Tony tried to adjust to it all, and over the month he had, a bit. He and Pepper had quite the battle when she realized one of Tonys "rules" was that Edward could stay up as long as he wanted. Tony still hadn't let Edward see his arc reactor. He could remember when he was a baby and trying to comfort Edward after Lucys death and if he felt the arc reactor he would start screaming. Which resulted in Tony calling Pepper and crying. He tried his best to strengthen the bond, making an easier path for Edward to get down to the beach
She didn't press the issues she had the first week with Tony, she watched him and his son have moments, but noted that each enjoyed doing their own thing; Tony the usual things and Edward either playing video games or going down to the beach. She had also stopped arguing about the staying up all night thing as Edward didn't do so much on school nights at least. She was glad his school transition hadn't been too difficult and that for the most part he got along well with his new classmates, especially the female percentage. The papers and the paparazzi were of course having a hay day with it all, but nothing she couldn't handle and after a while they began to leave the kid alone in fear of hefty lawsuits. Pepper Potts was the paparazzi's worst nightmare. She wandered downstairs late one afternoon various papers in hand for Tony to sign, upstairs the blare of a video game echoed as she entered her pass code and walked towards the man, his music instantly going away, "I've got a few papers for you to sign."
"What have I said about my music?" he asked, raising his brows over at her. But he took the papers anyway, as if his question about the music was part of their routine. To him it was, just as he no longer looked at what he signed when Pepper brought it to him.
She ignored the music comment and once the papers were signed she stood there a moment, "Why don't you want him down here?" She was curious, she had this image in her mind of Father and son working on cars together, watching a ball game and so on.
"I don't want to freak him out with anything." he explained quietly, rubbing the back of his neck and looking down at the ground. He felt stupid. He was never so nervous with anything. Not even delicate wiring in volatile warheads. Nothing could phase him, until he had to deal with children, particularly his own.
Pepper sighed, "I don't think he will." Though she wasn't sure, she knew Edward was aware his Dad was a superhero, but beyond that she didn't know much else, not even how he felt about it, "Do you need anything?" She asked, changing the subject, perhaps she should just let things take their course.
"No. I'm fine." he said, shrugging his shoulders. Though before she could leave he whispered, "I'm worried about his reaction to the arc reactor."
She turned, "Well that depends on how he finds out." She looked at him in a serious manner, "If you explain I doubt he would have a bad reaction, but if one day you come out to breakfast without a shirt he might be a little taken off guard."
"Do you remember how bad it was...? When he was little. After Luce died?" he whispered, his voice low, shakey and thick. It wasn't even so much the pain of losing what he had hoped was a constant in his life, nor the loss of his son which had played a huge part in his gray temples and salt and pepper beard. No, what always made him pale and shake was remember the car crash. Remembering his parents car crash.
"I remember… but he's not a baby anymore." She reminded him gently, moved closer to him, "This is hard for you isn't it… harder than you're letting on." She wanted to reach out and touch him, give him some sort of comfort, ease his pain.
"Maybe a bit." he agreed quietly, lifting his head and locking his eyes onto her for a moment, the sharp, deep bourbon burning into her. It was hard for him to wear his masks in front of Pepper.
She nodded, looking down a moment at her hands, "Understandable…" She looked up, "This is going to work out, I know it will." Her hand came to rest on his upper arm, "It just takes time." She couldn't relate to this situation at all, but she was trying very hard to understand, "Do you think it was a mistake to bring him back here?" She was curious; she hadn't really talked to Tony about the situation at all.
"No." he said instantly, without question in his voice. His brows drew down over his eyes a bit, his jaw tense and his face growing just as serious as his voice.
She nodded, "Good." She was relieved by that, she was afraid that there was regret, that having Edward here would remind Tony of his late wife, but maybe not maybe that wasn't a major issue, "Tony…I'm… here to help you with this as much as possible. To help both of you."
"I know." he whispered. He wanted to pull her into his lap, make a move, try to catch her as he had 15 years ago. He ran his fingers through his hair.
Her hand slowly fell from his arm as she looked at him, watching his expression… there was something almost yearning about it. She bit her lower lip and tried to ignore the mounting tension that began to rise between them, that was always there and always had been. Slowly she broke out of her own thoughts and smiled a little, "Is that all Mr. Stark?" A part of her was surprised he hadn't taken notice that she was no longer wearing her wedding ring, or maybe he had and wasn't going to pry or question.
He had. The wedding ring had been his mortal enemy. He sighed and nodded. "That'll be all, Miss Potts." she had never become Mrs. Hogan to him. She always had, and always would be, Miss Potts.
She wandered upstairs slowly, she eyed the time walking into the living room, "What would you like for dinner?" She asked, watching the game he was currently playing. Edward didn't look up from his game as Pepper's voice filled the room in a quiet manner, "Um. I dunno… burgers? I see we got a barbecue, does Dad use it or are you the resident cook?" She smiled a little, "Sometimes he uses it, I'll have Jarvis check with him if he's okay with that." Edward nodded, "Alright, though if he's too busy I can do it. I helped Da—Lucas all the time." Pepper nodded and went into the kitchen and asked Jarvis to check with Mr. Stark about Edward's dinner request.
"Oh hell, I'll barbecue. Haven't done that in years." said Tony. He wandered upstairs and outside, getting the barbecue ready and just enjoying being outside. Some days, he desperately needed to feel the breeze in his face.
Pepper decided to change from her usual work attire into a pair of jeans and a pale blue shirt. She wandered out into the back bare footed enjoying the feel of the warm concrete beneath her feet. She noted Edward was already out and watching his Dad, waiting to be asked to help out. She moved over to a chair nearby and sat down, "Nice day out, this was a splendid idea Edward." She smiled at him and he nodded, "Glad you agree." He looked to his Dad and back to Pepper again, there was more to them than they let on or wanted to let on he was all too sure.
Tony was sitting back in a chair near the grill, watching the coals warm. It was hot, he couldn't get around the fact that it was hot. He pulled up the sleeves of his thermal to his elbows, resting his head back.
Pepper eyed Tony and shook her head lightly, she watched Edward almost doing the same, moving closer to his Dad, "Why the long sleeves?" He noticed a lot of things, how his Father always wore heavy shirts, how he never talked about what he did downstairs or about being Iron Man. He wanted to talk to his Dad, but he found it easier to confide in Pepper, she was more approachable, much like the only Mother he ever knew.
"Uh." he looked unsure and he glanced over at Pepper, looking for advice. He had that odd, deer in headlights look he got sometimes.
Edward watched a silent exchange between his Dad and Pepper, his Dad's expression cried for help… meaning he was hiding something, Pepper's expression was narrowed eyes as if she was telling him to just say something he didn't want to already, but she came to Tony's rescue despite her stand that he should explain a few things to his son, "You forgot to change your shirt again didn't you. I'm amazed it's still white unlike most of the shirts you've worn down in the shop." It was the only thing she could think of, she glanced quickly to Edward and she knew there wasn't much getting passed this kid at all.
Tony sighed quietly, pulling off his thermal, leaving just a black muscle shirt. Now was as good a time as any, and maybe he could skip an explanation and just show him. The jagged surgery scars were a bit visible here and there, but the glowing disc in the center of his chest would distract from that
Pepper froze, her lips parting slightly as Tony removed the thermal. She looked to Edward who was standing there, she watched him blink and then stiffen a little before smiling, "I bet that feels better." He looked to Pepper a moment noting her expression, "So what can I do to help?" He asked, his mind stuck on what the glow was in the middle of his Dad's chest.
It was a horribly hard struggle to not pull his shirt back on, and he was fighting to not fidget as well. Tony just went silent, letting Pepper take over now. He always let her take over when things were too difficult for him to handle on his own. Awkward situations was something he often found himself in. Getting into them seemed to be his forte. Getting out of them was something he could never hope to manage on his own.
Pepper closed her eyes a moment and then stood, "Why don't you come help me get the condiments?" She stood and shot Tony a bit of a look and smiled at Edward, "Sure." He chuckled, "You said condiments." Pepper shook her head, "You are indeed your Father's son." She mused and disappeared inside, Edward close behind, "I know you have questions, he's not going to tell you. I wish he would, but I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability." Edward shook his head, "That's not your job, it's his. I'll wait it out." Pepper went to the fridge and got an onion, tomato and some lettuce out and began to slice the tomato up, "Grab the ketchup, Mayo and mustard and take them out to the patio table." Edward sighed and did as asked, "Smells good Dad." He comment while placing the bottles in the middle of the table.
Tony smiled to Edward. "You're not freaked out by it?" he asked, his free hand in his pocket, his other flipping burgers. His posture and attitude was a forced relax, but he was so used to that it seemed terribly natural.
Edward paused and shrugged, "No… just wondering what the hell it is." He had never swore in front of his parents and he blinked as he did, hoping he wouldn't get in trouble for it. He doubted his Dad would say much, but he was pretty sure Pepper would've.
"It's a small version of the arc reactor. I got hit with a bomb of my own creation about 2 years before you were born." he explained quietly, though he spoke as if he was talking to someone half his sons age. "There's still shrapnel in my chest and the arc reactor keeps it out."
Edward nodded, "That's… uh cool?" He got a curious look on his face, "So can I see it?" He drew closer to his Father, the curiosity sparkling in his eyes, "Is that all it does?"
"Er. Cool isn't the word I could use for it." he mumbled. He raised a brow at his sons questions, but complied. He grabbed the hem and pulled up his shirt, letting him see it. "It powers the Iron Man armor."
"Sweet." He leaned forward a little ways to examine it closer and then blinked as a sharp cry sounded from inside.
Tony's head shot up, bourbon eyes wide and scared. "You stay here." he told his son as he moved into the house, terrified someone had broken in. It wouldn't be the first time. His stride was long and powerful, his head down and his muscles tensed in case in had to fight anyone. If they had Pepper, which is sounded like they did, he would kill them with his bare hands.