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Academic Commitment

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Peter couldn’t decide how he was going to die - at the hands of legendary super-soldier Captain Steve Rogers, or through pure, unadulterated embarrassment.

His Academic Decathlon coach Mr. Harrington had been talking about the trip for months. We’re one of the only school groups to be able to attend a full tour of the official Avengers Compound. The Avengers Compound, with the actual Avengers. I expect every single one of you there and on your absolute best behavior. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Yeah. A once in a lifetime opportunity to get murdered.

“I’m so screwed!” Peter groaned as he sat on the steps of the school, waiting for the bus to arrive.

Sitting next to him, Ned made a face and took a sip of his coffee. “Maybe they won’t recognize you from before! Maybe they’ll have to cancel, and we won’t actually meet any of them.” At this statement, Ned’s eyes widened slightly. “Wait, wait, you don’t think they’ll cancel, do you?”

Peter just rubbed his forehead, sighing through the jitters in his stomach. “I don’t know, Ned. I hope so?”

“No, no, but they can’t! When else will I get Black Widow to sign my trading cards?” Ned patted his jacket, as if to reassure himself that the cards were still in place, before taking another sip of his coffee. “This stuff is good. Are you going to drink yours?”

Peter wordlessly passed his cup to Ned, tapping his toes repeatedly against the parking lot pavement. He was too nervous to drink coffee. He was too nervous to live. Maybe he’d throw up! Maybe he’d have to go home.

“Here’s hoping this doesn’t suck,” said a familiar voice from behind Peter’s head. He turned violently, feeling his heart pound out of his chest as Michelle sat down on the stairs next to him. Peter let out a shaky breath.

Ned raised an eyebrow at Peter’s twitching leg. “Dude, you need to relax. You almost jumped out of your skin just now!” The boy brought his voice down to a conspiratorial whisper. “They won’t recognize you. You’re gonna be fine.”

“You realize I can still hear you, right?” Peter and Ned both jumped, shooting MJ matching looks of terror. The girl rolled her eyes, pulling her math notebook from her backpack. “I don’t really know who you’re talking about and I don’t really care.”

Peter tried to take a deep breath and follow Ned’s instructions, but everytime he closed his eyes he seemed to flashback to Berlin. His class was meeting Black Widow and Captain America today, and the last time he had seen either of them, he had stolen Cap’s shield. And also, sort-of, definitely fought them. Captain America is going to actually kill me. I am actually, literally, going to die today.

“Ned,” Peter said weakly, looking his friend directly in the eye. “If I don’t return home, tell May that I love her.”

Ned just snorted, shaking his head violently. “Uh-uh, no way! If I tell May that Captain America killed you, you’re not the only one that’s going to be dead.”

Someone barked out a laugh from behind them, and Peter turned his head to see Flash Thompson walking towards the parking lot. “Yeah, like Captain America cares about Penis Parker!”

“More than he cares about you, probably,” Ned shot back, ignoring Peter’s groan as the yellow school bus turned into the parking lot. “Hey, hey, hey, the bus is here!”

“Maybe they will cancel,” Peter muttered again, standing up and walking towards the bus with the rest of the decathlon team.

MJ gave Peter a wry look. “They better not cancel. I have a long list of questions about the crisis in Lagos and the Sokovia Accords.”

“It’s a field trip!” Ned shot back in mock horror as the group climbed onto the school bus. “Why would you voluntarily do homework on a field trip?

“It’s not homework,” Michelle shot back, walking to the far back of the bus. “Homework is a construct used by teachers to burden our social lives and raise our anxiety levels. This is an opportunity to interview powerful individuals on their opinions about real world issues.”

Ned grimaced, stopping three rows from the back to sit in their usual spot. “Like I said. Homework.

Peter slid into the seat next to Ned, trying to shake the nerves out of his body. It seemed like his mind was calculating every, single way this field trip could possibly go wrong. How will they notice me? Will it be because of my voice, or have they already done research? Do they already know who I am? Will they tell the teacher, or will they just start fighting me? Mr. Stark was going to be so mad when he found out that Peter’s identity was out.

“I can’t do this,” Peter blurted out suddenly, shooting to his feet and bolting towards the aisle. Ned grabbed his arm and tugged him back into his seat with a surprising amount of force.

“What are you doing?!” Ned hissed, staring at him with wide eyes. “Mr. Harrington is going to murder you if you leave now.”

Peter brushed his hand through his hair nervously, whispering harshly back at Ned. “Yeah, well Captain America is going to murder me if I do go. I’m getting off, it’s not worth it, Mr. Stark’s gonna kill me.”

The boy tried desperately to stand back up, but this time rougher hands pushed him back into his seat. Flash Thompson leered at him from the seat in front of them, taking up both of the available spots. “Where are you going, Penis? I thought you were best friends with the Avengers! Don’t you have, like, movie nights every Wednesday or some shit?”

“I work for Mr. Stark,” Peter rolled his eyes, trying in vain to get back on his feet. “Why would I know Captain America?”

Flash opened his mouth to say something else, but he was cut off by Mr. Harrington’s voice from the front of the bus. “Okay, students, time to settle down. Mr. Thompson, face forward please!” The teacher counted heads briefly, before turning around and nodding to the bus driver. “Everyone’s ready and accounted for, let’s go.”

Peter felt his heart plummet as the bus engine roared to life and started pulling away from the school. “Oh god. I’m going to die.

---------------------------------------------

The twenty minute bus ride to the New Avengers Facility was simultaneously too long and much too short. Peter felt like his insides were tying themselves into knots for the entire drive, despite Ned’s cheerful chatter beside him. Before long, the decathlon team was slowly pulling into the location of Peter’s doom.

Flash was the first off the bus, practically pushing Cindy out of the way and earning the middle finger in response. MJ, Ned, and Peter were last, earning the slight glares of the bus driver as Peter took his sweet time collecting his backpack.

“Dude, you’re going to be fine. Seriously.” Ned locked eyes with him and gave him a reassuring nod. Peter smiled weakly at the attempt. If I’m going to die, at least Ned will have my back. Maybe he’ll become more popular, the friend-of-the-kid-that-was-murdered-by-Captain-America.

If Peter had been less nervous, he’s sure that he would have enjoyed the tour. The guide was a nice college intern named Denise, who handed each of them a Guest Pass and led them through the downstairs storage units. Ned elbowed Peter anytime she mentioned Tony Stark, trying in vain to get Peter to focus on anything other than the meeting with Captain America. Even MJ was looking at Peter with well-hidden concern in her eyes, although she denied it vehemently when Peter asked.

Finally, it was time. Peter wasn’t sure why he was panicking so much at this point - honestly, he was Spider-man, he’d fought Captain America once, it would be fine - but he could feel his hands physically shaking. Denise escorted them to a small conference room, let the kids take a seat around the table, and then spoke quietly to Mr. Harrington before leaving the room.

“I’m going to be sick,” Ned whispered excitedly. “This is, like, the best moment of my life. Ever.

Sally nudged her friend Cindy eagerly from the opposite end of the table. “Who are you more excited to meet?”

“Are you kidding? Black Widow is like, the ultimate feminist! This one article in Vogue magazine said that apparently, this one time, she totally killed this guy just for catcalling someone!”

Sally shrugged, giving Cindy a knowing look. “Well, yeah. But it’s Captain America, Cindy. He’s, like, the ultimate hunk!”

Cindy made a face and opened her mouth to retort, but before she had the chance to say anything, the conference room door opened and the room became dead quiet. Standing in front of them, in full costumed regalia, was Captain Steve Rogers and former Agent Natasha Romanoff.

Peter felt his heart stop in his chest as he briefly locked eyes with Captain America. Shit, shit, this is it. This is the end. He knows already, they’ve already figured it out -

The captain’s gaze passed completely over him, scanning the rest of the room before smiling at the class. He said something about introducing himself, but Peter could hear nothing except the roaring of blood in his ears. His heart felt like it was going to fly out of his chest.

Captain America gazed at Peter again, his eyes hardening slightly. “Do I know you?” Peter could feel the gazes of the entire class turn towards him as his throat grew dry.

“Um,” Peter gulped and bit his lip, shaking his head nervously. “No, no, no. Never heard of you. I mean, no, yeah, I’ve heard of you, but...but no, I’ve never met you. No.”

Black Widow leaned across the table, flicking a knife from the sleeve of her suit. “No, that voice is definitely familiar.” Her eyes narrowed, and she turned towards Captain America. “He was in Berlin.”

Peter shook his head even more viciously, feeling his heart pound in his chest. “Berlin? I’ve never been to Germany before, that isn’t, I-”

“You’re the Spider-kid.” Captain America said in realization, standing up from the table. He towered over Peter, pulling his shield from under the table. “Were you looking to steal this again?” The captain motioned towards the door, and suddenly dozens of soldiers were flooding in, running towards Peter, shouting, yelling, chasing -

“What’s the coolest mission you’ve ever done?!” Ned’s excited voice broke Peter out of his daze.

Steve smiled a patient smile, obvious that this was a question he had answered thousands of times. “Well, all of our missions come with different degrees of importance and danger. We do not enjoy the suffering and pain that others often face, but we are happy to help anyone and everyone that needs it.”

Natasha nodded in agreement, and scanned the crowd before pointing at Michelle’s raised hand. As the girl started asking about the Sokovia Accords in rapid fire conversation, Ned turned to Peter with an awed face.

“This is the coolest day of my life. There is never going to be a day that will be better than this, ever.”

Peter couldn’t help but smile at his friend’s excitement. “Well I’m glad someone’s enjoying themselves. I can’t understand a word MJ’s saying right now.”

“I think she’s talking in French,” Ned screwed up his face into a fake grimace, before cracking another smile. “Seriously though, do you have any questions? I don’t mind asking if you don’t want to catch their attention!”

“You’re the best Ned,” Peter shot back, pretending to pay attention to Captain America’s lengthy and political answer to MJ’s question. “But I think I’m good. I can just ask Mr. Stark if I have any questions about anything, when I meet with him later, so-”

Peter’s heart froze in his chest as he watched Black Widow’s gaze shoot towards them. He stopped dead in his tracks, trailing off his sentence even as Ned obliviously blabbered on. Shit, shit, shit. Did she hear that? I shouldn’t have mentioned Mr. Stark by name, stupid, stupid!

After a quick glance, however, Black Widow turned away and Peter felt himself breathe a sigh of relief.

The rest of the torturous questionnaire session went by without too much trouble. Flash, although pretending to be uninterested in the entire session, asked a series of very intelligent and obviously well-researched questions, which caused MJ to roll her eyes at Peter and Ned. Cindy asked her question about Vogue magazine to Black Widow, and even Mr. Harrington made a few comments near the end

And then Captain America turned towards Black Widow, asking her to pick out the final question, and Peter felt his heart stop as she pointed straight at his chest.

“Do you have a question?” Black Widow’s face conveyed no emotion, yet Peter could sense that she knew he was hiding something, she knew who he was, she had called on him on purpose, she, she -

“N-no, no ma’am,” Peter managed to croak out. He cleared his throat. “No, I don’t have any questions. Ned asked all of mine already.”

Captain America smiled at him and turned away, but Peter could still sense Black Widow’s unflinching gaze. God, I never should have come. Just let this trip be over already.

“Well, I’m afraid that’s all the time we have, Midtown High!” Peter could feel the relief coursing through his veins at Captain America’s words, even despite the dejected groans of the rest of the academic decathlon team. “If you’ll just follow Denise here, she can show you the rest of the compound and then your tour will be over!”

With a chorus of thank you’s and goodbye’s, the academic decathlon team slowly trailed out of the conference room, Peter the first to exit the room.

---------------------------------------------

Steve felt the thump of the door closing behind him, and slumped into one of the conference tables with a sigh of relief. “Those things take forever. I don’t know how you and Stark put up with so many press questions on a daily basis.”

Natasha shrugged at Steve, acknowledging his question yet ignoring it all the same. “Something’s not right.”

“What?” Instantly, Steve felt himself sit straighter, completely alert. “What do you mean?”

“The kid in the back,” Natasha leaned slightly forward across the table, her voice quiet. “He mentioned Tony by name earlier, when he was talking to his friend. He’s the one that refused to ask a question.”

“Maybe he just didn’t have a question, Nat. Besides, Tony is a famous man. Couldn’t he just be talking about Iron Man to his friend?”

Natasha shook her head, voice firm and positive. “He mentioned meeting him in person later, and he called him ‘Mr. Stark’. He was nervous the entire time we were in the room, too. I have a really bad feeling about this.”

“Why would a teenage high school student be meeting with Tony Stark?” Steve’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

“I think we should call Tony and ask him,” Natasha said. “I have a bad feeling about this. If a 14 year old kid is actually able to meet with Tony, he needs better security. What if this kid is someone dangerous?”

Steve snorted, standing up from his chair. “Did we see the same kid, Nat? The boy in the left corner of the table? I think the girl that asked you the question about the magazine could kill easier than he could.”

Nat glared at that response, following Steve and standing up from her chair. “Just call Stark and see what he says.”

“Fine,” Steve rolled his eyes as he opened the door to leave the conference room, walking towards the more confined part of the compound. He took the Stark phone out of his pocket, quickly dialing the number and then putting it onto speaker. Natasha walked next to him, watching the screen as it quietly buzzed.

“The great Tony Stark can’t come to the phone right now,” came Tony’s voice from the phone’s speaker. “Please leave a message and I’ll make sure to ignore it as soon as possible.”

“Tony, it’s Steve. We have a question.”

Tony’s snark rang out from the phone, “Yes, they do have caller ID these days. What do you want, mon capitaine?”

Natasha cut in before Steve had a chance to talk. “Do you have a meeting later today?”

“Natasha, you’re here too! Was there a party I wasn’t invited to?” Tony’s voice sounded slightly irritated, the sound of machinery whirring behind him.

Steve just sighed, pulling up the information on the high school that had been visiting them only a few minutes earlier. “Answer the question, Tony. Do you have a meeting later? With a high schooler from...Queens?”

The line went dead for two whole seconds before Tony’s voice echoed back through the speaker, wavering. “A high schooler from Queens? Where’d you get that idea?”

“A school group came to talk to us today,” Natasha informed, her eyes narrowed. “They were from Midtown School of Science and Technology in Queens.”

“Nat thought she heard one of the students mention you and some sort of meeting,” Steve added. “So, you don’t have a meeting with anyone like that?”

“Oh, you must be talking about Peter Parker!” Tony replied, his voice surprisingly chipper and almost nervous sounding. “He’s a great kid. Real sweet. Super smart, love having him work for me.”

“Work for you?” Steve asked, aghast. “He isn’t even old enough to vote!”

Tony’s barked out a quick laugh. “Well, my good patriot, Peter is a high school intern. He works with me after school. He’s a sweet kid, super smart. His academic decathlon team won nationals, you know?”

“What are his background checks like?” Natasha cut in, completely ignoring Tony’s previous comment.

“His...background checks?”

Steve grimaced at Natasha, who had started typing frantically on her own Stark phone. “He was a little jumpy today, when we met him and his team. Natasha wanted to make sure that if you were meeting with him, he had thorough safety checks.”

Tony’s voice sounded incredulous, even from miles away. “He’s fifteen, Nat. Most people that age aren’t as lethal as you were.”

“So you haven’t done any background checks?” Steve responded curtly, sensing his worry rising again. “He was acting pretty suspicious, Tony.”

Natasha nudged Steve, pointing down towards her personal cell phone. “His search trail is practically nonexistent. It’s like someone has removed every bit of his personal life off of the internet. I can find his school records and his driver’s permit, but that’s all.” She looked up at Steve, her gaze cold. “Are you sure you don’t need to file his background?”

“Are you spying on my employees?” Tony replied in mock anger, as Natasha continued scrolling through databases. “Frankly, I am offended.”

“Tony, that doesn’t look too good,” Steve shot back, shaking his head slightly. “His trail is completely blocked out. Are you sure this kid isn’t hiding anything? Nothing at all?”

Tony’s voice sounded too chipper, too happy even for him. “Hiding something? Nothing other than poor grades, probably. He’s just a normal high school student, Steve, nothing more than that.”

“Are you positive?”

“What? Yes, yes I’m positive, Steve. I don’t need you two to background check my employees, I can tell you, they’re all perfectly-”

Steve opened his mouth, about to cut in a retort of his own.

And then the explosion happened.

The shockwave of the blast tossed both of the Avengers to the ground. Steve felt his ears ringing even as he jumped to his feet, Natasha already drawing her weapons beside him.

“It came from the east wing!” Natasha shouted, and Steve started sprinting down the hall, phone still in hand. He could hear Tony yelling through the speaker, but couldn’t make out any words.

“You take a look at the explosion, tell me who caused it and if they’re still here. I’m going to make sure there are no casualties or injuries.” Natasha nodded at Steve’s orders, sheathing her knives and sliding to a stop near the front of the west wing.

STEVE!” The super soldier looked down at the phone at the sound of Tony’s increasingly loud shouts, before sighing and wiring Tony’s call to his comm device.

“There’s been an explosion in the east wing of the compound,” he said, still running towards the explosion site.

Tony’s voice sounded worried. “Do you need me to come over?”

“The explosion isn’t too far away from where we already were,” Natasha cut in, slightly out of breath. “Steve and I have it cover- shit.

“What is it?” Steve sped through the halls, towards the opposite end of the east wing. “Are you there already, what are you seeing?”

Natasha’s voice sounded cold. “There’s three of them, and they have a hostage.”

At the sound of Natasha’s voice, Tony cut in frantically. “Shit, Natasha, please tell me the kid already left the building.” His voice sounded shaky, and Steve could already hear the sound of the Iron Man suit powering up around him.

“You mean your intern?” Steve asked, skidding to a stop as he reached the east wing and saw the scene in front of him. Shit. Continuing in a whisper, the super soldier filled Tony in. “He’s the hostage, Tony. I don’t see any of his other classmates though, or the teacher.”

“They’re with me,” Natasha’s voice was precise. “Apparently the three men with you tried to take another kid and the teacher as hostage instead, but Peter pushed them out of the way. His friend told me,” she added belatedly, as if sensing Steve’s confusion. “I’ll make sure to evacuate the compound and get the rest of the kids somewhere safe.”

“Fuck, Steve, I’m only six minutes out.” Tony’s voice seemed two steps past panicked, as if he was having trouble breathing. “Of all the times he could be in trouble...just keep the men distracted, okay? I swear, if Peter gets hurt, I’ll - ”

Steve blocked out the man’s blabbering for a second as he stepped slowly into the room in front of him. He held his hands up, as if that actually changed anything. “Don’t shoot, it’s just me.”

In front of him were three men, just as Natasha had described. Two of them held large rifles, and the third held a pistol directly to the head of the boy from earlier. The boy’s hair was messy and disheveled, and his gaze locked with Steve’s. He looked scared, yet oddly...annoyed?

The man to the left of the boy took a step forward, pointing his gun at Steve. “Our informant told us that you and the Russian bitch would be in this room right now. Looks like he was wrong. But at least we got the next best thing.” At that, he gestured to the boy, who flinched as the gun was pushed closer to his head. “Wouldn’t want innocents to be hurt, would we?”

“What do you want,” Steve barked out, his voice harsh. The boy - Peter, Nat had called him? - seemed to be shaking slightly, his eyes frantically moving back and forth between Steve and the man with the gun.

“The better question would be who,” said the third man to the right of Peter, as he also took a step forward. “You and our good Miss. Romanoff, to be precise.”

Steve took a small step forward, careful to put his hands higher in the air when the man in the middle tightened his grip on the gun. “Why?”

“The Avengers are shit,” the man on the left jeered, eyes wide with malice. “Face it. Your days of glory are over, old man. The world doesn’t need you to save them anymore, it needs you to keep yourself to your own damn business.”

Woodward,” the man on the right hissed, but his companion ignored him.

“We had a nice gig going on. A quick way to get information. Discreet. And then you and your shitty circus gang came through and destroyed everything. So now you and the bitch are coming with us.”

Steve clenched his teeth at the man’s crude language. “Why don’t we all just let the kid go and talk this out rationally.”

This time, the man in the middle barked out a laugh. “Not a chance, Captain. You owe us big time. The kid stays with us or you do, it’s your call.”

“I’m three minutes away, Steve,” Tony’s voice hissed through his comm, barely a whisper. “Just stall for a few more moments, and I’ll get the kid out of here.”

Steve grimaced, but kept talking to the men. “The boy didn’t do anything wrong.”

“So you’re admitting that you were in the wrong?” The man on the left leered at Steve menacingly. He opened his mouth to say something else, but the man in the middle had apparently had enough.

“No more stalling, Rogers. Make your choice right now, or the kid’s brain gets blown out.” Steve felt his heart stop suddenly in his chest, and he bolted forward, about to give himself in.

That’s when all hell broke loose.

The boy being held captive shot his arm back, elbowing the man in the stomach before ducking and sliding between the man’s legs. In a flash, the other two had their guns pointed at him, but not before the boy swerved to the left.

And then jumped onto the actual ceiling.

Steve stood frozen for two seconds before jumping out of his stupor and tossing his shield at the man on the left. WIth a thud, the metal hit its target and the man slumped to the ground. Steve didn’t know where the boy was - still on the goddamn ceiling, probably - but at least he seemed to be out of the way of the heavy fire. Steve dodged the punches of the middle-man, managing to hit him with a sucker punch to the jaw right. From behind him, Steve heard the sound of loud repulsors bursting through the window.

“Great job at stalling them, Captain,” came Tony’s snarky response, although his voice still seemed tight. The billionaire knocked the remaining two men out without a second glance, and then scanned the room frantically.

Steve glanced over at the Tony as he lowered his helmet. “The kid got away earlier, but I don't know where he went. He...I mean, well, he just…”

“Mr. Stark!” The younger voice rang out from around the corner, and Steve watched as Peter ran back into the room. The boy rushed towards them, relief in his eyes, but then stopped dead in his tracks as he locked eyes with Steve.

“Kid, my god, what were you thinking?!” Tony’s voice sounded strained. “Stay out of trouble, stay under the radar, that’s what I told you, yes? Friendly, neighborhood - ”

Peter stepped forward with a gasp, shushing Tony quickly and turning to gaze at Steve once more. The super soldier cocked his eyebrows at Tony, confused. So they do know each other?

“Besides, I don’t follow trouble, Mr. Stark,” Peter whined. “I swear, I was just on a field trip with my academic decathlon team, when out of nowhere there was this huge explosion, and then these guys climbed through the hole in the building, they just climbed right through, and then they found us and I couldn’t let anyone else get taken by them, because I can handle it, you know?”

Tony cut off the kid’s babbling with a wave of his hand. “It’s fine kid, relax. You did good. But if you and your class wanted a field trip to the compound, I could have given you one much sooner.”

At this comment, Steve couldn’t resist barging into the conversation. “Tony, I don’t think you know everything about this kid. Natasha was right to begin with.”

“Natasha, like as in Black Widow?!” Peter asked, eyes wide with awe.

Steve ignored the kid, continuing to look towards Tony. “He fought off the criminals half by himself. And at one point he literally was climbing on the ceiling.

Peter paled visibly, taking a step back. Tony just sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose dejectedly. “Seriously, kid? You couldn’t have just webbed them up discreetly?”
“I thought I was being discreet,” the boy said quietly.

“You were on the ceiling,” was Tony’s exasperated reply, as he gave Peter a glare. “What part of climbing on the ceiling says discreet to you.”

Peter shifted defensively. “Well I thought he maybe hadn’t noticed, okay? He was a little busy taking down the bad guys.”

“Bad guys? Did you seriously just say bad guys, Pete? You’re going to need to stop watching movies, kid, I mean honestly - ”

“Enough!” Steve shouted, voice filled with confusion. He turned to the billionaire with a pleading glance. “You knew about this, Tony?”

Tony looked at Peter, who looked like he was once again about to throw up, then turned back to Steve with a small smile. “Know about what?”

“The boy. The ceiling!” Steve gaped at the man in front of him. “Nat and I thought he was some sort of HYDRA agent sent to monitor you, but you knew about his abilities?”

Natasha’s voice filtered through his comm device. “Shit, Steve. We should’ve known. He’s the spider-kid, the one from Berlin.”

Tony snorted loudly, walking towards Peter and practically pushing him out of the room. “Spider-kid? Who said anything about a spider kid?”

Steve watched in barely hidden amusement as Peter’s face paled even further. The boy stared at Tony in terror, before obviously trying to rein in his emotions. “I mean, yeah. Berlin? Is that in Italy? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Okay that might be overdoing it,” Tony whispered quietly, barely loud enough for Steve’s super hearing to pick up. “You’re in academic decathlon, kid.”

“Tony, are you telling me that you took a teenager to Germany? Do his parents even know?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Tony said nonchalantly, still guiding Peter out of the room. “Germany? I don’t think he’s been to Germany before. Have you been to Germany before?” The billionaire looked down at Peter, who shook his head mutely. “See! He’s never even been to Germany before, Steve.”

Steve gave Tony and exasperated look. “I’m being serious.”

“So am I. You’re threatening my employee right now, and frankly, I could sue for that.”

Natasha’s voice crackled in Steve’s ears. “Tony, that’s enough. Steve has a fair point. Does SHIELD know that Spider-man is a 15 year old kid from Queens?”

“Do you know that Spider-man is a 15 year old kid from Queens?” Tony’s retort was light and cheery, even as he and the kid turned the corner around the hallway. Steve jogged slightly to catch up with them. “I was under the implication that we didn’t know Spider-man’s alter ego.”

“He was climbing on the ceiling.”

Tony just shrugged, barely perceptible in the Iron Man suit. “He’s good at gymnastics.”

“Good at-?!” Steve spluttered, stopping in his tracks as Tony and Peter continued walking down the hallway. “Tony! Tony!”

The two ignored the super soldier, continuing down the hallway until they turned the corner. From his comm device, Steve could barely hear Tony’s whispered words.

“Good work, kid. You want to come over to the lab later and work on some upgrades?”