probably not consciously. he treats him kind of like a son sometimes, but that’s not very unusual for tony. tony has to be watched closely or he adopts stray genius children everywhere he goes.
mostly it’s pretty long distance–he emails and videocalls them, sets up scholarships, funds research, talks them through school problems, introduces them to employers… i know for a fact that at least half of the starkphone beta testers are sleep-deprived students across the country who tony has run into at some convention or facility tour and decided to keep. some of them come to work at Stark Industries eventually, but a fair number go into other fields.
he has a strange ability to pinpoint exactly which kid in any given cluster is an untapped well of talent looking for mentoring. we have a number of bets running on if he’s doing it consciously or not.
either way, he does it a lot.
he’s not very cuddly or touchy-feely with them, and he gets hilariously defensive if you poke him about it, but he’s actually a really good mentor, and he does really care. i mean, sometimes he uses the ‘do the exact opposite of what i would do’ method of role modelling, but…
Dean was surprised to see your truck parked in a space just outside his room. He hopped out and let himself in, sure that you had easily picked the lock no problem and were probably waiting inside. He expected to see you seated in a chair, hunched over your computer or some old lore book, but was puzzled when he didn’t find your presence obvious.
Further inspection, and a few long strides into the room, and his eyes landed on your boots, which were still on your feet. One was dangling over the edge of his bed.
Dean moved around the room divider and gulped when his eyes fell on you fast asleep on his bed, lying on his jacket, both holding onto it and partially using it as an additional pillow. Your chest was moving in and out deeply, steadily, and your hair fell partially across your face.
The sight of you sprawled there, vulnerable, your guard completely down, peaceful, and beautiful stopped him dead. He was overcome with the sudden urge to simply lie down beside you. He felt like his hands might actually be trembling and he had a peculiar nervous flutter in his chest and stomach. Dean wasn’t sure how long he stood there just looking at you, wondering what he should do, knowing he probably should wake you, but unwilling to interject himself into the scene which looked so perfect from where he stood.
A thought grew in his mind about how he wished he could see this every day–you relaxed and safe in his bed–and how he wished that the space beside you was reserved especially for him.