First of all, I have to tell you guys that I have never read any of the Marvel comics or have any in-depth knowledge of the Avengers. I'm basing the characters off what my interpretations of the movie, stories that I have read, and Wikipedia, so if there are any discrepancies, I truly apologize, but please don't flag me on it.
Anyway, this story is Steve/Tony with an established relationship. If you don't like the idea, please click the back button and look for other stories to read. If you still choose to read, then please keep an open mind. There aren't really any other pairings, but if I do end up having some, I'll be sure to let you know.
I don't own Avengers or any Marvel products.
Other than that, enjoy!
Tony really hated magic. No, scratch that. He hated anything that was anything remotely not of this world. Guns and skilled assassins, Tony could handle, but having his own teammates turned against him because they thought he was the enemy? He had to draw the line there.
He grunted as he felt an arrow pierce through his armor, barely grazing his right shoulder. Glaring at Hawkeye, he jerked out the projectile and eyed the rest of his team warily. He had the advantage of the sky - the Capsicle couldn't touch him and neither could the spies. Well, as long as he stayed away from the buildings, Natasha couldn't catch him off guard. For once, Tony was relieved that the Asgardian god had been visiting his girlfriend down in New Mexico; otherwise, Tony would be nursing more than a few bruises and a broken rib - courtesy of him getting a little too close to the Superhuman.
A roar distracted him for a moment and he turned to see the Enchantress flying out of the Hulk's grasp once again. It all started with her - stupid Asgardian had somehow made her way to Earth and sprung out of nowhere! One moment, the Avengers were enjoying their normal pre-battle banter, and the next, they had their defenses up and were seconds from killing each other. Obviously, Tony had to step in - if anyone died, it would mean so much paperwork for him. It wasn't that he cared about his teammates. Not at all - Iron Man didn't do emotions, at least not on the outside.
It should have been pretty easy, knocking out his teammates one by one while they were distracted with each other, but the Enchantress had figured out that her magic didn't work on him or Banner (probably because of his suit and Banner being the Jolly Green Beast), so she had to make his life difficult by showing the Avengers some type of illusion. Then, all of a sudden, they were attacking him in an organized fashion. That made things difficult.
Tony had taken a hit to his chest plate by Steve in the first few seconds. The pain of his fractured rib and the fact that it was Steve who had hurt him kicked Tony's mind into gear. He left the Enchantress to the Hulk and flew into the sky, thinking that the other three couldn't touch him, but he had forgotten about Hawkeye.
Gritting his teeth, Tony took several swallow breaths as he did calculations in his mind. "JARVIS, reduce power in the repulsors to five percent."
"Understood," came the British monotone voice.
Tony dodged another arrow and dropped his height a little. He raised his right hand and shot at Barton. Perhaps the magic made Barton's movements slower, but Tony really hadn't expected his attack to work. Barton flew backwards, smacking his head on the cement wall, and crumbled to the ground unconscious. Tony winced. He did not envy Barton when he woke up.
Then, he heard a beeping noise behind him. He made the connections before he even saw the bomb tip. The blast knocked him closer to the buildings, but he managed to stay airborne. Panting, Tony glanced back down. Cap was by Clint's side, checking on him. The worry in those dull blue eyes faded and Tony let out a sigh of relief that turned into a hiss as his rib ached. Warning bells went off in his head. Where was the Black Widow?
Too late did Tony realize his close proximity to a building that had balconies. There was a snarl and Tony's height dropped as he felt a weight fall on him. Natasha had wrapped her arms around his neck and he was forced to release his back thrusters so that he wouldn't burn her to a crisp, but that meant they were falling to the ground dangerously fast. He would be able to survive it - he had his suit - but Natasha, even as skilled as she was, wouldn't, which meant that he had to make a choice between himself and her.
The answer was easy. Tony didn't even bother to defend himself and used his foot and hand thrusters to lower their descent. About ten feet from the ground where Captain America stood waiting, Tony felt a sharp pain lance through his back. He gasped as the burning and ripping sensation coursed through his body; his vision blackened for a brief second and suddenly, everything felt like fire was spreading from his lower right back.
Then he was falling.
He bit back a scream as he landed on the hard pavement. Lighting shot through him, taking away any strength he possibly could have had, but if he thought being stabbed was bad, the pulling out of the serrated blade was a thousand times worse. Though Natasha had pulled it out in one swift movement, Tony felt every jagged edge biting, cutting, and ripping through his battered flesh. This time, he couldn't stop the cry from escaping him.
His consciousness waned as a wave of hot agony pulsed through him. Breathing hurt; even blinking tortured him, but he had to get up. He had to help the Hulk, but his limbs would not obey him.
A strong hand lifted him up from the ground, drawing a groan from his lips, and he stared at those blue eyes that he had grown to love through the flashing red lights in his HUD.
"Steve..." Tony whispered, pleading with the pain unveiled in his voice.
But the soldier didn't hear him and cruelly threw the billionaire to crash harshly against the wall beside Hawkeye. He slid to the ground like a broken puppet with his strings cut.
JARVIS' voice came in and out of his comms before dying completely. Someone really hated Tony, didn't they?
Steve and Natasha approached him threateningly when they froze, blinking through their confusion as a loud roar and a high pitched scream echoed in their ears. Looking up, they saw the Enchantress caught in one of Hulk's deadly hands - her concentration broken, making her illusions vanish. The green monster smirked as he tightened his grip, but the Enchantress teleported away. She reappeared seconds later twenty feet behind Steve and Natasha.
Immediately, Captain America and the Black Widow sprang into action. He flung his shield towards the Enchantress, the revolving sharp edges more lethal than the bullets that Romanoff was shooting. The Enchantress merely smiled and shouted something while thrusting her hand out towards the two. An explosive burst of fire erupted from her fingers. Steve and Natasha both ducked and turned in horror to see her attack heading straight for the unconscious Barton.
There was a flash of red and gold and suddenly, Barton had been lifted into the air awkwardly by his right arm by the Iron Man who was now lowering them both to the ground.
No longer worried, Captain America swiveled back around readied himself for the next attack, but the Enchantress had disappeared. The threat was gone for now, confirmed by the Hulk changing back into Banner a few feet to his right.
"We're clear," Steve said to Natasha, who instantly ran to Barton's aid. Tony had wrapped Hawkeye's arm around his shoulders, supporting his entire weight.
He followed, taking his time, knowing that Natasha wouldn't let anyone near the wounded archer anyway. He felt a little worried at the sight of the blood dripping down the side of Clint's head, but it was probably better than it looked - at worse a concussion. He frowned as he tried to think back to how he got it. There was nothing - just blank fuzziness.
Natasha shoved Tony to a side, "I got him, Stark," she said, though not unkindly.
Tony merely nodded and stumbled a few steps back. Steve's frown deepened. No snarky remarks? No boasting of his amazing prowess? Something was wrong and Steve's feet quickened.
"Tony, are you alright?" he called, getting nearer.
At his words, Natasha's head snapped up to give Tony a once over. Her eyes widened and Steve's heart dropped. Seemingly at the same time, they both saw the small growing puddle of blood pooling at his armored feet.
"Tony!" shouted Steve, breaking into a run.
Tony swayed and without warning, collapsed. Steve sprang forward and caught Tony before he hurt himself further.
"Tony!" Steve called out again, ripping off Tony's helmet when he didn't remove it.
Natasha crouched in front of them, Barton lying comfortably not too far from him. "Where's he hit?" she asked, her fingers delicately prodding, searching.
"I don't know." Steve pressed a free hand to his earpiece, "SHIELD, we need medics. Iron Man has been badly hurt. Hurry!"
"They'll be on site in five," came Fury's voice. If Steve wasn't so worried, he would have noticed the concerned edge to their director's tone.
"Steve, I think he's injured on his back. Flip him over!" she hissed.
Steve made to, but a hand on his shoulder stopped him.
"Don't. You may hurt him more. Just sit him up," Banner said quietly.
The soldier obliged, but no one could discern where the origin of the blood was through his suit. The crimson liquid blended in with the metal.
Frustration and panic fueling him more than anything, Steve swiftly pressed the buttons that he knew would release the suit's hold on the genius. The front and back plates fell down with a clang and the three of them sucked in a breath at the sight of the jagged stab wound.
"What the hell could have caused this?" Steve burst out. "When did it happen?"
"You mean you don't remember?" asked Banner, "Put pressure on that."
Steve shook his head as he complied, wincing as Tony let out a small whimper. "The Enchantress did something. Natasha..." he looked at her, meaning to ask her if she was the same way as him, but his words died in his mouth.
Natasha had gone pale, her eyes wide and her mouth open slightly.
"You know what did this..." Steve breathed.
She didn't answer. Instead, with trembling hands, she reached into one of the sheaths on her side. She closed her eyes as she pulled out her marine-grade knife. There was no need to look to know that it was covered in Tony's blood.
They didn't have time to react to the knowledge when helicopters landed down around them. Men surrounded them all, checking each for injuries. Before they even knew it, Tony had been ripped from Steve's grasp and Clint had disappeared somewhere.
Numbly, Steve felt someone guide him to another helicopter and all of a sudden, they were back on the helicarrier. Before he knew it, several hours had passed and he was sitting in the waiting room of the helicarrier's hospital with Banner and Natasha.
Low murmurs reached Steve's ears, pulling him out of his guilt-ridden and worried daze.
"He hasn't spoken since SHIELD picked us up. I'm a little worried..." whispered Natasha.
"I think he's in shock," Banner replied, his voice just as low.
Natasha gritted her teeth, "I can understand why. What the hell happened in that fight? No one can remember anything!"
"Think carefully. What was the last thing you remember?"
"We were fighting the Enchantress," Steve said quietly, making Natasha and Bruce flinch, "And then suddenly, it was Tony in front of us."
"You alright, Steve?" Banner asked.
Steve let out a mirthless chuckle, "Better than Tony."
"Or Clint for that matter," Natasha added softly.
"What happened to Clint? Please tell me that you two remember that part."
"The Enchantress took him out," the spy replied.
"That can't be possible. The Other Guy had her occupied the entire time."
Steve frowned, "Then who knocked him out?"
Natasha thought for a moment. "Clint did have slight burns on his chest. Stark?"
Steve shook his head, "Tony would never hurt a teammate."
"Do you think Clint would know?" asked Banner.
"I doubt it." Natasha paused, "Do you think..."
Knowing exactly what she was about to say, Steve cut her off before she could get any further, "You wouldn't harm a teammate either, no matter how much he gets on your nerves," smiled Steve.
"It was my knife."
"Doesn't mean you were the one to use it. We'll just have to wait until Tony wakes up."
At that moment, a very angry Fury stormed in with a couple of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents following close behind, holding paperwork in their arms. "Will someone tell me what the hell happened out there?" he boomed.
Steve stood, facing the director. "Sir, none of us can remember. The only one who knows is Iron Man."
"And his prognosis?"
"Then keep me updated."
Fury's one eye swept over the rest of the team, as if checking for possible injuries before he stomped away, barking out orders to scampering passing agents.
"Aw...he so cares about us," came a familiar cheeky voice.
The three turned to see Clint leaning heavily against the wall with bandages wrapped around his head. No doubt he had escaped the clutches of the nurses and doctors in the infirmary, but they couldn't bring themselves to care at the moment and rose to greet him.
"Clint!" they exclaimed together. Natasha was the first to reach him and guided him to a chair with movements that were far gentler than anyone had ever seen.
"It was just a concussion. I'm alright though," Clint said, answering any of the questions that they might have had. "That witch really did a number on me, huh? Where's Stark?"
He read the crestfallen expressions on his teammates. His heart clenched and he felt a darkness spread over his numb limbs as he immediately jumped to the conclusion that his comrade had been killed. Hot anger fueled by revenge lashed over his grief and he stood, growling, "I'm gonna kill her!"
Natasha leapt up, forcing Clint back down before he did anything rash. "Stark is in surgery. And you're not in any shape to go on a crazy suicide mission."
"What happened to him?"
"You don't know either?" Steve swallowed hard.
"What are you guys talking about?"
Before anyone had a chance to explain to him, a bald doctor approached them, looking extremely haggard. In seconds, he was surrounded by four of the Avengers.
A little overwhelmed, he took a step back, but there was nowhere to go.
"How's Tony?" Steve asked, sounding a little breathless.
"Mr. Stark suffered from a fractured rib on his left side and a swallow cut on his left shoulder, which required a few stitches. The stab wound in his lower back was the most problematic. Though the blade avoided hitting any vital organs, the injury was hard to close up because of the jagged nature of the weapon. He lost a considerable amount of blood, but he will make a full recovery."
The team let out a collective sigh.
"Can we see him?" Bruce questioned.
"Mr. Stark is still recovering from surgery, so I must insist that only one visitor at a time."
There was no hesitation. Bruce, Natasha, and Clint all turned to Steve and nodded at him.
"Go," Natasha said quietly. "Stay with him."
Steve merely nodded his thanks and found himself almost sprinting to Tony's room. Skidding to a stop, he stared at his boyfriend lying bedridden on sheets of white; machines beeped steadily in the room. An oxygen mask had been placed over Tony's nose and mouth and an IV was stuck into his right wrist. He was lying on his left side to keep pressure off his wound.
Steve sucked in a breath when he saw the white bandages wrapped tightly around Tony's entire torso and covered his right shoulder. Bruises on his lax face had turned purple and slightly bluish. There was a blanket covering his lower half, but Steve had no doubts that it was just as discolored as his upper body.
Almost shakily, Steve dropped down on a chair that had been conveniently placed by Tony's bedside. Reaching out, the soldier grasped Tony's left hand – the only part of him that didn't seem bruised or hurt. He made comforting circles around the back of the genius' hand; he caressed Tony's hair with his other hand, soothing and lovingly.
He didn't know how long he sat like that – touching Tony and checking to see if his breathing was still constant. The memory of Tony completely limp and broken in his arms kept him awake even though his body was aching for some rest.
The two had only been officially dating for a couple of months now, but they had been together far longer than any of them had thought, and no one minded the slightest. In fact, all the Avengers just wanted to see Tony happy.
Tony – being the genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist he was – had somehow wormed into all of the Avengers' hearts. He had offered all of them a place to stay in his tower – a place that they were free to be who they were without fear of harming others or being judged. He was Bruce's lab buddy and was the only one that the Hulk adored; he pulled pranks with Clint and pretended to be petrified of Natasha with him. He constantly upgraded the spies' weapons and always made sure that there was a never ending supply of coffee and pop-tarts for Thor. And for Steve, he was always there for him whenever the times overwhelmed him or if he found himself missing the forties so much to the point that he wanted to get drunk even though it was impossible for him.
Steve really didn't know when he had fallen so hard for the genius or how it happened. He just found himself constantly searching for that broad grin Tony would have when he was being his usual snarky self, but more so for the genuine, soft smile that Tony held in reserve for when the two of them were alone. He missed Tony's laughs and touches whenever he left for a conference. He missed Tony going out of his way to teach Steve all that was to know in their time and to find places that would make Steve feel more at home, like a forties-styled diner.
They never talked about it – of when they meant more to each other than anything else in their lives. One day, after a particularly romantic dinner that Tony had cooked (who knew the billionaire could cook?), they found themselves tumbling into Tony's bedroom, their lips crashing against each other passionately.
They haven't looked back since.
Steve lightly pressed his lips against Tony's hand for the hundredth time. This time, he felt a slight movement.
Glancing up, blue met black and a warm smile found its way to Steve's face.
"Hey, you," he said softly.
Tony blinked a couple of times, working through the drug haze, before recognition set in his eyes. Tentatively, he moved his right hand to shift off his oxygen mask, but the slight movement sent fire through his body and he hissed.
Worried, Steve made to touch Tony, but Tony merely shook his head to indicate that he was alright. The billionaire snuggled into Steve's grasp on his left hand, but his eyes didn't leave Steve's. The silent plea was heard loud and clear.
Steve pulled down Tony's mask with a frown.
"You know that it's there for a reason, Tony."
Tony cleared his throat a couple of times. "D-don't need it," he rasped out.
"I would ask you how you feel, but you'll just glare at me."
Tony smiled, feeling too tired to chuckle. "How's Barton?" he sighed.
"Clint's fine. He just had a concussion."
"He escaped the evil clutches of the manhandling nurses, I see."
Steve bit the bottom of his lip, itching to shoot questions at Tony. Tony noticed the silence.
"I…" Steve hesitated and changed his mind, "It can wait."
Tony gritted his teeth. "I'm injured – not fragile. Spit it out!"
"Do you remember what happened?"
Something flickered in Tony's eyes. "Yes."
"Tony, what happened?"
Tony looked at him now, his eyes searching. A frown became pronounced on his features. Steve could see him connect the dots and became increasingly puzzled when a look of relief spread across Tony's face.
"Don't worry about it, Steve."
"What do you mean don't worry about it? You're lying here with a stab wound in the back!" Steve took a breath, steading himself. "Look, you're the only one that knows exactly what happened with the Enchantress. We need to know."
"I lied. I don't remember."
But Steve could see Tony building up walls, hiding himself behind them. He had only seen Tony do this a couple of times before, and usually it was because something had greatly upset him, like the time a little girl died in the collapse of a building before Tony could save her.
Steve's words sent Tony spiraling back to the fight with the Enchantress – the pain of betrayal stronger than anything physical. He could still see Steve's cold eyes regarding him like the enemy. He could feel Natasha's fury bury itself in his back and Clint's murderous arrow piercing him. These were the people that had become his family – people that were more precious to him than his own life. He had thought that nothing could be worse than Afghanistan, but he was so horribly wrong. His greatest fear had come alive at the Enchantress' hands – the Avengers turning away from him, leaving him alone in this harsh world.
Suddenly, the beeping of the machines were grating against his ears; the dimmed lights were too bright. The sounds of nurses and doctors bustling around put him on edge. He didn't feel safe here. All those nameless faces – all those judging people could tear him apart in minutes in his current state. He needed to get out of here. He needed familiarity.
"Steve," he whispered out, his voice cracking, "I want to go home."
"Tony…" Steve started on his lecture of why it was important for Tony to stay in the hospital, but Tony didn't give him a chance to go any further.
It was the 'please' that did Steve in. It was so broken, so tired and raw that Steve found himself unable to refuse Tony, even though his entire being was screaming at him to keep Tony here where doctors could keep an eye on him.
"Alright," Steve said, "I'll let the doctors know."
Tony nodded numbly and sank back down into his pillows, closing his eyes. He felt Steve touch his brow briefly before the warmth disappeared all together. The coldness was overwhelming – it suffocated Tony, drowning him in the darkness of his mind.
There wasn't anything he could do but give in.
The shadows swallowed Tony Stark whole and he knew nothing more, save for the cold, blue eyes that haunted his nightmares...
To be continued...
I hope you liked it! And as always, please review!
~ Kanae Yuna