Chapter 3: Fighting EMP
Pepper had gotten used to walking into a lot of strange situations since becoming Tony Starks 'go to girl' and had thought there were very few things that could surprise her anymore. However, as she stared at the picture before her Pepper thought maybe she had been wrong. As was becoming an increasing habit she took out her phone and snapped a few pictures before she started talking alerting Tony and Harry to her entrance.
Tony was sitting in a chair in nothing but red and gold tighty whiteys with a pair of white socks on his feet. Harry was in an identical get up on the table rubbing his cute baby belly and fidgeting. Tony was in the process of scanning Harry with various instruments while Jarvis was displaying incomprehensible (at least to Pepper) stats on the holopad. "Do I want to know?" Pepper asked.
Tony just continued scanning Harry saying, "About what? The outfits or the scans?"
"Both I suppose," Pepper said.
"Well, I guess the outfits are because of the scans. The clothes Harry was wearing were interfering with my readings so they had to go. Harry has noticed the established trend of our matching outfits and insisted that my clothes had to go too. Naturally I agreed to his logically deductive argument." Tony said as he had Harry open his mouth for a saliva sample.
"Ok so what are you scanning him for? I thought we agreed after the Christmas Eve fever scare that you would get a private physician for him that would make house calls or rather you would call me to arrange it." Pepper said as she shuffled the folders in her hands.
"I'm scanning Harry because he seems to be the origin of the random EMP attacks on the electronics in the house." Tony said as he snipped some hair off of Harry's head.
Pepper looked at Tony in disbelief, "Ok so what? Harry's sending out EMP waves…how?" she said.
"That's the point of the scans, to find out how, so that we can either find a way to stop it or protect the tech." Tony said helping Harry hop down from the table before he finally turned to give Pepper his attention. "On the bright side the army has been bugging me to find a way to shield against EMPs since that incident in Cuba so if I do finally work a way around it we have a new contract with the potential for extreme profit." Tony said smugly.
"I've been trying to get you motivated to work on that for months!" Pepper said indignantly.
"Well maybe you should work on your motivational skills, Harry has been a great motivator on this issue by terrorizing Jarvis, and destroying half the Christmas gifts I got for him. He was very upset by that and I'm finding his tears are great motivators of innovation for me. I already have something in the works to protect Jarvis and now I just have to figure out a way to shield the rest." Tony said smirking.
Pepper sighed, "Next time I'll be sure to threaten your toys to make sure you're more motivated to invent." Pepper said slyly. Tony quickly realizing what he had just done looked at her in horror before shaking his head at himself. "On a side note I finally have two nanny/bodyguards that I think are suitable." She said as she handed him two folders.
Tony opened them and said, "Andy Anderson and Jed I. Knight? Seriously?" he gave Pepper a look then that had her laughing.
"Seriously, Andy is the oldest of seven siblings has a lot of experience with childcare and was just honorably discharged from the air force due to injuries. Apparently you can't fly jets with a broken neck, but don't worry he is fully functional. He can walk and everything just can't turn his head very well anymore. Jed retired from the marines two years ago and has two teenagers. He is still in shape and has a lot of experience with children." Pepper said professionally.
"Alright, but I get free rein to harass them. Seriously, Mr. Anderson," Tony said with his best Mr. Smith voice, "And Jed I. Knight?" he continued with his best Yoda impersonation. Pepper just smiled laughing.
Tony rushed into his house hearing Harry's cries like a bullet straight into his heart. Anderson was looking harried doing a whole list of things to try and get Harry to calm down. Nothing seemed to be working and the sight of Tony only had Harry crying harder arms outstretched. Tony tried to get to him as quickly as possible but there were a whole slew of discarded toys in his way. The screaming picked up tempo and suddenly Tony found himself flying through the air landing in a heap besides Harry who crawled into his lap sniffling and whimpering.
Soon Harry calmed down and passed out energy drained from his all morning tantrum. Tony looked at Harry in surprise; his son's eyes were red and puffy. A trail of snot was draining from his tiny nose and Tony was sure that his little guy had a death grip on his now damp designer shirt. Tony looked to Anderson in confusion, mind strangely blank as he tried to comprehend what had just occurred. "Did my son just telepathically summon me across the room?" He asked Anderson incredulously.
Anderson was slumped on the ground, surrounded by toys, looking almost as lost as he felt and said, "Yeah…I think he did."
That seemed to snap Tony out of his daze and he situated himself better on the couch adjusting Harry so he was more comfortable. "What the hell happened?" Tony asked as he took in the hurricane mess that was his house.
"I tried everything on your list, the happy dance, tag, star wars, the building games, the jet game, color time, crafts, blueberries…everything! But as soon as he realized you weren't in the house anymore…I'd say about forty five minutes after you left…Harry went ballistic. Nothing…and I mean nothing seemed to be able to calm him down," Anderson said sadly as he began picking up the scattered toys.
Tony rocked Harry as his little boy whimpered in his sleep and the grip he had on his t-shirt got impossibly tighter. "Is it normal for kids to be so…well you know!" Tony asked as he took out his smart phone texting back Pepper.
Anderson looked at him and then sighed, "It is when they are used to having you around all the time, Harry will learn to be okay being away from you but it will take time…and a lot more tantrums before he will. My little sister Esme took four months before she could spend the day away from our mom without a major tantrum." He said as he began shoveling toys into the toy box.
His arms tightened as his heart clenched at the thought of having to hear Harry cry so inconsolably for so long. Tony wasn't sure what he was supposed to do, he couldn't take his little guy into business meetings and he certainly couldn't leave him home. Jarvis was programmed to give him a live feed if Harry started crying and Tony refused to adjust it. What if Harry got hurt and he needed him? Or Anderson turned out to be some psycho? He had to protect Harry!
Then there was the whole…telepathy thing…Anderson and Knight were under a mile long non-disclosure contract that insured they wouldn't be able to speak about anything having to do with Harry. So Tony wasn't so concerned about them blabbing to the wrong people about his son having powers…but Tony knew the military. He had grown up listening to his dad's stories (not that his dad knew) and Tony wasn't a fool. If they could get their hands on someone who they could make another viable 'super solider' serum from…well they would stop at nothing.
Tony had looked into Steve Rogers…how could he not? His father had spent most of his life looking for the guy's corpse, missing birthday for expeditions, graduations for research, and largely the man had been obsessed. It still left a bitter taste in his mouth thinking about the elusive Steve Rogers…the world's first super hero. Not because Tony had anything against the man…on the contrary Tony admired him to some extent…no Tony was bitter about his father's single minded pursuit of the man.
Since Rogers' was K.I.A. the military had pursued trying to replicate the serum that had created the man with a single minded voracity that was frankly alarming. Tony had point blank refused to pick up where his old man left off trying to unlock that particular secret…it was just too…cold. There was a laundry list of people who died slowly and very horribly from the military's attempts and Tony had enough red in his ledger from his weapon's manufacturing without adding this to his conscious.
The military had exhausted the blood that they had taken from Rogers…there was none left now to try and extract the secrets of the formula from. Tony had hoped that without that the human experimentation would slowly die off…but if the military got their hands on another with extraordinary talents…his arms tightened around Harry involuntarily. Well, Tony would make sure that never…ever…happened. He turned steel eyes on Anderson, "Needless to say everything that happened today will be forgotten by you…otherwise the consequences will be more than what you can imagine…" Tony said as he left the threat unsaid.
Anderson paled, no doubt cataloguing the very, very, long list of weapons Tony had access to…not to mention the technology and political connections…it would be very easy for him to make someone disappear. Anderson nodded seriously falling unconsciously into a military at ready pose as he nodded seriously. "You have my word…on my honor sir…that I shall never speak of this again," he said. Tony nodded in satisfaction.
There was much to be done now, he would have to figure out a way to have Harry close but remain undiscovered. Besides, Harry's birthday was coming up in a month and Tony wanted everything to be prefect by then. That meant that he needed to work out the last few glitches on his EMP protective wraps so that Harry could actually enjoy the things he was going to make for him. For now, Tony decided he would postpone going back into work for another day and spend the rest of the day with his little mini-me.
He let Anderson finish cleaning up the house and changed into something more comfortable. Harry was wearing his Ewok pajamas still so Tony changed into that and settled down to enjoy a nap with him. When they both woke up around lunch time Tony pointedly ignored Anderson's barely stifled chuckles and played 'name that food' with Harry. Tony wasn't sure what his life had been before his baby boy had stormed into it…but he was sure of one thing…he couldn't ever go back to the way it had been. And he didn't want to either.
Pepper was snapping pictures like crazy and made Jarvis take a lot alongside her as well. Harry was in Tony's lap and they were surrounded on all sides by prettily wrapped presents. The tiny party was Star Wars themed and everyone was in costume. Tony was dressed as Hans Solo, Harry was a mini Hans Solo, Pepper had somehow been roped into dressing as Princess Laya, Happy was making Chewbacca sounds from inside his fully decked out costume. Jed was dressed up as Obi one, and Anderson was at his side in a storm trooper get up.
All the presents were wrapped in Star Wars wrapping paper and Harry clapped happily every time Tony handed him one. Tony kept having trouble convincing Harry to take his presents and open them. Because Harry, being the incredibly sweet boy he is, kept trying to give his presents away to them. Tony finally got Harry to open one and it was a miniature replica of a light saber. Pepper was only mildly surprised when it turned out to be fully functional and Harry waved it around batting at presents giggling.
Tony was smirking until he saw her face and then he smiled sheepishly, "Don't worry! I locked the cutting function; it is as harmless as those god awful foam bat things." He said only to flinch as her eyes narrowed further.
"But there is a cutting option, Tony!" Pepper hissed but pulled herself back when Harry blinked up at her questioningly. Pepper just softly handed Harry another present to distract him and glared furiously at Tony who shrugged unrepentantly. Still, the fact that the light saber didn't blow up in a cloud of black smoke let Pepper know that Tony finally perfected his EMP shield. She began calculating when they should release the latest model and how much they should charge on it.
Pepper put all that out of her mind when Harry tried to give her another present and she had to spend a good twenty minutes convincing him that it was actually his. Then she got caught up snapping pictures again and contemplating compiling a photo album when she got a particularly endearing picture of Harry smearing Birthday cake all over Tony's face. It had been made to look like the Death Star and Harry was having a particularly gleeful time pretending he was Luke Skywalker blowing it up.
Tony had made them all light sabers so that they could play with Harry with them…Pepper would forever deny that tiny fan girl squeal when she got her own blue light saber. They had a blast doing mock battles…Harry won every one of course but it was still a lot more fun than any of them had expected. Pepper decided it wasn't so bad behaving childishly every so often. Obadiah sent Harry a card with a gift card to amazon that Pepper was a little miffed about since he didn't bother showing up.
He had taken that Tony had a (technically illegitimate) son rather well but Pepper could tell the man was uncomfortable. He made his excuses though, Obadiah had never had any children (never would if he had anything to say about it) and was decidedly uncomfortable dealing with small children. Tony let him keep his distance because Harry didn't seem to like him much though none of them could quite figure out why. As a pillow went zooming across the room Pepper ducked and was jolted out of her thoughts.
Since the first incident Tony had relayed to her about Harry moving him across the room Harry had shown a whole variety of unusual powers, from what appeared to be telepathy to transforming things into other things. Harry had turned her hair from its natural strawberry blonde to a very deep crimson red that she hadn't been able change. Her hair dresser was going slightly mad over it so Pepper had stopped trying a few days back.
Harry even seemed to be able to make things out of thin air…well that wasn't how Tony had put it but it was baffling nonetheless. Tony was having a field day trying to replicate Harry's feats and experimenting/encouraging Harry to do more. Harry was enjoying himself, though they both were a little concerned about how draining it seemed to be for Harry. Not to mention that Harry had managed to teleport himself into Tony's office one day when he was throwing a tantrum…so security was a real nightmare. Tony was sleeping even less than usual trying to figure out a way to attach a Jarvis/tracking system to Harry.
He was down to a few prototypes that looked like thin sliver bracelets but Tony was still having a problem with it fraying when introduced to long exposure to Harry's skin. If Pepper knew anything Tony wouldn't want to sell his EMP shielding system until he could manage to make one that could last through prolonged close exposure to Harry's skin. Though Pepper doubted Tony would sell that version to the military. Harry's abilities were becoming a major concern for them not only because of the whole teleporting business…it was a concern since Harry seemed to be trying to replicate the feats of Jedi from Star Wars with frightening accuracy.
Already Harry had managed to use that 'Jedi mind trick thing' to get Jed to bring him to Tony's office and Anderson was reporting a suspicious gap in his memory as to how he had ended up painted purple one day. At the rate Harry was going, with him as well as dealing with Tony, Pepper was sure she would be getting premature grey hairs soon. Then Harry ran up and insisted she hold him for the rest of the night pointedly ignoring Tony's pouting. Pepper knew that no matter what, there was no way she could leave this little guy because later that night as she tucked him in he had grabbed her fingers in his tiny hand and said "Night mumma." Her heart very nearly exploded in her chest and Pepper had to stubbornly fight back tears.
Harry was just one of those kids that got right at your heart, it was hard not to love him and so Pepper didn't even try. She kissed his forehead and was gifted with a sight she had never thought she would see, a blushing Tony. Something about his warm expression and his uncharacteristic red cheeks made her blush in return. "Well, I am the only woman that has been around Harry for months…its natural he would get confused…his mother was a red head too wasn't she?" Pepper rambled.
Tony cleared his throat, "Uh, yeah," then he blushed, "I don't mind him calling you that but if you do I'll talk to him." He offered.
"No!" Pepper cringed at her loud voice and whispered, "No! That's okay, I don't mind," then she blushed and wondered why.
A.N. Here it is! The much demanded update! Lol Thanks to all my wonderful reviewers! You guys are seriously motivating! Thanks for giving my story a chance! On another note I am super excited to say that I will be launching my Kickstarter page for my children's book soon! Kickstarter dot com is a site where you can raise the funds you need for projects! I'm hoping to get enough support that I'll be able to print the first limited editions of my book myself before I send the work out to publishers! Super excited guys! Wish me luck! When I launch my page I'll put the link up on my profile so you guys can check it out! ^_^