It was lucky for the entire pack that the Stark's were a wealthy-ass family, because it gave them a mansion and quite a bit of acreage to roam. While some packs spent most of their time in turf wars, their band of misfits had the time to use their powers for good. It was odd how they all came together, just a bunch of werewolves with no packs of their own because they'd left or gotten kicked out or never had one to begin with. Thor and Steve hatched the idea, and Thor introduced Steve to Tony who liked to pretend he was fine on his own but was really actually very lonely. Natasha and Clint wandered through town one day and ended up staying indefinitely. When Bruce was getting in trouble with authorities over something he didn't do, Natasha volunteered to bring him in, too. Choosing Alpha had been the hardest part, and then it wasn't that difficult. Everybody put their two cents in as to why they should be alpha, but Steve made the best case. After he gave his spiel, Thor was the first to voice his support, then Bruce. Natasha joined in and Clint basically did whatever she did. Tony was the only holdout, but in hindsight the quick fight that followed was probably for the best because it officially put Steve in the position of Alpha the moment he pinned Tony to the ground, growling. Bruce secretly thought that Tony had never wanted to position, but had been smart enough to realize that it's not as easy as proclaiming to be Alpha, the title has to be taken through a physical show. After that they started to really feel like a pack.
They all had their own rooms, of course (Natasha and Clint shared like they did everything else), but after a month they had all but completely abandoned sleeping in them. After a week of all of them ending up on the floor of the living room, surrounded by numerous pillows and blankets they'd dragged in, and cuddling in one big pile Tony declared that it was ridiculous and started converting the biggest bedroom (formally his own) into one big sleeping room that could accommodate the entire pack. They still retained individual rooms for the sake of peace and quiet and keeping clothes separated but they almost always slept in one big pile. It wasn't odd or sexual, and the ones who had been a part of packs at one point (like Thor) were used to this kind of arrangement. Bruce who had been a loner all his life was the hold out this time. He felt compelled to sleep in the same room as his pack mates but always at the edge, curled up by himself until one night Thor actually picked him up and deposited him in the middle of the group. After that there were no hold outs on cuddling. Steve talked a lot about how good it was because it brought them closer together, and because of the newness of the pack they needed to bond as closely as possible. He encouraged them all to spend little time by themselves and include the others in their activities. It was Steve who forced Tony to let Bruce use his workshop and after the two realized that they wouldn't be in each other's way, and in fact could offer a lot of help and insight on each other's projects, they became close, very geeky friends.
Somehow it worked. A few months became a year, then two, and they all fell into comfortable patterns. They interacted with society, solved a few mysteries, protected the townspeople from a few rouge groups, the usual. It was close to perfect. Then Tony had to ruin everything.
Actually Tony was the only one who thought he had ruined anything. He also hadn't told anybody about his more-or-less recent feelings about their Alpha. It wasn't like there weren't relationships of that sort in packs. In their own packs there were hook ups and Natasha and Clint were more or less steady. But this was the Alpha. The was Steve. He sparred with him, he rebuilt old motorcycles with him, he slept in a bed with him he couldn't start getting random hard-ons whenever they were together. And the hard-ons weren't even the worst of his problems. He was starting to get jealous. And jealousy is not a good thing in a pack, especially with the Alpha. The Alpha has to be able to give each pack member the amount of attention they need and want. Has to check in on everybody, know where everybody is, what they are doing, how they are feeling. Tony can't be getting jealous when he sees Steve go to the movies with just him and Bruce because Bruce needed some personal time to talk about his anger issues, can't get annoyed when Steve and Tony horse around and wrestle for the remote, can't fucking growl at Natasha while she rubs Steve's head and plays with his hair (that one is for his own safety because he's pretty sure Natasha could kill him in about two seconds).
So Tony starts taking long walks by himself and spends more time in the lab and sleeps further away from Steve. And because he's a wolf he starts feeling the physical pains of being separated from his Alpha, even though they are living in the same house. It doesn't take long for Steve to notice, and track him down while he's working on one of his cars one day.
"Tony?" The dark haired man is under one of the cars, oil smear on his face and arms, tools in his hands and one in his mouth, which makes his replied 'yeah?' muffled and intelligible. "Can we talk?" A spasm of worry goes through Tony and he takes the wrench out from between his teeth.
"Um…a little busy. Later maybe?" He yelps as he feels his body sliding on the floor, being pulled out from under the car.
"Now, Tony." Steve is giving him that look that says he knows Tony way to well, well enough to know that if Tony wants to avoid something he'll do it for as long as you give him the option. Tony swallowed a lump in his throat and sat up.
"Ok. Shoot." Steve joined him on the floor, leaning against the leg of a work table. Alphas were supposed to show their position by always being on a high plane, but Steve didn't seem to like doing that.
"You're being distant. What's going on."
"Nothing. Not distant. Just busy, you know."
"Tony." Steve was giving him that look again. "Don't try to BS me. You can't."
Tony sighed. "Don't I know it…"
"So what's going on?"
Tony looked into Steve's face, trying to formulate some words. I think I'm in love with you, I get really jealous when you spend time with other people, I know it's stupid and we're supposed to be a pack, but I just really want to keep you all to myself, but you're the alpha and you probably don't want me anyway because it's not like anybody else ever did… He licked his lips and dropped his eyes. "I can't really…I don't want to talk about it?"
"Is it me? You don't want to talk about it, with me?"
"…Yes." He finally looked up and damnit now Steve looked hurt.
"Ok, well. Will you talk about it with somebody? Bruce, Thor?" Tony made a face, he was really just hoping this would all go away and nobody would ever have to know about it. "Tony, please?"
"Ok, ok. I'll…talk to Thor." Steve reached over and put his hand on Tony's. It was really warm and made his heart speed up.
Steve immediately shooed him outside, informing him that Thor was doing target practice.
Now, Clint was a highly skilled archer and Steve had this crazy discus/Frisbee ability that Tony hadn't even known was a deadly skill until he actually knocked out two werewolves by throwing at metal disk at their heads. But Thor…Thor liked hammers. Big ones. Mallets, even. And he would just throw them around, fairly accurately, taking out large chunks of the targets Tony build for Clint. It was annoying but better than him using the stone statues in the yard like Tony had caught him doing one day. He had apologized and done a fairly good job of attaching the head back on the statue, though.
He was out there now. It was a magnificent show of strength, really, watching Thor launch the hammer. He waited until the man was unarmed before walking up.
"Hey, Thor." The blonde man turned and offered him one of his famous huge grins.
"Tony Stark! I feel as if we have not talked for days!" Tony wondered where the hell Thor learned that speech pattern. It must have come from his old pack. The man didn't really ever talk about them, though Tony had heard a few mentions of him having a brother. Tony didn't have any siblings but he wondered how hard it was to be separated from one, not even be in the same pack as them. No wonder Thor so often was the middle of their sleeping cuddle pile.
"Yeah, I've been busy. Hey, so…can we talk?"
"Of course!" Tony started walking away from the mansion and Thor fell into step beside him.
It was silent for a while as Thor let Tony gather his thoughts. By the time they had gone across the lawn to the woods Tony had opened and closed his mouth a dozen times trying to start.
"Is this a matter about our Alpha?" Thor asked as they entered the wood.
"Why do you think that?"
"Well I would expect you to talk with him on difficult matters. Because you are not, I assumed that maybe the matter had to do with him."
"Well you're right." Tony signed and leaned against a thick tree trunk. "Damnit, this is just…this is just really awkward and weird. I'm sorry…"
"What are you apologizing for, Tony?"
"For existing, for being born, for not being able to control my stupid feelings—" Thor's laugh cut him off.
"Friend, these are not things you should apologize for. These are things you have no control over. What are your feelings telling you?"
Tony stared at the forest floor. It was stupid, it shouldn't be hard to say. Just say it, he kept telling himself. Just say it and maybe it will go away. Or maybe it will become more real and grow and be impossible to deal with and ruin the pack.
"Not good things, Thor. Not good things," he finally said.
"Do you wish to leave the pack?" Tony's head shot up.
"Oh, god no! No way in hell." Thor smiled and put his hand on Tony's shoulder.
"Good. You are like a brother to me and I could not bear to see you go." Tony smiled back.
"Thanks, Thor. I appreciate that. No, it's something…it's something that I'm worried might affect the pack. Might ruin it. Everything is finally so perfect, and I'm worried that because of me it'll all get thrown out of balance. That'll I'll break it apart."
Now Thor was shaking his head. "No, Tony. That will not happen. Our bond is too strong. Whatever it is, I am assured that it will do no more harm to this pack than a bird flying through our lands."
"What if it was a really big, stupid bird that was flying out of control and headed straight for Steve?"
"You believe our Alpha is in danger?"
"No, no, I didn't mean it like that." Thor gave him a long hard look.
"Tony, you confuse me. Please, tell me what is bothering you." Tony sighed and ran a hand over his face.
"In my experience, many people say things are complicated that are really not at all." Tony laughed a little at that.
"Alright. I…well, I….I think….I kind of have…" Tony bit his lip and looked at Steve. Damn this was awkward. "I think I might like Steve as more than just our Alpha…" There was a long pause where Thor just studied him. Tony began to worry that the man was suddenly going to start yelling at him or something but suddenly he started to laugh. It was Thor's famous laugh, loud and warm. He clapped his hand on Tony's shoulder.
"That was not so difficult was it! Come Tony, you had me worried it was something much more serious."
"More serious? You don't think this is serious? Thor, every time I look at him I have these feelings and what if I get so jealous that I start taking it out on the rest of the pack."
"You feel territorial?"
"Well…yeah." Thor nodded.
"That is because you are unsure of your standing with him. If you were confirmed that your feelings were returned I believe these feelings would become manageable again."
"Really?" Thor nodded, grinning. "Wait, how the hell do you know this stuff?" Thor started back towards the house and Tony followed.
"The rest of you have not the advantage I do of growing up in a close familiar pack. You come to understand better then balance of relationships. You fear that your feelings will hurt the pack but it will only make it stronger."
"You said if I knew he returned the feelings then I would feel less jealousy…but what if he doesn't?"
"Tony…just tell him. Either way, you will feel better and your emotions will settle."
"Are you sure?" Thor didn't answer, just kept walking toward the mansion in long strides. "Thor? Thor, don't leave me hanging like this!"
Almost immediately, Thor was trying to get him to confess, doing everything short of picking Tony up and throwing him directly at Steve. Tony made a few attempts. Once his mouth got dry and he couldn't talk and had to retreat to get some water. Another time he was interrupted by a bang from the lab (Bruce was fine and it wasn't even a lab accident, he'd just forgotten to take his spoon out of his mug before putting his soup in the microwave. It was probably a bad idea to be eating or keeping food in the lab anyway, Steve had told them afterward). Then there just always seemed to be others around. Or maybe Tony was kind of avoiding it a little but picking up the amount of quality time he spent with his pack mates. Somehow three days managed to pass without him talking to Steve.
Natasha was sitting in the livingroom filing her nails when Tony stumbled upon her. "Hey, Tasha."
"Steve is looking for you."
"Oh. He is?"
"He's probably in the kitchen."
"Oh. Well, I'm sure it's just that…thing…we were discussing, nothing important. So where's Clint?"
"Bruce found a live feed of a bunch of kittens playing. Him and Clint and Thor have been watching it for hours."
Tony nodded. "That is extremely masculine of them. Actually sounds pretty fun, where are they?"
"Steve. Kitchen. Stop avoiding him."
"I'm not—" Then Natasha gave him that look that made Tony wonder how many people she'd killed in her life with that look alone. "Kitchen. Steve. Going."
Steve was cooking, which was something he didn't do all the time but when he did it was always super tasty. Tasha and Tony both refused to even try to cook, Thor always made just shit tons of meat (which as werewolves they were all fine with but you can't roast a full pig everyday says everyone but Thor), so usually the cooking happened between Clint and Bruce. They all ate like a small army, and Tony offered again and again to hire cooks to come in for them but the group always preferred doing it on their own.
Whatever Steve was making smelled fantastic. "Hey, Cap, what's cooking?" Steve had formally (pre-werewolf days) achieved the rank of Captain in the army, so they occasionally used that nickname for him. He pulled a sheet of cookies out of the oven, leaving them on top of the counter to cool.
"There you are. I wanted to apologize."
"You wanted to…what?" Tony's heart thudded a bit.
"I noticed you've been trying to talk to me but I keep getting distracted. I'm sorry. But I'm all ears now." It was true; Steve's full attention was completely on him, and solely him. Sometimes Tony forgot just how blue his Alphas eyes were. "Tony?"
"You wanted to tell me something?"
"What is it?"
"What is what?"
Steve sighed. "What is it you wanted to tell me?"
"Oh. Yeah." Tony cleared his throat. Now or never. Or next week. Now was probably better. "I, um…I just thought that I should bring something to your attention. Something…personal. About some…feelings I've been having lately."
"You don't want to leave, do you?"
"What? No! Why do people always jump to that conclusion."
"Because it's the worst possible scenario." Tony felt his face soften.
"Oh. Really? Thanks, I guess."
"You're really important to this group, Tony. Without you…nothing would be the same. We wouldn't be a pack anymore. You're the one who gave us a home, you're basically the one who made me Alpha,"
"Only because I challenged you for it."
"You could have fought a little harder."
Tony shrugged. "You're better suited anyway."
Steve smiled at him. "And you care. I think you care more about this pack, and more about the people in it, than anybody else." Tony felt himself start to blush.
"No, no way. That's not true at all."
"I think it is. You don't realize how important you are to us, Tony. How important to me." Tony's heart fluttered a little.
"You're important to me, too, Steve."
"Of course I am," Steve smiled, "I'm your Alpha."
"No." Tony reached across and grabbed Steve's hand. "You're more than that. To me."
"What do you mean?"
Tony took a deep breath. "I mean…" Tony licked his lips, a nervous habit, and looked up into Steve's eyes. They both turned as there was a loud creek from outside the kitchen doorway.
"Who's there?" Steve was using his Alpha voice, and slowly Thor, Bruce, and Clint peeked their head from around the corner.
"Sorry, Alpha. Tony," the all muttered, looking down.
"I told them not to," Natasha cried from the living room. Tony had forgotten she was there. She'd probably been listening the whole time. Actually, the all…
"Have all of you been there listening this whole time?" Tony realized he was still holding Steve's hand and dropped it like a hot potato.
"Yeah, well, we didn't think it was going to take so long," Bruce said, giving him that adorable I'm-just-an-awkward-nerdy-scientist-what-harm-could-I-ever-do face.
"What wasn't going to take so long?" Apparently Steve could set aside his pack misbehaving to get information out of Tony.
"Well, I can't say it now in front of them!"
"Why not?" asked Clint. "It's not like we're not going to find out!"
"If I didn't know any better I'd say you already knew," Tony growled, looking at Thor.
"That is enough! What is going on?" Tony groaned, this is not how he ever wanted this to go.
"Tony if you don't tell him right now I will."
"Natasha!" Tony looked at Thor. "You told EVERYBODY?"
Thor shook his head. "I spoke to no one, brother."
"You're kind of…obvious."
"Shut up, Banner, you're obvious!" Bruce shrugged off the stupid comeback.
"All of you outside, now!" The pack jumped and all but ran for the door. Alpha voice tended to have that effect. "Not you." Tony had been about to automatically follow before Steve grabbed the back of his shirt. "Sit." He sat. "Speak."
"Over the past few months I've notice I've become increasingly jealous of anybody who spends time with you or touches you and it turned into feeling territorial of you and I think I kind of might love you." Well. In the history of things that could have gone better, this had to go on the list of things that couldn't have possible gone worse. Head down, Tony's eyes focus on Steve's shoes. He felt an odd trickle and realized it was relief. Huh. Not so hard.
"Really?" Steve's voice was soft now.
"Tony…" Steve's hand was on his cheek, lifting his head up until his eyes were drawn back to Steve's intensely blue ones. "Why were you so afraid to tell me that?"
"I wasn't—" Tony started to say that he wasn't afraid but Steve gave him a look. "I was worried about what it would do to the pack dynamic. That it would mess things up. That I would mess things up."
"See? You're always thinking of everyone else." Then Steve was leaning down and kissing him. It was soft, sweet, just the simple pressure of lips against lips. It was the best feeling Tony had ever felt. They were pulled away by the sound of cheering from out of the window. Once again it seemed they had an audience. "You wanna chase them down and make them pay?
"Oh god yes. But first…that was a I-like-you-back-and-we-will-be-kissing-more-in-the-future-and-hopefully-more kind of kiss right? Not the you're-so-sweet-thanks-for-being-a-good-person kiss?"
Steve grinned. "The first one."
Tony couldn't wipe the grin off his face to save his life. "Good. I'll be holding you to that. Now let's go get those fuckers. The two bounded out the back door, already shifting. Their pack mates were caught off guard and ended up tripping over each other in their rush to escape to the woods. Tony pounced on Thor before he'd even fully shifted but Natasha managed to sprint off into the woods and escape. Tony and Steve spent the better part of the rest of the day rounding up their misbehaving pack. After that they were all too exhausted to issues any kind of real punishment, so Steve just made them all watch while him and Tony ate all of the cookies he'd made.
Later that night, snuggled against Steve's side, head resting on his chest, Tony still couldn't wipe the grin off his face.