Tony grumbled to himself, trying to find a reason to focus on the meeting he was sitting in. It really was boring; half of these problems could be fixed if they would just bring them to him, rather than the whole board. He huffed in annoyance as board members bickered about wages for some of the lowest paid company members.
“Why don’t we just up their pay?” Tony said loudly. “It wouldn’t kill us.”
Just as one of the board members moved to criticize this suggestion, Tony’s phone rang.
“Oop, I guess that’s the end of the meeting!” Tony said loudly. “We’re upping the minimum wage we pay. See you guys later.” He strode out of the room, checking the number.
It couldn’t be!
Tony fumbled to answer. “H-hello?”
“Is this Tony Stark?” A sweet female voice asked.
“Y-yes,” Tony stuttered.
“Excellent. I have some good news for you. We have found you a baby.”
Tony felt his heart leap.
“Really. We would like you to meet him as soon as possible to see if you think he’s a good match. When can you come see him?”
“N-now,” Tony said. “I-I can come now, if that’s okay.”
“That’s great, please do!” The woman said cheerfully. Tony could practically hear the smile on her voice.
“I will. Goodbye!”
“Goodbye, Mr. Stark!” The woman said.
“Happy, I’m leaving,” Tony said, pressing the End button on his cellphone and striding towards his office to get his jacket. “Don’t call me for anything. I don’t care if the whole building burns to the ground.”
“Yes, Mr. Stark, but what-”
“Not important, Happy. Have a nice evening.”
When Tony entered the hospital the woman had directed him to, he heard the sound of a baby crying. Tony’s instinct was to find the child and comfort it, but he resisted the urge as a pretty redheaded woman approached him. “Hello, Tony.”
“Hello, Charity.” Tony looked towards the cries. “Is that-?”
“The baby? Yes. I wanted to talk to you about the circumstances surrounding the baby before we show him to you.”
Tony nodded, taking a seat that was indicated to him by Charity. She sat beside him, folding her hands over her crossed knees.
“The baby’s name is Peter. He is a survivor of a very bad accident near Osborn Industries. As far as we can tell, aside from some scrapes, bruises, and what the doctors and nurses believe is a spider bite, he is perfectly fine.”
Tony nodded, paying rapt attention to Charity’s words.
“Peter’s parents, unfortunately, ended up being traitors to America. They have passed away. Peter was being cared for by his uncle and aunt, but his uncle was killed in the accident and his aunt did not survive her injuries.”
Tony felt a rush of sympathy for the baby. “He has no other living family?”
“None that we can find,” Charity replied. “As such, he is in need of a home, and I thought you might take a liking to him.”
Tony nodded fervently. “I’d like to meet him, if at all possible.”
“Of course,” Charity nodded, standing. “Please follow me.”
She lead him around a corner to an examination room. The cries were louder in front of the door.
“I should warn you,” Charity said, glancing back to Tony, “he hasn’t stopped crying since he was brought in.”
Tony nodded. “I understand. He’s probably confused. He’s probably never had so many injuries at once. Even if they’re minor, they probably hurt.”
Charity smiled at Tony. It was this insight that she liked about Tony; the way he acknowledged that to a baby, minor inconveniences for adults were terrible tragedies.
She opened the door.
A woman with long, black hair was holding a small boy in a red onesie. His hair was wavy and brown, reaching past his ears. He wailed loudly, fat tears rolling down his plump cheeks. He had a bruise under one eye and a few scrapes on his face.
“Hey,” Tony said in a gentle voice. “Hi, Tiger. How are you, little buddy?”
The baby sniffled and shifted his body to look Tony in the eyes.
“Hi,” Tony said, smiling and waving. “What a handsome little boy you are.”
“Would you like to hold him?” The woman holding Peter asked.
Tony nodded, holding his arms out for Peter. The baby hiccuped a bit as the woman passed him to Tony. Peter looked around a bit nervously at first, breathing in quick, panting gasps while he searched the room with his eyes.
“Hey, kiddo,” Tony said gently, rubbing Peter’s back and bouncing him gently. “How are you?”
Peter’s eyes snapped back to Tony’s. He stared at him. One fist went to his mouth, and he slobbered on his fingers as he stared at Tony. He seemed not to be daring to blink, as if he was afraid that Tony might vanish or turn into a beast if he did so.
“Aren’t you a handsome boy,” Tony said, ruffling his hair gently.
Peter took his hand out of his mouth and grabbed Tony’s nose with it.
“Silly boy,” Tony teased, gently pulling the tiny hand off his nose and letting it seize his fingers instead. “What a smart boy you are. You’re going to be very bright.”
Peter laughed and used his other hand to grab at Tony’s short mustache.
“Strong, too,” Tony noted, nodding.
Peter yawned, and Tony smiled as he noticed the way the baby’s eyelids were fluttering with the attempt to stay open.
“Shhh, Peter,” Tony crooned, rocking the baby gently. Peter sighed and rested his head on Tony’s shoulder, sticking one of his thumbs in his mouth and sucking on it. He gave a drowsy sigh, but as Tony rubbed his back gently, he eventually drifted off entirely.
Tony smiled fondly at the baby.
Charity looked at him. “What do you think?”
“He’s perfect,” Tony replied firmly, still rubbing the baby’s back. “What do I need to do to adopt him?”
A few days later, the adoption had been finalized. Tony couldn’t stop smiling as he carried Peter in his arms into the house.
“Good evening, sir,” JARVIS said.
“Good evening, JARVIS.”
“Is this young Peter?”
Peter looked around curiously, trying to find the source of JARVIS’s voice. “Ah! Ah!” He squealed to Tony, grasping at the air with one fist and clinging to Tony’s shirt with the other.
“It’s okay, Peter,” Tony cooed gently. “That’s just JARVIS. He won’t hurt you.” Peter seemed ready to argue as best he could as a baby, but his next cry was cut off by his yawn.
Tony beamed and hugged him a bit more tightly. “Come on, someone needs to get some sleep.”
“Shall I prepare a bottle for young Peter, sir?”
“Please,” Tony agreed. “I’ll change him and get him into some pajamas.”
Changing Peter and putting him in pajamas was an unusually easy task; he was too tired to kick, squirm, and protest as Tony took care of him. At last the baby was ready for bed. Tony offered to let the baby have some of his bottle, and Peter seized it in his small hands, suckling and trying to force his eyes to stay open and fixed on Tony. The billionaire laughed quietly, amused by his sweet son.
He had a son.
Tony didn’t think anything could make him happier.
Peter pushed his bottle away and yawned, reaching out and placing his little hand on Tony’s chest, feeling his arc reactor instead of his shirt.
Peter looked curiously at his hand, then at Tony, as if asking for confirmation that he was feeling something that was not skin or cloth.
Tony smiled. “Not to worry, little one,” he said quietly. “I’ll always protect you. I promise. As long as I have this,” he gently touched the arc reactor, covering Peter’s small hand with his larger one, “you’ll always be safe.”
Peter yawned again.
“Time for bed, my little one,” Tony said, carrying his son to his crib and laying him gently down in it. “Sleep well, Peter. Daddy loves you.”
Peter sighed, reached for Tony, and then slowly drifted off, his little hand falling to his side.
“Keep an eye on him, JARVIS,” Tony said softly, heading for the door. “Tell me if anything goes wrong or if he needs me.”
“Of course, sir.”
Tony looked up from his blueprints sharply. “What is it, JARVIS? Is Peter hurt?”
Tony sighed with relief. “Then what? Hungry?”
“Sir, I am not sure I can explain verbally,” JARVIS replied. “I believe you need to see it for yourself.”
Tony was confused. “Why?” He asked suspiciously.
“Fine,” Tony sighed, rolling up his blueprints and heading back to Peter’s room. He opened the door.
Tony had to bite back a scream of horror. Peter was climbing on the fucking ceiling.
“Peter!” Tony lunged forward, gently but firmly seizing his son. “What in the world,” Tony muttered, hugging the baby close, “were you doing?”
Peter giggled in response.
“Sir,” JARVIS said, “I do not believe that is a natural human ability.”
“No, it’s not,” Tony agreed.
“Perhaps we could run a blood test and see if that tells us anything,” JARVIS suggested.
Tony carried Peter down to his lab, directing JARVIS to take a small sample of Peter’s blood while Tony distracted his son. Luckily, it worked. Peter seemed not to notice the prick of the needle, and appeared to be mildly surprised at the bandaid Tony placed on his arm where the needle had stuck him.
Tony engaged Peter in a game of peekaboo while JARVIS examined the results.
“Sir, it appears your son was bitten by a radioactive spider.”
Tony looked up. “Are you fucking serious?” He demanded.
“Quite, sir. Here.”
JARVIS printed a copy of the results for Tony. He read them over five or six times before looking at Peter with wonder in his eyes. “Do...do you have powers?” He asked his son.
Of course, Peter did not answer; he was too busy staring at his own hand in amazement to notice his father marveling at him.
Tony looked down at the paper again. “Looks like I’ll need to do more baby proofing than I thought.”