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Fic: Butterfly Kisses Chapter 3/16

Chapter 3

An hour later

Waking up to the unfamiliar sensation of a light weight on his chest Tony glanced down to see a much, much younger and smaller body than he was used to finding from his bed partners curled up on his chest. In a flash everything came back to him, ‘His name is Ianto and he is your son’. Tony’s heart started thudding loudly in his chest and his brain began whirling frantically in his head. ‘Think, Stark, think! A baby takes nine months, and this kid looks…’ Tony lifted his head and studied as much of Ianto as he could see; ‘… like he’s at least a year old, maybe a little more.’ 

Tony’s brow furrowed as he tried to remember what he was doing – “Who I was doing is more like it!” he joked quietly to himself – roughly two years ago and he came to one irrefutable conclusion:

Pepper Potts was the only woman he’d made love to in nearly three and a half years.

Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that Pepper had never teen pregnant, “That means Ianto isn’t my son after all,” he concluded sadly and he was truly amazed to find that that fact really upset him. Until that moment, he had been looking very forward to being a father, to raising a child to manhood, and maybe, just maybe, sharing those responsibilities with one special man.

Ianto was sleeping soundly trusting his newly discovered father to keep him safe and despite his newly realised truth, the feeling of the little body beneath his hands sent a feeling of warmth throughout Tony’s chest. Gently brushing the lock of curled hair out of Ianto’s face Tony stared at the peacefully sleeping face all the while wondering, ‘So little guy, how long are you going to sleep?’ While part of him wasn't used to sitting still for very long and was quite anxious to get up and do something, the rest of him didn't want to disturb the sleeping child. He wanted to cherish the time he had left with Ianto before they turned him over to the proper authorities and that thought sent a sharp stab of pain through his heart.

Tony didn't have long to wait before his unusual sleeping partner awoke. Between adult Ianto sealing himself into the Rift and then being miraculously brought to his new home, child Ianto was a hungry and he let the world know all about it when his stomach let out a growl loud enough to startle the little boy from his sleep.

Sleepy Ianto’s blue eyes fluttered open in surprise as the loud noise pulled him from his peaceful dreams, and Tony watched with undisguised delight as Ianto’s little button nose scrunched up as he tried to block out the noise that had disturbed his sleep.

Carefully cradling the little body, Tony twisted around and arranged them so he was sitting up and Ianto was still resting against his chest. Tony couldn't help but smile as Ianto's blue eyes grew wide and he looked down at his tummy as it rumbled once again. The look on Ianto's face made it clear that he could not believe that such a loud noise was coming from him. "I think someone's hungry; yes, I do!” He tickled Ianto’s tummy and chuckled when Ianto giggled loudly and squirmed in his arms. “You like that, huh?” Tony danced his fingers across Ianto’s little belly again and laughed right along with Ianto. 

“Come on, you; let's get some food in you before your stomach tries to eat us." Shifting Ianto a bit, Tony got smoothly to his feet, slid him around to his hip and then headed towards the kitchen bouncing Ianto along as he walked. "I just hope I have something for you to eat little guy." 'I must have bananas or an apple or something like that lying around.'

Tony froze as he walked pushed open the door, walked into the kitchen and found Bruce, Pepper and Steve all milling around. They didn’t even notice that he’d arrived until Ianto, who apparently didn’t like being ignored, let out a little coo designed to gain everyone's attention. In mock exasperation Tony sighed as he glanced down at Ianto. "You just couldn't stay quiet, could you, little man?"

Tony wasn't sure and everyone else thought he was crazy when he brought it up later, but he saw a glint of mischief in those blue-grey eyes. Tony’s breath caught in his throat; not only did they appear to carry the wisdom of the Universe in them, but the look in Ianto’s eyes was very familiar to him, it was the same look he got whenever he was going to start causing trouble. His thoughts were proven true when Ianto let out a small cry, he was hungry, damn it, and he wanted food, now!

Something maternal within Pepper snapped and she rushed over to Tony and snatched the small boy from his arms. "There, there, little guy, I know you’re hungry," she cooed softly as she gently bounced Ianto up and down.

Startled by the sudden change of venue and unsure of what was going to happen next, Ianto glanced at the strange woman holding him and then back at the man he felt safe with. To Ianto’s little brain there was no contest; he let out a tiny distressed whimper, arched his back to get away from Pepper and with eyes filled with years, he held out his arms imploringly to Tony.

The other three could only stare in shock as Tony immediately swooped in and reclaimed Ianto, holding him firmly against his chest. He relished the feeling of Ianto snuggling into his arms and gurgling to himself with satisfaction. "There, there, kiddo, no need to cry, Ianto, Tony's got you.” He carefully used his thumb to brush away the single fat tear that rolled down Ianto’s cheek. “Okay, now I know Pepper can be a little scary but she's really a nice lady when she's not yelling at me for missing the boring meetings." Ianto looked over at Pepper and studied her for a moment before reaching up and patting the older man’s face with his chubby little hand as if to say, “I’ll trust you on this one, Tad”.

The others watched with barely concealed amusement as Tony began making silly faces and nonsensical noises at Ianto and they could see how inordinately pleased the man was when Ianto let out a peal of musical laugh and clapped his hands together in delight. The movement of his fingers caught Ianto’s attention and as he opened and closed them, he examined them with an intensity that reminded the others of Tony when he was in the middle of a project before deciding that his tiny fist looked good enough to eat. With a throaty little chortle, Ianto curled his fingers tightly and attempted to shove his fist into his mouth.

"Whoa, little guy! I know you're hungry but there's no reason to resort to cannibalism! We'll get you something to eat." Gently Tony removed Ianto's fist from his mouth paying no attention to the string of drool that came with it. “Now, what do I have that we can feed a baby?” He looked at the others hoping they’d have a suggestion.

"Sir, the pantry is fully stocked with a variety of baby food and there is also a crib, rocking chair, a playpen, some clothing and selection of basic baby essentials upstairs. It should be enough to tide us over until further deliveries arrive tomorrow morning,” JARVIS' disembodied voice announced. “I have taken the liberty of setting up the young master’s nursery in the bedroom across from yours. You will be close enough to respond to any night-time problems while still maintaining your personal privacy.” If anyone noticed the note of smugness in his words, they wisely said nothing.

Ianto gave a little start at the voice coming out from nowhere and his blue eyes glanced around curiously, trying to figure out where the man was hiding. Unable to find him, the little boy turned to Tony for guidance.

"That's just JARVIS, little guy; he's a voice in the ceiling. He can’t hurt you so pay no attention to him," Tony explained.

"Tony, he's a baby; he doesn’t understand any of that," Pepper chided Tony gently although she found his easy interaction with Ianto quite endearing.

In response Tony covered Ianto's left ear with his free hand and pressed his head against his chest to block the other ear before turning his body to shield Ianto from Pepper's words. "Don't you listen to your Aunty Pepper, Ianto; you're my son and you can understand me perfectly, can't you?" He deliberately ignored the little voice that reminded him that Ianto wasn’t – couldn’t be – his son. As he stared into Ianto's blue eyes Tony knew that he didn't imagine the flash of sharp intelligence that appeared in Ianto's eyes for a moment. ‘Who are you really, Ianto?’

While Tony and Ianto were having their staring contest neither noticed how the other three stood frozen in place at the way Tony causally called Ianto his son. Even without a DNA test to verify paternity, it would seem that he’d already accepted Ianto as his own flesh and blood.

Careful not to let the others see the look on her face, Pepper stared sadly at Tony's back. 'Oh Tony, for your sake I hope that somehow, some way, Ianto really is your son.' While Steve and Bruce had been divvying up some of the baby-proofing chores, she’d been doing some quick mental calculations and she’d come up with the same conclusion that Tony had earlier. Unless Tony had been seeing someone that no one else knew anything about, there was no way Ianto could be Tony’s son and that knowledge broke her heart.

She had never seen Tony take to someone so quickly and so naturally. It was clear to even the most casual observer that Ianto was already completely in awe of Tony and she knew that it would break both their hearts if miracles didn’t exist and Tony was really, truly not Ianto's father. ‘But if Tony’s not your father, then who is, where did you come from and how on earth did you get into Tony’s lab?’ It was actually the last part of the question that bothered Pepper the most.

Ianto couldn’t walk yet much less write the note that came with him, any more than he could know the entry codes for the main gate, the front door and the lab door. Those facts all meant that the Tower had been invaded by an unknown entity, although clearly not an evil one. Bad guys didn’t play stork and deliver babies, at least not on Earth. ‘Does that mean you’re an alien, Ianto?’ Pepper wanted to laugh at that thought, but couldn’t; she’d seen too many bizarre and inexplicable events to rule it out. 

"So… his name is Ianto, huh?" Bruce asked breaking the silence that came over the kitchen.

Absent-mindedly Tony nodded his head. "That's what the note said,” he confirmed and then he glanced up at the ceiling. “Speaking of that note, JARVIS, did you find anything on it that might help us?”

“No, Sir; I have run it through every test possible. There are no fingerprints, no foreign substances and no watermark, and I have not been able to identify its manufacturer.”

Ianto stared in silent fascination as the ceiling as JARVIS spoke, and Tony was positive that there was a knowing smile dancing across his lips.

Tony huffed in frustration. “Have you found anything that can explain how someone got in to my home and my lab totally unseen?"

"I have not, Sir; nothing has shown up on any of the system scans I have run. It appears Sir, that Master Ianto simply appeared in your lab," JARVIS explained.

"This is ridiculous! I want to know who could have gotten past JARVIS and me! This tower has better security then SHIELD, for Christ’s sake! It's…” Tony interrupted himself when he heard Pepper clear her throat loudly. “What!?”

“Language, Tony.” Pepper nodded in Ianto’s direction. “Little pitcher, big ears.”

Tony stared at her for a second, then looked at Ianto and an uncharacteristic blush turned his cheeks a bright red. “Oh, yeah,” he murmured. “Young man, you did not just hear your daddy use a bad work, all right?”

Ianto looked at Tony and with a cheeky grin he nodded his head, as though saying, “Okay, Tad, we’ll pretend you didn’t say that.” Tony got the very distinct impression that his own son was merely humouring him.

With a quick mental shake, Tony returned to the topic at hand; “It is not possible that anyone could get in here undetected and it’s not possible that they got out without leaving some sort of trace, somewhere. If they got in once, they could get in again, which makes them a potential danger to Ianto.” Without realising it, Tony had pressed Ianto closer to him, instinctively protecting him from harm. “JARVIS, beef up security; I'm not taking any chances when it comes to Ianto's safety." Tony scowled at the idea of the child in his arms being in any danger.

“I will continue to investigate, Sir,” JARVIS reassured his creator. “Now initiating security protocol Wolf 739.”

There was no noticeable difference in that anyone could detect, but Tony immediately relaxed his grip on Ianto and blew out a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding. “Thank you, JARVIS.”

“Do not worry, Sir. I will not allow anything to happen to young Master Ianto.”

Steve crossed the distance between him and Tony and placed his hand on the other man’s shoulder in a show of support. “Nothing’s going to happen to your son. Trust me when I say that if anyone tries to take Ianto away from you they’ll have to go through every single Avenger to do so. I promise you, Tony, we will keep Ianto safe.”

As Ianto gazed at the newcomer touching his father, a feeling of warmth and comfort spread throughout his chest and he reached for Steve without hesitation, straining against Tony’s hold.

Surprised by Ianto’s eagerness for Steve, given his earlier reaction to Pepper, Steve and Tony could only stare blankly at Ianto for a moment before the small child’s face scrunched up and a tiny whimper escaped his lips. He didn’t understand why the one he wanted to hold him wasn’t reaching out for him and he pushed away from Tony even harder, straining to touch Steve.

Tony found it very difficult to let anyone else hold Ianto. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust his friends, he simply wasn’t ready to share the little boy with anyone just yet, which explains why he was so quick to steal Ianto back from Pepper. But with Steve it felt different, it felt right; it was as if Ianto belonged in Steve’s arms just as much as he belonged in his. “Here, Uncle Steve, he wants you to hold him.” Tony gently shifted Ianto into Steve’s arms and the little boy gave a tearful gurgle as he settled against Steve’s broad chest.

The instant he felt the slight weight arrive in his hands, Steve’s arms instinctively tightened around Ianto and as Ianto stared up at him with his big blue eyes Steve knew he was in love. “Hey, little guy, there’s no need for tears; Uncle Steve’s got you,” he cooed bouncing Ianto up and down in his arms but then the motion slowed and he became absolutely mesmerised when Ianto reached up and put his little on either side of Steve’s face.

As he studied the older man’s features Ianto’s tears faded and a serious look took their place in his eyes. Deciding that he passed muster, Ianto smiled brightly at Steve just as his stomach let out a sudden loud roar. All eyes flew to the small child and they laughed as they watched him look at his belly and start poking at it curiously as though trying to figure why it kept doing that.

“Already with the scientific mind!” Tony crowed with happiness. “Son, you’re a chip off the old block!”

Grinning with obvious affection and pride, Steve hiked Ianto up a little higher and planted a kiss on his tummy. “Come on, let’s get you fed.”

Shaking his head at how comfortable Ianto was with Steve, Tony followed as the other man headed for the highchair set up near the table; Tony had completely missed that detail when he’d first entered the room. Seeing the bib, Sippy-cup and child-friendly spoon with its large easy-to-grip circular handle, Tony chuckled and frowned at the same time. “Tell me, Pepper, did you leave anything on the stores shelves or did you clear them all out?” Tony teased his friend.

Pepper merely cocked an eyebrow at Tony’s teasing. “I left that to you; we both know that you plan on spoiling him rotten.”

“Of course I am, if he’s going to be a Stark he has to start appreciating the finer things in life as early as possible.” At that moment Tony knew that if even Ianto wasn't his son there was no way he could possibly give him up. In fact, it actually scared him a little bit just how fast and deep Ianto had dug his way into his heart. Of course the sight of Steve and Bruce making airplane noises at Ianto as they flew the spoon through the air and fed him some kind of brightly coloured strained food was downright adorable.

Tony’s heart certainly skipped a beat, even two, at the way the sunlight shone through the room’s large bay window and made Steve glow as he smiled down at Ianto as he feed the boy a spoonful of whatever he was eating. Unwilling to be left out of anything to do with Ianto, Tony smiled apologetically, “Excuse me, Pepper, I have to go make sure those two aren’t trying to poison my son.”

Pepper watched Tony go a soft smile appearing on her face. “JARVIS, inform the legal department to draw up some adoption papers immediately; there is no way I am going to allow anyone to take Ianto from Tony.”

“I’m alerting them now, Miss Potts, and I have also recommended that they file paperwork for sole custody of Ianto should he turn out to be Mr Stark’s son,” JARVIS assured her.

“Good.” Between her and JARVIS Pepper would make sure that Ianto’s future with Tony was secure. Studying the group before her Pepper knew she had to make one small change to her plan; ‘I should include Steve and Bruce on that list of those authorised to have emergency custody of Ianto, and probably the rest of the Avengers as well because there’s no doubt in my mind that once they meet Ianto they’ll love him just as much as we do.’

Ianto had only been in their lives for a few hours but already Pepper could see the joy and light Ianto had brought to their lives. “JARVIS, make sure you’re recording this from every angle possible,” Pepper ordered. A contented smile graced her lips as she watched three of the most powerful men on the planet make goofy faces and baby noises in order to get Ianto to eat.

“I haven’t stopped recording, Miss Potts, and I am streaming it live to the other Avengers, as well as to the computers of Agent Coulson, Miss Lewis and Miss Foster.” JARVIS rather smugly informed her.

“Good because this is all simply too priceless to pass up!” Pepper knew that what she was seeing was pure gold just as she knew the footage would come in handy one day to remind Tony that as much as he tried to deny it, he did indeed have a softer side.


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