Happy Birthday, Tony Stark

A Fic I wrote ages ago that is perfectly suited for his birthday. It isn’t porn and I’ve already posted it, but I’ll repost since apprently today is his birthday andI didn’t have time to write a new one.

FEEELINGS AHOY

Happy Birthday, Tony stark

It was Tony’s birthday. He was turning 35 and instead of a small gathering, or a night in with pizza or a ridiculous house party that made all the tabloids, Pepper had put together what she liked to call a “Grown Up” birthday dinner. In reality, it was just a fancy dinner party, with a giant cake, a dance floor, and a live band that only new about ten songs, and lots of people Tony hadn’t seen in years. This was the last time he was letting Pepper plan his birthday. He was just going out for drinks with Steve, Peter, Thor, and Clint from now on.

The dinner had been nice at least, with four meals to choose from as the band and various singers performed on the stage. Tony sat with Steve and the Avengers, Pepper at the table next to them with Natasha, Happy, Rhodey and others. Fury, Coulson, and Maria Thorpe were at another table with various shield operatives Tony wasn’t sure he remembered.

“You ok?” Steve asked after the plates had been cleared and another round of champagne was brought to the tables. He had worn his military uniform for the event, even though Pepper had begged him to wear a tux. Tony was glad he hadn’t. He preferred the uniform anyhow. Everyone else at the table had adorned some sort of suit or tux. Thor looked pretty ridiculous in his dark blue suit, his long hair pulled back. The sentiment was nice though.

“Yeah I’m good.”

“No you aren’t.” Steve looked around. “Too many people for the great Tony Stark?” he teased.

“To many people I don’t know and or like,” Tony said, sitting back in his chair and taking a sip of champagne. “I wish Pepper had asked me before doing this.”

“She did, you said sure.”

Tony rolled his eyes. “It was three in the morning and I was half asleep. That doesn’t count. That,” he looked over at Pepper who was giggling. “Is underhanded trickery.” She just stuck her tongue out at him and returned to her conversation with Happy.

“It’s not all bad, I’m enjoying myself.” Steve gave him an encouraging pat on the back.

“Well at least one of us is.”

“Cheer up, Tony,” Thor said with a laugh. “All that’s left is the cake. Then we can return home and have a proper celebration. I’m still not pleased that you beat me at the blasted game of yours.”

“Not everyone is as skilled at Just Dance as I am,” Tony said, laughing. “You and Clint should give it ago.”

“Not happening, ever.” Clint gave him a toothy grin. “Not even when I’m drunk.”

“Oh we’ll see.”

Someone cleared their throat over the speakers. Everyone turned their attention to the stage, where a very nervous and well dressed Peter was standing, clutching a large poster behind his back. Tony had to smile; the kid had this way of being adorable no matter what he did, even at his age. His nervous fidgeting was one of those things he did that just made Tony think of him as a five year old asking the girl he liked if he could hold her hand.

“Good evening everyone,” he said. “My name’s Peter Parker and I wanted to take a moment before we cut the cake and present a Toast in honor of the birthday boy.” He flashed Tony his awkward grin.

“Where’s he been all night?” Tony asked Steve. He only remembered seeing Peter at the beginning of the party.

“Around I guess. Like you said lots of people.” Steve said with a sly smile. He was hiding something. Tony frowned at him, but Peter started talking so he turned his attention back to the stage.

“Tonight,” Peter began, “we are celebrating one of the most influential and brilliant men of our time. Like the many heroes in this room tonight, Tony Stark has dedicated his life to serving others. And like many of the heroes in this room, I feel that his efforts often go unnoticed. Now, that isn’t to say he hasn’t been honored with the credit he deserves, but the attention Tony Stark gets, the Tony Stark you all know, is one built by tabloids and scandals. That is not the real Tony Stark.”

Whatever muttering there had been in the room ceased and Peter held everyone’s attention. Something changed, his posture straightened, his head lifted and he suddenly seemed so much more brave then seconds before, so very brave. Tony knew he hated speaking to crowds unless he was in costume, but no one would see that now. He looked like a natural.

“Six years ago, Tony Stark was king of possibly the largest and most powerful weapons manufacturing company in our country’s history. He had inherited the company from his father, Howard Stark, who helped work on the Manhattan project and is responsible for our beloved Captain America.” Tony saw Steve blush. “Howard Stark had built an empire by building and selling weapons to the world. Tony went on to do the same. The last weapon he ever created was the infamous Jericho Missile.”

The name sank like lead in Tony’s stomach and hung over the heads of everyone present. He hadn’t thought about the missile in at least a few months, he hadn’t thought about the damage he had done, or what horrible things people had done with it. He wasn’t sure why peter was bringing it up now of all times but Steve was smiling, so clearly the kid knew what he was doing.

“On a business trip to Afghanistan, where Tony Stark was showcasing the Jericho missile, his convoy was ambushed and Tony Stark was abducted by a rebel militia, who ordered him to build the Jericho missile. At this point, the only thing keeping him alive was a magnet and a car battery hooked up to his chest.” Peter paused for a moment to collect his thoughts. “In captivity, Tony Stark befriended a local scientist named Yemin, who was responsible for saving his life and giving him the courage to attempt an escape. Sadly, Yemin did not live to see the man he created.”

Tony smiled when he felt Pepper’s hand on his shoulder. He gave her hand a squeeze and flashed her a smile. Her eyes were teary, as if each moment of those three months were replaying through her mind.

“Three months after being captured, Tony Stark made a daring escape with an iron suit he had built from scraps. Thanks to his devoted friend, Colonel Rhodes, he was returned home safely and fairly unharmed. The newly built arc reactor lodged in his chest wasn’t the only difference about him. I’m sure we all remember the legendary press conference when Tony Stark declared he was shutting down the weapons division.” Peter shifted his weight for leg to leg as he spoke, making sure he remembered everything he was meant to say. “The Tony Stark that emerged from Afghanistan was a generous, kind hearted and determined individual, with a new lease on life and feeling of redemption. He rewrote the history of Stark Industries in just a few short months, He took the funding used for weapons and put it towards military defense, such as new armor the soldiers can wear, and medicine for both the battlefield and our home front.”

A hand went up in the front row. A thin blonde woman was looking up at peter, a tape recorder clutched in her free hand. “Excuse me, Mr. Parker-”

“No, Ms. Everheart, I am not taking questions. So please just sit down and stay quiet like everyone else. Thank you.” Peter didn’t even look down at her.

He smiled and cleared his throat again. “Sorry. Anyway, the Tony Stark who came back from Afghanistan was a changed man, who donned the Ironman suit only a month after his return, rather than taking the needed time to recover. Since then he has been using his assets to rewrite the wrongs his company has done and to make a difference in our world. As he said at the opening of Stark Expo, never before has a better phoenix metaphor been personified in human history.”

The crowd laughed and Peter did his nervous shuffle, his fingers toying with the poster behind his back. “And even though Tony has devoted himself to this cause, to help strangers and friends, all people seem to remember him for are his faults. Tabloids and magazines and the news make him out to be nothing but a playboy, a trust fund kid, a party-goer, a reckless irresponsible individual who shouldn’t be allowed to do what he does. The hearings between him and the armed forces committee for example, hearings that nearly forced him to give up everything he had done to change because of his prior actions.”

Steve glanced at tony out of the corner of his eye. He was watching peter, a sort of pride in his eyes. Steve smiled and slipped his hand under the table to take Tony’s. He gave it a light squeeze and he saw Tony smile.

“This is not the Tony Stark who sits before us tonight,” peter said. “And it is not the tony Stark I have come to know. Tony is a hero, to myself and to thousands, and yet he is rarely reminded of this. He often times tricks himself into thinking he isn’t good enough for the suit, for his position on the Avengers, for the people who have surrounded him, who claim to love him. And he makes mistakes, as do we all, and he allows these mistakes to drag him downwards, regret haunting his mind at every available moment. I have witnessed these black moods, moods I and many others experience.” Peter gave Tony a sad smile. “I’ve seen Tony cry. And not the kind of crying that happens when you watch the Notebook or Toy Story 3. I mean the kind of crying that causes your body to shake, your sobs to come out silently until your throat is so sore you can’t speak, your eyes swelling up from tears as depression overtakes you and there doesn’t seem to be any way out. I have seen Tony in this vulnerable state. And it scared me more than any other experience we have shared.”

He wasn’t going to cry. No, Tony Stark didn’t cry at these kinds of things. He was cool calm and collected. And yet tears were trying to force their way out. Tony tried to wipe them away without anyone noticing, but Thor chuckled and gave him a knowing smile. So Tony just settled back into his seat and waited for Peter to continue.

“It scared me more than the explosions and the near death experiences because I was witnessing one of the strongest, bravest men I know, reduce himself to a heap of sobs, broken, helpless, and as weak and vulnerable as I was. And I didn’t know what to do. I think, though, I do now. Tony needs a reminder, I think, a reminder of how many lives he has touched and how important he is to all of us.” Peter cleared his throat. “Please stand up if Tony Stark and or Ironman has ever saved you or a loved one.”

Tony closed his eyes, he figured only the Avengers and Pepper would be standing. Steve touched his shoulder and he opened them, feeling his chest tighten. All but a small group of people were standing, all eyes on him. People he knew, people he had forgotten, they all turned to him with teary smiles of pride. Steve was standing, as was Thor, Clint, Bruce, Janet, even Fury and Coulson stood to honor him at Peter’s request. Steve’s hand was steady on his shoulder, Peter watching him closely for a reaction. Tony didn’t even know what to think. The first thought, as horrible as it was, was if someone had bribed them to stand. But no, no one would bribe Steve and if Steve stood, almost anyone would.

“Tony, I speak directly to you now,” Peter said as everyone sat down. “There are no words that can express my gratitude for all that you have done for me. You,” Peter chuckled softly and wiped his eye. “You took me under your guidance when no one else would. You had faith in me when everyone else turned their backs. You willingly accepted me as your ward, as if I was your son and I couldn’t have asked for a better father figure who could guide me through these past years.” He stopped to take a deep, shaky breath. “And there are no words that can effectively express the love I have for you. You never took it seriously, the idea that someone could truly love you for who you are rather than your money or your cars or your persona. But I do, Tony, and so do the people here today. I love you, your teammates love you and your friends love you. More than you could possibly know.”

Peter looked to the DJ who turned on the projector screen, which slowly lowered from the ceiling. “And for your birthday, I wanted to get you something that would remind you of just how much this world needs you. Because without you Tony, this world be a darker, sadder and much lonelier place.” The lights dimmed and the projector switched on. Peter stood fixing the camera, dressed in his usual casual wear of a hoodie and jeans, his glasses askew on his nose. “So I decided to put something special together for you, with the help of Captain Rogers and the rest of the team.”

Tony was glad the lights were down, because he was having trouble with the tears. He wasn’t sobbing yet, but the urge to was growing, seeing as Janet and Pepper were both sobbing and Steve was even getting teary eyed. Next thing Tony would know, Thor would be blubbering along with them. As the short film started, Tony wanted to run; he wanted to leave before he snapped in front of the team, in front of a crowd of people he barely knew. But he couldn’t bring himself to move, Steve’s hand resting gently against his back in comfort.

Peter stepped to the side as the casual Peter appeared on screen. He smiled awkwardly at the camera he was holding out in front of him. “Hi everyone, Hi Tony, Happy birthday!” the crowd laughed quietly. “I wanted to do something special so the gang and I, sorry, the team and I, Clint doesn’t like the idea of being a gang says it makes him feel like Scooby doo. Anyway, the team and I decided to put this together for you, something special that just expresses how everyone feels. I hope you’re having a wonderful birthday, and please, enjoy your gift.”

The screen went black and resumed filming at a park where children were running rampant. Peter, who was manning the camera was walking about, dodging kids and their parents. He began asking people what they wanted to say to Tony Stark or Ironman. Every single person he asked, men, women, teenagers, kids, said they wanted to thank him.

“Thank you, Mr. Stark, for being so brave.”

“Thank you for saving our wedding.”

“Thank you for saving my mom.”

Tony felt his heart ache.

“Thank you for saving our school,” a group of kids shouted outside of the very school Tony had saved a week earlier.

“Thank you for saving my grandkids.” An elderly woman smiled at the screen, her granddaughter clutching her leg.

“Thank you for saving my son.” A woman and her adult son were standing together, her son dressed in the Marines uniform.

The film continued in the same way, various people Peter stopped on the street all thanking him for saving a friend, saving a lover, saving a home, saving them. One woman broke down on film, clutching her young child to her chest.

“You saved all of us, Mr. Stark,” she said. “And I will forever be grateful to you. You are a saint and our savior.”

Men in business suits, teachers, nurses, kids playing basketball, shopkeepers, news boys, coffee girls, police officers, firemen and women, all expressing gratitude to him. Tony felt the hand on his back tighten on his shoulder as Steve kept glancing at him. Tony wasn’t crying yet, but the emotional mess that was brewing inside was going to do him in sooner or later.

The verbal thank yous then became written posters. People had made their own, with messages of love and thanks all for Tony. Many expressed that he was their hero; a particularly young little boy held up the Ironman action figure and declared that it was his best friend and it kept him safe. Peter then went to a hospital and had patients whom Tony recognized all present their signs to the camera, thank yous and god bless yous and you’re our hero, it was all they wanted to say. And they seemed so genuine. And Peter, well Peter was horrible at manipulating people to do what he wanted, which meant- God the thought almost crushed Tony’s façade.

Everyone meant what they said.

Then the film stopped for a moment, the screen going black, only the jumbled audio playing. Then the screen lit up again and Peter was at SHEILD and the agents were thanking him, even Maria, with whom he had fought only the day before. Even Coulson and Fury had a sign to show him, Fury adding a few colorful words to his thank you.

Peter turned to look at Tony and his eyes were teary, as if he and Tony were both fighting to play it cool.

The front of the Avenger’s mansion appeared on screen. Tony felt his breath hitch. Peter hadn’t, oh god, no he hadn’t had he?

Janet was the first. She held up a colorfully decorated sign with “I LOVE YOU TONY” written across it in bright pink letters.

“Thank you Tony, for giving me a chance,” she said. Tony looked at her; she was sobbing quietly, her hands over her mouth.

Next was Clint. “Thanks Tony, for not giving up on me.”

Bruce. “Thanks Tony, for treating me like a person.”

Hank. “Thanks for being a good lab partner.”

Natasha. “Thanks for being brave enough to start over.”

Thor, with an unwilling Loki under his arm. “Thank you, brother, for making us welcome.”

Pepper, with teary eyes and Happy. “Thank you for being our family.”

Rhodey. “Thanks for saving my life and being a crazy friend.”

And then-

Tony couldn’t breathe. He was coming undone, his body shaking with one powerful sob. He grabbed for Steve’s hand and squeezed it so tightly that, had it been anyone else, they would have shouted in pain. He felt tears start running down his face as he stared up at the screen.

Steve smiled down at him, two photos in his hands rather than a colorful sign. One was of Steve and his father Howard. The Second of him and Tony. Steve scooted closer to Tony and put an arm around him, his shoulders shaking. By now, even Thor was teary-eyed.

“Thank you Tony, for having faith in me, for being an incredible friend and teammate and never leaving me behind, no matter how much we may have disagreed. You are the most brilliant person I know, and one of the most vibrant and loving. Don’t ever let anyone tell you different,” Steve told him from the screen. “Because without you, so many things would be for the worse, including myself. You didn’t hesitate to trust me when I first arrived and that trust is what kept me going, no matter how difficult things got.” His smile widened as he looked down at the photos. “Thank you Tony, for being who you are.”

The film ended and the lights brightened. Mascara was running down the women’s cheeks, the men trying to look as if it hadn’t bothered them. Tony, at this point, was falling apart. He tried to wipe his face and appear calm, but the tears kept coming, and Steve’s arm around him didn’t make it easier.

Peter wiped his face and returned to the mic, pulling the poster out from behind his back. On it was a picture of him and Tony in Tony’s lab, Tony fiddling with a bit of machinery as Peter toyed with his camera. Pepper had snapped the photo, and they were both smiling, the laugh lines around Tony’s eyes deep and well used. Under it, Peter had written the words:

“Thank you for being the Father I thought I had lost.”

He smiled, fighting a new round of tears and looked out at Tony. “Thank you Tony, for being there for me. And I love you and hope you will have a wonderful birthday. Please, don’t forget how much we all care, because we do. And no matter what we will be with you, until the end.”

Tony was out of his seat before he had finished. He crossed the floor and bounded up to the stage. He jumped up and pulled Peter, who by now had started crying again, into a tight hug. The crowd stood, applauding and cheering, many still teary-eyed. Tony didn’t care he just held Peter tightly as if he were holding his own son. He had never thought he’d have anything remotely similar to a son, and now. Now he had the best damn kid in the universe.

As the crowd applauded, the rest of the team joined them on stage. Steve put his arms and around the two, Thor around them, pulling Clint and Janet into the mix.

And Tony, for the first time in years, felt like he had a real family.