OMG I just had the cuuuuuutest headcanon: So we all know Tony knew Peggy as his Aunt Peggy but what if he grew up knowing the Howling Commandos as his uncles? I can just imagine little Tony being told stories of the war by his Uncle Dum Dum and then growing up a bit and going to college and building a robot and naming it after his favorite Uncle... I mean we've already seen his affinity for naming his mechanical babies after important people in his life *coughJarviscough*
Imagine Steve when Tony told him.
Idk maybe they were just chilling in his workshop while Tony was doing a little bit of maintenance work on Dum-E, and then Steve just asks him out of the blue, “JARVIS was a person, before he was an AI, right?”
And Tony freezes for a moment, before looking up at the ceiling and nodding his head a little. “Yeah. One of the best men I grew up with, honestly. Seemed only fair he got to… I don’t know, be remembered? And he always used to look out for me when I was a kid, so - carrying on tradition? I guess?”
“What about the others?”
Tony stopped, raising his eyebrows in silent question. Steve just gestured at Dum-E and sat back, waiting for the story.
“I… well this one,” Tony patted Dum-E fondly on the head, “he was kind of based loosely off an uncle of mine? Not by blood,” he added, when Steve’s eyebrows raised in surprise, “just… a good guy. He’d swing by with Pegs sometimes, tell me cool war-stories. And Howard was never an ass when he was around, ‘cause Uncle Dummy would just clock him on the nose.”
Steve smiled in amusement. “Uncle Dummy? What a respectful name,”
Tony shrugged. “Pegs always called him Dougan, but it was too long for three-year old me. So he told me to call him Dum-Dum. He was… he was always fun like that-”
“Whoah whoa. Wait. Hold up,” Steve had stood up and crossed the room before the was even aware of what he was doing, taking Tony’s shoulder and clutching tightly. “You… you knew Dougan?”
Tony stared in shock for a moment. “You knew Dougan? But- but he never mentioned you! I talked about you all the time and he never…” Tony trailed off, getting sad for a moment as he thought back. “Oh. He… he always got sad when I spoke about you. After a while I just stopped asking. Was- was he a Howling Commando?” Tony asked quietly, but Steve couldn’t miss the childish little spark of excitement in his eyes.
Steve smiled fondly, and looked down to Dum-E sat patiently, as if he were listening to the entire conversation. Steve could almost see the shared traits, now he was looking. The clumsiness. The general loudness. The mood-swings.
“Yeah,” Steve replied softly. “He was… he was one of my best friends. We pretty much all lived in each other’s pockets back then, so it was hard not to be.”
Tony looked at him, and then placed a gentle hand over Steve’s. “Want me to tell you about him? What he was like after, I mean. With me. Because he was great, honestly, I adored him-”
“Yeah,” Steve answered, smiling weakly. “That’d be… nice.”
And so they just talk. For hours. And it’s the first time Steve ever sees Tony’s face light up when he talks about his childhood.
He leaves, six hours later, with a feeling that isn’t pain from talking about the people from his past. Just happiness.
Dum-Dum had looked out for Tony. He’d been doing Steve’s job before Steve had even known about Tony Stark.
And not that Steve likes picking favourites, but… it’s Dum-E