Chapter 1: The Letter
Tony looked at the letter in his hand one more time, glanced up the wall helplessly and then down at the letter to read it for the tenth time. He had met the beautiful red head one night in a bar in central London, she was drinking depressed over the fact that her husband had been caught kissing another woman and that she didn't think they could reconcile it. She had been drinking, crying over her 'ruined marriage' and he had been drinking celebrating his first night in England. They had just closed the deal with England to update their defense systems and he had wanted some company.
He had always had a weakness for beautiful red heads, especially smart beautiful red heads, and Lily Potter had been that. The fact that she was technically married, well, that had never stopped him before…especially when he was drunk. Their few days together had been a blur of drunken pleasure and were one of his more memorable trysts since Lily had been so firmly mysterious. He hadn't managed to find out anything about her, no records after her eleventh birthday, and not one slip in their haze of satisfaction later.
Lily had just been one of those women that had been hard to forget, he had been fascinated and he had been sad to see her go to try to reconcile with her husband. Tony had even fancied himself in love with her for a bit before cooler heads had prevailed. He hadn't given their days together a second thought but now that he thought about it…there had been one or two times were he hadn't used…protection. Usually he was so careful about that…so careful… plenty of women had been after the Stark fortune in one form or another for him not to take precautions.
But Lily was a passionate woman, honest were it counted and almost heart breakingly genuine. The woman hadn't even been with anyone else besides her husband before Tony had seduced her. It had been unbelievable that a woman as beautiful as her had never been touched by more than one man. It had been a crime! It had relaxed his guard, she was just so vibrant, and innocent.
It crushed his heart reading this letter because it only meant one thing.
'If your reading this letter it means that I'm dead, along with my husband, and now you're my only hope…'
That beautiful, smart, vibrant, innocent woman was dead.
'I was pregnant…I wasn't ever going to tell you…you have a son…his name is Harry James Potter.'
He was a father, Lily was dead, and there was a baby out there that needed him.
'James and I were going to raise him as our own. James didn't want to tell you…I agreed because I didn't want you to think we wanted anything from you.'
The important question was where was his son now?
'If things go as I suspect they will, you should find Harry at my sister's, Petunia Dursley. She lives at Number 4 private drive, Little Whining, England.'
What was he going to do with a baby? He'd never even had a dog growing up, what was he going to do with a kid? Children had always made him uncomfortable; they were just so…babyish. Babies were like a blank hard drive that you can download with a whole lot of junk if you're not careful and Tony had never been described as careful. What was he going to do with a baby?
For a moment he contemplated leaving him with Lily's sister but it was dismissed in a second. That was his son, his baby, and Tony wasn't known for being able to share well. Which started a new line of thought entirely, what could he do with a baby? Well, he certainly needed to at least do a blood test to confirm it was his kid to begin with that was a start. Then, if the baby was his he was going to need things a baby needed, clothes, toys, cribs, food, and diapers.
He shivered at the thought of diapers…he was going to need a nanny. Someone who would be discrete, under contract to keep her silence, and he had to look for someone who wouldn't try seducing him or using the baby to get to him. Thorough background checks would need to be done, obviously. The thought of clothes had Tony imagining dressing the baby in matching outfits with him like his own mini-me. The cocky smile that brought made that a definite plan; he would need an exact replica of his wardrobe in baby form!
He laughed, "Jarvis have Happy schedule the jet to be ready in an hour. I'm going to England." Tony said as he began to move around getting ready.
"Yes sir, shall I alert Miss Potts to your departure?" Jarvis said in return.
"Ah, yeah no! Strictly a stealth mission Jarvis, In and out with no one the wiser." Tony said as he contemplated what to wear when he went to get his baby. What does one wear to go pick up a baby you didn't know about until the mother's death? Was it a formal occasion? Or could you get away with something more casual?
Driving through Private drive in Little Whinging was probably rated at the top of the most likely to never ever do again in his most horrible experiences list. Tony didn't understand the need for a place that every house looked exactly like the house beside it down to the way the grass was cut and the color of the trim. It was the most monotonous sight Tony had ever had the displeasure of seeing in England and it was something he would gladly avoid doing again in the future.
He decided right then that even if the kid wasn't his he would take him and get him away from this Stepford wives nightmare. When they pulled up to Number four Private Drive Tony made Happy get out and double check that it was the right place…just to be sure they hadn't gotten lost in this twilight zone nightmare.
Petunia Dursley was probably the most foul tempered woman Tony had ever met, and that was saying something. It was amazing to think that beautiful kind Lily could have an evil horse faced ugly sister…it made Tony nervous over what other unpleasant surprises could be in Lily's genetic line. Perhaps a full bout of test were in order, all the hereditary diseases, all the environmental ones and all the rest he could think of were in order. The house was kept almost clinically clean and if the smell of bleach was anything to go by Tony was going to have to get the baby tested since the smell alone seemed to have killed a lot of brain cells in Petunia's child.
Tony very nearly groaned in relief when Petunia said she had to get Harry from upstairs as she had put him down for a nap. For a moment Tony had been scared that beach ball that Petunia said was a baby had been Harry…Tony decided that test needed to be underway as soon as possible. He certainly didn't want to contemplate the horror of finding out that Harry had inherited or was carrying any of the genes he had seen so far.
Petunia roughly handed him the sleeping baby when she came back, and Tony was so surprised it took him a moment to situate them both. Then Tony got his first look at Harry and very nearly slumped to the floor in relief, he looked so beautiful. Harry had his wild black hair, his nose, but Lily's mouth. Harry was still sleeping like a rock so Tony couldn't tell what color his eyes were but he hoped Harry had managed to get his mother's eyes. Lily had the most beautiful big green eyes Tony had ever seen and it would be a shame to not have those in the world with Lily's death.
After Petunia had shoved a blanket in his hands she practically shoved Tony and Harry out the door. When he asked, she said that the blanket and the pajamas where the only thing she had gotten when they 'left Harry on her doorstep like spoiled milk'. Tony was more than happy to go and Happy only looked mildly surprised to see him carrying a baby…Happy had been his driver long enough to know when to not ask any questions.
Lucky Harry drooled a bit as he was sleeping and Tony got to run the blood test to prove the little guy was his to begin with. Not that he doubted Lily's claims but he rather be certain than left wondering. A few minutes later Tony was wondering why he was surprised to see the confirmation and why that left him with a rising sense of panic. He was a Dad.
It took almost the entire ride to the airport to for that fact to really sink in and for Tony to manage to get his nerves under control. Oh, he was still in a blind fear mode about whether he would be a good dad or not…but at least now he was functioning. Harry was beginning to stir as the jet took off but Tony was busy getting all the documents lined up with on hand to notice. He got a birth certificate, his guardianship of Harry handled, and he had sent out a few emails he needed to handle before they touched down in LA.
So it startled Tony when a very small baby voice suddenly said by his ear, "Hiii." Tony turned and saw the biggest pair of emerald green eyes looking up at him and his heart suddenly felt too big for his chest at the same time it squeezed painfully. Tony had never been one to believe in love at first sight, seemed like only something superficial could come of that but now he was a believer. He loved the small boy in his arms more than he had ever loved anyone in his life…including himself and he was very fond of himself.
"Hi," Tony said surprised at how choked his voice sounded…he refused to acknowledge that burning build up behind his eyes that could only be tears. "I Harwee, you?" Harry said smiling. Tony noticed that he had almost all his teeth with some surprise, in fact he realized he knew very little about babies and their expected growth.
"You?" Harry said again as he put his tiny hand on his face to get his attention, Tony noted how tiny his hand seemed in comparison with some fear he realized how fragile Harry was. "I'm…uhhhhh…"Tony began before floundering…he didn't feel like he had earned the title 'daddy' yet but that was what he was…he didn't know what to say. "I'm your daddy," Tony said resigned.
Harry looked confused for a moment before he looked at Tony very seriously, or at least as seriously as a baby could Tony thought. "You Daddwee?" Harry said as if he was genuinely considering Tony for the role. "Okawee," Harry said simply as he patted his hand on Tony's cheek. Tony felt his heart do that disturbing growing squeeze thing again and wondered if this would become a habit. Harry settled down in his lap after a while and quickly became more fascinated with Tony's laptop than with Tony. Tony was happy to show him how to use the paint program he had quickly downloaded for Harry and they had a blast drawing funny looking shapes.
Tony was convinced by touchdown that Harry was a genius like his dear old dad and was already making plans for hiring a team of advance tutors. No public or private school was good enough for Tony…even his old private school had been substandard in Tony's opinion…not that his father had listened to him. Tony was determined to give his son only the very best, and privately he admitted that unlike his own father Tony wasn't too keen on sending his son away for school.
It had only been a few hours together, only a few broken conversations as Tony tried to interpret baby talk valiantly and still Tony admitted that with every passing minute he had fallen more and more in love with Harry. His little boy was just so perfect, so smart, so silly, Harry's laugh was probably the happiest thing he had ever heard. By the time Happy got them home Harry was passed out in Tony's arms and Tony was quietly glad the crib hadn't arrived yet. He didn't want to let the little guy go.
So while Harry slept peacefully in Tony's arms Tony had Jarvis track down exact replicas of his entire wardrobe in baby sizes. Tony freely admitted he went a little crazy on the clothes, his tailor had been very confused at the order for replicas of his custom (very expensive suits) but Tony didn't actually care. He had Jarvis download a practical library in baby rearing booking onto his tablet and then he had settled down into his favorite couch with Harry to read.
Eventually he got distracted by surfing the web for a whole arsenal of toys for Harry when he came across possibly the most adorable pajama set for Harry. It was footy pajamas that were styled to make Harry look like the ewoks from Star Wars and he had to order one for Harry…then of course he had to get a set for himself to keep up with his mini me image. Then he decided that the toys out there simply weren't good enough for Harry and started to make plans to make his own versions.
Before Tony knew it the sun was coming up and Harry was waking up. A few minutes later Tony was never so happy that Lily had been an ambitious woman and had potty trained Harry already. Though Tony knew he would need diapers Asap before any accidents happened. "So mini-me what would you like for breakfast?" Tony asked. Harry's face screwed up a bit in the cutest thinking face Tony had ever seen…not that he'd ever, ever tell anyone that….
"Boobarwee Pancakawees?" Harry said. Tony smiled, "You got it champ!" Privately ecstatic that his baby seemed to love blueberries as much as he did and Tony got to work making pancakes. Tony had never been so grateful that Pepper had insisted on stocking his kitchen despite his protests. Making blueberry pancakes with Harry's 'help' was an experience…Tony didn't think he had laughed that hard in a long time. By the end they were both covered in flour, somehow Tony had gotten blueberries in his hair and Harry's face was dyed purple in damning evidence of his blueberry poaching.
They enjoyed their fruits of their labor happily after that, though Tony kept the syrup away from Harry somehow they both managed to end up sticky with it nonetheless. So Tony decided that the next step was of course a bath, Harry was excited for bath time and Tony felt childishly enthusiastic about it too. Needless to say by the end there were bubbles everywhere (even on the ceiling) and they both had wild hair.
Since Harry's clothes hadn't arrived yet Tony put him in one of his Ac/Dc shirts that he had a multiple of and donned the same one himself. The shirt was ridiculously big on Harry managing to slide off one shoulder even though Tony had bunched it in the back. The picture Harry made was very adorable, and Tony was happy to concede to Harry's request to play the 'draweeg gam' again. This time of course he had the holoscreen at his disposal so they were just crouched down on the ground drawing 3D interactive doodles laughing hysterically when Pepper came storming in.
She was lecturing him about not showing up to a meeting with the French foreign dignitaries half way through her rant before she noticed Harry and stopped. "Hello," She said to Harry confused before she rounded on Tony with a pointed look that plainly said 'explain or die'.
"Pepper this is Harry, Harry this is Pepper, Harry is my son I found out about yesterday," Tony said with typical blasé attitude. "Hiiii," Harry said waving at Pepper.
"Well, I wish I could say I'm surprised but I have been expecting something like this to come up for a while," Pepper said sighing as she plumped down on the couch. "So how much of a fight are we looking at for custody?" Pepper said as she scrolled through her vast contact list looking for a lawyer willing to put up with Tony.
"None," Tony said as he passed Pepper Lily's letter before going back to play with Harry. Pepper to her credit only looked like she was gonna cry for a moment after reading it and then she got down to business. "Well, we'll need a nanny…can't very well bring Harry into board meetings," Pepper began as she got up to pace.
"One that will be discreet, won't try to seduce you, and will look out for Harry…should we hire a bodyguard as well? Harry will be a much easier kidnapping victim then you," Pepper listed as she scrolled madly through her phone not noticing how pale Tony got as he picked Harry up protectively. "Maybe I can find a male nanny with combat training? You don't seduce men too do you?" Pepper asked eyeing Tony who tried his best to look indignant at her line of questioning. (There had been that one time in college but she didn't need to know that!)
"Okay, so male nanny, combat training, who won't try to seduce Tony…hmmm…maybe two combat trained nannies so they can rotate shifts? I assume you already got clothes for Harry coming," She paused to see his nod and moved on, "so baby food, need to child proof the house, and some toys for him," Pepper mumbled.
"Hey! I'm gonna make him his own custom toys," Tony interrupted. Pepper looked at him critically in the eye, "Nothing that explodes, launches projectiles or as sharp corners Tony," She ordered. Tony nodded but silently pouted inside.
A.N. So this one has been buzzing around in my head for a while. Lol I would place this happening about thirteen years before the events of Iron Man 1. Robert Downy Jr. was actually in his mid forties when he shot those movies so I think it is fair to say this happened in his late twenties early thirties when he reclaimed the company from Obadiah. Young and foolish I would say, lol but this is pure Tony. Also, considering Tony Stark built himself a mini-arc reactor out of a box of scrapes in a cave I would say that technology is more advanced in a world with Tony stark as a result of him just being him.