Chapter 1: When things went pear shaped.
It was just an average morning in the Avenger Tower. Steve had done his time in the gym, Thor was back from visiting Jane, Nat and Clint had been home from their respective missions for a week and Bruce had opted to come back and stay in the city. What none of them were expecting was for a little boy, appearing to be about five to toddle into the kitchen in naught but a blanket and big blue eyes full of terror.
“Where's Momma, where's Poppa? Who're you.”
The questions, so innocently asked in a quavering voice shook all six of the Avengers from their shock. Steve was the first to really move, however, coming around the kitchen island slowly so as to not spook the little tyke.
“I'm Steve. What's your name, fella?”
“Tony and I want my Momma!” The sentence ended in a high pitched shriek just as Steve got near enough to catch the child up in his arms.
“Yes, Captain Rogers?”
“Where's Tony Stark?” Steve had a sinking feeling about the AI's answer as he stared down at the shaking, near tears, toddler.
“My scans indicate that Master Stark is in your arms, Sir.”
“That's impossible, Tony is 38* years old, five foot eight, and has an arc reactor firmly embedded in his chest. This little guy is three feet tall and maybe five years sold.”
“I'm three, mister... My birfday was yesterday. Poppa made me a workbench.”
“Sweet christ...Stark really is a fu- Ow, Nat! He really is a genius” Clint has wandered over and is peering at the miniaturized Stark incredulously.
“Momma says I'm p-preco- precocious and I'll be just like my Poppa some day.”
“We should take him to the lab and see what a blood test will tell us. In all likely hood it was some chemical compound that regressed him.”
“No way, Banner. He's three, we aren't taking him to get poked by a scientist in a lab.”
“I never would have guessed you had a soft heart for children, Clint Barton.”
“I. I had a pretty bad childhood, we shouldn't scar the kid. What we do something traumatizing and he goes back to regular Tony but with ptsd because we locked him up in a lab cage?!”
Tony's eyes got wider and wider until they're the size of saucers and he's hyperventilating a little in Steve's arms. The Captain doesn't notice, as he jumps straight into the argument. Thor did notice however, and scowled at his teammates as he stood.
“All of you stop with your petty fighting. You scare the child.” Scooping the young billionaire up out of Roger's arms, Thor strode away from his comrades humming a gentle tune under his breath. Steve stood, a sheepish look on his face as he rubbed the back of his head, peering at his teammates.
“Well, that probably could have gone a lot worse, considering Stark somehow got himself miniaturized...”
“Mmhm. He could have built a tiny nuclear bomb in his bedroom before coming out here.”
“He's three, Dr. Banner.”
“He's a genius child prodigy.”
In which Loki comes to play, Tony reveals bits of his babyhood and the powder keg fuse is lit.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Thor was embarrassed by his teammates as he sat with Tony, telling him a story of the an adventure he'd gone on with the Warriors Three. He spun the tail with wild gesticulations and smiled each time Tony squealed with laughter, taking pride the fear from just a few minutes ago was long gone. The viking god was particularly proud he could keep the young one so entranced that he too, got lost in the story.
“I want ta be a warr-wee-or! I can throw the Captain shield!” The tyke squealed in the middle of a sentence, all but throwing himself off Thor's bed and running out the door. Thor blinked, and took off after the surprisingly fast toddler.
“Ja-vis! Ja-vis! I want the Captain Shield!” Squealed Tony as he careened around a corner, nearly knocking Natasha over as she came out of one of the bathrooms.
“Whoa! What out Tony!” She called after the small crazy haired blur, raising a brow at the Thunder god who sprinted after him.
“Lady Widow.” Thor greeted as he zipped past, praying that the miniaturized stark wouldn't bump into Banner with a tray of cultures or chemicals. Treating a child with a rare fungus rash or acid burns was not on his top twenty things to do this morning.
“Cap shield! Cap shield!” Tony squeaked again and again in a cheerful voice, as he zipped from room to room looking for it. Dummy eventually caught up with the toddler and had apparently pilfered the shield from Roger's room.
”Here you are, little Master, the Captain's shield.” Jarvis intoned lightly as Thor entered the front hall.
“Young one, I doubt you can pick that up.” He said lightly, not really moving to take the shield away, confident that the three year old wouldn't be able to pick up the disc.
“I can! Watch Mister Toor!”
“I'm watching little warrior.”
Carefully Tony hefted, pulled and swung around until he had the shield suspended a few inches above his head to Thor's amazement and squealed a sentence about how “daddy taught him physics and it works!” before tottering around in a circle and letting go. The shield glided gently toward Thor, who moved out of it's way, bounced off the door jam and hit Clint in the shins on the return.
“Ow! What the -”
“The young Master is in the room.” Jarvis chided and both adults noticed that now that he'd proven he could lift the disc, his brows were furrowed and he looked around.
“Mister Jarvis, where are you?”
Clint shot Thor a look and Dummy chose that moment to wheel away back to his workshop home. “I am...using the intercoms, young Master Stark.”
“Oh...Will you come play a game wif us?”
“I'm afraid I can't, Sir. I'm sure Mr. Barton and Mr. Odinson will be happy to play, however.”
“Otay. I'll see you later?”
“We'll see, Sir.”
The baby brunette seemed satisfied with the exchanged and turned bright eyes on the two blondes in the room with him. “I want to play wobots!”
“Uh, wadda ya mean, bud?” Clint shifted a bit nervously, he wasn't good with humans under the age of ten that weren't actively being entertained by acrobatics and feats of targeting.
“Let's take Momma's old toaster and make a wobot circuit! Daddy saw me playing last week and was ree-wee proud! Called me sport and gave me a cookie! He never done that before.”
“Oohkay. Let's call Jarvis on the intercom and see if there are any old toasters to play with.”
“I want a cookie after.”
“Yeah, kid, cookies afterward.”
“I like you Mister Toor and Mister Bahton.” The three year old declared as he toddled off in the direction of the living room, intent on waiting there apparently for the two adults to fabricate a toaster from the early nineteen seventy’s.
Playing robots wasn't to be however, because once Jarvis and Dummy had found one of the old toasters, a shrill scream nearly busted their eardrums. Racing back to the living room they saw tiny Tony cowering near the television while a mechanoid object strangely reminiscent of the Destroyer, systematically destroyed the rest of the living room.
“Shit.” Barton ran toward his nest to get his arrows and bow while Thor already had his hand out for Mjolnir. The poor toddler just looked on in utter terror before the almost Destroyer looked over to find the source of the whimpering.
That was when Thor took his chance and charged with his faithful hammer. Except, something strange happened. The mech just stood there, eyeless face watching the toddler cry and hide against the television set. It let Thor destroy it without lifting a hand to save itself, or carry out it's presumed original directive.
“Brother. When did you acquire a midgardian child?” Loki's easy tone filled the living room when Thor had finished making the mechanoid into scrap metal.
“Leave him be, Loki. He wouldn't be in such a state if you hadn't sent that...thing.” Thor shot a scathing look at his younger brother.
“Yes, well, it isn't exactly like we super villians get memo's when one of your lot suddenly bears spawn.” The Mischief god retorted, edging farther into the room slowly.
“T-Toor!” Tony yelped, diving from his sanctuary to bury his face against Thor's knee, sniffling and fisting his little hands against his face.
“It's all right little one, my brother just wanted to play Robots with us, and got too excited.” Thor lifted a large hand and patted the child's head awkwardly as he glared at his brother.
“Yes. I didn't know you were about, liten styrke." Loki replied easily, watching the young child appraisingly.
“Liten styrke!” The toddler parroted, brows furrowing and the gods could practically see the wheels turning in his head, figuring out what the Norwegian sentiment meant.
“It means little strength.”
“Oh. Will you play nice robots, Mister?”
For a moment the room was quiet, Loki watching the child with a raised brow. A slow smile grin pulled at his lips and he nodded slightly.
“Nice robots sounds like an excellent idea, lille gutt.”
“You say funny words. Lets play!”
And so they played for the rest of the day.Things went so well, that Thor almost didn’t notice Tony's absence when Loki left that night.
“Gods damn you, brother!!!”
Gutt - means boy.
The phrase liten styrke is an allusion to the fact that the surname Stark means strength. I'm a nerd like that. :)