Tony Stark had done a lot of crazy things in his youth and beyond the excusable age for immaturity and recklessness. It was always go big or go home, dress to the nines and have flashing lights all centered on him. He possessed a brilliant mind, a sizable bank account and enviable good looks (he also had the largest ego but he didn't denied that either). There wasn't really anything that stopped him from doing what he wanted and getting away with it.
All the beautiful and interested lined up for a night with Tony, all the parties to be at had his name on and he held the best technology expo in the world every year. He was Tony Stark and he was always on top of his game.
Though if there was anything that could be considered a weakness to Tony was his inability to be bested or to be more precise, his stubborn winning and arrogant attitude. It led him to a lot of sticky and dangerous situations – but nothing he couldn't handle (of course). Sure the attitude waned over the years from his new profession as Iron Man and as a founding member of the Avengers but to those closest to him (which was a very limited handful), there was just one crazy stunt that topped all the crazy stunts (Pepper swore it was crazier than the time he held a drunken party as Iron Man and nearly lost control (Tony insisted it was all part of his plan. (No one, not even Steve believed him.))).
During one fundraising gala, Tony couldn't recall which one since he'd been to so many (most of them drunk), he unknowingly adopted a son. And he'd forgotten all about it until Pepper brought the little boy – no more than four or five years old at the time – with his aunt (who was too young and too pretty for an aunt) a few days later.
“Is this part of a foundation?” Tony said when he first saw them in his living room. He was in his lab for quite sometime and Pepper called him up for something important, which frankly annoyed him. He didn't do well with kids, Pepper always made sure he wasn't near one, but he could think up of a few fun activities for the aunt and himself.
“No, Mr. Stark. This is your son,” Pepper told him with enough satisfaction in her voice that Tony knew she wasn't actually making this up. And Pepper wasn't actually the type to joke about something like this, knowing it would probably kill her boss with a heart attack.
“What the –”
“Thank you so much, Mr. Stark!” The aunt who he would later find out was called May, cried. “I was so scared for Peter and I wish I could’ve been better for him but I…I just don't know what to do and they were going to take him away, I just couldn't let them – but Miss Potts said I could still see Peter and I'm just, so grateful to you, Mr. Stark! Thank you so much for doing this for Peter, for me – for us.”
Tony blinked and blinked, actually speechless for once while his brain was extremely slow in processing the new information.
The boy stood in a baggy shirt, too long jeans and a pair of old sneakers. His hair was a mess and he was too thin, too pale and too big eyed. He looked like an alien, so foreign and the alarm bells in Tony’s head were screaming danger.
“Right,” Tony nodded curtly, surprised by how he managed not to stutter or scream. “Um. Uh. Pepper will uh, show you around. I have a meeting to get to. I'll see you later.”
He made his hasty escape to his lab and screamed before falling into a comfortable chair to stare blankly at the ceiling. He had a son and said son’s weeping (and hot) aunt was thanking him. Tony was pretty sure this was his biggest screw up, Pepper disagreed when she came down an hour later.
“I think this will be good for you,” she said. “Teach you about responsibility and maturity.”
“It's a tiny human, Pepper. Not a dog!”
“See? You're learning.” She smiled triumphantly and set down a tablet on his work table. “Listen, Tony. This is good for you, I've read the boy’s file and May told me a lot about Peter. You're not going to regret this. Read his file. I have to go back to May and Peter, they'll stay for dinner so please show up. It would do the kid good to properly meet you, he's been through a lot.”
“Pepper, I can't raise a child,” Tony argued heatedly though felt like he was losing a battle, remembering his father and their less than ideal relationship.
She grunted, “who said you're doing it alone? God help the poor kid. No, you have me and Happy. Listen, Tony. Read the file and take a shower before dinner.”
It took a while after Pepper left before Tony could actually reach the level of calm to grab the tablet and read through the boy’s file. He didn't even end up finishing three sentences because he couldn't stay put and barked an order to JARVIS to get all and any information on Peter Parker. JARVIS read aloud the documents before showing Tony the news coverage and pictures of a young Peter in a crime scene. He just about lost it there when he realized that Peter actually saw his own uncle – May’s husband – get killed.
He was going to take the damn shower and have that dinner with the kid.
Tony didn't raise the boy alone, he was sure he wasn't capable of it. He moved May to a better apartment when she didn't accept his offer to move in the tower (Pepper made all the arrangements). He made sure to keep Peter off the press, it was the one thing Tony was adamant about and the one thing he and Pepper didn't argue on. Peter visited May frequently, JARVIS was modified for child safety and Pepper and Happy took turns babysitting.
It still wasn't the best environment for raising a child but it was what Tony could offer, he would've done more but he didn't know how until he got kidnapped and was held hostage for a few months that he finally got the slap he needed.
While being forced against his will to build a weapon (and secretly building the first protype of the Iron Man suit), the only thing that kept him going was the thought of his son crying and losing another loved one. He couldn't do that to the kid, knowing how bad it felt when he'd gotten that call years ago that he was alone, his parents were dead.
When he finally managed to return home and held Peter in his arms, his little boy shaking and crying, Tony swore he was going to be a better man.
“It's going to be fine, Petey,” Tony said, holding the eight year old tight in his arms. “Daddy’s home and I swear I'll do right by you, kiddo.”
(Though of course he couldn't resist telling the world that he was Iron Man. He was learning, slowly.)
(Tony took great offense with Thor’s adoption jab and he had to briskly walk back to the bridge to tell the him off.
“That doesn't count for anything, lightning rod!” He snapped, surprising everyone on the bridge. No one knew he had Peter, poor Peter who was waiting at home with May and Pepper and Happy while his dad was trying to save the world from a Norse god and an army of aliens.
Steve looked curious then and later, over shawarma, commented about it. After all that they've gone through and after Tony finally gotten hold of Pepper and talked to his son, he was feeling a little sentimental and honest.
“Yeah, I've got a kid. He's adopted but he's still mine,” Tony shrugged as if it was the most natural thing to admit to.
All chatter stopped, everyone paused in their meals to stare at him. Clint and Bruce were surprised, Thor seemed delighted, Natasha seemed confused and Steve was obviously impressed.
“So, when do we meet Stark Junior?” Clint said with a laugh and Thor following up with a yell of support and promises to bring gifts.
“I worked for you,” Natasha said, giving Tony a suspicious look. “There weren't any kids.”
Tony rolled his eyes, “you didn't have clearance – and that was a good decision. There's no way I'm letting Fury have any information on my boy.”
Natasha raised a brow and Steve chuckled, “your boy? I'm surprised, Stark. That doesn't seem like the Tony Stark thing to do – uh, no offense.”
“Well. I was drunk and it surprised me, too.” Tony admitted and once more, the table went quiet to stare at him. “What? There were shots, it was a gala and the kid was there.”
Bruce cleared his throat, a grin making a way to his lips when he said, “now that sounds more like Tony.”
“Well, cheers to that, man. Cheers to Stark Jr.” Clint held up a plastic cup of soda and with the coherence of a well oiled machine, the rest of the team held up their plastic cups and made a toast with exclamations and laughter.
Tony was rolling his eyes at Clint’s wiggling eyebrows when he felt a hand clap on his shoulder and turned to see Steve grinning at him.
“Only you, Stark,” he said with a deep laugh that made Tony deny the fluttering in his stomach at the pleasant sound of it.)