Tony had taught his little toddler that if somebody he didn’t know tried to grab him, touch him, or hurt him he should scream. Scream as loud and hard as he could.
Peter had nodded and said, “Otay, Daddy!”
But Tony prayed his baby would never, ever end up in a situation like that.
“Okay, Petey,” Tony smiled, kissing the little boy’s delicate curls. “What are we gonna watch?”
Peter was tangled in a fuzzy Iron Man blanket, snuggled into Tony’s side. “Winnie da Pooh?”
“Of course, baby.” The inventor gently poked the boy’s tiny nose.
The got about fifteen minutes before Peter blinked up at him. “Daddy, can we have hot cho’colate?”
“Sure sweetheart. Extra marshmallows?” Tony stood up, grinning at his kid.
Peter giggled and smiled. “Yes! Pwease!”
The boy entertained himself with the movie while his Daddy bustled around in the kitchen, but then he heard a noise. He frowned and wormed his way out of the blanket, toddling to the elevator.
Hmm, there was shouting. That wasn’t good.
Peter stepped into the elevator, the doors closing behind him. “Jarbis?” he asked. “Can we go downstairs?”
“Peter, your father wouldn’t want you to go downstairs unaccompanied,” said the AI.
“Pwease, Jarbis! Jus’ for a minute!”
There was a pause, and then Peter felt a swooping sensation in his stomach as the elevator went down. “T’anks, Jarbis!”
“Of course, young sir.”
The toddler nervously walked to the yelling. He pressed his ear against the door and heard voices.
“Where the hell is Stark anyway? He was supposed to be here five minutes ago.”
Stark was his last name, Peter thought. Maybe they were talking about his daddy.
Taking a deep breath, he reminded himself that he was a big boy. He stood on his tip toes and twisted the door handle.
He blinked as all the faces in the room turned to him. “Umm… hi!”
“What’s a kid doing in here?” said a woman with red hair. Peter smiled anxiously and gnawed on his fingers.
A tall man (though everybody was tall to Peter) frowned and spoke next. “I don’t know.” He stood up. “Hey, son. What are you up to?”
The tall blond man reached towards him, setting a hand on his shoulder.
But Peter remembered what his daddy told him. “If somebody you don’t know touches you, scream, as loud as you can.”
So Peter screamed. “Daddy! Daddy!”
And he kept screaming, even when he heard a crash from downstairs and his daddy’s footsteps running towards him, even when the blond man tried to calm him down. Because his daddy said to scream.
Tony sprinted into the room, his suit half on and his repulsor up. “Peter?!” he shouted.
“Daddy!” Peter cried, tears pooling in his eyes. “Daddy!”
“Oh, baby,” Tony whispered, scooping up his kid and cradling him close. “Oh, Petey, it’s okay, sweetheart, I got you. Shh, shh.” He rubbed the toddler’s back soothingly, pressing kiss after kiss to his curls. “Don’t worry, I got you.”
“You said t’ scream, Daddy,” Peter sniffed, wrapping his arms around the genius’s neck.
“I know, sweetheart, you did so good. So good, I’m so proud of you,” he murmured, his eyes shut. The moments of purse, unbridled panic and terror when he heard his baby scream hadn’t worn off, and his heart still raced erratically. He clutched the toddler tighter.
“Tony, who is this?” Steve snapped, interrupting his thoughts. Peter’s tiny fists clenched his shirt tightly.
“It’s okay, bambino,” Tony said to his kid, before turning to Captain America. “This is my son, Peter.”
Steve looked aghast. Iron Man ignored him and gently stroked Peter’s cheek. “Petey, look! These are the Avengers, sweetheart. Wanna say hi?”
Peter looked up, his big brown eyes wide. “‘Vengers?”
“That’s right, little one,” Tony cooed. “They’re all here.”
“Wow…” Peter whispered in awe. “Hi, ‘Vengers! I’m Peter!”
Natasha, collected and cool as ever, stepped forward. “Hey, Peter. It’s nice to meet you. My name’s Natasha.”
The toddler beamed. “Hi, Na- Nata- Natashhhha!” He struggled with the name only for a moment.
Black Widow gave a rare, genuine smile. “You can call me Nat, or Tasha, if you want, Peter.”
“Otay, Nat!” he giggled, kicking his little legs. Tony smiled fondly.
“I didn’t know you had a kid,” Steve interrupted.
“Know you do,” he replied, kissing Peter’s forehead and adding a loud “m’wah!”
Peter laughed. Tony didn’t miss how Steve’s eyes softened.
The boy laid his head against his chest, his eye lashes fluttering, his warm breath puffing against his neck.
“Aww, sweetheart, is it nap-time?” Tony cooed. “Are you all worn out now?”
Peter huffed softly and nodded. “’M sleepy.”
“Okay, Petey, let’s go back upstairs, huh?” He smiled at the Avengers. “Sorry. It’s nap-time.”
Natasha smiled. “Have a nice nap, Peter.”
He blinked slowly at her and smiled. “T’anks. G’night, ‘Vengers.”
“Good night, Peter,” the chorused as one.