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The World According to Ace Stark

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Ace sat at the breakfast table as she heard Pepper break the news to Tony’s latest conquest that is was time to go. If she hadn’t just sent her own one night stand out the door a few minutes before, she might have been judgemental. Let’s just say the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Ace was in a great mood this morning because the paperwork she was waiting on had finally come in the mail. She couldn’t wait to wave it in Tony’s face. He was going to flip. Ace knew that her delight in annoying Tony and acting out for attention was textbook daddy issues but she didn't care. She was still young. She had her 30s to be a fully emotionally healthy adult. 

She went down the stairs to the garage where Tony was working on one of his stupid classic cars. “Good Morning Tony” she said in a sing song voice. Tony didn’t want her calling him dad. Having any child would ruin his image. Having a 21 year old child would just make him look old. No one knew Ace was Tony's daughter. It was well hidden from the press, she was just a distant cousin that Tony had taken in when her mother died. Only Pepper, Rhodes, Happy, and. Obadiah knew the truth about Ace's true relation to Tony.

“Miss Hardy, Mr. Stark has instructed me to have no one disturb him this morning” said Jarvis.

“Actually Jarvis you can call me Miss Stark from now on” Ace replied to the AI.

That got Tony’s attention and he looked up from his work. “Excuse me.” he said. Ace smirked, she had gotten the exact reaction she was hoping for.

“The official paperwork came in today. My legal name is now Ace Stark. Has a nice ring to it don't you think.”

“How? You did not have my permission!”

“I didn’t need it. Your name is on my birth certificate”

Tony paused and gave Ace the disapproving look she revels in. “Okay, cry for attention noted.” Tony stood up and wiped the grease off his hands. “I have a flight to catch.” He starts walking back up the stairs and Ace follows close on his heels.

“Don’t you mean we have a flight to catch.” Ace corrected him.

“Nope. You aren’t coming.”

“Excuse me. You're going to punish me for this name thing by kicking me out of demo for a weapon that I was instrumental in developing.” She was the one annoyed now. Ace was head of research and development for the weapons division of Stark Industries. Even Tony couldn’t deny she had inherited his genius.

“This isn’t about that. I can’t trust you around the military.”

“Ugh. You get kicked out of the army one time.”

Tony ignored Ace and walked out the door. She was disappointed. Not that Afghanistan was her idea of a vacation spot, but she thought that Tony was finally going to give her some acknowledgment. She should have known better. 

...

The next morning Ace woke up with a pounding headache. She had spent the night on one of he usual no one appreciates me benders. She turned over to face the naked man in her bed, her go to when not getting validation for her brain was to get validation for her looks. She just couldn't remember his name. Jason? Tyler? She definitely remembers screaming his name, just not exactly what is was. 

Ace's train of thought is interrupted by a pounding on the bedroom door. 

"Ace!" Pepper's voice came muffled from the other side of the door. Ace looked at the clock, it was 6am on Saturday morning. She slumped out of bed with a whine. She grabbed her robe from the hook on the wall and put it on as she made her way to the door. She opened it a crack to look at Pepper. 

"What. The. Fuck. Do you want?" 

"Rhodes needs to talk to you" Pepper pushes her phone towards her. 

Ace is very confused. Why wouldn't Rhodes just call her phone? She grabs the phone from Pepper with a suspicious look and speaks into it. 

"Rhodey?"

"Ace. I really hate to have to tell you this over the phone but Tony's Humvee was attacked. He's been taken." 

"What! Why are you the one telling me this? Weren't you supposed to be with him?"

"He said I was too boring to ride with him."

"Yeah, that tracks." She takes a deep breath. "Tell the pilot to send the jet back. I'm coming down there." 

"No you are not. It is way too dangerous and Tony would kill me if anything happened to you."

"He wouldn't care if anything happened to me"

"Then why do you care?"

Ace paused for a moment and let Rhodey's question sink in. Sure, she didn't have the best relationship with her father but he was still her family. As much as he didn't express it, she did like to think that deep down in that empty shell he did care about her too. "Fine. I won't come there. Just make sure you find him." 

"He's my friend Ace, I'm not going to leave him behind."

"Thank you Rhodey." Ace hung up the phone and handed it to Pepper who had been standing there the whole time. Pepper opened her mouth to say something but Ace just closed the door in her face and went back to bed. Her latest fling had woken up through all the commotion and was sitting up in bed. He leaned forward to kiss Ace as she returned to bed. She gave him a quick peck before crawling under the covers. 

"Is everything okay?" Mystery man asked. 

"Yup." She replied popping the p.

"That phone call sounded serious."

"It was."

He didn't reply. They sat awkwardly for a moment before he spoke again. "This is really embarrassing and I swear I'm not usually like this but we had a lot to drink last night and I'm really sorry but I don't remember your name."

"Ace." She replied. He was no longer of use to her. She was hoping if she kept her answers short and avoided conversation he would get the hint and leave. 

"That's a really cool name. My buddy knew a girl named Ace, he was in the army with her."

"You don't say." Ace replied flatly. She closed he eyes and sighed deeply. She knew what was coming. 

"Yeah she had to quit because she was sleeping with him and the other 3 guys in their platoon. They all got really pissed when they found out and filed complaints against her." 

"Sounds like a girl with a lack of self esteem and serious daddy issues." 

"Yeah." 

"I think it's time for you to leave now." Ace got out of bed, picked up his clothes from the floor and tossed them at him one by one. "I'm sure you can find your way to the door. If you get lost Jarvis will direct you" Ace left him alone in her room and went to the kitchen for some much needed coffee. 

Yes, the Ace that was in the army was her. When Ace followed in her father's footsteps and graduated MIT at 19 (her father was 17 when he graduated, and he never misses a chance to remind her that she's 2 years behind), she  decided as an act of rebellion she would decline her father's offer to work at Stark Industries and join the army. She was in training to be a sniper with a small team of five. Since she was a young woman who's daddy didn't love her and set a horrible example as to what a relationship is supposed to look like, she ended up hooking up with all four of her coworkers. This wasn't a problem until another young woman joined their team. The new girl was looking for some fun of her own, as there wasn't much to do on their small base, and when both the guys she flirted with rejected her because they were with Ace, the problems started. They all filed complaints that Ace was creating a hostile work environment and that she was sexually harassing them. Tony had to step in and smooth things over. By the end of it the official record said that Ace quit, but really she was no longer allowed to continue. It had been over a year since it all went down and since then Ace has happily been running research and development for the Stark Industries weapons division. 

Ace was still sensitive about the whole thing. Though she says the reason she changed her last name was to piss Tony off, the real reason she did it was to distance herself from her past. She didn't want to be that insecure girl anymore. She was Ace Stark now, she was a badass. At least that's what she told herself. 

...

It had been 3 months since Tony went missing. Rhodey couldn't tell Ace any details of the search. Just that they were still looking. 

Ace spent her days working. She was helping Obadiah with Tony's duties, as well as doing her own job. Her nights were mostly spent at various clubs drinking and fucking away the feelings of worry she had about her father's whereabouts. Sure, it wasn't the most healthy way of coping but since when were the Starks the epitome of emotional health. 

"Miss Stark." Jarvis stated, waking Ace, but thankfully not the companion sharing her bed. "Mr. Hogan is in the kitchen, waiting to see you." 

Ace rolled out of bed and quietly slipped on an oversized sweater and some clean underwear. She stepped out the door and headed to the kitchen to greet Happy. She always liked Happy. He had always treated her as if she was his own daughter. He was very protective of her and Ace liked the idea of having him in her corner. 

"Good morning kiddo" Happy greeted her as she walked into the kitchen. He handed her a coffee cup and a takeout container. "I come bearing black coffee and the breakfast special from the diner down the road." 

"Have I told you lately that I love you?" Ace replied as she grabbed the cup and container from him and sat at the kitchen island. Happy just smiled. "If you could help me out and get the man out of my bed, that would be great."

"I'm on it." Happy headed out the kitchen towards Ace's room as she just sat and enjoyed her breakfast. 

Happy returned a few minutes later with a pair of Ace's leggings in his hand. "Here. You should probably put these on and take that breakfast to go." 

"Why?"

"Tony is on a flight back from Afghanistan as we speak."

"What! And you waited this long to tell me." 

"Sorry Ace. I knew you would be hungover I wanted to ease you into it. Now let's get a move on shall we." 

...

Ace stood on the tarmac next to Pepper and watched the plane land in front of them. The ramp on the plane slowly lowered revealing Rhodey standing next to Tony as he sat in a wheelchair. Rhodey helped him up and they slowly made their way down the ramp. 

Ace looked over at Pepper, who's eyes were starting to well with tears, and had the overwhelming urge to roll her eyes at how dramatic this whole thing was. Over the top in a way that only Tony Stark could achieve. Some paramedics were making their way towards Tony with a gurney but he waved them away. 

Tony and Pepper shared some clever exchange but Ace wasn't really paying attention. Then Tony turned to her. "I see your eyes are dry kid. You didn't miss me at all?"

"Of course I did. I had just had my name changed to Ace Stark. I barely got a chance to see you cringe every time you heard someone say it."

"I forgot you did that" 

Ace just smirked and open the car door. Tony and Pepper got in the back seat while Ace rode shot gun next to Happy. Pepper and Tony got into an argument about him not going to the hospital. All Tony wanted was a cheeseburger and a press conference. The first Ace could definitely get on board with the second had her confused. However the thought of cheeseburgers distracted her hungover brain enough that she didn't care. 

...

After hitting the drive-thru, Happy pulled up to Stark Industries HQ. Outside Obadiah was waiting with a gaggle of employees, all applauding Tony's return. There was something very insincere about the whole scene but again Ace was too hung over to care. They all got out of the car and headed in to the press conference which was filled with more applause. To keep from throwing up Ace just found a spot to stand in the back enjoying the last cheeseburger and the fact that Tony thought he was saving that cheeseburger for after the press conference. Ace was so enthralled in her cheeseburger and checking out the ass of a particularly handsome reporter when Tony said something that definitely woke her up. 

"Effective immediately I am shutting down the weapons manufacturing division of Stark Industries." Ace couldn't believe her ears. That was her division. She was out of a job and he hadn't even warned her before hand. She sure as shit didn't feel guilty about eating his burger now. Obie practically shoved Tony away from the podium and was attempting to do damage control while Tony made his way out of the building. Ace followed after him. 

"What the fuck was that Tony? Don't you think you should have given me a heads up before shutting down my entire division." 

"Ace, this isn't about you."

"Of course not. Nothing ever is. Why should you care that your only daughter is now unemployed."

"Ace did you hear any of my speech?"

"I may have been distracted by a cheeseburger. In my defence I am very hungover." 

"The terrorists had our weapons. Ace, somehow our technology ended up in the wrong hands and until I can figure out how it is happening, I can't in good conscience continue." 

Ace really wanted to make a joke about him having a conscience but it wasn't the time. She stayed silent and let it all sink in. They had ended up in the building where the arc reactor was. Tony had stopped and was looking at it, she could see the wheels turning in his head. 

"This?" she said gesturing toward the reactor. "This is where you want to shift your focus?" 

Tony turned toward her unbuttoning his shirt and showing her the arc reactor in his chest. Ace just stared at in shock as Tony buttoned back up and readjusted his sling. Ace didn't say a word so Tony proceeded to tell her about the suit he had built for his escape and how he thought he could do it better now that he had all his resources at his disposal.

"Im in." Ace said enthusiastically. 

"No. This has to be off the Stark Industries books. No one can know."

"Well then it is a good thing I don't work for Stark Industries anymore." 

Just then the door opened and Obadiah entered with a stern look on his face. "Ace can I have a moment with Tony." 

"Of course. I'll just go wait in the car."  Ace left the building and stood out by the car with Happy. Her mind already buzzing with ideas. 

...

Ace wandered down to the garage ready for a day of doing what she loved, building things that made other things blow up. She found Pepper down there with Tony. She was holding the old version of the reactor that used to be in Tony's chest and Tony seemed to have the new one that he had developed with Ace all plugged in and ready to go. 

"Aww, you put it in without me? Good. There is no way in hell I was going to put my hand in your chest."

"Ace, you're late." Tony said in a disappointed tone. 

"Uh oh, what are you going to do? Dock my pay? How do you make less than nothing?"

"You know they say your children are supposed to be a reflection of your best qualities. I don't know if that's true."

"I think that is if you actually raise them. Also sarcasm is one of your better qualities. At least I'm not a narcissist."

"Okay." Pepper said loudly as she started making her way out of the garage. "I'm going to get out of her before the happy family time turns sour."

"So, Rhodey is out." Tony said as he fiddled with the junk on his desk.

"Are you surprised? I know you have been friends for a long time but he's a military man." 

"I know." Tony brushed aside his feelings and perked up again. "Let's get to work." 

...

After about two weeks of not leaving the garage except to sleep, Ace and Tony finally had a working prototype. Tony had connected Jarvis's interface as well as a comms system so that Ace could also monitor what was going on. Ace was ready on the computer while Tony was getting in the suit. 

"Alright, Jarvis can you read me." Tony said now that the suit was fully put together around him.

"Yes, sir." replied Jarvis.

"Perfect. How about you Ace?"

"I have audio and visual. So if this works can we get started on my suit?"

"You aren't getting a suit." 

"Why not?" 

"You don't need a suit. Your my man in the chair. You watch my back from the comfort of your office." 

"But I'm a woman."

"Look we can discuss this at an unspecified later date." 

"I know that means never. I invented that term." With that Tony took off through the garage's tunnel to the outside.

Ace watched on the monitors as Tony took his new toy for a spin. They hadn't thought about ice build up for high altitude flight and she lost Tony's feed. Her heart dropped but it was only a short minute. The feed came back and a few minutes later Tony came crashing through the ceiling. 

"You're an idiot."  Ace said to him and she exited the garage to go to bed. 

...

Tonight was the third annual Stark benefit for the Firefighter's Family Fund. Ace usually hated these things, but she had been so focused on her work with Tony that she hadn't gotten laid in a while. This benefit was always chalk full of hot firefighters. 

She spotted the perfect target standing near the bar. He was tall, blonde, and had blue eyes that you could just get lost in. Ace adjusted her dress for optimal cleavage and went in for the kill. 

She stood next to him at the bar and the bartender came over to the both of them.

"This man is going to buy me a rum and coke." she said to the bartender gesturing to the muscle bound specimen standing next to her. 

"I am?" the blonde said to Ace. 

"Relax." she said as the bartender came back with her drink. "It's an open bar."

"I'll have the same." he said to the bartender as he turned back to Ace an extended his hand towards her. "I'm Jake."

"Ace." She replied as she accepted his handshake.

Jake goes quiet and seems to notice something behind her that puts an expression of shock and awe on his face. Ace notices his change in demeanour and turns around. Standing there is Tony Stark. 

"What are you doing here Tony?" Ace asks sternly.

"I fixed the icing problem and had five hours to kill. It is my party and I can crash if I want to." 

"That's great. I'm kind of working on something over here." she says, gesturing to the man behind her. "So, if you could get out of my face it would be very much appreciated."

"Fine. I'll see you at home."

Ace turned back to Jake. "So, where were we." 

A respectable amount of time later Ace and Jake were intertwined at the lips, making their way towards the women's bathroom. Seeing that there was no one in there, Ace paused for a moment to lock the door and set her purse on the counter before running her fingers through Justin's hair and pulling his face towards hers so that their lips could meet again. Ace hiked her legs up around his waste as he grabbed her thighs and carried her. He set her down on the counter between two sinks without their lips parting. 

Jake brought one hand up to run his fingers through her hair as the other made it's way under her short dress. He was pleased to find that she neglected to put on underwear when she was getting ready for the gala. Ace was enjoying the attention his fingers were giving her when she heard her unmistakable ring tone. In moments like these Margaritaville was not the great choice she thought it was when she picked it. 

Jake broke the kiss. "Is that your phone?"

Ace reached towards him to pull him back in. "It's fine they will leave a message." They continued as the song stopped. It was quiet for a moment and then Jimmy Buffet filled the air once again. Jake withdrew from Ace. "Maybe you should get that?" 

Ace grabbed her purse from the counter and pulled out her phone. The caller ID said Dumbass. "This better be good Tony. I'm kind of in the middle of something here."

"I have our first mission." Tony told her through the phone. 

...

Ace came down the stairs to the garage. The glass had shattered at the entrance and she was able to walk right through the hole that used to be the windows next to the door. 

"Tony?" Ace called out as she carefully stepped through the broken glass in her heels. She was still in her outfit from the Gala.

"Ace, get on the computer. I'm heading out now." Tony yelled out to Ace as he stood in position and the suit came together around him. She wanted to give him crap for cock blocking her but she knew it wasn't the time. Even though Ace took great joy from getting under her father's skin she knew when to do it and when not too. Tony had that serious look on his face and from the news cast she was catching on the TV she could see why. A small town in Afghanistan was being terrorized by weapons that she had helped him create. She understood now why Tony did what he did. She sat down at the computer and put on the headset. 

As Ace got into position at the computer Tony flew out of the garage. 

"Tony, can you read me?" Ace said into the head set. 

"Loud and clear." he replied.

"Were these the guys that kidnapped you?"

"Yes."

"Well then, let's give them hell."

...

"Shit." Ace said into her headset. Tony had taken down the terrorists in the village and was in the process of dismantling their weapons store. 

"What?" Tony replied sounding concerned. 

"Remember that back door I put into the military comms a few years back so we could keep an eye on things." 

"No. You did what?" 

"What I hacked and legality of it isn't the issue here. The military and several other intelligence agencies were watching that village and now that there was a large explosion that did what they weren't allowed to do. They have a lot of questions."

"Let them ask. Like you said they can't make a move."

"Well you might want to have Rhodey ready on speed dial."

Just then Tony's phone started ringing. 

"Or he'll call you." Ace said with a bit of smugness in her voice.

Tony talked to Rhodes on the phone. He was doing a terrible job of convincing him that he had nothing to do with the weapons depot that was just destroyed or the bogey that was flying in restricted air space. Ace wanted to intervene and tell Rhodes the truth but Tony had her muted. Tony hung up on Rhodes and looped in Ace again while two fighter jets were trying to shoot him out of the sky.

"Tony, call Rhodey back tell him it's you." Ace exclaimed. 

"I'm kind of too busy right now to be catching up on calls, Ace."

"Okie dokie then. Your Will is all in order correct? Or should I get a tape recorder so you can just leave everything to me now?"

"Ace. You aren't helping." 

"I tried to help. You ignored me. Maybe if I had my own suit..." Tony cut off Ace by muting her again to get Rhodey back on the phone. He told him the truth and after taking out a fighter jet was in the clear and headed home. 

When he got back to the garage he was struggling to get out of the suit. 

"Ace, a little help over here." 

"It's your suit Tony, you figure it out." Ace stomped out of the garage and passed Pepper on the stairs. Tony had some serious explaining to do, but Ace couldn't care less. She had a fireman to call. 

...

Ace woke up pretty early. She left the fireman in her bed, grabbed his t-shirt from the floor to put on and some shorts out of her drawer. She grabbed two mugs of coffee and went down to the garage to see if Tony managed to get himself out of any of the pickles he had found himself in the night before. She passed Pepper on the stairs. She looked upset but not as angry as Ace thought she would be. He must have at least smoothed that over. 

When Ace walked into the garage Tony was working on repairing the damage done to the suit. She placed one of the mugs of coffee on the table next to him as she pulled up a chair and sipped her own drink. 

"Nice shirt. Where did you pick that one up?" Tony said to Ace with an air of judgement in his voice. 

"You're just jealous you haven't gotten any in a while. Is Pepper not putting out?"

"Why are you down here, Ace?" Tony deliberately ignored the Pepper comment Ace had baited him with. 

"Are you serious? You blow my phone up begging me to come help you, interrupting my hook up by the way. Which I didn't mention last night because you were in a mood, but I have never gotten in the way of one of your hookups before, ever."

"Well judging by your wardrobe choices this morning you seemed to have salvaged the situation." 

"That's not the point Tony."

"Then what is the point Ace." 

"That I'm not your punching bag, or your crutch. I helped you build that suit. Like it or not we built that thing together. As well as about 75% of the Stark Industries weapons catalogue. I am not that 12 year old girl who blew up the chemistry lab anymore. Mind you I think you respected her more. You know I am capable. If you didn't you would have never let me work for your company. Hell, I don't think you would even let me live in this house. If you want me to help you, you need to let me help with everything."

"You're right." Tony stated matter of factly. Ace's jaw almost hit the floor. 

"Wait. Can you say that again? Only this time slower and once I have my camera ready."

"Ace, just shut up and help me fix this."

Ace stands up to assess the damage to the suit with Tony. Jarvis pipes up.

"Miss Stark, your guest is awake and waiting for you in the kitchen."

"He probably needs his shirt in order to leave." Tony said with a smirk. "Deal with it. Then come back down here and help me deal with this."

...

That night Ace was sitting in her room watching a movie when her phone rang. It was Pepper. Pepper knew Ace wasn't her biggest fan, so if she was calling her something was up. Ace reluctantly answered the phone. 

"What do you want Pepper?"

"Where is Tony?" 

"He's downstairs I think. I'm not his keeper, you are. Why are you asking me?"

"I tried to call him and he answered but everything went silent. I think something bad is happening Obadiah is up to something."

"Fine. I'll go downstairs and check on him. Chill out and stay where you are. Call Rhodes." Ace hung up the phone and crept quietly down the stairs, just in time to peek around the corner and hear what could only be described as Obadiah's super villain speech. He had been responsible for Tony's kidnapping and was building a suit of his own. Ace stood hidden behind the pillar and heard everything. As Obadiah exited taking the reactor that had been in Tony's chest he paused for a moment, as if an idea had just occurred to him.

"Once I'm rid of you Tony, I won't have your brain. But I can have the next best thing." He said. It sent a shiver through Ace's spine because she knew he was talking about her. She turned to run back up the stairs but it was too late. Obadiah grabbed her arm and pulled her out from behind the pillar into Tony's view. She tried to pull away from his grip but he was a lot bigger and stronger than her. "You helped him build his suit didn't you?" Obadiah asked Ace as she struggled.

"I'm not going to help you." She spat as she continued he efforts to escape.

"I think you will change your tune sweetheart." He replies as he continues to leave the house, dragging Ace along behind him. She looks over to Tony, who is unable to move or speak on the couch. She sees the anger in his eyes and knows he will somehow find a way out of this. At the very least she is useful to him, he will probably come and save her. 

...

Obadiah had handcuffed Ace to a chair in his lab. She had a front row seat to him adding the final touch to his new suit, Tony's reactor. The suit was a lot bigger than Tony's and though that likely meant more power, which would be seen as superior to a man like Obadiah, Ace was smart enough to know that it would sacrifice the finesse that one would want in a suit like that. However Ace wasn't exactly in a place to suggest edits at the moment. 

Ace was uncharacteristically quiet as she subtly looked around the room trying to come up with a way to get out of this as Obadiah was tinkering with something at the work bench. It wasn't the first time Ace had been handcuffed to a chair but it was by far the least fun. Both Ace and Obadiah were distracted from their tasks when they heard a small explosion go off. Someone was coming. Obadiah hit Ace in the face with a piece of scrap metal and knocked her out before getting in his suit. 

Ace was only half aware when Pepper and the agents walked in. One of the agents used a small device to get Ace out of the handcuffs and picked her up to get her outside. The rest of the agents were looking at the other suit thinking that it was the one Obadiah had built.  Ace tried to tell them that he was in the other suit but she couldn't get the words out. They continued wandering around the lab searching as Ace was carried out. Ace found it difficult to keep her eyes open and finally succumbed to the darkness. 

...

Ace woke up in a hospital bed. Tony was sitting at her bedside looking a little worse for wear. "Looks like I missed the fun part." A look of relief swept over Tony's face at the sound of her voice.

"You have a concussion. You are going to be fine they are just keeping you here for observation."

"You looked worried. If I didn't know any better I would say that you cared for my wellbeing." 

"I'm not a monster. Plus if I didn't have you around to do half the work I would have to do all of it myself." 

"So much for the heartfelt father daughter moment. You know..."

Tony cuts her off before she can finish her sentence. "If the next words out of your mouth are if I had a suit, I am cutting you off without a single dime."

Ace doesn't reply, she notices the news cast on the TV in her room. They are talking about an incident at Stark Industries. Ace gestures towards the screen. "How are you going to get yourself out of this one? Failed training exercise?"

"I have help. Just watch." Tony leaves the room and heads to the press conference.

Ace watches on the TV as Rhodes pedals some bullshit story about a prototype malfunctioning and causing damage to the reactor. Which is not really that far off from what happened. They are calling Tony's suit Iron Man and all Ace can think is that he probably loves it. Her suspicions were confirmed when Tony made his way to the podium. He actually used the word superhero. Ace just rolls her eyes and watches Tony do what he does best, talk out of his ass. And then came the four words that Ace knew were coming but still surprised her all at the same. "I am Iron Man." They were in it now. 

Chapter Text

Ace stood backstage with Happy as the Iron Man cheerleaders danced to ACDC and Tony came flying in for his grand entrance. The only way to describe the spectacle was completely over the top, but Tony never was one for subtlety. 

"You know when he told the world he was Iron Man, this wasn't exactly what I was expecting." Happy said to Ace.

"Really because this is exactly what I thought was going to happen." 

Tony made his opening remarks for the Stark Expo, and made his way off stage, which was the cue to play the video of his father. Ace had seen this video many times while helping Tony prepare for the Expo. She felt it helped her understand her father a little more. She had never met her grandfather. He had died before Tony even knew she existed. Tony talked about him often either with respect or resentment. She thought it was funny how he didn't see that he treated her exactly as his father treated him. 

When the video was over Happy escorted Ace and Tony out of the building through throngs of adoring fans. Ace was ignored while Tony signed autographs for children and dodged advances of horny gold diggers. Waiting at the car was a beautiful woman who promptly served Tony with a subpoena to appear before Senate Armed Services Committee. 

"Are you coming with me?" Tony asked Ace. 

"I'll come watch you make an idiot of yourself but my name is not on it." Ace replied smugly. 

"What? Now you don't want credit for helping me build it?" 

"Now you want to give me credit." 

"We will see you in DC in the morning." Tony said as he drove away with Happy in the fancy new two seater. Ace went to her car and followed them to DC. 

...

The hearing was the Tony show as Ace had expected. It was times like these that Ace was glad no one knew she was his daughter because watching the man claim that he was solely responsible for world peace like some pageant queen was nothing short of embarrassing. 

Ace shuddered as Justin Hammer was introduced as a weapons expert. She would not have gone to the hearing if she had known Justin Hammer was going to be there. He has been sending her emails trying to recruit her for Hammer Industries since Tony shut down his weapons division. The guy was nothing if not persistent. 

After the hearing it was on the Stark jet back to Malibu. They had been back in Malibu for a few days, Ace is in her room putting away her clothes when her phone chimes with a message. The message is from Happy and it's contents makes Ace want to throw her phone at the wall. Pepper Potts is to be appointed the new CEO of Stark Industries. 

Ace stormed her way down all of the stairs to the garage to confront Tony. 

"Is this some kind of joke that you and Happy concocted to mess with me? Or are you seriously giving your assistant the company?"

"Pepper is more than my assistant."

"So you made her CEO to get in her pants?"

"Ace. Pepper is more than capable of running the company. She practically did it for me already."

"Did you even consider me?"

"Maybe I would have if you didn't pull that little name change stunt. Making you CEO as Ace Stark would raise a lot of questions that I don't think either of us want to come up."

"So you would rather people think that you made this decision with your dick than have them discover that I'm your daughter?"

"I'm am not going to dignify that question with a response." 

"No, that answer pretty much tells me everything I need to know." Ace takes a deep breath before she continues. "You know. I could never decide whether or not you wanted to be like your father. Either way the transformation is complete. It's nice to finally meet you Howard."

"If I was as much of a spoiled brat as you are. Then he went easy on me."

With that Ace left the garage and went upstairs. She knew she had struck a nerve by bringing up Howard but she never thought he would fire back like that. 

...

Ace hadn't talked to Tony in days. Which was why she was surprised to find him Pepper, Happy, and some mystery woman in the gym when she came down for her daily workout. 

Tony and Pepper were sitting on one chair having a heated discussion when they spotted Ace.

"Ace could be your new assistant." Pepper said loud enough for Ace to hear. 

"Well I guess that is the position that leads to becoming the CEO. Unless you were in some other position in order to get that promotion." Ace clapped back.

"So that's a no." Pepper said ignoring the dig Ace had made. She always tried to take the high ground and ignore Ace's snarky comments, as they were just to get attention. 

"Who's the suit?" Ace asked gesturing to the red head in the boxing ring with Happy. She walked around behind the chair to look at the screen Tony was looking at. 

"Natalie Rushman, she's from Legal." Pepper answered. 

"Legal huh?" Ace questioned as she looked at Natalie's impressive credentials. Just then Natalie used some insane leg move to take down Happy. She got the signature she needed from Tony and with that she, Pepper, and Happy left the gym, leaving Ace and Tony alone. They stood in silence for a moment Ace trying her best to ignore his presence. 

"I'm sorry I called you a spoiled brat the other day." Tony said to Ace. 

"No your not." Ace replied not even looking in his direction. Instead she was inspecting the dumbbells trying to decide which weight she was going to use. 

"You're right, I'm not. But I miss talking to you. It's just not the same bouncing ideas off of Jarvis." 

With that Ace looked at him. "I guess I miss working with you."

"Are you coming to Monaco?" 

"Am I invited?"

"Of course you are. I don't think you are allowed to show up there without a spoiled heiress in your party."

"Then I guess I have to come."

...

It was Grand Prix day in Monaco. Tony had a car in the race so they attended every year. Ace, Tony and Pepper arrived at the hotel bar and were greeted by Natalie who was apparently Tony's new assistant. Pepper was not happy about this revelation so Ace made a bee line towards the bar. If she had to listen to Tony and Pepper bicker for another minute, she sure as shit wasn't doing it sober. 

"Rum and coke, please" Ace said to the bartender. She turned her head and immediately regretted the spot she chose. 

Justin Hammer was standing at the bar next to Ace. As soon as he saw her that mouth of his started going. "Ace Hardy or should I say Ace Stark now. I heard about the name change what was that about?"

"Just needed a change is all Justin." Ace said hoping that by some luck he would get distracted and walk away. 

"Now did your email change when you changed your name because I haven't been getting any replies from you."

"Nope, I just have it set up so that anything from Hammer goes directly to the trash, where it belongs."

"Ace, I really think you should come work for us at Hammer Industries. You would be just a great fit."

"Justin, how do I put this so that you will understand." She pauses to really develop the most powerful response to get her point across. "In order for me to even consider working for Hammer, I would need to be living on the street, in a box, giving back alley blow jobs for pennies. Do we understand each other?" 

Justin was speechless. Ace grabbed her drink from the bartender and turned to walk away. She looked up and saw one of the last people she wanted to standing right in front of her. 

"Ace? Wow, how long has it been?" He said.

"Ryan. I think the last time I saw you was at my disciplinary hearing." Ace replied. It was Ryan Stokes, one of the four men involved in her military incident. 

"Right. So, what are you doing at the Monaco Grand Prix?"

"I used to work for Stark Industries before they shut down the weapons division. I'm a cousin of Tony's so he feels guilty and takes me places. What are you doing here?" 

"I'm Justin Hammer's personal security."

"Justin Hammer needs personal security?"

"Well, not really but it pays the bills. I wondered what happened to you after everything. It is good to know you aren't quite at the point of giving back alley blow jobs yet."

"Oh I'm still giving them just not for money." Ace and Ryan share a smile. 

"Still the same old Ace." Ace flinched a little at those words, she liked to think she wasn't that girl anymore. "I am sorry about how that all went down. Stacey was on a witch hunt out of jealously and our egos were so bruised we just hopped on the band wagon. You didn't deserve that."

"I was a stupid kid. I liked a guy and had never seen a real relationship in my life. I was terrified so I spectacularly self sabotaged, and it back fired in a big way."

"You liked a guy huh? Which one of us captured the elusive heart of Ace Hardy?"

"It was you actually." 

"Well maybe this is fate. Your chance for a do over. Let's just start fresh. Hi, I'm Ryan Stokes." Ryan extended his hand to Ace and she shook it.

"Ace Stark." 

"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." Ryan smiled at Ace and she felt her heart flutter. He was very attractive. He had long brown hair that came to his chin and hazel eyes that just melt your heart. Ace was currently fighting a losing battle trying not to get sucked in by those eyes, but what she had told Ryan was true. He was the first of the four. He was the only one she had actually cared about, and here he was standing right in front of her again.

... 

Ace and Ryan had found a table in the corner and just sitting and talking. 

"Oh my god. Do you remember that time we snuck into one of the humvees in the middle of the night?" Ace said with a smile.

"No, I don't think we ever did that?" Ryan replied looking like he was trying really hard to remember.

"I could have swore that was you."

"It was. I'm just messing with you."

"I guess we are supposed to be starting over. We should be creating new memories."

"Well, Justin Hammer did book a room at this hotel, and I just happen to have the key. It doesn't look like he'll be needing it anytime soon." Ryan gestures across the room to where Justin Hammer is sitting. The girl he was with had left the table and seemed to be preoccupied with something going on outside. 

"Well that sounds like it could be very memorable." Ace says suggestively. Unfortunately that train of conversation is disrupted when Natalie comes over to speak to Ace.

"Tony is going to drive in this race." Natalie informs Ace. 

Ace turns towards Natalie, visibly annoyed. "And I'm supposed to care because?"

"Pepper wants you and Happy. She didn't say why she just said she needs you." 

Ace sighs and turns back to Ryan. "I'm going to need a rain check."

"I can wait." Ryan says back to her. He's got that grin on his face that just does things to Ace and she is mentally cursing Pepper for ruining this moment. She gets up and pulls a pen out of her purse. She grabs Ryan's hand and writes her number on it. 

"Call me when you get back. We can make some memories." Ace says with a wink as she leaves the bar. 

Down at the car Pepper is freaking out. As she gets in the back seat Ace she explains about the man that came on to the track with these whips that can slice through metal and that Tony is in trouble. Happy drives onto the track to get to where the man and Tony are. They make it there and after some theatrics from Pepper, they manage to get Tony his suit. He manages to subdue the man with the whips after a pretty quick fight. It seems that he had his own version of an arc reactor, and that had Ace and Tony very intrigued so they went to see him in the French jail. 

Tony wouldn't let Ace go in. He thought it was too dangerous so watched from the two way glass as Tony did his version of an interrogation. The man was not trying to kill Tony, just show the world that he wasn't as invincible as they thought he was and he succeeded. When Tony left the holding cell he looked nervous, and frankly Ace was too. 

After that they took the jet back to Malibu. Ace slept the whole way back. She was tired and she also did not want to witness whatever heartfelt moment Tony and Pepper were having. As Ace slept she dreamt of the past. 

...

3 years earlier

Ace is sitting on a table in the commissary of the military base, it is the middle of the night and the place is dark and empty. Ace is eating a bowl of cereal when she hears the door open. She jumps and turns towards it.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you." Ryan says as he walks in. Ace relaxes when she sees him and he comes to sit next to her. "Can't sleep?" he asks.

"I just felt like a snack. What about you?" Ace answers.

"The other guys snore."

"I should consider myself lucky that I'm the only girl then. I get the bunk all to myself."

Ace and Ryan chatted for quite a while, about the most random things. They laughed together and swapped stories, the kind of conversation that happens in cheesy rom coms on a first date. 

"So why did you join the army? " Ryan asks 

"As an act of rebellion and cry for attention. Isn't that why everyone joins?"

"So your parents wanted you to go to college and be a sorority girl?"

"I already graduated, from MIT."

"What how old are you?"

"19. I'm kind of genius, don't tell anyone." Ryan just sat there with his jaw on the floor. "My dad wanted me to take an engineering job but that's his life. I wanted to make my own life." 

She turned to Ryan and he was just smiling and staring at her. "Ace, you are kind of amazing. Do you know that?" Ace turned away from him shaking her head a little when he leaned towards her. He put his hand on her cheek and pulled her face towards his. Their lips met in a passionate kiss. Ace turned and shifted on the table so she was straddling him, all without their lips parting. Ryan tugged on the hem of her shirt. She pulled away from him a lifted her arms so he could take it off of her. He tossed her shirt across the room and was pleasantly surprised to find she wasn't wearing a bra. He cupped one breast with his hand while he took the other in his mouth. Ace moaned with pleasure and slowly started grinding her hips on his. 

Ace put her hand under Ryan's chin and tilted his head towards her. "As much as I'm enjoying this we need to hurry up. We don't have much time before the kitchen staff come in." Ace whispered in his ear. Ryan simply nodded and moved his hand under her ass so he could lift her a switch their positions. Once he had her sitting on the table, he pulled off her sleep shorts and underwear and tossed them away where her shirt was. He pulled his pants down enough to free his aching cock and then moved back towards Ace. "Yes!" Ace exclaimed as he slid home with one thrust. 

He started with a slow steady pace that had Ace moaning but it wasn't enough. She put her arms around his neck and pulled herself towards him so she could whisper in his ear. "Fuck me harder." That was all the encouragement he needed as he began pounding Ace into the table. All it took was a few more thrusts and they were both hurtling over the edge. As they came down from their high Ryan pulled away and pulled up his pants. He went to get Ace's clothes and give them back to her so she could put them back on. Once she was dressed and standing he pulled her in for another kiss. 

"We should really get back to the bunks, before we get in trouble for being out after curfew." Ace said. Her arms had made their way around Ryan's waist as they were kissing and she even though her words said they should go, she made no move to actually leave. 

Ryan looked down at Ace and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. "We should also keep this just between us. I don't want the guys to start bugging us and saying we're boyfriend and girlfriend."

"Of course." She said with a smile, but her eyes held a hint of sadness at Ryan's words. She really liked him and didn't see what was so wrong with being boyfriend and girlfriend. 

Ryan held Ace's hands and moved them from behind his back. He gave her a quick peck and a good night before he left her standing there.

...

A few days after they returned from Monaco, Pepper and Natalie were still dealing with the backlash from the incident there and Tony was hiding away in the garage. Ryan had called Ace and invited her to dinner. She accepted, thankful for an excuse to get away from the dumpster fire that was the Stark mansion. 

The night ended with Ace bringing him back to her place. She woke up that morning and for once was happy to see the man next to her in bed. She can't remember the last time that had happened if ever. She shifted in bed so that her head was on his chest and his arm wrapped around her shoulders. He stirred awake with a smile and gave her a kiss on the top of her head. "Good morning." He said softly. 

"Good morning" Ace turned a bit so she was propped up on her elbows on his chest so she could see his face.

"You are making it really hard right now to get out of this bed and go to work."

"Then don't" 

"I can't do that Ace." He wrapped his arms tighter around her and kissed her as he slowly moved her on to her back. He then pulled away to get out of bed and started to get dressed. "You know if you worked at Hammer Industries, we could sneak around and have sex in interesting places like we used to."

"I don't know babe, now that I've had you in a bed, I don't think I could go back. Also the best sex in the world still wouldn't be worth working for Hammer Industries." 

"I guess I'm just going to have to bring my A game tonight to change your mind." He's now fully dressed and leans over Ace in the bed to look her in the eyes.

"I'm pretty sure last night was your A game, but I'm curious to see if you've been holding out on me." They share one last kiss before Ryan makes his way towards the bedroom door. 

"See you tonight." Ryan says with a wink. 

"See you tonight." Ace replies as he leaves the room. Once he's gone Ace gets out of bed and puts her robe on. She then makes her way to the kitchen to get some breakfast. Ace grabs a mug from the cupboard so she can pour herself a much needed cup of coffee, as Rhodey comes from around the corner into the kitchen. 

"Did I just see one of the guys who got you kicked out of the military walk out of here?" Rhodey said to Ace with an accusatory tone. 

"What are you doing here Rhodey?" Ace said curtly, ignoring his question.

"I came to see you actually. I'm worried about Tony."

"If I got a dollar every time someone said that to me, I wouldn't need my trust fund."  

"Ace, I'm being serious."

"So am I."

"He's exhibiting a lot of self destructive behaviour, and I think whatever he is using to power the suit is slowly killing him."

"The Starks are like the Royal Family of self destructive behaviour. Do you really think that you or I could ever talk him out of using the suit. Tony is going to do whatever he wants no matter who tries to talk him out it. He thinks he's saving the world just by existing, there is no way he's going to give that up for anything, even death."

"You're right."

"I never get tired of hearing that."

"So do you want to talk about the self destructive behaviour that just walked out the door?" Rhodey said referring to Ryan.

"Nope. I'm good." Ace took her mug and walked out the kitchen. "Later Rhodey"

...

Tony's birthday party was in full swing. Tony had his Iron Man suit on and was dancing by the DJ booth. Ace couldn't care less. She was doing what she usually did at Tony's parties, making out with some guy in the corner. This time was a little different though, she was making out with Ryan. Typically Ace would find a handsome stranger to kiss and grind on and be bored with him by the morning. But she wasn't bored with Ryan. He listened to her, they had real conversations, he complimented her on things other than her looks. She wanted to keep seeing him and that was new for Ace. 

Ryan had Ace up against the wall with her legs wrapped around his waist, kissing her passionately. That was when Pepper came over and tapped him on the shoulder. He stopped kissing Ace and they both were looking at Pepper with annoyed scowls are their faces. 

"Are you seeing what is going on over there?" She huffed at Ace gesturing towards Tony. 

Ace looked past Ryan's head to where Tony was rocking out in his Iron Man suit. "I mean I've been a little preoccupied but it just looks like Tony being Tony to me."

"Ace, he can't be drinking in that thing. It is a liability. He's already on thin ice, what if someone gets hurt."

"I still don't understand why you are coming to me with this. You are the CEO of Stark Industries, you can deal with this yourself. Or get his assistant. Or I'm sure Rhodes will be here any minute. That is three people who are not me that are better suited to deal with this situation."

"Ace you helped build the thing. Isn't there some kind of emergency shut down?"

"You really think that if Tony put some kind of override on that thing he would have me know how to use it?"

"I'll take that as a no."

"Yes Pepper that is a no." Ace had had enough. She grabbed Ryans face and steered his lips back to hers. Pepper couldn't watch anymore so she started to leave when she ran into Rhodey who convinced her to go onstage with Tony and try to shut the party down. Ace only turned her attention away from Ryan's tongue in her mouth when Tony started shooting champagne bottles with the suit. 

"Should we be worried?" Ryan asked her. 

"I really don't want to be." Ace replied. That was when Rhodey came upstairs in one of Tony's suits telling everyone to leave. Ryan let Ace drop her legs from around his waist so they were standing next to each other watching the chaos ensue. 

"Should we go?" Ryan asked nervously.

"No, I kind of want to see how this plays out." That was when Rhodey and Tony started fighting. They busted through the wall through the gym and out of sight. All the party guests were outside by the pool and the only ones left inside with Ace and Ryan were Pepper, Natalie and Happy. Pepper started to yell at Natalie when Tony and Rhodey burst through the ceiling. Happy then started moving Pepper outside and out of harm's way, gesturing to Ace to go outside too. Ace grabbed Ryan's had and took him outside. They made their way outside and then to the front of the house when they heard a big explosion. 

Ryan turned to Ace. "Do you want to come to my place?'

"Yeah that's probably a good idea."

...

The next morning the buzzing of a cell phone woke Ace up. She looked at the phone on the night stand. It wasn't hers that was going off. She turned to look at Ryan who was still in a dead sleep, completely unfazed by the incessant vibration. Ace grabbed the phone from the night stand. There were multiple text messages from Justin Hammer. Ace was suspicious now. She very carefully grabbed Ryan's hand and used his thumb to unlock the phone. She started reading the messages. The more she read the more angry and hurt she got. As she was reading Ryan stirred awake.

"Good morning baby." He said as he leaned toward Ace to give her a kiss. She blocked with her arm as she continued scrolling through the messages. "What's wrong babe?" Ryan then noticed it was his phone in Ace's hand and not her's. "Babe what did you find on there?"

With that question Ace finally looked away from the phone and at Ryan. If he was asking what she found that meant there was more than one thing to find. "You tell me" she responded knowing he was likely to shoot himself in the foot. 

"Look that girl is crazy. We went out once and she started calling herself my girlfriend. I'm just scared that if I blow her off she might try to kill me." 

"Oh she's not the one you need to be worried about." A girl was not what Ace had found but it added another horrifying piece to the puzzle. "Let me see if I understand what's going on here. Justin Hammer learned of our history together and decided that your dick was all the convincing I needed to come work for him. And even though you have girlfriend, I was such a good fuck you couldn't resist."

"Ace, please just let me explain." 

"No need I got the receipts. Your an idiot for leaving your phone out by the way. I graduated from MIT at 19 you really think I can't hack into your encrypted email." Ace threw his phone at him, got out of bed and started getting dressed. 

"Ace, please don't go." 

"If I ever see you or Justin Hammer again, I will kill you both. And by the way half the orgasms you thought you were giving me were fake." Ace stormed out of the room and left his place.  

...

Ace had made her way home and was sitting in the middle of the wreckage that used to be the living room eating ice cream. Tony came in disturbing her peace with a man with an eye patch and Natalie, who was for some reason wearing a black leather catsuit. Ace just looked at Tony confused. 

"Ace this is Director Fury." Tony said gesturing toward the man with eye patch. "And that is Natasha not Natalie."

"Okay first off when you told me you had an encounter in the middle of the night with a man with an eye patch I was very concerned for your mental health. I'm only slightly less concerned now. Secondly, I knew she was way too good at too many things to be a lawyer."

"So, vocalizing every thought that you have is a Stark family trait then" said Fury as he and Tony pulled up chairs next to Ace. 

"Were cousins." Ace stated. 

"No your not" Fury clapped back. "And based on what Agent Romanoff reported back to me, you need to be nicer to your daughter Tony, she's a real asset."

"Whatever this guy is trying to get you to do, I'm 100% on board."

Ace sat and listened to Tony and Fury as they discussed the problems with the reactor and how Howard knew that Tony could fix it. She bit her tongue as Tony talked about how his dad was cold to him and never told him he loved him. That sounded awfully familiar to her. Agents walked in carrying a big case that said property of H Stark on it. Tony and Ace were left to solve the issue with the reactor.

...

Ace and Tony had brought the case down to the garage and opened it up. In it were the original plans for the arc reactor, some newspaper clippings, some notes, and some film reels. Tony set up the projectors and started playing the reels. They were mostly made up of rough cuts for the Stark Expo introduction video. Ace and Tony were watching the videos and flipping through the notes to see if anything sparked.

It was getting late and Ace was starting to doze off in her chair next to Tony's. She started to stir when she heard Howard on film say Tony's name. She didn't know why but she kept her eyes closed so Tony would think she was sleeping while she listened. "What is and always will be my greatest creation is you." Howard said on the film to Tony. That was everything he ever needed to hear from his father. Ace opened her eye a crack to take in Tony's expression, she had never seen that look before. Tony turned towards her and she shut her eyes again. He got up and came closer to her chair.

"Ace are you awake?" Ace didn't move, she knew that he would lose his nerve if he knew she could hear him and there was something he. really needed to get out. "Ace, I don't want you to feel this. I thought I would be happy hearing those words. It does feel good to know that he was always proud of me but I'm also more mad at him than I have ever been for not saying it when he was alive. The irony is not lost on me that I am exactly like him. I want to be different but I'm not ready and for that I am sorry. I promise you though Ace that one day I am going to show you how proud I am of you, because I am proud, and it is not going to be in some video after I die." 

Tony stood up a put a blanket over Ace and gave her a soft kiss on her forehead. He then went to lie on the couch and grab a couple hours of sleep. Ace couldn't believe what she just heard but looked forward to the day where he would say those words when he knew she could hear. 

...

The next morning, Ace was making coffee in the garage when Tony came bursting in with the model of the Stark Expo. 

"Oh good your awake, help me set this up." Tony said to Ace frantically. 

"What? Why? You have a idea, I know that look. What is it Tony?" Ace replied.

"I will show you if you just help me get this thing set up." Ace and Tony set up the model on the table. Tony had Jarvis take a scan of the model so he could manipulate it. He then proceeded to model what looked to be an atom. Howard had hidden the plans for a new element in the designs of the expo. All they had to do now was synthesize it. Tony and Ace got to work on building what they needed to create the element and after a few long and hard days of work they had it. They created a new element, now they just had to see if it would work in the reactor. 

Their victory was short lived. Ivan Vanko called. He was alive and building something new and better. Jarvis managed to trace the call to somewhere in New York. It was safe to say he was going to hit the Expo, likely at Justin Hammer's presentation. Tony put the reactor with the new element in his chest and put the suit on. Ace went to the computer and put on her headset, there was no way she would get to New York in time without a suit.   

As Tony flew to New York, Ace was watching the live feed of Hammer's presentation. Seeing him still made her blood boil but she had to keep an eye on things. He presented his drones to the cheering crowd and Ace was surprised, they actually looked like they might work. She was even more surprised when the suit Rhodey took from Tony appeared on the stage with major modifications and Rhodey inside. That's when a thought struck Ace. 

"Tony?" Ace said into her headset.

"Ace?" Tony replied. 

"Hammer Industries is headquartered in New York right?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"I don't think Vanko was calling from the Expo. I think he was calling from Hammer. He built those drones for him they are way too good to be Hammer."

Tony arrived at the Expo and landed on stage to thunderous applause. He tried to explain to Rhodey what was going on but something was going haywire in Rhodey's suit. Vanko took control of not only Rhodey's suit but all the drones. Ace assisted remotely with Jarvis as Tony and Rhodey fought the drones and eventually Vanko. All was right with the world once again and Tony took all the credit. 

...

After all was said and done Tony and Ace sat down for a meeting with Fury. Tony read Natasha's of assessment of him and Ace just nodded, she was spot on. He would be a consultant for the Avengers Initiative and in return Senator Stern would have to present him and Rhodey with their medals. As they were both leaving Fury stopped Ace. 

"Actually Miss Stark I would like to have a quick conversation with you before you leave." Fury said to her.

"Shoot." Ace replied, curious.

"Before Iron Man, you were head of weapons development for Stark Industries correct?"

"You're the spy Fury. You tell me."

"We want to come and head up a weapons development team for S.H.I.E.L.D. It would come with a relocation and best of all a paycheque that has nothing to do with your father."

"Where do I sign?"

Chapter Text

It had been a year since Ace had relocated to New York and started her job with S.H.I.E.L.D. She was thriving. She lead her own team of engineers that worked on developing new weapons for the Avengers Initiative. Ace had her professional life all figured out. Her personal life on the other hand was a hot mess. Tony had to decided that he was going to perfect the arc reactor in New York so he could power a skyscraper with it. So Ace was staying in Stark Tower with him and Pepper. Tony and Pepper had made their relationship official a year ago as well, and if Ace thought they were tough to deal with before they started fucking she realized they were even more insufferable after. In that department Ace also had nothing going on. She still had the odd one night stand, a girl has needs, but after everything that happened with Ryan she felt that she needed something more. 

Which is why Ace was where she was right now. She had met Chad at a coffee shop near Wall Street and now they were having dinner at a fancy restaurant. He was definitely a finance bro but he seemed normal when she met him so she decided to give him a chance. He had been talking about his job for about 20 minutes and Ace still had no idea what he did. 

"So what do you do Ace?" Chad steered the conversation back to her, much to her relief.

"I actually work for a top secret government agency. So, I can't really talk about it." She replied.

Chad laughed. "That's a good one. You know there is no shame in just living off your Trust Fund."

"I'm serious. I was actually head of weapons development at Stark Industries for 3 years before the division was shut down."

"Right, Ace Stark. Did your family give you the title head of something or other so you could get the paycheque and it would all look legit?"

"No, I graduated MIT when I was 19 and after a brief stint in the military I took the job at Stark Industries where I went in everyday and developed weapons."

"Well, fuck me then. I guess you are too smart for me." Chad said, clearly feeling intimidated by Ace's genius and not dealing with it well. 

"You said it not me." 

"Wow, you know I suspected you were a bitch when I saw you in that coffee shop. But I thought what the hell, for that ass I can take the risk but it looks like I was right."

Ace scoffed as she prepared her rebuttal. "I suspected you were going to be a boring dick, but I thought what the hell at least I can get a free meal." Just then the waiter arrived with their plates, Ace turned to him and said "I'm going to need a to go container for this as soon as humanly possible." The waiter left and returned a few minutes later with a takeout container. Ace grabbed her plate and dumped the contents into the container. She grabbed the bottle of the wine off the table, said I'm taking this too, and started to walk out of the restaurant. Before she made it out the door she turned around and headed back to the table. "I forgot one thing" she said. She picked up her glass of water and threw it in Chad's face. She then turned and exited the restaurant. 

...

Ace got in the elevator at Stark Tower. She was really hoping that Tony made the switch to the reactor already because she did not want to get stuck. Then another thought occurred to her about what she might walk in on. "Jarvis, before I get to our floor, are Tony and Pepper in the living room?" 

"Mr. Stark is in the living room but Miss Potts has taken the jet to DC." Jarvis answered. Ace was confused. The reactor was clearly working she thought Pepper would at least stick around and celebrate. When the elevator door opened she got her answer as to why Pepper wasn't there. Tony was doing homework. 

"I thought you had a date." Tony said when he noticed Ace walk in. 

"I saw you successfully lit up your giant penis. I thought you would be celebrating." Ace snapped back, as she came closer to him. Then she noticed what it was he was looking at. "Is this Avengers files? I got the call in on my way here. I didn't think it would be this serious."

Tony was studying the files when one in particular caught his eye. "You didn't tell me they found Captain America." 

"I wasn't allowed to. Plus, you aren't exactly a fan. Coulson has been fangirling hard, which is unexpected but also makes complete sense."

"When they found him, did he have.." Tony trailed off unable to bring himself to complete the question. 

"Yeah, he had the shield."

"My father was so proud of that damn thing."

"You do realize that once you meet him you're not going to be able to hate him anymore."

"My capacity for hatred is strong." 

"Are you going to report tomorrow?"

"Maybe. Depends what time I get up. I need my beauty rest."

Ace rolled her eyes and went upstairs to bed. 

...

Ace was alone in her lab on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, at least she thought she was alone. She was dancing and singing to her favourite song "Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy" when Natasha walked in with Bruce Banner and Steve Rogers. The three of them just watched Ace dance until she turned in their direction and abruptly stopped. "I didn't know I was getting company." Ace said with a laugh.

"Boys this is Ace Stark, head of weapons development. Ace this is Dr. Banner and Captain Rogers." Natasha introduced everyone.

Steve went up to Ace and shook her hand. "Nice to meet you ma'am. Stark as in Howard Stark?"

"He was my grandfather. You can call me Ace." Ace replied with a wink. 

"Wait if Howard was your grandfather does that make Tony your father? I didn't know he had a kid." Bruce stated in surprise. 

"Well the official party line is that I'm his cousin but I figure you guys can keep a secret."  

Natasha left to deal with some spy stuff while Bruce worked on setting up his equipment. Ace and Steve were still standing together. 

"I have something for you." Ace told him. She went to a cabinet in the lab and pulled out what looked like a bracelet. She came back over to Steve. "This goes on your arm." He took his jacket off and rolled up his sleeve so she could fasten the device around his forearm. As she did her eyes locked on his for a moment. 

They both realized they were staring and looked away. Steve was the first to speak. "So, what does it do."

"It is specially calibrated ..." Ace began put saw the look of confusion on Steve's face and changed her explanation. "It goes on your arm and when you hit it, it brings your shield to you."

"You made this?" Steve asked, impressed.

"Yeah. It's nothing." 

"It's not nothing. When I went in the ice there were no women in the lab and now you are running it. I think Howard would be very proud."

"I don't know about that." 

"Don't sell yourself short. I should get back down to the bridge and see how the search is progressing. It was very nice meeting you Ace."

"It was nice meeting you Captain Rogers."

"You can call me Steve."

"Steve." She waved him off as he left the lab. Ace's eyes didn't leave Steve until the door closed behind him. She shook her head to snap herself out of it and went to assist Bruce it what he was working on. 

...

They had tracked Loki to a museum in Germany and Steve was suited up and sitting in the quinjet ready to go after him. He heard a familiar voice that he wasn't expecting come over his comms. 

"Hi Steve." said Ace into her headset. She was at the computer in her lab. 

"Ace?" Steve replied. 

"I put a camera in your helmet. It helps to have another set of eyes. I did this for Iron Man and they thought it might work for you." 

"I guess you could be like the little angel on my shoulder." 

"Or the devil." Ace said with a hint of seduction in her voice. It was time for Steve to face Loki. He came in just in time to keep Loki from attacking an old man. The crowd dispersed and Steve was fighting Loki while Natasha flew the quinjet to back him up. Next thing ACDC was coming through the comms and this time a voice familiar to Ace and Natasha came through. "I should have known he would have waited to show up until he could make an entrance." Ace said to herself.

Tony flew in with the Iron Man suit and blasted Loki to the ground causing Loki to surrender quickly. They all got on the quinjet and started heading back to the Helicarrier. Ace had a feeling it was too easy so she stayed on her comms. She was glad she did because not only did she get to hear Tony make an ass of himself with Steve, but Thor ended up showing up and pulling Loki from the plane. Steve tried to reason with Tony and make a plan but Tony flew after Thor and Loki. 

"Ace? Are you still there?" Steve asked as he grabbed one of the parachutes and prepared to jump out. 

"I sure am. What can I do for you Captain?" Ace replied. 

"You said you used to do this for Tony. Can you tap into his helmet cam and tell me what's going on down there?"

"I thought you were going to ask me to do something hard." Ace pulls up the feed from the Iron Man suit on her computer. She gives Steve the play by play of Tony's confrontation with Thor as he drops in. Once he's on the ground he tries to reason with Thor and succeeds, after levelling a good chunk of the forest when Thor's hammer hits his shield. Eventually the boys make it back on the jet back to the Helicarrier. 

...

Ace was in the lab setting up the testing equipment for Loki's sceptre when Bruce an Tony came in. 

"Hello cousin." Tony greeted Ace. 

"Banner knows I'm your daughter. If he hadn't though that would have definitely kept up the charade. Good work." Ace replied. 

"Ace, the grown ups are here now so why don't you back away from the sceptre before you hurt yourself."

"Tony, this is my lab, you can't tell me what to do."

"Yes I can I'm pulling rank."

"What rank?" 

Bruce clears his throat to stop the argument. "How about I examine it for gamma radiation and you two take this warm and fuzzy father daughter moment somewhere else."

Ace sighs and walks to another table where one of her own project is set up and continues work on it. As Ace works Tony and Banner talk shop a little bit. Tony pokes Bruce with a little shock just as Steve enters the lab. Steve gets pissed at Tony for trying to release the Hulk but Bruce is pretty chill. The men then proceed to have a conversation on the trustworthiness of Fury. Tony reveals that Jarvis has been hacking into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s files since he arrived. Steve seems to be of the mind of just following orders when he's talking to Bruce and Tony but as he leaves Ace catches a glimpse of doubt in his eye. Curious she follows him out of the lab. 

"Steve. Wait." Ace calls to him once she's out of the lab. Steve stops and lets Ace catch up. "You think something's up."

"You work for S.H.I.E.L.D." Steve replies with an accusatory tone.

"Technically so do you."

"Do you think there is something they're not telling us?"

"There is always something they're not telling us. The key is figuring out what you need to know." He looks at Ace broodingly, she can clearly see he's struggling. "You can wait for Tony's computer to find the answer." 

"Or I can find it myself." Steve turns to start his search but before he leaves he looks back at Ace. "You coming?"

"Hell yeah." Ace says with a smile. She and Steve make their way down the hallway. They get to an area a few levels down when they find a door that says secure storage. 

"Do you think your key card can open this door?" Steve asks Ace.

"Even if it can, it's probably best they don't know I'm down here." Ace replied.

"Right." Steve turned back to the door and grabbed hold of it. He pulled on it and after a few seconds the door gave way. He turned back to Ace and gestured to the door. "Ladies first."

Ace went through the door and Steve followed after her. They moved slowly through the storage area looking for anything that had to do with the Tesseract. They hear footsteps around the corner and before they can think about it Steve pushes Ace into a space between two crates to hide. He has her pushed up against the wall facing him with his arms on either side of her head, so close she can feel his breath on her face. They stay very still and quiet, listening for anyone coming around the corner. They don't hear anything so they slowly look to each other and lock eyes. They get lost in each other for a moment before they shake it off and get back the task at hand. 

They keep searching storage when they happen upon a crate that says Phase 2. Ace tries to open it but it is locked, she steps aside and Steve opens it like it's nothing. They both are surprised to see what's inside. Hydra weapons. 

"They're going to use the cube to make weapons. Did you know about this? Aren't you head of weapons development?" Steve says a little heated.

Ace is visibly shocked and a little hurt at Steve's tone. "I thought I was. I swear to you Steve I had no idea this was here."

He looks at Ace, he can tell she's genuinely upset by what they found. He doesn't know why but he also feels a strong need to comfort her. "I believe you." He says putting his hand under her chin to turn her head to face him. The warmth in his eyes makes Ace feel a little better, at least he wasn't mad at her. 

Steve grabbed the gun from the case and they headed back to the lab. Tony, Bruce, and Fury were in there and when Ace and Steve arrived Tony was asking what Phase 2 was. Steve responded by putting the gun down and sharing his theory while Tony displayed the weapons plan on his screen. Ace looks to Fury. "Why didn't I know about this?"

"You are head of a weapons development team. This is not your assignment." Fury responds.

"Guess you were too busy trying to get away from me to read the fine print of your employment contract." Tony sniped from his perch.

Ace was quiet, she was hurt. Natasha and Thor came in and Bruce turns the topic of conversation back to the matter at hand. Fury explains that when Thor came from space and caused the incident in New Mexico they had to start building weapons to fight back. Soon the room erupted in chaos. Everyone was arguing over each other but one in particular had Ace's attention. Steve was arguing with Tony. Ace was impressed, Steve was holding his own against Tony, she thought the only one who could do that was her. Their argument started escalating Steve had Tony pegged and Tony bit back. They had built up to threatening a physical altercation that Ace actually really wanted to see, when there was an explosion in the lab that scattered everyone. 

Steve had grabbed Ace in the explosion and used his body to shield her from the brunt of it. They were on the floor now. Ace lying next to Steve with his arms around her. "Are you okay?" He asked her and she nodded. Then he turned to Tony telling him to put on the suit. Tony stood up and ran to where he had left it. 

Steve helped Ace to her feet. "Are you sure you're okay?" He asked her again.

"Yeah" she replied but she was still trying to steady herself on her feet. 

"Can you make it to the bridge? You'll be safer there." Steve wasn't going to leave her until he knew she was safe.

"Yeah. I'll be fine I promise. Go help Tony fix the engine." They paused for a moment, just looking at each other. Ace had the urge to kiss him but she knew it wasn't the right time. Little did she know he had the same thought. Shaking off their feelings knowing that there were more important things at hand, they both ran off in opposite directions.

... 

Loki managed to escape. Ace had made it down to the bridge to help Steve and Tony get the engine back up. During the escape Thor and Bruce were thrown from the Helicarrier and they lost Coulson. That was a loss that hit everyone pretty hard. A positive was that Natasha was able to free Clint from Loki's mind control.

Ace had made her way to one of the sleeping quarters. She didn't know who's it was, she just needed a minute to herself. It had been a tough day. The door opened and startled Ace, once she saw it was Steve she relaxed. 

"What are you doing here?" Ace asked him. 

"Well, this is my room. I should really be asking you that question." Steve replied. 

"Shit, I'm sorry." Ace was embarrassed and got up to leave the room. Steve grabbed her arm as she passed him to stop her.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. Just some bumps and bruises."

"I didn't mean physically. I saw your face when Fury corrected you about your job."

"I just thought that I had finally got something that was about me and not Tony. Now I'm wondering if hiring me was just some ploy to keep Tony from sniffing around." 

"In my experience it doesn't matter why you were chosen, all that matters is what you do when you get there. I've heard your team talk about you. They admire you and think you are brilliant. You are a truly amazing woman Ace, don't ever doubt that."

Ace was speechless. All she could do was stand there and look at Steve. The urge to kiss him fell over her again, and this time she went for it. With the arm he wasn't holding she reached for his face and pulled his lips to hers. In response Steve let go of her arm and put both hands on her waist. Ace brought her now free hand to the other side of his face and deepened the kiss. 

Steve was the first to pull away. "Wait" he said to Ace.

"I know your old fashioned but you really don't have to buy me dinner first." Ace said as she tried to lean in and continue the kiss. Steve stopped her. 

"It's not that. I need to go talk to Tony. We need a game plan for Loki. I promise when this is over we can pick this back up right where we left off."

"I'm going to hold you to that."

Steve leaned in to give her a quick kiss before leaving the room to go talk to Tony. 

...

Tony realized that the power source Loki was going to use to kick start the cube was Stark Tower. They made their way there just in time for Loki to use the cube to bring down his alien Army. Ace was in her usual spot on her computer with her headset, helping both Tony and Steve through the battle. The battle was hard fought but the Avengers came out on top. 

The next day they met at the park to see each other off. Thor was bringing Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard. Tony was starting the repairs on Stark Tower before heading back to Malibu. Ace was being relocated to the S.H.I.E.L.D. office in DC but she didn't mind because that's where Steve was headed too. After Thor and Loki disappeared everyone started leaving. Steve drove off on his motorcycle. Ace didn't move to start leaving and Tony took notice.

"Did you need a ride back to the Tower?" he asked her.

"No. A friend is picking me up. We are going to head to DC tonight." she replied. 

"Have fun." Tony got in his car with Bruce and drove off. Ace was alone there for a few minutes before the sound of a roaring engine was heard and Steve pulled up in front of her. 

"Excuse me Miss. Did you need a ride?" he asked her with a smirk. Steve had driven around the block. Ace didn't want Tony to find out about her and Steve. Even though her dating Steve would completely piss Tony off, that wasn't why she wanted to be with him. He was kind, brave, and loyal. It also didn't hurt that he was hot as fuck. Ace ran up to him on the motorcycle and kissed him. She put on the extra helmet he had and hopped on the back of the bike, holding Steve tight around the waist. Steve started the engine and off they rode into the sunset.  

Chapter Text

Ace woke up and turned over in bed to watch the perfect man next to her sleep. It had to be illegal for someone to look that good while sleeping. She shifted over and put her head on his chest. Ace felt like she was in a dream. Her and Steve made it to DC and went to the apartment S.H.I.E.L.D. had set up for him. They stayed up most of the night just talking, after they had mind blowing sex of course. Steve told Ace stories of him and his best friend Bucky in the forties, while she helped him make a list of all the things he had to catch up on. They fell asleep watching Casablanca. Steve insisted they watch it, if he was going to watch a bunch of movies for her, she could watch one for him.

Steve started to stir when he felt Ace on his chest. He wrapped his arms around her and gave her a soft kiss on the top of her head. "I could get used to this." he said softly. Ace maneuvered so she was more on his shoulder and she could look up at him.

"Get used to what exactly?" Ace asked with a grin, she had a feeling she knew what he was going to say. 

"Waking up with you in my arms." Ace smiled at his words and moved up to kiss him. "Last night was amazing."

"Wait." Ace says as she sits up and looks at him, slightly concerned. "Don't tell me last night was your first time. There is no way, you were way too good at it."

"It wasn't my first time, but back in the forties we didn't really do anything other than missionary."

Ace had a smug grin on her face. "So wholesome Captain America thoroughly enjoyed doggy."

"Which one was doggy?"

"The one where you were fucking me from behind."

"Language, Ace."

"You didn't seem to mind my language last night."

"Different situation."

"The one where you were plowing me from behind. Better?"

"Yes. And you were right I did thoroughly enjoy that. What do you call the one where you were on top?"

"Cowgirl." Ace answered with a little chuckle. Steve just nodded as his mind wandered playing through the events of the night before. He then noticed a serious look come over Ace's face. 

"What's wrong doll?" He asked.

"Are you sure you are okay with keeping this a secret?"

"Ace, I really like you. If you aren't comfortable telling people about our relationship we don't have to."

"It's not that. I would love nothing more than to shout from the rooftops that we are together. I just don't want Tony to find out. Once Tony finds out he's going to make it all about him like he does everything. This isn't about him, it is about you and me and I would like to keep it that way for as long as possible." 

"Whatever you want." He says with a smile and Ace leans up and kisses him again. She put her head back on his chest. "I paused the movie when you fell asleep last night."

"I swear I was enjoying it. You just wore me out soldier."

"That's why I paused it. Want to see what happens to Elsa and Rick?"

Ace nods and cuddles into Steve as he presses play on the movie. He kisses the top of her head and leans back into the pillows as they continue their lazy Sunday morning. 

...

Ace and Steve had been together for six months. S.H.I.E.L.D. put Ace up in the apartment next door to Steve but she usually ended up spending most of her time at his place. She found it old fashioned and charming just like her boyfriend. She especially loved his record player. She bought her own records and told Steve that his forties music was boring. She was currently listening to Def Leppard's Hysteria album dancing to Pour Some Sugar On Me as she was making breakfast wearing a pair of lace panties and one of Steve's Plaid button downs. 

Steve came out of the bedroom and just stopped and quietly watched her dance. She noticed him watching but didn't stop, she turned toward him and motioned for him to come over to her. "Come dance with me babe." 

"I don't dance." Steve answered trying to brush her off.

She walked over to him and grabbed his hands to pull him over. "Come on Stevie, it'll be fun."

She started to move his arms with her along to the the music, he pulled his hands from hers. "No." He said adamantly as he walked away and sat on the couch. 

Ace could sense she had struck a nerve, so she quickly tried to recover. "You know this song is known for being the choice song for strippers across the country, likely all around the world. Did they have strippers in the forties?"

"Not that I know of."

"Well then," Ace said as she went over to the record player and moved the needle so the song would start from the beginning. "Allow me to give you your first ever lap dance." 

She moved seductively along to the music as she made her way towards where Steve sat on the couch. She straddled Steve's lap and flipped her hair as she grinded on him still keeping to the beat. She felt him getting hard through his pyjama pants and started to slowly unbutton the shirt she was wearing exposing her breasts. Steve was getting impatient and started to reach to help but Ace slapped his hand away.

"You aren't allowed to touch the strippers." Ace told him with a naughty grin. 

Steve put his hands up. "You know I'm a stickler for the rules."

Ace leaned into him and whispered in his ear. "Then it is a good thing I'm not." She kissed him right under his ear and trailed more down his neck as he continued to unbutton the shirt. Once her shirt was open he slid his hands underneath along her body until his hands found her lace covered ass. Ace stopped kissing his neck to move to his lips. When they finally came up for air Ace leaned back in to whisper in his other ear. "Fuck me Captain."

He used his grip on her ass to lift her up and place her on the couch on her back. He left her shirt on and open but grabbed the hem of her panties and pulled them down her legs. He was already shirtless and just pulled his pyjama pants down far enough to free his throbbing cock. He leaned down over her to connect their lips again as he grabbed his member and guided it into her entrance. Ace gasped and broke the kiss as he entered her and started thrusting at a hard and steady pace. Ace was moaning and screaming as her orgasm built, but before she could finish the door of the apartment opened and in walked Pepper and Happy.

...

While Ace and Steve were having their adorable and sexy morning, Pepper and Happy arrived at the apartment building. They made their way up the stairs and went to Ace's door.

"So Ace lives here?" Happy asked as he looked around the hallway. The building was a far cry from the lap of luxury Ace usually found herself in. 

"This is the address Fury gave us." Pepper replied pulling a key out of her purse. She put the key in the lock and it opened the door. "And the key works." 

They tentatively walked into Ace's apartment, calling out for her but she wasn't there. Then they heard noises through the wall. They listened closer making out moans and "Yes! Yes! Oh God don't stop."

"I found her." said Happy. Him and Pepper made there way out of Ace's apartment and over to Steve's door. Ace's moans and screams could be heard more clearly now. Pepper reached for the knob but Happy stopped her. "You should wait until she finishes. You likely don't want to see what is going on in there."

"It can't be any worse than the things I've caught her father doing." Pepper said as as she turned the knob and opened the door. There was Ace on the couch with Steve balls deep. "If you are going to do it on the couch you should at least lock the door."

Ace and Steve were startled. Steve abruptly pulled out and stood pulling his pants back up. Ace pulled her panties back on from around her ankles and grabbed the two open sides of the shirt to wrap around her and cover herself. Pepper walked over to the record player that was still playing Def Leppard and lifted the needle to stop the music. "Pepper! What the fuck are you doing here?" Ace yelled. 

"We need to talk." Pepper replied calmly.

"Yeah there are these new fangled devices called phones now. Steve picked it up pretty quickly, I'm sure you could learn."  

Steve saw his name being mentioned as a perfect opportunity to get the hell out if there. This was clearly a family matter and he didn't want to get in the middle. "I'm going to take a shower." he said running into the bedroom and closing the door. 

Once Steve was out of the room Pepper spoke up. "You're fucking Captain America?"

"Did you really come all the way from Malibu just to judge me because seriously that could have been a phone call."

"I'm worried about Tony."

"Wow, that is actually worse than coming here to judge me."

"Rhodey said he had a panic attack. He's been working in the garage for days on end building suit after suit. I don't think he sleeps at all down there either."

Ace looks at Happy who has been quietly standing by the door the whole time. "Don't look at me I told her not to come." he said to Ace.

"You should have listened to him." Ace said to Pepper.

"You don't care at all that your father is having some kind of mental health episode."

"It isn't that I don't care. It's that I don't know what you think I can do about it. You are his girlfriend. Rhodey is his best friend. Happy is his oldest friend. If the three of you can't get through to him what hope does the daughter he never wanted have."

"You could come to Malibu and try." 

"No. I have a job and a boyfriend, I'm happy here. For once my life doesn't revolve around Tony Stark and I am not getting sucked back in that vortex again."

"Fine. Let's go Happy." Pepper starts to make her way out the apartment but Happy doesn't make a move to leave. 

"I'm going to talk to Ace for a minute. You should go wait by the car." He says to Pepper to ease the confused look on her face. She leaves the apartment and Ace and Happy are left alone. "Hey kiddo." 

"Hey Hap."

"I told her to let you finish but she didn't listen."

"I appreciate that." 

"Are you really happy here?"

Ace nods. "Yeah I really am."

"Good."

"Can you do me a favour and make sure she doesn't tell Tony about me and Steve?"

"Tony would have an actual melt down if he finds out. I don't think she's going to tell him in his current fragile state. Plus by the time it blows over she'll have forgotten all about it."

"Thanks Hap. You know if it was you having a nervous breakdown I would come back to Malibu."

"I know you would kid." He gives Ace a hug. "I better get down there. The more I let her stew in her anger towards you the more I'm going to have to hear about it the whole way home."

"Defend me a little it will drive her crazy." Happy shook his head and chuckled. He waved at Ace as he walked out the apartment. Once he was gone Ace went into the bedroom. Steve wasn't in the shower. He was standing on the other side of the bedroom door listening. When Ace walked in he wrapped her in his arms and kissed the top of her head. 

"Are you okay?" Steve asked her. 

"I'm totally fine."

"Are you sure you don't want to go to Malibu?"

"1000% sure."

"Okay." Ace had her arms around Steve's neck. She used them to pull him closer and kiss him.

"Think we can pick up where we left off before we were so rudely interrupted?" Ace pulled him in for another kiss before he pulled away.

"While you guys were talking I got called in for a mission."

"Five minutes?"

Steve shakes his head no. "I want to take my time with you."

"You're killing me."

"I'll make it up to you tonight." 

"You better." She said as she kissed him once more before they broke apart and got ready to go to work.

...

The mission kept Steve busy for a few days but when he returned he definitely made it up to Ace. She lost count of how many times she came that night, all she could think was that Dr. Erskine was her new favourite scientist. She was fast asleep in Steve's arms when her phone rang. She opened her eyes and slipped away from Steve to check the caller ID. It was Rhodey. Figuring something must have happened for him to be calling so late, she picked up the phone. 

"Rhodey?"

"Ace. I'm sorry to call you so late but I wasn't sure that Tony would think to tell you."

"Tell me what?"

"The terrorist attack on the Chinese Theatre, Happy was there. He's in the hospital and it's not looking very good."

"Oh my God. I have to get off the phone and find a flight."

"It's okay Ace. I had Pepper send the jet, it should be there in another couple hours." 

"Thank you, Rhodey. I should go I have to pack."

"Okay, if you need anything, I'm a phone call away."

"Okay, thank you." She hung up the phone and just let it fall in her lap. She just sat there thinking of everything she needed to get ready in order to leave. Steve had woken up when he heard her on the phone. He could hear the whole conversation with his heightened sense of hearing. He sat up next to her and wrapped his arm around her shoulder.  

"What can I do to help you? Do you want me to come with you?" He said to her as he rubbed her back to comfort her. 

"No. Tony is going to be there and I don't have a good excuse as to why you would be with me."

"Okay. Well then let's get you packed." Steve got up from the bed but Ace still didn't move. He turned back to her and said "Ace, everything is going to be okay." All she could do was look at him and nod.

...

Ace walked into the hospital room where Happy was lying unconscious. It took her a minute to be able to move herself closer to him, in shock still from the whole situation. Steve had packed her bag for her and drove her to the airport. Rhodey picked her when she landed and took her straight to the hospital. She hadn't cried yet, she refused to. Crying meant it was over and she still had hope. She eventually made it to his bedside and took his hand. She didn't notice Tony sitting in the corner of the room until he spoke. 

"Hi Ace." he said. 

Tony's voice woke her up from her trance and she looked at him. "What happened?" She asked.

"The Mandarin. The doctors are optimistic he'll recover. So am I, he's a fighter."

"He is. He and Pepper came to see me a few days ago."

"What? Why?"

"Pepper was worried about you. She thought that me being around would have some kind of positive impact on your mental health. I don't know where she got that idea."

"Who knows where that woman gets her ideas."

They both fall quiet after that, which is rare for Ace and Tony. Ace is still standing at Happy's bedside holding his hand. Tony pulls a chair up behind her so she can sit and still hold his hand. He then moves to leave the room. "You're leaving?" Ace asks. 

"I have to do something."

"Like what?"

"I don't know." Tony responds and leaves the room. Ace changed the channel on the TV to the news. There were camera crews outside when she came in and she knew they were waiting for Tony. 

Sure enough they swarmed him when he walked out the door. He almost made it out without commenting but something one reporter said got to him. He then proceeded to challenge a terrorist and give out his home address on national television. All Ace could do was shake her head. 

A few minutes later Ace's phone rang. She didn't really feel like talking to anyone but when she saw the caller ID a small smile tugged at her lips. 

"Hi baby."

"Hey doll." Steve replied on the other end of the line. 

"Did you catch Tony's performance on the news?"

"No I did not."

"Well they will likely be replaying it 100 times in the next 24 hours so I'm sure you will see it."

"How's Happy."

"Tony said the doctors are optimistic, but I won't believe it until I hear it from them."

"Don't give them a hard time. They are just doing their jobs."

"Who said anything about giving them a hard time?"

"I know you Ace."

"I'll be on my best behaviour I promise." 

"Did you get a hotel? You need to get some sleep."

"I was going to stay at Tony's but he gave his address to a terrorist on national TV, so that's out."

"I know you are trying to distract me from worrying about you with Tony's outrageous behaviour. It didn't work. Just promise me you will take care of yourself."

"I promise."

"Call me if you need me."

"I will. I miss you." 

"I miss you too."

...

Ace was still at Happy's bedside. She was sitting in the same chair and had fallen asleep with her head resting on the bed. She started to stir when she felt a hand touch her shoulder, and she heard a familiar voice. 

"Ace?"

"Steve?" Ace said when she turned to look at the man who had his hand on her shoulder. As soon as she registered it was in fact Steve standing in the room with her she leapt to her feet and threw her arms around him. "What are you doing here?" She asked as she pulled away from him only far enough to look at his face. 

"Pepper called me. She said she couldn't get a hold of you."

"Why is Pepper trying to get a hold of me?"

"Have you been watching the news?"

"No, the nurse said that Tony told her he liked Downton Abbey so I switched it back. Then I must have fallen asleep. My phone must have died. What happened?"

"The Mandarin attacked Tony's house. It's gone. He flew off somewhere in his suit. Pepper doesn't know where he is but she said he's safe and she's safe. I figured if Tony wasn't here, it was probably okay for me to come down."

"That is a lot of info to take in." 

"When was the last time you slept?"

"Just now you woke me up."

"Ace that doesn't count you were at a 90 degree angle. I got a hotel room for us. Come and get a few hours of sleep. Then you can come back fresh. Happy would want you to take care of yourself."

Ace just looked at him and thought about it for a moment. He was right, Happy would be mad at her if she didn't go. So she nodded and disentangled herself from Steve. As he went to the corner of the room to get her bag she went back to Happy's bedside and said a quiet see you later. Steve put his arm around her and they left the hospital together. 

...

Ace woke up in Steve's hotel room to him gently nudging her awake and her phone ringing. 

"It's Rhodey. I would answer it but I'm not supposed to be with you." He said as he handed her the phone. 

"Thank you." Ace said as she took it from him. "Rhodey?"

"Ace! Can you get the feed from the Iron Patriot suit like you can Iron Man?" Rhodey said on the other end of the line.

"That suit is government property Colonel Rhodes. It would be illegal for me to hack into it."

"Off the books Ace."

"Of course I can." She turns towards Steve. "Babe, did you grab my laptop from the hospital?"

Rhodey heard that. "Who are you talking to?"

"No one. I picked up a hot doctor at the hospital. I swear it's like Grey's Anatomy over there." She lied as Steve brought her her computer. She started firing it up to retrieve the Iron Patriot feed. 

"What does Steve think about that?" Rhodey called her out whispering since Tony was just out of ear shot. 

"Pepper told you! Don't tell Tony."

"What do you think I have a death wish. Of course I'm not going to tell him. That distinct pleasure is all yours." 

Just then the feed came up. The Iron Patriot was on Air Force One. Ace was confused. "Rhodes are you in the suit?"

"No I am not that's the problem. Where is it?" 

Once Ace told Rhodey where the suit was he hung up. She was only able to watch as it all went down. She managed to get the feeds from Tony's other suits when he brought them online. Ace and Steve were glued to the screen as they watched Tony and Rhodey battle some strange healing fire people. They had no idea what was going on and Tony wouldn't let Ace help. When it was all over Tony destroyed the suits causing Ace to lose feed one by one. Before Ace could freak out Steve's phone started ringing. It was the hospital, Happy was awake.

...

Ace ran into the hospital room and wrapped her arms around Happy. He winced it a little, but hugged her back. "Take it easy there kiddo." 

Ace backed off a bit and just stood next to the bed. Steve had entered the room behind her and was standing at the door. 

"Where's Tony?" Happy asked Ace.

"Miami? It's a long story that I don't have details for he'll have to tell you all about it once he is back."

"You and your boy toy there better get gone before he comes back." 

"You sure you are going to be okay without me?"

"Yes, Ace. I will. And you." He said pointing at Steve. "You better take good care of this girl because if you don't it will be me you have to deal with, not Tony."

"Understood." Steve replied as he made his way towards Ace and wrapped his arms around her from behind. "I promise I will take very good care of her." 

Chapter Text

It was so early the sun wasn't even up yet and Ace was awake. Her seemingly perfect boyfriend of two years, Steve Rogers, had woken her up getting ready for the day. 

"Babe, what are you doing up so early?" Ace asked him.

"I'm going for a run, like I do every morning." Steve said.

"Why? You were scientifically engineered to have the perfect body. You don't need to work out."

"I like it."

"Wait, you run every morning."

"Yeah, usually me leaving doesn't wake you up. I can get out, run for half an hour and get back in bed with you before you wake up." He made his way to the bed to a stunned Ace and gave her a quick kiss to ease her shock.

"You know if I wake up this early in the morning, I find other things to do."

"Oh yeah, like what?" said Steve genuinely curious.

"You." Ace said with a wink.

"Why don't you come with me? It would be fun to do something together."

"Or you could get back in this bed and we can do other fun things together."

"How about we do that after we run?"

"Fine."

"Really?" Steve said excitedly.

"Yes." She gets out of bed and kisses him as she goes to the bathroom to change into her running clothes. 

...

Going running with Steve Rogers was a terrible idea. They didn't really run together since Steve was a super soldier so he just kept running past her. By the time she got to their finish spot Steve was talking to the other guy that was running in the park. 

"My girlfriend has been helping me adjust as well." She overheard Steve say as she made her way over to the boys. 

"I'm never going running again and I hate you." Ace said to Steve when she stood next to him. 

"Sam this is Ace, my girlfriend. Ace, this is Sam, he works down at the VA. We were talking about how hard it is to adjust to life in the real world after coming back." Steve said

"Steve said you've been helping him adjust?" Sam asked.

"Yeah. I taught him how to use a cell phone and the internet. Plus some other things." she said with a wink. "The other stuff I don't really have all that much experience with. I was in the Army for a very short amount of time."

"I didn't know you were in the Army." Steve said to Ace a little confused.

"Wait, Ace Hardy?" Sam asked.

Ace had to take a pause at the use of her old name. "Yup, that's me but it's Ace Stark now, long story."

As if answering Ace's prayers to end the conversation Steve's phone went off. It was a mission alert and Natasha was on her way to pick him up. They said their goodbyes to Sam and when they were alone Ace turned to Steve. 

"I should make myself scarce before Nat gets here." she said.

"Would it really be so bad if she found out? She wouldn't tell Tony." 

"The more people know about us, the more they will talk about us and the bigger chance Tony has of overhearing. I'll talk to you on the mission." 

"Okay. " he says sounding slightly disappointed. Ace gives him a quick peck before running off in the direction of their apartment building.

...

Steve was on the jet with Natasha and the S.T.R.I.K.E. team ready for the mission. Rumlow was still setting up for his briefing and Ace wasn't on comms yet. Steve felt this was his opportunity to get some answers.

"Did any of you guys know that Ace was in the Army?" Steve asked the guys casually.

"Wait, Ace is Ace Hardy isn't she?" One of the guys responded. 

"Wow, that makes her so much hotter than I already thought she was." Another guy said.

Steve regretted asking the question now, Ace was probably going to be mad. However he now needed to know why she was so infamous. "What do you mean it makes her hotter?" he asked.

"Ace was sleeping with all the guys on her team. They all found out and then she 'quit'." replied the guy that made the comment.

"It was only four guys and Ace was a very promising sniper. The army lost out because some guys were to sensitive to deal with the fact that women can sleep around too." Natasha came to Ace's defence. 

Steve didn't know what to feel. Then Ace's voice came over his comms. "Alright boys and Nat what do we have on the docket today?" 

"Hello Miss Hardy." said the guy Steve was talking to. 

"Shit." Ace responded. Steve wanted to scold her for her language but knew he was already in hot water. "How did you find out?"

"Cap was asking if we knew you were in the army. There are only so many Aces in the world." 

Ace was pissed. She couldn't yell at Steve on comms because he was Captain America and also everyone would find out that they're together. "Alright, you get one question. You ask your one question, I answer it, and then we continue with the mission and never speak of it again. And if you think I'm not serious about never speaking of it again just know that I am the one that makes sure you have guns that work."

Before anyone could speak the same guy blurted out "Did you have a threesome?"

"No. Now can we get on with the mission. Rumlow the floor is yours."

Rumlow explained the mission, pirates had taken over a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship and the team was to take it back and free the hostages. When Rumlow was finished his briefing, Steve laid out the plan of attack and everyone went to finish suiting up before approaching the drop zone. Natasha used this time to question Steve on his personal life. Giving him suggestions on girls he could ask out. Ace hated when she did that, she knew Nat would stop if she knew they were together, but Ace still wasn't ready for everyone to know. 

When they reach the drop point, Steve jumped out of the jet without a parachute and landed in the water. He climbed on to the deck unnoticed and took out almost all the pirates on the upper level before anyone else on the team landed on the ship. Ace was finding it really hard to be mad at him when he did sexy shit like that. The rest of the mission went off without a hitch, except for Steve finding Nat downloading files from the ship. That wasn't part of the mission at least not part he was told about. 

When the team returned back to S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters, Ace was waiting for Steve. 

"Captain Rogers, can I speak with you? We need to discuss your weaponry, I think something malfunctioned."

"Of course." Steve replied. Ace lead him into an empty conference room nearby locked the door and drew the shades. She then walked over to Steve and got in his face.

"You asked them if they knew I was in the army. If you wanted to know more, why wouldn't you just ask me?"

"I didn't know it would be a big deal Ace. I thought you left because Tony pulled you out to work with him or something. Why didn't you tell me?"

"It's not exactly part of my life that I'm proud of. It's half the reason I changed my name, the other half was to piss Tony off at least I succeeded at that." 

"Ace, why didn't you tell me?" Steve asked again sensing there was something she wasn't telling him. 

"I didn't want you to think I was too slutty for you." 

"Ace you're not slutty."

"I'm a little slutty."

"No, you're not. I knew you were more experienced in that department than me, but I don't care. It doesn't matter to me who you slept with, as long as I'm the only one you are currently sleeping with."

Ace smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Oh, you are more than enough for me Captain." She leans in and gives him a soft kiss, then another one, Steve then deepens the kiss a little more. They come up for air for a moment and Steve starts leaving a trail of kisses along her jaw and down her neck. "You know it was really hard to stay mad at you on that mission."

Steve pauses his work on her neck. "Why was that?" he said before picking up where he left off.

"It was really sexy when you jumped out of the jet without a parachute and took out all those guys. And then when you spoke French I'm pretty sure I ruined my panties."

"Je vais juste devoir vérifier cela." Steve said as he picked up both her legs to wrap them around his waist. He carried her further into the room and set her down on the conference table. As he did that Ace was kissing him passionately and continued to do as his hand found it's way up her pencil skirt to find her soaked panties. "Yeah these are definitely ruined." he said, and with one swift movement he ripped then off.

Ace gasped as the cool air reached her heated core. Steve started leaving kisses down her body as he shifted her skirt up to give him easier access. He got on his knees and before Ace could register what was happening he licked from her entrance to her clit. Ace moaned but bit her lip to muffle the sound, she didn't want anyone to hear something and come investigate. Little did she know that a certain red-headed spy had come looking for Steve and saw more than she bargained for through the slats of the blinds. She simply chuckled to herself and walked away, she was just happy Steve wasn't a virgin. 

Ace was quickly approaching her orgasm, Steve could work some magic with that tongue of his. Her fingers had made their way to his hair at some point, but now she used them to pull his head up from between her legs. "Babe this is amazing but I need you inside me. We can't be gone for too long or people might come looking for us." Steve just nodded and stood up. He unzipped the fly of his tact pants and pulled out his hard cock. Ace loved when he fucked her with his uniform still on. He wasted no time thrusting into hard and fast the way she liked it. It took everything in Ace not to scream out in pleasure. Soon they both fell over the edge and Ace had to bite her lip again to stay quiet. 

They stayed still for a minute before getting up to right their clothes. Steve put Ace's ruined underwear in one of his pockets as Ace's outfit didn't have any. They shared one last quick kiss before opening the door to the conference room and making their way into the hall. 

"Well everything should be working properly for you now Captain." 

"Thank you Agent Stark." Then they both walked away in opposite directions with little smirks on their faces.

...

Ace arrived at Steve's apartment and he was in the living room reading a book. She stopped in the kitchen to throw out her coffee cup before heading over to greet him. When she did so she noticed a familiar nursing home visitor's pass in the trash. She gave Steve a kiss and sat next to him on the couch. 

"I saw you leaving headquarters. What did you do today?" Ace asked him nonchalantly.

"I went to the Smithsonian and then went to see that guy Sam from our run down at the VA. He's doing a lot of great stuff over there."

"That's nice. That's all you did today?"

"You saw the visitor's pass didn't you."

"Why didn't you tell me?" 

"You look so sad and disappointed every time I mention going to see her so I figured I would spare you the hurt."

"It's never fun hearing your boyfriend is visiting the love of his life, but I also don't really see a 90 year old woman with dementia as a threat to our relationship. Except when you are lying about her."

"I didn't lie. I just left out information,"

"Speaking of leaving out information. How did your talk go with Fury?"

"How about I take you out to dinner and tell you all about it?"

"Is this to make up for not telling me about visiting Peggy, and going to the Smithsonian exhibit without me?"

"Yes."

"Then absolutely." 

...

At dinner Steve explained to Ace about Project Insight, helicarriers that will detect and stop threats before they happen. He explained how he had reservations about it and Fury didn't seem to care, which was giving him second thoughts about S.H.I.E.L.D. Ace reassured him and told him to take his mind off things. This lead to them splitting a bottle of wine. Steve is unaffected by alcohol but Ace was a little tipsy. This was definitely evident when they arrived back at their building. Steve was helping Ace up the stairs. 

"How many glasses of wine did you have at dinner?"

"Enough that I am feeling very good right now. Bit not so much that you should feel guilty for taking advantage of me. You definitely should take advantage though because there are all kinds of dirty things I want to do to you tonight." Ace said with a little growl. Steve didn't acknowledge her comment as they were now at their floor and their neighbour Kate was coming out of her apartment. She totally heard what Ace said. 

"She's drunk." Steve explained.

"I am not. I'm tipsy. You know like Erry Body In the Club Getting Tipsy." Ace rapped the last part like the J-Kwon song, and danced. 

"Yes definitely not drunk. I think you guys left your stereo on." Kate said as she went downstairs with her laundry. Steve and Ace both looked at each other confused. Ace was almost immediately feeling very sober. They had not been listening to music before they left. Especially not the 1940s music that could be heard playing, Ace wouldn't listen to it with Steve since he refused to dance with her to it. 

On high alert Steve and Ace went next door to Ace's apartment. They went out the window and scaled the ledge to get into the window of Steve's apartment. He argued with her about coming with him. She insisted that she could hold her own. Once they were in the window they snuck around the corner to the living room where the music was coming from. There sat an injured Nick Fury. Ace stayed hidden behind the corner not want Fury to see her with Steve. 

"Ace, I know you're there. You can come out too." Fury said. Ace came out to stand beside Steve. He tried to turn the light on but Fury turned it off again. He then started spouting off this weird story about how his wife had kicked him out while typing on his phone to them. Fury told them on his phone that there were ears everywhere, S.H.I.E.L.D. was compromised and the only people that knew were the three of them. Then gunshots came through the wall and hit Fury. Steve grabbed Ace taking her to the ground. They both stayed low and dragged an injured Fury away from the window and into the kitchen. Fury gave Steve a flash drive and told them not to trust anyone before he passed out. That's when Kate busted through door revealing she was Agent 13, assigned to protect Steve by Fury. Kate called for EMTs while Ace was trying to control the bleeding with some kitchen towels. Steve caught a glimpse of the shooter and ran after him. 

...

Steve lost the shooter and when he returned they were loading Fury into the ambulance. Now they were at the hospital watching from the gallery as the doctors operated on Fury. Steve was at the window when Natasha arrived, Maria Hill was there as well. Natasha asked about the shooter and Steve and Maria filled in the details. The more they told Nat about the shooter the whiter she seemed to turn. Ace was sitting in the corner of the room she was squeamish around medical things. Steve went to check on her.

"Are you okay?" Steve whispered. 

"Yeah. I'm just processing. Plus, I'm a Stark so I'm worried about all the wrong things." She whispered back.

"Like what?"

"Like if your apartment is bugged and there was an agent living next door, then people probably know about us."

"Ace, really?"

"What I told you I was worried about the wrong thing." 

"What are you two love birds whispering about back there?" Natasha said to them. 

"See Nat knows." Ace said.

"Wait. You knew I was with Ace yet you were still trying to set me up with other girls?" Steve asked Nat.

"I only found out when I saw you guys screwing in the conference room after our last mission." Nat answered. 

Steve shot Ace a pointed look. "I regret nothing." she said. 

Then Fury's heart monitor made that sustained beep that none of them wanted to hear. The doctors tried to get his heart started again but were unsuccessful. They called his time of death 1:03 am.  

...

Ace sat in the hallway while Natasha and Steve said their final goodbyes to Fury. When they came out of the room Natasha asked Steve why Fury was in his apartment. Steve lied and said he didn't know. Rumlow interrupted to adamantly tell him that they wanted him back at S.H.I.E.L.D. 

Ace pulled Steve aside and started rooting through her purse. She pulled out a small case and opened to reveal what looked like 2 flesh coloured stickers inside. She took one of the stickers and placed it in a precise spot behind Steve's ear and took the other one and put it behind her ear. 

"What is that?" Steve asked her.

"It will let us communicate while you are at S.H.I.E.L.D." Ace explained.

"What is it connected to?"

"Baby, I love you but you probably wouldn't understand even if I explained it to you."

"That's fair, they aren't connected to S.H.I.E.L.D. are they?"

"No they are off the grid. I've been working on them for a while figured they might come in handy one day. I also have a contact lens camera but I don't think we will be able to get it in without them noticing. It's fine though I'll just access the S.H.I.E.L.D. security feed."

"Okay. I'll meet you back here when I get out." 

"Okay, be careful." She said and gave him a quick peck. 

"You too." he said as he left with Rumlow. On his way out he put the flash drive in the vending machine so it wouldn't be on him when he went to S.H.I.E.L.D.

...

Ace was still working on getting the S.H.I.E.L.D. security feed up on her computer but was listening in while Steve was talking with Alexandre Pierce. Pierce was explaining to Steve his theory on Fury hiring the pirates to steal S.H.I.E.L.D. intel and sell it. The sale going sour being the reason he was killed. Neither Ace or Steve were convinced. In the end Steve told Pierce simply that Fury told him not to trust anyone. He left with a thinly veiled threat from Pierce.

"Do you think I played that right?" Steve asked Ace as soon as he was alone in the hallway. 

"Yeah. You are a terrible liar so honesty was definitely your best move there. A ha!" Ace exclaimed. 

"What?"

"I got the security feed. I can see you getting on the elevator. Damn your butt looks good in those pants."

"Ace can you be serious for a moment please." Steve said as Rumlow and members of the S.T.R.I.K.E. team got on the elevator. 

Ace was quiet as she was watching the situation. More people were getting on the elevator and they all seemed to be getting ready for something to happen. 

"Steve, I hope you are seeing what I'm seeing, they are gearing up for something." Ace said to Steve. He simply did a subtle nod to signal to her that he knew what was happening. 

Steve asked the men in the elevator if they wanted to get out and then the attack began. Ace just watched as Steve fought 10 guys in the elevator while a magnetic hand cuff was attached to his arm. Once the guys were down he used his shield to break off the cuff. 

"Babe that was really sexy I'm not going to lie." Ace said "But watch out when you get off the elevator ..." Before Ace could finish her thought the elevator doors opened and a whole team of guys with guns was coming after Steve. He thought fast and used his Shield to cut the elevator wires causing it to drop. The emergency break caused the elevator to stop between floors. Steve pulled the door open but shut it again once he saw there were more guys coming. 

"Ace, is there a floor that doesn't have a squad of guys with guns?" Steve asks

"It doesn't look like it. I can see you looking outside Steve, I don't like where your thought process is taking you." Ace replied

"Here goes nothing."  He said as he jumped out of the window and landed on his shield in the lobby. 

"They weren't expecting you to make it down that fast. You should be clear to the garage." Ace instructed him and he made his way to the garage to get his bike. 

Steve not only managed to escape on his bike but also take out a plane in the process. Ace was thoroughly impressed, she started packing up her stuff and waited for Steve to come back to the hospital. 

...

Steve arrived back at the hospital and him and Ace went to the vending machine where he had left the flash drive. Steve's eyes went wide with panic when he realized it was gone. Natasha came up behind them chewing the bubble gum Steve had hid the flash drive behind. He grabbed her arm and pulled her in to the closest empty room. Not really knowing what to do Ace followed. 

Steve started to question Natasha. She wouldn't tell him where the flash drive was and claimed she didn't know what was on it. Steve didn't know if he could trust her until she said she knew who killed Fury. She told them about the Winter Soldier. He was an assassin who had been credited with kills for the past 50 years. Steve didn't buy it until she told the story of her run in with him and how he shot a man through her with the same bullet used to kill Fury. It was then Natasha pulled the flash drive out of her pocket. 

Steve told Natasha not to move and pulled Ace to the other side of the room. "So do we trust her?" he asked Ace.

"Well she's not going to give us the drive. Even if she did we kind of need her. I know a lot about computer things but I'm not a spy. And you are definitely not a spy."

"Okay that is the second crack you have made today about me being a bad liar."

"Babe. The fact that you are bad at lying is my favourite thing about you. That and your dick."

"Really Ace, that's your favourite thing about me."

"Of course not ... maybe a little ... I love you." She tried to recover with a big cheesy smile and puppy dog eyes. 

"I love you, too." he said and walked back over to Natasha. They needed to get out of the hospital, S.H.I.E.L.D. was definitely looking for them. 

...

The first thing they did was find some plain clothes for Nat and Steve. Ace was able to put the contact lens camera in Steve's eye and had another communicator sticker for Nat. They dressed Nat and Steve like hipsters, complete with a pair of glasses for Steve. Nat was getting changed leaving Ace and Steve alone. Ace was fiddling with something on her computer. Steve came up behind and put his arms around her waist and gave her a quick kiss on the side of the head. 

"I'm sorry you got dragged into this." he said to her. 

"I wouldn't have it any other way." 

"Yeah, you want to be on the run with a terrible liar?"

"Being a bad liar isn't a bad thing. It means you're honest and stand by everything that you do. Which are just a few of the countless amazing attributes you have that made me fall in love with you."

"Is one of those attributes my dick."

"I mean I don't hate it."

Steve chuckled and kissed her on the head and neck a few times before Natasha cut in. 

"If you two love birds can keep it in your pants for a minute, we have stuff to do." She said sounding slightly annoyed. 

The three of them went to the nearest mall. While Steve and Natasha went to the Apple Store, Ace sat by the fountain with her computer. She had hacked into the mall's security cameras and was watching to see if there were any agents were around. As Natasha and Steve worked on tracing where the program on the drive came from a salesman came up to talk to them. Nat covered by saying they were getting married and looking at honeymoon destinations. This made Ace and Steve very uncomfortable. Once they had the location Ace saw Rumlow and the S.T.R.I.K.E. team enter the mall.

"Guys, Rumlow is here, time to get this show on the road." Ace told them. 

Nat and Steve made there way out of the store. They were able to dodge most of the agents but Rumlow was coming up the escalator as they were going down. Natasha told Steve to kiss her because public displays of affection make people uncomfortable and look away. Steve protested but Nat grabbed him and pulled him in for a kiss. They successfully made it past Rumlow and to the parking lot where Ace was waiting having hot wired a getaway car. 

"Stark's little princess knows how to steal a car. Colour me impressed." Natasha said as she got in the passenger seat of the truck. Steve got in the driver's seat while Ace climbed into the back seat. 

"You kissed my boyfriend Nat, you don't get to call me Princess too." 

"Boyfriend? I thought you two were just fucking." Nat said surprised. 

"Steve doesn't like the term fucking." Ace emphasized the swear word and giggled slightly when she saw him flinch. "What we have is more than that. We've been dating since the battle in New York."

"Wow. If it has been that long why are you guys still keeping it a secret?" Nat asked.

"Ask Ace." Steve replied sounding slightly bitter.

"I don't want Tony to find out." 

"Why not?"

"When I was six my mom got really sick. She couldn't work and the medical bills were piling up so her idea of raising me on her own without Tony even knowing went completely out the window. He paid her ridiculous amounts of child support in exchange for not telling anyone about me. He paid for me to go to the best private school but I was only there for about a year before she died and suddenly I was Tony's responsibility. He dealt with it by sending me to boarding school, where I learned to act out to get attention. Then when I was 12 I blew up the chemistry lab at school, because I was bored. That's when Tony realized I was a genius and had me homeschooled until I could pass the SAT and go to MIT. Long story short everything in my life for a very long time revolved around doing things just to piss Tony off. Me being with Steve will very much piss him off. I just don't want him to cheapen our relationship by accusing me of crying for attention once again. No matter what I say he's not going to believe that's not about him because in his world everything is about him. I'm just trying to delay the backlash for as long as possible."

"Fair enough." Natasha responded pausing for a moment before changing the subject slightly. "You know for a guy who seems so wholesome, you are a pretty good kisser."

"Oh that tongue does some other things pretty well too." Ace chimes in. 

"Ace!" Steve scolds her as he turns red with embarrassment.

"Steve it's not 1945 anymore. We can talk about sex." Ace replied. 

"I saw you going to town on her in the conference room Rogers. We have no secrets anymore. Was he a virgin when you guys first hooked up? I always wondered."

"Surprisingly no." 

"Surprisingly?" Steve said a little offended. 

"Babe, not because you are bad. You are SO good. You are just so wholesome. You flinch every time I say a swear word." 

"I don't want to talk about this anymore." Steve said clearly uncomfortable with the turn the conversation has taken. He turned on the radio. Nat and Ace just looked at each other and thought it best not to say anything more. 

...

They arrived at the coordinates just as the sun was setting. The program originated from Camp Lehigh, an abandoned army base. Steve said it was where he was trained back in the 40s. They wandered around the base. Nat was looking for clues. Steve was looking around. He had a look on his face, Ace couldn't decide whether it was nostalgia or sadness. She walked over to him.

"Are you okay?" she asked him.

"I'm fine, just a lot of memories."

Nat interrupted their moment to tell them that she was finding nothing. That's when Steve noticed that one of the buildings was not where it was supposed to be. Steve got the door open and they went inside. There was a large S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on the wall. This must have been where S.H.I.E.L.D. started. They continued to walk around and went into another room where there were pictures on the wall. Natasha recognized the one of Howard Stark, she then asked who the girl was. Ace and Steve both knew it was Peggy Carter, Steve's one that got away. Steve ignored Nat's question and kept walking, Nat followed after him. Ace stayed for a moment to look at the picture. Even though the woman was now in her 90s, had dementia, and was living in a home, Ace couldn't help but feel that she was competing with her. She shook it off, nudged the photo so it was crooked and followed after the other two. 

They found a secret door that housed an elevator. Nat used a device to figure out the key code and the three of them got on the elevator to see where it went. It took them to a room full of really old computers. That's when Nat noticed a USB reader on the desk that looked more modern than everything else. She plugged the drive into the reader and the computers came whirring to life. The screen in front of them said initiate system and Nat typed in yes and made a War Games reference. Ace chuckled but Steve was not amused. A face appeared on the screen and a voice said each of their names and years of birth. It wasn't a recording. Steve recognized him as Dr. Zola a German scientist that worked for the Red Skull when Steve defeated him in 1945.

Zola went on to explain that his mind was uploaded into databanks in the 70s by S.H.I.E.L.D. and that Hydra was very much still a thing. They had been growing inside S.H.I.E.L.D. and secretly pushing their agenda. They had killed Ace's grandparents and Fury to keep hidden. The drive had something to do with an algorithm Zola wrote for Project Insight, but before Zola could tell them what it did the doors in the room closed and there was a missile headed straight for them. Zola had been stalling. They had 30 seconds. 

Steve pulled one of the grates up from the ground, grabbed Ace and Natasha and got in, using his shield to keep the debris from falling on them. When the dust settled Steve pushed the debris from on top of them. Ace and Natasha were both unconscious, but Natasha started to stir as Steve lifted Ace. He carried Ace out and back to the car as Nat followed quickly behind. They managed to make it out without being caught by the S.H.I.E.L.D. planes that were circling. 

Chapter Text

Sam was having a good morning. He had just gone for a good run without some super soldier lapping him, and was about to make a delicious breakfast. Just as he was about to take a swig of his OJ he heard a knock on his front door. He went to answer and there stood Steve, Ace and Natasha. They looked pretty roughed up and explained that they needed a place to lie low as everyone they knew was trying to kill them. Sam of course let them in and told them they could use his bedroom and bathroom to clean up a bit. Ace insisted Steve and Nat go first, she needed to sit for a minute. This left Ace and Sam alone. 

"I should be mad at you." Ace told Sam.

"Why is that?" Sam responded. 

"Well because of you now Steve and the entire team know the legend of the infamous Ace Hardy."

"I didn't know he didn't know."

"I said I should be mad not that I was. I wasn't deliberately hiding it, I just don't talk about it."

"That's understandable."

"I think it's part of the reason I don't want anyone to know about us. People would look at us and think Steve Rogers he's so wholesome and perfect, what is doing with that slutty girl with Daddy issues that got kicked out of the army."

"That's not what they would think. You know a majority of people who have heard that story don't get hung up on the fact that you slept with four guys. They think that you had so much potential and it was lost because some guys got butt hurt that they weren't enough for you."

Ace just smiled. Natasha came out of the room.

"Ace you can go ahead. I'm all set and I think Steve wants to talk to you." She said as she took a seat at the breakfast table. 

Ace got up and went to Sam's room to see Steve. He immediately went to the door when she walked in and helped her to sit on the bed. She didn't need it but he was worried. He closed the door behind and knelt in front of her inspecting for any injuries.

"Are you okay?" He asked her. 

"Babe, I'm fine." she said as she put her hand under his chin and forced him to look at her face.

"I'm so sorry I dragged you into this." 

"Hey don't feel guilty. I'm fine and Nat is fine. We followed you into this and you are the reason we made it out of their alive. In fact I should thank you properly, stand up." 

Steve had a puzzled look on his face. Ace slid from her seat on the bed and was on her knees in front of him. As her hands made their way to the waistband of his pants he put his hands on hers to stop her. In the two years they had been together he had not let Ace give him a blow job. It wasn't really done in the 40s and he thought of it as something demeaning. Ace tried to assure him that it wasn't but he wouldn't listen. 

"Ace, you don't have to."

Ace just looked up at him with hungry eyes. "I want to." she said as she continued pulling his pants down. She grabbed his cock and start stroking it to get it hard. Then her mouth was on him and Steve's eyes rolled to the back of his head. Ace kept her eyes on him as she bobbed her head up and down on his member. She could sense he was getting close pretty quickly but his hand found the back of her head and he pulled her off. 

"Doll, I don't want to cum in your mouth." he explained. 

She stood up and whispered in his ear. "How do you want me Captain?"

"We probably shouldn't mess up Sam's bed."

"Shower?" 

Steve just nodded in response to her question and they made their way to the bathroom, stripping as they went. When they were right outside the shower Steve grabbed Ace and turned her towards him. His lips met hers and they started kissing passionately. He lifted her legs and wrapped them around him so he could carry her into the shower. Once they were in he absentmindedly put the water on, it was a little cold at first but they were unaffected by it. Steve leaned Ace against the wall and with one strong thrust he was inside her fully. Ace moaned at the feeling, she would never get tired of it. 

...

Sam and Natasha were sitting at the breakfast table, enjoying the meal that Sam had made for all of them, when they heard the noises coming from the next room. Sam rolled his eyes as he heard Ace's moans and her screams of yes, fuck me Captain. 

"Are they serious?" Sam asked Natasha. A loud exaggerated moan came from the room and then the noises stopped.

"Sounds like they finished. Well Ace did anyway." Natasha replied. 

A few minutes later Steve and Ace emerged from the room, acting like nothing had happened. Sam and Natasha just looked at them, Sam annoyed and Nat with a knowing grin. 

"Relax we did it in the shower so we wouldn't mess up your bed." Ace said in their defence. 

"Ace!" Steve scolded. 

"What? It's not like they couldn't hear us." 

"Let's just move past this and discuss the matter at hand." Natasha said as Steve and Ace took a seat at the table. 

They realized that Alexander Pierce and Jasper Sitwell were likely part of Hydra. The plan was to kidnap Sitwell and get him to tell them Hydra's plan so they could stop it. Since Steve and Nat were the two most wanted people in Washington, Sam put his hat in the ring to help. Turns out he did a little more than parachute out of planes. Sam and Nat went to get their stuff but Steve kept Ace back. 

"I don't want you coming with us." Steve said to her. 

"Why not?" 

"It's dangerous. Last night was too close a call."

"Steve, I make weapons for a living. I'm not exactly a damsel in distress." 

"I know, but you will be a lot safer here."

"Would you have let Peggy come?"

"Ace, can we not make this about Peggy. I just think that it would be useful to have you here, you can tap into security feeds and make sure everything goes smoothly."

Ace looks at the floor and away from Steve. "Fine. I'll stay. But don't think I didn't notice that you dodged my question."

Steve reaches out and moves her chin so that she is looking at him. "I love you." 

"I love you too." Ace replies. Steve gives her a quick kiss and then heads out the door with Sam and Natasha. 

...

The plan went off without a hitch. Sitwell gave up that Zola's algorithm used people's digital history to determine whether they were a threat to Hydra and then would use the Project Insight helicarriers to eliminate threats a few million at a time. Sam, Natasha, and Steve were taking Sitwell back to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to try to stop the launch. Steve would let Ace know when they got there and she would use the security feeds to help them navigate the building without getting caught. Ace was waiting for the call at Sam's place when there was a loud knocking at the door. 

Ace ignored the knock, she figured whoever it was would think Sam wasn't home and then go away. The knock grew louder and more insistent so she went to take a peak at who it was. She was surprised to see Agent Maria Hill, Fury's right hand, on the other side of the door. Ace opened the door. 

"Hill? What are you doing here?" Ace asked.

"They sent the Winter Soldier after Steve and Natasha. We need to go get them." Hill answered. 

"Well what are we waiting for?" 

...

Ace was sitting in the back of the van Hill had picked her up in, waiting for her to come back with Steve, Natasha, and Sam. Soon the door to the van slid open and the three people Ace was waiting for came through the door. Steve was the first to enter, he grabbed Ace's face and gave her a deep kiss. 

"Are you still mad at me?" he asked her

"A little less so knowing that a quick kidnapping mission turned into a full on fight with a master assassin." she replied. 

"Ace, Bucky is the Winter Soldier."

Ace's eyes widened in shock. She had heard all of Steve's stories about Bucky, she knew how close they were and how much it killed Steve when Bucky fell off the train. Steve was looking away from her so she grabbed his chin and gently turned his head towards her. "Are you okay?"

"I don't know" he said. 

In the meantime Hill had started driving the van and after what felt like a very long time the van came to a stop. They were at a dam in the middle of the woods. Natasha had been shot in the altercation with the Winter Soldier so they all rushed her inside, but before she could see a doctor they were taken to a room. In that room was a hospital bed and in that hospital bed was Nick Fury. 

After all of their initial shock wore off a doctor was brought in to look at Nat's shoulder wound. Fury explained how he had extensive injuries but used a special medicine developed by Dr. Banner to fake his death. Then he and Hill explained their plan. They had created three new targeting blades, one for each carrier. The team would have to get on board the carriers and switch out the existing targeting blades with the new ones. Fury thought that once it was over they could salvage what was left of S.H.I.E.L.D. but Steve knew what had to be done. It all had to go. 

Steve needed some air so he had gone outside. Ace followed him out, worried. She kept her distance at first, watching him as he stood there, staring over the railing of the dam. She knew she was still processing that Bucky was alive and that Hydra was using him as a weapon. She couldn't help herself any longer she walked over and stood next to him sliding her arm around his waist. He put his arm around her shoulders, pulled her close to him and gave her a quick kiss on the top of her head. 

"What are you thinking about?" She asked.

"Bucky followed me home after my mother's funeral. I tried to push him away and tell him that I could get by without him but he said that I didn't have to because he would be with me until the end of the line."

"I really think that part of him still remembers you. A connection that runs that deep is a hard thing to erase. Do me a favour and don't kill yourself trying to get him back."

"I won't." Steve and Ace just looked at each other for a few minutes until Ace caught Sam standing near by.

"I think he wants to talk to you." She gave Steve a comforting kiss and walked away past Sam to go back inside. 

...

After a quick stop at the Smithsonian to get Steve's OG uniform the team made their way to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. Ace stayed behind at Fury's base hacking into the security system to help guide them through. Steve, Sam, and Hill made it to the control room where Steve went over the PA to the whole building and made a rousing speech explaining what was happening. It seem to succeed in getting the agents that weren't Hydra motivated to help them. 

Steve and Sam had managed to successfully replace all three targeting blades while Natasha leaked all of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra's secrets. Steve was cornered by Bucky when placing the last blade. He was unable to clear the carrier before Hill had to arm them to take each other out. Ace watched through Steve's contact lens cam was as long as she could before Bucky punched him in the face taking out the feed. All she could do now was hear as Steve tried as hard as he could to get Bucky to remember him. Ace had to close her computer when she heard the familiar words that broke her heart because she knew what they meant to Steve. 

"Because I'm with you until the end of the line."

... 

Steve was in rough shape when they found him on the river bank. Ace was sitting next to his hospital bed. She had been there all night and so had Sam. She had her head resting on the bed and had dozed off. She woke when she felt a hand caress her hair. She looked up to find Steve's blue eyes looking back at her. She stood to lean over him and started kissing him. 

"I'll give you two a minute." Sam said as he left the room. 

Ace pulled away from the kiss. "I asked for one thing." 

"I'm not dead." Ace just shook her head at his response. "I think he knew me at the end. I thought I saw it in his eyes." 

"He's going to be hard to find. But I know someone who has resources that can help."

"I can't make you go back to Tony." 

"It's not like we have a lot of options. Plus it could be kind of fun to sneak around under his nose for a while." 

"Are you sure?"

"1000 percent." She kissed Steve and climbed on to the hospital bed to lie next to him. They both fell asleep in each other's arms.

Chapter Text

It had been almost a year since the take down of S.H.I.E.L.D. Tony had converted Stark Tower into Avengers tower. A place where the team could be headquartered so they could be ready to face any threat that came their way. Steve and Ace had been living there since they left DC and had somehow managed to keep their relationship a secret from Tony. They spent most of their time in Ace's room as it was sound proofed. Steve would wait for everyone to be in bed and sneak out to spend the night in Ace's room. They would mostly keep their distance in common areas but managed to steal the occasional kiss when no one was around. 

Steve was understanding of Ace's reasons to be sneaking around, but he didn't like it. They had just finished yet another round of love making, Steve was sitting up in bed  watching Ace with a smile as she came back from the bathroom wearing nothing but his t-shirt. She got on the bed and crawled toward him giving him a soft kiss before joining him under the covers. She sat next to him and slid into her favourite spot, head on his chest with his arm around her. This is the moment Steve chose to bring up his concerns. 

"Ace, we've been living here for almost a year, we've been dating for three years, I think it might be time to tell Tony."

"Steve, I don't think that's a good idea." 

"The longer you go without telling him the more upset he's going to be." 

"I know you think you guys are friends but his jealousy for you runs deep. Once he finds out that not only did his father like you better but his daughter does too he's going to flip out. Yes, there was a time in my life where I strived for that reaction but I'm past that now."

"We're all under the same roof Ace he is going to find out eventually. I miss being able to cuddle with you on the couch or kiss you in the kitchen." 

"Even if we do tell him I don't think we are going to be able to do what we used to do in the kitchen." 

"I'm being serious Ace."

"I know. I miss being out in the open with you too. I'm just not ready, but I promise I will think about it and give a timeline." 

"That's all I ask." Steve said and gave her a kiss. "We have a mission tomorrow, we should get some sleep."

Ace nodded and Steve turned the bedside lamp of before they both shifted to lying down. He wrapped both arms around her pulling her in close and kissing the top of her head. They both drifted off to sleep.

...

Ace woke up to find her bed empty. She was disappointed for a moment that Steve wouldn't wake her up before he left until she saw Captain America emerge from her bathroom in his full uniform. 

"I thought you left without saying goodbye."

"I would never" he said as he leaned on the bed to give her a kiss. She held his face to keep him from getting to far.

"You look really good in the uniform, Captain." She said seductively. The way she said Captain always made his dick twitch in his pants. 

"Ace we have to meet everyone in the kitchen soon for the briefing before the mission." Steve was losing the battle, Ace was starting to lie back in the bed and pulling him to come with her.

"Baby I'm so wet for you already, it will be so fast. Then I can focus on the mission instead of thinking about how good you feel so deep inside of me." Ace let out a moan at her own words. That was all it took to convince Steve. He was pulling his hard cock out of his tact pants and taking the blankets off of Ace exposing her naked body. 

"On your knees." Steve said his Captain America giving orders voice. The tone sent a flood to Ace's core and before she could eve think about she was on all fours in front of him desperate for him to fill her up. She didn't have to wait long. He grabbed her hips and with one quick thrust he was in. He continued thrusting hard and fast just the way he knew she liked it. After three years together he knew exactly how to get her where she needed to be. He reached down and started rubbing her clit between his fingers. 

Soon Ace was screaming out his name as she hit her peak with Steve following quickly after. They were both still coming down from their high when there was a loud banging on the door. 

"Rogers get your dick out of my daughter and open this door right now!" Tony yelled on the other side of the door.

...

While Ace and Steve were enjoying their morning, Tony, Natasha, Clint, Bruce, and Thor were in the kitchen having breakfast. They were all suited up except for Tony, ready to head out on mission after the briefing. 

"It's not like Cap to not be early for a briefing, and where's Ace, I swear that girl has a sixth sense when it comes to pancakes." Tony asks. Natasha and Clint exchanged a knowing look, Nat had told Clint about Steve and Ace's relationship. 

"Ace left the lab pretty late last night she's probably still asleep. It is weird that Cap isn't down here though." Bruce replied. "Maybe he is getting a work out in as like a warm up."

"I think he's getting a work out alright." Clint whispered to Nat and they both struggled to hold in their giggles. 

"Jarvis, where is Captain Rogers?" Tony asked the AI. 

"Captain Rogers is currently in Miss Stark's room." Jarvis replied. 

Tony and Bruce looked puzzled. Nat and Clint were worried. Thor was still eating pancakes oblivious to what was going on. 

"Get me the intercom for Ace's room."

"Miss Stark has disabled the intercom function sir." 

"I'm overriding that. Get me her intercom but mute my end." 

Jarvis connected to Ace's intercom. All that could be heard in the room was her screaming "Oh God, yes, fuck me Captain." 

Tony looked horrified. "Stop Jarvis. I've heard enough." The sound of Ace and Steve's bedroom activities cut off and everyone was just silent. Tony just stood for a few minutes and let it all sink in. He ran out of the kitchen towards Ace's room. When he got there he started banging on the door and yelling for Steve and Ace to come out. The door opened slightly and Ace popped her head out.

"Hey Tony. What's up?" She said casually. 

"Where is Rogers?" Tony replied angrily.

"He's not downstairs with you?"

"Ace I'm not in the mood."

Steve came up behind her and opened the door up more. "Babe, he knows, let's just face it." Steve said trying to calm the situation. 

"How long have you been fucking my daughter Rogers?"

"He doesn't like that term." Ace interjected.  

Tony shot Ace a serious look. He was only ever serious when he was really angry. "How long." he repeated sternly. 

"Since the battle of New York." Steve answered. 

"Three years. You have been lying to me for three years."

"Lying is a strong word. We simply did not tell you that we were together." Ace corrected

"Tony, this isn't just sex. I'm in love with your daughter." Steve added. 

"You know what. I'm just going to need a minute to process this. We have a sceptre to retrieve. Ace get dressed and get to your computer. Rogers, kitchen in five." With that Tony left. Ace and Steve just stood there for a few minutes. 

"Well I guess he knows." Steve said. He gave Ace a quick kiss and left her just standing there as he made his way to the kitchen. 

...

For the past year the Avengers had been taking out Hydra bases around the world. Their current mission brought them to Sokovia. The base here had more technologically advanced defences which lead them to believe that Loki's sceptre was there. Ace was on man in the chair duty again keeping an eye on things through both Iron Man and Captain America's helmet cams.

The mission was a success but their were a few hiccups worth noting. First is that Tony said shit to which Steve replied language. This prompted a comment from Clint akin to "You weren't scolding Ace for her language this morning Cap." making things significantly awkward for Tony, Steve, and Ace. Two Enhanced individuals made themselves known. One with super speed and another with mind control abilities which resulted in Clint getting injured. 

Ace stood on the landing pad next to Agent Hill and Dr. Cho. When the Quinjet landed they rushed Clint out on a stretcher and Dr. Cho followed. Agent Hill boarded the jet to start briefing Steve on what she found out about the Enhanced. Ace stayed where she was. Hill and Steve were walking off the jet as they were having their discussion. Steve took a pause to give Ace a quick kiss as he was walking by. He and Hill continued but Ace stayed where she was. She was waiting for Tony. 

"So, are you ready to talk about this morning?" She asked him as he left the jet. 

"Fine. Talk." He stopped and stood there waiting for Ace to say something. 

"I knew you would be mad. There was a time where that would be the exact reaction I wanted but this wasn't about that."

"So you thought lying to me for three years would make me less mad." Ace opened her mouth to speak but Tony cut her off. "And don't you say you just didn't tell me because that's just a cop out and you know it."

"Maybe if you asked me about my personal life once in the last three years I would have told you."

"Daughters typically share big life events with their fathers."

"What did you want me to do text you? 'Hey Tony, I just fucked Captain America, what's new with you?'"

"I can't talk to you when you are like this." Tony starts to walk away but stops and turns around to tell her something else. "Also you aren't working on the sceptre with Banner and I."

"Excuse me. What." Ace was furious. 

"You pulled rank last time, I'm doing it this time. And I know your boyfriend technically outranks me but he defers to me on these matters. So don't think you can suck his dick to get into my lab." 

With that Tony left. Ace just stood there, so angry she couldn't speak,  until she found the words. "Pepper, Happy and Rhodey all knew and didn't tell you either."

...

Ace had made her way to the lab where Dr. Cho was working on Clint. Nat was the only one in there with them, Ace sat next to her, not saying anything. 

"I'm going to be fine. In case you were concerned." Clint said to Ace.

"Not in the mood Barton. Is it too early in the day for margaritas?" Ace asked. 

"It is when you have to work. Shouldn't you studying the sceptre with Bruce and Tony?" Nat asked. 

"Nope." Ace said with an exaggerated pop on the p.

"He's that mad at you about Steve?" Clint asked. 

"I guess. I'll go talk to him tomorrow. He'll either be over it or realize that he needs me, and either way he will let me in on the sceptre."

"You're still going to go make margaritas though?" Nat said.

"Yup." Ace said and stood up from he chair. She walked over to Clint and gave him a high five. "I just had to make sure this idiot didn't die." 

Nat and Clint both said goodbye to Ace as she left the lab to go down in the kitchen. She was running the blender when Steve came in. 

"A little early for margaritas isn't it." he asked. 

"It's always five o'clock in Margaritaville." she responded.

He leaned back on the counter next to where she was blending. He put his hand on hers and pulled her gently towards him. He wrapped his arms around her waist and she wrapped hers around his neck. 

"I take it your talk with Tony didn't go well." 

"I'd rather not talk about it." 

"There is a silver lining to this whole thing though."

"Oh really."

Steve leans closer to whisper in her ear. "I have my arms around you in the kitchen." 

Ace gives a little shocked gasp. "Captain Rogers this is absolutely scandalous." 

"You haven't seen anything yet." Steve leans in and kisses her. The kiss turns heated quickly and they are making out in the kitchen when Thor walks in. 

"Well if it isn't the love birds." Thor says in his booming voice causing Ace and Steve to pull apart. "No need to stop on my account. Your love making sounded rather spirited this morning. If I wasn't with Jane I would ask to join you."

Ace perked up at Thor's suggestion. She looked at Steve intrigued. 

"No." was all Steve said to her. 

...

The next morning Ace walked into the lab but Tony intercepted and stopped her before she could make it too far inside. 

"I'm sorry but you are not authorized to be in here." he said. 

"You're still on this." she replied 

"You can't be trusted." 

"What! Bruce, tell him he's being ridiculous." 

"I am staying so far out of this." Bruce responded. 

"Run along. Take a few days off. Relax. Hang out with your boyfriend. We have everything under control in here."

"Fine." Ace said. She left the lab but her anger was quickly replaced with suspicion. It wasn't like Tony to keep her out of things. He must be up to something. 

That night Ace tossed and turned and couldn't get to sleep. This caused Steve to wake up. Her back was to him but he reached out to pull her closer so they were spooning. He gave her a quick kiss on the top of the head. 

"Are you still upset that Tony isn't letting you help with the sceptre?" he asked. 

Ace turned over to face him. "I'm not upset I'm worried. He's never not told me what he was working on before." she replied. 

"Ace there is nothing to worry about. He's just studying the sceptre."

Ace was deep in thought and not really listening. "The only thing that's different is me being with you." she thought out loud.

"What does that have to do with what he's working on?"

"He's not letting me in because he's working on something he doesn't want you to know about."

"Ace, Tony wouldn't keep something from the team like that."

"You realize this is Tony Stark we are talking about not Fat Tony who sells pizza in Brooklyn."

"Still he has three days with the sceptre, what could he possibly do with that little time?"

"I feel like you are going to regret saying that."

"I'll go talk to him tomorrow, tell him we don't talk about science things and he will let you in the lab."

"No don't do that. He made some crack about sucking your dick to get into his lab and I just really don't need to open up the sexual favours door."

Steve shifts so that Ace is on her back underneath him. "That doesn't sound like a bad door." he says before starting a trail of kisses down her body and proceeding to do things to make her forget all her worries. 

...

Tony's party is in full swing. Ace didn't know who half the people at the party were, but she spotted a familiar face chatting with her boyfriend. Steve had just finished telling Sam about the most recent mission when Ace made her way over to them. She wrapped her arm around Steve's waist and gave him a quick peck. 

"There you are baby." she said before turning to Sam. "Hey Sam long time no see."

"Baby? Kissing in public? Is the cat out f the bag?" Sam asked. 

"Tony turned on the intercom in her room while we were indisposed. The whole team heard." Steve replied.

"Did you say fuck me Captain?" 

"Language. And yes I did." Ace said. 

"Yikes, that's rough. At least you guys are out in the open though."

"True. Now I can do things like dance with my boyfriend at a party." Ace said grabbing Steve's hand and dancing a bit.

"I don't dance Ace." 

"Please Steve." she begged with her best puppy dog eyes.

"No." he said flatly. 

Ace stopped pressing and there was an awkward silence for a moment before Sam stepped in. "I'll take you for a spin around the dance floor. If it is okay with the Captain."

"Fine by me." Steve said. Sam grabbed Ace's hand and lead her to the dance floor. It was a slow song. Sam had his hand on Ace's waist as she had her hand on his shoulder. They started swaying along with the music.

"Steve seemed pretty adamant about not wanting to dance."

"He's not very good at. You know Steve, he's a perfectionist. Has to be good at everything." Ace answered but she knew that wasn't the truth. She had put together the reason Steve wouldn't dance with her a little over a year ago. She let her curiosity about Peggy get the best of her and went to the home where she was living. Ace lied and said she was a relative of hers. Peggy was sleeping when she got there so Ace never got to talk to her but she did have a chat with the nurses. They said that every time she would forget and recognize Steve again he would reply with the same thing, that he owed his best girl a dance. It was then that Ace realized that he wouldn't dance with her because he was saving his next dance for Peggy. 

...

The party wound down and all that was left was the team, Dr. Cho, Rhodey and Hill. Clint was giving Thor shit about his hammer and it being a trick that he was the only one who could lift it. This prompted all the guys to take turns trying to lift the hammer. Ace swore she saw the hammer move when Steve tried but he still couldn't lift it. Thor explained that it was because none of them were worthy and that is when a voice came from behind them. A very rough version of one of Tony's suits came out of the shadows. Steve made sure Ace was behind him he could sense trouble. The suit explained that he was Ultron and that Tony created him to be a peacekeeping program. 

Then a few of Tony's Iron Legion robots came through the wall and attacked. One of them got away with the sceptre. Steve grabbed Ace and hid her in a corner of the room before joining the others to fight the robots. Eventually the team managed to destroy the rest of the robots and Ultron explained how he was going to achieve peace by making the Avengers extinct. Thor threw his hammer at Ultron destroying the robot but they all knew it wasn't over. 

They all went to the lab while Thor went after the robot that had the sceptre.Bruce discovered that Ultron had wiped all their files and escaped through the internet. Tony discovered that he had killed Jarvis. That's when Thor returned and grabbed Tony by the throat. Steve managed to deescalate the situation. That's when Tony went on his rant about the battle of New York and how they needed something to protect them from threats in space. Steve responded by saying that they would fight any threat that came along together and if they lost they would do that together too. 

The plan was that they needed to find Ultron so everyone started to go their separate ways to do their thing. Steve walked over to Ace who had just been standing in the corner listening. 

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"Physically? Yes." she replied.

"You can say I told you so now." 

"I don't want to." 

"Can I ask you something? If we weren't together, and Tony told you his plan, would you have helped him?"

"I don't know."

...

The next day a clue to Ultron's whereabouts fell into place. He had killed Strucker leading the team to believe that Strucker knew something that Ultron didn't want them to find out. Ultron had erased all the digital files on Strucker but luckily there were paper copies. Tony recognized a black market arms dealer named Ulysses Klaue. In the photos Thor noticed a brand on Klaue's neck, Bruce did a search and identified it as a Wakandan symbol for thief. Wakanda could only mean one thing. Ultron was after vibranium. 

The team made it to Klaue's ship just in time to intercept Ultron. Of course Ultron took exception and a fight broke out. Ace had insisted on coming with them and was in the Quinjet with Bruce watching Cap and Iron Man's feeds and listening on comms to see if they needed a code green. When the fight started Ace was getting feedback and couldn't hear or see the feeds anymore. Bruce started to make his way outside the jet to see if he could see anything. 

Ace looked out the door of the jet but Bruce was gone. Suddenly she was face to face with Wanda Maximoff one of the enhanced. The next thing Ace knew she saw a flash of red and she was somewhere else. She was on a quiet little suburban street in front of a house. In the window she could see a couple dancing. She made her way towards the house. She stepped on to the porch so she could get a closer look at the couple through the big bay window. The couple was Steve and Peggy. They were dancing to one of the 40s songs that Ace hated, Peggy had her head on Steve's chest and he was looking at her like she was the only girl in the world. Ace started banging on the window.

"Steve!" she shouted again and again continuing to bang on the window but the couple didn't react. Then she heard a voice behind her.

"He never loved you." the familiar voice said. She turned around to see it was Tony. 

"He does love me he told me." Ace said holding back her tears. 

"He lied. Nobody loves you Ace. You're all alone." Tony said and everything went black.  

Chapter Text

Ace came to cradled in Steve's arms. Everyone was back on the jet and it was in the air with Clint driving. Everyone was a little worse for wear. 

"Are you okay?" Steve asked as he moved a strand of hair from her face. 

"Yeah, Wanda got to me." she replied.

"She got to a lot of us."

"Are we heading back to the tower?" 

"No. Hill said we are taking a lot of heat. Clint's taking us to a safe house."

"Okay" Ace said as she nuzzled her head against Steve's chest. Steve just held her tighter. She felt safe in his arms and soon drifted off to sleep. 

...

Clint landed the Quinjet in the middle of nowhere near a farm house. The team got off the jet and Clint lead the way into the house. Ace was still a little shaken so Steve helped her make it to the house. When they got inside Clint called out to someone and a pregnant woman rounded the corner. He introduced her as his wife Laura. Then two kids come running around the corner asking for Auntie Nat. Natasha starts playing with the kids. It was a weird sight seeing her being domestic but Ace liked it. She had been so shaken up by what Wanda had made her see, it was good to see her smile. 

Steve was just standing there looking like he didn't know what to do with himself. Clint's little girl Lila had come up to Ace and started grabbing her by the hand to play with her. Ace happily obliged but got distracted when Thor ran out of the house and Steve followed. Ace got to the door right after Thor flew off. Steve had turned to come back in the house but froze for a moment and turned around and started walking toward the barn. Ace chased after him. 

"Steve?" she called to him. He stopped to let her catch up. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. Just still a little shaken up."

"Are you sure?"

"Do you want all this?"

"All of what?"

"What Clint has. Wife, kids, farmhouse."

"Well I experimented a little in college but I don't think I could have a wife. I love dick too much." 

"Ace, I'm being serious."

Ace takes a minute before she speaks. "Steve what did you see?"

"Someone telling me the war was over and that we could go home. I don't know what home even looks like anymore."

"As a kid who never really had a place that felt like home I learned that a home isn't a house, it's the people you are with."

"Is Tony your home?"

"I honestly don't know, but I'm 1000 percent sure that you are. We could live in a farmhouse like this one and have a gaggle of kids, we could stay at the tower and you can keep going on missions, or we could live in the middle of the jungle. It doesn't matter to me. As long as I have you it will be home."

Steve leans in and gives her a soft kiss. "What did you see?"  he asked. 

Ace took a deep breath, thinking about how much to tell him of what she saw. "I was all alone." Technically that wasn't a lie, she just left out the details.

Steve pulled Ace towards him in a hug. He gave her a kiss on the top of her head and whispered to her. "I won't leave you alone. I promise." 

...

Steve was chopping wood, so Ace made her way back into the house. Laura was starting dinner.

"Is there anything I can help you with?" Ace asked. 

"Yeah, did you want to chop some peppers?" Laura replied. 

"Sure." Ace grabbed a the cutting board and knife Laura had laid out and started chopping. From where she was she could see Steve chopping wood in the yard, it was quite the view. 

"You are not what I expected Tony Stark's daughter to be like." 

"What were expecting? Cheesy one-liners and a giant ego? Clearly you haven't spent enough time with me." 

"Clint has told me stories. He doesn't think you and Tony are as alike as you think you are. What you and Steve have is sweet, too. I saw you guys talking outside earlier. It looks like he really loves you."

"I'd like to think so." Since Steve was mentioned Ace looked up from the peppers to look at him. She saw Tony walking up to cut wood next to him and knew it wouldn't end well. "You are going to have to excuse me Laura. My boyfriend and my father look like they are about to have a conversation with axes in their hands. I'm going to need to go shut that down." 

Ace went outside just as Steve got so mad at Tony he ripped a log in half with his bare hands. Ace didn't hear what they were talking about, so she thought she would say something that might lighten the mood. "Alright you guys I'll settle this. I'm not going to tell you how I know, but Steve is bigger." she said.

"Ace, stay out of this." Tony snapped. 

"Don't you talk to her like that." Steve defended. 

"I'm her father, I'll talk to her how I want." With that Tony got right up in Steve's face. That's when Ace had to physically step in. She got between the two and pushed them apart. 

"That is enough. Ultron's goal is to tear the team apart and from the looks of it you two are helping him succeed." Ace scolded the two men. 

Tony scoffed. "You started this before Ultron even entered the picture."

"Are you still mad about Steve?"

"Of course I am. You want to talk things that your teammates don't share with you Rogers. How about how you didn't tell me you were screwing my daughter."

"Falling in love with your daughter didn't create a robot that wants to wipe out human life." Steve rebutted. 

"It doesn't matter to you does it, that he loves me. You can't be happy that I'm happy. That he gave me the family that you never did." Ace said.

"I gave you everything." Tony replied.

"I didn't ask for it. I didn't need fancy boarding schools, or MIT, or to live in some extravagant house in Malibu. I needed a dad." 

With that Tony was speechless. Mercifully Laura came over to ask Tony if he could look at their tractor. Tony went to the barn. Ace just stood there. Steve came over and wrapped his arms around her. "Are you okay?" he asked. 

"No." she replied.

...

Somehow Nick Fury had made his way to the farm house. He had given his usual pep talk and they had all come up with a plan. Steve would take Natasha and Clint to see what Ultron was doing with Helen Cho. Fury would take Bruce back to the tower and plan something with Hill. Ace and Tony would head to the Nexus in Oslo to see if they could find out who kept changing the nuclear codes to keep them away from Ultron. 

Steve was suited up and getting ready to leave when Ace came over to say goodbye. "You better be careful out there, I'm not going to be watching your back." she said. 

"I'm always careful." he said as he pulled her towards him with his hands on her hips. 

"Can I tell you something?" 

"Always."

She stood on her tippy toes so she could whisper in his ear. "When you ripped that log in half earlier, it was the sexiest thing I have ever seen. As soon as I get you alone I am going to do unspeakably dirty things to you. Just in case you need extra incentive to come back in one piece." She went back to her original position. She pulled her flush against him and crashed his lips into hers. 

They continued to kiss passionately until Tony came over and cleared his throat. They reluctantly pulled apart to look at him. "If you two ever want me to be okay with this, you need to never do that in front of me again." Tony said. 

Steve gave Ace one last quick kiss before heading out the door and to the Quinjet. 

... 

Tony and Ace were on the Stark jet headed to Norway. The had spent the first hour in awkward silence. Tony had finally had enough he was never one for silence. 

"I'm sorry." he said.

"For what." Ace said, clearly skeptical of his sincerity. 

"Not letting you help with Ultron." 

"I don't believe you."

"I don't know why I ever bother apologizing to you."

"Tony, I know you meant well with this whole thing, but you didn't tell me because you knew I would tell Steve. You didn't want Steve to know because you knew he would try to stop you. And you knew that if Steve didn't approve that it likely wasn't the right thing to do."

"Since when is Captain Steve Rogers the authority on right and wrong."

"Since always. The man is perfect it is infuriating half of the time but it's true."

"I guess your right. I mean he doesn't even swear."

"Oh he swears." 

"Do I want to know when?"

"No you really don't" Ace took a pause before she continued. "I'm sorry for not telling you about Steve. I told everyone that it was because I didn't want you to make it all about you, but I think the real reason was that I didn't want to be a bigger disappointment to you than I already was."

Tony took a long pause. "Apology accepted." was all he said.

...

Ace and Tony found who was blocking Ultron from getting the nuclear codes and were back at the tower. Clint arrived with Dr. Cho's cradle and without Steve or Nat. Clint assured Ace that Steve was safe and had found another way back. Nat however had been taken by Ultron. Tony had an idea that Nat might have left an old school spy message for Clint that Ultron wouldn't be able to see. Clint went off to see if he could find something. This left Tony, Ace, and Bruce alone with the cradle. 

Once Clint was gone Tony revealed to Bruce that it was Jarvis that was protecting the nuclear codes. Tony asked Bruce to help him put Jarvis into the body Ultron had built. Tony laid out his whole thought process and Bruce just looked at Ace. 

"Don't look at me. I want no part of this." Ace said. 

Tony somehow convinced Bruce to go along with his plan. Ace knew for the sake of her relationship she couldn't be in that lab anymore so she left and waited for Steve. When he finally arrived she ran up to him and leapt into his arms. 

"You are never going on a mission without me watching your feed again." Ace said to him. 

"I missed you too doll." Steve replied as he set her down on the ground. "How are Tony and Bruce making out with the cradle?"

"I'm going to let you go in there. I just want you to know that I had nothing to do with it." 

Steve had a hunch that he knew what was happening based on Ace's response. He went straight to the lab followed by Ace and the Maximoffs, who he had brought with him. He told Tony to shut it down but Tony refused. Bruce was angry Steve had brought the Maximoffs, he wasn't found of Wanda since his Hulk episode. The room descended into chaos as they argued about what was going on. Pietro used his speed to unplug the machines and all hell really broke loose. Steve moved Ace to the corner as everyone started fighting each other. 

Then out of nowhere Thor flew in and jumped on the cradle. He used the lightning from his hammer and zapped the cradle. The cradle exploded and a red man came out of it. The man lunged at Thor but Thor threw him from the lab to the living room. The man almost hit the window but stopped himself and was floating, looking out the window as everyone made their way to living to see what was going on. 

The Vision, as they decided to call the man, apologized for lashing out. Thor had a vision of the gem in Vision's head and explained that it was something called an infinity stone. Everyone was still on edge and didn't know whether to trust Vision or not, even though he said that Ultron needed to be destroyed. Then Vision picked up Thor's hammer and handed to him. Everyone just looked at Vision shocked. Vision left the room and Steve gave everyone a three minute warning. The plan was to head to Sokovia. Nat had sent a message to Clint that she was there with Ultron. 

While everyone else scattered Steve turned to Ace. "What I had in mind might take longer than three minutes." Ace said to him with a smile.

Steve didn't return the smile, he had something on his mind. "Ace, did you help Tony put Jarvis in that thing?" he asked.

"Of course not." she responded and took a deep breath. "Steve you're about to go fight a robot that lives in the internet and wants to see human life extinct. There is a chance you don't come back from that. I don't want to fight about Tony right now." 

Steve pulled her into his arms and kissed the top of her head. "You're right, but I promised I wouldn't leave you alone and I'm going to do everything in my power to keep that promise." He put his hand under her chin to guide her to look at him. "I love you Ace Stark."

"I love you Steve Rogers." She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him like it was going to be the last time. 

...

The Avengers were successful once again. They managed to defeat Ultron with minimal civilian casualties but it wasn't perfect. Pietro sacrificed himself to save Clint and a small child. The Hulk flew away on a Quinjet in stealth mode and they were unable to find him.

Tony had built a new Avengers facility upstate, Ace and Steve planned to stay there. Tony decided to take a step back from the Avengers for now and stay with Pepper in New York. 

Tony and Steve were saying goodbye to Thor when Ace made her way across the lawn. The bifrost had zapped him away and Tony and Steve were standing by Tony's car when Ace got to them. "I will miss you Tony" she heard Steve say when she got there. 

"I won't" she said. 

"You stay out of trouble." Tony said to Ace. 

"I would say I'll try but Steve's been telling me not to lie." she replied as she wrapped her arms around Steve's waist.

"Yeah I will never get used to this." Tony said gesturing at the couple before getting in the car. He waved as he drove off. 

"I finally have you alone Captain Rogers. I believe there was some talk of unspeakably dirty things." 

"Tonight. Right now I have new recruits to train."

Chapter Text

"Oh God yes! Fuck me Captain" Ace screamed out in pleasure. Steve was thrusting up as she was grinding down on top of him. He sat up without losing his stride and wrapped his arms around her as their lips met in a heated kiss. He pulled her closer to him and flipped her on to her back. He kept driving into her hitting the perfect spot until she hit her peak and he followed soon after.

Spent, Steve pulled out and lay next to Ace on his back. They were both panting as they slowly came down from their high. Ace looked over at Steve, she had had something on her mind for a while and thought now was as good a time as any to bring it up. "I want to come on missions with you." Ace blurted. It had been a year since Steve and Ace had moved to the Avengers compound so that Steve and Nat could train Wanda and Sam to go on missions with them. 

"What?" Steve asked. Confused by Ace's statement as he couldn't really process anything in his state of bliss. 

"Nat has been training me in hand to hand combat and I want to start coming on missions." 

"Ace, did you purposefully wait until right after we had sex to talk to me about this?"

"Is it why I had sex with you? Of course not. Did I see the opportunity and take it? Yes I did."

"I think you are capable of anything, but I can't have you on missions. It would be too distracting."

"You're saying that Captain America wouldn't be able to tear his eyes away from my ass long enough to save the world?"

"I'm saying that I would be too worried about you being in danger that I wouldn't be able to focus on the task at hand. Plus if you are on missions with us who is going to watch our backs on video feeds."

Ace sighed. "You're right. Plus you're more of a boob man." Steve chuckled at her comment and she started to get out of the bed. "I'm going to get cleaned up you should get some sleep. You have a big mission tomorrow."

Ace started to make her way to their ensuite bathroom. "Ace." Steve said and she stopped and turned to him. "Are we okay?" 

"Of course we are. I love you Steve Rogers."

"I love you Ace Stark." Ace continued toward the bathroom. She was thankful she had an excuse to leave the room. She didn't want Steve to see the look of disappointment on her face. 

...

Ace was on the hangar running one last systems check on Red Wing before Sam, Steve, Nat, and Wanda got on the Quinjet to head to Lagos. They had been tracking Brock Rumlow since his reappearance 6 months ago and they finally got a lead that looked promising. Nat came up beside Ace as she worked. 

"So, did you ask him?" Nat asked. 

"Yup" Ace replied. 

"Are you coming with us today?"

"Nope. I'm a distraction."

"You asked him after sex right?"

"Yes, I did." 

"Maybe you aren't as good in bed as you thought you were."

"Bite your tongue. If anything I'm too good in bed. He made valid points. I need to be here to watch the feeds and fix your toys." Ace said gesturing to the drone she had built for Sam. 

"Make our toys." Natasha corrected her.

Ace finished her diagnostic on Red Wing and put it back in position on Sam's wings. The team started to arrive at the hangar, said their goodbye's to Ace and boarded the Quinjet for the mission. 

...

Everyone was in position for the mission. Nat and Wanda were eating sitting at a cafe across the street from the police station they thought Rumlow would hit. Sam was on the roof of a nearby building and Steve was looking out the windows of a hotel room down the street. Ace had hacked into local security feeds and was monitoring the area. Sam, Steve, Nat, and Wanda discussed their assessment of the situation. Steve made it clear that he didn't want to lose Rumlow to which Sam replied "If he sees us coming that won't be a problem. He kind of hates us."

"Hates you. I'm pretty sure he still wants to fuck me." Ace interjected. 

"Ace!" Steve scolded.

"Sorry, wants to have sex with me." Ace corrected her language. 

"Are you mad about last night?" Steve asked.

"What happened last night?" Sam pried. 

"Nothing." Steve and Ace snapped in unison. 

Steve pointed out a garbage truck that looked out of place to get everyone's focus back to the task at hand. Sam used Red Wing to check out the truck. It was loaded for max weight and the driver was armed. Rumlow wasn't hitting the police like they had thought he was, he was hitting the Institute for Infectious Disease. The truck slammed through the gate and the team leapt into action. 

Nat and Sam managed to secure the biological weapon, while Steve had cornered Rumlow in a highly populated area. Rumlow started talking about Bucky and Steve lost focus not noticing the bomb he had strapped to him. Rumlow hit the detonator but luckily Wanda was their to contain the blast. She tried to guide it away but it ended up hitting the upper floors of a nearby building causing major damage. 

The team returned to the compound a little worse for wear. It was never a good outcome when civilian lives were lost. Ace could see that Steve was taking it hard, he always blamed himself whenever anything went wrong on a mission. Everyone else had left the hangar but Steve was hanging around fiddling with things. Ace walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist. "Penny for your thoughts." she said. 

"Our talk last night got me thinking. If you had come with us, you probably would have gotten hurt too." Steve replied.

"Or I could have helped."

Steve turned around to face her. "Ace, Rumlow knows who you are. He was coming after me, as soon as he spotted you, you would've been his target." 

"I hate it when you're right."

"I know you're upset about it. We've been together for four years, I know when you're mad at me." 

"I'm not mad. I can't be mad, you're argument is completely valid. I'm just ..." Ace was searching for the right word.

"You hate it when I'm right." Steve finished her thought. 

"Exactly. You're always right. You're Captain freaking America."

"And you are Ace Stark. You are the smartest and scrappiest woman I know. I have no doubt that you would be able to handle yourself out there. It's me I'm worried about. I froze today when Rumlow mentioned Bucky. What would happen if I was constantly looking over my shoulder making sure you are okay." He moves closer to her and holds her face in his hands. "I can't lose you Ace."

"I'm not going anywhere."

....

A month after the incident in Lagos and the press was still talking about it incessantly. Ace was standing at the door of Steve's office watching him as he watched the latest news cast. 

"I love how they have completely ignored the fact that if the bomb had gone off on the ground way more people would have died." Ace said as she made her way into the office and sat on the desk. "You need to stop watching that. You've beaten yourself up enough. The serum may have made you super human but you're still human."

Steve stopped the newscast on his computer. They could still hear a news cast coming from another room, Wanda's room. "I'll go talk to her." Steve said and he went to talk to Wanda. Ace stood a little ways away and watched him, he was being very paternal. Vision came over to Ace. 

"Hello Miss Stark." he greeted her.

"I will never get used to Jarvis's voice coming out of you." Ace paused for a moment as she had a thought. "Do you have Jarvis's memory? Because I'm pretty sure the microphones and cameras he used caught me doing some really inappropriate things over the years."

"Best not to talk about it." Vision replied.

Ace just nodded. Friday came over the speaker in the common area announcing the arrival of Mr. Stark and Secretary Ross. Vision phased through the wall of Wanda's room to alert Steve and Wanda of the arrival. Soon the entire team was sat at the conference table listening to the Secretary of State give his little speech. 

He showed them videos of the destruction they had caused in New York, Washington, and Lagos. He went on to present the Sokovia Accords. The Accords stated that the Avengers would operate under the supervision of a United Nations panel. Ace could see on Steve's face that he was not on board and frankly neither was she. Secretary Ross explained that the UN was meeting in three days to ratify the Accords and that the options were sign the Accords or retire. Ross left leaving the team to discuss. 

And discuss they did. They had moved the discussion into the living room. Rhodey and Sam were arguing and Tony was sitting on the couch with his head in his hands. Ace was sitting next to him across from Steve who was quietly reading the document Ross had left behind. That's when Vision started to speak and everyone listened. He explained that since Tony announced himself as Iron Man more enhanced individuals have appeared and more potentially world ending events have occurred. He concluded that they couldn't just quickly dismiss the idea of oversight. 

Natasha pointed out that Tony was being weirdly quiet to which Steve responded that it was because he had already made up his mind. That's when Tony showed them the picture of Charles Spencer. He told a delightful story about a kid with great potential who was trying to do good in Sokovia when he became collateral damage. Ace was sad for the kid but she thought there was something off about the story. 

"Tony, who is this kid?" she asked. 

"I just told you." Tony replied. 

"No I mean who is he to you. Where did you hear this woeful tale?" 

"His mother works for the state department. She found me at my September Foundation presentation at MIT."

"The same state department that is run by the man who came in here to try to convince us to sign this thing. That is awfully convenient isn't it? You know one of the best ways to spread propaganda is to tell a story about one person that people can relate to. I'm really sorry about what happened to that kid but you did everything you could in Sokovia to avoid civilian casualties. Whether some panel sends you guys there or you decide to go yourselves the same thing is going to happen. I don't see how this solves the problem." Ace explained.

Tony replied by saying that they needed to be put in check and that if they don't accept limits they are no better than the bad guys. Steve responded by saying that what they needed to do was accept responsibility that the Accords just shift the blame. Rhodey thought that he was being arrogant that it is being run by the UN not a corrupt organization. Steve said that it is still run by people who have agendas and agendas change. Then Tony came back with his change in agenda shutting down the weapons division of Stark Industries. Steve just put it back on Tony that he made the choice to shut down and this document took away their choice. Tony came back with the argument that if they don't agree to this that the government may force their hand and that won't be pretty. Natasha agreed and the group kept talking. Ace was quiet and just looking at Steve. She could see the internal struggle knowing that signing the Accords was wrong but not wanting to lose the team. Then his phone buzzed, he took it out of his pocket and his face fell. He abruptly said I have to go, got up and walked away. 

Concerned, Ace followed him. He had gone into the stairwell. Ace found him leaning against the railing on the bottom stair with his head in his hands almost in tears. She slowly made her way over to him. She took his hands away from his face and replaced them with her own, forcing him to look at her. 

"What happened?" she asked.

"Peggy's gone." he said. Ace didn't know what to feel. She wasn't Peggy's biggest fan but she hated seeing Steve upset. "I know you're probably mad..." he continued but Ace cut him off. 

"You think I'm mad that you are upset about Peggy? Steve what kind of monster do you think I am. Regardless of who she was to you back then she was still the last piece of your old life that you had left. I know how much losing her hurts you. If your hurting I want to be here for you." 

With that he pulled her in for a heated kiss. They continued making out and Steve's hands made their way down Ace's body to lift her. She wrapped her legs around his waist as her moved into the corner of the stairwell so she had her back against the wall. When his hand was starting to make it's way under her skirt she stopped him. "Steve. Everyone is just up those stairs. Are you sure you want to do this?" she asked him concerned by his unusual recklessness. 

"I just want to feel good. I just want to forget about the Accords and Peggy for a little bit." Ace just nodded, willing to do anything to take away the sadness she saw in his eyes. She pulled his lips back to hers. His hand continued it's previous trajectory and once it reached it's destination he tore off her underwear and slipped it into his back pocket. He was sucking the pulse point on Ace's neck and she was struggling to contain her moans so they wouldn't be heard by the team nearby. Soon Steve had undone his pants and released his throbbing member. They needed to be quick if they wanted to avoid getting caught. 

He thrust hard and fast into Ace, who was biting her lip to keep from screaming out in pleasure. Steve was hitting all the right places and she was quickly heading towards her orgasm. She could tell that he was close to his too. A few more thrusts sent Ace over the edge she had to cover her mouth with her hand to keep from crying out. Her climax triggered his and he unloaded inside of her. 

They stayed in place panting for a few moments. Their foreheads pressed together and Ace's legs still wrapped around him. "Do you feel better?" she asked.

"A little bit." he replied. 

...

They flew to London for Peggy's funeral. Sam and Ace were sitting in a pew at the front of the church saving a seat for Steve who was a pallbearer. Sam looked Ace up and down as they stood for the procession. She was wear a skin tight black dress that showed just a little too much skin. 

He leaned over a whispered to her. "Is that appropriate funeral attire?"

"I'm sorry Sam. What does one wear to the love of their boyfriend's life's funeral?"

"Point taken. Don't tell Steve I said this but you're hotter than her."

"Thank you. Don't tell Steve but that is exactly what I was going for."

The procession ended and Steve came over to his seat. Ace held his hand as everyone in the church was seated.  She could see his eyes were red and he had been crying. Her heart broke for him, she hated seeing him sad, but she was also heartbroken herself because she saw the love he had for a woman that was not her. Ace wasn't paying attention to the service she was looking at Steve who hadn't looked up since he sat down. He was looking at his hand holding Ace's in his lap. The priest introduced Sharon Carter to give the eulogy, as she made her way to the podium Sam gave Ace a nudge. Ace looked up, saw who she was and nudged Steve. It was their neighbour Kate from Washington that was actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, turns out her name was Sharon Carter and she was Peggy's niece. 

Sharon gave a moving speech about her aunt. She was also making eye contact with Steve a little too often for Ace's liking. When the service was over Steve stayed in the church for a minute. He said he need some time alone. Natasha had come to the service on her way to Vienna, she went into the church to talk to Steve knowing he likely wasn't going to change his mind about the Accords but wanting him to know that she was there for him.

As Nat and Steve were talking in the church Sam and Ace were waiting outside for him. Sharon spotted them and came over to chat. 

"Hi Ace, it was nice of you to come. I don't know if Steve told my aunt about you but I know she would be happy that he has someone." Sharon said. 

"I'm sure she would." was all Ace responded. 

"I hope there are no hard feelings between us because of what happened in Washington." Sharon could sense a slight hostility in Ace.

"Of course not you were just doing your job." Ace reassured her with a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. The truth was Ace wasn't on edge because Sharon had spied on her and Steve in Washington. Ace always felt second to Peggy with Steve but was secure in the fact that she was old and had dementia. Now there was a young beautiful woman standing in front of her that was related to Peggy. The logical part of Ace's brain knew that Steve loved her and would never leave her for Sharon, but the insecure part of her brain, that had been working overtime since Steve told her Peggy had died, was telling her that Sharon was a threat. 

They stood in awkward silence until Nat and Steve emerged from the church. Nat got into a waiting car with a wave to Ace and Sam, she needed to get to Vienna. Steve came over to where they were standing with Sharon. Ace got close to Steve and rubbed his back comfortingly. 

"How are you doing?" she asked him.

"I'm okay." Steve replied. "Actually do you guys mind if I walk ahead with Sharon. There are some things I would like to ask her." 

Ace wanted to say hell no but knew that Steve needed this. "Whatever you need baby." She leaned into him and gave him a kiss before he and Sharon started the long walk back to the hotel. Sam and Ace lagged behind letting them get out of earshot. "I'm hotter than her too right?" Ace asked Sam. 

"I'm not answering that question." 

...

They had finally made it to Sharon's hotel. Steve walked her to the elevator while Sam and Ace waited in lobby, standing by some couches watching a newscast on TV about the signing of the Accords. Everything was going as expected until an explosion went off outside the building in Vienna. Sam and Ace went to the elevators to tell Steve. Sharon invited the three of them up to her room to watch the newscast as she was on the phone. She was part of a CIA joint terrorism task force. The news was saying that there was video of James Buchanan Barnes leaving the scene before the bomb went off and he was the lead suspect. 

"This doesn't add up. Bucky has been an assassin for decades without getting caught. Why would he be so sloppy now, and what's his motive?" Ace said. 

"Maybe now that Hydra isn't pulling the strings he has his own agenda." Sam replied.

Steve was quiet, he was just looking at the TV with his cold Captain stare. Sharon came over and said she had to go to work. Which meant they were all heading to Vienna. 

...

Sam and Ace were at the bar in a little cafe near the UN building waiting for Steve to finish his call with Natasha. When he came in he and Sam discussed whether it was worth going after Bucky. Steve knew that Bucky would do it for him so there was no question that they were going. Shortly after, Sharon came in with a folder that she gave Steve that contained everything the CIA knew about Bucky's whereabouts. She left quickly but first warned them that they should move fast because the CIA had orders to shoot on sight. 

The intel was that Bucky was hiding in Bucharest, so that's where they went. Ace had her computer, but decided to stop at a fruit stand before setting up shop in a nearby cafe. Steve and Sam were still getting in position and she could hear them on comms. She was too busy looking at the delicious apples to watch where she was going and bumped into what she at first thought was a wall but was actually a man. She looked at the man and instantly recognized his face from all the photos she had looked at with Steve. It was Bucky. 

Ace couldn't move or speak. Bucky had no idea who she was so he apologized in Romanian and went on his way. As soon as Bucky was out of earshot and the shock had worn off Ace whispered into her comms. "You guys he's here."

"What? Are you okay?" Steve replied, he was still making his way to Bucky's apartment. 

"I'm fine." she was following Bucky watching what he was doing. "He's buying plums from the farmer's market." Ace was a little sad watching Bucky. There was no way that a man who planted a bomb in Vienna was in Bucharest that soon after it happened just casually going about his day. Bucky was a victim in all of this. 

"You're telling me that one of the world's deadliest assassin's is at the farmer's market buying plums." Sam chimed in, he was perched on a roof top near Bucky's apartment building. "Ace, are you sure it's him."

"I'm positive." she said as she continued to follow the Winter Soldier. He stopped on the street and looked over to a man that was staring at him in a newsstand. As Bucky made his way towards the newsstand the man ran away in fear. "Guys if he didn't know people were looking for him before, which I feel like he definitely didn't, he knows now. Be on alert. He's headed your way."

Ace sat at a nearby cafe and set up her computer. She pulled up Steve's helmet cam as he walked around the small shabby apartment. Sam warned him over comms that German special forces were closing in on the building when Steve turned around and was face to face with Bucky. Sam was giving updates on the special forces but Ace had her eyes glued on Steve's exchange with Bucky. He said he knew Steve from a museum and Steve was trying to convince him that it was more than that. Steve tried to get Bucky to come with him telling him that it didn't have to end with a fight. Bucky just replied that it always ends in a fight. 

Then the German forces burst in and Steve and Bucky started fighting their way out. Ace would have been watching to help but something distracted her. Rhodey had sat down next to her at the table. 

"How did you find us?" Ace asked him. 

"Tony had a feeling that since Barnes was involved Steve wouldn't be able to stay out of it. Now are you going to help me figure out which way they went?"

Ace closed her laptop and dropped it on the pavement causing it to shatter. "Oops." was all she said.

"I'm going to have to bring you in." 

"Well it won't be my first time in handcuffs but it will be the least fun." 

Chapter Text

Ace sat in the van that Rhodey had lead her to. She didn't know where they were going but knew she was going to see some familiar faces soon enough. Her hunch was proven correct when the van stopped and Steve, Sam, and another man entered the back seat. 

"Hey babe, how'd the mission go?" Ace said to Steve as he sat in the seat next to her. 

"Could have gone better." He replied as he gave her a quick peck. As much as he hated that she was caught too, he was glad she was safe.

"You guys better not start making out." Sam said, reacting to their kiss. 

"Chill Sam. We're not animals. Though it wouldn't be the first time I made out with a guy in the back of a cop car." Ace said. Steve gave her a surprised look. "I'll tell you the whole story later." She then turned to Sam sitting behind her and mouthed the words who is that while gesturing to the third man in back with them. Sam just shrugged. 

Sam, always uncomfortable with silence, decided to speak to the man, asking him if he liked cats. Steve called him out but Sam defended himself saying that if a guy shows up dressed like a cat you need to know more. Steve then asked the man if his suit was made of vibranium. At that question Ace finally placed his face.  It was T'Challa the Wakandan prince, well king now that T'Chaka was killed in the bombing. In response to Steve's question T'Challa explained that the Black Panther was a warrior mantle in Wakanda, now he was warrior and king and he was coming for Bucky. 

They arrived at CIA base shortly after that. They all got out of the van and were greeted by Sharon and the deputy task force commander, Agent Ross. Ace looked over to where they were taking Bucky out of a huge truck in a rather elaborate containment cell. It made her sad to him like that. She had seen part of the fight before Rhodey picked her up and knew that Bucky was dangerous, but she also saw the look of resignation he had on his face before the fight started. 

Steve's first question was what was going to happen to Bucky. Ross answered that he was to be psychologically evaluated and then extradited. Ross then explained that the weapons that were seized would be put in lock up and they would be given a receipt. They were then lead down a hallway to where they would be kept in an office instead of a cell. On the way Natasha met up with them, telling Steve that this is what making things worse looked like, to which he replied that Bucky was still alive. 

As they approached the end of the hallway, Ace could hear the one voice that would make the situation worse for her. Tony was on the phone doing damage control telling whoever was on the other end that there would be consequences. He hung up and walked over to where Steve, Ace, and Sam were. Steve asked about the consequences and Tony explained that he just needed to say something to keep Secretary Ross from prosecuting adding in the fact that the shield and Sam's wings were now government property. 

Ace, Steve, and Sam were brought to a board room with a TV in the corner showing Bucky in his cell. Someone came in shortly after to get Steve because Tony wanted to talk to him. Steve left to talk to Tony, leaving Sam and Ace alone in the board room. 

"So, Sharon's here." Sam said.

"Is she? I hadn't noticed." Ace replied sarcastically. 

"Are you going to tell Steve you have a problem with her?" 

"I don't have a problem with her."

"Tell your face." Ace glared at him and he continued. "Steve loves you. He wouldn't leave you for her." 

"He would leave me for Peggy."

"You say that but would he really? Peggy's from the forties there is no way she would have sex with him half as much as you do." 

"Okay 2 things. One, our relationship is about more than sex and two, we don't have sex that much." 

"You know how many times I've been in the next room and you guys have been going at it."

"There was that one time we had sex in your shower but unless you are standing outside our bedroom like a pervert I can't think of another time you would have been in that situation." 

"Movie Night." 

Ace got quiet. "Technically we were in the same room." 

The awkwardness was broken by Steve coming back into the room. He just walked to the other side of the room and looked out the glass wall to the video monitors showing Bucky's cell. The psychologist was getting set up to start the evaluation. Ace walked over to him, she could tell he was tense and the conversation with Tony did not go well. She stood next to him and leaned over to whisper "Do you want to talk about?

"Not right now." he replied. Ace just stood next to him and watched the monitors as well. It looked like the psychologist was beginning but they couldn't hear from the room they were in. Sharon came in with the receipt for their gear and hit a button on the speakerphone in the room giving them the audio to the feed. She also gave Steve a look that made Ace want to lunge across the table at her but Ace just turned her focus to Bucky. 

The psychologist was asking him questions, calling him James. He didn't answer the first few questions and when he finally spoke he just said my name is Bucky. Ace's heart broke for him. He was a victim and they were treating him like a criminal, she could only imagine how much it hurt Steve to watch this. She looked over to Steve but he had moved. He was standing at the table looking at the picture of Bucky leaving the scene in Vienna. Steve asked Sharon why the task force would release the picture and she explained that it got more eyes involved in looking for him. Steve said that it was a good way to flush a guy out of hiding implying that someone framed him to find him. Sharon made the point that framing him wouldn't guarantee that the person framing him would find him but that the CIA would. Then it was like a collective lightbulb went off in their heads and they all looked at the psychologist interviewing Bucky. 

Then the power cut out in the building. Sharon told them where Bucky was being kept and Steve and Sam moved to make there way there. Ace tried to follow but Steve stopped her, telling her to stay there, like always. 

...

Somehow the psychologist had made Bucky go into Winter Soldier mode and attack everyone in the building. Steve managed to get him unconscious and met up with Sam and Ace. They found an abandoned warehouse with a big machine that they could trap Bucky's arm in. Now they were just waiting for him to wake up. Steve and Ace were in the next room while Sam was watching Bucky. 

"So, now are you going to tell me what Tony said that made you so tense?" Ace asked Steve.

"He tried to convince me to sign the Accords. He almost had me too, until he told me Wanda was on house arrest at the compound." he replied.

"Damn Tony."

"We should probably cut him a little slack. He and Pepper are on a break."

"That's why he's so grumpy, he's not getting any. I get that way too."

"You do?"

"Well, you wouldn't know that." Ace said seductively as she moved closer to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and started kissing him. When they finally came apart she spoke again. "You know Sam thinks we have too much sex." 

Steve face grew concerned at her comment. "When were you and Sam talking about our sex life."

Ace knew she stepped in it, she didn't want to tell him about the whole conversation she had with Sam. Luckily Sam called over to them just in the nick of time. "Bucky's awake." she said as she pulled free from Steve's arms and went to the other room.

Steve followed her into the room where they had Bucky. Sam, Ace, and Steve all stood in front of him as he began to stir. Bucky seemed to recognize Steve, so Steve asked him which Bucky they were talking to. Bucky then shared some personal details about Steve, which convinced Steve that it was in fact Bucky they were talking to and not the Winter Soldier. Sam wasn't as convinced. Bucky asked what he did, he knew that something like this would happen everything Hydra put in his head was still there. Steve asked him who the psychologist was but Bucky didn't know. He did remember what the psychologist had wanted though, he had asked about where Bucky was kept in Siberia because it turns out he wasn't the only Winter Soldier. Bucky explained that Hydra had attained a version of the serum and created 5 super soldiers out of their most elite death squad. It looked like the psychologist was going to wake them up and let them loose on the world. 

Steve and Sam needed to formulate a plan. They left Ace to keep an eye on Bucky. 

"So, that guy has wings, what do you do?" Bucky asked Ace. 

"I built the wings." she responded. 

"Travelling tech support then." 

"That and Steve's girlfriend."

"Oh. How long?"

"4 years."

"Wow. I'm glad Steve found a girl. In the 40s I didn't think he would."

"He's your best friend. You didn't think anyone would ever love him."

"That's not what I said. I knew if he ever gave a girl a chance to get to know him she would fall head over heels. He was just too insecure to think anyone would ever be able to see past his looks."

"I always thought small guys were the best in bed. They were always so grateful you were sleeping with them, that they put extra effort in." Bucky chuckled at her comment and rolled his shoulders to stretch them out a bit. His metal arm caught Ace's eye. "Does it hurt?" she asked. 

"It did when they put it on, but now just the muscle around it get kind of sore."

"May I?" 

"Go ahead doll."

"The name's Ace, Ace Stark." she told him as she came closer and started to check out his arm.

"Stark huh. So that makes you Howard's ..." 

"Granddaughter." she finished his sentence. 

"Damn I'm old." Ace chuckled at his response as she continued to look at his arm. She slid her hand up it to see where it connected, her face following where her hand went. Their faces were very close together when Steve and Sam returned. Steve cleared his throat loudly which got their attention. 

"We need to find a car." Steve said curtly and turned around and walked away. Knowing that he was upset Ace followed after him. 

"Steve." she yelled for him when they got outside. He stopped to let her catch up. "I was just looking at his arm, it's a fascinating piece of tech." she explained. 

"You two looked awfully cozy." he replied.

"You're mad?" Ace said growing angry now herself. "Sharon Carter has been ogling you like a piece of meat for days and I have bitten my tongue and you are mad at me for checking out the coolest piece of tech I have ever seen." 

"I'm sorry. I'm not mad, and Sharon has not been ogling me."

"You are so oblivious sometimes."

Steve walks over to her and cups her face in his hands. "I love you. Can we talk about this later?" 

"Fine. So what's the plan?"

...

Ace and Steve found an old school Volkswagon Beetle and hot wired it. They met back up with Bucky and Sam but the two refused to sit together which left Ace in the back seat with Bucky and Sam up front with Steve driving. They made their way to a highway underpass where they met up with Sharon. Sharon's vehicle was parked in front of them and she got out and opened the trunk. Steve instructed everyone to stay in the car while he got their gear from Sharon. 

As soon as Steve left the car Bucky asked Sam if he could move seat up. Sam said no, Ace rolled her eyes. They watched as Steve talked to Sharon. All seemed to be going well until Sharon leaned in and kissed Steve. Ace's eyes nearly shot out of her head, you could practically see the smoke coming out of her ears. 

"What the actual fuck. I'm going to kill her." Ace said as she tried to get out of the car but Bucky and Sam kept her in her seat. Steve had pushed Sharon away almost immediately. He turned around and saw Ace fighting Bucky and Sam in the small vehicle to try to get out. If he hadn't just kissed another girl and Ace wasn't trying to get out of the car to kill her, he would have found it rather comical. Steve loaded the gear into the trunk of their car with out saying a word to Sharon. He just said a quick thank you as she left. 

By the time Steve got back into the driver's seat Sam and Bucky had managed to calm Ace a bit. She was steaming in the back seat with her arms crossed. The boys could feel the anger radiating off of her. 

"Babe, she kissed me. It was nothing I swear." Steve said. 

"Oh I'm aware." Ace replied. "So, she wasn't ogling you huh."

"I'm sorry for doubting you." 

"That bitch better watch her back." 

The car ride to the airport was quiet. Ace was slowly cooling off but no one wanted to say anything that might piss her off again. They arrived at the parking garage where they met up with Clint and Wanda. They all got out of their vehicles and greeted each other. Steve asked Clint about the new recruit, Ace looked puzzled as he opened the van and a man came out. His name was Scott Lang and he was fangirling all over the place. 

As they were talking an alarm starting going off and an announcement was coming over the PA in German. Bucky translated and said that they were evacuating the airport. They drew the conclusion that Tony must have figured out they were coming. Steve instructed the others to suit up and pulled Ace off to the side. 

"You need to take the back way around and find the Quinjet. Stay out of the fight." Steve told her. 

"I could help." she responded. 

"Ace." he said in that tone he uses when he knows that she knows what he is going to say. 

"Fine. Have Sam use Red Wing to take a scan of the hangars. He'll find the Quinjet faster then I will. Then we will at least have a place to meet." 

Steve gave her a quick but passionate kiss. "I love you." he said

"I love you, too." 

...

Everything went pretty well according to plan. The only problem being most of the team had to stay behind to fight off the others so it was just Steve, Bucky, and Ace on the Quinjet to Siberia. Ace felt like she hadn't slept in days so she took a little nap on the bench seat while Steve flew the jet. Ace woke up just after they arrived in Siberia. Steve and Bucky were standing at the door reminiscing about a time back in the 40s.  While they were talking Ace grabbed one of the guns from the Quinjet's storage compartment and came up behind them.

"You boys are adorable." she said as she moved passed them and started to make her way out of the jet.

Steve quickly walked ahead to stop her. "Where are you going?"

"We've gone rogue. You aren't the boss of me anymore. I'm coming with you."

"No you're not. There are 5 super soldiers in there."

"I know that. Aren't I safer with you than out here all by myself." 

"She has a point Steve." Bucky chimed in. 

"Fine." Steve reluctantly agreed and the three of them made their way inside the Hydra base. 

They were slowly stalking through the halls with Bucky leading the way and Steve always making sure Ace was between them. They were heading up a staircase when they heard a loud thud and a door way creaking. Steve had his shield up making sure Ace was blocked, Bucky had his gun cocked. The door opened and it was Iron Man on the other side. Tony assured them that he was there to help and so four of them continued through the base. 

They ended up in a big room. Tony said he saw one heat signature. As they walked in the room a voice came over the speakers. It was the psychologist, his name was Helmut Zemo, Tony had filled them in on the way through the base. Zemo informed them that he killed the soldiers while they were in cryo. He showed himself in a little bunker in the middle of the room. Steve threw his shield at the bunker but it bounced off doing nothing. 

Zemo explained that he lost everything in Sokovia and that's why he was doing this but it still wasn't clear what he was doing. He hit play on a video and they all crowded around the screen to watch it, Steve still making sure that Ace was behind him. Tony seemed to recognize the date and location of the video and loudly started asking Zemo what it was. It was surveillance footage of a road in the middle of nowhere, soon a car came through the frame smashing into a tree. A motorcycle drove over to the scene and the rider was Bucky. The look on Tony's face said it all as he watched Bucky kill his parents. Ace didn't know what to think but she didn't really have time to make a choice.

Tony started to lunge at Bucky but Steve stopped him. Steve tried to explain to him that it wasn't Bucky it was Hydra but Tony just asked Steve if he knew. Steve said yes. Tony was pissed now. He took a shot at Steve who went flying right into Ace. She hit the floor and was knocked unconscious. 

...

When Ace came to she wasn't at the Hydra base, she wasn't at the compound either, she didn't know where she was. She looked around the small bedroom to see if she recognized anything but she didn't. Suddenly everything that happened before she was knocked out came back to her. "Steve." she called out hoping that by some miracle he was her and still alive. 

At the sound of her voice Steve came rushing in from the other room. He wrapped her in his arms and kissed her. "Shuri said you would be okay but I didn't want to believe it until you woke up." 

"Steve, what happened?"

"What do you remember?"

"Zemo showed us that video and Tony flipped out, went after you, then everything went black."

"T'Challa followed us to the base. Once he realized it was Zemo who killed his father and not Bucky he was on our side. He got you out and managed to subdue Zemo, while Bucky and I fought Tony."

"Is Tony okay? Is Bucky okay? Where are we?"

"Tony took Bucky's metal arm out, but we managed to cut the power to his suit and get away. T'Challa was kind enough to grant us refuge here in Wakanda." he paused for a moment to let Ace take in all the information. "Ace, I know Howard and Maria were your grandparents. If you feel the same way Tony does about Bucky, I can take you back to the compound."

"They died before Tony even knew I existed. All I know about them is what Tony told me. I do know you though, and if you trust Bucky, then so do I. Where is Bucky?"

"T'Challa's sister Shuri thinks she can get the Hydra programming out of his head, but he doesn't trust himself until that happens. He's going back on ice until they figure it out."

"That sounds like he made the right choice for him. Why do you look guilty?"

"I can't stay here Ace. I need to get Sam and the others out of jail, I still have responsibilities as Captain America. But I can't just leave him here by himself."

"He won't be by himself. I'll stay here with him."

"Really?"

"Well, it's not like you are going to let me go with you. Plus if Shuri has the know how to get the Hydra programming out of head then Wakanda is probably a pretty cool place." 

"Thank you, Ace. It really makes me feel better that Bucky will have you here. I just need you to promise me one thing." 

"Anything." 

"Promise me you won't have sex with Bucky."

"Steve, we have been together for 4 years, you really think I'm going to have sex with your best friend."

"I know you're not going to. But Buck has a history and I just need to hear you say it."

"I promise you, that I will not have sex with Bucky." 

"Thank you." 

Chapter Text

Bucky loved the mornings. When he slept he had nightmares, and waking up in the morning meant they were over for yet another night, but that wasn't why he loved mornings. The real reason he enjoyed mornings, was that he could look at the woman sleeping next to him and pretend for a moment that she was his.

...

Ace woke up to an empty bed as usual. Bucky helped out in the fields and therefore was always up before her. He was also a well trained assassin which meant he could get up, get ready, and leave with out waking her up. It had been a year since the incident with Tony and Bucky that left Steve, Ace, Bucky, Sam, Nat, and Wanda on the run. Ace and Bucky lived in Wakanda which the others treated as home base when they weren't out on lengthy missions. Six months ago Shuri had successfully removed the Hydra programming from Bucky's head and since Ace's hut was the only permanent residence the Wakandan's had available at the time (they had temporary set ups for when Sam, Nat, and Wanda were there) Bucky moved in with her. 

The first few nights Bucky slept in the living room and he let Ace have the bedroom. However neither of them got much sleep, Bucky was having intense nightmares and would often end up screaming in his sleep. After a few nights of this Ace had enough. She went out into the living room to find Bucky on the floor. 

"Did you fall off the couch?" she asked him. 

"No I prefer the floor. The couch is too soft." he replied.

"There is nothing soft about this couch." Ace said as she set up the pillow and blanket she brought out of her room on said couch. 

"What are you doing?" Bucky asked her.

"I'm going to sleep out here with you. Maybe hearing that someone else is with you will help relax you and keep the nightmares a little bit at bay."

"Fine." he said. They both settled into their respective sleeping spots. That night they both finally got some more sleep. They continued with Bucky on the floor and Ace on the couch until her back could no longer handle it anymore. She insisted Bucky sleep in the bed with her and he reluctantly agreed. There was nothing sexual about them sharing the bed, Ace didn't break her promise to Steve, it was simply an arrangement that would help them both sleep better at night. 

...

Ace went about her new morning routine and went to her new favourite place, Shuri's lab. It made Stark Industries look like a high school robotics lab and Shuri had become a good friend to Ace over the past year. When Ace got to the lab she sat at her computer and started running simulations for a new piece of tech she was working on. No matter what she did the sim wouldn't work the way she wanted it too. Eventually she got frustrated and started slamming the keyboard which got Shuri's attention.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. What is wrong and why are you taking it out on my equipment?" Shuri asked as she walked over.

"It's not working." Ace said. Shuri looked over her shoulder at the computer, typed in a few things, then ran the sim again. It did exactly what Ace wanted it to. 

"You could have figured that out. What's wrong?" Shuri asked again. 

"Steve's been gone for three weeks." Ace replied. 

"And you miss him." 

"She misses parts of him." Okoye interjected, she had just entered the lab and heard the last part of their conversation. "You should go help Sargent Barnes in the fields. The physical activity will help relieve the tension."

"I have a better idea. Before we all had to go on the run Natasha was training me in hand to hand combat, maybe you could pick up where she left off."

"No."

"What do you mean no?"

"You are not Dora Milaje material. You are weak."

"I am not weak. Ouch!" Ace reacted when Okoye pinched her arm to prove her point. "Well that is what the training is for."

"No. Go help Sargent Barnes in the fields."

"I can't. Shuri needs me." 

"No I don't." Shuri chimed in, she had gone back to whatever she was working on before. 

"Fine." Ace said as she reluctantly left the lab. 

...

Bucky was doing his usual stacking of hay bales when he saw Ace coming up the hill in yoga pants and a sports bra. Was she trying to kill him? 

"Ace, what are you doing out here?" he asked her once she got close.

"Shuri and Okoye kicked me out of the lab. They said I needed physical activity, so I'm here to help you." Ace replied.

"Why would they say that?"

"Because I haven't had sex in three weeks." 

Bucky nearly choked on the air at her answer. "Oh" he said as she went over to one of the large hail bales. "You aren't going to be able to lift that."

"You do it with one arm. How hard can it be." Ace said as she grabble the bale with two hands and pulled with all of her might. The bale didn't budge. She stood up breathing heavy as Bucky came over and lifted it with his one hand and put it on the stack he had created. "Okay, new plan. How about you train me?" 

"Train you?"

"In hand to hand." she said enthusiastically taking a boxing stance and punching the air a few times.

"Wouldn't Okoye be a better choice for that?"

"She said no. Please Buck?" she said giving him her best puppy dog eyes. 

"Ace!" one of the other farm hands called to her interrupting their conversation. "Shuri, wanted me to let you know that the Quinjet just requested entrance into the barrier."

"Thank God! Buck if I were you I wouldn't come back to the hut for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half." she said as she ran off towards the palace. 

Bucky just waved goodbye, trying to ignore the fact that she was running off excitedly to have sex with his best friend. Bucky and Ace had spent a lot of time together over the past six months. They had become close friends but for Bucky it was more than that. It wasn't just a physical attraction, even though Bucky thought she was the hottest girl he had ever seen. She was smart, funny, kind, and everything he never knew he wanted. The biggest thing was that she trusted him in a way he didn't think anyone ever would. 

The only problem was she was his best friend's girl. She loved Steve, Steve loved her and Bucky didn't see that changing anytime soon. He cared too much about Steve to ever make his feelings known so he shoved them down as best he could, only allowing them to surface for those precious few moments in the morning when she was still asleep and he could imagine what it would be like if he was allowed to love her. 

...

Ace and Steve stumbled into the bedroom of the hut attached at the lips, desperately tugging at each other's clothes to remove them. It wasn't long before they were both naked and Ace was on top of Steve on the bed. Steve had a beard now, usually she would be dying to feel that glorious facial hair between her legs, but it had been so long she needed that dick. She started trailing kisses down his body but he stopped her when she got midway down his torso. 

"Ace. No." he said and as she looked up at him he put his finger under her chin. "I need to be inside of you." Ace gasped almost cumming from his words alone. He didn't talk dirty often but when he did it turned her into a puddle. 

She made her way back up his body and kissed him passionately as her hands found his hard cock to help guide him inside as she sunk down onto him. She sat up and braced herself on his chest as she moved up and down on his stiff member. He matched her rhythm thrusting up into her hitting all the right places inside of her. She was moaning loudly as she approached her peak, it had been so long that both of them climaxed rather quickly. 

Ace collapsed off of him on to the bed, they were both panting. Once she caught her breath a bit more Ace slid over so that her head was resting on Steve's chest. "If this is the welcome home I get. I should extend missions more often." he said. 

Ace gave him a playful slap. "Bite your tongue." she said cuddling into Steve more. 

"Babe." he said in a serious tone.

"No. Don't ruin this moment."

"What makes you think I'm going to ruin the moment?"

"Because you are using that tone you use when you are about to say something you know I'm not going to like." 

"We are heading back out in the morning."

"What! Not even 24 hours. Why did you even come back then? Just for a fuck?" Ace was angry now she had moved away from Steve and was sitting up in bed now. 

"Ace." 

"I'm sorry Steve but I think my language is completely called for."

"That's not what I meant. I didn't come back here just to have sex with you." 

"Then why are you here Steve?"

Steve looked down knowing she wasn't going to like his answer. "Red Wing needs repairs." 

Ace got out of bed at that point and was putting on her leggings and an oversized sweatshirt from her closet. "I serviced you so now I better go service Red Wing." 

"Ace."

"No. I know whatever it is you are doing out there is important, but you are only ever back here for a few days at a time and all we do is have sex. I know it's just as much my fault as it is yours but we never talk anymore. You call me every night to let me know you are okay but you don't tell me anything about your missions because you don't want me to worry. I miss you Steve."

"Ace."

She put her hand up to signal him to stop talking. "I'm going to go fix Red Wing so you can get out of here tomorrow."

...

Ace was working on Red Wing in the lab when Steve came down to see her. He had given her some time to cool off but he didn't want to leave things the way they were. He sat down in a chair next to her. She looked at him but didn't say anything and just went back to her work. 

"I'm sorry if I made you feel like I only come back here for sex." he said. That made her stop and look at him. 

"I know that's not the reason you come back."

"I miss you too. So, let's talk." 

"About what?"

"Has Tony called?" he asked. Steve had sent Tony a phone with two numbers in it when they went on the run. The numbers were Steve's and Ace's so that he could call either one of them if he ever needed to.

"No." 

"Ah."

"Hey, I am not projecting my anger at Tony on to you. My reasons for being mad at you are completely valid."

"I didn't say anything."

"We've been together for five years Steve I know what you're thinking." 

"This isn't the first time he has gone a long time without calling you. Remember when we moved to Washington."

"He still called every once in a while to bounce ideas off of me. It's been a year Steve." 

"Maybe he hasn't been working on anything." 

"Or maybe he just doesn't give a shit about me."

"That can't be it. It is physically impossible for anyone who gets to know you to not give a shit about you."

"Steve! You said a bad word."

"Well, I'm outlaw Steve now."

"I like the sound of that." she said with a chuckle giving him a quick kiss. 

They talked while Ace worked and for hours afterward. They headed back to the hut late and Bucky was already asleep on the couch, which was where he slept when Steve was in town. They snuck quietly into the bedroom as to not wake up Bucky. With his super soldier senses he woke up anyway but pretended to be asleep so they wouldn't feel bad. 

Steve and Ace had every intention of going straight to bed when they left the lab, but now that Steve was in front of her, in their bedroom, Ace had other ideas. She still hadn't felt the tickle of that beard between her thighs and she was craving it. They made love for most of the night and got a few hours of sleep before it was time for Steve to leave. Ace and Bucky went to the Quinjet to see him off. 

As the jet flew away Ace had tears in her eyes. She was always sad to see Steve go but this time hurt a little extra. They didn't have enough time. Bucky hated seeing her upset. He put his arm around her and said "He'll be back before you know it."

"My 30th birthday is on Sunday. What do you think are the odds he makes it back in time?"

Bucky already knew Ace's birthday was on Sunday. She had told him a few weeks ago that it was coming up and about all the elaborate party plans she had dreamed of when she was younger. "Okay ,I told Shuri I wasn't going to tell you until the day of but you look like a sad puppy and I need to cheer you up."

A smile started to form on Ace's face. "I am a sad puppy, cheer me up!"

"Shuri planned a birthday party for you."

"What! A party! For me! Is there going to be dancing?" 

"It's Ace Stark's birthday party. Of course there is going to be dancing and margaritas." 

"Are you going to dance with me Sargent Barnes? I heard you were quite the dancer in your day."

"That was a long time ago Ace. Dancing has changed a lot since my day."

"I'm sure you will pick it up." Ace said as she bounced back to the lab. As happy and excited as the party made her, she was really hoping Steve made it back in time. 

...

Steve was still away on a mission when the party came around but Ace was three margaritas deep at this point and found herself looking on the bright side. With Steve not there she was free to spend the entire night guilt free on the dance floor. The playlist was pulled right from Ace's Spotify so every song was one that she loved. 

Yeah by Usher was on when Ace finally spotted Bucky in the crowd. "Buck!" she drunkenly screamed across the dance floor as she ran over to him. "This is one of my favourite songs you have to come dance with me." She grabbed his arm and pulled him on to the dance floor with her. Once they were in a spot that Ace deemed acceptable she started dancing to the music. Bucky moved to the beat. He didn't really know or like any music that wasn't from the forties but watching the way Ace was moving he could get behind this song. She was grinding her ass into him and he was using all of his will power to keep from getting too turned on.

After what felt like forever to Bucky the song ended and a slow song started up. Bucky tried to get away but Ace grabbed his arm. "Come on." she said as she wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her head on his shoulder. "This song is more your speed." 

He put his hand on her waist and they started swaying along to the music. The song was called Wake Up Loving You and the lyrics were hitting a little too close to home for Bucky. It was about a man who was trying everything he could to forgot about the girl he couldn't be with but every morning when he woke up he still loved her. By the last chorus of the song Bucky just couldn't do it anymore. He took one of Ace's arms from around his neck so he could move away. He muttered that he had to go and he left the party. 

Ace was shocked and confused. She thought about going after him but knew that Bucky was a brooder and even if she did try to talk to him there is no way he would talk back. It was probably best to just let him go. Ace headed over to the bar which had been decorated like a tiki hut with a sign that said Margaritaville. After ordering her fourth margarita of the night she spotted Shuri. 

"Shuri!! Thank you for throwing me this party. This whole living on the run thing was starting to get me down but this party was everything I dreamed of." 

"Ace, I just took care of the logistics, this was all Bucky. He told us every idea and was barking out orders making sure everything was exactly the way he wanted it to be."

Then the song changed again and it was Shuri's jam so she had to hit the dance floor. Ace just stood in shock, she couldn't believe that Bucky did all this. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for her. She wanted to go talk to Buck but she knew he would be mad if she left the party just to talk to him so she stayed for another margarita or two. 

By the time Ace stumbled back to the hut Bucky was already asleep, she was too tired to talk anyway. She quietly crawled under the sheets and fell right asleep. 

...

By the time Ace woke up, Bucky had already left for his work in the fields. Ace didn't want to wait any longer to have this conversation so she went out there to see him. 

"What are you doing out here?" he asked as she approached. 

"You were asleep when I got home last night and gone when I woke up this morning."

"And you're surprised?"

"No." she took a pause. "Shuri told me that the party was all your idea. Thank you."

"She's just being humble. I just told her that your birthday was coming up."

"You know for an assassin you are a terrible liar."

"Did you come all the way out here just to thank me for the party?"

"Why did you leave last night?"

"I'm still getting used to real life, last night was just a little too much." 

"I don't believe you." 

He stopped what he was doing a stood so he was face to face with her. "I think you know why, and you know why I can't say it out loud. You're Steve's girl Ace. He's my best friend so no matter what I feel, I'm not going to act on it and I'm not going to say it out loud because he means more to me than that."

They both stood quietly for a minute, before Ace spoke. "Thank you for the party. It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me and that includes Steve." Bucky didn't say anything. Ace gave him a soft kiss on the cheek and made her way back to the hut to sleep off her hangover. 

Chapter Text

It was a rare occasion when Ace woke up before Steve. He was usually an early bird but he and the others had come in late the night before. Plus Ace had kept him up even later with a very warm welcome home, which meant that Steve was conveniently naked. Ace decided she was going to take full advantage of this golden opportunity and give him her own little wake up call.

She slipped under the covers and kissed her way down his body. He was groaning softly but he definitely wasn't awake yet. She finally reached her destination and started slowly stroking and licking his cock to get him hard. It wasn't long before Ace had achieved the desired effect, a wonderful and likely unintentional side effect of the serum, and once he was fully hard she took his member slowly into her mouth. As she was bobbing up and down Steve slowly opened his eyes and looked down at her. She didn't give him blow jobs very often because he thought they were a little degrading but when she offered he didn't say no. He was definitely awake now but the pleasure she was giving him made it hard for him to keep his eyes open.

Steve was moaning softly, lost in the moment. He probably should have paid more attention because the next words out of his mouth were the worst ones he could say. "Oh God. Oh Peggy."

It took everything Ace had not to bite down. She abruptly took his dick out of her mouth and sat up looking at him. "What. The. Fuck."

"Ace I am so sorry. I was half asleep. I think I had a dream about her."

"So you do know my name. That's good I thought I was going to have to get Shuri to do a brain scan."

Ace turned away from him. She grabbed the oversized T-shit she usually wore to bed off the floor and put it on. She sat at the end of the bed not facing him. 

"Ace, baby talk to me please."

"What do you want me to say Steve?"

He moved toward the end of the bed to sit near her and started to rub her shoulder but she shrugged him off. "Tell me what to do to make this right. I'm so sorry." 

"I don't know Steve. You said someone else's name in bed. And not just some random name, her name."

"Ace, I love you."

"Yeah, because I'm here. I'm your second choice."

"That's not true."

"You are telling me that if you had the chance to be with her you wouldn't take it? That you would choose me?"

Steve didn't have the chance to answer because his phone rang. When they heard it they were both stunned. Ace hadn't heard that phone ring in the two years they were on the run because she was the only one that called it. There was only one other person who had the number and Ace hadn't heard from him in two years either. Steve went over to the night stand and picked up the phone. "Tony?" he said tentatively into the receiver. 

Ace could only hear Steve's end of the conversation. All she got was that it wasn't Tony, it was Bruce and that something bad was happening. Steve's face grew more and more serious as the conversation went on, she had a feeling that this fight they were having was going to be postponed. Finally Steve hung up the phone. Ace looked at him expecting a explanation but he was silent, just taking it all in.

"That was Bruce? How did he get Tony's phone? Where's Tony? What's going on, Steve?" Ace asked mind racing a hundred miles a minute with all the worst case scenarios. 

"Tony's on a space ship." Steve replied. 

"Wait. What?"

"There were aliens looking for the infinity stones. A wizard had the time stone, and Tony was trying to help him. They ended up taking the wizard and Tony went on the ship to save him."

"The ship that the aliens are taking back to space?"

"Yes."

"Wait, if the aliens were looking for the infinity stones that means."

"We need to get to Vision." Steve finished her thought.

"He's with Wanda." 

"I have to get my suit and Sam and Nat." Steve starts looking around for his suit.

Ace stopped him and made him look at her. "We definitely tossed pieces of that suit everywhere last night. Let me get it all together and you just go get Sam and Nat. I'll have it ready for you by the time you get back here."

"Okay." he turns to leave but stops and turns back to her. "Ace, are we okay?"

"We can talk about it when this is all over." 

"Can I kiss you?" 

She nodded in response. He came over to her and gave her a short but tender kiss before he left the room. Ace started to pick up pieces of his suit from around the room. As she was picking up his pants from the floor she felt something hard and round in the pocket. Curious as to what it was she pulled the object out of his pocket. She opened up the small circle. It was a compass from the 40s, at least one half of it was. On the top was a picture of Peggy. 

...

Ace didn't confront Steve when he came back. She had just put the compass back in his pocket, she needed to process what it meant before she said anything to him anyway. Not to mention there were bigger things going on. Once Steve had left, she made her way out to the fields to see Bucky. He was the only one who knew Steve as well as she did and she needed some perspective. 

"I thought you would be with Steve." Bucky said to her as he saw her coming up the hill. 

"He left again." Ace explained as she sat down on a bale of hay. She looked upset so Bucky stopped what he was doing and went over to her. 

"Didn't he just get back last night?"

"He needed to go save Vision from some aliens."

"Is that why your upset?" Ace shook her head. "Can you just tell me what's bothering you so I don't have to play 20 questions?"

"Steve called me Peggy in bed this morning. In his defence he was half asleep and getting his dick sucked, so I probably could have forgiven him for it. If I didn't find his compass." 

"Which I'm guessing still has her picture in it?"

"Yup."

"Ace, I wouldn't read that much into it. He probably just kept it because he doesn't trust technology and wanted a real compass. He likely doesn't even look at her picture anymore."

"I could probably tell myself that if I didn't feel second to her our whole relationship. Did you know he won't dance with me? He owes a dance to his best girl, that's what he would tell her when he visited her in the home. Now I find out that he's been carrying her with him on every mission for the entire 6 years we've been together." 

"So, what are you going to do?"

"I don't know. Maybe it's time for me to find someone who makes me feel like their first choice."

...

Ace was standing on the steps of the palace with Bucky waiting for the Quinjet to land. Bucky was wearing the new arm that Ace had helped the Wakandans make for him. Steve was bringing Vision and the others to Wakanda in hopes that Shuri could separate the stone from the rest of Vision so they could destroy it without killing him. This was likely to bring the alien army down upon them but T'Challa was never one to back down from a fight. 

They greeted everyone as they got off the Quinjet. Ace was glad to see Bruce and Rhodey again it had been too long. She and T'Challa lead them to the lab but Bucky held Steve back. 

"I know there is a lot going on right now but we need to talk about Ace." Bucky said. 

"What about her?" Steve asked. 

"She told me about what happened this morning."

"It was a little slip of the tongue, Buck."

"She also found your compass."

"Oh my God. Why didn't she say anything? She probably feels horrible." 

"Steve, this isn't the first time she's felt that way. I'm your friend and I know you love her. But I'm her friend too, so I have to tell you the truth. She doesn't deserve to feel like your second choice. If you can't make her feel like she's the only girl you could ever love, you need to let her go because there is someone out there that will make her feel that way." 

"Is that someone you?"

Before Bucky could answer Steve's question Nat told Steve he needed to come with them to the lab. Bucky stayed behind with Sam to keep lookout. 

...

Up in the lab Shuri was explaining to Bruce how she was going to fix Vision when Steve pulled Ace aside. 

"Are you sure we're okay" he asked her. 

"Steve, we could literally be attacked by aliens at any minute and you are asking about our relationship?" she responded.

"Bucky told me you found my compass, and after this morning I just ..."

"Steve." she cut him off. "I can't have this conversation right now." She walked away, over to the table where Vision was. Steve followed behind her. 

As they got there Okoye received an alert that something had entered the atmosphere. The fight was starting. Everyone left the lab to join the army. Ace stayed behind to help Shuri and Wanda stayed to destroy the stone once they removed it. Ace and Shuri worked frantically realigning the neurons. Ace was thankful to have something to focus on. It was keeping her from worrying about Steve, Bucky and the rest of her friends that were in the battle. 

Wanda was watching the battle from the window, and eventually couldn't sit it out any longer. She went down to join them leaving Shuri, Ace, and Vision defenceless. One of the aliens took advantage of this. Shuri stopped what she was doing and shot at him but it wasn't enough. He knocked out Shuri and Ace. 

...

Ace came to when she felt a hand brush over her cheek. She opened her eyes seeing a face she didn't expect but she was still glad to see. 

"Bucky, what are you doing here? Is it over?" Ace asked Bucky, looking around seeing she was still in the lab and no one else was around.

"It's still going on. I just heard that they got to Vision and I knew you were with him. I had to see if you were okay."

"Buck, you need to get back out there." Ace said with a slight panic. "If they have Vision then..."

"I don't care." Bucky cut her off. "I'm right where I need to be." 

When Bucky said those words it was like a flood of realization came to Ace. She was his first choice. She looked into Bucky's eyes and pulled him in for a passionate kiss. When they pulled away from each other Bucky said the words that he had been holding in for a year and a half. "I love you Ace."

Before Ace could say anything back she had an ominous feeling come over her. Something was wrong. She turned away for a moment and when she turned back Bucky was disintegrating into a cloud of dust.

"Buck?" 

Chapter Text

When the dust settled the Avengers that remained took the Quinjet back to the compound. It was a long quiet ride back. Everyone was in their heads about what had just transpired. Ace just kept replaying what happened in her head, she kissed Bucky and then he turned to dust. She didn't know what to think about either and especially not about the implications of both. 

When the jet landed at the compound it was late. To say everyone had had a long day was an understatement. They all headed to their rooms to go to sleep, they would regroup and try to come up with a plan in the morning. Ace walked in to her room at the compound for the first time in two years. Nothing had changed, she didn't know why she expected it to look different. She heard the door open and close as Steve came in. 

"It feels weird to be back here." she said, she was looking out the window with her back to him.

Steve came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. She took a deep breath taking in the comfort and safety she felt when she was in his arms. She leaned her head back on his shoulder and he took advantage of the angle, leaving light kisses on her neck. 

"Ace, I'm sorry." he whispered in her ear between kisses. "I know I messed up but I love you. I'll do anything to make it better. I can't lose you, too."

Ace put her hand on his cheek to stop the kisses so she could turn in his arms to face him. She held his face and softly replied "I'm right here. You're not going to lose me." 

She pulled his lips to his and they started kissing passionately. Steve ran his hands along the back of her legs and lifted her up. He carried her over to the bed and gently laid her on it. She simply watched him as he removed his suit and soon he was bare in front of her. He climbed on the bed over her and went to work on slowly removing her clothes while sneaking in kisses on her lips and the pieces of exposed skin he was uncovering. 

Once she was naked as well he pressed his forehead to hers as he slowly entered her. He kept his pace slow and steady, both building gradually towards their peak. Steve brought his hand down to gently rub her clit which soon sent her hurtling over the edge and him following soon after. They stayed connected for a moment before Steve pulled out and laid beside Ace on the bed. 

They had both needed that. Ace needed to feel the intimacy between them again, and Steve needed an escape from his failure. As they lay there catching their breath, Steve had time to think, about Thanos, Sam, Bucky, and all the others he had lost. He couldn't feel it yet, he wasn't ready. He turned to his side and started kissing Ace on the shoulder. 

"Babe, round two already? I don't know if I can go again." she said.

"It's okay doll, I'll do all the work." With that Steve slipped under the covers and started to plant soft kisses on her sensitive core.

"Oh God Steve."

...

After 3 more rounds and more orgasms than Ace could keep track of Steve finally drifted off to sleep. Ace tried to sleep for a while but gave up when her stomach started grumbling. She got up and went to the kitchen, when she got there she found Natasha. 

"Couldn't sleep?" Nat asked Ace as she rifled through the cupboards looking for a snack. 

"Every time I close my eyes, I see Bucky's face." Ace answered. She had found some cereal and was now gathering the other supplies she needed for her snack. 

"I keep replaying the battle racking my brain for something we could have done differently."

"Sounds like you need a distraction. You can do what Steve did and just fuck until you fall asleep. I'm sure Bruce would be down to help you out."

Natasha gave her some mad side eye for the suggestion. "You got any other distractions?"

"I kissed Bucky."

"What?!"

"Steve and I had gotten into this huge fight about Peggy before everything went down. I was feeling like his consolation prize again and then there was Bucky. He showed up. He heard that they had got to Vision and he left the battle to see if I was okay. I was his first choice. Something just came over me and I kissed him."

"Are you going to tell Steve?" 

"No. Steve lost his best friends and so many people. And you know he's just going to blame himself for all of it. He needs me. And if I'm being completely honest with myself, I need him. Tony is god knows where, if he's even still alive. Our lives have been uprooted again, and I need the stability of Steve. We've got to make it work, for both our sakes."

"What if we find a way to bring them back? Would you stay with Steve or be with Bucky?"

Ace took a deep breath and thought for a moment. "I don't know."

...

Steve rinsed his razor and laid it on the counter before towelling off his freshly shaved face. 

"I think I'm going to miss the beard." Ace said as she appeared in the doorway. 

"I don't know, it just wasn't me." he said as he turned towards her. 

"Let me rephrase that." she had walked up to him and his arms wrapped around her waist as her hands found his smooth face. "I'm going to miss the way the beard felt between my legs. But you definitely look more like you." She pressed a kiss on his newly  hairless cheek before making her way to his lips. They started kissing passionately but then the ground started to shake. 

They both pulled away and looked. Knowing what it was and hoping it was good news. They started to make their way to the lawn of the compound. Carol Danvers, Nick Fury's friend from space had showed up a few days before and they had sent her off to try to find Tony. When they reached the lawn they saw that it was Carol returning and she had brought a spaceship with her. The door of the spaceship opened and a blue alien was helping Tony down the ramp Steve met her half way up the stairs and helped him the rest of the way. Pepper ran up to him and he looked as relieved to see her as she was to see him. Ace couldn't help but have flashbacks to when Tony had returned from getting kidnapped. She remembered thinking then that there was no way it could have been more dramatic but in true Tony fashion this was way more dramatic. 

Steve and Pepper helped Tony inside. Bruce set him up in a wheelchair and hooked him up to an IV. He really did looked awful. Natasha gave him a low down on what happened. It had been 23 days since the snap and it looked like Thanos had done what he set out to do and eliminated half of the population. Tony asked about Thanos's whereabouts but they had nothing. Steve asked him if Thanos had given him any clues, but that just seemed to agitate Tony. 

Then Tony had finally had enough. He stood up and pulled out his IV. He then started to go off on everyone saying that he told them that this was going to happen and that they needed a suit of armour around the world. Steve tried to tell him that didn't work, so Tony turned his anger to him. He said that Steve had told them they would lose together but he wasn't there. Ace knew that Tony's words had hurt Steve but she knew if she spoke up it would only make it worse. Tony kept going at Steve ultimately calling him a liar before the exhaustion finally set in and he collapsed. 

As Bruce and Rhodey helped Tony into a bed Ace went over to Steve. "You know none of what he said was true." she said as she grabbed his hand to comfort him.

"I know. I'm okay." Ace knew that wasn't true she could see the hurt in his eyes.

"6 years, Steve. I know that look." She placed a soft kiss on his cheek. "This isn't your fault."

Steve let go of her hand and wrapped his arms around her in a hug. She knew he didn't believe her but she had to say it anyway. 

...

Ace sat by Tony's bedside. The two of them and Pepper were the only ones left in the compound. The rest had gone to space to try to get the stones from Thanos. The blue alien, Nebula, knew where he was, so they got on the spaceship and headed out. It was only Ace and Tony in the room. Bruce had given Tony a sedative so Ace convinced Pepper to use the time to go take a shower. 

Tony started to stir awake. He saw Ace and acknowledged her for the first time since he arrived back. "Are you sitting at my bedside to put on a good show so you still get your inheritance?" 

"You're not dying, unfortunately." Ace snipped back. Tony scoffed at her. "Who's really the one putting on a show here? You didn't talk to me for two years Tony."

"That's because you ran off with your liar boyfriend and left me to save the world by myself."

"Don't give me that bullshit Tony. You may hurt Steve with that crap but I know the truth." 

"Really Ace. Enlighten me."

"Bruce told me that you hesitated. He told me that he told you Thanos was coming and you needed to find Vision. You said that Steve Rogers could find him but that calling him wasn't that easy. It was that easy Tony. He gave you that phone with two numbers in it. Let's ignore the fact that you didn't use it to call your daughter because really I shouldn't have expected any more than that. But you know for a fact that if you would have called him Steve would have been by your side as soon as humanly possible." 

By that time Pepper had appeared in the doorway and was awkwardly standing not knowing whether or not she should come in. Ace stood to leave but had one more thing to say. 

"You owe Steve an apology. He may not have been with you but he was there. He says pretty things like we'll lose together but he carries the guilt on solely his shoulders and he doesn't need you to lay more on. You better hope he comes back here with those stones because if he doesn't, I don't know if he'll ever recover."

They didn't return with the stones.

...

Five Years Later

Ace rolled over in her bed and slid over so her head lay on the chest of the man next to her. She felt a metal hand slowly move down her naked body and give her ass a little squeeze. 

"You didn't get enough of me last night Sargent?" she said as she looked up into to Bucky's bright blue eyes. 

"Never." he replied as he leaned down and kissed her. She deepened the kiss as he wrapped both his arms around her turning them so she was on her back and he was on top of her. They were already naked so Bucky slid his hand down her body slipping two metal fingers into her core. He knew exactly where to touch her to send her careening towards her orgasms. She quickly went over the edge and that was when she woke up. 

Ace turned over to find her real bed empty. She looked at the clock, it was early, Steve was likely out for his run. Knowing that it was unlikely that she would fall back asleep she got out of bed and made her way to the kitchen. Natasha was sitting at the island drinking coffee and looking annoyingly perky as Ace poured her own cup. 

"You're up early." Nat said to her.

"Couldn't sleep." Ace replied. 

"Dreams about Bucky again?" Ace just nodded and Nat knew better than to press it any further. "What's your plan for the day?"

"I'm going to head out to Tony's. I think he just invites me out there so I can watch Morgan so that Pepper doesn't get mad at him for working in the garage all day. What are you eating?" Ace didn't know why but the look of Nat's eggs were making her sick. 

"It's just regular eggs ..." Before Nat could finish her thought Ace was throwing up in the sink. Nat got up to hold her hair back and turn the faucet on so she could rinse the sink and her mouth. 

"Thanks Nat." Ace said once she had recovered enough. "Steve and I went out to eat a few nights ago. Something didn't sit right I've been nauseous for days." 

"Vivid dreams, nausea, I'd say you might be pregnant but I've never met anyone who takes birth control as religiously as you do."

At the mention of pregnancy and birth control Ace's eyes went wide. She started counting days and weeks in her head. "Except for that week about a month ago when I lost my purse."

"Wait Ace, that was a joke you don't really think you might be pregnant?"

"Nat I'm four days late."

"Ace you sound worried. You and Steve have been together for 11 years. Would it be a bad thing if you were?"

"The last time Steve and I discussed the future of our relationship was at Tony and Pepper's wedding. I asked him if he wanted to get married and he had a very negative reaction."

"That was a long time ago Ace. The snap was still fresh, he seems to be coping a lot better now."

"I don't want to risk it. I'm not telling him until I know for sure. He's going to be back from his run any minute."

"Tonight then. There should be some tests in the med lab. We can do it while he's at his support group."

"Thank you Nat."

...

That night Natasha grabbed one of the pregnancy tests from the med lab and went to Ace's room. They sat together and waited for the results and sure enough it came back negative. Ace threw the test in the bathroom garbage and tried to put the whole situation out of her mind. She almost succeeded but the next morning Steve woke her up with the test in his hand. 

"Ace, what is this?" he asked her.

"I don't know babe. Where did you find it?" she responded playing dumb.

"I may be 100 years old but I know what a pregnancy test looks like."

"Don't worry it was negative."

"Ace, why didn't you tell me?"

"You didn't react very well when I brought up marriage so..." she trailed off and looked away from him. 

"Hey." he said as he gently turned her head so she was looking him in the eye. "If the snap hadn't happened I would marry you in a heartbeat. A wedding is a celebration and it just feels wrong to celebrate with some people not there." Ace nodded she understood his reasoning. They sat quietly for a moment before Steve continued. "When I found the test I was kind of hoping it was positive."

"Me too."

"Does that mean.."

"I want to have your baby Steve Rogers." she said as she wrapped her arms around his neck. 

"Let's have a baby." he replied as he pulled her close to him and brought his lips to hers. They started kissing but Steve pulled away after a few minutes. "I can't start making babies right this minute. I run the morning group today." 

"Tonight?" she asked.

"Tonight."  he agreed. He gave her one last kiss before heading out the door, leaving Ace with a smile on her face that he hadn't seen in a long time.

...

Ace had been tinkering in the lab for the afternoon and decided to show her face around dinner time. Steve and Natasha were sitting at the dining room table but the only food that was on it was a peanut butter sandwich. It looked like they were having a pretty heavy conversation, so in true Stark fashion, Ace took it upon herself to lighten the mood.

"So are all three of us supposed to share this sandwich for dinner?" Ace said sarcastically as she pulled up a chair.

"I don't know did you cook up something in the lab?" Nat clapped back.

"Touche" Ace conceded. The gate alert chimed. "That better be a pizza." Ace said as Nat brought up the front gate feed. 

 It wasn't a pizza it was Scott Lang. The three of them looked at the video in shock. Scott was supposed to have been dusted. Nat hit the buzzer to let him in and soon the three of them were watching Scott pace and mutter to himself. Steve got Scott's attention and that seemed to help him focus what he wanted to say. 

"Have any of you studied quantum physics?" he asked. 

Steve and Nat both looked at Ace. "Why are you looking at me?" she said.

"You know about science." Steve answered matter of factly. 

"There are a lot of different sciences Steve. I wouldn't say quantum physics is my area of expertise but I can get by."

Scott then went on to explain that before the snap he went into the quantum realm and got stuck there. He came out five years later but for him it was only five hours. He thought if they could find a way to navigate the quantum realm then they could enter at one point in time and exit at a different point in time, like a time machine. If they could do that then they could have a chance at reversing the snap. 

"I know it sounds crazy." he said.

"It's not as crazy as you think. Theoretically your idea holds weight. I just have no idea how we would execute it." Ace replied

"We do know someone who might." Steve added.

"Well, he will be the first person to tell you he's smarter than me. I just know how motivated he'd be to help us."

...

As they pulled up to the lake house Tony was outside with his 5 year old daughter Morgan. Ace was a regular visitor, more for her little half sister than her father or step mom. Steve hadn't been there since the wedding, so as soon as Tony saw him and the others he knew something was up.  They all stood there awkwardly quiet. 

"Auntie Ace!" Morgan shouted excitedly, Tony put her down and she ran to her big sister. 

Ace scooped her up in her arms and greeted her. "Sup Little Mo. Did you get into any trouble today?"

"No"

"Well it's a good thing I'm here then. Unfortunately before we can get up to anything, my friends and I have to talk to your dad."

"He's your dad too."

"Did your Mommy tell you to say that?" Morgan nodded yes in response. "Well, you can tell your Mommy..." Steve cleared his throat interrupting Ace's thought and giving her a stern look. "That she is right he is my dad too. Now why don't you go find your favourite toy for us to play with when I'm done." 

Ace put Morgan down and she ran into the house to get a toy. Ace, Steve, Scott, and Nat followed Tony to a small table and some chairs on the side porch. Scott explained his idea and Tony listened. He then proceeded to poke holes in the plan and refused to help. They tried to make an emotional appeal but Tony was happy. He had everything he ever wanted and he didn't want to risk losing that. The four left disappointed, Scott asked them if this meant it was over but it wasn't they still had one person they could ask. 

Ace saw the look on Steve's face, the defeated look that he had worn a lot in the last five years. She pulled him aside as the others got in the car. 

"Do you think Bruce can pull this off?" he asked her

"Probably not but he's going to try. Don't count Tony out yet. He will never admit it but I know him pretty well. We planted the seed, now we just have to wait for it to grow."

Chapter Text

For the last five years Steve had been having trouble sleeping. Mostly he would have sex with Ace as a distraction, it usually cleared his mind enough that he could drift off. Some nights he found himself lying awake while she slept. Last night was one of those nights. His mind was racing thinking of how he would get Bruce on board with Scott's plan and that maybe if they got Bruce, Tony would be on board too. He was going through yet another scenario in his head when Ace made a noise in her sleep. He looked over at her and she seemed to be sleeping soundly so he thought nothing of it. She made a noise again, this time it caught his attention, he knew that noise, he had coaxed that noise out of her many times during their relationship. Ace was having a sex dream. She moaned a few more times before her eyes flew open and landed on his. 

"Were you watching me sleep?" she asked. 

"Well you were making my favourite noises. I couldn't look away." he answered. Ace put her hands over her face in embarrassment, she just hoped she had only moaned and didn't call out Bucky's name. Steve lifted her hands from her face. "No need to be embarrassed doll. If you want, I can make your dreams come true."

Steve shifted so he was on top of Ace and they started kissing. He moved his mouth from her lips and started trailing kisses down her neck. "You going to put a baby in me Steve?" she said which caused him to stop what he was doing and look up at her. "Babe? What's wrong?"

"I don't know if now is the right time for us to have a baby."

"What?"

"Ace we decided this before Scott showed up, before all this time travel stuff. Maybe we should just wait until it's all over."

"Sure, babe. You do realize that it's not going to happen right away? I don't know a whole lot about it because I've spent most of my life trying not to get pregnant. But I'm pretty sure that it will take a bit of time for my birth control to wear off, and it has to be the right time of the month. Also it takes nine months for the thing to cook." 

"You're right. I think I'm just worried about this plan, it has to work Ace."

"It will. You know just because we can't make a baby right now doesn't mean we can't practice." 

"I have always liked practice." 

"Well you are the star spangled man with a plan."

Steve started kissing Ace again but they were interrupted by a loud knock on the door. "Rogers get your penis out of Ace we need to meet Bruce at the diner in an hour." Natasha yelled through the door. 

"I honestly would have preferred it if she said stop fucking." Steve said. 

...

"Knock knock." Ace said as she entered Tony's lake house. Tony looked up at her from the kitchen table and rolled his eyes.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

"I was invited." 

"That was before you brought your merry band of misfits over to talk about time travel."

"I'm not going to talk about that tonight."

"You're not?"

"Nope. We don't need you, we have Bruce."

"You think Banner can figure it out for you?"

"Yeah, it will take him longer than it would you but with the two of us working on it I think we can get there."

"Are you trying to work my ego to get me to help you? Because it's not working."

"I know. That's not what I'm trying to do. I know that there is nothing I can say that will give you the motivation to help us." 

"How do you know that?"

"You have Pepper, you have Morgan, you everything you ever wanted. You didn't lose anything, not like we did." As Ace said that her eyes found a picture of Tony with his protege Peter Parker. When she looked back at Tony she could see that she was wrong, he did lose someone, but he would never say that to her.

"You still have Steve."

"I do. But you saw him, he's not the same. I still love him, I really do but I feel like I'm the only thing keeping him from shattering into a million little pieces. And being with him is keeping me from dwelling on what I really lost because if I had to feel that I don't think I would ever recover."

"What did you really lose?"

At that question from Tony, Ace instantly regretted what she had said. She couldn't tell him the truth, that she might be in love with the man that killed his parents. Luckily she didn't have to. Fate smiled down upon her in the form of Morgan Stark running into the room. "Auntie Ace!" the little girl shouted in excitement. 

"Little Mo!" Ace returned the same enthusiasm. "Want to get into some trouble?" Morgan nodded in response. Ace followed the girl upstairs to her bedroom and they played together until dinner was ready and Ace's confession to Tony was forgotten. 

...

A few days later Ace and Bruce had come up with a testable machine using the quantum tunnel in Scott's van. They suited up Scott and told him the plan. They would send him back in time let him walk around for an hour and bring him back in 10 seconds. Hopefully it would work. Bruce hit the button to send him quantum then hit a couple of switches and brought him back. Only it wasn't Scott, or it was Scott, it was just preteen Scott. Nat and Steve were freaking out but Ace and Bruce went into problem solving mode. Ace hit a few switches and Scott came back as an old man. Then Bruce did some finagling and Scott came back as a baby. Finally they figured out if they could kill the power at the right moment it should bring Scott back. That's what they did and it worked. Scott was back, and only slightly traumatized. 

Steve looked defeated but Bruce was excited because they had made a little bit of progress. "I see this as an absolute win." he said as Steve left the room. 

Ace followed him outside. "This is hopeless isn't it?" he said to her as she caught up with him.

"I know you're a soldier and see things like if you don't win you lose. It's not like that in science. Bruce is right this is a win. You need to know what doesn't work before you can find out what does."

"Tony would have figured it out by now." 

Ace looked over Steve's shoulder to see a familiar black Audi coming up the drive. "Looks like he did."

Ace slipped inside before Tony drove up. She knew that he and Steve needed to have a talk. She did watch them from the window. At the end of their conversation Tony gave Steve back his shield. Ace was glad that he did. She could see some of the light return to Steve's eyes as he put it on again. 

...

Now that they had the plans for the time machine they needed a team. Rocket came back with Nebula and he and Bruce went to get Thor while Natasha went looking for Clint. Rhodey came back to the compound as well. Ace was walking through the compound when she saw Thor for the first time in five years and she almost didn't recognize him. He had put on a least 20 pounds, looked like he was sweating beer and hadn't showered in weeks. 

"Ace!" he said excitedly happy to see her. 

"Thor! How are you doing?" she asked him, knowing a self destructive bender when she saw one. 

"I'm great. How are you? Are you and the Captain still keeping up your rambunctious love making?"

"Yeah, Steve and I are still together."

"You know, Jane and I are no longer together. My offer still stands to join the two of you."

"You know I really don't think Steve would go for it. He's very traditional."

"Well if he changes his mind, I'll be here." he said with a wink as he continued on his way. 

After a few days of work they finally had the time machine at a point where they could test it. Scott didn't seem mentally stable enough for the trip so Clint volunteered to go. They sent him off and then brought him back, when he reappeared he had a baseball glove with him. The machine worked. Now they just had to figure out when and where to go to get all the stones. 

After a few days of brainstorming they had a plan. Steve, Bruce, Tony, and Scott would go to New York in 2012 to get the space stone, the mind stone and the time stone. Rocket and Thor would go to Asgard in 2013 to get the reality stone and Nebula, Rhodey, Natasha, and Clint would go to Morag and Vormir in 2014 to get the power stone and the soul stone. Ace would stay behind to make sure everything was working on the other end and they all got back safely. 

Steve was getting his suit on while Ace came over to help. "So, you're going back to the day you and I got together. I'm kind of jealous." 

"You know most people think of it as the day aliens attacked New York City." 

"Oh yeah, that did happen on the same day." Ace joked.

"Plus it's not like I'm going to get to relive that night."

"That was a good night." They looked into each other's eyes for a moment. Ace having a bit of an ominous feeling about letting him go. "Be careful." she told him. 

"I will." he said and gave her a quick but loving kiss. 

The team made there way onto the time machine's platform as Ace went to the control panel. After Steve gave one of his patented motivational speeches they all synced their time trackers and Ace hit the button to send them back. Ace was watching on the monitors and some weird things happened. Steve and Tony jumped from 2012 to 1970 and just before they were set to come back she lost Nat's signal. 

5 minutes after they left the team reappeared on the platform. Everyone except for Natasha. 

...

Natasha had sacrificed herself to get the soul stone. Everyone was sitting on the dock trying to process what happened but Ace was sitting alone on the bench near the landing pad. The dock was her favourite spot on the compound, she didn't want it to remind her of this moment. Soon, Steve came over to check on her. 

"How are you holding up?" he asked her.

"Not good. She was my best friend." she answered. Steve sat down next to her and put his arm around her as she rested her head on his shoulder.

"Want to hear something that will cheer you up?"

"Sure."

"When we were in 2012, Tony said that suit did nothing for my butt. However Scott disagreed, he called it America's Ass."

Ace chuckled. "That is America's Ass. I remembered that suit, those pants were tight. Why do you think I slept with you?"

"I thought it was my great personality." 

"I hate to tell you this after 11 years but I was only in it for your looks." Ace said jokingly. They both laughed for a moment and then got quiet again. But there was something else on Ace's mind. "I need to ask you something, and I feel like I'm not going to like the answer."

"What is it?"

"Where did you go to get the Pym Particles?"

"Camp Lehigh in 1970."

"Because S.H.I.E.L.D. was there."

"Yes."

"Are you really going to make me ask you if you saw her."

"I did see her. For a few minutes through a window. It was an accident I didn't go looking for her."

"Okay." 

"Can I ask you a question?" 

"Of course."

"What happens to us if we bring everyone back?"

"What do you mean?"

"I've heard you say Bucky's name in your sleep."

"He dusted right in front of me Steve..."

"I've heard you say my name like that many many times Ace. I know what you were dreaming about." 

"I didn't break my promise to you."

"I know. You would never do that to me and neither would Bucky."

"We've been together for a long time. We've have made it through a lot of stuff. I love you Steve and I don't want to just throw that away. I don't want to start over with someone new. Even if that someone is Bucky."

"Okay."

...

Tony, Ace, Bruce and Rocket managed to get the stones on a glove. Now all that was left was to decide who was going to snap their fingers. After an intense debate it was decided that Bruce would do it, he would be most likely to survive. Bruce put the glove on and everyone was suited up and prepared for anything to happen. Steve was holding Ace keeping her behind his shield. They could see the energy coursing through him once he put the glove on. He struggled but eventually managed to snap his fingers and took the glove off. 

The shields on the compound opened and there were birds chirping outside. It looked like it worked. Ace had to figure out what she going to tell Bucky, or what she was going to tell Steve. She didn't have time to decide because an explosion took out the compound. 

Everything after the explosion was a blur. Thanos was there somehow trying to get his hands on the Stones again. Steve, Thor and Tony started fighting him and naturally Steve told Ace to stay put. She watched and was amazed but not surprised when Steve could wield Thor's hammer. There was a moment when all hope seemed lost but Steve never backed down, that's what she loved most about him. However in that same moment hope was found. Dr. Strange opened portals and all of their people showed up. Bucky came to Ace with a gun and gave it to her so she could join the fight. The only part Ace really remembered of the battle though was the end. 

Suddenly everyone on Thanos's side was turning to dust. They did it they won. Ace found Steve and they were ecstatic, until they saw how. Tony had put on the glove and snapped his fingers. He was in rough shape and there was no way he was going to make it. Steve tried to encourage her to go and say goodbye but she couldn't bring herself to move. Tony was gone.

...

It was the day of Tony's funeral. Ace was standing next to Steve as they watched a recording Tony had made before the battle. It was a nice speech, Tony did always have a way with words. Ace didn't know what she expected, maybe to be acknowledged but honestly she knew better than that. The only one he really acknowledged was Morgan and for that Ace was glad. She loved her little sister and wanted her to have everything that she didn't. 

After the recording they followed Pepper and Morgan out to the lake. Ace held on to Steve and didn't let go. He had been her rock through losing Tony. It was as if what happened to Tony made her choice for her. She still loved Bucky but in that moment she needed Steve. They had history, he knew everything her father had put her through and how complicated her feelings were in this moment. As they watched the floral arrangement Pepper had made with his first arc reactor float across the lake Steve held Ace tight. She had her head buried in his chest. She couldn't watch. 

The crowd started to dissipate and start mingling amongst each other. Ace eventually pried herself away from Steve. He was talking to Sam who took him to talk to Bruce about something, leaving Ace standing by herself. That was when the person that Ace had been avoiding for the last week appeared in front of her. 

"You've been avoiding me." Bucky said to her. Of course he had figured it out.

"Buck, I.." Ace started to try to explain but he stopped her.

"You don't have to say it. That kiss was a mistake. We can just forget it ever happened..." This time Ace cut him off.

"It wasn't a mistake. If things had been different if Thanos hadn't happened, if Tony hadn't died." Ace took a pause, she had a hard time saying those words. "Then maybe we would be together right now. Tony and I had a difficult relationship but he was always there, and for the last 11 years when he wasn't Steve was. He's my stability. When I lost Tony it felt like the ground was taken out from under me but Steve was there to hold me up. I can't lose him too Buck I just can't." With that the tears that Ace had been holding in all day started flooding out. 

Bucky pulled her into a hug. "It's okay Ace. I'm still your friend." He just held her while she cried, only letting her go when Steve was heading back in their direction handing her off to him when he arrived. 

Ace looked up at Steve and he knew she just wanted to go home. So they headed back to the compound.  Dr. Strange was able to use his magic to repair the compound but not the time machine. For the last week to help keep their minds off of things Bruce and Ace had been working on a smaller version so they could return the stones. Steve had volunteered to be the one to take them back and he would be doing it the next day. 

When they arrived back at the compound Ace just needed to get out of her funeral clothes so she went straight to their room to change. When she came out in her pyjamas Steve was still in his suit in the living room and he had put some music on. Ace recognized the song. It was Say You Do by Old Dominion, one of her favourites. When she stepped into the room he reached out his hand to her. 

"What is this?" she said.

"I had a realization. Just because I owe her a dance, doesn't mean I don't owe you one too." he answered. Ace took his hand and he pulled her in close and for the first time they danced together. 

They swayed in time with the music and Ace tried to enjoy the moment she had wanted for years but something about the timing made her suspicious. "Why now?" she asked him. 

"You needed some cheering up. And I have to return the stones tomorrow, it could be dangerous. I just wanted you to know that no matter what happens, I love you." 

"I love you too." She laid her head on his chest and let the world slip away as she finally shared a dance with her boyfriend. 

...

Ace and Bruce had the new time machine all set up. Steve was suited up and ready to go. He said his goodbyes to Bruce, Sam, and Bucky then made his way over to Ace. 

"I'll see you in five seconds." she said to him playfully trying to hide the worry. 

"Yeah." he replied. He put his arm around her waist and pulled her in for a deep kiss. 

When they finally separated Steve made his way to the platform. Ace and Bruce went behind the controls they counted him down then hit the button to go quantum and Steve disappeared from the platform. They counted the next five seconds and hit the button to bring him back but nothing happened. Sam started freaking out while Ace and Bruce tried to look for something wrong with the machine. Then they heard Bucky call Sam. They looked to where Bucky was looking and there was an old man sitting on the bench by the water. 

Sam, Ace, and Bucky got closer. A wave of realization came over Ace at that moment and nearly knocked her off her feet. Bucky caught her and encouraged Sam to go talk to Steve, the old man sitting on the bench. It all made sense now to her now. The reason he finally danced with her the night before and everything he had said, after all he was the star spangled man with a plan. His plan was to live his life with Peggy. Ace pulled herself from Bucky's arms and made her way back towards the compound.

"Ace! Don't you want to talk to him?" Bucky called after her. 

"There's nothing to say." she said as she continued walking.

Chapter Text

It had been two days since Steve left and Ace had regressed into her self-destructive patterns. She had taken over the compound's kitchen referring to it as Margaritaville. She spent her days drinking, dancing and avoiding any real conversations about her pain. Currently she was dancing to "She's a Hot One" by Luke Bryan and flirting heavily with Peter Quill. The Guardians were staying at the compound for one more night before heading back to space and Ace had given herself a bit of a mission. 

Sam came into the kitchen and saw Ace with Peter. He was worried about her, he had never seen her like this before. He had also spent a lot of time with her and Steve over the course of their relationship and knew just how much this was weighing on her. How she had known something like this would happen and everyone told her she was crazy. 

Sam grabbed her by the arm and pulled her aside. "How many margaritas have you had today?" he asked her.

"You are breaking all the rules of Margaritaville right now, I'm going to have to ask you to step outside of our borders." she gestured to a handwritten sign that was stuck to one of the cabinets that said:

Rules of Margaritaville

1. No counting.

2. No judgement.

3. No asking Ace any questions that aren't about the music.

"Ace, I'm worried about you. What are you doing with Quill?"

"You are unfamiliar with the Stark bender. I will fill you in. Basically what you do is take all of the terrible things that happen to you and bury them deep deep down. Then you put lots of booze and sex on top of it so you never have to think about it ever again. I have the booze part down. However there has been a snag in the sex part. Usually I would hit the town, however I barely have the energy to get out of bed in the morning let alone make myself look presentable enough to go out in public and pick up a man who let's face probably isn't going to get the job done because I've been sleeping with a super soldier for 11 years. So that means that my dating pool is here, and let me tell you pickings are slim. Bucky has been avoiding me. You are judgey as fuck. Thor is disgusting, and before you tell me I'm shallow, it's not that he's fat, it's that I'm pretty sure he hasn't bathed since he got here. Parker is jail bait, so that leaves the spaceman over there and if I'm being totally honest, I'm not mad about it."

"Sleeping with Quill, that's what's going to make you feel better?"

"Sam, I lost my best friend and my father, then my boyfriend decided that he wanted to spend his life with someone else. All in the span of a week. No, having sex with some guy isn't going to magically make that all okay. I know that. But it'll feel good, just like dancing makes me feel good and margaritas make me feel good. It all just helps me forget the crushing pain I feel in the mornings when I open my eyes and he's not there."

"Okay, can I just ask you one more question?" Ace glares at him but doesn't stop him. "You grew up in the city right?"

"Yeah."

"Then why do you like country music so much?"

"Because country bars have the cheapest margaritas and the hottest guys. Save a horse, ride a cowboy Sammy." With that she tipped her imaginary cowboy hat to him and went back to Margaritaville.

... 

"I can't believe this song wasn't on one of your mixes." Ace said as she put on Beast of Burden by the Rolling Stones and made her back over to where Quill was standing. 

"Well there isn't a lot of room on a cassette tape." Quill replied as Ace slipped her arms around his neck and started dancing with him. It was late and they were the only ones left in the kitchen. 

"You know this song always gets me a little hot and bothered." she whispered seductively into his ear. 

Quill let out a sigh and moved himself a little further from her. "What are you doing Ace?" 

"I know you have Gamora. I also know that she doesn't know who you are and you don't know where she is. We don't need to build a life together or anything like that. I just thought that maybe for one night we could help each other forget."

"Ace you're drunk."

"I'm not that drunk."

"You aren't going to regret it in the morning?"

"Never have before. You just have to promise me one thing." Ace said as she started to close the space between them. 

"What is that?"

"That you won't fall in love with me."

"I'll try my best." he leaned in and started kissing her. She pulled herself so her body was flush against his as they continued to make out. Quill's hands made their way down her body to cup her ass. This made Ace lift her legs so they were wrapped around him and he carried her towards her bedroom. 

When they got to the bedroom, Quill put her down on the bed and turned back to close and lock the door. While he did this Ace started to shed her clothes and he did the same as he made his way back to the bed. Once they were both naked he climbed on the bed over her and started kissing her again. His lips left hers for a moment and she used the opportunity to have him take a condom out of her night stand. She was still off the pill from her plans with Steve. Quill put on the. condom and lined himself up at her entrance. He thrust into her and kept up a firm steady pace. Neither of them were very vocal aside from moans and grunts of pleasure. They knew what this was just two people in pain trying to find comfort in each other. 

Ace was the first to reach her peak, she came with a scream. Her orgasm lead Quill to his soon after. They both stilled panting heavily. Quill pulled out of her and left the bed to discard the condom. He came out of the bathroom and started to pick up his clothes. Ace noticed this and sat up in bed. "What are you doing?"

"I should get back to the ship. We are flying out in the morning." 

"Do you have to?" 

"Not really. I just didn't think you wanted me to stay."

"I really don't want to wake up alone."

When she said that he saw the hurt in her eyes. It wasn't about him they both knew that. It was everything that she had gone through over the past week and half. He didn't say anything because he knew it wasn't words she needed. He climbed back into the bed and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close. They stayed like that until they both drifted off to sleep. 

...

Ace felt a little bit better that morning. The man in her bed wasn't the one she had been missing but at least she wasn't alone. Her and Quill managed to navigate getting dressed and out the door with minimal awkwardness and now Ace was standing on the landing pad with him to send him off. She had already said goodbye to Rocket, whom she had grown a real friendship with over the last 5 years. They both like to make things blow up and Rocket made really cool things that blew up. 

"I hope you find her." Ace said to Quill. 

"Thank you Ace." he replied.

"Well, if we are both still single next time you come to Earth. Maybe we can do this again."

"As much as I would love that, I don't think you will be. You're too much of a catch."

Ace smiled and shook her head. "Goodbye Peter."

"Goodbye Ace." he waved as he got on the ship. Ace watched them fly away before heading into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. 

She had just sat down with her full mug when Sam came in. "Coffee instead of a margarita this morning. You must have had a good night." 

"Well I didn't wake up alone this morning so yeah I would say I had a good night." Ace took a sip of her coffee before asking her the question that had been on her mind for a few days now. "How's Bucky doing? Have you talked to him?"

"He won't talk to me either. I do know that he got his pardon and that he's looking for a place in Brooklyn." 

"Good for him." 

"I'm more worried about you Ace. 

"I'm fine."

"Pepper called me."

"Well that makes sense because I won't answer her calls." 

"She told me that Tony left you a recording. You should watch it, it might give you some closure." 

"I know he did. I listened to her message. I'm not watching it. He's gone. That's the only closure I need."

"Ace..."

"Don't Sam." she cut him off. "I know what the video is going to say. He had 30 years to say it to my face and he didn't. I'm not going to watch the movie he made just to ease his guilty conscience. Now I'm going to shower and then make more margaritas."

She left the room and Sam just felt helpless. 

...

Ace had been wasting away in Margaritaville for a week now. Sam and Pepper kept trying to get her to watch Tony's recording but she continued to refuse. Ace had just woken up from her afternoon nap and headed down to the kitchen to rustle up some dinner but something was different. She hadn't seen Bucky since that day at the lake, but there he was sitting at the kitchen island. She froze when she saw him not sure whether she was happy to see him or angry at him.

"Hi Ace." he said nervously. 

"What are you doing here?"

"I got my pardon."

"I heard." 

"One of the conditions is that I have to go to therapy."

"Makes sense."

"I had my first session yesterday and my therapist said I should make amends for the things I did as the Winter Soldier, but I think I need to make amends with you for something I did as Bucky."

"What?"

"It's my fault that Steve left."

Ace moved closer to him now. "Why do you think that Buck?"

"That day in Wakanda, after you found the compass, I talked to Steve. I told him that if you were his second choice he needed to let you go."

Bucky was looking at his hands on the counter while he spoke. Ace had slowly made her way to stand next to where he was sitting. She put his hand on his cheek to move his head to look at her as she spoke. "That was five years ago. That's not why he left. It wasn't your fault, it was mine. He got a taste of what is was like to be second choice." he looked at Ace puzzled. "Buck, I had dreams about you. Often. He heard me moaning your name in my sleep."

In one swift move Bucky stood and wrapped his arms around Ace pulling her close for a deep kiss. She reciprocated and things got heated. Before it could go too far Bucky separated them. "Ace, this can't be just a one time thing. I won't be able to handle it."

Ace looked deep into his eyes. "Jame Buchanan Barnes, I am in love with you."

"Ace Stark, I'm in love with you too." 

Their lips met again, this time even more passionate. They slowly and clumsily made their way to Ace's bedroom still attached at the lips. Once they got there Bucky gently pushed her on to the bed. He had waited for this moment for a long time, he was going to savour it. He took his time slowly undressing her, leaving a kiss on each piece of skin he exposed, until she was completely naked. Every nerve in Ace's body was lit up when Bucky stood to remove his own clothes. He then got on his knees and pulled her closer to the edge of the bed so he was face to face with her throbbing core. 

He left a few teasing kisses on her thighs but when she moaned "Bucky, please" he couldn't take it anymore. He began to devour her heat like a man starved. Alternating between sucking on her clit and slipping his tongue in her entrance. Ace was screaming out in pleasure and came on his face with a cry of his name after only few minutes. He crawled his way up her body meeting his lips with hers once again. He wasted no time guiding his hard member inside of her causing both of them to gasp at the pleasure. He kept a slow but steady pace as he thrust into her, her moans absorbed by his kiss. Eventually they both reached their peak. 

Bucky sat up pulling out but still straddling her. "Oh baby, I am nowhere near done with you yet."

Ace felt a shiver got up her spine at his words. They were in for a long night. 

...

Bucky jolted awake from a nightmare, a typical occurrence for him, however this morning he quickly forgot about it as he looked at the woman sleeping next to him. She was finally his, he didn't have to pretend anymore. He settled back into bed, pulled Ace in close and softly kissed her neck. Ace slowly opened her eyes and looked at the clock on the night stand that said 8:00. 

"You're up early. Did you have a nightmare?" she asked him. 

"Yes, but waking up to you made me forget all about it." he answered. She turned in his arms to face him wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him tenderly. "We should talk about last night." 

"What about last night?" 

"Was I as good as I was in your dreams?"

"You were better." 

"Was I better than Rogers?"

"I am not answering that question."

"Fine. Just tell me one thing. Was he a virgin when you two got together?"

"No."

"I knew it. There was no way he didn't hook up with any of those Captain America groupies in the 40s."

"He said he had only done it in missionary in the 40s. I'm thinking that's all he a Peggy did for the rest of his life." 

"Doll, there is no way that Peggy is as good in bed as you." Ace smiled at his comment and pulled him into another heated kiss. He was working his hand down her already naked body when there was an incessant knocking at the door. 

"I should get that." Ace said as she reluctantly pulled herself out of bed and put her robe before answering the door. She opened the door a crack, to keep the visitor from seeing Bucky in bed and looked up to find a slightly panicked Sam.

"What do you want?" she asked him pointedly. 

"Pepper is here. She brought Morgan with her, who wanted to wake up her Auntie Ace but I didn't think it was the best idea since you have company." he answered. 

"What company? There is no one else in here." 

Sam pushed the door all the way open and he could clearly see Bucky. "No one looks pretty cozy and naked in your bed right now."

"How did you know?

"I was looking for him this morning and Friday told me where he was. I'm happy for you though. I know that when you said you felt pain waking up and seeing he's not there, that Steve wasn't the he you were talking about."

"Thank you Sam. Don't tell Pepper."

"You're secret is safe with me. I'll let you get dressed. You should get out here quick though, Morgan is really excited to see you."

"I'll be out in a minute." Ace said as she closed the door. She went to her closet and started getting dressed. Bucky started to get out of bed but Ace stopped him. "No, babe stay in bed. I don't think this will take very long and then we can pick up where we left off."

"I don't know you seem pretty excited to see your sister."

"I am. But as soon as Pepper realizes that Morgan is not going to convince me to watch Tony's video she is going to leave."

"Fine." he agreed and she gave him a kiss before heading out of the bedroom. 

...

Ace came around the corner into the living room and was almost tackled to the ground by an excited five year old. "Auntie Ace!" Morgan shouted as she hugged her sister. 

"Little Mo." Ace shouted back with equal excitement as she picked her up. 

"She's been asking to see you so I thought I would bring her by." Pepper said as Ace came further into the room with her sister in her arms.

"I've been wanting to see her too. Maybe we can build something in the lab?" Ace said the question posed to Morgan who nodded enthusiastically. 

"Maybe Sam can take you down. Mommy has something she needs to talk to Auntie Ace about." Ace resigned to her fate and put Morgan down. Sam took her hand and lead her out of the living room, leaving Ace and Pepper alone. "So who was in your bed this morning?" Pepper asked. 

"What makes you think I had someone in my bed this morning?"

"The panic on Sam's face when Morgan said she wanted to wake you up." 

"How is she holding up?" Ace said deliberately ignoring Pepper's comment. 

"She's good. I still don't think she fully understands though."

"She'll be good. She knows that he loved her. I should be resentful of her but I'm glad she didn't have to go through what I did."

"Ace, I really think you should watch the video. It will help you."

"Pepper you have no idea how I am feeling. The one person who might have understood was Steve. I told him every story of every shitty thing Tony did to me and the few good ones. I would have watched it with him, he would know exactly what to say because he always did. But Steve is gone and I can't watch it alone. Besides Tony had plenty of time to tell me whatever he says in that video and he didn't. It all feels like too little too late."

"Okay. I'll stop bugging you about it. But if you ever change your mind just say the word." Ace nodded in response. "I have some errands to run would you be okay watching Morgan for a few hours."

"I'd love to." 

"Thanks Ace. For what it is worth, I am very sorry I never said anything to him about how he treated you."

"Thank you Pepper." Pepper gave her a nod as she left. Ace just stood alone in the room for a moment, she wanted the weight of the conversation to lift before going to see Morgan and Sam in the lab. She then noticed a presence behind her. "So, how much of that did you hear?" she said as she turned around to face Bucky, who had just entered the room.

"All of it." he said as he got closer to her and pulled her in to a hug. 

"Damn super soldier hearing."

"You know if all you need to watch that video is someone to watch it with, I can be there for you. I know I don't know as much as Steve and I'm definitely not nearly as good at pep talks, but I am very good at listening."

"You would really do that for me?"

"I would do anything for you." he said as he hugged her tighter and kissed the top of her head.

...

Ace spent a lovely afternoon with her sister in the lab. When Pepper returned Ace told her that she changed her mind and Pepper gave her the video. Now Ace and Bucky were sitting on the couch in the living room, staring at the Iron Man helmet that sat on the coffee table while Ace tried to build up the nerve to start the recording. 

"I really think that this would be easier if we were naked." Ace said. 

"As much as I love getting you naked. I think it would just be weird." Bucky replied. 

"You're probably right."

"Just rip off the band aid doll. I'm right here." 

Ace told Friday to play the recording and a hologram of Tony was projected from the helmet. 

"Hi Ace. I know what you are thinking. I have completed the transition and am now 100% my father. I also know that there is nothing I can say that will make you forgive me for breaking my promise. I know you weren't asleep that night, your eye does this little twitchy thing when you're asleep."

"It does." Bucky agreed.

"Even though it is in a video after my death, I still want to prove to you that I was proud of you. A few months ago I went to the Stark Industries marketing department and had them draft up a press release telling the world the truth. Admitting that you were my daughter and telling the world about all the amazing things you accomplished despite having the world's worst father. I was going to tell you about it the night I invited you over for dinner but I thought I would let the whole time travel thing blow over first. I guess the joke's on me. Pepper has the press release now but it is ultimately your decision if you want it to go out. I know how much this would change your life. Just know that I will still be proud of you no matter what you decide. I'm also really glad you found love, whether it was with Cap or another man who may or may not have murdered my parents. If he loves you half as much as I love Pepper, then I'm confident I have left you in good hands. I love you Ace."

Tony's hologram disappeared and Ace and Bucky were speechless. 

"So, are you going to release it?"

Chapter Text

Ace hadn't been back to Washington in 9 years, but here she was standing in the Smithsonian staring a giant photo of he ex-boyfriend six months after he left her. She wouldn't have come if it hadn't been for Sam. He was donating the shield to the museum and Ace was there for the ceremony.

"Being in Washington bringing up a lot of memories?" a familiar voice said beside her. 

She turned to see Rhodey standing next to her and smiled. "Well Steve and I did spend the first two years of our relationship here."

"The honeymoon phase, so good memories?"

"Yeah mostly but then I remember he used to come to this museum and watch Peggy's interviews before going to see her."

"And you're thinking you should have known."

"Known what? That he'd leave me for her. I did know. I just naively thought that I could compete with a 90 year old woman with dementia, but Tony had to go and invent time travel. And I can't even be mad about it because it saved half the universe including my current boyfriend."

"How are you holding up?"

"There are good days and bad days. Some days I feel like I could go to Pepper's and find Tony working in the garage or to the compound to find Nat in her office. Some mornings I even wake up thinking it's Steve lying next to me until I feel the metal. Not that I'm disappointed by it, I love Bucky and wouldn't leave him even if Steve came back, but I still miss Steve. Then there is the press release decision hanging over my head."

"Tony told me about the press release, back when he first had them start working on it. You still haven't decided whether you are going to release it?"

"Part of me thinks that knowing he did it is enough. But there is another part of me that wonders if he only did it because he knew I wouldn't release it. However he's not here for me to gauge that or to react to me calling his bluff. With Tony gone so is my barometer for decision making."

"You did always go with whatever would piss Tony off the most."

"I sure did." Ace said with a sigh. "It looks like they are starting to set up. You should go find your seat."

"It was nice seeing you." Rhodey said and gave Ace a hug.

"You too. Come visit if you are ever in New York." 

"I absolutely will." he said as he went to his seat in the front row. 

...

Sam gave a great speech, Steve's public speaking skills must have rubbed off on him. Ace saw him walk off with Rhodey after the ceremony. She figured they needed time to talk so she let them be for a while before going into the exhibit to find Sam. 

She found him looking at the shield in it's new spot next to Steve's uniform. The moment felt heavy, so in true Ace fashion she decided to lighten it. 

"You know putting the shield in the museum felt like a very Indiana Jones move to me. We should add a hat and whip to your wings." she said. Sam smiled at her comment as she stood beside him. 

"I didn't think I would see you here." 

"Why not?"

"I didn't think you would approve."

"Well Bucky doesn't but I have some insight he doesn't have."

"Oh really. What's that?"

"I was really really mad at Steve when he left." 

"You don't say."

"Look I'm trying to tell a serious story here. Can you just ... okay."

"Go ahead." 

"A long time ago Steve made a promise to me that he would never leave me alone. Him leaving after what happened to Tony and Nat felt like he broke his promise. But after a while I realized that he was the star spangled man with a plan. He never did anything without fully thinking it through. He knew that he could leave because I had Bucky and Bucky had me. Steve gave the shield to you because he knew you would do the right thing. He was also always five steps ahead of everyone else so his thinking wasn't always clear right away. If this is what you feel Steve wanted then that's great, but if you change your mind it'll still be right here and I promise I will help you break it out of here. And I'm sure Buck would too."

"How is Bucky? He won't answer my texts."

"He's the same. He's still having nightmares and he sneaks out of bed to sleep on the floor."

"Therapy isn't helping?"

"I don't know he won't tell me anything about it. Actually that's not true he did tell me that he hasn't told his therapist about our relationship because he is happy with things between us. Which should be a comfort but strangely isn't."

"Because if he is lying to his therapist about you then what else is lying to her about."

"Exactly. But that's what I get for dating a stubborn old man. How is Louisiana treating you?" 

"It feels good to be home but I do miss you, and Bucky too, a little bit I guess." 

"Speaking of Buck I should probably hit the road. I feel bad leaving him all by himself overnight." 

"You make him sound like your pet."

"Well he does sleep on the floor. If you are ever in New York come by. I know he's ignoring your texts but it is a lot harder to ignore someone when they show up at your door. I'll at least let you in."

"I'll keep that in mind." Sam said as he gave Ace a hug. "Goodbye Ace."

"Bye Sam" she replied as she left the museum. Taking one last look at the homage to the first man she had ever loved as she made her way out the door. 

...

When Ace arrived back at the apartment in Brooklyn she shared with Bucky it was late and she found exactly the scene she was expecting. Bucky had taken a cushion and two throw blankets from the couch and made a make shift bed on the floor. He was sleeping soundly when she first walked in the door but by the time she had hung her jacket and taken her shoes off he had awaken with a start. He was sitting up and catching his breath when he noticed her. 

"I thought you weren't coming back until tomorrow." he said. 

"Well I was worried that you would be sleeping on the floor and having nightmares. I'm glad I was wrong." she said with more than a hint of sarcasm. She made her way over to where he was sitting and hiked her skirt up a little to straddle him. "I also missed you." she added as she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. 

"I missed you too." he replied as he leaned in for another kiss. This time he deepened the kiss slipping his tongue passed her lips. He moved his hands from where they were on her waist, sliding them down to cup her ass before moving them further down her thighs to hike her skirt up more. He was desperate for her, he always was. He had wasted so much time not being with her that he told himself he would take advantage of every moment. 

Ace was hungry for him too. Her hands had made their way to the waist band of his boxers and she pulled them down enough to free his throbbing member. While she did that Bucky's metal hand had made it's way under her skirt and was pushing her panties to the side to insert two fingers into her wet core. She cried out at the feeling, she really loved the metal arm. He moved his fingers in and out of her but the noises she was making were too much for him. He quickly removed his fingers from her and replaced them with his cock, thrusting up into her as she rode him. 

Before long Ace hit her peak followed closely by Bucky. She lifted off of him to lie down next to him with her head on his chest. They both took a minute to catch their breath and come down from their high before Bucky spoke. "So, how was Washington?" 

"You know, if you want to know how Sam is, you can just reply to his texts."

"He told you about those huh." 

"He's as worried about you as I am."

"You guys don't need to be worried I'm fine." 

"Yeah you're fine." Ace said clearly unconvinced as she looked at where they were and started to get up. "As much fun as it has been fucking you on the floor, it has been a long day and I'm going to bed. I would really like it if you came with me."

"I'm good out here. The bed is too soft." 

"You're really going to make me sleep alone?" she gave him the sad puppy look as she said it, which wore him down. 

"Of course not." he answered as he stood up and took her hand letting her lead him to the bed. Besides he knew that he could just go back out once she fell asleep like he did most nights. 

...

Bucky had his usual Wednesday routine. He had his standing appointment with his shrink and then he would go to a sushi restaurant for lunch with Yori, a nice old man who he had become friends with. He was making dinner when Ace got home from work. Pepper had hired her back in research and development at Stark Industries. Ace wasn't sure that was what she wanted to do but it allowed for a flexible schedule since her name was on the building. 

Ace made her way into the kitchen and wrapped her arms around Bucky leaving soft kisses on his neck. "What are you making? It smells really good." she asked him.

"Chicken Parm. I also brought you the chicken fried rice you love from Izzy so you can have it for lunch tomorrow." 

"How did I get so lucky?" 

"I'm the lucky one." Bucky replied as he turned his head to give her a proper kiss. "I still don't understand how your favourite thing from a sushi restaurant is the chicken fried rice."

"It's probably for the best. Day old sushi isn't really a good lunch plan, especially when my stomach has been so off the last couple weeks."

"We eat all the same things for the most part. How is it that you have been sick and I haven't?"

"You're a super soldier Buck."

"True. How was work?"

Ace moved from behind him to beside him as she answered with one arm still around his waist and her head on his shoulder. "I just did a bunch of boring science stuff you probably don't want to hear about." 

"Try me doll. I was quite the science nerd back in the day. Did Steve tell you we went to the Stark Expo in 1943. We watched your grandfather present a flying car that didn't work and that I'm a little disappointed hasn't been invented yet. Is that what you are working on?"

"It isn't but maybe it should be. How was lunch with Yori?"

"You aren't going to ask about therapy?"

"Are you going to tell me about therapy? "

"Lunch with Yori was good. I have a date tomorrow night."

"A what now?"

"I haven't exactly told Yori that I'm in a relationship so when the waitress was flirting with me he asked her to go out with me and somehow I said yes."

"Somehow?"

"Ace, I just didn't want to embarrass Yori. I'm just going to go hang out with her for an hour or two, let her down easy, then come home and spend the rest of my night on my knees thoroughly making it up to you and keeping our streak alive."

"Our streak?"

"I wasn't going to say anything because I didn't want to ruin it but we have had sex everyday for the last two months."

"Two months?" Something about the timeline felt off to Ace. 

"Yeah the last night we didn't have sex was when Pepper went on that business trip and left Morgan here. That was two months ago." 

Ace still felt like something was wrong with the timeline but she put it out of her head, she could figure it out later. "Okay but you said you would come home tomorrow night to keep the streak alive. What makes you think we are having sex tonight?"

"Because" he said as he stepped away from the stove, pulled her against him and started kissing her "I know all the right buttons to push." He trailed kisses down her neck and Ace let out a soft moan of pleasure. He did know all the right buttons to push. After a few minutes of this steamy make out Ace noticed a slight burning smell. 

"Babe you are going to burn dinner." Ace said. They came apart and Bucky turned his attention back to the stove. Ace gave him a playful smack on the ass as she left to go change out of her work clothes before dinner. 

...

Ace was watching TV waiting for Bucky to come home from his "date". She wasn't worried about him being unfaithful, she trusted Bucky completely but she also had something else on her mind. Something important she needed to talk to him about when he came home. When he finally came through the door he looked very upset and she was worried. 

"Babe, what happened? Are you okay?" she asked. 

"I need to tell you something. Yori's son died. He was killed on a trip abroad years ago and they still don't know what happened."

"That's terrible."

"Ace, they don't know what happened because the Winter Soldier killed him. That's why I have been spending time with him, as part of my amends but I just can't bring myself tell him what happened. The girl I was with was talking about him tonight, about how sad he was and I just walked out. I had to leave. I went to Yori's place but I still couldn't tell him." Ace put her hand on his face to comfort him, he was almost in tears. "I need to splash some water on my face or something." 

Bucky went into the bathroom.  Ace decided that what she had to tell him could wait another night, until he walked out of the bathroom holding the pregnancy test she had bought. "Shit I forgot I left that on the counter." Bucky continued to look at her expectantly. "When you said we had had sex everyday for two months something about it felt weird to me. Then I realized that none of that sex was period sex."

A look of realization dawned on Bucky's face. "Oh."

"It would also explain why my stomach has been so funky lately."

"Did you take the test?"

"No, I was going to but it reminded me of the last time, when Nat was with me. I couldn't do it alone."

"Ace, you never have to do anything alone. Not while you have me." 

"You don't have to watch me pee but it would be nice if you could sit with me while we wait for the results. You're sure you're up for it?"

"Of course." 

Ace took the test from him and went into the bathroom. She peed on the stick, put the lid on it and laid it on the bathroom counter. She washed her hands and then opened the door to let Bucky in. They sat together on the edge of the bathtub, Bucky holding her hand, while they waited for the amount of time the instructions had stated. Ace looked at the time on her phone. It was time to check the results. "I can't look. Can you do it?"

Bucky nodded and kissed the top of her head as he stood. He picked up the test and the instructions from the counter and compared them to get the results. "It's positive." he said. 

"Positive?" 

"Yup."

"We are having a baby?"  Ace asked with a smile.

"We are having a baby." Bucky responded with an even bigger smile. 

...

That night their streak broke. They had both had a long day and just wanted to sleep. Bucky held Ace in his arms the whole night, he was so happy he didn't have a single nightmare and he didn't feel the need to sneak out to sleep on the floor. He had woken up before her and was in the kitchen making breakfast when she got out of bed. 

"Eggs, bacon, and pancakes?" 

"You are eating for two now." he said as he came over and gave her a kiss while putting a plate full of food in her hands. She sat down at the table and her phone dinged. She had gotten a text from Rhodey, it said to turn on the news. 

She stood up and switched on the TV. She couldn't believe what she saw. "Bucky, you are going to want to see this." Bucky came over and his jaw dropped. There on the television was the new "Captain America" and he was holding Steve's shield.

Chapter Text

It had been a week since Ace and Bucky found out they were going to be parents. Bucky was good for that first night but with the anger that came from John Walker carrying his best friend's shield, the nightmares and need to sleep on the floor returned. He was still on the floor watching Walker's appearance on Good Morning America when Ace got up. 

"You know it isn't very nice to make a pregnant woman sleep alone." she said to him as she poured herself a cup of coffee. 

"Well I’m not going to make a pregnant woman sleep on the floor." Buck replied. 

"You could not sleep on the floor."

"Should you be drinking that?" 

"I'm allowed one cup a day. Why are you watching this you are just torturing yourself."

Bucky ignored her. Eyes still glued to the TV. She could see the rage radiating off of him. Ace set her coffee on the counter and went over to Bucky. She took his arms from where they were leaning on his bent knees and moved them out of her way so she could straddle his lap. "What are you doing?" he asked her.

"Distracting you." she said as she started to kiss his neck. He was still watching the TV. She would need to pull out the big guns. She pulled her shirt down slightly to make her cleavage more obvious. "You know I think my boobs have gotten bigger since the pregnancy. What do you think Buck?"

"Yeah they are definitely bigger." he answered without looking at her. 

"Wow. You know I heard that women can feel unsexy during pregnancy but I thought that was in like the eighth month when they looked like a whale."

That got his attention. "Doll, you are the sexiest woman alive." he told her as he moved his hands up to hold her face.

"I know but I got your attention didn't I." He pulled her in for a heated kiss. Even though they were making out they could still hear Walker prattling on on the television. 

They were fully preoccupied and not fully paying attention to what Walker was saying on the television until he was asked about Steve Rogers. "Even though I never met him, he feels like a brother." That sentence from Walker pulled both Ace and Bucky's focus. 

"Did he say what I think he just said." Ace reacted. 

"That's it." Bucky stood up, his hands under Ace's thighs so he could lift her as he did. He put her down on a chair and then went to the bedroom to get his jacket and gloves.

"Where are you going?"

"To talk to Sam."

"To talk to Sam or yell at Sam." She stood between him and the doorway blocking his path. "It's not his fault."

"If he hadn't given up the shield this wouldn't have happened." 

"I'm not going to be able to convince you not to go am I?"

"Nope."

"Then I'm coming with you to make sure you don't kill him."

"Fine. Let's go."

...

When they got to the air force base Sam was coming down the stairs, ready to go on a mission. Bucky stormed in guns blazing with Ace right on his tail. 

"You shouldn't have given up the shield." Bucky said to Sam as soon as he spotted him. 

"Good to see you too, Buck. Hi Ace." Sam replied, nodding hello to Ace.

"I'm sorry, I tried." she said. 

Bucky got right up in Sam's space. "This is wrong." Ace was right behind him trying to pull him back a bit but having little luck as he was a super soldier.

"Hey, hey, look, I'm working, all right? So all this outrage is going to have to wait."

"You didn't know that was going to happen?" 

"No of course I didn't know it was going to happen. You think it didn't break my heart to watch them march him out there and call him the new Captain America."

"This isn't what Steve wanted."

"Easy Bucky." Ace interjected making sure he didn't go to far.

"Ace." Bucky started to say something but Ace cut him off. 

"You better not send any of that anger in my direction if you ever want to have sex again." she told him and he stayed quiet and turned his attention back to Sam. 

"What do you want me to do? Call America and tell them I changed my mind? Huh?" Sam said but Buck didn't say anything. "Yeah right. Great reunion buddy, be well. Good to see you too Ace."

"You had no right to give up the shield, Sam."

"Buck!" Ace scolded him but Sam could hold his own. 

"Hey. This is what you're not going to do. You're not going to come here in you're over extended life and tell me about my rights. It's over Bucky. Besides I have bigger things to deal with now."

"What could be bigger than this?" Bucky said sounding defeated. 

Sam pulled out his phone and Ace was intrigued, it had been a long time since she had been involved in a mission. "This guy." he showed them a picture of a masked man on his phone. "His connections with rebel organizations all over Eastern and Central Europe, and he's strong, too strong." 

"And?" Bucky said unimpressed but Ace was drawn in completely. 

"Well, he's been connected to this online group called the Flag Smashers"

"That's a stupid name." Ace commented. 

"I know, but they are serious. Redwing traced them to a building somewhere out side of Munich. So that's where I'm going." 

"Well, I don't trust Redwing."

"What do you mean you don't trust Redwing?" Ace said slightly offended since she was the one that built Redwing.

Sam ignored Ace's outrage and continued. "You don't have to trust Redwing, but I'm going to go see if he's right because I have a feeling they might be a part of the Big Three."

"What Big Three?" Bucky asked

"The Big Three." Sam answered.

"Is that like a gang?" Ace tried to clarify further. 

"Androids, aliens, and wizards." Sam explained.

"That's not a thing." Bucky was skeptical

"That's definitely a thing. Every time we fight, we fight one of the three." 

"When did we fight wizards?" Ace asked still confused. 

"Yeah, who are you fighting now Gandalf." Bucky quipped. Ace and Sam looked at him shocked at the pop culture reference. 

"How do you know about Gandalf?" Sam asked.

"I read the Hobbit in 1937 when it first came out." Bucky clapped back.

"Holy shit you really were a nerd." Ace reacted. 

"So you see my point." 

"No, I don't. There are no wizards." 

"Doctor Strange."

"Is a sorcerer."

"A sorcerer is a wizard without a hat."

"Oh my god." Ace said not believing the conversation she was now a part of. 

"Think about it, right?" Sam continued his ridiculous train of thought. "I'm right. I just came up with that. It's crazy."

"This might be the stupidest conversation I have ever been a part of. Why do I hang out with you two again?" Ace asked. 

"Because you used to have amazing sex with Steve and now you have amazing sex with me." Bucky answered without missing a beat. 

"Oh yeah that." 

"Ew." Sam reacted to the exchange. "The existence of wizards is not the point. These guys aren't magical. They use brute force just like you, the incredibly annoying guy in front of me with the staring problem." 

Sam walked away toward the plane and Bucky followed him. "I'm coming with you."

"No you're not."

"Me too" Ace said following both of them. 

Bucky turned around and stopped her. "Are you sure you should be coming? In your condition." he whispered to her. 

"Seriously." she said with a hint of anger. 

Bucky raised his hands in surrender and let her pass. 

...

Ace and Bucky managed to get themselves on the plane. Bucky and Sam spent the whole ride giving each other death glares while Ace worked on getting Redwing's video feed back on her laptop and setting the boys up with her comms. 

"So you just carry comms and your laptop in your purse?" Torres asked. Joaquin Torres probably had some sort of official job title, but Ace didn't know or care what is was, she just thought of him as Sam's new sidekick. 

"Yup." Ace replied as casually as if he had asked her if she kept gum in her purse. Torres just watched her in awe. 

Torres tore his eyes away from Ace long enough to determine how close they were to the drop. "One minute to drop off, Sam." he announced.

Bucky and Sam stared each other down some more and then Sam stood to get his goggles and Bucky followed him. 

"So what's our plan?" Bucky asked. Sam didn't reply. "Great, so no plan."

"Thirty seconds." Torres called out.

"Enjoy your ride, Buck." Sam taunted Bucky.

"No, you can't call me that." 

"Why not? That's what Steve called you." 

"Steve knew me longer and Steve had a plan."

"Ace has known you as long as I have. She calls you that."

"I suck his dick."

"Fifteen seconds to drop." Torres called and Sam made his way to the door. 

"I have a plan." 

"Really? What is it?" Sam didn't answer, he jumped out of the plane. "Great. Where's the chute?" 

"We're at 200 feet. It's too low for a chute." Torres explained. 

"I don't need it anyway." Bucky said as he went to the door. 

"You sure about that?" Torres asked him. 

"Yeah." Bucky replied condescendingly as he ripped the sleeve of his jacket off his mental arm. 

"Just make sure you use your left hand to brace yourself if you fall on your face." Ace quipped.

"Love you too honey." Bucky said back before he jumped out of the plane. 

Ace watched Redwing's feed as Bucky crashed through the trees and landed flat on his back. Sam brought Redwing right up to Bucky. "I have all of that on camera you know that right." 

"Get out of my face, Sam, or I'll break it." 

"Please don't take your frustration out on Redwing." Ace pleaded. Eventually Bucky got up and met up with Sam at the warehouse. Ace watched Redwing's feed on the plane as it headed to land at the Munich airport and was listening to their bickering on comms. Torres came by to watch the feed as well. 

"You three make quite the team." he said to Ace. 

"Yeah, I guess. Two dumbasses and a hot chick, it's what every great action movie is made of." 

"So I couldn't help but overhear back at the base about you and Steve." Torres said awkwardly. 

"I dated Captain America for 11 years."

"11 years? What happened?"

"I'm not really supposed to talk about it but the gist is that we aren't together anymore." 

"And now your with Bucky."

"Yup"

"And Steve is on the moon." 

Ace hadn't looked at Torres until he said that. She gave him a confused and also shocked look. "No."

Ace's focus was pulled back to her screen when she heard the word hostage and saw Bucky run out after the trucks that the Flag Smashers were using to smuggle something. She watched as he climbed on to one of the trucks only to come flying out the back of it into the windshield of the other truck. They dragged him on top of the truck and he was struggling to fight them off. Sam flew in Redwing closer for some backup but one of the Flag Smashers plucked the drone out of the air and smashed it causing Ace's screen to go black.

...

Ace could only take a few minutes of listening to the grunts and groans of the fight after she lost visual. She took out her comms and waited for the guys to walk through the plane door. Hours later they finally did and Ace practically tackled Bucky when he walked on to the plane throwing her arms around him. 

He returned her hug comforting her. "It's okay doll, we're okay." 

She pulled away slightly to look at him. Other than a few bruises on his face that were already healing due to the serum he was fine. "You're sure you’re okay?"

"Yes." he said grabbing her face and giving her a kiss. 

"Good." she said nodding and visibly calming down. "Now I can move on to anger." she said as she hit both of them. "What the hell were you two thinking just running after them like that." 

"Sam said they had a hostage." 

"Well clearly they didn't."

"Ace they were super soldiers." Sam said. "There were eight of them."

"Yeah and we could of used that shield to fight them off." Bucky snapped back. 

"Ugh, not the shield again I thought we were past this." Ace said exasperated. 

"Yeah, it didn't seem to help Walker too much." Sam pointed out. 

"Walker was there? How did he find you?"

"He tracked Redwing." Bucky answered a little too eagerly. 

"How did he track Redwing?"

"Technically since I joined the air force Redwing is government property, but I swear I only let them fix him once." 

Ace clutched her just like someone had just told her someone had died and sat down on one of the plane's bench seats. "I'm going to need a minute to process this. Let's just get this thing in the air, go home and regroup." 

"It's okay." Bucky said moving to sit next next to her and put a comforting arm around her but Ace stopped him. 

"Don't touch me." she said clearly still mad at both of them for putting themselves in danger. She moved to lay down on the seat and slowly drifted off to sleep for the rest of the plane ride. 

...

The next day Bucky, Sam and Ace found themselves in Baltimore. Bucky had rerouted the plane there after a conversation he had with Sam, there was someone he wanted Sam to meet. They went to a residential neighbourhood and Bucky lead them to a house. He knocked on the door and a kid answered. Bucky asked to see a man named Isaiah but the kid wouldn't budge. Bucky told the kid to tell Isaiah that the guy from the bar in Goyang was there. The kid closed the door leaving the three of them on the porch. Eventually the kid let them in the house. 

Isaiah was an older black man. Bucky explained that he was a hero that Hydra feared, like Steve. Isaiah explained that the US military sent him to deal with Bucky in 1951, that he took half of Bucky's metal arm off and he had only invited him in to see if he got the arm back or if he was there to kill him. Bucky tried explain that they were there because there were more people like them out there but that seemed to trigger the old man. He yelled at Bucky that he was locked in jail and experimented on for 30 years. Throwing a metal tin and embedding it in the wall. That's when it dawned on Ace and Sam Isaiah was a super soldier. At this point Isaiah was yelling at them to leave so they did.

They went outside and Sam was upset. He wanted to know why there was a black super soldier decades ago and nobody knew about it. Bucky as usual didn't have answers for him but their fight was interrupted by two police officers pulling up. They were questioning Sam and asking Ace and Bucky if he was bothering them. All three kept insisting to the officers that they were just talking but it wasn't until they recognized Sam and Bucky as Avengers that they let up and started apologizing. A second police car pulled up and the officers went to check on something. When they came back they said that because Bucky missed his therapy there was a warrant for his arrest. 

As they were putting the handcuffs on Bucky Ace was trying to plead with the officers. "Look officer, I'm his girlfriend and you can trust me when I say that no one wants his ass in therapy more than I do. We were just out of town and it slipped our minds." She then leaned closer to the officer and strategically moved her shoulders to emphasize her breasts. "If you could just pretend you didn't see him and let me take him straight to his therapist I would be really appreciative." she batted her eyelashes a few times for good measure. 

The officer was unfazed by Ace's little show so she decided to try the new card in her repertoire. "Okay, we really aren't telling people yet but I'm pregnant. You wouldn't make a pregnant woman go all the way down to the police station to bail her boyfriend out would you?" 

"I'm sorry ma'am there is nothing I can do." the officer said as he got in the car. 

The police cars drove away with Bucky in them. Leaving Sam and Ace on the street. "Did he just call me ma'am? Have I lost my touch?"

"Ace, are you really pregnant?" Sam asked having heard her pleas to the officer.

"I didn't want you to find out this way but yeah." she replied with a little smile. 

Sam smiled back at her and gave her a hug. "Congratulations. Wait it is Bucky's kid right, it couldn't be Quill's or Steve's"

Ace looked at him unimpressed. "Use your brain Sam do I look six months pregnant to you? It is definitely Bucky's."

"Well I'm happy for you guys. You know I had a bit of a suspicion that something was up, your boobs look bigger."

"How do you know that? Have you been looking at my boobs? You would have had to have been looking at them enough to memorize the size of them from before I was pregnant." Ace said slightly outraged.

"Come on Ace. You and I both know you love the attention."

She calmed down, what he said was true. "I do. I'm still hotter than Peggy right?"

"Way hotter."

"And Sharon." 

"Well now that your boobs are bigger you are." Ace shot him a death glare for that comment, he put his hands up in surrender. "That was a bad joke."

"Let's just go get Buck." she said and they both got into the car and drove to the police station. 

...

Ace and Sam arrived at the police station and went to the desk. They were told to wait in the waiting area because Bucky would be brought out soon. They sat down and a woman came up to them. 

"Sam, I heard a lot about you. I'm Dr. Raynor, James's therapist." she said shaking Sam's hand, she then turned her attention to Ace. "You must be the pregnant girlfriend the arresting officer mentioned. You I have heard nothing about."

"Ace Stark, and to be fair the pregnant part is pretty new." 

"And the girlfriend part." 

"Has been going on for about six months. For the record I told him he should tell you about me but he said he was happy with our relationship and didn't want to talk about it."

Now feeling awkward and wanting to change the subject Sam spoke up. "Thank you for getting him out." he said to Dr. Raynor. 

"That was not me." she replied. 

As if on cue John Walker, the new Captain America entered the building greeting Dr. Raynor by her first name. 

"You got to be kidding me. You know him?" Sam said to her. 

"Yeah, we did some field ops back in the day." she answered. 

John came over to them. "I heard you were working with Bucky, so I thought I'd step in. Bucky's not going to be following a strict schedule any longer" he said to Dr. Raynor. Both she and Ace were a little taken aback by what he was saying. 

"We haven't finished our work. Who authorized this?" 

John pointed at himself. "He's too valuable of an asset to have tied up. Just do whatever you've got to do with him and then send him off to me."

Ace was pissed now. "Excuse me. Sargent Barnes is in therapy for a reason. He has been through more than that peanut size brain of yours can comprehend. You do not get to derail his progress just because you can't handle your own shit."

"I'm sorry. Who are you?"

"Who am I? I'm Ace Stark bitch. Who the fuck are you?"

"I'm Captain America." 

"The fuck you are. Let me fill you in. I'm Tony Stark's first born daughter, the one no one knows about. I graduated MIT at 19, was head of research and development for the weapons division of Stark Industries at 21, and built about 80% of the Avengers' weapons including Sam's wings and Redwing. I also dated the real Captain America for 11 years, and let me tell you I have heard the words Captain America come out of your mouth more in the last week than I did through my entire relationship with Steve."

"Oh, you must be Bucky's pregnant girlfriend. I hear those hormones are a bitch." Ace tried to lunge at John but Sam held her back. "Bucky and I have some unfinished business. You too, Wilson. I'll be outside." John left the building. 

While Ace had been yelling at John, Bucky had been brought out. Dr. Raynor was the first one to spot him. "James, condition of your release, session now. You too, Sam." she demanded as she made her way down the hall to where the interrogation rooms were. 

"That's okay I'll stay out here with Ace." Sam said. 

"That wasn't a request." she barked back and Sam and Bucky followed her down the hall. 

...

When Bucky and Sam left the room they didn't look any less angry at each other than they did when they went in. They walked out the doors of the station and Ace followed behind them. 

"I half expected you guys to come out of there holding hands." she said. 

"Don't Ace." Sam warned. She didn't say anything more. 

They heard a nearby siren go off and looked towards it. John Walker was standing by the police car with his partner Lemar. "Gentlemen." he said and waved to them. "Good to see you again." Bucky, Sam and Ace walked over to him and John proceeded to try to convince them to work together. They even got John to tell them his intel, that the leader of the Flag Smashers was named Karli Morgenthau and that they were getting help from civilians who supported their cause. Bucky and Sam refused to help them and walked off with Ace as John warned them to stay out of his way. 

As Sam, Bucky and Ace made their way back to the car they talked about their next steps. Bucky had noticed that Isaiah had said something about his people and by that he likely meant Hydra, and there was one person they knew who knew a lot of Hydra's secrets. Sam didn't like it and neither did Ace but they both knew what had to be done. They had to go see Zemo. 

Chapter Text

Sam, Bucky and Ace landed in Berlin the next day. A guard led them down the hallway of the prison and stopped before the last door indicating that Zemo was just on the other side. Bucky asked the guard to give them a minute and turned to Sam and Ace.

"I'm going to go in alone." Bucky told them.

"Why?" Sam asked 

"You're an Avenger. You know how he feels about that." Bucky answered 

"It's not like you two were known for frolicking in the sun together." Sam fired back.

"I'm not an Avenger or a Super Soldier. I could..." Ace started to interject.

"No." the boys said in unison. 

"He's behind bars what is he going to do?" Ace responded, annoyed at their protectiveness. 

"I'm going in. He was obsessed with Hydra. We have a history together. Trust me. I got this." Bucky assured them.

"Are you sure?" Ace said to him, genuinely worried. 

Bucky put a hand on either side of her face, looking at her straight in the eyes. "Yes, I'm sure." He dropped his hands to her waist to pull her in for a quick peck before heading down the hallway towards where Zemo was being held. This left Ace and Sam alone in the hallway.

"Tell me something to keep me from thinking about what happened the last time he was in a room alone with that man." Ace asked Sam. 

"I do have a question for you. I thought it might be too personal but I don't think we have any secrets since you had sex in my shower while I was in the next room." Sam responded. 

"If I knew you were going to be this bitter about it this many years later I would have just let Steve fuck me in your bed."

"Does that mean you will answer my question?"

"Only if you answer one for me." 

"Deal."

"Shoot."

"You were with Steve for 11 years and you guys had a lot of sex."

"We had a normal amount of sex. What is your question?"

"You went 11 years without getting pregnant, but six months with Bucky and you're knocked up?"

"Just before he left Steve and I had decided to start trying for a baby. I went off my birth control and thought that as an ex-assassin, Bucky would be in the same boat as Natasha, so I didn't go back on it. Evidently I was wrong. I'm not disappointed though. I'm actually really happy."

"I'm happy for you, Ace. I really am." 

"Thanks Sam. Now it's my turn. Did Bucky say anything in your therapy session that I should be worried about?"

"What kind of things are you worried about?" 

"When we found out about the baby he had an amazing turn around. He stayed in bed with me all night and I don't think he even had a nightmare. Then Walker happened and now he's worse. He doesn't even pretend to come to bed with me, he starts out on the floor, and I can him screaming in his sleep. I just ..." Ace sighed. "What did he say Sam?"

"He said that when I gave up the shield it made him think that Steve was wrong about me, and that if Steve was wrong about me than he was wrong about him too."

Ace just took a deep breath, letting what Sam said sink in. She wasn't surprised, but hearing about Bucky's pain, hurt her too. "You know, I'm more mad at Steve for leaving Bucky to deal with this alone than I was that he left me."

Sam put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "I know. Me too." 

...

Once Bucky was done talking to Zemo, he, Sam, and Ace left the prison. Bucky took them to what looked like an abandon warehouse and on the way mentioned that he thought it might be a good idea to break Zemo out to help them. Sam was not happy about the idea and made it known as they entered the warehouse. 

"What are you talking about? You want to break Zemo out of jail? Where the hell are we, Buck? Have you lost your mind?" Sam asked. 

"I don't think it's that bad of an idea." Ace commented. 

"Wow. Pregnancy brain must be a real thing because this idea is crazy." Sam replied.

"We have no leads, no moves, nothing." Bucky reminded Sam. 

"What we have is one of the most dangerous men in the world behind bars." Sam rebutted. 

"We also have eight super soldiers that are loose." Bucky said.

"Zemo's going to mess with our minds. Especially yours. No offense." Sam argued. 

"Offense." Bucky said as he turned on the light in the warehouse. It was more like a garage with classic cars all around and the tools to fix them. It kind of reminded Ace of Tony's garage back in Malibu only way bigger. "Super soldiers go against everything he believes in. He is crazy but he still has a code."

"I've been on the wrong side of that code Buck, and so have you. He blew up the UN, he killed King T'Chaka and framed you for it. Did you forget that? Do you think the Wakandans forgot about it? It's a rhetorical question. They didn't. I know why this matters to you but it's pushing you off the deep end." Sam said.

"I disagree." Ace said and both Sam and Bucky looked to her as she explained further. "Yeah he did some shitty things and the Wakandans are definitely not going to be happy if we get him out but we aren't setting him free. Once we have what we need from him we put him back in his cage and throw away the key." 

"We don't know how they are getting the serum. We don't even know how many of them there are. Let me just walk you through a hypothetical. Can I walk you through a hypothetical?" Bucky asked. 

"What did you do?" Sam said concerned. 

"I didn't do anything." Bucky answered innocently before explaining an elaborate plan to break Zemo out of jail. 

"I don't like how casual you are being about this, it's unnatural. Are you...and where are we, man?" Sam reacted when Bucky had laid out his idea. 

It was then the side door of the garage opened and Zemo walked through it. Sam was pissed. "Whoa, whoa, whoa. What are you doing here?" he yelled at Zemo. 

Bucky stopped Sam from charging towards Zemo. "No listen. I didn't want to tell you because I knew you wouldn't let this happen." 

"What did you do?" Sam asked Bucky before he turned to Ace. "You don't look at all shocked. Did you know about this?"

"No I didn't. But I do know that Bucky doesn't speak in hypotheticals and that it would look super suspicious if Zemo escaped after we went to visit him a second time." Ace explained. 

"We need him." Bucky tried to appeal to Sam. 

"You're going back to prison." Sam yelled at Zemo. 

"If I may ..." Zemo tried to interject but was cut off by a very loud no from the two other men in the room. "Apologies." he responded quietly.

"When Steve refused to sign the Sokovia Accords, you backed him. You broke the law and you stuck your neck out for me. I'm asking you to do it again." Bucky said. 

"Sam I know you did all that because you trusted Steve, but Steve's gone and all we have is each other. You need to trust us." Ace added.

"I really think I'm invaluable..." Zemo interjected again. 

"Shut up." Sam interrupted and took a long pause. "Okay. If we do this, you don't make a move without our permission." 

"Fair." Zemo agreed. 

"Okay Zemo. Where do we start?" Sam asked. 

A mischievous grin comes over Zemo's face and he turns to Ace. "Well first, I don't believe I know you." he said to her. 

"You really don't remember me?" Ace responded slightly offended. 

"Of course I remember you. How could I forget such a beautiful woman. We were just never formally introduced." Zemo recovered. 

"Ace Stark." she introduced herself and held her hand out to Zemo. He took her hand in his and placed a light kiss on it. 

Bucky saw this and immediately placed himself between the two of them, looking sternly at Zemo. "What's the plan?" 

Zemo said nothing he just walked over to the breaker on the wall and turned on the garage's main lights, revealing more classic cars. "So our first move is grand theft auto?" Sam asked as he looked around. 

"These are mine. Collected by family over the generations." Zemo answered as he went to a few different cars opening them and collecting different items he needed. "I spent years hunting people Hydra recruited to recreate the serum. Because once it's out there, someone can create an army of people like the Avengers. I ended the Winter Soldier program once before. I have no intention to leave my work unfinished. To do this we will have to scale a ladder of lowlifes." 

"Well join the party. We've already started." Sam quipped. 

"First stop is a woman named Selby. Mid-level fence I still have a line on. From there we climb." Zemo continued ignoring Sam's jab. He then put on a fur trimmed long coat that had Ace looking at him sideways. 

"Nice coat. Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?" Ace joked and laughed to herself but the others just looked at her. "You know. Thrift Shop. The music video with big puffy coat. But it was 99 cents." she tried to explain but was still met by confused stares.

"It's okay doll, as long as you make yourself laugh." Bucky comforted her and the four of them made their way out of the garage. 

... 

A little while later Sam, Bucky and Ace found themselves on Zemo's private jet. Zemo explained to them that his family was royalty until the fall of his country at the hands of the Avengers. Ace was very comfortable on the jet, she was seated next to Bucky and across from Zemo. 

"Why don't you tell us about where we're going?" Sam asked Zemo. 

"I'm sorry." Zemo responded. "I was just fascinated by this. I don't know what to call it but this part seems to be important. Who is Nakajima?" 

As Zemo asked his question he pulled Bucky's notebook out from the book he had been holding. Immediately Bucky lunged at Zemo from his seat grabbing his throat. "If you touch that again, I'll kill you." Bucky took his notebook back and sat down in his seat. 

"I'm sorry." Zemo apologized. "I understand that list of names. People you've wronged as the Winter Soldier."

"Don't push it." Bucky said clearly still agitated. 

"He doesn't like to talk about it." Ace explained as she gave Bucky a concerned look. He just gave her a nod to signify he was okay.

"I've seen that book. It was Steve's when he came out of the ice. I told him about Trouble Man. He wrote it in that book. Did you hear it? What did you think?" Sam asked. 

"I like 40's music so.." Bucky reluctantly answered. 

"You don't just like 40's music. You like the music I play for you." Ace corrected. 

"That's more about the little dances you do in your underwear than the music itself." Bucky explained. 

"Fair enough." Ace conceded. 

"You didn't like Trouble Man?" Sam was almost offended

"I liked it." Bucky said annoyed. 

"It's a masterpiece, James. Complete. Comprehensive. It captures the African-American experience." Zemo added. 

"He's out of line, but he's right." Sam agreed. "It's great. Everybody loves Marvin Gaye."

"I like Marvin Gaye." Bucky just wanted the conversation to be over. 

"Steve adored Marvin Gaye." Sam said. 

"I don't know if I would go that far." Ace commented. 

"What do you mean?" Sam asked her. 

"I mean I dated the guy for 11 years and only found him listening to Marvin Gaye a handful of times. One of them being the time you played it for him in the hospital. When he was unconscious." she explained. 

"He told me he loved it." Sam replied. 

"You must have really looked up to Steve." Zemo said changing the subject. "But I realized something when I met him. The danger with people like him, America's super soldiers, is that we put them on pedestals."

"Watch your step, Zemo." Sam warned. 

"They become symbols. Icons." Zemo continued. "And then we start to forget about their flaws. From there, cities fly, innocent people die. Movements are formed, wars are fought. You remember that, right? As a young soldier sent to Germany to stop a mad icon. Do we want to live in a world full of people like the Red Skull?" Zemo shook his head. "That is why we are going to Madripoor."

"What's up with Madripoor? You guys talk about it like it's Skull Island." Sam asked. 

"It's an island nation in the Indonesian archipelago. It was a pirate sanctuary back in the 1800s." Bucky answered. 

"Sounds like a party." Ace said. 

"It's kept its lawless ways. But we cannot exactly walk in as ourselves. James you will have to become someone you claim is gone." Zemo said. 

Ace looked at Bucky, he was trying to remain stoic but she could see that there was some fear about becoming the Winter Soldier again. She did know a way she could take his mind off of it though. She stood up from her seat. "I'm going to the bathroom. I get super motion sick and I feel like I'm going to hurl. Babe, can you come with me and hold my hair back?"

"Can't you just put it up?" Bucky asked. 

Ace gave him a death glare, but Sam was the one that spoke up. "Buck, that's your girl go hold her hair." 

"Of course. Sorry doll." Bucky said as he got up from his seat and followed Ace to the plane's tiny bathroom. 

"They're going to fuck." Sam said to Zemo as the bathroom door shut. 

Inside the bathroom Ace was leaning against the sink facing Bucky who had his back to the door. "You know I was going to give you a blow job but you refusing to hold my hair back for me is making me rethink that."

"What? I thought you felt sick?" 

"No. That was just an excuse to get you in here. so we could have sex." 

"What?" 

"You looked grumpy. I thought it might cheer you up. But maybe you should just get back out there and I can take care of myself. I'll probably end up with a better orgasm that way anyway." 

"You think you can give yourself a better orgasm than I can."

"Oh, I know I can." 

"Take off your pants and spread your legs." Bucky commanded. With a smirk, Ace complied. She undid her jeans and slid them with her underwear down to her ankles. Bucky got on her knees and pushed her back slightly so she was somewhat sitting up on the sink and he was face to face with her heated centre. He looked up at her with those ice blue eyes of his and then went to town. He ate her out like a man starved, sucking on her clit and then slowly inserting two vibranium fingers into her. Ace moaned out Bucky's name as she built toward her climax faster than she thought she would. Her hand found it's way to his hair and she gave a little tug which made Bucky groan, the vibration of it causing her to come all over his face. But he was far from done.

Bucky got to his feet and took her face in his hands as he pulled her in for a fierce kiss. "I need you inside me." she said breathlessly when they came up for air. 

"Turn around." Ace turned and leaned over the sink placing her hands on the mirror as Bucky pulled his pants and underwear down enough to free his hard cock. He thrusted into her keeping a steady and rough pace that he knew she liked. 

Ace couldn't contain her sounds of pleasure. "Oh god, yes Buck, right there." she screamed out. Soon Ace had her second orgasm, squeezing Bucky who followed suit at the feeling. They both panted and tried to catch their breath as they came down from their high. Bucky pulled out and Ace turned to face him, pulling him in so their foreheads touched. "You're right. That was better than I could do." 

"You know, if you really did need to throw up I would hold your hair for you." 

"I know." she gave him a soft kiss, and they helped each other get dressed. Bucky went to open the door but Ace stopped him. "Just one more thing before we go out there. Are you sure you are going to be okay being the Winter Soldier again? I know it is just acting, and I know how badly you want to find the serum. I just don't want your mental health to become collateral damage."

"I'll be fine, and if I'm not, I promise I will tell you." He gave her one last kiss before opening the door and heading back to his seat.

...

When they arrived in Madripoor, Zemo had a change of clothes ready for their disguises. Sam wore a flashy red and yellow suit, Bucky a black tactical outfit that left his vibranium arm exposed, and Ace had a little skin tight black dress. They were walking across the bridge to the car and Sam was not happy with his outfit. 

"We have to do something about this. I'm the only one who looks like a pimp." Sam complained. 

"Only an American would assume a fashion forward black man looks like a pimp. You look exactly like the man you are supposed to be playing. The sophisticated, charming African rake named Conrad Mack, aka the Smiling Tiger." Zemo explained showing them a picture of a man who looked very much like Sam. 

"He even has a bad nickname." Sam replied before looking at the photo. "Hell, he does look like me though." 

"If he's a pimp does that make me his hoe?" Ace asked. 

"Smiling Tiger does not bring women to business meetings. You, Ace, will be my date." Zemo answered.

Ace could practically feel the anger coming off of Bucky. "Just make sure you don't get too handsy or Bucky here will rip your arm off." Ace warned. 

"No matter what happens we have to stay in character. Our lives depend on it. There is no margin for error." Zemo gave his own warning. "High Town is that way. Not a bad place if you want to visit, but Low Town is the other way." 

"Let me guess. We don't have any friends in High Town." Sam said as they approach the car. 

"We've got friends in low places." Ace said and chuckled to herself. No one else laughed. "Oh come on you have to have gotten that one." 

"I did it just wasn't funny." Sam replied and they all got into the car. 

They all stayed quiet on the drive through Low Town, everyone was on high alert. They parked the car and made their way into the seedy underbelly of Madripoor. Zemo lead them to a bar called the Brass Monkey. As they walked through the place Ace heard whispers of people recognizing Bucky as the Winter Soldier. 

They went up to the bar, Ace conveniently standing between Zemo and Bucky as Sam stood on Zemo's other side. The bartender came over to greet them. He asked Sam if he wanted his usual and Sam just nodded. The bartender then proceeded to pull a snake out of a jar behind the bar, cut it's guts out and put it in a shot glass with some alcohol. He then served the concoction to Sam. Sam took the glass knowing he had to stay in character no matter what and took the shot with only minor theatrics. It took everything poor pregnant Ace had not to throw up at the sight.

Zemo had asked to see Selby but was having some trouble. There was someone called the Power Broker that unofficially ran Madripoor and didn't seem to want them to see Selby. Zemo said he knew him only by reputation but knew to stay off his radar. The others in the bar were giving Zemo weird looks and one was coming up to him but Zemo was calm. He then said something to Bucky in Russian and he went into full Winter Soldier mode. 

Bucky took down every man that came at him. Ace wasn't sure whether to be horrified or turned on by what she was seeing, Sam just looked worried, and Zemo made some comment about how easy it was for him to fall back into form.  The fight ended when Bucky had a thrown a man onto the bar holding him by the throat and the sound of guns being cocked echoed through the building. Zemo said something else to Bucky in Russian and he let the man go. 

The whole scene seemed to convince the powers that be and the bartender let them know that Selby would see them. Zemo put his arm around Ace and lead her away from the bar. Ace subtly looked back to check on Bucky and saw Sam ask him if he was good. She saw Bucky give him a slight nod which was enough to ease her worry for the moment. 

They were lead to the back room of the bar where Selby was seated with guards all around her. Selby was an older British woman who Ace thought gave off some serious Ellen DeGeneres vibes, if Ellen were shady as fuck and lived in Madripoor. Zemo offered Selby the Winter Soldier and his code words in exchange for information about the serum, Ace wasn't thrilled with that part of the plan but kept up her poker face to stay in character. Selby told them that the serum was in Madripoor. The Power Broker had hired Dr. Wilfred Nagel to reproduce it, but before they were able to get more information Sam's phone rang. This made Selby suspicious so she made him take the call on speaker. 

It was Sam's sister Sarah on the phone. He was doing pretty well at staying in character until she called him Sam when she hung up. Upon hearing the name Selby order her guards to kill them but before she could get the word out a gun shot came through the glass and killed Selby. The guards went after them but Sam and Bucky handled them swiftly and took their guns. They were going to be blamed for Selby's death so they had to get out of there. Zemo told them to leave the weapons and follow his lead. Bucky, no longer giving a shit about being in character, pulled Ace to his side, to keep her close and keep her safe. 

They calmly walked out of the bar but Zemo discovered there was a bounty on them. They made it on to the street but only made it a few blocks before people started shooting at them. Bucky picked Ace up and ran, Sam following close behind. They lost Zemo and went into an alleyway where they were cornered by 3 bounty hunters. Shots rang out from the window of the building killing the bounty hunters as Zemo came around the corner. 

"You seem to have a guardian angel." Zemo said having saw what just went down. Bucky had put Ace down and they were all looking around to see who the mystery shooter was. 

"Well this is too perfect." the mystery shooter said as she came around the corner. Ace's eyes narrowed she knew that voice. "Drop it Zemo." Sharon Carter said as she revealed herself. 

"Sharon?" Bucky said shocked. 

"I'm going to take my chances with the bounty hunters." Ace said and tried to leave the alley but Bucky stopped her and gave her a look. 

"You cost me everything." Sharon said as she walked toward Zemo with her gun still raised. 

"Sharon wait." Sam said stopping her. "Someone recreated the super soldier serum and Zemo had a lead."

"That explains why you guys are here. And Selby's dead." Sharon responded. 

"So what are you doing here?" Bucky asked. 

"I stole Steve's shield remember? I also took the wings for your ass, so you could save his ass from his ass. Unlike you I didn't have the Avengers to back me up. So, I'm off the grid in Madripoor." Sharon answered. 

"So what your saying is your plan to get in Steve's pants went sideways." Ace interjected. 

"Ace." Sam scolded, then turned back to Sharon. "Don't blow that smoke at me. I was on the run too." 

"Was. Is. Big difference." Sharon replied. "I don't speak to my family anymore. I can't. My own father doesn't know where I am."

"Listen, Sharon we need your help." Bucky said and Sharon just chuckled. 

"The hell we do." Ace disagrees. 

"Where are we going to go Ace?" Bucky scolded her and turned back to Sharon. "Please." 

Sharon takes a long pause. "This isn't over. I have a place in High Town. You should be safe there for a while." 

...

Sharon seemed to be doing well for herself in Madripoor. She ran a gallery that sold high priced stolen art and lived in an apartment above it. She was hosting a big client party that night and provided the guys with a change of clothes. 

"Much better." Sharon said to Sam as he changed, she then turned her attention to Ace who was sitting next to Bucky on the couch. "Are you sure I can't scrounge you up something to change into?"

"Well my boobs are a lot bigger then yours so I'm not sure anything you have would fit." Ace clapped back. 

"What's going on Sharon? You don't ever want to come back home?" Sam asked Sharon. 

"She looks pretty comfortable to me." Ace chimed in. 

"They'll lock me up if I step foot back in the States. Madripoor doesn't allow extradition." Sharon answered. 

"Look, I'm sorry I didn't call, but after the blip and the chaos I just..." Sam apologized but Sharon cut him off. 

"You know the whole hero thing is a joke right? The way you gave up that shield, deep down you must know it's all hypocrisy." she said. 

"He knows. And not so deep down." Zemo interjected. 

"By the way how is the new Cap?" Sharon asked. 

"Don't get me started." Bucky answered sounding like a grumpy old man. 

"Please. You buy into all that stars and stripes bullshit. Before you were his pet psychopath, you were Mr. America! Cap's best friend." Sharon replied.

"Wow. She's kind of awful now." Bucky responded.

"Now?" Ace asked. "You're one to talk about believing in the stars and stripes. Last time I saw you, you were shoving your tongue down Captain America's throat, against his will."

"You're still mad about that? That was how many years ago." Sharon asked. 

"You made out with my boyfriend in front of me." Ace said as she stood and was toe to toe with Sharon. "Yeah, I'm still mad. The only reason you're still standing is because these two wouldn't let me out the car." 

"That's big talk. Can you back it up?" Sharon challenged. 

"Please. While you were living the high life here in Madripoor, I was Wakanda, with the Dora. I'll kick your ass." Ace responded. 

"Ace, the Dora refused to train you." Bucky corrected. 

"She didn't know that." Ace explained. 

"That's enough." Sam shut it down. "Karli Morgenthau and at least seven others have taken the serum."

"You guys really should steer clear of all of this for your own safety." Sharon informed them. 

"We know it's a risk, but we're not going to leave until we find the person who cracked the code." Sam replied. 

"We got a name. Wilfred Nagel." Bucky added.

"Nagel works for the Power Broker." Sharon told them. 

"We need your help Sharon. I can get your name cleared." Sam pleaded with her. 

"You haggling with my life?" Sharon wasn't impressed. 

"Not like that." Sam replied. 

"I don't buy that. You pretending like you can clear my name."

"Okay, maybe it is hypocrisy. Maybe you're right. What happened to you. But I'm willing to try if you are." Sam said walking towards Sharon. "They cleared the bionic staring machine, and he killed almost everybody he's met."

"I heard that." Bucky chimed in.

"I don't trust charity." Sharon said. 

"All right, a deal then." Sam replied. "You help us out, and I get your name cleared." 

Sam reached out his hand to Sharon. She took a pause and a deep breath and shook his outstretch hand. "Well I sell to some pretty connected people. Lay low, blend in, enjoy the party. Try to stay out of trouble. I'll see what I can find." 

...

Sharon's party was full swing. The gallery had basically turned into a night club. Ace was standing with Bucky by the bar. Sam was mingling and Zemo was dancing. The last time Ace had been to a party like this was the 30th birthday party Bucky had thrown her, only then she had been way drunker. Bucky could see on her face that she wasn't totally enjoying herself.

"What's wrong?" he asked. 

"It's been a while since I've been at something like this. It would be way more fun if I could have a couple of tequila shots." she replied 

"Well, I can't get drunk so we are in the same boat sweetheart." Bucky sympathized with her and gave her a quick kiss.

"You know, we could do the other fun thing I used to do at parties." 

"Yeah? You want to dance?"

Ace shook her head, normally the answer would be yes but the DJ was playing EDM and that wasn't exactly Ace's jam. She leaned over to whisper in Bucky's ear. "Sharon, Sam, and Zemo are all down here at the party, the apartment upstairs is empty. I think we should take full advantage."

Bucky didn't have to be told twice. He took Ace by the hand and lead her up to Sharon's apartment. They burst through the door connected at the lips and made their way to the couch. Bucky sat and Ace straddled his lap. 

"I have an idea." Ace told Buck when they came up for air. 

"I'm all ears doll." Bucky replied before trailing kisses down her neck as she continued. 

"I want you to take control." Bucky stopped what his was doing and looked at her when those words left her mouth. He was intrigued. 

"What do you mean?"

"Part of what is haunting you about your past as the Winter Soldier is that you had no control over what you did. There is still a lot that you have no control over and I think having control in one aspect of your life will help you. And if it doesn't we will have had really hot sex." 

"So, you want me to dominate you?"

"I'm not saying you have to tie me up and spank me, unless you want to, in which case I'm here for it. I think we can just start with you telling me what to do." Bucky just looked at Ace stunned. He didn't know if he trusted himself to do this. Ace could see that he was in his head so she leaned in to whisper right in his ear. "Don't overthink it. Just tell me what you want me to do."

Her hot breath against his ear set him off. He needed her and this is what she wanted, so he'd give it to her. "On your knees." he commanded. Ace obeyed immediately, sliding off the couch and on to the floor in front of him. She opened his legs to slide between them and looked up at him for her next instruction. "You know what to do." he said to her. It wasn't as specific as she was hoping for but she knew he was trying his best and that was enough. 

She reached up and undid the button of his pants before slowly pulling down the zipper. Her hands made their way to the waist band of his pants and he lifted a bit to let her pull his pants down far enough to free his cock. She used her hands to give it a few pumps before taking him in her mouth. She expertly bobbed her head up and down on his length and Bucky was in heaven. His hands wove into her hair and she when she looked up at him he thought he might blow right then. He could feel himself getting close, so he pulled Ace off of him by her hair. 

"You okay?" she asked. She knew that his 40s values had taught him that blow jobs were demeaning to women. Ace was able to convince him that this wasn't this case, a lot easier than she had convinced Steve, but he still had some difficultly with it. She was honestly surprised it was what he asked for. 

"I'm great. I just want to come in that tight pussy." Ace almost came right then and there. Bucky wasn't much of a talker in general, even less so in the bedroom so when he talked dirty Ace loved it. "Take your underwear off, get up here, and ride me." Ace took a minute to register what she was hearing. It was so fucking hot her brain short circuited. She stood, slid her hands under her dress and pulled down her little lacy panties. She threw them somewhere off to the side and straddled Bucky again hiking up her skirt for easier access. She guided him toward her entrance and slowly lowered herself onto him with a moan. Once he was fully inside her she started to move. His hands held her hips and he started to lift her at the pace he wanted as he matched it by thrusting upwards. He was hitting all the right places and before Ace knew it she was hurtling towards one of the best orgasms she's ever had. Bucky followed close after and she collapsed onto his chest trying to catch her breath.

Bucky put his hand under her chin and guided her to look at him. "Holy shit. Are you okay?" he asked her.

"I'm way more than okay baby." she answered. Bucky pulled out of her but kept her on his lap. 

"Did you and Steve ever do anything like that?" 

"Why do you that?" 

"Do what?"

"Compare yourself to Steve."

"Do you forget that I shared a very small hut with you for two years and heard a lot of things." 

"That's not what this is about. I know you."

"You loved him Ace. How do I know he's not your Peggy?" 

"I love you, James Buchanan Barnes." she said emphasizing each word. "If Steve walked through that door tomorrow, looking like he did before he left, and saying all the right things to make up for what he did, I would still pick you."

"Really?"

"Really. Now, there is one thing I could tell you that might make you feel better but you need to promise me that if I do, you will never compare yourself to Steve again." 

"Deal." Bucky agreed intrigued. 

"Your dick is bigger than his. Also, the orgasm you just gave me might be the best one I ever had."

"Really?" Ace nodded in response and Bucky kissed her. "Well maybe I should see if can repeat that performance." Bucky wrapped his arms around her and flipped them so that Ace was lying on her back on the couch and he was hovering over her. Ace giggled and they kissed passionately. 

Before the couple could get too far, Sharon, Sam, and Zemo walked into the room getting an eyeful of Bucky's bare ass hanging out of his pants. "Seriously! You two couldn't keep it in your pants for one night." Sam reacted. 

The sound of Sam's voice caused Bucky and Ace to split apart. Bucky stood and pulled up his pants and Ace sat up and adjusted her dress. "Well I couldn't drink and the music sucked." Ace explained and then turned to Sharon. "You should probably get this couch dry cleaned."

"Why are you guys even up here?" Bucky asked.

"Sharon found Nagel."

...

When they arrived at the shipyard where Nagel had his lab it was morning. Sharon led them to a shipping container and told them Nagel was inside. She said she would wait for them and hold off anyone that showed up to collect the bounty. She gave them all comms and then left them to go inside.

"Ace you should wait out here too." Sam said.

"What why?" Ace asked  clearly annoyed. 

"It could be dangerous. What if this Nagel guy took the serum himself?" Sam explained. 

"So, she should stay out here where there are bounty hunters that might show up and the only one to protect her is Sharon." Bucky argued. "She's coming with us. I'm not letting her out of my sight." 

"Okay I really don't need anyone to protect me, for the record. But if I had to choose, I think I'm better off with my ex assassin boyfriend than the bitch who's couch I just ruined." 

"Fine." Sam conceded and the four of them entered the shipping container. 

When they opened the door the container was empty. Sharon assured them they had the right one so they continued inside. Zemo examined the back wall of the container and pushed on it to reveal a door. Sam and Bucky pulled out their guns. Sam went through the door first and Bucky followed making Ace put a hand on his waist as she followed behind him so he knew where she was, Zemo followed in after them. They found Nagel working on something and listening to music. Sam took the needle off the record player getting Nagel's attention. He saw Sam first and was defiant until he walked around the corner and saw Bucky. 

Bucky grabbed Nagel and sat him down in a chair, pointing his gun at him. That's when Nagel started talking. He had been brought on by Hydra after the five soldiers in Siberia turned out to be failures. When Hydra fell he was recruited by the CIA who had blood samples from a test subject that had traces of serum in his system. Nagel was able to isolate the compound from the sample and was pretty proud of himself. He told them how he had perfected the serum and that he was a god for doing so. However before he could finish he turned to dust in the blip and when he returned five years later the project had been abandoned. He went to Madripoor and the Power Broker funded the recreation of his work. He made twenty vials of serum but Karli Morgenthau stole them. He didn't know where she was but she had called him to help someone named Donya Madani who had tuberculosis. Nagel didn't know what happened to Donya and he didn't seem to care. 

As Nagel was telling his story Zemo was wandering around the lab and found a gun hidden under the table. Nagel confirmed that there was no serum in the lab and then Sharon ran in telling them they were out of time. That's when Zemo pulled out the gun he found and shot Nagel. Sharon was horrified but that was short lived as an explosion went off in the corner of the lab knocking Ace unconscious. 

...

When Ace came to she was back on Zemo's jet. They had laid her down on the couch and her head was resting on Bucky's lap as he stroked her hair. She could hear Sam on the phone with Torres asking him to find information on Donya Madani. He hung up and Ace sat up slowly. 

"You need to stop passing out after explosions." Sam scolded her.

"I think it might just be self preservational instincts at this point." she replied.

"Are you okay?" Bucky asked her, clearly still worried. 

"I'm good." she answered. 

"And?" he asked softly and cast his eyes down to her stomach. He was asking about the baby. 

"I think it's okay." she whispered back, they didn't want Zemo to know that Ace was pregnant.

"You okay?" Bucky asked Sam.

"Yeah." he answered. "I'm just thinking about all the shit that Sharon had to go through. And Nagel referring to the American test subject like Isaiah wasn't even a real person. Just makes me wonder how many people have to get steamrolled to make way for this hunk of metal." 

"Well it depends on who you ask. That hunk of metal saved a lot of lives." Bucky responded. 

"Yeah I get that. All right. Maybe I made a mistake." Sam said.

"You did." Bucky agreed. 

"Yeah. Maybe I shouldn't have put it in a museum. I should of destroyed it." 

"Look that shield represents a lot of things to a lot of people, including me. The world is upside down, we need a new Cap and it isn't going to be Walker. So before you go and destroy it, I'm going to take it from him myself." 

"Not to abruptly change he subject or anything but I don't think Sharon is doing that badly." Ace piped up. 

"What do you mean?" Sam asked. 

"She's not exactly slumming it in Madripoor. She's into something shady I can feel it." Ace answered.

"Well selling stolen artwork isn't exactly a legitimate business. And aren't you a little biased?" Sam argued.

"I'm a lot biased but there are a lot of questions that don't have answers. How did she know we were in that alley way? How did she know we met with Selby?" Ace explained. 

"There was a bounty out for us everyone knew we met with Selby. And it could have been a coincidence that she was in the alley." Bucky responded.

"What about her reaction to Zemo killing Nagel?" Ace asked.

"We all reacted, the man didn't need to die." Sam answered. 

"She put down three guys in that alley and who knows how many more in that shipyard, but Nagel's death she has a moral issue with? That wasn't a killing is wrong reaction that was an I have a vested interest in that man being alive reaction." Ace paused as the wheels in her head started turning, she came to a realization. "I think Sharon is the Power Broker." 

"That's crazy. The Power Broker is a man." Bucky said.

"Said the guy who has never met him. If I were the Power Broker I would want people thinking it was a man too. Being underestimated is the reason women are so good at the con. If no one expects anything from you it's really easy to fly under the radar." Ace justified her reasoning.

"Ace there is just no way that Sharon is the Power Broker." Sam replied. 

"Fine. Don't believe me. Clear the name of the criminal kingpin of a shady island nation. Just promise me that you will let me say I told you so when shit hits the fan." Ace conceded. 

It was then that Sam's phone rang, he answered it and Zemo came over with some snacks. When Sam got off the phone he told them what Torres had found. Donya Madani had died in the city of Riga, Latvia, so that's where Karli would likely be headed. Lucky for them, Zemo had a place there they could stay in.  

Chapter Text

When they arrived in Riga, Zemo took them to his place there. Bucky had gone for a walk and Zemo decided to take a shower leaving Sam and Ace alone in the spacious living area. 

"I'm surprised you let Bucky go by himself. Aren't you two attached at the hip?" Sam asked Ace rather pointedly. 

"He's allowed to go for a walk, Sam. What's up your butt?" she snapped back not appreciating his tone.

"You shouldn't be here."

"Excuse me!" 

"It's too dangerous for you to be following these leads with us. Especially in your condition."

"My condition? It's not a disease Sam."

"As soon as Zemo comes out here, I am talking to him about putting you on a plane home."

"The hell you are. You are not my boyfriend or my father. Not that I would listen to you if you were either." 

"You listened to Steve when he told you not to come on missions."

"He was my Captain. Once we went rogue I was with you guys every step of the way. I went to Siberia with him and Buck."

"Yeah, and T'Challa had to haul your unconscious ass out of there."

"I'm staying."

"Well of course your staying. Where else would you go." Zemo said as he emerged from the bathroom in a robe, drying his hair with a towel.

"See. Also I add value." 

"She does. She improves the scenery immensely and the sounds she and James make during their escapades are highly entertaining." Zemo explained. 

Before Ace could react to what Zemo said Bucky walked in. "Well the Wakandans are here. They want Zemo. Bought us some more time." he informed them.

"Were you followed?" Sam asked. 

"No." Bucky replied

"How can you be so sure?" Zemo asked. 

"Cause I know when I'm being followed." Bucky answered. 

"It doesn't matter. It's the Dora Milaje they know where we are. They did us a courtesy by talking to Bucky, they won't be so kind when the time they gave him is up." Ace explained. 

"It was sweet of you to defend me at least." Zemo said. 

"Hey, you shut it. No one is defending you. You killed Nagel." Sam replied. 

"Do we really have to litigate what may or may not have happen?" Zemo asked.

"There's nothing to litigate you straight shot the man." Sam answered.

 As Sam and Zemo were bickering Bucky was looking at his phone. "Karli bombed a GRC supply depot." he informed them. 

"What? What's the damage?" Sam asked. 

"Eleven injured, three dead. They have a list of demands and are promising more attacks if those demands aren't met." Bucky read from the article. 

"She's getting worse." Zemo said. "I have the will to complete this mission. Do the two of you?" 

"Um, three." Ace corrected. 

"Are you going to kill her?" Bucky asked. 

"It's just nice to be included." Ace answered. 

"She's just a kid." Sam said ignoring Ace's interruption. 

"You're seeing something in her that isn't there." Zemo explained. "You're clouded by it. She's a supremacist. The very concept of a Super Soldier will always trouble people. It's that warped aspiration that lead to Nazis, to Ultron, to the Avengers."

"Those are our friends you're talking about." Sam warned Zemo. 

"The Avengers, not the Nazis." Bucky clarified. 

"So, Karli is radicalized, but there has to be a peaceful way to stop her." Sam continued ignoring Bucky's comment.

"The desire to become a superhuman cannot be separated from supremacist ideals." Zemo explained. "Anyone with that serum is inherently on that path. She will not stop. She will escalate until you kill her. Or she kills you."

"Maybe your wrong Zemo." Bucky spoke up. "The serum never corrupted Steve." 

"Touche." Zemo agreed. "But there has never been another Steve Rogers, has there?" 

Zemo looked at Ace when he asked his question, knowing of her relationship with Steve. Ace just looked to the floor as Bucky spoke. "Well, maybe we should give him to the Wakandans right now."

"And you'll give up your tour guide?" Zemo argued. 

"We can get a map." Ace rebutted. 

"From my understanding Donya is like a pillar of the community, right?" Sam said, steering them back on topic. "So, when I was a kid my TT passed away."

"Your TT?" Bucky asked.

"Yeah, my TT, yeah." Sam replied like it was the most common thing.

"Who is your TT?" Bucky asked again. 

"Fine. When I was a kid my aunt passed away." Sam explained. "The entire neighbourhood got together for a ceremony. It was like a week long. Maybe they are doing the same thing for Donya."

"Worth a shot." Bucky agreed. 

"Your TT would be proud of you." Zemo said as he was looking through the cupboards for something. He pulled out a tin and tossed Sam a wrapped candy from it. "Turkish Delight. Irresistible."

"You mean there have been snacks here the whole time." Ace reacted. 

...

Zemo, Bucky, and Sam went to the GRC camp to see if they could get information on Donya's funeral. Ace stayed behind, she thought it might appease Sam and keep him from wanting to send her home but mostly it was because she was having a bought of morning sickness. She was sitting on the couch finally feeling a little better when the boys returned. 

"How did it go?" she asked as they walked in the door. 

"Well I got nothing. No one's talking about Donya." Bucky answered as he sat on the couch next to Ace and gave her a kiss on the forehead. 

"Yeah, it's because Karli is the only one fighting for them. And she's not wrong." Sam explained.

"What do you mean?" Bucky asked. 

"For five years, people have been welcomed into countries that have kept them out using barbwire. There were houses and jobs. Folks were happy to have people around to help them rebuild. It wasn't just one community coming together, it was the entire world coming together. And then boom. Just like that, it goes right back to the way it used to be. To them at least Karli's doing something." Sam elaborated. 

"I was here for those five years. Everything wasn't exactly sunshine and rainbows like Karli sees it. It was difficult to deal with half of the population disappearing but it is even harder dealing with them returning after so long. The GRC may not be doing everything right but it doesn't mean you blow shit up until they reexamine themselves." Ace said. 

"You really think her ends justify her means?" Bucky asked Sam. "Then she's no different then him, or anybody else that we've fought."

"She's different." Sam answered. "She's not motivated by the same things."

Zemo walked over with some tea. "That little girl. What did she tell you?" Bucky asked him. 

"Little girl?" Ace asked. 

"He was giving the kids candy." Bucky answered. 

"Yeah, that's not creepy at all." Ace said sarcastically. 

"The funeral is this afternoon." Zemo said, answering Bucky's original question. 

"You know the Dora's coming for you any minute." Bucky reminded him. "In fact they're probably lurking outside right now. Keep talking." 

"Leaving you to turn on me once we get to Karli. Hmm. I prefer to keep my leverage." Zemo replied. 

Bucky calmly stood up and walked over to Zemo. Then his mood shifted, he grabbed the cup of tea from Zemo's hand and threw it at the wall. "You want to see what someone can do with leverage?" he threatened. 

Sam stood to ease the situation. "Take it easy. Don't engage him." he said to Bucky. "He's just going to extort you and do that stupid head tilt thing. I'm going to make a call." 

Sam walked to one side of the room and Bucky went back to the couch to sit with Ace. Zemo brought the tea back to the kitchen to pour himself another cup. 

"It's going to be fine. He'll lead us to the funeral this afternoon and once we have Karli we can give him back to the Dora." Ace reassured Bucky. 

Bucky nodded and then changed the subject. "How are you feeling?" he asked her. Ace just gave him a puzzled look so he leaned over to whisper in her ear. "Your breath smells like vomit." 

Ace put her hand over her mouth. "Really! Is it that bad?"

"No, it's just my super soldier senses. The others probably didn't smell anything."

"Is that why you kissed me on the forehead when you came in?"

"Yes." he said and then leaned in to give her a soft kiss on the lips. "But it wasn't enough."

"Well I feel a lot better now." Ace looked over to Sam on the phone. He had a very serious look on his face. "Speaking of your super soldier senses. Can you tell who he's talking to on the phone?"

They both stayed quiet for a moment so Bucky could listen. "Sharon." he answered and Ace rolled her eyes. "She has resources that can help us find Karli." 

"Yeah, she wants us to find Karli so she can get her serum back."

"Sharon is not the Power Broker." 

"Yes, she is." 

"Ace." Sam interjected catching the last piece of their conversation. "Sharon just finished telling me that the Power Broker is pissed that we killed HIS golden goose Nagel." 

"Yeah, she's throwing you off the scent." Ace argued. 

"You sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist and we have a funeral to go to." Sam shut her down.

...

As they made their way to the funeral, they ran into the last person they wanted to see. 

"Karli Morgenthau is too dangerous for you guys to be pulling this shit." Walker yelled at them as he came towards them.

"How did you find us now?" Bucky asked. 

"Come on, man. You really think two Avengers can walk around Latvia without drawing attention?" Lemar explained. 

"No more keeping us in the dark." Walker ordered. "You can start by telling us why you broke him out of prison." 

"He did that himself, technically." Bucky answered. 

"He got us farther than you did with all your 'resources'." Ace clapped back. 

"Really, you brought the pregnant girl." Walker said. 

"The pregnant girl has a name." Ace argued. 

"You're pregnant?" Zemo asked her. "That explains a lot."

"Like what?" Ace asked slightly offended.

"Well you climaxed rather enthusiastically in the airplane bathroom with James." Zemo explained. 

"Ew. Stop talking." Ace replied.

"Someone want to tell me what the hell is going on here." Walker was getting impatient. 

"I know where Karli is." Zemo said and started to make his way past but Walker stopped him. 

"Well where?" Walker asked. 

"All we know is, it's a memorial. So we're going to intercept her there." Sam answered. 

"That means civilians. High risk of casualties." Lemar stated. 

"All right good. We'll move in fast and take her by surprise." Walker said. 

"Surprise? You think these two are high profile, you are wearing your uniform. She's a super soldier, she's going to see you coming from a mile away. Plus it's a memorial so all her super soldier friends are going to be there." Ace critiqued. 

"I want to talk to her alone" Sam said. 

"I'm not losing her again." Walker argued.

"Look, the person closest to her died, she's vulnerable. If there's any time to reason with her it's now." Sam explained. 

"What? No. Stop." John made his way in front of the group and stopped them from going further. "I think we are way passed reasoning with her, unless you forgot the fact that she blew up a building with people still in it." 

"Sam, if you walk in there cold she could kill you." Lemar added. 

"If I go in hot and the op goes wrong, more people will die." Sam argued. 

Walker turned to Bucky. "Are you going to let him do this? Are you going to let your partner walk into a room with a Super Soldier alone?" 

Ace laughed at Walker's question. "You really think Bucky has any control over what Sam does?" 

"He's dealt with worse. And he's not my partner." Bucky spoke up. 

"I used to counsel soldiers dealing with trauma, okay? This is right in my wheelhouse." Sam explained. 

"I know. And I know those soldiers, which is why I know this is a bad idea." Walker replied.

"Wait." Lemar said. "If he can talk her down, it might be worth a try."

"That one's not so bad." Ace said referring to Lemar. 

Lemar looked her up and down. "You aren't so bad yourself."

"Look at me like that again and Bucky will end you." Ace warned and Bucky let out a low growl. 

Walker seemed to reluctantly agree with his friend and turned his focus back to Zemo. "We'll deal with you later." 

"I'm sure it will all come to an agreeable conclusion." Zemo said. "My associate is just up ahead." Zemo gestured to a little girl that was waiting in the distance. 

They all followed Zemo as he went to the little girl and gave her some money. She then lead them through the alley and in the back door of where the memorial was being held. It looked like an abandoned warehouse. As Sam started to go over to where the memorial was Walker took Zemo and handcuffed him to one of the pieces of machinery. He told Sam he had ten minutes before he went in. 

Bucky, Ace, Zemo, Walker and Lemar were all left in that back room waiting for word from Sam. It was awkwardly tense and quiet. Walker put his helmet on just in case he had to go in. Ace decided to break the tension in the only way she knew how, making an inappropriate joke. 

"You know that helmet makes you look like a penis." Ace told Walker. 

"Well you would know." Walker clapped back.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Ace replied. She could sense Bucky tensing up ready to defend her honour. 

"After our little run in at the police station I looked you up. Ace Hardy." Walker said.

Ace scoffed. "You son of a bitch." 

"Does you boyfriend know that you got kicked out of the army for being a slut?" Walker asked. 

"Dude, that's a little far." Lemar said. 

Bucky came across the room ready to deck Walker but Ace stopped him. "It's okay Buck. I got this." she said as she stepped right up in Walker's face. "You do realize that if I were a man and four women went to their superiors to complain they would have been sent away. They would have been told that they were just butt hurt because they got played. That's what I did. I played those boys to get what I wanted. It's not my fault that modern army guys just can't get the job done. You met your wife in high school right? You are probably the only guy she's ever been with. Poor thing doesn't know any better."

"Watch it Ace." Walker replied visibly angry. 

"I'm sorry did I hurt your feelings." she said sarcastically.

Lemar stepped in moving Walker away from her. "That's enough. Let's just wait for Sam."

Walker went with Lemar to one corner of the room and Ace and Bucky went to the other corner. They waited in silence for a few more minutes and Walker grew more and more antsy. He started to pace and was muttering to himself. Bucky tried to calm him down but it didn't work. He pushed passed Bucky and went to find Sam with Lemar close on his tail. Ace started to follow them but Bucky turned back and told her to stay with Zemo. She turned around and made her way back to the room but when she got there Zemo was gone.

...

After the debacle at Donya's memorial they split off from Walker and Lemar and headed back to Zemo's place. Zemo was nursing a headache from getting hit with the shield so he and Sam went straight inside. Ace stopped Bucky from following them in. Wanting to talk to him alone. 

"Are you mad at me?" she asked. 

"Of course not. If anything I was worried about you when I saw Zemo." he answered and gave her a hug. 

"He was gone when I went back into the room, but that's not what I was talking about." 

"You mean the Ace Hardy thing? I don't care that you changed your name."

"That's not exactly the part I was worried would upset you."

"Ace, I know you weren't exactly a virgin when you meant Steve."

"Well, that's an understatement."

"I wasn't exactly an altar boy back in the day either."

"Steve may of told me some stories." 

"The point is I love you. It doesn't matter how many other guys you've been with." 

"I love you too." she put her hands behind his neck and pulled him into a passionate kiss. "We better get in there. Sam will think we're fucking out here."

Bucky and Ace headed into the apartment. Sam was at his computer and Zemo was lying on the couch. 

"Something's not right about Walker." Bucky said as he took off his jacket and went to the kitchen to pour himself a drink.

"You don't say." Sam replied. 

"Well, I know a crazy when I see one. Because I am crazy." Bucky explained. 

"Can confirm." Ace piped up from her spot on the couch. 

"You didn't exactly help the situation back there." Bucky said to Ace.

"I thought you weren't mad at me. Besides he called me a slut I'm supposed to say nothing." Ace argued. 

"You called him a penis first." Bucky pointed out. 

"You called him a penis?" Sam asked not sure whether he was angry or impressed. 

"I said he looked a penis not that he was a penis." Ace clarified. 

"She also implied that he couldn't please his wife sexually." Zemo ratted her out.

"Ace!" Sam scolded.

"Well, it was either that or let Bucky punch his face in." Ace said in her defence.

"How are those the only two options?" Sam asked. 

"I don't make the rules." Ace answered.

Their bickering was interrupted by Walker kicking in the door and storming in with Lemar demanding that Zemo be turned over. Sam told Walker he didn't take orders from him and Walker took offence. He put the shield down to make it a fair fight but a spear came flying in and lodged itself in the wall near his head. In walked Ayo and two other members of the Dora, they were here for Zemo too. 

Knowing that this was likely going to go sideways Ace slowly made her way to the kitchen so she could duck behind the island when things went south. She physically cringed as Walker introduced himself to them as Captain America and asked them to put down their "pointy sticks". Sam warned him that he shouldn't take on the Dora Milaje but Walker just replied that they didn't have jurisdiction.

"The Dora Milaje have jurisdiction wherever the Dora Milaje find themselves to be." Ayo replied. Ayo was a badass and it was in that moment Ace realized Okoye was right, she did not have what it takes to be in the Dora. 

Then all hell broke loose, Walker touched Ayo on the shoulder. She and the other members of the Dora then proceeded to kick his and Lemar's asses. Zemo just watched and sipped his drink, Sam and Bucky were watching as well until Sam turned to Bucky and told him they should do something. Bucky's response was to shout "Looking strong John." but Sam wasn't having it. Bucky tried to talk to Ayo but just got himself pulled into the fight and so did Sam. That's when Ace thought it might be best for her to duck behind the kitchen island. 

Ace wasn't too worried, she knew as mad as the Wakandans were they wouldn't hurt Bucky or Sam. It wasn't until she heard a metallic thud that she peered out from her hiding spot. She knew what had happened but it was still quite a shock to see Bucky's vibranium arm on the floor next to him. The look of betrayal on his face broke Ace's heart. 

The Dora looked around the apartment and saw that Zemo had escaped through a hatch in the bathroom, with the reason they were there now gone, they left. Bucky slowly picked up his arm and reattached it. 

"Did you know they could do that?" Sam asked Bucky. 

"No." he answered and then turned to Ace. "Did you know?"

"Yes." Ace answered, looking at the ground so she didn't have to see his face as she explained further. "The Wakandans put a failsafe in all of their weapons that only they know about. That way if their tech is ever used against them it can be handled quickly. Shuri knew about your PTSD and that we spent a lot of time together so she thought it would be good for me to know how to disarm you."

"Wow, so the mother of my child doesn't trust me." Bucky said. 

"Hey." Ace said as she went to Bucky holding on to his face and forcing him to look her in the eye. "I trust you with my life. I never asked to know the failsafe and I haven't even thought about using it, not even once."

Bucky seemed to accept her explanation as he pulled her closer to him for a kiss. However their tender moment was interrupted by Walker and Lemar finally getting up from the battle. Well Lemar got up, Walker was still sitting on the floor a look of disbelief on his face. Lemar asked if he was alright but all he did was mutter something about them not even being super soldiers. Lemar helped him up and they left. 

...

The rest of their time in Riga was a bit of a whirlwind but there was one moment that stood out to Ace, and likely the rest of the world as well. Karli had called Sam's sister and threatened her to get a meeting. Bucky let Ace tag along on a lot of things but knew that this one would be way too dangerous. He told her to wait for them in a nearby square where there would be lots of people around. She had waited in the square for what felt like hours when Walker showed up chasing a flag smasher and throwing him down on the base of the statue in the centre of the square. A crowd had formed but Walker didn't seem to notice that he had an audience. The man he had pinned kept screaming it wasn't me but Walker didn't seem to care. He raised the shield and smashed it into the man's chest repeatedly until he was dead. 

Bucky and Sam appeared at Ace's side just in time to take in the scene. Walker standing above the dead flag smasher with the bloody shield perched on his arm.