Chapter 1: Tony
When Tony Stark was little, he asked his Aunt Peggy, "Aunt Peg, why does Dad hate me?"
Aunt Peggy had frozen, dropping the pen on the table and looking up at Tony with tear filled eyes. Back then, young Tony had not been able to understand the emotions that passed through her face. Now, as a much older man, Tony knew Aunt Peggy was surprised, sad, angry and terrified.
"Come here Tony," she said, patting her knees. Tony let go of the small circuit board and climbed up on Aunt Peggy's lap. She pulled back the young boy's hair and rested her head on top of his.
"Listen to me, my boy. Your father doesn't hate you. Always remember that. Your father loves you. All right?"
Tony had nodded, not believing those words at all. Later that night, when Howard had come to pick him up, Aunt Peggy took him away and shouted on him. Howard had shouted back, saying how he never wanted Tony and it was just a piece of baggage left for him.
It was years later when Tony finally understood the meaning of the whole conversation.
Tony Stark never really had a normal family. So he made an unconventional one. MIT gave him Rhodey and the whole Rhodes clan. As he took the reigns of the Stark Industries, he found a lovely Secretary in the form of Virginia 'Pepper' Potts. Tony was quite happy with the world he had.
His life was easy-invent a few weapons, go to a few board meetings and ditch the others, sign random papers that Pepper got him and party all night before taking a woman or sometimes, a man, home. If Rhodey was in town, he would have drinks with him. Christmases were Rhodes family affair and he would not miss it for the world.
The first change came in the form of Afghanistan. Everything happened in a rush after that-Iron Man, Stane, Palladium Poisoning.
And Tony found a new member of his unconventional family-Natasha Romanov.
Despite having a weird start and a big no from her for the Avengers Initiative-whatever, Tony didn't care- the woman just appeared in his life. A deadly assassin spy who liked sneaking up to people and bringing food at odd hours.
The first time she appeared in his lab, Tony had screamed his heart out, earning a small chuckle from Natasha. JARVIS, that little shit, had not even informed him.
Natasha was an interesting person, though. Whenever she stayed, which was quite often, either the two would have most philosophical debates ever or they would throw mundane things at each other and behave like toddlers. Natasha would often climb on the couch Tony otherwise occupied and sleep with her head on his lap, which was quite scary. The first time Rhodey saw them like that, Tony was asleep and Natasha made a swift motion across her neck before pressing her finger to her lips.
As time passed, the two shared shitty childhood stories and the demons they shared. Tony was pretty sure Natasha was the only person who knew the extent of Howard's nonsense and Tony was the only person who knew the extent of Natasa' training.
One day, when Natasha was writing the report of her recent mission and Tony was working on the new suit, he looked at her and noticed something.
"You are naturally blonde?"
Natasha looked up, raising an eyebrow. "Yup. Dye it red."
Tony laughed. "Seriously? I thought it was legit."
"Nothing's legit about me Stark. You should know that by now."
Tony shrugged, nodding and going back to work.
As the day came to an end, Natasha jumped off the couch and pressed a kiss on Tony's cheek.
"I will be gone for some time. Don't be an idiot."
Tony snorted. "I thought between the two of us, you are the idiotic one."
Anybody else would have received a knife to their throat but Natasha merely smirked and swatted Tony's head before leaving. Tony wouldn't miss her too much-Pepper was coming, he had to finish the working on the Stark Tower and then the press conferences.
The next few days were quite unexpected for Tony. First, he was suddenly eligible for Avengers Initiative- Excuse you, he was not jumping around the tower in excitement and JARVIS, delete that video or God help me- and they wanted Iron Man. Then, while going through the works, Tony had to admit that the team members were quite- unique. There was him, Natasha, someone named Clint Barton-the guy who got Natasha to SHIELD, Hawkeye- Dr Bruce Banner, his legendary counterpart Hulk and...Captain America.
They found Captain America in the ice and he was alive.
Technically, they should have informed Tony about this since it the funds for Arctic expedition came from his father's trust fund and after his old man's death, he kept tabs of all the funds. So, he should have been the first to know. But Fury, of course, did not tell Tony.
Well, he would deal with that later.
When JARVIS pinged him about SHIELD going to Stuggard, Germany, Tony knew he had to suit up. What better way to make an entrance than to declare to the world that he was there by blasting AC/DC on the coms?
Once on the jet, Loki quite secured, Tony took off the mask and so did Captain America. And Cap froze looking at him.
Must have reminded him too much of Dad.
Ignoring the shocked face of Cap, Tony turned to the person he knew. "Hey, Nat."
"Hey, Tony," Natasha said without looking back, "I thought you were not recommended for the Avengers Initiative."
"First of all, screw you and second of all, screw you."
Natasha laughed as Cap began looking at Tony without the shocked face. "I don't remember it being this easy."
Conversation flowed after that-well, as well as it could with Tony being himself around the righteous Captain America. He was pretty sure he had pissed Capsicle by the time Loki's brother came to take him away. The little fight that followed wasn't any brilliant after that either.
Once Tony reached the Helicarrier, he skitted over to one person he knew would understand how he spoke-Dr Bruce Banner.
Natasha was still moping over Clint Barton- forbidden love, anyone? and Tony needed a partner after Captain definitely disapproving of him and Point Break weeping over his brother, um, excuse you, adopted brother.
The next few hours would never be clear for Tony. There was an adrenaline rush, there was sorrow, there were secrets and there was confusion. What Tony would remember was that Coulson had died, the team came together, he flew a nuke through the wormhole and when he woke up, Captain America legit hugged him!!
Once Loki and the alien objects were secured, Tony dragged everyone to the Shwarma centre and it was pretty good. When he was settled, calm and tired, Tony noticed Captain America.
That guy was freaking 25! He was a kid. For the world, World War 2 happened 70 years, for this guy, it had been mere weeks. Technically, he was in his 90's, but physically and mentally? he was the youngest in the group and yet, he was the most one who had lead the team.
Tony remembered being 21, suddenly taking the reigns of Stark Industries and handling everything. He could relate to the guy. No wonder he was permanently pissed. He just got out of one war and Fury forced him into another.
Once they were all done, tired and ready to go their separate ways, Tony pulled Cap apart. He was shocked, but Tony didn't give him time to speak before launching into an explanation.
"Okay, so I guess the last few days haven't been so great for you. I mean, I can't understand being forced into a world that is so different of mine. But it must definitely be terrible. I mean, a lot has changed in the past few years itself, seventy years is a long time. We have so many things, from simply connected telephones to smartphones and the Internet! It must be horrible for you. Dad talked about you a lot, saying you were always adaptable and could change but everybody needs help, right? I made that tower, the one that you called ugly and it's not really ugly. It is just different from what you remember buildings to be like. Anyways, You see, I have loads of residential floors and they are all empty. I can decorate them anyways, money is no matter, and you won't get better access to the world from anywhere else. So?"
Captain blinked owlishly at him before slowly saying, "Are you inviting me to live with you?"
Tony shrugged. "Kind of. If you are okay with it, that is Rogers."
His face went from an almost smile to a closed face in the matter of mere seconds. Tony had no idea what he had done wrong. Did he say too much? he had a habit of doing that.
"One condition," He said, smiling sadly, "Please don't call me by my name."
The request was odd, but Tony never questioned it. Once Loki departed with his brother to face Asgardian justice, whatever that included, Tony pulled Steve and Bruce to live with him at the tower. Natasha stayed half of the time there, so it was no surprise that she and Pepper had already designed a floor just for her. Barton could not stay with his SHIELD friends because-guilt.
The 'S','T','R' and 'K' had already fallen from the tower. Perhaps, it wouldn't be so bad to make the tower dedicated to the Avengers. It would be good publicity as well. With the most advanced people in that very tower, attacking it would be stupid.
When Thor appeared on the terrace a few days later and declared that it was a quite good headquarters for the team, well, it was settled.
It was officially dubbed the Avengers Tower.
And just like that, Tony had more members in his family.
Three weeks in, Tony knew all his teammates' quirks and habits.
Thor did not always live at the tower, but whenever he did, he wanted Pop Tarts for some reason. He could not understand any reference ever and he was a big softie.
Natasha had the most brilliant voice ever, but nobody was a fool to comment on it. Bruce once tried to compliment her, but Clint shook his head frantically.
Clint liked vents for some reason. If he was nowhere, he would be in the vents. There was also a small blanket on the A of the Avengers Tower that was made by him. Tony never tried to understand the weirdo.
Bruce meditated a lot. The only thing that would make him lose control was-spoilers?
Coulson was alive- he was going to kill Fury one of these days- and he liked to drop in at odd hours, just like Natasha did before. He was close to Thor for some reason.
Cap loved to draw. He was a mother hen. Any time Tony would spend more than four hours in the lab, Steve would come knocking in and force him out, either to make him eat or go sparring. When he first came, Tony had a weird sleeping routine. Anything more than four hours was too much. But God forbid if that super soldier saw Tony anywhere but on his bed from 10 to four in the morning. When Steve had put down the chart, Tony had laughed. But when he literally carried to his bed for seven days straight, Tony knew that Cap was serious. As a result, Tony started sleeping for at least six hours every day. Though Tony wouldn't admit it, he did feel a tad bit better. Not a lot, no, just a tad bit.
Steve was also an omega.
The first time Tony had discovered this was a few weeks after The Battle of New York. Cap was running a fever, which should technically be impossible since he had the serum. They were all sitting in the Living Room when JARVIS' voice rang through the speakers.
"Captain Rogers, I am detecting elated temperature from your body. Shall I contact a doctor?"
Everybody looked at Steve as he whimpered and shook his head. "No JARVIS, it's just my heat. I will be in my room. It will be fine."
"Heat?" Natasha asked, eyebrows raised. "You have heats?"
Steve nodded, resting his head on the pillow. "Of course I have heats. Who wouldn't I?"
"You are an omega?" Bruce asked a slight confusion etched on his face.
Steve nodded, closing his eyes. "Always have been."
"And the US Government allowed an Omega to serve in the War? Seriously?"
Steve chuckled lightly, trembling a bit. "They never knew. Erskine's formula would only work on an Omega and so he chose me. But no one else knew back then. Only afterwards they found out."
Steve words were slurred and it was clear he was ready to fall. Tony immediately stood up from his place and sat down beside Cap, making him rest his head on Tony.
"Hmm, Bucky. I missed ya Jerk."
Tony looked around, a little confused. Everybody knew who Bucky Barnes was- Captain America's childhood friend and only Howling Commando to give up his life in the battlefield. Was Steve hallucinating already?
"Cap?" Tony slightly jerked the guy. "It's me, Tony."
"Tony?" Cap asked, puzzled, "You are supposed to be small. Why are you so big?"
Natasha chuckled, before lifting him up from one side and Tony helping him from the other. "All right Steve, you are hallucinating already. Let's go down to your floor, all right?"
"But I want Bucky! I want my Alpha. Where's he?"
Everyone froze at Steve's words. That...made sense. Well, a bit of sense. But why did Steve call Tony Bucky?
"We will get him, Cap," Tony said slowly. He must have forgotten about the train. Was this his first heat after Bucky's death? Holy shit, that must be horrible. "We will get him. Let's go rest now, would ya?"
Steve nodded, resting his head on Tony's shoulder and holding on to him and Natasha.
The Heat lasted three days. For some reason, Steve would only calm down if Tony or Natasha would sit beside him and talk to him. The others thought it must be something to do with the fact that Tony looked a bit like Barnes.
"I do not!" Tony argued on the last night. Clint shrugged as Coulson continued, "But you do! You have similar bone structure hair."
Tony snorted. "You are weird, Coulson."
When the heat ended the Fourth day, Tony went down to Steve's room to find him gone. On asking JARVIS, it was revealed that Steve had gone off to DC, DC! to visit an old friend. How had he taken off? Why, with his motorbike of course!
Two days later when Cap returned, everybody was asking about his well being and reprimanding him for being so stupid. The only thing he said was to Natasha, "Please don't call me by my name."
The next day, when Tony and Natasha were sparring in the gym, Tony chuckled as Natasha told him what Steve had said.
"My rules apply to you too now."
Natasha huffed, attacking Tony with a knife. "Why though, why would he ask that from me?"
Tony shrugged, before moving aside and jumping on Natasha. "Dunno. Maybe he has decided to take you under his wing as well."
Natasha knocked him off, pinning him on the ground before asking, "What do you mean?"
Tony pulled his hand away before turning and looking up to her. "Oh please don't pretend you don't know what I mean! That guy literally monitors my sleeping pattern and my eating habits. He is worse than my mother and Jarvis combined!"
Natasha chuckled, standing up. "Well, he won't be able to do that to me. I am not as easy as you, Stark."
Turned out, Natasha was wrong and Tony was absolutely right.
Steve began to monitor Natasha's food habits like a hawk. What she ate, how much strain she put on herself- everything was being carefully taken care of. Tony laughed as Steve almost forced Natasha to eat because-, "Natasha you need healthy food! You are a spy and an assassin! How will you work if you don't have enough nutrients?"
Tony had been hit by multiple pieces of steak which he had merely enjoyed eating as Natasha sulked. For some reason, even she was not immune to Steve's lecture.
It came to a limit when Natasha was transferred to DC for some mission. Natasha was glad, Tony could tell. She would be free to do as she wanted to. But her dreams were shattered in a million little pieces when Steve declared he was going to lead the STRIKE team.
"Just tell him!" Tony said to Natasha the day before they were due to leave. "If he's bothering you so much, why don't you call him out?"
"The same reason you don't call him out," Natsah murmured, munching on cheeseburgers. "We both know he isn't crossing his limits and the things he does are actually healthy."
Tony snorted at Natasha's tone. It sounded like somebody was forcing her to speak those words. They were true, but still.
"But it's irritating!" Tony pitched in.
"hell yes, it is!"
Tony chuckled, looking back at the designs for Stark Industries.
"Do you think it's because he is an omega?"
Tony turned, raising an eyebrow. "What?"
"I don't really trust those bigots on what they say," Natasha said, sitting upside down, "But do you think it could be because Steve is an omega that he is mothering us?"
"Neither of us is an omega," Tony pointed out.
Natasha nodded, "True. It must be something else."
Chapter 2: Natasha
Natasha can see the difference, from SHIELD falling to the time when Bucky Barnes comes to the tower. What next?
Oh my god, guys!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU LIKE THIS SO MUCH!!! THANK YOU TO YOU ALL!
So this is the chapter, I hope you enjoy it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
For Natasha, Family was people who cared about her in the most unconventional way possible. When she was younger, it was Ariana, another girl in the Widow training program. Starting as rivals, Natasha remembers fighting with the other girl just to win in petty fights- who was better knife yielder, who could seduce more men, who could store more weapons and who could be a better spy. As they grew older, the pettiness had turned into an understanding of pain. They were there for each other, after the graduation ceremony.
The last time Natasha had seen Ariana, she had to put a bullet through her head.
Last few years Natasha had spent in Russia, she had become rusty. Perhaps it was the understanding that she could never have freedom as she wanted. Whatever the case, the people at KGB would never give anything less than the best and then had come Yasha, Russia's biggest weapon.
Being a spy meant Natasha had to learn about every biological orientation possible. She wasn't a stranger to Alphas, but Yasha? He was different. She wasn't an Omega who could attract Alphas instantly nor was she anywhere near the level of threat he possessed. Yet, Yasha treated her carefully. He would train her to her limit and then fret over her like a father. He had his own handlers, his own set of rules. But for her, there was always an exception.
"Eat," he would command every now and then.
"I do not have to," she would answer back in a stride with a playful smirk.
He would stand there, glaring at her for the longest time before sitting beside her and shoving the food in her mouth like feeding a child.
It was nice to have someone care for her.
Clint Barton was a breath of fresh air that came with a choice. She remembered he had her on- well, Arrow-point and had given her a choice.
"Come with me. You don't have to do this."
Natasha wanted to take Yasha with her, but she had to leave him behind if she wanted this one chance at freedom. So she took Clint's offer and ran across Europe, away from the KGB and everything. Yet, just when there were on the coast of Portuguese, the Winter Soldier was there, his gun aimed at him.
Natasha had stood between Clint and the gun, for it was she who had run away. Nobody deserved to die for her choices.
For the first time, she saw him lower his gun and walk away, giving up on a mission. She knew that the punishment for the failure would be harsh for Yasha, but she couldn't let it distract her.
Losing a father figure, Natasha earned a family. The Bartons. Clint was the older brother who would always look out for her, Laura was the caring older sister that wouldn't stop pestering her and young Cooper was her salvation.
SHIELD slowly became work and Fury took the place Yasha had once held.
Coulson became her first friend and then came Tony Stark, the annoying brother.
From the moment Natalia Rushman entered that Boxing ring, Natasha knew she was going to hit it off with Stark. He was volatile, self-obsessed and ready to die. Avengers Initiative wouldn't help him at any cost and thus, Natasha had to 'Not recommend' him, because he and the Avengers would never be good for each other.
She was proven wrong when the attack at New York happened. Aliens, Gods, frozen super-soldiers- seriously, she needed a break.
If anyone asked Natasha what she thought of Steve Rogers, Natasha would say, "He is an old man who has too much time on his hands and spends it smothering me and Stark. He needs a date."
The day of the mission, Natasha was glad to see Steve chatting up another guy in DC. He was making more friends. That was nice. Now, only if he would go out with someone.
"Natasha, how about you pay attention to the battle instead of discussing my love life?"
She merely popped a bubble gum and looked back at the computer. "You mean the non-existent sex life Cap?"
It was a good experience to see Cap turn red at the alarming shade. He would look anywhere but her and try and immerse himself in the strategies again, though there would be none left.
"Aww Cap!" Natasha smirked as Steve turned around, not ready to face her despite the plans being her side. "It's all right, we all have a bump in our sex lives. Our jobs aren't that helpful, you know?"
"Natasha, for the love of God shut up."
Natasha chuckled, walking out. "I am Athiest, Captain Rogers."
She was sure Steve had let out a horrified gasp behind her.
It had hurt Steve that Natasha had a different mission than his. He was God's righteous man, of course, he was horrified at knowing that life wasn't as easy.
But then Fury got attacked, killed and the only clue was of a man with a metal arm.
Yasha. The Winter Soldier.
In another universe, Steve would have pushed Natasha on a wall and interrogated her about the USB drive and the Winter Soldier, and Natasha would have told him about the mission where the Winter Soldier had shot him.
Not in this one. In this one, Steve had looked at Natasha with a relieved expression once he saw her face and gently guided her through the hospital to a mall in a blind spot where cameras couldn't see them. He then proceeded to order them a meal and make sure that Natasha was eating before even speaking.
Though she wouldn't ever admit, the longer Steve kept quiet, the more Natasha grew anxious. Had he shouted, demanded or even hit her, it would be better. But Steve was just the perfect guy.
"What do you know about this?"
His voice was so soft that Natasha wanted to spill all her secrets.
"I only act like I know everything," Natasha offered, taking a sip from her smoothie.
"Still," Steve said, looking carefully at Natasha. "Is there anything at all that can help us? Who was that man? Do you know anything about him?"
Natasha looked at Steve. She could tell him, perhaps. But what if he used it for his own gain?
"Most of the Intelligence Community doesn't believe he exists. Those who do call him the Winter Soldier. Credited with over a dozen assassins, he is only the most feared man on Earth."
Taking a deep breath, Natasha looked down at her food. "I knew him as Yasha, my trainer the last few years I was at KGB. He was...he was ruthless. He would train for hours, never had to eat or sleep. Yet, with me around he was human. But once I left, I think they removed his memories. Met him a few years ago at a mission and he hit me with a bullet. It was then that I knew, he wouldn't ever remember me."
Steve nodded seriously. "How can we find him?"
"He is a ghost story Cap. You can't find him."
"And what about the pen drive?"
Natasha looked up, a small smile forming on her face. "That I can work around."
Once they had the location, Natasha pulled Steve out and had to run fast. She was ready to kiss him to throw the guys off their scent when Steve hugged her tightly, making her lips fall on his cheek. It was an awkward moment for both of them.
Once they were in the car, Natasha had seated herself comfortably and had her legs up on the dashboard. She looked at Steve, who looked scandalized.
"Why are you so afraid of a kiss?"
"I am not afraid of a kiss."
Natasha scoffed. "So why was it so hard for you to kiss me?"
Taking a deep breath, Steve glared at her like a parent done with his children’s questions. "I am not answering that. And feet off the dashboard, it's not our car."
Finding out that SHIELD is HYDRA was shocking.
Finding out HYDRA is responsible for Tony's Parents' death was terrible.
Finding out Yasha was Bucky Barnes, Steve's childhood best friend, Howling Commando and apparently, his Alpha, was it.
Natasha could see Steve's heartbreak at knowing that his Alpha, his husband and best friend had been forced through torture. She wished she could do something, but she was too weak. But then, Fury was alive and there was work to be done.
Natasha made a last moment call and decided they needed help. Clint couldn't make it, Thor was on another planet and Hulk would be catastrophic. The only person left, Tony.
"I am glad you decided to call me," Tony said, landing on the secret headquarters. "Would love a fight now."
Steve looked at Tony once. He then left the room without saying a word. Tony turned to her, a questioning glance etched on his face.
“The Winter Soldier is his Alpha.”
That was all that she could offer at the moment. If Tony knew about his parents...he was easily swayed by his emotions. Anything personal could lead to disastrous consequences and that was the last thing they needed.
Being a spy meant Natasha had seen it all, or at least the most of it. Emotions were a weakness for many. But when Tony had flown them to the bank of the Potomac and they had seen Steve lying there, bruised and bloodied, on the verge of dying, Natasha could only hold on tight to the Omega and beg for him to wake up.
Surprisingly, it was Tony who behaved rationally in this situation. He called the Quinjet at once. Wilson, Fury and Maria all followed and they were off to the closest hospital. While Natasha was losing her mind over Steve, Tony managed to fish out the shield and he was there the moment they were admitting Steve.
For the first time in her life, Natasha was feeling useless. She was a damn spy, why was she behaving this way? She knew better than to sit and cry over someone, especially a teammate. People died, injuries happened. Why was she affected by Steve so much?
Natasha looked up to see Tony. Out of his Iron Man suit and in the normal day to day clothes, he looked as vulnerable as her.
There were unsaid words, an unspoken understanding between them. Natasha stood up and pulled him into a tight hug. Natasha Romanoff seldom cried, but when Tony’s tears fell on her shoulder, she couldn’t stop the waterworks. It was as if they were on the verge of losing a family member. That’s what they had become, hadn’t they? A family?
The day passed without any news. The doctors were quietly doing their work and the world outside was in chaos. But Natasha and Tony couldn’t be more detached. JARVIS kept talking to anyone who called on their cells while Natasha and Tony sat, looking around for any news.
The older man looked at her with a questioning glance.
“There’s something you should know.”
Tony leaned on his side, looking at Natasha quizzically. “What is it?”
There was no easy way of doing this. Natasha knew she needed to tell Tony whatever she knew.
“Tony...” Natasha took a deep breath and tightly held Tony’s hands. “Your parents’ death wasn’t an accident.”
Tony frowned, looking at her as if trying to decipher a puzzle. Before he could react, Natasha added, “HYDRA staged an accident. They were killed.”
It was early in the morning when Steve woke up. Natasha knew that because she was sleeping with her legs on the bed, right beside Steve’s hand. She woke up when her leg was being gently caressed.
“Steve? You okay?”
Steve mumbled something, which was probably him saying, ‘Don’t call me Steve.’ Unable to stop the smile from spreading on her face, Natasha jumped from the chair and inched closer to Steve, almost hugging the other man. He put his good arm around her, slowly humming under his breath.
“We thought we had lost you there, Cap,” Natasha said, pulling away, “Never pull anything that dangerous again. Do you understand?”
Steve smiled and nodded. Natasha gave him a light peck on the forehead before calling the doctors in. She was pushed out and she left with a wink.
It wasn’t surprising to find Tony out of the door, his head bent over the tablet. Ever since Natasha had told him about his parents, Tony was trying to find something. Natasha had leaked everything online, there must be something.
But there was not. And if there was, someone had taken it away. Tony was losing his mind and JARVIS was running a program in a continuous process.
He looked up, his eyes bloodshot and his hair messier than before. Natasha smiled before slipping beside him. “He’s awake. The Doctors are working with him.”
Letting out a deep breath, Tony gave her a tired smile. “Good. I don’t think I can handle too many hospital bills. This guy was supposed to be the Super Soldier, right? His healing was supposed to be exemplary. Why are we here again?”
Natasha let herself loose in the nonsensical chatter. Tony needed a break from the news, and they both needed a break from the worry that Steve Rogers had inflicted upon them.
The days that followed were chaotic. Steve returned back to New York, becoming even more unbearable with Tony and Natasha while working on a search mission for Bucky with his new friend Sam Wilson. Thor had to be contacted, for it became clear that the sceptre that Loki used was being used by HYDRA. Clint technically became jobless and so did Natasha since Avenging wasn’t exactly a steady job.
Tony, of course, gave them a position in Stark Industries. Neither knew what the job actually was, but they were paid and it was nothing to complain about. Tony also offered Bucky to live with them, if the assassin is ever found. The happiness of Steve’s face was worth it all.
A few weeks later, when Thor was back on Earth and they had just returned from a failed mission, Natasha was lazing around in Tony’s workshop, reading a book as the genius himself was busy in understanding some alien thing Thor had brought. The two were so immersed in their own work that neither noticed Steve standing there until he ordered JARVIS to stop the music.
“Hey Cap!” Tony greeted the man with the same enthusiasm as always, “Did we miss dinner time? Or did we under-sleep?”
Natasha smirked as Tony ranted, but the smile dropped when she saw Steve. His eyes were red, his hand was shaking and the tablet he held had a paused video.
“Cap? Everything alright?”
Tony stopped and that was all it took for Steve to fall into Tony’s arms, muttering I am sorry over and over again. Natasha was immediately up on her feet, running smooth circles on Steve’s back as he continued to cry.
“It’s my entire fault. I let this happen. I made Bucky fall. I dived the plane in the Arctic even with everything...I am so sorry Tony, I am so sorry. I could have prevented this. Forgive me, please.”
By the time Steve muttered the last words, he was on his knees, literally begging Tony for forgiveness. Tony was alarmed without a doubt. He looked at Natasha, silently asking for her help.
“Cap,” Natasha held Steve tightly, “None of it was your fault. What had to happen happened.”
While she spoke to Steve, Tony picked up the tablet and looked at the video. Natasha could see recognition pass through his face, then surprise and finally, fear.
Natasha could not hear anything, but when minutes later Tony slumped down on the floor next to Steve, his eyes wide and fixed on the tablet and a horrified expression etched on his face, Natasha knew that it was something much worse.
Steve, finally having calmed down, reached down to Tony and pulled him tight. Tony latched himself to Steve and Natasha sat back, finally taking the tablet.
It was not easy, watching Yasha become a murdering machine and murdering Howard and Maria Stark in cold blood. It made Natasha’s heart clench. She couldn’t even imagine what it must have felt like to Tony, watching his parents’ murder. He was shaking in Steve’s embrace and Steve refused to let him go.
This was possibly the worst that they could have gotten.
The days passed slowly and Tony and Steve spent most of it avoiding each other. Tony blamed Yasha for the murder, but nobody could forget the fact that he was Steve’s mate. It was as awkward as it could get, especially when Sam Wilson appeared with the news that he had found him.
“He is in Romania,” Sam told Steve as Steve, Natasha and Clint greeted him in the living room. Thor and Bruce simply waved from the bar. Tony was potentially ignoring them, but he couldn’t help and glance up every once in a while from the table. “He is living at one place. Can you think why?”
“Bucky’s family traced their lineage there,” Steve mumbled, rubbing his neck absentmindedly. “He always said he wanted to go there.”
Natasha quirked an eyebrow. “Does that mean he is remembering?”
Steve nodded. “I sure hope so. I will need your help, though. If he loses his mind...”
Natasha placed her hand over Steve’s. “He knew me as the Winter Soldier. I will be able to handle him if something goes wrong. Don’t worry.”
Steve gave her a sad yet grateful smile, before turning to Clint. “Can you help me find a place? And help me shift my things there? I would like to stay with him until I am sure he is better.”
Everyone turned up to look at Tony. The genius was looking offended as he walked over to the group. “Where are you going?”
Steve looked at Natasha. She had said that he should have told Tony of the plan, but he had refused. “I will be moving somewhere away with Bucky. He will need a place to stay.”
Tony looked around, frowning, “Because the tower is out of space? I am pretty sure your Alpha doesn’t need a mansion to stay, right?”
Steve blinked owlishly. “Wait, you mean Bucky can stay here?”
“I did offer, didn’t I?” Tony asked, before turning to Natasha. “Did I ever mention otherwise, Miss Romanoff?”
Smirking, Natasha shook her head, “Never, Mr Stark.”
Tony merely looked at Steve. The captain looked around, surprised. “I assumed that after what happened...”
“I am not a kid, Cap,” Tony said seriously, “I know when a person is responsible for his own mistakes. I am not going to accept with open arms, but I am not going to turn my back on a 90-year old brainwashed assassin.”
A smile slowly etched on his face, and Steve had to stand up. “Thank you so much, Tony.”
“Don’t mention it. As long as he doesn’t bother me, I am good.”
Natasha was safely sitting in the booth next to Steve’s. She did not understand this approach, but she trusted Steve. He probably knew the guy better.
Even after knowing where he lived, Steve did not barge in there. He instead left a note under the door, to meet him in a café nearby at two O’clock the next day. Sam was sitting in a distance, minding his own business. It was almost two and Natasha knew if Yasha did not show up, Steve would be heartbroken.
At exact two O’clock, the door opened and Yasha walked in. He was dressed in jeans and hoodie, looking more like a homeless than an assassin. She could not see Steve’s reaction, but she could see Yasha put up his walls immediately.
He walked like a nervous child and slid in across Steve without a word.
“That’s not my name.”
Natasha leaned forward, eager to hear more.
“Okay,” Steve sounded dejected, “So what do I call you?”
“James,” came the answer. “Why are you smiling?”
“You-well, at least my Bucky hated the name. Just laughing at the irony.”
James snorted, looking around. “You brought reinforcements. Good. Smart.”
“They aren’t here to hurt you, Buck- James.”
Yasha did not say anything to that. Steve sighed, and Natasha could feel the exhaustion coming up to him.
“Do you know who I am?” he finally asked and Yasha looked up.
“Captain America, World War II soldier. I read about you in a museum.”
“Really, that’s all that you know about me?”
There was silence before James spoke up. “You used to be small. I remember...a winter. A church.”
“Our bonding ceremony?”
There was hope in Steve’s voice and Natasha really hoped Yasha didn’t crush it all.
“Maybe. I don’t know.”
Natasha heard Steve’s voice growing softer, more pleading as he spoke to James, “Let us help you. Nobody will hurt you. We can help you remember.”
“What if I don’t want to remember?”
“The nobody will force you to. We just want to help.”
He agreed and Natasha was not really surprised. Steve brought out something in him- a protective urge, a feeling of respect perhaps. He agreed to go to New York with them. Steve’s smile was infectious and Natasha could not help but smile as well.
Yasha kept glancing at her but did not say anything, Perhaps his brain was playing games. Maybe he remembered her, but he just couldn’t place her. Natasha did not mind. She wasn’t that important.
The days to come, James fit in just right at the tower. Clint could relate to the mind control thing, and he spent hours with James, God knows doing what. Thor was just happy with having a new person around and would grill Yasha nonstop. One day, when he stabbed Thor in annoyance, Thor merely smiled and laughed.
Bruce tried to stay away at first, but eventually got pulled in as he saw Bucky struggling. The two bonded over their alternate personalities.
Yasha treated Natasha like anyone else. Except for the one time he called her Natalia, there was no indication that he remembered the woman.
Tony, though, tried to completely ignore the other man. The two men first met each other three days after Bucky had arrived in the tower. Tony had stared at the man, and James had stared back. Without a word, Tony had left. The most Natasha had ever seen them interact was with a slight nod.
Steve tried to help James, but there was something missing in their bond. Perhaps the difference in their personalities, or maybe the time difference. Whatever it was, it put a strain on their relationship. The two were still friendly, but nothing more than that.
So it was surprising when one day Natasha entered the common floor to find Steve pressed into Bucky’s chest. Neither looked very comfortable, but it sure was an interesting view.
Steve’s eyes flew open and he turned an embarrassing shade of red. “Natasha, what- aren’t you supposed to be working?”
“I don’t work,” Natasha smirked, looking at an unfazed James and a babbling Steve, “And I really wanted to rest. But my place looks otherwise occupied.”
Steve turned a deep red colour as James said, “His heat is coming up. I should be here.”
Natasha just gave the couple thumbs up before walking away.
Four days later, Steve and Bucky were found very close to each other on the breakfast table. Apparently, the heat was the way to solve marriage problems? Whatever, as long as it didn’t concern Natasha she did not care.
Everybody was shocked at the sudden display of affection, but none commented. Clint gave them a foolish grin, only to go quiet once Yasha pulled out a knife from his pants. Bruce gave them a small smile and thankfully Thor was gone, or else there would be quite a rucksack.
Tony entered the kitchen, half asleep and ready to make his way to the workshop after getting his breakfast. Natasha and Steve wordlessly handed him his breakfast. James, Natasha observed, was looking at Tony curiously.
As soon as he was done, Tony jumped out of his place and was ready to go to his workshop when Yasha said, “Anthony.”
Everyone froze. The two men had never interacted before. James never spoke to Tony and Tony avoided the Alpha as much as he could. But he could not ignore when the man himself spoke his name.
Tony turned to James, a mask of indifference on his face. “Yes?”
But Yasha did not say anything. He continued to stare at Tony for almost a minute, before turning to Natasha. “Natasha.”
“That is my name.”
But James was not paying attention to her. He looked back at Tony and then at Natasha. Steve looked pale as James continued to look from one person to the other.
Just as Tony looked ready to call bullshit and walk away, James turned to Steve. “Anthony and Natasha Barnes. Our Anthony and Natasha?”
Natasha looked at James quizzically, before turning to look at Tony. He did not look any more informed about the situation. The two turned to Steve. But the Super Soldier refused to meet their eyes.
“Stevie,” James slightly shook Steve and Natasha could see pain fill James’ features. “Our Anthony and Natasha?”
“What is he talking about Cap?”
Steve closed his eyes, shaking as James held him. “Yes, Buck. Our Anthony and Natasha. Anthony and Natasha Barnes."
Yes, that's a cliffhanger! Do let me know what you think!
Chapter 3: Bucky
A walk through the memory lane.
(WARNING: WILL DEAL WITH SOME TORTURE. NOTHING GRAPHIC, BUT IT MIGHT BE TRIGGERING)
So this has to be the longest chapter I have ever written. I crossed 7k words! that's something for a woman who is panting in 1k words. Thank you for all your comments! I can't believe you like this so much!
Also, this chapter is kinda painful. So, if I am missing any tag, please do let me know!
For James ‘Bucky’ Barnes, family was Christmas mornings trying to share one small piece of meat among his father, his mother, his sister and him, and saving enough piece for Steve Rogers and his ma Sarah when he saw them next. Family was the sickly boy from Brooklyn who was too dumb to back down from a fight but who would mother anyone else who would do stupidity.
Bucky always knew what a hypocritical guy Steve was-he wouldn’t want anybody else to do something stupid or something which would land them in trouble, yet every other day found him stashed in one alleyway or the other. On good days, Bucky was able to sweep in and save the guy before he was on his ass for being a punk. On worse days, Bucky would have to carry Steve all through the neighbourhood in his arms and clean his wounds before another infection happened.
Normally, omega guys like Steve would get hateful stares for being freaks of nature, but nobody spared him a glance. For one, nobody wanted to fight with Bucky- he might be a charmer and polite, but he could pull some mean punches and rather hateful words. He got that from his mother. Mrs Barnes had no time for your nosy little problems and gossips. Second of all, Steve had been bonded from the moment he turned into an Omega. He hadn’t been a Rogers in years, not since the day he had passed out in hospital after being presented as an Omega. Steve Barnes had left the hospital, a bonded Omega, using Rogers only where necessary. Everybody knew saying anything to Omegas was the worst judge of character you could have.
“You know Steve, you should be glad I am your Alpha,” James said late one night after rescuing Steve from another one of his fights. Nobody might try and attack the idiot, but who said Steve could not invite fights? “Any other guy would be shitting his pants looking at these bruises. You can’t stay out of trouble, can ya Punk?”
Steve hissed as Bucky touched the bruise that had formed on Steve’s face. “He was being mean to Lily. She is just a girl, not ever presented. Why would someone harass her?”
Bucky snorted, “And you had to save her because there are no eligible Alphas who could save her.”
Steve glared at the man before angrily slapping his hands away and walking out of the room.
“Ouch! Stevie! What the hell did I say now?”
The younger Omega merely huffed. Bucky could hear him mumbling to himself. Shaking his head, Bucky tuned in the radio and began setting up the bed for the night.
And that was when the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor came.
Joseph Rogers was a proud Alpha who had served in the First World War and died for his country. Bucky knew that Steve had exactly the same plans.
“Ma can’t lose both her sons.”
“I will make sure she doesn’t lose either.”
“Someone needs to be back home!”
“For the non-existent children, we will never be able to have because I am sick to carry them? Sure, Buck!”
“You are too sick.”
“I haven’t been sick in ages!”
“They won’t let an Omega fight.”
“Watch me do it anyway.”
And in the end, Bucky had to accept the fact that Steve wouldn’t listen to him. He would get his ninety-pound asthmatic self in the war and knowing Steve, he would probably make it out alive. That still did not ease Bucky’s nerves. He had loved the fella since forever and losing him...every time they even came close to the possibility of losing him, Bucky broke.
So Bucky watched as Steve got rejected from one place to another. Bucky did not even try, he did not have to. He was drafted as soon as it was needed. Being one of the strongest Alphas of the place had its cons.
Even the day Bucky got his orders, he found Steve in an alleyway about to get beaten up. When Steve saw him in uniform, Bucky could see the pride but also the loss. He just pulled Steve, messing his hair before loudly proclaiming they were going to see the future.
Steve, being Steve, of course, tried to enlist there as well. What was surprising was Steve coming out of the place with the widest grin he had ever seen on the guy’s face.
“I got enlisted Bucky. I am going off to war.”
While Bucky was happy that Steve got what he wanted, his protective side urged him to just wrap Steve up and keep him safe in his home. Instead, Bucky pulled Steve in for the most passionate kiss he could, wondering if this would be goodbye.
War was not fun and Bucky had no doubts about it. The training had been horrible, the war was even worse. They never slept and every moment seemed like a lifetime. Bucky couldn’t write to Steve simply because he had no idea where the punk was. Omega men were still considered unnatural in the army and so Bucky kept quiet. If asked he had anyone back home, he would just nod and give them a secretive smile.
The real problem came about six months later when his unit was captured by HYDRA. They were all shoved together and forced to work. Had it not been a war and Bucky was a normal worker in the factory, he would have been losing his mind over the technological advancement of the place. The guns were brilliant, powered by some sort of cube. The machinery was well ahead of what America had to offer. In short, it was amazingly terrible.
What was even worse was that every time an Alpha was taken from their unit, they never came back. The men knew it was only a matter of time before they were all dead. But it didn’t help when they dragged Bucky away.
He was strapped down on a bed, injected with God knows what. He could hear whispers, but nothing made sense.
And then came the pain. His veins were on fire, spreading through his body like wildfire. He screamed his throat dry, but it did not stop. He tried moving, but no amount of thrashing helped him. It felt like years before the pain finally stopped.
“The first test was a success,” said the small guy, who was called Zola.
“Like every time,” said the guy, the huge baddy. What was his name again?
“This will work sir.”
“It better does.”
As the two men left, Bucky realized he was losing it. He needed something to ground him. He needed to remember who he was.
And that was how Steve found him.
“I thought you were dead.”
Bucky looked up and down at the man before him. “I thought you were smaller.”
Steve merely smiled and Bucky knew that yeah, this was his Steve all right. As he pulled Bucky away, he couldn’t help but ask, “What happened to you?”
“I joined the army.”
As if that answered all his questions. “Did it hurt?”
“A little,” This translated to ‘my body was on fire and I was probably ready to die’.
“Is it permanent?”
“So let me get this straight!”
Steve winced as soon as Bucky started speaking.
“You went through a science experiment that technically led to the making of Schmidt, almost got killed, worked as a dancing monkey for the government, went behind the enemy lines against orders and using FREAKING PROPS AND WITHOUT ANY BACKUP!!!!”
By the time he finished, Steve was sitting on the cot with his head hung down and Bucky was towering over him. “Is that right?”
Steve slowly nodded, before looking up with his puppy dog eyes. “I had to do it, Buck.”
Throwing up his hands in exasperation, Bucky kicked the other cot in the tent. “You, Mr Barnes, have a fucking illness called stupidity. I don’t there’s any damn cure for that!”
Smiling slightly, Steve looked up at Bucky. “I am really sorry Buck.”
Bucky continued to glare at the younger man. Standing up, Steve walked up to Bucky and pulled him close. He hid his face in Bucky’s neck, mumbling ‘sorry’ and ‘you know I love ya jerk’.
What even was his life? Sighing, Bucky wrapped his arms around Steve. Steve might be taller, but Bucky was the Alpha.
Steve would give his ass quite a whipping if he ever heard Bucky say that.
“Captain Rogers, I must- Oh! Oh, dear! Oh dear Lord, I am sorry! I will come back later.”
Peggy Carter was gone as soon as she had come inside the tent. Steve was blushing red as Bucky arched an eyebrow. “Does she know I am your Alpha?”
“She knows I am bonded,” mumbled Steve, hiding his face in Bucky’s chest which was quite difficult. “Shit, Philips will have my head for this now.”
“Nah, I will be there to protect your stupid ass.”
Everyone had their qualms about an Omega leading a unit into the battle, yet the Howling Commandoes were formed and Bucky was more than eager to serve under his mate. He never doubted Steve would be an awesome leader. When he lead the team from one win to another, everybody who had a problem with an Omega leading a unit had their mouth shut. Soon, his biological orientation was all but forgotten.
But the world had a way to fuck up Steve’s life. Bucky knew that well enough.
Ever since enlisting, Steve had had a total of two heats. The first one was back on camp and it lasted a day. Being sick meant Steve was never exactly experienced the whole thing and it was often irregular. The second one, however, hit right in the middle of a fight.
Steve, being Steve, never really understood he was experiencing a heat till he was back at camp and on his bed. Bucky knew it immediately and rushed to his side. For four days, The Howling Commandoes worked on their own as their Captain withered in pain and pleasure.
It was no longer a secret who Captain America was bonded to.
“Had a nice few days, did ya, Sarge?” Dum Dum said the morning Bucky finally came out of a tent. “Could hear you and Captain all the way to our tent.”
As the boys snickered, Bucky sent them a dirty glare. “Have some sympathy, you absolute bastards. Do ya know what Steve was going through?”
“On that note,” Dernier spoke up, “How long have the two of you been, you know, that way?”
“You mean bonded?” Bucky raised an eyebrow. “Since he presented.”
Jacques whistled and the others laughed. It was nothing different it didn’t change much. They were still a team. It was going to be just fine.
It changed everything.
They were back at the base and Steve was continuously tired. Bucky all but ordered him to take rest as the boys laughed and headed to a bar.
When they came back late at night, Bucky was greeted with a punch in the face.
“What the hell Steve?!!”
But Steve looked stoic, his eyes red and his breathing heavy. Bucky could not understand what happened before Steve turned and stormed away. Bucky tried to follow, but Agent Carter stopped him. She looked furious, ready to kill if she was allowed.
“It would be better if you did not go after him, Sergeant Barns. He needs comfort right now.”
Bucky growled at the Omega. “I am his fucking Alpha. I think I will be the biggest comfort he is going to get.”
Peggy’s face turned into a grimace. “Trust me, you are the last person he needs right now.”
Steve was pregnant.
There was no way Bucky or Steve or anybody could have known that the serum would make him fertile. Maybe he always was, but his sickness prevented him from carrying. It didn’t matter now, because Steve was pregnant now and he had a war to fight.
Steve blamed him. Bucky blamed Steve. Philips blamed both of them. Peggy was just unsure as in how to react.
“We will support you whatever your decision, Cap,” Dum Dum said as the team sat in Howard’s hotel room. “If you want to retire, it’s fine. If you want to give up the kid, we are here. Don’t let Philips’ madness get to you.”
Steve remained silent. Bucky watched him from the other side of the room as Peggy ran soothing circles on Steve’s back.
“No offence boys,” Howard spoke up, “But we have a war to win. And the fact remains that you all are the only team which has even gotten close to these HYDRA scum.”
“So we continue to fight,” Dernier said, “but we gotta give Cap a rest.”
“Cap is the only person who can defeat Schmidt.”
“Well, we have to find another way!”
Steve stood up, silencing everyone. He did not spare a glance to anyone before storming out of the room into the balcony. Peggy stood up to go after him, but Bucky was faster. He gave a quick glance around the room, warning everyone to stay behind before following the Omega.
Steve was leaning over the railing, crouching down. Bucky bent on his side, watching Steve carefully.
“I always wanted a family, you know,” Steve did not look at Bucky but played with the Bond scar on his neck. “Watching you and Winnie and Becca and George, I always wanted that. But knowing my health, I knew I never could have it. Then I presented and you just decided that I was the one for ya. Honestly, I could not have asked for a better friend or a better Bond-mate. It felt so good, to be a part of the family. But I could see the looks Winnie gave me whenever someone asked about grandkids.”
Sighing, Steve buried his face in his hand. “I don’t what to do Buck. These guys need me and I know I can end this war. But I want this as well. I want a family with you and the kid.”
Bucky moved closer, putting a hand on Steve’s back. Steve instantly scooted closer to Barnes’ figure.
“When I was there, Steve, they put something in me,” Bucky muttered, slow enough for only Steve to hear, “I don’t know what it did, but if I have to guess I will say it is kind of serum. Perhaps from Schmidt. I have no freaking idea. I just know I can hear better now, I can see better and I am hell lot stronger than I was before.”
Sighing, Bucky said, “Ma is going to give me an earful when she heard I suggested this plan, but hear me out. Fight as long as you are not showing, we will take care. Once you begin to show, I can put on the costume. Captain America missing might raise some eyebrows, but Sergeant Barnes is still just a part of the team. With the two of us working together, we finish this war fast and we return home with the kid. I will convince Philips and whoever I need to talk to, and we can make this work. We can have the kid and we can win this damn war.”
By the time Bucky finished, Steve was silently crying in his arms. “I want it both, Buck. I want it both.”
Philips was not easily convinced, but by the display of Bucky’s strength, Peggy and Howard’s insistence and the team’s agreement, he relented. A nurse was appointed, someone who promised to remain quiet about the whole ordeal.
And thus passed the months. Steve worked as long as he could, before giving the shield to Bucky. They had to stage a faux attack on Bucky because there needed to be a solid reason why Sergeant Barnes was suddenly off duty.
It was after a tedious mission in May when Barnes returned back with the team, hoping to relax when he found the camp in a state of rush.
“Steve is in labour. It’s very bad,” Was all that Peggy offered before running off to the tent.
Bucky wanted to follow Steve, but he was stalled back by the boys. From the reports, if Steve saw Bucky anywhere near him, he would punch the guy in the face. Nobody would really blame him.
The evening turned to night and Steve’s screams filled the area. It took everything for Bucky to not barge into the tent and hold Steve’s hand as he went through it all.
It was at 6:43 a.m. on the 29th of May that the screams of a child overshadowed Steve’s screams. Bucky thought he had known love, but hearing the sound of a child, the sound of his child, well, that was something else.
There were shouts, there were noises and suddenly Peggy was hugging Barnes.
“Congratulations, Barnes. You have a son and a daughter.”
He was all but shoved inside the tent, where Steve lay on the bed, his arms occupied by two small bundles of white. He had never been so much in love with a sight before. This was his family. The family he had always wanted.
Steve’s voice was so hoarse and so tired and so happy and so hopeful. Bucky slowly moved towards the bed, unable to believe the two children in Steve’s arms were theirs.
“She has your hair,” Bucky murmured, touching the girl’s toes. Steve chuckled, nodding. “And he has yours. Perfect, I say.”
“Yeah,” Bucky sniffed, looking at the two sleeping babies. “Perfect indeed.”
Everyone was pushed inside the tent by noon. Even Philips and Howard were there. Everybody wanted to see the two little Barnes. Bucky proudly held their daughter as Steve played with their son. Howard had already proclaimed himself the Godfather of the boy while Peggy was ready to do the same for the girl. Even Philips had mustered up a rare smile, making faces at the young girl in Bucky’s arms.
“Hey Sarge, Cap!” Gabe shouted, gaining everyone’s attention, “Are we just going to call them Junior or do we have a name for such lovelies?”
Steve laughed, looking at their son. “His name’s Anthony and her name’s Natasha. Anthony and Natasha Barnes.”
“Barnes?” Peggy raised an eyebrow. “Not Rogers?”
Bucky grinned. “Legally, Ma’am, even this guy is Barnes. It’s another matter he never uses the name.”
Sticking out his tongue, Steve laughed, wrinkles appearing as he closed his eyes. It was a good day, a day which would always be in everyone’s memories.
“Buck, I think something is wrong with the babies.”
Bucky looked up at Steve as he watched the twins sleep in their crib.
Steve looked at Bucky, trembling slightly. “It’s been three months. James says they should have grown by now. But they still look like newborns. I am really worried Buck.”
Bucky knew exactly what Steve was talking about. The babies, while healthy, did not show any sign of growth. Sure, there were small indications, but they just did not grow. It did not take a genius to figure out that this was probably the serum’s work, even if it was Howard who had told Bucky that.
“Hey, Steve,” Bucky wrapped his arms around his Omega, pressing a kiss on his cheek. “Nothing’s wrong with them. James is an idiot. Gabe said that all babies grow according to their own paces. Don’t worry.”
Steve nodded but did not look convinced. Bucky pulled him closer and smiled. “We will be going back soon anyway. Ma knows a ton of good doctors. We will get them checked by someone.”
The fact that they will be soon going back made Steve smile a bit. “Hmm, perhaps we could go over Eriksen's notes. We might find something there.”
Bucky nodded, pulling Steve into a passionate kiss. They would soon be back home, and even if they would have to come back, the twins would be back in Brooklyn with their grandparents. Everything will be fine.
As Bucky fell into the ravine, looking at Steve for one last time, he knew this was not how everything was supposed to be.
When Bucky woke up, there was an excruciating pain on his left side. He tried to open his eyes, but he realized there was a cloth over his eyes. He could not feel his left hand. His legs were tied. His whole body was bound.
“Hello, Sergeant Barnes. It has been a long time.”
Zola. Bucky would recognize that voice anywhere.
“It has been six months since you were thrown into a ravine. Technically, you should not be alive. But it seems the serum did work for you.”
Six months? Did what...what happen to Steve? The team?
“I think you would like to know what happened. Well, this will be the only time you will hear about it all. America won, but I was recruited by one of your very own. Captain America dived his plane into the Arctic and as of now, is dead. So are you. Now, we shall proceed.”
Bucky did not even have time to cry for his mate before the needle was injected into his body and then all he knew was pain.
The cloth was lifted, but it was not of any help. They put Bucky into a machine every day. It fried his brains. He did not have a hand. He was forgetting.
He forgot where he lived.
He forgot the taste of his mother’s pies.
He forgot Steve’s smile.
He forgot what Anthony and Natasha smelled like.
He was forgetting.
He was Bucky Barnes. He was a soldier. He was an American. He was not a toy for HYDRA.
But every time they put him on the chair, it became harder to remember that. He never followed what they said, he would never. But he was not able to escape either.
Zola told him it had been two years. His mind could only tell him that he had missed two years of his children’s lives.
When Bucky next opened his eyes, the room was empty. He was not strapped. He did not feel too much pain.
He was never left alone.
Silently sitting up, Bucky looked around. Why would Zola leave him alone? Why would he suddenly be left alone? Was this a trick? Did they forget about him? Could he run?
But where would he run? Where was he?
Who was he?
A cry pulled him out of his thought. Bucky saw a crib he had missed earlier in the corner. No, two cribs.
Somehow managing to stand up, Bucky frowned. Why was there a child with him?
Feeling dizzy, he began to walk towards them. How long had it been since they fed him? Did he even eat anymore?
As he reached closer, Bucky realized he knew the smell. It was different from the last time, there was a tinge of the artificial flower there. But it was the same.
Finally reaching the cot, Bucky looked inside. And his heart stopped.
There was a boy of perhaps six months. Hair brown like his, his eyes like Becca’s.
Who was Becca?
The girl had golden hair, hair that belonged to Steve.
Who was Steve?
They were his children. Bucky did not know how or where or when, but they were his children.
Falling to his knees, he looked at the two children through the rails. The two stared back at him with interest. The girl tried to reach out for him. The boy fought with her before crawling up to the rail and touching Bucky’s face with his chubby fingers.
Anthony and Natasha Barnes. His children.
“Evening, Sergeant Barnes.”
Bucky recoiled, immediately throwing himself between the children and the doctor as he entered with a number of soldiers behind him. Zola merely smiled, stopping the soldiers from moving forward.
“I always wondered why Howard Stark was so interested in these children and why Agent Carter was so protective of them. A little blood work proved they belonged to you.”
“Don’t hurt them,” Bucky rasped out, his voice hoarse. “Please.”
“Oh, I am not a monster,” Zola said with a sinister smile. “I will not harm those poor children.”
Bucky really did not agree to what they said, but nodded.
“If you comply with what we say.”
There was never another fight put up as Bucky was dragged to the chair. He never complained when they put him through immense torture. He never said a word as they trained him for hours. He never screamed when they gave him his new arm. He did not try to hurt anyone when they pushed and prodded him.
He never did anything against their wishes so that he could spend two hours every week with his children.
Anthony was like him. He loved to work. At two, he would make huge buildings from the building block they gave him. James would always break them and smile when the little boy would squeal and begin to work on it again.
Natasha liked to run around. She would climb on top of James and giggle when he touched her with his metal arm. She would love to play around with him.
James never once against their wishes. For the two hours, he would get with his children, it was all worth it.
The first time that the Winter Soldier went against the wishes of his seniors, he would lose his son.
He was tasked to kill a man and He did so without question. There should be no witness alive.
But when he saw the small child in the bedroom, Winter Soldier could not kill him. He was too much like Anthony.
When Winter Soldier reported back to the base, he was put under the chair again and put under longer than necessary.
When he went back to his room, only Natasha was seen. He sat down beside the girl and asked, “Where’s your brother?”
Natasha pointed towards the door. Winter Soldier turned to see a disappointed Zola. “Where’s the boy?”
“I promised you no harm would come to the children if you comply. You failed to comply.”
He was too broken to react, to understand what had happened. But he knew it was bad.
As years passed and the girl grew up, the Soldier forgot who she was. He felt good when he was around her, but he forgot why she was so important.
So when one day, he heard Zola and a soldier plan to take her away, he did not say anything. According to Zola, “She was a way to control his mind. Now, we have trigger words. She is no longer needed. You can dispose of her or perhaps, give her as a gift to the KGB.”
The Winter Soldier never failed anyone again, not until in Portugal, when he had to put a bullet through a deflected Black Widow. When he saw her, her roots turning slightly golden, her stance just like a sickly boy he had known before he was a soldier, the Soldier gave up and walked up to the base.
The Soldier’s life was easy. He got a mission, he killed the people, he came back to his base and then he went to sleep.
A part of him wished he would never wake up, but he did.
Sometime later, there was a new handler. Pierce, they called him.
His face was too familiar, his smile known to him. Somehow, the Soldier never had a problem working for him.
He saw as his handler got older and he was required less and less. There were lesser chances of his failure. He did once stopped for a moment when he saw a redhead, but it only took a moment of deflection before he put a bullet through her stomach. He knew that he did not need to eliminate all the witnesses.
The real challenge came when he had to kill the guy. Nick Fury.
Killing him was not a problem. Eliminating the others proved to be a challenge.
The man who threw a shield knew how to put a mean punch. The girl was familiar with his style. The other man, well, he was not as brilliant as him.
But the man and the woman. It was not a fight with them. It was a dance. A dance that both parties knew the steps of.
The man did not realize it. The woman did.
When the mask came off, he saw the surprise on the man’s face. “Bucky?”
The Soldier knew that name, but he was confused. “Who the hell is Bucky?”
They started the fight again, but the man did not raise his hand again. He watched in shock as the Soldier continued to fight. Even after he disappeared, the man would continue to haunt the Soldier.
They had to wipe him.
It was on the helicarrier that he saw the man again. The man brought memories of dirty alleyways and a messy tent. He brought the warmth of a summer evening and the fear of a winter night. He brought the scent of two babies who once were the pivot in him turning into the Winter Soldier.
They fought again, like a dance. Except, the Soldier was more aggressive and the man almost seemed ready to die.
The more he hit the man, the more memories surfaced. Memories of bruises over the eyes, memories of nights when he would be snuggling with someone, memories of cleaning someone’s wounds.
“You know me,” he rasped and the Soldier punched him.
“No, I don’t!”
It was too painful. Years of words, years of memories he had suppressed or was suppressed was being brought back. Memories of Brooklyn, of hospital beds.
A memory of a bright day in a tent when he held two small bundles of joy in his hand.
He was the Winter Soldier.
He was the hand of HYDRA.
He was an assassin.
He was a machine.
“I am with you till the end of the line.”
He was James Buchanan Barnes.
He was a soldier of America.
He was Steve’s Rogers Bond-mate.
He was a father, a husband, a son and a brother.
His name used to be Bucky. But he did not feel like Bucky Barnes.
He used to be the Winter Soldier. But he wasn’t that anymore.
He was James. A veteran. A man who was trying to figure life out. A man who was responsible for his son’s death. A man who had lost his daughter because he did not remember.
A man who had almost killed his own Bond-mate.
A man out of time.
Romania was good. Nobody cared as long as he could get the work done. He was a small space, with a kitchen and plenty of notebooks. He worked in a factory and nobody cared.
He was getting memories, of Bucky and of the Winter Soldiers. Some nights were filled with his Ma’s lullaby, some with the screams of his victims. Some nights brought back the smell of freshly baked pie and some brought the smell of the base.
It was not perfect, but it was there. He had a memory that told him Romania was important. But why, he could never figure out.
One fine day, when he found a note under his door, James thought this was the end. But the handwriting was similar. It was asking him to meet in a café.
It seemed that Steve had found him.
It did not take a lot of persuasion from their side. James wanted to be close to Steve. Perhaps he could one day tell Steve that he had lost their children, but not now.
Natalia was there. James remembered Natalia. Not completely, because they had wiped his mind completely after her.
The tower was good- a lot of people and good security. There was an AI which ran the place. Machines sometimes were more reliable than humans.
The members were open to him as well. James enjoyed the time. Tony Stark was the only person who seemed wary of him, but James understood that. He remembered killing Howard and Maria Stark. Tony probably knew.
He remembered killing everyone. It was not easy. He used to be a good man, but he was not anymore. Steve wanted him to be Bucky, but he was not Bucky.
He tried to stay friendly with the Omega, but Steve wanted more. He would never say that never indicate otherwise, but James knew. Perhaps that was why they were such a good match.
It was over a month after he had come to Tower when a scent hit him. Biology said that only a mate could scent their mate’s heat.
Steve was in heat.
James found the man on the common floor’s couch, holding his stomach and crouching in pain. This was wrong. Steve had the serum. He should not be in pain.
Steve looked up, tears running down his face. “Are you okay?”
“Jesus fucking Christ!” Steve moaned. “All right, listen to me. I can’t do this right now. I can’t be a good guy and a good friend here. Unless you plan on helping me with this torturous time, I would say get away from here. I will punch you in the fucking face if you make me think about this, Barnes.”
James blinked owlishly. He knew Heats were supposed to be painful but were they always this bad? He should be helping Steve.
Without a word, James walked up to the couch. He picked up the super soldier, ignoring his squeal and laid the man down on his chest.
“What the hell Bucky!”
“I am trying to help.”
The position was uncomfortable, and they could really work with a bed. But Steve needed to be in a better condition if he wanted to go to his floor and for that, he needed to relax. Which is where the Alpha came in.
Steve mumbled something before closing his eyes and leading James’ flesh hand to his stomach. It felt nice.
The doors opened and Natasha decided that moment to enter. She was momentarily taken aback at their position but smirked soon after.
Steve opened his eyes and James could feel is an embarrassment. “Natasha, what- aren’t you supposed to be working?”
Steve was clearly uncomfortable, but Natasha was enjoying it. “I don’t work, and I really wanted to rest. But my place looks otherwise occupied.”
James sincerely said, “His heat is coming up. I should be here.”
Steve was probably turning red and Natasha gave them thumbs up and walked away. Steve let out a breath, before looking up at James.
“Yes?” James did not bother to correct him.
“Please take me to our room. I don’t want anyone seeing us like this.”
For four days, James and Steve stayed together in Steve’s room. James never crossed a line, did nothing that would make things uncomfortable. Steve would tell him what to do and James would comply.
On the last night, the Alpha and the Omega slept side by side, Steve’s head on James’ chest as he played with Steve’s hair. It was nice, serene. It was like all those years ago in Brooklyn.
“What do you remember?”
James thought about what he remembered. It was confusing, but there were things that he did remember. What should he tell Steve?
“I remembered the Bonding Ceremony and the fact that you almost died right before it.”
Steve smiled sleepily, nudging James to go on.
“I remember two babies. Our babies.”
Steve froze. James did too. He did not know if he could tell Steve that they were both gone, that James was probably the reason they were dead.
“They would have been all grown up by now,” James added, wistfully. How old would they be? When James had seen them after two years, they looked six months old.
“They have,” whispered Steve, a tear slipping out his eyes, “and we never got to know them. They grew up in a world without us.”
James did not correct him. Did not bother telling Steve that they were probably dead.
“I never knew them...” Steve whispered, holding on to James. “If only I had chosen one. I was the one who wanted to win a war and have children. If I had chosen one...this would have never happened.”
James did not know what to say. So he just held Steve tightly and let him cry through the night.
The next day Steve felt good enough to go to Breakfast. So James followed as well. Barton was being an idiot, but he shut up once James whipped out his knife. Banner looked happy for them and James felt happy as well. He liked being near Steve. Maybe he thought too much.
James froze when Stark entered the room. Natasha and Steve almost immediately fell into a routine, handing him breakfast like they had done it million times before.
Perhaps it was the conversation of the night before, or maybe it was seeing Tony so close for the first time, but James noticed something. The man had his hair.
It was a very common kind of hair, nothing over the top. But it caught James’ attention. When Tony opened his eyes, they were familiar. The way he behaved on the morning table reminded James of himself before the War. When he was a kid.
And the way Natasha took care of him, moving around like Steve used to, it was almost surreal. One more time, James spotted Natasha’s hair turning golden at the roots. Almost the same golden as Steve.
Tony Stark, the son of Howard Stark. Genius. Billionaire. Futurist. He appeared out of nowhere a few years after Howard’s wedding to his wife Maria. The news lost it, wondering how could Stark keep his son hidden for so long.
Tony Stark. Anthony Edward Stark.
Did James say that out loud? Perhaps he did.
But this was Stark’s son. Wasn’t it? Or could it be...Zola never said he killed his son. James was the one being punished. Taking the children away forever- yes, that was a harsh punishment.
Wait. If Anthony was here, then...
“That is my name.”
There was always something familiar about her. And she had been in KGB. It could not be now, could it? Zola had said they could gift her to KGB. Did they really do it? Was this it then?
Steve was pale. Steve knew. Steve said they had grown up in a world without them.
“Anthony and Natasha Barnes,” it felt weird saying those names out. He turned to Steve. It couldn’t be true, could it? Anthony and Natasha are common names, aren’t they? “Our Anthony and Natasha?”
Steve did not say anything but James knew he was close to having a breakdown. He should not probe. Steve just had heat.
“Stevie,” he shook his Omega, desperate for answers. Was it possible that his children were after all, alive? “Our Anthony and Natasha?”
“What is he talking about, Cap?”
Steve closed his eyes like he would do when he was too overwhelmed. “Yes, Buck. Our Anthony and Natasha. Anthony and Natasha Barnes.”
James let out a breath he was holding, dropping Steve’s hands. A part of his brain told him he needed to comfort his mate right now because he was overwhelmed, but then so was he.
Looking up, James saw the faces. Yes, he could imagine that chubby kid who loved to play with building blocks growing into this man. He could see the little girl who loved to run around grow into the master spy and assassin.
How long had it been? How old were they? Fuck, they should be close to seventy. But...they looked thirty, forty at max. Was it Eriksen's serum? Or was it his? Or was it the mixture of both?
“What the fuck?”
Everybody turned to Anthony- Tony, he went by Tony. James did not raise him and neither did Steve. He was raised by Howard, his Godfather. Was Howard a good Godfather?
“I actually have the same question,” Banner said slowly, looking at Natasha’s confused and Tony’s shocked face, “Steve, what are you two talking about?”
Steve’s breath hitched. He had been crying all this while. “It’s a really long story.”
“Give me the short version!” Tony all but demanded. “Cap, you just called me and Natasha Barnes. That’s your lover boy’s title. Did you hit your head? JARVIS, run a check on our lovely old Captain. He must be missing something, he looks-”
Tony stopped as Steve looked up, finally meeting his eyes. There was a different kind of desperation in his eyes, a pain that James did not understand.
Taking a deep breath, Steve said, “The short version is that Bucky is your Alpha parent and I am your Omega parent. You and Natasha were born on 29th May 1944 in England. Howard and Peggy took care of you after Bucky and I...You two disappeared two years later and when Howard next found you, he adopted you to save you from future kidnappings. Natasha somehow landed with the KGB and only Peggy knew who she was after Clint brought her in through blood work.”
Silence enveloped the kitchen. Bruce looked really uncomfortable, Clint was beside Natasha whose face remained stoic and Tony looked like he was ready to believe anything else.
“Okay, first problem. That would mean that Natasha and I are siblings which I would have known. Second, that would make me over fifty. I am still a young man, Cap, don’t make me question my age.”
“It’s the serum,” Steve whispered, “The serum doesn’t age you like a normal person. It’s the reason why I was frozen, it’s the reason why Bucky survived. I don’t know how it exactly works but...”
“How long have you known?”
The attention turned to Natasha. She looked furious and if James had not been an enhanced soldier, he would be running for his life.
“How long have you known, Steve?”
Steve gulped, sniffling. “I found out about Tony after I came out of the ice. Howard had left a letter. Peggy told me about you after my first heat. I understood why Tony smelt familiar, but I did not understand why you did so. Peggy explained who you were and that’s when I found out.”
“And when were you planning on telling us?”
Everyone looked at Steve. He did not say a word.
“You never planned on telling us, did you?” Natasha stood up from her seat, towering over the two super soldiers. At that moment, James could swear she was his daughter. “You would have kept quiet about us, about this all...”
“Wait, you believe him?”
Natasha turned to Tony, eyes ablaze in fury. “I always wondered why I remembered a long life. I always thought why I aged so slowly. Everybody in my program was either ageing too fast and I was left behind. I was the only one who was trained extensively. Tell me you don’t remember having a painfully long childhood.”
Tony opened his mouth, but no argument came out. “I was never too old for MIT.”
He looked at Steve and James, shaking. “Aunt Peggy always said my father did not hate me. I thought she was talking about Howard. No, she was talking about the two of you.”
Throwing up his hands in defeat, Tony laughed. “My Alpha parents killed my adoptive parents. Wow. But I still don’t believe this. JARVIS, do you have all our blood samples?”
There was a moment before JARVIS spoke up. “Everyone’s blood samples retrieved.”
“Run DNA tests. How long before we know for sure?”
“It would take me five minutes, sir.”
James was really impressed by the AI.
Those were painfully long five minutes during which Steve refused to look up. Natasha kept glaring the man as Tony babbled to himself. James wanted to hold Steve’s hands, but he did not know if that was acceptable.
“Results found, sir.”
Everyone jumped as JARVIS spoke up. Seeing that neither Tony or Natasha were going to ask, Bruce looked up at the ceiling and said, “And what does it say JARVIS?”
“Captain Rogers is telling the truth, Sir. He and Sergeant Barnes are your and Miss Romanoff’s biological parents. There are indeed samples of serum in your blood.”
Natasha stomped out of the room Clint following behind her. Tony looked like he wanted to say something, but decided against it and went to his workshop, Bruce following behind. It was then that Steve finally broke down.
Chapter 4: Steve
Steve muses about his life...
Here it is! The last chapter.
Warning: There might be some depressing thoughts for some people. Sorry if it is triggering.
Now, I am Steve Rogers fan and while critical reviews are welcomes, please do not bash him after this. I know many of you want to and many are Team Iron Man and what not, but please.
No Beta, sorry, all mistakes are mine
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
For Steven Grant Rogers Barnes, family was a very vague concept. He never knew his father who had died in the Great War. His wonderful Mother worked overtime to make ends meet and to give him some food. He had no siblings, nor any relatives.
For him, family was and always will be Bucky Barnes.
They had met in a school playground where Steve was ready to take out three guys older and stronger than him. He was his knight in the shining armour. And truly, wasn’t he exactly that? If Steve began to count the number of times Bucky had saved his life, he would not stop talking ever. Whether it was a physical fight or an emotional one, whether it was bonding with his stupid ass at sixteen or letting him cry over Sarah Roger’s death. Bucky was always there.
George Barnes always disapproved- a male Omega who couldn’t bear pups. What kind of an Omega was he?
Winfried Barnes was quick and smart and loved him like his own. But the longing stares at the grandchildren of the world made Steve worthless.
Rebecca was young, naïve and an Omega whose life was set in stone. She never questioned her stance, not like Steve.
In the end, it was always Bucky.
Steve could count the life-changing moments he had on his hands. There was meeting Bucky, getting the serum, having his two wonderful, beautiful, pups, losing Bucky, diving the plane, waking up seventy years too late, finding his pups were alive and finding that Bucky was alive.
It was far too much for a guy who had still to get thirty.
And then there was the fact that he, being an idiot, did not tell Anthony or Natasha who they really were.
Real Fantastic, Rogers, real smooth.
“Yes, Captain Rogers?”
Steve was well aware of the fact that the AI was in fact not in the ceiling. But it felt odd talking to an empty room, so why not look at the cameras?
“Is Tony in his workshop?”
There was a moment of silence before AI finally spoke up.
“Sir has clearly asked me to not give you access to any of his personal rooms. He has also advised you to stay clear if you do not wish to be hurt in any form.”
Giving the AI a tight smile, Steve nodded. Of course, Tony was angry. He had every right to be. Steve had hidden his parentage from him.
Even if it was an awkward topic to broach.
“Is Natasha in the gym?”
Steve had spent a lot more time with Natasha than with Tony. She was a smart woman. She would understand, surely.
“Miss Romanoff has already told me multiple ways to kill a man and hide his body, Captain Rogers. She is currently sparring Thor, who surprisingly seems to be losing today.”
Which basically meant he should steer clear of the gym. All right, he could do that.
It had only been a week after all.
“Thank you JARVIS.”
Only a week.
It was two a.m. at night and another nightmare of cold water was enough to pull him out of the bed. As it was, nobody was there for him. Bucky was sleeping soundly in his room and Steve knew it would be utterly selfish for him to wake Bucky up. Natasha was still pissed and if the widow bite from the last mission was anything to go by, she was seriously in a mood to kill him. His access to the workshop had been taken away. In fact, his access to any of Tony’s floors was taken away.
Steve understood exactly why they behaved the way they did. They were ignoring him completely, refusing to address him as a teammate or a Captain. On missions, Iron Man led one team with Natasha and Clint while Steve led the other with Bruce and Thor.
It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.
They were angry.
As he punched the bag, Steve could not help but think. What was he supposed to do? How could he just tell Tony that he was his Omega parent? For Christ’s sake, he did not even know that Natasha was his Natasha until after his first heat in this new century.
“I still have some contact in SHIELD,” Peggy had said when he had asked her, “When Baron brought her in, everyone was suspicious. She was enhanced. We already knew that Russians were trying to replicate the serum. A little blood work wouldn’t have hurt, surely?”
Steve had sighed, rubbing his temples. “Who knows?”
“Nobody,” Peggy murmured, smiling slightly. “I had the tests done very carefully. The doctor was killed a few months later on a mission, there is no way he could have known.”
None of this justified him keeping the secrets. Steve was well aware of it. Landing another punch on the bag, Steve sighed. He should have told them. Maybe it would have been surprising, maybe they would have refused to believe him, but at least it wouldn’t have come to this.
Everyone agreed with Tony and Natasha. They were right to do so. Steve had messed up big this time. Clint had of course sided with Natasha, Bruce gave Steve that looks before going with Tony and Thor’s speech had to hurt the most.
Steve punched the bag harder, anger surging up and replacing the guilt. He was 26! Everybody joked about him being a hundred and it was very funny apparently! He had crashed the plane in the Arctic, knowing he would never see his children again, knowing Bucky was gone forever, knowing he would never have a normal life.
Instead, he woke up in a world where his children had lived longer than he had, his son definitely hated him and his daughter was tortured though her early life to become an assassin. If that was not enough, Bucky just happened to be alive and was brainwashed into being the most feared assassin of HYDRA.
Sometimes Steve wondered if it would have been better if he had died in the ocean.
Fastening up his pace, Steve tried to lose all the feelings, but they just kept surging up. Natasha’s anger, Tony’s disbelief, Bucky’s fear, Bruce, Thor and Clint’s judgmental look, all of it.
He deserved it. He deserved it all. He deserved it for lying; he deserved it for hoping more than he should have ever received. He should have died in that winter after Bucky left. He should not have even tried to get into the army. He deserved the hate for hoping the best of both.
Look at him! He could neither dismantle HYDRA nor raise his family. Best of both worlds, more like loads of bullshit.
“Captain Rogers, I am detecting elated levels. Kindly step away from the punching bag.”
JARVIS. Wonderful JARVIS. Tony’s creation. JARVIS was almost like Tony’s kid, along with his bots. Would take make Steve a grandparent?
Oh God, he was too young to be a parent of two 70-year-olds. He could not handle being a grandparent.
“Thank You JARVIS.”
When he received no response, Steve knew that even JARVIS hated him. Why wouldn’t he? After all, he had lied to his creator.
This was it. This was his life now. And honestly, Steve knew no one was to blame except him.
“How are you supposed to tell people who are older to you that you are their parent? How can you even bring this topic up? Like, I couldn’t have shown up in any of the meetings and say, ‘Hey, Tony, Natasha, guess what? I am your shitty Omega parent because of whom you couldn’t have a normal life because he, mind you, was an idiot! I am sorry, now, where were we?’ That’s not how you tell them!”
Sam blinked once, then twice, and then continued to blink at Steve. Was it a bad idea to share this with Sam?
“Steve,” Sam started in that very sweet voice and Steve knew he was in for it. “There’s no correct way of bringing this up. But you could have told them.”
Steve sat back, defeated, his arms crossed. How in the name of God was he supposed to bring this up? It took almost all his courage to take the video of...Winter Soldier...murdering the Starks to take to Tony.
“Listen, man,” Sam leaned forward, a small smile on his face, “I am not even going to pretend and understand this whole thing. But I understand where they are coming from. From what I have heard, Stark had a shitty childhood, surrounded by media and I am sure they don’t raise assassins with love and care.”
“What about where I am coming from, Sam?” Steve said slowly, looking down at the table.
Sam frowned, looking at him. “What do you mean?”
Taking a deep breath, Steve looked up. “I crashed the plane four years ago, leaving behind two pups and a dead mate. For the world, they might have had all the time in the world to adjust to that. But it’s been four years Sam, that’s it.”
The two men sat in silence in Steve’s apartment after that. Sam opened his mouth several times, probably to tell him to stop pitying or move on or perhaps to comfort him, but every single time, words failed him. Steve did know what to say anymore, so he began talking about missions and about Tony and Natasha’s anger and Bucky recovering slowly.
They spent the afternoon ignoring the main topic. Steve did not really know if he could broach the topic ever again either.
Ever since the ‘revelation’, breakfasts had become a very tense affair in the tower. Natasha usually came before everyone and fixed her own sandwich and Tony came last, eating whatever was left. Every morning, Steve would leave a plate of their usual on the table and every night, it would be one of the other Avengers to gulp down the healthy meal.
Steve could hardly comment on Tony or Natasha’s sleep patterns anymore. If he even opened his mouth if he saw Tony or Natasha out after twelve am, Steve knew he would be lost without any trace.
There were no more team activities anymore. No movie nights, no formation in the gyms, no occasional take out and no game nights. Bruce was usually cooped up in his workshop or sharing one with Tony, Clint and Thor kept coming and going. Natasha would occasionally spar with Bucky, which was actually a good sign. Steve was...left alone.
One day, when he had had enough, Steve went down to his garage and took his bike, the one without any tracker, left his phone in his room and drove away.
He really couldn’t handle it. Everybody blamed him. All right, he was to be blamed. He should have told Tony and Natasha about their true parentage as soon as he became sure about it.
Steve had been so happy when he found that file with Howard’s file. Anthony Edward Stark. One look at the face and Steve knew this was his Anthony. But dread settled when he realized that this man was older than him. He wasn’t the three-month-old chubby kid that Steve had left behind. He was a genius, twice Steve’s age.
When he finally met Tony, there was this underlying tension between them. Steve couldn’t talk to him, not really. All they exchanged were angry jabs and some small talks. When Tony had asked him to live with him at the tower...well, Steve surely was overjoyed.
But as time passed, it became clear that Tony knew nothing about his true parentage and if he did, he did not want to bring up the topic. The more they got to know each other as friends, the harder it became to tell him. After his heat, when he went to Peggy for the first time, she told him about it all.
“We gave Anthony and Natasha to Mr and Mrs Barnes,” Peggy had said, a sad smile on her face, “but they were two super babies. No matter what anyone did, they were always hungry. One year passed and yet they failed to grow too much. We convinced Mrs Barnes that they would be safe with us, that we would take care of them. But when they were two years old...They were both taken, Steve. Howard was so...broken. We found Anthony a few years later and Howard was determined to keep him hidden. When the media found out, Howard had no other option than to accept that he was his son. It was a nightmare...”
She told him about what a neglectful father Howard was. It never matched the person he knew and it made his heartbreak. They had had that talk, once, years ago, in one of Howard’s workshops.
“Fiery one, that is,” Howard had chuckled as Steve groaned in pain and sat down at a bench. “I must say I salute you, pal. Couldn’t really have handled going to battle and having a kid.”
Steve had smiled, running a hand over his stomach. “Just wait till you are a father, Howard. You will do anything for your pups.”
“Me being a father is a bad idea, Steve. I would rather be the cool Uncle. Maybe I can spoil your kids.”
It was a bad idea and nobody was there to blame for it all except Steve.
As he drove to Brooklyn, Steve felt...lost. It had changed drastically. The buildings were bigger, old places lost among the sea of the world. Some places which survived were remodelled and nothing looked the same.
The only thing which did look a bit same was the cemetery where Sarah Rogers was buried. There were more graves now, of course, but it wasn’t hard to find the one he was looking for.
It was dirty, covered with all kinds of things. Steve wasted no time in cleaning the top, making sure everything was clean, just like his mother liked it.
“Hey Ma,” Steve muttered, sitting down in front of the tombstone, ignoring the sting in his eyes. “Sorry I haven’t visited in a while. There was this...whole war and then I kinda dived down in the Arctic. I know it was stupid, but I survived.”
Sniffling, Steve moved closer. “So much happened here. I had pups, you know. Anthony and Natasha. Brilliant, both of them. You would have liked Natasha a lot. She reminds me a bit of you.”
The clouds rumbled. Steve inched even closer, laying his head beside the tombstone. Maybe, he could pretend that this was his Ma and she was just there. She would listen to him, understand it all and give him the right advice.
So Steve started talking about it all. How he had lost all hope when he dived the plane down, finding of the new century, how he had missed Rebecca’s death by mere weeks, how fighting Chitauri was something out of a comic book and how his heart had almost stopped when he saw Tony go through the wormhole.
“I remember you used to say I was going to be the death of you, with all the fights I would get into.” Steve said, teary-eyed, “I used to think you were exaggerating, but it seems you weren’t. I still feel like I am going to lose it every time Tony does something stupid in the workshop or when Natasha brings out her knives. Where the hell does she keep all those knives?”
With another thunder, the rain started to pour down. Steve curled himself, inching closer to his mother. “I found Bucky too. It was...”
It was bad. Watching his mate stand across him, ready to kill him.
“Who the hell is Bucky?”
Steve thought he knew hell when he woke up in a new century. But this was so much worse.
He would have died that day on the helicarrier if it came to that. He was not going to leave Bucky like that.
Thankfully, he didn’t die.
The rain continued to pour down heavily. Steve was shivering, but he refused to leave. He just needed some more time away from it all. He just needed some more moment with his Ma. The world always needed to be saved. He could be a bit selfish and live with his mother a bit.
Why didn’t he die in the Arctic? It would have been so much better if he did. Him being back did not really help anyone. Well, maybe Bucky but somebody would have found him sooner or later. Everything was fine without him.
Bruce said he had put a bullet in his mouth and the other guy spit it out. Would that happen with Steve as well? Or could he just die if he did do that? He liked the idea of death. Eternal peace.
Steve shook the hand away, curling closer to his mother’s tombstone.
“Don’t be a kid Steve. Come on!”
As Steve opened his eyes, shivering, he realized Clint was standing above him, worry etched on his face.
“Yeah!” the other man shouted over the rain. “What the hell were you thinking?!”
Apparently, his absence was noted immediately, by Natasha no less. She did try and send him death glares every now and then, so Steve was not all that surprised. When they realized he had left without any sort or tracker and taken his bike, everybody began to panic.
He was a grown ass man. He could take care of himself.
Steve tightly held on the blanket Clint had given him. They were on the Quinjet, going away from New York. Clint had decided he needed a break. If Clint Barton decided he needed a break, Steve was definitely fucked.
Steve looked up, smiling gratefully as Clint handed him a cup of steaming coffee.
“The thunder. Was that Thor?”
Clint nodded, sitting across Steve. “He lost his mind when he realized you were missing. Something about SHIELD brothers and what not.”
Steve managed to smile at that. Thor was a good guy like that. Sipping on his coffee, Steve asked, “So where are we going?”
“The team decided you needed a break,” Clint said, and Steve couldn’t help but snort. “The last few weeks...they have been hard for you.”
“It’s been hard for all of us,” Steve said in his Captain America voice. “Bucky needs to be helped, I lied to Tony and Natasha... I think they deserve a break.”
Clint kept quiet, staring at Steve as he drank his coffee. It did make him a little unsettled.
“Can I ask you a question?”
Steve nodded, drinking the last bit of his coffee.
“How old are you now?”
Steve blinked, surprised at the question. “96? 97? What year is it?”
Clint chuckled, shaking his head. “No, Cap, as in how old are you yourself. I am not asking for the biological age. I am asking the mental age.”
Silence engulfed the plane for the longest time. Steve really didn’t like to talk about it a lot. It felt weird, for some reason.
But Clint continued to look at him expectantly, and the Alpha made Steve feel safe.
“I will be turning thirty this year,” Steve admitted. When he looked up, a sad smile was present on Clint’s face.
Standing up, Clint clapped Steve’s back and went back to steer the plane. He really didn’t know what to make out of it.
So...Clint had a family. Am omega wife. Two kids. And apparently, she was pregnant again.
“You must be Steve,” Laura Barton said with a wide smile and she reminded him a bit of Winfried Barnes. “I have heard a lot about you from Natasha and Clint.”
“Hello Ma’am,” Steve said politely. “I didn’t know about you.”
“We kept this off files everywhere,” Clint said, picking up his daughter. “Fury helped me hide it all.”
Steve nodded in understanding. Any agent with a family was very scary.
Steve was given a guest room and a few of Clint’s shirts. He was glad to help when she asked him to chop the woods. It was kind of refreshing.
As evening dawned, Steve found himself sitting on the porch, a cup of hot chocolate in his hands and looking at the sky. It was a beautiful mixture of yellow pink and grey. The trees appeared dull green and the field looked beautiful. Steve hadn’t painted in years, but he would really like to paint this someday.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?”
Steve turned around to see Clint leaning on the railing. He couldn’t help but nod; it was beautiful.
“You are lucky you have a home here,” Steve said, looking back at the sky. “It’s nice. Homely even.”
They remained quiet for a while, taking in the beauty of the scene. At some point, Clint sat down beside Steve, looking out.
As the lights were switched on and voices became louder in the house, Clint smiled.
“You know, Lila was six months old when I had to leave for a mission.”
Steve looked at Clint as a sad smile spread on his face. “It was a bad time. I had to go undercover for three months, but the deeper I dug the worse it became. By the time I wrapped everything up, it had been over twelve months.”
Clint sighed, looking back inside the house. Steve followed his gaze To Lila drawing on the table as Cooper teased her and the two bantered.
“I never forgave myself for missing all those days in Lila’s life. So many things happened, so much changed. When I came back, she couldn’t even recognize me. It took her over four hours to realize who I was.”
Steve kept quiet, looking down at his cup.
“I can never forgive myself for missing all those years in my children’s lives, so I can imagine what you feel Steve. As much as I want to blame you for not telling them, I can see where you are coming from. Natasha is pissed that you didn’t tell her, but she always wondered who her parents were. From what she told me about Tony, Stark sr always compared him to Captain America, how he was never good enough. Finding out about you, it sure gives a new perspective to it all.”
Taking a deep breath, Clint clapped him on his back. “Take all the time you need man, but figure this out, because only you can do that. No one else can take care of this.”
With those last words, Clint went inside, leaving Steve alone with his thoughts.
It took him two weeks to get back to the tower. JARVIS was as polite as always and Bruce gave him a warm smile.
As soon as he entered his floor, Steve was knocked down by a pair of flesh and metal arm.
The former assassin merely held on to Steve, murmuring something about ‘stupid person’ and ‘idiotic punk’. There was a certain hint of Brooklyn accent there and Steve felt himself melt under Bucky’s arms.
“I missed ya too, Jerk,” he murmured, burying his face in Bucky’s shoulders.
Once they let go of each other, Bucky pulled Steve to the bed and lay him down, spooning him like he used to do it all those years ago in their shitty apartment in Brooklyn.
“Buck, what happened?” Steve asked, a little concerned.
Steve sat up, frowning. “What?”
“BARF,” Bucky said, pulling Steve down, “It’s this thing Tony invented. Makes you relive the memories. It helped punk, it helped a lot.”
Unable to believe his ears, Steve pulled Bucky closer. “So you remember?”
“Everything,” Bucky muttered, “Every mission.”
Pulling apart, Bucky stared at Steve for a whole minute. Steve’s heart began to pace up when Bucky opened his mouth.
“I killed JFK.”
That...was not what Steve had expected. He blinked owlishly at Bucky.
“What do you want me to say?”
“I just told you I assassinated one of the presidents of USA and you tell me Okay?”
Steve took a deep breath, sitting up straight. “That wasn’t you. You might be holding the gun, but HYDRA pulled the trigger. You, James Buchanan Barnes, did not kill anyone that HYDRA wanted you to. Do you understand?”
Bucky groaned, hiding his face. “I hate it when you call me by my full name.”
Unable to hide his happiness, Steve put a sloppy kiss of Bucky’s cheek and lay down beside him. Bucky pulled him closer, till they were an entangled mess.
“I showed them the memories.”
Steve cracked open an eye, raising his eyebrow.
“Of us,” Bucky elaborated, “Of after they were born and we lived at the camp.”
Steve’s heart stopped for a moment. “And?” he asked.
Bucky gave him a sly smile. “Natasha cried. But don’t tell her I told you that. She will kill me.”
Steve gave out a low chuckle, getting closer to Bucky.
Tomorrow. He would talk to those two tomorrow.
“Yes, Captain Rogers?”
“Is Tony in his workshop?”
There was a moment of silence as Steve fidgeted with the hem of his shirt. What if he didn’t want to talk to him? Should he force him to listen? Or should he come back later?
“Sir and Miss Romanoff are both in the workshop.”
Oh, brilliant. “Can I go there?”
“Sir has allowed you access to the workshop for a limited amount of time.”
Steve wanted to jump a bit, but that would be very childish. Allowing a small smile, he entered the elevator and let JARVIS be his guide.
He could see Natasha and Tony talking in hushed tones. At least those two were talking to each other. It was good to know that the twins were good friends.
Why was he being so weird?
Shaking his head, Steve entered the workshop. Natasha gave him one look, before whispering something to Tony and walking to the couch. Tony turned around a mask of indifference and a bottle of water in his hand.
“How can I help you, Captain Rogers?”
Steve opened his mouth, closed it, looked at Natasha and then at Tony. He hadn’t really planned this. He had assumed that once he saw the two, it would come automatically. But now, he was blank.
“I am waiting,” Tony said, opening the cap of the bottle.
What could he say? He wanted to apologize. But he didn’t know how. How was he supposed to apologize? He really should have thought this through.
“I fucked up.”
Whatever Steve was expecting, a shower of water on his face wasn’t one of it. Tony was coughing loudly, looking above as Natasha looked at him wide eyes.
“Did I just dream it?” Tony said hoarsely, looking at Natasha and pointing at Steve, “Or did Captain America just say Fuck?”
“You did not dream it,” Natasha said, walking up to Tony. Steve wiped the water from his face, using his sleeve. Was this the payback for all the times he had missed changing their nappies?
“What the hell?” Tony demanded, looking back at Steve.
Taking a deep breath, Steve continued. “I was in the army. We swore. And that’s not why I am here. I...I wanted to apologize.”
When neither said anything, Steve rubbed his hands and continued. “I am sorry. I shouldn’t have crashed the plane. Not when I had...you two. But after Bucky fell down...a part of me died with him. I trusted Peggy and Howard with my life. I never thought...well, I never thought about what would happen. Kind of expecting myself to die then.”
He looked at Tony, smiling sadly. “I am sorry about Howard. That’s all on me. He had said he wouldn’t be a good father. This...this wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Natasha, I... I am sorry for it all. It all comes down to me. I know I messed up and I should have told you as soon as I found out. But I can’t even begin to explain how weird it was for me. I know that’s not an excuse, but one second, both of you were three months old, not doing anything and the second, you were both grown adults with their share of stories and their own life, which was even longer than mine.”
Pushing back his tears, Steve continued, “I should have done things differently. I am sorry I am such a shitty parent. This, this wasn’t the plan. We were supposed to move this small house in the suburbs, you, me and Bucky and perhaps a dog if you wanted one. I know Bucky wanted one. We were supposed to do all of this stuff and I took all that away from you two. We were supposed to have a normal life. I am sorry, I am so sorry.”
As Steve stopped speaking, tears began to fall. He dared not to reach out to Tony or Natasha. He did not know how they would react.
“I do kind of want a dog.”
Steve looked up, watching Natasha with tears on her eyes. A small smile was present on her face and she looked almost forgiving. He smiled back. This was enough.
“No dogs in the tower,” Tony said, sniffling a bit. He turned to Steve, a weird expression on his face. “This doesn’t change anything, you know. You still lied. You still weren’t there. Howard continued to be a shit parent and we did live extra long lives.”
Steve nodded, looking down. Maybe it was better this way.
“But Clint also mentioned that you were turning thirty,” Natasha spoke up, reaching out for him. “That...puts some things into a new perspective.”
“I always knew you were a kid.” Tony butted in.
Steve gave a watery chuckle, shaking his head. “Please, for God’s sake, don’t call me kid. Don’t make it weirder than it already is.”
Tony shook his head, smiling a bit and Steve tightly held Natasha’s hand.
“We can’t be a conventional family,” Tony said, shaking his head, “Too many age gaps and what not. But we can try and be an unconventional one.”
Steve smiled, nodding. “I would like that.”
The three stood silently, smiling. It was almost peaceful.
“I am not calling you Dad.”
Steve couldn’t hold back his laughter at Natasha’s words. Shaking his head, he pulled both of them into a hug. Neither complained and if there were some tears, nobody mentioned it.
After a minute, Tony whispered, “You are still the best parent Nat and I have ever had.”
That sure made Steve’s heart swell in pride.
Six months later
The golden retriever barked loudly before running to Natasha. Laughing at Tony’s irritation, she scratched the dog behind his ear, smiling as Tony looked at the poop on the floor in disgust.
“JARVIS, please call the cleaners.” He shouted, sitting at the couch, far away from the disgusting piece of shit. Literally.
“They are on their way, sir.”
The elevator doors opened at the exact moment. Tony looked up to see Steve and immediately raised a finger.
“I told you no dogs in the tower,” he said as Steve made his way to the kitchen. “But no, you had to get one! Are you looking at this?”
Natasha smirked, “That’s because he loves me more Tony.”
Tony, as any respectable adult, poked out his tongue at Natasha. Shaking her head, she picked the dog up and placed him on her lap.
When Steve stormed back in the living room, Natasha and Tony exchanged a worried glance.
“Everything all right?” Tony asked as Steve sat down with a thud between Tony and Natasha.
“No,” Steve said, his breath heavy, “Everything’s not all right. Have you seen Bucky?”
The twins shook their head simultaneously. “No. Why?”
“I have to punch that jerk.”
Tony looked at Natasha with a raised eyebrow. Natasha shrugged. She really had no idea what happened this time.
As if on cue, the elevator opened once again and Bucky and Clint stepped out, laughing on something.
Bucky shook his head as Natasha and Tony grinned before looking at Steve.
Steve was fuming, his arms crossed. He looked ready to commit murder.
“Ever heard of a condom Bucky?”
Tony’s eyes widened in surprise. “I don’t wanna hear this.”
Bucky, for his part, looked absolutely scared. “Um, yeah?”
“And now I have to hear it.”
Steve stood up, marching to Bucky. “Ever thought about using it? It’s supposed to be very helpful.”
“I really don’t want to hear about your sex life,” Natasha interjected but was ignored by the two super soldiers.
“Hey,” Bucky sniffed, frowning, “What’s that?”
“You really need me to break your nose for you to guess what’s that?” Steve spoke through gritted teeth.
Bucky’s eyes widened as the realization dawned upon him. “You’re pregnant?”
“What?” Natasha almost stood up. Lucky whimpered before settling down on the floor.
“I am having a sibling?” Tony looked like a child who had just been told that he was going to Disneyland.
“That’s brilliant!” Bucky said excitedly.
“What’s brilliant about this?” Steve demanded, “We are the Avengers! We go out on missions every other day! I can’t have a baby here you jerk!”
“We did it once!”
Natasha snorted. “That sure did work in your favour.”
Steve nodded thankfully to Natasha before turning back To Bucky. “See?”
“Stevie,” he said slowly, holding his arms, “Do you want the baby.”
Steve opened his mouth, closed it and then opened it again.
“Yes,” he finally said and Tony gave out a whoop, earning a smack from Natasha on his head.
“Then we don’t have to worry.”
Steve wanted to protest, but yeah. He wanted a baby. He wanted to watch it grow up. He wanted to do it all.
So when Bucky led him to the couch and they sat down, he couldn’t help but smile. Tony began to excitedly babble about all that he was going to buy and make for the baby and Natasha had already started talking about appropriate fight techniques for a baby with Bucky.
Once the cleaners cleaned away the floor, everyone came down for the movie night. The whole Barton brood sat on one side, while Bruce sat on Natasha’s other side, smiling a bit. Bucky gave him a death glare while Thor clapped Sam happily.
They did not have a conventional family, but they would always have a family. Steve looked at Tony bicker with Clint and Natasha flirt with Bruce while Bucky gave him death glares. Smiling, he put a hand on his stomach.
He never knew his first kids, but maybe, he would know this little tyke. Life will be all right.
And here we go!
I loved this story and I am gonna miss it. Maybe I will write some more! This idea came after a story on ffn where Steve was Tony's kid? It was kinda weird, but I always wondered, what if the roles were reversed? Hope you enjoyed the story! Please leave a comment!