It was horrible weather. Rain lashed on the windscreen and drummed on the roof of the Audi.
As he sat in the backseat of the expensive car, Peter Parker wondered what the hell he had done this time. As far as he could tell, the only reason he would be summoned to Stark Industries was if he had done either something really good or something incredibly stupid. He went through his memories, trying to find anything.
He found nothing.
Sure, he had done some cool stuff, like saving that woman that was being robbed and assaulted. And he helped those two guys when their baby carriage started rolling down the hill. But nothing really… worthwhile.
Oh no. What if the world was in danger? What if all the other Avengers were out on missions and he, Peter, was the only one able to help? Could he even handle that? He listed the people he needed to be safe. Ned was out of the state for a bit, visiting family. MJ was home, studying for a big test and Aunt May had to work overtime. At least he knew where they all were. On any other day, Peter would feel bored and lonely, with rain like this.
As Happy steered the car up to the tall building, Peter’s nerves ran wild. He clutched his school bag to his chest. That brought some comfort. The car stopped and Happy got out.
‘Calm down, kid. The world’s not in danger’ Happy told Peter, opening the door for him and holding out an umbrella.
Peter unclenched his jaw and stomach. Okay. So far, so good. No Spider-sense or anything. Peter checked the hairs on his arm. Completely flat.
What else could it be?
The cool tones of FRIDAY’s voice entered Peter’s ears as Peter entered the hallway.
‘Good afternoon, Peter. Mr. Stark is up in the home-cinema. Third level.’
‘Thanks, FRIDAY. Does… Does he know I’m here?’
‘Of course.’ FRIDAY answered. The elevator ding-ed, opening its doors.
Peter stepped in. Home-cinema?
Up on the third level, Peter could hear music coming from under a door. The music sounded familiar, but the door wasn’t. He opened it tentatively, and found Tony Stark himself standing on one of the cinema seats, fidgeting with a large beamer.
‘Ey, ihd,’ Mr. Stark talked through the screwdriver clenched in his teeth. ‘Ahhk a eeeht!’
Peter, who had become used to people talking with their mouths full of equipment (engineering class will do that to you) took a seat as suggested.
A whiiirrrr sounded next to his ear. Peter’s reflexes picked up on it immediately, but not before the robot DUM-E attempted to gently shove a entire back of popcorn into Peter’s right ear.
He grasped the bag from the robot, which whiirrr-ed excitedly.
‘Ehs, ehs.. ‘Ell don.’ Mr. Stark muttered to the cheerfully whirring robot.
He took the screwdriver out of his mouth, flipped a switch and shut a compartment on the beamer. It immediately started projecting.
The main menu of Back to the Future came on the large see-through screen built in the far wall, facing the rows and rows of seats.
Mr. Stark smiled happily at it.
‘FRIDAY, press play.’ He commanded his AI
Play was pressed. The lights went down in the cinema room and the movie started.
‘Enjoy’ FRIDAY replied.
Tony Stark sat himself across the isle from Peter, getting a bag of Lay’s from beneath his seat. He held it up as if toasting.
‘Uhm… Mr. Stark?’ Peter started
‘Okay, you have questions. Pauze, please, FRIDAY’
The film was paused. The lights went on.
‘’Sup?’ Mr. Stark asked.
‘This… This is great!’ Peter exclaimed, arms waving to encompass everything around him. ‘But…’
‘But you’re wondering why I brought you here.’ Mr. Stark answered.
Peter gave a noncommittal shrug. ‘Yeah.’ He said eventually.
‘It’s raining. I’m bored. My new project is all on the rails. There’s no criminals out in this weather and none of the other kids want to play with me.’ Mr. Stark pouted. ‘Did I mention it’s raining and that I’m bored?’ He added. And for a minute, he looked exactly like Peter always felt when it was raining. Bored and lonely.
Peter grinned. ‘Back to the Future it is, then.’ He said.
Tony grinned back at him.
FRIDAY pressed play automatically and texted May Parker that Peter would be staying with Mr. Stark this evening.
A reply came quick.
Sure! Enjoy movie night!
Peter always forgot how much he liked Back to the Future. He and his Uncle Ben had marathoned it throughout the night once a year. When Uncle Ben died, Peter had kept up the tradition. But no sadness today. He was watching Back to the Future, with Tony Stark! He found himself mouthing along with ‘Johnny B. Goode’ and looked sideways to see Mr. Stark doing the exact same.
During half of the second film, Peter sighed.
‘Man, I want a DeLorean.’ He joked.
‘I want one that flies’ Mr. Stark said.
‘Yeah that would be SO COO-‘ Peter started, then saw Mr. Stark grinning at him again, one of those shit-eating grins he uses to remind people how rich he is.
‘No way’ Peter gasped.
‘Way.’ Mr. Stark’s grin got even wider.
‘You OWN a DELOREAN?’ Peter asked.
‘Show you after the third movie.’ Mr. Stark said.
They fell silent again, except for quoting the odd bit along.
'I hate manure...'
‘Nobody calls me chicken…’
‘A flying DeLorean? I haven’t seen one of those in… thirty years!’
‘You sure can hydrate a pizza!’ Mr. Stark quoted along, as he shoved two boxes of pizza in Peter’s hands and opened one for himself.
‘Art off.. OK, I want channels 18, 24, 63, 109, 87 and the weather channel’ Marty Jr. said, while Tony Stark copied him.
‘You have no idea how much that movie inspired this place’ he confided in Peter.
As the third movie started, Mr. Stark handed Peter a large glass of Fanta-Cola. Peter wondered how Mr. Stark knew he liked the odd mix.
Mr. Stark winked at him. ‘Karen,’ He said.
After the third movie ended, they stretched out.
Mr. Stark checked his watch.
‘Ten o’clock. You tired, kid?’
Peter was wide awake. ‘Not at all, Mr. Stark!’ He said.
‘Ugh, kid, enough with the ‘Mr. Starks’. We watched Back to the Future together. Tony’s fine.’ Mr. Stark - Tony, said, waving away any excuses.
They walked to the elevator together.
‘Garage, please, FRIDAY’ Tony said.
‘Shall I bring up the DeLorean already, sir?’
‘Yeah, but wait until the kid’s downstairs.’
Inside their code, FRIDAY scoffed. Of course the boss wanted to show off his toys to his new kid.
The elevator ding-ed and opened. Tony let Peter go out first, then pulled him back a bit from the trapdoor the car would come from.
The trapdoor opened with a hiss. Smoke came pouring out. Tony had to admire FRIDAY’s creativity to throw in some dry-ice with the unveiling.
Peter gasped. FRIDAY began recording immediately, focusing on Peter’s face. Tony would want to watch this again someday.
Peter’s smiling face got brighter and brighter, until the fifteen-year-old’s face threatened to open up completely.
It was a perfect replica. Lights went on and off in the time-circuits. The flux capacitor was going wild, the headlights went on as the motor started. The two doors opened upwards.
Peter could only stare.
‘Well? Get in!’ Tony told him, already in the driver’s seat. Peter ran towards the shiny silver car and got in.
‘Buckle up,’ Tony commanded. ‘We’re going for a spin.’
Peter was so excited that he fidgeted with the clasp a couple of times before getting it right.
‘Allright, FRIDAY. All clear?’ Tony asked.
In response, FRIDAY opened a door. Tony stepped on the gas.
It was like driving in the real thing. Lights flickered, machines buzzed. An old man on the phone Tony was sure he had seen before looked jealously at them as they passed. He yelled something at his device, but Tony didn't pick it up.
Peter's enhanced hearing, however did, and he giggled about it.
'He just. He just screeched 'ONE POINT TWENTY-ONE GIGAWATTS' into his phone. In the middle of a sentence!'
Tony chuckled with him.
They drove reasonably slow until they got to a long stretch of road. Tony parked the car at the front of it. The rain had finally stopped, and the road was shiny and wet.
He opened the door, and got out. Peter sat in his seat, confused. Then his passenger door opened. Tony stood there, snapping his fingers, ushering Peter out.
‘C’mon, kid. I know you’ve been dying to try.’
‘I only have a learner’s-…’
‘I know you do, Pete, but I own this road. Literally. My road, my rules. Now get in the seat, kid! I wanna see what happens when you hit 88 miles per hour.’ Tony said, snapping his fingers again.
Peter fumbled with the belt again, finally getting out and into the driver’s seat.
‘You’ve never been to 88 miles per hour?’
‘’Course I did, kid. Wanna see what happens with you. Go!’
Peter didn’t have to be told twice. He pressed the gas. The engine roared. Tony kept encouraging him.
‘C’mon. Both hands on the steering wheel, at ten and two. Fifty-five. Sixty… Whoops, keep her straight! Now give it some more!’
‘Eighty-seven… Eighty-eight!’ Tony yelled. Right at that moment, lights went on at the front and inside of the car. The Back to the Future soundtrack started playing on surround speakers.
‘Holy SHIIIIIII-‘ Peter cheered, while Tony clapped him on the shoulder. A bright flash at the front told Tony that this had definitely been captured on camera.
‘Well done, kid!’ He yelled over the noise.
Peter slowed down eventually, and they swapped places again to drive back to the Tower.
Back at Stark Tower, Tony shut off the engine and they both got out. Peter took a couple of selfies, one or two of which Tony agreed to show up in.
Then they stood next to each other, admiring the shining car some more.
‘You know,’ said Peter, folding his arms and stroking his chin. ‘I’ve actually got some ideas on how to make this thing fly…’
Tony looked over at him. ‘Well, don’t keep it to yourself, kid. Spill.’
A couple of weeks later, an unidentified object was spotted flying over New York and surrounding areas, blasting movie music.
Thirty minutes later, Tony Stark got a phone call.
‘YOU KNOW THAT THIS IS NOT LEGAL, STARK!’
‘Oh, hey Rhodes…’ Tony answered relaxedly.
AND WITH A FUCKING MINOR AT THE WHEEL?
’Well to be honest, he built half of it…’ Tony said,
‘YOU DON’T EVEN OWN THAT AIRSPACE. THIS IS GOING TO GET YOU IN TROUBLE’
‘Fine, fine. Do you want to fly it tomorrow?’ Tony asked.
It was quiet for a bit on the other end. Eventually, Rhodey’s voice came through the phone.