- Alternate Universe
This is a sequel to Families.
Tony walked towards the kitchen to get himself a cup of coffee, still staring at the schematics Alexander had brought him. He’d been very impressed, especially when Alexander had mentioned that his father had built it 1994, years before he had built his own suit.
He normally wouldn’t be able to walk around like this since someone would usually insist that he put it down, at least while walking, but no one was around today. The students were away on an excursion, accompanied by most of the teachers and Bruce, Erik and Charles had taken the Sentinels out for some tests and Wendy had asked Jean to come along for an afternoon among girls. Beside him, only Logan and Scott stayed behind and he hoped Logan would keep Scott too busy to call him out.
Keep him busy by talking or working on a car or something. Tony refused to consider what else they might be doing.
When his phone rang, he briefly put down his coffee to pull it out without looking away from the schematics. He accepted the call then placed in on the counter.
Tony froze, the cup of coffee slipping unnoticed from his fingers. No, that was impossible. He had made sure to avoid all contact.
“Tony, this has been going on long enough,” Rogers said. “It’s time for you to get over yourself and give up the Accords so we can re-establish the Avengers, to bring Bucky and everyone back together. Once you and I bond -”
“No.” Tony stumbled back from the phone. No, he couldn’t… he wouldn’t…
“Natasha warned me about your ego but this is too much. I’ll talk to them. They’ll see the best solution is to make sure we bond.”
Tony couldn’t hear what else Steve said over the rushing in his ears. Suddenly he was back in Siberia, lying there on the cold ground with Steve kneeling over him, shield raised.
Scott stumbled when Tony’s fear rushed over him, holding himself upright against the doorjamb. He’d heard the cup shatter and had come to investigate. He wanted to curse for once when he saw Rogers on the screen of Tony’s phone and the empty look in Tony’s eyes. He’d only once seen a Guide in a fugue, the Guide equivalent to a Sentinel zoning. It could happen if a Guide got lost in a painful memory. Their emphatic abilities would make them experience their emotions at the time they were remembering which in turn was keeping them caught up in the memory. The last one he’d seen had been Alex when he had triggered by a memory of Vietnam. It had been horrible, seeing his brother suffer that way until Hank had been able to pull him out. Only now none of the Sentinels were here now. He made a decision. “Logan!” He was certain that Logan was already on his way, having felt Tony losing control, but he needed him to hurry. When he heard him in the hallway, he ordered: “Take care of Tony.” Then he grabbed the phone.
“What’s going on there? What happened to Tony?” Rogers demanded.
“None of your business,” Scott replied sharply. He left the kitchen quickly, hoping that not being able to hear Rogers anymore would help Tony come out of the memory. “You have no right to bother him, not after what you did to him.”
“This is Avengers business, just between me and Tony,” Rogers protested.
“The Avengers don’t exist anymore,” Scott said bluntly. “Tony is part of us now, part of the X-Men.”
“He’s not a mutant.”
“He’s family. And we protect our own. Let me be clear, Rogers, I’m not going to stand by and let you harass or bother any member of my team. So if you contact Tony again without his explicit invitation, we will be finding out if your super soldier serum is strong enough for you to heal from a laser to the face.” With that, Scott cut the call.
As strange as it sounded, Logan was relieved when Tony started shaking, the unnatural stillness of the fugue giving way and the projected fear receding. “It’s okay, you’re safe,” he repeated, gently rubbing his back.
Tony tried to push away. “No, no. Scott…”
“Scott’s dealing with Rogers,” Logan assured him, listening in on Scott’s conversation with Rogers.
Tony shook his head, trying to explain. Logan acting as a Sentinel to help him could hurt Scott, make him remember his fear of losing him and Jean.
“Come one,” Logan said, gently helping him up. “I think you need to hear this.” He led him to where Scott was, in time for them to catch his last reply to Rogers before he ended the call.
Scott took a deep breath to calm down after he had ended the call, then stepped up to Logan and Tony and offered Tony his phone back, only for Logan to sink a hand into his hair and pull him into a deep, filthy kiss.
It took Scott a moment to remember that they were not alone or with just Jean but then he pushed Logan away. “Logan!”
“Hearing you threaten Rogers was hot,” Logan said, absolutely shameless.
“You… you said I’m part of your team,” Tony said, staring up at Scott.
“Of course you are. You are family and very much part of the team.”
“But I’m not a mutant,” Tony pointed out.
Scott sighed. “This was not how we wanted to tell you. I’ve been discussing it with Rhodes and representatives from the Accords Council. We are planning to establish a second X-Men team, one not entirely made up of mutants. There are some mutants who don’t feel comfortable joining the X-Men, either because their mutation is not suitable for fighting or because they do not want to use it and they feel they cannot fight using other means while part of the X-Men. A mixed team would hopefully make them feel more welcome. If we got the okay, we planned to ask you to be the leader.”
“Really?” Tony asked, hardly able to belief it.
“Really,” Scott confirmed. “We’re far in the planning and should hear back from the Council soon with their decision.”
Logan pulled him into another kiss in reply.
“You’re an amazing big brother,” Tony said when they broke apart.
It occurred to Loki only now that, even though his foster-mother had been Vanir, he had rarely visited. The architecture reminded him a lot of Asgard, though with considerably less gold. He doubted any of the other realms included as much gold in their buildings as Asgard had.
He and Vili made sure to keep Alexander behind them as they made their way to see Queen (NAME6). He had not told them yet who his non-human father was but they figured, whoever he was, it was better not to risk his anger by letting his son get hurt.
They finally arrived in what seemed to be a room intended for semi-public meetings. Queen (NAME6) sat on an elaborately crafted chair with some members of her council around her.
“Queen (NAME6),” Vili said, bowing to her.
“I go now by the name I gained on Midgard, Thetys,” she replied. “So you have come to Vanaheim at least in your work to re-establish Asgard.” Seeing their surprise, she added: “I hope you did not expect Asgard to be the only realm in contact with other realms.”
“No, of course not,” Vili hurriedly assured her. “We are simply surprised how quickly news spread.”
“The destruction of Asgard was hardly hidden. Nor is your desire to rebuild Asgard unexpected.” She paused. “Though what you expect to gain from your visit I do not know. We are not interested in returning to being Asgard’s vasall and, as it stands, Asgard has nothing to offer us.”
“We don’t expect things to return to the way they were,” Vili quickly said. “We are hoping for an alliance or, at the very least, a non-aggression pact, as we have offered Nidavellir. That way we can have the assurance that you will not prevent us from building a new home and you have the assurance that we will not attack you, not now and not when we are stronger again.”
She raised an eyebrow, not impressed by him. “How do you intend to make certain both sides keep the pact? Will you demand hostages again, like Frigga was? Or will we exchange them this time?”
Vili winced at the reminder that Frigga, even though she’d carried the title Queen, had actually been a political hostage and that Asgard had failed in protecting her. Asgard had no leverage to demand a hostage and too little survivors to offer someone suitably high up as return hostage. “I’m certain we can come up with a solution we can both agree to.”
Judging by her expression, Thetys was less certain by far.
Alexander stepped forward. “Please, your majesty, will you allow us to stay until tomorrow? Will you give it a chance?”
She was about to disagree but then she paused, looking straight at him. “You are of my people.”
“Yes, your majesty,” Alexander said, though it hadn’t been a question. My grandmother is one of the Vanir who remained on Earth – on Midgard.”
“Very well. The three of you may stay until tomorrow. Later, I wish to hear more about you and your family on Midgard.” She looked to Vili. “You have until noon tomorrow to give me a reason why I should trust a non-aggression pact with Asgard. After that, you will leave, with or without a pact.”
“Yes, your majesty,” Vili said and bowed deep, the other two following his example. The queen nodded, then rose and left with her council, leaving the three of them behind.
“Well, I guess we are lucky your parents agreed to let you come with us,” Loki said to Alexander.
Alexander froze. “They, ah, they don’t know I’m here.”
Vili and Loki stared at him. “They’re gonna kill us.”
“What did you want to talk about that you didn’t want anyone to overhear?” Jean asked. It wasn’t the first time she’d come along to a girls’ night or afternoon out but usually there were more than just the two of them and they usually did not drive as far. But Wendy had asked just her and had driven all the way here.
“I need you to give me a check-up,” Wendy said.
Jean waited, certain that there had to be more to it than a simple check-up.
“I think I might be pregnant,” Wendy finally rushed out. She rubbed her forehead. “I don’t know. Perhaps I’m just imagining things. I didn’t think it would be possible.”
“There is no reason why your mutation would keep you from getting pregnant,” Jean pointed out. For some mutants, especially with more obvious physiological mutations, there actually was a worry but Wendy’s body did not differ from other humans’.
“It’s my mutation that might have made it possible. I shouldn’t be able to get pregnant from an android. And there hasn’t been anyone else for months.”
“Vision?” Jean asked, just to be sure.
“We can check when we get back,” Jean said. “Though if you are, telling the others will be awkward.”
Wendy winced. “Perhaps I can tell father when he is in New York the next time?”
Scott and Logan hadn’t needed to talk to one another to agree that they would not leave Tony alone for the rest of the afternoon. Tony was doing a lot better already after their conversation but they knew that, if left alone, Tony might get lost in his dark thoughts again and, worst case, convince himself that it was the best for everyone if he agreed with Rogers and bonded with him. Not that they would allow it. Their family would have Rogers had if he even thought about touching Tony again. Still, better not to even risk having to argue the matter with Tony. Instead they had brought him down to the garage and kept his mind busy by having him come up with ideas to improve the different vehicles, including the jet. (Hopefully Hank would forgive them for suggesting Tony might work on his baby.)
They were still there when Erik and Charles returned with the three Sentinels trying to court Tony. Not that he seemed to notice it. The three younger Sentinels were quick to let Tony tell them all about what they had been doing and his plans for improvements. Charles and Erik on the other hand turned to Logan and Scott, surprised to see them here with Tony.
Scott covertly tapped his temple, then when Charles started reading his thoughts, showed him what had happened, what Rogers had said. They could tell the moment Charles had passed it on to Erik by the way he stiffened.
‘We need to discuss how to deal with him,’ Charles said.
‘But without Tony overhearing.’
‘I might have an idea how to keep him sufficiently distracted,’ Charles said.