Not The Man You Think I Am.
Tony Stark's stomach preceded him everywhere he went these days, it was the first thing everyone saw as he entered a room, eyes just naturally gravitated towards the swollen mass.
Once upon a time it was his sparkling eyes and brilliant smile that drew all the attention, everyone vying to be the first one to speak to him and to bask in the glow of his witty and intelligent conversation. He used to always move to the centre of a room be visible, loud and gregarious. Now he hid in darkened corners behind a potted palm or some other display hoping that people would forget he was there, wishing the hours away so he could make his escape back to the solitude of his workshop or curled up on his bed in his penthouse.
He tried to tell himself that the stares and whispers of his onetime friends and colleagues, did not hurt or cause the deep aching pain within his battered heart, but it was getting harder and harder to deny the bigger his stomach grew. With each snide comment or glare his soul withered a little more, he wished he could just disappear or curl up and die so that he could escape the heartache he constantly lived with.
He spotted the Avengers across the ballroom saw then gather closer around Steve when they saw him. A wall of strength he could not penetrate, there cold hard stares daring him to come no closer. I would be impossible to speak to Steve directly but there was no more time, this was his last chance to set things straight.
Several months ago they had made it perfectly clear who they stood by and what they thought about his betrayal they had given him no chance to explain his side, after all once a playboy always a playboy. There was no possible way that sweet innocent Steve Rogers/Captain America would ever cheat or hurt another person, would deny being in a relationship or fathering a child.
But Tony knew the truth and for the sake of his sanity and the babies he carried he needed closure and at least a chance to live without the crushing disapproval of everyone he knew and once called friend, and a population that hated him for supposedly breaking Captain America's heart.
Drawing on years of public performances he gathered up that small flicker of strength left within him and decided to make a stand, whatever happened afterwards he would leave to fate. He walked through the crowds it seemed to take forever to reach the Avengers, the closer he got to them the more he could feel himself trembling, his body hot and heavy his mind a swirling mass of emotions.
He saw Steve's eyes widen as he grew closer, he could not help but notice the hand that clutched tightly to Bucky's arm, it was all the proof Tony needed to finally realise that there would be no happy ending for him. Steve had made his choice, he knew now that he had only ever been a stop gap until Bucky's memories had been returned.
Natasha stepped forward baring his way, glaring at him whilst twisting the widow bite bracelet on her wrist, ironically the same ones he had made for her. He withdrew the crisp white envelope from his breast pocket and offered it to her the hospital logo clearly shown on the front. Minutes passed before she took it, she then turned her back on him showing him how insignificant a threat she saw him.
The contents of two sheets contained within the letter would he knew cause great upset and change their preconceived perceptions of him. The first letter the results of a lie detector test confirming that Tony Anthony Stark had not at any time in the past two years slept with anyone else apart from Steve Rogers. The second sheet confirmed that after extensive genetic testing the two foetuses he was carrying were a genetic match to Steve Rogers and he was the biological father.
Exhaling the breath he had not realised he had been holding he turned head held high and proceeded to leave the room, not even turning when he heard the loud gasps and his name being called from the group behind him.
Finally he reached the safety of his limo, collapsing on the back seat tears streamed down his face. There was no going back only forward, but this time he would not be alone with only his bots and A.I. for company and friendship. Placing his hands on his swollen stomach he could feel his babies kicking and turning inside him.