Peter didn't have the best of luck when it came to field trips. In his freshman they went to Oscorp, where he got bit by a radioactive spider. Sophomore year he went to Washington DC and nearly blew up the Washington Monument. When he heard the location for this year, he thought he was finally safe.
His engineering teacher, Dr. V, announced the trip one day rather simply. “Kiddies, we're going to an Air Force base next Friday!” She reminded him of Mr. Stark, surprisingly casual with how she addressed them, but wicked smart at the same time.
Honestly, Peter couldn't tell you the name of the base they were going to, because he stopped listening after that, content to doodle all over the permission slip she had given out.
“Surprise, we're a STEM school, so I'm sure some of you will be going into aerospace engineering when you go to college, so this is a perfect way to get a good look at what your career could entail.”
He wasn't going into aerospace engineering, despite Rhodey's several attempts at convincing him to. Mr. Stark was very smug about that before Peter told him that he wasn't going to do electrical engineering either.
They were still fighting over who his favourite was.
His permission slip was signed, returned, and then totally forgotten about until the day before.
Peter was on a video call with Ned when his friend reminded him. “Are you excited for the field trip tomorrow?”
Peter made a face, “Oh, I totally forgot about that. It's to an Air Force base, right?”
Ned rolled his eyes at Peter, “Yes Peter, it's to an Air Force base. For someone so smart, you're really dumb.”
Peter made an indignant noise, but knew that Ned was right. May had been telling him the same thing for years. Teasingly, or course. Even Mr. Stark said it once, after Peter thought he lost the pliers that we're in his hand.
“I need to text Happy that I'm getting picked up at a different time than usual.”
Peter could have slept on the bus if the bus driver were better at driving. Every time they stopped, Peter was jolted awake. Flash didn't bother him though, Dr. V was strict about bullying and Peter just happened to be one of her favourite students.
“Rule time, kids! Don't run off or I'll enforce the class chain rule, and I don't want to hold any of your sweaty hands, so please just stick together.
“Please be mature, leave a good impression. We don't want the military to have a vendetta against us, so be good.
“Finally, use the buddy system! Make sure you have someone with you all all times, groups of two or three together.”
Peter, Ned, and MJ were already standing together, so they just shrugged and didn't move.
Suddenly, two airmen walked out of the building. They looked more nervous than any of the students did. Peter felt kinda bad for them, having to miss work to look over a group of teenagers when they weren't much older themselves.
“Welcome! I'm Airman First Class Frey, you can call me Frey, and this is Airman Walker. We'll be your tour guides today.”
Walker was smiling tightly, so uncomfortable with the situation. He looked at Peter suddenly and gave him a weird look, but didn't say anything.
Frey was talking about security stuff, so Peter listened again. “You'll all have visitor badges, which you can keep after the tour is over. You can't go anywhere we're not, so stick with the group please. If you're good, we'll take a look at the planes!”
They were going to see the planes anyways, it was basically the whole reason for the trip, but she was doing her best.
“We'll start with the boring stuff first, then we'll break for lunch, and then head over to the more interesting parts, sound good?”
There was a general sound of agreement, so Frey started leading then away. She lead the front, Dr. V stuck to the middle area, and Walker stayed in the back. Coincidentally, that's also where Peter, Ned, and MJ were.
Walker slid next to Peter casually as they walked down a long hallway. “Hey kid,” Peter looked over to the man, “I know this is going to sound weird, but do I know you?”
Peter tilted his head, confused. “No, I don't think so.”
Walker rubbed his 5 o'clock shadow and hummed, “That's weird, I'm sure I recognize you from somewhere.”
Peter shrugged, not knowing what to say. Walker took a couple steps back, shrugging as well and turning away.
Ned looked at Peter and whispered, “That was weird, how could he know you?”
MJ interrupted the two of them, “It's not that weird, Peter is the most generic white guy I know. His only distinct feature is the frog that lives in his mouth.”
Ned and MJ laughed at the offended look on Peter's face.
When Peter looked around, he noticed that Frey had lead them to the work stations, likely the more interesting looking ones.
“This is where we spend the majority of our work days!”
Again, not feeling too bad, Peter tuned her out again. He looked around the room and something on the opposite wall caught his eye. There was a board filled with advanced equations, and a stressed out looking man in front of them. There must be something wrong with them then.
Peter looked at the board closer and quickly noticed the mistake. He walked over, ignoring Ned, who tried to grab his arm to stop him.
“Excuse me, may I?” Peter asked the man, whose tag indicated that his name was Bishop. Bishop blinked at him, but handed the dry erase marker to him nonetheless. Peter quickly got to work, fixing the equation, and then solving it right after.
When he was done, satisfied with the answer he got, he handed the marker back to Bishop with a smile on his face, and then turned back to find his group. He only got a look at them, standing a couple feet away and looking at him, before Bishop grabbed his shoulder and turned him back.
“Kid, do you know what you just did?” He didn't sound angry, just confused.
“Oh, I'm so sorry, I just noticed you were frustrated with your equation, so I thought I could help you out. I'm sorry, I didn't really think.”
“No, that doesn't matter, do you understand how advanced these equations are?”
Peter shrugged. He didn't really have a good understanding of what was advanced and what wasn't after working with Mr. Stark for so long.
“They only teach you this stuff after years of college, what grade are you in?”
Peter rubbed the back of his neck, “Uh, I'm a junior in high school.”
Bishop looked up at Dr. V, looking for some answers on how a kid had just solved something like what he was working on.
Dr. V shrugged, “Don't look at me, I didn't teach him that. I don't feel like I'm teaching him anything in out class, he's the most advanced high schooler I've ever met.”
After an awkward pause, Frey coughed and led them away.
“Okay, I know I'm hungry, so let's go to the cafeteria. Luckily, you won't have to pay for your lunches like we do, so get anything you want. Don't get food that you're not going to eat though, because that wouldn't be cool.”
Lunch went fine, some people were going Peter weird looks, but he easily ignored them. It's not like he didn't usually get weird looks at school, being the smart weirdo that everyone knew he was.
Peter and Ned debated Star Wars vs. Star Trek, and MJ was drawing Flash's face when Peter had done the equation on the board.
After about 45 minutes, Frey and Walker gathered them again and lead them through the winding halls. After a couple minutes, they found themselves in the gym area. There were some people training in there, using the free equipment to work out and practice self-defense.
“I hope you all signed your wavers, because we’re going to spend the next hour teaching you some self-defense! If you don’t want to participate, that’s fine, you can just stick to the walls and watch.”
A small handful of people walked over to the wall that Frey pointed at, as did Dr. V. Ned went to stand against the wall, but Peter and MJ had stayed put.
For the next half-hour, Frey and Walker demonstrated some simple self-defense. Peter could pick out the open spots in both of their stances, and could easily predict their next movements. Natasha had done a good job at hammering in those lesson early on. Then, they moved on to some one on one training.
Frey started showing Sally the ropes, and Walker chose to partner up with Flash, who was looking cocky. “You know, my dad signed me up for some self-defense training a little bit ago.” Walker looked surprised.
“Has anyone else here ever taken self-defense lesson?” Walker asked, looking around at the kids. Peter raised his hand slowly, and Walker smiled widely. The Airman led Flash over to Peter, Flash looking even more excited at the prospect of fighting Peter.
“I’ll pair the two of you up while I help out the kids who have never done this! Remember, don’t kill each other of we’ll get blamed for it.” Walked patted both of them on the shoulders and walked away.
“Excited, Parker?” Flash asked, sneering. Peter just sighed at adjusted his stance. “I’m not gonna go easy on you, so try and keep up.”
Flash tried to punch Peter, and Peter was thoroughly unimpressed. It was like he was trained by a second-rate boxer who hadn’t won a single match. Peter dodged, grabbed Flash’s arm, swept his legs out from under him, and pinned him with a knee to his back. Flash made a sound like he had all the air punched out of him, which, well.
Flash tapped the ground quickly, so Peter let him up, offering an arm that Flash refused. His face was red and Peter felt a little bad for him. Suddenly, there was cheering, and Peter realized that everyone was watching them. That shouldn’t have been a surprise, Parker and his bully were about to throw down, or so they thought.
Walker rushed back over to them, “Kid, where did you learn to do that?” Peter shrugged and flushed even harder. Walker shot a look at Frey, who tilted her head and smiled. “Wanna spar?” Walker asked, a smile playing on his lips.
Peter perked up, he loved sparring, no matter who it was. Peter looked to Dr. V, who just shrugged in appliance.
The whole class and a few of the others from the gym who were there training gathered around Peter and Walker. Walker was going over some of the rules, don’t actually aim for the face, no ball shots, whoever taps out first loses, the basics. Peter was almost jumping in excitement, reminding himself to watch his strength. This wasn’t like sparring with Steve or Carol.
Frey yelled for them to go, and they were off. Peter could count the weak spots in his stance, and almost wanted to tell him to stop projecting his next movements so clearly. Walker aimed for one of Peter’s sides, but the younger man quickly blocked the punch and hit the airman in the chest. He had the air knocked out of him and he staggered back a bit.
Spotting a clear takedown, Peter ran at Walker, allowing for the man to try and grab Peter, which he did. Peter smirked as he lifted both of his legs up, wrapping one around Walkers hip and one around his thigh. He dropped his weight backwards and rolled until he was the one of top. Walker, on his own, rolled once more until he was on his stomach, and Peter planted his knee on the square of Walkers back and trapped his arms.
Walker tapped out a second later, and Peter let him up. Unlike Flash, Walker gladly took the hand that Peter offered him. Only then did Peter notice that everyone who was watching them was clapping. His face went red, as expected.
“Damn, kid. That was impressive. I could learn a thing or two from you.”
Frey, who was a couple steps away, laughed. “You could learn a shit-load from this kid, don’t lie to yourself.” Everyone laughed at her comment. “Where did you learn to fight like that?” Frey asked, staring at him quizzically.
He rubbed at the back of his neck, “I have a friend from Russia who’s really good at fighting. She teaches me a lot.” That was a major oversimplification. He wondered how they would react if they knew that friend was Black Widow.
For the next 15 minutes, who taught some stuff to MJ, pretending not to notice the eyes or the ears on him. Flash finally seemed to have learned his lesson, and didn’t bother him the entire time.
“Okay kids, now that you’re all sweaty and gross, let’s get to the part I know you’re all here for. Let’s go look at the planes!”
Everyone whispered amongst themselves as Frey led them throughout the base, either talking about how excited they were to see the plane or talking about Peter. He was sheepish, but he tried to tune them out.
The planes were so cool, as expected. Frey was telling them all about them, talking about the couple of missions that she’s been on, the rigorous training they went through, and she even talked about the history of sexism in the Air Force, which made MJ very excited. Walker chimed in sometimes, but it was mostly Frey talking.
Suddenly, a voice rang out from the other side of the hanger. “Peter!”
Everyone in the group swung around. Peter heard both Frey and Walker make a sound when they saw who was there. Colonel Rhodes and Colonel Danvers where both standing there, a gaggle of Airmen following them around.
Peter pushed past Walker, who was standing at attention. Walker almost tried to grab Peter, but he was too quick. The Airmen who were around the Colonels looked frightened and confused as a teenage boy came rushing towards them.
“Rhodey! Carol!” Peter flung his arms around Carol, who was closer to him. The woman laughed and swung him around. He let go and rushed to hug Rhodey too, who only looked a little bothered that he wasn’t the first to get a hug.
Typically, Peter would be more contained, but he hadn’t seen either of them in over a month. Carol smiled widely at him, “What are you doing here, Pete?”
Peter smiled back, “I’m here on a field trip, I had no clue you guys would be here!”
Rhodey laughed and ruffled his hair, “Yeah, well we had no clue you would be here either, punk. You finally decided to go into aerospace engineering?”
Peter gave him a look, which was all the answer Rhodes needed. “Tony really has corrupted you, hasn’t he?”
“I’m not going into electrical engineering either! At least I’m not going to go to CalTech or Harvard.”
Rhodey made a genuinely disgusted face and Peter and Carol laughed at him.
The three of them looked up when they realized that Peter’s group was watching them. Frey and Walker quickly went to attention, but Carol waved at them, “At ease.”
Rhodey smiled at Dr. V, “You’ve got a good kid in your class, we love Peter.”
Dr. V smiled right back, “Don’t I know it. I don’t have favourites, but Peter here is something else. If you don’t mind me asking, how do you two know Peter?”
Peter froze, but Carol kept on casually. “Peter is Tony’s intern, so we see him all the time. If we didn’t know any better, you’d think the two of them were related. It’s pretty uncanny.”
Peter didn’t think it was possible, but his class and the others looked even more surprised at this.
“This explains why he could take me down.” Walker said casually.
Carol laughed and gave Peter a look. “You guys did self-defense, didn’t you? Yeah, probably shouldn’t try fighting a kid who trains with the Avengers, no matter how shrimpy he is.”
Peter huffed and swatted Carol’s hand away when she tried to pinch his cheeks.
Walker spoke up again, “Oh! That’s how I recognized you! Colonel Rhodes has a picture of you up in his office!”
Rhodey paused, and Peter just grinned widely, “Aww, Rhodey! That’s so cute!”
Rhodey puffed out his chest, “I’m taking that picture down. You’re a punk and I don’t like you anymore.”
Peter patted his back condescendingly, “You can lie to yourself all you want, but I know that you love me, sir.” Peter laughed even harder when Rhodey gave him a stern glare that even made the Airmen behind them tense up.
Peter walked back to the group. “Dinner tonight is at the tower, please try to come. I promise that Vision won’t be cooking!”
Rhodey continued to jokingly glare at him, but Carol held up a fist, “We’ll make it, little buddy.” She zapped him when he gave her a fistbump, making the both of them laugh good heartedly.
He waved as they left, and turned back to the group with a smile still on his face. He ignored their incredulous stares, walking forwards with purpose. Dinner tonight would be fun.