The first time Tony saw a picture of the Spider-Man, he had nearly choked on his coffee. The sight of some grown-ass man running around in horrendously baggy pajamas was a bit too odd (and hilarious) an image for him to take seriously. Then he had watched a couple of videos on YouTube of the guy swinging from buildings and taking down small-time criminals around the Queens area, and he had to admit to being somewhat impressed; the man's technique was sloppy, his outfit abhorrent, his sense of self-preservation lacking, but he had potential. More than that, he was someone who was taking initiative—helping people who couldn't help themselves, not for praise or reward, but simply because he could. So yeah, Tony was intrigued, at least a little. He made a mental note to keep an eye out for the guy, and then asked Friday to keep tabs on him too—just in case.
And that was that for the most part. Occasionally Friday would alert him of news stories or new photos (always in the same shitty pajamas). However, it wasn't until many months later, when he got word of the Sokovia Accords, that Tony made the decision to dig a little deeper.
It had started with a hostage situation at a downtown bank. The robbers were holed-up in the building with 25 hostages. The police had, of course, been notified and had sectioned off the area. Civilians still crowded around trying to get as close as possible, hoping to see some action. No contact had been established and no demands had been made, but Tony had eyes on the inside (well, Friday did) in the form of a very small reconnaissance droid. So while Friday gathered information, Tony kept an eye on the situation from a distance. He was waiting for a sign from their “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” as Tony had heard him called recently. So far, he was disappointed to have seen nothing. He checked the time: 3:15 P.M. He sighed, it had been 30 minutes since the event had gone down. Then, just as he was getting ready to call it, a ping appeared on his screen and Friday’s voice spoke crisply into his ear.
“Sir, I have picked up additional movement. I believe another individual has entered the building. Should I investigate?”
“Go see if it’s our guy.”
The camera moved into another room and panned up. Tony’s brows raised; clinging from the ceiling was Pajama-Man. Tony snickered at the rather ridiculous sight, but quickly stifled it when the people next to him gave him dirty looks. Right, hostage situation. He backed away from the crowd a bit. Sure, he was hiding his face pretty well, but he didn’t want to cause any more of a scene. Quietly he whispered for Friday to pan back to the hostages. Usually he’d leave something like this to the police or whatever vigilantes were running the streets, but he was here now and if this Spider-Man guy couldn’t take care of it, well, he wasn’t going to stand around and let innocent civilians die.
Watching Spider-Man work was interesting to say the least. Though he sometimes seemed a little clumsy, and spouted enough one-liners to rival Hawkeye, he was proficient. More than that, it was obvious that his first priority was keeping the hostages safe, even going as far as to purposely put himself in harm's way in order to draw attention or to protect someone who hadn’t run off in time. All and all, the situation was handled quickly, and in just a handful of minutes after Spider-Man had made his appearance, the would-be-robbers were tied up, stuck to the floor and each other with the strange webbing the vigilante used (and wasn’t Tony interested in taking a look at that in his lab) and the hostages were running from the building to safety. Once the police had ushered the hostages away, they stormed the building, but Tony had already left the scene. He had done what he came to do, now it was just time to wait.
“Make sure to keep following that tracker and let me know when he comes to rest. We are going to find out who this guy is.”
“Of course, Sir.” Friday replied easily.
Later that evening, while Tony was holed-up in his lab, Friday alerted him that Spider-Man had stopped at an apartment complex in Queens and had been there for sometime.
“Okay, bring it up.” He said.
Immediately his screen switched to show a layout of the building. The screen zoomed into the building.
“He seems to have stopped at this unit here.”
“Okay Friday, I want a report on who lives in the apartment and whatever you can find out about him.”
It didn’t take the AI very long at all to compile the dossiers on the two tenants, and Tony sat baffled as he flipped through the information on his StarkPad.
“Okay, there must be a mistake of some kind, Friday. The only two people who live here are a high school kid and his ridiculously attractive Aunt.”
“This is where the tracker remains.”
Tony frowned. “Maybe he’s a friend of the family, or found the tracker and ditched it,” he mumbled, “Okay Friday, keep watch and let me know if he goes on the move.”
Tony blinked at the screen in front of him.
“Uh, are we sure this is accurate?”
“Yes, this is where the tracker is now, Sir.”
Tony blinked again. “A high school.”
“Yes, Sir. Midtown High School.”
Tony shook his head. “Looks like our friend in PJs pulled a fast one on us.”
“Should I disengage tracking operations?”
Tony paused, thinking it over. “No, let's get eyes on this,” Tony paused to look over the file he had on the family, “Peter Parker. He might know something about this Spider-Man or even lead us to him.”
“Very well, Sir.”
Tony stared at his screens in shock as Spider-Man swung from the towers of New York, pursuing a car chase down below. That wasn’t what had Tony in such disarray. Spider-Man was actually Spider-kid. He couldn't believe it, but he had seen it with his own eyes—a small, scrawny, awkward kid pulling those dumb-ass pajamas from his book bag and climbing up a completely vertical wall and then swinging into action.
No wonder the bloody kid was wearing God-forsaken pajamas—he couldn't possibly afford anything else with his milk money.
That train of thought spiraled fairly quickly.
“What the hell is this kid thinking?” Tony exclaimed. “He’s fighting criminals in pajamas! He’s getting shot at right now!” He pointed accusingly at the screen in front of him, which now showed one Peter Parker dodging bullets as he tried to web up the criminals from their, now rather trashed, vehicle.
“He’s like what—twelve?”
“Actually, he’s—” his AI began, but Tony wasn’t listening.
“What kind of protection does he have—what the hell kind of fighting style is this? I don't think they make permission slips for fighting bad guys, Friday. Who signed his goddamned permission slip for this?” Tony winced as a bullet grazed Spider-Man's bicep.
Tony shook his head. “Nope. Nope, not acceptable. Friday, clear my calendar.”
Since it was a little beyond Tony’s reach to ground the kid for the rest of his natural life, he decided to do what he could do.
He was up the rest of the night, and a few after that, designing and building a new kind of super suit. Tony integrated every fail-safe he could think of, and then went back over everything and added more. He even got his hand on a sample of Spidey’s webbing—before it dissolved—in order to properly design and manufacture tech that would be compatible. Tony had to admit, he was maybe, sort of impressed with what the kid had come up with. He was obviously very intellectually gifted with a knack for tech and chemistry. If Parker was able to create what he had in a high school laboratory, Tony couldn’t help but wonder what the kid would be capable of if given a real lab with real resources to work with.
Of course, Parker might still be a little young to give free reign—he cut himself off mid-thought. Tony hadn’t even met the kid. He turned to look over the suit which lay folded before him.
Then he got a call from Natasha. They had found Bucky, The Winter Soldier, hiding out halfway across the world in some small hovel of an apartment, trying to put bits and pieces of his life and memories back together.
Things began to go downhill from there. Tony had already been under a vast amount of stress from dealing with the ridiculous politics that came with the Sokovia Accords. He could see where the world leaders were coming from, responsibility needed to be taken, especially for incidents overseas where American jurisdiction really didn’t have any place. However, he also saw how harmful it could be; it would make it harder for The Avengers to do their job. They were created to fight the powers that no one else could, they were needed, but it was also an opportunity for powers to try and gain control over the earth's mightiest force and turn them into attack dogs. It was a very fine line to walk; powerful political forces were at play that not even Tony could fully tackle alone. Tony had to come to the understanding that the Accords were going to have to happen one way or another, the best he could do was try to make them as accommodating as possible. He realised that, though the first drafts of the documents would probably be horrendously strict, they could still make amendments to the documents later on, especially after the world governments saw how nonsensical it would be to have The Avengers sit around while the big bad guys tore apart their countries faster than their own forces could handle it. Tony hated having to sit on things, but he knew that, in this case, there wasn’t much else he could do other than nudge it in the right direction while networking to hell and back to gain sympathy and support.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise that Natasha already knew about the whole thing or that he got (another) rather angry phone call from her, asking when he was going to talk to the team about what was going on behind the scenes. Tony knew that, eventually, the team was going to hear about the Accords, and he also knew Natasha had a point that it might be better to hear it from him rather than some government official that couldn’t care less about the ordeal. Tony groaned to himself, he didn’t want to. He knew exactly how it was going to go; he was going to state what was going on, the room was going to burst into chaos, no one was going to listen to reason, and then there wouldn’t be any Avengers for the Accords to control.
Natasha didn’t seem too impressed by his forecast of the events, though, and simply told him to get his shit together or she would call for the meeting herself. Before Tony could either protest or counter with some witty repartee, Natasha hung up.
So Tony sent out messages to the team, arranged for a meeting at the tower. He figured it was a place that they were all familiar with and thus, might be more inclined not to blow it up if shit hit the fan. It wasn’t long after he sent out the messages that Steve called him from a burner phone, apologizing and making excuses for not being able to make it. Tony rolled his eyes. First of all, why Steve bothered with a burner phone in the first place was beyond him. If Tony wanted to know where he was—he’d know (and did)—secondly, Steve’s excuses were absolute shit. Thirdly, Steve was a shitty liar.
“Tony, I’m sorry, but things are crazy right now and—”
“And there’s no way I would be able to make it back in time.”
“Plus my mission is of the utmost importance and I cannot simply abandon it.”
“For the love of God Roger’s shut up!”
“Go north a bit, there’s a cozy little community up there where you and Barnes won’t have to worry about being spotted. I’ll have transport waiting for you.”
“How do you know about—”
“That’s not the point, the point is I’m offering you help. Now before you get all stubborn and Captain-America-y, it’s not a trick or a trap. I’m not that big of an asshole. Plus, if what I’ve been hearing is right, then Barnes isn’t to blame for a lot of the shit he did.”
“You—you could get into some serious trouble, Tony.”
“Have you ever picked up a newspaper? I thought you old-timers were all over those—I’m almost always in trouble.”
Steve sighed. “So this meeting. It must be pretty important.”
It was Tony’s turn to sigh. “Some stuff is going down in DC that will involve us. That’s all I’ll say for now, because it will take time to try to explain and it will be better to just get it over with with everyone present.”
“Well that’s not ominous in the least.”
Tony chuckled. “Don’t worry about it, I’ve been working on it for awhile now, and although it might sound bad at first, I think we can work around it. Just keep that in mind before objecting.”
“Sure, all right, I guess?”
“Okay, good. I’ll send you the coordinates for the pick up.”
“Sounds uh—sounds good. Oh, and Tony?”
Tony grimaced and replied, “Sure, see you soon.”
He rubbed his face after hanging up. Steve wouldn’t be thanking him soon enough. If anyone was going to object to the Accords, it would be him. Tony knew he was going to have to find a way to sugarcoat the issue if he wanted to persuade Steve to give it a shot.