“Magoona!” Tony Stark called across the yard, “chow time!”
When there was no reply from his daughter, he slowly made his way down the porch steps to begin the search for her. He knew it wouldn’t take long, she was easy to find these days. His knees would be grateful. They ached a bit with each step; too many rough landings in his lifetime.
He walked to the side of the house where he noticed the garden hose was stretched to its limit, and disappeared around the back of the house. Grinning, he followed the hose to the garage door that was open a fraction to accommodate it. Tony could hear the sounds of his daughter tinkering away inside, completely oblivious to the outside world. He peeked through the door silently so he could watch her without being noticed.
The first thing he saw was Dum-E standing ready with the garden hose clamped in his claw.
‘Fire-safety,’ Tony thought. He always told Morgan to have someone ready to put out a fire when she was working in the garage (He learned from experience). It was nice to know she listened, even if Dum-E didn’t have the best track record when it came to being helpful.
He looked over to his daughter and he couldn’t stop the swell of pride that filled his chest. She was eleven years old now, and was she…yep, she was soldering all by herself. Her back was to him, but he could imagine the look of concentration on her face as she created something of her own. She was standing at the worktable he made for her. It was low to the ground so she wouldn’t have to sit or stand on a stool while she worked. It wouldn’t be long before she started using his own work area. She was growing up so fast, and all he could do was savor every second of it. He watched as her hands work confidently with each task. The gloves she wore were still a little too big for her. Her skinny arms were covered up to her elbows in the leather. The goggles she wore were an old pair of his from his college days. Rhodey had gifted them to him on his 15th birthday, and now it was fitting that Morgan would have them. They were really getting a workout lately. She’d been working in the garage every day for over a month, refusing his help every time he offered. It hurt him at first because they always worked together in the garage, but Pepper had convinced him it was important for Morgan to come up with her own ideas and learn to rely on herself. Tony agreed she was plenty smart enough to start working on her own projects. He just missed working with her.
Tony was so lost in his thoughts that he nearly jumped out of his skin when Pepper tapped him on the shoulder.
“Sorry,” she whispered quickly, rubbing his shoulders and back as he calmed himself down. “I wanted to find out what the hold up was,” Pepper explained, still apologetic.
Tony shook his head, letting out a long sigh. “It’s okay,” he reassured her, “I was on cloud nine.”
“I see that,” she said with a smile, looking through the garage door at their daughter.
“Did you teach her how to use that thing?” she asked, her smile waning as black smoke drifted up around Morgan’s head.
“Of course I did,” he said defensively. “Look, she’s got her gloves, her goggles, and Dum-E on fire-safety,” he pointed out.
“That’s why I asked,” she smirked back at him.
He felt compelled to defend his first bot. “Say what you want about Dum-E, I can guarantee you he’ll flood the garage before anything in there catches fire.”
“Well never mind then,” she deadpanned, eyes shining with mirth.
Suddenly the garage door opened to reveal Morgan Stark looking every inch the mechanic. Safety goggles up on her head, gloved hands at her waist, and motor oil staining her clothes and skin.
“Is dinner ready?” she asked blinking up at her parents.
“Sure is sweety pie,” Tony said while reaching down and scrubbing some oil off of her chin.
“Make sure you wash up first,” Pepper spoke to Morgan, but looked right at Tony. “Your father already made a big enough mess today trying to use the blender.”
Morgan giggled as Tony gave them a bashful smile.
Pepper looked at her giggling daughter and the resemblance to Tony was striking. She’d never get over it. The unruly hair, the big dark eyes, and a smile that could light up a city. She was reminded of all of the times she would go down to Tony’s workshop and he’d be wearing his grease stained clothes, blasting his obnoxious music, and smile ear to ear at the sight of her. More often than not she had to remind him to eat something or he’d go all day without anything in his stomach but caffeine. It all felt like a lifetime ago…it almost was. They had come such a long way in 30 years. Now here she was calling their daughter to dinner. Tears sprung to her eyes at the thought, but she didn’t let them fall, not wanting to ruin her daughter's happiness.
“Go put your things away before we eat.“ Pepper ordered gently before kissing the top of Morgan’s head.
Morgan nodded, spinning around and going back into the barn to put her equipment in its proper place.
“I’m going to fix that blender so it doesn’t happen again,” Tony promised, taking her hand in his and entwining their fingers.
Pepper smiled and kissed her husband. He was irresistible, even after painting the kitchen with tomato sauce.
“I’m sure you will, just like you fixed the kitchen sink.”
He smiled back and nodded, “that’s right. That dishwasher was a life saver.”
Pepper kissed him again before she pulled away. “I’m going to check on the chicken before you have to upgrade the oven too.”
She caressed his cheek as she walked away, leaving his skin tingling. He watched her walk back to the house with the same beauty and grace she had on the very first day he saw her.
He was the luckiest man in the world.
“Dad?” Morgan asked, getting his attention. “Do you think you can teach me how to use the welder tomorrow?”
Tony whistled. “The welder, huh? You think you’re ready for that?”
Morgan nodded enthusiastically up at him. He couldn’t deny her anything when she looked at him like that.
“Alright. I’ll show you how it works tomorrow,” he promised. “But it’s probably going to be years before your mother lets you use it by yourself.”
“That’s okay,” Morgan shrugged, “I like it better when you’re in the garage.”
Tony staggered a moment, looking into Morgan’s eyes. She was completely sincere, and completely unaware of how much her words meant to him. It always amazed him that he could help create someone so perfect.
He cleared his throat before he spoke again. It had become tight all of a sudden. “Come on,” he gestured to the house, “lets eat before your mom burns the house down.”
It came out of nowhere.
The spray of water hit him right in the face and soaked him through before he could even process what was happening.
“What the-” he spluttered, getting a mouthful of water in the process. “Stop! STOP!”
Finally, the water stopped and Tony realized what had happened.
Dum-E was standing in front of him, chirping. The hose still in his claw. Morgan was literally rolling on the floor laughing, trying to catch her breath.
Tony, sopping wet from head to toe, pointed an accusing finger at Dum-E. “This is why Pepper only let’s U into the house,” he scolded. “Go get a mop, would you..and the dunce cap. You earned it.”
Dum-E chirped happily and rolled away in search of a mop and his hat.
Morgan was wiping away tears as she walked over to her dad, a goofy grin on her face.
“Is something funny?” He pretended to look around for the source of her amusement.
“You,” she poked his chest. “Mommy is going to be mad at you.”
“Me?” Tony exclaimed, hamming it up for his daughter’s amusement. “She is going to be mad at us.” He said while simultaneously bringing her in for a big bear hug.
Morgan squealed in surprise and felt her own clothes soaking through with water. “Dad! No fair!” She yelled as she tried to squirm out of his grasp, to no avail.
Tony was laughing now, peppering his daughter with kisses while she complained.
Tony Stark didn’t have anything to complain about. Life was perfect. Everything had worked out exactly as it should.