Thor is aware that he was absent, while on his quest in search of Infinity Stones, that he missed crucial moments in the lives of his co-workers. They battled each other, tore themselves apart over a minuscule argument. Some fled their homeland, as others…had children?
Baffled, he watches as Stark, whom he has begun calling Tony with familial affection, ruffles a young boy’s hair in greeting. The boy, clearly exhausted, begins raiding Tony’s fridge, after pressing a brief one-armed hug into Tony’s side. Tony appears mildly pleased at the boy’s appetite. As Thor watches in utter amazement, he struggles to remember the human equivalent to Asgardian years. He’s only been away for two – could a human grow to near-full size in two years? Slightly hurt that no one thought to tell him about a new baby, Thor determines he’ll make up for lost time.
Discreetly, he turns to Banner. He expects to see unfazed, even bored expressions on his teammate’s faces. Instead he finds looks ranging from amusement to confusion to fear. Perhaps his isn’t the only one who wasn’t informed.
“Tony,” Steve calls, cautious as ever, “Who’s this?”
Only now noticing the converging heroes, Tony breaks out of the meditative stare he had fixed on the boy, “Hmm?”
Eyebrows raised, eyes wide, leaning against the kitchen counter with a hand under his chin, Tony looks more relaxed than Thor’s ever seen him.
“Oh, this is Peter. Say ‘hi’, Peter,”
Peter glances up from his sandwich lazily, “Hey,”
Cheerfully, Thor rumbles a greeting, overjoyed at the prospect of this stranger. The boy, Peter, looks at him silently, evidently catching Thor’s presence for the first time. His eyes widen minutely; hurriedly, he ducks his head and continues preparing enough food to feed Thor himself.
Thor likes Peter.
“So…what is Peter doing here?”
Banner seems the most perturbed by his presence, which Thor finds so endearing he can’t help but grin.
“Peter’s eating a snack,” Tony says dryly.
Thor checks out the conversation. Peter’s twitchy. His eyes, round and seemingly innocent, watch everything through his eyelashes. Nervously, his hands busy themselves – but he can’t fool Thor. He knows Peter is listening, processing, thinking, but has wisely chosen to remain silent. Using his youth as a disguise, he allows others to make assumptions without correcting them. His childish gaze is as non-threatening as a smile.
The mannerisms and sharp intelligence remind Thor keenly of another young boy. Only his hair had been black, and his silences dangerous. Thor feels a surge of strong brotherly affection toward this child, and an overwhelming desire to welcome him.
“I didn’t know that human children grew so quickly,” He says heartily, heedless of Tony’s sudden quiet.
“What?” Tony asks, almost amused.
“In Asgard,” Thor explains, “If a child had been born two years ago, they would still be an infant,”
Confused silence hovers. Banner, the most accustomed with Thor’s thought processes, gently corrects him, “Yeah, Thor it’s the same for humans. Peter’s probably, I don’t know…fourteen?”
“Sixteen,” Peter interjects, “I’m sixteen,”
“Yeah, because there’s such a big difference, Tater Tot,” Tony rolls his eyes.
“Wait, I don’t understand,” Thor shakes his head, “I’ve been gone two years, correct?”
“Don’t ask me,” Banner says, “I wasn’t exactly present for most of that,”
“Yeah, two years, Thor,” Natasha finally pipes up, “Why?”
“Well then how is Tony’s boy – and a fine one he seems – sixteen?” Turning directly to Tony, he furrows his brow, “You had a son all this time? I thought we were friends?”
As Tony opens his mouth to reply, a pleased smirk settled on his lips, Peter shouts, “Whoa! Son? Dude, I’m his intern,”
The faint laughter Thor hears from several co-workers does little to deter him.
“What’s an intern?”
“I don’t know, we like…hang out and stuff. Sometimes we watch movies or build things,”
“So an intern is a friend?”
Tony shakes his head rapidly, eyes closed in evident exasperation.
“No,” Peter groans, “Mr. Stark isn’t my friend he’s too – I dunno know…it’s not like that,”
“Pete, if you were about to say ‘too old’, I’ll ground you for a week,”
“How-how do you ground someone? Is there some sort of millstone?” Thor can’t deny he’s slightly disturbed at the prospect.
“Ok, sometimes, you are way too literal,” Tony sighs.
“Typically, a parent…” Bruce begins hesitantly, glancing between Thor and Tony, “’Grounds’ their kid to, you know, punish them for bad behavior,”
“I’m not his k–”
“Alrighty, this discussion is painful so you know what? Yes, Peter’s my son. I adopted him about a year and a half ago,” Tony spreads his hands in a placating gesture, “We done here?”
“Yes,” Thor grins.