the right shot?”
“You realise I can just set them up right? I'm a fucking genius Steve, I don’t need to check the cameras if they’re covering 360o angles at all time.”
“But if you just consider-“
“Listen to me Rogers. This is going to be the most important day of my life, of the world’s life. I am not trusting my memories and I'm not trusting someone with a camera. I want to be able to relive every single moment of this day in HD picture and surround sound, and there is nothing you can say that will persuade me otherwise!” When no response came from Steve, he glanced over only to see that his eyes were soft, and he pulled him into a tight hug. When they broke apart Tony noticed the sappy look painted over Steve’s face and his heart melted.
“In that case, the 360o angles sound like an excellent idea.” Tony grinned and pulled Steve into a kiss that ended with the rest of their team wolf-whistling as they peeked into the kitchen only to see a furious make-out session. Steve broke away, fixing his eyes away from the laughing gazes of his teammates while Tony pressed a kiss to his cheek; smiling and waving at their audience, even as Steve swatted at him to stop.
Steve woke up to find himself chained in the same room he was tortured in, with the same smooth, polished, shiny stainless-steel walls and floors. But instead of being cuffed down onto the table he could see Tony, chained down and helpless, ribcage rising and falling in panic. Steve felt his own heartrate rise when he heard the doors swish open and the soft falling footsteps of Doctor Emily Winsor. She had the same blonde hair; same dark blue scrubs and her voice was the same even pleasant tone as she read out Tony’s file.
“Anthony Edward Stark, only son to Howard and Maria Stark (deceased), no superpowers, Alias: Iron Man, affiliated with the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D and currently engaged to Captain America a.k.a Steven Grant Rogers. Test today: How much can he sustain? Ten blade please.”
Steve watched in horror as the smooth, polished, shiny stainless-steel blade descended before slicing into Tony’s skin, spilling his blood, causing it to flow, bright red, coppery scent filling the air. He opened his mouth to scream but nothing came out, he was powerless to stop her, powerless to save him. He pulled desperately at his restraints, yelling, screaming, voice catching in his throat as Tony began to scream himself, sound filling the room, filling Steve’s head, breaking his heart.
Lumps of flesh and muscle was carefully carved out of Tony and dumped on the floor, and as time passed Tony’s voice began to peter out as he blacked out from the pain. Steve’s wrists were raw and red, his own blood staining the cuffs around his throat and ankles. When the doctor noticed Tony had collapsed, she walked over to Steve, who’s head was facing the floor and she tilted his chin up with her blade. Steve’s stomach turned, and he gagged as the scent of blood surrounded his senses, he tried to shy away but she gripped his chin, smearing the blood on his skin before speaking.
“This wasn’t a test for Stark dear Captain. This is to find out how much you can sustain before you break.”
Steve woke up, shooting straight up right, unable to breathe, breath caught in his throat, choking, he was in the lab again, chained down, no Tony is chained down, bleeding hurting, useless, hopeless-
“-teve! Steve! STEVE!” He was brought out of his haze by Tony’s voice and actions, gripping his wrist tightly and forcing panicked blue eyes to meet worried brown. “Breathe with me. In and out. In and out. In and out.” Slowly, Steve’s breath evened out and the tense lines of his shoulders began to relax. “What happened?”
“I was- “Steve paused to steady himself, “I was back in the lab but you- you were on the table and I couldn’t do anything, I was watching useless as she sliced into you, blood, everywhere I thought you were dead, and I couldn’t save you. I let you die.”
Tony caught Steve’s wrist and pressed it to his chest. “Feel that? Heartbeat Steve. I’m here, I'm alive and we’ll be married tomorrow. We’re together and safe. Breathe with me. In and out. In and out. In and out…” They both fell asleep, breathing in sync until the day of the wedding.
The day began in a frenzy, their best men and women hustling them away, getting them dressed and to the venue quickly. Both were kept in their separate dressing rooms, fidgeting nervously until Natasha and Pepper slipped the blindfold over their eyes and led them both down the opposite aisles to the altar. The blindfolds were removed, and they looked at each other for the entire ceremony, barely able to listen to the instructions until the vows.
“Steve, I love you with all of my heart, I’ll love you forever and I’d lay down my life for your own. I didn’t know how much I loved you until you were gone, and I knew then that I’d never be able live without you. So, I hijacked your proposal and made sure I could stay by your side and fight beside you.”
“Tony, I’ll love you with everything I am till the day I die. I will fight beside you until my dying breath. I cannot bear to think of a life without you and planned to propose and keep you by my side. You’ve been there for me when I needed you the most, kept me grounded when I needed it. You have done everything for me and I will do everything I can for you.”
“With this ring I take thee as mine.”
Neither Steve or Tony remembered the wedding in any real detail, lost in each other and the high of marriage. Tony was forever proud his cameras captured every single detail they would ever need to see, immortalised for them to remember the day they pledged to stand by each other’s sides, forever, sealed with a deep, heartfelt kiss.