This is intended to be a series of drabbles to be updated at random. Enjoy!

Tony Stark has an unexpected and well-hidden fondness for hugging. Hugs are simple, genuine gestures of affection. In his world of glitz and glamor, a full-body hug cuts through masks and expectations, destruction and addictions.

The first hug Tony remembers is lilacs and periwinkle and smoke, enveloping him in an ephemeral cloud of a mother's love.

Tony's mother is a slip of a shadow in his childhood, dominated by Howard Stark and overwhelmed by Obadiah Stane and somewhat replaced by Edwin Jarvis.

Tony's biggest rebellions and greatest accomplishments of his past are in spite of or because of his father. Tony has never turned to his mother for comfort or praise or support and she never offered him a sanctuary.

It does not mean that she is absent from Tony's life, though. When he was 10 years old, about to be shipped out to boarding school, he created a mechanical, solar powered bouquet of lilacs for his mother. Her smile was blinding in its intensity and her warm whisper – Thank you, my dear Anthony – carried him through his lowest moments and remains a living shield for his heart against the cruel world.

Maria Stark is preserved in her son's memory as a glacial beauty – to admire, but rarely to touch – but everyone that matters knows that she lived and died loving her son.