After resting and finally eating something, she felt better. Tomorrow was going to be a long day. Interviews, panels, exhibits and photos were all lined up starting by 10 AM. The fact that her schedule matched his had given her a lot of comfort. She had seen the prior itineraries where he took the majority of the interviews before it had been changed. He had kept his promise to include her and that had meant more to her than he knew.
She tipped the glass of wine back and let the last few drops dance on her tongue. Bucky, not looking from his laptop, lifted up the rest of the bottle.
She shook her head, standing up and stretching. He caught a glimpse of the flimsy underwear that she always insisted on wearing when the shirt moved over her thighs and tried to ignore the need to pull her into his lap. He’d won their battle for the day. She’d stayed put, even heading to his bedroom.
Once the door was closed, Bucky went back to his work. He uploaded half of the framework on a cloud drive. Within seconds, his phone pinged with IP addresses. He ran the numbers and it went straight to a Stark server. He took it offline a few minutes later, the addresses still lighting up his notifications.
Sitwell’s number glowed in the dark.
“The addresses just hit the server. We’ll be in touch.”
He hung up, tossing the phone back on the couch. For now, he was going to rest. Tomorrow would bring a new challenge.
She was gone when Bucky woke.
Peter was sitting at the kitchen table, hunched over his phone and drinking coffee.
“Morning Mr. Barnes. Miss Munroe left early for some Beta Omega task force thing.”
“What is that?”
Peter picked at his muffin that was in front of him before he answered.
“I don’t know much about it. MJ told me from what she’s heard, it’s like a buddy system. In case one of them goes into heat. There are exits and safe spaces.”
Peter nodded, sharing the same disappointed reaction as his boss.
“Depending on which ones are in heat, they can designate another Omega or a Beta to help them get to safety. There was an incident a few years ago with an Omega who was pretty roughed up by an Alpha before security stepped in.”
“Who is her buddy?”
“I don’t think she has one. Probably Mr. Stevens. She’s usually the one helping because she couldn’t be scented for so long.”
Bucky saw red. That would explain her dependence on suppressants and blockers.
“But she’s off her blockers now.”
“And she’s mated,” Peter reminded his boss, giving him a quizzical look. “That’s hands off to Alphas.”
“Not all,” Bucky growled.
“She has Mr. Stevens with her.”
That gave him some comfort. At Peter’s comment, he trotted back to the bathroom. On the counter was a small bottle of her suppressants.
There was a small huddle of Omegas around a booth, their cell phones recording every word of what the President of Munroe Tech was saying. There was a sense of pride, watching an Omega show up and speak while their very designation was being pushed under.
“I have to ask,” the Omega vlogger started, holding up a picture of Rogers, Williams and Bucky with her in the middle. “You were the first company to comply with the ruling. I have to say that I was a little disappointed, Miss Munroe. I thought you would hold out until they forced you.”
“They did force me,” she answered honestly.
A sea of gasps began.
“As we know, the decision did not fall to me to pick a new successor. That was the board of directors that were installed by my father who decided that.”
“There have been so many reports of Alphas quite frankly getting rid of us. I know Mr. Barnes has been an advocate of Beta and Omega advancement. Has this been the case from your working relationship with him?”
Working relationship was a loaded term.
“Mr. Barnes has treated me as an equal in most things. In others, we are still learning the boundaries of our designations.”
“Thank God,” the vlogger sighed, looking at the crowd. “An advocate and handsome.”
Bucky watched her as she sat in the booth, surrounded by the small crowd of Omegas who were hanging on her every word. Stevens milled around in the background, giving him a nod of acknowledgement while he continued on. She was safe.
“James Barnes,” a voice called out behind him.
Aldrian Killian stood tall, a far cry from how Barnes remembered him prior. He had guessed that his Extremis work had finally paid off.
“Killian,” Bucky acknowledged. “It’s been a long time.”
“It certainly has. I have to say that I was surprised to see you back here. These usually aren’t your thing,” Killian said, looking around the venue. “But I suppose when you’re now in charge of one of the biggest tech companies in the world, you can stand to make an appearance now and then.”
“Something like that.”
Killian sniffed the air and smiled, baring his teeth.
“Omegas are so sweet.”
Bucky watched his Omega walk past an exhibit right as Killian had her in his sights.
“Speaking of… Miss Munroe,” Killian’s eyes followed her as she continued on. “I heard she’s mated now. Pity. I would have loved to have her on my knot, telling me all her little tech secrets.”
Bucky growled, his left hand shooting out to grab Killian’s throat. Bucky struck him against a wall in a quiet corner, away from prying eyes.
“Watch your mouth,” Bucky barked, his fingers closing harder on his windpipe.
Killian turned beet red, gasping for breath as Bucky glared at him.
“Still no manners, after all these years,” Bucky snapped.
He let him go and Killian coughed, gasping for breath.
“It was a joke,” Killian coughed out, his face still flush. “Lighten up.”
“Don’t be an asshole.”
“At least I’m not the biggest asshole here anymore,” Killian spat out, his eyes veering to the right. “Look who’s here.”
Making a beeline toward his Omega, was none other than Tony Stark.