Property of Marvel, Stan Lee, Disney I guess….
This is a story about Tiny!Tony and his Auntie Peggy. Prepare to be kicked so hard in the feels you'll piss blood.
A personal head canon- little Tony did everything in his power to make the people around him happy. He also wanted attention, and he might have thought making others happy would lead to getting loved. He was a high-energy, high-functioning child, and often caused many problems for babysitters, because he was so eccentric and seemingly out-of-control. Howard obviously didn't pay any attention to him, and I don't really know about Maria Stark… But Surely Howard must have kept in contact with Peggy Carter, right? Thus, did Peggy become an aunt. And how does tiny! Tony Stark try to make friends with his favorite aunt, and make her happy when she no longer has her captain?
Well let's find out.
Tony is Adorable.
(Or, the One where Tony Steals Steve's Dance Partner.)
Tony squirmed in his seat uncomfortably; he hated suits. He also hated when his father made him get all dressed up to go out to dinner with the company's business partners. He did like how pretty his mommy looked all dressed in red, with her pearl necklace clasped around her neck, and a smile on her face. But that was the only upside to dinner parties made for adults. (other than when Obie slipped him candy and small electronic parts beneath the table. Obie always knew when he needed to do something with his hands, before he started acting up).
However, this party was special. Daddy had told him earlier that Auntie Peggy was going to be there after the party, and she was staying for a whole week! Tony smiled widely. Auntie Peggy was nice and very pretty; she was always willing to play inventor, and Captain America, and whatever else he could think of. She even told him stories about Captain Rogers and the Howling Commandos! (if she got a sad, longing look in her eyes while talking about the captain- Steve, she always called him- Tony never mentioned it. His mother had told him not to, and that sometimes it was okay for grown-ups to be sad too.)
So Tony, sitting in his stiff, uncomfortable suit and tie, back straight, and hands clean of oil, dirt, and grime, sat at the table waiting impatiently for the night to end. The faster it did, the quicker he got to play with Auntie Peggy.
After what seemed like years but in reality was only a few agonizingly long hours, Jarvis was told to take Tony home. Tony didn't hesitate a moment, pausing only to kiss his mother goodnight and wave goodbye to his father, who was too absorbed in business to pay any attention. Tony was disappointed, but tried to hide it. Jarvis gave him a small smile, and led him to the waiting car.
Tony had been told that Auntie Peggy's plane would arrive very late in the night. He was supposed to be asleep by then, and no matter how hard he tried to weasel another half hour of staying awake, Jarvis was insistent. Tony grudgingly obliged to his caretaker's wishes after being promised that Auntie Peggy would be there in the morning (and also pancakes, because they were her favorite breakfast food, and Tony's.)
So Tony went to bed (after assuring himself that his flashlight would protect him from anything trying to steal him away in the night, and besides, nothing could break into his daddy's house- not even HYDRA or monsters) and lay there for hours, too excited to fall asleep. When he finally did it was in the wee hours of the morning, and his mother and father had come home. He could hear them arguing- his father slurring, and his mother scolding- at the top of their lungs.
When Tony woke up, he leaped from the bed at top speed, hurrying to the bathroom to take a quick bath, and then rushing to get dressed. He took the stairs two at a time, arms outstretched and making airplane noises (and missing the last five, because he wanted to fly, but Gravity decided not to agree with him, sending him to the ground with a loud thunk!).
He hit the ground hard, and though his eyes watered, he refused to cry. He could hear a woman's voice rising in concern from the kitchen. Tony wiped his eyes and sat up, to see bright red lips upturned in a smile. It was his mother, her eyes red from crying.
"Did daddy leave again?" Tony asked, knowing his mother only cried after his father left, for months at a time, or if they got in a fight.
His mother gave him a sad smile, and told him not to worry, that his father would be home soon. It would be a quick search, only a week.
"Besides, there's someone in the kitchen who's really excited to spend the week with you," His mother smiled, and Tony's face lit up brighter than a Christmas tree. He jumped up from his mothers lap, and ran into the kitchen, wiping out on the freshly waxed floor, and running into the wall, but quickly getting up again and continuing his mad rush.
Sitting at the kitchen table, cradling a cup of coffee and smiling despite the bags highlighting her brilliant eyes, and the sad glimmer of loss flickering in her irises, was Peggy Carter; Steve Roger's "right partner" and star-crossed lover.
"Auntie Peggy!" Tony squealed, launching himself into her arms with the strength of a small primate. She laughed and hugged him close.
"How's my favorite genius doing today?" She smiled, kissing Tony's forehead, and listening patiently as Tony described his life with all the energy a high-energy, spirited four-year-old could muster, pausing only to breath quickly.
"-And I built a robot puppy! Because mommy said real ones were too messy! But daddy said it was useless and dumb, and I dismantled it because he didn't like it and was real mad. But I rebuilt it because Jarvis liked him, and I can show you because you're here now and we're going to have so much fun this week!" Tony rambled, grinning excitedly, eyes wide and hopeful.
Peggy kept smiling, angrily (and inwardly) cursing Howard's treatment of Tony's inventions. Maria at least attempted to encourage Tony, even if the child was hard to handle. Howard either ignored his son or yelled at him, never once praising the boy for his work- which was far more advanced than any boy in college could build. let alone a little boy.
"Tony, will you show me your puppy? I would like to see him, and the circuit board you' mentioned. I bet they're fantastic!" Peggy said, and the boy beamed as if he'd never received a compliment in his life. He jumped off Peggy's lap and grabbed her hand, leading her into his playroom-turned laboratory.
It was the third day of Auntie Peggy's visit, and the two had had a whole lot of fun. They visited a museum, and a zoo (but left early, because Tony said the animals made him feel sad because they were trapped in cages.) Tony showed her the robot he was building, that looked like a tank, but small, and didn't have any shooting capeabilities. However it did move around rathr quickly, and Tony said he had a microphone inside of it, so he could record people's conversations.
"Tony, you know that's not a good thing to do," Peggy chided, although a smile graced her face.
"Yeah, but how else are JARVIS and I going to play secret agent? Or listen in on evil HYDRA conversations? Like Captain Rogers?" Tony said, as if it were the most obvious reason in the world.
Peggy chuckled, scooping the boy into her lap and tickling him until he was breathless with giggles. They lay on the floor in silence for a while, staring at the ceiling. Tony looed into his aunt's eyes, and even though there was a red- rimmed smile on her face, her eyes told a different story. They looked, to a four-year-old's mind, sad. As if she were about to cry. Tony didn't understand why; didn't aunty Peggy like playing with him? He pondered this thought for a few moments.
"How about some lunch sweetie?" Peggy asked, sitting up. Tony nodded following her into the kitchen. Tony didn't mention anything, but the sad, empty, far-away look in his Aunt's eyes was permenantly etched into his mind. He pondered why she would be so sad in his mind long after lunch was eaten.
Later that night, after he and his aunt played some more, and after dinner and dessert were eaten and cleaned up, and after Tony was in his pajamas and ready for bed, he asked a very serious question.
"Auntie Peggy?" he asked, his voice soft.
"Why are you so sad?" the look in Tony's eyes was purely innocent and his voice was laced with concern; Peggy Carter was a little taken aback. She crawled onto her nephew's bed, scooting the little boy over so she could fit, and began to card her fingers through his hair.
"Does your daddy ever tell you about the War?" She asked, as Tony waited for her to begin to tell her story.
"Yeah! All the time! He says he helped save lots of people, and he was a hero!" Tony said, quietly, but enthusiastically.
"Has he ever mentioned Captain America to you?" Peggy asked, smiling a little bit.
"Uh-huh! All the time! "specially when he's angry and wants me out of his lab," The little boy responded, a little more subdued, but still happy, "Mommy says the Captain was the bravest and the strongest and the kindest."
"Yes, Captain America was all of those things… but I bet your daddy never told you about the man behind the hero, right?" Tony shook his head, cocking it to the side in curiosity.
"Well, before he was Captain America, he was a tiny, scrawny kid from Brooklyn…."
Tony listened to his aunt tell the story of Steve Rogers, the real Captain America, with his full attention. He was thoroughly amazed with how brave Rogers was, giving himself up for experimentation, all for his country, and to beat up bullies. His eyes grew wide when Peggy told him how much he hated the tours as a propaganda tool; a puppet manipulated by the media when he should have been out fighting. He knew of Captain America's adventures in Europe from stories and books he heard and read, but never from someone this close to the captain (his father was friends with Steve, but not as closely as Peggy was.).
"And then, Steve jumped onto Schmidts' fleeing airship, which was loaded with deadly missiles to be launched at every major capital in the world. He kissed me goodbye before he left…" auntie Peggy trailed off here, the sad look coming back.
"Auntie Peggy…. Was Steve your boyfriend?" Tony asked, shifting so he was cuddles up to Peggy's side.
Peggy's heart nearly cracked at that question. She looked down at her nephew, his big, brown eyes looking just as sad as hers must be. She thought about all the times she had visited, when she would pause and watch Tony; dreaming about all the little children that could have been- bright, blue-eyed children with her hair and Steve's nose.
"Yes…. He was my… My perfect dance partner," Peggy responded, her eyes prickling with tears, "But… you know the rest of the story Tony… Captain America went down with the plane… He saved the world but did not survive."
"But that's not all that happened…. Daddy never told me anything else… He never told e how he felt. And Captain America wasn't the only one who died then…" Tony added, gripping his Aunt's hand in his own. He realized now why she was always so secretly sad; she wanted to make babies with Steve Rogers, raise a kid like his daddy and his mommy were doing with him- she wanted to grow old with Steve Rogers, and die beside him. his auntie Peggy was lonely and heartbroken, and Jarvis had told him that wasn't a good thing.
"No Tony; Captain America wasn't the only one who died that day… Steve Rogers did too. I… I'm not sure I should tell you what happened after the plane took off-'
"Tell me!" Tony interrupted, "It made you sad, and I need to now so I can make you happy and have it not hurt your heart anymore!" His eyes were earnest and pleading; he looked like he might start crying. Peggy gave in to those chocolate eyes.
"Steve made radio contact after taking down Schmidt. He… he knew he wasn't going to make it. So he called to… to say good bye.
"Peggy," came the crackling voice over the radio.
"I'm here," She said, trying not to sob. Her voice wavered as she spoke.
"I'm gonna need a rain check on that dance."
Peggy choked back a sob, tears streaming freely from her eyes, "All right. A wee next Saturday at the Stork club," he voice cracked and she heard the rest of Steve's team shuffle around behind her.
"You've got it," Steve's own voice sounded strained, tired; she wasn't sure if it was the radio or if he himself were crying.
"Eight o' clock on the dot- Don't you dare be late. Understood?" She tried to make a joke, ease his pain, as well as her own.
"you know I still don't know how to dance," Steve said, a smile clearly written over the radio static. Peggy was shaking in sorrow at this point, trying adamantly not to have her voice tremble as she responded,
"I'll show you how, just be there," Was all she said, a desperate plea to both him and God hidden within such a simple statement.
"We'll have the band play something slow," he said, as the whistling and rushing on his end grew louder, "I'd hate to step on your-"
Steve was cut off as there was a loud crashing noise, and then the radio only spoke static.
"Steve? Steve!" Peggy cried into the headset, pale, trembling, and verging on hysterics. She called for him over and over, as Colonel Phillips turned and left, and as Jim Morita placed a hand on her shoulder. She sobbed that night, and for the nights after. Even on VE- Day, while everyone around her partied and celebrated, hugging in the destroyed streets of London, and while the Howling Commandos mourned the men they lost in a noisy bar down town. Peggy was alone; she would stay alone, mourning the life she could have had, if Steve hadn't crashed into the frozen sea.
"Those were his last words to me, Tony. And that's why I get sad sometimes," Peggy whispered, wiping a few tears off her face and tooling down.
Tony was crying silently beside her, gripping her hand tightly.
"You're sad because you miss him. That's why… I thought you were sad 'cause you didn't like me or something," He muttered the last part.
"I could never not like may favorite nephew! It's just… sometimes… when life doesn't turn out the way we want it to, grown- ups start thinking about what would happen if it things were different…. Sometimes when we play, I wonder what it would be like to have children of my own…. I miss him every day, Tony; I don't think I'll ever not miss him."
Tony was silent after that. Peggy had thought he had fallen asleep, and was about to leave the room, when Tony spoke up again.
"Auntie Peggy? Have you gone dancing since Captain Rogers went missing?" he asked sleepily.
Peggy gave him a sad, nostalgic look, kissing his forehead, "No… I haven't found the right partner." Tony gave her a nod, before finally falling asleep. Peggy left the room and got ready for bed herself, crying a little bit before finally falling into another sad night.
Steve was in her dreams all night. She dreamt of him, as a husband, a father, and a perfect dance partner. She dreamed of him coming home and playing with their beautiful children, much as she did with Tony today. Her children would play with Tony, and Steve would make sure he wasn't picked on, or bullied. Howard would be a better father now that he wasn't busy trying to find Steve. In her dreams, everything was happy.
She woke up feeling worse than when she went to bed. Her mind mourning all that could have been, but wasn't, and what the war had taken from her. Try as she might, Peggy could not move on. She walked to the kitchen to get herself some breakfast before waking Tony, but paused when she saw a note on the table, addressed to her.
Written in scrawled, four-year-old handwriting, in bright red, the letter said this;
"Dear Aunt Peggy,
Meet me in the big dining room where mommy and daddy have the Christmas party. Wear something pretty!
Oh, and please come at eight-o'-clock sharp.
(P.S- Don't be late!)
(P.P.S- don't come before eight!)
Peggy smiled a little at her nephew's antics. He was really something special, and it upset her to no end that Howard treated him as if he didn't exist. Tony was the sweetest, smartest little boy she had ever met, and she wished she could spend longer with him. She began to go about her day, waiting until seven pm to get ready for Tony's surprise. She put on a knee- length red dress, with matching heels, and walked downstairs.
Tony shifted impatiently from foot to foot as him mother began to fuss over his hair. He had worked very hard on his present for Auntie Peggy all day, and he wanted everything to be perfect for her, and apparently that included his hair being brushed. His mother smiled down at him sweetly.
"You are such a sweet boy, Tony! I'm sure she'll love her surprise!" she said, kissing his cheek and hugging him close as he attempted to squirm away.
"Mommy! I need to not get wrinkled!" He whined, as his mother laughed and set him down.
"Hurry up sweetie! You need to go wait for Auntie Peggy in the dining room!" she smiled, as Tony hurried out of the Bathroom.
Peggy opened the doors to the dining room and gasped. The entire room was decorated to look like a club house dance floor- or what one was supposed to look like, when decorated by an enthusiastic four- year- old, his butler, and his mother. The three had found a record player, and set it up in the corner of the room, where it was playing upbeat, jazzy dance music. Jarvis ushered her inside, where she found Tony, dressed in the uncomfortable suit he always complained about, waiting nervously for her on the dance floor.
"Auntie Peggy!" Tony exclaimed, grabbing her hand and dragging her over to the hard-wood floor.
"Tony! What's all this?" Peggy asked, completely surprised and flustered all at once.
Tony took a deep breath and began to explain, "Last night you were really sad, and I wanted to make you feel happy, and not lonely so I asked Mommy and Jarvis to help me make you a surprise! You and Captain Rogers didn't get to dance, and you were sad about that, so I thought maybe we could dance and you'd be less sad."
Peggy looked her nephew in the eyes. He was shifting nervously from foot to foot, as if she would yell at him or be angry with him. She wasn't of course; just shocked beyond words.
"Tony, you made all of this, for me?" She asked, softly. Tony nodded. Peggy's eyes bega to water.
"Don't cry! If you don't like it we can tae it down and play something else instead, and I', sorry I didn't want to make you more sad!" Tony cried out, horrified he made his aunt cry again. But Peggy laughed and drew him into A tight hug.
"Silly boy, I'm not crying because I'm angry or sad with you! This was so nice, Tony! I'm just so… so grateful and happy you would do this for me!" Peggy exclaimed, giving Tony a kiss on his cheek. Tony beamed with happiness.
"Do you want to teach me how to dance, Auntie Peggy?" Tony smiled, wrapping his arms around his aunt's neck and returning her embrace.
"Of course I'll teach you, Tony; you're my favorite nephew after all."
They danced until Tony's eyelids began to droop, and he started to yawn. Maria declared it was bedtime, and picked Tony up, moving toward the door. Peggy stopped her on the way out offering to tuck Tony in. Maria agreed.
Once in his room, Peggy sat him down on the bed, and met his eyes.
"Tony, tonight you did a very good thing. I want you to remember that," She said, a beautiful smile brightening her face. This time though, the smile reached all the way to her eyes, and erased the sad glint inside.
"I wanted you to feel happy. Because even if Captain Rogers is gone, he'd want you to be happy too," Tony yawned, fighting to stay awake. Peggy smiled, and kissed him on the forehead.
"You're a very kind boy Tony; you're smart, and nice, and the best little boy in the world. Even if Howard doesn't agree, you're going to be a good man one day; maybe even better than Captain America," Peggy smiled at him, stroking his hair as the little boy fell asleep, "Don't ever forget that, okay?"
" 'Kay…. You're not sad anymore, right?" Tony asked, half- asleep.
Peggy shook her head, pulling up the covers on Tony's bed, "No… Than you Tony; I'm feeling much better."
And she was. As her nephew fell asleep, she stood to leave, looking once more at his sleeping form. He was right; Steve wouldn't want her to dwell on the past. He'd want her to stop living in the "what might have beens" and move onto the "What will be's and what could be's". He would want her to keep living; he had sacrificed himself so that the world could live on, and that one kiss was enough for her. She would always love him, always miss him, but it was time to stop dwelling on lonesome endings and move on.
She shut the door to Tony's bedroom quietly; as she did so, she opened the door to a new beginning.
Golly that last line was cheesy. I think I may die of the cute. All righty then, property of Disney and Marvel, not me.