It was a really strange sort of reunion, full of distant smiles from the rest of the team, and the biggest smile across Steve's face. He was just waiting. Waiting for Howard to turn around and see him, but he didn't want to see to excited for it. He honestly wanted them to make nice, because sometimes he got the feeling Tony had truly hated his father.

He wouldn't believe it, though. He couldn't believe that someone like Howard could ever be hated, so he took it for pent up sadness. Maybe he missed up so much, he'd always just talked bad about him? To try and ignore the pain, and make it as though he didn't miss him.

That's the psychology he came up with, and stuck with it.

So he waited his turn, and as his father held him out to observe his child after so many years, there was some sort of confusion on his face. Actually, it was something all of them had wondered silently about. Everyone understood that it kept him alive somehow, and without it, he'd be dead. But no one knew the story, no one knew the science of it.

Except maybe the two SHIELD buddies, Barton and Nat.

"It's a long story…sir…"Tony suddenly said and Howard smiled his iconic smile.

"I don't have much else but time, as far as I see."

"I'll be contacting your son tomorrow, Mr. Stark. SHIELD needs you. But I'll give you a day, you'll be needing it."

Howard nodded curtly and Fury made his leave. While Howard was turned around, Tony managed to wipe tears that he'd been suppressing.

And then, Howard noticed him.

He grabbed his heart in shock and his eyes widened, "Y-You found him! Steve? Steve Rogers! They found you!"

He walked quickly over to him with a huge smile spread across his face, taking his hand roughly in his own and wrapping his other arm around him, he exclaimed, "Nice to see you again! My God, it's been so long! You haven't aged at all! Tell me, where were you, I had these readings-"

"He was in an iceberg, it's why we call him capsicle." Tony commented off-handedly with a small smile.

Howard turned around his face full of unsuspected anger by the others, "Anthony, that's not funny."

"You're right, it's actually hilarious." Tony laughed with a smile.

"Excuse me?" His eyes narrowed and Tony recalled where they left off.

When his father hopped aboard his airplane, he was only eighteen, swearing to his father he'd never be like him as he ran off to one of his supposed 'friends' houses to drink booze and avoid questions. In his father's mind, he was still that reckless eighteen year old boy who need some form of leash.

"Sorry, sir."

"That's more like it." He turned back around to Steve, "Sorry about my son, he's always been-"

"Don't worry about it, we're all used to it."

Howard turned around again, even angrier, "I leave for thirty years and you've made an ass to yourself to everyone? Oh my God, you're running Stark Industries now, aren't you…Good Lord what sort of name have you made for yourself under my reputation..?"

Tony was angry now, "Well for one, you can thank me, I stopped making all the war weaponry."

"What kind of son did I raise?"

"I was almost killed by our own products!"

"Why were you playing with them, Anthony? I told you time and time again they weren't toys."

"Remember the Jericho, Dad? Remember how, before you drove your plane right into the ground, how we used to talk about the Jericho and how great it'd be?"

"We were limited by the technology of our day, yes."

"It was possible in my day, and I built it for dear-old-dad. Just for old times sake, I built one of the most powerful bombs in all of the world. What a happy little novelty, so we could blow children's heads off in villages. I was just promoting it around in the deserts of Afghanistan when they hijacked all Stark weaponry. Know what they did with it? Blew up every fucking caravan! I was the only survivor! I was the reason why all those people died!"

Tony was on a roll, and in his mind a whole different place, miles and miles away from where he was in the Avengers Towers.

"A bomb blew not too far from where I was hiding, behind some little rock, as if that'd protect me. I woke up to somebody digging a hole into my chest with pieces of metal that could pass as dull knives and their fingernails! They were trying to get the shrapnel out. Didn't work. So what did they do? They put another piece of metal in my chest and hooked it up to a car battery."

"Magnetic repulsion.."

"Next thing I know, this guy's my best friend, some terrorists are beating the fuck out of me, and flaunting how much of our weapons they stole. So they tell me to recreate the Jericho with everything they've got. They kidnapped me to make weapons for them, but hell, it's what I'd been doing all along apparently."

Tony paused, remembering the desert sand, the thirst, the hunger, and the hopelessness.

"Did you do it?"

Surprisingly, this didn't come from his father, but from Steve. He'd almost forgotten the others were there.

He stumbled around a few letters in his throat and bit his lip, "No. I didn't. Instead, I made the Mark I with the help of the doctor I mentioned earlier, his name was Yin Sen."

"Wait, the Mark what?" Howard asked, his anger was gone and now, he was genuinely listening.

"The Mark I. I'll introduce you to that later…It's basically an armor suit with rocket boosters. It's really a piece of work."

"I'd…like to see it, Tony." He murmured with a gentle nod, it was obvious he felt bad. Maybe not for what he'd said only moments ago, but what he'd been saying for years to his only son.

The hatred he'd always expressed hadn't been intentional.

Howard took a breath, "So, you escaped with this Yin Sen? With this Mark I?"

"I used the Mark I, yeah. But…" He paused, he looked almost choked, and he turned around to face the minibar.

Going around the bar portion and to the shelves, he picked up his favorite bottle of vodka and poured some into a glass.

He thought about mixing it with something else, then decided against it, and poured some more.

"…but, Yin Sen didn't make it."

He took a swig and turned back around, "That's when I decided, I wouldn't make weapons, ever again."

"What did Obadiah have to say about that? I know he must've been furious, or at least tried to talk you out of it."

Tony's eyes were distant, and he almost struggled to down his last drink. He'd somewhat forgotten about Obadiah. Not that he'd truly forgotten, he'd just put it away somewhere deep and dark where he couldn't remember it.

"Obadiah…" Tony murmured and looked up to his father, "Dad, I'm sorry."

Howard's eyes widened, "He died too? Oh…Oh, God, how old were you? You had someone to look after you, didn't you? He lived long enough-"

"No, no. Dad, he was…" Tony shook his head, "He was doing deal with the ten rings."

"The ten rings?"

"The terrorists that kidnapped me, he was doing back alley deals with them."

"Obi? No. No, Obadiah would never."

"I guess you wouldn't believe me if I told he tried to kill me too, then?"

"Tried to kill you?"

His dad was at a loss now, and put a hand to his forehead. He sat down slowly onto the armrest of the couch, and Tony leaned against the bar counter, "He took the reactor out of my chest. Left me for dead."

"So, he's in prison, then..?"

"No. He's dead."


"I had to."

Howard was silent for a moment and then nodded, "I understand, alright. Alright, I'll tell you what, I understand it. I understand your reasoning son, and…" He was quiet for a second before a faint smile reached his lips, "I'm proud of you, Tony. I mean, good God, look at this place. You have a lot to teach me this time around, son."

Tony appreciated the favor he was doing for him by changing the subject, but more so, he was taken back by his words. Pride? That was something he'd never had for him.

Tony was about to say something when Howard cut him off quickly, without purpose, "Infact, if you didn't mind, I'd really like to see that miniature arc reactor."

Tony raised an eyebrow, "What this ol' thing? Oh, that's nothing. Tons of people have these, they're all the rage."

Howard looked mortified, "Wait…are you being serious, Anthony, or are you just-"

"He's joking. No one else in the world has one, Mr. Stark." Bruce laughed.

Howard turned around with a smile, "Thank you…" He fumbled for a name.

"Bruce Banner."

"That's Dr. Bruce Banner." Tony corrected for him as he started to step forward, preparing to flash his father.

He almost burst out laughing at the thought of this, but kept it to a smirk. "That's Clinton Barton, he's a SHIELD agent and the Robin Hood of our day." Howard nodded to him.

"That's Natasha Romanov, another SHIELD agent, she's more of the modern ninja of our day."

Howard looked to Tony with a raised eyebrow and then nodded to Natasha with a smile while she pressed back a small blush.

"This is Thor, and trust me, he's not usually so quiet. He's a Norse God."

Howard, this time, laughed, "Well, it's the almighty. Nice to meet you."

Thor smiled, "It is nice to meet father of man of iron."

"….Wait, what?"

"It's uh…It's complicated, Dad. Look, we're all freaks, so they put us together and told us to form a team. We're the Avengers. We fight primarily aliens and angry Gods…so far."

"Wait…you're being serious about the whole God thing…and…wait, aliens?"

"Yeah don't worry, our reactions are still the same. It's new to us too. Thor really is the norse God, Thor. And aliens? Yeah, we kinda kicked their sorry asses a few months ago. Not to mention the Mandarin who I got no help with."

"We were stationed in different countries!" Natasha defended.

"We had our own to deal with." Bruce reminded him sourly.

"Yeah, yeah, of which you got the easiest to deal with." Tony said lowly.

Howard shook his head, "I'll try to grasp some things that I can understand before I try to understand any of this."

Tony begun to remove his shirt, just as he got it up over the arc reactor, the blue light dazzled his father. "This is magnificent..It repels the shrapnel with it's magnetic and electrical currents…"

"While also keeping my heart rate in check."

"It's like a pace maker."

Tony smirked a little, obviously trying to let off some of his ego which had inflated by ten fold.

Howard pushed down on it, about to ask if that hurt him, when it clicked out of socket, "It comes out!" he pulled it slowly and Tony shook his head, "Yeah, ow, don't do tha-"

"It must be such easy maintenance.."

He pulled it out of the socket and Tony felt a rippling sensation of shocking pain. "Ahhhowww!" He yelled, taking back the arc reactor from his father's hand as the new-born knelt his face down to look inside.

"How deep does it go?"

"Damn it, you want to find out? Be my guest, but you only have about sixty seconds before-"

What he hadn't considered was his father's thirst for science, and the sarcastic permission he granted was taken for actual permission Suddenly, his hand was inside his sternum hole.

His eyes widened and his fingers twitched nervously as his hand made it to the back and he inspected how far his arm had gone in, "This can't be right." Howard commented, "This…Yin Sen would've had to of taken out a considerable amount of your ribs."

Tony swatted his hand away as Jarvis came over the line, "Sir, you're going into cardiac arrest."

"I know, now if you could just tell my Dad he's killing me that'd be great…"

"Whose that?" Howard asked off-handedly as he removed his hand and Tony quickly took the wire at the end of the reactor and forced it back into the base plate, he jumped and gasped at the shock and then proceeded to sigh and place it back in it's home.

"Never again." Tony said, pointing his finger at his father, "And that was Jarvis. Let's not get into that right now…I think I need another drink."

"Have you turned into an alcoholic?"

"Are you still one?"

"I don't think I changed with death, but I was never an alcoholic."

Tony stayed silent on this subject, there was no reason to start this argument in front of the team, it could wait. He could wait.

"I must've gotten it from Mom then."