Howard Stark was sitting in his apartment in Brooklyn, New York when he got a call that would change possibly the rest of his life.
It had been Tony's best friend, James Rhodes who had told him the news. His son was missing.
After the call had ended he just sat in the recliner his son had bought eight years ago for his seventy-eighth birthday, thinking about what happened to his son. Wondering if they would find him alive, or dead. Could he handle out-living his one and only child?
After sitting in the recliner for what seemed like an eternity, but was only three hours, Howard grabbed his cane, yet another gift from his son, he walked into his bedroom and began packing a bag, while scheduling to be on the next flight to Malibu.
When Howard got of the plane, he was greeted by Tony's tear-stained personal assistant, Virginia 'Pepper' Potts.
The two exchanged few words as they headed for the car.
Once the car was on the road, Howard had Tony's chauffeur, Happy Hogan, take them to Stark Industries. It probably wasn't the best idea, but if he was going to help find his son, he needed to put himself in his son's shoes. He needed to see how Tony controlled the company, to see what he's done to make it better.
During the drive to Stark Industries, Howard began to think of the times when his son was younger. He couldn't think of many memories that were good. Most of the memories were of them arguing with or him yelling at Tony. Things between them got better when they looked to each for comfort when Maria had died. For the past sixteen years, things between them had been good. Not great but good.
Howard had given up his search of finding Steve Rogers and spent time teaching his son the ropes of the business, so that he could one day give it to him, which he had done. After passing the business down, they spent time talking on the phone, mostly about Tony's latest inventions.
The last thing they had talked about was the Jericho Missile that Tony was presenting in Afghanistan.
Finally they had arrived at Stark Industries. Before they had even gotten out of the car, the press had surrounded the vehicle, asking tons of questions about his son's disappearance.
How do they get this information so quickly, Howard thought to himself as he pushed his way through the crowd with the help of Miss Potts and Mr. Hogan.
Once on the top floor of the main building at Stark Industries, Howard made his way to Tony's office, which had also been his old office.
Tony had had the choice of any office in the building, but he chosen his fathers. Tony had told him, that it was a much simpler choice since the office already had everything he needed to be CEO.
Howard smiled faintly at the memory. He looked around the room and the only things that had really changed was the desk and a few other inanimate objects. The walls still were the same color. The carpet was still the same. The glass display of the Stark Expo was still in its original place.
He walked over to Tony's desk and sat down. He looked at the photos on the desk. He picked one up and looked at it.
It was a recent photo. It had been taken in a small coffee shop in Brooklyn when Tony had dropped by for a visit a few months ago, unexpectedly of course. The reason for the visit, was so that he could get away from work and people bugging him about, well, everything. Ranging from his latest invention to 'What will happen if I cross this two wires?'
Just then Howard's old partner, Obadiah Stane walked in with a bottle of Scotch. Stane sat across from Howard and poured two cups of the Scotch.
The two of them said nothing. There were no words to be said. They were thinking the same thing, but in different ways.
Hours turned into days. Days turned into weeks, and still no word on Tony. It had been two months since his son's disappearance.
Miss Potts had allowed Howard to stay in Tony's home, since a hotel didn't seem to be the right place for the former inventor, while his son was missing.
When he had first walked in to Tony's Malibu home, he was surprised by what he saw and heard. When he first heard an electronic British voice he thought he had finally lost his mind. But then the voice, introduced itself as JARVIS, a home system that Tony had built and installed five years ago.
When Howard found a set of stairs that led down to the basement, he figured that's where his son did most of his work. Just like he had when he was Tony's age.
Like father, like son, Howard thought as he continued to look at the stairs.
He debated on whether or not he should go down and see what it looks like, but then he figured that his son wanted everything to be the same when he got back. If he got back.
After three months of not hearing any word on his son, Howard was ready to give up hope of ever seeing his son alive again.
Then one day while he nursing a glass of whiskey in Tony's massive kitchen, Miss Potts walked in with a smile on her face and tears in eyes.
"What's wrong," Howard asked, quickly. "Did they find Tony?"
Pepper just nodded and said, "He's alive."