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Pheromones

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The heavy scent of pheromones, sex and arousal was thick in the air as Anya looked around and waited for the server to bring her drinks to her and her friends. They sat at a table in a crowded and nice bar, talking excitedly about Anya’s new job. An alpha came over, scenting the air and trying to get some attention from the excited ladies, and was shot down each and every time. Anya looked over the ridge of her glass at the most persistent alpha, one that kept coming back, each time more drunk than the last.

“Say a word, and you’ll be on your back, your balls up your ass,” Anya said as the man touched her shoulder and Anya felt a cold chill shoot through her body. She had a hard time trusting alphas, her parents, both of them, had been alphas, and she wasn’t. And the result of that had been traumatizing.

The alpha didn’t get the hint, and when he touched her shoulder again, trying to get her to look at him, maybe to get her number, she grabbed his hand, hard, dislocating several fingers, then twisted his arm around his body so fast she was a blur, and her hair swirled around her head as she stood up from her, chair, and in an instant, the alpha was pissed, drunk and pinned to the ground, both his muscular arms caught behind his back, unable to move and he let out an odd, pathetic whine as he tried to move, but couldn’t.

“What don’t you understand? ‘N’ or ‘O’?” Anya asked as she snarled back at the angry and hurt alpha, who was putting out pheromones like crazy: embarrassed, injured, and angry. A few of his friends came over, but instead of coming to his aid, they laughed hard at him, and soon the rest of the bar was laughing or chuckling. The man was a grade A asshole, a regular, and caused trouble every weekend. The bouncer came over and escorted the bruised and drunk alpha from the bar and the bartender looked over, calling out to Anya and her table.

“Next drink is on the house,” he called over and Anya raised her mixed drink to him. Anya’s friends were still laughing and the beat of the music picked back up and the scent of sex, arousal and posturing alphas permeated the air once again.

“To my new job, and my new boss,” Anya said as she raised her new glass, the free drink, and her friends all cheered for her, happy she had finally found a job she might like.

“So, have you seen any of the Avengers yet?” Pam asked right away and Anya looked at her, raising her eyebrow.

“Wow, you didn’t waste any time.” Anya sipped her glass then set it down. “Nope, I deal with accounts. The Avengers live in the tower, but I haven’t even seen Mr. Stark. I’m too low on the hierarchy. I don’t even deal with Ms. Potts or Ms. Romanov. I’ll probably never meet them,” Anya said with a shrug of her shoulders. Working in the Avengers tower in NYC had its perks, mostly being near the center of the town, plus it paid really well, as long as she went through a lot of security and background checking. Anya had gone to great lengths to hide who she was and what she had done in the past, and thankfully, it seemed buried enough that she passed the needed checks and could now work for some of the most powerful people in the world. She had no idea how she got so lucky.

“That’s a bummer. If you see Captain America, can you get me an autograph? Or at least enjoy his knot,” Pam snickered to Anya, and then laughed when Anya coughed hard into her drink.

“Really, Pam?” Anya shook her head and laughed with the rest of the friends. They laughed hard, so hard it was becoming hard to breathe. It was very hard to breathe all of a sudden, and Anya set her glass down, trying to catch her breath. Something was getting into her head, a scent, it was overpowering and intense, it smelt bad like stale chemicals, and scratched her throat so hard it was like strep, or an allergic reaction. Anya took a sip of her water, trying to clear her throat and looked around. Everyone seemed to be grabbing at their throats, or heading for the exit, trying to get some air. A huge alpha, over 6’ tall and muscular, pushed on the bar doors, and nothing happened. He shoved and shoved, trying to get the doors open, but they wouldn’t give. The heavy metal barely moved, and it sounded like something was on the other side, trying to stop the door from opening.

Anya opened up her phone, trying to call 911, but she had no service. But she had it less than a minute ago. A few others reached for their phones, but made frustrated faces when they got nothing, and a few alphas seemed to be losing control of their higher brains. In their anger and fear, they broke their phones into pieces, smashed the tables and started trying to break the walls.

A new smell, sweet, powerful, and kind of calming and arousing at the same time hit Anya and every alpha in the room stopped and looked around, then turned slowly to Anya and Pam. They were the only omegas of their friends, and suddenly, Anya realized she smelt like an omega in heat, though she hadn’t had a heat since she was a teenager. She wasn’t experiencing a heat, she was just smelling like one. Anya grabbed Pam’s arm and pulled her hard, to get her to move. But Pam was holding still, terrified, horrified as the smell of rutting alphas, dozens of them, hit her nose.

Anya pulled out her pepper spray, ready to fight and defend herself and her friends. Her other friends were slowly backing away from the omegas, knowing what might come next, and were trying to get a signal on their phones, to call for help. They knew what would come next, and it would be very, very dangerous.

The first alpha to move was the massive one that had been pounding at the metal door, trying to get the damn thing opened, and he lunged for Pam, trying to grab her arm. Anya sprayed the man in the face with the spray, but he no longer could feel pain, fear, anything other than the need to claim and rut and knot into the omegas before him. Alphas in a strong rut, like the ones around Anya now, had been known to literally tear one another apart, often hurting the omega in the process. There was no way she could defend herself, or her friends, against so many fighting machines. They felt no pain, no fear, nothing that would stop a normal person. They would charge and rut and fuck until they passed out, were too injured to move, died, or the omega died.

The next 3 alphas came at Anya and Pam at the same time, and while Anya was able to hold her own in a fight, she was no match for a group of strong, powered, rutting alphas that wanted to knot into her all at the same time. Her omega instincts, usually buried deep inside her, were begging her to lay down and just let it happen, just get it over with until someone came to rescue her. But she could very well be dead when that happened. Rutting alphas couldn’t stop, no matter how much they wanted to, and they couldn’t hold back.

In the fight, Anya felt her fingers and knuckles break, her foot was broken from being stepped on, her clothes were shreds, one eye was swollen shut, and long cuts, scratches and bruises covered her body from head to toe. Anya couldn’t feel her left arm and was swinging it around like a club, trying to keep everyone away, but she couldn’t see or hear Pam anymore. There was too much noise, too much screaming, and the smell of rutting alpha, distressed omega, and the overpowering scent of fear was clouding Anya’s senses. 4 alphas, all unconscious or unable to move, were around her, taken out by her and she as determined to get herself free from the rutting alphas, and rescue her friend.

A loud, gurgling screech, then wailing filled the entire bar. Everything seemed to move in slow-motion for a moment, as Anya could see her friend’s face for a brief moment. Pam was on the floor, stripped naked, covered in bruises, blood and cum. Her eyes were wide, shocked, and blank as blood slowly dripped from her mouth, nose and ears. She was dead.

Sorrow and rage filled Anya’s body, something she had never felt before and she was overtaken by adrenaline, a rush, and she was fighting harder than she had every fought in her life. The alphas that had been on Pam now turned their attention to Anya, and tried to get to her, fighting with one another, throwing punches and ripping skin and gouging out eyes, but that was nothing compared to what Anya was doing.

She used empty bottles, in both hands, as weapons, and knocked one alpha out at a time, not caring if she did permanent damage, or if she killed them. Her friend was dead, and she wanted someone to pay for it. The justice system was too skewed, they would rule that the alphas had no control, and might even prosecute Anya for hurting so many alphas, especially if one of them was powerful or rich.

But right now, all she cared about was revenge, getting all the alphas down on the ground, away from her and her friends, away from her dead friend’s body. Hit after hit, though her left arm was still numb, and she could feel her own bones breaking and her blood spilling, she didn’t stop, she refused to stop. Not even when she could hear the sounds of a charging laser then the doors blasted open, revealing several Avengers.

Chapter Text

Almost 1am Tony Stark sat in his workshop, playing around with some new concept for Stark phones. Though it was a Saturday night and he could be out, he didn’t feel like it. He’d gotten into another heated argument with Cap, and the workshop and lab was his sanctuary, where he went when he needed some time alone.

Only a loud buzzing noise and bright lights pulled his attention away from the tiny mess of wires and boards under his magnifying glass; someone was calling in, asking for Avengers’ help.

“JARVIS?” Tony asked and the images and sounds of a locked up bar on the far side of the island flashed up on the screen.

“Cell service in the area has been cut off, and some kind of chemical weapon has been released into the air. I have access to the interior cameras,” JARVIS stated and pulled up some very disturbing images.

Dozens of men and women with hazed, rut-filled eyes were running around the bar, killing one another, while blood spilled readily onto the floor and pooled under tables. A few betas hid under tables or behind the bar, but 2 women were caught in the middle of it, a small, mousy woman with dark hair, who looked almost dead and was screaming for help, and another, more powerful woman with longer golden hair with a single purple streak, who was kicking ass, but losing ground. The kick-ass woman was trying to reach the other woman, who looked very injured and was coughing up blood, even as an alpha raped her and knotted into her. There was no sound to the video, which Tony was grateful for. He didn’t need to hear this.

“Cap!” Tony called through the coms and Steve was up in a few minutes, staring at the screens in his own room.

“Suit up. Briefing on the way,” Cap called to all the present Avengers: Barton, Romanov, Stark, Bucky and himself. Something this bad would need everything they had and the longer it took everyone to get ready, the greater the death toll. It already looked like several people were dead. Thankfully it wouldn’t be 3 minutes before Stark would arrive there in his suit.

Stark was the first one on the scene. There were no cops on scene, they were busy all over town because of the weekend, but several people had gathered outside and were trying to pry the doors open. It looked like someone had welded the metal doors shut, the placed some kind of trigger on the outside of it, so if the doors were opened, they would explode.

“I’ve got a live explosive on the door. Start evac for the closest buildings. J, bring up the schematics.” Stark was all business, but his skin was crawling as he heard shouts, cries and screaming from inside. He could smell distress, anger, rut and blood from outside the doors, and something else, something chemical, and it set his teeth on edge.

“JARVIS, analyze the air, test for unknown chemicals or contaminants.” His voice was already raspy, and he was having a hard time breathing, even with the suit’s air filtration system. The smell of alphas in rut and distressed and injured omega was powerful on his senses, so powerful he had to fall back farther from the doors of the bar and waited for someone else to join him, to help anchor him in his mind.

“Stark, what is it?” Cap said as he appeared at Tony’s side and suddenly stopped, scenting the air and an obvious bulge grew in his pants. He turned to Tony, a look on his face that was the same as the rutting alphas on the video, but he pulled himself away from the bar and walked away, determined to evac the area, before he lost complete control

“Fuck, Cap’s compromised. Some kind of aerosol from the bar is causing alphas to rut,” Stark said and realized he should be pretending to be in rut too. He pretended to be an alpha for his entire life, and he needed to pretend to be one now. Barton could get this, he was the only non-alpha present. Banner wasn’t at the tower, he was on the other side of the world, currently working on some modifications to an international Avengers base, Sam was training some new recruits in Kansas and Wanda was in California with Vision on some kind of date. Romanov, Barnes, Cap, and Tony (supposedly) were all alphas and the only ones that could help right now.

But Stark pulled up the footage inside the bar and could see that the other omega, the mousy one, was definitely dead. Her vital signs were gone and she was no longer putting off a heat signature, and he could count at least 10 other dead. Looking at the device that locked the doors closed as the last of the civilians were evac-ed from the area, Stark looked it over and found it was very primitive, and disabled it with a simple shock. Then he blasted the doors open carefully, but had to fall back as the powerful, itching smell filled his suit and made him so antsy and nervous he might start to scratch off his skin.

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A powerful blast of fresh, cold air hit everyone in the bar, but it didn’t stop the rutting alphas, the screaming, or the fighting. Anya stood on a table, swinging the bottles around mindlessly, though her body was slowly but surely giving out from the constant fighting. And something in the chemicals in the air, it was draining her energy, making her want to fall into bed and sleep for days. Sweat poured down her face and back, bruises covered her from head to toe, she had lost hearing in her left ear from a powerful hit, and was having trouble making sure she was standing on solid ground. Everything was spinning around her, like she was trying to balance on a waterbed on a boat in the middle of a hurricane. Her hands were long broken, and she could feel her shoulder was dislocated and was rubbing against something it shouldn’t be, so was her ankle. Her jaw was cracked, and her left arm was still numb and not moving right, if it managed to move at all when she wanted it to.

And there were still more alphas coming. The bar had been filled with over 100 people, and most of them were alphas, looking for a good score, maybe an omega that just wanted a good knot to take away some tension from the workweek. Anya wasn’t sure how much longer she would be able to keep up this fighting, because when one alpha was knocked down, another would take its place, and some betas were even attacking her, scenting her. She was now the only omega left in the bar, a thought she tried not to dwell on as she saw Pam’s face through the crowd for a moment.

Lights and sirens and shouting filled the building and faint shots rang out, rifle shots, and little darts stuck out from people’s chests as they fell, a dazed and confused and tired look overcoming them before they fell to the round, unconscious. Police came in, wearing gas masks, cuffing everyone as they fell, but the rutting alphas kept trying to get to Anya as she fought them off, grabbing a broken chair leg as a baton and smashing it over the head of the nearest alpha, who snarled at her and managed to get his hands into her hair and yanked her onto the floor so hard she lost her breath and something broke in her chest. She coughed hard and a tiny spatter of blood came up.

Shit.

Anya grabbed at the alphas’ faces and groins, trying to keep them away, and it was working, as their numbers slowly fell, until Anya was the only one awake and able to move. Well, sort of. She was so sore and aching and in so much pain, she wanted someone to tranq her too and let her sleep this off. And it meant she wouldn’t have to deal with what just happened, and who she just lost.

Anya gripped her face as it hit her; her friend was dead and had been killed by rutting alphas in a bar, and she hadn’t been able to save her. Anya had tried so hard to get to her, to help her, but she failed and now her friend was dead. Anya let out a wail of despair, not caring who could hear, or who was might be watching. She covered her face with her bleeding and broken hands and screamed and cried, rolling onto her side as it became harder to breathe and she coughed up more blood.

Some strong, alpha arms tried to wrap around her. She reacted instantly, grabbing the strong hands in a death grip and yanked hard, and someone tall, blonde and very muscular was pulled over her shoulder and landed on his back in front of her.

Captain America. She had just knocked down Captain America.

Shit.

Anya couldn’t reach down to help him up, he smelt like an alpha; she backed up away from him, looking around and grabbed the nearest weapon she could find. Someone, a cop with full hands maybe, had taken out their gun and left it on the bar counter. Anya grabbed it into her hands, taking the safety off, fear radiating from her in such powerful waves the Captain blinked away the water in his eyes from the smell.

Something sharp hit her in the chest, then a few others followed, and tiny little darts poked out from her bare naked chest and one on her upper arm. An intense sleepy, dizzy feeling overcame her and blackness crept quick into her vision.

Anya promptly passed out.

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When Tony opened the doors to the bar and the agent causing the rut was dissipating, the alphas weren’t stopping, they couldn’t. Police in gas masks came in first, while Barton and Romanov shot from the rooftops, taking out the fighting, rutting alphas while the police cleared them out and into waiting ambulances. Cameras and flashes and shouting reporters tried to get closer, to see what happened, and the story was already playing on CNN. Someone had leaked some footage, grainy as it was, from inside the bar shortly after the aerosol agent started working and the alphas started to fight. The FBI and NSA were already on their way and Stark was having some air samples analyzed while they waited for the rest of the injured to be taken out.

Most of the alphas had broken knuckles, and bruises on their faces, but almost all of them had a lower body wound, like the ribs, or otherwise had a defensive head wound. Wondering where it came from, Cap entered the bar as soon as his powerful erection died down. Once in the dimly lit bar, he could finally see the carnage. There wasn’t a single aroused cell in his body anymore.

Blood covered every surface area in the bar, from the DJ to the floors and the bathrooms and the bar itself. Even the fans and overhead lights had spatter on them. 24 people were comatose or dead, most of them betas and smaller alphas. Several of them looked like their throats had been ripped out, and a few darted alphas had blood on their mouths and fingernails, looking like they were the culprits. In the rear of the bar, where the tables were, a small, mousy omega he had seen from the camera footage lay in a large pool of blood, mostly hers with several others mixed in. It looked like she had been raped several times, and knotted each time, and every time someone had knotted her, another alpha had ripped the knotting one out, literally. Pulling an inflated knot out of someone was painful and dangerous, usually causing intense ripping and internal bleeding. And it looked like it had happened to her several times. She probably died from bloodloss.

Steve heard someone screaming and crying and the intense smell of distressed omega hit him hard, and despite his better judgement, he went over to the crying woman to comfort her. As he wrapped his arms around her gently, to pull her out of the bar, she freaked out, breaking a few bones in his hands and he was suddenly flung through the air, over her head in a powerful death grip and landed, shocked and a little embarrassed, on his back in front of her.

She was completely naked, her clothes ripped from her body, and bruises and blood covered every part of her; but he was most taken with her eyes, alight with intense fire and fight. Then the waves of distressed and injured omega hit him. The woman that knocked him on his rear was an omega?!

She backed up in fear, the smell of it radiating off her so intense it made Steve blink and cough, trying not to gag. When she reached the bar counter, her hands wrapped around a forgotten gun and she pointed it at Steve, flicking the safety off with a practiced hand. Steve was about to raise his hands in a rare sign of submission when the faint sounds of Barton and his dart gun echoed in the room, and several small, metal darts poked out from the woman’s body and she fell.

Steve caught her before she fell onto the filthy, bloody floor and wrapped his arms around her tight and carefully. She looked so fragile now she was unconscious, but her naked form in his arms was lean, muscular and toned. He carried her to the closest ambulance and saw she was one of the last people to be removed from the bar and Steve was angry about this.

“She was clearly in more danger, why is she the last to be evacuated?” the Captain stared down at the alpha police sergeant, who crossed his arms and postured as well, puffing out his chest as he tried to make himself look bigger than he really was. But he was still almost a foot shorter than Steve and slowly wilted under Steve’s incredulous stare. Steve puffed out his chest slightly when he saw he one and looked down at the sergeant.

“The alphas were posing the most danger, we couldn’t get to her. Plus, I think she was putting up a hell of a fight, for an omega,” he said and Steve could feel the faint anger rush up and down his spine at the tone the sergeant had. He obviously thought very little of omegas. Steve let out a faint snarl and the sergeant looked at him and snarled back.

“Look, I don’t make the fucking rules. The alphas posed the greatest danger to the public, so they get taken away first. The omega put a few of them in comas, by the looks of it. The omegas should have stayed in the home, where they were meant to be,” he said in that detrimental tone and Steve was holding back the impulse to break the man’s neck.

He walked away from the man, taking a deep breath. What was wrong with him? He was acting like someone was talking about his own omega, not some strange one he had met. He shouldn’t feel this protective of her, shouldn’t want to rip out that sergeant’s throat for talking about her like that.

“Cap, you alright?” Barton called over the coms and he looked over at the man standing on a nearby roof, silhouetted by the rising sun. Something as simple as clearing out a bar had taken hours longer than it should have. And a lot of people were dead because of that. And all those feelings he had: wanting to kill that sergeant for talking about that omega like that, the feeling like he might rut if he got too close to her, or to the bar in general. It was a kind of helpless feeling, and he didn’t like it. He should have more control than he had shown. He hadn’t even been in the bar when he had started to feel the first effects of a rut coming on.
That need, that itch: the powerful urges to knot anything that smelt remotely like an omega, and destroy and conquer anything that wasn’t an omega.

Chapter Text

Cap headed back to the tower, needing to clear his head and found Bucky already sitting in the main room looking at some holograms JARVIS was projecting. Bucky had a very strained look on his face and Cap could tell this would be bad.

“I’ve seen this before, with Hydra. Some kind of serum that makes any alpha go into a fucking powerful rut. No higher brain functions for hours at a time. But it had a seriously high failure rate. I thought they left it to rot with old Chinese leftovers,” Bucky had an odd sense of humor when he was stressed.

“You gotta shower, punk. You smell like a seriously amazing omega,” Bucky finally said as the sounds of someone arriving onto the roof echoed through the main room and JARVIS pulled up information that only Tony or Banner would understand. It made Bucky’s head hurt as his friend left the main room shower in his bathroom and tried to get the smell out of his head, and what he would like to do with that omega if he ever met them.

Dammit, now he had a boner and Stark was walking into the room.

“Fuck, Barnes. I know I’m amazing to look at, but show some restraint.” Stark smirked at Bucky then looked the chemical formula over, turning the image from one side to another.

“It’s Hydra’s, or was,” Bucky finally spoke up and Tony looked at him.

“You’re a little late on that observation,” Stark said, his mind still full of the chemical hovering in front of him.

“Already working on an antidote?” Bucky asked the shorter man beside him and Tony didn’t answer, absorbed in the possibilities in front of him.

“Tony?” a voice over the phone asked and Bucky hit the answer button before Tony could stop him, a smirk on his lips, and Pepper’s face emerged onto the floating array of equations and news reports.

“Pep, what’s up?” Tony asked, his mind still on the chemical formula, and so were his eyes and face. She crossed her arms at his inattentiveness, then sighed and said, “I got a call from HR. Someone from that bar works for you and they have some consent forms for you to sign.”

Silence filled the room, even as the heavy falls of Steve emerging from his room rumbled slightly behind the screen. He was listening and could see the faint horror on Tony’s face. Steve walked over to Tony and looked at the screen and nodded to Ms. Potts. He still didn’t quite understand the visual phone calls or most of Tony’s tech for that matter. He stood behind Tony, letting him know he was there for support if he needed it.

“Why do they need my consent?” Tony finally asked and Pepper rubbed her face, smearing her makeup without realizing it before she stopped herself.

“She has no emergency contacts on her phone list, you're her boss and the only number she has for emergencies, and the only other number we have for her is her own. She’s unconscious right now and needs to go into surgery, but they need consent. And I’m in Tokyo,” Pepper explained why she couldn’t do it before Tony had the chance to ask.

Tony rubbed his face and looked away from the screen. He didn’t want to be in the same building with so many rutting alphas, and injured omegas, or in a hospital for that matter. He hated them with every fiber of his being, and the smell of rutting alpha would take his mind to places he didn’t want to go, things he didn’t want to remember.

“Can’t I sign it electronically?” Tony was fishing, desperate now.

“They need you to physically be present and sign it,” Pepper sighed, who had obviously asked the same thing of the hospital staff before calling Tony.

“Ah, fuck,” Tony whined then hung up on Pepper, rubbing his face. He didn’t want to see someone that worked for him maybe injured or dead, anymore than he wanted to be in the same room as so many rutting alphas. That hospital where she was taken would reek, would be oozing rutting alpha pheromones and he wasn’t sure he could handle that. His panic attacks had finally tapered off, and doing this would only make them come back full force.

Half an hour later, Tony, Bucky and Cap drove to the hospital together. Cap wanted more information on what happened and hoped some of the alphas had come down; Bucky needed to see what the aerosol did to the people, before he could tell what progress Hydra had made since the last time Bucky had seen it used.

Tony was grateful for their presence, though he would rather shoot laser beams up his ass before telling them that. Tony raced through the streets to the hospital, which was overcrowded with hundreds of onlookers, reporters, agents and hazmat crews, but he just parked out front and the crowds went insane when all 3 of them stepped out.

“Mr. Stark, Mr. Stark, are the rumors true that one of your employees was trapped in the bar?” “Captain America, is it true you were nearly shot by someone you were trying to save?” “Mr. Stark, are you concerned this might be an attack on your personnel and your company? Could it be an attack on you?” “Mr. Barnes, is it true this was a Hydra weapon?”

The questions never stopped and Tony pushed through the people to get into the white, sterile main lobby of the hospital. It was crowded with people that were sick, waiting to see loved ones, and those who were feeling minor effects of the chemical. Police walked the halls, accompanying FBI, NSA and several hazmat groups at one end of the hospital that was completely walled off with several sheets of plastic and a shower.

“Mr. Stark, we weren’t sure someone was coming,” a small omega called from the front desk. She looked like she hadn’t slept in days and was in dire need of something to eat and a shower. Her hair was strewn all over her face, makeup was smeared across her eyes and cheeks, and small dots of blood were still drying on her scrub top.

“Some of the alphas still haven’t come out of it. Could you read and sign those forms please?” she said with a practiced tiredness and Tony felt for her. Omegas had it hard anyway, and in the workplace, they were notoriously underpaid, overworked and belittled, often obviously so. Most omegas worked in social areas: hospitals, nursing, social workers, psychology; their natural need to care for others and heal them made them the perfect medical professionals. The more driven omegas often became doctors, but most stuck to that field.

Tony looked the forms over and read the name of the employee he was signing for. ‘Anya Smith. Age 23, orientation: omega. 5’7”, 138lbs, employer: Stark industries, insurance carrier: Gecho.’ Below all the woman’s information was the damage inflicted on her, and Tony could feel both Steve and Barnes reading over his shoulder.

‘Patient has multiple hairline fractures throughout body, broken right ulna and radius, dislocated left shoulder, nerve damage in upper left arm, 5 broken ribs, collapsed left lung, punctured right lung, cracked jaw, broken cheekbone, shattered nose, several missing teeth, all 10 fingers contain at least one broken bone, both hands severely broken, requiring later surgery to regain function. Broken bones in feet and toes from sharp, blunt impact in self-defense. Patient shows massive bruising and bleeding over 70% of body.’

Tony could feel Steve reading over his shoulder and looked back at him, raising an eyebrow and snarked, “you get any closer you better take me to dinner.” Steve didn’t back away and instead continued reading when Tony looked back at the paperwork, flipping the first page over to read what he needed to give permission for.

‘Omega has suffered extensive internal damage, including laceration of the liver and intestines as result of multiple blunt and forceful impacts by alphas under influence of potent rut-inducing aerosol. Reproductive organs has been damaged to the point of being unable to be salvaged. Recommendation: complete removal of reproductive organs. Consent required under Omega Rights Act 1.254.12.’

Tony could understand why someone would require that kind of consent. Tony had never met this woman before, but most people assumed that all omegas had the need to become parents and have lots of children, like the perfect omega they were supposed to be, like society told them to be. Removing that option was something that could alter their psyche, and had been done without their consent as late as the 1960s. But it also messed with their biology, and those few that had their entire reproductive system removed usually needed hormone therapy the rest of their lives.

Tony rubbed his face; as a fellow omega, this was not something he could take lightly. She was very young, and might want to have children someday. He himself never really wanted kids, considering how his childhood had been, but he could only imagine what it might do to her if she woke up, alive, but found out she would never have children of her own.

“So, I don’t sign this, she dies. Or is sign this and when she wakes up, she might want to,” Tony muttered to himself and could feel Steve and Barnes staring at him, waiting for something to happen. Tony grabbed the pen, the black ink leaking from the tip from being held for so long, until someone grabbed it from him.

“Apologies, Mr. Stark, for making you come all the way here. This patient has just woken up and has given her own verbal consent.”
The surgeon that spoke held the paperwork in his hands and looked from one to the other and Tony could feel the anger in his blood, though he couldn’t place it.

“I want to see her before you take her to surgery,” he said and the surgeon looked like he might argue, but the massive forms of Barnes and Steve growled down at the alpha in scrubs and he relented. The 3 Avengers were led through several halls filled with people that were vomiting or sick with fever, while others were tied to beds and had guards standing over them, calling for an omega, demanding an omega. Tony felt his blood boiling again as he heard some alphas talking behind a curtain about the living omega, how she shouldn’t be allowed to leave the house, that the home was where omegas belonged anyway. Steve’s own hands clenched hard, and Tony was snarling when the surgeon looked over to Tony and motioned to a closed and locked door.

“We had to keep her in here; her scent has been making the rutting alphas crazy. She has no mating marks and has been lashing out at most of the staff. You’d think an omega in her position would be more subdued, considering she drew them to her, going out to a bar. My omega stays in the house, she’s safe and submissive that way.” The surgeon said and when he turned to look at Tony, he saw nothing but a fist.

Tony had lost it when hearing the surgeon talk about how that injured and almost dead omega was the reason for her injuries, like it was her fault the aerosol had been released in the first place. All his anger, hearing the talk against omegas and how they were too weak and stupid to be on their own, how they were less than human, less than an alpha, had Tony seeing red and he threw a hard punch at the surgeon and was ready to throw another before Steve grabbed his arm and pulled him away while Barnes snarled down at the now irate surgeon.

“You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!” the surgeon was clutching his bruised jaw and bleeding nose and lip.

“You’ll hear from pack sharks too. And mine have more teeth,” Tony was pissed, unable to come up with a quip or sarcastic remark in his anger. Steve steered him away from the surgeon and to a side room, where he was staring down with that calculating and angry stare, the intense blue eyes that could see right through Tony when his walls weren’t up.

“You want to explain that?” Steve crossed his muscular arms, posturing ever so slightly, trying to get Stark out of the mindset of beating that alpha surgeon into a bloody pulp.

“Self-righteous son of a bitch alpha,” Tony snarled and stormed off, leaving the hospital, Steve and Barnes right behind him.

Chapter Text

Anya heard the entire fight and what the surgeon said, and called for a nurse and requested another surgeon, one that hadn’t been involved in the altercation, preferably one that wasn’t so closed-minded about omegas. The nurse sighed and looked through the charts and found one at another hospital on the island and Anya was shipped there.

Anya could only see her friend, Pam calling for her help, bleeding and reaching for her, her other friends hiding under tables and trying to stay out of the line of fire, and so many alphas and even some betas, all trying to get to her and Pam, trying to hurt them, rape them, and probably kill them in the process. It was even worse when she closed her eyes, she saw everything in more detail. She could smell the intense rutting pheromones, thick and heady and foul, smoke from the bar, vomit and blood and something else in the air, something that smelled like an old chemical mixture that lost its potency. Overhead lights illuminated fights and death and pain, and flickering strobe and dance lights cast odd shadows and looming figures into sharp contrast with the rest of the bar.

Anya woke from her surgery a few hours after arriving at the new hospital. Hazmat suits and someone in a very nice and expensive black and white suit stood in the open door occasionally looking in on her, but she kept her eyes closed enough it looked like she was still sleeping. She held still and listened to the noise: the hazmat suits crinkled and stomped awkwardly down the hall and talked with echoing muffled voices. A woman in white coat walked past, looking at the man in the very nice black and white suit, then looked back at her clipboard. Then she came back and asked for his number. Anya had to stifle a snicker. Machines beeped and hummed around her and the sounds of someone overhead calling for a doctor to emergency echoed off the bare walls slightly, enough that Anya screwed up her eyes, wanting everything to be quiet.

Finally annoyed enough with the noise, and hearing someone saying her name, she opened her eyes.

“Good, you’re awake,” the man in the nice black suit walked to stand by her bed. He had shades tucked into his pocket and he had a sharp look in his eyes, though he looked like a mild-mannered accountant, with slightly balding, short hair. Anya could smell alpha off him, though it was subdued, like he had plastered some gel on his glands and most of his body, to prevent the smell from being too powerful. He held himself like he knew a lot of people, and a lot of important things, and though the smell of alpha made her a little nervous, she could tell she would like him instantly.

“Define awake,” Anya said in her still-high-as-a-fucking-kite voice and giggled as another round of painkillers and anti-anxiety meds coursed through her veins. She reached out to grab the pad in the man’s hands, and saw it had the Stark logo on it and smiled. She wasn’t sure why, but everything was funny right now. Fuck, she was high.

“Can you handle some questions?” the man asked and Anya looked at him, raised her hand slowly and touched the tip of his nose, saying, “boop.”

“That’s a no,” he said with a faint hint of a sigh and looked down at Anya, who was smiling wider than before and turned to leave.

“Wait, I can’t reach the remote,” Anya whined and the man turned to look at her, then moved the remote closer to her hands and she smiled, leaned forward and patted his cheek in an endearing way. “Such a nice alpha.” There was a pause as the words sunk in.

“Yay, I made you blush. Points for me,” Anya giggled almost constantly as the man cleared his throat and walked out the room, the door closing behind him.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Steve crossed his arms and looked at his friend and fellow Avenger, who was having his bruised knuckles looked at by Banner back at the Stark tower.

“Stark, you care to explain what happened back there?” Steve looked at Tony, who looked up, angry, but quickly pulled on his snarky and cocky face back on. “Nope, I don’t,” he said and looked back down, his free hand scrolling through some more updates JARVIS was providing. Steve opened his mouth to say something but the ding of the elevator announced the arrival of Vision and Wanda, who were standing a little bit closer together than last week.

“Lovebirds, how was Cali?” Tony asked and Wanda deflected it and looked to Vision. “California proved to be a welcome reprieve from the cold of the Northeast. It was a pity it was cut short,” Vision stated simply, then walked over to join the rest of the group as they looked at more reports and analyzed information on the bar attack.

“It appears the airborne chemical entered through the nasal passages and blocked the neural impulses in the frontal lobe, while over-stimulating the cerebral cortex and cerebellum. This caused all alphas in the immediate vicinity to go into what is commonly called a ‘rut.’ The addition of the chemical compounds increased the strength of the average alpha, and stopped almost all higher reasoning. The result turned the alphas into violent, powerful, pheromone-driven beings with no social or internal restraints, and with no regards for other life, or future or even current implications or consequences.” JARVIS showed several highlighted pictures of the brains, which areas were affected the most and which were almost completely stopped. Some images from inside the bar flashed up last, and showed how alphas that looked rather normal, or even on the small side, were able to lift more than their own weight and throw tables, chairs, even other people, across the bar. One leapt up onto the fan, 12 feet in the air, yanking it to the ground and used it to bash in the head of another alpha, then rounded onto the 2 omegas in the bar.

“Damn…” Clint emerged from the vents where he had been hiding for a few hours and watched as several alphas tore each other apart. He was a beta himself, but he was borderline beta-omega; it was impossible to tell what he was from looking at him or talking to him. He was almost 6’, very muscular and had the best sniping skills in the world, and acted like an alpha on many occasions, able to pin down alphas with little effort.

Clint landed gracefully on a table and hopped off just as the elevator dinged again and Pepper emerged from it, looking angry and she glared at Tony, with her trademark smolder and Tony knew he was about to have his ass chewed.

“Tony, I get that surgeon deserved it, but really? You punched him in a hospital? While we’re in the middle of investigating a possible attack?” Tony felt like he was being scolded by a parent when Pepper talked like this, and she was the only one that could really talk some sense into him. Barnes looked on, rather amused as Pepper laid into Tony about being at least some kind of sensitive. His actions, his fighting, could have triggered an alpha to attack, or scared the omega into a trace state.

Omegas would sometimes enter a self-defense trance state when they felt threatened by alphas, or anyone for that matter, but mostly alphas, and gained temporary increased strength, and had been known to beat alphas into comas, or kill themselves by accident in this state. It was a dangerous thing for an omega to go into, it meant the omega was completely cornered and felt like its life depended on this state. It was the last defense, and more often than not, the omega never really recovered from it, whether physical or mental.

Tony looked a little abashed as Pepper tore him a new asshole and Barnes looked confused then looked to his friend, Steve, and asked what the trance state was. JARVIS was the one that answered for him.

“The trance state is a powerful and dangerous last resort for omegas that feel their lives are in mortal peril, and have no other alternative. Believed to have developed as a final stand against violent and dangerous alphas, any omega in a trance state has increased heartrate, improved muscle usage and dexterity, heightened senses and complete ability to ignore a direct order from any alpha, even their own. The omega in this trance state will more than double their strength, speed, all relevant senses and feels no pain, fear or other detrimental emotions during this time. As a result, omegas in this state have been known to kill their assailant, which may be their own mate. Out of this state, the omega never really recovers completely and permanently loses some fine motor skills, dexterity, and high-pitched hearing. Any emotional or mental damage is hard to observe, though most omegas feel a sense of guilt, similar to survivor’s guilt, for the rest of their lives. Of the 27 known cases, all but 4 of the omegas that entered into this trance state committed suicide within 5 years of entering in the trance state.”

The room was terribly silent. JARVIS had brought up everything known about the trance state, which was very little. No one could study it because doing so was almost certainly a death sentence for the omega, and even if it wasn’t, it was very dangerous, and extremely rare. There hadn’t been a case in the US since the 1930s, so for most people other than omegas and scientists, it was nothing more than fringe science. Omegas were warned in school, usually shortly after they presented, what the trance state was, and the presentation was made to terrify them. And it worked, though the trance state itself was scary enough.
Barnes stared then glared at Tony for having put someone at risk. Tony rolled his eyes at the super assassin. “An omega hasn’t been in that state for over 80 years. The police take omega claims of abuse much more seriously since you were kids, you know, back in the ice age. Omegas haven’t needed to.” Tony was crossing his arms in front of his chest and puffing it out, a sure sign he was on the defense, but he still got some glares before everyone turned away when JARVIS interrupted.

“Sir, Agent Coulson is calling.” Tony turned to the floating screens. “Go ahead, J.” Tony looked at the face of the man on the other side and he looked tired, but other than that, nothing else of the uptight, head honcho looked off, except he had a slight flush to his cheeks, and looked somewhat flustered, though he corrected it so fast it was hard to tell that fluster was even there.

“Mr. Stark. I should inform you that your employee was awake for a few moments, and is expected to make a full recovery. She needs to stay here another week for more surgery. The doctors are suggesting 2 weeks of medical leave and a psych eval.” Coulson looked through the small hole where the video was shot then a door opened up behind him.

“Stop talking about me like I’m not right here!” a woman in hospital gown, dragging several machines behind her as she stood in the doorway, looked at Coulson with a scathing glare, it was a wonder the agent didn’t burst into flames right there.

“I apologize, Ms. Smith. I didn’t realize you were awake again.” Coulson walked over to her, setting the pad down on the only table in the room and offering to help the woman back onto the hospital bed.

The woman was looking at the agent with a strong, angry and independent face, a woman that knew what she wanted. “I don’t need a psych eval, I know what I saw and I know what I had to do. I stand by my actions, they were in self-defense. I don’t need some doctor trying to brainwash me into being a submissive little p…” the woman caught herself from swearing, seemed ashamed about her loss of control and took a deep breath, then winced when it hurt her broken and cracked ribs.

“Look, I’ve been to a shrink, when I didn’t want to immediately find a mate once I was done with high school. Everyone thought I was too independent and too…crude and brash were the words I think he used. Just because I wanted to go to college and study pharmaceutical chemistry instead of nursing or social work like all the other omegas. And because I didn’t lie down and take whatever sh…nonsense I was told to do. They thought I was too independent. I told them they were too primeval. I used other words at the time, which I won’t repeat right now; I’m more mature now than I was in high school.”

There was a long pause, but Tony could feel a tightening in his chest and a smile on his face. Her story was much like his: his father had been angry when he presented omega, and it had been hidden from everyone, except a chosen rare few, and now the only other person that new, other than Rhodey, was Pepper. This woman wanting to go to school for something that normally wasn’t pursued by omegas, that was something Tony could really get behind and he felt a stab of pride and pleasure as he watched the woman sit on the bed, her face stoic but eyes intense.

“The psych eval is something that will be needed, and will deal only with what happened in the bar. It will help determine if anything might trigger nightmares or panic attacks before they happen. It will have nothing to do with you being an independent omega.” Coulson had picked up the pad again and was showing their conversation to the watching Avengers. The woman let out a faint snort but otherwise remained silent.

“Ms. Smith, tell me what happened, from the time you entered the bar to you waking up here in the hospital.” Coulson had also taken out a notepad and voice recorder and the woman raised an eyebrow at it, then started from the beginning.

Chapter Text

She told them about celebrating her first paycheck at her new job, that alpha that just wouldn’t quit and how she kicked his ass. (Natasha, Clint and Tony cheered and laughed, and Clint high-fived her through the phone, which she returned, confused because she couldn’t see it, but still did with a faint smile). Then the smell, like old, bad chemicals, and the faint haze in the bar, different from before, and how it choked everything, then everyone seemed to go into that mindless state all at once.

“All the alphas, all at the same time?” Coulson asked, making a note on his pad.

“The ones by us, and the ones by the vents, they were a little bit sooner, I think, but it was so small, I didn’t really see it then. It was like a second or 2 difference.” The woman was getting fidgety, nervous and started to look rather pale. Coulson offered her some water and she took several long sips before continuing.

The fights, the blood, the rage and the roars, the battle to get to her friend and help her, and then seeing her dead, and how all the alphas rounded on her, because she was the only omega left alive.

At this point, the woman was trying to calm her breathing and closed her eyes, before opening them up and looking at the ceiling for several long seconds then talked about the rest of it. The hands on her, trying to get her into position, how hard she fought, how she could hear people on the other side of the door wanting to get in, then the rescue. She remembers throwing Captain America over her shoulder, still riding adrenaline and fear, then waking up to the sounds of that egotistical surgeon outside her door at the hospital.

Coulson had remained silent the rest of the time as the woman talked, the offered her more water when she was done; she downed the cup and asked politely for more. Coulson disappeared for a moment, before reappearing with another full cup and she downed that too.

“Your descitption has been the most vivid and detailed so far. I am confident it will help to find the culprits responsible for this.” Coulson packed up his things then was stopped before the call was ended.

“Wait, what’s the damage? I mean, how many people died?” the woman looked at Coulson expectantly and was about to say she was better off not knowing, but the look on her face made him change his mind.

“28 people died. Most were from injuries sustained in fights, but 6 had some kind of allergic reaction to the chemicals used and suffered anaphylaxis. Now, I will see you later, please get some rest.” Coulson was about to end the call, again, but was stopped when the woman stopped him, grabbing his arm.

“Where they all betas?” the woman looked at Coulson with a stern, intense glare and he felt compelled to answer. “Yes, they were. How did you know?” Coulson sat back down in the chair and looked at the woman.

“I’m taking a break from college right now, but I went for chemistry. I smelt stale chemicals in the air, and I thought I reminded me of something, but I couldn’t tell what. Zyalta contained 3-hectohexadonetryglycine, a mild alpha stimulant that many betas are violently allergic to. I know it was pulled from the shelves less than 2 months after being released because some alphas became too violent while on it. A more purified or altered form could cause even more intense violent alpha tendencies, completely overriding reason and higher brain function. 3-hectohexadonetryglycine has a stale chemical smell when exposed to air for too long. What?” the woman had finally stopped rambling and looked at the agent, right as JARVIS brought up the general chemical makeup of the few samples taken at the sight of the bar that weren’t comprised.

“She’s right, it looks like the air contained decomposed 3-hectohexadonetryglycine. JARVIS, shorten that chemical name in the reports to ‘3-hhtg’. Coulson, come on down,” Tony said to the man on the other side of the video call then hung up.

Anya was tired and the man from SHIELD and left about 20 minutes ago, but she was already bored. She flipped through the TV and saw that most of the networks covered the attack at the bar, Tony Stark punching a surgeon, or had already moved on to something else.

Her phone rang in her discarded purse by the bed and she had to struggle to get her hands on it and pulled it to her aching and now re-bleeding body. It was another one of her friends from the bar texting her, Lisa.

Lisa: u awake

Anya: been awake. U allowed to c me yet?

L: just got out of hospital. Patrick’s taking me to Florida for a week. Wants to be out of NYC
Anya paused and looked at that text, wishing she was out of NYC right now too, though not Florida, it was too humid.

A: Alaska

L: not on ur life. Too many bears

A: don’t knock Smokey or Winnie the Pooh

L: lol :D

L: u get out soon?

A: a week. Fml

L: srlsy??? A week? Ur gonna be climbing the walls in an hour

A: already contemplating my escape

L: Anya… >_<

A: yes mom? (epic eye roll)

L: haha. U stay put, u need 2 heal

A: I know, doesn’t mean I like it

L: no one likes it

A: point

A: a special agent talked to me earlier about what happened.

L: was he cute?

A: srlsy? An agent from sum unknown org talks 2 me and u want 2 know if he’s cute?

A: …

A: a little old, but not bad. Authoritative, carries himself well, dressed nice, wasn’t 2 pushy or egg-headed

L: designation?

A: really? ...alpha. Thought I might flip out when I smelt another alpha, but didn’t. Nice guy, attractive in an internal way

L: u r no fun, u know that? U never want to just look at pure hotness. Does any1 ever make u drool or wanna roll in their scent?

A: meh. Never really felt the need

L: taxis r here to take me to airport. Talk 2 u tomorrow?

A: course. Not like I can go anywhere

L: ha.

L: …

L: funeral is Tuesday, 2pm, St. John’s on 74th.

Anya slid her phone back into her purse and looked up at the ceiling and let the tears fall as she thought about her friend, her fellow omega, Pam. Like most omegas, she had married young, but hadn’t had a child yet, and was almost done with her nursing degree, finishing in the spring. She had been tiny, about 5’1” and maybe 100lbs soaking wet with mousy face and hair, small voice and rather diminutive. She was what most people considered the perfect omega: submissive, quiet, eager to listen and please, everything Anya wasn’t. But they got along because they both had gone to the same school, and had shared a few classes together, though Anya had taken another temporary hiatus from college.

‘Pamela was the kind of woman that I loved to call my friend. She listened to my problems and helped me work through them; we worked well together, her calmness toning down my ferocity. She was kind, thoughtful, a good person that hated to see people hurt; so she went into nursing to make pain go away, to make people feel better. She was always one to put herself last, and everyone else first. If she had just $1 to her name and someone else needed it, she would give to them, no questions asked. She trusted easily and forgave quickly. And she took care of those she loved. I remember one time in college, I forgot to pack a lunch for a really long day. Pam offered me half hers, and we sat in the courtyard, ate and compared notes; we’ve been friends since. She never complained, not once, even if she had every right to. She would smile, even when she wanted to scream or cry. That is strength.’

Anya paused in writing her little obituary for her friend and leaned back on her pillow. This was all true, but Pam had been what most people called a push-over. She never stood up for herself, certainly not against her boyfriend, who could be a bully and dominated her all the time, to the point where Anya had offered to kill him in his sleep. She really did, not just as a joke. Pam couldn’t tell anyone no, even if she wanted to, even if she should, even if all her instincts were telling her to say no, she couldn’t do it. But of course, this isn’t the kind of thing you reveal at a friend’s funeral, those are secrets you keep. Except one, the one that Pam knew and had been ready to reveal she knew, the reason she had agreed to come to Anya’s celebration, the reason she was at the bar, drinking for the first time in years. Pam had found out her boyfriend was cheating on her, with her sister. That was not a secret Anya would keep, not matter what it did. And that was something Anya knew Pam would have wanted out in the open, because she couldn’t do it herself.

Pam wasn’t weak, she had just been conditioned much more heavily than Anya had. Anya had grown up on her own, since she presented; her parents disowned her for being an omega in an all alpha family, when she refused to be mated to some rich man that was older than her own father. Anya had never bought into that bullshit about being submissive to the point of being a slave and losing all free will. Like hell she would do that.

Chapter Text

2 days after waking up, she limped out of the hospital, while the nurses were changing their stations, and hid the band on her wrist with some clothes from her apartment. 2 days with no suppressants or muting gels meant she reeked of omega, unmated omega, and every alphas, and many betas, leered at her and tried to get her number, until they either gave up or she threatened them with bodily harm. The subway was packed with people that looked at her once in a while, and an older woman asked if she was ok. Anya knew she looked terrible: her bruises were just starting to turn yellow and brown, she held herself at an odd angle and couldn’t walk in a straight line due to the cast on her leg. Her arm was no longer numb, but moving it took effort and she knew she would need a lot of physical therapy for all her injuries.

Back at her apartment, a tiny thing about the size of a city bus stop, she showered and spent hours applying coverup to hide all the bruising and marks on her body. Today was Pam’s funeral, and she didn’t want to arrive looking like she went 20 rounds with Truckosaurus. It took her hours to get ready, all her movements were painful and slow, and she had to be deliberate as she moved around.

After hours of getting ready, calling cab and feeding her cat, she arrived at St. John’s and slowly joined the group of people that were waiting to enter the church, obituary in hand. Someone recognized her as she stood in line and looked at her, eyes wide, and she looked away, pulling her umbrella lower over her head and looking at the ground focusing on her shaky feet, needing to sit down soon or she would fall. Cameras flashed around her, some paparazzi and reporters had shown up for the funeral, then it all started to get faster and everyone was talking at once, but Anya couldn’t hear why. She took a half step forward on shaky legs and felt her other leg give way, and she started to collapse, her hands flying forward to catch herself.

A strong male arm grabbed her upper arm tightly, catching her as she fell and she looked up. Tony Stark helped her stand up straight, his face oddly serious, dressed in an impeccable navy suit, hair slicked back; Anya stood up straight, not sure what to do, or what he was doing here. He silently offered his arm for support and Anya looked at it, then him with a questioning look. He nodded solemnly, and Anya slowly took his bent arm, using it to support her shaking legs.

“You weren’t supposed to leave the hospital for another 11 days.” Stark was scolding her. Anya fought the urge to roll her eyes, because he was in fact her boss. She needed to remember that.

“Pam was a very good friend of mine. She died long before she needed to. And I have something to say about her, and her family,” Anya’s tone was dark for the last part and Stark looked at her sideways, a faint smirk trying to play at his face, despite the somber occasion.

“Cheating husband?” Stark could read her eyes, though her face was almost as solid as stone. “Boyfriend. With her sister,” Anya hissed out as she twisted her leg and Stark stopped and helped her stand up straighter and waited for her to get her footing back. “Ouch. Don’t start a catfight in your condition. Give it a week,” Stark smiled faintly at her and Anya raised an eyebrow. “I’d still win. Both of them are pus…” Anya had to stop mid-word as Pam’s mother was within earshot.

Anya kept her arm on Stark’s as they walked from the doorway into the funeral, and took an open seat behind the family. Anya pulled out her speech she had prepared and listened to the other friends and family talking, ad wondering if what she was planning was the right thing to do. She wasn’t sure for a while, most of the ceremony, then Pam’s cheating boyfriend took the stand and talked about how much he loved her, how much he missed her and how good of an omega she was for him. Anya felt her blood boil, but she hid it well when she stood up to give her speech and Stark helped her stand and walk to the podium. Faint whispers followed her up there, not only because of who was helping her walk, but what happened, and that she had been there when Pam died. Anya knew there would be so many questions when this funeral was over, and the meeting took place at a large buffet place across town.

Anya stood at the top of the podium and began to talk, mostly about knowing Pam, how kind she was and how nice she was to have as a friend, and how Anya had started to call her sis when they talked or texted the last few weeks. When Anya mentioned this, Pam’s real sister gave an odd jerk in her seat and looked at Anya with wide eyes. Pam’s sister had lost a lot already, and looked like she hadn’t slept. Anya could even see some obvious self-inflicted wounds on her body. Anya lost her nerve, at least as far as the sister was concerned. She would still reveal that asshole.

Anya spoke first about what she wanted to initially say, all about Pam, and the kind fo woman she was, reading from her speech already written out, word for word, before stopping, and looking around at the crowd, then finally at Pam’s sister. She would leave her sister out of this. Pam would at would forgive her sister, no matter how much she hurt.

“Pam was indeed what many people called the perfect omega. Soft-spoken, quick to please, kind and loving. I don’t think she ever said a harsh word for anyone. I don’t think she could. That’s why she was in the bar with me that night. She was drinking to get up the courage to admit to herself, that she knew her boyfriend was cheating on her. But in the end, I don’t think she could bring herself to admit it to him. But I know she wanted to, to finally stand up for herself, because he never really had before. But now she can’t. So, I’m saying it for her. She was drinking for the courage to admit to herself that she didn’t need him, though she loved him so much. So much, she once told me, that it gave her heartburn and acid-reflux to be away from him for too long. But one thing I also know, she loved him with all her heart, and I have no doubts she would forgive him. Because that was the kind of person, the kind of woman, that Pam was. She was kind, forgiving, everything you could want in a friend, a coworker, a sister, a daughter. And it would please her to know we might try to be the same.”

Anya sat back down to no noise in the entire church, not even the click of a camera or a cough or sniffle. Nothing, until someone else stood up. Pam’s sister, who looked like someone had just removed 20 lines from around her eyes. She confessed to being the one that was cheating with the boyfriend, and begged Pam for forgiveness. Pam would give it to her, no questions asked, and embrace her sister with small, delicate omega arms and cry happy, deep tears.

The rest of the funeral was quiet, though some people looked over at her with either disgust or reverence, unsure how to think about what she had done. Pam hadn’t been able to say it herself, even if she wanted to, so Anya had done it for her. When it was over, Anya was one of the first people to get up and leave, not wanting to talk to distant relatives here only for the funeral, who hadn’t seen Pam in years and years, or tell them about what happened in the bar, now that it was national news. It didn’t hurt that Stark still had his arm around hers, leading her from the church to where someone was bringing up his car.

When Anya looked into the driver’s side door to look for the valet, she saw no one. The hell? A robotic voice called out from the dashboard and Anya was reminded of nightrider. That made Stark David Hasselhoff. Anya couldn’t help the smirk that played at her face.

“That was a hell of a statement,” Stark said before he let her arm go and looked at her with a discerning ad calculating scan. Anya just shrugged her shoulder, which she instantly regretted, now that pain meds had long worn off and she was agitating every injury in her body. The pain must have shown on her face, because Stark got closer to her and opened the passenger side door.

“Need a lift?” he said, flashing that trademark Stark charm and Anya raised an eyebrow at him. He couldn’t possibly be flirting with her; his eyes were more calculating than that. He wanted to talk to her, she could see it in his face and his eyes.

“I can take the bus back,” Anya said and took a step away from Stark to head down the road to the bus stop.

“How about lunch?” Stark asked and everyone on the street turned to look at them both and Anya felt herself blush slightly, though the heavy makeup was doing a fine job of hiding it.

“Isn’t that against company policy?” Anya asked playfully as she walked over to the open door and Stark helped her in, the large boot on her foot making it hard to move around. The door closed softly behind her and Stark was on the other side in an instant and he looked at her as she buckled up. She had seen his driving on TV, she didn’t need more injuries on her than she already had. Her medical bills were already going to be sky-high.

Anya rubbed her head as she thought about everything she needed to do, everything she had to get done before heading back to work and she rubbed her eyes, pinched the bridge of her nose, but stopped and hissed under her breath as pain shot through most of her body at the actions. Stark sniffed the air on the car and looked at her, smelling the distress pheromones she was putting out, and she tried to stop them, but they were already choking the air. The vents opened up and a window rolled down slightly, allowing the offending odor to leave the fancy, speeding car.

The engine was noiseless as it sped through city streets, heading not towards the hospital, but to a ritzy part of town and Anya shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She couldn’t afford anything on this side of town, she could barely afford to live on the island as it was. She had been on the verge of leaving the island and finding somewhere else to live, somewhere else to work, less than a week before she got hired at Stark Industries.

Stark looked over at her, glancing at her uncomfortable face and looked back at the road, zooming around a food stand before heading for some kind of restaurant with valet parking at lunchtime. Who has valet parking at lunch anyway? Anya waited in the passenger seat as the car pulled up in front of the restaurant, something ritzy, complete with carpet in the front, marble statue spouting water in front of the door, and paparazzi standing behind red ropes.

Anya was helped by a young man, who made an obvious show of trying not to sniff her, but failing miserably and she snarled her upper lip at him briefly. She knew she smelt like an omega, she couldn’t put the covering gels on her body, it interfered with the makeup she had practically drowned herself in while getting ready for the funeral. Stark came around and offered his arm again and Anya took it, grateful, because she was very sore and starting to really hurt now. She also became aware just how hungry she was; she skipped breakfast, hadn’t eaten lunch, and it was about 3:30.

Stark pulled her to a small table in the center of the restaurant and Anya felt herself burning with some anxiety as people looked at her, and someone snapped a photo of her, and looked like they were posting it. Anya looked away from the people and stared at the wine glass filled with ice cold water and downed the entire glass, and refilled it herself, not waiting for the waitress that had come over with another glass.
Stark could sense her unease, but smiled at her and said in an undertone, “you might to want to get used to the attention.” He didn’t elaborate, so Anya just looked down at the menu and wasn’t sure what to get; things here cost more than half her rent and se suddenly felt like she wasn’t hungry. She felt more eyes on her, more and more people looking at her, and her hands began to shake. She gripped the fine fabric napkin in her hands, twisting it so hard it ripped, and she felt something pop under her cast. She ignored it as Stark raised an eyebrow at her.

She took several long, deep breaths and looked around again. Someone else famous had come in and was taking all the attention now. She sighed with relief and looked at the menu again. She was very hungry, but didn’t want to order anything too expensive, or feel like a freeloader.

As if reading her mind, Stark looked over his menu at her and said, “My treat. Get whatever you want. I have a proposition for you.”

“I think you can go to the red-light district for that,” Anya said out of reflex, without thinking. Stark smiled wide at her, appreciating the snark, much like his own.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Stark, that just slipped out.” Anya twisted the napkin in her hands again and it ripped some more, turning itself into several torn pieces that fell from her lap to the floor. Stark watched the pieces fall, not seeing the anxiety in Anya’s eyes, and looked at her.

“I can tell you’ve had a long day, like Eugene O’Neal long, so let’s have a quick chat, and I’ll take you back to the hospital. Coulson will turn that sterile prison upside down when he finds you gone.”
Anya was curious who Coulson was, but figured it had to be the agent in the nice black suit that had asked her all those questions. She looked at the menu again and decided to order a salad and sandwich.

“Pretty standard. I thought you’d be more adventurous,” Stark said as he made his order. Anya looked at him and smiled. “Depends. I can be adventurous, but I might get adventurous all over the interior of your car.” Anya didn’t feel great, and didn’t need some random crap to eat that made her feel any worse.

“Point taken. I’ll go easy on the gas taking you back.”

They got their food and ate in silence for a few moments, then Stark ordered himself a drink and looked at Anya with that trademark studying gaze. Anya looked up from her salad and looked back, studying him as well.

“You had quite the knowledge on advanced chemistry. Where are you going?” Stark sipped his drink and looked at Anya across the table and she set her glass down.

“Now, nowhere. They don’t give scholarships, or a single penny, for omegas that don’t go into the normal fields. I was denied from several schools before I was finally accepted into Chemistry. All the other schools told me to enter into nursing or social work, like all the other omegas.” Anya’s tone had a very obvious bitterness underneath, and Stark looked at her, then leaned back in his chair, studying her for a moment.

“Damn shame, you have one hell of a mind,” Stark said before drinking deeply and Anya looked at him. He had to be one of the most intelligent men on the face of the earth, and he had just called her smart.

“That’s one hell of a compliment,” Anya returned and Stark raised his glass to her for a second then drank the rest of it down in one gulp.

“Well, my idea was simple. You work at Stark Industries part time, and I’ll pay for you to finish you’re degree. When you graduate, you stay with me for 3 years. Anything you create or discover while employed belongs to Stark Industries.” Stark laid it out for her.

Anya wasn’t expecting that; she dropped her sandwich halfway to her mouth and it landed into some dressing which splattered onto her face. She wiped it off with a small remaining piece of napkin and looked back at Stark once she had a moment to collect herself. He looked amused at her reaction, and had actually taken a picture of her covered in tiny drops of white ranch dressing.

“Oh, that could so be taken the wrong way.” Stark smiled and Anya knew what he was talking about and couldn’t stop the blush that rose up her face, then the indignant huff. She dug back into her meal and Stark looked back at her, waiting for an answer. She wiped her face after taking another slow bite, letting him sweat it out as payback of the pic, then set her fork down and extended her hand across the table.

“That sounds like an excellent deal, Mr. Stark.”

Chapter Text

2 more weeks at the hospital passed without incident, though Anya was crawling the walls shortly after Stark returned her to her room. She snuck out of her room and managed to bypass the locked doors on her room so often the staff eventually gave up and just left her door unlocked, asking that she return for curfew at 9pm. Anya spent most of her time talking with fellow omegas, about things they liked and making some much needed friends, and of course texting her friends, mostly Lisa, who had been talked into staying in Florida for another few weeks. Her husband said it was a second honeymoon. Odd, considering they never had a first.

Anya was discharged with orders to see a physical therapist, take it easy for a month, and told to avoid large crowds for a few weeks while she saw a shrink for her aggression towards large groups of alphas. This was a problem, considering NYC had one of the highest ratios of alphas per population in the world, second only to Shanghai. Anya had always harbored some kind of aggression and anger towards alphas, mostly because of how she was raised and some things that happened in her past, but she never told anyone about that. She could go her whole life and not reveal it to anyone, ever. Not even if she ever married or mated.

Still, she promised to see the therapist and went to the rehab building a few times a week to get range of motion back in her left arm, which was still giving her numbing tingles up and down it when she raised it too high or moved it too fast. Her bones were healed enough she could move and walk around, but was still grounded in several casts and a boot on her right foot. The shrink was a nice beta, who helped her understand that not every group of alphas would jump her, though she couldn’t even begin to touch the long-standing trust issues and intensity of Anya’s pure being. Anya once more felt like someone was trying to brainwash her into becoming the perfect omega, into something she wasn’t and would never be. She ditched the shrink after one appointment.

Thankfully her facial wounds and most of the bruises had healed, so Anya didn’t need to drench herself in makeup when she returned to work at the Stark Tower on the Monday after being discharged. Stark had called her and told her to wear something more comfortable, instead of the normal business attire while she healed, so she was dressed in a loose flowing skirt, a fitting blouse and her hair flowed around her face in gentle, waving curls when she arrived on her floor. She looked away from the open stares and could hear the whispers around her. She had excellent hearing, having a rare gene in her body that only about 10% of all omegas had, giving them enhanced senses, even heightening their intuition and ‘6th’ sense. It was a wonderful thing if she wanted to listen to gossip or get dirt on someone, but not fun if she didn’t want to hear something she really wasn’t meant to. Like the sexual escapades of her coworkers. Yep, she could hear it all.

Her first day back was rather boring; she just filed some paperwork and filled out the applications Stark and Ms. Potts had sent her, given that she would now be working with them for a longer period of time, and attending school under one of their scholarships. She ate lunch at her desk, and was aware of everyone leaving for the day, turning most of the lights of, as if completely forgetting she was there. She didn’t mind.
She flicked on the small light near her computer and read the paperwork over again, making sure it was correct before getting up to send it into the mail drop where it would be sent to Ms. Potts and Mr. Stark in the morning.

Anya was instantly aware of someone watching her, and she turned around, slowly, wondering where the watcher was. She assumed it was a security guard about to ask why she was here at 1am. A door closed behind her and she spun around, and was met with something hard at her neck; it was a hand, but it was cold, metallic, and whirred slightly as it grasped at her neck, harder than before.

Anya grasped at the fingers, trying to pry them off her, but they were unmovable. Anya hit the crook of the elbow, something she learned for self-defense, but was met only with pain in her hand as a finger popped out of socket again. The air was thick with angry and hostile alpha, so thick it was almost a visible fog, choking Anya, making her want to run away screaming at the top of her lungs. A brunette man with short stubble and glazed eyes moved under a light and Anya understood. It was Sergeant Barnes, and he was still dreaming.

Thinking fast, Anya grabbed part of her shirt and ripped it, then wiped the covering gel from her glands on her neck and shoulders. The metal fingers relaxed instantly and the nose of the sleepwalking man touched Anya’s neck gently, rubbing his arms and waist with her hands, muttering sweet nothings into her ear. What could only be a smile played across his face and he started moving his feet. It was like he was trying to dance with her to a song only he could hear. He seemed to shift around like he was drunk, and Anya could work with that.

“You’re drunk, baby,” she said softly into his ear, and his smile got wider. He stumbled over his on feet for a moment as Anya pulled him over to a long couch in the concierge area and laid him down on it. He mumbled incoherently in his sleep, his hands still tight on her, one on her waist, the other on her arm. Yep, he really was dreaming about dancing, about a night on the town from his younger days. That was better than thinking she was a threat. Anya had heard that Hydra had a very poor view on omegas, and had none on their staff when they had been at full power; her scent must have triggered another memory of his, but instead of it being about pain and torture and blood, it was about a night on the town, maybe with his best friend, Steve Rogers.

Barnes lay on the couch, curling up without complaint, but started to twitch and make some very sad sounds. He was begging in his sleep, apologizing for something.

“Please! I will do it right. Please! No…”

Anya’s heart was breaking, her omega instincts, normally ignored, were screaming at her to comfort the scared and distressed alpha. She sat on the couch next to him and leaned down so her scent wafted over to him on and the whining stopped. His arms shot out from around him and grabbed at Anya’s legs, pulling himself up to her, resting his twitching head onto her thighs. Anya rubbed her eyes and looked down at the troubled man. If she tried to move, he might attack her in his sleep. She looked down and saw his face, once lined hard with fear and pain, was now lax and calm, his breathing even and the nightmares gone. Anya could smell the change in his alpha pheromones the moment he stopped having a nightmare. The air was thinner, calmer, and no longer set her teeth on edge or made her want to flee.

Sighing, rubbing her eyes in her drowsy state, and not really caring who saw this in the morning, Anya slid down the couch slightly to rest her head on the top of it, and closed her eyes, her hand on Barnes’s metal shoulder. She touched it gently to keep him grounded, let him know she was there, and she wasn’t a threat to him if he suddenly woke up. It was a soothing motion, something her mother had once done for her when she was a little girl and had a nightmare. The metal was cool and smooth under her hands and as she started to drift off, she could smell how calm he was now, how comfortable he was with his head on her lap and her scent taking his mind to someplace pleasant.

Knowing this would be the talk of her coworkers, for whoever found them in the morning, she Anya found she no longer gave a shit at the calming alpha scent hit her nose and made her want to sleep too. She closed her eyes, leaning back onto the couch and the lights turned off a short time later.

Just before sleep took her, she felt Barnes shift lightly on her thighs and a faint word escaped his lips.

“Steve.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bucky's Mind

Darkness assaulted his eyes, and all he could smell and feel were chemicals being pushed into his body. His hands were being forced to move somewhere he dint want them, and he gripped tighter onto the neck of the man that was about to put him into cryo, refusing to go, not able to handle it again.

It suddenly changed, the man in front of him was gone as a pleasant smell hit his nose and he leaned forward. Everything around him was wonderfully bright and warm. People talked, clinked glasses and dames laughed as their dates swung them around on the dance floor. A pretty little omega was on his arm and she smiled at him, her eyes wide as he placed his nose into her neck for a slow song and she grabbed at his arms, pulling him closer.

He tripped over his own feet and felt light-headed, suddenly aware of an empty glass in his hands. The omega let out a faint, gentle laugh when he stumbled again and grabbed his left shoulder in an endearing way. Something about that sent shivers down his spine and he felt tingles of happiness that she would be willing to touch his shoulder. Btu why wouldn’t she? He was wondering why he hated his left arm for a moment, then the pretty little omega pulled him outside the bar gently.

“You’re drunk baby,” she said softly and Bucky followed her to his apartment, and let her lay him on the bed. She took a few steps away, just far enough that her scent was gone, and the darkness pressed in on him again. Hideous leering faces were back, needles and tubes and machines all around him and a taller man, blonde hair and powerful alpha smell was snarling down at him, condemning him to painful reconditioning for failing a mission.

“Please!” Bucky shouted as the pain returned into his veins, making his blood run cold but entire body felt like it was on fire, melting off the skin and shattering his bones. “I’ll do it right. Please!” Bucky knew it was pointless to plead, though he couldn’t stop himself as straps were tied around his wrists and a needle entered his neck. “No…” he said, the pain making his eyes cross and he wanted to vomit from the intensity of it, he just wanted to die.

A hand touched him again, but now he was laying on a table, looking up at his best friend, who had grown a foot taller and gained some serious muscles. The smell of omega was all around him, promising an attractive omega nurse once they got to safety. Steve helped him to his feet and they ran hard and fast, through flames and some pain, until fresh air, some of his fellow soldiers, and a pretty little omega nurse was in front of them, taking Bucky away from his best friend. Bucky turned around to look at the new super soldier, who was being swallowed by the crowds, reaching out his hand and called for him.

“Steve.”

Chapter Text

“What do you mean, he’s gone?” Tony shouted from his little corner filled with moving parts and tiny circuit boards. It was 11am, and Steve was standing in the lab, concern and worry all over his handsome face. Steve had just told Tony that Bucky wasn’t in his room or his normal hiding spots. He was gone and for some reason, JARVIS hadn’t located him yet. Apparently there was too much interference from all the people moving around for lunch time, and JARVIS couldn’t locate Bucky’s signature through it all.

Cap and Tony split up, and JARVIS was instructed to look through the entire night’s footage for signs of Barnes. Their worst fear was Bucky loose on the streets, being triggered into a killing spree if someone touched him wrong or a smell overcame him and forced him into another PTSD episode. With his skills and strength, he could kill dozens before he was stopped or brought out of the reverie.

“Captain Rogers!” someone called for Steve and he turned around to see a very nervous and harried looking woman, who was catching her breath after running in high heels.

“Please, we need your help, we’re too afraid to wake him,” she said and Steve knew instantly she was referring to Bucky. But since when did he manage to sleep away from Steve, or his quiet little cubby spot in his locked room?

When Steve arrived on the 13th floor, Tony was already there and wasn’t sure if he looked relieved, worried or about to burst out laughing. Tony compensated by snapping several photos before he took his phone away as Steve turned the corner and stopped in his tracks.

Bucky was sleeping, his head on the lap of the same woman that had thrown him over her shoulder that night in the alpha rut bar, her hand on his metal arm, touching it gently like she was trying to calm a nervous or sick child, with bruises darkening around her neck.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anya rubbed her neck as someone offered her some ice for it and she took it carefully, not willing to move and startle the assassin on her lap. She had woken up from a nice sleep, the nicest one she’s had in months, when her boss came in and almost screamed in horror at the bruises around her neck. Anya had talked her down from calling the police and had instead asked for someone to find Captain America; she had a feeling, based on what Barnes had been mumbling on and off the entire night, he would be the only one that could bring Bucky awake without triggering a knife to the throat.

Anya looked from her boss to the very tall handsome man in front of her and she whispered what happened the night before. About Barnes’s nightmare, then his dreaming, and how she felt it best not to move and agitate him into another nightmare or PTSD attack episode. And it wasn’t the worst place she’s slept in her life, though her legs had fallen asleep about an hour ago. Through the entire thing, she was absentmindedly stroking Barnes’s metal arm, and it seemed to keep him sleeping, dreaming, despite the whispering people around him.

Anya looked expectantly at Captain Rogers, who wasn’t sure what to do, if he was honest. Bucky had never slept through a full night since they had found one another almost a year ago. To learn that he hadn’t woken up in almost 10 hours was something completely new to him and he was wondering why.

“I think because he could smell I was an omega. He tried dancing with me in his sleep, like he was on a date or something,” Anya ignored the giggles from some of the women and the smirk on Stark’s face, who took another picture. Anya looked at Steve and motioned him closer so no one else would hear.

“He kept asking for you in his sleep. I think you should just be able to wake him. Better than him freaking out from all the strange people.” Anya knew a few things about PTSD, having suffered it on occasion since she was 16. Again, not something she would ever talk about. Ever.

Rogers got closer to Bucky, kneeling on one knee and placed his hand on Bucky’s back, whispering for him to wake up. Bucky jolted awake as if shocked and Anya was thrown from the couch, landing on her butt rather painfully, but she got up with grace and walked off like it was just another day at the office. Rogers needed to thank her later for not making a fuss about this.

Stark pulled her aside, a smirk still on his face even she as she applied some ice to her neck, then followed her to her desk, where she applied some makeup to her neck to hide the bruises.

“He’ll feel worse about it than I do if he sees them. I don’t want to slow any recovery he might be making,” Anya’s voice was hushed as Stark looked her neck over, the bruise slowly disappearing under a thin layer of makeup. “Oh, I sent you all the forms you requested sometime last night, or today, depending on how you look at it. Was there anything else you needed me to complete?”

Stark seemed amazed at her cool nonchalance about the whole thing, considering a super-powered assassin had been sleeping on her lap the entire night, and could have killed her in his sleep without blinking or even knowing it until he woke up. Anya just slid into her chair, sipping some water and looked back at Stark as he sent her some more emails and things to do before walking away, still pondering the strange woman.

Anya was sent home early that night and she complied happily, wanting to shower and look in on her cat. It was only about 3:30 when she was told to go home, so she walked most of the way home, feeling well-rested and grateful the assassin hadn’t woken up and killed her by accident. But something told her that he wouldn’t ever do that, not to her. Most of it was probably because she was an omega and she smelt like an omega. Alphas that were stressed or injured sought out nay omega, their soft, gently scent and touch calming and healing. And not just physically, like a nurse, but mentally. An entire field of study for soldiers was dedicated to omega-scent therapy, where alphas and betas coming home from war, suffering injury, PTSD, or any illness, was placed in a calm, quiet room with an omega, didn’t matter their gender or mate status for one hour every week. The results were better than therapy and strong medication. The only issue was that omegas only made up about 1% of the population, while alphas were about 10%. And the meetings had to be one on one, or the alpha would become withdrawn, violent, even suicidal.

Anya had once participated in a study like that when she lived on the streets, before living in NYC. The money was good, $200 per session, and when she did it 5 times a week, she made enough to get off the streets. Anya pulled her mind from that painful part of her past, though it was hardly the most painful or buried part of her life, and thought about Captain America. Rather the look he gave Anya before she left and lost sight of him and Bucky. There was a flicker of relief to see Barnes was alright, but Anya had seen something else there, if only for a moment, and it had been quickly covered up and hidden behind his blue eyes, so no one would see it.
Jealousy.

Anya reached her small apartment and her cat was meowing loudly, ready for her to be home and feed her. Anya stroked the long, soft fur of the black cat, who looked up at her with large, baleful green eyes and long black whiskers. After showering, she sat in her chair, getting things ready for the college she would be going to in a few weeks. She had a lot of books to buy, supplies, an ID, so many things she needed to do before she could even think about attending her first class. But her mind quickly went to Captain Rogers and his reaction to seeing Barnes being comforted by someone else. Both men were alphas, but Anya wondered if Rogers had been something else before the serum that now coursed through his body and was engrained in his DNA. Maybe he had been an omega before his transformation?

Even if he had been an alpha beforehand, Anya couldn’t stop her mind from going, from thinking, wondering already how to get the 2 of them to realize what they really meant to one another. Rogers had obviously been jealous, and Barnes had called out for Rogers every half hour or so during the night, often waking up Anya in a faint panic as he called out, twisted in her lap, squeezing her legs and thighs so tight she now sported a spattering of bruises that looked like modern art. But they didn’t hurt, not like she thought they might; maybe because Anya knew he didn’t mean to cause them. That was a first for her.

The next few weeks before college started up again was a rush to get things completed, to read up on what she was rusty on, buying everything she would need and feeling guilty about spending Stark’s money and not hers, though she assured her it was in the contract. Anya had a feeling it wasn’t really, and he was just being nice; but she knew it was also because she was an omega and had been denied going to most schools because of it, and that upset him on a level Anya had never seen before. Anya had a keen sense about these things, when someone was telling a lie, or hiding something big, and Anya knew Stark was hiding a secret that would completely upend the entire business, technology and, well basically, the entire modern world. She could never say for sure, and she wouldn’t dream of asking. It wasn’t her place to ask, she didn’t really care, and it wasn’t her secret to tell either.

She had realized it late one night at work, when she was getting ready to go home, when she had heard someone cursing loudly, and could smell something like slick, that kind only omegas produce during heats or when aroused. Concerned someone was going into a heat and might need help, because heats made omegas nothing but boneless, fever-stricken messes that could barely move even if their lives were in danger. And most alphas couldn’t help themselves around an omega in heat. Anya had seen what happened when a lone omega when into a heat and a few alphas found them. The omega actual survived, which was rare, but was paralyzed from the waist down for life. The damage had been brutal, and Anya had been just 13 when she saw it. That was one of the reasons she told herself she would never be with an alpha, ever. It also started her intense distrust, and sometimes outright hatred, of alphas.

When she turned the corner, she could smell something like an alpha too, but it was familiar: her boss, Tony Stark. Maybe he had company, or was helping an omega through their heat. Still concerned, and also very curious, she looked around the cornet to make sure the omega was alright and that any help they were getting was consensual. All she could see was Stark, alone in a small section of his workshop, barely visible, but obviously sweaty, feverish, and smelling to be in the starts of a heat. Anya took a step forward to ask if he needed something, but metal sheets closed in around him in that little corner, and he completely disappeared from view, and all Anya heard was the hum of an elevator. Stark probably had a panic room, someplace where his scent couldn’t leave; the revelation that Stark was an omega wasn’t that surprising, not as surprising as the fact that he was caught in a heat. Anya was more concerned about what might have brought it on, rather than his designation; but his scent was gone in a few seconds, his workshop had gone dark and Anya was left alone in the hall, walking away. JARVIS would take care of Stark, if Ms. Potts didn’t.

That night, in her apartment as her cat slept on her head, which meant she wouldn’t be able to move until her cat allowed it, Anya mulled everything over in her head. It made things more clear, why Stark had been so willing to take on Anya, as an omega student, and the anger he must have felt when she told him about her previous schools that hated her not being in a traditional omega program. He went to MIT, about as far from standard omega as possible, and he designed weapons for the military until he was captured. Before falling asleep, a rare smile graced her lips: what she wouldn’t give to see everyone’s faces, knot-head alphas, politicians, the entire world, when they learn that one of the most powerful people in the world was an omega. Anya huffed out a laugh before the thought brought her to a quiet slumber.

Anya had never told Stark that she knew, and if JARVIS had sensed her in the hall, nothing was said about it. Maybe it was for the best that Stark ignored anything to do with his heats, though Anya was still concerned what would cause a heat to creep up on him like that; that was the omega in her talking, wanting to know that people around her were safe and healthy. She couldn’t help it, not with Stark. Though volatile, narcissistic and difficult to work with, he was her boss, and a good man underneath the snark and snide comments. He was just afraid to let anyone see it.

So, things leading up to Anya’s first day back at college were hectic, and Anya didn’t give much thought to Stark’s hidden designation; her nerves about school, a place she loved but had never really been welcomed before, overrode most of her mind, that making sure she had everything ready.

For the week leading up the school, she stayed late at Stark Industries every night, and every time, she was visited again by a restless Barnes, though he was much less combative each time. Anya thought about the therapy she had been a part of so many years ago; she might be having the same effect on him, calming his nerves during the night so he could sleep without nightmares of flashbacks, and as a result his days were less painful. He did look healthier than the first time she saw him, with no shadows under his eyes and his entire body language was a lot less tense. Anya liked having someone near her while she slept, it was calming; plus Barnes was very warm to the touch, a nice bonus and Anya was fascinated with his metal arm, which no one could touch while he was awake, not even Captain Rogers.

The Monday of her first day at school had her nervous, though none of it showed on her face. She had layered on scent-hiding gel on her neck and upper shoulders to prevent her scent from making any alpha approach her, or make it hard for her to study with alphas and some male betas from sniffing her the entire class. She took a very early train to the campus, just outside the city, for her early morning class at 9am, all her books in her bag weighing her down, her nerves jumbling her stomach, but a strong jawed expression on her face as she readied herself to tackle whatever the day might have for her.

Chapter Text

To say her first day back at college was a disaster would be a gross understatement.

It was raining when she got off the train, so most of the gel on her neck and shoulders had washed off by the time her first class started, and her professors, every single one she had and all those she met (male and female, alpha and beta), had looked at her like she had rolled around in pig shit then walked through a NYC sewer before coming to class. They wrinkled their noses at her, staring her down and making her feel small and unwelcome, after asking her if she was lost and needed directions to the nursing department. After telling them each no, and them realizing she was in their class to stay, they had ignored her outright the entire class, only looking at her to either stare her down and shoot daggers at her for breaking tradition, or take roll call.

The alphas in her class were much more observant of her; most were younger than her and many of them stared, not bothering to look at the professors, not once, during the class period. The alphas drooled, some literally, as she moved around and when a vent kicked on and spread her scent through the room, not one of them were bothering to hide their erections. The ones nearest her were trying to proposition her without saying anything, waggling their eyebrows at her, leaning back so she had an unobstructed view of their tented pants, and one even touched her. It took all her strength and willpower not to break that alpha’s fingers.

And the professors had all blamed Anya for their inattentiveness, for coming in and distracting hard-working alpha and beta students with her omega scent. Anya had stood up and snarled at her first professor when this happened, snarling that it was the fault of the alphas for thinking with the wrong head. This got some giggles from the ladies, and this only made the professor angrier. The bastard professor kicked her from class and said she wouldn’t be allowed back in until she got some kind of scent blocker and fixed her attitude. She turned to yell back at him that his old-fashioned misogynistic attitude was the one that needed fixing, but he slammed the door in her face, causing her a bloody nose.

Anya’s later classes were just as bad, though only one more professor kicked her out of his class. But the erection-boasting alphas, the snide comments out her not knowing her place, and the occasional pat on the back that was purely sympathetic, like they knew she would fail soon, those all continued the entire day. Anya had a tube of blocker gel in her backpack, but it wasn’t working. Her nerves, anger and hurt feelings were making the gel useless. So she stopped bothering try to put it on after lunch. It made her skin itch and burn anyway, a common side-effect, and made her neck and shoulders look like she had a terrible sunburn. She even started to develop blisters.

Back in her apartment, she cried on her bed, but not sad: angry, furious, and determined. She let out the emotions and stress from the day. This was only Monday. She had to meet several new professors with rooms of new faces, and many more students before the week was over; once the week was over, she hoped that the idea she was an omega would fade away, like being the flavor of the week. The younger students, who grew up in a more progressive era than the professors, would probably get over her being an omega, though she knew the erections and posturing alphas wouldn’t stop. But it might tone done a few notches.

Anya pulled out her homework for the night, got started and was done around midnight. Then she pulled out another notebook, and started writing down formulas, omega pheromones and common gel-like substances that were non-reactive and wouldn’t cause damage to skin. She needed a new kind of gel scent blocker, even if she needed to make one herself. The idea excited her, though she just hoped she didn’t end up glowing from an experiment gone wrong when the formula was done.

The rest of the school week was a disaster, though the repeated classes did lose interest in her by Friday. One of her younger alpha professors made no effort to hide the fact that he wanted to sleep with her, and she wanted to slap the arrogant smirk off his face. She did accidentally-on-purpose knee him in the groin, which he couldn’t prove she did on purpose, though most of the ladies in the class were silently laughing. Hey, no matter the designation, most ladies should to stick together. Plus, cock-shots were always funny.

Anya made some decent progress on her formulas and creation methods for the scent-blocking gel she had in mind, and was almost done with the formula. She just needed someone to look at it before she made it and tested it. She didn’t need her skin melting off her body because she forgot to carry the 2.

The first Saturday after her first disastrous week at school, she was at Stark Tower, or rather Avengers tower, though no one was at work. But she had heard most of the support Saturday staff had left because they were afraid of someone arriving to experiment with Stark in the labs. Only one person made alphas nervous like that, and he was just the kind of scientist Anya needed to look over her notes.

Dr. Bruce Banner, when not hulked out, was a kind beta, who loved knowledge and Anya suspected he would be a teacher of some kind if he thought anyone would attend his classes. The only thing he loved more than science was helping other people love science too. And with Stark in the workshop again after another fight with Rogers, the steel doors in place so only Ms. Potts could get in, Dr. Banner sounded like a good option. And Anya didn’t want to disappoint her boss if he looked over her work and she had made a mistake. Pleasing Stark and living up to her end of the contract was very important to her, after all the help he gave her.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bruce wore a simple button-down shirt in a masculine purple that worked wonders on his skin tone, with goggles on his face as he watched some vials and flasks bubble and react slowly around him. The entire process would take a few hours, but they needed to be watched constantly, because they could cause the delicate glass to melt it he wasn’t careful. He didn’t hear someone coming up behind him for a long time, but because aware of a very alluring and delicate scent in the air, until someone coughed loudly behind him and called his name.

“Dr. Banner?” Bruce turned around and got a quick glance at the young woman behind him. She was lean, well-toned, and someone he suspected could kick ass in a bar fight. She also smelled like a promising omega and fruity shampoo, though her omega scent was much more powerful, a mix of expensive roses, fresh-cut grass, pages of a new book and fresh air after a summer storm. It was a fantastic combination, and was only made more alluring by the fruity smell from her hair. But what made it harder to resist was the many pages of chemical formulas, calculations and writing in her soft hands, and a look of a determined student and scientist on her face.

Bruce took a deep breath of the chemicals in front of him, amazed an omega could have this effect on him, not sure why. He was a beta after all. The young woman walked over to his side by the table, but kept a careful distance from the delicate instruments and the table they were on, not wanting to interrupt his work. She looked down at her papers and looked back up at him, then took in the many experiments going on around them.

“I’m sorry, Dr. Banner. I’ll come back later.” The young woman made to leave, her long golden hair swishing out slightly behind her, sending another wave of fruity shampoo in her wake.

“Oh, um, wait. What, um, did you want something?” Bruce was stammering and had to control his urge to get into her personal space and smell her neck. That was the ‘other guy’s’ fault. The Hulk was a true alpha male if there ever was one, and sometimes turned Bruce into one if something sparked his interest as Dr. Banner. His biology was a serious enigma. Her smell of fresh post-rain and new books was getting more attention than what she was saying, and he had to stand up straighter and lean towards the chemicals to get their noxious smells into his head, and get hers out. Or something might happen that he would really regret.

“Dr. Banner, I can come back, but I was hoping you could look over my calculations and work for me? None of my professors will give me the time of day since they smell omega on me. Well, and I’ve corrected almost all of them in my first week. But it was never in front of the class.” The young woman was also rambling as she looked Bruce over slightly nervously, though it wasn’t from fear of the Hulk. It was from fear of being told no, because she was an omega.

Bruce extended his hands for the papers and she handed them over very quickly, a beautiful smile gracing her lips, the light of science in her intense blue eyes.

“Well, I have something going on right now,” Bruce started and the woman nodded eagerly, eyes wide as if she was in a kind of fandom state.

“I completely understand, Dr. Banner. Here’s my card, I actually work in the building most nights on the 13th floor. I truly appreciate this, and I greatly enjoyed your presentation on your theory of high-velocity electron collision remnants for energy production and consumption. I bought the DVD, actually.” The woman paused in her faint ramble and actually the pulled the DVD from her purse.

“Since I have you here, do you think you could sign if for me?” Bruce looked at her again as she held out the DVD box. It looked well used and worn, with the protective plastic mostly ripped off and the DVD was lightly scratched from frequent use. Bruce felt an unusual swell of pride as he looked at the young, eager, and obviously ambitious student in front of him. She produced a purple marker and he signed the DVD disc and the case, and she stifled a squeal of delight when she took it back.

“Thank you very much, Dr. Banner. I’ll let you finish what you were working on. Thank you again.” The woman hurried from the room, the same eager, young look on her face. Though she had to be about 22-23, her shining, eager face reminded him of a child about to learn what was in the biggest box on Christmas Day. Bruce set the pages into his bag to look at later, maybe after dinner and the experiment was done. Bruce wiped his face for a moment as the wonderful, alluring smell of the young woman and her powerful enthusiasm faded and he got a chance look in a window at his reflection.

His eyes were a bright, vivid and poisonous green.

The other guy had done all that ‘oversensitivity to scent’ on purpose.

Bruce found he didn’t mind nearly as much as he should.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anya was standing at the elevator, ready to head home when she smelt a familiar alpha behind her and turned around, smiling as Barnes stood in the hall, looking awkward and unsure of his welcome in the light of day. Anya smiled kindly to him and waved softly. He took that as an invitation to walk up to her and a faint though strained smile graced his features. Damn, he was seriously hot when he smiled. Anya had to mentally shake herself from those thoughts when she remembered she had no scent blockers on.

Barnes cocked his head slightly, his grin widening as he smelt the faint arousal coming from his living pillow and mood stabilizer. He had missed her when she didn’t stay the nights and he never slept without her calming scent around him to remind him that he wasn’t with Hydra anymore. They would never allow omegas near someone like Barnes, or anywhere other than a dungeon where the omegas were tied down and knotted for the enjoyment of the soldiers. Barnes was glad he never had the chance at one of those poor omegas: with his strength, he would have killed them.

“How are you doing, Sergeant Barnes?” she asked kindly and he looked her up and down quickly. She smelt like Dr. Banner’s lab, but as that smell faded, he could scent her familiar omega scent underneath, things that reminded him of home: fresh-baked bread, Brooklyn streets as they dried in the summer after a cooling rain, and gunpowder, with an underlying scent of very fine and expensive roses.

“Alright.” Barnes felt embarrassed as he suddenly realized he didn’t know her name. It must have shown on his face because she just smiled kindly and extended her hand in formal greeting. “Anya Smith.” Her handshake was firm and sure, full of confidence and youth, someone how could kick ass and intimidate, but still make him feel safe with her mere presence. Being around her again, after over a week alone and unable to sleep, was calming and calling him at the same time. He had the sudden urge to pick her up and lock her in his room, so he could be around her all the time, so he never felt alone, never had a flashback or nightmare.

“You know, for all the nights we spend together, we know nothing about one another.” She had a faint smirk on her face, so she knew just how that sounded, slightly dirty and her eyes twinkled when a faint flush covered Barnes’s cheekbones. Her eyes softened and her smirk faded as the elevator opened behind them.

“You want a coffee? Or, I suppose you might think of it as a coffee-infused drink.” Barnes looked at her. “I’m under house arrest, I can’t leave the tower. Steve’s orders.” Anya nodded her head once. “The tower has a coffee shop off the main lobby. They should still be open.” Barnes considered her for a moment as she held the elevator door open; then he thought, why not? When’s the last time I was in the company of a pretty omega dame? And not sleeping? Barnes walked into the elevator with her and regretted it almost immediately as the door closed and her scent had nowhere to go. It was intoxicating, calming and inviting all at once and couldn’t resist brushing his robotic left arm against her soft sleeve. She looked at it for a moment then looked back at him, raising an eyebrow.

“If you don’t mind me asking, can you feel any kind of sensation through the arm? It seems to follow your neural responses and impulses as well as a real arm, no hesitation, no other commands.” Barnes stared at her. The dame was smart, no doubt about that. He looked at his metal arm self-consciously, remembering the things it had done to people, even his own best friend.

“Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it was a painful subject for you.” Anya’s face was full of remorse and concern as she looked up at the former Hydra agent. The elevator now reeked of his faint distress and pain. He didn’t jump at all when he felt a gentle hand on his back, though he normally did for everyone else. He really liked the feeling, the idea that someone had his back without a scent that made his hair stand on end. Her thumb gently stroked his back, though the rest of her hand remained immobile and the faint movement relaxed him a surprising amount. His shoulders slumped slightly and he let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. The sudden lack of tension was welcomed.

In the lobby, Barnes was able to breathe the fresher air and followed Anya t the small coffee shop behind a small half-wall on the other side of the main reception desk. It was mostly hidden behind some momentos from Stark’s past, including his first circuit board, first work gloves and his letter of acceptance into MIT, all proudly displayed for the world to see and admire. Typical Stark, full of themselves.

Barnes had no idea what he wanted from the coffee, so he just ordered the same thing Anya did, a simple caramel…something. It a strong bite of coffee to it, and the sweetness of foamy milk and caramel to even it out. It was surprisingly good and Barnes sat on a couch, much like the one they would lay on sometimes at night in the tower, and talked.

Anya talked about her school, which was why she wasn’t at the tower much this last month, and Barnes felt oddly angry as she talked about her biased and outright rude professors. He had been taught that omegas were dainty, delicate, but to be kind to them and treat everyone with respect, regardless of presentation. The new liberties omegas had in this century were different than he grew up with. Omegas were always kept in the home, never allowed outside the house alone, and mated usually between 16 and 20. Anya was 23 and couldn’t see herself being mated in the near future. She wanted to finish school first. Barnes supported this, despite still adjusting to the new times; Anya was far too smart to be locked up in a home as a housewife.

Barnes liked her passion and ferocity: she didn’t take any flak from anyone and spoke her mind, but she was still respectful of the people that deserved it. Though Stark could be a serious pain in the rear, Anya respected him, not just as her boss and superior, but as a fellow nerd. He couldn’t think of another word for them.

“So, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen so far? Except the aliens, not those. That’s everyone’s response.” Barnes felt a faint laugh catch in his throat. He hadn’t laughed in years, not since before falling from the train. Barnes looked at Anya, who was patiently waiting his response, but he wasn’t sure what to say. The only thing he could think of as he sat next to her was how he could sleep next to her at night and no one thought they were sleeping together.

“NY pizza. It’s changed so much,” Barnes chose a funny answer and Anya showed a smirk with some mirth in her eyes, but didn’t press it. She could tell he didn’t want to really say what was on his mind. As they talked, the coffee shop closed and Barnes found himself slowly siting closer to Anya as the sun set behind the clear glass of the main lobby and the lights overhead came on automatically.

“Sergeant Barnes, I must inform you it is currently 10pm and Captain Rogers will be looking for you in your apartment in 20 minutes.” JARVIS interrupted their conversation and Anya jumped in surprised and then laughed as she dabbed the coffee she spilt on herself. Barnes looked up at the ceiling, scowling, but knew he needed to leave and be back on his floor before Steve blew a gasket.

“Well, it’s been a pleasure, Sergeant Barnes. But I think you’re about to break your curfew.” Anya’s voice was lightly teasing with no ill-intent behind it and Barnes found himself smiling as he stood up with her. He didn’t realize they’d been talking about random things for hours already. As she pulled her purse closer to her body, he felt a deep concern for her. It was late and dark, and she shouldn’t walk home alone. He wanted to escort her home, keep her safe, protect his omega…Barnes stopped himself. She wasn’t his omega, but she still shouldn’t be walking home alone.
As if reading his mind, she opened her purse and revealed the black glossy hand of pepper spray and a Taser gun.

Barnes should feel the urge to rip both weapons from her purse, turn her purse upside down, then pin her to the wall and demand who she really was and who she was working for. But he didn’t. The realization hit that he felt safe, 100% truly safe, around Anya, so much so that he could see an actual weapon on her person and not feel the need to kill her. He barely blinked. She pulled her purse closer to her body and Barnes walked her to the lobby doors; she pulled a tube from her purse and applied some sticky, foul-smelling gel to her neck and her wonderful omega scent faded completely. But her skin also turned red where she put the gel and a few small blisters developed, and it was obvious she wanted to scratch her skin from the way she shifted and pulled her shirt over the gel.

Anya smiled one last time to Barnes before she walked out the doors and disappeared on the street, and Barnes felt some anxiety about her being on her own on the streets, the strong need to protect and keep her safe still dominating his mind. But as he calmed down, he realized that if anyone attacked Anya, they would be the ones in trouble. Next to Natasha, she had to be one of the biggest ‘badass’ ladies he knew. And he’d met Peggy.

Chapter Text

Anya arrived home without incident much later than she thought she would, and ended up screwing the studying she planned on doing and went straight to bed, her cat crawling all over her face and head before laying his purring neck right on her ear. It reminded her of a Harley driving down the street a few blocks over. It was still loud, but the familiar sound put her to sleep almost instantly every night.

People danced around her, her brothers and sister huddling in a corner, looking at her, most with disdain, but her sister looked horrified, terrified. Anya wasn’t sure what that was about. An older man, a rich Russian in his late 40s walked over to her and offered his hand to her, a wicked smile on his face. Everyone turned to look at her: dozens of faces, familiar and strange, looked at her, waiting for her response. She reached out her hand, then stopped, pulling it back in a panic. She turned and tried to run, but her legs felt like lead, and the Russian man was getting closer, bigger, scarier, and his hands were growing claws that ripped into her flesh and her beautiful pink dress. She cried, crawling away from him, his smile wider and more sinister, and she called for her mom, her dad, her brothers and sister, but none of them moved. Her parents ignored her as they counted money, her sister the only one looking at her, tears in her eyes. She took a step towards the crying Anya, who was now naked and trying to squirm out from underneath the older Russian, but her sister’s foot didn’t meet the ground as their brothers pulled her back. Anya’s sister reached out for her, calling her name, then everyone was gone. And only the horrible Russian man remained.

Anya woke with a scream and her cat hissed as he was thrown from her bed and landed on a pile of books and discarded clothes. Anya wiped her face with her hands and let out a few silent tears. She curled in on herself and tried to think of better things, but when nothing came to mind, she crawled out from under the sweaty, clinging sheets and decided to get some studying done after all. She wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight; she was afraid to.

The dream had faded from her mind when she got a phone call on Tuesday after class, before she was due to start work. Dr. Banner had read her calculations and formulas and had determined it was all correct.

Anya was beyond pleased that she was right and when she went to work later that afternoon, both Dr. Banner and Mr. Stark waited for her at her little cubicle.

Her female, and some male, coworkers glared at her with an obvious jealousy but she ignored it as she took the papers back from Dr. Banner. “Your formulas and methods for creating a more potent and less-reactive scent blocking gel are all correct. I’m impressed. This is doctorate-level work.” Anya felt herself blush as the famous and world renowned Dr. Banner complimented her.

“Well, necessity is the mother of all invention.” Anya scratched her aching shoulder subconsciously and regretted it when she burst a blister. The smell of it must have gotten to Stark and Banner because they looked her shoulder over.

“This kind of reaction occurs more than 60% of the time, but it’s the only omega scent blocker on the market. The others are pills, and those are even worse.” Anya put a small band-aid on the weeping blister and made a note to clean it before she sat down to work. Her body was still recovering from the bar brawl and she was more likely to get an infection.

“Hand ‘em over,” Stark said, interested, and Anya didn’t hesitate. She had her own copies at her apartment and would make a small batch to test on herself as soon as she was done with work. She needed to block her scent if she was going to get anything done at school. He looked them over with an interested face and nodded to Anya once he was done and handed them back.

“Those are yours, Mr. Stark. Anything I make is your intellectual property, it’s in the contract; besides I have no way of mass testing the gel.” Anya had made the gel formulas with the intention of letting Stark have them, purely because he would be much better suited to test, produce and distribute it. If it worked and he made them, it would help a lot of omegas in the world. It shouldn’t react with skin like the current ones did, and it should do a better job at blocking the scents of an omega when about to start a heat, or in strong states of emotion, where current gel blockers fell short. The pills were better at blocking the stronger scents, but they were terrible with side-effects and Anya couldn’t even take them without losing some hair on her head and throwing up almost everything she tried to eat. It was a lot like chemo’s effects, and was almost just as taxing on the body.

“Don’t tell me you were planning on testing this out on yourself.” Anya nodded and Stark shook his head.

“Correct in theory, yes, but correct in practice is TBD.” Anya found herself pouting on the inside, though her face was blank and understanding. She would make some and test it out tonight anyway.

After work, Anya was a little disappointed she hadn’t seen Barnes at all, but she made her way home ad made the gel in her apartment anyway. By the time she was done, the small space smelt like melted petroleum jelly, burning hair with a hint of melted plastic. The burnt hair smell was an accident, a result of the small space. She’d put her hair up from now on until her ends grew back and she got rid of the tiny black burnt dots that fell from her head when she moved. Yeah, she burned her hair pretty good. Hopefully no one would notice.

Anya applied the gel to her shoulders after showering and kept it on for several hours, talking measurements every half hour. No redness, no burning feeling, no blisters, no side-effects she could measure other than the lingering smell of melted plastic that followed her around. Hopefully that would fade, or she could just add some kind of scent. Something fruity was a safe bet, and a lot of berry scents were potent enough to hide the burning plastic smell. But this experimentation would come later, once she was sure there were no obvious side effects to the original formula.

A week into wearing it and nothing had happened to her, though she’d gotten an earful from Ms. Potts for trying a new and untested product on herself. Anya rebuttled with Dr. Barry Marshall’s story, how the man gave himself the bug that caused ulcers and then cured himself of them, proving ulcers weren’t caused by stress, and his resulting Nobel Prize. Ms. Potts had nothing to add to that, but there was an obvious smile on her face. Maybe it was Anya’s passion, or the fact they were both women in a tough field. Either way, Ms. Potts told her to be more careful and to not test anything else on herself without express permission.

Then Ms. Potts invited her to a Gala where the new formula would be presented, along with several other chemistry-related inventions.

Anya felt her throat dry up, and she wanted to say no so bad, that she didn’t do crowds, and certainly didn’t do anything related to Gala’s but she couldn’t exactly say that without reliving something she had buried in her mind for years. Anya had drowned that memory in a vat of acid, set it on fire with a flame-thrower then pissed on its ashes. Anya took the invite in hand and wondered if she might convince one of her coworkers to go in her place. She couldn’t do crowds, she couldn’t handle people looking at her. She once had a full-blown panic attack while trying to make a speech in a previous college class. When a fellow student tried to calm her down, she’d lashed out with her hands and even broken a chair to use as a club. She withdrew form that college the next day and disappeared before someone could try locking her up, or learn where she came from, or even her real name.

Shit. Anya promised herself she would never relive those moments, when she was too weak to fight, too scared to do anything. But still she couldn’t stop the panic she felt when more than 10 people were looking at her. Sometimes just 3 alphas looking at her, standing close to her, could set her off. She just left Ms. Pott’s office, not letting the fear or panic show on her face. Ms. Potts said she wouldn’t be able to attend, but Stark would; at least Anya would know someone there. But she still had one other problem.

Anya was allowed to bring one other person with her, and her first thought was Dr. Banner. He would love the science and the constant science talk she imagined them having would be the best way for her to keep her cool.

Anya stood outside Dr. Banner’s lab later that day, during a break and knocked on the glass gently. He looked up from his desk and motioned her to come in. Anya wasn’t nervous about hi, though she was afraid he would say no. she could tell he was nervous about crowds too, though for a different reason. A faint phantom emotion ran over his face when Anya got close enough to smell his faint beta scent, but she could smell something much more potent and powerful going on underneath it. If it weren’t for being one of those rare omegas with heightened senses, she wouldn’t have caught it; she passed as she looked at him then pulled a genuine smile on her face and asked if he would like to attend.

“Last time I attended a conference, the building cleared out faster than if someone with Cesium had shown up.” He seemed to chuckle at his own scientists joke and Anya could understand it. Cesium was interesting to study on paper, but it had a habit of being highly radioactive. Anya knew she would hazard a look at it before leaving the building.

“The nerd is strong in you, not-so-young patawan.” Bruce managed a laugh, though Anya’s joke was pretty bad. The 2 of them could connect on an intellectual level, something Anya had never really had before, and she hoped he would look over the next project she was working on.

“Next project?” Bruce looked at Anya, who pulled out some more papers, though much more complex and in-depth than the last ones. Dr. Banner looked them over, his face becoming more serious and intense than before.

“Are you sure about this? No one else has gotten this close before.” Dr. Banner knew that for a fact; he’d tried replicating the formula himself, with disastrous results. He looked up at Anya, who had an uncertain look on her face.

“Well, yes and no. It’s meant to replicate a specific part of it, the sped up healing aspect. The goal would be to shorten hospital stays. And it wouldn’t be permanent.” Anya stood, her arms crossed nervously as Dr. Banner looked the pages over, his brow slowly scrunching down to his eyes behind his glasses as he read the formulas and math over. Anya was right on her math and the formulas, and she was right that she wasn’t close yet.

“Would you look it all over when I’m done? This is my Capstone project and I want to get it right and blow all those egotistical knothead bastards clear out of the water and into the next dimension.” A laugh from behind them made them both look up; Barnes entered the lab and looked at Anya, who smiled at him as he walked in and stood next to her, his arm unconsciously going to her back, a protective and endearing gesture. Anya looked at him for a moment and he made to take his hand away, looking crestfallen until she smiled wider and turned to him.

“How about you? Still not under house arrest, are you?” Barnes was confused as Anya pulled out the invite to the Gala and Barnes was reminded of the fancy parties he’d seen as a kid shortly before joining army while at a show of Howard Stark’s. Anya looked at him hopefully and he opened his mouth to say that he wouldn’t be able to leave, not with Steve on his case all the time.

“You can bring the Captain, if that’s what you’re worried about. It’s supposed to be really innovative and cutting edge, with some dancing, food and booze mixed in. Pretty safe night out, all things considered.” Anya could see Barnes still hesitating, though it was clear on his face he was all for getting out of the tower and having a little fun, as stuffy and sciency as it might be.

“Don’t make me beg.” Anya had gotten very close to Barnes and was giving him big eyes, using her omega charms for all they were worth. Being an omega had its perks, mostly with getting an alpha to do something she wanted if she was very careful about her wording and asked like she needed it, or the world might end. Most alphas couldn’t resist that. But he still shook his head, though it looked painful for him to do so.

“Please, can you just ask Captain Rogers? I go there alone, and someone pulls me on stage, I’ll go full-on nuclear.” Anya hated admitting it out loud, even as a faint whisper, but no alpha could say no to an omega asking for help and protection. Even if the protection would be from herself. Barnes eventually nodded and said he’d talk to Captain Rogers about it. Though Rogers didn’t want Barnes out of the tower, he couldn’t stop his own alpha instincts from wanting to protect someone when they felt to be in danger.

Anya couldn’t stop herself as she flung her arms around Barnes and thanked him for at least trying, but understood if the Captain still said no. She just needed a response by the end of the week. Her development of better scent blocking gel had only been admitted through this year’s projects because, well, Stark. Anya just hoped that Barnes would be able to convince Rogers into letting him go. It was like a teenager asking their parents to go to a party, and the back and forth that ensued afterwards. Anya just hoped the ‘parent’ would let the ‘teenager’ attend. Afterall, Barnes had been very good lately, and he deserved a little bit of trust; enough to go to a boring party with Rogers there if he needed to be. Wow, it really was like a parent-teen back and forth.

Chapter Text

Bucky leaned back against a door frame as his best friend talked on the phone, arguing with someone over a cameo request. Listening to Stevie try to get out of showing at a kid’s birthday party, which Stark had obviously signed him up for to piss him off, was hilarious. Bucky could hear the crying kid on the other end of the line, claiming his birthday was ruined, and he also knew that Stevie would now totally give in. not bothering to hide his shit-eating grin, he walked over calmly to his best friend, who was rubbing his face as he contemplated what he had just signed up for. The leader of the Avengers shouldn’t be roped in to attend 7-year-olds parties.

Bucky’s smile faded as he watched his friend collapse in a chair, not really wanting to talk about what just happened, though Bucky could still feel his own shoulders shaking from stifled laughter. Stevie finally looked over at Bucky when the former assassin sidled over and sat on the armrest of the leather couch and looked at Stevie.

Steve could tell Bucky was about to say something he might not like and braced himself to argue, again, with his best friend. Buck crossed his arms, then uncrossed them when his metal arm grazed his hand, a constant reminder of what he had done and who he was. Steve leaned forward when the faint smell of a lingering omega wafted over to him and he couldn’t stop his own mouth from watering. He knew that smell, it was the kind-hearted but fierce omega that worked in the tower, the only person that could bring Bucky out of his fits or flashbacks without having to resort to meds or violence. And Steve was a little bit resentful of her, if he was honest with himself. He hated admitting it to himself, but he was; why was she so special, that her simple touch on his arm calmed him down and actually made him smile. Steve had always been the one that did that.

Bucky stood up and held out the invite copy Anya had given him and Steve took it with fast hands and read it, then raised an eyebrow at his best friend. “Anya invited me to go; she said to bring you if you wanted to come.” Bucky watched as Steve shut down at the mention of Anya’s name and knew it would take a lot more to get out of the tower than a simple conversation. Even though he mentioned Anya talking about her possible panic attack if she was on stage, Steve still said no. Bucky wasn’t allowed to leave the tower, he wasn’t stable enough. Bucky still wasn’t sleeping unless he was close enough to smell Anya, and had just shattered a glass window when he thought he saw a shadow of someone behind him and broke everything in the room.

“No.” Steve was adamant that Bucky remain in the tower; and part of him didn’t want him near Anya at all. It was all jealousy, and Captain America shouldn’t get so jealous, but Steve Rogers was. He was jealous that Anya got Bucky, his own best friend, to open up to him more in a few weeks than Steve had managed in almost a year. He was jealous that Bucky sought her out if she was in the same building, and she could touch him without him even flinching. Steve saw her wrap her arms around his best friend in a short hug, less than an hour ago, and Bucky hadn’t flinched or tried to kill her and even looked like he wanted to hug her back. She could talk about his metal arm, and he didn’t want to rip it out of its socket the moment she brought it up, like Bucky did with everyone else, even Steve. So, yeah, Steve was jealous.

“Seriously, Stevie?” Bucky was scowling now and Steve could smell and feel the tension in the room. Aside from the obvious anger that Bucky had to ask permission it was also hurt; Bucky felt that Steve didn’t trust him, a grown man, to behave himself at what would probably be a very boring party. He still had panic attacks, flashbacks and episodes, but there couldn’t be much at the party that would trigger him. It would likely be a lot of old scientist men talking about inventions and things that went right over Bucky’s head, which was most of what Banner talked about. And Stark; and sometimes Anya.

“You leveled most of the floor.” Steve was crossing his arms then put his hands on his belt, a sure sign he was about to lay into Bucky and the former soviet instantly bristled. Steve’s alpha scent was stronger than Bucky’s but both were so strong it could send most rational people screaming in the other direction. Stark, who had emerged from the elevator to talk to Steve and rub in the acceptance of the birthday party, stopped with his foot still in the air and scented the obvious posturing both men were doing. If they got into a fight, they would really hurt each other.

“Look, if you 2 super powers are going to fight, let’s rent a stadium and we can sell tickets. ‘Soviet Russia’s secret assassin vs America’s Golden Boy’ has a nice ring to it.” Stark laughed at his own joke then stopped when he saw the murderous glare from both men. He was speechless for a moment then walked back into the elevator with a final, “alright, I’ll let you both finish your dick-measuring contest in peace.” Despite his banter, the hint of fear was still following him in his wake and it shook both men from their posturing fight. Bucky scowled at his best friend, challenging him, wanting to know, without asking, why he couldn’t go to a boring Gala that featured boring science, which Stark would also be attending. And since when did he need to ask permission to go to anything in the first place? He stayed in the tower because he really didn’t know where else to go, and as a courtesy to his best friend.

And now that he wanted to leave for a few hours, even taking his chaperone with him, he was being stonewalled; Bucky bristled and ignored Steve as he stalked from the room, much like a petulant teenager, but he didn’t give a shit right now. He was too angry. He’d go to the Gala, Steve or not.

Steve rubbed his face roughly, knowing that he needed to let Bucky heal and be his own person, but he didn’t want him leaving the tower when he was still so prone to flashbacks and lashing out. That wasn’t the only reason, if he was being honest with himself, the green eyed monster was rearing its head, and not Dr. Banner. He couldn’t stop the jealousy he felt towards Anya.

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Anya got a call, not from Barnes, but Captain America, that Barnes wouldn’t be attending the Gala. To say she was disappointed would be an understatement, but mostly in Captain Rogers. Forcing Bucky from doing something he wanted to do would only alienate him, and the resentment would grow. Anya tried to convince both of the men to come with her, and she even offered to skip the Gala altogether to let the men have some time away from the tower together, but Rogers had declined politely, though his voice was revealing something far from polite. Anya could sense jealousy and resentment when she heard it.

Anya contacted Lisa, who had returned from her extended stay in Florida with a gorgeous tan and hundreds of pictures, including a large collection of selfies; but Lisa couldn’t go either. The Gala was this weekend, and she couldn’t get off work, though it sounded like she really wanted to go.

Anya went to school that entire week, thinking what she might do on her own: get shit-faced drunk for sure. And what would she wear? She didn’t have the money to be buying a nice dress or something that she would never wear again. So she stopped at Goodwill and decided on buying what had to be a costume, or was a costume at one point and worked on it in her apartment, making it look better. The dress was nice underneath the odd glitter and poor beadwork, so when she washed it off and removed all the beading, it left behind a decent shiny satin dress that she stitched into to hide the marks from the previous bad artwork. If she had to guess what the dress was beforehand, she’d say a drama major’s first poor attempt. She cut the dress a little bit above the knee to hide the marks and dirt on the lower half, and looked up how-tos on YouTube for her hair and make-up.

Aside from trying to make herself look presentable in a room that would be full of tuxedos and thousand-dollar dresses, she spent more time on the healing formula. It would be a momentous thing to get it to work, but it was still a long ways from being tested or even complete. Still, she had the bare bones down, using a variety of chemicals to speed up certain processes in the body, mostly those responsible for immunity, muscle, nerve and bone repair. She figured she have a working thesis formula to be reviewed and run through a simulator in a few months, when she started her final year of school. If she was right and the formula worked, she would revolutionize the health industry, shortening the amount of time anyone spent in the hospital by 25%-75%, depending on age and other factors.

The Friday before the Gala, Anya had gone to work, with no classes on that day and presented her new work on the formula, her Capstone project, to Dr. Banner, who was still hanging around the Tower. She also tried to convince him to go with her, so she wouldn’t look like an idiot for arriving alone; he’d politely declined.

On her way out the door when she was done with the day, staring down at the corrections Dr. Banner had made, she walked right into a hard, hot wall. She looked up, staggering backwards but catching herself, and realized she walked into Captain Rogers.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Captain Rogers. My mind was on…” Anya stopped her apology to see the anger and resentment in those intense blue eyes. She gulped then straightened herself out and looked him in the face, refusing to look away or give into his obvious posturing; his scent was powerful, and he was trying to overpower her with it, but she just breathed through her nose and stared him down, though he was much taller than her.

“Captain Rogers, I was hoping you might reconsider coming to the Gala. It’s supposed to be rather dull, mostly speeches and big reveals, scientists comparing inventions and arguing whose is best. Mr. Stark said it’s like alpha posturing, but way lamer. Please?” Anya was shocked at the hardness in his eyes, the unwillingness to even consider her request.

“Captain Rogers, the harder you try to push Sergeant Barnes, the more likely he is to snap.” Anya couldn’t stop herself from saying it, true as it might be, and Rogers puffed out his chest like he was being attacked and challenged as alpha male. He stepped towards her fast and was in her personal space in less than a second, towering over her and trying to stare her down, to get her to yield to him, get her to look away and concede to him. She refused to look away and kept her face blank, though her eyes were alight with fire and anger.

“He’s a grown man. With issues, yes. But the more you try to push him, the more he’ll resent you. You’ll lose your best friend,” Anya’s voice was now full of concern, worried Rogers’s need to save his best friend from himself would make Barnes crack, shattering his psyche and their friendship in the process.

“And you’ll be right there to take him, won’t you?” Anya felt a shiver go up and down her spine, terror, at the powerful threatening tone in the normally level-headed man’s voice. His large hand grabbed onto her shoulder tightly and forced her back into wall, and she felt the drywall behind her give way, along with her shoulder. It popped out of place, and she winced in pain, but Rogers made no sign that he knew or cared.

“You listen to me, omega. Bucky is not yours. You are dangerous to him and his recovery. You’ve been building him up when you’re around, but when you’re not, he’s even worse than he was before. I see what you’re doing, flinging your omega scent all over like a whore, slowly cracking him. You will stay away from him. And if I see you around him again, I will destroy you. Do you understand me?” Rogers’s alpha eyes were no longer blue, but a threatening, vicious red. Alphas normally did that shortly before attacking and killing.

Despite her nerves and her omega instincts telling her to look away and expose her neck, she looked back at him, ignoring the pain in her shoulder and the sound of the cracking drywall behind her. “I am not trying to steal Barnes away from you. He loves you, can’t you see that? He wants you; you’re the one he calls out for in his sleep, not me, not anyone else, not even his mother. He calls for you. But treating him like this, like a child, is only going to make you lose him in ways you will never get back. This isn’t about me taking him from you, it’s about you being too scared to lose him. So stop threatening me, and admit it to yourself, or you will lose him.”

Anya was angry with the man in front of her, regardless of how big and obviously pissed off he was; it was obvious to her, who barely knew Barnes, that the brunette was in love with Rogers. And Rogers was in love with Barnes. Her thoughts were cut short when she was thrown down the hall and skidded on the hard tile; it took a moment of the pain to register, especially the blossoming bruise to the face. Captain America just hit her. No, he wouldn’t do that: a very jealous and insecure Steve Rogers did. She wiped the blood from her nose and stood up on shaking legs, though her face as still as stern and uncompromising as before.

“Don’t let this fear consume you, Rogers. You’ll lose him, and I don’t think either of you can handle that.” Anya walked the rest of the way to the elevator, still smelling the obvious smell of the alpha behind her, the rage and anger still flowing off him in waves, filling the hall with the smell, so powerful it was making her eyes water. Yeah, that was it, it was the scent that was making her eyes all red. That, and the familiar feeling that all alphas, no matter how righteous they might seem on the outside, are still bruising assholes on the inside.

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Steve stood in the hall as the elevator closed, blocking the wounded and distressed omega from view; the feeling that he won coursed through his veins. He won Bucky, and scared off the competition, removing the threat to his right as alpha male. A dark smirk played across his face as the elation of winning flowed over him and through him.

A few minutes later, as he looked at the dent in the drywall and the small droplets of blood on the floor, he felt total and utter shame. He had beat up a woman that never fought back, never even raised her voice at him; he felt like shit. Then he remembered that he won Bucky, and she would never be around to steal him away again, and that he and Bucky could recover together, like they were always meant to, without anyone else. Bucky and Steve didn’t need anyone else, only each other.

He left the floor, still not looking at the small droplets of blood, but when he emerged onto the Avengers’ main meeting floor, he found Stark snarling at him and Bucky refusing to look at him. An image of the hallway he had just left, still with small drops of blood on the tile floor, covered the screen Stark, Bucky and Coulson had watched. Coulson got up and walked out, quick strides to catch up to the now injured omega; Bucky snarled when Steve tried to get close to him. Bucky stormed off before Steve could say anything and heard his apartment door slam shut. Stark was the last to say anything, but he didn’t say a word, and the silence was disconcerting; Stark always had something to say. But he didn’t say a word as he left the floor, only that when he looked back at Steve, he looked disappointed. Nothing but disappointed. Steve punched the wall in his anger, then sat on the couch, wondering what the hell he was supposed to do next.

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Anya took the elevator down to the main lobby to go home; she liked Bucky, he was a good guy, but Rogers made it clear she wasn’t allowed to see him again. Which made her want to see him again even more; but what hurt her the most was how he had acted, like an insecure asshole. And she was right, the more Rogers tried to push Barnes into a corner and control him, the more likely Barnes was to snap. And they would lose one another.

In the lobby, Anya looked over when she heard someone coming up to her; still nervous about what happened, she readied herself for a fight, but relaxed when she saw Agent Coulson walking towards her, a small box in his hands. She pushed the first-aid away, though she did need help with her shoulder. He held her arm still as she twisted her body slightly and her arm went back into its socket with a sickening crunch. Coulson looked unflappable as ever, though the anger in his eyes was giving away what he really felt.

“I’m alright, Agent Coulson, really. Rogers and Barnes are the ones he’s really hurting,” Anya said though she couldn’t hide the pain in her face as she moved her arm around and made sure she could still use it. She’d had a dislocated shoulder before, a few actually. Anya pulled herself from those memories, none of which she wanted to relive ever again. She looked up at Agent Coulson, who offered to drive her home, but she declined politely. She wanted to get away from the tower as fast as she could, and go to her apartment and work on her formula. She’d made some more headway with it, and it was coming along faster than she initially thought. She might be done with the preliminary work before this semester was over.

She bade the agent goodnight after giving him what she knew was a week smile, and she took the subway back to her apartment, willing herself not to cry, or scream, or punch something.

Chapter Text

Anya called in sick that Saturday and Sunday, not wanting to be in the tower for a while, at least give Captain Possessive-Asshole some time to cool down. The entire weekend she worked on the formulas, getting out some of the major issues that she had come across, most of which revolved around the body rejecting the formula as an invading hazard, and the body being unable to handle the sudden change in healing ability, which would greatly increase the needs of the body.

She worked through it and on Sunday, when the only professor she liked in her entire program had a small study group, she brought her notes to him, asking for his opinion. She had shown him her new progress, and the old notes, which were still covered in corrections from Dr. Banner, though she took that set back because she wanted to keep it. Call it pride that someone as intelligent and famous in the scientific world as Dr. Banner had been willing to critique her work; and another fangasm.

Her professor was impressed with her work, though he told her she wasn’t nearly complete yet; Anya knew it would be some time before the work was done and she had enough data to run a simulation of the effects of the formula on an average human body. But he said he was impressed with her work, considering this was something at a doctorate level, not an undergrad level. Anya knew she was above the average student, but she had a lot more to prove. Thanking the nice beta professor, she left the campus with a slight spring in her step, despite the bruise on her face and ache in her shoulder.

The rest of the week was uneventful, though working on the formula took a backseat as she was forced to stay up late every night to work on her homework. The work wasn’t hard, it was just she had so much of it, more than the other students, it was like the professors were assigning her a shitton of work in the hopes she would fall behind and be forced to drop out or change programs. Damn, she was pretty paranoid, but she was also pretty right.

That Friday she called up Lisa again in the hopes she had found someone to trade her shift with, or managed to smooze her way into a day off. No such luck, so it looked like Anya would arrive dateless to her very first scientific Gala. The good thing was that any money from the Gala would go towards scholarships for ambitious students, alphas and betas, which made Anya angry when she read that last piece of info on the website. But dozens of the world’s smartest and most inventive and influential people would be there, from Stark to Hammer and from weapons specialist company Doverson to medical giant Michael London Inc. all would be showing their latest and greatest, and Anya hoped that her creation might make some of them reconsider that omegas were worthy of scholarships too. But she doubted it; one small invention of hers wouldn’t override generations of preconceived notions and tradition.

Saturday morning, Anya woke up early and spent hours in front of the mirror hiding her bruised cheekbone and her now slightly off nose. She wondered if she might be able to get someone to loan her money to get the nose and her other facial injuries fixed. Without money at the time of the bar fight, her cheekbones, jaw and nose hadn’t healed right, so they were slightly off. Though mostly aesthetic, her slightly off-center jaw could make chewing steak difficult; and now her nose was giving her trouble at night when she tried to sleep. She could no longer lay on her back and sleep, because she couldn’t breathe as much as she needed to. She’d woken up in an oxygen-deprived panic a few times before she realized what the issue was.

The Gala was to start at 4pm, and it was outside of the city, in one of the large venues that attached to a fancy restaurant. At 2pm, Anya had to call a cab to get to the place on time, because the traffic and security there was unbelievable. She was stuck in a traffic jam about 20 minutes’ walk from the Gala and decided to get out, remove her cheap stilettos and walk the rest of the way rather than pay the cab to sit in the road, money she didn’t really have.

Invite in one hand and shoes in another, she walked through grass and over concrete to the venue, and was stopped by security about half a block away. She showed her invite to them and they laughed at her and told her to go home, that this was meant for real scientists, and not for omegas to play dress-up. Anya bristled at him and said Ms. Potts had given her the invite, but this made the man laugh harder. Anya bristled and tried to push past him, but he wrapped his long arm around her waist, prompting her to give him a swift kick into the gut on reflex. As he whined on the ground, she stalked past him, and when she was in sight of the carpet, she put on her uncomfortable shoes and walked the rest of the way, hearing the crackle of security walkies around her and someone running up behind her.

She picked up her pace, and fate must be in her favor being Stark was just arriving on the scene in his armor, and waved her over when he looked up. She took a step towards him, then something heavy and angry plowed her over and the air was knocked out of her. “The fuck?” Stark snarled at the alpha guard on top of Anya.

“Apologies Mr. Stark, but this little omega seems to think she can attend. As if she might really understand,” he said with a dark smirk and Anya felt him sniffing up her neck ad his hand slowly drifted down to her ass and touched it. He leaned in close to her about to whisper in her ear, but was knocked to the ground with an elbow to the nose and Anya spun around and kicked his legs out from under him.

“Fucking omega. You need to learn your fucking place!” the guard was fuming red and standing up, ready to attack her to the ground again, but Stark stepped in between them, a surprisingly blank expression on his face, then he turned to Anya, and said loud enough for everyone watching to hear, “glad you made it Anya.” He then extended his arm out to her and she took it, and she looked over at the guard with a ‘you’re so fired’ face.

Anya had worn the gel she had created, and had brought a small purse with her that contained a few small containers of the gel, each with a different scent: lemongrass, berry punch, spicy rainforest, and unscented for those with sensitive noses. But unscented was not a pleasant smell at all, meant for those mostly with sensitive skin. Her chosen scent was spicy rainforest, which was a kind of spicy floral scent, reminiscent of cinnamon with a faint undertone of lilac to tone down the powerful overtones. It worked well together and was her favorite so far. Tony smelt her neck subtly and she asked him what he thought about her perfume choice. He was more impressed than Ms. Potts was about trying new untested products on herself. Unfortunately, her tussle with the guard meant the gel had mostly come off, and she didn’t want to hide the fact she was an omega from the people around her anymore. She wanted to rub in their arrogant alpha faces that she was just as capable, if not more so, than they were.

The venue was tall, open, and filled with noise of chatter, glass clinking together and a faint classical number playing in the background. Half of it was dedicated to a single large stage with dozens of nice chairs and tables around it, and a TV setup for those farther from the stage. The other half was smaller stands decorated with famous names and images and logos. Hammertech was near the front, showing a video of their latest weapon, some kind of mini missile that was impossible to track. Anya doubted that; if the tracker had Stark’s tech, they would know it was going to be in the air before someone hit the launch button. A smaller, less noticeable side was dedicated to the medical advances, most of which were in better anesthesia, and Anya found herself drifting over there to look at the new tech. Videos of a laser robot played around the small group of men that looked at her like she was shit on the bottom of their shoes when she walked over to see their stand. She completely ignored them as they whispered about her growing omega smell, now that the gel was off and the last of it was fading away.

One of the men eventually walked over to her with a look of mischief on his face. “Well, hello darlin’. I know this must be so overwhelming for you. I would be more than happy to take you from here, show you something you would understand.” The man was in her face and he wasn’t bothering to hide his erection, and he ran his finger up and down her arm and she snarled at him. “Oh, fiery aren’t you? I think someone needs a good knot. How about it darlin’? You’d love it, make you feel so good.” His hand started to snake around her waist, but a new, powerful alpha scent surrounded them both and the handsy alpha gasped in pain as his hand was ripped away. Anya could smell a welcome and familiar person as something whirred faintly behind her.

Anya tuned, a wide smile on her face as Barnes snarled at the man that had been touching Anya. The handsy man backed away, holding onto his aching hand and glared at them both before retreating to his group of fellows, talking angrily about them both.

“I take it you snuck out?” Anya had a wide smile on her face, made wider when Barnes smiled at her, an obvious yes. She let out a faint laugh and walked away from the medical area to the main section and took some seats near the back. Anya could feel an increasing number of eyes on her as Stark took the stage. Though he wasn’t supposed to go up for another hour, he was always one to grandstand and there really was no point in stopping him. He’d do it again anyway.

Stark was talking about something, Anya wasn’t really paying attention because she was now on her 2nd glass of champagne as more and more people turned to look at her. Then Stark pulled out her jars of gel, and he motioned for her to come on the stage. Her eyes went wide, and she shook her head in terror, and slunk down as people turned around to look at her, and something in her was snapping, bringing it all back.

Eyes, dozens of them, staring at her, a tall alpha man in front of her, so many eyes on her, staring, glaring. Faces, so many faces, strange and unknown and unwanted. Anya clutched her chest as she tried to catch her breath, tried to breathe. She looked away from the people that were looking at her, but she could still feel the eyes on her, so many alpha eyes staring at her, even as she focused on the white tablecloths, trying to count the tiny threads in them to bring her mind back to sanity. But that made it worse. White tablecloths, like that night, that night that tall alpha stood in front of her, with all those nicely dressed people around her.

Anya stood up, tripping over her feet. Someone reached out to her, strong alpha hands, like his hands; she screamed, punching and kicking, demanding she be freed, wanting to go home.

“You can’t keep me here! I’m not some fucking piece of property! I want my mom! Where’s my family? Where's Emma? Let me GO!” Anya screamed the last word and thrust her elbow and knee into alpha in front of her, and ran, breaking the heels as she ran, trying to get away from the eyes, the faces, the alpha smell.

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Bucky watched as Stark postured in front of the entire crowd, showing off his intellect, and Bucky found himself rolling his eyes. Then Stark started to talk about Anya’s invention, putting the attention on her.
Bucky felt some level of pride, and wanted to swell out his chest, but couldn’t in the constricting suit he ‘borrowed’ from Clint. He looked over at the confident and intelligent Anya, expecting her to be sure of herself and rubbing her achievement in the faces of the all the alphas around her. Instead Bucky found Anya slinking down in her chair, trying to make herself as small as possible, her eyes glazing over and her mind clearly somewhere else.

Bucky knew that look, that feeling. He reached out to her, determined to stop her from going into a panic attack of her own, as she had done for him so many times. She instead stood up, tripping, clearly in an intense panic and started to run off.

“Anya,” Bucky called to her, and put his human hand on her to ground her. But instead she completely lost it, screaming, crying, fighting, and eventually kneed and elbowed him in his gut. Though not painful it was surprising enough for him to let her go, and she took off, her heels breaking off as she ran, full speed, and disappeared around a corner, out of sight of the crowd.

“Poor thing. Omegas aren’t meant for this kind of world,” an alpha said, but Bucky didn’t have the energy or time to snarl at the speaker. Stark was running down from the stage, his face obviously concerned and guilty; the billionaire pulled a card from his wallet and told Bucky to find her and bring her back to the tower, to let her calm down. He’d be there soon. Bucky took the plastic credit card into his pocket, ripping the sleeve as he reached for it, though not caring at all as he ran, full speed, following the smell of the distressed omega. He thought about how Anya had hinted she might ‘go nuclear’ if she went alone, but he never thought she actually meant it. He thought it was just her being nervous for her first time in the spotlight.

It took Bucky half an hour to find Anya. Her scent was everywhere, and he had no idea how she had run all over the building in the short time she was out of sight. He realized, after ripping Clint’s tux for the 4th time that night, that she had pulled something Clint would do, and was hiding in the vents. He leapt easily into the largest vent he could find and followed the marks in the dust to a small junction, out of the way, where the only noise was the vent bending to accommodate Bucky moving around, and the system turning on around them. He turned a joint in the system and found Anya, legs curled up to her chest, her arms around her knees, rocking slightly on her rear, eyes wide and unseeing. She was still mentally somewhere else.

Bucky slowly worked his way over to her, not making a sound, but she looked over to him, his scent making its way to her as the system turned itself on again. She looked away from him, staring out a grate into a small storage room that reeked of cleaning chemicals. Bucky sat next to her in the vent, hearing the faint grown of the metal around them, and softly called her name.

“Anya? Дорогой?” Anya slowly turned her head to look at him and her eyes lost their glazed look, awareness creeping back in. She looked down at her knees and buried her face in the dusty rag that was now her dress. Bucky rubbed her back gently with his human hand and she started to shake, sobs coming out muffled in her knees and dress. He let her cry, let her get it out, just keeping his hand on her, letting her know he was there for her, like she had done for him so many times.

After a while, he wasn’t sure how long, she stopped sobbing ad looked up, eyes puffy, makeup smearing down her cheeks. She looked out the vent grate a few moments, the wiped her eyes, trying to remove the smeared makeup and looked at Bucky, clearing her throat. Bucky rubbed her back for a moment before removing the vent grate and looked back at Anya.

“Come on, let’s go home.”

The ride in the cab was quiet, Anya not saying anything, though an occasional tear still ran down her cheek; she was quick to wipe it away, to act as though she hadn’t just lost her shit and hid in a vent like a scared child. Bucky kept his hands to his side of the taxi as the tower came into view, and Anya was the first to get out, throwing herself from the cab, though it was still moving, and strode inside, looking ahead like a woman on a mission. Bucky paid the man and took off after her. He found her, rather he heard her, vomiting in the nearest bathroom. He waited until she came out the smell of distress still around her like a black cloud, now tinged with bile.

They walked together to the main lobby, and she sat on a leather chair, trying to catch her breath; Steve had to know Bucky was gone, and would be on them in an instant. He just hoped Steve had the presence of mine to not go after Anya in this state. She would lose it again.

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“Mr. Rogers, Mr. Barnes has returned of the tower, accompanying Ms. Anya Smith.” JARVIS spoke to a very angry Steve, who had spent the last hour combing the tower for Bucky, despite Clint telling him not to worry about it. Though still prone to lash out, there wasn’t any doubt in Clint’s mind where Bucky had gone; and there wasn’t much trouble he could get into at a science Gala.

They hadn’t been out for very long, only a few hours, and Stark wasn’t even back with them; still, he was irate that woman had the nerve to take his Bucky out of the tower, without his permission, without him even knowing. Storming down the stairs, taking an entire flight at the time, he practically broke the main lobby’s door as he exited the stairs, puffing out his chest and feeling ready to explode. But the sight before him forced his chest to deflate almost instantly.

Anya looked as broken and pathetic as he had ever seen her; makeup smeared down her face, small bruises on her knuckles, and her dress was torn to shreds. She was staring at the floor, her arms wrapped around herself as she sat in a leather chair and rocked slightly back and forth, her eyes sometimes glazing over, as if seeing something only she could see, something only she could remember. Bucky came into view and sat beside her, offering her a cup of water, which brought her out of her trance and she looked at the half-full cup, then sipped it, her eyes red and puffy. She sniffled once, then cleared her throat as she got ahold of herself and tried to smile at Bucky, but failed miserably, and it looked like it physically hurt her to smile. She wiped her eyes and face with apiece from her torn dress and gathered her wits some more, then bade Bucky goodnight, ignoring him as he tried to get her to stop and look at him.

Bucky looked over at Steve, a lost and hurt puppy look on his face, and it pained his chest to see his friend look so lost. But before Steve could say anything, Anya stood up and stated to leave the tower, heading for the main doors, and hailing the cab that had just bene about to leave. Bucky put his hand on her shoulder trying to get her to come back inside, to spend the night. She shook her head, and Steve could feel her glance at him, though it was fleeting and so fast anyone else would’ve missed it.

She walked out the doors, and Steve followed the determined woman and his distressed friend to where she was about to get into the cab, and gave her address to the cab driver. Before sliding in, she looked at Bucky, her face blank and unreadable, and simply said goodnight. The door snapped shut, but the window rolled down, and her hand came out of the window and touched Bucky’s metal arm, her fingers tracing the metal plates gently. The familiar shame he felt whenever he looked at that monstrous, murdering arm that caused nothing but pain crossed his face. She looked up from the arm, and said in a soft, faint voice that barely held in tears, “there’s no shame in it, Barnes. You’re not the only one who’s been broken.”

Then the cab sped off, disappearing into the Saturday night traffic, leaving Steve feeling confused and like shit, and Bucky confused and hurt.

Chapter Text

Clint Barton: beta, bordering on omega. Means he can, on rare occasions, smell like an omega, mostly when injured or very stressed. Comes in handy. Has no wife/kids in my AU.

Tony Stark: omega, though takes meds and scent-inducers that make him smell like an alpha. Only Rhodey and Pepper know the truth, though Anya found out by accident. Rarely has heats due to the meds and side-effects of arc reactor poisoning, and his heats are sporadic and unpredictable.

Natasha Romanov: alpha. Female alphas have a dormant penis where the clitoris would be, which recedes into their bodies when not in rut or aroused, and when out are smaller than male alphas, though just as sensitive and do have knots. Employed as personal assistant to Pepper, when not Avenging.

Phil Coulson: alpha. Though SHIELD is no longer whole, smaller branches of it still exist, and Phil manages the NYC branch. Handler and liaison to the Avengers.

Thor: alpha. Not on earth as much as he once was, still mourning death of his brother Loki. He and Jane Foster split before story starts. She called it ‘taking a break.’ Still loves pop-tarts.

Dr. Bruce Banner: beta. For this story, he and the other guy, the hulk, are often referred to as different people, for a specific reason.

The Hulk: alpha. Though technically the same body as Banner, the Hulk is a different personality, and is also a different designation. This becomes important later, and is why Banner and the Hulk are often considered different people in the story.

Pepper Potts: beta. Still runs the company.

Sam Wilson (Falcon): alpha. Not really in this story, though makes some cameos, and provides Tony with lots of bird joke opportunities. And Anya too. But hers are bad.

Captain America/Steve Rogers: alpha. Obviously alpha, and leader of the Avengers. Serum made his alpha very intense and strong, so he’s easily triggered into rage, jealousy, and territorial battles, even when not actually provoked or the threat is not really a threat.

James “Bucky” Barnes: alpha. Though not as alpha-ie as Rogers, his PTSD and past as Russian assassin make his just as volatile at times, and can spur violence, lashing out and self-hatred. Hates his metal arm and, when in a panicking state, will sometimes attempt to remove it with his bare hands, resulting in damage to his own body. Outbursts and nightmares have been less frequent and shorter since meeting Anya.

Anya Smith: omega. Couple things on her, which were touched on in the past, but will play an important role in the future. Anya is not her real name, and the name Anya is in fact Russian. She is in a very small percentage (.05%) of omegas that were born with heightened senses. Her senses of hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch and intuition (6th sense) are all heightened more than the average omega, though not nearly as fine-tuned as someone like Natasha or Bucky.

Omegas make up about 1-3% of the American population, Alphas make up about 12-15%, and Betas are the rest.

Alphas are mostly male, and because they have more strength, heightened senses and awareness, and the other 2 designations often follow their orders, they make up most of the military, police force, and other authoritative positions. Most CEOs and company leaders are alphas, as are most world leaders and politicians. They have a knot on the underside of the penis, expanding shortly before ejaculation, locking the alpha in place to prevent any seed from leaking out, thus ensuring a much better chance at procreation. Alphas that are seen as pig-headed or chauvinistic are referred to as ‘knot-heads’ because they rarely care about other people and think only with their dicks. So, most alphas. Once a year, all alphas go into a rut, which can be dangerous depending on the alpha. Increased strength, sense of smell and pheromone reception, they will attack any other alpha near them and have bene known to rip one another apart, literally. Most ruts can be solved with a mate, a temporary omega from a service, or powerful meds that most never take, due to dangerous side effects. Waiting for the rut to pass it unpleasant, and the alpha becomes a time bomb, essentially. Alphas have a rut every year from the time they present to the time they die.
Betas are male and female, and are not much different anatomically from you or me. Though they have their own pheromones, and can sense those of other designations, theirs are more subdued and less potent. Betas are often negotiators, level-headed and make up most of the workforce and world’s population.

Omegas are normally female, smaller in size than betas and alphas, though not always, and are conditioned to be soft-spoken, gentle and compliant. Until the 1970s, they weren’t even allowed on the workforce, but since that decade, things have greatly improved for omegas, though as we’ve seen from the omega slurs, not too much. Omegas, due to anatomy and their own brains and pheromones, are compelled to care for others, helping them in any way they can. This makes them ideal for the medical field, social work and as teachers, though rarely beyond the high-school teaching level. Though only about 3% of the American population, they make up about 40% of the medical workforce, mostly as nurses, EMTs, paramedics, and occasionally doctors or specialists. Omegas also secrete calming pheromones on demand, ones that will calm any nearby alpha or beta, whether injured, in rut, or on the warpath. This is another reason they make up most of the medical workforce, and have been known to calm alphas and betas out of killing one another, and calming people enough to stop suicidal or homicidal thoughts or actions.

Omegas enter heat usually 2-4 times a year, and are designed to make the omega desire a knot, by making the skin hot and prickly unless touched by an alpha, and the need for sex becomes too intense, it has been known to drive omegas mad. Omegas are pretty helpless during the time they are in heat, which lasts a few days to 2 weeks, depending on age (longest times are in late teens to late 30s, shortening as time goes on) and health of the omega, mental and physical. Stressed, malnourished, or injured omegas will not go into heat, but once the problem has been solved, the next heat will be more potent, as if making up for the missed heats. If the main reproductive organs for omegas are removed, they will no longer be able to go into heat, or bear children. This lack of organs often disrupts their pheromone balance, and most omegas die from sheer depression and sense of loss within a year.

Trance State: As JARVIS explained, the trance state is unique to omegas, and was designed as a way for omegas to save themselves, when no other option was available. For them, it’s like looking through a tunnel, or from a glass box inside their minds; their strength is more than a bulked up alpha on steroids, with faster reflexes and secrete a specific pheromone unique to the trance state, that lets everyone know around the omega that getting close will be their death. This state can last any from a few minutes to a few days, and is so taxing on the omega body, that few have lived when they came out of the state. Then grief, horror and guilt usually set in, which conflicts with the baseline omega brain, their basic instincts, and most of them go insane or commit suicide within 5 years. Even if the omega is in mortal danger, most omegas never enter the trance state. Trance states are normally triggered by unstable, unmated omegas, or when around alphas that are not their mate or family, or their children, family or mate is being threatened with mortal peril. Most omegas don’t enter the state for their own lives, but rather the lives of their families. This is believed to be a kind of ‘sacrificial switch’ built into their DNA to ensure their offspring and family live on. Even biology thought omegas were expendable.

Brief omega history: omegas weren’t always so rare, and once comprised about the same ratio as alphas in the world, but changes in DNA, cultures seeing omegas as worthless and burdens and simply killing them off, or some even seeing them as a kind of sport animal and hunting and killing them, reduced omega numbers through the centuries. Around the 1700s, omegas were all but extinct, and those that were born were stolen from their families and sold on the black market. During this time, most countries changed laws, taking omegas from families when born and locking them up ‘for their own safety.’ This was the norm until the number of omegas born reached more acceptable levels for the continuation of both designations, and laws were enacted to never allow ‘hunting’ or omega baby killing again. Little changed for omegas, often sold by their family when of age for a large sum of money to the highest bidder and treated worse than animals, until the late 1970s. Laws were pushed, allowing omegas to enter the workforce, and they could now vote, though selling omegas to rich alphas was still quite common, especially for poorer families, or greedy families. This was outlawed in the US in 1996. (this tidbit is important to remember later).

Chapter Text

Anya paid the cabbie and entered her apartment, happy to see her fluffy black cat as he emerged from under her bedsheets and meowed loudly for attention; she seemed to walk around her tiny apartment like she was in a daze, not really in control of her body, like watching from behind glass. She fed her cat, then tripped out of her shredded dress and opened her desk drawer and pulled it out all the way, revealing a large bottle of brandy in the back. She pulled out the glass from the back of the drawer, then thought, ‘fuck it’ and drank straight from the bottle, the brandy burning as it went down, hurting her empty stomach.

By the time she was feeling it, she had drained about 3 glasses worth, and corked the bottle back up and slid it back into the drawer. She needed the alcohol to forget, to prevent her mind from going to those places she wouldn’t want to go, where she couldn’t go, where nothing had been ok, and had driven her to the brink, to the teetering edge of that dreaded cliff, despite it promising so much relief if she just let go and let herself fall over the edge, into the eternal calm and welcoming darkness.

Her hand slowly moved down her stomach, her lightly tanned skin, past her bellybutton, slightly under her panty line, and touched the raised symbol there. When her finger gently touched it, it was like she was transported to another world, a dark world, where everything was pitch black, the only door opening and closing, no windows, no movement, not even a sound of someone walking around. Fabric covered her eyes, plugs jammed her ears and her hands and feet were bound; she shivered in the cold room, completely naked and could feel her breath condensing as it left her mouth in faint gasping shivers.

She removed her hand from the symbol, but could still see that room, that terrible dark place, and the first time she had been removed from it, and how she dreaded being removed from that dark but relatively safe room. That terrible alpha stood in front of her, surrounded by other alphas, in a larger room where a roaring fire lit their faces, and a single long metal pipe rested in the hot coals.

Anya squeezed tears from her eyes as he heard the laughter, the taunts, the stares, as everyone stared at her, then 2 large alphas held her down, holding her naked form still, as the lead alpha, that terrible man, walked over the metal pipe and pulled it from the red-hot fire, revealing a finely made metal shape, exquisite in its design, if it weren’t for the horrid look on his face, and the symbol that glowed dangerously bright red, coming ever closer to her. Anya felt the heat of it as it hovered over the soft flesh of her lower abdomen, hovering over her as that terrible man, that alpha, taunted her with it, and the other alphas laughed as she cried, begging, pleading no.

The red-hot, glowing symbol closed the gap and made searing contact with her lower abdomen, directly above her crotch.

Anya sat up, screaming like she had been branded all over again. She looked down at the symbol, that brand, that burn, that haunted her since she was 16, taunting her, reminding her not only what she was, but who did it to her, and why she could never trust anyone, ever. Anya wiped her face on her blanket as her cat looked up at her from the foot of the bed, eyes big and concerned and cute; Anya could still feel the burn, hear the laughter of the alphas, the pressure of their hands on her, the heat of the brand, and the smell of burning flesh. Anya got up from the bed, walked over to the drawer in her desk, pulled out the bottle of brandy with about ¼ of it left, and downed it. She passed out shortly afterwards, letting the bottle roll away from her hand on the floor, collapsing on the bed, her cat resting on her other arm.

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Bucky rounded on his best friend and snarled, angry with Steve; Anya had run off to avoid Steve, despite her obvious need to be by someone, especially after such a powerful panic attack. Steve crossed his arms and puffed out his chest as Bucky snarled at him, unwilling to back down despite feeling a little bit sorry for Anya. Bucky turned away and Steve felt some kind of elation at having won, until Bucky called for another cab to go after Anya. Any sympathy he had for her was gone as that jealousy came back full force. Steve took the phone from Bucky’s hand and in his anger, crushed it into several small pieces that fell to the sidewalk as Bucky’s snarl grew.

“You left the tower, you can’t leave the tower. I told you not to,” Steve was actually admonishing Bucky, like an angry parent, which made Bucky pout and glower like a piss-off teen, which was then replaced with rage and stomping off into the tower, ignoring Steve as he called for his friend.

“No, stop this shit, Steve. You attacked her, you threatened her. She’s helped me, and you threatened her. And today, when she needed support, you scared her away. She had a panic attack like mine, and you’re trying to stop me from comforting her, when she’s been nothing but supportive of me and my recovery.” Bucky was beyond pissed. Here had been his chance to help Anya in the way she helped him so many times, to be there to comfort her, his precious little omega…

Bucky pulled his mind from that thought, but his scent was obvious to Steve, the possessiveness of an omega heavy in his pheromones, and it only angered Steve; Steve grabbed his friend’s shoulder and spun him around to look one another in the eye.

“She’s got to be up to something, Bucky, can’t you see that. She makes you comfortable, then when she’s gone, your nightmares and panic attacks are even worse,” Steve was just saying this because he thought it was true, though Bucky’s nightmares and panic attacks had become subdued and less frequent. It just seemed to Steve that they got worse when Anya wasn’t there, because those were the only times Bucky had them now. And even when he did have them, they were less painful for Bucky, shorter, and he could pull himself away from them easier.

“You really think someone ‘up to something’ would have the patience to deal with my shit all the time? You barely deal with it, Stevie, and you’re supposed to be my best friend.” Bucky’s words stung Steve, and he pulled an angry alpha face, hiding the hurt in his chest, though the distress and sadness was coming off him in waves. “You’re supposed to be my best friend, we found each other, even through 70 years of time, and you helped me to get my memories back. And I love you for that. But this overbearing alpha bullshit you’re pulling, it’s making it worse,” Bucky’s voice was strained and he was fighting back emotions that he didn’t want to deal with, conflicting emotions that pulled him from between his best friend, and the one person that he…

“You love me?” Steve said quietly. Bucky looked up and realized he had said that, he had admitted he loved Steve. He didn’t say anything, he hadn’t meant for it to come out this way; he imagined something less stressful, less intense, more romantic. But now, all Bucky wanted to do was leave, to leave the feelings behind, the anger still radiating off Steve, the uncertainty they both felt. He wanted to find Anya, and be near her. If there was anyone he could confess something to, it would be her. She wouldn’t judge, and she seemed completely on board with Bucky and Steve getting together. She’s pushed Bucky to say something to Steve, to admit something, even something small, to get the ball rolling, because, lately, Steve has been too bullshit alpha posturing to notice much else.

The 2 super soldiers stood feet from one another, Bucky facing the street, Steve staring at the harsh and muscular back of Bucky, until a jet noise overhead announced Stark’s return. Bucky took the opportunity to hurry inside, passing Steve, giving off a very annoyed and angry scent, someone that was done with someone else’s bullshit. Steve stood on the sidewalk for a while longer, until something bothered his hand and looked at his skin, trying to heal and grow over the small pieces of metal and plastic splintered through his hand from the broken phone. Steve plucked at the tiny pieces, trying to get them out, but when his large hands only pushed them in deeper, he yelled in frustration and punched a pylon, shattering the concrete barrier, and cracking his knuckles. He stood in the mundane sounds of the city at night, staring at the shattered pylon and then his split knuckles, which were already healing. What Bucky had said, what he looked and smelled like, the anger, disappointment and ‘over-it’ fell coming from his best friend, had all been a lot to handle, but the words Bucky said, rang out more than anything.

“I love you for that.” Maybe that was the only thing Bucky really loved him for, and didn’t actually love him for all of him. Just for helping him. Angry, he kicked the stub of the pylon and sent the last chunk of concrete flying low over the street and breaking the road 20 yards away. Feeling angry, defeated and confused, he walked back into the tower, and headed for the gym to punch every bag they had there into oblivion.

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“Where is she? Why isn’t she here?” Tony was furious with Bucky for letting Anya leave the tower and go home alone, after such a horrendous debut. Her panic attacks were like Barnes’s, lashing out and attacking anyone while the mind was in a completely different place and time.

“What demons could she have in her closet?” Tony was curious now and looked through her file, pulling everything up on her, including pictures and references. There were no phone or contacts for family, a brief mention of a friend named Lisa, a home address, and a small note in her file of her fear of public speaking. Tony hadn’t even noticed that, but most people had some kind of public speaking fear, it wasn’t mentioned that it was rage and panic-inducing.

Tony and Bucky were wondering what secrets sweet, kind-hearted, intelligent and no-bullshit omega Anya could have.

“JARVIS, look up everything on Anya Smith, from birth to now, and send it to my pad in the morning.” Tony looked at some things that flashed on the screen before JARVIS replied, “very good sir.”

“Should we go check on her?” Bucky asked, ready to run across town on foot if he needed to; Tony shook his head. “By now, I imagine she’s shit-faced drunk, and embarrassed about losing her cool. We’ll check on her tomorrow morning, call her here for breakfast. JARVIS, send Anya the request, 9am, conference room 1103A.” Another image appeared on the screen, a simple text, then it was gone and a faint ping told the men it was sent.

“What’s with Spangles? You mention his suit's too tight on the ass again?” Tony was snarking about the 2 men, but Tony raised an eyebrow as the smell of anger and disappointment filed the room.

“Capsicle break up with you?” Tony was prodding the bull now, but Bucky calmed himself down enough to breathe and shook his head.

“Is he cock-blocking, or posturing?” Tony was more serious now, and had seen what Cap was like when he postured; what he could say was more painful than any punch he might throw. Bucky just nodded and Tony sighed, rubbing the back of his neck in a sign of sheer tiredness and exasperation.

“I can’t talk to him right now, not when he’s like that,” Bucky admitted in a small voice and Tony looked at him, hands in his suit jacket pocket as he unbuttoned it, ready to call it a very long and exasperating night. And not just because of Anya’s panic attack, but because Cap was starting to wear on everyone’s nerves. He normally had a stick up his well-defined ass, but lately, it seemed to be worse, the stick was now pointy and making him into a domineering asshole. Even Tony could now call him an asshole, and Tony was the original and purest definition of asshole.

“I don’t blame you Inspector Gadget. I’ll see you at breakfast tomorrow.” Bucky watched Tony leave, wondering who Inspector Gadget was. He left the room and headed for his own apartment, pointedly ignoring Steve, who was sitting in the main meeting room, smelling of sweat, anger and territorial alpha. Refusing to look at the blonde man, Bucky walked past him without a glance and into his small apartment, and locked the door when he heard someone knocking on it.

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To say Steve was angry would be an understatement at best, and an insult at worst; he was beyond livid. He thought Bucky was about to tell him he loved him, to reveal him always had, but once again the conversation had gone to Anya in some way. Even when Bucky said he was grateful, loved Steve for his help, that one conversation had moved to include Anya in it as well.

Steve was pissed, angry, and, though he hated to admit it, crushing. To his increased senses, most omegas smelt harsh, intense and terrible if he was honest with himself. But Anya’s smell was subdued, welcoming, and gentle, incorporating roses, fresh baked bread, the city after a cool rain on a hot July day, and the leather of a well-used baseball. Her scent was everything he thought of when he remembered home, before joining the army, before becoming Captain America. Sure, he was very jealous of Bucky’s obvious affection for her, but her omega scent as inviting, welcoming, and when he wasn’t cursing her name for taking Bucky away from him, he thought about doing things to her that made him blush.

He hated her most of the time, but when in his room, all alone, and her scent was still in the air ever so slightly, he found his erection threatening to rip his zipper open, and his mind going to places his Ma would’ve slapped him silly for. When he wasn’t pissed about the attention she got from Bucky, (and he was pissed at her most of the time), he would palm himself through his pants, then take off all his clothes, and close his eyes, and let his mind wander.

It was perfect in his head. She would be the perfect omega, her scent not too strong, and her unwillingness to be what society wanted her to be was even more of a turn on. Her intensity reminded him of Peggy, and Anya had some moves of her own, though not nearly as refined as Natasha. She would complete them, Bucky, Steve and Anya, 2 alphas in love with one another and their omega. She would come with them to their shared bed, and she would strip down, sitting on Steve’s lap, grinding her hips on his, that confident and sure smile on her face as Bucky came up behind her. Bucky would play with her breasts and nipples as she undressed Steve, then took his entire length into her mouth, her body tight to his legs, and Bucky would strip last, revealing his own eager cock. Bucky would get on the bed and pull of Anya, who would whine at being pulled away from her alphas, but then play with herself as Bucky and Steve kissed, grabbing each other’s hair, tasting each other’s tongues. Anya would come with a shout, and Steve would determine her ready for them both.

Steve would slide her waiting and ready omega cunt down on his massive cock, and she would writhe, calling him alpha, begging for more, wanting him to move. He would hold her still, pull her body towards his chest and she would throw her arms around his shoulders, ready for Bucky. Bucky would lean over and pull Steve into another intense kiss, then kiss Anya, nibble at her neck as she called for her alphas, begging for friction, for movement, as Bucky runs his fingers around her rim, then pushes them inside, prepping her for his own massive cock. He would push in 1 finger, then 2, then 3 and she would pant and gasp and want more, rutting her hips down onto the massive alpha cock already inside her, wanting the other one, to feel them both, to feel complete, because she wasn’t complete with just one of them, none of them were complete without the other 2. Bucky would then line up his blunt, eager, leaking head with her ass and slowly push in, and Steve would feel every movement, every jerk of Bucky as he entered, every twitch of the other alpha’s cock. Anya would be shaking with pleasure and overwhelmed senses as Bucky pushed in, inch by inch, rubbing into her and feeling Steve’s own cock through the omega between them.

Bucky would be inside her, balls deep, when he pauses and Steve is panting, already close as he feels every twitch of Bucky, the man he loves, through the omega they share. Then Bucky, the one on top, would move, slowly gently and the screaming, grunting and cries would start. Anya would be lost to sensation, crying out how good the alphas were, how much she loved being filled in front and back, how she was their omega and no one else’s. Bucky would move slow at first, and Steve would stare at him in the eyes, connecting on a deep, internal level, and Steve would feel every move Bucky made. Bucky was fucking Steve through Anya; she was a surrogate, a bonus, but the real love was Bucky and Steve, and Anya was completely understanding of this. They panted each other’s names, designations, and Anya swears loudly and almost constantly as the feelings overwhelmed her into climax after climax.

Then Steve would feel it, his knot inflating slowly, and would feel the increased pressure from Bucky’s knot, the most wonderful sensation on both their cock’s, better than the tight heat of Anya’s used holes. Steve and Bucky would come together, knots locking in place, pushing on one another through Anya, the sensation so wonderful, compelling, emotional as well as physical. Their hot seed would flow into their shared omega and she would shudder with another climax, the most powerful one yet, and she would collapsed against Steve, panting and barely awake, delirious from the sensation, and Bucky would follow after, his warm pressure on their bodies familiar and welcoming. They would move, so they were sandwiching Anya on their sides, spooning her between them, and she would fall asleep, still locked between them. Steve would run his hands down Bucky’s rugged face, his eyes now innocent, exhausted and filled with nothing but pure love for Steve. Steve would have the same look in his eyes, and they would lean together, careful not to wake or hurt their omega, and kiss long and deep, feeling each other’s mouths, lips and tongues in post-coital bliss, until sleep finally took them. They would looked at one another, and Steve would plant a chaste kiss to Bucky’s head and would whisper in a tired haze, but mean every word of it.

“I love you.”

After these kinds of images and movies playing in his head, he would open his eyes to find his bed was too big, empty of only him, and he had cum at least twice in his hands. If he wasn’t angry with Anya all the time for taking Bucky’s affections, he would love to destroy her like that, or take her from behind, alone on the bed, as Bucky watched. Or she would watch while Bucky and Steve took one another.

But, right now, he was furious with Anya for making Bucky want her more than him, so that fantasy was just as unlikely as him understanding Tony’s movie references.

Chapter Text

Anya woke with a pounding headache at 4am and promptly vomited into her toilet. She crawled around on the cold floor, enjoying how the cold tile felt on her pounding head and aching body, and how it distracted her from the nightmares she had the entire night. Her neighbors had just woken her up by banging on her door, because she was screaming, again. She called through the wood of the door to the shouting betas on the other side, and she sat up, looking up at the ceiling as she sat on the floor still, taking in the cool tile and breeze through her open window. She vomited again.

It had to be 5am before she was calm enough and stable on her own 2 legs to get up and shower, and decided that trying to go back to sleep would be pointless. Her nightmares haunted her, taunting her, and her sleep was anything but relaxing; after showering and drinking a lot of water and eating a granola bar, she sat at her small desk and decided to get some more homework down and work on the healing formula some more. She wasn’t in a rush to get the formula done, it wouldn’t be due until the end of next year, but she wanted to make serious ripples in the college scene, to prove to those alphas that she wasn’t worthless or stupid just because of her designation, something she had no control over, something she was born as.

She traced the raised symbol under her panties for a moment, then pulled her hand away as if the symbol had burned her. It did, years ago, but she sometimes she felt the pain of the brand again, like phantom pains that amputees experienced. Wanting to forget, she buried herself in her work, then sent an email to the professor at school she liked, the only one that really took her seriously, and told him about the progress she was making, and set up an appointment later in the week to talk about it. She was still stuck on some major points, but again she was in no hurry, she had over a year to get it done. Since it was only for her undergrad degree, she didn’t need to prove it would work, or even work on the fine details, but she found that her mind was blissfully full of chemicals, equations and biology when she worked on it. This must be why Stark locked himself in his lab when he was angry, upset or needed to be away from everyone.

She received an email back around 8am, and replied to him instantly, happy he would see her and be glad he was taking her seriously. Over a month into the semester, and still no one was taking her seriously, despite the massive amount of homework she was getting done, or the fact she was pulling straight As. Anya looked over her other emails and found one from Stark industries, and she hesitated. After what she pulled at the Gala, she could only imagine how angry the man was with her; he invited her, an omega, to an almost all alpha event, and she had flipped out when he mentioned her. She made him look like a complete moron, after all he had done for her. He got her into school, paid for her classes and gave her a steady, good-paying job that took second place to her schooling, and he totally understood that. And she had embarrassed him, made a fool of him for backing her, on her first night out.

But worse, she made a fool of herself and her designation. Omegas struggled in everyday life to be seen as more than fragile, dim baby-making machines with no desires other than pleasing their alphas and pumping out babies as fast as possible. She had her chance in the spotlight, to show the world what she did, what she created, and she acted like a frightened, fragile…well a stereotypical omega. She had run away, crying and screaming, wanting to get away from the scary alphas, and she made a fool of herself, her boss and all the other omegas like her trying to make it in a world that didn’t want to accept them as intelligent individuals.

Anya realized she was panicking again, and had to take several deep breathes from her screened window before she could sit down and read the email. An invite to breakfast, at 9 in the tower? Dress with work attire? What? Anya was beyond confused as she looked the invite over and over again, and when she finally accepted it wasn’t a hoax or scam, she wondered what Stark would want. Would he fire her gently, let her down easy, do it in a secluded area so she wouldn’t make another scene? Would he want all the money he spent on her behalf back? Shit, she had nowhere near that amount of money, she was barely paying for her tiny apartment here in a shitty part of town.

Nervous, but still determined to not let herself lose it in front of Stark when he did fire her, she took the subway to Stark tower and arrive shortly before 9 and headed for the conference room. At 9 am on the dot, she took a deep breath, straightened her blouse out, and knocked on the dark double doors.

Stark was the one that opened the doors, but Barnes was in the room as well, and he looked about as terrible as Anya felt. She imagined he didn’t get much sleep either. She steadied her breathing as Stark motioned to a seat next to him and across from Barnes and she sat down, keeping her cool and not wanting her nerves to show on her face, and her own invented gel thick on her shoulders and neck. Stark offered her a small menu, but she didn’t feel like eating much, so she just asked for toast and coffee. As they waited for their food to arrive, Stark looked at her, his eyes questioning discerning, trying to read her face, though her face was impassive and politely attentive, though she would give away nothing.

As the silence dragged on and their stares became more intent, she took a breath and decided to break it.

“Mr. Stark, I would like to sincerely apologize for my actions last night at the Gala. I am ashamed I embarrassed you in front of so many of your peers, and I will happily hand you my resignation if you request it.” Anya was already thinking of picking up and leaving NYC, she couldn’t afford this city anyway. Chicago might be a better bet, she once worked in that city, though her profession was never one she wanted to talk about. Being a dancer in an omega strip club was not something she would put on her resume, but the money was good and the owners never asked a lot of questions.

“Like hell you’re gonna leave,” Bucky stood up in anger and glowered at Stark, who shook his head calmly, oddly collective and serious for the man. “I agree. We’re concerned for you, Anya. Robocop told me what happened, and we wanted to know if you were alright. What happened? You went full-on rage mode…” Stark was talking when the food came and Anya took a bite before she looked up at the woman and asked for something to drink.

“It’s only 9am,” she said. “It’s 5pm in Moscow,” Anya snapped back and the woman looked surprised at her anger, then left and returned shortly afterwards with a tumbler of whiskey. Anya sipped it at first, then downed the rest of the glass before anyone could stop her and she took in a deep breath.

“I presented late, when I was 15. My entire family, almost 70% of them, were all alphas, and they thought I would be too, because I was so smart, intense and I fought with other kids a lot when they picked on others weaker than them. I defended betas and omegas from alphas, and defended the smaller and meeker alphas from the douchey knot-head alphas. I needed special teachers and tutors when I was 10, because I was at a 7th grade level when I was in 4th. When I was old enough, my parents sent me to an all-alpha school for the gifted. Shortly after I turned 15, I was invited by a senior to their prom. I was so excited, a freshman going with a senior, one of the most popular guys in school, and one of the hottest too.” Bucky snarled lightly when Anya added that tidbit, and she starting drinking another tumbler, this time of vodka mixed with orange juice.

“My parents bought me a dress, the most perfect dress I could imagine and they told me how proud they were of me, that I was destined to be a great alpha. My dad used to say that some of the most famous alphas in the world didn’t present until mid-teens. Einstein, Aristotle, Roosevelt, Howard Stark…” Anya paused and couldn’t look at Stark but could feel the genius shift in his seat at the mention of his father. It was true, all those people presented much later than normal, in their mid-late teens, when most presented from 9-12 years of age, when they hit puberty.

“The prom was everything I thought it would be. I arrived in a limo my date rented for me and he paraded me around, like I was something special, like he had snagged the best catch in the world. Everyone was staring at me, everyone, and I felt the anger from so many of the women, and some of the men too, anger that the senior of the year, the class president and quarterback of the state-champ team 4 years running, chose me.” Anya drained the last of the OJ/vodka mix and another one appeared; her words were starting to slur, and a glass of water appeared at her side, which she drained in a few large gulps. She set the glass down, hands shaking; Stark and Barnes could tell she was about to get to the part that scarred her for life.

“We were dancing to a slow song, something sweet and he was leaning towards me; I was so excited, I was about to have my first kiss, and it would be with the guy I’d been crushing on since I first arrived at the school. Then he suddenly stopped, his eyes getting wide and I felt something pressed against my dress; I blushed when I looked down and saw he had an erection and I tried to pull away, but he growled at me and pulled me closer, his nose in my neck. I could feel everyone staring at me, every single person, and all of them had an erection, even the teachers. I had no idea what the problem was, then I leaned away from the smell of the alpha in front of me and I smelt myself. Through my expensive perfume, I could smell myself for the first time, and I didn’t smell like an alpha, or a beta. I smelt like an omega. That barely registered before entire party was charging me, and I ended up at the bottom of a pile. I couldn’t move, everyone was staring at me, everyone was trying to get to me, pulling at my beautiful dress, ripping it, hurting me and pulling my arm so hard it came out of its socket, then that arm broke, above and below the elbow. Everyone was staring at me, trying to get to me, and I had to fight them off. One of the teachers came to their senses long enough to get me out from under the pile of alphas and into her car. She drove me back to the school, not saying a word, but she looked confused the entire time. When I got back there, I was crying, and I hid in my room, crying for hours, until that teacher came in again.”

“The first thing she did was tell me she called my parents. The second thing she did was expel me. Only alphas were allowed at that school, or at least people that ‘for sure’ would present as alphas. I had to be locked in a small, separate room from everyone else, but every time I was let out to shower or eat or use the bathroom, everyone would be staring at me, and fights would break out. And it was worse when my parents arrived. They were disgusted with me. Going back over 100 years, not a single omega was in the family. I was shameful, and they never looked at me the say way again. When I tried to hug my mom, wanting her to say she loved me, ask her for advice, needing her to be my mom, she…” Anya stopped and sobbed into her hands, taking the tissue Barnes was offering her.

“You can stop, Anya. It’s alright, we understand this is hard for you.” Stark was shaking, holding back the sobs that threatened to come out, but Bucky was letting the tears slide down his face, his metal hand grabbing onto the table so hard it cracked loudly. The woman with the drinks emerged again, carrying another glass of OJ/vodka, sniffling, her eyes were puffy and bright red. She could hear their conversation though the closed doors.

Anya blinked, getting herself under control, and took a sip of the drink, letting the citrus and biting mix give her courage. “My mom, she pushed me away. And then she wiped her hands in Purel, where she touched me. It was like I wasn’t me anymore, I wasn’t her daughter, I was a filthy scourge that she couldn’t stand to touch or be associated with. And my father was worse; he grabbed me by the collar and sniffed me, then threw me aside, so hard I fell over. The teachers there to see me off didn’t object, didn’t say anything; they looked like they completely agreed with my parents’ reactions.”

“Back at our house, my mother collapsed onto her bed and sobbed, refusing to believe that I, the only one in the family to be accepted to any exclusive, fancy school, was an omega. It was worse than what my father did, seeing my mother like that, hating me with all her being, wanting me to go away. My father just beat me over and over again, it was only physical pain, but the hatred and loathing coming from my mother…that I couldn’t get over. My father locked me in a room in the attic, and though I could hear people coming and going, sometimes asking where I was, they would act as though I was still at school. And then they arranged a false funeral, making it sound like I was in a car accident. My parents took the condolences, the money offered them, the gifts of grieving, while I was wasting away in the attic. Every day, someone would shove some food into my room, but no one ever said anything to me, except my sister. Though she never did anything to stop my parents, or my brothers, would who beat me just like our father did at least once a week, she would talk to me, if only for a few minutes. She would get into trouble if anyone caught her doing it. She snuck me extra food, books and magazines, and even let me out of the attic once, to breathe fresh air and walk on grass again. But my father found out. And he beat me, and threatened to beat my sister too. So I told her to stay away. When she was gone and I had nothing to look forward too, my mind wandered to very…dark places.” Anya touched her arm subconsciously, where the scar was gone, but the memory was still there. “I tried to kill myself; I wanted it to be over, but I didn’t cut deep enough. My father found me, and he beat me for not even being able to kill myself right.” Anya looked down at her glass, swirling the drink in the tumbler, letting the vodka mix with the OJ better.

“I tried to kill myself, because I overheard my mother shouting with my sister. Emma, my sister, was saying that if a fire started in the house, I had no way out and would die. My mother said it would be a burden off her shoulders, and I heard my father actually contemplating it. He even had it planned out, how to make it look like an accident; I know he would’ve done it, except my sister threatened to remain in the house too. She presented as an alpha, and was now going to a prestigious school, and was accepted to Stanford, so they couldn’t let her die.” Anya paused, thinking back on how she felt, knowing her own family had wanted to kill her, had even planned it, and the only thing stopping them was one of their prized alpha children threatening to kill herself.

“I was kept in the attic, never saying anything to my family, but planning an escape. One time I asked them to let me out. I would disappear, and they would never hear from or see me again. But for them, just the idea that I would be out there, carrying their name, they couldn’t handle it. So they never let me out, but I kept track of when they were out of the house, and secretly worked on a braided fabric rope. But before I could get out, my family had an unexpected party, just because, and had a lot of family over. About an hour in, some of the younger kids found the key to the attic and thought it would be fun to look inside. They found me, and dragged me downstairs, wanting to know who the hermit in the attic was. The disgust on my parents’ faces, the rage and anger, it was too much. The way everyone stared at me; they had the same beliefs as my parents, and couldn’t believe I was an omega ” Anya ricked slightly in her chair, downing another entire OJ/vodka glass before she could continue, her voice slurred, but her mind still too clear.

“I ran out the door, and I just…never stopped I guess. Every time I have an attack or I lash out, I pick up and run. I had already picked another city to live in when I saw your email, and started paperwork to move out.” Anya swirled the small remaining bit of OJ in her glass, downed it and set it on the table, her eyes hard but unseeing. She’s relived that time of her life over and over again, and after a while, she learned to bury it, but she never got over her fear of being the center of attention, of being the one everyone was staring at, because what followed was never good: it only brought pain.

Stark and Barnes just stared at her as she spoke, and Barnes wasn’t hiding the faint tear marks on his face, he gave up on that a long time ago. He’d been tortured plenty, but by strangers, people that didn’t know him, that he never really knew. But to be hurt that way, hated and despised and beat by people she loved and trusted, that was a far worse torture than he had ever gotten at the hands of Hydra. Stark had moved back form the table, like putting some distance between himself and Anya would make the images in his head less vivid. But it was bringing back some images and memories of his own; his father’s anger and disappointment, the drinking and anger, saying Tony would never be Howard, no matter how hard he tried, would never measure up to the man, the alpha, Howard wanted as a son.

Stark patted Anya on the shoulder slightly, a blank look on his face, but Anya could tell the pain and hurt he was hiding in his eyes. Stark didn’t do emotions well, he just didn’t. Anya looked at her empty glass and wanted a pitcher of the delicious OJ/vodka mix, so she could pass out, preferably right here in this chair. Barnes got up and left a moment later, but stopped on his way out, passing behind Anya and took a few hurried steps forward, and pressed a chaste kiss into her golden hair.

Before Anya could react, Bucky was out the door; and ran right into Steve. Steve looked like he was holding himself together by thread. It was obvious he heard the entire conversation, and though he held himself together on the outside, Bucky could see the pain and guilt on the inside. They stared at one another for a long moment, until the door opened wider and Anya walked out, tipsy and she fell over, landing on the hard floor. She whined when Bucky leaned down to help her up; he leaned down again, but pulled away when he heard the faint snoring coming from her. She was out cold.

Steve and Bucky walked side by side for several floors, taking the stairs, walking in complete and utter silence. They weren’t looking at one another, heads still buzzing with Anya’s life story. It explained her fear of crowds, and her distrust of alphas; Steve was honing his head on the inside, though his body was still as stoic and sure as before. Inside, he felt ashamed for how he treated Anya so far, only adding to her anxiety of alphas. He rubbed the back of his head as he walked to his floor, not saying a word to Bucky, but hit his head back against the wall when he closed his apartment door behind himself. Steve closed his eyes and thought about everything he had said and done to Anya, and then replayed what he heard in his head, and he felt even worse. He crawled onto his bed, and turned on the TV as a distraction, but it wasn’t working, and his mind wandered. He was angry with himself, for letting his alpha come out so hard, especially considering Anya had never actually done anything wrong to him. She’s never said anything bad to him, was never rude or impolite, she was quite cordial. And he’d attacked her on more than one occasion as his thanks.

Steve got up off his bed, turning off the TV, holding the remote so hard it broke in his hands, again. He walked down a few floors to the massive gym, and took out his insecurities, guilt and self-anger on punching bag after punching bag, until none were left.

Chapter Text

Anya felt someone shaking her shoulder and she moaned, not wanting to move. She was comfy where she was, though she wasn’t sure where; someone shook her again and she moaned louder, grudgingly opening her eyes. Fluorescent lights burned her eyes and she blinked several times and looked at the ground, which was nice carpeting and very soft, before everything cleared up and she saw more than colors and blurry images.

Agent Coulson was standing over her, shaking her shoulder, telling her she needed to get up and go home, get some rest. She moaned louder and she moved her head to the side, away from him, and started to fall back asleep; surprisingly strong hands picked her up by her shoulders and arms, pulling her to her feet and she whined in her throat, putting her hands to her face to hide the light, and her terrible appearance. She couldn’t have been passed out on the floor long, half an hour at most; she wanted to lay back on the floor, it was softer than her mattress, though minus the cute purring cat.

Agent Coulson led, or rather he gently pushed/dragged her, down through the elevator and called a cab from the lobby. He sat in the seat beside her as she lay her head back on the seat, then pulled back, an awful smell hitting her nose. She plugged her nose, too hungover to care about being polite, and could tell she wasn’t the first drunk person in this cab today, and wouldn’t be the first one to throw up in it. Anya had to pull her mind away from that, or she would throw up, and looked over at the stoic, unflappable agent. She remembered the first time she saw him and nothing looked different about him; he was still lightly balding, toned but not overly muscular, and he had a powerful alpha scent that said he could kick ass, but preferred a more peaceful or pragmatic route. He wasn’t the type to posture, and nothing seemed to bother him.
When the cab arrived at the building, Coulson looked up at it with a discerning look, and Anya could tell he was looking it over from a security standpoint: exits and entrances, blind spots in cameras, most exposed points, and he did it all in the blink of an eye. He didn’t say anything in the cab, or when they arrived, and since she was still pretty drunk, she couldn’t help herself.

Anya turned around before Coulson left, raised her index finger and pressed it to Coulson’s nose with a soft, “boop.”

She retreated into the building after that rather quickly, and her lack of grace and mix between last night’s hangover and today’s drinking was not boding well. She fell twice on the way to the elevator, and the man at the front desk laughed at her lack of coordination; she collapsed in the elevator and just wanted to lay there and do nothing for the rest of the day, but she clawed her way out of the elevator when the doors opened with a ding, and Anya slowly, and clumsily, made her way to her apartment.

She collapsed on the bed and was asleep before her cat had a chance to even jump on the bed to join her; if her mind was not on sleep and dancing chemical equations that sang Imagine Dragons songs, she would have wondered why her apartment was unlocked, considering she always locked it and didn’t trust anyone with a key.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Coulson returned to the tower to hear a shouting match between Captain America and Barnes.

“’S not like she hurt me. She’s a doll,” Barnes was shouting back at his best friend, obviously arguing about Anya, once again. Coulson sighed faintly, though no one would see it, only those that knew him very well, like Clint, who was watching the argument gain steam and momentum.

“She’s got her own demons to deal with, Buck. Bein’ round her, she’ll drag you down with her, after all the progress we made,” Rogers’s voice was getting deeper and more intense, and much closer to that ‘alpha tone’ that made all other obey whatever he said in that tone.

“No, the progress I made, I did it, me,” Barnes shouted, then stopped when he realized he stepped over a line. Rogers had always been there for him, saved him from himself and everyone that was looking for him, even choosing him over Steve’s own network of friends, including the current Stark. Rogers’s voice dropped darker and more intense and he did in fact adapt that alpha voice, that command voice that no one, not even other alphas, could ignore, not with how alpha Rogers was at the moment. But there was the obvious undertone of being hurt, that Bucky had hit below the belt.

“I saved you too Bucky.” Rogers was standing at his full height, puffing out his chest, determined to get Barnes to yield to him. Rogers was actually snarling, as though it wasn’t obvious aside from the deep rumble in his chest and the anger in his eyes, just how angry he was. Barnes lasted several long moments before he looked away, and Rogers inflated his chest in victory. Barnes stormed off, probably going to beat up some dummies in the gym or shoot some targets.

The room was in complete silence, mostly because Stark was absent and only Clint, Coulson and Rogers remained in the room. Clint looked down at the ground, submitting to the still-angry Rogers, but looked back up with a look on his face that clearly said Rogers would regret what he said in a few minutes. Coulson just crossed his arms in front of himself calmly and looked at Rogers, contemplating again, before walking into the room and handing Rogers a file.

“Possible mission for you and a few other Avengers. Snatch and grab in southern Russia, possible Hydra ties. I recommend bringing Stark, Barton, and Barnes; this needs to be quiet.” Coulson spoke in his same unaffected tone and watched Rogers flip through the folder, looking at photos and gathered intelligence. “Whatever issue you have with Barnes cannot affect this mission, Captain. And don’t let someone he barely knows affect your mission,” Coulson finished cryptically as he walked off and Clint looked surprised. Coulson rarely did subtle, or gave hidden advice.

Rogers called the requested 3, and Barnes was more than happy to finally be trusted enough to be let out of the tower, and to face Hydra. Clint and Stark were their normally snarky and funny selves, not taking anything too seriously, and made bets on how long it would be before Clint threw himself off a building; Stark would jam any communications in the complex for a few minutes, while Barnes and Rogers went in and copied what they needed to and got out. They had scanners for the paper files and a tiny drive of Stark’s to copy anything on the computer. Barnes was better at tech than Rogers was, and at espionage, all while Clint watched from the top of a mountain.

Barnes wanted to prove he could do it, he could be on the field again and not go insane, not attack out of panic, that he could control himself. He packed light, with the drive in a pocket and spare camera in another, some knives and other things on him, while Rogers sported his normal outfit, shield and a handmade gun from Stark, one designed to not break when he held it in his supersoldier grip. Clint carried a variety of arrows, most of which weren’t just arrows: some could deliver electric shocks, sleeping gas, break into smaller, explosive arrows, and his all-important grappling hook arrow.

Stark strutted into the room, already clad in his armor. “You girl scouts ready?” Clint flipped him off and both huffed a laugh.

“Watch your chatter, this is supposed to be covert,” Rogers spoke over the coms, checking them, and Clint gave Stark’s helmet a knowing look and made a faint, slightly obscene gesture that Rogers didn’t understand, but both men laughed, and Tony moved his faceplate to look at Rogers. “What crawled up your ass this time, Cap? Porcupine, Sonic, pointy American flagpole?” Rogers was about to retort when Coulson came into the room, and he looked almost to be unnerved.

“You have to go now. Satellites show they’re getting ready to pick up and move to another location; happens every few days. If you aren’t there in 24 hours, we’ll lose them again.”

A few hours later, Clint flying the quiet ship and Rogers was going over the maps and play of infiltration for the mission. The Hydra hiding place as a small, underground, renovated WWI bunker, long forgotten to time, but recently started drawing power again; Rogers and Barnes would enter through a small vent, work their way through the vents and small corridors, until they found the needed rooms, which were bound to be full of people. They would take out as few as possible, this needed to be silent and quiet. The number of enemies in this place was over 50, but it was some kind of R&D lab, and the remnants of shield needed to know what they were making or trying to develop.

The landing spot was miles from the bunker’s entry point, and the chatter was kept to nothing as the 2 supersoldiers worked their way through blinding snow to the well-hidden vent in the side of the mountain.

Rogers looked at Barnes, his face stern, needing to know if his friend was up for this. Barnes wanted to snarl at Rogers for suggesting he wasn’t, and Rogers just nodded, neither of them saying a word, neither of them needing to.

Rogers boosted Barnes up into the small vent, which, upon further inspection was too small for Rogers to slide into. He looked up as Barnes leather-clad feet disappeared into the vent, then sunk down into the snow and called Barton.

“Hawkeye, the vent is smaller than we thought. You need to accompany Barnes through the vents and assist. I’ll cover you from your position.”

“Understood Cap. On my way now.” Barton’s com clicked off and Rogers could hear the faint sound of someone landing in a pile of snow and making their way through the deep, covering snowbanks, burrowing underneath them like a mole.

“Told you, Cap, NY pizza goes straight to your hips. Hit the elliptical, that’ll work,” Stark was smiling in his suit, unable to help himself.

“Chatter,” Rogers said, wearing his ‘why do I work with a Stark’ face on.

“Don’t’ be embarrassed, Captain, you look great for a man in his 90s,” Clint whispered over the sound of the storm in Rogers’s ear. Stark huffed a laugh. Rogers said nothing in return, and pushed Barton into the vent, a little harder than he meant to, but Barton said nothing as his head collided with the top of the metal vent with a painful bang.

Barton caught up with Barnes, following the familiar alpha smell, and found where Barnes had gotten off. It wasn’t the room they were looking for, it was a smaller, less welcoming room, if any room in the bunker could be considered welcoming. A single chair took up most of the space, strong leather and Velcro straps all over the legs and arms, with hydraulic metal bands for the head and torso. The room reeked of rutting alpha, and it set both men’s teeth on edge. Blood was on the floor, and it smelt and looked fresh, less than a few hours old.

“Barnes, come on,” Barton whispered to the staring supersoldier, and put his hand on his arm to get him to turn around.

Barnes lost it.

Barton flew across the room, into the chair and it broke off the bolts on the floor, though Barton was back on his feet in moments, wondering what got into his friend. “Hawkeye, what was that?” Rogers called over the coms, but Barnes was gone, the door to the room ripped off its hinges and alarms went off in an instant.

“Fuck,” Barton hissed and climbed back into the vents and raced to complete the mission, with or without Barnes’s help. He found the control room and took out an enemy that was already trying to delete all the information on the computer, but the USB from Stark was better and started to download and restore everything on the hard drives.

“Barnes has gone cookoo for cocopuffs; he’s on the warpath,” Barton called in, and Rogers hissed to himself, angry for bringing Bucky along when he was still barely recovering from what was done to him. Rogers felt Bucky wasn’t ready for a Hydra op, but brought him anyway, against his better judgment, because he thought about Bucky as a friend, and not as a soldier.

“Finish your end, Hawkeye, I’ll get him,” Rogers replied while the sounds of Stark fighting with something in the air echoed on the coms. Barton didn’t say anything, but scanned the papers littered all over the room with a digital scanner, copying several layers of papers all at once.
He heard someone coming up behind him and spun around, knife in the throat of a Hydra agent; he might be overstaying his welcome with the 50+ agents hear, but the schematics he scanned next told him another story.

“Captain, this place is wired to blow. I bet the alarm tripped some kind of timer, we need to evac now, or we’ll end up with half the mountain on us,” Barton was panting slightly as he scanned as fast as he could, while firing off arrows on a self-reloading crossbow Stark had made for him a few months ago. Barton was about to enter the vents again and head back, but stopped when he smelt something that set his teeth on edge again: rutting alpha, and the smell of stale chemicals.

He slunk through the vents, quieter than a mouse, and found the source of the smell and the sounds: 2 alpha males were trapped in a glass cage, fighting one another, battling each other, trying to rip each other to pieces, while a sobbing, nearly dead omega lay on the floor, trying to get out of the way. Shots suddenly rang out and both alphas and the omega lay dead on the floor, and the agents watching on the fringe of Barton’s vision disappeared, taking men in white coats with them. Barton slid back through the air ducts and out through the outer vent, meeting Stark, who was sporting several steaming dents in his brand new armor.

“I just got this suit polished,” Stark groaned and then looked up into the vents. “Cap and Robocop not back yet?” Stark asked Barton, who shook his head. They paused at the vents, still knowing the mountain around them was rigged to blow, but didn’t want to leave their friends behind. “Hawkeye, Iron Man, back to the jet and pick us up, we’ll be waiting on the south side,” Rogers’s voice finally called out over the coms and Barton clenched up, something he was becoming used to, as Stark grabbed him by the back of his jacket and flew him to the jet. Barton got the jet in the air in less than 2 minutes, and they flew to the south side just in time to see a Hydra agent get thrown out a window and down a steep cliff face.

“Cap, coming to you, get ready to evac ASAP.” Barton turned the jet around so the open door was facing the broken window; Barnes was still fighting, angry, throwing people around, one into glass where it nearly split his body in half, another man was literally ripped in half when his leg was caught in something and Barnes grabbed his arms and tried to throw him around. Knives were throw, bullets rang out, but nothing seemed to stop Barnes in his mad killing spree. Blood covered him from head to toe, a few bullet wounds grazed his body, and he kept snarling at Rogers when he was pulling him to the open window where their ride hovered.

Barton pulled out a tranq gun, meant for Rogers in case the alpha entered a rut, aimed, and shot a few small dart rounds into Barnes’s chest. The supersoldier, gasped, stared at the darts for a moment, before he fell to the ground, unconscious, twitching and moaning in a pained voice. Rogers lifted his friend onto his shoulder and leapt the few feet from the window into the open hatch on the jet, and Stark drove the jet away from the mountain side.

It took several moments for anyone to move to do anything, but the silence was interrupted by the mountain blowing sky high, sending rubble, boulders, snow and fire into the air, where the fierce snow storm took the ash and heat away on the wind. A few minutes later, it was as if the explosion never happened.

“Ok, who wants to explain the tantrum?” Stark was the first one to speak, but Rogers just looked up, angry, hurt and confused. It was like his own best friend didn’t recognize him when he was fighting; it was like that time on the bridge, and in the helicarrier, when there was no Bucky, only the Winter Soldier. Barton came up behind Rogers on the floor and plucked the small darts from Barnes’ chest, and tossed them into a small pocket in the base of the benches. Rogers was on the cold floor of the jet for some time, it was hard to know exactly how long, because even Stark knew better than to say anything, and wasn’t really paying attention to flying the jet, because JARVIS could do it on his own.

Stark stood back, looking at Barton, unsure for the first time in a long time what to say, what to do. He took a few steps forward, and Rogers snarled, obviously hurt about what he say as a betrayal, but Stark took the next few steps anyway, and leaned down to look at Barnes. A powerful, distasteful smell hit him in the face when his HUD flew up, and he reeled back.

“Wow, Barnes, is leaking some serious rut,” Stark said and looked through his eyelashes at Rogers. Rogers looked up, hopeful for a moment, thinking the anger might not entirely have been betrayal, or Bucky falling back to his old ways, his old training.

“There was a room we came to; was seriously thick as shit with rut pheromones, and a lab had 2 rutting alphas fighting one another, with an omega tossed in for fun. Fucking brutes watched, made bets on who would win,” Barton’s arms were crossed, a sure sign he was pissed, a way of flexing his muscles, showing his anger in a subtle way that only his friends, or his enemies, would notice.

“Easy there, bird brain. Let’s head back home, put Robocop through some basic tests, and look over the info you pilfered.” Stark sat back in the chair, heading back to the Stark Tower in NYC.

“Here we are,” Barton said and revealed the USB to Stark, who put it in his suit for safekeeping. “Pirating electronic materials is illegal, you know,” Barton said with a faint huffing laugh, which made Stark, and even Rogers, smile just a little bit.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bucky smelt it the moment he entered the vents, and he couldn’t help himself, it was like something else was pulling him through the vents, to that chair, to the location, that smell. Those rooms, most of the compound, smelt like rutting alpha, and Bucky could also smell an omega. He felt rage, desire, need and want, he needed to be where that omega was, to tear out the throats of all alphas in the building to win over that omega, and make them his.

Blood, bone, muscle, metal, bullets, steel, none of it mattered as he heard the sounds, the talk in his head, something he long ago buried, didn’t even think he had in his head. The sounds of men, alphas talking, about the other Winter Soldiers, and a new program to make the perfect army of soldiers, from birth. He heard crying, the wonderful smell of omega, an omega he so wanted to claim for his own, to make his own, but he could never get to the omega. He was strapped down, put in cryo before he had a chance, or else tranqed or tazed when he tried to get to the omega: the source of the wonderful, delicious, irresistible smell.

As he tore through one alpha after another, looking to get to that precious omega, nothing mattered: not the screams of his victims, not the terribly familiar whirring of his metal arm in battle as it was steadily covered in blood, and certainly not the pain in his own body. He needed that omega: protect-claim-keep-mate-knot, those words were the only things in his head. He could see Steve standing beside him, trying to get them to the open window where the Quinjet hovered, waiting for them; but he couldn’t go to him, there was something stopping him. Some long forgotten command or implant in his brain was telling him to prove himself the best soldier, the best Winter Soldier, the only one with the right to mate with the best chosen omega.

The next moment, he was looking up at Steve, reveling in how amazing the alpha looked in the faint light of the Quinjet, his friends and fellow Avengers around him, the noise and lights of the eastern seaboard coming into focus in the pilot’s windows.

“Have I ever told you, just how handsome you are, Stevie?” Bucky smiled a wide, dopey smile, then wiggled his eyebrows as he yanked on Steve’s arms, pulling him down onto his chest. “We had a swell time, with or without a dame, huh, Stevie? ‘S always gonna be you and me, ‘gainst the world.” Bucky smiled wider again and pulled Steve even closer, closer, until, for a brief moment, their lips met.

Barton was smiling wide, and so was Stark, both looking with a ‘about fucking time’ expression on their faces. And Stark would only have mischief and taunts planned for them both. Maybe put them kissing up on all the screens at Times Square.

Steve pulled back from Bucky, who looked like a sad puppy, eyes big and almost pleading. “’S always us, you and me.” Bucky sat up part-way, holding onto Steve’s arms tightly, his metal arm ignored on the side, right arm wrapped around Steve’s muscular and broad back, and pulled him down for another, longer kiss.

Steve didn’t pull back this time as their warm lips met one another, welcoming, long awaited and very much wanted. Steve pushed one of his hands into Bucky’s brown hair, clotting enemy blood be damned, and Bucky let out a faint moan at the sudden and delightful pull, enough for Steve’s tongue to slip in between teeth. Their tongues explored one another’s mouths, ignoring the sounds of catcalls, Stark taunting them with ‘definitely on the Megatron’ and the jet landing on the roof of Stark tower.

Not until another alpha’s scent joined theirs did Rogers pull away, though he did it with a last nip on Barnes’s lips, before standing up, looking stern and unwavering even as Coulson looked over the blood-covered and high-as-a-fucking-satellite Barnes, and the grinning evil genius that was Stark, and his fellow agent, who was not bothering to hide his raging hard-on in his SHIELD-standard Kevlar pants.

Coulson just looked from one agent to another, sighed, and helped Rogers bring the still babbling and admittedly adorable Barnes inside.

Chapter Text

On the other side of town, Anya was waking up from another fitful sleep, still very hungover, and meandered over to the toilet, and barely made it before the bile came up. She normally didn’t drink much, it left her too vulnerable, but reliving all the shit her parents and brothers put her through, that was too much for her to think about without some kind of alcohol in her system. She got up from her cold tile floor, which was rather welcoming, and showered, forcing herself to get ready, to finish her school work.

She was done with her calculus and most of her physics homework when something hit her, something odd, and she rifled through her entire room, trying to find the source of the smell, the odd feeling that made her skin crawl and make her want to scrub the tiny apartment from top to bottom. She finally found it, all over the notebooks and binder she used for her Capstone project, the formulas and calculations that would speed up the average person’s healing, the formula inspired by Captain America and Winter Soldier’s own healing ability. It smelt like a strange beta. Not her friends, her building manager, or her professor that held it. It was a new person, someone she didn’t want in her room, in her personal space, someone that had looked her papers over without permission.

Rage filled her, and she put everything away and did feel the need to clean everything in her tiny apartment from top to bottom. Scrubbing on her hands and knees, she needed to get rid of the smell, and the feeling of violation that someone unwanted had been in her personal space, her only sanctuary in the world. It took her several hours clean the apartment until she felt better, and was a chance to see if someone left something behind, like a camera or audio bug. She took her bed, bathroom, everything apart, and thankfully found nothing. Then a thought occurred to her: if someone from the remnants of SHIELD, maybe one of Coulson’s people, put something in her room, she wouldn’t find it.

That thought filled her with some kind of peace; though they needed to only ask, she didn’t so much mind Coulson or someone working for him in her apartment as much. Digging through her massive purse, she pulled out his card and dialed his number.

“Coulson,” in his normal business voice and Anya needed to take a moment to figure out what she needed to say, without it coming off as accusational. Ah, to hell with it.

“Agent Coulson, its Anya Smith. I was wondering if any of your agents were in my apartment recently. Like when I was passed out, or while I was with Mr. Stark. I’m not angry, I’m just wondering,” Anya waited in silence, thinking the entire time, please say yes, please say yes.

“None of my agents were sanctioned to enter your apartment.” There was a faint question to that statement, and Anya knew he was wondering why she asked.

“I can smell beta in my room, and someone has been looking at my Capstone project without my permission. That’s technically Stark Industries property, and my entire grade for next year. I was hoping someone on your team was the culprit.” Anya knew there was some accusation there and she could almost feel Coulson bristle through the phone, the idea that one of his agents would do something without his orders.

“No offense meant Agent Coulson. I was hoping it was one of yours and not someone maybe trying to take credit for my work.” Anya raged inside at the idea of another student, especially an ignorant, self-entitled alpha, using her work as their Capstone. It made her clutch her phone so tight it cracked slightly in her grip. She shook herself form her anger and put the cracked screen to her ear when she heard Coulson talking on the other side of the line again.

“What is this formula you’re working on?” Anya was surprised Coulson didn’t know. Stark wouldn’t tell, but Dr. Banner certainly would.

“It’s a serum actually, a small subset of the kind of serum used by Dr. Erskine on Captain America. Except it works specifically on the metabolism, immune system and ingrained healing systems. It essentially should shorten a hospital stay from 3 weeks to as little as 1 week, say after a bad car crash. And to prevent more supersoldiers running around and maybe getting heads too big for even the biggest condom, the affects wear off and don’t alter DNA. I don’t mean to brag, but this could be a game changer: shorter hospital stays, shorter recovery times and physical therapy, more time spent with families and in the workforce, saving families and people hundreds of millions of dollars. If it works I mean,” Anya cleared her throat as her eyes became glassy and she over-excited herself about the possibilities if it all worked.

There was silence on the other side of the line for a long time, and Anya pulled the phone from her ear to see if the call was still connected. “You didn’t fall asleep, did you Agent Coulson? I know my science talks don’t excite most people, but you should appreciate people healing faster. Clint would be in the hospital a lot less, would get out faster…” something beeped on the other end of the line and Anya realized she was put on hold.

“For fuck’s sake,” she scowled and hung up. She liked Coulson, the calm he exuded without being an asshole alpha was impressive, and Anya had a bit of a thing for him, despite him being almost twice her age. She had daddy issues, she knew that. But Coulson wasn’t hard to look at either, and his caring nature, despite his hard exterior was something she welcomed, compared to all the other alphas she met in her life.
Anya went back to her work on her formulas, and after working for most of the day, and well into the night, she decided she needed some sleep; she double checked her locked door, then slid her dresser in front of it, just to be safe. If it really wasn’t one of Coulson’s that got in, she didn’t want them coming back for a repeat performance.

Very early the next morning, someone knocked on her apartment door, and she looked through the keyhole to see who it was. She pulled the dresser away from the door and let Agent Coulson inside. He looked tired, harried and conscious of everything around him. His eyes took in her small apartment and she crossed her arms, as if daring him to say anything about it. She just cleaned it top to bottom after all.
Agent Coulson turned to look at her, sunglasses still on, car keys still in his hands. Anya’s cat emerged from her bed and slunk over to the man, sniffed his slacks then meowed quietly and rubbed his long fur and tail against Coulson’s legs. Coulson looked down at the cat for a moment, then stroked his long black fur once, before returning his gaze back to Anya.

“Anya, given the danger we believe you to be in, we request you pack up immediately for relocation.” Coulson was matter-of-fact and looked around the small apartment before heading over to her tiny desk, which was more of a nightstand, and looked the many pages of her Capstone project over.

“Who’s we?” Anya crossed her arms again as she looked at the agent, and she still felt a faint flutter in her stomach when he put his cool gaze on her, sunglasses or no. she had to reel in her feelings, remembering she had no blockers on this early in the morning. Coulson eyed her for a moment then someone came in behind him: Hawkeye, Iron Man, and Dr. Banner were trying to get into her tiny apartment.
She was very, very glad she cleaned it yesterday.

“Anya, it’s nice to see you again. I heard you made more progress on the formula, but thought someone got into your apartment.” He was nice and shook her hand, sending her into a faint fangasm again, a dopey smile on her face as she looked at her idol. Coulson had her papers in hand and she allowed him to take those precious papers to Dr. Banner. It was an honor for her to see Dr. Banner look her papers over. While they looked it over, Stark looked the tiny apartment over, and gave a faint smile.

“Takes me back to my own college days at MIT. Good times. Where did you hide the booze?” Stark was actually looking around like it might jump out at him, but took a scanner out that was looking the room over.

“I drank the hidden booze 2 nights ago,” Anya replied, watching the men with a wary eye, aware that her neighbors were staring in her direction. She moved to under her bed and pulled out a bottle of the scent blockers and put it on her glands. She still hadn’t started to pack, and her cat was now sniffing everyone in the room, moving from one person to another, meowing, demanding attention.

“Anya, we request you come with us, to Stark Tower. Given the implications of your work, we feel you need more protection than can be provided here.” Anya looked at Coulson as he spoke, and she shook her head. It wasn’t like she wanted to stay here, the neighborhood had gunshots ringing out every night and the entire building smelt like rats and hard drugs, but she couldn’t afford anywhere else.

“I don’t have the money to be anywhere else. And I don’t have the money to move, either. And I won’t elect to be homeless, not again if I can help it.” Anya saw Dr. Banner look up from her papers with a curious expression, but looked back down at the math, formulas and drawing of the human body. He looked more and more impressed as he worked his way through the pages.

“This is very impressive work, Anya. You’ve made amazing progress. This is your Capstone project, for your undergrad program? You’re not secretly in a doctorate program?” Banner looked from the pages to Anya, who was shaking her head. “Could never afford that either.”

“Rent won’t be an issue. You’ll stay in one of the suites in Stark Tower, and consult with Dr. Banner when needed. A car with tracker will be available to you for any traveling. I request you no longer take public transit, for your own safety, and carry one of these with you at all times. Pressing the small blue button on the back twice will active panic mode, and someone will come to retrieve you.” Coulson was speaking almost like a robot as he looked around the room again, while Stark was already at her laptop, fiddling with her keys.

“Someone’s tried to hack your hardrive,” Stark said as a screen came up, blinking red.

“What did they get?” Coulson asked, almost as if Anya wasn’t even in the room. She took the moment to slink into her bathroom with some clothes, feeling conscious that her pants were hanging low on her hips and wouldn’t come any higher, and her shirt was too short. If she wasn’t careful about her movements, the brand on her lower body would peek out over the pajama pants.

After the shortest shower of her life and a quick change, she emerged from her room to see her building super was in the hall, talking to Coulson as Stark still fiddle with her computer, Dr. Banner looked her papers over some more, and Barton was looking bored. He gave a half smile as Anya came into his view and she started pushing clothes into plastic garbage bags. Her cat circled her legs, knowing something was up, then went to bother Stark, probably because it would piss him off as the cat rolled around on the keyboard.

“Where’s your bags?” Coulson finally asked when he was done talking to the super and turned back to the room. Anya motioned to the 3 plastic trash bags on the floor. “A bit too literal, Anya,” Barton finally spoke, a smirk on his face as he flung one of the bags over his sculpted shoulder, next to his quiver of black arrows. Anya had a feeling that Barton understood what it must be like, to live out a plastic trash bag: he had that look in his eyes, one that told of hard times when he was a kid, and just as hard when he was an adult. She didn’t think she should ask, given she didn’t know anything about any of them.

Back at the tower, her cat found the most inconvenient place to lie and made himself at home right there: on Stark’s control pad. Anya felt a stab of pride for her cat. Stark pulled the pad out from under the purring cat, who pawed at it as it was pulled out from under him. Barton laughed as Stark fought with the cat, and was quickly losing.

Anya put her bags in her new apartment: it was massive, her closet was bigger than her old apartment, and was a complete walk-in with more room in it than all her belongings could take up. Dr. Banner called her over to a table laden with pages and pages of chemical writings and one instantly caught her eye. She pulled the page to her, ignoring the glare she was now getting from Stark for interrupting his organization scheme, and as she felt Captain America enter the room, and the cold eyes that met her back from the man, she turned the page over in her hand.

“This is 3-hectohexadonetryglycine, the same chemical used in that bar. Causes intense alpha ruts. And these pages are full of purifiers and magnifiers and catalysts. They make the effects more potent, last longer. And from the looks of it, they were planning on making a fuckton of this shit, or at least try. Sorry.” Anya added the last word as she felt Rogers’s eyes on her back as he walked around so he could look at her. He took a deep breath and looked at her, his gaze softening.

“Anya, I wanted to apologize for my behavior. It was not like me at all, and I don’t blame you if you can’t forgive me for it. I acted like…” “Like a knothead alpha?” Anya finished for him. He nodded contritely, meeting her eyes before looking down, a very rare sign of submission, and Stark and Barton looked at one another. They had never seen Rogers submit to anyone before, not even Fury, though he respected the hell out of Coulson; Stark tried to take a picture of the rare moment, but Anya ‘accidentally’ threw some papers in the view of the camera. Rogers looked at her, amazed she would help him after all he did.

“I can’t say I can trust you, Captain, but then again, I don’t really trust anyone.” Anya could see how much it cost Rogers to admit he was wrong, and though she hadn’t forgiven him, he was at least willing to admit he did something wrong. It was much more than she had ever seen any other alpha do, at least for her. Rogers opened his mouth to say something, but Anya sniffed the air suddenly, finger up to stop him talking. She was smelling iron and life-drain and danger, a smell that sent shivers down her spine. That smell did that to every omega, she was just much more sensitive than most. Anya turned away from the large table and face on of the doors off the main area, sniffing in the direction of a faintly familiar alpha.

“Do you smell blood?”

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bucky came down from his high with a hard plunge back to reality: aching all over, his metal arm not moving well because of all the debris and dried fluids stuck inside the delicate metal mechanisms. He felt like he was hit with a truck and he felt even more embarrassed when he looked down and realized he was as hard as a rock. He moaned as he sat up and the sheets grazed his naked form, tugging gently at his erection as he moved. He sat up and could hear some heated conversation on the other side of his doors, but it wasn’t about him, oddly, it was about something else, some kind of formula.

He ignored it and decided to indulge himself; he leaned back and wrapped his human hand around his shaft, closed his eyes and thought about Steve, when they were younger. He thought about the first time they had sex, so long ago, when Steve was still a scrawny punk, and he still had both arms. They were in their apartment, and Bucky had just completed his entrance physical to join the army and was cleared. Steve had failed, again, and Bucky was trying to get his spirits up. Steve slunk down on his mattress, looking up at the ceiling, brooding slightly, then sat up and Bucky knew he had already come up with a way to try again.

Bucky laughed and cuffed Steve on the back of the head lightly, then went to wash to get the hospital smell off him. Steve was filling out another form already when Bucky came back from the tiny bathroom and he laughed at the puny Steve, who looked up with an intense determination in his eyes, the thing about him that Bucky loved the most. The punk never gave up, no matter how many people told him he couldn’t, he would continue until he was successful, or was put in jail for fraud. Steve looked up from the form and took in Bucky’s well defined muscles, and though both were adults, neither had yet reached their peak in fitness. Bucky had a dingy towel around his waist full of inconvenient holes, including one that showed off his impressive length, complete with hibernating knot near the base.

Though no one would know it by looking at him, Steve was an alpha too; he was certainly an alpha on the inside, and had much more respect for omegas that most alphas did. Bucky and Steve had been raised the same way: omegas were people, not playthings. Bucky threw off the rag of a towel from his waist and closed up the blinds for the coming night, not bothering to hide himself from Steve, who was finishing up filling out the form as Bucky joined him on the bed. Bucky sighed and pulled the forms away from Steve, who looked, eyes hard and questioning.

“Steve, there’s something I wanted to talk about.” Bucky was trying for a serious voice, but failing and Steve managed a half-smile. “Seriously, there is,” Bucky said, leaning in against Steve’s shoulder. Steve looked over at him and leaned in for a kiss, something they had been doing for weeks now, ever since moving into this crapshoot of an apartment. With no one to judge or see them, they were able to do as they wanted in the safety of their tiny shared 4 walls. Steve stared into Bucky’s eyes and could feel the question burning there, a question asked without having to say anything. Steve managed a rare, full smile, a faint nod and Bucky smiled into the deep, intense kiss.

They had admitted their love for one another some time ago, back in school, but still went out with girls to keep up appearances and keep away questions. But they had never really liked the girls, with eyes only for each other, but hadn’t gotten down to sex yet. But with the physical passed and the acceptance letter sure to come for Bucky, they were running out of time; but it wasn’t a pity fuck, it was real, as real as either of them could do, could give.

There was no lube back then, just spit and giving one another blow jobs to get themselves ready. Steve was the bottom, unable to keep up the stamina needed, thanks to his many health problems, but the blonde’s body was a top, a very intense, wonderful, lovely top, one that made Bucky smile with his eyes, his lips, his entire being. The first push in, Steve had hissed at the stretch, but he refused to let Bucky pull out, and refused to give up or back down. Bucky pushed in, nice and slow, and after some time adjusting to the new feeling, Steve wrapped his thin legs around Bucky’s hips and pulled him close.

“Pushy bottom, ain’t ya?” Bucky teased and started a short, fast rhythm, both panting and close without much effort as they stared at one another and made out almost constantly, barely coming up for breath. Steve was first to climax, and he groaned it out, ropes of release covering both their bodies; his body spasmed around Bucky, clenching his cock inside Steve, and he came shortly afterwards, spilling his own release deep inside his lover, and his best friend.

In real time, Bucky groaned loudly and came, spurting thick ropes of cum all over his hand, thighs and stomach. He lay back on the bed, breathing deep, though his body was already recovering, soon ready for another go; that was a combo of his supersoldier body and alpha physiology. He leaned up off the bed and looked down at his metal hand, feeling anger and shame fill up once again; dried blood, hair and tiny pieces of flesh still clung to the arm, inside the thin crevices where the arm moved on his command.

Over and over again, he had found himself hating the arm, what the arm meant, and that damned commie star on it, tying him to Hydra and everything he had done with that arm, including almost kill his best friend. His best friend and lover.

Someone knocked on the door: it was Steve, and he sounded panicked. Bucky wasn’t sure why, until he smelt blood again, on his arm and looked to see he had been unconsciously scratching and clawing at the scar tissue that linked his metal arm to his body. Steve came in and pulled his bloodied fingers away from the bleeding shoulder, as a familiar and wonderful smell hit Bucky in the face, and that kind omega Anya came in, bandages and alcohol in hand. Instead of doing it herself, she handed them off to Steve, who cleaned the wound while Anya held his other arm still, and looked the metal arm over, eyes wide, until she traced the red commie star on his shoulder. He shuddered, hating that symbol on his body, reminding him of what he had done, of what he was.

Anya could relate to that shudder she felt come from Bucky when her fingers touched the red star. She knew it was a communist symbol; she also knew what it must do to Bucky to see it, to be reminded of it. But she didn’t pull her hand away; she pressed her palm to it, covering the star with her hand, as if her touch would magically heal it and make it go away.

“I understand, Bucky.” Anya said suddenly and Bucky looked at her, eyes filling, without his say so, with tears.

“Do you? Do you know what’s like to be reminded of what you are, what you’ve done, who you’ve hurt? To hate who you are, what you’ve become?” Steve continued cleaning his arm, putting bandages on the deeper scratches, but listening to the conversation intently.

Anya paused for a moment, tears filling her own eyes, also without her say so. “I know what it’s like to hate what you are, to be reminded of it, to bear a mark that I can’t get rid of, that I hate. I know what it’s like when the world seems to hate you, and you start to hate you too.” Anya wiped her eyes as she let Bucky go.

Anya stood up in the middle of the room feeling eyes on her back, but still opened her pants, and both Rogers and Barnes looked at her with shock, but it faded to horror when she let her pants hit the floor, and she pulled her panties down just enough to reveal the bright white scar, the elegant brand put there when she was nearly 17, sold to the highest bidder by her parents.

The others walked into the room, and Anya turned to face them, letting them see the mark on her skin, the thing that reminded her of what she was, where she had been, and something she had grown to hate, because it caused her nothing but pain, grief and suffering.

Everyone stared at the Greek symbol, bright white against Anya’s lightly tanned skin, showing up even more prevalent against the dark purple of her panties. Stark was the one to say it out loud, what the symbol represented, the designation that had hindered and haunted Anya her entire life, had made it a living hell that she, more than once, tried to get out of.

“Omega.”

Chapter Text

Anya pulled her pants back on and sat back on the bed, resting her hand on the still shocked Barnes, who wasn’t looking away, even as Rogers resumed cleaning his wounds. Anya cleaned his bloodied fingernails, not saying a word, and the tension in the room was thick, heavy and filled with pity. No one spoke, until Barnes was done and Rogers warned him to stop that, or they might need to put gloves over his hands. It was meant to be a joke, but came up short, as everyone was still thinking about the brand Anya had revealed on her skin.

Barnes tried to calm himself, but was failing miserably, anger and revenge seeping into his body as he thought about the brand on Anya. He looked up at her. “Who gave that…?” “Don’t.” Anya was firm, not wanting to think about it, having left that far behind her, years ago. “It’s been almost 7 years since I got that mark, and it’s not something I think about, ever. There’s a reason I never brought it up before, and I want to keep all that in the past. I’ve moved on, left them all behind me, started new when I escaped. If I bring that back up, it’ll just eat me up inside, and I won’t let those asshole alphas take that part from me too.”

Anya stood up from the bed, taking the bloody rags and plastic wrap with her, tossing it in the garbage before leaving the room, and heading back to her own suite. She closed and locked the door behind her, sliding down the wood of the door, her hair sprawling all over her shoulders, her cat coming up to her and meowing lightly, rubbing her hand with his soft, fluffy head. Anya scratched his head absently, pulling her mind from that very dark time in her life, that time when she lost everything she had that was precious to her. Her innocence, her idea that people were normally good, that most alphas were as terrible as her parents; she learned that no one had her back, that she needed to look out for herself, even if that meant killing.

Anya wrung her hands so tightly she thought she heard something pop, but was too strung out on past memories to feel the pain. Her cat lay in her lap on the floor behind the door, purring loudly, calming her down as Anya continued to stroke the long black fur. She took several deep breaths and was able to pull her mind from those dangerous places, and stood up to unpack.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Almost as soon as Anya left the room everyone was talking about her, the brand and what else she might be hiding.

“Can you blame her for not telling us? That’s gotta be a very traumatic experience,” Dr. Banner supplied as Rogers wondered what else Anya might not be saying.

“She could be hiding more…” Barton interrupted Rogers, “And it’s her secrets to keep. Have you heard any of the shit she went through as a kid? I don’t talk about my childhood, you don’t nag me about it.” Barton had his arms crossed, as if daring the Captain to say something. Rogers puffed out his chest, posturing again, but eventually gave in; he knew they were right. He didn’t tell everyone everything that he went through, not even Bucky, and Romanov hadn’t revealed everything either. Everyone had secrets; he was just letting his jealousy get the better of him again and he was determined to not let it take over, not again.

After knocking Anya down, Bucky hadn’t spoken to him for 2 weeks.

“You’re right, it’s not our business to pry.” Rogers finally admitted defeat, and reigned in his emotions as the rest of the group disbanded. He turned to Bucky, who was still on the bed, looking at his arm and the red star that haunted him to this day, and pulled out the cleaning kit he kept under the bed for his arm. Together, it took them about 2 hours of painstaking and patient work to clean the arm of all the blood and debris in it. Rogers looked at his best friend and wondered what happened, asked him, but all Bucky remembered were bits and pieces. He remembered something rom his time with Hydra, the idea that he needed to fight for an omega while under their control, and he remembered shouting and blood and screaming, but not much else. He remembered the need to find an omega, and though he remembered seeing Steve, he couldn’t stop himself.

“Sounds like you were induced into a rut,” Banner said from the doorway, and both looked up, unsurprised to see him there. He wore his white lab coat, purple shirt and khakis, a clipboard in his hands and a few simple instruments in his pockets.

Bucky couldn’t be in any kind of hospital bed, chair or anything like that, with any kind of machine or medical too sharp-looking apparatus near him, or he would completely lose it. Rogers and Banner had found this out the hard way when Bucky had thrown them clear across the room and pushed Banner to Hulk out. It took months to repair the damage. It was easier to check him over while in his room, where his own alpha smell filled the air and he felt the safest, though he had a small cubby he would retreat to when he woke from a nightmare.

Banner took some simple measurements, and drew a little blood, which Barnes look really well; he normally turned stiff and tense and threatened to throw the person drawing blood across the room in a panic attack. But the faint smell of calming omega was still in the room, and Rogers had his hand on Barnes’ shoulder, offering support. When Banner was done, he put everything away and said he would let them know if anything was out of the ordinary.

As soon as the door closed behind the doctor, Rogers looked at his friend, wanting answers, wondering what the hell happened. The worst part was, Barnes still wasn’t sure.

“I don’t fucking know, ok!” Barnes finally snapped. He hated not knowing, not being able to fill in the gaps in his mind. Roger sighed and stood up, then put his hands on Barnes’ shoulders, which slid down his arms and to his waist. Barnes shivered at the touch, remembering some long ago times, the good times they had when things were a lot simpler, before the army, before the war, before Hydra, before they both suffered the cold.

Rogers stood behind Barnes and pressed his forehead gently to the back of his neck and Barnes melted back into the touch, enjoying it, relishing in the familiar warmth of his best friend. It was the first time Barnes hadn’t pushed him away, the first time he hadn’t panicked at someone coming up behind him. Rogers noticed the faint smell of omega still in the air, coming through the vents.

“We’ll be ok Bucky, I promise.” Rogers leaned back from him and Barnes turned around to look at his friend.

“Punk.” Bucky smiled, the smile finally reaching his eyes.

“Jerk.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anya started unpacking when she pulled herself up from the floor and her cat made herself at home exactly where Anya didn’t want him to be, in her bag of clean clothes. Anya picked him up and moved him to the bed, ignoring the protest from the cat and continued to unpack. The walk-in closet was bigger than her old apartment, but it made the rest of the bedroom smaller, though she didn’t complain. She left her desk and other furniture behind and was probably being sold by her former super as she spoke; apartments didn’t last long in NYC. When she hung up all her clothes and put away her papers in the new desk in the living area, she walked the suite, which was massive by NYC standards.

Walking in the main door was the living area and kitchen, complete with fridge, microwave, oven and latte/coffee maker. The kitchen was done in light grays and blues, welcoming and calm and warm, the cabinets a rich black. It was a little bit on the masculine side, but the colors worked: at least it wasn’t pastels or pinks. The kitchen had an island as the barrier between it and the living area, with a few stools on the far side.

The living room was done in mostly blues, and some slate gray, with the same renewable bamboo floors as the kitchen and bedroom; a 2-person black leather couch and 2 matching chairs surrounded the massive wall-mount TV, with a single glass top table in front of the couch and smaller side tables with lamps on them between the couch and each chair. Also in the living room was a desk, where Anya had already put all her homework and progress on her Capstone; a bookcase next to that held her textbooks and research materials. Floor lamps dotted the rooms, casting enough light during the night, though most light was provided during the day from the floor to ceiling windows that looked out over the skyline of Midtown.

The bedroom and bathroom were connected, and the bedroom had room for a large king bed, 2 nightstands and a little walk around room but the closet took up most of that floor plan. The closet was about ½ the size of the bedroom, with shelving, boxes and all minds of storage. This closet was designed for a woman that would be staying for a long time, or had a lot of things with her. Anya barely filled up ¼ of the space with everything she owned, and she felt agoraphobic all of a sudden, leaving the closet as her cat dashed out, following her every move.

Anya decided she needed to relax and take a bath in the suite bathroom: it was already stocked with products, meant for a woman with nice smells and moisturizing qualities. The bathroom was tiled in a calming blue, almost like a beach, and the sandy color of the walls did give off the beach feel. Everything was state of the art, chrome and shiny, while the shower was a walk-in with dark tiles and rainstorm-like showerhead. The tub was deep, and so long Anya stretched out all the way in it and floated to the surface, just for fun.

Anya hadn’t realized she fell asleep in the tub until someone was knocking and her door and she sloshed around in surprise, sending water over the edge and making a mess. “Dammit,” Anya cursed and dumped a few towels on the mess before drying off herself and calling out to the knocker.

“Bruce is making breakfast, you want anything?” Barton called to her through the door.

“Oh, umm…sure, whatever he’s making is fine.” Anya walked out of the bathroom and pulled on some nicer clothes, feeling conscious about all the nice things around her, and how she had no idea what to do in a place like this, with people as famous as the Avengers. She had to calm herself, a new panic attack forming in her chest, but she got it under control. She wouldn’t see them very often anyway, not with their missions, the constant villains coming out now that SHIELD was gone but Hydra was still around, plus her own classes and Capstone work.

Anya made herself presentable and walked out of her suite to see everyone gathering in the middle of the floor, around the massive main kitchen and TV, a movie about to play. Anya walked in, hiding her nervousness, blockers thick on her neck and smiled as Barnes made his way out of his own room, a massive shit-eating grin on his face. Anya’s smile grew wider as she looked at Rogers and his ears turned lightly red with embarrassment. Barnes winked at her and she smirked faintly back, knowing that look he wore, the one where he was up to mischief and his best friend would be the most likely recipient.

Banner laid out several pans of scrambled eggs, French toast, bacon, sausages, OJ, milk and the coffee maker was steaming in the background. Rogers and Barnes were the first to eat something, piling massive amounts of food onto their plates, and shoveling it down like they had been starving. Barton shoveled a fair amount onto his plate, so did Banner and Stark, and Coulson joined them shortly afterwards, piling the least of all the men onto his plate. Romanov ate a lot less than the men, and Anya ate less than her, taking just one piece of French toast, 2 cups of coffee and some syrup. She ate them in silence, watching everyone carefully as they talked, laughed and planned for the day. The only one that was also silent was Romanov, who was looking at Anya, face unreadable, but eyes curious and not unkind.

Anya was done first and offered to help clean up, but everyone waved her off and told her to enjoy her first day in the tower. She headed back to her room, not sure what to do, so she pulled her work back towards her, and spent most of the day on it.

It was late, almost 8pm before she left her desk and she realized how hungry she was; she skipped lunch because she had a sudden stroke of genius to prevent the body from rejecting the serum once in the bloodstream. She headed for the main room where the food was kept, since her room had nothing in it, and found it empty except for a quiet Rogers, who was watching a show with a confused and somewhat exasperated look on his face. He must not be getting the references in it; Anya hadn’t seen the movie either and he turned around when she looked over his shoulder. She looked down at him, not breaking eye contact for a moment letting him know she wouldn’t be intimidated again, then she turned to the kitchen and made herself a sandwich.

When she closed the fridge, and glared at Rogers, who was waiting on the other side; she could smell his powerful alpha scent wherever he was, and it was actually annoying her. She ignored that part of her, the part that want to roll over and beg for forgiveness for whatever she did, though she hadn’t done anything, and looked him in the eyes for another few moments, refusing to look away, standing her ground, then went to the counter and started to make herself some supper.

“Anya, I want to ask you something,” Rogers sounded nervous and Anya looked up, curious. Rogers was shifting on his feet, obviously not wanting to say what he was going to say, and Anya waited, spreading mayo on her bread and lacing it with lots lettuce. When he took a breath in, Anya put down the knife and looked back at him, politely waiting for him to say something.

“Can you…stay with Bucky tonight?” the words seemed to cost him a lot to say and Anya raised her eyebrows in surprise. “Pardon?” Anya asked, not totally convinced she wasn’t sleeping on her desk, her papers sticking to her skin. Rogers cleared his throat again and looked down at her, trying to look more intimating than he felt.

“He won’t be able to sleep tonight, not after what happened. Can you stay with him, so he can sleep?” Rogers shifted on his feet, hands on his belt, a sure sign he was nervous.

“He doesn’t need me, Captain. He needs you,” Anya said simply and made to leave with her sandwich; Rogers stopped her and she looked from the hand on her arm to Rogers’s face. “Please, I wouldn’t ask this if it wasn’t important.” Rogers had a kind of wounded puppy look on his face and Anya was a sucker for the puppy eyes. Fierce, intelligent fighter or not, she was still subject to sad and lost puppy eyes. She sighed and nodded.

“I’ll hang around until he falls asleep. Just know, Captain, that it’s not my name he calls in his sleep.”

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Late that night, Anya found herself being let into Barnes’s room by JARVIS, because Barnes was already asleep, though it wasn’t restful. He was turning over and over in his bed, tangling himself in his sheets, and started to panic when he was fully tangled in them. Anya hurried over and pulled the sheets free from his legs and torso, softly whispering to him that he was safe, that she would watch over him, and stroked his soft hair gently. He wrapped his arms around her body again, pulling his face to rest on her abdomen, and she lay back on the bed, covering them with the blankets, her fingers gently grazing his hair and scalp, calming him down. His breathing evened out, the worry lines on his face and the frown he wore at night faded, revealing the man that Barnes could be.

“JARVIS, can you call the Captain in here, please?” Anya wasn’t sure about where to ask, or what to look at when she asked, but a soft British voice replied, “yes, Ms. Smith.” Rogers was in a few moments, looking panicked, but calmed down when he saw Barnes still sound asleep; he looked at Anya with angry sleepy eyes and rubbed his face.

“He’s been calling for you,” Anya said gently and lifted Barnes’s head of her body and motioned for Rogers to take her place under the sleeping supersoldier. Rogers looked nervous at first, then slid under the covers as Anya walked to the side of the bed and made sure they were both tucked in nicely, then quietly walked out of the room.

Anya closed the door gently behind her, smiling at her own brilliance. Bucky hadn’t said anything since falling asleep tonight, but every time Anya had been there in the past, Bucky always called for Steve, like he was hurt, or needed his friend. Hopefully, this would get them together, to realize what they really meant to one another, so they could be together, final-freaking-ly. As long as Barnes didn’t flip out when he woke up to see Rogers there, this was a good way to do it.

Still smiling and winking at a knowing Romanov, she slipped back into her room and fell onto the bed, asleep before her cat had even found a comfortable spot on her head to lay.

Chapter Text

Bucky was the first to wake up the next morning, and felt a hard, very hot body under him. He followed the toned and muscular body up the abs and pecs to the calm and sleeping face of Steve, and instantly got the flutters in his stomach again. He got them every time he was close to Steve, since being freed from Hydra and regaining some of his memories; Bucky lay his head back down on Steve’s rock-hard abs and decided to take in the warmth and time together while he still could, before Steve woke up and this became awkward. He wondered vaguely where Anya was, because he remembered her scent from the night before, and her smell was still faintly in the sheets: leather from a well-used baseball, streets after a fresh summer rain, all with a soothing yet sensual undertone of exquisite roses.

Steve stirred a few moments later and Bucky decided to get up and start the day. The sun was barely up, but both men were military, and used to getting up at dawn. Steve usually went for a run through Midtown, and Bucky would run on the treadmills, not allowed to get out of the Tower.

Steve opened his eyes and looked at Bucky, their blue eyes meeting for several long, wonderful seconds before Steve cleared his throat, asked if Bucky was ok, then got up and stretched. After a few more moments of silence and the sexual tension in the room, sadly, slowly fading, Steve left Bucky’s room to head to his own, and get ready for the day.

Bucky leaned back on the bed, thinking about what made him loose his shit the day before, thinking about that odd back-log thought, about having to prove himself for an omega, how it was some kind of training for Hydra, but he had no idea what. It frustrated him to no end that he had so many large gaps in his memory and mind. He didn’t remember everything from when he was a kid, or when he knew Steve, and he really didn’t remember much when he was the Winter Soldier. Steve was doing his damnedest to help, and sometimes it worked, sometimes it was just infuriating, but most times Bucky felt like everyone was still treating him with kid gloves, like he was made of glass.

Frustrated and needing to get rid of this sudden energy, Bucky left his room and headed for the gym, to work on the treadmills. He wasn’t surprised when he found eh wasn’t the only one up: most of the Avengers, save Stark and Banner, rose with the sun, or early in Coulson’s case. Clint and Nat were on the mats, working on close combat, Coulson was running on the treadmills, and was talking to…Anya?

Bucky joined them on the treadmills and Anya greeted him with an easy smile, and he felt like she was only one that didn’t treat him with kid gloves when he was awake; maybe because they had a lot in common, namely abuse at the hands of so many others. And both Bucky ad Anya carried a mark that neither of them could stand: a commie star and a branded omega symbol.

“Good morning, Sergeant Barnes. How are you and Captain Rogers this morning?” Anya was being polite, but a hint of fun in her voice made a faint blush creep into his face.

“I thought you came in last night,” Bucky finally said as he set a fast pace, more than twice the speed of Anya, who was set at a brisk walk.

“I did, but you talk in your sleep, and you kept calling for him, so I brought him in. I thought you might sleep better with him around. I know I’m new here, but you 2 are the tightest pair I’ve ever met; I know it’s not my business, but, you do call for him when you have nightmares. Plus, you 2 make a seriously hot couple.” Anya dropped her voice so only Bucky could hear it over the machines around them, and Bucky was turning bright red, but still felt a kind of alpha pride at an omega complimenting him. Coulson was speeding up his treadmill, his alpha scent oddly powerful, almost like he was trying to get Anya’s attention back on him. Bucky swallowed what he was thinking, and Anya turned to look ahead for a moment, then turned back to Coulson, who slowed down his speed to talk with her about her research and new protection.

Bucky ran for almost an hour, long after Anya and Coulson left to shower and get ready for the day, Anya’s words still ringing in his head. Did he really call for Steve when he was having nightmares? He didn’t remember him nightmares, only the feelings they gave him, the fear, the sadness, the intense panic. He might need to ask Anya about it some more; and he felt another twinge as he thought about how Anya, despite being new to the tower, spent more time with Bucky than anyone else, even Steve. Bucky couldn’t think about that too long, it was too depressing.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anya showered and was out of the tower before 8am to get to her early class, and meet her professor for the meeting she set up. She was almost done with her capstone work, it was all theory after all and she had no intention of putting the serum into practice, at least not yet. Besides, the serum was technically Stark Industries property, and once she was done with it, and used it as her Capstone next year, she would give it all to them and move on to another project.

She was set to meet her professor around 1pm, when they would meet during their lunch hour, and she went to his office but something was off, and she could smell something vaguely familiar, she just couldn’t place it. Another student must have been in the room before her, that was the most likely explanation; her professor was as open to her notes as ever and was pleased with her progress, looking her notes and formulas and calculations over carefully. He kept blinking every time he looked at a new page, and eventually rubbed his eye.

Anya felt something run up her spine, and not the ‘that’s turning me on’ feeling, but the creepy feeling that something was wrong, and the feeling she was being watched. She discreetly looked around, pulling out a compact to look at herself, and saw a few shadows lurking outside the door, a few students, and something glinting on the top shelf of the office, something looked a lot like a camera.

Anya looked back at her professor, then pretended to get a text and looked at her phone, to get a better view of the shadows. Several students in the year ahead of her, about to graduate, were congregating around the professor’s door, trying to look in, but failing to be discreet. Anya put her compact away, and decided she needed to get those notes away from her professor as soon as she could. She pulled her phone out again as she made a faint buzzing sound that was a lot like a vibrating phone, and pretended to read a text.

“Dammit,” she said under her breath and put a hand to her eyes, covering her face in exasperation. Her professor looked up at her as she looked at him, her face convincing and concerned.

“That was my advisor. He said there was a serious flaw in my immune system work. I’ll have to start all over again.” Anya stood up and pulled the papers away from her professor as politely as she could. He had only seen about a ¼ of them; she had a lot of work sprawled all over those pages, and was glad she didn’t go through with her plan to consolidate them. She stuffed her papers into her bag, mimicking anger and frustration, thanked her professor for his time ad sorry that she wasted it, then walked out of the building as fast as she could.

She felt the stares of the other students on her, most of them alphas, one beta, and she suddenly knew where that familiar smell came from. That mild, unassuming beta she was walking past, he was in her apartment, his scent had stunk it up. She hid her anger well under the scent blockers and kept her face straight, though she was still showing some faux-frustration on her face as she walked past. She could smell arousal, anger and, oddly, jealousy, as she walked past the group of 7 students. She turned the corner and the students were out of sight, and she breathed for a moment.

She wondered what the camera was doing in the professor’s office, perfectly aligned to see his desk, and what the students were doing hanging outside his office while she was there, as if they were trying to hear her conversation with him. She headed for the cafeteria and sat with some of the nursing students, who were omegas and welcoming to her, despite being in different programs. It was nice to have company, though she was the only omega in the Chemistry program, and one of the few women. All the other women were alphas, and Anya hoped that at least them being women in a male-dominated field might bring them together, if only a little bit, but so far, the others treated Anya with the same contempt as everyone else.

At the table with the other omegas, Anya found solace with them and she helped them with their homework, since they needed to know basic chemistry and some math to graduate. They talked about nothing in particular, until Anya remembered out loud she needed to fill out a change of address card for the college.

“Uh oh, didn’t get kicked out did you?” a freshman asked with a grin on her face, wondering if Anya had partied too hard. Anya shook her head. “I was pulled out, for my own safety, apparently. I’ve got a PO Box now and live with some rather…intimidating people,” Anya felt it ok to admit that she was intimidated by the Avengers, who wouldn’t be? “Not all alphas I hope, that can really mess with your head and hormones,” a senior remarked with a bored look on her face and Anya shrugged her shoulder. “Most of them are alphas, unmated actually, but I think 2 of them should be together. They just won’t admit it to themselves.”

“Ooh, trying to play matchmaker?” a sophomore asked with a devious grin on her face and mouth full of bread. “Hopefully,” Anya replied ad several of the ladies laughed, then talked about who was the cutest guy in college, and about their classes. It was odd, for Anya, to be part of the conversation, so she looked at her phone and wondered what her professor and those students were planning.

“Excuse me, are you Anya?” a rich alpha voice with faint southern accent asked. Anya looked up and actually swallowed her nerves. The man before her was tall, handsome and toned, but not as buff as Thor; he was more built like a runner, with leaner body and muscles, keen green eyes, full lips and tousled dark blonde hair. He wore a charming smile and looked down at her, a kind smile on his face that reached his eyes and she nodded as the ladies around her squealed. The alpha was star of the football team, the quarterback, here on a football scholarship. The man just oozed sex and alpha and everything an omega could want in a mate, but her spine was tingling again with nerves and her gut was telling her something was off. She ignored it in favor of her omega instincts for the first time in her life.

“I am. Nice to meet you, Alex.” Anya knew who this senior was, he was a year ahead of her and in her calculus class. He wasn’t doing well from the looks he got when he got his papers and tests back.

“Oh, I’m flattered you know my name.” “Everyone knows your name, I’m not that special,” Anya replied with a faint cough in her voice, trying to hide the arousal she felt at the walking talking sex machine in front of her. Her omega instincts were never this strong before, and even through the scent blockers he wore, out of respect for others because his own scent was so strong, she could still smell the alpha oozing from him.

“You are special.” Anya tried not to preen at the compliment. “I was told by Professor Jacobs that you would be the one to talk to about calculus. He said you might be able to teach me to get a passing grade on my final. If I don’t, I won’t pass, and I’ll lose my scholarship and will have to repeat the class.” He was making puppy eyes at her, and her inner omega suddenly felt the need and the pull to take care of the hurt and struggling alpha. She tried to push it down and managed to get a hold of herself to respond.

“Well, I know there are other tutors, but if Professor Jacobs recommended me, than I can certainly do my best to please you.” Anya stopped herself when she realized what she said, and forced herself not to blush at the sexual implications. She had never wanted an alpha so bad before, in fact, she never really wanted an alpha, not even the alphas in the Avengers that she was currently living with.

Alex the quarterback smiled easily at her, kindly, and he gave her his number to text him with a time they could meet up before the weekend. He wasn’t passing the class and needed at least a B on the final to pass the class with a C; his scholarship wouldn’t allow anything under a C-.

When he left Anya at the table, she was stunned for a moment, then reclaimed herself and turned back to the table, and found them all staring at her, with open mouths and she could smell the obvious smell of slick in the air. She knew it wasn’t her, she didn’t feel it, plus she couldn’t really produce it anymore, not since her reproductive organs were removed at the bar fight. Most of the omegas around her were producing the slick they all leaked when faced with an alluring alpha, and it was clear Alex had smelt it, but to his credit, he had largely ignored it, politely keeping his attention on Anya.

Anya had never met an alpha like that before, one that ignored the intoxicating smell of omega slick, which was now calling every alpha in the room to the table, in favor of having a civilized conversation. As the alphas wolf-whistled and cat-called, Anya got up from the table and plugged the number into her phone, wondering what had gotten into her. She didn’t fall for alphas, she didn’t trust alphas, never trust alphas. But she didn’t need to trust him, her inner omega claimed; she just needed to help him on his calculus work. And if he knotted her in the process, well, bonus!

Anya stopped herself from thinking that, wondering where in the hell this was all coming from. She didn’t let herself lose control like that over an alpha, not matter how amazingly sexy, or intoxicating he smelled, how he ignored everyone else around him when having a conversation with her, making her feel like the only one in the entire building.

Anya was jolted from her daze when she walked into someone standing in the sidewalk; she apologized and walked on, her mind still on Alex and her conflicting feelings. It was like her omega self, the part of her that wanted to believe Alex was a good alpha that made her feel all giddy to be an omega and want to be around him, and her rational and disturbed self, the part that knew what people were really like and had no faith in alphas, or people in general, were warring in her head and body, fighting for control over everything she was.
It was giving her a headache.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anya arrived back at the tower late at night and found it empty, except for a very sullen Barnes. He said the team was out Avenging somewhere in Asia and would be gone for several days; Barnes looked depressed and manically energized all at the same time. His body was tense but his shoulder were slumped and he had that sad puppy face on again; Anya cursed her omega instincts for wanting to make Barnes feel better one the spot. She dropped everything off and offered to watch a movie with him on the massive TV in the main meeting room; he looked up at her and eventually nodded, still wearing that sad puppy look.

Anya made some popcorn, a lot of if since Barnes could go through several bowls on his own, and decided to introduce him to a few classics, namely Star Wars, the originals. There were no references for him to not understand, and Anya was shocked the rest of the team hadn’t shown them to Barnes yet. They sat on the couch, the bowls of popcorn in between them as Luke Skywalker fought the Dark Side and blew up the Death Star, with the help of his friends, the Force and his own will to fight.

By the end of the movie, Barnes had moved the bowls to his lap and was snuggled up close to Anya, his arm behind her on the couch, a comfortable silence between them. Being touch-starved most of the life he could remember, he liked the warmth Anya’s body cast on his own, though his body was much warmer than his, and the fact she didn’t pull away from him when their thighs and shoulders touched. She just smiled at him softly, kindly and looked back to watch the lightsaber fight.

That night, Barnes slept in his bed, and for the first time he could remember since being freed from Hydra, he didn’t wake from a nightmare, and didn’t panic in the middle of the night.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In her own room, Anya was having a bizarre dream, rather a dream that turned into a nightmare and back into a dream. It flipped from her normal nightmares of leering alphas and laughing at her, to the scent and smile of Alex the quarterback, and back to those alphas that branded her lower abdomen.

When she woke, she felt just as confused as her brain was during the night and spent little time on the treadmill, her head still kind of dizzy. She ate eggs she made for herself and Barnes, who woke up around the same time she did, but looked considerably more rested than she did. When he asked about it, she just said it was nightmares and he nodded understandingly. If anyone could understand nightmares from a hard life, it would be him. They talked about nothing in particular, enjoying company of not being alone all the time, but she need to get to class.

Barnes looked crestfallen, until Anya got a smile on her face and told him to shower and wear a longsleeve. He would come to school with her and enjoy some fresh air.

“Ms. Smith, Sergeant Barnes is not permitted to leave the Tower,” JARVIS chided overhead and Anya scowled up at the ceiling.

“It’s a college campus, on a Tuesday. No parties, no sports, no loud noises. He’ll die from boredom if he stays here another day alone. There’s not much you can get up to on a dry college campus.” Anya crossed her arms and frowned up at the ceiling, still not sure where to look during a conversation with an AI. “He could always start shooting things in the tower to challenge himself, out of boredom. Or drink Mr. Stark’s entire bar. Or I could leave him here with a few porn sites.” Anya was smirking inside, though her face was blank.

“JARVIS, if he does anything, I’ll take responsibility, but it’s a college campus. Besides, I think he’s been very good lately, and he deserves to breathe something better than the polluted NYC air.” Anya stared at the nearest camera and Anya could almost hear the sigh the AI was letting out as Anya walked with Barnes to her car to head to the campus.

Barnes was over the moon about the whole thing, excited to get out of the tower, promising up and down to behave and he wouldn’t do anything to lose the trust Anya seemed to have in him.

“It’s alright, Sergeant Barnes. Just don’t draw attention to that arm of yours, or you’ll find yourself in a mob scene. Every woman on campus will try to get on top of you, and yes, I mean that in a sexual way. And don’t go near the mechanical tech buildings, or they might try to dissect that arm of yours. I know Mr. Stark would be very jealous that he wasn’t your first time.” Barnes was blushing as Anya spoke, but nodded all the same and took the $40 she handed him.

“For food and whatever else you want. I get done at 5 today, so we can get some dinner somewhere. There’s a diner I really like, reminds me of a 1920s bootlegger bar. They have really good burgers and steak.
Then, unfortunately, it’ll be back to the tower, and to be reamed a new one by your BFF when we get back.” Barnes looked at her and Anya just smiled and shrugged as they arrived on campus.

“My number’s in the phone if you need me. Just avoid the south lawn, it’s way too full of alphas on the best of days. If you need a break or feel something coming on, either head for a bathroom, or the nursing area. Place is full of omegas, and their scent should calm you right down. Well, I gotta get going. Have fun with your day of fun.” Anya walked past Barnes to her first class as he took a deep breath, enjoying the nice spring day, and listening to the random talking all around him.

Anya was right, it was a college campus; what trouble could he get into?

Chapter Text

As it turned out, a lot.

But it didn’t mean the day was a loss, just busy.

Less than an hour into her class, someone shouted about an Avenger on campus and Anya inwardly cringed. Anya imagined Barnes getting into a fight with one of the knothead alphas on campus, or with security, or even getting caught with his pants down, literally, cock-deep in a very eager omega student. That was an image. Barnes oozed strong, sure and confident alpha; though he often wore that lost and sad puppy face, he was seriously attractive, and was a gentleman to the ladies. She really hoped it was the last one and someone had caught him fucking a student.

She stood up from her desk with the rest of the students to look out the window.

Shit, had Barnes already done something reckless?

Nope. Someone had been playing a prank on the college, and for some kind of initiation for a fraternity, some poor guy dressed in a revealing female captain America costume was running around the campus as security tried to stop them. He waved a large college banner, and shouted at the top of his lungs, “Check out my super strength!” and throwing toilet paper into the trees and tossing mini plastic shields at the windows, cracking at least one.

Anya sat back at her spot; she had seen Barnes leaning against a wall, a massive smile on his face and had actually laughed when security lost their grip. Anya felt her heart skip a beat as she watched the years and worries melt off Barnes, if only for a moment, and she smiled slightly to herself. Then Anya pulled out her phone and snapped a few pictures. Stark would love this.
After a few minutes of watching the hilarious scene below them, their professor called attention back to class and resumed talking about calculus, specifically advances limits and their applications in physics. The revealing Captain America outfit was much more fun.

Alex was in the class with her, a few seats behind her and she felt his eyes on her back, and she stifled a shiver, whether her omega instincts or her alarm bells, she had no idea. But the attention he gave her was nice. He smiled kindly at her when she looked back at him when she felt him staring for too long, and he even sent her a text during class. She responded: u might do better if u focused on the class. ;). Alex huffed a faint laugh when he read it, and Anya felt her inner omega preen at having made the alpha happy. She pulled her mind back to the professor, but her mind still wandered occasionally to Alex.

An hour later, when class was over and she had an hour before her next class, she looked for Barnes and found him sitting quietly in the coffee shop, sipping a drink, and flirting with the barista. The poor girl was blushing a bright red and fumbling the drink she as trying to mix for someone in line. Anya smiled again to herself, as she saw the smile on Barnes’ face. If this was the extent of what he did the entire day, she might just take him out on the town. One of her favorite bars had a really nice Ladies Night on Tuesdays.

She sidled in on the next table over and pulled out her notes form the class before and reread them, and she felt Barnes looking at her with a questioning face, before he got up and made to join her. She felt the color drain from her face when he stood and she quickly gave a silent shake of her head. It wasn’t a good idea for anyone to know she was the one that brought Barnes here, in case someone recognized him. It wasn’t that she didn’t like him, she did, it was the attention she would get if someone found out she was now living in the Avengers’ Tower, and was helping former assassins sneak out.

Barnes got the hint from her and nodded faintly before sitting back down at another table and immediately, several students glided over to him, sat at the table with him and started batting their eyelashes. Anya told herself the feeling in her chest was nerves for Barnes, how he might take it. It wasn’t jealousy, it certainly wasn’t jealousy. Ok, maybe a little, but it was protective jealousy, the need to make sure he was ok, and didn’t have a panic attack or episode in the middle of a college campus coffee shop.

A few minutes later Anya had to leave and she gave a faint nod to Barnes, who didn’t look up at her as the other students around him giggled and all fought for his attention. He looked so young, so happy, surround by the young women, and Anya felt her chest flutter with happiness, something she hadn’t felt in a long time. She was so focused on Barnes she walked right into Alex.

“Oh, sorry, Alex. I was thinking about something else.” Anya smiled, though it was a little strained, and her face was slowly turning a light pink. Man, the pheromones Alex put out were so thick it was lick breathing on a very humid day, almost being underwater, except the thickness made Anya want to roll on the ground at his feet and beg for his attention. She refused to think about that for too long, she still had some semblance of dignity.

“It’s alright. Are you free tomorrow night, around 6? I was hoping to go over limits with you before the quiz on Friday. As vaguely dirty as that sounds.” He said with a faint smirk on his face that made Anya both weak in the knees and made her want to punch him in the face. What was with her? She nodded and said they could meet here and to bring his notes. He smiled wider, picked up her hand as she made to shake his, and pressed his lips to her knuckles gently. She both keened inside, and wanted to punch his teeth out. There was just something about him that made her want to bend over for him, and to run away as fast as she could. She figured it had to be her past experiences with alphas, which were all terrible and traumatizing, that made her so on guard. But deep down, she knew there was more than that; something about him wasn’t quite right.

Alex left her in the coffee shop to head to his own class as she headed to hers.

And she felt Barnes glaring the entire time.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Barnes sat back at the table with the other students, a dark look on his face, and one of them rubbed her hand up and down his metal arm soothingly. He had no idea why he was being so sullen and jealous; she wasn’t his omega, they barely knew each other. He turned his attention back to the young omega student that was calling his attention to her, running her hands on his shoulders and arms soothingly, propositioning him in a subtle way. Except her scent screamed arousal. So not that subtle after all.

Bucky looked at the student, who was barely 20 and 100lbs soaking wet, and he smirked at her, his own body betraying the arousal he felt. She pulled him by his hand to a small spot around the corner from the stadium, and she quickly stripped him of his jeans, his cock jutting out proudly for her and she sighed deeply, taking it all in. Her inner omega breathed in the deep scent of aroused, powerful and confident alpha, sending her body into overdrive to please him, to make him happy.

She started with faint flicking licks from slit to base, then jumped right into taking him down to the knot in her mouth, her hand putting welcomed pressure on the slowly growing knot at the base of his shaft, just before his balls. He groaned and sighed, putting his human hand in her hair and guiding her skilled mouth down on him. She moaned and hummed with pleasure, as his cock filled fully and his knot got ready to pop. It was the first time he had been aroused in years, since Stevie was a skinny punk that didn’t know how to walk away from a fight.

But if he was honest with himself, and he really didn’t like doing that because it brought forth a lot of terrible feelings and memories, he got aroused a lot lately. Almost every time Anya was near him, even if she wasn’t in a good mood, and he could smell when she was, she still somehow turned him on. And it was even hotter to see her and Steve in the same room together, though it happened briefly. The tension between his best friend and the omega that calmed Bucky like no other in his life was something else. It got him hard just thinking about it, and now it brought him to the edge.

Unfortunately, thinking about Anya and Steve with someone else’s mouth on his cock was not a good move. Because when he came down her throat, he cried out, “Anya.”

Not good.

The student with his cum in her brown hair glared at him; she had said her name to him, he just couldn’t remember it. “It’s Katie.” She let him go, and crossed her arms, looking ready to leave and he touched her arm gently, apologizing.

“Wait, Anya, like that omega in Chemistry, that Anya?” Fuck. Bucky just looked at Katie, not saying anything. Her face softened and she pulled his head down gently to whisper in his ear.

“Forget her. I can be so much better for you, alpha. I’ll be so good.” Bucky melted at the young omega calling him by his designation, it was something that all alphas could call their weakness, a true turn on. He smiled at her and brushed some of his cum from her hair and she smiled at him, pulling him inside a supply shed.

She stripped completely, tossing her clothes into a bin of footballs, then turned around on a pile of workout mats and presented, moaning, “alpha.”

Bucky never moved faster in his entire life.

He was behind her, jeans around his ankles, hands gripping her hips hard and she moaned and whined at his touch, and she started a bit at the sudden cold of the metal hand, but was too aroused to really pay attention. Bucky pushed in 2 flesh fingers and opened her up, and she moaned and writhed in front of him, calling out to him, calling out “alpha” over and over again. After less than a minute of opening her up, he slid in to the hilt, groaning loudly at the welcomed omega heat around his alpha cock. It felt wonderful, amazing, generations of biology telling him this was what he was meant to do, where he was meant to be.

But aside from his cock, most of him kept thinking about what it would be like if this was Anya, if she was the one on her hands and knees, presenting her omega pussy to him. He quickened his pace as he felt the edge coming closer, fast, as he imagined what it would be like to watch Steve, his best friend and someone he had always loved, take Anya from behind while she sucked on his own cock.

Bucky stuffed his metal hand into his mouth as he came with a grunt and the little omega Katie screamed her own release, her walls milking him dry. He hadn’t knotted her, he was glad he didn’t, or they would be stuck together for half an hour. After a few seconds and he came down from his high, Bucky slowly pulled out and the omega Katie gasped at the sudden emptiness.

Bucky had no idea what to do now; this was a new century and relationships, hell even sex, were different. He pulled on his clothes quickly as Katie looked at him, her eyes still glazed over from her own high, then she cleared her throat, and pulled him tight to her body, trying to get his attention, and he cringed inwardly. He felt bad for this; he never meant for it to happen, and she seemed to get the sense of what he was thinking from the scent he was putting off. She huffed angrily, snarled at him and stormed out after cleaning herself up and getting dressed; he tried to say something to her, to apologize or say something, but she was gone next moment, out the storage shed doors.

Both angry with himself for taking advantage and glad that she hadn’t tried to cling to him anymore, he rubbed the back of his head, and left the storage shed.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anya could smell it on Barnes before they were even in the same room: he smelt like sex, cum and sweat. She wondered which omega it had been, because she could smell an omega on him too, and one that wasn’t her. She doubted anyone else could smell it, but she knew his unique scent well enough now to know when it was off, like when he was scared, having a flashback, or getting a quickie from a fellow student.
Anya raised an eyebrow at Barnes as he joined her at a table ad she no longer cared who saw. She wanted details, because she thought he would look relieved and relaxed after having sex. Instead he looked even tenser than before leaving the Tower, while trying to convince the AI to let him out against Rogers’ rules.

“Oh, boy, what happened?” Anya asked faintly and he looked at her, his ears instantly going red, and he looked at his hands in a tell she has come to know from him.

“That bad huh?” Anya said and put her hand on his shoulder reassuringly. “It couldn’t have been that bad, Sergeant Barnes. You smell like release from you both, it must have been at least a little good.” Barnes turned a deeper shade of red. Anya pulled back from him, realizing how uncomfortable he was now, the thick stench of stress leaching from his every pore.

“Sorry, Sergeant Barnes. It might take some time to get used to how different things are; it’s your first time out for the tower without Captain Rogers’ by your side. There’s bound to be some hiccups.” Bucky looked up at Anya, and she was confident it was just him trying to adjust to things in her world, in her time, and to let go of some things from his time. He didn’t look at her, and just nodded and she smiled reassuringly at him again.

It was getting late, and she had one more class before the day was over. Anya told Barnes to relax somewhere he could enjoy the fresh air, and she left for her final class of the day before they would get something to eat to round of their day.

But throughout the entire class period, she kept thinking about how Barnes had smelt like another omega, and how odd and somewhat angering that was to her. She had to mentally and physically shake herself slightly to rid herself of any kind of thought. He was an Avenger, a gifted assassin, and could have anyone he wanted. He was still recovering from Hydra’s methods and was prone to lashing out when someone came up behind him, unless it was her. Anya pulled her mind back to the class and was able to get some notes down and the date of the next quiz before her mind once more drifted to Barnes.

They would never work; he was in love with Rogers. She had to admit those 2 would make the perfect couple. Both from the same time, best friends before both becoming trapped by ice and against all odds, against time and evil groups and PTSD, they found one another again. It was really romantic when Anya thought about it.

When that class was over, her stomach was rumbling for burgers and she texted Barnes to meet her at the car. Half an hour later, still no sign of him. She texted him again, to see if he needed some more alone time with someone, but was stopped mid-text.

Katie K, a nursing student, and omega was texting her about Barnes: omg, he’s so hot. Where r u?

Anya:???

Katie K.: omg, where r u? U need to come here, labs building. He won’t say anything

Katie K: omg, shit! He broke the railings!

Shit.

Anya was off to the labs building, a small science building where nursing students learned to take blood and how it was processed and how to do it properly. Biology class labs were held in that building, and it was small, unassuming stone building with crumbling steps and wrought iron railings on the sides of the steps.

Anya ran to the building and found someone from security already on scene, who looked way out of his league and he knew it; he was almost 6 inches shorter than Barnes and a lot slighter, and he looked kind of lost, his hand on his Taser, which was only setting Barnes off more.

Anya didn’t want anyone to know about her and the avengers, or even that she might have talked to one, let alone was living with them, but Barnes needed her. So, fuck it.

Anya pushed her way through the crowd and she Barnes, who was heaving, breathing hard and was curled up against the metal bars of the stairs. His hands were gripping his hair, as he tried to make himself hurt, to let the pain bring him back and ground him, but it looked like it wasn’t working. Anya walked past the other security guard, who was oozing strong and aggressive alpha, probably what set Barnes off in the first place. The guard tried to grab her arm and pull her away, but she snarled at him, and in his surprise, he let her go.

Anya knelt in front of Barnes, blocking most of his vision, leaving him to only see her when he looked up as she blocked his light; he was shaking and looked broken, fragile and just as confused and sad as she remembered from the first time she saw him.

“Bucky?” she asked tentatively, and he looked up at her, his eyes focusing on hers for a moment, before the choking smell of aggressive alpha hit them both and Anya looked up at the large guard. He was leering at Barnes, a snarl on his face and puffed out his chest.

“Why are you posturing?” Anya looked him up and down with some contempt and the guard puffed out his chest and snarled at her. “Who the fuck does this guy think he is, walking around like he’s the shit,” the guard snarled back and Anya rolled her eyes, understanding now. The guard thought Barnes was more alpha than him and must have turned aggressive to prove he was the better alpha. It must have triggered a memory of Barnes’, because he was now back against the metal railing, his face white and tight, eyes wide and body shaking. Anya felt another stab of compassion for Barnes, ad annoyance at the guard.

“Seriously? You couldn’t resist a dick-measuring contest could you?” Anya snarled at the guard, who looked ready to bite into her neck and rip out her throat. “You listen here, you little bitch…” the guard started before he stopped, fear on his face, and recognition sweeping through the crowd like a wave.

Barnes was on his feet, snarling his arms flexing so hard they ripped the long sleeves, and his metal arm was on show for everyone to see. His breathing was more intense than before, but it was in preparation to fight. Anya walked to Barnes and placed a calming hand on his metal shoulder and she felt a familiar and calming shudder pass through his body under her fingers.

“Get your alpha urges under control before this turns ugly,” Anya warned the guard, but the man just couldn’t take a hint and postured again, his body radiating anger, aggression and the desire to fight.

“What the hell would you know, you’re just a bitch, good for fucking and nothing else.” Barnes looked ready to spring forward and lash out, probably at the guard, and with his super human strength, he would probably kill him.

But Anya got to him first.

A roar of anger had rippled through the crowd, made up of mostly omegas and nursing students, at the alpha’s words and he smirked, relishing in it, until Anya’s fist connected with his jaw. A moment later, he fell to the ground, out cold. The crowd cheered and laughed as the smaller guard pulled the unconscious body of the larger guard to the side to get looked at. Though, Anya wasn’t sure anyone would look at him: all the nurses on staff were omegas.

“It’s for his own good,” Anya said to the smaller guard, who was looking at her confused, until he looked back at Barnes and things connected. Barnes had gone back to his small spot on the stairs, his back to the metal railing and his arms tight around his chest. Anya could hear people whispering about her and the fear of being watched and stared at was creeping up on her, filling her with the need to run. But Barnes still needed her. So she swallowed her fear and knelt down in front of Barnes again.

“Bucky? дорогой? He looked up at her finally, and she leaned forward, her hands in front of her, showing they were empty. But he leaned forward faster, and buried his face in her neck, taking in her omega scent, her familiar and safe scent. His hands worked their way around her back and held onto her for dear life, like letting her go would mean slipping into the abyss that was filling his mind.

Anya stroked his hair gently, and, knowing if this got on YouTube or Twitch it would be embarrassing for him, she pulled him to his feet and led him as fast as she dared away from the crowds to her car. He pulled
his face from her neck after a few steps, and was able to walk on his own, without her guiding him, but he kept his metal arm around her back, his fingers digging into her flesh, grounding him with the warmth and physical presence.

She drove them both back to the tower, forgetting the diner she wanted to show him. As soon as they were inside, she could almost hear the AI about to say, “Told you so,” but she sent a scathing look up at the nearest camera and JARVIS said nothing the rest of the night.

Barnes was clearly embarrassed and angry at himself for ruining his first outing every without Rogers, so Anya just stroked his shoulder and hair gently, helping him come back, whispering calming and kind words to him. they spent the rest of the day on his bed, her back against the headboard and his face on her stomach or lap, breathing in her familiar and calming scent, wishing he was stronger, better, more human, and hating himself for being so weak.

“You aren’t weak, Bucky.” Anya hadn’t called him by his nickname in a long time and he looked up at her, his eyes holding back the ashamed tears threatening to come out.

“You’ve been through hell, and that alpha was a douche and a half. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

“I’m a soldier, I’m the Winter Soldier, I should be better than this.”

“No, you’re James Buchanan Barnes. The Winter Soldier was forced into you, and you’re so much stronger than him. You rule over him, over that Soviet assassin that hurt your best friend. You’re stronger, braver and so much more everything than him. The Winter Soldier might worm his way out on occasion, but you, James Buchanan Barnes, always pull your true self back. You, with your devotion to your best friend, to the other Avengers, people that have come to think of you as their friend. I know it doesn’t seem like it sometimes, дорогой, but you matter to them.” Barnes had looked at her doubtfully, but Anya was sure; she could see it on their faces, they were getting attached to him and his adorable sad puppy eyes, and his attitude that made Barton and Stark laugh, and made Rogers smile and blush.

“Blush?” Barnes asked and Anya realized too late she had been thinking out loud; very loud.

“He loves you, you know. That’s why he doesn’t like me, he’s jealous. He loves you, more than just as a friend, and he can’t stand the idea of losing you again. He’s lost you twice in his life, and he refuses to lose you again. It doesn’t excuse everything he’s done, but I can at least understand it.” Anya brushed Barnes’ hair back from his face again and he looked up at her with wide eyes, then he smiled, bright and wonderful.

Anya felt her stomach leap with joy.

“Thank you.” He finally said after a long silence trying to figure out how much it meant to him that she didn’t hate Steve, didn’t blame him, and just how special he thought she was.

“Special?” Anya smirked and it was Barnes’ turn to realize he had been talking out loud, though he had done it all in Russian.

“Yes,” Barnes said simply. Their eyes connected for a long time, until Barnes leaned up on his arms, his face a breath away from Anya’s and her breath hitched in her chest, the tension heavy and thick, until she closed the gap, slow and deliberate, though nervous.

Their lips connected, gently, softly, curious.

After a moment, Barnes leaned forward on her a bit more, his arm on her shoulder and working to her back, his metal arm on her waist, sending shivers up and down her body again. He opened his mouth ever so slightly to catch a breath and she sighed into the motion, enough for him to slip his tongue into her mouth, gently, cautiously and her lips grabbed onto it, eliciting a soft moan from him in turn.

Anya leaned forward into Barnes’…Bucky’s warmth and her hands settled on his shoulders before one made its way into his soft brown hair, the other holding him close to her body, resting on his back, feeling the muscles move underneath her fingertips. It sent a shiver down her body, and straight to her core.

Anya opened her mouth, submitting to an alpha for the first time in a long time, and both of Bucky’s hands worked to her head, into her long hair and leaned her backwards gently against the headboard. His lips were soft, warm, moist and skilled, welcoming, and safe.

Anya wasn’t sure how long they made out, it seemed like just a few blissful short seconds, but was more likely 15 minutes.

Exhausted from his panic attack, Bucky eventually passed out, his head in the familiar place on Anya’s lap, her hand slowly stroking his hair as his breathing evened out and he fell into a deep sleep. Anya had no idea how to sleep right now, her mind was buzzing with that kiss and what it might mean, and what they had said, and the smile he had given her. It sent her body into overdrive, her omega-self feeling the need to pull more of those wonderful, butterfly-inducing smiles from him.

And for the first time since she presented, the rest of her agreed.

And she felt something else too.

For the first time since presenting, she met an alpha that made her feel…safe.

Chapter Text

Anya woke with a shout as a large and powerful explosion shook the tower.

She toppled off the bed, landing on her hip gracelessly as Bucky sat up, eyes sharp, knife in his hand. When did he grab that? Anya pulled her mind from that thought when a faint orange glow reached them, and loud crumbling crash rocked the tower. Anya ran to the windows, calling JARVIS to wake up and show them the news.

Below them, it was bedlam. A low fire was steadily spreading from the southern edge of the island, so high it was already visible from their place in Midtown, with bright red and orange flames licking the tops of buildings and black smoke pouring into the air. Somewhere beyond her sight, a building fell down, and concrete, debris and a pillar of smoke rose into the 3am air. Something large was moving in the destruction, and it slowly rose from the rubble of the fallen buildings that were hidden by other buildings around it.

It looked like some kind of mechanical insect, maybe a spider. It had 8 long legs that moved like a fancy robotic kids toy, encased in metal and a large center body that was shooting some kind of intense beam that instantly set everything on fire. Maybe some kind of UV light or plasma beam? Either way, it wouldn’t be long before it destroyed the city, not with a weapon like that and the Avengers away. It would be half an hour to get the troops at the southern end of the island, and Anya could only image the number of people that would be dead by then.

Bucky placed his hand on her upper back, staring at the mechanical monster, which was made worse when it got several new friends.

“Fuck.” Anya looked at Bucky, agreeing with his sentiment, then ran out the door, even as Bucky shouted at her to wait and to come back.

When the elevator door opened, Bucky joined her and she knew he would argue with her, but she didn’t have time, not right now. She, Bucky and Agent Coulson were in the best position to do something about this; even if the rest of the Avengers left their current mission right now, it would be hours before they made it back to the tower to help. And by then, the island would be in flames and perhaps millions dead.

Agent Coulson seemed to be thinking the same thing, pulling out his Stark pad and started talking out loud about what needed to be done.

Anya looked away from the mumbling Agent to Bucky, who was looking unsure, concerned and, once again, like a lost puppy; Anya put her hands on his shoulders, rubbing them calmly.

He shook his head, knowing what Anya was about to say, what she was about to ask of him and he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t take up another gun, he couldn’t shot it and not be sure that he would be able to stop once he started down that dangerous road again.

“I can’t, I just can’t. I have done too much wrong with a rifle in my hands, committed so many sins…” Bucky once more looked like a puppy that had been kicked while he was down and looked so lost, so sad, and still so broken.

The elevator opened to reveal the armory, where all the weapons were kept, including the spare rifles, armor, grenades, even spares for Barton; Coulson headed for some kind of special cabinet where he kept something that he designed himself, Anya wasn’t sure about the backstory there. Anya pulled the nervous Bucky over to a locked cabinet as Coulson threw her the keys with a faint nod, and a look that said, ‘I hope you know what you’re doing,’ and Anya turned to Bucky as he eyed the contents of the cabinet.

It was filled with a few high-powered rifles with powerful scopes, stands and even some of Stark’s older self-targeting systems. Stark had made some newer, better bullets, ones that always hit the intended target because of a tracking system, and could either explode on impact, or deliver a programmable jolt.

Bucky eyed it all very wearily, unsure, once more sporting the pitifully lost look, doing his best not to look at the rifles. He shook his head and turned to head back to the elevator.

A more powerful explosion rocked the tower, this time powerful enough to make the lights shake and JARVIS informed them the monsters were getting closer, heading for the Tower, and that several blocks of lower Manhattan were in flames. Anya grabbed Bucky hard and spun him around with all her might, pinning his body against the wall, her legs stopping him from moving away from her. He could move her away with a flick of his arm, but he didn’t, which was a bit more depressing. He looked like a man broken, and a man in inner conflict.

“You think you’re the only one with sins, Bucky? You think you’re the only person that has ever killed? No. I bet everyone that lives in this tower has killed someone, has blood on their hands, whether in the employ of the Avengers or not. You hate yourself for the sins you committed as the winter soldier, I get that, babe. And I get that eating yourself up inside is going to do nothing for you, and nothing for the millions of people that need you right now. You feel those sins? You want them to feel less painful, to make them go away?” Anya picked up the rifle Bucky had been glancing at inadvertently and tossed it to him. He caught it with a practiced hand, body on autopilot, though eyes still unsure.

“Then you can start atoning for those sins, right here, right now, by saving the lives of people that need you.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bucky stared at the rifle Anya had passed him, listening to her talk, wondering what she meant about ‘blood on their hands.’ He wondered vaguely what blood someone like her could have on her hands, until another explosion rocked the tower, and both looked up in time to dive to the side, Bucky wrapped his metal arm around Anya, protecting her, as a large piece of concrete fell from the floor above, bringing furniture and a large TV with it.

Anya stood up first, extending her hand to take Bucky’s, a determined look on her face, a face that was putting her complete faith in Bucky’s abilities, not only to save lives, but to be more than the Winter Soldier that he had been for 70 years. Anya perhaps this was his big chance, to undo some of the wrongs he had done. When he stood up, rifle still in his hands, Anya stuffing his pockets with all the rounds they would carry, and she pulling a large military backpack with emergency medical supplies onto her back, Bucky snapped into a new mindset, something he hadn’t felt in over 70 years, something he didn’t think he could feel again.

And it felt amazing.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“JARVIS, can you control the Iron legion without Stark here, or his permission? Like, right now?” Anya looked up at the ceiling as she and Bucky ran back through the halls; she wanted to head to the roof, for the Quinjet, then remembered the Avengers had taken it with them for the mission. Shit, what now?

“Yes, Ms. Smith. What would you like me to do?” JARVIS sounded oddly stern, like he was ready to defy his programming if needed.

“Send the Iron Legion to evac anyone in the path of danger, focusing on those trapped on higher floors or in elevators. If we can evac everyone, and we stall those things long enough, maybe push them back, we can wait for the military to arrive with the manpower. Once evac is done, use the Iron Legion to form a perimeter.” Bucky smiled at Anya and gave her a ‘light’ punch on the shoulder, which she knew was going to bruise. “Can you get ahold of Coulson and have him meet us outside? We need to find a way to get downtown; I’m sure he has some tricks up his sleeves, he and SHIELD always seem to pull through when needed the most.” “Yes, Ms. Smith.” The AI clicked off.

“Bucky, you’re our eyes from the sky and shoot outliers and find a way to destroy or at least slow the damn things down; here’s a headset for you, to call things out.” Anya handed him one of the many earpieces Stark had made for the team; the Avengers broke them so often he made at least 2 extras for each Avenger. She flipped the dial on the base control to channel 2, so they wouldn’t hear the other Avengers, who were probably just getting word of the attack on Manhattan. She handed one that was meant for Captain America to Bucky, since they would fit best, and she took one meant for Wanda. It was a little clunky in her ear and was painful at first, but she got used to the feel of it.

“I’ll help on the ground with medical. Don’t look at me like that,” Anya said before Bucky could say anything, his mouth opening in protest. “I’m not just going to sit here while people are in danger and I can do something about it. We’re in the best supplied tower in the country, with access to all kinds of awesome shit, and a few people that know how to use it.” Anya pushed past Bucky, but his arm on hers, a worried look in his eyes, not wanting to lose her when they had finally started connecting.

“You’re not the only one with sins to atone, Bucky. Now, come on,” Anya said as Coulson said something over the comms.

It was still dark outside, barely 3:10am, but the heavy smoke and bright orange and red flames set some of the city into bright relief, buildings on fire sending long and undulating shadows across other buildings.

It would be at least 15 minutes before the military was able to get to lower Manhattan, maybe longer with all the people running and screaming through the streets. Anya wondered how they were going to get to there without having to fight through the crowds, when a loud engine made them jump back from the out-looking patio and Anya smiled.

“Get in!” Coulson shouted from the pilot’s seat and a roar of smaller thrusters around them announced the arrival of the Iron Legion, following them into battle. Anya held onto the bars in the ceiling and gulped hard, nervous, but still determined as ever. Bucky placed his hand on her shoulder again ad she nodded to him; he had a new look on his face, one of determination, and almost relaxation. This was his element, something he had done in one way or anther since he was in his early twenties. First in WWII, then as the Winter Soldier, and now as an Avenger.

They dropped Anya off a block ahead of the fire and Anya was instantly pulled into helping a police officer with large bleeding head wound. Though not a nurse, she was an omega, and this gave the officer some comfort.

It was a well-known fact that omegas were good at healing and taking care of others, but it was more than just societal, it was biological. Their pheromones calmed patients, slowed the heart rate, stopped panicking patients and even calmed anxious family members. They were humankind’s caretakers, so much so that they no longer had a natural reflex to wince or vomit when seeing blood or smelling human waste, many had no gag reflex at all, including Anya. And somehow, they all had a deep knowledge of the human body without being taught. While beta and alpha kids were learning the ‘head-shoulders-knees-and-toes song’ their omega peers could already define what a blood vessel was, where the big ones in the body were, the major bones in the body, and what each major organ did. Omega brains were engineered and evolved to know this, to care for others, just like how their pheromones could calm a panicking lost child, or an even panickier parent of a lost child.

Though Anya hated her biology in most cases, this was a time she was grateful for it; this natural inclination to care for others, along with her advanced knowledge of human physiology and anatomy, was saving the life of an injured police officer.

She pressed a heavy cloth to the wound, needing the gauze for internal injuries, and she could see the bleeding vessel when she pulled her hand away. She pulled out the suture kit, and apologized to the officer, who just gritted his teeth and said, “Do it.” He needed to get back to work, and though it looked like a lot of blood, it wasn’t life threatening, it hadn’t even injured the skull, though Anya could see the bone through the gash.

“I suggest you get a CAT scan of your head ASAP, but I know you’ll ignore me right now,” Anya said, her voice getting louder as more people ran past them, most of them in pajamas and shorts, slippers or hastily thrown on shoes, even barefoot as another explosion rocked the street. The officer looked at her and nodded; “thank you, omega.” Anya nodded to the officer, and he took off down the street, heading for a nearby apartment complex, where dozens of people were still streaming out.

Shots rang out through the air and Anya looked up, seeing a familiar shadow on a roof, barrel of a rifle sticking out over the edge. Anya looked back to the people running her way, many injured, most in shock, some pissed, ‘not again, dammit,’; she attended to the worst off as the throngs of people headed uptown, running at a steady pace, determined to get out of the line of fire, but no pushing, no shoving, people helping other people. A young black beta man carried an elderly white omega woman through the crwod; a taxi on its way uptown was shoving as many people into it as it could hold, people sitting in laps and squeezing together, and the taxi took off, to be replaced with another one, again crammed with as many people as it could fit.

“Anya,” Bucky called over the coms and Anya clicked over to him. “I’m here.” There was a pause and Anya looked up to see he had moved to another roof, still shooting at the robotic monsters that really reminded Anya of spiders, maybe more like Daddy-Longlegs. Bucky seemed to notice this too, because he kept aiming for the joints where the legs joined the body, but the armor was thick and the remaining legs moved over to balance the robot out. Damn, Stark would love to get his hands on the tech that built those things.

“I’m running out of bullets, and they aren’t doing shit. Got any ideas in that sciency brain of yours?” Anya raised an eyebrow and looked up at the rooftops, wondering where that came from. “What do you see? Do they have a place where the armor is weak, a movable joint, or some opening we can lob a grenade into?” Anya thought about the battle in Star Wars when Luke Skywalker and the Resistance were fighting the Empire’s giant walking machines. “At the moment, no, but I’m not an engineer. I need fresh eyes.” “That’s big of you to admit, alpha.” Anya covered her mouth in shock. She had no idea where that came from, or why that had slipped out. She could almost feel the arousal coming from the other end of the conversation.

“Make out later, we have a job to do,” Coulson said on the line and Anya was glad for the break in the tension. “Right. Bucky, where are you? I’ll meet you on the roof of the banking building off Broadway and Wall St.”

Anya was at the roof in a few minutes, out of breath from the climbing all the steps, but Bucky was waiting for her, barely sweating in the cool spring air. She took the binoculars he handed her and he took a covering position as she looked the robot monsters over, looking for a hydraulic system, some kind of tube system that made the movement possible, even electrical cables. “Damn things look like spiders,” Bucky said in the silence, his eye glued to the scope.

“I know. Weird creature to choose. Personally, I would chose something that flies, but that’s my inner-evil genius talking.” Bucky huffed a laugh from behind his rifle. Anya looked at the legs of the thing, and shouted triumphantly when she saw it. Bucky ran to her side before she realized he had even moved and she stared at the revealed hydraulics tubing in the legs, normally too small for someone else to see, unless they knew what they were looking for. It was near the joint where the legs met the bodies, so it should shut down the entire leg, and a few well-placed shots would topple the 8-legged robot monsters.

“Take out all the legs on the same side of the robotic spider, and it will topple over, then we can have more time to disable their weapons.” Bucky nodded and shot several times through his rifle before Anya even had a chance to turn away from the robot spiders. A few seconds later, when she gathered herself and looked through the binoculars again, she saw one of the robot spiders slowly fall to the side, before collapsing on the ground, unable to move further.

“Good eyes, Anya. Looks like the last of the civilians are making their way uptown, and the military’s ETA is 3 minutes. The choppers should be in sight in 90 seconds.” Coulson spoke for the first time, and Anya could hear the sounds of the Iron Legion in the background, circling the monsters, most of them acting like bait to keep the fire off the buildings and civilians. Stark had made a dozen for the Iron Legion, but only 3 remained.

"Fuck, I'm out," Bucky suddenly cursed as he felt around in his pockets hoping for a stray bullet or cartridge.

“Dammit, we’re running out of time; I don’t know how much the military can do with that thick armor those things have…” Anya paused, her mind going instantly to chemistry and she smiled wide. “Coulson, how much fire retardant do you have on the Quinjet?” Anya was excited, her eyes almost bulging from her head. “I bet the shells are made of Cobalt, otherwise the machines would melt under the heat of their own weapons, and cobalt reacts with a compound I can make from the fire retardant in the Quinjet. It will soften the outer shells into a fragile crystalline salt that should shatter with a well-placed shot. Bucky, I need you to bring me as much table salt as you can find them meet me on the next roof; Agent Coulson, meet us there.”

A few minutes later, Anya was ripping out the safety measures in the jet to get to the fire retardant as Coulson and Bucky emptied salt into large containers and attached hoses to the containers, making strong propulsion mechanisms that would send a stream of the chemical mix onto the robot spiders. “If we aim this right, we can get the mix on the joints or the heads, where the weapons meet with the bodies and just shoot the weapons right off. Kill 2 spiders with one spray,” Anya said and the alphas let out a chuckle at her alteration on a common phrase. Who kills birds with stones anyway?

“Bucky, I need you next to me keeping an eye out and call when we’re in position; Coulson, you steer the jet, and we need to get as close as you can bring us, as fast as you can.” The alphas just nodded to her and the jet took off again, keeping close to the rooftops, while the remaining Iron Legion bots flanked them, taking the hits when something headed for the jet, acting as shields. Less than 10 seconds later, Anya could hear the sounds of choppers in the distance, then the worsening sound of a chopper going down as another unseen ray hit them in the propeller. The chopper exploded when it hit a smoldering building and the building collapsed, sending another cloud of dust and debris into the air.

“Shit, Coulson, can you radio the military to hang back until we finish? If this compound gets on their blades, they’ll go down.” Coulson nodded and spoke over the roar of the engines around them and Anya joined Bucky in the back of the jet, the door open and harnesses keeping them in place as the jet moved and swayed, avoiding a blast from the weapon on the nearest robot spider, and sending Anya colliding with Bucky’s chest.

“Rough weather we’re having,” Coulson said over the coms and Anya wasn’t sure she should laugh or flip him off. Bucky did both.

With the door open, Anya could see the legs of the robot spiders moving, and took aim, Bucky behind her, steadying her arms and she fired a short test burst. The aim was perfect, and hit the joint where the leg and body met, and the robot spider slowed down after a few short seconds, then the leg simply snapped off when the other legs moved forward, revealing wires and tubes. Anya fired again at the other 3 legs on the robot spider, and the final leg stopped moving, the robot spider standing precariously, wobbling where it stood.

“Do the honors, Bucky,” Anya said and he smiled, then picked up his rifle and shot the robot spider’s final leg, shattering the joint and the thing simply fell over, unable to move. The weapon still worked, but at least it was contained; that bought everyone more time to figure out how to turn the damn things off.

Anya took aim at a different robot spider this time, one of the 4 still remaining, and shot the compound where the weapon fired from the body to where it joined the rest of the body. A few seconds later, the robot spider stopped moving, then exploded.

Anya fell backwards onto Bucky, cursing as the heat from the blast hit her; she clutched her face in pain, having stuck out her body to see where she was aiming. Her clothes were smoldering off her body, and her skin felt like she was on fire.

“Fuck, Coulson, we gotta go,” Bucky shouted, holding onto Anya tightly as she pulled her hands from her face, sucking up the pain.

“Don’t you dare, Coulson. We need to finish this; we have 3 left. We just need to get away faster.” The alphas looked at her, and she snarled at them. “I’m aiming for the weapon’s joint whether you bring me there or not, it’s the only way to disarm them.” Bucky snarled at her, trying to pull an alpha move on her to make her obey him, to make her change her mind, even if for her own safety, and she bristled at that. She snarled at him again, and after a few seconds of staring, he dropped his head, knowing he wouldn’t win against her this time.

Coulson seemed to understand this too and they were hovering over the next robot spider, and Anya shot off the compound again, and the jet took off at its fastest speed, the explosion from the robot spider rocking the jet. The last 2 robot spiders were aiming for them now, determined to bring them down and Coulson was forced to pull back.

Anya looked at him, then the robot spiders, then heard the deafening sounds of several choppers around them. Coulson had radioed them for help, to distract the robot spiders; it was risky, very risky, and Anya felt worried that most of the choppers, and the people in them, would die. She squared her shoulders, determined to make sure that if they did die, it wasn’t in vain.

Coulson brought them close to the joint on the weapon again, while other choppers fired on the body and legs of the robot spiders, getting their attention, and the compound found its mark, the weapon stopped firing and the robot spider exploded, with enough force to knock over the remaining robot spider.

“That makes it easier,” Anya said and asked Coulson over the coms if he wanted to watch, while Bucky took controls. At heart, Coulson was a bit of a sci-fi nerd, and he almost leapt out of his seat to watch as Anya pushed the final spurt of compound onto the robot spider’s weapon joint, and Coulson simply shut his eyes, not even flinching when the thing exploded and rocked the jet harder this time.

“That was the last one.” Anya said finally and Coulson took back controls and radioed to let the military in, for clean up as the Quinjet made its way to the Avengers Tower, or at least what was left of it. When landed on the helipad at the top, all 3 got out, looking one another over. Coulson looked as cool and unflappable as ever, uninjured, Bucky had a rising bruise on his arm and chest, maybe a broken rib or 2, and a faint burn on his hands from the explosion. Anya had 2nd degree burns on her face, neck, hands and upper chest, but they weren’t too bad, barely 2nd degree, and would probably peel off in a few days.

Bucky made a fuss about bringing her inside and getting her treated; she didn’t put up a fight, not this time at least. The sun was still below the horizon, though a faint gray glow was illuminating the east, mixing with the orange and red from the fires in the south.

Anya sat in the chair as Coulson applied some cream to her face, since Bucky was too agitated to do it, he might send her flying in his antsy and charged state. Anya looked at the former assassin and she extended her hand to him, and he slowly sat down, taking her hand. He put it to his nose and took in her omega scent, calming him down like it had so many times in the past, to the point where he could sit in the chair on his own, without having to hold her hand.

Coulson covered Anya’s injured face with some gauze and she pressed it down lightly to make sure it stuck; burns were notorious for getting infected if not careful, especially when she had a few blisters to contend with. But those should go down in a few days and she shouldn’t even have any scars.

“You know,” Coulson started, breaking the charged tension in the room, the sounds of tanks and more choppers passing below them on the streets. Anya and Bucky looked at him. “I’ve always hated spiders.”

Anya and Bucky burst out laughing.

Chapter Text

Anya returned to her room for a moment to look her injuries over without Bucky throwing a fit trying to stop her touching it. The burns weren’t as bad as she initially thought, though they would really hurt in a few hours; it looked like a bad sunburn over her chest, hands, neck and most of her face, though she had some blistering on the right side of her face and where her neck and shoulders joined. That would really hurt in the morning and would make moving hard when they started to heal.

Anya left her room, feeding her cat as she did, then joined Coulson and Bucky on the large couch in the main meeting area, as they looked some news footage over, and watched the fires slowly die down in Lower Manhattan. Coulson brought up detailed satellite images of the entire island and mapped out an area that everyone should avoid, sending it to the military for a quarantine.

Seconds later, Anya pulled up a short video of the ray weapon firing, trying to determine what the weapon used, if she could. She had a guess, but without looking at the weapons up close, there was no real way to tell.

Another explosion rocked the island and everyone looked out the window to see another fire starting, though it was put out quickly.

Coulson’s phone rang and he looked even more serious than usual when he spoke; when he hung up, he looked concerned and confused as well, and Anya looked at him questioningly.

“One of the robot spiders’ weapons is still discharging.” Coulson looked concerned and Anya was too, but this was the missing piece she needed.

“I see now. The power source must be a small nuclear reactor that emits power, and UV rays, much like our sun. Because the source is self-sustaining, the weapon needs to let out the energy, or it will explode, but going through the ray weapon is the path of least resistance. Blocking the ray weapon from firing when we took them down must have caused the power source to completely back up; with nowhere for the energy to go, it simply exploded the machine.”

Coulson looked at Anya, and Bucky was simply lost with all the science talk. “If I can examine the firing robot, I can confirm this. If it really is using UV rays, it will leave behind some radiation, though nothing that we can’t handle. Humankind has been dealing with UV rays for thousands of years, though Geiger counters will spike a little but in the area. I don’t its permanent though,” any added the last thought quickly at the look of concern Coulson gave her.

He eventually nodded and then looked at Anya when she tried to hide a yawn, and looked at Bucky, who also looked beat, injured and in need of a shower.

“Let’s get a few hours shuteye, we won’t be able to do much in the dark. Once the military has finished their rescue and recovery, we’ll take a look at the robots.” Coulson looked from Anya, who gave him a hard look, like she didn’t want to just leave and nap right now, not when so much needed to be done, and Bucky looked like he might start crawling the walls if he tried to get some sleep.

“Bucky, how about you head out and help with search and rescue? I’m sure they wouldn’t turn down the muscle.” Anya looked over at Bucky, who looked surprised and excited to be given a chance to be out on his own, without a babysitter, and he nodded and took off for the garage.

“Don’t look at me like that, Coulson. You really think he wants to sit here and watch us rest? He looked like he might spontaneously combust with all the energy in him. Might as well let him put it to use, let him help. It’ll be good for his self-confidence. That’s been in the shit since Captain America refuses to let him out unless he’s under constant heavy surveillance.” Coulson contemplated Anya, but couldn’t deny she had a point. Though he was worried about all the alphas the military had, and worried it might start a confrontation, but it wasn’t likely. No alpha, no matter how much of a knothead, would start a posturing contest in the middle of a warzone.

Damn. Once again, NYC was a warzone.

Coulson looked over at Anya to say something, but found her sound asleep, her head on his shoulder, her mouth slightly open and drooling. He huffed a laugh lightly to himself, leaned back on the couch and decided a short nap was the best thing he could do. He didn’t get to sleep until 1am, and the attack had started around 3. He needed at least 4 hours of sleep a night to function during a time of crisis, even one so close to home. It wouldn’t do anyone any good if he was too tired to make a right call, especially since the Avengers wouldn’t get back for several hours.
Until then, he, Barnes and Anya were the Avengers.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A few hours later, Anya woke up to find she had been drooling on Coulson’s very expensive Dolce and Gabana suit, though the entire suit was already pretty ruined with dust, blood and rips. She wiped her mouth and slowly extracted herself from Coulson’s side, but ever the vigilant soldier, her slight movement woke him from his slumber. His eyes looked around the room in a quick sweep, a soldier’s trick to ID any threats, then settled on Anya.

“Sorry, didn’t meant to wake you,” she said with sleep still in her voice, then stretched her arms and legs out as far as she could. As an alpha, Coulson could appreciate the omega on the couch beside him, especially when she bent over to rub some aching muscles and revealed her toned and smooth back. He looked away, aware he had been staring for a moment too long, and though Anya had seen it, she didn’t say anything. She didn’t take it personal, most alphas did something like that, even the taken ones. It was just biology; besides, she liked Coulson. He exuded a kind of calm confidence that came with knowledge, experience and age, and had been the first alpha she met in a long time that didn’t set her teeth on edge the first time she met them. She still remembered him from the hospital, and he had been calm and confident then, and hadn’t immediately gotten hard at her omega scent. And she had almost instantly respected him for that.

She still had a lot of respect for the man. Not many people could handle being the Avengers’ handler, and have to clean up their messes. Mostly Stark’s snarky messes, that man had no filter on his mouth.

Anya stood at the kitchen before Coulson noticed she had moved and put a pan on the stove, making some breakfast for them both.

“Scrambled eggs ok?” Coulson nodded and Anya turned back to the stove. As she cooked, Coulson stood up and looked outside the window. The sun was barely over the horizon, but it was bright enough out to get to work. It was a little after 6, so they had managed to get a few hours of sleep, and both felt invigorated to tackle the heap of shit that waited for them in Lower Manhattan.

“Agent Coulson, a representative of the National Radiation Committee is calling, he says it’s urgent.” “Go ahead JARVIS.” Coulson stood up as Anya looked from the AI’s display on a nearby projector to Coulson.

“I need to speak to Dr. Banner, there appears to be a lot of radiation down here,” a voice said over the coms and Anya looked up from her pan of eggs as she moved them to plates.

“I’m afraid Dr. Banner is unavailable for a consult. What appears to be the problem?” Coulson crossed his arms when the man on the other end of the phone began screaming that it was urgent and spouting a lot of science talk that Coulson had a hard time keeping up with.

“Calm down, panicking will do nothing but make it worse,” Anya shouted over the man’s voice and the man paused long enough for Coulson to give her an amused smirk.

“Mr. Jones, was it? Well, Mr. Jones, from what I’ve been able to gather from firsthand experience with the robots and their weapons, the radiation you are reading is in the Ultra-violet spectrum, it’s just a significantly high amount. Check the same location every half hour, and notice if the radiation levels drop. If I’m correct, the levels should be negligible before the dinner rush, and should be low enough to lose any protective equipment in about 4 hours. Contact us again in 30 minutes with your new reading and make sure to keep your protective equipment on to be safe. And make sure you still follow through with standard high-risk radiation, just to be cautious. I’ll be there in a few hours to confirm my theories with you. Thank you.” Anya pressed the button to hang up on the man and Coulson raised an eyebrow at her.

“It’s not that I don’t care, Agent Coulson, it’s just that the man was about to go on another panicky tirade. He might be new. If it was dangerous, we’d be showing signs of radiation sickness already. But no vomiting, bleeding, nausea, nothing from either of us. I’d be the first to show it because of the explosions, but the only thing my stomach is doing right now is rumbling. Here, eat something, then we should head out.” Anya was making several more pans of eggs for Bucky, who hadn’t returned to the tower, no doubt not even a little bit tired thanks to that serum coursing through his veins.

After eating in silence, though both were watching news reports and Coulson read the report the Avengers had sent him when they heard about the attack, they packed up and left in an SUV. The Quinjet had been damaged from the explosions and would need some repairs. Besides, the city was oddly quiet for a Wednesday, though it was still early, and they had a lot of supplies with them in the back. Anya had packed another large first aid kit, bottled water and protein bars, a Geiger counter, some sample kits, and PPE just in case. Coulson was bringing all the rescue equipment he had found, and was dressed in jeans, boots and t-shirt, which Anya couldn’t help but stare at. She’s never thought he wore anything other than the suits, even in his own home. She didn’t think he owned a pair of jeans.

At the sight, they were stopped by a military roadblock, and Anya could feel her hackles rise when one of the soldiers looked at her and sniffed obviously, then smirked at Coulson.

“This isn’t a place for a date, sir. The omega should head back home where it’s safe.” Coulson snarled at him, but Anya beat him to it.

“Tell me soldier, do you know how to determine the levels of radiation present, the kind of radiation or the effects it will have the environment? Did you know, for example, that the banking building on the right side was doused in a specific kind of radiation that affects the metal infrastructure, which means that building is ready to collapse?” The soldier laughed at her, about to say something smart.

Until the building Anya had been referring to fell down, sending up another cloud of dust, sparking a small fire.

“Now, would you kindly let us through so I can do my work?” Anya was snarling at the man, and the other soldiers were wide eyed and not bothering to close their open mouths, or hide their erections. Coulson was stifling giggles.

Their SUV passed the checkpoint and Anya pulled on the PPE when they pulled up at the sight of the still-firing weapon, just to be safe, but also to protect her burns form the sun; she didn’t want to agitate the injuries any more than needed. The weapon had bene firing every 30 minutes, but hadn’t fired in the last hour. Anya figured the powersource was slowly dying, and would burn itself out in a few days.

With the PPE on, no one was able to tell she was an omega, which meant she wasn’t stopped again, though someone remarked she wasn’t trained to handle these things; that was true, but she needed to get the powersource out of the weapon soon, or it would fire again. By her math, she had about 15 minutes before it fired again.

The body of the robot was broken and cracked open, but it still made finding the powersource hard; the bodies were just so massive, almost as tall as some of the surrounding buildings when it was on its side, and its many legs sticking up all over the place. It reminded Anya of a dead spider and she stifled a shiver. Like Coulson, she hated spiders.

Anya picked apart the outer shell of the robot and when she looked inside, she followed several wires and tubes from the weapon on the front to the center of the robot. Like she had thought, in the center, in a special case designed to keep it contained and not lose any of the energy it produced, was a small glowing ball that looked like a well-painted sun from a kid’s science project. It was rather warm, though not so hot that she couldn’t grab it with the gloves; she elected to use the metal tongs. Cutting the cables and wires around it, she linked it up to the new case, where the energy coming off the glowing sphere would power the protective case, charge the battery inside it and allow anyone to look at the display and see how much power the sphere was putting off.

Outside of the dark interior of the robot, the powersource did look a lot like the sun, down to color changes in the red, yellow and orange spectrum, even a shift in how brightly it glowed. She placed it gently into the case and locked it up and had it sent to an empty building SHIELD had once used when they were still all-powerful; Coulson was sure it would be safe there and if it did exploded, the building was empty. A few patrols would monitor from the roofs around it, and once the rest of the Avenger’s returned, they would be able to examine it much closer.

Until that time, it was still up to Coulson, Bucky and Anya to ensure clean-up went smoothly, and as many people were saved as possible.

They had a very long day ahead of them.

Chapter Text

“Cap, something’s happening in NY,” a voice over the coms said as the Avengers wrapped up their mission. It had involved a lot of violence and international smuggling, mostly of illegal drugs, old Stark tech from the Stane days, a few Chitari relics, and some remnants of Hydra weapons that once ran on the Tesseract. With those things packed away, the team was ready to head back, exhausted and beat up, with Stark’s suit almost out of power, Hawkeye with a broken hand, Widow with a shattered shoulder blade and Cap himself with a slight concussion, the entire thing had been intense and lasted a lot longer than planned. The smugglers had put up a lot more resistance than intelligence had thought, and had been almost as well equipped and determined as the Avengers themselves.

Almost.

Wanda, Vision, Banner and Falcon were fairly unhurt, though even the unflappable and inhuman Vision looked weary and ready to rest and get home to the tower.

“Bring it up,” Stark said and the images from all kinds of news agencies and even streaming video feeds from Facebook and other sites lit up the entire jet. Massive robotic monsters that looked suspiciously like spiders were shooting something from a ray-looking device on their fronts, and though no visible ray could be seen, no light or waves from heat, it packed a punch, setting the buildings on fire and causing several of them to collapse.

“We leave in 3.” Cap said, angry with everyone at the moment, betraying just how tired he was. He was having trouble seeing straight at the moment, and his head was pounding in his skull as the engines roared to life and the team helped one another into the jet. Widow settled into a cot, laying on her stomach to let Stark look at her back; it was pretty broken, in a few places actually, and her ribs were also bruised from a hard fall that she shouldn’t have survived.

“Where the hell were you?” Cap shouted at Stark, who was often the one to catch someone that fell from a rooftop.

“I was busy taking antitank rounds up my ass, where were you?” Stark shouted back and the Cap snarled, baring his teeth and smelling intensely of aggressive alpha, puffing out his chest. He refused to back down, neither would Stark, until Barton stepped in between them.

“That’s enough posturing from both you knotheads. I’m sick of it. You think yelling at one another will change anything? People get hurt in our line of work, it’s a fact we all live with. So sit down, shut the hell up and let’s head back before NYC burns to the ground.” Stark and Cap stared at Clint, who was nursing his shooting hand, which had been hit with a bullet and wouldn’t fire an arrow for several weeks. Both men snarled at the beta, but couldn’t deny he had a point. They needed to head back and stop the invasion of NY. Again.

Wanda smiled at Clint as he sat down and started piloting the ship northeast, and it wasn’t long before they were over the Pacific Ocean, in stealth mode and flying as fast as they could. It would be hours before they made it to the western US seaboard and it looked like the robot spiders were moving through Lower Manhattan rather fast, a block every few minutes. At that pace, it wouldn’t be an hour before they made it to the tower.

“Shit.” Stark said out loud and everyone looked at him. Cap came to the same conclusion as him.

“JARVIS, contact everyone at the tower, and tell them to evac.”

“The tower is currently already empty, Sir. The Iron Legion is on route to intercept the threat in Lower Manhattan.” JARVIS’s words brought relief to everyone, but it was short lived.

“Where’s Bucky now?” Cap asked. He imagined he was heading to Coulson’s offsite apartment with Anya and anyone else in the tower, or a hotel maybe. That wasn’t something he wanted to think about, them in a hotel together. But JARVIS’s response was the last thing he expected.

“Sergeant Barnes is currently on a rooftop in Lower Manhattan with Agent Coulson and Ms. Smith. Sergeant Barnes is currently shooting at a joint targeted by Ms. Smith.”

“Are you fucking serious? That’s awesome.” Barton smiled even wider when the Cap glared at him.

“He’s not supposed to be shooting anything, he’s not ready,” Cap said, his head still fuzzy from the concussion and not making much headway with his game plan.

Instead of a reply, a video played on the screens, and everyone watched, including the ever-stoic Widow, as Anya gave Bucky a pep talk, and he perked up, taking the rifle he handed her and they left the tower together.

“She has a way of motivating him,” Vision said and couldn’t understand the angry look the Cap shot him.

“I think you should sit down, alpha,” Wanda finally said and helped the Cap to a chair when the Cap looked ready to fall over at the lightest turbulence; Stark looked him over, but Cap was as bad a patient as Stark and Barton, who elicited moans and groans when the medical staff saw them coming.

Hearing his designation from a concerned teammate, his head cleared enough for him to realize she was right, he needed to sit. And he felt nauseous all of a sudden, and Wanda grabbed a trash bin just as he turned pale and vomited into it.

“I’ve got this. You get ready with Vision, Falcon and Banner; you may need to help Barnes and Anya when we get there.” Wanda looked up at the concerned Stark, who was holding the blonde head of the still-vomiting Captain America. Wanda looked at him for a moment, then nodded in a knowing way and left them alone in the medical bay, looking for Vision and the others.

“Easy, Cap. You took a hell of a shot; looked like something finally got through that thick skull of yours,” Stark said and slowly stroked Cap’s hair, looking for a wound, or a bruise that might indicate where the injury was. His right temple had some dried blood on it and was bruising under the hair and skin.

“Don’t fall asleep Cap,” Stark warned him as Cap’s eyes starting slipping closed at the calming hand on his hair and the familiar if sometimes aggravating presence of Stark behind him. Stark had removed his armor, it was pretty shot anyway; and had Cap’s head under his chin.

As an omega, albeit a secret one, he felt the need to protect his team, the people he had come to feel were more family to him than his parents and Obi ever were. Banner, Cap, Barton, Nat, Wanda, Sam, even the still odd Vision…they were his family, and he felt the need to take care of them, protect them, which was one reason he spent so much time on upgrades and making sure they were safe.

Stark was secretly living the dream at the moment, with Cap’s head on his chest, stroking his bruised fingers through the soft golden hair; he’d had a slight crush on the American Icon since before he met him, courtesy of all the gushing his father had done about their time together during WWII. That crush had been almost destroyed during their Civil War, when Cap had shoved the shield his father had designed into the arc reactor. Tony didn’t forgive easily, and he still wasn’t completely over it, almost a year later he still wasn’t. He had nightmares sometimes, of Cap standing over him, the shield in his hands, raised up like he might decapitate him.

Other times, he dreamed of not having to hide being an omega, and being able to be with his long-time crush. And he dreamed about being able to be with them both, Cap and Robocop, and that arm of Barnes that managed to turn Stark on every time he looked at it. He so wanted to take it apart, one tiny mechanism at a time, little by little, find out how it works, what made it move so fluidly and effortlessly.

And…Stark had a serious hard-on.

“Hey, I know I’m a sexy-ass shit, but you better take me to dinner first,” Barton had come in at the worst possible time, and the look on his face said he had done it on purpose. “Keep telling yourself that tweety,” Stark responded and Cap couldn’t stop the faint smirk on his face at the familiar barbing the 2 did at one another almost constantly.

“Holy shit, you definitely have a concussion if you’re smiling,” Barton said and Stark leaned over to look at Cap’s face.

“Something you needed, Hawkeye?” Cap finally spoke, though his words were slow and sleepy, and Stark nudged him to keep him awake.

“No, nothing big, just that your BFF that can’t handle being out of the tower for a second stopped the invading arachnids.”

There was a long silence in the cabin and Cap slowly made to stand up, but Stark pulled him back down. “J, bring up live news footage.” A screen came to life, showing smoldering buildings, people still heading uptown to get a place to rest and recuperate, and a single small Quinjet heading back to the Avengers Tower. The camera then changed to dozens, almost a hundred, soldiers and scientists flooding into the area, and the robot spiders lay on the broken ground, some slumped over on a broken building, one laying on top of another. Then someone shoved the cameraman back, shouting that one of the robot spiders could still fire. As if on cue, the weapon discharged, and an invisible ray of something hit a nearby building, causing the glass to melt, and the concrete to crack, and the building collapsed in on itself.

Stark was salivating as he looked at the robot spiders, how they seemed to be coated in something he hadn’t ever seen before, then noticed the hard white crystals that coated some areas of every robot, some on the ray weapon, others on the legs.

The images on the screen changed to earlier footage, and showed a Quinjet coming in close to the robots, and some kind of liquid spouting out the open back, held by Anya with Bucky standing behind her to steady her aim. The liquid hit the joints that held the weapon to the main robot, and the weapon stopped firing, but the next second it exploded.

Wanda gasped as she joined them on the lounge chairs, followed shortly after by Vision and Falcon; the jet then took off, heading for another of the robot spiders, and was able to get away faster this time, so the explosion barely rocked the jet.

Another video stream showed someone on the ground, not far from the moving legs of the spiders, and then it moved to look into the back of the Quinjet, where Coulson had joined Anya this time as the final robot spider was taken down.

The news caster came back on. “Authorities have said no one has taken responsibility for this latest attack on New York, and the Avengers are currently still MIA.” “At least they left behind a backup plan,” one of the anchors said to the other, her eyebrows raised at his accusational tone.

“Authorities have advised the complete evacuation of Lower Manhattan when abnormal levels of radiation were detected; thankfully, specialists with the NRC have said the levels are not considered dangerous, but caution everyone to stay away

“I believe it would be prudent for everyone here to get some sleep before we arrive at the Tower. It appears there will be a significant amount of work waiting for us.” Vision cut through the silence that hung among the other Avengers, and Cap leaned back against the lounge chair.

“Not you, Cap. With your injury, if you fall asleep, you might not wake up.” Stark chastised Cap as he leaned back.

“I shall remain with our leader until we land. You all must rest. I will not require it for a long time.”

The Avengers slowly dispersed, one by one heading for their spots where they slept, Wanda cuddling up to Vision as he talked quietly with Cap to keep him awake. It wasn’t really needed as Cap watched the news, watching Bucky, Anya and Coulson fight those robot spider things on their own and succeeding; he thought how they must have bonded while he was away. It seemed to make them a good enough team to defend their home, with just 3 of them. It made him proud and made his blood boil in jealousy at the same time. He would just need to see how things were when they landed in a few hours.

In the meantime, Cap passed the time awake, Vision sitting beside him, Wanda asleep on Vision’s shoulder, the news replaying new videos from all over the city at the time of the attack, and replaying old footage.

Chapter Text

Bucky looked up from the pile of rubble before him, his hands hurting form the effort of lifting the concrete beams and the concrete itself sucking the water out of his hands. The sun was barely up, and he’d been at this for hours already, helping find people buried in the rubble.

And it gave him so much pride, and confidence in himself. He was determined to prove Anya that her faith in him was true, and to Steve that he could be trusted to leave the tower without someone hanging on his every move.

For hours he lifted heavy beams that needed a dozen strong men, or machinery, to lift to get to trapped people, some buried under several floors of a collapsed building; he lifted them by himself, holding them up long enough for someone small to go in and pull out the trapped civilian. He felt useful, confident and didn’t even flinch when someone ran up to him and threw their arms around him. He remembered a time, not long ago, when he would have seen this as a threat and not hesitated to slit their throats; now, he actually found himself hugging back.

Despite the devastation around him, this new attack on NYC might be the best thing that happened to him in a long time.

What made it even better was Anya arriving shortly after sunrise with breakfast.

“Hope you don’t mind eggs, I wasn’t sure what you liked, but I imagine you need a lot calories.” Bucky just nodded to Anya’s statement and took the cleansing towels for his hands before devouring the eggs, toast and coffee she brought him.

“You seem to be in your element,” Anya said with a growing smile on her face. Bucky nodded enthusiastically and Anya smiled wider.

Anya paused, and looked at Bucky as he finished eating the eggs in record time and soaked the toast in coffee. “I’m proud of you. And I think the Captain will be too.” Bucky looked over at her, a flush coming over his face and that sad puppy look on his face again, but it quickly changed to pride and glee. Anya patted his shoulder before heading off to one of the robots littering Lower Manhattan; if Bucky wasn’t so macho, he might tear up.

That was liquid happiness in his eyes; only girls cried.

Honestly, Bucky never thought he should feel like this, after everything he’s done. He’s killed so many people, hurt even more, including the man that was now housing him. He killed Stark’s parents, and though he couldn’t really remember it, he got flashes of that night; that knowledge when Stark found out, had turned Stark and Steve against one another, almost killing each other. He hadn’t forgiven himself for that, and honestly, he didn’t think he ever could.

“Bucky?” a soft voice asked and he had been so deep in thought he hadn’t noticed Anya coming over to sit beside him on one of the few stable walls in the area. “What’s wrong? You smell like distress,” she said before Bucky had a chance to give her a bullshit reason.

“Thinking.” He said, looking at the ground, remembering very well that day when Stark and Steve had almost killed each other, and Steve had left the Avengers for a time, choosing him over the team.

“About your past? You can’t let it eat you up Bucky, it destroys you. You think Barton or Romanova or Stark have pasts any less marred than yours? You think mine is perfect? Everyone has skeletons, милая. Yours just happen to be yours, and they are the only ones you can see.” Anya rubbed his back soothingly and he leaned back into the touch, odd for an alpha, but he was touched starved for 70 years, and he needed a little reassurance right now. Whenever he felt good, like he had done something good, all those dark and terrible memories cropped back up into his head, and pulled his soul back down into the abyss inside him. So far, Steve seemed the best at pulling him out of the abyss, though Anya certainly did well. He just wished Steve wouldn’t treat him with kid-gloves all the time, like he was made of glass and might shatter at just one wrong word.

Anya stood up and offered her left hand to him, forcing him to offer his own left mechanical hand in return. Her face was sure, calm and trusting of him as he took her hand in his own metal one, and he was shaking a little bit as he did.

“We all have demons in our lives, Bucky, and eventually, you will need to face them. Just know that you don’t need to do it alone.” Anya left him on that wall as someone was shouting about some kind of leak and she groaned something about inept entitled bureaucratic alphas, and that pulled a smile from Bucky’s face.

“Go back to being a hero for those trapped. They don’t know your sins, and when you rescue them, they couldn’t give 2 shits.” Bucky actually managed a laugh, though his face was still laced with the sad puppy look as Anya headed back to the nearest broken robot.

Anya had a point about the people he rescued; they didn’t know what he did under the employ of Hydra, and when they saw his face, followed by the light of day, they didn’t care. They thanked him, hugged him, cried and laughed as he lifted beams and steel and furniture from on top of them, freeing them from their concrete prisons. For several hours again, as he pulled more and more people from the debris and the search party he was with made their way across Lower Manhattan, he felt that elation, that happiness, that wonderful lifting feeling of doing good and redeeming himself.

Anya’s words rang in his head about atoning for his sins by saving lives; though those people he killed would never come back, he could save a lot of lives with this strength and these enhancements he had once cursed. The searchers he was with were certainly grateful for his strength, because it meant less chance they died while trying to rescue the trapped, and made pulling someone out go that much faster. What once took hours could now take minutes.

By the time lunch time rolled around, Coulson was putting some things together for a news conference that Pepper would be hosting, with him behind her, and Anya providing the science. She had been right: the radiation had all but completely faded in most areas, and only where the robots had either exploded or fallen was the radiation still at high levels. Still, it was advised that everything south of Liberty St. was quarantined off. A block and a half south of that roadblock was where the nearest robot collapsed in pieces, and though the radiation wasn’t airborne, the weapon had fired rays far enough north that there was still some traces of the radiation at the roadblock. Thankfully Anya believed those levels would dissipate to nothing by 3pm.

Coulson stood behind a curtain with Ms. Potts, who was looking at the cards Anya and Coulson had handed her and she looked confused. She didn’t know what half this science stuff meant, and Anya assured her she didn’t need to know what it meant. It was just to calm the people that the radiation wasn’t harmful north of the roadblocks, and couldn’t become airborne. UV rays didn’t work like that. She had put down the basics of how the robots had worked, at least what she had been able to find out; it would take Stark to get a complete understanding. Anya wasn’t an engineer, but she knew enough about machines and moving parts to understand the basics.

Ms. Potts looked at the cards again as Anya explained the important things to remember for the conference, and Coulson calmed her, saying Anya had an earpiece and he could talk with her if a question came up. Ms. Potts wanted Anya to be on the stage with her, to help talk about the science, but Stark had told her about what happened the last time Anya had been in the spotlight. It made her cringe, the thought of Anya’s big moment ruined by her panic attacks, and only really knew that she had a serious case of stage fright, and hated people staring at her.

“It’s alright, if someone asks a question that we can’t answer, we can just say it’s still being researched. The big things here are telling people that the attack is over, the fire is contained, and the radiation is not a threat.” Anya looked Ms. Potts over, straightening out creases on her shoulders and making sure she had no hair or anything on her suit before giving her all clear to step out onto the stage. Anya did not envy her one bit, but Ms. Potts was a very strong beta woman, and could intimidate the biggest knothead alpha CEOs. Anya had to admire that about her.

A few minutes into the conference, Coulson came over the coms and said a call was coming in and he couldn’t take it. Anya said she could answer it, assuming it was someone from the NRC again, complaining about her omega scent all over the robot sites, and how unqualified she was just because she was a fragile omega.

“Coulson’s assistant,” Anya said, wanting to screw with them.

“Since when did Coulson get an assistant? You’re sleeping with him, aren’t you? That’s why he’s been all doe eyed lately, I thought it was because he was trying to impress Anya.” Anya wasn’t sure who was talking on the other end of the line, but she wanted to drag this out and see what she could get them to say. It kind of sounded like Barton.

“Ooh, someone sounds jealous. Don’t hate the player, hate the fact I got there first.” Anya was trying hard not to giggle, and was smiling wide to herself and on stage, Coulson, who could hear the conversation, was faintly starting to blush, but was also smiling. This could be a lot of fun.

“I don’t get jealous, I get what I want, and I want to know where Coulson is.”

“I’m sorry, Agent Phil Coulson is unable to take your phone call right now. Please leave your name, number and a brief message of your love confession for him, and he will answer your request in 5-7 business days.” Bucky, who was hearing the call but was muted, was laughing hard, leaning back against the wall, his eyes closed in mirth.

“Well, I suppose now is as good a time as any. Roses are red, violets are blue, put him on the fucking phone before I shove an extra-large dildo up your ass.” Anya couldn’t contain her laughter anymore and burst out laughing, covering her mouth with her hands so the cameras outside wouldn’t pick her up, but Coulson was shaking slightly, and his face was turning slightly red.

“Turn to CNN.” Anya said and there was silence on the other end and some faint talking, then an echo as she heard the conference being repeated on the other end of the line.

“Well, fuck me. Coulson’s on the tellie,” the man on the other end of the line said and Anya smiled.

“I won’t, but I think he might. Well, get me drunk enough and I might, Hawkeye.” There was a pause on the other end, then the voice changed as Anya saw Coulson face palm. She smirked at him and he promised to get her back. Why should he complain? She’s been in the tower for less than a month and can tell the archer and former handler are pining after one another like lovesick teens. Maybe they might finally do something about it.

“Anya, you are a serious troll.” Stark was talking this time, and he wasn’t even hiding his laughter.

“Hey, he started it. And I think Coulson needed some entertainment. He’s in the middle of what is turning out to be a very stressful press conference. Without you and Dr. Banner, we don’t have a lot of answers. But

I think you will really like looking these robots over, I’ve never seen something so complex and intricate, and that’s including Sergeant Barnes’s arm. And they were apparently all run on small nuclear-type reactors that behaved a lot like our sun. I managed to salvage one for when you get back.”

If Anya could see Stark right now, she imagined he was metaphorically jizzing in his pants.

“Bruce, sounds like your area,” Stark said and Anya heard the phone change hands.

“Dr. Banner, did Mr. Stark tell you about the powersource of those robot spiders?”

“No, is something wrong?”

“Not that I can tell. They emit some radiation, but not much more than we absorb on a daily basis from our own sun. I have one saved for you to look at when you return, I just couldn’t put it in the Stark tower because they’ve had a habit of exploding when their energy has nowhere to go.”

There was a pause and Anya could hear the barely hidden excitement in the older man’s voice; though he was known to be very calm, he loved his work, and this was something he would enjoy.

“Do you have an ETA?” Anya asked after a pause in the talking and murmuring on the line.

“Less than an hour.”

“Oh, about that, can I speak with Mr. Stark again?”

“Is something wrong?” Banner sounded worried.

“Well, depends on how upset he gets.”

The phone changed hands fast and Stark came on again. “What did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything, Mr. Stark, those robot spiders did. Some rays hit the tower and part of it is unsafe. The armory is buried under rubble and the gym is pretty unstable, but the rest of the tower seems ok. The apartments, penthouse, labs and medical have all checked out. JARVIS is running a complete scan; he’s been at it a few hours now. I’m surprised you didn’t get a notice about it. But the good news is the helipads are clear, and the damage is localized.”

There was a long pause on the other end, followed by an exasperated sigh from the billionaire. “I’m sorry to be the barer of bad news; I’m sure everyone was looking forward to relaxing once you got back.” Anya did feel bad for the Avengers, they had been on mission for several days, and from the tired noises everyone kept making in the background, it had been a hard one. The last thing they needed was to deal with giant robot spider cleanup.

“Well, I gotta give it to you, Agent and Robocop. You all make one hell of a flyswatter.”

Everyone let out a faint laugh.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Cap stood up from his spot on the lounging couch; his dizziness and nausea where still plaguing him, and he couldn’t seem to get rid of the odd feeling in the rest of his body. It was a dull ache in his veins, and his chest and abdomen were achy and rather sore; it wasn’t a broken bone, he could still move just fine, though it was much more painful than normal to move. But he healed very fast and was sure he would be fine in a few hours, when the concussion was looked at and he had a chance to soak in the Jacuzzi.

He was just sore, just achy.

He was fine.

Chapter Text

The Avengers landed on the helipad not long after the conversation with Anya, and Barton was still chortling about her; he liked her, despite him being on the receiving end of her poking. She could be funny when she wanted to be, and Barton certainly appreciated someone with a sense of humor, and an attitude. This was why he and Stark got along so well; both were snarky out their asses.

Cap was still rather out of it when he was helped from the jet, and Bucky, who had been let out on the roof to meet them and help carry some of the injured into the tower, ran over to him and was able to literally carry the injured Cap into the tower, while Barton and Stark laughed so hard they were in danger of falling over and rolling on the rooftop.

Anya was inside, making some food for everyone, chicken parmesan, spaghetti, tacos and nachos. Cap and Bucky went through about 8,000 calories a day each, and Vision consumed almost as much, though he was daintier about it. Cap, Bucky and Barton ate with gusto, like they hadn’t eaten in days. Vision ate with more grace, though he ate just as fast. Anya looked up from the oven where the garlic bread was heating up for everyone, then stopped as she bent over to pull them out.

Something was in the air, something that smelt off, not just a chemical smell she couldn’t place, but someone smelt like distress. One of the alphas was injured, but was doing their best to hide their pain and stop the distress pheromones from leaking from their bodies. Her eyes focused liked lasers on Captain America, who was still being carried to a couch by Bucky.

Anya pulled out the bread to cool turned off the oven and headed over to him; as an omega, she had a very good understanding of the human body, and had treated someone for a concussion once already. Anya reached out her hand, concerned for the Captain, asking if he needed anything, but he swatted her hand away, in a foul mood. That wasn’t new; Anya bristled a little bit at his attitude, but she calmed herself down, or the room would smell like angry omega. The Avengers didn’t need this so soon coming off a mission that had taken a toll on them.

Romanov was carried in by Vision and Barton, on a stretcher because her injuries made it unbearable to stand; she could, ad she wanted to, but Anya advised her against it. If she wasn’t careful, Romanov could permanently lose some mobility on her injured side; the assassin just scowled and was carried to the medical area.

Despite Stark, Bucky, Coulson, and everyone else on the team telling him to get looked at, Cap was telling everyone that he was fine, he was just sore, and he was going to slip into the hot tub for a while and soak his sore muscles before they got to work on the mess waiting for them outside. Anya watched him go, something about his injuries and the way his scent was off made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. Still, no one could make the man see someone, so Anya just looked at Bucky, giving him a look to keep an eye on his best friend. Bucky left the room shortly afterwards.

“I hope everyone likes Italian, I thought you all would want something hot to eat when you got back.” Anya loaded a table down with all the food she had made, and it was thanksgiving dinner quantity, except the team would go through it in a single meal. After everyone had cleaned up and taken off their gear, they made their way to get something to eat, and an hour later, everyone was eating well, and Bucky eventually made his way up to join them, his stomach rumbling.

“How’s the Captain?” Anya asked Bucky as he sat at the table and piled his plate high with 3 chicken breasts and 2 servings of spaghetti. “He’s enjoying the hot tub. Didn’t want me hanging over him while he tried to relax,” Bucky sounded kind of resentful about that, considering the Captain had been shadowing over Bucky’s every move for weeks now. Anya just nodded and nibbled on her garlic bread, but something in her hind brain was telling her to go check on him, telling her that something was wrong.

She sighed and put down her bread, and slipped from the room without anyone noticing, everyone was too busy talking about their missions, and Bucky was more than happy to share what he had done and been through while the Avengers were away. It was something he was proud of, and the fact that Cap hadn’t even heard a word of it so far from Bucky was painful, and made the former assassin’s chest ache.

Anya got into the elevator and headed for the basement level where the massive pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and hot tub were all located. The farther down she got, the more pronounced Cap’s scent was, and something was definitely off about it; it still smelt like some kind of chemical was in the mix, and not one that was supposed to be there, and when the elevator door opened and she got out to look around, her body was twitching and nervous from the feeling her body was giving her. Something was wrong with the alpha, she just wasn’t sure what.

When she opened the door to the hot tub, she didn’t see anyone inside, though the water was still going; she could smell Cap in the room, but didn’t see him, so he must have gotten out. She headed for the changing rooms thinking he might be in there, or had slipped into the sauna or something, but his scent was less powerful in those areas, and she could tell he hadn’t been in there in a while. The sauna was devoid of his smell, but the locker-room was fading, so he had been in the hot tub most recently. But she hadn’t seen him.

Then panic hit her: he had a concussion, and hadn’t looked that great when she had seen him. And the rolling surface of the hot tub would make it impossible to tell if someone had slipped beneath the surface.

Running as fast as she could, she slammed the door open to the hot tub room and slipped into the water, fully clothed, sans socks and shoes.

And her foot connected with a large hand.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bucky sat at the table, basking in the compliments the other Avengers were passing onto him; it wasn’t often they talked to him, and now not only were they talking to him at length, but they were congratulating him on a job well done, and thanking him for saving the city while they were gone. Stark made a joke about them being the Bvengers, instead of the Avengers, like Ateam and Bteam. Just the fact that they were joking with him, like he was part of the team, was a wonderful feeling and he was on cloud nine.

“Sir, Captain Rogers needs immediate help in the hot tub room. Anya has found him unconscious underwater.”

Bucky was pulled into the depth of hell in an instant.

There was a moment of stunned silence, then everyone got up at once, running for the elevator.

“J, call an ambulance. I don’t care what Steve says, he’d going to the hospital.”

“I don’t think he’ll make it.” Anya’s voice picked up over the loudspeakers and Bucky let out a moan of despair.

“What? What do you mean, he won’t make it?!” Bucky was panicking, tears falling down his face though he hadn’t even realized it, and threw Stark against the wall when he tried to lay a hand on his shoulder to get him to calm down.

There was silence on the other end of the line and Bucky called out to Anya, to anyone that was listening.

“Ms. Smith is currently giving Captain Rogers CPR. He has a faint pulse but is not breathing.”

There was silence in the elevator so heavy and thick it was a choking haze that threatened to consume every one of them and pull them into the depths of despair.

Anya’s voice crackled overhead again, and she sounded out of breath. “He’s breathing again, but he’s breathing out blood. He’s bleeding in his lungs and in his abdomen, looks like his liver, and something is stopping him from healing at his normal speed. His scent has something chemical mixed in and…” someone coughed hard on the speaker, then wretched just as the elevator door dinged open and Stark, Bucky, Barton and Falcon stormed out.

When they ran into the hot tub room, everything had a red reflective tinge to it from the copious amounts of blood on the floor. The hot tub water was stained pink and Anya had blood on her face, hands and shirt, and was sitting in blood that was slowly draining into the hot tub.

“Steve!” Bucky cried and was at his friend’s side in an instant, then rounded on Anya.

“What the hell is wrong with him? Why didn’t he say anything?” Anya cut him off when she turned back to Cap and pressed her hand against his stomach, which was bulging slightly, like he had just eaten a massive meal, but was hard and bizarrely firm under Bucky’s hands when he ran his flesh fingertips over it.

“He’s bleeding internally, and from what I can see, he won’t make it to a hospital. We’re going to have to open him up on the way to the hospital.”

There was silence and Falcon looked at her then at the others, and started to ask what she knew about this kind of thing, his face angry and scared, then Cap coughed hard again, spraying water and blood all over Bucky and Anya.

“Stevie,” Bucky pulled his friend’s head into his arms and to his chest, rocking back and forth, crying once again and had to be yanked away by Falcon and Stark when Anya asked him to move.

“Help me!” Anya shouted and Barton and Vision, who appeared through a wall to help, picked Cap up ad carried him to the elevator with Anya, leaving the others behind to get to the roof as fast as possible.

Outside, the Barton had already started the jet, his broken hand be damned, as Falcon and Vision loaded Cap into the jet while Anya prepared some supplies to at least help his breathing; something was getting into his lungs, maybe a hole near the leaking vessel was letting blood into his lung. Regardless, his breathing was harsh, uneven and his lips were blue.

The jet took off into the air much faster than it was designed to do, and the shaking made Anya shout at Barton. “Easy! I need to open him up and stop the bleeder. Vision, I need you to pin him down in case he wakes up. Sam, I’ll need your help; spread this all over his chest and belly while I clean my hands.”

Anya took out some alcohol and scrubbed her hands and nails and forearms as fast as she could, while being as thorough as she could. This wasn’t her first emergency surgery; that’s not something a lot of people could say, but after escaping those monsters that had branded her, her life on the road, making money in any way she could, had come with some odd moments.

Anya pulled out a small blade kept in the repair kit in the jet, and Anya had Sam making a suction hose with a nozzle on it so it wouldn’t suck up the organs and damage them further.

“I’m sorry, Steve.” Anya pushed the knife into the thick muscle of Cap’s stomach.

He didn’t move, he was barely breathing, and seemed completely unaware of what was happening.

Slicing though the skin, fat and muscle, she came to the organs; blood poured out from a hole somewhere in the mess of it all, flowing over her hands and she pointed to Sam where she wanted the suction. The blood was pulled away, and it wasn’t clotting, becoming thinner, and Anya knew that was a very bad sign, that he was bleeding out and would soon be past the point of no return, super soldier or not. She wiped her eyes and face with her shoulder to keep her tears from falling into the open body in front of her, then someone dabbed her cheeks with cloth to catch the wetness.

“Thank you,” she said faintly and looked back at the mess in front of her. There were small holes and tears and bruising everywhere, but there was one hole that she needed to find, one tear in a vessel that was the cause of the worst of the bleeding. Less than 30 seconds of looking later, she found it, in the worst place possible, where the inferior vena cava and hepatic veins met at the top of the liver, which supplied most of the blood to the liver. She carefully stitched it closed, one tiny stitch at a time, and placed a graft, one of Stark’s designs that hadn’t been fully tested yet but was on the jet for emergencies, on top of that.

A few minutes later, his abdomen was no longer filling with blood at a horrendous rate, and color was slowly returning to his cheeks.

Anya pulled his muscles and body closed, a long, clean cut from below his diaphragm to above his belly button now marring his otherwise perfect skin. The other injuries could wait for proper surgeons, and Anya gripped onto Sam as the jet rocked and they finally landed. Barton hadn’t been able to find an open helipad on any of the hospitals on the island, so he had headed west, to the main land. A few minutes later, Anya was running with Sam as he ran to get a gurney and Anya went to get some help and brief the staff on what happened.

The alpha doctor in front of her was laughing at her, calling security that an omega patient had gotten out of the psych wing; a few seconds later, the doors slid open and Barton was shouting, yanking on the smug doctor’s white coat, pure rage in his eyes, a yelling Captain America on the gurney behind him. Vision was holding the shouting Captain down, so he didn’t rip anything Anya had done, and Sam was pressing his hands to the wounds as a few stitches ripped out from his skin, bleeding fresh.

There was a long pause in the ER, then everyone was shouting at once, nurses coming out from behind their desks, doctors coming from every door, and cameras and phones and faces were peering at them, trying to get a closer look. This would be all over the news in less than 15 minutes. White coats and surgeons and alpha men in suits that ran the hospital were at their sides, offering whatever they had to give, and Anya snarled at them; she could smell the dark intensions at least one of them had in mind.

Anya pulled Barton to the side. No one had eyes like him, and no one would see a slide of hand like him.

“You will be with the Captain every step of the way, even in the operating room. No exceptions. And make sure no one tries to leave with a souvenir.” Anya looked at him knowingly and Barton nodded and understood. Some people wouldn’t be able to resist selling Captain America’s blood, or anything that had come into contact with his blood, to the highest bidder, good or evil.

“Anything that has his blood on it, I don’t give a shit if it’s a Kleenex, it does not leave your sights. Not one strand of his DNA can leave that operating room unless it’s with you.”

Barton nodded darkly and spoke with the surgeons, who initially shook their heads, until Barton snarled at them and broken the clipboard someone handed him with a few of his fingers. The surgeons gulped and nodded eventually, then they, along with the Captain and Barton, disappeared behind some locking doors.

Anya stood in the middle of the ER, staring at the doors that had closed and locked her out from seeing the Cap; despite their bad blood, she had a thing for him, though she would never admit it. One Halloween, one of the few she had been able to enjoy with some friends before being forced to run again, she and her friends had dressed up as the Avengers, and had all chosen their favorite Avenger to dress as, though the female version. Everyone had thought Anya would show up as the assassin and all-around badass Black Widow.

But she had shown up as Captain America, complete with homemade shield.

Anya made her way over to the chairs, where Sam was looking his phone over, texting some of the other Avengers, and said they were on their way and would be there in 30 minutes. Vision seemed unsure how to handle everything, considering he hadn’t really dealt with this kind of pain and loss before. He was rather knew at being around humans and though wasn’t human himself, often acted like a human. The faint shaking in his shoulder was conveying human emotions, then he let out a faint noise and was gone.

“The fuck?!” Sam said when he looked up and saw Vision was gone.

“Everyone grieves differently; and he’s never really had to grieve before. He might not know how to deal with what he’s feeling. He might not even know what he’s feeling.” Sam looked back at his phone, texting, then got up and started pacing, unable to sit, feeling useless and hurt and lost and anxious and every negative emotion all in one body. Anya buried her face in her hands, then realized she was smearing the blood around.

She found the nearest bathroom and rinsed all the blood from her hands thoroughly, and when she used some wipes to clean off the dried parts, she flushed them down the toilet rather than in the garbage. No one could get ahold of Captain America’s DNA; with today’s tech, it would be much easier for someone to reverse engineer it, and there would be more supersoldiers running around, working for any number of shady governments or people or companies. When her skin was clear of blood, though her clothes were a lost cause, she put her hands on the sink, trying to calm her breathing down. But she was failing miserably.
Images of the last times she had performed surgery flashed in her mind, some of them were to save lives she wanted to save, but many of them were on people that didn’t deserve to be saved. Including those that gave her the brand.

Screaming, she slammed her fists into the mirror and on the sink, cutting her hand and cracking the ceramic; someone knocked on the door, and she heard a woman shouting from the other side. Anya opened the door, her face covered in tears, her hand bleeding freely, and she ignored the nurse that offered to look at it.

Instead, Anya sat in the waiting room, looking at her hand herself, picking out the glass shards, letting the pain in her hand ground her and remind her that she was no longer held captive, she was no longer being forced to open someone up and dig out a bullet while a gun was held to her head.

Sam looked at her as she picked out the glass, then looked back at his phone, then in his anger and sorrow and fear, threw the phone across the room, and it shattered against the window.

As Anya had feared, reporters and other people were already clamoring to get inside and get to see the injured Captain America. Nothing, not aliens, not crashing a ship into ice, not his best friend turned Hydra supersoldier throwing him off a helicarrier after beating him unconscious, not Ultron, not even an Avenger’s Civil War had hurt Captain America. But here he was, in a hospital, being operated on, on the brink of death, while a fellow Avenger and some unknown woman covered in his blood waited for him.

Anya was able to block out the noise as she went over things in her head, mostly trying to figure out why the Captain had gotten to the point of near death in the first place. He healed extremely fast, and his blood clotted at an almost supernatural rate; he shouldn’t have had the chance to even get close to this point.

Anya came back to that chemical smell that was in the Captain’s blood, but she couldn’t place it. Dr. Banner would be better equipped to ID it when the Captain got out of surgery.

Half an hour later, Stark, Bucky, Wanda and Colonel Rhodes arrived at the hospital, Bucky shoving reporters and onlookers aside, some so hard they went flying back several feet.

They entered the ER, and looked at Sam and Anya, and immediately asked what happened and how things were.

“Captain Rogers is in surgery. Agent Barton is there to make sure none of the staff take a souvenir. And Vision took off, I’m not sure where he went. Captain Rogers had a tear in the main vessel that lead to the liver, along with small tears in several other organs, and at least one hole in his lungs. And there was something in his blood, something that smelt synthetic, chemical, which would be the only explanation for why he wasn’t clotting or healing. He’s been in surgery for about 20 minutes.”

Anya sat back down as everyone looked around, confused, hurt and unsure what to do. There hadn’t been an injury this bad on the team, not since Rhodey fractured his spine, but this was worse, so much worse. Cap was supposed to be untouchable, unable to get hurt like this. But he was hurt, and he’d been hiding it from them.

There was a long pause, then a fist came out of nowhere and smacked Anya on the side of her face. She fell sideways, gasping as her nose spurted blood, and looked up to see Sam leering over her, his face angry and vengeful, his body leaking all kinds of offending and foreboding pheromones.

“The fuck?!” Anya shouted as she clutched her nose and ducked another swipe from the Falcon, the air thick with angry and defensive alpha, so thick it was choking and made Anya’s omega want to whimper and cry and beg on her knees. But she remained upright, her pride intact, glaring at the Falcon.

“This is all connected to you. You and Steve never got along, you hated him, and it’s all you. You know chemicals, and you’re the only one that smelt the mysterious chemical shit that hurt Steve. And you just somehow know where the injury is, and you’re the one that found him. This is all you, you little bitch.” Sam took another swipe at her and Anya couldn’t duck the left that followed his right and she fell, clutching her stomach as she retched.

“I saved his life!” she shouted, her eyes streaming.

“All a fucking ploy to get close to us, to get inside. It all makes sense, you swishing your omega scent all over the place, flirting with everyone, being a slutty little bitch for whoever you’re working for, why else would an omega be able to do what you can do? And when you had a chance, you took out our leader. ”

“He’s not dead!” she yelled at him and she was yanked back by Rhodey, who pushed her aside, his face hard and looked like he was taking the Falcon’s side.

Anya wiped her mouth, looking around and could see that everyone was seriously considering what Sam was saying. Anya couldn’t believe it. Well, she could. They needed a scapegoat, and she was the newest person in the tower, and she hadn’t told them much about her past; Sam was wrong about her wanting to hurt the Captain, and she didn’t hate him, but no amount of her talking or shouting or even pleading would get rid of that gleam, that rage in his eyes.

Anya stepped back and looked at the others. Even Stark had a doubting look on his face, which hurt a lot more than she thought it would. She slowly turned to Bucky.
She paused, looking at him, his face, his sad puppy eyes.

And he turned his head away from her with a faint warning alpha growl.

She felt tears coming up, but willed them not to show.

“Believe what you want. I didn’t hurt Captain Rogers. I don’t want him hurt.”

And Anya left the ER, pushing through the reporters, fighting the tears in her eyes.

She caught a ride back to the Tower, where she packed her things, left a note, begging for someone to at least take care of her cat, and printed out a letter of resignation. She couldn’t handle the glares, the anger coming from them. She had dealt with rejection, anger, contempt, those glares, ever since she presented.

She just somehow thought the Avengers, the biggest mish-mash of people in the world with backgrounds of all kinds with all kinds of sins to their names, would be different, better. But they were just like everyone else: led by biased instincts to blame and outcast omegas, because they were the easiest targets, and because they could. Flashes of her parents snarling at her, calling her names and saying she would never be anything, she would be nothing but a slut, completely ignoring everything they knew Anya was capable of, her intelligence, her fire, her spirit, forgetting it all the moment she presented as an omega. She could see and hear the man that bought her calling her the same things, calling her worthless, a pathetic waste of a human, and ‘worst of all, an omega.’

Anya wiped her face and ignored her phone as it went off in her pocket. She copied all the numbers she wanted to keep, then ripped out the SIM card and tossed it on her bed before breaking the phone in her hands in her anger. She had so few things, she didn’t take long to pack; her clothes, her money, and a final long hug for her lovable cat.

She pulled out the GPS in the SUV Coulson gave her, left a note on the table where the food was starting to smell from the meal she had made for them. It seemed so long ago that she had made a hot meal for them, wanting to care for them, unable to ignore that aspect of her omega instincts when the Avengers had come back so hurt.

She screamed, raged, tipped the table over, sending the table flying and spilling all over the floor. Her cat started eating the chicken on the floor, then wandered over to her, and she gave him another long, tearful hug. He purred and meowed loudly, rubbing his fluffy head against her cheek, trying to cheer her up; she managed a faint smile at the adorable cat, but it fell when she stood up and looked a few folders over in her room.

They contained all the work she had done on the serum that would speed up an average person’s healing ability to Captain America levels, without being permanent. There was some terrible irony in that as she looked the pages over; she contemplated taking them with her, and maybe selling them to someone for some money. No, she couldn’t do that. She set the pages on her bed, with a note for Stark and Banner.

Then she slid into her SUV, GPS ripped out and tracking disabled, and left Avengers Tower.

Chapter Text

Anya was sitting in a nice hotel, having spent most of her money on the room; she wanted to sleep somewhere nice, to finally rest.

A large bottle of whiskey sat beside her on the table, and was about half-empty, and ti showed on Anya; her eyes were unfocused, her movements slow and cumbersome, and her brain wasn’t its normal fast and sharp self. She needed the alcohol, to finally do something she had been wanting to do for years, since she presented as an omega, and how it ruined her life as a result.

Pulling a bottle from her bag, she looked the label over; she had bought the painkillers from a drug store around the corner before checking in for the night, and the clerk had looked at her, concerned, as if that beta woman behind the desk understood what was on Anya’s mind.

They were simple pain pills, 100 of them, enough to get the job done.

Anya fumbled with the cap for 10 long minutes, annoyed at the child-proof caps that wouldn’t let her get the relief she had been wanting since she was 15. When the cap finally popped off, half of the pills in the bottle flew out from the bottle and scattered on the bed and floor, and Anya grumbled, coming to tears again. Couldn’t the universe give her a fucking break? Just let her die in peace?

She tilted the bottle into her hand and looked at the 20 or so small white pills on her palm, thinking what would happen after she swallowed them; she knew the chemistry of it, how it would be like falling asleep. That was what she wanted right now, to sleep, to rest from the nightmare her life had become the moment she realized she was an omega.

She looked the small white pills in her hand over again, contemplating them like they held the meaning of life, or rather, the meaning of the next life. Anya didn’t believe that this was the end of the line: she believed that her body would fade, her what made her Anya would find its way into another existence, maybe in an alien world, another universe, another species, maybe an ethereal plane, which was a fancy word for heaven.

She looked the pills over again, still stalling, thinking things over too hard. If it really was like sleeping, it would affect the serotonin in her body, making her happy and calm, but she knew it didn’t really work like that. Serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine. Anya was stalling again, naming chemicals in the brain…

Wait. Norepinephrine. That chemical, when in an imbalance in the brain, affected people’s thought processes, and the result was schizophrenia. Paranoia, delusions, and in the case of alphas, uncharacteristic aggression and lashing out.

Anya thought about Sam, the Falcon, how he had been as chill as could be expected under the circumstances one minutes and then had gone absolutely batshit crazy the next. She hadn’t said much t him but from what she understood, he was a calm, though hilariously sassy, and not someone that lost his temper easily.

Anya sat up and pulled her laptop to her knees, her head swimming as the pills fell to the carpet and disappeared in the thick threads, not to be thought of again until housekeeping came in.

She pulled up an article on a hunch, about a drug once used in the early 80s, but had been outlawed in every country in the UN, because of the dangerous side effects. When metabolized, it caused headaches, hallucinations, pain, slow healing and, in the case of alphas, lashing out and uncharacteristic aggression and several symptoms of schizophrenia. When the medication, once used on soldiers in the field so they could go days without sleep and remain as sharp as ever, was metabolized, it caused brain damage. Omegas suffered from memory loss and headaches. Betas had trouble focusing, occasionally hallucinated, and often had speech and mental impairment. But the alphas that had taken the meds were the worst off. They suffered severe brain damage, if exposed long enough and to enough of the medication, and would lead to irrevocable brain damage, turning the once healthy alpha into little more than a vegetable.

Anya tried to text on her phone, but her drunken fingers weren’t working the way she wanted them to; she touched several keys at the same time and ended up with a garbled mess. So she sent a link to her friend Lisa, and got an instant reply.

Lisa: what is this? Y r u sending me this crap from before we were born?

Anya: jelp avemgres

L: ???

L: r u drunk

A: y

A: semd limk to thiss #

Anya sent her a number, which was Coulson’s number. He was one of only 2 people that hadn’t been exposed to that ‘medicine’, that chemical mixture; soon, the other Avengers would start to show symptoms, starting with garbled speech, lack of concentration, and forgetting what they were talking about or had been thinking. Thankfully, the chemical compounds were easy to neutralize from the blood. She just hoped it wasn’t too late.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sam was sitting on a chair, holding his head and was shouting at anyone that got close to him, until he looked up, his face sweating and clammy, and looked like he’d seen a ghost.

“You…you can’t be here.” He said and Coulson looked up from the mysterious link he had been sent to Sam, who was staring at a white wall with some posters on it like it was a ghost from his past.

“Sam?” Stark took a step forward, but stopped, feeling queasy and wondering where that had come from. He had felt fine up until now; though he had been getting a headache that was pounding behind his eyes and forehead, he assumed it was from the battle and the stress. Stark had to sit down, refusing to show weakness, though he wanted to put his head between his legs and vomit his guts out several times over. Wanda was looking at her phone, confused.

“Why did I bring this out?” she whispered to herself, her eyes unfocused and confused.

Coulson looked from one Avenger to another and knew instantly something was very, very wrong. He looked back at his phone, and the link and saw it was to a chemistry website. Anya?

He pulled it up on his tablet as he used his phone to call Pepper and some help from former SHIELD agents that were in the area. Marie Hill was on her way and Pepper would be there in a few minutes, already driving to check on everyone.

The link brought him to a few pages about a banned medical substance, one that affected people just like the team was showing right now. Aggression and lashing out from alphas, confusion and forgetfulness from everyone, slowed healing from Captain America, it all was fitting. Another link followed, one detailing how to remove the substance from the body, which was a mixture of activated charcoal, blood transfusions and a medicine called Drevico, which slowed any medicine from being metabolized.

10 minutes later, the help had arrived, and Pepper was holding Stark down while a needle slid into his arm and the Drevico was pumped into his system. He hated needles, though Coulson couldn’t blame him. He didn’t know anyone that actually liked needles. Bucky was flinching at the sight of someone being held down and being injected with something, and had to get out of the room for some air. The hospital staff was overwhelmed, now that all the avengers that had been on that mission were now tied to beds since they had all entered the angry, lashing out or panicky stage of the chemicals that were metabolizing in their bodies, and slowly killing their brains.

Sounded like a bad Sci-fi movie.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Someone knocked on Anya’s hotel door, but she didn’t want to get out of the bed to answer it.

“5 more minutes,” she whined softly and rolled over in her bed, sending more small white pills flying, ignoring the continued knocking. The door eventually opened and someone walked in behind her, but she was slipping back into unconsciousness when she heard a woman talk. Anya groaned when the woman shook her shoulder and Anya peeked open an eye at the woman, then covered her eyes from the bright sunlight coming in from the window.

“I was asked by a friend of yours to come check on you.” The woman sounded breathless and rather starstruck, and Anya could feel her staring when she rolled in the sheets, pulling them over her head and sending more small white pain pills flying.

“Anya, come on, up.” Barton shook her shoulder, and she moaned louder this time.

“10 more minutes.” She pulled a pillow over her head and slipped back into sleep, ignoring the constant poking the man with the cast on his right arm was doing to her shoulder and back.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Barton groaned, then decided that it was best for a little bit of fun, and revenge on her. He slid into the bathroom, filled a small cup with the coldest water he could get, and pulled her covers back just far enough to reveal the back of her neck. Grinning evilly, he dumped the water on the back of her neck and head.

Anya screeched and fell from the bed, landing in a tangle of sheets at Barton’s feet.

“The fuck!” Anya shouted and whined at the same time. She needed to sleep, and the bright light around her was not making the pounding in her head any easier.

“Come on, up, Coulson needs you. And Bucky asked where you went.”

“Sure.” Anya was doubtful. She could remember the way Bucky had turned away from her when she looked to him for support. All alphas were the same, all just fucking the same. Oh, thinking and moping was too hard right now.

She needed another drink, and had the bottle in her hands when Barton yanked it from her. She tried to pull his arm back down to get to it, but he was enjoying himself too much, a gleeful smile on his face as she stood on her tiptoes and continually lost her balance, trying to reach the bottle as he held it over her head.

“Come on, jumpshot,” Barton teased and Anya slid to the floor, her eyes closing as she felt sleep coming at her again. She hadn’t slept in a long time, and had barely gotten a few hours while passed out drunk. She needed more, much more sleep. She yawned loudly and leaned her head against Barton’s muscled thigh, mumbling how comfy he was, before the snores started; Barton picked her up by her waist and she barely made an annoyed noise as he carried her form the room, leaving behind the whiskey bottle.

“Someone will pick her things up later today.” Barton said as he helped a very hungover and sleepy Anya to a waiting car.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Anya woke up to the sounds of a siren going off in the distance, and lots of shouting, which made her screw her eyes shut in pain and she covered her ears. She could see flashes of light through her eyelids as a strong beta led her through the crowd; she had no idea with the shouting was, she couldn’t understand it through her haze.

The next moment, it was much quieter, though she could still hear arguing, some shouting and a familiar whimpering noise. She opened her eyes and could see Bucky spread out on several chairs in the waiting room.

No, Barnes, he was Sergeant Barnes, not Bucky.

That thought made her want to cry, and some tears lipped from her eyes before she was able to reign them in. Barton moved her over to a chair, then forced her to sit down. She stretched out across several of them, ready to fall asleep again.

She heard and felt someone walking over to her, unsure, almost scared, and could smell Bucky’s alpha scent all around her. Tears squeezed themselves from her eyes and she just didn’t have the strength to wipe them away as she felt Bucky sit down beside her.

There was a very long, painful, tension-filled pause, then Bucky finally spoke.

“I’m sorry.”

Anya opened her eyes. No alpha had ever said hat to her before. And she couldn’t stop herself from crying when she looked at him and could tell he meant it. They just looked at each other for a long time, that sad, pathetic puppy look on Bucky’s face, the one he wore so well; Anya finally moved to sit up, and put her head against his shoulder, feeling the heat he gave off and the faint shaking of his hidden sobs.

“I know.”

Chapter Text

Anya rested her head on Barnes’ shoulder for a few minutes, the silence stretching out for what felt like an eternity, until Coulson came in, accompanied by Barton. Both looked at her with a calculating look, and Coulson had a faint hint of sorrow and pity in his eyes when he looked at her. Anya pulled her eyes away from the alpha, knowing that Barton had told him what he saw in the hotel, and her plans to kill herself with the pills scattered all over the bed and floor. There was no way someone as observant and astute as Barton would miss that many pills flying around when Anya fell from the bed. She didn’t need pity, she needed to get away from the alphas in the room before her hangover started to fade. Anger would replace her quiet, tired demeanor when it did.

But as angry as she had a right to be, she couldn’t be that angry right now. Her mind was too full of what might, could and probably would happen now.

With most of the Avengers sidelined while they recovered from what the chemicals had done, every wannabe terrorist, every established baddie and everyone that had an agenda to push would take the rare opportunity to do anything they wanted. And from the furrowed brow on Coulson as he looked at his Stark pad, which was playing some news, they had already started.

Anya rubbed the back of her neck and stood up, not wanting to be here, and needing to get out. She had already given Coulson everything she knew, how to help the Avengers recover, and considering her clouded hangover, she wouldn’t be any help for several hours. So she stood up and slipped out of the hospital, wondering why anyone had bothered to bring her there if they weren’t even going to notice her leaving anyway.

Outside, she called her friend Lisa, and asked if she could stay with her for a week or so, and of course her friend said yes. Lisa, who was the closest friend Anya had in this world though they’d only known each other 7 months, was more than willing to take in the depressed and tired, and very hungover, omega into her small home on the outskirts of NYC’s suburbs. Patrick, her husband, was watching the live news of the hospital and actually was watching Anya call his wife as she talked on the phone outside the hospital.

Cameras were in her face, asking questions: what she knew, what happened, whose blood was all over her, where the Avengers were and if she was their omega. She tensed when someone asked that question, and she looked at the interviewer, her eyes dark and intense, her body radiating annoyance, hurt, discomfort; and in her anger and drunken state, she snarled at the camera and said in a dark and broken voice, “I am not their omega. I’m not their anything.”

The questions didn’t stop, not even as she pushed past the reporters and made her way to her car, someone shouting about injuries, another one asking if this was an attack on super humans, and someone else shouted with a phone in her face if she was having an affair with Tony Stark. Anya couldn’t stop the laugh when she heard that, even as she yanked her door open, stepping on several toes as she did.

“Is it true Captain America is in a coma and might never wake up?” Anya looked at the woman that asked that question, and her face turned blank, but inside she was roaring with rage. How dare they think that; he was pretty much immortal, and had his best friend Bucky there with him, waiting for him?

Anya rolled her eyes at the reporter, said nothing to anyone, except when they crowded the car. “If you don’t move, I will run you over.” One of the reporters raised an eyebrow at her. Anya revved her engine, a faint gleam in her eyes that everyone could see, as if she was begging them to test her, to give her a reason. The crowd slowly parted and Anya pulled out of the parking lot and headed for Lisa’s house.

Her hangover was hitting her hard as she sat in traffic, heading north, and she rubbed her face as the sun shined brightly overhead and the noon rush was in full swing. All everyone was talking about or listening to was how the Avengers were sidelined, what this meant for the villains of the world and what to do now that the biggest deterrent for wannabe bad guys was now out of commission.

Anya flipped station after station, but there was no music on as she sat in traffic, just breaking news from all over the world as remnants of Hydra took advantage of the lack of Avengers, blowing up an Avengers outpost in Germany just hours after the video of Captain America being taken into surgery and looking pale and nearly dead surfaced all over the world. It played on every cell phone, every TV screen, every news network, in the city, and Anya was sure this was country wide and maybe being shown worldwide.

Anya leaned her head back, thinking about him, wondering if how he was recovering. He had to be out of surgery if Barton had come to get her, and probably in the ICU while the chemicals worked their way out of his system. Anya had to stop at a coffee shop as the hangover really took over, pounding deep in her head and making her feel nauseous and unsteady on her feet. She ordered a large black coffee, and sat at the small bar as every TV in the place showed news about the Avengers, and also talked to specialists about what this could mean while the Avengers were MIA.

“It is unclear how long the Avengers will be out of commission, and given their super human abilities, I feel it won’t be very long. But I do foresee that every terrorist, villain, and even average person with a dangerous or questionable agenda to push will take this short window opportunity to do so. This will push military, police and our government to stretch themselves thin, leaving more holes for criminals and up-and-coming ulterior motivated individuals to slip through.” Some pompous man was talking on the TV and Anya rolled her eyes and whispered, “No shit.”

The door opened to the coffee shop again and Anya sighed, knowing that feeling in her body well, that sense that someone was about to do something dangerous and very stupid.

Someone chambered a round in a gun and everyone in the shop turned and looked, and instantly hit the floor, screaming. The masked man demanded wallets, phones and jewelry. Anya could smell the alpha on him, and without her scent blockers, the man made a beeline for her. She was too hungover, and too depressed, to deal with this shit.

Before he had a moment to say anything to her, before he could threaten her, or maybe even flirt with her, she rammed her hand into his neck, grabbed the gun from his grip and knocked him over the head with it. He fell to the floor with a loud thump; Anya put the gun on the counter and looked at the man that had been making her coffee.

“Can I get that to go?”

Anya put a few dollars down, and as she stepped over the unconscious robber, who was now be gleefully tied up by the store’s owner, she sipped her coffee and looked down at the robber, who was slowly coming too, but was too dazed to know what she was saying.

“If you plan on robbing some place, don’t leave the safety on.”

Anya left the coffee shop, leaving the owner her number for when the police showed up, but right now she needed a shower and some rest. Her hangover pounded inside her skull, like a mallet hitting her brain with every heartbeat, and she downed her coffee to help with the faint caffeine withdrawal she was also suffering.

It took over an hour after the coffee shop to get to Lisa’s house, and she was at the door, waiting for her in the pretty spring sunlight; apparently, Anya’s rescue was on the news now too, and she was also seen with the Avengers, covered in blood. Some thought she was an Avenger going rogue, others thought she was helping the Avengers while they were sidelined. Images of her played occasionally whenever the video of Captain America being brought in, injured and bleeding out, short snippets of her standing in the ER, talking to Barton, blood all over her clothes, arms and face. There were also snippets of her in the back of the Avengers’ quinjet, shooting out that liquid chemical mix that disabled the spider robots in Lower Manhattan.

However, she wasn’t the topic of conversation for very long, as the amount of crime in the city, and more organized crime throughout the world, suddenly skyrocketed. Hydra made some more appearances, drug cartels and smugglers rallied, and without the constant presence of the Avengers looming over their heads, all they had to deal with now were the normal police. Not an easy feat, but no one was not going to take advantage of this time.

“Well, fuck.” Anya said as she watched some buildings in England burn, some kind of UN building, and Al-Qaeda was claiming it was their homegrown operatives. Anya rubbed her face and could see that the world was falling into temporary chaos.

“Oh my god,” Lisa said breathlessly as she watched the news and Patrick came in, bringing in more coffee and took his normal spot on the large leather chair, staring at the TV, though Anya could feel him looking at her every few minutes. “What Patrick?” Anya finally asked and looked at the beta male, and he looked at his wife for a moment, then looked at Anya and finally took a breath.

“What happened?” Anya shook her head. “I don’t know for sure. One minute it was just Captain Rogers that was hurt, the next everyone was acting odd. I don’t know how long they’ll be in the hospital, how hurt they really are, I don’t…” Anya stopped, not wanting to think about what happened in the hospital, from Rogers being hurt, to flashbacks, to Wilson’s outburst to the looks everyone gave her.

“I can’t…” Anya got up and headed for the bathroom, locking the door behind her. She turned on the water for as cold as she could make it, and slid in, making sure to scrub herself as hard and intensely as she could. She could still hear and see it all, Rogers bleeding out in front of her, everyone looked at her like she held the answers for his life, and then suddenly turning on her like she was the reason their friend and leader was in the hospital in the first place.

“Anya?” Lisa knocked on the door and Anya looked up from the tile floor. When had she slid to the shower floor? And when had she started crying? “What’s wrong? And don’t say nothing, I can smell your distress out here.” Anya stood up on shaking legs and got out of the freezing shower and wrapped herself in a towel, since her clothes were still covered in dried blood. She wiped her eyes and face, trying to put on a straight face, though she felt Lisa would see through it.

“Just overwhelmed, I guess. It’s a lot of shit to take in,” Anya said as she opened the door a crack and looked out to see her concerned friend’s face, brown eyes looking on the verge of tears, much like Anya. “Can I borrow some clothes? Mine are…well, they need to be burned.”

Anya dressed in the clothes her friend brought her, just a t-shirt and sweatpants, better than being covered in Captain America’s dried blood. Anya sat on the couch with her friend, as Patrick made some burgers on the grill outside. Anya hadn’t realized it was already dinner time, but her mind had been all over the place. Her hangover was slowly fading, to be replaced with the anger and betrayal she knew she would feel; why had they turned on her? She had done nothing to make them think she had bad intentions, and she couldn’t have hurt Rogers, he was already hurt when he went to the hot tub with Barnes.

Anya broke the cup she was holding, ignoring the pain in her hand as the small plastic shards pierced her skin and blood gently dripped from her hand. Lisa looked the injury over, even as Anya’s head was in another place, and Lisa looked at Patrick, concerned.

“Come on, let’s get some food in you, then you should get some sleep.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bucky sat in a very uncomfortable chair in the ICU, shoulders shaking as his friend lay on a white bed, machines attached everywhere, beeping incessantly, reminding him of how close Steve had come to dying. A machine as breathing for him, despite being out of surgery for several hours. The doctors were hopeful, but he would need another surgery before they were willing to wake him up. They said the impromptu surgery done on the jet had saved his life, that he wouldn’t have lived through that surgery if they had waited until getting to the hospital. They asked to meet the doctor that had done the surgery, and had saved Captain America’s life. Bucky had choked as he thought about her, how he had turned his back on her when she had saved his best friend’s life.

“Steve?...Stevie?” Bucky looked at his best friend, more vulnerable than he had ever seen him, aware that he was crying, tears falling without his say so down his face. Coulson was not far behind him, but slowly moved away, closing the door behind him, and was standing guard at the door so no one would disturb the pair.

Bucky ran his hand through the blonde hair, which had been cleaned and brushed earlier by a nurse before anyone had been allowed to see him, but still under the watchful eye of Barton. Bucky’s lip trembled as he thought about what he had done to Steve in the past, what he had done to everyone in the past, and what he never got to say to his best friend, his comrade, his potential mate.

“Stevie?” Bucky leaned in close to Steve’s face, seeing no movement, looking so peaceful, and pressed a gentle kiss to his forehead, and let the tears fall harder this time, resting his forehead against Steve’s shoulder, hoping and praying that he would wake up, to get a sign that his best friend was still in there.

“Stevie, if you can hear me, come back to me.” Nothing. “Stevie, there’s so much I still want to do, need to do. But I can’t do it without you.” The only noise was the beeping of the machines and the steady inhale and exhale of the machines that slid into Steve’s mouth. “Steve. I need you to know something.” Bucky paused, because he knew, once Steve woke up, he might not have the courage to tell him this. “I need you, Steve. I’ve always needed you. I love you, Stevie, and I want to be with you. Forever and always. Please, come back to me. Don’t leave me, not now, not like this.”

Nothing.

Bucky rested his head next to Steve’s and cried.

Chapter Text

Around 8am the next morning, someone tapped Anya on her shoulder, and Lisa’s voice pierced the faint veil of her sleep. Anya spent most of the night tossing and turning, waking in a cold sweat from nightmare after nightmare, from old ones she’d had since she was 17, to the faces of the Avengers looking at her, like she was the scourge of the earth, like she was useless, something that needed to be removed as soon as possible.

“Anya, someone’s here for you,” Patrick said in a louder voice, but Anya could tell that he was either in shock, or having a serious fangasm. Patrick was an avid bow hunter, so there was really only one person that would make him talk like that.

“Agent Barton.” Anya mumbled through her sheets, feeling like they had been through this before, and rolled over, pulling the blankets over her head, ignoring the feeling of a cast poking and prodding her back and shoulders.

“Do I need to get the water again?” Barton said and Anya could hear the smirk in his voice. Anya grumbled, but slowly turned over and looked at him.

He looked awful; he had large, dark bags under his eyes, his skin was pale and he looked like he hadn’t slept, eaten or showered in days. Anya felt a gentle pang in her chest, her omega side calling to her to care for him, but her anger and resentment stomped on her omega instincts very quickly. Still, she sat up and looked at Barton, who was barely hiding a large yawn with that same smirk. Anya got up and looked at him, then sighed and walked with him into the kitchen, where Patrick had laid out every piece of archery equipment he owned. It looked like Barton had sighed every single piece, in silver marker; or purple. Anya couldn’t stop the faint smile when she saw the color choices. She knew Barton loved the color purple, just like she did.

Sitting at the small table in the bright and airy kitchen, Lisa made some eggs and toast while Patrick ogled Barton and Anya sat in her chair, stiff back and even stiffer face. She knew what Barton was here for, and she didn’t want to go back, she couldn’t do it all over again. She’d seen that look on every alpha’s face before, that look of disgust, anger, distrust; she had faced that since she presented when she was barely 15, and now nearing 24, she didn’t want to deal with it anymore.

Barton looked at her and before he opened his mouth to speak, Anya stuffed some food in her mouth and gave him a scathing look, one that promised violence if he said anything while she was eating. He smirked even wider at her, enjoying her ferocity, and dug into his own eggs; he ate 4 eggs and 6 pieces of toast, and thanked Lisa and Patrick for the food, then turned to Anya as she finished her single egg and piece of toast. She was downing her second cup of coffee when Barton finally spoke.

“Steve’s out of surgery, but he needs another one…” “No.” Anya stopped Barton as he started talking about the Avengers and Anya looked hard at him, her face stony and unwilling to budge on her word. “I’m not part of the Avengers, I don’t even work in the tower anymore. I’m done with it all, I moved out, I have another job lined up; I’m not dealing with more alphas and stares and people thinking that I can’t be trusted just because I’m an omega or I’m the new girl or because it’s convenient. I’m done with all that bullshit. Fix it yourselves.” Anya surged to her feet so fast Barton was lightly startled, the his smirk fell as she stalked out to the back yard and joined Lisa on a nice wooden swing Patrick had built for them when they had bought the house.

The friends sat in silence for some time before Lisa finally looked over at Anya and asked, “Wanna talk about it?” Anya shook her head and Lisa didn’t press it; the kind beta rubbed her friend’s back and they took in the wonderful smells of the early spring morning, and the sunlight reflecting off dew in trees and on grass, making the green world seem like another night sky. It was serene and beautiful, something that made Anya glad, and made her think about what it might be like to finally settle down, to have this; she lowered her head and let herself cry a few small, silent tears before she looked up when the TV in the house turned on loud enough for them to hear it on the swing.

“Another explosion rocked DC late last night, and with no Avengers to come to the rescue, it appears the police and military have been stretched too thin to contain all the violence now rocking major cities across the country. The President has been moved to a location outside DC, while troops pour in…” the TV turned off as Anya surged in and hit the power button. She knew what Barton was trying to do.

And dammit, it was working.

“Fine,” Anya hissed.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The hospital was packed as chaos in the city reigned, and there was little that could be done to stop it. Police were stretched thin; everyone that wanted to do something, could now do something, and it was bedlam for everyone, even in small towns or in the middle of nowhere. Police dealt with Hydra, Doom, terrorists, bigger fish, and were so busy doing that, there wasn’t anyone to stop stolen cars, robberies, bar fights, anything that normally would call the police’s attention while the Avengers dealt with Hydra, Doom and most international lawbreakers.

Another explosion rocked the city and car alarms went off for several blocks, and screaming started again, and more people poured in; those that were less-than-critically injured were shoved onto gurneys, 2-3 on each, and rooms were packed according to what needed to be done. One room was devoted to those waiting for surgery, another for those waiting for X-rays, another still full of the dead that needed to be moved. That room had been covered well in black paper and washable paint so no one could see in, and ant cracks in the glass and doors were blocked to keep out the smell.

Nurses, injured, family and doctors ran from one patient to another, and it was impossible to get someone to look at you if you weren’t bleeding out or dying. Sirens and flickering lights cast a foreboding and sinister vibe over the entire scene, much like a cheesy horror movie, but this was so much worse.

Bucky had been trying to get a nurse to look at Steve for over an hour now, but they ran past him as he stood in the doorway, their minds on something and someone else, thinking about what else they had coming for them, what else they needed to do, sparing no thought to him as he stood there, feeling helpless.

He walked back into the room and looked at Steve, who hadn’t woken up yet, had just come from his latest surgery, and was supposed to be showing signs of improvement, but it looked like he was getting worse. The machines around him were beeping louder and more incessantly, and one of them turned red as he stared.

A wonderful, arousing smell hit him and he felt relief as the smell of an omega hit him; a nurse must finally be coming to see Steve, to help. Then the smell changed and he recognized it: exquisite roses, Brooklyn roads drying after a cooling summer rain, and fresh baked bread.

Anya walked past him and touched a few buttons on the screens around Steve, then pulled out a few instruments and looked Steve over. Bucky’s heart was racing as he looked at her, feeling regret and worry and concern and so many things he didn’t want to think about right now. He tried to say something to her, but her face was stoic and stony, her eyes hard and staring, not listening to him as she worked, putting all her effort into what she was doing.

“He’s stable enough; get him on the jet, we’re taking them all back to the tower.”
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anya helped Barton roll Rogers through the packed halls, pushing him to the elevator, and someone tried to come up to them, but Barton stopped them with his body, snarling at them, baring his teeth. Though only a beta, he was an intimidating one, with massive arms, tall, and muscular, plus he oozed confidence and a promise that it would be the last thing you did if you tried to hurt his friends.

Anya stood into the elevator in silence with Barnes and Barton, and refused to look at either of them, anger and resentment pheromones flowing off her in waves. Her face never wavered from the same determined look, and her eyes were just as fiery as before; she looked the machines over again, watching the levels of heartbeat and pulse, blood pressure and brain activity. They were stable, but he didn’t seem to be getting better, which considering his super human ability to heal 4x faster than the average human, was worrying.

Barnes turned to look at her, and he opened his mouth to say something to her, though he had no idea what to say. “Don’t,” Anya warned him waspishly, and he shut his mouth and had the sense to look away from her and look contrite. The roof door opened and Barton was out in a flash to get the jet ready while Anya and Barnes readied Cap for transport.

“Who else is there?” Anya finally broke the frigid silence and Barton looked back at her from the pilot seat. “Nat, Wanda, Sam, Stark, Banner, Coulson, Vision and Rhodes.” Anya looked at them then yanked on Barnes’s arm and he followed her, no questions, and not wanting to say anything, or bring her wrath down on him. Though an omega, he knew her enough to know that getting her mad would be as advisable as poking the Hulk with a stick.

Anya followed Barnes through the hospital and found Romanov and Maximoff in a room together, no security, both out cold from meds, both strapped own and Romanov locked on her stomach, her back held in a tight and uncomfortable cast for her broken ribs and broken shoulder blade. “Help me,” she finally said and started pushing Romanov’s gurney to the elevator, and onto the roof. In the elevator, Romanov woke up and immediately started thrashing, trying to free herself, trying to get away. The small elevator instantly filed with the choking smell of angry and endangered alpha, an alpha on the defense and offense, and it made any gag against her will.

“Ms. Romanov, we’re taking you back to the tower,” Anya knelt down to look her in the eyes and their eyes met for a moment, and Anya let her own omega smell get to Romanov, and the anger and fear in her eyes slowly faded. She looked very uneasy and uncomfortable, but soon enough they were on the roof, and were wheeled in with Rogers. The jet couldn’t hold any more people, so Barton took off, leaving Anya behind to get the rest of them ready and Barnes in the jet to keep everyone stable; it was about half an hour to get from the hospital to the tower, and was a very long ride, but the ride back was even longer. Barnes stayed in the tower, pushing the 3 injured Avengers into the medical bay, where JARVIS was already starting scans. Unsure what to do, he just helped Romanov take a drink of water and watched Maximoff sleep, her face occasionally twitching.

Back at the hospital, Anya was able to find where Stark was, simply by following the sounds of his voice. He was angry about being separated from his teammates, and the staff wouldn’t give him any updates on Capsicle, Spidey-girl or any of his other teammates and friends. Pepper was in the room trying to get him to calm down, while Sam was in the next bed, held down by a lot of straps and restraints, but was still shouting, screaming, his pheromones all wrong, a vein bulging out from his neck and head, and the restraints around his wrist were starting to chaff and bleed.

A familiar omega scent hit them and Anya came into the room, accompanied by the sounds of something large landing on the roof. “Come on, we’re leaving.”

Pepper tried to stop them, even as Anya moved to push Wilson out of the room, her hands up and staring at the omega with an unsure look on her face. “They aren’t safe here, and won’t get the needed treatment here. They need detox, not to be left to their own devices; the crap in their blood, that made the alphas go nuts and made everyone else all weird, that won’t just go away on its own, it needs to be filtered out before it causes permanent damage, and that won’t happen here. On top of that, they’re too exposed. Think about it: someone wants the Avengers dead, there would be no better time to do it than now, while they’re in the hospital, at their weakest, while the staff are up their asses in other patients.” Anya pushed Wilson through the door past Pepper.

The CEO seemed to come to her senses and shook herself slightly, then moved behind Stark and started pushing him behind Anya, and they got into the elevator together, standing in silence. The jet was back on the roof when the doors dinged open and Barton was there, looking relieved, but torn because he had left his best friend behind at the tower. Stark was of course being a smartass, complaining about how long it took them to finally listen to his plan. Anya pushed the button on his machine before taking it off him, pumping drugs into his veins to shut him up.

“Ah, quiet,” Barton said with a smirk on his face and Pepper looked at Anya like she might snarl at her, but thought better of it and stood next to Stark in the jet as it took off again. Rhodey, Coulson, Vision and Dr. Banner were still in the building, and the jet would be back soon; Anya was concerned that the chemical in the Avengers would force out the Hulk, and with so many people in the hospital, there would be mass casualties.

Something crashed in the basement and Anya was running down there as fast as she could, passing a wave of staff and some police running away from it. She could smell a weak angry alpha scent, and a worried beta smell, all in one. Banner was a beta, but the Hulk was an alpha, which meant both were present at the same time, and Banner might be in the middle of a transformation.

Fuck to the fucketh degree.

Anya came to a final set of doors that looked like some men were trying to lock, and Anya snarled at them. Both were alphas, and one held her back, pulling her away, telling her they didn’t have time for some whiny omega bullshit; the other man looked at her and licked his lips and warpped his arms around her waist, one hand moving lower and grabbed her ass in a hard pinch. Before she could snarl at him, or rip off his dick and shove it up his ass, a roar shook the walls, emitting from the room the men were trying to lock and barricade.

“Don’t worry, baby, we’ll protect you from that big bad monster in there.” The man licked her neck and his partner took a step towards her. Anya panicked, nailing the alpha behind her in the sternum, cracking his ribs, then turning around and bringing his head down on her knee, knocking him out cold. The other man tried to pull out his tranq gun, but failed miserably, and shot himself in the foot. Anya laughed at him as he passed out, and had to tell everyone back at the tower about that one: arrogant knothead alpha not able to handle his own gun.

Anya yanked the door open, since one of the unconscious alphas were in the way, leaving large bruises where the door hit them, and Anya was suddenly hit hard by the smell of angry and cornered alpha, the beta smell completely gone. She stood in the doorway, watching as Rhodes, Coulson and Vision tried to contain the Hulk and bring back Banner, but it just made the Hulk angrier: Anya could tell, he was feeling trapped and wanted to leave, she could see it in his eyes. Plus, Coulson and Rhodes were alphas, and that was only making the alpha Hulk that more agitated.

Anya took a few steps forward, slowly and making her presence known as she cleared her throat. Coulson waved her off and Vision moved to take her away, but she waved him off. “Guys, Barton’s on his way back, we’re leaving the hospital.” She looked up at the Hulk’s face and could see a flicker of relief, and she nodded to him. “You too, big guy. Tony and Nat are already there, waiting for the rest of you.” She looked at Rhodes, who raised an eyebrow at her, his prosthetic legs making faint noises as he moved around the room, trying to figure out what to do. Anya just took another step forward, slow and steady, still looking up at the Hulk.

“I know you want to get out of here. But I need you to take it easy, OK? Some of your teammates, they need help, and I need you to be calm for them OK? I know you don’t want to hurt them, they’re your friends, especially Natasha, right?” Anya saw something creep up on the Hulk’s face, what could only be described as a faint blush. “Yeah, you know what I mean. Now, come on. Let’s get everyone back home.” Anya walked up to the Hulk, still nice and slow, and ran her hand down his arm, a faint smile on her lips, unafraid, confident the Hulk wouldn’t hurt her, and it showed on her face and in her body language.

Coulson stared as the Hulk slowly faded away, his massive size reducing back to the brilliant scientist, and Anya felt Vision floating up behind her, commenting something about 2 unconscious men in the hallway. “They started it.” Anya snarked as Coulson raised an eyebrow at her. The Hulk gave a final bark of laughter before Banner was back completely.

Everyone stepped over the unconscious alphas in the hallway and the men glared at her. “Hey, I only acted in self-defense. Besides, one of those morons shot himself in the foot with a tranq. Totally not my fault.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The flight back to the Tower was noisy and eventful, everyone talking on their phones, Anya looking at charts and feeling Banner stare at her occasionally only to look away when he thought he was busted, and Coulson shooting her reproachful looks. They agreed taking everyone out of the hospital had been the best call, and Coulson thanked her for her web links about the possible cause for the team acting so strange. She said nothing to anyone, not even looking up when Coulson thanked her, and everyone could feel the faint anger coming from her. She was careful not to overdo it, or the Hulk might make another appearance at the scent of angry and hurt omega. He was an alpha after all, and would respond, probably aggressively; Anya needed to ask someday if Banner knew how it worked with him being a beta and ‘the other guy’ being an alpha.

Back at the roof of the tower, the sun was beating down and promising a nice late spring day with a faint breeze and occasional clouds to prevent it from getting too hot. Smoke still rose faintly from Lower Manhattan, and Anya couldn’t believe it had been less than 48 hours since that invasion of robot spiders. Few soldiers remained on that scene, leaving the scientists to do their work without someone keeping an eye out for people that might want to sell some of that advanced tech, or even just take a souvenir. If she was honest, Anya wanted a little bit of the metal for herself to keep on the wall as a trophy.

In the tower, Anya helped banner onto a bed near Stark, who was tapping away on his phone, though looked up every 30 seconds to see if Rogers had woken up. Barnes sat in a leather chair next to his best friend, holding his hand, flesh hand on flesh hand, his metal fist clenching and unclenching as he tried to calm himself, and not go nuclear on the room in his anger and feelings of helplessness. Vision floated over to Wanda, who was the most peaceful out of the bunch and seemed to be taking the chemicals the best, her charts showing marked improvement; Anya assured Vision that the chemical had limited effects on her, because she was a beta, and she had absorbed very little, and just needed to rest and let her body recover.

Barton sat next to Romanov, who was glowering in her bed, still uncomfortable on her chest, her back in the air and Anya looked at the x-rays and other tests that came with her charts. Anya had swiped all their charts, information, everything about them from the hospital, with the help of Barton, not only because she needed it, but because no one should get their hands on information like that. Anya looked Rogers’ info over first and looked up, staring hard at the unconscious supersoldier, made a note on his chart and moved on to Wilson. The veteran was twisting in his bed, his wrists bloody from the effort of ripping himself free; Anya shook her head when someone asked if they could remove them.

“With the exception of Captain Rogers, Mr. Wilson got the highest doses of the chemicals; those hack doctors,” Anya was muttering under her breath, for several moments before looking up. “Do you have stores of his blood somewhere? He needs a transfusion, or there will be permanent damage.” There was silence for a moment, then Coulson stepped forward. “Alright, Agent, you’re gonna help me. Bring me all the B+ and O- you have; Colonel, hold him down.”

The rest of the team watched as Anya slid a needle into his arm, much like the ones used to give blood, and blood slowly drained from his arm into the bag, first one bag, then another. 2 pints slowly drained from his body as Coulson came up with 2 pints of B+, and Rhodes looked unsure about the whole thing, especially when Wilson stopped struggling so hard and looked a little pale. Anya ignored Rhodes’ objections and stopped the draining, then put in the fresh, untainted blood, slowly letting it enter his body, not wanting Wilson to go into shock.

Anya kept her residual anger out of the equation as she worked: she could be resentful and bitter later, when the world wasn’t dangling on the edge of a cliff without the Avengers there to save it.

Coulson followed Anya’s order without question as she moved from Wilson, as the last of the fresh blood entered his body, to Rogers, who was the second worst. He hadn’t woken up from his surgery, and wasn’t healing like he should be. Coulson said they didn’t have any of his blood in the bank, so no one could steal it. Anya rubbed her face then looked at Barnes, who had been rather dazed and out of it; Rogers was A+, while Barnes was A-, and both had some kind of supersoldier serum in their bodies. Not seeing another option, she approached Barnes, knowing this could go very, very badly.

“Barnes?” Anya asked and the dazed former assassin finally looked up at her, his eyes red, puffy and so lost. It was so pathetic, she forgot she was angry at him for a little bit. “Barnes, we need your help to save your friend.” Barnes looked at her, still kind of out of it, then nodded and looked at her, her words sinking in and his face changed from lost to desperate and pleading in an instant. It was just so pathetic, so sad, to see someone that strong, that powerful, that deadly, looking like a lost puppy.

Her inner omega compelled her to rest her hands on his shoulders and rub them soothingly; she felt him tense under her fingers as Coulson approached with the needle and bag, and the fact that he was in a chair (one of his major triggers) and Rhodes (an alpha) was standing behind him, was probably not helping. Anya waved off Rhodes, who stepped away and stood beside Stark, who was talking chemicals with Banner. Anya could see the apprehension in Barnes’s eyes and the faint nerves in Coulson’s stance.

Anya said nothing as she cleaned the crook of his elbow, knowing that ‘prep him’ was also a trigger, maintaining eye contact with Barnes as much as possible, and when the needle made its appearance near his arm and he looked on the verge of panicking, Anya ran her hands through Barnes’ long hair, whispering comforting words in his ear. “I’m right here”, “he won’t do anything I won’t allow”, “you can say stop if you need to”, “you have the control here.” A noise from Wilson on the far side of the room got her attention, and his heartrate was soaring; she was torn from staying with Barnes and keeping him calm and grounded, or making sure Wilson was alright. Rhodes was at Wilson’s side and looked up, his face unsure and looking lost too. Vision hovered over, also unsure, but stated that Wilson’s heart was beating far too fast. Anya resisted the urge to say, “No shit.”

She looked at Barnes, who was breathing heavily but looked at her with still lucid eyes, so she chanced walking away from him. “I’ll be right back,” she promised Barnes as she ran her fingers through his hair again and down his shoulders. He shivered at the contact and wasn’t able to hide the growing erection currently tenting his pants, common when an alpha was near an omega, some under stress, but some did it in general (many alphas didn’t bother controlling themselves. Anya felt Barnes deserved a pass on this one). Anya nodded to Coulson; that was a good sign that he was still lucid and the erection might help him remain lucid.

Anya ran from one end of the room to the other and looked at Wilson; the chemicals were making their way out his body, but he was still panicking at being tied. Taking the chance, she slowly removed the bonds around his wrists and ankles, and his heartrate slowed a little bit, and he was able to look around as she removed the bands around his head and neck. He blinked several times, clearing his head and eyes, and the panic in his face slowly faded. Anya took his vitals and was pleased with his rapid progress. She turned around to head back to Barnes and Coulson, just in time to see Coulson go flying across the room.

Anya ran over to the down Agent, who was wincing as he tried to stand, staring at Barnes, the needle halfway in his arm and was bleeding slowly, dripping onto the tile floor, dragging the tube and bag behind him. He looked livid, ready to murder, and ran forward with lightning speed, metal arm outstretched to deal a fatal blow.

Anya hung onto his arm as it started to swing, whispering calming words in his ear, stroking his hair; it seemed to work for a few seconds, until it was her being thrown across the room. She hit a door with a gasp, the knob digging into her side, leaving a massive mark that would bloom into an ugly bruise. She stood up, desperate to get the alpha under control, or his anger would prompt the Hulk to make an appearance at the scent of fighting alpha. She stood in front of Barnes, hands on his chest, pushing him as hard as she could, though she was no match for his supersoldier strength; something seemed to turn off in him, and he just looked broken and exhausted, his eyes looking down at her, but glassy and not really seeing her. He sat back in the chair as Coulson stood up, cautiously approaching as Anya nodded; she positioned herself to block everyone and everything from view, kneeling on the chair in front of him, basically sitting on Barnes’ lap.

As her omega scent shattered his flashback, he looked down at her, and instantly was shaking as he held back sobs. She pulled his forehead to rest against her shoulder, even as she pushed the needle in his arm where it needed to be and the bag slowly began to fill with blood. Barnes didn’t even seem aware of the needle as he buried his face in her shoulder and cried, his body shaking as the sobs came out, choking his words. Anya wasn’t sure what he was saying for several long minutes, until she leaned closer as he tensed under body again, on the verge of another attack; “I’m sorry…I’m so sorry…” he repeated those words over and over again, a mantra that he couldn’t break as he shook and cried.

His sobs pierced right through her heart, and she wrapped her arms around him gently, carefully, and he took in her warmth and her touch, taking in the comforting smell of omega, the way she smelt like fancy roses and Brooklyn, like his home before he hurt people, back when things were simple and he had his best friend, not when his best friend was laying on a hospital bed, dying, or when he had tried to kill his best friend.

He repeated over and over again that he was sorry, over and over again, tears soaking her shirt as he leaned further into her touch, and Coulson removed the blood bag from his arm and hooked it up to Rogers’s IVs. Coulson left Anya and Barnes alone, to look at the others, but Anya could feel their eyes, everyone’s, on her. She could smell their sadness and regret, their concern, and Anya made a decision: being resentful, angry, it wouldn’t help her, it wouldn’t help anyone. As far as alphas went, the alphas in the Avengers had been the kindest to her since she presented; that was really depressing when she thought about it, but it was true. She would still be angry for a while, maybe a long while, but for now at least, she could let it go.

Barnes still repeated “I’m sorry,” over and over again, his sobs soaking her shirt through with the tears he just couldn’t hold back anymore. Anya pulled his face to look up at her, to make him see her and what she was saying to him. She doubted anyone had ever said this to him since he fell from the train and became the Winter Soldier.

“I forgive you, James Buchanan Barnes. You hear me?” she tilted his head up higher to make him look at her in the eyes and when he finally met them, she could see how broken and shattered he really was. She cupped his face in her hands, keeping his gaze on her, and his blue eyes met hers, his clouded with regret and tears, hers piercing and intense.

“I forgive you.” She ran her hands up and down his arms, both flesh and metal, and let him collapse against her chest; he was shaking again, still crying, but no longer just sadness, though it was still the main emotion clutching his chest and making him lose control. He felt a little hopeful, as Anya held him and let him cry, then pulled away as he calmed down to look in on the other Avengers, his eyes following her every so often.

It was late by the time everyone had been looked at, and everyone had received a transfusion or 2, but everyone was awake and showing some improvement. Barton was talking with Romanov about how pissed she was, though she didn’t show it, and Stark was annoying Ms. Potts to no end. Coulson was sitting with Rhodes and watching Wilson, who had managed to wake up, lucid, then fell asleep, simply exhausted. Anya gave him some light tranquilizers to help him sleep. Wanda was awake and sitting up, talking to Vision as he hovered around her, literally and figuratively. Dr. Banner was looking up the chemicals that had affected them and the lasting effects, what to look for.

Anya stayed near Roger’s bed; his vitals and other readings had improved greatly since getting the transfusion and he was healing a lot faster, much like his ‘normal’ self. He hadn’t woken up, though he had huffed a few times like he was dreaming, and Anya assured a nervous Avengers team that he needed rest. Life-threatening injuries combined with the chemicals had taken a lot of out of the supersoldier, and he would probably be sidelined from battel for at least a week.

Around 2am, most of the team had fallen asleep, or had been helped asleep with some meds, including Stark, who had argued loudly while Ms. Potts rolled her eyes and said, “just shut him up already.” Anya sat in the chair, the only one awake, even Coulson grabbing a few minutes shut eye in his office a few floors down; a faint rustle next to her made her look up from a Stark pad and she could see Rogers’ eyes moving around under his eyelids. She stood up slowly, then rested her hand on his arm, touching him gently; his eyes slowly opened, blinking in the bright light, barely moving and it took him a few seconds before he realized where he was and what he was attached to. His eyes swept across the room, like the soldier he was, then rested on the sleeping Barnes in the bed next to him and finally on Anya, who looked down at him.

“Welcome back,” she said to him and withdrew her hand. Barnes would wake up soon, and then the rest of the team would follow and would rush over to see their leader and friend. He looked up at her, still a little bleary and his eyes struggling to focus, and she could see the confusion on his face.

“Why did you help me?” he finally asked, and she knew he was thinking about everything he had done to her, how he had treated her and tried to chase her away. Anya thought about it for a moment; she had done those things, saved his life and come back and hadn’t really thought about it.

“I guess, because the world needs Captain America. And because your friends need Steve Rogers. And it was the right thing to do.”

With that, and the faint noises of Barnes waking up making Rogers look over at him, Anya looked away from the supersoldiers, and the rest of the Avengers, and left the tower, drove back to Lisa’s house and collapsed back on the bed.

Chapter Text

The sound of the TV turning on early in the morning woke Anya and she rolled over in the bed before grudgingly getting up. Stretching and yawning loudly, she showered and emerged to join her beta friend and her husband in the living room, where Patrick was watching the news before heading to work. Things hadn’t settled own at all since last night, if anything more shit was happening and the crime was increasing. Anya worried about her friend, Lisa wouldn’t be able to handle an attack or someone cornering her on the street with the police spread out all over the city and, now, into the suburbs.

As if thinking this, Patrick looked over at Lisa, and pulled her work bag from her hands and shook his head. She looked indignant at first, until something on the TV caught her attention and made her look over, seeing a building in Midtown on fire, less than an hour’s drive from her home, and only a few blocks from where she worked.

“I’m sorry, Lisa, but Patrick has a point. You should stay home for a few days. Besides, 3 day weekend! I could use a ladies night,” Anya looked at her friend and eventually Lisa nodded, still looking unsure, but finally went to her room to change her clothes. She said she would stay home and maybe give the house a good spring cleaning; she hadn’t had time to do that yet. Patrick kissed her on the cheek goodbye, and whispered where he left a handgun in his desk, loaded and ready to be used in case she needed it. Anya was bringing a Taser and a gun of her own into the city later in the day. Angry at the Avengers or not, she needed to head back to see them and make sure nothing else had happened to them. And maybe convince Barnes to take up the slack; Rogers would be sidelined for at least a few more days. Well, she also really wanted to look at the robot spiders still laying in Lower Manhattan; the news said no one had figured out where they came from, or what they were made of. And as far as she knew, JARVIS hadn’t had the chance to scan them yet.

So, after class, it would be to the tower to look in on the recovering Avengers and grab a scanner so JARVIS, Stark and Banner could start analyzing the robots.

The drive to class was boring, but it wasn’t until she parked in a far parking lot that she remembered what happened last time she was here: shit. Everyone was staring at her as she walked on campus and headed for her early morning class, and even through class she felt everyone glance at her, despite the professor being a real hardass about distractions.

She could feel and hear the whispers, the stares, the glances and glares at her, everyone looking at her when they thought she wasn’t looking, and some just outright staring. She knew she would be bombarded with questions the moment her first class was over, and she had arrived a few minutes late so no one had a chance to ask anything. And sure enough, as soon as the clock struck 10:50 and class let out, everyone was coming up to Anya and asking what happened, how she knew the Avengers, what happened to Captain America, why she was covered in blood when he was wheeled into the ER a few nights ago, why she said she wasn’t anything to Avengers when she was seen with one the day before.

The feeling of people pressing in on her, the voices, the smells of alphas and betas alike, coming so close she could feel their breath on her neck, even as she tried to pack up her things, and she warned everyone to step back, to leave her alone, to back away. When they didn’t and an alpha grabbed her shoulder to make her turn around, because he was being an asshole and hated being ignored by a simple omega bitch, she grabbed his hand in a vice and twisted his hand and arm so hard she felt something pop out of place under her knuckles. The alpha whined and complained as she let him go and she booked it, running down the steps and shoving someone out of the way as she headed for the math building, her next class, and one of the few places no one would bother looking for her.

Sitting in a small bathroom, she sat on a closed toilet seat and tried to compose herself, to get her bearings and force the memories and panic from her head; though she knew she was in a white unisex bathroom and was probably alone in this part of the building, she still heard voice, laughter, taunting, alphas pushing on her shoulders, holding her down, laughing at her as she cried and begged them to stop.

A knock on the door made her jump and she felt embarrassed when she let out a faint whimper and a cry. Someone knocked again and she managed to choke out, “occupied.”

“I can see that, hun. I can smell your distress from the far side of the building.” Alex, star of the championship football team, and one of her calculus classmates, stood on the other side of the door and she could see his shadow as he shifted on the other side, not going away.

“Do you need something? A cup of water or a juice?” she could hear the concern in his voice and could smell his concern as his alpha pheromones slowly wafted under the door. Despite still seeing occasional flashes of that horrid room, where she had been tortured and hurt so many times, she still somehow took comfort in his smell. It was strong, but not overpowering, and it was calming on her frayed nerves, wrapping her in a blanket of safety and familiarity. Despite her gut telling her it was a bad idea, her inner omega was compelling her to open the door and look at him.

He wore a suit today and her mouth was watering as she looked him over, toned body of a quarterback famous for his fast feet, defined well in a dark navy suit and rather tight button-down shirt with navy tie. “I had a speech today,” he said to her wandering eyes and she felt herself blushing as she pulled her eyes back up to his face. To make this picture more perfect, he held out a bag of animal crackers; “My mama would give me these when I was feelin’ down.”

Anya snacked on the crackers as she headed for her next class, though it wouldn’t be for another hour, and suddenly remembered she had a quiz in that class today, and had promised to help Alex study for it. “Oh, I’m sorry, I completely forgot about our study session. I’m so sorry,” she was apologizing like she had committed an act of treason, but he just patted her hand gently. “I understand. You’ve been busy these last 2 days. I saw you on the news. Are you OK?”

Anya looked up at him; no one had asked her if she was alright, just wanting to know about the Avengers and how she knew them. After a moment of staring and feeling like a lovestruck moron for a moment she nodded, and finished eating the crackers. They sat on a short wall outside, enjoying the sunshine, hidden from the main path to the building, and she enjoyed the calm confidence Alex had. He hadn’t made an advance to her, hadn’t asked about the Avengers, hadn’t asked about Barnes, hadn’t even asked why she had missed Wednesday and Thursday classes. He said nothing and just offered her another bag of animal crackers when hers was gone. She politely declined.

About half an hour before class started, Anya pulled out her notes of the class and offered to help Alex memorize what problems would most likely be on the quiz. Their professors would take questions from the book that weren’t on the homework and pasted them onto the quiz. Anya noticed this because she had done some extra problems, and it had saved her a few weeks ago while adjusting to the move into the tower. She wrote out what Alex needed to memorize, and he got it copied down, finally getting it all memorized just in time of the quiz to start.

As Anya had thought, the professor had taken some questions from the book and just copy-pasted. She was right about 3 of the 4 questions on the quiz, and 40 minutes later, Alex was looking very relieved. 75% was good, it would help his grade a lot, considering the quizzes were worth a fair amount every week and the professors never checked homework.

When class let out, Anya was done for the day, but Alex had practice and she was about to wish him luck though it was the off season, when he stopped her.

“I wanted to thank you properly for your help. Would you like to go for some dinner? Nothing fancy, just some good burgers,” he added the last thought when he saw the hesitant look on her face. After pausing for a moment, a smile crept on her face as her inner omega purred and pushed and begged her to say yes.

“Alright.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

They made plans to meet at a local diner not far from the college around 7, so Anya had a few hours to get ready, and to check out the tower before her ‘date.’ It wasn’t really a date, just dinner, and nothing all that special, except it was with the hottest guy in college and had Lisa squealing with delight when Anya told her. Lisa was planning a girl’s day out with friends from work to get away from the city: manipedi’s window shopping, coffee shop, then a movie and call it a day. Anya could tell Lisa still had problems going out to a bar, considering what happened last time.

Anya dressed simply in her only nice blouse and jeans, and some comfy heels, still carrying her gun and Taser with her, and headed to Midtown, where Stark tower was already being rebuilt. Though still confined to a bed in medbay, Stark wasted no time, and no sarcastic moment. Anya was let in after a moment by the AI, though she was no longer employed there, she simply said she needed to do a follow-up on the patients, then would stay away, promise.

JARVIS sounded less than pleased when he relayed this info the Avengers a few minutes before she arrived on their floor. Coulson was awake and staring down at his Stark pad, but looked up when Anya walked in. Barnes couldn’t look her in the eye, and just kept looking at Rogers, or looking at the ground. Coulson had an ugly blue bruise peeking out from his suit collar, must like the one on Anya’s back, but everyone else was looking better. Rogers was awake, though no one was letting him out of the bed, while Banner had joined Barton and Coulson as the only ones walking around. Potts had left the tower to attend some conference in France, Romanov was asking how long it would be before she was able to move, Maximoff looked relieved to see Anya, and everyone else just kind of looked at her in passing before looking away.

Anya made her way to the Captain first, checking on his stitches and wounds and his vitals and was pleased to see his healing was picking up exponentially in speed and he had a massive appetite, though she had warned him to stay on soups and liquids for a few days. As a result, he was going through massive pots of chicken noodle soup, and was already sick of the flavor. Wilson was next and he was still a little dazed and didn’t remember anything from after the jet landed on the tower, which Anya assured him was normal for what the drug could do. He showed improvement as well, though she advised him to take it easy for a week or so; he looked less than pleased about being sidelined.

Vision floated through the wall and greeted Anya as he saw her and she nodded to him before moving to Stark, who hadn’t stopped complaining the moment she arrived on the floor. She had said nothing to any of them unless it was restrictions or about their condition; yes, she was still angry.

After listening to Rogers complain about needing more substantial food, because he always felt hungry, and having missed lunch herself, and ok, her omega side was begging her to appease the alphas and betas, she made her way to the communal kitchen and made some homemade tomato soup, crackers and grilled cheese. She went through 3 loaves of bread, a large container of cheese, an entire stick of butter and almost 100 tomatoes ordered by bike messenger. Half an hour after placing the order, she was peeling tomatoes and making some soup for the avengers, despite her rational brain telling her she owed them nothing. Her omega self glared and stomped on the rational part of her brain, shoving it into the dark recesses of her mind.

“Thank you, for coming back.” Coulson’s voice surprised her and she nearly dropped the tomato she was peeling. After composing herself, she looked over at the middle-aged man, then looked back at her work, not saying a word. Coulson sighed and joined her by sitting on a bar stool and buttered some of the bread, looking up at her once in a while. They worked in silence for several long minutes, Anya feeling him looking at her with his piercing eyes occasionally, then he finally spoke.

“They need you, you know.” Anya looked away from the tomatoes and faced Coulson, setting down the knife when he eyed it warily. She raised an eyebrow at the man then turned back around and kept working, finally saying, “Sure, that’s why they turned on me the moment they could. I’m really needed. That’s why Bucky…” Anya stopped herself from talking about Barnes. It was still too painful.

“I really thought he would prove me wrong, you know?” Anya spoke again after almost half an hour of stony silence and Coulson looking at her with his knowing gaze. “For the first time since I presented, I felt safe with an alpha; I didn’t feel the need to defend myself, or run away, or rip out their jugulars.” “That’s oddly specific, Anya. Is that from experience?” Anya turned to look at Coulson, who wasn’t looking away and his calm, confident and experienced alpha scent was helping her to feel better. She normally hated any alpha smell, had even hated the scent of Barnes for a while, but with Coulson, he was old enough that it didn’t make her scared, and young enough that he wasn’t some grumpy old codger.

“Yes, it is,” Anya finally said and looked to see if Coulson would react to that revelation. He just thinned his mouth faintly and nodded to her, offering her to continue talking. “I guess I was hoping that I would finally feel safe around an alpha, maybe find someone that was as broken as me and we could fix one another. And when I ran into Barnes, I thought I found that chance. I mean, on Tuesday, we kissed and I felt safe for the first time since I was 15; then on Wednesday, he’s thinking I tried to kill his best friend. I know Rogers and I didn’t get along, we might never get along, since he’s in love with Barnes and everyone else that has feelings for him is a threat. The man is much more insecure than you’d think; someone that looks and acts like him shouldn’t be so insecure. But I wouldn’t want to actually hurt Rogers. He’s important to the Avengers and the world. And he’s important to Barnes. Which means he’s important to me.”

“Still?” Anya looked at Coulson as he asked, and it took some thinking before she was able to answer. “Yeah, still.” She hated to admit she still felt something for Barnes, but she did. They had a lot in common, had gone through similar hells, and had connected when they fought side by side to save Manhattan. Though beyond pissed, she still felt something for the former assassin.

They finished making food in silence and as the soup simmered on the stove and Anya cleaned up, she looked at her phone and saw Alex had texted her, asking if they could move their dinner to 7:30. She sent one back, saying it was fine; a few seconds later, he sent her another one, asking if she was alright. The building fire in Midtown was spreading, and he seemed to be genuinely concerned.

“Boyfriend?” Coulson asked, and Anya realized too late she had a dopey look on her face as she read the texts.

“No, he’s not my boyfriend. He’s a classmate. And we’re having dinner later. It’s not a date,” she assured Coulson, who was giving her a look.

Oh course, that was when Barnes entered the kitchen.

Anya spun around when she smelt angry alpha and gripped the knife for the tomatoes in reflex. Barnes stood in the entryway to the kitchen from the elevator, and he looked livid; she ignored him and turned back to the stove, stirred the soup and poured herself a bowl before asking Coulson to carry the heavy pot of soup to medbay as she carried the plates of grilled cheese. She stiffly walked past Barnes without a glance.

In medbay, everyone sat up when they smelt the soup and sandwiches coming, and Anya had to fight to ignore the preening her inner omega was doing at making everyone else feel good. She hid her inner satisfaction as everyone dug in and watched Maximoff sip her soup for a moment, then looked when she heard Romanov cussing in Russian as Barton teased her with the soup and grilled cheese.

It was getting late and Anya had already been in the tower for a few hours, and it was almost 6; she needed to get to the diner, which would take forever with the panicking traffic, combined with rush hour traffic. Looking at her phone as Alex texted her again and not even bothering to hide the faint smile on her face, she turned on her heel to leave the tower, until someone called for her.

“Anya?” Rogers called for her and she was tempted to ignore him completely and just keep on walking, but she stopped herself and looked down at him, her face impassible and somewhat dark. He gulped and she knew what she was about to say, and she felt some inner glee at him stumbling over an apology.

“I wanted to thank you, for saving my life,” he was confident as he spoke now, his voice sure and unwavering as he looked at her, and she just let him speak, her arms slowly crossing in front of her chest, like she was about to be attacked as his alpha smell hit her. Captain America or not, he was still an alpha, and it set her teeth on edge in reflex.

Anya raised an eyebrow as he looked uncomfortable and Barnes chose that moment to stand next to his best friend, flesh hand on Rogers’s shoulder, offering his support as the alpha swallowed his pride. Barnes looked at the ground, unwilling to look at Anya as Rogers tried to get it out.

“I’m sorry for what I’ve done, and that I hurt you, and…” “Save it, Rogers.” Anya snapped at him and everyone looked at her in shock, surprised by her harsh tone. “You only wanna apologize now, after I saved your life when I had every reason not to, only because you feel obligated. Frankly, it doesn’t change the fact you’ve been nothing but an asshole to me. Nor does it change that you all turned on me when all I did was help. So all of you, you can all shove your apologies and gratitude right up your asses. If you have room next to that fucking massive pointy stick you keep there,” Anya added the last part as she stared hard at Rogers, after her gaze traveled the room.

“Essentially, go fuck yourselves. Apology not accepted.” Her gaze moved from Rogers, to Barnes, to Stark, who looked beyond shocked at her harsh words and obvious audacity.

Anya spun on her heel and entered the elevator, not bothering to look up as the doors slammed shut.

Chapter Text

When Steve got Bucky back, it was like a piece of him clicked back into place, a puzzle piece that had been missing, and suddenly it was there again. He got his best friend back, a piece of his heart, the one he could always count on, long before he became Captain America. Bucky had been his best friend, and they had confessed their feelings for one another a few weeks before Buck shipped off with the 107th. But Buck didn’t remember any of that.

Bucky slowly got his memories back, one at a time, piece by small piece, and most of them sent his best friend into a panic. Despite his best efforts, Bucky was inconsolable most of the time, and unreachable the rest of the time; as he regained his memories, Bucky became more withdrawn, sometimes even aggressive, afraid of everyone and everything, of hurting people like he did for 70 years as the Winter Soldier. And for Buck, knowing that he came between Stark and Steve, 2 friends that had slowly developed feelings for one another, that made the guilt and anger even worse.

For months, Steve, Bucky and everyone else that refused to sign the Sokovia Accords moved from one place to another, hiding in underground compounds, moving into old SHIELD safehouses, and this made Bucky worse. He rarely slept, and when he did, it was short, intermittent and he always woke up from a nightmare, no matter what they tried. Even Wanda tried to help the nightmares after Bucky had been awake for almost 5 days straight, getting into his head and trying to implant false dreams to keep the nightmares and flashbacks at bay.

That backfired, badly. Bucky saw red and attacked everyone as soon as Wanda tried to get into his head, leaving Steve with broken ribs, Clint with a dislocated shoulder and Nat with a chipped tooth.

It wasn’t until that massive Doom bot attack, where thousands of doom bots attacked all over the world in a bid to overwhelm military and UN response and force surrenders from all nations did they get a chance at redemption. Not until the UN recognized that they had no real way to combat this attack, which came from an ordinary, not super, human and they needed the Avengers, did Steve see the first ray of hope since he realized Bucky was alive. In exchange for the avengers cleaning up after themselves and for some more restrictions and oversite, and some requirements on enhanced humans, the Avengers could now reunite, and those that had refused the Sokovia Accords would not face any charges.

When this news broke, Steve was smug and prideful; he knew it had been only a matter of time before the world realized what a mistake they had made, though it took a lot of people dying for the world to realize it. Coming out of the shadows, with a nervous and still unstable Bucky at his side, Steve lead an attack on the Doom bots, starting in Russia, where he and his Avengers had last been hiding.

About a week later, when the last of the Doom bots were destroyed and the last of the living had been removed from rubble in DC, Steve came face to face with Stark. It was painful to say the least; every emotion Steve had been stuffing down, the feelings of regret and loss and missing the alpha’s smart mouth and rare smile that reached his eyes, it all came out at once. Steve wanted to apologize, to tell Stark just how much he missed him, how much he missed the team being together, how he really felt, then Bucky stood beside him, clenching his arms and looking ready to gut the billionaire. So Steve swallowed those thoughts and emotions.

Stark never really forgave Steve, because he wanted a real apology and Steve was being too stubborn and too proud to say it; but less than a week after meeting one another again, Steve was being moved back into the Avengers Tower, along with Clint, Nat, Wanda, Sam and Bucky. Things were awkward for a few days, very awkward and Steve could swear he heard Stark crying sometimes in his room or the lab, if he listened in the middle of the night when everyone else had gone to bed.

Then something, or rather someone, returned to them. A few days after they had all moved into the tower, Fury said they needed a liaison, someone to pick up after their political messes, to handle the new paperwork they now needed to complete, under the amendments in the Sokovia Accords. It was then that Agent Coulson appeared behind them, dressed impeccably as always, though he looked much older, tired. Clint said and felt a lot of things he would need to drink away, and Nat had slapped Coulson, then beat Fury hard for several long minutes before Steve had intervened and pulled the angry woman off.

Everyone felt better once Coulson was revealed to be alive, especially Stark, who had taken his death to heart and had never really gotten over it; Pepper was over the moon about him being alive, and had hugged the older alpha so tight to her chest she ripped the seams on his suit’s shoulder. Then she got mad, then she hugged him again, then she demanded he live in the tower with the rest of the Avengers.

Bucky was always the odd man out at the tower, considering he had killed Stark’s parents, and almost killed Nat, this wasn’t surprising; it took Steve weeks to convince him to leave the door to his room unlocked. In hindsight, that had been a very bad idea. Because Bucky, when having a flashback or nightmare, would often wander the tower, attacking security, remaining office workers, and cleaning staff. Bucky had almost constant flashbacks and panic episodes while he was awake and had a habit of breaking whatever he was near. Steve worried he was with too many other people near him, or the scent of too many alphas was making him subconsciously aggressive, and actually considered finding a professional omega to be with Bucky once a week, hoping that might help.

But after a few weeks, he seemed to get better; his panic attacks were happening less frequently. Bucky adjusted to living in the tower and acclimated to the scents of the others in the tower, to the point their scents, unless coming up behind him, no longer made him nervous, jittery or reach for a weapon. But he never slept for more than 3 hours at a time, and spent most of his hours awake in the gym; afraid he would go into a panic attack, Steve forbade him from firing a gun, thinking it would do the alpha good to be away from the sounds of gunshots, the smell of gunpowder and the heat of the muzzle blast.

Not being able to leave the tower, fire a gun or be anywhere near a knife without Steve around made Steve feel better, so Bucky just went along with it, though he was slowly dying from boredom, and feeling a little hurt. He had no control, Steve was controlling what he was allowed to do. He couldn’t go to the roof, couldn’t leave the tower, couldn’t mingle with the staff, nothing. He wanted to leave the tower and feel real sun on his face and smell polluted NYC air; he wanted to walk down the streets of Brooklyn and remind Steve of all the times he got beat up, and bring up better memories than the ones that always filled his head.

Steve had told Buck he wasn’t ready to leave the tower the first, second and every time he asked, because he still had frequent panic attacks, had trouble sleeping and was triggered by a lot of random words and common events or items. Someone saying the word ‘prep’ would send Bucky into a rage, and then begging to not go back into the cold. Someone coming up behind him might get your neck snapped, though that was true for Nat, Clint and Coulson too. He couldn’t sit in a chair, couldn’t sit down on a bench or couch with anything metal or robot near him, couldn’t look at mouthguards without entering a fierce and frantic rage. And he had nightmares almost constantly once the sun went down.

Then Bucky met Anya.

Well, as Steve understood it, Bucky had almost strangled Anya in the midst of a nightmare, but she had used her omega scent, something Buck hadn’t smelt since before the war, and pushed him into another dream. Just like that, like snapping her fingers, she pulled Bucky from his nightmares, and he slept for almost 10 hours straight. He should have been released, and he was that Bucky hadn’t killed someone while having a nightmare, which was a real possibility, but instead he just felt jealousy. How could this woman, who had known Bucky for less than a day, make more progress than Bucky’s best friend had in almost a year? It infuriated him to no end, but it was also stimulating; it took a lot of his willpower to not reveal how he really felt about the lovely omega that rested on the couch, Bucky resting peacefully on her lap, acting like the large bruises on her neck from Buck’s hated metal arm was nothing.

Steve learned Anya had a lot in common with Bucky: both shared marks given to them that they hated, both had frequent nightmares and flashbacks, and Anya had panic attacks too, though far fewer. And as they spent more time together, Bucky had fewer nightmares and flashbacks too, at least when he was near the young omega; but when she wasn’t in the tower, Bucky got worse, and had attacked Steve again, shouting something in Russian that Nat and JARVIS refused to translate. The more time they spent together the more jealous Steve became.

It wasn’t his proudest moment, when Anya was sent flying down a hall by his hand; he felt terrible when he thought about it, made worse when Bucky found out and refused to talk to him for over a week. But for some reason, he felt threatened by the omega; he shouldn’t have felt worried or anything about her, he was taller, stronger, faster and capable of beating her in anything.

He also felt aroused by her, and it took all his considerable willpower, pride and stubbornness to prevent his body from betraying him; nights filled with tension were relieved by images of the omega naked in front of him, submitting to him, and being a part of his pack: him, Bucky and Anya together. Those fantasies often contained Tony too, though if the billionaire every found out, Steve would never live it down.

The thing was that most omegas, since the serum, turned Steve off; their scent was too powerful, choking him when they walked by. Alphas, normally, liked the softer omegas, the ones that couldn’t say no and were what he thought of as kind of being pushovers. He knew that society kind of made them that way, but he still enjoyed the company of betas and alphas over omegas; their scent was easier to handle, and they didn’t act like a constant damsel in distress.

Anya was nothing like that; she was fierce, passionate, tall for an omega, well-built and capable of fighting off an alpha, and her scent was subtle, gentle like exquisite roses, and fresh baked bread from a baker in Brooklyn, and warm, drying streets after a cooling rain in summer; it was like home, and it was arousing and exotic and rare, just like her. The first time he saw her, in that bar where her friend died and Anya had been attacked by the rutting alphas and some betas, she threw him over her shoulder and essentially knocked him on his ass. And it was very arousing, even now when he thought about it.

Despite his secret crush on her, he still felt jealousy and resentment towards her, growing the more often she was around, until that one time he had been forced to swallow his pride and ask for her help to get Bucky to sleep. And she had smirked at him, and it made his inner alpha roar with rage, until she said a few choice words that turned his thoughts and world on its head for the night, leaving him awake until the early morning hours.

“It’s not my name he calls when he’s having a nightmare.”

Those words plagued Steve for days, wondering what she meant by that.

He felt even more resentment towards her when he learned she had convinced Buck to not only leave the tower, but to handle a rifle; despite it being to save the day while Steve and the rest of the Avengers were away, he was still very, very angry. But then it had been impossible to be angry, because his head and body was hurting too much, and he skipped the food Anya had cooked for them all out of spite, not wanting to be near her or have anything to do with her while he felt this terrible. Bucky followed him to the Jacuzzi for a few minute then left him, left him, for Anya and her food. It made his alpha rise and want to strike like a snake; then the feeling petered out to be replaced by pain, confusion, and then panic shortly before he fell unconscious, still in the hot tub.

The next thing he remembered, he was looking up at bright lights, a soft, familiar, arousing scent around him, and someone was pouncing on his chest, pushing water from his heavy lungs and forcing their warm breath into his body. Someone was breathing his life back into his body, and it took a moment before he could smell the sweet, comforting scent of fine roses and fresh baked bread; he couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, could barely breathe through the pain and the arguing, and he went in and out. The next time he was aware of her scent, she was standing over him, the smell of blood and tears covering her, and he still felt pain, but couldn’t focus on it; he felt the odd need to pull her away from the smell of the blood and tears, but couldn’t move. It took him a second to realize she was covered in his blood, her small, swift hands inside his body, the tears running down her face as she worked. He passed out again.

He wasn’t awake again for a while and the next time he woke, he was back in the tower, along with all the other Avengers, all looking a little worse for the wear. Bucky was sound asleep, looking exhausted, and everyone else was asleep, everyone except Anya. She looked his vitals over and when he finally got the nerve to ask her why she helped him, she gave an answer that made him feel even worse about the way he had treated her. She did it for the people that needed him, and for him, and because it was the right thing to do. He felt terrible as Anya moved away from him and checked on his teammates, one by one.

He felt even worse when Bucky woke up and told him everything, including how the others had turned on her and she still came back to help them, even calming the Hulk down. Anya had saved Steve’s life, not once, not twice, but three times. Stopped him from drowning, performed emergency surgery, and removed the dangerous chemical from his body, and the bodies of everyone else. And he had hit her, been nothing but insecure, jealous and terrible. If his Ma was alive, she would have killed him. But he was no longer the only one that needed to talk to Anya and apologize. But given how he behaved to her in the past, he felt he should be the first one.

When the elevators slammed shut and Anya left the Avengers in the medbay with a big ‘fuck you all,’ Steve couldn’t tell if he was angry, sad or hopelessly turned on. The omega hadn’t taken their apology, hadn’t forgiven them on the spot, which must have cost her to completely override her omega instincts. Or they just hurt her so bad her own instincts said ‘fuck you all’ right along with the rest of her. Steve looked from one Avenger to another, ad could see the shock and some awe on their faces; Wanda and Vision looked a little confused, while Clint looked amused and Nat looked almost impressed. Coulson looked like he had a massive mess to clean up now, and Sam was still a little out of it. But Tony, he looked like he might be tearing up, the same look he had when they learned of Coulson’s ‘death.’ It was like someone had ripped his heart out, and he knew he deserved to have his heart ripped out. Bucky had the kicked puppy look on his face and had trouble looking anyone in the face. Anya and he had gotten close, so his betrayal had hit her the hardest.

Steve later learned she moved out of the tower, quit her job with Stark Industries, and Clint had found her in a bed, passed out drunk, covered in pills. He assumed she had wanted to kill herself, but something stopped her; that was the night she had a friend send Coulson the link to the chemical that was destroying everyone’s bodies. But the idea that they pushed her to want to kill herself, that it would have been their fault, more Steve’s fault than anyone’s considering everything he did to her; no wonder she didn’t take their apology.

As Steve lay on the bed in medbay and looked up at the boring ceiling and the machine around them beeped, the sound of the elevator letting Anya out on the main floor exiting up the shaft, he knew this would take a lot of work to get her back.

And as much as he didn’t want to admit it, they needed her back.

Chapter Text

Anya spent almost 2 hours in traffic and was late to the diner, and was ready to apologize to Alex, but was surprised when he arrived just seconds before her. He looked like he’d been through hell, and had a rising bruise under his left eye. Anya walked up to him, reaching out to his face on instinct and looked at it. His own knuckles were busted and bloody, and he carried a copy of a police report in his hands.
“Someone tried to steal my car,” he said, his voice tired and Anya could smell blood in his mouth, though very faint.

“Let’s get some ice for that.” Anya pulled Alex by his wrist into the diner and immediately asked a waitress for some ice and water; she looked at the injured alpha behind Anya and nodded, coming back seconds later with a small baggie of ice, a cup of water and some bandages. The waitress nudged Anya aside with a faint glare and Anya could smell the arousal coming from her, though it looked like Alex couldn’t, and Anya just let the beta waitress fix him up. She was too emotionally exhausted to bother fighting over someone that wasn’t even hers.

When the waitress was finally done doting on Alex, he and Anya sat at a table and talked for a moment. She immediately asked if he was alright, and that he could have texted her and rescheduled, she would understand. Instead, he shook his head and said, “I made a promise to be here, nothing would stop me from keeping it.” Despite the cheesiness of it, Anya found her inner omega touched by his follow-through; Alex told her that someone in a mask cornered him in his work parking lot, outside Abetrex, a sales company that sold machine parts around the world, and tried to carjack him at knifepoint.

“Knifepoint? Really?” Anya had a smirk on her face; like bringing a knife to a gun fight, taking one someone as physically fit as Alex. She told him about the robber she knocked out in the coffee shop, and he laughed as she told him about the moron leaving his safety on. “I know, right, like that’s World’s Dumbest Criminals worthy. And the store owner was more than happy to tie the bastard up. I think he gave the bastard a blood lip before the cops arrived.” Alex laughed with Anya and they moved to other topics, mostly about one another. Alex worked as a sales manager at Abetrex, and was just promoted, and wanted to move up to be the CEO, if he didn’t get into the NFL. Anya had seen him play once, just in practice, but the man had some serious aim, and skills, but what made him unique was his fast feet. He could move and run, and lacked bulk, like so many other quarterbacks; rather than fight a sack, he could run away from it.

Anya paused when he asked her about her job as their food arrived and the waitress took her time smiling and batting her eyelashes and ran her hands on Alex’s shoulder when she did, and then she accidentally-on-purpose dropping some sauce on Anya. Anya sent her a scathing look and decided not to give the woman a tip; seriously, the waitress was acting like a petulant teen. Alex ignored the waitress’s obvious suggestive behavior and continued his conversation with Anya. Through the entire conversation, her inner omega was enjoying the undivided attention of an attractive, young and virile alpha. But everything else in her was telling her to get away from his as fast as possible; nothing ever good came from being near an alpha. Not even Captain America, the country’s alpha golden boy, could be trusted.

“Anya, are you alright?” Alex brought Anya from her inner thoughts and she shook herself mentally and returned her mind to the diner. She ate a few bites before admitting she left Stark Industries, but already had another job lined up and was starting in 2 days. She wasn’t honest when she said where she was working, because Alex would probably judge, but the money was good and the boss didn’t ask too many questions.

After about an hour of talking and just enjoying one another’s company, Anya and Alex left the diner; Alex asked if she wanted to do it again, maybe see a movie. Once again, her inner omega and her mind were warring with one another, trying to pummel on another into submission, until her inner omega won out. “Sounds good. Wanna see a movie? That new Matt Damon movie is supposed to be good. I’ll buy popcorn and drinks,” Anya offered and Alex tried to talk her down from it, that he would buy it all, but Anya persisted, and eventually, he gave in.

“You are the most passionate omega I have ever met. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you more. I’ll see you next Tuesday.” Alex finished his rather cheesy goodbye with a peck on Anya’s cheek, and she flinched in reflex, the powerful smell of alpha making everything in her body clench up, ready for an attack.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” he said, giving her his best doe eyes and making her inner omega pant with happiness and horniness. Her instincts sensed something wrong. With so many conflicting feelings, she just nodded to him and shook his hand in farewell. She noticed he tossed the waitress’s number, which she had given him, into the garbage. Her inner omega sang.

Back at Lisa’s house, the beta woman was waiting just inside the door to get every detail she could about the date, and it was nice for Anya to talk to someone about it. She couldn’t shake this feeling that Alex would want something from her, something she wouldn’t give him, or that he might hurt her, but the omega side of her was slowly pushing those worries away, shoving them into a dark closet where all her others fears and PTSD-worthy memories lived.

“You’re not used to alphas being nice to you; I mean, you expect to be jumped by every alpha you see on the street and you’re constantly tense around them.” Lisa pulled Anya from her confused mind and was grateful for her friend. They sat at the table, sipping tea and Anya noticed the house was indeed cleaned from top to bottom and smelt like lemons and fresh air. A spring storm rumbled in the west and promised wind and rain, and the clean smell of ozone traveled on the increasing breeze.
It was late, after 9, so both women decided to watch a movie on the couch.

Around 3am, Anya woke up to the feeling of someone watching her; she wandered into her bed in a sleepy daze a few hours ago, and collapsed without changing her clothes. She looked out her window, rain pummeling the glass and making everything outside in the dim yellow streetlight hazy and wavering, but she could faintly make out the image of something big in a neighbor’s tree. Seriously, the avengers were having her tailed now, they couldn’t just leave her alone and come to see her themselves? She felt anger flare in her chest and she snuck to the far side of the house and slunk stealthily out the window and around to the corner of the house, where she could see the tree.

Someone was definitely in the tree, covered in a thick camo blanket covered in fake leaves and their face painted with black paint. Lightning illuminated their face and silhouette, giving them an ominous, almost evil look; Anya was below the tree before the man in it realized she was out of his sight, but it was too late for him. She was pulling him down by his pants leg and he collapsed onto his back hard, and stared at her in anger, embarrassment and confusion. That lasted only a moment, then he was moving something in his mouth, a flash of lightning making his eyes look crazed, and he mouthed something just as a rolling clap of thunder echoed overhead. Someone shouted to her form their yard and Anya looked up to see a neighbor shouting at her; when she looked back at the man on the ground, she took several steps back, staring at the man at the base of the massive tree.

He was foaming at the mouth, white froth oozing from between his clenched teeth and lips, and his eyes were blank and dead. Somehow, he had just died; when the neighbor came out to yell at Anya to her face, the older woman spied the dead man on the ground and let out a piercing scream, enough to wake half the neighborhood, including Lisa and Patrick. Patrick emerged seconds later, bat in his hand, Lisa staring out the window, nose pressed so close to the glass she was fogging it up, and had to wipe it away. She emerged from the safety of her house moments later, coming to stand beside Anya, hand on the shocked omega’s shoulder, staring down at the dead man. She’d never seen a dead person before, not even at funerals; Patrick pulled his wife back inside the house and shot Anya a look that demanded an explanation. She nodded to him, promising him one.

Before the police arrived, which would be over an hour according to the message the generic 911 operator voice stated, Anya looked the man over, trying to figure out where he came from, or who he reported to. She could smell a terrible, bitter almond smell on him and knew it was cyanide that killed him; someone made a face as they looked at the dead man too. About 20% of the world could smell cyanide if close enough, and it smelt like ‘too bitter to be eaten’ almonds. He also seemed to be missing part of a front tooth, though Anya swore he had all of his teeth when she looked down at him just after yanking him unceremoniously from the tree.

A tattoo marked his neck and Anya took a photo of it, wanting to get out of the pouring rain to think everything over; as soon as she was back in the house, Lisa was at her side, asking if she was alright, and Anya nodded. She was more shell-shocked than anything, confused, and now bordering on very paranoid and jumpy. At the kitchen table as Lisa poured everyone some tea to warm up, Anya pulled up the photo of the small tattoo on the man’s neck and looked it over. She knew she’s seen it somewhere before, on several people, but she couldn’t remember where; as she sat and looked at the photo, she pulled out a Stark pad, which she was just ‘borrowing’ but probably wouldn’t return, (Stark owed her that much) and looked up similar images. It didn’t take long before she was staring down, angry, nervous and protective of her friends all at once, at the same tattoo, and a caption underneath it.

A skull, with several octopus legs coming out the bottom.

Hydra.

Fuck.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anya couldn’t sleep the rest of the night, looking out the window, concerned someone would come looking for their comrade; when the sun rose, she was exhausted, and needing some sleep, but wouldn’t get it now. She told Patrick the truth, that man was probably here for her, and Patrick had wanted Anya to leave the house, which made Lisa shout back at him, and which escalated into a massive shouting match between the couple. Anya would not be the reason those 2, who were deeply in love with one another and Anya was secretly jealous of, ended up with a rift between them.

So she packed her things and moved out that morning, though she promised to text Lisa at least every few days. She would stay in a motel for a few days, at least until she started working and got some money to put down for an apartment. She was wishing Coulson had never pulled her from her old apartment; moving from that small space to the Stark Tower had just turned into one big clusterfuck.

One thing Anya had to look forward to was the girls’ day out; she, Lisa and several of their friends would meet up and get some lunch, then get their nails and toes done, watch a romcom movie together (Anya would sleep through the entire thing), then get some coffee and wander the mall, before sitting down and chatting over some cheap dinner. It wasn’t special, and there wouldn’t be any booze involved. Several of their friends had young kids, and couldn’t be out too late, but the day away from their families would be nice.

Anya met up everyone at a sushi place, one of the popular places to go for larger parties, and Lisa had invited everyone she knew; there were a total of 14 of them, including Lisa and Anya, and they all introduced themselves, some not knowing each other, and then they sat at a table for some sushi and tempura. They talked about normal things at first: their families, what they did for a living, what they did in their spare time if they had any. There were 2 other omegas in the group, and Anya didn’t feel so out of place as some alphas sniffed their way, catching the omega scent in the air, over the smell of fish, spicy wasabi and heavy cologne from some rich business men that kept looking their way.

Anya was enjoying herself as she ate the sushi with chopsticks, and poked gentle fun at some of the ladies that had no idea how to hold them; one of the women managed to poke herself in the nose with a chopstick. In the nose. Anya still wasn’t sure how she managed that.

When dessert arrived and they all shared some ice cream and tiramisu, the conversation slipped into the crime and the Avengers. Anya could feel several of the women looking at her, and she didn’t want to relive what happened in the tower, but didn’t think they would leave it alone until she did. And she was having too much fun to be the one to ruin it.

“I don’t know about the Avengers anymore. We had a, I guess you would call it a falling out. They accused me of something I didn’t do, and then think a half-hearted ‘sorry’ would be enough. After all the shit Captain Asshole put me through…” Anya stopped herself when she saw everyone was staring at her, and the familiar creeping sensation traveled up her spine and into her brain, making her want to lash out or run in sheer panic.

“Captain Asshole? That’s what you think of Captain America?” one of the ladies said and Anya noticed she had a Captain America keychain on her purse. “He was to me. He was being a territorial alpha prick, and had no reason to. I even explained it to him he didn’t need to worry, but he still…” Anya stopped and called the waitress forward. “Sake please.” Lisa sent Anya a glare, which she ignored. She needed a drink to calm her nerves and not go into another panic attack.

“Don’t worry, most of the Avengers will be cleared later today, and things will calm down.” Anya almost said everything would be fine, but nothing would be fine for a while, not with all the shit the Avengers had to clean up. And that made Anya think of something she still needed to do.

“Instead of watching a movie, you wanna live one?”

An hour later, they were walking from the drop-off point just north of the blockade to Lower Manhattan.

She showed her ID to the man that was too busy talking about his knot to notice the other women with her, and didn’t bother to check their IDs; Anya could play weak-minded alphas like a Jedi mind trick when she needed to, or just wanted to. They walked about a mile before the first massive robot spider came into view and Anya could hear the women’s’ collective gasping.

“They’re safe to touch, don’t worry. The radiation faded days ago.” Anya pulled out her Stark pad and activated JARVIS, who started scanning the remains of the robot spiders. Someone was trying to take the things apart, but was failing with how intricate and sturdy the things were. Anya touched her face subconsciously, remembering where she’d been burned by the exploding robot spiders; it had completely healed and was now just a little sensitive to touch. As she scanned the remains and the others looked the robot spiders over, Lisa reaching out to touch it and pulling her hand back as if burned, then reaching out again to pull off a tiny piece of metal and slipping it into her purse, JARVIS flashed more information on the screen, including chemical composition.

Something caught her attention, metal pieces sticking out from the side and she scanned them next, because she couldn’t tell what they were made of, and something about them made her hair stand on end. Seconds later, she was telling the ladies to put the metal pieces back and step away from the robot spiders.

“What?” Lisa whined as she pulled the small metal piece from her purse and tossed it on the ground, looking crest-fallen.

“JARVIS just confirmed it, the robot spiders are alien.”

The silence was long and intense, filled with tension and painful memoires. Most of the women had lived in or around NYC when the Battle of NY happened. One of them lost her brother when the aliens blew up his workplace.

“You’re sure? Like, for real?” Lisa asked as she looked over Anya’s shoulder at the Stark pad; Anya was already dialing Stark in the medbay, which he wasn’t supposed to leave until he was cleared that night. But of course, he was in his lab, working on something.

Anya got Dr. Banner instead, and once more had a faint fangasm moment, which Lisa spied and nudged her playfully in the shoulder for.

“Dr. Banner, did you get the scans I just sent you? I med your opinion on them to be sure, but I think those robot spiders are alien.” There was silence on the other end of the line for a few tense moments, then he came back, discerning and inquisitive. “You’re right, Anya, there are elements here that are not native to earth, and some that JARVIS can’t ID. Tony’s in the workshop now, I can patch you through to him.” “It’s alright, Dr. I sent him the info already, he should be getting it any second.”

Dr. Banner was silent for a moment, and she could tell he was looking at the screen where her call was coming from, contemplating her. “They really fucked up, didn’t they?” Banner cursing surprised Anya and she stared at the screen, eyes widening for a moment. “Steve and Barnes told me what happened and they’re very sorry for what happened Anya. But they need you, and so does the rest of the team.” He sounded sincere, and not reading from a script, but he wasn’t the one that hurt her, and it wasn’t his apology she wanted.

“You didn’t do anything, Dr. Banner. They did. And I’m sick of just turning the other cheek when an alpha wrongs me and think some half-assed apology will make it all better, just because I’m omega. I’ve known how to ignore that ‘alpha command’ bullshit since I was 20. So if they want me back so bad, they can tell me themselves.”

There was stunned silence on both sides of the line, and Anya could feel the women staring at her, shocked and appalled, some looking at her like she might be their new hero. “I’m sorry, Dr. Banner. That was uncalled for. You aren’t the one that made me this way.” There was another moment of silence, then, “What if I missed you?” Anya stood in silence, wondering where that came from. “I miss your intellect and student enthusiasm. And I saw the notes you left behind on the serum for speeding up healing time, and I am impressed. You’re closer to Erskine’s serum than I ever got.” Anya felt herself blushing at the compliment coming from one of her idols.

“I’m staying away from the tower for a while. But I would like to meet you at the storehouse where the powersource for the robot spiders is being kept” Anya wasn’t going to betray the fact that she really, really wanted to pick the man’s brain about what he thought about her work, and his own work, and the robot spiders, and anything else she could think of.

“And what if I said the other guy missed you?” the stunned silence was like a ringing in her ears. Banner never talked about the other guy if he could help it, ever. “Tell him it was a pleasure meeting him. And that I would like to see him again, under less strenuous circumstances.” It was Banner’s turn to have a stunned silence on his end of the line. No one wanted to be near the other guy, not if they could help it, because it was dangerous. But Anya seemed to have faith and trust in both man and other half.

“Also, I’ve finished work on the serum. It’s further along than on the pages I left behind, and I would like to meet up with you and look them over some time. Maybe next week, when the alien robot spiders are taken care of?” wow, that wasn’t a phrase Anya ever thought she would say. Alien robot spiders: her life was weird.

After bidding one another goodbye and dodging the looks and questions everyone was shooting her, they left Lower Manhattan to catch the movie afterall. As Anya predicted, she fell asleep in the first few moments.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

About 8pm, Anya was heading back to her motel room, and was exhausted, ready to take a shower and crawl into bed. She had wolfed down a lot of food during dinner, and then she was suddenly so tired, she almost fell asleep into her bowl of soup. Lisa had yanked her out of the danger zone. In the shower, she stretched, feeling a twinge in her back where she’d been thrown into a door yesterday. It felt like it was a week ago that Barnes had panicked and thrown her into the door handle.

Out of the shower, she looked at the bruise and was surprised at how it was already yellowing and fading from existence. It looked like it was a week old already, not barely 24 hours old. That was healing very fast; she’d been a fast healer all her life, especially when it came to bruises, though she rarely got them, but this was bordering on super human healing. She hadn’t tried to make the serum, probably never would unless she found someone to back her since it would take at least a year to successfully create, and hadn’t done anything different to warrant the super speedy healing.

Her thoughts were pulled from this wonder when she felt someone enter the room from a vent and sighed. Only Barton would use a vent, and not the window or door. She dressed and poked her head out of the bathroom, finding the archer in a lumpy armchair, stretched out languidly and ankles crossed on the floor. He wore his Avengers tactical uniform, without the bow and arrows on his back, or accessories on his arm and hands. Despite his hands behind his head in a relaxed pose, Anya could sense the nerves and tension in his body, could see it in his eyes and shoulders.

“What’s wrong?” Anya could see him smirk at her, knowing she would figure out something was wrong. Her thoughts went to someone getting sick again in the tower, but pulled her mind from it; it wasn’t her concern, Dr. Banner could handle it if it was serious. He pulled his hands out in front of him and placed them on his muscular thighs, and Anya raised an eyebrow at his sudden nervousness.

“I need a favor.” He looked at her with worry in his eyes, so much so that Anya couldn’t stop her inner omega from making her blurt out, “what is it?” Barton shifted in his chair, then stood up and sat beside Anya on the bed, and when he got closer, she backed away from him in mild panic. He smelt like an alpha’s rut, powerful, choking and bringing back very painful memories for Anya. She gulped back the bile that was accumulating in her throat, and let him continue.

“I get you don’t like alphas. I don’t blame you, considering what an asshat Steve’s been and what you’ve been through. But I need a favor. A big one.” He paused and Anya was connecting the dots, from the rutting alpha smell on him to the worry on his face.

“Nat’s gone into rut, and she needs an omega before she hurts herself.”

“Fuck. No.”

Barton looked somewhat hurt at her speedy response, and he looked like he was at the end of his sanity as it was. Anya took a deep breath, trying to collect her thoughts, to get a grip on herself again. Her inner omega and her consciousness were on the same page, a big fat fast ‘hell to the fuck no.’ every time she had been near an alpha in rut, it brought her nothing but pain, loss and more terrible memories to repress. She could still hear and smell the rutting alphas in the bar when she tried to sleep at night, and sometimes during the day if she was triggered. Barton looked her with worried, pleading eyes and she felt her will slowly cracking. Barton had been nothing but nice to her, and he wasn’t an alpha, so they were destined to get along better than anyone else. She could also see he had his own alpha horror stories, written on his face.

Anya thought about Romanov. The woman was rather cold and never really gave anything away, but in terms of alphas, she was as courteous as Anya had met. Didn’t sniff Anya when she passed, didn’t make any moves, didn’t even seem interested and acted like Anya was a beta, rather than a mouth-watering omega like alpha instincts were programmed to do. Anya couldn’t find fault in either of them.
But she could still hear, see, smell, remember every time she’d been hurt by a rutting alpha; every time she’d been held down and taken, that powerful, choking smell in her nose, that growling sound in her ears, their body weight on her back, their nails digging into her arms to make her stop squirming, and their teeth biting into her neck.

Anya found herself shaking her head as she looked at Barton, unable to keep the bile out of her mouth when she was forced to remember those things, and rushed to the bathroom to spit it out. When she came back, Barton was right behind her, looking more desperate than ever.

“They have omega services for ruts, you know.” She breathed deep to clear her mind and stop the memories from flashing back, or she would have a full-blown panic attack right here. “I know, but we can’t bring someone else in, not when so many of the Avengers are still at risk.” “You mean while they’re vulnerable?” Anya crossed her arms, not feeling very forgiving but her resolve once more cracked as Barton looked at her once more with pleading eyes.

“I can’t promise I won’t try to attack her if I’m near her. I don’t handle the smell of rut very well.” Barton nodded. “I noticed. You can be drunk or high as a fucking kite for all we care.” “We?” Anya raised an eyebrow, wondering who else was involved. “If the others smell Nat’s rut for too long, they could go into rut too.” “I know how the biology works. Essentially, most of the Avengers would be tearing one another apart, and with 2 super soldiers on the team, they could kill each other. And when the rut lifted, the guilt would then settle in. as much of an asshole Rogers and Barnes could be, that was something she wouldn’t wish on them, and she wouldn’t want the others to be hurt either. Though still incredibly angry, she had a spot for several of the Avengers.

“So, you’re desperate, and need an omega that knows the Avengers already, and that you can trust to not kill them while in the Tower. I can’t promise I won’t lash out, Barton. I don’t handle alphas rutting. At all.” Barton nodded.

“I know, and I wouldn’t ask if there was something or someone else we could turn to. I wouldn’t want to put you in that kind of position. We all understand PTSD and all that flashback and trigger bullshit we have to live with. I’ve had shit experiences with alphas too. So I get what I’m asking of you.” If there was anyone that would understand, it would be Barton. He was a beta, but could occasionally smell like he was going into heat because he was a borderline, someone on the fringe of being an omega. He couldn’t bare children like male omegas, and the heats were never like what an omega went through, and technically weren’t even heats. He just smelt like it. But it would be enough for a greedy alpha. That much Anya could understand.

Anya stood up and paced in the room for a few moments, thinking everything over. She was Barton’s last hope, she could see it on his face; if Romanov’s rut lasted too long, she would hurt herself, and her broken shoulderblade, probably losing about 20% function on that side of her upper body, grounding her from work for months, maybe years, if not permanently. It could also make Coulson, Rogers, Barnes, Wilson and Rhodes go into a rut, and they would attack one another, completely devoid of higher brain functions. Wilson, Rhodes, and Coulson would probably end up severely injured or dead, and when the rut ended, the guilt would destroy Barnes and Rogers. As pissed as Anya was, she wasn’t cruel enough to wish that on the men.

But there was still the horrible experiences she had with rutting alphas: the pain, the rape, the terrible smells and sounds, and even worse memories and nightmares. She didn’t like alphas, she didn’t date alphas, she spent most of the last decade distancing herself from alphas.

‘But this time could change that track record.’ Her inner omega was talking to her, egging her on, pulling her to say yes to something her consciousness was screaming at her to say no to. Her inner omega stomped on her consciousness and came up with a sly reason to say yes: it would prove you rule alphas, and not the other way around. It would show you could get over your fear. Besides,’ her inner omega continued, sitting on a box where Anya’s consciousness had been stuffed by her inner omega, ‘it’s Romanov. As far as alphas go, she’s as beta as they come.’ That was true, Romanov was not a very alpha-ie alpha.

Her consciousness was losing ground, and Anya slowly looked at Barton, who was fidgeting on the bed, twirling a pen idly in his hands, as nervous as she had ever seen him.

“If I agree to this, no one else finds out.”

“No problem. I worked for SHIELD, we keep secrets.”

“No mentions about how I turned up drunk or high.”

“I so need to see that.” Barton huffed a laugh until he realized Anya wasn’t smiling, and was dead serious. “Not a word. Whatever you gotta do.”

“And if I back away or can’t follow through, no one tries to force me.”

“What the fuck do you think we are? We aren’t rapists.”

“Some alphas don’t give a shit, Barton.”

“Nat’s not some alpha. She’s strong-willed and won’t push it.”

“She’s a rutting alpha, there’s basically no higher brain function during a rut. But this is meant for you and Coulson too. You don’t try to force me to stay if I try to leave.”

“What kind of fucked up alphas have you met?”

“I want your word as an archer, Barton.” Barton’s eyes widened. It was more intense than asking him to place his hand on the bible for a devout Catholic.

“You have my word. I love Nat, but I won’t push you in that way. She wouldn’t forgive me either.” Barton was trying to lighten the mood, which had taken a very dark turn. Anya paused and waited, thinking if there was anything else she needed them to understand.

“If I panic, don’t touch me, let me calm down on my own.”

“I’m familiar with panic attacks and flahsbacks.”

Anya rubbed the back of her neck, and though she had a lot of shit for them to handle to take care of Anya, something on his face made her realize he knew all about it before coming to her. She gave him a lot of guidelines, and he wasn’t backing out, wasn’t changing his mind.

Anya sighed, her consciousness doing the same as her inner omega smiled gleefully, in triumph.

“Fuck me.” Anya muttered under her breath and wondered if Barton would come back with a quip for that, but he was showing professionalism and understanding that this was not a time for joking. It wasn’t like him to be so stiff and professional.

“Alright. I’ll do it. I agree to help Natasha Romanova through her rut.”

Barton clapped her on the shoulder gently and then pulled her in for a hard hug.

“Thank you.”

Anya smiled, but it came out more of a nervous grimace.

An hour later, they were standing outside Stark Tower, the sun long set, though lights were glowing from many floors near the middle of the tower, where the medbay and labs were.

Taking a deep breath, Barton’s hand on her back reassuringly, she stepped back into Stark Tower.

Chapter Text

Any took a shallow breath once she was inside the glass sliding doors and could smell the faintest hint of a rutting alpha, subdued through floors of concrete, and still in the early stages. In a few hours, the smell would be more pungent than the worst rotten fruit, sickly sweet, powerful and making other alphas take notice. If an omega didn’t help Romanova through the rut, other alphas would follow suit, their inner alpha seeing it as a challenge. Best friends, brothers, even lovers had been known to kill one another when in rut.

The smell was also subdued from Romanova’s own strength of will; while not in the full depths of rut, she still had some control over her body, and was doing her best to not project those pheromones through the entire tower. Anya’s sense of smell was far better than most, so no one else in the lower levels of the tower had smelt it yet, but in an hour or so, every beta would be running for the hills, every omega would either do the same or want to seek out the rutting alpha, and every alpha would be snarling, teeth bared, ready to rip out throats.

Clint was moping because the vents had been closed to keep the scent of rut from traveling through the entire building. Like Anya, Coulson was worried about the scent reaching the still healing Rogers, or any of the other super hero alphas in the tower. Best friends or not, they wouldn’t be able to stop from tearing into one another after a few hours of entering their own rut.

That was only one reason, and not the main reason, Anya avoided rutting alphas like the plague. She’d been on the receiving end of a rutting alpha, several times, and it hadn’t been her choice; when it was over, she couldn’t move for a few weeks as her broken pelvis healed. But that didn’t stop another rutting alpha from taking her less than a week after her pelvis and been broken. Most of that rut was nothing but a hazy memory for her, since she passed out from pain a few minutes after every time she woke up.

She stopped, feeling a hand on her back and realized she was on the verge of another panic attack, and Barton and sensed it. He and them too, she had seen him have one since living in the tower, and from the mumbling he did, it was about Loki and the mind control. But everyone in the tower and a panic attack, at least once a month; they were all one big PTSD family.

In the elevator on the way up, the smell of rutting alpha was getting stronger, and Anya could hear shouting and very angry cursing in Russian, then noises like someone had just strained a wound. Remembering Romanova had a broken shoulder blade, she worried about hurting the woman more if she flashed into another panic attack. Coulson appeared at the elevator and got in a few floors below Romanova, briefing Anya and Barton about what happened. Despite his efforts, the smell of rutting alpha was already starting to affect Rogers, who had the most sensitive nose of the bunch.

“Well, fuck,” Anya and Barton said at the same time and Coulson looked at them, almost like they had choreographed the sentiment. The 2 of them had a lot in common, from being self-taught shooters, to preferring arrows over bullets, and both had suffered at the hands of their parents at young ages, though Barton was at a younger age than Anya had been. Barton gripped his hand onto Anya’s back a little tighter, fearing she might back out; Anya wouldn’t back out from helping Romanova, she had made a promise, and as far as alphas went, Romanova was as bearable as they came. Rogers, on the other hand, was one of her least favorite alphas of the week.

Anya pushed a button to get to the roof outcrop, where the booze was kept and Barton said nothing, as promised, but Coulson gave her a look.

“You want me to help? I need to be halfway to shitfaced first.”

A few minutes later, at the party floor just below the penthouse apartment where Tony lived, though he was still in his lab trying to help the Avengers cope with the shit they needed to deal with once out of medbay, Anya was pulling out a bottle of some very fine vodka from the bar, and looked it over before grabbing a bucket of ice, glasses and a straw, then shoved them all in Barton’s hands. He said nothing, but counted 4 glasses and wondered why.

Back in the elevator, the smell of rutting alpha was getting stronger by the second, so Romanova was moments from entering the mindless need-to-be-fucking stage; memories flooded back as the powerful smell hit her and Anya grabbed onto Coulson’s jacket, ripping it in her panic and she tried to turn and run away, only to run face first, and rather painfully, into the elevator wall. Barton offered her the opened bottle of vodka as the door opened, and she wasted no time in pouring a full glass and chugging it down.

“I bet you were a riot at college parties,” Barton said and the faint joke made Anya wince at the lameness of it, but she appreciated the sentiment all the same. “Never was invited. I suck at beer pong though. Maybe we should play Never Have I Ever,” Anya smiled as she poured another glass and sipped this one, then poured a smaller glass and walked over to Romanova slowly, hands up, showing the glass before placing it near the alpha’s nose and letting her smell it. Romanova’s eyes, now a deep, intense red, indicative of an alpha in full rut, flicked from the glass to Anya, then she growled, low and deep, meant to be a command to the omega to submit.

Anya fought the urge to punch Romanova; aside from being sure it would get her killed when the rut was over, she liked Romanova. No one had ever made a stronger, more capable woman, who was a deadly assassin, but still unfailingly loyal to her best friend, and former handler. Anya felt jealousy flare in her chest as she thought about the family those 3 were, how long they had been together and how they now had the Avengers as a family too.

Coulson sniffed the air, smelling Anya’s jealousy, and put a hand on her shoulder gently. Romanova snarled at the other alpha, despite respecting the hell out of the man, BAMF that Coulson was; Romanova would be embarrassed and angry with herself when this was over. Coulson had already forgiven her.

Anya pressed forward, running her hand over Romanova’s back where the restraints kept the woman immobile, so she wouldn’t injure herself further. As she looked at the red-haired assassin, she wondered how this was going to work. The alcohol was dulling her nerves, and she felt less panicky than before, but now she had no idea the logistics of it; Romanova was tied down on her back, while her broken shoulderblade healed. If she was going to help the woman through her rut, she needed to turn the alpha onto her back, but that would be painful, and might cause irreparable damage. Anya wouldn’t forgive herself if the assassin in the prime of her life suddenly lost range of motion because of her, even while trying to help.

Anya stood and stumbled, the vodka getting to her as Barton lifted the booze to Romanova’s mouth, who snarled at him, her best friend, and then tried to get out of the bond holding her down. Anya put her hand on the alpha, pulling Barton away from her, and started to undress her, carefully removing some of the lower restraints, and rubbing where the straps had agitated the alpha’s pale skin. She rubbed with her fingertips, gentle, then fell back on her ass and burst into laughter. Yep, she was drunk enough for this if she was able to laugh while in the presence of a rutting alpha.

Barton helped her to her feet, which made the rutting alpha pull against her restraints every more, snarling and making very aggressive sounds she would be embarrassed about later. Anya pushed the beta man away, his face concerned as he joined Coulson on the other side of the door, and when the lock engaged, Anya felt that fear again, that worry that she was trapped. It took a few moments for her to remember she wasn’t held captive, she wasn’t being forced into this, she had agreed to this. This had been her choice to help a friend in need.

She paused, and even in her inebriated state, that phrase, helping a friend, it felt weird on her tongue, but it was nice. She normally stayed as far away from alphas as possible. But Romanova wasn’t a normal alpha. She was barely an alpha, rarely acted like one and never smelt like one; but more than that, she didn’t treat Anya like most alphas did. Though she was a rather cold and stoic woman, she wasn’t domineering, aggressive, nothing like Rogers had been, and nothing like the other alphas Anya had met before. That was a main reason she had agreed.

Anya scooted on her ass across the floor so she was laying underneath the restrained Romanova, looking up at her and those bright red eyes; the alpha licked her lips and let out a faint purring sound, and Anya’s inner omega was all but panting at the sound. It was meant to calm, communicate that the omega was safe. But her subconscious snarled and the anger must have translated to her face, because the red faded from Romanova’s irises for just a moment, to be replaced with the normal piercing green, then changed back to red. Anya had heard that purring sound before, and it always preceded pain, namely being forced.

Anya slid the zipper down all the way and pulled the jacket off slowly, carefully, then pulled out some scissors and cut the sleeves from her body and saw the relief on the alpha’s face. The woman needed a good wash. Anya cut up the legs, careful, slow, not making any sudden moves and risk triggering the assassin to try and attack her and injure herself more. Anya cut even more carefully around the swelling back, where flesh around the broken ribs and shattered shoulderblade puffed out against the uniform and made it unbearably tight. Romanova was oddly quiet, and when Anya looked, the woman’s eyes were closed, as if enjoying the attention from an omega. She probably was; even someone as wary and distrustful as Romanova couldn’t suppress her alpha instincts that purred and lavished in the undivided attention from an omega during a rut.

The outfit was pulled away and Anya let out a hiss as the black and blue all over the pale skin, and disappeared from the room for a moment, but it was long enough for the alpha to let out a roar of disapproval, calling the omega back to her. Stumbling as a wave of rut-pheromones hit her, Anya returned with towelettes, lotion for the bruises and some ice in baggies wrapped in damp cloths. Anya cleaned every inch of skin on the alpha first, oddly calm, considering the last time Anya had been close to an alpha in rut she had put him in a coma for a week. But it was Romanova, someone that wasn’t aggressive like most alphas, and most people didn’t know she was one: she used scent blockers to hide her true scent.

Anya rubbed the towelettes carefully over the bruised skin, looking everything over; even in her drunken state, she still wanted to make sure the woman was ok, and not hurt her even more. Anya cleaned everything, then when she came to the pelvis and rubbed her hand against the leaking cock, Romanova rubbed against Anya’s flesh, looking for relief.

“Soon, I promise,” Anya said and heard the alpha growl impatiently. Anya couldn’t suppress a smirk as she rubbed lotion and cream on the bruises, taking care not to hurt the woman, but got a hiss when Anya moved to the sides where the broken ribs were, and the massive black and blue bruising extending from below her armpit to her small waist. Anya pulled her hand back and used some medical tape to keep some ice there, let the cold numb the pain and ease the heat from the swelling, and after a few moments, the alpha calmed and enjoyed the omega’s hands on her back once more.

Anya hesitated, still not sure how this was going to work, but she had an idea to start off easy. A blow job should take the edge off for Romanova, and make her stop moving, body rocking against the bed to get some much needed friction. Anya moved Romanova gently to be on her right side, so the left was in the air and not putting pressure on the wounds, exposing the leaking member and the alpha’s eyes got wider, and her hips were gyrating faster, sensing what was coming. Anya knew this wouldn’t work if she was completely clothed, so she stripped and the alpha’s eyes got even wider, and she purred in happiness as Anya’s own nipples perked up, the colder air hitting her.

Anya stood before the rutting alpha, and looked her in the eyes, still red and fierce and demanding, now trying to get free from the remaining restraints to the omega before her, completely naked and clearly offering herself to the rutting alpha.

Anya knelt down, looking at the modestly sized cock; female alpha cocks were much smaller than their male counterparts, not much more than 5 inches long and 2 slim fingers wide, but still had a knot on them to lock them in place. Being so much smaller and having no gag reflex herself, Anya could just hold the entire thing in her mouth, knot and all, to help take the worst of the edge off for Romanova. If she jumped straight into sex like most alphas wanted, Anya knew she would panic, and might end up hurting, even killing, Romanova in the process.

Anya sat on the bed with Romanova, and the anticipation was clear on the woman’s face, she was more than ready to start, but Anya needed a moment to bring her mind back from the things her senses were reminding her of. Pain, alphas in rut forcing her, holding her down, purring in her ear of how good they were for her, even as she cried and tried to push them off. The pain of the knot, for her small, inexperienced body, stuck in her mind more than most things. She wouldn’t be able to have Romanova’s knot inside her, no matter what the alpha tried. She would attack Romanova, no question.

Anya looked back down at Romanova, remembering who this was, and how not-alpha she was normally. Taking a breath, and pulling out her tongue and making every movement obvious, she placed a little kitten lick on the head of the alpha’s cock.

The spasm in the alpha’s body made Anya pull up, worried the woman would hurt herself, but the ice bag hadn’t even moved, and nothing on her face or in her body language betrayed she was in any more pain than before. Lowering herself again, Anya licked the head a few times, daintily, before lowering her head and wrapping her mouth around the head and rubbing her hand, slicked with pre-cum, up and down the shaft, feeling the knot as she moved down to the base.

Romanova was already so far along, so desperate, this wouldn’t take long; Anya pushed the entire member in her mouth, her nose rubbing into the shaved pelvis of the alpha and felt the woman moving her hips to buck up into her mouth, occasionally hitting the back of her throat. Again, Anya had no gag reflex and let the alpha do it, watching her upper body to make sure she didn’t move her wounds or injured shoulder too much.

Seconds later, Anya felt the knot swelling against her tongue and teeth, and moved so it wouldn’t get hurt by her teeth, so the knot rubbed against her tongue. Romanova made a faint noise, then Anya could taste the salty, bitter warmth of cum sliding down her throat as the knot pressed against her tongue, and the small cock twitched in her mouth, taking up most of her mouth with its size, but not choking her. Anya had taken much bigger. Anya sucked on the knot and cock, tongue moving over the vein on the bottom gently, helping the alpha ride out the orgasm, then it stopped and the alpha was panting, her eyes lidded as she shook with bliss.

Now was the hard part: staying like this until the knot went down. Anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Though her jaw wouldn’t hurt from holding it open for so long, the booze was making her giggly, and stir-crazy and she wanted to move after a few short minutes. She stopped when she felt someone petting her hair and jumped, only for hands to rest on her shoulders, gently, not pushing her down, and another subdued alpha smell hit her.

Romanova snarled at Coulson, but it was half-hearted, and barely there. Anya looked up at the man, who stroked her hair, since Romanova couldn’t reach. After any kind of sec, but especially during a heat or rut, omegas like being stroked through their hair, have warm and gentle fingers run up and down their necks, behind their ears, and get kisses where their neck joined their shoulders. These were erogenous zones for most omegas, and made them putty in alphas’ hands.

But all Anya did was panic. She elbowed the man drunkenly in his chest and he caught her arm as she pulled it away, her eyes wide and now moving around, and she tried to pull her mouth off the knot, but Coulson stood behind her, hands on her shoulders this time, rubbing up and down in a calming, non-sexual manner. If Anya pulled from the knot, it would hurt the alpha, and would make her even more volatile and likely to lash out at the omega, and the new alpha, whom she saw as a threat to her territory, which included the omega servicing her.

Anya took deep breaths through her nose and calmed herself, the booze already wearing off, which was odd, since it barely took effect. This must be how Barnes felt, not being able to get drunk for long, since his metabolism ran about 3-4 times faster than normal. Rogers couldn’t get drunk at all, even if downing some 180-proof booze. Anya vaguely thought that had to suck; she’d spent a significant amount of her time since leaving her captors drunk, if only to not feel anything, and to forget. This last year she had managed to taper off the drinking, but since becoming a fixture with the Avengers, it had gotten worse. Maybe she should see someone.

Her thoughts were pulled back to the present when the knot subsided in her mouth and with an obscene ‘pop’ fell from her mouth. Romanova was looking at her again, ready for another round; alphas in rut had almost no refractory period, and wouldn’t stop for hours at a time, until their bodies were satisfied. Giving her blowjob after blowjob wouldn’t work for the alpha, Anya knew that, but she was trying to stall the inevitable. She didn’t want to feel that knot inside her, she really didn’t, but the alpha’s rut would only get worse, and would put all the other alphas in the building into rut at the same time, and that would result in nothing but a bloodbath.

Anya slid away from the alpha, who growled at her, trying to get her to obey the alpha’s wishes, and Anya gripped her glass so hard as another flashback hit her it shattered in her hand, and she started bleeding from her hand and cheek, where a shard had hit her.

It was like she was back in that room again, where alpha after alpha, some in rut, some not, visited her and made her cry and squirm under her. One time she managed to get away from one, out of her restraints and had pushed him off her, the old man no match for her fury. Until he growled at her in that same tone, like an alpha command voice, and her legs were stopping her without her say so. The man had smiled darkly at her, sneering at her as she turned to face him, again with her consent, her mind wanting to run away from him, but her legs and body moving towards the alpha though her mind screamed to run and get away. She stopped half a foot from the bed and the alpha growled at her again, and she climbed back on the bed and presented herself to him, her body no longer following what her mind was telling it to do.
“Good little bitch,” the alpha had said, the sneer heavy in his voice, then he pounded into her harder than before. He ended up being the one to break her pelvis; he said it was punishment for trying to get away, to make sure she wouldn’t try it again, and she spent a week afterwards passing in and out of consciousness from pain.

Anya looked up from the floor, where she had curled into a tight ball and realized she was crying, feeling the tears racing down her cheeks. Romanova was whining a rare sound for an alpha to make, but in rut, her instincts were in overdrive, and right now, her instincts demanded she comfort the omega that was servicing her, and slowly and brutally murder whoever was making her so scared. Romanova was too late to that party: he was one of the first Anya had killed in her bid for freedom. That room flashed back into her mind, that day she managed to escape after learning of a plan for her, after learning she was running out of time, and she smelt an alpha coming towards, her, not realizing who it was. So when the alpha was close enough, Anya pounced, and had her hands around the neck of the man, then screamed and thrashed as a beta came up behind her and pulled her off.

She could hear the beta shouting at her, and the hoarse coughing of the alpha, and the alpha took a step towards her. This made her panic more, they were coming for her, coming to take her away and fly her somewhere she would never be able to escape. She spun around in the beta’s grip and lashed out and felt the man let her go as his nose spouted blood, the roar of another alpha, though farther away, loud in the room; cool hands wrapped around her wrists, gentle, and the beta stood beside her again, rubbing his calloused hands up and down her arms, not restraining her, not holding her back.

Anya look at the alpha holding her, and the illusion of that dark, hated room faded from view, swimming like the haze from a hot road, to be replaced by the calm, confident face of Coulson, who was sporting red marks on his neck. Anya looked to the other side and could see Barton, drying blood on his face and spots of it on his neck ad shirt. And now Anya felt ashamed of herself. She sunk to the ground, the men following her, Barton rubbing her arms still and Coulson letting her wrists go to put his hands around her torso and pull her into a gentle, open hug. She held back her tears, the shame she felt as she realized what a mess she’d made; when she said yes, she thought this would be her chance, the time she would prove that alphas no longer had that stranglehold on her psyche. She fucked it up already, and she was here barely an hour.

As she let herself calm down, and the pain in her hand was grounding her and pulling her mind back to the present, she looked up at Coulson, who was looking at her with kindness, not pity or worry. She glanced over at Barton, who was smirking at her, like he was proud of her for something.

“What?” she finally asked when his smirk had no signs of fading.

“Only Nat and Phil can get the jump on me. I’m impressed,” he motioned to his slightly swollen nose and Anya felt an odd swooping feeling, a mixture of exasperation, elation and confusion. She couldn’t stop the laugh she barked out and Barton smiled at her then pulled her in for a one-armed hug, and she rested her head against his muscular shoulder, enjoying the steady heartbeat she could hear.

Hmm…she’d never been able to hear someone’s heartbeat through so much clothing before. She dismissed it as adrenaline making her senses sharper, and pulled her head off him. She looked from one man to another, then decided to make light of the moment to ease her guilt and self-loathing.

“Why haven’t you 2 gotten together yet? I can taste the sexual tension between you. Mmm…reminds me of snickerdoodles.” Barton barked out a laugh a lot like hers, then both looked at Coulson. He was actually, honestly blushing; it was faint, barely there but there was no mistaking the light pink hues on his cheekbones or the heat radiating from his neck. Anya smiled wide and got up, pulling the other glasses to her chest and poured them both some vodka, then took a long swig herself, her glass broken.

Her hand twinged as she moved it and looked down; the pieces of glass were being forced from her hand, like splinters, but it should be too soon for that. The bleeding had already stopped, and the edges of the cuts were showing faint pinking, signs of early healing. She’d never healed this fast before. She’d normally need to fish the glass out herself and it would take a few days before that pinking appeared; she pulled her mind from this as Romanova roared again, growling and trying to get the omega’s attention.

“Tell you what; you 2 talk, and I’ll help Romanova. Deal?” Anya got up before they had a chance to respond, guzzling down another mouthful of the smooth vodka, and walked over to the alpha tied to the bed. That sounded very kinky in her head.

It took a few moments but the booze was already starting to relax her muscles and now the smell of 2 alphas in the room wasn’t making her want to strangle someone, or run away screaming. She slid onto the bed, lacking all grace as she almost fell off again, but was still conscious enough to avoid hurting the alpha anymore. She ran her hands down the alpha’s uninjured side and felt the shivers under her fingertips; Romanova was already hard, leaking more precum, but this was for Anya. If she let the alpha slide in now, it would hurt, not matter how small the alpha was. She was trying to get her own body to produce some slick, or get her aroused in some way that she might not completely lose it once she felt the knot swelling inside her.

But the smell of arousal hit her from across the room and she saw Coulson and Barton, sitting on the floor still, talking to one another, the blush in Coulson’s face getting worse and the smirk on Barton’s face growing, looking very pleased with himself. It seemed like Coulson had just admitted something embarrassing. Anya looked back down at Romanova, still not feeling anything, and she knew it would be hard for her to get slicked up, since she no longer had the normal omega organs in her body, not since the emergency surgery after that bar of rutting alphas. Sighing inwardly to herself, she licked 2 fingers, getting them wet with a mixture of spit and vodka, then slid a finger inside herself.

The feeling was odd, since most sexual acts brought back very painful and panic-inducing memories, so she never indulged in ‘the omega’ side of herself. She hated that stereotype, that omegas needed sex all the time; it was complete bullshit alphas told themselves to feel more important and justify rape when an omega told them ‘no.

A slurping sound made Anya looked behind her; Coulson and Barton had abandoned their glasses, and were no both slightly red faced, bleary-eyed, and slack-jawed, and were making out. Anya could see their tongues fighting one another for dominance as Coulson moved closer to Barton, his hands on the younger man’s hips.

Yep, now she was aroused.

She pulled her finger out and smirked at the men, before turning back to the faintly growling alpha, who was trying to get her attention again. Anya looked down at the leaking cock, Romanova’s hips moving to try and entice the omega; that didn’t work on Anya, she filtered that shit out years ago, but she still lifted herself up, placed a chaste kiss on Romanova’s hair, and slid herself down, inch by inch.

It was a completely new feeling, being able to say no, having the control of whether or not she wanted it; it was a nice feeling, knowing she could pull of and walk away if she started to panic. Having the control, having a say in it, it was all new to her; and that was really depressing.

Anya slid her hips down, feeling the alpha’s slim cock stretching her; despite its small size, it had been a while since Anya had anything inside her. Not since she escaped; so, almost 8 years. And that was also really depressing. Her own thoughts were killing the mood, until she hear an odd slurping sound behind her and turned around.

Coulson was now shirtless, his tie, shirt and jacket abandoned in a neat pile, designer pants undone a little bit, while Barton was unashamedly completely nude. The man was almost as well sculpted as Barnes and Rogers, with impressive arms indicative of his archery work, muscular thighs, really nice ass and toned mid-section. Was everyone on the Avengers walking sex?

Yep, pretty much.

Before turning back, aroused again, Anya spied a large scar on Coulson’s chest, right over his heart, looking like a large blade had sliced him open, and could see another, smaller version of the wound on his back. So, someone had stabbed him with a large blade in the back; it looked a few years old. Coulson could feel Anya looking at the wound and he let out a very faint smile at her; this was years of sexual tension being released. Aroused omegas had that effect on people around them, it wasn’t her fault.

Ok, maybe, but she would deny it. This was a long time coming.

Ha, coming.

Anya could feel the booze still messing with her head, making everything seem funny, and making her much more responsive to the alpha inside her as she moved her hips jerkily, trying to get the omega on top to pay attention.

“I can’t wait to tell you about this when you’re out of rut. Bet you’ve been trying to get them together for years.” Anya smiled down at Romanova, who was too deep in her rut to care about anything other than the tight omega heat wrapped around her cock, which was now so hard it hurt.

Anya looked down at the alpha again, lifted up her hips a few inches, and slid back down, carefully, slowly. The feeling was odd for her, being in control like this, but it was nice; it wasn’t mind-blowing like alphas liked to think it was. It was just there. But Anya didn’t feel the need to run away and panic, or attack the alpha, so, progress. A lot of progress.

Anya lifted her hips again, moving slowly and gently, aware the alpha wanted fast and hard, but her body wouldn’t be able to handle it, not with the injuries she had. Anya moved a little faster, sliding up and down fluidly on the twitching cock, and 3 balls-deep moves later, she felt the knot slowly swelling inside her.

She braced for it, sure it would make her panic, make her force herself off, ripping her own body open in her panic. The knot swelled to its full size, making that part of the cock as wide across as a golf ball, and Anya found it uncomfortable, having something so large in her after 8 years of complete celibacy.

She felt the booze fading from her mind, clearing the images in the room from the former slightly hazy objects, and knew that without the booze, she would completely lose it. She grabbed onto the bed, bracing herself, to keep herself on the knot, so she wouldn’t want to rip herself off and injure herself and the alpha, not wanting to make this any harder than it had to be.

Then nothing happened.

Anya sat on the bed, her ass flush with Romanova’s hipbones, balls against the curvy swell of her ass, warm cum slowly filling her as the cock inside twitched and spurted, the alpha blissed out beneath her.
There was no flashback, no impending panic attack, not even the sounds that preceded the panic. Nothing. Anya looked down at Romanova, who was holding onto Anya’s hip with her good arm rubbing small circles with her thumb, that purring sound coming from her throat again. And still nothing.

Anya felt tears in her eyes, happy tears as nothing gripped her heart in fear, she wasn’t compelled to rage at someone and try to end their life. She felt nothing coming, no imminent panic, no flashbacks. She felt nothing other than the slightly uncomfortable size of the knot inside her, the cold air of the blowing AC and the sounds of Barton and Coulson obviously working out their sexual tension.

Barton was sucking off the older man, Coulson’s head tilted back in ecstasy, his knot trying to pop out. Anya knew that was her fault, the smell of an omega near him while being pleasured would make his body want to knot something.

Anya was aroused again.

For a few hours, Anya moved on Romanova’s cock, up and down, slow and careful, drinking deep from the vodka bottle when she felt like she might have another panic attack coming on, but she was still so shocked she hadn’t had one when she had been knotted. Each time the knot faded and the alpha cock slipped from her body, Anya stood up and let the copious amounts of cum leak from her body, cleaned it off, her legs and pelvis, then climbed back on the bed. Seriously, alphas had no refractory period in rut.

After a few hours of that, Anya expected to be exhausted, tired and needing a break, but found her stamina was just fine. She was sore, and seriously needing something to eat, but she wasn’t tired. She wasn’t going to complain about his new found stamina, but couldn’t help but wonder what was going on with her.

Coulson appearing moments later with loads of takeout, Chinese, broke her train of thought and she dug in, desperately hungry. She normally ate like a bird, not needing a lot of calories, but this time she wolfed down her first serving, using chopsticks with practiced ease, and was on her second plate before she slowed down to her usual eating speed. On her third serving, she felt better, fuller, but was once again contemplating the sheer amount of food she consumed. Writing it off as the rut pheromones also affecting her, and the constant sex for the last 4 hours, she opened her fortune cookie, read it with a raised eyebrow and tossed it aside before eating the cookie. Barton was at Romanova’s side, helping her eat, her free arm coming out and pulling food into her own mouth as he held the plate and helped her drink. She still couldn’t get off her side, or risk hurting herself.

About 30 minutes after eating, and not feeling all that full, Anya stood up and looked back at Romanova. The red in her eyes was less bright than before, and her scent was less pungent; her rut was fading as her body found itself satiated. Anya figured a few more hours, and the rut would be gone enough that the alpha’s brain functions would be back to normal, ad she would be herself enough to want to hate Anya. But Romanova wouldn’t hate Anya for long, she would be angrier with herself for losing control like that, though the rut wasn’t her fault. Then they would act like this never happened.

And that was just fine with Anya.

Anya crawled back on the bed, the red glowing brighter again in Romanova’s eyes as the omega lowered herself once more on the alpha’s cock, the cock twitching inside her before she started moving, the feeling of being surrounded by smooth, silky omega cunt enough to make each round short. The knot swelling inside Anya didn’t bring back bad memories, it only made her impatient, made her want to move around, mostly because she couldn’t. Anya felt an itch under her skin, telling her to move, to be active and run and jump and swim, to move around and not be in one place for too long. The knot deep inside her held her still, kept Anya from moving more than a few inches in any direction or the pull inside her body would be painful and cause short, painful spasms in her lower abdomen.

This was biology fucking with her, telling her to not move off the knot, no matter how uncomfortable it was, bordering on painful; it ensured the best chance of fertilization, the combination of the knot and the pain the omega felt from trying to get off of it. During heat, when the knot swelled inside them, omegas would instantly orgasm, regardless of how soon it was, biology rewarding them for taking it, and the spasming muscles would move the cum further into their bodies, increasing the odds of procreation.

Anya stayed on top of Romanova, whose rut was slowly easing and fading, the bright red dimming in her eyes, some green showing through in small pieces; like chunks of glass being removed from a wall to reveal another, prettier glass display behind it, the one that needed to be shown.

As the knot faded and Coulson came back in the room with some clean clothes and towels, Anya nodded her thanks to him. Speaking to another alpha while tied to an alpha in rut would definitely get her hurt, and Romanova was not herself enough to stop herself from hurting Anya, attacking her for daring to speak to another alpha.

Biology sucks, and definitely hates omegas.

When Anya looked back at Romanova, she could see the self-anger in her eyes and could see the rut was almost done, passing completely and leaving the alpha tired, filthy, covered in cum, and embarrassed, though it didn’t show on her face. But after being tied to her on and off for several hours, Anya could sense the tension in her body, rippling from her chest downward, and the knot faded almost completely, and Romanova’s cock receded, small and easy to hide under most clothing.

Feeling the tension in the woman beneath her, Anya got off fast, and offered her a towel, which Barton took, nodded to Anya and she knew she should leave. Cleaning herself off and not looking at Romanova, she slipped her clothes back on and left the room, taking all the fortune cookies and another serving of food with her. She was hungry again, and though she finished the Chinese food, she stopped at a fast food burger place and ordered 2 burgers before she was satisfied.

It had to be the calories she was burning, being near an alpha in rut, and helping one out, burned a lot of calories. That was true, but she shouldn’t feel so hungry; she shrugged it off, figuring it would fade when the smell of rutting alpha was washed off her body, she drove back to the motel and was wolf-whistled at as soon as she got out of the car. She smelt like recently fucked omega, rutting alpha and sex, lots and lots of sex. Ignoring the alphas that were whistling at her, she walked to her motel door, but a hand came from behind her and rested on the doorjamb, and the smell of aroused alpha hit her nose, setting her teeth on edge.

Some things wouldn’t change.

But now, she couldn’t just smell the alpha, she could hear his heartbeat, smell the cheap cologne he wore, hear every breath he made, and could even feel his other hand coming to her back. She reached around and grabbed it, reflexes faster than they had ever been, or had any right to be, and she yanked so hard on his arm she heard it crack loudly. He fell to the ground, yelling in pain, holding onto his lower arm, where Anya broke it with a simple twist and the bone was sticking out.

Her eyes were just as wide as the alphas, and she slipped into her motel room, quick and slammed the door shut. She leaned back against the metal door, gasping for air, her hand still on the knob. It wasn’t until she pulled away from the door and let go of the knob that she realized she had nearly crushed the hard metal doorknob, indents of her fingers obvious in the round metal casing.

What the fuck?

Anya sat on the bed, thinking, trying to figure out what was happening; no omega had this kind of strength after being with a rutting alpha, or when under threat, it was super human strength, like Barnes or Rogers.

Rogers.

Shit.

Anya suddenly remembered being covered in his blood, it spurting from his body and getting on her face, into her mouth, drying on her bare skin and clothes, until she took it off 2-3 hours later.
His super human blood which contained his DNA. But it wasn’t possible, it shouldn’t be possible.

That seemed like a flimsy reason in her own head; there was a lot not known about the serum, and in her own work, Anya had listed that the sped-up healing might transfer through blood or other bodily fluids from one person to another, though her serum was temporary. But her serum was chemically very similar, almost identical, to Erskine’s serum, it just focused on a particular effect of it.

She looked at her hands, where the glass had broken the skin, and how she should be digging out the glass pieces from fresh scabs.

The scabs were almost gone, fresh, pink skin showing up over most of each cut, leaving only the deepest ones still open to the air, red and scabbed over. As she stared, she could almost see the edge of the healing pink skin work their way inward, covering the open wounds. She stared for 15 minutes, after marking the starting point with a pen, and sure enough, the progress of the healing pink skin was obvious enough to make her consider the ramifications.

The more she thought about it, the more it made sense, if such a thing could make sense. The sudden need to move, increased stamina, the massive calorie needs, increased strength, heightened senses, even more than usual for her.

But she couldn’t jump to conclusions, not without confirming it, but she had no way to test it for herself, so she picked up her cell and called Dr. Banner.

“Hello, Anya. I heard you were in the tower today, I wish I had run into you.” Banner was smiling on the other end of the line, Anya could hear it in his voice, though subtle, and not many other people would be able to tell. And it wasn’t just because she knew the man very well, because she didn’t.

“I’m sorry, but I was in a hurry.” That was partially true. She didn’t want things to get more awkward with Romanova. Anya paused then spoke up again. “I need to ask a favor, Dr. Banner. And it needs to stay between us.”

Anya could hear the frown and worry in his voice, then the sound of a pen clicking and then the pen scribbling something on paper. It was a barely there sound, but she could hear it, and hearing so much on the other end of the line was messing with her, but also going further to cement her suspicions.

“What’s wrong? Are you alright?” Anya heard the worry in his voice and was touched, then brought her mind back to what she needed to ask.

“I need you to run a few blood tests on me. And I need you to look for something specific.”

Chapter Text

When Bruce hung up the call, he couldn’t believe what they had talked about. Anya was worried about what she might have contracted from Steve’s blood. And from what she told him over the phone, she was already showing several effects of the same serum that made Steve Rogers, Captain America.

Though she had asked he keep it between them, this wasn’t something he could keep from the team, least of all Steve. The other guy agreed, emitting concern for her safety, and what side effects she might experience. The serum had been made specifically with alpha physiology in mind; there was no telling what it might do to an omega like Anya. It could be fine and the effects might fade, she might be permanently altered, or the serum co9uld fry her body and brain, making her little more than a vegetable. The other guy growled and snarled at him for suggesting it.

Making up his mind, and knowing Anya would understand, though she might be a little angry at first, he left the lab, as it warmed up and the program started to run, and headed up to the medbay, where Steve was still confined, and though the others had already been discharged, they were hanging out with Steve, brainstorming what they should do about the crime wave in the world, and how to contact Thor.

Before the elevator door even opened, Bruce could hear the shouting and snarling from a floor below. It sounded like Bucky, Coulson and Clint were in a shouting match, and as he neared the floor, he held his breath as the lingering smell of rut hit him. Thankfully, it was fading. Clint and Coulson must have found an omega to help Nat through the rut; good. If she was in a rut too long, it would have forced the other alphas in a rut too, even the other guy wouldn’t be able to resist, and Bruce would be powerless to stop him. And he’d kill all his friends.

On the floor where Bucky, Clint and Coulson were having a shouting match, Tony was nowhere to be seen, and Bruce really wanted to talk to him about the possible ramifications if Anya’s DNA did show changes that mimicked Steve’s. Thinking he was in the lab, Bruce made to leave, then caught a faint whiff of Anya. She said she’d be in in a few hours, after showering and getting a little sleep; she sounded exhausted on the phone. Bruce looked around, wondering where Anya was, but when he passed Clint and Coulson to talk to Steve, he caught her scent. The smell of an omega, mingling with the smell of an alpha in rut.

And understanding slowly dawned Bruce’s face.

Bruce couldn’t help but stare from one angry party to another, completely floored; Anya did everything in her power to stay away from alphas, and never helped them if it was in her power. She couldn’t really be the one that helped Nat through her rut, could she? But as the smells mingled more and wafted over to him as he stood, dumbstruck in the middle of medbay, there was no mistaking the smell of omega and alpha mixing together, traveling on Clint and Coulson.

“What the fuck was she doing with Romanova? Anya is mine!” Bucky growled the last word, promising death and destruction on a monumental scale. Coulson growled back, but less dangerously, and more of a warning for Bucky to get his feelings under control. The former assassin only growled louder, lower, and more dangerously.

“Agent Coulson, why was Anya helping Natasha through a rut?” Bruce asked, thinking just asking the basics might clear things up. Clint refused to look away from Bucky, who looked like he might charge past the archer and murder Nat. Coulson turned to Bruce, though his eyes stayed on Bucky.

“We had already gone through all other options. Anya was the only remaining candidate. And if Natasha’s rut wasn’t brought under control, it would have caused all other alphas in the building to go into rut as well, turning them against one another. You’d have all killed each other. Anya knew that, that’s why she said yes. You really think she would’ve said yes without thinking about how you felt?”

Bucky glared at Coulson, then turned from one former agent to the other and snarled. “I support Anya; not other alphas trying to get into her pants.” Clint puffed up in anger, furious someone had the audacity to talk about his best friend like that. Even before the words were out of his mouth, Coulson and Bruce could tell they wouldn’t be good.

“Yeah, you did a great job of supporting her when she needed you.” Clint was referring to Bucky turning his back on her at the hospital, but he didn’t need to say it for Bucky to understand.

Bucky’s face shut down for a moment, his eyes blank and his mouth in a straight, stern line as Steve looked from one friend to another, feeling this getting out of control and tried to sit up, but his still slowly-recovering body protested. Clint refused to look away from Bucky, who said nothing, but the anger was slowly bleeding out of him, until he looked so much older than he really was, and just looked like a beaten old man.

Clint’s anger petered out soon after and he shuffled his feet to sit next to the former assassin. Bucky’s hair fell in front of his face as he looked at the ground, remembering the pain on Anya’s face, after everything she had done for him, everything she risked, she did it for him, and he repaid her by turning his back on her when she needed support the most.

“Bucky, you gotta tell her you’re sorry, like, really. Not the hollow sorry bullshit guys say after doing something stupid. You gotta work for it. You gotta tell her everything you feel for her, or you’ll lose her. A strong-willed, kick-ass, loyal omega like her, they don’t happen very often. Society beats it out of them. She’s a rare breed; and if you don’t get your head outta your ass, soon, someone else’ll snatch her up.” Clint put his large hand on the metal shoulder, and Bucky looked at it for a moment.

He hated doing things like that, being all sentimental, it made him feel weak, like a terrible soldier; but for Anya, he never had to be a soldier. With her, he could be his weakest and most vulnerable, had been on several occasions, and she never thought any less of him. She didn’t treat him like a fragile piece of glass that might shatter at any second. To her, he was Bucky; just Bucky. And everything that came with him, she was willing to take. The only other one that made him feel like that was Steve.

“I know.” Bucky sighed and knew he owed Anya one hell of an apology, for everything; maybe not as huge as Steve’s, but still big, like billboard big. Clint squeezed the metal shoulder again and Bucky nodded once before looking up and giving Clint the faintest of grateful smiles. He was still beyond pissed Anya had been with another alpha, that was something they needed to discuss, but to Anya in person, not yelling at a messenger from across a floor.

Coulson looked to where Bruce had been, only to find he had left; it must not have been that important.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5 students gathered in a professor’s office, looking awkward form one to another, except for the beta, who was looking at her phone, determined and furious, her fingers a blur, then her phone beeped and she smiled, a dark and sinister thing, one that would make a supervillain jealous.

The professor came in, looking at the small camera on the top of a bookshelf and sat in his chair, behind his large desk, looking from one alpha student to the other, then finally at the beta, the only female of the group. She looked the most pissed out of them all, but her eyes gleamed darkly and he found himself smirking. He knew that look.

“Well, I asked you all hear because I’ve been made aware of someone’s attempts to get ahold of a certain omega’s Capstone project.”

The silence in the room was thick, the students waiting for the professor to speak. He sipped his coffee, looking from one student to the next, finally resting on the beta girl, and a dark smile, much like hers, curved his lips darkly. “I have some interest in her project as well, and I’ve heard from a source that she has completed it. It could be ready to leave theory, and enter into experimentation. I have several backers that want her Capstone, that serum she’s been making. And I know you all have a plan to take it. So, here’s the deal. I will back you all and say you ran the project by me months ago, so your instructors suspect nothing. I will sign off on the Capstone, for all of you. And you all graduate with highest marks, making this college proud and making yourselves a fortune selling the serum to whomever you want. In exchange,” he held up his hand when a student tried to interrupt him, “I want the serum papers too. And we all end up rich.”

He stopped talking and looked from one student to another, and then finally spoke, his voice a dark, sinister tone, one laced with horrible intentions and no remorse. “Of course, the omega in question stands in our way. Once the papers are removed from her possession, she will need to be removed as well.” He smiled faintly, and it sent a shiver down one of the alphas spines, but he refused to let it show.

“I’ve got that handled.” The beta girl looked up at the professor, having transferred 3K to a former KGB agent for the job. The professor smiled, then stood up and shook each student’s hand, before bidding them a good day, and setting up an appointment with them to look over the serum papers when it was all done.

The students stood outside the office and looked from one to another, then all nodded and agreed. They had all paid for the KGB, putting everything they had into an account in the Caimans, to pay for the service; but considering what they stood to make off this, it wasn’t pennies compared to the billions they could make, and the amount of money governments and corporations would pay to get it.

“Omegas never learn, do they?” everyone looked at the alpha that was speaking. “They belong in the home, not in college. They aren’t meant to be in the world of science, or money.” The other alphas nodded, agreeing with what they felt. As alphas, they were entitled to whatever they wanted. If that included the work of an omega, then so be it. The beta rolled her eyes, familiar with this kind of attitude, but she felt some kind of entitlement too; that student was only an omega after all. They weren’t worth much.

The beta got a text on the disposable phone a few moments later, saying he was watching the target now, and it would be done within 48 hours.

The group smiled darkly, already planning what they would do with that money.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anya left the new motel room, having moved from one motel to another after breaking the doorknob on her last place; she had showered several times, until the hot water ran out and then took another one cold, to get the smell of rutting alpha off her. Then she tried to take a nap, to rest, but she was so antsy and twitchy, she ended up rewriting most of her serum papers, making them neater and easier to understand, then she worked out on the floor, after laying down some clean sheets on the dingy carpet. There was no telling what she might catch if she laid on the floor.

Anya stopped at her car, the papers in the trunk to show to Dr. Banner, maybe, if she didn’t lose her nerve or have her mind blown. She felt the prickle up and down her back like someone was watching her, and she spun around, feeling it still, and it was unnerving. She couldn’t hear anything out of the ordinary, though she wasn’t sure what was normal and what was just in her head, or enhanced. She had no clue anymore; everything was messing with her. She leapt into her car and slammed the locks into place, before peeling out and heading for Midtown.

The Tower was as immaculate and polished as ever, and Banner was in the lobby to meet her, a smile on his face that didn’t meet his eyes.

“What happened? Is everyone alright?” Anya asked as soon as the doors closed on the elevator and it dinged faintly, though it rang in her ears, making her unconsciously dig into them to make it stop. It was annoying, bordering on painful.

“Uh, well,” Banner started, but the elevator suddenly stopped on the medbay floor and opened, revealing Barnes, Barton and Rogers. Anya shut down, not wanting to reveal anything why she was here, but she looked Rogers over; he was still supposed to be resting. Barnes moved over to look at her, and pulled her from the elevator gently; she let him, but her face was still stony and she wasn’t about to say anything. His alpha smell was stronger than ever, and it was making her want to rip his arms off and shove it up his ass, where he seemed to keep his head.

He looked contrite and gulped, and looked like he was about to eat a big piece of humble pie; Anya suppressed a smirk. But all she really wanted was a real apology, and a promise that he had her back, like she had his so many times before.

“Anya, I wanted to apologize. Really apologize. I know that I hurt you, and I failed you. I can see now that you want what’s best for everyone here, just like I do. But my pride was preventing me from seeing that. My pride and jealousy. I want you to know that I think you and Bucky make a fine fighting team together. And I would like you to consider coming back into the Tower, and living here full-time.” Anya stared past Barnes to Rogers, who looked like he was sucking on a lemon while shitting out a pineapple; but there was nothing insincere in his eyes, which looked humbled, sad, and rather baleful. He could rival Barnes’s puppy eyes.

Anya was silent for some time, saying nothing, let it soak in, her shock matched only by Barnes’. Then she took a few steps forward and extended her hand to him, and he took it, shaking a few times before letting go and looking at her, eyes still baleful and rather pathetic.

“Apology accepted.”

Chapter Text

Rogers smiled at Anya, glad that things were settled between them. His first apology had been rather pathetic, and had only been because she saved his life, so it felt obligatory, rather than heartfelt. But after a long conversation with his team, reviewing the footage of Anya helping his team, saving his life, even making soup and sandwiches for them despite her resentment, he came to realize what she was, and what she could be.

It wasn’t just that she had helped them, it was that she helped them even after they hurt her, made her contemplate suicide, according to Clint; that level of dedication and sacrifice wasn’t in people anymore, not from what he had seen in this century. Even before the serum, people looked out for themselves first, and others second; but she seemed to be an exception.

That was the primary reason he wanted her in the tower long term; her knowledge of chemistry, medicine and science, and the calming affects she had on everyone else thanks to her pheromones was just a bonus. And if he was honest with himself, he’d never seen Bucky so relaxed; he could sleep through an entire night and not suffer a panic attack or wake in the middle of the night screaming anymore. It was a rare thing, and after he shelved his pride and his alpha dominance, he realize just how important it was for them all. Bucky being tense made Nat and Clint tense, trained assassins as they were. And that made everyone else tense in turn. And the tension made Steve’s heart ache, knowing his team was on the verge of lashing out at times; they were still recovering from the Civil War, as the papers had taken to calling it, where Steve had chosen Bucky and to run, over Tony and falling in line.

Steve could see it sometimes, in Tony’s face and eyes, just how much it hurt the billionaire to lose his friends like that, how much it hurt Tony to hear Clint, someone that had become family to him, call him a back-stabber. Though both acted like it didn’t matter anymore, like it didn’t hurt, it was still there, hiding under the surface, lurking, wanting and waiting for the moment where it would lash out and create another rift, at the worst possible time.

Anya’s appearance had put all that to the backburner and made everyone all but forget that; well, her appearance and the constant issues that came up around them. Giant robot alien spiders that shot laser beams, the team being poisoned and Steve almost dying, and now the massive spike in crime around the world in their absence.

Steve remembered what it was like when Bucky told him how Anya had rallied him and Coulson, how she convinced him to take up a rifle again, to leave the tower and fight the invading alien robot spiders. She seemed to know exactly what to say to him; Steve suspected it had to do that both suffered from a near constant fear.

It was hidden well in them both, but it was more pronounced in Anya. It was more evident when an alpha touched her, or was within an arm’s length: her entire body, from her toes to her hair, tensed, her muscles clenched and her eyes widened ever so slightly, her jaw clenched and her fists curled slightly, ready to unleash hell if provoked. It took a lot of fear, pain and anxiety to make an omega, who was biologically designed to like alphas, fear and hate them that much. She still did it when Steve, Sam, and even Bucky got near her, but was less pronounced with Coulson, and was non-existent with Tony and Nat. Steve had a feeling that it wasn’t just that Nat used scent blockers to smell like a beta, but because she never lost her temper and never revealed emotions, never postured, never did usual alpha things. It was probably also because Nat was a woman.

“Ladies gotta stick together.” Anya had said that once.

Anya was also rather gifted in hand to hand combat for a civilian, and though not as refined as Nat or Bucky, she was better than Wanda and Tony; her style was rather specific, learned on the street with no discernable pattern or characteristics that tied her to a certain trainer. Like Clint, she was self-taught, though her skills did bring to mind a small, lithe cat, using an aggressor’s momentum against them, causing pain with knowledge of the human body with speed and precision, rather than brute force. Brains over brawn.

But it was her heart that won Steve over the most; under her attitude and distrust, was a kind young woman, incredibly intelligent, willing to give more of herself than needed, and willing to get her hands dirty if she needed to. He’d seen more footage of her fighting in the back of the Quinjet, seeing her fighting the alien robot spiders, seeing her get burned and still fighting, trying to save lives, Steve had to respect that level of dedication. Though she might not go on any missions for a while, she would be part of the team; she’d already won over the trust of Clint, Coulson and Nat. It wasn’t anyone that Clint trusted with Nat when she was so vulnerable.

Shaking her hand, seeing her accept his apology, seeing her face with relief all over it, made Steve surer of his decision to ask her to move to the Tower. The relief on her face was telling him she didn’t want to be angry with Steve, or anyone else, though she was more than justified in her anger. And all she needed was a real apology and the guarding in her eyes was gone, replaced with relief and happiness. Though she still tensed when their hands met, the tension and nerves from being around an alpha still evident in her body language, her face showed nothing but relief and a real, charming smile that did things in Steve’s gut that he only ever thought Bucky would be able to do.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Barnes stepped forward, looking less contrite and ashamed than Steve had, though, if she was honest, he had hurt her more. She could handle being hit, having someone feeling jealous around her, even the aggressive alpha smell Steve had let off when seeing her and Barnes together. But having the former assassin turn his back on her, when she needed him the most, that was the worst pain she had felt since coming to the realization her parents had sold her to a life of hell.

Anya pulled her mind from that dark time in her life and looked at Barnes, who had an odd expression on his face, torn between hurt and happiness. It made him look like he was sucking on a lemon and watching a funny cat video at the same time, trying not to laugh. It was a bizarre combination.

“Look, I’m sorry, Anya, about not believing you. But if you’re trying to get back at me, low blow.” Anya went from relieved to pissed so fast it made her head spin, and a little queasy, but she still looked up at Barnes, a faint snarl coming on her face to show her anger. He stared back at her and she wondered what the hell he was talking about.

“Excuse me?” Anya snarled at him and the warmth that had moments ago filled the room with happy pheromones, making everyone smile rather dopily, was laced with angry omega and even angrier alpha, the conflicting smells made even the super alpha Rogers back away, knowing this would not end well.

“You slept with Romanova, in her rut? Why? You hate alphas. If you wanted revenge, that was too much, Smith.” Barnes using her last name revealed just how angry he was and Anya bristled, hiding how much she wanted to cry, and rip Barnes’ nose off his face and shove it up his ass, since all he seemed to smell off anyone was shit anyway.

“I helped Romanova through her rut, so you wouldn’t go through a rut too. Do you even know what would have happened if I didn’t? You, Rogers, Coulson, every alpha in the building, would go through a rut at the same time and you would all tear one another apart, literally. You’d kill one another. And when it was over and the rut lifted, would you be able to forgive yourself? Hmm? In a rut-induced rage, you killed your friends, maybe killing your best friend. Would you forgive yourself for that?” Anya paused, but didn’t give Barnes a chance to respond.

“And what would happen when those pheromones reached Dr. Banner? The Hulk would come out too.” Anya was glaring, and she didn’t realize she had started to cry until the tears were making her shirt wet. It was all true, and Barnes was slowly seeing it. He shuffled his feet uncomfortably, much like Rogers did when he said something he shouldn’t have and he looked on the verge of collapsing under her rage, leaning back from her fearsome face.

But Anya wasn’t done.

“And did you ever stop to think what it was like for me to say yes? I can’t stand to be around alphas, it sends shivers up my spine and every time I smell one I brace for an attack. I’m constantly trying to remind myself that you aren’t going to hurt me, to stop that reflex around you. And then you went and hurt me anyway, just like everyone other alpha I’ve met since I presented. I hoped you would be the exception to the rule, not the standard that proves it.” Anya was crying harder now, though the rage stopped the sobs from coming out, the hurt she felt all over again that he was like every alpha she had met, thinking he had a claim on her, that she belonged to her, that she wouldn’t think about his wellbeing before her own. Barnes was trying to talk now, trying to get a word in, but Anya still had a little more to say.

“I spent the entire time with Romanova shit-faced because I can’t be around rutting alphas otherwise; even then I panicked. Do you have any idea what it’s like for me? To be reminded with just a smell what I went through? Alphas in ruts have no higher brain function, and even if they did, they still wouldn’t have stopped. Do you know what its like to lose your virginity to someone that regularly tortures you? Do you have any idea how long it took me to be around alphas without punching them? It took me 3 years to get to that point, to tell myself that not every alpha would hold me done while I screamed. And in rut, they were even worse. The word used to trigger me into a rage and I killed the last alpha that was in rut near me. And that’s not counting what happened at the bar.” Images of alphas in rut around her came into her mind and she clutched her head in pain, the memories like knives digging into her head. She yanked her shoulder out from under Barnes as he tried to touch her.

Anya took a breath and looked at Barnes, straight in the face; it hurt to bring it all up, to mention it, but she needed to say it, to get it out there. “I didn’t want to be anywhere near Romanova or her rut. But I swallowed my fear and all those memories and all that pain and panic I felt, so I could help her, because she needed it, and to keep you all safe. So excuse me for not telling you about it, but it was something I wanted to forget about; I didn’t want to stir up any trouble, and I know she wouldn’t want to mention it either. It took every ounce of courage and devotion to you and everyone else I had to help her.” Anya paused as another wave of nausea hit her stomach and she clutched her head as the nausea made her head spin and her eyes wouldn’t focus.

“No, if that was enough for you, I have an appointment to keep.”

And the elevator doors slammed shut, taking Anya to the lab floors, leaving Bucky in the medbay, feeling like absolute shit.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Banner was waiting for Anya in the labs everything already set up and all he needed was a blood sample from her. When the elevator door opened, Banner could smell salt and saline, along with agitated and distressed omega. Anya was crying, and something had really made her angry and sad. The other guy stirred in his chest, making his displeasure at her less-than-ideal emotional state known. Banner laid a hand on her shoulder as she placed her arm on a table for Banner to draw blood.

“Are you alright?” Banner looked at her face, concern all over it and Anya looked at him, sniffled once then nodded.

“Alphas are confusing.” Banner looked at her, but she said nothing else and just looked rather beaten and downtrodden. The alpha other guy stirred inside him and a faint smirk played on his face, one that Anya noticed and she smirked too, understanding.

“Agreed,” Banner stated. Anya huffed a half-laughed.

A few minutes later, her blood was in the machine and the programs were running, comparing her DNA from now to when she had first started working at Stark Industries. Stark took samples from all employees, for his own research, mostly because he was thinking about going into the Pharmaceutical business. With Anya’s work on that altered serum that sped up healing, once it was accepted as correct and possible to use and feasible to produce, it could make a fortune for the company and save families, and the government, millions of dollars in just a year.

“Dr. Banner, I finished the healing serum, and I brought it with me for you to look over while we’re waiting if you don’t mind.” Anya pulled the papers out of her purse and offered the small stack of neatly written pages to him; he took them with a smile and started to look them over. It would take at least an hour before the DNA in her blood was broken down into its primary components for the machine to analyze, and another hour before the machine would be done reading it.

Anya passed the time on her phone while Dr. Banner read through the pages. Indeed, her work was complete: from administration, to immune suppression, to increased body needs to possible allergic reactions. Her work was complete and impressive, and Banner couldn’t help but feel a little jealous with her work. He hadn’t been this close to Erskine’s original formula, not nearly, and Anya did it without any training: no college, no fancy science equipment, and no gamma radiation poisoning. The other guy stirred in his chest again, trying to remind him what he was present, and didn’t regret being brought to life. Banner thought that without the other guy, things would be easier, and though the Hulk agreed, he didn’t regret what happened.

Anya kept trying to distract herself from what happened a few floors below, how Barnes had turned on her again, thinking the worst of her, and her intentions; she felt vindicated that she could throw it all back in his face. Once again she was at odds with the alpha that she had thought would help her get over her alpha anxiety, someone she thought might be her friend, maybe more, and that they might work through similar traumas together. Imprisoned, tortured, forced to do things neither of them wanted to do, think about or remember. And even by the same…

Anya stopped her thoughts when someone texted her; it was one of the ladies she had met with Lisa on the girls day out. Her texts were rather scrambled, drunk texting no doubt, but from what Anya could gather, the woman was lost, needed a ride and her other choices couldn’t come for a while. Anya rubbed her eyes and looked at the machine, which was still spinning the blood in the carousel so fast it was making her queasy again. She rubbed her eyes, which had been bothering her for a few hours now; her eyes couldn’t seem to focus, or focused too well, and it was making her head hurt and making the nausea worse.

“Dr. Banner, you don’t need me here for the tests, do you?” Banner looked up from the pages as he set them down, halfway through reading. She waved her phone slightly, her face showing a mild concern and Banner got the hint and shook his head. “I’ll let you know if there’s anything abnormal.” Banner made to hand her the pages back, but she shook her head.

“I would like you to finish looking them over, if you don’t mind.” Banner smiled and nodded, watching Anya leave.

On the far side of town, outside a wayward street, Anya was looking for her friend, though she barely knew the woman, her texts had been rather frantic. Anya wasn’t sure why she would be in the industrial complex part of the city, it wasn’t a pleasant place to be, and there wasn’t a bar in sight.

A prickly, terrible feeling traced up and down her spine, and Anya instantly knew this was a trap. She turned to go back into her car, hand on the handle, keys in her hand.

A powerful, stinging pain hit her abdomen through her back, and she could smell blood, gunpowder, and hear soft, sure and ruthless footsteps approaching as another pain his her, this time in her upper back. She leaned against the window, seeing red stain the tinted glass, feeling the hot sticky liquid slide down her chest and pants and slowly drip onto the ground. The pain radiated through her entire body and she struggled, trying to pull in a breath, but her lungs were filling with something, making her choke, a sickening gurgle coming out instead of air.

A hard hand grabbed her by the shoulder, another faint pew from a muffled gun, louder than it had any right to be and Anya lost control of her legs; she couldn't feel them, couldn’t move them. They might not have been there if she hadn’t been able it see them. A tall, broad man in a black with covered face, leather gloves pulled her away from the car into the road a bit more and Anya could see the gun better, silencer screwed over the barrel. The alpha man leaned down and looked at her, as her breathing became shallow, her lungs filling, blood pouring from her chest and belly and back, covering her arms and clothes and the dirty, cracked pavement beneath her. He said nothing, not even breathing as he looked down at her, her lungs spasming as she tried to take a breath and the pain made her arms twitch, sending shooting pains in her body, though it stopped at her hips, and then there was nothing, not even a numb feeling. Just nothing.

The man got into her car, taking her keys from her limp hand as she struggled to breathe, her chest heaving unevenly, a metallic taste in her mouth as it rose up from her lungs and stomach. The man took off in her car, the wheels crushing her ankles and feet as the man vindictively ran over her legs. But she didn’t feel anything, not the pain, no pressure from the wheels, not even the pavement underneath her.

Anya looked at her shattered phone beside her; Coulson had given her a new one, complete with emergency blue button on the back. She pulled herself on her belly, feeling blood stick to her shirt, and pulling gravel and dirt and glass with her, and her finger pressed on the small blue button twice.

There was no power to the phone, and no way for her to call for help.

She tried to drag herself to the sidewalk, out of the road, though black fog pulled at the corners of her eyes and she felt nauseous again, her body in pain, her entire torso screaming at her to hold still, to stop moving. Her skin itched and tingled like a healing wound, though her blood began to thin and she couldn’t lift her arms anymore.

Anya’s head sagged against the pavement, the darkness of night making her invisible t anyone else that might come on the road. She pulled harder, more determined, and managed to get her body, except her shattered feet, off the road and onto the sidewalk. She coughed hard, and chunks of coagulated blood came up. She clung to the last moments of consciousness, her body wanting nothing more than to sleep, to rest, to end the pain.

Though her mind refused to give up, her body made the call for her, and her head hit the sidewalk gently, and her eyes closed as she passed out, unsure if she would ever wake up again.

Chapter Text

Bruce was still looking the papers over when the DNA machine was done disintegrating and processing the blood; he pulled up the results, looking it over and trying to get the smell of Anya’s slight distress out of his head. He’d already heard about the argument she had with Barnes, and it seemed to have really hurt her; making amends with Captain Rogers, only to be at odds with Sergeant Barnes, that had to hurt. Everyone could tell they had gotten close, and could tell that Barnes was getting attached to her, showing the common signs of an alpha becoming possessive, protective, over an omega. Bruce expected Barnes might start courting her any day, and maybe Steve would be in for the ride.

Because there was no way that Barnes and Steve would separate, not after finally finding one another after 70 years apart.

Bruce looked back at the projections and holograms in front of him, which started to blink rapidly and highlighted certain areas of Anya’s DNA, and Bruce dropped the papers he was holding, scattering Anya’s Capstone all over the floor.

“Oh, Shit.” Bruce ran through the lab, calling to JARVIS to tell Tony and Steve they needed to talk, now.

In the main common room, everyone was already sitting, Steve finally about to move around on his own without Barnes trying to force him back into bed, though Nat was still in her bed, sulking but much better now that her rut had been dealt with. Clint made his way into the room with Coulson, looking exhausted and pale, though less tense; Nat’s fading rut had taken a weight off him and Coulson.

“Hey, Brucey, what’s up?” Tony teased and then froze when he saw the look on his friend’s face. Bruce pulled up the projections and readings of Anya’s blood and Tony looked at it, his face going from mildly interested to full-geek mode, and then looked at Bruce.

“Is she still here? She might be sulking on the roof. I think Clint’s rubbing off on her,” tony teased, though the worry was edging into his face as Bruce shook his head.

“What’s wrong?” Steve finally spoke up and stood from his comfy spot on the couch, wincing slightly, moving past a brooding Barnes and looking at the baffling moving images in front of the 2 geniuses.

“I think you gave Anya some super juice. Maybe we should call her Miss America.” Tony smirked and Steve looked less than amused, and Clint snorted.

“Call her that and she’ll smack you.” Tony made a face at Clint then looked back at the images as Steve just looked more confused than ever.

“Anya was covered in your blood when she performed the surgery. Apparently, somehow, the serum and DNA changes in your blood got into her body and are now changing her DNA too.” Bruce finally spoke up and the silence in the room was palpable.

“Wait, seriously? You’re telling me all someone has to do is get some of Steve’s blood on them and they turn a mighty morphin Power Ranger?” Clint stood up and looked at Steve, understanding the ramifications of this far better than anyone else. He was always the best at seeing things from a distance, and long-term. Then his mind went to Anya and what it might be doing to her.

“Anya said she gave someone a compound fracture this morning, and crushed a metal doorknob with her hand.” Bruce remembered what Anya had told her. He knew he promised to not tell anyone this, that she wanted this to remain quiet, but something this major, this life-changing, couldn’t be kept from the Avengers.

“You sure about this? That this is really affecting her? Is it permanent, or will it fade away?” Steve looked concerned about it all and so confused, and a little lost. He had just made amends with Anya, he didn’t need something to muddle their status already; it hadn’t even been a day.

“I don’t know anything yet, Steve.” Bruce looked just as worried as Steve and Clint felt, and Tony was lost in the images in front of his, staring them down and analyzing them with the intense stare that showed he would be in the lab analyzing this for days on end, the intense passion flickering in his eyes. Then he pulled them away when JARVIS confirmed that Anya had left the building about an hour ago, after receiving texts from a friend.

“First things first,” Coulson broke up the wondering and stopped Steve from asking more questions, “let’s find Anya and make sure she’s alright. Clint, with me.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anya woke with a gasp at a dark sky and could see the first bright stars twinkling down at her, witnesses to her pain and misery. She could feel pain in her entire body, from road rash and gravel digging into her skin, and in her torso from the bullets and in her legs from the broken…

Anya leaned up and looked down at her legs. She hadn’t been able to feel them before she passed out, hadn’t been able to move them; as she looked down at them, a bone sticking out from her right foot and her left ankle turned a full 180 degrees so her foot was facing the complete wrong way, she gave her leg an experimental wiggle.

Her knee jerked slightly, but she couldn’t move her feet. She could feel the pain in them, feel blood running down a foot that had lost a shoe, even feel the cold air as the sun disappeared on the exposed and sweaty skin on her legs. Anya looked around and tried to call for help, but her throat was parched and she couldn’t take a full breath. She looked around some more and found a piece of broken concrete not far away; she crawled on her thighs and arms, pulling herself on the sidewalk and leaving a trail of blood behind her. Every muscle in her body screamed at her, a mixture of pain and itching and cramps, like when something is healing and is worked too hard before it should be. Anya made it to the chunk of broken concrete and picked it up in her hand, the dried blood cracking as she grasped the hard, cold stone, and banged it on the metal door of an old building.

There was nothing, no response, so she banged several times, trying to make it known that it wasn’t normal sounds, not normal derelict building sounds, but she wasn’t sure if anyone was around to hear her.

Anya wasn’t sure how long she was banging on the door, but when her arm was tired, switched to the other arm and then that one became tired, she set the rock down and took a breath. Her body felt tired, drained and itchy; her vision was blurry and her headache was back with a vengeance, and her nausea was only making everything worse. She looked around at the dark buildings around her; there was a single streetlamp lit on the long street; this side of town was long forgotten, and most people avoided it unless they were involved in drugs. Even then the people were few and far between.

Anya pulled herself on her belly back to the broken phone and looked at it, trying to figure something out, di she would be able to make the panic button work. The streetlight could give her phone some power for a few seconds to send out a signal; she just had to hope someone was listening.

By the time Anya pulled herself over to the streetlight, it was completely dark out and clouds threatened rain, thunder rolling in the distance and the air suddenly turned cold and damp. Anya shivered under her thin and destroyed clothes, doubting that she would become cold enough to become hypothermic, though if it did rain, that chance would skyrocket. As the wind picked up and the air filled with the smell of rain, she knew she needed to get this done before it rained, or she would get electrocuted. If that asshole hadn’t run over her lower legs and ankles, she could crawl or limp to find help, but she was just too injured and her legs were in no shape to support her legs.

As she pushed her broken phone, with the panic button and all its circuitry into her pocket, her ankles gave an angry twitch and she gasped in pain. Her bones were trying to heal, to mend the breaks, but her bones were broken and misaligned, and were now started to rub against one another. She’d been in worse pain before, but this was definitely in the top 10. Gritting her teeth as the pain got worse, as her bones healed far faster than any normal human, and her open skin from the road rash was all but closed up, she made her way on her belly, using her painfully scratched up arms to pull her body along the sidewalk, using her healing torso to propel herself forward.

Every movement was like shooting lightning bolts in her body, her headache worsening and making everything spin, and to add insult to injury, she could feel the bullets in her body moving around as she moved, opening up new wounds as old ones tried to close, making her bleed fresh with every pull of her arms, every push of her torso, every breath from her lungs. She could tell that one of her lungs wasn’t filling with air at all and it felt like there was lead in that lung, on her left side, so it had to be collapsed, and her right lung still would occasionally fill with blood as the bullets moved around, or she pulled something open.

By the time she made it to the lamppost, she was exhausted, tears leaking down her face form the pain, and barely able to breath. She used a rock to bash open the lamppost base and got at the wires, looking for the ones with the least amount of current, or the grounds, where she had the lowest chance of electrocution. Pulling out the wires, and looking everything over, the clouds overhead rumbled ominously as the lamppost light went out. The street was plunged into intense darkness and the steady rolling thunder made Anya think back, to very painful memories, to that dark room where she was kept prisoner, where someone would be rolling down the hall past her room with a large cart, making a sound like thunder. Then the door would open and Anya would begin screaming, pleading, the man coming closer to her, a dark grin on his face as he held up various instruments that Anya didn’t recognize, but knew they only brought her pain.

Anya snapped back to herself when a streak of lightning flashed across the sky and she reminded herself with every roll of thunder that she wasn’t in that place anymore, she had escaped, she had cheated death with them. And she needed to cheat death again as she played with the wires and bit off small pieces of the protective coverings, revealing the copper wires underneath.

She lined the wires up with the power feeds for the panic button, laying one down and holding it in place with some of her hair so it wouldn’t move. Psyching herself up, knowing this might kill her if she got it wrong, she pressed the other wire to the panic button circuits and pressed the small blue button at the same time. She held it down for a second, or an eternity, she wasn’t sure, before the panic button circuits fizzed and spat out small sparks. The button was dead, and if no one was listening, she might be too.

Anya lay back on the sidewalk, not willing to fall asleep, but needing to rest a bit get some strength back and not move more than she needed to; if she wasn’t careful, that bullet would find its way to someplace that would kill her. Like her heart, or a major blood vessel, or her spine high in her chest. There were so many places the bullet could go to kill her.

Looking up at the sky, a large, fat, cold raindrop fell on her forehead. Anya felt a few more drops, before the drops became a deluge and the wind picked up, chilling her to the bone in an instant. She pulled herself up again and made her way to the closest shelter, which was an old factory with blown out windows and leaks in the roof, but it was better than being in the wind and rain.

The chill continued to seep into her body and she looked up at the cracked roof, and cursed the universe, everyone, anyone that was listening. Hadn’t she been through enough shit in her life? Her parents sold her, her captors raped and tortured her, alphas hurt her and saw her as a possession and not a person, and her friends turned on her, or ended up dead. Why was her life so fucked up?

Her screaming was hoarse and muffled by the pounding rain on the roof, and the howling wind outside; there was no answer, no response, nothing.

Anya let herself cry, laying on the dirty and tetanus-inducing rust-covered floor.

A flash of light caught her attention and she leaned up, but her body was so sore by this point she could barely move. She tried shouting, but the wind and rain was drowning out her voice; the sounds of a car made her try to move, but her body was still so stiff, everything tight and painful, in stages of healing, and every movement pulled something loose, making wounds bleed fresh. But she couldn’t pass up this opportunity. She tried to get onto her knees and move, but her arms gave out under her and she fell onto some rusty metal that had fallen long ago from the ceiling, cutting open her shoulder. Anya cursed and tried to move again, but again she couldn’t support her weight.

She thought she hear the sounds of talking, and the light from the car never left her sight. The car was stopped and Anya’s heart raced; had the man that tried to kill her come back to make sure it was done? Was someone else gonna try and kill her? Or would an alpha rape her, no caring how injured she was?

2 sets of shoes in water echoed in Anya’s ears before the broken door was moved aside and a bright light illuminated the derelict building, and then focused on Anya’s face. She squinted her eyes, raising her fists to fight, then the light moved from her face and she could see who was holding it.

“Clint?”
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Phil was paging through some info on Anya and calling some of her contacts, her friends, to see if any of them had asked Anya for help, or if they had seen her. None of them had, but Lisa, whom Anya had been staying with until a day ago, asked if she was alright.

Clint was in the passenger seat, writing things out that the Avengers now faced, and what needed to be done. Anya would need to remain in the Tower, and no one could know about this. If word got out that someone could become a super soldier with just some of Steve’s blood, it would be anarchy, and even Stark’s lawyers wouldn’t be able to hold off the government from taking Steve into custody. And Steve would never be safe, never have peace of mind again.

Phil set his phone down as the skies overhead threatened rain and lightning flashed in the dark sky, and thunder rumbled so loud and close it shook the windows in the SUV. Clint looked at the phone as something caught his attention, the tiniest detail, the smallest light, barely there but something he was trained to see. A small red light on the back was flickering, lighting up for a few seconds, blinking weakly, then it was gone. Without needing to ask, Clint picked up Phil’s phone and looked at it; coordinates flashed on the screen, under 3 letters: SOS.

“Anya pressed the panic button; fuck!” Phil looked over at Clint as he recited the coordinated and Phil stepped on the gas and blew through lights, ignoring the cacophony of honks and curses behind him. The coordinates were for an old run-down warehouse district. The perfect place to lure someone if you didn’t want to be seen killing them.

Shivers ran up Phil’s spine at the possible implications; Clint was more vocal about his worry, telling Phil over and over again to go fast, to stop driving like an old man. Phil knew it was just worry, and he reached a hand out and grasped Clint’s giving him a faint look as their fingers intertwined. Clint’s colorful language and jabs stopped, but the worry he was exuding didn’t, and it made Phil anxious and on edge, to smell that worry on Clint, setting his alpha into protective overdrive.

It took too long to get to the warehouses where the signal had come from, and the rain was making it impossible to see. As they turned down the road the GPS led them to, the street was completely dark, no streetlights, only lightning illuminated the buildings, giving everything an ominous feeling. Phil took a few steps forward with Clint and both stopped instantly as an unpleasant metallic smell hit them.

Blood, and a lot of it.

They walked down the streets, flashlights out, and found the source of the blood and Clint let out a whimper that he would never admit to when he found a single shoe. He had seen Anya wearing them before, she’d worn them to help Nat with her rut; the shoe had blood on it. Phil found the remnants of Anya’s phone, pieces shattered beyond usage; he then saw a trail of blood leading down the street and followed it, steeling himself for what he might find at the end of it.

Instead of a body, he found a busted streetlight, wires ripped out of the base and a fried panic button attached to one of the wires. Phil looked around, looking for any sign where Anya had gone, but the blood trail had been washed away in the rain, and there was no way to tell which building she might be in, or if she was still here at all.

“ANYA!” Phil shouted and Clint followed suit, but there was nothing and they could barely hear one another, the rain, thunder and wind drowning out their voices even in their own heads. Walking in a standard duo formation, they took the nearest building, a rundown factory building with leaking roof, broken windows and broken door. Clint was first inside with his light, Phil following, starting to feel shivers coming on as the rain soaked them both. Both men ignored the cold and wetness as they walked into the building, hoping for any signs. Clint moved his flashlight over the main area in front of the door, then moved instantly to a side, his eyes catching the faintest movement.

His bright light cast Anya into sharp relief, and both men paused as the light revealed the extent of her injuries; her legs were shattered at least one bone was sticking out, and the other leg was turned around in a very unnatural way. Blood, wet and dried, covered her from head to toe and holes from several bullets marred her shirt; she looked ready to fight, to defend herself if needed, until Clint moved the light off her face and onto his own so she could see who it was.

Relief flooded her face as Clint and Phil rushed forward, Clint covering her in his poncho as Phil looked over her numerous injuries; she couldn’t take a deep breath, she was dazed, couldn’t focus and in terrible pain. Yet she still smiled when Phil and Clint rested their hands on her and felt her for internal injuries; she sighed with relief despite Clint being able to feel the numerous internal injuries and the massive amount of blood in her belly.

“Alright, let’s get you to a hospital.” Phil placed his arms under Anya’s limp form and she stifled a scream as her wounds opened again and the bullets inside her moved again. Clint moved her to lay better in Phil’s arms, her head resting against his chest; her lips were turning blue and she was shivering, and to Phil, she felt too cold to be alive, but there was no telling what the serum might be doing to Anya.

Clint opened the back and helped both inside, and took off, heading for the tower.

“Nearest hospital down that street.” Phil motioned with a hand now covered in blood and dirt but Clint shook his head. “If she’s changed from Cap’s blood, she might be able to change someone else. And get some fucking gloves on Phil.” Clint cursed as he spied his former handler cleaning up Anya and seeing her blood cover his hands. Phil could see the point and doused his hands in hydrogen peroxide then pulled on some gloves before going back to looking Anya over.

Despite her injuries and pain, she was still smiling, looking relieved and so happy to be found. Her hand grasped onto Phil’s and his heart skipped a beat, his inner alpha roaring that anyone had made her feel this much heart, and then purred at how she looked to him for help.

Anya’s eyes were unfocused again and she twitched, looking at something only she could see, then her eyes would snap back to reality, look Phil over and the van, and she would sigh again, realizing she was in fact in the back of an SUV with Clint and Phil and was on her way to get treated.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“So, anyone could potentially become a super soldier?” Steve was pacing in the common room as Tony and Bruce looked the info in her blood over and over again, drawing up papers, making conclusions and reciting words that made Steve’s head spin. He hadn’t understood any of what they were talking about, only what he understood. That it was possible for someone to become a super soldier if they touched enough of his blood. And he didn’t need to be a scientist to know what this might mean. Already Tony was eyeing him with a new look.

And damn thing was, Steve wouldn’t hesitate to give it to Tony. Or any of his teammates.

It might even be a relief; it could mean they would be safer, less likely to be hurt.

“Well, until we know anything for sure, we’ll put Anya in isolation for a few days and run some more tests. It could be that it will fade, but I doubt it. The changes in her DNA are already cementing themselves, altering her muscular capabilities, healing variance and sensory input. It would explain the nausea and dizziness she described; her body changing while still seeing through her normal eyes would certainly cause visual distortions and the resulting uncoordinated perception.” Bruce was walking slowly in front of the hovering images again, glasses in his teeth as he talked to himself, though Tony was listening and everyone else was trying to keep up.

“So, dizziness and nausea from changing vision. Like watching a 3D Jason Bourne movie. Never gonna do that again.” Tony was trying to lighten the mood, though his mind was still on the formulas and DNA chains and implications in front of him. He had already called Pepper and she was coming back from a trip in Tokyo; she’d been confused over the phone, saying that she and Steve have hugged and had contact many times, and if she might change too. Tony assured her she wouldn’t. Pepper was still on edge about the experiments done on her by the Mandarin.

“Sir, Agent Coulson is calling.” “Put him through, J.” JARVIS’s British accent faded to the sound of Phil’s matter-of-fact voice, though they could hear a faint touch of fear and panic in it. “Dr. Banner, prepare the medbay. Anya’s been shot.”

There was silence for less than a second before Anya’s voice came over the speaker. “The fucking asshole shot me 3 times, and then ran me over. With my own car! Seriously, like leaving me to die on the side of the road wasn’t enough, he had to get a last word in, the fucker!” Phil could be heard talking to Anya, calming her down and sounded like she was being restrained, and several car horns honked in the background.
“Only Clint would flip off the mayor’s motorcade.” Anya was laughing, which turned instantly into coughing and it sounded wet, like something was coming up.

“Anya has a collapsed lung, at least one bullet still inside her that’s moving around, her lower legs are crushed, and her temperature is dangerously low. She’s coughing up blood and she said she lost feeling in her legs after being shot the 3rd time before she passed out. She also cut herself on rusty metal and several unknown objects on a public sidewalk.

Tony made a face, knowing how disgusting sidewalks could be, but was following Bruce down to the medbay with an anxious Steve and Barnes.

A few minutes later, and a few police sirens behind them, Clint and Phil pulled into the underground parking, the cops locked out by the security system. Anya had gone past the stage of being grateful and relieved, ad was now pissed, in pain and vengeful. She wanted revenge on whoever did this to her. She knew that someone had paid that man to do this to her, to kill her; the way he did the job, it screamed hitman, maybe a former KGB. Those could be pretty cheap, all things considered they were killing. A few grand maybe to get the job done, and get the job done well. All she needed to know was what they wanted from her.

Phil carried Anya, who hated feeling so vulnerable but was still unable to walk, though her lungs were clearing up rather nicely, disgusting globs of coagulated blood came up with every hard cough, leaving the unpleasant metal taste in her mouth. Clint followed, completely soaked and dripping water behind him, his poncho on Anya to keep her warm. He stood beside Anya and Phil, looking her wounds over and coming to the same conclusion Anya had about the hit, and asked if anyone stuck out the last few days.

“No…oh, wait. Someone from Hydra was in my neighbors’ tree a night ago. I yanked them out and they killed themselves with cyanide.” Anya raised an eyebrow to the looks the men gave her, Phil’s face barely moving from his normal mildly interested face to see the more exaggerated shock on Clint’s face. “What? There were more important things happening, and it just kind of slipped my mind.” Clint couldn’t stop the laugh he barked out and Phil’s lips twitched upwards at the look on her face, as if she was stating the obvious.

Anya’s head fell back with a groan and she coughed hard, fresh red blood spraying out around her and getting all over the elevator doors, seconds before they opened, revealing the medbay, where an anxious Bruce and Tony waited, Steve and Barnes hovering in the background.

Anya coughed hard again, and she motioned to her side, gasping for air, desperate to take in a breath but unable to. Phil understood her and shouted to the men, “a bullet moved into her lung. She can’t breathe.” Phil laid her down gently on a bed and backed up, aware of the smell of fresh blood in the air and on his suit, mingling with dried blood, sweat, all overshadowed with the powerful scent of distressed and injured omega. Clint spun around on his heel and was gone before Phil could say a word and a loud metal clunk spoke of Clint going to his normal hiding spots in the vents; eventually he’d make his way out of them to Natasha. Phil looked at the rest of the team as they looked Anya over, Bruce talking about needing to find the bullet and remove it, and Tony pulled up all kinds of images that had to be of Anya’s insides. It wasn’t a pretty sight, and though it was all bruised and bloody, it looked like most of it was in the later stages of healing. Even the bones were starting to fuse together in her ankles, but that could be dealt with later. Leaving the team to it, Phil headed to find Clint and Natasha.

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Anya woke to several beeping machines and dimmed fluorescent lights; her headache was worse, as was her dizziness and nausea. But she was alive, she was in the tower and she was being looked after, made better. She let out a relieve sigh, the initial stress she always felt when she woke up flying out of her with the breath. She could smell who was beside her; Barnes stirred when she sighed and he raised his head. He looked like he had been crying: his eyes were puffy and bloodshot, and his hair was mussed up, like he’d run his fingers through it several times.

Her entire body ached, her legs were heavy from casts on both, and she felt stitches pull at her chest and stomach with every breath she took. Her skin itched uncomfortably as it mended faster than any person should, much faster than she ever had; as she looked herself over and what happened came back to her, she looked back at Barnes. He looked like a kicked puppy, his face so sad and lost and it pulled at her inner omega. She just looked at him for several long moments before his face pulled into a tight grimace and he was trying not to either lash out, or cry. Maybe both.

Carefully, slowly, he raised his flesh hand and brushed some hair out of Anya’s face; another alpha smell hit her and she looked over to see Rogers, then closed her eyes as her visons swam. Trying to focus her eyes was painful, exhausting and really messing with her sense of space. It was like wearing really thick glasses, but not able to take them off when it made her nauseous. She felt rather than heard Rogers sit on her other side and she kept her eyes closed, afraid she might vomit if she opened them and tried to focus. Rogers’s long fingers brushed some hair behind her ear and she looked up at him, trying to blink way the blurriness, but failing; it was frustrating, not being able to see anything clearly.

Anya felt Barnes rest his head on her shoulder and light shaking as he held back worried sobs and he choked out, “we thought we lost you.” Anya opened her eyes, looking at the bleary image of Barnes, then at Rogers, raising an eyebrow, then letting it fall as it sent more pain in her head from the movement. Rogers bent down and offered her an ice pack and she set it on her aching head, though it did nothing to help her nausea.

“We?” Anya finally spoke and Barnes moved next to her. “What?” his voice was thick, holding back emotions that he really didn’t want to admit to, but was failing at it. “Yes, we.” It was Rogers who spoke this time and he placed a hand on her shoulder, gently, reassuringly and Anya’s inner omega purred and started doing backflips in her chest. She was silent for a while, she wasn’t sure how long, until Barnes broke the silence and moved closer to her, and she felt his forehead on her chest, listening to her heartbeat. Her heart skipped in her chest at the closeness, and the intimacy of it. He never exposed this side of him, his inner soldier and remnants of Hydra still preventing this kind of emotion from coming out.

“I can’t lose you, Anya. Not again, please.” Barnes voice was cracking and thick, she could hear the pleading in his voice, the concern, the fear, and the underlying question. Did she forgive him? Would she forgive him and maybe, just maybe, let things go back to before he hurt her? Back to when they kissed in his room as he panicked and she held him, helping him ride it out.

It had barely been 4 days since that kiss, that kiss that left a lot of things hanging in the air for them both, but also what it might mean for Barnes and Rogers. She liked Barnes, she did, but she didn’t want to come between him and Rogers. There was such an amazing history there, the way they looked at one another; she wouldn’t be ‘that woman.’

Anya felt tears coming as she looked from Barnes to Rogers, and saw the acceptance in Rogers’s eyes, the look that said he wanted it too, wanted her and Barnes, wanted them to be a pack.

Anya reached out, ignoring as staples pulled and some stitches ripped in her back, and wrapped her arms around Barnes; he buried his nose into her neck after a moment of shock, then wrapped both his arms, flesh and metal, around her back, his hand then reaching out for Rogers. Rogers smiled lightly, relief and some anxiety on his face, and he leaned forward and pressed a light kiss to Anya’s forehead, then leaned forward and pulled Barnes’s face to his and pulled him in for a gentle and loving kiss.

Anya watched as their lips met, gentle, soft, and putting so much emotion into it; it broke her brain for a moment, long enough for Barnes and Rogers to separate and move to get up. Anya reached for Barnes, and pulled him in to her hard; he took the hint with his smirk back in place on his face and crawled onto the bed with her. She growled slightly at him as he kept moving around, then he stilled and she rested her head on his warm chest, feeling his chest move up and down with each breath.

He looked down at her, smirk still on his face but it disappeared instantly when he saw she was crying. Rogers reached over and touched her face gently asking what was wrong in a whisper; Anya shook her head and just rested her head back down on Barnes’s-Bucky’s- chest.

Her ankles and feet were shattered and would need surgery. Her insides were mush, her lungs still pushing out clotted blood with almost every breath. She had lost part of her spleen, some small and large intestine, and almost half her liver had been lost, though at least that would grow back in a normal person anyway. Both bones in her both lower legs were crushed into several pieces, and one of her femurs had a fracture. She had 2 broken ribs and 4 fractured ribs, and 2 spinal bones pressing against one another from the bullet’s impact. She was on more painkillers than was advisable in a normal hospital and still every breath, every movement, every second her body was screaming at her in pain.

And yet, as she lay with her head on Bucky’s chest and Steve’s hand on her shoulder as he sat back down at her bedside, she couldn’t think of a time where she’d been happier.

Chapter Text

Anya woke with a jolt from yet another nightmare and nearly fell out of bed, ready for an attack, when she felt and smelt an alpha beside her in bed. Bucky, who had been sleeping quietly beside her, her head on his chest, sat up in record speed, feeling her sudden change from sleep to awake; his eyes swept the room in a practiced soldier’s move as his fists clenched, ready for a fight as well. His eyes fell on Anya as she fell from the bed with a subdued pained grunt and his breathing stilled as her heartrate returned to normal as well.

It took Anya longer than Bucky to come down from her near panic attack, and she willed herself not to think about the last time she had woken up with an alpha in the same bed as her. Bucky reached down to help her up, but she pushed him away and crawled back into bed on her own; with her mind more clear and the danger passed, she was still somewhat angry with Bucky. Okay, very angry. And he still hadn’t apologize to her for betraying her and not believing her, and then thinking she was basically a slut. That was what she got from his conversations about her helping Romanova through her rut. Anya’s heartrate spiked again as another wave of anger and hurt flowed through her, and the machines she had somehow remained attached to beeped loudly and incessantly.

Dr. Banner came in as the machines shut off, Anya getting annoyed at the sounds. She tried to calm herself, she was feeling angry and temperamental suddenly. She wasn’t someone to not tell it like it was, but this was getting odd, almost like she was acting like one of the knothead alphas she hated so much. She sat back on the bed, leaning against the pillows, and ignored the sad puppy look on Bucky’s face. Yep, she was still mad. Though the man did make a great pillow. Who knew the former Winter Soldier, one of the world’s most famous assassins, liked to cuddle?

Dr. Banner looked her stats over as he took some blood from her and asked her some routine medical questions, and then examined her wounds and legs. Though everything still hurt like a bitch, her torso felt better, sore but in a good way, like after a good workout. She looked her wounds over when Dr. Banner pulled back to gather some papers and instruments and paused. She ran her hands over her torso, confused and looking for the wounds. She had been shot less than 12 hours ago, and yet there was nothing on her skin to show she had been shot, other than the faintest pink marks where scabs had already fallen off. She was still tender, still sensitive to touch; Dr. Banner’s hands on her stomach made her wince in pain, but nowhere near where the level of pain she should be feeling.

“Dr. Banner?” Anya looked at the scientist, a contemplative look in his eyes, though his face was rather blank, like he was keeping something secret and didn’t want to tell her something. “Dr. Banner, was my concern valid? Has, Rogers’ DNA affected me?”

Banner looked from the super soldier on the other side of the room, who had already been to a meeting with the rest of the Avengers about this topic, back to Anya. He looked torn, his face pulling from impassive to strained, and finally he sighed. “Your DNA has shown alterations in all chains, affecting your healing, senses, musculature and basic body structure. You are, essentially, becoming a super soldier.”

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Steve and Tony stood outside the containment room, looking in through the 2-way glass and watching as Anya was told what was happening to her. She stared at Bruce for several long moments, letting the knowledge sink in, then looked up at him, her face oddly calm, and asked to see the DNA chains herself. Bruce walked over to a terminal and brought up the 3D holograms and models of her DNA, from before and after. Her face was nervous, anxious, but more than anything, fascinated. Anya was a scientist through and through, just like Bruce.

“She’s taking it rather well.” Tony looked at Steve with a raised eyebrow. “She’s in full freak-out mode, it’s on her face. Playing poker with her must be a nightmare. Maybe she and Nat could play. That would be interesting”

Steve looked over at his friend with a faint smile on his face. Tony smirked and looked back at Anya, who was staring up at the DNA with a rabid fascination on her face. The changes were fascinating for Bruce and Tony too. There was no ‘before’ DNA for Bucky or Steve, to being able to see exactly how the DNA was changed from the serum was something special. Tony had gotten hard as he contemplated all the experimentation he could do. That wasn’t even an exaggeration. Clint and walked in on it, while Tony had been staring at the screens of Anya’s DNA and stopped in the middle of the lab, and starting laughing at Tony’s obvious erection. Clint offered to help with a smirk on his face. Tony declined, but felt something in his chest let go, a wonderful feeling. Things were occasionally tense with Clint and the others that were trapped on the Raft, and had blamed Tony for most of it. Clint and Tony and been the worst off, and Clint’s words had hurt Tony the most. That simple offer, though not really serious, had helped alleviate some of the guilt and self-hatred Tony still carried around with him.

Steve and Tony turned back to the glass and watched as Bruce gave Anya another exam, looking her over, when she suddenly gripped her lower abdomen and Bruce had to help her lay down and increased her pain meds.

“What was that?” Anya looked confused and so did Bruce. “That was a heat pain, Anya. You’ll be going into heat in a few weeks or so.”

Anya lost it.

“NO FUCKING WAY! FUCK! FUCK! I CAN’T HAVE HEATS! I CAN’T!” she grabbed Bruce by his lab coat, making him wince in pain with her newfound strength, her face crazed and panicking and Steve stormed in, Tony behind him; she turned incredibly still, the look of someone in a flashback, and ready to fight. With her new strength, she could actually hurt Tony and even Steve now.

“Anya, look at me.” Bruce called to her and motioned for the alphas to leave the room, leaving only behind the single beta scientist and Anya slowly sat down on the bed, her body board stiff, her eyes still trained on the door the alphas had come in, glassy and glazed over, her face tense, ready to fight, even kill.

Bucky and Clint made their way to the glass, saying JARVIS had alerted them that Tony and Steve might need help. Anya was no longer stiff and give murder-glares, but she was shaking, her entire body shaking so hard the bed was rattling under her. Bruce looked her over again, calming her down with his beta scent, though she never left her sitting position on the bed and her eyes never left the door Tony and Steve had come from.

“Anya, when was your last heat?” she flinched when Bruce said the word and didn’t look at him when she answered, eyes never leaving the door.

“16.” Bruce looked at her confused. “16 weeks ago, months ago?” Anya never looked away from the door. “I was 16. It was my first and last heat. I haven’t had one since.”

Bruce looked shocked by this. Heats were mandatory for all omegas, and only a few rare things could stop heats for that long. Suppressants were not meant to be taken for that long, only about a year at a time or risk organ damage, internal injuries, removal of the reproductive organs, or some kind of extreme anxiety. Her organs had been removed a few months ago, but what might cause her to go almost a decade without having a heat and still having the organs to have one? The only thing he could think of would be extreme anxiety or a traumatizing event.

“Alright, well what happened during your last heat?” Bruce knew he stepped on a land mine the second he finished the sentence. Her face changed from calm, murderous focus to crazed and panicky. She started screaming, and threw the nearest beeping machine across the room, where it broke, her fingers clutching the pole so hard it dented the metal.

“Keep away from me! You won’t touch me again! I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!” She was screaming at someone that wasn’t in the room, at someone only she could see, tears streaming down her face, her breathing so fast and ragged she was hyperventilating, and lashing out at Bruce as he took a step towards her. She screamed again, at the top of her lungs, calling out for help, for someone to help her, to rescue her, or to kill her.

“PLEASE! JUST KILL ME, PLEASE! HAVE MERCY!” She crawled under the bed suddenly, shaking and crying, her screams turning to sobs as she curled tightly into the fetal position, a small needle in her hands, looking ready to lash out if someone got too close. She pushed her back to the cold wall, as Clint pushed past the alphas into the room, a large glass of water in his hands. He knelt down beside the bed and when Anya lashed out in reflex, he caught her wrist, forcing her to drop the needle and splashed her face with the water.

“Wakey, wakey Anya.” He was teasing, hoping it would help, thinking she would be pulled from her own personal hell if she thought about their running joke his habit of waking her with a glass of cold water. Anya sputtered as the cold water hit her, spitting it out in surprise and reflex, but the glassy look in her eyes faded and she looked at Clint, then pulled herself from under the bed, slowly, carefully, and smearing blood behind her as she did. She had cut her hand on something, maybe the instrument she threw, but it was already healing, the wound bleeding copiously for a minute, then the skin mending at the edges as he watched and helped her to her bed, covering her in blankets. Her skin was pale and sweaty, her breathing still uneven, and she looked terrified. Clint has seen a lot of flashbacks and panic attacks before, but never like this. This was a whole new level of terrified.

It took her almost 20 minutes before she was able to talk, though the alphas were kept outside. She felt embarrassed to have lost it so spectacularly and apologized to Bruce over and over again about hurting him. Bruce just looked concerned about her reaction.

She didn’t say anything for several long moments, then took a long gulp of water. “My last heat, I didn’t have a say in who was there, who used my body for their own enjoyment. It was my first heat, and I was already scared, but then all these alphas…” Anya shook her head and looked down, trying to collect herself.

“When it was over, I promised myself I would never let anything like that happen again. Every time I was near an alpha I was sent back to that week; even today, I feel it all over again. It’s terrifies me so much, I haven’t had a heat since, and when the chance came to get rid of the problem entirely, I jumped at the opportunity. When they removed my reproductive organs, they told me I would never have another heat again.” She finally looked up at Bruce, a lost and questioning look on her face, as if he had all the answers in the world. The look broke Steve’s and Bucky’s hearts; she might one day become their omega, and Bucky was already attached to her. Seeing her in this much pain was hurting them too, and made Bucky want to rip out the throats of whoever hurt Anya so badly.

“Well, Anya, it appears the organs have grown back.” Bruce finally spoke and Anya looked lost and terrified. Clint sat on the bed next to her, but she stiffened, ready for another attack and Clint back off, standing a few yards away. “Take them out, please.” The desperation in her voice pulled at everyone’s hearts. Omegas didn’t do well without their reproductive organs, often becoming depressed, angry, alcoholics and drug-users, and self-hating for the rest of their lives, and they needed supplements until they died. For Anya to want the organs removed, to go against everything her inner omega was telling her, to go against years of biology and evolution, she must have endured a true hell on earth.

“If I take them out, they will just grow back.” Anya wept into her hands, her body curling up on the bed again and she no longer tensed when Clint came over to comfort her; he rubbed her shoulders gently and sat on the bed beside her. She gripped onto his clothes, grasping at him like letting go would mean slipping into the terrifying abyss that her mind associated with heats.

Steve rubbed his face and shifted on his feet, feeling sorry for Anya, who was still sobbing several long minutes later. Bucky looked murderous, and Tony felt the same. Whoever could instill that kind of fear in anyone did not deserve to live.

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Anya managed to calm herself down, and looked up at Dr. Banner, tears still marking her face; she wiped them away, feeling embarrassed about her outburst, but that overwhelming fear deep inside her was constantly pulling at her. Every time she tried to move, or think about something, she was pulled back to that black room, but this time she was begging for it, asking for anything they would give her. She had no control over her body, and at one point she had 3 alphas inside her, 2 in the front, one in the back. Even though she knew she was bleeding, though she could smell it and feel it as it ran down her legs, she still begged for it, for more.

Clint rubbed her shoulders again and she jumped, grabbing his arms in reflex, but he didn’t pull away or fight her. He winced slightly as she twisted his wrists, but she let go quickly and he just rubbed her shoulders some more, offering a calming beta presence. They all knew that if one of the alphas came into the room, she would panic again, despite her efforts not to.

“Anya, I know this is a lot to process. Take some time to think about it all; I would prefer you stay here, in containment, until we’ve run some more tests.” Anya just nodded numbly as Bruce the room, leaving Clint behind to comfort her, to a group of alphas that all wanted answers.

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“Holy shit.” That was all tony said, but it was all he really needed to say. That summed up Anya’s reaction. “I agree. I’ve never known an omega to react that violently to learning about an upcoming heat. Sometimes they may be upset about it being inconvenient, or bad timing, but never that level of fear.” Bruce looked from one alphas to another, thinking everything over.

“Well it would explain why she’s only ever had the one heat. And her hatred and distrust of alphas. That severe of an anxiety would prevent her from going into heat. But it sounds like the serum in her DNA is overriding that anxiety.”

Bruce nodded to Tony. “It would explain a lot of her behavior towards alphas, and her ability to ignore the alpha command voice. She’s the only omega I’ve met that can ignore it.” Steve looked confused and Tony rolled his eyes.

“Have you done any of the reading, Cap? Or watched some of the porn I sent you?” Steve’s ears turned red and Bucky snickered. “Alpha command voice is exactly as it sounds. Alphas give a command to an omega, and the omega has no choice but to obey, regardless of the order. Even commit suicide or murder. It takes years for omegas to learn to ignore it, and most give up trying. Anya seems to be the exception.”

“That takes a lot of work, and a lot of fear and anxiety to accomplish that level of revulsion and rebellion. She’s ignoring all her instincts and every societal norm when she does it.” Steve looked a long time at Bruce, then back at the glass. Anya was still in the bed, looking right at the glass, right into his eyes, then he reminded himself she couldn’t see them.

“Sir, Thor has arrived.”

JARVIS’s voice made everyone jump a little bit and Tony and Steve left the glass, but Bucky said he wouldn’t move, he would stay and keep an eye on Anya. Steve gripped his flesh shoulder and gave Anya one last look, before heading upstairs to greet the God of Thunder.

Chapter Text

“My friends, it is good to see you!” Thor’s booming voice rocked the room and Steve couldn’t help but smile at the god of thunder; it had been a while since they had seen one another, and hadn’t seen Thor since his brother’s death. Clint wasn’t upset about it, nor was Coulson, but Steve could understand losing someone that meant so much.

Thor greeted everyone in turn, and was thrilled to learn Wanda and Vision had made it official. While in the middle of talking, he paused and sniffed the air thoughtfully, then clapped Steve on the back, a wide grin on his face.

“Congratulations, Captain of America. I am heartened to smell an omega on you. It brings great calm to the harried mind of the warrior.” Steve stood stock still and Tony’s eyes got big, a shit-eating grin spreading on his face. Clint’s face was the same ad both men had nothing but pranks and teasing on their minds.

“Oh, yeah, Steve’s omega.” Tony shared a look with Clint as Steve’s face turned bright red and he started to stutter. Bucky chose that moment to show up, covered in Anya’s scent even more than Steve. Thor looked confused and Tony’s grin grew wider as Bucky stopped mid-step and felt a growl coming into his throat. The 2 had never met, and a new alpha in the tower would make Bucky nervous; but he was more concerned about Anya’s reaction. If she smelled him, while in her current emotional state and with her newfound and uncontrolled strength, there was a high chance she would hurt someone, or herself.

Thor’s face looked Bucky over, contemplating the new alpha, the rested on the metal arm and some of the scars barely visible under his thin t-shirt. Thor’s face turned from tight to open and he smiled wide and opened an arm to welcome the new addition to the team.

“It is a pleasure to meet a fellow warrior. By the scent covering you, you and the Captain must be close lovers.” Steve’s face turned an even brighter red and Thor looked confused as Tony outright laughed and Clint was being held up by Coulson, twitching with not-so-hidden glee. Thor looked more confused as Bucky gave Steve a shit-eating grin and couldn’t help himself.

“Steve and I are partners, right doll?” Steve’s face was brighter than Nat’s hair and he stuttered something out when Bucky gave the soldier a light smack on the ass. Thor looked unperturbed by the laughter and teasing, and simply stated, “You share an omega; it is a sure step towards becoming a pack. I am happy to learn this.” The faint hurt that was in the back of Thor’s eyes, the darkness that he’d held since his brother’s death, faded and his smile was pure happiness and wonder.

Tony looked over at Steve, who was still blushing brightly, a glimmer of hope in his chest when Steve didn’t deny he wanted them to be a pack. It was the first time in a long time he’d felt that hope, and when Steve cast a glance his way, that was so fleeting Tony almost missed it, but it had in it a hopeful glint. Maybe Steve was serious about the Avengers being a pack, and it might include Tony; the idea of it sent a bolt from his heart straight between his legs.

“Thank you for coming, Thor.” Coulson was the first to break the silence and Thor just stared. He hadn’t known the man was back, and last time Thor had bene on earth, Coulson had still not revealed himself to be alive; he did that shortly after the Civil War and reached out to all the Avengers, and helped Tony and Clint talk to one another. Because there was little Coulson would ask that Clint wouldn’t do. Thor took a few steps forward and embraced the Avenger’s handler, looking at him in disbelief.

“It is wonderful to see you, old friend. I was deeply saddened when…” Thor paused. He couldn’t talk about his brother, even if he had done some terrible things. It was still painful. Coulson patted the large man on his back a few times, then walked over to the nearest screen station and pulled up the information gathered on the alien robot spiders.

“This is what we need help with. We’ve determined these robots are not from earth; they attacked Lower Manhattan, the southern tip of the island, 4 days ago, and you might have noticed some damage to the tower as well. We’ve isolated the power source for the machines, and are keeping it in a secure location. A scientists determined they act a lot like our sun, only on a much smaller scale. And the robots are still in Lower Manhattan.”

The sounds of a muffled argument broke out a few floors below and only the enhanced could hear them, but JARVIS interrupted them and warned them Anya was coming up to the main floor.

Steve felt a jolt of panic just as the elevator door opened to reveal Anya and Bucky talking quickly, arguing in subdued tones, something about her leaving the tower. Anya looked up as the smell of another alpha hit her and she stiffened, her back going rigid and her face stony, ready to attack. Bucky looked nervous, but Anya let out a breath as she spied the equations and blue holograms all around the rest of the team. Anya’s eyes flicked to the new alpha, taking in his massive muscles and medieval looking clothes, then forced a faint smile. Bucky had his hand on her shoulder, whispering in her ear, telling her to go back to bed. Anya ignored him as she walked into the main room. Steve noticed she was breathing in through her mouth and not her nose as much as possible.

“This must be the lovely omega you two have chosen. She is not what I expected.” Anya cast him a look that promised violence, though Thor didn’t seem to notice, but Bucky did, putting an arm around her waist to hold her back and she felt a thrill go up her spine that she tried to ignore. Damn hormones.

“I was led to believe all earth omegas were fragile, delicate, tiny creatures. This woman has the air of a warrior, a fighter. She has seen battle and has fought for her life many times.” Anya looked shocked at Thor, wondering how someone she just met could tell that about her when even SHIELD and Tony Stark had no idea. Thor took a few steps forward and Anya flinched slightly, but the arm around her waist kept her grounded, and reminded her she was in the Avenger’s Tower, not locked in a tiny black cell. Thor extended his hand and Anya put her hand in his, gripping his large, calloused hands, starting to shake, until he pressed his lips to her knuckles.

Anya’s lips tipped into a faint smirk. What planet was this guy from?

“It is a pleasure to meet the omega of such fierce fighters.” Steve groaned in his head; they weren’t a pack, Anya would never want to be part of their pack. She was still mad and them and had already said her falling asleep on Barnes’s chest was a moment of weakness.

Anya looked at Steve before looking back at Thor. A few emotions crossed her face before it settled on carefully welcoming, and she said simply, “we aren’t official yet. We’re still working some things out.” Steve stared, but before anything could be elaborated, Coulson’s phone rang.

“Uh-huh. Yes, he’s here. You have it? Good.” Coulson hung up and looked back at the group. Anya walked past them with a nod to Clint and Coulson before heading to her room, and closing the door with a sharper than needed snap. Steve and Bucky stared at her for a moment before Bucky stood beside Steve and whispered that Anya said she needed to leave the tower for something. Steve agreed with Bucky that it was a bad idea.

They all turned back to the floating diagrams and images as Coulson was talking. The power source Anya had managed to salvage from the alien robot spiders was being moved to the tower, after being in a warehouse off the island, for Thor and Bruce to look it. The power it was putting out was falling; as Anya had predicted, the powersources didn’t last long. Thor looked the images over but wanted to see the alien robot spiders in person; his face was betraying that he had an idea who was behind the attacks, but wasn’t going to say anything until he was sure.

Before leaving the tower, Coulson left Sam behind to look after Nat, who would be able to move to a wheelchair in a day if her x-rays came back alright. He also asked for Sam to look in on Anya and make sure she didn’t hurt herself or someone during a panic attack. Sam looked a little nervous, since the last time they had interacted he had hit her, though she had already made it clear she wasn’t mad at him. She had never really been mad at him, since it had been the chemicals. She was much angrier with Bucky and Tony.

Thor flew with Tony and Rhodey to the alien robot spider site, which had been just barricaded off and was now in a much tighter quarantine than just after the attacks. Learning the attack was alien was a whole other ball game. As Thor landed and Tony touched down, a familiar face looked up from the rubble of a nearby building and Thor’s stomach clenched painfully. Jane Foster stood up from her position, covered in a thick hazmat suit, and she looked at Thor, her face pained but friendly. They had decided to ‘take a break’ shortly after Loki’s death, making the experience all the more painful for the god.

“Hello, Thor,” Jane said, her voice and face too formal and Tony noticed, but had the sense not to say anything. Thor would pummel him to pieces. Tony made himself busy instead with look the mechanics and internal workings of the alien robot spiders over and instantly blocked out everyone and everything else. The insides was in the top 5 of the most intricate and complicated machine he had ever laid eyes on. He felt himself getting hard in the armor, then stepped out of the suit to touch the mechanics with his own hands. It was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen, and only his suit could compare, because he had made it of course. And Barnes arm: not as advanced as this alien machinery in front of him, but so much more delicate, and well, who was he kidding, the man the arm was attached to was the living embodiment of lust.

That did not help his erection.

The scientists didn’t bother trying to stop Stark, they knew it wouldn’t do any good, and just let him look the machine over. If anyone could figure out how the alien robot spiders worked, it was Stark.

Thor, meanwhile, was still trying to get Jane to talk to him, but she would just look down at her work, a little hurt on her face, until she repeated that she wanted to take a break in their relationship, but they could be co-workers. Thor’s sad puppy look could have been stolen right from Barnes, and made the huge, muscular man look like the most pathetic and saddest thing Tony had ever seen in his life. And he’d seen Barnes’s puppy face at the same time as Cap’s puppy face. The dual assault had been brutal.

Cap arrived shortly afterwards, and Tony was now buried arms deep in the nearest alien robot, looking tings over, talking fast and loud and excitedly to JARIVS. “The variance in this compartment are conductive to non-conductive materials and cause reverse polarity. That must be the gradients that induce thermos-discharge in the UV spectrum.” Cap’s head was spinning from all the techno-babble coming out of Tony’s mouth and stopped trying to get the billionaire’s attention. Tony was in his own little world.

“This is distressing. The metals bear resemblance to a race of creatures known as the Silik. They are a race of violent fighters, taking pride in succeeding where other races have failed to conquer. The Silik would have been drawn here when the Chitauri failed. They would see our world as a challenge.” Cap looked back at Thor, who was running his hands on the metal of one of the shattered legs, his fingers tracing the white crystal globs that had broken the legs off the main body of the robot. He broke a piece of the white crystals off and looked it over, and Cap could smell it was some kind of salt.

“Intriguing. Was the man of iron the one to discover how to defeat the attacking metal machines?” Thor looked over at Tony, who pulled himself form the guts of a robot to actually answer the question. “Sadly, no. Wasn’t even in the country when these things attacked. Coulson, Anya and Robocop over there did it. Anya was the one that turned the hexbugs into glass.” Thor looked confused as he looked from Tony to Cap, who sighed slightly.

“Anya was the omega you met earlier. The robots attacked while we were all on a mission, and only Coulson, Anya and Bucky,” Cap motioned to Bucky, who was fiddling with some of the intricate mechanisms with a discerning eye, his metal hand touching the metal robot parts carefully, a contemplative look on his face. Cap turned back to Thor, who looked at him accusingly. Cap forced back the urge to growl at the obvious though faint accusation.

“You left your omega to fight this battle alone?” Bucky snarled for Cap, who stomped over to confront the god of thunder, and Tony looked back up from the machine again to watch.

“She wasn’t alone, she had me and Coulson. And she’s more than capable of taking care of herself. And she’s not our omega.” It hurt Cap for some reason for someone to say it out loud, though he knew it was true. Anya wasn’t their omega Thor puffed out his chest at the alpha facing him, and Cap had to step between them before they came to blows. Bucky was still tense from knowing someone had hurt Anya so bad that she felt in danger enough, all the time, to no longer have heats. It also hurt that she wouldn’t want to have a heat, and certainly not with him or Steve.

“Thor, there was no one else, and Anya wouldn’t be stopped. She’s a force of nature when she sets her mind to something. And Bucky kept her safe; knowing Anya, she would’ve led the charge to attack the robots.” Coulson nodded to Thor, who looked to be calming down considerably. “It was all her planning that stopped the invasion. The robots would’ve reached the tower in an hour if she hadn’t rallied Barnes and me.” Coulson nodded to Bucky when Thor looked confused about the new name.

“I understand. I apologize for becoming confrontational. I sometimes forget many things here on Midgard are different than Asgard.” Thor looked sad again as his face glanced at Jane, who was determinedly not looking their way, though her shoulders were slumped in obvious sadness. Sad alpha permeated the air and Bucky had to cover his nose from the smell, Cap just trying not to scrunch up his nose. He didn’t want to offend his friend.

“So, the Silik, could they be coming here?” Coulson broke the tension again and everyone leapt at the new topic. “I believe so. From our writings and stories of the Silik, they send waves of attacks. First come the machines, wreaking havoc and destruction.” Tony scoffed and quipped, “little late for that notice.” Everyone ignored him.

“Next come scouts, to seek out weaknesses, determine numbers of remaining inhabitants. Then comes the first wave of attacks, from the skies, raining down fire and acid.” “Sounds like something straight from the Old Testament.” Clint couldn’t stop himself from getting his own quip in there. He and Tony often tried to outdo one another on sass and snarky comments. Tony rolled his eyes at the archer before turning back to Thor.

“Then comes the invasion, thousands and thousands of fighters, bearing double-sided blades to slash and gut and make the world turn red with blood.” Thor stopped, and looked sideways at Steve and Bucky, clearly holding something back. “What else, Thor? What aren’t you telling us?” Coulson looked hard at the much taller man, but the Asgardian caved under the man’s searing gaze,

“Silik are a race completely made of alphas. They capture and keep omegas for themselves. They will not kill omegas, but the omegas always kill themselves to end the pain. I have never heard of an omega captured by the Silik surviving more than one earth year.”

Steve stiffened, and knew Bucky was doing the same. He immediately thought about Anya; she was a fighter, and she would die before she would be captured. But just imagining her in that position…then he remembered she had been in that kind of position once before. Why else would she hate alphas so much?

The sounds of something breaking made Steve jump, and realized Bucky had broken the metal piece of leg he’d been looking at. Rage laced the former assassin’s features. Though not an omega, he had been kept prisoner for 70 years and had occasionally wished for death, when the pain was so completely deep in him he just wanted it to be over.

Thor looked from Bucky back to Steve and turned stern, the look of a soldier, about to go into battle. “I shall remain on earth until these Silik have been dealt with. The scouts should arrive within a week of losing contact with their invading machines. Perhaps they are already here. I shall search for them and capture one, or rid the world of them if they refuse to surrender to me. I shall return shortly with the Lady Sif and Warriors Three.” Thor then disappeared in a bolt of lightning, leaving behind a large and beautifully detailed burned circle on the grass.

“Seriously, that man has no regards for lawn care.” Tony stepped out from his hollow in the robot, covered in a slick blue liquid, grease and sweat. “What’d you find out?” Coulson looked at Tony, but the billionaire was looking at Steve and Bucky. “That Terminator has a hard-on for Anya, and Steve wants a piece of them both. Kinky, Cap. Didn’t think 2 old men would go for that.” Bucky smirked at Tony, but everyone else burst into laughter as Steve turned an ever brighter red than at the Tower.

Steve’s phone went off and he saw he had a new message from Sam.

Sam: Uh…Steve?

Steve paused and looked at it. For some reason, he knew ti would be bad news, and he just knew the cause of it.

Cap: you lost Anya, didn’t you

S: yep. Jarvis can’t find her but someone left the garage 5 minutes ago

C: Sam…

S: sorry. You didn’t mention she could get around the most high-tech security system in the world

C: she sweet talked JARVIS into letting Bucky out

There was a long pause and Steve hoped Sam was looking for Anya, or maybe she had come back.

S: seriously? How can u sweet talk a computer

JARVIS: I am more than just a computer. Sir would be offended to hear you think of me as only a computer.

Tony looked at his phone a second later than barked over at Steve, “Tell buzzboy JARVIS is not a computer! I am deeply offended.” Steve rolled his eyes as a new text came in.

S: Oh. Found a note

C: whats it say

There was a few minutes between texts then Sam finally responded just as Steve was ready to head back to the tower.

S: it says she has an exam at school. She has her phone, and ‘why am I telling you all this like you’re my mother?’

S: her words

S: she says she’ll be back by 9.

Steve sighed out some of the stress from his shoulders. If she had left a note, telling she would be back, then she really had just gone to school. She took her studies seriously, and Bucky had mentioned she was worried, since she had already missed a fair amount of her classes.

“That’s right, she has exams this week.” Bucky had been looking over Steve’s shoulder and Steve let out another sigh. Once she was done with exams, there would be nothing to make her leave the tower. Her emotional state and reaction to learning she would have heats made him worried she would trigger much easier now.

“Earth to Cap, this is ground control, get your brain back here.” Clint poked Steve’s head and Tony and Bucky laughed, Coulson managing a flicker of a smile. Steve put his phone away. Though his mind did go to Anya, if she was ok, he also knew she could take care of herself. He just hoped something didn’t trigger her. Seeing the worry on his face, Bucky wrapped an arm around the blonde’s shoulders quickly, gave his arm a squeeze, and said, “She’ll be fine. She’s a strong woman.” Steve nodded, and knew Bucky was right.

Turning back to Thor and Tony, he listened to more info about the alien robots, and the responsible aliens, the Silik.

His life was strange, he realized.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anya’s pencil drew a complex carbohydrate on the exam paper in front of her, her hand working hard to keep up with her brain. She was in the middle of the exam period, but was almost done. When finished, she would look everything over, make sure she hadn’t skipped a question, then leave the classroom as fast as possible.

The smell of an alpha near rut made her nearly choke on her own tongue and she turned her head to look behind her, seeing a young man, a few years younger than her, look up at her once in a while and sniff. Until the professor yelled at them both to look at their own papers. The professor looked at her, and Anya would rub the gel into her shoulder some more, wondering why everyone was suddenly so much more aware of her. When she was done, and handed in her exam and the professor excused her from the class, she went to the bathroom to vomit.

The smell of alpha was all around her, permeating every fiber of her being, and it was nauseating. She needed to complete her exams, she couldn’t fail them or not attend just because the smell of all the alphas in the room was getting to her. It had to be the serum, making already heightened sense of smell more powerful; that and her heat coming up in a few weeks. She vomited into the towel again when she thought about it. She couldn’t go through a heat, not again, not ever again. She would start taking suppressants, and to hell with the damage they would cause.

Suppressants were used only for omegas in places where the number of alphas was extremely high, like the armed forces. It made an omega smell like a beta: no arousing smell for alphas to latch onto, no chance that alphas would turn on one another over the omega, no chance the omega would be attacked by an alpha in rut, and no going into heat. But they weren’t meant to be taken long term, and caused permanent damage to the liver, brain and reproductive organs if taken for longer than 1 year at a time. The omegas that did take them, would take them for a few months at a time, then stop to allow for a heat to occur, then start taking them again.

But the idea of going into heat, of feeling that pain and terrible loss of control all over again, that was so much worse.

Anya left the bathroom a few minutes later after rinsing out her mouth and stopped when she heard a beta student sounding panicked and angry as she spoke with her advisor.

“I’m sorry. Your work is very impressive, but it’s missing several key details. There is no chemical compounds, no administration concept, no manufacturing concept, you don’t even have a completed theory. It is a very genius attempt, but without the basic chemical compounds, and their interactions with the healing capabilities of the human body, this won’t count as your Capstone.”

Anya froze as the words “healing capabilities” hit her hard. She knew she had smelt that beta before, not only on campus, outside her advisor’s room once before, but in her small apartment before living in the tower. Anya waited for the sounds of the angry beta to fade down the hall, and the advisor’s door closed as she rounded the corner. A board of Capstone work was outside the advisor’s office, many of them were group projects. Her eyes flitted to one in particular: 5 names were on it, approved by the same professor she had visited before realizing he had a camera in his office.

Rage bubbled in her stomach as she looked the work over: it was all her work, though it was not complete. It had been one of her earlier drafts, before she had even arrived at the tower, and was a draft she had left in her car. She felt the need to find every one of those people and rip their throats out.

The wall cracked under her hands and the office door opened to reveal the professor looking at her, eyebrows raised as he eyed the damage to the old brick. Anya controlled her rage. There was a better, sneakier, more painful way to do this than physical violence. Her vengeance would be swift and brutal, hurting those 5 students where it hurt the most.

“Can I help you?” the older man looked down at her past his reading glasses, eyeing the rage in her eyes, though her face was rather calm. Anya nodded and pointed to the work on the board and said simply, “Those students stole my work.” The man looked down at her doubtfully, and he scoffed at her, but the rage on her face and the powerful smell she was putting off, angry omega was not a pleasant smell for anyone, made the man doubletake, then he rubbed his glasses off before continuing.

“If you can prove to me before the end of the year that this work is yours and not theirs, they will be expelled from college for plagiarism of their Capstone work.”

Anya felt rage bubble in her gut again: any beta or alpha students would have their case taken to the professors’ council. This was obviously because she was an omega and the professor didn’t believe an omega was capable of that kind of advanced work behind him on the board.

Anya snarled a little bit, but swallowed most of it down and hid the snarl with a cough, then said she would bring her completed work before the week was over. The professor sighed, obviously feeling this as a complete waste of time, and Anya fought the urge to smack the smug man right in his smug face, or his balls. Either one would work. But she had more important things to handle first.

Revenge.

Anya left the campus in a huff, but was stopped as someone shouted to her from far away, but her increased hearing caught her name before she climbed into her car. She turned around and the smell of alpha hit her, sending chills up her spine and also making her clench her thighs as a new sensation hit her. Why were alpha smells affecting her so much worse now? As the alpha smell got stronger, she recognized the source as Alex, covered in a thin sheen of sweat, grass stains on his arms and legs, a chunk of turf in his perfect hair.

Anya got ahold of herself as Alex got close enough to smell her and he paused, looking at her curiously. She knew she had a more powerful smell than last time they were together, but he had enough courtesy not to say anything, and instead just smiling happily at her.

“Hey, Anya. I was hoping to run into you again. I know it’s late, but could we maybe grab something to eat?” Anya was surprised by his question and most of her brain was screaming at her to say no, so many alarm bells going off, but her inner omega, which seemed to be getting stronger all the time, was pushing her to say yes. She was so lost in her thoughts she almost missed what Alex said next. “I could really use a friend.” He had a sad look on his face and even her reluctant brain collapsed in on itself. It could give Steve’s sad puppy look a run for his money, though it still didn’t compare to Bucky’s.

“Sure, I have some time.” Alex smiled wide and nodded to her, said he would clean up and then meet her at the same diner in 30 minutes.

Anya’s plan for revenge was still formulating when Alex arrived at the diner, hair still damp from a shower, and Anya had to work hard not to imagine the perfectly portioned alpha naked and covered in water. These new hormones would be the death of her, she just knew it.

They talked as they ate burgers; it was after normal lunch time so most of the diner was empty except 2 men at the bartop, sitting far apart from each other, but both would look back at Anya and made no attempt to hide their scenting and smelling her. She finally snarled at the nearest one as Alex took a long drink, an actual growl coming from her mouth tat Alex didn’t seem to hear, and instead of backing off, the man’s pants suddenly tents. Anya sighed exasperatedly.

The conversation eventually turned to Thor’s arrival and Anya was careful about what she said. Alex didn’t know she was living in the tower with the Avengers, she was still with her friend Lisa as far as he knew, and she needed to keep it that way. Still, she talked about the Avengers too, and eventually the conversation turned to the recent civil war the Avengers had fought with one another. Thor hadn’t been present and Alex wondered how he would handle hearing about the in-fighting. Anya had a feeling Thor would chew out tony and Steve for hurting one another, for turning their backs on their companions and friends. Anya really hoped he did.

“Really, you want the god of Thunder to get angry?” Anya looked up at Alex and blushed slightly. “I was talking out loud, wasn’t I?” Alex nodded at her, smiling gently at her and patted her shoulder. She couldn’t fight the flinch ad Alex looked hurt and concerned, but didn’t press it.

“You know, I think it’s terrible. If you think about it, the villain won.” Anya looked over her remaining fries at Alex and though about it. “Yeah, that’s partially true. The villain did get what he wanted: he turned the Avengers on one another for 6 months. I don’t think Tony has forgiven himself for it yet.” Anya stopped on a dime as she spoke, then sipped on her drink to hide her slip. Alex looked at her curiously, then asked, “What do you mean, partially won? Captain America and Iron Man almost killed each other.” Anya looked back at Alex. “Yeah, I know that, but I’m talking about trying to wake up the other Winter Soldiers. They’ve been in cryo for what, 20+ years? You can’t just push the ‘thaw’ button and hope there’s no residual damage. Cryo taxes the body even in stasis, and if he had woken them up in the way the manual might say, he would certainly kill them.” Anya was talking like it was the simplest thing in the world; she knew cryo did harm the body after some amount of time, and being in constant cryo for 2 decades would cause a lot of damage to their bodies, enhanced or not, especially if not woken up properly.

“If you were there, could you wake them up?” Anya looked at Alex, raising an eyebrow at him, an odd suspicion sliding up her spine. “Maybe. Cryo back in the 90s was much more primitive than now. But without seeing the tubes, the schematics and the person inside, there’s no way to tell. But that’s assuming I would want to wake them up.” Anya looked over her plate at Alex, contemplating him, her instincts, even her normally drooling omega instincts, were now very guarded. An odd glint in his eyes had tipped her off, and the scent she could suddenly smell on him, something like need, desire, and bloodlust.

Anya swallowed and pretend to look at her phone, then put some money down and excused herself. Alex looked disappointed as she left, but she just waved at him, flashing a toothy smile and pulling out of the parking lot in record time. She headed back to the tower, thinking about everything she had learned today.

Alex would come later: first was REVENGE.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“Captain Rogers, Anya has returned to the garage.” Steve looked at his watch and realized it was barely 4. She was back early. Steve waited up on the main floor as Bucky headed down to meet her, and maybe get angry at her in private. But just 60 seconds later, Anya was on the main floor and Steve coughed hard as the powerful smell of angry omega, omega on the warpath, hit him. Anya’s face matched her smell: her eyes were filled with blue fire, her lips in a snarl and her fists clenched at her side. Her back was straight, shoulders prepped to deal a blow, neck tense.

Steve stood up and saw conflicting emotions on Bucky’s face, then understood why as another scent hit him: Anya had been near another alpha. Jealousy swirled in both alphas, then Steve saw her face again and hoped it was because the alpha had pissed her off. It was a terrible thing to hope for, but he didn’t want competition, if he and Bucky were really going to try to get Anya to be a pack with them.

Anya turned to Tony, who was making a face at her, letting her know how disgusting she smelt to him, and she took several calming breaths, though her mouth again, not wanting to take in the smell of strange alpha. Thor made an appearance seconds later, hammer ready, as if expecting an attack. He looked beyond surprised that the smell was coming from an omega, and actually took a half step back as she walked past him. She forced a smile at him, though her eyes were still filled with rage.

Anya opened a cabinet in the main kitchen and pulled out a bottle of expensive bourbon, pouring herself a large glass, not bothering with ice and gulping it down.

“Hey, take it easy Ben Sanderson.” Tony pulled the mostly empty glass from her hand and she didn’t protest, but slammed her hand down on the counter so hard it broke into several pieces. “You know, this is why we can’t have nice things.” Tony was teasing her, but stopped mid-laugh, his face falling in an instant. Steve got closer and realized why.

Anya was crying.

Bucky wrapped his arms around Anya and she didn’t pull away, though she did flinch, then just melted into his large and warm chest. “C’mon doll, what’s got you so blue?” Bucky accent came out strong as he held Anya as she shook in his arms.

“Everything. The idea of going through a heat, having an alpha rape me over and over, I can’t do that again. I was just shot, so some lazy-ass students could take my work and pass it as their won. Everything I smell is overwhelming. Everything I smell is bringing back that room, and those alphas, those men, I’m nauseous, have a constant headache, and don’t feel like me. I figured out suppressants would be useless with this new serum shit. So I’ll go into heat. And…” Anya started to hyperventilate, her hands clutching onto the metal arm around her, but pushing away from the alpha smell; Barnes leaned his head in, but kept his neck, where some of his scent glands were located as far from her nose as he could. He whispered soft, gentle words into her ear, running his hands through her hair, like all omegas liked.

Instead, Anya thrashed away from him, opening a drawer in her panic and pulled out a knife. Bucky caught her wrist as she screamed, telling men only she could see to back away, kicking out at Barnes so hard he doubled over, forgetting she was now almost as strong as he was. His sounds of pain were followed by Anya dropping the knife as she came back to herself and she fell to her knees and grabbed onto Bucky, apologizing over and over again. He smiled at her and said, “you sure now how to get a guy on one knee.” Anya managed a faint, sobbing laugh. “That was terrible.”

Bucky smirked at her, not willing to tell her how much it hurt him to know she was so scared of being near an alpha, how much he wanted to slowly skin everyone that had hurt her, and how much joy it brought him to make her stop crying and hear her laugh. Fuck, he was falling hard. Steve joined them sitting on the floor, then finally spoke up about something she had said in her panic.

“Someone took your work?” Anya looked back at him and rage filled her eyes again. It shouldn’t be as a turn on as it was, but Steve had to shift his legs to hide the tent in his pants, though he couldn’t stop the blush in his face that Bucky would make fun of him later for.

“After I was done with an exam, I saw 5 students posted my work on the healing serum as their own work. It’s old work, and not nearly complete, but the only place I kept that copy of my work was in my car.” The dots connected for Steve, but Bucky let out a loud, angry growl, and looked ready to actually skin someone alive. Anya put a hand on his shoulder, to calm him, a very dark, intense look on her face; it was even hotter than the vengeful passion, and Steve was getting harder, and it was getting harder to hide. Anya seemed too lost in her revenge plans to notice, but Bucky did notice. And the jerk licked his lips in an obvious way.

“Mr. Stark, did you get my resignation?” Anya’s voice was cold, calculating, full of intent. “I did and I do not accept it.” Tony crossed his arms, ready to rebuttal if she protested, but instead, she nodded to him.

“Good. That means that any work I did on the healing serum would be property of Stark Industries, right?” Tony’s face lit up with a smirk as he connected the dots in his head. “That’s what the contract says. JARVIS, print out a copy of Anya’s contract and highlight that section.” “It is in your office, sir.” Anya nodded to Tony.

“The students’ advisor has given me until the end of term to prove that they stole my work. I want to hurt them where it hurts to most, I want to ruin their college careers, I want the world to know what cheap shits they are.” Anya was so pissed she was shaking, her body filled with barely contained rage, which was not helping Bucky as her shaking thigh hit his growing erection. She twitched from his grasp, then looked back at him, apologizing again for hurting him. Tony had already left, heading to do some paperwork for Anya’s plan, and said he would come with her to her class tomorrow. Clint walked forward, just glancing at Steve and Bucky with a raised eyebrow, but choked back whatever he wanted to say and helped Anya to her feet. He slowly ushered her to her room, telling to get some sleep, Coulson following shortly behind him, and the rest of the team dispersed.

Thor was the last to leave and looked at the 2 supersoldiers still on the floor then looked back to where Anya had disappeared, a curious expression on his face. “That is a very capable omega, very strong. The fire of a fierce warrior burns in her heart, but that heart bears many scars, and she guards it with high walls. If you get past those walls, and cause more pain, she shall never again recover.” Thor left in a swirl of his cloak, his 4 companions already in guest rooms in the tower, though 2 would leave for patrol to look for any Sillik within the hour.

“I think we were just warned about breaking Anya’s heart.” Steve felt confused, worried, and terribly horny. Anya’s smell was getting strong as she drew closer to the heat she hated, and if it was already affecting them now, he hated to know what it would be like when she was just days or hours away from her full heat. And he was terrified what he might do to her while she was in heat, when she smelt so good.

Bucky brought Steve back to the present with a faint brush on his painfully tight jeans which were now showing a wet spot where his cock was leaking. Steve flushed and looked at Bucky, who stood up, pulling Steve with him, then pushed Steve’s head to his chest, where Anya’s smell was strongest.

“Buck…” Steve started but lost his protest in his throat when Bucky looked up at him through his eyelashes, and whispered in a husky, sultry voice, “but alpha, don’t you want me?”

And that was all it took before Steve was pulling Bucky to his room, Bucky with a shit-eating grin on his face and Steve’s cock so hard and big it hurt.

Chapter Text

They didn’t even make it to Steve’s room. Steve pinned Bucky against the wall near his door, a growl coming from low and deep in his chest, so loud and intense it vibrated into Bucky’s body. Shivers traveled up and down Bucky’s spine, and he licked his plump lips seductively, eyes blown wide with lust; Steve bit down on those lips, pulling them into his mouth with another growl and Bucky let out a moan, low and pleading, needing more.

“You want me alpha? Want me to take you in deep, take your knot?” Bucky whispered so low it was almost hard for Steve to hear, but it made Steve groan, and he griped his hands in Bucky’s soft, long hair and pulled, crushing their lips together. Steve swallowed the grunt from Bucky’s mouth, his tongue dancing on those seductive, sinful lips, and Bucky obliged, opening his mouth to allow in Steve’s tongue.

It was like a fight in their mouths, each tongue needing to be in control, rolling over teeth and lips and flesh, Steve forcing his tongue to be on top, his hands on Bucky’s hip, gripping tight, leaving small bruises that healed as fast as they were left. Bucky’s metal hand gripped Steve’s shoulder, looking for support as Steve lunged forward, their hard cock rubbing against one another, the rough material of jeans giving some pleasurable friction. Steve pulled his mouth from Bucky’s and the former assassin let out a whine of loss, pulling Steve’s face back to his, flesh hand in blonde hair, metal hand moving down his shoulder to that perfect ass and squeezed.

Steve growled low in his throat, then latched onto Bucky’s neck, sucking hard and long, tongue tickling the skin where his neck joined his flesh shoulder. Bucky gasped and whined again, hand snaking up to grab onto his large bicep for support, then finding, finally, the doorknob to Steve’s room. The door flew open, almost coming off the hinges and slammed shut behind them.

In the main room they just left, Tony was left, wide-eyed, dropped paperwork all over the floor, hand down his pants, grabbing his own painfully erect cock.
In Steve’s room, Steve pushed Bucky down on the bed with a growl, and pinned his shoulders down hard as Bucky thrashed beneath him, already lost to the sensations; Steve yanked down Bucky’s pants and boxer briefs, his large, impressive cock springing free. Bucky gasped as cold air hit it, then shouted loudly, hand gripping Steve’s hair, as Steve took the entire length, all the way to the knot, into his mouth.

Bucky’s head fell back, long hair tickling between his shoulderblades as his knees gave out and he collapsed onto the bed; Steve pulled off with an obscene pop and looked down at his best friend and lover with an intense predatory gaze that forced Bucky to suppress his alpha instincts, and also made him moan with want.

Steve leaned down, a dark smirk on his face, all his alpha instincts coming out as a warm body undulated against his beneath him, tiny whines coming from those sinful lips.

“You want me to take you, buck? Want to feel my knot inside you? Steve was growling into Bucky’s ear and Bucky whined, pushing his bare cock up against Steve’s jean-clad thigh, needing the attention, the friction. Pre-cum leaked from his freely, running down the side of his large cock, dripping off his own knot that craved attention, to be inside something. Bucky whined in response, thrashing about like an omega in heat, begging; “oh, please alpha, need you inside me, need your knot, what you to fill me up with your cum.”

Steve growled and licked the outershell of Bucky’ ear, then sucked on the scent glands where his neck and shoulder joined, and Bucky jolted like he’d been electrocuted, eyes rolling back as the sensation traveled his entire body, almost as powerful as the orgasm his body was chasing. Scent glands were extreme erogenous zones for all designations, but most of all for omegas in heat, and alphas that could smell an omega.

“Turn around. Present yourself to me.” Steve growled low, his entire chest vibrating, and Bucky whined again, turning over, ass in the air, face resting on the bed, his hard, aching cock dripping pre-cum steadily onto the bed. His fists gripped hard into the sheets and ripped loudly, adding to the erotic sounds in the room; Steve smiled against Bucky’s back, leaning down to lick the back of his neck, hands roaming his back, his narrow hips, and finally down to his ass where he squeezed hard. Bucky groaned and let out a faint yelp, which he would completely deny even left his mouth, then shouted and cursed when he felt a warm, wet tongue, ever so daintily, teasing his hole.

Steve’s tongue, just the tiniest tip of it, touched the soft pink puckering hole in Bucky’s ass and Bucky shouted. Steve smirked wider, then grabbed Bucky’s hips, keeping him still, as he plunged his entire tongue inside the soft, silky heat as far as it would go.
Bucky shouted, jumping in ecstasy on the bed; it had been a while since he’d had someone pay that much attention to his asshole and he forgot how good it felt. It had been an even longer time since Steve had given it this much attention.

Steve smirked as his tongue darted in and out of Bucky’s tight ass, licking up and down, opening him up for the massive cock that ached between his legs, Bucky thrashing and moaning as Steve’s pink tongue dived in and out. Steve finally pulled away and looked down at his work, the tight pink hole slightly red, glistening from his tongue’s lavishing. He pulled of his shirt as Bucky moaned on the bed, thrashing again as he bucked his hip up and down, wanting more attention on his hungry asshole, needing more.

“Shh, I’ve got you.” Steve bit Bucky’s earlobe gently as he whispered and opened the side drawer, pulling out some lube, and pouring some on his fingers. “You ready for me?” he growled against Bucky’s neck, fingertips teasing the puckering hole, and Bucky whined. “Please, alpha, need you inside me so bad.” Steve smiled against his neck, then sat up and looked down to where his long fingers were teasing the sensitive skin, then pushed on in, all the way to the 2nd knuckle and curved downwards.

Bucky felt a slight burn at the intrusion, but it was completely overridden by the assault on his prostate, that long, slim finger hitting the right spot instantly and making Bucky see spots. A second finger joined the first less than a minute later, then a third, curving downwards, hitting that bundle of nerves inside him perfectly, rubbing incessantly against it, and Bucky felt that coil deep in his belly. Without being touched, Bucky came hard.

Long, thick, white ropes of cum splattered the bedsheets below him as his body shook with the force and suddenness of the orgasm, and Steve slowly let up the pressure on his prostate, gently rubbing it through the pulsing, feeling Bucky’s tight, warm heat contract around his fingers, squeezing them hard and he groaned. It felt so good, the tight channel becoming tighter, around his fingers but would feel even better around his cock. As Bucky came down, gasping from the best orgasm he’s had in a long time, Steve leaned up, lubing up his own cock, and then leaned down again, whispering, growling in Bucky’s ear.

“Roll over, I wanna see you cum on my cock. Wanna see your face when you take my knot.” Bucky gasped as Steve’s blunt head teased his sensitive opening, but didn’t push in, didn’t move. He turned over fast, needing that huge, wonderful, glorious cock deep inside him. When Bucky rolled over and looked up at Steve, he could see the powerful chest heaving with the effort of restraining himself from plunging in all at once; his eyes were completely black, blue hues eclipsed with blown pupils, and his chest had a faint sheen of sweat covering it. Bucky leaned up and licked those perfect abs, and Steve let out a moan that turned into a growl, as he leaned over Bucky; Bucky’s breath caught in his throat as he felt the blunt head pushing hard against his stubborn rim.

Steve pushed on his cock, the head slowly disappearing into Bucky’s beautiful body and Steve felt like it was made for him, despite both men being alphas. It had been a long time, since before Bucky fell from the train but after Azzano, since they had been together, and then Bucky had still been the top. But as Steve slowly pushed his hard, hot cock inside his friend, watching it slowly get swallowed by the enveloping heat, it was like they never lost one another. It was perfect.
Bucky was a complete mess under Steve, their eyes connecting as Steve’s head finally completely entered the brunet’s body, and Steve grabbed onto his shoulders, warning him with a faint growl, and shoved the rest of himself in, knot included.

Bucky reared up, back arching off the bed, screaming from the sensation, eyes wide, and seconds later, he came hard, more hot, streaming cum erupting from his erect, throbbing cock. Steve smirked down at his friend and slowly rocked his hips, letting Bucky ride it out, his own eyes crossing at the sensation around him.

Bucky gasped harder this time, and looked up at Steve with the most fucked out face, eyes half-lidded, mouth open in bliss, a few beads of sweat traveling down his temple.

“Alpha, fuck me alpha, make me cum again and again. I wanna fell your knot inside me, claimin’ me.” Steve growled lower than ever before, so intense it gave Bucky the shivers and seemed to send jolts down his metal arm, adding to the sparking nerves in his body. Steve pulled back, his knot tugging at the edge of Bucky’s twitching hole, then slammed in hard, his hips hitting against Bucky’s ass with an obscene slap.

Bucky arched off the bed over and over again, a beautiful thing to see as Steve drilled him harder and harder, pulling his knot to the edge of his puckering asshole and then slamming in, ballsdeep. Bucky screamed, begging for more, calling Steve alpha over and over again, knowing how much it turned the blond supersoldier on. Steve gripped Bucky’s hips, eyes on Bucky’s face watching the faces he made, how his lips would open in a silent scream when Steve was ballsdeep, and how he tilted his head back as Steve’s knot tugged at his sensitive hole.

“Oh, Stevie, harder, harder baby, fuck me.” Bucky was all but babbling as Steve jackhammered into him, switching languages from Russian to English and some other unknown languages mixed in there. Steve bent down and bit on one of the small nipples on the heaving chest before him and Bucky looked even more fucked-out than before, his hands gripping his own long hair and pulling, screaming louder and louder, telling the entire tower where he was and what was happening to him.

“Ya wan’ me Buck? Ya wan’ my knot?” Steve’s thrusts were becoming erratic as he drew close, his knot swelling inside Bucky catching on the abused hole. Without waiting for an answer, Steve flipped Bucky over like a ragdoll and used a large hand to pin his friend’s back down, his ass angled high in the air as his knot swelled more. Bucky angled himself better, knowing what Steve was trying to do, feeling the large swelling knot moving around inside touching him in places he’d never been touched before, until…

“FUCK ME!” Bucky screamed as he came again, Steve’s knot hitting him on the prostate, pressing down hard, the knot applying more and more pressure, sending powerful jolts of pleasure and electricity through his body, his cock so sensitive it almost hurt, his body so well used he just fell face first onto the bed as Steve came too.

Steve gripped Bucky’s hips so hard he left large, purpling bruises and he grunted, his knot swollen as large as it would be, and then bit down on Bucky’s shoulder, grunting his release inside Bucky, making Bucky moan and gasp again. Stream after stream, spurt after spurt, hot, thick cum filled up Bucky, and he whined as Steve’s cock and knot twitched inside him, rubbing against his oversensitive prostate. Steve licked up and down Bucky’s jaw, placing small kisses and nips along the permanent 5o’clock shadow as he occasionally jolted his hips forward, his cock still twitching deep inside Bucky’s body.

As they lay there, looking at one another, feeling like they were that much closer to getting back to normal, Steve smiled, feeling happy. Bucky smirked that shit-eating grin, as if Steve’s knot wasn’t still hitting his prostate when he moved, making the brunet gasp and moan.

“I’m just imagining what it would be like, Anya between us, finally all 3 of us together.” Bucky paused. “And Tony.” Steve stared at his friend, then smiled. Steve had a crush on the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, it was true, and it was also kind of obvious to everyone but Tony. And Steve. But both men could be rather oblivious. Smiling to one another, waiting for the knot to go down, and staring into each other’s eyes, Steve and Bucky lay on their sides on the bed, chests no longer heaving, Bucky occasionally groaning as Steve’s knot twitched inside him.

Outside in the hall, Tony snuck away from the door, wiping his cum-covered hand on his pants, palm aching where he’d bit into it from when he’d cum as he listened to the 2 hottest men he knew fucking each other. Their talking was too quiet for him to hear outside the door, but Tony didn’t care as he walked away, his imagination still going wild.

On the other side of the floor, the rest of the team was awake, some listening and jerking off, some annoyed. Anya had listened to some of it, then had rolled to hide her head under her pillows. She had to get up early the next morning.

Anya rolled over again as the noises subsided, burying her face deeper into the pillows, and finally fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Anya woke early the next morning and was unsurprised to find Coulson and Clint already awake and working out in the gym. The work crews had repaired most of the damage to the floor already, enough for everyone to use it for their morning workouts. Steve and Bucky were normally already up, but considering the noise Anya had heard the previous night, she didn’t expect to see them. Anyone that got pounded that hard wouldn’t be walking normally anytime soon.

Anya had another exam today, and would meet up with Stark on campus afterwards, where she would confront the assholes that had stolen her work, and undoubtedly ordered the hit on her. She wanted nothing more than to murder them herself, but she needed to know who pulled the trigger. After all, Dr. Banner had made a promise to the Hulk: he would let the Hulk out, and let him exact revenge on the one that pulled the trigger, and wouldn’t bother to stop him. None of the Avengers would bother to stop the Hulk, as long as he kept his revenge to the one that pulled the trigger.

Anya shifted in her car in the traffic, but made her way to the campus again, aware of the thick layers of gel on her shoulders and neck. It was visible, not rubbed in, because she was getting close to a heat, so it had to be on really thick. No one knew what she had to look forward to, considering the serum had turned her normal body inside out and upside down. So, she would stop at the library, and get some books to read, and if that didn’t work, she would talk to one of the omega nurses. She had a feeling the books would be filled with social conditioning that would make her scream, but it might have the basics. No one had ever bothered to help her through being an omega. She didn’t even know what her heat would be like when someone wasn’t holding her down.

Anya had to slam on her breaks, her mind on other things and hadn’t really been paying attention. The taxi in front of her turned in his seat, flipped her off and drove away. Anya let out a slow breath, trying to calm herself down. Every time she thought about a heat, or what it might be like, she felt the starts of a panic attack coming on, but this wasn’t something she could just ignore. There was nothing she could do to stop it.

And that complete lack of control was what scared her the most.

Her final exam was in calculus, and she sat a few seats in front of Alex, who looked up occasionally at her, and she feel his eyes on the back of her neck. She was glad that her heat, whatever it might be, wouldn’t occur while she was in school. Omegas couldn’t reschedule their heats, like a missed doctor’s appointment. It happened when it happened, and nothing could change it. Anya stopped her work on the calculus in front of her, wondering if she could change that. Well, she could, it would just take some work, and would be too late to change her own heat. Still, moving the date of an omega’s heat to a more convenient time could change a lot of things, especially for those in college, starting a new job or career, or experiencing loss.

Anya pulled her mind back to the exam when she heard someone cough, and could also hear someone not far from her sniffing, but ignored them, since the professor would take their test away if they stared at her for too long. He hated people he thought were cheating. So did she. As Anya finished the last problem and thought about the people that took her work, had cheated to pass their own Capstone by using hers, she gripped her pencil so hard it snapped into several pieces.

Everyone looked up at her, and she put her head down, feeling the panic coming on as everyone’s eyes focused on her, until the professor cleared his throat and said, “12 minutes left, eyes on your paper.” He then handed Anya a new pencil and walked away. It was the kindest thing the man had ever done for her, which wasn’t much, but was a step forward at least.

When she was done and handed her paper in a few minutes early, the professor looked it over and dismissed her, and whispered that he wished her luck with her heat. Anya stared at the man, he had seemed so old fashioned and biased, like all the other professors, but then he whispered, “My niece just presented as omega. She had her first one last week.” Anya gulped.

She left the class with a thankful nod to the professor and a glance at Alex, who was looking back at his paper now. She felt he might get a high enough score to pass the class, they had worked several hours every week to get him ready, but he still needed a high B, not easy for an advanced math class.

It was nearly 11 when she was done with her class and was in the library. She had called the advisor for the cheating students and made an appointment for 3pm, when he was free and said she would bring a witness. He didn’t sound like he believed her, but made the appointment all the same and said he would contact the students in question and would talk to them to get their side, before her appointment. Anya wondered what they might do, knowing she was still alive. She grinned evilly, relishing the thought.

Anya walked down the aisles of books and finally found the section devoted to omega development and reproductive cycle. She didn’t need to know the science of it, she was an omega after all and all the science and biology of it was ingrained in her brain since birth. She wanted to know what she might expect, what it would feel like, what she might do or want to do.

As she read one book after another, she was right: they were filled with social conditioning to push young omegas to have children, to submit to alphas, to be quiet, patient and to just let go and enjoy the knots. Anya became so frustrated and enraged she threw one of the books so hard at a stand it ripped, and cracked the sides of the wood. Anya rubbed her face, knowing she needed to be more careful, she was much stronger than before now, and had to remember that. But all she could think about was the idea of the heat, of becoming a mindless sex-fiend, needing a knot and losing control of her body, and having an alpha rape her over and over again.

That was what her last and only heat was like. She had begged for anything they were giving her, though her brain was telling her to run, to fight, she couldn’t, physically couldn’t. She remembered feeling hot, her limbs like jelly, and not even having the strength to push anyone away, even when it hurt and made her bleed.

Annoyed to the point of saying fuck it, she left the library and headed for the cafeteria; she wasn’t very hungry, her nerves about the meeting, about getting revenge, and the near constant panic she felt about her upcoming heat. She was so afraid as she thought about the heat, add what it had meant for her in the past, what it might to do her in the future, her hands were shaking as she helped herself to some soda before finding a seat with the other omegas. It was the safest place to be on campus, amongst those of her designation, especially when she was so close to a heat. Despite the thick layers of gel on her shoulders and neck, she knew she was putting out pheromones like crazy, and it would only get worse. Thankfully, there was only a few days left of the semester, and some students had already started making their way home.

The only people that would be left come Friday would be the nursing students; the year-end final that allowed students to pass onto the next year always took place on the last day of the semester, when the campus was sufficiently empty. That was the only thing that happened on Friday: it was completely devoted to nursing, and the campus became one giant omega sorority. Anya planned on staying at campus for Friday: she might get answers, and maybe go to an all-omega party.

Around 2:30, after just drinking her soda and all the omega nurses warning her to consume more with her heat coming up, she made her way to the building where the meeting would take place. Right on cue, she could hear the whine of Iron Man’s thrusters, and heard his heavy metal feet hit the ground, leaving imprints in the soft spring grass near a cluster of bushes. Instantly, he was surrounded by people clamoring for his autograph, for a picture, or for him to call them for a quickie. Though he took their numbers, he wouldn’t call them. He was still having a hard time getting over Pepper, and just didn’t find interest in anyone at the moment. Anya was a tad concerned for him: he did better when he was with someone, and he deserved to be happy, with all the shit he’d dealt with over his life.

Anya waited for him to start moving away from the cameras, to move across the lawn and look around; when their eyes met, he made a beeline for her, and she felt the nerves coming again. Everyone was staring at her, looking her way as he wrapped a single arm around her shoulder with a grin and a snarky comment about how she looked like shit. She knew she looked terrible; she needed a very strong drink as the nerves of being the center of attention, facing the people that took her work and tried to have her killed, and her upcoming and very unwanted heat, her brain felt like it was oozing from her ears and melting to the pavement.

Stark patted her on the back gently and his smile faded as they made their way inside, sensing her nerves. Though he had no filter on his mouth and could be brash, tactless and vulgar, he was as supportive as someone could hope for in a mentor and friend. Though not necessarily a friend, Anya thought of Stark as a mentor, one of the brightest minds of his time, and a source of inspiration for her work. She also noticed that he looked rather sweaty, and antsy. Maybe he was catching something.

As they neared the office, Anya felt her nerves escalating, but felt Stark next to her, and was reassured at least that she wasn’t alone. Inside the office, Anya could hear shouting and crying even through the closed heavy wooden door. She heard at least 3 male voices, a female voice and an older man’s voice, the voice of the advisor. Stopping at the door, Anya raised a hand, straightened her shoulders, and knocked.

The advisor opened the door and looked shocked as Anya stood there, Tony Stark beside her, his hand on her shoulder almost possessively. As Anya looked around, rage soared in her body as she recognized the beta woman: she was the same woman outside she had smelt had snuck into her apartment a few weeks ago. One of a group of students that had stared her down when she had been to her own advisor about her work; and a suspicion entered Anya’s mind, about the advisor having a part to play in this as well.

Anya saw the color drain from all the students’ faces when she entered the room, and she just couldn’t help herself.

“What’s the matter? You look like you’ve seen a ghost? Or maybe you hoped I would be a ghost by now?” she knew they hoped she was nothing more than a ghost, but the rage coming off her in waves proved Anya was alive and well, and very, very pissed off. The smell filled the room, a thick, overbearing scent of pissed off omega, terrified alpha and beta, while Stark leaned back in a chair, smirking as he looked around the room, until his eyes fell onto the beta student. His smile fell faster than he had from that wormhole, because he knew that look on someone’s face, that look of someone ordering a hit, capable of murder because of what they wanted. He’d seen it in Obi’s eyes once before.

Anya was losing her shit, her hands on the desk so tight it cracked the wood and the students backed away from her, huddling in a corner, ad one of them looked like he might pass out. Stark placed a hand on Anya’s shoulder and she slowly let the desk go, revealing her hand’s indents in the dark oak wood. Stark raised an eyebrow at her, and she took a few deep breaths before looking at the professor, pulling out her own work, the completed work with Dr. Banner’s writing on it, and offered it to the advisor.

Half an hour later, the 5 students were detained for conspiracy to commit murder as Stark had been hacking into a phone one of the students had in their pockets, leading them to an offshore account that SHIELD knew to belong to a former KGB hitman. In tears, the largest alpha of the group gave up the name of the KGB, and tried to deal out of it, willing to sell out the others in exchange for a lighter sentence. Not gonna happen.

With a smile on her face at how well things had gone, all things considered, she and Stark left the office. Anya had resisted the urge to slowly murder the beta student in front of the others, then skin the alphas alive, but she had stuffed her ands under her ass on the seat, so she wouldn’t be tempted, especially when one of them shouted that it was all a setup. But in the end, her papers, which were far more complete than theirs and were marked by Banner, combined with Stark’s testimony, was enough to convince the advisor that they had indeed stolen Anya’s work. They were suspended from school and would be formally expelled in a few days if they failed to win an appeal, or didn’t file on. Then Stark had found some info on one of the phones, which Coulson had been ready to look up back at the tower, and was able to link the students to a known KGB hitman.

It was enough to charge all 5 students.

All that remained was finding the hitman that pulled the trigger.

Coulson was back at the tower, looking up where the man might be, what his real name was and how to track him down, but he said it might be sometime before he was tracked down. It was annoying, but the hitman would be smarter than the students, and thus harder to find. Still, there was plenty other things to do, now that Anya had some kind of revenge. Those students could no longer use her work, would lose all the credits they had accumulated at the college, and probably rot in jail in for years. It was like a weight was pulled off Anya’s chest, as the students were driven away, in front of the entire campus, in police cars. She flipped them off as they were taken away and Stark laughed beside her, then put a reassuring hand on her shoulder before he walked with her back to where he parked his suit.

He had literally parked his suit near the bike racks; it even beeped like a car when he “unlocked” it, which made Anya huff a laugh. “So, got any other world-shaking ideas in that brain of your?” Anya looked up at Stark as he stood beside his suit. Anya shrugged her shoulders. “Maybe; I’ve been playing with an idea, but it’s a long shot.” “Humor me.” Anya smiled. “Well, I was thinking about making another medication, one that would allow omegas to move the time of their heats by a month or 2, to a more convenient time. Not suppress it, just move it.” Stark looked at her, then smiled before getting into his suit.

“I’m noticing a pattern to your genius.” His voice was altered by the HUD now covering his face. Anya smirked at him, tapped on the metal head and laughing as he cursed from the echo inside, before she replied as he warmed up to take off. “Necessity is the mother of all invention.”

Anya watched him take off, and it wasn’t until he was long out of sight that she felt the eyes on her again and she had to take off for the cafeteria; it was later, after 5, so she was hungry, finally. And without the nerves of the hit-ordering students looming over her head, she finally had an appetite. She joined some nursing students, though it was mainly just nursing students left at the college. Though barely midweek, most students were done, and only the nursing classes had exams left; they were so large and so long that they needed the campus to themselves to accommodate. Though omegas only made up about 2% of the nations’ population, they were almost 20% of the college’s student body, since it was a low-price college and near a massive urban center with plenty of job opportunities nearby.

The omegas asked her constantly about how she knew tony stark, and eventually, the truth accidentally slipped out. When she admitted that she was living in the Avengers’ Tower, she knew it would be all over social media in a matter of seconds, and if the mainstream media learned about it, she would have nowhere to hide. She couldn’t believe she slipped up, but around other omegas, her guard was down and she felt more at ease. But besides that, something was pulling her attention elsewhere: not her upcoming heat, or maybe an omega-only party invite, but something else, something foreboding, something threatening.

She jumped when one of the students, named Katie, touched her shoulder and she grabbed the omega’s small hand and instantly felt bad when she saw the pain on the student’s face. She needed to be more careful about her strength, about her new abilities. Katie looked more than understanding, and said she was always a little jumpy the weeks leading up to her heat too. She didn’t have a boyfriend or someone to share them with, so she was often paranoid. Anya could understand that.

A few hours later, Anya got a text from Bucky, asking if she would be back soon. Anya thought about it, then looked at the omegas, who were inviting her back to their dorm for some talk and advice. She needed it, so she sent another one back saying she was staying with friends overnight. Bucky and Steve wouldn’t be happy, considering she was just shot 2 days ago, but she was fine, and was more concerned about finding out about what a heat was really like. The omega nurses would be able to answer her questions far better than some bullshit flower-covered brainwashing commentary book.

When Anya was invited into the dorms, it felt…nice. There was no smell of beta or alphas, only omega. Only omegas could live in the dorms, for their own safety, and for solidarity. More than other people, omegas felt the urge to look after one another, one giant sisterhood, or sorority, male and female omegas alike. Because only other omegas would know the shit that society, alphas, and other people put them through, and there was comfort in not being alone.

Anya was welcomed into one of the larger rooms, a central room on the second floor, complete with Foosball table, several small round tables covered in fake candles, posters of the Avengers all over the walls, and some college colors decorating a corner where a small bar was hidden when someone came in for inspection. Katie made her way behind the bar and offered to make her something and Anya smiled and nodded, sitting with some of the other omegas at a table, watching a large TV showing some kind of medical drama. Anya didn’t watch much TV, ad instead looked around, unsure of what to do, what to say. She’d never been around so many omegas before, and was suddenly feeling self-conscious. She was one of the tallest in the dorm, and definitely the most muscular, though one of the cheerleaders looked like she could kick some ass if she needed to.

Katie came over with some fruity drink and Anya sipped it, enjoying the orange juice and peach Malibu mixture. Katie had something stronger and they sat in companionable silence for a few minutes before Katie burst out with a question.

“OK, I have to ask, how did you end up in Avengers’ Tower?” Anya paused and felt everyone looking at her, the TV now completely ignored, but she didn’t feel nearly as paranoid as she normally did. Probably because all she smelt was comforting and calming omega. Anya sighed set down her drink and looked at all the eager faces. She couldn’t reveal everything, she didn’t want to either, but it couldn’t hurt to give a very short version.

Anya told them about the bar, where her friend Pam was killed. The room erupted into laughter when she told them about flipping Captain America over her shoulder and knocking him on his ass. She chuckled too; Stark still wasn’t letting Steve live it down. She left out a lot of things, but mentioned that the Avenger’s handler thought it would be wise for her to live in the tower with them, because she worked for Stark, and had come up with something that put her in danger. When she mentioned the students that had stolen her work and how they felt entitled to it because they were alphas and betas and she was just an omega, the room filled with the smell of angry omega. And it made Anya glad; if there was anyone that could understand how that injustice felt, it would be the women around her.

Several glasses of whatever-she-had later, and not really feeling it up opening up more, she was sitting on the floor in a large circle, playing Never Have I Ever with the students. It wasn’t even 9 yet, so it was a fine for the students, and it was a relief to be around omegas like her. Anya had put down all but one of her fingers, since the women seemed to enjoy getting to know her, and a shot glass was set in front of her for when she lost. There was one other student with only one finger left, but it was her turn to speak.

“Never have I ever…kissed an Avenger.” Anya felt herself blushing, knowing this was the end of her, and knowing that nothing but giggles and questions would come of it. She sighed, put her final finger down and slammed the shot. The room erupted into shouts, questions and wiggling eyebrows, and everyone wanted to know who the Avenger was.

“I don’t kiss and tell.” Anya shook her head and finally a new game started. The first question when something hit Anya, a new and unwanted smell, an alpha smell; she forced the growl down in her throat from coming out, but it wasn’t her place if one of the students had a boyfriend over or something. Still, something about the smell set her teeth on edge, more than normal. A few seconds later, with her mind now wandering to that new smell, another, more potent smell hit her, something that did make her growl. The omegas around her looked at her in shock. Omegas weren’t supposed to growl at all, and yet the one coming from Anya was deep, threatening and made the women closest to her shrink in fear.

“Stay here.” Anya warned the women and got up from her spot on the floor, ignoring the calls from the floor manager, and headed up to the source of the powerful, dangerous smell, the one that was making her feel the need to fight, to attack, to kill.

On the 4th floor, she opened the door, and instantly, she knew something terrible had happened. She could hear the faint sounds of panic, fear, could smell distressed omega from across the building, and the metallic, deep smell of a lot of blood. She broke into a run, and stopped in front of a locked door. She could smell more than one alpha, one obviously human and not a threat, but at least 2 others, and they didn’t smell like average alphas. There scent was more intense, pungent and not human.

Before knocking on the door, Anya pressed the emergency blue button on her cell, then took in a shallow breath to smell what may lie on the other side of the door. It didn’t paint a pleasant picture.

Anya knocked on the door. There was no response, but Anya could hear the sounds of gurgling, someone drowning in their own blood maybe, and the panicking sounds of an omega fighting someone that had a hold of her. Not bothering to knock again, Anya broken down the solid wood door with a well-placed kick.

A tiny omega lay on the bed, sobbing, covered in blood and trying to get to the injured alpha on the floor. He was the source of the blood, gurgling, drowning in it, his intestines splayed out on the floor below him and all over his abdomen. But what made the entire thing terrifying, was the blue-skinned aliens in the room. They were about 7 feet tall, with double-jointed legs like an ostrich, long gangly arms that fell to about halfway down their legs, and jagged, pointed teeth and nails on their long, thin fingers. Their eyes were a solid, metallic and reflective black, like and insects, and the smell of alpha coming off them was so potent it made Anya’s eyes water and her mouth fall into a snarl.

The aliens moved away from the omega on the bed and moved towards Anya, long, curved bladed weapons in their hands, one of them red with fresh blood, with laser guns on their hips and rifle laser guns on their backs attached with straps. Growls with an odd echoing sound, like shouting in a cave, came from their throats and chests, and it only served to piss Anya off more. It might be their version of ‘alpha voice,’ but that no longer worked on her.

After staring at one another for several long seconds, then the alien closest to her lunged forward swinging the bladed weapon in a practiced move, attempting to eviscerate her like the alpha man on the floor. The omega had started to scream, and in the distance, Anya could hear the other students running up the stairs, but couldn’t concern herself with that while both aliens were trying to slice her head off.

Anya could sense the move the alien was going to make next, from the way his muscles contracted over its thin, wiry limbs, and dove under the swing of its blade meant to take off her head, and was at the torso of the alien, her foot making contact with its chest. She kicked it so hard it flew back from her, landing against the wall near the window, its chest caved in, bones cracking and breaking under her foot. The alien coughed out some blue liquid, probably its blood, and it collided with a bookcase so hard the solid wooden bookcase cracked and shattered like it was made of pickup-sticks. Anya ran at it, ducking the blade swing from the other alien, ignoring the screams of the students in the doorway behind her and the cameras they had out to record the whole thing, and kicked in the head of the downed alien.

The angular skull gave in with a sickening crunch, blue blood and guts and some other disgusting substances coming out of the skull, one eye popping out of its skull with a sickening squelch. Its companion roared with anger, pulling out its laser gun from its hip, but Anya was so close to it that by the time it had pulled the gun from its holster, Anya was ploughing the alien over, taking it to the windowed wall, next to its companion, and grabbed its long, thin neck in one hand, the laser gun-holding hand in her other, and snapped the bones in its wrist, forcing the laser gun to drop to the floor.

The alien kicked out at her, and she fell back into the wall of omega students behind her, but they didn’t yield, and were so tightly packed that she bounced off them like a rope wall in wrestling. Vaguely she heard someone telling another to call for an ambulance, and police, and the Avengers, but Anya couldn’t be bothered to pay attention.

Bouncing forward off the wall of bodies behind her, Anya kicked off the floor, slamming both her feet into the neck and head of the alien, and it crunched hard under her shoes, feeling ligaments and bone and flesh failing under her soles. Then long, thin fingers wrapped around her, a blade in its other hand, and the alien fell back hard, cracking the window behind it, falling out the window, and taking Anya with it.

Anya managed to free herself from the alien as she fell, with enough time to tuck into a better position and rolled as she fell to the ground, landing on soft, giving grass soaked from an earlier rain, and rolled over the grass, though she felt her ankles give out under her. Cursing under her breath, Anya rose to her feet instantly, ignoring the pain in her joints and legs, or the long cut on her arm to see the alien trying to get up and press some kind of button on its chest, a small metal button embedded in its own flesh.

Not needing to think, Anya ran at it, picking up its dropped bladed weapon, and slammed the long, curved blade into the alien’s chest, forcing it down to the ground, and twisted the blade in her hands, slicing the alien’s chest open, blue blood gushing out along with oddly shaped blobs that had to be organs, including one that was beating steadily. The blade was too deep in its chest, so Anya reached in, ignoring the squelching noises it made, grasped the beating organ with her bare hand, and pulled it right out of the alien body.

The organ beat a few times in her hand, trying in vain to pump blood it no longer had, before it was still and the alien wasn’t moving anymore either. Catching her breath, she kicked it and poked it, to ensure it was dead, then looked up at the window where Katie was sticking her head out. She looked like she was barely keeping herself together, but did it for the sake of the women around her.

“Katie, I’ll be at the entrance with one of the golf carts. Get the injured ready to move.” Anya ran and was out of the sight of the window, leaving the dead aliens behind on the grass, and knew that security would be along shortly, and would see the aliens and it would be all over the news in minutes. She would be surprised if some of the omega students had already posted the video.

Anya found one of the golf carts that security kept on hand in case of emergencies, or sprained ankles, hotwired it in 30 seconds flat, and was racing as fast as the damn thing could go to the dorms, the sounds of sirens getting louder, but still at least 15 minutes away in the traffic.
The injured alpha couldn’t wait that long.

Fortunately, the college had a free clinic where the students learned to treat patients in real life, and the patients paid next to nothing, only paying for supplies used and even those were discounted. It would have everything needed to treat the injured and get them stable enough to survive the ambulance ride, which would have to fight traffic and influx of police and government goons and reporters.

It wouldn’t be 10 minutes before the world knew what happened on this campus.

Slamming to a strong halt at the dorm doors, Anya could hear shouting, crying, screaming, and hurried footsteps. She ripped the doors open so hard they cracked under her strength, and were now stuck open as Katie helped carry the injured alpha student down the stairs, wrapped in a blanket and held on a mattress with ripped up clothes and sheets, while 2 others carried the distressed and crying omega, who was now showing bruises all over her face, neck, arms and the little stomach that was showing under her shirt.

Anya helped load the unconscious alpha onto the golf cart, and when Katie slipped into the back to keep him steady, Anya took off. As she made her way, going way too fast, over sidewalks and heading for the clinic, repulsors and the whine of Stark’s suit echoed off building walls; Anya was barely aware of someone flagging him down as she floored it to the clinic building, which also housed nursing labs and their equipment.

She slammed to a halt outside the doors, ripping the locked doors open like they were made of paper, and helped Katie carry the young man inside, hearing his heartbeat fading and hoping against all odds that he might survive.

Chapter Text

Tony was the first one on scene and what a scene it was. Dozens of crying omegas clutched one another, while some were standing over a body of something that wasn’t human, obviously not fucking human, and one genius was poking it with a stick. Sounded like something he would do.

Falling the last foot to rest on the soft grass near the alien, the sounds of a helicopter in the air above him, echoing off the walls of the building that had just one broken window on the 4th floor, ad evidence that someone else had fallen from the window with the alien. His suspicions were confirmed when some of the omegas shouted loudly about a badass omega. After trying to decipher through all the shouting, crying and babbling, he was able to understand that Anya had taken someone injured to the clinic on campus, a few buildings farther back on the grounds. Though he needed to know if Anya was alright, he needed more to watch the alien, and to get the damn thing into the tower for examination. He was tingling all over at the idea of getting inside the alien and finding out how it worked.

Steve and Bucky arrived shortly after Tony did, late to the party as usual; they were bordering on frantic as they dialed Anya’s phone and all it did was ring in a room covered in blood, both red and blue, mixing to form some kind of psychedelic trip from hell. Then Steve took off like a shot, going from 0 to bat-out-of-hell in 1.5 seconds, leaving Bucky and Tony in the dust to stare at the deformed alien that Anya had obviously bitch-slapped with a bulldozer.

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In the clinic, Anya was putting stitches into the eviscerated organs and mutilated tissue while Katie gave the alpha student some meds to calm him down; there was no way to put him under completely, but there was some morphine on the premises, though kept under lock and key; Anya could pick it in 30 seconds, but there was no time, so she just ripped the doors off with a grunt and tossed the doors away angrily. Grabbing the morphine, sedative, and all the fluids she could find, Katie was prepping the alpha. Katie was scared, she still had a year to go in the nursing program, but Anya was confident. Anya would handle the surgery and stabilizing him, and Katie would assist.

“You’ve performed surgery before?” Katie looked at her, washing her hands in copious amounts of sanitizer before sliding gloves on her hands.

“A few times actually.” Anya nodded to Katie, pulled up the disintegrating stitches to her and started working.

Katie was the perfect assistant, knowing what came next, she would be a great surgeon, she just lacked confidence. Anya told her as much, but Katie shook her head; she liked the idea of being a nurse, the patient interaction. Well, to each there own. Anya wasn’t good with patients; or people for that matter.

She was done stitching up the last bleeder in the intestines as fluids were pumped into the alpha as fast as his body could take them, and they were in danger of running out of fluids for him. He had already gone through 3 bags of standard drip bags, and all the O- kept in the clinic. As the put in the last stitch in his large intestine and moved to the lesser bleeders, Steve burst into the room and stared at her. Katie instantly dropped the bag of fluids she had been about to hang and was blushing as she stared at Steve, her mouth all but watering and the smell of aroused omega thick in the room.

Anya poked Katie in the head with the blunt end of the scalpel. “Focus now, drool later.” Katie blushed but to her credit turned from Steve and looked back at the alpha on the table. It was a literal table as Steve got closed but knew better than to get too close and distract either women from their task; Katie had pushed off all the books and papers from the table unceremoniously as Anya and laid the alpha on it. Now, Anya was almost done with her last interior stitch and soon she would just staple the alpha back together; screw what it would look like, it was proof he survived a 1v2 alien attack. How many alphas could say that? Besides, someone else could make the long gashes look better when the alpha wasn’t so close to death.

When the last of the sliced flesh was stapled together, with some literal staples when the surgical ones ran out, Anya pulled back and asked Katie to clean him up and they would then move him to where the ambulance would likely be to pick him and the omega up. Washing off her hands, she finally looked up at Steve, who sighed.

“Why is it always you?” Anya chuckled darkly. “I’ve been asking that since I presented.”

When her hands were dry, Steve rushed forward, put his hands on her shoulder and looked her over, like an alpha would do for their omega, obsessive and concerned, tilting her head, looking her from head to toe and sniffing her to see if she was distressed or bleeding. Anya didn’t bother to stop him, she was too exhausted and her vision was starting to blur and spin again, turning her stomach over as she tried to focus. This didn’t go unnoticed by Steve.

“Anya? Anya!” He caught her as she passed out.

Chapter Text

Steve hoisted Anya in his arms, taking in her limp, panting form. She looked pale, her breathing fast and shallow. She opened her eyes just enough for her to vomit all over his chestplate, then passed out again, looking paler than before, her lips turning white. Steve looked down at Anya, and at the injured young alpha on the table, trying to figure out how to carry them both in his head, when the injured alpha could barely be moved, or his stitches would rip.

“I can carry her. You get him.” The other omega in the room, who had helped Anya with the surgery, pushed Anya into her arms, and despite her small size, held up the limp body. Despite being afraid of Anya being out of his sight, his own possessive alpha instincts screaming at him to crowd the unconscious omega and snarl at anyone that came close, he overrode it and let the other omega carry Anya out the door. Thankfully it looked like Anya had broken them open permanently, and the small golf cart was still there.

Steve was so anxious, he broke the steering wheel in his hands, so he just grabbed the base of the steering column and used that. The hard metal dug into his hands and one even cut his finger open, but he didn’t even notice it. Anya was panting, her breathing even faster and he could hear her rapid heartbeat from the seat beside her. The other omega held the injured young alpha still in the back as Steve drove back to the main area, where the lights of police and ambulances were already blaringly bright and loud to his sensitive ears. Beside him, Anya shifted and made an annoyed face and tried to move her hands to her ears, but could barely lift her arms above the seat. Steve’s worry shot through the roof straight to the moon.

“What the fuck happened?” Bucky was shouting for the world to hear as cameras, police, military, and even some former SHIELD that now worked for the DOD, surrounded the campus and interviewed the students. Some had been taken to the hospital for shock, all had their phones confiscated, but everyone had already posted everything they had online. One of the students was unabashed about selling her very good view of the fight, saying she needed the money.

Bucky laid a hand on Anya’s forehead and quickly withdrew it. “She’s gotta hell ‘v a fever. What wrong with her?” Bucky touched her all over, trying to find a source for her fever, racing heart and shallow breathing, but there was nothing, except a small cut on her arm that was almost completely healed already.

“Bruce, prep the medbay. I’ll head with the government goon squad.” Coulson, who had just arrived, rolled his eyes but knew there was no point in arguing. They might need Stark’s expertise with the odd mechanism in the chest. Stark took off following the convoy of cars heading for an old bunker, formerly SHIELD owned, to examine the 2 corpses.

Bucky clutched Anya to his chest tightly, his mind going a mile a minute, his mind only playing out worst case scenarios, his inner alpha howling at him that he failed to protect his omega and his friend. All the times she had been there for him, talked him up, held him up: the nightmares she held him through, treating him like a person and not a time bomb, believing in him and handing him a rifle, trusting him to follow through, even holding him while in a flashback and she got hurt. And when she needed him? She got shot and he was nowhere. He accused her of cheating, and they weren’t even together; and now she needed him again and he didn’t know what to do.

He clutched Anya’s furnace of a body to his chest and didn’t realize he was rocking until Steve shouted back at him to hold still. He stopped rocking and starting to stroke Anya’s head, her hair, her neck. Omegas were supposed to love this, it made them calm, feel loved and cared for. Well, they were supposed to.

Anya began to scream, her eyes barely open, but glazed over, her hands flying out to stop someone or something only she could see; then she stopped and vomited again on the SUV’s floor, and passed out cold in Bucky’s arms.

The panic started to set in for the 2 alphas in the SUV when the smell of distressed omega filled the vehicle up so fast it was like dropping a stink bomb, only it made their instincts rear up. Bucky clutched Anya closer to his body, pulling his legs up to his chest, effectively protecting her with them, and Steve drove even faster, ignoring the honks and cursing and people diving out of the way as he drove onto the sidewalk to bypass a traffic jam at a light.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, they were at the tower and Bruce was waiting for them, the medbay set up. As soon as the elevator doors opened, Bruce backpedaled, holding his nose and took long, deep breaths through his nose, and reached for a gas mask, pulling it on as fast as he could. Steve and Bucky had been rushing forward, but stopped and took a few nervous steps back as veins of bright green starting coursing over Bruce’s skin, and a deep rumble came from the scientists throat. Steve was prepared to head to a hospital, or call Stark back, but after a few tense seconds, Bruce looked up and the green faded from his skin.

Steve and Bucky didn’t move forward, Anya still out cold, stinking of vomit and blood. Bucky had his metal arm between Bruce and Anya, protecting her subconsciously, like an alpha would.

Bruce took several long breaths, then exhaled and looked back up, the green gone from his eyes and sighed.

“The other guy smelt her distress and wasn’t happy. He likes Anya.” This much Steve and Bucky, and everyone else, already knew. Anya treated the Hulk like a person, and not a bizarre separate personality that lived inside Bruce. She would talk to Bruce and the Hulk like they were both physically present in the room and it made the Hulk happy and calm, and made Bruce feel welcome, and for the first time since his transformation, unafraid of hurting someone. The only other person that could calm the Hulk like that was Nat.

Bucky slowly lowered Anya onto a bed and some screens flashed with lines and pictures and data, which neither soldier could decipher. Bruce pulled out several instruments and looked her over, checking her pulse, taking blood samples and frowning as she twitched, as if trying to wake up but her body wouldn’t let her. He put some fluids in her, looked over her files and examined for some kind of infection, but there was nothing to explain her sudden unconsciousness, vomiting, fever, or heartrate and breathing.

Bruce assured them that if anything happened, he would let them know, but the world news was blowing up about the aliens, again, in NY, again. They would need to get a handle on this and start looking harder; if 2 got past their sensors and cameras and Thor and his friends, there was no telling just how many could be on earth already.
Resigned, and their inner alpha slapping them for it, they left medbay to deal with the other crisis.

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Tony looked down at the dismembered bodies of the aliens, and all he could think was: ‘Kudos Anya.’ She did a number on them, and had even ripped out one of their hearts. He was so proud. Coulson wouldn’t admit it, but he was glad Stark had come, mostly because a lot of tech was built into the bodies of the aliens, though most of it was hidden. Tiny, barely detectable wires, ran from their long, thin toes, up their double-jointed legs, through their thin but very hard torsos, and into their heads. It linked to a small button device on the chest, and according to witnesses, the alien had tried to press it when it was evident it was losing to Anya.

“Reminds me of translocators.” Coulson was a trekkie, and not shy about it. Tony raised an eyebrow at him. “Earth to Captain Kirk.” Coulson gave him a look, and Tony smirked his normal way, before looking back at the alien. “Funny though, you’re right. They’re some kind of signal transmitter and the networking of integrated wires link to the transmitter, set to fire pulses of electromagnetic energy along a specific quantum frequency. Essentially, it’s the button to push if you need to get the hell out of dodge. Beam me up Scottie!” Coulson cast the look again and Tony smirked wider. He just couldn’t stop himself.

“Greetings friends, how may I be of assistance?” Thor made a grand entrance, his cloak sweeping behind him as several hazmat clad women gawked behind him. Coulson shot them the look too and they scattered, though at least one of them snuck a selfie in. Kids, Coulson thought.

Thor looked down at the very dead aliens and looked up, oddly proud. “Whom is the mighty warrior that bested these fighters? It would be a privilege to meet such a fierce fighter.” Stark barely looked up as he poked the alien with a long stick and Coulson grabbed it from him, his mouth a thin line, no longer amused. “I was running a test.” Stark looked unhappy when his toy was taken from him, like a kid. “No, you’re poking a dead alien with a useless wire. Stop wasting time and tell me something useful.” Tony rolled his eyes.

“You’re starting to sound like Captain Spangles.” Coulson flashed a barely-there smile. “I take that as a compliment.” He then turned to Thor as Stark turned back to the dead alien and resumed his ‘useful’ poking and prodding. “Anya killed both aliens, apparently while they had been attacking an alpha and omega couple a few floors above her. She’s enroute to the Tower. She got sick; Stark, is there anything in or on the aliens that might have caused her illness? A pathogen, a chemical or biological agent…I’ll take nanobots at this point. Dr. Banner says it’s not looking good.”

Tony looked up from his new favorite toy and the fascinating tech inside them; “like the sniffles not good or ‘it’s just a scratch’ not good.” Coulson shook his head; “Dr. Banner wasn’t that specific, but he can’t find an obvious cause. He’s starting to think it’s something about the aliens.” Stark looked back down at the alien and viciously began stabbing it with a scalpel. Coulson sighed before turning to Thor.

“Do you know of anything that might cause humans to become ill that these Silik carry? Common diseases, illnesses, residues from their machines or environment?” Thor looked thoughtful for a moment, then shook his head. “Alas, I am not the correct one to ask. I shall return soon with a scholar of my world. He shall be most pleased to finally examine one of the Silik. They are most elusive, and extremely aggressive; our contact with them has always been confrontational, and they leave none of their dead behind. They burn to ash in an instant as soon as a Silik falls. It is curious these have not. I shall return soon, Son of Coul.” In another swish of his cloak he was gone and thunder cracked not long after. Coulson sighed again.

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Back at the tower, Bruce was running several tests all at once, and none of them could provide an answer for her illness. She wasn’t dehydrated enough, she didn’t have low enough blood sugar or blood pressure. Scans showed nothing out of the ordinary, though her brain and reproductive organs were showing more activity in certain areas than normal. When he had exhausted all the common issues, and finding the amount of alcohol in her system was nowhere near enough to make her pass out, he looked back at the odd readings in her reproductive organs. Scanning them again, this time looking more closely, the scanners suddenly turned red and showed the issues, several of them, and Bruce stopped breathing for a moment.

“Oh, she’s going to be terrified when she wakes up.”
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bucky nearly dropped his phone when it rang in his pocket and he pulled away from the crowds of people, pushing a camera aside, sending the man skidding across the wet and muddy ground. Around a corner and leaping onto the roof, he looked at the text from Bruce.
Bruce: found the cause. Return to tower as soon as you are able.

Bucky looked over the edge of the roof and down at Steve, who was busy taking questions and accusations left and right, dodging some like bullets, others he took head on. Everyone wanted answers and they just weren’t prepared for the idea that the Avengers might not have them all. Steve wasn’t sure what he should say, what he could say, what needed to be said; so he really just told people to watch for the aliens, to watch out for each other, and to let authorities deal with the aliens. There wasn’t much else he could tell that pack of jackals shouting questions at him, because he didn’t know much else. Of course, they wouldn’t take that answer, so they would make up their own if they needed.

After several long minutes alone on the roof and Steve showing no signs of looking at his phone for the text, Bucky jumped down from the roof and headed over to his best friend and yanked him off the stage with a ‘no more questions’ and a loud snarl that made almost everyone back off in fear. The ones that didn’t, and tried to get in close as Bucky pulled Steve to the car, got shoved to the ground by Bucky with another angry snarl. Steve groaned, knowing this would only make things worse, but went with Bucky into the SUV and they took off.

Steve finally pulled out his phone and looked at the text, then looked over at Bucky, concerned. Asking for them asap was never a good sign. Bucky squeezed Steve’s hand reassuringly and placed a small kiss on his knuckles. Steve let out a faint, pleased huff.

At the Tower, Steve was starting to dread what Bruce might say, what might be the issue with Anya. Could she be dying, or ill, or never recover? “You’re overthinking again.” Bucky nudged Steve’s arm, who then poked the scrunched skin between Steve’s eyebrows. Steve sighed and looked up when the elevator door dinged and opened up, revealing Bruce, who looked like a parent about to give “the talk.”

“You’ll want to sit down.” Nope, never a good sign.

In a small conference room not far from the medbay, where Anya was out cold with some sedatives to stop her occasional spasming, Steve and Bucky looked at Bruce, impatient as Bucky tapped his metal fingers on the table in nerves.

“There is something I need to let you know about Anya’s condition, and once I explain, I think you’ll understand why I needed you here.” Bruce took a breath before continuing, as if steeling himself to say it.

“Anya hasn’t had a heat since she was 16, and she’s only had one heat in her life. That wreaks havoc on an omegas body when someone like her might have as many as 6 in a year. Now the serum is making it even worse, accelerating her systems, all of them, and it’s overloading her body. She’ll recover from it,” Bruce held a hand as Steve and Bucky looked about to start questioning and worrying out loud. “But there’s a catch. Anya hasn’t had a heat in that long because of her fear and distrust of alphas, but her body is trying to force one, and it will be hell on her body as it is. On her psyche, it’ll be even worse. But I’ve done all the tests I can and I can be sure of one thing, and I wish it wasn’t true, but it is.”

Bruce paused again, looking pained before continuing. “If Anya isn’t mated, if she isn’t knotted during this heat, she’ll die.”

Chapter Text

“The fuck you mean, she’ll die?!” Bucky was on his feet and looked ready to start throwing punches. Steve yanked him back into his seat, but he was just as tense as his friend, though better at hiding it. Bruce took a deep breath, steadying himself and pulled up some images on the screens behind him.

“There are a multitude of chemicals in an omega that are unique to an omega, one of them that is responsible for many automatic systems, like the heart and brain function, is also present during their heats. It’s why they become so feverish, why their heart races and why they lose most of their higher functions; that chemical is currently almost absent in her body, which is making her ill. When she comes into heat, she’ll get a sudden overload of that chemical; normally, being knotted and mated during this time lowers the levels of that chemical in a steady manner, which is why omegas slowly regain their higher reasoning as they reach day 3-4 of their heats. If Anya isn’t knotted or mated until those levels start tapering off, they will steadily increase. And in a few days, her heart will no longer have a steady rhythm, and her brain will fry, both literally and figuratively. If the fever doesn’t kill her, the overstimulation of her brain will.”

The table cracked as Bucky grabbed onto it, his face in a near panic, his metal hand snapping the hardwood surface like it was glass; Bruce looked incredibly sad as he touched the screens in front of him and a timer appeared, slowly counting down, less than 2 weeks left on it.

“I’ve run several calculations and simulations on Anya’s body chemistry, and have determined this is the amount of time she has left before she needs to decide before her heat hits and the chemicals in her body decide for her. Less than 2 weeks after that, if she hasn’t gotten those chemical levels down to acceptable levels…” Bruce stopped and hid the counter from view; it wasn’t something he wanted to think about, losing Anya. He liked her, not only as an omega but as a student who loved learning and who treated him without fear, treated both him and the other guy without fear.

“What if she says no?” Steve looked as Bucky snarled at him, but it had to be addressed. “You saw how she reacted at the mention of going into heat. What happens when she actually goes into heat? And with her new strength, she can do some real damage to an alpha.” Bucky looked away, unsure about the entire thing to finally realize Bruce was talking again.

“That’s the thing, Steve. Anya…can’t be with an average alpha anymore.” He paused as Steve and Bucky stared, trying to take this all in. “Her hormone levels wouldn’t be lowered at all by a typical alpha, not even several of them at the same time.” Bucky snarled as that statement brought back things Anya had been panicking about a few days ago.

“So, it would have to be us?” Bucky finally said and ignored Steve as his ears burned red at the implications. As much as he normally would, Bucky didn’t have it in him to make fun of Steve’s bashfulness.
Bruce nodded. “You two would are the only ones that can adjust her hormone levels enough; and from my calculations, she would need a lot of hormones from one of you, or both of you. It’s up to you, if you want to service her, and you would need to talk to her about it obviously. But in terms of choices, it would have to be you.” Bruce was blushing slightly as he talked about this, it was a slightly embarrassing topic, not something he talked about if he could help it. But in this case there was no getting around it: Anya’s levels were too erratic and too low for a normal alpha, not even several of them, to affect her enough to get those biochemical levels to an acceptable level.

Bucky sighed and rubbed his hands on his face: there was no denying that he and Anya had something going on, though what it was, neither of them were sure. And Steve had the hots for her; she was his type after all: strong, independent, kick-ass woman with a heart of gold. But they didn’t want to ruin things with her, considering they had just gotten on her good side after pissing her off almost constantly for the last month. Well, mostly that was Steve, but Bucky hadn’t been perfect either. If anything, what he did hurt the most, because they’d been closer. Bucky rubbed his face again and leaned onto his elbows, thinking, contemplating, wishing it all would go away and they wouldn’t need to have this conversation at all with Anya. Aside from being awkward as hell, she’d panic again, and might not forgive them. She wouldn’t ever forgive them if they serviced her while she was in heat and she’d said no, even to save her life. There were too many old wounds there.

“Sirs,” JARVIS broke their thoughts. “I must advise you that Anya is no longer in her medical bed.” All 3 men took off through the door and into her room. Sure enough, the bed was empty, but still warm.

“She can’t have gotten far. JARVIS, where is Anya?”

“Miss Smith is currently on the roof.” Bucky panicked for a moment, and almost missed when JARVIS added, “sitting on the ledge with Agent Barton.”

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Anya cried onto Clint’s shoulder; of all the Avengers, he would understand the best. Though not an omega, he did occasionally have heats, and had been harassed by alphas in the past. Anya knew that Tony would be the one to talk to, but he was still keeping his orientation a secret. He didn’t even know that she knew, so she went to Clint. She knew to find him on the roof in the middle of the day, when the sun cast everything below him in bright relief, and the warmth of the sun helped calm her down, the breeze cooling the back of her neck. Clint said nothing, just kept a large, muscular arm wrapped around her and held her to his shoulder, occasionally rubbing his large hands up and down her arm.

It felt good to be away from alphas for a while and just cry, to have a momentary crisis. She’s told Clint what she overheard, since the vents did nothing to mask Dr. Banner talking about her and what would happen to her. She understood it fine: be raped while having no control over her body, or die. Literally, fuck or die.

Taking a few, long deep breaths, Anya sat up and Clint took his arm away. After a few moments of silence, he looked down at the street below. “Makes the world seem so insignificant.” Anya looked over the side and saw cars moving below that looked like ants and tiny moving dots were people. Anya looked down and could see individual people with her enhanced sight, and could see the occasional bob of bright-colored hair.

“I had colored hair before it was cool.” Clint let out a snort, and 2 people joined them, Anya smelling them before they exited the roof door. Romanova and Coulson joined them on the edge, Romanova wearing a cast on her upper torso, but allowed to walk around for short distances, or she had to use a wheelchair. In a week or so, she wouldn’t need the wheelchair anymore, but she would need to regain some strength and take it easy on her shoulder. That meant a lot of retraining her muscles. Romanova and Anya hadn’t really seen one another since Anya had helped her through her rut, but smiled all the same. She did like Romanova, she was a seriously kick-ass woman, and one of Anya’s heroes. She’d never tell her that though: she’s never hear the end of it from Clint.

“Steve sent you?” Anya looked at Coulson, who had that look on his face, one that he only got when thinking about Captain America; Anya wondered if the 2 would fuck already. Seriously, it was kind of pathetic.
It wasn’t until Clint was falling backwards onto the gravel of the roof, Romanova’s mouth was twitching and Coulson was fighting back a blush until she realized she had said that outloud.

“Long as I get to watch.” Coulson blushed for real as Clint jibbed him and Romanova’s lips did curl into a tiny smile. Anya laughed with Clint. He normally wasn’t this jovial, but it was all for her, to raise her spirits, and it touched her.

Anya looked over to the door to the roof just as she smelt Steve ad Bucky and her smile faded; she wasn’t mad at them, she was just terrified. Steve tentatively opened the door and Anya looked back at them. Coulson sighed and looked at Anya, but she stood up without a word and stormed past Steve and Bucky. She didn’t want to think about this now, couldn’t think about this now. She wouldn’t be able to make a decision with everyone staring at her, and the idea that Bruce had a timer ticking down was only making it worse. At least she knew how much lucid time she had left until she was dead or raped.

As Anya stormed through the halls, thinking, letting her mind wander as her feet took her wherever, following a familiar path to the range and the gym. Maybe if she shot one of the ballistic gel dummies into tiny pieces she would feel better. Its how she felt: a melting pile of shit and she didn’t know how to put herself back together.

Anya nearly jumped out of her skin when the Avengers alarms went off, blaringly loud, red lights everywhere, and every available screen showing where the crisis was. Anya headed to the elevator and started going back up, then ordered the elevator to stop on a dime. She pushed her way out of the doors as they would open on their own, and stepped out to a very faint, very familiar, ad very terrifying smell. She could smell the faint beginnings of an omega in heat, and there was only one omega that would be on the lab level right now.

Running as fast as she could, and pushing the lab doors open before JARVIS could lock them, she saw Stark heading for the suits, until he collapsed on the ground, grabbing his abdomen and she could smell the slick leaking from his ass, and his sweat as his fever spiked. Anya rushed forward and picked him up, moving him to a chair and helped him sip some water. He looked shocked and terrified to see her, to see anyone there as the metal walls closed in around the lab, like they had done the first week Anya was here. He started sputtering, about blackmail, not being weak, until Anya grabbed his hands as he tried to push her away.

“Stark…Stark…Tony!” he finally looked up as she said his name. She ran a hand through his hair, like she read omegas liked, and Tony was fighting to not close his eyes. She’d read and seen online that omegas often benefited from having another omega near while in heat or near their heats: it calmed them down. Anya was worried though. It hadn’t been long since Stark had last been in a heat, and at his age, he should only have 1-2 a year.

“Are your heats unpredictable, or just always this close together?” Stark looked at her, his eyes losing focus as he tried to get up again, but his face still questioning her, and a small part of him leaning into her hands that continued to run through his hand and down the side of his neck.

“You been spying on me? Romanov must be rubbing off on you.” Anya shook her head. “I smelt you going into heat my first week here. I smelt someone in heat and was worried, thought they needed help, maybe a ride home, but then I saw you. I haven’t told anyone, if that’s what you’re worried about.” Stark looked up at her with fear in his eyes. Anya knelt down, her instincts taking over, needing to care for the omega in heat, smelling his faint distress. “It was never my secret to tell, Tony. And I never will tell anyone. It’s up to you, not me.”

Tony put his forehead on her shoulder and she could feel him breathing in her omega scent, letting it calm him down, the smell of his distress slowly fading until someone was shouting for him outside the metal doors, JARVIS revealing Steve on the other side. Tony turned pale, and Anya feared he might pass out from worry. Omega’s biostats were often erratic and unpredictable during heat.

“JARVIS, tell Steve Iron Man will follow the jet.”

JARVIS relayed the message to Steve, but came back on inside the locked lab as Tony tried to stand and get to the suits, but fell again, as what could only be another muscle spasm hit him. Anya had read and heard what happened as an omega went into heat, before the mindlessness. Loss of concentration, loss of focus, blurred vision, loss of hand-eye coordination, loss of coordination in general, vertigo, slurred speech, essentially all his important senses to be Iron Man would turn to shit.

“Sir, I cannot allow you to leave in your condition. You would endanger yourself and your team.” The doors that held the suits in place locked and Tony snarled up at the ceiling, his hormones getting the best of him. “I’m part of the damn Avengers. Open the fucking suits.” Nothing happened and Tony got angrier. “JARVIS, either you open the suits and come with me, or I’ll take the suits and leave you here.” Nothing. Tony hit the casings that held the suits inside and Anya pulled him away from it before he hurt himself or did something he would regret.

“The team needs me! I’m not some useless omega, I’m not!” Anya pulled Tony down to her chest and pushed his head to her scent glands and though he huffed in anger, his hands slowly snaked around her waist and he breathed in her calming, welcoming scent.

“I know you’re not a useless omega. But right now, the Avengers need Iron Man. But your team, your friends, need Tony Stark safe.” Anya stroked his head as she eyed the cases where the suits were kept. The Avengers still needed Iron Man, Tony or not.

“JARVIS, can I fit in one of the suits?” Tony snapped his head up and shook his head. They were his pride and joy, but where wasn’t a lot of choice. He couldn’t stand up straight, let alone fly straight, and he would certainly get himself hurt, maybe get others hurt too. And he would never forgive himself for that.
Tony ignored her as she pointed this out and tried to get at the suit that had opened.

“Tony, please, listen to me and JARVIS. You think I don’t understand where you’re coming from? I’m an omega too. I was hated by my father, beaten by him, and my mother was ashamed of me, hated me more than I can describe.” Anya wiped her face as she forced back the tears. Tony had stopped and was looking back at her now. “Did your father hate you too? Wanted you to be the alpha he expected, and when you weren’t did he hate you for it? Did he think you were less than the shit he stepped in? Because I know how that feels.” Tony looked away, but it was obvious he was hiding his tears. It was flooding back to him, Anya could see it on his face and in his eyes.

“I know what it’s like, so believe me when I say that I know you are more capable than anyone I know, you’ve gone through more hell than anyone knows. But as much as the Avengers need Iron Man, they need Tony Stark to be safe and healthy more, so much more.” Anya pressed her forehead to Tony’s and he closed his eyes, exhaling, letting himself believe what she was saying, if only for a moment.

“I can be Iron Man this time for the Avengers, so your friends don’t lose Tony Stark. We’ll have a direct link, you can see what I see, direct me, and when I get back, you can ask me anything you want. I’ll even sit through your rant on how I scratched the paint.” Tony huffed a laugh as she rubbed the back of his neck, calming him down again with her scent, the smell of his distress now fading again.
Someone on coms, sounded like Steve, was calling for Iron Man, needing his tech genius. Some kind of tiny robot alien spider invasion.

“Seriously, giant alien robot spiders wasn’t enough?” tony huffed another laugh at Anya’s indignation. Anya finally stood as she felt Tony’s shoulders slump, and she felt bad that he felt so useless and helpless, but there wasn’t another good option. In an hour, he would have no higher brain function, and lose control of most of his limbs and be like a limp ragdoll, common in an omega’s heat. Biology fucking hated them.

Anya stepped to the suit that stood in the case before her, the Iron Man armor, and as she stepped tentatively on the plate where mechanisms would cover her in the armor, she gave one last look at Tony, who looked resigned, sad, but he nodded regardless. Anya put her hands out to her sides slightly and in an instant loud whirring machines surrounded her and she had to fight not to lash out at them. Metal, wires and machine swiftly covered her body, piece by piece, until her face was covered last and a HUB lit up in front of her.

“JARVIS, if I say ‘JARVIS’ first, it’s for you and Tony only. Don’t let the other hear.”

“Yes, Miss Smith.”

Anya took a heavy step down from the small round plate and felt like she was wearing lead shoes. Well, technically it was a titanium-gold alloy, but still. She felt slow, clumsy and weighed down in the suit, until she got used to the feel of the metal on her skin, and the suit calibrated to her body so it felt less bulky and heavy, which happened rather fast as she heard Steve calling for air support again.

Putting her hands out to her sides like he’d seen dozens of times from Tony, she felt her body give a faint jolt as she floated into the air, and she angled her hands and feet to slowly propelled herself forwards to a window, until she could reach out and touch it. It slid down for her to fly out of.

She looked back behind her to see Tony looking nervous, his face pale and sweat gathering on his body as the heat started to really hit him, but oddly proud. Then she turned back around, took a deep breath, and pointed her hands and feet to propel herself out of Stark Tower, 33 stories up.

Chapter Text

Anya immediately plummeted several stories, flailing her arms around like a baby bird before she pointed her hands and feet correctly, angled her body and she arched upwards. For a second, she hovered at the window she had just come out of to look at Tony, who looked like his heat was about to hit him like a truck any second, gave a 2-fingered salute and took off.

It wasn’t as easy as Tony made it look; far from it. If she twitched her hands or feet slightly, she would veer off course, and her vision was limited to in front of her and her peripheral vision was only visible as markers and symbols on the HUD. She managed to hit an antenna on a building as she headed southwest to DC, and winced as Tony started cursing about crazy drivers. Hitting the antenna left the metal barely scratched, though her head was ringing ever so slightly from the impact and her arm and hip smarted from where it had collided with the suit. The suit was tight to her body, as intended so she wasn’t banging around loosely inside it if she got hit, but it meant she could feel it when she hit something.

“JARVIS, modulate my voice though the coms so I sound like Tony. I should be in sight of the attack in a few sec…” Anya let herself fall from the sky for a half-second as something flew past her so fast the sensors hadn’t been able to warn her soon enough.

“Holy shit!” Anya cursed. “Language.” Bucky replied with an obvious smirk in his voice, and Anya heard Tony jibbing back, which she ignored. She needed to talk as little as possible, or they might suspect she wasn’t Tony, and that would only incite more questions. Anya would not be the one that outed Tony, not until he was ready; it was his decision, not hers, to make.

“Stark, break the tech down for me.” Steve called up from the ground and Anya flew around the area, looking down on the scene.

There had to nearly 100 tiny versions of the robots that attacked Lower Manhattan a week ago, about the size of a person’s head, but were faster than an alley cat and had a tendency to grab onto things with their thin, spindly legs that contained both small magnets and claws in the base to latch onto people, buildings and anything that could fly. As she dipped between buildings to get a closer look and maybe snag one to look at, several jumped form buildings around her, from windows, stonework and even a gutter and burning car, latching onto her.

“Son of a fucking bitch!” Anya tore the little shits off her, ripping their legs and bodies apart: they were much more fragile than the last robot alien spiders (yeah, her life was very weird) but they made up for it in speed, flexibility, and sheer annoyance. Like annoying little bugs that cling to you in the summer and then bite you out of spite when you try to flick them off.

“JARVIS, send Tony all the info you have on these things, and get back to me in 3.” There was a faint silence and Anya was worried that her coms for the entire team were on, but then she heard just JARVIS reply, “Sir has received their stats.”

Anya flew back down to street level and more tiny alien robot spiders jumped on her again in the suit, trying to break in, shocking the suit to try and short something out, but Tony had taken care of that when he was designing the suit. They seemed drawn to her, maybe because of the electronics and tech in the suit, or because she was one of the few that could fly and a greater threat.

“JARVIS, link me back with Tony, I have an idea.”

“You rang, oh impatient one? 3 minutes aren’t up.” Anya rolled her eyes as she yanked 3 more of the little shits from the suit. “That makes me Jafar and you a brainless thief.” Tony was silent for a moment and Anya couldn’t stop the faint smirk. “Didn’t think I’d know that reference? Anyway, I have an idea. I’ve shocked a few of these annoying little shits and it causes their systems to shut down and fry, and it doesn’t take much. Can you access the power grid in this area and control the power output? Those little shits really like me for some reason and I can lure then into a charged trap and light them up like a Christmas tree.”

Anya could hear buttons being pushed in the background, but also the sounds of moaning, gasping and grunting. Anya could imagine the pain was hitting him now, cramps in his abdomen, while the dizziness gave him headaches as he tried to look at the screens and his hands would shake from the hormones and the jitters. Anya felt her stomach swoop at the nerves she was suddenly feeling, that this was her future in a few weeks, if she was lucky. A small explosion and someone cursing loudly brought Anya back to the battle just as Tony came back on and showed her through the HUD where the lines were ready.

Anya cut a slice through the protective coating, revealing just the live wires underneath, and ejected the mesh Tony had included in his suit after some kind of battle with genetically altered rodents. (Seriously, their lives were weird.) It was a strong metal mesh and was conductive, letting current run through it, helpful for stunning larger animals and even people if needed that were caught in the net. Linking the net carefully to the lines, taking care not to electrocute herself, she finally looked at her work and pulled back, heading for the rest of the team where most of the little shits were, clinging to everyone and everything they could. It was like the tiny robot alien spiders were trying to be more annoying than anything. Other than a few car crashes and one on fire, they had caused relatively little damage; still, they were an enemy, an annoying as hell enemy, so Anya joined the team coms.

“20 making their way south on D St.” Clint called out movements and could be heard grunting as he kicked and punched the annoying things that came to him. Romanova was still at the tower, unable to help with her healing shoulder, Coulson had the jet ready and was talking with local police and military. Bucky also was also on the edge of the group, looking for stragglers and keeping the other half of the perimeter with Anya. Well, he knew her as Iron Man at the moment. No one had said much, just calling out movements, when they cleared a street and moved up closer to the main group, or people that were stuck and being annoyed, which was all the little shits seemed able to do, by the tiny alien robot spiders. Not the hardest thing the Avengers had ever had to face: might be one of the easiest, and so far the least damaging.

“Genius has an idea. Fall back and I’ll lure them with my hot bod.” Anya could hear Tony grimacing on the other end from her bad joke, but she just couldn’t help herself. This would be so funny.

“Seriously? That’s what you come up with?” Bucky sounded exasperated, and maybe a little suspicious, or maybe Anya was just paranoid. Tony was telling her that he was going to make her pay for that, and Anya wasn’t about to let that threat slide, not without a little more fun.

“Everyone fall back a few blocks. I’ll circle overhead and draw them in, unless the starred stud has something to add?” Anya was fighting the giggles as Tony moaned in the background, and sounded like an angry dad. “You’re grounded, you hear me, grounded! Never touching my suits again. No flashy Stark phone for you!” Anya told JARVIS to mute as everyone moved out of the area with all the tiny robot spiders and Anya circled overhead, laughing so hard she was shaking. Only Tony could hear her and was indignant at her laughing, then he groaned as another wave of cramps hit him. Anya stopped her laughing and concentrated.

She was right that the tiny robot spiders seemed drawn to her and the tech, and when she had most of them either clinging to her or trying to grab onto her, she flew at a slow enough speed for the things to follow her, spun hard like a top to shake off the tiny robot spiders on her suits and flew at the net. She then fell to the ground, let the things charge at her, then leapt into the air as fast as she could, and the tiny robot spiders missed her and landed in the net, dozens of them, and they just kept running into the charged mesh until she couldn’t see a single one left in the streets, on the buildings, or on the HUD.

“Huh.” That was all Anya could say as she looked behind her at the sparking and smoking pile of mangled metal and occasional twitch of a robot spider leg. She flew around in the air, doing several laps around the area for over half an hour before she called for the team to return. She couldn’t see any other on the HUD, and they hadn’t seen one either. Police reported in a few minutes later that none had passed their roadblocks.

“Well, color me unimpressed. The first time alien robot spiders attacked, they leveled most of Lower Manhattan and those were equipped with a weapon. These things were more annoying little shits than anything. Their Taser-strength was less than half of the average police Taser. Ton…I made better tech when I was still in diapers.” Anya bit her lip, aware she had almost let Tony’s name slip but no one seem dot notice.

“This was rather…tame. Was this a cover for something?” Steve looked around to the skies and Anya felt his eyes lock on her, and a fleeting moment she thought she saw hunger, lust, then it was gone. Anya wasn’t surprised; she always imagined Steve wanted to fuck the sass and snark right out of Tony for some time, probably as many times as he could.

“There’s no reports on the scanners, news or any social media.” Coulson chimed in after a few seconds. “I’ve don’t have anything on my scanners other than several underwhelmed superheroes.” Anya smirked again and could almost hear the face-palm on Tony’s end of the line.

“Well, I guess that’s it then. I’ll stay back and look for evidence of future issues or something we missed, the rest of you head for debriefing.” Steve looked up at Anya, or rather Iron Man, with that look on his face, that captain’s eye look and Anya ignored it.

“Maybe some other time. You know, when debriefs aren’t so pointless. Why do I need to learn about what I saw? I was there.” And with that, Anya took off, heading back to the tower, ignoring Steve as he called.

Chapter Text

The tower was back in view in an hour, and Anya was relieved to see it; she needed out of the suit badly; aside from needing to get out, feeling nauseous from the constant motion of the suit and vision, her headache and vision acting up again, she really, really needed to pee. Her landing inside the tower was not as smooth as she wanted, as she crashed into one of the windows near the open one, shattering the glass and making Tony jump ad snarl in alarm. Anya had never heard him snarl before, but he had to be on edge: Anya suspected he felt the same way about his heats as she did.

Her suspicions were confirmed as she looked at him: he was going pale again, looking more and more like he might vomit at any moment and he had taken off his shirt, shoes and socks as his body heated up and sweat started to drip down his brow and back. The room was freezing cold, Anya guessed barely above freezing when her breath condensed in front of her, but he still looked like he was on fire.

Gulping, Anya clumsily, and tripping over herself, was pulled from the suit until she fell out and landed face first on the floor. Tony managed a faint huffing laugh until he hunched over in pain, dropping the welding torch in his hand and burning his foot as it clattered to the ground.

“Tony!” Anya rushed to his side as he cursed loudly and colorfully, pressing a cloth to the wound and placing some ice from his drink on it; he looked at her, tender for a moment, then snapped himself into a mood and yanked his foot out from under her with a hissing, snarling sound.

“I don’t need help. I don’t need anyone.” He gripped his midsection again, then straightened up as Anya glared at him.

“Don’t be a long-gunslinger prick, Tony.” Anya pushed herself to his foot again and pressed the wet cloth and leftover ice to the burn and looked it over. Tony yanked his foot away from her again and snarled at her again. Anyone else would have gone running, but Anya knew this kind of behavior. She had the same issues shortly after she escaped her captors. Not letting anyone in meant never getting hurt. But it was a lonely way to live.

“I’m not weak. I’m not.” Tony growled at Anya and stalked away from her, and she stood up slowly. She had an idea where this was coming from.

“Tony…” Anya started and placed a hand on Tony’s shoulder, and he dissolved into pained grunts and holding back tears. Anya held him up as his feet gave out under him, and he gasped, the heat finally taking over. He grasped at his clothes, trying to roll over on the floor, whining and turning into a mindless sex machine, as the alphas like to think of heats. But Anya knew the kind of things he was going through. He would feel humiliated, want to be anyone else and anything else, than what he was right now.

Pulling him to his feet, Anya dragged tony as a small door opened up in the lab; she poked and shoved him into the small door, and heard it close behind them, locking out all the noise of the tower, including the sounds of the rest of the team arriving, calling for Tony. Anya hoped they wouldn’t try too hard to get into the lab, but Clint had a way of sneaking through the vents that even JARVIS had a hard time keeping up with. Anya told JARVIS to mimic Tony’s voice and responses if needed, and to say she was out with a few friends to settle nerves. It sounded logical, and Anya hoped they didn’t try to contact her, or track her Stark phone. Tony didn’t have GPS in the phones, they were untraceable, unless a special code was entered in that only Tony and Coulson knew.

When the door in front of them opened again, it was an entirely different room. The ceilings were lower than anywhere else in the tower, it was darker with no natural light, heavy ventilation, a well-stocked mini-fridge, a large tub with rainstorm showerhead, but the majority of the room was taken up by the expensive looking bed. The sheets looked and felt like silk, the mattress was soft and springy with dozens of pillows in several different sizes. There were 3 blankets on the bed, tucked in nice and neatly, but it was the vast array of toys surrounding the bed that caught Anya’s attention.

Tony fell to his knees and immediately took off the rest of his clothes, whining, calling out softly, trying to present himself for an alpha that wasn’t there. Anya knew how much he had to hate that: losing complete control of his mind and body, she hated it to. That’s one reason she was so afraid; there were many, many others.

Anya helped him over to the bed, feeling a slight blush forming on her cheeks as she looked the toys over. Silky ribbons tied to the bedposts meant to be gentle restraints, which made Anya’s spine tingle with very unpleasant memories. Some kind of bizarre sex swing hung from one of the corners of the room near the bed and she couldn’t figure out what bodypart went where. Brightly colored dildos, butt plugs, vibrators and other long, tubular things that made her blush covered every surface of the tables near the bed and there was one on the bed already, vibrating.

Anya gulped down her blush and helped Tony to get comfortable on the bed; he would be in for several rough days. Heats came in waves: the first wave was the quickest, the hardest and most unpleasant for the omega. They weren’t in deep enough to lose feeling or control of their limbs yet, so they felt very uncomfortable, sometimes embarrassed, feeling like tiny biting bugs were crawling under the layers of their skin, like their bodies would melt from the intense heat inside them, and that someone was wrenching out their insides through their belly button. After the first wave, awareness disappeared and the pain would stop.

But for Tony, there would be no second wave, because he had no alpha; Anya suspected he had similar wariness about alphas, he just hid himself as an alpha instead of attacking them like Anya did. Anya knew Tony had daddy issues, and this, him being an omega when his father would have craved an alpha for a son, that had to be something that haunted Tony constantly. And it was something Anya could understand. She could still sometimes hear her father cursing her out, calling her disappointing, a waste of a life and a daughter, a whore, a variety of things she blocked out on a regular basis.

Tony whimpered in a way that he would be mortified about but couldn’t control. Omegas could remember everything from their heats, not matter how deep they went or how mindless they seemed: they just had no control over their bodies, including who used them.

Tony whimpered again and shook his hips a little, the smell of slick hanging heavy in the air and Anya felt a pang in her chest as Tony wiggled his hips again, whimpering and calling out barely audibly for an alpha. His voice was strained, like his conscious was trying to stop the words, but his heat and inner omega was forcing them out. The words coming from his mouth looked painful, his face twisting up in embarrassment and need. Anya ran her hand through his hair and the whimpering stopped as she whispered gentle reassurances. She rarely listened to her inner omega, but it was compelling her to calm the nervous and angry and self-hating omega in front of her.

Her hands ran over barely visible scars and bruises on his back and sides, and she could see several, each telling a different story, a different pain, a different and more compelling reason that he pretended to be an alpha and would never admit he was an omega. Anya couldn’t blame him: life would have been so much easier if she had been born an alpha, even a beta. Tony whimpered again and this time Anya could hear what he was whispering, what he was calling for, despite his brain telling him to shut the hell up.

“Steve…alpha….” His mouth was barely breathing the words, but Anya’s hearing was nearly at Bucky’s enhanced level now, though not as refined as Steve’s. It wasn’t much of a secret that Tony and Steve either loved one another, or hated one another, depending on what time of day it was; Tony was everything that Steve found unbecoming of a hero: insubordinate, loud and obnoxious, rebellious, narcissistic, volatile and unpredictable. Steve was everything that annoyed Tony: too “by the book,” stern, unbearably stubborn, needing to be right, needing everything to be his way, old-fashioned, assumed too many things and judgmental. And both men were in deep crushes with the other. And everyone knew it, except them.

Tony writhed on the bed for several more minutes as the panic began to set in on Anya as she started to see that this would be her future in a few weeks: reducing to a few syllables at a time, whining and begging for something that actually didn’t feel that good, regardless of what alphas liked to think, and lacking control over her body and mind. The idea was terrifying.

When a soft ringing tone went off in the small room, Anya jumped so high, her feet a good 3 feet off the floor and she hit her head on the ceiling; cursing she looked at a small screen near the far wall and saw that it was Ms. Potts calling. Anya had been debating whether to answer it, because she wasn’t sure if she was wanted, or even welcome, with Tony, but she took a breath and received the call.

“Anya… JARVIS said someone was helping Tony.” Anya choked on air at the implications of ‘helping Tony’ and Ms. Potts raised an eyebrow at her reaction. “I… no, I was just in the lab when he collapsed. I was about to leave.”

From the bed not far away, Tony whined and cried out, his body turning with a lot of effort, sweat falling down his hair and dripping onto the sheets. He turned to face Anya and his face was plain: he didn’t want her to leave.

“Well, I can stay, if he wants.” Ms. Potts looked at her, raising an eyebrow again, then let it fall when Tony whined again, louder this time, calling for an alpha once more. Anya felt her face grow pale again and she knelt on the carpet, so she didn’t have as far to fall if she passed out from fear.

“If he wants you to stay, fine. But if anyone finds out about his, if I find out you breathes a word about his…condition, you will disappear into a black abyss and no one will ever find you ever again and…you already knew, didn’t you.” Ms. Potts had been on a slightly panicky tirade, but Anya had just given her a look, a raised eyebrow of her own, and a slightly amused look that said, “I’ve known for a while.”

“I found out my first week here.” Ms. Potts looked at her from the screen and sighed in relief. “Nice to know not everyone is out for themselves.” Anya fought back the preening feelings in her body at the praise and vote of confidence. “Just, make sure he gets something to eat a drink once in a while. I won’t be back in NYC for a few days. I’ll check in later to see how he’s doing; he likes having you around.” Anya looked up at the screen again from looking back at Tony as he fidgeted on the bed, a bubble in her chest expanding happily.

“I’ll look after him, I promise.”

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A few hours later, after hours of Tony whining and begging for a knot, for an alpha, for Steve, Anya could see Tony coming out of his wave; the next one would be more brutal than the last, because he wasn’t getting what his body was craving, wasn’t getting alpha hormones or a knot. Anya had run her hands over his back, sides and chest, and in his hair, soothing him when he shuddered from a powerful cramp in his abdomen, wiping away his tears when the pain was too much and he cried out loudly for Steve, sometimes Bucky.

As the first wave faded slightly, and Tony looked more like himself, the begging stopped and Tony looked more and more embarrassed and angry, mostly at himself. Anya sighed and sat beside him on the bed, her hand beside his on the silky sheets, offering him faint support. He looked disgusted with himself, a feeling Anya knew and felt often; he was uncoordinated and his limbs shook as he tried to sit up. Anya put her hand behind his back in case he fell, but didn’t pick him up; Anya knew he would want to do it on his own and she just offered her support and presence, let him know she was there if he needed it. Though he tried to hide it, he looked relieved to not be alone; he looked grateful, under that layer of self-hate on his face.

Anya helped him to the bathtub, bending over for him when he clutched his head from the dizziness when he wanted to take a bath. JARVIS set the water temp automatically, nice and hot to help with the cramps, and Anya kept her hands over his sides, ghosting his skin in case he slipped. He looked embarrassed that she helped him, mortified that someone else knew, angry that he needed help at all, and relieved that for once in his life, since presenting, he wasn’t doing it alone.

He sunk to his neck in the hot water, trying to scrub himself down to remove the layers of sweat, clinging grime and sticky, cracking, drying slick that had run from his gaping hole down his thighs and onto the bed. Behind her, Anya could hear robotic arms changing the sheets; ingenious, considering Tony wouldn’t be in any shape to change them himself when he was in heat. Anya looked back to Tony’s barely audible huffing and saw that he was trying to clean his back and between his thighs, but he was too stiff to do it himself, and too proud to ask.

“Would you like me to get rid of it?” Anya asked in a normal voice, not trying to be patronizing or annoyingly gentle. Tony said nothing, but set the sponge on the tub’s edge by her hand, his face stoic and not showing anything, but Anya could see the shame in his eyes.

“Tony…” he snapped his face to look at her, his eyes glistening with self-hatred, loathing and hurt. He looked on the verge of tears and hid it by looking away with a faint snarl, going on the defensive and Anya raised an eyebrow.

“Seriously, you gonna go that route with me? Don’t you think I know how you’re feeling? You feel like you want to be anyone, feeling that anger at the universe for making you this way, pissed at everyone in the past that hurt you, and some part of you feeling like it’s all your fault. And the people that hurt you, they only reinforced that feeling: so the shame of being an omega, that loss on control over your most basic reasoning and your own body turning against you, it grows and grows. You hate who you are, what it means to be an omega, to need someone else, something else, and you try your damnedest to be something, someone, else, to either hide it or override it, but your own body betrays you. And so does everyone that you encounter.” Tony was silent as Anya spoke to him, her voice occasionally cracking as images of people swam in her mind, voices of people putting her down, hurting her.

“Everyone uses your own body against you, even your own omega instincts hurt you. People, they sell you out, they hurt you, they make you scream and beg for it to go away. They pretend to care, to make you feel like you might be something, regardless of what others are telling you, beating into you, then they let you crash and burn. And that makes you fall so much harder.”

Anya helped Tony out of the tub, his eyes on the ground as she spoke, and she knew that Tony knew exactly what she was talking about; people had hurt him so many times, had built him up then bring him down. Stane and Howard Stark, men that Tony had looked to had hurt him deeply. And then, there was Steve and the Avenger’s Civil War.

It wasn’t until Tony was shaking on the bed, obviously crying, that Anya realized she had been thinking out loud. Anya slumped onto the bed near him and held his head to her chest and he wrapped his arms around her, his body shaking as he sobbed. She stroked his hair, let him cry and shake, tears falling down her own face. In heat, he was so much more emotional, his walls were down and it was so much harder for him to keep things together, to maintain that bravado he wore every day. In reality, he was barely holding on by a thread.

“I know the feeling.” Anya spoke softly and it was Tony’s turn to realize he had been talking out loud. She ran her hands over the back of his head as he clutched to her body, his face in her chest as he sobbed, his body shaking, his entrance leaking again as his body ramped up for another wave of mindless begging and loss of control. He pulled his face away from Anya’s chest, looking up at her, one omega to another as his face flushed and his heart started to race again. Anya ran her fingers through his hair, one hand on his shoulder, keeping him up for as long as his body could hold him up, before he lost control again. Anya pushed down the panic and bile rising in her throat at the thought that this would soon be her, at the images and memories Tony was bringing back.

Tony placed his head on her shoulder and whispered brokenly, obviously ashamed of what he was asking. “Help me, please. Make it go away.” Anya gasped and nearly yanked herself away from Tony, but his arms still clinging to her side kept her rooted to him. Anya ran her hands up and down his back and in his hair, thinking it over. She’d never done anything like this before, had done everything in her power to stay away from people in heat. But her own heat was inevitable, as much as she loathed it and hated herself for it and how she wished it wouldn’t happen. Perhaps, this was her chance to see what it would really be like, to see how it would feel; and it would help Tony. The idea of helping Tony, after all he had done for her, it finally won her over.

Shortly before Tony lost control of his mind and body again, Anya nodded to Tony and for the briefest moment, he looked relieved, happy. Then it was clouded over again by blind lust, primal urges, traitorous biology and loss of higher reasoning.

Chapter Text

As he wriggled on the sheets, calling for an alpha in a raspy voice, Anya looked around, unsure what it meant to help a fellow omega through a heat. It was very common, one omega helping another, especially if the omega was young, injured, sick or nervous. Sometimes omegas would join one another during a heat just because; alphas found it hot as hell when another omega participated, as long as no other alpha was involved. That usually ended in blood and violence.

Anya stood up from the bed and looked around, finally spying what she had been looking for. Forcing down her blush, she picked up the wiggly bright green dildo with the fake knot at the base of it and touched the button on the base, watching as the knot inflated and something squirted out of the top and hit her in the face. She sputtered indignantly, wiping her face off, tasting…Vaseline? Not one to question Tony’s preferences, she pushed down the knot to normal on the fake dildo and knelt behind Tony on the bed. She rubbed his softly, from the top of his head down to his feet, pressing harder on the thicker muscles of his upper back and feet.

By the time she was done, he was a drooling puddle, loose, pliant and relaxed. Tony was as touched starved as most of the Avengers, more than Dr. Banner but not as bad as Bucky, around the same as Clint. Anya looked down at herself, and took a deep breath before she took off her own clothes; being naked on a bed, with someone else, it made her want to run away, hide, or worse hurt whoever was there with her, but she fought the urge back, keeping those nightmares and flashbacks at bay.

As her underwear fell onto the pile of clothes at the foot of the bed, Anya looked up to see Tony turned around to look at her, the same apprehension and past betrayal on his face, though well hidden by the lust-blown pupils and the smell of pre-cum dripping onto the bed.

Looking down at his cock, she could see it was so hard it had to hurt; he moaned and whined loudly, twisting and turning on his hands and knees, trying to get the attention of an alpha that wasn’t there, that was several floors away. Anya rubbed his back again and made her movements obvious, slow and sank her back to the bed, moving under him, and gently rolling him over to his side. She could feel where his slick had leaked onto the bed again, and was surprised to find it didn’t smell at all like she thought it would, considering where it came from.

Anya leaned up on her shoulder and looked at his chest, leaning up slowly, then latched her mouth to his right clavicle and he gasped as he was finally touched, even if it was by an omega. She sucked on the skin, tasting salt and sweet and need. His skin was hot to the touch and he shivered as she sucked harder, leaving a bruise; alphas marked all over the neck and shoulders during a heat, and it would help ease the pain in Tony’s body, making his biology think it was an alpha marking him up.

Tony gasped again as she moved her mouth from the right side to the left, on the exact same spot, sucking hard at the skin and leaving an identical mark there, a deep red-purple that glistened from her mouth’s attention and Tony’s sweat. Anya moved down a little bit, and looked up at Tony, unsure, but feeling a bit experimental. Anya bit down gently on a small brown nipple and Tony’s back arched, and Anya could feel something wet, warm and sticky hitting her face and falling in her hair. She wiped it off her cheek and looked up, smelling Tony’s release all over her, painting his stomach and chest and thighs. It looked like he had been holding back for hours, so much had shot out of his spasming cock.

His body shook with aftershocks and Anya rubbed his cock through his orgasm, then stopped when he let out a faint whine from oversensitivity, but since he was in heat, it wouldn’t be sensitive for long. Refractory periods in heat were minutes long, and omegas had been known to exhaust themselves so much from one orgasm after another, they collapsed in exhaustion and even passed out, sometimes for hours.

As Tony caught his breath and looked down at her, his face still as lust-blown as before, Anya smiled kindly at him, rubbing his thighs as the last spasms were wrung out of him. When Anya looked back down, he was hard again. Shaking her head in disbelief that he could get it up so soon, she kissed down his torso, leaving the faintest hickey each time, a faint bruise that made Tony moan and whine each time. She kissed down one thing, feeling Tony tense up as he passed the part of him that most wanted the attention, and she bit onto his thigh, feeling him throw his head back as she left tiny imprints of her teeth on the soft skin of his inner thigh. She had a feeling he liked a tiny bit of pain with his pleasure, it would add to the high he felt; and most omegas in heat liked the feeling of being bit, being marked as taken. Anya’s bite wasn’t deep, though it would leave a nice red mark, and continued to burn slightly in the way that Tony loved.

Anya moved up his thigh, over his cock and smirked at him as she passed it over, and bit down, slightly harder on his other inner thigh. Once again, she felt him cuming hard, thick, warm ropes hitting her hair and landing on her cheek, painting his stomach and thighs with his own release and ecstasy.

He gasped a few times as Anya lapped at the mark she had just left on his thigh, her hands moving on his thigh and chest and all over his body, smearing the copious amounts of cum all over. Anya leaned up and got off the bed, slowly and gently, coming back fast so Tony wouldn’t think she left him alone, which was very detrimental to an omega’s psyche, and wiped off his release with towels, pressing gently on the faint bruises and watching as Tony’s head fell back, mouth open at the sensation.

Anya tossed the towels on the floor and heard something mechanical taking them away; she ran her hands up and his thighs and legs, his stomach and back, watching as he got hard again in minutes. Wow, she heard that male omegas had almost no refractory period in heat, but this was literally no refractory period. Anya looked up at Tony again and he flipped himself over onto his belly, forearms resting on the bed, knees pushing down on the mattress as he wiggled his ass in the air again, trying to get an alpha’s attention. Anya was nervous about this part, but as long as she was slow, she wouldn’t hurt Tony.

Tony looked rigid and seemed to be vibrating with energy as she moved behind him again, coming up on her knees, like an alpha would when they were about to mount. He panted harder, louder, begging more for an alpha, calling out for an alpha, Steve’s name slipping out a few times in the span of 3 minutes. Anya looked down at his leaking hole, looking like a pink rosebud, spasming occasionally, his body contracting at the idea of an alpha knot being inside it, demanding that a knot be inside it. And she felt her own curiosity pushing aside that low-level panic she had in her chest. She’d seen that male omegas liked it, liked the attention, and it made them loose and pliant. Anya couldn’t help herself, she wanted to know if she might expect something similar.

She leaned down a few inches and sniffed at his leaking, aching hole; it smelt like slick, which had a sweet and sour smell to it, like really good faintly-sour candy. She tentatively stuck out her tongue, then let the tip touch the dip where all the muscles of his hole clenched. Tony bucked hard at the sensation and he started leaking pre-cum from his cock almost instantly; Anya pulled back in surprise and tony started to whine at the loss. Anya put her tongue back, tasting the slick pouring from his leaking hole, which tasted a lot like quality sour suckers, and licked from his peritoneum to his lower back with the flat of her tongue, slowly moving over his puckering hole, watching as he bucked his body again into the sensation.

Anya pulled her face back, tasting some of Tony’s slick still on her tongue and licked it off; it wasn’t nearly as bad as she imagined it might be, considering it came out of his asshole. Literally. Moving back as he whined and moved in anticipation and want, she pulled his cheeks apart gently, slowly, stuffing down a laugh at the squelching noise it made, and tickled her tongue over the clenching muscles of his entrance. Tony was panting, begging louder and louder now, needing something inside him, so Anya pushed her tongue in, curious why guys made such a big deal of it, and wondering if she could find that little spot inside him.

Anya smelt more than felt Tony cum again as she pushed her tongue in all the way and moved it around in slow circles, opening him up slowly, wonderfully, and searching for that small bundle of nerves that would give Tony the most amount of pleasure possible. Tony shook around her, his muscles clenching down on her tongue and she moved her tongue around as he rode out his orgasm, drawing out the ecstasy he felt. When he finally stopped, his knees gave out and Anya pulled up, worried that she had worn him out or hurt him in some way. Instead, she found Tony’s brain completely void of all thought, his body pliant, loose and completely at ease, nothing but happiness and ecstasy on his face. It wouldn’t be long before he was hard again, but for the moment, Anya let him lay there, relaxed, strung out and at peace.

It was several long minutes before Tony started to whine again, before he started to call for an alpha again, and in that time Anya had helped him drink some water, and had washed them both off and gotten herself something to eat. He was too out of it to chew and not risk choking on what she gave him.

When his twitching and writhing got too incessant, Anya decided there was no prolonging what she had been putting off; it should help shorten Tony’s heat, though she felt…weird…doing it. She got her fingers covered in the copious amounts of slick coming from Tony’s hole, then traced a single finger around the edge, across the tight muscles, then slowly pushed her index finger in. Inside Tony was softer than she imagined; it was warm, yielding, yet it clung to her finger like it was a lifeline, and the inside was silky on the tip of her finger. She moved her finger in deeper, feeling and hearing Tony moaning and bucking into her finger, wanting more, but she didn’t want to hurt him. Still, knowing he liked it a little rougher, and enjoyed a little bit of stinging with the pleasure, she moved her finger in and out faster, before adding the second one, slower this time, gently pushing against the ring of muscles.

Tony gasped and tried to fuck himself on her fingers, but she put one hand on his hips to steady him; going too fast would definitely hurt him. Anya moved her fingers around in a tight circle, moving them in and out, her fingertips barely inside, then shoving them in all the way to her hand, harder and deeper each time. Tony was a writhing, gasping mess as she pressed on his prostate every few strokes, and it wasn’t long before he came hard again, painting the sheets with streaks of white.

Anya pulled out her fingers and watched them drip with his slick and lube for a moment, before turning to the many dildos he had on hand, and picked the closest one, assuming Tony would use that one the most. It was dark blue and red striped with a single white star on it and she suspected who it was supposed to represent. On top of the obvious symbolism to the dildo being Steve, it vibrated on 3 different settings and had an inflatable knot.

Kneeling behind Tony like an alpha would, she pressed her body close to his, her torso leaning hard against his lower body, touching as much of their skin together as she could, then slid in the dildo, gently, taking her time.

Tony took that slowness from her when he jolted backwards and took the entire thing, all 8 inches of it, deep inside him and he howled another release. Anya gulped, as images of what she might look like if, when, this was her flashed in her mind. She pushed them away and held the base of the dildo close to her body like it was attached to her and moved her body back and forth, like an alpha would do. Tony writhed under her, begging more and more, demanding more and she turned it to vibration setting 1, and felt a tension poling in her own body as the light vibrations moved through her thighs, hand and her own nether regions. She gulped and pulled away from the dildo though her hand still shook and she could smell and feel her own body leaking slick. She’d never had that happen before.

Turning back to Tony, she moved back and forth, faster and harder, moving her body against his, touching his shoulders and carding her fingers through his hair, then leaned down and sucked onto his neck, teeth making imprints. Tony came harder than before, howling, nearly screaming, and Anya inflated the knot in the dildo, watching as it swelled and she could see it catching on the sensitive, swollen rim before it stuck. Anya moved it in a bit deeper, moving it around slightly, until Tony screamed hard again, and came again. He shook all over, his arms giving out and she knew, that knot was pressing against his prostate.
Anya let herself fall onto Tony’s back and she rubbed her hands over his neck and shoulders, fingers through his hair, whispering soft, comforting words. His breath was hard and fast, his face the most fucked out face she had ever seen someone make before, and he looked just so at peace and content. There were no more lines on his face or forehead, he wasn’t snapping or hiding behind his sarcasm or harsh words. He was just being… well, being.

As Tony’s eyes dropped and he fell asleep, Anya pulled herself off Tony and pulled out the dildo as the knot deflated itself after half an hour. She set it aside and cleaned it off, then returned to the bed and drank several bottles of water, and ate a bar in silence. Tony would wake up in an hour or so, when the next wave hit, and it would start all over again, for hours, maybe days.

Pushing herself against the wall, her knees against her torso and her arms wrapped around herself, she could only think and contemplate what it might be like for her. Her heat was something she feared, hated, more than she hated that entitlement alphas felt around her and other omegas. No, she hated herself and what she was more than she hated any alpha, and from what she knew about Tony, he hated himself and what he truly was too. As he snored softly next to her, she felt that panic coming on and setting in again, tension building in her chest that threatened to lash out and make her lose control.

She stuffed it down as she looked down at Tony, and realized, just how much better it was with someone there. He looked complacent, happy almost, to have someone else there for his heat.

Anya rubbed her face as memories of her last heat came to her and she fought back the bile that came up, not wanting to ruin the calm Tony was in, that sweet, calm headspace as he floated on cloud 9, out cold and blissfully spent. As she tried to fight the memories down, and how it had felt last time, to want to push away those men to run screaming, and yet unable to move, it came to her that she had never had a say in who was with her during the heat, who was there to help her through it, to make the pain go away, to hold her while they were joined together in the most intimate of places.

Leaning her head back against the wall and looking down as Tony shifted slightly in his sleep, she watched him sleep for a while, a content smile on his face, his body relaxed and wondered, how would Steve and Bucky handle it, her?

Bucky would probably hold her close, wanting to repay her for all those nights he could only sleep with her nearby, or how she would motivate him in ways others couldn’t. Steve would be careful, maybe even timid for fear of hurting her, and it would probably border on being adorable, until he took over, trying to ensure he was the alpha male of the group, compensating for all the times Anya had showed him up, had reached Bucky when he couldn't. And he'd do that by making her cum over and over again, a smug look on his face. And would she have that same fucked-out face that Tony currently wore on her own face?

The idea of her heat terrified her, made her hate herself and loathing how she would lose control over herself. But, this time, she would have a say. This time, she would get to choose who she spent her heat with.

And that comforted her just a little bit.

Chapter Text

Steve stared at the metal walls around Tony’ lab, his nose twitching, and he had sworn he could smell an omega’s heat, but it was gone the moment he stopped to check. He had walked around, trying to find the smell again, while not bothering to hide the erection now straining in his uniform, his inner alpha awoken by the faintest whiff.

Take. Mate. Protect. Knot. Mine. Those words and feelings dominated his mind as he tried in vain to catch the smell again, that wonderful, alluring smell that sent all his nerves tingling and made his body both light and heavy at the same time. Growling when he couldn’t find the smell anymore and hearing someone coming to the lab, he tore himself away from the solid metal cage that Tony had for some reason barricaded himself in. Tony had said over the coms he was working on something and didn’t want to be disturbed, and it might be dangerous, so he didn’t want to put anyone else in danger. That made Steve’s insides twist and convulse; what if Tony did get hurt?

Bucky’s growing arousal and his light footsteps pulled Steve from his own treacherous mind and looked at his lover and turned back to the lab one last time. Bucky gave Steve a knowing look and rolled his eyes.

“Seriously, you gotta talk to the guy. The tension between you to is making Vision suspicious.” Steve shook his head and took Bucky in his arms and the other alpha melted into the warmth. “You’re the alpha for me.” Bucky smirked and whispered “punk” between heated and tonguing kisses, before Bucky shoved his entire tongue into Steve’s mouth and Steve huffed a moaning laugh.

“Jerk.” Bucky smirked back at his lover and best friend before pulling away and looking more serious. “So, if I’m the alpha for you, can Anya be the omega for us?” Steve pulled away, several emotions flashing over his face: jealousy, desire, lust, confusion, concern, desire again, and more lust. There was no denying that the creeping smell of Anya’s encroaching heat made Steve want to pull her tight to his body, hold her tight and bite on her neck, while watching Bucky knot her, make her cum over and over again. The idea brought his half-interested erection to full mast and Bucky smirked, reading his thoughts that were plain on his face.

“Is that a yes? Maybe a ‘oh fuck yes’?” Steve looked at him with a rising blush on his face and Bucky thought it was still adorable as ever. Then he looked serious again and looked at the locked down lab and back to Steve, contemplating things of his own.

“She’s terrified, of this heat. The closer she gets, the more afraid she’ll get. We’ll need to do this slowly and carefully. Best thing would to do some old-school courting, then make the offer and let her come to us with a decision when she’s ready. If you corner her, if we make her feel cornered, she’ll lash out and shut down. And we’ll never get an inch from her again.” Bucky was holding Steve, whispering into his ear, his voice serious, but his growing erection pushing against Steve’s muscular thigh. The idea of helping Anya through her heat, with Steve there, was almost more than Bucky could handle. Images and ideas raced through his mind, Anya looking up at him, eyes big and vulnerable, lips warm and soft, watching her writhe and beg for them both, watching Steve’s eyes grow huge, that blush on his face so bright as Anya’s warm, wet body swallowed Bucky’s eager cock. It was all so much to think about as he found himself leaning against Steve, a light blush on his own face, wanting to be fucked, hard, now rightfuckingnow!

Steve yanked him over to the bathroom on the lab floor, not thinking Bucky would make it to a room. He wouldn’t make it to a room. The smell of aroused alpha and the ghost of a scent of omega nearing heat was all Steve could smell, and all he could see was Bucky with his ‘fuck me til I scream’ face on as the bathroom door slammed shut so hard it cracked, and neither of them cared. Steve shoved his pants to mid-thigh and opened the cabinet to pull out some lotion while Bucky pulled off all his clothes, shivering when Steve let out a growl and bit down on his shoulder, and Bucky came hard, splattering the bathroom wall with copious amounts of his release.

“Eager, aren’t you?” Steve grinned into Bucky’s neck before turning him over and kissing him hard, tongue forcing its way into those soft, supple pink lips. Bucky moaned and gasped as lotion smeared on his asshole and Steve pushed in one finger roughly and Bucky arched into the air, and Steve caught his legs, wrapping them around his trim waist. Bucky twisted his ankles together behind Steve’s back, looking lost, his eyes back with lust, mouth open with need and gasping for air as his cock twitched, already hard again.

“Fuck me hard, baby, so hard. Show me how alpha you really are.” Steve growled and Bucky sighed, pressing down his internal alpha that needed to growl back, more feeling the need to be fucked into oblivion. A second finger thrust in with the first and Bucky arched his back again, splattering Steve with cum, his body shaking as an intense look came over Steve, the need to dominate and completely destroy, to see his lover cum so many times he became boneless and knew nothing but Steve’s name.

A third finger slipped in hard with the other 2 and Bucky gasped, moaning and shouting as he writhed under Steve, back against the wall, strands of long hair falling in his face and sticking to his forehead, a beautiful sight if Steve ever saw one. He pushed Bucky harder against the wall and heard the wall give out slightly behind him but neither men cared, needing one another nownownow. Steve put his nose to Bucky’s as he pulled out his fingers and stared into those gray eyes as he positioned himself, then pushed in hard, deep and slow, continuing to push in his large cock into Bucky’s tight heat, until his balls hit against Bucky’s ass.

Bucky had been holding his breath the entire time, eyes rolling back in his head as he felt so stretched, so filled, so on fire. His body shook with another orgasm and he did scream out this time, screaming Steve’s name for the entire tower to hear. Steve grinned at Bucky as he watched his over and best friend come apart under him, his cock buried deep inside his warm, velvety asshole and he hadn’t even moved yet. Steve licked up a bead of sweat from Bucky’s nipple, feeling him writhe under his body, to his temple; Bucky was shuddering under him, his hips starting to move on their own, trying to get Steve to fuck him, then a brilliant idea came into his head, to get the fucking of his life (well, maybe of the week, knowing their active sex life).

Bucky leaned forward and whispered in Steve’s ear, soft and sultry, “What will you do with Anya? A beautiful young omega, in heat? When she’s all yours? How would you fuck her while I watch? While she sucks my cock?” Bucky screamed louder than before as Steve pulled all the way out and pushed back in so hard the wall behind them did visibly crack. Steve’s mind was now full of his inner alpha, what he would like to do to Anya when she was in heat, supple, willing, needing his knot, asking for it, looking at him with big, needing eyes. She’d said yes, she wanted him and Bucky, and she was ready for them.

“I bet she’s so tight, Steve, oh, so tight. The smell of fresh slick comin' from her tight little omega pussy, so perfect. How'd she look on her knees in front of you, wigglin' her hips, that pretty little ass of hers for you? Askin' you t' be inside her?” Bucky screamed again as Steve pulled out all the way and punched back in, 3 times in less than 2 seconds, and Bucky came all over Steve’s chest, breathing deep, watching as the blonde inside him fell apart as much as he did.

“And you'd slide inside her, nice and slow, enjoyin' it to the fullest, her slick gettin' all over your alpha cock, all over your big knot. I bet she would cum right then, callin' for you, her tight pretty walls grippin' you so hard.” Steve started a hard, intense rhythm, his eyes on Bucky, needing to see him cum again, and again and again, to cover one another in his many releases. His inner alpha was panting, begging for all that to come true, the idea of a young, fertile, eager, willing omega under him, around his cock…oh, it was so perfect.

“Stevie! Oh fuck Stevie! Oh, harder, harder. Oh, fuck me so hard!” Bucky was once again reduced to a few words at a time, mostly involving the words ‘fuck’ and ‘Steve’ then Steve decided to indulge himself, and give Bucky a taste of his own medicine.

“It'd feel so good. To feel her finally around me, grippin' my cock, my knot wantin' t' be inside her so bad. You'd hold her tight t' your body, bitin' her neck, lickin' the sweat from her face and shoulders, then your fingers'd slide down her perfect smooth skin to that little bud of hers. And you'd play with it, touch it, one hand holdin' her up as she comes again and again around me, screaming our names.”

Bucky’s eyes had gotten even bigger as Steve talked, knowing what this was doing to Bucky, to his inner alpha as he imagined being with the omega and his lover at the same time. He’d never heard Steve talk like this before, never heard him be his filthy and forward before, certainly not about someone other than Bucky.

Bucky’s eyes rolled into the back of his head again as he came harder than he’d come in years, the words Steve was growling, the feeling of Steve’s massive cock in his ass and the images of Anya laid out for them. It was so much, all at once and he might be too sensitive for anymore, but Steve was on a mission to destroy Bucky, to make him cum so many times he lost count, to make him a mumbling, screaming mess.

“Then she’d lean down and look up at you with those big eyes of hers, soft, eager, omega eyes and then lean down and suck your cock int' her mouth. Her tongue would tease your slit, lick the pre-cum right off you, the head of your cock slippin' int' her deep and deeper, passin' over her tongue, down the back of her throat. You’d see her throat bulgin' 'round your cock, watchin' your swollen head stretch her throat and mouth out as she bobs up an' down on you, so perfect, so eager, so needy.”

Bucky came again harder than before, so hard he saw stars, his vision whited out and he held his breath so long he actually was starting to lose vision in the corners of his eyes. Steve smiled at him, mimicking Bucky’s smirk as he watched Bucky fall apart around him and in front of him, his arms, flesh and metal, falling to his sides, legs sliding down the back of Steve’s body until they hit the floor. He was spent, he was exhausted, and he was so sensitive. And he hadn’t been touched once.

Steve grinned with a powerful sense of accomplishment and turned Bucky around to face the broken wall and pushed back in, going slower this time, that smirk on his face that Bucky needed to wipe off. No way in hell would Stevie get the last word.

“Yeah, she’d swallow down my cock, then swallow all the cum I gave her. Then I’d look up at you, and move to you, and start twistin' your nipples in the way you like it, pullin' you hair, watchin' you pound even harder int' that perfect omega pussy as you come apart.” Bucky’s body was spent but his eyes were glowing with intent and passion, needing to get Steve to feel what he felt. Steve pounded harder into Bucky, losing control of himself, and Bucky was having a hard time breathing, let alone forming words, as Steve’s cock slid in and out of his ass, hard and fast, deep and rough, hitting that spot inside him that made Bucky howl with need and desire as his nerves flashed all over his body.

But Bucky still needed to get in the last word. “You’d pound away int' her, so hard and deep, and she'd scream your name, over and over, callin' out alpha.” Steve was near the edge, his cock twitching inside Bucky, and it made him cry out as he felt that massive member inside him twitch. He gathered himself, a smirk on his face, his eyes half-lidded and his cock hard again, pulsing with need as the images of Steve inside Anya filled his own head.

“Then you’d cum inside her, so deep, fill her so full of your cum it would reach deep inside her, where no one else has ever been before, where you’d be the first to put your seed in her.” Steve growled loudly and bit into Bucky’s neck, the idea spurring on his inner alpha, the idea that he’d be first to go that deep into her, the first one she wanted inside her tight pussy. He was so close now, he was going to cum deep inside Bucky, but was holding back his knot, they didn’t need to be locked together in this bathroom.

Until Bucky decided to be a little shit. “And when your knot finally came down, your cum would pour out of her, coating her thighs and the bed and the smell would fill the room, making sure everyone knew that she was ours. No one could touch her. Then I'd kneel behind her, slide my dick in there real deep, then pull out nice and slow, show you my cock covered in your cum.”

Steve yowled his release, pulling Bucky so hard to his body anyone else might have been ripped in half. But Bucky just screamed again as another powerful orgasm rocked his body, Steve’s massive cock deep in his body as his knot swelled up, pressing constantly against his prostate, jet after hot jet of thick, alpha cum filling up his abused and eager ass.

It was several minutes before either of them were coherent enough to talk, and Bucky had that smirk on his face again, despite being the one that had his ass drilled just moments ago. “We’ll go slow with Anya. Start with a card and a flower maybe, something simple. Maybe lunch, nothing too extravagant.” Steve nodded, knowing that going too fast with Anya would scare her away, like a wounded animal or baby deer.

But it would be incredibly worth it to show her what a heat was meant to be for an omega, how good alphas could make her feel, how alphas were supposed to act around omegas in their care, how precious she was to them. Bucky leaned up and pulled Steve down for a deep, intense kiss that held 90 years of history, of love, between them and Steve put his forehead against Bucky’s, a slightly dopey smile on his face.

“I’ll find something for her, later. Unless you want to show the world that Stucky is a thing?” Steve looked confused, that same face when confronted with the tech of the modern day and he couldn’t figure it out. Bucky smirked and chuckled deeply.

“Don’t ask, just look it up.” Steve rolled his eyes as Bucky chuckled some more and pulled Steve into another deep, meaningful kiss.

“If you say so.”

Chapter Text

Tony woke about an hour after passing out, and the first thing he realized was that he wasn’t in his bed alone. He sat up in a minute of panic, until his eyes cleared and his senses caught up with his reactions. The smell of calming, familiar omega, not horny alpha, hit him gently, like a wafting, soft summer breeze and he didn’t need to hide his relief as Anya could see it on his face. And there was no pity there for his momentary panic, only understanding. If there was anyone that knew what it would be like to have a heat taken from them, it would be Anya.

Tony was sore and aching all over, but it was a good ache, that kind of deep, soothing ache from a good workout, or really great sex. The sheets still had some of his dried slick on it, and evidence of a lot of releases, but everything else was neat and orderly. Some food and water was in his arm’s reach, and Anya had been reading something on a Stark pad, Tony’s head in her lap, one hand stroking his arm and side as he had slept.

Seeing he was awake, she stood up slowly, helping him to sit against the headboard and drink down some water and helped him chew some food. He felt embarrassed as she had to break pieces of the bars off and feed it to him, his arms made of jelly and his head weighing a fuckton, and it was the most relaxed he’d been during a heat since he was a teen, before he became CEO. Most of his heats came out of nowhere now, residual effects of palladium poisoning that fucked with his system and instead of having just 1a year like omegas his age, he had anywhere from 0-12.

Anya tossed the wrapped into the small garbage can and helped Tony to the bathroom to clean up. He was still helpless and he knew he was radiating that kind of self-hatred he always had when he was this helpless, this powerless to his own biology. Even sinking into the warm water didn’t assuage the pain in his chest and the feelings of guilt, anger, self-loathing and fear all boiling up inside. He went through this every heat, and no matter what kind of suppressants or inhibitors or anything he took, he always had a heat, usually when he needed it the least.

Like Afghanistan.

Anya handed him the sponge and looked at Tony, not saying a word, able to see the emotions running all over his face and understanding each and every one of them. Fear, loathing, self-hatred, self-doubt, thinking that all those things everyone said about him where right.

Worthless. Whore. Pathetic. Useless. Embarrassing. Just a fuckhole. Won’t amount to anything. Goddamn omega for a son.

Those words Tony’s father had spouted at him all those years ago still stung, hurting deep inside, in his heart, his head, his soul, his very being, coming to mind whenever he had a heat, or he had a fight with Steve, or someone seemed disappointed in him.

Anya’s hand snaked over his shoulders and only then did Tony realize he had been shaking, and pulled back the tears biting at the corners of his eyes. He looked away and Anya stood up and went into the other room, giving him some space, and grabbing a towel for him. It wouldn’t be long before the next way of his heat hit, and he wasn’t looking forward to it. It would be fucking hell again, but at least he wasn’t alone this time.

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Seeing Tony hate himself so thoroughly was hard for her inner omega to handle, but as the sweat beaded on his skin again and he let out a faint whine, Anya knew that it wouldn’t do any good to try and talk to him right now. He was about to go into his second wave, and it would be harder than the first, since he wasn’t getting the alpha pheromones his body wanted, needed. All she could do was keep her hands on his body, offering comforting words and fuck him over and over again with a dildo.

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2 days after Anya helped him limp into the panic room, Tony was coming out of his heat and was coherent enough to catch up on things he missed while they both had been down there. Nothing else had attacked since that last lackluster performance in DC, and Thor and his friends form Asgard were still searching for Silik scouts all over the globe, finding a few here and there, but most would either disappear in a haze of lights like on Stark Trek, or they would take their own lives rather than be interrogated or captured. Those students that hired someone to kill Anya were now officially charged with corporate espionage, since Anya’s work was technically SI property, and conspiracy to commit murder resulting in significant bodily harm. The university had kicked them out and they were barred from attending any school in the state again, if they ever got out of prison.

Other than that, things were running smoothly for the Avengers, very calm and quiet considering the hell that last few months had been for the US. Giant alien robot spiders with ray guns, alien scouts, tiny little shits that attacked DC. All in all, a few quiet days. Steve and Bucky had started looking for Anya, calling some other students from the university, asking where she was, if they’d seen her, but everyone had said no. JARVIS kept up the story that Anya just needed some time alone and would come back when she was ready, that he had her location but was instructed not to reveal it unless it was a true emergency.

Anya looked over at Tony, who was looking stressed, those lines between his eyes and that sparkle in his eyes and smile had faded. She could see the self-hatred in his face still and she touched his arm softly, offering her presence, and when he momentarily tensed, she knew exactly what was happening to him, what he was going through. It wasn’t healthy for him to keep it up in his head, bottled up inside, but talking about it was painful, like reliving it all over again.

“Tony…can I ask you something?” Tony looked up from his Stark pad and glanced her way and then met her eyes when she looked nervous, anxious. “Did you father, did he…” Anya paused as Tony shut down at the mention of his father. His face shutting down completely, his body rigid and barred, wanting to keep at bay all those things he remembered, all those things he felt.
Tony looked away from Anya and she could fear the tears coming in her eyes, knowing the feeling. It was true, it wasn’t a good thing to hold those things inside, and that went both ways.

“$2.5 million, Tony.” He looked up at her, a faintly hurt and disgusted look on his face, as if that was her demand for keeping quiet about this. She just shook her head gently, tears falling down her face, not bothering to hide them.

“That’s what my mother, father, brothers and sister, what my family, decided my life was worth. $2.5 million.”

Chapter Text

Anya could still remember the rain falling on her face as she stood at a bus stop, a greyhound that would take her from the suburb of Chicago to…somewhere else. Anywhere else. The party at her house, not her parent’s house, had opened her eyes that everyone hated her for being an omega, hated her for not being an alpha, not being what they wanted her to be. She couldn’t help that she was an omega, but it didn’t matter, just like it didn’t matter that she had been in that fancy private school that only took the top 1% of the alphas in the country. Once she presented as omega, who she really was, her intelligence, her abilities, her personality, none of it mattered.

The rain hid her tears well, but when she tried to get on the bus, she was denied: she didn’t have a ticket, or the money for it. Shaking his head, the driver closed the door to the bus on her face and took off, nearly running her over in the process.

Everyone hated her, thought she was garbage, trash, less than a parasite now that she was an omega. Everyone was treating her with disdain and contempt, treating her like she was something to be tossed aside, or something that could be own, like a car or pair of shoes. Well, that was bullshit, no one would own her, no one could buy her. She stood up straight again, wiped her eyes and looked around the bus terminal for something that would help her move on.

But she was wrong about one thing. She could be bought. She could be owned.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

At the party, her parents were beyond embarrassed that their daughter had crashed the reunion and revealed their secret shame, that their most promising daughter, the one they had tried hardest to get into that fancy, expensive school, had turned out an omega. Everyone else in their immediate household was an alpha, even her little brother. Yet she turned out an omega. How shameful.

As the party wound down and everyone started heading home, one of their older relatives, a distant cousin with a tattoo of some kind on his arm, an octopus he said it was, hung back and waited until everyone else had left and then pulled her parents aside for a conversation that would destroy Anya.

“Have you considered selling off your daughter?” Their cousin looked honest with his question and Anya’s parents raised their eyebrows. Selling omegas had been illegal for over 10 years. “There’s still a burgeoning black market for them. And someone like Anya could easily fetch you something sizable.” He handed her parents a card with a number on it to an international carrier and told them to call this number ASAP. They would, however, need a few nice, recent pictures of Anya to submit.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A few hours later, Anya was still at the bus terminal and had come up empty. She had no money, her clothes were in tatters and she looked like a homeless person, though it was clear she was still rather young. An older beta woman had asked if she was lost and needed someone to call her parents, and she just shook her head and ignored the woman until she went away. Then an older alpha man, in his late 50s, had come up to her and propositioned her for sex to get out of the rain and a place to stay for the night. She broke his nose. In 2 places.

The sun was setting and the cold was settling into Anya’s bones, making her shiver and shake, and the bus terminal was closing, leaving Anya with no shelter, no place to go when the sun set It was late fall and there was a good chance that frost would coat the ground in the morning. And today was the also the day Anya was 15 ½ years old and had wanted to start getting ready for her driver’s license. Last May, before she presented, she had the next 5 years of her life roughly planned out. Graduate at the top of her class, go to a prestigious college, graduate Suma Cum Lade, and maybe meet someone special. That was all in the shit. She probably wouldn’t even graduate high school now.

And technically, she never did.

A few hours after dark, a single, familiar car drove up to the bus terminal and Anya braced herself for a fight for her mother to yell at her, for her father to hit her, for her brothers to laugh at her. Instead, her mother came rushing out of the car, calling her name, arms outstretched, tears pouring down her face. Her mother rushed to pull Anya into a tight hug, and Anya wasn’t sure what to do; she was confused, hurt, cold, hungry, tired, but mostly confused. Anya pulled herself out of that hug, shouting, crying, demanding an explanation.

“When you were gone and we couldn’t find you, I was so worried. Oh, sweetheart, my precious little girl, I’m so sorry.”

Anya should have known something was wrong then, that her parents, her own mother and father, had something devious planned for her, to explain their sudden 180. But then, she was just glad to have her mother hold her again, to feel the most important woman in her life hold her to her chest and let her cry.

A few days later, the first signs came up. Her father left the house and came back with a garment bag from a department store, revealing a gorgeous deep red dress and matching shoes and jewelry. He said it was for Anya and he wanted to see her try it on. Anya felt in her chest that something was off, that this was out of the blue, and that her parents had begun acting strangely around her, treating her like a piece of antique glass, as if any bruise or scratch on her body would be paramount to a scratch on a brand new custom Porsche or Lamborghini.

Her mother shushed her when Anya asked what the dress was for, why they were treating her like this, how different they were. Her father said to appreciate what she had, and her mother offered to help her get dressed. 3 hours later, she was in the dress and despite her suspicion, she couldn’t deny she felt like a princess. Tiny glittering gems decorated her hair which her mother had spent over an hour styling, with lose curls falling in her face, but held back enough to see her face and eyes. Delicate makeup highlighted all her natural beauty, and her mother stifled a sob that seeing her daughter like this brought back memories of when she was young. Anya did look a lot like her mother.

3 hours later, Anya emerged from her room, which her parents had given back to her, in that long, silky, beautiful gown and all done up like she was the most precious princess in the world, and that world revolved around her for just a moment. Her father looked her over like he did a car, examining how she looked and when Anya asked again what this was for, he deflected. Her mother only hinted that it was a belated surprise. Anya thought maybe it was them trying to buy her things and make her forgive and forget, or maybe something for her birthday back on May 31st, which had occurred the same week as prom and was now long past. Part of her suspected something, that her parents were planning something for her, and not the surprised birthday party her inner omega was trying to convince her of.

Her father took several pictures of her in that dress in several poses and he looked them over, trying to pick the best one, then decided that it wasn’t perfect and he wanted something more, a few more outfits. Again he deflected what it was for, and her mother said nothing either, and her brothers and sister were clueless.

Over the next 10 days or so, her father and mother bought her new outfits and did her makeup and hair and took pictures of her in various outfits, each one a bit more revealing than the last. And each one made Anya more and more suspicious. After that beautiful, perfect dress was simple jeans and T outfit, then a shorter sundress, and finally a bikini swimsuit ensemble. She had been in a pool when he took the pictures, but she was still suspicious of him, of them.

It became apparent that her parents knew she was becoming suspicious and nervous, so her mother accidentally had a too-loud conversation about the party, and the caterer, and how the pictures were coming out. Her father replied, also in a too-loud voice, that they had enough pictures of the collage. Anya could see right through it, that they were having a staged conversation, and wondered what they were really up to.

She spent a few nights on her laptop looking for something that might explain what they were really planning, and her worst fear was that they would kill her, and were just trying to lull her in a false sense of security, though that was a bit of a stretch. She then came across a few articles from an investigative journalist about underground and black-market omega sales, and how people in law enforcement and government were looking the other way for a cut of what the sellers got for the omega. And the omegas were usually forced into prostitution, or worked on in hidden labs. After all, the omega population was a fraction of what it once was, and when it had fallen to near extinction, alpha populations had fallen too. Only in the last 50 years or so had their numbers risen again to less than half of their previous numbers.

Anya felt this was the most likely scenario for her parents’ actions: taking pictures of her in many outfits, each one more revealing, staging conversations, keeping everything quiet, it had to be this. She had to leave. She would not be some asshole alpha’s fucktoy while her parents got rich off her flesh.

Her sister, Emily, was the only one that she could really talk to and the only one that was willing to help her get out of the house, though she had no money for a bus or train. Anya said she could walk. So they planned for Anya to leave in a few days, before the date her parents had marked on the calendar.

The next day, her mother woke her up early and said that they were all going on a family trip to the State Fair and they needed to leave early. That day at the fair was perfect. Her parents didn’t treat her like some fragile glass statue anymore, watching as she rode all kinds of rides, beat her brothers in several carnival games and won herself a large stuffed bear, which she gave to her beaming sister. Though Emily was older than her, she still had a love for all things stuffed, cute, fluffy and cuddly. As the day wore on, Anya began to think she was just being paranoid, considering what her parents had done to her in the past. Maybe they had really changed. She wanted to believe the best of them: they were her parents, her own mother and father. Emily agreed that Anya had just been paranoid, then went back to laughing and talking over a super-massive, super-sugary funnel cake.

About an hour before leaving, she got the feeling she was being watched and looked around, finally spying some young men, all about her age, smiling and winking at her. She rolled her eyes at them, knowing that boys their age were just starting to comprehend why omegas smelt so good, and were finally able to smell them for the first time. One of the boys walked up to her and offered to win her a prize, flexing his developing arms in front of her and throwing a very hard pitch at some standing pins before Anya could tell him no. Anya just shook her head and took a step away from him, making the mistake of turning her back on him, on an alpha. She would never make that mistake again.

The alpha snarled at her and made her spin around in a panic, dropping the bag of treats her father had bought her, including the souvenir glass necklace piece, which shattered, and then she landed in it, pieces of glass tearing into her hand. She kicked out at the alpha, crying out as he yanked on her hair, and no one was stopping to help her. Some of them looked like it was her own fault, that it was her fault that alpha had no control over himself.

Seconds later, when the alpha got his hand on her waist and she punched him in the throat, someone much bigger, much taller, and oozing angry, protective alpha stormed past her and knocked the kid out cold. The other kids scattered, terrified as Anya’s father growled at them, before turning to his daughter. She was on the verge of tears, her knuckles bruised from fighting off the alpha, her hand bleeding and wondering how angry her father would be now that she ruined the day out.

He shocked her when he reached down and picked her up, gently, carefully, like a protective father would, and looked her hand over, asking if she was ok, if she was hurt, what happened. Her mother came over instantly and held her to her chest, rubbing Anya’s dark blonde hair in a soothing manner as her father picked up the dropped bag and its contents. How could have Anya thought her parents were going to sell her off, or have her killed? This was what parents did for their beloved children, and Anya felt so bad for assuming the worst of her own parents.
Her brothers went on some more rides, while Anya and her sister Emily sat on some benches, ate some junk food and about what a badass their father was. Then it was closing time, and they headed home.

The next morning, when everyone had calmed down and breakfast was eaten, Anya’s mother talked to her about what happened, about that horrible, audacious boy. Then that somehow turned into “the talk” and Anya was mortified. They’d had this talk years ago, before had even gone to middle school, and Anya just stopped her mom, being as polite as possible, saying that it was kind of late for “the talk.”

Her mother then asked how late, giving her a look, and Anya shook her head, a blush creeping on her face and she admitted, “Not that late, Mom. Not ready yet.”

In hindsight, it was her mother trying to get out of her if she was a virgin or not, because virgin omegas were worth so much more on the black market.

Anya had abandoned her plans to run away. How could she have thought that her parent would want to sell her, after how they reacted at the fair? They just made a mistake, they didn’t know how to handle an omega daughter that was meant to be an alpha. Deep down, it still hurt, she still remembered what her parents had put her through, but she couldn’t bring herself to hate them. They were her parents, her mom and dad. Her family.

A week after the fair, a strange man came to the house. He was dressed well, in a very expensive looking navy suit with navy tie, gelled hair and expensive, real Rolex on his wrist. He claimed he was from a private school in New England that taught omegas only, and had heard about Anya’s prowess at the old alpha school. He was impressed by her test scores, and she sat in a chair across from him at the dining table, a glass of water in front of her as she answered a few questions for him, dolled up in a nice dress. He nodded when she answered, some of the questions rather mundane interview questions like what she wanted to do for a living, where she wanted to go to college, what was her favorite subject in school. She never admitted she hadn’t gone back to school since leaving that private alpha school when she presented. The man was an alpha, but didn’t sniff her, didn’t invade her personal space, and her father and mother were in the room with her, hovering in the background.

Then he asked other questions about her medical history: did she have any allergies, any medical conditions, any fears that inhibited her normal life. She didn’t have any of those, though she did admit she hated spiders. The man chuckled lightly and said with a faint nod, “who doesn’t.” Anya answered all the questions, even the ones that sounded odd, like how she felt about the current government, her relationship with non-family alphas, and her views on omega rights. Anya answered them as best she could, and when it was over, the man stood and shook her hand with a smile on his face, welcoming her to the private school program. She noticed the watch was covering some kind of tattoo on his wrist, and looked like several curling legs were sticking out, all black and red. But she didn’t care for long. She was so excited, then the man asked to speak to her parents alone. Anya gave a tiny curtsey, like her mother had told her to do, and left the room.

Through an air vent, she could hear small snippets of the conversation, but there was nothing too odd about it, despite it being a lot of medical questions. Like if anyone in the family had heart issues, history of cancers, genetic disorders. He asked about Anya’s health, mental and physical, then thanked her parents and left a few hours after arriving.

Later that week, Anya got a letter in the mail inviting her to a party, a welcoming party, where she would meet some of the instructors and alumni of the private school. School wouldn’t start again until after the New Year, and it was barely December, so it seemed a little early, but the letter said move-in day was 2 days after Christmas for new students. Formal attire was required, and the entire family was invited.

Anya enjoyed shopping with her mother and sister while her father shopped with her brothers. Well, they didn’t shop so much as complain the entire time as they were dragged from one store to another and told to try things on. It was fun to watch. Then her brothers complained when they were done and none of the ladies had even picked a gown to wear, let alone shoes and accessories. Their father said to pick whatever, but quietly told Emily that the day was about Anya and she should look the best. Emily understood and picked a nice black gown, sparkly and kind of plain, but hugged her evolving womanly figure nicely, with simple diamond jewelry to match. Their mother picked a light blue gown and would wear jewelry she already owned. Her brothers were wearing suits and were already complaining about how itchy and uncomfortable they were, and they weren’t even wearing them yet.

Anya’s gown was a sleek, slimming, deep plum dress with matching black shoes that made her feel so tall and oddly free. And they were surprisingly comfy. Her dress touched the ground gently when she stood still, and had a sheen to the fabric that changed the color of the fabric to a deep black. Her accessories were real diamond studs, a very fancy matching necklace, though not real diamonds, a silver ring with stone that matched her eyes and complimented the dress, and a black shawl that draped over her shoulders. She felt like the universe revolved around her for just a little while, and her mother and father look so happy and pleased when she came out of the dressing room, the entire outfit on.

That night, her gown safely in the closet, and the welcoming party on her mind the following day, Anya slept soundly, a smile on her face as images of poufy gowns and smiling teachers and shaking hands and proud parents revolved inside her head. In her parent’s room, they were having a final quiet discussing that to any other person would sound like they her jitters about sending their daughter so far away to school.

“Last chance to back out.” Anya’s father looked at his wife as she rolled over to look at him and fixed him with a glare that said plainly, “not a snowball’s chance in hell.” “It is a lot of money,” her father said to his wife and she just looked at him, wondering if he was having second thoughts. Her mother’s face clearly held no worry, no concern for her daughter’s leaving. Not until Anya was gone would anyone know that it meant she didn’t give a shit what happened to her daughter.

The day of the party finally arrived and they arrived in a rented limo, and her parents had caved and let all 4 of their children try some of the complimentary champagne. None of them liked it. Anya’s father helped everyone out of the limo, and Anya was the last one out, and someone where there to greet her, saying he was an instructor in biochemistry and had heard a lot of good things about her. Anya felt the need to pick his brain as soon as she could, because she was floating around an idea that would fascinate him. After all, Captain America had been lost to the war for several generations now. She might convince him that it was time to try again as the formula for another serum danced in her head. Well, if she was right, but she was sure she was right. And at an omega school, she wouldn’t be put down or seen as less intelligent just because of her designation.

Stopping outside the nice hall where the party was taking place, she felt like she was being watched again and turned around, sharply looking up at a roof. She thought she saw the faintest hint of a rifle barrel, but the next moment it was gone and she told herself she was just nervous. She had watched an action movie earlier in the day to settle her nerves, involving a sniper on a secret mission, one of her favorites.

Standing in front of the large doors, she took a deep, excited breath, and walked into the party, flanked by her family like proud security guards.

Chapter Text

When Anya entered the hall where she was meeting someone from a supposed omega school in New England, it was like she was transported to a fairytale world. Rich men and women in fine gowns, all holding real crystal glasses bubbling with fine champagne, dotted in small groups in the entire hall, gathered together, while idle chatter and the occasional laugh filled the hall. A large, crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, draping small crystals that reflected light all over the hall, adding an almost dicsoball look to the occasion. Several people in matching outfits, all wearing long robes with sashes around their shoulders in different colors stood together near the bar, holding drinks and seemed deep in a heated conversation. Anya assumed they were professors or alumni based on their dress.

Entering the hall, someone in similar black robes and red sash came over to them and welcomed Anya with a hard handshake and put his hand on her back and moved her around the hall, guiding her to the group of others in robes that were deep in a very heated conversation. It was about biochemistry, DNA mutations and someone mentioned something about a fist. But before she could say anything about the topic, the others in robes stopped talking and looked at her, each with a discerning eye. The only woman of the group had on a blue sash and deep brown hair and brown eyes that reminded Anya of an abyss; not pleasant. The woman looked Anya up ad own, then pulled out some kind of file that had Anya’s face on it, and Anya tried to read over her shoulder. Any other person wouldn’t have been able to, but Anya had better vision that most people, so she was able to make out a few key words.

“Continuation, future development of the Winter Program, transportation, indications of the ‘enhanced’ gene.” Anya knew she had the enhanced gene, there was no other explanation for it, for her ability to hear far away conversations, as well as very low and very high frequencies that only dogs seemed able to hear. Or how she could smell someone through blockers, and make out what a small bumper sticker says on a car a quarter mile away.

The woman flipped the file closed and handed it off the one of the men standing in the circle, who rolled his eyes and looked it over, then went from looking at the file with contempt to intrigue, then to astonishment. Anya felt herself blushing, wondering if he was reading something about her, maybe her test scores, or if someone had recorded something embarrassing she had done. He handed the file off to the same man that had been in Anya’s house a few days ago, the one with the tattoo hidden under his watch. Without the watch in the way, she could clearly see what it was: it had curling legs like an octopus, but the head was a skull, which was outlined in red but the rest was black. The man yanked his arm out of her sight and Anya then looked around at the people in the room around her.

Everyone was looking at her, whispering behind their hands, some shooting glances at her and looking away when they saw she had noticed, others were not bothering to hide their looks. Anya felt something crawl up her spine and that tingle at the base of her neck kicked up, that feeling that something was about to happen, and she wasn’t going to like it.

Anya looked around the hall, finding where the exits were, where the main entrance was, where the phones were kept, and the people most likely to have weapons on them; she noticed several men in what looked like normal secret service kinds of suits, complete with earpieces in their ears, but they also had a tattoo on their bodies, one on the neck and another on the wrist that was barely visible under the long white button-down shirt. The symbol seemed very vaguely familiar to her, something she thought she had seen once before, a long time ago, but she couldn’t place it. She also noticed that someone was looking at the windows, being a lookout, and the people around the hall were looking at her then walking up to a man in his late 40s, early fifties, and he looked mean, predatory, he looked like a bad guy right out a movie. His eyes were cold, unfeeling and looked at Anya like she was nothing more than something he was bartering the price on.

Oh, shit. Anya understood in that moment, everything clicking into place, including the quiet conversations about wanting a ‘model’ in the future for the return on their investment. Anya had slipped off her shoes, slowly and quietly, making it look like she was just uncomfortable in them, ready to run, tear off her dress if she needed to. And she might need to.

Her back hit something hard and she looked up into the face of her father, who had a hard look on his face, uncaring, and Anya felt tears coming; she reached for her father, to help her, to show the same protectiveness he had shown at the fair, but he slapped her. The sound echoed through the hall and the only one that seemed angry about it was Emily, her big sister. Emily started to storm over to their father, looking ready to slap him, but their brothers grabbed her arms and stopped her. Emily struggled, shouting, screaming, pulling against her brothers to get to Anya as people surrounded her, yelling at Anya to run. Then the sound stopped as someone stuffed something in Emily’s mouth and pinned her to the ground.

Anya ran right out of her loosened shoes, picking one up as she dove under one of the goon in the suits and used the heel of the shoe to stab into the body of the person nearest her that was trying to catch her. She could smell and feel the warm blood running down her hands as the heel was shoved in as deep as it could go, but Anya didn’t stop to look who she attacked, maybe even killed. Arms and hands reached out for her, and the doors for the entire hall slammed shut, locking with an echoing click. Sliding out of her dress, ripping it in several pieces, she grabbed onto a bar, lifted herself up and was in a vent before anyone could grab her. She needed to get out of the building, to find someone to help her, to get away from here as fast as she could; she c4raled in the vents, hearing someone coming in behind her, though it was hard for them because she was so much smaller and could maneuver in the tight spaces much faster.

She wasn’t sure how far she made it, but she knew she was away from the main hall, because there was almost no chatter, no noise other than the people chasing her in the vents. She had to make turns one after another as she heard someone getting into the vents near her, and she was quickly running out of room and options. At the last turn, she saw a light ahead and a single grate, which she opened carefully, and slipped out of. She was in a small supply closet, unlit and was completely black aside from the thin sliver of light under the door. Shadows passed under the door as people ran around looking for her, shouting orders, needing to find her before someone called Shield came by. Finding her would be what this Shield person needed. Anya had no idea who this person was, or what she would be witness to, or what she had done to be involved in all this. All she knew was that she needed to find where she was and to get the fuck out of the building as fast as she could.

She slid onto her belly to look under the door and could see several hallways, a few sets of shoes running past and hear the crackle of a walkie not far away. In the distance she heard what sounded like a large metal door being slid up, perhaps a loading dock for the kitchen. It would be better than trying to go through the front hall again.

Waiting for the sounds of the shoes to fade and the when she heard nothing other than distant shouting and cursing, she turned the knob on the door slowly and carefully, and opened the door just a thin sliver. No one came after the door moving, and she couldn’t hear or see anyone or anything moving. She slid the door open enough to slide out of it, her slip catching on the doorframe and ripping slightly. Anya hissed in her head as the sound faintly echoed in the bare hall, but no one came. Anya slid down to be near the ground and kept to the wall, able to move fast and low, to attack if she needed to.

And she needed to. Heading to the sounds of the metal sliding doors in the back of the hall, she came across 2 men dressed in tactical outfits, each with a similar octopus tattoo on their necks. With a hard, swift jab, she launched herself up and at the nearest one, poking out his eyes with her manicured fingernails. And before the second man could radio for help or shoot her with the gun on his hip, she punched him as hard as she could in his neck, watching him gasp and gag as he tried to breathe through the pain and the crushed airway. She picked up the gun off his hip and hurried off again, heading for the sounds where the metal door was sliding down again.

What felt like an hour later, but was maybe 3 minutes at most, she made it to the sliding metal doors in the back of the hall. It was meant for trucks delivering goods, but all the doors were closed now and padlocked. There wasn’t much of a chance she would be able to get out without being noticed; she could spent more time looking for a tool of some kind to keep it quiet, or she could make a lot of noise and shoot one of the locks out and hope she could find someone to help faster than the men could chase her.

The sounds of men coming to the back where she was decided for her and she shot out a lock in front of her, yanked the door open and slid down the front of the opening to the ground below, twisting her ankle. Hissing and angry with herself, she ignored the pain and hobbled to a dumpster that was brimming full of rotten food, broken plates and other trash. The sounds of the men got faster, so she slid into the dumpster and buried herself in the garbage, about halfway down in the dumpster. If she was careful and quiet, she could just wait this out.

She could hear about a dozen men looking around the open door and heard them shouting orders, some heading one way, others heading another way. She heard the crunch of boots on loose stones and someone coming closer to the dumpster, then someone else came running up to them.

“Sir, the rest of the supporters have left the hall and there was no sign that any of them had possession of the omega. Shield is moving in the area, we need to move from here.” The one speaking gasped as if punched in the gut and the other man spoke with authority, a cold, cruel voice that made Anya’s inner omega curl up in a tight, scared ball.

“We ain’t fucking leaving without this one. Gun down all the Shield scum you see; but the boss needs this one. The last one’s been dead 3 months now, and the boss doesn’t like to wait.” Anya’s breath caught in her chest as she realized that she wasn’t the first omega to be taken by these men, and that death would be her most likely fate if she was caught by the men. So deep in her thoughts she missed what the other, gasping man said and then the sounds of both sets of boots leaving the area, and finally, silence.

There was the odd shout from in or around the building, and on the large grounds, in the woods in the back of the grounds, and even looking in every single vehicle on the premises. When the sounds of people had faded to a gentle hum, Anya slid out from her hiding spot in the dumpster and landed on the hard ground. The sun was getting low in the sky and if she could make it to the woods ad outwait the sun, she could lose the men in the dark. She didn’t know the woods well at all, she had never been here before, but them trying to track her in the dark, while she just ran and ran, they would lose ground if they lost her tracks and were forced to backtrack.

Anya slunk down near the ground again, trying to look around for something or someone that would help her escape, anything at all, the gun still in her hand. She would use it on someone if she was forced to. She was still near the building, and with nothing but open ground around her for a while, the odds that she made it to the woods right now was not good. But if she went through the building again, since everyone was likely outside the building look for her, she could go around to the front and maybe snag a vehicle that someone left there. The parking lot was in the front of the building, not far from the main entrance, and if she could get into one of the vehicles, she could hotwire it, shouldn’t be too hard.

She leapt up back into the building and like she thought, the building was basically empty. A few voices, footsteps or crackling walkies echoed in the building, but other than that, it was like the entire place had emptied out in less than a minute. Slinking down halls and finding her way back to the beginning, she could hear the sounds of people talking in the hall and decided to go around it, through the vents overhead and was nearly at an exit vent when she heard familiar voices talking.

“Goddammit, why’d she have to run.” Her father sounded beyond pissed ad her mother was even worse. “I went through hell for this day, and if she’s gone, we won’t even get paid for it.” Anya’s blood boiled in her body and went icy cold at the same time as she made her way through the vents nice and quiet, still listening to the conversation. “What about Emily?” her father’s voice sounded softer. “That guy said she would wake up with a hangover and wouldn’t remember any of this. She’ll think that omega is at a private school halfway across the country.” Anya’s heart stung at the idea that her sister was drugged, and even more at the way her mother called her ‘that omega’ and not as her daughter.

A sound in the rear of the building echoing in the vents brought Anya back to the present and she slid through the vents, slow and quiet to the exit vent and carefully removed it and looked out from the outer vent to the ground. It was a good 15 foot fall from the vent to the ground, though some bushes were in the way and might cushion the fall a little bit.

Making up her mind, she slid to the ends of her fingertips from the vent and just let go, letting the bushes cushion her fall, though they didn’t help much. Her twisted ankle gave out and something in it cracked and it started to swell immediately. Ignoring it as the sounds of people coming closer hit her, she hurried to the nearest vehicle, a black SUV, not very subtle but it would do. It was locked, so Anya hit the glass with the butt of the gun and was so grateful when it didn’t go off; the glass shattered and Anya unlocked the door before clambering in and trying to find a spare key before resorting to hotwiring it.

There was no spare key, dammit, so she had to pull out the steering column and fiddled with the wires, looking for the right ones and twisting them together. The SUV roared to life and Anya didn’t even have time to celebrate this small victory as the sounds of men coming closer, the smell of alpha heavy and strong, the powerful stench of angry alpha making her body twinge with fear and guilt. No, she wouldn’t feel sorry for defending herself, though her inner omega was telling her to roll over and beg for forgiveness. They’d probably shoot her first.

Anya got the SUV in drive and was flooring the gas to get as far away as fast as she could, before something hit the side of the SUV, over again over again. Gunfire riddled the side of the SUV, hitting the metal doors, the windows and the engine as she drove it as fast as she could, trying to get to either the woods or the nearest people.

Suddenly, the SUV started billowing smoke and flames licked up from the engine and Anya had to roll out of the moving SUV, breaking something in her arm as she rolled into a ditch, the SUV still heading down the road, until it exploded about 50 feet from where Anya had come to rest in the ditch. She stood up, hearing the sounds of several other vehicles behind her on the road and started to run, not sure where she was going to go, but trying to make it to the burning SUV for some cover; it would be a lot harder for them to shoot at her if all they saw were flames.

She was rounding the side of the SUV, the heat from the flames making her skin itch and pull, when something caught her around the ankles and she fell flat on her face. She spun around, something tight around her ankles and she tried to pull it off, but the thin metal strings cut her hands as she pulled a them and they cut into her skin as she moved her feet around, trying to get lose. She stood up and tried to hop to the other side to the burning vehicle, to put some obstacles between her and the large party of alphas behind her, and she could vaguely make out the forms of the 2 men she had jumped in the building, both looking furious. Her inner omega told her to give up, to roll over and beg for forgiveness, but her mind was telling her to get the fuck out of there.

She hopped about 10 hops before the thin slicing metal around her ankles stopped her, the metal digging in so deep she was unable to move without risking cutting her ankles wide open and hitting her Achilles tendon. She fell to the ground and turned to the binds around her ankles again, the gun dropped on the ground and now too far away, and the group of alphas made their way over to her, some looking beyond pissed, others looking amused in a twisted way as she struggled to free herself.

Eventually, as blood coated both her ankles down to her toes and her hands were nothing more than slippery cut messes, 2 alphas went over to her and picked her up and slid something around her neck as Anya started to scream for help. It shocked her when she spoke in more than a whisper and it wasn’t like a dog collar, a low setting that friends dared one another to try: it was so painful she screamed, her arms and legs sticking straight out in front of her as she was shocked again. Again and again she was shocked until one of the alphas was tired of the noise and injected her with something. A few of the men, especially those that she had jumped, seemed disappointed at the loss of their ‘show.’

The 2 alphas pulled her behind them as she dragged her feet and refused to walk, still struggling against the bonds around her ankles and the hard arms around her body until one of them backhanded her, blood spurting from her nose. She struggled to breathe through her mouth as her nose clogged with blood and was shoved into the back of a large nondescript black SUV, before the doors were slammed shut and someone banged on the metal and the SUV took off.

A hand came to grasp her face and saw she was crying, then he wiped his hand on his pants as he realized she was still covered in garbage from the dumpster. “Disgusting. The fucking omega’s covered in shit. Well, she’s trash anyway, but the boss will want her ‘presentable.’” The man driving seemed to know that this meant and he took a turn down a road, heading somewhere Anya couldn’t see. The man in the back with her tsked her and held her face again before she ripped it from his grasp and he slapped her again.

Then he put on this faux-sympathetic face and ran his fingers down her cheek, and she growled, bared her teeth and would have bit him if his finger had stayed there long enough. The man leaned back in his seat, gun across his lap, finger on near the trigger and he would shoot her much faster than she would be able to get ahold of it.

“Don’t be so sad, little omega. You’re part of something much bigger now. And you’ll help forward our cause and ensure the world is brought into a new era of peace.” The man upfront said something she couldn’t catch in response to that, Anya was too busy growling. Anya snarled at him and the man just chuckled as the SUV rolled down the road and both men, the driver and the one in the back with her, glanced back at her before she was knocked out, and Anya heard both men speak before she passed out.

“Hail Hydra.”

Chapter Text

Anya regained consciousness on a soft, warm surface and immediately tried to get up and run away, but was stopped when something hard yanked on her neck. She touched her neck and felt something like a shock collar still on her neck, and this time it was attached to a leash that led her to a man sitting a few seats away from her.

After a moment of panic, she took in her surroundings and realized she was on a private jet, her clothes were changed into a simple jumpsuit like what mechanics wore, and she was cleaned up and her wounds on her ankles had been cleaned and wrapped. Her gaze finally fell on the man holding the other end of the leash; he was well dressed in an expensive suit, with graying hair, stylish wire-rimmed glasses, and an overpowering smell of alpha coming off him. He sipped from a drink Anya thought was water at first, until the smell hit her and she realized it