Scott Lang was… very confused.
A few months ago when the Rogue Avengers had been pardoned and all charges dropped, they had quickly come back to the States. While the other Avengers moved back into the compound, Scott had gone back to San Francisco for a few months to spend some time with Cassie, Hope, Hank, and the rest of his family. After spending some time with them, he came to the compound to meet the full and complete Avengers team and start training with everyone.
Now after being with the team for a month or two, Scott was a little confused. He was surprised to learn the spider-kid from Germany was on the team, and he had been surprised to learn just how young Spider-Man was. However, the thing that was confusing him the most about the kid was his relationship with Stark.
Originally he had thought Spider-Man was just a kid Iron Man had taken under his wing to guide occasionally, but was mostly left to his own devices. He was very surprised to learn that the kid, Peter Parker, actually lived at the compound. Not all the time, but he’d come and stay for a couple weeks at a time. And he seemed to do regular teenager stuff on top of being Spider-Man. He’d do his homework, he’d have his friend come over, he’d participate in team bonding night, and he seemed to have a special relationship with all the Avengers.
One Avenger, however, he seemed to have a very particular relationship with.
Peter went to Tony Stark for everything. Not even just Avengers related stuff - when he had a problem at school or with a friend, he went to Stark. When he needed help with school, he’d call Stark. When he was sick, he went to Stark. When he had any kind of question or problem you could imagine, he went to Stark. If he was upset, he went to Stark. He lived in Stark’s quarters, he worked with Stark in his lab, he just always seemed to be wherever Stark was. He was obviously much closer to the man than he was with anyone else.
Now, Scott hadn’t been an Avenger for very long and he’d lived at the compound for even less time than that, but he had always known and heard about about Iron Man and Tony Stark. Stark had been in the news for as long as Scott could remember, and he never remembered hearing anything about Stark having a kid.
But that seemed to be what Peter was - Tony Stark’s son.
However, whenever he asked someone about it, they never seemed to agree.
It had started his first morning at the compound. Scott had been sitting at the breakfast table, a plate of pancakes in front of him. His brows furrowed as he stared at the two men sitting calmly next to each other at the middle of the table. Stark had walked in not too long ago wearing pajamas and a bathrobe of all things, poured himself a cup of coffee, and wordlessly sat down next to Steve, completely ignoring the other fifteen open seats at the very long dining table.
Steve hadn’t said anything, simply handing Tony the business section of the paper and the bowl of sugar before turning back to his own paper. Stark took the paper and put a pair of glasses on before he began to read. He didn’t say anything when Steve put food on his plate, he just simply started eating it.
It was hard to imagine these were the same two men who had been at each other’s throats not even a year ago. If Scott hadn’t been there he wouldn’t have thought the two had just waged a huge war against each other not too long ago. Yet here they were, seemingly completely comfortable in each other’s presence, even if they weren’t speaking. That was where the confusion began.
But really he would only get more confused through the rest of that day and the coming months.
He had just started digging into his breakfast when the kid flew into the kitchen.
“Hey guys,” Peter said as he walked in, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge before turning to leave again, “bye guys.”
“Where are you going?”
Peter froze from his spot in the doorway and looked back at Stark. Tony had put his newspaper down and was looking at Peter over his glasses, eyebrow raised.
“Um…” Peter looked down at the backpack he had paused in the act of putting his bottle in, “school?”
“Did you eat?”
“Oh, no. I was going to stop and grab something on the way.”
“What, like Burger King?” Tony scoffed. He kicked the chair across from him out from under the table. “Sit down and eat. If you have time to stop for crap you have time to stop for an actual breakfast.”
“You eat at Burger King all the time,” Peter argued, though he did put his bag down and go to sit at the table.
“Yes, but I’m an adult who can do whatever I want,” Tony argued back, handing Peter a plate so he could start loading it up. “You are a metabolically enhanced superhuman who is also a growing teenage boy that needs to eat right to stay healthy.”
“Okay, dad,” Peter said, dutifully eating his food and pulling out his phone to play a game.
Stark rolled his eyes but watched to make sure Peter was eating before going back to his newspaper. Everyone around the table continued on as though nothing had happened, but Scott was confused.
He turned to Clint, who was chugging down the last dregs of the milk from his cereal bowl.
“Dude,” Scott said, waiting until Clint turned his head to acknowledge him, “I thought we were the only ones with kids?”
Clint looked at him strangely, swallowing the last of his milk and lowering the bowl.
“We are,” Clint said before grabbing his things and getting up from the table.
“But he just…” Scott trailed off pointing in Peter’s direction when he realized no one was listening to him.
He looked back and forth between Stark and the kid a couple times before shrugging and going back to his pancakes.
Stark and Cap were arguing again.
They had been in the middle of discussion about the new Accords when they started going at it again. Scott was pretty sure this was their way of flirting at this point. You could cut the sexual tension between the two with a knife.
Scott looked around the room and realized he wasn’t the only one not listening to the two go at it anymore.
Natasha was sitting back in her chair, filing her nails. Sam, Clint, and Rhodey were playing paper football, and Thor and Wanda were sitting in the corner, Thor talking about something — probably some elaborate battle story — while Wanda listened on completely enraptured.
Scott had just started wondering if he could shrink down and fly out without anyone even noticing when the door to the meeting room opened and everyone inside froze.
“Hey Dad, FRIDAY said you were in here and I was wondering if you could help me with— oh.”
Peter was in the door holding what looked like a large math textbook and a notebook, looking incredibly embarrassed and unsure of himself.
“Sorry,” Peter said quietly, curling in on himself a bit as he took in everyone’s eyes on him, “I didn’t realize… FRIDAY said— I can come back later if you’re busy?”
Everyone looked back to Tony and Steve, waiting to see what they’d say. Tony sighed and rubbed a hand across his forehead.
“No, it’s fine Pete,” Stark said warily, “I think we were just about done here anyway.”
He looked to Steve questionably. Steve crossed his arms and said nothing, though he jerked his shoulder a little as if in agreement with Stark’s words.
“What did you need, kiddo?”
“Oh,” Peter said uncertainly, looking around as everyone started cleaning up their stuff to clear out of the room. “Um… I was doing my math homework and I got stuck on this one problem. I was hoping you could help me..?”
“Sure, bring it over,” Stark said, sitting back down at the table and patting the spot next to him.
Peter smiled and rushed over, dropping his stuff onto the table and folding his legs up into the chair next to Stark. Stark grabbed the textbook and pulling it towards him, looking it over.
“That one,” Peter said, pointing someone on the page, “Hey, Nat.”
“Hello Peter,” Natasha smiled at him, running her hand across his bangs. He smiled up at her before turning back to Stark.
Rhodey stopped to look over Stark's shoulder on his way out and grimaced at the boom
“Gross,” he said to Peter, Peter nodding back at him. He held out his hand for a fist bump as he walked by the kid, which Peter obliged.
“Okay, look here,” Stark said suddenly, pointing down at Peter’s notebook. Peter immediately turned his attention back to the man.
“You’re doing everything right, but right here in the middle you’re forgetting to move the integers, so it’s throwing the rest of your math off. You see it?”
Peter looked down at the paper intensely, twirling his pencil in his hand and mouthing something as he read. His eyes widened as he presumably realized his mistake.
“Oh!” Peter exclaimed, leaning down to frantically erase his paper. “Duh. I’m so stupid.”
“You’re not stupid,” Stark said firmly, “you’re a smart kid. You did everything right, you just used the wrong numbers. Probably just went too fast, made a couple careless mistakes. But you understand the idea.”
“Right,” Peter said as he rewrote whatever he erased on his paper. He paused to look up at Stark and flashed him a big smile. “Thanks, Dad.”
“No problem,” Stark smiled, ruffling Peter’s hair before leaning back in his chair. “Anything else?”
“No, I finished the rest, I was just stuck on that one,” Peter said, closing up his notebook and textbook and gathering his things. “I’ll let you get back to… whatever you were doing.”
Scott watched on as Peter got up and turned to walk out the room, trading a small smile with Steve as he went. Scott sat staring curiously at the door for a minute, thinking about what he had just heard.
Someone cleared their throat behind him and he jumped, turning around. Stark was still seated at the table and Steve stood behind him, arms still crossed. They were both staring expectantly at Scott, who realized he was the only other one still left in the room.
“Cute kid,” Scott said, gesturing towards the door Peter had just exited.
“Thanks,” Stark said, hands gripping the arms of his chair, legs crossed.
“He yours?” Scott blurted before he could think about it.
“Oh,” Scott said, feeling like his question hadn’t really been answered at all. What the hell did not really mean?
The three men sat and stared at each other awkwardly for a minute.
“You guys probably want me to go so you two can…” Scott trailed off, gesturing vaguely between the two men in front of him. Steve raised an eyebrow, giving him a pointed look while Stark smirked at him.
“Right,” Scott said, his face turning slightly red as he stood and left. “Try not to break any desks or anything. And try to keep it quiet, the walls are thin here.”
He heard Stark snort as the door shut behind him.
But as time went on, it seemed more and more like that was what Peter was — Stark’s kid. None of the others seemed phased by Peter’s presence or by Peter calling Stark “dad” all the time, but they had been around longer. Maybe they already knew. Maybe Peter was a secret Stark had been trying to keep from the media. Maybe Stark was screwing with Scott, saying Peter wasn’t his son, and everyone else was in on it
Because really, objectively speaking, Peter and Tony did look similar. And their personalities were similar enough. The kid was definitely a genius like Stark. But Peter didn’t always stay at the compound — according to Steve, every other few weeks Peter stayed with his Aunt in Queens, her and Stark trading off. Maybe family from the mother’s side?
He just couldn’t figure it out.
And after seeing what happened the other night, it was nearly impossible for Scott to see Stark as anything but Peter’s father.
It was around 11 PM and the team was having a rare movie night where everyone was in attendance. Well, almost everyone. Peter had begged off around 8 to go to bed claiming a headache and school tomorrow. Stark had looked concerned after him as everyone else said goodnight, but didn’t say anything and continued to watch Star Wars with the team.
They had just reached the part where Leia tells Han she loved him when Peter came trudging back in, dragging his feet and rubbing his eyes. The kid looked terrible.
Without saying a word, Peter flopped down on the couch between Steve and Stark, resting his head on Tony’s shoulder and curling up into a ball.
“You okay, kiddo?” Tony asked quietly, lifting his arm to wrap it around Peter’s shoulders.
Peter leaned into the embrace, resting his head on Tony’s chest and closing his eyes, obviously exhausted.
“Don’t feel good,” Peter mumbled.
“I figured something was up when you walked out on Star Wars,” Tony murmured, lifting a hand to feel Peter’s forehead and brush his bangs back from his head. “Yeah, you’re definitely warm.”
Peter said nothing, simply burrowing further into Tony’s chest.
“Hey Bruce, you got anything that’ll be strong enough to help him?”
“Yeah,” Bruce said, closing his book and tossing it to the side before getting up, “it’s in the lab. I’ll go grab it.”
Tony reached down and gently lifted Peter off of him, shifting him to the side until he was leaning against Steve’s arm instead.
“Stay with Steve for a second, okay?” Tony said, leaning down to kiss the top of his head, “I’m just gonna go grab a couple things.”
Peter nodded reluctantly and watched Tony walk away before dropping his head against Steve’s shoulder.
“Hey, buddy,” Steve said, squeezing Peter’s knee, “feeling pretty crappy, huh?”
Peter grunted a noise of agreement, wrapping his arms more tightly around himself and shivering a bit.
Then Tony came back into the room carrying a fluffy blanket and a glass of water, Bruce following behind with a bottle of pills and a thermometer.
Tony sat back down next to Peter, pulling the boy back into his arms, Peter going willingly. Bruce knelt down on the floor in front of him.
“Alright, Peter,” Bruce said quietly, pressing a button on the thermometer and putting it in Peter’s ear, “what’s wrong.”
“Head hurts,” Peter mumbled, grimacing at the device in his ear, “throat. Tired. Cold.”
“Well, you definitely have a fever,” Bruce said, pulling the thermometer back to look at it once it beeped, “101.8. Do you feel sick to your stomach?”
Peter shook his head.
“Okay,” Bruce turned to pick up the bottle of pills, shaking a couple into his hand, “it’s probably just the flu or something. Take these for now and if you feel worse in the morning we’ll test you. Let me know if you start to feel nauseous.”
Peter took the pills from Bruce and sipped the water to wash them down before slumping back against Tony. Tony said nothing, simply taking the glass from Peter and handing it to Bruce before picking the blanket he’d been carrying up and covering Peter with it. Peter tucked the blanket tighter around himself and nuzzled back into Tony’s arms. Said man simply wrapped his arms around the boy, leaning back and brushing a kiss across his forehead before gesturing for everyone to start the movie back up again.
He didn’t even complain when, an hour and a half later, the kid woke up and puked all over him.
Honestly, if that hadn’t been one of the most parent-like moments Scott had ever seen between the two, he didn’t know what was. Up until that night, Scott didn’t think he’d ever related to Tony more before in his life. He couldn’t even count the number of times he’d been covered in bodily fluids since Cassie was born - came with the parenting territory.
So it was clear that Tony and Peter had some kind of special relationship between the two of them, but he didn’t know if Peter was really Stark’s son. At this point it wasn’t even that big of a deal, Scott just wanted one straight answer out of someone. The one other time after the first he had just asked Tony if Peter was his son, the man simply stared blankly at him for a minute before laughing and walking away. So no answers there.
Really, short of asking Peter himself there wasn’t anything else he could try. Every time he tried to ask one of the team about it they would just look at him confused or with a knowing smile and tell him to talk to Tony. But obviously that wasn’t going to work.
Scott was jerked out of his musings when two voices suddenly sounded through the room.
“Tony, we have to talk about this.”
“Well, that’s too bad because I don’t want to talk about it,” Tony was saying, “and I especially don’t want to talk about it with you, so buzz off.”
“Tony, I swear--”
Jesus, get a room, Scott thought as he listened to Steve and Tony bicker again. Maybe if they just locked them in a closet for a few hours they’d come out satisfied and everyone would be happier. Now, that was an idea to run by Clint…
“Listen, even if I wanted to talk right now, I can’t,” Tony said, going to the closet and grabbing his hoodie. “I have to go pick Peter up from school, he’s coming here this weekend while May is out of town.”
Steve sighed. “Fine. But we will talk about this.”
“I’m tingling with anticipation.”
“How’s Peter doing? Is he feeling better?”
“Yeah,” Tony sighed, pulling his hoodie on and grabbing his keys, “he was out of school for nearly a week because of his fever, but once the fever broke and he could keep solid food down he got over it pretty quick. Poor kid just got hit hard with that one.”
“Is he still going to be up for that camping trip next week with me and Sam?” Steve asked hopefully.
“Oh, definitely,” Tony said as he turned to leave, “he’s really excited about it. He had May take him to buy a sleeping bag yesterday, the dork.”
“Good, good,” Steve said. He seemed a little… shy all of a sudden. “Are you going to come too?”
Tony stopped in the doorway and smirked back at Steve. “I don’t know, Steve-o, camping isn’t really my thing. But since you’re asking oh so nicely…”
Steve rolled his eyes. “Go get your kid, Stark.”
Tony flicked him a lazy salute before turning and walking from the room.
Scott watched Steve stand and stare after him for a few minutes, a besotted look on his face. Honestly, at this point they should just try shoving their heads together and hoping for the best. For all their arguing and fighting everyone could tell they still cared about each other, and they were still really close. Honestly they were together all the time for all that they claimed to be indifferent toward each other, and they knew everything about the other. Even Steve and the kid were close--
“Hey Steve!” Scott called out from his spot on the couch, smirking when Steve jumped a little and turned to look at him. Scott gave a little wave.
“Scott,” Steve said, sounding confused, “hi. Have you been there this whole time?”
“Yup,” Scott said, popping the p. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone about you and Stark getting lost in each other’s eyes.”
“Oh,” Steve said, face turning red as he raised a hand to rub the back of his neck, “that- that’s not… I mean, we aren’t… not anymore, we don’t--”
“Yeah, yeah, I totally believe you, very convincing,” Scott smirked back at him. “Listen, now that you’re in here, I wanted to ask you a question.”
“Uhh, sure,” Steve suddenly looked concerned. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah, it’s more of a… curiosity question, really.”
“Okay…” Steve sat on the couch across from him, “what’s up?”
“Is Peter Tony’s kid?” Scott said quickly. “Like, biologically? Legally? What’s up with all that?”
“Oh,” Steve said, looking surprised. “No, he’s not Tony’s son.”
“Well then what the hell man?”
Steve looked a little taken aback by Scotts sudden outburst.
“The kid lives here, he’s always with Tony, he calls Tony dad for crying out loud--”
“Well,” Steve said, suddenly looking thoughtful, “he’s not biologically Tony’s but-- it’s complicated.”
“Well, Peter isn’t biologically Tony’s kid,” Steve explained, “but I guess technically in every other way he is? Their relationship is definitely more of the father-son variety. Tony even got joint custody of Peter with his Aunt, so he switches two weeks with Tony and two weeks with her and then they share birthdays and holidays.”
“Why?” Scott asked, “Is it because he’s a minor and a superhero?”
“No…” Steve trailed off, staring in the direction Tony had just left. “Tony… he’s always had a bit of a soft spot for Peter. And Tony has always been a bit of an idol for Peter. Once Peter started going out as Spider-Man and got on Tony’s radar everything just sort of… clicked for them. They’ve always had this kind of special bond, you know? Tony really cares about Peter and Peter really looks up to Tony. I think Peter just needed another adult role in his life and Tony was more than willing to step into it.”
“Gotcha,” Scott said, nodding philosophically, “so he’s not Peter’s father, but he is Peter’s dad .”
“Right,” Steve nodded, adding, “they love each other. It’s good for them. And they seem happier for it.”
“Well, thank you for clearing that up,” Scott sighed, flopping back against the couch. “I don’t know why Stark couldn’t just tell me that himself when I asked him.”
“Tony’s not always good at emotions,” Steve said, shaking his head with a fond smile. “Plus, I think he just liked seeing you all confused. Thought it was funny. He’s like that sometimes.”
“Great,” Scott said dryly, “real hilarious.”
They sat comfortably together for few minutes, Scott thinking over everything he heard when he looked at Steve and smirked.
“So what’s up with you and Stark?”
“Wow, would you look at the time,” Steve said, his face burning as he looked at a non existent watch on his wrist and jumped to his feet. “I have to gok, I told Vision I’d help him make… pudding.”
Scott raised his eyebrows as he watched Steve tear out of the living room like he was on fire.
“Oh, we are definitely locking those two in a closet,” he said, pulling his phone out to text Clint and Sam about his idea. Hell, maybe they could even get the kid in on it.