A/N: This was inspired by a cute video on Youtube. If you want to watch it, just search "Baby Brings Father into the Crib." Anyway, I hope you enjoy.
It was the first night he watched Peter by himself. Steve was visiting Peggy at the nursing home and brought along the makings of a three-course meal for them to share. Tony didn't expect to see him back until about 11:30 in the evening given that the nursing home was in Connecticut. That, and he knew Steve always got Peggy up for a dance after dessert. He also surmised that they watched Jeopardy reruns on cable and reminisced about the better days—it's just something old folks do.
Tony wanted to be annoyed that he was home alone, but this was Steve's first time out of the house by himself since Peter was adopted. And it was fair, even if Tony did not want to admit it, because Steve watched the baby himself on more than one occasion when Tony had been out of town on business. Unfortunately, neither father realized it would also be Peter's first storm.
It began during the middle of an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba! (a show, which, quite frankly, scared the crap out of both Tony and Steve). Even the sound-proof walls of the home theater couldn't completely muffle the booming thunder and spattering rain. Tony could sense that Peter was becoming unsettled by the noises outside, so he decided to play a few more episodes of the show until his son was tired enough to fall asleep without much effort. Because of this, it was already an hour past Peter's bedtime when Tony finally carried him into the nursery. He placed Peter into the crib, but Peter was still far too afraid of the weather to rest. He began crying and violently shaking the bars of his crib. If Tony were asked to describe the whine, he would liken it to the feeling of scraping one's eardrums with dull scalpels.
"Peter, no. C'mon, don't cry," he tried to sooth, lifting Peter again. He tried to lay the toddler down horizontally, but Peter immediately wriggled upright and continued to bawl. "Hey JARVIS, mind closing the blinds?" Tony asked bitterly as he picked up the boy and laid him down once again.
"Right away, sir," JARVIS obeyed, and the curtains automatically slid shut, concealing the brutal storm outside.
Peter, unfortunately, was still wailing.
Tony never dealt with children in his life before adopting Peter (except, of course, for the baby-kissing photo-op that every celebrity and politician did), but something strange came over him at that moment: he just knew what he needed to do to comfort his son. He did it without hesitation.
"Come 'ere," Tony whispered. He thoughtlessly climbed into the crib himself and laid down next to Peter, who slowly quieted as Tony stroked his back. Peter draped himself cutely across his father's abdomen. Unconsciously, his fingers squeezed and released the worn cotton of his father's t-shirt, almost like a nursing kitten on its mother's stomach. He eventually drifted off to sleep.
Tony didn't. He wanted to, but his neck was bent at a weird angle and somehow, a building block wound up in beneath the mattress of the crib and was then digging into his vertebrae. He shifted, at least trying to get out from under the baby without having him wake up and start another crying fit. Every time he moved, however, Peter would open his eyes, so Tony was forced to settle down and allow him to fall back asleep.
It happened so many times that Tony eventually gave up. And thankfully—although he wasn't sure how—he drifted off himself. He was awakened briefly by Steve's hand ghosting over his own. He knew Steve was smiling, but Tony was far too tired to acknowledge anything else. He quickly fell back asleep, but awoke in the morning to find one of Peter's Iron Man blankets placed carefully over both him and his son. Still not entirely willing to get out of bed (or crib, in this case), he laid there quietly for awhile, thumb gently rubbing Peter's back.
Soon enough, Steve came in to check Peter's diaper and take him downstairs for breakfast.
"Good morning, sleepyhead," he cooed, messing his hand through Tony's hair.
"I hate you," he grumbled, and began to straighten up. When he did, Peter started to stir. He looked around in a daze for awhile before he realized it was morning.
"Good morning too, Peter," Steve greeted sweetly. Peter reached up to him to wave.
Tony lifted him up. "Take the baby."
"So demanding, Stark." Steve joked with another sweet smile that almost made Tony sick. Nevertheless, he gently took the toddler in his arms.
"Hey," Tony began as he rose out of the crib. "Why the hell didn't you wake me up last night? That was a terrible night's sleep!" He pretended to be upset, but it was just a game.
"Aw, but you looked so precious! How could I ruin that scene?" Steve played along. As he laid Peter down on the changing table, Tony leaned heavily against it and crossed his arms.
"Well, now at least you get diaper duty. I think that's a fair trade," he reasoned with a hint of sarcasm.
"And you get the couch tonight. Or maybe we can get a dog and you could sleep in his house," Steve suggested playfully as he unbuttoned Peter's footed pajamas.
"Did I say 'fair'? I meant that you and I should take a long vacation—maybe a cruise ship—to Fiji, and JARVIS can handle diaper duty."
Steve laughed which made Baby Peter giggle. Tony couldn't help but smile.
"See ya downstairs," Tony said and patted Steve on the back before tacking on a "honey" for humor's sake.
Steve and Peter laughed again.
"Yeah, I know I'm the best dad ever," Tony deadpanned and walked to the doorway.
"Turn on the coffee pot, Best Dad Ever!" Steve shouted behind him.
"Sure thing, Mom of Average Quality," Tony punctuated with a thumbs up as he disappeared down the hall.