okay so @one-piece-of-harry posted something regarding kid!Tony being brought to the future and then being scared of adult Tony bc he looks like Howard and it immediately pierced my heart directly and so I had to write and share the pain. Have fun!
It was movie night.
This was normal. Movie night came around every Thursday, and involved the whole team gathering on one single couch in order to watch the weekly movie of choice.
They were currently on Bruce’s turn. This meant Star Trek was playing, loud and clear through the sound-system as Clint complained, Thor reveled and Natasha called for more food.
This was normal. So Tony sighed, and then rolled off Steve’s lap in order to go on the popcorn round. “Two minutes,” he mumbled, as he got to his feet lethargically and stumbled out into the kitchen.
Steve watched him leave, a fond smile on his face. It was well into the early hours of the morning by this point, and so everyone was pretty dead on their feet, and yet still insistent upon finishing the second film.
This was normal.
A flash of blinding light, a crack like lightning and a high-pitched yell of fear were certainly not normal, however.
In the time it had taken for light to recede, all five of them had jumped to their feet instantly, weapons procured from places not previously believed to have been possible before. Steve and Thor instantly stepped forward- the biggest and most indestructible on the team acting as a barrier for the lesser protected members.
Guns, hammers and shields drawn, they all pointed it steadily at the source of the noise, pinpointing it instantly and with a deadly accuracy.
A little boy stared back at them; his eyes criss-crossing as he stared at the barrel of the gun pointed at his nose.
“Oh,” Steve muttered, a little dumbstruck. So dumbstruck, in fact, that it took him another few seconds to realise he was still holding up a pistol to a child.
Dropping his hand immediately, he stumbled back, eyes wide. The boy was watching them all; hadn’t even moved a muscle or shown an ounce of emotion since his initial yell. He was just…standing there. His eyes observing all of them separately, cautiously.
“Who are you?” Clint asked eventually, trying to make his voice sound as non-threatening as possible.
The little boy just kept… watching. His hands were clenched into fists, and his knees were bent a little.
“I just moved through space and time,” he declared eventually.
It was so bizarre; so completely impossible for a child of his age to say, that Steve knew immediately afterwards. “You’re called Tony Stark, aren’t you?” He said softly, unable to help the smile that crept up his face, because now he had connected it, the similarities were impossible to ignore.
Tiny Tony stared at him, and for a second, outright contempt flashed across his features- an emotion that should really have been far too old for a boy of that age just then. “And you’re Captain America.”
“That I am,” Steve smiled, getting on to one knee so that he was level with Tiny Tony. “Listen, I know this is probably weird for you-”
“If this is a trick, or you’re going to use me as a ransom demand, then you’re out of luck. Howard Stark doesn’t pay ransom fees,” Tiny Tony spoke over Steve, his voice robotic and dull, like he’d been made to practice the words in a mirror a hundred times over.
“Not even for his own child?” Thor blurted in his usual booming manner- and for the first time since he’d landed there, Tiny Tony flinched.
Everyone noticed, despite Tiny Tony’s worryingly smooth transition back into neutrality. Thor look horrified, and took a step forward, hand outstretched, but Tiny Tony just reeled back from it. “Not even for his own child,” the boy snapped.
Steve stared, open-mouthed. That… that had been an awfully strong response.
“How old are you, Tony?” Bruce moved on effortlessly, stepping past Natasha and Clint in order to get to the little boy stood in front of them.
“Tell me who you are, first,” Tiny Tony argued, stepping back once again, “Prove to me that you are who you say you are, and that I have fallen what looks to be half a century into the future, rather than just kidnapped by a group of phonies.”
“See the mouth on him wasn’t a recent development, then,” Clint said, amused.
“I save it especially for stupid people,” Tiny Tony retorted, and Steve bit back a laugh as clint gasped in offence and Natasha just nodded like that wasn’t any different from the Tony they knew now.
Bruce stepped forward again, undoubtedly ready to start explaining to Tiny Tony what had happened (Loki, probably- the room smelt faintly like his particular brand of magic), when there was a clatter of bowls and faint swearing from the other side of the room.
“Next time, I swear I’ll just invent a server bot to grab all this shit for me, I don’t have enough hands to carry the amount of food your fat asses require-”
Adult Tony stopped dead, looking at the circle of people stood around the tinier version of himself. The bowl of popcorn slipped out of the crook of his elbow entirely.
Steve opened his mouth to speak, hand going up and gesturing at Tiny Tony in greeting, before realising that the boy had… gone. He frowned, raising his eyes and looking around until spotting Tiny Tony again, this time a good few feet away from where he had been at the beginning.
What put Steve on edge, however, was the look on his face.
All that unnerving neutrality had vanished, and the tiny little boy had taken a full turn- eyes wide, face pale and hands visibly shaking as they fixed on Tony’s face. He continued to back away until his back hit the glass wall and he ran out of any more room.
“I didn’t know,” Tiny Tony blurted suddenly, looking in horror at Tony and shaking his head vigorously, “I din’t know you were doing an experiment, I thought someone had tried to take me again, I’m sorry, I didn’t know, I didn’t know,” he turned to Clint, lip wobbling, “I’m sorry I was rude, Mr, I thought you were a bad guy-”
“Hey hey hey, Tony, calm down, it’s okay,” Steve frowned, taking a step forward in an attempt to reach out to Tiny Tony, only to watch in shock as the boy jerked to the other side, eyes searching for an exit.
“I didn’t… I’m sorry, please don’t be mad,I swear I wasn’t trying to interrupt or anything,” he whispered to Adult Tony again, and his eyes were actually fucking tearing up, Steve had no idea what was going on, none of them did, things had just spiraled out of control so quickly-
“I’m not Howard,” Steve’s Tony called out across the room. He was quiet- uncharacteristically so, and looking at the young boy with something Steve couldn’t read. “I’m not Howard,” he said again, stronger this time.
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