When Steve's phone started to ring just as they were sitting down for breakfast, Tony sighed and looked down at his own expectantly. The only other person who actually called Steve, besides himself, was Coulson to tell them about a mission, so, it stood to reason that Tony should be called too, in the unlikely event that he wasn't near Steve at this ungodly hour of the morning. His eyebrows rose curiously as the colour drained from Steve's face though, and his own phone still wasn't making a sound.
"No. Of course. We'll be there as soon as possible," Steve breathed into the phone moments later before clutching it within his hands as he drew in a shaky breath. There was something odd about his expression, and Tony hadn't yet consumed enough coffee to be alert enough to dechipher it completely.
As he took another sip from his coffee, Tony narrowed his eyes with borderline concern as Steve ran a hand through his hair. It was a nervous gesture, and Tony was loath to see it. There was something unsettling about the idea of The Captain America being nervous about anything. Steve shook himself out of his stupor in the next second however, and started hurriedly collecting breakfasts dishes, something Tony protested loudly at because he hand't finished with that bacon sandwhich yet.
"We can't - No time," Steve said in a rush as he rinsed the dishes off and stacked them to the side of the sink. That in itself was cause for alarm. Steve was, unlike Tony, meticulously tidy, and he absolutely loathed leaving dishes in the sink. Whatever that call had been about, it must have been urgent.
"Mission?" Tony grunted before raising his coffee mug to his lips once more. It was too early to be fighting villains with only three coffees in his system. It wasn't even ten o clock yet!
Brown eyes flicked over to the kitchen as the clinking of the dishes suddenly stopped, "What? No. No," Steve said in a breathless sigh, and Tony's mind was finally starting to wake itself up enough to realise that something was ... Well. Alarm bells were going off, that's for sure. Those bells rang even louder in Tony's ears as Steve fell into the chair beside Tony's, that strange look on his face still.
"Tony," the unshakable Captain breathed, "That was the agency. We - They have one."
Nope. Not registering. Whatever Steve was talking about, it was still far too early for cryptic messages. Far, far too early. And that look on Steve's face was becoming unnerving.
Thankfully, Steve realised what he was saying was beyond Tony's current mental capacity because he smiled that crooked Oh, Tony smile before adding, "The adoption agency."
Oh. OH. Yes, that made much more sense now.
"The adoption agency," Tony said, because he just needed to clarify. To make sure he wasn't misunderstanding something here, "That was them on the phone?" Steve nodded enthusiastically, and Tony was starting to realise that odd look on his face was delight, "And you said we'd be there ..." Oh dear god, Tony's mind hissed as realisation hit, and Steve's grin widened to phenomenal levels as he read the understanding in Tony's eyes.
The agency had chosen a baby, for them. They were allowing him - Tony Stark - near a child. Allowing him the right to raise said child. With Steve, of course, but - Still! Tony Stark! And Babies! Did they know nothing about him? About his history and - Nope. No. No. No. This wasn't something he was ready for. This was someone else's life in his completely-capable-with-machinery-but-a-baby?!-hands and -
"I think I'm gonna be sick," Tony moaned, before dropping his head down onto the table.
"I know it's daunting Tony," Steve said softly, as he twined his fingers with Tony's and pressed a kiss to the top of his head, "But it'll be fine. I'll be here every step of the way, and Pepper's already said she'll babysit whenever we need to go out for missions. You can do this Tony - I know you can. Everything will be fine," Steve hummed, and the frustrating thing about Steve Rogers was that Tony could find himself believing everything the man said, no matter how illogical it might sound at times. Which was why he found himself sighing heavily before lifting his face back up from the table to nod.
"Good. Now, go get the bag while I get the paper work."
"Ahhh. Sure," Tony said with a forced grin. As soon as Steve had rushed off to do ... Whatever though, he hissed, "Jarvis!"
"Yes, Sir?" The AI sighed as though it had expected this. It was quite possible it had. Tony couldn't remember installing a predictive program when he designed Jarvis, but it was quite possible the AI had learnt it himself. Clever Jarvis.
"What bag?" Tony practically yelped. He had no recollection of any ... Bag. A bag for what anyway??
"The one Miss Potts put together a month, and two days ago Sir? When you and Captain Rogers first submitted the forms to the Agency."
"Right. Of course ... Which would be where exactly?"
Jarvis sighed, and brought up the image of a closet. It could be any one of the hundred or so closets in his mansion though for all Tony knew. "The one by front the door, sir." Jarvis added, and Tony narrowed his eyes at Jarvis' impatient tone.
He decided he had more important things to worry about than an AI with an attitude though as Steve called out, "Alright Tony, let's go!", and Tony all but scrambled over to the cupboard. He tugged it open and found a bright red bag stowed away at eyelevel. It had a note pinned to it that read, In the highly unlikely event that you get chosen by the adoption agency. Steve I have no doubts about. You, however... Tony pulled a face at the note as he tugged it off. He managed to kick the door shut just as Steve rounded the corner, and Tony grinned over at his lover as though he'd known exactly what bag he'd meant. Of course he had.
Steve gave him a lopsided grin in return, before throwing a shirt at him. "You don't want to meet your new son or daughted wearing that do you?"
Tony was still huffing in indignation as they loaded up the car. There was absolutely nothing wrong with Iron Maiden, and any child who thought there was, was no child of his!
The two of them pulled up to the adoption agency two and a half hours later - Because it was Steve that had been driving and he really did drive like an old man. It made Tony's thrill-seeking heart shrivel and die each and every time - And Steve, naturally, thought then was an appropriate time to freak out.
"What if he ends up like one of those kids you see on those TV shows you insist on watching, Tony? What if she gets pregnant when she's 16? - Not that that was unusual for women in my era but, she'd be just a baby still! Or, what if she, or he, ends up hating me? What if I'm too old fashioned for them? I don't know how to work half of the doodad's you keep around in the lounge room, for pity sake! What if they end up like Loki? Oh my god. They're going to end up like Loki - Hating us because they're adopted. We're not their real fathers! Or -"
That was the point when Tony's patience finally ran out and he stopped the Captain's ranting by jerking on the back of his neck so that their foreheads met.
"Steve. You need to calm down," Tony said, slowly, and clearly. "Everything is going to be okay. You know why?" Steve's blue eyes flickered around before coming to rest on Tony's again, and Tony could feel his forehead crease beneath his own - No. "Because no matter what the little shit turns out like, they'll have you for a father. And you're going to be the most loving, caring, patient father the world has ever seen. And if that doesn't work ... There's always Coulson to threaten them with. Now, you need to relax - We haven't even met the kid yet."
"You're right," Steve breathed, then angled his head to steal a quick kiss.
Before Tony could even realise that Steve was kissing him, the other had pulled away and was fumbling out of the car, his shoulders twitching with anticipation. Tony sighed and grumbled softly to himself before following the Captain's lead, tucking his hands into the pockets of his jeans as he did so. He wouldn't admit it to anyone, but Tony found himself watching each child as they scampered past, wondering, Is that the kid they've picked for us?
He couldn't help but cringe as the older boy tripped over the young girl. Tony tried to imagine working with that shrill crying echoing from the rooms upstairs ... He might have to find some way to soundproof his workshop. Or, maybe he could build an AI into the stero that turned the music up whenever it picked up on the sound? The thought of Steve's reaction when he found out was the only thing that convinced Tony that maybe that idea was better in the scraps.
Tony paused as he passed the reading room, his eyes catching on the lone boy with spikey brown tufts of hair that was quietly playing with a puzzle. The young boy's face scrunched up in a look of concentration as he picked up one puzzle piece, looked at it with narrowed eyes, then looked back down at the puzzle, and back up at the piece. His puckered mouth spread into a delighted grin before he stuck the puzzle piece down.
Glancing over at the reception, Tony could see Steve's back in the window, talking to the woman inside still. Curiosity getting the better of him - Damnable thing that it was - Tony wandered over to the little boy and crouched down in front of him just as the child placed another piece of the puzzle down. Tony raised an eyebrow as he realised the boy had put the piece in the right spot.
"Not bad kiddo," he whistled, and the little boy looked up at him through narrowed eyes, clearly deciding if he liked the strange man with the funny facial-hair.
Tony must have passed the test because the little boy pointed at the puzzle and said, "Puzzle." Tony's lips pulled into a grin without his consent.
"Sure is, and what's the puzzle of?" he asked.
The little boy looked down at the almost-complete jigsaw, raised a fat fist to his mouth and sucked on the side of it for a few seconds before looking back up to Tony. "Spider?" the little boy questioned, mouth puckered into an uncertain frown.
Tony snorted with surprise. Clever little tyke. "Yeah. That's right. Spiders are part of the Arachnid family, you know. And you know why?"
The boy shook his head, his big brown eyes looking up at Tony with fascination.
"Because they have eight legs, see?" And Tony started to count off the legs of the spider on the puzzle, the little boy repeating each number after him.
He gave a startled little yelp as Steve's voice hummed, "I see you're making friends," from beside him. The brown-haired boy giggled and clapped his hands at the sound, demanding, "Gain! Gain!"
Tony's heart was still racing beneath the arc reactor, and he glared at Steve with admonition. Steve was watching the boy, however, as the child looked eagerly between the two of them, one chubby hand feeling around behind him for more puzzle pieces.
"Tony ... This is Peter," Steve said slowly, nodding his head towards the child, "And he's now our son."
All those fears and concerns Tony had came rushing back to him at the words. But then, he looked down at Peter as the boy slotted another puzzle piece into place without any help whatsoever and Tony thought maybe Steve was right after all. Maybe, just maybe, everything would be alright.
Hours and hours later, Tony would regret that false sense of security he'd had as Peter screamed and wailed about how he didn't want to go to sleep yet! He wasn't tired! He wanted Mummy!! Vaguely, Tony began designing that AI-Stereo after all.