Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. in the following story are the property of their respective owners. The Harry Potter characters and plot are the property of J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros, and NBC. Avengers and other Marvel properties therein are the property of Marvel Entertainment, The Disney Corporation, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Stan Lee, and Steve Ditko. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended nor are there any monetary profits made off of the entirety of the following work.
"There is a man in the lobby threatening to sue unless you see to him immediately," a timid personal informed them.
Tony Stark believed himself to be unflappable, so just laughed and spoke, "Sue me for what? There is no way he can go toe to toe with my lawyers and win."
A sadistic grin spanned Tony's face. It had been a long time since he has been challenged in that area. A good court battle sounded fun.
"What is he threatening to sue for?" Pepper, always the rational one, sat up from the couch and addressed his unnamed subordinate.
The man licked his lips nervous, "He said he would make up a reason."
Tony laughed at the audacity of the man, "Send him up."
The attendant nodded jerkily and Pepper excused him, "Thank you Richard."
Tony turned to Pepper and with a light tone commented, "Richard. I knew his name started with an R, but are you sure it's not Riley?"
"Yes Tony," she said, exasperated. "I'm sure."
"Who is he anyways?" Tony didn't really pay attention to most of his personal, but the man seemed afraid of him, so they must have met at one point. Nobody cowers that bad without them having already experienced him messing with them.
Probably drunk. Richard did work for him after all.
"The head of personal at Stark tower," she commented, breaking him out of his thoughts.
"I thought I made Brucie that."
"You made Bruce your head scientist," she corrected him, sighing.
Before he could think up a clever reply, a man was escorted into the office.
"Can we find a comfortable place to discuss certain issues? This may take awhile," the man asserted with a strong British accent, almost expecting to take control of the situation. No, Tony wouldn't have that. This was his place.
"I think here is just fine." Tony motioned to the assorted drinks of the table. "Alcohol?"
"No, thank you. This is hardly the time," the man scoffed.
"So," Tony blustered, and spoke jovially. "What are you suing me for?"
"My client is not suing you; I just needed to talk to you. You are almost impossible to get a hold of."
"So why are you here?" Pepper asked as she pursed her lips unhappily.
The man sighed. "Do you remember a woman named Lily Potter?"
"Lily? Pretty-eyed Lily? The biochemist; a redhead?" He wasn't too drunk that night – what, sixteen years ago – and she been brilliant. Great mind and beautiful. What could he say? He had a thing for red-heads.
Tony took a good look at the man. He looked to be in his late fifties or early sixties, with impeccable expressive dress – although not brand name – and held himself very self-assured.
He wasn't afraid of him. He underestimated him, but not in the usual playboy loose way that people saw him. No, the man didn't like him one bit, and Tony didn't have a clue why.
The man reached into his leather briefcase, and pulled out a picture.
The bright smile and unique eyes were a dead giveaway. Tony had a perfect memory, even with extreme amounts of alcohol he usually drank, wishing to drown his loud senses. He wasn't an alcoholic. His body wasn't dependent on it. It was just therapeutic because, for once, his mind would slow.
"Yeah, that's her. What is she suing me for? It was a long time ago."
"She's not suing you; she's dead." The man was blunt as he delivered the news.
Tony swallowed hard, then weakly joked, "If she died from an STD, she didn't get it from me. I'm clean."
The man glared at him and Pepper interrupted. "Before this gets any farther, can you please tell your name and business with Mr. Stark."
Tony usually loved it when she called him that because it sounded hot coming from her mouth, but at that moment it sounded dry and harsh. For some reason, Tony was feeling uncertain about the entire situation.
"My apologies Miss Potts. My name is Jasper Ryes, and I'm the barrister for Mr. Potter from the British law firm called, actually, Potter Law House."
"So she was married. I didn't know. But that was years and years ago, so what do you want me to do?" Tony bristled.
"She was married yes, but her husband died at the same time as she did. I represent her son. Your son."
The weight of the man's words hung in the air. Tony didn't say anything. He just stared shocked.
"Mr. Ryes, you can't just come in here and make those claims. There are certain channels you need to go through. How do we know that you're not lying?" Pepper asked as she smiled in a way that on any other day would have made him proud. It was a shark killer smile.
"I have a son," Tony tried to focus on his breathing feeling light headed.
"Yes. Mrs. Potts, we have done extensive research on this. We have known for six months now, and my client originally chose to never divulge this information, but circumstances have changed."
"He didn't want to meet me?" Tony asked, distressed.
"Mr. Potter has had a hard life. He doesn't want rejection."
The words laid harshly on Tony. "Why now, then?"
Instead of replying, Mr. Ryes took out a stack of documents.
"Mr. Potter was legally, yet slyly, adopted by his stepfather. When they died in a terrorist attack, James Potter left everything to his adopted son. Recently, however, the government is trying to seize properties and heirlooms. As his barrister, I'm trying my best to fight that." Mr. Ryes paused, looking old. "We have to go through legal channels to emancipate Mr. Potter, but it has been difficult. If you sign these papers then you legally emancipate and disinherit Mr. Potter and you can forget that he even exists."
Pepper and he met eyes and Tony shook his head. He couldn't do it. He couldn't bear being like his father: knowing he has a child out there and choosing to ignore him.
"How old is he? God, what's his full name? What is he like?"
"Harry James Potter is turning sixteen on July 31st. I understand if you want to look over the document to make sure you're not selling your soul away, but it would be best for everyone if this was over quickly."
"Fifteen," he breathed. Harry. His son's name was Harry.
Tony gulped. He was far from a fool. Many people had come before clamming to either be his child or be having his child. They had all checked negative. Yet in this one case, it didn't seem to be about his money or stringing him along, rather pushing him to forget.
If it was true, Tony knew he never could.
Pepper took control of the situation. "If you would give us a moment, I think we would like to talk this over."
The proclaimed barrister nodded, getting up to leave. "I'll be outside. Call me in when you have made your decision."
When the man was gone from the room, Tony turned to Pepper. "I have a child that I didn't know about. I feel like Howard."
"You are not like you're farther. Nowhere close. And we don't even know if he is telling the truth yet. I want your scientists to confirm-"
"-using DNA. Yes. I'm going to be stupid about it. But he is really my kid, I'm not going to just sign him away," Tony cut Pepper off.
Pepper nodded, her expression unreadable, "Then that's what we will tell the guy. Mr. Ryes, can you please come back in. We have come to a consensus." Pepper raised her voice, Tony almost jumping from how on edge he was.
His British accent carried through the room, "Are you going to sign the papers?"
Tony shook his head, "If what you say is true, then I want to meet him."
"Mr. Stark," the barrister started, "after James and Lily's death, Harry was placed with his maternal Aunt and Uncle. When he showed up on my door step almost three years ago, he asked if I would represent a minor. You see, all he wanted was to get into his family vaults." There was a pause as the man took time to look both of them in the eye. "I wanted to know why a thirteen-year-old would need money. He was wanting access to his family vault to see if they would release a property to him and a small percentage a month to live on."
Tony could see where this was going and he didn't like it.
"He was abused, violently. I looked into his records. Three broken arms, burned hands and arms, and belt marks on his back. They made him sleep in a cupboard, Mr. Stark. Harry doesn't need an irresponsible father. He needs stability. I don't think you could give him that."
Tony swallowed hard. That did change things. The man doubted him, and, honestly, he doubted himself.
"You don't know Tony," Pepper interjected.
"No," the man agreed, "I don't, but I do know his reputation."
Tony took one look at the alcohol in his glass and dumped it right into the trash on his right.
"I want to meet him," Tony bit his lip. "If he is really my son as you claim, then I have a right to get to know him."
The man sighed.
"I am aging. For the last three years, Harry has stayed with us. Every morning is a struggle to get him to not cook for us. He is a very strong young man who has faced much," the man told.
"But he doesn't want to see me?" Tony voice grew rough.
"No, he doesn't want to burden you. In fact, I'm not even supposed to be here today. You see, Harry has done everything in his power to become independent and strong. He doesn't want some other person taking that away from him. Even to secure his future. I'm here, because I see him as the closet thing I have to a grandchild. My wife and I are getting old and we can't look after him forever."
Tony didn't say anything.
"Please sign those documents for me Mr. Stark."