A/N: I'm not really sure I like the new look. Anyways, I apologize for the millionth time for my late update - I hope I haven't lost any readers in the process. I thank all who to this point have reviewed every now and then, :) it's nice to know my loyal readers are still lingering around. I think, that with much regret, I'm going to have to announce the end of this story soon. It's been dragging out now and I'm not sure how many of you are left actually reading this. Let me know if you guys think I should end it soon or continue?
There are things that Jared understands and then there are some that he doesn't think he ever will.
He has asked Jarvis why the sky was blue and why the grass was green and why their colours could not be swapped before. He wouldn't mind staring at a green sky and blue grass for a change. He's also asked why dogs had four legs and humans only two. He tried to picture a dog with two legs before and thanks to Jarvis his imagination was brought to life when there were apparently some dogs in the world with only two legs. He found it curious and amazing that they could balance and walk as if they were like humans. But all of that wasn't as curious as wondering why man only had ten fingers and ten toes. He wondered why five per hand, why not four or six. He tried to picture that once but the thought itself disturbed him and he ceased those thoughts immediately. He had a few nightmares about that a few days after and his mother had asked him about his nightmares. But he really didn't have it in him to tell her he had spent a day wondering why humans had ten fingers and ten toes.
It was from that day onwards that Jared decided not to wonder about such things. He decided instead to wonder more about the fundamentals of mathematics. His father was after all a genius in the scientific field and as much as he loved building things, he preferred pattern mathematics. There was something curious about all those funny symbols that those professors used and the chalk boards that he often saw those symbols written on. He had asked his father about whether he could get one and was told quite simply that if he was a good boy at the next three dinner events that he could get one.
The first two dinner events were easy enough. He spent the time silently sitting by his father or sometimes his mother or even his Uncle Happy and Aunty Natalie. It wasn't difficult to stay good because he had the PDA his father made for him and he had Julia to entertain as well. If anything, he actually enjoyed those little outings because it gave him a chance to be Julia's body guard. Not that she really needed him to be her body guard when they already had two, his Uncle Happy and Aunty Natalie.
But it was the third dinner event that was particularly difficult. The night started out alright, his parents, him and Julia arrived on time and were greeted by all those flashing cameras as per usual. As much as he normally hated standing there with that smile on his face, he grudgingly pulled himself together and smiled for the cameras. He already had the entire night all planned in his head. He was going to sit by the dinner table after their meal and play a few levels of M.A.G.E. He was then going to check on Julia, maybe blow some bubbles at her and play boo like he normally did. Then he was going to bother his Uncle Happy and try for another round of chess on his PDA or colour some pictures in that small colouring book his mother had in her purse for him with the crayons his father had in his suit pocket.
As they had made their way into the large room, or ball room, he wasn't exactly sure of what it was called. He was normally good with names but he couldn't bring himself to pay much attention when his mother explained the workings of their dinner events to him. It wasn't because he didn't like to listen to her or anything like that. He just really did not like dinner events of any sorts. They were always boring and as his father liked to put it, 'tedious' and all in all, he just didn't like the way all the people always ruffled at his hair.
They met a strange lady that went by the name of Christine Everhart which he thought at first was alright. He was sure he had met her before but he couldn't be certain because he has met several million people in the little few years of his life. After several minutes of listening to her rather rude comments directed at his parents, he instantly disliked her. The frown on his face grew when she started commenting about him. She said a few things about him being the reason why his parents got married and settled down. That he was somehow the mistake in bed. He didn't really understand all of it but from the look on his parent's faces he was sure what she was saying was only upsetting them.
He really wanted to tell her to go away or something. But his parents talked back to her and told her quite firmly to let it go and walk away so as to not cause a scene. She didn't have it of course and as much as he wanted to try and say anything in his parent's defence, he wasn't going too because he promised his father and also because he really wanted that chalk board. Besides he didn't ever get involved with such situations because the adult world and the adult ways of doing things and talking were still far beyond his ability to understand. He wasn't very good at social interaction but slowly with each passing day he was starting to grasp it better.
He knew it the moment she had turned her eyes to little Julia. He almost knew what she was going to say next and before she could even begin he had already started to frown. He was losing the battle inside his head and for a moment there he had the word 'chalk board' chanting inside his head. But the moment she started to talk about how his sister was 'the other mistake' and a 'little witch', he lost it entirely. He wasn't going to sit around and let anyone be mean to his little sister. He was her big brother and he knew his parents could deal with this lady quite easily but right in that moment all he wanted to do was be her big brother and protect her.
"I don't like you, miss," he had said despite his mother's best hushed, 'quiet, Jared.'
"What did you say?" Christine laughed, her eyes glaring at him.
"I said, I don't like you," he told her. "Could you go away?"
"Go away?" she laughed again.
"Jared," his father murmured. "Let me deal with this."
"You're a really mean lady," he continued softly and ignored his father completely. His fingers intertwined together behind his back as he added, "And I really don't like you or what you're saying about my mummy and daddy and especially my little sister."
"Jared," his mother warned.
Her lips twitched at each end as he straightened up and continued, "I know that I'm little but you can laugh at me if you want or say mean things about me and I won't get angry. But I will if you keep saying mean things about my little sister."
She huffed once and glared from him to his father and then to his mother. "Keep your son on a leash, I wouldn't like to see anything bad happening to him because of that little mouth of his."
She walked off promptly after that last word.
"You did not just threaten my son," Tony blared at her.
She turned around and smiled widely. "Here we go."
He pointed a finger at her and bellowed, "I'll accept it when you threaten me and for the sake of my wife not telling me off afterwards, I'll accept it when you blabber your meaningless garble at her as well. I tolerate it when you bring Jared and Julia into your insignificant comments, but I will not allow it if you threaten any of us, especially my son."
"Hardly meaningless garble. It's all fact after all," she laughed.
His father sucked in a deep breath of air and glanced briefly at his mother as if speaking to her with just his eyes before he turned to that lady and said, "Alright, I suppose I will have to man up and deal with it once and for all."
"Tony," his mother warned.
"It is a fact that I slept with you-"
"Tony," Pepper gasped.
"It's okay, Pep," he murmured softly to her as he gently caught the bend of her elbow and continued to bellow at Christine, "It is a fact that you were the reporter that had the pleasure of unmasking Ironman's true identity, only because I felt like it not because you somehow managed to talk me into it. Trust me, if I didn't want too, nobody would ever know. It is a fact that I was a playboy, drunk and hopeless fool. But it is also a fact that I am none of that now and never will be again."
"So sure of yourself?" Christine remarked slyly.
"It is not a fact that I have slept with any other woman than Pepper, my wife, best friend and mother of my children. She has been the only woman for me ever since the day I returned from Afghanistan. It is also not a fact that I have blown all our money on alcohol and meaningless technological garbage, I mean seriously, if that were the case don't you think we'd be living on the streets. I'm not sure how living in a mansion as well as owning a listed company earning close to the billions could suggest we were in any way shape or form moneyless. For the record money isn't an object and I agree, it can't buy you happiness either, but clearly maybe for you it might because you just can't seem to let this go no matter what. If I thought it would help, we'd even pay for your therapy."
"It is also a fact that Jared and Julia are 100% Tony's," Pepper added softly beside him. "It is also a fact that men have made advances on me, but it is not a fact that Tony has ever killed any of them. He wouldn't be here if that was the case because as you so clearly put it, justice does get brought to those who deserve it and as far as Tony is concerned, he has not done anything that has been deemed illegal. Who he works for and who he answers too now is above your pay grade and mine for that matter. After all these years of listening and reading about your proclamations of our lives is getting rather tedious, boring and not to mention, old. Don't you think enough is enough? Hasn't a decade of pestering us given you your fill? Or is moving on too difficult? I mean if it really does help, like Tony said, we'll be more than happy to pay for your therapy."
"You get sexier and sexier as each day passes, I swear, Pep darling," Tony murmured softly, his eyes turned to her as he eyed his mother strangely.
His mother smiled and slid a hand over his as she murmured to him, "Not really the time for that comment, Tony, but I appreciate it all the same."
Jared glanced back at the lady who scoffed at them and marched off without another single word.
He really didn't understand adults. He didn't think he ever would.