To Have a Home
By Ammie Hawk
Disclaimer: Nope, still not mine.
AN: I know, I know, it's been forever. But this chapter has been a bitch to write. I've done at least three rewrites cause it kept going in a direction I didn't approve of at this point in time. Anyway, I finally wrangled it into submission, and here it is as a Labor Day/Birthday present to me. So, shall we…
Harry stared straight ahead as he was wheeled down the hall of the hospital, a new pair of glasses perched on his nose. Not that he was complaining, but they felt weird. Then again, so did being in a wheelchair. He really wished these strange men would at least let him walk, but he didn't want to risk upsetting them by asking.
They made their way up to the roof, where Harry was almost blinded by the bright sunlight. Once his eyes adjusted, he saw they were headed for a strange looking plane. When they were about a hundred yards away, the chair stopped and Thor leaned over him, lifting him easily into his arms.
"I can walk," he said, once he was securely in the Asgardian's hold.
"I do not doubt your ability to," Thor smiled down at him. "However, given your condition, I feel better carrying you. You will find that no one here minds taking care of you. You are part of this makeshift family now, and surprisingly, we take that seriously."
"Oh," he said lamely, not sure what else to say.
He closed his mouth and decided to remain quiet for the entire flight. The others tried to engage the boy, but almost as soon as they were in the air, he fell asleep. None of them could blame him for this, as he was still sick, though Tony was put out that he couldn't get to know his newfound baby brother.
Once they landed at the tower, Tony relieved Thor of his brother and carried him inside. He took him straight to his bedroom, which had mostly survived the recent battle. He placed him carefully on the massive bed, making the already small boy seem even smaller. He would've liked to stay and make sure he was going to be okay, but he really should go see what the others were doing.
The billionaire arrived back in the living room just as Natasha and Bruce entered the room. As soon as the two alphas saw each other, both their shoulders tensed and they prepared to square off. The other two omegas in the room weren't sure what to do, so they retreated into the bar area, knowing they didn't want to get caught in the middle of whatever was going to happen. Tony, however, stepped between them and glared at them both.
"Don't you dare," he growled, stopping them in their tracks. "If you wake that boy in there with your alpha male posturing, I don't care what it takes, I will kick both of your asses."
"Tony," Thor went from aggressive to comforting in an instant, "there's no need for that. Banner and I were just going to discuss what happened at the hospital and how things will be handled from here on out."
"Yeah," the doctor agreed, only he remained on the offensive. "We can start with what happened at the hospital. I don't appreciate getting told off for doing my job and trying to help a sick and injured child."
"What you did was not happening," the Asgardian frowned, but didn't rise to the challenge in the other's voice. "All you did was, in essence, punish a scared little boy for defending himself."
"It wasn't a punishment," Bruce growled, but the green in his eyes receded a bit.
"He didn't know that," Thor sighed and sank onto the nearest couch. "This child has obviously been beaten, and we do not know why. For all we know, he has been repeatedly punished for using his magic. With that knowledge, he runs the risk of becoming," he said something in a language none of them understood, "an individual who rejects their magic to the point that it becomes a life-force all its own, which begins to feed off its wielder, leading to that individual's untimely demise."
"That's horrible," Natasha cut in. "Who would do something like that, especially to a child?"
"Those who fear it," blue eyes locked with each of the others in turn. "It is becoming very clear to me that things here on Midgard are vastly different than on Asgard. If young Harry had been born on Asgard, he would've been trained from a very young age how to properly wield and respect his abilities. We should look into getting him a teacher. I could request one from Asgard, but if I do that, I know my father will send Loki, as a form of punishment."
"Let's exhaust all our options before we bring that maniac back," Clint shuddered slightly.
"And we shall, Clint," Thor gave him a fond smile. "Though, you will have to get over this fear, Loki is still my brother. Now, Banner, I don't want to fight with you."
The doctor scoffed at this.
"I don't," he shook his head. "Just because we are both alphas does not mean we have to constantly be at odds. I grew up with two other alphas, and while we may have butted heads at times, we always worked together to protect our home and family. I hope to do the same with you. And even though things are different, it is my hope we can come to some sort of understanding."
"Fine," Banner took a deep breath, finally fully reigning in his more volatile half.
"Great," Tony cut in. "Now that that's settled, let's work on getting this place cleaned up and then we can figure out where everyone's going to be staying."
Steve returned to the S.H.I.E.L.D. hospital late the following day. He stopped first at his son's room, only to find that Tony had checked him out. He didn't mind really, what with his medical history before the serum, he wasn't overly fond of hospitals himself, so why should the kid be subjected to them. No, what really bugged him about that was that he hadn't been there when his son woke up, and he felt like he couldn't return to the tower just yet, so he still couldn't see him.
With a sigh, he shifted the box of Howard's things he had taken from the house and headed off to find a place he could go through them in peace. He found an old office that didn't seem like it had been used for quite some time. He placed the box on the desk and sat down in the chair. He then opened the box and began going through it.
Inside, there were mostly trinkets, odds and ends that they'd collected over their time together, and others that Howard had obviously added after. There were also a couple of video reels, but he'd have to find a projector at a later point in time, maybe Tony had one he could use. No, what he was really interested in was the stack of journals that Howard had kept over the years. He found the oldest one and settled in to read.
It's only been a month since you've been gone, but it feels like an eternity. I can tell you are not dead, as everyone else believes. I can still feel the bond between us. It has significantly weakened, but it is still there. Now all I can do is search and hope that one day I can bring you home again.
He could feel the tears rolling down his cheeks, but he couldn't bring himself to wipe them away. It touched him as much as it hurt him to read how much Howard had searched for him in those first few years.
The first journal contained more of the same, with increasing desperation in finding Steve. On about the fifth one down, the tone changed.
The first time I saw you was in that lab for Dr. Erskine's experiment. You were so scrawny, I really didn't want to put you in that machine. But the choice was inevitably yours.
When you came out of the procedure you were different. Before, I couldn't help but admire you for your courage and inner strength, after, you were simply breathtaking. However, I knew I couldn't pursue you at that point, you had the scent of a strong Alpha on you, it was faint but still there. And then there was that Beta female. She didn't deserve you, could never understand you.
I know I was wrong in making my move so soon after Sergeant Barnes' death. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't let you slip away again. But even after all that, I still lost you. I can't blame you for what you did, you saved the world, but in the process you buried my heart with you.
I want you to know that I will never forget you and will always love you, and will never stop looking for you. But it's been twenty years, Steve, and as much as it pains me to say it, if you were in my shoes I'd want you to move on. So I hope you can forgive me, but I've met someone. She will never take your place, and I'm not saying that if I find you again I wouldn't drop her flat, but I feel like I need to get on with my life.
Steve put the journal down and placed his head in his hand. Why would Howard do that to him? He didn't blame Howard for moving on, that wasn't what bothered him. What really got him was that he'd waited twenty years before even considering it, and here he was, barely three years after having woken up, contemplating starting a new life with someone else.
He was brought from his troubling thoughts as someone knocked on the door. His eyes shot up as the portal opened, revealing Agent Maria Hill. The stern agent gave him a quick once over before crossing her arms over her chest.
"Forgive my frankness, Captain," her brow rose curiously, "but what are you doing here?"
"Sorry, I didn't think this office was being used," he shook his head. "I can clear out. I need to go check on Bucky anyway."
"No, Steve," she held up her hand. "I wasn't talking about the office. I was talking about here in general. You should be at Stark Tower, with your son. As an Omega, you need to be with your child. And from what we found out, that boy needs you. He needs his daddy more than anything right now. So, with all due respect, sir, get your ass out of here. I will call you if there are any changes with Barnes."
"Alright," he conceded.
He quickly repacked the box and made his way back to his bike.
Harry woke up to find himself, once again, in a strange bed. This time, however, the sheets were really, really soft, just like the rest of the bed. The room around him was rather dark and he couldn't make out much, even once he'd located his new glasses on the bedside table. All that aside, he really needed to get up and find a bathroom.
With that thought in mind, he crawled to the edge of the bed. As he made to stand up, the sheets and blankets seemed to take on a life of their own and he ended up in a tangled mess on the floor. He let out a small involuntary cry of pain as his back came into contact with the ground.
He was just starting to catch his breath when the door burst open and the room flooded with light. Two men made their way over to him, he recognized one of them as Tony, but the other he didn't recognize at all.
"Hey, hey, hey," Tony fell to his knees beside him, "what's going on, kiddo? You were supposed to be sleeping."
"I-I have to use the bathroom," Harry admitted quietly, looking at the floor.
"Ah," the billionaire nodded. "Okay, I can take you. Just grab on to my neck."
"I-I can walk," he protested.
"Kids, you couldn't even make it out of bed without falling," brown eyes met his. "Look, it's okay to admit when you need help. None of us here mind, really. Now, up you get."
Harry reluctantly placed his arms around the brunet's neck and was carefully lifted off the ground. Tony gently carried his brother across the room to the ensuite bathroom and set him down next to the toilet. He then left the room and waited outside the door, to give the boy some privacy. A few minutes later, the door opened again and he took the boy back to the bed.
"So," Tony said once he was settled again, "now that you're done giving all of us a heart attack, you hungry? Clint made soup just for you. Well, he shared it with everyone, but he made it with you in mind."
"I-I guess," he frowned slightly, he wasn't overly hungry but he didn't want to seem ungrateful.
"Great," the billionaire clapped his hands together. "I'll go get you some." He rose to leave, but paused before he opened the door, but didn't turn around, "Steve, would you like some too?"
"Yeah, that'd be great," the blond gave a half-hearted smile at the other's retreating back. "Thanks, Tony."
He nodded and then left the room. Once the door closed behind him, blue eyes turned and locked with green.
"So," Steve took a deep breath, "you're Harry." It wasn't really a question, but he nodded anyway. "I'm, uh, Steve. And, uh, I feel like I should apologize to you, Harry."
"Why?" the boy cocked his head to the side in confusion.
"Why?" the blond frowned. "Why would I not? What…" he paused. "What did they tell you?"
"I got a tattoo," Harry answered quietly. "And then we left the hospital."
"Wow," Steve ran his hand through his hair. "Well, I guess it is only appropriate that I be the one to tell you. Before I do, it might be too much to ask, but please don't get too mad at me, I just found out myself. Anyway, I, uh, I'm your father."
"Yeah," the blond sighed. "It's a long story, and I don't know all of it, because I was unconscious when you were born, but yeah, you're my son."
"Really?" tears welled up in the emerald orbs. "I don't have to go back?"
"Harry," Steve reached out and took his head, "whether you were related to any of us or not, you would never have to go back to the monsters who did this to you. None of us would allow it."
Harry couldn't help himself, he buried his face in his hands and began to sob. Steve was on the bed in an instant and pulled the boy gently into his arms. Mindful of the injuries, he rested him against his chest and began running his hand soothingly through the messy raven locks.
Ammie: Okay, so there it is. I hope this cleared up a bit of the misunderstanding that cropped up in the last chapter. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my efforts, and let me know what you think.