A/N: Okay, so this is something completely different. The typical Tony/Pepper but thrown in with something else...
With beady eyes he watched, body specifically hidden behind the wall and head just perked out enough to catch a glimpse of them. It was sometime after midnight when he had heard that familiar sound of his father returning home. That strange sound of rushing air and a thud and metal snap coming from his father's workshop.
He wondered why the rest of the world thought his father was any different because to him, his father was just his father. That loving, gentle, playable father that laughed and joked and kissed his mother way too much. But he wondered where his father would fly too after he put the Iron Man suit on and he always notices that sad look in his mothers eyes when they say goodbye. He makes it a point each time to give his mother a hug, to tell her that it's okay because he's here and she doesn't have to worry because his father always comes home anyway.
But he doesn't really understand everything that happens, like all those flashing cameras and why almost everyone knew his name. He didn't really like it because he never got the chance to enjoy his ice cream when his father took him to the local ice cream shop or when his mother would bring him to the supermarket on her way home. He didn't like it because they could never stay long enough for him to pick a lolly or some junk food that caught his eye.
He remembered when he asked his father once, why they always had to rush off and get away from the cameras. His father told him very softly that his safety really mattered and that sometimes it wasn't safe to be the centre of attention. He didn't understand why because why would anybody want to hurt him? He didn't bull anybody, well, no one other than Uncle Rhodey or sometimes even Uncle Happy. But he didn't think they would want to hurt him because they always brought chocolate for him when they visited. He didn't know any other kids other than Henry but he doubted that Henry would want to hurt him because all he does is drool all over the place.
His thoughts were interrupted when his mother's voice radiated through the workshop. He could barely see his mother's face because her back was toward him. But he could see his father's face and the expression on his face was strange.
"Pepper, it was awful..." his father sighed softly.
"What happened?" his mother asked, her hand touching his cheek.
He didn't think they would like it too much if they found out he was spying on them. But he couldn't move because he suddenly realized he was on that fifth step that liked to creak a lot. He kept incredibly still, waiting for either one of them to move so that he could quickly hurry up the steps and back to his room. But they didn't move and instead kept standing there mumbling. He strained his neck trying to hear what it was his father was saying and all he got was a few muffled words here and there which didn't make any sense to him.
He suddenly thought of the lingering AI in the ceiling and he really wished Jarvis didn't tell his father that he was hiding in the shadows of the stairs. He could only imagine the long talk he would get and the disappointed stare and silence. He knew his daily chocolate ice cream desert after dinner would also stop for a few days and he really didn't like the idea of that because that was the best part of his day.
He watched carefully as his father leaned in to embrace his mother. He turned his eyes away from around the corner because he didn't think they would like him watching them kiss. It was disgusting anyway. But as he turned he realized it was strange the way his father held her because it was as if he hadn't held her for days. He only ever saw that look in his father's eyes once and that was when his mother had to go to some business trip somewhere for a week. His father had been strangely sad and as much as he tried to cheer his father up he knew his father was only trying to be happy for him. He didn't understand whatever it was that his mother and father had between them but he knew it was really special.
His Uncle Rhodey told him about it when he asked a few days ago. Uncle Rhodey said something about how his father and mother knew each other for so long but never realized that they loved each other until some important things happened. He asked about what those things were but they were interrupted when his father came into the lounge.
His eyes widened instantly at the call of his name. He really wished the AI hadn't told them. He glanced to the glass door and felt momentarily fearful when his father and mother gave him that very serious look. He paused, arms flung at either side of his jigsaw checked pyjamas pants and he was sure he was in for a very long talk.
"What are you doing up so late?" his mother asked him sternly and he winced at the tone of her voice.
"I heard daddy coming home," he said simply. "And I wanted to see Jarvis take the suit of him."
"Jared, you know the-"
He glanced to the floor, bracing himself for 'the talk'.
"Pepper..." he heard his father saying her name softly and the silence that followed confused him.
"I'm sorry," he said, his eyes still on the floor because he really didn't want to upset them. He just wanted to see Jarvis taking the Iron Man suit off his father.
"Why don't we have some ice cream?"
His eyes flickered toward his father and he wasn't entirely sure if he even heard that or not.
"Tony, its 1am in the morning," he heard his mother scolding his father quietly.
"Come on, Pep, it's a Friday night and we've got nothing scheduled for tomorrow," his father replied strangely with a grin on his face.
He wasn't sure if he had missed something because moments ago he was sure he was going to get 'the talk'. He watched between his mother and father and didn't know if he should have smiled or not. It took her a painful minute before that familiar tiny smile appeared on his mother's lips.
"I somehow knew you'd see it my way, Pep," his father grinned and pressed a kiss at her slightly upturned lip.
"I always get over ruled by you two," his mother said in a much cheerier tone.
"Really? I can have ice cream?" he asked, a smile beginning to form at his lips.
His father nodded brightly and stretched his hand out to him. He beamed a grin at his mother as he felt his father lifting him from the steps. The thought of his father strangely hugging his mother earlier seemed like a distant memory as the three of them made their way to the kitchen.
He suddenly didn't think it mattered all that much that the world knew his name or that he couldn't stand in an isle in the supermarket with his mother without being harassed by those camera people. His parents were special to him and he understood when they wanted to protect him. And right now none of it really mattered anyway because he was getting ice cream for the second time in the same night.