A/N: The second one in my series of Avengers / Doctor Who oneshots. There's no continuity between any of them. I also have a separate series going on with Loki and the Doctor, if any one is interested.
Baking soda volcanoes, poster boards, and booger munching kids marked all the clear signs of the children's science fair. The Doctor bypassed display after the display, eager for dessert. And then he hit the treasure. He whistled appreciatively. Of all the things, he was not expecting to see a functional robot of that caliber made by a child. He turned to nudge someone, then the sinking realization hit once more—he was alone.
The Doctor scooted closer to the customary board behind the robot. In red and gold letters: Anthony Stark.
He knew coming in that the little prodigy would have an exhibit, but to actually see it was another story. The Tony Stark. Future pioneer in clean energy and superhero? He grinned and craned his neck, seeking the little tyke.
After searching for nearly an hour, the Doctor headed toward the exit doorway. A breath of fresh air would be nice, even if filled with the humans' smog and smoke. He tried making his way through a thickening crowd. A man in a black suit opened the door for a twelve-year- old boy. Although the child did not sport the shades or goatee as people in the future would recognize, the Doctor spotted the arrogance that never went away, along with the tardiness.
The Doctor remained patient, bitterly reminding himself that he had all the time in the world. The crowd dispersed eventually, along with the press. The child built a working robot after all. And soon the Doctor danced through the throng of parents, children, and teachers. Just as he was about to etch in a word, a blonde mother tapped him on the shoulder.
She smiled, and he did his best to be polite. "You must be new here. Which kid is yours?"
The Doctor opened his mouth, and the closed it. Yes, without a child of his own that would be… frowned upon to say the least. He whipped out his psychic paper. "I'm a reporter for a magazine. London is dying to hear about the newest Stark inventions."
The plump woman raised a brow. "London, you say? Of course, with that accent. Oh my, don't let me keep you waiting." She left, probably in search of her own kid.
The Doctor was alone now with the Tony Stark. Well, alone as one can get in a sea of people and a body guard.
"A leather jacket and those pants? The business scene in Britain looks far more appealing than I last recall. Which magazine, did you say?"
The Doctor brought out his badge again. Doctor scoffed when Tony instructed his assistant to read it aloud. Such laziness.
"His name is John Smith, sir. Has an editorial in Tardis magazine."
The soon-to-be famous cocky grin did not ease the man's dismay.
"No worries. No use in spilling Stark Industry secrets when I still have use for them."
The dignified babysitter—err, assistant—looked ready to say something, but reluctantly gave a curt nod before walking away in a manner that only stiffs in black suits could do. Both Tony and the Doctor knew that they were still in earshot, but it didn't bother the Doctor. He knew Howard Stark would want to keep an eye on his son, and his made-up credentials as an editorialist didn't exactly evoke confidence. Tony's eyes darted, and then with a cheeky grin, started to stroll outside.
Tony nonsensically chitchatted until they exited. All the Doctor got out of it was something about an umbrella, an elephant, and the color of jazz. Surely the tyke was too young for those acid trips. The nonsense maker leaned up against a lamp post nonchalantly.
The Doctor put his back against the sleek wall of the building. The kid's eyes went from "John Smith" to the glass door. Tony could still see his assistant, probably even signal him—assuming he didn't already have devices for that. Smart kid.
"About the robot," the Doctor started off, "that's some pretty advanced tech and mechanics. Especially for a twelve-year-old. What made you decide to construct something of that magnitude for a silly science fair project?"
"Teach says it's my ego. I blame it on daddy issues and not enough Transformer toys." He pouted. "They wouldn't let me call him Optimus Prime. Can you believe that?"
"Looks more like an ape made out of iron than something that transforms into a car."
"Well, that's the next goal."
The Doctor truly hoped that the remark was meant in jest and he didn't accidently rewrite history for the third time. If Stark put his mind to it, Transformers was possible.
The ever present Stark Smirk hadn't left his cocky face. "John Smith is a fairly common name. Do you mind if I call you John?" He didn't wait for answer. "I'm sure my glorified babysitter is searching your name and a magazine at this very moment. A very well trained ape, but an ape nonetheless. May I see your paper again, John?"
The Doctor complied.
"Still the same as before," murmured Tony. "I suggests Bond's go-to guy for gadgets for better results. Perhaps Stark Industry. We're very advance."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Playing stupid, a tactic that occasionally yields results. Well, let me be blunt, your paper is as blank as the innerworkings of my peers and babysitter. Ah, but he saw something I didn't. Perhaps your tech is more advanced that my aforementioned credit."
"Higher working minds tend to be harder to fool with psychic paper."
A comment which sent Tony basking in his ego.
"You aren't from around here. What are you after? Like I said earlier, I won't be spilling any home recipes, but it seems you have something tastier." A wolfish, hungry grin spread his cheeks. There also might have been evil cat stroking, if Tony had been given the chance. "And I'm positive that's only the icing."
The Doctor laughed. "You lot," he breathed between chuckles, "such infinite curiosity; so driven to the unknown. You can always dazzle a man when he's feeling down on his luck."
The Doctor wanted nothing more than to tell the child of the future, of the changes Stark will lead, the evil he will defeat. He wants to warn him. He didn't wish to alter the course of history, but the eager, earnest face did not help to dissuade him.
"I travel through space and time in a blue police call box called the TARDIS."
"Impossible," the Tony breathed, soft and unsure.
And the Doctor smirked. "
"Maybe, just maybe, you'll find me years from now. Maybe hundreds of years, and I'll still be wearing this same ugly mug."
It didn't take a hundred years for the Doctor to see Tony again. He popped up at Tony's and Pepper's wedding reception. Tony didn't recognize the man in the bow-tie when the guy handed his wife a gift with an over the top bow on it. He shrugged the incident off, downed a glass of scotch, and watched Bruce getting flustered on the dance floor.
It wasn't until nights later, when he's in the process of drinking Thor's fine gift ale, did him and his wife go through the list. Well, he's lounging on the sofa while she calls out names.
"Who's this Doctor person?"
Attached to the box was a blue card with: From the Doctor, to the boy who built Optimus Prime.
Shaking, maybe from booze or excitement, Stark had Pepper delicately open the box.
"This person sends you half a blue-print for a wedding," she deadpanned as she handed it to him. "Do you even know what's it to?"
"Not a damn clue."
And her husband lit up like a kid on Christmas.