If you haven't read My Son the Wizard that's okay this one-shot can stand on its own. So this is something that has been swirling around in my mind since I first started writing My Son the Wizard. I just kept thinking about how different everything would have been before Tony had become Iron Man, and him having to deal with a much younger and more dependent child. After all Tony is portrayed as rather reckless and somewhat selfish before changing his ways when he became Iron Man. But anyway here it is and I hope you all enjoy reading!
My Dad the Genius, Billionaire, Playboy
Petunia Dursley listened indifferently as her sister's spawn sniffled pitifully in his cupboard under the stairs. Vernon had tossed him into the cupboard after yet another 'incident'. Petunia was so embarrassed when they had been called to the school to find that Harry had somehow managed to turn his teacher's hair blue. She couldn't imagine what the neighbors must have been saying about this, and Vernon was so very angry. He wanted to get rid of the boy, bring him to an orphanage that very day. It had only been Petunia reminding him that keeping the little freak around would protect them from the bigger freaks. However, Petunia herself wasn't certain if keeping him was worth it anymore. If they didn't have the boy living with them then there was no reason for the other freaks who had killed Lily to come after them; therefore, they wouldn't need the protection.
Petunia refused to let her nephew ruin the normal and successful reputation that she and her husband had worked so hard to achieve. Not to mention all the harm it could do to her poor Dudders. Her son shouldn't have to be exposed to such unnaturalness. The thought of Dudley spending the rest of his life growing up around the boy's freakishness, and being affected by it made Petunia shudder. The neighbors were already whispering about the boy. Things would only continue to get worse as he got older and started going to that school. Petunia wanted to find other relatives that the boy could be sent to live with, without the Dumbledore man knowing about it. The old kook was very insistent about the boy staying with relatives, and Petunia didn't want to risk him bringing the boy back.
It still filled her with anger at the memory of her parent's enthusiasm at Lily's freakish powers. They had fawned over Lily and her accomplishments at that unnatural place. Petunia had hated the attention they had afforded her younger sister that hate had turned to utter loathing towards her sister, and that loathing was now passed on to her sister's son.
A part of her, a small part of her, felt guilty treating her nephew in such a way. It made her wonder about what her parents would think about the way she treated the boy. But then her parents were so blindly enthusiastic about magic that they would probably have overlooked the true terror the boy was. Just look what her parents love for magic got them. They had been killed because of Lily's involvement with those wretched people. Petunia didn't want that for her own family. She didn't want her own family to suffer the same fate as her parents.
Thoughts of her parents led her to the attic where she kept a box of her parents' things that she had received from Lily after her death along with a few of Lily's things. She hadn't bothered looking through them yet because she had wanted to do her best in forgetting about her sister, and just go on hating her. To be able to do this she couldn't go looking through reminders of the better times they'd had together.
Now Petunia braved shuffling through the box in hopes of discovering something she could use to get rid of the boy. Perhaps there was a distant relative on his father's side that could take him. She didn't think she would find anything new but Petunia was desperate. Petunia had made her decision. The boy had to go. The protection he afforded to them was no longer worth it to her, and she wanted him gone. She would try anything that would help her get rid of him. Inside the box she discovered a few of Lily's old textbooks for subjects like Potions and Charms as if those could ever be worthwhile areas of study. This was why those freaks were such a waste to society. They were lazy and would never be able to be normal and contribute to society.
Just when Petunia was about to give up entirely, she struck gold. It was Lily's journal. Petunia had eagerly started reading it to get some dirt on her sister's inner most thoughts. She however hadn't been expecting to find such a shocking revelation. She discovered that her sister hadn't been faithful to her husband. To Petunia this was the best thing that could have happened. Her nephew had a place to go now, and she had finally bested her sister at something. Lily had strayed in her marriage, and had a sordid affair with an American man. Petunia was the better wife.
Petunia used all of her resourcefulness to track down the man Lily had named. Lily wasn't the only intelligent one in the family. Petunia could be just as clever as Lily could when the occasion arose. She simply needed the right motivation. The man Petunia ended up finding was a rich and powerful man with a reckless reputation. If she had been a less bitter perhaps she would have had second thoughts about handing off her nephew to him. But she wasn't and Petunia was determined to give the boy to him. Maybe in a few more years she would have been desperate enough to just drop him off at the man's nearest residence but now she was willing to take the time to file a paternity suit against him. It took some time, and effort but eventually it all paid off. Their claim was proven at the beginning of summer. They dropped the boy off in Malibu, California and they didn't look back. The Dursleys were no longer responsible for the boy. Just to be safe they packed up their family, and moved far, far away from Privet Drive.
Life for Tony Stark couldn't have been better. He was a billionaire, and the owner of the largest and most successful weapons company in the world. He was handsome and intelligent, and completely free of any sort of obligations. Tony was free to drink, party, and gamble to his heart's content. Sure, from time to time he had to draw up some new blue prints for weapons to stay ahead of the competition. But Tony's brain was so far ahead of anyone else that it was laughably easy for him. Even drunk he was better than anyone else out there. It also helped that engineering was his passion, and he could lose himself for days in drafting up new ideas. In fact he'd just built a state of the art mansion in Malibu with an AI system that was the very first of its kind, and would make his life even easier.
Yes, he had the perfect life. There wasn't a man alive who wouldn't wish they were Tony Stark especially after the day and night he had just had. First he'd gone racing a new sports car he'd bought just hours earlier. Of course he'd won. Then he'd crashed some charity event last night where he picked up several beautiful women. He'd spent the night enjoying a few excellent bottles of scotch and entertaining a bunch of models/starlets by explaining the basics of quantum mechanics. Somehow the explanation ended with them skinny-dipping in the private pool of the presidential suite of the five star hotel Tony had rented out for the night.
He ended up walking through the doors of his Malibu Mansion around eight the next morning. Tony didn't need a lot of sleep to function and his night out had given him a sudden inspiration for a new project. Sometimes his drunken escapades had that effect on him.
"Good morning, sir. Did you have a good night?" Jarvis chimed.
"Oh, it was beautiful Jarvis. Too bad you weren't there," Tony grinned as he headed towards the kitchen. He needed something to snack on before he headed down to his workshop. He was pretty sure there were still some fresh blueberries in there somewhere.
"Indeed. Sir, Miss Potts has been attempting to get a hold of you for some time now. You seemed to have missed a rather important appointment. There is a matter of grave—"
"Not now Jarvis, I need some orange juice before I even think about doing anything productive right now, let alone deal with Pepper," Tony cut him off.
Pepper Potts had been working for him for three years now, and Tony honestly didn't know how he had survived without her. She was by far the most amazing assistant he'd ever had. Nothing Tony did seem to faze her, which was saying something considering some of the things she had caught him doing. Pepper wasn't afraid to stand up to him, and she had great business advice. She practically ran his life at this point, and Tony actually trusted her to do it.
"But sir, Miss Potts is—"
"Later, Jarvis," Tony insisted before stepping into the kitchen.
Tony stopped dead when he caught sight of the scene in his kitchen. There were bowls and food ingredients all along the counters.
"Jarvis why is there… Hello," Tony greeted as he took in the small boy cooking eggs in his kitchen while standing on a chair.
He was wearing one of Tony's AC/DC shirts. It hung off one shoulder and went way past his knees. The kid had a messy mop of dark brown hair, and large emerald green eyes that looked at him in a mixture of shock and fear.
"Are you a burglar?" Tony asked shrewdly.
The kid frantically shook his head.
"Few, well at least I know I'm not about to be robbed by the world's smallest thief. That would have been embarrassing," Tony sighed in feigned relief.
The kid cracked a smile.
"So what's your name kid, and why are you in my house?"
"I'm Harry, and Miss Potts told me that this was my new daddy's house," the kid replied uncertainly. His small hands were twisting around in Tony's shirt in a show of obvious nerves.
"A Brit? You're a long way across the pond, guvnuh." The kid's words made Tony nervous. Something was nagging at him from the back of his mind. Something important that he'd forgotten, or willfully ignored. Most likely the latter.
"Pepper! Jarvis, where's Pepper?" Tony demanded.
"Miss Potts fell asleep last night in the guest room after several failed attempts to get in touch with you, sir," Jarvis replied primly.
"Hey, I didn't program you to side with my assistant. Now wake her up."
"Right away, sir," Jarvis agreed.
Tony and the kid sat in silence each taking in the other while they waited for Pepper to come down. The kid finished making his eggs and offered some to Tony. Shrugging, Tony accepted and the two sat down to eat while they waited. His pretty, strawberry blonde assistant soon made her appearance looking as perfectly put together as always despite the rude awakening. Pepper was all smiles for the kid but was glaring daggers at Tony.
"Good morning, Harry. I'm sorry you were up all by yourself. Did Tony make breakfast for you?" Pepper frowned looking between the two of them.
"No, that was all the kid," Tony replied between a mouthful of eggs. "You're quite the cook. Maybe I should hire you as my live in chef. What's a good starting salary do you think? Although, with child labor laws nowadays I'm not sure if I'd legally be allowed…"
"Harry, should not be making breakfast. He is five," Pepper warned.
"Almost six. I'll be six at the end of July," Harry suddenly piped up looking indignant.
"That's right, I'm sorry, but you still shouldn't be making breakfast all by yourself especially while using the oven. You could have gotten burned," Pepper chastised.
"All right," Harry agreed looking a bit lost and uncertain.
"Harry, you go ahead and finish your breakfast. If you finish you can go in the living room and Jarvis will turn on some cartoons for you. I have to have a little chat with Tony," Pepper turned her laser eyes on Tony.
Sighing, Tony reluctantly followed Pepper into his office bringing his plate of eggs with him. He was going to need food to survive this conversation.
"Where have you been Tony!?" she demanded as soon as they were inside. "We were supposed to pick Harry up from the airport yesterday. We're just lucky that we finalized the legal contracts already or I wouldn't have been able to take him home with me. He would have had to spend the night in a group home since his relatives left without looking back once they handed him over."
"What are you talking about?" Tony frowned.
"Are you being serious right now? The paternity suit from England that we received a couple of months ago. The paternity test came back positive. The relatives wanted to give over full custody to you immediately, to which you agreed by the way, after the relatives said they would just leave him in an orphanage if you didn't take him. Yesterday was the day we were supposed to pick him up. Is any of this sounding familiar?" she snarled at him.
"That was yesterday?" Tony asked, feeling a sinking sensation in his stomach.
"That was yesterday," she agreed.
"I don't remember you telling me the date. I didn't think we'd get him so soon," Tony hedged.
"Well, I did. Jarvis," Pepper called.
"Jarvis, remember I programmed you, and I can unplug you," Tony warned.
"Miss Potts informed you of the results of the positive paternity test on May the 2nd, sir. She then proceeded to ask you if you wanted custody to which you agreed. After going ahead with the proceedings she then informed you on June the 22nd that the process was complete, and that your son would be arriving from England on June 28th, which happened to be yesterday, sir," Jarvis replied.
"Is that sarcasm I'm detecting? I don't recall incorporating sarcasm into your programming," Tony muttered.
"Tony, focus. Do you understand what this means? Have you fully grasped what's happening?" Pepper questioned.
"I'm now responsible for a kid," Tony shrugged, trying for nonchalance. He wasn't sure he quite pulled it off. It was hard to pull off casual disinterest when inside he was experiencing a mass panic the likes of which he had never experienced before.
He in fact did remember when Pepper had told him about the paternity suit. No matter how much he pretended otherwise. Tony had purposefully avoided Pepper yesterday in an attempt to stave off the inevitable a little bit longer. He'd been hit with so many paternity suits he even had his own doctor to deal with them. He'd been certain this test would come back false just like all the others. Tony was extraordinarily careful, almost obsessively. He never left room for mistakes. Except for that one time in England. As it turned out that one time in England had been all the window of opportunity that had been needed to cause his responsibility free life to come crashing down around his head.
Memories of the beautiful redhead flashed through his head. He'd been on a business trip in London, and had run into Lily in some dive bar. She was intelligent and gorgeous, and honestly hadn't known who he was. It had been surprisingly refreshing. One thing led to another, and well Tony may not have been as careful as he normally was. For the first time in his life his reckless actions had consequences. He had a son. Tony Stark was a father, and he was more terrified than he had ever been in his life. There was no way he was even remotely capable of caring for a five year old kid. His own father hadn't set the best of examples, and he'd done everything within his power to avoid being in a situation exactly like this one. He didn't want a kid especially one so young and dependent.
But Lily and her husband had died in a car crash or something according to the aunt. She wasn't exactly clear on the details. Tony had planned on looking up more information on her death but he hadn't worked up the courage to do so. Everyone had believed that her one-year-old son was her husband's so he was placed with Lily's sister, the lovely Petunia Dursley. The Dursleys hadn't wanted to keep the kid, and so when she found out about Lily and Tony from an old diary of Lily's she'd eagerly turned her nephew over to him. No matter how scared Tony was or how much he didn't want the responsibility he just hadn't been able to let the kid go to some orphanage.
"Okay, start compiling a list of the best nannies in town," Tony ordered.
Tony knew he couldn't take care of a kid. At the same time he didn't want to have some nanny take care of his kid. He certainly hadn't enjoyed the endless string of nannies in his own life. But the nannies would be so much better than any attempt he could possibly make. At least the kid might have a chance of turning out semi-normal if some well-adjusted people raised him.
"I'll look into it but it will take a while since you really should have been thinking about all of this sooner. So until then, he's all yours," Pepper said with a slightly vindictive grin.
"Why can't you take care of him?" Tony panicked.
"Because Tony, he's your son, and you were supposed to pick him up yesterday but you decided to go racing, and then go to a party instead. I have things that I need to do. Unless, you want to do all the paperwork and attend all the meetings for your company? No, I didn't think so. Harry's relatives didn't bring anything with him when they dropped him off so I'm going to buy him all of the essentials. Just man up, Tony. Don't let him make his own meals, don't let him in your workshop, and don't just put him in front of the TV and ignore him," Pepper commanded.
"Fine, whatever," Tony said with all the maturity of a teenage girl.
"Okay, I'll just go say goodbye to Harry." Pepper left the office and headed back out to the living room where the kid was sitting on the couch watching cartoons with a perplexed expression on his face. It was as if he'd never watched any before.
"Harry," Pepper called, the kid turned to look at her, his large green eyes dominating his little face. "I'm leaving. But I'll be back tonight. If you need anything just ask Jarvis to call me. Remember we had a long talk about all the things that Jarvis can do last night?"
The kid nodded.
"Good, so I'm going to leave you with, Tony. I'm sure the two of you will have a really great time," Pepper sent him a look that said 'or else'.
"He's Tony?" Harry asked in wide-eyed amazement as he glanced at Tony.
"Yes," Pepper smiled warmly.
"So he's my daddy?" the kid asked.
Tony cringed at the hope in the kid's voice. Pepper nodded.
The kid sent him a shy look. Lily's emerald eyes looked back at him set in a face that was a younger version of his own. It was seriously creepy. Tony did his best to smile back. The reality of his situation was hitting him. He had a son, a little person who was entirely dependent on him. Tony felt like he was suffocating under the pressure.
"All right, I really have to go now. But I'll see you both later," Pepper said suddenly reluctant to leave.
"Bye, Miss Potts," the kid whispered.
"Bye," Tony waved.
Tony watched as the door shut, officially leaving him alone with the kid.
"Are you really my daddy?" the kid asked.
"Yup," Tony agreed, popping his p at the end, and rocking uncomfortably on his feet.
"I always thought my daddy died with my mummy in an auto crash. But then Aunt Petunia told me that I was going to live with my daddy in America, and she said that James Potter wasn't my real daddy just my mummy's husband. How are you my daddy?" the kid asked innocently.
"Well, uh you see…" Tony floundered.
"I thought you had to be married to have a baby. That's what Aunt Petunia said," the kid insisted.
"Sometimes, you don't have to be," Tony said valiantly trying to come with a way to get off the topic. He was a genius it shouldn't be this hard to think something up to distract a five-year-old.
"Oh, then how do you make a baby?" the kid wanted to know large green eyes looking up at him expectantly.
"That's a real good question, kid, a real good question… one I have no intention of answering at this current time. Hey, how would you like to see a robot?"
"A real robot?" the kid breathed in excitement.
"A genuine, real-life robot," Tony nodded in relief at having dodged that particular bullet.
"How big is it? What can it do?" the kid asked.
"Why don't you come with me so I can show you?" Tony offered.
"Okay," the kid jumped off the couch and eagerly moved over to Tony's side.
Tony sighed in relief, and steered the kid towards his workshop.
"Master Stark, I believe Miss Potts specific instructions were to keep young Harry out of your workshop," Jarvis spoke up.
"What she doesn't know won't hurt her, right Jarvis? Besides, I think I know better than to let a five year old touch any of my tools," Tony sighed with a roll of his eyes.
"Whatever you say, sir," Jarvis huffed unhappily.
"I'm so reprograming you," Tony muttered. "Come on, kiddo."
Tony continued steering the boy towards his workshop. Once there Tony placed him on a stool, and then called DUM-E and Butterfingers over. Harry was delighted with the robots, and their ability to understand them and the way they drooped when Tony scolded them. Tony let him test the robots' abilities for a bit before stopping him. Tony then pulled up a game on one of his computer screens, he taught Harry to play and left the kid to his own devices so that he could get to work on the project that had come to him last night.
Before he knew it hours had passed, and only Jarvis's reminder made him realize that he should probably get the kid some lunch. Tony glanced over at him. Harry had long ago abandoned his game, and was now watching him. Tony couldn't help but find it a bit strange. The kid had just sat there and watched him for a couple of hours without a single complaint. Weren't kids supposed to be constantly whining for attention? Tony used to constantly try and steal his father's attention until he got older, and realized he was never going to get it. Wasn't he hungry or didn't he need to go to the bathroom? Tony felt a little bad thinking that maybe he had tried calling to him, and Tony had ignored him.
"Hey kiddo, how about some lunch?" Tony offered, ruffling Harry's wild dark brown hair. The texture of his hair even felt similar to Tony's own, and left him feeling a bit strange. It was all just more concrete proof that the kid was really his.
"Okay," Harry nodded.
"I'm thinking some pizza. Do you like anything on your pizza?" Tony asked conversationally.
The kid was so quiet. Tony didn't quite know how to deal with the quiet. Were kids normally this quiet? Or was it that he was making the kid uncomfortable? He certainly didn't know how to talk to kids. He didn't think he'd been around a kid this young since he'd been a kid. Tony didn't like feeling out of his depth. When he walked into a room Tony Stark was undoubtedly the smartest man in the room. Tony didn't feel like the smartest man in the room at the moment. In fact he felt like an absolute idiot for not being able to figure out what to do with his own kid.
"Okay, just cheese it is then," Tony sighed. "Jarvis make the call, you know the place."
The two of them sat in the living room as they waited for the pizza. Tony wracked his head for questions to ask Harry. But he had no idea what to talk to his kid about.
"So how's school going?" Tony tried. That always seemed to be the go to question that adults could ask kids about.
"It was all right. I just finished my first year of primary school," Harry replied.
"What about friends?" Tony asked.
Harry shrugged, and Tony dropped the subject. They lapsed into silence with Tony not knowing what else to ask, and Harry not willing to offer up any assistance.
Tony almost said a prayer when the pizza arrived. He jumped up to grab it and brought the box back into the living room, ignoring the pizza boy's attempts at asking for an autograph. Harry watched Tony closely as he took out a slice and plopped down on the couch. The kid mimicked the way he held the pizza, and carefully took a bite. A look of surprise flashed across the kid's features at the first bite leading Tony to a shocking conclusion.
"You never have pizza, kid?" Tony questioned.
Harry shook his head, his mouth full of his second piece of pizza.
"Your aunt a health nut?"
Again the uncertain shrug.
"Have you ever had ice cream?"
A shake of his head.
"Then she was probably a health nut. I'll tell you what, I'll grab a whole bunch of stuff and you can try it all," Tony grinned.
Giving your child a whole bunch of ice cream and candy was normally frowned upon but Tony didn't care. He needed to get the kid to like him somehow, and he figured bribes would be a good way to start. Tony pulled out a carton of ice cream and various sweet snacks he had in the cupboards. He let Harry go wild, and try a little bit of everything. Things had been going good. The kid was extremely excited about trying things. He kept exclaiming over certain things, and how he'd always wanted to try something or other. Harry got a whole lot more talkative, and began to ask Tony questions about what he did, about his relationship with Lily, and if he could call Tony daddy. Pleased that his methods were working Tony did his best to answer. He gave watered down versions for the first two questions, and as for calling him daddy Tony didn't quite know how to feel about that. He'd nodded vaguely without really thinking about it but the kid had seemed giddy at the thought, and moved closer to sit right beside Tony.
An hour later Tony was regretting all the sweet food when Harry was clutching his stomach, and looking more than a little green around the gills.
"You okay, kiddo?" Tony asked in concern
"Are you sure?" Tony was skeptical.
"You want to go to the bathroom?" Tony offered. His pain filled green eyes were doing things to Tony, and he found himself regretting feeding Harry a bunch of junk without thinking about the consequences to Harry. Tony rarely regretted anything he did, and considering his track record of drunken exploits he should have had a lot of things to regret.
Harry paused, and then nodded.
"All right, this way."
They'd almost made it to the closest bathroom when Harry upchucked all over Tony's shoes and the bottom of his pants. Tony picked Harry up trying not to be too grossed out over the mess on his thousand dollar shoes and pants. The kid was crying now, apologizing over and over again for making a mess on Tony's shoes.
"It's okay, don't worry about it," Tony assured, feeling like an ass for getting him this situation. He'd known better than to give Harry all of that junk food but he'd gone and done it anyway.
Tony got him to the bathroom just in time for him to throw up for the second time in the toilet. Tony awkwardly rubbed his back as Harry cried and was sick.
"I know kiddo, it's no fun. Trust me, I've spent quite a few mornings worshipping the porcelain throne," Tony babbled, feeling completely out of his depth. Creating complex, top of the line weapons, no problem. Dealing with a sick kid, who happened to be his sick kid was another matter entirely.
Finally Harry was finished purging his stomach of its contents, leaving him exhausted. Tony picked him up and stripped him of his ruined clothes. He put Harry in a bath, and cleaned him off as best as he could. Harry was half asleep by the time Tony got him out and wrapped him up in a fluffy towel. Tony brought him to the guest room, and when he didn't find any clothes he grabbed one of his own shirts to cover him up in. Tony placed him under the covers, and then collapsed in a chair beside the bed. He was feeling more than a little overwhelmed, and almost felt like crying himself.
He couldn't do this. Tony Stark was many things, but a father? Definitely not. It would be so much better for him to find a competent nanny to raise him. Tony would no doubt screw him up just like his father did with him. That's all the world needed, another Tony Stark. He'd already screwed up. Tony had made the poor kid sick to the point of throwing up. He just didn't do responsibility that's what he hired people for.
Tony's head flopped back against the wall to stare up at the ceiling. He couldn't do this.
"Daddy," came a soft voice.
Tony glanced at the bed. The kid's little hand was reaching towards him, a tremulous expression on his face. Without thinking twice Tony moved to sit on the bed beside him, and took the small hand in his. His free hand moved to sweep through the wet strands of hair in an attempt at comforting him. It was the least he could do for getting the poor kid in this state.
"You okay, kiddo?"
"I'm sorry about that. I should have known all of that stuff would make you sick," Tony whispered.
"It's okay, you're nice," Harry mumbled.
"Am I?" Tony murmured.
It was a question more for himself than Harry. The tabloids were constantly talking about Tony's traits but he was pretty sure he'd never once been described as being a nice person. They called him the Merchant of Death after all.
"You're the nicest daddy in the world," Harry assured him, his little face set in a serious expression.
Tony snorted. The kid had barely known him for a day. Tony was certain that it wouldn't be long before he had changed his mind.
"Thanks, kid," Tony smiled.
Tony allowed Harry to keep his death grip on his hand until he fell back asleep. Only once his breathing was deep and even did Tony get the hell out of there. He cleaned himself up before collapsing on the couch downstairs, and stared blankly up at the ceiling. Tony wasn't sure how long he laid there but it was long enough for Pepper to come back.
"Tony, what are you doing?" she commanded.
"Failing as a father," replied Tony.
"Where's Harry?" she asked worriedly.
"Upstairs sleeping. I got him sick," Tony bemoaned.
Tony related the events that had taken place.
"You shouldn't have fed him all that stuff," Pepper glared.
"I know. I'm terrible father, Pepper, that's all there is to it. I'm not going to change. I can't raise a kid. Look at me, I'm barely capable of taking care of myself. Hell, I don't even take care of myself. You run my life. I can't take care of kid. So find a nanny because I'm not doing this," Tony started making a break for the door.
"Where are you going, Tony?" she demanded.
"Out," he replied.
"You're running away, Tony, and you can't just run away from something like this," she shouted at him.
"It's for the best," Tony insisted, thinking of the small innocent face upstairs. He didn't need Tony Stark messing up his life.
"Best for who, Tony? It was one little hiccup, Tony. Don't let that ruin your confidence," Pepper cried.
"I'll be back later," was all Tony replied.
With that he left the mansion without looking back. He was doing exactly what Pepper had accused him of doing: running away. Tony was being a coward. He freely admitted to it. But he didn't care. It was better for everyone this way.
For the next week he stayed away. Pepper coldly informed him that she had found a good live-in nanny for Harry. Not that Tony would know since he'd barely been in the mansion since then, and when he was, he was locked in his workshop. He'd only had a few brief sightings of the kid. The first time the kid had seen after the incident he'd run up to him. But Tony had brushed him off. He was surprised by how much guilt he'd felt when the little guy's face dropped, and his eyes filled up with tears. Tony ruthlessly crushed down his feelings, and repeated his hollow mantra of how it was better this way.
Rhodey, Pepper, Happy, and even Jarvis were very disapproving of this decision to leave his kid in the hands of the nanny. But surprisingly Obie approved of his decision once he got over the shock of Tony having produced a kid. He told Tony that it was actually the mature thing to put his work responsibilities before Harry. His reassurances didn't make Tony feel any better, and Tony found himself spending more and more time holed up in his workshop. The media was confused about his sudden absence from the limelight, and all sorts of wild stories were circulating. Apparently the only reason the public could come up with for Tony Stark not to be at the center of attention was because he must be dying a slow and gruesome death. At least they hadn't found out about Harry yet. The frenzy when they found out was going to be huge.
Nearly two weeks after his decision to stay away from Harry, Jarvis interrupted him while in his workshop. Apparently something had happened, and the nanny needed him immediately. Worried that something had happened to Harry he had rushed up to find the nanny in tears.
"I'm so sorry, Mr. Stark, but my dad had a heart attack. He's in surgery and they're not sure… I have to go be with him," she sobbed.
"Right, right, okay. You go do that," Tony agreed, uncomfortable in the face of an openly sobbing young woman.
"Oh, thank you so much, Mr. Stark. I'm sorry I don't know when I'll be back," she said already rushing towards the door.
"Right, fine, whatever you need to do," Tony waved at her.
She left without a backward glance once more leaving him all alone with his son for the second time. His eyes easily located where Harry was sitting on the stairs looking down on him.
"Hey, kiddo," Tony greeted awkwardly.
"Hello," Harry murmured quietly.
"So, it looks like it's just you and me. Why don't you find something to do while I go finish up my work?" Tony offered.
Harry just nodded looking at him with sad green eyes that left Tony feeling utterly guilty. Tony tried to tell himself that he had nothing to feel guilty about as he was only doing what was best for Harry. But the look in Harry's eyes nagged at him all the way to his workshop. He didn't want to get too close to his kid or have Harry get too attached to him. If Harry didn't attached then Harry wouldn't experience the same heartache that Tony had when Tony didn't live up to Harry's expectations.
It was better this way, no matter how much Tony found himself thinking about what Harry was up to or what sorts of things Harry liked to do. But maybe one day couldn't hurt right? Harry was all alone today without a nanny. Tony couldn't just leave a five year old to his own devices all day, even he knew better than that. He wracked his brain for an activity that they could do together. However, his mind kept drifting back to spending a day at the zoo.
A trip to the zoo was one of the few happy memories Tony had with his own father. Tony had no idea how anyone had convinced Howard Stark to spend a day at the zoo with his son. Maybe it had been part of a business deal or something. Tony had been a bit older than Harry was now but it had still been the best trip just because it had been one of the few times he'd gotten one on one time with his father. This caused Tony to consider his relationship with Harry. Would Harry end up feeling the same way about him as Tony did about Howard if he continued to be distant? Tony had hoped Harry wouldn't have enough time to get attached to him, and would eventually forget about him if he stayed away long enough. But if those haunted green eyes had been any indication that had been a very naïve thought for Tony to have.
Tony climbed back upstairs to the main level to find Harry still sitting on the stairs to the second floor. He perked up a bit at seeing Tony return.
"Hey, kiddo, would you like to go to the zoo?" Tony asked before he could stop himself.
The trip would undoubtedly alert Harry's existence to the media but it was bound to happen eventually. Tony would just deal with it when it happened. At least this trip would be relatively media free since no one knew about Harry yet.
Harry's eyes widened in excitement and he nodded eagerly.
"All right, get down here," Tony waved him down.
The kid moved so fast that if Tony had blinked he would have missed it. Tony wasn't sure if he needed to grab anything for their trip. Didn't parents normally have bags full of stuff that their kids needed while going on family outings? Tony had no idea and thought it would just be better to wing it. He had several unlimited credit cards on him. If worse came to worse he'd just buy anything they might need.
He and Harry made their way outside. Tony had a moment of indecision about which car he should take. He was fairly certain that taking the Ferrari, that he had personally altered, without a car seat wouldn't exactly be the best idea. Besides it wasn't exactly inconspicuous, and for once Tony didn't really want to draw attention to himself. However, Tony didn't exactly want to drive the state of the art minivan that Pepper had purchased for the nanny to drive Harry around in. Tony sucked it up though. He was Tony Stark he could totally make driving a minivan look badass if he wanted to.
He opened the sliding door to the minivan, and Harry easily climbed up and buckled himself in without the need for Tony to interfere, which was a relief considering all the buckles on the car seat. Tony double-checked just to make sure he was strapped in before moving around to the driver's side. The minivan was set up higher than most of the sports cars he drove so that was going to take some getting used to.
Through his phone, Tony had Jarvis pilot their course to the nearest zoo. The drive there was done in relative silence. Tony didn't really know what to talk about, and Harry seemed even more withdrawn around him than he had been two weeks earlier. Tony felt another pang of guilt. He thought he had been doing the right thing separating himself from Harry. What if that wasn't the best for the kid? But Tony didn't know how to be a father. He didn't want to be a father. He would just screw up the kid's life. These thoughts didn't stop a small part of him from wanting to get to know Harry a little better. He liked Harry. It was hard not to. There was just an instinctive part of Tony that liked the kid, and found him utterly fascinating to know that half of Harry came from Tony. He'd successfully made another human being; of course he felt a little pride in that. But those instincts were overwhelmed by the years of neglect that he had suffered at the hands of his own father.
They arrived at the zoo, and Tony paid for their tickets. No one immediately recognized Tony. After all Tony Stark was known for frequenting lavish parties and casinos in thousand dollar suits. Not walking around zoos wearing old AC/DC shirts and grease stained jeans with a kid holding tightly to his hand.
Tony had seen the way he'd watched the other children holding their parent's hands, and Harry had kept glancing at his hand obviously too timid to reach out and take Tony's hand like he'd wanted to. Tony had done it for him, and the look of happiness that had suffused Harry's face when he did made Tony feel strange. It had filled Tony's chest with an odd warmth to be able to make the kid so happy with such a simple gesture. But it also left him feeling a bit like an ass. Had his kid really been that lonely over the past two weeks that simply holding his hand made him this happy? Maybe Tony should give this father thing another chance. The kid had obviously gotten attached despite Tony's attempts for him not too. He would just have to see how the day went.
The zoo they had gone to was pretty big. It even had a few carnival rides, and a bunch of different food carts. Of course Tony wasn't going to make that mistake again any time soon. He would get Harry something to eat and then just one sweet thing. He'd more than learned his lesson after Harry had thrown up on his shoes.
Harry was timid and uncertain about going on the rides but Tony could see how much he wanted to go. So Tony inexplicably found himself squeezing into one of the little cars so that Harry would get on. It was worth it to see Harry's bright grin as he sat behind the wheel and pretended to drive around the slow moving track that took them around a pond with geese.
"You'll be ready for your own car in no time, kiddo," Tony encouraged as Harry started spinning the little car's wheel with more confidence.
"This is really fun, daddy," Harry flashed him a bright grin.
Tony felt a pang in his chest. That had been the first time Harry had called him daddy all day.
"I'm glad you're having fun. Although, I think I could set something like this up in the backyard. Maybe make it capable of actually steering and going a little faster. But it would need to still be on some sort of track…" Tony pondered.
"We could have this in our backyard?" Harry questioned in excitement.
"Why not?" Tony shrugged.
Harry was giddy for the rest of the ride. Tony was able to get him on a couple of others before they stopped for lunch, and then started looking at all of the animals. Harry was awed by the elephants, and giraffes. But he really loved the big cats. Tony had heard from one of the zookeepers that there were some baby tigers recently born. Unashamedly using his money and fame he convinced the keepers to take them into the back to see the baby tigers. Harry was practically bouncing as they let him pet the baby tigers. Tony thought the kid's face was going to split in half at the huge smile that stretched across his face. It filled Tony with a strange sense of pride to know that he had managed to make his kid happy.
Tony thanked the zookeepers for their time and promised to make a donation to the zoo. They spent the rest of the day at the zoo. Harry was having a blast, and it was obvious that he didn't want to leave. Tony promised that they would come back again, and they would. Tony had a great day as well. He still wasn't sure if he was cut out to be a father but today had shown him just how fulfilling it was to spend time with Harry. Spending time with Harry made him forget about the stress of work, and it also filled a loneliness inside that he hadn't even realized he felt until he had spent some time with Harry.
Tony allowed Harry to make one last stop. Their last stop of the day was the reptile house. Harry was amazed by the massive python that was curled up in one of the enclosures. Tony on the other hand wasn't that interested. Reptiles weren't really his thing. However, when Harry began hissing at the thing, and the snake perked up and started hissing back Tony didn't quite know what to make of it. The snake moved right to the front of the glass and was looking right at Harry as Harry hissed at it.
"Uh, kiddo?" Tony frowned.
Harry looked up at him with a big grin. "Daddy, her name is Sasha, and she doesn't like it here. She misses her home in…" Harry turned back to the snake and made more hissing sounds. "She misses her home in the Amazon. People took her from her home when she was just a hatchling."
"Right, whatever you say Dr. Dolittle," Tony muttered a little freaked out.
"Can we take her back home with us, Daddy?" Harry asked.
"No, she has to stay here, kid," Tony replied.
"Oh," Harry turned back to the snake and made more strange hissing sounds. The hissing sent a strange shiver down Tony's spine. It didn't sound like random hissing noises it almost sounded like… No that was crazy. But just in case Tony made sure that Jarvis recorded the whole thing. And did that snake's head just droop in disappointment? No, he was being crazy. They'd spent too much time in the sun today.
"Come on Harry it's time to go home," Tony cajoled.
Harry reluctantly followed.
Harry fell asleep before they even made it home. Tony did his best to carefully lift Harry out of his car seat without waking him up. He carried the kid up to his bedroom and put him under the covers. Before leaving Tony found himself pausing just to watch him for a moment. Tony's chest felt strangely tight as he stared at his kid. Today had been a surprising success. There was the weird incident with the snake but Tony was already overlooking it in favor of the other things the two of them had done today. Maybe Tony was more capable than he thought he was.
Tony finally pulled himself away, and headed back downstairs. He had work he needed to finish. Tony wasn't all that surprised when he caught sight of Pepper.
"How was your day?" she asked smugly.
"It was okay," Tony answered, regarding her closely.
"That's good, I was worried about what you would do when the nanny had to leave so suddenly," Pepper smiled.
Something clicked in Tony's mind.
"You! You told her to fake a family emergency."
Pepper nodded, still smiling smugly.
"Wow, that nanny isn't trying to become an actress by any chance, was she? She was very convincing," Tony muttered.
"I had to give you a push, Tony, and this got your attention."
"Manipulator," Tony grumbled. He wasn't actually mad at her.
Pepper rolled her eyes. "You were being unreasonable, Tony. Besides it worked didn't it? It brought you to your senses and made you realize that you can't just ignore Harry for the rest of your life."
"I know that now. I thought I could make him forget about me. But I should know better than anyone that sons are always going to want their father's approval," Tony murmured.
"Tony," Pepper said softly, taking a step towards him, her arm outstretched as if to comfort him.
Tony took a step back. "It's okay, I'm over it. And I got the message. No more ignoring Harry."
"Good," Pepper said, gathering her normal stoic appearance.
The next couple of weeks went surprisingly well. Or at least well by Tony's standards. After finally making the decision to step up, and be Harry's father he didn't suddenly become some amazing father. Tony was just doing his best. Maybe that meant Harry was covered in grease and more often than not it was Harry who reminded him about brushing his teeth and regular bedtimes. But what they had was working for the two of them. The kid was happy, and surprisingly so was Tony.
Sure sometimes Tony still forgot that he had a kid when he was working on a really important project but Rome wasn't built in a day. Tony was learning. He had even cut back on the drinking, and he hadn't been out partying since he'd gotten Harry. He'd let Obadiah take over all of his social appointments to resist the temptation. Of course the media had caught wind of his trip to the zoo with Harry and now the whole world seemed to know that the brilliant, handsome, and rich drunken mess that was Tony Stark was now also responsible for a five-year-old kid. Just like Tony predicted it was the biggest news of the hour. Some even went so far as to say that Tony Stark wasn't fit to raise a child, and Harry should be taken away from him. It made Tony even more determined to prove them all wrong.
As a way to prove that he wasn't struggling Tony was throwing Harry a lavish birthday party. It was also a celebration of Harry having survived two months with Tony as his father. Tony invited the children of his employees, and put the finishing touches on the car ride he'd built for Harry in their back yard. It was a sort of carnival theme at Harry's request, and there were a bunch of games and food.
Harry seemed to be having a great time, and Tony stuck as close to his side as he could. Pepper tried to get him to let Harry spend more time with the other kids. But Tony was reluctant. He remembered all too well his own experiences with trying to fit in with kids his own age. He was often too smart for other children to really relate to, and later on when he got older they all just wanted to be his friend because of his money and name. Tony didn't want that for Harry. He already knew his kid had inherited his genius, and Tony worried about what that would mean for Harry's future. Tony would build Harry a friend if he had to or Tony would be his friend. But he supposed that wasn't exactly a feasible option, and it would be better if Tony at least gave him the chance to try on his own.
Once Harry seemed comfortable enough Tony left him among the other children for a while, and tried to hold a conversation with Rhodey and Happy without constantly staring at Harry. Tony had just started to relax when there was a loud shriek and Harry appeared at his elbow with tears in his eyes.
"What's wrong, kiddo?" Tony asked, instinctively pulling him up into his lap.
"I didn't mean to, daddy," he cried.
"Didn't mean to do what? What happened?" Tony asked, trying his best to sooth his son. He was still hopelessly awkward at it.
"I'm a freak," his son whispered morosely.
"What!? No! Why would you say that?" Tony demanded in outrage.
Harry shrugged and burrowed into his chest.
"Harry, did someone call you that?" Tony questioned because if they had he would find them and he would kill them.
"Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon said I was one," Harry explained.
"What?" Tony gasped, a sensation of dread filling him. What had those people done to his kid? "You're not a freak, and anyone who says differently is an idiot."
Harry just stared at him, unconvinced.
"You're not. You're my kid, and no son of mine is a freak," Tony assured him.
"But sometimes I do freaky things. I did something," Harry explained.
"Like what?" Tony asked curiously.
"I turned my teacher's hair blue once, and I accidentally turned Hayden's popcorn into bugs," Harry explained.
Tony stared at Harry blankly. "Excuse me?"
"I didn't mean to," Harry replied.
Tony looked back at the kid his mind racing with possibilities. Harry stared back. Either his son was suffering from crazy hallucinations or there was the even crazier possibility that he was telling the truth.
"Jarvis why was there screaming earlier?" Tony asked of the AI.
Tony had purposely set up hidden cameras around his property so that Jarvis could keep an eye on things during the party. He didn't want to give anyone the chance to kidnap his son.
"It is one of the children, sir. It seems that his popcorn spontaneously turned into a variety of different beetles," Jarvis explained.
Tony glanced at Harry who flushed red.
The idea seemed ridiculous but he trusted Jarvis's observational skills. He'd programed them himself after all. Tony just didn't know how Harry could have accomplished it. Tony had heard a few things about people having super human abilities. Being in the business he was in it was inevitable what with everyone in a race to have the better soldiers and weapons. After all, his own father had been involved with the experiment that had created Captain America, the original super soldier. But how could his son have gotten abilities?
"Harry, did you really do that?" Tony questioned.
"I didn't mean to. Hayden just said something really mean. I should be used to it. Dudley and his friends say mean things all the time. But I know you, and I don't want anyone to say mean things about you," Harry said in a rush.
"Kiddo, people are always going to say mean things about me. What I care about is people being mean to you. I don't want them being mean to you. I'm going to talk to that kid's parents, and I'm going to have a chat with your aunt and uncle," Tony reassured him. He was already planning revenge because Lily's sister obviously hadn't treated his son very well. He'd had his suspicions the more time he spent with Harry but this had only confirmed them.
"What about the other thing?" Harry questioned, nervously fiddling with Tony's shirt collar.
"You're not a freak, you just have something others would kill for," Tony said suddenly struck with a strong sense of fear as he realized what could happen if someone found out about Harry's abilities. Had the nanny noticed anything? What about the other adults? Anyone would brush off a kid's claims but it was different if an adult saw. Tony couldn't risk anyone else finding out about Harry. Tony didn't know where these sudden protective instincts were coming from but he decided to just go with them.
Tony decided to call an early end to the party. Jarvis reassured him that no one besides a couple of children had seen what had happened with Harry. Pepper, Rhodey, and Happy were confused about why he'd called a halt to the party. They had an idea that something had upset Harry but Tony wasn't quite ready to even tell his closest friends about just what had happened. He told them about the kid who was teasing Harry but that was it. Tony would take care of this matter on his own. Once everyone was gone he sat Harry down, and they talked about his relatives and his abilities. Tony tried not to show just how angry he was when his son told him about sleeping in a cupboard under the stairs, and the fact that he had never gotten Christmas or birthday presents while his cousin was given more each year. He was seething at Harry's treatment. Tony was grateful that Lily's sister had discovered the truth now instead of later. Tony couldn't imagine leaving Harry to grow up with those people.
The Dursleys did seem to have some knowledge about what Harry could do. Or at least they seemed to hate him for having abilities outside the norm. They hadn't brought his abilities to the attention of anyone else, which was really the only thing in their favor at the moment. After Tony had sent Harry up to bed, Tony got in touch with some old acquaintances of his father's. They were decent people who he could trust but they were also willing to do things that weren't exactly legal for the right price. He asked them to make sure the Dursleys were put away. It didn't matter what for but he wanted them locked away for the rest of their lives.
With that matter settled Tony was about to start a more in depth search on Lily's background when a knock came to his front door.
"Jarvis, who's here?" Tony questioned.
"Two men wearing dark blue robes just appeared on your front steps, sir," Jarvis replied sounding very perplexed on the matter.
"And when you say appeared…"
"I mean one moment there was nothing there and the next two men were standing there, sir,"
"Right, well, I guess I should answer the door," Tony cautiously approached the front door.
He opened it carefully to reveal two men of average height. One was blonde while the other was a brunette, and they were in fact wearing blue robes. They looked like monks with the get-ups they were wearing.
"Can I help you?" Tony questioned.
"Is this the Stark residence?" the blonde asked.
"Yeah… I'm Tony Stark," Tony nodded.
"Good evening, Mr. Stark, my name is Evan Allard and this is my partner Lucas Shepherd. Our office reported an incident of accidental magic here this afternoon, which we found strange as there are no reports of magical persons living in this particular residence. We've been asked to investigate the incident," the brunette explained.
"Accidental magic? Is this some sort of joke? What sort of agency are you from?" Tony narrowed his eyes on his two unexpected guests.
"We are part of the Auror department, magical law enforcement, specifically we deal with unexplainable magical outbursts in primarily muggle areas," explained the blonde, Shepherd, as if any of that made sense to Tony.
"You keep saying magic and whatever the hell muggle is like I understand what you're talking about," Tony pointed out.
The two exchanged a look.
"We did consider this possibility," Allard stated.
"What possibility?" Tony was beginning to get frustrated.
"Is there a recent addition to the household, Mr. Stark?" asked Shepherd.
"My son," Tony frowned.
"Has he exhibited any unusual or unexplainable abilities?" Shepherd persisted.
"When you say unusual, what do you mean?" Tony asked.
"Moving objects without touching them, turning one thing into something else, floating, that sort of thing," Allard stated as if such things were commonplace.
Tony didn't know if he could trust these men but so far they seemed to know more about Harry's situation then he did. Trusting his gut feeling he invited the two men in to question them further. What they revealed was certainly eye opening. They claimed to be wizards who were part of a magical world that lived in hiding alongside the non-magical world. They certainly proved their claim by pulling out actual, honest-to-god magical wands performing various spells. They explained that his son was a wizard too, and that they would send someone who dealt in muggle (the wizard's term for non-magical humans) and wizard relations out to better explain things to both Harry and Tony.
Tony went to bed that night with thoughts of magic and wizards replaying through his head. It was a lot for a man of science like himself to take in let alone accept that his kid was a wizard. However, he'd seen the proof with his own eyes, and unless he'd hallucinated the entire thing it had actually happened. Harry could very possibly be a wizard. Tony decided to reserve judgment until tomorrow when the wizarding social worker was supposed to show up.
The next morning Tony and Harry enjoyed their normal breakfast routine. Harry still found it exciting that Tony allowed him to eat his cereal in the living room. Once they were finished Tony told Harry about last nights visitors and about the other visitor they would be getting that morning. Harry seemed awed and terrified at the possibility of him being a wizard. Tony had to admit he still thought the whole idea was a little farfetched. But when the woman, or should he say witch, arrived at their door with a crack at precisely noon Tony knew that this was the real deal.
The woman was middle aged and introduced herself as Moira Kavanagh, a social worker for muggleborn relations. She explained all about muggleborns to Tony, and how it was the policy of American witches and wizards to find them as soon as they could. They then sent out social workers like herself to talk and introduce the parents of muggleborns to the wizarding world so that they wouldn't be quite so frightened or shocked by their child's unexplainable powers. She was very thorough in her explanation, and reminded Tony a bit of Pepper with her ability to be unruffled by the rapid fire questions Tony sent her way.
She gave Tony several books to read up on the culture and history of the magical world, and a list of places he could go shopping for more information. She gave him a list of available magical schools and tutors but apparently Harry wasn't allowed to actively start practicing magic until he was eleven. It was something about the maturity of his magical core. Tony would learn more later. Right now it all paled in comparison to just how excited Harry seemed to be to realize that there were more people out there who could do what he could that he really wasn't a freak like his relatives had drilled into his head for four years.
Tony was glad to have Harry be so happy about this magic stuff but the revelation that there was a world that existed right alongside their own was a little intimidating for Tony. They had remained hidden despite the advancing technology and that made Tony a little leery. He wanted to take a peek at these wizarding areas as soon as possible to get a better feel of the general air of their society. He wanted to learn more about them before he even thought about letting Harry join them. Tony was all for Harry learning how to use his abilities but he wasn't about to just blindly throw his kid into a world he barely understood.
Over the next month Tony got better acquainted with the wizarding world. He was a man possessed with all this new information to acquire. Tony even ended up taking a few trips through a wizard shopping center nearby. It had the quirky name of Vertic Alley, and Tony soon learned that wizards had a love for giving things corny names. The social worker escorted Tony and Harry through the alley the first time, and after that they were on their own. Harry was utterly enchanted by the magical alley, and Tony had to admit that the childish part of himself was just as enthralled.
After spending a few months visiting the wizarding world Tony stumbled upon something shocking. They had been picking up a few children's books for Harry. Both Tony and Harry preferred the wizarding children's books because the pictures could move. Tony discovered a children's book entitled the Adventures of Harry Potter. It couldn't have been a coincidence He'd snapped the book up so fast he nearly knocked the other books next to it off the shelf. Flipping through the book he quickly discovered that the book was definitely supposed to based off his son. With that discovery Tony looked up just why there was a children's book written about his son.
What Tony learned was shocking. Lily had been a witch and had been a part of a war back in wizarding Britain. Harry was famous in the wizarding world especially in Britain. Apparently Harry had somehow defeated a dark wizard who had been the one to kill both Lily and her husband. The information was shocking to say the least, and Tony was on his own with this knowledge. He would have to do his best to navigate an unfamiliar world to learn more about this wizard who had tried to kill his son. He ordered as many books on the subject as he could and actual hawks delivered them to his mansion. Tony read all about Voldemort's rise to power, his goals, and his eventual demise. Tony could only happy that the dark wizard was gone for good, and that Harry had survived the attack. But just to be safe Tony decided to keep Harry close to home, and far away from Britain and the radicals that had followed the lunatic that killed Lily.
As the end of summer approached Tony realized he had to find a school for Harry. Over their short and crazy acquaintance Tony had learned that Harry was very intelligent something that tickled Tony to no end. It was sort of amazing to find out that his kid had inherited his genius, and Tony found himself wanting to encourage that intelligence. At the same time he didn't want to push Harry like Howard had pushed him. Tony wanted Harry to have a semi-normal childhood. Or as normal a childhood as the wizard son of Tony Stark could possibly have.
Tony had Pepper look over as many schools as possible to way their options. She narrowed it down to three of them, and Tony then went in person with Harry to tour the schools. Of course it was hard to tell as each school did their best to suck up to Tony. Who wouldn't want Tony Stark's son to go to their school? Not only could Tony provide them with many generous donations but Harry's test scores would no doubt boost the entire school's average.
Tony eventually chose a private academy about fifteen minutes away from their mansion based on Harry's approval of their new and innovative playground. With the choice of a school set Tony focused on spending more time with Harry. There were still moments went Tony had full on panic attacks and questioned what the hell he was doing with a kid but they came less and less often. He enjoyed his time with his kid, and Harry was about as awesome as kid's went especially once he started opening up about the Dursleys. At Pepper's insistence they had gotten a therapist for Harry who could go over the Dursleys treatment of him, and understand that none of it had been his fault. Tony was amazed by how much Harry had broken out of his shell by the end of the summer. The kid who would barely say a few words to Tony now wouldn't stop talking Tony's ear off. Finding out about his magical abilities also went a long way in helping. Learning that his abilities were perfectly normal also gave him a boost of confidence.
However, all of the confidence that Harry had built over the summer seemed to disappear the moment the first day of school rolled around.
"Do I have to go? Why can't you teach me? You're the smartest person I know," Harry pleaded, trying to butter him up.
"Nice try, kiddo, but I'm definitely the person for the job. Besides don't you want to make some friends?" Tony tried to bargain.
"What if no likes me?" Harry whispered softly.
"They'll love you, and if they don't its their loss," Tony reassured.
Harry just looked at him, completely unconvinced. But he allowed Tony to usher him into the car and drive him to school. Tony parked the car and walked with Harry into the school. Harry gripped his hand tightly as they walked through the crowds of other students, and their parents.
The two of them found Harry's teacher who greeted them both enthusiastically. The woman seemed like a nice person, a bit too happy for Tony's tastes but Harry seemed to like her, which was all that mattered. They found Harry's cubby to put his backpack away and found his spot at a table. It already had a little box with pencils and crayons set out just for him. Tony waited around for as long as he could, suddenly reluctant to leave Harry with all of these other little monsters. Harry was an angel compared to all of these jumping, loud creatures. But Harry's teacher soon shooed him from the room telling him it was better to just rip the Band-Aid off right away.
It turned out that Tony had nothing to worry about. Harry settled right in to school and actually enjoyed going. He even made some friends, which was a relief for Tony and Pepper. With their biggest worry out of the way life settled into a nice routine for the Starks, and time passed.
A few months into Harry's school year, Tony had picked him up from school. He always made sure to drop Harry off at school but he wasn't always able to pick him up. The media had a field day when they found out that ladies man Tony Stark now proudly drove a custom built minivan to pick up his six year old son. Of course it was really the only news story they could get on him nowadays since he hadn't done anything worth getting the paparazzi's attention since getting custody of his son. There had been the initial scramble to get pictures, and learn as much about Harry's past as possible but once that died down Tony Stark slowly faded out of the public eye.
To his surprise Tony found that he didn't mind all that much. For years he'd sort of liked being in the limelight, and having the attention of his kid. To Harry he was amazing just for being himself. Not because he was genius or billionaire but simply because he was his dad, and Tony wouldn't have it any other way. It was also nice to have some confirmation of his success with Harry's comments.
"Dad, I'm glad you're my dad," Harry suddenly piped up out of nowhere.
"I'm glad you're my kid," Tony said, smiling slightly at the sudden sentiment.
Harry nodded looking satisfied.
"Even if you are a crazy little munchkin," Tony grinned.
"Well, if I'm crazy I get it from you," Harry replied with a cheeky grin.
Tony laughed. He was thrilled when Harry started showing off his sassy side. The kid was hilarious once he became comfortable with Tony. Of course they'd had some meltdowns too. Even the most well behaved kids had their moments. Harry's first temper tantrum had ended with them both in tears but they'd gotten through it, and getting through that made Tony feel like he could get through anything.
"I don't know what I would do without you, kiddo," Tony told him.
Harry just smiled looking pleased.
But it was true. All of the hesitation and fear of taking Harry in seemed stupid to Tony now, and he honestly didn't realize how empty his life had been before Harry.
For this reason five years later when old acquaintances came looking for Harry, and wanted him to go to their school Tony declined. They seemed like nice enough folk even if British wizards were even more outdated than American wizards but Tony found that he couldn't handle the idea of sending his son overseas to a boarding school for seven months out of the year. He agreed to occasional meetings on vacations and things but other than Tony and Harry had minimal contact with the wizarding world.
By this time Tony was well acquainted with Phil Coulson, squib and Agent of SHIELD thanks to Tony becoming Iron Man. SHIELD couldn't help but stick their noses in Tony's business but at least they had helped with keeping Tony's identity as Iron Man a secret. After all Tony had a big enough target on his back with being a billionaire. He didn't need another reason for people to come after son. Coulson had been able to provide Tony, Harry, and Pepper more information about the British wizarding world. He was also able to help Tony politely turn down their offer to have Harry attend their school. Instead Tony moved them to the half finished Stark Tower in New York, and sent Harry to Salem Academy in Massachusetts. Coulson's nephew went there, and he was more than happy to show Harry around. It also meant that Harry could home everyday after school.
Tony and Harry's lives were never simple. How could they be when one of them was Iron Man and the other a wizard? But they always had fun, and they always had each other. They had a family that neither one of them had ever had before, and over the years others slowly joined their tight-knit circle. First Pepper as Tony significant other, and then slowly joined by the Avengers. Harry eventually even made some close connections with some of his mom's old friends from school. However, Tony Stark would always hold the primary place in his heart. No, neither Tony nor Harry ever regretted Petunia Dursley finding her sister's diary. After all it gave them both exactly what they had always wanted and needed. A family.
I hoped you enjoyed it!
I have two other one-shots planned for the My Son the Wizard universe. One will be Sirius's first mission as a part of Coulson's team where he attempts to win the affections of Melinda May, and the second will be Harry getting sent to the past to meet up with his grandfather, Howard Stark. However, both won't be posted until after My Son the Wizard is completed.
If you have any other requests for a one-shot from the My Son the Wizard universe please let me know! And if there's a lot of interest in this I might be convinced to add some fluffy growing up scenes between little Harry and Tony because we all know Tony Stark wouldn't teach his son to ride a bike he'd jump straight to some motorized scooter or something. And there are literally dozens of different scenes I thought of but didn't make its way into this fic.