A/N: For Tracey, who needs a lot of cheering up, I hope this helps you in whatever small way lovelie.
The door closed and Harry sighed in relief as he obsessively listened and heard footsteps down the hallway, he was being stupid, Clint hadn't meant to hurt him, it had been out of his control, he wasn't going to turn into a ravaging beast and mate him in a tower full of superheroes.
He slipped his jeans off and changed his boxer-briefs, pulling on sleeping shorts as well, before snuggling down in bed and falling off to sleep with difficulty, his mind playing over his evening with the Avengers and most particularly Clint, whom he had spent the evening sat beside and who had carried him easily to bed. It was too confusing and his emotions and thoughts were too confusing, he pushed them away and fell off to sleep, praying that the violent morning sickness did not come back the following morning, he had had enough of vomiting for the entire year.
Chapter Eight – Craving
Another week passed easily and Harry was booked in for his first scan of the baby today at S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters, he had been told sternly by Agent Coulson that he was not allowed to seek or receive any medical attention by anyone outside of S.H.I.E.L.D unless it was an absolute emergency, so he had had to wait until S.H.I.E.L.D had a free slot to fit him in, it happened to be today.
Harry didn't mind going to S.H.I.E.L.D for medical reasons, he did not want anyone to find out that he was pregnant with the baby of an Avenger; it was far too dangerous, for him and the baby. He just didn't like that he had to go out today of all days, when his preheat was in full force.
He hadn't been sick again since that first time, but only two days later he had slipped onto a preheat. It had terrified him when he had seen Clint's eyes blow wide in lust, but the man had behaved amicably and closed his eyes to control himself, he had kept his distance as he escorted Harry to the kitchen, where Tony had dropped his toast and fled the kitchen as fast as he could. Harry tried not to let it hurt his feelings; he had been told numerous times that Tony had a 'fear' for lack of a better word, of anything Omega.
Watching the eyes of all of the people he had come to know over the last two weeks blow wide with lust made Harry so uncomfortable and shy, he just wanted to curl up in a hole until his preheat ended. He was almost thankful that he was pregnant and wouldn't slip onto a full heat period, but if he wasn't pregnant he'd be on his suppressants, which meant nearly the same, he'd have a preheat and no actual heat, but he wouldn't have a baby he didn't want either.
Steve bless him tried his best to ignore the situation, including him in a very strained conversation that took more will power and stubbornness than anything to keep going, but Harry ate his breakfast and then holed himself back up in his bedroom, adamant that he wouldn't be coming back out again until his preheat ended, unfortunately Agent Coulson arrived two days later to drag him to S.H.I.E.L.D to get a scan of the baby to make sure everything was going fine and wouldn't let him back out of the appointment due to pheromone issues.
The man hid his emotions and thoughts very well, it helped that his eyes were hidden behind mirrored sunglasses and his body showed no tension or strain, Harry could almost believe he was walking with another Omega, and that helped relax him immensely.
Of course he was heckled by young Alphas at S.H.I.E.L.D but a quick baring of teeth and a small growl from Coulson had them all ducking away and going back to their business, though Coulson wrapped an arm around his waist, hand over his flat belly to protect the baby, keeping Harry tucked into his side to protect him and Harry could almost believe he was bonded to Agent Coulson.
They made it happily to the infirmary and Agent Coulson helped him onto the high bed and stood beside him on guard to wait for the doctor.
"Are you staying here because the doctor is an Alpha?" Harry asked perceptively.
Agent Coulson nodded. "Yes, Doctor Bennet is a very professional man, but he is an Alpha and a happily unbonded one. I don't want any trouble arising because he believes it to be a good idea to harass an Omega on a preheat in his care."
Harry nodded and felt better that Agent Coulson was staying with him when the Doctor came in and struggled to hold his professionalism together.
He was an older gentleman with greyish, white hair, he was sure the term 'silver fox' would be thrown around by the overworked nurses, but Harry didn't care as the man's brown eyes were almost lost to his pupil.
"Agent Coulson, will you be staying?" The Doctor asked and there was a hint of something in his voice that made Harry reach out for Agent Coulson's hand.
"I will, I'm sure you understand that Director Fury wishes for the very best care and security for Harry." Phil said as he gripped Harry's hand tightly. He couldn't help but notice that Harry caressed something at his hip and wondered if he had brought his gun with him. He couldn't blame the young man after what had happened, but he did wonder why the metal detectors hadn't gone off when Harry had walked through them as he entered the building.
Only ten minutes in and Harry wanted the examination to be over as the doctor tried twice to go lower than was needed, each time stopped by a sharp word from Agent Coulson.
Harry stayed only long enough to confirm the baby was alright and developing normally, before he was off the bed and pulling his shirt back on, clear gel be damned. He'd shower later.
"Don't you want pictures?" The doctor asked surprised.
"No. I want to leave now."
Coulson was there then, leading him out with a calming hand, thanking the doctor, but making a veiled threat about coming back to talk to him at a later date.
Harry was led through the building and back through the metal detectors, thankful he hadn't been asked for an on the spot search because he had his wand in his hip holster, as he waited on the other side for Coulson to take off his gun and step through, before reclaiming it on the other side.
"Are you hungry? We could go and get you something to eat outside of the tower to make you feel more comfortable."
Harry nodded and allowed Coulson to take him to a small restaurant; Harry tried to ignore the turning heads, the cat calls and wolf whistles, the propositions and the downright lewd proclamations, but it was difficult and only years of being treated the same, like a walking sex toy, allowed him to walk normally, his back ramrod straight, defiance in every line of his pinched face as he sat down with a thunk and took in a deep breath, ignoring all the Alpha smells that rushed into his senses.
He couldn't ignore the man that squeezed himself next to him though as he sniffed at his hair and Harry flinched away and glared at the Alpha.
"Can I help you with something?" He demanded sharply with a sneer.
"He's too old for you baby, you need someone who can keep up with you, what do you say we leave him here and you come back to my place?"
Harry didn't have time to get in a word as the Alpha was gone from his side and Coulson was just stood there, his face blank, his mirrored sunglasses still on his face.
"I suggest you leave him alone."
"Why? What you gonna do old man?"
"Take this outside gentlemen!" The waitress told them sternly. "This is a family restaurant. There are Pregnant Omegas and children here today!"
"Just leave it Phil." Harry said softly. "I'm used to Alpha dicks acting like this all the time."
Phil didn't move his face from the taller, thicker Alpha tensed in front of him.
"I will tase you if I have to." Coulson threatened. "I will watch you dance uncontrollably on the floor for entertainment as Harry and I have a meal together and on the way out, I'll call the Enforcers and see who they think is in the wrong."
"You shouldn't bring your little girlfriend out if he's leaking pheromones all over the place, you should lock him up!"
Harry refused to react, he locked all of his joints so he wouldn't just sink into the booth he was sat in so all the eyes he could feel looking at him would go away. He glared harder.
"There are no laws, official or otherwise, that states an Omega in preheat cannot go outside and do everything they would have normally. If you are not disciplined enough to control yourself around mere preheat pheromones, that is not the Omegas fault; it's yours, now I suggest you kindly leave."
The bigger Alpha went red at that as some people chuckled and tittered at the insinuation that he was a weak Alpha. He looked around in surprise as he realised he was losing the crowd that had been behind him to begin with.
"I want you out of my restaurant!" The waitress demanded.
Harry glanced a peek at her to see her looking at the troublesome Alpha and not at him and Phil and he smiled.
Coulson didn't move, he didn't even smile, smirk or frown, his face was still pleasantly blank and Harry gained a new found respect for the man and understood exactly why he was Fury's closest, most senior Agent.
Phil moved for the first time and it was to take his mobile phone from his jacket pocket.
"I will call the Enforcers; I believe it's a twenty-four hour stint with them for harassing an Omega in public and they won't go easy on you."
"He's unbonded!" The Alpha tried desperately.
"Most Omegas these days are. It doesn't mean they are free for you to heckle them. Now leave or I will make good on my promise to Taser you and call the Enforcers as we leave."
The man wisely left and Harry smiled as the conversation burst around them excitedly as Phil sat back down and smiled for the first time since standing up.
"You're a real badass you know." Harry chuckled.
"So I've been told. Now, what would you like to eat?"
Harry enjoyed his time with Agent Coulson immensely and was in a much better mood when they got back to the tower. Harry was laughing hysterically and Phil was supporting him from the lift and into the living room.
"Is he okay?" Steve asked.
"He's perfectly fine." Coulson replied with a smile as he sat Harry next to the Captain. "He has really enjoyed the story I told him about when Stark and I first met."
"Super…supernanny!" Harry giggled breathlessly.
"It's a good programme to watch when you're the babysitter of several disobedient Agents, isn't that right Agent Barton?"
"Yes Sir." Clint replied with a grin and Harry started laughing again.
"I'm the handler for the Avengers now and between Barton and Stark, I need all the help I can get."
Harry's laughing trailed off and he rolled over to Steve's warmth and snuggled into his side with a smile.
"Did you get any of those grainy ultrasound photos?" Tony asked, looking like he was trying very hard to stay put, his hands gripping the arm of the settee he was squashed against. Steve must have said something to him.
"No. I wanted to leave that disgusting, touchy-feely doctor as soon as possible, how dare he try and cop a feel of me!"
"I'll sort it out for you Harry and I'll find a well-trained, professional Beta doctor for your next appointment."
"I hate Alpha dicks." Harry bit out furiously, sitting upright and away from Steve, even though he let that muscled arm remain around his back. "The doctor, that guy in the restaurant, the guy on the walk home, why can't they all find some brain cells and realise they're never going to find a bond mate when they act like that? That Omegas are all just a piece of ass for them to cop a feel off before swanning off to the next trampled Omega who'll have them!"
Harry huffed bad temperedly and threw himself back against the settee, and Steve's arm, and tried to relax, one hand moving to trace light patterns on his stomach.
"You're not feeling sick again are you?" Bruce asked kindly, watching his finger trace absently.
Harry shook his head. "No. I feel fine and I've eaten already, so I think I'm going to shower or something and read more of that book on caesareans."
"Take a bath; it'll help you relax more." Steve suggested.
"Thanks Steve!" Harry said as he gave him a hug and stood up. He hugged Coulson happily. "Thank you for taking me to my appointment and for sticking up for me and for taking me to dinner, I had a great time."
"It was my pleasure Harry."
Harry ignored the look on Clint's face, that betrayed, saddened look. He had no right to look like that, but maybe it was because Coulson was his Handler, both before the Avengers and after, but still, he didn't want Clint looking hurt, it made him feel unduly guilty, it had only been dinner and not even a date dinner, but more of a 'I'm hungry, let's eat' dinner.
He locked the bathroom door after collecting his pyjamas and started running the bath, he hoped the rest of his preheat week passed quickly and without issue. He couldn't put up with these Alphas anymore and he wanted his normal Tony back, not Tony who leapt for the nearest exit every time he walked into a room. He missed his talks with Tony.
The next week Harry was feeling better, his preheat had ended and everything was near enough back to normal. It was currently half five in the morning, breakfast time in Harry's mind, and he was searching the kitchen for something he knew he wanted, but wasn't sure what it was exactly that he wanted. He was going through every cupboard and draw to find the something he wanted.
He could feel someone behind him and jerked a look over his shoulder to look at Steve, who woke up at the same time every single day, his inner body clock telling him it was time to wake up.
"Morning Steve!" Harry called out to him before diving back into a cupboard.
"Good morning Harry, what are you doing?"
"Looking for something." Harry replied easily.
"Oh, well what are you looking for, maybe I can help."
"I don't know what it is."
Steve blinked in surprise before starting making breakfast for the team, who would be awake soon. He made sure to watch where Harry was so he didn't step on him or kick him as he scooted around the lower cupboards for the thing he was looking for, but didn't know what it was. Maybe he should call Bruce.
"What are you doing Harry?"
Steve sighed in relief as he heard Bruce's voice and turned to see him and Tony looking at the young man digging in the cupboard.
"He's looking for something." Steve informed them.
"Just ask Jarvis, he'll tell you where it is." Tony chuckled.
"I don't think he could."
"Why not? Jarvis knows everything." Tony defended hotly.
"Harry doesn't know what he's looking for; can Jarvis help Harry find something when he doesn't know what it is he wants?" Steve asked.
"Ah, no." Tony frowned. "Is it a food item?"
"Yes!" Harry called from the cupboard he was searching.
"I think he's having his first food craving, his body must be deficient in something." Bruce informed them.
"So this is normal for pregnancies?" Steve asked with a bit of relief as he pointed to Harry.
Bruce nodded before going to help Harry.
"What are they doing?" Natasha asked as she and Clint came up to the kitchen, looking as Bruce and Harry methodically went through every cupboard and draw.
"Searching for Harry's deficiency." Tony told them as he made himself a coffee.
"Harry has a deficiency?" Clint asked.
"Yes, only he doesn't know what it is, so he's searching for it."
"What if you don't have it here?"
"Please, between Pepper and Jarvis this house has something of everything."
"Ah!" Harry exclaimed and drew everyone's attention.
Bruce had pulled out a plate of small watermelon wedges covered in Clingfilm from the back of the fridge and Harry had almost snatched them happily from him.
"How can you be deficient in watermelon?" Clint asked.
"Don't be stupid." Tony told him. "He's either deficient in vitamin A, vitamin C or potassium if he wants watermelon."
"Could be B six." Bruce added.
"There's not a lot of B six in watermelon though, he could easily get more from eating a bowl of bran flakes."
"Is it dangerous to him or the baby to be deficient in something?" Clint asked.
"It could be, but as Harry's body seems to be able to identify what he's deficient in and sets off cravings, they should both be fine." Bruce answered.
As they waited for Steve to finish breakfast, they had nothing else to do but watch as Harry ate his watermelon, which should really be filmed and posted on a porn website as he near enough molested it with his mouth.
Steve had watched for two minutes before turning back to the oven with a flushed face as Harry nibbled, licked and sucked on the small wedges of watermelon, ignoring all of them, using the tip of his tongue to catch the trails of juice over his hands and fingers.
"This feels wrong and uncomfortable and I still can't look away." Tony said entranced.
Harry picked up another wedge of watermelon and started nibbling on it, but the trance ended when Thor joined them, being his usual loud and boisterous self as he clapped Harry so hard on the back he almost choked.
"Thor, be careful!" Steve chastised as he flapped around Harry.
"I'm fine." Harry insisted as he patted Thor to ease the man, god, down from looking like a kicked puppy, going back to his watermelon with a bit more vigour than molestation so it didn't look as sexual and more like normal eating.
"Do you want any Harry?" Steve asked as he plated up breakfast for the team.
Harry shook his head. "I'm fine thank you Steve."
"What's on the agenda today?" Bruce asked as he started eating.
"We have a team building exercise this afternoon." Steve told them.
"Why do we need to do team building exercises?" Tony snorted. "We work fine together, as we've proven numerous times and yeah, sometimes one of us can be a complete asshole and get all moody or whatever, but we get over that. These exercises are a waste of time."
"They're not a waste of time, they're mandatory." Steve argued.
"Well I don't like them and I don't think we need them!" Tony argued back.
"We're still going whether you like it or not." Steve said firmly, ending the discussion and leaving Tony to silently fume.
"Will you be alright on your own for a few hours Harry?" Bruce asked.
Harry bobbed his head. "Perfectly fine. I'll enjoy the rare and limited peace for as long as I have it. Besides, isn't Pepper and Happy here?"
"Pepper will be off to work soon, Happy will drive her, but Jarvis is still here." Tony told him.
"Complete and utter peace then." Harry grinned.
"You'll miss us soon enough." Tony teased.
"I'm sure I can manage a few hours without missing you."
"Sure sure, you know all the numbers for the emergency services yes? It's nine-one-one in this country."
"I've lived here for two years Tony; I think I have the emergency services number down." Harry rolled his eyes.
"Just in case I'll write it down and pin it to the fridge, you'll be guaranteed to see it then."
Harry had the almost uncontrollable urge to throw something at Tony, but he didn't have anything to throw, so he settled on glaring at him poisonously.
"Lay off him Tony." Steve cut in, laying a soft hand on Harry's arm.
"It's all in good fun Capt. Harry's a good sport, he knows I'm just kidding, right Harry?"
"I will kill you while you sleep and stuff your mangled, mutilated body into a sewage pipe." Harry hissed.
"On that note, I'll just go and upgrade the security for my bedroom and then we can go to this team building thing."
Harry smiled as Tony left the room and he went back to eating, the red rage fading as Tony left.
"Was that your first mood swing?"
Harry looked at Natasha through considering eyes. He still hadn't forgiven her from the ambush at the shopping centre, but the anger he held was at the point where it took too much energy to maintain and he wasn't bothered enough to carry on feeling that anger, he had more pressing things to worry about.
"I think so; the urge to kill him is gone at least."
"Please say this isn't going to be an everyday thing."
Harry shrugged. "How the hell would I know? This is the first time I've been pregnant and my first baby. I'm not an expert, I don't know what's going to happen from here on in, all I know is from what I've read in books and I've never had much interaction with other Omegas, and next to no interaction with pregnant Omegas. I don't know what to do or what to expect, so you lot are along for the ride too."
"That's alright Harry, I'm sure we can all manage together." Steve soothed. "I've never been around pregnant Omegas or even Betas and the only babies I've held are the ones that were shoved at me during Captain America's publicity shots."
"That must have been annoying."
"It was more frustrating than annoying, I didn't mind, but having a baby near enough thrown at you means a lot of frantic scrabbling to stop the baby from falling."
Harry shook his head. "I promise I'll never throw my baby at you or Captain America. Some people can be so irresponsible."
"I think it was excitement more than anything, every housewife in America loved Captain America."
"It's the biceps and six pack." Harry nodded seriously.
Bruce chuckled while Steve went red.
"It's a well-known fact that there are four things an Omega looks for in a bond mate."
"Oh and what are those?" Clint asked, he almost managed to pull off casual, but Harry was a S.H.I.E.L.D agent too, they seemed to forget that.
"A solid six pack, big biceps, big thighs and a big something else." Harry laughed.
"A big what something else?" Thor asked him, a frown between his eyes.
Harry grinned. "A big hammer, Thor."
Thor's face cleared and he nodded as if everything made sense to him. "I have all of those things you seek, though I left Mjolnir in my bed chambers."
Harry blinked and then he started laughing and he couldn't stop. He laughed so hard that he could feel tears falling down his cheeks and every gasped intake of breath hurt.
"You're brilliant Thor, please, never change."
"But these garments will be soiled by the end of the day." Thor argued and Harry chuckled, his middle hurting too much to laugh again at the moment.
"I don't think that's what he meant Thor." Steve explained as the god looked at a chuckling Harry with a confused frown.
"Then what did he mean?"
"You can change your clothes, but don't change who you are."
"I have been Thor for over two thousand years, why would I change now?"
"Again not really what he meant, but close enough." Steve relented.
Harry shook his head and patted Thor's shoulder, patting Steve's as he went past to put his watermelon rinds in the food recycling and his plate in the sink.
"I'm going to go and pretend to watch TV while really thinking up ways to get past Tony's new security." He told the table as he carefully went down the three steps from the kitchen to the living area and sunk onto Tony's plush settee. He didn't actually do either as he spied his pregnancy book on the table and picked it up.
He said goodbye to the Avengers as they went off to do their team building course and he was left alone in a huge Tower that had more floors than anyone knew what to do with, though Tony was making noises about each Avenger having their own floor instead of all having bedrooms on the same floor. It was going to cost a lot to make every floor into a flat for each person. Tony had more money than sense in Harry's opinion.
"Jarvis, am I allowed to leave or am I on lockdown?"
"I have not been instructed to lock you in the tower, but I must advise you against leaving Master Harry."
"No Master, Jarvis." Harry reminded the A.I. who he was sure was very uncomfortable not calling him Master, but Harry hated it. "I'll be back before the Avengers know I'm even gone."
"If Master Tony asks, I will have to answer him."
Harry smiled. "I know Jarvis, but being in this Tower all day every day is not only boring, but I…I miss home. I miss my house, with my things, my space. I'm not sure if you understand, but I just want to go home for an hour or so."
"You are suffering from homesickness." Jarvis informed.
Harry nodded. "I guess I am. Before all this, I was very independent, I'm not used to having people help me or always being there to support me and it's getting overwhelming lately. I know they're worried and whatnot and sometimes I do like the attention and the support, which is strange as I used to hate it when I was younger, but it's all getting too much. It must be because of the kidnapping and what happened afterwards, but I've been feeling clingy lately, not much like myself, I'm hoping that going home for a bit will ground me and make me, me again. Though it's probably futile because the pregnancy and the hormones won't help my independence much either, but I need to try, I don't want to be seen as just another run of the mill pregnant Omega. I'm not like them; I've never been like them."
Everything was silent as Harry breathed in deeply and slowly to calm himself after his little rant.
"You must do what you feel you must." Jarvis told him and Harry smiled.
"Thank you Jarvis, I shouldn't be too long, I don't want to worry any of them after all. I'll see you in a little while."
Harry patted his thigh to make sure he still had his wand on him, though he already knew he had, and he rode the lift down to the ground floor, he was going to be extra aware of himself this time as he walked home and he wasn't going to stay longer than an hour or two, but he just needed to ground himself, he was sure he would feel better afterwards and he would stop with the emotional hills, outbursts and mood swings. He was just glad he hadn't burst into irrational tears yet; he didn't think he'd live through the humiliation and the teasing that would then ensue after such an episode.
A/N: I can't remember how long it's been since I updated, which probably means it's either been too long or I have memory problems, but I've been swamped lately with real life, personal business and an overhaul of plots that have left me drowning in word documents.
Bruce/Harry is up next and it'll be another ficlet like this one, which hopefully equates to it being under twenty chapters, but with how strong it's going, it's anyone's guess.
The second chapter to the Nick Fury/Harry fic will be up shortly too, I can't believe I forgot about it, but there you go, all in a day's suffering of being an author with a very busy real life.
Thanks to Flamegirl22 for being the 500th reviewer.
As to the squash issue from the previous chapter, I had no idea it wasn't a regular drink in America and that it wasn't widely available like it is here, but I've been told that it is available, it's just very expensive, but as he's Tony Stark and has money to burn, we'll just say he likes the extravagance of it to go with his alcohol collection, because some squashes are mixed with alcohol just like coke or lemonade is.
noirekitsune: Harry has much more control now than when he was a teenager, so accidental magic is out of the window. He didn't become a S.H.I.E.L.D agent through emotional outbursts or tantrums, the war stripped him bare and losing everyone he loved harrowed him. He has triggers, like most people do, his Mum is an obvious sore spot for him, but he's much calmer and more collected as an adult, which means he can control his emotions now, even under torture and extreme pressure, so it'll take a bit more than some teasing or pregnancy hormones to make him lose control of his magic. Does that make more sense?
SecretsOfaFanGirl: In the original Marvel comics Pepper married Happy, Tony's driver, and they left Stark Industries and moved away to adopt several children. Pepper only had a brief fling with Tony during a rocky patch in her relationship, but the films seized it and put Pepper with Tony, which I don't like, so I'm following the comics on that one and having Pepper with Happy, but they're not together yet, though they will be over the course of the fic.
StarLight Massacre. X